IBN AL-‘AMID (1205-after 1280)

A Historian. ibn Abi al-Yasir ibn Abi al-Makarim, known as Ibn al-‘Amid, was a Copt of Syrian ancestry who, like his father before him, served in high office in the Egyptian military bureaucracy. Such a position carried risks, and lived in especially risky times (in which the new Mamluk rulers of Egypt had to prove themselves in the face of the Mongol invasions from the East as well as continued activity from the West); whether a victim of circumstance, poor choices, or intrigue, he ended up spending over a decade (1261-1272 or 1276) in prison.

After his release, he composed a world history (from the Creation until the accession of the Mamluk sultan in 1260) in which he drew heavily on earlier sources, including the world history of ibn . If not a strongly original work, al-Makin’s history has been very influential in both the East and West: it was used by the 14th-15th century Muslim historians ibn Khaldun, al-Qalqashandi, and al-Maqrizi; an Ethiopic translation of the work was made; and, in 1625, the second part of the history (the Historica Saracenica) was published by Thomas Erpenius in Leiden, providing Western scholars with an important source for Islamic and Eastern history.

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