Muhammad Bal'ami

Abu Ali Muhammad Bal'ami (Persian: ابو علی محمد), also called Amirak Bal'ami (امیرک بلعمی) and Bal'ami-i Kuchak (بلعمی کوچک, "Bal'ami the Younger"), was a Persian historian, writer, and vizier to the Samanids.


He was born in Lashjerd in the district of Merv, then part of the Samanid Empire. He was the son of Abu'l-Fadl al-Bal'ami (also called Bal'am-i Buzurg; “Bal'ami the Elder”).[1] Muhammad was appointed vizier during the late reign of Abd al-Malik I (r. 954-961) and he kept holding the office under Abd al-Malik's successor Mansur I (r. 961-976). According to Gardizi, Muhammad died in March 974 while serving in office, but according to the Persian historian al-Utbi, he was later removed the vizierate office, but was reappointed as the vizier of Nuh II (r. 976-997), but later retired in 992, and later died at an unknown between his retirement to 997.


Muhammad's most famous work is Tarikh-e Bal'ami, which is a translation of Tabari's History of the Prophets and Kings. It contains supplementary material, some of which is found nowhere else. Having been written in 963, it is the oldest New Persian prose work after the preface of the Shah-nama by Abu Mansur Muhammad.[2]


  1. Frye 1975, p. 152.
  2. Khalegi-Motlagh 1989, pp. 971-972.


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