Yaqut al-Hamawi bigraphy, stories - Geographers

Yaqut al-Hamawi : biography

1179 - 1229

Yāqūt ibn-'Abdullah al-Rūmī al-Hamawī) (1179–1229) () was an Islamic biographer and geographer renowned for his encyclopedic writings on the Muslim world. "al-Rumi" ("from Rûm") refers to his Greek (Byzantine) descent; "al-Hamawi" is taken after Hama, Syria, and ibn-Abdullah is a reference to his father's name, Abdullah. The word yāqūt means ruby or hyacinth.


  • Kitāb mu'jam al-buldān (معجم البلدان "Dictionary of Countries")
  • Mu'jam al-udabā', (معجم الأدباء "Dictionary of Writers") written in 1226.
  • al-Mushtarak wadh'ā wal-Muftaraq Sa'qā (المشترک وضعا والمفترق صعقا ), a version of which was printed in 1845 by Ferdinand Wüstenfeld.


Yaqut was working as a slave to a trader, Askar ibn Abi Nasr al-Hamawi, who lived in Baghdad, Iraq. His master taught him accounting and trading and sent him to trade on his behalf. He later freed him of his obligations and that enabled Yaqut to dedicate himself to his scholarly tasks. He was one of the last scholars who had access to the libraries east of the Caspian Sea before the Mongol invasion of Central Asia. He travelled to the peaceful scholarly city of ancient Merv in present-day Turkmenistan. There Yaqut spent two years in libraries, learning much of the knowledge he would later use in his works. Yaqut spend the last few years of his life in Aleppo and died there.

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