A Tale of Two Port Cities: Fatimi al-Mahdiyya, Palermo and the Medieval Mediterranean Timber Trade

This lecture is based on a recent article published by Sh. Ali Asgar Alibhai regarding the connection between Imam Mahdi’s al-Mahdiyya and the island of Sicily. In the 11th and 12th century the robust connection between the two port cities of al-Mahdiyya and Palermo became a major trunk route for trade in the Mediterranean utilized by traders of all faiths. Sh. Ali Asgar bhai argues that the connection between these two cities began under the strategic planning of the early Fatimi Imams when they ruled from Ifrīqiya, due to a constant need for goods and resources to be exchanged between the two territories. Moreover, the main thesis is the trade of timber, above all other commodities, which primarily created this connection since it was needed in Fatimi Ifriqīya to maintain the growth of urban and maritime activity in the region.

Part 1

Part 2