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Proceedings of the 14th and 15th International Colloquium organized at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in May 2005 and May 2006 U. VERMEULEN and K. DHULSTER (eds.)



CONTENTS .............................. PREFACE ............................... PROGRAMME OF THE INTERNATIONAL COLLOQUIA AT THE K.U.LEUVEN Fourteenth Colloquium, May 19 & 20, 2005........ Fifteenth Colloquium, May 17, 18 & 19, 2006 ......


ABBREVIATIONS ........................... XIII Keynote 1. M. BRETT, The Fifteenth Colloquium on the History of Egypt and Syria in the Fatimid, Ayyubid and Mamluk Eras ... 1

Fatimids 2. 3. 4. 5. M. BRETT, The Ifriqiyan Sijill of al-Mustanir, 445/1053-4 9 J. DEN HEIJER, La rvolte de lmir Nair al-Dawla b. amdan contre le calife fatimide al-Mustanir billah (deuxime partie) 17 S. LAOR-SIRAK, The Contribution of Armenian Architecture to the Origin of the Stone Muqarnas in Syria........ U. VERMEULEN, La lettre de Qayar Kisra dans une recension fatimide du Sirat {Antar ................ 27 45

Ayyubids (& Seljuqs) 6. 7. 8. 9. P.-V. CLAVERIE, Une source mconnue sur la bataille de La Mansourah: La chanson de Guillaume Longue-pe .... M. FRENKEL, Constructing the Sacred: Holy Shrines in Aleppo and its Environs ....................... H. HANISCH, Zu zwei Problemen bei der Untersuchung der ayyubidischen Torbauten der Zitadelle von Damaskus ... H. HANISCH, Armenische Bauweise im mittelalterlichen Wehrbau in Syrien ......................... 49 63 79 95

10. L. RICHTER-BERNBURG, Between Marvel and Trial: al-Harawi and Ibn Jubayr on Architecture ............... 115



11. J.J. YESHAYA, Your Poems are like Rotten Figs: Judah al-arizi on Poets and Poetry in the Muslim East ..... 147 Mamluks 12. F. BAUDEN, DAlexandrie Damas et retour. La poste prive lpoque mamlouke la lumire dune commission accomplie pour le compte dun Vnitien (821 A.H./1418 .C.) .... 157 13. P.-V. CLAVERIE, Les relations islamo-chrtiennes laune du rcit de plerinage de Jacques de Vrone (1335) ...... 191 14. N. COUREAS, Commerce between Mamluk Egypt and Hospitaller Rhodes in the Mid-Fifteenth Century: The Case of Sidi Galip Ripolli ......................... 207 15. N. COUREAS, The Reception of Arabic Medicine on Latin Cyprus: 1200-1570...................... 219 16. K. DHULSTER, Sitting with Ottomans and Standing with Persians:The Sahname-yi Trki as a Highlight of Mamluk Court Culture ............................. 229 17. J. DRORY, A Palestinian Saint ............... 257 18. J. DRORY, Yunus al-Dawadar ............... 267 19. Y. FRENKEL, Mamluk ulama on Festivals and Rites de passage: Wedding Customs in 15th Century Damascus... 279 20. A. PETERSEN, Medieval Bridges of Palestine ....... 291 21. M. PIANA, From Montplerin to arabulus al-Mustajadda: The Frankish-Mamluk Succession in Old Tripoli ...... 307 22. G. SCHALLENBERGH, The Invocation of God (dhikr) and Audition (sama) in the Spirituality of Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya (d. 751/1350) ........................ 355 23. TH.M. WIJNTJES, Ibn al-Jazaris Al-in al-ain (Damascus 791/1389): A Case of Non-Violent Resistance (?) ..... 369 24. TH.M. WIJNTJES, Sultan al-ahir Barquq as Seen by His Contemporaries Ibn Khaldun and Bertrando de Mignanelli . 383


In an earlier essay, I examined purposely descriptive, non-poetic, representations of architecture in Arabic geographical texts from the third and fourth/ninth and tenth centuries;1 apart from the coincidence that this is the period covered by the reference editions in Bibliotheca geographorum arabicorum, by its end human geography had consolidated into a body of knowledge which subsequently came to exert an often unquestioned, quasi extra-historical authority.2 While thus on the one hand, human geography frequently turned into mere book learning or as it were, into armchair travel, on the other hand writing by actual travellers continued, expanded and diversified. And in order not to oversimplify, not all authors fit such a neat dichotomy, viz. al-Sharif al-Idrisi and Yaqut each one in quite different ways. As for the authors perception of architecture and its aesthetic potential, which will here again be the focus of inquiry, a certain change or at least a certain broadening, of perspective may also be detected after the turn of the fifth/eleventh century. Conceivably this resulted from a much more comprehensive consolidation of cultural self-awareness. Such religious or utilitarian reservations against ambitious architecture as al-Muqaddasi in his youth still voiced vis--vis the Umayyad mosque in Damascus, to cite only one obvious example, appear at least to have receded, if not disappearing altogether, in later geographical and travel literature.3 Some other motive
1 In the eye of the beholder: the aesthetic (in)signifance of architecture in Arabic geography, AH 250-400, The Arabist Budapest studies in Arabic, 26-27 (2003): 295316; for general reference, cf. D. Behrens-Abouseif, Schnheit in der arabischen Kultur (Mnchen, 1998); here quoted from its trl. as Beauty in Arabic culture (Princeton, 1999), pp. 149-54, 165-80 (and notes). Our purpose here is far more modest than hers, based as it is on a narrowly circumscribed range of sources from a limited period. 2 For the sake of convenience, reference may here be made again to Andr Miquels groundbreaking study: La gographie humaine du monde musulman jusquau milieu du XIe sicle [Civilisations et socits; volumes 7, 37, 68, 78] (Paris, etc., 1967, 1975, 1980, 1988). If pace Miquel, periodization here is based on the turn rather than the middle of the fifth/eleventh century, it is for no other reason than Naer-e Khosrows (b. 394/1004) upbringing and education, or differently put, the formation of his sensibilities, antedating his journey (437-44/1045-52) by a few decades. 3 As for a certain negatively accentuated lack of interest in the built environment in Muslim tradition, see the still thought-provoking study by Goldziher Igncz [Ignaz Goldziher], Az iszlm pitszeti emlkei, kapcsolatban a muhammedn vilgnzettel [Islamic



may also have contributed to an increased density in architectural descriptions, namely the respective writings function as, often devotional, guidebooks guidebooks at that which, with minimal exceptions, dispensed with graphic illustrations.4 Such exceptions include an annotated map cum elevation of the Friday mosque in Jerusalem, i.e., the precinct later to be called al-aram al-Sharif, in al-Bakris compilation al-Masalik wa l-Mamalik5 and a few rough sketches of the Alexandrian Pharos and other Egyptian monuments in Tufat al-albab by Abu amid al-Gharnai.6 On a more fundamental level, all the witnesses of potential import in the present context, such as Naer-e Khosrow, Abu amid al-Gharnai, Yusuf b. al-Shaykh al-Balawi, {Ali al-Harawi, Ibn Jubayr, {Abd al-Laif al-Baghdadi, and Yaqut shared the long-established, common-place notion of {aja}ib, mirabilia, which can with but little exaggeration be called a constituent of medieval civilizations East and West;7 evidently, it had to be accounted for in my earlier study as well. In the period here under discussion roughly to the end of the Ayyubids8 noteworthy
architectural monuments in relation to the Muhammadan worldview], in id., Az iszlm (Budapest, 1881), pp. 271-98 (for an abstract see B. Heller, Bibliographie des uvres de Ignace Goldziher [Publications de lcole nationale des langues orientales vivantes, vie srie, volume 1] (Paris, 1927), p. 33f; a debt of gratitude to Istvn Ormos for pointing out this reference is happily acknowledged!). An echo of the earlier pietist rejection of grand building is found in Yaqut. After quoting, with approval, a number of laudatory evocations of the Umayyad mosque in Damascus, he dutifully adduces a tradition which typically features {Umar b. {Abd al-{Aziz, the sunnite embodiment of the pious prince; here he is said to have abstained from stripping the mosque of lavish appointments (and in the process replenishing the treasury) only after learning about the humiliating effect it had on Byzantine envoys (Yaqut, Mu{jam al-buldan, ed. F. Wstenfeld, volumes I-VI (Leipzig, 1866-1873), II: 595:3-14). 4 cf., from quite a different, complementary rather than altogether contradictory perspective, G. Calasso, Les tches du voyageur: dcrire, mesurer, compter, chez Ibn Jubayr, Naer-e Khosrow e Ibn Baua, RSO, 73 (1999): 69-104; even if with some reservations, mention has to be made also of two studies by I.R. Netton, Basic Structures and Signs of Alienation in the Rila of Ibn Jubayr, JAL, 22 (1991): 21-37, and Tourist Adab and Cairene Architecture: The Medieval Paradigm of Ibn Jubayr and Ibn Bauah, in Literary heritage of classical Islam: Arabic and Islamic studies in honor of James A. Bellamy, eds. M. Mir & J.E. Possum (Princeton, NJ, 1993), pp. 275-84. 5 Abu {Ubayd {Abdallah b. {Abd al-{Aziz al-Bakri, Kitab al-Masalik wa-l-mamalik, eds. A.P. van Leeuwen & A. Ferr, volumes I-II (Qaraj [Tunis], 1992), I: 472. 6 Abu amid Muammad b. {Abd al-Raim al-Gharnai, Tufat al-albab, ed. G. Ferrand, JA, 207 (1925): 1-148, 193-304 and pls. I-VIII, esp. II-VI (=A. Ramos, Spanish trl. [Fuentes Arbico-Hispanas, volume 10] (Madrid, 1990), lminas II-III, betw. pp. 48-49). 7 cf., e.g., M.B. Campbell, The Witness and the Other World Exotic European Travel Writing, 400-1600 (Ithaca - London, 1988). 8 In the Mamluk period, a second stage of sedimentation of sources set in; compilation became a hallmark of prose writing, even if by gradual transition rather than rupture



architecture continued to be an instance of {ajaib; however, it would seem that the notion of wonder underwent a process of, even contradictory, differentiation. If a certain levelling was implied in extending the term to contemporaneous, or near contemporaneous monuments, such levelling could still signify, or even mask, a variety of tendencies depending on the respective authors education and worldview. At one end of the spectrum, as with {Abd al-Laif al-Baghdadi, it might express a certain naturalism, rejecting the notion of supernatural or superhuman agencies; at the other end, as with Ibn Jubayr, this very notion might have been broadened to subsume under it constructions such as the domed transept of the Damascus mosque, let alone ancient Egyptian or GraecoRoman monuments. Yet again, an author such as al-Harawi might have ignored the question of human or superhuman agency altogether by categorizing everything curious as {ajiba; or finally, he may have wavered between contradictory notions, as witness, again, Ibn Jubayr. Clearly, the different attitudes as here alluded to cannot be explained solely with reference to a given writers individuality, ignoring the overarching ideological climate which affected him and to which he had to adjust. Thus ostensible contradictions may either simply express negligent, inconsequent thinking or to the contrary, may serve as carefully planted hints for the attentive reader or initiate. For practical reasons, but it is hoped, not without intrinsic justification, the current discussion will initially focus on just two authors, {Ali al-Harawi 9 and Ibn Jubayr,10 who seem particularly well suited for comparison and contrast. Their travels covered much of the same territory in
(and without ignoring exceptions). Suffice it, by way of example, to cite Ibn Bauas or his redactors, which here amounts to the same completely assuming this predecessor Ibn Jubayrs persona in describing the Damascus mosque; cf. J.N. Mattock, Ibn Battutas use of Ibn Jubayrs Rihla, in Proceedings of the ninth congress of the Union Europenne des Arabisants et Islamisants [UEAI], Amsterdam 1978 [Publications of the Netherlands Institute of Archaeology and Arabic Studies in Cairo, volume 4], ed. R. Peters (Leiden, 1981), pp. 209-18, and idem, The travel writings of Ibn Jubair and Ibn Batuta, Transactions of the Glasgow University Oriental Society, 21 (1965-66) [Hertford, 1967]: 35-46. Yaqut, clearly marking an earlier stage on this path, at least still gave a brief outline of al-Aqa himself before turning the rostrum over to al-Muqaddasi (Yaqut, al-Buldan, IV: 594:4-16, 600:3-9 vs. 594:-1 598:18). 9 Born Mossul at unknown date, d. Aleppo, 611/1215, and author of Kitab al-Isharat ila ma{rifat al-ziyarat (J. Sourdel-Thomine, ed. and French trl., as Guide des lieux de plerinage (Damascus, 1953-1957, resp.; cf. eadem, al-Harawi al-Mawili, in EI2, III: 178a-b. 10 Muammad b. Amad al-Kinani, Valencia 540 Alexandria 614/1145-1217, author of the famous rila, Tadhkira bi l-ikhbar {an ittifaqat al-asfar, The Travels of Ibn Jubayr, eds. W. Wright & M.J. de Goeje [E. J. W. Gibb Memorial Series, volume 5] (Leyen London, 1907); cf. Ch. Pellat, Ibn $ubayr, EI2, III: 754b-755a.



al-Jazira al-Furatiya, Bilad al-Sham and al-Diyar al-Miriya (Northern Mesopotamia, Syria and Egypt) and within a short interval at that, al-Harawis largely during 569-72/1173-7711 and Ibn Jubayrs in 578-80/1183-85; also, from an expressly pious perspective, they both evince lively interest in sacred sites and religious subjects generally. Further, and more to the point here, the two writers shared attention to notable architecture is, in agreement and disagreement, liable to provide evidence on the issue at the heart of the present inquiry to wit, the question of the existence and in the affirmative case, of the defining features of a period mentality a Zeitgeist as regards the perception and appreciation of architecture. Given the two works difference in purpose, al-Harawis being matter-of-fact information rather than circumstantial narrative as Ibn Jubayrs, any overlap between them would only seem to corroborate their testimony. Further, the fact that both authors record firsthand experience, notwithstanding stylistic constraints and dependence on literary predecessors, lends their accounts special value as voices of and witnesses to, their own age. In order to gage our sources perceptiveness of architectural features it may be best to begin with structures which the authors, either by convention or their own prompting, did not heavily invest with extra-architectural meaning. In Ibn Jubayrs account of the Friday mosque at arran a number of motifs are encountered which may be of more than individual import.12 Thus apart from unspecifically extolling its extreme beauty, the author mentions fine ashlar masonry; the columns of three canopied fountains and one large-size column underneath a tower-like treasure dome in the courtyard; the wide span of arches in the prayer hall; the length of the roof-beams in its wide aisles. Intricate workmanship, ambitious engineering, as it were, and expensive materials elicit attention and admiration. To our writer, the courtyard faade of the prayer-hall combines these features: its high and wide central arch (8.20 m span) resembles large city gates, and the finely-wrought wooden
11 At least these were the years of his sojourn in the Frankish kingdom of Jerusalem and in Egypt; as for Syria and the Jazira, neither the preceding decade nor the 580s can be ruled out (see Sourdel-Thomine, Guide, p. XVIIsq). 12 Ibn Jubayr, pp. 246:7 247:1; see G. Fehrvri, arran, in EI2, III: 227-30, esp. 229b-230a, pl. Xb; K. Archibald Cameron Creswell, Early Muslim architecture I: Umayyads A.D. 622-750 (repr. Oxford, 1969), pt. ii, pp. 644-48, fig. 688 and pls. 139, 140a (= id., A Short Account of Early Muslim Architecture, J.W.Allan, rev. and suppl. (Alderschot, 1989), pp. 218-21); T. Allen, A classical revival in Islamic architecture (Wiesbaden, 1986), esp. pp. 41-46 (trl. of Ibn Jubayr, p. 42f), 53-56, 149-66/figs. 64-90; critical comments on Allens notion of a classical revival in J. Raby, Nur Al-Din [sic], the Qastal al-Shu{aybiyya and the Classical Revival, Muqarnas, 21 (2004): 289-310, esp. 303ff, 310.



screens in the nine flanking doors to its right and left,13 respectively, remind of princely reception halls similarly, in the courtyard of Aleppos Friday mosque, the widely spanned arches of the portico are noted for their palatial aspect14 (whereas the fine minaret goes entirely unnoticed15). In the arranian mosque, though, details of the structure and decoration of the faade are passed in silence, especially, the carved archivolts on engaged columns fronting and framing the lateral arcade proper with its supports of piers. Thus Ibn Jubayrs description not to mention his erroneously counting five instead of four aisles in the prayer hall would only yield bare outlines for a reconstruction of the arranian mosque after its Zangid restoration.16 However, before embarking on criticism, at least two observations are in order. First, it was largely Ibn Jubayrs emotional involvement with a given structure, which determined the amount of detail he provides; he clearly never intended to write an architectural guide. Second, notwithstanding all his preoccupation with sacred history and sites and holy men, he does have a far keener eye for topography and the built environment than, e.g., Yaqut who did not see fit to mention the mosque at arran at all.17 Yaquts entry on arran was evidently compiled from written sources, but it would seem unlikely that he did not know the place from eyesight. To cite just one more of many similar examples of his indifference to architecture, he comments on the remarkable growth of Dunaysir from village to city (mir) within thirty years, but ignores its splendid new mosque in favor of its natural setting and flourishing markets.18

13 The number nine on either side includes the bay next to the respective outer wall, which would not have been visible from the courtyard, provided a portico surrounded it; see Allen (as preceding note), pp. 149f/figs. 65f. 14 p. 252:19f. 15 s. Allen, A classical revival, pp. 23-29, 47f, 129-32. 16 Completed in 570/1174 (Allen, A classical revival, p. 160/fig. 79); the mosques Ayyubid east gate, of 588/1192, postdates Ibn Jubayrs visit by eight years (ibid., p. 159). 17 Yaqut, Mu{jam al-Buldan, II: 230:-2 232:15. 18 ibid. 612:4-8; the interval of thirty years between Yaquts two visits virtually rules out the possibility that by the second time Dunaysirs new mosque of 601/1204 should not have been in full function (s. T. Sinclair, Early Artuqid Mosque Architecture, in The Art of Syria and the Jazira 1100-1250 AD [Oxford Studies in Islamic Art; volume 1], ed. J. Raby (Oxford, 1985), pp. 49-67, esp. pp.53/fig. 4, 60, 62-65; cf. A. Altun, Anadoluda Artuklu Devri Trk Mimarisi}nin Gelimesi [Kltr Bakanlg Yaynlar, volume 264 Trk Sanat Eserleri Serisi, volume 3] (Istanbul, 1978), esp. pp. 79-99; R. Hillenbrand, Islamic Architecture (Edinburgh, 1994), p. 617 [index], s.v. Dunaysir, and color pl. 17). Yaqut dates his first visit to his youth (when he was a abi), always to be counted from the year of this birth, 574-75/1178-79; even at the earliest, this would defer his second visit into the 1220s. Rudolf Sellheim suggests the years 594/1197 and 618/1220; see id., Neue



Turning to {Ali al-Harawis Kitab al-isharat ila ma{rifat al-ziyarat, it presents, true to its title and as alluded to above, a quick and sober rundown of destinations of cultic visits; the authors own pious disposition notwithstanding, he critically comments on many a popular local tradition. Now and then he adds topographical and architectural observations, which he promises to expand in a future work on wonders, monuments and idols. To our loss, though, he appears to have changed his mind later on and given up his project at any rate, his planned book has not been identified to date.19 Considering al-Harawis unsystematic approach, it cannot surprise that he does not elaborate on arran beyond a fairly dry list of venerable sites. The fact that he gives similarly short shrift to Aleppo, his own residence, suggests that personal involvement on his part does not stand in direct relation to the degree of descriptive detail he expends on his subjects. In order to meet the first qualification of meaningful comparison between al-Harawi and Ibn Jubayr as outlined above, structures of similarly moderate extra-architectural significance as the arranian mosque carried for Ibn Jubayr will have to be identified in alHarawis work. Two buildings in the vicinity of Jerusalem might serve the purpose, the tomb of Maryam, mother of {Isa, in the Kidron valley20 and
Materialien zur Biographie des Yaqut, in Forschungen und Fortschritte der Katalogisierung der Orientalischen Handschriften in Deutschland [Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft: Forschungsberichte, volume 10], ed. W. Voigt (Wiesbaden, 1966), pp. 87118, pls. XI-XXXIV, esp. p. 94, n. 7. 19 Kitab al-{aja}ib wa l-athar wa l-anam, p. arab. 34:16f/tr. 80 (and often); usually the author abridges the title of his planned book as kitab al-{aja}ib. In a later passage, he regrets the loss of most of his notes in a shipwreck off the coast of Sicily; it had sapped all his resolve to collect adith and pursue related studies, p. 91:13 92:3/208f. Most likely this also affected his planned book of monuments since he specifically mentions among the lost materials notes of measurements and figures which he had taken of such structures as the Umayyad mosque of Damascus, the Holy Sepulcher, Saint Sophia, etc.. 20 p. 28/67f; the translation as here given in the next sentence tries to preserve the imprecision of the original as closely as possible; in particular, Sourdel-Thomines rendering of ar-rukham al-mani{ as granite remains mere speculation as does the authors identification of certain columns as red and green marble (this color scheme recalls the juxtaposition of columns of green Thessalian breccia and Egyptian porphyry in the ground floor exedrae in Saint Sophia, Constantinople; cf. F.W. Deichmann, Die Spolien in der sptantiken Architektur [Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Philosophisch-historische Klasse, Sitzungsberichte, H. 6] (Mnchen,1975), p. 91. Further, al-Harawis reference to a dome (qubba) would seem to suggest a canopy above the tomb itself (see H. Vincent & F.-M. Abel, Jrusalem, t. II: Jrusalem nouvelle (Paris, 1926), pp. 805-31, pls. 81-84, esp. p. 815, fig. 346); the Byzantine rotunda which originally formed the upper church had long been destroyed (a reconstructed ground plan ibid., p. 827); by the time of al-Harawis visit a crusader basilica rose in its place (s. K. Bieberstein & H. Bloedhorn, Jerusalem: Grundzge der Baugeschichte vom Chalkolithikum bis zur Frhzeit der osmanischen Herrschaft, volumes I-III [Beihefte zum Tbinger Atlas des Vorderen Orients: Reihe B, Geisteswissenschaften, volume 100] (Wiesbaden, 1994) esp. III 251-56; A.J. Boas, Jerusalem in the time of the crusades (London - New York, 2001), pp. 119ff, figs. 12.5-6, 233.



the church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Concerning the former the author mentions a descending stairway of thirty-six (sic! actually forty-six) steps, a domed structure on sixteen columns, of which eight were of red and eight of green marble, and four gates with six columns of hard marble each; the church there which had since been turned into a martyrion (mashhad) of Ibrahim contained numerous and wondrously wrought artworks (athar) and columns. The church in Bethlehem boasts, as regards wondrous art-works and construction, marble, gilt mosaic and columns.21 The items in these two sketches, referring to materials and features of structure and decoration marble of different hues and hardness,22 columns, mosaic form a large part of the descriptive repertory which al-Harawi and Ibn Jubayr had inherited and were not alone in drawing on. To avoid misunderstanding, if it be claimed that such a repertory existed, it is not to feign ignorance of the actual reality of architecture in the Eastern Mediterranean; marble, granite and porphyry were precious commodities and since late antiquity usually available as spolia only. Thus especially monolithic columns, capitals, bases, and marble panelling and floors commanded admiration quite naturally. However, al-Harawis remarks on the church of the Nativity can by no means be dismissed as merely stereotypical, considering the basilicas four rows of monolithic columns (fourty-four altogether) for supports of its nave and aisles and its just completed mosaic cycle on the walls of the clerestory and triconch choir.23
p. 29/69f. s. n. 21 supra on the problem of identification; cf. M. Milwright, Waves of the Sea: responses to marble in written sources (ninth-fifteenth centuries), in The iconography of Islamic art: studies in honour of Robert Hillenbrand, ed. B. OKane (Edinburgh, 2005), pp. 211-21; cf., on the availability of marble in the Roman and early Byzantine periods, Classical marble: geochemistry, technology, trade [NATO A[dvanced]S[cience] I[nstitutes] series: Ser. E, Applied sciences, volume 153], eds. N. Herz & M. Waelkens (Dordrecht, etc., 1988); Marmi antichi, volumes I-II [Seminario dArcheologiaLa Sapienza, Studi Miscellanei, 26 (1981-83), 31 (1993-95)], ed. P. Pensabene (Roma, 1995, 1998); M.L. Fischer, Marble Studies: Roman Palestine and the Marble Trade [Xenia, volume 40] (Konstanz, 1998), e.g., p. 246, fig. D 8, showing marble, granite and porphyry quarries in the Roman empire. Greece, Asia Minor and Egypt were major or sole suppliers whereas the entire Levant was a client region. 23 The year 1169 is expressly mentioned in a mosaic inscription; s. G. Khnel, Die Konzilsdarstellungen in der Geburtskirche in Bethlehem, Byzantinische Zeitschrift, 87 (1993/1994): 86-107 and pls. VI-XI [with further refs.!], esp. p. 91 and n. 26; cf. idem, The twelfth-century decoration of the church of the Nativity: Eastern and Western concord, in Ancient churches revealed, ed. Y. Tsafrir (Jerusalem, 1993), pp. 197-203 and pls. XII-XIV, and idem, Wall painting in the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem [Frankfurter Forschungen zur Kunst; volume 14] (Berlin, 1988) pp. 1-147 and pls. I-XXXVII, here esp. pp. 1-5 and pls. I-II, XXXVI-XXXVII. For more illustrations, see G. S. P. Freeman-Grenville, The basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem (Jerusalem, 1993), esp. pp. 20, 22, 45-55.
22 21



Perhaps reproducing local tradition or confusing dates in different eras? al-Harawi, allegedly reading off a wood-carved inscription which notably had withstood the passage of time, exaggeratedly fixes the age of the church of the Nativity at more than twelve centuries. As is his habit, he takes care to add that the Franks had left untouched a prayerniche (mirab) attributed to {Umar b. al-Khaab. Al-Harawis not at all singular observation on Frankish, i.e., Crusader respect for ancient monuments24 gives occasion to point to an obvious difference from Ibn Jubayr in his reactions to manifestations of Christian power and civilization. Both authors travelled in Christian territories and recorded noteworthy buildings in them. While they unremarkably shared a fundamental antagonism to Christian political power, their level of aggressiveness and plausibly, anxiety, as well as their attitude to Christian art and architecture markedly differs25. Ibn Jubayr, giving free rein to his hatred, calls Baldwin IV, the king of Jerusalem, and his mother pigs26 and even William II of Sicily (r. 1166-89) whom he cannot quite deny some grudging respect a polytheist.27 In spite of witnessing, to his surprise, lively commercial travel between Crusader and Ayyubid territories at the time of continuous armed conflict,28 he may simply have lacked the courage to pay pious visits to holy sites in the kingdom; otherwise his failure to do so would seem hard to explain, given his pious eagerness to partake of the reputed baraka of Muslim sanctuaries wherever he could. Hazarding a guess, one might even interpret his verbal assault on the crusaders as overcompensating a guilt feeling since he had not payed his respects to the holy sites of al-Quds. Al-Harawi, while having reason to resent Richard Cur de Lion in particular and by
24 cf. his account of the sites in what later came to be called the aram in Jerusalem (pp. 24ff/62-65; cf. Boas, Jerusalem in the time of the crusades, esp. pp. 89-93, 109f); on the other hand, he matter-of-factly reports on the attempted Frankish transformation of and transgression against, a Muslim shrine at the cattle spring at Acre, which allegedly related to {Ali b. a. alib (p. 22:14-18/57; Ibn Jubayr, unlike his usually hostile tone towards the crusaders, in his account of the dual sanctuary there without any polemic reports on the peaceable religious-coexistence between Muslim and Christian worshippers, p. 303:17-21). Al-Harawi mentions, just as coolly, unmarked and unknown burials of saints and successors (al-awliya} wa l-tabi{in) in the cemeteries of Gaza, Ascalon and other cities up to Sidon along the Littoral (p. 33:1f/76); possibly though, their falling into oblivion is not at all to reflect on Frankish desecration of graves, but only to the attraction of the holy land for countless pious believers from early Islam onwards. 25 On Ibn Jubayr, cf. Netton, Basic structures. 26 Its (i.e., Tibnins) mistress is a sow who is known as queen she is the mother of the pig-king, the master of Acre (p. 301:3f). 27 ibid., pp. 321:20 322:20, 324:15 etc., 333:7f. 28 ibid., pp. 287:13 288:9, 298:19f.



extension all crusaders,29 does not let his emotions get the better of him. If he remains equanimous towards the crusaders, he is quite complimentary to the emperor Manuel for his graciousness30 towards him. More to the point in the present context, al-Harawi does not hide his admiration for diverse monuments on Christian soil, especially in Jerusalem and Constantinople, but this by no means supersedes his basic perspective of Muslim expansionism. Constantinople, he writes, even surpasses the glowing reputation it enjoys, and he offers a prayer for Gods rendition of the city to Islam.31 His open-mindedness permits him to call the church of the Holy Sepulcher one of the much-cited wonders of construction; he was going to discuss in detail its sanctuary and its appointments in his planned book of wonders.32 Given his usually scant references to subjects to be treated more fully there, his comments on Saint Sophia (Aya ufiya) in Constantinople are remarkably circumstantial.33 Not surprisingly in the overall context of shrines (ziyarat), his curiosity is sparked by the wondrous story of an angel alighting in a certain spot in it, which had been enclosed by a golden grille;34 but while he marks this as the first item for future discussion among the memorable features of Saint Sophia, he continues with architectural and constructive detail: the disposition (tartib) of the church and its sanctuary, its elevation, its gates and their height, its length and breadth and the columns in it.35 As for the numerable and measureable elements on his list, they are not exceptional in drawing medieval witnesses attention to themselves; yet if a guess be hazarded, al-Harawis mention of the buildings disposition would seem
29 pp. XVI, 3/5, 30/72; al-Harawis effects were seized during a Frankish raid on an Egyptian caravan under Richards command. The authors diplomatic? status induced Richard to invite him and to promise amends, but al-Harawi would not hear of it. 30 Manuel Comnenus (regnabat 1143-80). 31 p. 57:1f/128; in more detail, al-Harawi records his prayer for the return of a beautiful city to Islam in the context of his visit to Ascalon for there, the prophet himself vouchsafed him the fulfilment of his wish in a dream vision (p. 32:13-19/76). 32 ibid., p. 28/68; s. here infra. 33 Of the ample bibliography of Saint Sophia, see here just the following titles: C. Mango & A. Ertug, Hagia Sophia: a vision for empires (Istanbul, 1997); Hagia Sophia from the age of Justinian to the present, eds. R. Mark & A.. akmak (Cambridge, 1992); R.J. Mainstone, Hagia Sophia: architecture, structure and liturgy of Justinaians Great Church (London, 1988). 34 This story would seem to reflect the legend of the captured gardian angel as told in the Patria; s. G. Dagron, Constantinople imaginaire tudes sur le recueil des Patria [Bibliothque Byzantine tudes, volume 8] (Paris, 1984), pp. 200f, no. 10, and 230-33. 35 ibid., p. 56:13-16/127f; according to a statement infra, he lost the measurements he had taken of Aya Sofya, together with most of his papers, in a shipwreck and subsequently lost all incentive to pursue that line of study (pp. 91:13 92:3/208f).



to permit construing it as a reference to architecture proper. Moreover, al-Harawi appears to stand out from among his contemporaries for the detached attitude toward monuments in the Islamic realm, which derives from his experience of art and architecture in Christian lands, and specifically in Constantinople.36 Thus he coolly subordinates the lighthouse (manara) of Alexandria which to him no longer qualifies as a wonder after the loss of its famed reflecting or alternatively, burning mirror, to diverse wondrous mana}ir in Constantinople.37 Al-Harawis use of manara/mana}ir appears disconcertingly vague, covering as it does any tall vertical shaft, be it a massive and truly towering structure such as the Alexandrian Pharos, which he himself likens to a burj or a slender pillar-shaped structure like an obelisk or a historiated column. In the Constantinopolitan hippodrome (al-Burum), not only Theodosiuss obelisk falls under this category, but apparently also the triple serpentine bronze column close by, and other memorial columns in the city.38
36 The art-works (al-athar) the likes of which do not exist in the Muslim quarter (i.e., of the inhabitable earth), p. 56:12/127. 37 ibid., p. 49f/113ff. 38 He reports the first of the mana}ir in his list as fastened with lead and iron and swaying so much on its base in strong winds that potsherds and walnuts could be inserted to see them crushed (a migrant motif in folk tradition); pace Schefer and following him, Sourdel-Thomine this structure is not to be identified as Constantine Porphyrogennetuss, but rather as Theodosiuss obelisk in the Hippodrome. Identification of the following monument as the serpentine tripod stand from Delphi may be less ambiguous, the author describing it as of copper and molded (qulibat) in one single piece, without the possibility to insert anything underneath it (on the Hippodrome and its monuments, see W. Mller-Wiener, Bildlexikon zur Topographie Istanbuls (Tbingen, 1977), pp. 64-71). Although in this excursus on Constantinople propos of the lighthouse of Alexandria al-Harawi does concentrate on columnar structures, the citys magic leads him further afield into a mixture of reality and myth, incorporating both his personal observation and excerpts from available older authors. Here it may suffice to mention, from among the actual monuments he refers to, the column and equestrian statue of Justinian in the Augusteion (s. Mller-Wiener, Bildlexikon, p. 248f; R. Janin, Constantinople byzantine [Archives de lOrient chrtien, volume 4A] (repr. Paris, 1964), p. 74ff, no. 3) and a historiated column in the market istabrin which elicits his admiration; if a guess be hazarded, the transcription is to represent the Greek Starion, a open square to the west of Constantines forum, between it and the Tauros or Theodosian forum, where the eponyms historiated column stood (s. Mller-Wiener, Bildlexikon, pp. 258-65; Janin, Constantinople byzantine, p. 81f, no. 8); the relative proximity of the two locations may explain the authors confusion, especially since the Staurion could also boast a column, surmounted by a cross and latterly identified as that of Phokas (but cf. Janin, Constantinople byzantine, p. 80, no. 7, re Artopoleia); s. P. Magdalino, Aristocratic Oikoi in the Tenth and Eleventh Regions of Constantinople, in Byzantine Constantinople: monuments, topography and everyday life [The Medieval Mediterranean, volume 33], ed. N. Necipoglu (Leiden, etc, 2001), pp. 53-69, esp. 65f. Less likely, but not to be ruled out, al-Harawi meant to refer to the Arcadian forum and column (Mller-Wiener, Bildlexikon, pp. 250-53; Janin, Constantinople byzantine, p. 82ff, no. 9).



Al-Harawis sober attitude also applies to Muslim monuments. Thus he readily concedes that as for the beauty of architecture, after al-Masjid al-Aqa in Jerusalem no place of worship in Islam equalled the Friday i.e., the Umayyad mosque at Damascus; nevertheless the gold mosaics in its dome did not overawe him in comparison with those he saw in Byzantine sanctuaries.39 Ibn Jubayrs reaction to anything he cannot automatically dismiss on Christian soil is more ambivalent than al-Harawis. He is too keen and honest an observer simply to ignore what strikes him as positive in crusader and Norman dominions,40 just as he does not, in spite of his fulsome praise of Saladin,41 pass in silence the abuses of his immigration and customs officials in Egypt.42 Perhaps the apparent contradiction between his encomium of Saladin as efficient ruler in perfect control and the lawlessness of his functionaries dissolves when the entire account is read as a veiled appeal for redress; yet it was only on his second pilgrimage, after Saladins reconquest of Jerusalem, that Ibn Jubayr felt he could, by way of congratulatory panegyric, also extend his good counsel to Saladin, to right the customs officials abuses.43 Conversely, when observing the crusaders or the Sicilian Normans equitable treatment of their Muslim subjects, he feels compelled to take refuge in some pious invocation from the trial of faith (fitna) he professes this represents and which he dutifully records some as having failed by converting to Christianity.44 His obvious unease would seem to suggest either that he recoiled from a sudden shock of recognition of his own seducibility or that he tried to regain the firm ground of respectability before the virtual tribunal of his princely? audience.
39 ibid., p. 15:7-11/38f; literally, gilt mosaic (al-fa al-mudhahhab, as previously, with reference to the church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, p. 29:4/70). It is not without irony that as for devotion to learning and adith, he gives the palm to the great mosques of Herat, Balkh and Sijistan (i.e., Zaranj), far-away places he never visited himself; conversely, this would seem to imply that wherever he did go, scholarship did not flourish that much. 40 e.g., pp. 301:18 302:9 on the lenient crusader regime of their Muslim subjects; detailed account of Muslims under William II of Sicily begins p. 324:3. 41 e.g., p. 55:12 56:20, stressing Saladins abolition of illegal and extortionist Fatimid taxes (mukus). 42 pp. 39:11 40:14; 62:17 64:1. 43 Isan {Abbas, Dirasa fi l-raala Ibn Jubayr al-Andalusi al-Balansi al-Kinani wa atharih al-shi{riya wa l-nathriya (Bayrut, 2001), pp. 48-53, no. 8, esp. vv. 30-47, and cf. pp. 58-64, no. 13. 44 Possibly an alternative interpretation of such apparently contradictory passages is not to be ruled out, namely as veiled criticism of Muslim governance in al-Andalus and appeals to its princes to reform; on Ibn Jubayrs troubled fixation on Christendom, cf. Netton, Basic structures.



A similar ambivalence of feeling also governs Ibn Jubayrs perception of Christian art and architecture. The locus classicus of his evocations of more or less contemporaneous Christian monuments is his enthusiastic account of Santa Maria dellAmmiraglio in Palermo;45 the authors usual stereotyped rhetoricism cannot veil the deep impression this building made on him. Two aspects, of which one is in a strict sense architectural, elicited his particular admiration. Perhaps not atypically, he begins with troublingly beautiful (fitna!) surface sensations, viz. the decoration of the interior walls with a revetment of colored marble and glass mosaic; characteristically, he uses the imagery of jewelry: the walls are incrusted with gold tesserae and crowned with trees of green tesserae.46 Dazzlingly radiant light illuminates everything from gilt windows of glass. This somewhat vague description of the windows raises the question of whether reference is to gilt tracery, to gold mosaic surrounding the window niches or to stained glass.
45 pp. 332:20 333:11; cf. U. Rizzitano, Ibn Giubayr dal tempio della Mecca alla Chiesa della Martorana di Palermo, Levante, 19 (Roma, 1972): 37-50 [in French and Arabic; Italian version: id., Storia e cultura nella Sicilia saracena [Biblioteca di letteratura e storia saggi e testi, volume 5] (Palermo, 1975), pp. 305-17]. The churchs now current name la Martorana derives from that of the donor of an adjacent Benedictine monastery (founded 1193-94); s. E. Kitzinger, I mosaici di Santa Maria dellAmmiraglio a Palermo con un Capitolo sullarchitettura della chiesa di Slobodan Curcic [Istituto siciliano di studi bizantini e neoellenici: Monumenti, volume 3] (Bologna, 1990) (=E. Kitzinger, The mosaics of St. Marys of the Admiral in Palermo: with a chapter on the architecture of the church by Slobodan Curcic [Dumbarton Oaks Studies, volume 27] (Washington, D.C., 1990); cf. L. Russo, La Martorana (Palermo, 1969). The admiral in question was George of Antioch (d. 1151) al-Anaki to Ibn Jubayr who accurately calls him vizier of the grandfather of this polytheist king, his title being admiratus or admiratus admiratorum; s. H. Houben, Roger II., Herrscher zwischen Orient und Okzident (Darmstadt, 1997), esp. pp. 35f, 120, 135, 152, 155, 160. In Georges autograph in the endowment charter for his church, of May 1143, and the attached lead seal, the formulary reads tnrxitwn fxwn Gefgiov mjfv; s. J. Johns, Arabic administration in Norman Sicily: the Royal Diwan (Cambridge, 2002), esp. pp. 109-11, 112-13, 277f, 306, no. 20, and cf. id. & N. Jamil, Signs of the times: Arabic signatures as a measure of acculturation in Norman Sicily, Muqarnas, 21 (2004): 181-92, esp. 182ff (figs. 1-2), 191 (cf. S. Cusa, I diplomi greci ed arabi di Sicilia, I,1-2 (Palermo, 1868, 1882) [repr. ed. A. Noth (Kln & Wien, 1982)], I,1: 68ff, no. V; Let normanna e sveva in Sicilia: mostra storico-documentaria e bibliografica, ed. Assemblea Regionale Siciliana [Rosario La Duca] (Palermo, 1994), pp. 58-61, figs. 13a-c). 46 cf. A. Paribeni & A.A. Aletta, Il ruolo degli alberi nel programma decorativo dei mosaici della Martorana a Palermo, in Atti del VI colloquio dellAssociazione italiana per lo studio e la conservazione del mosaico, eds. F. Guidobaldi & A. Paribeni (Ravenna, 2000), pp. 669-84; while either author points to the Byzantine tradition of arboreal motifs in both sacred and secular contexts, Paribeni specifically refers to mosaics in Palermitan buildings such as the chapel in the Norman palace (Cappella Palatina), the Sala di Ruggero in the same palace and the fountain hall in the Zisa palace (p. 670f). For illustrations of the Martorana mosaics under discussion see Kitzinger, I mosaici di Santa Maria dellAmmiraglio, pls. XIII, 126-42, 174f.



The other captivating and structural feature is the campanile for which he quotes the local byname minaret of the columns (awma{at al-sawari). His description of it as consisting of superimposed canopies, each dome resting on columns of colored marble suggests that in his view, the spatial volume of solid masonry was minimized in favor of voids or at most, slender columns. Even if his wording applies to the campaniles upper two storeys in their original condition and the lost quintuple-dome roofing rather than to the two lower levels, the relation of his text to physical reality is quite close, especially considering that Ibn Jubayrs basis of comparison were the massive structures of Andalusi minarets.47 The author is so taken by the beauty of the campanile that he begs God to ennoble it shortly by the Muslim call to prayer which is reminiscent of al-Harawis similar prayer with regard to the entire city of Constantinople. Perhaps Ibn Jubayrs different reactions to the interior of the church and to the campanile the former being experienced as a trial of faith and the latter simply as wonderful architecture can be related to their different bearing on his religious sensibility; quite probably, he did not notice anything objectionable in the campanile or if he did, he may have thought it easily corrigible once his prayer for a Muslim occupation had been granted whereas his way of coping with the Christian imagery of the figural representations in the mosaics may have consisted, on the one hand, in the invocation of Gods protection from fitna and on the other, in bare avoidance; his silence on the subject is made audible, as it were, by his reference to arboreal motifs in the mosaic decoration.48
47 Curcic (Kitzinger, I mosaici di Santa Maria dellAmmiraglio, pp. 52-62 and pls. A2739, AXII-XIV) rejects the earlier hypothesis of contacts between northern France and Norman Sicily as explaining a perceived resemblance of the upper two storeys of the campanile and the towers of the cathedral at Laon (esp. p. 56f and n.118 [ref. to . Bertaux, Lart dans lItalie mridionale Aggiornamento, ed. A. Prandi (Rome, 1978), V: 777, n. 56], 66). The columns, which so fascinated Ibn Jubayr, are of white marble except for those of porphyry on the ground floor (p. 58). 48 Ibn Jubayrs ambivalence when confronted with manifestations of Christianity is even more graphically, as well as amusingly, expressed in his immediately following account of and reaction to, richly attired Christian women flocking to the Christmas service at la Martorana (p. 333:11-20). Yet, his unease merging into aggressiveness may also have had to do with the situation of Sicilys having been wrested by the Normans from Muslim rule. When in Damascus, one of the great mujahid Saladins residences, Ibn Jubayr reports with perfect neutrality, even in a positive tone, on the Orthodox (Rum) church of St. Marys, which they held to be the most excellent church after Jerusalem; its architecture was sumptuous, and it contained images so wonderful to behold that the mind was dazed and the gaze arrested (p. 283: 4-8). No word of fitna or invocation of divine protection here!



Admittedly, Ibn Jubayrs unsystematic thought and easy impressionability limit far-reaching conclusions; in Damascus, safely within the borders of Muslim territories and under Saladins rule at that, he remarks admiringly on figural representations in the church of St. Marys which in his words, was the second-most revered sanctuary of Christendom.49 Possibly, in his view, the Damascene Christians status as ahl al-dhimma even rendered their iconolatrous art innocuous. The closest parallel to Ibn Jubayrs description of la Martorana as a memorable Christian building to be found in al-Harawi may be his admittedly only too brief reference to the Holy Sepulcher which he mentions as the most venerated pilgrimage site of Christendom (al-milla al-masiiya) in Jerusalem.50 Not only does he, as noted above, count it among the conventionally known architectural wonders,51 but he considers it de rigueur to include a description of its sanctuary in his coming work on monuments (athar), without evincing, in the way of Ibn Jubayr, any anxiety about its attraction. When compared to his coolness towards the Umayyad mosque at Damascus, his appreciation of the Holy Sepulcher would appear somewhat surprising in purely architectonic and artistic terms notwithstanding the crusaders extensive work of reconstruction on the anastasis rotunda and addition of a basilica and bell-tower. Although obviously forever inconclusive, the speculation may be ventured that al-Harawis attitude owed something to the veneration the site was held in. It is to be regretted, even if understandable in the context of his work on sacred sites, that he immediately goes on to list the places of particular Christian veneration in the Sepulcher, such as the tomb itself, the split rock of Adams grave underneath the cross, and the garden of Joseph the Veridical, a confusion with Joseph of Arimathaea. Even though reasserting, with reference to the Gospel, qumama (dungheap) as the sites correct name against Christian claims that it be qiyama (resurrection or: Anastasis) and repeatedly marking his distance as a mere reporter of Christian beliefs, he does not engage in polemic, not even as regards the production (amal) as he puts it of the paschal fire.52 A comparison, as here envisaged, between al-Harawi and Ibn Jubayr for their architectural sensibility if that is not too grand a word
p. 283: 4-8. p. 28: 11-19/68f; on the church s. J. Krger, Die Grabeskirche (Regensburg, 2000). 51 wa-{imaratuha min al-{aja}ib al-madhkura (p. 28:11f/68); the somewhat free version as here proffered still conveys the meaning of the original, it is hoped. 52 On the purported miracle, which numerous medieval Muslim authors debunk as priestly fraud, cf. M. Canard, La destruction de lglise de la Rsurrection par le calife Hakim et lhistoire de la descente du feu sacr, Byzantion, 35 (1965): 16-43, esp. 22 f, 25-43; Krger, Die Grabeskirche, pp. 150-53, 241; H. Halm, Die Kalifen von Kairo: die Fatimiden in gypten 976-1074 (Mnchen, 2003, pp. 144-146, 224 f, 437, 448.
50 49



clearly requires more solid foundations than have hitherto been laid in order to yield tangible results; it needs passages of text which are informed of roughly corresponding positive authorial interest, show similar detail, if possible, and concern structures of approximately equal rank. Given that al-Harawis architectural digressions are consistently far shorter than Ibn Jubayrs, allowances will have to be made for disparity of length. However, the other two qualifications can be met by al-Harawis description of the mosque precinct the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and Ibn Jubayrs of the Umayyad mosque in Damascus. Perhaps regrettably, the two authors do not share similar enthusiasm about the same objects, al-Harawi, as indicated above, maintaining a cavalier approach to the Umayyad mosque and Ibn Jubayr unaccountably shying away from a visit to Jerusalem. Al-Harawis visit to Jerusalem preceding Ibn Jubayrs journey and also because of his brevity, his account of in later parlance the aram will best be discussed first.53 One feature common to either author, and possibly numerous others is a pronounced disregard of topographic or systematic order. Al-Harawis attention wavers between the rock and the religious traditions attaching to it and its physical shape on the one hand and on the other, the artefacts designed to reflect and enhance its sacred meaning.54 The dome (al-qubba) and by extension, the building as such does not figure in the picture at all at first, except by name and as the locus of an inscription of the Throne Verse (sura II: 256) on the ceiling; however, the author deemed it worth mentioning that it was done in gold mosaic.55 Inscriptions repeatedly caught his eye and if they did not cause
53 pp. 24-27/62-66; for general reference to the site, s., e.g., O. Grabar, The shape of the holy: early Islamic Jerusalem, with contributions by Mohammad al-Asad, Abeer Audeh, Sad Nuseibeh (Princeton, 1996); A. Kaplony, The aram of Jerusalem 324-1099: temple, Friday mosque, area of spiritual power [Freiburger Islamstudien, volume 22] (Stuttgart, 2002); S. Nuseibeh & O. Grabar, The Dome of the Rock (New York, 1996); J. Raby & J. Johns, Bayt al-Maqdis, volumes I-II [Oxford Studies in Islamic Art; IX 1-2] (Oxford, 1992, 1999); M. van Berchem, Matriaux pour un Corpus Inscriptionum Arabicarum, II ii: Jrusalem aram [MIFAO, volume 44] (Cairo, 1925-27). 54 Most importantly, he does not seem to distinguish between the rock in its entirety and the specific spot of Mohammeds footprint, as witness the dimensions he cites for the rock. The noted iron grille surrounded the entire rock, not merely the footprint; cf., e.g., Boas, Jerusalem in the time of the crusades, pp. 110, 231. 55 It has not been preserved, at least not among the mosaic inscriptions (SourdelThomine unquestioningly accepts van Berchems transference of the authors description to the original mosaic inscriptions); however, a post-Crusader gilt gesso (?) inscription of the Throne verse surrounds the apex of the dome (s. Nuseibeh & Grabar, The shape of the holy, p. 53). It may well replace an earlier, textually identical inscription, which had fallen into disrepair (viz. the inscription circling the base of the dome, which commemorates



surprise they at least made him remark on their being left intact by the Franks. Christian imagery naturally did not pass unnoticed either; in the context of the four doors of the Dome of the Rock, al-Harawi does not only mention a caliphal inscription on each of them,56 but also images of Solomon and Christ close by. Before passing on to the mosque alAqa, he mentions the priests house north of the Dome of the Rock. Clearly because extensive comments on it would have been extraneous to his present context, he defers discussion to his planned work on buildings and art-works, but not without reference to the columns in it and the wonders of workmanship ({aja}ib al-ana).57 In comparison to the unadorned simplicity of his account of the Dome of the Rock up to this point, such appreciative remarks do stand out. In the mosque al-Aqa,58 it is again the Franks seeming respect for Muslim sacred sites59 which first calls for his comment, to be followed by the quotation of an inscription on the ceiling of the dome of al-Aqa}; the Koranic verse on Mohammads night journey (XVII 1) is followed by the record of the restoration of the dome and its gilding under the Fatimid imam-caliph al-ahir.60 As before concerning the inscription in
Saladins restoration work (ibid. and van Berchem, Matriaux, pp. 289-98, no. 225); the extant interior decoration of the cupola dates from the restoration of 1874). The question of technique and precise location remains open, unless al-Harawi be credited with a misperception in taking polychrome parti-gilt gesso for mosaic; cf. Max van Berchems view of his parallel assertion about al-Aqa; van Berchem, Matriaux, pp. 381, 385, and see here infra. 56 p. 25:12/63, erroneously reading al-Qaim instead of al-Mamun; see van Berchem, Matriaux, esp. p. 254f. 57 Reference is to the college erected for the Augustinian canons of the Templum Domini, as the Dome of the Rock was known to the Crusaders, and razed by Saladin after reconquest in 1187. The beauty of its cloister, which extended along the north side of the esplanade of the Rock, also impressed al-Idrisis clearly Christian informant (a. {Abd Allah Muammad b. Muammad al-Idrisi, Opus geographicum, eds. A. Bombaci et al., fasc. I-IX (Neapoli Romae, 1970-84), here esp. IV: 360:16 361:1; cf. Boas, Jerusalem in the time of the crusades, pp. 91f, 110, including western sources from the Crusader period). The variety of trees is noted as well as are marble columns intertwined by most astounding workmanship (a{midat rukham mafura bi abda{i ma yakunu mina l-an{a); thus al-Harawis blanket assertion of wonders can be thrown into relief (cf. Nuseibeh & Grabar, The shape of the holy, p. 168, two of such columns as reused for the portal of anNawiya). 58 pp. 25:17 26:7/64f; s. R.W. Hamilton, The structural history of the Aqsa mosque: a record of archaeological gleanings from the repairs of 1938-42 (Jerusalem London, 1949); id., Once again the Aqsa, in Raby & Johns, Bayt al-Maqdis, pp. 141-44; for Crusader times see Boas, Jerusalem in the time of the crusades, pp. 91ff, 228; cf. Creswell, Early Muslim architecture I, pp. 373-80 and pl. 63; Early Muslim architecture II (repr. New York, 1979), pp. 119-37; id., Short Account, pp. 73-82, 90. 59 e.g, {Umars prayer niche, p. 25:17/64. 60 van Berchem, Matriaux, pp. 381-92, no. 275; Wiet, ibid., p. 452f.



the cupola of the Dome of the Rock, al-Harawi notes that the inscription and the foliage were done in gilt mosaic.61 From al-Aqa the author perhaps directed his steps toward the north enclosure wall of the precinct since what follows is a quotation of the inscription of the measurements in the north portico,62 and it may have been these figures, which made him continue his description with a somewhat more detailed account of the Dome of the Rock. His, as it were, positivist interest in measurements and figures, which he shares with many other geographers and travel writers, expresses itself straight away:
The structure of the portico (riwaq) is supported by sixteen marble columns and eight piers its octagonal ground plan has to be inferred by the reader. The structure of the dome inside it is supported by four piers and twelve columns; sixteen windows surround it. The circumference of the dome is one hundred and sixty cubits, and the circumference of the greater structure, which encompasses everything, is three hundred and eighty four cubits. The circumference of the entirety, together with the Dome of the Chain and adjacent structures, is four hundred and eighty cubits. The elevation of the iron grille, which surrounds this Rock is two fathoms. The Dome of the Rock has four iron doors, Follow the directions of the doors in relation to other structures in the mosque precinct except for the southern door which he simply says, faces the qibla. Only after mentioning the Dome of the Chain and its circumference and after a circumstantial account of the Cave of the spirits underneath the Rock does al-Harawi continue with his description of the Dome of the Rock. The width of the portico is fifteen paces and its length from the qibla side to the north is ninety-four paces.

After this rundown of the Domes dimensions he adds a few corresponding measurements of al-Aqa:

61 Today, the interior decoration of the cupola dates from 728/1328, during the reign of the Mamluk sultan al-Nair b. Qalawun (see Nuseibeh & Grabar, The shape of the holy, p. 143; van Berchem, Matriaux, p. 421f, no. 282). Again the question arises of whether al-Harawi misapplied the term ceiling to vertical surfaces decorated in mosaic, such as the drum of the dome (ibid.), or mistook the technique of the decoration in the cupola for mosaic. The style and appearance of al-Harawis Fatimid inscription and vegetal decoration can be visualized by comparison with the similar inscription on the northern face of the northern dome-supporting arch and the decoration of its spandrels and the pendentives and drum of the dome itself (Wiet in van Berchem, Matriaux, p. 452f, no. 301; Hamilton, The structural history, p. 9 and pls. II and III, 1; cf. Nuseibeh & Grabar, The shape of the holy, pp. 152-55, figs. 79-82). Clearly, the author was struck by the fact that the Koranic content of and caliphal titles in, the inscriptions on the door leaves of al-Aqa did not rouse Frankish aggression. 62 Not without omitting the unit and ten from the measure of length, as pointed out by Sourdel-Thomine, Guide des lieux de plerinage (p. 26:7-10/65 [with n.1], with ref. to van Berchem, Matriaux, pp. 84-97, no. 163).



The height of the cupola of al-Aqa is sixty cubits, its circumference ninety six cubits, and the circumference of the square structure underneath is one hundred and sixty cubits; the length of al-Aqa from the qibla to the north is one hundred and forty-eight cubits.

Al-Harawi concludes his account of the mosque precinct with a brief list of additional sites located within or adjacent to, it.63 There can be no doubt about the authors positive or more correctly, reverential attitude toward the mosque precinct of Jerusalem; propos of the Umayyad mosque in Damascus he had passingly referred to the mosque al-Aqa here probably meaning the entire esplanade on the Temple Mount as the most beautiful sanctuary of Islam. However, in his actual description he hardly expresses an aesthetic appreciation at all; it is only by way of factual detail and as it were statistical information that his own involvement can be guessed at. The only seeming exceptions are inscriptions, and to a lesser degree vegetal motifs in gold mosaic, which catch his attention, although here too, he limits himself to stating facts. Thus the only colors mentioned are gold and implicitly, by reference to foliage, green; the columns in the Dome are said to be marble, but the fact that they are not uniform nor least of all, white, but green, rose and mottled goes unmentioned. As far as architectural features are concerned, it is cupolas and columns not excluding their sheer size which impress themselves most clearly on al-Harawis sensibility. Thus it would seem permissible to conclude even from al-Harawis sober spare words that the Dome of the Rock drew his admiration for its layout and structure as well as for its mosaics. His quotation of the Fatimid inscription in al-Aqa, including as it does the name and profession of the responsible master craftsman, {Abd Allah b. al-asan al-Miri al-Muzawwiq, may indeed underline his interest in the decoration even if muzawwiq is too vague a term to interpret it as mosaicist tout court.64 Whether for differences between the two authors innate temperaments or experiences or some combination of both not to forget different styles of writing the contrast between al-Harawis subdued account of Jerusalem and Ibn Jubayrs report of his visit to the Umayyad mosque in
63 In the substructures of the esplanade next to the prayer hall, the Stables of Solomon and Cradle of Jesus, and outside the north enclosure wall, the Pool of the Children of Israel (p. 27:6-9/66). 64 As does van Berchem, Matriaux, p. 388f, on the grounds that al-Harawi expressly describes the inscription as mosaic; however he identifies as the object of the muzawwiqs work the gilding of the cupola which may refer to both the molding and painting and gilding of gesso in the cupola itself and to the entire production cycle of the mosaics on the adjacent wall surfaces.



Damascus is palpable even making allowances for the latters sometimes hackneyed rhetoricism. Evidently it was not only the number of holy sites on the premises which captivated him but also the mosques character as a monument. After his customary initial set-piece, a highly ornate evocation of the citys character,65 he immediately turns to the venerable Friday mosque; in his words, it counts among those Friday mosques of Islam which are most famous for beauty, assurance of construction, marvels of workmanship, lavish decoration and ornament.66 Indeed, its renown in these respects was so readily accepted as to render longwinded ecphrasis redundant. Obviously, this is sheer rhetoric since Ibn Jubayr engages in precisely that which he professes not to do. His account covers the history of the site and the present building including all manner of legendary detail which he quotes without any reservation; even in the first few lines he attributes to its wondrous station that it was immune to spider webs and swallows which he repeats further on.67 Considering Ibn Jubayrs diaristic mode of writing not to mention other, collective literary traditions which militated against systematic order it is only to be expected that in his long chapter on Damascus, the architectural description of the Umayyad mosque does not form a separate section, but is interspersed into his account of its history and the venerated sites in it. The very first concrete feature he mentions is the mosaic revetment of its walls;68 the profusion of gold and the finely nuanced hues of the arboreal representations in it move him to profess being blinded by their sparkle and to claim that their elegant workmanship miraculously incapacitates anybody who would attempt an ecphrasis; of course, the term mu{jiz which he employs here resonates with Koranic overtones. Ibn Jubayrs attribution of nearly supernatural powers to the architecture and appointments of the edifice may be less expressive of his appreciation of artisanal and artistic competence and talent than of a readiness to ascribe these human achievements and gifts to direct and counter-natural divine intervention as becomes even more obvious further down.
pp. 260:13 261:9. On the Umayyad mosque generally see Creswell, Early Muslim architecture I, pt.i, pp. 151-210, esp. 151-80; id., Short Account, pp. 46-73, 89 f; Hillenbrand, Islamic Architecture, p. 616c [index]; F.B. Flood, The Great Mosque of Damascus studies on the makings of an Umayyad visual culture [Islamic History and Civilization, volume 33] (Leiden, etc., 2001). 67 p. 261:9-12: general praise of mosque, to be followed by legend on missing spider webs and swallows (12f) and first historical digression involving al-Walid (13-17). 68 pp. 261: 17 262: 3; like al-Harawi he uses the familiar if unspecific word fa for mosaic, but here he also introduces the technical term fusayfisa}.
66 65



Plausibly it was the combination of holiness and aesthetic quality in the Umayyad mosque which inspired Ibn Jubayr to his detailed description; indeed, his intention may well have been to permit readers of translating his words into a visual image in their minds. Thus he sets out, as announced in a separate heading, to give measurements of length and breadth and surface and the numbers of doorways and windows; actually, he does much more than that.69 In his sketch of the prayer hall and the arcades around the courtyard, his careful distinction between columns and piers permitted Creswell to reconstruct the faade of the prayer hall with the same alternation of two columns and one pier as found in the preserved sections of the other porticoes and also counted by Ibn Jubayr.70 Similarly, he enumerates the windows of the prayer hall, indicating their distribution in the courtyard and qibla walls and in the vaulting of the transept;71 his description of them as of glass, gilt and stained, raises the question, previously asked propos of the Martorana, of whether he termed a specific yellow hue of glass golden or whether he may have referred to window niches lined with gold mosaic. His receptiveness to surface sensations was noted before; it is no wonder that polychrome marble incrustations in the shape of prayer niches and intricate geometric designs on the piers of the prayer hall are among those decorative elements, which elicit his admiring comments. Nor does his attention to measurements and figures, such as the number and width of the aisles and the size of the piers in the prayer hall and, as far as applicable, in the porticoes come as a surprise. However, in the Umayyad mosque it is the organization of spatial volumes, i.e., architecture itself, which impresses him.
69 pp. 263:8 265:3. At the level of basics, he gives equivalents of the units of length the pace (khawa) and square the maghribi measure marji{ in terms of the common unit, the cubit (dhira{). 70 Creswell, Early Muslim architecture I, pt. i, pp. 170-73, fig. 89. 71 In Wright-de Goejes text, the total number of windows as given, seventy-four (p. 264:19), does not tally with the sum of the subtotals: twice twenty-two in the wings of the qibla wall, fourteen in the qibla-most vault and transept wall, ten underneath the central dome, six in the vault next to the courtyard and forty-seven in the courtyard wall; only by subtracting the last figure does the sum come out correctly not to mention that in this last figure the two corner bays are included which are obscured by the adjacent porticoes. One may ask whether Ibn Jubayr consciously figured these two bays in or simply transferred the numbers of the qibla wall; there are indeed three windows in the courtyard front of the transept. In order to be clear, it has to be added that vaults in the preceding sentence follows Ibn Jubayrs usage; actually, in the transept, all windows, except four in the central dome, are in the side walls, not in the vaults proper (see Phen Spiers apud Creswell, Early Muslim architecture I, pt. i, pp. 165, 167, figs. 84, 86; Creswell, ibid., fig. 83 after p. 160; Flood, The Great Mosque of Damascus, ill. 31).



The architectural feature which dominates the elevation of the mosque, the dome, caught Ibn Jubayrs eye if not immediately, at least, following his text, as soon as he had accounted for the ground plan and the lead covering of the roofs.72 What is most impressive in this blessed Friday mosque is the lead dome in its center, which adjoins the prayer niche; it rises high into the air and is of impressive circumference, being supported by an immense structure which is its gable. Underneath it, from the prayer niche to the courtyard, there are three contiguous domes, one adjoins the wall on the courtyard, one the prayer niche, and one is in between, underneath the lead dome; in the center, the leaden dome reaches up so high as to compress the air. When you face it you behold a splendid sight and an awesome view. After citing the image of the eagle for the dome, the gable of the transept and the long aisles, he measures thirty paces as the width of the transept. The height of the dome is not measured but indicated by its visibility from all around, as if it were suspended from the air. As noted above, Ibn Jubayrs account of the Damascus mosque does not follow a systematic order but the adab mode of variation as it were, out of horror taedii as well as the contingent sequence of diary notes. Here his observations, as far as pertaining to architecture, have been integrated into a sequential account with the exception of the highpoint of his Damascus chapter, his ascent to the cupola of the mosque. Next, after another historical digression concerning the prayer niches, Ibn Jubayr notes the structure of the courtyard faades.73 He evinces pleasure in the beauteous sequence of twenty doors in the wings of the prayer hall and above them, as he puts it, wall arches with tracery, all in the shape of windows. With similarly pleased approval, he comments on the elevation of the colonnaded porticoes around the other three sides of the courtyard with arched doors supported on small columns above them. Passing on to the interior of the mosque, it is, again, the decoration with gold mosaics and marble, of miraculous workmanship (al-mu{jiz al-an{a), which moved our author to enthusiastic reactions, but which had mostly been destroyed by two outbreaks of fire.74 The only sections
72 For the dome as it appeared before the fire of 1893, see Spiers apud Creswell, Early Muslim architecture I, p. 168, fig. 87; Messrs. Bonfils (?) apud Creswell, Early Muslim architecture I, pt. i, pl. 40a. 73 p. 266:3-9. 74 p. 268:7-19.



that were relatively well preserved (or restored) were the qibla wall with prayer niche and the transept with the three domes. In Ibn Jubayrs opinion, the prayer niche was one of the most wonderful in Islam; it was virtually flaming with gold, the main niche decorated with lesser niches on twisted columns, as if they had been turned on a lathe, and some of them as red as coral. Indeed, in architectural terms, this very transept, the triple-domed hall before the prayer niche, made the deepest impression on Ibn Jubayr. However, just as clearly and well enough to understand and sympathize with, color and light held him in thrall more than anything else; the gilt stained-glass windows filtered the brilliant sunlight so that multicolored rays filled the space and hit the eye of the beholder. Ibn Jubayrs account of the Umayyad mosque omits neither minarets nor gateways nor ablution facilities nor various later other later additions, often with digressions about their appointments, functions, diverse related anecdotes and Damascene customs involving the mosque; among the noted items there are marble columns, gold mosaics with vegetal motifs, hydraulic installations such as fountains and a clepsydra, lesser oratories, etc. As noted, the author completes, if in diaristic fashion adhering to chronology, his detailed description of the Damascus mosque75 with the report of an excursion to the dome, which he took together with a group of companions from the Maghrib. In his customary way, he opens it with a highly polished passage extolling the impressiveness of the sight, the sanctuarys awesome architecture, its miraculous workmanship and mastery, rhetorically conceding that any ecphrasis must needs fall short of the mark. After thus expressing his humility and complying with the demands of his own conscience and the expectations of his intended audience, he proceeds step-by-step in his account. While crossing the roofs from a staircase in the western portico to a ladder up to a walkway around the dome, he notes the measurements of the lead sheets of the roof. Because of strong wind, the company stepped inside through an opening in the lead dome and found themselves between the outer and the inner cupola, being able to look down inside the mosque through one of the arches. As before, his ad hoc architectural observations will here be presented in sequential order.
75 His sojourn in Damascus lasted from Thursday, 24 Rabi{ I, to Wednesday night, 5 Jumada II 580 / 5 July 12 September 1184 (pp. 260:7 298:17); his outing to the cupola of the mosque is dated to Monday morning, 18 Jumada I / 27 August (s. pp. 292:2 294:17).



Ibn Jubayr carefully describes the stone and carpentry construction both of the exterior, lead-covered and the interior cupola. Their base was a circle of immense stone blocks, which in turn rested on supports in the masonry underneath;76 short upright stone shafts on this circle alternating with windows then in one way or another carried the wooden superstructure,77 essentially consisting of wooden ribs which met in a wooden ring at the top and were held in place by iron ties. Size and intricate geometric designs in the gilt and polychrome woodwork of the interior cupola draw his admiration. As before, he also takes down measurements and figures; the circumference of the exterior dome, having forty-eight ribs, is eighty paces equivalent to 260 spans. The eagle, the gabled roof of the transept calls for comment next, as does the complex construction and decoration of the ceiling above the privileged area (maqura) in front of the prayer niche.78 The size of the stone blocks in the walls fills Ibn Jubayr with wonder; his incomprehension of methods of hoisting weights immediately takes a pious turn, expressing itself in a koranic formulation (qanair muqanara). He attributes this achievement as not subsisting in human nature79 to direct and specific divine inspiration for His signs to manifest themselves at the hands of His favored creatures.80 Similar irrational credulity is found in the reaffirmation, by his own eyewitness, of the absence of spider webs and swallows from this mosque which he had quoted as a local tradition in the opening lines of his account of the mosque. To conclude his section on the Umayyad mosque, Ibn Jubayr repeats the expression of his wonderment at the marvellous construction and high elevation of its dome in similarly florid terms as he had more than once used before.
wa qad udkhilat fi l-jidari kullihi da{a}im li l-qubbatayn, p. 293:18. The contact zone between masonry and carpentry is left unmentioned; so to speak, the (vertical) ribs of the cupola(s) meet the short stone piers underneath head on (cf. p. 294:1-4 with 292:19 293:1, 293:8-11). 78 Spiers apud Creswell, Early Muslim architecture I, pt. i, p. 168, fig. 87. 79 al-ta}atti li ma laysa mawjudan fi aba}i{ihim, p. 293:22. 80 {Abd al-Laif al-Baghdadi takes quite a different attitude in his description of the arched aqueduct built by Saladins eunuch emir Qaraqush in Gizeh (Kitab al-ifada wa l-i{tibar, K.H. Zand & J.A. and I.E. Videan, eds., trls., as The Eastern Key (London, 1964), p. 108f; L. Richter-Bernburg, Past glory and present ignorance Abd al-Laif al-Bagdadi on {Ayyubid Egypt, in Egypt and Syria in the Fatimid Ayyubid and Mamluk Eras V, eds. U. Vermeulen & K. Dhulster [OLA, volume 169] (Leuven, 2007), pp. 349-68, esp. 353, 355). This example shows that then as now there were alternatives; it would be an oversimplification to accept Ibn Jubayr testimony unquestioningly as the only valid expression of the spirit of his age.
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Yet here, he goes beyond referring to its miraculous disposal (al-mu{jiz wa{uh), additionally citing a tradition according to which there is, on the entire face of the inhabitable earth, no more wonderful sight, no higherrising or more marvellous structure than this dome with the exception of the dome of the House of the Sanctuary (i.e., Jerusalem). The reputation of the dome of Jerusalem, mere hearsay in his words, leaves Ibn Jubayr undaunted; he simply restates once more that ascent and entrance to the Damascus dome offered views and insights which ranked among the most marvellous topics in conversations about the wonders of the world ({aja}ib al-dunya).81 To sum up Ibn Jubayrs textual representation of the Umayyad mosque, it would not seem exaggerated to credit him with an eye no less for architecture itself than the arts of decorating surfaces; architecture as the art of organizing and molding spatial volumes appears to be no less accessible to him than all the arts which are deployed in the beautification of the surfaces which define and delimit architectural spaces. However, Ibn Jubayrs enthusiasm has to be put in perspective. Art and architecture as displayed in the Damascus mosque did not fascinate him for their own sake alone, but importantly also as manifestations of the glory of Islam.82 The question may be asked of whether his obvious lack of interest in Jerusalem did not partly derive from a notion of its being contaminated, if not to say, defiled by the Crusaders so that even its Islamic sites lost their attraction to him. Besides average historic structures which were not fraught with extraarchitectural meaning on the one hand and on the other, outstanding Muslim monuments of precisely such high symbolic value, in a third category antiquities present themselves as promising subjects of comparison and contrast between al-Harawis and Ibn Jubayrs approaches to architecture. Egypt, which either author visited, is the given locale for our inquiry since Syrian sights figure hardly or not at all in their texts. Whereas Ibn Jubayr did not visit Baalbek which he took to be in Frankish hands,83 al-Harawi only cursorily acknowledged its citadel as one of the wonders of the world and unequalled anywhere except by the ruins in the district of Iakhr which were said to have been built for Solomon by the jinn.84
81 In his habitual pious mode, he adds an expression of submission to the power of God the Vanquisher as a final flourish, p. 294:17. 82 The transport he experienced in the transept climaxed in the invocation that God let the profession and creed of Islam prosper in this mosque, p. 268:18f.. 83 p. 258:3. 84 p. 10:11-14/24.



Naturally, one of the best-known and most often described monuments was the Pharos of Alexandria.85 As noted above, al-Harawi took a rather dismissive attitude, denying it the character of wonder after the disappearance of its famed mirror. Its possible function as a burning mirror by which to destroy hostile vessels at a distance clearly intrigued him so that he presented a reasoned argument in support of this tradition. His interest in the mirror extended to its reputed size, for which he noncommittally quoted a figure; and only within this quotation does the figure of three hundred cubits for the elevation of the Pharos appear. However, remaining unimpressed with it in terms of architecture, he dispensed with further detail and merely classified it in its then shape as a sort of watchtower by the seashore, while the truly wondrous lighthouses if mana}ir can be thus translated for the moment were to be found in Constantinople. Considering that earlier authors as well as al-Harawis contemporaries treated the lighthouse of Alexandria with deference, it is difficult to avoid the question of al-Harawis motive in dismissing it. Perhaps he wanted to impress his audience with hard to verify reports about Constantinoples fabulous mana}ir which on the other hand, he may well have sincerely admired; however, this meant that he ignored the uniqueness of the Alexandrian Pharos as a highrise building to use modern parlance and its categoric difference from the Constantinopolitan monuments. Ibn Jubayr, on the other hand, was grateful for the Pharos as a landmark while still at sea and subsequently visited it, again praising its utility as a signpost and invoking divine protection for what to him was the product of Gods agency to begin with.86 Although the attribution of his own safe arrival to its existence may have owed something to conventional hyperbole, at the same time it expresses genuine appreciation, which includes the construction of the tower; yet the only measurement he professes having taken himself was the length of one side of the square at base (some fifty paces [ba{]), whereas he limits himself to quoting a round figure (one hundred and fifty qama) for its elevation,87 and the
85 A comparative study of its representation in all major texts of the period here under review, while certainly worth the effort, is beyond the scope of the present essay. 86 pp. 38:18-20, 41:6-19. 87 Following Andalusi-Arabic usage, ba{ (fathom in classical Arabic) is here understood as synonym of khawa, which Ibn Jubayr himself defines as one-and-a-half cubits (p. 263:9-11) and which approximately measures 0.75m (s. F. Corriente, A dictionary of Andalusi Arabic [Handbuch der Orientalistik, I 29] (Leiden, etc., 1997), p. 71a). If Ibn Jubayrs claim of having taken the measure is to be accepted, the resulting base length



evocation rather than description of the astounding and as it were, labyrinthine interior is not free of earlier stereotypes. Moreover, as at most, if not all, other places his approach was not one of detached cultural interest but informed by pious concerns. Here it was kindled by the reputed baraka of the masjid at the top; in order to partake of it, Ibn Jubayr and his party undertook the ascent and performed a ritual prayer there. Utilitarian and aesthetic aspects combined to make Alexandrias underground system of water supply and storage a special sight. Both al-Harawi and Ibn Jubayr clearly admired it as witness their use of the term wonder(s) ({aja}ib) yet their respective sensibility just as clearly differed. Besides the solidity, spaciousness and elevation of the subterranean structures and the value of their materials, marble columns and slabs, Ibn Jubayr expressly and with his usual, by habit devalued effusiveness notes their beauty.88 Al-Harawi, on the other hand, concentrates on quantifiable and tangible features; his admiration for this citywide network of water conduits expresses itself in the simile of Alexandria swimming, with the rise of the Nile, on its water like a glass bottle. Just like Ibn Jubayr, he notes the spaciousness of the underground passages, but observes more precisely on the regularity of their orthogonal in his words, chessboard-like triple-level layout.89 As for the monuments of pharaonic Egypt, the two authors here under review belong with the medieval Muslim mainstream; however, this is not to restrict their observations to commonplace notions to be found in other writers in identical form. While al-Harawi as well as Ibn Jubayr liberally exploited earlier sources, they each maintain their own perspective,
would not seem incredible. Likewise, even allowing for a merely conventional round figure, an elevation of one hundred and fifty qama (stature), at the ratio of 2:1 between stature and cubit i.e., simply taking numerically half the equally conventional three hundred cubits (cf. al-Harawi, supra) would not strain credibility too badly, yielding an elevation of c. 150 m. The same numerical operation, but applied to the qama measure as equivalent of pace (at the ratio of 1.5: 1 between pace and cubit), would reduce elevation to c. 130-35 m. 88 pp. 40:18 41:5; according to a local tradition quoted by the author, some of these subterranean structures served as foundations of palatial residences for philosophers and leaders. The medieval identification of classical remains in Alexandria as domiciles of philosophers or philosophical schools will be taken up in a separate study in future. 89 p. 48:3-6/112; to date, Alexandrias antique and medieval network of cisterns and canals has not been entirely uncovered and mapped. However, some of the accessible structures agree precisely with the texts here examined, especially with al-Harawi; see J.-Y. Empereur, Alexandria Rediscovered (London, 1998) [originally French, Alexandrie redcouverte (Paris, 1998)], esp. pp. 124-43; M. Herz, Les citernes dAlexandrie, Bulletin du Comit de conservation des monuments de lart arabe (1898): 81-86, 147, pls. V-VII.



whether or not this can truly be called individual. As noted above in the context of al-Harawis account of Jerusalem, his descriptions usually are quite brief; but then, we miss his promised work on Monuments and Wonders in which he planned to include a detailed exposition of all the notable Egyptian antiquities, pyramids, temples, statuary. As it is, happily he did not altogether refrain from commenting on historic sights in his Guide; thus the wonderful temple of Akhmim Ibn Jubayrs description of it will be examined shortly draws attention for its scale, its wonderful imagery, astounding art-work and profuse hieroglyphic inscriptions.90 Al-Harawi reports having measured one of the huge slabs of the roof and found it to be twenty by five by five cubits. As regards Luxor, he regrettably does not go into any detail concerning its architecture although he calls the place incomparable for the number of art-works, palaces, idols, images of wild and domestic animals.91 What really captivates him is the size of a colossus and at the same time the ruin and decay visited upon it. The measurement of seven cubits he reports having taken of the giants forearm, from the elbow to the wrist, does not by any means appear exaggerated.92 He also claims having applied, with a palm-branch for a pen, a dated inscription across the statues chest, which proclaimed the transience and vanity of earthly glory. Expectedly, the Koran furnished him with an appropriate quotation linking the disappearance of earlier generations stronger and more active as tillers and cultivators of the land to their disregard of prophetic messages;93 a second adage, a qi{a, formulates the well-worn pietist clich of the ruin of the great Sasanian kings with all their power and treasures. Only indirectly, by way of the quoted Koranic verse, does al-Harawi appear to subscribe to the widespread notion that the ancient Egyptian monuments were erected by a race of giants. Al-Harawis Luxor experience points to a fundamental ambivalence about ancient monuments, which in most places he does not express with similar directness;94 usually, Egypts monuments and variety of produce elicit his admiration.95
p. 43:11-14/103. pp. 43:17 44:13/104f. 92 See R.H. Wilkinson, The complete temples of ancient Egypt (London, 2000), esp. p. 252c [index], s.v. colossi. 93 Surah XXX: 9. 94 His observation on the futility of the pyramids as treasuries of their builders material and intellectual goods shows the same tendency (p. 40:8-12/96). 95 pp. 50:15 52:15/118-20; here al-Harawi quotes from the spurious correspondence between {Amr b. al-{A and {Umar on the peculiarities of Egypt and the welfare of its people.
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Ibn Jubayrs detailed account of the temple of Akhmim there may have been two originally has long been in the focus of modern scholarship.96 A good half century ago, the Egyptologist Serge Sauneron undertook to measure Ibn Jubayrs description against the reality of ancient Egyptian temples, both those dating back to the New Kingdom and those erected in or expanded until, the late periods of the Ptolemies or even the Roman empire.97 He found the measurements reported by Ibn Jubayr to be within the bounds of verisimilitude even if tending towards the upper limit and generally, nothing inherently incredible in his representation of the temple. The problematics of the literariness of ostensibly realistic narratives like Ibn Jubayrs and consequently, of the tangibility of their extratextual referents, which have gained much currency in recent criticism, need not overly concern us here. However, a warning note has to be sounded nevertheless. Fortunately, Ibn Jubayrs measurements can be checked against another, somewhat later description of the temple of Akhmim, which has been preserved in a travelogue by the Moroccan al-Qasim b. Yusuf al-Tujibi al-Sabti.98 His figure of thirty-eight columns is inherently more probable than Ibn Jubayrs forty, a conventionally round figure; similarly, a reported column circumference of forty-one spans sounds more likely than Ibn Jubayrs fifty. As for the distribution of the pillars in the temple, al-Sabti
96 pp. 60:21 62:17; for a more recent collection and review of most of the pertinent Arabic sources, in addition to Ibn Jubayr, see K.P. Kuhlmann, Materialien zur Archologie und Geschichte des Raumes von Achmim [Deutsches Archologisches Institut Abteilung Kairo, Sonderschrift 11] (Mainz, 1983), esp. pp. 25-47. 97 S. Sauneron, Le temple dAkhmm dcrit par Ibn Jobair, Bulletin de lInstitut Franais dArchologie Orientale, 51 (1952): 123-35. In addition to a review of medieval as well as modern sources on the existence of fragments on the ground at Akhmim, Sauneron refers to the large New Kingdom structures at Luxor as well as to late examples such as the temples of Edfu, Kom Ombo, Philae and especially Dendera, viewing its lack of a forecourt as similar to what Ibn Jubayr makes us understand of the temple of Akhmim; cf., in addition to Kuhlmann, Materialien, and Wilkinson, The complete temples, D. Arnold, Temples of the last pharaohs (New York Oxford, 1999), index, and idem, Die Tempel gyptens: Gtterwohnungen, Kultsttten, Baudenkmler (Zrich, 1992), esp. pp. 164-68 (Dendera) and 174-76. Arnold, however, unfazed by Sauneron (whom he cites), construes Ibn Jubayr as suggesting a structure like Edfu (ibid., pp. 98-102). 98 s. U. Haarmann, Krokodile aus Holz und Krokodile aus Marmor: Altgyptisches in einem marokkanischen Pilgerbericht des vierzehnten Jahrhunderts, in Meilenstein: Festgabe fr Herbert Donner [gypten und Altes Testament, volume 30], eds. M. Weippert & S. Timm (Wiesbaden, 1995), pp. 60-72, esp. 68f; it has to be noted that al-Sabtis description does not uniformly qualify as more precise or more detailed than Ibn Jubayrs (partial ed. of the Arabic text by {Abd al-afi Manur as Mustafad al-rila wa l-ightirab ([Libya/]Tunis, n.d. [1975]).



speaks of seven aisles (bala), which fits a pronaos well and would still leave some columns out of the total number for interior halls.99 Rather than on the accuracy of his description of the temple at Akhmim,100 our prime focus is on Ibn Jubayrs sense of its aesthetic qualities beyond its blanket qualification as one of the most wondrous (ajab) and talked-about sanctuaries (hayakil) in the world and other nonspecific expressions of wonderment. Without exaggeration it can be said that, in Ibn Jubayrs view, quantity translated into quality including the profusion of sculptural decoration in relief and in the round, and more importantly from the point of view of architecture, the maze-like disposition of partly unlit halls, corridors, stairways. The sheer number of measurements he recorded bears witness to his amazement and the absence of a figure for the elevation need not have ideological motives, considering that he did not give one for the mosque of Damascus either.101 Like al-Harawi before him, Ibn Jubayr also measured one of the large slabs of the roof; his figures are 56 10 8 spans, which has to be weighed against al-Harawis cubit measures and asSabtis 45 ( 10 7) spans (the difference might reflect the wider central aisle of the pronaos or other hypostyle structures). Next to size and number, it was quality of workmanship, which called for comment, the perfect fitting of the masonry and the intricateness of stone cutting, which suggested turnery in wood, not to forget intense and precious pigments, among them lapis lazuli. Perhaps the ancient artisans supreme achievement was sculptural, covering ceiling, columns and walls with lifelike representations of birds with displayed wings102 and human beings in a variety of postures and gestures; Ibn Jubayr speaks of their delightful aspect and charming shape, but on the other hand, also voices fear and apprehension about astonishing images of combined anthropo-zoomorphic beings. Nor does he leave the extensive hieroglyphic inscriptions unmentioned.
99 cf. Arnold, Die Tempel gyptens, pp. 100 (ground plan and elevation of pronaos of the temple of Horus at Edfu) and 164-69, no. 76 (ground plan, interior and elevation of pronaos of the temple of Hathor at Dendera) and id., Temples of the last pharaohs, p. 249f (Dendera). The large number of columns as reported of Akhmim would necessitate hypostyle halls further to the rear of the temple (cf. the ground plan of the Luxor temple, Arnold, Temples of the last pharaohs, p. 128). 100 Quite out of the ordinary, Ibn Jubayr takes care to defend himself against an anticipated charge of his description with exaggeration on the part of his prospective readers (p. 62:14ff). His seriousness would seem to command credence and confirm Saunerons use of the text. 101 pace Calasso, Les tches du voyageur . 102 Sauneron, Le temple dAkhmm, illustrates this with a representation of the vulture-goddess Nekhbet, p. 131; cf. Kuhlmann, Materialien, p. 38.



Considering the huge pile the temple of Akhmim must once have formed it is no surprise that its architecture impressed itself on Ibn Jubayr by its solid volume just as Egyptian temples still do on visitors today;103 in self-evident contrast to the Damascus mosque, the void, negative volume of space is present only in its displacement by massive walls and columns. To sum up discussion of Ibn Jubayrs response to the temple of Akhmim, its categorization as a wonder is not a mere clich;104 rather it is another instance of his implicit? Asharism replacing human by divine agency. Just as in the Damascus mosque, the hoisting of weights here, the ceiling blocks baffles him, but at Akhmim he locates Gods intervention in the timely completion of the reliefs which did not leave the width of an awl or a needle undecorated and in his mind could not possibly have been executed within human lifespan without divine dispensation.105 The attention Ibn Jubayr devoted to the temple of Akhmim would seem to suggest a measure of interest in the monuments of ancient Egypt. At first sight, there appears to be little or no cause to object to such a reading; however, apart from the general observation that his was anything but a systematic mind, the fact that he and his company visited Akhmim at all most probably had to do with the search for baraka for which he had also climbed up the Pharos. The town could boast two mosques of pertinent repute, one named after the famous mystic Dhu l-Nun106 and the other after one Dawud, a locally known devotee; Ibn Jubayr and his party performed a ritual prayer in either one. At Dendera, on the other hand, he takes, without further comment, the townfolks word for their temple being more sumptuous and grander than the one at Akhmim.107 Given the evident limitation of Ibn Jubayrs interest in pharaonic monuments, there is room for further argument concerning its foundations or even more basically, the appropriateness of construing his attitude as art-historical or archaeological interest. The ensuing criticism of his attitude may invite the accusation of anachronistically positing as reference a distinctly modern sensibility. At present, thus framing the issue will have to suffice.108
103 Sauneron, Le temple dAkhmm, compares Ibn Jubayrs reactions to those of modern tourists, p. 133ff. 104 pace Netton, Tourist Adab. 105 pp. 61:22 62:5. 106 s. G. Bwering, ul-Nun Meri, in Encyclopaedia Iranica, VI: 572a-573b. 107 p. 64:12-14; cf. supra, n. 99. 108 As noted above, among roughly contemporary authors {Abd al-Laif al-Baghdadi [supra, n. 80] would make an excellent comparison; cf also U. Haarmann, Luxor und



In conclusion, a few more general inferences may be drawn even from the narrow sample represented by al-Harawi and Ibn Jubayr and which evidently will have to be expanded by future study. As pointed out by Calasso109 and as reference to Naer-e Khosrow, Yusuf Ibn al-Shaykh and most other authors mentioned above can easily confirm, they shared an interest in measures and figures irrespective of substantial differences otherwise and relied on a certain common repertory of architectural markers (e.g., columns, marble, mosaic). Just as clearly, their approach to counting and measuring, which sets them apart from the earlier period of geographical and travel writing, was only one aspect of a tangible increase, in the period under discussion, in precision and attention to detail in architectural description. Such a heightened sensitivity extended to aesthetic qualities as such, notwithstanding the fact that these were still primarily viewed in function of the respective builders power and wealth or other societal conditions.110 In their variant accentuation, al-Harawi and Ibn Jubayr illustrate an appreciation of architecture as well as its contingency upon personality and preconceived worldviews.111 Even alHarawis and Ibn Jubayrs, as two contemporaries, similarly pronounced devoutness did not preclude acute differences in approach and judgement, whether regarding, e.g., the issue of Muslim versus Christian art, of the definition of wonder or of the human or superhuman causation of such wonders. A study of al-Harawis and Ibn Jubayrs contemporaries, close predecessors and followers will considerably expand the range of diversity hitherto observed.112 LUTZ RICHTER-BERNBURG Orientalisches Seminar Tbingen
Heliopolis: Ein Aufruf zum Denkmalschutz aus dem 13. Jahrhundert n. Chr., Mitteilungen des Deutschen Archologischen Instituts Abteilung Kairo, 40 (1984): 153-57; a. Ja{far M. b. {Abd al-{Aziz al-Idrisi, Kitab anwar {ulwiy al-ajram fi l-kashf {an asrar al-ahram, ed., with introd. and German summary by U. Haarmann, Das Pyramidenbuch des Abu Ga{far al-Idrisi (st. 649/1251) [Beiruter Texte und Studien, volume 38] (Beirut Stuttgart, 1991), esp. introd.; idem, al-Uur, in EI 2, X: 795f. 109 supra, n. 4. 110 cf. Behrens-Abouseif, Schnheit in der arabischen Kultur. 111 In contrast, let Yaquts above-noted relative lack of interest in the built environment be recalled too. 112 cf. Richter-Bernburg, Past glory and present ignorance, and id. Marmotmonolithe, Elephantenfe und Eselsrcken: mit Naer-e osrou auf Architekturreise, in Die Grenzen der Welt: Arabica et Iranica ad honorem Heinz Gaube, eds. L. Korn et al. (Wiesbaden, 2008), pp. 77-103.