The Alexandrian Crusade (1365) and the Mamluk Sources: Reassessment of the kitab al-ilmam of an-Nuwayri al-Iskandarani
By Jo Van Steenbergen
East and West in the crusader states : context, contacts, confrontations, Vol.3 (2003)
Introduction: The crusade the Peter I of Lusignan, King of Cyprus and Jerusalem from 1358 until 1369, embarked upon in October 1365 has already aroused a considerable number of scholarly controversies. In recent times, the works of Aziz S. Atiya and Peter W. Edbury in particular were very notable in this respect. Nevertheless, several issues still remain open for research and consideration – or reconsideration – particularly concerning the Muslim historiography of the event. One of these issues, I believe, is that of the appreciation of the most elaborate Muslim reproduction in the encyclopedia of the eyewitness an-Nurwayri al-Iskandarani of the conquest and sack of Alexandria in 1365. This description of the last convulsions of the Crusades in Egypt was regarded by such an authority as A.S. Atuya as “the most valuable source material on the Crusade of Alexandria from the Egyptian point of view.” It is the intention of this paper to show that his is a dangerous assumption and that, though an-Nuwayri’s contribution is indeed very valuable, it still requires a very critical approach.