This article aims to study the materiality of diplomatic relations between Mamluk Egypt and the Mali and Borno sultanates by reconstructing a Mamluk diplomatic letter from 1440, which has now disappeared. Using the Computer‑Assisted Drawing and 15th century Mamluk chancery manuals, it is possible to reconstruct a Mamluk pseudo‑letter from a copy of a letter authorizing the Sultan of Takrūr’s visit to Cairo for the pilgrimage to Mecca. The reproduction of an artifact of Mamluk power for the Islamic rulers of the Sahel is an opportunity to test the chancery standards enunciated by the Mamluk secretaries on a text that is deprived of its validation marks. Above all, the analysis of the result makes it possible to question the material role of letters in trans-Saharan diplomatic exchanges, in the context of the diplomacy of the ḥaǧǧ of Sahelian sultans as well as the material flows of the written materials on both sides of the Sahara.
|Translated title of the contribution
|Resurrect the archive. Reconstruction and History of a Mamluk Letter to the Sultan of Takrūr (1440)
|Number of pages
|Published - 20 Oct 2020