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In the next place I shall mention a celebrated
"Shaikh (l,_ -1-*,) until the time of Mohammed. Tabari, "the venerable author, was born in the year of Christ 838: "his work contains the ancient traditions of the Jews, Per"sians, and Arabians—the history of the Patriarchs, Pro"phets, and Kings; and as it is supposed that the original in "Arabic complete does not exist, this fragment may be con"stdered a literary treasure. The learned Ockley, in his **' History of the Saracens/ styles Tabari the Livy of the "Arabians, the very parent of their history, and congratulates "himself on having found a folio fragment of his Chronicle "among Archbishop Laud's MSS. Fortunately, however, "this work is preserved in the Persian and Turkish transla'* tions: the former, made within a few years after the author's "death, is enriched with many curious additions by the learned "translator, particularly on the subject of Persian history and "antiquities. From the latter part of Tabari's Chronicle "Elmakin compiled his ' History of the Saracens,' pub"lished by Erpenius; and it would appear that this volume "once belonged to that celebrated Orientalist, from the fol"lowing note written at the beginning of the MS.—' Continet "hoc volumen historiam propheticara a Sjuabio, (qui vixit "tempore Jacobi,) Patriarch» ipsoque Jacobo ad tempora "usque Muhammedis Abulcasimi pseudopropheta; Arabum, "estque tomus secundus celeberrimi apud Orientales historici "Muhammedis Abujoafaris, qui floruit circa annum Chrtsti "800, et in Oriente Arabice existimatur periisse, et Persice '* atque Turcice tantum extat: hie tamen liber Arabicos est, "et de quatuor tomis secundus.'—Erpenius. There are also
"some marginal notes in Latin." "I am as yet," says
Ockley in his " History of the Saracens," vol. ii. Intr. &c.
Arabic chronicle entitled "Tarikh Kamel,50 com
xxxiii.) " destitute of Turkish, which I should not be so much concerned at, were it not for five volumes in that language in our Public Library (Cambridge), which I behold with delight and concern at the same time—with delight, because they are ours, and so not to be despaired of; with concern, because I do not understand them. They are a translation of the great Tabari, who is the Livy of the Arabians, the very parent of their history; and, as far as I could find by inquiry, given over for lost in Arabic. I formerly inquired of my predecessor, Dr. Luke, concerning him, who said he had never met with him in the East, and that he was to be despaired of in Arabic. Monsieur D'Herbelot says the same." We learn from Sir W. Ouseley's Preface to Ebn Haukal's "Oriental Geography," that the Persian translation of Tabri's great work was made by a man of considerable learning (vazir to one of the Samanian princes) in the year of the hejira 352, (anno Christi 063,) about forty years only after the death of Tabri; and this translator enriched the work with so much additional matter, from rare books of the astronomers, the Persian Fireworshippers, Jews, and Muselmans, that D'Herbelot prefers the translation to the original Arabic text,—" de sorte que cette traduction est beaucoup plus curieuse que le texte Arabique."—(Bibl. Orient, in Thabari.) It was this passage, as Sir William remarks, that gave occasion to a note in Gibbon's "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire " (chap. 51 note 33): "Amidst our meagre relations, I must regret that D'Herbelot has not found and used a Persian translation of Tabari, enriched, as he says, with many extracts from the native historians of the Ghebers, or Magi." It appears also, from the same Preface to Ebn Haukai,, that a fine copy of this Per
posed by Ibn Athir,*7 bringing the general his
sian translation (two folio vols, transcribed in 1446) was styled a " Phoenix Librorum" by the learned Professor Tycbsen of Rostock. This inestimable MS. seems (from some lines written in gold letters) to have once been deposited in a royal library: it now belongs to Sir \V. Ouseley's Collection, and is described in the Catalogue of his Oriental MSS. No. 269. This Catalogue (printed for private circulation) enumerates other precious copies of the Persian Tabri—especially No. 271, in 3 vols. 4to, a beautiful and perfect MS. transcribed in 1488, and No. 274, in 2 vols. "This," says Sir William, " is particularly valuable for a Preface, (of which I have never seen another copy,) containing much curious historical matter; tables of the different dynasties, ruled with red lines; the names and titles of sovereigns; duration of their reigns; works for which they were celebrated; their costume and attributes, (which may have been taken from gems, pictures, or statues). These tables come down to the time of the <ou Jl or family of Btiiah." From a fine old copy of the Persian "Tabri," collated with others in the Bibliotheque du Roi, Monsieur Dubeux, a very ingenious Orientalist of Paris, is engaged in preparing a translation.
37 J*^ Llt^ ^ne foHow'n& notice of this author, and of his work the " Tarikh Kamel," (taken from Ebn Khalekan,) is given by Pococke in a note to his " Specimen Historian Arabum," p. 370. Oxon. 1650. Ali Ebnol Athir—
Auul Hasan Ali Ebn Abil Carm Mohammed Ebn
tory (of Asia) down to the year six hundred and twenty-eight of the hejrah,38 and comprising records of most Muhammedan countries, such as Maghreb (or the north-western parts of Africa), Andalus (Spain), Jlfisr (Egypt), Sham (Syria), Arab (Arabia), Iran (Persia), Tierdn (Turkomania), and Hindustan (India). The "Tarikh Kamel" is a most excellent and useful work, forming ten volumes, which in this part of the world (India) are rarely seen.
Another Arabic chronicle is the "Kitab al Bedaiet wa al Nehaiet,"39 written by Ibn Kathir ShamI,40 which fills two volumes of considerable
A mill. Carim Al Shaibani, notus nomine Ebnol Athir Al Jazari, cognominatus Ezzoddin, frater Al Mobaraci Ebnol Athiri, natus in ^ j *iir»- anno H. 555, (an. Christi L160,)mortuus an. 630,(1232,) historian) (J^tf inscriptain, ab origine muiidi usque ad finem anni II. 628 perduxit (ebnol Chalec). Respecting Ebn Al Athir, the learned Professor Hamaker, of Leyden, says, "Restat ut de Ibn Atsiro videamus quod nomen tribus fratribus commune fuit, notissimo historico auctori libri Al Kamel, Azzedino Aboul Hassano Alio—defuncto Mausulac a. 630 (Christi 1232-3). See the "Specimen Catalogi Codicum MSS. Orientalium Bibl. Academ. Lugduuo-Batava?," p. 164. ss Of the Christian era 1230.
magnitude: the history descends a little below the year seven hundred of the hejra.41
Another is the "Muntezm" ** of Ibn Juzi,43 which he composed on a very extensive plan, according to report; but this work I have never seen.
Next may be mentioned the chronicle entitled '* Merit al Zaman,"44 of which the author is Sabt Ibn Al Juzi :** this comprehends a great extent of historical matter: only one volume of it has ever fallen into my hands.
Then follows the "Tarikh Keblr Zahebi,"48 a composition which I have never seen.
And next we may remark the Tarikh or Chro
n ,_sjar* Jo>- . Juaiaa JLlJ " To the year700, and some odd years." The Muhammedan year 700 corresponds to 1300 of the Christian era.
*5 ,_$•:»». ^j) Casiri mentions in his' Catalogue of the Escuria! Manuscripts' (vol. ii. p. 15) an author entitled Ebn Alathir Ben Alguizi (^jjaJl ^ £ 1\ ^1) " cujus Historia xm. voluminibus est comprehensa."
45 \^yf^\ y/l ^ This author is mentioned by Casiri in his 'Catalogue of the Escurial MS. Library' (vol. ii. p. 27). The "Speculum Temporis" (^jj| gj^,) consists of several volumes, and was composed at Damascus in the year of the hejrah 579 (of Christ 1183).