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Unfertige Studien 7: Der Tod Marwāns II. und das Massaker von Mosul

Unconcluded studies 7: The death of Marwān II. and the Massacre of Mossul
Josef van Ess

Abstract

The aim of this article is to present two early examples of eye-witness-like reports found in Arabic historiography. The two events in question are the death of al-Marwān, the last Umayyad caliph, in 750 CE, and a massacre ordered or let happen by the new governor of Mosul, which took place in the same year. In the narration of the flight and killing of al-Marwān, the protection of the female family members is the main motive for al-Marwān’s actions. The Massacre of Mosul must have been a traumatic experience that endured in the collective memory, involving unprecedented atrocities against civilians. The historian al-Azdī (d. 945 CE) could base his account on the living tradition of the local families even 150 years after the event. There are reports from the perspectives both of victim and perpetrator. The prominent role of women is a characteristic feature of the narrations concerning both events. In the presentation of the texts, particular weight is given to details and nuances which communicate the emotional attitudes or the narrators towards the events and the moral lessons exemplified by them. This is the only way to recognize what could be called the “soul” of the text.


Corresponding author: Josef van Ess, Liegnitzer Straße 11, 72072, Tübingen, Deutschland, E-mail:

Danksagung

Mit diesem Beitrag endet die Reihe meiner „Unfertigen Studien“, die seit 2016 in den Asiatischen Studien – Études Asiatiques erschienen sind. Bei ihrer redaktionellen Fertigstellung wurde ich jeweils von Johannes Thomann (Universität Zürich) unterstützt, wofür ihm an dieser Stelle herzlich gedankt sei.

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Published Online: 2020-12-07
Published in Print: 2020-11-18

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