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Antara Ibn Shaddad

From Academic Kids

Antara Ibn Shaddad al-'Absi عنترة بن شداد العبسي, pre-Islamic Arab hero and poet (fl. 580 CE).

Antara was the son of Shaddad, a well respected member of the tribe of 'Abs, and an African slave. The tribe treated Antara as an illegitimate son or slave, due to his color and slave lineage. Nevertheless, Antara excelled as an accomplished poet and a mighty warrior. When the tribe needed his assistance to fend off another tribe in battle, Shaddad acknowledged Antara as his son, and granted him freedom.

Antara fell in love with his cousin Abla, and sought to marry her despite his status as a slave. To secure allowance to marry, Antara had to face some challenges including getting a special kind of camel from the northern Arab kingdom of al-No'man Ibn al-Munthir Ibn Ma' al-Sama'.

Antara's poetry is well preserved, and often talks of chivalry values, courage and heroism in battle, as well as love for his cousin. It was immortalized when one of his poems was included in the Hanged Poems. The poetry's historical and cultural importance stems from its detailed descriptions of battles, armour, weapons, horses, desert and other themes from his time.

See also Arabic literature, Arabic Romance Literature

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