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(389 words)

Author(s): Sourdel, D.
(Ar.), a word with a number of varied meanings due to its dual etymology, Latin or Greek as the case may be. Deriving from palatium it means “palace” (Masʿūdī, al-Tanbīh , 167; Ibn al-ʿAdīm, Zubda , ed. Dahan, i, 142 and 145; Muḳaddasī, 147, and Ibn Ḥawḳal 2, 195, mentioning the Dār al-Balāṭ at Constantinople; cf. M. Canard, Extraits des sources arabes , ap. A. A. Vasiliev, Byzance et les Arabes , ii/2, Brussels 1950, 412, 423 and n. 2). Deriving from πλατεῖα (through the intermediary of Aramaic), it has two principal meanings corresponding to…

Ibn al-Furāt

(1,635 words)

Author(s): Sourdel, D.
, name of a number of persons who held the offices of secretary or vizier under the ʿAbbāsid caliphs or the Ik̲h̲s̲h̲īdid amīr s and who belonged to a S̲h̲īʿī family. The earliest member of the family of whom anything is known is ʿUmar b. al-Furāt, who represented the ʿAlīd ʿAlī al-Riḍā and ¶ was executed in Bag̲h̲dād in 203/818-9, on the orders of Ibrāhīm b. al-Mahdī at the time when the ʿIrāḳīs were in revolt against the S̲h̲īʿī policy of al-Maʾmūn. A certain Muḥammad b. Mūsā seems to have been the first to hold important administrative office, …

Ibn Mak̲h̲lad

(299 words)

Author(s): Sourdel, D.
, name of several secretaries or viziers of the ʿAbbāsid period, who did not however all belong to the same family. al-Ḥasan b. Mak̲h̲lad b. al-D̲j̲arrāḥ was a secretary of Christian origin and recently converted to Islam, who served the caliph al-Mutawakkil and became vizier under al-Muʿtamid, for the first time in 263/877, then in 264-5/878-9, and was dismissed from the government on the insistence of the regent al-Muwaffaḳ. He seems to have been exiled to Egypt, where he was at first welcomed by…

Dayr al-Zōr

(243 words)

Author(s): Sourdel, D.
, a small Syrian town, 195 m. above sea-level, on the right bank of the Euphrates. A suspension bridge 450 m. long, completed in 1931, crosses the river a short distance down-stream from the town. In 1867 it became the chief town of a sand̲j̲aḳ and later of a muḥāfaẓa , and today it has a modern aspect about it. The majority of its 22,000 inhabitants are Sunnī Muslims, and the small Christian minority comprises mainly Armenian refugees from former Turkish possessions. There are three mosques and several Orthodox and Roman …

al-Faḍl b. Yaḥyā al-Barmakī

(171 words)

Author(s): Sourdel, D.
, the eldest son of Yaḥyā al-Barmakī, played an important part during the reign of Hārūn al-Ras̲h̲īd, in the first years of the domination of the Barāmika [ q.v.]. As tutor to the crown prince al-Amīn, on whose behalf he caused the customary oath of loyalty to be sworn by the notables, he was particularly distinguished by the benevolence he showed towards the inhabitants of the eastern provinces and by his policy of conciliation with regard to the ʿAlids, perhaps going so far as to support the establishment of an independe…


(351 words)

Author(s): Sourdel, D.
, rod, one of the insignia of sovereignty of the caliph. As early as the Umayyad era, the rod ( ḳaḍīb ) or staff ( ʿaṣā ) was already, along with the seal, one of the badges of rank which was conveyed with speed to the new caliph on the death of his predecessor. This custom was adhered to under the first ʿAbbāsid caliphs, notably after the death of al-Manṣūr, who ended his life at Mecca, and after the deaths of al-Mahdī and Hārūn al-Ras̲h̲īd, who perished during an expedition to the eastern provinces; in these cases a special messenger, bearing the ḳaḍīb and the seal, was despatched to the heir …

Ibn K̲h̲āḳān

(413 words)

Author(s): Sourdel, D.
, name of several secretaries and viziers of the ʿAbbāsid period. (1) Yaḥyā b. K̲h̲āḳān , secretary of K̲h̲urāsānī origin, was in the service of al-Ḥasan b. Sahl [ q.v.] under the caliphate of al-Maʾmūn and became, under al-Mutawakkil, secretary to the office for land-taxes, and then director of the maẓālim -court, when his son ʿUbayd Allāh became vizier. (2) ʿUbayd Allāh b. Yaḥyā was the first member of the family to become a vizier. Patronized by the caliph al-Mutawakkil, who had appointed him as his private secretary, he succeeded i…


(215 words)

Author(s): Sourdel, D.
, wife of the caliph al-Maʾmūn and daughter of the Persian secretary al-Ḥasan b. Sahl [ q.v.]. According to some her real name was Ḵh̲adīd̲j̲a and Būrān simply an appellation. Born in Ṣafar 192/December 807, she was married from the age of ten to the caliph whom her father had faithfully served during the first part of his reign. The wedding celebrations, the splendours of which are described with relish by many authors, did not take place until Ramaḍān 210/December 825-January 826, on al-Ḥasan’s estate at Fam …

al-Faḍl b. al-Rabīʿ

(444 words)

Author(s): Sourdel, D.
, vizier to the ʿAbbāsid caliphs al-Ras̲h̲īd and al-Amīn, was the son of al-Manṣūr’s chamberlain al-Rabīʿ b. Yūnus [ q.v.]. Born in 138/757-8, he very soon won the esteem of Hārūn al-Ras̲h̲īd, who in 173/789-90 placed him in charge of the Expenditure Office and then in 179/795-6 made him chamberlain. After the disgrace of the Barāmika [ q.v.] in 187/803, he succeeded Yaḥyā as vizier, though without being granted such wide powers; his part was confined to keeping check on public expenditure and in presenting letters and petitions ( ʿarḍ ), while another secretary…

Dār al-ʿIlm

(575 words)

Author(s): Sourdel, D.
, “house of science”, the name given to several libraries or scientific institutes established in eastern Islam in the 3rd/9th and 4th/10th centuries. After the disappearance of al-Maʾmūn’s Bayt al-Ḥikma [ q.v.], a man of letters called ʿAlī b. Yaḥyā al-Munad̲j̲d̲j̲im (d. 275/888), friend of al-Mutawakkil and, later, al-Muʿtamid, built a library at his own expense in his residence at Karkar, near Bag̲h̲dād. It was called K̲h̲izānat al-Kutub , and was open to scholars of all countries (Yāḳūt, Irs̲h̲ād , v, 459, 467). Another writer and poet, the S̲h̲āfiʿī faḳīh


(702 words)

Author(s): Sourdel, D.
, large alluvial plain of northern Syria, situated N-E of Antioch and framed in the tectonic depression which separates the Elma Dag̲h̲, or Amanus, from the Kurd Dag̲h̲, and which stretches as far as the lower spurs of the Taurus. With a mean elevation of 260 ft. above sea level, it is largely covered by a lake fringed with marshes, called Buḥayrat Anṭākiyya (“the lake of Antioch”) or Buḥayrat Yag̲h̲rā, and in Turkish Aḳ Deniz; fed from the north by the ʿAfrīn [ q.v.] and the Ḳara Su, streams which are violent when in spate, the lake discharges its waters in the direction of t…


(681 words)

Author(s): Sourdel, D.
, the name borne by several physicians of a celebrated Christian family originally established at D̲j̲undaysābūr. It was from there that Ḏj̲urd̲j̲īs b. D̲j̲ibrīl b. Buk̲h̲tīs̲h̲ūʿ, who was director of the hospital of this town and well known for his scientific writings, was called to Bag̲h̲dād in 148/765 to attend the caliph al-Manṣūr, ill with a stomach complaint. By successful treatment he won the confidence of the sovereign, who asked him to remain in the capital, but he wished to revisit his native land in 152/769. Buk̲h̲tīs̲h̲ūʿ b. Ḏj̲urd̲j̲īs. to whom …

Aḥmad b. Abī K̲h̲ālid al-Aḥwal

(452 words)

Author(s): Sourdel, D.
, secretary to al-Maʾmūn, was of Syrian origin and the son of a secretary of Abū ʿUbayd Allāh. He took advantage of his former connections with the Barmakids to enter the service of al-Faḍl b. Sahl. Indeed the Barmakids were already under an obligation to his father, and he himself had managed to be of service to the disgraced Yaḥyā. Apparently even before the capture of Bag̲h̲dād he went to Ḵh̲urāsān and, as the result of a letter of recommendation which Yaḥyā had given to him before his death, he was placed in charge of several dīwāns at Marw. After the return of th…

al-Ḳāhir Bi’llāh

(382 words)

Author(s): Sourdel, D.
, 19th ʿAbbāsid Caliph, who reigned from 320/932 to 322/934 in succession to his brother al-Muḳtadir [ q.v.]. He had previously been temporarily chosen as caliph after the abortive palace revolution in Muḥarram 317/March 929. Al-Muḳtadir’s death followed after the sortie he made at the head of his troops against the amīr Muʾnis [ q.v.] in 320/932. When the dignitaries came to nominate a new caliph, Muʾnis’s judgement in favour of Aḥmad, the son of al-Muḳtadir, was ignored and Muḥammad, son of al-Muʿtaḍid, was proclaimed on 27 Shawwāl 320/31 October…

al-Faḍl b. Marwān

(276 words)

Author(s): Sourdel, D.
, vizier to the ʿAbbāsid al-Muʿtaṣim, and an ʿIrāḳi of Christian origin. He began his career modestly as a retainer of Hart̲h̲ama, the commander of Hārūn al-Ras̲h̲īd’s guard. Later, as a result of his particular talents, he became a secretary in the Land Tax office under the same caliph and subsequently he retired to ʿIrāḳ to the estates he had acquired during the civil war. It was there, in the region of al-Baradān, that he had an opportunity, during the reign of al-Maʾmūn, to gain the attentio…

Karak Nūḥ

(183 words)

Author(s): Sourdel, D.
, a village in the Biḳāʿ of Lebanon, situated at the foot of Mount Lebanon not far from Zahlé on the road to Baʿlabakk. Authors of the Ayyūbid period call it al-Karak, but then in the Mamlūk period it was called Karak Nūḥ. It was actually considered as the locality of the prophet Nūḥ’s tomb, which is still shown and which was apparently already mentioned in the 4th/10th century by the geographer al-Muḳaddasī. The structure which is considered to contain the stone cenotaph of Nūḥ and which is unu…

Dār al-Ḥikma

(429 words)

Author(s): Sourdel, D.
, “house of wisdom”, used by Arab authors to denote in a general sense the academies which, before Islamic times, spread knowledge of the Greek sciences, and in a particular sense the institute founded in Cairo in 395/1005 by the Fāṭimid caliph al-Ḥākim. Since the short-lived appearance of the Bayt al-Ḥikma [ q.v.] of al-Maʾmūn, several libraries had been founded in ʿIrāḳ and Persia providing not only information on traditional learning, but also an introduction to classical sciences ( ʿulūm al-awāʾil ) (see Dār al-ʿilm ). Such establishments were very successful in Egypt under t…


(436 words)

Author(s): Sourdel, D.
, the name given by the Arab authors to a locality situated, on the borders of Anatolia and Syria, in the upper valley of the Nahr Karzīn, at the foot of the Anti-Taurus (Kurd Dag̲h̲), north-west of ʿAynṭāb. It was the ancient Doliche, famous for the cult of a Semitic divinity who in the Graeco-Roman period received the name of Zeus Dolichenos. Being at the intersection of the routes from Germanicia, Nicopolis and Zeugma, it had been conquered by ʿIyāḍ b. G̲h̲ānim and became one of the fortresse…

al-Ḥasan b. Sahl

(325 words)

Author(s): Sourdel, D.
, secretary of and governor for the ʿAbbāsid caliph al-Maʾmūn, and brother of the vizier al-Faḍl b. Sahl [ q.v.]. Iranian by birth, the son of a Zoroastrian convert, al-Ḥasan entered the service of the Barmakid al-Faḍl b. Yaḥyā [ q.v.] during the reign of Hārūn al-Ras̲h̲īd. He later took part in al-Maʾmūn’s action against his brother al-Amīn, and when al-Maʾmūn assumed the title of caliph in 196/814 he was put in charge of taxation ( al-k̲h̲arād̲j̲ ) in the provinces which the new ruler controlled. After al-Maʾmūn’s troops had captured Bag̲h̲dād, hi…


(1,460 words)

Author(s): Sourdel, D.
, a word of Syriac origin denoting the Christian monasteries which continued to function after the Arab conquest of the Middle East. If we are to believe the lists drawn up by Arab writers, they were very numerous, particularly in ʿIrāḳ (along the Tigris and Euphrates valleys), Upper Mesopotamia, Syria (Stylite sanctuaries in the vicinity of the “dead cities”), Palestine and Egypt (along the whole length of the Nile valley). They were often named after a patron saint (Dayr Mār Yuḥannā near Takrī…
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