Kitab al-Suluk li-Ma’rifat Duwal al-Muluk. TWO VOLUMES.
AL-MAQRIZI, TAQI AL-DIN AHMAD B. ALI. B. ABDUL QADIR.
Book ID: 19143
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Taqi al-Din abu al-‘Abbas Ahmad ibn ‘Ali al-Maqrizi’s “Kitab al-Suluk li Marifat Duwal al- Muluk” is heavily indebted to Ibn al-Furat’s (d. 807) “Ta’rikh al-Duwal wa al-Muluk” (Book of Entrance to the knowledge of the dynasties of the Kings) and probably, through this work, also to Nuwayri and his source Jazar I (both of whom are Ibn al-Furat’s main sources). The real significance of al-Suluk lies in the fact that Maqrizi “had access to and used a history fuller and more informative in many ways than any of the chronicles which have survived.” Al-Maqrizi (1364-1442) was a lawyer and teacher in Cairo who collected his material, a great deal of which is absolutely unique, to compile his major work Kitab Al- Khitat. Al-Maqrizi also compiled this work which is a history of Egypt from the time of Salah Al-Din (1169) to 1440-1. It is thus a history of two dynasties, the Ayyubids and the Mamluks. The Frenchman Quatremère translated a large portion of this work, and also an edition of the Arabic version up to 1354. Al-Maqrizi informs us of all that happened in Egypt throughout the few centuries preceding him in extensive detail: places, towns, events, daily life, culture, economy and even finance. Al-Maqrizi also describes the Crusades and Crusaders especially those involving the French ruler St Louis. His focus is on Mamluk Egypt and Cairo. It is thanks to Al-Maqrizi that we know so much about the history of the institutions of Cairo and its architectural structures. We find, for example, information in the descriptions about the actual hospital buildings; Al-Maqrizi provided details of the history, location and structure of five hospitals in Cairo.
Maqrizi has left us a vivid description of the progress of what was probably the most deadly outbreak of the plague which happened during 1347-9. It broke out in Egypt in the autumn of 1347. By April 1348 it had spread throughout the country and reached its peak in November 1348 and January 1349 before finally subsiding in February 1349. During these eighteen months it wreaked havoc throughout Egypt from Alexandria in the North to the outskirts of Aswan in the south. In Alexandria the plague killed one hundred people each day and at its height this number rose to two hundred.