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Babylon of EgyptThe Archaeology of Old Cairo and the Origins of the City$
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Peter Sheehan

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9789774162992

Published to Cairo Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5743/cairo/9789774162992.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Babylon of Egypt

Peter Sheehan

American University in Cairo Press

For the archeologist, the importance of Old Cairo lies in a preserved sequence of continuous occupation extending from the sixth century BC to the present day. The victory of the Arab armies marks the divide between the end of Babylon and the beginning of the history of Old Cairo, as well as of the churches and synagogue within the walls of the former fortress, which became the nucleus of a great medieval city and ultimately the modern metropolis of Cairo. Archeologists say that the historical distinction between ancient Babylon and medieval Old Cairo is problematic because archeology reveals continuity and change. The derivation of the medieval city from elements and alignments of the ancient landscape of Cairo provides an antidote that Cairo stands pre-eminently as a Muslim city, bearing only slight traces of its physical and cultural imprint.

Keywords:   Old Cairo, Arab armies, archeology, Babylon, medieval city, Cairo

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