HOME
The Info List - Shawar





Shawar ibn Mujir al-Sa'di (Arabic: شاور بن مجير السعدي‎, translit. Shāwar ibn Mudjīr as-Saʿdī; died January 18, 1169) was the de facto ruler of Fatimid
Fatimid
Egypt, as vizier, from December 1162 until his assassination in 1169[1] by the general Shirkuh, the uncle of the Kurdish leader Saladin, with whom he was engaged in a three-way power struggle against the Crusader Amalric I of Jerusalem.[2] Shawar was notorious for continually switching alliances, allying first with one side, and then the other,[3] and even ordering the burning of his own capital city, Fustat, just so that the enemy could not have it.[4]

Contents

1 Biography 2 Cultural impact 3 See also 4 Notes 5 External links

Biography[edit] Shawar was the vizier at the end of the Fatimid
Fatimid
caliphate, while al-Adid was caliph (1160–1171). In the mid-12th century, the Fatimid
Fatimid
caliphate was crumbling, and Egypt had descended into a condition of near anarchy. The official head of state was the Caliph, but the true power was the Egyptian vizier, and various Egyptian governors competed with each other for the position, often with great violence. During the 1150s, Shawar was the Fatimid
Fatimid
governor of Upper Egypt
Upper Egypt
for five years, but he made a deal with the Sultan of Damascus, Nur ad-Din Zangi, deserted the Fatimids and joined the Seljuks in Syria. Shawar initially used the Sultan's aid,[5] took control of Cairo, and quickly killed his predecessor and his predecessor's entire family.[6] But nine months later, Shawar himself was overthrown by one of his lieutenants, Dirgham. He again sought assistance from Sultan Nur ad-Din, who sent one of his generals, Shirkuh, to settle the dispute. Dirgham was killed, and Shawar was restored to power. However, Shawar then argued with Shirkuh, and allied with the Crusader king, Amalric I of Jerusalem, who attacked Shirkuh
Shirkuh
at Bilbeis[7] in August–October, 1164 (see Crusader invasion of Egypt). The siege ended with a stalemate, and both Shirkuh
Shirkuh
and Amalric agreed to withdraw from Egypt. In 1166, Shirkuh
Shirkuh
attempted another attack, but Shawar called for reinforcements from Amalric, who arrived at the same time in January 1167. Fighting continued into Egypt, as far as al Babayn, just south of Cairo. There, Shirkuh's army achieved a major victory over Amalric in March. This resulted in another stalemate, and both Shirkuh
Shirkuh
and Amalric again simultaneously withdrew their respective forces in August 1167, leaving Shawar in power, though Amalric left a garrison in Cairo, and Egypt was required to pay increased tribute to Amalric's government in Jerusalem. In the winter of 1168, Amalric again attacked Egypt, and Shawar switched alliances again, this time going back to Shirkuh, who he had betrayed in 1164. Shirkuh
Shirkuh
and Shawar attempted to force the Crusader garrison out of Egypt, but Amalric pressed on, until his army was camped south of Fustat
Fustat
(the remnants of which are today in what is known as Old Cairo). Seeing Amalric's invasion imminent, Shawar ordered the burning of his own city, to keep it from Amalric's hands. According to the Egyptian historian Al-Maqrizi (1346–1442):

Shawar ordered that Fustat
Fustat
be evacuated. He forced [the citizens] to leave their money and property behind and flee for their lives with their children. In the panic and chaos of the exodus, the fleeing crowd looked like a massive army of ghosts.... Some took refuge in the mosques and bathhouses...awaiting a Christian onslaught similar to the one in Bilbeis. Shawar sent 20,000 naphtha pots and 10,000 lighting bombs [mish'al] and distributed them throughout the city. Flames and smoke engulfed the city and rose to the sky in a terrifying scene. The blaze raged for 54 days....[4]

But Shirkuh
Shirkuh
forced Amalric to withdraw, and then conquered Egypt with his own forces. In January 1169, Cairo fell, and Shirkuh
Shirkuh
had Shawar executed. Shirkuh
Shirkuh
was named the new vizier, but his reign lasted only two months. Already an obese man, he died of "indigestion", and was succeeded in the viziership by his nephew, Saladin.[8] Cultural impact[edit] The power struggle between Shawar, Amalric, and Shirkuh
Shirkuh
was the setting for one of the stories by Robert E. Howard
Robert E. Howard
(1906–1936), "Gates of Empire". See also[edit]

Crusader invasions of Egypt

Notes[edit]

^ Amin Maalouf (1984). The Crusades
Crusades
Through Arab Eyes. Al Saqi Books. pp. 159–161. ISBN 0-8052-0898-4.  ^ Beeson, Irene (September–October 1969). "Cairo, a Millennial". Saudi Aramco World: 24, 26–30. Retrieved 2007-08-09.  ^ Ismail Abaza. " Saladin
Saladin
and his Cairo". touregypt.net. Retrieved 2007-07-28.  ^ a b Dr. Zayn Bilkadi (January–February 1995). "The Oil Weapons". Saudi Aramco World. pp. 20–27.  ^ "Ayyubid Period". touregypt.net. Retrieved 2007-08-09.  ^ Stanley Lane-Poole (1901). A History of Egypt in the Middle Ages. Methuen & Co. p. 176. OCLC 602503339.  ^ Gibb, Sir Hamilton (2006). The Life of Saladin. Oxford University Press. p. 8. ISBN 978-0-86356-928-9.  ^ Christopher Tyerman (2006). God's War: A New History of the Crusades. Belknap. pp. 347–349. ISBN 978-0-674-02387-1. 

External links[edit]

"Al-Qahira (Cairo)". Retrieved 2007-07-28.  Robert E. Howard. "Gates of Empire - Robert E. Howard" (e-book). Gutenberg.net. 

Preceded by Ruzzik ibn Tala'i Vizier
Vizier
of the Fatimid
Fatimid
Caliphate 1162–1163 Succeeded by Dirgham

Preceded by Dirgham Vizier
Vizier
of the Fatimid
Fatimid
Caliphate 1164–1169 Succeeded

.