Aleppo: The Rise and Fall of a World City

Philip Mansel

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Aleppo: The Rise and Fall of a World City

Aleppo The Rise and Fall of a World City Every time gardens welcomed us we said to them Aleppo is our aim and you are merely the route Few cities are as ancient and diverse as Aleppo one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the w

  • Title: Aleppo: The Rise and Fall of a World City
  • Author: Philip Mansel
  • ISBN: 9781784534615
  • Page: 305
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Every time gardens welcomed us, we said to them, Aleppo is our aim and you are merely the route Few cities are as ancient and diverse as Aleppo one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world successively Hittite, Assyrian, Babylonian, Persian, Seleucid, Armenian, Roman, Ummayyad, Abbasid, Mameluk and Ottoman, where it became the empire s third largest ciEvery time gardens welcomed us, we said to them, Aleppo is our aim and you are merely the route Few cities are as ancient and diverse as Aleppo one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world successively Hittite, Assyrian, Babylonian, Persian, Seleucid, Armenian, Roman, Ummayyad, Abbasid, Mameluk and Ottoman, where it became the empire s third largest city, after Constantinople and Cairo Its significance was its position at the end of the Silk Road, at the crossroads of the world s trade, where merchants from Venice, Isfahan and Agra gathered in the largest souq in the Middle East Today, it lies in ruins a casualty of Syria s war In this, the first history of the city during and after the Ottoman era, Philip Mansel vividly describes Aleppo at the pinnacle of its cultural and economic power, a poignant testament to this once vital world city.

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      Published :2018-05-14T17:39:25+00:00

    One thought on “Aleppo: The Rise and Fall of a World City

    1. Ilana on said:

      An interesting read, both for the historian and the journalist. It puts the city of Aleppo on the cultural and trade map of the Middle East, while outlining various crisis and repositionings of the city following political and strategical changes. The second part, dedicated to sharing impressions of travellers about the city is very valuable, as it offers direct accounts and perceptions about the city. Disclaimer: I was offered the book for review via NetGalley

    2. Jennifer (JC-S) on said:

      ‘After Constantinople and Cairo, Aleppo was the third largest city in the Empire.’I have read that Aleppo was once a vibrant city, one in which Christians, Jews and Muslims lived and traded together in peace. Unfortunately, that is no longer the case. Aleppo is an ancient, diverse city. In Aleppo’s long period as one of the oldest, continuously inhabited cities it has been successively ruled by the Assyrian, Persian, Greek, Roman, Arab, Ottoman and French empires. Because of its location a [...]

    3. Lori Shafer on said:

      Aleppo in the simplest terms is a history of a city. The city was once the place to visit. People from different cultures, countries, traditions, and beliefs made it home. Oddly, these groups were able to inhabit the same city with relative peace in a time when culture clashes led to death. With times changing and travel routes altering, the city began to see a change, too. The exotic destination became troubled and peace was harder to find. As a lover of history, the story of Aleppo was fascina [...]

    4. Dave on said:

      Review originally posted at Book of BoganAleppo is an interesting book that sets out to be a biography of place, rather than of a person. Most modern readers will have heard of the city in Syria which is most commonly featured as part of the war involving ISIS. It is easy from a western perspective to see only the temporal and not to appreciate the entire legacy of what has gone before.I remember how my Ancient History teacher once described the Middle East as a kind of melting pot, where every [...]

    5. Jonathan on said:

      Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from NetGalley.Aleppo has been in the news much lately, as a focal point in the ongoing Syrian Civil War. As many as tens of thousands have died in the fighting and the ancient Old City has been subjected to catastrophic destruction. The appearance of this book is timely. Aleppo: The Rise and Fall of Syria's Great Merchant City by Philip Mansel is functionally an obituary to the once thriving metropolis. Mansel is a scholar of French and Middle E [...]

    6. Bandit on said:

      What a stunningly lifeless (or insipid, can't decide) work of historical fiction. Mansel has selected a fascinating subject, Aleppo, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. A city that changed hands, rulers and countries numerous times throughout history and yet impressively persevered until The Battle of Aleppo, which from 2012 to now has all but destroyed it. I won't digress about the significance of such a destruction of history, but I should say that Mansel has absolute [...]

    7. Paul Franco on said:

      History of the city which was one of my favorite in the Middle East, now pretty much destroyed in three years of civil war. The first quarter of this book is a history of the city, strangely zeroing on specific eras rather than providing an overall view. But after that it’s all first-person historical accounts. One is an entire chapter on food, while another is a long piece on farming. The bad part is that the author included entire chapters, where a lot of the writing had nothing to do with A [...]

    8. Philip on said:

      A book written in the vein of the travelogue excerpts Mansel has appended - it is descriptive and superficial, and not engaging or analytical at all. Which is a shame, because Aleppo, as the world's oldest continuously inhabited city, is unparalleled as a site to interrogate historical arcs to human society, morality, ethics, and other philosophical and ontological matters that historians should ponder but Mansel does not. Overall, a disappointing book that's done in by Mansel's orientalist fixa [...]

    9. Sarah - on said:

      This was a great account of the city of Aleppo with the information we were given, starting in the 15oos. I do wish that the text would have encompassed the entirety of Aleppo's history though, which makes this more of a 3.5 for meSee my full review here:allthebookblognamesaretaken.b

    10. Ahmet on said:

      Summary:- Mostly social history of Aleppo and surroundings through the eyes of the explorers of old time, and a consolidated chronological history.Some other notes:- Interesting to see how two explorers can see/note completely different details in two separate visits in two year's difference. One must read other's notes with caution and keeping the bias in mind.- Explorers bring a very occidentialist view to Aleppo history, there is only one Turk/Arab/Muslim explorer (Evliya Celebi) who gives co [...]

    11. Melisende d'Outremer on said:

      Basically a brief history of the city under the Ottomans to modern day, will historical travellers accounts from 16th to early 20th century.Standard textbook fare - what I would have preferred is a bit more of the history of the city, which has existed since 5th century BC as the history presented is really "modern". As to the accounts, maybe better as an appendix or alternative, this should have been just a pure travelogue.

    12. Eamonn on said:

      Following recommendations, I had high expectations of this book. Unfortunately, it read more like an obituary to this once-thriving ancient metropolis. Lacking any real narrative, for the most part, Mansel has essentially constructed a textbook. There are some more interesting parts in the second section, such as Gertrude Bell's travel writings, however this book doesn't really do the city justice.

    13. georgia bookblast on said:

      The first part of Aleppo: The Rise and Fall of Syria’s Great Merchant City covers the little-known but vibrant history of the place. The second part is a rich medley of accounts by British and French consuls and merchants dating from the 17th century.

    14. Miami33134 on said:

      Very interesting and useful read to quickly understand more about the city of Aleppo.

    15. Rick on said:

      Essentially a term paper follow by excerpts from previously written materials. Very disappointing and not worth buying.

    16. Augustine Kobayashi on said:

      This book gives a rich kaleidoscope of the city of Aleppo, almost an enclosed world of its own, prior to Syria's independence following the French mandate years. More than half the book is a collection of extracts from writings of contemporary visitors to the region most prominently Gertrude Bell. Aleppo was a trading city in decline, as it were, due to the opening of the Cape and then the Suez routes to the east. Yet it preserved its ancient trade practices and mixed population of Muslims, Chri [...]

    17. Patricia on said:

      Having expected so much more from a book with such a promising and timely title, I can only feel disappointed. "Not as advertised" is my verdict. The dust jacket and review spoke of "one of the oldest, continuously inhabited cities in the world[inhabited by humans] since at least the fifth millennium BC" yet the 58-page summary only began with the (and I quote in the author's words) "more recent history" of the Ottoman Empire, devoting the remainder and bulk (3/4) of the book to 17-20C travel w [...]

    18. Nigel Kotani on said:

      This was given to me by someone from Aleppo. The book is in two parts. The first part is a history of Aleppo, which I enjoyed but thought was too short. The second part is a collection of travel writings about the city from writers who'd visited it over the centuries. These varied from the extremely interesting - Gertrude Bell, for example - to the unbelievably dull - such as page after page of description of the various fruits (appearance, taste, seasonality, how they're cooked, what they're se [...]

    19. Piisa on said:

      For centuries they lived in more or less peaceful circumstances, all religions mixed up. Now they're killing each other wholesale and the thousands of years old place of dwelling is a pile of bricks and dust. What a shame. About three quarters of the book consists of old travel stories. They are all very interesting, but after a few of them it gets repetitive.

    20. Alex on said:

      A good book in the first part. The second part became a bit repetitive from all the travel stories. But good overall.

    21. Charlie on said:

      Good introduction to Aleppo and unique insights into early western historical views of the city.

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