Abstract

The West African city of Timbuktu flourished as a center for Islamic scholarship from the fourteenth through the sixteenth centuries. The social structure of the city was based on wealth, with further stratification by degree of literacy and expertise in interpreting Islamic legal texts. As a consequence, books and libraries evolved into blessed symbols of scholarship, wealth, and power. This essay explores the history of books and libraries during the Golden Age of Timbuktu (1493-1591), followed by a discussion of the divergence of library practices in Timbuktu from those in the greater Islamic world of the time.

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Additional Information

ISSN
2166-3033
Print ISSN
2164-8034
Pages
pp. 1-12
Launched on MUSE
2004-01-23
Open Access
No
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