Medieval Ifriqiya & the Emergence of the Hafsid Dynasty

Episode 95

Medieval Ifriqiya and the Emergence of the Hafsid Dynasty

In this podcast, Samantha Cloud, PhD candidate in the Department of History at Saint Louis University,  discusses her work on medieval Ifriqiya and the emergence of the Hafsid dynasty. The Hafsid dynasty ruled Medieval Ifriqiya (roughly the territory of modern-day Tunisia, Eastern Algeria, and parts of Libya) from the 13th through the 16th century. The self-proclaimed inheritors of the Almohad empire, the Hafsids were the first rulers of Berber-descent to reign over the newly independent kingdom of Tunis, wholly untethered from foreign domination. The success of the Hafsids owed largely to the prowess of its first two sovereigns, Abu Zakariya Yahya and Abu ‘Abd Allah Muhammad al-Mustansir, whom possessed respectively a keen understanding of Maghrebi tribal politics and the politics of prestige. 

This podcast provides an overview of the history of medieval Ifriqiya to highlight the significance of this dynasty in a region whose past is haunted by foreign rule and occupation. Addressing the impact of colonialism in the region’s history and historiography, it seeks to reframe the history of the Maghrib from its peripheral position in Western and Islamic studies to a central focus. Also, in focus is the historical agency of Berber peoples – or rather the Amazigh – with the medieval period especially and Hafsid dynasty in particular providing great example of this.    

Samantha Cloud is writing a dissertation on “A Mediterranean King in the Age of Crusade: Interreligious Diplomacy between Charles of Anjou and Mohamed Al-Mustansir of Tunis.”

This podcast is part of the «History of the Maghrib, History in the Maghrib» series and was recorded on November 18, 2019, at the Centre d'Études Maghrébines à Tunis (CEMAT).

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Posted by Hayet Lansari, Librarian, Outreach Coordinator, Content Curator (CEMA).

Suggested Bibliography

Abun-nasr, Jamil M. 1971. A History of the Maghrib. London: Cambridge University Press.

Ben Romdhane, Khaled. 2008. Contribution à l’étude des monnaies de l’Ifriqiya: fin Ier s.- fin Xe s. H./ fin VIIe s.- milieu XVIe s.). 2 vols. Tunis: Institut National du Patrimoine.

Boularès, Habib. 2017. History of Tunisia: The Most Important Dates from Prehistory to the Revolution. Translated by Jon Haynes. Tunis: CERES Editions.

Brett, Michael & Fentress, Elizabeth. 1997. The Berbers. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.

Brunschvig, Robert. 1931. “Quelques remarques historiques sur les médersas de Tunisie.” Revue Tunisienne. Vol. 6: 261-285.

Brunschvig, Robert. 1932. “Note sur un traité conclu entre Tunis et l’Empereur Frédéric II.” Revue Tunisienne. Vol. 10: 153-160.

Brunschvig, Robert. 1947. La Berbérie Orientale sous les Hafsides: des origines à la fin du XVe siècle. 2 vols. Paris: Adrien-Maisonneuve.

Camps, Gabriel. 2007. Les Berbères: Mémoire & Identité. Arles: Babel.

Clark, Sir Terence & Derhalli, Muawiya. 2001. Al-Mansur’s Book “On Hunting”. Warminster, England: Aris & Phillips Ltd.

Djait, Hichem. et al. 2005. Histoire Générale de la Tunisie, Tome II: Le Moyen-Âge. Tunis: Sud-Éditions.

Doulatli, Abdelzaziz. 2009. Tunis: Capitale des Hafsides. Tunis: Alif.

El-Aoudi-Adouni, Raja. 1997. Stèles funéraires tunisoises de l’Époque Hafside, 628-975.1230-1574). 2 vols. Tunis: Institut National du Patrimoine.

Fromherz, Allen J. 2017. The Near West: Medieval North Africa, Latin Europe and the Mediterranean in the Second Axial AgeEdinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Julien, Charles-André. 1961. Histoire de l’Afrique du Nord: de la Conquête Arabe à 1830. 2nd edition. Paris: Payot.

Khaldoun, Ibn. Histoires des Berbères et des dynasties Musulmanes de l’Afrique Septentrionale3 vols. Translated by William Mac-Guckin de Slane. Alger: Berti Editions, 2001.

Lower, Michael. 2018. The Tunis Crusade of 1270: a Mediterranean History. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Mahfoudh, Faouzi. 2003. Architecture et Urbanisme en Ifriqiya Médiévale: Proposition pour une nouvelle approche. Tunis: Centre de Publication Université.

Garigou Grandchamp, Pierre 1977. “Documents divers relatifs à la croisade de Saint Louis contre Tunis (1270).” From Les Cahiers de Tunisie. Tom XXV; No. 99-100. Tunis: Faculté des Lettres et Sciences Humaines de Tunis, 245-282.