A History of Arabian Music to the XIIIth Century

A History of Arabian Music to the XIIIth Century

A History of Arabian Music to the XIIIth Century

A History of Arabian Music to the XIIIth Century

Excerpt

We must cease to regard Arabia as a land of deserts and barbarism; it was, on the contrary, a trading centre of the ancient world, and the Muslims who went forth from it to conquer Christendom and found empires, were but the successors of those who, in earlier times, had exercised a profound influence upon the destinies of the East."

Professor A. H. Sayce, Early Israel, p. 128

ALMOST everyone who has written on the subject of the music of the Arabs has looked, in the matter of origins, to either Greece or Persia. Much of this is perhaps excusable, seeing that until recent years we knew next to nothing of pre-Islāmic Arabia save what could be gleaned from Greek and Latin authors or the legendary material handed down from pre-Islāmic Arabic sources. Thus the temptation to look towards Greece and Persia in this question was considerable, especially when we consider the position of Arabia and the outside civilizations which came in culture-contact with it, Yet the truth is that Arabian culture did not originate in that shadowy period of the so-called Days of Idolatry when Greek, Roman, Byzantine, or Persian hegemonies were at their height, any more than it began with Islam, but dates back to a period long anterior to them all.

The excavations made in recent years on the sites of ancient Semitic civilizations, have wrought wondrous changes in our notions of the world's culture-history. The earliest reference to Arabia reaches at present to the third millennium B.C., when we have cuneiform inscriptions which mention lands identified as being situated in Arabia. Under the Babylonian ruler Narām-Sin (ca. 2600 B.C.) a king of Magan or Makkan was conquered. In the time of Gudea (ca. 2400 B.C.) we read of a kingdom called Kimash or Māshu, as well as a place named Khakhu, and a land of Malukhkha. Finally, an inscription of . . .

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