Table of contents:
- Subh umm Walad: Aurora from the Basque Country
- Rumaykiyya: Poetess Driving Donkeys
- Lampagia: beauty doesn't bring luck
- Toda Aznares: kinship with an Arab is not only shameful, but also useful
- Vallada: a courtesan in a country without courtesans
Women from the possessions of the Arab emirs and caliphs of Spain have always stood apart in the Arab world. Born often of two different peoples, raised at the junction of two cultures, they grew up surrounded by fierce wars and the most sophisticated poetry of their time, and sometimes blossomed in such a way that they still cannot be forgotten.
Subh umm Walad: Aurora from the Basque CountryIn the tenth century AD, the Basques fought desperately, standing like a wall in front of a wave of Arabs rushing to Europe, and every now and then they lost battles. After one of these losses, a young girl named Aurora was captured. She was enslaved and sold for a large sum in the harem of the learned Cordoba caliph al-Hakam. Twenty years older, he fell in love with a young and intelligent girl without looking back and even decided to leave her name - he only translated it into Arabic. So Aurora became Subh.
Subh became the first of the Caliph's women to give him two sons. Whether this is the case or the fact that al-Hakam II finally met a woman who was equal in mind, but he did not see a soul in Subh, consulted with her, constantly gave gifts and stopped looking at other women in the harem. He even allowed Subh to walk around the city, even with his face uncovered, since her heart is so cramped among the four walls and even in the luxurious inner garden - only on the condition that she disguises herself as a man and calls herself the male name Kafar. This gave rise to evil ridicule - they say, and the caliph was able to conceive a son only because some woman realized to impersonate a young man. Everyone knew that in his youth, the Caliph kept a real male harem.
Alas, it seems that the love of the elderly husband for the young wife was not reciprocal. Subh, shortly after the birth of her second son, was carried away by a young man named Muhammad ibn Abu Amir (he would later go down in history as al-Mansur) and began to beg for more and more lucrative positions for him from her husband. Later, when her husband died, she became, in fact, together with her lover, to rule the country with her young son.
Rumaykiyya: Poetess Driving DonkeysOnce the Cordoba caliph al-Mutamid walked with his poet friend along the river bank and threw himself with poetic impromptu, funny and biting - so it was customary to have fun. At some point, the poet hesitated with an answer, and instead of him the poem was uttered by a sonorous girlish voice. Looking around, the caliph saw the donkey driver, in whose eyes new verses were dancing.
Since the maidser's only virtue was her youth, the slave's master yielded her to the caliph for a very small sum. The Caliph took the poetess as his wife: maybe she did not shine with beauty, but how she composed! Neither before nor after al-Mutamid was so fond of women, did not start an extensive harem, or even a couple of wives. For him there was only one Rumaykiyya.
There is a legend that one day she saw snow, but it melted almost immediately, and Rumaykiyya was upset that, perhaps, she would never see such a miracle again. Then al-Mutamid planted all the slopes around with almond trees, so that in the spring it seemed that snow had fallen in the mountains. Later, the dreamy caliph was deposed, but Rumaykiyya followed him into exile, and Cordoba remained standing all in almond trees.
Lampagia: beauty doesn't bring luckThe daughter of the Galician count (according to another version, the duke of Aquitaine) Lampagia amazed her eyes with her beauty from her youth, but this did not bring her a happy fate, the reckless worship of some powerful man and trophies thrown at her feet. True, when in the lands of her father she was captured by the Berber emir Munuz who came to rob her, he did not sell her, having a little amusement, but declared her his wife (perhaps out of ambition - nevertheless, to tell that he forced the Christian count or duke to become your father-in-law, flattering). On this, the bonuses from beauty for Lampagia ended, and misadventures began, because she was not destined to live with one, albeit not beloved, but habitual husband all her life.
Munuza later decided to revolt against the wali of all Arab Spain, Abdu-r-Rahman al-Ghafiki. As a result, Munuza was defeated, Lampagia was captured, and Wali, enjoying, as they liked to say then, her amazing beauty, sent her as a gift to the Damascus Caliph. Lampagia was enrolled in the harem, and no one else heard anything about her. Most likely, she did not live there for long. Alas, beauty was more often the reason for rape or assault out of envy than the reason for worship and the basis of power. And the world has not changed since then.
Toda Aznares: kinship with an Arab is not only shameful, but also usefulThe wife of King of Navarre, Sancho I, had a flaw: although she herself was a Christian, among her close, very close relatives was the emir of Cordoba Abd ar-Rahman III - he was her half-brother. Such a relationship was considered a bit awkward for the wife of a Catholic king, but it came in handy when the king died. Toda's son Garcia was still too young to hold the Navar throne himself, and the throne was immediately seized by the eldest marriage of the late Sancho, Iñigo. Toda sent a tearful letter to Abd ar-Rahman, and he, with the help of a number of swords, established that the rightful king of Navarre was Garcia, and Toda was his regent.
True, later a cat ran between the brother and sister. Toda decided to head for Europe, severed ties with the Cordoba Caliphate and encouraged her son to fight the Moors (at that time, Arab immigrants from North Africa). Abd al-Rahman again had to come with a certain number of swords so that Toda promised him not to do this anymore, and to release the captured Muslims. Strictly speaking, the already matured son should have let go, but everyone knew who actually ran Navarra.
Vallada: a courtesan in a country without courtesansThe red-haired poet Vallada was the daughter of Caliph al-Mustakfi by one of his Christian concubines. At the age of seventeen, she was left a total orphan, but with some inheritance in her arms. She spent this inheritance to … open a literary salon. If there was anything to get around in Arab Spain, it was poetry.
In the salon, the poetesses of Cordoba met, and young noble girls and gifted slaves learned to write poetry and appreciate beauty here. It sounds pretty decent, but one can only wonder how the parents allowed the girls to visit Vallada, because she behaved as cocky as no woman in Cordoba allowed herself. Vallada walked around the city in a transparent cape, through which the beauty of her face shone even brighter, and was not hidden at all. She had lovers and did not even think about marriage. Poetry and gifts of lovers contained her, and young Vallada did not dream of a golden cage. In a country where no courtesans, only wives or prostitutes were known, her life was shocking.
It went down in history, however, thanks to an affair with the famous poet Ibn Zaidun. The novel was, of course, in verse - at least that part of it that was presented to the audience. But he was, without a doubt, on the basis of the flesh. The poems exchanged between the young poet and poetess were discussed daily by all the inhabitants of Cordoba. Even the novels of the current stars of the screen are not so closely followed.
I'm jealous to my eyes, I'm jealous of myself, By the moment, to the place - jealous. As long as you stand in front of my gaze, I love - and endlessly jealous!
This poem could have been written by any of the poetic couple, but it was still Vallada. Alas, the beautiful romance did not last long, and after a couple of years the inhabitants of Cordoba were already retelling to each other other poems of Vallada, full of anger, accusations of bad taste and addiction to men and African women (both passions were used for ridicule). Ibn Zaidun at first tried to beg forgiveness of his jealous woman, but she, in spite of him, spun a new passion, with his political opponent, the vizier of Cordoba. This enraged Ibn Zaidun, and another exchange of poetry followed. However, already in the twentieth century in Syria, schools decided to study only the first part of Vallada's poetic dialogue with Ibn Zaidun - the love part. She has remained for centuries.
Vallada herself a little later quarreled with the vizier, then went bankrupt because of the love of expensive outfits, wandered around the country, selling her poetic gift and, according to rumors, her body, then got tired and returned to the vizier, whom she safely - and for a long time - then survived …
Contrary to myth, an Eastern woman did not necessarily live for the sake of any man. Poetess, actress, singer. Famous courtesans of the East who remained in the history of art of their countries.