al-Tabari's Sources for his History of the Early Abbasid Period (132 A.H/ 749 - 170 AH / 786)

Ghayda’ Khazna Katbi


This study tackles the issue of attribution of the contemporary and earlier historical sources al-Tabari (D. 310 A.H./922 A.D.) used as the basis for his monumental history of the early Abbasid Period (132 A.H-1744 A.H.). Because al-Tabari is often taken to be the most meticulous historian of the first three centuries after the Hegira, the methodologies and sources he used are subjected here to critical scrutiny. My research showed that al-Tabari was affected by his attitude toward history and by his treatment of the information he had available to him at the time he was writing. He relied upon seven principal historical accounts, as is obvious from the language in his text, but did not specifically attribute any of them. An additional 171 contemporary accounts were also folded into his narrative. In total, al-Tabari's classic work was based upon 791 sources, of which 440 were Abbasid-period texts and 351 were contemporary oral accounts.


al-Tabri, Early Abbasid Period, Reporters

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