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Aṭfīḥ

(332 words)

Author(s): Becker, C.H.
, town in Middle Egypt. Aṭfīḥ (also written with t instead of ) is a small town of 4,300 inhabitants on the east bank of the Nile at the latitude of Fayyūm. The name of the town in old Egyptian was Tep-yeh or Per Hathor nebt Tepyeh, i.e., "house of Hathor, lady of Tepyeh". The Copts changed this name to Petpeh, the Arabs to Aṭfīḥ. The Greeks, identifying Hathor with Aphrodite, called the town Aphroditopolis, abbreviated to Aphrodito. The town must still have possessed importance in th…

Banī Suwayf

(224 words)

Author(s): Becker, C.H.
(Beni Suef, Beni Souef) a town in Egypt, on the west bank of the Nile, 75 m. (120 km.) south of Cairo. According to al-Sak̲h̲āwī (902/1497) the old name of the town was Binumsuwayh, from which popular etymology derived the form Banī Suwayf (the of Ibn Ḏj̲īʿān, al-Tuḥfa al-Saniyya , 172, and the of Ibn Duḳmāḳ, Intiṣār , v, 10, ought probably to be read ). In still more ancient times the capital of this district was Heracleopolis Magna, 10 m. (16 km.) west of Banī Suēf, which only attained importance under Muḥammad ʿAlī. From the time of the division of Egypt into provinces ( mudīriyya

Baḥriyya

(558 words)

Author(s): Becker, C.H.
, a group of oases in the Lybian desert. The Baḥriyya is the most northerly of the Lybian desert. The Wāḥāt Baḥriyya (also singular), i.e., the northern oases, are distinguished from the Wāḥāt Ḳibliyya, the southern oases, i.e., the Dāk̲h̲la [ q.v.] and Ḵh̲ārga [ q.v.]. Between these two groups lie the little oases of Farafra (included in the Dāk̲h̲la by some), or al-Farāfira, called al-Farfarūn by al-Bakrī and al-Yaʿḳūbī. The three large oases are also distinguished as inner, middle and outer; the inner is the Baḥrīyya which is also calle…

Abu ’l-Hawl

(428 words)

Author(s): Becker, C.H.
( Hōl ), "father of terror", the Arabic name for the sphinx of Ḏj̲īza (Gizeh). Some authors simply call it al-ṣanam , "the idol", but the name Abu ’l-Hawl is already attested for the Fāṭimid ¶ period. At that time the Coptic name Belhīt ( Belhīb ), or as al-Kuḍāʿī (quoted by al-Maḳrīzī) has it: Belhūba ( Belhawba ), was also still known. The Arabic Abu ’l-Hawl is most probably a popular etymology based on the Coptic designation; the initial B probably represents the Coptic article, which has been transformed in Arabic, as often happened, into Abū. In the old tradition the n…

ʿAyn S̲h̲ams

(374 words)

Author(s): Becker, C.H.
is a town in Egypt. ʿAyn S̲h̲ams is the Arabic name of the ancient Egyptian town of Ōn, which the Greeks called Heliopolis because of its famous sun-temple. A recollection of this cult is contained in the Arabic name (“the spring, or the eye, of the sun”), which must be a popular arabicised form of an old name. In the first centuries of Islam ʿAyn S̲h̲ams was still, according to some authorities, an important town, and the capital of a district ( kūra ), but according to others, a collection of ruins used as a public quarry. The Fāṭimid al-ʿAzīz built cas…

ʿAbd Allāh b. ʿAbd al-Malik

(346 words)

Author(s): Becker, C.H.
b. Marwān , son of the caliph ʿAbd al-Malik b. Marwān [ q.v.], was born about the year 60/680-1, perhaps somewhat earlier, as he is said to have been 27 years old in the year 85/704. He grew up in Damascus and accompanied his father in several campaigns. We first meet him as an independent general in the year 81/700-1, in one of the usual razzias against the Eastern Romans. Then in the year 82/701-2, he was sent with Muḥammad b. Marwān to help ¶ al-Ḥad̲j̲d̲j̲ād̲j̲ against al-As̲h̲ʿat̲h̲ and played a part in the negotiations of Dayr al-Ḏj̲amād̲j̲im. Thereup…

Badr al-Ḏj̲amālī

(822 words)

Author(s): Becker, C.H.
, a Fātimid commanderin-chief and vizier. The formerly brilliant Fāṭimid empire was on the verge of downfall under the incapable Caliph Mustanṣir (427-487/1036-1094). The Sald̲j̲ūḳs were pressing forward into Syria, in Egypt ¶ the Turkish slave-guards were fighting with the negro-corps, a seven years’ famine was exhausting the resources of the country; all state authority had disappeared in the general struggle; hunger and disease were carrying off the people, licence and violence were destroying all prosperity and it appeared…

al-As̲h̲mūnain

(488 words)

Author(s): Becker, C. H.
, town in Upper Egypt. Al-As̲h̲mūnain, more correctly al-Us̲h̲mūnain, lies between the Nile and the Bahr Yūsuf, about 27° 47′ N. Lat., not far from the railway-station Rōḍa in Upper Egypt. It is a small country-town ( Nāḥiya) of 3855 (including 3 dependencies, 7729) inhabitants, and belongs to the district ( Markaz) of Mallawī in the province of Asyūṭ. This place which is now quite unimportant was formerly one of the chief towns of Egypt. The name — an Arabic dual — corresponds to die old Egyptian Ḵh̲mūnu, the Coptic S̲h̲mūn; the Greeks and Romans calle…

Barabra

(321 words)

Author(s): Becker, C. H.
(Barābira) is the plural of Barbarī and in Egypt denotes the Nubians or as they are now usually called, Berbers. Their home is the upper valley of the Nile from the neighbourhood of Assuan to Dongola. The visitor to any portion of this district is struck by the small number of men met with; one sees only women, children and old men. The fertile area is not large but the population is numerous, so the men go to Egypt where they find employment as domestic servants, cooks, coachmen, doorkeepers, r…

AṭfīḤ

(302 words)

Author(s): Becker, C. H.
, town in Middle Egypt.Aṭfīḥ (also written with t instead of ), is a small town of 4300 inhabitants on the East bank of the Nile on the eminence of the Faiyum. The old-Egyptian name of the town was Tep-yeh or Per Hathor nebt Tep-yeh, i. e. “house of Hathor, lady of Tepyeh”. From this the Copts obtained the form Petpeh, the Arabs Aṭfīḥ; the Greeks identifying Hathor with Aphrodite called the town Aphroditopolis, abbreviated to Aphrodito. The town must still have possessed importance in the Christian period…

AsyūṬ

(763 words)

Author(s): Becker, C. H.
, town in Upper Egypt. Asyūṭ, the largest and most commercial town of Upper Egypt, is situated 27° 11’ N. Lat. on the west bank of the Nile. Owing to its situation in one of the most fertile and compact districts of the cultivable Nile-valley, and also to its being the natural terminus of great desert-highways it was in antiquity an important town (Syowt, Greek: Lykopolis) and the chief town of a Nomos. Under Islām Asyūṭ remained the chief town of a Kūra (modern markaz, “district”), and on the inauguration of the division into provinces became the capital of a province ( ʿAmal, now Mudīrīya). The …

Barbā

(161 words)

Author(s): Becker, C. H.
, more correctly Berbe, the Arab name for the ruins of Egyptian temples. Every pagan temple and every ancient building is called Barbā ( Kull haikal wa kull maṣnaʿ ḳadīm: Ibn Ḏj̲ubair, Riḥla, ed. de Goeje, 61, 3). The word is borrowed from Coptic in which p’erpe means temple. Among travellers and geographers the temples of Ak̲h̲mīm are the Barābā (the plural form barbayāt also appears) par excellence. Maḳrīzī, Ibn Ḏj̲ubair and others use the word while describing Ak̲h̲mīm. It is next applied to all temples and even to pagodas. The word has survived in Egypt in …

Egypt

(21,202 words)

Author(s): Becker, C. H.
The name Egypt — the etymology is more correctly preserved in the German form Ägypten — is derived from the Greek ΑἴγυπτοΣ of which only the abbreviation Ḳibṭ survived into the Muhammadan period as the name of the inhabitants of the country. The land itself is known by the old Semitic name the Arabic form of which is Miṣr; from this the colloquial language has made Masr. The Muslim conquest began at the end of the year 18 = 639. From that year to the present day Egypt has been one of the centres of the political, cultural…

ʿAbd Allāh b. Saʿd

(660 words)

Author(s): Becker, C.H.
, Muslim statesman and general. Abū Yaḥyā ʿAbd Allāh b. Saʿd b. Abī Sarḥ al-ʿĀmirī belonged to the clan of ʿĀmīr b. Luʾayy of Ḳurays̲h̲ and was as foster brother of the subsequent caliph ʿUt̲h̲mān a chief partisan of the Umayyads. He was less a soldier than a financier. The judgements of historians on his character vary greatly. His name is connected in many ways with the beginnings of Islam. First he is mentioned as one of Muḥammad’s scribes: he is supposed to have arbitrarily altered the revel…

Bābalyūn

(503 words)

Author(s): Becker, C.H.
(Babylon), a town in Egypt. The name Babylon, denoting the mediaeval Egyptian town in the neighbourhood of the modern Cairo, is, according to Casanova, the Graëcised form of an ancient Egyptian Pi-Hapi-n-On through assimilation to the Asiatic βαβυλών which was familiar to the Greeks. This etymology is not quite free from objections but there is no doubt that some ancient Egyptian place-name underlies it. By the name is meant the ancient town and fortification of the Greeks which — situated on th…

Asyūṭ

(756 words)

Author(s): Becker, C.H.
, town in Upper Egypt. Asyūṭ, the largest and busiest town of Upper Egypt, is situated Lat. 27º 11′ N. on the wast bank of the Nile. Owing to its situation in one of the most fertile and sheltered districts of the cultivable Nile valley, and also to its being the natural terminus of great desert highways it was in antiquity an important town (Syowt, Greek: Lykopolis) and the chief town of a Nomos. Under Islām Asyūṭ remained the chief town of a kūra (modern markaz , "district"), and on the inauguration of the division into provinces became the capital of a province ( ʿamal , now mudīriyya ). Asyūṭ is th…

al-ʿAzīz

(153 words)

Author(s): Becker, C. H.
, al-Malik al-ʿAzīz ʿImād al-Dīn Abu ’l-Fatḥ ʿOt̲h̲mān, an Aiyūbid, son of Saladin was born in Cairo on the 8 Ḏj̲umādā I 567 (6 February, 1172). In 582 (1186-1189), when 15 years old, he became governor of Egypt. On the death of his father he inherited Egypt, where he reigned from 589 till his early death on the 27 Muḥarram 595 (29 November 1198). The events of his reign are dealt with in the articles al-ʿādil I and al-afḍal. He was an amiable but weak prince. He did his best to be just but could not be master of the difficult political situation in which Egypt was then p…

Dār Fūr

(2,314 words)

Author(s): Becker, C. H.
or Dār Fōr, a territory and Sulṭanat in the Eastern Sūdān, is one of the still unopened areas in Central Africa, nominally belonging to the English sphere of influence and even paying tribute (cf. the annual Reports on Egypt and the Sūdān) but still practically independent. Its boundaries can only be roughly defined as: in the north the 15° and in the south the 10° N. Lat., in the west the 22° and in the east the 27° E. Long. (Greenw.). Dār Fūr is bounded on the west by the Sultanat of Wadāʾi under French influence, in the south and ea…

al-ʿAbbāsa

(380 words)

Author(s): Becker, C. H.
, name of different places: 1. Capital of a canton ( nāḥiya) of the same name, with 2083 inhabitants (3844 with its twenty-five dependencies) in Lower Egypt, province of S̲h̲arḳīya, district of Zaḳāzīḳ where the Wādī Ṭūmīlāt discharges its waters into the Delta, between Abū Ḥammad, a station on the Ismāʿīlīya railway, and Tell-el-Kebīr, which is renowned for the defeat of ʿArabī Pas̲h̲a. Now it is an insignificant ¶ village, but in the Middle Ages it held a decided importance in that it was the first Egyptian town on the road from Syria, and the place where more…

al-Bahnasā

(469 words)

Author(s): Becker, C. H.
, a town in Egypt. Now an unimportant village of 150 (with two dependent villages 300) inhabitants in the district of Benī Mazār, in the Province of Minya, al-Bahnasā (the Egyptian Permezet, Coptic Pemd̲j̲e and the Greek Πέμπτη or ’ΟξύρυνχοΣ) was in antiquity a famous town and even in the early Muḥammadan period it was one of the most important towns in Central Egypt. It lies somewhat north of 28° 30’ n. between the Baḥr Yūsuf and the edge of the Lybian desert and at the present day is almost buried in sand. As one of the chief towns of Christian Egypt—it is said to have once had 360 churches ¶ and was …
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