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The Epic of Ghadina Gabbarah (Qateeni Gabbara) is the greatest modern Assyrian neo-Aramaic literature in form of epic poem written in 6000 verses by late Rabi William Daniel. Rabi William Daniel is known to be equivalent to English Shakespeare and Persian Ferdosi among the Assyrians.
The Epic of Qateeni Gabbara as created by William Daniel contains some of the most beautiful poetry in the contemporary Assyrian language. The native epic is a chain of folk tales recited by the Assyrian storytellers in the mountains of Hakkari and the villages in the plain of Nineveh [Mosul] for as long as any one can remember. Daniel has taken the core of those tales, embellished them with stylistic and poetic ingenuity, and artistically transformed the tales into a complete epic that is in and of itself an exquisite piece of artistic creation. Perhaps, being a gifted poet and a refined musician had much to do with this enhancement of the tales into an epic.
William D. S. Daniel was born in 1903 in Urmi, Iran. He lost his mother when he was only three years old. His father, a prominent physician, died from an infectious disease while caring for thousands of his compatriots suffering from typhus, typhoid and cholera under the worst health conditions of overcrowded Assyrian refugee camps during WWI. His three sisters disappeared along with thousands of other young Assyrian women who were either lost in the stampede, perished on the way or forced into conversion. He himself was only fifteen years old when the massive Assyrian flight and march out of their homeland into the unknown began.
He traveled to Europe and received a decent education in classical music after which he returned to Iran to work for the artistic and cultural advancement of his people and put his musical talents at their service. In early 1940s, he founded the first Assyrian musical and dance group which performed some of the musical compositions and songs that he had created. He was first introduced to the folk tales of Qateeni in 1946 and was profoundly impressed by them. It was then that he contemplated the initiation of a massive poetic work to be later known as the Epic of Qateeni Gabbara. The work is in three volumes containing some 6000 verses. The three volumes were published several years apart.