YA'QUBI [Ahmad ibn abi Ya'qub ibn Ja'far ibn Wahb ibn Wadih] (gth century), Arab historian and geographer, was a great-grandson of Watjih, the freedman of the caliph Mansur. Until 873 he lived in Armenia and Khorasan; then he travelled in India, Egypt and the Maghrib, where he died in 891. His history is divided into two parts. In the first he gives a comprehensive account of the pre-Mahommedan and non-Mahommedan peoples, especially of their religion and literature. For the time of the patriarchs his source is now seen to be the Syriac work published by C. Bezold as Die Schatzhohle. In his account of India he is the first to give an account of the stories of Kalila and Dimna, and of Sindibad (Sinbad). When treating of Greece he gives many extracts from the philosophers (cf. M. Klamroth in the Zeitschrift der deutschen morgenlandischen Gesellschaft, vols. xl. and xli.). The second part contains Mahommedan history up to 872, and is neither extreme nor unfair, although he inherited Shi'ite leanings from his great-grandfather. The work is characterized by its detailed account of some provinces, such as Armenia and Khorasan, by its astronomical details and its quotations from religious authorities rather than poets.
Edition by T. Houtsma (2 vols., Leiden, 1883). Ya'qubi's geography, the Kitdb ul-Buldan, contains a description of the Maghrib, with a full account of the larger cities and much topographical and political information (ed. M. de Goeje, Leiden, 1892). (G. W. T.)
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)