Abu Sa'id 'Abd al-Hayy Gardizi was an author and historian living in the mid-eleventh century at the height of the Turkish Ghazvanid dynasty. His only known work, "The Ornament of Histories" ("Zayn al-akhbir"), is a hugely ambitious history of the Eastern Islamic lands AD 650-1041, spanning what is now Eastern Iran, Afghanistan and parts of the Central Asian Republics and Indo-Pakistan subcontinent. Gardizi's text is an extremely rare source of primary information about the rise of Islamic faith, culture and military dominance in these regions, and represents a significant contribution to our understanding of the early Islamic world. This is the first English translation of the original Persian text, and is accompanied by an introduction and commentary which details the historical, geographical and cultural context.
C. Edmund Bosworth is a Fellow of the British Academy and an Honorary Member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. He was until retirement Professor of Arabic Studies at Manchester University and is now a Visiting Professor at the Institute of Arabic and Islamic Studies, Exeter University. He was the British Editor of the second edition of the 'Encyclopaedia of Islam', and is the author of numerous books and articles on the history, culture and literature of the Arabic, Persian and Turkish lands of the Middle East and Central Asia in the pre-modern period. He was the recipient of the biennial Giorgio Levi Della Vida Award at the University of California, Los Angeles, in May 2010.