Makame, also Maqâma, is the Arabic term for a gathering of scholars and philospheres, which revolves around questions of grammar. In such disputations (see Disput), the conversation partner usually won a victory, which was characterized by word-wit and quick-wittedness. From the conversations of these assemblies, a literary genre emerged in prose, which is rooted in rhymes and is also referred to as makame. A makame is rhythmic rhyme prose, which is characterized by allusions and word games, but is traversed by proverbs and quotations. It includes several anecdotes, which are from the same protagonist.
The term goes back to the Arabic Maqâma, which can be translated with stay as well as gathering. Consequently, the translation of the word already refers to its original meaning: a gathering of scholars and philosophers. The Hebrew literary science, by the way, designates this genre as Machberet (מחברת). The terms can therefore be used synonymously.
Badi ‘az-Zaman al-Hamadhani (908-1007), also known as al-Hamadhani, is regarded as the founder of such a mekame. Al-Hariri (1054-1122), a poet and also grammarian, is regarded as the full al-Hariri. The oeuvre of al-Hariris is today known to us mainly by the re-poetry of his Makamen by Friedrich Rückert (1788-1866), a German poet and translator. In his preface to the Makiri of the Hariri, Rückert himself gives a definition of the term, in which he summarizes it even further, as suggested by common lexicons:
Makame means a place where one is staying and talking, then a conversation itself, an entertaining lecture or essay, in our way a narrative or novella. A number of such things, gathered together over a common object, and loosely combined into a whole, then form what we might call a novel, just as the work mentioned is one […]
The form of the speech in all the makamen is rhymed prose, in which, in the German section of the Reim members, the otherwise useless notions have been employed; many poems, at least one in every Makame, are all in the monotonous oriental rhyming mode, which our readers may already know under the name of Ghaselen: every poem, how short or how long it is, is built on a single rhyme that ends every two-line stanza appears. (From: The Makamen des Hairi, created around 1890)
Example: Makāmen of Hariri
Proceeding from the fact that the fewest readers of Arabic are powerful, it makes no sense to introduce the original texts. However, the translations of Rückert are indeed very close to the original and form an excellent basis for the basic principle of ebendieser texts.
The essential features can be recognized. Thus, the following is clearly a kind of prose, that is, of unbound speech, which is traversed by rhymes and verses, that is, of the tied speech. Furthermore, the anecdotal character of the short narrative becomes clear, as at the beginning it is pointed out that the narrator of the narrator, Hareth Ben Hemmam, tells a short story.
Quick overview: The most important thing about Makame at a glance
The Makame was originally a gathering in which philosophers, scholars, and literary people were discussing each other. Very often, such debates circulated around rules of grammar and gave rise to cheerful disputations. The winner of this was the one who knew how to eloquence, eloquence, and wit.
From this, and sometimes controversial, conversations, an independent species developed: the Makame. Its founder is the poet al-Hamadhani, whose imitator, al-Hariri, is considered to be the author of the genre. The works of al-Hariris were translated by Friedrich Rückert.
The Makame is written in prose and rhymes with rhymes. Accordingly, it can be understood as a rhyme prose. Characteristic for the place of lyrics are also word games, allusions, proverbs, as well as interwoven quotes from other poets.
As a rule, the narrator tells the story of an ego narrator, who tells anecdotally about his experiences. The narrator is characterized by wisdom and quick wit. The protagonists can be regarded as Arabian counterparts of the German Till Eulenspiegel or the Nasreddin Hocas of the Turkish-Islamic influenced space.
Note: Related to this is the text version with the variation as well as the lie story, but can also be regarded as a precursor of the rogue romance. The Arabic drama of the 19th and 20th centuries was decisively influenced by Makamen.