Sunday, 15 July 2012

Ahmad ibn Yahya al-Baladhuri

Ahmad ibn Yahya al-Baladhuri

ʾAḥmad Ibn Yaḥyā al-Balādhurī Arabic (أحمد بن يحيى بن جابر البلاذري) was a 9th century Persian historian. One of the eminent middle-eastern historians of his age, he spent most of his life in Baghdad and enjoyed great influence at the court of the caliph al-Mutawakkil. He traveled in Syria and Iraq, compiling information for his major works. He is regarded as a reliable source for the history of the early Arabs and the history of Muslim expansion.


Ahmad Bin Yahya Bin Jabir Al Biladuri (Arabic: أحمد بن يحيى بن جابر البلاذري‎) or Balazry Ahmad Bin Yahya Bin Jabir Abul Hasan or Abi al-Hassan Baladhuri.


A Persian by birth, though his sympathies seem to have been strongly with the Arabs, for Masudi refers to one of his works in which he rejects Baladhuri's condemnation of non-Arab nationalism Shu'ubiyya.

He lived at the court of the caliphs al-Mutawakkil and Al-Musta'in and was tutor to the son of al-Mutazz. He died in 892 as the result of a drug called baladhur (hence his name).(Baladhur is Semecarpus anacardium, known as the "marking nut"; medieval Arabic and Jewish writers describe it as a memory-enhancer) 

He seems to have a good experience with the science of Alchemy he mentions how glass was produced after mixing "light acids" with soda and sand. He also mentions how Bronze was produced by mixing copper and coal the process helps remove zinc oxide. He also mentions how glass was dyed by mixing various materials.


His chief extant work, a condensation of a longer history, Kitab Futuh al-Buldan (فتوح البلدان), "Book of the Conquests of Lands"), translated by Phillip Hitti (1916) and Francis Clark Murgotten (1924) in The Origins of the Islamic State, tells of the wars and conquests of the Arabs from the 7th century, and the terms made with the residents of the conquered territories. It covers the conquests of lands from Arabia west to Egypt, North Africa, and Spain and east to Iraq, Iran, and Sind.

His history, in turn, was much used by later writers. Ansab al-Ashraf (أنساب الأشراف, “Lineage of the Nobles”), also extant, is a biographical work in genealogical order devoted to the Arab aristocracy, from Muhammad and his contemporaries to the Umayyad and Abbāsid caliphs. It contains histories of the reigns of rulers.
His discussions of the rise and fall of powerful dynasties provide a political moral. His commentaries on methodology are sparse, other than assertions of accuracy.


  1.  Translation of Futuh al-Buldan by Hitti
  2.  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica(11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  3.  The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. Copyright © 2001-05 Columbia University Press The Columbia Encyclopedia
  4.  Salaam Knowledge
  5. :: Fadak; The property of Fatima al-Zahra [as]
  6.  Bos, Gerrit: " 'Baladhur' (Marking-Nut): A Popular Medieval Drug for Strengthening Memory", Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Vol. 59, No. 2 (1996), pp. 229-236 (full-text via JSTOR; article's first page available for all)
  8.  "Balādhurī, al-." Encyclopædia Britannica 2006.

No comments:

Post a Comment