Abū ʿAbd Allāh Muḥammad ibn al-Khālaf, called Ibn ʿAlqāmā[a] (1036/37–1116 AD [428–509 AH]), was an Andalusi Muslim official and historian.[1]

A native of the city of Valencia, he wrote a history of the fall of the city to the Christian army of El Cid in 1094 under the title Clear Exposition of the Disastrous Tragedy.[1][b] He may have completed it before the death of El Cid in 1099,[1] or as late as 1110.[2] It is a lost work that can be partially reconstructed only from excerpts in other works, primarily that of Ibn ʿIdhārī.[1] On one reconstruction it covers the period from September 1092 until May 1102, including the recapture of Valencia after El Cid's death. It is also excerpted in Ibn al-Khaṭīb, and found its way into several Christian chronicles: the Estoria de España, Crónica geral de Espanha de 1344, Tercera crónica general, Crónica de los reyes de Castilla, Crónica de veinte reyes and Crónica particular del Cid.[3]

Ibn ʿAlqāmā was a partisan of the Almoravids.[4] He writes with pathos and clearly detests all agreements between the Valencians and the Christians. His account is lively, as well as detailed to the point of triviality.[3] Partial reconstructions of his work based on excerpts in Christian and Muslim chronicles, respectively, were made by Ramón Menéndez Pidal in 1929.[5] He believed that the Christian sources preserved more and better information from Ibn ʿAlqāmā than the Muslim chronicles, and tried to tease it out accordingly.[6] His position is not now widely accepted.[3][6] In 1948, Évariste Lévi-Provençal provided an edition of the Arabic excerpts with a French translation,[7] which was later also translated into Spanish.[8]

Ibn ʿAlqāmā died in Dénia in 1116.[3]


  1. ^ Also spelled Ibn ʿAlḳama or Ibn Alcama.
  2. ^ The title may also be translated as Eloquent Evidence of the Great Calamity.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d Heidi R. Krauss-Sánchez, "Ibn ʾAlqāmā, ʾAbd Allāh Muḥammad ibn al-Khālaf", in Graeme Dunphy and Cristian Bratu (eds.), Encyclopedia of the Medieval Chronicle (Brill Online, 2016), retrieved 5 September 2020.
  2. ^ a b Ramón Menéndez Pidal, The Cid and His Spain (Frank Cass, 1971), p. 3.
  3. ^ a b c d Gonzalo Martínez Diez, El Cid histórico (Planeta, 2007), pp. 25–26.
  4. ^ Menéndez Pidal, The Cid, p. 341.
  5. ^ Ramón Menéndez Pidal, La España del Cid, 2 vols. (Plutarco, 1929), pp. 888–894 and 894–906, respectively, per Martínez Diez, pp. 25–26.
  6. ^ a b Richard A. Fletcher, The Quest for El Cid (Oxford University Press, 1989), p. 101.
  7. ^ Évariste Lévi-Provençal, "La prise de Valence par le Cid, d'après les sources musulmanes et l'original arabe de la «Crónica General de España»", Islam d'Occident: Études d'histoire médiévale (Paris: 1948), pp. 187–238.
  8. ^ Évariste Lévi-Provençal (trans. Emilio García Gómez), "La toma de Valencia por el Cid según las fuentes musulmanas y el original árabe de la «Crónica General de España»", Al-Andalus 13 (1948), pp. 97–156.