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Rawd al-Qirtas

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Rawḍ al-Qirṭās Arabic: روض القرطاس‎‎ is a history of Morocco written in Arabic in the 1326 CE It includes many details about the wider Moroccan empire in Iberian Peninsula and Algeria

The full title of the work is Kitāb al-ānīs al-muṭrib bi-rawḍ al-qirṭās fī ākhbār mulūk al-maghrab wa tārīkh madīnah Fās The Entertaining Companion Book in the Garden of Pages from the Chronicle of the Kings of Morocco and the History of the City of Fes1 The work is usually known by its short title Rawd al-Qirtas meaning The Garden of Pages It is said that this has a double meaning in that there was a public garden in Fes called The Garden of al-Qirtas, the latter name being a nickname of Ziri ibn Atiyya2

The work has always been very popular in Morocco,1 and continues so to the present day In the days before printing, this popularity led to a large number of variant manuscripts A consequence of this is some uncertainty about the author, who is given in some versions as Ibn Abi Zar of Fes, and by some as Salih ibn Abd al-Halim of Granada The consensus of modern opinion3 is that the original author is Ibn Abi Zar as stated by Ibn Khaldun, and that Abd al-Halim is merely a summarizer at best The double meaning of the title, the detailed history of Fes and numerous mistakes in the geography of Iberia, are cited as evidence that the author was a native of Fes2

The scope of the history is from the advent of Idris I in 788 to the Marinid Dynasty up to 1326 The work falls into four sections, each ending in a summary list of the events in each period:

  • The Idrisid and Maghrawa kings
  • The Almoravids
  • The Almohads
  • The Marinids

Modern researchers consider that the first and last sections contain a valuable record of their respective periods, even if not completely free from errors On the other hand, the sections on the Almoravids and Almohads are considered to be riddled with chronological and factual errors and omissions and make this work one of the least trustworthy sources for those periods2 In light of these issues it is unfortunate that Ibn Khaldun chose the work as one of his primary sources of reference

A critical version of the Arabic text, utilizing all the manuscript versions then available, was published by Tornberg in 1843, and this is generally used as a basis for modern Arabic versions Tornberg also gave a Latin translation A French translation was published in 1860 by Beaumier but is based on fewer manuscripts and is considered faulty by modern standards24 The second 1964 edition of Huici Miranda's Spanish translation is heavily annotated and is considered authoritative


  1. ^ a b Randall, John "Historia dos Soberanos Mohametanos das primeiras quatro dyastias, e de parte da quinta, que reinarao na Mauritania" Books of Asia Books of Asia Retrieved 3 March 2011 
  2. ^ a b c d See introduction by Huici Miranda to the Spanish translation
  3. ^ See eg notes by Tayeb Habi to the Editions La Porte 1999 edition of Beaumier's translation
  4. ^ eg Biyuna is translated as Bayonne but is actually Iruña ie Pamplona, as pointed out by Huici Miranda


  • French translation: A Beaumier, Rawd al Kirtas Histoire des Souverains du Maghreb et Annales de la Ville de Fes Editions La Porte, Rabat, 1999
  • Spanish Translation: A Huici Miranda, Rawd el-Qirtas 2nd edition, Anubar Ediciones, Valencia, 1964 Vol 1 ISBN 84-7013-007-2, vol 2 ISBN 84-7013-013-7
  • English translation of sections on the Almoravids: N Levtzion & JFP Hopkins, Corpus of early Arabic sources for West African history, Cambridge University Press, 1981, ISBN 0-521-22422-5 reprint: Markus Wiener, Princeton, 2000, ISBN 1-55876-241-8

External linksedit

  • Maroc-Hebdo interview in French with Tayeb Habi, a recent publisher of Beamier's French translation
  • Comparative notes in English on sources of Moroccan history during the Almoravid period by French historian Lagadère

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