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[pp. 566-584]


(d. 1418 A.D.)

Shihāb ad-dīn Abū-l-‘Abbās b. Aḥmad b. 'Abdalla al-Qalqashandī al-Miṣrī b. A. Judda. An Egyptian Jurist and later a Secretary in the Chancery of the Sultan, whose archives he used.

Brockelmann 2, 134; EI (s.v. Ḳalḳashandi).

Subḥ al-a'shā fī ṣina'at al-inshāʾ (The Dawn Light to the Blind in the Art of Letter-writing)

Ed.: Publ. de la Bibl. Khédiv. 17, 14 vols., Cairo 1913-1919; Repr. Cairo 1945-1963.

T.: Cairo 1913 ss A: 0

[p. 567] [The Red Sea]

Then [the Sea of Qulzum] widens up to 90 miles towards the south and east. That part is called "Pool of Gharundul" (birka Gharundul), where God drowned the Pharaoh; then it stretches southwards, inclining a little to the west until [it reaches] 'Aydhāb, which is also the port of Qōs. Along the opposite shore lies the land of Ḥejāz with its bay (farḍa) called after Jedda, the port of the noble Mecca. Then it extends in a southerly direction (samt) along the coast of the country of Blacks (Sūdān) as far as near Sawākin, which is in the country of the Beja (al-Buja). Then it also encircles the island of Dahlak, which is near the western coast and is inhabited by [a race of] Moslem Ḥabasha.

The Gulf of Barbar is a branch of the Indian Sea south of Jabal al-Mandib. It stretches south of the country of the Ḥabasha inclining towards the west till it reaches the town of Barbar, Long. 68°, Lat. 6° 30', which is the capital of the Zaghāwah, a branch of the Sūdān. (Cairo I, p. 244).

[The Sūdān][1]

All their tribes (aḥiāʾ) are descendants of Hām b. Noah. Ṭabarī, quoting Ibn Isḥāq, said: The Ḥabasha are children of Kūsh, son of Hām; the Nūba, the Zinj [or Zanj] and the Zaghāwa are children of Kana'ān son of Hām. Ibn Sa’īd mentioned that the Ḥabasha are descendants of Ḥabash (banī Ḥabash); the Nūba are descendants of Nūbah or Banī Nūbī, and the Zinj are from the Banī Zinj; but the does not advance further in their genealogies. It is probable that they are the children of Hām or of other [similar] ancestors. (ibid. I, p. 368).

[p. 568] [The Emerald Mines]

The emerald mines (az-zumurrud) are found in the border area (tukhūm) between Miṣr and the Sūdān, behind the town of Aswān, on Egyptian soil. They are on a mountain which protrudes like a bridge. (ibid. II, pp. 107 - 108).[2]


The first[3] port (ṣāhil) is 'Aydhāb. It is the favourite landing place for ship captains crossing over to it from Jedda. It has abundant waters and guaranteed safety from drowning and from becoming stuck in the sea-weed growing out from the sea bed. From this coast one can transport one's goods to Qōs and from Qōs to the caravanserai of the merchants (funduq al-kārim) at Fusṭāṭ, by the river Nile. (ibid. III, p. 468).

They [the Sultans] also kept a fleet at 'Aydhāb, which guarded the merchants (al-kārim) travelling between 'Aydhāb and Sawākin and the area surrounding it, from attacks made by the inhabitants of the islands of the Red Sea who used to attack the ships. This fleet originally consisted of five ships but was later reduced to three. The wālī of Qōs was the commandant of this department (mutawallī al-amr): an emir from the court (al-bāb) might take over the command: he received from the arsenal whatever he needed in the way of arms. (ibid. III, p. 524).

[p. 569] [Nomad Arabs in Upper Egypt]

The author, Shihābaddīn ibn Faḍlalla al-‘Umarī, said that the prefecture (imrah) of Upper Egypt (al-wajh al-qiblī) in his time which was the period of Sultan Nāṣir ibn Qalāwūn and his slave lieutenants (mawālī) - was held by one Nāṣir ad-dīn 'Umar ibn Faḍl. The author did not mention his [Nāṣireddīn's] residence, nor the branch of Arabs to which he belonged. He also said that the prefecture above Aswān belonged to [some] Arabs called al-Ḥadāriyya [sic! in the Arabic text, but it must be read al-Ḥadāriba] of the [branch of] Samura ibn Mālik. He [Faḍlalla] said: He [Samura ibn Mālik] rules over many subjects and possesses a strong body of warriors, carries out raids against the Ḥabasha and returns with spoils and prisoners. He enjoys a high reputation; he sent a delegation to the Sultan who honoured their dwelling by ordering a flag to be hoisted over it. He [Samura] was also awarded (qullida) honours and insignia. Letters were sent [from the Sultan's diwān] to all the wālīs of Upper Egypt and to other Arab Bedouins [ordering them] to help and protect [Samura] and to join him whenever he decided to go on a raid. An official decree (manshūr) was sent to him concerning the countries which he would conquer and to assign to him the prefecture (imra) of the Bedouin Arabs of Upper Egypt, beyond Qos, up to the extreme end of the land over which his [Samura] flag is unfurled.

I add: - As for the present time, since the Ḥawwāra Arabs moved from the district of Buḥaira (ʿamal al-buḥaira) to Upper Egypt and settled there, they have spread over those territories (arjāʾ) like locusts and occupied the districts from Bahnasa to the frontier of Aswān and its dependencies. All the Bedouin Arabs (ʿurbān) were completely subjected to them all throughout Upper Egypt. (ibid. IV, p. 69).

[p. 570] [The Kingdoms of the Sūdān. The First Kingdom: The Buja Country]

The correct pronunciation is al-Bujā. They have the lightest complexion of all the Sūdān.[4] Their homeland is the south-eastern part of the Ṣa'īd, between the Nile end the sea, near Egypt (ad-diyār al-miṣriyya). Their capital is Sawākin.

The author of Taqwīm al-buldān (Abū-l-fidā'), where he deals with the Sea of Qulzum, says that [Sawākin] is a small country (bulayda) belonging to the Blacks (li-s-sūdān).

I add: - I was told by someone who visited Sawākin, that it is an island near the west coast of the Red Sea (baḥr al-Qulzum) very close to the mainland (al-barr); it is inhabited by traders. Its ruler is now an Arab [of the tribe] known under the name of Ḥadāriba. He exchanges letters with the court of the Sultan of Egypt. In his protocol (ta'rīf) he is called Ḥudrubī; as will be mentioned in the fourth treatise (maqāla) dealing with the official correspondence. (ibid. V, p. 274).

[Abū-l-fidā'] said in Taqwīm al-buldān that al-'Allāqī ... is near the Read Sea ... it has bad anchorage (maqhās). On the mountain near it is a gold mine but the output is so small as barely to cover the mining expenses. Al-Muhallabī said: - From Aswān, if you turn right to the east, you arrive at 'Allāqī in 12 days. Between 'Allāqī and 'Aydhāb the journey takes 8 days. From ‘Allāqī one enters into the land of the Bujā. (ibid. V, p. 274).

[p. 571] [The Second Kingdom: The Nūba Country]

Some of them are of a light complexion; some others are very dark. The author of Masālik al-abṣār said: - Their country lies next to Egypt on the extreme south and adjoins the Maghrib, extending on both sides of the Nile of Egypt. The author of Taqwīm al-Buldān speaking about the countries lying on the southern borders, says that between them and the country of the Nūba there are impregnable mountains. Their capital is Dunqula. The same author says that this is its correct spelling, based on the current pronunciation of the Egyptians. I noticed in Rawḍ al-Mi’ṭār that it is spelt Damqula and a verse was quoted in support of this spelling. Its position is in the First of the Seven Climates. (Qalqashandī, quoting Ibn Sa’īd, gives its position: Long. 58° 10' Lat. 14° 15').

He [Ibn Sa'īd] said: - South and west of the Nūba there are the homes (majālāt) of the Zanj branch of the Nūba, whose capital is Kūsha, beyond the equator and west of Dunqula. Al-Idrīsī said that [Dunqula] is situated on the west bank of the Nile, built on its bank, and the population drinks its water. The inhabitants are Sūdān, the best race among the Sūdān for [their] features and build. Their main food is barley and dhurra: dates are imported from outside; they eat meat from camel, which they consume either fresh (ṭariyya), or dried in the sun (mu'addada) and later boiled (matbūkh) [other reading: maṭḥūn, crushed]. In their territories are elephants, giraffes and gazelles, (ibid. V, p. 275).

Because the Ayyubids feared for their lives if Nūraddīn ash-Shahīd, the Lord of Syria, attacked them, the Sultan Saladin sent his brother, Shams ad-Dawla, to Nubia to conquer it, to make it their refuge if attacked. But they [Ayyubids] found [Nubia] inhospitable to people [p. 572] like themselves, so they changed [their direction] towards Yemen, occupied it and made it their stronghold, (ibid. V, pp. 276 - 277).

Ibn Sa'īd said: - The religion of the inhabitants or this country is Christianity. (ibid. V, p. 276).

[The Last Nubian Kings]

Both the kings and the people of Nubia were in the olden days Christians. When 'Amrū b. al-'Āṣ conquered Egypt, he carried out raids against them.

It is said in Rawd al-Mi'ṭār that he ['Abdalla b. Sa'īd] saw that they were able to shoot the eyes [of their enemies] with arrows; therefore, he imposed on them a yearly tribute (itāwah).

The author of Al-'Ibar said: - After him ['Abdalla], the kings of Egypt applied that [treaty]; but sometimes, either because [the Nubians] delayed the payment or because they plainly refused [to pay], the armies of the Muslims of Egypt invaded them to enforce obedience, until, in the time of aẓ-Ẓāhir Baybars there rose to power a man called M.R. Qshankuz[5] (Shekanda?). He had a nephew (ibn akh), the son of his brother, by name David (Dāwūd) who vanquished him [Mrqshankuz] and took the kingdom from him. He became powerful and crossed the frontier of his kingdom near Aswān into the extreme part of the Ṣa'īd of Egypt. The above mentioned M.rq.shankuz came to aẓ-Ẓāhir Baybars in Egypt asking for help against his nephew (ibn akhīhi), the said David. [The Sultan] despatched an army to the country of the Nūba. David was defeated and escaped to the kingdom of al-Abwāb, a [p. 573] country of the Sūdān, but that king arrested him and sent him in irons to aẓ-Ẓāhir Baybars, who imprisoned him in the fortress (al-qal'a) until he died. Then M.rq.shankuz reigned without any rival in Nubia, paying the jizya every year, until the reign of al-Manṣūr Qalāwūn. Later on, during the reign of al-Manṣūr, a man called Simāmūn occupied the kingdom of Dunqula and the army of Qalāwūn invaded it in the year 680 H. (begun 22 April 1281 A.D.).

Later, under an-Nāṣir Muḥammad b. Qalāwūn, a man by name Amāy reigned, until he died in the year 716 H. [1316 A.D.]. After him his brother K.R.N.B.S. (Kerenbes?)[6] reigned in Dunqulah.

Then a man called Nashlī rose from their royal house. He fled to Egypt, embraced Islam sincerely and stayed at the court of the Sultan in Egypt. The Sultan al-Malik an-Nāṣir assigned him a revenue (rizq), and continued doing so until Kerenbes stopped paying the jizya in the year 716 H. [1316 A.D.]. The Sultan sent against Kerenbes an army accompanied by the above mentioned Nashlī, who had taken the name of 'Abdalla. Kerenbes fled to the country of al-Abwāb and 'Abdalla Nashlī reigned in the kingdom of Dongola as a Muslim and the army returned to Egypt. Al-Malik an-Nāṣir sent to the king of al-Abwāb for Kerenbes, and the king of al-Abwāb sent him to al-Malik an-Nāṣir. He [Kerenbes] embraced Islam and stayed at the court of the Sultan, while Nashlī reigned until the people of his country killed him in the year 719 H. [1319 A.D.]. Then the Sultan sent Kerenbes to reign over them. The jizya ceased being collected since their kings had become Muslims. (ibid. V, pp. 276 - 277).

[p. 574] [The author of] Al-‘Ibar said: - Then the clans (aḥjāʾ) or the Juhayna Arabs spread over the Nubian country, settled there and caused damage and destruction; the kings [of the Nubians] were unable to ward them [the Arabs] off; they therefore gave their daughters in marriage [to the Arabs] in an attempt to flatter them. Eventually, their [Nubian] kingdom collapsed. For, the [Nubian] kingdom passed to some Juhayna through the fact that their mothers [inherited the right of succession], according to the custom of these foreigners (ra'ī al-'ajam) which is to enthrone (tamlīk)[7] either the sister or the sister's son (wa-ibn al-ukht) [of the deceased king]. That is how their kingdom broke in pieces, and the Juhayna became the masters of the country. But they [the Juhayna] were incapable of ruling, because each one thought only of his own interest and they split [the kingdom] into many fractions. No vestige (rasm) of monarchic rule (mulk) remained: they became nomads (rahhāla bādiya) like the Arabs, to the present day. (ibid. V, pp. 277 - 278).

[The Awlād Kanz]

[The author of] Masālik al-Abṣār mentioned that their present king [of Dongola] was a Muslim from Awlād Kanz ad-Dawla. He said that these Awlād Kanz ad-Dawla were descendants of a family (bayt) which led revolts on several occasions. It is believed that Awlād Kanz are a branch of the Juhayna... He also mentioned in Masālik al-Abṣār that their [the Nubians'] Sultan is like one of the common folk and gives shelter to the foreign visitors in the mosque (jamiʿ) of Dunqula: he sends for them and they come to him, he treats them as guests; he, as [p. 575] well as his emirs, present them with gifts which, in most instances, consist of dikādik, which are thick tunics (aksiya), usually black in colour; sometimes he gives them a slave man or a girl as a present.

The author of Rawḍ al-Mi’ṭār mentioned that 'Amrū b. al-'Āṣ was eager to wage war against the Nūba, but he noticed that they were very skillful in shooting the eyes with arrows; therefore, he gave up and imposed upon them an annual tribute (itāwa) consisting of slaves. The kings of Egypt used to levy this tribute from them most of the time, so that the author of Masālik al-Abṣār said that in his time the Nubians had to pay annually to the kings of Egypt a fixed tribute (muqarrar) consisting of slaves (ʿabīd), girls (imāʾ) [= maidservants], spears (ḥirāb) and Nubian wild game (wuḥūsh nūbiyya).

I add: - Now, all this tribute has completely ceased [being paid]. (ibid. V, pp. 275 - 278).

[The Coming of Nubia under Jacobite Jurisdiction]

After the death of Patriarch Benjamin [661 A.D.], the [seat] of the Patriarchate remained in the sole hands of the Jacobites, who prevailed all over Egypt (Miṣr). They appointed Jacobite bishops to all their sees and sent their bishops to the Nūba and the Ḥabasha so that these became Jacobites...

In this [Patriarch Agathon's, 661 - 677 A.D.] time, the churches of the Melkites were taken over by the Jacobites... A patriarch was [later] appointed for the Melkites, after they had been without a patriarch about one hundred years, since the time of the caliphate of Omar. [But] the supreme patriarchal power (ri'āsat al-Batrak) remained in the hands of the Jacobites; it was they who sent bishops to the districts (an-nawāḥī) and [p. 376] since that time (min hunā)[8] the Nubians and chose Ḥabasha who live beyond them became Jacobites. (ibid. V, p. 314).

[The Nā’ib of Al-Abwāb]

The formula (ṣūrah) [of titles] [to use when addressing the viceroys (nuwwāb)] is the one mentioned in at-Tathqīf among the titles (alqāb) of the viceroy (Nā’ib) of al-Abwāb: ‘The Excellent (jalīl) Nā’ib, the Honoured, the Respectable, the Holy (al-qiddīs), the Spiritual (ar-rūhānī)’, and the other epithets are the same as those given to the king (mutamallik) of Sīs...

The protocol [of the king of Sīs] is the same as that mentioned in “at-Tathqīf” among the titles of the Lord of Dongola (Ṣāḥib Dunqulah): ’The Excellent Nā’ib, the Honoured, the Respectable, the Lion (al-asad), the Gallant (al-bāsil) N.N. ... Glory of the Christian Community (majd al-millat al-masīḥiyya), the Great One in the Nation of the Cross (Kabīr aṭ-ṭā’ifat aṣ-ṣalībīyya), the Shoot of the Kings and Sultans (ghars al-mulūk wa-s-salāṭīn).' (ibid. VI, p. 180).

[Samura - The Chief of the Arabs in Upper Egypt]

As for the Arabs in Upper Egypt (al-wajh al-qiblī), "at-Ta’rīf" mentioned two... the second one is Samura b. Mālik. He said: - This man commands an innumerable multitude and has considerable power. He raids the Ḥabasha and the nations of the Blacks (umam as-sūdān) and brings back spoils and captives. (ibid. VII, p. 162).

[p. 577] [The Official Correspondence with the Arab Princes of the Southern Territories]

Among those with whom official correspondence is kept, there are some who live along the routes (ṭuruqāt) which link Egypt with the countries of the Ḥabasha and others. The author of at-Ta’rīf said:- Perhaps there are also Arab nomads (ʿurbān) [who are] subjects of Egypt (al-mamālik al-maḥrūsa), but they have no fixed residence. Among them the following eight persons are mentioned. Some of them were addressed as "Throne" (majlis), some others as "Princes" (amīr):

1. Samura b. Kāmil al-'āmirī.

2. Abbād b. Qāsim.

3. Kamāl b. Suwār. He [al-'Umarī] added: - This is new in the official correspondence, [as the first letter] dates back to the first decade of Jumadā al-Ulā of the year 763 H. [February 1362 A.D.].

4. Junayd, shaykh of the Jawābra, a branch of the Hakāriyya, in the [territory of] Abwāb of Nubia (Abwāb an-Nūba). He added: - He is new in the correspondence, [the first letter] dating from the year 769 H. [= 1367 A.D.].

5. Sharīf, shaykh of the Namānima, he too in the territory of Abwāb of Nubia; his correspondence was resumed at that time.

6. 'Alī, shaykh of the Dughaym.

7. Zāmil ath-thānī.

8. Abū Muhannā al-‘Umrānī. (ibid. VIII, pp. 5-6).

[The Official Correspondence with the Four Muslim Kings of the Sūdān]

The first is the king of the Nūba. He is the Lord of the town of Dunqula. [The correspondence with him] is exhaustively dealt with in the Second Treatise (maqālah) [p. 578] of "al-Masālik wa-l-mamālik". The author of “at-Ta’rīf” said: - He has to pay a fixed annual tribute (ḥiml) imposed on him. In his country the khuṭbah is made in the name of the reigning Caliph and in the name of the Lord of Egypt.

I add: - This was true under the reign of an-Nāṣir Muḥammad Ibn Qalāwūn; this tribute (itāwa) had been imposed on them from the time of the conquest under the emirate of 'Amrū b. al-'Āṣ. Later on, it was interrupted, at times, and resumed, according to the prevailing state of obedience or rebellion. Today, Nubia is an independent kingdom. Therefore, I placed the [protocol of the] correspondence of its lord in the chapter dealing with the kings. If he is a Muslim, the correspondence with him adopts the titles shown in at-Ta'rīf: e.g. "This letter is sent to the High Throne (al-majlis al-jalīl) the Great, the Ghāzi,[9] the Fighter of the Holy War (al-mujāhid), the Helper (al-mu'ayyid), the Unique (al-awhad), the Protector, the Glory of Islam, the Ornament of Mankind, the Honour of the Fighters of the Holy War, the Column of the Kings and Sultans." This (protocol) has been quoted from Tathqīf.[10] The author (of Tathqīf) added: - I did not find any correspondence actually exchanged between the [two] parties (jamā'a). During my tenure of office no correspondence was exchanged with him. I have seen in the register, attributed to the Secretary al-'Alā'ī ibn Faḍlalla, that this is his protocol, and that after "Column of the Kings and Sultans" one must add: "God make his happiness eternal and bring him to the abodes of His Will!". Then he added: - The correspondence with him is [written on] [p. 579] paper of ordinary size and the appellative used is: "His brother (akhūhu)". It is also well known that the titles (alqāb) roust appear in the address (ʿunwān), together with his specific title "Lord of Dongola" (Ṣāḥib Dunqula). (ibid. VIII, pp. 7-8).

[The Official Correspondence with the Kings of the Infidels (Kuffār) who Dwell South of Egypt]

The second is the Lord of Dunqula (Ṣāḥib Dunqula). It has already been mentioned in al-Masālik wa-l-mamālik that Dunqula is the capital of the kingdom of the Nūba and that in the beginning its king was a Christian from the Nubian people, and their belief was that of the Jacobites; probably some Muslim Arabs overpowered [Nubia] and occupied it. We have already explained how one should write to the Lord of Nubia if he is a Muslim. But if he is a Christian, the author of Tathqīf said that he is addressed in this way: "To the Nā’ib (Representative), the Honoured, the Respectable, the Lion, the Gallant N.N. etc." His address and specific title is: "The Nā'ib [who resides] at Dunqula." (ibid. VIII, pp. 41 - 42).

[Letters Originating from the Kings of Ḥabasha]

The custom concerning them was that they be written on paper of a size (qatʿ) ... [lacuna] ... in the language ... [lacuna] ... I did not find any copy of this correspondence except one letter, addressed to the king aẓ-Ẓāhir Baybars together with correspondence to and from the Lord of Yemen, which I picked out from some registers (muṣsanafāt).[11]

[p. 580] I add: - The reply to this letter has been given above. It was written by qāḍī Muhīy ad-dīn ibn 'Abd aẓ-Ẓāhir [and is found] in the Treatise (Kalām) dealing with the letters despatched by the court of the Sultan to the infidels of the southern lands. But the contents of the said letter do not agree with his claims of grandeur. In fact, were he [the king of Ḥabasha] not so dependant [on Egypt] so that he accepts the archbishop sent him by the Patriarch of Egypt, his pride would have exalted him to the stars, in his letter; but this may have happened in the past. (ibid. VIII, pp. 119 - 120).

[Recommendations (Waṣāyā) to the Patriarchs[12]]

The Secretary (kātib), when sending letters to holders of any office, should add some appropriate orders (waṣāyā) according to each post. (ibid. XI, p. 92).

If [the addressee] is the Patriarch of the Melkite Christians (Baṭraq an-naṣārā al-malikāniyya),[13] he [the secretary] should enjoin him to observe his religious law (shir'atu-hu) in matters of mercy, and to give no shelter to foreigners (al-ghurabāʾ) who come to him, if they are suspects. He should neither pass on to him any information he may have heard from the Sultan, nor conceal any letter that he [the Patriarch] may receive from a king, nor send a reply to the same: He should keep away from the sea (yatajannab al-baḥr) and from anything coming from overseas, about which suspicions could arise.

[p. 581] If the addressee is the Patriarch of the Jacobites (Baṭraq al-ya'āqiba), instead of warning him to keep away from the sea, [the secretary] should warn him to beware of anything that might come secretly from the Ḥabasha (min tulqā’ al-Ḥabasha). (ibid. XI, p. 100).

This is the copy of a decree (tawqīʿ)[14] to the Patriarch of the Melkites: [omitted].

You should strongly advise those Christians who belong to your community (jama'āti-ka) and dwell in the frontier towns (thughūr), not to engage in any suspicious affair or in any doubtful deal, nor to approach any foreign traveller (gharīb) who belongs to their [Melkites] own people (jinsi-him): A standing warning is that they [Melkites] should never quarrel with any messenger (rasūl) arriving, or any envoy leaving. (ibid. XI, pp. 292 - 293).

This is an order (waṣiyya) to the Patriarch of the Melkites as recorded by at-Ta'rīf:

... [omitted] He should absolutely beware (iyyā-hu wa iyyā-hu) of offering shelter to any suspect foreigner coming to him, or of concealing any affair [of a man] who arrives whether from near or from far. [He should be solemnly warned against concealing any letter that comes to him from a king and also] should be solemnly warned against writing to any kind or doing anything similar. Let him avoid [contact with] the sea (yatajannab al-baḥr) and take this matter seriously, for it could cause him an irreparable loss; or if he receives anything from the wing of a crow, for "it will crow bad omen to him" ... (ibid. XI, p. 293).[15]

[p. 582] If the order (waṣiyya) is addressed to the Patriarch of the Jacobites, ... the words "Let him avoid the sea" should be replaced by the following: "Let him avoid what may cause him trouble and beware of what may come to him secretly from the side of al-Ḥabasha; if possible he should even avoid breathing the breeze of the south. Let him know well that that matter, though [apparently] safe, is dangerous' [lit.: "though plentiful, is short"] and that he should not rely upon the power of the Blacks (su'dud as-sūdān), because Allah created the sign of the night to be dark and the sign of the day to be bright.” (ibid. XI, pp. 404 - 405).


[Quoting Ibn al-'Amīd] Dioscorus was ordered to leave [the Council of Chalcedon] and went to Jerusalem (al-Quds) and stayed there. He gathered followers from the inhabitants of Jerusalem and Palestine, from the people of Miṣr and Alexandria. He was followed also by the Nūba and the Ḥabasha, who have remained in the same way until today. (ibid. XIII, pp. 279 - 280).

[The Formula of Oath of the Nubian King][16]

This is the formula (nuskhat yamīn) of the oath of allegiance taken by the king of Nubia to the Sultan al-Malik al-Manṣūr Qalāwūn on his confirmation (istiqrār) as Representative (nā’ib) of the Sultan in Nubia. "By God! By God! By God! By the truth of the Holy Trinity and [p. 583] the pure Gospel! By the Pure (ṭāhira) Lady, the Virgin Mother of the Light! By the Baptism (ma’mūdiyya), the Prophets, the Heavenly Messengers (rusul), the Apostles (hawāriyyīn), the Saints (qiddīsīn) and the innocent Martyrs. If I do not keep [my oath], may I deny Christ as Judas (Yudās) denied Him; may I utter against Him such words as the Jews say and may I believe about Him what the Jews believe. If I do not keep [my oath], I will become another Judas who pierced Christ (sic!) with a lance. From this very moment, my will (niyya) and my intention (ṭawiyya) are totally devoted to the Sultan, the King N.N. (fulān). I shall direct all my efforts to do what pleases the Sultan. As long as I shall be his Representative (nā‘ib) I shall never discontinue the payment of what has been imposed on me for every year, i.e. after the division of the country, all the revenues which were collected by the Nubian kings my predecessors: one half of [these] revenues will be given, free of any deduction, to the Sultan, and the other half will be reserved to the population (ʿimāra) of the country and for the upkeep against any enemy (ḥifẓi-ha min 'aduw) who might attack it. I shall also pay such and such amount ... every year. I shall impose on every adult person (al-'uqalā’ al-bālighīn) among my subjects in my country one dinar per head. I shall not permit the use of any weapons (silāb), nor shall I conceal them or allow anybody to conceal them. If I transgress all these obligations or any part of them, may I be rejected by God Almighty, by Christ and by the Pure Lady; may I reject the Christian religion and pray turned in a direction other then the east; may I break the Cross and share the beliefs of the Jews.

Whatever news I may hear, bad or good, I shall report to the Sultan, at once. I shall be concerned solely with his interests. I shall be loyal to him who is loyal [p. 584] to the Sultan and be an enemy to all his enemies. May God be the Guarantor of what I say!" (ibid. XIII, p. 290)

[The Sultan's Mail (Barīd)]

Beyond Qōs [the mail service] branches off into several districts (marākiz): the routes part, one towards Aswān and to the country of the Nūba, and another towards 'Aydhāb and Sawākin. He who wants to go to Aswān, mounts camels (hujn) from Qōs to Aswān, thence to the Nūba country. He who wants to go to 'Aydhāb goes from Qōs to the Hills of Qifṭ, near Qōs. I add: - Then he traverses deserts and mountains from the Hills of Qifṭ as far as a water [station] called Layqa (?) (Layṭa?, Dayqa) at one day's distance from the Hills.

There is a spring, but the water is not flowing. From there he goes to a water station called ad-Darīh near the emerald mine (ma'dan az-zumurrud); there is round a little spring where he can find water according to God’s will: the water never increases nor decreases. Then he goes to Humaythira, where there is the tomb of Sīdī-Abū-l-Ḥasan ash-Shādhilī: there is found a spring from which water is drawn. Thence he goes to 'Aydhāb, which is a small village on the northwest coast of the Sea of Qulzum. Near it there is a spring from which water can be drawn. The estimated total distance between the Hills and 'Aydhāb is about ten days' if there are loads; but in the Masālik al-abṣār the author said that the route to 'Aydhāb is [the one that starts] from the road junction near Aswān and then continues through the country of the Arabs called Banī 'Āmir to Sawākin, which is the main village on the sea coast. Its chieftain is an Arab. The letters of the Sultan are brought to him as described in the previous chapter dealing with the mail. (ibid. XIV, p. 373).

  1. A quotation from Ibn Sa’īd al-Andalusī (q.v.).
  2. The passage which follows may have some connection with Nubian archaeology: “The insignia of the [Muslim] kings (al-alāt al-mulūkīyya)… The umbrella (mizallah): its Persian name is al-Khepez (?), it consists of a dome (qubba) and the bird (at-tā’ir). The dome is made of yellow silk fabrics and carried over the head of the king, on a pole held by an emir who rides behind the king and protects him when he rides in the sun during solemn processions. We shall describe it better, when we shall talk about the organisation of the Fatimid dynasty. (Cairo II, p. 133). Cf. also Monneret, Storia, p. 178 s.
  3. The other sea ports, were Kosair, Tor Sinā and Suez.
  4. The other sūdān kingdoms are: III – The kingdom of Barnū (Cairo V, p. 279), IV – Kānim (ibid., p. 280), V – Mallī and its dependencies (muḍafat) viz. Sūsū, Ghāna, Kawkaw, and Takrūr (ibid., pp. 282-286), VI - Ḥabasha (Ethiopia) (ibid., pp. 302-227).
  5. Only the last two vowels are notated in Arabic. No doubt this is the same person whom Maqrīzī calls Sh.K.N.D.H (Shekandah) and Ibn Khaldūn M.R.T.Sh.K.N. (Mertshekin ?).
  6. Printed without vowels in the Arabic edition. But Monneret (Storia, p. 219) proved from a Coptic inscription that his name was “Kudanbes”.
  7. Or: “to make one in possession”.
  8. Or: “therefore”.
  9. Lit.: “the Champion (of Islam)”, a title currently given to sultans.
  10. The first of the list is the Lord of Amḥarah (VIII, pp. 39-41).
  11. Qalqashandī wrote the following note about the Ethiopian King [Dawit I, 1380-1411 A.D., abdicated]: “I can add that al-Ḥaṭī, who is the king of the Christian Ḥabasha, has invaded most of the [neighbouring] kingdoms since the year 800 [=1396 A.D.]… and that he forced the majority of their populations to embrace Christianity. The only kings who resisted so far are Ibn Mismār, whose realm is situated opposite the Dahlak island, but is under the authority of the Ethiopian king…, and the Sultan Sa’d ad-Dīn, the Lord of Zayla’ and Dependencies who does not recognise the Christian king at all, but stands in arms against him. (V, 335, 337).
  12. These and the other letters send to the Oriental Christian Patriarchs mirror the situation of the time of the Crusades.
  13. Here (and XI, p. 85) Qalqashandī wrote “al-malikāniyya” (with vowels notated), further on (XI, p. 392 ff) he wrote “batriqiyya an-naṣārā al-malikiyya” meaning the same as “malikāniyya”.
  14. This decree if quoted without its date.
  15. More specimens of letters to the Patriarch of the Jacobites are recorded by Qalqashandī (XI, pp. 293-397). Some letters contain recommendations about charities, mercy, the Prophet and other theological controversies with the Moslems.
  16. This seems to be a summary of the formula which Nuwayrī (q.v.) quoted in full.