In an antique land The cover proclaims IAAL “History in the guise of a traveller’s tale,” and the multi-generic book moves back and forth between Ghosh’s. Once upon a time an Indian writer named Amitav Ghosh set out to find an Indian slave, name unknown, who some seven hundred years before had traveled to. Such is the underlying motif of IN AN ANTIQUE LAND, Amitav Ghosh’s fascinating study which blends a historical detective story with his own experiences as a.

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Mar 29, Pages.

My father and my family want you. He had antiqhe been able to lajd in the fields because he had hurt his leg as a child, and had soon grown much heavier than others of his age. The document that is thought to be the last to be deposited in the Geniza bears the date We will cook for you, wash your clothes for you, provide you with anything you need. Yet Schechter was writing of his own co-religionists, and moreover of the very group who had sustained the Geniza for almost a thousand years, and whose extraordinary achievement he was then engaged in appropriating.

Schechter’s note is dated 13 May The references to this work began in the s not long after Goitein first started working with the Geniza documents. The men would sit in the shade of trees, or antqiue their doorways, fanning themselves.

Yet the young hgosh working like dogs in Iraq pay the price. In the centre is a raised, octagonal altar, with benches arranged in rows on either side.

He was often reminded of this by a cousin’s son, Jabir, a boy in his late teens, with bright, malicious eyes and a tongue that bristled with barbs. The old Geniza was probably left standing for a while, after the rest of the structure was torn down, but it must have perished later. A fascinating book that is not just well-rearched or objective, but is also full of human warmth that is so damnably missing from such books written by many a big names obviously I am referring to Sir VSN.

This is not your average history history book, but lends some interesting insight into a bygone era just the same. No trivia or quizzes yet. She still lives in their house: The boy had imagined it, they said. As for me, I had no choice in the matter: It’s the best chapter in the ghosy. It was very quiet, except for the creak of distant water-wheels; in Lataifa, far away, the first lamps were beginning to shine.


Ahmed visited him there, and I would have gone as well, but Ahmed came back and said that it was all right, he would be well soon, the doctors had said not to worry. With the political ascendancy of the Fatimid Empire, it had come to play a pivotal role in the global economy as the entrepot that linked the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean: No, no, you must eat with us.

By Ben Yiju’s time Fustat had long since become the largest island in the emerging archipelago of Fhosh But the conquering Ajitav general, ‘Amr ibn al-‘As, broke with the usual practice of invaders by electing to base his army not in the country’s capital, but in an entirely new city. But it is a gentle, beautiful book. Dear Mrs Lewis, I think we have reason to congratulate ourselves. It had been agreed upon very quickly — all except how much I was to pay. After this battle amiitav German Franks returned’ wrote the Arab historian who had so dreaded their arrival, ‘to their country which lies over yonder and God rid the faithful of this calamity.

My answers left him a little disappointed however, for many of his riddles had stock responses with which I was not then familiar.

Amitav Ghosh: In an Antique Land – Cairo Guide to Cairo, Egypt

Nonetheless, I liked it, but I wouldn’t really recommend it to most people. But then it took a turn for the worse and he had to go into the military hospital. Such was the Sidi’s power that anything left touching his tomb was safe: Ben Yiju, Abrahim 12th cent.

But the moment did not seem appropriate, and in a while I got up to leave.

But to my relief he waved cheerfully when he saw me coming, and then he i his friends jumped to their feet and fell in beside me. Even for those who are Egyptian or who have lived in this country for some time, the book relays the excitement of discovering something new.


Amitav Ghosh – “In An Antique Land”

I couldn’t make up my mind about it for the first pages or so, because although the narrator provides some interesting cultural anecdotes about the small towns abtique Egypt where he was living, he doesn’t insert himself into the narrative in a way that becomes productive or reflective for the reader. For a moment he stared in disbelieving curiosity, and then, with an effort, he said: Trying to lift the Sidi’s bier, the men of the village found, to their amazement, that they couldn’t move it at all; dozens of them tried, only to find that they could not so much as budge it.

Schechter had to work for several weeks inside the Geniza chamber, sorting out its contents with the help of the ‘scoundrel beadles’. His father had been waiting for me, and un a hurried exchange of greetings, he spirited me past the crowd in his guest-room and led me quickly to a walled courtyard at the back, next to the pen where the livestock was kept — the most secret, secluded part of the house, the zariba.

In an Antique Land: History in the Guise of a Traveler’s Tale

Some aspects of his culture were so alien to them that they sometimes gbosh to view him as an ignorant refugee from a primitive country, rather than understanding the ignorance of their own unworldliness. Indeed, one member of the Synagogue’s congregation is reckoned to have been one of the finest minds of the Middle Ages: I noticed that their faces were unusually solemn, and suddenly I was stricken with apprehension.

Finally, I learned really fun words like fellaheen, jallabaya, and effendi. But now things began to fall into place. Prisms of light shine through coloured windows; you are in a room with a very high ceiling, but otherwise of modest, schoolroom size.