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Full text of "The Legacy Of Egypt"

Egypt and the Byzantine Empire             347
of a pagarchy); but for the rest the existing financial system and
administrative machinery were taken over almost intact. How
far Egypt can be held to have provided a model for the organiza-
tion of the Caliphate as a whole it is difficult to say, since we
know too little of local administration elsewhere, either just
before or just after the Arab conquest, to be sure that the observ-
able parallels were due to specifically Egyptian influence; but
it is hard to believe that Islamic practice owed nothing to
Egypt. In one respect we may be more positive. We know that
workmen were recruited in Egypt for service outside the country
and that Egyptian craftsmen were employed on the mosques of
Jerusalem and Damascus. It can hardly be supposed that the
great traditions of Egyptian craftsmanship did not contribute
their quota to the formation of Islamic art. And if, later, the
new capital Fustat under the Tulunid dynasty and the later
capital Cairo under the Fatimid Caliphs were the scenes of a
busy artistic and literary life, may we not see in this yet one
more instance of that burgeoning and blossoming of aesthetic
productivity which the engrafting of an alien element has so
often excited in the ever fertile stock of Egyptian culture?
H. L BELL