Slavs of Ibn Qutaybah

Ibn Qutaybah (circa 823/828 – circa 883/889) was a Persian scholar during the Abbasid Caliphate.  He wrote several works two of which contain brief mentions of Slavs.  We present those here.  Note that similar passages to the first and the third here are also present in Al-Balādhurī’s work Kitab Futuh al-Buldan. 

Kitab Uyun al-Akhbar

“A certain poet says of Bisr ibn Marwan*… ‘if Bisr wanted it, then beyond his doors there would be guarding access to them black foreigners or red [humrSlavs.**  But Bisr enabled access to his doors to those whose rare visits bring him fame and payment.'”

* an Ummayad prince – younger son of caliph Marwan ibn Abd al-Hakam –  died in 694.

** hagib meaning chamberlains (for Slavic chamberlains, see, e.g., Masudi , BGA VIII, p 328).

(Brockelman edition)

Kitab al-maʿārif

“As regards Japhet, among his descendants are Slavs, Burgan and al-Isban.*  Their dwellings lay in the country ar-Rum [Byzantine Empire] before the Byzantines arose.  To his descendants there also belong the Turks, Khazars, Jagog and Magog.”

* Bulgars and Spaniards.

And too:

“[Salman ibn Rabi’a al-Bahili*… was killed in Bulungur in the land of the Turks during true caliphate of Utman.  They say too that Bulungur belongs to Armenia…  Guman al-Bahili says: ‘ two graves: a grave in Balangar and a grave in upper China [Sinistan]’…”  

*  Al-Balādhurī claims him to be a Slav

(Wuestenfeld edition)

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December 15, 2016

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  1. Pingback: Al-Balādhurī’s Slavs | In Nomine Jassa

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