Tribal Spirit and Tribal Moral Code in South Arabian Colloquial Poetry

M. Rodionov, M. Suvorov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Behavioural patterns adopted in the tribal society of South Arabia (Yemen) are profoundly determined by the values of tribal moral code — qabyala or qabwala (in Hadramawt) — which includes such values and virtues like tribal unity, collective and personal honour, self‑control, piety, generosity, skills in fighting, bravery, privileges of possessing land and carrying weapons. These values are extensively reflected in tribal colloquial poetry which plays an instrumental role in their maintenance and their transmission through generations. Tribal poetry has always been kept not only in the memory of poets and transmitters, but also in manuscript. In the last half a century much of this poetry has been published in books, demonstrating a specific manner of recording colloquial speech by the means of Arabic script. Basing on some of these texts, the article examines how South Arabian tribal poetry maintains tribal moral ideals and conveys the spirit of tribalism on the whole.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-20
JournalManuscripta Orientalia
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2019


  • Yemen
  • colloquial / vernacular poetry
  • tribalism
  • tribal moral code
  • qabyala / qabwala

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