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Article on Utah Arabic Paper fragment added to

1383-Front“But in the end it was the eunuch Kāfūr, the slave of their father, who held the strongest political hand over the country.”

P. Utah Inv. 1383
Cairo, abt 954 CE

Arabic papyrologist Naïm Vanthieghem has added a paper to, publishing an Arabic paper fragment held in the Rare Books Department’s Arabic Papyrus, Parchment and Paper Collection. The paper is titled “Une contribution pour la table d’un prince ikhchidide. Édition de P. Utah Inv. 1383” and may be downloaded here.

Naïm Vanthieghem has identified this piece as being written in Cairo about 954. The fragment concerns business with Abū al-Ḥasan Alī b. Muḥammad al-Iḫšīd, “the third and last sovereign Ikhchidid,” about whom little is known.

“His father Muḥammad b. Tuġǧ al-Iḫšīd, a Turkish mercenary, founded the Ikhchicid dynasty in 935. The dynasty ruled in Egypt on behalf of the Abbasid caliphs. Upon his death, his two sons Unūǧūr (946-961) and Alī (961-966) succeeded him….But in the end it was the eunuch Kāfūr, the slave of their father, who held the strongest political hand over the country. At the disappearance of Alī, in 966, Kāfūr evicted Aḥmad, son of Unūǧū…and exercised power directly until his death in 968. The unfortunate Aḥmad briefly inherited the throne, before the Fatimids toppled it in 969. The reign of Alī was marked by many shortages and economic crises that weakened the power of the Ikhchidids and thus favored the advent of the Fatimid caliphs.”

In the past, Naïm Vanthieghem has contributed descriptive terms to many pieces from the Utah Arabic Papyrus, Parchment and Paper Collection and published several pieces in international academic journals. Read about some of his other articles here.

Thank you, Naïm! We look forward to seeing more of your work with our collection.

View the original article on the OpenBook Blog

  • Donna T. Smart
    Posted at 17:49h, 19 August Reply

    This is extremely interesting to me because of my work with Dr. Aziz S. Atiya on The Coptic Encyclopedia. I often wonder what he would think of our world today–especially Egypt, and I know his passion for Egyptian history and for Middle Eastern artifacts.. Also, he and Lola made significant contributions to the Marriot Library and to the University of Utah. It is heartening that their initial work is continuing..

  • Luise Poulton
    Posted at 15:10h, 22 August Reply


    Thank you for your comment! Dr. Atiya and Mrs. Atiya left the University of Utah an incredible legacy that continues to grace us all with new insights into the history of the Middle East. About ten years ago, with the help of digital technology and the foresight of library administration, we scanned all of the Arabic Papyrus, Parchment, and Paper collection from the Atiyas and put those online for the world to access. We reap the benefits of the collection, first, and technology, second, as scholars from around the world work toward translating and publishing these fragments. Thank YOU for your help with The Coptic Encyclopedia.


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