1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Amru'-Ul-Qais

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AMRU'-UL-QAIS, or Imru'-ul Qais, IBN HUJR, Arabian poet of the 6th century, the author of one of the Mo`allakāt (q.v.), was regarded by Mahomet and others as the most distinguished poet of pre-Islamic times. He was of the kingly family of Kinda, and his mother was of the tribe of Taghlib. While he was still young, his father was killed by the Bani Asad. After this his life was devoted to the attempt to avenge his father's death. He wandered from tribe to tribe to gain assistance, but his attempts were always foiled by the persistent following of the messengers of Mundhir of Hira (Híra). At last he went to the Jewish Arabian prince, Samu`āl, left his daughter and treasure with him, and by means of Hārith of Ghassān procured an introduction to the Byzantine emperor Justinian. After a long stay in Constantinople he was named phylarch of Palestine, and received a body of troops from Justin II. With these he started on his way to Arabia. It is said that a man of Asad, who had followed him to Constantinople, charged him before the emperor with the seduction of a princess, and that Justin sent him a poisoned cloak, which caused his death at Ancyra.

His poems are contained in W. Ahlwardt's The Divans of the six ancient Arabic Poets (London, 1870), and have been published separately in M`G. de Slane's Le Diwan d'Amro'lkais (Paris, 1837); a German version with life and notes in F. Ruckert's Amrilkais der Dichter und König (Stuttgart, 1843). Many stories of his life are told in the Kitāb ul-Aghāni, vol. viii. pp. 62-77. (G. W. T.)