Ibn Muyassir Sources Open this page in a new tab


Annales d'Egypte (ed. H. Masse, Cairo 1919; cf. G. Wiet, in JA, 1921) have survived in a unique manuscript, which is incomplete and which derives from a copy made by al-Makrizi; the latter itself may not have been complete or free from error. The text as it survives, after the correct order of the leaves is restored, provides (apart from a lacuna covering the years 502-14) a consecutive account of the history of the years 439 to 553/1047-1158, together with two extracts covering the years 362-5/973-6 and 38i-7/ 991-7; however the large extent to which al-Nuwayri, Nihaya, borrows from him for Fatimid history enables us to fill the lacuna from 502-14 and to confirm that the chronicle reached as far as the Ayyubid period, although perhaps not covering it in full. It is more difficult to decide what exactly the two fragments on the 4th/10th century represent: later writers in general attribute to Ibn Muyassar a continuation of al-Musabbihi, though certainly in a style less developed than the latter's history; but, if the two fragments in question really do belong to Ibn Muyassar, it must be assumed that he also covered, in a more summary fashion, the period which al-Musabbihi had already dealt with. Direct comparison with al-Musabbihi is not possible, since the only section of his work which has survived does not cover the years found in Ibn Muyassar; nevertheless the comparison which is now possible with the Itti'az of al-Makrizi proves that the 381-7 fragment certainly is a summary of al-Musabbihi; in the other fragment, belonging to an earlier period than that of al-Musabbihi, he copies Ibn Zulak, without mentioning him in it. The "History of the kadis of Egypt" of Ibn Hadjar (ed. R. Guest) even quotes passages of Ibn Muyassar earlier than the Fatimids, but these probably belong to another work, one devoted specially to the Egyptian kadis. In any case the essential part of the Chronicle, that which deals with the Fatimids of the 5th/11th and 6th/12th centuries, is based mainly on a lost work of a certain al-Muhannak, which was used also by Ibn Zafir. It contains much valuable and original information on a history whose direct sources have disappeared.