ABU’L-YANBAḠĪ ʿABBĀS B. TARḴĀN, Iranian poet, d. 230/844. He has occasionally been identified with Abu’l-ʿAbbās Marvazī (d. 200/815-16; see W. Barthold, “To the Question of Early Persian Poetry,” BSOS II , 1923, pp. 836-38). However his usual nesba is Samarqandī. His father’s laqab, Tarḵān, indicates a princely descent. Abu’l-Yanbaḡī was one of those poets, called ḏu’l-lesānayn, who composed in both Arabic and Persian; and he contributed importantly to the birth of classical Persian poetry. A double distich of his is preserved in Ebn Ḵordāḏbeh (p. 26): Samarqand-e kandmand, baẕīnat kī afgand/az Čāč ta bahī, hamīša ta ḵahī. (For variant, see S. Nafīsī, Aḥwāl va ašʿār-e Rūdakī III, Tehran, 1319 Š./1940, pp. 1149-50.) Ṣafā (Adabīyāt I, p. 149) translates: “O prosperous Samarqand, who has reduced you to this state? You are better than Čāč; you are ever beautiful.” Ṣafā regards this fragment as attesting a syllabic meter, since each meṣrāʿ contains six syllables.

Jahšīārī (d. 331/942; in Ketāb al-wozarāʾ, facs., Leipzig, 1926, p. 245.15; Pers. tr., Tehran, 1348 Š./1969, p. 258) relates an encounter between the poet and Yaḥyā b. Ḵāled Barmakī, his sons Fażl and Jaʿfar, and Abu’l-Qāsem al-Zahrī. The poet took the last aside and improvised the Arabic verse: Ṣaḥebto ’l-Barāmeka ʿasran walā, wa baytī kerāʾon wa ḵobzī šerā; “I have served the Barmakids for ten years, yet still I have to rent my house and buy my bread.” The two princes are said to have made up for their father’s negligence that same evening, each bestowing on Abu’l-Yanbaḡī a house and sending him meals prepared in their kitchens. The poet is said to have been imprisoned in the reign of the caliph Wāṯeq (227-32/842-47), because he had agreed to compose a panegyric honoring Fażl b. Marwān (d. 250/864). His curious konya is explained by his remark to Abū Haffān, who visited him while in custody: “I am Abu’l-Yanbaḡī: I have said something unsuitable (mā la yanbaḡī), and so I have been locked up somewhere suitable (ḥayṯ yanbaḡī).”


ʿA. Eqbāl in ʿElm o honar, Mordād-Bahman, 1307 Š./1928, pp. 32-33.

Idem in Mehr 1, 1312 Š./1933, pp. 734-36.

Idem in Yaḡmā 11, 1337 Š./1958, pp. 457f.

M. Zand, Nūr va ẓolmat dar tārīḵ-e adabīyāt Īrān, Tehran, 1351 Š./1972, pp. 37-38.

(Y. Richard)

Originally Published: December 15, 1983

Last Updated: July 21, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 4, p. 395

Cite this entry:

Y. Richard, “ABU’L-YANBAḠĪ,” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/4, p. 395; an updated version is available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/abul-yanbagi (accessed on 2 February 2014).