Page:EB1911 - Volume 05.djvu/65

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

countries. In the time of his successor the bulk of the tribe followed, and in the year 429 (A.D. 1038) Toghrul Beg, their chief, beat the army of the Ghaznevids and made his entry into Nishapur. Thenceforth this progress was rapid (see Seljuks). The situation in Bagdad had become so desperate that the caliph called Toghrul to his aid. This prince entered Bagdad in the month of Ramadan A.H. 447 (December 1055), and overthrew finally the dynasty of the Būyids.[1] In 449 (A.D. 1058) the caliph gave him the title of “King of the East and West.” But in the following year, 450, during his absence, the Shi‛ites made themselves masters of the metropolis, and proclaimed the Caliphate of the Fātimite prince Mostansir. They were soon overthrown by Toghrul, who was now supreme, and compelled the caliph to give him his daughter in marriage. Before the marriage, however, he died, and was succeeded by his nephew Alp Arslān, who died in 465 (25th December) (A.D. 1072). Qāim died two years later, Shaaban A.H. 467 (April 1075).

In the year 440 Mo‛izz b. Bādīs, the Zeirid ruler of the Maghrib, made himself independent, and substituted in prayer the name of the Abbasid caliph for that of Mostansir. In order to punish him, the latter gave permission to the Arab tribes in Egypt to cross the Nile, and granted them possession of all the lands they should conquer. This happened in 442 (A.D. 1050) and was of the greatest significance for the subsequent fate of Africa.

27. Reign of Moqtadi.—In the first year of the Caliphate of al-Moqtadī bi-amri‛llāh (“he who follows the orders of God”), a grandson of Qāim, the power of the Seljuk empire reached its zenith. All the eastern provinces, a great part of Asia Minor, Syria with the exception of a few towns on the shore, the main part of West Africa acknowledged the caliph of Bagdad as the Imām. Yemen had been subjected, and at Mecca and Medina his name was substituted in the public prayers for that of the Fātimite caliph. But after the death of Malik-Shah a contest for the sultanate took place. The caliph, who had in 1087 married the daughter of Malik-Shah, had been compelled two years after to send her back to her father, as she complained of being neglected by her husband. Just before his death, the Sultan had ordered him to transfer his residence from Bagdad to Basra. After his death he stayed and supported the princess Turkān Khātūn. This lost him his life. The day after Barki-yāroq’s triumphant entry into Bagdad, Muharram 487 (February 1094), he died suddenly, apparently by poison.

28. Reign of Mostazhir.—Al-Mostazhir billāh (“he who seeks to triumph through God”), son of Moqtadi, was only sixteen years old when he was proclaimed caliph. His reign is memorable chiefly for the growing power of the Assassins (q.v.) and for the first Crusade (see Crusades). The Seljuk princes were too much absorbed by internal strife to concentrate against the new assailants. After the death of Barkiyāroq in November 1104, his brother Mahommed reigned till April 1118. His death was followed about four months later by that of Mostazhir.

29. Reign of Mostarshid.Al-Mostarshid billāh (“he who asks guidance from God”), who succeeded his father in Rabia II. 512 (August 1118), distinguished himself by a vain attempt to reestablish the power of the caliph. Towards the end of the year 529 (October 1134) he was compelled to promise that he would confine himself to his palace and never again take the field. Not long after he was assassinated. About the same time Dobais was killed, a prince of the family of the Banu Mazyad, who had founded the Arabian state of Hillah in the vicinity of the ruins of Babel in 1102.

30. Reign of Rāshid.Al-Rāshid billāh (“the just through God”) tried to follow the steps of his father, with the aid of Zengī, the prince of Mosul. But the sultan Mas‛ūd beat the army of the allies, took Bagdad and had Rāshid deposed (August 1136). Rāshid escaped, but was murdered two years later.

31. Reign of Moqtafi.—His successor Al-Moqtafi li-amri‛llāh (“he who follows the orders of God”), son of Mostazhir, had better success. He was real ruler not only of the district of Bagdad, but also of the rest of Irak, which he subdued by force. He died in the month of Rabia II. 555 (March 1160). Under his reign the central power of the Seljuks was rapidly sinking. In the west of Atabeg (prince’s guardian) Zengī, the prince of Mosul, had extended his dominion over Mesopotamia and the north of Syria, where he had been the greatest defender of Islam against the Franks. At his death in the year 541 (A.D. 1146), his noble son, the well-known Nūreddīn, who was called “the just king,” continued his father’s glorious career. Transoxiana was conquered by the heathen hordes of Khatā, who towards the end of 535 (A.D. 1141) under the king Ghurkhān defeated the great army of the Seljuk prince and compelled the Turkish tribes of the Ghuzz to cross the Oxus and to occupy Khorasan.

32. Reign of Mostanjid.Al-Mostanjid billāh (“he who invokes help from God”), the son of Moqtafi, enlarged the dominion of the Caliphate by making an end to the state of the Mazyadites in Hillah. His allies were the Arabic tribe of the Montafiq, who thenceforth were powerful in southern Irak. The greatest event towards the end of his Caliphate was the conquest of Egypt by the army of Nūreddīn, the overthrow of the Fātimite dynasty, and the rise of Saladin. He was killed by his majordomo in Rabia II. 566 (December 1170).

33. Reign of Mostadi.—His son and successor al-Mostadī’ bi-amri‛llāh (“he who seeks enlightenment by the orders of God “), though in Egypt his name was now substituted in public prayers for that of the Fātimite caliph, was unable to obtain any real authority. By the death of Nūreddīn in 569 (A.D. 1174) Saladin’s power became firmly rooted. The dynasty founded by him is called that of the Ayyūbites, after the name of his father Ayyūb. Mostadi died in the month of Dhu‛l-qa‛da 575 (March 1180).

34. Reign of Nāsir.—Quite a different man from his father was his successor al-Nāsir li-dīni‛llāh (“he who helps the religion of God”). During his reign Jerusalem was reconquered by Saladin, 27 Rajab 583 (October 2nd, 1187). Not long before that event the well-known Spanish traveller Ibn Jubair visited the empire of Saladin, and came to Bagdad in 580, where he saw the caliph himself. Nāsir was very ambitious; he had added Khūzistān to his dominions, and desired to become also master of Media (Jabal, or Persian Irak, as it was called in the time of the Seljuks). Here, however, he came into conflict with the then mighty prince of Khwārizm (Khīva), who, already exasperated because the caliph refused to grant him the honours he asked for, resolved to overthrow the Caliphate of the Abbasids, and to place a descendant of Ali on the throne of Bagdad. In his anxiety, Nāsir took a step which brought the greatest misery upon western Asia, or at least accelerated its arrival.

In the depths of Asia a great conglomeration of east Turkish tribes (Tatars or Mongols), formed by a terrible warrior, known under his honorific title Jenghiz Khān, had conquered the northern provinces of China, and extended its power to the frontiers of the Transoxianian regions. To this heathen chief the Imām of the Moslems sent a messenger, inducing him to attack the prince of Khwārizm, who already had provoked the Mongolian by a disrespectful treatment of his envoys. Neither he nor the caliph had the slightest notion of the imminent danger they conjured up. When Nāsir died, Ramadan 622 (October 1225), the eastern provinces of the empire had been trampled down by the wild hordes, the towns burned, and the inhabitants killed without mercy.

35. Reign of Zāhir.—Al-Zāhir bi-amri‛llāh (“the victorious through the orders of God”) died within a year after his father’s death, in Rajab 623 (July 1226). He and his son and successor are praised as beneficent and just princes.

36. Reign of Mostansir.—Al-Mostansir billāh (“he who asks help from God”) was caliph till his death in Jornada II. 640 (December 1242). In the year 624 (1227) Jenghiz Khān died, but the Mongol invasion continued to advance with immense strides. The only man who dared, and sometimes with success, to combat them was Jelaleddin, the ex-king of Khwārizm, but after his death in 628 (A.D. 1231) all resistance was paralysed.

37. Reign of Mostasim.—Al-Mosta‛ṣim billāh (“he who clings to God for protection”), son of Mostansir, the last caliph of Bagdad, was a narrow-minded, irresolute man, guided moreover

  1. Henceforward the history of the Caliphate is largely that of the Seljuk princes (see Seljuks).