Book: Edition of Ibrāhīm al-Miʿmār’s (m. 749/1348) diwan

Ibrāhīm al-Miʿmār (the Master Builder, the Architect) is one of the most important poets of the Mamluk era (1250-1517). His diwan which has come upon us in at least seven manuscripts is the most comprehensive collection of popular poetry before the advent of the Ottoman Empire. It comprises more than 500 epigrammatic poems, one maqAma, one muwaššaḥ in literary Arabic as well as 32 mawāwīl, a dozen azǧāl or balālīq in dialect.

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Apart from the fact that his diwan is of paramount importance for literary history it brims with data that is very well exploitable within historical dialectology and cultural/ social history. His poems provide ample information on life and habits of urban “middle class” society in Mamluk Cairo. Among his favorite topics count love, sex, drugs (wine, marihuana, beer), the river Nile, festivities and board games (chess, nard). Likewise we find satirical puns and reflexions on political, social and religious life.

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I have been editing the diwan under the supervision of Thomas Bauer, Münster/ Germany between August 2007 and September 2008. My friend and colleague Anke Osigus currently finalizes the work.

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The following pdf file shows the first two pages of al-Mi’mār’s diwan in its final camera-ready shape: Click here


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