Mikhail Mishaqa

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Mikhail Mishaqa
Mikhail Mishaqa US Vice Consul in 1859.jpg
first US Vice Consul in Damascus in 1859
Born 1800
Rashmayyā, Ottoman Syria
Died 1889
Ottoman Syria
Known for Doctor, Musician, businessman, and first US vice consul in Damascus in 1859

Mikhail Mishaqa (1800-1888 or 1889; Arabic: ميخائيل مشاقة‎; also transliterated as Mikha'il Mishaqah, Mīkhā 'īl Mishāqā, Miha’İl Mishaqa), also known as Doctor Mishaqa, was born in Rashmayyā, Lebanon, and is reputed to be "the first historian of modern Ottoman Syria"[1] as well as the "virtual founder of the twenty-four equal quarter tone scale".[2] Mishaqa's memoir of the 1860 Syrian Civil War is valuable to historians, as it is the only account written by a survivor[3] of the massacre of Syrian Christians in Damascus, Syria.

Mikhail's great-grandfather, Jirjis Mishaqa I, converted to Greek Catholicism. Jirjis' father, Youssef Petraki, an ethnic Christian Orthodox Greek, moved from Corfu, Greece to Tripoli, Lebanon to pursue the silk trade. As such, Petraki, named himself after an Arabic term describing the process of filtering silk fibers, mishaqa (مشقة). Mikhail's father, Jirjis Mishaqa II, moved to Deir al-Qamar, then controlled by the Shihabs, to escape the religious repression of al-Jazzar, the governor of Sidon. He began a career as a goldsmith but became a scribe and then chief treasurer for the Amir of Mount Lebanon, Bashir II's household.[4] Mikhail was well-educated, so much so that[clarification needed] "he taught himself medicine and became a doctor"[5] and in 1859 he was appointed vice-consul of the United States in Damascus.[6]

According to Touma [7] Mishaqa was the first theorist to propose a division of the octave into roughly twenty-four equal intervals (24-tone equal temperament, quarter tone scale, About this sound Play ), this being the current basis of the Arab tone system. However, Mishaqa's work Essay on the Art of Music for the Emir Shihāb (الرسالة الشهابية في الصناعة الموسيقية [al-Risāla al-shihābiyya fi 'l-ṣinā‘a al-mūsīqiyya]) is devoted to the topic but also makes clear his teacher Sheikh Muhammad al-‘Attār (1764–1828) was one of many already familiar with the concept, although al-‘Attār did not publish his writings on the subject.[2]

Mishaqa's most important works as a historian include the much quoted al-Jawāb `alā Iqtirāḥ al-Aḥbāb (1873) and, possibly, Miha’il Dimashqi's highly similar Ta’rih Hawadit Jarat bil-Sham wa-Sawahil Barr al-Sham wa-l-Jabal (1843).[4]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Zachs (2001).
  2. ^ a b Maalouf (2003).
  3. ^ Keenan, Brigid (2001). Damascus Hidden Treasures of the Old City (First ed.). 500 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York, 10110: Thames & Hudson. p. 162. ISBN 0-500-28299-4. 
  4. ^ a b Zachs (2005).
  5. ^ Fawaz, Leila Tarazi (1994). An Occasion for War: Civil Conflict in Lebanon and Damascus in 1860. Berkeley, Los Angeles: University of California Press. p. 39. ISBN 0-520-20086-1. Retrieved 26 August 2014. 
  6. ^ Fawaz, Leila Tarazi (1994). An Occasion for War: Civil Conflict in Lebanon and Damascus in 1860. Berkeley, Los Angeles: University of California Press. p. 39. ISBN 0-520-20086-1. Retrieved 26 August 2014. 
  7. ^ Touma (1996), p. 19.

Sources[edit]

  • Habib Hassan Touma (1996). The Music of the Arabs, trans. Laurie Schwartz. Portland, Oregon: Amadeus Press. ISBN 0-931340-88-8.
  • Maalouf, Shireen (2003). "Mikhii'il Mishiiqa: Virtual Founder of the Twenty-Four Equal Quartertone Scale", Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 123, No. 4. (Oct. - Dec., 2003), pp. 835–840.
  • Zachs, Fruma (2001). "Mikhail Mishaqa - The First Historian of Modern Syria", British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Vol. 28, No. 1 (May 2001), pp. 67–87.
    • (2005). "Miha'il Mishaqa", Historians of the Ottoman Empire (ottomanhistorians.com).