World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Ibn Khordadbeh

Abu'l-Qasim Ubaydallah ibn Abdallah ibn Khordadbeh (Persian: ابوالقاسم عبیدالله ابن خردادبه‎‎) (c. 820 – 912 CE), better known as Ibn Khordadbeh, was the author of the earliest surviving Arabic book of administrative geography.[1] He was a Persian geographer and bureaucrat of the 9th century. He was the son of Abdallah ibn Khordadbeh, a prominent Abbasid general, who was the son of a Zoroastrian convert to Islam. Ibn Khordadbeh was appointed "Director of Posts and Intelligence" for the province of Jibal in northwestern Iran under the Abbasid Caliph al-Mutammid (ruled 869–885 CE). In this capacity ibn Khordadbeh served as both postmaster general and the Caliph's personal spymaster in that vital province.

Around 846-847CE ibn Khordadbeh wrote Kitāb al Masālik w’al Mamālik (The Book of Roads and Kingdoms) (with the second edition of the book being published in 885CE).[2] In this work, ibn Khordadbeh described the various peoples and provinces of the Abbasid Caliphate. Along with maps, the book also includes descriptions of the land, people and culture of the Southern Asian coast as far as Brahamputra, The Andaman Islands, peninsular Malaysia and Java.[3]:108 The lands of Tang China, Unified Silla (Korea) and Japan are referenced within his work.[4]

Ibn Khordadbeh clearly mentions Waqwaq twice: East of China are the lands of Waqwaq, which are so rich in gold that the inhabitants make the chains for their dogs and the collars for their monkeys of this metal. They manufacture tunics woven with gold. Excellent ebony wood is found there. And again: Gold and ebony are exported from Waqwaq.[5]

The book does not reflect a strong influence from Greek earlier works such as Ptolemy's. The work uses heavily Persian administrative terms, gives considerable weight to Pre-Islamic Iranian history, uses native Iranian cosmological division system of the world. These reflect the existence of Iranian sources at the heart of the work.[6]

It is one of the few surviving sources that describes Jewish merchants known as Radhanites.

Khordadbeh wrote other books. He wrote around 8-9 other books on many subjects such as "descriptive geography" (the book Kitāb al Masālik w’al Mamālik), "etiquettes of listening to music", "Persian genealogy", cooking", "drinking", "astral patterns", "boon-companions", "world history", "music and musical instruments". The book on music had the title Kitāb al-lahw wa-l-malahi which is on musical matters of Pre-Islamic Persia.[1][6]


  • See also 1
  • References 2
  • Sources 3
  • External links 4

See also


  1. ^ a b Bosworth, C. Edmund. "EBN KORDADBEH".  
  2. ^ Hee-Soo, Lee, Early Korea-Arabic Maritime Relations Based on Muslim Sources (Korea Journal 31(2) (1991), p26) 
  3. ^  
  4. ^ Isabella Bird (9 January 2014). "1". Korea and Her Neighbours.: A Narrative of Travel, with an Account of the Recent Vicissitudes and Present Position of the Country. With a Preface by Sir Walter C. Hillier. Adegi Graphics LLC.  
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b Meri, Josef W.; Bacharach, Jere (2005). Medieval Islamic Civilization: An Encyclopedia. Routledge.   pp. 359-60.


  • Ibn Khordadbeh (1865). Des routes et des Provinces (in French). Translator:  
  • Adler, Elkan. Jewish Travellers in the Middle Ages. New York: Dover Publications, 1987.
  • Bendiner, Elmer. The Rise and Fall of Paradise. New York: Putnam Books, 1983.
  • Bareket, Elinoar. "Rādhānites". in Jewish Civilization: An Encyclopedia. Norman Roth, ed. Routledge, 2002. pp 558–561.
  • Fossier, Robert, ed. The Cambridge Illustrated History of the Middle Ages, vol. 1: 350-950. Cambridge University Press, 1997.
  • Gil, Moshe. "The Radhanite Merchants and the Land of Radhan." in Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 17:3 (1976). 299-328.
  • Israeli, Raphael. "Medieval Muslim Travelers to China" in Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, 2000

External links

  • Ahmad, S. Maqbul (2008) [1970-80]. "Ibn Khurradādhbih (or Ibn Khurdādhbih), Abu’l-Qāsim ‘Ubayd Allāh ‘Abd Allāh".  
  • A Review of Muslim Geography
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.