Antarah Ibn Shaddad: The Afro-Arabian Poet Storyteller

Written by Jae Jones

Africa and the land of Arabia interconnect into one another, separated mainly by the desert. People of Africa and Arabia are alike yet unlike one another in many ways. However, the two groups of people have always had in common the love of good story telling.

One of Arabia’s greatest storytellers and warriors was the legendary Antarah Ibn Shaddad. However, he was simply known as Antar and was mixed with African and Arab blood. He wrote many poems based on the great love he had for his wife Alba. In 1889, there were ovefr thirty-two volumes of The Romance of Antar published.

Antar was born of an African slave, Zabuba and an Arabian prince and warrior, Shaddad. Antar was quite intelligent and great strength as a young man. Although it was fairly obvious that Shaddad was his father. He was considered one of the “Arab crows” because of his dark black complexion. Antar gained attention and respect for himself by his remarkable personal qualities and courage in battle, excelling as an accomplished poet and a mighty warrior.

At ten years old he was known throughout his land as one of great physical strength who killed a wolf.  Antar fell in love with his father’s brother’s daughter. He began composing odes to her beauty to show his love and affection for her. Antar’s poems have been regarded as models of Arabic style. In many of Antar’s verses he reflected on virtues which he admired; personal courage, pride, love, and the grand gesture. Antar died in battle in 615 Ad but his poems can still be read today.



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About the author

Jae Jones

Jae Jones has been writing professionally for over 10 years. She holds a degree in Business Administration, and enjoys writing on various topics.

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