Damascus 1900 - the true story of the Qubbat al-Khazna find; a multilingual deposit of manuscript fragments in the Umayyad Great Mosque

Date: 17 February 2019

Time: 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Location: MIA Auditorium

Part of the MIA Education

with Prof. Arianna D'Ottone Rambach

The material found in the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus (some 200,000 fragments) is one of the most significant, albeit little known, manuscript discoveries ever made. Recalling the true history of this major Islamic cache gives back the meaning and significance to the Qubbat al-Khazna documentary ensemble and allows us to throw new light on the central role played by the Syrian region, and Damascus in particular, during the transition from Late Antiquity to the Islamic period and beyond.

MIA is delighted to welcome Arianna D’Ottone Rambach, Professor of Arabic Language and Literature at Sapienza University of Rome. Her research is devoted to the Arabic written culture in the widest sense, from inscribed gems to papyri, from manuscripts to coins, and she has published extensively in the field.  Prof. D’Ottone Rambach is the first scholar to study the history of this material and is one of the few academics who has been given access to the fragments.


The Great Mosque of Damascus, Photo courtesy of: Marc Pelletreau