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The Sudanese Elements in the Sīrat Sayf b. Ḏī Yazan

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AbstractSayf b. Ḏī Yazan is the central character of three main traditions: the original one, its partially historical Yemeni saga; the claim of the Sayfuwa rulers of Kanem-Bornu to be his descendants, and the related corpus of traditions; the Sīrat Sayf b. Ḏī Yazan, a popular epic originally composed in Egypt before the 16th century. The paper tries to demonstrate that the Sīra, in its later, much altered version, has been heavily influenced by sudanese stories, legends and traditions originally coming from the African region long dominated by the Sayfuwa dynasty. The aim is primarily to show this influence and to describe how it interacted with the Sīra. As for the questions regarding when, where and why this took place, only extremely hypothetical conjectures can be advanced at the present state of knowledge.


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