The Library of the Umayyad Caliph Al-Hakam Al-Mustansir in Andalusia (350-366 AH / 961-976 AD) and Later

Mohammad Turki Shatnawi

Abstract


This study examines the library of Al-Hakam Al-Mustansir, the role he played in developing the library and the status which the library reached in his time. Al-Hakam was fond of books and established his own private library. It quickly became a comprehensive public library and was considered the greatest library established by an Islamic state in the Middle Ages. This library was known as the Library of Al-Hakam Al-Mustansir or the Library of Cordova. This study also shows the sources that Al-Mustansir relied on in supporting the library such as purchases and copying. He also assigned a large number of employees such as scholars, translators, copyists, bookbinders, editors and decorators. The library of Al-Hakam Al-Mustansir provided many services to facilitate the task of researchers by providing them with the books they needed and allowing whoever wished to read the books. External lending was allowed in only very special cases, not available to the general public. The library included most branches of knowledge such as history, geography, language, arts, Islamic jurisprudence, medicine, astronomy and theology.

Keywords


Books, Libraries, Islamic Sciences, Umayyad Spain, al-Hakam al-Mustansir.

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