86-96 A.H.   /   705-715 A.D.

Welid, 86 A.H. 705 A.D.

HAVING performed the funeral service over his father's grave, Al-Welid returned to the Great Mosque of Damascus, and ascending the pulpit, delivered an address lamenting the loss of his father and blessing his memory.

'Omar beautifies the Holy Cities.

Al-Welid, reposing the same trust as his father in Al-Hajjaj, maintained him in the Viceroyalty of the East. But Arabia he made over to his own cousin, the pious 'Omar, son of 'Abd al-'Aziz, under whom, for several years, Mecca and Medina enjoyed, in marked contrast to the rule of Hisham ibn Isma'il, a mild and beneficent administration. Aided by a council of learned citizens, his government of Medina was also popular He beautified and enlarged the Mosque by embracing within its court the apartments of the Prophet's wives, and others, originally built around it. Artificers were furnished by Syria; and the Emperor, informed of the pious undertaking, sent a gift of gold, forty camel-loads of mosaics, and 100 Byzantine masons.1 Under Al-Welid's instructions, 'Omar also had the roads and passes on the Pilgrim routes made easy, wells dug about the desert

1 The Emperor presented 100,000 mithkals of gold. It all reads somewhat oddly immediate1y after the following:—"In the same year, Maslama, the Caliph's brother, warred against the Greeks, took three fortresses, one being the Fort of Constantine and slew of the mogrel Arabs 1000, carrying off at the same time heavy spoil." But we are also told that in the year 90 A.H. (705 A.D.) the Muslim admiral was taken prisoner, and as a matter of grace restored to the Caliph.


stations, and fountains to play at Mecca and Medina.1 It was all for 'Omar a labour of love; and so well did he carry out these useful and ornamental works, that the Caliph, some time after, when on pilgrimage to the Holy Cities, expressed his delight and thankfulness at all he saw.

Severity of Hajjaj.

The attractions of 'Omar's beneficent rule drew away from the heavy hand of Al-Hajjaj great numbers of the men of Al-'Irak who in Mecca and Medina thus escaped his tyranny. This irritated Al-Hajjaj all the more, and 'Omar felt bound to inform the Caliph of his increasing severity. Al-Hajjaj, on the other hand, complained bitterly of the shelter given to his malcontent subjects in the Holy Cities; and Al-Welid, yielding to Al-Hajjaj, recalled 'Omar. In his room, separate governors were appointed to Mecca and Medina, who ruthlessly expelled the immigrants, and threatened with death any citizen who dared to give them shelter. One of such refugees, Ibn Jubeir, who had been paymaster of Ibn al-Ash'ath's army was, after an affecting interview with his family, executed with heartless cruelty by Al-Hajjaj. This was a couple of years before his own death, and remorse for it affected his mind. At night he would awake with the vision of his victim clutching the bed­clothes, and crying out, O Enemy of the Lord, for what hast thou slain me? whereupon the wretched man would keep calling aloud, What have I to do with thee, thou son of Jubeir!

Yezid ibn Muhallab escapes from him to Suleiman, 90 A.H.

His treatment of Yezid and his brothers, sons of Al-Muhallab was equally cruel and vindictive. Against these, it will be remembered, Al-Hajjaj had a grudge on account of their Yemeni leanings. After the fall of Ibn al-Ash'ath they were the only stumbling-block in his path. They were now imprisoned on the convenient charge against retiring

1 There was need of some such supply at Mecca, for the multitude of pilgrims was now so great that in a dry season the water fell altogether short. In fact, one year the want was so pressing that 'Omar bade the people join him in prayer; and shortly after rain fell in such torrents that the City was inundated. Such pious traits of 'Omar are a popular subject with the traditionists.
The governor succeeding 'Omar was profane enough to praise Al-Welid at the expense of Abraham,—the former having brought sweet water into Mecca, whereas Abraham only gave them the brackish well of Zemzem.


governors, of embezzlement.

Escape of Yezid.

Having to set out on a campaign against the Kurds, he took them with his camp, under a Syrian guard. Yezid was subjected to torture which he bore with fortitude; but on one occasion the instrument of torture pierced his leg, and he cried aloud. His sister, one of Al-Hajjaj's wives, alarmed at the cry, screamed, whereupon the tyrant divorced her on the spot. The prisoners were fortunate enough to effect their escape; and Al-Hajjaj, thinking they had fled to Khorasan, warned Koteiba of the danger. But they had taken horse in the opposite direction, and fled to Ramleh in Palestine, where they took refuge with Suleiman, the Caliph's brother. Al-­Hajjaj was instant with the Caliph that Yezid should be delivered up; whereupon Suleiman sent him, and his own son with him, to Damascus, both in chains, with a letter supplicating mercy. Al-Welid, touched at the sight, let them depart in peace, and forbade Al-Hajjaj to interfere. Yezid continued to live with the heir-apparent as his intimate and, as we shall see hereafter, favourite courtier.1 His tribe, the Azd, was also that of the mother of Suleiman.

Death of Hajjaj, 95 A.H. 714 A.D.

During the remainder of his life we do not hear much of Al-Hajjaj, and it was well for him that he died before Al-Welid, for he had given mortal offence to Suleiman, whose right of succession Al-Welid desired to set aside in favour of his son, and the design was encouraged by Al-Hajjaj. But the wrath of Suleiman, though escaped by the father, fell, as we shall see, with terrible severity on his family and adherents. Al-Hajjaj stands out in the annals of Islam as the incarnation of cruelty. But the Caliphate owed much to him. For twenty years, the absolute ruler of the East in times of trouble and danger, with anarchy abroad, perversity and fickleness at home, rebellion and wild fanaticism at his doors, Al-Hajjaj, by his bravery and resolution, maintained the strength and restored the prosperity of the Empire in Al-'Irak, 'Arabia, and Khorasan. Severity was no doubt often justified in quelling the turbulent elements around; but nothing can excuse the enormous bloodshed and inhumanity which have handed down his name as that of one of the

1 Suleiman was so much attached to Yezid that whenever he received some special rarity, or beautiful slave-girl, he would send them to his friend.


cruellest tyrants the world has ever seen.1 When after twenty years of fighting he had pacified his provinces, he turned his attention to the arts of peace, developing the canal system, reclaiming land, and doing his best to prevent the peasantry from flocking from the country into the towns. He and Ziyad were the two great ministers of the Umeiyads, without whom the dynasty would not have survived. In one respect Ziyad was the greater of the two, since he did not use force in the shape of Syrian soldiers, but played off one faction against another, and so gained his end.

Wars of Koteiba in Khorasan, 86-96 A.H. 705-715 A.D.

An indirect advantage has by some been attributed to the tyranny of Al-Hajjaj, in that his reign of terror drove many from their homes to swell the armies in the field, and so help forward the conquests for which the Caliphate of Al-Welid is famous. A brief outline of these will now be given, beginning with the campaign of Koteiba ibn Muslim in Central Asia. That great warrior, who was of Bahila, a neutral tribe, advanced every summer into the provinces beyond the Oxus, retiring, as autumn advanced, to winter in Merv. Up to this time the Muslim campaigns appear to have been of the nature of ghazawat, or raids, bringing the subdued lands into the category of allied, protected, or tributary, rather than of conquered and subject, states. The proceedings were now of a more permanent nature. Koteiba's first advance was against Balkh, Tukharistan, and Ferghana. At Balkh, among the captives, was the wife of Barmek a physician, who was taken as a slave-girl into the harim of 'Abdallah, Koteiba's brother. Soon after, peace being made, the lady, as a matter of grace, was restored to her husband; but the result of the short union with 'Abdallah was a son, acknow­ledged by him, and known in after-days as Khalid the

1 Tradition puts the number of lives sacrificed by Al-Hajjaj (apart from carnage on the field of battle) at 120,000,—mere guess-work of course. He was fond of making copies of the Kor'an with his own hand, and as a work of merit making distribution of them; but he was bitterly opposed to Ibn Mas'ud's text,—declaring that he would behead anyone who followed it. Many savage sayings are attributed to him. The odium attaching to his name has no doubt magnified his demerits, which, however, with every allowance for exaggeration, were pre­eminently bad.


Barmeki.1 The next campaign was against Peikund a trading emporium of Bokhara, beyond the Oxus. The Turkomans of Soghd and other hordes swarmed in such multitudes around Koteiba for the defence of this rich city, as to cut off his communications. For two months Al-Hajjaj received no tidings, and had prayers offered up for him in the mosques throughout the East.

Bokhara taken, 88 A.H.

At last the city fell. The fighting men were put to the sword, their families taken captive, and vast stores of arms and "spoil such as never before seen in Khorasan." In 88 A.H. another advance was made on Bokhara, and many places of note were taken. A heavy battle was fought with a vast host from Soghd and the surrounding districts, commanded by "a nephew of the Emperor of China," who after a determined resistance was put to flight.

89 A.H.

Next year, Koteiba again advanced through Soghd and Kish, against Werdan, king of Bokhara, who after two days' fighting took to flight; but the city, resisting every attempts was left unstormed. Al-Hajjaj upbraided Koteiba with the failure, and bade him renew the attack on a plan furnished to him of the defenses.

90 A.H.

This he did with a strong force, which mainly through the bravery of the Beni Temim (for the Azd at first gave way before the fierce onset of the Turks),2 routed the enemy. Bokhara thus taken, the surrounding province was completely sub­dued.

Rising in Tukharistan, 91 A.H.

On the approach of winter, the Muslim troops being withdrawn for the season, Nizak, minister of the Prince of Tukharistan, formed a conspiracy with the surrounding powers to cast off the foreign yoke too evidently now settling down heavily upon them. To prevent his Sovereign, who opposed the design, from interfering, and

1 Weil thinks the story was invented to give the Barmekide family a status they would not otherwise have had as mere natives of Balkh. There is, however, nothing unlikely in the incident. It was altogether in accord with law and habit, only in this case the lady was given back,—an act which, even with the dishonour, must be regarded as merciful in a Muslim conqueror.

2 The Muslim women from the camp rushed out screaming at the retreating column, and, beating their horses on their heads, forced them back upon the enemy. So even in these advanced and exposed campaigns we see that the Muslims carried their women and families with them.


yet give an appearance of respect, he placed links of gold upon him.

Rising in the East.

He then expelled the resident, and proceeded to enlist against Islam the potentates all around, from the Murghab to the Oxus1. Beyond posting a column under his brother, to guard the frontier, Koteiba could do nothing to oppose this combination till the following year, when, largely reinforced from Persia, he again broke ground. Carrying all before him, he found Nizak strongly posted in Khulm, at the entrance of a pass guarded by a fort. Bribing a deserter, he was shown a route to turn the pass, and so fell upon the rear of the enemy, who effected escape across the valley of Ferghana. Here Nizak was again taken in a defile guarded on one hand by Koteiba and on the other by his brother. Thus hemmed in for months, he suffered the extremity of want. But the season again forcing a return to winter quarters, Koteiba, unwilling to leave Nizak still abroad, beguiled him into his camp with promise of safe-conduct. Reporting the capture to Al-Hajjaj, he asked for leave to put him to death. After a long delay permission came; and so, with 700 of his followers,2 Nizak was slain and his head sent to Al-Hajjaj. The Prince of Tukharistan was with his retinue sent to Damascus, where he was kept till Al-Welid's decease. The perfidy of Koteiba towards Nizak was so gross, that the Muslim public, though not unused to guile in war, was scandalised, and upbraided him for it. Another painful, but less inexcusable, incident occurred about the same time. On Nizak's defeat the king of Juzajan, a member of the coalition, sought terms of peace, which being granted, Koteiba invited him to his camp, sending one Habib as a hostage, and taking hostages in return. The king died while in Koteiba's camp; and his subjects, sus­pecting foul play, put Habib to death; upon which Koteiba retaliated by slaying the native hostages to a man. Having pushed his conquests still further into

1 The countries named as furnishing help and joining in the rising, are—Ispahbad, Badhan, Merv ar-Rud, Talikan, Faryab, and Juzajan.

2 Some traditions say 12,000; but these reports must be taken cum grano. The popular voice ran strongly against Koteiba's treachery, and would be inclined to exaggerate.


Soghdiana,1 Koteiba returned by Bokhara to Merv. Next year he proceeded to Sijistan against Zunbil, but was set free by the conclusion of peace with that potentate.

Campaign against Samarkand, 93 A.H.

In 93 A.H. Koteiba again crossed the Oxus, and marched on Khwarizm, the Shah having offered him 10,000 cattle if he would deliver him from a rebellious brother. The rebels were routed, and 4000 prisoners put to death. The brother and his followers were made over to the Shah, who slew them and conferred their property on Koteiba, who was now recalled by the news that Samarkand had thrown off the Muslim yoke. Making a rapid descent upon it, Koteiba thus in a speech addressed his troops:—"The wretched Soghdians are verily fallen into our hands; they have broken their treaty with us, as ye have heard; and truly the Lord will deliver Khowarizm and Soghd unto us, even as He delivered the Beni Koreiza and the Nadir into the hands of the Prophet."2 The city held out long, and engines had to be brought up to batter the walls. Fearing an assault, the King sued for terms. Koteiba agreed to retire on a heavy tribute and quota of horsemen; but first he must enter, build a Mosque, and inaugurate religious service in it; after that he would evacuate the place. He entered. The fire-temples were destroyed and the images burned, but the city was kept and not according to promise restored.3 Koteiba's repeated perfidy was much spoken against; and some Syrian is said to have prophesied, but too truly, that the Caliphate would yet pay the penalty, and Damascus be ravaged by these wild Turkomans. Meantime the conqueror's hand fell

1 The King of Shuman had expelled the Muslim resident, thinking his fortress impregnable. It was stormed by catapults, which must have been very effective, as the missiles entered the king's chamber. Kish and Nasaf were overrun; Faryab offering opposition, was ravaged and set on fire, so that it was called "the burned land." The males were all put to death, and the women taken captive.

2 Two Jewish tribes removed from Medina, Life of Mohammad, pp. 281 ff., 318.

3 One of the idols was held so sacred that anyone who touched it would immediately die. Koteiba seized a torch, and with a loud Tekbir set it on fire; the golden nails in it weighed 50,000 mithkals. A grand-daughter of Yezdejird, taken captive here, was sent to Damascus, and taken into the royal harim. Al-Welid had a daughter by her.


heavily on Samarkand. Muslim families brought from Khorasan in great numbers were settled there: fire-houses and idol-temples were destroyed; the natives were all disarmed and no heathen dared remain in the town over­night. Bokhara and Khwarizm were similarly colonised; and these three places became famous in the after history of Islam.

Koteiba's last campaign on the borders of China, 94-96 A.H.

During the next two or three years, aided by large contingents of horse from the tribes he had subdued (the favourite policy in the East of using subject peoples to rivet their own chain1), Koteiba pushed his conquests forward, taking Khojanda, Shash, and other cities of Ferghana, till be reached Kashghar and the confines of China. A curious tale is told of an interview with "the King of China,"—probably a border Mandarin,—who, to release Koteiba from an oath that he would take possession of the land, sent him a load of Chinese soil to trample on, a bag of Chinese coin by way of tribute, and four royal youths on whom to imprint his seal. Koteiba had now reached the limit of his conquests. While on this campaign he received tidings of the Caliph's death: suddenly the scene is changed and his future, as we shall see, all overcast.

Campaign of Ibn Kasim on the Indus, 89-96 A.H. 708-715 A.D.

Like Koteiba in Central Asia, Mohammad ibn al-Kasim of the Thakif tribe, cousin of Al-Hajjaj and governor of on the Makran, was the first great conqueror on the Indian border. With a well-appointed army of 6000 men, he advanced on Sind and laid siege to its capital, Deibul.2 A catapult named The Bride worked by 500 men, laid waste the city, and a stone shot from it overthrew the pinnacle of the famous temple of Al-Budd [Buddha], from which flaunted its great red flag. The omen struck terror into the enemy; the King fled, and Ibn al-Kasim, leaving a garrison in the city, pursued him across the Mihran (Indus), where, surrounded by his elephants, he was slain in a severe engagement. His wife and maidens, rather than suffer dishonour, set fire to their palace, and were consumed with

1 In 95 A.H., 20,000 native levies are said to have followed Koteiba from Bokhari, Kish, Nasal, and Khwarizm.

2 Sind is only old Persian for Hind. Deibul was at this time the Indian port best known to the Arabs at the principal mouth of the Indus. It now lies far inland, 45 miles E.S.E. from Kurachi.—Le Strange, p. 331.


all their treasure Then the conqueror took Brahmanabad by storm,1 and having made terms with Ror, crossed the Bayas and invested Al-Multan, which after a prolonged siege, the water having failed, surrendered at discretion.

Multan taken.

The fight­ing men were put to the sword, and their families, with the crowd of attendants on the shrine of Buddha, made captive. Al-Multan was then a centre of pilgrimage, people coming from all quarters to worship the idol. It was "the Gateway of India and the House of Gold." The spoil was incredible, and double the whole cost of the expedition, which was estimated by Al-Hajjaj at sixty million pieces. While Ibn al-Kasim rested here, enjoying the fruits of his splendid conquests, tidings of Al-Welid's decease arrested his further progress eastward. He was recalled to Al-'Irak, where, with certain other adherents of Al-Hajjaj, he was put to the torture and died.

Progress of Muslim arms in India, 100-125 A.H. 718-742 A.D.

With Ibn al-Athir, we may here anticipate a few years further the Muslim rule in India. Habib, one of Al-Muhallab's family (on which now shone the sun of courtly favour), as governor of Sind, fixed his court at Ror, and allowed the princes displaced by Ibn al-Kasim to return, as protected, to their several States. The pious 'Omar II. summoned them to embrace Islam, on which they received Arabian names. In the days of Hisham, a little later, Juneid pushed the Muslim bounds still farther east. But the prestige of Islam again waned for a time. Most of the princes relapsed into heathenism, and to hold them in check, the fortified camp Al-Mahfuza (the Protected) was founded, from which expeditions, both naval and military, were sent forth. "Things, however," says our historian, "remained in India on a weak and feeble footing until the blessed accession of the 'Abbasids."

Heathenism and idolatry tolerated in India.

It should be noted here that in India there was an altogether new departure in the treatment of the subject races. Idolatry was tolerated. Temples were left stand­ing, and their worship not disallowed. By Mohammadan law, Jews and Christians might continue to profess their faith under Muslim rule; and even Parsees were, by a

1 Two parasangs from the later Al-Mansura "the Victorious." Spoken of as in the hilly country of Beluchistan.


strained interpretation, brought within the exemption,1 as followers of the "Book" of Zoroaster. But idolaters were to be pursued to the bitter end, and utterly rooted out. Such, the plain teaching of the Kor'an, had been the habitual policy hitherto—the policy still, as we have seen, pursued in Central Asia. But in India a new leaf was turned. As Weil remarks—"It no longer was a holy war—with the view, that is to say, of the conversion of the heathen. That object was now dropped. Side by side with Allah, idols might be worshipped, if only tribute were duly paid." And thus, even under Mohammadan rule, India remained largely a pagan land.

Progress in Armenia and Asia Minor.

Throughout this reign Muslim armies, commanded generally by leaders of the royal blood, made yearly inroads into Armenia and Asia Minor, which the Greeks, from reverses nearer home, were little able to withstand. In the year 89 A.H. a campaign against the Turks on the Caspian was undertaken with notable success. But all other conquests of this reign fade before the conquest of Spain. That was a victory which, though demanding a separate chapter for itself, we must be here content to treat in briefest outline.

Campaign of Musa in Western Africa, 89 A.H. 708 A.D.

Musa ibn Nosair, a Yemeni, was, in 89 A.H., appointed the governor of the Mediterranean coast to the west of Egypt, by 'Abd al-'Aziz, uncle of the Caliph and ruler of Egypt, of which "Africa"2 was a dependency. His predecessor had already retrieved the disasters that successively befell the Muslim army at Kairawan: and Musa, having consolidated his power in the older districts, now, with the aid of his two sons, pushed the Muslim conquests to the Farthest West. In successive engagements at Sus and Tlemsen, he completely overthrew the Berbers, took incredible multitudes prisoners,3 and at last brought the native population, even to the bounds

1 Life of Mohammad, p. 456 f.

2 "Africa" was the name for the Muslim conquests stretching west­ward from Egypt to the Atlantic. More strictly Ifrikiya denotes the Roman province of Africa or Tunis.

3 The fifth of the captives, the share of the state, amounted to 60,000—the entire number being thus 300,000—the greatest, our hstorian adds, ever known. But the traditions regarding Musa are liable to a touch of romance.


of Morocco, under his authority. Opposition ended, "Readers of the Kor'an" were appointed to instruct the people in the faith.1 Naval expeditions were also set on foot, and successful descents made on Majorca and Sardinia.2 Having established his freedman Tarik at Tangier, as lieutenant over the newly conquered districts in the west, Musa returned to his head­quarters at Kairawan.

Musa's designs on Spain, 90 A.H. 709 A.D.

The kingdom of Spain was at this period ruled by Roderic, a usurper, to whom Count Julian, ruler of the coast lying over against Tangier, was bitterly opposed.3 Ceuta, on the African side, was part also of Julian's domain. It occurred to him that with the help of the invaders from the East, he might now drive the usurper from the throne.

90 A.H.

Entering therefore into friendly relations with Musa, he explained at an interview, the ease with which the narrow strait might be crossed; and Musa, nothing loth, was lured by the inviting prospect of a campaign in Spain. The Caliph, fearing the sea, at the first hesitated; but when it was explained how close was the opposite shore, he gave consent.

Descent of Tarif, x. 91 A.H. July, 710 A.D.

Next year, by way of trial, Musa sent a few hundred men in four ships under command of Tarif, a Berber slave of his, who made an easy descent on the near coast at the Cape that still bears his name, and returued with a spoil so rich that the army longed to repeat the attack upon a larger scale.

and of Tarik, vii. 92 A.H. April, 711 A.D.

Musa, thus emboldened, placed a force of 7000 men, chiefly Berbers and freed men, with some Arabs, at the disposal of Tarik, who, crossing the straits, took possession of the fortress, called after him, Gibraltar.4 From thence he ravaged

1 A few years further on we are told that by 100 A.H. "the whole of the Berbers were converted to Islam."

2 A long account is given of the capture of its harbour, 92 A.H.; of the recovery of treasure cast into the sea, and secreted in the roof of the great church; and of the riches of the spoil. Other descents are mentioned 135 and 323 A.H., and finally in 400, when, however, the Muslim fleet of 120 ships was discomfited; after which no attempts were made on the island.

3 The daughters of the Spanish nobles used to be sent to Court to be educated; and Roderic, we are told, had taken advantage of it to dishonour Julian's daughter, which was the cause of this bitterness. Gibbon rejects the story, and Hallam also is so inclined; but fur our story it is immaterial.

4 Jebel-Tarik, the hill of Tarik.


the adjacent country of Algeciras,1 when Roderic, receiving tidings of the descent, hastened to repel the invader. Tarik, apprised of this through Julian and his followers, appealed for additional troops to Musa, who sent him 5000 Arabs. Thus reinforced, Tarik was able now, with 12,000 men, to hold his ground against the great army of Roderic. They met on the banks of the Guadalete, to the north of Medina Sidonia. For a week the issue was uncertain. But there was treachery in the Spanish camp. The numerous party opposed to Roderic, buoyed with the hope that the Arabs, satiated with spoil, would soon recross the sea and leave the throne to its proper claimant, fought feebly, aud at last gave way. The Spanish force was routed, and Roderic in his flight drowned.

Tarik's victories, end of ix. 92 A.H.

But the spoil had not the effect expected. Instead of retiring, the Arabs, flushed with victory, stormed Ecija; and, daily swelled by fresh contingents scenting from afar a rich reward, spread themselves over the land. Malaga and Granada were captured and the province overrun. The people everywhere fled to the hills and fortresses, vainly fancied impregnable; and all the quicker, at the fearful report spread by the conquerors themselves that they fed on human flesh. Leaving Cordova besieged by one of his generals, Tarik, guided still by Julian, hastened to Toledo, the capital, which to his astonishment he found deserted by all but Jews.

Toledo taken.

These, delivered from Christian thraldom, now threw in their lot with the invaders (how different from the days of Mohammad!), and were placed in charge of cities which the conquerors found themselves too few to occupy. The inhabitants had all fled in terror, some as far even as Galicia. But it was by no means the policy of the Arabs to make the land a desert. And so the people were gradually tempted back by promise of security, toleration for their religion if only preached unostentatiously, and the establishment of Christian courts.

Table of Solomon, 93 A.H.

In a city beyond the hills, carried there perhaps for safety, a relic beyond all value fell into Tarik's hands, the famous Table of Solomon, set with pearls and rubies and all manner of precious stones, and having 360 feet.2 With this priceless jewel

1 Al-Jezira, Arabic for peninsula.

2 Tab. ii. 1254.


Tarik returned to Toledo, having within the short space of two years reduced the greater part of Spain, and put every enemy to flight that dared to meet him in the field.1

Descent of Musa, ix. June, 93 A.H. 712 A.D.

The splendid exploits of his lieutenant aroused the jealousy of Musa. To rival his success, he set out himself with a large force and many warriors of note, and landed in Spain, 93 A.H. Guided in a course which Julian promised him would eclipse the glory of Tarik, he struck out a new line of victory, stormed Sidonia, Carmona, and the ancient capital Seville.

Menda, 94 A.H.

Merida was laid siege to, and the walls battered by engines. It resisted many months, and the garrison fought with desperate bravery. A spot, our Historian tells us, was still in his day called the "Martyrs' bastion," where a column of Muslims was cut to pieces by a party issuing from a hole beneath the wall. At last the city fell, and Musa, on the way to Toledo, met Tarik at Talavera. He received him angrily, struck him on the head with his whip, and demanded an account of the booty. Friendly relations restored, the famous table was given up to Musa.2


The generals then separated, Tarik for Saragossa, and Musa for Salamanca and Astorga. Saragossa held out long, and it was not till Musa had rejoined his lieutenant there that by their united efforts it was stormed. Musa then continued his victorious progress to the extreme north-east of Spain, and occupying Tarragona and Barcelona, reached as far even as to Gerona, on the border of France. There, tradition says, he was confronted by an image with the words engraved, "Sons of Isma'il hitherto and no farther—Return!" and so he turned back.3 Tarik, taking a more southerly course, overran the entire coast, reducing Tortosa on the Ebro, Valencia, and other leading cities on his way.

1 On the Muslims in Europe, see S. P. Scott, History of the Moorish Empire in Europe.

2 One of the feet was wanting, supplied by a golden substitute. More of this in note below.

3 The tradition is curiously proleptic, and shows how fable often enters our annals. The words given are "Sons of Isma'il! here is your limit. Go back! And if ye ask why, I tell you, that otherwise ye shall return to discord among yourselves, so that ye shall slay and behead one another."


The tidings of Tarik's ill-treatment by Musa had meanwhile reached the Caliph, who, displeased at it, and not unlikely jealous of his viceroy's independent attitude, sent a messenger to recall him to Damascus.

Musa recalled, 95 A.H. 713 A.D.

The summons met him on a new campaign to the West. Bidding the messenger fall into his train, Musa continued his progress of victory and devastation, till entering Galicia, he came in sight of the blue waves of the northern sea.1 A second messenger followed him to Lugo, with a sterner and immediate mandate. He was turned out of the camp by the imperious conqueror, who now, however, felt that the summons could no longer be disobeyed. Carrying Tarik therefore with him, he turned his face southward; and so, marching through the scenes of their unparalleled achievement, the two conquerors made their way back to the straits of Gibraltar. Before quitting Spain, Musa placed his son 'Abd al-'Aziz at the head of the government. Two other sons were also put in command, the one at Kairawan, the other over Western Africa. Perhaps no family ever enjoyed a wider fame, or power more uncontrolled, than that of Musa at the moment.

Musa's fall, 96 A.H. 714 A.D.

The marvellous achievements of Musa—with but few parallels in history—were sufficient to have disturbed the equilibrium of any mind. But this will hardly excuse the indiscretion which led the recalled conqueror to make his return through Africa a royal and triumphal progress, and thus justify the suspicions which had no doubt already marked him out at Court as a subject of danger. He carried with him countless store of rare and precious things, laden on endless lines of wagons and camels. At Cairo he stayed some time, and distributed rich marks of favour among his friends, especially the family of his patron 'Abd al-'Aziz, the late governor of Egypt, to whom he owed his rise. Progress was thus so slow that he did not reach Damascus till after the death of Al-Welid. The new Caliph, Suleiman, received him coldly, deposed him from all his commands, cast him into prison, and laid such heavy

1 "Carrying the messenger with him he passed on to new parts, slaying and taking captive, pulling down churches and breaking up their bells, till he reached the high lands overlooking the green ocean. When the second messenger arrived in the city of Lugo, he seized the reins of his mule and marched him out of the camp," etc.


demands upon him, that he was reduced to poverty, and when released, forced to beg from his friends the means of living.

Musa's son murdered, 97 A.H. 715 A.D.

To add to his misfortune, his son 'Abd al-'Aziz, whom he had left to succeed him in Spain, was assassinated, as is supposed, but without sufficient grounds, by secret orders from Damascus; and the heartless Suleiman sent his head to the father with an insulting message:—"a grievous error on the Caliph's part," justly adds the Arabian annalist. Tarik also must have retired into private life, for we hear no more of him. It is sometimes said that Al-­Welid leaned towards Keis and Suleiman towards the Yemenis; but their treatment of Musa and his son, who were Yemenis, shows that their partisanship was not very deep. The fall of both resembles that of Khalid—an ungrateful end for the three great conquerors of their age.1

The era of Al-Welid was glorious both at home and abroad. There is no other reign, not excepting even that of

1 Another, but more romantic, and less likely, narrative is as follows:—
Musa reached Damascus while Al-Welid was yet alive (which, if we look only to the dates, is not improbable). He vaunted himself at court, in depreciation of Tarik, as the conqueror of Spain; and among the spoils belonging to himself and as such presented to the Caliph, was "Solomon's table." Tarik upon this claimed that the prize was his, which Musa denied. "Ask him, then," said Tarik, "what has become of the lost foot" (see former note). Musa could not tell; whereupon Tarik (who had kept it by him for just such an occasion) produced the wanting piece. And so Al-Welid was satisfied that Musa had really treated Tarik badly.
A curious account is also given of the death of 'Abd al-'Aziz, Musa's son. Himself an excellent man, he fell under the influence of Roderic's widow, who persuaded him to adopt the princely habits of the country. His followers being slow to make courtly obeisance (as resembling prostration at prayer), she had a low threshold made, through which all had to stoop as they approached the throne. She also made him wear Roderic's jewelled crown. His followers on this conspired to slay him as a renegade, 97 A.H. Others held that Suleiman, probably fearing that 'Abd al-'Aziz might assume regal and independent power, sent orders for his death at the time his father came to grief at Court, and that his enemies fell upon him as he was praying in his chamber with the Kor'an before him. "When the head was sent to his father with the Caliph's cruel question, ‘Dost thou recognise it?’ he exclaimed—‘Welcome to thy martyrdom, my son; for truly they did slay thee in thy piety and uprightness.’ And it was counted as one of Suleiman's chief misdeeds."


'Omar, in which Islam so spread abroad and was consolidated.

Grandeur of Welid's reign.

We may safely accept the judgment of the impartial Well, who tells us that, "although Muslim historians, because of his supporting Al-Hajjaj, call Al-Welid a tyrant, he is in our eyes the greatest, and in every respect the most powerful and illustrious, ruler amongst all the Commanders of the Faithful." From the borders of China and the banks of the Indus to the Atlantic, his word was law. In his reign culture and the arts began to flourish. He enlarged the Mosque of Damascus by taking in the Church of St John from the Christians. From a church in Baalbek he took a gilded dome of brass and set it over the rock in 'Abd al-Melik's Mosque in Jerusalem. He rebuilt and enlarged the Mosque of Medina and the Aksa Mosque in Jerusalem.1 He established schools and hospitals, and made provision for the aged, blind, and lame. He frequently visited the markets; and so encouraged manufacture and design, that people began to take an interest in their advancement. Roads, with wells at con­venient stations, were made throughout the kingdom, and the comfort of travellers, notably of pilgrims to the Holy Places, specially cared for. More perhaps than any other Caliph, he knew how to hold the balance between the Arabian tribal rivalries, and ruled at large with a powerful hand. If Al-Hajjaj be an exception, Al-Welid, at the least, held him in better check than did his predecessor. Looking at it from first to last, we shall not find in the annals of the Caliphate a more glorious reign than that of Al-Welid.

Welid mild and con­descending.

As a proof of his mildness and consideration, it is told of him that when in 91 A.H. on pilgrimage, he visited Medina and made large presents to the people, the court of the Mosque was cleared of worshippers, that in company with 'Omar he might inspect at leisure the improvements he had made. One old man alone would neither rise up nor salute the Caliph. 'Omar tried to divert the attention of his cousin from the uncourtly worshipper; but Al-Welid saw, and at once recognised him. "How art thou, Sa'id?" cried the Caliph. Without the slightest movement or salutation, the aged man replied:—"Very well, I am thankful to say, and

1 See Le Strange, Palestine under the British Muslims, p. 557 f.; Greek Papyri in the British Museum, vol. iv., by H. I. Bell, No. 1403.


how doth the Commander of the Faithful?" The last of his race!" exclaimed Al-Welid, in admiration of the fast vanishing homeliness and simplicity which others might have rebuked as uncourtly rudeness.

Death of Welid, vi. 96 A.H. Feb. 715 A.D.

It has been already noticed that Al-Welid wished to displace his brother Suleiman from being heir-apparent, in favour of his own son. He died before the change could be accomplished; but the effect was, not the less, to create an intense feeling of resentment in the mind of Suleiman, especially towards Koteiba and the adherents of Al-Hajjsj, both of whom had encouraged Al-Welid in his design. Al-Welid was about forty years old at his death, and he had reigned nearly ten years.

Naval affairs.

By this time the Naval Administration of the Caliphate was fairly well organised. The fleet was divided into five squadrons, those of Syria with headquarters at Laodicea, Africa (that is, Tunis), Egypt (with Alexandria as starting-point), the Nile (with headquarters at Babylon), and a special squadron to guard the mouths of the Nile from descents upon the coast by Byzantines. For Egypt the chief arsenals and shipbuilding yards were at Babylon and Clysma. The superintendents of Alexandria, Rosetta, and Damietta were, at the end of the first century, Christians. The ships' companies were divided into sailors and marines. They were all Muslims. The former, who comprised the rowers and helmsmen, were mostly Mawali or native converts to Islam, both Copts and Greeks. The latter were Arab settlers in the country, mainly of Koreish and the Ansar. Both were conscripts, but the latter certainly, and the former probably, received pensions out of the public revenues. It is note­worthy that the expeditions were made in winter.

Arab rule in Egypt.

Arab rule in Egypt appears to have come as a relief to the country as a whole. No doubt taxation was heavy, but it was probably less so than under Byzantine rule, and Egypt is capable of bearing heavy taxation. Moreover, when an Arab governor is denounced as rapacious and tyrannical, it is often, as the papyri show, because he vindicated the rights of the poor as against the great. This is especially shown to be so in the case of Kurra ibn Sharik who was governor about this time. The Arab historians themselves also, writing as they are under the 'Abbasids,


are apt to paint Umeiyad rule in dark colours. The insurrection of the Copts in the year 725-726 (107 A.H.) was due to a defect in the system rather than to harshness in its administration. For as the Copts went over one by one to Islam, and so became legally exempt from taxation, the number of tax-payers was always dwindling whilst the amount to be raised was steadily increasing. The tolerance of the Arabs appears from the fact that the governor's rescripts are still written in Greek (as well as Arabic) and replies made in Coptic. Many of the Pagarchs were Christians and all the subordinate officials. The govern­ment clerks were not required to use Muslim formula in their letters, and the sign of the Cross was allowed. Indeed, how little the Arabs cared for the letter of their religion appears from the fact that the seal of 'Amr bore the impress of a steer.1 There was no religious persecution; the raids of external foes from without ceased; and the cornering of wheat was made impossible.2

1 This is a rather awkward fact for the critics of the Old Testament. The Arab governors, no doubt, made use of the seals of their Greek predecessors. A common representation is that of (apparently) a wolf, facing towards the right, with a star in front or above. See H. I. Bell, Greek Papyri in the British Museum, vol. iv., p. 432; Karabacek, Papyrus Erzherzog Rainer: Führer durch die Ausstellung, p. 148.

2 See Greek Papyri in the British Mueseum, by H. I. Bell, vol. iv., pp. xxxii ff.

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