The Story of Dhu al-Qarnayn (Better Known as Alexander the Great)


Timbuktu (present-day Tombouctou in Mali), founded around 1100 as a commercial center for trade across the Sahara Desert, was also an important seat of Islamic learning from the 14th century onward. The libraries there contain many important manuscripts, in different styles of Arabic scripts, which were written and copied by Timbuktu’s scribes and scholars. These works constitute the city’s most famous and long-lasting contribution to Islamic and world civilization. Kitab Qiṣṣat Dhū al-Qarnayn is a 12th-century rendition of the Alexander romance (legends about the mythical exploits of Alexander the Great that were popular in the Middle Ages) based on information from the Qur’an and medieval Islamic sources.

Last updated: January 8, 2018