EBN ABĪ ṬĀHER ṬAYFŪR, ABU’L-FAŻL AḤMAD (204-80/819-93), littérateur (adīb) and historian of Baghdad, of a Khorasani family. His extensive adab works include treatises on poets and singing, praised by Abu’l-Faraj Eṣfahānī in his Ketāb al-aḡānī, and the partially extant literary anthology Ketāb al-manṯūr wa’l-manẓūm (Cairo, 1326/1908), used by, among others, Abū Ḥayyān Tawḥīdī in his al-Baṣāʾer wa’l-ḏaḵāʾer (see the list of Ebn Abī Ṭāher’s works in Ebn al-Nadīm, ed. Tajaddod, pp. 163-64; tr. Dodge, I, pp. 320-22).

His Ketāb Baḡdād treated the history of the city up to the caliphate of al-Mohtadī (255-56/869-70), but only the greater part of volume 6 is extant, that dealing with al-Maʾmūn’s caliphate. Ṭabarī used this volume almost verbatim (though he mentioned Ebn Abī Ṭāher only once, III, p. 1516) for some three-fifths of the account of al-Maʾmūn’s reign in his own History. Ebn Abī Ṭāher was a lively writer of history, careful to cite documents and contemporary sources, and with a special interest in cultural history and anecdote. His book is thus a pioneer work of local and urban history. On Persian history it gives information about the appointments of Ṭāher Ḏu’l-Yamīnayn and his son Ṭalḥa to the governorship of the East, military operations in Azerbaijan against the Ḵorramī rebel Bābak, and various local revolts in Khorasan and at Qom during al-Maʾmūn’s caliphate. Ebn Abī Ṭāher’s son Abu’l-Ḥosayn ʿObayd-Allāh (d. 313/925-26), also a well-respected adīb, continued his father’s history up to al-Moqtader’s reign (Ebn al-Nadīm, p. 164; tr. Dodge, I, p. 322).


Bibliography: (For cited works not given in deteail, see “Short References.”)

C. E. Bosworth, in Ṭabarī, tr., XXXII, pp. 3, 7.

F. Rosenthal, A History of Muslim Historiography², Leiden, 1968, pp. 152-3 and index.

Idem, s.v. “Ibn Abī Ṭāhir,” EI ². Sezgin, GAS I, pp. 348-49.

Sechster Band des Kitāb Bagdād, ed. and German tr. H. Keller, Leipzig, 1908 (with intro.), ed. Moḥammad Zāhed Kawṯar, Cairo, 1949.

See also DMBE II, pp. 672-76.

(C. Edmund Bosworth)

Originally Published: December 15, 1996

Last Updated: December 2, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. VII, Fasc. 6, pp. 663-664