Date: Mon, 1 Sep 2003 21:10:02

Subject: [SCA-AS] Medieval Africa

Greetings everyone!

This week's Links list is a bit short---only 9 links were found on my chosen subject matter. The reason it's a bit short is that there remains a great deal to be discovered or at least webbed on the subject of Medieval Africa.
During our period of study, Africa--particularly North and West---was thriving with trade to the near East, and to Europe. A great deal of the world's GOLD supply came form Africa at the time. We know through viewing European artworks that African Persons were not strangers to Europe (so many show up in crowd scenes or as courtesans in paintings). And yet, due to more
recent cultural biases, much of the history of Africa has remained a mystery, especially those of us with Europe-centric ways of viewing world history. While the subject matter for this Links List was hard to come by, I present you with what I could find, most of which seems to be good, solid work. Perhaps when we revisit the subject sometime down he road, we'll be able to find much more. It's a field of study ripe for some research, so if anyone out there is looking for something new to research, this would be a great challenge!

As always, please share this Links List with those who will be interested in it.



Dame Aoife Finn of Ynos Mon

Splendor in Medieval Africa
A visit to Mali's medieval past
(Site Excerpt) According to tradition, Mali was suffering from a fearful drought when a visitor told the king, Mansa Barmandana, that the drought would break if he converted to Islam. This he did, and as predicted the drought did end. Other Mandinkans followed the king's lead and converted as well, but the mansa did not force a conversion, and many retained their Mandinkan beliefs. This religious freedom would remain throughout the centuries to come as Mali emerged as a powerful state.

Kingdoms of Medieval Sudan
(Site Excerpt) "Kingdoms of the Medieval Sudan" provides a narrative historical overview of Mali, Songhay, Kanem-Bornu, and Hausaland before the modern era, a hyperlinked glossary with pronunciation helps, and self-tests on the history of these regions.The text is also accompanied by the work of photographer Lucy Johnson.

Medieval Sourcebook:
Ibn Battuta: Travels in Asia and Africa 1325-1354
(Site Excerpt) On reaching the city of Tilimsan [Tlemsen], whose sultan at that time was Abu Tashifin, I found there two ambassadors of the Sultan of Tunis, who left the city on the same day that I arrived. One of the brethren having advised me to accompany them, I consulted the will of God in this matter, and after a stay of three days in the city to procure all that I needed, I rode after them with all speed. I overtook them at the town of Miliana, where we stayed ten days, as both ambassadors fell sick on account of the summer heats. When we set out again, one of them grew worse, and died after we had stopped for three nights by a stream four miles from Miliana. I left their party there and pursued my journey, with a company of merchants from Tunis.

A Medieval Atlas: Maps of Medieval Africa
A list of links to maps of Northern Africa, Europe, Arabia, and the Near East.

Medieval Sourcebook:
Procopius: The Reconquest of Africa, 534
(Site excerpt) Belisarius, upon reaching Byzantium with Gelimer [last king of the Vandals, captured by Belisarius in 534] and the Vandals, was counted worthy to receive such honours, as in former times were assigned to those generals of the Romans who had won the greatest and most noteworthy victories. And a period of about six hundred years had now passed since anyone had attained these honours, except, indeed, Titus and Trajan, and such other emperors as had led armies against some barbarian nation and had been victorious. For he displayed the spoils and slaves from the war in the midst of the city and led a procession which the Romans call a "triumph," not, however, in the ancient manner, but going on foot from his own house to the hippodrome and then again from the barriers [the starting point for the racers at the open end of the Hippodrome] until he reached the place where the imperial throne is.

African Civilizations
(Site Excerpt) Axum remained a strong empire and trading power until the rise of Islam in the seventh century AD. However, because the Axumites had sheltered Muhammed's first followers, the Muslims never attempted to overthrow Axum as they spread across the face of Africa. Even though Axum no longer served as a center or hub of international trade, it nonetheless enjoyed good relations with all of its Muslim neighbors. Two Christian states north of Axum, Maqurra and Alwa, survived until the thirteenth century when they were finally forced by Muslim migration to become Islamic. Axum, however, remained untouched by the Islamic movements across Africa. Because of this, the Ethiopic (or Abyssinian) Church has lasted until the present day. It is still a Monophysite church and its scriptures and liturgy are still in Ge'ez

Mali and Songhai
(Site Excerpt) The empire of Mali, which dated from the early thirteenth century to the late fifteenth century, rose out of what was once the empire of Ghana. Mali had been a state inside of the Ghanaian empire. After Ghana fell because of invading forces and internal disputes, Mali rose to greatness under the leadership of a legendary king named Sundiata, the "Lion King." Later, another great leader named Mansa Musa extended the empire. After his death, however, his sons could not hold the empire together. The smaller states it had conquered broke off, and the empire crumbled.

Medieval Africa 1250-1800 Roland Oliver, Anthony Atmore
This 17 page paper ont he subject requires Acrobat Reader to access.

Early Medieval North Africa
A bibliography.