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Bible Encyclopedias

1911 Encyclopedia Britannica

Abu Tammam

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ABU TAMMAM [I.Iabib ibn Aus] (807-846), Arabian poet, was, like Buhturi, of the tribe of Tai (though some say he was the son of a Christian apothecary named Thaddeus, and that his genealogy was forged). He was born in Jasim (Josem), a place to the north-east of the Sea of Tiberias or near Manbij (Hierapolis). He seems to have spent his youth in Homs, though, according to one story, he was employed during his boyhood in selling water in a mosque in Cairo. His first appearance as a poet was in Egypt, but as he failed to make a living there he went to Damascus and thence to Mosul. From this place he made a visit to the governor of Armenia, who awarded him richly. After 833 he lived mostly in Bagdad, at the court of the caliph Mo`tasim. From Bagdad he visited Khorassan, where he enjoyed the favour of 'Abdallah ibn Tahir. About 845 he was in Ma'arrat unNu`man, where he met Buhturi. He died in Mosul. Abu Tammam is best known in literature as the compiler of the collection of early poems known as the Hamasa. Two other collections of a similar nature are ascribed to him. His own poems have been somewhat neglected owing to the success of his compilations, but they enjoyed great repute in his lifetime, and were distinguished for the purity of their style, the merit of the verse and the excellent manner of treating subjects. His poems ( Diwan ) were published in Cairo (A.D. 1875).

See Life in Ibn Khallikan's Biographical Dictionary, trans. by M`G. de Slane (Paris and London, 1842), vol. i. pp. 348 ff.; and in the Kitab ul-Aghani (Book of Songs) of Abulfaraj (Bulaq, 1869), vol. xv. pp. 10o-108. (G. W. T.)

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Bibliography Information
Chisholm, Hugh, General Editor. Entry for 'Abu Tammam'. 1911 Encyclopedia Britanica. 1910.

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