Portrait of an Eighth-Century Gentleman

Khālid ibn Ṣafwān in History and Literature


Portrait of an Eighth-Century Gentleman. Khālid ibn Ṣafwān in History and Literature by Jaakko Hämeen-Anttila is an in-depth study of the eighth-century Umayyad and early Abbasid orator and courtier Khālid ibn Ṣafwān and the development of his character in adab literature. The book collects and translates all his sayings and stories about him culled from a wide range of Arabic and Persian texts.

In the book, Hämeen-Anttila studies the mechanisms of change in early narratives, showing how Arabic anecdotes developed and were modified by a series of authors during both their oral and literary transmission, changing a historical person into a literary character. Detailed chapters discuss Khālid in his various roles and analyse the literary techniques of the stories.

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Jaakko Hämeen-Anttila, PhD (1994) is Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies (University of Edinburgh). His most recent monographs are Al-Maqrīzī’s al-Ḫabar ʿan al-bašar, Vol. V, Section 4: Persia and Its Kings, Part I (Brill, 2018) and Khwadāynāmag. The Middle Persian Book of Kings (Brill, 2018).

PART 1: Study

1 Khālid ibn Ṣafwān as a Historical Character
 1.1 Historical Context
 1.2 Sources
 1.3 Life and Political Importance
 1.4 Genealogy and Family
 1.5 Khālid’s Later Fame

2 Khālid ibn Ṣafwān and Early Arabic Prose
 2.1 Linguistic and Literary Context
 2.2 Khālid as a Literary Character
 2.3 Stories and their Rhetorical Features
 2.4 Khālid as Storyteller and Transmitter of Poetry
 2.5 Anecdotes as Early ʿAbbāsid Prose
 2.6 Mufākhara and maḥāsin wa-masāwī
 2.7 Speeches
 2.8 The Literary Khālid: Conclusions

PART 2: Translations

3 Stories from al-Balādhurī, Ansāb VII/1: 55–88 (B1–B115)

4 Stories from Other Sources (A1–A108)
 4.1 Storyteller and Transmitter of Poetry
 4.2 Encounters with Caliphs and Governors
 4.3 Mufākharas and maḥāsin wa-masāwī
 4.4 Laḥḥān and Linguistic Authority
 4.5 Orator and Wit
 4.6 Family
 4.7 Miser
 4.8 Sayings
 4.9 Various Stories

5 Stories Excluded from the Corpus (C1–C3)
Source References to B1–B115
Index of Personal Names
Index of Place Names
Index of Topics
All interested in Classical Arabic prose literature, Umayyad/early Abbasid history, and prosopography.
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