Tile with two rabbits, two snakes and a tortoise (illustration of a scene in the ʿAjāʾib al-makhlūqāt; Iran, 19th century)
Tile with two rabbits, two snakes and a tortoise (illustration of a scene in the ʿAjāʾib al-makhlūqāt; Iran, 19th century)
Monster of Gog and Magog (illustration in a 18th-century Ottoman manuscript of a work by al-Qazwini)
Monster of Gog and Magog (illustration in a 18th-century Ottoman manuscript of a work by al-Qazwini)

Zakariyya' al-Qazwini (full name: Abū Yaḥyā Zakariyyāʾ ibn Muḥammad ibn Maḥmūd al-Qazwīnī, Arabic: أبو يحيى زكرياء بن محمد بن محمود القزويني), also known as Qazvini (Persian: قزوینی), born c. 1203 in Qazvin (Iran) and died 1283, was a Persian cosmographer and geographer of Arab ancestry.[1]

He belonged to a family of jurists originally descended from Anas bin Malik (a companion of the prophet Muhammad) which had been well established in Qazvin long before al-Qazwini was born.[2]

His most famous work is the ʿAjāʾib al-makhlūqāt wa-gharāʾib al-mawjūdāt (lit.'Wonders of the Creation and Unique [phenomena] of the Existence'), a seminal work in cosmography.[3] He is also the author of the geographical dictionary Āthār al-bilād wa-akhbār al-ʿibād (lit. 'Monuments of the Lands and Historical Traditions about Their Peoples').[4]

Career

Born in Qazvin, Iran, al-Qazwini served as a legal expert and judge in several localities in Iran. He traveled around in Mesopotamia and the Levant, and finally entered the circle patronized by the Ilkhanid governor of Baghdad, Ata-Malik Juvayni (d. 1283 CE).[5]

It was to the latter that al-Qazwini dedicated his famous cosmography titled ʿAjāʾib al-makhlūqāt wa-gharāʾib al-mawjūdāt (lit.'Wonders of the Creation and Unique [phenomena] of the Existence').[6] This treatise, frequently illustrated, was immensely popular and is preserved today in many copies. It was translated into his native Persian language, and later also into Turkish.[7] Al-Qazwini was also well known for his geographical dictionary Āthār al-bilād wa-akhbār al-ʿibād (lit. 'Monuments of the Lands and Historical Traditions about Their Peoples').[8] Both of these treatises reflect extensive reading and learning in a wide range of disciplines.[9]

See also

References

  1. ^ According to Streck 1913–1936, "He belonged to a pure Arab family which had, however, been long settled in the east." Bosworth 1987–2011 calls him a "Persian scholar", while Lewicki 1960–2007 describes him as a "famous Arab cosmographer and geographer" who "drew his origin from an Arab family [...] who had been Persianised after settling at Kaẓwīn in Persia." Both Bosworth 1987–2011 and Lewicki 1960–2007 stress that though he wrote in Arabic, this was not his mother tongue. Black 2014, p. 40 calls him "a Persian of Arab ancestry", Maqbul Ahmad 1981, p. 230 "An Arab by descent".
  2. ^ Lewicki 1960–2007; Maqbul Ahmad 1981, p. 230.
  3. ^ Maqbul Ahmad 1981, p. 230; Bosworth & Afshar 1984–2011.
  4. ^ Bosworth 1987–2011.
  5. ^ Richter-Bernburg 1998, p. 637.
  6. ^ Maqbul Ahmad 1981, p. 230.
  7. ^ Bosworth & Afshar 1984–2011.
  8. ^ Bosworth 1987–2011.
  9. ^ Richter-Bernburg 1998, p. 637.

Bibliography

Encyclopedic sources

Secondary literature

Editions of the Arabic text

Translations