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BEHĀ UD-DĪN—BEHEADING

of the Brahmanical reaction and the decline of Buddhism; according to certain Buddhist writers the king, besides reviving Hindu rites, indulged in a savage persecution of the monks. The Sunga dynasty, which lasted 112 years, was succeeded by the Kanva dynasty, which after 45 years was overthrown (c. 27 B.C.) by the Andhras or Satavahanas. In A.D. 236 the Andhras were overthrown, and, after a confused and obscure period of about a century, Chandragupta I. established his power at Pataliputra (A.D. 320) and founded the famous Gupta empire (see Gupta), which survived till it was overthrown by the Ephthalites (q.v.), or White Huns, at the close of the 5th century. In Magadha itself the Guptas continued to rule as tributary princes for some centuries longer. About the middle of the 8th century Magadha was conquered by Gopala, who had made himself master in Bengal, and founded the imperial dynasty known as the Palas of Bengal. They were zealous Buddhists, and under their rule Magadha became once more an active centre of Buddhist influence. Gopala himself built a great monastery at Udandapura, or Otantapuri, which has been identified by Sir Alexander Cunningham with the city of Behar, where the later Pala kings established their capital. Under Mahipala (c. 1026), the ninth of his line, and his successor Nayapala, missionaries from Magadha succeeded in firmly re-establishing Buddhism in Tibet.

In the 11th century the Pala empire, which, according to the Tibetan historian Taranath, extended in the 9th century from the Bay of Bengal to Delhi and Jalandhar (Jullundur) in the north and the Vindhyan range in the south, was partly dismembered by the rise of the “Sena” dynasty in Bengal; and at the close of the 12th century both Palas and Senas were swept away by the Mahommedan conquerors, the city of Behar itself being captured by the Turki free-lance Mahommed-i-Bakhtyar Khilji in 1193, by surprise, with a party of 200 horsemen. “It was discovered,” says a contemporary Arab historian, “that the whole of that fortress and city was a college, and in the Hindi tongue they call a college Bihar.” Most of the monks were massacred in the first heat of the assault; those who survived fled to Tibet, Nepal and the south. Buddhism in Magadha never recovered from this blow; it lingered in obscurity for a while and then vanished.

Behar now came under the rule of the Mahommedan governors of Bengal. About 1330 the southern part was annexed to Delhi, while north Behar remained for some time longer subject to Bengal. In 1397 the whole of Behar became part of the kingdom of Jaunpur; but a hundred years later it was annexed by the Delhi emperors, by whom—save for a short period—it continued to be held. The capital of the province was established under the Moguls at the city of Behar, which gave its name to the province. From the middle of the 14th to the middle of the 16th century a large part of Behar was ruled by a line of Brahman tributary kings; and in the 15th century another Hindu dynasty ruled in Champaran and Gorakhpur. Behar came into the possession of the East India Company with the acquisition of the Dīwānī in 1765, when the province was united with Bengal. In 1857 two zemīndārs, Umar Singh and Kumār Singh, rebelled against the British government, and for some months held the ruinous fort of Rohtās against the British.

See Imperial Gazetteer of India (Oxford, 1908), s.v. “Bihar” and “Bengal”; V. A. Smith, Early History of India (2nd ed., Oxford, 1908).

BEHĀ UD-DĪN [Abū-l-maḥāsin Yūsuf Ibn Rāfī‘ Ibn Shaddād Behā Ud Dīn] (1145-1234), Arabian writer and statesman, was born in Mosul and early became famous for his knowledge of the Koran and of jurisprudence. Before the age of thirty he became teacher in the great college at Bagdad known as the Nizāmiyya, and soon after became professor at Mosul. In 1187, after making the pilgrimage to Mecca, he visited Damascus. Saladin, who was at the time besieging Kaukab (a few miles south of Tiberias), sent for him and became his friend. Behā ud-Dīn observed that the whole soul of the monarch was engrossed by the war which he was then engaged in waging against the enemies of the faith, and saw that the only mode of acquiring his favour was by urging him to its vigorous prosecution. With this view he composed a treatise on The Laws and Discipline of Sacred War, which he presented to Saladin, who received it with peculiar favour. From this time he remained constantly attached to the person of the sultan, and was employed on various embassies and in departments of the civil government. He was appointed judge of the army and judge of Jerusalem. After Saladin’s death Behā-ud-Dīn remained the friend of his son Malik uz-Zāhir, who appointed him judge of Aleppo. Here he employed some of his wealth in the foundation of colleges. When Malik uz-Zāhir died, his son Malik ul-‘Aziz was a minor, and Behā ud-Dīn had the chief power in the regency. This power he used largely for the patronage of learning. After the abdication of Malik ul-‘Aziz, he fell from favour and lived in retirement until his death in 1234. Behā ud-Dīn’s chief work is his Life of Saladin (published at Leiden with Latin translation by A. Schultens in 1732 and 1755). An English translation was published by the Palestine Pilgrims’ Text Society, London, 1897.

For list of other extant works see C. Brockelmann, Geschichte der arabischen Litteratur (Weimar, 1898), vol. i. pp. 316 f.

 (G. W. T.) 

BEHĀ UD-DĪN ZUHAIR (Abū-l Faḍl Zuhair Ibn Maḥommed Al-Muhallabī) (1186-1258), Arabian poet, was born at or near Mecca, and became celebrated as the best writer of prose and verse and the best calligraphist of his time. He entered the service of Malik uṣ-Sāliḥ Najm ud-Dīn in Mesopotamia, and was with him at Damascus until he was betrayed and imprisoned. Behā ud-Dīn then retired to Nablūs (Shechem) where he remained until Najm ud-Dīn escaped and obtained possession of Egypt, whither he accompanied him in 1240. There he remained as the sultan’s confidential secretary until his death, due to an epidemic, in 1258. His poetry consists mostly of panegyric and brilliant occasional verse distinguished for its elegance. It has been published with English metrical translation by E. H. Palmer (2 vols., Cambridge, 1877).

His life was written by his contemporary Ibn Khallikān (see M‘G. de Slane’s trans. of his Biographical Dictionary, vol. i. pp. 542-545).

 (G. W. T.) 

BEHBAHAN, a walled town of Persia in the province of Fars, pleasantly situated in the midst of a highly cultivated plain, 128 m. W.N.W. of Shiraz and 3 m. from the left bank of the river Tab, here called Kurdistan river. It is the capital of the Kuhgilu-Behbahan sub-province of Fars and has a population of about 10,000. The walls are about 3 m. in circumference and a Narinj Kalah (citadel) stands in the south-east corner. At a short distance north-west of the city are the ruins of Arrajan, the old capital of the province.

BEHEADING, a mode of executing capital punishment (q.v.). It was in use among the Greeks and Romans, and the former, as Xenophon says at the end of the second book of the Anabasis, regarded it as a most honourable form of death. So did the Romans, by whom it was known as decollatio or capitis amputatio. The head was laid on a block placed in a pit dug for the purpose,—in the case of a military offender, outside the intrenchments, in civil cases outside the city walls, near the porta decumana. Before execution the criminal was tied to a stake and whipped with rods. In earlier years an axe was used; afterwards a sword, which was considered a more honourable instrument of death, and was used in the case of citizens (Dig. 48, 19, 28). It was with a sword that Cicero’s head was struck off by a common soldier. The beheading of John the Baptist proves that the tetrarch Herod had adopted from his suzerain the Roman mode of execution. Suetonius (Calig. c. 32) states that Caligula kept a soldier, an artist in beheading, who in his presence decapitated prisoners fetched indiscriminately for that purpose from the gaols.

Beheading is said to have been introduced into England from Normandy by William the Conqueror. The first person to suffer was Waltheof, earl of Northumberland, in 1076. An ancient MS. relating to the earls of Chester states that the serjeants or bailiffs of the earls had power to behead any malefactor or thief, and gives an account of the presenting of several heads of felons