Girgam

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Dīwān is the Arabic and Girgam is the older designation of the royal chronicle of Kanem-Bornu. The latter name is also used for written historical records in some kingdoms west of Bornu, including Daura, Fika and Mandara.

The Dīwān was discovered in 1851 by the German traveller Heinrich Barth in Kukawa, the nineteenth century capital of Bornu. Barth, Travels, II, p. 16. Its "local" name girgam appears to be derived from the Sumero-Akkadian term girginakku ("library, box for written tablets"). Hence its Arabic translation dīwān ("register, collection of written leaves"). Lange, Founding of Kanem, p. 12. It begins with an original list of all the Biblical patriarchs (except one) before Abraham, and it places Sef and Dugu before and after Abraham. The thirteenth century identification of Sef with the pre-Islamic Yemeni hero Sayf ibn Dhī Yazan represents a conscious effort to bring the history of Kanem-Bornu in line with pre-Islamic Arab history. According to Dierk Lange's research, the form of some of the Patriarchal names can be shown to be authentic and not derived from Arabic sources, and consequently it must be supposed that there existed a local line of transmission of valid biblical information. Lange, "Biblical Patriarchs", p. 597; id., Founding of Kanem, 11.

The Dīwān provides the names of 69 rulers of Kanem-Bornu and some supplementary information...
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