Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies

Notes and Communications

Shuhayd Al-Balkhī, A Poet and Philosopher of the Time of Rāzī

François de Bloisa1

a1 Royal Asiatic Society, London.

Shuhayd (or Shahīd) al-Balkhī is remembered mainly as one of the earliest poets in Neo-Persian. But he was also a minor poet in Arabic and, moreover, a tantalizingly obscure figure in the history of Muslim philosophy in the ninth century. A first sifting of the relevant biographical material was made by M. Qazwīnī in 1910 and the only really significant contributions since have come from P. Kraus and most recently from G. Lazard, who published a critical edition and translation of the surviving fragments of Shuhayd's Persian poetry together with a comprehensive bibliography. The present attempt to add a bit more flesh to Shuhayd's still decidedly skeletal biography is based essentially on just two texts, one of which has been known all along, but has not, I think, previously been understood correctly; the other has only recently become available.