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

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



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xvi                                 PREFA CE.

him " tin roi qui n'a nifoi ni loi ni manidres " [royales);
and he says: "^■i le roi avait 6t6 un homme digne de
renom, il aurait honori le savoir,'" &c. It is most
remarkable to what degree Firdausi and Alberuni agree
in their judgment of the king. To neither of them had
he been a Mgecenas.

In the absence of positive information, we have tried
to form a chain of combinations from which we may
infer, with a tolerable degree of certainty, that our
author, during the thirteen years of his life from 1017
to 1030, after he had been carried from his native
country to the centre of Mahmud's realm, did not enjoy
the favours of the king and his leading men; that he
stayed in different parts of India (as a companion of
the princes of his native country ?), probably in the
character of a hostage or political prisoner kept on
honourable terms; that he spent his leisure in the
study of India ; and that he had no official inducement
or encouragement for this study, nor any hope of royal

A radical change in all this takes place with the
accession of Mas'ud. There is no more complaint of the
time and its ruler. Alberuni is all glee and exultation
about the royal favours and support accorded to him
and to his studies. He now wrote the greatest work of
his life,^ and with a swelling heart and overflowing
words he proclaims in the preface the praise of his
benefactor. Living in Ghazna, he seems to have for¬
gotten India to a great extent. For in the Canon
Masudicus he rarely refers to India; its chapter on
Hindu eras does not prove any progress of his studies
beyond that which he exhibits in the 'IvStKa, and at
the end of it he is even capable of confounding the era

1 The Canon Masudicus, extant in four good copies in European
libraries, waits for the patronage of some Academy of Sciences
or some Government, and for the combination of two scholars, an
astronomer and an Arabic philologist, for the purpose of an edition
and translation.
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