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(also al-Akhtal: nickname meaning “garrulous”; real name: Ghiyathibn Ghauth al-Taghlibi). Born circa 640; died circa 710. Arab poet (Iraq). Belonged to the Arab Christian tribe Taghlib. Lived in Damascus at the court of the Umayyad caliphs.
Akhtal’s rich poetic legacy includes political poetry, panegyrics to the Umayyads and to their deputies in Iraq, and brilliant polemical verses addressed to his rival poet Jarir, which brought Akhtal widespread renown in the Muslim world. In the ninth century his verses and Jarir’s rejoinders to them were combined in a manuscript collection, which was published in Beirut in 1891. Akhtal is acknowledged also as a great master of verses about wine, which are distinguished by fineness and brilliance of detail; the events depicted in them are often expanded into realistic pictures of the world and transmit personal experiences. Akhtal was influenced by pre-Islamic Arabic poetry.
WORKSDiwan: Texte arabe. Published by A. Salhani. Beirut, 1891.
Diwan. Reproduced by E. Criffini. Beirut, 1907.