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9781913043292

The Stone Serpent Barates of Palmyra’s Elegy for Regina his Beloved

by ;
  • ISBN13:

    9781913043292

  • ISBN10:

    1913043290

  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2023-07-11
  • Publisher: Banipal Publishing

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Summary

Syrian poet Nouri al-Jarrah brings to life a story that can never again be lost in time after a single line in Aramaic on a tombstone fired his imagination. This inspiring epic poem awakens two extraordinary lovers, Barates, a Syrian from Palmyra, and Regina, the Celtic slave he freed and married, from where they have lain at rest beside Hadrian’s Wall for eighteen centuries, and tells their unique story. Barates’ elegy to his beloved wife, who died young at 30, is, however, not about mythologizing history. With the poet himself an exile in Britain for 40 years from his birthplace of Damascus, the poem forges new connections with today, linking al-Jarrah’s personal journey with that of his ancient forebear Barates, who resisted slavery with love.

Barates’ Eastern song also questions whether the young Celtic fighters, the Tattooed Ones, were really barbarians, as they emerged from forest mists to defend their hills and rivers and their way of life from the Romans, and died or lay wounded at the twisting stone serpent that was Hadrian’s Wall.

Author Biography

Nouri Al-Jarrah was born in Damascus in 1956. He attracted attention with his debut collection, The Boy (Beirut, 1982), and has become an influential poetic voice on the Arab literary scene. Since 1986 he has lived in London, with 16 further collections, and founding and editing a number of Arabic literary magazines. His poetry draws on diverse cultural sources, with a special focus on mythology, folk tales and legends. A Boat to Lesbos and other Poems (Banipal Books, 2018) was his first English translation, joining the Arabic with editions in French, Spanish, Turkish, Italian, Greek, Farsi.

Catherine Cobham taught Arabic language and literature at the University of St Andrews, Scotland, for many years, and has translated works of a number of Arab writers, including poetry by Adonis, Mahmoud Darwish, Ghayath Almadhoun and Tammam Hunaidy, and novels and short stories by Naguib Mahfouz, Yusuf Idris, Hanan al-Shaykh and Fuad al-Takarli.

Table of Contents

CONTENTS Author’ s Note 1 An Eastern Serenade – Barates of Palmyra’ s Elegy for Regina his Beloved 3 After An Eastern Serenade Voices and Songs 49 Regina’ s Song by the River 51 The Archer from Palmyra 53 The Birth of the Painted Warrior 55 News of Boudicca 58 A Roman Elegy 60 The Tongue of Fire The Ruin 64 Julia Domna’ s Missing Fingers 67 The Edict of Caracalla 69 Notes 73 Related References 95 Acknowledgements 97 About the author Nouri Al-Jarrah 98 About the translator Catherine Cobham 100

Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?

The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

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