The British Institute of Persian Studies notes with sadness the death of Professor Edmund Bosworth on Saturday, 28 February 2015, after a long and fruitful career of scholarly research and exceptional service to the field of Iranian and Islamic studies. Edmund was a long-standing member of the BIPS Governing Council and, most admirably, editor of the Institute’s journal IRAN for many years, handling all the contributions in the non-archaeological fields. A measure of the work he dedicated to this task is the fact that it has taken a committee of editors to try to fill the gap left by his retirement.
After gaining a 1st-class degree in modern history at St John’s College, Oxford, Edmund later took a second degree in Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Edinburgh, where he went on to complete his doctorate, which was the basis for his first and still standard book, The Ghaznavids, Their Empire in Afghanistan and Eastern Iran 994-1040 (Edinburgh, 1963). Edmund was Professor of Arabic Studies at Manchester, 1967-1990, but the great bulk of his scholarly output was concerned with Iran, particularly eastern Iran, and the dynastic history of the mediaeval period. He also devoted his energy to the translation of some key texts and source materials, notably volumes from al-Tabari’s universal history and more recently, the celebrated histories of Gardizi and Baihaqi, which underpinned much of his own research. In the wider field, his massive input into the Encyclopaedia of Islam and the Encyclopaedia Iranica, not only as a contributor but also for his tireless editorial work, made him a household name in the field of Islamic history. He will be sorely missed by friends and colleagues alike.
Charles P. Melville