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fire with which it was assailed. Their fleet too was destroyed, while lack of provisions occasioned a famine amongst the troops. The Khalif, while hastening to be present at the capture of the city, fell ill, and died on his journey, and his cousin, Omar II., who succeeded him (A.D. 717), vainly endeavoured by the despatch of a fleet of four hundred vessels to convey arms and provisions to the army before Constantinople. No less than 100,000 men perished under the walls of the city, and not without difficulty a mere handful of soldiers arrived back in Asia Minor. Austere and intolerant in his religion, though simple in his habits of life, Omar gained the reputation of a saint, but his severity alienated his people, and his death in February, A.D. 720, after a brief reign of two years and a half was scarcely lamented.

Yazid II., another son of Abdul Malik, succeeded to power without resistance. His reign was occupied at first in quelling various insurrections, and subsequently the Muslim armies were directed against Farghana in Transoxiana, Armenia, and the Byzantines in Asia Minor. In Europe also they crossed the Pyrenees and took possession of Narbonne, but were afterwards repulsed at Toulouse, and forced to retrace their steps.

Yazid II. died in A.D. 724, owing, it is supposed, to grief for the loss of a favourite slave.

During the rule of his son and successor Hisham, who reigned for twenty years, the Muslims made vigorous onslaughts on the Byzantine possessions in Asia Minor; they also crossed the Pyrenees and ravaged parts of France, but the energy of the warrior, Charles Martel, drove them back to Spain,

where internal troubles prevented their again assuming the offensive. Hisham died on 6th February, A.D. 743.

His brother, Walid II., had but a brief taste of power, owing largely to his debaucheries and want of religion, which gave great offence. After he had been on the throne about a twelvemonth a rebellion headed by Yazid, a son of Walid I., rendered it necessary for the Khalif to take up arms, but he was unsuccessful and died on the field of battle in April, A.D. 744. His head was thereupon taken to Damascus and carried about the city on the end of a spear.

Yazid the third of that name became Khalif, but held sway for no more than six months (A.D. 744), leaving the kingdom on his death a prey to rebellion and anarchy in every direction.

His brother Ibrahim, who succeeded to the throne (A.D. 744), reigned for two months, at the end of which period he resigned the Khalifat to Marwan bin Muhammad, formerly governor of Armenia, who had entered Damascus and caused himself to be proclaimed Khalif (A.D. 744) under the title of Marwan II. Unrest and rebellion, however, followed the footsteps of the usurper, till the unfortunate Khalif was forced to risk the fate of war in a battle, the loss of which cost him his empire. On his defeat (25th January,· A.D. 750) Marwan fled for refuge at first to Mosul, the inhabitants of which refused to open their gates to him. Foiled in this direction he tried, with no better success, various other towns in the empire, and finally took refuge in a Coptic church in Egypt, where, however, his enemies pursued him, and slew him at the foot of the altar. His head was then cut

off and sent to Kufa as a trophy of welcome to the new Khalif. Thus ended the Omaiyad dynasty, which founded in blood perished in blood, after a turbulent interval of somewhat less than a hundred years.

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