Ibn Khaldūn, known to scholars as one of the world's greatest historians, was born in Tunis in 1332. The area of his home town, the Khaldūniyyah quarter in Tunis, remains largely unchanged and the house, where he was believed to have been born, still stands.
Black Death struck Tunis, in 1349. Both his parents died of it.
In 1375, Ibn Khaldūn began his extensive masterpiece, the Muqaddimah. While he intended to write a universal history of the Arabs and Berbers, he also wanted to discuss historical method. His point was to analyze the criteria one needs to fairly distinguish historical truth from error.
A twentieth-century English historian, Arnold Toynbee, described Ibn Khaldūn's accomplishment as “a philosophy of history which is undoubtedly the greatest work of its kind that has ever yet been created by any mind in any time or place.”
The reason for his praise, and that of so many others, is that Ibn Khaldūn possessed impressive insights about social phenomena and firmly grasped how seemingly unrelated events are often bound together to produce societal, cultural and historical change.
When a complete French translation of the Muqaddimah appeared, after the 1860s, Ibn Khaldūn - and the genius of his work - was introduced to an admiring, worldwide audience.
Image online, courtesy liberal-international.org website.
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