The Chronicle of Ibn al-Athir (1160-1233 AD), entitled "al-Kamil fi'l-Ta'rikh", is one of the outstanding sources for the history of the mediaeval world. It covers the whole sweep of Islamic history almost up to the death of its author and, with the sources available to him, he attempted to embrace the widest geographical spread; events in Iraq, Iran and further East run in counterpoint with those involving North Africa and Spain. From the time of the arrival of the Crusaders in the Levant, their activities and the Muslim response become the focus of the work. While continuing with the aim of comprehensive coverage, the years in this part are dominated by the careers of Nur al-Din and Saladin, the champions of the Jihad, sometimes called the 'counter-crusade'. Of special interest is the historian's partiality for the House of the former, and his perceived hostility to Saladin.
’This is the second of Richards's translations that I have had the good fortune to assess, the first being The Rare and Excellent History of Saladin, and once again I have been struck by Richards's ability to produce a translation that maintains a high level of accuracy while also remaining eminently readable. Richards draws on a extensive vocabulary to enable him to render into English subtleties of Arabic meaning that might have been missed by a less careful translation.’ Speculum Journal
Contents: Preface; Introduction; The Chronicle of Ibn al-Athir: The year 541 [1146-47] to the year 589 [1193-94]; Bibliographical references; Index.
The crusading movement, which originated in the 11th century and lasted beyond the 16th, bequeathed to its future historians a legacy of sources which are unrivalled in their range and variety. These sources document in fascinating detail the motivations and viewpoints, military efforts and spiritual lives, of the participants in the crusades. They also narrate the internal histories of the states and societies which crusaders established or supported in the many regions where they fought. Some of these sources have been translated in the past but the vast majority have been available only in their original language. The goal of this series is to provide a wide ranging corpus of texts, most of them translated for the first time, which will illuminate the history of the crusades and the crusader-states from every angle, including that of their principal adversaries, the Muslim powers of the Middle East.