« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
wise encouraged physic. The climate of Arabia furnishes perfumės in abundance, as likewise simples and plants proper to cure diseases with. Aaron Rachid, desirous of every kind of knowledge useful co man, favorably received all those who had studied the means of rendering health and prolonging life: fo much so, that he restored the Christians all the churches which his predeceffors had taken from them in Egypt, because Balathianus, a consummate physician and patriarch of Alexandria, had cured one of his wives of a dangerous disease.
The caliph's love of letters no way abated his warlike ardour. The Alijans made, under his reign new attempts to recover Arabia. Iaia, the chief of that house, was disarmed ; and, if we may believe the Persian historians, was beheaded, though he had been promised his liberty and life. This account is improbable: Aaron Rachid was too generous, and even too enlightened, to blacken himself with an useless perfidy, for these same historians admit that he let eighteen of laia fons live.
Nicephor, the successor of the empress Irene, having refused the caliph the tribute which he had imposed on that princess, Aaron Rachid penetrated into the Greek territories as far as Heraclius, which he besieged; and he obliged the Greek emperor to purchase a peace with a new impoft. Nicephor had sent by his ambassadors
several swords as a present to the caliph. Rachid
Aaron Rachid gave the government of west Africa to Ibrahim, the son of Aglab. This is the origin of the Aglabites, who became sovereigns of Africa under the following caliphs; for, during the reign of Rachid, he knew how to keep all the governors of the provinces in subjection. No Mussulman prince was ever more absolute : on the least fufpicion, or the flightest discontent, he superseded generals at the head of numerous armies, in the provinces most distant from Bagdad, and was punctually obeyed.
During the war with the Greeks, a woman being come to complain to him, that some foldiers had laid waste her estate, and pillaged and burnt her house : “ Dost thou not know,” said Rachid to her, “ that it is written in the Alcoran, “ when princes go armed into a place, they “ destroy it?” “Yes, my lord,” replied the afflicted woman ; “ but I have read there like" wise, that the houses of the princes shall be « desolated on account of the acts of injustice 56 which they commir.” The caliph, struck with this answer, ordered her to be given more than he had last. Aaron Rachid died, after a
reign of twenty-three years, feared and beloved
by all his subjects. Amina, his son and successor, ' inherited neither his talents, virtues, nor prof. perity.
The empire of Mahomet was soon to be divided. The division of the sects preceded that of the provinces; the spirit of dispute and controversy crept in at the same time as the love of letters among these rude Mussulmen, who, for so, long a time, had known only their arms and the book of their law. Under Amina, Almamon, and their successors, it was disputed if the Alcoran had been created, or were from all eternity with God. This discussion exercised at first the fubtilty of the new philosophers, and ended with exciting persecucions. The caliphs, with the major part, admitted the creation of the Alcoran; they pursued those of the opposite sect, and arguments that perplexed reason were replied to with fire and sword.
A Sunnite doctor, who was brought before the caliph Almamon, said to him one day, that Mahomet had several times confirmed by oath, that he had not composed the Alcoran, but that the chapters had descended from Heaven one by one at different times, as he had announced them to the people: since then, continued the doctor, these writings come from the hand of the Divinity, for whom there is no succession of time, shey must be eternal like him, at least you cannot
tell when they were created, or if they have been created, since God is invariable, and has thought from all eternity what he has written in this holy book. The caliph durft not deny the authority of Mahomet; but, as he knew how to use his sword better than his tongue, he ended the dispute by separating at a single stroke his adverfary's head from his body. The persecution, as it always happens, augmented the number of the fectaries. The opinion of the Alcoran uncreated . has since been admitted by all the Sunnites; the Persians, who form the sect of the Shiites, alone retain the contrary opinion, Almamon carried his zeal so far for the belief of the Alcoran created, that the caliph would not have the Mufful. men who admitted the eternity of the Alcoran included in an exchange of prisoners made with the Greeks. This prince died, after a reign of four years. 112.0,
Motamasem, the eighth Abbasian caliph, was the first who intrusted the guard of his person to foreigners, mistrusting his own subjects. He kept in his pay a numerous corps of Turks, or Turcomans, a ferocious, warlike people who came from Scythia; he attached them to the service of his successors, who, in the sequel, experienced from this horde of barbarians more than Motamasem could ever have feared from his Arabians. In fact, the caliphs soon lost themfelves in effeminacy, and the Turks, attentive,
seized on the reins of government as much by confidence as force. They first embraced If lamism; then their chiefs, admitted to an intimacy with the caliphs, raised quarrels between the princes of the blood, destroying the one by the other. They appropriated the governments to themselves which the feeble caliphs intrusted to these dangerous servants with the view of removing them a good way off. The Korazan, the Kervan, Mesopotamia, and Syria, became as many sovereignties, dismembered from that of the caliphs; Egypt was likewise loft and reconquered.
Cust Under Moctader, the feventeenth Abbasian, .c. 208. the fate of the house of Ali changed. Mahadi Heg. 286 Obdeillah, the chief of that illustrious and unfortunate race, having gathered together a confiderable party, chased away from Africa the usurpers called Aglabites, and placed himself on the throne of Kirvan; he established the seat of his empire at Rakkadda; he took the surname of Mahadi, and became the founder of the dynasty of the Fatimites, from the name of Fatima, the wife of Ali, and only daughter of the prophet. Mahadi was called, as well as the Arabian caliph, the commander of the Faithful; he established the law of the Shiites, as well as his new power, . with great fagacity and fuccefs, visiting all his provinces, at the head of an army, which found no opportunity to signalize itself; he went like