Al-Nāsir dāwūd: A much frustrated ayyūbid prince

Joseph Drory

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The fate, political activities and cultural inclinations of the Ayyū bid sultans have occupied no more than a minor share of Orientalists' research interest. Admittedly, within this limited scope, a relatively large degree of attention is being paid to the celebrated rulers (those of the first generation, Salāh al-Dīn and al-‘Ādil; their follower, al-Kāmil; and the illustrious representative of the last era, al-Sālih Ayyūb). Even these sovereigns, however, are mainly dealt with in the context of and with relevance to the stances and attitudes adopted by them toward the crusaders. Nonetheless, within Islamic historical and biographical literature, a broader insight and consideration may certainly be given to a number of aspects of the Ayyūbid period, as well as to its rulers within their intrinsic setting. This article aims to survey the tormented biography, whereabouts, achievements and confrontations of one of the less renowned and less influential rulers of that dynasty, al-Nāsir Dāwūd (d. 656/1258), son and heir of al-Mu‘azzam ‘Īsā (d. 624/1227) who reigned from his seat in Karak for more than two decades and was involved with cities and locations on both sides of the Jordan River. The challenges that al-Nāsir Dāwūd had to face, the solutions that he found and implemented, and the appreciation that he earned from contemporaries and followers alike, all portray a broad spectrum of statesmanlike behaviour and practice in the thirteenth century in the region. They may well shed light on particular biographical features, aspirations and frustrations of al-Nāsir Dāwūd as an individual person. In addition, the literary priorities or activity related to al-Nāsir Dāwūd may provide a glimpse of the education given to medieval Muslim princes, as well as of their taste and style. Finally, al-Nāsir Dāwū d's chronicle may corroborate or certify some stereotypes attached to this dynasty (opportunistic decisions, excessive political trickery, survival at all costs).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-187
Number of pages27
JournalInternational Journal of Phytoremediation
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2003


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