The Kitabi-i-Yamini, Historical Memoirs of the Amír Sabaktagín and the Sultán Mahmúd of Ghazna, Early Conquerors of Hindustan, and Founders of the Ghaznavide Dynasty. Translated from the Persian Version of the Contemporary Arabic Chronicle of al Utbi


Al-Kitāb al-Yamīnī is a history of the early Ghaznavid dynasty, composed in Arabic sometime after 1020 by Muhammad ibn ʻAbd al-Jabbar ʻUtbi (died 1035 or 1036), a secretary and courtier who served the first two Ghaznavid rulers and personally witnessed many of the events recounted in the book. The Ghaznavids were a dynasty of Turkic origin founded by Sabuktakin (or Sebuktigin, ruled 977–97), a former slave who in 977 was recognized by the Samanids as governor of Ghazna (present-day Ghazni, Afghanistan). Sabuktakin and his son Mahmud (ruled 998–1030) expanded the territory under their control to create an empire that stretched from the Oxus River to the Indus valley and the Indian Ocean. Mahmud’s son Masʻud I (reigned 1030–41) lost territories in Persia and Central Asia to the Seljuk Turks, but the Ghaznavids continued to rule eastern Afghanistan and northern India until 1186, when the dynasty fell. ʻUtbi‘s history is generally called al-Yamīnī (after Mahmud’s moniker Yamin-al-dawla, “the right hand of the state”). It was translated into Persian in 1206‒7 by Abushsharaf Noseh Ibni Zafari Jurfodiqoni, a minor official in western Persia. Jurfodiqoni’s translation gradually came to replace the Arabic original in South Asia, Persia, Anatolia, and Central Asia. Presented here is an English translation of Jurfodiqoni’s Persian version, published in London in 1858. The translation is by James Reynolds (1805‒66), a British Orientalist and Anglican priest who translated several historical books from Persian and Arabic and who served as secretary to the Oriental Translation Fund of the Royal Asiatic Society. The book contains a long introduction by Reynolds, as well as Jurfodiqoni’s preface to his Persian translation.

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Oriental Translation Fund of Great Britain and Ireland, London


Title in Original Language

The Kitabi-i-yamini, historical memoirs of the Amír Sabaktagín, and the Sultán Mahmúd of Ghazna, early conquerors of Hindustan, and founders of the Ghaznavide dynasty.

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Physical Description

511 pages ; 23 centimeters


  1. Ali Anooshahr, “Otbi, Abu Naṣr Moḥammed,” in Encyclopaedia Iranica.
  2. G. Le G. Norgate, revised by Parvin Loloi, “Reynolds, James (1805–1866),” in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press, 2004).

Last updated: March 23, 2017