Ya'qubi - Encyclopedia

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YA`QUBI [Ahmad ibn abi Ya`qub ibn Ja`far ibn Wahb ibn Wadih] (9th century), Arab historian and geographer, was a great-grandson of Wadih, the freedman of the caliph Mansur. Until 873 he lived in Armenia and Khorasan; then he travelled in India, Egypt and the Maghrib, where he died in 891. His history is divided into two parts. In the first he gives a comprehensive account of the pre-Mahommedan and non-Mahommedan peoples, especially of their religion and literature. For the time of the patriarchs his source is now seen to be the Syriac work published by C. Bezold as Die Schatzhohle. In his account of India he is the first to give an account of the stories of Kalila and Dimna, and of Sindibad (Sinbad). When treating of Greece he gives many extracts from the philosophers (cf. M. Klamroth in the Zeitschrift der deutschen morgenleindischen Gesellschaft, vols. xl. and xli.). The second part contains Mahommedan history up to 872, and is neither extreme nor unfair, although he inherited Shi`ite leanings from his great-grandfather. The work is characterized by its detailed account of some provinces, such as Armenia and Khorasan, by its astronomical details and its quotations from religious authorities rather than poets.

Edition by T. Houtsma (2 vols., Leiden, 1883). Ya`qubi's geography, the Kitab ul-Buldan, contains a description of the Maghrib, with a full account of the larger cities and much topographical and political information (ed. M. de Goeje, Leiden, 1892). (G. W. T.) Yaqut, or Yakut (Yaqut ibn `Abdallah ur-Rumi) (rr 791229), Arab geographer and biographer, was born in Greece of Greek parentage, but in his boyhood became the slave of a merchant of Hamah (Hamath), who trained him for commercial travelling and sent him two or three times to Kish in the Persian Gulf (on his journeys, cf. F. Wiistenfeld, "Jacut's Reisen" in the Zeitschr. d. deutsch. morg. Gesellschaft, vol. xviii. pp. 397-493). In 1194 he quarrelled with his master and had to support himself by copying; he took advantage of the opportunity of studying under the grammarian al-`Ukbari. After five years he returned to his old master and again travelled for him to Kish, but on his return found his master dead, and set up for himself as a bookseller and began to write. During the next ten years he travelled in Persia, Syria, Egypt and visited Merv, Balkh, Mosul and Aleppo. About 1222 he settled in Mosul and worked on his geography, the first draft of which was ready in 1224. After a journey to Alexandria in 1227 he went to Aleppo, where he died in 1229. In his large geography, the Mujam ul-Buldan (ed. F. Wiistenfeld, 6 vols., Leipzig, 1866-73), the places mentioned in the literature or the stories of the Arabs are given in alphabetical order, with the correct vocalization of the names, an indication whether they are Arabic or foreign and their locality. Their history is often sketched with a special account of their conquest by the Moslems and the name of the governor at the time is recorded. Attention is also given to the monuments they contain and the celebrities who were born in them or had lived there. In this way a quantity of old literature, both prose and poetry, is preserved by Yaqut.

The parts of this work relating to Persia have been extracted and translated by Barbier de Meynard under the title Dictionnaire geographique, historique et litteraire de la Perse (Paris, 1871). Some account of its sources is given in F. J. Heer's Die, historischen and geographischen Quellen in Jacut's geographischem Worterbuch (Strassburg, 1898), and the material relating to the Crusades is treated by H. Derenbourg, "Les Croisades d'apres le dictionnaire geographique de Jacout" in the volume of the Centenaire de l'ecole des langues orientales vivantes, 71-92. A digest of the whole work was made by Ibn `Abdulhagq (d. 1338) under the title Marasid ul-Ittila (ed. T. G. J. Juynboll, Leiden, 1850-1864). Yaqut also wrote a dictionary of geographical homonyms, the Mushtarik (ed. F. Wiistenfeld, Göttingen, 1846). Besides all this activity in geography Yaqut gave his attention to biography, and wrote an important dictionary of learned men, the Mujam ulUdaba`. Parts of this work exist in MS. in different libraries; vol. i. has been edited by D. S. Margoliouth, Irshad al-A rib Il a Ma`rifat al Adib (London, 1908). (G. W. T.)

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