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147. How did Amrou describe the land of Egypt to Omar, the caliph ?

He presented a lively and faithful picture of the realm of Pharaoh and the Amalekites. "O commander of the faithful, Egypt is a compound of black earth and green plants, between a pulverised mountain and a red sand. The distance from Syene to the sea is a month's journey for a horseman. Along the valley descends a river, on which the blessing of the Most High reposes both in the evening and morning, and which rises and falls with the revolutions of the sun

and moon. When the annual dispensation of Providence unlocks the springs and fountains that nourish the earth, the Nile rolls his swelling and sounding waters through the realm of Egypt: the fields are overspread by the salutary flood; and the villages communicate with each other in their painted barks. The retreat of the inundation deposits a fertilising mud for the reception of the various seeds: the crowds of husbandmen who blacken the land may be compared to a swarm of industrious ants; and their native indolence is quickened by the lash of the task-master, and the promise of the flowers and fruits of a plentiful increase. Their hope is seldom deceived; but the riches which they extract from the wheat, the barley, and the rice, the legumes, the fruit-trees, and the cattle, are unequally shared between those who labour and those who possess. According to the vicissitudes of the seasons, the face of the country is adorned with a silver wave, a verdant emerald, and the deep yellow of a golden harvest."

148. Who was Akbah?

The " 'conqueror of Africa." He marched from Damascus at the head of ten thousand of the bravest Arabs, the force of the Moslems being strengthened by several thousand barbarians. It is difficult to trace his



line of progress until he reached the Great Desert and the Atlantic.

149. What was his enthusiastic language on reaching that mighty ocean?

The career, though not the zeal, of Akbah was checked by the prospect of a boundless ocean. He spurred his horse into the waves, and raising his eyes to heaven exclaimed, with the tone of a fanatic, "Great God! if my course were not stopped by this sea, I would still go on, to the unknown kingdoms of the West, preaching the unity of thy holy name, and putting to the sword the rebellious nations who worship any other gods than Thee!"

150. Who was Tarik?

A dauntless and skilful soldier, who commanded five thousand veterans and volunteers, and landed at the pillar or point of Europe marked by the name of their chief, "Gebel al Tarik," corrupted into the appellation


151. What was his reception?

Edeco, Roderic's lieutenant, had orders to seize and bind the presumptuous strangers; but the governors had speedily to inform the king his general had been defeated by the Saracens.

152. Describe the defeat of Roderic by the Moslems, on the plain of Xeres?

Notwithstanding the valour of the Saracens, they fainted under the weight of multitudes, and the plain of Xeres, near Cadiz, was overspread with their dead bodies. "My brethren," said Tarik to his surviving companions, "the enemy is before you, the sea is behind; whither would ye fly? Follow your general: I am resolved either to lose my life or to trample on the

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The treachery of

prostrate king of the Romans.” Count Julian, the two princes, sons of Witiza, and the Archbishop of Toledo, turned the fortune of the day against Roderic, who, amidst the general disorder caused by their defection, started from his car of ivory, and mounted Orelia, the fleetest of his horses; but he escaped from a soldier's death to perish more ignobly in the waters of the Boetis or Guadalquiver. "Such,' said the Arabs, "is the fate of those kings who withdraw themselves from a field of battle."

153. How did Count Julian complete the measure of his guilt?

By traitorously planning the destruction of his nation with the victorious Saracen.

154. What was his advice to Tarik?

"The king of the Goths is slain, their princes are fled before you, the army is routed, the nation is astonished. Secure with sufficient detachments the cities of Boetica; but in person and without delay march to the royal city of Toledo, and allow not the distracted Christians either time or tranquillity for the election of a new monarch."

155. What was the result?

The ruin of the Gothic monarchy.

156. What was the Mahometan treaty with Spain, when that country was conquered by Musa, in 712?

During the absence of his father, Abdelaziz, the son of Musa, chastised the insurgents of Seville, and reduced, from Malaga to Valentia, the sea-coast of the Mediterranean. His original treaty with the discreet and valiant Theodemir will represent the manners and policy of the times. "The conditions of peace agreed and sworn between Abdelaziz, the son of Musa, the son




of Nassir, and Theodemir, prince of the Goths. In the name of the most merciful God, Abdelaziz makes peace on these conditions: that Theodemir shall not be disturbed in his principality; nor any injury be offered to the life or property, the wives or children, the religion and temples of the Christians: that Theodemir shall freely deliver his seven cities, Orihnela, Valentola, Alicant, Mola, Vacasora, Bigerra, Ora, and Lorca: that he shall not assist or entertain the enemies of the caliph, but shall faithfully communicate his knowledge of their hostile designs: that himself, and each of the Gothic nobles, shall annually pay one piece of gold, four measures of wheat, as many of barley, with a certain proportion of honey, oil, and vinegar; and that each of their vassals shall be taxed at one moiety of the said imposition. Given the fourth of Regeb, in the year of the Hegira ninety-four, and subscribed with the names of four Mussulman witnesses."

157. How were Theodemir and his subjects treated? With the greatest lenity; but the rate of tribute appears to have fluctuated from a tenth to a fifth, according to the submission or obstinacy of the Christians.

158. What did Musa find in the church of St. Mary, at Carcassone?

Seven equestrian statues of massive silver.

159. Who was Mohammed?

After the caliphs of the house of Amimyah lost the public favour, Mohammed, the son of Ali, the son of Abdallah, the son of Abbas, the uncle of the prophet, gave audience to the deputies of Chorasan, and accepted their free gift of four hundred thousand pieces of gold.

160. In whose name was the oath of allegiance administered after the death of Mohammed?

In the name of his son Ibrahim.



161. When was the religion of the Magi in Persia supplanted by Mahometanism?

On the conquest of that country by the caliph of the Saracens, A.D. 651. The wars of the Moslems were sanctioned by the example and precepts of Mahomet; and with verses from the Koran inscribed on the blades of their scimitars, the Arab enthusiasts followed their general to the bloody plains of Cadessia.

"A chief, unmoved alike

'Mid eyes that weep and swords that strike ;-
One of that saintly, murderous brood,

To carnage and the Koran given,
Who think through unbelievers' blood
Lies their directest path to heaven
One, who will pause and kneel unshod
In the warm blood his hand hath pour'd,
To mutter o'er some text of God
Engraven on his reeking sword;—
Nay, who can coolly note the line,
The letter of those words divine,
To which his blade, with searching art,
Had sunk into its victim's heart !"

162. What were the Persian idolators called?

Ghebers, or Fire-worshippers. They consider their Zend, or Pazend, as one of the ten books received from heaven by Abraham, who is styled the Prophet of the Ghebers. They adore a Supreme Being under the title of "God of Light," worship fire as an emblem, and imagining the sun a globe of fire, in which the throne of the Almighty is seated, erect temples and altars to that luminary as Mythras, or Mihir.

163. Where did the Ghebers build their temples?

Over subterraneous fires. At the city of Yezd, in Persia, called the Darûb Abadest, or seat of religion, was the celebrated Fire Temple, or Atush Kudu, held sacred since the time of Zoroaster.

164. What was the Kohé Gubr?

A mountain, the top of which resembled a cupola,

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