Two families of identical lineage, one city, Verona or rather Cordoba and two lovers condemned to their tragic end. Yes, today we will talk about the legend of the beautiful princess Wallada bint al-Mustakfi and her love story with the famous Andalusian Arab poet Ahmad ibn Abd Allah ibn Ahmad ibn Galib ibn Zaydun, simplified by fortune in ibn Zaydun or Abenzaidún in historiography Spanish
Perhaps the comparisons of this legend that the collective imaginary has conserved with the history that Shakespeare in 1597 would narrate the misfortunes suffered by these unfortunate lovers, Romeo and Juliet, are inevitable. In the legend of Princess Wallada, although we have to travel far back in time (late tenth and early eleventh centuries), we are again with two notable families, in the case of Princess Wallada who is the daughter of one of the last Umayyad caliphs, Abderramán Obaidallah Mustafkí and Amina, a Christian slave. His beloved however, the poet Ibn Zaydun, was directly linked to the rival lineage, the Banu Yahwar. While it is true that its end will not be as tragic as that of the unfortunate lovers of Verona, I fear that in the legend of Princess Wallada there is also no happy ending.
First of all we will talk about the context in which this legend develops. As we have said before, we are talking about the end of the tenth century and the beginning of the eleventh century, that is, the Umayyad Caliphate Cordovan is in a complicated situation, in fact the adolescence of our protagonist, the beautiful Wallada, takes place in the civil wars that mark the decline of the Caliphate, in the midst of all kinds of palace intrigues that are unleashed after the death of the son of Almanzor, al-Muzzaar.
In this turbulent period of Andalusian history, our history begins. Princess Wallada grows up as a beautiful young woman with a whitish complexion, clear eyes and a slenderness worthy of royalty. It seems Wallada will enjoy many freedoms for the time and will achieve some recognition as a poet in the circles of the Andalusian nobility, as his father has no male offspring, she will be the heir of his properties and will manage them. Men of that time who did not like his insightful mood. Of all these properties his hall of possessions will reach great fame, and in what did the salon consist? A famous chronicler states: "That hall was a meeting place for the nobles of the country and its courtyard was like a racecourse for horses of poetry and prose, mixed with the purity of their clothes. For being, however, carefree and showing their passions, the critic opened the way to speak against her ".
One of those famous poetic gatherings was the poet Ibn Zaydun who soon fell in love with the beauty and wit of the beautiful Wallada. The feeling seems to have been reciprocal because we keep a small part of his literary work dedicated to the love that was professed. But in every love story there is a turning point that puts an end to all hope of "they were happy and ate partridges", in this case, that point of discord is centered on the figure of the vizier Ibn Abdus, who professed a love eternal by Wallada and with cunning he entangled the beloved of Wallada with one of his slaves, provoking in consequence anger and rejection towards the unfortunate Ibn Zaydun who yielded and fell before the charms of the slave.
After this the story becomes somewhat diffuse and we find an Ibn Zaydun who dedicates the rest of his verse to lament the loss of his beloved Wallada and who will wander through the streets of Cordoba babbling and cursing his fate that separated him from the only woman he wanted.
Apparently he would find some consolation in the court of the Sevillian emir al-Mutamid and in the eternal gardens of the Alcazar of Seville he would silently reflect on his loss. On the other side of the coin we have Wallada, who was not served by the laments of his poet Ibn Zaydun and ended up under the protection of the once eternal suitor the Vizier Ibn Abdus, with whom he would share the rest of his days.
This story, in addition to being transmitted from father to son, has its sculptural representation in Campo Santo de los Mártires in the city of Córdoba. It was in 1971 when the construction of the famous monument of the hands is ordered, it is a pedestal where two poems of each poet are recorded in Castilian and Arabic, and top crowned with a sculpture of two interlaced hands.
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