An area in Egypt in which the Christian inhabitants revolted against Arab rule in the eighth and ninth centuries (see BASHMURIC REVOLTS).
Christianity in the area suffered greatly as a result of the Bashmurites’ final defeat by the Arabs, but it was not quashed completely, as evidenced by the visit of a presbyter from al- Bashmur in Cairo around 1200.
The exact boundaries of al-Bashmur are uncertain because the medieval sources are discrepant. The HISTORY OF THE PATRIARCHS says that the area was most easily accessible from Tida and Shubra. This statement would place al-Bashmur in the northern Delta, just south of Lake Burullus. ABU SALIH THE ARMENIAN averred that in a later period at least the inhabitants of al-Bashmur and the inhabitants of al-Bashrud were the same people. The exact location of al-Bashrud is similarly uncertain, but it appears to have been northwest of Sakha (Timm, 1984, p. 360). IBN HAWQAL stated that the lake in Nastaruh was also called Buhayrat al-Bashmur (in Maspero and Wiet, 1914-1919, p. 36), suggesting that the region of the Bashmurites was near Nastaruh, that is, north of the cities known today as Disuq and Kafr al-Shaykh. Abu al-Fida, however, placed al-Bashmur between the Dumyat arm of the Nile and Ashmun Tanah (Maspero and Wiet, p. 44).
It is possible that the boundaries of al-Bashmur have not been constant throughout the centuries. Perhaps from the mid-eighth to the mid-ninth century, al-Bashmur encompassed the entire marsh region northeast of Fuwwah extending as far to the east as just north of Dikirnis. Later it may have been limited to the eastern part of this area. The name al-Bashmur survives in this region as the name of a Nile canal that breaks off about 4.5 miles (7 km) east of al- Mansurah by al-Salamun and runs through the area between the Damietta arm of the Nile and Dikirnis before emptying into the al- Sirw canal some 3.5 miles (5.5 km) south of Daqahliah.
- Maspero, J., and G. Wiet. Matériaux pour servir à la géographie de l’Egypte. Cairo, 1914-1919.
- Timm, S. Das christlich-koptische Ägypten in arabischer Zeit, Vol. 1, pp. 354-56. Wiesbaden, 1984.