Ibn Khaldun

(1332 - 1406)

Born in Tunis, Ibn Khaldun belonged to one of Seville’s most powerful political families, which left the city right before its fall to the Christian conquests in 1248. He is credited with developing one of the earliest nonreligious philosophies of history. Before he became a historian, Ibn Khaldun spent more than twenty years a diplomat and politician working in Granada and Fez, among other places. In 1375 he retreated to an Algerian castle, where he began his masterwork, in which he sought to develop “a science of culture.”

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In his Muqaddimah, the fourteenth-century Arab historian Ibn Khaldun describes talismans that make use of “the loving numbers” 220 and 284 to create the perfect union between friends or lovers. Two effigies are created, and the larger number is placed on the effigy of “the person whose friendship is sought.” The result of this “magical operation,” he explains, is a connection between the two such that “one is hardly able to break away from the other.”

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