Skip to main content

Early Women Writers

‘Arīb al-Ma’mūnīya



‘Arīb al-Ma’mūnīya


Baghdad, Iraq


c. 797-c. 890


Arīb al-Ma’mūnīya was born in Baghdad and was thought to be the daughter of vizier Ja'far al-Barmaki. She was sold into slavery at age 10 after the downfall of her family. Al-Marakibi, who was "her master", provided her with an initial education during a stay in Basra and later became a qayna which was a slave trained in the arts of entertainment. Arib went on to have influential male patrons with whom she had frequent sexual laisons. She was a singer, performer, and poet of great skill, a fine calligrapher, and displayed great knowlegde of her craft. She has also been hailed as the most famous slave singer to have ever resided at the Baghdad court. She was also a polymath and skilled at court games such as backgammon and chess. She lived to the age of 96 and her career spanned the courts of five caliphs.


To you treachery is a virtue, I'm surprised my heart still clings




Lyric, Love

Item sets

Site pages