A paraître : C.Wurtzel (trad) et R.Hoyland (éd),”Khalifa ibn Khayyat’s History on the Umayyad Dynasty (660-750)”, septembre 2015, Oxford University Press.

First Edition

Translated by Carl Wurtzel and Edited by Robert G. Hoyland

Liverpool University Press

Translated Texts for Historians LUP

  • This is the first extant Arabic annalistic chronicle and a useful and straightforward source.
  • Carl Wurtzel translated the portion of Ibn Khayyat’s chronicle that relates to the Umayyad period (AD 660-750) for his PhD thesis (Yale, 1977).
  • The translation is of a very high standard, and there has been no further work on this text since Wurtzel’s thesis.
  • Robert Hoyland has written a preface and added an updated bibliography.


Khalifa ibn Khayyat is the author of the earliest extant Arabic chronicle. The work principally deals with fighting between Arab groups, external conquests, and administrative matters. After the death of each caliph it lists the persons who held office (as governors, judges and secretaries) during his reign; it also notes who led the pilgrimage in each year, the death of prominent persons (included those who died in major battles), and natural phenomena.

Events are for the most part narrated quite briefly and the work was presumably intended as a useful guide to Islamic history and a complement to his biographical dictionary of scholars, which also survives. Carl Wurtzel translated the portion of Ibn Khayyat’s chronicle that relates to the Umayyad period (AD 660-750) for his PhD thesis (Yale, 1977). The translation is of a high standard and is well annotated. The introduction is useful for providing an overview of the life and oeuvre of Ibn Khayyat and a survey of his sources, as well as a consideration of the apparently pro-Umayyad bias of the author.

Ibn Khayyat’s chronicle is relatively early in date. It also has quite wide scope, especially as regards its narration of the Arab conquests, ranging from Spain across the Mediterranean and all the way over to Central Asia. It is by far our earliest Muslim source for these campaigns


Foreword by Robert Hoyland
Preface by Carl Wurtzel
1. Khalifa’s Life
2. Khalifa’s Approach to the Writing of History
3. Khalifa’s Religio-Political Attitudes in the Ta’rikh
4. The Sources for the Umayyad Section of Khalifa’s Ta’rikh
5. The Use of Khalifa’s Ta’rikh by Later Writers
A Note on the Two Printed Editions of the Ta’rikh

Dr Carl Wurtzel is a professional translator; certified by the American Translators Association as a translator from Arabic to English. Carl is also an instructor in the New York University (NYU) School of Continuing and Professional Studies translation program.

Robert G. Hoyland is Professor of Islamic History at the Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Oxford. Previous publications include Theophilus of Edessa’s Chronicle and the Circulation of Historical Knowledge in Late Antiquity and Early Islam (LUP, 2011).


Hassan Bouali

Docteur en histoire médiévale de l'université Paris Nanterre.

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