I FIRST BECAME INTERESTED in the Ayyûbid architecture of Syria after my first, unplanned visit to Syria in 1977. When the opportunity arose, I began to investigate the stylistic peculiarities of the twelfth century, through the reign of Nûr al-Dîn, resulting in my book A Classical Revival in Islamic Architecture and other publications.
Over twenty-five years later, this follow-on study of the Ayyûbid period involves a larger body of material. In order to reduce expense and prepress labor, and to encourage electronic publication, I have chosen to publish this book electronically. Previous editions provided a partly complete, then a substantially complete text, without illustrations. This seventh edition is complete and final, including illustrations. No editorial changes are contemplated, though a second, “bug-fix” version is not out of the question should need arise. To avoid complications relating to copyright permissions for on-line publications, plans and elevations have been omitted; readers should consult the literature cited for such material. All illustrations not specifially credited are copyright by me.
Changes from the sixth edition are confined mostly to correction of typographical errors, modification of the set of illustrations previously projected, correction of minor errors, and elimination of a major error—the conflation in Appendix B of two different men of the same name.
Recent work in the Citadel of Aleppo by Thierry Grandin and his colleagues has brought to light much archaeological and architectural evidence that bears on the issues I treated in the sixth and earlier editions of this work. I am grateful to Mr. Grandin for discussing with me his discoveries in late winter of 2003, during a visit to Aleppo that allowed me to make certain additional observations in his company. So much has been newly discovered—and is understandably yet to be published—that I cannot simply substitute a new interpretation of the Citadel in this edition.
Instead, I make the following observations and revisions.
Formerly in Chapter Five, s.v. “The Arsenal and the Palace of al-Malik al-`Azîz,” I stated that there was a break in bond between the Palace of al-Malik al-Zâhir and the so-called Arsenal; I have ascertained that that was wrong; there is no break in bond at the corner mentioned, and the inscription of 625/1228 is in situ. I have corrected my text accordingly.
It is possible that certain stones in the general area of the Palace of al-Malik al-`Azîz which bear carved decoration were part of its portal. It is also possible, given the colors of the paving stones of the ramped lane up which one walks from the north side of the Upper Entry Block, that it is paved with rubble from that portal. It might be possible to reconstruct the location of the portal, now unknown, and its relation with other structures nearby.
During the time I have spent on this project, I have travelled to Syria and adjacent countries repeatedly, experiencing the hospitality of my colleagues. I have discussed the subject with other scholars and learned from their works, both published and in progress. And I have had the support of several funding agencies.
I am pleased to have the opportunity to thank, as scholars and, some of them, as hosts, Stephen Album, Sarab Atassi, Guitty Azarpay, Jean-Claude David, Robin Brown, Paul Chevedden, Jerrilynn Dodds, Heinz Gaube, Thierry Grandin, Abdallah Hadjar, Rana Jalabi-Holdijk, Lorenz Korn, Neil MacKenzie, Michael Meinecke, Doug Nicol, and Bernard O'Kane. I have no doubt omitted many others. I especially thank Norman Walsh for software support.
For funding of the earliest parts of this study I thank the Fulbright program and the Graham Foundation, and for their hospitality the French and German institutes in Damascus, and the American Center of Oriental Research in Amman.--Occidental, Calif., 21 December 2003