Samuel Ha-Nagid
Roll your cursor over each of the dates in the timeline to view the milestones in Samuel ha-Nagid's life.
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Short biography

Jewish community leader and philanthropist

Scholarly and literary achievements

Golden Age poetry in tenth-century Spain

The Nagid's wine poems

Politics: Life as a courtier

The General and his war poems

One of the most remarkable and interesting personalities of the Spanish Middle Ages, the Jewish scholar and poet Samuel ha-Nagid (993-1055) is known as the father of medieval Jewish secular poetry. Brilliant, talented and devoted to his people and religion, Samuel was also a politically shrewd and at times vainglorious statesman who loved battle and waged it with great success on behalf of the Muslim rulers that he served.

Samuel lived his life in Andalusia, or Muslim Spain, which then marked the western edge of the Islamic empire. Born Samuel ha-Levi ibn Nagrela, he fled his native Cordova for Granada in 1013 during Cordova's devastating civil war that led to the fall of the Umayyad Caliphate. In Granada, he rose to power in the court of the local Caliphs, attaining the titles of "vizier" (deputy to the Caliph) and "nagid" (leader of the Spanish-Jewish community).

The cultural era the Nagid helped introduce is often termed the "golden age of Hebrew poetry." His poet-contemporaries included Solomon ibn Gabriol, Moses ibn Ezra, and Judah Halevi.



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