Ibn Athir

IBN ATHIR, the family name of three brothers, all famous in Arabian literature, born at Jazirat ibn 'Umar in Kurdistan. The eldest brother, known as MAJD uD-DiN (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 (Kitab un-Nihaya) was published at Cairo (1893), and his dictionary of family names (Kitab ul-Murassa*) has been edited by Seybold (Weimar, 1896). The youngest brother, known as DIYA uo-DiN (1163-1239), served Saladin from 1191 on, then his son, al-Malik ul-Afdal, and was afterwards in Egypt, Samosata, Aleppo, Mosul and Bagdad. He was one of the most famous aesthetic'and stylistic critics in Arabian literature. His Kitab ul-Mathal, published in Bulaq in 1865 (cf. Journal of the German ^Oriental Society, xxxv. 148, and Goldziher's 1 The name " Ibis '' was selected as the title of an ornithological magazine, frequently referred to in this and other articles, which made its first appearance in 1859.

Abhandlungen, i. 161 sqq.), contains some very independent criticism of ancient and modern Arabic verse. Some of his letters have been published by D. S. Margoliouth " On the Royal Correspondence of Diya ed-Din el-Jazari " in the Actes du dixieme congres international des orientalistes, sect. 3, pp. 7-21.

The brother best known by the simple name of Ibn Athir was ABU-L-HASAN "IZZUDDIN MAHOMMED IBN UL-ATHIR (1160- 1234), who devoted himself to the study of history and 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 Bagdad and Jerusalem and later Aleppo and Damascus. He died in Mosul. His great history, the Kamil, extends to the year 1231; it has been edited by C. J. Tornberg, Ibn al-Athiri Chronicon quod perfeclissimum inscribitur (14 vols., Leiden, 1851-1876), and has been published in 12 vols. in Cairo (1873 and 1886). The first part of this work up to A.H. 310 (A.D. 923) is an abbreviation of the work of Tabari (q.v.) with additions. Ibn Athir also wrote a history of the Atabegs of Mosul, published in the Recueil des hisloriens des croisades (vol. ii., Paris); a work (Usd ul-Ghaba}, giving an account of 7500 companions of Mahomet (5 vols., Cairo, 1863), and a compendium (the Lubdb) of Sam'ani's Kitab ul-Ansab (cf. F. Wiistenfeld's Specimen el-Lobabi, Gottingen, 1835). (G. W. T.)

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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