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34
CALIPHATE

The Gothic princes must content themselves with honours and apanages, in which they readily acquiesced. In the same year 93 (A.D. 712) Mūsā struck Moslem coins with Latin inscriptions. Mūsā then continued the subjugation of Spain, till Walid recalled him to Damascus. He obeyed after having appointed his son Abdalazīz governor of Andalos (Andalusia), as the Arabs named the peninsula, and assigned Seville as his residence. Abdalazīz consolidated his power by marrying the widow of the late king Roderic. Mūsā left Spain about August 714, and reached Damascus shortly before the death of Walid. Notwithstanding the immense booty he brought, he did not receive his due reward. Accused of peculation, he was threatened with imprisonment unless he paid a fine of 100,000 pieces of gold. The old man—he was born in the year 640—was released by Yazid b. Mohallab, the then mighty favourite of the caliph Suleiman, but died in the same year 716 on his way to Mecca. His son Abdalazīz was an excellent ruler, who did much for the consolidation of the new conquests, but he reigned only one year and eleven months, when he was murdered. His death has been falsely imputed by some historians to the caliph Suleiman.[1]

In the East the Moslem armies gained the most astonishing successes. In the course of a few years Qotaiba b. Moslim conquered Paikend, Bokhara, Samarkand, Khwarizm (mod. Khiva), Ferghana and Shāsh (Tashkent), and even Kashgar on the frontiers of China. Meanwhile Mahommed b. Qāsim invaded Makran, took Daibol, passed the Indus, and marched, after having beaten the Indian king Daher, through Sind upon Multān, which he conquered and whence he carried off an immense booty.

Walid was the first caliph, born and trained as prince, who felt the majesty of the imamate and wished it to be felt by his subjects. He desired to augment the splendours of Islam and its sovereign, as Abdalmalik had already done by building the dome of Jerusalem. In the time of the conquest of Damascus, one half of the great church had been made a mosque, while the remaining half had been left to the Christians. Walid annexed this part, indemnifying the Christians elsewhere, and restored the whole building sumptuously and magnificently. In his time many fine palaces and beautiful villas were built in Syria, and Becker’s conjecture seems not altogether improbable, that from this period dates the palace of Mashetta, the façade of which is now in the Kaiser Friedrich Museum at Berlin, as perhaps also the country houses discovered by Musil in the land of Moab. Walid also caused the mosque of Medina to be enlarged. For this purpose, the apartments of the Prophet and his wives were demolished, which at first caused much discontent in Medina, some crying out that thereby a verse of the Book of God (S. 49, v. 4) was cancelled. With this exception, the citizens of Medina had nothing to complain of. The vicegerent of Abdalmalik had treated them harshly. Walid immediately on his accession appointed as governor of Hejaz his cousin Omar b. Abdalazīz, who was received there with joy, his devoutness and gentle character being well known. But the reputation of Omar attracted to the two holy cities a great number of the inhabitants of Irak, who had been deeply involved in the rebellion of Ibn Ash‛ath. Hajjāj, however, was not the man to allow the formation of a fresh nucleus of sedition, and persuaded the caliph to dismiss Omar in the year 712, and appoint Othman b. Ḥayyān at Medina and Khālid al-Qasrī at Mecca. These two prefects compelled the refugees to return to Irak, where many of them were severely treated and even put to death by Hajjāj.

Few people have been so slandered as this great viceroy of the Orient. In reality he was a man of extraordinary ability, and accomplished the task committed to him with vigour and energy. To his unflagging constancy was due the suppression of the dangerous rebellion of Ibn Ash‛ath. After the restoration of peace his capacity for organization was displayed in all directions. The draining and tilling of submerged or uncultivated land on a large scale, the promotion of agriculture in every way, in particular by the digging of channels, and the regulation of the system of taxation, were carried out on his initiative. He showed the utmost wisdom in the selection of his lieutenants. The fear of his name was so great that even in the desert there was security for life and property, and his brilliant military successes were unquestionably due in a great measure to the care which he bestowed on equipment and commissariat. The heavy expenses entailed thereby were largely met by the booty which he won. Hajjāj was a sincere Moslem; this, however, did not prevent him from attacking Ibn Zobair in the Holy City, nor again from punishing rebels, though they bore the name of holy men. He enjoyed the entire confidence of Abdalmalīk with Walid, but Suleiman, the appointed successor, regarded him with disfavour. Yazid b. Mohallab, whom he had recalled from Khorasan, and imprisoned, had escaped and put himself under the protection of Suleiman, who made himself surety for the fine to which Yazid had been condemned. Hajjāj foreboded evil, and prayed eagerly that he might die before Walid. His death took place about the end of Ramadan 95 (June or July 714).

7. Reign of Suleiman (Solaiman).—Suleiman had early missed the throne. Walid wished to have his son Abdalazīz chosen as his successor, and had offered Suleiman a large sum of money to induce him to surrender his rights. Walid went still further and sent letters to the governors of all the provinces, calling on them to take the oath of allegiance to his son. None, except Hajjāj and his two generals Qotaiba b. Moslim and Mahommed b. Qàsim, consented thus to set at naught the order of succession established by Abdalmalik; and Suleiman succeeded without difficulty on the death of his brother Jomāda II. 96 (February 715). We can easily conceive the hatred felt by Suleiman for Hajjāj and for all that belonged to him. Hajjāj himself was dead; but Suleiman poured out his wrath on his family and his officers. The governors of Medina and Mecca were dismissed; Mahommed b. Qasim, the conqueror of India, cousin of Hajjāj, was dismissed from his post and outlawed. Qotaiba b. Moslim, the powerful governor of Khorasan, tried to anticipate the caliph by a revolt, but a conspiracy was formed against him, which ended in his murder. Some historians say that he was falsely accused of rebellion.

Yazid b. Mohallab, the enemy of MHajjāj, was made governor of Irak. His arrival was hailed with joy, especially by the Azd, to whom his family belonged, and the other Yemenite tribes. Yazid discovered soon that the system of taxation as regulated by Hajjāj could not be altered without serious danger to the finances of the empire, and that he could not afford the expenses which his prodigal manner of life involved. He therefore asked the caliph to give him the governorship of Khorasan also, and took his residence in Merv, where he was free from control. On his return to Khorasan he set on foot a series of new expeditions against Jorjān and Tabaristān, with only partial success. He sent, however, to the caliph an exaggerated account of his victories and the booty he had made. He had cause to repent this later.

Walid had, in the last years of his reign, made preparations for a great expedition against Constantinople. Suleiman carried them on with energy, and as early as the autumn of A.D. 715 Maslama invaded Asia Minor at the head of a numerous army, whilst a well-equipped fleet under Omar b. Hobaira sailed out to second him. It is said that Suleiman was firmly persuaded that Constantinople would be conquered during his reign, in accordance with a Sibylline prophecy which said that the city would be subdued by a caliph bearing the name of a prophet, he himself being the first to fulfil this condition.[2] Moreover, the Byzantine empire was in these years disturbed by internal troubles. The first year of the expedition was not unsuccessful. The siege of Amorium in Phrygia was broken up, but Pergamum and Sardis were taken. On the 25th of August 716 the blockade

  1. This account of the conquest is based partly on the researches of Dozy, but mainly on those of Saavedra in his Estudio sobre la Invasion de los Arabes en España (Madrid, 1892). Some of the details, however, e.g. the battle near Tamames and the part played by the sons of Witiza, are based, not on documentary evidence, but on probable inferences. For other accounts of the deaths of Musa and Abdalaziz see Sir Wm. Muir, Caliphate (London, 1891), pp. 368-9.
  2. Solaiman is the Arabic form of Solomon. The prophecy is to be found in the Kitāb al-Oyūn, p. 24; cf. Tabari ii. p. 1138.