Shams al-dim al-Sakhawi as a historian of the 9th/15th century : with an edition of that section of his chronicles (Wajiz al-kalam) covering the period 800-849 / 1397-1445
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Although a prolific writer of history, Sakhawi is, primarily, a traditionist. As such, accuracy both in utterance and writing would, by the very nature of his training, be his first objective. Modern writers appear to have neglected the importance of his contribution to the understanding of the history of his century. accept for a few articles, comparatively little has been written. It is, therefore, strange that such a mine of information as Sakhawi's writing presents has remained so long in oblivion. In this thesis an attempt has been made to evaluate that contribution together with an edition of part of his work. The study has been divided into three sections, the first dealing with Sakhawi’s life and times. This part of the study is based largely on his autobiography which was written but a few months before he died. During research no reference was discovered to this most informative work. The section falls into three chapters, the first of which endeavours to show the political and educational aspects of Cairo during the early part of Sakhawi's lifetime. Cairo was his native city and, as such, made great impact on his early life. In the second chapter the position of his family, his Shaykhs, the academic journeys he made, his residence in Hijaz and the last phase of his life are portrayed. The third chapter deals with his activities as an adult, his reputation as a traditionist together with a survey of his works as presented in his autobiography. In the second part, the study deals exclusively with Sakhawi as a historian of the 9th/15th century. This part also is divided into two chapters, the first of which considers the following aspects: - I Sakawi's works on the century; II His motives, methods and literary style and III His treatment of the history of the century. The second chapter collates Sakhawi's methods of selecting his information and the painstaking efforts he made to verify them, together with his historical achievements, while the last two topics endeavour to evaluate his task as a historian in that century. Section three presents the hitherto unedited part of Wajiz al-Kalam... which deals with the history of the 9th/15th century. This section also falls into the three divisions of preface, text and annotations. The last divides again into two groups one of which deals with the textual variants mentioned in the footnotes and the other attempts to deal with the interpretation of most of the idiom, colloquial expressions and the names of places and personalities mentioned in the supplement to the text.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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