Local knowledge for a prince


Pomerantz, Maurice A.

Date of creation
2023 Gregorian
Preferred title
Local knowledge for a prince English
Work type
Single work
Work manifested
Work genre
Textual work

Adult, serious


This article discusses the Maqāma Miyāhiyya (A Maqāma on the Waters) of al-Ḥasan b. Abī Muḥammad al-Ṣafadī as an example of a work that offers geographical knowledge about well-known places to a courtly circle of recipients. The maqāma is found in al-Ṣafadī’s collection of thirty maqāmāt, the Maqāmāt Ǧalāliyya, which was dedicated to the famed ruler of Hama, al-Malik al-Muʾayyad Abū l-Fidāʾ (672/1273–732/1332). The Maqāma Miyāhiyya discusses the rivers of the Mamluk domains in quantitative terms (a comparison of their weights) and then juxtaposes this section with a long poem in raǧaz meter describing the magical properties of springs, lakes, and rivers in Mamluk territory. As such, it represents the way al-Ṣafadī employed local geographical knowledge that he gained through his experience as an administrator in courtly contexts.

Edition in English
Local knowledge for a prince : A Maqāma on the miracles of water
Call number
41-796 (11 (2023) 1)