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Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

21 February 2020
Nathan Miller's article spans two issues of Mediterranean Studies

Throughout the twelfth century, a number of Arabic-speaking Muslims produced poetry in the court of the Normans of Sicily. This article examines literary figures active under Roger II in the context of their interlocutors, professional colleagues, and other contemporaries around the western Mediterranean and North Africa. It argues that, in this context, most of the Sicilian Arab literary figures were only secondarily poets, their primary role being within a chancery or other administrative milieu, and that they continued to assert an undiminished Islamic identity, although living under Christian rule. This identity is mirrored in the intertextual play on topoi (maʿānī) found in Sicilian Arabic poetry, which was heavily engaged with cultural activity around the Mediterranean.

Muslim Poets under a Christian King: An Intertextual Reevaluation of Sicilian Arabic Literature under Roger II (1112–54)” by Dr Nathaniel Miller is being published in two parts, spanning two issues of the journal Mediterranean Studies. Part I appeared last year and Part II will appear in the Spring 2020 issue of the journal.