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princes of the blood of Zingis. Since that event Bagdad has witnessed various other sieges and revolutions. It was burnt and plundered by the ferocious Timur (A. D. 1401), who erected a pyramid of human heads on its ruins. In 1637, it incurred the vengeance of Amurath IV., the Turkish sultan: 300,000 troops encamped under its walls, and by the incessant play of 200 pieces of artillery its towers and ramparts were levelled with the ground. The vaults and cellars were filled with the dead bodies of those who had fled to these recesses for security. The sobs and cries of 15,000 women and children were drowned by the shouts of the enemy exulting over the fallen Queen of the East; and the trembling remnant is said to have owed their preservation to the music of Shah Kali, whose touching strains are alleged to have melted Amurath to tears of compassion. Since that period the once illustrious city of the Abbassides has been degraded to the seat of a Turkish pashalic. In the present century it can number 200,000 inhabitants. The rich merchants and the beautiful princesses of the Arabian Tales have all disappeared; but it retains the tomb of the charming Zobeide, and can boast of its numerous gardens and its well-stocked bazaars. The citizens live in greater security than is usually enjoyed in the East; and a European might fancy that the shade of old Haroun al Raschid still preserves the same admirable order which was formerly maintained among all classes by the terror of meeting that redoubted caliph as he wandered the streets of his capital in disguise.


Caliphs of Africa, Egypt, and Spain.

The Aglabites or Caliphs of Cairoan-Military Exploits of the Western Arabs-Reduction of Crete-Conquest of Sicily-Invasion of Italy-Pillage of Rome-Siege of Gaeta-Naval Victory of the Christians-Subjugation of Corsica and Sardinia by the Saracens Expulsion of the Aglabites-Moorish Kingdom of Timbuctoo-Dynasty of the Fatimites in Egypt-Their Subversion by Saladin, Founder of the Ayubites-Dynasty of the Ommiades in Spain founded by Abdalrahman-Their Power and Magnificence-Extinction of the Caliphate-Conquest of Granada by Ferdinand-Wealth and Population of the Moorish Capitals-The Government, Arms, and Military Tactics of the Arabs-Revenue, Trade, and Marine of Spain under the Saracens-Reduction of Sicily by the Normans, and final Overthrow of the Mohammedan Power in Europe.

VARIOUS dynasties of Arab princes rose and successively ruled in Africa and Egypt. In the year of Christianity 797, Ibrahim ibn Aglab had been sent, by the Caliph Haroun al Raschid, governor into the western parts of Africa. Fifteen years after, encouraged by the rebellious state of the Moslem empire at the accession of Almamoun, he assumed to himself an almost absolute power in that country, and conquered a large extent of territory, over which he and his descendants ruled as sovereign princes, under the name of the Aglabites, for more than a century. This new empire, whose capital was Cairoan, included the ancient kingdoms of Mauritania and Massylia, with the republic of Carthage. Several of these caliphs

took the name of Mohammed, and signalized their reigns by exploits, both naval and military, not unworthy the heroic age of the Moslem conquests. Numerous bodies of their troops occasionally served in the mercenary armies of Bagdad, and assisted the Abbassides in maintaining their authority over the insurrectionary provinces of the East.

It was in the time of Almamoun that the islands of Crete and Sicily were subdued by the Western Arabs. The former of these conquests is passed in silence by their own writers, who were indifferent to the fame of Jupiter and Minos. But we learn from the Byzantine historians, that a piratical band of Andalusian volunteers, discontented with the climate or the government of Spain, had set out with only a few galleys on an exploratory voyage, in quest of a more genial settlement. Landing at Alexandria, they were introduced into that city by a rebellious faction, where they cut in pieces both friends and foes, pillaged the churches and mosques, sold above 6000 Christian captives, and maintained their station in the capital of Egypt, till they were repulsed by the forces of Almamoun, who had taken the command in person. In their excursions among the Mediterranean islands they had seen and tasted of the fertility of Crete; and with forty galleys they soon returned to make a more serious attack. Loaded with spoil they prepared to retreat; but, on descending to the shore, they were dismayed to find their vessels in flames, and still more surprised when their chief Abu Caab confessed himself the author of the disaster. In their indignation they suspected him of madness or treachery. "Of what do you complain?" said the crafty leader

"I have brought you

in reply to their clamours. to a land flowing with milk and honey. Here is your true country; repose from your toils, and forget the barren place of your nativity. As for your wives and children, your beautiful captives will supply the place of the one; and in their embraces you will soon become the fathers of a new progeny."

Their first habitation was their camp, surrounded with a ditch and a rampart, in the Bay of Suda. An apostate monk pointed out to them a more desirable residence; and the modern appellation of Candia, from Candax the fortress and colony of the Spanish Arabs, has superseded the ancient name, and been extended to the whole island. Of its thirty cities the inhabitants of Cydonia alone had courage to retain their freedom and their Christianity. The timbers of Mount Ida soon repaired the loss of the Saracen navy; and, during a period of 138 years, these licentious freebooters defied the curses and the arms of the Byzantine emperors, until they were extirpated by the valour of Nicephorus Phocas; "when the natives," to use the words of a contemporary writer, "exchanged the detested superstition of the Hagarenes for the baptism and discipline of the Catholic church." In the reign of Motamed they captured the imperial fleet in the Mediterranean, and put 5000 Greeks to the sword at Melazzo in Sicily. A short time after, they reduced the island of Lemnos, ravaged without control the coasts of Asia, made themselves masters of Thessalonica, and threatened to invest Constantinople.

Sicily had been repeatedly attacked by the Western Arabs; but its loss was occasioned by an act of injudicious rigour. Euphemius, an amorous youth,

who had stolen a nun from her cloister, was sentenced by the emperor to the amputation of his tongue. He appealed to the Saracens of Africa, who sent him back with a fleet of 100 ships, and an army of 700 horse and 10,000 foot. These troops landed at Mazara, near the ancient Silenus, and after some partial victories, in which they made themselves masters of Ragusa, Messina, Enna, and other places, they invested Syracuse. This city was delivered by the Greeks; the apostate youth was slain, and his African auxiliaries reduced to the necessity of feeding on the flesh of their own horses. In their turn they were assisted by a powerful reinforcement from Andalusia; and by degrees the western and largest portion of the island was subdued. Palermo became the seat of the emir or governor (A. H. 228), and the navy of the Saracens rode with ease in its commodious harbour. Syracuse resisted the Moslem yoke for a period of fifty years; and in the last fatal siege, her citizens displayed some remnant of the valour which had formerly baffled the power of Athens and Carthage. The cruelties and exactions of the Arabs were enormous. The silver plate of the cathedral weighed 5000 pounds, and the entire spoil was computed at 1,000,000 pieces of gold (about £462,500).

For more than two centuries the emperors of Constantinople, the princes of Beneventum, and the Moslem armies, contended in all the horrors of war for the possession of Sicily. By degrees the religion and language of the Greeks were eradicated; and such was the docility of the new proselytes, that 15,000 boys submitted to be circumcised and clothed on the same day with the son of the African caliph.

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