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Ibn Daniyal, Shams al din Muhammad  

Allen J. Fromherz

Egyptian playwright, was an eye doctor originally from Mosul, Iraq, and possibly of Christian background. He was most famous for his lightly veiled satirical shadow plays, especially for those aimed at the moralist Mamluk Sultan al-Zahir Baybars (r. 1260–1277) in Cairo.

Although some scholars have wrongly claimed that Islam lacked a theatrical tradition because of various religious proscriptions, the art form of shadow puppetry has a long history. Shadow plays, called Khayal al-Zill in Arabic were very popular during the month of Ramadan as a form of entertainment to wile away the late night hours Beginning as early as the tenth century and perhaps before the popularity of shadow play as an art form reached its peak just as Ibn Daniyal began writing Ibn Daniyal was especially creative with his shadow characters including the popular Sahib al Dabbus Man with a Club referring to a man with an oversized ...


Potter, Richard  

Charlie T. Tomlinson

ventriloquist and magician, was born in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, the son of Dinah Swain (often called Black Dinah), a slave. Potter's mother was kidnapped by Dutch slave traders during her childhood, sold at an auction, and taken to Boston as a slave by Sir Charles Henry Frankland, a tax collector for the Port of Boston. She had five children while serving in Frankland's household. The identity of Potter's biological father remains a mystery. According to speculation, Potter's father was Frankland. Early church records indicate that Potter's father was a white man by the name of George Simpson. The origin of Potter's name is another mystery.

Potter spent his early years on the Frankland estate in Hopkinton, Massachusetts. At the age of ten, in 1793 he took work on a ship as a cabin boy His travels took him to England where he came across a Scottish ...


Renaissance drama  

David Dabydeen

Elizabethan and Jacobean drama saw the proliferation of African images, contexts, and characters. Contact between Britain and Africa, which began as early as the 14th century, became more prevalent in the 16th century and led to an interest in travel, discovery, and the dramatic representations of ‘Moors’. Before the publication of contemporary travel accounts by sailors and travellers, writers often used Scripture and philosophy to construct ideas of Africa and its people. In the 13th century Roger Bacon utilized this blend to fashion geographical knowledge of Africa. Similarly, Geoffrey Chaucer's interpretation of African contexts was an amalgamation of fact and fantasy. Writers of the 16th century, besides deriving knowledge from travellers' accounts, maintained travel tales of the ancients as one of their prime sources of notions about Africa.

In the second half of the 16th century numerous publications on Africa which ranged from histories to travelogues contributed to the escalating ...



Sander M. Goldberg

Roman comic dramatist. The biographer Suetonius, writing in the second century CE, reports that Publius Terentius Afer, to give him his full Roman name, was born at Carthage and came to Rome as slave of the senator Terentius Lucanus. Intellectual talent and dark good looks secured his freedom. He produced six comedies at Rome in the course of the 160s, winning along the way the friendship of leading Romans like Scipio Aemilianus and Gaius Laelius before drowning in a shipwreck on his way back from Greece with a collection of Greek plays to adapt for the Roman stage. Terence left a small estate on the Appian Way and sufficient money for his daughter to marry into the mercantile class.

So elaborate a biography is itself a mark of the poet s stature Terence wrote early in the history of Latin literature and exerted a major influence on the developing language ...