The History of the Kings of the Persians in Three Arabic Chronicles

The Transmission of the Iranian Past from Late Antiquity to Early Islam

Translated with commentary by Robert G. Hoyland

£80.00
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ISBN: 9781786941466

Publication: July 4, 2018

Series: Translated Texts for Historians 69

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This book translates the sections on pre-Islamic Persia in three Muslim Arabic chronicles, those of Ahmad al-Ya‘qubi (d. ca. 910), ‘Ali al-Mas‘udi (d. ca. 960) and Hamza al-Isfahani (d. ca. 960s). Their accounts, like those of many other Muslim historians on this topic, draw on texts that were composed in the period 750-850 bearing the title ‘The History of the Kings of the Persians’. These works served a growing audience of well-to-do Muslim bureaucrats and scholars of Persian ancestry, who were interested in their heritage and wished to make it part of the historical outlook of the new civilization that was emerging in the Middle East, namely Islamic civilization. This book explores the question of how knowledge about ancient Iran was transmitted to Muslim historians, in what forms it circulated and how it was shaped and refashioned for the new Perso-Muslim elite that served the early Abbasid caliphs in Baghdad, a city that was built only a short distance away from the old Persian capital of Seleucia-Ctesiphon.

Robert G. Hoyland is Professor of Late Antique and Early Islamic Middle East History at the Institute for Study of the Ancient World of New York University. Previous publications include 'Theophilus of Edessa’s Chronicle and the Circulation of Historical Knowledge in Late Antiquity and Early Islam' (LUP, 2011).

Acknowledgements vii
Abbreviations ix
Note on Conventions xi
Introduction 1
Translations
1. Hamza al-Isfahani 25
2. ʿAli al-Masʿudi 79
3. Ahmad al-Yaʿqubi 106
Appendices
1. Ibn al-Muqaffaʿ and the ‘History of the Kings
of the Persians’ 135
2. The Chronicle of Siirt and the ‘Book of Lords’ 144
3. Abu Maʿshar and the Lost Books of Jay 151
Gazetteer 157
Maps 163
Tables
1. Reign lengths of Pishdadid, Kayanid and Arsacid kings 166
2. Reign lengths of Sasanid kings 168
3. Genealogy of the Sasanid Emperors 170
4. Transmission of key sources cited in this book 172
Bibliography 173
Index 181

Format: Hardback

Size: 210 × 147 mm

200 Pages

3 maps

ISBN: 9781786941466

Publication: July 4, 2018

Series: Translated Texts for Historians 69

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