Ibn Athir

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Ibn Athir or lbn-i-Athir is the family name of three Kurdish brothers, all famous in Arabian literature, born at Jazīrat ibn Umar in Cizre nowadays in south-eastern Turkey.

Majd ad-Dīn: 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: The youngest brother, known as Diyā' ad-Dīn (1163–1239), served Saladin from 1191 on, then his son, al-Malik al-Afdal, and was afterwards in Egypt, Samosata, Aleppo, Mosul and Baghdad. He was one of the most famous aesthetic and stylistic critics in Arabian literature. His Kitab al-Matlial, published by the Bulaq Press in 1865 (cf. Journal of the German Oriental Society, xxxv. 148, and Ignaz Goldziher's Abhandlungen, i. 161 sqq.), contains some very independent criticism of ancient and modern Arabic verse. Some of his letters have been published by David Samuel Margoliouth 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: The most famous brother was Ali ibn al-Athir (May 13, 1160–1223), 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 (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 7500 companions of the 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).


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