The History of al-Ṭabarī Vol. 21
The Victory of the Marwānids A.D. 685-693/A.H. 66-73
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Volume XXI of the History of al-Ṭabarī (from the second part of 66/685 to 73/693) covers the resolution of "the Second Civil War." This conflict, which has broken out in 64/683 after the death of the Umayyad caliph Yazīd I, involved the rival claims of the Umayyads (centered in Syria) and the Zubayrids (centered in the Hijaz), each of whom claimed the caliphal title, Commander of the Faithful. Both parties contented for control of Iraq, which was also the setting for al-Mukhtār's Shīʿite uprising in al-Kūfah during 66/685 and 67/686. Khārijite groups were active in south-western Iran and central Arabia, even threatening the heavily settled lands of Iraq. By the end of 73/692, the Umayyad regime in Damascus, led by Abd-al-Malik, had extinguished the rival caliphate of Ibn al-Zubayr and had reestablished a single, more or less universally acknowledged political authority for the Islamic community.
Al-Ṭabarī's account of these years is drawn from such earlier historians as Abu Mikhnaf, al-Madāʾinī , and al-Waqidi and includes eyewitness accounts, quotations from poems, and texts of sermons. Notable episodes include al-Mukhtār's slaying of those who had been involved in the death of al-Husayn at Karbala, the death of al-Mukhtār at the hands of Muṣʿab ibn al-Zubayr, the revolt of Amr ibn Saʿīd in Damascus, the death of Muṣʿab at the Battle of Dayr al-Jathaliq, and al-Hajjaj's siege and conquest of Mecca on behalf of Abd-al-Malik. There are excursuses on the chair that al-Mukhtār venerated as a relic of Ali, the biography of the colorful brigand ʿUbayd Allāh b. al-Ḥurr, and the development of the secretarial office in Islam.
The translation has been fully annotated. Parallels in the works of Ibn Sa'd, al-Baladhuri, and the Kitabal-Aghani have been indicated in the notes where these accounts supplement or diverge from that of al-Ṭabarī.