Ukbara

Ukbara map.png

‘Ukbarâ (عكبرا) was a medieval city on the left bank of the Tigris between Samarra and Baghdad. The Tigris has changed course since, and its ruins now lie some distance from the river. Its name may possibly have inspired the "Uqbar" of Borges' short story Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius.

According to the Cambridge History of Iran vol. 3 (2), pp. 757–760, it was refounded by Shapur I under the name of Vuzurg-Shapur (3rd century CE) and settled with Roman captives [1]. According to adh-Dhahabi, the Buwayhid Sultan Jalal ad-Dawla fled there in 1031 to escape a slave revolt.

Famous native sons include:

  • the great Islamic grammarian, philologist, and religious scholar Abul-Baqa Al-‘Ukbarî (ca. 1143-1219), author of some 60 works, many of them recently reprinted;
  • Ibn Makula, author of an early dictionary of names, born Sha'ban 5, 421 AH
  • Sheikh al-Mufid[2]
  • two notable early Jewish/Karaite "heresiarchs", leaders of Karaite movements opposed to Anan ben David, Ishmael al-Ukbari[3] and Meshwi al-Ukbari[4].

It is described in many Arabic geographical works, beginning with the famous 9th-century geography of Ibn Khordâdhbeh, which mentions it four times, stating that:

  • it was on the postal road from Samarra to Baghdad, nine stages from Samarra and six from Baghdad;
  • it was on the road from Baghdad to Mosul, 9 parasangs from Baghdad (5 from the previous stop, al-Bardan, and 3 from the next, Bahimsha);
  • it was on the westward road from Baghdad, 4 stages from al-Bardan (6 from Baghdad) and 7 from the next stop, Samarra.

(The seeming contradiction between points 1 and 3 is found in the text, as provided by http://www.alwaraq.com/ .)

However, the tenth-century al-Muqaddasi goes into a little more detail, saying that:

وفي وجه سامرا مدينة عكبرا وهي كبيرة عامرة، كثيرة الفواكه جيدة الاعناب سرية
And in front of Samarra is the town of Ukbara, which is large and populous, with abundant fruit and good grapes. (p. 42, al-Waraq online edition)

The twelfth-century geographer al-Idrisi is briefer, mentioning it twice.

The Jewish traveller Benjamin of Tudela (twelfth century) also mentions it, calling it "Okbara, the city which Jeconiah the King built, where there are about 10,000 Jews, and at their head are R. Chanan, R. Jabin and R. Ishmael."

The later Yaqut al-Hamawi (thirteenth century) goes into yet more detail, noting two alternate names, the "Arabized" form `Akburah and Buzurj-Sabur بزرج سابور, after the Persian name Vuzurg-Shapur mentioned above, calling it:

بليدة من نواحي دُجيل قرب صريفين وأوَانا بينها وبين بغداد عشرة فراسخ، والنسبة إليها عكبري وعكبراوي، منها شيخنا إمام عصره محب الدين أبو البقاء عبد اللهَ بن الحسين النحوي العكبري مات في ربيع الأول سنة 616، وقرىء على سارية بجامع عكبرا:
a little town in the area of Dujayl near Sarifin and Awana, 10 parasangs from Baghdad; its natives are called Ukbari or Ukbarawi, and include our Sheikh the Imam of his time, Muhibb ud-Din Abul-Baqa Abdallah ibn al-Husayn an-Nahwi al-Ukbari, who died in Rabi I, 616 AH.

and quotes two brief epigrams about the town.

The biographical dictionary of Ibn Khallikan (thirteenth century) calls it:

وهي بليدة على دجلة فوق بغداد بعشرة فراسخ خرج منها جماعة من العلماء وغيرهم
a little town on the Tigris, 10 parasangs above Baghdad, from which a group of learned men and their like have emerged.

It should not be confused with the Palestinian village of Akbara (spelled identically in Arabic), destroyed in 1948.

See also

  • Okbarite
  • Tell Ukbara (apparently a different place)
  • Uqbar

External links

References


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • ʿUKBARĀ — (Okbarā), Babylonian town. The three towns of ʿUkbarā, Avana (Awana), and Busra, which were all situated near each other on the left bank of the Tigris, were regarded as the northern extremity of Babylonia during the talmudic period. The largest… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • ISHMAEL OF ʿUKBARA — (Ar. Ismāʿīl al ʿUkbarī; ninth century), sectarian teacher from ʿUkbarā, near baghdad . Al Qirqisānī asserts that Ishmael dubbed anan b. david , the titular founder of karaism , an ass, yet some of his own teachings were so absurd as to cause… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Uqbar — is a fictional place in Jorge Luis Borges s 1940 short story Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius . Uqbar in the story is doubly fictional: even within the world of the story it turns out to be a fictional place. The story turns on the narrator s discovery …   Wikipedia

  • Dioceses of the Church of the East to 1318 — Syrian, Armenian and Latin bishops debate Christian doctrine in the Crusader city of Acre, late 13th century At the height of its power, in the 10th century AD, the dioceses of the Church of the East numbered well over a hundred and stretched… …   Wikipedia

  • KARAITES — (Heb. בַּעֲלֵי מִקְרָא ,בְּנֵי מִקְרָא ,קָרָאִים, Qaraʾim, Benei Miqra, Ba alei Miqra; Ar. Qarāʾiyyūn), Jewish sect which came into being toward the middle of the ninth century. (See Map: karaite Settlement). Its doctrine is characterized… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Uqbar — est connu avant tout comme un lieu de fiction auquel l écrivain Jorge Luis Borges fait référence dans sa célèbre nouvelle Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius , publiée en 1940. Uqbar est en fait un lieu doublement fictionnel, puisqu au sein même de la… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • List of traditional Arabic place names — This is a list of traditional Arabic place names. This list includes: * Places involved in the history of the Arab world and the Arabic names given to them. * Places whose official names include an Arabic form. * Places whose names originate from …   Wikipedia

  • Nisibis (East Syrian Ecclesiastical Province) — The ruins of the East Syrian church of Mar Yaʿqob in Nisibis The Nisibis region was a metropolitan province of the Church of the East between the fifth and seventeenth centuries. The province of Nisibis (Syriac: Nisibin, ܢܨܝܒܝܢ, often abb …   Wikipedia

  • Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius —   …   Wikipedia

  • Assyrian Church of the East — Assyrian Christian redirects here. For other uses, see Assyrian (disambiguation). Assyrian Church of the East Emblem of the Assyrian Church of the East Founder Traces origins to Saints Thomas, Bartholomew, Thaddeus (Addai) …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.