The romantic figure of Antar, or Antarah, takes the same place in Arabian literature as that of Achilles among the Greeks. The Cid in Spain, Orlando in Italy, and Arthur in England, are similar examples of national ideals put forth by poets and romance writers as embodiments of a certain half-mythic age of chivalry, when personal valor, prudence, generosity, and high feeling gave the warrior an admitted preeminence among his fellows. The literature of Arabia is indeed rich in novels and tales. The "Thousand and One Nights" is of world-wide reputation, but the "Romance of Antar" is much less artificial, more expressive of high moral principles, and certainly superior in literary style to the fantastic recitals of the coffee house and bazaar, in which Sinbad and Morgiana figure.
The Literature of Arabia
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