1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Abu Tammam

ABŪ TAMMĀM [Ḥabīb ibn Aus] (807–846), Arabian poet, was, like Buḥturī, of the tribe of Ṭāi (though some say he was the son of a Christian apothecary named Thaddeus, and that his genealogy was forged). He was born in Jāsim (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 Moʽtasim. From Bagdad he visited Khorassan, where he enjoyed the favour of ʽAbdallah ibn Ṭāhir. About 845 he was in Maʽarrat un-Nuʽmān, where he met Buḥturī. He died in Mosul. Abu Tammām is best known in literature as the compiler of the collection of early poems known as the Hamāsa (q.v.). 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 (Diwān) 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 Kitāb ul-Aghāni (Book of Songs) of Abulfaraj (Bulaq, 1869), vol. xv. pp. 100-108.  (G. W. T.)