A list of Arabic documents from the Fatimid period

By D. Livingston. Version March 2015.

A list of Arabic documents from the Fatimid period, available for download in pdf here, facilitates the navigation of the large number of published Arabic documents dating to the Fatimid period. The majority of documents included are from Egypt. Arabic documents from the Geniza have been included.

The list contains two sections:

  1. The first section of 'dated documents' consists of those documents which contain internal dating, or dating that can be established from the mention of well-known individuals, such as Fatimid caliphs, and are thereby dated to their life spans. This section includes documents from the period of Fatimid rule in Egypt (358-567 AH/969-1171 CE), including a (somewhat arbitrary) decade or so at either end. This periodization has been chosen in recognition of the fact that, whilst historical periods are often dated dynastically, documentary material tends to exhibit more continuity than change. As such, the earliest document is dated to 338/950, and the latest to 595/1199.

  2. The second section of 'undated documents' consists of those which have been dated paleographically by their editors. Though the earliest of these, apparently dating to the 3rd-4th centuries AH/9th-10th centuries CE cover a long period before the Fatimid conquest of Egypt, they have nonetheless been included. Until a thorough paleographical study of cursive scripts is made this inclusive approach cannot be avoided.

The classification of documents has been kept as simple as possible. Wide 'catch-all' categories were chosen to allow easier navigation. In general, the classifications made by the individual editors of documents were followed. There is often considerable overlap between certain categories of document. 'Private' and 'business' letters (and even sometimes official or administrative ones) can be difficult to separate, with 'private' letters often very 'business-like' in their tone. As such, 'private' has been reserved for cases when it is certain that the letter deals with purely personal concerns.

Note: Abbreviations follow The Checklist of Arabic documents.

Please send remarks and/or suggestions to foi@hum.leidenuniv.nl.

Last Modified: 17-04-2015