The Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

2007 Edition
| Editors: Thomas Hockey, Virginia Trimble, Thomas R. Williams, Katherine Bracher, Richard A. Jarrell, Jordan D. MarchéII, F. Jamil Ragep, JoAnn Palmeri, Marvin Bolt

Ma'mūn: Abū al‐ҁAbbās ҁAbdallāh ibn Hārūn al‐Rashīd

  • Len Berggren
Reference work entry

BornBaghdad, (Iraq), 14 September 786

Diednear Tarsus, (Turkey), August 833

Ma'mūn was the son of Caliph Hārūn al‐Rashīd, a patron of the arts whose fame has come down to us in the tales of the Thousand and One Nights. Hārūn also supported a fine library in Baghdad, called “The Treasure House of Wisdom,” as well as the translation of foreign works in various fields. So Ma'mūn, brought up in an educated environment, was not only learned in the traditional Muslim studies but also was aware of a wider world of foreign learning. When he came to the throne as the seventh caliph of the ҁAbbāsid Empire in 813, he was among the well‐educated men of his time.

Ma'mūn spent his early years as caliph consolidating his reign and building internal unity in a diverse empire. It has been argued that part of that endeavor involved commissioning Arabic translations of important Persian documents, as part of a project of Arabicizing Persian learning. Since, in addition, many Persian intellectuals...

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Selected References

  1. Ali, Jamil (trans.) (1967). The Determination of the Coordinates of Cities: Al‐Bīrūnī's Tahdīd al‐Amākin. Beirut: American University of Beirut.Google Scholar
  2. Gutas, Dimitri (1998). Greek Thought, Arabic Culture: The Graeco‐Arabic Translation Movement in Baghdad and Early ҁ Abbāsid Society (2nd4th/8th10th centuries). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  3. Rekaya, M. (1991). “al‐Ma'mūn, Abu ‘l‐ҁAbbās.” In Encyclopaedia of Islam. 2nd edn. Vol. 6, pp. 331–339. Leiden: E. J. Brill.Google Scholar
  4. Sayılı, Aydın (1960). The Observatory in Islam. Ankara: Turkish Historical Society.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Len Berggren

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