The character of Antar is based on several variations of a story that became a legend, however the story of Antar is real, as evidenced in the extensive collection of poetry he left behind. He was known as both Antar bin Shedad, and Antarah ibn Shedad. Antar was born around 525 AD, before the advent of Islam, when the Arabian Peninsula was mostly Pagan, Christian and Jewish.
Antar’s mother Zabiba, was a beautiful African Princess, believed to be Abyssinian (now Ethiopia) who was taken as part of the spoils of war along with her two young sons by the Arab Prince Shedad, who became Antar’s father. While Shedad was madly in love with Zabiba, the feeling was not mutual. Shedad grew to hate Antar, and plotted against him, as every time he saw his son, it reminded him of his unrequited love for Zabiba. Shedad’s father was King Zoheih, and was the Cheif of one of the two most powerful tribes at that time, the Absians. He ruled over most of Arabia, and the other Kings paid tribute to him.
Content at first to be a slave, Antar grew up with his African half brothers tending his father’s animals. One day he saw his beautiful cousin, the Princess Abla, and from that moment he realized that as a slave, he could never be with the woman he had fallen hopelessly in love with. Through his poetry and his prowess as a warrior protecting his tribe, Antar was eventually set free by King Zoheir and could marry Abla.
Antar’s story is an epic tale, a warrior like no other, he was called The Black Knight, The Father of All Knights, and The Father of Horsemen. As a poet who wrote beautiful poems to his love, Abla, he also earned the title, The Warrior Poet.
We have taken the various stories and legends of Antar and combined them to introduce him to an international audience as a Super Hero who has relevance today. Not in the sense that he flies, or wears a costume, but as a Hero who fought for his family, for honor, and protected the powerless. A Hero who was eventually respected for his chivalry and courage, but feared by his enemies. However he also fought with his personal demons about being hated by his father, as well as being initially marginalized as a bi-racial slave. Yet Antar rose above his circumstances to become a giant among men, and a writer whose poems are truly inspirational, and have stood the test of time.