Index / News / Cordoba names one of its streets for “Lubna the Scribe” 

Cordoba names one of its streets for “Lubna the Scribe” 

By reaching this decision, the City Government has highlighted its historical past and the role of women in Al-Andalus. Lubna the Scribe was the most important secretary and copyist of Caliph Al-Hakam II (tenth century).

February 01, 2019
The decision, reached by the City Government of Cordoba and its Urban Planning Department, at the initiative of the Citizen Transit Board (CMC), means acknowledging, beyond any clichés and historical prejudices, the role of women in Al-Andalus, who formed part of life in Al-Andalus and the Middle Ages, even reaching positions and holding roles in Law, religion, patronage of the arts, society, etc., that existed in both public and private spaces, making women more visible.

In this case, the acknowledgment has been bestowed upon Lubna (?-984 or 986), head secretary and copyist of Al-Hakam II, who lived in the second half of the tenth century (there is no exact information on her birth date). Her name means storax tree,  which is used in perfumes and medicines. The head secretary (katiba al-kubra) of Al-Hakam II, she was also notable for her work as a copyist (nasikha) who kept a very steady hand even into her old age. Extremely knowledgeable of grammar and poetics, she also stood out for her talent in mathematics, as well as devoting time to literary creations and teaching. She became an expert at writing official letters and diplomatic missives, having mastered several languages, including Latin, Greek and Hebrew. Thanks to her prodigious memory, she brilliantly managed the palace library, containing more than 400,000 volumes, according to some chroniclers of the era. She also worked with Jewish physician and diplomat Ibn Shaprut to promote the library in Medina Azahara.

In 2018, at Casa Árabe we have been working to increase the visibility of women in Al-Andalus at a series of conferences titled “Nisa al-Andalus: Historical reflections on women in Al-Andalus,” organized under the academic direction of Carmen González Gutiérrez and Inmaculada Serrano Hernández; as well as giving our year 2017 and 2018 theme tours, in which Inmaculada Serrano Hernández gave us a closer look at the key female figures in the history of Cordoba, highlighting their social, cultural, political and economic contributions during the era of Al-Andalus.

Casa Árabe congratulates the City Government of Cordoba and its Urban Planning Department for reaching this decision, as well as the work to educate the public carried out by our collaborator Inmaculada Serrano in this arena.
Cordoba names one of its streets for “Lubna the Scribe”