The Nile: Its Role in the Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Fatimid Dynasty During its Rule of Egypt


Please click on image for Delia Cortese's article

Please click on this night time NASA image of the Nile for Delia Cortese’s article on the Fatimids

Please read the PDF version of this article in History Compass at the Wiley Online Library by clicking on the above image or

Abstract (from History Compass): The Fatimids have been consistently studied as powerful contenders in the commercial and political control of the Mediterranean Sea. It is therefore surprising to find that only passing attention has been paid so far to the use of the Nile the Fatimids made as the ‘avenue’ through which goods from Africa and the Indian Ocean could be transported from Upper Egypt, to Cairo, then Alexandria and from there distributed to other Mediterranean ports. My argument in this paper is that the imperial aspirations of the Fatimids in Cairo and beyond were in many ways dependant on the unpredictability of the natural cycles that are characteristic of the river to this day but also on the Fatimids’ success or failure in politically and economically managing the varied social, political and trading activities that took place along the Egyptian section of the Nile valley. Beside commercial navigation, throughout the history of Egypt during the Fatimid period, the river was used for transport of people, water supply, the staging of state rituals and parades, as holiday destination for the imam-caliphs and their courts but also as a vehicle through which pilgrims form various regions of the Islamic world continued to penetrate Egypt whilst back and forth on their way to Mecca.

Read article in History Compass at the Wiley Online Library. Please click:

Date posted: December 6, 2015


Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s