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Damascus : A History

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Damascus, first published in 2005, was the first account in English of the history of the city, bringing out the crucial role it has played at many points in the region's past. It traces the story of this colourful, significant and complex city through its physical development, from the its emergence in around 7000 BC through the changing cavalcade of Aramaean, Persian, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Arab, Turkish and French rulers to independence in 1946. This new edition has been thoroughly updated using recent scholarship and includes an additional chapter placing the events of the Syrian post-2011 conflict in the context of the city's tumultuous experiences over the last century.


This volume is a must-read for anyone interested in the sweep of Syrian history and archaeology, and is an ideal partner to Burns' Aleppo (2016). Lavishly illustrated, Damascus: A History remains a unique and compelling exploration of this fascinating city.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 420 pages
  • 156 x 234 x 25.4mm | 454g
  • ROUTLEDGE
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New edition
  • 2nd New edition
  • 97 Halftones, black and white
  • 113848332X
  • 9781138483323

Table of contents

List of Illustrations


List of Maps


Foreword


Abbreviations








Introduction


Four Roads to Damascus


The setting


Legends of a birth


For want of a spade





PART ONE





Chapter 1 - The Emergence of Damascus (9000 - c1100 BC)


The first villages


Ta-ms-qu in Upi


The mother of all battles


A wider catastrophe





Chapter 2 - Dimashqu - Damascus from the Aramaeans to the Assyrians (c1100 - 732 BC)


After the turmoil


An Aramaean Empire (Eleventh Century-733 BC)


Aram-Damascus vs Israel


Neo-Assyrian Empire (964-c800 BC)


The city of the god


Damascus in Aramaean Times


The temple


Resurgent Assyria (8th century BC)


Epilogue: An altar for Jerusalem





Chapter 3 - A Greater Game - Assyrians, Persians, Greeks (732 - c300 BC)


Assyrian Rule (732-636 BC)


Neo-Babylonians (Chaldean Rule) (626-539 BC)


Persian (Achaemenid) rule (539-333 BC)


Damascus during the twilight of the Ancient Near East


After Issus (333-331 BC)


A Hellenic millennium





Chapter 4 - The Sowing of Hellenism - Ptolemies and Seleucids (300 - 64 BC)


Ptolemaic rule - Third Century BC


Damascus between rival dynasties


Seleucid rule - second century BC


The persistence of the plan


A Greek city


Temple of Zeus


A Hellenistic civilisation?





Chapter 5 - Towards a Pax Romana (64 BC - AD 30)


Rome Intervenes


Pompey's settlement


The east Mediterranean theatre


Damascus and the struggle for empire


Stabilising the Damascus region


Urge to monumentalise


Civic works





Chapter 6 - Metropolis Romana (AD 30 - 268)


Who were the Syrians?


The city and temple of Jupiter


Importance of cult centres


First Christian mission


An imperial city


Syrian consorts


The eastern question


Population


City and country





Chapter 7 - Holding the Line (AD 269 - 610)


Nature of the Persian threat


Hard and soft frontiers


A Christian city


Cathedral of Saint John


Decline and disintegration


Who were the Arabs|?


'Do it yourself' defence doctrine





Chapter 8 - 'Farewell, Oh Syria' (611 - 661)


Damascus - The First Bulwark


The great field army perishes


Arab aims


Heraclius retreats


Arab administration





Chapter 9 - The Umayyads (661 - 750)


Mu'awiya and the new order


The Umayyad prism


The 'Alite revolt


Acquisition of the Church of Saint John


The building of the Mosque


The fantastic garden


Threshold of Paradise


A ninety year empire


A glorious failure?





PART TWO





Preface to Part Two - When did the ancient end?





Chapter 10 - Decline, Confusion and Irrelevance (750 - 1098)


Ostracism (750-877)


Teaching Damascus a lesson


Sullen revolt


Turkish inroads, Tulunids (877-905)


Shi'ism


Fragmentation (905-964)


Fatimids (969-1071)


Seljuks (1055-1104)


Arrival of the Burids (1104)


First madrasas





Chapter 11 - Islam Resurgent (1098 - 1174)


Bulwark Against the Crusaders?


Early Burids (Tughtagin r. 1104-28)


Burids versus Zengids (1128-48)


Jerusalem-Damascus-Aleppo


The Second Crusade (1148) - 'Fiasco'


Citadel of the faith


Jihad!


Nur al-Din (1154-74)


Nur al-Din's monuments


A new 'Golden Age'





Chapter 12 - Saladin and the Ayyubids (1174 - 1250)


Saladin's rise


Hattin (1187)


'The last victory'


The Ayyubid succession


Al-Muazzim 'Issa (1218-28)


Jerusalem betrayed


Al-Ashraf (1229-38)


Back on the periphery (1238-50)


Courtly society





Chapter 13 - Mamluks (1250 - 1515)


The Central Asian threat


Baybars (1260-77)


Return of the Mongols


The Mamluk system


A new prosperity


Foreigners


Mamluk building


Tengiz's governorship (1312- 40)


Decline (1341-82)


Burji Mamluks (1382-1516)


Siege of Tamerlane (1401)


A Venetian window


Collapse





Chapter 14 - The First Ottoman Centuries (1516 - 1840)


Military rule


The Hajj


Midan


Stability of population


Reshaping Damascus


Municipal services


A new role (1706-58)


'Age of the a'yan'


Cathedrals of commerce


Acre's rise - and fall


European ambitions - Egypt intervenes





Chapter 15 - Reform and Reaction (1840 - 1918)


Tanzimat - reform and reaction


1860 massacre


A 'Little Istanbul'


Telegraph, road and rail


To Mecca by train?


The great fire of 1893


Suq al-Hamidiye


The Damascus house


Command for monument protection


Arab awakening


'To Damascus!' - the great ride


Whose Damascus?





Chapter 16 Epilogue - Countdown to Catastrophe (1919-2011)





1919


1925


1940


1948


1970


2011





Glossary of Terms and Names


Maps of City and Environs


Bibliography





Index
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Review quote

'Despite widespread interest in Damascus due to the Syrian Civil War, little has been written about the city in English. First published in 2004, Burns' Damascus: A History remains the only English language volume to offer a comprehensive overview of the archaeology, architecture and history of one of the oldest cities on Earth. Therefore the second edition of this work is to be warmly welcomed for the addition of a new chapter bringing the reader up to date with the current situation and offering us a timely reminder of the effects of the war on this exceptional and fascinating city.'


- Emma Loosley, University of Exeter, UK
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About Ross Burns

Ross Burns was in the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs for 37 years until his retirement in 2003, including as Ambassador to Syria from 1984 to 1987. After his retirement, he completed a PhD at Macquarie University in Sydney on 'The Origins of the Colonnaded Streets in the Cities of the Roman East'. He is the author of Aleppo (2016) and Monuments of Syria (3rd edition, 2009).
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Rating details

14 ratings
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4 43% (6)
3 14% (2)
2 7% (1)
1 7% (1)
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