This book provides translated selections from the writings of Muhammad Ibn Othman al-Miknasi (d. 1799). The only writings by an Arab-Muslim in the pre-modern period that present a comparative perspective, his travelogues provide unique insight with in to Christendom and Islam.
Translating excerpts from his three travelogues, this book tells the story of al-Miknasi’s travels from 1779-1788. As an ambassador, al-Miknasi was privy to court life, government offices and religious buildings, and he provides detailed accounts of cities, people, customs, ransom negotiations, historical events and political institutions. Including descriptions of Europeans, Arabs, Turks, Christians (both European and Eastern), Muslims, Jews, and (American) Indians in the last quarter of the eighteenth century, An Arab Ambassador in the Mediterranean World explores how the most travelled Muslim writer of the pre-modern period saw the world: from Spain to Arabia and from Morocco to Turkey, with second-hand information about the New World.
Supplemented with extensive notes detailing the historic and political relevance of the translations, this book is of interest to researchers and scholars of Mediterranean History, Ottoman Studies and Muslim-Christian relations.
" The most valuable aspect of the travel narratives is his account of the Ottoman Empire. He travels through the empire as both an insider and a Muslim and as an outsider—a Moroccan Arab—giving a unique perspective of the 18th-century Ottoman state…Summing Up: Recommended. All academic levels/libraries."
--R. W. Zens, Le Moyne College, CHOICE
"In these two editions Matar offers a continuation of his very creative and valuable work in developing the sources and arguments for understanding Muslim and Christian relations in the early modern period."
-- S.Varvis, Fresno Pacific University, Journal of the Conference on Faith and History
Introduction First Journey 1779-1780 Second Journey 1781-1783 Third Journey 1785-1787