SOAS University of London

Department of the History of Art and Archaeology, School of Arts

Building Islamic Ifrīqiya: urbanism, aesthetics and the

Corisande Fenwick

Date: 16 January 2020Time: 5:30 PM

Finishes: 16 January 2020Time: 7:30 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: Room 4426

Type of Event: Seminar

Abstract: The Aghlabid dynasty (800-909) of Ifrīqiya produced some of the most spectacular buildings that survive from any period of North Africa’s history, and the most numerous. The new rulers built the spectacular palace-cities of al-ʿAbbāsiyya and Raqqāda and for the first time, built congregational mosques, ribāṭs and fortifications in the major towns of Ifrīqiya. This paper will examine how this energetic, but often overlooked, ninth-century building programme wholly transformed the appearance of North African towns from a Romano-Byzantine aesthetic to an Islamic aesthetic. It will also explore the economics of medieval monumental construction, materials and decorative technique and the emergence of a responsive, but pragmatic, Aghlabid architecture.

Convened by Professor Anna Contadini