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In desert of Oman, a gateway to life on Mars
‘When we fly to Mars in reality, we will need as many questions as possible already answered so that we are really well prepared’
Image Credit: AFP
Members of the Austrian Space Forum inspect a site in Oman’s Dhofar desert on Sunday, in preparation for a four-week Mars simulation mission due to begin next year.
Published: 12:37 October 31, 2017 Gulf News

DHOFAR, Oman: In sunglasses and jumpsuits, a crew of European test astronauts is laying the groundwork for a Mars simulation in the barren expanse of the Omani desert, a terrestrial mission intended to pave the way to the red planet.
The “analog astronauts” of the Austrian Space Forum — a volunteer-based collective — have arrived in Oman to begin preparations for a four-week simulation mission due to begin next year.

Touching down at Marmul Airport, a remote outpost used by oil workers, the five-person advance team loaded up on sunscreen and, with their Omani counterparts dressed in crisp white gowns and colourful turbans, boarded four-by-fours and plunged into the desert under the blazing sun.
Oil installations receded into the background and only rocky plateaus and ancient sandy riverbeds remained as far as the eye could see. Maps were spread on the hoods of the vehicles.
“We want to simulate Mars on Earth and so we need a place that looks as much like Mars as possible. And we found it here in Oman,” Alexander Soucek, the lead flight director of the AMADEE-18 mission, told AFP.

The team was on a quest to pin down the location of the base camp for the simulation, to be held in February.
“Here the humans coming from Earth will land after six months’ travel through space… Simulated, of course!” Soucek said upon arrival at the chosen site.
“When we fly to Mars in reality, we will need as many questions as possible already answered so that we are really well prepared.”
‘Sneak preview of the future’
During the mission, the team will carry out a series of experiments, from growing greens without soil in an inflatable hydroponic greenhouse to testing an autonomous “tumbleweed” rover, which maps out terrain while propelled by the wind.
“There are very few groups on this planet testing these procedures and doing these high-fidelity simulations,” said Soucek. “We are one of them.”
The team hopes the simulation will help nail down future tools and procedures for the first manned mission to Mars.
Field commander Gernot Groemer predicts a Mars mission may be carried out by a collective of the United States, Russia, Europe and possibly China relatively soon — with the first human to set foot on the red planet maybe already born.
“What we’re going to see here in about 100 days is going to be a sneak preview into the future,” said Groemer, describing a U-shaped encampment where “an exquisitely compiled suite of experiments” will take place.
Those include experiments designed to test human factors that could affect pioneering astronauts, such as mental fatigue and depression.
Just 15 people will enter the isolation phase, when their only way to troubleshoot snags will be through remote communication with “earth” in Austria.
Innovations for Earth
The total cost of the project is expected to be around half-a-million euros (about Dh2.1 million), covered mainly by private donations from industry partners.
Critics of such space missions see the massive amounts of money as a luxury in a time of austerity measures in Europe and depressed oil prices in the Gulf.
The Austrian Space Forum argues the money is not being “thrown into space” and that the tools being developed are not only useful for life on a distant planet but for our own.
“Most people every day use a handful of space technologies without even knowing it,” said Groemer, listing off satellite imagery, fuel injection for cars and breast cancer screening software.
On Monday the Austrian Space Forum signed a memorandum of understanding with Oman, making the sultanate’s selection as the mission site official.
For the Omani Astronomical Society, which invited the Austrian Space Forum, the mission is a way to inspire the country’s youth.
A series of lectures is taking place at Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Muscat, geared especially towards hundreds of young students.
Al Khattab Ghalib Al Hinai, deputy head of the steering committee for AMADEE-18 and vice chairman of Oman’s State Council, says a high school team will even participate, conducting a geophysics experiment to find water.
“The whole idea is to ignite imagination within the young society in Oman, female and male, and I hope this journey of discovery will help them to always search for the unknown,” the geologist said.
“I hope to see astrophysicists in Oman, I hope to see geologists. I hope to see astronauts in the future.”


assyrian empire

Middle Assyrian Empire
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Middle Assyrian Empire
1392 BC–934 BC

Map of the Ancient Near East showing the extent of the Middle Assyrian Empire (orange) c. 1392 BC.
Capital Aššur
Languages Akkadian language
Religion Ancient Mesopotamian religion
Government Monarchy
• 1365 BC — 1330 BC Ashur-uballit I (first)
• 967 BC — 934 BC Tiglath-Pileser II (last)
Historical era Bronze Age
• Independence from Mitanni 1392 BC
• Ascension of Ashur-uballit I 1365 BC
• Reign of Ashur-dan II 934 BC
Preceded by Succeeded by
Old Assyrian Empire
Neo-Assyrian Empire
Today part of Syria
The Middle Assyrian Empire is the period in the history of Assyria between the fall of the Old Assyrian Empire in the 14th century BC and the establishment of the Neo-Assyrian Empire in the 10th century BC.
Contents [hide]
1 Assyrian expansion and empire, 1392–1056 BC
2 Assyria during the Bronze Age Collapse, 1055–936 BC
3 Society in the Middle Assyrian period
3.1 Laws
4 See also
5 References
Assyrian expansion and empire, 1392–1056 BC[edit]
See also: Military history of the Neo-Assyrian Empire
By the reign of Eriba-Adad I (1392–1366 BC) Mitanni influence over Assyria was on the wane. Eriba-Adad I became involved in a dynastic battle between Tushratta and his brother Artatama II and after this his son Shuttarna III, who called himself king of the Hurri while seeking support from the Assyrians. A pro-Assyria faction appeared at the royal Mitanni court. Eriba-Adad I had thus finally broken Mitanni influence over Assyria, and in turn had now made Assyria an influence over Mitanni affairs.
Ashur-uballit I (1365–1330 BC) succeeded the throne of Assyria in 1365 BC, and proved to be a fierce, ambitious and powerful ruler. Assyrian pressure from the southeast and Hittite pressure from the north-west, enabled Ashur-uballit I to break Mitanni power. He met and decisively defeated Shuttarna II, the Mitanni king in battle, making Assyria once more an imperial power at the expense of not only the Mitanni themselves, but also Kassite Babylonia, the Hurrians and the Hittites; and a time came when the Kassite king in Babylon was glad to marry Muballiṭat-Šērūa, the daughter of Ashur-uballit, whose letters to Akhenaten of Egypt form part of the Amarna letters.
This marriage led to disastrous results for Babylonia, as the Kassite faction at court murdered the half Assyrian Babylonian king and placed a pretender on the throne. Assur-uballit I promptly invaded Babylonia to avenge his son-in-law, entering Babylon, deposing the king and installing Kurigalzu II of the royal line king there.
Ashur-uballit I then attacked and defeated Mattiwaza, the Mitanni king, despite attempts by the Hittite king Suppiluliumas, now fearful of growing Assyrian power, to help the Mitanni. The lands of the Mitanni and Hurrians were duly appropriated by Assyria, making it a large and powerful empire.
Enlil-nirari (1329–1308 BC) succeeded Ashur-uballit I. He described himself as a “Great-King” (Sharru rabû) in letters to the Hittite kings. He was immediately attacked by Kurigalzu II of Babylon who had been installed by his father, but succeeded in defeating him, repelling Babylonian attempts to invade Assyria, counterattacking and appropriating Babylonian territory in the process, thus further expanding Assyria.
The successor of Enlil-nirari, Arik-den-ili (c. 1307–1296 BC), consolidated Assyrian power, and successfully campaigned in the Zagros Mountains to the east, subjugating the Lullubi and Gutians. In Syria, he defeated Semitic tribes of the so-called Ahlamu group, who were possibly predecessors of the Arameans or an Aramean tribe.
He was followed by Adad-nirari I (1295–1275 BC) who made Kalhu (Biblical Calah/Nimrud) his capital, and continued expansion to the northwest, mainly at the expense of the Hittites and Hurrians, conquering Hittite territories such as Carchemish and beyond. He then moved into north eastern Asia Minor, conquering Shupria. Adad-nirari I made further gains to the south, annexing Babylonian territory and forcing the Kassite rulers of Babylon into accepting a new frontier agreement in Assyria’s favor.
Adad-nirari’s inscriptions are more detailed than any of his predecessors. He declares that the gods of Mesopotamia called him to war, a statement used by most subsequent Assyrian kings. He referred to himself again as Sharru Rabi (meaning “The Great King” in the Akkadian language) and conducted extensive building projects in Ashur and the provinces.
In 1274 BC, Shalmaneser I (1274–1244 BC) ascended the throne. He proved to be a great warrior king. During his reign he conquered the Hurrian kingdom of Urartu that would have encompassed most of Eastern Anatolia and the Caucasus Mountains in the 9th century BC, and the fierce Gutians of the Zagros. He then attacked the Mitanni-Hurrians, defeating both King Shattuara and his Hittite and Aramaean allies, finally completely destroying the Hurri-Mitanni kingdom in the process.
During the campaign against the Hittites, Shattuara cut off the Assyrian army from their supply of food and water, but the Assyrians broke free in a desperate battle, counterattacked, and conquered and annexed what remained of the Mitanni kingdom. Shalmaneser I installed an Assyrian prince, Ilu-ippada as ruler of Mitanni, with Assyrian governors such as Meli-sah, installed to rule individual cities.
The Hittites, having failed to save Mitanni, allied with Babylon in an unsuccessful economic war against Assyria for many years. Assyria was now a large and powerful empire, and a major threat to Egyptian and Hittite interests in the region, and was perhaps the reason that these two powers, fearful of Assyrian might, made peace with one another.[1] Like his father, Shalmaneser was a great builder and he further expanded the city of Kalhu at the juncture of the Tigris and Zab Rivers.
Shalmaneser’s son and successor, Tukulti-Ninurta I (1244–1207 BC), won a major victory against the Hittites and their king Tudhaliya IV at the Battle of Nihriya and took thousands of prisoners. He then conquered Babylonia, taking Kashtiliash IV as a captive and ruled there himself as king for seven years, taking on the old title “King of Sumer and Akkad” first used by Sargon of Akkad. Tukulti-Ninurta I thus became the first Akkadian speaking native Mesopotamian to rule the state of Babylonia, its founders having been foreign Amorites, succeeded by equally foreign Kassites. Tukulti-Ninurta petitioned the god Shamash before beginning his counter offensive.[2] Kashtiliash IV was captured, single-handed by Tukulti-Ninurta according to his account, who “trod with my feet upon his lordly neck as though it were a footstool”[3] and deported him ignominiously in chains to Assyria. The victorious Assyrians demolished the walls of Babylon, massacred many of the inhabitants, pillaged and plundered his way across the city to the Esagila temple, where he made off with the statue of Marduk.[4] He then proclaimed himself “king of Karduniash, king of Sumer and Akkad, king of Sippar and Babylon, king of Tilmun and Meluhha.”[2] Middle Assyrian texts recovered at ancient Dūr-Katlimmu, include a letter from Tukulti-Ninurta to his sukkal rabi’u, or grand vizier, Ashur-iddin advising him of the approach of his general Shulman-mushabshu escorting the captive Kashtiliash, his wife, and his retinue which incorporated a large number of women,[5] on his way to exile after his defeat. In the process he defeated the Elamites, who had themselves coveted Babylon. He also wrote an epic poem documenting his wars against Babylon and Elam. After a Babylonian revolt, he raided and plundered the temples in Babylon, regarded as an act of sacrilege. As relations with the priesthood in Ashur began deteriorating, Tukulti-Ninurta built a new capital city; Kar-Tukulti-Ninurta.[6]
A number of historians, including Julian Jaynes, identify Tukulti-Ninurta I and his deeds as the historical origin for the fictional biblical character Nimrod in the Old Testament.
However, Tukulti-Ninurta’s sons rebelled and besieged the ageing king in his capital. He was murdered and then succeeded by Ashur-nadin-apli (1206–1203 BC) who left the running of his empire to Assyrian regional governors such as Adad-bēl-gabbe. Another unstable period for Assyria followed, it was riven by periods of internal strife and the new king only made token and unsuccessful attempts to recapture Babylon, whose Kassite kings had taken advantage of the upheavals in Assyria and freed themselves from Assyrian rule. However, Assyria itself was not threatened by foreign powers during the reigns of Ashur-nirari III (1202–1197 BC), Enlil-kudurri-usur (1196–1193 BC) and Ninurta-apal-Ekur (1192–1180 BC), although Ninurta-apal-Ekur usurped the throne from Enlil-kudurri-usur.
Ashur-Dan I (1179–1133 BC) stabilised the internal unrest in Assyria during his unusually long reign, quelling instability. During the twilight years of the Kassite dynasty in Babylonia, he[7] records that he seized northern Babylonia, including the cities of Zaban, Irriya and Ugar-sallu during the reigns of Marduk-apla-iddina I and Zababa-shuma-iddin, plundering them and “taking their vast booty to Assyria.” However, the conquest of northern Babylonia brought Assyria into direct conflict with Elam which had taken the remainder of Babylonia. The powerful Elamites, under king Shutruk-Nahhunte, fresh from sacking Babylon, entered into a protracted war with Assyria, they briefly took the Assyrian city of Arrapkha, which Ashur-Dan I then retook, eventually defeating the Elamites and forcing a treaty upon them in the process.
Another very brief period of internal upheaval followed the death of Ashur-Dan I when his son and successor Ninurta-tukulti-Ashur (1133 BC) was deposed in his first year of rule by his own brother Mutakkil-Nusku and forced to flee to Babylonia. Mutakkil-Nusku himself died in the same year (1133 BC).
A third brother, Ashur-resh-ishi I (1133–1116 BC) took the throne. This was to lead to a renewed period of Assyrian expansion and empire. As the Hittite empire collapsed from the onslaught of the Indo-European Phrygians (called Mushki in Assyrian annals), Babylon and Assyria began to vie for Aramaean regions (in modern Syria), formerly under firm Hittite control. When their forces encountered one another in this region, the Assyrian king Ashur-resh-ishi I met and defeated Nebuchadnezzar I of Babylon on a number of occasions. Assyria then invaded and annexed Hittite-controlled lands in Asia Minor, Aram (Syria), and Gutians and Kassite regions in the Zagros, marking an upsurge in imperian expansion.
Tiglath-Pileser I (1115–1077 BC), vies with Shamshi-Adad I and Ashur-uballit I among historians as being regarded as the founder of the first Assyrian empire. The son of Ashur-resh-ishi I, he ascended to the throne upon his father’s death, and became one of the greatest of Assyrian conquerors during his 38-year reign.[8]
His first campaign in 1112 BC was against the Phrygians who had attempted to occupy certain Assyrian districts in the Upper Euphrates region of Asia Minor; after defeating and driving out the Phrygians he then overran the Luwian kingdoms of Commagene, Cilicia and Cappadocia in western Asia Minor, and drove the Neo-Hittites from the Assyrian province of Subartu, northeast of Malatia.
In a subsequent campaign, the Assyrian forces penetrated Urartu, into the mountains south of Lake Van and then turned westward to receive the submission of Malatia. In his fifth year, Tiglath-Pileser again attacked Commagene, Cilicia and Cappadocia, and placed a record of his victories engraved on copper plates in a fortress he built to secure his Anatolian conquests.
The Aramaeans of northern and central Syria were the next targets of the Assyrian king, who made his way as far as the sources of the Tigris.[8] The control of the high road to the Mediterranean was secured by the possession of the Hittite town of Pitru[9] at the junction between the Euphrates and Sajur; thence he proceeded to conquer the Canaanite/Phoenician city-states of Byblos, Tyre, Sidon, Simyra, Berytus (Beirut), Aradus and finally Arvad where he embarked onto a ship to sail the Mediterranean, on which he killed a nahiru or “sea-horse” (which A. Leo Oppenheim translates as a narwhal) in the sea.[8] He was passionately fond of hunting and was also a great builder. The general view is that the restoration of the temple of the gods Ashur and Hadad at the Assyrian capital of Assur (Ashur) was one of his initiatives.[8] He also invaded and defeated Babylon twice, assuming the old title “King of Sumer and Akkad”, forcing tribute from Babylon, although he did not actually depose the actual king in Babylonia, where the old Kassite Dynasty had now succumbed to an Elamite one.
He was succeeded by Asharid-apal-Ekur (1076–1074 BC) who reigned for just two years. His reign marked the elevation of the office of ummânu (royal scribe) in importance.
Ashur-bel-kala (1073–1056 BC) kept the vast empire together, campaigning successfully against Urartu and Phrygia to the north and the Arameans to the west. He maintained friendly relations with Marduk-shapik-zeri of Babylon, however upon the death of that king, he invaded Babylonia and deposed the new ruler Kadašman-Buriaš, appointing Adad-apla-iddina as his vassal in Babylon. He built some of the earliest examples of both Zoological Gardens and Botanical Gardens in Ashur, collecting all manner of animals and plants from his empire, and receiving a collection of exotic animals as tributes from Egypt.
He was also a great hunter, describing his exploits “at the city of Araziqu which is before the land of Hatti and at the foot of Mount Lebanon.” These locations show that well into his reign Assyria still controlled a vast empire.
Late in his reign, the Middle Assyrian Empire erupted into civil war, when a rebellion was orchestrated by Tukulti-Mer, a pretender to the throne of Assyria. Ashur-bel-kala eventually crushed Tukulti-Mer and his allies, however the civil war in Assyria had allowed hordes of Arameans to take advantage of the situation, and press in on Assyrian controlled territory from the west. Ashur-bel-kala counterattacked them, and conquered as far as Carchemish and the source of the Khabur river, but by the end of his reign many of the areas of Syria and Phoenicia-Canaan to the west of these regions as far as the Mediterranean, previously under firm Assyrian control, were eventually lost by the Assyrian Empire.
Assyria during the Bronze Age Collapse, 1055–936 BC[edit]
The Bronze Age Collapse from 1200 BC to 900 BC was a dark age for the entire Near East, North Africa, Asia Minor, Caucasus, Mediterranean, and Balkan regions, with great upheavals and mass movements of people.
Assyria and its empire were not unduly affected by these tumultuous events for 150 years, perhaps the only ancient power that was not. However, upon the death of Ashur-bel-kala in 1056 BC, Assyria went into a comparative decline for the next 100 or so years. The empire shrank significantly, and by 1020 BC Assyria appears to have controlled only areas close to Assyria itself, essential to keeping trade routes open in eastern Aramea, south eastern Asia Minor, central Mesopotamia and north western Iran.
New West Semitic peoples such as the Arameans, Chaldeans, and Suteans moved into areas to the west and south of Assyria, including overrunning much of Babylonia to the south. Indo-European speaking Iranic peoples such as the Medes, Persians, and Parthians moved into the lands to the east of Assyria, displacing the native Gutians and pressuring Elam and Mannea (which were all ancient non Indo-European civilizations of Iran). To the north, the Phrygians overran the Hittites, and a new Hurrian state named Urartu arose in eastern Anatolia and the Caucasus. Cimmerians, Colchians (Georgians), and Scythians were around the Black Sea and Caucasus. Egypt was divided and in disarray. Israelites were battling with other fellow Semitic Canaanite peoples such as the Amalekites, Moabites, Edomites, and Ammonites, and the non-Semitic Peleset/Philistines (who were probably one of the so-called Sea Peoples) for the control of southern Canaan.

Assyrian horsemen pursue defeated Arabs.
Despite the apparent weakness of Assyria in comparison to its former might, at heart it in fact remained a solid, well defended nation whose warriors were the best in the world.[10] Assyria, with its stable monarchy, powerful army and secure borders was in a stronger position during this time than potential rivals such as Egypt, Babylonia, Elam, Phrygia, Urartu, Persia, and Media.[11] Kings such as Ashur-bel-kala, Eriba-Adad II, Ashur-rabi II, Ashurnasirpal I, Tiglath-Pileser II, and Ashur-Dan II successfully defended Assyria’s borders and upheld stability during this tumultuous time.
Assyrian kings during this period appear to have adopted a policy of maintaining and defending a compact, secure nation and satellite colonies immediately surrounding it, and interspersed this with sporadic punitive raids and invasions of neighboring territories when the need arose.
Eriba-Adad II ruled for only two years, and in that time continued to campaign against the Arameans and neo-Hittites before he was deposed by his elderly uncle Shamshi-Adad IV (1053–1050 BC) who appears to have had an uneventful reign. Ashurnasirpal I (1049–1031 BC) succeeded him, and during his reign he continued to campaign endlessly against the Arameans to the west. Assyria was also afflicted by famine during this period. Shalmaneser II (1030–1019 BC) appears to have lost territory in the Levant to the Arameans, who also appear to have also occupied Nairi in southeast Asia Minor, hitherto an Assyrian colony.
Ashur-nirari IV took the throne in 1018 BC, and captured the Babylonian city of Atlila from Simbar-Shipak and continued Assyrian campaigns against the Arameans. He was eventually deposed by his uncle Ashur-rabi II in 1013 BC.
During the reign of Ashur-rabi II (1013–972 BC) Aramaean tribes took the cities of Pitru and Mutkinu (which had been taken and colonized by Tiglath Pileser I). This event showed how far Assyria could assert itself militarily when the need arose. The Assyrian king attacked the Arameans, forced his way to the far off Mediterranean and constructed a stele in the area of Mount Atalur.[12]
Ashur-resh-ishi II (971–968 BC) in all likelihood a fairly elderly man due to the length of his father’s reign, had a largely uneventful period of rule, concerning himself with defending Assyria’s borders and conducting various rebuilding projects within Assyria.
Tiglath-Pileser II (967–936 BC) succeeded him, and reigned for 28 years. He maintained the policies of his recent predecessors, but appears to have had an uneventful reign.
Society in the Middle Assyrian period[edit]

Assyrian troops return after victory.
Assyria had difficulties with keeping the trade routes open. Unlike the situation in the Old Assyrian period, the Anatolian metal trade was effectively dominated by the Hittites and the Hurrians. These people now controlled the Mediterranean ports, while the Kassites controlled the river route south to the Persian Gulf.
The Middle Assyrian kingdom was well organized, and in the firm control of the king, who also functioned as the high priest of Ashur, the state god. He had certain obligations to fulfill in the cult, and had to provide resources for the temples. The priesthood became a major power in Assyrian society. Conflicts with the priesthood are thought to have been behind the murder of king Tukulti-Ninurta I.
The main Assyrian cities of the middle period were Ashur, Kalhu (Nimrud) and Nineveh, all situated in the Tigris River valley. At the end of the Bronze Age, Nineveh was much smaller than Babylon, but still one of the world’s major cities (population c. 33,000). By the end of the Neo-Assyrian period, it had grown to a population of 120,000, and was possibly the largest city in the world at that time.[13]

Assyrians skinning or flaying their prisoners alive
The Middle Assyrian Period is marked by the long wars fought during this period that helped build Assyria into a warrior society. The king depended on both the citizen class and priests in his capital, and the landed nobility who supplied the horses needed by Assyria’s military. Documents and letters illustrate the importance of the latter to Assyrian society. Assyria needed less artificial irrigation than Babylon, and horse-breeding was extensive. Portions of elaborate texts about the care and training of them have been found. Trade was carried out in all directions. The mountain country to the north and west of Assyria was a major source of metal ore, as well as lumber. Economic factors were a common casus belli.
Assyrian architecture, like that of Babylonia, was influenced by Sumero-Akkadian styles (and to some degree Mitanni), but early on developed its own distinctive style. Palaces sported colorful wall decorations, and seal-cutting (an art learned from Mittani) developed apace. Schools for scribes taught both the Babylonian and Assyrian dialects of Akkadian, and Sumerian and Akkadian literary works were often copied with an Assyrian flavor. The Assyrian dialect of Akkadian was used in legal, official, religious, and practical texts such as medicine or instructions on manufacturing items. During the 13th to 10th centuries, picture tales appeared as a new art form: a continuous series of images carved on square stone steles. Somewhat reminiscent of a comic book, these show events such as warfare or hunting, placed in order from the upper left to the lower right corner of the stele with captions written underneath them. These and the excellent cut seals show that Assyrian art was beginning to surpass that of Babylon. Architecture saw the introduction of a new style of ziggurat, with two towers and colorful enameled tiles.
All free male citizens were obliged to serve in the army for a time, a system which was called the ilku-service. A legal code was produced during the 14th and 13th centuries which, among other things, clearly shows that the social position of women in Assyria was lower than that of neighboring societies. Men were permitted to divorce their wives with no compensation paid to the latter. If a woman committed adultery, she could be beaten or put to death. It’s not certain if these laws were seriously enforced, but they appear to be a backlash against some older documents that granted things like equal compensation to both partners in divorce. The women of the king’s harem and their servants were also subject to harsh punishments, such as beatings, mutilation, and death.
Assyria, in general, had much harsher laws than most of the region. Executions were not uncommon, nor were whippings followed by forced labor. Some offenses allowed the accused a trial under torture/duress. One tablet that covers property rights has brutal penalties for violators. A creditor could force debtors to work for him, but not sell them.
Despite the harsh laws, Assyria was open to homosexual relationships between men.[14] In the Middle Assyrian Laws, sex crimes were punished identically whether they were homosexual or heterosexual.[14][15] An individual faced no punishment for penetrating someone of equal social class, a cult prostitute or someone whose gender roles were not considered solidly masculine. However, homosexual relationships between fellow soldiers, with slaves or royal attendants, and with those where a social better was submissive or penetrated, were treated as rape and were seen as bad omens. Omen texts referred to male homosexual acts without moral judgement or affirmation.[15] One historian notes that the laws would not be so detailed “if homosexual behavior were not a familiar aspect of daily life of early Mesopotamia.”[16]
See also[edit]
flag Assyrians portal
Timeline of the Assyrian Empire
Neo-Assyrian Empire — successor of Middle Assyrian Empire.
Assyrian law
Assyrian People
Ancient Near East
Jump up ^ Georges Roux (1964), Ancient Iraq, p. 263.
^ Jump up to: a b J. M. Munn-Rankin (1975). “Assyrian Military Power, 1300–1200 B.C.”. In I. E. S. Edwards. Cambridge Ancient History, Volume 2, Part 2, History of the Middle East and the Aegean Region, c. 1380–1000 BC. Cambridge University Press. pp. 287–288, 298.
Jump up ^ Albert Kirk Grayson (1972). Assyrian Royal Inscriptions: Volume I. Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz. p. 108. §716.
Jump up ^ Christopher Morgan (2006). Mark William Chavalas, ed. The ancient Near East: historical sources in translation. Blackwell Publishing. pp. 145–152.
Jump up ^ Frederick Mario Fales (2010). “Production and Consumption at Dūr-Katlimmu: A Survey of the Evidence”. In Hartmut Kühne. Dūr-Katlimmu 2008 and beyond. Harrassowitz Verlag. p. 82.
Jump up ^ Georges Roux (1964), Ancient Iraq, pp. 26–34.
Jump up ^ Synchronistic History, ii 9–12.
^ Jump up to: a b c d The encyclopædia britannica: a dictionary of arts, sciences, literature and general information, Volume 26, Edited by Hugh Chrisholm, 1911, p. 968
Jump up ^ Bryce, Trevor. The Routledge Handbook of The People and Places of Ancient Western Asia: The Near East from the Early Bronze Age to the fall of the Persians Empire, p.563
Jump up ^ Georges Roux – Ancient Iraq
Jump up ^ According to Georges Roux (1964), Ancient Iraq, pp. 282–283.
Jump up ^ Olmstead, A.T. (1918). The Calculated Frightfulness of Ashur Nasir Pal. Journal of the American Oriental Society. 38. pp. 209–263.
Jump up ^ see historical urban community sizes. Estimates are those of Chandler (1987).
^ Jump up to: a b Homosexuality in the Ancient World, by Wayne R. Dynes, Taylor & Francis, 1992, p. 8 and 460
^ Jump up to: a b Homoeroticism in the Biblical World: A Historical Perspective, by Martti Nissinen, Fortress Press, 2004, p. 24–28
Jump up ^ The Origins and Role of Same-Sex Relations in Human Societies, by James Neill, McFarland, 27 Oct 2008, p.83

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Fatimi Ismaili khilafat

Fatimid Caliphate
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Fatimid Islamic Caliphate
الدولة الفاطمية
ad-Dawlah al-Fāṭimiyya

Raqqada (909–921)
Mahdia (921–948)
al-Mansuriya (948–973)
Cairo (973–1171)
Arabic (dominant and spoken language)
Judeo-Arabic (Arabic language with Hebrew characters)
African Latin
Religion Ismaili Shia Islam
Government Caliphate
• 909–934 (first) al-Mahdi Billah
• 1160–1171 (last) al-‘Āḍid
Historical era Early Middle Ages
• Established 5 January 909
• Foundation of Cairo 8 August 969
• Disestablished 1171
• 969[1][2] 4,100,000 km2 (1,600,000 sq mi)
Currency Dinar
Preceded by Succeeded by
Abbasid Caliphate
Aghlabid Emirate
Ikhshidid Wilayah
Emirate of Tahert
Ayyubid Sultanate
Emirate of Sicily
Zirid Emirate
Hammadid Emirate
Main caliphates[show]
Parallel caliphates[show]
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Historical Arab states and dynasties
Arab Caliphate[show]
Mashriq dynasties[show]
Maghrib dynasties[show]
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The Fatimid Caliphate (Arabic: الفاطميون‎‎, al-Fāṭimīyūn) was an Ismaili Shia Islamic caliphate that spanned a large area of North Africa, from the Red Sea in the east to the Atlantic Ocean in the west. The dynasty of Arab origin[3][4] ruled across the Mediterranean coast of Africa and ultimately made Egypt the centre of the caliphate. At its height the caliphate included in addition to Egypt varying areas of the Maghreb, Sudan, Sicily, the Levant, and Hijaz.

The Fatimids claimed descent from Fatimah, the daughter of Islamic prophet Muhammad. The Fatimid state took shape among the Kutama Berbers, in the West of the North African littoral, in Algeria, in 909 conquering Raqqada, the Aghlabid capital. In 921 the Fatimids established the Tunisian city of Mahdia as their new capital. In 948 they shifted their capital to Al-Mansuriya, near Kairouan in Tunisia. In 969 they conquered Egypt and established Cairo as the capital of their caliphate; Egypt became the political, cultural, and religious centre of their empire. The Fatimid caliphate was distinguished by the central role of Berbers in its initial establishment and in helping its development, especially on the military and political levels.[citation needed]

The ruling class belonged to the Ismaili branch of Shi’ism, as did the leaders of the dynasty. The existence of the caliphate marked the only time the descendants of Ali and Fatimah were united to any degree (except for the final period of the Rashidun Caliphate under Ali himself from 656 to 661) and the name “Fatimid” refers to Fatimah. The different term Fatimite is sometimes used to refer to the caliphate’s subjects.

After the initial conquests, the caliphate often allowed a degree of religious tolerance towards non-Ismaili sects of Islam, as well as to Jews, Maltese Christians, and Egyptian Coptic Christians.[5] However, its leaders made little headway in persuading the Egyptian population to adopt its religious beliefs.[6]

During the late eleventh and twelfth centuries the Fatimid caliphate declined rapidly, and in 1171 Saladin invaded its territory. He founded the Ayyubid dynasty and incorporated the Fatimid state into the Abbasid Caliphate.[7]

Contents [hide]
1 Rise of the Fatimids
1.1 Origins
1.2 Expansion
1.3 Capitals
1.4 Administration and culture
2 Military system
3 Civil war and decline
4 Fatimid caliphs / imams
4.1 Burial places
5 Decay and fall
6 Fatimid heritage
7 See also
8 References
9 Further reading
10 Notes
11 External links
Rise of the Fatimids[edit]
[hide]Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim Part of a series on Shīa Islam
Ismail lion calligram
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Mustā‘lī & Nizari History[hide]
Shuʿayb Nabi Shu’ayb Seveners Qarmatians Abū Saʿīd al-Jannābī Abū Tāhir al-Jannābī Fatimid Caliphate Nizari Ismaili state Baghdad Manifesto Qāżi Noʿmān Nasir Khusraw al-Sulayhi Zoeb bin Moosa Nizari Mustā‘lī Hafizi Batiniyya Hassan-i Sabbah Assassins Alamut Lambsar Castle Alamut Castle Masyaf Castle Rashid ad-Din Sinan Satpanth Pir Sadardin Böszörmény Aga Khan Jama’at Khana Du’a
Early Imāms[show]
Nizari Ismaili & Taiyabi Da’is [show]
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The Fatimid Caliphate’s religious ideology originated in an Ismaili Shia movement launched in the 9th century in Salamiyah, Syria by the eighth Ismaili Imam, Abd Allah al-Akbar[8] (766-828). He claimed descent through Ismail, the seventh Ismaili Imam, from Fatimah and her husband ʻAlī ibn-Abī-Tālib, the first Shīʻa Imām, whence his name al-Fātimī “the Fatimid”.[9] The eighth to tenth Ismaili Imams, (Abadullah, Ahmed (c. 813-c. 840) and Husain (died 881)), remained hidden and worked for the movement against the rulers of the period.

Together with his son, the 11th Imam Abdullah al-Mahdi Billah (lived 873-934), in the guise of a merchant, made his way to Sijilmasa,[8] in present-day Morocco, fleeing persecution by the Abbasids, who found their Isma’ili Shi’ite beliefs not only unorthodox, but also threatening to the status quo of their caliphate. According to legend, ‘Abdullah and his son were fulfilling a prophecy that the mahdi would come from Mesopotamia to Sijilmasa. They hid among the population of Sijilmasa, then an independent emirate, ruled by Prince Yasa’ ibn Midrar (r. 884-909).[8]

The dedicated Shi’ite Abu Abdallah al-Shi’i supported Al-Mahdi. Al-Shi’i started his preaching after he encountered a group of Muslim North African during his hajj. These men bragged about the country of the Kutama in western Ifriqiya (today part of Algeria), and the hostility of the Kutama towards, and their complete independence from, the Aghlabid rulers. This triggered al-Shi’i to travel to the region, where he started to preach the Ismaili doctrine. The Berber peasants, oppressed for decades under the corrupt Aghlabid rule, would prove themselves to be a perfect basis for sedition. Rapidly, al-Shi’i began conquering cities in the region: first Mila, then Sétif, Kairouan, and eventually Raqqada, the Aghlabid capital. In 909 Al-Shi’i sent a large expedition force to rescue the Mahdi, conquering the Khariji state of Tahert on its way there. After gaining his freedom, Abdullah al-Mahdi Billah became the leader of the growing state and assumed the position of imam and caliph.[clarification needed]

Abdullāh al-Mahdi’s control soon extended over all of the Maghreb, an area consisting of the modern countries of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya,[10] which he ruled from Mahdia. The newly built city of Al-Mansuriya,[a] or Mansuriyya (Arabic: المنصوريه‎‎), near Kairouan, Tunisia, was the capital of the Fatimid Caliphate during the rule of the Imams Al-Mansur Billah (r. 946–953) and Al-Mu’izz li-Din Allah (r. 953–975).

The Fatimid general Jawhar conquered Egypt in 969, where he built a new palace city, near Fusṭāt, which he also called al-Manṣūriyya. Under Al-Mu’izz li-Din Allah, the Fatimids conquered the Ikhshidid Wilayah (see Fatimid Egypt), founding a new capital at al-Qāhira (Cairo) in 969.[12] The name was a reference to the planet Mars, “The Subduer”,[9] which was prominent in the sky at the moment that city construction started. Cairo was intended as a royal enclosure for the Fatimid caliph and his army, though the actual administrative and economic capital of Egypt was in cities such as Fustat until 1169. After Egypt, the Fatimids continued to conquer the surrounding areas until they ruled from Tunisia to Syria, as well as Sicily.

Under the Fatimids, Egypt became the centre of an empire that included at its peak parts of North Africa, Sicily, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the Red Sea coast of Africa, Tihamah, Hejaz, and Yemen.[citation needed] Egypt flourished, and the Fatimids developed an extensive trade network in both the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean. Their trade and diplomatic ties extended all the way to China and its Song Dynasty, which eventually determined the economic course of Egypt during the High Middle Ages. The Fatimid focus on long-distance trade was accompanied by a lack of interest in agriculture and a neglect of the Nile irrigation system.[9]

Al-Mahdiyya, the first capital of the Fatimid dynasty, was established by the first caliph of the Fatimid dynasty, ʿUbayd Allāh al-Mahdī (297–322/909–934) in 300/912–913. The caliph had been residing in nearby Raqqada but chose a new and more strategic location to establish his dynasty. The city of al-Mahdiyya is located on a narrow peninsula along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, east of Ḳayrawān and just south of the Gulf of Hammamet in modern-day Tunisia. The primary concern in the city’s construction and locale was defense. With its peninsular topography and the construction of a wall 8.3 m thick, the city became impenetrable by land. This strategic location together with a navy that the Fatimids had inherited from the conquered Aghlabids, the city of Al-Mahdiyya became a strong military base where ʿUbayd Allāh al-Mahdī consolidated power and established the roots of the Fatimid caliphate for two generations. The city included two royal palaces — one for the caliph ‘Ubayd Allāh al-Mahdī and one for his son and successor the caliph al-Ḳāʾim — a mosque, many administrative buildings, and an arsenal.[13]

Al-Manṣūriyya was established between 334 and 336/945-8 by the third Fatimid caliph al-Manṣūr (334-41/946-53) in a settlement known as Ṣabra, located on the outskirts of Ḳayrawān in modern-day Tunisia. The new capital was established in commemoration of the victory of al-Manṣūr over the Ḵh̲ārid̲j̲ite rebel Abū Yazīd at Ṣabra. Like Baghdad, the plan of the city of Al-Manṣūriyya is round, with the caliphal palace at its center. Due to a plentiful water source, the city grew and expanded a great deal under al-Manṣūr. Recent archaeological evidence suggests that there were more than 300 ḥammāms built during this period in the city as well as numerous palaces. When al-Manṣūr’s successor, al-Muʿizz moved the caliphate to al-Ḳāhira, his deputy stayed behind as regent of al-Manṣūriyya and usurped power for himself, marking the end of the Fatimid reign in al-Manṣūriyya and the beginning of the city’s ruin (spurred on by a violent revolt). The city remained downtrodden and more or less uninhabited for centuries afterward.[14]

Al-Ḳāhira (Cairo) was established by the fourth Fatimid caliph al-Muʿizz in 359/970 and remained the capital of the Fatimid caliphate for the duration of the dynasty. Al-Ḳāhira (Cairo) can thus be considered the capital of Fatimid cultural production. Though the original Fatimid palace complex, including administrative buildings and royal residents no longer exist, modern scholars can glean a good idea of the original structure based on the Mamluk-era account of al-Maḳrīzī. Perhaps the most important of Fatimid monuments outside the palace complex is the mosque of al-Azhar (359-61/970-2) which still stands today, though little of the building is original to its first Fatimid construction. Likewise the important Fatimid mosque of al-Ḥākim, built from 380-403/990-1012 under two Fatimid caliphs, has been rebuilt under subsequent dynasties. Al-Ḳāhira (Cairo) remained the capital for, including al-Muʿizz, eleven generations of caliphs, after which the Fatimid Caliphate finally fell to Ayyubid forces in 567/1171.[15]

Administration and culture[edit]

The Al-Hakim Mosque in Cairo, of Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, the sixth caliph, as renovated by Dawoodi Bohra

Fragment of a bowl depicting a mounted warrior, 11th century. Fatimid dynasty, found in Fustat, Egypt. Brooklyn Museum
Unlike western European governments in the era, advancement in Fatimid state offices was more meritocratic than based on heredity. Members of other branches of Islam, like the Sunnis, were just as likely to be appointed to government posts as Shiites. Tolerance was extended to non-Muslims such as Christians and Jews,[9] who occupied high levels in government based on ability, and tolerance was set into place to ensure the flow of money from all those who were non-Muslims in order to finance the Caliphs’ large army of Mamluks brought in from Circassia by Genoese merchants.[citation needed] There were exceptions to this general attitude of tolerance, however, most notably by Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, though this has been highly debated, with Al-Hakim’s reputation among medieval Muslim historians conflated with his role in the Druze faith.[9]

The Fatimids were also known for their exquisite arts. A type of ceramic, lustreware, was prevalent during the Fatimid period. Glassware and metalworking was also popular. Many traces of Fatimid architecture exist in Cairo today; the most defining examples include the Al-Azhar University and the Al-Hakim Mosque. The madrasa is one of the relics of the Fatimid dynasty era of Egypt, descended from Fatimah, daughter of Muhammad. Fatimah was called Az-Zahra (the brilliant), and the madrasa was named in her honour.[16] It was founded as a mosque by the Fatimid commander Jawhar at the orders of the Caliph Al-Muizz when he founded the city of Cairo. It was (probably on Saturday) in Jamadi al-Awwal in the year 359 A.H. Its building was completed on the 9th of Ramadan in the year 361 A.H. Both Al-‘Aziz Billah and Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah added to its premises. It was further repaired, renovated, and extended by Al-Mustansir Billah and Al-Hafiz Li-Din-illah. Fatimid Caliphs always encouraged scholars and jurists to have their study-circles and gatherings in this mosque, and thus it was turned into a university that has the claim to be considered as the oldest still-functioning University.[17]

Intellectual life in Egypt during the Fatimid period achieved great progress and activity, due to many scholars who lived in or came to Egypt, as well as the number of books available. Fatimid Caliphs gave prominent positions to scholars in their courts, encouraged students, and established libraries in their palaces, so that scholars might expand their knowledge and reap benefits from the work of their predecessors.[17]

Perhaps the most significant feature of Fatimid rule, was the freedom of thought and reason extended to the people, who could believe in whatever they liked, provided they did not infringe on the rights of others. Fatimids reserved separate pulpits for different Islamic sects, where the scholars expressed their ideas in whatever manner they liked. Fatimids gave patronage to scholars and invited them from every place, spending money on them even when their beliefs conflicted with those of the Fatimids.[17][tone]

The Fatimid palace in Cairo had two parts. It stood in the Khan el-Khalili area at Bayn El-Qasryn street.[18]

Military system[edit]
Further information: Fatimid navy
The Fatimid military was based largely on the Kutama Berber tribesmen brought along on the march to Egypt, and they remained an important part of the military even after Tunisia began to break away.[19] After their successful establishment in Egypt, local Egyptian forces were also incorporated into the army, so the Fatimid Army were reinforced by North African soldiers from Algeria to Egypt in the Eastern North. (and of succeeding dynasties as well).[citation needed]

A fundamental change occurred when the Fatimid Caliph attempted to push into Syria in the later half of the 10th century. The Fatimids were faced with the now Turkish-dominated forces of the Abbasid Caliph and began to realize the limits of their current military. Thus during the reign of Abu Mansur Nizar al-Aziz Billah and Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, the Caliph began incorporating armies of Turks and later black Africans (even later, other groups such as Armenians were also used).[20] The army units were generally separated along ethnic lines, thus the Berbers were usually the light cavalry and foot skirmishers, while the Turks were the horse archers or heavy cavalry (known as Mamluks). The black Africans, Syrians, and Arabs generally acted as the heavy infantry and foot archers. This ethnic-based army system, along with the partial slave status of many of the imported ethnic fighters, would remain fundamentally unchanged in Egypt for many centuries after the fall of the Fatimid Caliph.[citation needed]

The Fatimids put all their military power toward the defence of the empire whenever it was menaced by dangers and threats, which they were able to repel, especially during the rule of Al-Muizz Lideenillah. During his reign, the Byzantine Empire was ruled by Nikephoros II Phokas, who had destroyed the Muslim Emirate of Chandax in 961 and conquered Tartus, Al-Masaisah, ‘Ain Zarbah, and other places, gaining complete control of Iraq and the Syrian borders as well as earning the sobriquet, the “Pale Death of the Saracens”. With the Fatimids, however, he proved less successful. After renouncing his payments of tribute to the Fatimid caliphs, he sent an expedition to Sicily, but was forced by defeats on land and sea to evacuate the island completely. In 967, he made peace with the Fatimids and turned to defend himself against their common enemy, Otto I, who had proclaimed himself Roman Emperor and had attacked Byzantine possessions in Italy.[citation needed]

Civil war and decline[edit]

The Al-Azhar Mosque, of medieval Islamic Cairo.

Renovated Juyushi Mosque,Cairo
While the ethnic-based army was generally successful on the battlefield, it began to have negative effects on Fatimid internal politics. Traditionally the Berber element of the army had the strongest sway over political affairs, but as the Turkish element grew more powerful, it began to challenge this, and by 1020 serious riots had begun to break out among the Black African troops who were fighting back against a Berber-Turk Alliance.

By the 1060s, the tentative balance between the different ethnic groups within the Fatimid army collapsed as Egypt suffered an extended period of drought and famine. Declining resources accelerated the problems among the different ethnic factions, and outright civil war began, primarily between the Turks under Nasir al-Dawla ibn Hamdan and Black African troops, while the Berbers shifted alliance between the two sides.[21] The Turkish forces of the Fatimid army seized most of Cairo and held the city and Caliph at ransom, while the Berber troops and remaining Sudanese forces roamed the other parts of Egypt.

By 1072, in a desperate attempt to save Egypt, the Fatimid Caliph Abū Tamīm Ma’ad al-Mustansir Billah recalled general Badr al-Jamali, who was at the time the governor of Acre, Palestine. Badr al-Jamali led his troops into Egypt and was able to successfully suppress the different groups of the rebelling armies, largely purging the Turks in the process. Although the Caliphate was saved from immediate destruction, the decade long rebellion devastated Egypt and it was never able to regain much power. As a result, Badr al-Jamali was also made the vizier of the Fatimid caliph, becoming one of the first military viziers (“Amir al Juyush”, Arabic: امير الجيوش‎‎, Commander of Forces of the Fatimids) who would dominate late Fatimid politics. Al-Jam`e Al-Juyushi (Arabic: الجامع الجيوشي‎‎, The Mosque of the Armies), or Juyushi Mosque, was built by Badr al-Jamali. The mosque was completed in 478 H/1085 AD under the patronage of then Caliph and Imam Ma’ad al-Mustansir Billah. It was built on an end of the Mokattam Hills, ensuring a view of the Cairo city.[22] This Mosque/mashhad was also known as a victory monument commemorating vizier Badr’s restoration of order for the Imam Mustansir.[23] As the military viziers effectively became heads of state, the Caliph himself was reduced to the role of a figurehead. Badr al-Jamali’s son, Al-Afdal Shahanshah, succeeded him in power as vizier.

After the eighteenth Imam, al-Mustansir Billah, the Nizari sect believed that his son Nizar was his successor, while another Ismāʿīlī branch known as the Mustaali (from whom the Dawoodi Bohra would eventually descend), supported his other son, al-Musta’li. The Fatimid dynasty continued with al-Musta’li as both Imam and Caliph, and those positions were held jointly until the 20th Imam, al-Amir bi-Ahkami l-Lah (1132 CE). At the death of Imam Amir, one branch of the Mustaali faith claimed that he had transferred the imamate to his son at-Tayyib Abi l-Qasim, who was then two years old. Another faction claimed Amir died without producing an heir, and supported Amir’s cousin al-Hafiz as both the rightful Caliph and Imam. The al-Hafiz faction became the Hafizi Ismailis, who later converted during the rule of Sultan Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn Yūsuf ibn Ayyūbi. The supporters of Tayyeb became the Tayyibi Ismāʿīlī. Tayyeb’s claim to the imamate was endorsed by the Hurratu l-Malika (“the Noble Queen”) Arwa al-Sulayhi, the Queen of Yemen. Arwa was designated a hujjah (a holy, pious lady), the highest rank in the Yemeni Dawat, by al-Mustansir in 1084 CE. Under Queen Arwa, the Dai al-Balagh (intermediary between the Imam in Cairo and local headquarters) Lamak ibn Malik and then Yahya ibn Lamak worked for the cause of the Fatimids. After seclusion of Imam Taiyab Dai given independent charge by Queen Arwa, and were called Dai al Mutlaq. First Dai Mutlaq was Syedna Zoib, common Dai of all Taiybians.

Burial place of Fatimid, Mukhallafāt al-Rasul, Cairo, Egypt.
Fatimid caliphs / imams[edit]

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Main article: List of caliphs of the Fatimid Caliphate
Abū Muḥammad ‘Abdul-Lāh al-Mahdī bi’llāh (909–934) founder Fatimid dynasty
Abū l-Qāsim Muḥammad al-Qā’im bi-Amr Allāh (934–946)
Abū Ṭāhir Ismā’il al-Manṣūr bi-llāh (946–953)
Abū Tamīm Ma’add al-Mu’izz li-Dīn Allāh (953–975) Egypt is conquered during his reign
Abū Manṣūr Nizār al-‘Azīz bi-llāh (975–996)
Abū ‘Alī al-Manṣūr al-Ḥākim bi-Amr Allāh (996–1021) The Druze religion is founded during the lifetime of Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah.
Abū’l-Ḥasan ‘Alī al-Ẓāhir li-I’zāz Dīn Allāh (1021–1036)
Abū Tamīm Ma’add al-Mustanṣir bi-llāh (1036–1094)
al-Musta’lī bi-llāh (1094–1101) Quarrels over his succession led to the Nizari split.
Abū ‘Alī Mansur al-Āmir bi-Aḥkām Allāh (1101–1130) The Fatimid rulers of Egypt after him are not recognized as Imams by Mustaali/Taiyabi Ismailis.
‘Abd al-Majīd al-Ḥāfiẓ (1130–1149) The Hafizi sect is founded with Al-Hafiz as Imam.
al-Ẓāfir (1149–1154)
al-Fā’iz (1154–1160)
al-‘Āḍid (1160–1171)
Burial places[edit]
There is the place known as “Al-Mashhad al-Hussaini” (Masjid Imam Husain, Cairo), wherein lie buried underground Twelve Fatimid Imams from 9th Taqi Muhammad to 20th Mansur al-Āmir. This place is also known as “Bāb Mukhallafāt al-Rasul” (door of remaining part of Rasul), where Sacred Hair [24][25] of Muhammad is preserved.

Decay and fall[edit]
In the 1040s, the Berber Zirids (governors of North Africa under the Fatimids) declared their independence from the Fatimids and their recognition of the Sunni Abbasid caliphs of Baghdad, which led the Fatimids to launch the devastating Banū Hilal invasions of North Africa. After about 1070, the Fatimid hold on the Levant coast and parts of Syria was challenged first by Turkic invasions, then the Crusades, so that Fatimid territory shrank until it consisted only of Egypt. The Fatimids gradually lost the Emirate of Sicily over thirty years to the Italo-Norman Roger I who was in total control of the entire island by 1091.

The reliance on the Iqta system also ate into Fatimid central authority, as more and more the military officers at the further ends of the empire became semi-independent.

After the decay of the Fatimid political system in the 1160s, the Zengid ruler Nūr ad-Dīn had his general, Shirkuh, seize Egypt from the vizier Shawar in 1169. Shirkuh died two months after taking power, and rule passed to his nephew, Saladin.[26] This began the Ayyubid Sultanate of Egypt and Syria.

Fatimid heritage[edit]
After caliph al-‘Āḍid, the Fatimids were deposed from rule over Egypt by the Ayyubids. Many “Tayyibi groups” (Alavi, Hebtiahs, Atbai Malak, Dawoodi) lay claim to the Fatimid legacy. The Taiyabi (the Dawoodi Bohra being a majority constituent) claim that their Da`is (see List of Dai of Dawoodi Bohra) are successors in authority to 21st Imam Taiyab abi al-Qasim, the son of 20th Imam Mansur al-Āmir bi-Aḥkām Allāh (10th Fatimid calipha) (the office of Da`i being instituted by Sulayhid queen of Yemen Arwa al-Sulayhi). Arwa al-Sulayhi was the Hujjah in Yemen from the time of Imam al Mustansir. She appointed the Dai in Yemen to run religious affairs. Ismaili missionaries Ahmed and Abadullah (in about 1067 AD(460AH))[27][28] were also sent to India in that time. They sent Syedi Nuruddin to Dongaon to look after southern part and Syedi Fakhruddin to East Rajasthan, India.[29][30] The current Dai of Dawoodi Bohra community is His Holiness Dr. Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin.

Nizari claims that Imam Nizar continued Imamat as a next Imam after Imam Mustansir Billah and started imamat series of Nizari ismailies now as an Imam is Shah karim Al Hussaini Aga Khan IV as 49th Hazir Imam. The current claimant to be genealogical heir of the Nizari line is the Aga Khan.

See also[edit]
Badr al-Jamali
Al-Afdal Shahanshah
Al-Ma’mun al-Bata’ihi
Emirate of Sicily
List of Shi’a Muslims dynasties
List of Ismaili Imams
List of Dai of Dawoodi Bohra
Dawoodi Bohra
Ali al-Sulayhi
Arwa al-Sulayhi
North Africa Arabization
Constantine the African
Fatimid architecture
Hafizi-Isma’ili family tree
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Jump up ^ Ilahiane, Hsain (2004). Ethnicities, Community Making, and Agrarian Change: The Political Ecology of a Moroccan Oasis. University Press of America. p. 43. ISBN 9780761828761.
Jump up ^ Wintle, Justin (May 2003). History of Islam. London: Rough Guides Ltd. pp. 136–7. ISBN 1-84353-018-X.
Jump up ^ Pollard;Rosenberg;Tignor, Elizabeth;Clifford;Robert (2011). Worlds together Worlds Apart. New York, New York: Norton. p. 313. ISBN 9780393918472.
Jump up ^ Baer, Eva (1983). Metalwork in Medieval Islamic Art. SUNY Press. p. xxiii. ISBN 9780791495575. In the course of the later eleventh and twelfth century, however, the Fatimid caliphate declined rapidly, and in 1171 the country was invaded by Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn, the founder of the Ayyubid dynasty. He restored Egypt as a political power, reincorporated it in the Abbasid caliphate and established Ayyubid suzerainty not only over Egypt and Syria but, as mentioned above, temporarily over northern Mesopotamia as well.
^ Jump up to: a b c Yeomans 2006, p. 43.
^ Jump up to: a b c d e Goldschmidt 84-86
Jump up ^ Yeomans 2006, p. 44.
Jump up ^ Tracy 2000, p. 234.
Jump up ^ Beeson, Irene (September–October 1969). “Cairo, a Millennial”. Saudi Aramco World: 24, 26–30. Retrieved 9 August 2007.
Jump up ^ Talbi, M., “al-Mahdiyya”, in: Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition, edited by: P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C. E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel, W. P. Heinrichs. Consulted online on 24 April 2017
Jump up ^ Talbi, M., “Ṣabra or al-Manṣūriyya”, in: Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition, Edited by: P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel, W.P. Heinrichs. Consulted online on 24 April 2017
Jump up ^ Rogers, J.M., J. M. Rogers and J. Jomier, “al-Ḳāhira”, in: Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition, Edited by: P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel, W.P. Heinrichs. Consulted online on 24 April 2017
Jump up ^ Halm, Heinz. The Fatimids and their Traditions of Learning. London: The Institute of Ismaili Studies and I.B. Tauris. 1997.
^ Jump up to: a b c Shorter Shi’ite Encyclopaedia, By: Hasan al-Amin,
Jump up ^ “Cairo of the Mind”. 21 June 2007. Archived from the original on 12 December 2007.
Jump up ^ Cambridge History of Egypt, vol. 1, pg. 154.
Jump up ^ Cambridge History of Egypt, Vol. 1, pg. 155.
Jump up ^ Cambridge history of Egypt vol 1 page 155
Jump up ^ al Juyushi: A Vision of the Fatemiyeen. Graphico Printing Ltd. 2002. ISBN 978-0953927012.
Jump up ^ “Masjid al-Juyushi”. Archived from the original on 5 January 2014. Retrieved 25 May 2013.
Jump up ^ Brief History of Transfer of the Sacred Head of Hussain ibn Ali, From Damascus to Ashkelon to Qahera
Jump up ^ Brief History of Transfer of the Sacred Head of Husain ibn Ali, From Damascus to Ashkelon to Qahera By: Qazi Dr. Shaikh Abbas Borhany PhD (USA), NDI, Shahadat al A’alamiyyah (Najaf, Iraq), M.A., LLM (Shariah) Member, Ulama Council of Pakistan, Published in Daily News, Karachi, Pakistan on 03-1-2009.
Jump up ^ Amin Maalouf (1984). The Crusades Through Arab Eyes. Al Saqi Books. pp. 160–170. ISBN 0-8052-0898-4.
Jump up ^ Enthoven, R. E. (1922). The Tribes and Castes of Bombay. 1. Asian Educational Services. p. 199. ISBN 81-206-0630-2.
Jump up ^ The Bohras, By: Asgharali Engineer, Vikas Pub. House, p.109,101
Jump up ^ [1], Mullahs on the Mainframe.., By Jonah Blank, p.139
Jump up ^ The Isma’ilis: Their History and Doctrines By Farhad Daftary; p.299
Further reading[edit]
Brett, Michael (2001). The Rise of the Fatimids: The World of the Mediterranean and the Middle East in the Fourth Century of the Hijra, Tenth Century CE. The Medieval Mediterranean. 30. Leiden: BRILL. ISBN 9004117415.
Cortese, Delia, “Fatimids”, in Muhammad in History, Thought, and Culture: An Encyclopedia of the Prophet of God (2 vols.), Edited by C. Fitzpatrick and A. Walker, Santa Barbara, ABC-CLIO, 2014, Vol I, pp. 187–191.
Daftary, Farhad (1992). The Isma’ilis: Their History and Doctrines. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-42974-0.
Halm, Heinz (1996). The Empire of the Mahdi: The Rise of the Fatimids. Handbook of Oriental Studies. 26. transl. by Michael Bonner. Leiden: BRILL. ISBN 9004100563.
Kennedy, Hugh N. (2004). The Prophet and the Age of the Caliphates: The Islamic Near East from the 6th to the 11th Century (Second Edition). Harlow: Longman. ISBN 978-0-58-240525-7.
Lev, Yaacov (1987). “Army, Regime, and Society in Fatimid Egypt, 358–487/968–1094”. International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies. 19: 337–365. JSTOR 163658.
Walker, Paul E. (2002). Exploring an Islamic Empire: Fatimid History and its Sources. London: I.B. Tauris. ISBN 9781860646928.
Jump up ^ The name Mansuriyya means “the victorious”, after its founder Ismāʿīl Abu Tahir Ismail Billah, called al-Mansur, “the victor.”[11]
External links[edit]
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Fatimid Caliphate.
Fatimids entry in the Encyclopaedia of the Orient.
The Institute of Ismaili Studies, London.
The Shia Fatimid Dynasty in Egypt
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Emirate of Sicily
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Emirate of Sicily
إِمَارَةُ صِقِلِّيَة
Province of the Aghlabid Emirate of Ifriqiya (831–909) and of the Fatimid Caliphate (909–948), after 948 autonomous emirate under the Kalbids. After 1044: various emirates in war.

Italy in 1000. The Emirate of Sicily is coloured in light green.
Capital Balarme (Palermo)
Languages Sicilian Arabic, Byzantine Greek, Vulgar Latin
Religion Islam (state)
Chalcedonian Christianity
Government Monarchy
• Established 831
• Disestablished 1091
Preceded by Succeeded by
Theme of Sicily
County of Sicily
Today part of Italy
The Emirate of Sicily (Arabic: إِمَارَةُ صِقِلِّيَة‎‎) was an emirate on the island of Sicily which existed from 831 to 1091.[1] Its capital was Palermo.

Muslim Arabs, who first invaded in 652, seized control of the entire island from the Byzantine Empire in a prolonged series of conflicts from 827 to 902. An Arab-Byzantine culture developed, producing a multiconfessional and multilingual state. The Emirate was conquered by Christian Norman mercenaries under Roger I of Sicily, who founded the County of Sicily in 1071. The last Muslim city in the island, Noto, was conquered in 1091.

Sicilian Muslims remained citizens of the multi-ethnic County and subsequent Kingdom of Sicily, until those who had not already converted were expelled in the 1240s. Until the late 12th century, and probably as late as the 1220s, Muslims formed the majority of the island’s population.[2][3][4][5][6] Their influence remains in some elements of the Sicilian language, as well as surnames and locations.

Contents [hide]
1 First Arab invasions of Sicily
2 Revolt of Euphemius and gradual Muslim conquest of the island
3 Period as an Emirate
4 Sicily under Arab rule
5 Decline and “Taifa” period
6 Aftermath
7 List of emirs
8 Taifa period
9 See also
10 References
11 Sources
12 External links
First Arab invasions of Sicily[edit]
Further information: Arab–Byzantine wars
In 535, Emperor Justinian I returned Sicily to the Roman Empire, now ruled from Constantinople exclusively. As the power of what is now known as the Byzantine Empire waned in the West, Sicily was invaded by the Rashidun Caliphate during the reign of Caliph Uthman in the year 652. However, this first invasion was short-lived, and the Arabs left soon after. By the end of the 7th century, with the Umayyad conquest of North Africa, the Arabs had captured the nearby port city of Carthage, allowing them to build shipyards and a permanent base from which to launch more sustained attacks.[7]

Around 700, the island of Pantelleria was captured by Arabs, and it was only discord among the Arabs that prevented an attempted invasion of Sicily coming next. Instead, trading agreements were arranged with the Byzantines, and Arab merchants were allowed to trade goods at the Sicilian ports. Attacks from Muslim fleets were repeated in 703, 728, 729, 730, 731, 733 and 734, the last two meeting with a substantial Byzantine resistance.

The first true conquest expedition was launched in 740; in that year the Muslim prince Habib[disambiguation needed], who had participated on the 728 attack, successfully captured Syracuse. Ready to conquer the whole island, they were however forced to return to Tunisia by a Berber revolt. A second attack in 752 aimed only to sack the same city.

Revolt of Euphemius and gradual Muslim conquest of the island[edit]
Main article: Muslim conquest of Sicily
In 826 Euphemius, the commander of the Byzantine fleet of Sicily, forced a nun to marry him. Emperor Michael II caught wind of the matter and ordered that General Constantine end the marriage and cut off Euphemius’ nose. Euphemius rose up, killed Constantine and then occupied Syracuse; he in turn was defeated and driven out to North Africa.[1] He offered rule of Sicily over to Ziyadat Allah the Aghlabid Emir of Tunisia in return for a place as a general and safety; an Arab army was sent.[1]

The latter agreed to conquer Sicily, promising to give it to Euphemius in exchange for a yearly tribute, and entrusted its conquest to the 70-year-old qadi Asad ibn al-Furat. The Muslim force counted 10,000 infantry, 700 cavalry and 100 ships, reinforced by Euphemius’ ships and, after the landing at Mazara del Vallo. A first battle against the loyal Byzantine troops occurred on July 15, 827, near Mazara, resulting in an Aghlabid victory.

Asad subsequently conquered the southern shore of the island and laid siege to Syracuse. After a year of siege, and an attempted mutiny, his troops were however able to defeat a large army sent from Palermo, also backed by a Venetian fleet led by Doge Giustiniano Participazio. But when a plague killed many of the Muslim troops, as well as Asad himself, the Muslims retreated to the castle of Mineo. Later they returned to the offensive, but failed to conquer Castrogiovanni (the modern Enna, where Euphemius died) and retreated back to Mazara.

In 830 they received a strong reinforcement of 30,000 Ifriqiyan and Andalusian troops. The Iberian Muslims defeated the Byzantine commander Teodotus in July–August of that year, but again a plague forced them to return to Mazara and then to Ifriqiya. The Ifriqiyan units sent to besiege Palermo managed to capture it after a year long siege in September 831.[8] Palermo became the Muslim capital of Sicily, renamed al-Madinah (“The City”).[9]

The conquest was a see-saw affair; with considerable resistance and many internal struggles, it took over a century for Byzantine Sicily to be conquered. Syracuse held out for a long time but fell in 878, Taormina fell in 902, and the last Byzantine outpost was taken in 965.[1]

Period as an Emirate[edit]

Arab-Norman art and architecture combined Occidental features (such as the Classical pillars and friezes) with typical Arabic decorations and calligraphy.
In succession Sicily was ruled by the Sunni Aghlabid dynasty in Tunisia and the Shiite Fatimids in Egypt. However, throughout this period, Sunni Muslims formed the majority of the Muslim community in Sicily,[10] with most (if not all) of the people of Palermo being Sunni,[11] leading to their hostility to the Shia Kalbids.[12] The Sunni population of the island was replenished following sectarian rebellions across north Africa from 943 to 47 against the Fatimids harsh religious policies, leading to several waves of refugees fleeing to Sicily in an attempt to escape Fatimid retaliation.[13] The Byzantines took advantage of temporary discord to occupy the eastern end of the island for several years.

After suppressing a revolt the Fatimid caliph Ismail al-Mansur appointed al-Hasan al-Kalbi (948–964) as Emir of Sicily. He successfully managed to control the continuously revolting Byzantines and founded the Kalbid dynasty. Raids into Southern Italy continued under the Kalbids into the 11th century, and in 982 a German army under Otto II, Holy Roman Emperor was defeated near Crotone in Calabria. With Emir Yusuf al-Kalbi (986–998) a period of steady decline began. Under al-Akhal (1017–1037) the dynastic conflict intensified, with factions within the ruling family allying themselves variously with the Byzantine Empire and the Zirids. After this period, Al-Mu’izz ibn Badis attempted to annex the island for the Zirids, while intervening in the affairs of the feuding Muslims; however, the attempt ultimately failed.[14]

Sicily under Arab rule[edit]

Arab musicians in Palermo.
The new Arab rulers initiated land reforms, which in turn increased productivity and encouraged the growth of smallholdings, a dent to the dominance of the landed estates. The Arabs further improved irrigation systems through Qanats. Introducing oranges, lemons, pistachio and sugarcane to Sicily. A description of Palermo was given by Ibn Hawqal, a Baghdad merchant who visited Sicily in 950. A walled suburb called the Kasr (the palace) is the center of Palermo until today, with the great Friday mosque on the site of the later Roman cathedral. The suburb of Al-Khalisa (Kalsa) contained the Sultan’s palace, baths, a mosque, government offices, and a private prison. Ibn Hawqual reckoned 7,000 individual butchers trading in 150 shops. By 1050, Palermo had a population of 350,000, making it one of the largest cities in Europe, second only to Islamic Spain’s capital Córdoba, which had a population of 450,000. In contrast, under the succeeding Christian Kingdom of Sicily, Palermo’s population dropped to 150,000, though it was still the largest city in Europe due to the greater decline in Córdoba’s population; by 1330 Palermo’s population had declined to 51,000.[15]

Arab traveler, geographer, and poet Ibn Jubair visited the area in the end of the 12th century and described Al-Kasr and Al-Khalisa (Kalsa):

The capital is endowed with two gifts, splendor and wealth. It contains all the real and imagined beauty that anyone could wish. Splendor and grace adorn the piazzas and the countryside; the streets and highways are wide, and the eye is dazzled by the beauty of its situation. It is a city full of marvels, with buildings similar to those of Córdoba [sic], built of limestone. A permanent stream of water from four springs runs through the city. There are so many mosques that they are impossible to count. Most of them also serve as schools. The eye is dazzled by all this splendor.

Throughout this reign, continued revolts by Byzantine Sicilians occurred, especially in the east, and part of the lands were even re-occupied before being quashed.[16]

Aghlabid quarter dinar minted in Sicily, 879.
The local population conquered by the Muslims were Romanized Catholic Sicilians in Western Sicily and Greek speaking Christians mainly in the eastern half of the island, but there were also a significant number of Jews.[17] Christians and Jews were tolerated under Muslim rule as dhimmis, but were subject to some restrictions. The dhimmis were also required to pay the jizya, or poll tax, and the kharaj or land tax, but were exempt from the tax that Muslims had to pay (Zakaat). Under Arab rule there were different categories of Jizya payers, but their common denominator was the payment of the Jizya as a mark of subjection to Muslim rule in exchange for protection against foreign and internal aggression. The conquered population could avoid this subservient status by converting to Islam. Whether by honest religious conviction or societal compulsion large numbers of native Sicilians converted to Islam. However, even after 100 years of Islamic rule, numerous Greek speaking Christian communities prospered, especially in north-eastern Sicily, as dhimmis. This was largely a result of the Jizya system which allowed co-existence. This co-existence with the conquered population fell apart after the reconquest of Sicily, particularly following the death of King William II of Sicily in 1189.

Decline and “Taifa” period[edit]
See also: Norman Kingdom of Sicily
Seated man with sword receiving objects on a tray
Roger I of Sicily receiving the keys of Palermo.
The Emirate of Sicily began to fragment as intra-dynastic quarrels took place within the Muslim regime.[1] In 1044, under emir Hasan al-Samsam, the island fragmented into four qadits, or small fiefdoms: the qadit of Trapani, Marsala, Mazara and Sciacca, a certain Abdallah ibn Mankut; that of Girgenti, Castrogiovanni and Castronuovo (Ibn al-Hawwàs); that of Palermo and Catania; and that of Syracuse (Ibn Thumna). By 1065, all of them had been unified by Ayyub ibn Tamim, the son of the Zirid emir of Ifriqiyya. In 1068 he left Sicily, and what remained under Muslim control fell under two qadits: one, led by Ibn Abbad (known as Benavert in western chronicles) in Syracuse, and the other under Hammud in Qas’r Ianni (modern Enna).

By the 11th century mainland southern Italian powers were hiring Norman mercenaries, who were Christian descendants of the Vikings; it was the Normans under Roger I who captured Sicily from the Muslims.[1] The Norman Robert Guiscard, son of Tancred, invaded Sicily in 1060. The island was split between three Arab emirs, and the sizeable Christian population rose up against the ruling Muslims.[18] After taking Apulia and Calabria, Roger I occupied Messina with an army of 700 knights. After this, the Zirids of North Africa send a support force, led by Ali and Ayyub ibn Tamin. However, Sicilians and Africans were defeated in 1063, in the Battle of Cerami. In 1068, Roger de Hauteville and his men defeated again the Muslims forces commanded by Ayu ibn Tamim in Misilmeri. The Africans left Sicily in disarray after the defeat and Catania fell to the Normans in 1071, followed, after one year of siege, by Palermo in 1072. Trapani capitulated the same year.

The loss of the main port cities dealt a severe blow to Muslim power on the island. The last pocket of active resistance was Syracuse governed by Ibn Abbad (known by the Normans as Benavert). He defeated Jordan, son of Roger of Sicily in 1075, and occupied Catania again in 1081 and raided Calabria shortly after. However Roger besieged Syracuse in 1086, and Ibn Abbad tried to break the siege with naval battle, in which he died accidentally. Syracuse surrendered after this defeat. His wife and son fled to Noto and Butera. Meanwhile the city of Qas’r Ianni (Enna) was still ruled by its emir, Ibn Al-Hawas, who held out for years. His successor, Hamud, surrendered, and converted to Christianity, only in 1087. After his conversion, Ibn Hamud subsequently became part of the Christian nobility and retired with his family to an estate in Calabria provided by Roger I. In 1091, Butera and Noto in the southern tip of Sicily and the island of Malta, the last Arab strongholds, fell to the Christians with ease. After the conquest of Sicily, the Normans removed the local emir, Yusuf Ibn Abdallah from power, but did so by respecting Arab customs.[19]

See also: Norman-Arab-Byzantine culture

A 12th century Arab-Norman painting depicting Roger II.
The Norman Kingdom of Sicily under Roger II has been characterized as multi-ethnic in nature and religiously tolerant.[20] Normans, Jews, Muslim Arabs, Byzantine Greeks, Lombards and native Sicilians lived in relative harmony.[21][22] Arabic remained a language of government and administration for at least a century into Norman rule, and traces remain in the language of Sicily and evidently more in the language of Malta today.[7] The Muslims also maintained their domination of industry, retailing and production, while Muslim artisans and expert knowledge in government and administration were highly sought after.[23]

However, once the Normans had conquered the island, the Muslims were faced with the choice of voluntary departure or subjection to Christian rule. Many Muslims chose to leave, provided they had the means to do so. “The transformation of Sicily into a Christian island”, remarks Abulafia, “was also, paradoxically, the work of those whose culture was under threat”.[24][25] Despite the presence of an Arab-speaking Christian population, Muslim peasants received baptism from the Roman and Greek Christians and adopted even Greek Christian names; in several instances, Christian serfs with Greek names listed in the Monreale registers had living Muslim parents.[26][27]

However, the Norman rulers followed a policy of steady Latinization. Some Muslims chose the option of feigning conversion, but such a remedy could only provide individual protection and could not sustain a community.[28]

‘Lombard’ pogroms against Muslims started in the 1160s. Muslim and Christian communities in Sicily became increasingly geographically separated. The island’s Muslim communities were mainly isolated beyond an internal frontier which divided the south-western half of the island from the Christian north-east. Sicilian Muslims, a subject population, were dependent on the mercy of their Christian masters and, ultimately, on royal protection. When King William the Good died in 1189, this royal protection was lifted, and the door was opened for widespread attacks against the island’s Muslims. This destroyed any lingering hope of coexistence, however unequal the respective populations might have been. Henry VI’s death in 1197, and that of his wife Constance a year later, plunged Sicily into political turmoil. With the loss of royal protection and with Frederick II still an infant in papal custody, Sicily became a battleground for rival German and papal forces. The island’s Muslim rebels sided with German warlords like Markward von Anweiler. In response, Innocent III declared a crusade against Markward, alleging that he had made an unholy alliance with the Saracens of Sicily. Nevertheless, in 1206 that same pope attempted to convince the Muslim leaders to remain loyal.[29] By this time, the Muslim rebellion was critical, with Muslims in control of Jato, Entella, Platani, Celso, Calatrasi, Corleone (taken in 1208), Guastanella and Cinisi. In other words, the Muslim revolt extended throughout a whole stretch of western Sicily. The rebels were led by Muhammad Ibn Abbād. He called himself the ‘prince of believers’, struck his own coins, and attempted to find Muslim support from other parts of the Muslim world.[30][31]

However, Frederick II, no longer a child, responded by launching a series of campaigns against the Muslim rebels in 1221. The Hohenstaufen forces rooted out the defenders of Jato, Entella, and the other fortresses. Rather than exterminate the Muslims, in 1223, Frederick II and the Christians began the first deportations of Muslims to Lucera in Apulia.[32] A year later, expeditions were sent against Malta and Djerba, to establish royal control and prevent their Muslim populations from helping the rebels.[30] Paradoxically, Saracen archers were a common component of these “Christian” armies from this era.[33]

The House of Hohenstaufen and their successors (Capetian House of Anjou and Aragonese House of Barcelona) gradually “Latinized” Sicily over the course of two centuries, and this social process laid the groundwork for the introduction of Latin (as opposed to Byzantine) Catholicism. The process of Latinization was fostered largely by the Roman Church and its liturgy. The annihilation of Islam in Sicily was completed by the late 1240s, when the final deportations to Lucera took place.[34]

List of emirs[edit]
al-Hasan ibn Ali al-Kalbi (948–953)
Ahmad ibn al-Hasan al-Muizziyya (953–969)
Yaish (usurper, 969)
Ahmad ibn al-Hasan al-Muizziyya (969–970)
Abu’l-Qasim Ali ibn al-Hasan al-Kalbi (970–982)
Jabir ibn ‘Ali (982–983)
Ja’far ibn Muhammad (983–986)
Abd Allah ibn Muhammad (986)
Yusuf al-Kalbi (986–998)
Ja’far OO (998–1019)
Ahmad II al-Akhal (1017–1037)
Abd Allah Abu Hafs (1035–1040, usurper; defeated and killed Ahmad II in 1037)
Hasan al-Samsam (1040–1044; died 1053)
Taifa period[edit]
Catania :(1053 – ? ), Ibn al-Maklatí, defeated by Ibn Thumna
Syracuse and later Catania (1053 – 1062) : Muhammed ibn Ibrahim (Ibn Thumna)
Agrigento and Castrogiovanni (1053 – 1065) : Alí ibn Nima (Ibn al-Hawwàs)
Trapani and Mazara (1053 – 1071) : Abdallah ibn Mankut
Ayyub ibn Tamim (Zirid) : (1065-1068) (united the taifas)[35]
Palermo (1068-1071) : republica
Agrigento and Castrogiovanni(1065- 1087) :Hammad
Syracuse and Catania 😦 1071- 1086) : Ibn Abbad ( Benavert)
See also[edit]
The Metropolitan M Stamp.PNGMiddle Ages portal Allah-green.svgIslam portal Flag of Italy.svgItaly portal
Emirate of Bari
Fatimid Caliphate
History of Islam in southern Italy
History of Sicily
Persecution of Muslims
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Jump up ^ Privitera, Joseph. Sicily: An Illustrated History. Hippocrene Books. ISBN 978-0-7818-0909-2.
Jump up ^ Archived link: From Islam to Christianity: the Case of Sicily, Charles Dalli, page 153. In Religion, ritual and mythology : aspects of identity formation in Europe / edited by Joaquim Carvalho, 2006, ISBN 88-8492-404-9.
Jump up ^ Saracen Door and Battle of Palermo
Jump up ^ “Chronological – Historical Table Of Sicily”. In Italy Magazine. 7 October 2007.
Jump up ^ Normans in Sicilian History
Jump up ^ Roger II – Encyclopædia Britannica
Jump up ^ Tracing The Norman Rulers of Sicily
Jump up ^ Badawi, El-Said M.; Elgibali, Alaa, eds. (1996). Understanding Arabic: Essays in Contemporary Arabic Linguistics in Honor of El-Said Badawi. American Univ in Cairo Press. p. 33. ISBN 9789774243721.
Jump up ^ Charles Dalli, From Islam to Christianity: the Case of Sicily, p. 159 (archived link)
Jump up ^ Abulafia, The end of Muslim Sicily cit., p. 109
Jump up ^ Charles Dalli, From Islam to Christianity: the Case of Sicily, p. 159 (archived link)
Jump up ^ J. Johns, The Greek church and the conversion of Muslims in Norman Sicily?, “Byzantinische Forschungen”, 21, 1995; for Greek Christianity in Sicily see also V. von Falkenhausen, “Il monachesimo greco in Sicilia”, in C.D. Fonseca (ed.), La Sicilia rupestre nel contesto delle civiltà mediterranee, vol. 1, Lecce 1986.
Jump up ^ Charles Dalli, From Islam to Christianity: the Case of Sicily, p. 160 (archived link)
Jump up ^ Charles Dalli, From Islam to Christianity: the Case of Sicily, p. 160-161 (archived link)
^ Jump up to: a b Charles Dalli, From Islam to Christianity: the Case of Sicily, p. 161 (archived link)
Jump up ^ Aubé, Pierre (2001). Roger Ii De Sicile – Un Normand En Méditerranée. Payot.
Jump up ^ A.Lowe: The Barrier and the bridge, op cit;p.92.
Jump up ^ Saracen Archers in Southern Italy Archived November 28, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
Jump up ^ Abulafia, David (1988). Frederick II: A Medieval Emperor. London: Allen Lane.
Jump up ^
Previte-Orton, C. W. (1971). The Shorter Cambridge Medieval History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
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US-North Korea rhetoric leading to nuclear war

20 August, 2017

By Asif Haroon Raja

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The US-North Korea antagonism has its roots in the 1952-3 Korean War which had divided the country. While North Korea is backed by Russia and China, South Korea is protected by the US and it has a large military presence in the country. In order to ward off impending danger posed by USA and its allies, North Korea despite being an impoverished country, developed nuclear bombs and missiles, causing deep anxieties to USA and its allies South Korea and Japan. The US imposed sanctions in response to Pyongyang’s defiance of previous UN resolutions banning the testing of ballistic missiles and nuclear warheads.

When North Korea launched two intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) in July 2017, which many analysts believe are capable of hitting the US mainland, the US piled on more sanctions in August 2017, which further inflamed tensions. Russia and China bear a measure of responsibility for the latest outburst. The two strategic partners voted unanimously at the Security Council to support US calls to further load North Korea with economic sanctions. They made a big mistake since the move has only spiraled strains and has encouraged the Americans in their incorrigibly aggressive temperament. Moscow and Beijing, more than anyone else, should know that sanctions more often prove counterproductive. They are a weapon of war-making and a sinister ancillary for diplomacy. Pyongyang condemned the latest round of sanctions as a despicable violation of its sovereignty. It argued that the US has thousands of nuclear weapons capable of hitting North Korea and has also installed this year a new missile system, the THAAD, in South Korea, which gives it a first strike advantage. Given the array of American offensive military forces, the repeated verbal threats of “all options on the table”, the nuclear-capable B-1 bombers flying from Guam over the Korean Peninsula, and now the latest enflaming up of sanctions, North Korea perceives it an existential danger and says that it has the right to protect its integrity and sovereignty by developing military self-defense.

The latest sanctions are extremely harsh and punishing when seen in context with poor economy of North Korea and plight of its populace. The nation’s top exports of coal, minerals and seafood are to be banned, which would dry up its already insignificant export revenue by one-third, going from $3 billion to $2 billion a year.

Miffed by Pyongyang’s recent ICBM tests, the US President Trump, a product of gung-ho political culture of the United States, in his bid to add more teeth to sanctions warned North Korea that the country would “face fire and fury, the like of which the world has never seen before”. Trump’s threat came on the heels of a report by the Washington Post indicating that Pyongyang had “successfully produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead that can fit inside its missiles.”

His outrageously incongruous remarks and threat of annihilation shocked the Americans. It drew adverse comments from some politicians and media in USA. Many opined his choice of words were grotesque. Hawkish John McCain said it were not helpful in the current spiral of tensions. Other members of the US Congress also deplored Trump’s rash rhetoric. He was compared with North Korean leader Kim Jung-un, commonly portrayed by American politicians and media as “a nut-job”. One lawmaker, New York Representative Eliot Engel, called Trump’s rhetoric “unhinged”.

It intensified the upsurge of calls to strip Trump of his nuclear-strike authority. Activists and lawmakers urged Congress to revive legislation that would strip the executive branch of the power to launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike. “Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) wrote. “No U.S. President, certainly not Trump, should have sole authority to initiate an unprovoked nuclear war,”

Given numerous threats already from the US that it is prepared to use pre-emptive military force against North Korea, the words from Trump implying a catastrophic attack worse than the horror of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are indeed feloniously reckless. Such words coming on the 72nd anniversary of the US dropping two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki — killing over 200,000 people — are grotesque. The situation became more alarming when the US military commander pugnaciously hurled a war threat.

The Kim Jong-un regime responded just hours after Trump’s remarks, promising to hasten “the tragic end of the American empire” and announcing it would review plans to “strike areas around the U.S. airbase on the Pacific island of Guam,” where the U.S. maintains large military bases, “with medium-to-long-range strategic ballistic missiles and envelope it in fire”. Pyongyang uses this kind of emotional rhetoric frequently, threatening to turn the US and its allies in South Korea and Japan into “a sea of fire”.

Seeing that sabre rattling was spiraling out of control, Russia and China have called for composure and for dialogue to resolve the long-running conflict on the Korean

Peninsula, which has seen recurring tensions ever since the end of the Korean War in 1953. It cannot be denied that America is part of the problem. Ever since the end of the Korean War, the persistent presence of American military forces on the Korean Peninsula is a never-ending source of conflict.

Russia and China are correctly advocating instantaneous all-party talks for the region, involving the two Koreas. But slapping sanctions on one side is wrong, especially given the ongoing war threats issued by the US.

Russia and China have a central role to play in order to make the US come to its senses and step back from a disastrous war. But given the American hubris and sanctimoniousness to wage criminal wars, and given the hawkish state of mind of its Commander-in-Chief, possibility of making the US behave like a normal law-abiding and peace-loving nation is slim.

While North Korea is rightly worried about its survival, and is justified in taking measures to protect itself, the US with a track record of destroying nations, capturing sovereign countries, affecting regime changes and stoking proxy wars, is the world’s biggest rogue state. Its USA and not North Korea which needs to be sanctioned and prosecuted. As long as it reserves the right to unilaterally threaten and attack any nation, and even drop atomic bombs on civilian centers, the world will always be in severe danger. It was wrong on part of Russia and China to impose sanctions on North Korea at the call of USA. It’s just like feeding a monster which destroyed Japan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Syria, bisected Sudan and bloodied Pakistan. USA has made the world unsafe.

The two countries stand at the cusp of nuclear war. One slipup, one miscalculation, could launch a nuclear war in the region. There is growing fear that the U.S. under crazy Trump is inching closer to nuclear war. CIA Director Mike Pompeo suspects that Pyongyang may undertake another missile test and may strike the US mainland. There are wide calls in USA to de-escalate tensions so that diplomacy could work. A petition with over 57,000 signatures, reads: “Stop the insanity. Don’t provoke a war with North Korea.”

The petition reads: “Donald Trump is making us all more unsafe with every war-mongering comment, tweet, and threat. His rhetoric threatening North Korea with ‘fire and fury’ is exacerbating a dangerous situation, putting the people of Guam—and everyone around the world—in grave danger.” The petition adds. “While a nuclear North Korea is a real concern, the answer must be diplomacy-first, not a rush to a potentially devastating nuclear war.”

A strong sense of anxiety is spreading across the globe that in the not too distant future, nuclear weapons could actually be used again. The nuclear threat will not end as long as nations continue to claim that nuclear weapons are essential for their national security.”

The writer is a retired Brig, war veteran, defence & security analyst, columnist, author of five books, Vice Chairman Thinkers Forum Pakistan, Director Measac Research Centre, takes part in TV talk shows, and delivers talks.

‘independent’ press vs billionaires

Bananas in the Falklands

monwashThe press is a strange beast (my blog) when its not attacking billionaires or being run by them which might explain why Elton John and his family sized olive oil container does not see a lot of press attention.

So i was reading a website with an article with amazon partner clicks for products thought specific, one book i noted as new was its last ever mention on  the site despite being noted as interesting.

Some weeks passed and i obtained the book from a library, still not a mention of the authors new book on the website.  So despite using a library i am either fast off the mark, or the press site was more interested in amazon commissions.

Michael Jackson bubbles monkey rapist

I have a hunch.that the amazon thing trumps reviews – mind you perhaps if the author changed sex and ethnicity something along the lines of…

View original post 28 more words


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