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Originally appearing in Volume V18, Page 634 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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MOAB, the name of an ancient people of Palestine who inhabited a district E. of the Jordan and the Dead Sea, lying N. of Edom and S. of Ammon (q.v.) and the Israelite Transjordanic districts. There is little material for its earlier history outside the Old Testament, and the various references in the latter are often of disputed reference and date. The national traditions of Israel recognize a close relationship between Moab and Ammon, "sons" of Lot, and the "brothers" Esau (Edom) and Jacob (Israel), and Moab is represented as already a powerful people when Israel fled from Egypt (Exod. xv. 15). The detailed narratives, however, give conflicting views of the exodus and the conquest of Palestine. It was supposed that Moab, having expelled the aboriginal giants, was in turn displaced by the Amorite king Sihon, who forced Moab south of the Arnon (Wadi Mojib, a natural boundary) and drove Ammon beyond the Jabbok. The Israelites at Kadesh, almost at the gate of the promised land, incurred the wrath of Yahweh, and, deterred by a defeat at Hormah from pursuing their journey northwards, were obliged to choose another route (Num. xiv. 40-45; contrast xxi. 1-3). (See EXODUS, THE.) Messengers to Edom were repulsed (Num. xx. 14-18), or Israel was met by Edom with force (v. 1q seq.); consequently a great detour was made from Kadesh round by the south of Edom (Num. xiv. 25, xxi. 4; Judges xi. 18). At length the people safely reached Pisgah in Moab (Num. xxi. 16-2o; cf. Deut. iii. 27, xxxiv. 1), or, according to another view, passed outside Moab until they reached the border of Sihon's kingdom (Num. xxi. 13, 26; Judges xi. 17 seq.). There are other details in Deut. ii., and the late list in Num. xxxiii. even seems to assume that the journey was made from Kadesh across the northern end of Edom. Apparently no fixed or distinct tradition existed regarding the journeys, and it extremely probable that some of the most characteristic features belong to much later periods than the latter half of the second millennium B.C., the age to which they are ascribed (e.g. the poem on the fall of Heshbon, Num. xxi. 27-30). The account of Balaam (q.v.), the son of Beor, the soothsayer, of the children of Ammon (xxii. 5, some MSS.), or of Aram or of Edom (see Cheyne, Ency. Bib., col. 3685 and below), is noteworthy for the prophecies of Israel's future supremacy; but he is passed over in the historical sketch, Deut. ii.; and even the allusion, ibid. xxiii. 4 seq., belongs to a context which on independent grounds appears to be a later insertion. Israel's idolatry in Moab is supplemented by a later story of the vengeance upon Midian ()oxv. 6-18, xxxi.). In Joshua xiii. 21 the latter is associated with both Sihon and Balaam, and in some obscure manner Midian and Moab are connected in Num. xxii. 4-7 (cf. xxv. 18, xxxi. 8). An Edomite list of kings includes Bela (cf. Bil'am, i.e. Balaam), son of Beor, and states that a Hadad, son of Bedad, smote Midian in the field of Moab (Gen.xxxvi. 32, 35) ; these events, assigned to an early age, have been connected with the appearance of Moabite power west of the Jordan in the days of the ' judge " Ehud (q.v.). However, all that is recorded in Num. xxii. sqq., together with various legal and other matter, now severs the accounts of the Israelite occupation of east Jordan (Num. xxi. 33-35, xxxii. 39-42). For full details see G. B. Gray, " Numbers " (Internat. Critical Comment.). Although Moab and Ammon were " brothers," their history was usually associated with that of Judah and Israel respectively, and naturally depended to a considerable extent upon these two and their mutual relations. Jephthah (q.v.), one of the Israelite " judges," delivered Gilead from Ammon, who resumed the attack under its king Nahash, only to be repulsed by Saul (q.v.). Ehud (q.v.) of Benjamin or Ephraim freed Israel from the Moabite oppression. To the first great kings, Saul and David, are ascribed conquests over Moab, Ammon and Edom. The Judaean David, for his part, sought to cultivate friendly relations with Ammon, and tradition connects him closely with Moab. His son Solomon contracted marriages with women of both states (r Kings xi. 5, 7), thus introducing into Jerusalem cults which were not put down until almost at the close of the monarchy (2 Kings xxiii. 13). In the 9th century B.C. the two states appear in more historical surroundings, and the discovery of a lengthy Moabite inscription lips thrown valuable light upon contemporary conditions. This inscription, now in the Louvre, was found at Dhiban, the biblical Dibon, in 1868 by the Rev. F. Klein, a representative of the Church Missionary Society stationed at Jerusalem. It contains a record of the successes gained by the Moabite king Mesha against Israel.' Omri (q.v.) had previously seized a number of Moabite cities north of the Arnon, and for forty years the Moabite national god Chemosh was angry with his land. At length he roused Mesha; and Moab, which had evidently retreated southwards towards Edom, now began to take reprisals. " The men of Gad had dwelt in the land of `Ataroth from of old; and the king of Israel built `Ataroth for himself." Mesha took the city, slew its people in honour of Chemosh, and dragged before the god the altar-hearth (or the priests?) of D-v-d-h (apparently a divine name, but curiously similar to David). Next Chemosh roused Mesha against the city of Nebo. It fell with its thousands, for the king had "devoted" it to the deity `Ashtar-Chemosh. Yahweh had been worshipped there, and his . . . (? vessels, or perhaps the same doubtful word as above) were dragged before the victorious Chemosh. With the help of these and other victories (at Jahaz, Aroer, &c.), Moab recovered its territory, fortified its cities, supplied them with cisterns, and Mesha built a great sanctuary to his god. The inscription enumerates many places known elsewhere (Isa. xv.; Jer. xlviii.), but although it mentions the "men of Gad," makes no allusion to the Israelite tribe Reuben, whose seat lay in the district (Num. xxxii.; Josh. xiii. 15-23; see REUBEN). The revolt will have followed Ahab's death (see 2 Kings i. 1) and apparently led to the unsuccessful attempt by Jehoram to recover the lost ground (ibid. iii.). The story of Jehoram in 2 Kings iii. now gives prominence to Elisha, his wonders, his hostility to the ruling dynasty and his regard for the aged Jehoshaphat of Judah. Following other synchronisms, the Septuagint (Lucian's recension) names Ahaziah of Judah; from 2 Kings i. 17, the reigning king could only have been Jehoram's namesake. The king of Edom appears as an ally of Israel and Judah (contrast 1 Kings xxii. 47; 2 Kings viii. 20), and hostile to Moab (comp. above, and the obscure allusion in Amos ii, 1-2). But the king of Moab's attempt to break through unto him suggests that in the original story (there are several signs of revision) Moab and Edom were in alliance. In this case the object of Jehoram's march round the south of the Dead Sea was to drive a wedge between them, and the result hints at an Israelite disaster. Singularly enough, Jehoram of Judah suffered some defeat from Edom at Zair, an unknown name for which Ewald suggested (the Moabite) Zoar (2 Kings viii. 21; see JEHORAM). Moab thus retained its independence, even harrying Israel with marauding bands (2 Kings xiii. 20), while Ammon was ' See edition by M. Lidzbarski, Altsemitische Texte, Bd. I. (Giessen, 1907) ; also G. A. Cooke, North Semitic Inscr.,'pp 1-14, and the articles on Moab " in Hasting's Diet. Bible (by W. H. Bennett), and " Mesha " in Ency. Bib. (by S. R. Driver). perpetrating cruelties upon Gilead (Am. i. 13 sqq.). But under Jeroboam II. (q.v.) Israelite territory was extended to the Wadi of the 'Arabah or wilderness (probably south end of the Dead Sea), and again Moab suffered. If Isa. xv. seq. is to be referred to this age, its people fled southwards and appealed for protection to the overlord of Edom (see UzzIAH). During the Assyrian supremacy, its king Salamannu (probably not the Shalman of Hos. x. 14) paid tribute to Tiglath-Pileser IV., but joined the short-lived revolt with Judah and Philistia in 711. When Sennacherib besieged Jerusalem in 701, Kamus(Chemosh)-nadab also submitted, and subsequently both Esarhaddon and Assurbani-pal mention the Moabite king Muguri (" the Egyptian," but cf. MIZRAIM) among their tributaries. In fact, during the reign of Assur-bani-pal Moab played the vassal's part in helping to repulse the invasion of the Nabayati and nomads of Kedar, a movement which made itself felt from Edom nearly as far as Damascus. It had its root in the revolt of Samas-sumyukin (Shamash-shun-ukin) of Babylonia, and coming at a time immediately preceding the disintegration of the Assyrian Empire, may have had most important consequences for Judah and the east of the Jordan.' (See PALESTINE: History.) Moab shares with Ammon and Edom in the general obscurity which overhangs later events. If it made inroads upon Judah (2 Kings xxiv. 2), it joined the coalition against Babylonia (Jer. xxvii. 3); if it is condemned for its untimely joy at the fall of Jerusalem (Isa. xxv. 9 seq.; Jer. xlviii.; Ezek. xxv. 8-11; Zeph. ii. 8-Io), it had offered a harbour to fugitive Jews (Jer. xl. II). The dates of the most significant passages are unfortunately uncertain. If Sanballat the Horonite was really a native of the Moabite Horonaim, he finds an appropriate place by the side of Tobiah the Ammonite and Gashmu the Arabian among the strenuous opponents of Nehemiah. Still later we find Moab part of the province of Arabia in the hands of fresh tribes from the Arabian desert (Jos. Ant. xiii. 13, 5); and, with the loss of its former independent power, the name survives merely as a type (Dan. xi. 41). (See JEws; NABATAEANS.) A populous land commanding the trade routes from Arabia to Damascus, rich in agricultural and pastoral wealth, Moab, as Mesha's inscription proves, had already reached a high state of civilization by the 9th century B.C. Its language differed only dialectically from Hebrew; its ideas and religion were very closely akin to the Israelite, and it may be assumed that they shared in common many features of culture? The relation of Chemosh, the national god, to his " children " (Num. xxi. 29) was that of Yahweh to Israel (see especially Judges xi. 24). He had his priests ( Jer. xlviii. 7), and Mesha, perhaps himself a priest-king, receives the oracles direct or through the medium of his prophets. The practice of devoting, banning or annihilating city or community was both Moabite and Israelite (cf. above, also Deut. ii. 34, iii. 6, xx. 10-2o; 2 Chron. xxv. 12, &c.), and human sacrifice, offered as an exceptional gift to Chemosh in 2 Kings iii. 27, in Israel to Molech (q.v.), was a rite once less rare. Apart from the religious cult suggested in the name Mount Nebo, there were local cults of the Baal of Peor and the Baal of Meon, and Mesha's allusion to 'Ashtar-Chemosh, a compound deity, has been taken to point to a corresponding consort whose existence might naturally be expected upon other grounds (see ASTARTE). The fertility of Moab, the wealth of wine and corn, the temperate climate and the enervating heat supply conditions which directed the form of cult. Nature-worship, as in Israel, lay at the foundation, and the impure rites of Shittim and Baal-Peor (Num. xxxi. 16; Ps. cvi. 28) would not materially differ from practices which Israelite prophets were called upon to condemn. Much valuable evidence is to be obtained also from the survival of ancient forms of cult in Moab See G. Smith, Ashurbanipal (p. 288, cyl. A. viii. 51, B. viii. 37); L. B. Paton, Syria and Palestine, p. 269 seq. ; R. F. Harper, Ass. and Bab. Lit., pp. 118 sqq.; H. Winckler, Keilinschr. u. das alte Test., 3rd ed., p. 151. z Excavation alone can supplement the scanty information which the present evidence furnishes. For a representation of a Moabite warrior (-god ?), see G. Perrot and C. Chipiez, Art in Phoenicia, ii. 45 seq.and east of the Jordan (e.g. sacrifices on the house roofs) and from a survey of epigraphical and other data from the Greek, Roman, and later periods, allowance being made for contamination. The whole question deserves careful investigation in the light of comparative religion' The relationship felt between Israel and the external states (Moab, Edom, and Ammon) is entirely justified. It extends intermittently throughout the history, and certain complicated features in the traditions of the southern tribes point to affinities with Moab which find a parallel in the traditions of David (see RUTH) and in the allusions to intercourse between Moab and Benjamin (1 Chron. viii. 8) or Judah (ibid. iv. 21 seq.). But the obscure historical background of the references makes it uncertain whether the exclusiveness of orthodox Judaism (Neh. xiii. 1-3; cf. Deut. xxiii. 3-6; Ezra ix. I, 12) was imposed upon an earlier catholicity, or represented only one aspect of religious spirit, or was succeeded by a more tolerant attitude. Evidence for the last-mentioned has been found in the difficult narrative in Josh. xxii. But Israel remained a great power in religious history while Moab disappeared. It is true that Moab was continuously hard pressed by desert hordes; the exposed condition of the land is emphasized by the chains of ruined forts and castles which even the Romans were compelled to construct. The explanation of the comparative insignificance of Moab, however, is not to be found in purely topographical considerations. Nor can it be sought in political history, since Israel and Judah suffered as much from external movements as Moab itself. The explanation is to be found within Israel itself, in factors which succeeded in re-shaping existing material and in imprinting upon it a durable stamp, and these factors, as biblical tradition recognizes, are to be found in the work of the prophets. See the articles on Moab in Hastings's Dict. Bible (W. H. Bennett), Ency. Bib. (G. A. Smith and Wellhausen), and Hauck's Realencyklo- rdie (F. Buhl) with their references; also the popular description W. Libbey and F. E. Hoskins, Jordan Valley and Petra (1905), and the very elaborate and scientific works by R. E. Briinnow and A. von Domaszewski, Die Provincia Arabia (1904-1905), and A. Musil, Arabia Pelraea (1907-1908). Mention should be made of the mosaic map of Palestine found at Medaba, dating perhaps from the 5th century A.D.; for this, see A. Jacoby, Das geograph. Mosaik von M. (1905), and P. Palmer and Guthe (1906). For language and epigraphy see NABATAEANS, SEMITIC LANGUAGES; for topography, &c., PALESTINE; and for the later history, JEWS. (S. A. C.) MO'ALLAKAT (MU'ALLAQAT or MU'ALLAQAT). Al-Mo'allagat is the title of a group of seven longish Arabic poems, which have come down to us from the time before Islam. The name signifies " the suspended " (pl.), the traditional explanation being that these poems were hung up by the Arabs on or in the Ka'ba at Mecca. The oldest passage known to the present writer where this is stated occurs in the 'Iqd of the Spanish Arab, Ibn 'Abd-Rabbihi (A.D. 860-940), Bulaq ed. of 1293 A.H. vol. iii. p. 116 seq. We read there: " The Arabs had such an interest in poetry, and valued it so highly, that they took seven long pieces selected from the ancient poetry, wrote them in gold on pieces of Coptic linen folded up, and hung them up ('allaqat) on the curtains which covered the Ka'ba. Hence we speak of `the golden poem of Amra'al Qais,' `the golden poem of Zuhair.' The number of the golden poems is seven; they are also called `the suspended' (al-Mo'allagat)." Similar statements are found in later Arabic works. But against this we have the testimony of a contemporary of Ibn 'Abd-Rabbihi, the grammarian Nahhas (d. A.D. 949), who says in his commentary on the Mo'allagat: "As for the assertion that they were hung up in [sic] the Ka'ba, it is not known to any of those who have handed down ancient poems. " 4 This cautious scholar is unquestionably right in rejecting a story so utterly unauthenticated. The customs of the Arabs before Mahomet ' See W. R. Smith, Religion of the Semites (2nd ed.), which may be supplemented by the scattered gleanings in Clermont-Ganneau's Recueil d'archeologie orientale; and more especially by P. Antonin Jaussin's valuable monograph, Coutumes des Arabes an pays de Moab (Paris, 1908). (See also HEBREW RELIGION.) Ernst Frenkel, An-Nahhi s' Commentar zur Mu'allaga des Imruul-Qais (Halle, 1876), p. viii. are pretty accurately known to us; we have also a mass of information about the affairs of Mecca at the time when the Prophet arose; but no trace of this or anything like it is found in really good and ancient authorities. We hear, indeed, of a Meccan hanging up a spoil of battle on the Ka'ba (Ibn Hisham, ed. Wustenfeld, p. 431). Less credible is the story of an important document being deposited in that sanctuary (ibid. p. 230), for this looks like an instance of later usages being transferred to pre-Islamic times. But at all events this is quite a different thing from the hanging up of poetical manuscripts. To account for the disappearance of the Mo'allaqat from the Ka'ba we are told, in a passage of late origin (De Sacy, Chrestom. ii. 48o), that they were taken down at the capture of Mecca by the Prophet. But in that case we should expect some hint of the occurrence in the circumstantial biographies of the Prophet, and in the works on the history of Mecca; and we find no such thing. That a series of long poems was written at all at that remote period is improbable in the extreme. Up to a time when the art of writing had become far more general than it was before the spread of Islam, poems were never—or very rarely—written, with the exception, perhaps, of epistles in poetic form. The diffusion of poetry was exclusively committed to oral tradition. Moreover, it is quite inconceivable that there should have been either a gild or a private individual of such acknowledged taste, or of such influence, as to bring about a consensus of opinion in favour of certain poems. Think of the mortal offence which the canonization of one poet must have given to his rivals and their tribes. It was quite another thing for an individual to give his own private estimate of the respective merits of two poets who had appealed to him as umpire, or for a number of poets to appear at large gatherings, such as the fair of `Ogaz (Okad) as candidates for the place of honour in the estimation of the throng which listened to their recitations. No better is the modifications of the legend, which we find, at a much later period, in the Moqaddima of Ibn Khaldun (A.D. 1332-1406), who tells us that the poets themselves hung up their poems on the Ka'ba (ed. Paris iii. 357)• In short, this legend, so often retailed by Arabs, and still more frequently by Europeans, must be entirely rejected.' The story is a pure fabrication based on the name " suspended." The word was taken in its literal sense; and as these poems were prized by many above all others in after times, the same opinion was attributed to " the [ancient] Arabs," who were supposed to have given effect to their verdict in the way already described. A somewhat simpler version, also given by Nahhas in the passage already cited, is as follows: " Most of the Arabs were accustomed to meet at `Ogaz and recite verses; then, if the king was pleased with any poem, he said, ` Hang it up, and preserve it among my treasures.' " But, not to mention other difficulties, there was no king of all the Arabs; and it is hardly probable that any Arabian king attended the fair at `Ogaz. The story that the poems were written in gold has evidently originated in the name " the golden poems " (literally " the gilded "), a figurative expression for excellence. We may interpret the designation " suspended " on the same principle. It seems to mean those (poems) which have been raised, on account of their value, to a specially honourable position. Another derivative of the same root is 'ilo, "precious thing." A clearer significance attaches to another name some-times used for these poems—assumut, " the strings of pearls." The comparison of artificially elaborated poems to these strings is extremely apt. Hence it became so popular that, even in ordinary prose, to speak in rhythmical form is called simply naym—" to string pearls." The selection of these seven poems can scarcely have been ' Doubts had already been expressed by various scholars, when Hengstenberg—rigid conservative as he was in theology—openly challenged it, and Sprenger (Das Leben des Mohammad, i. 14, Berlin, 1861) declared it a fable. Since then it has been controverted at length, in Noldeke's Beitrage zur Kenntniss der Poesie der alten Araber (Hanover, 1864), p. xvii. sqq. Ahlwardt concurs in this conclusion; see his Bemerkungen 'fiber die Aechtheit der alien arabischen Gedichte (1872), pp. 25 seq.the work of the ancient Arabs at all. It is much more likely that we owe it to some connoisseur of a later date. Now Nahhas says expressly in the same passage: " The true view of the matter is this: when Ilammad ar-Rawiya (Ilammad the Rhapsodist) saw how little men cared for poetry, he collected these seven pieces, urged people to study them, and said to them: ` These are the [poems] of renown.' " And this agrees with all our other information. Ilammad (who lived in the first three quarters of the 8th century A.D.) was perhaps of all men the one who knew most Arabic poetry by heart. The recitation of poems was his profession. To such a rhapsodist the task of selection is in every way appropriate; and it may be assumed that he is responsible also for the somewhat fantastic title of " the suspended." There is another fact which seems to speak in favour of Ilammad as the compiler of this work. He was a Persian by descent, but a client of the Arab tribe, Bakr ibn Wail. For this reason, we may suppose, he not only received into the collection a poem of the famous poet Tarafa, of the tribe of Bakr, but also that of another Bakrite, IIarith, who, though not accounted a bard of the highest rank, had been a prominent chieftain; while his poem could serve as a counterpoise to another also received—the celebrated verses of {larith's con-temporary `Amr, chief of the Taghlib, the rival brethren of the Bakr. `Amr praises the Taghlib in glowing terms: IIarith, in a similar vein, extolls the Bakr—ancestors of Ilammad's patrons. The collection of Ilammad appears to have consisted of the same seven poems which are found in our modern editions, composed respectively by Amra'al-Qais, Tarafa, Zuhair, Labid, 'Antara ibn Shaddad, `Amr ibn Kulthum, and Ilarith ibn Ijilliza. These are enumerated both by Ibn `Abd-Rabbihi, and, on the authority of the older philologists, by Nahhas; and all subsequent comTentators seem to follow them. We have, however, evidence of the existence, at a very early period, of a slightly different arrangement. Certainly we cannot now say, on the testimony of the Jamharat ash `dr al `Arab, that two of the most competent ancient authorities on Arabic poetry, Mofadelal (d. c. 790) and Abu `Ubaida (d. A.D. 824, at a great age), had already assigned to the " Seven " (viz. " the seven Mo'allaqat ") a poem each of Nabigha and A'sha in place of those of `Antara and Harith. For meanwhile it has been discovered that the compiler of the above-mentioned work—who, in order to deceive the reader, issued it under a false name—is absolutely untrustworthy. But the learned Ibn Qotaiba (9th century A.D.), in his book Of Poetry and Poets, mentions as belonging to the " Seven " not only the poem of `Amr, which has invariably been reckoned among the Mo'allaqat (ed. de Goeje, p. 120), but also a poem of `Abid ibn Abras (ibid. 144). In place of which poem he read this we do not know; and we are equally ignorant as to whether he counted other pieces than those indicated above among the seven. Now Nabigha and A`sha enjoyed greater celebrity than any of the poets represented in the Mo'allaqat, with the exception of Amra'al-Qais, and it is therefore not surprising that scholars, of a somewhat later date, appended a poem by each of these to the Mo'allaqat, without intending by this to make them an integral part of that work. This is clear, for instance, from the introductory words of Tibrizi (d. A.D. 1109) to his commentary on the Mo'allaqat. Appended to this he gives a commentary to a poem of Nabigha, to one of A`sha, and moreover one to that poem of `Abid which, as we have just seen, Ibn Qotaiba had counted among the seven. It is a pure misunderstanding when Ibn Khaldun (loc. cit.) speaks of nine Mo`allagat; and we ought hardly to lay any stress on the fact that he mentions not only Nabigha and A`sha, but also `Algama, as Mo'allaqapoets. He was probably led to this by a delusive recollection of the Collection of the " Six Poets," in which were included these three, together with the three Mo`aliaga-poets, Amra'al-Qais, Zuhair and Tarafa. The lives of these poets were spread over a period of more than a hundred years. The earliest of the seven was AMRA'ALQAls (q.v.), regarded by many as the most illustrious of Arabian poets. His exact date cannot be determined; but probably the best part of his career fell within the midst of the 6th century. He was a scion of the royal house of the tribe Kinda, which lost its power at the death of King Harith ibn `Amr in the year 529.1 The poet's royal father, Hojr, by some accounts a son of this Harith, was killed by a Bedouin tribe, the Banu Asad. The son led an adventurous life as a refugee, now with one tribe, now with another, and appears to have died young. The anecdotes related of him—which, however, are very untrustworthy in detail—as well as his poems, imply that the glorious memory of his house and the hatred it inspired were still comparatively fresh, and therefore recent. A contemporary of Amra'al-Qais was `ABID IBN ABRAs, one poem of whose, as we have seen, is by some authorities reckoned among the collection. He belonged to the Banu Asad, and is fond of vaunting the heroic dead of his tribe—the murder of Hojr— in opposition to the victim's son, the great poet. The Mo'allaqa of `AMR hurls defiance against the king of Hira, `Amr son of Mundhir, who reigned from the summer of 554 till 568 or 569, and was afterwards slain by our poet.2 This prince is also addressed by HARITH in his Mo'allaqa. Of TARAFA, who is said to have attained no great age, a few satirical verses have been preserved, directed against this same king. This agrees with the fact that a grandson of the Qais ibn Khalid, mentioned as a rich and influential man in Taraf a's Mo'allaqa (v. 8o or 81), figured at the time of the battle of Dhu-Qar, in which the tribe Bakr routed a Persian army. This battle falls between A.D. 604 and 61o.3 The Mo'allaqa of `ANTARA and that of ZUIIAIR contain allusions to the feuds of the kindred tribes `Abs and Dhobyan. Famous as these contests were, their time cannot accurately be ascertained. But the date of the two poets can be approximately determined from other data. Ka'b, son of Zuhair, composed first a satire, and then, in the year 63o, a eulogy on the Prophet; another son, Bujair, had begun, somewhat sooner, to celebrate Mahomet. `Antara killed the grandfather of Ahnaf ibn Qais, who died at an advanced age in A.D. 686 or 687; he outlived `Abdallah ibn Simma, whose brother Duraid was a very old man when he fell in battle against the Prophet (early in A.D. 63o); and he had communications with Ward, whose son, the poet `Orwa, may perhaps have survived the flight of Mahomet to Medina. From. all these indications we may place the productive period of both poets in the end of the 6th century. The historical background of `Antara's Mo'allaqa lies somewhat earlier than that of Zuhair's. To the same period appears to belong the poem of `ALQAMA, which, as we have seen, Ibn Khaldun reckons amongst the Mo 'allaqat. This too is certainly the date of NABIGHA, who was one of the most distinguished of Arabic poets. For in the poem often reckoned as a Mo'allaqa, as in many others, he addresses himself to No`man, king of Hira, who reigned in the two last decades of the 6th century. The same king is mentioned as a contemporary in one of 'Alqama's poems. The poem of A`SHA, sometimes added to the Mo'allaqat, contains an allusion to the battle of Dhu Qar (under the name " Battle of Ilinw," v. 62). This poet, not less famous than Nabigha, lived to compose a poem in honour of Mahomet, and died not long before A.D. 630.
End of Article: MOAB

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