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(1,202 words)

Author(s): Wiet, G.
, al-malik al-ẓāhir sayf al-dīn , Mamlūk Sultan of Egypt. He was the first of ¶ a new series of rulers, to whom history refers as Circassians in memory of the country where they were originally purchased as slaves, and as Burd̲j̲ī [see burd̲j̲iyya ], because Barḳūḳ was the first to have belonged to a regiment with their barracks in the dungeons ( burd̲j̲ ) of the Cairo Citadel. Barḳūḳ provided the link between the two dynasties of Mamlūk sultans: before ascending the throne, he ruled Egypt as Marshal of the Armies, atābak al-ʿasākir [ q.v.], during the turbulent reigns of two sultans, bot…

Būṣīr or Abūṣīr

(449 words)

Author(s): Wiet, G.
, the name of several places in Egypt, which is not unnatural since it refers to places in which the god Osiris was the object of special veneration. The name Abūṣīr is found in the large suburban area west of Alexandria, a memory of the site of Taposiris Magna . Būṣīr, on the west bank of the Damietta branch of the Nile, in the province of al-G̲h̲arbiyya. In the middle ages this small town was connected to a neighbouring seulement, Banā, so that one spoke of Būṣīr-Banā. Famous in antiquity, Būṣīr was an episcopal seat and the administrative centre of the pagarchy ( kūra ). Būṣīr al-Sidr, in the pr…


(147 words)

Author(s): Wiet, G.
, name of an Egyptian province in the eastern region of the Delta. It owes its name, which is an Arabicized form of the Coptic Tkehli, to the town called Daḳahla which was situated between Damīra and Damietta, a little closer to the latter than the former. At one time famous for its paper mills, it is now but an insignificant village. The province was created at the end of the 5th/11th century and it has survived till today with some changes in its boundaries. At present it extends along the eastern bank of the Damietta branch of the Nile, which marks its …


(321 words)

Author(s): Wiet, G.
, a town in the Nile Delta, situated on the Damietta branch, one of the main stations on the railway between Cairo and Alexandria and ¶ 45 kilometres north of Cairo. In mediaeval times, it formed part of al-S̲h̲arḳiyya province and is today the chief town of al-Ḳalyūbiyya province, with some thirty thousand inhabitants. The Arabic name is a transcription of Coptic Panaho . The locality occupies a place in the traditional history of the diplomatic relations between the Prophet and the enigmatic Muḳawḳis, the so-called sovereign of Egypt. Among the presents wh…


(417 words)

Author(s): Wiet, G.
(variant forms Dabḳa and Dabḳū ) was a locality in the outer suburbs of Damietta, noted for the manufacture of high quality woven material, which it exported to the whole of the Muslim empire. The location of Dabīḳ cannot be fixed more exactly. It is found mentioned along with other cities that have disappeared, such as S̲h̲aṭā, Tinnīs, or Tūna, which were probably on the islands of Lake Menzāleh. Fine cloths embossed with gold were made there, and, during the Fāṭimid period, turbans of multicoloured linen. These textiles were so sumptious that dabīḳī soon became …


(411 words)

Author(s): Wiet, G.
, banū , a family of ḳāḍīs who governed the principality of Tripoli (in Syria) for forty years preceding the capture of the town by the Crusaders in 502/1109. The first ruler of the family, Amīn al-Dawla Abū Ṭālib al-Ḥasan b. ʿAmmār, who had been ḳāḍī of the town, declared himself independent after the death of the Fāṭimid governor, Muk̲h̲tār al-Dawla b. Bazzāl in 462/1070. He made the town an important intellectual centre and founded a rich library. On his death in 464/1072 his two nephews quarreled about the succession. Ḏj̲alāl al-Mulk ʿAlī b. Muḥammad succeeded in evic…

Baybars II

(325 words)

Author(s): Wiet, G.
, al-malik al-muẓaffar rukn al-dīn manṣūrī d̲j̲ās̲h̲nikīr , Mamlūk sultan of Egypt. Perhaps of Circassian origin, Baybars belonged to the Mamlūks of Sulṭān Kalāwūn. Appointed major domo, ustādār , during the first reign of Muḥammad b. Ḳalāwūn (693-94/1293-94), he was promoted to commander of a thousand by Sulṭān Katbug̲h̲ā, and his power increased, at the same time as that of his rival, Salār. Both were equally ready to assume power upon the assassination of Sulṭān Lād̲j̲īn in 698/1299. They put on the throne for the second time the young Muḥammad b. Ḳalāwūn. The two men …


(301 words)

Author(s): Wiet, G.
( Edfu ), provincial capital in Upper Egypt, on the west bank of the Nile, the ancient Apollinopolis Magna of Greek times, the Arabic name of which is a transcription of the Coptic name, Atbō. ¶ At the beginning of the Muslim administration the town was incorporated in the kūra of Aswān. It was on the caravan route from Cairo to the south, but Ibn Baṭṭūṭa is the only medieval traveller who refers to it, as being a day and a night’s journey south of Armant. The temple of Adfū is merely mentioned by al-Dimas̲h̲ḳī, but witho…

ʿAlī Bey

(994 words)

Author(s): Wiet, G.
, a Caucasian by birth, was for nearly 20 years the chief personage in Egypt. He had been brought there at an early age, and had been offered as a gift to Ibrāhīm Katk̲h̲udā, who was the real master of the country from 1156 to 68/743-54. Before his death, the latter conferred on ʿAlī the rank of bey , and made him a member of that curious council of “Powers”, whose turbulent authority grew in proportion as the Pas̲h̲a nominated by the Porte became a shadowy and passive spectator. This Ottoman governor, in order to survive, concern…


(380 words)

Author(s): Wiet, G.
, town in Upper Egypt on the east bank of the Nile about 312 m. from Cairo. Its name reflects the Coptic name, S̲h̲min, the Greek Khemmis, and the place is called Panopolis in Byzantine texts. It was the chief town of a pagarchy ( kūra ), and later, from the time of the reforms of the Fāṭimid caliph al-Mustanṣir, of a province. In the 12th/18th century the town lost its position of chief city and was incorporated in the province of Girgā. In the middle ages, Ak̲h̲mīm was surrounded by rich areas of cultivation, with pl…

al-Afḍal b. Badr al-Ḏj̲amālī

(1,157 words)

Author(s): Wiet, G.
, abu ’l-ḳāsim s̲h̲ānans̲h̲āh , Fāṭimid vizier, commonly known in history by his vizierial title. His birth is placed about 458/1066, and it is known from an inscription of 482/1089 that he was associated with his father in the vizierate. On the death of Badr, the aged caliph al-Mustanṣir was forced by the army to accept al-Afḍal as his chief minister, and himself died a few months later. ¶ The accession of the caliph al-Mustaʿlī assumed a capital importance by its indirect repercussions. While al-Mustanṣir was still alive, but of great age, the problem of his su…

al-ʿĀḍid li-Dīn Allāh

(1,100 words)

Author(s): Wiet, G.
, the eleventh and last Fātimid caliph of Egypt. His name was Abū Muhammad ʿAbd Allāh b. Yūsuf , and was the grandson of the caliph al-Ḥāfiẓ; his father had been killed by the vizier ʿAbbās b. Abi ’l-Futūḥ on the very day of the enthronement of the caliph al-Fāʾiz. Al-ʿĀḍid succeeded this latter, his cousin, a sickly child who died at the age of eleven and a half. He himself came to the throne on 17 Rad̲j̲ab 555/23 July 1160, and was chosen by the all-powerful minister al-Ṣāliḥ Ṭalāʾiʿ [ q.v.], who had been governing Egypt for more than six years, because of his tender age. Al-ʿĀḍid w…


(206 words)

Author(s): Wiet, G.
, name of a wādī in Lower Nubia between the Nile and the shore of the Red Sea, 62 miles south of Aswān. In the Middle Ages, this small valley resembled a large populous and flourishing town, because it was a gold mining area, using black slave labour. "The nuggets of gold", wrote al-Yaʿḳūbī, "appear in the form of sulphide of arsenic, and are made into bars". Al-Idrīsī gives more curious information. The prospectors, he tells us, took up their positions at night in order to see the gold dust glistening in the darkness…


(639 words)

Author(s): Wiet, G.
, or Būḳīr , small town on the Mediterranean coast, 15 m. east of Alexandria, on the railway which links this town with Rosetta (Ras̲h̲īd). The earliest Arab geographer to describe the position of Abūḳīr was al-Idrīsī. But before him Arab texts on Ancient Egypt refer to the building of a light-house: and European travellers certainly mention, on this route, towers intended to serve as landmarks. Eutychius tells of the passage to Abūḳīr of the relieving fleet which had been sum…


(639 words)

Author(s): Wiet, G.
, a famous town in mediaeval times, in Middle Egypt, situated between the Baḥr Yūsuf and the foothills of the Libyan range, 15 km. West of Banī Mazār, a railway station 198 km. south of Cairo. It is the ancient Oxyrhynchus, in Coptic Pemdje. During the Byzantine period it was a flourishing city, renowned for its churches and numerous monasteries. According to a Coptic legend, the Virgin and the Child Jesus are supposed to have stayed there during the Flight from Egypt. Certain Muslim exegetes have found a verse of the Ḳurʾān (XXIII, 52), …


(442 words)

Author(s): Wiet, G.
, town in Egypt, the name of which derives from that of ʿAbbāsa, daughter of Aḥmad b. Ṭūlūn. The princess had pitched her camp on its place and it was there that she said good-bye to Ḳatr al-Nadā, daughter of Ḵh̲umārawayh. Who was going to marry the caliph al-Muʿtaḍid. Around this casual encampment buildings were raised and Ḳaṣr ʿAbbāsa, the "palace of ʿAbbāsa", became the township of ʿAbbāsa. It was at that time the last town on the road to Syria, situated as it was at the entrance of the Wādī …


(437 words)

Author(s): Wiet, G.
(borollos), the name given to a district and to a lake to the north of the Delta of Egypt. The lake stretches between the mouths of the Rosetta and Damietta branches of the Nile, and is separated from the Mediterranean only by a narrow band of dunes. The Arabic name is the transcription of the Greek Paralos , transmitted through Coptic, and this word, which signifies “the maritime littoral”, is applied quite naturally to this region. It may he noted that Yāḳūt and Ibn Baṭṭūṭa were acquainted with the vocalisation Barallus , which has not survived. It was the administrative centre of a pagarchy ( kū…


(1,739 words)

Author(s): Wiet, G.
, name of a kūra and of a province (formerly ʿamal, now mudīrīya) in Egypt. 1. The kūra of al-S̲h̲arḳīya, which replaced the Byzantine pagarchy of Aphroditopolis, was one of the few districts which received an Arabic name; the latter is explained by its situation on the eastern bank of the Nile. It is difficult to estimate the extent of its territory, which lay immediately south of the capital of the country, Fusṭāṭ. The first capital of the kūra, situated on the right bank of the river, was Anṣinā (Antinöe), but the small number (17) of villages in the kūra of al-S̲h̲arḳīya allows us to supp…


(728 words)

Author(s): Wiet, G.
, a name derived from the ancient Egyptian Timinhur, the city of Horus. It is not surprising that a number of cities of this name are to be found, almost all in the Nile Delta. I. Damanhūr al-S̲h̲ahid. Damanhūr “of the Martyr”, one of the northern suburbs of Cairo. This was the name still used by Yāḳūt, but the village was later known as Damanhūr S̲h̲ubrā. a name which was however already known to al-Muḳaddasī. Ibn Mammātī calls it simply Damanhūr. The two names are sometimes inverted and certain authors speak of S̲h̲ubrā Damanhū…

Baybars I

(2,078 words)

Author(s): Wiet, G.
, al-malik al-ẓāhir rukn al-dīn al-ṣāliḥī , fourth Mamlūk sultan of the Baḥrīd dynasty. He is said to have been born in 620/1233 and to have been one of a group of Ḳipčāḳ Turk slaves purchased by the Ayyūbid sultan Malik Ṣāliḥ. His first master had been Aydakin Bunduḳdār, whence his surname Bunduḳdārī, which also explains in Marco Polo’s work (ed. Hambis, II), “Bondocdaire, sultan of Babylonia”. He appears first in history in 636/1239, in prison with his master Malik Ṣāliḥ at Kar…
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