The Mongol conquest of the Middle East has often been seen as a catastrophic event in which horse-riding ‘barbarians’ put an end to a ‘Golden Age’ of Islamic civilization. Although in recent years this assumption has been contextualized and revisited, a sense of catastrophism persists around the Mongol domination of Eurasia. However, the influx of nomadic people into the Islamic world brought with it an unprecedented burst of cultural activity attested in the extensive amount of Islamic manuscripts that survived from the period. Thousands of books that were copied, circulated and read during that time have survived to our days, providing new insights into the cultural history of the Mongol empire. This presentation aims to offer an overview of the challenges and possibilities that dealing with such a large and underexplored body of source material offers for the study of the Mongol empire in Iran and Central Asia.
Bruno De Nicola is Research Associate at the Institute of Iranian Studies (Austrian Academy of Sciences). His research focusses on the pre-modern history of Iran and Central Asia with special reference to the study of Islamic manuscripts in the Mongol empire. He is the author of Women in Mongol Iran: The Khātūns 1206–1335 (EUP, 2017) and several other research articles and book chapters. Since 2020, he is the Principal Investigator of the project Nomads’ Manuscripts Landscape (NoMansLand; START-Prize, FWF Y 1232-G30).
Meeting ID: 974 1356 6507
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