Hamasa (hämäˈsä, həmäˈsə) [key] [Arab., = valor], one of the great anthologies of Arabic literature. It was gathered together in the 9th cent. by Abu Tammam when he was snowbound in Hamadan, where he had access to an excellent library. There are 10 books of poems, classified by subject. Some of them are selections from long poems. This is one of the treasuries of early Arabic poetry, and the poems are of exceptional beauty. A later anthology by the same name was compiled by the poet al-Buhturi (c.820–897). The term has been used in modern times to mean "heroic epic."
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.