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Ahmad ibn Tulun

Governor of Abbasid Egypt, 868–884


Ahmad ibn Tulun (835–884) governed Egypt on behalf of the Abbasid dynasty for sixteen years. An aggressive and innovative actor, he pursued an ambitious political agenda, including the introduction of dynastic rule over Egypt, that put him at odds with his imperial masters. Throughout, however, he retained close ties to the Abbasid house and at no point did he assert outright independence.

Best known today for the mosque in Cairo that bears his name, Ibn Tulun left a lasting mark on Egyptian history and politics. In this volume, Matthew Gordon considers his many achievements in office as well as the crises, including the betrayals of his eldest son and close clients, that marred his remarkable career.

‘In the background of Ibn Tulun’s portrait, Matthew Gordon’s alert pen sketches a vivid landscape of ninth-century Egypt, transporting the reader into the heart of the major political and social issues of that transitional century. A book to be put in all hands, both enlightened amateurs and specialists of medieval Islam.’

– Mathieu Tillier, Professor of History of Medieval Islam, Sorbonne University

More books in this series: Makers of the Muslim World