Antarah ibn Shaddad

28 Feb, 2019 890 Other literatures

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the life, works, context and legacy of Antarah (525-608AD), the great poet and warrior. According to legend, he was born a slave; his mother was an Ethiopian slave, his father an elite Arab cavalryman. Antarah won his freedom in battle and loved a woman called Abla who refused him, and they were later celebrated in the saga of Antar and Abla. One of Antarah’s poems was so esteemed in pre-Islamic Arabia that it is believed it was hung up on the wall of the Kaaba in Mecca.

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  • James Montgomery 4 episodes
    Sir Thomas Adams's Professor of Arabic at the University of Cambridge
  • Marle Hammond No other episodes
    Senior Lecturer in Arabic Popular Literature and Culture at SOAS, University of London
  • Harry Munt No other episodes
    Lecturer in Medieval History at the University of York

Reading list

  • An Introduction to Arab Poetics
    Adonis (trans. Catherine Cobham) (Saqi Books, 2003) Google Books →
  • Arabic Literary Culture: 500-925
    Michael Cooperson and Shawkat M. Toorawa (eds.) (Thomson Gale, 2005) Google Books →
  • Arabs and Empires before Islam
    Greg Fisher (ed.) (Oxford University Press, 2015) Google Books →
  • Antar, A Bedoueen Romance
    Terrick Hamilton (Forgotten Books, 2018) Google Books →
  • Beyond Elegy: Classical Arabic Women's Poetry in Context
    Marle Hammond (Oxford University Press, 2010) Google Books →
  • The Thirsty Sword: Sirat 'Antar and the Arabic Popular Epic
    Peter Heath (University of Utah Press, 1996) Google Books →
  • Arabia and the Arabs from the Bronze Age to the Coming of Islam
    Robert Hoyland (Routledge, 2001) Google Books →
  • Night & Horses & the Desert: An Anthology of Classical Arabic Literature
    Robert Irwin (Overlook Press, 2016) Google Books →
  • The Warrior Women of Islam: Female Empowerment in Arabic Popular Literature
    Remke Kruk (I.B.Tauris, 2013) Google Books →
  • Tales of the Marvellous and News of the Strange
    Malcolm Lyons (trans.) (Penguin Classics, 2016)
  • The Arabian Epic: Heroic and Oral Storytelling
    M. C. Lyons (Cambridge University Press, 1995) Google Books →
  • The Adventures of Antar
    H. T. Norris (trans.) (Aris & Phillips, 1980) Google Books →
  • The Arabs and Arabia
    F. E. Peters (ed.) (Ashgate, 1999) Google Books →
  • War Songs
    Antarah ibn Shaddad (trans. James E. Montgomery with Richard Sieburth) (New York University Press, 2018) Google Books →
  • Imagining the Arabs: Arab Identity and the Rise of Islam
    Peter Webb (Edinburgh University Press, 2016) Google Books →

Related episodes

Programme ID: m0002r5v

Episode page:

Auto-category: 892.7 (Arabic poetry)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello. Almost 15 centuries ago, Antare Ibn Shaddad was fighting on the Arabian Peninsula and composing poems he hoped would long outlast him, and they have.