SAGA Arabic Rural Dwelling Two (1)

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This arabic adobe building was a rather large single roomed dwelling (beyond this size usually a building was sub devided into rooms), but it was still  typical of arabic medieval rural houses, unsuprisingly due to its size, it had an external stairway on the side of the building to better utilise the roof as an open air room.  Both ‘Middle Eastern Arabs’ (Sharq Alawsat Arab) and ‘North African Arabs’ (Mugh Arib) made dwellings in this style and even today it is not uncommon to find such dwellings with almost nothing changed in the way they have looked since the early Islamic period – other than the addition of an occasional air conditioning unit or satellite dish on the roof or the walls. Rural arabs often lived in villages (Kariya) of related families, in such close knit Islamic comminutes homes often had private walled courtyards for personal modesty. Those that lived on a village’s outlying farms (mazaar’a) could have lived in a dwelling like this one with no need for a walled courtyard for modest family activity as its location was so remote.  Farm buildings could be very remote and at some distance from the village but they were still within the recognised boundary (hawta) of the village lands (haram). In ancient times all arab tribes were nomadic (badu) but by the middle ages most had become settled (hadhar). In an age when warfare was all about supporting ones ‘kith and kin’ clan fighting and long held grudges were endemic. Even after the unifying effects of Islam, settled rural comminutes often had to contend with more than the livestock raids (ghazw) of nomads, or petty warfare with related settled clans over boundary disputes or shared grazing (dirah), sometimes the fight was an all out intertribal territorial war (harb).  Society was and often still is based around the extended family (bideda) which was part of a collective family clan (qabila) which in itself was one of many related clans in a larger related group/tribe (shaqipa), with its tribal leader (shaikh) more than prepared to bring his whole tribe into any fight he wished to win.

Figures by Gripping Beast not included.

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