'Alam Al-Din

Full name: 
Qaysar ibn Abi Al-Qasim ibn Mu-safir Al-Ashrafial-Hanafi
Arabic name: 
قيصر إبن ابي القاسم إبن معصفر الأشرفي الحنفي
Date of birth: 
1178

(‘Alam Al-Din) Qaysar ibn Abi Al-Qasim ibn Mu-safir Al-Ashrafial-Hanafi was born in upper Egypt in 1178-1179 CE, studied in Egypt, Syria, and finally in Mosul (where the expertise for globes and metals was probably the best in Islam), before turning to Syria where he entered the services of Muzafar II Taqi–ud-din, ruler of Hama from 1229-1244. He was a renowned mathematician and architect' and it is reported that the historian, Qadi, Jamal Al-Din ibn Wasil put it on record that with his help, Qaysar constructed a celestial globe of wood and gilt.' In 1225, Qaysar made a brass globe on the order of the Ayyubid ruler Al-Malik al-Kamil. This globe is unusual in that the horizon ring and stand, which are probably the ones originally made for this globe, have incorporated into them two gnomons and graduated arcs making them elevation dials. The sphere itself is unusual in having Latin zodiacal names and Latin numerals engraved on it, but these may have been added later. That globe was kept until 1809 in the cabinet of Cardinal Borgia at Velletri but is now in the Museo Nazionale of Naples.

It is with regard to the water wheels that Qaysar is most associated with Hama, water wheels which, as Sarton holds, constitute one of the glories of Hama. These water wheels are huge in size as described above, and served to feed homes and farms with water. Only few of them survive today. It is likely that water wheels existed in the West before the crusades, but it is after the crusaders returned from the East that they brought with them the better ones, and much improved ones, from the east, and also a clear understanding of their usefulness. As noted above, these Eastern (Syrian) water wheels can still be seen in Germany in Franconia near Bayreuth.