Al- Mutamid, un rey de leyenda

Recently have been discovered that Al-Mutamid Palace, the poet King of Ixbilya, is under the Patio de Banderas houses and this part was thinking that was lost. About this Muslim king, we have heard several stories and legends as he was the king who made it snow in Seville to makes happier his wife. He was considered the exemplar in the Andalusíes letters. But all the histories we know are not used to have a real idea about the king we enjoyed in Seville in these times although it had a real historical basis.

Al-Mutamid was the Ixbilya King in the 11th century (1069 -1091). He was the grandson of the Emir Abu l-Qasim Muhammad ibn Abbad, the fundator of the Ixbilya Califato, and the Al-Mutadid second male son. He grew up in Seville, as a Sevillian, surround by formal intellectuals’ school that improved the artistic sensitivity to him and also was educated in military and political actions. In this school, he met his teacher and refined Cordoban poet Ibn Zaydun.

But not all was bohemian and highbrow in Al-Mutamid, with twelve years old he started to be lazy and liked to drink a lot of wine and enjoying with ladies. When his old brother, who was the governor in that times, died Al-Mutamid have to back to Seville court and control the kingdom troops. It was a total disaster because after got back Málaga by a stroke of luck (the people from Málaga rise up against the Berber king from Granada that governed there) he was carried along by the pleasures that this recovered city brings to him. In this way the enemies defeat him and it’s obligated to run away from Malaga. Is protected in Ronda and he wrote poems about sadness while he tried to get the forgiveness from his father for being a cowardly and lazy man and not conserve the recovered city.

When finally Al-Mutamid gets the Califato power he increases and reproduces the palatial luxury his father also had, but not so cruel and bloodthirsty as he was. His love by the excess leads him to think that the concubine number wasn’t enough. It’s said that had more than eight hundred concubines and his beloved wife, his favorite I’timad. It could be one of the main reasons why the king wrote sensual poems. Also was said that his passion for the wine left traces, not only in poems, also in the sexual meetings he organizes in the court. Many times he never remembered anything because he was totally drunk.

Don’t think that Al-Mutamid hadn’t any interest more apart from women, wine and poetry. He had a close friend that was inseparable from him: Ibn Ammar, also a poet writer. The father of Al-Mutamid tried many times to separate them sending to one to another city. When the father died Al-Mutamid named his friend the first minister of the Seville govern. But everybody knows what happen when join friendship and work, the majority part of the times it isn’t successful. That was the reason these two friends were separate at the end. During the ambitious conquer of Murcia by Ibn Ammar, the life of one son of Al-Mutamid was in danger because he was a hostage from a Christian governor for a long time. After that fact, they sent rude poems among them full of charges and reproaches. In the end, Ibn Ammar gets the Murcia kingdom and he named himself the king but soon takes the same mistakes as his friend Al-Mutamid in Málaga and after all was dethroned and arrested. He was humiliated and obligated to wrote to his friend Al-Mutamid to ask for money to be released.

So you can see if Al-Mutamid had the poet soul and sensitivity to his friends, although his political arguments didn’t move him, the supplicant verses get his sensitivity as a poet. The Seville King forgives the treachery and the arrogance of his friend and received him in the palace. Even so, his friend wasn't so grateful and tried to do a despicable strategy to defeat Al-Mutamid just before to be forgiven: Ibn Ammar tried to convince the prince Al-Rashid to rise up against his father. When Al-Mutamid knowns everything about the conspiracy decides to kill him. Obviously, his friend tried to betray him many times and he always was compassionate with him.

The passionate relationship of friendship and hate that Al Mutamid and Ibn Ammar had it’s totally opposite to the sweet and the constant calm of the affective bond that links him with I’timad, the queen, the legitimate wife, the one. Although he had a lot of concubines in his harem, the poet-king loved very deep to his wife, even more, he fulfilled all the desired she had. Is told that I’timad wanted to model mud figures and Al-Mutamid order to form pools the clear water from the water-tanks with sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and other aromatic spices so that the resulting mud perfumes the hands of his wife. In his poetic work left many facts of this deep love, in poems as lovely as this:

"Invisible tu persona a mis ojos, está presente en mi corazón;
Te envío mi adiós con la fuerza de la pasión, con lágrimas de pena, con insomnio;
Indomable soy, y tú me dominas, y encuentras la tarea fácil;
Mi deseo es estar contigo siempre, ¡ojalá pueda concederme ese deseo!
¡Asegúrame que el juramento que nos une no se romperá con la lejanía!
Dentro de los pliegues de este poema escondí tu dulce nombre, I'timad

“Invisible your person to my eyes, its present in my heart;

I sent you my farewell with the strength of the passion, with sad tears, with insomnia;

I am untamable, and you control me, and do it easily;

My desire is to stay with you always; I hope to give myself this desire!

Assure me that the oath which joins us never will be broken with the distance!

Inside of the poem folds I’ve hidden your sweet name, I’timad”.

Al-Mutamid saws how the old city that his grandfather gets began to be a kingdom that includes: Algarve (Portugal), Huelva, Algeciras, Ronda, Cordoba, Murcia, all the current Seville province and part of Jaen province. Also, he suffered the disappearing of the dynasty by the Almoravid control. In 1091, Seville was a betrayed victim from the last defenders of the kingdom and was taken by his enemies. The poet king was taken a prisoner and taken to Morocco by order of the winner, the Almoravid Ibn Tasufin. There he saw how his wife died, I’timad, and there he died also some month later, by sadness (1095).

Now we know a little bit more about Al-Mutamid we can understand many of the histories and legends that are told in the Alcazar to have a context about the ambient that was in Ixbilya, in the Muslim period in our city and the discoveries we have nowadays about this part of the history.

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