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BY-NC-ND 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter 2023

Princes’s Readings: The Poetry in Mūlāy Zaydān’s Collection at El Escorial

From the book Libraries in the Manuscript Age

  • Nuria de Castilla


Sultan Mūlāy Zaydān’s (r. 1603-1627) library was captured at sea by the Spaniards in 1612 and his books, except for those which burned in 1671, have remained mostly untouched until now. They reflect an acquisition process which started with his father Aḥmad al-Manṣūr (r. 1578-1603) and carried on by his sons, Abū Fāris and above all Mūlāy Zaydān. Poetry ranks roughly third in the library holdings as far as the number of volumes is concerned. Most had been produced in the Middle East rather than in Morocco and mirror the tastes of the princes who read them. The comparatively high amount of religious poems reflects directly a local evolution of the period. Classical Abbasid poetry is also present, as well as a more limited number of compositions originating in al-Andalus. In this section, texts on prosody are comparatively numerous: the reason may be found in the courtly practice of poetry and the need of a technical training in this field. Contemporary authors actually transmit poems composed by Aḥmad al-Manṣūr.

© 2023 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston
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