Chapter

Writing the Biography of an Enigma

Paul E. Walker

in Caliph of Cairo

Published by American University in Cairo Press

Published in print March 2010 | ISBN: 9789774163289
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9781617970207 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5743/cairo/9789774163289.003.0001
Writing the Biography of an Enigma

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Al-Hakim mounts his favorite riding animal, a grey donkey named Qamar (the moon), and departs the comfort and safety of his royal abode for the silent darkness of the night; none of his staff would have thought much of it. Riding into the blackness of the evening was for him almost an obsession. He accepted others' demand and consented to pay them whether it was robbery or extortion by threat of harm or not. He had become well known for most generously rewarding such requests, much to the alarm of those responsible for the maintenance of his finances. One of the most powerful men in the world simply wandered out to circulate occasion to the area of the southern Qarafa cemetery, riding nearly alone among graves and the stars, the monuments and the sands.

Keywords: Qamar; Al-Hakim; finances; extortion; graves

Chapter.  4685 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Society and Culture

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