1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Ibn Qutaiba

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IBN QUTAIBA, or Kotaiba [Abū Maḥommed ibn Muslim ibn Qutaiba] (828–889), Arabian writer, was born at Bagdad or Kufa, and was of Iranian descent, his father belonging to Merv. Having studied tradition and philology he became cadi in Dinawār and afterwards teacher in Bagdad, where he died. He was the first representative of the eclectic school of Bagdad philologists that succeeded the schools of Kufa and Baṣra (see Arabia: Literature, section “Grammar”). Although engaged also in theological polemic (cf. I. Goldziher, Muhammedanische Studien, ii. 136, Halle, 1890), his chief works were directed to the training of the ideal secretary. Of these five may be said to form a series. The Adab ul-Kātib (“Training of the Secretary”) contains instruction in writing and is a compendium of Arabic style. It has been edited by Max Grünert (Leiden, 1900). The Kitāb ush-Sharāb is still in manuscript. The Kitāb ul-Ma’ārif has been edited by F. Wüstenfeld as the Handbuch der Geschichte[1] (Göttingen, 1850); the Kitāb ush-Shi’r wash-Shu’arāi (“Book of Poetry and Poets”) edited by M. J. de Goeje (Leiden, 1904).[2] The fifth and most important is the ’Uyūn ul-Akhbār, which deals in ten books with lordship, war, nobility, character, science and eloquence, asceticism, friendship, requests, foods and women, with many illustrations from history, poetry and proverb (ed. C. Brockelmann, Leiden, 1900 sqq.).

For other works (which were much quoted by later Arabian writers) see C. Brockelmann, Gesch. der arabischen Literatur, vol. i. (Weimar, 1898), pp. 120-122. (G. W. T.) 


  1. Summary in E. G. Browne, A Literary History of Persia (London, 1902), pp. 387 f.
  2. The preface was translated into German by Theodor Nöldeke in his Beiträge (Hanover, 1864), pp. 1-51.