21688391911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 10 — FārābīGriffithes Wheeler Thatcher

FĀRĀBĪ [Abū Naṣr Muḥammad ibn Tarkhān ul-Fārābī] (ca. 870–950), Arabian philosopher, was born of Turkish stock at Fārāb in Turkestan, where also he spent his youth. Thence he journeyed to Bagdad, where he learned Arabic and gave himself to the study of mathematics, medicine and philosophy, especially the works of Aristotle. Later he went to the court of the Ḥamdānid Saif addaula, from whom he received a warm welcome and a small pension. Here he lived a quiet if not an ascetic life. He died in Damascus, whither he had gone with his patron. His works are very clear in style, though aphoristic rather than systematic in the treatment of subjects. Unfortunately the success of Avicenna seems to have led to the neglect of much of his work. In Europe his compendium of Aristotle’s Rhetoric was published at Venice, 1484. Two of his smaller works appear in Alpharabii opera omnia (Paris, 1638), and two are translated in F. A. Schmölders’ Documenta philosophiae Arabum (Bonn, 1836). More recently Fr. Dieterici has published at Leiden: Alfarabi’s philosophische Abhandlungen (1890; German trans. 1892); Alfarabi’s Abhandlung des Musterstaats (1895; German trans. with an essay “Über den Zusammenhang der arabischen und griechischen Philosophie,” 1900); Die Staatsleitung von Alfarabi in German, with an essay on “Das Wesen der arabischen Philosophie” (1904).

For Fārābi’s life see McG. de Slane’s translation of Ibn Khallikān (vol. 3, pp. 307 ff.); and for further information as to his works M. Steinschneider’s article in the Mémoires de l’Académie (St Petersburg, série 7, tom. 13, No. 4, 1869); and C. Brockelmann’s Gesch. der arab. Litteratur, vol. i. (Weimar, 1898), pp. 210-213.  (G. W. T.)