A little more women’s history to help sooth the nerves in the time of sheltering in place…..
I first came across this woman when I was living in Spain…..she has a fascinating story……and since this is women’s history month what better time to introduce this poet to my readers?
Her name was Wallada bint al-Mastakfi…….
Wallada was born in 1001, the daughter of a noble in the Andalusian city of Córdoba. In 711 an army of Moors coming up from Africa had conquered the city for the Umayyad Caliphate, along with most of modern Spain. Córdoba became the capital of this province on the edge of their empire. Fifty years later, after the Umayyads had been deposed, a prince of their line named Abd al-Rahman fled to Córdoba. Several of the locals had taken advantage of the chaos to declare independence, and he conquered them and welded them together into the independent Emirate of Córdoba. By the time Wallada was born his descendents had declared themselves Caliphs,  and Córdoba was a city of half a million people – one of the most advanced cities in Europe.
Unfortunately for the Córdobans, however, by this time the Umayyads had definitely begun to lose their grip on their caliphate. In 976 a ten year old boy named Hisham had succeeded to the throne. In the grand tradition of child rulers throughout history, fierce competition immediately started over the regency (and thus effective control of the caliphate). The eventual winner in this was al-Mansur Ibn Abi Amir, a powerful leader whose victories against the Christian kingdoms clinging to the northern part of Spain earned him infamy as “Almanzor”. He died in 1002, with his son succeeding to the regency.
More on her scandalous love affair with ibn Zaydun a prominent poet of Andalusia…..
Although ibn Zaydun was a leading figure in the courts of Cordoba and Seville, he was most famous among the people of his day because of his scandalous love affair with Princess Wallada. They did nothing to hide their passion, and at her literary circle, when the poets began improvising, as was their custom, they would allude to it quite openly. On one famous occasion, Wallada uttered this impromptu verse, as she gazed upon her lover’s face:
“I fear for you, my beloved so much, that even my own sight even the ground you tread even the hours that pass threaten to snatch you away from me. Even if I were able to conceal you within the pupils of my eyes and hide you there until the Day of Judgment my fear would still not be allayed.”
Fascinating love story…..
I Read, I Write, You Know
“lego ergo scribo”