From volume II of the work.
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ANTARA, or. as he is usually called, Antar, an early Arabian warrior and poet, famous as the author of one of the poems hung up in the Kaaba at Mecca, and as the hero of a romance which bears somewhat the same relation to Arabic literature which the Arthurian legend bears to our own. He was the son of Shedad-el-Absi, a warrior in the army of Zoheir, by Zabuba, a negro slave who had been captured in some plundering expedition; and, if we can trust the Arabian romancist, he bore strong evidence of his negro origin. He spent his youth in servitude and neglect, but soon became known for his strength and high - handedness. Before long, while yet a slave, he fell in love with his cousin, the beautiful Abla, whose praises are still preserved at Mecca, but at the same time had the misfortune to incur the hate of his father s wife, Shameeah. A number, however, of happy opportunities presenting themselves, he showed such extra ordinary prowess against some hostile tribes, that his father was constrained to join in the public appreciation of his services, and to recognise him as his son. He now gradu ally rose in favour, and held for long a position of the greatest influence among his people, filling the surrounding country with the fame equally of his song and his sword. In a great war between two rival tribes, which lasted forty years, he is said to have played a very prominent part. The time and manner of his death are matter of dispute, Ibn Doreid making him be slain by Wasr-ben-Jaber, while, according to Abu Obeida, he died a natural death when- well stricken in years. Wherever the Arabic language is- known his fame is still green; and frequent references are made to Chubli Antar, Istabli Antar, Antar s house and Antar s stable. By whom the romantic account of \\\s life was originally written is far from being satisfactorily decided; but it is generally ascribed to Asmai, who lived at the court of Harun-al-Rashid. It is composed in rhyth mic prose, interspersed with fragments of verse, many of which are attributed to Antar himself. The style is remark ably pure, and a picture is afforded of early Arabian life that is equally graphic and minute. The romance, which in its fuller form extends to fifty or sixty MS. volumes, was first brought under European notice in 1802 by Von Hammer r who, after repeated perusal, spoke of it as surpassing the Arabian Nights in interest and beauty. Sir William Jones had already written in the highest terms about a part of it which had fallen in his way. In 1820 Terrick Hamil ton, brother of W. Hamilton, the author of jEgyptiaca, published a translation of a portion of it from a condensed Syrian manuscript obtained at Aleppo; and this gave occasion for a number of articles on Antar in our periodical literature. (See Von Hammer, Mines de F Orient, 1802; Arnold s Moallakat, Leipsic, 1850; Ahlwardt s Divans of Six Ancient Arabic Poets, London, 1870; Kitto s Journal of Sacred Lit., 1850.)