Abulfeda, Ishmael

, a learned Arabian geographer and historian, was born at Damas in 1275, succeeded in 1310 to the rights of his ancestors, the emirs and shieks of Hamah in Syria. He did not however obtain peaceful possession before the year 1319, and in 1320 was acknowledged sultan or king by the caliph of Egypt. He died in 1331, or 1332. His writings are a lasting monument of | his knowledge in geography and many other sciences. Attached, however, as he was to study, he appears to have for some time led a military life, and in his youth followed his father in many df his expeditions, particularly in the wars against the Tartars and French in Syria. He speaks in his writings of other expeditions in which he bore a part before he arrived at the throne. His works are: 1. A system of Universal Geography, under the title of “Tekn-yni el Boldaan,” or Geographical Canons, which ends at the year 1321. It consists of preliminary matter, a general view of land, water, rivers, mountains, &c. twenty-four tables of longitude and latitude, with marginal notes descriptive of 'the countries, and twentyfour chapters describing the principal towns. There are manuscripts of this work in the Imperial Library at Paris, in the Vatican, and in the Bodleian. That in the library of the university of Leyden was written under the inspection of the author, with some notes, supposed to be by his own hand. 2. “An Universal History,” from the creation of the world to the birth of Mahomet, which forms about fifty or sixty pages. Various portions of these two works have been translated; as, 1. “Chorasmiai et Mavaralnahrai;” i.e. “Regionum extra fluvium Oxum descriptio, Arab, et Lat. ex interpret. Joan. Graevii ,*


Mr. Greaves consulted five different manuscripts: the first, that which Erpenius had transcribed from the copy in the Palatine library; the second, the copy afterwards in the Vatican; two other manuscripts in Dr. Pococke’s possession; and a fifth that had been purchased in Constantinople. Ramusius first praised this work of Abulfeda, and pointed out the uses of it; Castaldus corrected the longitudes and latitudes by it; Ortelius mentions it often in his Thesaurus Geographicus; and Erpenius would have published it, had he not been prevented by death. Schickard first extracted several remarks, and inserted them in his “Tarich Persieum;” but the principal labour and credit of the work fell to Mr. Greaves. Gen. Dict.

London, 1650, 4to. reprinted by Dr. Hudson, in his Collection of the lesser Geographers, Oxford, 1698 1712, 4 vols. 8vo. with a description of Arabia by Abulfeda, Arab, et Lat. and the same, translated into French, was added, by Ant. de la Roque, to his “Voyage en Palestine,Paris, 1717, 12mo. 3. “Caput primum Geographic ex Arabico in Latinum translat. promulgari jussit L. A. Muratorius, in Antiq. Italicis medii sevi,” Dissert. 54, p. 941, 942. 4. “Tabula Syriae, Arab, et Lat. cum notis Koehleri, et animadversionibus Jo. Jac. Reiskii,” Lips. 1766, 4to. 5. “Annales Moslemici, Arab, et Lat. a Jo. Jac. Reiskio,” Lips. 1754, 4to. 6. “Abulfedae Annales Moslemici, | Aral), et Lat. opera et studiis J. J. Reiske, sumptibus atque auspiciis P. F. Suhmii, nunc primum edidit J. G. Ch. Adler,Copenhagen, 1789—1794, 5 vols. 4to. 7. “Descriptio Egypti, Arab, et Lat. ed. Jo. Dav. Michaelis,” Gottirigen, 1776, 4to. 8. “Africa, Arab, cum notis; excudi curavit I. G. Kickhorn,” Gottingen, 1790, 8vo. Eickhorn’s notes and additions are in the 4th vol. of the “Bibliotheque Theologique Universelle,” with M. Rinck’s additions and corrections. 9. “Tabulae qusedam Geographicae et alia ejusdem argurnenti specimina, Arabice,” by Fred. Theoph. Rinck, Lips. 1791, 8vo. 10. “Geographia Latina facta ex Arabico, a Jo. Jac. Reiskio.” 11. “Abulfedae descriptio regionum Nigritarum,” printed at the end of Rinck’s edition of Macrizi’s “Historia regum Islamiticorum in Abyssinia,Leyden, 1790, 4to. 12. “Tabula septima ex Abulfedoe Geographia, Mesopotamiam exhibens, Arabice, cura E. F. C. Rosenmuller, notas adspersit H. E. G. Paulus,1791; inserted in the “Nouveau Repertoire de la Litterature Orientale,” vol. 3. 13. “Abulfedae Arabia; descriptio,” faith a Commentary by Chr. Rommel, Gottingen, 1801, 4to. In 1728, Gagnier published the prospectus of a translation of Abulfeda’s Geography, and had made some progress in the printing of it, when he died. This occasioned the mistake of some Bibliographers, who speak of this translation as having been published at London in 1732, fol. Gagnier, however, published, 14. “De Vita et rebus gestis Mohammedis liber, Arab, et Lat. cum notis,Oxford, 1725, fol. 15. “Auctarium ad vitam Saladini, extractum ex Abulfedos Historia universali, cum versione Lat. Alb. Scultens;” this appears at the end of Bohadinus’s Life of Saladine, Leiden, 1732, or 1755, fol. 16. “Climats Alhend et Alsend,” translated into Latin from Abulfeda, may be found in Thevenot’s Voyages, Paris, 1696, 2 vols. fol. And, 17. In Muratori’s Italian Historians, is the History of the Saracens. 18. The last publication we shall notice, is, some extracts respecting the history of Africa and Sicily, under the empire of the Arabs, by Gregorio, in his collections for a history of Sicily, 1790. It remains yet to be mentioned, that a manuscript of Abulfeda’s Universal History is in the library of St. Germain-des-Pres, and another in the French imperial library. Several chapters of the first part of the Universal History, which had never been published, are printed, Arab, et Lat. in the new edition of | Pococke’s “Specimen Historise Arabum,” by Professor White, of Oxford, 1806. 1
1 Dict. Hist. 1810; an article contributed by M. Malte-Brun. But alsfr Gen. Dict. the corrected article. —Saxii Onomast.