Mobility, Empire and Cross Cultural Contacts in Mongol Eurasia

Matanya Gill

Matanya Gill

Matanya Gill

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies

Research Interests

My academic interests include cultural, political, economic and maritime history of medieval Iran and Iraq, specifically in the Mongol period.

Personal Project :Merchants and Ilkhanid Trade according to the Biographical Dictionary of Ibn al-Fuwaṭī (1244-1323)

Kamal al-Din 'Abd al-Razzaq b. Ahmad, known as Ibn al-Fuwaṭī, was a native of Baghdad who was enslaved by the Mongols after the fall of Baghdad in 1258. He later joined the Mongol service and worked as a librarian at the Maragha observatory (1261-1280) and at the Mustansiriya library of Baghdad (1280-1313).

Ibn al-Fuwaṭī was also an historian who traveled between Azerbaijan and Iraq during his life and wrote several works of history and biography. His only surviving work is the "majmaʿ al-ādāb fī muʿjam al-alqāb," an Arabic biographical dictionary that contains 5,291 abbreviated and fragmentary entries about all sort of people of his period.   

This often-neglected work is a unique source that provides Ilkhanid point of view for cultural and economic exchanges in the Mongol Iran, the state of Iraq & Baghdad under Mongol rule and for Ilkhan-Mamluk relations in a time of war.  

My thesis examining trade activities and cultural reciprocity within the context of the Ilkhanate, based on the merchants and their relatives whom Ibn al-Fuwaṭī mentioned in his the biographical entries. Because only a small portion of this masterpiece has survived, this study also includes information gathered from other Persian and Arabic sources.


Persian, Arabic, English, Hebrew, French.


  • 2015 - Current. PhD studies in the Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies Department, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The title of the dissertation is "Global Economy in the Mongol Era: Commerce in the Ilkhanid State (1260-1335)". The supervisor is Prof. Michal Biran.
  • 2012 – 2015. MA studies in the Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies Department, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Title of M.A. Thesis: “Merchants and Ilkhanid Trade according to the biographical dictionary of Ibn al-Fuwaṭī (1244-1323)”, under the supervision of Prof. Michal Biran.
  • 2009-2012 – BA studies in the Middle Eastern Studies + Arabic Language and Culture, Ben Gurion University of the Negev. Graduated magna cum laude.


  • 2013 – Current – Researcher in the ERC project group “Mobility, Empire and Cross-Cultural Contacts in Mongol Eurasia”, under the supervision of Prof. Michal Biran (Hebrew University).
  • 2013 – Research assistant of Dr. Julia Rubanovich, Iranian Studies Coordinator at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
  • 2012 – 2013 – Internship at the Mayor's office of Jerusalem, with Dr. David Koren, the Mayor's Consultant for Arab Resident & Eastern Jerusalem Affairs.