Medieval and Islamic historian Qassem Abdo Qassem passes away at 79

Mohammed Saad , Monday 27 Sep 2021

Egyptian historian Qassem Abdo Qassem, who spent his life researching Islamic and Medieval History and the Crusades, passed away on Sunday in Cairo at the age of 79.

Egyptian historian Qassem Abdo Qassem
Egyptian historian Qassem Abdo Qassem

Qassem — born in Egypt on 26 May 1942 — was a prominent historian, translator, and an emeritus history professor at Zagazig University.

His main area of focus was Islamic history and the history of the Crusades in the Middle Ages. His book, ‘The First Crusade: Text and Documents’, provided new material for researchers and shed light on many details of the crusades, becoming a key reference for history students.

Qassem graduated from the history department of Cairo University and earned his master’s in medieval history in 1972. He also got his PhD on the same subject in 1975.

His translations were deemed valuable additions to Arab academia, according to academics of his field in Egypt.

He was hailed as a unique historian by his colleagues and students for his rigorous research and decent personality.

He authored and translated more than 40 books in his time.

Among his most important books are ‘The European Civilisation in the Middle Ages’, ‘The Age of Mamluki Sultans: The Political and Social History’, and ‘The Medieval History: The Story of the Civilisation of the Beginning and the End’.

Academic Legacy

Historian and former culture minister Emad Abu Ghazi mourned Qassem’s departure in a lengthy Facebook post where he cited the latter’s work to excavate the relation between history and folklore and his writings in the fields of popular traditional culture and literature.

The former minister said that Qassem’s efforts opened the door for scholars in the field of historical studies to use literary works and texts from popular culture in their research.

Abu Ghazi deemed Qassem as one of the top three prominent scholars on the Mamluk era.

Ahmed Adel, a history PhD student, said that Qassem’s passing is a “great loss for all scholars of Islamic history and the Crusades.”

Prominent Egyptian novelist Ezzat Kamhawi described Qassem’s death in a tweet as a “new loss for academic and cultural life in Egypt.”

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