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Ibn al-Qalānisī

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Chapter Summary

The main source of information about the life of Ibn al-Qalānisī is the biographical notice found in the prosopographical work of his contemporary, the religious scholar and preacher Ibn ʿAsākir, entitled Ta⁠ʾrīkh madīnat Dimashq. Ibn al-Qalānisī wrote his history in a complex political and intellectual environment. Although originally an enthusiastic satirist, he eventually found his talents more profitably employed writing panegyrics at the courts of ʿImād al-Dīn Zengī and Nūr al-Dīn; his arrival at Damascus was probably also a case of the lure of patronage, as he was invited there by its last Būrid ruler, Mujīr al-Dīn Ābaq. Turning to the topic of religious and philosophical speculation, it is worth noting that Damascus was a centre of considerable ferment in these fields during Ibn al-Qalānisī's lifetime. Ibn al-Qalānisī presents a largely negative image of the Franks, an attitude which is founded on the religious differences between them and the Muslims.

Keywords: ʿImād al-Dīn Zengī; Damascus; Franks; Ibn al-Qalānisī; Muslims; Nūr al-Dīn; Ta⁠ʾrīkh madīnat Dimashq



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