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Abbasid History Podcast

Dec 18, 2021

Ṣafī al-Dīn al-Ḥillī was a Shʿī poet who was born in Iraq but lived much of his life in Mardin in modern day Turkey. He was an exemplar of versatility in verse for the much neglected Mamluk period of literary history.


01:20 Ṣafī al-Dīn al-Ḥillī was born in 1278 just over a decade after the Mongol sack of Baghdad. What do we know about his socio-political context?

08:27 War and disaster forced al-Ḥillī to leave his family and move to Mardin. What do we know about his life?

13:14 Al-Ḥillī’s poetic style is described as innovative and experimental. How would you characterise his work?

19:33 Al-Ḥillī is perhaps best remembered for verses that inspired the Pan-Arab colors: "White are our deeds, black are our battles, / Green are our tents, red are our swords." How would you characterise his legacy?

25:28 Finally, let's end with a sample and translation.

This is the eleventh part of a twelve part series exploring classical Arabic poetry which can be utilised in college-level teaching programmes.

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