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Kairewân and Tlemsen. Nor was this the only time when Arab dominion was brought to the very brink of destruction. No less than five distinct invasions were needed to preserve the precarious footing which was all the Arabs ever secured in this quarter.

A condition so arduous produced a race of men who tempered the hot impulsiveness of their origin with the sturdiness due to having gone through the ordeal of lengthened trial. It is wonderful how under difficulties painfully aggravated by intestine discord, Arab government did maintain itself, and even acquire a fulness of authority elsewhere to be looked for in vain.

While the presence of an irreconcilably hostile population effectually prevented that assimilation between the conqueror and the conquered, which was elsewhere brought about by the bond of common faith under Mussulman dominion, the idea of encampment was vividly kept alive by the fortified works which were the unfailing and prominent feature of every Arab settlement in Africa. Kairewân, the capital and holy city of the province, in the first instance chosen for a military station from its site, difficult of access on the desolate banks of an unhealthy lake, the noted haunt of reptiles and wild beasts, had acquired its metropolitan importance merely through the strength of its citadel. War, national, civil, or predatory, was the daily condition of life, and the association of an entrenchment, as often defended stoutly against his countryman of rival race as against the rebellious Berber, was probably the one most likely to occur to the African Arab at the thought of his homestead. It is therefore intelligible that the Arabs in Africa should have retained as the mould of their social constitution the military organisation with which they came into the country as an invading army. Instead of assuming the complexion of a population, they continued strictly an armed force enrolled in divisions founded on kindred, and partaking, as M. Amari remarks, in character both of a standing and a feudal army like the former inured to war, like the latter more devoted to immediate chiefs than to the sovereign. Hence the emirs of Africa, placed between followers of a highly mutinous description, and subjects stubbornly rebellious who never relaxed in their efforts to throw off the foreign yoke, turned for political support to those theocratic elements which despotism, when securely triumphant, had elsewhere discarded. In this troubled corner of the Mussulman world, we are therefore astonished at the contemplation of an assembly, called the Gemâ, exercising in all vital matters of state that right of deliberation which constitutes the precious esscnee of self-government, and which, resting on a thoroughly Mussulman element, attained a degree of rigour

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sufficient. on capital occasions to hold in check the absolute authority of the prince. Its shape was that of a senate, based on the qualification of wisdom in what for Mussulmans was the only wisdom — learning in the law revealed through the Prophet. In virtue of their profession its members were notables in Islam, and the canonical eminence, not to say holiness, thus belonging to them, explains the pious horror of revolutionary excess which invariably distinguishes their proceedings, and, amidst so much turbulent lawlessness, strikingly points them out as men of the law.

Although it is difficult,' says M. Amari, 'to define the limits set by custom to the powers of the emirs, we see one of great importance, the right of war and peace, exercised by the Prince, in conjunction with the Gemâ, or municipal parliament of Kairewân. The first mention thereof occurs on occasion of a treaty, made in 813 A.D., with the Patrician of Sicily; and we know, from words spoken by one who sat in the Genâ, how the elders and notables of the city being gathered together, the treaty was written and read in their presence. And that they did not act as mere witnesses, but that its provisions were matter for free discussion, is proved by another meeting, some years after, to consider war with Sicily,– which was attended by the Cadis, just as, in England, judges enter the Upper House,— when the Prince was obliged to defer to the preponderating opinion. To understand correctly the balance of powers in the state, it is necessary to weigh the authority which at this time jurists exercised in the Mussulman world. The study of the law having made strides, like every intellectual pursuit, on the elevation of the Abassides, was near creating a new power in the empire, in substitution for that which had belonged to the Prophet's companions — setting an aristocracy of doctors in the room of one of saints. Through the singleness of the law, which produced confusion, these men came to be at once divines without priestly ministration moralists, publicists, and jurists. Through an antagonism natural to theocracy, these doctors strove to be above the pontiff sovereign, . . In the organisation of the state they preserved a judicial authority, which was independent of the Prince — in some respects, to a greater, but in others to a lesser degree than would suit our modern notions of public right; for the jurists usurped legislative power by their interpretation of points in doctrine, while they failed to define limits between the jurisdictions of magistrates, princes, governors, and ministers. (Vol. i. pp. 149–50.)

While elsewhere these doctors in Islam had to remain content with the insignificant position of secluded pedants the condition of the African state admitted them to an exercise of authority which, combined with learning, gave a tone of healthy vigour to their constitution in mind and body. They entered


the business of life as statesmen and as warriors, VOL. CXVI. NO. CCXXXVI.



and it is one of their body who pushed the faltering Arabs to the conquest of Sicily.

Ased ibn Forât ibn Sinân, Kadi of Kairewân, is the perfect type of his class and his generation, embodying every element of race, incident, and quality that together constitute their distinctive features. Indeed the analogy goes through even his names, as on one occasion he himself remarked, in the true style of Arab punning : •Ased is my name,' he exclaimed, * which means the lion, and what beast does not crouch before • the lion? The son am I of Forât (the Euphrates), and what * river has sweeter waters ? My grandsire was called Sinan (a

spear), and this in truth is the stoutest of weapons.' Son of a native of Khorassan, Ased was gifted with his race's subtle wit, steeled into an intellect of superior metal, through the sharp atmosphere of his adopted home. Having been early destined for the law, Ased travelled to the most renowned masters in the high schools of Medina, Irak, and Egypt, and grew versed in all the learning of Islam. On his return to Africa, he himself then opened a school, where he soon won such a name from his teaching, as to attain to the highest civil dignity in the state — that of Kadi in Kairewân. . At that time the Emir was Ziadet Allah, a man of singular nature, combining a pedant's tastes with a temper so tyrannical and overbearing as to kindle a fearful revolt in the licentious soldiery of this province. Rising on all sides, with wild fury they bore down everything before them until they found themselves stopped by the stout ramparts of Kairewân. On this occasion Ased showed that the rough intrepidity of his nature did not, however, overstep that respect for legality which so particularly distinguished his cloth. When the rebels were closely pressing the capital,

* Ased and Abu Mohriz, his colleague in the Kadiship, were sent out as negotiators; and having been led before the leader Mansur, surrounded by his chief officers, they were received with the ex. clamations, “Get up and be with us, if it is true that the tyrant seems to you

scourge of Mussulmans.” Abu Mohriz

tremblingly answered, “ Of a truth is he so, and likewise of Jews and Christians ; but Ased broke out into these words : “ Were not ye yourselves a short while ago his partisans and his brethren? How, then, do ye come to ask us to befriend you against him ? No, no; if we were enough to keep him in check when he had you about him, the more able shall we be to do so now that he is by himself.”' (Vol. i. p. 275.)

The strength of his citadel, and the dissensions that so quickly spring up amongst Orientals, saved Ziadet Allah from what had seemed inevitable destruction. But though broken, the revolt was not extinguished. A body of mutineers seized the town of Tunis, and making it an impregnable stronghold, defied for years all the Emir's desperate efforts to reduce it. During this period, Ased was without influence. His blunt out-spokenness appears to have made him an object of disfavour to the suspicious Ziadet Allah; and it was an accident which drew him out of obscurity. A Sicilian Greek, high in rank, came over to Africa, and invited the Mussulmans to invade his country - a proposal which Ased's daring instinct burned to see accepted, as the sure means of ridding Africa of those turbulent and seditious elements which had been grievously infesting it for years, by discharging their wild force into a foreign channel.

The likeness at first sight between the treason of the Sicilian Euphemius and the Spanish Julian is heightened by the introduction of the same romantic motive for the action love for a woman. The author's investigations have gone far, however, towards establishing the existence since several years in Sicily, of a revolt of the kind common in all quarters of the Byzantine empire, and the connexion therewith of Euphemius' application for succours. Ziadet Allah was, however, still so much under the impression of the late terrible contest — not yet

put an end to - that he seems to have been by no means disposed to engage in the new enterprise, in spite of Euphemius' professed willingness to hold Sicily as the Emir's vassal. A matter of such gravity had to be referred to the council of doctors; and here it was that Ased exerted all his influence in favour of a thorough-going revolution. Of the debate on this occasion a highly curious account is preserved. The majority of the assembly was not inclined to favour Ased's views. Their legal minds were influenced by several prudent considerations, and amongst other grounds, by the fact of a still binding treaty with the Byzantines, the wording of which seemed to forbid the enterprise.

'To this it was answered that the treaty had been broken by the rulers of Sicily, several Mussulmans having been thrown into prison, according to what Euphemius told Ziadet Allah. The point being submitted to the two Kadis, Abu Mohriz was of opinion that time should be given, to ascertain the truth. Ased, on the contrary, thought that the Sicilian envoys should be at once questioned. “And how," asked Abu Mohriz, “ are we to put trust in what they may say, one way or the other?” To which Ased answered, “On the word of envoys peace was made, and their word shall be enough to break it.” Then, with vehemence, he went on thus - “Mussulmans, be not stricken with fear ; God on high has spoken, Let yours selves not be stricken with fear - call all people unto Islam, and yo

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shall have the lordship over them. Therefore, let us bow to God's command, instead of pinning ourselves to this treaty with unbelievers.”

By such fiery appeals Ased hoped to kindle the warlike fervour of the people, and to overawe the reserve of the counsellors; he so far succeeded that the doctors voted as a compromise for a predatory expedition, which, however, did not satisfy Ased, bent on proselytising conquest. Determined to make matters take the turn he wished, Ased now applied for the command of the expeditionary force, which the Emir of course refused. But the stern old doctor was not to be put off from a purpose.

He now set himself to work on popular feeling by his fiery eloquence, until the agitation in favour of his nomination as commander was so great that Ziadet Allah was himself obliged to invest him with it. Ased thus combined the dignities of Captain General, and of Kadi --- according to the chronicler Ahmed Ibn Suleiman, an instance unparalleled in Arabian annals. The army over which he was placed was neither large nor easy to direct. It was a gathering of all who sought war for the sake of either adventure or profit, with some few who were impelled by religious fanaticism. There were wild Berbers from the interior; men of daring and indomitable tempers, rendered doubly hard of control from deeply rankling resentment against their Arab lords; there were draughts from the ranks of the lawless Arab soldiery, men of rapine and slaughter, who had lost the rough virtues of desert life without contracting aught beyond the licence of mutinous camps; there were likewise stray adventurers from Spain and other Mussulman settlements in the Mediterranean, men by profession freebooters and rovers, with none but the chance home of the day's luck, and lives spent in hazards which made them the terror of towns and citizens; and finally, there was a sprinkling of men of Persian origin amongst the leaders, as happened in every great Mussulman enterprise after the elevation of the Abassides -- men at once venerable, stout-hearted, and vigorous, like the illustrious captain of the host. Before embarking this motley force, Ased reviewed it upon the African strand, and addressed his followers in words which, as they are handed down in the chroniele of an eye-witness, breathe the glowing pride of one who, at the same time that he is animated with a burning piety, also keenly exults in the positive sensation of the authority, which he is conscious of having plucked from the grasp of a grudging and powerful liege lord.

Sicily, from its site and other advantages, was at this period a possession eagerly coveted by the Popes, and jealously cherished

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