Review On The Middle East On The Eav Of Modernity

1696 words - 7 pages

Book Review on the Middle East on the Eve of Modernity Author: Abraham Marcus In the past, historians tend to perceive, and hence portray the history content of nations as being the history of the élites of that particular society. Only wealthy and important figures of the time were portrayed, and documented in history texts. This approach neglects many vital factors that contributed to shaping the overall body of various societies. This was true particularly in the case of slavery in the southern states of North America. The plantation owners, and white slave masters were the only people represented in history texts until fairly recently. People actually researched, and reviewed the internal politics that went through between commoners on a day to day basis, which drew a clearer image of the real life of the particular time. This is also true of the 18th century Middle Eastern states. Many people thought that the phrase, "Islam is a way of life." Was prevalent at the time, in a sense that all the laws of the time were just Islamic. Other religions and practices in the region were neglected until precise texts like this book in study went into extreme depth to portray, and put the reader in the perspective of the average citizen living in 18th Century Aleppo. This process of carrying the reader's mind back in time requires a lot of skill, and precision. This goes to broaden the narrow stereotypical perspective that many foreigners might have about this region, even to some of the people that are native to the region.The Arabic name for Aleppo is Halab, and it is situated in a country now known as Syria. There are many landmarks, mainly minarets of the mosques that leave solid marks of the Ottoman Empire's civilization, and was the governmental center for this ruling regime. The population of Aleppo was some 100,000 Arabic speaking people of various origins, mostly of a Muslim decent, with a minority population of Christians, and Jews respectively. During the 18th century Aleppo was part of the massive, powerful Ottoman Empire, it had gone through many civilizations however, and different rules, including, Hittites, Arameans, Assyrians, Persians, Greeks, and Romans. The Ottoman Empire was stretched over massive territories. The separate districts were ruled by unattached, governmental units that reported to the central agency led by the Sultan. The commoners living in Aleppo weren't concerned much with the Sultan, but instead more focused on earning their living, and personal economic affairs. Aleppo had a strategic location as it was disassociated with battle areas. This location also facilitated trade with neighboring cities, but ongoing wars around that region adversely affected trade status within, which tended to initiate public protest. Imports and exports were carried out between Aleppo, and Europe, but the people of Aleppo maintained their respective identities without being affected by the western influence. European Nations had an...

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