Al-Akhtal al-Taghlibi

al-Akhtal
Born 19/640
Al-Hirah or Sergiopolis
Died 92/708
Occupation Poet
Genre Panegyric, Satire
Notable works Khaffa al-Qatîn

Ghiyath b. Ghawth b. al-Salt b. al-Tariqa al-Taghlibi, commonly known as al-Akhtal (The Loquacious), was one of the most famous Arab poets of the Umayyad period. He belonged to the Banu Taghlib tribe, and was, like his fellow-tribesmen, a Christian[1].

Biography

al-Akhtal al-Taghlibî was one of the great panegyrists of the Umayyad period. He became famous for his satires and panegyrics in a period when poetry was an important political instrument. al-Akhtal was introduced to Yazîd b. Muʿâwiyah by Ka‘b b. Ju‘ayl. He became a close friend of the crown prince. Yazîd, when he succeeded to the throne, was very kind to al-Akhtal. Although he was Christian, he was favoured by leading Umayyad caliphs. All his life al-Akhtal followed the reigning Umayyad Dynasty[2].

He lauded in his panegyrics Yazîd, ʿAbd al-Malik b. Marwân and al-Walîd b. ʿAbd al-Malik and in his satires attacked all opponents of the caliphs. al-Akhtal became official poet to the caliph ‘Abd al-Malik, to whom he dedicated a number of panegyrics. But he fell into disfavour under Walîd I. The pre-Islamic bedouin tradition is always apparent in the poems of al-Akhtal and his panegyrics show the continued vitality of this tradition. The panegyrics of al-Akhtal acquired a classical status. His poetry was accepted by critics as source of pure Arabic[3].

Of al-Akhtal's private life few details are known, save that he was married and divorced, and that he spent part of his time in Damascus, part with his tribe in Mesopotamia. In the Taghlib–Qays war he participated on the battlefield, as well as by his satires.[4] In the literary strife between his contemporaries Jarir ibn Atiyah and Farazdaq, Akhtal was induced to support the latter poet. Al-Akhtal, Jarir and Farazdaq form a trio celebrated among the Arabs, but as to superiority there is dispute. Abu ʿUbaidah placed him highest of the three on the ground that among his poems there were ten flawless qasidas, and ten more nearly so, and that this could not be said of the other two.[4]

Works

The Poetry of al-Akhtal has been published at the Jesuit press in Beirūt, 1891. A full account of the poet and his times is given in H. Lammens’ Le chantre des Omiades (Paris, 1895) (a reprint from the Journal Asiatique for 1894).[4]

References

  1. Esat, AYYILDIZ (2017). "El-Ahtal'ın Emevilere methiyeleri" (PDF). Ankara Üniversitesi Dil ve Tarih-Coğrafya Fakültesi Dergisi - DTCF Dergisi. 57 (2): 936–960. doi:10.1501/dtcfder_0000001545. ISSN 2459-0150.
  2. Esat, AYYILDIZ (2017). "El-Ahtal'ın Emevilere methiyeleri" (PDF). Ankara Üniversitesi Dil ve Tarih-Coğrafya Fakültesi Dergisi - DTCF Dergisi. 57 (2): 936–960. doi:10.1501/dtcfder_0000001545. ISSN 2459-0150.
  3. Esat, AYYILDIZ (2017). "El-Ahtal'ın Emevilere methiyeleri" (PDF). Ankara Üniversitesi Dil ve Tarih-Coğrafya Fakültesi Dergisi - DTCF Dergisi. 57 (2): 936–960. doi:10.1501/dtcfder_0000001545. ISSN 2459-0150.
  4. 1 2 3 Thatcher 1911.

Attribution:

  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Thatcher, Griffithes Wheeler (1911). "Akhtal". In Chisholm, Hugh. Encyclopædia Britannica. 1 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 456. 
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