(d. 1332 A.D.)
Shibab ad-dīn Aḥmad ‘Abd al-Wahhāb an-Nuwayrī. An Egyptian who was sometime inspector of the Sultan’s army.
EI (s-v.); GAL 2, 139 s
Nihayat al-arab fī funūn al-adab (An Encyclopaedia), 30 vols.
MS: Paris, Bibl. Nat., MS ar. 1578 and 1579; Cairo, Dār al-Kutub (Bibl. Nat.), MS 549: 30 vols. Ed.: (partly) Dār al-Kutub, Cairo 1923 (up to vol. XVIII).
Exc.: (from the Cairo MS) Mus'ad, Al-Maktaba 217-235.
T.: Paris MSS, Mus'ad and Cairo ed. A: 0
[p. 468] [Geographical Data]
In the country of the Nūba there is Dunqula, and in the country of the Sūdān, Ghāna. Then [the First Climate] reaches the ocean. Some scientists are of the opinion that the inhabited Earth begins at Lat. 12° 45’. The territory between this latitude and the equator is inhabited by tribes of Blacks (Sūdān) who live a life very similar to that of wild animals. The natives of that territory are black, but [their land] is little populated because of the excessive heat.
... As for the Second Climate, it begins in the country of Sīn... it includes the kingdom (mamlaka) of the Ḥabasha, the land (arḍ) of the Beja, Aswān, Qōs and the Upper Ṣa'īd. (Cairo I, pp. 209 - 210).
Beginning from Qulzum, the coast turns southwards, passes by Qosair, which is the port of Qōs, then 'Aydhāb, the port of the Beja. (ibid. I, p. 242).
In this sea [Red Sea] there are fifteen islands four of which are inhabited, viz. the Dahlak [Archipelago], which measures 200 miles all around, and is inhabited by a race of Ḥabasha (Ḥubush), moslems; the island of Sawākin which is less than one-mile in length and width; between this island and the Ethiopian Sea, the water is so shallow that it can be waded across; the natives [of Sawākin] are a Beja tribe called al-Khasid, who are Moslems and have a king of their own; the island of Nu'man where a kind of dwarf people (nuways) dwell and live on the flesh of the sea-turtles; the island of as-Sāmir inhabited by a branch of Samaritan Jews who live a very miserable life. (ibid. I, p. 244).
On the side of Upper Egypt, the export trade tends towards the countries of the Nūba, the Beja, the Ḥabasha, Ḥejāz and Yemen. (ibid. I, p. 354).
[p. 469] [The story of the Conquest of Sawākin]
Its conquest took place in the year 604 H. [b. 13 Oct. 1265 A.D.]. The cause was that its Lord (ṣāḥib) 'Alamaddīn Asbaghānī was molesting the merchants, and seized the inheritance of those merchants who had died at sea and prevented their children from being heirs. He had received letters [from the Sultan's Court] about this affair, warning him not to molest the merchants, but it was all useless. The emir 'Alamaddīn, the Khāzindār, governor (mutawallī) of the districts of Qōs and Akhmim received orders to march against him. ['Alamaddīn sent] a letter announcing that he had arrived at the frontier post (thaghr) of 'Aydhāb; he had sent a force (ʿaskar) to Sawākin and that the Lord of Sawākin had fled. The aforesaid 'Alamaddīn went [by sea] to that town, sailing from 'Aydhāb, in ten days. He had with him more than forty boats, big and small; the artillery (muqātila) had arrived from Qosair in five barges (?) (kalālīn). The emir entered Sawākin, stayed there and inspected it carefully, then he returned to Qōs. When he left Sawākin, the Lord of this town came back, but the soldiers who had remained there fought fiercely against him, so that he withdrew from the town. (Mus'ad, pp. 217 - 218).
[p. 470] [The Story of Invasion (ghazwa) of Nubia]
In the year 674 H. [b. 27 June 1275 A.D.], Dāwūd, king (mutamallik = Regent? of Nubia) carried out audacious raids (ta'addā): he advanced towards Aswān and burnt the sāqiyas. Before this raid he had attacked 'Aydhāb and committed hideous actions. [The emir Alā' ad-dīn, the khāzindār] wālī of Qōs marched against him but could not catch up with him. He, however, defeated his representative (nā’ib) who had his residence at Daw and was also called 'Lord of Mountain' (ṣāḥib al-jabāl) and captured his men: he sent them to the Sultan. When the Sultan returned from Syria, he ordered that they be cut asunder. The Sultan ordered the emir Sayf ad-dīn Sonqor, the ustādh dār, and the emir ‘Izz ad-dīn Aybek al-Afram, emir jandār, to wage war [against the Nubians] and assigned to them a detachment of the army consisting of troops (ajnāb) of the provinces (wilāyāt) and bedouins (ʿurbān) of Upper Egypt. The sister's son (ibn ukht) of the king of Nubia, whose name was M R M Shi S K D whom king Dāwūd had dispossessed of [his accession to] the kingdom, had come [p. 471] [to Cairo]. [The Sultan] sent out the army (al-‘askar al-manṣūr) and their auxiliaries. They left on the 1st day of Sha'bān of this year [20 January 1276 A.D.] for Nubia. When they were about to enter the country of the Blacks (sūdān), the natives, mounted on tawny dromedaries and armed with spears (ḥirāb), without any other protection than black tunics called dikādik, attacked them. The array fought a battle in which the natives were defeated, many were slain and a greater number were captured. The emir ‘Izz ad-dīn stormed the fortress of Daw and took many prisoners; the emir Shams ad-dīn marched on his footsteps sowing destruction and exterminating those who remained in the country.
[On the 8th of Shawwal of this year [24 March 1276 A.D.] a letter was received at the Court from emir Shams ad-dīn announcing that] he had landed on the island of Mikā'īl, at the head of the cataract of Nubia a place full of rock outcrops in the middle of the river.
They killed some men and others they took prisoners. The nā’ib of the fortress of Daw, who had been appointed in place of the one who had been sawn in two - fled to the islands. The emir gave him a safe conduct and he swore allegiance to M Sh K D (Meshked?) who was advancing with the army. Thus the nā'ib remained in his position as long as the kept his allegiance. The emir ‘Izz ad-dīn waded across the river to a tower (burj) and laid siege to it. Once taken, he killed 250 people [p. 472] (nafr). The army continued its advance and caught up with king Dāwūd. The carnage continued until all were killed: no one survived except those who threw themselves into the river. King Dāwūd took flight, but his brother Sankuā was captured. A company of the Sultan’s army was sent out [to search for Dāwūd]. They marched for three days. They caught the king’s mother (umm al-malik) and his sister. They imposed on king M Sh K D, who was with the [Egyptian] army, a tax to be paid every year; the Nubians were offered the choice: either to embrace Islam or to pay the jizya, or to be killed; they chose to pay the jizya: one dinar per head. The church of Sūs, which king Dāwūd boasted that it reminded him what he had to do, was burnt down. Dāwūd had also built a place (makān) which he called "‘Aydhāb". He had built [it] with the labour of the Moslems; in that [place] there were houses and churches (kanā’is) and a square (mīdān) where the Moslems killed at 'Aydhāb and the prisoners seized at Aswan were portrayed. All those paintings were erased. All the private property of king Dāwūd and his relatives was also ordered to be handed over. The army stationed at Dongola for 17 days, until the country was quiet and the Moslem prisoners who had been seized at ‘Aydhāb and Aswān were released. M Sh K D was crowned according to their custom and enthroned in place of the former king; he took the solemn oath (al-yumn al-'aẓīma) according to their customs - to pay the tax. This was the formula:
"By God! By God! By God! By the truth of the Holy Trinity, by the Holy Gospel, by the Pure (ṭāhirah) Lady the Virgin, Mother of the Light, by the Baptism, by the [p. 473] Prophets (anbiyāʾ), the [heavenly] Messengers (mursalīn), the Apostles (hawārīyyīn), the Saints (qiddīsīn), the innocent martyrs (shuhadāʾ). If I do not keep my oath, may I deny the Messiah (masīh), as Judas (Yūdās) did; may I utter against Him such words as the Jews (Yahūd) say; may I believe [about Christ] what they believe. If I do not keep my oath, may I become another Judas, who pierced (sic!) the Messiah with the lance as the Jews pierced Him. Surely, I make the intention (niyya) and firm resolution (ṭawiyya) henceforth, from this very moment and this very hour, to devote myself, to the Sultan al-Malik aẓ-Ẓāhir Rukn ad-dunyā wa-d-dīn Baybars. I shall direct all my efforts and resources to accomplish such actions as may please him. So long as I shall be his nā'ib in this country, I shall never suspend [the payment of] what has been imposed on me every year to come, i.e., besides the division (mushāṭirah) of the kingdom into two halves, such part [of revenues] as was collected by my predecessors the kings of Nubia- One half of the revenues (al-muṭahaṣṣal) will belong to our lord the Sultan, free from all fraudulent deduction, and the other half will be devoted to the reconstruction (?) (ʿimārah) of the country so as to protect it against any enemy who might come to attack it. I undertake to give every year three elephants, three giraffes, five she-panthers, one hundred tawny dromedaries and four hundred oxen without blemish. I shall impose on every one" of my subjects (ra'īyyah), i.e. those who are of age (al-‘uqalā’ al-bālighīn), a poll-tax of one dinar. The districts of al-‘Alī and al-Jabāl will be given to the Sultan as his property. In addition, all the belongings of David king of Nubia, all the property of his brother Sankwā, of his mother (umm), his relatives and the soldiers of his army who were killed by the swords of the victorious army, shall I send to His Majesty's court (al-bāb al-'ālī), [p. 474] with someone [appointed] to watch over it, without keeping anything, however, little or great in value it may be I shall conceal nothing, nor shall I permit anybody to hide any part of it. If I transgress all the obligations which have been imposed on me or any part thereof, may I be excluded from the communion of God Almighty, from the Messiah, and of the Pure Lady; may I renounce the Christian religion and pray facing a direction other than the Orient, may I deny the Cross and become a follower of the beliefs of the Jews. In addition, I shall not allow any of the Arab bedouins (ʿurbān), to enter the kingdom of Nubia; any such [bedouin] whom I may find, shall I seize and send to the court of His Majesty. Any news, good and useful (sārra wa-nā fi’a), that I may happen to hear shall I communicate to our lord the Sultan immediately. I shall never settle solely, by my own decision, any affair. I shall be the friend of the friends of the Sultan, and the enemy of his enemies. May God be witness and guarantor of what I say!"
The natives too swore that they would obey the representative (nā’ib) of the Sultan, that is king M Sh K D who had his residence at Dunqula (al-muqim bi-Dunqula) as well as to any other representative (nā’ib) of the Sultans "I shall never give him false information, nor shall I conceal from him any useful information. Whatever news, good or bad, I shall report to his nā'ib. If I shall notice that his nā'ib king M Sh K D is acting against the interests of the Sultan, I shall obey him no more, but I shall inform of it the Sultan, at once. I shall not seek refuge [in the land] under Dāwūd, nor shall I dwell with him, nor pass on to [p. 475] him any information whatsoever, nor recognize him as king. I accept to pay one dinar per year, per head, for all the years to come as long as I shall live."
The array returned [home] bringing spoils from Nubia as we have already mentioned, i.e. what was found in the church of Sūs (kanīsah Sūs): crosses, gold and other objects for the value totalling 4640 1/4 dinars; and silver vases to the value of 8660 dinars. The slaves were 700. As for king Dāwūd, he fled towards al-Abwāb, but the Lord of al-Abwāb, who was king Ador (A D R) fought him, killed his [Dāwūd's] son, seized Dāwūd and sent him to the Sultan. (Paris MS 1578, fol. 88 v).
[The Story of the Invasions (ghazwāt) of Nubia since the Rise of Islam]
The first invasion of Nubia was carried out in the year 31 of the Prophet's Hegira [652 A.D.] 'Abdalla b. Sa'd invaded it with 5,000 horsemen. On that day Mo’āwia b. Hudayj, Barha (?) aṣ-ṣabbāḥ were wounded in the eyes. They nick-named the Nubians: "pupil smiters". 'Abdalla b. Sa'd made a truce with them after reaching Dongola. The poet said about that day:
'Never did my eye watch a day like Dongola's (Dumqalah). The horses advancing in the early morning under heavy breast-plates; all around me [my eye] sees only warriors fighting, as if nobody else existed.’
Yazīd b. Abī Ḥabīb related: The agreement (muwādi'ah) made between the people of Maqurr (sic!) and the Nūba is not an agreement of reconciliation (muwādi'at hudna) but a truce of security (hudnat amān): we give them some wheat and lentils and they give us slaves (raqīq); they do not mind whether their slaves are bought.
[p. 476] The baqṭ imposed on the Nūba consisted of a specific amount to be paid every year: i.e. 400 slaves and one giraffe, of which 360 slaves were given to the Caliph (amīr al-mu’aminīn), 40 to his representative (nā’ib) in Egypt. To the delegates [of the Nubian king], when they arrived with the whole consignment of the baqṭ, were released 1,300 ardeb of wheat, 300 of which were reserved for the delegates.
Al-Balādhurī, in the "Book of the Conquests" (Kitāb al-Futuḥat), said that the tribute (muqarrar) imposed on the Nubians was recorded as being 400 heads, and, in exchange, they receive food-stuffs to the same value. The Abbasid Caliph al-Mahdī imposed on them [the tax of] 360 slaves and one giraffe. Later on, in the time of Ḥishām 'Abdalmalik b. Marwān (723-742 A.D.), Nubia was raided again, but not conquered: there was only one battle of pillage and the capture of prisoners.
Other raids, after this, were made under the governorship of Yazīd b. Ḥātim b. Qubaysa b. al-Muhallab b. Abī Ṣufra (Ṣaqra) [762-770 A.D.], the raid being under the leadership of ‘Abd al-A’la b. Ḥāmid; then [again] under Abū Manṣūr Makīn (Tekīn) the Turk [910-915 A.D.], who raided Nubia and Barqa during one year, but did not occupy Nubia. There was a raid under Kāfūr the Ikhshīd. The last was the greatest army of Blacks (sūdān) ever seen for which the poet said:
‘When Kāfūr invaded Dongola, early in the morning he went up with an army so big as to cover the length and width of the earth; the Black (aswad) [Kāfūr himself] invaded the Blacks (sūdān) in the brightness of the morning. Yet, when the two armies clashed in battle, the earth became dark like the night.’
Nāṣir ad-dawla b. Ḥamdān [1066 A.D.] [also] raided Nubia, but the Sūdān crushed him, plundered his army [p. 477] (jaysh) and took all his equipment. This happened in the year 459 H. [b. 22 November 1066 A.D.] under the reign of al-Mustanṣir, the Alide Caliph.
Afterwards, it was raided by Shams ed-dawla Tūrānshāh b. Ayūb, the brother of al-Malik an-Nāṣir Salahaddīn Yūsuf, in the year 568 H. (b. 23 August 1172 A.D.), but he went only as far as Ibrīm. All the above mentioned (campaigns) were just raids, the true (permanent) occupation (naftatih) being only the one we are going to describe now.
[p. 478] [The First and Second Invasions (ghazwa) in Nubia]
The first invasion [of Nubia] took place in the year 686 H. [1287 A.D.], when the Sultan al-Malik al-Manṣūr [Qalāwūn] sent there the emir ‘Alamaddīn Sanjar al-Masrūrī, known under the name of al-Khayyāt, mutawallī of Cairo, and the emir 'Izz ad-dīn al-Kūrānī. [They departed from the court, of the Sultan on Monday 6th of Dhū-l-hijja of that year [8 January 1288 A.D.]]. The Sultan sent with them a detachment (jamā’a) of the troops (ajnād) of the wilāyāt of Upper Egypt, al-qurāghulāmiyyah (?). In addition, the emir 'Izz ad-dīn Aydamer aṣ-Ṣayfī, the silāḥdār, governor of the districts of Qōs, went with his own army and the Sultan's own [white] slaves (mamālīk) who were under his command and were stationed in the districts of Qōs, and other troops from Qōs, and bedouins of the various regions around (aqālīm), viz.: the Awlād Abū Bakr, Awlād Omer, Awlād Sharīf, Awlād Shaybān Awlād al-Kanz and a party of Bedouins from Burullus and a party of Banī Hilāl.
The emir 'Alamaddīn al-Khayyāt with one half of the army marched on the west bank, the emir ‘Izz ad-dīn Aydamer with the other half marched on the east bank, the side where Dongola is built. The king of the Nubians (mutamallik an-nūba) at that time was Semāmūn, prouder and more skillful and courageous than any of his peers. When the army arrived at the frontier, Semāmūn ordered the country to be evacuated. He sent instruction to Jorays (Jurīs or Jurays), his nā’ib in the islands of Mikā'īl and the district of Daw, who was the governor of this wilāya among the Nūba and whose title was 'Lord [p. 479] of the Mountain' (Ṣāḥib al-jabal): the king ordered him to evacuate the country under his jurisdiction before the advancing army, and they withdrew, centre after centre, until they joined the king of Nubia at Dongola. He ['Alam ad-dīn] remained there till emir 'Izz ad-dīn and his men arrived, then they attacked and fought hardly on the battlefield; Semāmūn was defeated and many of his men were slain; on the side of the Moslems only a few were slain for God's sake. After Semāmūn was defeated, the army pursued him 15 days’ distance upstream of Dongola, caught up with Jorays and captured him; they also captured the cousin of the Regent of Dongola (ibn khalāt mutamallik D. = the son of the sister of the king's mother) who is the first of the princes (aṣhāb) with the right of succession to the kingdom. The emir 'Izz ad-dīn established the son of the sister of the king to become king and confirmed Jorays in his capacity of nā'ib of the king and assigned to them a body-guard from the regular army. He imposed on them a tax (qaṭī’a) to be paid annually to the court of the Sultan. Then the army returned with abundant spoils of slaves (raqīq), horses, camels, oxen and clothes. [The arrival of the army at the court of the Sultan on the Qala’at al-Jabāl was on Monday 9th of Rajab of the year 687 H. [10 August 1288 A.D.]].
After the army left Nubia for Egypt and Semāmūn had ascertained that it had left, he returned to Dongola, fought those who were found there, defeated them and regained the country. The king who had been appointed by the Sultan, Jorays and the garrison who had been detached [to Dongola] arrived at the Sultan's court and informed him about what Semāmūn had done. The Sultan was extremely angry because of this and despatched a numerous army. (Paris MS 1578, fol. 113 r - 114 v).
[p. 480] [The Third Military Expedition (tajrid al-jaysh) to Nubia]
The Sultan sent the emir 'Izz ad-dīn Aybek al-Afram, the jāndār, to Nubia accompanied by the following emirs: the emir Sayf ad-dīn Qipjāq al-Manṣūrī, the emir Sayf ad-dīn Boktemer the jūkandār, the emir Aydemer, governor of the districts of Qōs. He also despatched with them the following corps (aṭlāb) from the [troops of the] emirs: a corps (ṭulb) of the emir Zayn ad-dīn Ketbogha al-Manṣūrī, one of the emir Badraddīn Bayderā, one of the emir Sayf ad-dīn Bahādir, the head of the regiment (nawba) of the jamdāriyyah, one of emir Alameddīn at-Tabreṣ, one troop of emir Shams ad-dīn Sonqor at-Ṭawīl and the remainder of the soldiery of the districts (marākiz) of Upper Egypt and the lieutenants (nuwāb), of the governors. Of the bedouin corps in Egypt, both in the south and in the north, he despatched a troop of forty thousand footmen. Together with them he sent the Regent of Nubia (mutamallik an-nūba) and his nā'ib Jorays. The army left the Sultan's court on Tuesday 8th Shawwal (6)88 [= 25 October 1289 A D.] and was followed up by grenade boats (harārīq), big and small boats carrying provisions and coats-of-mail (zardakhānāh) and the equipment (athqāl): altogether more than 500 boats. When the expeditionary force arrived at the frontier post of Aswān, the Nubian king died and was buried there. The emir 'Izz ad-dīn al-Afram informed the Sultan about this and the Sultan sent one of the children of the sister of king Dāwūd, a man who had been at the Sultan's court. He ordered that this [man] should be enthroned as king of Nubia. Travelling with the horses of the [p. 481] mail service, he reached Aswān before the army moved to the camp. When he arrived, the army divided into two halves, as customary. The emirs 'Izz ad-dīn al-Afram and Sayf ad-dīn Qipjāq with one half [of the army] and one half of the bedouins (ʿarab) marched on the west bank, the emirs 'Izz ad-dīn Aydemer, governor of Qōs and Sayf ad-dīn Boktemer the jūkandār with the other half of the bedouins (ʿurbān), on the east bank. They instructed Jorays, nā'ib of Nubia, to open the way, station after station, taking with him the Awlād al-Kanz emir of Aswān, to reassure the natives, protect them and prepare the halting places for the army. Whenever the army arrived at a village (balad), the old men (mashā'ikh) and the chief men (a'yān) of the place came out to meet them, kissed the ground before the emirs and received a safe conduct and remained in their villages; this was done [in all villages] from Daw to the islands (jazā'ir) of Mikā'īl, and this is the territory under the Jurisdiction of Jorays, the ‘Lord of the Mountain’. Outside the Jurisdiction of Jorays, the population had been evacuated in obedience to the king of Nubia. There the army plundered all that they found, killed those who had remained behind, pastured their horses on the sown fields, burnt the sāqyas and the houses as far as the town of Dongola. They found that the king had fled and had evacuated the population. The emirs found nobody except an old man and an old woman; they enquired from them about the king and were told that he had gone towards an island lying in the middle of the Nile, 15 days' Journey from Dongola, and the size of the island was three days' journey in length. The emir 'Izz ad-dīn with his men continued their pursuit up to the said island, but neither the grenade boats nor any other were able to accompany them, because of the many rocks cropping up from the river bed. As they arrived at a place [p. 482] opposite the island, they noticed several Nubian boats and a multitude of people, and they asked about the king. They were told that he actually was on the said island. They made proposals to him to swear allegiance [to the Sultan] and come out to them, offering him a safe conduct, but the king refused. The army camped there for three days. The Nubians told the king that the army probably had sent for the boats (marākib) and the grenade boats (harārīq) to cross over and attack; then he withdrew from the island and went to al-Abwāb, three days' distance from the island and out of the territory of his kingdom. Then the Sawākirah - that is to say the Nubian princes - abandoned him and so did the bishop (usquf) and the priests (qusūs), who took with them the silver cross which is placed on the king's head and the crown of the kingdom (tāj al-mamlaka); they asked for a safe conduct and swore allegiance. 'Izz ad-dīn granted them the safe conduct and presented the nobles (akābir) with robes of honour. They returned to Dongola with him, accompanied by a great multitude.
When they arrived, the emirs 'Izz ad-dīn al-Afram and Sayf ad-dīn Qipjāq crossed to the east bank without soldiers [and held a meeting of emirs at Dongola]. The army in full war apparel paraded on both banks, of the Nile, the harārīq boats in the river were decorated and the zarrāqūn [grenadiers] made a show of their fire-works with nafṭ. A banquet was held for the brethren (ikhwān) in the church of Osūs (Isūs), which is the largest church (kanīsa) of Dongola. When the banquet was over, they proclaimed king the one who had been sent from the Sultan's court and crowned him and made him [p. 483] swear loyalty to the Sultan, and the people to swear loyalty to this king. They imposed on him the customary baqṭ, which is a tribute (muqarrar). A garrison from the army was detached to stay with him, and Ruknaddīn Baybars al-‘Azzī, one of the mamālīk of the emir 'Izz ad-dīn, governor of Qōs, was appointed commander of the garrison. The army returned and arrived at Cairo in the month of Jumadā al-wulā of the year 689 H. [b. 2 May 1290 A.D.]: their absence from the time they left the frontier post of Aswān until they returned thither, was six months. They carried off a large amount of booty.
After the army left Dongola, Semāmūn came back by night, called at the door of every prince (sawkarī) personally and asked him to come out. Every prince who came out and saw him, kissed the ground before him and swore allegiance. Before sunrise, all the Nubian army (al-'askar an-nūbī) had joined him. He went with them to the palace of the king (dār al-malik), arrested the king, sent for Ruknaddīn Baybars and asked him to go back to his Master to avoid clashes. Ruknaddīn and his men left for Qōs and Semāmūn reigned at Dongola. He seized the king established by the [Sultan's] army, stripped him of all his garments, had a bull slaughtered and its skin cut into strips; he fastened the king with the strips still raw then tied him on a log and when the strips dried, he died. He also executed Jorays.
Then Semāmūn wrote to the Sultan al-Malik al-Manṣūr to make peace with him: he asked for pardon and promised to pay the regular baqṭ every year and even more. He sent as a present a large number of slaves (raqīq) and other gifts which were received about the end of the life of the Sultan al-Manṣūr. But then the Sultan began to be worried by another trouble much greater than the [p. 484] one he had had over Nubia. Semāmūn remained in possession of the kingdom until the time of Sultan al-'Ādil Zayn Ketbogha [1294 - 1296 A.D.]. To this reign pertain the chronicles which we shall mention, if God pleases.
[Another Military Expedition (tajrīd al-'askar) to Nubia: The Story of King Abdalla Barshanbu and his Death]
In the month of Rajab of the year 716 H. [September 1316 A.D.], it was decided to send to Nubia a number of emirs, viz. 'Izz ad-dīn Aybek Jaharkī 'Abd al-Malik, the Commandant-in-chief of the army. Ṣalāḥ ad-dīn Ṭarkhān, son of the late emir Badr ad-dīn Baysarī, 'Ala ad-dīn 'Alī as-Sāqī, Sayf ad-dīn Qayran al-Hisami, each with one-half of their troops. It was decided that they would leave during the last decade of Sha'ban [7-17 November 1316 A.D.]. They marched on parade in Cairo with their troops on Monday 23rd of Sha'ban [11 November] of the same year. They had in their expedition Sayf ad-dīn 'Abdalla Barshanbū, the Nubian, who was the son of the sister of king Dāwūd of Nubia. He had been brought up at the Sultan's Court by some mamālīk of the Sultan. The Sultan [Nāṣir] thought it advisable at that time to nominate him king [of Nubia] to rule his own countrymen.
No sooner had this news reached the ears of king Kerenbes, the Regent (mutamallik) of Nubia, than he sent the son of his sister Kanz ad-dawla b. Shujā’ ad-dīn Nasr b. Fakhr ad-dīn Mālik b. al-Kanz, to the Sultan's court asking His Majesty kindly to appoint him as successor to the Nubian throne, "for" - he said "if it is the will of your Majesty to appoint a Moslem to rule Nubia, this man is actually a Moslem, son of my sister and as such he is my legitimate successor". Kanz ad-dawla arrived [p. 485] at the court, but his request was not granted; the Sultan ordered him to be detained in the Sultan's court. The army left together with 'Abdalla Barshanbū in their company.
When they arrived at Dunqula, Kerenbes, the Regent, and his brother Abrām, fled to al-Abwāb, Kerenbes asked for asylum from the Regent of al-Abwāb, but he, instead, arrested him and had him confined on an island and wrote to the general of the [Sultan’s] army announcing the arrest of Kerenbes and his brother. He put guards around them and asked the general to send someone to fetch them. A number of armed men (rijāl al-ḥalaqa) were sent to seize them. They were brought to the Sultan's court under escort and in irons, and 'Abdalla Barshanbū reigned unchallenged in Dunqula. The army left for Cairo and arrived there in the month of Jumadā al-Wulā of the year 717 H. (July 1317 A.D.).
When the Regent of Nubia and his brother arrived at the Sultan's court, Kanz ad-dawla asked permission to go to the frontier town of Aswān hinting that he had sāqiya estated there and had to pay the tribute to the diwān of the Sultan. He was allowed to return to his own country. He went to the frontier town (Aswān) and then proceeded to Dunqula. 'Abdalla Barshanbū, when he became king, altered the laws (qawā'id) of the kingdom and showed proud behaviour without precedent among the Nubian kings his predecessors. He treated the natives rudely and even cruelly, so that all hated his rule. While Kanz ad-dawla was on his way to Nubia and arrived at Daw - which is the first Nubian town - then natives received him respectfully and hailed him with the salute reserved to the king, which is in their language; "Mushāy! Mushāy!" This is a word which is addressed only to the king. They professed allegiance to him and he went to Dunqula.
[p. 486] Barshanbū came out to oppose him: the two parties had an encounter and fought, Barshanbū was killed and Kanz ad-dawla reigned in Nubia. He, however, was not crowned with the crown of the kingdom (tāj al-mamlaka) with respect to the right- of his maternal uncles (akhwāl) and claimed that he just preserved their exclusive right.
The news of the killing of Barshanbū was received at the Sultan's court in the month of Shawwal of the year 1317 [June 1317 A.D.]. The Sultan ordered that Abrām, the brother of Kerenbes, be set free and sent to Nubia with an order to do all in his power to arrest his nephew Kanz ad-dawla and send him to the Sultan. The Sultan also promised Abrām that, if he would do that, he would also set free his brother Kerenbes and appoint him king and send him back.
Abrām left for Dunqula; his nephew Kanz ad-dawla welcomed him [at Aswān] with all respect and paid him allegiance, handed over to him the kingdom and entered his service. The two went around to calm and reassure the population, beginning from the frontier near Aswān. When they arrived near Daw, Abrām arrested Kanz ad-dawla, put him in irons and was determined to send him to Cairo. But Abrām fell sick and died after three days; then the people proclaimed Kanz as their king. This time he reigned as a king and was crowned with the crown of the kingdom and became independent. He rallied the Arabs and sought their support against his opponents.
The rest of his story will be told at its proper place, if God pleases...
[The Expedition against the Arabs in the 'Aydhāb Desert: Its March on to the Halanka and other Countries and its Return]
In the year 716 H. [1316 A.D.] the Sultan ordered a lieutenant of the army (ʿaskar) to move to Upper Egypt [p. 487] to round up the Arabs (al-'arab) wherever they might be. He sent the emir 'Alā’ ad-dīn Mughalṭāy, who was emir of the Council (amīr al-majlis), Commandant of the army and one of the generals having authority over thousands (muqaddam ulūf), the emir 'Izz ad-dīn Aydemer ad-Dawādār, the emir 'Alam ad-dīn Sanjar ad-Dumaythirī, the emir 'Ala' ad-dīn 'Alī, son of emir Shams ad-dīn Qarasonqor al al-Manṣūrī, the emir Sayf ad-dīn Bahādir at-Tuqawī, the emir Sayf ad-dīn ad-Dimyāṭī, the emir Sārim ad-dīn al-Jarmakī, the emir Sayf ad-dīn Taqṣubā, governor of the districts of Qōs and Akhmim, with seven officers of the armoured troops "al-manṣūra". They were about five hundred cavalrymen. They left Cairo on Wednesday 20 Shawwāl of that year [5 January 1317 A.D.].
The reason for this expedition was that the Arab nomads (ʿurbān) of the 'Aydhāb desert had cut the road to the ambassador of Yemen who was on his way to the Sultan's court; they robbed him of all the presents he had for the Sultan and also seized the property of the merchants who were travelling with him. They acted this in retaliation against the emir Sayf ad-dīn Taqṣubā, the governor of Qōs, who had arrested Fayyād, the emir of this clan of Arabs.
When the news was brought to the court, the Sultan sent this force to arrest them. The Sultan ordered the expedition first to reach Qōs, then to enter the desert and chase the Arabs wherever they might be.
The emir ‘Izz ad-dīn ad-Dawādār, - who was in the expedition and is [therefore] a trustworthy source - told me that they left [Cairo] for Qōs on the above [p. 488] mentioned date [5 January 1317 A.D.] and camped outside that town for fifty-two days. During that time, the governor of Qōs and the emir Sārim ad-dīn al-Jarmakī went into the desert to meet the Arabs trying to persuade them to return the stolen property and renew their allegiance. They had a meeting without reaching any agreement on their requests. When they left [to meet the Arabs in the desert] the Sultan was kept informed that the two [emirs] had gone, but the army had delayed its departure because of the hardships of the desert and the lack of water. The emir Badr ad-dīn Boktemer al-Ḥisāmī, one of the leaders of the "al-manṣūra" armoured troops was sent to inform the Sultan. When the news reached the court, the Sultan strongly disapproved the holding of negotiations with the Arabs because this delayed the departure of the troops to round them up. The army moved from Qōs to enter the desert in the first decade of Muḥarram of the year 717 H. [16-26 March 1317 A.D.] and arrived at the frontier post of ‘Aydhāb after fifteen days. The troops caught up with the two emirs Sayf ad-dīn Taqṣubā and Sārim ad-dīn al-Jarmakī at 'Aydhāb and stayed there twelve days. The emir of the districts [of Qōs] had taken in his company Fayyād, the emir of the Arabs, whose arrest was at the origin of the rebellion. The army left 'Aydhāb and marched as far as Sawākin in twelve days, walking across mountains and deserts; they suffered severe losses because the little water they drank on their way was unclean. At a water well called "Dunkanām" they all were on the verge on death because the Arabs (ʿurbān) had polluted (ghawwarū) the water before the arrival of the army. The army continued to march during four days and on the fifth it arrived at that water and found only one large well, the water of which had changed its colour, taste and smell. While they were in that situation, the army scouts arrived bringing with them a guide who had [p. 489] good knowledge of the mountains. They left that place about sunset and arrived at a well which had collected rain water. They remained there all that night and the following day until noon; they took their fill of water then continued journeying until Sawākin.
The Regent (mutamallik) of Sawākin came to make his submission and show obedience to the orders of the Sultan. Every year he brought a tribute to the Sultan consisting of eighty slaves, three-hundred camels, thirty qinṭār of ivory. He had his residence at Sawākin where he acted as Representative (niyāba) of the Sultan. The army remained at Sawākin for six days, then departed taking with them the Awlād Muhnā, one of whom, by name Faḍl, was one of the chiefs of the nomads who crossed over to the army between ‘Aydhāb and Sawākin and accompanied them.
The army, in order to round up the nomads, entered the desert following their tracks and marched for seventeen days. On the way, they clashed with some clans of Blacks (sūdān) near the watering places and defeated them. They killed some and others they took prisoner and took a large haul of their cattle as booty, i.e. oxen and sheep. They proceeded as far as Wādī Aytrīb, where they arrived on the seventeenth day, and stopped there' for two days. Since the day they had left Sawākin they had found no water except in one place. They drank from rain pools, because in that desert there were rains out of season, surely provided by God out of His mercy for His faithful to save them from death. They proceeded further to Azbīnāt, a mountain on the bank of the Atbarā River - which is one of the tributaries of the Nile of Egypt coming from Ethiopia (bilād al-Ḥabasha). They stayed there one day. Then they moved in pursuit of the nomads following their tracks along that river for three [p. 490] days, having the river on their right hand. They went into the desert as far as the land of at-Tākā. After three days marching in the desert they arrived at Jabāl Kaslān, a mountain of barren rock (aqraʾ). Nothing else is found in that desert other than that mountain and another called Jabāl Alūs. Between the two mountains there is a river (wādī); this mountain (Alūs) marks the border of the country of at-Tākā on the side of al-Ḥabasha. When they arrived there and were near the water - in a desert of yellow ground similar to the Baysan country near the Dead Sea Depression (Ghūr ash-Shām), but rich in forests of sanṭ (Acacia Nilotica), umm ghaylān [Sweet Lote-tree], ihlīlaj [Myrobalan tree], abanūs [ebony], ʿaqr, ḥarr drom which tamarind (at-tamar hindī) is made - a sand storm rose ahead of them; therefore they urged some guides to explore the way. They returned reporting that a clan of sūdān called Halanka had gathered together in great numbers to fight the army. The army, who meantime made ready in fighting trim, stood in an open area devoid of trees; it was a torrent bed, like a pool, with a narrow pass. They entered that pass with their heavy equipment (athqāl); their camels entered straight into the pass while the Halanka were staying in the upper position around the brim of the pool; the troops were in the lower parts. The Halanka were armed with spears (ḥirāb), javelins (mazārīq) and swords (suyūf); some of them also had arrows. The army halted and sent them a messenger saying: "We have not come to fight you, but to seize a party of rebel Arabs who have caused destruction by cutting the roads!" The [p. 491] army gave chew assurance, but they replied they would refuse any proposal short of fighting. Then the army fired only one shower of arrows killing four hundred and sixty Halanka and wounding many others. The army could not make any prisoner because the Halanka preferred to be killed rather than to fall prisoner. Two of the Halanka kinglets (mulūk) were killed, according to the report made by some soldiers of the army who had a meeting with the Halanka. And this is tow they met, and later had a safe escape from them. A few soldiers being asleep were cut off behind the army and were surprised by scouts of the Halanka, who seized them and brought them to their chiefs (akābir). The chiefs questioned them: "Who are you?" There were [among them] some who knew the language of the natives (qawm). They answered: "We are merchants. This army assailed us, robbed us of all we had and caught us prisoner; but while the array was engaged in a battle we ran away.” They showed them mercy and told them that they had suffered that number of casualties.
After the defeat of the Halanka, the army retired to the forest, abandoned the loads and took only what they could carry, a little dhurra and their fill of water. They went back the same day, following the same track. This was on the 6th of Rabī' al-Awwal of the year 717 H. [19 May 1317 A.D.]. They marched as far as Arbībāb, after which they could not go further on the same way as they were short of water, food and fodder. Therefore, they changed direction and went towards al-Abwāb, which is part of the Nūba country. They followed the Atbara River and marched along its bank for twenty days, their mounts having no other pasture than halfa [Stipa tenacissima]. At last they arrived opposite al-Abwāb and stayed there one day. Sayf ad-dīn Abū Bakr, son of the [p. 492] wālī al-Līl ar-rasuliyya (?), on behalf of the governor of the districts of the Qōs went to the Regent (mutamallik) of al-Abwāb. The latter was afraid and would not visit the army, but presented them with two hundred oxen and sheep and dhurra. The army plundered whatever quantity of dhurra they could find in the country, then left for Dunqula where they arrived after seventeen days marching through a land covered with bush, infested with elephants, monkeys, apes and wild beasts called mar’ afīf. They halted there for three days. The king of Dunqula, by name ‘Abdalla Barshanbū, whom we have mentioned above, treated them as guests and supplied them with all they needed.
During this journey the army endured exhausting hardships to such an extent that the sole of their sandals (qatī’a an-ni’āl) was sold for fifty dirhams and a riṭl of biqsumāṭ for one-and-half dirham, if it: could be found. Most of the horses and camels of the array perished. The majority of the soldiers returned to the sea coast of Egypt (ṣāhil Miṣr) [and arrived] in boats, for two reasons: firstly, for lack of cleanliness (ʿadam ṭuhr), secondly because the Nile had flooded all the country and cut all the roads, so that the only thoroughfare was through mountains. The army arrived at Cairo, the well-guarded (maḥrūsa), on Tuesday 9th Jumadā al-Akhir 710 H. (sic! for 717) (18 August 1317 A.D.).
- A note on the margin of MS 1578, in ungrammatical Arabic, says: “A rebel, by name of Maḥmūd, rose at Sawākin in the year 1066 H. [1655/56 A.D.]. He was one of the followers of our Sultan and expelled the Pasha governor (mutawallī) of Sawākin. An army (ʿaskar) marched against him from Egypt, the commandant of the army was one Aḥmad al-‘Aqīd (al-Faqīd?) [some illegible words]… after he fled to Ethiopia (ḥabasha); Aḥmad sent to Ethiopia a number of people (ajnās) to ask for his extradition and frightened and threatened them [Ethiopians] so that they handed him over. The Pasha got hold of Sawākin, then returned to Egypt and Instanbul; at present, which is the year 1068 H. [1657/78 A.D.] he is living in Egypt. Some soldiers of the Egyptian army decided to flee to this Maḥmūd (May God afflict him with some calamity!) … [lacuna] … a party of Egyptian troops [fled?] to Ethiopia and some to Yemen. Mustafa, who was in the war office (diwān) told me that he saw two letters which arrived from the Christian king of Ethopia saying that [the following words almost illegible are tentatively read and translated] in his country there is a great number of Moslems professing their own religion … [lacuna] … the other saying that… the lord of Sennār and king (makk) of the Nūba, a Moslem … [lacuna] … with his son Māy and Adūmīr. He said: ‘We answered [later?]… his letter; the lord of Sennār kept correspondence [lacuna] Maḥmūd the qādī … [lacuna]. May God be praised for ever!’.
- The words between brackets are taken from Ibn al-Furāt (q.v.).
- As the MSS has no diacritic dots, someone read it as “khayl” (Lord of the Horse), but we refer to read “jabāl” (Lord of the Mountain). Cf. Monneret, Storia, pp. 135-142.
- As the Mss do not show the vowels, various readings are possible. Nuwayrī himself is not consistent (see below). Mufaddal, Ibn Khaldūn, Qalqashandī and Maqrīzī had each a different lettering. The Paris MSS have Ma R T S K R. Monneret, Storia, p. 213, adopted the spelling “Shekanda” given by Maqrīzī and Mufaḍḍal.
- The passage between brackets is from the Paris MSS.
- Paris MSS: M R S K D.
- Paris MS 1578: Sankū.
- Paris MSS: M R T? Sh K D (or M R M Sh K D).
- The oath formula is reported in an abridged form in Mufaddal and Qalqashandī (q.v.).
- Mufaddal’s text reads: “unfavourable or favourable” (“sharra wa-nāfi’a”).
- Paris MSS: M R T? Sh K D (or M R M Sh K D).
- Several historians, e.g. Ibn Muyassar (q.v.) reported fights between Nubians and Turks commanded by Ibn Ḥamdān; a raid by Ḥamdān into Nubia is mentioned by Nuwayrī and Ibn al-Furāt. The latter added: “ (Ibn Ḥamdān) came back from Nubia beaten and defeated”.
- A long note on the margins of folio 113 of Paris MS 1578 written by the same hand which wrote the note on Sawākin (see n.1, above) says: “The writer – may God bless him! – said: The route of the Takrur from Egypt [to Mecca?] was in the past through the Nubian territory, so also from Egypt to the Takrur (?); then they (? jamā’a) invaded Egypt… [some illegible words] and Egypt, travelling by the route of Siwa, Dakhla, Fazzan and Aqdar (?), which is the first who opened this route. They went safely according to what was reported to us from travellers (rahhāla) from Egypt. They passed through Nubia, but the Nūba fell upon them (ṭala’ ‘alay-him) that is the people of Bashūsh (?) and killed them, plundered them and the route was closed to travels through the Blacks (Sūdān) by way of the Nūba country; then the journey was made through Dakhla, Mallaf (?), Adir (?)… [illegible words] and the journey through the Nubian country was made across the country of the Fūr (bilād Fūr) and the Nile (baḥr). This year a party (jamā’a) from Egypt set out from Egypt across the Nūba country to reach Bornū, through the country of Sulīh (?) who are near [the land of] Islam; they had in their company a European (khawājā) who all allegedly called himself Muḥammad, a merchant from Jirja (ṣāḥib Jirja), a Moslem, but I have not fully understood this story. The Nūba are now Moslems; the Tartar have ceased fighting.” (etc. The note, which is dated about 1068 H. (1657/58 A.D.) goes on telling about the Armenians).
- This passage between brackets is not found in Mus’ad’s edition. Only in Paris MS ar.1578, fol. 113 v - 114 r, and MS 1579, fol. 17 r-v.
- “Al-qarāghulāmiyya”. The reading is uncertain. As “qaragūl” was a body in charge of the surveillance of the routes, we tentatively interpret it as a special police force guarding the routes.
- This passage between brackets is not found in Mus’ad’s edition. Only in Paris MS ar.1578, fol. 113 v - 114 r, and MS 1579, fol. 17 r-v.
- Paris MS 1575: “the second military expedition”.
- “Harrāqa” (pl. “harārīq”) was a boat for transport of inflammable war materials; otherwise it was used for general transport.
- This passage between brackets is not found in Mus’ad’s edition. Only in Paris MS ar.1578, fol. 113 v - 114 r, and MS 1579, fol. 17 r-v.
- “Zarrāqūn” were a troop in charge of throwing ignited projectiles (“mizraq”): “tuyaux pour lancer naphte”. Cf. Dozy, Suppl. Dict. Ar.).
- “Al-Manṣūra” (literally: “the protected by God”) may be the title of some special corps of the Mamlūk army.
- Al-‘Ayni (ʿIqd al-jumān, MS Cairo, Dar al-Kutub, Ta’rīkh 7584, fol. 58) calls them Halanka, which is near the modern pronunciation “Halanqa”. (Dr. Yusuf Fadl Hasan, The Arabs and the Sudan, p. 233, n. 217).
- It is not sure whether this is a geographical name or a title.
- Perhaps because the soldiers were suspected of carrying some infectious disease into the Nile villages.