The view from Outremer - The NationalHis clan, the Banu Munqidh, was an established aristocratic Muslim Arab family who had gained political prominence locally and elsewhere in the medieval Near East at a time when the Muslim world was adjusting to the Turkish invasions of the eleventh century, and still reeling from the Crusades of the twelfth. Exiled from Shayzar by an uncle who saw him as a rival, Usama took up service with many of the most prominent courts of the region, in Iraq, Syria and Egypt, giving him ample opportunity to hone his skills as a warrior, diplomat and man of letters, and to observe the strange customs of his new Frankish neighbours. Usama was a political schemer of the first order, and much of his wandering can be attributed to his involvement in numerous failed adventures. In , most members of his family were killed in an earthquake that left Shayzar in ruins and Usama and his ambitions wrecked. In the last decades of his life, he retired from active service and concentrated on writing, collecting his scattered poems into a much-praised Diwan, but specializing in topical anthologies of poetry and prose like the Book of the Staff or Kernels of Refinement, both excerpted here. He died in Damascus in
THE BOOK OF CONTEMPLATION: ISLAM AND THE CRUSADES, by Ibn Munqidh
Paul M. Cobb's translation is accompanied by an introduction that places Usama's writings in their historical and literary context, explains the poetry of his language and examines the divisions between Islamic sects at the time. This edition also contains maps, a chronology of the author's life, a family tree, suggested further reading and a glossary. Read more Rating: not yet rated 0 with reviews - Be the first. Table of contents. Please choose whether or not you want other users to be able to see on your profile that this library is a favorite of yours.
His life coincided with the rise of several medieval Muslim dynasties, the arrival of the First Crusade , and the establishment of the crusader states. He was the nephew and potential successor of the emir of Shaizar, but was exiled in and spent the rest of his life serving other leaders. He was a courtier to the Burids , Zengids , and Ayyubids in Damascus , serving the Zengi , Nur ad-Din , and Saladin over a period of almost fifty years. He often meddled in the politics of the courts in which he served, and he was exiled from both Damascus and Cairo. During and immediately after his life, he was most famous as a poet and adib a "man of letters". In modern times, he is remembered more for his Kitab al-I'tibar "Book of Learning by Example" or "Book of Contemplation" , which contains lengthy descriptions of the crusaders , whom he interacted with on many occasions, and some of whom he considered friends.
The volume comprises lightly annotated translation of a key medieval Arabic text that bears directly on the Crusades and Crusader society and the Muslim experience of them. Usama ibn Munqidh was born on 4 July, in northern Syria.