Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

Ejufdem Historia Africæ et Occidentis.

Hijloria de Regibus Beni Zian, ex Familiâ Edrissitarum, Arco tore Muhammed-Abdal-Giali.

Ahmed-Ben-Muhammed-el Mogrebi Historia Hispania, prime partis, volumen fecundum.

Ebu-cl-Kautir, De redallis in Arabum Poteftatem Hispanis.

Historia Lenazzedini Viziri ultimorum Granatæ Regum, ex Familia el Ahmar.

Historia Universalis Chehabbeddin-Ahmed-Al-Mokri-Al-Falli.
Hifloria Compendium, Auctore Ibn-Khaldouh.
Lunæ resplendentes Marocci, Auctore Abdalla-Ebn-Batata.

Historia Califarum ac Regum Arabum in Hispania usque ad Atnum Hegiræ 765, Auclore Ben-Abdallah-el-Khateb-el-Mululman-ni-el. Kortoubi.

Historia Universalis Abou-Djaferi-Muhammed-Ben-Harir-elTabari.

Roderici Toletani Episcopi Historia.

Joannis Marianæ Hifpani e Societate Jesu, Historia de Rebas Hispanis.

Leonis Africani Descriptio Africa.
L'Afrique de Marmol.
Bibliotheque Orientale de D'Herbelot.

There is scarcely a more interesting event in the European history, than that of the celebrated victory which Charles Martel obtained over Abdoulrahman Elgafiki the ambitious governor of Spain : yet our Historian has not given us so ample or so fatisfactory an account of it as the importance of the subject required; he seems, however, to have been very sensible of that importance, and, posibly, he collected all the lights that his resources would afford him. Abdoulrahman was appointed governor of Spain in the year of the Hegira 113, A. D. 730.- He had been trained to arms fiom his infancy ; war was his delight; and he profecuted it with the greater eagerness, as it was the only means of gratifying his unbounded ambition. He no sooner found himself at the head of the Spanish forces, than he projected the conquest of France, and nothing but the consummate skill and valour of Charles Martel could have prevented its fuccess. After having tasted the sweets of conquest in subduing the pride of a rival Arab, he crofled the Pyrenees, and laid siege to Arles. Eudes Earl of Aquitaine came to the relief of that town, but was met by Abdoulrahman and put to fight. This victory infiamed the courage and ambition of the Arab, and he proposed 10 himself nothing less than the reduction of France. He therefore marched to the right, and traversing great part of Gaul, be passed into Aquitaine, and poficfled himself of Bourdeaux. The earl, who had levjed fresh forces, in vain endeavoured to oppose the torrent; he suffered a second defeat, and this new.succes

served

[ocr errors]

Lerved only to confirm Abdoulrahman in the pursuit of his pro-
ject. He passed through Perigord, Saintonge, and Poitou, with
fire and sword, destroying every town in his way, and pillaging
and burning churches. At length he arrived at Tours, which
was threatened with the same fate, when the twice-defeated earl
implored the succours of Charles Martel. That prince, having
just reason to be alarmed at the common danger, marched againit
the Arabs with a large army. He passed the Loire, and en-
camped on the banks of that river, for fear of being surrounded
by the enemy. The two armies, after some days of observation
on either party, came to battle. Both sides fought with equal
fury. The reward of victory to the Arabs was the conquest of
France; and, if Charles were conquered, every ambitious pro-
ject he had formed would vanish at once. Victory was a long
time in suspence, but at last declared in favour of the French.
Three hundred and sixty-five thousand Arabs, if any credit may
be given to cotemporary historians, were left dead upon the
field. Abdoulrahman himself was in the number of the slain,
and mankind was set free from the fatal effects of his ambition,
The Earl of Acquitaine contributed not a little to the victory,
while with his light troops he harrassed the enemy in the rear, and
threw their ranks into confusion. The camp of the Arabs was
given up to plunder, and immense riches, the fpoils of the provinces
through which they had passed, became the property of the con-
querors. Such of the fugitives as escaped the sword retired into
Narbonese Gaul. The caliph, chagrined at the loss of his go-
vernor and the defeat of his people, commanded succeeding go-
vernors to retrieve the honour of the Arabic arms.
were still defeated by the valour of Charles; and soon after their
own inteftine broils left the Christians at reft. It is impossible
to read without horror the accounts of ihose innumerable battles
that were fought between the Arabs and their provincials on the
continent of Africa. The latter, when oppressed by the ini-
quity of the caliph's viccioys, frequently threw off the yoke,
and their reduction to their former fervitude was always attended
with the most dreadful carnage.

Yet had not the ever warring and restless genius of the Arabs been occupied by civil diffentions and mutinies within their original and acquired dominions, they would have enslaved the whole Christian world; and would not by any means have wanted a reasonable presence for it; while the Christians were so indiscreet as to take advantage of their civil commotions, in order to harrass their out lying territories, and to diíposless them of what they had obtained by.conqueft, not of Christians, but of other barbarous nations. Hence the shameful havoc of what Were profanely called the Holy Wars, and that prodigious efe

fufion

[ocr errors]

But they

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

K k 3

fusion of blood, on principles that were excited by avarice, and abetted by superstition !

Of the eastern caliphs that governed in Spain, none was more distinguished for valour, policy and magnificence, than Abdoul rahman III. Though he was continually involved in war, the sumptuous fplendour of his court and his edifices was fuperior to any thing the world had seen before. He built a new city at the distance of about three miles from Corduba, which he called Zehra, the name of a favourite female-slave. Here likewise he erected a palace, the grandeur and beauty of which could hardly be equalled. It was built by one of the most skilful architects in Constantinople, which city was at that time (about the middle of the tenth century) the seat of the sciences and the fine arts. In this palace were a thousand and fourteen columns of Spanish and African marble, nineteen of Italian marble, and an hundred and twenty, sent by the Greek emperor, of extraordinary beauty. The saloon, called the caliph's faloon, was rich beyond expression. The walls were of the finest marble, and the ornaments of pure gold. In the middle of the saloon was a marble bason, surrounded with various figures of birds and beasts that threw up the water. All these figures were of gold, and adorned with pearls and all kinds of precious stones. The balon itself was made at Conftantinople, and the figures executed by the ablest artists there. Above it hung the famous pearl which the Emperor Leo sent to Abdoulrahman. The other apartments of this palace were proportionably superb, and equally exprefled the taste and magnificence of their master. In the middle of the royal gardens stood a grand pavilion, where the caliph esed to repose after the fatigues of hunting. It was supported by pillars of the whitest marble. The ceiling fparkled with the united splendours of gold, polished steel, and precious ftones; but the most extraordinary thing about it was a bason, filled with waves of quicksilver instead of water, which, when the sun Thane upon it, produced such a brightness as the eye could not bear to look upon.

Yet notwithstanding this profusion of beauty and magnificence, Abdoulrahman was far from being happy, as will appear from the following curious memorial, which was written by himself, and found after his death : ! From the first moment of my reign to the present time, I have kept an exact account of those days in which I enjoyed true and unmixed pleasure ; and I find that the number does not exceed 14;-mortals ! consider what this world is, and what value one should set upon pleasures that it offers. Nothing seemed to be wanting to my felicity; I had wealth, honours, and, to say all in ona word, sovereign power.-Feared and respected by co!

the

princes, who envied my happine's, were jealous of mrglar, and courted my friendihin. Fifty years have para tinc l alcerded the throne, and in that long face of time, it is with dificulty I can make out fourteen days, whole courte was uninterrupted by any infelicits."

Several of the caliphs were men of great capacity as well as talour, and reftined the most confummare fill in the conduct of their affairs. Amongst theie may be reckoned Mohammed Emir, who supported himself on his throne againit innumerable difficulties. When this prince was walking one day in his gardens with one of his courtiers, the lacrer, looking around him, said, What a charming world is this! how happy thould one he could one but escape death !- Death, said the caliph, is one of our best friends; thould I have been here, if he had not removed ny predecessor ? - There was, certainly, a great deal of right philosophy in this answer ; -- why, it implied, thould we be unwilling to quit the scene and to make way for the fucceeding generation, when our ancettors have done the same for us? le would be impossible for the race of men to fublift upon the earth on other conditions, and death was a neceflary part of the oeconomy of that benevolent Providence, which determined that a variety of beings should taste the bleflings of life.

A curious method of obtaining justice from one of the caliphs is recorded in the first volume of this history. Hakkam, the fon and fucceffor of Abdoulrahman III, wanting to enlarge his palace, proposed to purchase of a poor woman a piece of ground that lay contiguous to it. However, the could not be prevailed upon to part with the inheritance of her ancestors, and Hakkam's officers took by force what they could not otherwise obtain. The poor woman applied to Ibn-bechir, the chief magira trate of Corduba, for justice. The case was delicate and dangerous. Bechir concluded that the ordinary methods of proceeding would be ineffectual, if not fatal. He mounted his als, and taking a large sack with him, rode to the palace of the caliph. The prince happened to be fitting in a pavilion that had been erected in the poor woman's garden. Bechir, with his fack in his hand, advanced towards him, and, after prostrating himself, desired the caliph would permit him to fill his fack with earth in that garden.--Hakkam shewed some surprize at his appearance and request, but allowed him to fill his fack. When this was done, the magistrate intreated the prince to affist him in laying the burden on his ass.—This extraordinary request surprised Hakkam still more ; but he only told the judge that it was too heavy; he could not bear it. Yet this fack, replicd Bechir with a noble assurance, this fack, which you think too heavy to bear, contains but a small portion of that ground which you took by violence from the right owner. How then will you be

able

Kk 4

able at the day of judgment to support the weight of the whole? - The remonftrance was effe&tual, and Hakkam without delay, restored the ground, with the buildings upon it, to the former proprietor.

From these scattered extracts and observations, the Reader may be enabled to form some judgment of the entertainment and information he may expect from this history, which we recommend as very curious and worthy of perusal.

Elementa Physiologiæ Corporis Humani. Auctore Alberto Hallera.

Tom. 8us & ultimus. 4to. Ludg. Bat. Haak. Elements of the Physiology of the Human Body; Vol. VIII.

By Albert Haller, &c.

THE

HE surest and most solid foundation of physic, as well as

philosophy, is experiment and observation ; but more especially in that branch termed physiology, or the use of the parts, on which the practice of the healing art, when rationally conducted, always depends, and without which it is only groping in the dark, or following an ignis fatuus, a creature of The brain, which hath sent many a poor patient to an untimely grave. The medical world is indebted for improvements in this Icience to none more than the illustrious Baron Haller, the chief part of whole life hath been spent in labours tending to elucidate its most essential parts. The volume now before us concludes this great work, which he modestly calls elements, but which is truly as complcat a system of physiology as the imperfect state of human knowledge will admit. This valuable work is the result of no less than thirty years labour; for which the indefatigable author deserves the sincere thanks of every lover and promoter of science: nevertheless, in his preface he complains much of illiberal treatment from a numerous tribe of opponents. It is indeed wonderful that a writer of such acknowjedged candour and impartiality, who never offers his own opinion but with the greatest modesty, and who always corrects the errours of others in the most gentleman-like manner, should have been fo undefervedly abused by authors of a much inferior class, particularly by Albinus.

Part the first, of this volume, treats of generation and conccption. Here the reader is presented with a view of the most considerable systems, particularly those of Buffon and Lewenhoek, together with the arguments for and against each. Those who have not leisure to confult Mr. Buffon's voluminous Hiroire Naturelle, will likewise find in this part a very judicious

abstract

« ZurückWeiter »