Siraj ad-Din... al-Wardi

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SIRāJ AD-DīN...AL-WARDī (d. 1457 A.D.)

Sirāj ad-dīn Ḥafs b. 'Umar ... al-Wardī, a Syrian historian who depended mostly on al-Harrānī (q.v.).

Kharīdat al-'ajā'ib wa-farīdat al-gharā'ib (The Pearl of Marvels)

Brockelmann 3 II, 163; El (s.v.)

Ed.: Hylander, Kharidat. London 1823; De Guignes

(abridged), Notices at Extraits. II, Paris 1810.

T.: Mus'ad (Hylander) A:0''

... Nubia (arḍ an-nūba). - It is a vast land, a region (iqlīm) stretching far and wide, forming a kingdom which equals a three months' journey. It lies next to the Egyptian border and the Egyptian army ('askar Miṣr) often go there on raid.

In their country there is a gold mine. The inhabitants are Christians. Their king is (called) "the Great King" (malik jalīl). He has a great army and (rules over) a numerous population. The population is divided into two groups (firqatayn): one group is called 'Alwa, and its capital is Waylūla - a great town inhabited by innumerable kinds of sūdān; the other group is called Nūba, whose capital is Dunqula. This town, like Waylūla, is situated on the west bank of the Nile. Its inhabitants are the handsomest of all the sūdān as they have well-proportioned limbs (shakl) and features (wujūh). In their country there are elephants and giraffes, monkeys (al-qurūd) and gazelles. One of the famous town of the Nūba is Nuwābiya, also called Nūba, situated in the interior at four days' distance from the Nile. Its population draws water from wells. The women of this town are of extraordinary beauty, with perfect pronunciation, polite conversation and a beautiful voice (for singing). They are the only ones among all the sūdan to have such hair as they have; elsewhere only some Indians (hunūd) and hubūsh, and no one else, can be compared to them. The price of a beautiful slave-girl from that people stands over three-hundred dinars.

... Tambrā (?). - It is a big town on the lake (buḥayra) in which the Nile waters collect. On the shore of that lake there is a huge stone statue of a man with one hand raised to his breast. It is said that he was a wicked man who was changed into stone.

... The agent of Egypt is responsible for the supplies; the agent of the Beja is responsible for security against attacks from the Ḥabasha. There is plenty of honey, milk and melted butter.

Between them and the Hejaz there is the (Red) Sea, and between them and the Nūba there is a people called Balliyūn. These (Balliyūn) are renowned for their courage and violence: all their neighbours fear them and make alliance treaties with them. They are Christians, but are schismatics following the Jacobite confession (Khawārij 'alā madhhab al-ya'qūbiyya).

(Hylander, pp. 162 - 170 passim; Mus’ad, pp. 372 - 374).