Page images
PDF
EPUB

year of the hegira. If two caliphs were since feen
in the Mahometan empire, this division should be
imputed to Abdallah's bad conduct, who did every
thing that could alienate the Syrians from him, who

were willing to throw themselves into his arms. Moavia II. Immediately after the death of Iesid, his son,

Moavia II. had been placed on the throne of the
caliphs. This prince descended from it fix weeks
after, to shut himself up in folitude. The day on
which he published his abdication, he said to the
people: Moavia 1. my grandfather, wrested the scep-
tre of Syria from the son-in-law of the prophet, the
lawful caliph, more noble, more great, and more vir-
tủous,than Moavia, who was nothing but an usurper.
My fatherlesid put to death Osein, the prophet's grand-
fon, whom he ought to have revered and served. I
"will not succeed to an authority fo unjust, but go and
weep in silence, and ask forgiveness of the prophet for
the crimes committed by my family against his. The
Syrians, enraged at the abdication of their caliph,
vented their fury, as it is said, on the prince's
preceptor, whom they accused of having inspired
him with such moderate sentiments. This man .
was buried alive by the people. The difpoffeffed
caliph persisted in the resolution which he had
taken, and died at Damascus a short time after.
his abdication, the Syrians not having been wil-
ling to admit him, nor indeed would they after..
ward have been able to prevail on Moavia II. to
execute any of the functions of the priesthood, or

of

of the empire. They then turned their eyes on Abdallah. The principal Syrians, seeing all the advantages of a lasting union between the forces of the Mahometan empire, were on the point of prevailing on the people to acknowledge the Arabian caliph, when they were informed of Abdal lah's having put to death all that remained at Mecca of the house of Ommias, and its numerous servants, and that the cruelties which the caliph daily exercised had neither motives nor measures. The Syrians soon dropt all thoughts of placing this barbarian on the throne. Mervan, of the Abdallas. · race of Ommias, who had been the first that pro- Mervana posed submitting themselves to Abdallah, was elected caliph at Damascus in the room of Moavia II.; but Abdallah ftill maintained himself in Arabia, notwithstanding his cruelties. Mervan reigned only ten months. Abdalmalec, his son Abdalma and succesfor, immediately after his advancement, ordered, that the pilgrimage, which 'till then the Syrians had made to Mecca, should, for the future, be made to Jerusalem. He was unwilling to have the territories of his enemy enriched by the immense sums which his subjects carried every year to Mecca. Thus, in those times of enthusiasm and fervor, religion aiready gave way

Though the empire of Mahomet seemed to be divided between the Ommiasians and Aliians, the children of Ali lived in obscurity at Medina, whilst Abdallah, their distant relation, usurped

Abdalm:

lec.

the

the throne, which he had appeared at first to de. fend only for them. Mahomet and his brothers, grandsons to Osein, (for history does not again mention his fons, were descended in a direct line from the founder of the Muffulman law, by Fa. tima his only daughter, wife of Ali I. Such in. difputable pretensions to the califate disturbed Abdallah, though the young prince, who had this apparent right, did not seem to think of it. The caliph then reigning attempted to extort from the young Mahomet an oath of fidelity, which the descendant of the prophet was too high spirited to take to any one, Abdallah immediately had all the Aliians imprisoned, giving them but a few days to submit, or to prepare to die. A great number of Muffulmen, faithful to the memory of Ali, assembled together. Their chief, called Moctar, raised the people of Mecca and several towns of Arabia. Abdallah was compelled to negociate; and the Aliians were released from captivity the very day that Abdallah had fixed on to demand their heads, if they persisted in refusing the oaths. This faction, strong enough to enforce respect to the descendants of the prophet, was not sufficiently so to place them on the throne : the neceffity of defending Arabia against the enterprises of Abdalmalec, caliph of Syria, foon reunited all the Arabians under the authority of their caliph Abdallah, and the interests of the house of Ali gave way to the common

cause..

eaufe. But Abdallah's efforts only precipitated his fall. He perished in a battle, after having loft Medina and Mecca. His generals attempted in vain to defend Irac. Abdalmalec, more valiant, or more fortunate, than all of them, reduced to one sceptre all those who had the

fame faith; and whilst the descendants of Maho· met were reduced to a private station, no more

than one caliph was known, usurper of the empire, which the false prophet had founded.

Thus far the Arabians and all the Mussulmen had made use of the money of the Greeks. The Mahometan princes had not yet struck their own coin. Abdalmalec was the first, who made use of this sovereign right : the occasion of it was as follows. In some transactions which the caliph had with the Greek emperor, respecting the bounds of the two empires, the Mussulman prince always began his dispatches with the form prescribed by his religion: There is no other God but one God, and Mahomet is his Prophet. The Chris. tian monarch, offended, sent word to Abdalmalec, that if he did not change this form, he, the Greek emperor, would have legends put on his coin in which Mahomet should be described by titles difpleasing to his followers. The caliph immediately forbade the circulation of the Greek money in his territories, and caused drachins to be struck, of which the Arabic legend was, God is eternal. The superstitious Muffulmen complained at first

[ocr errors]

against

against the exposing of the holy name of God to the touch of prophane and impure hands; but they comprehended, in the sequel, that it was for the dignity of an empire like theirs to have a particular coin. There were several wars between these two powerful states under the caliph Abdalmalec; but as we propose in this discourse to give only the history of the Mahometan religion, the origin and foundation of the Ottoman empire, it will suffice to say, that Abdalmalec took Carthage and all Africa proper; and that these conquests were not made without the shed. ding of much blood. Abdalmalec died, after a reign of twenty-one years more brilliant than just. More than any other caliph, he founded his power on fear and chastisements; he impoverished and depopulated the countries which he had added to the empire, and the growth which he gave this great body sensibly diminished its substance and forces.

Walid I. succeeded his father Abdalmalec without contention. It is said that this prince had, by his frequent divorces, seventy-two wives; for Mahomet, who had allowed himself an unlimited number, had not granted his fucceffors more privileges in this respect than the other Mussulmen.

In those times, the incontinence of Roderick, king of Spain, and the resentment of count Julian, procured the Mussulmen the most flourishing kingdom at that time in all Christendom.

Roderick

Walid I.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »