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Ahmad Ibn Yahya ibn Jabir al-Baladhuri
Bornc. 820
Died892 (aged 71–72)[1][2]
Baghdad, Abbasid Caliphate
EraIslamic golden age
(Abbasid Era)
Main interest(s)History
Notable work(s)Kitab Futuh al-Buldan and Ansab al-Ashraf

ʾAḥmad ibn Yaḥyā ibn Jābir al-Balādhurī (Arabic: أحمد بن يحيى بن جابر البلاذري) was a 9th-century Muslim 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 travelled in Syria and Iraq, compiling information for his major works.

His full name was Ahmad Bin Yahya Bin Jabir Al-Baladhuri (Arabic: أحمد بن يحيى بن جابر البلاذري), Balazry Ahmad Bin Yahya Bin Jabir Abul Hasan[3] or Abi al-Hassan Baladhuri.[4]


Al Baladhuri's ethnicity has been described as Persian by his contemporaries including Ibn Nadim,[5][6][7] but some scholars have surmised that he was of Arab descent solely since he spent most of his life in Baghdad.[7][8] This is problematic since many Persians are known to have not only resided, but also gained considerable influence in Baghdad.[9] Also, it is known that Baladhuri was a Persian speaker who translated Persian works to Arabic.[8] Nonetheless, 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.[2] He is certainly not the first Persian scholar to have sympathies with the Arabs, scholars of the same era such as Ibn Qutayba were also vocal opponents of Shu'ubiyaa.[10]

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).[2] (Baladhur is Semecarpus anacardium, known as the "marking nut"; medieval Arabic and Jewish writers describe it as a memory-enhancer).[11]


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.[12]

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.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Translation of Futuh al-Buldan by Hitti
  2. ^ a b c  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Balādhurī". Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 3 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 233.
  3. ^ Salaam Knowledge
  4. ^ :: Fadak; The property of Fatima al-Zahra [as] Archived 2007-01-25 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Saunders, J.J. (2006). A history of Medieval Islam (Reprint. ed.). London [u.a.]: Routledge. p. 58. ISBN 0-415-05914-3. Baladhuri was probably of Persian origin: he lived and wrote in Baghdad, and died in 892.
  6. ^ Vacca, Alison (2017). Non-Muslim Provinces under Early Islam: Islamic Rule and Iranian Legitimacy in Armenia and Caucasian Albania. Cambridge University Press. p. 1. ISBN 978-1107188518. In the second half of the ninth century, an Iranian historian named Aḥmad b. Yaḥy āl-Balādhurī wrote The Conquests of the Lands, an Arabic history about the Islamic conquest of the Near East and the formation of the Caliphate.
  7. ^ a b Gholamali Haddad Adel; Mohammad Jafar Elmi; Hassan Taromi-Rad (31 January 2013). Historians of the Islamic World: Selected Entries from Encyclopaedia of the World of Islam. EWI Press. pp. 2–. ISBN 978-1-908433-12-1.
  8. ^ a b Bosworth, C. E. "BALĀḎORĪ". ENCYCLOPÆDIA IRANICA. Retrieved 22 November 2016.
  9. ^ Kennedy, H (1988-12-15). "BAGHDAD i. The Iranian Connection: Before the Mongol Invasion". Retrieved 2024-05-21.
  10. ^ Hoyland, Robert Gerard (2015). In God's path: the Arab conquests and the creation of an Islamic empire. Ancient warfare and civilization. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-991636-8.
  11. ^ 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)
  12. ^ "Balādhurī, al-." Encyclopædia Britannica 2006.
  13. ^ "Baladhuri, Ahmad ibn Yahya al- - Oxford Islamic Studies Online". Archived from the original on September 15, 2014. Retrieved 2020-05-10.

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