Ibn Said al-Maghribi

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Not to be confused with Said Al-Andalusi.
Excerpt from the chapter about Villena in Al-Mugrib fī ḥulā al-Magrib, in which the poet Abū l-Hasan Rāshid ibn Sulaymān is mentioned.

Ali ibn Musa ibn Said al-Maghribi (Arabic: علي بن موسى المغربي بن سعيد‎) (1213–1286),[1] also known as Ibn Said al-Andalusi,[2] was a geographer, historian and the most important collector of poetry from al-Andalus in the 12th and 13th centuries. Ibn Said was born at Alcalá la Real near Granada, and grew up in Marrakesh. He subsequently studied in Seville and stayed in Tunis, Alexandria, Cairo, Jerusalem and Aleppo. He was also a close friend of the Muladi poet Ibn Mokond Al-Lishboni (of Lisbon). He died in Tunis or Aleppo in 1275 or 1286.

Ibn Said al-Maghribi was an indefatigable traveller, profoundly interested in geography. In 1250 he wrote his Kitab bast al- ard fi 't -t ul wa-'l-'ard (The Book of the Extension of the Land on Longitudes and Latitudes). His Kitab al-Jughrafiya (Geography) embodies the experience of his extensive travels through the Muslim world and on the shores of the Indian Ocean. He also gives an account of parts of northern Europe including Ireland and Iceland. He visited Armenia and was at the Court of Hulagu Khan from 1256 to 1265.

He also wrote a history of the Maghreb, which at that time include Islamic Iberia, called Al-Mugrib fī ḥulā al-Magrib (Book of the Maghrib).[3] This book is midway between an anthology of poetry and a geography, collecting information on the poets of Maghreb organized by geographical origin.

Pennants of the Champions[edit]

His Rayat al-mubarrizin waghayat al-mumayyizin (Banners of the Champions, also translated as Pennants of the Champions), published in 1243, is his best known anthology of poetry. About the collection Ibn Said wrote that he wished to include only those few fragments "whose idea is more subtle than the West Wind, and whose language is more beautiful than a pretty face.":[4] It is arranged according to home and occupation of the writer. Lyrics come from all over the Andalusian world: Alcalá, Córdoba, Granada, Lisbon, Murcia, Zaragoza, Seville, Toledo, and Valencia. Authors include bureaucrats, gentlemen, kings, ministers, and scholars; the book is evidence of how important love poetry was to the educated of al-Andalus. An excerpt from a poem of the Pennants, "The Tailor's Apprentice" by Ibn Kharuf (d. 1205), in Arberry's translation, serves as one example:

His stool, the steed he rides upon
Rejoices in its champion
Armed with the needle that he plies
Sharp as the lashes of his eyes.

The needle o'er the silken dress
Careers with wondrous nimbleness
As down the sky bright meteors snake.

With threads of lightening in their wake.[2]

Ibn Sa'id also included some of his own poems, such as "Black horse with a white chest", here from Cola Franzen's translation into English of Gómez's 1930 Spanish translation:[4]

Black hindquarters, white chest:
he flies on the wings of the wind.

When you look at him you see dark night
opening, giving way to dawn.

Sons of Shem and Ham live harmoniously
in him, and take no care for the words
of would-be troublemakers.

Men's eyes light up when they see
reflected in his beauty

the clear strong black and white
of the eyes of beautiful women.

Gómez's translation greatly influenced modern Spanish poetry, not least Lorca, whose Tamarit Divan was particularly indebted to the book.[4]



  1. ^ Fernandes, Maria Alice; Abdallah Khawli and Luís Fraga da Silva (2006-12-12). A viagem de Ibn Ammâr de São Brás a Silves (PDF) (in Portuguese). Associação Campo Arqueológico de Tavira. Retrieved 2007-12-16. 
  2. ^ a b Arberry, [transl. by] A.J. (2001). Moorish poetry : a translation of the pennants, an anthology compiled in 1243 by the andalusian ibn sa'id. (Repr. ed.). Surrey: Curzon. ISBN 978-0-7007-1428-5. 
  3. ^ "Ibn Said: Book of the Maghrib, 13th Century". Internet Medieval Source Book. Fordham University Center for Medieval Studies. Retrieved 2007-12-16. 
  4. ^ a b c Gómez, translated by Cola Franzen from the Spanish versions of Emilio García (1989). Poems of Arab Andalusia. San Francisco: City Lights Books. p. 69. ISBN 978-0-87286-242-5. 


  • Ali Ibn Musa Ibn Said al-Magribi und sein Werk al-Gusun al-yaniafi mahasin su ara al-miça as-sabia by M. Kropp, in: Islam (Der) Berlin, 1980, vol. 57, no1, pp. 68–96 (2p.)
  • His history of the world and Islamic literature: ms. Escorial 1728. edition by Ibrahim al-Ibyari (2 vol.), Cairo 1968
  • Arberry, [transl. by] A.J. (2001). Moorish poetry : a translation of the pennants, an anthology compiled in 1243 by the andalusian ibn sa'id. (Repr. ed.). Surrey: Curzon. ISBN 978-0-7007-1428-5. 
  • The Banners of the Champions: An Anthology of Medieval Arabic Poetry from Andalusia and beyond, by Ibn Said al-maghribi by James A. Bellamy, Patricia Owen Steiner, Ibn Said al-maghribi
  • The Banners of the Champions of Ibn Said al-Maghribi, translated by James Bellamy and Patricia Steiner (Madison: Hispanic Seminary of Medieval Studies, 1988)