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1142 UNIVERSAL EISTORY-THE MODERN WORLD.

family-to substitute the principle of descent

for the right of election. Such a policy ran

counter to all the maxims of Arabian politics;

but so powerful was the influence of the Caliph, that when he sent abroad a summons to

the various provinces to appoint delegates who

should perform the act of fealty to the prince

Yezid, nearly all the regions made a favorable response, and the prince was acknowledged as the representative of the Ornmiades

and the heir expectant to the crown of Islam.

Thus was established by the will and power of

Moawyah the dynasty of the House of Ommiah, from which fourteen Caliphs were destined to arise.

The institution of a regular court, after the

manner of the East, had now become an established fact in the Caliphate. The stem

demeanor of the primitive successors of the

Prophet relaxed in the soft airs of Damascus.

The transformation from the austere regime

established by Abu Beker and Omar was

mostly effected during the reign of Moawyah. Already before the death of that potentate, his household and government, in the

luxurious capital of Syria, had assumed the

typical aspect of the courts of the East.

The plain food, simple garb, and severe

manners of the early Moslem rulers yielded

to the influences of ease and opulence, and

the exemplary virtues of the first Caliphs

were no longer regarded as the passports to

Paradise.

Superstition still held sway over the minds

of the greatest. It was a part of the policy

of Moawyah to make Damascus one of the

sacred cities of Islam. To this end he conceived the project of transferring from Medina some of the relics most sacred in the

eyes of true believers. Among the objects

to be removed were the walking staff of

the Prophet and the pulpit from which he

used to discourse to the people. The staff

was found and transferred to the new capital,

but when the pulpit was about to be removed

an eclipse of the sun occurred and the faithful

were terrified. To see the stars in daytime

was too much even for Moawyah, and the

pulpit of the Prophet was allowed to remain

in Medina.

Feeling his end approach Moawyah summoned Yezid into his presence and gave him

his parting injunctions. In A. D. 679, being

then in the twentieth year of his reign, the great Caliph died. His sepulcher was made at Damascus, which

had now become the chief city and capital

of the Mohammedan Empire. Great was

the fame which Moawyah had won by his

deeds, and great was the grief which the true

believers manifested on his departure for

Paradise.

The succession had already been appointed

to Yezid. He received the royal garments in

the spring of 680. The new prince came to

the throne under the full impulse of his

father's popularity and the reputation won by

his own abilities and ambitions. Nevertheless

his character as. a youth had been greatly injured by his associations in Damascus, and his

accession to power at the age of thirty-four

found him indolent, intemperate, and sensual.

He entered upon his reign, however, with

many auspicious omens and no opposition, save

from Mecca, Medina, and some of the towns

on the Euphrates.

The personal rivals whom he had most

.cause to fear were Hosein, brother of Hassan,

and Abdallah, son of Zobeir. To the danger

to be apprehended from these princes the

new Caliph was fully awake. A plot was

made against their lives, but they escaped

from Medina and fled to Mecca. While

resident here Hosein received a secret message from the city of Cufa, declaring that

the people, of that metropolis were ready to

acknowledge him as the rightful successor of

the Prophet. He was informed that on going

thither he would be recognized and obeyed

as Caliph.

To ascertain the truth of these reports a

messenger was sent to Cufa, who found affairs

as represented, but the governor of the city

had no knowledge of the conspiracy. By some

means, however, intelligence of the true state

of affairs was conveyed to the Caliph, who

dispatched Obeidallah, son of Ziyad, to suppress the revolt. This general hastened to

Cufa, took possession of the city, killed the

ambassador of Hosein, and scattered the conspirators in all directions.

In the mean time the unfortunate prince,

who expected to reach the Caliphate by means

of the insurrection, set out from Mecca and

journeyed toward Cufa. On the borders of

Babylonia he was met by a band of horsemen,

sent out by Obeidallah to bring the aspirant

into his presence. The prince was led along