Minarets and madness

3 12 2009

mosque in the mist

After the weekend’s madness of voting to outlaw minarets on Swiss mosques and a campaign using posters like this:

Chapati Mystery quotes an intriguing passage on the development of the church steeple. In this passage, from “The Origin and History of the Minaret”. Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 30, No. 2 (Mar., 1910): 152-4. , Richard J. H. Gottheil concludes

It seems to me, therefore, that a possible explanation of the sudden appearance of the campanile in Italy during the eighth and ninth centuries, would be that they are due to Mohammedan influence. Whether this influence came from Egypt, or from Syria and Mesopotamia, or even from the Maghreb, is a point upon which I should not like to insist. But this much does seem to follow from a study of history of the monuments, that the old idea of the Ziggurat or tower in some way connected with worship at a shrine has filtered down to us through the Mohammedan minaret and finds its expression to day in our church steeple.

Interesting perspective.

— Elizabeth

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