EBN BĪBĪ, NĀṢER-AL-DĪN ḤOSAYN b. Moḥammad b. ʿAlī Jaʿfarī Roḡadī, Persian historian and man of letters. He was the son of the scribe (monšī) Majd-al-Dīn Moḥammad, who had worked under Šams-al-Dīn Moḥammad, grandfather of ʿAlāʾ-al-Dīn Jovaynī. His mother Bībī Monajjema was the daughter of Kamāl-al-Dīn Semnānī and granddaughter of the faqīh Moḥammad b. Yaḥyā. Judging from an endowment record (waqfīya; Turan, p. 87), the name of his grandfather was Ḥasan. His date of birth and school training are unknown. His mother, whose profession as astrologer can be deduced from her title (ʿonwān) “woman astrologer” (monajjema), had stayed for a prolonged period in the service of the Ḵᵛārazmšāh Jalāl-al-Dīn Menkobartī, or Menkobernī (r. 1220-30). After Jalāl-al-Dīn’s death she was brought by the Saljuq ruler ʿAlāʾ-al-Dīn Kayqobād I (r. 1219-36), together with her husband and son, from Syria to Konya (1231).

Ebn Bībī provides no information about his occupations. Nevertheless, the person who wrote an epitome of his work (see below), mentions him as mālek-e dīvān-e ṭoḡrā (chancellery director), the dīvān-e ṭoḡrā being an office preparing state and provincial documents (Houtsma, pp. 2, 196). The date of his death is not known, but in 1285 he was still alive.

His only work is al-Awāmer al-ʿalāʾīya fi’l-omūr al-ʿalāʾīya, written at the request of the renowned historian ʿAlāʾ-al-Dīn ʿAṭā Malek Jovaynī (d. 681/1283). It is a history of events from the reign of the Saljuqid Ḡīāṯ-al-Dīn Kayḵosrow I (1192-96/1204-10) to that of Malek Gīāṯ-al-Dīn Masʿūd II (1283-98, 1303-1308). Ebn Bībī lacked information on the period up to the reign of ʿAlāʾ-al-Dīn Kayqobād I (1219-36) and thus says little about it; on the subsequent period, however, he provides much detailed information based on what he had seen and heard. Although Ebn Bībī states that he wrote his work entirely on the basis of what he had seen and heard (p. 11), it is clear that in some sections he had utilized Qāneʿī Ṭūsī’s versified Saljūq-nāma (Ṣafā, Adabīyāt III/I, pp. 494-503).

There are two versions of Ebn Bībī’s work: a complete one called al-Awāmer al-ʿalāʾīya fi’l-omūr al-ʿalāʾīya, and an epitome of it written by an unknown person during Ebn Bībī’s lifetime and entitled Saljūq-nāma. The former was published in facsimile by ʿAdnān S. Erzi (Ankara, 1956). As this edition was difficult to read, the editor and Necati Lugal began to publish a type-set edition, but only the part ending with the enthronement of ʿAlāʾ-al-Dīn Kayqobād I (1219) has appeared (Ankara, 1957). The abridged Saljūq-nāma was published by Houtsma as volume IV of the Recueil; it was also translated into Turkish by M. Nuri Gençosman (Anadolu Selçuki devleti tarihi. Ibn Bibi farsça muhtasar Selçuk-namesinden, Ankara, 1941). The full version, translated into Turkish in the reign of Morād II (1421-51) by Yazicioğlu ʿAli, was published by Houtsma as volume III of the Recueil.


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

ʿA.-A. Dīānat, “Ebn-e Bībī,” DMBE III, pp. 143-45.

H. W. Duda, “Zur Geschichtsforschung über die Rum-Seldschuken,” ZDMG 89, 1935, pp. 19 ff.

Idem, “Zeitgenössische islamische Quellen und das Oğuzname des Jazyğyoğlu Ali zur angeblichen türkischen Besiedlung der Dobrudscha im 13. Jhr. n. Chr.,” Spisanie, Sofia, 1943, p. 138.

Idem, “Ibn Bībī,” EI2 III, pp. 737-38.

A. S. Erzi, “İbn Bîbî” in İA V/2, pp. 712-18.

Ṣafā, Adabīyāt III/2, pp. 1213-17.

O. Turan, “Selçuklu devri vakfiyeleri,” Belleten 12, 1948.

P. Wittek, “Miscellanea,” Türkiyat mecmuasi 14, 1965, pp. 263 ff.

(Tahsin Yazici)

Originally Published: December 15, 1997

Last Updated: December 6, 2011

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