Alexandria, the Threshold of Egypt: A Comparative Study on Volney and Jabarti's Idea of Alexandria in the Late 18th Century

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Sayyed Kamal Keshiknevis Razavi
Abbas Ahmadvand
Mina Moazzeni

Abstract

Alexandria is the second-largest city in Egypt; this city is the threshold of Egypt and the first place by the sea where travelers encounter and create an idea of Egypt in their minds. Many western travelers, such as Hartmann Schedel, André Thevet, Jacob Peeters, Charles Perry, Volney, Dumont, and others have visited Alexandria and wrote reports on the City past and present, through which their opinions of the city can be accessed. Without a doubt, looking at Alexandria from a traveler's point of opinion differs from the opinions of a person who has lived there and observed the city from the inside. The question is how each of these two perspectives encounters the city. What questions have each of them asked and what answers have they given? And do these questions and answers come from their social and cultural background? Can a comparison of these two opinions provide a picture of the city to help better understand its history? It seems that the questions and answers of these observers come from their social backgrounds. At the same time Volney (1757-1820) lived in France, Abdul Rahman bin Hassan al-Jabarti (1825-1753) lived in Egypt. In this study, using an asymmetric macro-comparison method, we have attempted to evaluate the information in Volney's travelogue and Jabarti's ''Ajāeb-al Asār'' based on their perspective of the inside (Jabarti) and outside (Volney) of Alexandria. In his introduction to the late 18th century Alexandria, Volney seems to be much attached to the ideas from the French society, At the same time, Jabarti did not pay much attention to the question of Alexandria's urbanization and focused more on those who went to the city and left it. He laid the focus on the political and military situation of the city.


Keywords: Alexandria, Volney, Jabarti, Egyptology, Travelogue, Travel Theory

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How to Cite
Keshiknevis Razavi, Sayyed Kamal, Abbas Ahmadvand, and Mina Moazzeni. 2022. “Alexandria, the Threshold of Egypt: A Comparative Study on Volney and Jabarti’s Idea of Alexandria in the Late 18th Century”. Journal of Islamic Thought and Civilization 12 (1), 96-113. https://doi.org/10.32350/jitc.121.05.

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