The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(or arud), a system of versification that originated in Arabic poetry and spread to several countries of the Near and Middle East. The theory of aruz, first propounded in the works of the Arab philologist Khalil ibn Ahmad (eighth century), was elaborated by the later Persian theoreticians Rashid Watwata, Shams-e Qais Rāzi, and others. In aruz, the specific alternation of long and short syllables according to the law of Arabic phonetics is the rhythm-creating element in a poem. However, the system of aruz soon began to be used not only in languages with a vocalic structure similar to that of Arabic (Farsi), but also in the Turkic languages, where the vowels do not differ in length. A short syllable in aruz (“is the arbitrary symbol) is an open one with a short vowel, and a long syllable (-) is an open one with a long vowel; a 1½ syllable (--) is a closed one with a short vowel. A combination of long and short syllables forms a foot, the main element of a verse. There are eight basic feet: (1)---- (2)----(3)----(4)----(5)----(6)----- (7)----- (8)----. Different combinations of them produce 19 basic meters, seven with equal feet and 12 with varying feet. But because any basic foot of each meter can undergo a variety of changes (zihafa), the number of metric variants is substantially higher. Aruz remained in Arabic, Persian-Tadzhiki, and several Turkic literatures as the only system of versification until the 20th century, when attempts were made to introduce new meters (free verse, syllabic-tonic, and so forth).


Krymskii, A. Arabskaia literatura ν ocherkakh i obraztsakh. Moscow, 1911.
Korsh, F. Drevneishii narodnyi stikh turetskikh piemen. St. Petersburg, 1909.
Vahid Tabrizi. Jam’-imukhtasar: Traktat o poetike. Moscow, 1959.
Bloch, A. Vers und Sprache im Altarabischen. Basel, 1946.
Weil, G. Grundriss und System der altarabischen Metren. Wiesbaden, 1958.
Khanlari Parviz Natal. Tahqiqa antaqadi dar aruza farsi. Tehran, 1327 A.H. (1948).


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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