Abú-l Kásim 'Ubaidu-llah bin 'Abdu-llah bin Khurdádba is better known as Ibn Khurdádba, a name derived from his grand­father, who was a fire worshipper, as the name shows, but who subsequently became a convert to the Muhammadan faith. Ibn Khurdádba attained high office under the Khalifs, and employed his leisure in topographical and geographical researches, the result of which was his “Book of Roads and Kingdoms.” He died in 300 A H., or 912 A.D.* Up to a recent date the separate indi­viduality of Ibn Khurdádba was disputed, and it was argued by some that he was the same person as Abú Is,hák Istakhrí, and the real author of the “Oriental Geography” translated by Sir W. Ouseley. This question was set at rest by the publication of Istakhrí's work, and by the extracts from Ibn Khurdádba, which appeared in Sir H. Elliot's first volume.

The text of Ibn Khurdádba has lately been published with a translation by M. Barbier de Meynard, in the Journal Asiatique (1865) from a copy of the MS. in the Bodleian Library, collated with another from Constantinople. Advantage has been taken of this publication to amend the translation which originally appeared in the original specimen of this work. The texts differ occasion­ally, and the leaves of one or both of the MSS. must have been misplaced. The notes marked P give the Paris readings, where the differences are such as to preclude an alteration of the Indian version. The passages in brackets have been taken from the Paris translation in addition to those published in the first edition.


[The greatest king of India is the Balhará, or “king of kings.” The other sovereigns of this country are those of Jába, Táfan, Juzr [Guzerat], Ghánah, Rahmí, and Kámrún. The king of Zábaj is called Alfíkat,* * * * and the king of the isle of the eastern sea Mahárája * * * *].

The kings and people of Hind regard fornication as lawful, and wine as unlawful. This opinion prevails throughout Hind, but the king of Kumár* holds both fornication and the use of wine as un­lawful. The king of Sarandíp conveys wine from 'Irák for his consumption.

The kings of Hind take great delight in maintaining elephants, and pay largely for them in gold. The elephants are, generally, about nine cubits high, except those of 'Anáb,* which are ten and eleven cubits.

The greatest king of India is the Balhará, whose name imports “king of kings.” He wears a ring in which is inscribed the follow­ing sentence: “What is begun with resolution ends with success.”

The next eminent king is he of Táfan; the third is king of Jába; the fourth is he of Juzr: the Tátariya dirhams are in use in his dominions. The fifth is king of 'Ana;* the sixth is the Rahmí,* and between him and the other kings a communication is kept up by ships.* It is stated that he has in his possession five thousand* ele­phants; that his country produces cotton cloths and aloe wood. The seventh is the king of Kámrún, which is contiguous to China. There is plenty of gold in this country.

[From the frontier of Kirmán to Mansúra, eighty parasangs; this route passes through the country of the Zats [Jats], who keep watch over it. From Záranj, capital of Sijistán, to Multán, two months' journey. Multán is called “the farj of the house of gold,” because Muhammad, son of Kásim, lieutenant of Al Hajjáj, found forty bahárs of gold in one house of that city, which was henceforth called “House of Gold.” Farj (split) has here the sense of “frontier,” A bahár is worth 333 mans, and each man two ritls.]*

[COUNTRIES OF SIND.—Al Kaírúnya [Kírbún?*], Makrán, Al Mand (or rather, country of the Meds), Kandahár, Kasrán,* Núkán,* Kan­dábil, Kinnazbún, Armábíl, Kanbalí, Sahbán, Sadúsán, Debal, Rásak, Al Daur [Alor], Vandán, Multán, Sindán, Mandal, Salmán, Saïrasb, Karaj, Rúmla, Kúli, Kanauj, Barúh [Broach].*]

There is a road through the city of Karkúz, leading to the eastern countries from Persia.*

The island of Khárak lies fifty parasangs from Obolla. It is a parasang in length and breadth, and produces wheat, palm trees, and vines. The island of Láfat* is at a distance of eighty parasangs from that of Khárak, and has cultivated lands and trees. It is two para­sangs in length and breadth. From Láfat to the island of Abrún are seven parasangs; it produces palm trees and wheat, and is a parasang in length and breadth. From Abrún to the island of Khín* are seven parasangs; this island is only half a parasang in extent, and is uninhabited. From Khín to the island of Kís,* seven para­sangs; the island is four parasangs in extent. In it are produced wheat, palm trees, and the like; the inhabitants dive for pearls, which are here of excellent quality. From Kís to Ibn Káwán* are eighteen parasangs. It is three parasangs in extent. The inhabi­tants are heretics, of the sect of the Ibázites. From Ibn Káwán to Armún,* seven parasangs. From Armún to Nármasírá* is seven days' journey, and the latter is the boundary between Persia and Sind. From Nármasírá to Debal is eight days' journey, and from Debal to the junction of the river Mihrán with the sea is two parasangs.

From Sind are brought the costus, canes, and bamboos. From the Mihrán to Bakar,* which is the first place on the borders of Hind, is four days' journey. The country abounds with canes in the hilly tracts, but in the plains wheat is cultivated. The people are wan­derers and robbers. From this place to the Meds are two parasangs; they also are robbers. From the Meds to Kol* are two parasangs, and from Kol to Sindán is eighteen parasangs. In the latter grow the teak tree and canes. From Sindán to Mali [Malabar] is five days' journey; in the latter pepper is to be found, also the bamboo. From Mali to Balbun,* is two days' journey, and from Balbun to the great sea,* is two days' journey. At Balbun the route divides; fol­lowing the shore it takes two days to reach Bás, which is a large place where you can take passage to Sarandíp. From Bás to Sají* and 'Askán, is two days' journey, in which latter place rice is culti­vated. From 'Askán to Kúra three and a half parasangs, where several rivers discharge. From Kúra to Kilakán, Lúár and Kanja,* is two days' journey, in all which wheat and rice are cultivated, and into which the wood of aloes is imported from Kámúl and other neighbouring places, by the fresh-water route* in fifteen days. From Samundar to Úrasír* is twelve parasangs; this is a great country, where are elephants, buffaloes, and other cattle, and various mer­chantable commodities. The king of this country is very powerful. From Úrasír to Ainá is four days' journey, where also elephants and asses are met with. [From Hubalin(?) to Sarandíp, two days.]

[After this follows the description of Pic d' Adam. In another place the author continues his account of India in these words:—]

There are seven classes of Hindus, viz., 1st, Sábkufría,* among whom are men of high caste, and from among whom kings are chosen. The people of the other six classes do the men of this class homage, and them only. 2nd, Brahma, who totally abstain from wine and fermented liquors. 3rd, Kataría, who drink not more than three cups of wine; the daughters of the class of Brahma are not given in marriage to the sons of this class, but the Brahmas take their daughters. 4th, Súdariá, who are by profession husbandmen. The 5th, Baisurá, are artificers and domestics. The 6th, Sandália, who perform menial offices. 7th, Lahúd;* their women are fond of adorn­ing themselves, and the men are fond of amusements and games of skill.* In Hind there are forty-two religious sects;* part of them believe in a Creator and Prophet (the blessing of God be upon them!); part deny the mission of a Prophet, and part are atheists.