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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Morocco and the Western Sudan: Fin de Siecle: Fin des Temps. Some Aspects of Religion and Culture to 1600
Author:Willis, John R.
Periodical:Maghreb Review
Geographic terms:West Africa
Subjects:Songhai polity
History and Exploration
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Religion and Witchcraft
Abstract:Towards the end of the 16th century, Morocco, only a few years previously sunk beneath the immensity of external aggression and internal chaos, had emerged as a nation of the first consequence. Morocco's leader, A.hmad al-Man.s¯ur al-Dhahab¯i, could be looked upon as one of the richest men in the world, and one of the most courted. In contrast, Songhai, the last of a succession of fabled empires of the Western Sudan, lay devastated and demoralized. It is argued here that this turn of events was far more complex than hitherto assumed. Having associated his family with the Prophet's line and companioned his own rise with that of the 'Expected One', A.hmad al-Man.s¯ur sought by word and deed to identify his authority with that of the Imam al-Mahdi. A succession of stunning triumphs, culminating with the collapse of Songhai at the very close of the Prophetic millennium (1000/1591), enhanced his caliphal stature and secured a vital link with one of the attributes of the Mahdiyya, success in 'jihad'. By 1603, however, the optimism which had signalled the rise of the sharifs was dimmed by the lengthening shadow of drought and dislocation which darkened the 'fin de siècle'. Notes, ref.