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Masudi, Abu al-Hasan Ali ibn al-Husayn al-

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    Masudi, Abu al-Hasan Ali ibn al-Husayn al-

    (d. 957 )

    Prolific writer and polymath. His known works number over twenty and deal with a wide variety of religious and secular subjects, including history (both Islamic and universal), geography, the natural sciences, philosophy, and theology. Only two of his works survive, both historical-geographical in scope: Muruj al-dhahab wa maadin al-jawahir (Meadows of gold and mines of gems) and Akhbar al-zaman (The history of time). Masudi wrote for an audience eager to acquire useful knowledge outside of the traditional religious sciences and appreciative of a fluent, nontechnical literary style. A native of Baghdad, he lived and worked in Syria and Egypt, where he died. Associated in his early life with the Mutazilis, he is known for initiating the Arabic historiographic model of treating events topically (rather than strictly chronologically).

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