Neo-Persian stanzaic poetry and its relation to the Arabic musammat

by Gregor Schoeler, Basel


SUMMARY: Neo-Persian stanzaic poetry was modeled on the Arabic musammat. The earliest extant Persian stanzaic poem stems from the great poet Rudaki (d. c. 940); as to the form, it is a musammat murabba’ (rhyme-scheme: bbb a ccc a), as to the content it is a wine poem (khamriya). I shall argue that this poem is a m’arada (emulation, imitation) of a musammat by Abu Nuwas. In the 11th century, Manucihri introduced the musammat musaddas (bbbbb a ccccc a ddddd a) into Persian literature; this type of musammat has Arabic models, too.


The targi’-band (first documented in Farrukhi) and the tarkib-band (first documented in Qatran) also appeared in the 11 th century. They are Persian innovations; however, the invention of these genres can only be understood on the basis of the hitherto extant musammat system – just as the Andalusian tawshih can only be explained as a further development of the tasmit.