Die "Marthiya" des Aʿshā Bāhila auf seinen Halbbruder al-Muntashir: Eine Thematische Untersuchung

  • Gert Borg


In some medieval anthologies of classical Arabic poetry we find a poem by the pre-Islamic poet Aʿshā Bāhila, who probably died in the beginning of the seventh century AD. This widely appreciated poem is a dirge in commemoration of his half-brother al-Muntashir b. Wahb, who died in battle. In this article, the poem is analysed and evaluated, and from the number of textual variants it becomes clear that both the text and the verse order are severely damaged. The number of transmissions of this poetic text can effectively be limited to three. A more essential factor that contributed to the dismembering of the text is that it may have become entangled with another dirge, composed by the sister of the deceased, Daʿjāʾ ukht al-Muntashir. Based on our knowledge of structure and thematic development of dirges composed by women, we are able to dissect these poems, and, in the process, we can ‘reconstruct’ both.