Caliph of Cairo: Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, 996-1021

Caliph of Cairo: Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, 996-1021

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By (author) Paul E. Walker

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  • Publisher: The American University in Cairo Press
  • Format: Paperback | 352 pages
  • Dimensions: 160mm x 231mm x 28mm | 771g
  • Publication date: 31 March 2010
  • Publication City/Country: Cairo
  • ISBN 10: 9774163281
  • ISBN 13: 9789774163289
  • Sales rank: 769,700

Product description

This is the most authoritative biography to date of the controversial Fatimid ruler. One night in the year 411/1021, the powerful ruler of Fatimid Cairo, al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, rode out of the southern gates of his city and was never seen again. Was the caliph murdered, or could he have decided to abandon his royal life, wandering off to live alone and anonymous? Whatever the truth, the fact was that al-Hakim had literally vanished into the desert. Yet al-Hakim, though shrouded in mystery, has never been forgotten. To the Druze, he was (and is) God, and his disappearance merely indicated his reversion to non-human form. For Ismailis, al-Hakim was the sixteenth imam, descended from the Prophet, and infallible. Jews and Christians, by contrast, long remembered him as their persecutor, who ordered the destruction of many of their synagogues and churches. Using all the tools of modern scholarship, Paul Walker offers the most balanced and engaging biography yet to be published of this endlessly fascinating individual.

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Author information

Paul E. Walker is a visiting scholar with the University of Chicago's Center for Middle Eastern Studies and an historian of ideas specializing in medieval Islamic history.

Review quote

Walker's work is a well-researched, unbiased and engaging expose of a melodramatic subject. . . . A fascinating aspect of Walker's study is his attempt to position in proper historical context the precise role women played in the Fatimid period. This particular debate has never been more urgent. . . . The author's sources are multifarious and variegated. Al Ahram Weekly"