/

Danshin Alexey

The arab sources on the war of the Caliphate with the christian Nubia and the role of the peace treaty of 651/652 in the political confrontation between Egypt and Nubia


Danshin Alexey (2020) "The arab sources on the war of the Caliphate with the christian Nubia and the role of the peace treaty of 651/652 in the political confrontation between Egypt and Nubia ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia III : Filologiia, 2020, vol. 65, pp. 33-47 (in Russian).

DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturIII202065.33-47

Abstract

At the end of the 6th century, Christianity became an offi cial religion of the three Nubian kingdoms, i. e. Nobadia, Makuria, and Alwa, and as early as the second third of the 7th century, the expansion of Islam to the African continent begins. After conquering Egypt, the Islamic rulers attempted to conquer Nubia twice, in 641/642 and in 651/652, but both times they faced strong resistance and suff ered heavy losses from the Nubian archers — the “shooters to pupils of an eye”. Under these circumstances, an agreement — the Baqt, unique for the mediaeval Islamic expansion — was signed as to mutual non-aggression, trade and diplomatic relations, which acknowledged mutual trade interests. In addition, the Nubians were obliged to hand over slaves who escaped from the Muslims, to maintain mosques for Muslim visitors and not to prevent Muslims from visiting the mosques, to send to Egypt 360 slaves annually. However, the loss of the original treaty has led to various interpretations. Some Arab historians (al-Baladhuri and al-Tabari) write that Nubia not only sent slaves to the Arabs, which would symbolise its submission to Egypt, but in exchange received an appropriate amount of victuals and clothing, which put the parties on a relatively equal grounds. Other historians (al-Masudi, al-Maqrizi) insist that the material obligations were imposed by the treaty only on the Nubians. This simplifi ed interpretation of the Baqt allowed one to avoid stating the defeat suff ered by the Arab army from the Nubians during jihad. The word baqt itself is not Arabic, but Coptic in origin and corresponds to Latin pactum which refers to a contract or exchange of obligations. This indicates a possible practice of entering into the baqt type agreements during the period of Roman- Nubian relations. Perhaps Baqt represented a kind of agreement about mutual gifts of equal value. In connection with this, the Nubians, who hoped to receive clothing and food from the Muslims for the slaves that they were handing over, suggested a form of agreement understandanble for them.

Keywords

Nubia, Nobadia, Makuria, king Qalidurut, expansion of Islam, baqt, early Christianity in Africa, history of Sudan

References

  1. ‘Abd al-Mun‘im Māǧid (1971) Ẓuhūr al-ḫilāfa al-fāṭimiyya wa-suqūṭi-hā fī Miṣr [The emergence and fall of the Fatimid Сaliphate in Egypt]. Cairo (in Arabic).
  2. al-Balāḏurī, Aḥmad (1960) “Kitāb futūḥ al-buldān” [“Book of the conquests of lands”], in L. Kubbel, V. Matveev (eds) Drevnie i srednevekovye istochniki po etnografi i i istorii Afriki iuzhnee Sakhary. T. 1. Arabskie istochniki VII–X vv. [Ancient and medieval sources on ethnography and history of Sub-Saharan Africa. Vol. 1: Arabic sources of the 7th — 10th centuries]. Moscow; Leningrad. P. 22–29 (in Arabic and Russian).
  3. Berzina S. (1992) Meroe i okruzhaiushchii mir. I–VIII vv. n. e. [Meroe and the surrounding world. 1st — 8th centuries AD]. Moscow (in Russian).
  4. Godlewski W. (2013) Dongola — ancient Tungul. Archaeological Guide. Warsaw.
  5. Ḥaydar Ibrāhīm ‘Alī (2013) Sannār… tazyīf at-ta’rīḫ: Iḥtifāl bi 500 sana min ar-rukūd [Sennar — fake history: A celebration of 500 years of stagnation], available at: URL: https://www.sudaress.com/hurriyat/135344 (15.04.2020) (in Arabic).
  6. Ibn ‘Abd al-Ḥakam (1960) “Kitāb futūḥ Miṣr wa-l-Maġrib wa-aḫbāri-hā” [Book of the conquests of Egypt and North Africa and the accounts of them], in L. Kubbel, V. Matveev (eds) Drevnie i srednevekovye istochniki po etnografi i i istorii Afriki iuzhnee Sakhary. T. 1. Arabskie istochniki VII–X vv. [Ancient and medieval sources on ethnography and history of Sub-Saharan Africa. Vol. 1: Arabic sources of the 7th — 10th centuries]. Moscow; Leningrad. P. 13–19 (in Arabic and Russian).
  7. Ibn Ḫaldūn, ‘Abd ar-Raḥmān (2000) At-ta’rīḫ al-musammā Dīwān al-mubtadaʼ wa-l-ḫabar fī taʼrīḫ al-ʻarab wa-l-barbar wa-man ʻāṣara-hum min ḏawī aš-šaʼn al-akbar [History called Record of beginnings and events in the history of the Arabs and the Berbers and their powerful contemporaries]. Vol. 5. Beirut (in Arabic).
  8. Kamāl Muḥammad Ǧāh Allāh (2011) “Al-baqṭ: Qirā’a fī aṣl al-kalima wa-madlūli-hā” [The Baqt. The origin of the word and its implications], in Al-mu’tamar al-‘ālamiyy ḥawla ‘ahd al-baqṭ bimunāsabat murūr 1400 ‘ām hiǧriyy: Maǧmū‘at awrāq baḥṯiyya [The international conference on al-Baqt agreement on the occasion of the passage of 1400 Hij ri years. Proceedings]. Khartoum. P. 21–38 (in Arabic).
  9. Kobishchanov Iu. (1970) “K voprosu o sotsial’no-ekonomicheskikh otnosheniiakh v srednevekovoi Nubii” [The issue of socio-economic relations in mediaeval Nubia], in Sotsial’nye struktury dokolonial’noi Afriki [Social structures of pre-colonial Africa]. Moscow. P. 92–132 (in Russian).
  10. Kobishchanov Iu. (1980) Severo-Vostochnaia Afrika v rannem srednevekovom mire [North-East Africa in the early-mediaeval world]. Moscow (in Russian).
  11. Kobishchanov Iu. (2008) “Vostochnyi Sudan v 1263‒1333” [Eastern Sudan in 1263–1333], in Iu. Kobishchanov (ed.) Ocherki istorii islamskoi tsivilizatsii [Essays on the history of the Islamic civilisation], vol. 2. Мoscow. P. 549–557 (in Russian).
  12. al-Maqrīzī, Taqī ad-Dīn Abū l-‘Abbās Aḥmad ibn ‘Alī (1998) Kitāb al-mawāʻiẓ wa-l-iʻtibār bi-ḏikr al-ḫiṭaṭ wa-l-āṯār al-ma‘rūf bi-l-Ḫiṭaṭ al-Maqrīziyya [Admonitions and reflections on the quarters and monuments]. Vol. 1. Beirut (in Arabic).
  13. al-Mas‘ūdī, Abū-l-Ḥasan (1960) “Murūǧ aḏ-ḏahab wa-ma‘ādin al-ǧawāhir” [“Meadows of gold and mines of gems”], in L. Kubbel, V. Matveev (eds) Drevnie i srednevekovye istochniki po etnografi i i istorii Afriki iuzhnee Sakhary. T. 1. Arabskie istochniki VII–X vv. [Ancient and medieval sources on ethnography and history of Sub-Saharan Africa. Vol. 1: Arabic sources of the 7th — 10th centuries]. Moscow; Leningrad. P. 219–243 (in Arabic and Russian).
  14. Muṣṭafā Muḥammad Sa‘ad (1960) Al-islām wa-n-Nūba fī l-‘uṣūr al-wusṭā [Islam and Nubia in the Middle Ages]. Cairo (in Arabic).
  15. an-Nuwayrī, Šihāb ad-Dīn Aḥmad bin ‘Abd al-Wahhāb (2004) Nihāyat al-arab fī funūn al-adab [The ultimate ambition in the arts of erudition]. Vol. 30–31. Beirut (in Arabic).
  16. Šawqī al-Ǧamal (1969) Ta’rīḫ Sūdān Wādī an-Nīl: Ḥaḍāratu-hu wa-‘alāqātu-hu bi-Miṣr min aqdam al-‘usūr ilā l-waqt al-ḥāḍir [The history of the Sudanese Nile Valley Civilisation and its relationship to Egypt from the most ancient times to the present times]. Cairo (in Arabic).
  17. Shinnie P. L. (1975) Christian Nubia, in J. D. Fage (ed.) Cambridge History of Africa, vol. 2: From c. 500 B.C. — A.D. 1050. Cambridge. P. 556–588.
  18. Spaulding J. (1995) “Medieval Christian Nubia and the Islamic World: A Reconsideration of the Baqt Treaty”. International Journal of African Historical Studies, 28, 3, p. 577–594.
  19. aṭ-Ṭabarī, Muḥammad (1960) “Ta’rīḫ ar-rusul wa-l-mulūk” [History of the prophets and kings], in L. Kubbel, V. Matveev (eds) Drevnie i srednevekovye istochniki po etnografi i i istorii Afriki iuzhnee Sakhary. T. 1. Arabskie istochniki VII–X vv. [Ancient and medieval sources on ethnography and history of Sub-Saharan Africa. Vol. 1: Arabic sources of the 7th — 10th centuries]. Moscow; Leningrad. P. 96–105 (in Arabic and Russian).
  20. Yāqūt al-Ḥamawī (1990) “Alfavitnyi perechen’ stran” [Alphabetical list of countries], in Istoriia Afriki v drevnikh i srednevekovykh istochnikakh. Khrestomatiia [History of Africa in ancient and medieval sources. An anthology]. Moscow. P. 315–323 (in Russian).

                                      Information about the author

                                      Danshin Alexey


                                      Academic Degree: Candidate of Sciences* in Economics;
                                      Place of work: Russian State University for the Humanities; 6 Miusskaya Sq., Moscow GSP-3, 125993, Russian Federation;
                                      ORCID: 0000-0001-5489-8221;
                                      Email: adriston@mail.ru.

                                      *According to the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) 2011, the degree of Candidate of Sciences (Cand.Sc.) belongs to ISCED level 8 — "doctoral or equivalent", together with PhD, DPhil, D.Lit, D.Sc, LL.D, Doctorate or similar.