Ibn Khaldun on Ancient History: A Study in Sources

Charles Issawi

in Cross-Cultural Encounters and Conflicts

Published in print June 1998 | ISBN: 9780195118131
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199854554 | DOI:

Series: Studies in Middle Eastern History

Ibn Khaldun on Ancient History: A Study in Sources

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The chapter discusses how Ibn Khaldun, Arab historian and sociologist, looked at foreign culture. His profound historical and sociological observations were based on his reading of Arab-Muslim history. His earlier work, the Muqaddimah shows that he knew very little of the history of classical and pre-classical civilizations. However, relatively late in life, he came across an Arabic translation of Orosius, Historiarum Adversus Paganos, a 5th-century work which greatly enlarged his view of Roman and ancient history. His later work, the Kitab al-'Ibar, showed that he knew more. The striking differences and discrepancy between the two works are discussed at length and the chapter looks at the nature of his sources. His knowledge of the ancient world is contrasted with that of representative medieval West European and Byzantine historians.

Keywords: Ibn Khaldun; Muqaddimah; Kitab al-'Ibar; foreign culture; civilization

Chapter.  10689 words. 

Subjects: Asian History

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