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We are dividing the history of the expansion of the Saracens into an Asiatic-Egyptian and an African-European order of development. This division is founded not on outward, but on internal reasons. Even at the present time Islam in Northern Africa presents an appearance quite different from the Islam of Asia and Egypt. The reason for this must be sought in the totally different composition of the population. The Aramaic element of Nearer Asia and Coptic Egypt offered much less resistance to the Arabian nationality and the Arabian language than did the Persian element in Mid-Asia. The Berbers or Moors of Northern Africa take up a middle position between these two; they certainly accepted Islam and Arabian culture, but they remodelled them, and preserved their own nationality in their customs and to a large extent also in their language. Moreover, an encroachment of Islam into Europe in so significant a form as that experienced in the Middle Ages would have been scarcely conceivable without the great masses of the Berbers, who were always on the move. Later too the Saracens of Southern Europe continually appear in political relations with Africa. The history of Islam in Europe is therefore indissolubly connected with its history in Northern Africa, whilst on the other hand it is in reality merely associated with the history of the Eastern Caliphate by a certain community of culture and religion.

The commixture of Arabs and Berbers, which gave the impress to the whole of the Islam of the West, was a slow process. Centuries passed, but in the end Islam has attained what Phoenicians and Romans strove for in vain. These two great colonising nations always settled principally in the towns on the coast, and doubtless assimilated the Berbers crowding round them; in spite however of all the settlements of colonists by Rome, the flat country and especially the hinterland remained in Berber hands. As Mommsen says, the Phoenicians and Romans have been swept away, but the Berbers have remained, like the palm trees and the desert sand. With the destruction of the Roman power the influence of the widespread organisationof the Berber tribes grew and the Byzantine restoration under Justinian was limited by the growth of the Berber element. The exarchs had continually to deal with insurrections of the Berbers, and were probably scarcely able to exercise authority outside the limits of the ever decreasing number of towns held by garrisons which commanded respect. It is therefore clear from the beginning that it was not the Byzantines who made the occupation of Northern Africa difficult for the Arabians, but the Berbers, who in their time of need made common cause with their former tyrants against the new intruder. The Arabs had much trouble to make it clear to the Berbers at the point of the sword that their real interest lay with Islam and not against it. As soon as they had once realised this fact they accepted the Arabs for their leaders and flooded Southern Europe, while in Africa the nascent civilisation of Islam effected an entrance, though it received a Berber national colouring.

The continued occupation of Alexandria called for a screening of the flank by occupying also the adjoining territory of Barka. Barka was the leading community of the ancient Pentapolis. The rich towns of this group at once experienced the consequence of the occupation of Egypt when the Arabians appeared before them. It has been already mentioned that the Arabs through Amr made peace with Barkaimmediately after the occupation of Alexandria. That took place as early as the autumn of the year 642 and the winter thereupon following, under the leadership of Ukba ibn Nafi, of whom more is yet to be said. The Pentapolis belonged thenceforward permanently to the Empire of Islam, although retaining in the first instance administrative independence. Bordering on Barka was the ancient Proconsular Africa, the eastern half of which, lying between the Greater and the Lesser Syrtis, was clearly distinguished by the Arabs under the title of Tripolis, from the northern half, with the capital Carthage, this latter territory being termed by them simply Africa (Ifrikiya). After the occupation of Barka various raids took place even under Amr (642-643), these extending throughout the whole territory of Tripolis, while individual detachments went southward into the desert. There can be little doubt that even at that time Ukba pushed forward as far as Fezzan (Zawila) and another Amir of the name of Busr penetrated to the Oasis of Jufra Waddan). This latter incident took place while Amr was besieging Tripolis, which he finally occupied at least temporarily. At the Nafusa mountains Amr turned back, as the Caliph was averse to pushing forward any further. In spite of these successes there was for the time being no question of any permanent settlement of the Arabs westward of Barka. Ukba may have undertaken some small isolated expeditions with Barka as a base, but the main fighting forces of Egypt were concentrated round Alexandria, which once more had temporarily fallen into the hands of the Byzantines.

Only after Alexandria had been reconquered and Abdallah ibn Sad had become governor of Egypt was a new expedition to the west on a larger scale undertaken under his guidance, probably as early as the end of 647. The Byzantine state authority was now in complete dissolution. The Patricius Gregory of Carthage had revolted the year before, probably because, after the second fall of Alexandria, he considered himself safe from any energetic steps on the part of the Greeks. Nevertheless Carthage itself does not appear to have given him its adhesion, and he   based his rule in fact on the Berbers, for which reason he took up his residence in the interior, in the ancient Sufetula, the present Sbeitla.  To how small an extent he must have been master of the situation is proved by the fact that he did not even take the field against Abdallah. The latter, with separated detachments, plundered the territory of Tripolis, without being able to take the town itself; one Arab division in fact appears at that time to have penetrated to Ghadames. When Abdallah arrived at the site of the subsequent Kairawan he turned and marched on Sbeitla, where he annihilated Gregory’s army. The fate of the Patricius himself is uncertain; probably he fell in battle. This battle is also named after Akuba, a place lying somewhat further to the north. But here again no consolidation of the Arabian rule resulted. A counter attack on the part of the still unconquered towns was to be   feared, and Abdallah therefore allowed himself to be persuaded to retire on payment of an enormous sum of money, stated to have been 300 talents. The whole expedition lasted somewhat more than a year (647-648).

Hereupon the confusion following on the assassination of the Caliph Othman brought the expansion for the time being to a standstill. When however Muawiya had asserted his authority and his faithful ally Amr had again become master in Egypt, the expeditions towards the west were renewed, and in these Amr’s nephew, the Ukba ibn Nafi above mentioned, appears to have been the moving spirit, operating from Barka as a base. Along with him a number of other leaders are mentioned, who undertook small excursions against various Berber tribes and against such towns as the ancient Lepta (660-663). All details are dubious; of the subsequent period too our knowledge is but scanty. Probably after the death of Amr Africa was entrusted, at all events temporarily, as a separate province to Muawiya ibn Hudaij, the head of Muawiya’s Egyptian party in his fight against Othman; this man was sent out directly by the Caliph with a considerable army against the united Byzantines and Berbers, and defeated them. The fortress of Jalula wastaken by him. Muawiya’s expedition was in conjunction with a diversion   of the fleet against Sicily, of which more remains to be said. This event   may be dated with tolerable accuracy as having occurred in the year 664.

Shortly afterwards Ukba ibn Nafi appears to have become the successor of Ibn Hudaij. After a brilliant raid through the chain of oases on the northern fringe of the Sahara, where he renewed the Arabian dominion, he undertook in the year 670 an expedition against the so-called Proconsular Africa, where he founded, as an Arabian camp and strategical point of support, on the same lines as Basra and Kufa, Kairawan, which became later so famous. Shortly afterwards, at most in a few years, he was recalled.    

Under Ibn Hudaij and Ukba Africa had grown into a province   independent of Egypt; now it was once more attached to Egypt. The new governor-general Maslama ibn Mukhallad sent his freedman Dinar Abu-l-Muhajir as Ukba’s successor. By him Ukba was put in chains; Maslama plainly disapproved Ukba’s policy. He had good reason for his disagreement, for Ukba was the type of the arbitrary, reckless leader of the Arabian horsemen; proud as he was, he knew no such  thing as compromise, and in his view the Arabs were to conquer by the sword and not by diplomacy; he punished all renegades without mercy. Many Berbers had indeed accepted Islam as long as a contingent of   Arabian troops was in their neighbourhood, only to secede as soon as   the latter had withdrawn. Ukba treated with impolitic haughtiness the proud leaders of the Berbers who allied themselves with him. His   much-renowned raids were displays of bravado without lasting success, but they were in accordance with the taste of Arabian circles and as   later on he met his death on one of these expeditions in the far west,   his fame was still further enhanced by the martyr’s crown. Thus even   at the present day Sidi Ukba is a popular saint in Northern Africa. Tested by the judgment of history his less-known successor Dinar was a   much greater man, for it was he who first vigorously opposed the   Byzantines and at the same time he was the pioneer in paving the way   to an understanding with the Berbers.    

After having proved his superior strength, Dinar appears to have won over the Berbers, especially their leader Kusaila, by conciliatory tactics. With their assistance he proceeded against the Byzantines of Carthage. Though he could not yet take the town he occupied other neighbouring portions of their territory. Thereupon he undertook an advance far to   the westward, right away to Tlemcen, which he could do without risk   owing to his relations with the Berbers.

In the meantime Ukba had succeeded in obtaining once more from the Caliph Yazid the supreme command in Northern Africa (681-682).   He took revenge on Dinar by leading him around in chains on all his   expeditions. He again formed the main Muslim camp at Kairawan, whence Dinar had removed it, and he approached the Berbers once again with true Arabian haughtiness; in short, in all matters he acted on lines diametrically opposed to those of his predecessor. The result   proves the correctness of Dinar’s policy, for the powerful Kusaila incited the Berbers against Ukba and fled on the earliest opportunity from his camp. Ukba therefore proceeded westwards under much less favourable conditions than Dinar, and though he advanced beyond Tlemcen to Tangier and appears after crossing the Atlas to have even penetrated   right to the Atlantic Ocean, yet on the return journey both he and his prisoner Dinar were cut down by mutinous Berbers. They could not have been surprised if he had not fancied the whole of the west already   conquered, and therefore divided up his army into small detachments.   Or it may be that he was no longer able to keep together the troops, who were laden with booty. And thus at Tahudha, not far from Biskra,   he suffered the martyr’s death (683). This was the signal for a   general rising of the Berbers and the renewal of their co-operation with the Byzantines. The Arabs were compelled to relinquish Africa, and Zubair ibn Kais, the commandant of Kairawan, led the troops back. Kusaila was enabled to wander unpunished with his bands throughout all Africa. Thus at the time of the death of the Caliph Yazid the whole of Africa beyond Barka was again lost. This fact further con-firms our judgment of the vastly too much celebrated Ukba.

 Abd-al-Malik attempted as early as 688-689, if we may believe the unanimous opinion of the Arabs, to restore the Caliph’s authority in Africa. He did not wait, as might have been expected, until after the conclusion of the civil war against the opposition Caliph, Abdallah ibn Zubair. This new expedition however, commanded by the same Zubair, did not proceed against the Byzantines, but against Kusaila, for in   all these wars the Byzantine towns managed in a masterly way to make   use of the Berbers as a bulwark. First of all Kairawan which had   drifted under Berber rule was freed, and then a further advance was made against the Mons Aurasius, Kusaila’s base. Kusaila was defeated in a bloody battle and fell, whilst Zubair ’s troops penetrated as far as Sicca Veneria, the present Kef, and it may be even further. The energy of the Arabs was however then exhausted. On the return march a fate similar to Ukba’s overtook Zubair, and from similar causes. The Byzantines had in fact taken advantage of his absence to attack Barka. Zubair with a few faithful followers was cut down by them.

 Kairawan however remained in the hands of the Arabs and now began from this point outwards the work of the real pacificator, Hassan ibn   an-Numan, though we do not quite know when the arrangement of the   conditions was placed in his hands. As the first Syrian Amir on African soil he thoroughly understood how to combine severe discipline with astute diplomacy. In all material points he adopted Dinar’s policy. Like Dinar he recognised in the first instance the Byzantines as his main enemy. As soon as the arrival of the auxiliary troops sent by   the Caliph permitted him to do so, he advanced against the still   unvanquished Carthage, and conquered it in the summer of 697.   Following this up he defeated the united Byzantines and Berbers at Satfura, to the north-east of Tunis, but without being able to prevent them from again concentrating at Bizerta. In the autumn of the same year certainly the Arabs lost Carthage again to the Patricius Johannes, but his powerful fleet was dispersed in the summer of 698 by a still   greater Arabian fleet, and thus the fate of the town was sealed. From this time onward the Arabs were supreme at sea, so that it is by no means the land troops only of Hassan which decided the final fate of Northern Africa. In his policy towards the Berbers he was at first not fortunate. A holy prophetess, the so-called Kahina, had roused the Berber tribes to a united advance and had thus become the successor of   Kusaila. On the banks of the little river Nini, not far distant from Bagai, on one of the spurs of Mons Aurasius, she defeated Hassan’s  army, which was driven back as far as Tripolis. But in the long run   the Kahina was not able to maintain her position, and the clever   diplomacy of Hassan appears also to have won over several tribes and   leaders from her circle. Thus Hassan’s final victory over the Kahina a few years later at Gafes becomes at the same time the commencement of a fraternisation with the Berbers. It is extremely difficult to fix the   chronological sequence of the fights against the Kahina in regard to   the expeditions against Carthage. If they are placed between the two   conquests of Carthage, as has been done, then the whole chronological   structure falls to pieces; it is therefore the simplest to assume the date   of Hassan’s defeat as occurring only after the final fall of Carthage and   to date his victory as about 703. For in the end it was not the land   army but the fleet which rendered possible the occupation and retention   of the Byzantine coast towns. The peace with the Berbers however   led them into the camp of the Arabs and thus too the final fate of such Byzantine towns as might still be holding out was sealed. And now, with Islam as their watchword, heads of certain of the Berber tribes, appointed by the Arabs, advanced against the tribes of the west, who   still remained independent. The prospect of booty and land united the former enemies, who were moreover so similar to each other in their whole style of living; the moment now approaches when Africa becomes   too confined for this new wave of population, which the influx of Islam has brought to flood level. The latinised and hellenised population of the towns appears to a large extent to have migrated to Spain and   Sicily, for in a remarkably short time Latin civilisation disappeared   from Northern Africa.

 The Arabs only conquered Northern Africa after they had relinquished   their first policy of plunder for that of a permanent occupation. The commencement of the new policy was Ukba’s foundation of Kairawan.  By that step however in the first place only the starting-place for the   raids was changed. Dinar was the first seriously to consider the question   of not merely plundering the open country but of taking the fortified towns; and in this design his Berber policy was to support him. These plans however could only be carried out when more troops became   available for Africa after the restoration of unity in the empire by Abd-al-Malik, further when the fleet began also to co-operate, and when   simultaneously a clever diplomatist effected the execution of Dinar’s plans in regard to the Berbers in more extended style. This man however was Hassan ibn an-Numan.

His policy was continued by Musa ibn Nusair, who is regarded in history as the actual pacificator of Northern Africa and the conqueror of Spain. Musa appears to have assumed office in the year 708, though tradition on the point is rather shaky. The first years of his government were occupied with the subjection of the western Berbers, the latter years being devoted to the conquest of Spain, in which work his freedman and military commander Tarik had paved the way for him. The conquest of Spain must be ascribed less to the craving of the Arabs for expansion than to the fact that the newly-subjected tribes of Moors, whom the prospect of booty had lured to the banner of Islam, had to be kept employed. At the seat of the Caliphate these far-reaching enterprises were followed with a certain amount of misgiving.

 There certainly was little time available to intervene, for events   followed one after the other in precipitate haste, and the frail kingdom of the Goths fell into the hands of the conquerors like a ripe fruit by a windfall. The actual cause is obscure. History tells of disputes in   regard to the succession, and that the last king of the Goths, Roderick, who succumbed to the Arabs, was a usurper. Tradition tells of a certain Count Julian, the Christian ruler of Ceuta, whose daughter had been violated by Roderick, and who therefore led the Arabs and Berbers to Spain to satisfy his vengeance. Few characters in the earlier history of Islam have interested the historians to such an extent as this Julian, of whom it is not definitely known to which nation he belonged and to which sovereignty he owed allegiance. According to the reconstruction of Wellhausen and Codera he was not named Julian at all, but Urban; he was probably of Moorish ancestry   and a vassal of the Gothic kings, but all beyond this is pure hypothesis.

 Induced apparently by the struggles for the throne in the Gothic  kingdom, and probably less with a view to conquer than to plunder, Tarik crossed into Spain in the year 711 with 7000 Berbers, who were subsequently supplemented to a total of 12,000, and landed near to the   rock which still bears his name. (Gibraltar = Gebel Tarik = Mount   Tarik.) After having collected his troops, Tarik appears to have practised highway robbery along the coast from Gibraltar westwards and to have gone around the Laguna de la Janda in the south. King Roderick opposed him in the valley of the Wadi Bekka, nowadays called Salado, between the lake and the town of Medina Sidonia. According to the earliest Spanish tradition the site is also   named after the neighbouring Transductine promontory (Cape Spartel).     It was here, not at Vejer (or Jerez) de la Frontera, that the great decisive battle was fought in July 711, in which the Gothic army, thanks to the treachery of Roderick ‘s political enemies, was defeated by Tarik’s troops.The king himself probably fell in the battle, for he disappeared at all events from this day forward.    

This great success led to an unexampled triumphal procession, which   can only be explained by the fact that the rule of the Goths was deeply   hated among the native population. As on Byzantine ground, so here too had political and religious blunders set the various elements of the population at variance, and thus prepared the way for the invasion.  The Jews especially, against whom an unscrupulous war of extermination  had been waged by the fanatical orthodox section, welcomed the Arabs   and Berbers as their deliverers. The towns alone, in which the Gothic knighthood held predominance, offered any effective resistance. Tarik  must have been very accurately informed of the condition of the country;  the authorities represent him as advised in his arrangements for the  whole of the further campaign by Julian (Urban). The sequel certainly  justified the daring plan of pushing forward to Toledo, the capital of  the Gothic kings ; the more important cities of the south, Seville, were left to themselves, others, as Malaga and Archidona, were subdued   by small detachments; the main body of the army proceeded by Ecija  and Cordova to Toledo. It was only at Ecija that Tarik met with any   vigorous resistance, and at this point a battle ensued, which is described as the most severe and stubborn of the whole campaign. Cordova and   Toledo fell by treachery. The aristocracy and the higher ranks of the  priesthood did not even await the arrival of the Muslims, but either   repaired to places of safety or sought union with the conquerors.   

 Tarik was thus master of the half of Spain by the end of the summer of 711. His unprecedented successes aroused the jealousy of Musa, his superior officer and patron, who had remained passively in Northern Africa, because a systematic conquest of Spain was not intended in   Tarik’s expedition; only one of the customary summer raids of the   Muslim troops. Tarik had however now destroyed the Gothic kingdom.  Musa nevertheless, desiring for himself the fame and the material advantages attending on the conquest of wealthy Spain, advanced thither also with 18,000 troops in the following spring, and landed in   June. Purposely avoiding Tarik’s tracks, he first of all conquered the   towns which still held out, prominent among which were Medina Sidonia,   Carmona and Seville. Seville was the intellectual centre of Spain; it   had been the seat of government for centuries under the Romans, and under the Goths it had not lost its former splendour. It was only   captured after a siege of several months’ duration. From the campaign of Musa it can be seen that Tarik’s stratagem had by no means destroyed all resistance, but that the heavy work of the conquest of the   country had to follow the rapid occupation of the capital. The Arabs would scarcely have succeeded in the conquest of Spain without the internal   disorders which had preceded their arrival, and the consequent want of discipline and unity. Even as it was, after the fall of Seville, Musa still met with obstinate resistance before Merida, whose impregnable walls resisted all attempts at undermining. The inhabitants however   finally recognised their advantage in peacefully surrendering the town   (30 June 713). Seville too rose once more in revolt, but was finally   subjugated by Musa’s son, Abd-al-Aziz. It was only after all these   successes that Musa could enter Toledo, where Tarik awaited him.    

Musa now vented his anger on his too-successful subordinate, but soon afterwards the same fate overtook himself. His letter of recall, signed by the Caliph Walid (713-714), reached him 15 months after his landing, and but few weeks after his entry into Toledo. The victorious old man slowly made his way overland towards Syria, taking   enormous treasures with him. Arabian papyri in the British Museum have preserved various data in regard to the expenses of provisioning  his princely train during his temporary stay in Egypt. In Damascus he   fell into disfavour and does not again appear in the foreground. His sons too, of whom he had left Abd-al-Aziz as governor in Spain, and the others in Africa, did not long enjoy the fruits of their father’s great   deeds, for they also were soon either deposed or murdered.   

This account of events in the conquest of Spain is chiefly based on Arabian sources, the importance of which, as compared with the certainly valuable Latin historians, has been decidedly undervalued in recent times. According to the latter Musa, and not Tarik, was the actual conqueror of Spain; they represent Tarik as merely the victor in the battle at the Transductine promontory, whilst Musa consummated his   triumphal march by the conquest of Toledo; of any opposition between Musa and Tarik there is no mention. Both groups of authorities agree in recording that under Musa, or at least by his direction, Saragossa also was taken. Notwithstanding contradictory reports, it is certain that Musa did not also cross the Pyrenees.   

 The crossing of this range did not take place until a few years later (717 or 718), under the leadership of Musa’s fourth successor, Hurr.   North of the Pyrenees, in the same way as to the south, the quarrels of the various races offered the Arabs an inducement to invade the country, and with the then prevalent lack of geographical knowledge the seemingly possible idea of reaching Constantinople by land from Gaul may have haunted their brains, for was not the fall of the proud imperial city the   ardently desired end and aim of the foreign policy of the Caliphs? The   leaders of the expeditions sent out from Spain had however more obvious designs; it was the booty, which might reasonably be looked for in the   rich treasures of the convents and churches of Gaul, which lured them onwards. The daring march, which subsequently led to the celebrated defeat of Tours or Poitiers, is directly attributed by the authorities to this lust of booty. The chief officers of the Merovingians were engaged   in fighting with the dukes of Aquitaine. While the France of the future was gradually gaining ground in the north in the midst of heated   fighting, the dukes of Aquitaine were threatened on all sides. The   Duke Eudo of Aquitaine had to sustain the first onslaught of the   Arabs, and this was finally broken against Eudo’s iron-willed adversary,   Charles Martel.  

  Details of the raids made by Hurr are not known. They were   continued by his successor Samh, who captured Narbonne in 720, and this formed the base of operations for the Spanish attacking forces until 759. The further undertakings of Samh however were a failure. He endeavoured to conquer Toulouse in 721 by attacking it with battering rams. But Duke Eudo relieved the distressed town and won a decisive victory. The leader of the Muslims fell in battle. This was the first great success of a Germanic prince over the Muslims, so long accustomed to victory. It was not the last; for the later expeditions of the Muslims were no longer crowned with success; in fact Eudo began to utilise to his own ends the growing difficulties between the Arabs and the Berbers. After a pause the Spanish Amir Abd-ar-Rahman prepared to strike a great blow. He proceeded in 732 over the Pyrenees, defeated Duke Eudo between the Garonne and the Dordogne, and followed to the vicinity of Tours, attracted by the church treasures   of the town. Here he was met by Charles Martel, whom Eudo had called to his assistance, and was vanquished in the battle of Tours or Poitiers, 732, which lasted several days. Here the complete superiority of the northern temperament over that of the southerners displayed itself. According to the report of the historians the Frankish warriors   stood firm as a wall, inflexible as a block of ice. The light cavalry of the   Caliphs failed against them. It was however not only the temperament, but also the physical superiority of the Teutons, which asserted itself in any fighting at close quarters, that won the battle. When the Teutons after the last day’s fighting, in which the Muslims had lost their leader, wished to renew the struggle, they found that the Arabs had fled. The entire camp, with the whole of the munitions of war, fell into the hands   of the victors.    

The battle of Tours or Poitiers has often been represented as an event of the first magnitude in the world's history, because after this the penetration of Islam into Western Europe was finally brought to a standstill. The Arabs certainly undertook occasional raids, in regard to which we have but scanty information; they occupied, for instance, Arles and Narbonne, until they were expelled thence by Charles Martel and Pepin. In these expeditions however the Arabs only appear as allies of the grandees of Southern Gaul, who desired with their help to   ward off the advance of Charles. The Caliph Hisham, at that time in       power, certainly encouraged a vigorous expansion in connexion with his   policy of restoration; but the attack of the Saracens was no longer successful, and as early as 759 the Arabs had to relinquish Narbonne, their last base north of the Pyrenees, to Pepin. The Saracen assault was therefore apparently broken by the battle of Tours or Poitiers; but   only apparently, for that which might be regarded as cause and effect was   but a chronological coincidence. Every movement has its limits, and the   migration of the Arabs would not have been enough to place the requisite forces of men in the field for a permanent occupation even of Spain if they had not sought them outside their own limits among the Berbers.  By joining the Arabs and conquering Spain for them, the Berbers carried the Saracen movement into another new country, but at the same time they made it heterogeneous, and as an addition to the internal Arabian feuds they created a new one, that between Arabs and Berbers. This   strife, still latent during the first years of victory, came to light about   the time of the battle of Tours or Poitiers. But a further cause  rendered additional Saracen raids into Gaul impossible. In the northern   corner of Spain a remnant of the opposition against the penetration of   Islam had preserved its independence as a State; year by year this small   State grew in size, and in a short time it inserted itself like a wedge   between the Arabian magnates and the Pyrenees. On this was founded the legend of St Pelagius, which is treated more fully in another part of   this work.   

 Under these circumstances the expansion of the Muslims came to a natural standstill from internal causes, and the consequences of the battle of Tours or Poitiers must therefore not be exaggerated. The plundering of these towns would decidedly not have resulted in a permanent occupation of Gaul by the Saracens. Their defeat before Constantinople was of vastly greater significance. The fall of Constantinople would have entirely remodelled the history of the East, as in   fact it did, seven centuries later.

The battle then of Tours or Poitiers marked the extreme point of   advance of the Saracens into Western Europe, but it was not the cause of the sudden stoppage, or rather recess of the movement. That fact lay, as above stated, in the feud between Arabs and Berbers. This strife was bound to be so much the more fatal for the Arabs, as at the same time the discord between Kais and Kalb in the East made its influence felt in the West also, and thus broke up the compact unity of the hitherto paramount nationality. The details of this process have little value for the history of the Saracen expansion treated in these chapters. A brief description of the principal events will suffice to explain the   other great advance of the Saracens against Mid-Europe (Sicily, Sardinia   and South Italy).

 The whole of the western portion of the empire of the Caliph, the so-called Maghrib, i.e. Northern Africa and Spain, was placed after the completion of the conquest under various governors, who had their seat of government in Kairawan. The Spanish sub-prefects however often had an almost independent position. They resided at first at Seville, but shortly afterwards chose as the seat of government Cordova, which was thus destined for centuries to become the brilliant residence of the western Caliphate. Until its secession from the eastern   main empire, and in fact for centuries afterwards, the destinies of Spain were united in the closest manner with those of Northern Africa through the Berbers, who were now settled on both sides of the Straits of   Gibraltar. Thus it came that Spain, on the outbreak of Berber unrest in Northern Africa, was at once drawn into this fatal movement. The only difference was that in Northern Africa the Berbers were the   subjects, who had however expected to attain an equal footing with the Arabs by the adoption of Islam, whilst in Spain the Arabs and Berbers had together conquered a foreign land, whose wealth and territory they divided. At this stage the Arabs committed the great   mistake of showing themselves too ostentatiously as the masters, i.e. in Africa they proceeded arrogantly and violently against the proud  Berbers, who had cost so much trouble to subdue, whilst in Spain they  allotted the Berbers the worst portion of the booty. This caused a first revolt, which was however but partial. The Berber Munusa in Northern Spain declared his independence, and entered into friendly, even family connexions with the Duke Eudo. His call however found  but little response among his countrymen, and he was put down with   little trouble (729 or 730).   

 More serious were the developments in Africa. It was at the   time of Caliph Hisham, under whom the revision of Omar’s system of taxation, which had gradually become a necessity, was enforced more generally and energetically. The bureaucracy which accompanied this revision, and the Asiatic despotism which was gradually creeping in,   were nowhere so unsuitable as in the mountain homes of the Berbers, who were only held in check by diplomacy and the prospect of booty. As with the Orientals in general and especially with the Berbers every   national or economical opposition easily assumes a religious tinge, so it   was in this case too. We have already spoken of the Kharijites, who  had detached themselves from Ali after the battle of Siffin. Their doctrine was that of the absolute sovereignty of the people, who were justified at all times in deposing an unjust Caliph or Imam. We have already indicated that the Umayyads had much trouble with these people. The profession of the doctrine of the Kharijites was one of   the most important forms in which the opposition against the growing   despotism and the bureaucracy found expression, especially among the  old- Arabian circles, just as, among the Persians, this opposition took   the form of the Shia. With the increasing tension betwixt Umayyad troops and the Berber populace, the Kharijite ideas had an unsuspected    spread among the latter. And as the Arabs had now lost their readiness   for battle by reason of their tribal feuds, the Berbers ventured, under  the Caliph Hisham, openly to secede. After local revolts, which were  quickly suppressed, a serious rebellion began in the extreme west. The   whole territory of what is now called Morocco within a short period   shook off the domination of the Arabs (741). Hisham hereupon sent   a powerful army, composed of the best Syrian troops, to Africa, and it was intended that this force should co-operate with the garrisons already  there. But the feuds amongst the Arabs themselves more than counter-  balanced their better equipment, and in consequence the Berbers won a   mighty victory (741) at the river Sebu, or, as the best Latin authority   gives it, super fluvium Nauam,; and thus put in doubt the supremacy   of the Arabs. Later on numerous fugitives crossed over into Spain and   brought new confusion into the confusion there prevailing. But here as   there for a short period the authority of Damascus was once more restored. Hanzala ibn Safwan, the new governor, managed by time-honoured methods to prevent common action on the part of the Berbers,   and then later vanquished the main body of the Berber troops (742) at Asnam, not far from Kairawan. His representative, Abu-l-Khattar, then enforced order in Spain. The Berber revolt was thus broken, but it was the Berbers notwithstanding, and not the Arabs, who decided the   destinies of the countries. Though the majority returned to Muslim   orthodoxy, remnants of the Kharijites have maintained their position   in Northern Africa even to the present day, under the name of Ibadites.    

This peace lasted scarcely three years. Spain arose out of the new   tumults as an independent State, for which a period of high prosperity  was in prospect. In North Africa too a series of independent States was   gradually formed. After the residence of the Caliph had been removed   nearer to Central Asia it was probably natural that the Mediterranean territories, inhabited by a vigorous population, should begin   a separate existence as States. After the fall of the Umayyads the   countries to the east of Barka, permeated by the Saracen expansion, only   occasionally and then only nominally held common cause with the   Eastern Empire. The first usurper preserved at least the appearance of   dependence. In the year 745 Abd-ar-Rahman ibn Habib, of the tribe of Fihr, declared himself in Tunis independent of the governor Hanzala,   who had conducted the affairs of the Maghrib since the revolt of  Kairawan. Belonging to a race long tried and approved on African soil, Abd-ar-Rahman could count on followers by reason of the universal discontent. By a brutal intrigue he compelled Hanzala to leave Africa  without drawing the sword. The last of the Umayyads, Marwan, subsequently legalised the de facto authority of Abd-ar-Rahman. For this   Abd-ar-Rahman paid a small tribute and named the Caliph in his pulpit prayers, but he was otherwise his own master; and his position was not influenced by the change in the dynasty in the East. When the rule of  the Abbasids had become consolidated and it was proposed to make an  energetic attack on him from Bagdad, he renounced his obedience to the Abbasids and received fugitive Umayyads as honoured guests in   Kairawan (754-755). These Umayyad princes however brought discord   into Abd-ar-Rahman’s family, in connexion with which he himself and   two of the princes met their deaths. A third prince, Abd-ar-Rahman   ibn Muawiya, forced his way through to Spain and became the founder   of the western Caliphate. In Africa the murder of Ibn Habib led to a   general disorganisation and set free all the tendencies towards decentralisation. Independent Berber dynasties arose in the extreme West, as   for instance the Banu Midrar in Sijilmasa (757) and Banu Rustam in   Tahert (761), the latter under the banner of the Kharijites ; in the   nearer West the Arabs on the one hand and the Berbers, who had also   separated into parties, on the other, fought for the possession of   Kairawan, which did not again acknowledge the authority of the   Abbasids until 761 , and then only for a short time ; the province of   Africa, as far as to the border of Algeria, was once more restored,   though with disturbances and interruptions, but the whole of the far   West remained irretrievably lost.    

Here in the far West a third State was soon founded. A descendant   of Ali named Idris, who had fled from the Abbasids, created for himself,  in the year 788, an independent kingdom, which soon extended eastward  to beyond the town of Tlemcen. Here again a clever leader managed to unite the Berbers by a religious party-cry. The kingdom of the Idrisids was the first Shiite State founded in the West.  

  The remainder of the province of Maghrib once so extensive was moreover destined to make itself independent in the last decade of the   eighth century. The constant dissensions between the Arab leaders and tribes could no longer be permanently controlled by the governors sent from Bagdad. The Amir of Mzab (in the back-country of Algeria) Ibrahim ibn Aghlab, who had grown up in Africa, and whose father had been the means of reconquering the Mzab, was on the other hand the right   man in the right place to restore state authority (800). When he had   succeeded in this however he demanded from the Caliph the hereditary investiture in return for payment of a tribute and the customary naming of the Caliph in the pulpit prayers and on the coinage. This amounted to complete independence. Thus arose the dynasty of the Aghlabids of Kairawan, which gave to Africa a series of clever, but also often worthless, rulers. In proportion to the smallness of their kingdom they had a considerable naval force, and thus they became the leaders of the expansion of Islam into Mid-Europe. It was under them that Sicily was conquered.    

Before turning however to Sicily, we must still sketch the further   destinies of Northern Africa, in as far as it is connected with the history   of Islam in Southern Europe. In spite of their brilliant performances the authority of the Aghlabids was in a tottering state. The diversion to Sicily of the generals and troops, always inclining towards insubordination, gave them a respite for a considerable time; after lasting for a century their kingdom was destroyed by the political lack of discipline of the Berber tribes and by bloody quarrels within the dynasty itself.

 These conditions were cleverly utilised by the Shiite opposition, which just at that time, after many ill-successes in Asia, had pushed  forward into Africa, where the propaganda of the Idrisids had paved the way for them. The leader of the movement was named Ubaidallah,  whose descent from Ali is by no means established beyond doubt; the   race itself however was called, after Fatima, the daughter of the Prophet,   the Fatimites. When Ubaidallah had become master of the situation   in the year 909, through the fortunate trend of circumstances and  his skill in recruiting, he assumed the cognomen Mahdi, i.e. the   directed one, a title in which the old claims of Ali’s kinsmen to the   Caliphate found expression. Mahdi founded a new capital, Mahdiya, and established a State which for centuries held the supremacy in the   eastern Mediterranean. For this end of course the possession of Egypt was needed, but the acquisition of this was first effected by Muizz   (969), Mahdi’s third successor, who was the founder of Cairo. The  centre of gravity of the Fatimite kingdom was now transferred eastward,   especially when Syria also was conquered. Africa soon attained independence again as a State under Yusuf Bulukkin, a Berber of the   Sanhaja, the governor appointed by the Fatimites; Yusuf founded the   dynasty of the Zirids (972-1148), alongside of whom the Hammadids   held their ground in the West, and specially in Algeria, from 1107 till 1152. The kingdom of the Idrisids in Morocco had in the meantime been split up into a number of petty principalities. The Fatimites however remained the rulers of the eastern territory, and under them Egypt experienced its most brilliant times, but suffered also its worst defeat. In 1171 the heir to the Fatimite kingdom was Saladin.    

We were compelled to give an anticipatory sketch of the history of North Africa until the commencement of the times of the Crusades, in   order to understand the second great advance of the Saracens against Sicily and Southern Italy as one connected whole. Incidents from the standpoint of individual countries, these regular attacks of the Muslims on Mid-Europe are presented, in the light of universal history, as a connected movement, which naturally closes with the occupation of   Sicily and also of parts of the Continent. As in Spain, the reaction of   the Christian world follows upon the action of Islam. Just as they   came, so the Muslims are gradually forced back. Here we have to do with the forward action alone, and though from chance reasons this   took place much later in Sicily and Italy than in Spain or Asia Minor,   yet its description comes notwithstanding within the scope of a general history of the expansion of the Saracens, for the conquest of Sicily is connected in the most intimate way with the occupation of Northern Africa, and could only succeed after the conditions in the latter territory   had somewhat improved. It is the same movement which took the   Saracens across the Straits of Gibraltar. The subsequent advance of   the world of Islam against Eastern Europe and the occupation of   Constantinople by the Turks are in no way connected with the original movement as described here; the events now related below are the last   ramification of the Arabian exodus.

As Michele Amari says in his classical work on the Muslims in Sicily, only a glance at the map is needed to show that Sicily must be involved in continuous war with the Saracens after their occupation of Africa. And yet this same great historian represents the first naval expedition against Sicily not as starting from Africa but from Syria, and that too at a time when the subsequent Caliph Muawiya was still governor of Syria. The strongly contradictory reports about this event may most easily be reconciled by regarding the first appearance of an   Arabian fleet in Sicily as taking place under the Caliphate of Muawiya, and connecting it with the expedition of his African governor, Muawiya ibn Hudaij, against the Byzantines (664). Arabian tradition also accepts this Ibn Hudaij as the leader. It is quite probable that he himself never saw Sicily, but that the raid was made under his orders by   his representative, Abdallah ibn Kais. It is however quite certain that   this naval expedition did not start from Syria but from the Pentapolis (Barka); the Syrian fleet had opportunities of booty nearer home; of the Pentapolis however we learn from the papyri that it was an important naval base in the seventh century, and here the fleet operating in the west received recruits from the fleets coming from Egypt. This opportunity serves to point out once again that, with the exception of special occasions the regular war of the Arabs against the Byzantines consisted of individual summer campaigns, which bore the name kourson and took place by water or on land. Prom this old custom piracy, that   terrible scourge of the western Mediterranean, was developed in course   of time as the great kingdoms became split up into small states, and the   name Corsair is also etymologically related to the word Koupson . The   despatch of the fleet by Ibn Hudaij was such a Koupson. The booty   consisted of captive women and church treasures, images, which according to the Arabian historians Muawiya endeavoured to sell for gold as quickly as possible among the idol-worshipping Indians.    

740-827]    Conquest of Sicily   

   Just as this first expedition against Sicily was connected with the occupation of Northern Africa, so we must not disconnect the   occasional raids of the following decades from the ever-increasing use of   the fleet in the western seat of war. It can therefore cause no surprise   that during the regime of the great pacificators of the Berbers, i.e.  under Hassan and Musa, war was waged on Sicily more frequently. At that time also the small island of Pantellaria, the stepping-stone between Africa and Sicily, was occupied by the Arabs, and Sardinia was  plundered. It is needless to recount in detail all these numerous   piratical expeditions against the islands of the Mediterranean. They   were the terror of the residents on the coast, but very little was in reality   attained by them. In any case Sicily must have been well defended. But if Syracuse itself could only purchase the retirement of Abd-ar-Rahman   ibn Habib by payment of tribute (740), and even if this ruler, after   acquiring the sovereignty in Northern Africa, attempted to gain Sicily   also, these matters were but incidents which had no influence on the   course of history. During the second half of the eighth century Sicily   was scarcely troubled at all by its tormentors, for, as we have seen,   Northern Africa was almost in a state of anarchy.   

 It was not until after a more powerful State had been formed by the  Aghlabids that the expeditions against Sicily were at once renewed.  Not only the Aghlabids but also the Idrlsids and even the Spanish  Muslims’ took part in these piratical raids, each as a rule on their own  account but occasionally working conjointly. When the Sicilians had   perhaps succeeded in completing a treaty with the Aghlabids and looked forward to a period of rest and peace, then the vessels of the  Idrisids would suddenly appear. A large proportion of these expeditions have another connexion, for the raids are episodes in the long   tight between the Franks and the Spanish Umayyads, but in the case of   many of these sudden attacks we cannot now determine the State to which the Saracens in question belonged. One expedition in the year  813 is specially well known to us, because it advanced far to the northward and even touched on Nice and Civita Vecchia. In the same year   or shortly afterwards Reggio also received a first Saracenic visitation.   Corsica in particular was in the midst of the fighting, whilst Sardinia   was better able to defend itself ; the smaller islands, e.g. the Pontine   group and even Ischia (8-12 Aug. 812), were occasionally attacked; in   fact, a revival of the Saracen expansion began. But still great successes   could not be recorded, for on the one hand various Saracenic fleets were   lost at sea through storms, and on the other hand not only the  Byzantines but also Charles the Great took energetic steps to secure   their lands against the ravages of the Saracens, though they generally   confined themselves to acting on the defensive. As for such a thing as   paying the Saracens off in their own coin by undertaking a piratical   expedition to Northern Africa, that occurred but once, when the African   coast between Utica and Carthage was terrorised by a small Frankish   fleet under Earl Bonifacius of Tyrrhenia.    

There was no really serious advance of the Saracens against European   territory, until the year 827. Acting not on their own initiative, butcalled in to the assistance of a Christian insurrection, the Aghlabids   conquered the rich island of Sicily. By this means an outpost of Islam was pushed forward close to Italy, and it followed as a matter of course   that the Saracens became an important factor in the diversified confusion   of the States of Central and Southern Italy. 

The occasion was a military revolt, such as was of everyday occurrence in Sicily, the “Siberia” of the Byzantine Empire. The details are not   clear, but we may probably assume, with Amari, that Euphemius, the leader of the rebels, was compelled to flee from the Byzantine governor, Photeinos. He went to Africa to Ziyadatallah I, the third prince of the race of Aghlabids, requested help, and promised, after the conquest   of the island, to regard himself as Ziyadatallah’s vassal. The latter   took counsel with his all-powerful minister, the Kadi Asad ibn al-Furat, then seventy years of age, who, as head of the clergy, was leader of the   internal policy of the Aghlabids, founded as it was on orthodoxy, and who moreover must be described as a military leader of eminence. The opportunity was favourable, and therefore no delay could be brooked in   carrying the religious war to the long-coveted island. Apart from this, no better opportunity could be found to keep the ever-insubordinate Arabs and Berbers employed. Thus the undertaking was resolved on   and at once commenced.    

The aged Kadi himself undertook to lead the army, consisting of   11,000 men, which landed at Mazara, defeated Photeinos and advanced  to Syracuse. But at this stage of the proceedings a reverse followed. The town was impregnable; an epidemic, to which Asad himself succumbed,  broke out among the besieging troops; Euphemius was murdered; the Byzantines sent fresh troops, but Ziyadatallah was unable to send reinforcements on account of the unrest in Africa. The Africans therefore were compelled to retire on Mazara and Mineo, and it began to   appear as if this energetic attempt to conquer the island would fail.   The blockaded Africans however were relieved by Spanish co-religionists   (829), and then the aspect of affairs was changed. Palermo was   conquered in the beginning of September 831 by fresh troops from Africa. The Muslims even began to form connexions with the States   on the Continent, of which we shall see more presently. The Byzantines were forced back step by step. For all that, the war lasted over ten years longer before the capture of Messina (probably 843) by the Aghlabid   prince, Abu-l-Aghlab Ibrahim. Byzantium could no longer help the   Sicilians, for all the troops were required in the East. They still   held out however at a few points. The apparently impregnable Castro- giovanni, situated on a high sugar-loaf mountain, which even to the  present has maintained a remarkably sinister medieval character, did   not fall till the year 859, after a long defence, into the hands of Abbas ibn al-Fadi, who had succeeded Ibrahim. But the energy of the undisciplined African soldiery did not last beyond this stage, and even before the island was completely conquered the Arabs and Berbers   were at daggers drawn and the Saracenic advance appears to come to a standstill here from the same reasons as in Southern France. The last energetic prince of the house of the Aghlabids, Ibrahim II, further succeeded (21 May 878) in capturing and destroying Syracuse. Later on he came himself to Sicily and attacked with brutal cruelty the   only Christian communities who were still independent, in the Etna district,   and he also destroyed Taormina (902). The conquest of Sicily was thus   completed. The re-conquest by the Normans did not begin till 1061.    

Ibrahim II met his death in the same year before Cosenza, after having carried the religious war across the straits into Calabria. He was not the first Saracen on Italian ground, for immediately after the conquest of Palermo the Aghlabid generals had interfered in the   internecine quarrels of the Lombard States in Southern Italy, and thus   these Aghlabids had soon become the terror of Southern and Central   Italy. Everyone who has travelled along the incomparable coast between Naples and Palermo knows the numerous Saracen towers, the   ruins of the coastguard towers, from which the approach of Sicilian or African fleets had to be announced. Even today, in the time of a peaceful, money-bringing invasion of foreigners, there still dwells in the   memories of the people occupying this favoured country the recollection of that other invasion of quite other character, the Saracen calamity, which for centuries restricted all healthy development. This forms the   final chapter in the spread of Islam into Central Europe. In depicting   it we must rely mostly on western sources, as the Arab-Berber robber-States which sprang up in Southern Italy never attained civilisation enough to have literary records, and Sicilian and Eastern writers tell us   little about Italy .    

As in Sicily so in Italy the Saracens did not come without an appeal. For a long time past the Duchy of Benevento had endeavoured to annex the free town of Naples, which was besieged at various times and was   compelled to agree to the payment of a tribute, which however was   at once suspended whenever any resistance appeared possible. After having unsuccessfully requested Louis the Pious (814-840) to intervene,   and having also been unable to find any sufficiently powerful allies in   his own neighbourhood, Duke Andreas of Naples turned to the Saracens  in Sicily. These availed themselves eagerly of this opportunity to   interfere in Italy and in the year 837 they relieved Naples, at that time besieged by Duke Sikard of Benevento. Sikard retired with indignation,   but the alliance thus formed by Naples lasted for many a long year to   the benefit of both parties. The Duchy of Benevento was a natural   enemy to both of them and it could not be otherwise than agreeable to   the Neapolitans when, shortly afterwards, Sikard’s troops were defeated by Saracens at Brindisi, and the town itself was burnt. In fact Naples   even returned the assistance rendered in 837 by helping the Saracens in   842-843 to conquer Messina.    

After Sikard’s death the Duchy of Benevento was divided into two   principalities; Radelchis resided in Benevento and Sikonolf in Salerno, and the two were constantly fighting. This self-destruction on the part of the sole great power of Southern Italy was of course in the highest degree welcome to the Saracens. Sikard died in 839, and immediately afterwards the Saracens of Sicily were once more in Calabria. They even   advanced as far as Apulia, and though the conquest of Bari was not at   first attained, Taranto fell and was not relieved even with the help of the Venetians, whom the Byzantines had called to their assistance   (840). The victorious Muslims pushed forward to the Adriatic, burned Ossero on the island of Cherso, and Ancona, and even appeared temporarily in the neighbourhood of Venice, whose trading ships they   captured. In 842 also the Venetians suffered a further defeat. Bari, which was to be the main base of the Saracens for thirty years, had already fallen (probably 841). Radelchis, pressed hard by Sikonolf, had called the masters of Sicily to his assistance, and they had begun by  taking Bari from their ally. Radelchis had of course in his distress to   accept this with a good grace and come to terms with these strange and   unruly allies. The Saracens under the Berber Khalfun advanced from   Bari as a base against Sikonolf, but after a bloody battle they were driven back on Bari, which in the meantime they had converted into a strong fortress. As the Muslims constantly received reinforcements this one victory served Sikonolf but little; and Radelchis too, especially after he had received (in 842), whether he liked it or not, his infidel allies under   the leadership of Masar into his capital, Benevento, became the puppet of the Saracens, who ravaged the whole country with their despotism   and cruelty; a terrible scourge for friend and foe alike.  

  In spite of all such misfortunes however Radelchis was of course   under the circumstances victorious over his adversary. As Sikonolf could not help himself in any other way, he too sought Saracen allies. He is   said to have applied to the Spaniards, whose numerous raids into Provence, Northern Italy and in fact as far afield as Switzerland do not come within the scope of this chapter. It is moreover much more probable that Sikonolf did not draw his auxiliaries directly from the Iberian peninsula, but from Crete, where a Muslim robber-State had been in existence since 826, founded there by Spanish Saracens who had   been expelled for mutiny from their country. With these new troops, who were more easily governed, as they had no neighbouring great   power on whose support they could calculate, Sikonolf succeeded in   defeating his opponent and locking him up in Benevento. He was   however unable to take the town owing to difficulties in his own camp,   and so everything remained in the same state as before. Masar with his Saracens swept through the whole country, plundering as he went, and   undertook expeditions far towards the north.    

These advances however of the Saracens, starting from Bari Benevento, were not the only raids with which the unfortunate country was infested. The large ports of the western coast were in constant dread of unpleasant surprises, for in the year 845 the Sicilians had chosen Ponza and Ischia as naval bases, to which moreover they soon added Cape Miseno. The towns of Naples, Gaeta, Amalfi and Sorrento   formed an alliance for the purpose of mutual defence, as the Duke of   Salerno was not in a position to assist them. In the following years the   Muslims prepared to deal a severe blow. For a long time Rome with   its vast church treasures had tempted them. On 23 Aug. 846, a fleet of   73 vessels, stated to have been manned by 1100 Muslims, appeared   before Ostia, and in the early morning of 26 August the Saracens stood before the walls of Rome, where they plundered the quarters of the town   lying outside the walls, especially the church of St Peter and the   cathedral of St Paul, and they broke open the graves of the apostolic   prelates. Unfortunately the information we have respecting this event   is extremely scanty and it is moreover distorted by legend, for the very   idea of the hordes of the false prophet having ravaged in the capital of   Christendom gave a magnificent scope for the imagination of the western   world. God himself immediately afterwards seemed to desire to avenge this   visitation, for after a few successes before Gaeta, whither the Saracens had   withdrawn from Rome, and just when they proposed to return, their entire   fleet, conveying all their stolen treasures, was destroyed in a storm (847).  

  The impression made by these events was enormous. In 847 King  Louis II appeared in Southern Italy, defeated the Saracens and conquered Benevento. With the disputing parties there he arranged that they should make common cause against the infidels in Bari and  Taranto. This plan was frustrated through the selfish policy of the   small States of Southern Italy. Nothing was effected against the continued piratical raids of the Sicilians. It was not until the year 849,   when the Saracens planned another great expedition against Rome and   collected for this purpose in Sardinia, that the seaports of the western coast united for the defence of Rome. The fleets met before Ostia, and   the fight had already begun when the elements waxed tempestuous and   the naval battle and the Sicilian fleet came to a sudden and violent end.   The Italian fleet was probably also destroyed; information on the point is missing; but the sacred city was rescued. Even now, in the Stanzas   of the Vatican, the celebrated picture of this sea fight, painted from sketches by Raphael, recalls this wonderful rescue of Rome.   

 Even though these naval expeditions were but episodes, the Saracen fortress at Bari was a constant menace to Southern Italy. The successes gained by King Louis had been lost again immediately after his departure,   and Bari once more extended its power to Benevento. Louis II, who   had in the meantime been crowned as Emperor, was therefore compelled   once more to decide on an expedition to the south. On this occasion he   advanced on Bari, but was unable to capture it, as his vassal States failed   him at the critical moment. However he managed to obtain possession  of Benevento for the second time, and he caused the Saracen leader Masar  to be executed (28 May 852). The Saracen commander-in-chief in   Sicily, Abbas ibn al-Fadl, avenged this deed by plundering and occupying   the Calabrian coast.  

  The same performance was repeated as after the first departure   of Louis. Meanwhile Mufarrij ibn Salim had taken up Khalfun’s position at Bari. He took his revenge for past failures by founding an independent State, declaring his allegiance directly to the Abbasid Caliph. His successor assumed the title of Sultan, thus proclaiming his independence of the Sicilian Amir. Little is known of the doings of   these rulers of Bari, who were probably soldier-emperors like the subsequent Mamelukes in Egypt. The country as far as Central Italy lay   defenceless at their feet, as the troubles in the territory of the old   Duchy of Benevento became greater and greater, and prevented all defence. The western historians give the most incredible reports of the   bloodthirstiness of these sultans. Capua and Naples had to suffer the   most, but the rich monasteries further to the north, as San Vincenzo on   the Volturno, and Monte Cassino, also saw the enemy either within their   walls, or at least before them.    

In order to put a stop to this distress the Emperor once more   undertook (866) a great expedition against the Saracens, and finally   forced them back on Bari and Taranto. In order to subjugate Bari however a fleet was necessary, and after long negotiations this was eventually placed at his disposal by the Byzantines. By co-operation   at this stage the two emperors and their vassals at last succeeded   (2 Feb. 871) in breaking the power of Bari. On his way to Taranto   however to take this last bulwark from the Muslims the Emperor was   compelled to fall back on Ravenna, and this too through the treachery   of the self-same petty princes, whom he had just rescued from the   severest distress. At the same time the Saracens appeared once more,   this time on the western coast, and attacked Salerno, pushing forward   also even as far as Capua. Louis sent help once more, and the Saracens   were defeated at Capua on the Volturno, whereupon they left Italy,   but only to return shortly afterwards with renewed forces. They did not   meet the Emperor again in the south. He died in 875 in Northern   Italy, and with his death all his successes appear to have vanished.     At this point Byzantium assumed the moral heritage of the   Carolingian and profited by his deeds. The further struggle with the   Saracens and their final expulsion from Italy belongs to the great   Byzantine restoration under the Macedonian emperors of the Basilian   dynasty. A few words only may here be added in regard to the con-   clusion of the Saracen domination on Italian soil. With the consent   of the residents the Byzantines, who were up to that time stationed   in Syracuse, had also settled in Bari. The loss of Syracuse in the       year 878 was certainly a severe blow ; Calabria and Taranto were   still in the hands of the Muslims, and the Adriatic too was not safe   from them. Basil was however the first to succeed in defeating the   Saracens at sea, to land in Calabria, conquer Taranto (880) and a few   years later to expel the last remnants of the Saracens from Calabria.   Thus Southern Italy became once more a portion of the Byzantine  Empire. The subsequent attacks of the Saracens in this quarter were no   more than episodes, although the coast towns were again occasionally   laid under tribute to the Saracens, and the constant strife between   Saracens and Byzantines did not in fact cease until the Normans   conquered both contending parties.    

Through the downfall of Bari, the Saracens’ base of attack for   Central Italy had naturally been shifted. They came now exclusively   from the West. The small Lombard States, rendered shrewd by their   experiences in the past, had made a treaty with the Sicilian Saracens,   on which account the latter, from 875 onwards, directed their raids   principally towards the north, and harassed the pope. In 878 Pope   John VIII was even compelled to pay the Saracens a tribute, in order to   purchase a short period of rest and quiet. For several years thereafter   the Saracens succeeded once again in gaining strong bases on the coast   and in the interior, as, for instance, in the mountains to the north of   Benevento and on the right bank of the Garigliano at Trajetto.   Especially from the latter point they still undertook numerous plundering   expeditions through Central Italy up to the gates of Rome ; Monte   Cassino too, which they had not previously entered, was looted and   destroyed in the course of one of these raids. It was not until 915   that, thanks to the initiative of John X, the camp on the Garigliano was   destroved. Thus ended the reign of Islam on Italian soil, though we   still hear of many a later piratical excursion.   

 Owing to the irregular nature of the Saracenic raids in Southern   Italy, the events in Sicily and on the mainland have had to be pourtrayed   separately, but it is easy to see the inner connexion of the two. The   subsequent march of events can be given without further ceremony in   connexion with the history of the island. The Muslim command here   had been in the meantime changed. On the ruins of the Aghlabid   dominion the Fatimite Mahdi had founded a new and promising State ;   the Arabs and Berbers of Sicily seemed apparently to have submitted   with a good grace to the new order of things in their native country   (910), but the fact soon made itself apparent, that the governor sent by   Mahdi was not equal to the situation. The Saracens of Sicily, under   the leadership of the Arab Amir Ahmad ibn Kurhub, thereupon declared   their independence and named the Abbasid Caliph instead of the   Fatimite in their pulpit prayers (913). But such a period of unity,   patched up in times of need, between Berbers and Arabs, never lasted   long. As early as 916 the Berbers gave up the unfortunate Amir to     the Caliph Mahdi to be cruelly executed, and Sicily became once more a   province of the Fatimite Empire (917).    

Thus strengthened the Fatimites again commenced their piratical   trips from Africa and Sicily, and the Byzantines purchased peace lor   their coasts for some time by a treaty with Mahdl. The latter recouped   himself for this in the north, by plundering the district of Genoa and   the town itself in 934 and 935, at the same time casually honouring   Corsica and Sardinia with a visit.   

 These years were not happy ones for Sicily ; one unscrupulous   governor drove the Islamic upper classes to revolt, whilst another   subjected them in an unprecedentedly bloody struggle. Thereafter a   more favoured time began under the rule of the Arab Hasan ibn Ali,   who had been entrusted with the governorship by the second Fatimite   in 948. Hasan belonged to a family called Banu abi-l-Husain, and the   Fatimite to the Kalb; he and his successors and relatives who ruled   after him are therefore called the Kalbites, a brilliant dynasty, under   whom all the gifts of civilisation began to collect and take shape, which   gave later a distinctive character to the Norman culture, and even to   that of Frederick II.   

 The energetic Amir repressed the particularism which militated   against successful development, and thus created the foundations of a   well-regulated and more or less independent State. The Fatimites were   shrewd enough to restrict their choice to members of the race of Banu   abi-l-Husain, whenever a new governor was required, without however   permitting too much private power to arise by so doing. Closely related   members of the family were always employed by the Fatimites in   Egypt, thus securing themselves against any efforts at independence   on the part of the Amir for the time being. But apart from this   the governor had complete freedom, especially since the Fatimites had   removed their capital to Egypt. In this way the Amir of Sicily acted   as a necessary counterpoise to the Amir of Kairawan. In the foreign   policy of the Fatimites moreover Sicily played in the long run a more   and more important part, especially since the Fatimites had become the   leading Muslim power in the eastern Mediterranean territory and were   engaged in constant struggles with the Byzantines for supremacy. This   however can only for the present be briefly touched upon.   

 Hasan ibn Ali reigned until 965. During his rule renewed fights   took place in Calabria and Apulia, in fact the Byzantines even ventured   on a landing in Sicily, but in the year 965 the Greek fleet was utterly   destroyed off* Messina. But shortly after, when the conquest of Egypt   was impending, the Fatimites concluded terms of peace with Byzantium   and thus Italy also obtained a period of rest from the Saracens, and   an alliance was even made with them temporarily when the movements   of the Emperor Otto II began in Lower Italy. In 982 however Otto   was seriously defeated by the Saracens at Stilo in the Bay of Taranto.      

This strange friendship soon came to an end, and in the decades before and after the year 1000 we come across the Kalbite Amir again in Southern Italy. In Sicily however the population experienced years of progress and prosperity under intelligent rulers. The general welfare was shown most completely in the households of the Amirs. The material prosperity of the Orient of the time, the refined style of living, the rich intellectual life of Court circles in Bagdad, Cordova and Cairo, were also to be met with in Palermo, whose best period corresponds to the reign, unfortunately but too short, of the Amir Yusuf (989-998). But immediately after Yusuf’s decease indications began to appear which howed that the Kalbite dynasty had passed its highest point of excellence. Yusuf was rendered incapable of holding the reins of government by a stroke and his son Jafar (998-1019) was not fortunate in his methods. The opposition between Arabs and Berbers, never quite extinct, now started up again. The revolt which followed ended with the expulsion of the Berbers and the execution of a brother of the Amir, who had led them. Jafar was however compelled to yield to another revolt, carried out by another brother. Thus weakened inwardly Sicily was no longer able effectively to resist the various hostile naval powers, such as Byzantium and Pisa, which threatened; and early in the new century the Sicilian fleet suffered various defeats. It was not until the Zirids allied themselves with the Sicilians that, during its third decade, more extended raids could be undertaken against the Byzantine lands, but these too always ended in defeat.

Added to these defeats there followed, from 1035 onwards, a civil   war, which was the beginning of the end of the dynasty and also of the   sway of Islam in Sicily. On this occasion the trouble was not between   Arabs and Berbers, but was the consequence of the expulsion of the   latter. The Berbers had to be replaced by other troops, and these of   course cost money, so that the taxes had to be raised. The native   population thereupon took up arms. The Amir Ahmad at this stage   applied to Byzantium for assistance, whilst the rebels, who were led by a   brother of the Amir, called in the help of the Zirids. The Byzantine   general Maniakes, in whose army were numerous Normans, gained battle   after battle (1038-1040), but then experienced difficulties with the   Normans on account of his bad treatment of them, and also fell out with   Stephanos the leader of the Byzantine fleet, so that all the fruits of their   victories were lost to the Byzantines (up to 1042). The native population too had in the meantime forced the Zirids, on account of their   licentious behaviour, to return to Africa, so that there would really have   been a good field for the revival of the Kalbite rule.   

 In the course of this general fight, each party against the others, the   individual minor magnates and the towns had learned to fight for   themselves, so that Sicily emerged from the great war no longer as an   undivided State, but as a conglomerate of petty principalities and civic republics, all mutually at variance with each other. One main antagonism   was in evidence among these States, the same that had called forth the   whole civil war; the opposition between the Arab aristocracy and the   natives who had been converted to Islam. The former congregated around Syracuse, the latter at Girgenti and Castrogiovanni. The leader   of the Arabs was Ibn ath-Thimna. Being defeated by the opposing party   he called the Normans into the country in 1061 ; these had in the   meantime founded a vigorous State on the mainland. The Norman  conquest, the details of which are given elsewhere, was completed in 1091.    

The rule of Islam in Italy is therewith at an end, the expansion has   passed its zenith, and it is now thrown back on Africa. The process   lasted a few centuries longer in Spain, but here too Islam remained   merely an episode in history. The blessings of culture which were given   to the West by its temporary Islamitic elements are at least as important   as the influence of the East during the time of the Crusades. The   lasting injuries which the constant Saracen scourge inflicted on Europe must not be exaggerated, for the Saracens did only what every Christian maritime power of that period held to be justifiable. Robbery and a trade in slaves were as legitimate on one side as on the other. As far as their deeds were concerned the opponents were evenly matched. It was only later on that the western land produced from its own inner self a new world, whilst the East has never since attained a higher pitch of excellence than that which immediately followed the Saracen expansion.