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Rustamids

(3,013 words)

Author(s): Talbi, M.
or rustumids, an Ibāḍī dynasty, of Persian origin, which reigned from Tāhart (in what is now Algeria) 161-296/778-909. The birth of the Ibāḍī principality of Tāhart is bound up with the great Berber rising begun by Maysara (called, as a tribute from his enemies, al-Ḥaḳīr “The Vile”) in 122/740. As a result of this rising, the greater part of the Mag̲h̲rib fell away definitively from the control of the caliphate in the East, with the exception of the principality of Ḳayrawān (Kairouan), which only achieved virtual independence with the coming of the Ag̲h̲labids [ q.v.] in 184/800. The Ibā…

Ibn ʿĀs̲h̲ūr

(714 words)

Author(s): Talbi, M.
, patronymic of a family of Idrīsid descent and Moroccan origin which settled in Muslim, Spain. It is said that ʿĀs̲h̲ūr, fleeing from religious persecution, came to settle in Morocco. His son Muḥammad was born at Salé in about 1030/1621 and it was with him that the family’s importance in the history of Tunisia began, at first in the field of “mysticism”, then in those of fiḳh , of teaching and of religious offices. Muḥammad b. ʿĀs̲h̲ūr, who was initiated into mysticism in Morocco by the s̲h̲ayk̲h̲ Muḥammad al-Kud̲j̲ayrī, distinguished himself at Tunis as the leader of a religiou…

Ḳābis

(5,740 words)

Author(s): Talbi, M.
(Gabès), a town in Tunisia on the gulf of the same name (the Little Syrte of antiquity), 404 km. to the south of Tunis and 150 km. from Gafsa [see ḳafsa ]; it has 40,000 inhabitants, of whom 1,200 are Europeans, and is the chief town of a governorate with a population of 204,000 (1966 census). The town of Gabès, divided since 1957 into four districts, includes the old townships of Manzil, situated higher up the Oued-Gabès, and D̲j̲āra, situated downstream, localities which have always been divided by fie…

Ibrāhīm II

(725 words)

Author(s): Talbi, M.
, Aḥmad b. Muḥammad b. al-Ag̲h̲lab b. Ibrāhīm b. al-Ag̲h̲lab , born 10 D̲h̲u ’l-Ḥid̲j̲d̲j̲a 235/27 June 850, was, after Ibrāhīm I, the most outstanding personality of the Ag̲h̲labid dynasty, being distinguished as much for his exceptional qualities as for his barely credible crimes. Raised to power by the enthusiasm of the people, in place of the legitimate successor who was still a minor and of whom he was to have been the regent, he began his reign (261/875) with just measures and …

Ibrāhīm I

(891 words)

Author(s): Talbi, M.
b. al-Ag̲h̲lab b. Sālim b. ʿIḳāl (184-96/800-12), founder of the Ifrīḳiyan dynasty of the Ag̲h̲labids, was a Tamīmī of the clan of the Saʿd b. Zayd Manāt. This clan, as a result of the Muslim conquests, had settled at a very early date in K̲h̲urāsān, where they were enemies especially of the Muhallabids, whom Ibrāhīm was later to encounter again in Egypt and then in Ifrīḳiya. It was thus that al-Ag̲h̲lab, the eponymous ancestor of the Ag̲h̲labids, was born at Marw al-Rūd̲h̲. He …

al-Kāhina

(1,628 words)

Author(s): Talbi, M.
(“the Sorceress”) was the guiding spirit of Berber resistance to the Arab invaders led by Ḥassān b. al-Nuʿmān [ q.v.] after the collapse of Byzantine power marked by the fall of Carthage (73/692-3). ¶ Her true personality—which must have been highly complex—is very difficult to discern, for only the distorted reflections of her real features can be detected behind the legend. There is no agreement even on her real name, for al-Kāhina is only a nickname given to her by the Arabs. It is said that she was named Dihya—Ibn K̲h̲aldūn (tr. de Slane, Berbères , i, 172) mentions a Berber tribe know…

al-Ḳayrawān

(8,515 words)

Author(s): Talbi, M.
, a town in central Tunisia, 156 km. from Tunis and 57 km. from Sousse. It is situated at an altitude of 60 m. and is the chief town of a governorate of 336,000 inhabitants which stretches over an area of 680,000 hectares. Its population of 34,000 inhabitants in 1956 had become ¶ 47,000 during the census of 3rd May 1966, and then 56,000 in 1972. Temperatures vary considerably, ranging from a few degrees below zero in winter to 40° C and over in summer. The sirocco blows there for an average of 21 days per annum. The rainfall varies from an average of 250 mm. or 300 mm. in the town and its …

Ḳawṣara

(1,039 words)

Author(s): Talbi, M.
or ḳūsira , Italian island, now called Pantelleria, situated 64 miles/100 km. from Sicily and 55 miles/76 km. from the Tunisian town of Kelibia (Clypea); it is volcanic in structure, lacking any fresh water and culminating in a height of 2,600 ft./836 m. The area is 83 km2., and the population 10,000. The name Ḳawṣara (vocalised thus by Yāḳūt —who suggests an Arabic etymology, “date basket” —and in most of the sources) is actually of Greek origin, being a deformation of Cossyra, more easily discerned in the form attested and favoured by Bakr…

al-Kāf

(1,976 words)

Author(s): Talbi, M.
, (El-Kef), a town in Tunisia (pop. 18,000), capital of an administrative district with a population of 306,000 (census of 3 May 1966), situated in the region of Haut-Tell about 30 km. from the Algerian border; the altitude varies from 700 to 850 m. Since 1962, an effort has been made to replace the traditional cereal cultivation with a greater agricultural diversification, although the attempt at co-operative collectivization of the land was abandoned in September 1969. The town has also benefit…

al-Dabbāg̲h̲, Abū Zayd ʿAbd al-Raḥmān

(542 words)

Author(s): Talbi, M.
Muḥammad b. ʿAlī b. ʿAbd Allāh al-Anṣārī al-Usaydī , b. 605/1208-9, d. 699/1300, was, according to the eyewitness and probably interested testimony of al-ʿAbdarī, the unique true scholar in al-Ḳayrawān of his time. If one can believe an anecdote which states that he owed his cognomen of al-Dabbag̲h̲ to the fact that his great-grandfather disguised himself as a tanner in order to avoid the office of ḳāḍī , he must have stemmed from an ancient family of Ḳayrawānī faḳīhs . Al-ʿAbdarī, who visited him in 688/1289 and received from him a general id̲j̲āza for the transm…

Ḳasṭīliya

(1,548 words)

Author(s): Talbi, M.
, or ḳaṣṭīliya , or ḳasṭīla . 2. A place name of Tunisia which in the Middle Ages sometimes designated a town (Tawzar or Tūzar), but more often the district of which this town was the chief centre. It is the modern region of the D̲j̲arīd, which now forms part of the governorate of Ḳafṣa [ q.v.] (population 321,000, density of pop. 17.45 per km2, according to the 1966 census), and forms the region of the Shotts. As in the past, the region’s main resource is the date palm: one million trees, of which 31% are of the highly-esteemed “degla” variety (1962 enquiry…

Ibn K̲h̲aldūn

(7,391 words)

Author(s): Talbi, M.
, Walī al-Dīn ʿAbd al-Raḥmān ¶ b. Muḥammad b. Muḥammad b. Abī Bakr Muḥammad b. al-Ḥasan (732-84/1332-82), one of the strongest personalities of Arabo-Muslim culture in the period of its decline. He is generally regarded as a historian, sociologist and philosopher. Thus his life and work have already formed the subject of innumerable studies and given rise to the most varied and even the most contradictory interpretations. I. Life. Ibn K̲h̲aldūn’s life may be divided into three parts, the first of which (20 years) was occupied by his childhood and education, the…

Tebessa

(1,257 words)

Author(s): Talbi, M.
, written by Yāḳūt, Buldān , Beirut, ii, 13, as Tabissa , the Theveste of classical times, a town of eastern Algeria, situated 235 km/146 miles south of ʿAnnāba or Bône and 19 km/13 miles west of the modern Tunisian frontier (lat. 35° 21′ N., long. 8° 06′ E., altitude 850 m/2,790 feet). The site of the town, on an elevated plain, has been inhabited since prehistoric times, as the dolmens at Gastel, petrographs on the rocks of Saf-Saf, inter alia, show, and legend attributed the foundation of the town to Hercules. It was a dependency of Carthage from the 7th century B.C. and…

al-Mahdiyya

(2,022 words)

Author(s): Talbi, M.
, a town in Tunisia which owes its name to its founder ʿUbayd Allāh al-Mahdī (297-322/909-34 [ q.v.]); situated on the coast 200 km. to the south of Tunis, it is the regional capital of a province of which the population, 218,000 inhabitants at the time of the 1975 census, is estimated in 1980 at 247,000. The population of the town, numbering 12,000 inhabitants in 1905, has grown steadily to 14,937 (1946 census), 18,494 (1956) and 21,788 (1966). Foundation . The creation of al-Mahdiyya by the Fāṭimids responded to a need which had already made itself felt since the end of t…

Ṣabra or al-Manṣūriyya

(871 words)

Author(s): Talbi, M.
, or also Madīnat ʿIzz al-Islām , a royal city founded between 334 and 336/945-8, at half-a-mile to the southeast of Ḳayrawān, by the Fāṭimid caliph al-Manṣūr— whence its name—in order to commemorate his victory over the rebel Abū Yazīd [ q.v.], on the very spot, so we are told, of a decisive battle. The name. Ṣabra means "a very hard stone" ( LʿA , Beirut 1955, iv, 441, 442). Like ṣak̲h̲r "rock", the term is attested as a personal name (al-Ṭabarī, index; al-Mālikī, Riyāḍ , Beirut 1983, i, 250) or as that of a clan (Kaḥḥāla, Muʿd̲j̲am ḳabāʾil al-ʿArab , Beirut 1968, ii, 6…

Ibn al-Raḳīḳ

(536 words)

Author(s): Talbi, M
(d. after 418/1027-8), or al-Raḳīḳ Abu Isḥāḳ Ibrāhīm b. al-Ḳāsim al-Kātib al-Ḳayrawānī , who had been secretary of the Zīrids for about a quarter of a century at the time when Ibn Ras̲h̲īḳ wrote his ʿUmda , was a talented man of letters and chronicler. Ibn Ras̲h̲īḳ acknowledges that he had a certain poetic gift, although his style was rather that of a secretary, and Yāḳūt ( Muʿd̲j̲am , i, 217-26) has preserved some long fragments from his poems. There also survives his Ḳuṭb al-surūr (MS Paris B.N. nos. 4829, 4830 and 4831; for the other MSS, see Brockelman…

Kusayla

(1,344 words)

Author(s): Talbi, M.
b. Lamzam, or Kasīla was, in the tradition of the Massinissa and of Jugurtha, one of the most eminent figures in the struggle of the Berbers to preserve their independence. In 55/674, at the time when the mawlā Abu ’l-Muhād̲j̲ir Dīnār came from Egypt to replace ʿUḳba b. Nāfiʿ as governor of the recently-conquered province of the Mag̲h̲rib, Kusayla was certainly “king” of the Awraba, a broad alliance of tribes of the Barānis group, for the most part sedentary. The territory of the Awraba w…

Ifrīḳiya

(3,026 words)

Author(s): Talbi, M.
, the eastern part of the Mag̲h̲rib, whence the name adopted by some modern historians for Eastern Barbary. The term Ifrīḳiya is undoubtedly—whatever the Arab writers say—borrowed from the Latin Africa, so the origin of the Arabic word must be sought in the etymology of the Latin term, a question which, from the most ancient times to today, has continued to defeat scholars. What is certain is that the term Africa, and the other forms derived from the same radical Afer (pl. Afri ), are attested in the Latin ¶ sources well before the fall of Carthage; it is known in particular that th…

K̲h̲umayr

(2,423 words)

Author(s): Talbi, M.
(pronounced locally K̲h̲mīr, in French Kroumir), an element of the population which has given its name to a mountainous massif extending along the north-west littoral of Tunisia. The Ḏj̲ebel K̲h̲mīr, or Kroumirie, forms part of the administrative district of Djenouba, which covers an area of 3,000 square km. and has a population of 255,000, of whom 225,000 are peasants (census of May 1966). The massif of the K̲h̲umayr, a Tunisian extension of the Atlas range, consists of a series of contrasting sandstone flexures running along a south-west-northeast axis. T…

Ṣabra

(696 words)

Author(s): Talbi, M.
or Sabratha , one of the three ancient cities (Leptis Magna = Lebda; Oea = Tripoli; and Sabratha or Sabrata = Ṣabra) which made up Tripolitania. Ṣabra Manṣūriyya [ q.v.], another town ¶ 33 km/20 miles to the west of Tlemcen in Algeria bore (Ibn Ḵh̲aldūn, ʿIbar , Beirut 1959, vii, 524), and still bears today, this same name, after having assumed that of Turenne in the colonial period. The homonomy here is fortuitous. Ṣabrāṭa—now a tourist town and the centre of an archaeological zone along the littoral some 75 km/48 miles west of Tripoli and 35 km…
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