Bīrūnī, Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad, Alberuni's India (v. 1)

(London :  Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co.,  1910.)



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viii                                 PREFA CB.

gyrist, does not seem to have missed the sun of royal
favour, whilst Pirdausi, immortal Firdausi, had to fly
in disguise to evade the doom of being trampled to
death by elephants. Attracted by the rising fortune
of the young emperor, he seems to have repaired to his
court only a year after his enthronisation, i.e. A.D. 998.
But when he had finished his Shdhndma, and found
himself disappointed in his hopes for reward, he flung
at him his famous satire, and fled into peaceless exile
(a.d. ioio).^ In the case of the king versus the poet
the king has lost. As long as Firdausi retains the
place of honour accorded to him in the history of the
world's mental achievements, the stigma will cling to
the name of Mahmud, that he who hoarded up perhaps
more worldly treasures than were ever hoarded up, did
not know how to honour a poet destined for immor¬

And how did the author of this work, as remark¬
able among the prose compositions of the East as the
Shdhndma in poetry, fare with the royal Mascenas of
Ghazna ?
Mahmftd          Alberuni,  or,  as his compatriots called  him,  Abii

runi. ^" Eaihan, was born a.d. 973, in the territory of modern
Khiva, then called Khwarizm, or Chorasmia in anti¬
quity. 2 Early distinguishing himself in science and
literature, he played a political part as councillor of
the ruling prince of his native country of the Ma'miini
family. The counsels he gave do not seem always to
have suited the plans of King Mahmud at Ghazna, who
was looking out for a pretext for interfering in the
affairs of independent Khiva, although its rulers were
his own near relatives. This pretext was furnished by
a military Smeute.

^ Of. J. Mohl, Le Livre des Hois, traduit, &c. Public par Mme.
Mohl, 1876, preface, pp. xl. seq.

2 There is a reminiscence of his native country, i. 166, where he
speaks of a kind of measure used in Khwarizm.
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