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The racecourses at Sāmarrā’

  • Alastair Northedge

Abstract

At Sāmarrā’ there are the remains of a number of ‘Abbāsid walled tracks which appear to be racecourses. Ernst Herzfeld found one track in the course of the German expedition of 1911–13 to the ‘Abbāsid capital at Sāmarrā’, and the outline of two more became known from a series of maps of the Sāmarrā’ district made by the Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force in 1917. Herzfeld published his first brief discussion of these courses in 1948 in his Geschichte der Stadt Samarra’, and a further description was published posthumously in his Persian empire in 1968. At about the same time in 1948, a fairly extensive discussion was published by Ahmad Susa in his Rayy Sāmarrā’, though without much illustration. Sūsa enumerated five courses, but it has proved necessary to exclude two, for they seem not to have been for racing. One further course has been added here, not identified before.

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The racecourses at Sāmarrā’

  • Alastair Northedge

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