Ibn al-Athir spent most of his life in Mosul and claimed to be a private scholar
(Keany, 2013:83). He was present at
Saladin's military campaigns against the Crusaders. Keany (2013:82)
notes that he wrote much of The Complete History (al-Kamil fi at-Tarikh)
at the turn of the [12th] century, supposedly as a personal reference, abandoned it to write a history of the Zangids,
and then returned to the Kamil at the end of his life. The Complete History was completed in 1231 CE and
consists of 11 volumes. He is also reported to have lived in Aleppo and Damascus.