Page 1289

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

KINGDOMS.

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

Abbassides.

After a reign of four years' duration Abul

Abbas died, and was succeeded on the throne