Most mosques also feature one or more domes, called qubba in Arabic. While not a ritual requirement like the mihrab, a dome does possess significance within the mosque—as a symbolic representation of the vault of heaven.
If you were visiting a Mediterranean harbour anywhere fro the 11th to the 19th century, you would have heard a strange yet familiar language.
Se ti saber, ti responder. Se non saber, tazir, tazir. *
Understood from Valencia to Istanbul, from Tunis to Venice, this was the language of commerce and diplomacy and commonly used among European renegades and the captives of the Algerian pirates.
This language, Lingua Franca or Sabir, flourished in the 10th century and was based on Toscan Italian and Occitan. (Back then, Catalan was a dialect of Occitan, so count us in as well!). It incorporated words from Arabic, Greek, Amazigh and Turkish, and later from Portuguese, French and Spanish, too.
[Image: expansion of the Kingdom of Catalonia and Aragon (green), its
Consulates of the Sea (dots), and commercial expansion (orange lines). It is not hard to see why Sabir had such influence of Catalan.]
In the 19th century, with the expansion of European colonialism in northern Africa, Sabir was replaced by the colonizer’s languages.
Nowadays, lingua franca is used to mean any language or dialect which is used to communicate by people who speak different languages (nowadays, mainly English). This term originates from the Mediterranean Lingua Franca.
Sabir left traces in present Algerian slang and Polari, and even in geographical names. It also appears in literary works and theatre plays like Molière’s
Le Bourgeois gentilhomme and different tales by Cervantes.
Hi! I wanted to ask about fantasy world building based on a mix of cultures, even if those cultures are totally different. For example, a country that has an architecture based on egyptian and arab art, or one that is a mix between indian and russian architecture. I dont know if that would be appropiation or offensive, or how to avoid it or doing it in a respectful way. Also if there is a problem only using the art part and having a different made up traditions/lore (thanks for your time!)
On Combining Cultures Respectfully, Art, and Architecture
“Does it make sense within the world”
Avatar: the Last Airbender mixes Inuit and Japanese culture. Is this any form of sensical in the modern world? Sort of, with how there’s a language link between Siberia and the Canadian Arctic. Does it make sense within the confines of A:tLA? Absolutely yes.
I’m not against the concept of cultural blending. It just has to be sensical within the world itself. They might not be neighbours in the real world, but if you end up with a culture that’s “ocean-heavy Arctic on top of Asia”, then Inuit+ Japan makes tons of sense. But had it been even “continental Arctic”, then the Inuit influence would’ve barely made any sense at all, because they’re really not a continental people.
Like mixed-race characters, blending real-world cultures in fantasy isn’t prima facie a problem, but you’d better make sure it makes sense within the world you’re constructing. Lots of times authors fall prey to the “Rule of Cool” and just throw in things they think are neat without thinking about how they could have reasonably got there.
In the cases you mentioned, there are some historiocultural overlaps between Indian and Russian cultures (for instance, similar building materials, similar types of timbers in temperate parts of India and southern Russia, very deep cultural roots shared between Slavic and certain Indic cultures, etc.) that would give you a foundation to build on. Other times shared cultural aspects have a common but non-native root—for instance the Russian onion dome and characteristic Indian Taj Mahal-style dome may have a shared origin in Islamic and Middle Eastern architecture. Islamic culture is native to neither India nor Russia, but it touched and influenced both areas extensively.
Similar constraints hold for Egyptian and Arab art and architecture. They used similar building materials but produced different results because the culture and artistic preferences were historically different, but we know that Arab culture strongly influenced Egyptian art and architecture in the Islamic period (think going from pyramids to Graeco-Roman amphitheaters to mosques and minarets, but all made out of limestone, mud brick, and very little wood). Saladin Ahmed’s fantasy novel(s) feature an Islamic/Middle Eastern-influenced culture built on top of a dead Ancient Egypt-analogue [Nikhil’s note: I’m reading this right now and it’s awesome and you should too].
But regardless of the cultural influence, the material culture stays similar in place—in some Indo-Russian hybrid you might be looking at imported marble and precious stones for those buildings whose patrons could afford it, provided they have access to those materials either through production or trade, but for poorer constructions you’re looking at local building materials—so maybe thatch and half-timber framing and wattle-and-daub in Indo-Russia, or stone and mud brick in a desert environment like Arabegypt. Art and architecture are functions of culture, and culture as a primitive exercise arises from the local environment, since it’s only once you get to the level of at least an organized economic community that outside trade starts to be a significant factor, which would facilitate creating art and architecture that would be exotic to the local environment.
The Basus War lasted 40 years, from 494 to 534, and it was named after an old woman. Two tribes, Thaglib and Bakr, started the war for a she-camel, owned by a man named “ٍSaad Bin Shams”, a refugee under the protection of a Woman named “Al-Basus”. The chief of Thaglib tribe killed it, and Al-Basus like any other Arab at that time , considered this as great insult to her honor which started a chain of events that lead to the war. There wasn’t any winner.
Birinci Dünya savaşı sırasında Osmanlı İmparatorluğu’na karşı ayaklanan Arap İsyancıların üniformaları ve kullandıkları bayrak yukarıdaki fotoğrafta verilmiştir. İsyan bayrağı, Britanyalı diplomat Mark Sykes tarafından hazırlanmıştır.
Bazıları hilafet hayalleri kurarken, geçen sene Arap dünyasında isyanın 100. yılı festivallerle kutlanmıştır.
Syriac Orthodox Mar Mattai Monastery of Saint Mathew in Mosul, Iraq is recognized as one of the oldest Christian monasteries in existence and is famous for its magnificent library and considerable collection of Syriac Christian manuscripts.
Not a dead mall: Ski Dubai, opened 2005. Part of the Mall of the Emirates.
So this place gets really good reviews on TripAdvisor but… it looks so artificial and creepy to me. I grew up around tons of snow though, so maybe this has a lot more appeal to those who live in places like Dubai that never get any snow.