Synopses & Reviews
One of the most beautiful and fascinating medieval Arab-Islamic folk romances is presented in English for the first time. For contemporary readers, The Adventures of Sayf Ben Dhi Yazan offers unusual perspectives on issues of gender, religion, race, and ethnicity, as woven into the art of an oral narrative. Composed between the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries during the Mamluk age, this folk romance is still cherished by storytellers in the Middle East. Sayf Ben Dhi Yazan was a historical figure, a sixth-century Arab king who ruled in Yemen before the rise of Islam. In the tale he is presented as a Muslim warrior; his exploits range across Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan, where his Muslim followers do battle with pagan peoples. Colorful panoramas of heroic feats, magical escapades, bizarre landscapes and beings, brief or long-lasting love affairs, sincere friendships, demonic hatreds, supernatural forces, and dark spells propel this sira - an Arabic romance in the grand tradition of The Thousand and One Nights.