‘Izz al-Dīn Abu’l Hasan ‘Alī Ibn al-Athīr was an Arabic writer who is a major source for the history of the Muslim world at the time of the crusades.
Born on 13 May 1160 to a well-known family of Mosul in northern Iraq, Ibn al-Athīr spent most of his life in the city as a private scholar. In 1188 he served in Saladin’s army campaigning against the Franks of Outremer, and in 1228-1231 he stayed in Aleppo as a guest of the atabeg of the city. He died in May-June 1233. He is best known for his historical works. The short Bāhirtreats the history of the Zangids of Aleppo, and the much longer al-Kāmil fi’l-Ta’rīkh ( The Universal History) deals with the whole of Islamic history up to the year 1231.