Ibn Athir

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Ibn Athīr is the family name of three brothers, all famous in Arabic literature, born at Jazīrat ibn Umar in Cizre nowadays in south-eastern Turkey.


Majd ad-Dīn[edit]

The eldest brother, known as Majd ad-Dīn (1149–1210), was long in the service of the amir of Mosul, and was an earnest student of tradition and language. His dictionary of traditions (Kitāb an-Ni/zdya) was published at Cairo (1893), and his dictionary of family names (Kitāb ul-Murassa) has been edited by Ferdinand Seybold (Weimar, 1896).

Diyā' ad-Dīn[edit]

The youngest brother ، ضياء الدين ، Diyā' ad-Dīn (1163–1239), served under Saladin from 1191 and his son al-Malik al-Afdal who succeeded him, served in Egypt, Samosata, Aleppo, Mosul and Baghdad. He was one of the most famous aesthetic and stylistic critics of Arabian literature. His "Book of Analysis" or Kitab at-Tahlil (كتاب التحليل)[1] published by Bulaq Press in 1865 (cf. Journal of the German Oriental Society, xxxv. 148, and Ignaz Goldziher's Abhandlungen, i. 161 sqq.), contains very independent criticism of ancient and modern Arabic verse. A selection of his letters published by David Samuel Margoliouth are available under the title On the Royal Correspondence of Diyā' ad-Dīn al-Jazarī in the Actes du dixieme congrès international des orientalistes, sect. 3, pp. 7–2 I.

Ali ibn al-Athir[edit]

The most famous brother was Ali ibn al-Athir (May 13, 1160 – 1233), who devoted himself to the study of history and Islamic tradition. At the age of twenty-one he settled with his father in Mosul and continued his studies there. In the service of the amir for many years, he visited Baghdad and Jerusalem and later Aleppo and Damascus. He died in Mosul. His world history, the al-Kāmil fi t-tarīkh[2] (The Complete History), extends to the year 1231. It has been edited by Carl Tornberg, Ibn al-Athīr Chronicon quod perfectissinum inscribitur (14 vols., Leiden, 1851–1876). The first part of this work up to A.H. 310 (A.D. 923) is an abbreviation of the work of Tabari with minor additions. Ibn Athīr also wrote a history of the Atabegs of Mosul at-Tarīkh al-atabakīya, published in the Recueil des historiens des croisades (vol. ii., Paris); a work (Usd al-Ghdba) giving an account of 7,500 companions of the Muslim prophet Muhammad (5 vols., Cairo, 1863), and a compendium (the Lubāb) of Samani's Kitāb ui-A n.~db (cf. Ferdinand Wüstenfeld's Specimen el-Lobabi, Göttingen, 1835).

See also[edit]