History of Aleppo (Izz’ al-Din Ibn Shaddad, Al-A’lak al-Khafira fi Dikr Umara al-Sham wa al-Jazeera).

IBN SHADDAD, ‘Izz al-Din.

Book ID: 35817

£9,000.00

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8vo. 196 leaves, plus 4 endpapers, Arabic text, produced for patron in France, complete, single column, 13 lines in black naskh, headings and important phrases in red, exceptionally clean copy, nineteenth-century ink inscriptions to endpapers in English; contemporary morocco over pasteboards, stamped and ruled in blind with decorative medallions to centre of covers, but without flap, early inscription “No 4” in black ink to upper cover, edges worn with loss to leather, revealing Arabic manuscript leaves compacted to reuse as pasteboards, decorated manuscript on paper. The binding here is distinctively Near Eastern, and the boards are composed from seventeenth-century Arabic manuscript leaves. However, a 20 mm. long section of the original leather of the outermost edge of the back board shows that this binding cannot have ever had a flap. This probably represents an attempt by an Arabic bookbinder to bind in the style of Western books, as part of this highly individual commission for a Western Arabist; [probably Aleppo or perhaps Constantinople, dated Rabi al-thani 1079 AH (September 1688 AD)].

Synopsis

ʿIzz al-Dīn Abū ʿAbdallāh Muḥammad b. ʿAlī b. Ibrāhīm Ibn Shaddād al-Anṣārī al-Ḥalabī (1217-1285) was a Syrian author of topographical and historical works. A famous secretary of the chancellery and skilful administrator, he was employed by the ruler of Aleppo, al-Malik al-Nasir, who sent him in 1242-43 on a mission to inspect finances in Haran. Later, in 1259 when the Mongols were approaching, he was instructed to accompany the ruler’s family from Damascus to Aleppo and to negotiate an agreement with the Mongols. The negotiations were not successful; northern Syria was overrun, and Ibn Shaddad fled to Egypt in 1261.
It was in Egypt that he wrote his main works: the historical topography of Syria and Djazira entitled al-’A’laq al-khaṭīra fī dhikr umarāʾ al- Shām wa-l-Jazīra (“Treasure trove on the subject of the princes of Greater Syria and Upper Mesopotamia”) and his political history al- Rawḍ al-zāhir fī sīrat al-Malik al-Ẓāhir (“Blossoming meadows in the life of al-Malik al-Ẓāhir [Sultan Baybars]”).
An exceptionally rare example of a text in Arabic, produced for a European (here probably from Lyon, France) on western paper; still in its contemporary ‘Western-style’ Arabic binding.
[Encyclopaedia of Islam, volume III, p. 933.]
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