Abbasid architecture developed in the Abbasid Caliphate between 750 and 945 in its heartland of Mesopotamia. The Abbasids inherited Persian architectural traditions in Mesopotamia, were influenced by Central Asian styles, they evolved distinctive styles of their own in decoration of their buildings. While the Abbasids lost control of large parts of their empire after 850, their architecture continued to be copied by successor states in Iran and North Africa. In 750 the Abbasids seized power from the Umayyad rulers of the Arab empire, who lost all their possessions apart from Spain; the Abbasid caliphs based in what is now Iraq ruled over Iran, Mesopotamia and the lands of the eastern and southern Mediterranean. The period between 750 and 900 has been described as the Islamic Golden Age. Where the Umayyads had reused pre-Islamic buildings in the cities they had conquered, by the Abbasid era many of these structures required replacement; the spread of Muslim beliefs had brought changes in needs.
The Abbasids had to erect mosques and palaces, as well as fortifications, commercial buildings and facilities for racing and polo matches. They upgraded the pilgrim road from Baghdad and Kufa to Mecca, levelled the surface and built walls and ditches in some areas, built stations for the pilgrims with rooms and a mosque in which to pray. In 762 the caliph al-Mansur founded a new capital of Baghdad on the Tigris, which soon grew to one of the largest cities in the world. In 836 the caliph al-Mu'tasim transferred the capital to Samarra; the Abbasids began to lose control over the outlying parts of the empire, with local dynasties gaining effective independence in Khorasan in eastern Iran and Ifriqiya. The caliph al-Mu'tamid, by now the effective ruler only of Iraq, moved his capital back to Baghdad in 889. In 945 the Buyids, followers of Shia Islam, became effective rulers as amirs, while the Abbasid caliphs retained their nominal title. With Caliph al-Nasir the Abbasids once again gained control of Iraq, but the sack of Baghdad by the Mongols in 1258 brought the Abbasid caliphate to an end.
Early Abbasid architecture was similar to the architecture of the Sassanid Empire, as exemplified by the Palace of Ukhaidhir. It used the same techniques, the same materials of mud brick, baked brick and rough stone blocks set in mortar, followed Sassanian designs. Stone is rare in the central and southern alluvial plains that formed the heartland of Abbasid territory, so many of the buildings were of mud-brick, faced with plaster and repaired or rebuilt. Sometimes fired brick was used; when the caliph al-Mansur built the round city of Baghdad, called Madinat al-Salam, which contained the caliphal palace and administrative buildings, he may have been following earlier traditions such as the round city of Gur built by Ardashir I at Firuzabad. With the conquest of Central Asia, the influence of Soghdian architecture increased. In Samarra the stucco and wall paintings are similar to that of the palaces of Panjakent in what is now Tajikistan. In the 12th and 13th centuries, architecture in the lands ruled by the Abbasids became dominated by Seljuk architecture.
Abbasid cities were laid out on huge sites. The palaces and mosques of Samarra sprawled along the shores of the Tigris for 40 kilometres. To match the scale of the sites, monumental buildings were erected, such as the huge spiral minarets of the Abu Dulaf Mosque and the Great Mosque of Samarra, which had no counterparts elsewhere; the two-centered pointed arch and vault had appeared before the Abbasids took power, but became standard in Abbasid architecture, with the point becoming more prominent. The first developed example of the four-centered pointed arch was at the Qasr al-'Ashiq, built between 878 and 882. Three new types of stucco decoration were developed in Samarra and became popular elsewhere; the first two styles may be seen as derivative from Late Antique or Umayyad decorative styles, but the third is new. Style C used molds to create repeating patterns of curved lines, notches and other elements; the fluid designs make no use of geometric or animal themes. The stucco work was sometimes colored in red or blue, sometimes incorporated a glass mosaic.
The patterns cut into the stucco surface at an angle. This is the purest example of the arabesque, it may represent a deliberate attempt to make an abstract form of decoration that avoids depiction of living things, this may explain its rapid adoption throughout the Muslim world. Typical features of the more important buildings included massive round piers and smaller engaged columns. 9th century Abbasid architecture had foliate decorations on arches, pendant vaults, muqarnas vaults and polychrome interlaced spandrels that became identified as typical of "Islamic" architecture, although these forms may have their origins in Sassanian architecture. Thus the fronting arch of the Arch of Ctesiphon was once decorated with a lobed molding, a form copied in the palace of al-Ukhaidar; the earliest surviving Abbasid palace, built around 775, is the al-Ukhaidir Fortress. It has a plan derived from earlier Umayyad palaces; the palace lies in the desert about 180 kilometres to the south of Baghdad. It is rectangular in 175 by 169 metres, with four gates.
Three are in half-round towers that protrude from the wall, one in a rectangular recess in the wall. Inside there is a vaulted entrance hall, a central court, an iwan open to the court opposite the entrance hall, residential units. Sasanian techniques persist in the construction of vaults with pointed curves using rubble and mortar faced with b
Karbala Kerbala, is a city in central Iraq, located about 100 km southwest of Baghdad, a few dozen miles east of Lake Milh. Karbala is the capital of Karbala Governorate, has an estimated population of 700,000 people; the city, best known as the location of the Battle of Karbala in 680 CE, or the Mosques of Imam Husayn and Abbas, is considered a holy city for Shi'ite Muslims in the same way as Mecca and Jerusalem. Tens of millions of Shi'ite Muslims visit the site twice a year, rivaling Mecca as a place of pilgrimage; the martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali is commemorated annually by millions of Shi'ites. Up to 8 million pilgrims visit the city to observe ‘Āshūrā’, which marks the anniversary of Husayn's death, but the main event is the Arba‘īn, where up to 30 million visit the holy graves. Most of the pilgrims travel on foot from more than 56 countries. There are many opinions among different investigators, as to the origin of the word "Karbala"; some have pointed out that "Karbala" has a connection to the "Karbalato" language, while others attempt to derive the meaning of word "Karbala" by analyzing its spelling and language.
They conclude that it originates from the Arabic word "Kar Babel", a group of ancient Babylonian villages that included Nainawa, Al-Ghadiriyya, Karbella, Al-Nawaweess, Al-Heer. This last name is where Husayn ibn Ali's grave is located; the investigator Yaqut al-Hamawy had pointed out that the meaning of "Karbala" could have several explanations, one of, that the place where Husayn ibn Ali was martyred is made of soft earth—"Al-Karbalat". According to Shi'ite belief, the archangel Gabriel narrated the true meaning of the name Karbalā’ to Muhammad: a combination of karb and balā’." Karbala experiences a semi-arid climate with hot, dry summers and cool winters. All of the yearly precipitation is received between November and April, though no month is wet; the Battle of Karbala was fought on the bare deserts on the way to Kufa on October 10, 680. Both Husayn ibn Ali and his brother Abbas ibn Ali were buried by the local Banī Asad tribe, at what became known as the Mashhad Al-Husayn; the battle itself occurred as a result of Husain's refusal of Yazid I's demand for allegiance to his caliphate.
The Kufan governor, Ubaydallah ibn Ziyad, sent thirty thousand horsemen against Husayn as he traveled to Kufa. The horsemen, under'Umar ibn Sa'd, were ordered to deny Husayn and his followers water in order to force Husayn to agree to give an oath of allegiance. On the 9th of Muharram, Husayn refused, asked to be given the night to pray. On 10 Muharram, Husayn ibn Ali prayed the morning prayer and led his troops into battle along with his brother Abbas. Many of Husayn's followers, including all of his present sons Ali Akbar, Ali Asghar and his nephews Qassim and Muhammad were killed. In 63 AH, Yazid ibn Mu'awiya released the surviving members of Husayn's family from prison. On their way to the Mecca, they stopped at the site of the battle. There is record of Sulayman ibn Surad going on pilgrimage to the site as early as 65 AH; the city began as a tomb and shrine to Husayn and grew as a city in order to meet the needs of pilgrims. The city and tombs were expanded by successive Muslim rulers, but suffered repeated destruction from attacking armies.
The original shrine was destroyed by the Abbasid Caliph Al-Mutawakkil in 850 but was rebuilt in its present form around 979, only to be destroyed by fire in 1086 and rebuilt yet again. Like Najaf, the city suffered from severe water shortages that were only resolved in the early 18th century by building a dam at the head of the Husayniyya Canal. In 1737, the city replaced Isfahan in Iran as the main centre of Shia scholarship. In the mid-eighteenth century it was dominated by the dean of scholarship, Yusuf Al Bahrani, a key proponent of the Akhbari tradition of Shia thought, until his death in 1772, after which the more state-centric Usuli school became more influential; the Wahhabi sack of Karbala occurred in 21 April 1802, under the rule of Abdul-Aziz bin Muhammad the second ruler of the First Saudi State, when 12,000 Wahhabi Muslims from Najd attacked the city of Karbala. The attack was coincident with 10 Muharram; this fight left 3,000–5,000 deaths and the dome of the tomb of Husayn ibn Ali, grandson of Muhammad and son of Ali bin Abi Talib, was destroyed.
The fight lasted for 8 hours. After the First Saudi State invasion, the city enjoyed semi-autonomy during Ottoman rule, governed by a group of gangs and mafia variously allied with members of the'ulama. In order to reassert their authority, the Ottoman army laid siege to the city. On January 13, 1843 Ottoman troops entered the city. Many of the city leaders fled leaving defense of the city to tradespeople. About 3,000 Arabs were killed in the city, another 2,000 outside the walls; the Turks lost 400 men. This prompted many students and scholars to move to Najaf, which became the main Shia religious centre. Between 1850 and 1903, Karbala enjoyed a generous influx of money through the Oudh Bequest; the Shia-ruled Indian Province of Awadh, known by the British as Oudh, had always sent money and pilgrims to the holy city. The Oudh money, 10 million rupees, originated in 1825 from the Awadh Nawab Ghazi-ud-Din Haider. One third was to go to his wives, the other two thirds went to holy cities of Kar
World Heritage Site
A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area, selected by the United Nations Educational and Cultural Organization as having cultural, scientific or other form of significance, is protected by international treaties. The sites are judged important to the collective interests of humanity. To be selected, a World Heritage Site must be an classified landmark, unique in some respect as a geographically and identifiable place having special cultural or physical significance, it may signify a remarkable accomplishment of humanity, serve as evidence of our intellectual history on the planet. The sites are intended for practical conservation for posterity, which otherwise would be subject to risk from human or animal trespassing, unmonitored/uncontrolled/unrestricted access, or threat from local administrative negligence. Sites are demarcated by UNESCO as protected zones; the list is maintained by the international World Heritage Program administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, composed of 21 "states parties" that are elected by their General Assembly.
The programme catalogues and conserves sites of outstanding cultural or natural importance to the common culture and heritage of humanity. Under certain conditions, listed sites can obtain funds from the World Heritage Fund; the program began with the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World's Cultural and Natural Heritage, adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO on 16 November 1972. Since 193 state parties have ratified the convention, making it one of the most recognized international agreements and the world's most popular cultural program; as of July 2018, a total of 1,092 World Heritage Sites exist across 167 countries. Italy, with 54 sites, has the most of any country, followed by China, France, Germany and Mexico. In 1954, the government of Egypt decided to build the new Aswan High Dam, whose resulting future reservoir would inundate a large stretch of the Nile valley containing cultural treasures of ancient Egypt and ancient Nubia. In 1959, the governments of Egypt and Sudan requested UNESCO to assist their countries to protect and rescue the endangered monuments and sites.
In 1960, the Director-General of UNESCO launched an appeal to the member states for an International Campaign to Save the Monuments of Nubia. This appeal resulted in the excavation and recording of hundreds of sites, the recovery of thousands of objects, as well as the salvage and relocation to higher ground of a number of important temples, the most famous of which are the temple complexes of Abu Simbel and Philae; the campaign, which ended in 1980, was considered a success. As tokens of its gratitude to countries which contributed to the campaign's success, Egypt donated four temples: the Temple of Dendur was moved to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the Temple of Debod was moved to the Parque del Oeste in Madrid, the Temple of Taffeh was moved to the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden in the Netherlands, the Temple of Ellesyia to Museo Egizio in Turin; the project cost $80 million, about $40 million of, collected from 50 countries. The project's success led to other safeguarding campaigns: saving Venice and its lagoon in Italy, the ruins of Mohenjo-daro in Pakistan, the Borobodur Temple Compounds in Indonesia.
UNESCO initiated, with the International Council on Monuments and Sites, a draft convention to protect the common cultural heritage of humanity. The United States initiated the idea of cultural conservation with nature conservation; the White House conference in 1965 called for a "World Heritage Trust" to preserve "the world's superb natural and scenic areas and historic sites for the present and the future of the entire world citizenry". The International Union for Conservation of Nature developed similar proposals in 1968, they were presented in 1972 to the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm. Under the World Heritage Committee, signatory countries are required to produce and submit periodic data reporting providing the World Heritage Committee with an overview of each participating nation's implementation of the World Heritage Convention and a "snapshot" of current conditions at World Heritage properties. A single text was agreed on by all parties, the "Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage" was adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO on 16 November 1972.
The Convention came into force on 17 December 1975. As of May 2017, it has been ratified by 193 states parties, including 189 UN member states plus the Cook Islands, the Holy See and the State of Palestine. Only four UN member states have not ratified the Convention: Liechtenstein, Nauru and Tuvalu. A country must first list its significant natural sites. A country may not nominate sites. Next, it can place sites selected from that list into a Nomination File; the Nomination File is evaluated by the International Council on Monuments and Sites and the World Conservation Union. These bodies make their recommendations to the World Heritage Committee; the Committee meets once per year to determine whether or not to inscribe each nominated property on the World Heritage List and sometimes defers or refers the decision to request more information from the country which nominated the site. There are ten selection criteria – a site must meet at least one of them to be included on the list
Kufa is a city in Iraq, about 170 kilometres south of Baghdad, 10 kilometres northeast of Najaf. It is located on the banks of the Euphrates River; the estimated population in 2003 was 110,000. Kufa and Najaf are joined into a single urban area, commonly known to the outside world as'Najaf'. Along with Samarra, Karbala and Najaf, Kufa is one of five Iraqi cities that are of great importance to Shi'ite Muslims; the city was the final capital of the fourth Rashidun Caliph, Ali ibn Abu Talib, was founded during 639 CE by the second Rashidun Caliph, Umar ibn Al-Khattab. It is related that Muslims after conquest of Al-Madain were searching for a suitable place for habitation. Others and Hudhayfa bin al-Yamman were looking for. After choosing the land, they offered prayers there. In the days of the Rashidun Caliphate, Kufa was prominent in literacy and politics, being founded before Uthman. From the perspective of 8th-century CE Medina and Damascus, Kufa was associated with "variant" readings and interpretations of the Qur'an in the name of Ibn Mas'ud and read from the pulpit as if they were part of the Qur'an itself.
It became said that Uthman had sent an exemplar of the text to Kufa, but that it was burnt during the wars of Mukhtar and Ibn Zubayr. Al-Hajjaj restored or at any rate promulgated the standard text under Abd al-Malik, castigating the memory of Abd Allah ibn Mas'ud as "Ibn Umm Abd", but a faction in Kufa preserved the readings "of ‘Abd Allah/Ibn Mas‘ud", whence Mujahid and his fellow mujtahids compiled them along with other readings and interpretations. From there these readings entered the vast repository of Near Eastern hadith to be written down into collections of hadith and tafsir; the Arabs, led by Caliph Umar, conquered Iraq and began ruling Suristan around 637. Umar, who assigned the land of the Jews in Arabia to his warriors, ordered the relocation of the Jews of Khaybar to a strip of land in Kufa, in 640. After the Arab victory against the East Roman Empire at Battle of Yarmouk in 636, Kufa was founded and given its name in 637–638 CE, about the same time as Basrah; the Companion of the Prophet Saʻd ibn Abī Waqqas founded it as an encampment adjacent to the Lakhmid Arab city of Al-Hīrah, incorporated it as a city of seven divisions.
Non-Arabs knew the city under alternate names: Hīrah and Aqulah, before the consolidations of ʻAbdu l-Mālik in 691. However, in the 640s, the Kufan commons were agitated that Umar's governor was distributing the spoils of war unfairly. In 642 ʻUmar summoned Saʻd to Medina with his accusers. Despite finding Sa'd to be innocent, Umar deposed him to avert ill feelings. At first, Umar appointed Ammar ibn Yasir and secondly Basra's first Governor Abū Mūsā al-Ashʻarī. ʻUmar and the Kufans agreed on Al-Mughīrah ibn Shuʻbah. The city was built in a circular plan according to the Partho-Sasanian architecture. Following Umar's death, his successor Uthman replaced Mughirah with Al-Walid ibn Uqba in 645; this happened while the Arabs were continuing their conquest of western Persia under Uthman ibn Hakam from Tawwaj, but late in the 640s, these forces suffered setbacks. Uthman in 650 reorganised the Iranian frontier; the few but noticeable trouble makers in Kufa sought in 654 and had Sa'id deposed and instead showed satisfaction with the return of Abu Musa, which Uthman approved seeking to please all.
Kufa remained a source of instigations albeit from a minority. In 656 when the Egyptian instigators, in co-operation with those in Kufa, marched onto the Caliph Uthman in Medina, Abu Musa counselled the instigators to no avail. Upon Uthman's assassination by rebels, governor Abu Musa attempted to restore a non-violent atmosphere in Kufa; the Muslims in Medina and elsewhere supported the right of Ali ibn Abu Talib to the caliphate. In order to manage the Military frontiers more efficiently, Ali shifted the capital from Medina to Kufa; the people of Syria and their governor, who seized the Caliphate for himself and his family by using the confusion caused by the assassination of Caliph Uthman and being disturbed by the brutal assassination of the Caliph Uthman, demanded retribution. As Muawiyah mounted his campaign to hold Ali responsible for the murder of Uthman, factions developed. In an emotionally charged atmosphere, Muawiyah's refusal to give allegiance to Ali as the Caliph without Ali avenging Uthman first led to war.
While praying in the Great Mosque of Kufa, Ali was attacked by the Khawarij Abd-al-Rahman ibn Muljam. He was wounded by ibn Muljam's poison-coated sword while prostrating in the Fajr prayer. Muawiyah I appointed Ziyad ibn Abihi as the Governor of Kufa, after Hasan's migration to Medina, a peace treaty which dictated he abdicate his right to caliphate to avoid an open war among Muslims; some of Hasan's followers, like Hujr ibn Adi, were unhappy with the peace treaty, did not change their ways according to the edicts of the new Governor. This became noticeable, since it created a rebellion against the ruler. However, Ziyad ibn Abihi was an keen strategist and politician, was able to put down all challenges posed by the rebels against his rule. Throughout the Umayyad era, as was the case since the inception of the city by Umar ibn Khattab, there were those among Kufa's inhabitants who were re
Abu al-‘Abbās ‘Abdu'llāh ibn Muhammad al-Saffāḥ, or Abul `Abbas as-Saffaḥ was the first caliph of the Abbasid caliphate, one of the longest and most important caliphates in Islamic history. Abū'l ‘Abbās' laqab or caliphal title was "As-Saffāḥ", meaning "the Blood-Shedder" for his ruthless tactics and also to instill fear in his enemies. As-Saffāḥ, born in Humeima, was head of one branch of the Banu Hāshim from Arabia, a subclan of the Quraysh tribe who traced their lineage to Hāshim, a great-grandfather of Muhammad via'Abbās, an uncle of Muhammad, hence the title "Abbasid" for his descendants' caliphate; this indirect link to Muhammad's larger clan formed sufficient basis for As-Saffah's claim to the title caliph. As narrated in many hadith, many believed that in the end times a great leader or mahdi would appear from the family of Muhammad, to which Ali belonged, who would deliver Islam from corrupt leadership; the half-hearted policies of the late Umayyads to tolerate non-Arab Muslims and Shi'as had failed to quell unrest among these minorities.
During the reign of late Umayyad Caliph Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik this unrest led to mutiny and revolt in Kufa in southern Iraq from the slaves of the town. Shi'ites revolted in 736 and held the city until 740, led by Zayd ibn Ali, a grandson of Husayn and another member of the Banu Hashim. Zayd's rebellion failed, was put down by Umayyad armies in 740; the revolt in Kufa indicated both the strength of the Umayyads and the growing unrest in the Muslim world. During the last days of the Umayyad caliphate, Abu al-‘Abbās and his clan chose to begin their rebellion in Khurasān, an important, but remote military region comprising eastern Iran, southern parts of the modern Central Asian republics of Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and northern Afghanistan. In 743, the death of the Umayyad Caliph Hishām provoked a rebellion in the east. Abu al-`Abbās, supported by Shi'as and the residents of Khurasān, led his forces to victory over the Umayyads and The civil war was marked by millennial prophecies encouraged by the beliefs of some Shi'as that As-Saffāḥ was the mahdi.
In Shi'ite works such as the Al-Jafr faithful Muslims were told that the brutal civil war was the great conflict between good and evil. The choice of the Umayyads to enter battle with white flags and the Abbasids to enter with black encouraged such theories; the color white, was regarded in much of Persia as a sign of mourning. In early October 749, Abu al-'Abbās as-Saffāh's rebel army entered Kufa, a major Muslim center in Southern Iraq, as-Saffah was not yet declared caliph. One of his priorities was to eliminate his Umayyad rival, caliph Marwan II; the latter was defeated in February 750 at a battle on the Zab river north of Baghdad ending the Umayyad caliphate, which had ruled since 661 AD. Marwan II fled back to Damascus, which didn't welcome him, was killed on the run in Egypt that August. In one far-reaching, historic decision, as-Saffāh established Kufa as the new capital of the caliphate, ending the dominance of Damascus in the Islamic political world, Iraq would now become the seat of'Abbassid power for many centuries.
Tales recount that, concerned that there would be a return of rival Umayyad power, as-Saffāh invited all of the remaining members of the Umayyad family to a dinner party where he had them clubbed to death before the first course, served to the hosts. The only survivor, Abd al-Rahman ibn Mu'awiya, escaped to the province of al-Andalus, where the Umayyad caliphate would endure for three centuries in the west in the Emirate of Córdoba. Another version is that as-Saffāḥ's new governor to Syria,'Abd Allāh ibn'Ali, hunted down the last of the family dynasty, with only Abd al-Rahmān escaping. Ultimately,'Abbasid rule was accepted in Syria, the beginning of the new Islamic dynasty was "free from major internal dissensions."As-Saffāh's four-year reign was marked with efforts to consolidate and rebuild the caliphate. His supporters were represented in the new government, but apart from his policy toward the Umayyad family, as-Saffāh is viewed by historians as having been a mild victor. Jews, Nestorian Christians, Persians were well represented in his government and in succeeding Abbasid administrations.
Education was encouraged, the first paper mills, staffed by skilled Chinese prisoners captured at the Battle of Talas, were set up in Samarkand. Revolutionary was as-Saffāh's reform of the army, which came to include non-Muslims and non-Arabs in sharp contrast to the Umayyads who refused any soldiers of either type. As-Saffāh selected the gifted Abu Muslim as his military commander, an officer who would serve until 755 in the Abbasid army. Not all Muslims accept the legitimacy of his caliphate, however. According to Shi'ites, as-Saffāh turned back on his promises to the partisans of the Alids in claiming the title caliph for himself; the Shi'a had hoped that their imam would be named head of the caliphate, inaugurating the era of peace and prosperity the millennialists had believed would come. The betrayal alienated as-Saffāh's Shi'a supporters, although the continued amity of other groups made Abbasid rule markedly more solvent than that of the Umayyads. Caliph Abu al-`Abbās `Abdu’llāh as-Saffāḥ died of smallpox on June 10, 754, only four years after taking the title of caliph.
Before he died, as-Saffah appointed his brother Abu Ja'far al-Mansur and, following him, the caliph's nephew Isa ibn Musa as his successors. (Ibn Musa, never filled the position
Marcel-Auguste Dieulafoy was a French archaeologist, noted for his excavations at Susa in 1885 and for his work, L'Art antique de la Perse. Marcel-Auguste Dieulafoy was born in Toulouse into an educated and ennobled family. In 1863, Dieulafoy entered the École Polytechnique. Upon graduating, he joined France's Bureau of roads and bridges, taking up a position in Sour al-Ghozlane in Algeria. In 1870, he returned to France; that same year he married Jane Magre, from Toulouse. He was an engineering officer in the French Army during the Franco-Prussian War, posted to Nevers. Upon demobilisation, he became first the head of the supply services for the Department of the Haute Garonne and subsequently, in 1874, of municipal services for his native city of Toulouse; as a result, both of a cultivated family environment and his time spent in Algeria, Dieulafoy had long had an interest in medieval and Roman archaeology. As a result, he became acquainted with Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, under whose direction he worked for four years in the Commission of Historic Monuments.
With Viollet-le-Duc's encouragement, Dieulafoy decided to pursue this interest at a professional level. In 1880, he requested a government assignment in Iran. Arriving quite ill in Tehran via Athens and Constantinople, he was attended to by a French doctor François Tholozan. Shortly thereafter they embarked upon an expedition to Susa, where Dieulafoy and his wife explored the remains of the palace first uncovered by William Loftus some thirty years previously. During this visit, the Dieulafoys made copious notes, his wife, took on as close to a male appearance as she could during their sojourn in Iran. This brief journey to Susa made a lasting impression on Dieulafoy. Upon his return to France, he started to organise the publication of the first volume of his magnum opus, L'Art antique de la Perse, the first volume of which appeared in 1884; that year he obtained a grant from the newly founded Department of Antiquities at the Louvre and from the Ministère de l'Instruction publique as well as logistical support from the French army and navy in order to fund further study.
The Dieulafoys returned to Iran in 1884, accompanied by a young engineer, Charles Babin and by the naturalist Frédéric Houssay. It was Tholozan official physician to the Qajar court, who intervened on Dieulafoy's behalf with the Persian authorities to obtain permission to explore Susa further, with the proviso that the Tomb of Daniel not be disturbed. Further, agreement was reached which allowed any discoveries made at the site, except for those of precious metals, to be split between the French and Persian governments. Work took place between the winters of 1885 and 1886; the excavations took place under arduous conditions. The team were exposed to the harshness of the elements. There was little government control in the region, meaning that roving bands of thieves operated quite freely. Nonetheless, Dieulafoy's expedition succeeded in discovering numerous objects, most of which ended up in the Louvre Museum since the Persian government, uninterested in the brick and stone mortar fragments that were unearthed, waived its right to share in the discoveries.
None of the pieces that were not shipped to France survived. These "museum pieces", were of secondary importance to Dieulafoy, whose primary interest remained the architecture of the site, he succeeded in excavating the great central columned hall identified by Loftus as having been built by Darius and restored by Artaxerxes II. After publishing the results of his mission, Dieulafoy lost interest in Iran, he returned to the French civil service, taking a position in the administration of the national rail system and devoted himself to biblical studies. He was elected to the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres in 1895 and started to research the history of French architecture and the early sculpture of Spain and Portugal. At the outbreak of World War One, Dieulafoy wanted to return to military service, despite being 70, he was sent to Rabat as a lieutenant colonel in the Engineering corps, where he supervised the excavation of a local mosque. In 1919, he published his last work on the theme of Balthazar.
He died the following year after a brief illness. Dieulafoy is still remembered for his work, L'Art antique de la Perse, published in five volumes, folio between 1884 and 1889, his wife, took many photographs of local sites at Ctesiphon, Pasargadae and Susa. The fine quality of these images, many of sites that have subsequently been destroyed, damaged, or badly restored, means the work remains an invaluable scholarly resource. E. and J. Gran-Aymeric, Jane Dieulafoy. Une vie d'homme, Paris, 1991. R. Cagnat, Notice sur la vie et les travaux de M. Marcel Dieulafoy, Institut de France, Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, 1921. S. Reinach, "Notice biographie et bibliographie," Revue archéologique 3, 1920, pp. 363–64. Works by or about Marcel-Auguste Dieulafoy at Internet Archive
Louis Massignon was a Catholic scholar of Islam and a pioneer of Catholic-Muslim mutual understanding. He was an influential figure in the twentieth century with regard to the Catholic church's relationship with Islam, he focused on the work of Mahatma Gandhi, whom he considered a saint. He played a role in Islam being accepted as an Abrahamic Faith among Catholics; some scholars maintain that his research, esteem for Islam and Muslims, cultivation of key students in Islamic studies prepared the way for the positive vision of Islam articulated in the Lumen gentium and the Nostra aetate at the Second Vatican Council. Although a Catholic himself, he tried to understand Islam from within and thus had a great influence on the way Islam was seen in the West. Louis Massignon was born in Nogent-sur-Marne near France, his father, Fernand Massignon, a painter and a sculptor under the pseudonym Pierre Roche, was an intimate friend of novelist Joris-Karl Huysmans. Huysmans' own conversion to Roman Catholicism was one of the first major inspirations of the young Louis in a friendly tutorial relationship that lasted from 1901 till Huysmans' death in 1907.
Louis Massignon started his studies at the Lycée Louis-le-Grand in Paris where he befriended his classmate Henri Maspero a renowned sinologist. Following his "baccalauréat" he went on a first trip to Algeria where his family had relations, ties with high colonial officers: Henry de Vialar, Henry de Castries, Alfred Le Chatelier, the founder of the Chair of Muslim Sociology at the Collège de France in Paris. In 1902, he continued his studies, graduating "licencié ès-lettres" on an essay on Honoré d'Urfé and embarking on the first of his many Arab subjects: the corporations of Fez in the 15th century. Exploring the sources of his study in Morocco in 1904 he vowed to dedicate himself to the study of Arabic after a dangerous confrontation in the desert. In 1906, he received his "diplome d'études supèrieures" on the strength of his study Tableau géographique du Maroc dans les 15 prémieres années du 16ième siecle, d'après Leon l'Africain. In 1907, he was sent on an archeological mission to Mesopotamia.
In Baghdad he was the guest of the great Muslim family of the Alusi, who introduced him to the brand of Arab hospitality he was to honour throughout his life. It was the Alusi who saved him from a dangerous situation in the desert when in 1908—during the ferment of the Turkish revolution—he was captured as a "spy" and killed; this situation of captivity, the experience of Muslim spirituality brought about his conversion to Christianity: In mortal danger, which filled him with extreme, physical anguish, he first felt remorse for his past life, made an abortive and tentative suicide attempt, fell into a delirium and a state of great agitation, experienced the presence of God as a "visitation of a Stranger", who overwhelmed him, leaving him passive and helpless, feeling judged for having judged others harshly, making him lose his sense of identity. Yet he experienced this visitation as a liberation from his captivity, a promise that he was going to return to Paris, he himself interpreted the state of delirium as a "reaction of brain to the forced conversion of soul".
He recovered from his illness, had a second spiritual experience and travelled to Beirut accompanied by an Iraqi Carmelite priest, Père Anastase-Marie de Saint Elie. In Beirut, he made a confession to Père Anastase. Massignon felt that he was assisted in his encounter with God and in his conversion by the intercession of living and deceased friends, among them Joris-Karl Huysmans and Charles de Foucauld, who had experienced God in a Muslim context. Thus, his conversion provided a firm basis for his lifelong association with the latter, he made Massignon the executor of his spiritual legacy: the Directoire—the Rule for the foundation of the Little Brothers of Jesus, which Louis Massignon duly saw to publication in 1928 after a long hesitation by the Church authorities over the imprimatur. However, Massignon did not follow Foucauld's invitation to join him in his life as a hermit among the Tuareg in Tamanrasset. Instead, in January 1914, he married Marcelle Dansaert-Testelin. During World War I he was a translating officer for the 2ième Bureau at the headquarters of the 17th French colonial division, in which capacity he was affected to the Sykes-Picot Agreement mission as a temporary captain acting on his experience as an Arabist and an Islamist, after a spell of his own volition as an infantry second-lieutenant at the Macedonian front where he was twice mentioned and rewarded a medal for bravery.
At the Sykes-Picot Mission he became acquainted with T. E. Lawrence, with whom he had several friendly interviews among others on the Handbook for Arabia, which served as an example for his own Annuaire du Monde Musulman, they both shared the same sense of honour and betrayal after the collapse of the Arab-Anglo-French relationship on the disclosure of the Balfour Declaration. Massignon does not figure among the friends in Lawrence's published letters, which does not mean that Lawrence did not take an intellectual interest in the subsequent contributions to Arabism by Massignon since, it will be remembered, he had started his own caree