Le Mourre is a vast encyclopedic dictionary of history drafted by a single man, Michel Mourre. -- Mourre devoted the last decades of a brief reclusive life to the drafting of reference works that are perhaps unique in the 20th century for their solitary erudition. -- Little-known in the English-speaking world, le Mourre, as the work has popularly come to be known, was first published in France in 1978, several months after the author's death at the age of 49. -- It has gained a certain reputation as a monument of erudition, and has been kept up to date in several subsequent editions. -- The 1996 French edition runs to 5,884 pages, one quarter of one of which summarizes the history of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, translated below. -- Aleppo is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. -- Mourre's imperturbable impassivity and blasé attitude of nil admirari will not be attractive to many readers, but for others the sober virtues of his prose will have an appeal of their own....
Dictionnaire encyclopédique d'histoire
Paris: Bordas, 1996 (original edition 1978)
Vol. 1, pp. 142-43
ALEPPO, Haleb or Halab. City of northern Syria, on the Queiq. A very ancient city on the great caravan route going from Syria to Babylon, Aleppo was, in the 2nd milennium BCE, one of the centers of the Hittite Empire, then passed under the domination of the Assyrians (8th century BCE), the Persians (6th century BCE), and the Seleucids (4th century BCE), who made of it a Greek city and named it Beroea. It was later conquered by the Romans, and later was part of the Byzantine Empire. Destroyed several times over the ages by earthquakes, it was conquered by the Arabs in 638, then fell into the hands of the Seljuk Turks (11th century). Beseiged in vain during the Crusades in 1124, it was taken by Saladin in 1183, ravaged by the Mongols in 1260, 1280, and 1400, before becoming Turkish in 1517. Occupied by the Egyptians from 1832 to 1840, then turned over to the sultan. Taken by the British in October 1918, it constituted an autonomous territory (1920-24) before being included in Syria under the French mandate.
Translated by Mark K. Jensen
Associate Professor of French
Department of Languages and Literatures
Pacific Lutheran University
Tacoma, WA 98447-0003
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