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wife to the island of Sicily, where the Aglabites had made some conquests, and he appeared every 1 where more like a prince who succeeds to lawful rights, than a conqueror who makes himself formidable. Such a rival as Mahadi ought to have perplexed the Arabian caliph, more than any of those who had usurped the sovereignty in their governments. The caliph Mahadi had already made himself master of several important places in Egypt. Nevertheless, these extremities could :: not induce Moctader to quit the delights of his feraglio; he sent Munes, one of his ableft generals, against Mahadi; and, whilst all these Turke ish and Arabian warriors were fighting for the glory of the Abbasians, Moctader' was pleasing' himself with having sent against his enemies lions by whom he was every day in fear of being torn to pieces. After a long and bloody war, Mahadi was' overcome; the Arabian general vanquished the Africans in a pitched battle, and the latter no longer thought but how to defend their own country from the incursions of the vanquisher. Mahadi Obdeillah took refuge in his capital ; but Moez, his fourth successor, took Egypt in the year 696 of Jesus Christ, 358 of the hegira, and established the seat of his empire there.'

This Munes, fo formidable to the Fatimite caliph, was still much more so to the Arabian one, whom he had defended. Moctader would

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not allow him in his court the credit which his important services seemed to merit. This warrior, irritated at seeing the country which he had defended governed by women and eunuchs, thought the caliph unworthy of the sceptre; he communicated his sentiments to all the warriors, who, after having participated his dangers and glory in Egypt, considered themselves like him neglected and forgotten at the court of Bagdad. He invested the palace with them, made himself ; master of the person of the caliph, his mother, wives, and concubines, and shewed the people, as sovereign, Mahomet, surnamed Kaher, brother to the deposed caliph. This revolution was not made without much bloodshed. Muñes was even obliged to sacrifice the late caliph to the safety of his new master and of himself. They say he affected some signs of grief and respect at the sight of this head which had borne the crown; but it was exposed, notwithstanding, to the eyes of the multitude in all the streets of Bagdad. Kaher did not shew himself more worthy of the throne than the prince that he had replaced.

This same Munes, who had made him caliph, alhamed of his work, thought of nothing but how to destroy it. A conspiracy was discovered in the very moment that it was about to break out;. Munes, and his accomplices, already armed and in a state of defence, surrendered on the faith of a treaty only, which was to preserve them their


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liberty and property; the caliph granted it with facility, and broke it with still more facility: the 'head of Munes, who was treacherously put to death, and those of some chiefs, were exposed the second day after in different public places at Bagdad...

This spectacle produced the contrary effect to what the caliph had expected from it. His perfidy and cruelty irritated more and more the soldiers and people: the blood of the first conspirators raised up a greater number. The Turks besieged the palace, and roused their caliph from the slumber into which he had been plunged by: debauchery, to drag him to prison ; they put ouť his eyes, and obliged him, by bad treatment, to declare his abdication. Kaher reigned less than a year; and though, in that short space, he had spilt much blood, he was not put to death. After several years captivity, Mothaki, one of his fucceffors, set him at liberty; but, it is said, he was reduced to such misery, that he asked alms the rest of his life at the door of a mofque. Such a beggar ought to be more an object of horror than of pity.

Rhadi Billah, son to Moktader, the eldest of the Abbasians, was taken from the prison in which he had been confined by his uncle Kaher. This prince ascended the throne in the 322d year of the hegira, the 934th of Jesus Christ. He completed the loss of the authority of the caliphs already so tottering. The provincial governors,

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become hereditary, not only disregarded the orders of Radi, as they had already done those of his predecessors, but even refused him the annual sums, to which the last caliphs had been confined by degrees, and who had made tributary sove- :' reigns of those that originally were only officers removeable at pleasure.

Fourteen sovereigns, among which the Fatimite caliph was the most powerful, had reduced the Arabian califate to the territory that surrounded its capital. The power of Mahomets successor was confined to things spiritual, to some decisions on points of doctrine, and to vain honors, which the Fatimite caliph, who pretended with more reason to the succession of Mahomet, always refused him.. ...

Rhadi was even incapable of exercising the authority which he had left him in Bagdad. Small as was this sceptre, it became too weighty for his hands. A vizier, charged with giving an account to the caliph of every important affair, and to enforce the execution of his orders, was insufficient for the effeminacy or rather incapacity of Rhadi. The only act of absolute sovereignty that he ventured on during his reign, was to strip himself of it. He appointed an officer be, tween himself and the vizier, who, charged with all the weight of government, became the real monarch. This new mafter was called Emir-ala Omra, that is, in Arabic, emir of emirs, or prince

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of princes. The caliph, in order to rid himself , entirely of every kind of trouble, permitted the

emir-al-oinra to read public prayers in the great mosque, and in the pulpit of Mahomet, a function 'till then indispensably reserved to the caliph, which neither Mahomet nor any of his successors had ever executed by deputy. Ebn Raick, the first emir-al-omra, disgraced at the fame time both his new authority and the califate, by purchasing a peace of the general of the Karmates, prince of Air, the most feared, though the leaft of the Mahometan sovereigns: the commander of the Faithful submitted to pay tribute to this prince, who, properly speaking, was nothing more than a chief of freebooters. After this period, the dignity of caliph lost all its power. But as the empire of Mahomet seemed to be founded principally on the. Alcoran, the usurpers of the different provinces, which at first had formed all together but one state, still concinued a long time, for form sake, to receive the investiture from this pretended chief, who stiled himself the fucceffor of the prophet.

Mahomer had likewise in Egypt another fucceffor, defcended from his daughter Fatima, who also conferred investitures on the princes his neighbours, and who, in the sequel, was reduced to the functions of the priesthood, like the caliph of Bagdad. But the latter groaned under the yoke of usurpation much sooner than his com


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