BANŪ MONAJJEM , a family of intellectuals, closely connected to the caliphs of the 3rd-4th/9th-10th centuries and claiming descent from an ancient Iranian lineage. Their genealogy is given by Ebn al-Nadīm (ed. Flügel, pp. 143-44), from whom it is in part copied and supplemented by Ebn Ḵallekān (tr. de Slane, IV, pp. 84-88). Ebn al-Nadīm learned of this genealogy from the family history composed by one of its members, Abu’l-Ḥasan Aḥmad b. Yaḥyā, and directly from another, Abu’l-Ḥasan ʿAlī b. Hārūn, who began without finishing a genealogy of the family but whom Ebn al-Nadīm knew personally (Figure 18).
The most distinguished members of the family were Yaḥyā b. Abī Manṣūr, an astronomer who worked for al-Maʾmūn (r. 198-218/813-33) and was the first of the family to be a Muslim; his son ʿAlī (d. 275/888-89), a close companion of al-Motawakkel (r. 232-47/847-61); and the latter’s son, the theologian Yaḥyā (241-13 Rabīʿ I 300/855-56-26 October 912), who was a companion of al-Mowaffaq, the powerful brother of al-Moʿtamed (r. 256-79/870-92), as well as of succeeding caliphs. The interests of the family members lay in astronomy (including the Persian calendar), astrology, poetry, music (especially singing), theology, and law.
In the genealogical stemma (Figure 18), I have followed Justi in interpreting the Arabic forms of the Persian names in Ebn al-Nadīm, since, as Ebn Ḵallekān also realized, they are very corrupt. Note that, since there are eight generations between Yazdegerd and Abū Manṣūr (who lived in the late 2nd/8th century), the founder of the family cannot be identical with the last Sasanian monarch but must have lived a century or so before him.
Originally Published: December 15, 1988
Last Updated: December 15, 1988
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