It may not look like it yet, but the illustration I'm working on is for an essay that feels very timely with everything going on right now, penned by none other than Ahmed Naji.
Background listening is The Ottoman History Podcast, in particular a surprisingly rich episode on Mamluk Cairo. Surprising because it gets into some delicious details I knew little to nothing about; like the wandering carnivalesque peoples known as Al Ghurabaa` (“The Strangers”) and the odd jobs they performed, the fluid mix of tongues they spoke, and perhaps most interestingly of all... their printing.
“The Strangers” were the first to introduce printing to Egypt apparently, likely some form of woodblock printing (tin matrices were also employed), in languages ranging from Arabic to Coptic and Hebrew (and quite possibly more). Excited to learn more on the subject matter from Kristina Richardson's upcoming book; GYPSIES IN THE MEDIEVAL ISLAMIC WORLD: A HISTORY OF THE GHURABA, forthcoming with Bloomsbury Publishers.