An Arab Ambassador in the Mediterranean World: The Travels of Muhammad ibn ‘Uthmān al-Miknāsī, 1779-1788, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

An Arab Ambassador in the Mediterranean World

The Travels of Muhammad ibn ‘Uthmān al-Miknāsī, 1779-1788, 1st Edition

By Nabil Matar


194 pages

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Paperback: 9780815348962
pub: 2017-12-13
Hardback: 9781138791527
pub: 2015-04-16
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pub: 2015-04-10
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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

Table of Contents

Introduction First Journey 1779-1780 Second Journey 1781-1783 Third Journey 1785-1787

About the Author

Nabil Matar is Professor of English at the University of Minnesota. He is author of a trilogy on early modern Britain and the Islamic World, along with translations of Arabic sources and studies on the relationship between Europe and the Arab Mediterranean between 1550 and 1798.

About the Series

Culture and Civilization in the Middle East

This series studies the Middle East through the twin foci of its diverse cultures and civilizations. Comprising original monographs as well as scholarly surveys, it covers topics in the fields of Middle Eastern literature, archaeology, law, history, philosophy, science, folklore, art, architecture and language. While there is a plurality of views, the series presents serious scholarship in a lucid and stimulating fashion.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Europe / General
HISTORY / Middle East / Turkey & Ottoman Empire
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies