This article attempts to adumbrate the social complexity of an urban uprising in Ottoman Aleppo by revisiting the patterns of conflict proposed by the historian Herbert Bodman. The perceived antagonism between two of the city’s major factions, the ’Ashrāf and the Janissaries, as well as the constant conflicts between these two groups and the representatives of Ottoman authority in the city, provide an insufficient framework for explaining the areas of conflict which Margaret Meriwether has identified as major ground for social frictions. Focussing on the uprising in 1819/20 in Aleppo, and relying on the recently published notes of the Armenian Catholic bishop ’Abrāhām Kūbilyān (1786–1832), this article argues that contemporary reports offer new insights into social configurations during the uprising. The reports reflect an awareness of power-political interests of individual persons, as well as social issues concerning myriad groups in society that transcend the narrow horizon of the antagonism between ’Ashrāf and Janissaries.
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