Wednesday, November 10, 2021 - 18:00 to 20:00
The British Academy, 10 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5AH

Sir Terence Clark on ‘The Evolution of the Saluki as an Enduring Part of the Cultural Heritage of the Middle East

 A medieval representation of the Dog Star

In this lavishly illustrated talk, it will be shown that the archaeological record indicates the existence of a Saluki-like hunting hound in Mesopotamia from at least the 6th millennium BCE. From there it spread across the region, manifesting itself increasingly in representational art forms as well as in poetry and prose as the ‘Companion of Kings’. It was accorded special recognition by implication in the Qur’an and the Hadith, so that among Muslims it has always enjoyed a special status. It has therefore managed to survive the many upheavals that have beset the region over the centuries and today is even experiencing an extraordinary revival in some parts, so that its unique place in the region’s cultural heritage remains assured.


As a diplomat and an Arabist, Sir Terence Clark has had extensive experience of the Middle East and first became acquainted with the Saluki while serving as Ambassador to Iraq, where in the library of the British School of Archaeology he conducted much of his early research into this remarkable hound. He later pursued this interest in many parts of the region and has written widely on the subject for national and international publications, including his semi-autobiographical book The Salukis in my Life.

A line from Abu Nuwas' poetry

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