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Reading Inscriptions on Seljuk Caravanserais

Scott Redford    SOAS, London, UK    

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abstract

This essay concerns the foundation inscriptions of caravanserais built during the late twelfth and thirteenth centuries in the territories of the Anatolian Seljuk sultanate. It starts by examining their content and relates that to the hierarchy of the Seljuk sultanate in terms of building size and siting. It then addresses the idea of these inscriptions not as markers of patron, date, and other synchronic data, but as symbols of the power of the dynasty in a land where the language in which they were written, Arabic, was not widely read. Finally, this essay entertains the idea that there were circumstances for certain caravanserai inscriptions being read (and understood), proposing some instances in which Seljuk caravanserai inscriptions can be thought of as having had a readership beyond that of those who commissioned or wrote them. In conclusion, it reexamines one caravanserai inscription, proposing a new reading and date.

Language
IT
ISBN (PRINT)
978-88-6969-086-0
ISBN (EBOOK)
978-88-6969-085-3

Keywords: Rum Seljuk caravanseraisSertavul HanHierarchyInscriptions

Copyright: © 2016 Scott Redford. This is an open-access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction is permitted, provided that the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. The license allows for commercial use. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.