Ibn Bassam

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Ibn Bassam or Ibn Bassam Al-Shantarini (1058-1147) was a poet and historian from al-Andalus. He was born in Santarém (sometimes spelled Shantarin or Xantarin) and died in 1147.

Ibn Bassam describes how the incessant invasions of the Castillans forced him to run away from Santarém in Portugal, "the last of the cities of the west," after seeing his lands ravaged and his wealth destroyed, a ruined man with no possessions save his battered sword.[1]

Especially well-known is his anthology "Dhakhira fî mahâsin ahl al-Gazira" (The Treasury concerning the Merits of the People of Iberia) one of the most important sources of information in the field of history, literature and culture of the Almoravid dynasty. It was edited in eight volumes by Ihsan Abbas, written in rhymed prose, many of its biographies are contemporary and filled out with details taken from the Kitab al-Matin of Ibn Hayyan. The parts taken from that book are easily distinguishable, because Ibn Bassam prefixes the words qala Ibn Hayyan ("Ibn Hayyan says") and concludes the extract with intaha kalam Ibn Hayyan ("here ends lbn Hayyan's words").


  • Brann, Ross (2002). Power in the portrayal: representations of Jews and Muslims in eleventh- and twelfth-century Islamic Spain. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-00187-1.