Al Hamidat


A convent of nuns situated on an island opposite Qina. According to THE ARMENIAN (beginning of the thirteenth century), at the time when Marwan II (744-750) was fleeing before the general of the Abbasids and had the to his aid, they came to attack this convent. A nun who had entered the convent very young and was of great beauty saved her sisters from dishonor by a stratagem. She pretended to possess an unguent that rendered her invulnerable and proposed to give it to the chief of the Bashmurites to try on her, but she perished by the sword. This story was inserted in the of the patriarch MICHAEL I (744-767), and was credited to the deacon John but without topographical mention of the monastery of al-Hamidat.

This is a well-known theme of folklore found in Coptic histories like that of al-Makin (1625, p. 99) and Muslim histories like al- MAQRIZI’s. The origin of this common theme is not known.

The place called al-Hamidat is still in existence. Another place also called al-Hamidat is in the district of Isna, but apart from the fact that this homonym is recent, it is not very probable that Marwan II could have been carried so far.

  • Muhammad Ramzi. Al-Qamus al-Jughrafi lil-Bilad al Misriyyah, 3 vols. in 6 parts. Cairo, 1958-1968.
  • Vida, L. della. “Christian in Moslem Garb.” Byzantion 15 (1940-1941):144-157.