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Mahoinet, of the house of Ali, was declared ca. liph at Medina. Almansor, without quitting his rising city, sent an army into Arabia. The unfortunate Mahoinet was taken and beheaded in Medina, the very town where he had pretended to reign. Ibrahim his brother perished likewise in attempting to avenge him, and the caliph Almansor caused the heads of these two vanquished princes to be set up on the walls of his new capital, which he ornamented with palaces and mosques whilft his generals fought for him. Bagdad was finished in less than fix years; his successors enlarged'it greatly afterward.
Mahadi, the son and successor of Alınansor, fw farina saw spring up, immmediately on his coming to the throne, a sect capable of overturning the califate for ever. An Arabian, called Mokanna, encouraged by the example of Mahomet, had, like him, a mind to found a religion : he counterfeited inspiration, published that the spirit of God resided in him, proposed new precepts, and confirmed his million by false miracles. The people, fond of what was marvellous, followed this new prophet in crowds, who, more induls gent than the first, permitted the use of wine, and did not require so many prayers. Several towns in Arabia opened their gates to him. This enthusiasm foon formed Toldiers: the Mahometan empire was like to be destroyed by the means that had raised it. Mahadi knew how to
'oppose efficaciously this rapid progress. The pretended miracles which the impostor continually published did not render him the strongest; he was defeated several times. At last, having taken refuge with some soldiers in a small post which he did not expect to be able to defend long, he gave all his companions empoisoned wine, after which he set fire to his retreat, with so much precaution, that the Mussulmen could never extinguish it 'till all the dead bodies of the soldiers, and Mokanna himself, were consumed. This frantic fellow had predicted that he should rise from the dead; his disciples waited a long time in expectation of the miracle. Mokanna had so strengthened their credulity, that his fect was established throughout Arabia, and lasted near two centuries after him.
Another sectary sprang up at the same time. Abu Anifah, one of the most celebrated Sunnite doctors, lived under Mahadi. He entertained some particular opinions on different parts of the Alcoran, opinions which are now admitted by all the Ottomans; but, far from disquieting his sovereign, he only confirmed his disciples in the obedience which he thought due to the successor of Mahomet. Abu Anifah preached concord and peace, even the pardon of injuries, and he prayed publicly for his perfecutors. This moral, though established by several passages of the Alcoran, must have appeared very new to men, who, 'till then, had known no other law, virtue, nor glory, than that of force. Mahadi obtained great advantages over the Greeks, or rather Aaron Rachid, his second fon, a young prince full of valour and prudence, made war at the head of a fine army, with so much success, that he obliged the empress Irene to become tributary to the Mussulmen. This celebrated female usurper, who was the first that found means to subject the Roman eagle to the sceptre of a woman, and whose profound policy repaired for some time the misfortunes and faults of her predeceffors, was obliged to purchase a peace with the Muffulmen by, an annual fum, which could not be considered but as a tribute, and Aaron Rachid brought back his army glorious and triumphant to Bagdad. - Mahadi, penetrated with admiration of the talents and superior qualities of Aaron Rachid, would fain declare him his immediate succeffor; but the prince rejected what did not belong to him. He declared, that he would never reign to the prejudice of his elder brother Mufa; nevertheless he possessed the califate fooner than he had reason to expect. Mahadi was excessively fond of one of his wives, newly admitted to the honor of his bed : she who had been his favorite before this new conquest, tormented with jealousy, gave her rival a beautiful fruit, which she had empoisoned. The girl imme
diately carried this fruit to the caliph, who, having eaten it, died a few hours after in the most dreadful agonies, having reigned eleven years. His fucceffor was not then with him ; Aaron Rachid received the oaths of the people for his brother. . Musa was hardly on the throne, when he saw ..
Mula. the Aliians ready to dispute it with him. Osein, their chief, caused himself to be proclaimed caliph at Medina on the death of Mahadi: he raised troops immediately, publishing throughout A. rabia, that he would enfranchise the flaves who should come and enrol themselves under his standard. This soon procured him a numerous army, but badly disciplined, which Aaron Rachid had not the trouble to vanquish, and was dispersed presently.
Whilst Aaron Rachid was serving hs brother with so much success, the ungrateful Musa meditated to deprive him of the succession to the throne, which belonged to him by so many titles ; he attempted to have his son Jaafar, though yet a child, declared the presumptive heir to the califate, contrary to the law, which decreed the sceptre to the oldest prince of the race; and on his meeting with resistance from the vizier and all the principal officers, he resolved to get rid of them, and Aaron Rachid himself, whom he could not expect to vanquish but by treachery. One crime prevented another. Kiasaran, the mother
of the two princes, assumed a great authority ; she had always in her retinue a number of creatures ; she took upon her 'to give the governments, and bestow all favors. Her eldest son grew jealous of it, and reproached her bitterly; he forbade his mother to go out of her apartment, and particularly to receive such a numerous court; and he threatened to have those put to death who should pretend to be protected by her. This passage clearly shews, that the Mahometan women were not then so closely shut up as they have been since. The irritated sultaness resolved to get rid of her fon; Musa was poisoned the very day on which he had intended to have his brother
strangled. Maron Bar Aaron Rachid began his reign with fulfilling chid, a vow, which he had made during his disgrace,
to go on foot in pilgrimage to Mecca. The people flocked about him on his journey, spreading rich carpets before him and strewing the earth with flowers. The new caliph earnestly endeavoured to free the Mussulmen from the profound ignorance in which they had 'till then lived, and which had been so much recommended to them by the companions of Mahomet. He invited from all countries learned men, to translate into Arabic and Syriac books of philosophy and aftronomy which he had bought of the Christians. He was particularly fond of poetry, and magnificently rewarded those who made verses; he like