A History of Early Al-Andalus
The Akhbar Majmu'a
By David James
Routledge – 2012 – 192 pages
The Akhbar majmu‘a, or 'Collected Accounts', deal with the Muslim conquest of the Iberian peninsula in 711 and subsequent events in al-Andalus, down to and including the reign of ‘Abd al-Rahman III (912-961), founder of the Umayyad caliphate of al-Andalus . No Arabic text dealing with the early history of al-Andalus has aroused more controversy, and its contents and origin have occupied the attention of leading scholars of Islamic Spain since its publication in 1867.
This book gives the first complete English translation of this key contemporary text, together with notes, comments, appendices and maps. It is introduced by a survey of scholarly opinion on the text from the nineteenth to the twenty-first century in which all the - often heated - arguments around the text are explained. The translator concludes his introduction with an in-depth examination of the manuscript containing the only surviving copy of the text and presents some interesting new evidence provided by scribe which has gone unnoticed until now. Providing new insights into this significant Arabic text, this book will be of great interest to scholars of the history of Spain and Portugal, Islamic history, and Mediaeval European history.
Introduction: The Akhbār majmū‘a: Study and Speculation. Translation: The Akhbār majmū‘a. ‘Collected Accounts’ of the years 86-350/705-961 1. The Conquest and the Rule of the Governors of Damascus 2. The Civil Wars 3. The Annals of ‘Abd al-Rahmān I 4. Scenes from the Lives of the Umayyad Emirs 5. The Caliph of al-Andalus Appendix i: Introductory Words, Phases and Headings given in Coloured Thulth and their Location in Lafuente y Alcántara (1867), Arabic text, page number and line. Appendix ii: The Governors (wālin pl. wulāh) of al-Andalus. Appendix iii: Mā’idat Sulaymān, the ‘Table of Solomon’: What was it?
David James was Special Lecturer in Arabic Studies at University College Dublin, where he taught a course on Islamic Spain. He is the author of Early Islamic Spain, The History of Ibn al-Qutiya and several books on the art of the Islamic manuscript.