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(full name, Afzal od-Din Badel Ebrahim ebn Ali Khaqani Shirvani). Born 1120 in Shemakha; died 1199 in Tabriz. Azerbaijani poet and thinker.
Khaqani, who studied the art of poetry under Abu al-Ala Ganjevi, achieved literary renown early in life and was invited to the court of the ruler of Shirvan, the khaqan. Although he wrote qasidas under the pen name “Khaqani” (literally, “belonging to the khaqan”), he essentially despised the role of panegyrist. On his way to Mecca in 1156, Khaqani traveled about the Middle East; upon his return to Shirvan he wrote a philosophic qasida on the ruins of the ancient capital of the Sassanids, al-Medain (Ctesiphon). He was captured in an attempt to leave Shirvan secretly and, on orders from Shah Akhsitan, was thrown into prison at Shabiran in 1159. After being released, Khaqani again set off on his journey; upon returning to his homeland he took up residence in Tabriz, where he spent the rest of his life.
Khaqani bequeathed a rich legacy in Persian and Arabic, most notably his lyric poetry. His lyrics, which are devoted to the theme of love imbued with moral beauty, express a striving for freedom and joy. Khaqani developed and enriched the ghazal and qasida. He broke new ground by creating works of a social and philosophic tenor, by expanding the thematic boundaries of traditional poetry, and by refining the technical resources of poetry. An important part of Khaqani’s divan are his qasidas, which expose the feudal rulers and register a protest against social injustice and the arbitrary use of power. The rebellious spirit of the poet and thinker is expressed with particular power in a habsiyah (jail ballad) written in prison.
The narrative poem Gift of the Two Iraqs (completed 1157), which protests against the unequal distribution of wealth, embodies Khaqani’s impressions of life in the Middle East and is one of the finest Middle Eastern epic poems. Highly autobiographical, it reflects the sociopolitical conditions of the age.
Scholars from the 13th century on have recognized Khaqani’s greatness as a poet and have pointed to his extensive influence on the poetry of the Middle East.
WORKSDiwan-i Khaqani Shirvani. Tehran, A.H. 1316 (A.D. 1937).
Tuhfat al-Araqayn. Tehran, A.H. 1333 (A.D. 1954).
Sechilmish äsärläri. Baku, 1956.
In Russian translation:
Izbr. proizv. Baku, 1959.
Lirika. Moscow, 1967.
[“Stikhi.”] In Poety Azerbaidzhana. Leningrad, 1970.
REFERENCESZaleman, K. Chetverostishiia Khagani. St. Petersburg, 1875.
Bertel’s, E. Ocherk istoriipersidskoi literatury. Leningrad, 1928.
Boldyrev, A. N. “Dva shirvanskikh poeta—Nizami i Khagani.” In Pamiatniki epokhi Rustaveli. Leningrad, 1938.
Marr, Iu. Stat’i isoobshcheniia, vol. 2. Moscow-Leningrad, 1939.
Istoriia persidskoi i tadzhikskoi literatury. Edited by Jan Rypka. Moscow, 1970. Pages 200–07.
Hammer, J. von. Geschichte der schónen Redekünste Persiens. Vienna, 1818.
Minorsky, V. Khagani and Andronicus Comnenus: Reprinted From the BSOAS. 1945.
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