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Bayrūt

(1,496 words)

Author(s): Elisséeff, N.
(currently written Beyrouth or Beirut), capital of the Lebanese Republic, situated 33° 54′ lat. N. and 35° 28′ Long. E., is spread at first on the north face of a promontory, of which it now occupies almost the entire surface. The etymology of the name, long disputed, is no doubt derived from the Hebrew beʾerot , plural of beʾer , (well), the only local means of water supply until the Roman period. As a human habitat the site is prehistoric, traces of the Acheulian and Levalloisian periods ¶ having been found there. It is as a port on the Phoenician coast that the agglomeration ap…

Batrūn

(353 words)

Author(s): Elisséeff, N.
(or bat̲h̲rūn ), Graeco-Roman Bostrys and the Boutron of the Crusaders; a small t o w n on the Lebanese coast, situated 56 kms. north of Bayrūt; it witnessed the passage of all the armies of conquest, covering as it does the Bayrūt-Ṭarābulūs road to the south of the precipitons promontary of Rās S̲h̲aḳḳa (Theouprosôpon). According to a tradition cited by Josephus ( Antiq . viii, 3, 52), it was apparently founded by Ithobaal, king of Tyre. In reality it is of much older origin and is mentioned in the Tell al-ʿAmarna letters (15th century…

Ḳalʿat al-S̲h̲aḳīf

(1,541 words)

Author(s): Elisséeff, N.
(the “Citadel of the Rock”) is the Crusaders’ castle of Beaufort. It is also known by the name of S̲h̲aḳīf ʿArnūn. On the testimony of the Arab authors, Yāḳūt among others, it was long believed that ʿArnūn was the Arabic transcription of the name Arnould, a Frank said to have been lord of the region. In fact, it is a toponym which occurs even in the Bible (Joshua, XII, 1); its position to the west of the Jordan indicates that it corresponds to the present village of ʿArnūn which, in former times, marked the frontier of the land of Moab. From the earliest remains it may be supposed that a ¶ military sett…

Maʿarrat Maṣrīn or Miṣrīn

(1,438 words)

Author(s): Elisséeff, N.
, a small town in North Syria (lat. 36° 01′ N., long. 36° 40′ E.). It is 40 km. to the north of Maʿarrat al-Nuʿmān [ q.v.], 50 km. south-west of Aleppo or Ḥalab [ q.v.] and 12 km. north-west of Sarmīn. It owes its importance to its position between the districts of the Rūd̲j̲, the D̲j̲azr and the D̲j̲abal al-Summāḳ and formerly served as the market for this region which the road from Ḥalab to Armanāz traverses, a route used in the Middle Ages by the Turkomans. Its role has devolved today on Idlib. The land, although poorly watere…

Ḥimṣ

(6,647 words)

Author(s): Elisséeff, N.
(Latin Emesa, French and English Homs, Turkish Humus), town in Syria (36° E. and 34° 20′ N.) 500 m above sea level on the eastern bank of the Orontes (Nahr al-ʿĀṣī), in the centre of a vast cultivated plain which is bounded in the east by the desert and in the west by volcanic mountains. Situated at the entrance to a depression between the mountains of Lebanon and the D̲j̲abal Anṣāriyya, Ḥimṣ benefits from the climatic influences of the sea which come …

Ibrāhīm b. S̲h̲īrkūh

(509 words)

Author(s): Elisséeff, N.
, al-Malik al-Manṣūr Nāṣir al-Dīn Ibrāhīm b. al-Malik al-Mud̲j̲āhid Asad al-Dīn S̲h̲īrkūh II, cousin of Salāḥ al-Dīn (Saladin), succeeded his father S̲h̲īrkūh [ q.v.], prince of Aleppo and Damascus, in Rad̲j̲ab 637/January-February 1240. When he became master of the province of Ḥimṣ, to which at that time there belonged Tadmur, Raḥba and Māksīn, the pressure of the K̲h̲uwārizmians in northern Syria was very great. When Ibrāhīm learned of the defeat of the Aleppan army at Buzāʿa in Rabīʿ II 638/October-November 1240, h…

Ibn ʿAsākir

(1,769 words)

Author(s): Elisséeff, N.
, the name of the members of the Banū ʿAsākir family, eminent figures who for almost two centuries, from 470 to 660/1077-1261, held an important position in the history of the town of Damascus and produced a dynasty of S̲h̲āfiʿī scholars. Among the most illustrious members of this remarkable family it is fitting to mention al-Ḥasan b. Hibat Allāh, who was born in 470/1077 and died at Damascus in 519/1125. A grammarian and juris-consult of note, he allied himself by marriage to the family of the Banū Kurās̲h̲ī, which traced its ancestry back to the Umayyads and which included numerous ḳāḍīs

Kawkab al-Hawāʾ

(599 words)

Author(s): Elisséeff, N.
, the Compass Dial, mediaeval fortress in Palestine whose name has been corrupted into “Coquet” by the Frankish authors who also cite it by the name of Belvoir. Constructed not far from Mount Tabor (al-Ṭūr) on a promontory 297 m above the Valley of the Jordan and situated 4 km to the south of the Lake of Tiberias and 14 km to the north of Baysān [ q.v.], a watchpost in the G̲h̲awr, it controlled the province of ¶ the Jordan and guarded the fords into Galilee, notably below the confluence of the Yarmūk, the D̲j̲isr al-Mad̲j̲āmiʿ (Bridge of the Confluence). The castle presents a plan of Byzantine…

Mawdūd b. ʿImād Al-dīn Zankī

(1,905 words)

Author(s): Elisséeff, N.
, Ḳuṭb al-Dīn , Atabeg [see atabak ] of al-Mawṣil. ʿImād al-Dīn Zankī, on his death on 6 Rabīʿ II 541/15 September 1146, left four heirs: of these Mawdūd b. ʿImād al-Dīn Zankī, Ḳuṭb al-Dīn al-Aʿrad̲j̲, the youngest of his sons, was only sixteen years old. The eldest, Sayf al-Dīn G̲h̲āzī represented his father at al-Mawsīl of which Zankī [ q.v.] held only the usufruct; the second son, Nūr al-Dīn Maḥmūd [ q.v.], twenty-nine years old, accompanied his father in his campaigns; the third, Nuṣrat al-Dīn Amīr-Amīrān was named as heir presumptive when the former was ill, in…

D̲j̲abala

(427 words)

Author(s): Elisséeff, N.
, D̲j̲eblé, Lat. Gabala, Fr. Gibel, Zibel (not to be confused with Giblet-Ḏj̲oubayl) is a small port on the Syrian coast, situated 30 km. to the south of al-Lād̲h̲iḳiya, facing the island of Ruwad; it is one of the termini of the main road from K̲h̲urāsān, through the valley of the ʿAya al-S̲h̲arḳī in contact with D̲j̲abal Bahirā and G̲h̲āb, where there are roads towards Apamée and Aleppo. This town was an important commercial centre from the time of the Phoenicians, a Dorian colony in the 5th century B.C. and then a prosperous Roman town, surrounded by a coasta…

Baradā

(92 words)

Author(s): Elisséeff, N.
or baradān , the ancient Cydnus, now D̲j̲ayhūn, a river rising in Cappadocia, which flows towards the West, irrigates the gardens near Marʿas̲h̲ and those of Ṭarsūs, brings down alluvial deposits to the low-lying plain of Cilicia and empties into the sea on the Western side of the Gulf of Alexandretta. In ancient times, small ships sailed up it as far as Ṭarsūs. (N. Elisséeff) Bibliography Masʿūdī, Murūd̲j̲, i, 264 Yāḳūt, i, 389, iii, 526 Le Strange, Palestine under the Moslems, 63, 378, 419 Cl. Cahen, La Syrie du Nord, 146-151.

Manzil Bas̲h̲s̲h̲ū

(408 words)

Author(s): Elisséeff, N.
, a place in Ifrīḳiya whose site has been identified as the place called D̲j̲adīda. Under the Ag̲h̲labids [ q.v.] it was the chief town of the administrative district of the peninsula of Cape Bon or D̲j̲azīrat S̲h̲arīk [ q.v.], which al-Idrīsī ( Opus geographicum , 293, 302) calls moreover D̲j̲azīrat Bas̲h̲s̲h̲ū. In the 4th/10th century, it was “an extensive and fertile region”, concerning which Ibn Ḥawḳal (tr. Kramers-Wiet, 69-70) further says: “... The tax yield and the population are both numerous. A small province…

Ṣāfīt̲h̲a

(1,702 words)

Author(s): Elisséeff, N.
, a place in western Syria, situated in the D̲j̲abal Bahrāʾ region. This last becomes lower as it falls southwards, with a large gap commanded to the north by Ṣāfīt̲h̲a and Ḥiṣn al-Akrād [ q.v.] and to the south by ʿAkkār and ʿIrḳa [ q.vv.]. The mountains of the ʿAlawīs fall southwards into the Ṣāfīt̲h̲a depression. Ṣāfīt̲h̲a was the ’Αργυρόκστρων of Byzantine authors, Castrum Album or Chastel Blanc of the ¶ Latin ones, and is the main place in the district, with its fortress called in Arabic texts Burd̲j̲ Ṣāfit̲h̲a; this last lies to the eas…

Bs̲h̲arrā

(354 words)

Author(s): Elisséeff, N.
or Bécharré, one of the oldest villages in northern Lebanon, 1400 metres above sea-level. It is situated at the bottom of an amphitheatre at the entrance to the Ḳadīs̲h̲a gorge, a hollow ravine of many caves and hermitages, where traces of very ancient monastic settlements are to be found. The Arab geographers refer to the district under the name of D̲j̲ubbat Bs̲h̲arrīyya or Bs̲h̲arrā. At the time of the Crusades it was one of the fiefs of the County of Tripoli, under the name of Buissera. A stronghold of the Maronite mountain, it depended under the Mamlūk domination from the niyāba

Ḳinnasrīn

(1,818 words)

Author(s): Elisséeff, N.
, an ancient town and military district in Syria; the name is of Aramaic origin and appears as Kennes̲h̲rīn in the Syriac texts. Composed of ḳinnā “nest” and nasrīn “of eagles”, it is mentioned in the Babylonian Talmud in the form of Kannis̲h̲rayyā and the European historians of the Middle Ages called the area Canestrine. A distinction must be drawn between the town and the d̲j̲und . 1. The town. At the present day, Ḳinnasrīn is nothing more than a little village surrounded by ruins, a day’s journey to the south of Aleppo, on the right bank of the Ḳuwayḳ which …

Bādiya

(1,058 words)

Author(s): Elisséeff, N.
(a.) meant, in the Umayyad period, a residence in the countryside (whence the verb tabaddā ), an estate in the environs of a settlement or a rural landed property in the Syro-Jordanian steppeland. For Musil, the bādiya was the successor to the summer encampment called by the old Syrian Bedouin name of al-ḥīra . At the opening of the 20th century, the sense was restricted by archaeologists to the desert castles. They went so far as to construct theories about the attraction of the Bedouin way of life for the Umayyads and about the conservatory role…

Manbid̲j̲

(7,272 words)

Author(s): Elisséeff, N.
, an ancient town of Syria which was situated to the north-east of Aleppo. It appears that an urban settlement with the name Nappigi or Nampīgi existed on this site in the Assyrian period. In the time of Shalmaneser, it was known as Lita As̲h̲ūr, The Syriac appears to refer back to the Assyrian root; in fact the name became Mabbog or Mambog which signifies “gushing water”, linked, according to Yāḳūt, to the root nabad̲j̲a . “to gush”, which would hardly be surprising in a region of abundant springs. The following spellings are encountered: in the …

K̲h̲ān

(6,030 words)

Author(s): Elisséeff, N.
, a word of Persian origin designating on the one hand a staging-post and lodging [see also manzil ] on the main communication routes, on the other a warehouse, later a hostelry [see also funḍuḳ ] in the more important urban centres. I. The highway k̲h̲ān. The economic functions served by this institution have changed little from the Middle Ages to the present day. It had its roots in the beginnings of organised highway trade in the earliest times, but it flourished with particular vigour in the Islamic world. The K̲h̲ān was born of the need to ensure safe lodgi…

G̲h̲ūṭa

(2,180 words)

Author(s): Elisséeff, N.
, name given in Syria to abundantly irrigated areas of intense cultivation surrounded by arid land. A g̲h̲ūṭa is produced by the co-operative activity of a rural community settled near to one or several perennial springs, whose water is used in a system of canalization to irrigate several dozen or several hundred acres. Each g̲h̲ūṭa has its own particular system of irrigation based on cycles of varying length. The soil in a g̲h̲ūṭa is usually laid out in platforms which form terraces of watered zones, the level sections of which are supported by stone walls two to s…

Mard̲j̲ al-Ṣuffar

(2,923 words)

Author(s): Elisséeff, N.
, the plain stretching from the south of the G̲h̲ūṭa and falling within the administrative district of Damascus ( arḍ Dimas̲h̲ḳ ). It holds an important position in the history of Syria because of the many battles occurring there over the centuries and the frequent crossings of it by pilgrims. It provides a convenient stopping place south of Damascus, and because of the good water supply there and excellent grazing, it makes an ideal encampment for any army travelling from the north or the south. To the north it is bounded by the right bank of the Nahr al-Aʿwad̲j̲, which drops d…
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