1289 FEUDAL. ASCENDENCY-MOHAMMEDAN STATES.
be recalled, the people of the various states
were already in universal commotion from the
preaching of the First Crusade. In insular
England the excitement was by no means so
great; nor was English society thoroughly
aroused until in the succeeding reigns of
Stephen, Henry Plantagenet, and Richard the First.
This fact would indicate the continuance of
the present narrative down to the time when
the Lion Heart lifted his battle ax against
the Infidels; but the date of the Council of
Clermont (A. D. 1095) has already been
fixed upon as the limit of the present Book
and the beginning of the next. Here, then,
we pause in the narrative of English affairs,
with the purpose of resuming the same hereafter with the accession of Henry, surnamed
Beauclerc, to the throne of England.
CHAPTER LXXXVIII- MOHAMMEDAN STATES AND NORTHERN
Let us again, for a brief season, follow the yellow Crescent of Islam, waning in the West, fulling in the East. The history of the Mohammedan power has been given in the preceding Book from the time of the Prophet to the age of decline in the Caliphate of Damascus during the reign of Merwan II. The latter, who was the fourteenth and last of the Ommiyad Dynasty, held the throne till the year 750, when a contest broke out between him and Abul Abbas, which ended in the overthrow of Merwan and
the setting up of the Abbasside Caliph. Abul Abbas claimed to be a lineal descendant of Mohammed's uncle Abbas, and for this reason the name Abbassidce was given to the House.
Not only was Merwan
overthrown by his enemy,
but the Ommiyades were
presently afterwards assembled with treacherous intent, and all
but two of them were murdered. The two
survivors escaped, the one into Arabia and
the other into Spain. The Arab Ommiyad
became the head of a line of local rulers
who continued in power until the sixteenth
century, and he who came to Spain laid the
foundation of the Caliphate of Cordova.
Having secured the throne of Damascus,
Abul Abbas began a reign of great severity.
The fugitive Merwan was pursued into Egypt
and barbarously put to death. The victorious
Caliph earned for himself the name of Al Saffah, or the Blood-shedder. So complete
was the destruction of his enemies that in all
the East none durst raise the hand against
him. The new dynasty was firmly established
from Mauritania to the borders of Persia.
Spain secured her independence, but the remainder of the Mohammedan states fell to the
After a reign of four years' duration Abul
Abbas died, and was succeeded on the throne