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Suʾda  

Allen J. Fromherz

semi-historical Berber princess, was a main character in the Sira al Hilaliyya, the epic saga of the great Arab migration into North Africa in the eleventh century. Coming from the drought-stricken Arabian Peninsula and known for their warrior prowess on camelback, these Hilali Arabs were sent to Tunisia as a punishment for the Berbers breaking away from the Fatimid Caliphate in Cairo. One of the great classics of the Sira al Hilaliyya is a poignant portrait of the clash of two cultures, Berber and Arab, even as it insists on moments of reconciliation and the possibilities of peace through the theme of love transcending duty to one’s family, tribe, and people. At times Berber characters, especially women such as Suʾda were portrayed as even more noble than the Arab heroes themselves. Most closely analogous to the Dido character in the Roman epic The Aeneid Suʾda was the ...