Clifford Edmund Bosworth

Clifford Edmund Bosworth FBA (29 December 1928 – 28 February 2015) was an English historian and Orientalist, specialising in Arabic and Iranian studies.

Clifford Edmund Bosworth
C.E.Bosworth Cambridge 20.9.2011
Clifford Edmund Bosworth during a ESCAS conference at the University of Cambridge. 20 September 2011. Photo by T. Chorotegin.
Born29 December 1928
Sheffield, Yorkshire, UK
Died28 February 2015 (aged 86)
Yeovil, Somerset, UK
Scientific career
FieldsIranian studies, Islamic studies, Arabic studies, Turkish studies
InstitutionsOxford University
Academic advisorsVladimir Minorsky


Bosworth was born in Sheffield, Yorkshire. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Oxford and MA and PhD degrees from the University of Edinburgh.

He held permanent posts at the University of St Andrews, University of Manchester, and at the Center for the Humanities at Princeton University. He was a visiting professor at the University of Exeter, where he held the post since 2004.

Bosworth died on 28 February 2015, Yeovil, Somerset.

He is the author of hundreds of articles in academic journals and composite volumes. His other contributions include nearly 200 articles in the Encyclopaedia of Islam and some 100 articles in the Encyclopædia Iranica, as well as articles for Encyclopædia Britannica and Encyclopedia Americana. He was the chief editor of the Encyclopaedia of Islam and a consulting editor of Encyclopædia Iranica.[1]

His book The Islamic Dynasties has been translated to Arabic and Persian.

Selected books

  • The Ghaznavids, their empire in Afghanistan and Eastern Iran 994–1040, Edinburgh University Press 1963, 2nd ed. Beirut 1973, repr. New Delhi 1992 (Persian tr.).
  • The Islamic dynasties, a chronological and genealogical handbook, Edinburgh University Press 1967, revised ed. 1980 (Russian, Persian, Turkish, Arabic and French trs.).
  • Sistan under the Arabs, from the Islamic conquest to the rise of the Saffarids (30-250/651-864), IsMEO, Rome 1968 (Persian tr.).
  • The Book of curious and entertaining information, the Lata'if al-ma'arif of Tha'ālibī translated into English, Edinburgh University Press 1968.
  • (Editor) Iran and Islam, in memory of the late Vladimir Minorsky, Edinburgh University Press 1971.
  • (Editor, with Joseph Schacht) The legacy of Islam, new edition, Clarendon Press, Oxford 1974 (Arabic tr. Kuwait, 1998).
  • The mediaeval Islamic underworld, the Banu Sasan in Arabic society and literature, 2 vols., Brill, Leiden 1976.
  • The medieval history of Iran, Afghanistan and Central Asia, Variorum, Collected Studies Series, London 1977.
  • The later Ghaznavids, splendour and decay: the dynasty in Afghanistan and northern India 1040–1186, Edinburgh University Press 1977, repr. New Delhi 1992 (Persian tr.)
  • Al-Maqrizi's "Book of contention and strife concerning the relations between the Banu Umayya and the Banu Hashim" translated into English, Journal of Semitic Studies Monographs, 3, Manchester 1981.
  • Medieval Arabic culture and administration, Variorum, Collected Studies Series, London 1982.
  • (Editor, with Carole Hillenbrand) Qajar Iran, political, social and cultural change 1800–1925 [= Festschrift for L.P. Elwell-Sutton], Edinburgh University Press 1984.
  • The History of al-Tabari. Vol. XXXII. The reunification of the Abbasid Caliphate. The caliphate of al-Ma'mun A.D. 812-833/A.H. 198–213, translated and annotated by C.E. Bosworth, SUNY Press, Albany 1987.
  • The History of al-Tabari. Vol. XXX. The Abbasid Caliphate in equilibrium. The caliphates of Musa al-Hadi and Harun al-Rashid A.D. 785-809/A.H. 169–193, translated and annotated by C.E.Bosworth, SUNY Press, Albany 1989.
  • Baha' al-Din al-Amili and his literary anthologies, Journal of Semitic Studies Monographs 10, Manchester 1989.
  • The History of al-Tabari. Vol. XXXIII. Storm and stress along the northern frontiers of the Abbasid Caliphate. The caliphate of al-Mu'tas'im A.D. 833-842/A.H. 218–227, translated and annotated by C.E. Bosworth, SUNY Press, Albany 1991.(Editor, with M.E.J. Richardson) Richard Bell, A commentary on the Qur'an, University of Manchester (Journal of Semitic Studies) 1991, 2 vols.
  • The History of the Saffarids of Sistan and the Maliks of Nimruz (247/861 to 949/1452-3), Columbia Lectures on Iranian Studies no. 7, Costa Mesa, Calif. and New York 1994.
  • The Arabs, Byzantium and Iran. Studies in early Islamic history and culture, Variorum, Collected Studies Series, Ashgate Publishing, Aldershot 1996.
  • The New Islamic dynasties. A chronological and genealogical manual, Edinburgh University Press 1996.
  • (Editor, with Muhammad Asim, and contributor) The UNESCO history of civilizations of Central Asia, Vol. IV, The age of achievement. A.D. 750 to the end of the fifteenth century. Part 1, The historical, social and economic setting, Paris 1998. Part 2, The literary, cultural, artistic and scientific achievements, Paris 2000.
  • The History of al-Tabari. Vol. V. The Sasanids, the Byzantines, the Lakhmids and Yemen, translated and annotated by C.E. Bosworth, SUNY Press, Albany 1999.(Editor, and contributor of four chapters)
  • A century of British orientalists 1902–2001 [= Centennial Volume of the Oriental and African Studies Section of the British Academy], Oxford University Press for the British Academy 2001.
  • Abu 'l-Fadl Bayhaqi's Tarkh-i Mas'udi translated into English with a historical, geographical and linguistic commentary, to appear in the Persian Heritage Series, Columbia University, 3 volumes, New York, 2006; An intrepid Scot: William Lithgow of Lanark's travels in the Ottoman Empire and Mediterranean lands 1609–21, Aldershot 2006.


Some 100 articles in learned journals, composite volumes, etc.; some 200 articles in the Encyclopaedia of Islam, new ed.; some 100 articles in the Encyclopaedia Iranica; articles in the Encyclopaedia Americana, the Dictionary of the Middle Ages; article "Caliphate, empire of the" in Encyclopædia Britannica, 15th edition, Macropaedia; chapters in The Cambridge History of Iran, vols. III, IV, V, in The Cambridge History of Arabic Literature, vols. I, III, and in UNESCO History of Civilizations of Central Asia, vols. IV, V; etc.


  • UNESCO Avicenna Silver Medal, 1998
  • Dr Mahmud Afshar Foundation Prize for contributions to Iranian Studies, 2001
  • Prize by the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, Tehran, for contributions to Iranian historical studies, 2003
  • Triennial Award, 2003


  1. ^ "Notice: Clifford Edmund Bosworth, 1928–2015". British Institute of Persian Studies. Retrieved 10 March 2015.

External links

Abd as-Salam al-Alami

Abd as-Salam ibn Mohammed ibn Ahmed al-Hasani al-Alami al-Fasi (1834-1895) was a scientist from Fes. He was an expert in the field of astronomy, mathematics and medicine. Al-Alami was the author of several books in these fields and the designer of solar instruments.

Ahmed al-Mandjur

Abul-Abbas Ahmad ibn Ali al-Mandjur al-Miknasi al-Fasi (1520–1587, born and died in Fes) was a Moroccan scholar of theology and law and a prominent teacher at the Qarawiyyin University. He is known to have educated qadis for several Moroccan towns. Between 1579 and 1585 he spent much time in Marrakesh, where he taught the Moroccan sultan Ahmad al-Mansur. He is the author of theological commentaries and especially his fahrasa (account of his scholarly career) is of great renown. He was the father of the well-known writer Ahmad Ibn al-Qadi.


Al-Burhan is an exegesis on the Quran written by the Zaydi Imam Abu'l-Fath an-Nasir ad-Dailami in the 11th century. The book is still in existence in manuscript. One manuscript of this commentary, entitled al-Burhān fī tafsīr al- Qurʾān, is held in the Library of the Great Mosque (al-Jāmiʿ al-Kabīr) in Sana'a and a folio called Tafsīr al-Qurʾān al-karīm is held by the Staatsbibliothek in Berlin. This commentary is in four parts, which has been said to display nuances and subtleties of all the different disciplines of Islam. In at least one occasion al- Burhān has been titled al-Tafsīr al-kabīr.


Al-Tha'ālibī (Abu Manşūr 'Abd ul-Malik ibn Mahommed ibn Isma'īl) (961–1038), Arabic: الثعالبي, was an Iranian writer, born in Nishapur, Persia. It is not clear that he was ethnically a Persian or Arab. Although he wrote prose and verse of his own, he was most famous for his anthologies and collections of epigrams. Like many other Arabic writers of his time, he does not always distinguish between his own and other people's work. Of the twenty-nine works known to have been written by him, the most famous is his Kitāb Yatīmat ud-Dahr, on the poets of his own and earlier times, arranged according to the countries of the poets, and containing valuable extracts (published at Damascus, 4 vols., 1887). Another of his works, the Kitāb Fiqh ul-Lugha, is lexicographical, a dictionary, the words being arranged in semantic subject classes. It has been published at Paris (1861), Cairo (1867), and Beirut (1885, incomplete). His "Book of curious and entertaining information" (Lata'if al-ma'arif) was translated into English by Clifford Edmund Bosworth (Edinburgh University Press, 1968).

Al-Walid ibn Tarif al-Shaybani

Al-Walid ibn Tarif al-Shaybani (Arabic: الوليد بن طريف الشيباني‎) was an eighth-century Kharijite leader. In 794 he launched a rebellion against the Abbasid Caliphate, but was defeated and killed in 795.

Arslan-Shah of Ghazna

Arslan-Shah of Ghazna (full name: Sultan ad-Dawlah Abul-Moluk Arslan-Shah ibn Mas'ud) (b. ? - d. 1118) was the Sultan of the Ghaznavid Empire from 1116 to 1117 C.E.


Dhanial (Urdu: دھنیال‎, or Dhanyal or Dhenial)

Mostly residing in the surrounding areas of Islamabad. This is one of the largest tribes living in the Potohar Plateau. An annual Urs is held at the shrine of Muazam Ali Shah Baba Dhani Pir. All the tribal elders gather here annually. The major population of the tribe resides in Kotli Sattian regions of Karor, Cherrah and Tamair. They share a rich history that dates back hundreds of years, documented in numerous books and articles written during the British Raj. They are the descendants of Ali from his ninth wife Khola bint-e-Ayas bin Jaffar Bannu Hanifa. Khola gave birth to Ali's famous son Muhammad bin Ali also known as Muhammad bin Hanifa.


Hadhabani (also: Hadhbani) (Sorani Kurdish: ھەزەبانی‎) was a large medieval Sunni Muslim Kurdish tribe divided into several groups, centered at Arbil, Ushnu and Urmia in central and north-eastern Kurdistan. Their dominion included surrounding areas of Maragha and Urmia to the east, Salmas to the north and parts of Arbil and Mosul to the west.

About 10th century they gradually immigrated northward to the areas around lake Urmia with Ushnu as their summer capital. They ruled the area for a while but later split to a few branches who spread across Azerbaijan (at times Turks still had not invaded Azerbaijan), and Caucasus. Saladin the renowned Muslim ruler was descendant of one of Hadhabani branches.

Iranian Intermezzo

The term Iranian Intermezzo represents a period in history which saw the rise of various native Iranian Muslim dynasties in the Iranian plateau. This term is noteworthy since it was an interlude between the decline of Abbāsid Arab rule and power and the eventual emergence of the Seljuq Turks in the 11th century. The Iranian revival consisted of Iranian support based on Iranian territory and most significantly a revived Iranian national spirit and culture in an Islamic form.

Kara Arslan

Fakhr al-Din Qara Arslan (or Kara Arslan) (r. 1144–1174 CE) was a member of the Artuqid dynasty and son of Rukn al-Daula Dāʾūd, bey of Hasankeyf. Kara Arslan ruled Hasankeyf following Dāʾūd's death on 19 Muharram 539 (22 July 1144).


The Maʾmunids (Persian: مأمونیان‎) were an independent dynasty of Iranian rulers in Chorasmia. Their reign was short-lived (995–1017), and they were in turn replaced by the expansionist Ghaznavids.


Maktab (Arabic: مكتب‎) or Maktabeh (Arabic: مكتبة‎) or Maktabkhaneh (Persian: مکتبخانه‎) (other transliterations include makteb, mekteb, mektep, meqteb, maqtab), also called a Kuttab (Arabic: الكتَّاب‎ Kottāb ) “school” is an Arabic word meaning elementary schools. Though it was primarily used for teaching children in reading, writing, grammar and Islamic studies such as Qira'at (Quranic recitation), other practical and theoretical subjects were also often taught. Until the 20th century, maktabs were the prevalent means of mass education in much of the Islamic world.

Maktab refers to only elementary schools in Arabic. Maktab is used in Dari Persian in Afghanistan as an equivalent term to school, including both primary and secondary schools. Avicenna used the word maktab in the same sense.

Maktabs or kuttābs are an old-fashioned method of education in Egypt and Muslim majority countries, in which a sheikh teaches a group of students who sit in front of him on the ground. The curriculum includes Islam and Quranic Arabic, but focused mainly on memorising the Quran. With the development of modern schools, the number of kuttabs has declined. Kuttāb means "writers", plural katatīb / katātīb.

In common Modern Arabic usage, maktab means "office" while maktabah means "library" or "(place of) study" and kuttāb is a plural word meaning "books".

Muslim conquests of Afghanistan

The Muslim conquests of Afghanistan began during the Muslim conquest of Persia as the Arab Muslims were drawn eastwards to Khorasan, Sistan and Transoxiana. Fifteen years after the Battle of Nahāvand, they controlled all Sasanian domains except parts of Afghanistan and Makran. Nancy Dupree states that Arabs carrying the religion of Islam captured Herat and Sistan, but the eastern areas often revolted and converted back to their old faiths whenever the Arab armies withdrew. The harshness of the Arab rule caused the native dynasties to revolt after the Arab power weakened like the Saffarids. Fuller Islamization wasn't achieved until the period between 10th-12th century under Ghaznavid and Ghurid dynasty's rule who patronized Muslim religious institutions.Khorasan and Sistan where Zoroastrianism was well-established, were conquered but Qandahar remained unconquered. The Arabs had begun to move towards the lands east of Persia and in 652 they captured the city of Herat, establishing an Arab governor there. The Muslim frontier in modern Afghanistan had become stabilized after the first century of Hijri calendar as the relative importance of the Afghan areas diminished. From historical evidence, it appears Tokharistan was the only area heavily colonized by Arabs where Buddhism flourished. Balkh's final conquest was undertaken by Qutayba ibn Muslim in 705. Hui'Chao who visited around 726, mentions the Arabs ruled it and all the inhabitants were Buddhists.The eastern regions of Afghanistan were always regarded politically as parts of India, and rest of the territory remained Indian in culture although subjected to influence of various other civilizations over time. Buddhism and Brahmanism (Hinduism) were practiced in the region until the Muslim conquest. Kabul and Zabulistan which housed Buddhism and other Indian religions, offered stiff resistance to the Muslim advance for two centuries, with the Kabul Shahi and Zunbils remaining unconquered until the Saffarid and Ghaznavid conquests. The significance of the realm of Zun and its rulers Zunbils had laid in them blocking the path of Arabs in invading the Indus Valley.The Caliph Al-Ma'mun (r. 813-833 A.D.) was paid double the tribute by the Rutbil. His were the last Arab expeditions on Kabul and Zabul. The king of Kabul was captured by him and converted to Islam. The last Zunbil was killed by Ya'qub bin al-Layth along with his former overlord Salih b. al-Nadr in 865 while Zabulistan's people were converted by Ya'qub. Meanwhile, the Hindu Shahi of Kabul were defeated under Mahmud of Ghazni. Indian soldiers formed one of the components of the Ghaznavid army and remained loyal to Mahmud under their commander. Baihaki also mentions a Hindu officer being made the commander of Ghaznavid forces. The 14th-century scholar Muslim scholar Ibn Battuta described that the Hindu Kush meant "slayer of Indians" because large number of slaves brought from India died because of its treacherous weather.The geographer Ya'qubi states that the rulers of Bamiyan, called the Sher, converted in the late eighth-century. Ya'qub is recorded as having plundered its pagan idols in 870 while a much later historian Shabankara'i claims that Alp-Tegin obtained conversion of its ruler in 962. No permanent Arab control was established in Ghur and it became Islamised after Ghaznavid raids. Its interior wasn't even conquered by Mahmud or Ma'sud and Ghur gradually became Muslim under the influence of mystic movements. By the time of Bahram-Shah, the conversion and unification of Ghur was a fact.The Afghan habitat during their conquest by Mahmud was located in the Sulaiman Mountains. They were enlisted by both Sabuktigin and Mahmud according to Tarikh-i-Yamini. Al-Biruni alludes to the Afghans as Hindus. Firishta mentions Muslim and Hindu Afghans in the time of Muizz al-din Muhammed b. Sam. The Pashtuns later began migrating westward and displaced or subjugated the indigenous populations such as Tajiks, Hazaras, the Farsiwanis, Kakars and Baloch people before or during 16th-17th century. They also displaced the Kafir people from Kunar Valley and Laghman valley to the less fertile mountains.Before their conversion, the Kafir people of Kafiristan practiced a form of ancient Hinduism infused with locally developed accretions. Previously the region from Nooristan to Kashmir was called Peristan and was host to a vast number of "Kafir" cultures. They were called Kafirs due to their enduring paganism, remaining politically independent until being conquered and forcibly converted by Afghan Amir Abdul Rahman Khan in 1895-1896 while others also converted to avoid paying jizya.

Safi al-Din al-Urmawi

Safi al-Din al-Urmawi al-Baghdadi (Persian: صفی الدین اورموی‎) or Safi al-Din Abd al-Mu'min ibn Yusuf ibn al-Fakhir al-Urmawi al-Baghdadi (born c. 1216 AD in Urmia, died in 1294 AD in Baghdad) was a renowned musician and writer on the theory of music, possibly of Persian origin.

Sajid dynasty

The Sajid dynasty (Persian: ساجیان‎), was an Iranian Muslim dynasty that ruled from 889-890 until 929. Sajids ruled Azerbaijan and parts of Armenia first from Maragha and Barda and then from Ardabil. The Sajids originated from the Central Asian province of Ushrusana and were of Iranian (Sogdian) descent. Muhammad ibn Abi'l-Saj Diwdad the son of Diwdad, the first Sajid ruler of Azerbaijan, was appointed as its ruler in 889 or 890. Muhammad's father Abu'l-Saj Devdad had fought under the Ushrusanan prince Afshin Khaydar during the latter's final campaign against the rebel Babak Khorramdin in Azerbaijan, and later served the caliphs. Toward the end of the 9th century, as the central authority of the Abbasid Caliphate weakened, Muhammad was able to form a virtually independent state. Much of the Sajids' energies were spent in attempting to take control of neighboring Armenia. The dynasty ended with the death of Abu'l-Musafir al-Fath in 929.

Sallarid dynasty

The Sallarid dynasty (Persian: سالاریان‎), (also known as the Musafirids or Langarids) was an Iranian Muslim dynasty ruled in Tarom, Samiran, Daylam, Gilan and subsequently Azerbaijan, Arran, some districts in Eastern Armenia in the 2nd half of the 10th century. They constitute the period in history that has been named the Iranian Intermezzo, a period that saw the rise of native Iranian dynasties during the 9th to the 11th centuries.


The Saltukids or Saltuqids (Modern Turkish: Saltuklu Beyliği ) were a dynasty ruling one of the Anatolian beyliks founded after the Battle of Manzikert (1071) and centered on Erzurum. The Saltukids ruled between 1071 and 1202. The beylik was founded by Emir Saltuk, one of the Turkmen commanders of the Great Seljuk Alp Arslan. The beylik fought frequently against the Georgian Kingdom for hegemony of the Kars region. The center of the beylik, Erzurum, was occupied by the Byzantine Empire between 1077 and 1079, and was besieged by the Georgian King Giorgi III in 1184. It comprised the entirety of present-day Erzurum and Bayburt provinces, lands east of Erzincan, most of Kars, and lands north of Ağrı and Muş provinces during its height.

The first known Saltukid is Ali, who was ruler of Erzurum in 1103. His son and successor was Saltuk, who succeeded him sometime after 1123. Saltuk had a female relative, a daughter or sister, who married Shah-i- Armind of Akhlat, Sukman II.The Beys of Saltuk left important works of architecture, particularly in Erzurum and Mamahatun.

The Saltukid dynasty is also notable for having a woman, Melike Mama Hatun, sister of Nasiruddin Muhammed, directly administering its realm for an estimated nine years, between 1191 and 1200. She was later dethroned by the Beys and replaced by her son Malik-Shah once she had started searching for a husband among the Mamluk nobility. Mama Hatun built an impressive caravanserai in the town of Tercan, where her mausoleum also stands. Tercan itself used to be called "Mamahatun", and is sometimes still called as such locally.

The name of the ruling dynasty of the beylik should not be confused with that of Sarı Saltuk, a Turkish mystic and saint; who is of later date, more associated with western Anatolia and the Balkans (especially Dobruja), and to whom the epic Saltuknâme is dedicated. The last ruler of the Saltukids, Alaeddin Muhammed, was dethroned and imprisoned by the Sultan of Rum Süleymanshah II during Süleymanshah's Georgian rout in 1202, and the Saltukid beylik was subsequently annexed by the Sultanate of Rum.


The Shah-Armens, also called the Kings of Armenia or Rulers of Ahlat (Turkish: Ahlatşahlar Beyliği), were the 11th- and 12th-century Turcoman rulers of an Anatolian beylik founded after the Battle of Manzikert (1071) and centred in Ahlat on the northwestern shore of the Lake Van. This region comprised most of Bitlis and Van provinces and parts of Batman, Muş, Siirt and Diyarbakır.

The dynasty is sometimes also called Sökmenli in reference to the founder of the principality, Sökmen el-Kutbî, literally "Sökmen the Slave", one of the commanders of the Great Seljuq Alp Arslan. The Ahlatshah Sökmenli should not be confused with the Artuqid branch of Sökmenli, which ruled in Hasankeyf during approximately the same period.

Another title Sökmen and his descendants assumed, as heirs to the local Armenian princes according to Clifford Edmund Bosworth, was the Persian title Shah-i Arman ("Shah of Armenia"), often rendered as Ermenshahs (Turkish: Ermenşahlar). This dynastic name, which the Turkmen rulers adopted, was established through the "ethnic make-up and political history" of the region they ruled, which was primarily Armenian.The Beylik was founded by the Turkmen slave commander Sökmen who took over Ahlat (Khliat or Khilat) in 1100. Ahlatshahs were closely tied to Great Seljuq institutions, although they also followed independent policies like the wars against Georgia in alliance with their neighbours to the north, the Saltukids. They also acquired links with the branch of the Artuqid dynasty based in Meyyafarikin (now Silvan), becoming part of a nexus of Turkmen principalities in Upper Mesopotamia and Eastern Anatolia.

The Ahlatshahs reached their brightest period under the fifty-seven-year reign of Sökmen II (1128–1185). He was married to a female relative (daughter or sister) of the Saltukid ruler Saltuk II. Since Sökmen II was childless, the beylik was seized by a series of slave commanders after his death. In 1207, the beylik was taken over by the Ayyubids, who had long coveted Ahlat. The Ayyubids had come to the city at the invitation of people of Ahlat after the last Sökmenli ruler was killed by Tuğrulshah, the ruler (melik) of Erzurum on behalf of the Sultanate of Rûm and brother of Sultan Kayqubad I.

The Ahlatshahs left a large number of historic tombstones in and around the city of Ahlat. Local administrators are currently trying to have the tombstones included in UNESCO's World Heritage List, where they are currently listed tentatively.

Taifa of Ceuta

The Taifa of Ceuta was one of the Berber taifa states formed after the breakup of the Caliphate of Córdoba in the early 11th century. The cities of Ceuta (Arabic: Sabta) and Tangiers were a part of the Ḥammūdid dynasty taifa of Málaga from 1026. From 1036 (427 AH) it was governed on behalf of the Ḥammūdids by the Barghawāṭa, a Berber tribe with a non-Islamic religion. Shortly before 1061 (453 AH), the Barghawāṭa, led by the illiterate Saqqūt, took power from the Ḥammūdids. They could field a large army of 12,000 cavalry, but were defeated and conquered by the rising power of the Almoravids in 1078/79.

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