Samuel ha Nagid
Spain (993 - 1056) Timeline

Poems by Samuel ha Nagid
Books - Links

Sefarad -- as the Jews of Medieval Spain referred to Muslim ruled Andalusian Spain -- was one of the safest places for Jews, especially those with political ambitions.

He is often referred to as "Ha Nagid" (or The Nagid, in English). The Nagid is the title given to the leader of the Jewish community within Granada. In Arab-speaking Spain of the time, his name was Shmuel ibn Nagrilla or Ishmael ibn Nagrilla.

In addition to acting as the Nagid of the Jewish community in Granada, he also served as vizier to the Muslim ruler of Granada, making Ibn Nagrilla the equivalent of the prime minister and commander of the armed forces of that Muslim city-state. He was a fascinating figure of high learning, political and military power -- and a poet.

The Nagid's poetry was revolutionary and is considered the fountainhead of all Hebrew poetry to follow. Up until his time, Hebrew had calcified into something like Latin in Catholic countries: it existed only as the language of ritual worship and ancient scholarship. Yet this was Andalusian Spain at its cultural peak, where the sciences and arts were truly alive, poetry was loved by all ranks of society, and the language for expressing this life was Arabic, even among the Jews of the region. Samual ha Nagid managed to revive the Hebrew language in his poetry, giving it the immediacy and life of the moment, using it to express military triumph, personal love, cultural longing, and religious transcendence. Through the poetry of ha Nagid, Hebrew became a living language once again, capable of expressing the full range of experience and aspiration of the Jewish people.

Poems by Samuel ha Nagid

Recommended Books: Samuel ha Nagid

Music of a Distant Drum: Classical Arabic, Persian, Turkish & Hebrew Poems The Dream of the Poem: Hebrew Poetry from Muslim and Christian Spain, 950-1492 Selected Poems of Shmuel HaNagid Jewish Prince in Moslem Spain: Selected Poems of Samuel Ibn Nagrela The Ornament of the World: How Muslims, Jews, and Christians Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain

Related Links

Medieval Sourcebook: Abraham Ibd Daud: On Samuel Ha-Nagid, Vizier of Granada, 993-d after 1056

On-line biography.

Medieval Hebrew Poetry: Samuel Hanagid

Several poems online, and suggestions for further reading.

Rabbi Shmuel Hanagid - Jewish History

Brief biography.

Samuel ibn Naghrillah - Wikipedia

Good brief biography.
Samuel ha Nagid