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A monument to medieval Syrian book culture



von Konrad Hirschler

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In the late medieval period, manuscripts galore circulated in Middle Eastern libraries. Yet very few book collections have come down to us as such or have left a documentary trail. This book discusses the largest private book collection of the pre-Ottoman Arabic Middle East for which we have both a paper trail and a surviving corpus of the manuscripts that once sat on its shelves: the Ibn ʿAbd al-Hādī Library of Damascus. The book suggests that this library was part of the owner’s symbolic strategy to monumentalise a vanishing world of scholarship bound to his life, family, quarter and home city.


Hirschler, K. (2019). A Monument to Medieval Syrian Book Culture: The Library of Ibn ’Abd al-Hadi (Edinburgh Studies in Classical Islamic History and Culture). Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. 978-1-4744-5156-7