Egypt-msg - 12/3/11

Medieval Egypt.

NOTE: See also the files: Africa-msg, Byzantine-msg, Ethiopia-msg, Ethiopia-art, Palestine-msg, Muslms-Sicily-art, Turkey-msg, Belly-Dance-art, fd-Byzantine-msg.

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  Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous
                                        Stefan at florilegium.org
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Date: Fri, 03 Jun 2011 14:30:13 -0400
From: "Garth G. Groff" <ggg9y at virginia.edu>
To: Atlantia at atlantia.sca.org
Subject: Re: [MR] Egyptian Personas in the SCA

M'Lady Rhoesia, Greetings.

Such a task you have set. I am no expert on Egyptian culture, but do
take an interest in it. Like most folks, my interest is in the high
pharonic culture like King Tut. The Roman period and later gets sadly
overlooked in favor of the more spectacular earlier times, Cleopatra
excepted.

My best guess is that middle and upper class Egyptians would still have
dressed and followed the lifestyle of Rome/Byzantium up until the
conquest by the Muslims in 642. How soon after that Muslim orthodoxy
would have been imposed on what was left of Egyptian secular society is
unknown to me.

So I recall cataloging a book of Roman-period mummies a few years back.
It may have been EGYPTIAN MUMMIES: PEOPLE FROM THE PAST by Delia
Pemberton (San Diego: Harcourt, 2001; ISBN 0152026002). I'm sure this is
out of print, but you can no doubt have your library get it for you. The
book of which I'm thinking had lovely Roman-period mummy masks. The
people in those images looked pretty much like Romans seen on murals
from Pompeii and other places in the northern part of the empire. I'm
sure you are interested in clothing, hair styles, jewelry, etc. These
mummy masks are one of your best sources.

I also found an interesting little illustrated book on Coptic Egypt:
COPTIC EGYPT, THE CHRISTIANS OF THE NILE by Christian Cannuyer (London:
Thames & Hudson, 2001; ISBN 0500301042). It has lots of pictures from
the late Roman/Early Islamic period, many from textiles, murals or
illuminations. Anything about the early Coptic Christians would probably
be a good source.

Good luck with your interesting quest.

Lord Mungo Napier (Shire of Isenfir's unofficial librarian)
(aka Garth Groff, Cataloger, UVA Libraries)

On 6/3/2011 1:24 PM, Sandra Rangel wrote:
I have recently been curious about Egyptian culture (mostly as it
would've related to the time of the Romans and earlier) but really in
any way it could relate to SCA timeline. I am having trouble finding
any resources for people who would like to create a persona or finding
someone who has an Egyptian persona. I've tried some online searching
but to no avail. Anyone know of someone I can chat with about the
subject?

Rohesia Anven of Thessalonica


Date: Fri, 3 Jun 2011 11:41:21 -0700 (PDT)
From: Karen <karen_larsdatter at yahoo.com>
To: The Merry Rose <atlantia at atlantia.sca.org>
Subject: Re: [MR] Egyptian Personas in the SCA

Rohesia wrote:
<<< I have recently been curious about Egyptian culture (mostly as it
would've related to the time of the Romans and earlier) but really in
any way it could relate to SCA timeline. I am having trouble finding
any resources for people who would like to create a persona or finding
someone who has an Egyptian persona. I've tried some online searching
but to no avail. >>>

You'll find some links related to this subject at
http://moas.atlantia.sca.org/wsnlinks/index.php?action=displaycat&;catid=935

There's a lot of interesting stuff at the Eternal Egypt website:
http://www.eternalegypt.org

It may help you to decide what period of medieval Egypt you're most interested
in; that would help you find more focused resources, as well.

Karen Larsdatter
www.larsdatter.com


Date: Fri, 3 Jun 2011 14:53:54 -0400
From: ldmolly at md.metrocast.net
To: "Merry Rose" <atlantia at atlantia.sca.org>
Subject: Re: [MR] Egyptian Personas in the SCA
1
Personally, I think dar Anahita is an excellent jumping off point for anyone looking to learn more about Near Eastern cultures. It may be past the timeframe you're most interested in, but Urtatim has am amazing wealth of information on her site: http://home.earthlink.net/~lilinah/directory.html

Molly


Date: Fri, 3 Jun 2011 19:01:50 -0400
From: Sandra Rangel <arwynn16 at gmail.com>
To: "Garth G. Groff" <ggg9y at virginia.edu>, Merry Rose
<atlantia at atlantia.sca.org>
Subject: Re: [MR] Egyptian Personas in the SCA

Lord Mungo,

Yeah the mummy masks were an interesting thing to stumble upon at the
Chicago Museum of art... the mask itself was in the Egyptian section
and not Roman so it had me curious from the start. They are also
called Fayum mummy portraits and the techniques to paint them are
either encaustic or acrylic. It is too bad that most of the ones that
have survived to date were detached from the mummy themselves and any
data that could have been derived (other than the details of the
portrait itself) were/are lost. It seems that is the case also for
Coptic textiles and various other Egyptian artifacts acquired at the
turn of the century.... amazing details but because they were not
acquired in a scholarly manner there is not much else,
archaeologically, about the pieces. It is speculated that the
portraits could have been painted while the person was still alive,
hanging up in their house, and attached after the mummification.

Thanks to others who have offered some leads, but I am definitely
looking for stuff that is pre-6th century Egypt. And even more so
pre-4th century. :)

I was able to find the first book in my local library's catalog, there
are several other titles by the same author I will check out as well.
I could not find the Coptic one however I am looking for other titles
and reserving them. Here are some other titles that may be available
in other libraries in case anyone is following this thread:

*Searching for ancient Egypt : art, architecture, and artifacts from
the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
ISBN: 0801434823
*Ancient Egypt : the land and its legacy ISBN: 0292720629
*The treasures of Coptic art in the Coptic Museum and churches of Old
Cairo ISBN: 977424933X or 9789774249334
*Lady of the two lands: five queens of ancient Egypt ISBN: 0672507293
*Egypt, Greece, and Rome : civilizations of the ancient Mediterranean
ISBN: 0198150032
*Egypt after the pharaohs 332 B.C.-A.D. 642 : from Alexander to the
Arab conquest ISBN: 0520059301
*The royal women of Amarna : images of beauty from ancient Egypt ISBN:
0870998161
*The mysterious Fayum portraits : faces from ancient Egypt ISBN: 0810933314
*The rape of Egypt : how the Europeans stripped Egypt of its heritage
ISBN: 0712621024
*The Encyclopedia of ancient civilizations of the Near East and
Mediterranean ISBN: 1563247992

~Rohesia


Date: Fri, 3 Jun 2011 18:54:36 -0700 (PDT)
From: J. C. Smith isp?n <jsmithcsa at yahoo.com>
To: Atlantia Mailing List <Atlantia at seahorse.atlantia.sca.org>
Subject: Re: [MR] Egyptian Personas in the SCA

There is this SCA Group for some type of Egyptians I don't understand:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/gahawazee/

There are also these Google Books
http://books.google.com/books?id=DH5MAAAAMAAJ&;pg=PA284&dq=egypt+in+the+roman+era&hl=en&ei=AI_pTem2LMb00gGrk9WcAQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CDcQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=egypt%20in%20the%20roman%20era&f=false

http://books.google.com/books?id=oFy7yNbLpGEC&;pg=PA1018&dq=egypt+in+the+roman+era&hl=en&ei=AI_pTem2LMb00gGrk9WcAQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=7&ved=0CEoQ6AEwBg#v=onepage&q=egypt%20in%20the%20roman%20era&f=false

http://books.google.com/books?id=JpBJAAAAMAAJ&;pg=PA207&dq=egypt+in+the+byzantine+era&hl=en&ei=Xo_pTY7lMMft0gHCmfmxAQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=10&ved=0CFcQ6AEwCQ#v=onepage&q&f=false

For information on Egypt during the Byzantine era specifically, try
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ByzantiumNovumCulture/

When I was chatelain of Drachenwald we tried to form a shire in Egypt,?now
there's one more reason it's failure in regrettable.

Barcsi Janos


Date: Fri, 3 Jun 2011 23:46:52 -0500
From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at att.net>
To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>
Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] OT: Rome and medieval Egypt

In 332 BCE, Egypt fell to Alexander.  With Alexander's death in 323 BCE,
Egypt passed to his general, Ptolemy, who founded the Ptolemaic dynasty
which lasted for roughly 300 years until the death of Cleopatra in 30 BCE.
From 30 BCE until 642 CE (Arab conquest), Egypt was a Roman province,
becoming part of the Byzantine Empire about 395 CE.  Under the Ptolemies,
the culture of the court was primarily Greek giving way to Roman culture.
Culinarily, The Deipnosophists (Atheneus) and the various Roman cookery
texts would likely cover the noble European Egyptians.  The general
Egyptians likely made do with a diet of onions, beans and bread.  We know
less about the Byzantine period.  During the Medieval period, the food was
probably similar to that found in al-Baghdadi, although that is open to
argument.

A key point to remember is that during the Greek and Roman period, Egypt's
primary export crops were wheat, millet, and sorghum.

Bear

<<< I assume we don't know any more about Egyptian food of the Roman and
Medieval era than we do of Byzantium. Which doesn't seem to be much,
certainly no menus, right?

Stefan >>>


Date: Sat, 04 Jun 2011 08:14:28 -0500
From: Sayyeda al-Kaslaania <samia at idlelion.net>
To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>
Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] OT: Rome and medieval Egypt

On 6/3/2011 10:12 PM, Daniel And elizabeth phelps wrote:
<<< Don't know if it would help but she could check the back issues of Saudi Aramco World on line and see if anything useful pops up.

Daniel >>>

Agreed. Aramco World is an awesome magazine. It's offered as a free
publication.

On Middle Ages Egyptian culture, the gal/guy could look up Abbasid,
Fatimid, Ayyubid, and Mamluk cultures. They all took turns controlling
Egypt. Research into the Cairo Geniza yields spectacular results on
these. (The Fatimids created Cairo next to Fustat).

As far as Egyptian food, there are at least two cookbooks from Egypt in
the period. AFAIK, neither has been translated in it's entirety into
English. Lilia Zaouli has a few of those recipes translated in /Medieval
Cuisine of the Islamic World,/ but it's good to know that these were
translated from Arabic to Italian (?) to English. Charles Perry did the
Forward for the English version, so it has some good kudos.

It's also important to know that in the Middle Ages there was a cultural
blanket on the Middle East/Islamic Mediterranean. Yedida Stillman calls
it the Pan-Islamic Culture. With minor territorial variations, the
culture is largely the same in the Middle Ages (specifically excluding
Persian) because of the strong trade. Knowing this, people can borrow
pretty confidently from al-Andalus, Baghdad, and Damascus to fill in
gaps of knowledge of Cairo/Fustat.

You could also direct the person to my blog:
http://idlelion.blogspot.com/
I'm slowly putting up recipes and redactions from my first feast this
past weekend.

Sayyeda al-Kaslaania


Date: Sat, 4 Jun 2011 21:04:32 -0500
From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at att.net>
To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>
Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] OT: Rome and medieval Egypt

If it's food, I'd say get a copy of Dalby's Food in the Ancient World from A
to Z.  A quick perusal showed me a number of entries that would be of value
in putting together a picture of Egyptian food from Pharonic to Ptolemaic.

Bear

<<< What exactly is wanted? Food history? Persona? General History?
Egypt during the Classical Roman era?
Egypt during the European Middle Ages?
During the Crusades? (Fifth Crusade?) What time period?

There's no problem finding books on Egypt. Have they asked at a library?

Johnnae >>>


Date: Sun, 05 Jun 2011 22:04:37 -0400
From: "David Chessler" <chessler at usa.net>
To: Gina Shelley <paintedwheel at hotmail.com>,
<atlantia at atlantia.sca.org>
Subject: Re: [MR] Egyptian Personas in the SCA

What, EXACTLY, were they wearing in Egypt in the 6th C? It was still part of
the Roman Empire, though it was Byzantium that considered itself the Roman
Empire at the time, and which ruled most of Italy at the time. See Belisarius.
While Egypt was politically roman, culturally it was still Egyptian or
Ptolemaic Greek. Anyhow, "Hellenistic culture continued to thrive in Egypt
well after the Muslim conquest." [That is, into the 7th C or beyond]]

https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/History_of_Ptolemaic_Egypt.
This implies that there would be nothing wrong with a wearing a pleated cotton
skirt, or, even better, a transparent linen shirt. :-)
------
Davitt il Bigollo da Pisa
Procurator parumper aurifex in Portus Liburni
Officina pro Moghul terra


Date: Mon, 6 Jun 2011 00:46:52 -0400
From: "Terri Morgan" <online2much at cox.net>
To: "'Sandra Rangel'" <arwynn16 at gmail.com>, "'Merry Rose'"
<atlantia at atlantia.sca.org>
Subject: Re: [MR] Egyptian Personas in the SCA

These sites might help (some have good bibliographies)
http://www.durolitum.co.uk/articles/tunics.html

http://www.davidrumsey.com/amica/amico1296877-105506.html

http://users.stlcc.edu/mfuller/coptictextileCopenhagen.html

http://www.textileasart.com/2258.htm

http://home.comcast.net/~mikibu/Articlefolder/an_overview_of_middle.htm

http://researcharchive.calacademy.org/research/anthropology/coptic/Coptweav.htm

http://www.textileasart.com/2258.htm

Hrothny


Date: Wed, 8 Jun 2011 18:56:48 -0700 (GMT-07:00)
From: lilinah at earthlink.net
To: SCA-Cooks <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>
Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] OT: Rome and medieval Egypt

Stefan li Rous wrote:
Just had to pass on something I saw on the Atlantia list today.
Rohesia Anven of Thessalonica was asking
<<< I have recently been curious about Egyptian culture (mostly as it
would've related to the time of the Romans and earlier) but really in
any way it could relate to SCA timeline. I am having trouble finding
any resources for people who would like to create a persona or finding
someone who has an Egyptian persona. Ive tried some online searching
but to no avail. Anyone know of someone I can chat with about the
subject? >>>

One of the responses was:
<<< Personally, I think dar Anahita is an excellent jumping off point
for anyone looking to learn more about Near Eastern cultures. It may
be past the timeframe you're most interested in, but Urtatim has an
amazing wealth of information on her site:
http://home.earthlink.net/~lilinah/directory.html
Molly >>>

Whoo Hoo, Urtatim!
============

Very kind of you, Stefan, and of Molly, although i have only very limited information about Egypt on my website.

As far as food goes, the nobility in Egypt in the Hellenic and classic Roman periods was largely of Greek descent, from General Ptolemy, so they would be eating ancient Greek-style food (Cleopatra, for example, was a Ptolemy). After the Romans took over completely, the ruling class and wealthy would be eating much like the noble and wealthy Romans back in Europe with Greek cooks who used Greek recipes. After all, much in the Apician cookbook is Greek in origin or inspiration. I have 20 recipes of Greco-Roman origin on my website.

Urtatim


Date: Wed, 8 Jun 2011 19:01:48 -0700 (GMT-07:00)
From: lilinah at earthlink.net
To: SCA-Cooks <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>
Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] OT: Rome and medieval Egypt

Bear wrote much that was helpful.
<<< The general Egyptians likely made do with a diet of onions, beans and bread. >>>

While this is much written, I suspect this is simplistic, and that there was a little more to their diet. Certainly people ate fish on occasion, and/or small birds. They had a few more vegetables than just onions and favas (and lupins on occasions). Radishes are mentioned in some texts, as are cucumbers, garlic, melons, cabbage, mallow leaves, colocasia (much discussed on this list). Dates were grown in Egypt and not just in palmeries so i imagine people ate dates, too. Figs, too, and sycamore fruit/"figs".

"An Ancient Egyptian Herbal" by Lise Manniche, published by the University of Texas Press (1989) has much information about plants, including food plants, not just leafy green herbs, in ancient Egypt.

Herodotus mentions some traditional Egyptian food plants. Among them is the lotus root from the Asian lotus, which he describes as looking like a wasp's comb and having edible seeds - and available around here, where i live, in Asian markets and the Berkeley Bowl.

For the Greek and Roman periods, Pliny discusses many Egyptian food plants.

<<< We know less about the Byzantine period. >>>

Indeed in Europe... and probably even less about what they were eating in the provinces...

<<< During the Medieval period, the food was probably similar to that found in
al-Baghdadi, although that is open to argument. >>>

Indeed, later in SCA-period Arabic language cookbooks begin to express regional differences in recipes, noting where they originate, and I have no reason to think that some differences didn't exist centuries before.

Urtatim



Samia wrote:
<<< As far as Egyptian food, there are at least two cookbooks from Egypt in
the period. AFAIK, neither has been translated in its entirety into
English. Lilia Zaouli has a few of those recipes translated in /Medieval
Cuisine of the Islamic World,/ but it's good to know that these were
translated from Arabic to Italian (?) to English. Charles Perry did the
Forward for the English version, so it has some good kudos. >>>

The cookbook you mention, from the 13th C. Egypt, Kanz al-fawa'id fi tanwi' al-mawa'id, has not been fully translated into English, sadly, but 37 of its recipes are published in "Medieval Cuisine of the Islamic World" by Lilia Zaouali (note spelling), out in paper since 2007 - and i think 3 dozen is more than a few :-) Perry was less enthusiastic to me in private e-mail. I wrote a review for this list when i got my copy not long after it came out in hardcover.

And we actually do have a complete cookbook from Mamluk-period Egypt, fully translated by Charles Perry and published in "Medieval Arab Cookery". It is al-Kitab Wasf al-At'ima al-Mu'tada (The Book of the Description of Familiar Foods), written down in 1373 in Cairo. It is a compendium, as many "period" Arabic language cookbooks are, with parts taken from a number of other sources. It includes what Perry refers to as an expanded version of al-Baghdadi's cookbook, with more than twice as many recipes as al-Baghdadi's original, plus a confectioner's manual (LOTS of white sugar), plus a chapter titled "Dishes for Invalids, and What Monks and Christians Eat in Lent" taken from another, now lost, book. I have recipes i cooked from this chapter on my website, when i cooked Lenten food as part of a challenge from this list.

<<< On Middle Ages Egyptian culture, the gal/guy could look up Abbasid,
Fatimid, Ayyubid, and Mamluk cultures. They all took turns controlling
Egypt. Research into the Cairo Geniza yields spectacular results on
these. (The Fatimids created Cairo next to Fustat). >>>

And eventually Cairo subsumed Fustat.

For those who don't know, a Geniza is a part of a Jewish synagogue where all sorts of papers are kept, walled up, because if a name of god is written on one, it cannot be merely discarded, but must be treated respectfully. The Geniza in question has an amazing wealth of information on life in the Fatimid period. S. D. Goitein wrote the six volume set, "A Mediterranean Society: The Jewish Communities of the Arab World as Portrayed in the Documents of the Cairo Geniza", analyzing them and organizing much of the information. It tells about more than just the lives of Jews. So if anyone is interested in medieval Egypt, Goitein's books are an excellent source.

<<< It's also important to know that in the Middle Ages there was a cultural
blanket on the Middle East/Islamic Mediterranean. Yedida Stillman calls
it the Pan-Islamic Culture. With minor territorial variations, the culture
is largely the same in the Middle Ages (specifically excluding Persian)
because of the strong trade. Knowing this, people can borrow pretty
confidently from al-Andalus, Baghdad, and Damascus to fill in gaps
of knowledge of Cairo/Fustat. >>>

Well, yes and no. This is true to some extent, but some of the regional variations are not so minor... Still I agree that it is useful to read up on both Eastern Dar al-Islam (what are now Iraq, Syria-Lebanon-Israel-Palestine, Anatolia, etc.) and Western Dar al-Islam (al-Andaluz, and most of North Africa).

<<< You could also direct the person to my blog:
http://idlelion.blogspot.com/
I'm slowly putting up recipes and redactions from my first feast this
past weekend. >>>

There is a lot of excellent information on your blog. I highly recommend it. And I look forward to seeing your recipes.
--
Urtatim (that's urr-tah-TEEM)
the persona formerly known as Anahita

<the end>

Edited by Mark S. Harris Egypt-msg 9 of 9



Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
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