The History of al-Ṭabarī Vol. 28

'Abbasid Authority Affirmed: The Early Years of al-Manṣūr A.D. 753-763/A.H. 136-145

Translated by Jane Dammen McAuliffe

Subjects: Islam
Series: SUNY series in Near Eastern Studies
Paperback : 9780791418963, 326 pages, March 1995
Hardcover : 9780791418956, 326 pages, April 1995

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Table of contents



Translator's Foreword

The Caliphate of Abu Ja`far al-Mansur

The Events of the Year 136 (cont'd) (753-754)

The Events of the Year 137 (754-755)

An Account of Abu Muslim's Murder and the Reason for It

The Episode of Sunbadh

The Events of The Year 138 (755-756)

The Reason Jahwar Turned against al-Mansur

How al-Mulabbid Came to Be Killed

The Events of the Year 139 (756-757)

The Arrest of `Abdallah b. `Ali

The Events of the Year 140 (757-758)

The Death of the Governor of Khurasan and What Brought It About

The Events of the Year 141 (758-759)

The Rawandiyyah Affair and How Abu Ja`far al-Mansur Dealt with Them

The Events of the Year 142 (759-760)

Why `Uyaynah b. Musa b. Ka`b Renounced His Allegiance

The Affair of the Isbahbadh and the Muslims

The Events of the Year 143 (760-761)

The Raid on al-Daylam

The Events of the Year 144 (761-762)

The Reason Abu Ja`far Dismissed Muhammad b. Khalid and Appointed Riyah b. `Uthman, Having Removed Ziyad b. `Ubaydallah al-Harithi at the Instance of Muhammad b. Khalid

The Reason [the Descendants of Hasan] Were Transported to Iraq and How Matters Stood for Them at That Time

The Remaining Account of Events for 144

The Reason [Abu Ja`far] Had [the Descendants of Hasan] Transported to Iraq

The Events of the Year 145 (762-763)

The Rebellion of Muhammad b. `Abdallah and His Murder

The Uprising of the Blacks in Medina in This Year and What Incited It

The Reason Abu Ja`far Built Baghdad

The Reason for Ibrahim b. `Abdallah's Revolt and Murder and How It Came About

Bibliography of Cited Works



The initial years (126-145) of al-Manṣūr's reign presented several significant challenges to nascent ʿAbbāsid hegemony, and the resulting confrontations constitute the central focus of this section of Ṭabarī's Tarikh. After Abu Jafar succeeded his brother Abū Al-ʿabbās as caliph, the second of the ʿAbbāsid dynasty, he moved against his recalcitrant uncle, ʿAbd Allāh ibn ʿAlī, and against the potential threat that he perceived in the person of the commander in Khurasan, Abu Muslim. Eliminating the latter and containing the former freed the caliph to address a series of other onslaughts and insurrections.

Starting with the year 144, however, Ṭabarī turned to this volume's principal preoccupation, to which half of the book is devoted. Judging by the attention given to it, he clearly perceived the Hasanid rebellions of Muhammad b. Abdallah (the Pure Soul) and of his brother Ibrahim to be the most substantial attack on Abbasid authority to arise in the first years of that dynasty. Ṭabarī's description of the prolonged search for Muhammad and Ibrahim and of the caliphal vengeance visited upon their father and family provides an extended prelude to the vivid battle and death scenes in Medina and Bakhamra. Yet, elaboration of these events does not eclipse mention of all other Abbasid activity. To bridge the account of Muhammad's defeat and that of Ibrahim's uprising, Ṭabarī inserted a narrative interlude depicting the site selection and preliminary construction of al-Manṣūr's most celebrated achievement, the City of Peace, Baghdad.