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A local historian's debt to al- Tabari: The case of al-Azdi's Ta'rikh al-Mawsil.

In 1969 Paul Forand published in this journal the results of his reading of Yazid ibn Muhammad al-Azdi's Ta'rikh al-Mawsil, which was at this point only available to him on a film of the Chester Beatty manuscript. (1) Although chiefly interested in reconstructing some of the administrative history of the city during the late Umayyad and early Abbasid period, Forand concluded with some historiographic comparisons, principally between al-Azdi and his more celebrated Mosuli successor 'IZZ al-Din Ibn al-Athir. He also had something to say about al-Azdi and his contemporary, al-Tabari. Noting that al-Azdi's isnads often begin with the same authorities cited by al-Tabari in his Ta'rikh al-rusulwa'l-muluk, only to diverge from them later on, he proposed that "neither was copying from the written work of the other. The significance of this, for the study of early Muslim historiography, has yet to be studied in detail." (2) In fact, aside from A. Habiba's comments in the introduction to his edition of the Ta' rikh, which appeared shortly after Forand's article was published, (3) nothing of detail has been said of al-Azdi and his work, including his handling of isnads and his sources more generally. For all that the work has been praised (4) and also been put to use in several studies on early Islam, (5) it has not been properly studied. In this respect it is scarcely unique. Much of a general nature has recently been said about the emergence of Islamic historiography, (6) but a great deal of detailed work remains to be done. What follows is a modest installment.

It is regrettable that the relationship between al-Azdi and al-Tabari, which was first recognised by Forand, has been left unstudied, and this for at least three reasons. First, we shall shortly see that the Ta'rikh al-Mawsil was written in the 320s or very early 330s, and that al-Azdi was familiar with al-Tabari's work; it is thus an extremely early witness to the reception of al-Tabari's text--indeed much earlier than the sources that are customarily pressed into service to improve our understanding of the Ta'rikh al-rusul wa'l-muluk, e.g., Miskawayh, Ibn Asakir, Ibn al-Athir, and Ibn Khallikan. (7) Second, since al-Azdi was writing in the decades following al-Tabari, his Ta'rikh can say something about the reception of al-Tabari's Ta'rikh among those who immediately followed the great master. That al-Tabari's history was immensely significant we can all agree; but as to precisely how he became so significant there is no clear consensus. (8) Third--and returning to Forand's insight--al-Azdi fre-quently drew on the same authorities tapped by al-Tabari, but whose works are for the most part now lost, such as Abu Ma'shar (170/786), Abu Mikhnaf (157/774), al-Haytham ibn 'AdI (207/822), al-Mada'ini (around 228/843), and 'Umar ibn Shabba (262/878). The Ta'rikh al-Mawsil can thus throw some light on an early stage of the historical tradition, which al-Tabari's great work, among others, largely eclipsed. In what follows I therefore return to the problem first identified by Forand and since ignored, intending only to lay the foundation for more detailed work. More specifically, I intend to date the history; to suggest that its relation to al-Tabari's is more complex than Forand thought; to illustrate some of the problems that a comparison of al-Azdi and al-Tabari raises; and finally to point out some of the problems it can help us solve.

Two more introductory comments are in order; the first concerns al-Azdi's work in general, and the second the limits of our evidence. First, in terms of provenance, one can identify two categories of material in al-Azdi's Ta'rikh: local Mosuli material, and what I shall call "imperial" material. Generally speaking, the local material predominates in the later sections of the history, particularly as the tribal 'asabiyat between the Azd and Hamdan accelerated in the final quarter of the second century. (9) In terms of form, this material is heterogeneous in the extreme: lists (of qadis and governors); documents (letters of appointment and iqta's;wasiyas); genealogical material; rijal material; and, finally, narratives of local history, generally outfitted with isnads composed of local authorities. By contrast, the "imperial" material, which predominates in the Umayyad period, is considerably more homogeneous. Although here too there are some letters and obituaries of non-Mosulis, most of it consists of isnad-equipped akhbar, the majority of which are which are credited to the great second-and third-century compilers on whom al-Tabari also relied. This contrast between local knowledge of local affairs and what I have called the "imperial" tradition is one that al-Azdi himself seems to acknowledge, (10) and can be explained easily enough. As a high-born qadi of the city, al-Azdi had direct access to a range of local material, at least some of which might fairly be called archival; (11) but as an otherwise obscure qadi in a modest provincial city, his knowledge of most non-Mosuli history was necessarily imported and very much bookish. It is with the bookish al-Azdi that I shall be concerned here.

It must also be conceded that comparing al-Tabari and al-Azdi is not without some problems. Much more work needs to be done on the textual tradition that produced the manuscripts on which our modern al-Tabari editions are based, (12) and this includes trying to identify which branch of the tradition al-Azdi himself knew. Moreover, only the middle third of al-Azdi's Ta'rikh al-Mawsil survives, and this in a single manuscript. (13). If collating parallel traditions were not tedious enough, constraints such as these make the task of distinguishing between mere variants, on the one hand, and real divergent traditions on the other, extremely difficult. (14). Finally, since al-Azdi was writing local history in a relatively lean style, much of what concerned al-Tabari in his world history obviously had little or no appeal. If it is fair to characterize at lease some of al-Tabari's method as "cut and paste"--a view that is unlikely to survive a close comparison of his work with the surviving parts of one of his principal sources (15)--then so too can al-Azdi's; but to compare the Ta'rikh al-Mawsil with the Ta'rikh al-rusul wa'l-muluk is to conclude that al-Azdi was especially active with his scissors: the bits are smaller, and much has been left on the cutting-room floor. All of this said, the problems are not insuperable: our understanding of al-Tabari and his history improves all the time; al-Azdi's editor has managed to re-assemble a jumbled manuscript with some success; (16) and garbled names aside, the text--that is, the printed edition used in conjunction with the manuscript--can sustain the comparative scrutiny that I propose. I begin with problems of sequence and dating.


Although he provided no explicit evidence, Forand was correct to assert that al-Tabari, unlike his famous Mosuli abridger, Ibn al-Athir, did not copy from al-Azdi's work.' (17) Not only is the material characteristic of the Ta'rikh al-Mawsil--local information transmitted by local tradents--absent in al-Tabari, (18) but there is no reason to think that the work had even been composed when al-Tabari put down his pen in 302/915. (19) Since the first and last third of the Tarikh have been lost, dating its composition may at first seem difficult but an account attributed by al-Najashi (d. 450/1058) to a certain Salama ibn Dhaka' al-Mawsili can provide us with a safe terminus post quem of 321/933; for according to Salama (fl. late fourth/early fifth century), his teacher, Ali ibn Muhammad al-Shimshati, undertook a continuation (tammama) of al-Azdi's history, beginning in year 322/934. (20) Year 334/945, which al-Dhahabi tentatively dates as al-Azdi's death, may stand as an approximate terminus ante quem. (21) The latter date is corroborated by the work's inclusion in al-Mascudi's introductory comments to his Muruj al-dhahab, the existing version of which was completed by 336/947 at the latest. (22) Whether the work was finished in the later 320s or early 330s is currently impossible to say.

So Forand's instinct proved correct on at least one count: al-Tabari did not--indeed could not--rely on al-Azdi' s finished Ta'rikh. (There is no reason to think that al-Tabari had access to a draft or to lectures of al-Azdi, if such existed.) But what of the reverse: was Forand right in arguing for al-Azdi's independence of al-Tabari? With an edited and respectably indexed text, we are now better equipped than was Forand, and here it turns out that he was mistaken. (23) In the preserved second section of the Ta'rikh al-Mawsil--428 pages of printed text--al-Azdi refers to al-Tabari at least four times, as Abu JaTar, (24) Muhammad al-Amull, (25) and Muhammad ibn Jarir. (26) In all these cases al-Tabari is cited directly, without intermediary, and with the verb anbaani ("He reported to me"). It is impossible to know if this modest rate of explicit use was representative of the work as a whole; indeed, the sample is too small to suggest much at all. Considering that al-Azdi narrows his focus on local matters during the second half of the second century, one might speculate that al-Tabari would have appeared more frequently in the now-lost first section; but since we also know that al-Azdi had access to al-Tabari's sources for the period covered by the first part, (27) perhaps he did not.

How al-Azdi was familiar with al-Tabari's material must also be inferred. As used by al-Azdi, anbaani usually describes the direct transmission of material by contemporaries; but there are exceptions, such as when he uses the same term to introduce material attributed to al-Madaini, who had died almost a century before him. (28) Perhaps here al-Azdi's Zwischenautoritat was omitted by a negligent scribe, (29)or perhaps al-Azdi simply copied the term from an earlier, written source; in either case, the term cannot be adduced as evidence for direct contact between al-Azdi and al-Tabari. Meanwhile, the relatively detailed biographies of al-Tabari never mention al-Azdi among his students; and nor do the relatively modest biographies of al-Azdi ever mention al-Tabari among his teachers. (30) Given the celebrity of al-Tabari, one presumes that even the most modest contact between the two men would have been preserved by the tradition.

Whether al-Azdi was ever taught by al-Tabari is therefore very hard to know. There can be no doubt, however, that he knew al-Tabari's work, for in addition to his modest explicit use, al-Azdi occasionally draws on al-Tabari without attribution. (31) The character of this borrowing can usually be described as loose paraphrasing and selective, direct quotation, the result often being a fairly radical reworking of material, whose provenance, thanks to the directly quoted material, remains quite clear. In contrast to the more frequent cases when al-Azdi refers to sources common to al-Tabari, which are equipped with standard isnads, these passages appear in al-Azdi without isnads. Generally brief, and frequently beginning with fihd ("in this year"), in both al-Tabari and al-Azdi they have a clear literary function as narrative "mortar" laid to join larger "blocks" of isnad-equipped accounts.

This is not the place to catalogue all occurrences of such borrowing, (32) but one can hardly resist noting that the very first paragraph of the surviving section of the Tayrikh al-Mawsil, which recounts Yazid ibn al-Muhallab's (second) escape from prison in 101/718-19, reworks al-Tabari's text, in this case based on Abu Mikhnaf. (33) There are only two things that need to be said here. First, these passages betray al-Azdi's familiarity with al-Tabari's Ta rlkh as an integrated work of history rather than, for example, a series of lecture notes. Al-Azdi's consequent debt to al-Tabari is heavy, and the organisation of material in al-Azdi's Ta'rikh can follow al-Tabari's quite closely. This said--and here we arrive at the second point--al-Azdi does more than reproduce al-Tabari; in fact, understanding how al-Tabri's material was summarised, epitomized, and deleted, and also how al-Azdi supplemented it with local material, takes us part of the way towards understanding how local historiography emerged out of imperial historiography.

Being short and manageable, Year 190 can serve as an example. An outline of al-Tabari's entry is as follows:

(i) Rebellion of Rafi ibn Layth in Samarqand (Ta'rlkh, iii, 707:11-708:15)

(ii) IIarun's summer raid into Byzantine lands (708: 16-709:2)

(iii) alo-Fadl ibn Sahl's conversion to Islam (709:3)

(iv) The Byzantine attack on 'Ayn Zarba and Kanisat al-Sawda' (709:4-5)

(v) Harun's conquest of al-Hiraqla (Heracleia) (709:6-711:5)

(vi) Revolt of the Kharijite Sayf ibn Bakr (711:6-8)

(vii) Rebellion on Cyprus (711:9)

(viii) al-Hadi leads the pilgrimage (711:10)

Al-Azdi at first follows al-Tabari's scheme closely. (34) Rafic ibn Layth's rebellion, almost a page in the printed al-Tabari, is reduced to a single line, which is characteristic of al-Azdi's general indifference to matters in the East. (35) The next three accounts (ii, iii and iv) are reproduced with very minor variants, the last also losing some information about al-Massisa. At this point--Harun's conquest of al-Hiraqla (v)--things change. Al-Tabari begins by describing the composition of Harun's huge army, (36) while al-Azdi begins by listing its commanders; al-Tabari credits the conquest of al-Safsaf to Yazid ibn Makhlad, while al-Azdi seems to credit it to 'Abdallah ibn Khuzayma; and finally, al-Tabari puts cAbd Allah ibn Malik's attack on Dhu al-Kila at the beginning of the campaign--that is, before Harun arrives at al-Tuwana (Tyana)--while al-Azdi puts it after Harun arrives there. Since material in the latter part of the report is closer to al-Tabari's, if arranged differently, one might argue that al-Azdi and al-Tabari have handled a common source very differently; but considering not only that al-Tabari seems closer to originals than does al-Azdi, (37) but also that we have no clear evidence for a common source, (38) we are better off assuming that al-Azdi moved away from al-Tabari and to another (unnamed) source.

Al-Azdi now returns to al-Tabari: the account of Harun's campaigns is followed by the Kharijite Sayf ibn Bakr (vi). Thereupon follows a note concerning Nicephorus' breaking of his treaty with Harun, which is almost certainly based on al-Tabari's longer discussion in the year 187, (39) and which Canard has shown is probably mistaken. (40) An obituary inserted by al-Azdi comes next, (41) followed by mention of the Cyprus rebellion (vii). Finally, al-Azdi once again lifts his eyes from al-Tabari's text, postponing for a few lines al-Hadi's pilgrimage (viii) in favour of material of local interest: an account concerning the governor of Mosul (the Muhallabid Khalid ibn Yazid), (42) mention of its qadi (Abd Allah ibn Khalil), and the death of Yahya ibn Khalid the Barmakid, whose father governed the city during the reign of al-Mansur. (43)

AI-Azdi's handling of al-Tabari in year 190 is not atypical of his work as a whole, and of this unattributed use I shall say nothing more--except to point out that a sentence in the Ta'rikh might be taken to suggest that al-Azdi concedes the use of imperial histories, (44) and also that unattributed use was unexceptional for al-Azdi: he seems to have used Khalifa ibn Khayyat (240/854) in very much the same way. (45) Here it is more important to point out that the inspiration for the form of al-Azdi's work should be located in the imperial annalistic tradition that had developed during the ninth and early tenth century, and of which al-Tabari's work had quickly established itself as a pre-eminent example. (46) Here we come to the second reason why al-Azdi's work can only be understood in the light of al-Tabari's. Al-Azdi is comparable to al-Kindi (d. 360/970) in a variety of ways: contemporaries, both were historians of provincial cities with interests in and access to administrative history (e.g., lists of qadis and governors), equally tied to local traditions of learning as well. (47) Where they differ is what they do with their material, al-Azdi organising it not, a la Kindi, by caliphs, governors, or qadis, but rather annalistically--that is, according to a scheme that would prove to be as central to Islamic universal history writing as it would remain unpopular among local historians. (48) And while third- and fourth-century historians sometimes fused in single works the annalistic scheme with rijal organization, (49) al-Azdi followed the lead of Khalifa ibn Khayyat, (50) and of course al-Tabari himself, (51) by composing two separate works: the surviving Ta'rikh, and the now lost rijal work organized by tabaqat (which is at times confusingly identified as a ta'rikh). (52)

If one is to locate a primary historiographic influence on al-Azdi, it is in fact to al-Tabari that we should look. Al-Azdi may have admired Khalifa ibn Khayyat, but he was far too ambitious to be constrained by Khalifa's concision, and tends instead towards al-Tabari's more detailed and colourful narrative. While Khalifa occasionally fails to maintain his annalistic scheme, lumping administrative appointments together according to caliphal reigns, (53) al-Azdi follows the more consistent al-Tabari, substituting Mosuli and Jaziran administration for al-Tabari's multiple province entries. There may even be enough evidence to suggest that al-Azdi's and al-Tabari's works were considered a pair: for Mosulis of the late tenth century, al-Tabari had authored the definitive universal history, and al-Azdi, following him, had authored the definitive local history. This may explain why the nebulous al-Shimshati is described as having undertaken not only a continuation of al-Azdi's Ta'rikh al-Mawsil, but also an abridgment (mukhtasar) of al-Tabari's Ta'rikh al-rusul wa'l-muluk. (54)

To sum up so far: Al-Azdi finished his Ta'rikh al-Mawsil sometime between ca. 322 and 334, having relied on al-Tabari's Ta'rikh for material relating to the Umayyads and Abbasids. Whenever this debt is acknowledged, the material in question is accompanied by an isnad, in which al-Tabari appears as the final link. Meanwhile, a great deal of the unacknowledged borrowing is of material that lacks an isnad not only in al-Azdi, but also in al-Tabari. One is tempted therefore to conclude that al-Tabari is acknowledged as a transmitter, but not as author, and that isnad-less material was considered in the public domain. Unfortunately, this may be true only as a general principle, since there are some bothersome exceptions. (55) What is clearer is al-Tabari's mark on al-Azdi's historiographic vision: of the three annalists acknowledged by al-Azdi in the surviving part, al-Haytham ibn 'Adi, Khalifa ibn Khayyat, and al-Tabari, it is the last who exercises the most influence. Inasmuch as universal history can function programmatically for local history, al-Tabari's work appears to have been extremely programmatic for al-Azdi's.

This said, however much of al-Tabari's work set a standard for a local historian to emulate, al-Azdi had ambitions of his own: he obliquely claims to be writing the first proper history of his town, (56) and to judge by its inclusion in al-Masudi's preface, (57) as well as by Ibn al-Athir's shameless plundering almost 300 years later, it quickly became, and long remained, the standard history of the city. Its relation to al-Tabari's great work is thus more accurately described as one of complementarity, (58) rather than dependence. For if in al-Tabari al-Azdi had what was fast becoming the standard history of the caliphate, it was one in which Mosul--like northern Syria and northern Iraq in general--had little more than an extra's role; there was little, in other words, to satisfy al-Azdi's Hamdanid audience. To set the experience of Mosul in the empire's history required in the first instance an annalistic history that described its politics; and to anchor Mosuli scholarship in an empire-wide tradition of learning required in the second a rijal work on local scholars. For both projects al-Azdi relied on a range of historiographic skills--identifying, locating, evaluating, and compiling a variety of sources and evidence--and these he naturally applied broadly. Access to much (if not all) of al-Tabari's work was just one of the resources upon which he could draw.

Another resource--or better, set of resources--was an assortment of sources on which al-Tabari himself drew; and that al-Azdi so frequently consulted these sources also reflects his ambitious historiographic programme. It is true that later historians often cited earlier authorities not from the originals, but rather from later compilations, (59) and one might reasonably suspect that al-Azdi's access to earlier material was also mediated by al-Tabari. But there can be no doubt that al-Azdi did have access to the early sources themselves. It is not just that his isnads differ from al-Tabari's; he also identifies figures in isnads who are left unidentified in our al-Tabari editions, (60) gives fuller names for tradents, (61) and has access to accounts that are more complete. (62) It almost goes without saying that this type of information is invaluable for our understanding of al-Tabari's text. In what follows I hope to illustrate al-Azdi's value in a bit more detail.


One of the most interesting passages in which al-Tabari is mentioned is the earliest. The manuscript, which the editor reproduces without emendation, reads anba'ani Muhammad ibn Jarir'an 'Umar ibn 'Ubayda wa-huddithtu 'an 'Uthman ibn 'id al-Razi 'an 'Umar 'an Abi 'Umbayda qala: lamma mata 'Umar ibn 'Abd al-Aziz ... (63) Here al-Azdi follows a practice common enough among historians of his period, giving two partial isnads for a single matn. Noting some confusion about names, the editor suggests that the 'Umar ibn 'Ubayda of the first of these is to be identified with 'Umar ibn 'Ubayd al-Tanafisi, an otherwise obscure traditionist of the late second century. (64) But this is chronologically awkward, and the problem admits a much simpler solution. The parallel text in al-Tabari, (65) which attributes the passage that follows to Ma'mar ibn al-Muthanna--that is, Abu 'Ubayda (d. ca. 210/825) (66)--along with al-Azdi's second line of transmission, which does the same, force us to emend 'Umar ibn 'Ubayda to 'Umar 'an Abi 'Ubayda, (67) the 'Umar in question almost certainly being none other than 'Umar ibn Shabba. (68)

Whether or not Abu 'Ubayda had some sympathy for Kharijite views, (69) here he demonstrates his expertise in Kharijite history. The report concerns a Kharijite named Bistam (aliasShawdhab), who rebelled in year 100/717-18. (70) Al-Tabari introduces the reader to the account by reminding him of an earlier report, also attributed to Abu Ubayda, which describes the beginning of the revolt, and the negotiations that the pious and clement Umar II had opened with Bistam; (71) here al-Tabari, it seems, has broken apart what had been Abu Ubayda's continuous narrative. (72) Al-Azdi also had access to his earlier part, but apparently chose to omit it, since he summarises it instead. (73) Fortunately, he preserves this next one in extenso. Now the differences between al-Tabari's Abu Ubayda and al-Azdi's Abu Ubayda are on the whole relatively minor: occasional variants in verb form (yahz/yatahazza; yan-laziru/muntaziran), conjunctions (wa/fa;/thumma), (74) the use of synonyms (ahabba/ arada; a qabihim/aktafihim; al-akharun/al-baqun), and some omissions and glosses. Only by cataloguing all these differences, and then distinguishing between scribal variants, changes resulting from oral transmission, and finally those deliberately (and sometimes anonymously) introduced by transmitters and redactors, may we arrive at a definite view of how his work fared as it was transmitted--how it was "reshaped," in Leder's words. (75)

Even so, the comparison can yield some preliminary results. For example, according to our Tabari text, Shawdhab himself is given to write to his adversary, Muhammad ibn Jarir: a-laysa qad tawa adna ila an yarji a rasula Shawdhab?, which made poor enough sense to Ibn al-Athir that he resolved the puzzle (rasula Shawdhab) by writing al-rasulan; (76) he might have followed al-Azdi's version of Abu Ubayda (ila an yarji'a rusuluna) instead. (77) More significantly, (78) al-Azdi reverses the sequence of commanders sent against the Kharijites as they are presented in al-Tabari (Tamim ibn al-Hubab (79)--Najda ibn al-Hakam al-Azdi--al-Shahhaj ibn Wada) to al-Shahhaj--Najda ibn al-Hakam al-Azdi--Tamim ibn al-Habhab; (80) and since all three of these figures came from prominent Mosuli families, (81) there may be good reason to prefer his reading. Al-Azdi can also identify authorities that al-Tabari leaves anonymous: al-Tabari's qala ghayr Abi Ubayda is al-Azdi's qala Abu Zayd Umar ibn Shabba, here transmitting on the authority of Khallad ibn Yazid al-Arqat, who, al-Azdi also tells us, "said that Abu Ubayda was mistaken" (khatta'a Aba Ubayda). (82) It is one of al-Azdi's virtues that he frequently unmasks historiographic controversy. (83)


One of the lessons that al-Azdi's isnads can teach us concerns the transmission of third-century historical works to fourth-century historians. Of course works survived in recensions; (84) aand it is not without some significance that al-Azdi drew on several common sources in recensions that differ from those available to his more famous predecessor. In other words, if we can interpret al-Azdi's use of common sources as part of an early fourth-century consensus that these sources were indeed the essential works for writing second-century history, this consensus accommodated several recensions of these authoritative works.

Al-Mada'ini is a case in point. Since the material attributed to him is very plentiful in al-Azdi's Ta rikh. it is hard topin donw its provenance, but much must have come from his work on caliphal history, which Ibn al-Nadim describes in a number of titles. (85) Al-Madainis work was made available to al-Tabari by a number of traditionists, and so too al-al-Azdi's TA rikh. it is hard to pin down its provenance, but much must have come from his work on caliphal history, which Ibn al-Nadim describes in a number of titles. (85) Al-Madaini's work was made available to al-Tabari by a number of traditionists, and so too al-Azdi; but a great deal was transmitted by Muhammad ibn al-Mubarak (fl. late third century) to al-Azdi, often on the authority of Ahmad ibn al-Harith al-Kharraz (or al-Khazzaz?) (d. 258/872). (86) As Rotter has pointed out, (87) although Ahmad ibn al-Harith appears frequently as a transmitter of al-Madaini's material, he is not to be found in al-Tabari. A more complex case comes from the reports attributed to Abu Mashar (d. 170/786), which are particularly abundant in the Umayyad sections of the Tarikh al-Mawsil. Since they are uniformly concerned with matters of caliphal politics, and are usually cited for the purposes of dating (e.g., deaths and bay as), we can reasonably infer that they are drawn from the corpus of Abu Mashar's material that was brought together in a Tarikh al-khulafa work. (88) Moreover, considering that al-Azdi counts Abu Mashar among "those who have written histories," (89) we can also infer that this material had taken some shape by al-Azdi's time.

Al-Azdi had access to this material via at least two lines of transmission. The first (Abd Allah ibn Ahmad ibn Hanbai--Ahmad ibn Hanbal--Ishaq ibn Isa--Abu Mashar) (90) shares an early link (Ishaq ibn Isa) with the isnad usually cited by al-Tabari (Ahmad ibn Thabit--anon.--Ishaq ibn Isa--Abu Mashar) (91) Al-Mizzl's Tahdhib al-kamal can clinch the identity of Ishaq ibn Isa ibn al-Tabba *d. ca. 215/830) as an immigrant to Adhana who transmitted from Abu Mashar and to Ahmad ibn Hanbal (d. 241/855), (92) given all the Massisis counted among his students, it is also tempting to speculate that Ishaq may have been responsible for exporting Abu Mashar's work to the north. (93) In any event, we can be fairly certain that al-Azdi's isnad accurately reflects the transmission of the work; it is easy enough to see how Abu Mashar's work then travelled from Ahmad ibn Hanbal to his son Abd Allah(d. 290/903),(94) and finally to al-Azdi himself. Generally, the material attributed by al-Azdi to Abu Mashar in this recension matches that attributed by al-Tabari too; there is, however, at least one exception. (95)

Al-Azdi also had access to Abu Mashar's work via another chain of transmitters (Ubayd Allah ibn Ghannam--Abd Allah ibn Numayr--anon.--Abu Mashar), which also comes in a variant from Ubayd Allah ibn Ghannam--Abd Allah ibn Numayr--Abu Mashar. This isnad shares no common link with al-Tabari's, and features instead two men of apparently only local significance: Ubayd Allah ibn Ghannam (d. 297/908), who was one of al-Azdi's teachers, (96) and the Hamdam Abd Allah ibn Numayr (d. 200/815), who seems to have been an expert in dating in his own right. (97) This isnad appears less frequently than the first, and sometimes apparently only to corroborate it. (98) That al-Azdi saw fit to provide a second isnad for a date already documented by the isnad preferred by al-Tabari suggests that he was aware of the hazards of transmission; apparently it was also his way of resolving conflict in his source material. (99) The second also appears independently of the first, (100) and since al-Tabari here provides the same information (via his isnad to Abu Mashar), there may be some reason to think that al-Azdi's version of Ishaq ibn Isa's recension was not as complete as al-Tabari's.

In the case of Abu Mashar's work, al-Azdi can thus confirm the significance of Ishaq ibn Isa's recension, while raising some question about its contents; the less frequent use of another path to this material to corroborate and perhaps supplement this recension once again underlines al-Azdi's historiographic resourcefulness.

Above I pointed out that the sequence of commanders sent against the Kharijite Shawdhab differs in al-Azdi's version of Abu Ubayda from al-Tabari's version of Abu Ubayda; and I suggested that since the former had local expertise, this might be preferred. My suggestion was intended to clarify a question of historical reconstruction--How did the Umayyads respond to Shawdhab's rebellion?--but as such it ignored a thorny historiographical problem. Al-Azdi may, or may not, record the correct sequence; but in either case, Abu Ubayda has been attributed with two different versions of the same khabar. Since the transmission of historical material has recently been the subject of intensive study, it is worth looking at the problem from the perspective afforded by al-Azdi's Tarikh. A single illustrative aneedote can suffice; it concerns Ziyad ibn Ubayd Allah and Khalid al-Qasri in 105/722-73. Al-Tabari has it from a written collection of Abd al-Razzaq (al-Sanani, d. 211/826; dhakara Abd al-Razzaq), (101) who transmits on the authority of Hammad ibn Said al-Sanani. (102) Al-Azdi also includes the first part of the story from Abd al-Razzaq, now mediated by two links (Harun ibn Isa--Ahmad ibn Mansur--Abd al-Razzaq--Hammad ibn Said). (103)

The story is of interest for two reasons. First, Crone suggested that the opening of the account, which explains Ziyad's appearance in Syria (ataytu al-Shdm fa'qtaradtu: "T went to Syria and secured a loan"), should be emended to fa 'ftaradtu ("and enrolled in the army"). (104) The suggestion was rejected by Blankinship, (105) but adopted by Conrad "in light of the military context that immediately follows." (106) It is definitively clinched by the manuscript of the Ta'rikh al-Mawsil, which clearly reads f-'-f-t-r-d-t. (107) The obvious lesson to be learned is that printed editions can contaminate, as well as aid, the editing of manuscripts; in this case, al-Azdi's editor (Habiba), who does not comment on the word, was apparently misled by al-Tabari's editor(Muller), who did his best to make sense of misleading Berlin, Oxford, and London manuscripts of the work. Exactly when the error crept into the tradition as preserved by al-Tabari is impossible to say; but since the correct (i.e., al-Azdi's) reading is nowhere to be seen in either the surviving manuscripts or other sources that incorporate al-Tabari, one is tempted to conclude that it entered fairly early on.

The inclusion of another version of the account in al-Baladhuri's Ansab al-ashraf, this one on the authority of Bakr ibn al-Haytham--Abd al-Razzaq--Hammad ibn Said, is the second reason why the account is of some interest. (108) Here we can see how transmission resulted in a significant reshaping of a tradition. On the one hand, al-Azdi and al-Tabari clearly had very much the same tradition to hand, the only differences between the two being infrequent variants. (109) On the other hand, al-Baladhuri, drawing on Bakr ibn al-Haytham, presents a very different account and a very different Ziyad ibn Ubayd Allah. For example, apud al- Azdi's and al-Tabari's version, Ziyad, instructed by Khalid to join him if appointed governor of Iraq, is at first distressed (fa-rakibani min dhalika hamm), and torn between his two choices: "I have gained a modest stipend (rizq/ruzayq) here, which I live on, and I fear that if I go to join him, he will turn against me" (fa-yataghayyaru alayya). (110) It takes the intervention of his paymaster (arif), who has sensed his disquiet, to offer a solution: Ziyad should go, entrusting the arif with his stipend; the latter will return it to Ziyad should his luck run out. As it turns out, Ziyad returns with no less than 600 dinars. (111) But in Bakr ibn al-Haytham's version, Ziyad has lost his case of nerves; and since it is now Ziyad's idea that the arif retain the arzaq until his return, much of the drama has evaporated as well: our young recruit, concerned that he might lose even the small living that he has been eking out, is now an opportunistic ladder-climber. Since the point of the anecdote is to illustrate the possibilities--and fragility--of the ties of loyalty and patronage that bound commander and companion, (112) the contrast between the two portrayals of the same character is fairly stark. Whether they are both to be credited to 'Abd al-Razzaq, or rather an "original" to him (i.e., the tradition preserved in al-Tabari and al-Azdi), and another, substantially changed by Bakr ibn al-Haytham (i.e., that preserved by al-Baladhuri) is at present impossible to say.

In the current state of our knowledge, much is indeed impossible to say, and more detailed work on the early chronographic tradition would repay the effort. For what it is worth, this preliminary comparison between al-Azdi and al-Tabari bears witness to the complexities of second- and third-century practices of transmission and composition (the two were disentangled only gradually--and incompletely at that); to the inadequacy of Leiden al-Tabari; and to the ambivalent character of local chronography, which, while deeply indebted to the imperial tradition, remained independent of it not only for local material, but also for imperial history too. (113)

(1.) Forand, "The Governors of Mosul according to al-Azdi's Ta'rikh al-Mawsil," JAOS 89 (1969): 88-105.

(2.)Ibid., 104, followed by Ramzi Jibran Bikhazi, "The Hamdanid Dynasty of Mesopotamia and North Syria 254-404/868-1014" (Ph.D. diss., Univ. of Michigan, 1981), 15-16.

(3.) Al-Azdi, Ta'rikh al-Mawsil, ed. 'Ali Habiba (Cairo, 1967), 5-31 (of the muqaddima).

(4.) See, e.g., Franz Rosenthal: A History of Muslim Historiography, 2nd rev. ed. (Leiden: Brill, 1968), 153-54: "an excellent annalistie history"; Hugh Kennedy, The Prophet and the Age of the Caliphates (London: Longman, 1986), 373 ("an extremely full and mature piece of historical writing, skillfully interweaving local history with events from the wider context of the Islamic world"); and R. S. Humphreys, Islamic History: A Framework for Inquiry (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1991), 112 ("extremely important"), and 127.

(5.) See, in particular, C. F. Robinson, Empire and Elites after the Muslim Conquest: The Transformation of Northern Mesopotamia (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2000), especially 127-30; Hugh Kennedy, "Central government and provincial elites in the early Abbasid caliphate," BSOAS 44 (1981): 26-38; and Amikam Elad, "Aspects of the transition from the Umayyad to the Abblsid caliphate," JSAI 19 (1995): 89-132.

(6.) In addition to notes 8 and 46, see B. Shoshan, The Poetics of Islamic Historiography: Deconstructing Tabari's History (Leiden: Brill, 2005).

(7.) For a discussion of some of these, see Franz-Christoph Muth, Die Annalen von at-Tabari im Spiegel dereuropaischen Bearbeitung (Frankfurt am Main: P. Lang, 1983), 109-21.

(8.) Thus studies as dissimilar as Tarif Khalidi's Arabic Historical Thought in the Classical Period (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1994), 73-81, and Bernd Radtke, Weltgeschichte and Weltbeschreibung im mitrelaltertitchen Islam (Beirut and Stuttgart: F. Steiner, 1992), 161 and 167, are at one in emphasizing al-Tabari's crucial role in the early tradition; but whereas the former sees him as the culmination of an early impulse (in Khalidi's terminology,"dome"), the latter sees him as the founder of salvation historiography. Cf. C. F. Robinson, Islamic Historiography (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2003), especially 30-38.

(9.) These conflicts make their first significant appearance in 171/787 (see al-Azdi, Ta'rikh, 268-69); for a brief discussion, see Kennedy, "Central Government," 28-29; Robinson, Empire and Elites, 162-64.

(10.) Accounting for conflicting reports about the appointment of Khalid ibn Bamiak as governor of the city in year 157/774, al-Azdi (Ta'rikh, 228) writes that "those who collect and compile accounts" (man jamaa al-akhbar wa-allafaha) are wrong (ghalat) because "the people of the city are more expert about their affairs, along with the corroboration of Khalifa ibn Khayyat of their view" (li-anna ahl al-balad akhbaru bi-ma kana min amrihim maa mutaba at Khalifa ibn Khayyat iyyahum), viz. that he (Musa ibn Musab) was the last of the governors appointed by Abu Jafar over the districts in question. By "people of the city" he means specialists in its history, who are mentioned elsewhere (Tarikh, 25: man yalam al-sira min ahl al-Mawsil).

(11.) The best examples are two texts al-Azdi quotes from among the "old letters" (al-kutub al-qadima) of the long-serving qadi of the city, al-Harith ibn al-Jarud (d. ca. 153/770); see al-Azdi, Tarikh, 199 and 214-15; and on al-Harith, G. H. A. Juynboll, Muslim Tradition: Studies in Chronology, Provenance and Authorship in Early Hadith (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1983), 231.

(12.) See the comments by Lawrence I. Conrad, "Notes on al-Tabari's history of the caliphate of Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik," JRAS ser. 3,3 (1993): 2-5.

(13.) The Chester Beatty manuscript is dated 16 Rabi II, 654 (= 13 May 1256); for a discussion, see Habiba's introduction to the Tarikh, 5-10.

(14.) I have borrowed the terminology used by Stefan Leder in, inter alia, "Authorship and Transmission in Unauthored Literature: The Akhbar Attributed to al-Haytham ibn Adi," Oriens 31 (1988): 70-71.

(15.) See the editor's introduction to Sayf ibn Umar, Kitab al ridda wa'l futuh wa'l Kitab Jamal wa-masir Aisha wa-Ali, ed. Q. al-Samarra'I (Leiden: Smitskamp Oriental Antiquarium, 1995).

(16.) The manuscript is also missing years 124 and 152.

(17.) Writing more than a century ago--long before al-Azdi's work was edited--Carl Brockelmann (Das Verhaltnis von Ibn el-Atirs Kamil fi't-Tarihzu Tabaris Ahbar-rusal wa'l muluk [Strassburg: K. J. Trubner, 1890], 40) suggested that Ibn al-Athir had used al-Azdi's Tarikh; so too Marius Canard, Histoire de la dynastie des H'amdanides de Jazira et de Syrie (Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 1953), 17, to whom two fragments of the work were available. But it was left to Forand ("Governors," 103-4) to demonstrate this reliance conclusively.

(18.) This is not, however, a general rule. That Mosuli material circulated in Iraq during the third/ninth century is made clear by al-Baladhuri (d. 279/892), Futuh al-buldan, ed. M. J. de Goeje (Leiden: Brill, 1866), 180 and 332; and idem, Ansab al-ashraf, ed. 'Abd al-'Aziz al-Duri (Wiesbaden, 1978), 3: 281, here drawing on the Mosulli akhbari Mu 'afa ibn Tawus, whose family played a crucial role in transmitting second-century history to al-Azdi. Material transmitted by al-Abbas ibn al-Fadl (= Abu Fadl al-Ansari; d. 186/802), a local qadi and muhaddith (see al-Azdl, Ta'rikh, 194, 285, 288, 303; listed in Juynboll, Muslim Tradition, 231) was available to al-Baladhuri (Futuh, 332) as well.

(19.) Here I follow Ibn al-Nadim, al-Fihrist, ed. Rida Tajaddud (Tehran: Maktabat al-Asadi, 1971), 291 (wa-akhirma amalla minhu ila sanat ithnatayn wa-thalathi mia wa-hahuna qata a); Franz Rosenthal, General Introduction and From the Creation to the Flood, Volume 1 of The History of al-Tabari (Albany: State Univ. of New York Press, 1989), 133, translates "he finished dictating it in 302/915 and stopped there." See also Jawad Ali, "Mawarid ta rikh al-Tabari,"Majallat al-majma al-Ilmi al-Iraqi, 1 (1950), 157-58.

(20.) Al-Najashi, Rijal (Beirut: Dar al-Adwa, 1988), 2: 93-94. On Salama, see also 'Abd Allah Afandi ibn Muhammad al-Isfahani, Riyad al-'ulama' (Qom: Matba at al-Khayyam, 1401), 2: 444 (which cites al-Tusi as well as al-Najashi, but I find nothing in the former's Fihrist). On the confusion surrounding al-Shimshati, see C.F. Robinson, "Ibn al-Azraq his Ta rikh Mayyafariqin, and early Islam," JRAS ser, 3,6 (1996): 17-18.

(21.) Al-Dhahabi, Tadhkirat al-huffaz (Hyderabad: Maktabat Da irat al-Nizamiya, 1315), 3: 109-10; idem, Siyar a lam al-nubala (Beirut: Mu assasat al-Risala, 1982): 15, 387.

(22.) Al-Mas udi, Muruj al-dhahab (Beirut: al Jami a al-Lubnaniya, 1966-79), 1: 16. For the date, see Ahmad M.H. Shboul, Al-Mas udi and his World (London: Ithaca Press, 1979), 68; and ef; Tarif Khalidi, Islamic Historiography: The Histories of Mas udi (Albany: State Univ. of New York Press, 1975), 15. It is tempting to infer that al-Mas udi came to know the work during his travels in northern Iraq; see Shboul, Mas udi, 9-10.

(23.) Claude Cahen asserted a general reliance on al-Tabari ("History and historians," Cambridge History of Arabic Literature: Religion. Learning and Science in the Abbasid Period [Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1990], 206), but said nothing in detail. Cf. also Humphreys, Islamic History, 112.

(24.) Al-Azdi, ta rikh, 20 (anba ani Abu Ja far an Umar [ibn Shabba] an Ali ibn Muhammad [al-Mada ini] qala); ef. al-Tabari, Tarikh al-rusut wa l-muluk, ed. M.J. de Goeje et al. (Leiden, 1879-1901), 2, 1464-65.

(25.) Al-Azdi, Tarikh, 19 (anba ani Muhammad al-Amuti an Ali ibn Muhammad qala); ef. al-Tabari, Ta rikh 2, 1464.

(26.) Al-Azdi, Ta rikh, 6 (on this account, see below) and 281 (anba ani Muhammad ibn Jarir an Muhammad ibn al-Abbas); ef. al-Tabari, Ta rikh, 1, 1375-76 and 3, 633. The case for the Muhammad who appears at least twice introduced by anba ani (al-Azdi, Ta rikh, 101 and 192) is not as strong.

(27.) Passages from al-Azadi's tabaqat work preserved in the rijal literature show that for conquest material he drew on al-Haytham ibn Adi, Abu Ubayda, and Sayf ibn Umar among others; sec Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, al-Isaba fi tamyiz al-sahaba (Cairo, 1907) 4, 216, 235, and 132 (any ambiguity in the last of these is resolved by Ibn al-Athir, Usd al-ghaba fi ma rifat al sahaba [Cairo, 1280/1863-64] 3: 264, which makes it clear that al-Azdi did draw on Sayf); Robinson, Empire and Elites, 127-30.

(28.) Al-Azdi, Ta rikh, 126 (anba ani ali ibn Muhammad).

(29.) Al-Azdi much more frequently cites Muhammad ibn al-Mubarak as a link between al-Mada ini and himself (Ta rikh, 34, 165, 166, 167, 178, 214, 232). I borrow the term from G. Rotter, "Zur Uberlieferung einiger historischer Werke Mada inis in Tabaris Annalen," Orient 23-24 (1974): 107.

(30.) The texts published since Sezgin's time (Fuat Sezgin, Geschichte des arabischen Schrifttums I [Leiden, 1967, hereafter GAS], 350). add nothing new to al-Azdi s biography.

(31.) Al-Azdi frequently alludes to books (kutub) he consulted (sec, for three examples, Ta rikh, 113 and 416), and less frequently to a "history" (Ta rikh, 5), all these presumably by wijada, particularly since elsewhere he signals the use of the sama procedure; see, for example, 154 (wajadtufi ketab masmu main Muhammad ibn Abd Allah ibn ammar), and 237 (wa-min hadithihi [viz. of Abd al-Hamid ibn abn Rabah] fi kitabin wa-laysa alayhi ijazai al-sama); ef. also 203.

(32.) For some examples, see al-Azdi, Ta rikh, 17: 8 15 and 17: 16-17 based on al-Tabari, ta rikh, 2, 1449: 13-1452: 7 and 1453: 1-4 (no isnad in the latter); al-Azdi, Ta rikh 65: 12-ult. on al-Tabari, Ta rikh, 2, 1937: I-ult. (no isnad); and al-Azdi, Ta rikh, 163: 1-10 on al-Tabari, Ta rikh, 3, 92: 9-93: 8 (al-Mada ini). A new, critical edition of al-Tabari's text would profit from a full catalogue, one including material from a variety of sources, such as H.F. Amedroz, "Konkordanz zwischen Tabari s Annalen und Ibn Miskawaih's Tagarib el-umam," DI2 (1911): 105-14.

(33.) Al-Azdi, Ta rikh, 3: 3-9; ef. al-Tabari, Ta rikh 2, 1359: 12-1360: 11. As Azdis with prominent roles in the history of Mosul, the Muhallabids were of obvious interest to al-Azdi (on the Muhallabids in the umayyad period, see Martin Hinds, An early Islamic family from Oman: al-Awtabis account of the Muhallabids [Manchester: Manchester Univ. Press. 1991]). The passage in question may come from the Kitab yazid ibn al-Muhallab wa-maqtalihi bi !Aqr of Abu Mikhnaf, himself an Azdi with expertise in the Muhallabid family. See Ursula Sezgin, Abu Mihnaf: Ein Beitrag zur Historiographie der umaiyadischen Zeit (Leiden: Brill, 1971), 42, 45 and 100 (Ta rikh, 3, 707: 11-708: 15).

(34.) Al-Azdi, Ta rikh, 308: 9-31 1:7.

(35.) Cf. the much fuller discussion in Ibn al-Athir, al-Kamil f al-ta rikh (Tornberg ed. as printed and paginated in Beirut, 1965-67), 6: 195.

(36.) On this point, and the two that follow, al-Tabari is reproduced by Ibn al-Athir, Kamil, 6: 196: 4-9.

(37.) Thus al-Tabari advertises that he has copied (nasakhtuhu) the text of a letter written by Nieephorus to al-Ma mun (Ta rikh 3: 710-19), while al-Azdi (Ta rikh, 309:8) simply includes it without comment.

(38.) The fima qila that introduces al-Azdi s description of the commanders (Ta rikh, 308: 14) rpobably functions to mark a change of source.

(39.) See al-Tabari, Ta rikh 3: 695.

(40.) See Marius Canard, "La prise d'Heraclee et les relations entre Harun ar-Rashid et I'emereur Nicephore ler," Byzantion 32 (1962): 345-79 (reprinted in idem, Byzance et les musulmans du Proche Orient [London: Varioru, 1973], chapter xviii): and, more recently, Michael Bonner, Aristocratic Violence and Holy War: Studies in the Jihad and the Arab-Byzantine Frontier (New Haven: American Oriental Society, 1996), 96-97. Ibn al-Athir (Kamil 6, 196: 2-3), and al-Nuwayri (Nthayat al-arab ri funum al-adab [Cairo, 1984] 22, 151), duly direct the reader's attention to year 187.

(41.) The figure in question is Humayd ibn Abd al-Rahman, a muhaddith and teacher of several scholars who figure in al-Azdi s academic pedigree (e.g., Ali ibn Harb and Ahmad ibn Hanbal), and whose death is variously put in 189 (noted by al-Azdi), 190 and 192; see al-Mizzi, Tahdhib al-kamal fi asma al-rijal, ed Bashshar Awwad Ma ruf (Beirut: Mu assasat al-Risala, 1980-1992) 7, 375-78; Ibn Hajar al-AsqalanI, Tahdhib al-tahdhib (Hyderabad: Matbacat Majlis Da'irat al-Macarif al-Nizamiya, 1325) 3, 44-45; Ibn al-Athir, Kamil 6, 194.

(42.) Now followed by Ibn al-Athir (Kamil 6, 197: 12-16), who perhaps surprisingly seems to have had access to no more of al-Azdi's text than we have now. Precisely when the first and third sections of the Ta rikh al-Mawsil were lost remains unknown.

(43.) Khalid's tenure (or, more accurately, tenures) is a source of some confusion for al-Azdi, who sorts it out as best he can; see the Ta rikh 207, 209, 211, 224, 245, and 232.

(44.) It is noteworthy that this claim for originality may be limited to the history of Mosul: I did not produce this history from a single book. One already drawn up and composed, on which I could have depended for the subject of Mosul especially, but rather 1 compiled it from a variety of written materials" (lam a mal hadha al-ta rikh min kitab ma mul mu aliaf i tamadtu fihi ala amr al-Mawsil khassatan wa-innama jama trhu min kutub shate) (Ta rkh, 250). On the verb amila in the sense of anfertigen, see Stefan Leder. Das Korpus al-Haitam ibn Adi (st. 207/822) Herkunfi, Uberlieferung, Gestalt fruher Texte der ahhbar Literatur (Frankfurt am Main: Klostemann, 1991), 16.

(45.) That is, al-Azdi drew on Khalifa ibn Khayyat with and without attribution, the two occasionally following directly. Again, there are too many examples to enumerate here, but note that al-Azdi, Ta rikh, 116: 1 (wa-fiha tawajjaha Qahtaba ibn Shabib al-Ta I ...) is based on a text of Khalifa (see now his Ta rikh, ed. M.N. and H.K. Fawwaz [Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-cllmlya, 1995], 258: 8-12). This is immediately followed by Khalifa acknowledged (huddithtu an Khalifa qala haddathani Muhammad ibn Mu awiya) (al-Azdi, Ta rikh, 116: 7-12), also drawn from Khalifa's text [Ta rikh, 258: 13-21). This isnad in al-Azdi, like many others drawn from Khalifa, is to be emended in the light of Khalifa's Ta rikh, which was unavailable to Habiba in 1967.

(46.) As early as al-Mas udi s time (Muruj al-dhahab 2: 15) special praise was given to al-Tabari's work; and less than a century later it was being quarried by the Nestorian chronicler Elijah of Nisibis, who was writing in Arabic and Syriac (on Elijah, see Anton Baumstark, Geschichte der syrischen Literatur, 2nd ed. [Bonn: A. Marcus and E. Webers, 1922],287-88). On the emergence of the annalistic tradition in general, see Albrecht Noth and Lawrence I. Conrad, The Early Arabic Historical Tradition: A Source-critical Studey, 2nd rev. ed. (Princeton: Darwin Press. 1994), 42-45; Robinson, islamic Historioography, 31-38 and 46-50; idem, "The Study of Islamic Historiography: A Progress Report" JRAS 7 (1997), 199-227.

(47.) See R. Guest's introduction to his edition of the Kitah al-wulat wa-kitab al-qudat as The Governors and Judges of Egypt (Leiden: Brill; London: Luzac, 1912). Al-Azdi relies on the Mosuli Muafa ibn Tawus almost as much as al-Kindi does on Ibn Qudayd.

(48.) An adequate survey of local history is lacking; for now, see the comments in Sezgin. GAS 1, 339-64: Rosenthal. Historiography, 139-49; Robinson, islamic Historiography. 138-42.

(49.) Cf. the cases of al-Fasawi (d. 277/890), kitab al-ma'rifa wa'l-ta'rikh (Beirut: Mu'assasat al-Risala, 1981); al-'Ijli's (361/971) Kitdb al-ta'rikh wa-ma(rifat al-rijdl al-thiqdt, on which see Miklos Muranyi, "Fragmente aus der Bibliothek des Abu l-[Arab al-Tamlm! (st. 333/944-5) in der Handschriftensammlung von Qairawan," ZDMG 136 (1986): 514ff.; and 'Abd al-Malik ibn Habib (238/853) Kitab al-ta rikh ed. J. Aguade (Madrid: Consejo superior de investigaciones cientificas, 1991).

(50.) Whose expertise in dating our author acknowledges; see al-Azdl, Ta'rikh. 226. For Khalifa ibn Khayyat's reputation among other scholars, see Hasan Asi, khalfa ibn Khayyat fi Ta rikhihi wa-Tabaquathi (Berut; Dar al-Kuttb al-Hmiya, 1993),33-36.

(51.) On al-Tabari's Dhayl al-mudhayyal, see Rosenthal, History of al-Tabari, 89-90; M. de Goeje's introduction to the Leiden edition. Annales quos scripsi! Abu Djafar Mohammed ibn Djarir at-Tabari; Intrductio,glossarium, addenda et emendanda (Leiden: Brill, 1901), xii-xy, and the discussion in E. Landau-Tasseron's translation. The History of al-Tabari: Biographies of the Prophet's Companions and successors (albany: State Univ. of New York Press. 1998).

(52.) On the confusion, see C. F. Robinson, ''Al-Muafab. Imaran and the beginnings of the tabagat literature", JAOS 116(1996): 114-16.

(53.) See the Ta'rikh, passim.

(54.) Al-Najashi, Rijal, 93-94; Ibn al-Nadim, Fihrist, 291.

(55.) See above, note 32

56.See above, note 44.

(57.) Mas ud;, Muruj al-dhahab, 1: 16.

(58.) Compare an author of the previous generation, Ibn Abl al-Dunya (28111/894), who was intimately acquainted with Ibn Sad's Tabagat, but still cited it only infrequently, compiling his own material instead; this, Bellamy proposes, can be explained at least in part because "he conceived of his work as a sort of complement to what Ibn Sacd had also recorded in his famous collection of biographies." See J. Bellamy, "Sources of Ibn Abi'I-Dunya's Kitab Maqtal Amir al-Mu' minin All'' JAOS 104 (1984):17.

(59.) Thus al-Nuwayri cites "Abu Jafar when he in fact draws on Ibn al-Athir [Nihdyat ai-arab xy, 104). Cf. Leder, "Authorship and transmission," 68; and on the issue in detail, E. Landau-Tasseron, "On the Reconstruction of Lost Sources," al-Qantara 25 (2004): 45-92.

(60.) Thus, al Azdi (Ta'rikh, 200: 10-12), citing Muhammad ibn al-Mubarak-[Abu Hafsl al-krimani--Abu Muhammad al-Tamimi al-Uswari--al-Hasan ibn 'Isa, makes it clear that al-Tabari (Ta'rikh, 3, 345: 9-11) citing only Abu Muhammad al-ma'ruj'bi'l-uswari-al-Hasan ibn Isa, is actually drawing on al-Kirmant's collection; for other examples of al-Tabari using this source, see his Ta'rikh 3, 572: 17 (wa-dhakare Abii Haj's al-kirman); and 574:8 (gala al-Kirmani); and for a lead on the identity of al-Kirmani, see C. E. Bosworth in The Abbasid Calophate in Equilibrium: Volume xxxofThe HisTory of al-Tabari (Albany: State Univ. of New York Press, 1989). 47 note 190. The same may also be true of Umar ibn Shabba; see al-Azdi(Tarikh,rikh, 240: 8-9) and al-Tabari (Ta rikh 3,478: 8-9)

(61.) Thus al-Azdi (Ta'rakh 10:17)Thabit mawla Zuhayr ibn "Abd Allah ibn Sulaym al-Azdi; and al-Tabari (Ta'rikh 2, 1404: 4) Thdbit maw I a Zuhayr ibn Salama al-Azdit.

(62.) Thus, one parallel report suggests that al-Tabari sliced off the tail end of Makhlad ibn Ibrahim's account of Marwan's movements before the battle of Zab; see al-Azdi, Ta'rikh, 75-76; and ef. al-Tabari., Tarik 2, 1944-45. Here one might also note that al-Azdi had access to a line of poetry that al-Tabari, drawing on (Umar ibn Shabba. apparently did not; see al-Azdi, Ta'rikh, 331: 12-13; and cf. al-Tabari, Ta'rikh 3, 941: 2-3.Al-Azdi. Ta'rikh. 6 = Chester Beatty MS 3030,f,8 (following the more prominent pagination on the manuscript).

(64.) Al-Azdi, Ta'rikh 6, note 5. On this Umar. see Ibn Hajar, Tahdhtb al-Tahdhib, 7,480 (noted by the editor); al-SamSlni. al-Ansdb (Hyderabad: Da'irat al-Ma'arif al-(Uthmaniya, 1978), 9, 84.

(65.) At-Azdi, Ta'rikh 1, 1375-76.

(66.) On Abu Ubayda, see w.F. Madelung, "Abu (Ubayda Macmar ibn al-Muthanna as a historian," Journal of Islamic Studies 3 (1992): 47-56; Michael Lecker, "Biographical notes on Abu Ubayda Mamarmar b. al-Muthanna' Studia Islamica 81 (1995): 71-100.

(67.) The copyists may have had in mind another isnad (anba'aru Muhammad ibn yazid ' an Umar ibn Ubayda see al-Azi,Tarikh, 181;and of 180 and 192,

(68.) For examples of Umar ibn Shabba transmitting Abu Ubayda's material in al-Tabari, see al-Tabari. Ta'rikh 2,91 and 94; see also Stefan Leder, "'Features of the Novel in Early Historiography; The Downfall of Xalid al-Qasri, oriens 32 (1990): 79.

(69.) Lecker ("Biographical Notes," 94-97), argues, against Madelung, that the claims for Abu Ubayda's Kharijism may be accurate.

(70.) For other accounts of Shawdhab, see Goeje and P. de Jong, Fragmenta Hisroricorum Arabicorum (Kitdb 'Uyun al-hada'iqfi akhbar al-haqa'iq) (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1869), 44, 47 and 64-65; al-Baladhuri, Ansab al-ashraf, MS Reisulkuttap 598, 83a-85a (al-Mada'ini); al-Muruj al-dhahab 4,24-27(close to the preceding). Bar Hebraeus, The Chronography of Gregory Abu'l-Faraj ... known as Bar Hebraeus (London: Oxford Univ Press,1923) 120/111 (Syriac/Latin.) On shawdhab and jaziran Kharihjism, see Robinson, Empire and Elite*,109-26

(71.) Al-Tabari, Ta'rikh 2, 1348-49.

(72.) Cf. al-Tabari's handling of al-Haytham ibn 'Adi's material in Leder, "Features," 77.

(73.) Al-Azdi, Ta'rikh, 6: 5 8.

(74.) Habiba inexplicably emends lam of the manuscript to lamma(Ta'rikh, 6: 13; ef. al-Tabari, Ta'rikh 2, 1375: 14).

(75.) Leder, "Authorship," 81. For a brief overview of current literati)re, see Sebastian Ounther, "New results in the theory of source-criticism in medieval Arabic literature," al-Abliath 17 (1994), 3-15.Ibn al-Athir, Kamil 5, 68; 12.AI-Azdl, Ta'rikh, 6: 14. As David Powers notes (The Empire in Transition: Volume xxiv of The History of al-Tabari [Albany: State Univ. of New York Press, 1989], 108, note 377), Ibn al-Athir (Kamil 5, 68) agrees with al-AzdJ (Ta'rikh, 7) on reading ahl al-Kufa instead of al-Tabari's ahl ai-qibla. In general, however, Ibn al-Athir more closely follows the readings of the tradition preserved by the Leiden al-Tabari than those in al-Azdi

(78.) Al-Azdi also reads wa-najaw ila Abd al-Hamid wa-kharaja Muhammad ibn Jarir wa-raja'a Shawdhab lid mawcli'ihl, which I prefer to al-Tabari's wa-laja'u rid 'Abd al-IJanild wa-juriha Muhammad ibn Jarir fi'stihi wa-raja'a Shawdhab ila mawdi'ihi. Much as the reader might be interested in Muhammad ibn Jarir's backside, the information intrudes, braking the movement of the battle scene: "They fled to Abd al-Hamid, Muhammad ibn Jarir went out, and Shawdhab withdrew".

(79.) So read by the editors (al-Tabrai, Tarikh 2,1376:7),and by de Goeje in the Uyun al hada'iq, 64;but for reasons made clear below, one might prefer al-Azdi's al-Habhab.

(80.) Al-Tabarai . Tarikh, 7-13 (so too the author of the 'Uyun al-hada'iq, 64-65, who does not know of Najda); al-Azdi, Ta'rikh, 7: 6-10.

(81.) Al-Azdi, Tarikh, 203-5 (Najda's son is chief of the rewabit in 148); 146-47 and 171 (one of Shahhaj's sons is killed in the massacre of 133, while another survives); and 36, 38, and 149 (Ubayd Allah ibn al-Habhab apparently settles in Mosul, giving a landmark its name; he had formerly been the governor of Egypt and North Africa; see Ibn 'Abd al-Hakam, Futuh Misr wa'l-Maghrib, ed. Muhammad 'Umar [Cairo: Maktabat al-Thaqafa al-Diniya, 1995], 169, 217, and 245-46).

(82.) Al-Azdi, Ta'rikh, 7: 1.

(83.) Another example is the account of the battle of Qudayd, which al-Tabarl confidently puts in 130 (Ta'rikh 2. 2006-2007). Al-Azdl places it in 130 "according to most of those who have written histories ('ald ma qdla jul! ashab al-tawarikh) except Abu Ma'shar," who put it in 128 (Ta'rikh, 108).

(84.) On "Kodifizierung als Prozess" see Leder, Das Korpus, 8-14; on the blurry line between composition and transmission, see also Gregor Schoeler, "Die Frage der schriftlichen oder mundlichen Uberlieferung der Wissen-schaften im fruhen Islam," D/62 (1985): 216-24; and, more generally, Robinson, Islamic Historiography, 30-38.

(85.) See Ibn al-Nadim, Fihrist, 115; Sezgin, GAS 1, 314-15; and for al-Mada'ini in al-Tabari, Rotter, "Zur Uberlieferung einiger historischer Werkc Madif inis."

(86.) See, for a handful of examples, al-Azdi, Ta'rikh, 178, 194. and 232 (the editor reads al-Khazzaz, but I see no way of knowing which is correct)

(87.) Rotter, "Zur Uberlieferung einiger historischer Werke Mada'inls," 110.

(88.) In general, see Sezgin, GAS i, 291-92.

(89.) See above, note 83.

(90.) Al-Azdi, Ta'rlkh, 4, 5, 17, 21, 25, 50, 57, 59, 108, 137, 229 (Ahmad's link missing), 232, 254, 257, 259.

(91.) Sezgin, GAS i, 292.

(92.) See al-Mizzi, Tahdhlb al-kamdl, 2. 462-64; Ibn Hajar, Tahdhlb al-'ialidhib, 1, 245 (where his connection to Abu Ma'shar has been omitted).

(93.) For other Massisis of the third/ninth century, see Bonner, Aristocratic Violence, 158-69.

(94.) 'Abd Allah is reputed to have been a prolific transmitter of his father's work; see Ibn Abi Ya'la, Tabaqdt al-Handblla (Cairo: iVlaEba'at al-Sunna al-Muhammadlya, 1952), 183.

(95.) Al-Azdi, Ta'rikh, 25 (=al-Tabari, Ta'rikh 2, 1491, which has Hisham, rather than Ibrahim ibn Hisham, leading the pilgrimage).

(96.) See al-Dhahabi, Styar, 13, 558; and above, note 30.

(97.) Al-Azdi, Ta'rikh, 154 (citing Khalifa ibn Khayyat) 171, 173, and 338 (for his death date).

(98.) Al-Azdi, Ta'rlkh, 4, 64, 123, 160, 161; presumably a link has been omitted.

(99.) Thus al-Tabari (Ta'rikh, 2, 1361) records Abu Macshar's, Ibn Sard's and Abu Mikhnaf's views on the death date of cUmar II, the third corroborating Abu Ma'shar. AI-Azdi (Ta'rlkh. 6) also provides corroboration for Abu Ma'shar, here by citing both isnads.

(100.) Al-Azdi, Ta'rlkh, 10, 18, 230, 231.

(101.) Al-Tabari, Ta'rikh, 2, 1468: 12-1471: 5.

(102.) On 'Abd al-Razzaq, see Harald Motzki, Die Anfange der islaiuischen Jurlsprudenz (Sl.uligart: F. Steiner, 1991), passim (now translated and expanded as The Origins of Islamic Jurisprudence: Meccanfiqh before the Classical Schools [Leiden: Brill, 2002]).

(103.) On al-Azdl, Ta'rikh, 22: 19-23: 17 (breaking off at al-Tabari, Ta'rikh 2, 1469 ult.)

(104.) P. Crone, Slaves on Horses: The Evolution of the Islamic Polity (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1980), 243, note 411.

(105.) Khalid Yahya Blankinship, The End of Expansion: Volume xxv of The History of al-Tabari (Albany: Slate Univ. of New York Press, 1989). 5, note 29.

(106.) Conrad, "Notes on al-Tabari's History," 6.

(107.) Al-Azdi, Ta'rikh, Chester Beatty MS 303, f. 25: 18.

(108.) Al-Baladhuri. Ansdb al-ashraf, VI B, ed. K. Athamina (Jerusalem: Ma'had al-Dirasat al-Asigawiya wa-al-Ifriqiya, 1993). 158-59.

(109.) Thus al-Tabari, Ta'rikh, 2, 1469: 3 (fa-lamma juztu qalilan) and 1469: 15 [hal la-haft khasla qultu ma hiya qala tutwakkiluni bi-araqika), while al-Azdi. "Ta'rikh 23: 5 (fa-lamma marartu qalilan) and 23: 13 (hal al-hilafi dhalika an tuwakkilani bi-arzdqika).

(110.) Al-Tabari, Ta'rikh, 2, 1469: 13-14; al-Azdi, Ta'rlkh, 23: 11-12.

(111.) Al-Tabari's and al-Azdi's version is summarized by Crone, Slaves, 55. On the earif, see EI(2) s.v.; and Paul Gerhard Dannhauer, Untersuchungen zurfruhen Geschiehte des Qadl-Amtes (Bonn: 1975), 40-41.

(112.) See Crone, Slaves, 54-55.

(113.) I am indebted to Michael Lecker for reading and improving upon a draft of this article.

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Title Annotation:Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Yazid ibn Muhammad al-Azdi
Author:Robinson, Chase F.
Publication:The Journal of the American Oriental Society
Article Type:Critical essay
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Oct 1, 2006
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