Ibn Khallikan

IBN KHALLIKAN [Abu-l 'Abbas Ahmad ibn Khallikan] (1211-1282), Arabian biographer, was born at Arbela, the son of a professor reputed to be ascended from the Barmecides of the court of Harun al-Rashid. When eighteen he went to Aleppo, where he studied for six years, then to Damascus, and in 1238 to Alexandria and Cairo. In 1252 he married and became chief cadi of Syria in Damascus in 1261. Having held this office for ten years, he was professor in Cairo until 1278, when he again took office in Damascus for three years. In 1281 he accepted a professorship in the same city, but died in the following year.

His great work is the Kitab Wafayat ul-A'yan," The Obituaries of Eminent Men." It contains in alphabetical order the lives of the most celebrated persons of Moslem history and literature, except those of Mahomet, the four caliphs and the companions of Mahomet and their followers (the Tabiun). The work is anecdotal and contains many brief extracts from the poetry of the writers. It was published by F. Wustenfeld (Gottingen, 1835-1843), in part by McG. de Slane (Paris, 1838-1842), and also in Cairo (1859 and 1882). An English translation by McG. de Slane was published for the Oriental Translation Fund in 4 vols. (London, 1842-1871). Thirteen extra biographies from a manuscript in Amsterdam were published by Pijnappel (Amsterdam, 1845). A Persian translation exists in manuscript, and various extracts from the work are known. Several supplements to the book have been written, the best known being that of Mahommed ibn Shakir (d. 1362), published at Cairo 1882. A collection of poems by Ibn Khallikan is also extant. (G. W. T.)

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

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