Front Cover
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 List of Illustrations
 Principal authorities
 Note on transliteration
 Map of Egypt and adjacent...
 The Arab conquest, 639-641
 A province of the Caliphate,...
 Tables of governors and chief...
 Tulun and Ikhshid, 868-969
 The Shi'a revolution, 969
 Table of alleged descent of Fatimid...
 The Fatimid Caliphs, 969-1094
 The attack from the east,...
 Saladin, 1169-1193
 Saladin's successors (the Ayyubids),...
 Table of the Ayyubid dynasties
 The frist mamluks, 1250-1277
 The house of Kala-un, 1279-138...
 The circassian mamluks, 1382-1...

Group Title: History of Egypt in the Middle Ages.
Title: A history of Egypt in the Middle Ages
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00073318/00001
 Material Information
Title: A history of Egypt in the Middle Ages
Series Title: Cass library of African studies. General studies
Physical Description: xviii, 382 p. : fold. plate, illus., geneal. tables, maps. ; 22 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Lane-Poole, Stanley, 1854-1931
Publisher: Cass
Place of Publication: London
Publication Date: 1968
Edition: 4th ed., new impression.
Subject: Politieke geschiedenis   ( gtt )
Cultuurgeschiedenis   ( gtt )
Inscripties   ( gtt )
Munten   ( gtt )
History -- Egypt -- 640-1882   ( lcsh )
Histoire -- âEgypte -- 640-1882   ( rvm )
6.140   ( gtt )
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Bibliography: Includes bibliographies.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00073318
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 00414373
lccn - 68116057

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page i
        Page ii
    Title Page
        Page iii
        Page iv
        Page v
        Page vi
    Table of Contents
        Page vii
        Page viii
    List of Illustrations
        Page ix
        Page x
        Page xi
        Page xii
    Principal authorities
        Page xiii
        Page xiv
    Note on transliteration
        Page xv
        Page xvi
    Map of Egypt and adjacent countries
        Page xvii
    The Arab conquest, 639-641
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
    A province of the Caliphate, 641-868
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
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        Page 38
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        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
    Tables of governors and chief ministers
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
    Tulun and Ikhshid, 868-969
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
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    The Shi'a revolution, 969
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
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    Table of alleged descent of Fatimid Caliphs
        Page 116
    The Fatimid Caliphs, 969-1094
        Page 117
        Page 118
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    The attack from the east, 969-1171
        Page 158
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        Page 161
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    Saladin, 1169-1193
        Page 190
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        Page 211
    Saladin's successors (the Ayyubids), 1193-1250
        Page 212
    Table of the Ayyubid dynasties
        Page 212a
        Page 213
        Page 214
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    The frist mamluks, 1250-1277
        Page 242
        Page 243
        Page 244
        Page 245
        Page 246
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    The house of Kala-un, 1279-1382
        Page 276
        Page 277
        Page 278
        Page 279
        Page 280
        Page 281
        Page 282
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    The circassian mamluks, 1382-1517
        Page 323
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Full Text












IN this volume the History of Egypt in the Middle Ages,
from its conquest by the Saracens in 640 to its annexation
by the Ottoman Turks in 1517, is for the first time
related in a continuous narrative apart from the general
history of the Mohammadan caliphate. In compressing
the events of nearly nine centuries into a single volume,
many interesting subjects are of necessity treated very
briefly, but the list of authorities at the head of each
chapter will enable the student to obtain filler details,
especially if he is acquainted with Arabic.
Besides the works thus cited, I am particularly indebted
to M. Max van Berchem, not only for permission to
reproduce his photographs of inscriptions, but for his
invaluable assistance in preparing the lists of inscriptions
which precede each chapter, for which he kindly sent
me the proof-sheets of the forthcoming volume of his
Matdriaux pour un Corpus Inscriptionum Arabicarum, and
also notes of the Mamlik inscriptions he had collected in
Syria. I have also to thank my colleagues Professor
R. H. Charles and Professor J. B. Bury for their help in
reference to the Ethiopic and Byzantine sources for the
history of the Arab conquest ; and M. P. Casanova and
M. Herz Bey for the use of some of the illustrations.

S. L.-P.
December i8th, 1900




Tables of Governors and Chief Ministers 45

III. TOLON AND- IKHSHIiD, 868-969 59


Table of Alleged Descent of Fatimid Caliphs. 116



VII. SALADIN, 1169-Ii93 .190


Table of the AyyTibid Dynasties 212

IX. THE FIRST MA\MLOKS, 1250-1279 242

X. THE HOUSE OF KALKfYN, 1279-1382. 276


INDEX . 359


I. Mosque of 'Amr at Fustat.. 16
2. Glass weight of Osama b. Zeyd [A.D. 720] 25
3. Glass stamp of 'Obeydallah b. el-Habhab, dated 729 27
4. Glass weight of el-Kasim b. 'Obeydallah, 730 29
5. Glass weight of 'Abd-el-Melik b. Yezid, 750 29
6. Glass weight of Yezid b. Ilatim, 761 32
7. Glass weight of Mohammad b. Sa'id, 769 33
8. Glass weight of el-Fadl b. Salih, 785 34
9. Dinar (gold coin) of caliph el-Ma'min, struck at Misr,
(Fustat), 814 .37
to. Glass weight of Ashnas, 834 ff. .38
11. Section of Nilometer on island of Rida, 9th century 62
12. Mosque ofAhmad ibn Tulin at Cairo, 877-79 64
13. Founder's inscription in mosque of Ibn-Tfilfm, 879 67
14. Dinar of Ahmad ibn Tilfin, Misr, 881 68
15. Title-deed (on wood) to a shop, 882 70
16. Dinar of HIarn b. Khumaraweyh, Misr, 904 76
17. Dinar of Mohammad el-Ikhshid, Palestine, 943 84
18. Dirhem of Abhi-1-Kasim b. el-Ikhshid, Damascus, 949 86
19. Dinar of Abi-l-1K.-im b. el-Ikhshid, Misr, 950 88
20. Dinar of el-Mo'izz, Misr, 969 Io
21. ]-Dinar of el-Mo'izz, Palestine, 974 o6
22. Door of el-Azhar mosque, 972 O. Io
23. Dinar of el-'Aziz, Misr, 976 119
24. 4-Dinar of el-IIakim, Sicily, loo4 .124
25. Dinar of el-Hakim, Misr, 1015 127
26. Glass weight of el-II kim, 1012 . 129
27. Mosque of el-IHakim, 991-1003 .130
28. DinHr of eg-Zahir, Misr, 1030 135
29. Glass weight of el-Mustansir 137
30. Dinar of el-Mustansir, Misr, 1047. 138
31. Inscription of Bedr el-G'emali in mosque of Ibn-Tilfin, 1077 150
32. Gate of Zawila, Cairo, o191 1.53
33. Gate of Victory (Bab-en-Nasr), Cairo, 1087 155
34. Dinar of el-Musta'li, Tripolis, I0 162


35. Glass weightof el-Amir. 163
36. Dinar of el-Amir, Kis, 1123 or 1125 166
37. Dinar of the expected Imam," Cairo, 1131 167
38. Glass weight of ez-Zfir 171
39. Dinar ofez-Zafir; Misr, 1149 1772
40. Glass weight of el-'Adid 75
41. Dinar of el-'Adid, Cairo, 1168 183
42. Glass weight of caliph el-Mustadi, issued by Saladin, 1171 192
43. DinHr of Niir-ed-din, issued by Saladin, Cairo, 1173 196
44. Dinar of Saladin, Cairo, 1179 200
45. Citadel of Cairo (drawn in 1798) 201
46. Saladin's inscription on the Gate of Steps in the Citadel of
Cairo, 1183 203
47. Gate of Steps in Citadel of Cairo, 1183 205
48. Dirhem (silver coin) of Saladin, Aleppo, 1186 207
49. Saladin's inscription at church of St. Anne, Jerusalem, 1192 208
50. Dinar of el-'Adil, Alexandria, 1199 . 215
51. Carved border of a sheykh's tomb, 1216 219
52. Eagle on Citadel of Cairo, probably early I3th century 228
53. Dinar of el-Kimil, Alexandria, 1225 229
54. Dinar of es-SIlih Ayyfib, Cairo, 1239 230
55. Inscription on tomb of es-Salih AyyTb, 1252 231
56. Dinar of queen Sheger-ed-durr, Cairo, 1250 255
57. Dinir of Aybek, Alexandria, 1256 256
58. Dinar of Beybars, Alexandria, 1261 263
59. Lion of Beybars on boss of mosque door, 1268 264
60. Tomb-mosque of KalI.iin, 1284 283
61. Dinar of Khalil, Cairo, date effaced 285
62. Dinar of Ketbugha, Cairo, 1294-95 290
63. Inscription on medresa (college) of en-Nasir at Cairo, 1299 293
64. Arms of a polo-master... 302
65. Bowl of an emir of en-Nasir in the British Museum 303
66. Inscription in medresa of princess Tatar el-Iligiziya, at
Cairo, 1360 307
67. Tower in Citade. of Cairo 3309
68. Kursi of en-Nlsir, 14th century, in the Cairo Museum 311
69. Mosque of Sengar and Salar, 1323 313
70. Arms of emir el-lMaridnni, 14th century. from a glass lamp 314
71. Hall of Columns built by en-Nasir in Citadel of Cairo, 1313 315
72. Arms of emir Tukuzdemir, from a lamp in the British
Museum. 14th century 316
73. DinHr of en-Nasir, Cairo, 1340 317
74. Dinar of sultan Hasan, Cairo, 1349. 318
75. Palace of emir Yeshbek at Cairo, 1476, adjoining mosque of
sultan Hasan 319
76. Memorial inscription in tomb of sultan IIasan, 1384 320
77. Mosque of sultan HIasan, 1362, from the Citadel 321
78. Arms of an emir inlaid in ivory and coloured woods .329


79. Dinar of Barliik, Aleppo, 1385 .. .. 330
So. Pulpit (minbar) in tomb-mosque of Barklik outside Cairo,
1401-.11 .. .. . 331
81. Enamelled glass lamp of BarkTil in Arab Museum at Cairo 333
82. DinIr of Farad, Cairo, 1407 334
83. Kufic inscription of el-Mu-ayyad 335
84. Dinar of el-Mu-ayyad, Alexandria, 1415 336
85. Dinar of Bars-Bey, Alexandria, 1425 340
86. Dinair of Kitt- Bey, 1468-96 342
87. Tomb-mosque of K.i't-Bey, 1474 343
88. Door of mosque of Ki't-Bey, 1474 345
89. Wekala or caravanserai of KIit-Bey, 1477, near Azhar 346
90. Arms of Kie't-Bey .347
91. Arms of 1.iit-Bey, from a lamp .. 348
92. Arms of emir Ezbek on his mosque, 1495 349
93. Inscription of Tilmdn-Bey I in Citadel of Cairo, 1500. 350
94. Sixteenth century house at Rosetta .351
95. Dinar ofel-Ghtiri, Cairo, 1508 .352
96. Arms of commandant Aktiih, c. 1516 353
97. Bab-el-Azab, Gate of the Citadel of Cairo, 18th century .354
98. Altfin of sultan Suleyman of Turkey, Misr, 1520 355
99. Yigirmlik of 'Ali Bey, Misr, 1769 356
o10. The Citadel of Cairo in 1859 356
Plan of Cairo and suburbs in the 12th century 202
Map of Egypt and adjacent countries I

*,* The coins and glass weights are reproduced from plaster casts of
the originals in the British Museum ; the inscriptions are from M. Max
von Berchem's Corpus Inscriptionum Arabicarum (MJm. de la Miss.
archdol. franfaise au Caire. xix., where French translations are given),
except fig. 49. which is from his Inscriptions arabes de Syrie (AIdm.
de 'Institut Egyptien, 1897); figs. 47 and 67 are from M. Paul
Casanova's Hist. de la Citadelle du Caire (MZm. de la Miss. archeol.
francaise au Caire, vi.); the coats of arms are from Rogers Bey's
article in the Bull. de l'nst. Egypt., i880, except fig. 92, which is
from H. E. Artin Pasha's article on Trois differences armoiries du
Kait Bay ibidd.); fig. 52 is from an article by Mr. H. C. Kay in the
Journal of the R. Asiatic Society, N.S., xiv. (1882); figs. II, 33, 45,
and 71 are from the plates of the Description de l'Egyp e ; the rest
are from photographs, of which figs. 69, 75, 89 and 94 were kindly
supplied by Herz Bey, chief architect of the Commission for the
Preservation of Arab Monuments in Egypt.


c. 695 John, Bishop of Nikiu: Chronique, ed. & tr. H. Zotenberg
(Notices et Extraits, xxiv.), Paris, 1883.
871 Ibn-'Abd-el-Hakam: Futfih Misr (Paris codex 655 ; cp.
Zeitschr. fiir Kutnde d. Aforgenl. iii., 1840).
889 Ibn-Kutayba : ed. F. Wiistenfeld, Gbttingen, 1850.
892 El-Biladhuri: Liber expugnationis regionum, ed. M. J. de
Goeje, Lugd. Bat., 1866.
923 Et-Tabari: Annales, ed. de Goeje et alii, 13 vols., Lugd. Bat.
956 El-Mas'Udi: Les Prairies d'or, Arab. et Fr., ed. Barbier de
Meynard et Pavet de Courteille, 9 vols., Paris, 1861-1873.
977 'Arib b. Sa'd el-Kurtubi: TabarT continuatus, ed. M. J. de
Goeje, Lugd. Bat., 1897.
1185 William of Tyre: Historia rerum in partibus transmarinis
gestarum (lAec. Hist. des Croisades), Paris, 1844.
1188 Osima ibn Munkidh: Kiltb el-I'tibar; Vie d'Ousama, ed. &
tr. H. Derenbourg, 3 vols., Paris, 1886-93.
c. 1208 Abi--Salih: Churches and Monasteries of Egypt, Arab. and
Engl., ed. B. T. A. Evetts, Anecd. Oxoniens., 1895.
1231 'Abd-el-Latif: Historive .Egypti C. .:, .. Arab. et Lat.,
ed. J. White, Oxon., 18oo; Relation de 'Egypte, tr. S. de
Sacy, Paris, 18io.
1233 Ibn-el-Athir: Chronicon (el-Kamil), ed. C. J. Tornberg, 14
vols., Lugd. Bat., 1867-74.
1234 Baha-ed-din ibn Sheddad : Vita Saladini, Arab. et Lat., ed.
Schultens, Lugd. Bat., 1732; and in Rec. Hist. des
Croisades, iii., 1884.
1267 AbTi-Shima: Kitab er-Rawtlateyn, 2 vols., Cairo, 1870-1871.
1275 El-Mekin : Historia Saracenica, Arab. et Lat., ed. T. Erpenius,
Lugd. Bat., 1625.
1282 Ibn-Khallikin: :I ., el-A'yin, ed. F. Wiistenfeld, Gittin-
gen, 1835-50 ; Biographical Dictionary, tr. M. de Slane,
4 vols., Paris, 1843-71.
1307 Joinville: Mnimoires, ed. M. Francisque Michel, Paris, 1881.
1331 Abui-l-Fid : Annales Muslemici, Arab. et Lat., ed. Reiske et
Adler, Hafniae, 1788-93.


1377 Ibn-BatTta: Voyages, Arab. et Fr., ed. C. Defr6mery et
Sanguinetti, 4 vols., Paris, 1873-9.
1406 Ibn-Khaldfin: Kitab el-'lbar, 7 vols, Bulk, 1867-8.
1418 El-I.alkashandi : Die Geographie und Vorwalitng von Aegypten,
tr. F. Wiistenfeld, Gottingen, 1879.
1441 El-Makrizi: Khitat, 2 vols., Bullk. 1853-4.
,, Histoire des Sultans Alamlotks, tr. E. Quatremere,
2 vols., Paris, 1837-45.
1469 AbU-l1-Mahain : Annales (en-NuIzIm ez-Zihira), ed. Juynboll,
3 vols., Lugd. Bat., 1855-61.
1505 Es-Suyfiti: Husn el-hlohadara, 2 vols., Builak.
H history of the Caliphs, tr. H. S. Jarrett, Calcutta,
1524 Ibn-Iyas : Kitab Ta-rikk Mi.r, Cairo, 1893.

Other authorities are cited in footnotes.


The Arabic alphabet is thus represented: 1 in the
middle of a word by (as el-Ma-man), >. b, 0 t, 4d th,
(English j, but in Lower Egypt pronounced as
hard g in get "), C h., t kh, d, 5 dh (as th in this "),
j r, j z, L. s, J, sh, .o 4. d, s t, 6 z, z ', tgh,
j f, 3J .J k, J 1, m, n, a h, 3 w, y. The
Persian i is represented by g. The vowels and diph-
thongs are a or e (according to the rules of imal),
'u or o, ,-i; I- a, g' ft, -;- I; Jlaw, \i ey or ay.
When a name is repeated the article is often omitted;
as El-Hakim and IH7kim. Ibn (son) is abbreviated as b.
D stands for dinar, a gold coin worth about half a


40 for Ghauth
48 ,, Handhala
76 ,, Harin
85 ,, Ghat.s
105 ,, Higaz
Io6 ,, Tyy
III ,, el-Ydzuri
129 ,, Ommayyad
148 ,, Dabik
151 ,, Amir
155 ,, Aydhib
I6o ,, Hassan
166 ,, Abi-Nejah
166 ,, 'Abdu-el-Megid
179 ,, Atfih
192 ,, Akaba
296 ,, naptha
299 ,, Aradus
330 ,, Sarkhab



-- EGYPT -
and Adjacent Countries


<' x






Authorities.-John of Nikiu, Ibn-'Abd-el-Hakam, el-BilIdhuri, et.
Tabari. Later accounts from el-Makrizi, AbU-1-Mah sin, es-Suyayti.

MOHAMMAD, the prophet of the Arabs, died in 632. In
a few years his followers overran Arabia, Syria, and
Chaldaea, defeating the forces of the Emperor of
Constantinople and the Chosroes" or Sdsanian king
of Persia; and in 639 the Arabs invaded Egypt. The
caliph 'Omar yielded with reluctance to the_ urgent
representations of the general, 'Amr ibn el-'Asi, and
even stipulated that if a letter of recall should reach the
army before it entered Egyptian territory, it was to
march back to Medina. The letter was sent, but 'Amr
contrived to cross the frontier before opening it, and
thus effected his purpose. He had visited Alexandria in
his youth, and had never forgotten its wealth. The
expedition was arranged whilst the caliph and 'Amr 639
were together near Damascus on their return from


Jerusalem in the autumn of 639, and 'Amr kept the
Feast of Sacrifice (io Dha-l-Higa, A.H. 18), 12 Dec., 639,
at el-'Arish, the frontier town of Egypt.
The invading army mustered 3500 or 4000 men, but
was quickly reinforced by a second body of 4000.
They were almost all horsemen, armed with lances and
640 swords and bows. The first opposition the Saracens
met was at Pelusium (el-Farama), where the Roman'
garrison held out for a month, until the success of the
besiegers was attained partly through the aid of the Copt
or native Egyptian population, who were eager to
welcome any prospect of release from the oppression of
the eastern empire. The schism definitely opened at
the council of Chalcedon in A.D. 451 had established a
sharp hostility between the national monophysite or
"Jacobite" church of Egypt and the official Chal-
cedonian or Melekite" church which the emperors
of Constantinople supported in Egypt; and the Melekite
persecution of the Jacobites, who formed the great bulk
of the Egyptians, had alienated whatever trace of loyalty
the people might have retained towards their distant
sovereigns, and had prepared the way for foreign inter-
vention. Indeed, the Persians had quite lately (616)
conquered the country, and had only been ejected by
the Romans a few years (626) before the Arab invasion.
The Egyptians had served many foreign masters, and
had suffered under all, so that a change of rulers signified
little, and any change from Byzantine intolerance would
probably, in their eyes, be for the better. This wide-
spread disaffection contributed to the easy triumph of
the Arabs. It was first seen in the taking of Pelusium,
when the patriarch, called by the Arabs "Abo-Miya-
min (possibly meaning the banished Jacobite patriarch
Benjamin), advised the Copts to support the invaders.
The Romans made a second stand at Bilbeys, some
thirty miles from Misr, where another month was spent

1 The term Roman is used throughout, in preference to Greek, for
the east Roman or Byzantine empire. In Arabic the Byzantines are
always called er-Rzm ; in the sing. Rnimi.


in the siege'; and after the fall of Bilbeys, 'Amr had
again to fight the Romans at Umm-Duneyn, a village or
suburb which stood near the present 'Ab'din quarter of
Cairo. The Saracens were once more successful; but
before proceeding further 'Amr appealed to the caliph
for more troops, and a second reinforcement was sent,
bringing the army up to 12,000 men.2 Part of this force
was on the west bank of the Nile, advancing upon Asyit
and Behnesa, and trying to penetrate into the Fayyum,
where they were opposed by Theodosius the dux of the
Thebaid, and by the general John of Mro6s; but the
main body was on the east bank, posted in the neighbour-
hood of the city of Misr, or Babylon of Egypt," a
northern extension of the ancient Memphis.3 The city
was defended by a large Roman army, and guarded by a
strong fortress, rebuilt by Turbo in I16, the remains of
SThe romantic legend of the defence of Bilbeys by Armenosa, the
daughter of the prefect George el-Mulawkis, rests only upon the
authority of el-Wakidi, and cannot be accepted without reserve. It
may be read in Mrs. Butcher's Story of the Churc of Egypt, i.
359, 360, or more fully in Quatremere's Mrinzoires sur l'Egypte, i.
53, 54-
2According to another tradition, ez-Zubeyr brought 12,ooo men to
reinforce 'Amr. The figures cannot be relied on, but the total force of
the Arabs was evidently small.
3 Memphis itself existed, though in decay, at the time of the Arab
conquest, but as it is never mentioned by the chroniclers, its inhabited
portion must be intended when they speak of "Misr." There is much
obscurity about this city of Misr at this period, which is increased by
the word Misr being used also to signify Egypt. The Arabic writers
speak constantly of Babylon (Babilyan) as though it were a fortress and
nothing else, and there is very little evidence for the independent
existence of a city of Babylon or Misr apart from the fortress. It is
only in John of Nikiu's chronicle that we find a distinction between
the taking of Misr and the surrender of the fortress. In the sixth
century, however, Hierocles and George the Cyprian both mention
Memphis, but not Babylon; and there must have been an inhabited
city representing the ancient Memphis, and probably forming a more
modern and northern extension of it. One would expect to find it on
the west bank of the Nile, but all the authorities concur in placing
Misr on the east bank, in the neighbourhood of the fortress of Babylon.
Tendf nyis, on the other hand, seems from John of Nikiu's account to
have been on the west bank. Memphis was an immense city, and
may have extended, with its suburbs of Misr and Tendrinyas, across
the river as far as the fortress of Babylon.

which still stand under the name of Kasr-esh-Shema',
"the castle of the candle." 'Amr divided his forces
into three corps, one of which he posted to the north
of Babylon, the second was stationed at Tendfnyas
(apparently a fortified suburb on the west bank to the
south-west of Babylon), and the third withdrew north-
wards to Heliopolis (On, 'Ayn-Shems), in the hope of
tempting the Romans out of their fortifications, upon
which the other two corps were to fall on their rear or
flank. The manoeuvre succeeded. The Romans marched
out of their fortifications, and attacked the Saracens at
Heliopolis, but, being themselves taken in rear by the other
divisions, were routed and driven to the Nile, where
they took to their boats and fled down the river. Upon
this the Muslims occupied Tendfnyas, the garrison of
which had perished in the battle, except 300 men who
shut themselves up in the fort, whence they retired by
boat to Nikiu. The taking of Tendinyas was evidently
followed by, or synonymous with, the taking of the
whole city of Misr, except its citadel, which was blockaded;
for John of Nikiu, from whose almost contemporary
chronicle this account is taken, mentions no subsequent
siege or conquest of the city of Misr, but only the later
reduction of the fortress.' The defeat of the Romans at
Heliopolis was so complete that not only Misr, the chief
city of that part, fell into the hands of the Saracens, but
even in the Fayypim Domentianus, the praeses of Arcadia,
secretly escaped from the chief town, deserted the Roman
troops scattered about middle Egypt, and hurried down
the Nile to Nikiu ; whereupon the Arabs took Medinet-
el-Fayyim, Asyit, and eventually Behnesa, with great
1 In the rubric of John of Nikiu's chronicle the conquest of Misr is
carefully distinguished from the conquest of the fortress of Babylon.
The former is placed in Anno Indictionis XIV., which corresponds to
I Sept. 640-31 Aug. 641, and the fall of Babylon in XV. The latter
date cannot be sustained satisfactorily, but the distinction between the
two events, and the emphasis laid on the interval between them, are
important. The rubric is the work of the Arabic translator, according
to M. Zotenberg, but it may be assumed that he had earlier data to go
upon, otherwise le would scarcely have used the Indiction chronology.

The Arabic accounts of the conquest of Misr conflict
with each other, and with that given above, in many
details, but confirm the main fact of the victory at
Heliopolis (which must have taken place before the
inundation covered the land, i.e., before September), and
record the subsequent occupation of Misr during the
inundation. They add various stories of negotiations,
and even entertainments, between the Egyptians and
the Arabs, which ended in a formal treaty. We read of
a certain Abf-Maryam, a Catholicc" (aaahalik) of Misr,
who joined 'Amr's army, accompanied by a bishop, and
endeavoured to arrange terms. 'Amr showed them
goodwill; enlarged on the friendly disposition of the
late prophet Mohammad towards the Copts,' in virtue
of their traditional kinship through Hagar, the Egyptian
mother of Ishmael, the ancestor of the prophet; and
offered them the usual choice-to embrace Islam or to
pay the special poll-tax levied by the conquerors on all
non-Muslims. Abi-Maryam and the bishop were anxious
that the latter alternative should be accepted; but the
Roman commander "Artabmn would not listen to it.
He was killed in attempting to surprise the Saracens by a
night attack; the battle of Heliopolis followed; ez-Zubeyr
escaladed Misr and opened a gate; and the Egyptians
sued for peace. The treaty ran as follows, according to
the Arab tradition recorded by Tabari: "In the name of
God, the Compassionate, the Merciful, this is the amnesty
which 'Amr ibn el-'Asi granted to the people of Misr, as
to themselves, their religion, their goods, their churches
and crosses, their lands and waters: nothing of these
shall be meddled with or finished; the Nubians shall
not be permitted to dwell among them. And the people
of Misr, if they enter into this treaty of peace, shall pay
the 4izya (poll-tax), when the inundation of their river

1 For the traditions see Abf-Slih, 286, and Mr. Evett's notes and
2 Also called by the Arabs el-Mandakir (or Mandhaftir) ibn Kurkub
an'l in Arabic nicknamed el-A'rag or el-U'eyrig, "the viper."


has subsided, fifty thousand thousand.' And each one
of them is responsible for [acts of violence which] robbers
among them may commit. And as for those who will
not enter into this treaty the sum of the tax shall be
diminished [to the rest] in proportion; but we have no
responsibility towards such. If the rise of the Nile is
less than usual, the tax shall be reduced in proportion to
the decrease. Romans and Nubians who enter into their
[the people of Misr's] covenant shall be treated in the
like manner. iAnd whoso rejects [the treaty] and
chooses to go axyay, he is protected till he reach a place
of safety or leave our kingdom. The collection of the
taxes shall be by thirds, one third at each time. For
[sureties for] this covenant stand the security and
warranty of God, and the warranty of His Prophet, and
the warranty of the caliph, the commander of the faithful,
and the warranty of the believers . Witnessed by
ez-Zubeyr, and his sons 'Abdallah and Mohammad, and
written by Wardan." (Tabari i. 2588.)
The negotiation of this treaty of peace is attributed
by most Arabic historians to a certain Girgis (or G'ureyg)
or George, son of Menas, el-Mukawkis, who has been
magnified as the chief ruler of Egypt, and denounced as
the supreme traitor to Christianity.2 At first, indeed, he

1 This is probably a slip for "pay the poll-tax [of two dinars a head]
and fifty million dirhems in land-tax (kharda)," for it would be the land-
tax, not the poll-tax, that would be modified in proportion to the
fertility dependent upon the extent of the inundation. Ibn-Khaldimn,
quoting registers of the latter half of the 8th c., gives the land-tax of
Egypt as nearly forty-four million dirhems. Abit-Salib says (f. 22a) that
'Amr imposed a yearly tax of 26g dirhems (i.e. two dinars) on all,
but two dinars and three ardebbs of wheat on all rich men; in this way the
country produced twelve million dinars, as the population (he assumes),
excluding children and aged men, was six millions. The dinar, hence-
forward generally abbreviated as-D., contained rather more gold than
our half-sovereign, and may be roughly called a half-guinea.
2 A "Mukawlis" had certainly been in communication with the
Arabian prophet in 628, and had sent him two slave-girls, a white
mule, a pot of Benha honey, and other gifts ; one of the damsels, Mary
the Copt, of the curly hair, became the Apostle's concubine; but since
Mukawlkis is stated by the Arabic writers to be only the title of the
successive Roman governors of Egypt (possibly a corruption of the


opposed the Saracens, but after the fall of Misr, during
which he and most of the troops are said to have
retreated to the opposite island (afterwards called "the
Island of the Garden," G'ezirat-er-R6da), he opened
communications with 'Amr, hoping to obtain easier
terms if he could manage to conclude a treaty before
the inundation subsided, which then hemmed in the
Muslims; and peace was made on the basis of a poll-tax
of two dinars (about a guinea) per head, excluding
women and children and aged men, together with a
moderate land-tax, and the obligation of three days'
hospitality to Muslims-apparently a form of contribution
to the keep of the Arab army. The Egyptians accepted
these terms, and the Romans were given the choice
of acceptance or a retreat to Alexandria.' When the

Greek tsyavxs, most glorious," as suggested by Karabacek, Alittheil.
aus d. Samml. d. Papyr. Erzherzog RAainer, i. I-II), Mohammad's cor-
respondent may have been a different person from the Mukawkis of
640. That 'Amr had relations with a certain George the prefect" is
clear, for John of Nikiu states that, after the conquest of Misr and the
Fayyim, 'Amr "sent orders to George the prefect to make a bridge
over the canal of Kalytb," to facilitate further conquests in the delta,
and adds that "it was then that they [the Egyptians] began to assist
the Muslims." This George, who may have been praeses of August-
amnica (Milne, Egypt under Roman Rule, 225), was probably George,
son of Menas, the Mukawkis of the Arab traditions (though they make
him the governor of all Egypt, ruling from Alexandria), and his
assistance after the taking of Misr supplies a clue to the elaborate
stories related by the Arabic chroniclers. 'Amr's orders to George
imply previous relations, and as some one must have conducted the
peace negotiations on the Christian side, and asit was more likely to be
an Egyptian than a Roman, there is no improbability in the Arab
tradition that el-Mukawkis was the negotiator.
i Probably it is this treaty that is referred to by Nicephorus, who
says (28, ed. Bonn) that the patriarch Cyrus (perhaps the "bishop"
of the Arabic traditions) was recalled to Constantinople by the
emperor Heraclius, and censured for having agreed to pay tribute to
the Muslims. Theophanes (518, ed. Bonn) also mentions a treaty, by
which Cyrus agreed to pay 'Amr 120,ooo denaria, and did pay this
tribute for three years; but he seems to refer to the second treaty on
the surrender of Alexandria. In the confused accounts of the Greek
writers there is a prevailing idea that the patriarch agreed at an early
date to pay tribute to the Arabs. See J. B. Bury, Later Roman
Empire, ii. 271.


emperor repudiated the treaty, the Mukawkis 'went
to 'Amr, and said, though the Romans continued the
war, he would stand by his word. He begged three
things of the Arab general-that the covenant with the
Egyptians should not be broken; that no peace should
be made with the Romans until they were all made
slaves, as they deserved, and their goods declared spoils;
and that, if he died, he might be buried in the church of
St. John at Alexandria. 'Amr agreed, and thenceforth
most of the Egj'ptians, or Copts as they may now be
called, abetted 2he Muslims in the war against the
Romans, and helped in the transport and supplies.
'Amr's first proceeding after the taking of Misr was to
make a bridge near the city so as to reopen communica-
tions with the west bank. The pontoon also served to
arrest the procession of fugitive Romans down the river
to Nikiu and Alexandria. Having got his men together,
and brought the detachments from the west bank across
to the east, he vigorously pressed the siege of the fortress
of Babylon, which at length fell, on 9 April, 641.1
4 The Arabic historians relate various anecdotes of the
siege of Babylon, which are chiefly interesting as repre-
senting current traditions as to the impression produced
by the invaders upon the Romans and Egyptians. The
simplicity of manners, devoutness, and heroic courage
of the Arabs are chiefly dwelt upon. For example,
it is told how an Arab dismounted one day from his
horse to say his appointed prayers, when a party of
Romans, richly accoutred, sallied out of the fortress to
surprise him. As they drew near, he interrupted his
devotions, mounted his horse, and charged upon them.
Taken aback by his hardihood, they took to their heels,
throwing down their arms and accoutrements in their
haste. The Arab took no notice of these spoils, but

SThis date is John of Nikiu's, who says it was the second day after
Easter, though he gives the wrong year, XV. Ind., instead of XIV. (cp.
Brooks, Byz. Ztschr. iv. 440). It is confirmed by the Persian version
of Tabari, which places the lall of Babylon in the month Rabi' II. of
A.H. 20 (20 March-17 April, 641), but this is not in the Leyden
edition of the Arabic text.

after chasing them into the fortress, quietly returned
to the spot where he had been disturbed, and finished
his prayers. Again, when the messengers from the
Mulkawkis, after being entertained some days in 'Amr's
camp, returned to their master, he asked them to
describe the Arabs. They answered, "We found a
people who love death better than life, and set humility
above pride, who have no desire or enjoyment in this
world, who sit in the dust and eat upon their knees, but
frequently and thoroughly wash all their members, and
humble themselves in prayer: a people in whom the
stronger can scarce be distinguished from the weaker, or
the master from the slave."
When the fortress of Babylon was taken, the Arab
general prepared to march north as soon as the Nile had
returned to its banks. After the victory at Heliopolis,
he had sent several detachments to different parts, to the
Sa'id (Upper Egypt) and the Fayyam, as well as north
towards Alexandria, Damietta, and Tinnis on the coast.
They met with little resistance in most parts, and
imposed the usual terms (poll-tax and land-tax) upon the
submissive population ; the Roman troops were con-
centrated in a few large cities. 'Amr himself, after
establishing a strong force at Misr, and mooring a fleet
of boats under the wall of the fortress, at that time
washed by the Nile, marched down the east bank to
engage Theodorus the augustal prefect. He found
however, that the prefect and most of the Roman army
had retired to Alexandria, leaving Domentianus at
Nikiu, and Dares of Semennud to guard "the two
rivers." On the approach of the Arabs Domentianus
fled from Nikiu and took boat for Alexandria. The
Arabs then entered Nikiu unopposed on 13 May, 641
(18 Genb6t, Ind. xv. [lege xiv.] according to John of
Nikiu), and are said to have massacred all the inhabitants
and perpetrated atrocious cruelty throughout the island
of Nikiu," enclosed between the arms of the Nile.
From Nikiu 'Amr pressed northwards, taking Athribis
and Busiris, Damsis and Sakhl, anxious to subdue the
whole of the delta before the inundation should check


operations. He was repulsed, however, at Damietta,
and finding himself impeded by the canals and arms of
the river, returned to Misr, whence he made a fresh
start. Choosing this time the west bank, he marched by
way of Terenuthis, fought three battles with the Romans,
and reached Kiryawn, twenty miles south of Alexandria.
The first attack was repulsed, but the capital was then
torn by factions, Blues and Greens," Byzantines and
Nationals, Greeks and Copts, and was in no condition
for resistance; Theodorus, the augustal prefect, was at
Rhodes, and Doinentianus was a poor substitute, and was
at enmity with His colleague, Menas, the prefect of Lower
Egypt. The distracted state of the city and the general
panic can alone explain the surrender of a well-fortified
stronghold which could be provisioned and reinforced at
will by sea.
Accordingly, when the Arabs arrived near Alexandria,
they found the enemy eager to treat. The report of a
man who served under 'Amr at the taking of Misr and
Alexandria has been handed down and preserved by
Tabari (i. 2581-3). This man, Ziyad ez-Zubeydi, said
that after taking Babylon the Muslim army advanced
into the Rif (delta) between Misr and Alexandria, and
arrived at Belhib, where the governor of Alexandria
sent to 'Amr, offering to pay the poll-tax on condition
that the Roman prisoners should be surrendered. 'Amr
replied that he must refer the proposal to the caliph at
Medina; he wrote what the governor had said, and the
letter was read to the troops. They waited at Belhib,
during the armistice, till the caliph 'Omar's answer
came. 'Amr read it aloud. It required the Alexandrians
to pay the poll-tax; the prisoners were to be given the
choice of accepting Islam or remaining true to the
religion of their own folk; if they chose Islam, they
belonged to the Muslims; if they held to their own
creed, they should be sent back to Alexandria; but
those prisoners who had already been sent to Arabia
could not be returned. So they gave the remaining
prisoners their choice, and when some chose Islam, the
army shouted "Alladhu Akbar," God is Most Great,"-


"it was the loudest Te Deum (tekbir)," said Ziyad,
" that we had shouted since we conquered the land."
The rest returned to Alexandria, and the amount of the
poll-tax was fixed. Thus Alexandria capitulated and the
Muslims entered in.
John of Nikiu, like Ziyad, mentions no prolonged
siege of Alexandria, but says that the patriarch Cyrus,
who had returned from Constantinople armed with full
powers to treat, went to 'Amr at Babylon to propose
terms of peace and offer tribute, and it was settled that
the Alexandrians should pay a monthly tribute, and
deliver up 150 soldiers and 50 civilians as hostages; that
the Muslims should not interfere with the churches and
affairs of the Christians ; that the Jews (who doubtless
helped to furnish the tribute money), should be allowed
to remain at Alexandria; and that the Muslims should
hold aloof from the city for eleven months, after which
the Romans would embark and leave the city, and no
other Roman army would be sent to regain it. They
embarked on 17 September (642), which, if the term of
eleven months was strictly observed, would make the
date of the treaty of capitulation October, 641.2

I Possibly a transcriber's error for Belhib; the two could be easily
confounded in a careless Arabic MS., from which the Ethiopic version
of John of Nikiu appears to have been made. But as Cyrus was back
in Egypt before Easter, 641, he might have found 'Amr at Babylon,
and there begun the negotiations which were continued at Belhib.
2 The received tradition, however, recorded by many of the Arab
historians, is that Alexandria endured a siege of fourteen months,
during which the Muslims lost more than 20,000 men; and many
incidents of this siege have been handed down, some of which may
really refer to the later reconquest of the city in 645. They state that
at the time of the battle of Heliopolis several detachments were sent to
various parts of Egypt, and one went to Alexandria. There may have
been a corps of observation near Alexandria for fourteen months, but
the stry of a siege is contradicted by Ziyad's plain tale, as well as by
John of Nikiu. The Arab siege material, moreover, must have been
extremely weak. Though they early made use of mangonels and
stone-s ings, these could hardly have been powerful enough to reduce
the forts of Alexandria. The legends of 'Amr being made prisoner,
and eluding discovery by the presence of mind of his slave, and of his
narrow escape in a bath, are improbable. What the relations were
between the Muslims and the Romans during the eleven months of


The Muslim writers describe Alexandria as it was in
642 with their customary exaggeration : it had, they say,
400 theatres, 4000 public baths, &c., and its population
numbered 600,000 (without reckoning women and chil-
dren), of whom 200,000 were Romans, and 70,000 Jews.
Of any destruction or spoliation by the Arabs there is
not a word in any of the early authorities, nor, since the
city capitulated on terms, was any spoliation permissible.
John of Nikiu records that 'Amr levied the taxes agreed
upon, but took nothing from the churches, nor wrought
any deed of pillage or spoliation, but protected them
throughout his government. The story of the destruc-
tion of the Alexandrian library," and the distributing of
the books to light the fires in the 4000 public baths, is
found in no early record. It is not mentioned by any
Greek writer, nor by John of Nikiu, Ibn-'Abd-el-Hakam,
or Tabari. It first appears in the thirteenth century, six
hundred years after the alleged event, in the works of
'Abd-el-Lalif and Abt-1-Farag. It is absolutely contra-
dictory to John of Nikiu's account of 'Amr's protecting
policy. The legend may have had its origin in the
destruction of books of the fire-worshippers during the
Arab conquest of Persia.

grace we do not know. It is recorded by John of Nikiu that the
Muslims came to Alexandria to collect the poll-tax, and that disturb-
ances ensued, which were allayed by Cyrus the patriarch ; but whether,
after this, the Muslims occupied Alexandria, as the Arabic historians would
have us believe, or (as seems more probable) received the tax outside the
city, and observed the truce, there is no evidence to show. According to
a tradition repeated by several Arabic historians, Alexandria was takcn
by storm, but almost immediately retaken by the Romans, who were
then driven out a second time, and fled by sea and land, but this may
refer either to the disturbances caused by the collection of the poll-tax,
or to the second conquest of Alexandria from Manuel in 645. The
fact, generally admitted, that the Alexandrians were allowed to pay the
poll-tax, instead of having all their property confiscated, is presumptive
evidence of a capitulation, though some of the chroniclers explain it
away as an act of grace. There was an obvious motive on the part of
the Arabs to represent that Egypt was conquered vi et armis, because
a country so conquered would, according to Mobammadan law, be
deprived of all rights, and be exposed to confiscations, which would
not be the case if it had capitulated upon terms.


One anecdote of the alleged siege of Alexandria
may be quoted as illustrating the spirit which inspired
the Arab warriors. 'Amr's son 'Abdallih was severely
wounded, and groaning in his pain he let the regret
escape that his father would not lead his army back to
peace and rest. 'Amr's reply was typical of the race:
"Rest," he said, is in front of you, not behind."'

1 The chronology of the Arab conquest of Egypt is almost hopelessly
bewildering, and the difficulties are too complex to le discussed here.
The account given above is based chiefly upon John of Nikiu and Ibn-
'Abd-el-Hakam, compared with Tabari and later historians. John's
chronicle, however, is obviously transposed in some of its chapters, and
I have transferred chapters cxvi.-cxviii. to precede cxiv. I am glad to
see that Mr. E. W. Brooks, who has carefully examined the subject in
the Byzantinische Zeitschrift, iv. 435-444, has arrived independently at
the same conclusion with regard to this transposition. It implies the
correction of the date XV. Ind. in ch. xv. for the northern march to
Damietra, which must have been in the late spring or early summer
(before the inundation) of 641 (i.e. XIV. Ind.). In the same way the
XV. Ind. given in the rubric for the fall of Babl on fortress must be
corrected to XIV. Such slips are not surprising in an Ethiopic version
translated from a probable A abic version of a probable Coptic original.
The one valuable date supplied by the Arabic hi-torians is Iln-'Abd-
el-Hakam's statement that 'Amr celebrated ihe Feast of Sacrifice,
Io DDhb-H. a, A.II. 18, i.e. 12 Dec., 639. at el-'Arish on entering
Egypt; the other dates of Arabic writers frequentlyy conflict with each
other and cannot be relied upon; hut the references to the Nile
inundation help to fix the season and order ol events. The one date
in John of Nikiu on which there seems to be no ground for doubt is
that of the death of the patriarch Cyrus on 25 Magabit, the Thurs-
day before Easter," which can only be 21 March, 642. The importance
of this date is that it fixes the last celebration of Easter by Cyrus (a
ceremony specially described by John) as Easter, 641, and makes his
negotiation of the capitulation of Alexandria, for which he had been
sent back by the emperor armed with tull powers, fall certainly in 641,
not 642. Another important indication is furnished by the Arabic
historians' statement that Alexandria capitulated nine months after
the death of Heraclius. His death took place on Feb. II, 641,
and the ninth month would therefore fall in October to November,
which allows the stated term of eleven months before the evacuation
on Sept. I7, 642. The traditional Arabic date for the capitulation,
I Molarram, 20 A.H. (21 Dec., 640), is incredible as to the month:
but the year 20 given by the earliest chroniclers, Ibn-Ishlk and el-
WSkidi, as quoted by Tabari (i. 2579 ff.), for the conquests of Babylon
and Alexandria, agrees with the data given above, and is confirmed by
Ibn-'Ahd-el-Hakam's statement that Alexandria fell in the eighth year




Authorities.-Ibn-'Abd-el-Hakam; AbTi-Slilh, Ibn-Khallikan, el-
Makrizi Abfi-l-MaIhsin, es-Suyiiti.
Aulnuments.-Nilumeter on island of er-R6da.
Inscriptions.--(ravestones from Fustat and Aswan in Cairo Museum,
Mi.s. arch6 1 franqaise, Egypt. Inst., and private collections at Cairo,
and a few in Europe (Brit. Mus., Louvre, Vatican).
Coins.-A few of the caliphate coins struck at Misr (Fustat) bear the
names of governors.
Glass weights and stamps.- Many show. the names of governors,
treasurers, and other officials (see pp. 47-56).

641 THE surrender of Alexandria was the last important act
in the conquest of Egypt. No serious resistance was
encountered elsewhere, and the whole country from Eyla
on the Red Sea to Barka on the Mediterranean, and
from the first cataract of the Nile to its embouchure,
became a province of the Muslim caliphate. The Arabs
spread over the country during the winter of 641-2,
restoring order and levying taxes, for 'Amr was not the
man to keep them idle : Go forth," he said, now that
the season is gracious : when the milk curdles, and the

of the reign of 'Omar, which began in the middle of A.H. 20. The two
dates, April and October, 641, for the taking of Babylon and the
capitulation of Alexandria' respectively, completely bear out the
prevalent Arabic tradition that Babylon fell after a seven months'
siege, and Alexandria after fourteen months. The siege of Babylon
would thus have begun in Sept., 640, immediately after the fall of
Misr, during the inundation, and the appearance of the Arabs in the
neighbourhood of Alexandria (though not a siege) would be brought to
the same month.


leaves wither and the mosquitoes multiply, come back to
your tents." Even Nubia was made tributary by an
expedition of 20,000 men, under 'Amr's lieutenant 'Abd-
allah b. Sa'd. The Copts, who had aided the invaders,
welcomed the change of masters, and were rewarded.
'Amr retained Menas the prefect in his government for
a time, and appointed Shintida and Philoxenos governors
of the Rif and the Fayyim : all three were of course
friendly with the Muslims, and exerted themselves to
levy the taxes. Alexandria, the monthly tribute of which
was rated at 22,000 pieces of gold,' was squeezed by Menas
till it paid over 32,000. Many Egyptians became Moham-
madans to escape the poll-tax; others hid themselves
because they could not pay. In the country towns and
villages, the conquerors mixed with the conquered, and
the maidens of Sulteys in the delta became the mothers
of famous Muslims by their willing union with Arab
The capital of Egypt was no longer to be Alexandria.
The great commercial emporium was liable to be cut off
by the Nile inundation from land communication with
Medina, then the seat of the caliphate; and the caliph
'Omar was so far from thinking of permanent colonisation,
and so averse from depriving himself of the services of
'Amr's fine army, that he forbade the soldiers to acquire
land and take root in Egypt, in order that they might
always be ready for a fresh campaign elsewhere. Alex-
andria, moreover, was the symbol of Roman dominion
and the tyranny of the orthodox church, and was there-
fore distasteful to the Copts. 'Amr was ordered by the
caliph to select a more central position, and he chose the
plain close to the fortress of Babylon, and not far north
of the old Egyptian capital Memphis, where his camp
had been pitched during the siege of Misr. Here he

1 These must be solidi, represented by the Arabic dinar. Beladhuri
mentions (223) that the poll-tax of Alexandria in about 730owas raised
from the previous sum of I8,ooo to 36,oooD. At the rate of two
dinars a head per annum, this monthly payment implies a taxable male
population not exceeding 192,00ooo in 'Amr's time, and 216,ooo a
century later.


Fig. I.-Mosque of 'Amr at Fust. t.


built his mosque, which still stands, though repeatedly
altered or restored;' and here he began the foundation
of the city which he called el-Fustat, the tent," on the
spot where, according to the story, when he marched
north to take Alexandria, his tent had been left standing,
because he would not suffer his farrdshes to disturb the
doves which were building their nest there. Fustat
remained the capital of Egypt for more than three
centuries, until el-IKahira (Cairo) was founded close by in
969; and, even after that, it continued to be the com-
mercial, as distinguished from the official, capital, until
burned on the invasion of the crusading king Amalric
in I 168. The site of Fustat," says el-Makrizi (Khitat, i.
286), the most learned authority on Egyptian topography,
which is now called the city of Misr, was waste land
and sown fields from the Nile to the eastern mountain
called G'ebel-el-Mukattam ; there were no buildings there
except the fortress, now called the Castle of the Candle
(Kasr-esh-Shema')' and el-Mo'allaka. There the Roman
governor who ruled Egypt for the Caesars used to stay
when he came from Alexandria This fortress over-
looked the Nile, and the boats came close up to the
western gate In the neighbourhood of the fortress
on the north were trees and vineyards, and this became
the site of the Old Mosque [or Mosque of 'Amr].
Between the fortress and the mountain were many
churches and convents of the Christians." The new

SNothing of the original structure remains. It was a simple
oblong room, 28.9 metres by 17.3 ; the low roof, no doubt, supported
by a few columns, . the walls probably of baked, but very
possibly only unbaked, bricks, and unplastered; the floor pebble
strewn; the light probably supplied, as in the great colonnade at the
present day, through square apertures in the roof. It possessed no
minarets or other attractive outside feature ; no niche nor any other
internal decoration" (E. K. Corbet, J.?.A.S., N.S., xxii.). In this
humble building the conqueror of Egypt, as the caliph's representative,
led the public prayers, and preached the sermon, standing on the floor,
for the caliph forbade the elevation of a pulpit. 'Amr's own house was
opposite the main entrance of the mosque.
Possibly from the candles used in the Coptic churches there. Mr.
A. J. Butler suggests (AbU-SSlil, f. 21a) that the name may be a
corruption of Kasr-el-Khemi, the castle of Egypt."


capital spread rapidly, and soon became one of the chief
cities of the Mohammadan empire.
Henceforward, for two centuries and a quarter, Egypt
was but one of the provinces of the Muslim caliphate.
The Arabs appear to have made no sweeping changes in
its administration : they were a conspicuously adaptive
folk, and were generally content to accept other people's
ideas. In Egypt they found a system of government
ready-made, and they adopted the plan of their Roman
predecessors-a plan doubtless moulded on time-honoured
precedent-with little modification.' The system lasted
in all essentials down to the present century, and de-
veloped into a completelyy decentralized series of inferior
governments loosely related to the chief government at
Fustat. The village sheykhs were subordinate to the
district governors, who in turn reported to the governor-
in-chief ; but the central government interfered little
with the district officers, or these with the peasants
(fellain), so long as the taxes were paid ; and the whole
machinery of government was directed to the end of
collecting as large a revenue as possible. A special
department, however, had charge of the irrigation, and
appointed inspectors annually to see to the maintenance
of the government dikes and dams ; but the local dikes
were left to the management of each separate village or
town, and paid for out of the local funds. The governor
was appointed by the caliph ; and the governor usually
appointed the three great officers of state, for war, justice,
and finance-the marshal, the chief kadi, and the
treasurer. The marshal had command of the guard, con-
trolled the army and police, and maintained order. The
kldi was the chief judge, he was also the controller of
the mint (at least down to the i3th century), and repre-
sented religion and law; the treasurer looked to the

SMr. Milne (Egypt under Roman Rule, 216) has shown that the
mudirs, or governors of provinces, corresponded to the epistrategoi;
the ma'mir, or sub-provincial governor, performed the duties of the
toparch, and partly of the strategos; and the land-inspector, khU'i, was
the ancient sitologo3. The taxation, however, seems to have been
much heavier under late Roman rule than under the Arabs.


collection of the taxes, and so important was his office that
he was often appointed directly by the caliph, and held a
position independent of the governor. It was his duty,
after collecting the taxes and paying the expenses of
government, to hand over the surplus to the supreme
treasury of the caliph. Sometimes he farmed the
revenues for a fixed payment to the caliph's treasury,
and made what he could out of the taxes. Some-
times the governor combined the office of treasurer with
his proper political functions. In any case, no doubt
a considerable balance stuck in the pockets of the
officials, and did not find its way to the caliph. The
frequent changes of governors and the uncertainty of
their tenure rendered some such economy almost in-
evitable, as is still the case in the Ottoman empire.
'Amr, from his new capital of Fustat, directed the
raising of the necessary revenue. He collected one
million dinars from the poll-tax alone in the first year,
four million in the second, and eight in the third year
(642, 643, and 644), a progression which shows that the
country was not immediately brought under financial
control. The total revenue he was able to raise
amounted to 12,ooo,ooo0 ., on a population estimated by
Ibn-'Abd-el-Hakam at from six to eight millions,
excluding women and children. The total was
probably made up of about 3,000,000 land-tax on a
million and a half of cultivated acres, 8,000,000 poll-tax
on four million male adults, and i,ooo,ooo various duties
and contributions.'

1 It is impossible to reconcile the various estimates of the Arab
historians satisfactorily. 'Amr is stated to have raised eight million
dinars from the poll-tax, which implies a taxable male population of
four (not six or eight) millions. But Ya'l.iibi places the poll-tax of
Egypt in about 670 at five million dinars, implying a population of
two-and-a-half million adult males, or else a very large conversion of
the Copts to Islam in order to evade the tax, which according to all
authorities was not the case. The land-tax in the latter part of the
8th c. was forty-four million dirhems (or three-and-one-third million
dinars), which tallies well enough with the fifty millions fixed by 'Amr
in the treaty of 640. In ti-e first half of the 9th c. the land-tax had in-
creased to nearly four-and-three-quarter million D. El-Bilddhuri says


The policy of the caliph enjoined a generous treatment
of the cultivators of the soil, and we hear of harshness
only where wealthy Copts endeavoured to conceal their
resources and evade the taxes; the consequence was
confiscation, sometimes to a fabulous amount. 'Amr
developed the productiveness of the land by irrigation,
and the immemorial corvee system was enforced: 120,000
labourers were kept at work winter and summer in
maintaining and improving the dams and canals. The
old canal, traditionally called the Amnis Trajanus, con-
necting Babylon with the Red Sea, which had long been
choked up, was cleared and reopened in less than a
year,1 and corn was sent by ships to Medina, instead of
by caravan as in the previous year. In spite of this
efficient and'prudent administration, the caliph was
dissatisfied with the small revenue received from Egypt,2
and reduced 'Amr to the inferior office of governor of
the delta, whilst the Sa'id, or Upper Egypt, was placed
under the authority of 'Abdallah ibn Sa'd, who was
soon afterwards (on the murder of the caliph 'Omar)
appointed governor of all Egypt.
Before he left, however, 'Amr achieved another signal
success. A Roman fleet of 300 sail, under Manuel, an
Armenian, supported by the Roman population in the
645 delta, seized Alexandria in 645, and the Copts, dreading

that at the end of the 8th c. the totll revenue was fixed at four diners a
head, but this looks like a mere combination of the two din5r tax per
head and the two dinar tax per acre.
1 In A.H. 23 beginningg in Nov., 643) according to el-Kindi. It ran
past Bilbeys to the Crocodile Lake and then down to Kulzum, the
port at the head of the Red Sea. It remained open for about eighty
years, after which it was neglected and again became choked up, until
reopened in the caliphate of el-Mahdi, c. 780. The picturesque but
malodorous canal (el-Khalik) flowed through Cairo for some distance
to the N.E. until 1899, when it was filled up for sanitary reasons.
Its connection with the Crocodile Lake had long ceased, and its place
was taken by the still older Busiris or Freshwater Canal."
SThe authentic correspondence on this subject between the caliph and
'Amr is preserved in Ibn-'Abd-el-HIakam, and shows that 'Omar re-
garded Egypt chiefly in the light of a milch-cow, whose milk was to
nourish the faithful at Medina rather than fatten the governor at


a restoration of the hated Melekite domination,
entreated that their old champion might be sent
against the enemy. 'Amr hastened with an army by
land and water towards'Alexandria, and encountered the
Romans near Nikiu. The imperial archers covered the
landing of the troops from the river, and the Arabs
suffered heavy loss. Amr's horse was shot under him,
and some noted warriors began to fly. At this moment
a Roman captain challenged the Muslims to single
combat; a champion rode out from their ranks, and
both armies stood under arms while the duel was fought
out. After an hour's sword-play, the Arab killed his
opponent with a knife. Encouraged by this, the
Muslims attacked the enemy with such fury that they
broke and fled to Alexandria with the loss of their
general. The spot where the victory was won was
commemorated by the building of the 'Mosque of
(Divine) Pity." The walls of Alexandria were then
destroyed, as 'Amr said, "so that men could go in at
every side as to the house of a harlot." As a reward for
this service the successful general was offered the
command of the troops of Egypt, but not the governor-
ship: he declined the honour in the pithy phrase, "I
might as well hold the cow by the horns whilst another
milked her."
The new governor, 'Abdallah b. Sa'd,' bestirred himself
to emulate the deeds of his predecessor. In 651-2 he 652
invaded Nubia, laid siege to Dongola, battered down the
Christian church with his stone slings, and compelled
the blacks to sue for peace. The treaty then concluded
has been preserved by Ibn-Selim, as quoted by Makrizi,
and is a curious document :-
In the name of God, &c.-This is a treaty granted
by the emir 'Abdallah ibn Sa'd ibn Abi-Sarh to the chief
of the Nubians and to all the people of his dominions, a
treaty binding on great and small among them, from the

1 The abbreviation b. stands for ibn, "son of." The classical form
of this name is 'Abdu-llahi-bnn-Sa'd, but in this history the inflexional
terminations are disregarded, as they are in Egyptian colloquial usage.


frontier of Aswan to the frontier of 'Alwa. 'Abdallah
b. Sa'd ordains security and peace between them and the
Muslims, their neighbours in the Sa'id [Upper Egypt],
as well as all other Muslims and their tributaries. Ye
people of Nubia, ye shall dwell in safety under the
safeguard of God and his apostle, Mohammad the
prophet, whom God bless and save. We will not attack
you, nor wage war on you, nor make incursions against
you, so long as ye abide by the terms settled between us
and you. When ye enter our country, it shall be but as
travellers, not as settlers, and when we enter your country
it shall be but hs travellers not settlers. Ye shall protect
those Muslims !or their allies who come into your land
and travel there, until they quit it. Ye shall give up the
slaves of Muslims who seek refuge among you, and send
them back to the country of Islam; and likewise the
Muslim fugitive who is at war with the Muslims, him ye
shall expel from your country to the realm of Islam ; ye
shall not espouse his cause nor prevent his capture. Ye
shall put no obstacle in the way of a Muslim, but render
him aid till he; quit your territory. Ye shall take care
of the mosque which the Muslims have built in the
outskirt of your city, and hinder none from praying
there; ye shall clean it, and light it, and honour it.
Every year ye shall pay 360 head of slaves to the
leader of the Muslims [i.e. the caliph], of the middle class
of slaves of your country, without bodily defects, males
and females, but no old men nor old women nor young
children. Ye shall deliver them to the governor of
Aswan. No Muslim shall be bound to repulse an enemy
from you or to attack him, or hinder him, from 'Alwa to
Aswiin. If ye harbour a Muslim slave, or kill a Muslim
or an ally, or attempt to destroy the mosque which the
Muslims have built in the outskirt of your city, or with-
hold any of the 360 head of slaves-then this promised
peace and security will be withdrawn from you, and we
shall revert to hostility, until God decide between us,
and He is the best of umpires. For our performance of
these conditions we pledge our word, in the name of
God, and our compact and faith, and belief in the name


of His apostle Mohammad, God bless and save him.
And for your performance of the same ye pledge your-
selves by all that ye hold most sacred in your religion,
by the Messiah and by the apostles and by all whom ye
revere in your creed and religion. And God is witness or
these things between us and you. Written by 'Amr b.
Shurahbil in Ramadan in the year 31." (May-June,
652 A.D.)
Before this treaty the bakt, or annual tribute of 360
head of slaves," had been paid to 'Amr b. el-'Asi, together
with forty slaves whom he declined to accept as a present,
but paid for in corn and provisions. This exchange
continued for a long time. The bakt of 360 slaves was
regularly paid every year to an Egyptian officer at
el-IKasr, five miles from Aswan, the frontier town of
Egypt, and forty slaves in addition were exchanged for
wheat, barley, lentils, cloth, and horses. The treaty and
the slave tribute remained in force down to Mamlfk
times, more than six centuries later.
Three years after the Nubian campaign, a Roman fleet
of 700 to 1ooo sail appeared off Alexandria. The
Muslims had only 200 ships to oppose the invasion, but
after volleys of arrows, and, when these were exhausted, of
stones, they came to close quarters and fought sword to
sword, till the Romans were put to flight. From the
forest of rigging the engagement acquired the name of
" the Battle of the Masts." Henceforth, for centuries, in
spite of occasional raids by the emperors' fleets, Egypt
was secure from foreign attack. Meanwhile 'Abdallah
pressed the taxes, and succeeded in raising a revenue of
14,000,000 D. The caliph'Othman, at Medina, observed
to 'Amr that the camel yields more milk now." Yes,"
was the reply, but to the hurt of her young." The
result, indeed, was widespread disaffection. The people
rose, drove the vice-governor out of Fustit, proclaimed
the deposition of the caliph, refused to admit 'Abdallih
when he returned from a journey to Palestine, and sent a
force of rebels to Medina to demand the appointment of
a governor of their own choice. An intercepted letter,
which seemed to argue double-dealing on the caliph's

part, embittered the controversy, and the Egyptian Arabs
at Medina took a leading share in the events which ended
in the murder of 'Othmin. The contest over the
656 succession to the caliphate was fought out in Egypt, as
elsewhere; 'Ali, the new caliph, was strongly supported,
and sent a governor to Fustat, who read his commission
aloud in the mosque of 'Amr. He was removed by
intrigues, and the next governor was poisoned before
he even reached his seat of government. Ten thousand
men, pledged to avenge the murder of 'Othmin,
established themselves at Kharibta, in the Hawf (or
eastern part of the delta) and defied authority. With
their support, and backed by 5000 Syrian troops, joined
by as many Egyptians, 'Amr, the nominee of the rival
65s caliph Mo'awiya, re-entered Fustit in July, 658, after
defeating the governor's army, and put an end to the
authority of 'Ali in Egypt. The conqueror's second
government lasted over five years, but was marked by
few important events beyond a couple of expeditions
against the Berbers of Libya. In view of his great
services, Mo'awiya, first of the Omayyad caliphs of
Damascus, granted him the entire revenue of Egypt,
after payment of the cost of administration ; and so
large was the surplus that when 'Amr died, in January,
664 664, at the age of ninety, he left seventy sacks of dinars,
each of which weighed ten bushels (two ardebbs.) At
about 160 lbs. to the ardebb, this would amount to the
wholly impossible amount of ten tons of gold It is
said (but, in the Arab historians' qualifying phrase, "God
knows best ") that his sons refused to inherit their ill-
gotten treasure.
A record of the several reigns of the ninety-eight
governors who ruled Egypt under the successive caliphs
of Medina, Damascus and Baghdad, up to the time
when Ibn-Talon established a practically independent
dynasty in 868, would serve little purpose.' The
system was the same all through, but mildness and
STheir jejune annals may be read in F. Wiistenfeld's Die Stalthalter
von Aegypten zur Zeit der Chalifen, published in the Abhandl. der .Kn.
Gesellsch. der Wissensch. zu Go/lingen, Bd. xx., 1875.


severity alternated according to the disposition of the
governor, or the character of his treasurer and other
officials. Several governors are described as generous and
upright, benevolent towards the people, and beloved by
them. Such were commonly followed by martinets, who
restored the treasury balance by fresh exactions. Honesty
was not likely to be the salient virtue among men who
were liable to sudden dismissal at the caprice of a caliph;
yet it is recorded of Keys b. Sa'd that on his demission he
refused to appropriate the house he had built at Fustiit
because it was erected with the money of the Muslims "
to be the official residence of future governors. Another
exceptional ruler, a "God-fearing man, just and incor-
ruptible," used to say, When presents come in at the
door, honesty flies out of the window." Yet it was
under this very man that Ostma b.
Zeyd carried on a peculiarly oppres-
sive policy, acting on the caliph's
instructions, Milk till the udder be
dry, and let blood to the last drop."
The normal taxation was not excessive;
non-Muslims paid about a guinea a
Fig. 2.-Glass weight year in poll-tax, and the same amount
of Osama b. Zeyd -
[A.D. 720]. per cultivated acre (feddan, rather
more than an English acre) in land-
tax. The taxes brought in annually from twelve
to fourteen million dinars; and in the first half of
the 9th c. the land-tax (of two dinars per acre)
amounted to 4,857,000D., or about 2,500,ooo000. But
in Egypt the tax-gatherer did not always content
himself with the legal taxes; and apart from such extor-
tion, there were various other duties, on trades and
markets, etc., increased and varied from time to time,
which swelled the revenue. The Muslim subjects more-
over had to pay a tithe as poor-tax, and also a property-
tax. At the beginning of the 8th c. the district
officials reported the extraordinary intelligence that
their treasuries were so full that they could hold no
more, and the caliph gave orders that the superfluity
should be expended on building mosques. Among


others, the Mosque of 'Amr was restored, and it is
mentioned that when the workmen turned out of an
evening and went home, the governor, Kurra, had wine
brought into the sacred building, and tippled all night
to the strains of music-another way of disposing of the
surplus. Some governors, however, rigorously suppressed
all wine-shops and places of public amusement.
The vast majority of the people of Egypt were of
course the Christian Copts, and whatever oppression
existed was mainly borne by them. There is very little
evidence, however, to show that they were grossly ill-
treated. 'Amr, the conqueror, received an embassy of
monks, who asked for a charter of their liberties and the
restoration of their patriarch Benjamin; he granted the
charter and invited the exiled patriarch to return. The
Muslims naturally favoured their allies of the national or
Jacobite church, rather than the orthodox church of
Constantinople, which was still represented in Egypt.
The governor Maslama allowed the Copts to build a
church behind the bridge at Fustft, to the scandal of the
faithful; and when 'Abd-el-'Aziz b. Marwan removed for
686 his health to Hulwan, near Memphis, he chose the
Coptic monastery at Tamweyh on the opposite bank of
the Nile as his residence, and paid the monks 20,000 D.
for it. This is worth noting, because, according to the
Muslim theory, Egypt was a conquered country and its
inhabitants had no rights, could not own land, and were

1 Here he is stated to have struck the first purely Arabic coins
issued in Egypt in A.H. 76 (695), in accordance with the monetary re-
form of the caliph 'Abd-el-Melik. Abii-Salih says (f. 52b) that 'Abd-
el-'Aziz b. Marwan wished to make HulNan the capital, and built
several mosques therr, a pavilion of glass, a Nilometer, a lake and
aqueduct, and planted trees. his physicians sent him there for the
alleviation of his lion-sickness (elephantiasis), on account of the sulphur
springs. He also built a I alate with a gilt dome, "the Golden House,"
at Fustat. Os.ma b. Zeyd built the first Nilometer o.i the island of
Rada, formerly called G'ezirat-es-Sina'a, the island of the artisans"
(boat-builders), in 716. which superseded the old Nilometer of
Memphis, and was still in use in 944 (Mas'fuli, ii. 366). Another
Nlilometer was erected at the upper end of R6da in 861, and improved
by Ibn-Tili in 873; it registered eighteen cubits' rise, each cubit
divided into twenty-lour'inches (Egyptian).


liable (and too often subjected) to confiscation. On the
other hand, his nephew and successor, 'Abdallah, bore
heavily upon the people, forbade Christians to wear the.
burnus, and ordered Arabic to be used in all public
documents, instead of Coptic as heretofore. Exac-
tions, arbitrary fines, torture and vexatious passports are
recorded, and a system of badges to be worn by monks,
by way of licence, was devised: if a monk were found
without the brand, his monastery was liable to be sacked.
A still worse oppressor
S was the treasurer 'Obeyd-
Sallah b. el-Habhab, who
in 722, by the caliph's
order, carried out a
4.X1 general destruction of
i \the sacred pictures of the 72
S Christians. Such persecu-
S tions led to a rising of the
Copts in the Hawf, be-
V Damietta, which, al-
though suppressed for
the time, broke out again
Fig. 3.-Gla~s siamp' of'Obeyd- and again in later years,
allah b. el-Habhab, dated 729. and the imprisonment of
a Coptic patriarch aroused
such indignation among his co-religionists in Nubia
that the king (Cyriacus) marched into Egypt at the
head of Ioo,ooo Nubians, and was only induced to
return to his own country by the request of the patriarch,
who was hastily liberated.
The Muslim historian Malrizi does not attempt to
minimize these persecutions, and himself repeats a story
of the heroism of one of the religious women who were
1 These stamps were impressed on glass bottles by the government
as guarantees of standard capacity. The glass weights were used to
test the weight of the coins. The inscriptions on both usually include
the name of the ruling governor or treasurer, the measure or weight
indicated, a word or formula referring to the justness of the weight or
measure, and occasionally the date.


dragged out of their convents by the Arab soldiers.
Febronia was a virgin of such surpassing beauty that
her captors could not decide who was to own her.
Whilst they were consulting she offered to reveal to
their leader the secret of an unguent with which her
ancestors used to anoint themselves, and thereby
became invulnerable. The captain of the troop agreed
to let her go back to her convent if she let him prove
the efficacy of the ointment upon herself. So he went
with her into the convent, and she approached the
picture of the Lady, and prayed before it, and begged
the Virgin to assist her to obtain deliverance." Then
she anointed her neck with the oil, and one of the
soldiers drew a sharp sword. "And the maiden bent her
knees and displayed her neck; but they did not know
that which was in her heart. Then she covered her face
and said, 'If there is any strong man among you, let
him strike with his sword upon my neck, and you will
see the power of God in this great secret.' So the man
.struck with all his might; and her head immediately
fell from her body; for it was her purpose by this means
to preserve her maidenhood, that she might appear
before Christ a pure virgin, as she had been created,
without earthly stain. So when the ignorant Bashmur-
ites saw what had befallen the maiden, they knew at
last what had been her intention; and they repented and
were exceeding sad, and did no injury henceforth to any
of those virgins, but let them go."'
It is remarkable that in spite of such intermittent
oppression and their invariable position of inferiority,
and also the temptation to escape the poll-tax and all
732 disabilities by the simple process of conversion to Islam,
the Copts in general remained steadfast to their faith (they
still numbered five millions about 725)'; insomuch that
about 732 the treasurer 'Obeydallah, finding that Islam
was making no progress among them, imported 5ooo
Arabs of the tribe of Keys and settled them in the IHawf

1 Abi-Sdlih, f. 846-86a. The story comes from John the Deacon.
2 El-Kindi in Abii-S~lib, f. 266.

to the north-east of Fustat, where they presently formed
a hot-bed of revolt. The Arab population, however,
apart from this small addition, must have been consider-
able, though for the first century of Mohammadan rule
they were almost confined to the large cities. Most
governors appear to have come to Egypt escorted by
an Arab army, estimated at different times at 6000, or
10,000, or even 20,000 men; and many of these soldiers
most probably settled in the
*.. towns, and some certainly inter-
l._- married with Copt women.
?. i These Arabs were no doubt
favoured by government at the
t i expense of the Christians; and at
.1 one time we read that 25,000 D.
were distributed among the
Muslims to pay their debts.
Fig. 4.-Gass weight of Arab tribes from time to time
el-Kdsim b. 'Obeyd- migrated bodily into Egypt.
allah [730]. Thus the tribe of el-Kenz (a
branch of Rabi'a) settled chiefly
in the Sa'id in the middle of the ninth century, inter-
married with the people, and became an important
political factor in later insurrections in the time of
the Fatimids and of Saladin.
The governors of Egypt under the Omayyad caliphs
were all Arabs, and four of them were sons or brothers
of the reigning
.... caliphs. Two of
; \11\1.. (the Omayyad
R- caliphs them-
M selves visited
Egypt: Marwan
I. in 684, to de-
feat the party
S supporting the
Fig. 5.--Ghss weight of 'Abd-el-Melik b. rival caliph
Yezid [750]. 'Abdallah b. Zu-
beyr; and Mar-
wan II., who came there in his flight from his victorious


supplanters, the 'Abbasids, crossed at G'iza to Fustat,
and sent troops to hold the Sa'id and Alexandria; but
was pursued to the death by the .'Abbasid general,
Salih b. 'All, who took possession of Fustat for the new
dynasty in August, 750. The partisans of the late caliph
were driven out of the country, or killed at sight.
730 The change from the Omayyad to the 'Abbasid caliphs
was thus effected in Egypt with little difficulty : indeed
some governors who had served the old line were quite
willing to accept office under the new, and other leading
men of the old regime were taken to the caliph's court to
become acclimatized. Their tenure of power, however,
was even more! precarious, and an 'Abbasid governor
generally ruled only half the brief time that an Omayyad
governor had kept his seat.1 Under the new dynasty a
considerable number of the governors belonged to the
'Abbasid family, and of the others most were Arabs; but
in 856 the caliphs began to send Turks, and since then,
with the exception of the Fatimid caliphs, hardly any
Arabs have ever ruled in Egypt. From 834 to the
independent rule of Ibn-Tfilln in 872, the province was
given in fief to one or other of the commanders of the
caliphs' Turkish bodyguard, or to the caliph's son or
brother; these fiefees did not govern in person but
appointed a deputy governor to do the work and pay
them the surplus revenue.2
The change of dynasty was marked by a change of
residence. The Omayyad governors had generally lived
at Fustat, though two had temporarily removed the seat
of government to Alexandria, leaving a deputy at Fustat.
The 'Abbasid governors built a new official capital (a
military suburb rather than a city) at a place called el-
Hamra el-Kuswi (" the further red way ") on the plain to
the north-east of Fustat, where the soldiers of some of the

I Under the Omayyads there were thirty-one changes of governors in
1o9 years; under the 'Abbasids, sixty-seven in II8 years.
a These fiefeeswere Ashnas, 839-844; Ittsh, 845- 849; el-Mluntasir
850-856; el-Feth, 856-868; Bkbaik, 868; Bargig, 869-872; el-
Muwaffal, 872.


Arab tribes had formerly built houses of defence; whence
the place was known as el-'Askar, the army." Salih,
the 'Abbasid general, camped therein 750; his lieutenant,
Abi-'Awn, built houses there; and el-'Askar became the
official residence of the governor, his guard, and ministers.'
Suburbs connected it with Fustat, from which the Nile
had already (by 725) retreated some little distance
westward. Another palace, called the Kubbat-el-Hawa
("Dome of the Air"), was built in 809-810 by the
governor Hatim on the spur of the Mukattam hills, where
the Citadel of Cairo now stands, and here the governors
often resorted for the cool breezes.
The period of the government of Egypt under the
'Abbasid caliphs of Baghdad was distracted by frequent
insurrections. These were due less to the Copts (who
joined in, rather than caused rebellion) than to the
Muslims themselves. There were already serious schisms
in Is!am. Not to speak of the slight differences of the
four orthodox schools of theology-of which the Maliki,
or school founded on the teaching of the great divine
Malik, was most widely followed in Egypt from the eighth
to the tenth century, though after the coming of the
Emam esh-Shafili to Fustat, at the beginning of the ninth
century, the Shafi'is began gradually to acquire the pre-
dominance which they still enjoy in Egypt-the bitter
enmity between the Shi'a and the Sunnis, between the
upholders of the divine right of 'Ali's family to the
caliphate and the defenders of the caliphate actually in
power, already divided the Muslims. The supporters of
the claim of 'Ali's descendants to the caliphate, and the
Kharigis (or revolters "), a sect of puritans who had a
large share in the downfall of 'All himself, were strongly
represented in Egypt, and the Arab tribes who had been
imported into the Hawf were continually in a state of
rebellion. In 754 Abi-'Awn, Salih's general, who had 74
been campaigning against the Berbers in Barka, was

SMalkr. i. 304. El-'Askar decayed after Salih's departure, but
was restored and enlarged by Misa b. 'Isd el-'Abbasi forty years later.
Cf. Lane, Cairo fifty years ago, 7 ff.

obliged to return to put down a great rising of the
Kharigis in Egypt,
and the result was
the despatch of
3000 rebels' heads
S" to Fustat. In 759
Y' M ? there was another
Campaign in Bar-
,,. rl I.a, where the
.'- Kharigis had made
Fig. 6.-Glass weight of Yezid b. IIHtim [761]. common cause with
the Berbers and the
supporters of the late Omayyad dynasty, and the Egyptian
army was defeated. The next governor, Humeyd, who
brought 20,000 men with him, and was shortly further
reinforced, carried on the war, and after some reverses
succeeded in beating the rebels and killing the Kharigi
leader. The 'Alawis or 'Alids, adherents of 'Ali's faction,
next came on the scene, and one of the family ('Ali b.
Mohammad b. 'Abdallah) was near becoming caliph in
Egypt, till the 'Abbasid caliph el-Mansar, after catching
and killing another rebel of the family at Basra, adopted
the deterring expedient of sending the victim's head to be
exposed in the mosque at Fustat, which so daunted the
'Alids that the movement collapsed. So serious was the
ferment, however, that Yezid b. Hitim, the governor,
forbade the annual pilgrimage to Mekka in 764. In the
following year he had to suppress a Kharigi insurrection
765 in Abyssinia, and as a reward for his services the province
of Barka was in 766 for the first time joined to his
government of Egypt.
It was now the turn of the Copts. They had already
twice risen at Semennad in the delta, and in 767 they
rebelled at Sakha, twice defeated the governor's troops,
and drove out the tax-gatherers. A considerable district
of Lower Egypt was in open insurrection, and was not
restored to order until several years later. The result
was naturally more stringent suppression and persecution.
Tranquillity was restored for a while under the gentle
rule of Misa b. 'Olayy, who treated the people with

benevolence, and delighted in discoursing in the mosque
and reciting the prayers, for he was a noted divine. A
violent alterative was supplied in 779 by Aba Salih, 779
known as Ibn-
.. Memdfd, the
l -, first governor
S' who came of
Turkish race,
Sa most capable
Sand energetic
ruler, butstern
--- s' and severe.
Fig. 7.-Glass weight of Molammad b. Sa'id [769]. He found the
roads infested
by robbers of the Keys Arabs of the Hawf, and immediately
put a stop to their exploits by summary executions. It
was his theory that under his sway thieving could not exist,
and he therefore issued orders that all gates and house-
doors, and even taverns, should be left open at night.
People used to stretch nets before their open doors to
keep the dogs out. He interdicted the employment of
watchmen at the public baths, and announced that. if
anything were stolen he would replace it out of his own
pocket. When any one went to the bath, he would lay
down his garments in the dressing-room and call out,
O AbU-Salih, take care of my clothes!" and would then
go and bathe in perfect confidence that when he came
out no one would have dared to touch them. But Ibn-
Memdad's severity caused more fear than it allayed, and
his ridiculous sumptuary laws, prescribing special head-
dresses for judges and other officials, and his constant
interference, so harassed the people that his dismissal
was universally applauded.
A grave political rebellion occurred in 782 in the Sa'id, 782
where Dihya b. Mus'ab, the Omayyad, proclaimed himself
caliph. Most of Upper Egypt joined his faction, and the
government troops were repulsed. A new governor was
sent out, who first mulcted his unsuccessful predecessor
in the sum of 350,000 D. for his failure to suppress the re-
volt, and then adopted the strange method of ingratiating

his rule with the people by doubling the land-tax,
and imposing fresh duties on markets and beasts of
burthen. Music thus made himself so generally detested
that even his own soldiers deserted. The Arab tribes in
the Hawf seized the opportunity to take up arms again,
and the governor was defeated and killed. His successor
was not more
fortunate. He
failed to reduce
S(7 the rebels in
.J the Sa'id, but
r the campaign
/ was memorable
for a curious
incident. The
Fig. 8.-Glass weight of el-Fadl b. Salil [785]. governor's
brother chal-
lenged the rebel general to single combat, each ran the
other through, both died, and the two armies fled from each
other in panic. It was not till el-Fadl, the son of Salih,
the 'Abbasid conqueror of Egypt, took the matter in
hand, that this wide-spread rebellion was put down.
El-Fadl tried no half-measures, but brought a loyal army
from Syria, which gained a series of victories in the Sa'id,
and captured the pretender. Dihya was executed at
Fustat, his body crucified, and his head sent to the caliph
at Baghdad.
Unfortunately el-Fadl grew so puffed up by his triumph
that he had to be removed, and his nephew, who
succeeded, though a just man and benevolent (save
towards the Copts, whose churches he demolished),
following in his ambitious steps received a similar recall
from Harun er-Rashid. Both these men were members
of the 'Abbasid family, and were consequently disposed
to cherish dreams of election to the caliphate, which was
not so entailed that er-Rashid could afford to despise
them. The same ambition was discovered in the next
791governor, Musa b. 'Isa the 'Abbasid, a man of great
official experience, and well disposed towards the Copts,
whom he allowed to rebuild their ruined churches

When it was reported that he was harbouring designs
against the caliph, Haran exclaimed, with his usual
levity, By Allah, I will depose him, and in his place I
will set the meanest creature of my court." Just then
'Omar, the secretary of the caliph's mother, came riding
on his mule. Will you be governor of Egypt ? asked
G'a'far the Barmecide. Oh, yes," said 'Omar. No
sooner said than done ; 'Omar rode his mule to Fustat,
followed by a single slave carrying his baggage. Enter-
ing the governor's house, he took his seat in the back
row of the assembled court. Masa, not knowing him,
asked his business, whereat 'Omar presented him with
the caliph's despatch. On reading it Masa exclaimed, in
Ioranic phrase, "God curse Pharaoh, who said 'Am I
not king of Egypt ? '" and forthwith delivered up the
government to the meanest creature." The story is
too like one of Harin's practical jokes to be quite dis-
believed, and it is at least certain that Musa retired in
During these changes of government, the Arabs of the
Hawf pursued their career of insubordination. In 802
and 806 there was severe fighting; the nomads refused
to pay taxes, plundered travellers, lifted cattle, and made
raids into Palestine, with the support of the frontier
Arabs. A treacherous decoy of some of their chiefs in
807 checked them for the moment, but the contest for
the caliphate, which arose on Harfn's death in 808,
between his sons, el-Amin and el-Ma-mun, divided the
allegiance of the Egyptians, and led to fresh outbreaks in
the fawf. The two claimants appointed rival governors,
and el-Amin shrewdly nominated the chief of the .Keys
Arabs to the office, thus securing the support of the
party most disaffected to the government. El-Mamfin's
representative was accordingly defeated and killed.
To this official recognition the Arabs of the Hawf now
added' a new source of strength by the arrival in Alex-
andria in 798 of over 15,000 Andalusians, besides women 798
and children. These refugees had been banished from
Spain by the Omayyad prince el-Hakam, in consequence
of a rebellion at Cordova, which had gone near to over-

throwing his monarchy.' They were allowed to land,
but not to enter Alexandria, and they supported them-
selves as best they could by sea commerce. They soon
became a factor in the political situation, and having
league themselves with the powerful Arab tribe of
8Is Lakhm, seized Alexandria in 815. Here they fought
and treated alternately with the government and with
malcontents of the HIawf, until at last the task of sup-
pressing the obnoxious colony was placed in the hands
of a strong man. The caliph el-Ma'min sent 'Abdallah
the son of Tahir, one of the most famous generals of the
age, to Egypt in 826, with an army officered by trusty
veterans from Khuratsin. A siege of fourteen days
brought Alexandria to terms, in 827, and the Andalu-
sians agreed to embark on their ships, taking every soul
belonging to them, free and slave, woman and child, on
pain of death. They sailed away to Crete, where they
settled and ruled till the eastern emperor recovered the
island in 961.
s26 Ibn-Tahir had undertaken a difficult task. Before
exiling the Andalusians he had fought the governor,
'Obeydallah b. es-Sari, who refused to accept his dismissal
until Ibn-TIhir had starved him out of Fustat. As a last
hope, he sent his besieger in the dead of night an offering
of a thousand slaves and slave-girls, each carrying a
thousand dinars in a silk purse; but Ibn-Ta-hir sent
them back, saying I would not accept your gifts by
day, still less by night." After the surrender of Fustlit
827 and the expulsion of the Andalusians from Alexandria,
the successful general, whom the caliph had prophetically
named Victorious (el-Manstir), restored order through-
out the country, reorganized the army, and made Egypt
loyal once more. In return for his great services, the
caliph allowed him to enjoy the full revenue of Egypt,
amounting to 3,000,000 D.2 He is described as a just and
I Dozy, Hist. des Mfusulmans aFEspagne, ii. 68-76; Quatremere,
llem. sur l'Egypte, i.
2 3,000,000 D. cannot be the gross revenue, but it might be the
amount derived frcm the land-tax. But as it appears that the land-tax
about this time reached the sum of 4,857,000 D., it is more probable


humane governor, a man of learning, and a staunch
friend to poets, of whom several were always in his train.
His name has been preserved in the 'Abdallawi melons
of Egypt, a variety which he specially introduced.
The brief rest which the land enjoyed under his
strong and judicious rule was broken upon his departure
for his own province of Khurasiin, in the north-east of
Persia. The Arabs of the Hawf speedily renewed their
outrages, and advancing
1 nt":. close to the capital, at
Matariya, defeated the
.' i new governor, who
/ .j j. burned his baggage and
f took refuge behind the
walls of Fustat. When
Fig 9.- Dinr (gold coin) of caliph. el-Mo'tasim, brother of
el-Ma'mufin, struck at Misr
(FustaFt), 814. the caliph, and after-
wards caliph himself,
came to the rescue with 4000 Turkish troops, he
found the city blockaded by the Arabs; and though
he dispersed them (829) and killed their chiefs, as soon
as he had returned to Baghdad, five months later
(driving a crowd of wretched barefoot prisoners before
his savage troopers), the insurrection broke out afresh,
and spread among the Copts; and at last the caliph
resolved to go to Egypt in person.
It was the first time that an 'Abbasid caliph had visited 832
the Nile, the praises of which poets had constantly been
dinning in his ears ; and when el-Ma-mun surveyed the
view from the Dome of the Air," he was frankly dis-
appointed. God curse Pharaoh," he cried, for saying,
'Am I not king of Egypt If only he had seen 'Irik
and its meadows 'Say not so," replied a divine,
" for it is also written, 'We have brought to nought
what Pharaoh and his folk reared and built so skilfully ;
and what must have been those things which God
that the 3,000,000 D. represents the excess oi revenue over the cost of
administration-the surplus (after paying the army, officials, etc.) which
would in the ordinary course have been sent to the caliph.
I Koran, xliv. 50. 2. id, vii. 133.


destroyed, if these are but their remnants! The
caliph then disgraced the ineffective governor, beheaded
a leader of the revolt, and sent an army under the Turk
Afshin into the Hawf, where the rebellious Copts were
massacred in cold blood, their villages burnt, and their
wives and children sold as slaves. This stern repression
broke the spirit of the Copts, and we hear no more of
national movements. Many of them apostatized to
Islam, and from this date begins the numerical prepon-
derance of the Muslims over the Christians in Egypt, and
the settlement of the Arabs in the villages and on the land,
instead of as heretofore only in the great cities. Egypt
now became, for the first time, an essentially Molam-
madan country.
Meanwhile, the caliph had visited Alexandria and
SakhA; there is also a legend, resting on no early
authority, that he attempted to open the great pyramid
of G'iza in search of treasure, but gave it up on finding
that his workmen could make no perceptible impression
on the vast mass.1 After over a

to Baghddd. He left the country
in a state of peace, which, save
for a brief outbreak among the
Lakhmi Arabs of the delta, was
not disturbed for many years.
Whatever dissensions arose were
caused by theological differences
among the Muslims themselves.
S El-Ma'min's enforcement of the
doctrine of the createdness of the
Fig. Io.-Glass weight of Koran, as a test without which
Ashnas [834 ff.]. no k1di or judge could be en-
rolled, produced more heart-burning than the subject
seems to merit. A chief k.di, who would not conform
to the established doctrine, was shorn of his beard,
whipped, and driven through the city on an ass. His

1 Cf. 'Abd-el-Latif, 176, and de Sacy's note, 219; Wiistenfeld,
Statthalter, 43 n.


successor continued to scourge him at the rate of
twenty cuts a day, till he extorted the desired bakhshish.
Followers of the (orthodox) sects of the Hanafis and
Shafi'is were driven out of the mosque. A suspicious
slip in reading the Koran brought a flogging.
A similar system of petty interference vexed the Copts
a little later. A series of new regulations of the caliph el-
Mutawekkil was promulgated throughout the provinces
of Egypt in 850. The Christians were ordered to wear
honey-coloured clothes, with distinguishing patches,
use wooden stirrups, and set up wooden images of the
devil or an ape or dog over their doors; the girdle, the
symbol of femininity, was forbidden to women, and
ordered to be worn by men ; crosses must not be shown
nor processional lights carried in the streets, and their
graves must be indistinguishable from the earth
around. They were also forbidden to ride horses.
Such childish persecution could only be designed to
furnish occasion for disobedience, and thus for fines and
The independent spirit of the 1Itdi, who was whipped
for non-compliance with superior orders, was typical of
his class and office. In a period of grasping governors and
extortionate treasurers, when corruption and injustice
prevailed throughout the administration, the chief kadi,
or lord chancellor and primate of Egypt, could almost
always be trusted to maintain the sacred law, despite
threats and bribes. The law may have been narrow,
and the kLdi a bigot, but he was at least a man of some
education, trained in Mol.ammadan jurisprudence, and
generally of high character and personal rectitude. So
important was his office and so great his influence that
when other ministers were changed with the rapid
succession of governors, the kali frequently remained
in office for a series of administrations, and even when
deposed he would often be restored by a later governor
or caliph. Sooner than submit to any interference with
his legal judgments, he would resign his post, and so
beloved were many of the kadis that a governor would
think twice before he risked the unpopularity which


would follow any meddling with their jurisdiction.
Indeed in 'Abbasid times he had scarcely the power to
dismiss them, for from the time of Ibn-Lahi'a, who was
appointed k1di by the caliph el-MansTir in 771-2, the
nomination to the office seems generally to have been
made at Baghdad, and the salary fixed, if not paid, by
the caliph. The salary of Ibn-Lahi'a was 30 dinars a
month, but in 827 'Isa b. el-Munkadir received monthly
4000 dirhems (or 300 D.), and a fee of 1ooo D. Iadi
Ghauth (t785) was a model of uprightness, and accessible
to any petition; every new moon he attended public
sittings with the lawyers. His successor, el-Mutaddal,
also bore a very high character, and he was the first to
insist on the necessary reform of keeping full records of
causes. It was a laborious office, demanding besides
juridical sessions the regulation of the religious festivals,
keeping the calendar, often preaching in the mosque,
and other duties, so that we read of several men refusing
a post which taxed their energy, and probity so severely.
Abf-Khuzeyma accepted it only after the governor had
sent for the executioner's axe and block. This kadi
had been a rope-maker, and one day when on the bench
he was asked by an old acquaintance for a halter, where-
upon the good man fetched one from his house, and
then went on with the case before the court. The
combination of extreme simplicity and benevolence with
a firm and dignified maintenance of the law of Islam
procured him vast popularity.
s52 The last Arab governor of Egypt, 'Anbasa, was the
best of them all-a strong, just man who held a tight
hand over his officials, and showed his subjects such
goodwill as they had not known before. Unostentatious,
he always went on foot from the government house at
el-'Askar to the mosque; strict in his religious duties, he
never failed to observe the fast of Ramadan in all its
rigour. He was not only the last governor of Arab
blood; he was also the last to take his place in the
mosque as leader of the prayers, which was the duty of
governors in the absence of the caliph, the supreme head
of religion. 'Anbasa's tenure of office was memorable

for two invasions of Egypt from opposite ends. In May,
853, whilst the governor was celebrating the Feast of
Sacrifice (10th Dhf-l-Higga) at Fustat, for the due observ-
ance of wnich he had ordered up most of the troops
in garrison from Damietta and Tinnis, and even from
Alexandria, to take part in a grand review, the news
arrived that the Romans were raiding the coast. They
found Damietta deserted, and burned it, making prisoners
of 600 women and children. By the time'Anbasa reached
the city they were off by sea to Tinnis, and when he
pursued, they had sailed home. As a precaution
against similar surprises a fort was built to guard
the approach to Damietta-as the Crusaders long
afterwards discovered to their cost-and Tinnis was
similarly strengthened.
The other attack came from the Sudan. In 854 the 854
Baga people of Nubia and the eastern desert repudiated
the annual tribute, consisting of four hundred male and
female slaves, a number of camels, two elephants, and
two giraffes, which they had been compelled to send to
Egypt ever since the campaign of 652. They put to the
sword the Egyptian officers and miners in the Emerald
mountains, and then falling upon the Sa'id, plundered
Esne, Edft and other places and sent the inhabitants
flying north in a panic. This was a formidable affair,
and 'Anbasa wrote to the caliph at Baghdad for instruc-
tions. In spite of the alarming accounts given him by
several travellers as to the wildness of the country and
the ferocity of the Bagas, the caliph el-Mutawekkil
decided to bring them to order. Great preparations
were made in Egypt; quantities of stores, weapons,
horses and camels were collected, and troops assembled,
at Kuft, Esne, Erment, Aswan, on the Nile, and Kuseyr
on the Red Sea. Seven ships laden with stores sailed
from Kulzum to Sanga near 'Aydhab, at that time the
chief port on the African coast of the Red Sea. The
marshal, Mohammad of Kumm, marched from I.ls with
7000 soldiers, crossed the desert to the emerald mines,
and even approached Dongola. The news of his advance
spread over the Sudan, and 'Ali Baba, its king, collected


a vast army to resist him. Fortunately for the Muslims
these Suidanis, instead of wearing mail, were completely
naked, and armed only with short spears, whilst their
camels were ill-trained and unmanageable, as is the
manner of their kind. When they saw the weapons
and horses of the Arabs, they understood that they
would have no chance against them in a set battle; but
by manoeuvring and skirmishing from place to place
they hoped to wear out the enemy and exhaust their
provisions. In this they had nearly succeeded, when the
seven ships from Kulzum appeared off the coast. To
cut off the Arabs from their supplies, the Suadnis were
forced to attack at all costs. The Arab general, however,.
had hung camel-bells on the necks of his horses, and let
the blacks come up till they were almost at spear length;
then, with a great shout of Allahu Akbar," he ordered
a general charge, amid a deafening din of bells and
drums, which so terrified the enemy's camels that they
threw their riders and turned tail in a stampede. The
plain was strewn with corpses, and 'Ali Baba, who
escaped, was glad to make peace and pay the arrears of
tribute. The Muslim leader received him honourably,
seated him on his own carpet, made him handsome
presents, and induced him not only to pay a visit to
Fustat, but even to go and see the caliph at Baghdad.
To the credit of the Muslims he was allowed to return in
safety to his own people.'
After four years of good government and valiant
856 service, 'Anbasa was recalled, and a series of Turkish
governors misruled the country. Disliking the Arabs
with the hatred of race, and supported by a decree of
the caliph el-Musta'in, they favoured the Copts, re-
stored many of their confiscated lands and possessions,
and permitted the rebuilding of their churches. To the
Arabs they were intolerable, and the Muslims were the
victims of their eccentricities. One of them, Yezid,
entertained a strong aversion to eunuchs, and had them
flogged out of the town; he also disliked the weird sound

1 Ibn-Mislaweyh, ed. de Goeje, 550 ff.


of the women's wailing at funerals, and objected to horse-
racing. In his government the second Nilometer at
Roda was founded, and the charge of measuring the rise
of the Nile was taken away from the Copts, who had
always fulfilled it. He possessed an evil genius in his
finance minister, Ibn-Mudebbir, who invented new taxes,
and besides the kharg' (land-tax) and hilall (monthly
duties on shops and trades, etc.), established government
monopolies in the natron mines and the fisheries, and
imposed taxes on fodder and on wine-shops. The usual
disturbances followed; first a rising at Alexandria, then
in the Hawf, scarcely put down before another occurred
at G'iza, and a fourth in the Fayyim. The whole
country fell into disorder, much bloodshed ensued,
many were cast into prison, and the people were cruelly
and fantastically oppressed. Women were straitly ordered
to keep to their houses; they could not even visit the
graves or go to the bath. Public performers and the
professional keening women were imprisoned. No one
might even say In God's name aloud in the mosque
-a test point in orthodoxy-or deviate an inch from
the orderly rows of the worshippers: a Turk stood by with
a whip to marshal the congregation and keep the ranks,
like a sergeant. A number of frivolous rules and changes
in rites and customs exasperated the people. At last a
Turk came who knew how to govern. His name was
Ahmad ibn Thilin, and he and his dynasty demand a
separate chapter.
The following tables give the lists of the caliphs and
governors, together with the heads of the departments of
war (marshal), finance (treasurer), and justice (chief kldi).
The list of ministers is doubtless incomplete; but a good
many of the gaps are explained by the fact that a
governor was often his own finance minister, and some-
times marshal as well. The genealogical complication
of the names is necessary for identification, and the tribal
names (as el-Bageli, el-Kelbi, el-Azdi) are interesting as
showing their origin. It will be noticed that there was
evidently a species of official class; for the same names,
or the same families, often recur, and the man who was

marshal might become in turn k5di or governor. Some
of the governors' and treasurers' names occur on coins,
and on the glass weights and stamps impressed on
measures of capacity, which are apparently peculiar to
Egypt, and ot which many examples have been published
from the British Museum, the Khedivial Library, and
Dr. Fouquet's fine collection at Cairo.




640 'Amr b. el-'Asi

644 'Othman 644 'Abdallah b. Sa'd

656 Keys b. Sa'd
657-8 Mohammad b.
[Malik b. el-I.Irith




632 Abi-Bekr
634 'Omar


'Othman b. Keys

%Okba b. 'Amir

658 'Amrb. el-'Asi bis

664 'Abdalldh b. 'Amr
664 'Otba b. Abi-Suf-
yan '

Mo'flwiya b.

Suleym b. 'Itr Khariga b. Hu-

b. 1l Ilarith

1 Brother of the caliph Mo'Iwiya. Tabari makes
'Abdallah succeed his father 'Amr in 664 and govern
Egypt till 667 (A.H. 47), when he was replaced by

Mo'awiya b. IIudeya (47-50), who was followed by
Maslama in 670 (50, Tab ii. 93, 94) : thus ignoring
'Otba and 'Okba; Biladhuri and Abit-l-Mabhsin adopt

Khariga b. IIu-
Es-Sdib b Hishdm
Suleym b. 'Itr

656 'All

661 Mo'dwiya



661 Mo'Awiya 665 'Olbda b.'Amir el-
667 Maslama b. Mu-

['Abdallah b.
683 MarwIna

685 'Abd-el-Melik

682 Sa'id b. Yezid el-
684 'Abd-er-Rahnilin
b. 'Otba b. G'ah-
dam el-Kurasli

685 'Abd-el-'Aziz b.
Marwo n1

705 'Abdallahb. 'Abd-
el-Melik I



Es-Saib b. Hisham


Es-Saibb. Hisham Es-Saib b.


'Amr b. Said

b. IIugeyra

YVinus b. 'Atiya
b. Mo awiya

Imran b. 'Abd-er-
Rabman b. Shu-

this version. Tabai, however, is singularly defective in
his scanty notices of Egyptian governors, and the same
remark applies to his follower, Ibn-el-Athir.

Bashir b. en-Nadr
b. IIugeyra

Malik b. Sharalil
Yunus b. 'Atiya
b. Mo'awiya b.
'Imran b .

b. 'Amr

' Brother of the caliph 'Abd-el-Melik.
2 Son of the caliph.



709 1Kurra b. Shalik 'Abd el 'Ad! b.
el-'Absi Khalid

714 'Abd-el-Melik b.
Rifa'a el-Fehmi
715 Suleyman
717 'Omar b. 717 Ayytb b. Shurali-
'Abd-el-'Aziz bil el-Asbahi
720 Yezid II. 720 Bishr b. Safwan
721 IIandhala b. Saf-
wan el-Fehmi
724 Hishim 724 Mohammad 1b.
b. Marwin

El-Welid b. Rif\'a 1Osima b. Zeyd

El-IIJaan b. Yezid 3 Iay3 5n b. Shu.
Shu'eyb b. el-I.a-

ITafs b. el-Welid

40beydallih b.


705 El-Weld


'Abd-el-'Ala b.
'Abdallah b.'Abd-
er-Rahman b.
'Iyddh b.AbdaliRh

Yab.hy b. Meymfun 'Okba b. Mas-

SA glass stamp (for a measure of capacity) in the
Fouquet Coll., with this governor's name, is published
by Casanova in Mem. de la lMiss. archdol, du Caire, vi.
p. 367.
2 Glass weights of Osima are in the British Museum
(Lane-Poole, Catalogue of Arabic Glass Weights in the
B M., No. 2) and Fouquet Coll. Osama b. Zaid is men-
tioned as governing Egypt in A.H. 102 (720-1) by Ibn-el-

Athir, v. 77; but other historians do not give his name
in that year.
3 Glass weights of this treasurer are in B.M. and
4Several glass weighs and stamps of this treasurer in
B.M. and Fouquet; one dated A.H. II = 729-30
(Calal. B.l., p. Io8).




724 Hishm 724 El-IIurr b. Yiisuf IIaf b. el-Welid 'Obeydallahb.el- Ya
727 Hafs b. el-Welid
el- Iladrami
727 'Ahd-el-Melik b.
Rifa'a bis
727 El-Welidb. Rifa'a 'Abdallah b. Su-
el-Fehmi meyr el-Fehmi

735 'Abd-er-Rahman
b. KhElid tl-
737 Handhala b. Saf-
wan Uis

b. KhElid el-



hya b. Meymlin Ilaf b. el-Welid


,, El-Khiyar b. Kha-

yb b. el- Tuba b. Nemir

'Abdallah b. Besh-
shar el-Fehmi

'Iyldh b.Hayrama 1 El Kgsim b.
el-Kelbi 'Obeydallih b.

742 2 Hafs b. el-Welid 'Okba b. No'eym
bis er-Ro'eyni

Kheyr b. No'eym Kheyr
S'Okba b.

2 Glass stamps and weights of H.afs have been
published (B.M. Catalogue, and Casanova, Collection

El-Welid II

SMaiakr. gives his date A.H. 114-116; but glass weights
and stamps in the B.M. (no. 4) and Fouquet Coll. bear
dates 119 and 122=737 and 740.



744 Yezid III.
744 Ibrhhim
744 Marwan II.





1'Islib. Abi-'AtH Kheyr b. No'eym

745 Iassdn b.'Atdhiya
745 Hars b. el-Welid
745 El-Hawthara b.
Suheyl el-Bahili
749 El-Mughira b.
'Obeydallah el-

750 'Abd-el-Melik b.
Marwa n1 el-

b. Salim
'Abdallah b. el-

'Abdallah b. Abd- 'Abd-el-Melik
er-Rahman b. b. Marwan
Marwdn b. Marwsn

Iassan b. 'Atahiya


1 Glass stamps and weights of these officials have been
published (B.M. Catalogue, and Casanova, Collection
2 Besides glass weights and stamps of 'Abd-el-Melik
b. Marwan, there are coins bearing his name in the B.M.

and at Cairo; some bearing the mint names Misr and
El-Fustat on opposite sides, and one Misr and EI-Isken-
dariya (?) (Alexandria). Lane-Poole, Cat. Ar. Coins in
Khediv. Coll. pp. 114, 115.



750 Es-Saffah 750o Salih b. 'All el-
751 AbTG-'Awn 'Abd-
753 Salih b. 'Ali bis

754 El-Mansiir

754 Abl-'Awn bis
758 Misa b. Ka'b et-
759 Mohammad b. el-
Ash'ath el Khu-

760 Humeyd b. Kah-
taba et-Ta-i

762 Yezid b' Htim el-


Yezid b. Hani

'Ikrima b. 'Abd-

1 El-Muhagir b.

Mobammad b.

'Abdallah b.'Abd-
er-Rabman b.


'Abd-er-Ral)mdn Kheyr b. No'eym
b. Salim
'Ata b. Shural- Ghawth b.Suleyman 'IIrlmab.'Abd-
bil allah
b. 'Ali 0

'Nawfal b. el- Khlidb. Habib
IT ;? 0

Mo'lwiya b.


Mohammad b.

'Abdallah b.
mHnb. -udeyg

Glass stamps and weights of Ihese officials have been
published (B.M. Catalogue, and Casanova, Collection

2 Yezid b. Hani was marshal at el-'Askar; Ikrima at


754 El-Mansur

775 El-Mahdi

779 'Abi-Salih Yahya
780 Salim b. Sawada

781 2Ibrahim b.Salih b.
'All el-'Abbasi

'Abd-el-'Ala b.
'Asslma b. 'Amr

El-Akhdar b.Mar- 'Abi-Katifa
wan Isma'il

'Assama b. 'Amr




769 'Abdallah b.'Abd- Ab
er-Raliman b.
Mo'awiya b.
772 Mohammad b. El-'Abbdsb.'Abd-
'Abd-er-Rahman er-Rabman
772 Mius b. 'Olayy el- Abii-s-Sahba b.
Lakhmi .Hassan
778 'IsI b. Lukman
779 'Wadilh Muisa b. Zarik
779 Mansur b. Yezid lHshim b. 'Abd-
er-Ro'eyni allah

Glass stamps and weights of these officials have been
published (B M. Catalogue and Collection Foatquet).
2A coin of Ibrahim dated Misr 167=783-4 A.D. is

published (Cat. Cairo, 863); also a weight and stamp
(B.M., Fouquet).


u Khuzeyma Mohammad b.


d'il b. Sumey'





775 El-Mahdi 784 MiOisa b. Mus'ab 'Asslma b. 'Amr Gh
785 'As-ama b.Amr El-

785 1El-Fadlb. Salihb. Ab
Ali el-'Abbasi
785 El-Hadi
786 'All b. SuleymEn 'Abd-er-Rabman
b. Aliel-'Abbasi b. Musa
786 Er-Rashid El-Hasan b.Yezid
787 1Musa b. 'Isa el- Ismi'il b. 'Jsa
'AsdRma b. 'Amr
739 Maslama b. Yal.sy 'Abd-er-Ralhman
el-Bageli b. Maslama
789 Molammad b. Ijabib b. AbIn 'Omar b. Ghey-
Zuheyr el-Azdi lin
790 Dawad b. Yezid b. 'Ammar b.Muslim Ibrahim b. Slih
HIRtim el Mu-

791 Musa b. 'Is el-
'Abbhsi bis

Nasr b. Kul-


Mufaddal b.
f-THhir el-A'rat


Fud la

792 Ibrahim b. Salih Khalid b. Yezid ,, ,, 'Assama b. 'Amr
el-'Abbasi his etc.

i Glass stamps and weights of these officials have been published (B.M. Catalogue, and Collection Fouguet).





793 'Abdallah b. el- Abti-l-Mukis

793 Ishbk b Suleyman
794 Harthamab.A'yan
794 'Abd-el-Melik b.
Salih b. 'All el-
'Abbssi (non-
resident) -
795 'Obeydallah b. el-
Mahdi el-'Ab-

796 MiisI b. 'Isa el-
'Abbasi tc
796 'Obeydallah b. el-
Mahdi bis
797 'Isma'il b. SIlih b.
'Ali el-'Abbdsi
798 Isma'il b. 'IsI b.
MiisS el-'Abbasi
799 El-Leythb el-Fadl

Muslim b. Bekkar


El Mufaddal b.
Mohammad b.
. Masrfik

'Abdallah b.

Mo'awiya b. Surad

'Ammdr b. Muslim

Suleyman b. es-
Zeyd b. 'Abd-el-
'Alt b. el-Fadl

, DSawd b. IIu-
'Awn b. Wahb

Mahfidh b.

Ishak b. el-Furat

'Ali b. el-Fadl

2 A weight of Isma'il is in B.M. (Cat. 23), but of the time when he was mohlesifof Egypt under the caliph el-Mahdi.


786 Er-Rashid


803 Alimad b. Isma'il
805 'Obeydallalh (lbn-
Zeyneb) el-'Ab-

806 El-Huseyn b.
807 MIlik b. Delhem

809 El-IIasan b. et-

8Io IItimb.Harthama
b. A'yan

812 G'dbirb.el-Ash'ath

Mo'wiya b.Surad

Al.mad b. Miisa

Mohammad b.
El-Klmil el-Huna'i

Mohammad b. Tuba

Molammadb. G'eld

Slib b. 'Abd-el-
'Ali b.el-Muthanna

'Obeydallah et-


b. 'Abdallah


Mohammad b.


786 Er-Rashid

Kasim el-Bekri

Ibrahim b. el-


man b. Muis
Hashim b.'Abd-
allah C

El-'Ala b.'Asim

'Awf b. Wuheyb

809 El-Amin


809 El-Amin

813 El-Ma-mFin


812"'Abbd el-Balkhi IIubeyrab. IHshim Lahi'a ei-Had-
b. IIudeyg rami

813 2El-Muttalib el-
814 3El-'Abbss b.Misa
b. IsI el-'Abbasi
T81 Elf *-T,, ,l;h A

8164Es-Sari b. el- Mohammad b.
IIakam 'Assama
816 Suleymanb.GhLlib AbF-Bekr b. G'u-
el-Bageli ndda
El-'Abbds b.Lahi'a
817 Es-Sari bis Mohammad b.
El-IIarith b. Zur'a
MeymfUn b. es-Said

8205oMohammad b. es- Mohammad b.
Sari Kabis

1 Gold coins of 'Abbad dated 196, 197, 198 (812-813)
are in the Cairo collection.
2 Gold coins of el-Muttalib dated 198, 199 (813-815),
and silver of 199, are in B.M. and Cairo collections.
3 Gold coin of el-'Abbas, dated 198, is in Cairo coll.


Ibrahim b. IslHk
Ibrahim b. el-

4 Gold coins of es-Sari dated 200, 201, 202, 203, 204,
205, (815-820) are in the B.M., Cairo, or Artin Pasha's
5 Gold coins of Mohammad b. es-Sari dated 205, 206
(820-2) are in the B.M., Cairo, and Hermitage colls.

* ,,


813 El-Ma'miin

833 El-Mo'tasim






'Obeydallah b. es- Ibr
"Obeydallah b. es- Mol.ammad b.'Okba
'Abdallah b Tahir MIu'adh b. 'Aziz
'Abdaweyh b. G'ebela 'Is
'I b. Yezid el- Mohammad b.'Isa SIlih b. Shirzad
G'alatdi el G'alGdi
'Omevrb el-We:id Mol.ammadb. 'Omeyr

829 'Isa b.Yezid bis
829 El-Mo'tasim el-
83o 'Abdaweyh b.
831 'Isd b. Mansiir
832 El-Ma'min (the
832 Nasr b. 'Abdallah

834 El-Muzaffar b.


ahim b. el.

ab. el-Munnadir
,, El-Mo'tasim

[No iCadi]



El-Muzaffar b.

iHarun ez-Zuhri


1 Gold coins of 'Obeydallah dated 206, 207, 208, 209,
21o (821-826) are in the B.M. and Cairo colls.

2 A glass weight of Ashnas, stamped by an under-
official in Egypt, dated 223 (838) is in B.M. (Cat. 2;G).


833 El Mo'ta-

842 El-Wathil.

847 El-Muta-

861 El-Muntasir

862 El-Musta'in


834 MlsI el-I.Ianafi

839 Malik b. Keydar
841 'All b. Yabya el-

843 'IsI b. Mansur bis
847 Harthama b. en- Abui-Kuteyba
849 H;Itim b. Har-
849 'Ali b. Yahya bis Mo'wiya b.

850 IshbIl b. Yalhy
851 'Abd-el-Wahid b.

852 'Anbasa b. IsBha:

856 Yezid b.'Abdallalh



CALIPHS (continued)

HirTin ez-Zuhri

AbI-1-Wezir Mohammadb Abi-


El-Iilrith b.

Ahmad b. Khi-
Ahmad b. Mu-



El-Muntasir -

Bekklr b. Kuteyba

El-Feth b. Kha-


867 Muzdaim b. Kha- Arniz b. Ulugh Ahmad b. Mu- Bekklrb.Kuteyba
kan Tarkhan debbir
868 Abmad b. Muza- ,
868 Aruiz Tarkhn ,,


866 El-Mo'tezz





Authorities.-El-Mas'idi, G'eml-ed-din of Aleppo, Ibn-el-Athir,
Ibn-Khallikan, el-Makrizi, Abfi-l-Mal.isin, es-SuyUiti, Ibn-Khaldaln.
Mlonutments.-Mosque of Ibn-Tulfn, aqueduct south of Cairo, new
Nilometer at R.da.
Inscriptions.-Mosque, Nilometer (?), gravestones, two shop title-
deeds of wood (see van Berchem, Corpus inscr. arab.).
Coins.-Mints: Misr (i.e. el-Fustat), Damascus, Aleppo, Emesa,
Antioch, .Iarran, er-Rafika, Palestine (i.e. er-Ramla).

SINCE 856 the governors of Egypt had been Turks, and.
twenty years before that, the province had been given in
fee to successive Turks at Baghdad, who appointed lieu-
tenant-governors to administer it for them. This change
from Arab to Turkish rule was part of a revolution which
was felt in most parts of the caliphate, and led to the
extinction of the temporal authority of the commander
of the faithful." From the time when the Arabs came
in contact with the Turks on the Oxus and brought
them under their rule, Turkish slaves had been highly
prized in Muslim households. Their physical strength
and beauty, their courage, and their fidelity had won the
trust of the great emirs, and especially of the caliphs, who
believed they could rely more safely upon the devotion
of these purchased foreigners than upon their own jealous
Arabs or the Persians among whom they dwelt and who
had hitherto had a large share in the administration of
the empire. The young Turkish slave who served his
master well usually acquired his freedom and received
valuable court appointments. The caliphs, who were
often unable to appease the turbulent spirits of the native

emirs, except by granting them special privileges and
territorial rights, were gradually led into the opposite
error in alienating the most powerful of their own subjects,
and in giving all their confidence to these foreign slaves,
who thus acquired the entire control of the interior of
the palace. These illiterate and barbarous white slaves
(or mamliks), now incorporated into the society of the
educated rulers of a great empire, soon became con-
versant with the law of the Koran. They adopted the
language and religion of their masters. They studied
science and politics ; and when any of them became
capable of undertaking the more difficult tasks or of
occupying the more eminent posts in the court, they
were emancipated, and-appointed to the various govern-
ment offices according to the talents they displayed.
Thus manumitted Turks were appointed not only to the
chief offices ini the palace, but to the governorships of
some of the most important provinces in the empire."1
Not only so, but they were formed into a special body-
guard by the caliph el-Mo'tasim, son of Harin er-Rashid,
and from that time forward took the leading part in the
setting up and putting down of the caliphs, and main-
tained a reign of terror in Baghdad.
Tulin was one of these slaves, a Turk of the Taghaz-
ghan tribe, who was sent to Baghdad with other youths
by the governor of Bukhara as a present to the caliph
el-Ma-mun in 815, and rose to high rank at court. His
son (real or adopted) Ahmad, the future ruler of Egypt,
was born in September, 835, and received theusual care-
ful education of the age, studying not merely Arabic and
the Koran, but jurisprudence and divinity according to
the teaching of the great Muslim schoolman Abt-Hanifa.
Not content with the able professors of Baghdad, he
visited Tarsus several times to study under special
lecturers, until he became himself an authority on points
of criticism and doctrine. Along with this culture, he
pursued with great industry and delight the course of

1 E. T. Rogers, Coins of the Till7ni dj nasty (Numism. Orient.
iv.) a.


military instruction given to the young Turks at Samarra,
the caliph's new residence up the Tigris. On one of his
journeys from Tarsus he was able to defeat some Arab
marauders and rescue a large treasure which was being
brought from Constantinople to the caliph ; and later he
was chosen to accompany the deposed pontiff el-Musta'in
in his exile at Wasit. When offered a handsome bribe
to put the caliph out of the way, Ahmad indignantly
refused. His loyalty brought him no disfavour among
the Turks, however, and when the emir Bakbak, who had
married the widow of Tulan (t854), was presented to the
fief of Egypt, he sent his stepson Ahmad as his repre-
Aba-l-'Abbas Ahmad ibn-Tulin entered Fustat in
September, 868, at the age of thirty-three. A rich friend g86
advanced 1o,ooo D. to meet his expenses, since the new
governor was apparently penniless, and having held no
previous appointment was quite unversed in the official
methods of squeezing his subjects. He was a man of
great ability, however, and a good judge of men, and he
soon made his authority felt. Throughout his reign he
had an able coadjutor in his secretary, Ahmad of Wasit.
He had to deal first with the treasurer, Ibn-Mudebbir, a
crafty peculator, who had enjoyed a free hand with the
revenue for some years, and kept up a state which out-
shone the governor's. He was always followed by a
mounted escort of a hundred powerful young slaves,
beautiful to behold, and dressed with elaborate finery,
Persian cloaks, and silver-mounted whips. Judging the
new governor by his own standard, the treasurer sent
him io,oooD. as a small douceur, and was surprised to
find them returned. Ibn-Talan presently informed him
that instead of the money he would accept the guard, and
the treasurer had to send him his escort of slaves. Find-
ing his authority vanishing with his pomp, he appealed
to the caliph to remove the imperturbable governor; but
Ibn-Talan stayed on. He had other enemies besides g8,
those of his ministry. The 'Alids rose to the west of
Alexandria in 869 ; other 'Alids carried fire and sword
through the district of Esne in the Sa'id. Both were put


down, not without hard fighting, and driven to the
Meanwhile the nominal governor of Egypt, Ibn-TClan's
stepfather, was beheaded ; but the appointment was
fortunately given to the emir Barfgia, whose daughter
was Ibn-Tulun's wife. The new nominee not only gave
his son-in-law a free hand in Egypt,-writing simply, "Go

Fig. I I.-Section of Nilometer on island of R6da,
9th century.

your own way as you like "-but delivered into his charge
the city of Alexandria and other places which had not
been included in his original patent of command. Ibn-
Tulfin took over the government of the great port in 870,
but wisely left the former commandant in office. His
power was now so firm that when the province once


more changed its nominal head, in 872, he scarcely
troubled to obtain the formal ratification of the new chief,
el-Muwaffak, the caliph's brother. He was accordingly
summoned to appear before the caliph at his palace of
Samarra on the Tigris, to give an account of his steward-
ship. This too obvious manoeuvre of his enemies was
met very simply by sending his secretary with ample
bribes and tribute money, and it ended in strengthening
his position. His two chief secret opponents in Egypt
were got rid of: one was so terrified by his threats that
he went home and died ; the other, the treasurer, Ibn-
Mudebbir, was glad to exchange his post for the exchequer
of Syria.
Ibn-Tuiiin now held kingly state in Egypt. The
government house at el-'Askar, the official suburb of
Fustit, was too small to house his numerous retinue and
army. He was not content, either, with a mere governor's
palace. In 870 he chose a site on the hill of Yeshkfir, 870
between Fustat and the Mukattam hills, levelled the
graves of the Christian cemetery there, and founded the
royal suburb of el-Katai' or the Wards," so called because
each separate class or nationality (as household servants,
Greeks, STidnis) had a distinct quarter assigned to it.
The new town stretched from the present Rumeyla beside
the citadel to the shrine of Zeyn-el-'Abidin, and covered
a square mile. The new palace was built below the old
" Dome of the Air," and had a great garden and a spacious
enclosed horse-course or meydan adjoining it, with mews
and a menagerie; the government house was on the south
of the great mosque, which still stands, and there was a
private passage which led from the residence to the
oratory of the emir. A separate palace held the harim,
and there were magnificent baths, markets, and all appa-
ratus of luxury. The great mosque was not begun till
876-7 and took two years in building. It is remarkable
for the use (for the first time in mosques) of brick piers,
instead of stone columns taken from earlier monuments,
and for being the earliest dated example (the pointed
arches of the second Nilometer on the island of
R6da are possibly a few years earlier) of pointed


Fig. 12.-Mosque of Abmad ibn TllOin at Cairo, 877-79.


arches throughout the building,-earlier by at least two
centuries than any in England. Its architect was a
Copt, and was granted Ioo,ooo diners to build the mosque,
and given 10,000 for himself, with a handsome allowance
for life.' Another great work was the building by the
same Coptic architect of an aqueduct to bring water to
the palace from a spring in the southern desert.2 Ibn-
Tfilan also dredged and cleared the canal of Alexandria,
repaired the Nilometer on the island of R6da and built
a fort there.
When it is noted that in 870 the treasurer sent
750,oooD. as tribute to the caliph, and in four years
2,200,000 ; that some of the new buildings at Katai' were
estimated to have cost nearly half a million, that Ibn-
Tflin gave to the poor at least loooD. a month beyond the
obligatory alms, kept open house and spent ioooD. a day

1 The story of the origin of the curious corkscrew tower or minaret,
in the winding of a strip of paper round the finger, is well-known.
The true original of the tower, however, seems to be the similar cork-
screw tower at Samarra, which Ibn-TTilTn doubtless saw in his youth.
Architects, however, throw doubts on the antiquity of Ibn-Tiilun's
2 A story is told that some objection was made to the water conveyed
in this aqueduct, and Ibn-Tulun sent for the learned doctor Mohammad
ibn-'Abd-el-Hakam. "I was one night in my house," he related,
"when a slave of Ibn-T.lfin's came and said, 'The emir wants thee.'
I mounted my horse in a panic of terror, and the slave led me off the
high road. Where are you taking me,' I asked. 'To the desert,'
was the reply : 'the emir is there.' Convinced that my last hour was
come, I said, 'God help me 1 I am an aged and feeble man: do you
know what he wants with me.' The slave took pity on my fears
and said, Beware of speaking disrespectfully of the aqueduct.' We
went on till suddenly I saw torch-bearers in the desert, and Ibn-Tfllin
on horseback at the door of the aqueduct, with great wax candles burn-
ing before him. I forthwith dismounted and salaamed, but he did not
greet me in return. Then I said, '0 emir, thy messenger hath
grievously fatigued me, and I thirst; let me, I beg, take a drink.'
The pages offered me water, but I said, No, I will draw for myself.' I
drew water while he looked on, and drank till I thought I should have
burst. At last I said, O emir, God quench thy thirst at the rivers of
Paradise for I have drunk my fill, and know not which to praise
most, the excellence of this cool, sweet, clear water, or the delicious
smell of the aqueduct.' Let him retire,' said Ibn-TTliin, and the
slave whispered, Thou hast hit the mark' (Malkrizi, lAK7tat).


on his table, was lavish to learned men, had a large army
and a numerous household to pay, and costly forts to
maintain on the frontier, it is incredible that he could
have met all his expenses on the revenue of 4,300o,oooD.
a year ; and the legend that he paid for his mosque with
treasure which he dug up is natural enough. It is more
than probable that he mulcted the Coptic patriarch now
and then in heavy fines, as the Christian writers allege,
though he did not extort unjust taxes from the Coptic
population, who enjoyed a rare immunity from persecu-
tion during his reign. The constantly increasing expen-
diture, however, led to the discontinuance of the annual
surplus to the caliph's brother. El-Muwaffak prepared
an army to depose the too powerful viceroy, but it came
to nought; the army got no further than Rakka, where
it stopped for lack of funds. Nor did two rebellions in
the Sa'id and in Barka succeed any better.
872 Encouraged by this immunity, Ibn-T.lan extended his
borders. He had before this been on the point of occupy-
ing Syria at the caliph's desire, and though another
governor was afterwards appointed, he held that he had
a prior claim to the province. On the death of this
governor, Mag r, who had proved a formidable and
jealous obstacle to his advance, Ibn-Tfalon set aside the
title of the son who had been appointed in Mdgir's place,
and throwing off all semblance of obedience to the caliph,
878 marched in April, 878, to Damascus and received the
immediate homage of the officials and inhabitants.
Thence he made a progress through Syria, accepting the
allegiance of the chief towns, as far as Tarsos, the scene
of his early studies. Only Antioch resisted, under Sima
the Long, and after a bombardment by mangonels, aided
by treason within, was stormed and sacked in September.
Massisa and Adhana were next occupied, but Tarsus for
the moment defied his attack. His dominions now
stretched from the Euphrates and the frontier of the
1 G'em5l-ed-din, who gives these details, only mentions the kharde
or land-tax, which (he says) rose from 8oo,ooo under Ibn-Mudebbir to
4,300,000 under Ibn-Tulfin. To this must apparently be added the
poll-tax on non-Muslims, and other duties and contributions.

Byzantine empire to Barka on the Mediterranean, and
Aswan at the first cataract of the Nile.' Leaving strong
detachments at Rakka, Harran and Damascus, to hold his
new possession, and carrying away 6oo,ooo D. which he

Fig 13.-Founder's inscription in mosque of
Ibn-Tiilun, 879.

extorted from his old enemy Ibn-Mudebbir, the treasurer
of Syria, he hastened back to Egypt, after just a year's

1 Ibn-TilTn first began to put his name on his coinage after this
campaign. Hitherto the coins struck by him in Egypt bore only the
name of the reigning caliph; but in A.II. 266 (879-880) the dinars of
Misr present the name of Ahmad ibn Tiilin as well as the caliph's.
He never omitted the ca'iph's name, but he did not add (as governors
of other provinces did) the name of the regent el-Muwaffak. His
coins were issued at Misr in A.H. 266, 267, 268, 269, 270 (the year of
his death) ; er-Rlfil a, 267, 268, 270; Damascus, 270.


absence, to deal with his eldest son, el-'Abbas, who had
taken advantage of his temporary elevation to the office
of vice-governor to throw off the paternal authority.
On his father's approach, however, he lost courage, and
carrying off all the treasure and war material he could
lay hands on, retreated with 800 horse and 10,000 of his
father's famous black infantry to Barka. His father tried
persuasion, and sent the kadi Bekkar to reason with him,
in vain ; the fatuous young man refused all offers, and
dreamed of a North African kingdom. He even laid
siege to Tripolis, and plundered Lebda, until driven off
with heavy loss by the Aghlabid prince of Tunis. After
eluding his pursuers for two years, he was at length
defeated and captured by his father's troops, and brought
to Fustat, where he witnessed (some say he was forced to
ss take part in) the torture and execution of his fellow-
rebels, received a hundred stripes himself, and spent the
rest of his life in captivity.
The breach between Ibn-Tulln and his nominal
superior el-Muwaffak, the caliph's brother, was widened
when the latter
trafficked with the
loyalty of Lul-u,the
commander of the
Egyptian detach-
ment on the fron-
tier at Rakka.'
Lu-lu went over
with all his army
Fig. 14.-Dinar of Altad ibn-Tilfin, to the enemy, and
Misr, S8i. to the enemy, and
even drove Ibn-
Tlfian's representative, Ibn-Safwan, out of Karkisiya, on
the Euphrates. El-Muwaffak was far the most powerful
prince in Mesopotamia, and he made his power felt so

I A dinar struck at er-Rafika (a suburb of er-Rakka) in A H. 268
(881-2) bears the rame of Lu lu beneath that of Ahomad ibn Tultin
(Lane-Poole, Cat. Cairo Collection, no. 905). In the following year
Lu'lu threw over Ibn-Talan and joined el-Muwaffak's party. In 270 a
Rafika dinlr appeared with Ibn-Tullfn's name, but without Lu-lu's
(Lavuix, Cat. 1loni. UO., Egypte, no. 3).

disagreeably to his brother, el-Mo'temid, that in 882 the
helpless caliph attempted to escape to Ibn-Tulun, who
had offered him protection, partly, no doubt, with a
view to saving the annual tribute, and partly to diminish
the influence of Muwaffak. The presence of the caliph
under his wing at Misr would, no doubt, have increased
the ambitious governor's prestige, and might have
changed to some extent the future both of the caliphate
and of Egypt ; but the fugitive was unhappily caught on
his way, and taken back to SamarriL. An attempt of Ibn- 8s3
Tulfin's to get possession of the holy. city of Mekka, for
his greater glory, was also frustrated. His troops were
driven out, and he was publicly cursed in the sacred
These repulses only exasperated the governor of
Egypt, and he showed his resentment by cutting the
name of the regent Muwaffak out of the Friday bidding-
prayer which (with the coinage) in Mchammadan
countries forms the official act of homage to the sovereign
powers. He even assembled a meeting of lf.dis and
lawyers at Damascus, who proclaimed the deposition of
the regent and his exclusion from the succession, on the
ground of his ill-treatment of his brother the caliph.
Bekkar, who had been kadi of Egypt for more than
twenty years, and was distinguished for his scrupulous
conscientiousness, refused to sign the declaration, of
which both the grounds and legality were doubtful ; he
was accordingly thrown into prison, where he languished
till his death, still holding his dignified office, and teach-
ing students from the window of the gaol. The only
result of these futile proceedings was that the caliph was
forced by his imperious brother to order Ibn-Tulin to be
cursed from the pulpit in every mosque in his dominions.
There can be little doubt that if el-Muwaffalk had not
been taxed to the utmost in dealing with a serious revolt
of the Zeng or East African slaves who had settled in
lower Mesopotamia, Ibn-Tulfin's effrontery would have
been more severely punished.
He had better fortune on the north-west border, where
his friendly relations with the emperor had been changed

to hostility, and Khalaf, his lieutenant at Tarsfis, had
(881) led a successful raid and returned with much
booty. Again, in 883, the Romans under Kesta Sty.
piotes suffered a disastrous defeat at Chrysobullon near
Tarsfs at the hands of Ibn-Tfilan's forces, in which at least
6o,ooo Christians are said to have fallen, and valuable
spoils of gold and silver, jewelled crucifixes, sacred vessels,
and vestments, besides I5,ooo horses, were taken. The
eunuch who had commanded the victorious army was
so elated that he threw off his master's yoke, and Ibn-
Tulfn was obliged to march in person to vindicate his
authority. It was a severe winter, and his opponent
dammed the river, flooded the country, and nearly
drowned the besieging army at Adhana. Ibn-Tulin
was forced to retire to Antioch, where a copious in
dulgence in buffalo milk, following upon the exposure

.'.4 *kLr)

Fig. 15.-Title-decd (on wood) to a shop, 882.

and privations of the campaign, brought on a dysentery.
He was carried in a litter to Fustat, where he grew worse.
In sickness the fierce emir was a terror to his doctors.
He refused to follow their orders, flouted their prescribed
diet, and when he found himself still sinking, he had
their heads chopped off, or flogged them till they died.
In vain Muslims, Jews, and Christians offered up public
prayers for his recovery. Korean and Tora and Gospel
884 could not save him ; and he died in May, 884, before he
had reached the age of fifty.
Ahmad ibn-Tcilan is described by Ibn-Khallik
STheophanis Contin., pp. 286.8 (ed. Bonn); George the Monk,
p. 847 (ed. Bonn), .


used the almost contemporary biography of Ibn-ed-Daya,
as a generous prince, just, brave, and pious; an able
ruler, an unerring judge of character. He directed in
person all public affairs, re-peopled the provinces, and
inquired diligently into the condition of his subjects.
He admired men of learning, and kept every day an open
table for his friends and the public. A monthly sum of
1ooo D. was expended by him in alms, and when one of
his officials consulted him as to giving relief to a woman
who wore a good veil and a gold ring, yet asked for
charity, he answered, Give to every one who holds out
the hand to you.' But with all these virtues he was too
hasty with the sword, and it is related that i8,ooo persons
were put to death by him or died in his prisons. He
knew the IKoran by heart, and had a beautiful voice :
none recited it more diligently than he." In spite of
the necessity of a large revenue to furnish the means for
his grandiose plans and magnificent buildings, and his ex-
travagant court, so far from raising the taxes, he
abolished Ibn-Mudebbir's new imposts, and encouraged
peasant proprietorship and security of tenure, to use
modern terms; so that his revenue was due more to
better cultivation than to extortion. He left ten million
diners in his treasury, from seven to ten thousand
mounted mamlfks, twenty-four thousand slaves of the
bodyguard, a stud of three hundred horses, thousands of
mules, asses, and camels, and a hundred ships of war.
He was at least the first Muslim, since the Arab con-
quest, who revived the power of Egypt and beautified
her capital.
Abii-l-G'eysh Khumaraweyh,' the second of Ahmad's
seventeen sons (he had besides sixteen daughters),
succeeded his father. The eldest son was still expiating
his rebellion in prison, where his warders now made an

SKIhumaraweyh's coinage, almost entirely of gold like the rest of
the TUilnid coinage, was issued at Misr, A.H. 271 (884-5 A.D.) con-
secutively every year to 282 (895-6); er-Rafil.a, 270, 273, 275, 276,
278, 279; Damascus, 272, 275, 276, 277, 281 ; Emesa (Hims), 274;
Harran, 276; Antioch, 276, 278, 279; Aleppo, 281; Filestin
(Palestine, i.e. er-Ramla), 277, 278

end of him; to save disputes. A youth of only twenty
years, with a decided taste for self-indulgence, and no
experience of either war or government, Khumaraweyh
seemed marked out as the prey of craftier heads; and
it needed one or two sharp lessons to rouse him to the
degree of energy necessary for the preservation of his
realm. It says much for his character that he was able
to recover from his first humiliations, and not only to
maintain but extend his inheritance. Two formidable
antagonists, the Turkish governors of M6sil and Anbar,
on the Tigris and Euphrates, combined with the warden
of Damascus to overthrow the supremacy of Egypt in
Syria, and restore Khumaraweyh's Asiatic possessions to
the caliph, or rather to his active brother, Muwaffal..
They had a fair pretext, since Khumaraweyh had no
official title to the government of Egypt, whilst the
governor of M6sil, Ishak ibn Kundglik, had received the
caliph's diploma for it. There was no hereditary title
at that date. They occupied Syria, supported by
Muwaffak's son, Abu-l-'Abbas, who entered Damascus
ss in February, 885. Khumaraweyh had already sent
troops by land and sea to oppose them, and an Egyptian
force had been blockaded and defeated at Sheyzar, on
the Orontes. He then led a fresh army of 70,000 men into
Palestine, which encountered a small force of the enemy
under Abfi-l-'Abbas at et-Tawihin, The Mills," on the
Abti-Butrusriver, near Ramla. Unhappily, Khumaraweyh,
who had never before seen a pitched battle, was seized
with panic, and fled pell-mell to Egypt, followed by the
greater part of his army. Only the reserve stood firm,
under Sa'd el A'sar, and whilst their prince and comrades
were vying with each other who should first reach safety
at Misr, this sturdy remnant fell upon the enemy, who
were busily engaged in plundering the Egyptian camp,
and utterly routed them. Sa'd searched in vain for his
master, whose disgraceful flight was hardly credited,
and then marched on Damascus, and from the recovered
capital of Syria sent a despatch to his trembling sove-
reign announcing the unexpected news of a brilliant
victory. As Khumliraweyh stayed idly in Egypt for a

whole year-a year marked by a violent earthquake,
which shook down houses, damaged the mosque of 'Amr,
and killed a thousand people in Fustat in a single day-
the impression of his cowardliness was confirmed, and
Sa'd, at Damascus; declined to serve such a master. On
his declaration of independence, Khumaraweyh set out
again, gained a decisive victory over his rebellious subject,
and entered Damascus in June, 886. Continuing his
march, he met the governor of Masil, Ibn-Kundagik, in 886
pitched battle, and checking a retreat with much
personal bravery, drove the enemy in confusion as far
as Samarra on the Tigris. Having vindicated his
character as a general, he concluded peace with
Muwaffak, and a diploma, signed by the caliph and
his brother, and by the heir to the caliphate, was sent
assigning him the governments of Egypt, Syria, and
the Roman marches, for thirty years.
Inspired by his successes, Khumaraweyh accepted an
appeal to interfere in a contest then in progress between
Ibn-Abi-Sat, the governor of Anbar, and his former
ally, Ibn-Kund8gik, and the result of a campaign in
Mesopotamia was the capture of Ral.ka,' and the recog-
nition of the prince of Egypt as regent and governor of
Mosil and Mesopotamia in the public prayers. His new
vassal, Ibn-Abi-Sag, however, proving fickle, invaded
Syria, and Khumaraweyh once more displayed his
generalship by defeating him in May, 888, near ss
Damascus, and pursuing him as far as Beled on the
Tigris, on the bank of which the conqueror built a
lofty throne to sit in triumph. The war of the emirs
kept him in Mesopotamia and Syria for more than a year.
One result of his enhanced reputation was the adhesion
of Yazman, or Bazmaz, the eunuch governor of Tarsus,
who had repudiated the authority of the Talanids since
883, but now signified his homage with presents of
30,000 D., o000 robes, and arms, and followed them up

Coins of er-Rafika (i.e. Raklka) of A.I. 273 and 275 bear the
name of Khumaraweyl. but one of 274 (A.D. 887-8) omits his name.
This was doubtless struck during Ibn-Kundoaik's occupation of Rak!d.a.

with 50,000 D. more. Several raids were made from
Tarsus into Roman territory in 891-4,
The death of Muwaffak in 891, followed by that of
Ibn-Kundgik, and of the caliph Mo'temid in 892, led to
sg9 a closer understanding between Egypt and Baghdad.
The former diploma was renewed for thirty years,
and Khumaraweyh offered to marry his daughter
Katr-en-Neda (" Dewdrop ") to the caliph's son.
El-Mo'tadid, however, preferred to wed her himself.
The bride was hardly ten years old, but the
wedding was postponed till 895, when she was
nearly twelve. An exchange of costly presents pre-
ceded the marriage ; the caliph's dot included a
million dirhems, rare perfumes from China and India,
and various precious things; the bride was carried on
a litter from Egypt to Mesopotamia, and at every
night's halt she found a palace built ready for her
with every possible luxury prepared. Her portion
included 4000 jewelled waistbands, ten coffers of
jewels, and a thousand gold mortars for pounding
the perfumes for her elaborate toilette. This aristo-
cratic alliance cost Khumaraweyh a million dinars;
but in return his dominion was once more con-
firmed from Hit on the Euphrates to Barka on the
Mediterranean, and his annual' tribute to the caliph
was fixed at 300oo,oooD. The yearly pay of his troops in
Egypt amounted to 900oo,oooD.; and his kitchen alone cost
him 23,oooD. a month. The caliph viewed with satisfac-
tion the impoverishment of his formidable vassal, whose
extravagance increased with every year. The passion
which Ibn-Tallin had shown for splendid building was
fully shared by his son, who enlarged the palace in Katai',
and converted the Meydan into a garden stocked with
all kinds of sweet-smelling flowers, planted in the form of
sentences and other designs, with rare trees, and date
palms set with gilded tanks of water. An aviary was
filled with beautiful birds. His "golden-house" was
adorned with painted images of himself and his wives
and singers, despite the Muslim prejudice against por-
traiture. And to soothe his restless nights an air-bed


was laid upon a lake of quicksilver,' nearly a hundred feet
square (sic !), and rocked very agreeably, moored by silken
cords to silver columns. A tame lion from his menagerie
guarded his master whilst he slept.
Neither the lion nor his bodyguard of vigorous young
Arabs from the truculent Hawf could save the voluptuous
prince from the jealousies of his harim. Early in 896 896
some domestic intrigue ended in his being murdered by
his slaves whilst on a visit to Damascus. His murderers
were crucified, and, amid loud lamentations, his body
was buried beside his father's, not far from his stately
palace, under Mount Mul.attam. Seven Koran readers
were engaged in reciting the sacred book at the tomb of
Ibn-Ti!un, and when the bearers brought the body of
Khumaraweyh and began to lower it into the grave, they
happened to be chanting the verse, Seize him and hurl
him into the fire of hell (Kor. xliv. 47).
His eldest son, Aba-l-'Asakir G'eysh,2 who succeeded
him, was a boy of fourteen, utterly incapable of taking a
serious view of his position, and wrapped up in the
pleasures and follies of his age. Syria and the northern
frontier disowned his authority, the army and govern-
ment were neglected, the treasury empty; and after
murdering three of his uncles the young savage was him-
self assassinated by his troops, after a few months' abuse
of power. His last public act was to throw two of his
murdered uncles' heads to the mutineers, crying," There
are your emirs for you !" His younger brother, Aba-
Mfis Harun,3 was now set on the throne with Ibn-Abali,
the major domo, as regent ; but the prince was as
careless and incapable as his brother, and the regent
was no statesman. The Turkish officers did what they
pleased; an uncle led a rebel army to Fustit, but was
defeated; and Syria and Tarsus were under no sort of

STraces of the quicksilver were found in later years on excavating
the ground after the destruction of the palace.
2 A coin of Misr, A.H. 283 (896) bears the name of G'eysh b. Khu.
SHartin's coins are struck at Misr, A.II. 283-92 ; Damascus, 284,
288; Aleppo, 285, and Palestine, 285, 290, 291.

control, though the caliph accorded Harun the patent as
898 governor of Syria and Egypt, on condition of paying a
yearly tribute of 450,oooD., and resigning the northern
districts of Syria. The Karmatis (Carmathians) overran
Syria and laid siege to Damascus, and the Egyptian
armies suffered heavy losses. The caliph at last found it
necessary to interfere. Strengthened by a decisive victory
over the Carmathians, and supported by some leading
Egyptian emirs in
Syria, he sent a fleet
From Tarsus to Dami-
etta and an army
overland to 'Abbasa,
a small town on the
-' Syrian frontier, a
day's march from
Fig. 16. DinDr of HairOn b. Khumaraweyh, Bilbeys, developed
Misr, 904. out of one of the
rest-houses erected
to smooth the progress of Dewdrop to her nuptials
at Baghdad. Here Harfn assembled his half-hearted
troops, and here, as he lay intoxicated in bed, two
of his uncles entered his tent and made away with
904 his useless life.1 The murderer Sheyban, son of
Ibn-Tulin, took his nephew's government, and
prudently withdrew the army to Misr, where he
laboured, in spite of a depleted treasury, to win
popularity by promises and gifts. The caliph's general,
Mohammad b. Suleymrnn, pursued, and after a brief resis-
tance Sheybiin surrendered on terms, and left his army to
905 its fate. Mohammad entered Katai' on Jan. o1, butchered
most of the black troops, burnt their quarters, and utterly
demolished the beautiful city which Ibn-Tulun had built.
The mosque was respected, but the houses were sacked
and pulled down, the gates were thrown open, the women
outraged, and the people used as brutally as if they had
been heathen. After an orgy of devastation, plunder,

SDec. 29-30. Other accounts ascribe the murder to his slaves,
under hii uncle's orders, or to a Maghrabi soldier in a camp broil.


and extortion, which lasted four months, the caliph's
army withdrew, taking Sheyban and all the remaining
members of Tulun's family as prisoners to Baghdad.
The dynasty had lasted thirty-seven years and four
months, during which Egypt had regained much of her
ancient importance, and her capital had reached a height
of wealth and luxury unknown since the Arab conquest.


Authorities. -El-Mas'Udi, G'emal-ed-din, Ibn-el-Athir, Ibn-Khalli,
kan, el-Malkrizi, Abi-1-Malhsin, es-SuyTti, el-Isl.aki.
Inscriplion.-Of KIf(r on east wall of IIaram at Jerusalem.
Coins.-Minted at Misr (Fustat), Filestin (Ramla), Damascus,
IIims, Tiberias.

For thirty years after the fall of the house of Tlfan
Egypt remained in an unsettled state. It was once more
a dependent province, but the caliphs had become too
weak to exert their authority, and the government was
in the hands of Turkish soldiers. The armies sent from
Baghdad, to hold Egypt against internal revolt and
foreign invasion, dictated their own terms to successive
governors, and the man who would rule the province
must first be acceptable to the troops, whose favour
depended upon their pay. Next to the generals, there-
fore, the most powerful personage was the treasurer, and
this office was held during the whole of this disturbed
period by one family, called Madarani (from their birth-
place Madara~ya, near Basra, on the Euphrates), who
gradually acquired all but supreme power in Egypt.
The other officials were of less importance under this
military tyranny than in the earlier period of provincial
government, and only one kadi deserves commemoration,
the universally revered Ibn-Harbaweyh, the last judge


whom the governors visited in state, and who did not
rise to receive them.
The feeble hold which the caliphs' governors retained
on the country is shown by the successful usurpation of
an obscure but spirited young man named Mohammad
935 el-Khalangi, who collected in Palestine a handful of
Egyptians who sympathized with the fallen house of
Tulan ; seized Ramla, and recited the public prayers in
the three names of the caliph, as head of church and
state, Ibrahim (a captive son of Khumaraweyh) as
governor, and himself as his deputy. The people listened
placidly, and seemed interested in this curious band of
adventurers, driven from house and home, and without
any visible means of subsistence. The troops led against
them by 'Isa, who had taken over the government of
Egypt from the 'Abbasid general, retreated step by step,
and in September, 905, Khalangi entered Fustat and pro-
claimed in the prayers the same three names as at Ramla.
The people, who had not forgotten the glorious days of
Ibn-Tflun, rejoiced at the shadowy restoration, and in
the height of enthusiasm painted themselves and their
horses yellow with saffron. The adventurer appointed
the necessary officers of administration, and took up his
residence in the governor's house unopposed. His popu-
larity and following increased with his immunity. It is
true he found an empty treasury, for 'Isa had carried off
the public money together with all the account-books
and most of the clerks, so that it was impossible to dis-
cover the due assessments of the tax-payers. But Kha-
langi did not trouble himself much about legality, and
bade his collectors draw the revenue as best they could,
covering their extortions with an orderly distribution of
receipts and promises of reimbursement on the recovery
of the tax-books. This wonderful young man next sent
troops by sea and land to Alexandria (though the real
governor of Egypt was encamped hard by), captured the
city, and brought back in triumph not only the governor's
treasure, but some of the missing accountants. Mean-
while the caliph, who did not recognize the self-constituted
lieutenant-governor, sent an army from Mesopotamia to


bring him to reason, but Khalangi drove it away from
el-'Arish with much slaughter. The time of reckoning,
however, was at hand. A defeat of part of his army by
'Isa was followed by the arrival by sea and land of stronger
forces from the caliph, which effected a junction with
'Isa ; and after a series of determined engagements,
Khalangi was forced back upon Fustat, where he was
betrayed by his friends to the tardily vindicated govern- 906
ment, and sent to the caliph at Baghdad, to be displayed
on a camel as a fearful example to the whole city, and
then executed (May, 906). That a mere adventurer should
have held the capital of Egypt and defied the caliph's
armies for eight months is a striking comment on the
insecurity of the government.1
To add to the confusion came the danger of foreign
invasion. The famous dynasty of the Fatimid caliphs 909
-the greatest Shi'a power in mediaeval history-was

1 The following is the list of the governors of Egypt from the down-
fall of the TUilinid dynasty to the accession of the Ikhshid :--
El-Muktefi. 905 'IsK b. Mohammad en-Nishari.
Usurpation of el-Khalangi, Sept., 905-
May, 906.
908 El.Mulktedir.
910 Tekin el-Khbssa el-G'ezeri.
915 Dhukd er-Rfmi.
919 Tekin restored.
921 Mahmud b. Hamal (for three days).
921 Tekin again (for a few days).
921 Hilal b. Bedr.
923 Ahmad b. Keyghalagh.
924 Tekin (for fourth time).
932 El-Kahir.
933 Mohammad b. Tekin.
933 Er-RIdi. 933 Mohammadb.Tughg the Ikhshid (absent).
933 Ahmad b. Keyghalagh.
934 Usurpation of Mohammad b. Tekin, June-
935 The Ikhshid.
The marshals were Irequently changed under these governors;
Mohammad b. Tahir was the most important. The chief kadi under
the first seven governors to 924 was Ibn-Harbaweyh. The treasurers
were Abfi-Zunbur el-MIdardni and his successor Mohammad el-


beginning its conquest of North Africa. In 909 the last of
the once powerful house of the Aghlabids of Tunis came
flying to Egypt, and his pursuers were not far behind.
In 913-4 Khubasa, the Fatimid general, entered Barka,
committing abominable atrocities; and, in July, 914,
joined by el-IKaim, the son of the first Fatimid caliph
el-Mahdi, he occupied Alexandria without opposition-
the inhabitants in panic had taken to their ships-and
thence, avoiding Fustat, advanced as far as the Fayyam.
There the invaders were attacked and defeated by the
Egyptian army-strongly reinforced from Baghdad-and
9,9 driven out of Egypt. Five years later they returned to
the attack ; the Alexandrians had again to take to the
water, their city was sacked, the Fayyum devastated, and
fire and sword carried as far as Ushmuneyn. Meanwhile
the Fatimid fleet of eighty-five sail anchored in Alex-
andria harbour. The caliph's admirals could only collect
twenty ships at Tarsus to send against it, but so well
were they handled that most of the enemy's vessels were
burned with naphtha, and their crews and soldiery killed
or brought prisoners to Fustat. On land, however, the
outlook was less hopeful. Ducas the Greek (Dhuka er-
Rafmi), who was then governor, had great difficulty in
getting the Egyptian troops to move; they had to be
bribed with gratuities, and even then they timidly en-
trenched their camp at G'iza to prevent surprise. At
this critical moment Ducas died, and his successor, Tekin,
was fortunately a persona grata with the troops, and in-
spired some confidence among the panic-stricken popula-
tion. The invaders in the Fayyam, moreover, were
suffering severely from famine and plague, brought on
by their own excesses. Their attack on the G'iza camp,
now protected by a double ditch, was repulsed at about
the same date as the victory off Alexandria; but they
still held Upper Egypt, and Tekin hardly attempted to
dislodge them, even when strongly reinforced by 3000
fresh troops sent from Baghdad. He was hampered by
intrigues at home, for both the kadi and Madarani the
treasurer, with many other leading persons, were dis-
covered to be in treasonable correspondence with the


Fatimid caliph and eager to welcome him at Fustat.
With treachery in the capital, and Alexandria in the
enemy's hands, Tekin stood on the defensive, until a
second contingent from Mesopotamia came to his relief.
Then, at last, in the spring of 920 the Egyptian army
marched against the invaders, and a series of engage-
ments in the Fayyam and at Alexandria, ended before
the close of the year in the retreat of the Fatimids to
The condition of the country after their expulsion was 920
chaotic. The eunuch Monis who, as commander of the
troops from Baghdad, had been dictator of Egypt for
some years, and had deposed and set up governors as he
pleased, was at last recalled in 921 ; but the soldiery
continued to dominate the government ; disbanded
troops harried the country and plundered and murdered
the folk ; and the disorder was so great that even Tekin,
when appointed governor for the fourth time, because no
one else could pacify the army, found it necessary for
safety to quarter his troops in his own palace. Some
degree of order was at length restored, but after his
death, in March, 933, his son was hooted out of the
country by the army, clamouring for arrears of pay;
the treasurer Madarani was in hiding; rival governors
contended for power, mustered their troops, and skir-
mished over the distracted country ; and a fearful earth- 934
quake, which laid many houses and villages low, followed
by a portentous shower of meteors, added to the terror
of the populace.
In this desperate state of affairs the Ikhshid took over 135
the government of Egypt in August, 935. It needed an
exceptionally strong man to meet the emergency, and
the Ikhshid proved himself equal to the position.
Mohammad b. Tughg came of a princely family in
Ferghana on the Iaxartes, who bore the title of Ikhshid in
SIIe was allowed to use the ancestral title by special permission of
the caliph four years after his arrival in Egypt. His coinage, like that
of the Tiliinids, was almost all of gold, and was issued from the mints
of Misr (i.e. Fustat) in A.H. 328 (A.D. 939-40) and 333 (944-5);
Filestin (Ramla), 331, 332, 333 ; Damascus, 333, 334.


the same manner as the sovereigns of Persia and Tabaris-
tan were styled Kisra (Chosroes) and Ispehbedh. His
grandfather G'uff was among the Turkish officers
imported into 'Irak by the caliph Mo'tasim, son of Harin
er-Rashid; and his father, the emir Tughg, had served
with distinction in the armies of Khumaraweyh, fought
against the Romans when commandant of Tarsus, and
had been rewarded with the government of Syria. The
pride of success brought its punishment, and he ended
his life in the prison of Damascus. His son Mohammad,
the future ruler of Egypt, who shared his captivity,
obtained his own release, and, after various vicissitudes of
fortune, took service under Tekin, was appointed to the
command of the seditious district of the Hawf in Lower
Egypt, and after holding various appointments in Syria,
where he.gained the high approval of the caliph, became
governor of Damascus in 930. Three years later he was
nominated by el-IKhir to the charge of Egypt, but the
state of Syria did not then permit his leaving, and though
he was duly recognized as governor in the public prayers
at Fustat in 933, and sent a deputy to represent him,
another governor temporarily filled his place until he
came in person, on a second nomination by the caliph
Radi, in 935. The virtual ruler of Egypt, Madarani the
treasurer, instigated the governor to resist the appoint-
ment, and to oppose the entrance of the Ikhshid. They
were, however, completely routed at Farama, and the
fleet from Syria, sailing up the Nile from Tinnis to G'iza,
commanded the capital until the Ikhshid brought his
army up and took possession.
How largely the previous anarchy was due to the
incapacity and jealousy of the governors and their
officers is evident from the fact that during the eleven
years of the Ikhshid's firm government we do not read
of a single insurrection or disturbance. The army
recognized its master, and his Syrian troops overawed
whatever disaffection may have subsisted among the
Egyptians. He was an energetic yet cautious general,
and his immense strength-for no other man could
stretch his bow-inspired respect. Yet he is said to

have gone in fear of his life, and to have taken extra-
ordinary precautions against assassination. He preferred
peace to war, and would conclude a treaty and submit to
loss of territory, and even payment of tribute, sooner
than continue a doubtful struggle. His powerful army
of 400,000 men, of whom 8000 formed his bodyguard,
not only prevented any serious attempt of the Fatimids
to renew their invasions, after they were driven back
from Alexandria in the first year of his reign, but
also gave him weight in the scrimmage then surging
round the tottering caliphate. The temporal sway of
the commander of the faithful had by this time dis.
appeared. The governors of the various provinces had
acquired sovereign powers. The Buweyhids held Persia,
the Samanids the lands beyond the Oxus, the Hamdanids
Mesopotamia, and a number of ambitious Turkish emirs
fought for the possession of Baghdad and the office of
gaoler to the unhappy pontiff of Islam. The Ikhshid's
efforts were chiefly directed towards preserving his
Syrian province against the aggression of one or other
of these turbulent neighbours. He first came in conflict
with the emir Ibn-Railk, who without provocation seized
Hims and occupied Damascus. After an Egyptian defeat,
probably at el-'Arish on the frontier, and a sanguinary but
indecisive battle at el-Lagan, twenty miles from Tiberias, 940
peace was made on the terms that Ibn-Raik retained
Syria north of Ramla and received a yearly tribute of
140,000D. from the Ikhshid. This understanding was
partly due to the good feeling produced by the chivalry
of the emir, who was so distressed to find the corpse of
one of the Ikhshid's brothers among the slain at LaggCn
that he sent his own son to his adversary as an atone-
ment, to be dealt with as he chose. Not to be outdone
in generosity, the Ikhshid clothed the intended sacrifice
in robes of honour and sent him back in all courtesy to
his father. Of course the youth married the daughter of
his chivalrous host, now joined in the friendly ties of
treaty and alliance. The episode forms a pleasing con-
trast to the many barbarities of the age.
After Ibn-Riki's death, two years later, the Ikhshid

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