In a 2016 interview with historian Philip Mansel, author of “Aleppo: the Rise and Fall of Syria’s Great Merchant City,” Dr. Mansel discusses Aleppo’s rich history, its significance as a trading hub, and the precarious position of cosmopolitan cities, not only in the Middle East but also globally.
Philip Mansel, a historian specializing in France and the Middle East, has resided in Paris, Beirut, and Istanbul, with frequent visits to Aleppo. In 2012, he received the London Library Life in Literature Award, and in 2013, he was named a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres. His latest work, “The Eagle in Splendour: Inside the Court of Napoleon” (2015), follows his previous publications focusing on cosmopolitan cities in the Middle East, including “Constantinople: City of the World’s Desire” (1995) on Istanbul, and “The Levant: Splendour and Catastrophe on the Mediterranean” (2010) covering Smyrna, Alexandria, and Beirut.
Drawing upon his extensive knowledge and firsthand experiences from living in Paris, Beirut, and Istanbul, Mansel brings a unique perspective to his examination of Aleppo’s vibrant past and its pivotal role as a hub of trade and culture.
Exploring Aleppo’s Rich History And Cosmopolitan Identity
Through meticulous research and vivid storytelling, Mansel delves into Aleppo’s rich history, tracing its evolution from ancient times to its prominence as one of the greatest merchant cities in the Middle East.
Further, he intricately weaves together commerce, politics, and social dynamics narratives, offering readers a comprehensive understanding of Aleppo’s multifaceted identity.
Moreover, Mansel sheds light on the vulnerability of cosmopolitan cities like Aleppo, emphasizing the challenges they face amidst shifting geopolitical landscapes and conflicts. By exploring Aleppo’s rise to prosperity and eventual decline, Mansel not only provides historical insights but also underscores broader themes of resilience and adaptation in urban centers across the world.
Similarly, with his engaging prose and scholarly rigor, Mansel’s work offers a compelling exploration of Aleppo’s fascinating history, making “Aleppo: The Rise and Fall of Syria’s Great Merchant City” essential reading for anyone interested in the intricate tapestry of Middle Eastern civilization and the enduring legacy of cosmopolitanism.
Aleppo: The Rise and Fall of Syria’s Great Merchant City is out now.
Also Read: S*^! And Shoah: The New Jew In Film