The History of al-Ṭabarī Vol. 1

General Introduction and From the Creation to the Flood

Translated by Franz Rosenthal

Subjects: Islam
Series: SUNY series in Near Eastern Studies
Paperback : 9780887065637, 434 pages, March 1989
Hardcover : 9780887065620, 434 pages, April 1989

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Table of contents

Translator's Foreword


The Caliphate of al-Mu`tadid

Appointments of high officials

Relations with the Saffarid `Amr b. al-Layth

Tulunid embassy in Baghdad to arrange dynastic marriage

Dulafite routs Rafi` b. Harthamah at al-Rayy

The Events of the Year 280 (893-894)

Shaylamah's arrest and execution

Campaign against the Shayban

Ibn Abi al-Saj's conquest of al-Maraghah

Death of Dulafite

Conquest of `Uman

Campaign against Byzantines

Earthquake in Dabil

The Events of the Year 281 (894-895)

Tughj leading raid against Byzantines

Expedition to al-Jibal

and to Mosul against Hamdan b. Hamdun

The Events of the Year 282 (895-896)

The Mu`tadidi New Year

Wedding of al-Mu`tadid and Qatr al-Nada

Continuation of campaign against Hamdan

The Caspian Zaydite's annual subsidy to his followers and al-Mu`tadid's dream about his attitude toward `Alids

Murder of Khumarawayh

The Events of the Year 283 (896-897)

Continued campaign against .Husayn b. Hamdan and Kharijites

Reform of inheritance

Egyptian officers arriving in Baghdad after defection

Relations between Byzantines and Slavs

Murder of Jaysh b. Khumarawayh

Ransom negotiations with Byzantines

Relations with Dulafites

`Amr b. al-Layth defeats Rafi` b. Harthamah

The Events of the Year 284 (897-898)

Fighting in Tarsus

Christian eunuch accused of slandering Prophet

Populace harassing black eunuchs

Edict against Umayyads

"Specter" in the palace

Escape of Dulafite Abu al-Layth from detention and his subsequent death

Wrong astrological predictions of rain

The Events of the Year 285 (898-899)

Al-Ta'i's attack on pilgrim caravan

Atmospheric fallout in southern Mesopotamia

Naval raid against Byzantines

Negotiations with Harun b. Khumarawayh

Raid against Byzantines

The Events of the Year 286 (899-900)

Relations with Ibn Abi al-Saj

Expedition to Amid against Ibn Shaykh

Agreement with Harun b. Khumarawayh

Gifts from `Amr b. al-Layth

Appearance of Qarmatians under al-Jannabi

Raids of the Shayban against al-Anbar

The Events of the Year 287 (900)

Arrest of Ibn Shaykh

Bedouin attacks on the pilgrim caravan

Growing Qarmatian danger

Troubles in Tarsus

`Amr b. al-Layth's defeat and capture by the Samanid

Al-Ghanawi's unsuccessful expedition against al-Jannabi

Expedition against Wasif, mawla of Ibn Abi al-Saj

Death of the Caspian Zaydi ruler

Badr's expedition against the Qarmatians

The Events of the Year 288 (900-901)

Death of Ibn Abi al-Saj

`Amr b. al-Layth in Baghdad

Gifts sent to Samanid

Troubles in .Santa

Fighting among Sajids

Military encounters with Byzantines

The Events of the Year 289 (901-902)

Execution of Qarmatian Ibn Abi al-Qaws

Death of al-Mu`tadid

The Caliphate of al-Muktafi bi-llah

Death of `Amr b. al-Layth

Downfall of Badr

Samanid victory in Tabaristan

Zikrawayh and his sons

The Events of the Year 290 (902-903)

More Qarmatian trouble in Syria

Al-Muktafi's failed attempt to move to Samarra

Death of Yahya b. Zikrawayh and Syrian raids by his brother Husayn, the Man of the Mole

A mother searching for her son in the Qarmatian camp

Qarmatians near Aleppo

Successful attacks from al-Bahrayn on al-Jannabi's relatives and lieutenant

Letter of the Man of the Mole to an official

and letter of an official to him

Ransom negotiations with Byzantines

The Events of the Year 291 (903-904)

Al-Muktafi in al-Raqqah

Capture of the Man of the Mole

Muhammad b/ Sulayman's battle with Qarmatians

Execution of Qarmatian leaders

Al-Qasim b. Sima and the remnants of Qarmatian `Ullays

Preparations for campaign against Harun b.Khumarawayh

Samanid victory over Turks

Byzantine campaigns

Appointment of al-`Abbas b. al-Hasan

The Events of the Year 292 (904-905)

Seizure of insurgents in the Basrah region

Byzantine raid on Mar`ash

Muhammad b. Sulayman in Egypt, Harun b. Khumarawayh killed

Revolt of al-Khaliji in Egypt

Byzantine-Muslim ransom negotiations

Flood in Baghdad

Byzantine preparations for raid against Tarsus

The Events of the Year 293 (905-906)

Al-Khaliji's revolt

Saffarid Tahir and events in Fars

Qarmatian move on Damascus

Unrest in the Yemen

Qarmatian `Abdallah b. Sa`id and the Qarmatian attacks against various cities (Hit, Tiberias, al-Kufah), defeat of government forces


Battle at al-Saw'ar

Al-Khaliji's defeat and transfer to Baghdad

Byzantine raid on Qurus

The Events of the Year 294 (906-907)

Raid into Byzantine territory

Qarmatian attacks on pilgrim caravans

Zikrawayh's death

Patrikios Andronikos defects to Muslims, raid on Konya

Qarmatian remnants defeated

Byzantine-Muslim ransom negotiations

Sufyani appearing in Syria

The Events of the Year 295 (907-908)

Al-Misma`i's rebellion

Death of Samanid Isma`il

Events in the Yemen

Embassy of Aghlabite Ziyadatallah

Completion of ransom negotiations

Death of al-Muktafi

The Caliphate of al-Muqtadir bi-llah

Riot of soldiers during pilgrimage

The Events of the Year 296 (908-909)

Rebellion of Ibn al-Mu`tazz

Husayn b. Hamdan in Baghdad

The Events of the Year 297 (909-910)

Mu'nis al-Khadim's campaign against Byzantines

in Fars to fight Saffarid al-Layth

The Events of the Year 298 (910-911)

Further developments in Fars

The Events of the Year 299 (911-912)

Raids against Byzantines by Rustum

Samanid activities

The Events of the Year 300 (912-913)

Fatimid expedition against Barqah

The Events of the Year 301 (913-914)


Husayn b. Hamdan's campaign against Byzantines

Samanid ruler killed, quarrels about succession

Fatimid general Habasah in Barqah

Death of al-Jan-nabs

The Events of the Year 302 (914-915)

Campaign against Byzantines

Al-Utrush seizing power in Tabaristan

Habasah's invasion of Egypt


Battle against bedouins in Northern Mesopotamia

Bedouin attacks on pilgrim caravan



Volume I of the thirty-eight volume translation of Ṭabarī's great History begins with the creation of the world and ends with the time of Noah and the Flood. It not only brings a vast amount of speculation about the early history of mankind into sharp Muslim focus, but it also synchronizes ancient Iranian ideas about the prehistory of mankind with those inspired by the Qur'an and the Bible. The volume is thus an excellent guide to the cosmological views of many of Ṭabarī's contemporaries. The translator, Franz Rosenthal, one of the world's foremost scholars of Arabic, has also written an extensive introduction to the volume that presents all the facts known about Ṭabarī's personal and professional life. Professor Rosenthal's meticulous and original scholarship has yielded a valuable bibliography and chronology of Ṭabarī's writings, both those preserved in manuscript and those alluded to by other authors. The introduction and first volume of the translation of the History form a ground-breaking contribution to Islamic historiography in English and will prove to be an invaluable source of information for those who are interested in Middle Eastern history but are unable to read the basic works in Arabic.