Rethinking poetry as (anti-Crusader) propaganda


Keegan, Matthew L.

Date of creation
2023 Gregorian
Preferred title
Rethinking poetry as (anti-Crusader) propaganda English
Work type
Single work
Work manifested
Work genre
Textual work

Adult, serious


It is sometimes assumed that the poetry of the Crusader period was part of a concerted propaganda effort to rouse Muslims to fight and to legitimate Muslim rulers in the eyes of other Muslims by portraying them as ascetic, Sunni revivalists focused on Jihad. Based on samples from the Ḫarīdat al-qaṣr wa-ǧarīdat ahl al-ʿaṣr, a massive 6th/12th-century adab anthology by ʿImād al-Dīn al-Iṣfahānī, this article argues for a different understanding of both the content and the circulation of this period’s poetry. I show that poetry was not addressed to a “public,” but rather was a form of elite communication in which social identity was performed, negotiated, and consolidated. Furthermore, ʿImād al-Dīn’s anthology does not marginalize Shiʿite voices or insist on portraying rulers as ascetics. I trace the origins of these assumptions and show that levity, licentiousness, and Shiʿites were all celebrated in the poetic discourses of the 6th/12th century.

Ḫarīdat al-qaṣr wa-ǧarīdat al-ʿaṣr

al-ʿImād al-Kātib al-Aṣbahānī, Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad, 1125‒1201

This is a multi-volumes literary work, in which the author presented biographical articles for many poets from the fifth and sixth hegirian centuries. The book is considered as an appendix for the book of abū al-Maʿālī al-Ḥaẓīrī; "Zīnat al-Dahr", which is in turn an appendix for al-Bāḫarzī's "Dumiat al-Qaṣr". The later is actually an appendix for "Yatīmat al-Dahr" for al-Ṯaʿālibī, which is itself an appendix for the book "al-Bāriʿ" for Hārūn ibn ʿAlī al-Munaǧǧim. The "Ḫarīda", for that, covers the poets of the fifth and sixth centuries in general, and is not limited to a specific territory.

Single work Early work
before 597 Hegirian

Editions 9 Translations 1

Relationships with other works 9

VIAF : 755145858284023022801