Abu Sa'id Gardezi

Abu Saʿīd Abdul-Hay ibn Dhaḥḥāk ibn Maḥmūd Gardēzī, Gardīzī or Gurdēzī (died c. 1061 CE) (Persian: ابوسعید عبدالحی بن ضحاک بن محمود گردیزی) was from Khurasan (in modern Afghanistan). He was a Persian[1] Muslim geographer and historian of the early 11th century from Gardēz.[2] He wrote the book Zayn al-Akhbār while at the court of Abdul-Rashid, sultan of the Ghaznavid empire.[3] Gardēzī's work, written in Persian, is an Islamic history of Central Asia and Eastern Persia and Hungary.


In his Zayn al-akbar, Gardīzī took a dispassionate view of history which was fairly remarkable for its time.[4] It consisted of a history of the pre-Islamic kings of Persia, Muhammad and the Caliphs until the year 1032. Included is a history of the Arab invasion of Khurasan, which it is believed Gardizi was using al-Sallami as a source. His history concerning the Turks was written using Ibn Khordadbeh, al-Djayhani and Ibn al-Mukaffa as sources.[5] He may have been a student of al-Biruni, since the Zayn al-akbar contains information concerning Indian festivals.[5] His style of Persian is simple but mature and provides one of the classical examples of Persian prose-writing. A critical edition was published by ʿAbd al-Ḥayy Ḥabībī, Tehran, 1347 Š./1968 under the title of "Tarikh-e Gardizi".


Gardīzī told about the territory of Hungarians: "The Hungarians' country is situated between the territory of bulkars and eskils, who date back to the bulkars. (...) Their country reaches the Rum-sea [Black Sea]. (...) The two rivers, which flow into the Rum-sea, are called Atil [Volga] and Danube."

He wrote the following text about the Hungarian people and their culture: "These Hungarian people are pretty and handsome. Their clothes are made of brocade. Their weapons are decorated by silver and gold. In the time of proposal they have to pay for the girl, mainly they give animals. But it can be the fur of ermine, squirrel, mart or fox."

The records of Gardīzī are similar to the records of Ahmad ibn Rustah. Both of them used the notes of Ibn Harrudadbhi, called Roads and Countries as their sources, but Ahmad ibn Rustah used an older and Gardīzī used a newer one, so Gardīzī's texts contain additional information as well. For instance: "On the left [=western] side of the territory of the Hungarians near the river of Slavs there is a Christian tribe of Rum, and they are known as Wonondur."

See also


  1. Bosworth, C. Edmund. "GARDĪZĪ, ABŪ SAʿĪD ʿABD-al-ḤAYY". ENCYCLOPÆDIA IRANICA. Retrieved 2 December 2016. GARDĪZĪ, ABŪ SAʿĪD ʿABD-al-ḤAYY b. Żaḥḥāk b. Maḥmūd, Persian historian of the early 5th/11th century.
  2. Gardizi, W. Barthold, The Encyclopaedia of Islam, Vol.II, ed. B. Lewis, C. Pellat and J. Schacht, (Brill, 1991), p. 978.
  3. Historiography in the Sadduzai Era:Language and Narration, Senzil Nawid, Literacy in the Persianate World: Writing and the Social Order, ed. Brian Spooner and William Hanaway, (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012), 235.
  4. "GARDĪZĪ, ABŪ SAʿĪD ʿABD-al-ḤAYY GARDĪZĪ,ABŪ SAʿĪD ʿABD-al-ḤAYY b. Żaḥḥāk b. Maḥmūd in Encyclopedia Iranica by C. EDMUND BOSWORTH
  5. 1 2 Gardizi, W. Barthold, The Encyclopaedia of Islam, Vol.II, p. 978.
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