Table of Contents


Introductory material

Introductory material of Book One, Kitab al 'Ibar

Preliminary Remarks

Chapter I

Human civilization in general

Chapter II

Bedouin civilization, savage nations and tribes and their conditions of life, including several basic and explanatory statements


Both Bedouins and sedentary people are natural groups


The Arabs are a natural group in the world


Bedouins are prior to sedentary people. The desert is the basis and reservoir of civilization and cities


Bedouins are closer to being good than sedentary people


Bedouins are more disposed to courage than sedentary people


The reliance of sedentary people upon laws destroys their fortitude and power of resist


Only tribes held together by group feeling can live in the desert


Group feeling result's only Porn blood relationship or something corresponding to it


Purity of lineage is found only among the savage Arabs of the desert and other such people


How lineages become confused


Leadership over people who share in a given group feeling can not be vested in those not of the same descent


Only those who share in the group feeling of a group can have a "house" and nobility in the basic sense and in reality, while others have it only in a metaphorical and figurative sense


"House" and nobility come to clients and followers only through their masters and not through their own descent


Prestige lasts at best four generations in one lineage


Savage nations are better able to achieve superiority than others


The goal to which group feeling leads is royal authority


Obstacles on the way toward royal authority are luxury and the submergence of the tribe in a life of prosperity


Meekness and docility to outsiders that may come to be found in a tribe are obstacles on the way toward royal authority


A sign of the qualification of an individual for royal authority is his eager desire to acquire praiseworthy qualities, and vice versa


While a nation is savage, its royal authority extends farther


As long as a nation retains its group feeling, royal authority that disappears in one branch will, of necessity, pass to some other branch of the same nation


The vanquished always want to imitate the victor in his dis­tinctive mark(s), his dress, his occupation, and all his other conditions and customs


A nation that has been defeated and come under the rule of another nation will quickly perish


Arabs can gain control only over fat territory


Places that succumb to the Arabs are quickly ruined


Arabs can obtain royal authority only by making use of some religious coloring, such as prophecy, or sainthood, or some great religious event in general


The Arabs are of all nations the one most remote from royal leadership


Desert tribes and groups are dominated by the urban population

Chapter III

On dynasties, royal authority, the caliphate, government ranks, and all that goes with these things. The chapter contains basic and supplementary propositions

Chapter IV

Countries and cities, and all other forms of sedentary civilization. The conditions occurring there. Primary and secondary considerations in this connection

Chapter V

On the various aspects of making a living, such as profit and the crafts. The conditions that occur in this connection. A number of problems are connected with this subject

Chapter VI

The various kinds of sciences. The methods of instruction. The conditions that obtain in these connections. The chapter includes a prefatory discussion and appendices

Concluding Remarks

Selected Bibliography, Walter J. Fischel