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
Egypt, as vizier,
from December 1162 until his assassination in 1169 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
was notorious for continually switching
alliances, allying first with one side, and then the other, and
even ordering the burning of his own capital city, Fustat, just so
that the enemy could not have it.
2 Cultural impact
3 See also
5 External links
Shawar was the vizier at the end of the
Fatimid caliphate, while
al-Adid was caliph (1160–1171).
In the mid-12th century, the
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,
Fatimid governor of
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, took control of Cairo, and quickly killed his predecessor and
his predecessor's entire family. 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,
Shirkuh at Bilbeis in August–October, 1164 (see
Crusader invasion of Egypt). The siege ended with a stalemate, and
Shirkuh and Amalric agreed to withdraw from Egypt.
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
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.
Shawar attempted to force the Crusader
garrison out of Egypt, but Amalric pressed on, until his army was
camped south of
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
Shawar ordered that
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....
Shirkuh forced Amalric to withdraw, and then conquered Egypt with
his own forces. In January 1169, Cairo fell, and
Shirkuh had Shawar
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.
The power struggle between Shawar, Amalric, and
Shirkuh was the
setting for one of the stories by
Robert E. Howard
Robert E. Howard (1906–1936),
"Gates of Empire".
Crusader invasions of Egypt
^ Amin Maalouf (1984). The
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 and his Cairo". touregypt.net. Retrieved
^ 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.
"Al-Qahira (Cairo)". Retrieved 2007-07-28.
Robert E. Howard. "Gates of Empire - Robert E. Howard" (e-book).
Ruzzik ibn Tala'i
Vizier of the
Vizier of the