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1149 MOHAMMEDAN ASCENDENCY-OMMIADES AND FATIMITES. 1149

fanatic then scoured Persia, rallied a new

band, and again returned to the Tigris. Here,

however, he was drowned in attempting to

cross the river.

The next difficulty which the governor

Hejagi had to contend with was with one

of his officers, named Abdalrahman. In

order to dispose of the refractory general,

the emir sent him with an inadequate force

against the Turks; but the general perceived

the machination against himself, revealed the

plot to his soldiers, and took the field against

Hejagi. The latter went forth to suppress

the rebellion, but was signally defeated in

two bloody battles. Abdalrahman entered

Cufa in triumph, and was proclaimed Caliph.

The Babylonians recognized the usurpation

and rejoiced to be set free from the tyranny

of Hejagi. The latter, however, soon collected a third army, divided the insurgent

forces, drove the mock Caliph into a fortress

and besieged him, until Abdalrahman,

losing all hope of escape, threw himself

down from a tower and was killed.

Among the Mohammedans the emir Hejagi

acquired an unenviable reputation. He is

said to have caused the death of a hundred

and twenty thousand people. When near

his end, he sent for a soothsayer to know

if any distinguished general was about to

die. The seer consulted the stars and reported that a great captain named Kotaib,

or the Dog, would soon expire. "That,"

said the dying emir, "is the name by which

my mother called me when I was a child.

And since you are so wise, I will take you

with me that I may have the benefit of your

skill in the other world." He then ordered

the astrologer's head to be cut off.

Finding himself at length freed from domestic enemies, the Caliph Abdalmalec sought

the glory of foreign wars. He accordingly

threw before the Emperor of the East the

gage of battle, by refusing to pay any longer

the enormous tribute which that sovereign

received from Islam. This act of hostility was

followed by another. The Mohammedan general Alid was sent to make inroads upon the

territories of the Empire. Arabic tradition says that Shebib was literally

the most hard hearted of all rebels. For when the

body was dragged up and opened, and his heart

taken out, that organ was found to be like a stone.

During the time when the attention of the

Caliph was absorbed with his troubles in

Babylonia, the Eastern emperor had taken

advantage of the situation to recover his

ascendancy in Northern Africa. The fleets of

the Greeks hovered along the coasts. Armies

were landed wherever the weakness of the

Moslems seemed to invite attack. Zohair,

the Arab governor of Barca, was assailed,

defeated, and slain. Such was the deplorable

condition of the political affairs of Islam in

the countries west of Egypt that a reconquest

of Northern Africa was necessary to lift up

the fallen Crescent. To this end, in the year

696, Abdalmalec called out an army of

forty thousand men, and sent the same,

under the command of Hossan Ibn Annoman,

on a campaign against the Africans. The

general proceeded at once against the city

of Carthage, and after a tedious siege, carried the place by storm. The walls were

demolished, and a vast amount of booty, including a great number of Moorish maidens

to be sold as slaves, was added to the treasures of Islam. A short time afterwards, however, an Imperialist fleet arrived unexpectedly

in the harbor, and the Moslems were expelled

from the city. But the success of the Greeks

was only temporary. The Arabs soon rallied

and returned to the attack with redoubled

fury. Carthage was again taken and reduced

to ashes.

Hossan now continued his expedition along

the coast, carrying every thing before him.

At length, however, he encountered a formidable rival in the princess Dhabba, who

appeared among the Berbers as a prophetess.

The nomad tribes of Mauritania and of the

neighboring deserts flocked to her standard;

nor was this strange woman without the

ability to organize and discipline an army.

A superstitious belief that their queen was

divinely inspired added enthusiasm and audacity to the Moors, who attacked the army

of Hossan with such fury that he was eventually driven back to the very borders of

Egypt.

Having thus secured a momentary liberation from foreign despotism, the Berber

prophetess exhorted her followers to reduce