589/1193–658/1260.38 No wonder that hundreds of posts became available for men of religious training. Many itinerant and emigrant teachers and students, amongst them refugees from al-Andalus, the Maghrib, and the eastern parts of the Muslim world, manned those posts.39 They made Damascus, Aleppo, and some minor Syrian towns, into cosmopolitan Muslim intellectual centers.40 Sources Nearly all Syrian chroniclers of the Ayy¨bid and Maml¨k period were ulåma (rather than statesmen or civil bureaucrats, court historians, or members of the military elite). They seem to have been motivated by a genuine personal interest in history, primarily that of their region, a sense of duty to record the eventful decades of the crusading era, and especially—to preserve the information about the lives and achievements of fellow Muslim scholars. Most chroniclers formulated, in one way or another, their conviction that the work they were producing had an edifying purpose; that history teaches values and morals, that it should serve in the instruction of rulers and promote the unity of the umma.41 The typical Syrian chronicle of the thirteenth century divides each year’s records into two nearly even sections: ªawådith—a presentation of the most important events, and wafayåt—concise obituaries of the noteworthy people who had died during that year, especially ulamå. Biographical dictionaries supply some lengthier and more intimate portraits of men (and a few women) of that era, along with numerous rather disappointingly curt accounts. When chroniclers and biographers relate events of their own times, and biographies of people they had known personally, they do not hesitate to add personal remarks and insert autobiographical material. With the additional tales and anecdotes (ªikåyåt), extraordinary facts (mujibåt),
According to Rabbat, the institution was a specic product of the counter-crusade era, and disappeared by the middle of the fourteenth century. 38 Humphreys, “Politics,” 169–171. 39 Already in the Få†imid period a substantial portion of the elite was non-native (Humphreys, “Towards a History,” 12; idem, “Politics,” 165). 40 Gilbert, “Institutionalization,” 105–135; Humphreys, “Politics,” 164–165. 41 Richards, “Imåd al-Dn,” 143; Ibn al-Athr, al-Kåmil, 1:6–9; Ab¨ Shåma, al-Rawatayn, 1:180.