My biggest history crush: 'Arib al-Ma'muniya (d. 890)1. Born into slavery, ‘Arib became the most famously beautiful, brilliant, manipulative and influential courtesan (or “jawari”) of the ‘Abbasid era.2. ‘Arib was known for her witty repartee and argumentative skills: she was famous for besting rivals in both debate and musical competitions.3. ‘Arib slept with eight of the ‘Abbasid caliphs, but claimed that she only enjoyed one: and that only because he reminded her of another lover.4. She was widely renowned as the best composer, singer, and poet of her time. Though she often decorated her body (and was paid by men to decorate *their* bodies) with the elaborate calligraphy of erotic poems she had composed herself, she only composed those poems when she was menstruating.

My biggest history crush:

'Arib al-Ma'muniya (d. 890)


1. Born into slavery, ‘Arib became the most famously beautiful, brilliant, manipulative and influential courtesan (
or “jawari”) of the ‘Abbasid era.

2. ‘Arib was known for her witty repartee and argumentative skills: she was famous for besting rivals in both debate and musical competitions.

3. ‘Arib slept with eight of the ‘Abbasid caliphs, but claimed that she only enjoyed one: and that only because he reminded her of another lover.

4. She was widely renowned as the best composer, singer, and poet of her time. Though she often decorated her body (and was paid by men to decorate *their* bodies) with the elaborate calligraphy of erotic poems she had composed herself, she only composed those poems when she was menstruating.

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    But.. why is her arm on backwards?
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    *sigh* Oh the memories of this artwork. Memories of a life long lost. Memorias de vos… Spanish Dancer by John Singer...
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