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generally styled Caliphs of Syria, their capital being Damascus ; while the Abbassides are known in history as the Caliphs of Bagdad, the city to which they transferred their court. In the rise of the Mohammedan monarchy, the empire, however me naced by revolt, was still one and undivided; but in its decline and fall this indivisibility ceased, and the Moslems beheld three independent sovereignties erected, towards the close of the eighth century, within different parts of their dominions,-one seated at Bagdad, another in Egypt and Africa, and a third in Spain.

The house of Abbas, whose accession to the throne was attended with circumstances of such unparalleled cruelty as to procure for its first caliph the epithet of Al Saffah or the Sanguinary, ruled over the Eastern World with various degrees of authority for a period of five hundred years. The first century beheld their power undiminished; though the dismemberment of several provinces showed that their government was inherently weak, and that the unwieldy fabric could not long maintain its stability. Like other great nations of antiquity, the policy of the Saracens seemed better adapted for the acquisition of empire than for its preservation; and though, by a surprising effort of arms, they had compelled the world to acknowledge the might of the Commander of the Faithful, they could not infuse into their system those principles of wholesome and vigorous administration essential to its perpetuity. The incessant workings of faction made it necessary to invest the lieutenants of provinces with absolute command; and these, as the monarchy grew feeble and degenerate, were enabled to make

their governments hereditary, and to assume every thing except the name of kings. The seeds of dissolution were slowly matured by foreign wars and domestic revolts, and the first twenty reigns are all that can be assigned as the prosperous era of the Abbassides. In Arabia their authority was nominally maintained by their viceroys; though the sheiks of the desert gradually resumed their ancient independence, and regarded the successors of Mohammed merely as the chiefs of their religion. As their power commenced in blood, so it will be found in the sequel to have terminated its career in the most dreadful scenes of cruelty and carnage. The middle of the thirteenth century brought the tragic history of their fallen race to a close, when the proud capital of Islam fell into the hands of the Tartars.



Of the earlier princes of this dynasty several were not more distinguished for their warlike prowess

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