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Ibn al Qutiyya

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Name  Ibn al-Qutiyya
Role  Author
Died  November 8, 977 AD, Caliphate of Cordoba

Ibn al-Qutiyya (died 8 November 977), born ‘Muhammad Ibn ‘Umar Ibn ‘Abd al-Aziz ibn Ibrahim ibn ‘Isa ibn Mazahim, was an Andalusian historian whose chief work, the Ta'rikh iftitah al-Andalus (History of the Conquest of al-Andalus), is one of the earliest Arabic Muslim accounts of the Islamic conquest of Spain. The name "Ibn al-Qutiyya" means "the son [i.e. descendant] of the Gothic woman", and the author claims to descend from Wittiza, the last king of the united Visigoths in Spain, through his granddaughter, Sara the Goth, who had traveled to Damascus and married an Arab client of the Caliph Hisham.

Ibn al-Qutiyya was born and raised in Seville. His family, known by the surname Abu Bakr, was under the patronage of the Qurayshi tribe, and his father was a judge in Seville and Ecija. The Banu Hayyay, also of Seville, were close relatives of his family, also claiming descent from Visigothic royalty. Ibn al-Qutiyya's student al-Faradi composed a short biographical sketch of his master for his biographical dictionary, preserved in a late medieval manuscript discovered in Tunis in 1887. According to him, Ibn al-Qutiyya studied first in Seville, then in Cordoba. Al-Faradi calls him the most learned grammarian of the time. He wrote two famous grammars: Book on the Conjugation of Verbs and Book on the Shortened and Extended Alif. His biographer cautions that his histories were written from memory, not following the hadith and the fiqh, and they lacked original sources, literal truth, and verification. He heard the Kamil of Muhammad ibn Yazid al-Mubarrad from Sa‘id ibn Qahir and transmitted it from memory. He died at Cordoba.

Due to his pride in his royal ancestry, al-Qutiyya's highly anecdotal history differs considerably from other Arabic chroniclers', like that of Rhazes. Al-Qutiyya defends the importance of the treaties made between the conquerors and the secular and ecclesiastical Gothic aristocracy, which secured the possession of their estates for their descendants. Al-Qutiyya stresses the role such treaties played in establishing Islamic control and marginalises the effect of military action. In this respect he also differs from Rhazes. He also denies that the Umayyad emirs of Cordoba retained the fifth (quinto or khums, a tax) for the Caliph of Damascus. He also distorts the traditional, but legendary, role played by "the sons of Wittiza" at the Battle of Guadalete. The Ta'rikh is found in only one manuscript, No. 1867 at the Bibliotheque Nationale de France. Another copy may have been kept in Constantine, Algeria, in the rich collection of Si Hamouda, but recent scholarship makes this seem unlikely.

References

Ibn al-Qutiyya Wikipedia


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