By Reynold A. Nicholson
The Arabs in the course of 1000 years or extra produced one of many richest and such a lot vast literatures of the area, embracing wonderful poetry (of the fierce wasteland lifestyles both with the sophistication of royal courts), belles lettres (learned essays, satires, de arte amoris), spiritual, mystical and philosophical writings, and large compendia of heritage, biography and geography. For sixty years, the simplest account in English of this sizeable output has been, by way of common consent, R. A. Nicholson's Literary historical past of the Arabs; its supremacy will lengthy stay unchallenged. That it's a ebook jam-packed with erudition and excessive serious judgement is going with out announcing; its writer is usually a poet-translator of infrequent excellence.
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Extra info for Literary History Of The Arabs
Of marble did I:Iimyar construct it, so high, The waters recoiled when to reach it they tried. It watered their acres and vineyards, and hour By hour, did a portion among them divide. So lived they in fortune and plenty until Therefrom turned away by a ravaging tide. '' 1 The poet's reference to J::limyar is not historically accurate. It was only after the destruction of the Dyke and the dispersion of the Sab;eans who built iu01 that the J:Iimyarites, with their capital ~afar( at a later period, San'a) became the rulers of Yemen.
CHAPTER II THE HISTORY AND LEGENDS OF THE PAGAN ARABS Mui;:IAMMADANS include the whole period of Arabian history from the earliest times down to the establishment of Islam in the term ai-Jdhiliyya, which was used by The Age of • , Barbarism Muhammad tn four passages of the Koran and 1S (al-Jahillyya). ' Goldziher, however, has shown conclusively that the meaning attached to jahl (whence Jdhiliyya is derived) by the Pre-islamic poets is not so much 'ignorance' as ' wildness,' 'savagery,' and that its true antithesis is not 'ilm (knowledge), but rather bilm, which denotes the moral reasonableness of a civilised man.
Now a marvellous tale will I recite; Trust me to know and tell it aright I Once on a time was a boy of Asd Who became the king of the land at last, Born in Hamdan, a villager ; The name of that village was Khamir. This lad in the pride of youth defied His friends, and they with scorn replied. None guessed his worth till he was grown Ready to spring. 1 Von Kremer, Die Sudarabische Sage, p. vii of the Introduction. , p. 78 sqq. lte ueber die Volkssa~e 'Voll Jemen, p. , is corrupt in some places and incorrect in others.