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The Scribe of the Alhambra

The Scribe of the Alhambra

Lecture by Mohamad Ballan

Given at the Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies, New York University, on February 8, 2018.

Excerpt: Born in the Nasrid kingdom of Granada, the last surviving Muslim polity in the Iberian Peninsula, to a family of bureaucrats and scribes in 1313, Lisan al-Din ibn al-Khatib, began his career as a scribe and poet in the Alhambra, before rising to become one of the most influential statesmen in Islamic Spain and North Africa during the 14th century. Alongside the performance of his substantial administrative and political duties as Nasrid Chancellor and chief minister, he authored over 50 works including historical chronicles, historiography, biographical dictionaries, poetry, medical texts and political treatises throughout this career.

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Mohamad Ballan is a doctoral candidate in the Department of History at the University of Chicago, specializing in the intellectual, social and political history of the medieval Islamic world. His dissertation, titled “The Scribe of the Alhambra: Lisan al-Din ibn al-Khatib, Sovereignty and History in Nasrid Granada,” explores the relationship between historiography, royal patronage, and developments in political thought in Islamic Spain and North Africa between 1250 and 1500. Click here to view Mohamad’s website or follow him on Twitter @Ballandalus.

Top Image: Enter the Alhambra – photo by Gwen Fran / Flickr

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