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Bible Encyclopedias

1911 Encyclopedia Britannica


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a short coat, either sleeveless, or with short sleeves or shoulder pieces, emblazoned on the front and back with the arms of the sovereign, and worn, as their distinctive garment, by heralds and pursuivants. A similar garment with short sleeves or without sleeves was worn in the middle ages by knights over their armour, and was also emblazoned with their arms or worn plain. The name was also given in earlier days to a much humbler similar garment of rough frieze worn by peasants; the ploughman wears a "tabard" in the Prologue to the Canterbury Tales. Similarly at Queen's College, Oxford, the scholars on the foundation were called "tabarders," from the tabard, obviously not an emblazoned garment, which they wore. The word itself appears in Fr. tabard or tabart, &c., Ital. tabarro, Ger. taphart, Med. Lat. tabbardus, tabardium, &c. It is of doubtful origin, but has usually been connected with "tippet," "tapestry," from Lat. tapete, hangings, painted cloths; Gr. rhiris, carpet.

Tabari [Abu Ja`far Mahommed ibn Jarir ut-Tabari] (838923), Arabian historian and theologian, was born at Amol in Tabaristan (south of the Caspian), and studied at Rei (Rai), Bagdad, and in Syria and Egypt. Cast upon his own resources after his father's death, he was reduced to great poverty until he was appointed tutor to the son of the vizier `Ubaidallah ibn Yahya. He afterwards journeyed to Egypt, but soon returned to Bagdad, where he remained as a teacher of tradition and law until his death. His life was simple and dignified, and characterized by extreme diligence. He is said to have often refused valuable gifts. A Shafi`ite in law, he claimed the right to criticize all schools, and ended by establishing a school of his own, in which, however, he incurred the violent wrath of the Hanbalites.

His works are not numerous, but two of them are very extensive. The one is the Tarikh ur-Rusul wal-Muluk (History of the Prophets and Kings), generally known as the Annals (cf. Arabia, Literature, " History"). This is a history from the Creation to A.D. 915, and is renowned for its detail and accuracy. It has been published under the editorship of M. J. de Goeje in three series, comprising thirteen volumes, with two extra volumes containing indices, introduction and glossary (Leiden, 1879-1901). A Persian digest of this work, made in 963 by the Samanid vizier al-Bal'ami, has been translated into French by H. Zotenberg (vols. i. - iv., Paris, 1867-1874). A Turkish translation of this was published at Constantinople (1844). His second great work was the commentary on the Koran, which was marked by the same fullness of detail as the Annals. The size of the work and the independence of judgment in it seem to have prevented it from having a large circulation, but scholars such as Baghawi and Suyuti used it largely. It has been published in thirty vols. (with extra index volume) at Cairo, 1902-1903.1903. An account of it, with brief extracts, has been given by O. Loth in the Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenleindischen Gesellschaft, vol. xxxv. (1881), pp. 588-628. Persian and Turkish translations of the commentary exist in manuscript. A third great work was projected by Tabari. This was to be on the traditions of the Companions, &c., of Mahomet. It was not, however, completed. Other smaller works are mentioned in the Fihrist, pp. 234-235.

(G. W. T.)

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Bibliography Information
Chisholm, Hugh, General Editor. Entry for 'Tabard'. 1911 Encyclopedia Britanica. 1910.

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