A Call to Arms


This article offers an edition, translation, and study of a hitherto unknown text about Ayyubid or early Mamluk Alexandria. The author, one Abū Khuzayma Muḥammad b. ʿAbd al-Wahhāb, gives a short yet rich description of the city based as much on Alexandria’s real cityscape as on legends. The text treats famous monuments, such as the city’s lighthouse and the Column of the Pillars, as well as less well-known buildings, such as mosques, colleges, watchtowers, and gates. An analysis of the account leads to the conclusion that its author wrote the account in order to mobilize Muslims for the defense of the city against Frankish or Byzantine attacks on Alexandria or Egypt’s Mediterranean coast in general.

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