Page images

pillaged their camp. As-Sulaihi's head was then stuck on the top of his own state-umbrella, and this verse of the Koran was chanted aloud: Say, O God I the possessor of the kingdom! thou givest the kingdom unto whom thou wilt; aad thou takest away the kingdom from whom thou wilt. Thou exaltest whom thou wilt, and thou humblest whom thou wilt. In thy hand is good, for thou art almighty (13). Said then returned to Zabid, and obtained as a spoil the empire, of which the possession had been so fatal to his father. He entered the city on the 16th of Zu ’l-Kaada, the same year, and, having established his authority in the province of Tihầma, he continued to rule till A. H. 481 (A. D. 1088-9), when he lost his life in a conspiracy which had been got up by al-Hurra, the widow of one of the Sulaihites; but the relation of this event would lead us too far.When as-Sulaihi's head was stuck on the top of his umbrella, the following lines were composed on the subject by the kâdi al-Othmâni :

In the morning, that umbrella was borne over him; but in the evening, it shaded a noble prince whose triumph it thus announced. If as-Sulaihi's visage was hateful under it, his head was a pleasing object on it. Black serpents attacked the lions of asShara (14); woe to the lions from the blacks !

As-Sulaihi himself composed some good verses, such as these :

I married our bright swords to their yellow-hafted spears; but, instead of sweetmeats scattered to the guests, we scattered their heads around. 'Tis thus with glory; none espouse it but at the cost of many lives.

The following verses also are given as his by Imâd ad-din, in the Kharida ; but some say that they were merely put in his mouth by some other person who was the real author :


More delightful to him than the striking of the lyre is the cry, before battle, of: “ Page! bridle and saddle the steeds." I gallop them in the distant lands of Hadramaut, and their snorting is heard from Iråk to Manbaj (15).

I do not know whence the surname of Sulaihi is derived, but it seems to come, in this case as in others, from Sulaih, the proper name of a man. As for the places mentioned in this article, they are all in Yemen, and I wrote their names as I found them written, but had no means of verifying their orthography. The greater part of this notice is taken from the History of Yemen by Omára talYamani, a poet whose life shall be given in this work.



(1) Az-Zawahi , as this name is written in the autograph, means native of az-Zawahi, a town in Yemen.

(2) In the account given by Ibn Khaldun of the Sulaih dynasty, MS. No. 2402 C, fol. 98, he designates this book as the Jafr (see page 184 of this volume). Hajji Khalifa has the following unintelligible notice on the Suar in his Bibliographical Dictionary: “Kitab as-Suar (book of figures): Whether it ever existed or not; three

discourses by Aristotle; and the first of the philosophers who explored the mysteries of the Suar (figures) was Afråtin rubl jól, who composed a book on the seven figures and their mysteries, and the forty-eight figures containing one thousand and twelve of the fixed stars." (3) Read j in the Arabic text.

(4) It appears from the Marasid that this place was on the road from Sanâa to Tâif, and situated between Tihama and Najd.

(8) This place is noticed by Ibn Khaldun; he says in geographical notes on the province of Yemen, MS. No. 2402 C, fol. 103 verso : Harraz ; la is a territory in the country of the Hamdân (tribe); it is also the name of a tribe, one of the branches of which produced as-Sulaihi. The fortress of Masâr, where he made

his first appearance, is situated in the territory of Harråz." Harras, as Niebuhr writes the name, is placed on his map of Yemen in lat. 15° ' N.-In Ibn Khallikan’s autograph, Masår is written thus , haww, but the author of the Marasid writes it , Law (mashar), as in the printed text.

(6) Al-Kadrà lay at about fifty miles south-west of Sanâa, on the river Shebåm. This streams falls into the Red Sea at a short distance to the north of Hudaida.

(7) Al-Janad lies at about ten miles E. of Taaz (or Tiez). It is marked on the maps of Niebuhr and Berghaus, and is described by Abu 'l-Fedà in his Geography.

(8) These epithets are given to God alone.
(9) Koran, surat 2, verse 208.
(10) Koran, surat 12, verse 63.
(11) Compare what follows with the relation of the same occurrences, given in vol. I. page 360.

(12) “The rich have their sticks headed with silver ; others fix iron spikes to them; and thus make a formi“ dable weapon, which the Arabs handle with great dexterity." — Burckhardt's Travels in Arabia, vol. II.

page 243.

(13) Koran, surat 3, verse 23. I give the entire verse, as Ibn Khallikan merely mentions the first words of it, with an etc.

(14) The ferocity of the lions which haunted as-Shara is frequently alluded to in Arabic poetry. According to the Marasid, the mountain of as-Shara is situated in the province of Tihama.

(13) Here the autograph has boyut not love– Manbaj is situated on the Euphrates, to the east of Aleppo.


Abû 'l-Hasan Ali Ibn as-Sallâr, surnamed al-Malik al-Aadil Saif ad-din (the just prince, the sword of religion), and generally known as Ibn as-Sallàr, was vizir to az-Zàfir, the Obaidite (Fatimite, sovereign of Egypt. I have found stated elsewhere that his name was Abů Mansur Ali Ibn Ishak; and I have read, in a history of Egypt, that he was of Kurdish origin and belonged to the tribe of Zarzàri (1). Having been brought up in the Castle of Cairo, he successively occupied different posts under government, in Upper Egypt and elsewhere, till he finally became vizir to az-Zafir, in the month of Rajab, A. H. 543 (November December, A. D. 1148.) I have since found, in another work, that Az-Zafir, in the commencement of his reign, chose for vizir Najm ad-din (the star of religion) Abû 'l-Fath Salim Ibn Muhammad Ibn Masål (2), one of the great emirs of the empire; but he, being vanquished by al-Adil Ibn asSallàr, crossed over to Jiza on the eve of Tuesday, the 14th of Ramadàn, A. H. 544 (January, A. D. 1150), on learning that his adversary was advancing from Alexandria, of which he was governor, with the intention of obtaining the vizirship. Ibn as-Sallår entered Cairo on the 15th of the same month, and having taken the direction of the state into his own hands, he received the titles of al-Aadil (the just) and Amir al-Juyash (commander of the troops). Ibn Masàl then collected a body of Maghribins and other soldiers, but was defeated at a place to the south of Cairo), called Dilâs (3), by the troops which al-Aâdil sent against him. His head was cut off and brought into Cairo on the point of a lance, on Thursday, the 23rd of Zù ’l-Kaada (March), in the same year. Al-Aadil then remained in authority till he lost his life.—This account seems more correct than the foregoing.- Ibn Masal was a native of Lukk, a village near Barka, and in its dependencies. He and his father were horse-breakers and falconers, and it was by means of this profession that they obtained their advancement. Ibn Masal held the place of vizir about fifty days.-Ibn as-Sallar was acute, courageous, and always inclined to favour men of talent and virtue. He erected a number of mosques at Cairo, and I saw one outside Bilbais which bears his name. He openly professed the Sunnite doctrines, in which he fol

[ocr errors]

lowed the sect of as-Shâfi. When al-Aådil was nominated governor of Alexandria, some time after the arrival of al-Hafiz as-Silafi (vol. I. p. 86) in that city, he treated the learned doctor with marked attention and honour. A college was then built by his orders, and the professorship therein entrusted to as-Silafi, by whose name it is still known. No other Shafite college but that existed at Alexandria. These laudable points of character were unfortunately blemished by a violent spirit of injustice and cruelty; he punished severely the very slightest faults, and his tyranny may be conceived from the following relation : Previously to his appointment as vizir, being then in the army, he went one day to al-Muwaffak Abû 'l-Karam Ibn Måsùm, a native of Tinnis, who was at that time secretary of war, and represented to him that, having been obliged to defray some extraordinary expenses which he had incurred during his administration in the province of al-Gharbiya, he was now oppressed with debt. To this complaint and the long representations which he made, Abû 'l-Karam merely replied : “By Allah! thy discourse 516 " entereth not my ear. This answer Ibn as-Sallår never forgave, and when elevated to the rank of vizir, he ordered strict search to be made for him. Abû ’l-Karam's apprehensions being thus awakened, he remained in concealment for some time; but the vizir having caused a public proclamation to be made for his discovery, and threatening with death whoever might harbour him, he was expelled from the house where he had retired by the master of the dwelling, and he went forth dressed as a female, in a cloak and boots. Being soon recognized, he was arrested and taken before al-Aadil, who ordered a board and a long nail to be brought in. The prisoner was then placed on his side with the board under his ear, and the nail was hammered into the other. At every cry the victim uttered, al-Aâdil exclaimed: “Doth my discourse yet “ enter thy ear or not?” The nail being at length driven out through the other ear, and into the board, it was riveted by bending the end. Some say that the body was then cut in halves by his directions (4). (In the year 503) Bullára the wife of Abû ’l-Futûh, the son of Yahya, the son of Tamim, the son of alMoizz Ibu Bådis (5), arrived in Egypt with her son Abû 'l-Fadl Abbàs Ibn Abi ’l-Futûh, who was then a child; and al-Aadil having married her at a later period, she dwelt with him for some time. Abbâs had afterwards a son named Nasr, who was brought up with his grandmother in the palace of al-Aâdil, and was treated

by the latter with the utmost kindness and affection. At a later period, Abbâs was sent by al-Aâdil to Syria, that he might serve in the holy war (against the Franks), and he was accompanied by Osman Ibn Munkid, the emir whose life has been given (vol. I. p. 177). On arriving at Bilbais to take the command of the army which was to march with him, the prince began to converse with Osâma about the delightful climate of Egypt and the beauty of the country which he was on the point of leaving, and that, for the sole purpose of encountering foes and suffering the hardships of a military life. On this, Osâma suggested to him (it is said ) that he might avoid all those inconveniences by killing al-Aâdil and taking the office of vizir on himself. It was then settled between them that his son Nasr should do the deed when al-Aadil was sleeping, for he dwelt with him and would not refuse to execute his father's orders. The result was, that Nasr murdered him in his bed, on Thursday, the 6th of Muharram, A. H. 548 (April, A. D. 1153), in the palace of the vizirat at Cairo. To relate the particulars of this event would be too long. Some say that al-Aadil was killed on Saturday, the 11th of Muharram, of that year.–Sallàr the father of al-Aâdil, was in the service of Sokman Ibn Ortuk, the lord of Jerusalem (6), when he was deprived of that city by al-Afdal Amir al-Juyůsh, as has been already mentioned (vol. I. p. 160). Al-Afdal having found there a troop of Sokmân's soldiers, took them into his own service, and Sallàr, who was one of the number, having been attached to the person of his new master, mounted gradually into favour, and received from him the title of Saif ad-Dawlat (sword of the empire). His son al-Adil experienced also al-Afdal's kindness, as he was placed by him among the boys of the chambers (Subyûn al-Hujar) (7). By this term they designated a body of youth each of whom was provided with a horse and arms, and bound to execute, without hesitation, whatever order he might receive. This institution was similar to those of the Knights Templars (adDåwiya) and Knights Hospitallers (al-Asbitâr). When any of the youths distinguished himself by intelligence and courage, he was advanced to the rank of emir (commander). Al-A âdil surpassed his companions in these qualities, and possessed moreover great resolution, respect for superiors, and prudence in abstaining from intrigues. This induced (the khalif) al-Håfiz (vol. II. p. 179) to give him a command, and he appointed him governor of Alexandria. He was then known by he nickname of Rås al-Baghl (mule-head), and his rise com

« PreviousContinue »