Ibn Al-Athir ابن الاثیر الجزري

Ibn Al-Athir or Abu'l-Hasen Ali ibn al-Athir was the son of Abu'l-Kerim Mohammed Athir ed-Din, who was governor of Djezirat ibn Omar in Mesopotamia, for Kotb-ad-Din Maudoud, the son of Zengy (Zengi زنكي) and brother of Nuradin (نور الدين محمود ابن عماد الدين زنكي), the famous ruler of Damascus and Aleppo. Abu'l Hasen Ali was born 12 May, 116o. At about the age of twenty he went to Mosul with his father, and was in the city at the time of Saladin's siege (Feb. 1186). At Mosul he devoted himself to historical and other studies, but not to the entire neglect of public affairs. He was often sent to the Caliph of Bagdad, and in 1 188-9 accompanied the prince of Sindjar to the Holy War. He must thus have been an eyewitness of the state of things in Syria towards the beginning of the siege of Acre. From this point till his death he appears to have given himself up to letters. He can be traced at Mosul, at Aleppo (where the Arminian eunuch Toghril” who was then ruling in the name of Saladin's little grandson Al Malec al Aziz, the son of that Ad-Daher who figures so frequently in Bohadin بهاء الدين ابن شداد” was his patron), at Damascus, and again at Mosul, where he died in Shaban 630 a.h.

Of Ibn Al-Athir's two chief works one is a history of the Atabecs of Mosul, i.e. an account of the doings of Zengy and his descendants. This work is of great importance in Crusading history, more especially as the recollections of the writer's own father extended back to early days of Frank conquest in the East. It was given to the world in 121 1. More noteworthy still is his gieat Mohammedan history, which embraces the whole period from the creation of the world to the year of the Hegira 628 (9 Nov. 1230—28 Oct. 1 231). This great work was compiled under the protection of Loulou (ob. 1259), who ruled at Mosul first as minister of Naser ad-Din Mahmoud [Zengy's last descendant,] and afterwards in his own name. Upon this great work, one of the glories of Arabic historical literature, Abu'lfeda أبو الفدا based his own history to a great extent.


ابن الأثير: مقدمة كتاب الكامل في التاريخ، تحقيق أبي الفدا عبد الله القاضي، 10 أجزاء، بيروت 1987م.

Little (D.), "Historiography of the Ayyubid and Mamluk epochs", in The Cambridge History of Egypt, Vol.1, ed. by.  Daly (M.) and Petry (C. F.), Cambridge University Press, 1998.

Partner (P.), God of Battles: Holy wars of Christianity and Islam, Princeton University Press, 1997.