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    Sizgorich, Thomas 2012. The Encyclopedia of Ancient History.

  • Print publication year: 1983
  • Online publication date: May 2012

2 - Pre-Islamic poetry

Poetry was the greatest mental activity of the Arabs and the summit of their artistic attainments. The Arab poet was not a narrator. He was a master of brevity, a magician of rhythm and words. The poet was like a prophet: often the priest, the soothsayer and the leader of the clan. There was a category of poets called " vagabonds ", who were outlaws, unable to fit into their particular tribal organization owing, for example, to the obscurity of their origin of birth, as in the case of al-Shanfarā, who grew up among an enemy clan and turned against them. With regard to metre and rhyme, pre-Islamic verse can be divided in two ways. According to metre, it has two sub-classifications, rajaz and qaşīd. According to rhyme, it has three subclassifications: ode or qaşīdah, short piece or qiţ'ah, and musammatah. The standard pattern of the qaşīdah consists of three sections, such as nasīb, tashbīb, ghazal.
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Arabic Literature to the End of the Umayyad Period
  • Online ISBN: 9780511659409
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