Abūʾl-Murajjā Sālim ibn al-Mustafād al-Ḥamdānī (died 1034) was the commander of Aleppo's ahdath (urban militia) during the reigns of the Mirdasid emirs Salih ibn Mirdas (r. 1024/25–1029) and Nasr ibn Salih (r. 1029–1038). He was executed by the latter in 1034 for stirring a local Muslim uprising against Aleppo's vassalage to the Christian Byzantine Empire.
Aleppo is a city in Syria, serving as the capital of the Aleppo Governorate, the most populous Syrian governorate. With an official population of 4.6 million in 2010, Aleppo was the largest Syrian city before the Syrian Civil War; however, now Aleppo is probably the second-largest city in Syria after the capital Damascus.
The aḥdāth were local militias or irregular police found in Syria in the 10th through 12th centuries C.E. The aḥdāth maintained order and protected cities from outside domination. Though some later writers ascribed proletarian values to the aḥdāth, as an outlet of the popular will, many aḥdāth also fulfilled a more formal police function and in many cases worked in conjunction with the urban bourgeoisie. The aḥdāth were utilised by the Fatimid dynasty in Syria in repelling attacks by the Crusaders.
The Mirdasid dynasty was an Arab dynasty that controlled the Emirate of Aleppo more or less continuously from 1024 until 1080.
Salim ibn al-Mustafad was the son of a ghulam (slave soldier; pl. ghilman) of Sayf al-Dawla, the Hamdanid emir of Aleppo in 945–967.Ibn al-Mustafad was a leader of the surviving Hamdanid-era ghilman when the Fatimids directly ruled Aleppo in the early 1020s. Though of foreign origins, Ibn al-Mustafad was assimilated into the Aleppine populace and resided in the al-Zajjajin (glassmakers) quarter where he likely cultivated close relationships with craftsmen, minor traders and laborers.
Ghilman were slave-soldiers and/or mercenaries in the armies of the Abbasid, Ottoman, Safavid, Afsharid and Qajar empires.
Ali ibn Abu'l-Hayja 'Abdallah ibn Hamdan ibn al-Harith al-Taghlibi, more commonly known simply by his laqab of Sayf ud-Dawla, was the founder of the Emirate of Aleppo, encompassing most of northern Syria and parts of western Jazira, and the brother of al-Hasan ibn Abdallah ibn Hamdan.
The Hamdanid dynasty was a Shi'a Muslim Arab dynasty of northern Iraq (al-Jazirah) and Syria (890-1004). They descended from the ancient Banu Taghlib Christian tribe of Mesopotamia and Eastern Arabia.
Ibn al-Mustafad defected to the Bedouin rebel Salih ibn Mirdas when the latter besieged Aleppo in 1024.Ibn al-Mustafad rallied the ghilman and local residents and opened the Bab Qinnasrin gate to Salih's Kilabi forces on 18 January 1025. In turn, Salih guaranteed the residents' safety and appointed Ibn al-Mustafad as ra'is al-balad (municipal chief) and muqaddam al-ahdath (commander of the local militia). The ahdath consisted of young armed men from Aleppo's lower and middle-class neighborhoods. Salih then entrusted Ibn al-Mustafad and Sulayman ibn Tawq with overseeing the siege of the Aleppo Citadel where the Fatimid garrison was holed up. The latter surrendered on 30 June and all of Aleppo came under Salih's Mirdasid emirate.
The Bedouin or Bedu are a grouping of nomadic Arab people who have historically inhabited the desert regions in North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, Iraq and the Levant. The English word bedouin comes from the Arabic badawī, which means "desert dweller", and is traditionally contrasted with ḥāḍir, the term for sedentary people. Bedouin territory stretches from the vast deserts of North Africa to the rocky sands of the Middle East. They are traditionally divided into tribes, or clans, and share a common culture of herding camels and goats. The vast majority of Bedouin adhere to Islam.
Abū ʿAlī Ṣāliḥ ibn Mirdās, also known by the laqabAsad al-Dawla, was the founder of the Mirdasid dynasty of Aleppo, ruling between 1025 until his death. At its peak, his emirate (principality) encompassed much of the western Jazira, northern Syria and a string of central Syrian towns. With occasional interruption, Salih's descendants would rule Aleppo for the next five decades.
Bab Qinnasrin is one of the gates of the medieval Old City of Aleppo in northern Syria. In its present form, it dates to 1256.
After Salih died, his sons Nasr and Thimal succeeded him, until the former seized complete control of Aleppo in 1030 following the Mirdasid victory over the Byzantines at the Battle of Azaz. Ibn al-Mustafad remained in charge of the ahdath, but he opposed Nasr's move to make the Emirate of Aleppo a formal vassal of the Byzantine Empire in 1031.He stirred up the city's poor and middle class Muslims to protest the alliance with Byzantium, prompting the Byzantine governor of Antioch to demand Nasr execute Ibn al-Mustafad. Accordingly, he was captured and executed in 1034. It is not apparent in contemporary sources if anyone succeeded Ibn al-Mustafad as commander of the ahdath.
Abu Kamil Nasr ibn Salih ibn Mirdas, also known by his laqab of Shibl al-Dawla, was the second Mirdasid emir of Aleppo, ruling between 1029/30 until his death. He was the eldest son of Salih ibn Mirdas, founder of the Mirdasid dynasty. Nasr fought alongside his father in the battle of al-Uqhuwanah, where Salih was killed by a Fatimid army. Afterward, Nasr ruled the emirate jointly with his brother Thimal. The young emirs soon faced a large scale Byzantine offensive led by Emperor Romanos III. Commanding a much smaller force of Bedouin horsemen, Nasr routed the Byzantines at the Battle of Azaz.
Muʿizz al-Dawla Abū ʿUlwān Thimāl ibn Ṣāliẖ ibn Mirdās was the Mirdasid emir of Aleppo from 1042 until 1057, and again from 1061 until his death. He was the son of Salih ibn Mirdas.
The Battle of Azaz was an engagement fought in August 1030 near the Syrian town of Azaz between the Byzantine army, led by Emperor Romanos III Argyros in person, and the forces of the Mirdasid Emirate of Aleppo under Emir Shibl al-Dawla Nasr.
Banu Kilab was an Arab tribe that dominated central Arabia during the late pre-Islamic era. It was a major branch of the Banu 'Amir ibn Sa'sa' tribe and was thus of north Arabian or Qaysi lineage. During and after the Muslim conquest of Syria, Kilabi tribesmen migrated to northern Syria. Their chieftain Zufar ibn al-Harith al-Kilabi led the Qaysi revolt against the Umayyad Caliphate until he secured peace with the latter in 691.
Rashid al-Dawla Mahmud, full name Mahmud bin Shibl al-Dawla Nasr bin Salih bin Mirdas, also known as Abu Salama Mahmud bin Nasr bin Salih, was the Mirdasid emir of Aleppo from 1060 to 1061 and again from 1065 until his death.
Sharaf al-Maʿālī Abu Manṣūr Anūshtakīn al-Dizbarī was a Fatimid statesman and general who became the most powerful Fatimid governor of Syria. Under his Damascus-based governorship, all of Syria was united under a single Fatimid authority. The historians of his day, including Ibn al-Qalanisi and Ibn al-Adim, noted Anushtakin's wealth, just rule and fair treatment of the population, with whom he was popular.
Al-Amir Muṣṭafa ad-Dawla Abī al-Fityān Muhammad, better known as Ibn Ḥayyûs, was an Arab poet from Syria. He was well known for writing panegyrics to the emirs and nobility of Syria, particularly the Mirdasids of Aleppo.
The Numayrids were an Arab dynasty based in Diyar Mudar. They were emirs (princes) of their namesake tribe, the Banu Numayr. The senior branch of the dynasty, founded by Waththab ibn Sabiq in 990, ruled the Euphrates cities of Harran, Saruj and Raqqa more or less continuously until the late 11th century. In the early part of Waththab's reign, the Numayrids also controlled Edessa until the Byzantines conquered it in the early 1030s. In 1062, the Numayrids lost Raqqa to their distant kinsmen and erstwhile allies, the Mirdasids, while by 1081, their capital Harran and nearby Saruj were conquered by the Turkish Seljuks and their Arab Uqaylid allies. Numayrid emirs continued to hold isolated fortresses in Upper Mesopotamia, such as Qal'at an-Najm and Sinn Ibn Utayr near Samosata until the early 12th century, but nothing is heard of them after 1120.
Abu'l Fatḥ al-Ḥasan ibn ʿAbd Allāh ibn Aḥmad ibn ʿAbd al-Jabbār ibn al-Ḥaṣīna al-Sulamī, better known as Ibn Abī Ḥaṣīna, was an 11th-century Arab poet, who specialized in panegyrics. He benefited from the patronage of the Mirdasid dynasty, whose emirs (princes) he frequently praised in his poetry. His works were published as Diwan Ibn Abi Hasina in 1956.
Sadīd al-Mulk Thuʿbān ibn Muḥammad ibn Thuʿbān was the Fatimid governor of Aleppo between 27 July 1024 and 30 June 1025. Thu'ban was a Kutami Berber commander based in Cairo until he was assigned by Caliph az-Zahir to replace Thu'ban's brother, Sanad al-Dawla al-Hasan, as governor of Aleppo after al-Hasan died of illness. Thu'ban was given the title sadid al-mulk. His rule over Aleppo was described as "unpopular" by historian Suhayl Zakkar.
Abūʾl Nasr Manṣūr ibn Luʾluʾ, also known by his laqab of Murtaḍā al-Dawla, was the ruler of the Emirate of Aleppo between 1008 and 1016. He succeeded his father Lu'lu' al-Kabir, with whom he had shared power. Unlike Lu'lu', however, Mansur's rule was opposed by Aleppo's notables, who chafed at his oppression and monopolization of power. Both Mansur and his father harassed the remaining members of the Hamdanid dynasty, in whose name they ostensibly ruled. On the diplomatic front, Mansur balanced ties with both the Byzantine Empire and the Fatimid Caliphate, and maintained the emirate's Shia Muslim orientation.
Abu Nasr Fath al-Qal'i, also known by his laqab of Mubarak al-Dawla wa-Sa'id-ha, was the governor of the Citadel of Aleppo during the reign of Emir Mansur ibn Lu'lu'. In 1016, he rebelled against Mansur, in likely collusion with Salih ibn Mirdas, forcing Mansur to flee. After a few months, Fath relinquished control of Aleppo to the Fatimid Caliphate, marking the beginning of direct Fatimid rule over the city. Afterward, he held posts in Tyre, then Jerusalem. As governor of Jerusalem, Fath helped the Fatimid general Anushtakin al-Dizbari suppress a rebellion by the Jarrahids in 1024–1025 and maintained order between the Rabbinate and Karaite Jewish sects during the Hoshana Rabbah festivals at the Mount of Olives in 1029 and 1030.
Muqallid ibn Kamil ibn Mirdas was a member of the Mirdasid dynasty, a commander of the Banu Kilab and at times served as governor of the Aleppo Citadel and the Mirdasids' envoy to the Byzantines and Fatimids.
Abū'l-Faḍl Rifq al-Khādim was a black African eunuch in the court of Fatimid caliph al-Mustansir and a commander of the Fatimid army. In 1024, during the reign of Caliph al-Zahir, Rifq led policing expeditions in the Egyptian countryside, earning him a reputation of loyalty. In 1049, he was appointed governor of Damascus in place of Nasir al-Dawla al-Hamdani, and headed a 30,000-strong expedition to assert Fatimid control over Aleppo, then held by the Mirdasid emir Thimal ibn Salih. His army consisted of Berbers, Turks, black Africans and, after it entered Syria, local Bedouin tribes. These diverse and often antagonistic factions quarreled frequently, weakening Rifq's army. After initial clashes with Thimal's troops outside Aleppo, many Bedouin defected and Rifq's officers ultimately deserted him for refusing their counsel. Rifq was captured, received a head injury and died in Mirdasid custody.
The Banū Munqidh, also referred to as the Munqidhites, were an Arab family that ruled an emirate in the Orontes Valley in northern Syria from the mid-11th century until the family's demise in an earthquake in 1157. The emirate was initially based in Kafartab before the Banu Munqidh took over the fortress of Shayzar in 1081 and made it their headquarters for the remainder of their rule. The capture of Shayzar was the culmination of a long, drawn out process beginning with the Banu Munqidh's nominal assignment to the land by the Mirdasid emir of Aleppo in 1025, and accelerating with the weakened grip of Byzantine rule in northern Syria in the 1070s.
Asad al-Dawla Abū Dhūʿaba ʿAṭiyya ibn Ṣāliḥ was the Mirdasid emir of Aleppo in 1062–1065. Prior to his assumption of the emirate in Aleppo, he had been the Mirdasid emir of al-Rahba from 1060. He continued as the emir of al-Rahba and the eastern portion of the Mirdasid realm after losing Aleppo to his nephew Mahmud ibn Nasr. He lost al-Rahba in 1070. He entered Byzantine protection afterward and launched a failed assault against Mahmud’s territories before his death in Constantinople.
Naṣr ibn Maḥmūd ibn Naṣr ibn Ṣaliḥ ibn Mirdās was the Mirdasid emir of Aleppo in 1075–1076.
Hārūn ibn Malik al-Turk, better known as Ibn Khān, was the leader of the first recorded group of free Turkmen troops to enter Syria. Previous groups of Turks that had been present in Syria were slave soldiers and pages and their descendants. Ibn Khan had been invited to Syria to bolster the Mirdasid emir of Aleppo, Atiyya ibn Salih, against his nephew and rival claimant to the emirate, Mahmud ibn Nasr, in 1064.
Thierry Bianquis was a French Orientalist and Arabist. His main interest was the medieval Islamic Middle East, most notably the Fatimid era of Egypt and Syria, which was the subject of his dissertation.
Charles Pellat was a French Arabist. He was a member of the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, and an editor of the Encyclopaedia of Islam.
The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a numeric commercial book identifier which is intended to be unique. Publishers purchase ISBNs from an affiliate of the International ISBN Agency.