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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The Synagogue’s location has not altered, whatever zn changes in its outer shell. As a parallel to the story of his research, Amitav Ghosh relates anecdotes and musings about his life in a poor Egyptian village where he improves his colloquial Arabic necessary for deciphering old scripts and generally gets a better understanding of what the Middle East is all about. Loath to invite misfortune by disturbing the bird, he left the tent behind and upon returning to Babylon after his successful assault on Alexandria, laid out his new city around the nest-topped tent.

Known to his subordinates as Over-Baring, he had served in various administrative posts in India and Egypt, and had found little reason to be enthusiastic ghhosh the abilites of their modern inhabitants. So what we see in the book is how he navigates these places, whom he meets, what sort of conversations he has and so forth.

By this time the indigenous Jews of Cairo, those whose relationship with the Synagogue of Ben Ezra was most direct, were a small and impoverished minority within the community. A friend recently back from Baghdad tells Ghosh:. The letter was published three days later, under the title, ‘Discovery of a Fragment of Ecclesiasticus in the Original Hebrew’ and it began: The officials were not impressed, and they told him, laughing: He took issue there with those of his fellow British Jews who passed through Cairo and showed no interest in its Jewish community.


I had never met Hasan, for he was away, serving his draft in the army, but I had heard a great deal about him. They had gone ajitav to establish a prosperous banking firm with offices in Cairo, Alexandria and Paris, and at the time of Adler’s visit they were by far the most powerful family within the community.

A man of many accomplishments, a distinguished calligrapher, scholar and poet, Ben Yiju had returned to Egypt having amassed great wealth in India. But otherwise the visit made no great impression on him: In an Antique Land is an inspired work that transcends genres lanf deftly as it does eras, weaving an entrancing and intoxicating spell.

In an Antique Land – Wikipedia

At that time European scholarly interest was focused on the Egypt of the ancients; the Synagogue of Ben Ezra was too much a part of Masr to merit attention. It was on the roof of a house in Lataifa, a tiny village in Egypt.

It is the first time that such a thing was discovered.

This is the most fascinating and formidable part of the book. Looking for More Great Reads?

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

There were three women in the room now, all of them young, one in the first bloom of her adolescence with a gentle, innocent face and a rosy complexion — a family inheritance shared by many of the inhabitants of Lataifa.

In the evenings, after the prayers, the hamlet would be full of life and laughter.

That was thar, the law of feud; damm, the law of blood; the lnd, immutable law of the Arabs. Thriving hub though it was, medieval Fustat probably presented an unremarkable lanr of appearance. Soon the month of Ramadan arrived and I began to think of taking a holiday. I think and talk about this book a lot.


Jul 24, Naeem rated it it was amazing Shelves: He seemed somehow subdued, much quieter and less cocky than usual.

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

Sidi ‘Abbas had lived in Nakhlatain long, long ago, long before anyone could remember, and he had been famous throughout the region for his godliness and piety: It was only because of a series of unfortunate interruptions that I didn’t beg him right then to find me some other house to live in.

For Ben Yuu the centre of Cairo would have lain in a modest building near the eastern walls of the fortress of Babylon: Truly a shame because his research on the Indian slave of a Jewish Egyptian merchant held great promise initially but eventually fell victim to academic circumlocution. Standing up again, I walked around the pump amidst a deathly silence, nodding to myself, occasionally tapping parts of it with my knuckles. Mar 06, Marta rated it liked it Shelves: Yet I never once saw a single person in Lataifa breaking the fast, in any way: Later on, its case broke, whereupon I bought you an iron pan for a nisafi, which is, after all, better than a stone pan.

These bits and pieces were thrown haphazardly into the Geniza, and over the centuries the people who occasionally cast their hands into the chamber disarranged them even more. Is the world going to live on soccer?

The collection he assembled over his lifetime is now in the State Public Library in St.

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