Ibn Hamdis the Sicilian

Pages: 176
Subject: Religion: Islam, History, Middle East
Series: Makers of the Muslim World
Imprint: Oneworld Academic

Ibn Hamdis the Sicilian

Eulogist for a Falling Homeland

William Granara

The poet of the medieval Muslim world who is the best-known figure from four centuries of Arab-Islamic civilisation on the island of Sicily
Hardback
9781786078469 (1 Jul 2021)
RRP £25.00 / US$30.00

The Book

‘Abd al-Jabbar ibn Hamdis (1055-1133) survives as the best-known figure from four centuries of Arab-Islamic civilisation on the island of Sicily. There he grew up in a society enriched by a century of cultural development but whose unity was threatened by competing warlords. After the Normans invaded, he followed many other Muslims in emigrating, first to North Africa and then to Seville, where he began his career as a court poet.

Although he achieved fame and success in his time, Ibn Hamdis was forced to bear witness to sectarian strife among the Muslims of both Sicily and Spain, and the gradual success of the Christian reconquest, including the decline of his beloved homeland. Through his verse, William Granara examines his life and times.

Additional Information

Subject Religion: Islam, History, Middle East
Series Makers of the Muslim World
Pages 176
Imprint Oneworld Academic

 

About the Author

William Granara is Professor of Arabic and Comparative Literature at Harvard University. He was awarded a Walter Channing Cabot Fellowship for his monograph Narrating Muslim Sicily: War and Peace in the Medieval Mediterranean World.

Reviews

‘An intriguing and original approach that brings together historical events and verses of the Siculo-Arab poet Ibn Hamdis. The author offers a wholehearted evocation of the life of a great human being and the difficult times of wars and political transitions he lived through.'

- Francesca Maria Corrao, Professor of Arabic Language and Culture, LUISS University Rome

‘Erudite and beautifully written… Granara has charmingly translated Ibn Hamdis's poetry, which is distinguished by novel meanings, a profound lyrical sense of nostalgic longing, and audacious and memorable metaphors… It is a must-read for students of Arabic culture, Mediterranean studies, and medievalists.'

- Maher Jarrar, Professor, American University of Beirut

Table of Contents

1 BORN UNDER A BAD SIGN

The Kalbids of Sicily

Muslim Sicily Unraveling

Born in Syracuse, Becoming a Poet

Education in an Early Jihadi Frontier

The Rise of an Indigenous Muslim-Sicilian Culture

Poetry in Muslim Sicily, From Philology to Art and Politics

Crafting a Poetics of ‘Homeland'

 

2 DILEMMA: TO REMAIN OR DEPART

Sojourn in Sfax: Maintaining the Ifriqiya-Sicily Connection

Asad ibn al-Furat: Muslim Sicily's Founding Father

Ibn Hawqal's Sicilian Chapter

In the Shadow of the Norman Conquest

 

3 THE FIRST DESERT CROSSING

Ifriqiya: A Divided and Turbulent Motherland

The Zirid Dynasty of Ifriqiya

The ‘Arabs' of Eleventh-Century Ifriqiya

On the Desert Highway: Traveling with Arab Companions

 

4 LA DOLCE VITA IN SEVILLE

The ‘Abbadid Kingdom of Seville

Muslim Spain and Muslim Sicily: A Comparative View

Elegy to a Father

Serving the Patron: The Political Panegyric

Court Poet as Court Functionary

The Looming Threat of the Christian Reconquest

Poetic Sparring: Poet as Client, Poet as Competitor

 

5 FROM THE DARK CLOUDS OF AL-ZALLAQA TO A SECOND EXILE

Confrontation at Badajoz: Enter the Almoravids

The Battle of al-Zallaqa

The Fall of the ‘Abbadids of Seville

 

6 1091: ANNUS HORRIBILIS AND THE SECOND DESERT CROSSING

Intermission at Qal‘at Bani Hammad

Return to Mahdia

Connecting to the Zirids: Praise and Blame for Tamim

Vigilant Eye on the Norman Conquest

Ode to a Falling Homeland

Back to the Family in Sfax: Mourning the Loss of an Aunt and a Wife

 

7 THE POETICS OF JIHAD: AT THE ZIRID COURT IN MAHDIA

At the Court of Yahya ibn Tamim

Revolt and Murder at the Zirid Palace

Breaking Ranks in Gabes

From Seville to Nicotera and Mahdia: The Almoravids Move East

Victory at al-Dimas

The Almohads on the Horizon

 

8 TIME OF REFLECTION: ASCETIC VERSES AND ARABS AT THE NORMAN COURT

Retreat into Devotional Verse

Arabs and Muslim Culture at the Norman Court in Palermo

 

9 TWILIGHT: BLINDNESS, LOSS, AND DEFEAT

Losing Sight

Sicily Forever on the Mind

Elegy to a Nephew and Family History

Mourning a Daughter, Mourning a Homeland

Death and Burial

Ibn Hamdis's Legacy in History and Literature