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14

INTRODUCTION

and occasional critical remarks,42 these works remain interesting and sometimes even entertaining till today. In order to avoid reproducing previous scholarship,43 I will conne my review of the sources to a few short remarks on the chroniclers and authors of biographical dictionaries most signicant for this book, before moving on to other relevant narrative and non-narrative sources. The associative and eclectic chronicle of Sib† ibn al-Jawz, Mir’åt al-Zamån f-Tarkh al-Ayån, unfortunately still in a poorly edited version, is rich with detail on life in Syria, to which Sib† ibn al-Jawz emigrated as an adult. He took great care to document his successful career as a popular preacher and intimate associate of some of the Ayy¨bid princes, weaving accounts of his personal life into the narrative.44 His contemporary, the Damascene Ab¨ Shåma (d. 665/1267), considered as one of the best and most precise historians of his age, also allows us a glimpse of his personal life, beliefs and opinions, along with anecdotes and minor details about daily life in Damascus.45 Another important work is al-Nawådir al-Sul†åniyya wa-l-Maªåsin al-Yus¨yya—The Rare and Excellent History of Saladin, written by Bahå al-Dn ibn Shaddåd (d. 632/1235), a scholar from Mosul. He was appointed by Saladin as qå al-askar (military judge) in 584/1188, and remained in the sultan’s service, maintaining a very close relationship with him until his death. This work not only provides an authoritative portrait of the sultan and his career (as a moralizing, even hagiographical work), it also presents a lucid vision of ideal piety, and some vivid details of religious life and education at the Ayy¨bid court.46 Another, later ålim, who presents rst-hand knowledge of Ayy¨bid history, especially of northern Syria, was Jamål

42 See Dhahab’s criticism of Sib† ibn al-Jawz’s inaccuracies (Dhahab, Siyar, 21:464); Subk’s condemnation of Dhahab’s prejudices (Subk, abaqåt, 2:22) and Ibn al-Shaddåd’s proclaimed receptiveness to comments and corrections (Ibn Shaddåd, al-Alåq, 1:13). 43 Guo, “Historiographic Studies,” 29–34; Khalidi, Historical Thought, 200–210, 56. On medieval Muslim historiography, see also Humphreys, From Saladin, 128–133, and Ahmad, “Some Notes,” 82–83; Lev, Saladin, 1–43. For methods of reading medieval Arabic biographical dictionaries, see Hurvitz, “Biographies,” 43–33; Humphreys, Islamic History, 188–192; Chamberlain, Knowledge, 19; Ephrat, Learned Society, 12–15. 44 Abbås, “Diråsa”; Guo, “Historiographical Studies,” 16–18. 45 See more in Pouzet, “Ab¨ Shåma”; Lev, Saladin, 41–43; Hirschler, “Social Contexts,” 323–327. 46 See also Lev, Saladin, 33–35.

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