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Building the Caliphate

Construction, Destruction, and Sectarian Identity in Early Fatimid Architecture

Jennifer A. Pruitt



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Yale University Press
25 February 2020
A riveting exploration of how the Fatimid dynasty carefully orchestrated an architectural program that proclaimed their legitimacy This groundbreaking study investigates the early architecture of the Fatimids, an Ismaili Shi'i Muslim dynasty that dominated the Mediterranean world from the 10th to the 12th century. This period, considered a golden age of multicultural and interfaith tolerance, witnessed the construction of iconic structures, including Cairo's al-Azhar and al-Hakim mosques and crucial renovations to Jerusalem's Dome of the Rock and Aqsa Mosque. However, it also featured large-scale destruction of churches under the notorious reign of al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, most notably the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. Jennifer A. Pruitt offers a new interpretation of these and other key moments in the history of Islamic architecture, using newly available medieval primary sources by Ismaili writers and rarely considered Arabic Christian sources. Building the Caliphate contextualizes early Fatimid architecture within the wider Mediterranean and Islamic world and demonstrates how rulers manipulated architectural form and urban topographies to express political legitimacy on a global stage.
By:   Jennifer A. Pruitt
Imprint:   Yale University Press
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 260mm,  Width: 210mm,  Spine: 18mm
Weight:   979g
ISBN:   9780300246827
ISBN 10:   030024682X
Pages:   216
Publication Date:   25 February 2020
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Jennifer A. Pruitt is assistant professor of Islamic art history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Reviews for Building the Caliphate: Construction, Destruction, and Sectarian Identity in Early Fatimid Architecture

A highly scholarly and perceptive book about a complicated, enigmatic dynasty: the Fatimids. The author explains the meaning of early Fatimid architecture in Tunisia and Egypt by probing their sectarian identity and bid for political legitimacy. -D. Fairchild Ruggles, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign This book offers a new reading of Fatimid architecture and urbanism, using texts, archaeology, and monuments to explore artistic creation-and destruction-against a backdrop of contested medieval religious identities and the negotiation of sectarian differences. -Glaire Anderson, University of Edinburgh

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