Reading Classical Arabic historians
- Module Code:
- Unit value:
- Year of study:
- Year 4
- Taught in:
- Full Year
Objectives and learning outcomes of the module
On successful completion of this module a student will be able to:
- read and understand the Arabic texts of a number of important historians of the first six centuries of Islam.
- gain a firm grounding in the origins and development of early Arabic historiography.
- demonstrate the manuscript tradition of the texts and their importance as sources for the history of the period.
- demonstrate a firm understanding of the forms and functions of narrative in classical Arabic prose literature.
Total of 20 weeks teaching with 2 hours classroom contact per week consisting of a 1 hour lecture and a 1 hour tutorial.
Scope and syllabus
This module will examine a selection of important historical texts. These will include the following: al-Baladhuri’s account of the Islamic conquest of Syria in the Futuh al-Buldan, al-Tabari’s account of the death of the caliph al-Amin from the Ta’rikh al-Rusuk wa’l-muluk,, Miskawayh’s description of the accession of the caliph al-Muqtadir in the Tajarib al-umam, Abu Shama’s Dhayl al-rawdatayn, Ibn al-Athir’s account of the Mongol conquest of north east Iran in his Kamil f’l-Ta’rikh.
Method of assessment
One three-hour written examination taken in May/June (50%); one essay of 2,000 words to be submitted on Friday, week 1, term 2 (25%); one essay of 2,000 words to be submitted on Friday, week 1, term 3 (25%).
- Cooperson, M., Classical Arabic Biography (Cambridge, 2000)
- El-Hibri, T., Reinterpreting Islamic Historiography (Cambridge, 1999)
- Kennedy, H., The Prophet and the Age of the Caliphates (London, 2004)
- Khalidi, T., Arabic Historical Thought in the Classical Perod (Cambridge, 1994)
- Hirschler, K., Medieval Arabic Historiography: authors as actors (London, 2006)
- Noth, A., The Early Arabic Historical Tradition (Princeton, 1994)
- Robinson, C., Islamic Histoiography (Cambridge, 2003)