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AND 

DAMASCUS 

• •' v ' >. / 



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ILmSTRATBD BY 
W, S, S - TYKWiltl i‘, Jt JL A 















CAIRO 

JERUSALEM 

^DAMASCUS 



d. Of this Special Edition of CAIRO One 
Hundred and Twelve Copies have been 
printed , of which only One Hundred and 
Fh>e are for Sale. 









THIS Si'll INX 



CAIRO 

JERUSALEM 

DAMASCUS 

THREE CHIEF CITIES OF THE EGYPTIAN 
SULTANS. BY D. S. MARGOLIOUTH, D.Litt. 
WITH ILLUSTRATIONS IN COLOUR BY 
W. S. S. TYRWHITT, R.B.A., AND ADDITIONAL 
PLATES BY REGINALD BARRATT, A.R.W.S. 



LONDON 

CHATTO WINDUS 

MCMVII 



The design on the side of the 
binding is reproduced after a 
Syrian tile of the XUIIIth 
Century from a Damascus 
mosque. 


Copyright in the United States of America , 1907 , 
by Dodd, Mead\ and Co. 



D edicated to her 

HIGHNESS PRINCESS 
NAZLI, DAUGHTER OF 
MUSTAFA FADL PASHA AND 
GREAT-GRAND-DAUGHTER 
OF MOHAMMED ALI PASHA 

Madame,—I utilize your \indly per¬ 
mission to dedicate a boo\ to you by 
offering this , in the confidence that the 
won\ of the artists will have your ap¬ 
proval, whatever may be your judg¬ 
ment on the text. The scenes which they 
hah)epainted ’ and which I have attempted 
to describe , are familiar to your High¬ 
ness from childhood. In and about them 
your ancestors have played a great 
part , and two out of the three cities 
illustrated here are indissolubly con¬ 
nected with their names. It has long 
been your Highness's custom to judge 
with leniency and sympathy whatever 
comes from this country to yours; may 
the same charity be extended to this 
book. 

Tour Highness's humble servant , 
THE AUTHOR 




PREFACE 


T HE task of composing the letterpress to ac¬ 
company Mr Walter Tyrwhitt’s paintings of 
scenes at Cairo, Jerusalem and Damascus was 
offered to the present writer, an occasional visitor at 
those cities, as a relief from the labour of editing and 
translating Arabic texts. The chance of being asso¬ 
ciated at any time in his life with the Fine Arts consti¬ 
tuted a temptation which he was unable to resist. 

The account of Cairo has been based on the 
Khitat Taufikiyyah Jaddiah of Ali Pasha Mubarak, 
corrected and supplemented from various sources, 
especially the admirable memoirs published by the 
French Archaeological Mission at Cairo, and bearing 
the names of Ravaisse, Casanova, and van Berchem. 
Monographs dealing with particular buildings have 
been used when available, especially those of Herz 
Bey: the author regrets that he has not been able to 
get access to all this eminent architect’s works. Of 
historical treatises employed he need only mention 
the History of «f Modern Egypt (Arabic) by his friend, 
G. Zaidan, which has been of use especially for 
the Turkish period. 

For Chapter XI (Jerusalem) the author must ac¬ 
knowledge his obligation to the works published by 
the Palestine Exploration Fund, especially those by 
Wilson, Warren, Conder, and Lestrange. For 
Chapter XII (Damascus) he has derived much help 
from the Description de Damas , translated, with an 

ix 



Preface 

excellent commentary, by M. Sauvaire of the In- 
stitut in the Journal Asiatique , ser. ix, vols 3, 4, 5, 
6, and 7. 

The architectural paragraphs have been either 
revised or written by Mrs Margoliouth, who has 
had training in architectural drawing. The treatises 
on Arabic Art of Gayet, Saladin, and Lane-Poole 
have been studied with profit. The author has, how¬ 
ever, abstained from consulting the work of the 
last of these writers on Cairo: for, owing to Mr 
Lane-Poole’s unique qualifications for dealing with 
this subject, the perusal of his book might have in¬ 
volved anyone else writing on the same theme in 
plagiarism. 

Oxford , September , 1907. 



CONTENTS 

Chap. I. Cairo before the Fatimides Tage i 

II. The Fatimide Period 18 

III. Buildings of the Fatimide Period 40 

IV. The Ayyubid Period and its Buildings 49 

V. The First Mamluke Sovereigns 65 

VI. Nasir and his Sons 82 

VII. The Early Circassian Mamlukes 102 

VIII. The last of the Circassian Mamlukes 122 

IX. The Turkish Period 136 

X. The Khedivial Period 154 

XI. Jerusalem: an Historical Sketch 175 

XII. The Praises of Damascus 228 

XIII. Scenes from the History of Damascus 249 
Appendix. The Massacre of i860 275 

Glossary 287 

Index 291 




ILLUSTRATIONS 

Coloured Plates 

The Sphinx Frontispiece 

The Sentinel of the Nile Facing p. 2 

Tooloon (Tulun) Mosque, Cairo 8 

In a Cairene Street 12 

Midan-el-Adaoui (Maidan El-Adawi) * 24 

Street Scene, Bab el Sharia (Bab Al-sha’Riyyah), 

Cairo 36 

Old Gateway near Bab-al-Wazir, Cairo 42 

Sharia el Azhar (Shari-al-Azhar), Cairo 44 

Courtyard of the Mosque of El Azhar, Uni¬ 
versity of Cairo 46 

A Mosque in the Saida Zeineb (Sayyidah 

Zainab) Quarter, Cairo 48 

The Citadel of Cairo 50 

An Old Palace, Cairo 58 

Door of a Mosque, Cairo 64 

Mosque of Sultan Baibars, Cairo 70 

The Khan El Gamaliyeh (Jamaliyyah), Cairo 84 
A Street near El Gamaliyeh (Jamaliyyah), Cairo 8 6 
Mosque of Almas; Interior, Cairo 88 

Minaret of Ibrahim Agha’s Mosque, Cairo 90 
Outside the Mosque of Ibrahim Agha, Cairo 92 
Ibrahim Agha’s Mosque: the Interior 94 

The Washing-place, Ibrahim Agha’s Mosque 96 
Interior of the Mosque of Shakhoun (Shaik- 

hun), Cairo 98 

The Tentmakers’ Bazaar, Cairo 102 

xiij 



Cairo 

An Old House near the Tentmakers’ Bazaar, 

Cairo Facing p. 106 

Tombs of the Caliphs, Cairo 108 

The Dome of El Moaiyad (Muayyad) from 

Bab Zuweyleh (Zuwailah), Cairo iio 

A Courtyard near the Tentmakers’ Bazaar, Cairo 12 o 
Palace of Kait Bey (Kaietbai), Cairo 130 

The Mosque el Ghoree (Ghuri), Cairo 132 

Mosques in the Sharia Bab al Wazir, Cairo 138 
A Side Street in Cairo 142 

A Street Scene in Cairo 148 

Sharia el Kirabiyeh or Street of the Water- 

Carriers, Cairo 154 

The Khan el Dobabiyeh (Dubabiyyah), Cairo 160 
Cairo: Shari Darb el Gamamiz (Jamamiz) 164 

Souk Silah, the Armourers’ Bazaar, Cairo 172 

The* Fair, Moolid el Ahmadee (Maulid 

Ahmadi), Cairo 174 

Morning in Jerusalem: The Dome of the 

Rock on the Shaded Side 176 

Jerusalem: The Dome of Kait Bey (Kaietbai) 

Haram-es-Shereef (Sharif) 204 

The Gate of the Cotton Merchants, Jerusalem 208 
South Porch of Mosque and Summer Pulpit, 

Jerusalem 210 

Dome of the Rock from Al Aksa, Jerusalem 214 
Haram es Shereef (Sharif), Jerusalem 216 

Damascus from the Salahiyeh (Salihiyyah) : 

£ Sunset over the City 

xiv 


222 



Cairo 

House of Naaman, Damascus Facing p. 224 

Tomb of Sheik (Shaikh) Arslan, Damascus 226 

Walls of the City and Barada River, Damascus 228 

The Hamareh (Suk Ali Pasha), Damascus 230 

A Khan in Damascus 234 

(1) Syrian Tile of the XVIIIth Century, from 
a Damascus Mosque, (2) Syrian Tile, 
XVIth or XVIIth Century, from a 
Damascus Mosque 236 

Minaret of the Bride, Damascus 238 

Damascus, Minaret of Jesus 240 

General View of Damascus in Early Spring 242 

Traditional Site where St Paul was let down 

in a Basket, Damascus 246 

Domes of Damascus 252 

The Moslem Cemetery and View of Mount 

Hermon, Damascus 258 

The Maidan, Damascus 262 

Near the Maidan, Damascus 266 

Line Drawings 

Hezekiah’s Pool 181 

Tower Antonia, Jerusalem 209 

Dome of the Rock, Interior 217 

Summer Pulpit, Haram Area 223 

T HE following illustrations have been reproduced by 
the courtesy of their owners : 

Tooloon Mosque; In a Cairene Street; A Street Scene, Cairo; The 
Mosque El Ghoree, Cairo; and Door of a Mosque, Cairo, by kind 
permission of the owner, T. M. Kitchin, Esq.: and the Sentinel of the 
Nile, by kind permission of the owner, M. le Vicomte R. d’Humi^res. 

xv 



Cairo 

E RRATA. The titles ot the two plates “ Morning in Jerusalem: 

The Dome of the Rock on the Shaded Side,” and “ Minaret of 
Ibrahim Agha’s Mosque,” are incorrectly given on the plates themselves 
as “Morning in Jerusalem: the Mosque of Omar on the Shaded Side,” 
and “Mosques in the Sharia Bab-el-Wazir.” Where the phonetic spell¬ 
ing of other titles differs in text and illustrations, the alternative titles 
are given in brackets in the list of illustrations and on the tissues. 


xvj 



CAIRO 

CHAPTER I 

Cairo before the Fatimides 

I F modern Egypt is a doubly dependent country, tribu¬ 
tary to one empire, and protected by another, a few 
centuries ago it claimed to be not only independent but 
imperial. Its capital, Cairo, was founded when the power of 
Baghdad was already declining, and for two centuries it 
maintained a Caliph who contested with his Eastern rival 
the possession of Syria, Palestine and Arabia. And when 
in the thirteenth century the Mongol storm wrecked the 
great metropolis of Islam on the Tigris, it was at Cairo that 
sovereigns arose capable of rebuilding an Islamic empire, 
and repelling the Mongols beyond the Euphrates. For two- 
and-a-half centuries Cairo remained the capital of western 
Islam, and the seat of the most powerful Mohammedan 
state, sending out governors to many provinces, and recog¬ 
nized as suzerain even where it did not appoint the ruler: 
being itself the laboratory of a political experiment perhaps 
never tried elsewhere. Its monarchs bore the title Slaves 
[Mamluke], not in mock humility like the Servus seroorum 
Dei, but in the plain and literal sense of the term. The oc¬ 
cupant of the throne was ordinarily a Turk, Circassian or 
Greek, who had been purchased in the market, and then 
climbed step by step, or at times by leaps and bounds, a 
ladder of honours at the top of which was the Sultan’s 
throne. A slave with slaves for ministers constituted the 


i 


i 



Qairo 

court, and men of the same origin officered the army. The 
talents which had raised the first sovereign to the first 
place were rarely, if ever, handed on to his offspring; the 
natural heir to the throne could seldom maintain himself on 
it for more than a few months or years. To have passed 
through the slave-dealer’s hands seemed to be a necessary 
qualification for royalty. 

In the country which gave them their title these rulers 
housed as strangers. To its religion they indeed conformed, 
but with its language they were usually unfamiliar. The life 
of the nation was affected by their justice or injustice, and 
the wisdom or unwisdom of their policy internal and exter¬ 
nal ; but in the nation they took no root. Hence one battle 
displaced them for the Ottomans, just as one battle in our 
day put the country under the power of Great Britain. 

Cairo then eclipsed Baghdad, to be eclipsed after two-and- 
a-half centuries by Constantinople; but to the dynasty 
under which it reached the zenith of its fame and power it 
did not owe its foundation. That took place in the tenth 
century A.D., when an army was sent to invade Egypt by 
the descendant of a successful adventurer, who, claiming to 
be of the Prophet Mohammed’s line, had founded a dynasty 
in North Africa. The place where this army had encamped, 
after capturing the older metropolis, was chosen to be the 
site of the new one. And it was called Victoria (K&hirah) in 
commemoration of the conquest already achieved, and as an 
augury of others to be won. 

Those who found cities to inaugurate new dynasties ordi¬ 
narily keep near the beaten track. Cairo is but two miles to 
the north of Fostat, which had been the capital of the coun¬ 
try from the time of the Mohammedan conquest. Its name 
is the Latin word Fossatum “ an entrenchment ”—and it was 
the camp of the conquering army which, under Amr son of 
al-As, had wrested Egypt from the Byzantine empire, and 

2 



THE SENTINEL OF THE NILE 












Qairo before the Fatimides 

which was made the seat of government because the Caliph 
of the time would have no water between his capital, 
Medinah, and any Islamic city. This is why the capital of 
Greek and Roman times, Alexandria, lost its pre-eminence. 
Fostat itself was not far from the remains of the ancient 
Memphis, and a city called Babylon, supposed to date from 
Persian times. 

For some time the new city kept growing by the side of 
the old city without the latter losing much of its importance 
or its populousness, of which fabulous accounts are given by 
persons professing to be eyewitnesses. At one time it was 
supposed to contain 36,000 mosques and 1,270 public baths. 
A description of the fourteenth century, when it had long 
been on the decline, still gives it 480 small and 14 large 
mosques, 70 public baths and 30 Christian churches or mo¬ 
nasteries. Fostat was celebrated not only for its size, its 
populousness and the wealth of its stores, but also for the 
foulness of its air—for the mountains screened it from the 
fresh breezes of the desert—and the carelessness of its inhabi¬ 
tants with .regard to the most elementary precautions of 
cleanliness. Dead animals were flung into the streets and 
left there; the gutters discharged into the same Nile whence 
water for drinking was raised in myriads of buckets. The 
cause, however, of the eventual desolation of Fostat was not 
its unhealthiness, but the act of a ruler of Egypt. Shawar, 
nominally vizier but really sovereign, in the year 1163 hav¬ 
ing to defend the country at once against the Franks and 
against a rival from Syria, despaired of saving the double 
city; so he committed the older capital to the flames. Twenty 
thousand bottles of naphtha and ten thousand lighted torches 
were distributed by his orders in Fostat, whence all the 
population had been cleared, to be harboured in the mos¬ 
ques, baths and wherever else there was space in Cairo. 
For fifty days the ancient city blazed; when at last the flames 

3 ia 



Qairo 

were extinguished, all that remained of the capital of the 
first Moslem conqueror of Egypt was a pile of ashes. 

The history of Cairo falls into five main periods: theFati- 
mide, the Ayyubid, the Mamluke, the Turkish, and the 
Khedivial. The Fatimides, though the first independent 
Moslem dynasty both in fact and in name that governed 
Egypt, had been preceded by some rulers only nominally 
dependent on Baghdad. The first of these was Ahmad Ibn 
Tulun, whose mosque still remains. The example of gover¬ 
ning Egypt for its own good with the aid of a foreign gar¬ 
rison was set by this predecessor of Mohammed Ali, and 
has been repeatedly followed. 

The materials for his biography are fairly copious, and the 
figure which emerges is like those of many Oriental states¬ 
men—a combination of piety, benevolence, shrewdness and 
unscrupulousness. His father, Tulun, was a Turk, who had 
been sent by the governor of Bokhara in the tribute to 
Baghdad, to the Caliph Mamun, son of the famous Harun al- 
Rashid, early in the ninth century; for at that time part of 
the tribute of those Eastern dependencies was paid in slaves. 
Ere long he was manumitted, and rose to a post of some 
importance at the Caliph’s court, which was beginning to 
depend on Turkish praetorians. His son, Ahmad, the future 
ruler of Egypt, was bom September 20, 835. At the age of 
twenty-two, after his father’s death, he obtained leave to 
migrate to Tarsus, a frontier city, exposed to attacks from 
the Byzantines, on the chance of seeing active service and 
obtaining regular pay. But his taste for theology was no 
less keen than that for the profession of arms, and at Tar¬ 
sus he found opportunities for the profoundest study. At 
last, however, an earnest summons from his mother decided 
him to return, and he started for Samarra, where at the 
time the Eastern Caliph had fixed his residence. On this 
journey he got the first chance of displaying his military 

4 



Qairo before the Fatimides 

capacity. The caravan, five hundred strong, to which he had 
attached himself was conveying a great collection of con¬ 
traband treasures from Constantinople to Samarra. After 
passing Edessa, and having reached what was supposed to 
be safe ground, it was attacked by Arab banditti, whom 
Ahmad succeeded in defeating, thereby rescuing the Ca¬ 
liph’s treasure from their hands. This act placed him high 
in his sovereign’s favour. Ere long a palace revolution led 
to this sovereign’s deposition, and Ahmad Ibn Tulun ac¬ 
companied him to exile at Wasit, in the capacity of guar¬ 
dian, in which he conducted himself with modesty and 
gentleness. A command from Samarra to dispatch his pri¬ 
soner was disobeyed by him; but he made no difficulty about 
handing his former sovereign over to another executioner. 

In the year 868 Ahmad’s stepfather was appointed gover¬ 
nor of Egypt, and sent his stepson thither to represent him. 
On September 15 he entered Fostat, the then capital of the 
country, at the head of an army. His authority did not 
stretch over the whole land, and the financial department, 
chiefly connected with the collection of the tribute to be 
sent to Baghdad, was under another official, independent of 
the governor and inclined to thwart him. This finance 
minister, like many of his successors, had rendered himself 
unpopular by a variety of ingenious extortions, and in order 
to protect his life had surrounded himself with a bodyguard 
of a hundred armed pages. Ahmad excited this man’s sus¬ 
picion by refusing a handsome present of money, and de¬ 
manding of him instead his bodyguard, which he was com¬ 
pelled to hand over. In spite of the finance minister’s con¬ 
sequent endeavours to blacken Ahmad’s character at court, 
fortune continued to favour the deputy governor persistently. 
In 869 his stepfather was executed, but the government of 
Egypt was conferred upon his father-in-law, who not only 
retained Ahmad in office, but placed under him those Egyp- 

5 



Qairo 

tian districts which had previously been independent of 
him. By the suppression of various risings he won such a 
reputation for ability and loyalty that when in 872 the 
governor of Syria rebelled against the Caliph and appro¬ 
priated the Egyptian tribute, Ahmad was summoned to 
Syria and authorized to gather forces sufficient to quell the 
rebellion. These forces were not actually employed for this 
purpose, but they were not disbanded, and Ahmad on his 
return to Egypt ordered a new suburb north of Fostat to be 
built for their accommodation. This suburb, which covered 
a site previously occupied by Jewish and Christian burial 
grounds, was called Kata’i “ the fiefs,” and was divided into 
streets assigned to the different classes of which the army 
was formed; its area was about a square mile. It has been 
remarked that each epoch in the development of the Moslem 
capital of Egypt was marked by the fresh location of a per¬ 
manent camp; and the origin of Fostat and Kata’i will be 
reproduced in the cases of Cairo and its citadel. 

The next years were spent by Ahmad in consolidating 
his power, and by various devices, not unscrupulous for an 
Oriental, getting free from his enemies. Agents were main¬ 
tained by him in Baghdad to intercept communications from 
Egypt directed against himself, and summary punishment 
meted out to those from whom the communications emanated. 
By bribes wisely administered at court he contrived that all 
to whom the governorship of Egypt was offered should 
decline it; and by lending money through agents on easy 
terms he gained a hold on many a potential enemy. The 
finance minister who had stood in his way was after a time 
induced to resign his post, and Ahmad, who took it over, 
released his subjects from the onerous imposts to which they 
had been subjected; an act of piety for which he is supposed 
to have been rewarded by luck in the discovery of treasures; 
but whether these discoveries actually took place or were 

6 



Qairo before the Fatimides 

fictions of Ahmad himself or his biographers is unknown. 
In 876, owing to exorbitant demands made by the Caliph’s 
brother then occupied in fighting with a pretender who had 
raised the standard of revolt in the marshes of the Euphrates, 
Ahmad definitely threw off his allegiance; an army was 
equipped against him, but owing to mutiny it never came 
near the Egyptian frontier. In the following year Ahmad 
seized Syria, and advanced as far as Tarsus, whence he 
withdrew after establishing peaceful relations with the 
Byzantine emperor. 

To Ahmad Ibn Tulun three buildings were ascribed, of 
which only one remains intact. In 873 he founded the first 
hospital of Moslem Egypt: its site, in a quarter called As¬ 
kar, south west of the new quarter Kata’i, is accurately de¬ 
scribed by the great mediaeval topographer of Cairo, by 
whose time it was already ruined. According to custom, the 
rents of a number of buildings were given it by way of en¬ 
dowment. Patients, during their stay in it, were to be fed 
and clothed at the expense of the hospital; when by eating 
a chicken and a roll one of them had given evidence of being 
restored to health, his garments and any money that he had 
brought were returned to him, and he was dismissed. Ahmad 
Ibn Tulun was a diligent visitor at his hospital until a prac¬ 
tical joke played by a lunatic under treatment there gave 
the founder a distaste for further visits. 

Another work ascribed to the same ruler is an aqueduct, 
by which water raised at a well on a spur of Mount Mo- 
kattam was brought northwards. The aqueduct, at its com¬ 
mencement hot more than six metres high, gradually be¬ 
comes level with the ground. The ruins of this engineering 
work were identified by Corbet-Bey (to whose article in the 
Journal of the Asiatic Society for 1891 we shall be indebted 
for part of the description of Ahmad’s Mosque), with an 
aqueduct known as Migret al-Imam, commencing opposite 

7 



Qairo 

the village of Basatin. According to this writer the structure 
of the aqueduct confirms the legend which makes it the work 
of the same architect who afterwards built the Mosque, and 
who, for having allowed some fresh mortar to remain on 
which one day Ahmad’s horse stumbled, was rewarded for 
his services with five hundred blows and imprisonment. The 
immediate purpose of the aqueduct was to furnish water to 
a mosque called the Mosque of the Feet, which, though 
renewed after Ahmad’s time, seems to have disappeared. It 
served, however, for a much larger community than the 
keepers of the mosque, and like the rest of this ruler’s insti¬ 
tutions was well endowed. The excellence of the construc¬ 
tion of the aqueduct caused it to be imitated afterwards, it 
is said, without success. In 1894 a small sum was devoted 
by the Committee for the Preservation of the Monuments of 
Arab Art to its repair. 

More permanent than either of these works has been the 
Mosque of Ahmad Ibn Tulun, built during the years 877- 
879. Only two mosques for public worship preceded it in 
Egypt, if we may believe the chroniclers—one, the old 
Mosque of Amr, the conqueror of Egypt, of which the ori¬ 
ginal has quite disappeared, though a building is still 
called by its name: another, long forgotten, in the quarter 
called Askar, the creation of which came between that of 
Fostat and Kata’i. The people of Fostat are said to have 
complained that the Mosque of Amr was not large enough 
to hold all Ahmad’s black soldiers at Friday service; yet 
since Mohammedan potentates have ordinarily endeavoured 
to perpetuate their names by the erection of religious edi¬ 
fices, this motive is not required to explain the undertaking. 
Mr Lane Poole has observed that the older form of mosque 
consisted of an area enclosed by cloisters, which gave way 
to a form less wasteful of space, when ground became valu¬ 
able. This was the design adopted by Ahmad Ibn Tulun, 

8 



TOOLOON [TULUN] MOSQUE, CAIRO 











Qairo before the Fatimides 

but a building of the size contemplated required a vast 
number of columns, such as could only be obtained by de¬ 
molishing existing churches or oratories, since the supply to 
be had from ancient and disusededific.es had run short; and 
it was only so that the Moslem builders supplied themselves 
with columns. The Coptic architect—if the legend may be 
believed—hearing in his prison of the ruler’s difficulty, sent 
word to the effect that he could build the desired edifice 
without columns, or at least with only two. He could build 
with piers, and employ brick, a material better able to resist 
fire than marble. His offer was accepted, he was released 
and set to work. 

The Mosque has been frequently represented and de¬ 
scribed, perhaps best by Corbet-Bey in the article to which 
reference has already been made. The hard red bricks of 
which it is constructed are eighteen centimetres long by 
eight wide, and about four thick, laid fiat, and bound by 
layers of mortar from one-and-a-half to two centimetres 
thick, all covered with several layers of fine white plaster. 
The foundations are for the most part on the solid rock; the 
site being called the Hill of Yashkur, named after an Arab 
tribe who were settled there at the time of the conquest of 
Egypt, and employed before Ahmad’s date as a trial ground 
for artillery. Owing to the nature of the foundation and the 
solidity of the building the whole Mosque, with slight ex¬ 
ceptions, has resisted the effects of time, only one row of 
piers—the front row of the sanctuary—having fallen, in 
consequence of an earthquake on Sunday, June 8, 1814. The 
founder’s desire that the edifice should survive fire and flood 
has therefore been fulfilled. 

Besides the use of piers instead of columns, the building 
is noteworthy as exhibiting the first employment on a large 
scale in Moslem architecture of the pointed arch, which is 
said to be specially characteristic of Coptic architecture, 

9 



Qairo 

and indeed to be found in all Coptic churches and monas¬ 
teries ; the builder of the Mosque had already employed them 
in the Aqueduct. The arches (according to Corbet's measure¬ 
ments) spring from a height of 4.64 metres from the ground, 
rising at the apex to a perpendicular height of 3.70 metres 
from the spring; their span is 4.56 metres, and there is a 
slight return. Above the piers the space between the arches 
is pierced by a small pointed arch, rising to the same height 
as the main arches, and indicating that the architect was 
aware of the mechanical properties of the pointed arch. 

Four cloisters then—three consisting of double rows 
and one of a fivefold row of piers—surround a square court, 
of which the sides measure ninety and ninety-two metres, 
while the whole Mosque covers an area of 143 by 119. On three 
sides the whole is enclosed by a surrounding wall at a dis¬ 
tance of about fifteen metres from the cloisters. Various 
geometrical ornaments in low relief are worked in the stucco 
both round and above the arches, as they appear in the 
painting, which, however, represents not such arches as 
have been described, but windows in the wall of the same 
type as those which support the roof of the colonnades, but 
springing from engaged dwarf columns. A line of stucco 
ornament of a similar type runs above the small arches over 
the colonnades; the space between this and the roof of syca¬ 
more beams is filled with wooden planks, containing verses 
of the Koran in Cufic letters cut in wood and attached to 
the planking. Exaggerated accounts make this frieze con¬ 
tain the whole of the Koran; but Corbet-Bey’s calculations 
show that they could never have contained more than a 
seventeenth part of the Moslem sacred book. 

Two features of interest are the dome in the centre of the 
court and the minaret on the north side. The central space 
was originally occupied by a fountain, for ornament not for 
ablution, a ceremony for which the founder had already 

10 



Qairo before the Fatimides 

made provision elsewhere. The fountain was in a marble 
basin, covered by a dome resting on ten marble columns 
and surmounted by another resting on sixteen. There were 
thus above the fountain two chambers, from each of which 
the Muezzin could utter the call to prayer; while the roof 
had a parapet of teak wood, and had on it something re¬ 
sembling a sundial. The whole of this marble erection was 
destroyed by fire on Thursday, September 7, 892, nine years 
after the founder’s death, and more than a hundred years 
elapsed before it was replaced. 

The original minaret begins as a square tower, above 
which there is a round tower, each of which has an external 
staircase, broad enough for two loaded camels to mount; to 
these, in later times, two octagonal towers with internal 
staircases, after the style of the ordinary minaret, have 
been added. In explanation of this remarkable shape the 
Moslems tell a story how Ahmad Ibn Tulun, who considered 
it beneath his dignity to trifle in council, once by accident 
played with a roll of paper, and to conceal his momentary 
lapse asserted that he was making the model after which 
theminaret of his mosque should be built. Other writers, how¬ 
ever, state that both the Mosque and its minaret were copied 
from the great Mosque of Samarra, which in Ahmad Ibn 
Tulun’s time had been the metropolis of the Caliphate; and 
though Samarra quickly went to ruins when the supremacy 
of Baghdad had been restored, we hear something of a 
wonderful minaret there, whence a view of the surrounding 
country could be obtained. Corbet-Bey imagines the form 
of the minaret to resemble that of Zoroastrian fire-towers; 
and this suggestion seems to account for the occurrence of 
the type at Samarra, which it was natural for a provincial 
governor to copy. The tower was at one time surmounted 
by a boat, standing by which, after the completion of his 
work, the Christian architect is said to have demanded his 



Qa'iro 

reward, which this time was amply accorded. The same 
ornament continued till May, 1694, when it was blown off in 
a gale, but it was afterwards for a time replaced. 

The total cost of the building is given unanimously by 
our authorities as a sum which works out at about ^60,000; 
and when Ahmad’s subjects doubted whether this money 
had been lawfully obtained, and therefore whether the 
Mosque could safely be used for worship, the founder is 
said to have silenced their scruples by assuring them that 
it had all been built out of treasure trove—money almost 
miraculously supplied by heaven’s favour. Tales are told of 
the magnificence of the decoration and furniture provided 
for the inaugural ceremony; how it was even intended to 
encircle the Mosque with a line of ambergris, that the wor¬ 
shippers might always have a fragrant odour to delight 
their sense. The dedicatory inscription was engraved on 
more than one marble stele, and parts of one of these have 
recently been rediscovered and fixed to one of the pillars of 
the sanctuary, opposite the mihrab, or niche, marking the 
direction of prayer. It runs as follows: 

“In the name of, etc. The Emir Abu’l-Abbas Ahmad Ibn 
Tulun, client of the Commander of the Faithful, whose 
might, honour and perfect favour God prolong in this 
world and the next, commanded that this holy, happy 
Mosque be built for the Moslem community, out of legiti¬ 
mate and well-gotten wealth granted him by God. Desiring 
thereby the favour of God and the future world, and seek¬ 
ing that which will conduce to the glory of religion and the 
unity of the believers, and aspiring to build a house for 
God and to pay His due and to read His Book, and to 
make perpetual mention of Him; since God Almighty says, 
In houses which God has permitted to be raised, wherein 
His name is mentioned, and wherein praise is rendered 
unto Him morning and evening by men that are distracted 

12 



IN A CAIRENE STREET 









Qairo before the Fatimides 

neither by merchandise nor by selling from making men¬ 
tion of God, reciting prayer and giving alms, fearing a 
day wherein the hearts and eyes shall be troubled, that God 
may reward them for the good that they have wrought, and 
may give them yet more out of His bounty. And God be¬ 
stows on whom He will without reckoning. In the month 
Ramadan of the year 265. Exalt thy Lord, the Lord of 
might, over that which they ascribe to Him. And peace be 
on the messengers and praise unto God the Lord of the 
worlds. O God, be gracious unto Mohammed, and Moham¬ 
med’s family, and bless Mohammed and his family even 
according to the best of Thy favour and grace and blessing 
upon Abraham and his family. Verily Thou art glorious 
and to be praised.” 

Of the history of the Mosque after Ahmad’s time some 
notices are preserved. His suburb Kata’i, which contained 
not only his Mosque but also his vast palace and parade 
ground, was burned in 905; and as the surrounding locality 
became more and more deserted, the Mosque itself suffered 
from neglect. The second of the Fatimide Caliphs is said to 
have replaced the fountain, which, as we have seen, was 
burned soon after its erection; but the desolation of the 
region reached its climax during the long reign of the 
Fatimide Mustansir, and the Mosque came to be used as a 
resting-place for Moorish caravans on their way to Mecca, 
who stabled their camels in the cloisters. Its use as a hostel 
was countenanced by the Egyptian rulers of the twelfth 
century, who even provided food for those who made it their 
resting-place; such persons were also declared free from the 
ordinary tribunals, and told to appoint a judge of their own 
to settle any quarrels that might arise. 

Systematic restoration was effected by the Mamluke Sultan 
Lajin, who, after murdering his master in the year 1294, 
took refuge in the then desolate Mosque, and there vowed 

13 



Qairo 

that, if he escaped his pursuers and eventually came to power, 
he would restore it. Two years later, being raised to the 
throne of Egypt, he was in a position to fulfil his promise; 
to which pious object he devoted a sum of about ten thou¬ 
sand pounds. He rebuilt the fountain in the centre of the 
court, turning it into a lavatory for the ceremonial ablu¬ 
tion, and his building still remains; he provided a handsome 
mimbar or pulpit, of which some panels have found their way 
way into the South Kensington Museum; but the inscription 
which records his munificence is still there. He repaved 
the colonnades and restored the plastering of the walls. He 
also provided the Mosque with endowments sufficient to 
support a variety of officials, including professors of the 
chief Moslem sciences, and a school for children. Shortly 
after his time, early in the fourteenth century, the two 
minarets on the south side were built; and in 1370 the 
northern colonnade was rebuilt, and perhaps the arches 
which connect the minaret which has been described with 
the Mosque were constructed. 

Under the dominion of the Turks the Mosque was again 
allowed to fall into neglect, and became a factory for the 
production of woollen goods; while in the nineteenth century 
it became a poorhouse for the aged and infirm, the arcades 
being built up and turned into a series of cells, and the in¬ 
terior profaned and desecrated in every possible way. The 
poorhouse was closed in 1877, and in 1890 the Committee 
for the Preservation of the Monuments of Arab Art suc¬ 
ceeded in removing some traces of the injuries which the 
edifice had sustained, and it has ever since remained under 
their care. 

The period between the death of Ahmad Ibn Tulunin 884 
to the foundation of Cairo in 969 was in the highest degree 
eventful, but the events which it contained were of little con¬ 
sequence for the subject of this book. The last days of Ahmad 

14 



Qairo before the Fatimides 

were embittered bythe rebellion of one of his sons, who, being 
caught and imprisoned, was put to death shortly after the 
accession of another son, Khumaruyah, who reigned for 
thirteen years. He showed great competence both as a diplo¬ 
matist and as a soldier; he restored friendly relations between 
the courts of Egypt and Baghdad, and received in fief from 
the Caliph for the period of thirty years a vast empire stretch¬ 
ing from Barca to the Tigris. He was, however, more famous 
for his magnificence than for his statesmanship or his mili¬ 
tary skill. Wonderful tales are told of his palaces, his gar¬ 
dens and his menageries; of walls frescoed at his order with 
pictures of the ladies in his harem, with crowns on their 
heads; of trees set in silver, and exotics brought to Egypt 
from all parts; of a pond of mercury whereon was placed a 
bed of air-cushions, secured with silk and silver, that its per¬ 
petual rocking might give him the sleep which his physi¬ 
cians could not procure for him save by distasteful remedies; 
of the tame lion that guarded him sleeping; and of the wealth 
of Egypt expended on the dowry of his daughter, sent to 
Baghdad to wed the Caliph. The pond of mercury is appa¬ 
rently no fiction, since it is recorded that after his day men 
found the liquid metal all about the site where it had stood. 

In 896 Khumaruyah was assassinated, it is said, in conse¬ 
quence of some indulgence; and his sons and other succes¬ 
sors of his family were quite incapable of managing great 
affairs. Nine years after his death Egypt was conquered by 
a force sent from Baghdad, and the surviving members of 
the line of Ahmad Ibn Tulun were carried captive to the 
metropolis on the Tigris. Such parts of Kata’i as remained 
after the fire had only the status of an annex to Fostat. Once 
more the country was governed by a viceroy sent from Bagh¬ 
dad with a finance minister equal to him in authority. 

Theweakness of the Caliphate prevented this arrangement 
from working as it had worked in earlier times. Another Turk 

15 



Qairo 

from Farghanah, similar in a variety of ways to Ahmad Ibn 
Tulun, utilized the favour of a vizier with whom he had con¬ 
tracted an alliance to obtain by fraud an appointment to the 
governorship of Egypt. In August 935 this person entered 
Egypt as governor, having defeated other aspirants to the 
office; and shortly afterwards he obtained permission from 
headquarters to assume the title Ikhshid, which in his native 
country stood for “king”; somewhat as in the nineteenth cen¬ 
tury the Egyptian viceroy got from his Turkish suzerain the 
right to style himself Khedive. An enterprising chieftain de¬ 
prived the Ikhshid of the provinces of Syria and Palestine by 
force of arms; and his being confirmed in their possession by 
the Caliph provoked such resentment in the mind of the Ikh¬ 
shid that he bethought him of abandoning the Prophet's 
successor on the Tigris, and bestowing his homage on the 
pretender who was founding an empire in Western Islam. 

The Ikhshidi dynastywas of even shorter duration than that 
of Ahmad Ibn Tulun, and left in Egypt even less to perpetuate 
its name. Its founder was charged by his contemporaries with 
avarice and cowardice, neither of them a quality which helps 
to secure immortality. 

The system of slave rule, which, as has been seen, gave 
Egypt its best days, was anticipated in the interval between 
the death of the Ikhshid and the accession of the Fatimides. 
Of two negroes brought from the Sudan to the Egyptian 
market one aspired to employment in a cook shop, that he 
might never want food, the other aspired to become ruler 
of the country, and each obtained his wish. Purchased for 
a small sum, and passing through the lowest stages of 
misery and degradation, the latter rose finally by force of 
character to be the Ikhshid’s first minister and general of 
his forces; and on his master's death he contrived to keep 
the heirs in a state of tutelage to himself, and afterwards to 
seat himself on their throne; displaying throughout capa- 

16 



Cairo before the Fatimides 

city for the management of great affairs. Kaffir," Camphor,” 
whose name of itself indicated the servile condition of its 
owner, was not only master of Egypt, Syria and Arabia, 
but in one respect was the most fortunate of all Oriental 
sovereigns. He obtained as his encomiast the most famous 
of Arabic poets, known as al-Mutanabbi “the Prophetas- 
ter," at a time when the poet’s powers were at their ripest; 
and although in consequence of a dispute these brilliant 
panegyrics were speedily followed by no less brilliant and 
scathing satires, the portrait of Kafur that results is more 
complete and more familiar than that provided by the paid 
eulogizer of any other Sultan. 

It might be difficult to point out in Cairo any relic of the 
Ikhshidi period, though the idea of expanding Fostat to¬ 
wards the north appears to have found support while it 
lasted. Kaffir laid out a vast park on the eastern bank of 
the Great Canal, containing a palace which formed his 
favourite residence. Afterwards, when Cairo was built, this 
park formed the garden of the Lesser Palace, constructed 
by the second of the Fatimide Sultans. And the Tibri Zawi- 
yah, restored by Shafak Nur, mother of the late Khedive 
Tewfik, is on the site of a small mosque built by one of 
Kaffir’s ministers. 


*7 


2 



CHAPTER II 


The Fatimide Period 

T HE rights of members of the Prophet’s house appeal 
to all Moslems, and there have always been multi¬ 
tudes among them holding that the succession 
should have fallen to the sons of his daughter rather than 
to the descendants of his uncle. At the time when the re¬ 
presentatives of the latter in Baghdad had become puppets 
of foreign commanders, and the hold of Baghdad on Egypt 
as well as other provinces had become so lax as almost to 
be non-existent, a pretender to the succession through the 
Prophet’s daughter had founded a kingdom in North Africa, 
which by conquest was steadily approaching the Egyptian 
frontier. To the Moslem population of Egypt allegiance to 
such a monarch seemed far less humiliating than to such 
foreigners and slaves as had ruled over them since the fall 
of the Tulunids. During the disorders that broke out after 
the death of Kafur, a Jew who had been employed in some 
government office, and received rough treatment from one 
of Kafur’s ephemeral successors, betook him to the capital 
of the North African dynasty, a place called Mahdiyyah (or 
city of the Mahdi), and informed the professed descendant 
of Ali and Fatimah there reigning that the time was ripe 
for the occupation of Egypt. On Feb. 6, 969, an army was 
despatched under one Jauhar, said to be a Greek by origin, 
who by July 9 of the same year had crushed all resistance, 
and taken possession of the old capital Fostat. A for¬ 
mal procession of the troops was made on that day through 
the city, and they were quartered for the night on the plain 
to the north, where on the following night the lines of the 

18 



The Fatimide Period 

new city were drawn. The troops, for whom the new city 
was to provide a residence, numbered a hundred thousand 
mounted men. 

The lines of the new city were determined by the canal, 
called the Canal of the Commander of the Faithful, which 
ran from Fostat towards the south-east, discharging at the 
port of Kulzum or Klysma. That is the dry canal (now the 
route of a tram-line) which bisects Cairo from south to north, 
the city having afterwards expanded on its western side, in 
the direction of the Nile, whose bed has since receded con¬ 
siderably in the same direction. For many centuries the 
view over this canal was the favourite sight in Cairo, and 
wealthy persons used to build their houses where they could 
enjoy it. The eastern boundary was also a canal, called the 
canal of the Red Mountain; it must have silted up at no 
great length of time after the building of Cairo, and no 
trace of it exists. The southern boundary of the new city 
was Mount Mokattam, with the two ruined suburbs of Fos¬ 
tat called al-Askar and al-Kata’i. There was also a canal 
on this side, supposed to have been dug by the first Moslem 
conqueror of Egypt. To the north there was no limit quite 
so definite, but the line was drawn well to the south of Ain 
Shams, and a canal was afterwards dug on this side also, 
so that the new city had moats on all four sides. 

The lines drawn by Jauhar for the walls of the new city 
were found next morning to contain certain obliquities, but 
his belief in the auspiciousness of the moment chosen for 
their drawing prevented his afterwards rectifying them. 
These obliquities were in any case very slight; the walls 
when built enclosed a city that was practically foursquare, 
and nearly true to the cardinal points. We shall try under 
the guidance of Casanova to trace the remains of the ancient 
walls and gates. 

The southern wall that looked towards Fostat was pierced 

19 za 



Cairo 

by the double gate called Zuwailah about the middle, and at 
the S.W. angle by the gate called Faraj (deliverance). On 
the West side there was a gate called Sa’adat, after one of 
the Fatimide generals who had entered the city thereby. 
Two other gates were afterwards cut in this wall: one called 
Khukhah (the wicket) near the bridge by which the Mouski 
passes over the canal, and another the Gate of the Bridge 
by which the canal was crossed at an earlier time. On the 
north side there were two gates, known as Bab al-Nasr and 
Bab al-Futuh (both meaning Gates of Victory). On the east 
side there were also two, called Barkiyyah and Mahruk 
respectively: the second of these names belongs to a later 
time. 

Rather more than a hundred years later—in 1087 A.D.— it 
was found necessary to rebuild the walls, this time with burned 
bricks, the original walls having probably been of mud. This 
was done by the order of the Fatimide Caliph Mustansir, and 
under the direction of his minister Badr al-Jamali, commonly 
called Emir al-Juyush (Prince of the Armies). ThelinesofJau- 
har’s wall were closely followed,except that the northern wall 
was extended so as to include the Mosque of Hakim, which 
had been built outside the old wall. This involved the dis¬ 
placing of the Nasr and Futuh Gates. The southern wall was 
also displaced, so that the Zuwailah Gate was given its pre¬ 
sent position. These three gates were, it is said, built by three 
brothers from Edessa, probably Syrian Christians. An in¬ 
scription which at one time stood on the Bab Zuwailah stated 
that it had been erected in the year corresponding to 1091, 
whereas the Bab al-Nasr had been completed four years 
earlier. The former of these two gates was regarded as a 
masterpiece, unrivalled in the world for the size of its doors 
and the massiveness of the towers which defended it. A le¬ 
gend made the leaves revolve on pivots stuck in disks of 
glass. When the Muayyad Mosque was built in 1416, these 

20 



The Fatimide Period 

towers were employed as the foundation, of the minarets, and 
much of the original construction on the side of the Mosque 
was reduced. The increase of traffic with the older town led 
to the wall at the side being demolished. The Committee has 
done much work upon the remains of the Gate, and in 1900 
brought to light part of a Cufic inscription, which is, however, 
purely religious in character and contains neither the name 
of the founder nor the date. 

Under the vault of the arch there used to be two chambers, 
of which that to the west is still in existence and communi¬ 
cates with the Muayy ad Mosque. These chambers were used by 
the Egyptian sovereigns to watch various spectacles of which 
this part of the city formed the theatre, especially the starting 
and return of the Sacred Carpet ( mahmil ). Owing to the 
populousness of the region the gate was used for a variety 
of purposes which demanded publicity, notably the execu¬ 
tion of criminals. Processions regularly had their route 
between the Futuh and Zuwailah Gates. 

Eighty years later the great Saladdin finding the wall of 
Jauhar in ruins resolved to repair it. His idea was to build 
a single wall, which, starting from the Nile, should enclose 
both Fostat and Cairo and return to the Nile. The com¬ 
mencement of the wall, as planned by the great Sultan, 
was from Maks or Maksim (a name derived probably from 
a Roman named Maximus), the port of Cairo on the Nile, 
where Hakim built a Mosque, called afterwards the Mosque 
of the Gate of the Nile, or of the Sons of Anan. From this 
point the new wall went directly to the Great Canal. West 
of the Canal it was pierced by the Bab Sha’riyyah, still 
marked on the plans, named, it is said, after a Berber tribe 
encamped in the neighbourhood. Traces of the wall of 
Saladdin have been discovered by Casanova at various 
other points. From the north-east corner of the old wall the 
northern wall was continued for some hundreds of metres, 

21 



Cairo 

as far as a point called Burj Zafar (Tower of Victory), a 
name apparently chosen to accord with those of the gates 
already piercing the north wall; the extended line after a 
space went back to resume the line of the older wall, slightly 
north of the Bab al-Barkiyyah. That gate was, however, 
shifted to the east, as was also the case with the gate called 
Bab Mahruk, while two new gates were constructed called 
the New Gate and the Vizier's Gate. The southern wall, 
running from the Citadel to the Nile, so as to enclose the 
Mosque of Amr, had four gates, called respectively after the 
Cemetery, Safa, Old Cairo and the Bridge. 

Of the gates that have been mentioned three, Zuwailah, 
(now usually called Mutwalli), Futuh and Nasr are fairly 
well preserved; the remainder no longer exist, but their 
names are preserved in the plans, and streets or spaces are 
called after them. The gate which has been mentioned 
above with the name Mahruk (the Burned) is said to have 
been previously called the Forage-dealers’ and to have 
changed its name owing to the following circumstance: On 
Thursday, September 27, 1254, the Emir Aktai, who had 
been planning to usurp the throne of the reigning Mam- 
luke Aibek, was treacherously seized by the latter and 
assassinated within the Citadel. His followers, some seven 
hundred in number, determined the following night to leave 
Cairo and start in the direction of Syria. Finding the Forage- 
dealers’ Gate locked, as usual at night, they set fire to it; 
when the gate was afterwards replaced, it was known as 
the Burned Gate. 

A relic of Jauhar’s work is left in the name Bain al-Kas- 
rain “Between the two Palaces,” sometimes given to the 
Nahhasin Street. One of the general’s first tasks was to 
build a palace for his master, and the site selected was on 
the eastern side of the great avenue which bisected the new 
city. Opposite, on the other side of the avenue, were the 

22 



The Fatimide Period 

gardens of Kafur, also containing the palace which that 
former sovereign of Egypt had occupied. The Great Eastern 
Palace, as this was called, to distinguish it from the Western 
Palace built by the second Fatimide Caliph, was commenced 
the same night as that on which the lines of the walls were 
drawn. The vast building, or series of buildings, was a city 
in itself, capable of containing 30,000 persons. A high wall, 
pierced with a number of gates, whose names are still pre¬ 
served in some local appellations, screened it from the gaze 
of the population; and from a distance it seemed comparable 
to a mountain. Dissatisfied with this great palace, the 
second of the Fatimide Caliphs built himself a smaller one 
opposite. It was an open rectangle, embracing a recreation 
ground, which fronted the avenue “Between the two Palaces.” 

These palaces, of which M. Ravaisse has endeavoured to 
reconstruct the general plan, were occupied by the Fatimide 
Caliphs till the fall of the dynasty. When Saladdin resolved 
to put an end to it, he found, it is said, in the Great Eastern 
Palace 12,000 persons, all of them women, with the sole ex¬ 
ception of the Caliph and his sons, and other males of the 
imperial family. It was assigned by Saladdin to his minis¬ 
ters to dwell in; and it speedily went to rack and ruin. This 
was due to the building of the Citadel, which not only be¬ 
came the residence of the ruler, but of necessity that of the 
chief ministers as well. 

The troops brought by Jauhar were assigned different 
quarters in the new city, where they proceeded to build. On 
the western side of the great avenue there were four quarters 
or Harahs—called respectively after Burjuwan, the Emirs, 
Jaudar and Zuwailah. Four other quarters lay to the west 
of these, and between them and the canal; these were called 
Farahiyyah, Murtahiyyah, Akrad (Kurds) and Mahmudiy- 
yah. These names are mainly taken from either detachments 
of the army of Jauhar or from their captains. East of the 

23 



Cairo 

Avenue there were the upper and lower quarter of the 
Greeks, to the north and south respectively; east of the 
grand palace the quarter of the chief general; south of it 
the quarters of the Dailemites and Turks; north-east of it 
the quarter called after Utuf, a black captain; west of it the 
Barkiyyah quarter. Other quarters were built by less fortu¬ 
nate troops outside the walls. 

According to the calculations of Ali Pasha Mubarak, the 
length of each side of Jauhar's city was about 1,200 metres, 
and the area 340 feddans,* of which 70 feddans were occu¬ 
pied by the great palace, thirty-five by the garden of Kafur, 
thirty-five by the two parade grounds, and the remaining 200 
by the soldiers’ quarters. Between the western wall and the 
canal there was a distance of thirty metres. The new walls 
built by Emir al-Juyush gave the city a further extension of 
sixty feddans. The addition to Cairo of the space west of 
the canal towards the Nile and to the south towards the city 
of Ahmad Ibn Tulun took place during the period of the 
Mamlukes. Meanwhile the bed of the Nile has moved to a 
distance of something like a mile and a half west of its an¬ 
cient course. The recovered land has gradually been built 
over, and by these repeated extensions the area of Cairo has 
reached something like six times that of the original city. 

The early years of the Fatimide Caliphs were disturbed 
by the attacks of the Carmathians, against whom, as we 
have seen, Jauhar found it necessary to fortify Cairo with a 
series of trenches in addition to his wall. In origin the 
Carmathians and the Fatimides appear to have been the 
same, but the sects had become divided in the course of 
the century during which the former had been thriving in 
the West, while the original community had been devasta¬ 
ting Arabia and the Eastern provinces of the Caliphate. Both 
followed a system of mysticism, one part of which was to 
* 4,200 square metres. 

24 



MIDAN EL-ADAOUI 
AD AW I 


maidAn- EL- 








The Fatimide Period 

assign rights, more or less approximating to the divine, to 
the family of Ali, the Prophet’s cousin and son-in-law; but 
whereas the practice of statesmanship had reduced the 
fanaticism of the Fatimides, their Eastern brethren were 
iconoclasts and persecutors of as vehement a sort as ever 
arose in Islam. At the period of the Fatimide conquest of 
Egypt the leader of the Carmathians, al-A’sam, had his 
headquarters in al-Ahsa on the Persian Gulf, but was in 
relations with the Caliph of Baghdad, and even employed 
forces nominally subject to the Caliph in wresting from 
Egyptian rule Damascus and other Syrian cities. The dis¬ 
turbed state of the region formerly held by the Ikhshidis 
enabled the Carmathian leader to gain a series of victories, 
till in October, 971, his army was encamped at Ain Shams 
in the immediate neighbourhood of Cairo. The skill of the 
Fatimide general was now put to a greater test than it had 
to undergo when he was sent to conquer Egypt, but it 
proved equal to the occasion. Sorties were organized by 
him on November 19 and 20, in the second of which a severe 
defeat was inflicted on the Carmathian leader, who was 
compelled to retreat to al-Ahsa, finding that in consequence 
of his failure he was deserted by various Arab tribes who 
had gladly joined his plundering expeditions. The land 
victory was followed by one over the Carmathian fleet at 
Tinnis, and in Syria, too, attempts were made to shake off 
the Carmathian yoke. Al-A’sam, however, had no intention 
of giving way without another struggle, and the Fatimide 
Caliph, whose arrival was hastened by the representations 
made to him by his general concerning the Carmathian 
trouble, found himself a year after his enthronement be¬ 
sieged in his capital, while various Carmathian corps 
ravaged lower Egypt. Al-A’sam was again compelled to 
raise the siege, chiefly through the timely administration 
by the enemy of bribes to some of his shifty allies. 

25 



Cairo 

Egypt was thus delivered from the Carmathians; but the 
possession of Syria was not yet secured for the Egyptian 
sovereigns. When the first Caliph Muizz died at the end of 
975, his son and successor Aziz found himself threatened in 
Syria by an enemy who had succeeded to the inheritance of 
the Carmathians. This was a Turk, Aftakin, who, as com¬ 
mander of a force of mercenaries which had been in the 
employ of the Eastern Sultan and had mutinied, had in 
the spring of 975 become master of Damascus, where by 
justice and capacity he had made himself popular, and 
presently found himself strong enough, with the aid of dis¬ 
affected Carmathians, to endeavour to extend his rule over 
all Syria. In July, 976, Jauhar was sent by the advice of 
Jacob, son of Killis (the Jew who had originally summoned 
the Fatimides to invade Egypt), to deal with this new 
enemy, and he besieged Damascus for two months. Aftakin 
was finally persuaded by the Damascenes to invoke the aid 
of the Carmathians, who were now under another chief. 
The result of this alliance was that Jauhar had presently to 
raise the siege of Damascus, and was soon himself shut up 
in Askalon where his army suffered great privations. Jauhar 
in these circumstances in some way got the ear of Afta¬ 
kin, who, against the judgement of his Carmathian col¬ 
league, was persuaded to allow Jauhar’s army to depart 
without apparently having made any conditions of peace. 
They were met on their return by a new army equipped by 
the Caliph Aziz, who advanced with them to Ramlah, 
where in the summer of 977 a fierce engagement took place, 
ending in the defeat of Aftakin and the Carmathians, who 
are said to have lost 20,000 men. In spite of this success, the 
Egyptian Caliph was content to stave off further attacks by 
the offer of a yearly tribute. Aftakin, who through treachery 
was taken captive by the Caliph, was treated honourably 
and even admitted to the circle of the Caliph’s advisers: a 

26 



The Fatimide Period 

fact which is said to have so roused the jealousy of the 
Vizier Jacob, son of Killis, that he caused this possible rival 
to be poisoned about four years after his capture. We should 
gladly try to exonerate this capable proselyte from so grave 
a charge, but his career makes it improbable that he was 
troubled with more scruples than Marlowe’s Jew of Venice. 
Still he seems to have served his Caliph faithfully, who 
found him indispensable, being obliged to restore him to 
office whenever he tried to cashier him, and who, on his 
death in 990, fasted for three days and gave him the most 
honourable interment. 

The accounts that are handed down of this person’s pos¬ 
sessions give a vivid idea of the amount which it was possible 
for a minister of state to accumulate. He left jewels, coined 
wealth, goods of various kinds and estates valued at about 
two million pounds; his harem, containing 800 wives, came 
near rivalling Solomon’s; and there was a dowry of about 
100,000 pounds left for his daughter. Besides this he had 
followed the plan adopted by yet earlier ministers, and 
destined to influence the destinies of Egypt in the future, 
of forming a bodyguard, which in his case had risen to the 
number of 4,000 Mamlukes; they were housed in barracks 
which formed a street called Vizier Street, and even after 
Jacob’s death were not disbanded. 

The other founder of the Fatimide Empire in Egypt, 
Jauhar, survived him rather more than a year, dying at the 
beginning of 992. His relations with his master continued 
friendly to the end, but his ill-success in the Syrian expedi¬ 
tion appears to have definitely tarnished his laurels. 

For several years Aziz was occupied with the conquest 
of Syria, where the Hamdanide Saad al-daulah, whose 
capital was at Aleppo, managed to maintain himself, and 
on his death in 991 was succeeded by his son, Abu’l-Fada’il. 
This sovereign endeavoured to obtain the help of the Greek 

27 



Cairo 

emperor against the Egyptian invaders, and such help was 
readily given, since the maintenance of Antioch in Chris¬ 
tian hands depended on the possibility of playing off one 
Moslem power against the other. Aleppo after a siege of 
thirteen months by Aziz’s general was set free by the timely 
aid of the Emperor Basil. The plans, however, of this Caliph 
were interrupted by his death in the year 996, when his son 
Mansur, known as Hakim, was placed on the throne, being 
eight years of age. 

The practice of proclaiming minors was destined to be 
followed many times, chiefly during the Mamluke dynasties, 
when it usually led to the throne being seized after a few 
days or months by an ambitious minister. Such a coup d’etat 
was suggested on this occasion to the minister Burjuwan 
the Slav, who had been appointed regent by the last Caliph’s 
dying dispositions; but he did not consent to carry it out. 
He was, however, soon involved in a struggle with his col¬ 
league, the Commander of the Forces, which again were 
divided into two camps, of Moors and Syrians, including 
Turks. Burjuwan succeeded in getting the upper hand, and 
displacing his colleague, who was presently assassinated 
by the Turks. 

Burjuwan maintained his regency for about four years, 
and managed affairs successfully. He recovered Syria, pa¬ 
cified Damascus, and after defeating the Greeks made a 
truce with their emperor for ten years. But his protege Ha¬ 
kim developed the qualities of an eastern tyrant at an early 
age, and finding the restraint of Burjuwan intolerable, in¬ 
trigued with two other ministers, who assassinated him. 
Hakim was at this time twelve years of age. Though com¬ 
pelled to tolerate another regent, as usual the assassin of 
the last, he required that all petitions should be addressed 
to himself, and that the new regent should make no pre¬ 
tentions to independence. Ere his thirteenth year was at an 



The Fatimide Period 

end, he began the series of extravagant ordinances and re¬ 
gulations which were continued through the whole of his 
reign and have won him the title Caligula of the East. His 
delight in bloodshed was utilized by his ministers for the 
purpose of getting rid of rivals, but those who gratified 
their resentments in this way quickly fell victims in their 
turn. Thus Burjuwan's assassin survived him little more 
than three years. 

As this Caliph began to assert his independence, the 
people of Egypt became subjected to as much cruelty and 
purposeless annoyance as can ever have fallen to the lot of 
any nation; though the instability of the tyrant’s purpose 
and the perpetual veering of his inclinations may have done 
something to relieve them. At times he amused himself 
with oppressing Jews and Christians, at times they were 
the objects of his favour. At times he ordered that day 
should be turned into night, and vice versa; at times no one 
was to be allowed about after dark. Dumb animals, and 
even plants, were often the object of his resentment. 

One whim of Hakim’s cost the Christians many churches, 
for at one period he demanded that all those in Egypt 
should be demolished, and he extended his iconoclasm to 
the ancient and much venerated Church of the Resurrec¬ 
tion in Jerusalem. Jews and Christians were compelled to 
adopt Islam under penalty of having to carry heavy weights 
in the form of a calf or a cross. An amusement of this mon¬ 
ster was the hacking of young children to pieces; a remon¬ 
strance against this cruelty cost a general who had saved 
Hakim’s throne his life. Viziers and other officers were 
honoured, tortured or executed according to the Caliph’s 
caprice. 

In spite of the character of Hakim’s rule few serious 
attempts seem to have been made to rid Egypt of him. 
Apparently the hatred between the Moorish and Syrian 

29 



Cairo 

elements in his army was so great that he could always 
rely on one or other of them in the event of disaffection 
spreading. Nor does it appear that any opponent of tyranny 
could build on the ordinary resentment inspired by the 
Caliph’s acts; anyone who opposed him on the ground of 
nearer descent from the prophet could perhaps get together 
some allies. Two attempts to substitute a new dynasty for 
that of Hakim on this principle were made by pretenders 
from Barcah and Meccah respectively; the former of these 
came near succeeding, but Hakim found a general capable 
of defeating him. The latter was rendered innocuous by ad¬ 
ministering bribes. The persons who joined in these revolts 
were, moreover, not the sufferers from the Caliph’s tyranny 
but hordes of free Arabs, whose fickleness ruined any cause 
that they temporarily took up. Nor can we find that Hakim’s 
cruelties inspired much, if any, horror in his contempo¬ 
raries, since various princes voluntarily put themselves 
under his suzerainty. 

Towards the end of his reign he was possessed of the 
same ambition as had formerly seized Caligula—the desire 
to be regarded as a god. Missionaries sprang up in Cairo 
who taught the new doctrine of the divinity of Hakim, and 
demanded that it should be recognized. This claim seemed 
at last to rouse the submissive people of Cairo to indigna¬ 
tion, and several of the missionaries and their adherents 
were murdered. Hakim avenged himself by again taking 
the Jews and Christians into favour, allowing the forced 
converts to return to their former religions, and rebuild 
their churches and synagogues; and, in addition, permit¬ 
ting his Sudanese troops to indulge in all sorts of excesses 
with the Moslem population. At times the other troops took 
the side of the populace against the Sudanese, and in the 
course of the skirmishes which ensued much destruction 
was wrought. 


30 



The Fatimide Period 

The deliverance of the people of Egypt came by the hand 
of an assassin in the year 1021. All that is known is that 
Hakim rode out one evening to the Karafah, or cemetery, on 
an ass with a small escort, and never returned. The ass was 
afterwards found in a mutilated condition, and the tracking 
of footsteps led to the discovery of Hakim’s clothes. The 
assassination is ascribed to a sister of Hakim’s, who was 
indignant at his resolve to appoint a distant relation as his 
successor to the exclusion of his own son. She is credited 
with having organized the assault, and afterwards got rid 
of the persons who carried it out. As she further had a 
number of innocent persons murdered, because they refused 
to acknowledge to having had a share in the assassination, 
she appears to have been a worthy sister to the tyrant. The 
rumour that Hakim still lived and would return at some 
time was even more persistent than a similar fancy about 
Nero. There are sects that still believe in Hakim’s existence 
and destined return. It is marvellous that they should de¬ 
sire it. 

His successor, who took the name al-Zahir, was rather 
more than fourteen years of age, and was put on the throne 
by his aunt who, like so many Egyptian princesses, from 
immemorial times, took an active part in politics. She 
managed to maintain herself in the regency for four years, 
during which she showed more skill in organizing execu¬ 
tions than in securing Egyptian rule over the provinces; 
still neither she nor her nephew exercised whimsical tyranny 
after the style of Hakim, except on rare occasions. Zahir 
reigned in all fifteen years and eight months, and before his 
death recovered nearly all Syria, which in the early years 
of his reign had been the prey of a variety of usurpers. 

The fourth Fatimide Caliph died of the plague in 1036; 
his successor Mustansir was aged seven years at the 
time of his accession, so that the real power fell to his 

3i 



Cairo 

mother, who was a black slave, and her former master, a 
Jewish curiosity dealer, named Abraham. For a time this 
person, through the Caliph’s mother, appointed the viziers, 
among them a former co-religionist who had adopted Islam; 
this person, however, found the means of getting rid of his 
benefactor, and presently himself fell a victim to the resent¬ 
ment of the Caliph’s mother. The reign of Mustansir was 
distinguished by the commencement of a bodyguard of black 
freedmen, got together by the Caliph, it is supposed be¬ 
cause, being of the same race as his mother, their fidelity 
could be trusted. 

Mustansir was particularly favoured by having his cause 
taken up by various adventurers in different parts of the 
Moslem Empire, of whom one incorporated Yemen in the 
Egyptian realm, while another even took Baghdad, and for 
a time obtained recognition of the Fatimide Caliph in the 
metropolis of his rival. This event, which had been caused 
by dissensions in the family of the Seljukes, who at that time 
were supreme in the Eastern Caliphate, was of short dura¬ 
tion, partly because the adventurer who had taken Baghdad 
''excited the envy of Mustansir’s vizier, who refused further 
supplies to his rival, partly because the military talents of 
the Seljuek prince were equal to the emergency. 

Meanwhile Egypt was troubled by the rivalries between 
the Turkish and negro elements of the Caliph’s bodyguard, 
which broke out into open war. The result was long doubt¬ 
ful, but finally was in favour of the Turks, commanded by 
Nasir al-daulah. The claims of the Turkish praetorians be¬ 
came, in consequence of their victory, excessive, and a 
dispute arose between their commander Nasir al-daulah and 
the Caliph, which ended in the latter falling completely 
under the former’s control, who even threatened to restore 
Egypt to the suzerainty of Baghdad. This person’s rule, 
which ended with his assassination in 1073, was accom- 

32 



The Fatimide Period 

panied by great misery; the palace of the Caliph was 
repeatedly plundered, and its vast library partly burned and 
partly handed over to pillagers; and the Caliph himself was 
reduced to absolute poverty, so that his wife and daughters 
had finally to flee to Baghdad to avoid starvation. It is un¬ 
certain whether Nasir al-daulah’s ambition was to become 
governor of Egypt for the Abbasids, or whether he aimed at 
founding a dynasty of his own. After his assassination the 
condition of the Caliph did not at first better itself; in des¬ 
pair he put himself into the hands of Badr al-Jamali, an 
Armenian freedman who had served as Governor of Damas¬ 
cus and Acre, and who had provided himself with an 
Armenian bodyguard; this person accepted the Caliph’s 
invitation to settle the affairs of Egypt, which he began in 
old Arab style by summoning all the existing officials to a 
feast and murdering them. With his unscrupulousness, how¬ 
ever, he combined both military and administrative ability 
of a high order, and by quelling rebellion everywhere and 
seeing to the proper administration of justice he brought 
back a fair degree of prosperity. 

During the rule of Badr al-Jamali the walls of Cairo were, 
as we have seen, rebuilt; but though Egypt prospered, the 
Fatimides lost Syria, which was first conquered by an adven¬ 
turer named Atsiz, who went so far as to invade Egypt, 
where Badr defeated him; his Syrian conquests then fell 
into the power of the Seljuke Tutush, from whom Badr was 
able to recover a few towns. But Damascus remained in 
Seljuke hands. 

Mustansir died in 1094, having reigned over sixty years, 
longer than any other Oriental Caliph or Sultan. Like Khu- 
maruyah he appears to have displayed some ingenuity in 
devising new forms of pleasure, but otherwise he exhibited 
no competence. Before order was restored by the Armenian 
troops, the country was devastated by the Berbers, negroes, 

33 3 



Cairo 

Turks and Syrians who formed the different corps of the 
Caliph's army; Egyptian troops nowhere figure in the list. 

The death of Mustansir was followed by a struggle for 
the succession, in which, however, the youngest son of the 
late Caliph, being supported by Badr’s son and successor, 
al-Afdal, was victorious; he was proclaimed with the title 
Musta’li. Al-Afdal put himself into communication with the 
Crusaders, and undertook to aid them in defeating the Sel- 
jukes; and, indeed, he succeeded in retaking Jerusalem and 
some other places in Syria. This was before he was aware of 
the intentions of the Crusaders with regard to Jerusalem; 
when that place, in 1099, fell into their hands, and the 
whole population of Moslems was massacred, al-Afdal found 
his dominions threatened by the Franks, and had to retire 
to Egypt, leaving Syria to the invaders. By 1101 the bulk 
of the towns which had had Egyptian garrisons had fallen 
into their hands. The same year Musta'li died, and was 
succeeded by his son al-Amir, then an infant five years old. 
Al-Afdal acted as regent, and governed Egypt well for 
twentyyears. His attempts,however, to withstand theFranks 
in Syria and in Palestine were unsuccessful, and towns 
which had remained in Egyptian hands, such as Ptolemais 
and Tripoli, were compelled to surrender. 

In 1117 the Crusaders for the first time invaded Egypt 
itself, but had to quit it the next year, having effected little. 
In 1121 the Caliph, who was now of age, feeling tired of the 
regent, found means to have him assassinated; his posses¬ 
sions were then confiscated, and it was found that he had 
enriched himself even beyond the by no means contemp¬ 
tible performances of previous viziers. He was succeeded in 
his office by the man who had been employed to organize 
the murder, Ibn Fatik al-Bata’ihi, who had risen from the 
the ranks. In 1125, he too was got rid of by the Caliph, 
though only imprisoned, and the latter proceeded to govern 

34 



The Fatimide Period 

personally without the aid of a vizier. His rule was exceed¬ 
ingly arbitrary and vexatious, and he involved himself in 
much bloodshed; his end was, however, brought on, not by 
the resentment of his subjects, but by fanatics of a sect who 
held that his father’s elder brother Nizar had been wrongly 
displaced. By one of these he was assassinated in 1130. 

He was succeeded by a cousin who took the title Hafiz, 
and was compelled to employ as his vizier Ahmad the son of 
the murdered al-Afdal and grandson of Badr al-Jamali. This 
vizier enjoyed his honours for a little more than a year, 
during which he had made himself detested by insolence 
towards the Caliph, and an endeavour to modify the current 
form of religion; like his father he was got out of the way by 
assassination. According to custom an Armenian freedman 
Yanis, who had organized the attack on the former vizier, 
was installed in his victim’s place. A year’s time brought 
him into conflict with the Caliph, who resorted to a subtle 
form of poison to relieve himself of the vizier. Hafiz shortly 
after had to deal with an Absalom in the shape of his son 
Hasan, who fought pitched battles with his younger brother 
and then with troops summoned to defend his father; he was 
victorious and forced his father to name him successor, and 
to hand over to him the reins of authority, but his conduct 
quickly gave offence. He was compelled to take refuge with 
his father within the palace, and a Jewish and a Christian 
physician were summoned to administer poison to him; the 
Jew refused, but the Christian provided what was required. 
In consequence the Christian was presently executed by the 
Caliph’s order, and his property given to the Jew who be¬ 
came sole court physician. The army, which by this time 
claimed the right to make all appointments of a political 
nature, gave the post of vizier to an Armenian Christian, 
named Bahram, and he filled most of the subordinate posts 
with Armenians, who, in spite of their religion, have fre- 

35 30 



Cairo 

quently formed the cabinets of Moslem rulers. His power 
lasted from 1135 to 1137. An adventurer named Ridwan 
then gathered an army and displaced him; his power also 
lasted two years only, after which he was compelled by 
Hafiz to flee from Cairo to Syria, where he collected an 
army in the hope of recovering Egypt; after a variety of 
adventures, combining successes and failures, he was assas¬ 
sinated in 1148. The Caliph himself died in 1149. 

He was followed by his youngest son Ismail, called Zafir, 
who was seventeen years old at the time. In character he 
was no stronger than his predecessors, and the vizierate was 
seized by an ambitious governor of Alexandria, named Ibn 
Sallar, who presently was murdered by his stepson, who in 
his turn was installed in the dangerous office. This episode 
cost the Fatimides Askalon, their last possession in Pales¬ 
tine, which owing to the disputes between the rival parties 
was taken by the Crusaders. 

Zafir was, after a reign of four years, murdered by his fa- 
vouriteNasr, theson of the Vizier Abbas, who then proceeded 
to make away with the brothers of the Caliph, and to place 
on the throne his infant son, Isa, called Fa’iz. He attempted 
to govern independently, but gave dissatisfaction and was 
shortly compelled to flee before a South Egyptian governor, 
Tala'i Ibn Ruzzik, who came with an army to Cairo and 
usurped the office of vizier. The youthful Caliph, who suffered 
from epileptic fits, occasioned by the violence which accom¬ 
panied his accession, died at the age of eleven in the 
year 1160. 

The vizier, after the ordinary custom, appointed to the 
vacant Caliphate a child, cousin of the deceased, who was 
nine years of age, and was given the title Adid; with him 
the Fatimide Caliphate was destined to terminate. Accord¬ 
ing to the ordinary custom also the Caliph soon grew tired 
of the regency of the vizier, and hired persons to assassinate 

36 



STREET SCENE, BAB-EL-SHARIA 
{BAB AL-SHA’RlYYAH], CAIRO 















The Fatimide Period 

him, and as the vizier lived after the attempt on his life 
long enough to avenge himself, the Caliph had the baseness 
to lay the blame on his aunt and hand her over to execution. 
The vizierate was seized by the son of the murdered man, 
who, however, was speedily displaced by the governor of 
Upper Egypt, Shawar, a man who had already figured as a 
person of importance in previous reigns; who ere long had 
to give way to another usurper, Dirgham, head of a corps 
formed by Tala’i, whose conduct soon made his followers 
wish Shawar back. The disturbed state of Egypt gave the 
Crusaders an opportunity to effect a landing, do much 
damage, and only retire on promise of tribute. Meanwhile 
Shawar had found an ally in the Prince of Damascus, and 
in 1164 returned to Egypt with an army commanded by a 
general of the latter named Shirguh; after a month’s resis¬ 
tance Dirgham found himself deserted, and both he and his 
brothers met their deaths. After the joint enterprise of Shawar 
and Shirguh had been crowned with success, the two fell 
out, and since Shawar did not shrink from applying for the 
help of the Crusaders, Shirguh was compelled to return to 
Syria. Early in 1167 he returned with an army of 2,000 
picked men, with whose aid he won a decisive victory over 
the united forces of Shawar and the Franks at Ushmunain 
in the same year. It is in this battle that we first hear of 
Saladdin, sent by Nur al-din, the Prince of Damascus, ac¬ 
companying and aiding his uncle Shirguh. After the battle 
Saladdin was appointed by his uncle governor of Alexan¬ 
dria, where he was presently besieged by the united forces 
of Shawar and his Frankish allies. The news that Shirguh 
had commenced the siege of Cairo induced the parties to 
make peace, and by the end of the year Shirguh had with¬ 
drawn to Damascus. Meanwhile a Frankish garrison was 
admitted into Cairo to make sure of the tribute which had 
been promised the Crusaders as the price of their assistance, 

37 



Cairo 

and treated the inhabitants with great harshness. The ill- 
content of the inhabitants led to the summoning of Nur al- 
din from Syria by the Caliph, while on the other hand a 
Frankish army came from the north of Egypt and began 
to lay siege to Cairo. On this occasion occurred the burning 
of Fostat, which was described above. The Franks were 
bribed by Shawar to retire; but Shirguh’s forces were re¬ 
ceived with joy by the people of Cairo, and in a short time 
after their arrival Shawar was, at Saladdin’s instance, 
attacked and put to death. Shirguh, who got his place, 
occupied it only two months, since in March, 1168, he fell a 
victim to gluttony. After some claims being put forward by 
other candidates, Saladdin was chosen to succeed him as 
vizier and governor of the Egyptian Empire. Saladdin was 
an earnest follower of the Sunni doctrines, on opposition to 
which the Fatimide throne was based; he therefore appointed 
persons of his own persuasion to the chief posts in Egypt, 
and constantly reduced the sphere of activity of the Caliph. 
As usual he was threatened by an insurrection, but was able 
to suppress it; and with the aid of his chief, Nur al-din, 
raised the siege of Damietta, which had been besieged by 
the Franks with a powerful force. His further exploits in 
dealing with the Crusaders are well known. At the begin¬ 
ning of 1171 Saladdin finally consented to a step which 
Nur al-din had been long urging on him, that of substitu¬ 
ting in the Friday prayer the name of the Baghdad Caliph 
for that of the Fatimide Adid; and Adid, who was ill at the 
time, fortunately died a few days after, and never heard of 
his dethronement and the loss of the imperial title to his 
family. Meanwhile steps had been taken to substitute ortho¬ 
dox for Shi’ite judges, and also to found schools and col¬ 
leges where the younger generation should be brought up 
in Sunnite principles. Though Adid was but twenty-one 
years old at his death, he left several children, two of whom 

38 



The Fatimide Period 

found some partisans; but their attempts to regain the 
throne were unsuccessful and disastrous to their followers. 

The history of the Fatimides bears a close resemblance to 
that of the Baghdad Caliphs, except that the Abbasid family 
appears to have produced far more able men, and the mayors 
of the palace in the latter case succeeded in founding dyna¬ 
sties of some duration, unlike the ephemeral vizierates of the 
Fatimide Empire. The plan of appointing infants to the 
throne in order to permit the ministers a free hand will 
meet us repeatedly. The results were ordinarily disastrous 
to both minister and sovereign. 


39 



CHAPTER III 

Buildings of the Fatimide Period 

O NE of the earliest cares of Jauhar, the conqueror 
of Egypt for the Fatimides, was to build a mosque 
for public worship, and this project was the com¬ 
mencement of the famous al-Azhar. It took about two years 
to erect, and was finished June 14, 972. It was not at first a 
literary institution any more than any other mosque; all 
such places had from the beginning of Islam served as 
rendez-vous for savants, and places where those who under¬ 
took to interpret the Koran or recite traditions could estab¬ 
lish themselves. The line between religious and secular 
studies was not drawn during the early centuries of Islam; 
men made circles in the mosques for the purpose of reciting 
verses, or telling literary anecdotes as well as for instruc¬ 
tion of a more decidedly edifying character. The first mosque 
ever built in Islam, that of the Prophet at Medinah, had 
served a number of purposes for which separate buildings 
were deemed necessary in more specializing days: it had 
not only been church and school, but town hall, hospice and 
hospital as well. Since politics and religion could not be 
kept distinct, the mosque was the place where announce¬ 
ments of importance respecting the commonwealth might 
be made. The ideas connected with it in some ways resem¬ 
bled those which attach to a church, in others were more 
like those which are connected with a synagogue, but the 
peculiar evolution of Islam furnished it with some which 
those other buildings do not share. 

The person who conceived the idea of turning the first 
mosque of the new city into a university was the astute con- 

40 



Buildings of the Fatimide Period 

vert from Judaism who had suggested to the Fatimide sove¬ 
reign that the time was ripe for the conquest of Egypt, and 
had been rewarded for his advice by being made vizier. 
Having been born in Baghdad in the year 930, he had come 
to Egypt in 942, where he got employment in the office of 
one of Kafur’s ministers; in this capacity he obtained the 
notice of Kaffir, who promoted him from one office to an¬ 
other till he became chief treasurer. In 967 he embraced 
Islam, and took into his house a tutor who could give him 
regular instruction in the matters which a Moslem gentle¬ 
man should know. Once vizier, he followed the example of 
many who had previously held that high office, in becoming 
a patron of learning and belles lettres; on Thursday evenings 
he regularly held a salon in his house for the recitation of his 
own compositions, but also for reunion of all the savants of 
Cairo. 

The notion, however, of Jacob, son of Killis, in encoura¬ 
ging learning was somewhat deeper than that which had 
inspired many other viziers. Since the Fatimide dynasty 
had succeeded in virtue of its religious claims, it was 
necessary to provide for its maintenance by a body of 
literature comparable with that which the supporters of 
the rival Caliph could display, and which enjoyed wide¬ 
spread respect and authority owing to the long series of 
venerated names concerned with its composition and per¬ 
petuation. These authoritative books once provided, and 
arrangements being made whereby their study could be en¬ 
couraged and maintained, no mean dam would be provided 
against inundation from without. The books, therefore, he 
composed himself; the University was to secure that they 
should be properly studied and interpreted. 

In 988, when the second Fatimide Caliph was reigning, 
Jacob Ibn Killis requested his master to provide a grant 
for the maintenance of a fixed number of scholars. The 

41 



Cairo 

Caliph Aziz assented; provisions were made for thirty-five 
students, and a house adjoining Jauhar’s Mosque secured for 
their lodging. 

Thus began al-Azhar, whose name is thought to have 
been selected out of compliment to the supposed foundress 
of the Fatimide line, Fatimah, honourably called al-Zahra 
(the luminous), of which word Azhar is the masculine. This 
year’s statistics give 9,758 as the present number of students, 
with 317 professors. At times the numbers of both have 
been still greater. Political events led to its diversion from 
its original purpose as a school of heresy to its becoming 
the great centre of Moslem orthodoxy; but what circum¬ 
stance it was that enabled it to eclipse all its rivals is not 
so clear. We understand why the University of Cairo should 
have survived those of Spain and those of Irak. Cairo was 
the metropolis of Islam when those countries could no 
longer contain one, and the city to which it handed over its 
headship, Constantinople, spoke a foreign tongue and not 
theoriginal language of Mohammedanism. But in Cairo itself 
there were many rivals at all periods; in the period of the 
later Mamlukes almost every sovereign built and liberally 
endowed a college to perpetuate his name. Probably al- 
Azhar superseded the others in virtue of its antiquity and 
the reputation which it won. Its name was known all over 
the Mohammedan world; the others scarcely got the chance 
to become fashionable. 

The second founder of al-Azhar was the mad Hakim, 
whose madness did not prevent his understanding the im¬ 
portance of learning. He himself founded three mosques, 
and got together a great Library, which once occupied part of 
the Eastern Palace. The purpose of this last institution was 
in the main to spread the tenets of his dynasty and his own 
variations of them. His deed of gift is preserved in full, and 
contains a number of details as to the nature of the moneys 

42 



OLD GATEWAY NEAR BAB-AL-WAZIR, 
CAIRO 






Buildings of the Fatimide Period 

bestowed and the mode in which they were to be ad¬ 
ministered. The deed contains his benefactions to his three 
mosques, to al-Azhar, and to his public library or academy. 
To the share of the Azhar there fell, besides books, three 
public buildings in the older city; for it was the custom at 
this time and long after in Egypt to settle on religious in¬ 
stitutions not lands, but the rents of houses or shops. The 
trustees were, whenever necessary, to advertise the build¬ 
ings for hire, to keep them in good repair with the pro¬ 
ceeds, and to make a number of specified payments out of 
the remainder. The Preacher of the Mosque was to have 
seven dinars (perhaps 75 francs) a month; other sums were 
to be expended on matting, glass, incense and other scents, 
camphor, wax, etc., and certain sums were to be set aside for 
payment of persons employed in sweeping, repairing, clean¬ 
ing, etc. Three leaders of prayer, four other religious officials 
and fifteen mueddins were to have between them 556 dinars; 
other sums were set apart for the hospice. Even such details 
as dusters for cleaning the lamps, buckets for scouring and 
brooms for sweeping were provided for by specified pay¬ 
ments to come out of the benefactions. 

The plan of the original Mosque bore some resemblance 
to that of the Mosque of Ibn Tulun, being a rectangle with 
the sanctuary side wider and therefore supported by more 
rows of columns than the rest; but in the case of al-Azhar 
piers were not used, their place being taken by 380 columns 
of different materials, marble, porphyry and granite, with 
bases and capitals of different styles. Though it was fre¬ 
quently restored and repaired, additions seem to have been 
made only in comparatively late times. The Caliph Mustansir 
is mentioned as one of its benefactors; and in the time of the 
Mamluke Baibars I an Emir Izz al-din Idumir restored 
walls and columns, plastered the former afresh, and re¬ 
paired roof and pavement. In 1303 it, with several other 

43 



Cairo 

mosques, was partly demolished by an earthquake; the 
Emir Sallar undertook the restoration of what had fallen. 
A fresh restoration was undertaken in the year 1360 by 
Bashir the cup-bearer; he built an establishment for the 
provision of drinking-water on the south side, with a school 
for poor children above it. In 1382 fresh emoluments were 
provided by a law that of all intestate residents of the 
Mosque the property should fall to it. 

From the first it had been the custom of students who 
had no other lodging in Cairo to live in the Mosque, and 
the spaces between the columns were more and more fitted 
as dormitories for that purpose; different parts being 
assigned to different nationalities, and in after times to 
different sects. Various legacies were left for the mainte¬ 
nance of these students, while pious persons undertook the 
duty at different times of supplying them with necessaries 
or luxuries. An attempt was made in the year 1415 by an 
officious Kadi to turn these poor students out, doubtless 
with the view of rendering the condition of the Mosque 
cleaner and more sanitary; this measure had only tempo¬ 
rary effect, though great annoyance seems to have been 
caused by it at the time. A fresh restoration took place in 
the year 1495 and another in 1596; on this last occasion a 
benefaction of lentils was assigned to all students for daily 
consumption, and this caused a great inflow of scholars. 
Ten years afterwards it was freshly paved and otherwise 
repaired. Iywaz Bey, who died in the year 1724, renewed 
the roof which was falling in, and since then a variety of 
additions and improvements have been effected. The im¬ 
provements of Abd al-Rahman in 1777 included two mina¬ 
rets, an erection of fifty marble columns containing a 
school, a cistern, and a mausoleum for himself; a dormitory 
for students from Upper Egypt, and a new gate of vast di¬ 
mensions made so as to introduce the Taibarsi and Ak- 

44 



SHARIA-EL-AZHAR [SHARI-AL- 
AZHAR], CAIRO 
















Buildings of the Fatimide Period 

bogha colleges within the precincts of al-Azhar. Other dor¬ 
mitories or cloisters have been added for students from 
Baghdad, Meccah, Hindustan, etc. 

The Mosque has eight gates, of which the largest is called 
theBarbers’ Gate,opposite the openingof Boxmakers’ Street; 
this gate, which is double, has above it a school and a mina¬ 
ret. It was erected by the Abd al-Rahman mentioned above. 
The inscription on the older gate which occupied the same 
site is still preserved, and is to the effect that the gate was 
erected in 1469 by the Sultan Kaietbai. The remaining gates 
are named after the Moors, Syrians, Upper Egyptians, etc. 
The Maksurah (a kind of private pew surrounded with a 
grating in which eminent personages take part in devotions) 
is represented in al-Azhar by several erections; the oldest is 
the work of Jauhar and extends from the Gate of the Sy¬ 
rians to the Cloister of the Orientals, and is on seventy-six 
pillars of white marble; it communicates with the quadrangle 
of the Mosque by three doors. The second Maksurah built 
by Abd al-Rahman is separated from Jauhar’s by a court, 
and its roof is some two metres higher than that of Jauhar. 

The great university of al-Azhar has recently been accu¬ 
rately described in French by M. Arminjean [L’ Enseignement, 
la Doctrine , et la Vie dans les Universites Musulmanes d Egypte, 
Paris, 1907) in a manner that leaves little to be desired, 
whether in regard to the structure of the buildings, the na¬ 
ture of the studies or the mode in which the students spend 
their time. Two of its denizens furnished him with autobio¬ 
graphies, and these give a vivid impression of the character 
ofa Mohammedan “ U niversity Career.” Our notion of a course 
of study, limited in time, followed by a degree after which 
the student ceases to be a student, must be removed from the 
mind, if we would familiarize ourselves with the ways of al- 
Azhar—at least the al-Azhar of all but the most recent times 
—for here too it would seem that the examination system and 

45 



Cairo 

European hurry are beginning to make themselves felt. The 
underlying theory of the Oriental University is that there is 
nothing new under the sun. It is therefore the purpose of the 
teacher to communicate as accurately as possible what he has 
himself learned; of the student to master it with the same 
thoroughness, to leave nothing out, but never to add anything 
of his own. The sciences, as they are called, of al-Azhar were 
all perfected in past time—before the fall of the Caliphate of 
Baghdad; what the student has to do is to acquire mastery 
of the manuals in which that old learning was finally incor¬ 
porated, or some abridgement of them, or else an abridgement 
of an abridgement. He may perhaps take his whole life over 
accomplishing this task; in any case it will take him a num¬ 
ber of years. For what the Oriental learns he usually learns 
very thoroughly indeed. 

Next in importance to the Mosque al-Azhar among Fati- 
mide edifices is the Mosque of Hakim, outside the first but in¬ 
side the second wall of Cairo. Built on piers, and with brise or 
slightly pointed arches, it bore considerable resemblance 
to the Tulunid Mosque, and even the minaret is not wholly 
unlike that which has been described in dealing with that 
building; but it has long been in ruins, certain piers and 
arches only standing beside the dismantled minaret. Com¬ 
menced by the second Fatimide Caliph, it was finished by 
the mad Hakim in 1012; and richly furnished and endowed 
by him. The floors were covered with 36,000 square yards of 
matting. In the year 1303 it was wrecked by the earthquake 
which, as has already been seen, did considerable havoc to the 
buildings in Cairo; it was then repaired by the Sultan Bai- 
bars, who in addition to fresh revenues for its maintenance 
appointed professors of the four schools of law to lecture in 
it, and furnished endowments for scholars. In 1359 it was 
restored by the Sultan Hasan who paved the whole afresh; 
and an endowment of 560 feddans was added to its estates. 

46 



COURTYARD OF THE MOSQUE OF EL 
AZHAR, UNIVERSITY OF CAIRO 











Buildings of the Fatimide Period 

Nevertheless for some reason the Mosque became deserted 
soon after this, and appears to have been so in Makrizi’s time. 
In the early part of the last century it was occupied by Sy¬ 
rian artisans of different sorts, such as makers of glass lamps, 
silk-weavers etc. Of the original seven gates two remained 
open, the rest being walled up. For some part of the last cen¬ 
tury it was used as an Arab museum, but even this service 
to learning and religion it no longer renders. 

Tala’i son of Ruzzik, of whom a short account was given 
above, vizier of the last Fatimide Caliph, built a mosque 
somewhat to the south of the Zuwailah Gate. Its purpose was 
to harbour the head of Husain, son of Ali, hero of the Mu- 
harram Miracle plays; this precious relic had been kept at 
Ascalon, and it was feared that it might fall into the hands 
of the Crusaders. The Caliph, however, refused to let it be 
housed anywhere save in the Palace, and the Mosque built 
for its reception remained neglected till the brief reign of 
Aibek, under whom, in 1252, service began to be performed 
in it. It fell in the great earthquake of 1303, but was rebuilt. 
The place where the head was actually deposited is said to 
be where the great Mosque of Sayyiduna Husain now stands. 
A magnificent building was, immediately after its arrival, 
built to hold it, and travellers of the sixth century speak with 
enthusiasm of this Mashhad (or saint’s grave). Marble, silk, 
gold, silver and other precious materials were lavished upon 
it, as if they were of no account. The Mosque was repeated¬ 
ly enlarged in the time of Abd al-Rahman Ketkhuda, and 
more recently in that of the Khedive Abbas Pasha, and 
afterwards in that of Isma’il. Ali Pasha Mubarak, in his ac¬ 
count of the Mosque, complains that an excellent plan 
drawn by himself had been spoiled in the execution; incon¬ 
sequence of which the building was out of correct orien¬ 
tation, and by the time he himself came to be head of the 
public works’ department, it could not be rectified. Its reve- 

47 



Cairo 

nue in his time—about twenty years ago—amounted to 
about £1,000 yearly; and more trouble was taken there than 
with any other Mosque to keep everything in a state of the 
most perfect purity. 

It is, of course, highly improbable that the head which it 
contains really belonged to the Prophet’s grandson; though 
of the ultimate fate of the real head there seems to be some 
doubt. Perhaps the claims of the relic to be genuine were not 
more preposterous than those of the Fatimides to be con¬ 
nected with the mother of Husain. Moreover, it pleased the 
Fatimides to maintain the doctrine that large numbers of 
the Alid family in early times found their final resting- 
places in the neighbourhood of Cairo. The Sayyidah Zainab, 
indeed, presumably a daughter of Ali himself, who gives her 
name to a quarter of Cairo, appears to be a very late im¬ 
portation—later even than the end of the Fatimide period; 
but the story that another Zainab, daughter of a much later 
Ali who was, however, one of the twelve Imams, was buried 
in Cairo goes back probably to Fatimide times. 

One more mosque dating from this period should be men¬ 
tioned, the modest building called al-Akmar, in the Nahhasin 
Street. It dates from the time of the Caliph Amir, though it 
has repeatedly undergone repairs and alterations. M. Herz, 
the highest authority on Moslem architecture, observes that 
it is the only example of a Fatimide building in which the 
facade corresponds with the disposition of the edifice. Prior 
to that time the fa5ade played an unimportant part; the 
small dimensions of this Mosque may have permitted the 
architect to experiment. The doorway is surmounted by a 
shallow niche, with fluting for ornament round it, and with 
a central rosette made up of letters; the decoration, after¬ 
wards so familiar, the stalactite, is said to appear in this 
mosque for the first time. 


48 



A MOSQUE IN THE SAIDA ZEINEB 
[SAYYIDAH ZAINAB] QUARTER, 
CAIRO 












CHAPTER IV 

The Ayyubid Period and its 
Buildings 

E ACH dynasty that got control over Egypt founded a 
new capital, ordinarily within easy distance of the 
last; the dynasty established by Saladdin and des¬ 
tined to control the nearer East for something less than a 
hundred years did not abandon this precedent. From Cairo 
itself the seat of government was to shift to the south-east, 
the high ground between the city and Mount Mokattam, 
where a site was found for a Citadel. The idea of such a 
structure is said to have been suggested by the Crusaders’ 
procedure. The soldiers of the Cross, when they had con¬ 
quered a hostile country, shut themselves up in fortresses 
such as their chiefs possessed in Europe, where safe from 
attack they could retain and enjoy their mastery. Saladdin, 
chiefly remembered in history for his successful resistance 
to the Crusaders, learned from his enemies, and built him¬ 
self a fortress similar to theirs. 

The selection by Saladdin or his minister Karakush of a 
point dominated as the Cairene Citadel is by a mountain 
has been criticized by European writers as a strategic blun¬ 
der; and defended on the ground that a fortress actually on 
the top of Mount Mokattam would have been too far re¬ 
moved from the city to be of much use for either protecting 
the inhabitants of Cairo or keeping them in order, and 
would, besides, have involved the fortification of the emi¬ 
nence on which the Citadel was built, to prevent the mountain 
being isolated by some enterprising enemy who chose to 

49 4 



Cairo 

occupy that intervening height. And this defence seems un¬ 
answerable. 

The site of the Citadel is supposed to have originally had 
the name “Cupola of the Air,” and to have directly over¬ 
looked a parade ground established by Ahmad Ibn Tulun; 
the whole place was after his time turned into a cemetery 
(karafah), in which numerous mosques were erected. Here 
Saladdin ordered Karakush to build a fortress, which he was 
never destined to inhabit himself. His residence, when Sul¬ 
tan, was the old Palace of the Viziers, and the first Sultan 
who inhabited the Citadel itself was al-Kamil, who came to 
the throne many years after Saladdin’s death. 

The Citadel in all the plans is divided into two distinct 
portions: the Northern, rectangular in shape (at least on 
three sides), and the South-Eastern, separated from the for¬ 
mer by a thick wall. Casanova suggests that the former was 
what was intended in Saladdin’s original plan. After the 
work had made some progress, he bethought him of building 
himself a palace under the shelter of the Citadel. 

Access to the northern enclosure was given by a gate 
called by various names, among them the Step Gate, owing 
to the nature of the approach—a part of this ancient flight 
of stairs was discovered and identified by Casanova. The 
material for the Citadel was supplied by some pyramids near 
Memphis, which Karakush had no hesitation in demolish¬ 
ing, while thousands of Frankish prisoners were employed 
in forced labour. 

To Saladdin is ascribed the excavation of the Well of 
Joseph, called, according to some authorities, after Salad- 
din’s own name, while others fancy it to be named after the 
Patriarch, a favourite with the Moslems of Egypt. The well 
was regarded as one of the wonders of engineering archi¬ 
tecture, and was frequently described by Arab writers. Three 
hundred steps (where there is now an inclined plane) were 

50 



THE CITADEL OF CAIRO 











The Ayyuhid Period 

supposed to lead to the bottom; the well itself was in two di¬ 
visions, with a reservoir in the middle; the water was 
raised by oxen in the ordinary manner, first from the well to 
the reservoir, then from the reservoir to the level of the 
Citadel. 

The minister who built both the Citadel and the new walls 
of Cairo is a figure of some interest. His name is Turkish, 
and means “Black Bird”; he was the slave, and afterwards 
the freed man of either Saladdin or Shirguh. When the 
former obtained control of Cairo, Karakush was given com¬ 
mand of the guards of the palace where the Fatimide Caliph 
still retained some shadowy authority. On the death of al- 
Adid in 1171 he was still in control of the palace, and 
adopted some severe measures towards the surviving Fati- 
mides. In 1175 he was entrusted by his master with the 
double task of refortifying Cairo and building the Citadel, 
while uniting all three parts of the city, Fostat, Cairo and 
the Citadel by a wall. This scheme in its entirety was never 
accomplished. In 1188 he was summoned by Saladdin to 
Acre to settle the question whether it should be destroyed 
or not; he decided for the latter alternative, was made 
governor of the place, and rebuilt the walls. The next year 
he had to stand a siege, and two years later, when Acre was 
retaken, he was made captive to be ransomed by Saladdin. 
After the death of the great Sultan he inherited the confi¬ 
dence of his successor, and in 1194 was even appointed re¬ 
gent during the Sultan’s absence from Egypt, and on the 
same Sultan’s death became regent during the minority of 
his son. For a post of this importance he does not appear to 
have possessed the necessary qualifications, and was unable 
either to maintain himself in power, or to prevent his charge 
being displaced by his great-uncle, Saladdin’s brother. Be¬ 
sides various buildings and engineering works designed by 
him, his name was perpetuated by a quarter of Cairo, Harat 

51 4« 



Cairo 

Karakush, situated outside the Futuh Gate. Owing to the 
vehement hatred of a scribe belonging to one of the rival 
parties the memory of Karakush was blackened by a viru¬ 
lent pamphlet in which he was made responsible for a string 
of decisions ludicrous for their folly and injustice, so that 
his name has become proverbial for the Unjust Judge. The 
confidence placed in him by such a man as Saladdin is of 
itself sufficient to dispose of these slanders, the piquancy of 
which has caused them to survive in a marvellous fashion. 
English readers who wish to know their character will find 
them in a work bearing the name of A. Hanauer, called 
Tales told m Palestine. 

After Saladdin’s death the work on the Citadel appears 
to have ceased to be resumed by al-Kamil in 1207. In this 
year the Sultan definitely abandoned the old Vizier's Palace 
and moved into a new palace built in the southern enclosure, 
while the market for horses, camels and asses was trans¬ 
ferred to Rumailah (sometimes called Place Mohammed 
Ali), below the city; between this place and the Citadel were 
built the royal stables which had a secret communication 
with the Palace. In the Palace itself the Sultan constructed 
a hall of justice called Iwan, a library and a mosque. A 
celestial globe belonging to al-Kamil’s library is still extant 
in the Museo Borgia of Velletri, though the process whereby 
it came into Italian hands is uncertain. None of this sove¬ 
reign’s work otherwise remains. 

Of the Citadel of al-Kamil nothing then is left at the 
present time beyond the location of the gates, which has 
never varied. Al-Malik al-Salih abandoned the Citadel of 
Saladdin for a citadel on the island Raudah which he had 
built. The first Mamluke Sultan Aibekreturned to the Citadel 
of the Mountain, but does not appear to have built there 
afresh. On the other hand the enterprising Rukn al-din 
Baibars built in the citadel of the mountain the “House of 

52 



The Ayyubid Period 

Gold” with two towers, crowned by a cupola supported by 
pillars of coloured marble, and further a great audience 
room for the hearing of cases. The tower near the Karafah 
(or Eastern) gate was by this Sultan assigned to the Caliph 
as his residence; at a later period the Caliphs were removed 
from the Citadel and lodged in the Kabsh Palace. The 
Sultan Kala’un added a cupola on the “ Red Palace,” said 
to be one of the wonders of the world. It rested on ninety- 
four pillars outside the peristyles. These peristyles were 
frescoed with representations of the fortresses in the pos¬ 
session of the Sultan, with all their natural surroundings. 
He also built a house for the Viceroy, an official who acted 
for the Sultan during his absence. 

A greater builder than any of his predecessors was 
Mohammed, son of Kala’un, known as al-Nasir; he even 
added four or five new quarters to the original environment 
of the Fatimide city, besides building a vast number of 
bridges, canals, mosques, etc. It has been observed that the 
greater number of products of Saracenic art to be found in 
European museums bear the name of this Sultan, and so 
emanated from his time. The Mamluke architecture dates 
from him. Among the monuments that bear his name we in¬ 
clude those that were erected by his emirs. He so thoroughly 
rebuilt the Citadel that with the exception of the actual 
lines little of the work of his predecessors remained after 
him. 

The Mosque of the Sultan Nasir stands in the central 
court of the Citadel, and in plan is approximately square. 
An arcade runs round the whole of the interior, having four 
rows of columns on the east, and two upon each of the 
other sides. In the centre of the eastern arcade and over 
the Kiblah the pillars are replaced by ten granite monoliths 
of very large size; these columns supported the magnificent 
dome described by Makrizi, which fell in 1522. The dome 

53 



Cairo 

columns are surmounted by arches composed of alternate 
red and white stones, and above these is an inscription upon 
a broad wooden band, which runs round the base of the 
dome. The smaller pillars of the arcades all exist, with 
the exception of five on the western side, which with the 
arches above them have completely disappeared. The square 
pillars of rubble masonry which have taken their place are 
modem work. The floor was originally paved with marble, 
and the ceilings illuminated with gold. The Kiblah and the 
minarets were formerly covered with green faience. It was 
begun in 1318 and rebuilt in 1334. 

Apparently the revenues of the mosque which were origi¬ 
nally very large were gradually absorbed by various gover¬ 
nors, and the building fell into ruin about the time of the 
Turkish occupation. For a considerable period it was used 
as a prison, and during the middle of the nineteenth century 
was a military storehouse. High walls of rubble masonry 
were built between the pillars in order to divide the space 
into compartments suitable for prison or store purposes. 
Shortly after the British occupation it was cleared by order 
of Major C. M. Watson. 

The chief work of the Sultan Nasir on the Citadel was 
the Iwan, or Palace, occupying the place at present covered 
by the Mosque of Mohammed Ali. It was a great hall re¬ 
built by Nasir after two of his predecessors, very high, long 
and wide, and containing the royal throne. A magnificent 
cupola which crowned it fell in 1522. Later visitors speak 
of the dome as being still supported by thirty-four columns 
of marble of prodigious width and height, being at least 
forty-five feet between base and capitaL 

Of a palace called the Parti-coloured Palace, a few re¬ 
mains were left when the Mosque of Mohammed Ali was 
built; in those ruins there are to be found black and yellow 
stones, and the juxtaposition of these gave its name to the 

54 



The Ayyubid Period 

building. It comprised, it is said, three palaces in one. Dur¬ 
ing the Turkish period this Parti-coloured Palace served to 
give shelter to the workmen engaged in making the carpets 
to be sent to Meccah. Powerful descriptions are given by 
travellers of the enormous eminence on which this palace 
was built, and the magnificent view of Cairo which it com¬ 
manded. 

The Karamaidan, though it existed from the time of 
Ahmad Ibn Tulun, was to some extent the work of Nasir, 
as he built a wall round it, had arrangements made for a 
supply of water, and planted trees; he regularly used the 
place himself as a recreation ground. Besides this he had 
constructed a vast system of aqueducts for supplying the 
Citadel with water. 

After the time ot al-Nasir the Sultans gradually aban¬ 
doned the Citadel itself and took up their abode in the lower 
parts called the Hosh or “pens” and the mews. 

The Sultans who reigned between the time of Mohammed 
al-Nasir and the Ottoman occupation most of them did 
something for the Citadel in the way of either restoration or 
fresh building, without, however, seriously altering the 
work of that ruler. Various inscriptions have been found by 
Casanova and van Berchem which refer to these restora¬ 
tions. A picture preserved in the Louvre represents the last 
Mamluke Sultan but one (Kansuh al-Ghuri) sitting in the 
garden which he had laid out and receiving the Venetian 
ambassador. 

In the Turkish period the Janissaries occupied the mili¬ 
tary citadel, while the Pashas were installed in the palaces 
at the foot. The grand buildings of Nasir and his successors 
were allowed to fall into ruin, and indeed, according to a 
French traveller of the seventeenth century, the Egyptian 
Pashas were expressly forbidden by their Turkish masters 
to hold their audiences in the Great Hall, lest the magnifi- 

55 



Cairo 

cence thereof should inspire them with the desire to become 
independent. Many beautiful marbles were removed by the 
Sultans from the buildings of the Citadel and taken to Con¬ 
stantinople; the Turkish conqueror of Egypt, Selim, dis¬ 
mantled some of the edifices immediately. The Mosque of 
Nasir being neglected, other mosques were built on the 
Citadel for the use of the Janissaries, and the governors 
continued to build themselves palaces thereon. Much damage 
is said to have been done to the buildings which remained 
on the Citadel at the time of the French occupation; but the 
Citadel received a new lease of life when Mohammed Ali 
built his mosque and his palace there; and though the 
ruined Mosque of al-Nasir and the much-frequented Mosque 
of Mohammed Ali are the only show buildings that now 
remain on the Citadel, its military importance is still con¬ 
siderable. 

We now return to a summary of the history of the Ayyu- 
bids, as the dynasty inaugurated by Saladdin is called after 
the father of its founder. It held the throne of Egypt for 
eighty-three years, from 1169 to 1252, and consisted of nine 
sovereigns; but other branches of the family ruled simul¬ 
taneously, and for some time after the power of the Egyptian 
Ayyubids had fallen, in various parts of Syria and Arabia. 
Perhaps during the greater part of this time Damascus rather 
than Cairo would have been called the chief city of the Empire; 
for Saladdin during the life of Nur al-din recognized the lat¬ 
ter’s suzerainty, while after his death he contrived to gain 
possession of his empire and to extend it by fresh conquests 
in order to bring a united Islam to deal with the Fra n k i sh 
invaders of the East. In the Mamluke period the governors 
of the Syrian cities were the “Deputies” of the Egyptian 
Sultan; but in Ayyubid times this relation did not yet exist. 

Although the greater part of Saladdin’s time was spent in 
Syria, he found time to arrange for the construction in Cairo 

56 



The Ayyubid Period 

of a number of buildings religious or philanthropic in char¬ 
acter. One of these was a College or School (madrasah) in 
the neighbourhood of the grave of al-Shafi’i, known as the 
Imam, or founder of an orthodox system of Law. Provision 
was made in this School for teaching that great jurist’s doc¬ 
trine, it being of importance that facilities should be provided 
for bringing Egypt back to orthodoxy after so many years 
of Fatimide government. This college was of enormous size, 
equal according to one enthusiastic visitor, to a town; the 
site on which it was built had previously been a prison. Sa¬ 
laddin’s successor apparently made some additions, but in 
Makrizi’s time it was in ruins, and in 1761 Abd al-Rahman 
Ketkhuda, whose name has already met us in connexion with 
al-Azhar, pulled down what was left of it, and built on the 
site the present Mosque of Shafi’i. Another prison which had 
occupied part of the old Fatimide Palace was turned by him 
into a hospital; and—a yet greater innovation—a house 
called after a former owner Sa’ id al-Su’ ada, west of the old 
Avenue of the Two Palaces, was turned into a hospice 
(khanagah) for poor ascetics. At a latter time, as we shall 
see, the ideas of mosque, school and hospice all became 
confused; but in Saladdin’s time they were still distinct, and 
the appurtenances of a mosque, a minaret, a pulpit and a 
washing place, were added to the hospice in much later times. 
It also served as a final resting-place for many of the saints. 

A visitor to Cairo in Saladdin’s time has in his diary left 
us his impressions of the place—the Spaniard Ibn Jubair. 
The Citadel and the surrounding wall had been begun in his 
time; and the intentions of the Sultan in the matter were well 
known. What interested him most in the city or its neighbour¬ 
hood was the great number of mausoleums containing the 
remains of members of the Prophet’s house, men and women, 
companions of the prophet, jurists and saints. Over the sanc¬ 
tuary which contained the head of Husain he is ecstatic; he 

57 



Cairo 

confesses that no words can give an adequate description of 
its magnificence. But he has a good deal to say too of the 
arrangements of Saladdin’s School and especially his Hos¬ 
pital; with its separate establishments for men and women, 
with beds provided with coverings, all under the management 
of a custodian with a staff of assistants; while hard by is an 
asylum for the insane, who too have their comfort thoroughly 
studied, but whose windows have to be secured with iron 
gratings. No detail in his description is more striking than 
the apparently speedy recovery of Fostat from its ashes. The 
traces of the great fire were indeed apparent, but building 
was proceeding continuously. 

Saladdin died inDamascusat thebeginning of March 1193; 
he had made Egypt once more nominally dependent on 
Baghdad, but had in reality substituted a new dynasty for 
the effete Fatimide family, whose Palace he had ruined. The 
reign of his son and successor was disturbed by family dis¬ 
putes, which for a time were settled by the division of Sa¬ 
laddin’s empire; one son (Aziz) retaining Egypt, while another 
(Afdal) reigned in Syria. The former, however, had to submit 
to the direction of his uncle Adil, who at the death of Aziz 
after five years’ reign, was easily able in 1199 to supplant his 
infant son. 

The reign of Aziz is notable in the history of Cairo for the 
commencement of a residential quarter on the west bank of 
the Great Canal, the site of European Cairo of our time. 
Ibn Jubair speaks with great admiration of the embankment 
of the Nile by Saladdin, of course before the river had 
shifted its bed towards the west. The region west of the 
Bab al-Sha’riyyah and north of the present Ezbekiyyeh 
quarter was at that time a plantation of date-palms; the 
Sultan Aziz, in the year 1197, ordered these palms to be cut 
down, and an exercising ground to be laid out where they 
had stood. This proceeding led to the adjoining land being 

58 



AN OLD PALACE, CAIRO 









The Ayyubid Period 

parcelled out and built on. The now fashionable region 
further south was not occupied till Mamluke days. Eight 
months of the preceding year are said to have been occupied 
by this prince in a futile attempt at treasure-hunting in the 
pyramids of Gizeh; after a time it was known that the cost 
of undoing the ancient builders’ work was greater than the 
value of the expected treasure. 

The Sultan Adil, like his brother Saladdin, spent little 
of his time in Egypt, where he appointed as his deputy his 
son, called al-Kamil. We have seen how this sovereign com¬ 
pleted the Citadel which his uncle had begun. The trans¬ 
ference thither of the seat of government led to the south 
and south-east of Cairo becoming fashionable and populous. 

The Sultan Kamil gave his name to the Kamiliyyah 
School, in the Nahhasin Street, built by him in the year 
1225; it was long known as the House of Tradition (dar al- 
hadith ), and was said to be the second edifice with that 
title, the first being one built in Damascus. From its erec¬ 
tion perhaps we are to infer that orthodox books of Tradi¬ 
tion were not yet studied in al-Azhar. Like so many of these 
pious edifices a fanciful account had to be given of the 
source of the funds employed in its elevation. The workmen 
who dug the foundations were fortunate enough to discover a 
golden image, which, molten down, served to defray all ex¬ 
penses! In Mamluke times it got crowded out by a number 
of religious and educational edifices erected in the imme¬ 
diate neighbourhood, and in Makrizi’s time instruction in 
Tradition had already ceased to be given in it, and it was 
turned into an ordinary mosque. 

Kamil’s successor Adil II reigned only two years; he was 
superseded by his brother Salih, called also Najm al-din 
Ayyub, who reigned nine years (1240-1249). His reign was 
notable for several events. 

Like previous sovereigns he took to purchasing slaves of 

59 



Cairo 

various nationalities, suitable to form a bodyguard, and at 
first housed them in the Citadel or in Cairo itself. Like the 
old Praetorians of Baghdad, their disregard for the rights of 
ordinary citizens made them a source of annoyance to the 
populace; and just as one of the Baghdad Caliphs had built 
a city Samarra to keep his praetorians at a distance from 
the metropolis, so the Sultan Kamil built a fortress on the 
Island of Raudah to hold his Mamlukes. These troops thence 
got the name Bahris, i.e., Mamlukes of the Nile or Sea, as 
the Arabs ordinarily call the river of Egypt. The site of 
these barracks was chosen not only with a view to the com¬ 
fort of the Cairenes; with vessels at their disposal the Mam¬ 
lukes were constantly ready to descend the Nile in case of 
a Frankish invasion. Our chroniclers regale us with a story 
how a party of deserters from the fortress of Raudah came 
in the desert across an abandoned city, with streets and 
houses and cisterns containing water that was sweeter than 
honey; green marble was the material chiefly used in the 
construction of the town. Coins were found in some of the 
shops, with legends in an ancient script; the archaeologists 
to whom they were shown read thereon the name of Moses, 
on whom be peace! Like the cities of the Takla-makan de¬ 
sert which have been unearthed in our day, it had been 
covered with sand; at times, however, the winds uncover 
such buried habitations of men, and this had occurred in 
the year 1244, when the Mamlukes deserted; another wind 
then covered the city as it was before, and those that looked 
for it could not find it. 

The erection of the barracks on the Island of Raudah led 
to the building of more houses on the western bank of the 
Great Canal; and the Bab al-Khark (of which the name 
survives as Bab al-Khalk) formed the head of the avenue 
which led from the city to the new fortification. The heaps 
of ruins which are to the left of the traveller from Cairo to 

60 



The Ayyubtd Period 

Old Cairo belong to a period when several causes led to 
this being a fashionable quarter. 

Relics of buildings by this Sultan exist in the shape of a 
mausoleum and a school, both in the old avenue between 
the two palaces. Their site is where part of the ancient 
Eastern Palace stood, and indeed included the famous gate 
of the palace called Bab al-Zuhumah, supposed to be named 
after the “odour of cooking.” On May 16, 1242, the demo¬ 
lition of the older structure commenced, and in two years 
time the school was ready. Chairs were provided in it—for 
the first time—for the four orthodox systems of Law, and 
this principle continued to be followed in the colleges built 
by Egyptian Sultans, though it appears to have been in the 
first Mamluke period that a Sultan cynically confessed that 
the public maintenance of four systems was to give the 
sovereign the better chance of getting his rulings autho¬ 
rized. The practice of having these separate systems taught 
in annexes to the four liwans or cloisters gives such build¬ 
ings a shape approximating to the cruciform. 

Architecturally, Herz Bey tells us, the College of the Sul¬ 
tan Salih is of interest for the development of the fa9ade. In 
the Fatimide period the fa5ade began to be ornamented by 
a niche over the door, which served no other purpose than 
that of decoration. In the Mamluke period it develops into 
a series of windows. The College of Salih offers the earliest 
example of the introduction of a window, whereby the niche 
is given a definite purpose. In the fa5ade of the mausoleum 
of the same sovereign the niches extend to the full height 
of the wall. 

The building originally consisted of two schools, separated 
by a long passage to which access was given by the gate 
under the minaret; this was of iron, ornamented with a 
marble slab, bearing the name Salihiyyah. Each of the 
schools consisted of an open court, surrounded by four 

61 



Cairo 

cloisters. Of the southern school nothing now remains ex¬ 
cept the facade. Of the northern there remains the western 
cloister and part of the wall belonging to the eastern. The 
old passage has now become a street. 

This school was at times used as a court of justice. We 
have a record of a scene occurring in the year 1521, in the 
early days of Turkish rule, when on the occasion of festivi¬ 
ties in Cairo, owing to the victories of the Sultan Sulaiman, 
some Christians who had got drunk in honour thereof and 
indulged in unseemly language were taken there to be tried. 
Two of the judges decided that though they might not be 
executed they ought to be scourged for drunkenness; two 
other judges raised a protest against this, and thereupon 
the mob interfered, and nearly stoned the judges. A party 
of Janissaries rushed to the rescue, seized the Christians, 
and cut two of them in pieces; a third turned Moslem, and 
so with difficulty saved his skin. The remains of the mur¬ 
dered Christians were then burned by the fanatical mob, 
who tore down beams from the shops for the purpose. 

The mausoleum of the Sultan Salih, which adjoins his 
school, is the first of a series of mosque-tombs built for 
themselves by the Egyptian Sultans, as though the air 
which had inspired the erection of the Pyramids were still 
suggesting some similar ideas. It was built seven years 
later than the school, to the northern section of which it is 
attached by an opening made in the wall of the western 
cloister. The influence of the west is, Herz Bey tells us, ex¬ 
ceedingly apparent in this mausoleum. 

The Sultan Salih died in Mansurah, whither he had gone 
after the seizure of Damietta by the Crusaders under St 
Louis, in order to organize a force to deal with the invader. 
He had gone thither while suffering from an ulcer, believed 
to be his punishment for the murder of his brother and pre¬ 
decessor on the throne. According to a custom of which most 
monarchies furnish illustrations, his death was concealed 

62 



The Ayyubid Period 

until his son Turanshah, then at Hisn Kaifa, was safely 
seated on the vacant throne; the widowed queen meanwhile 
undertook the management of affairs: it was given out that 
the Sultan was still ailing, physicians continued to pay 
their visits and report on his progress, and despatches con¬ 
tinued to be issued in his name. Turanshah’s reign began 
brilliantly, owing rather to the valour and skill of the Emir 
Rukn al-din Baibars with the Mamlukes, than to his own. 
The Christian fleet was destroyed, and the retreat of the 
Crusaders cut off. The French King was himself taken 
prisoner, to be released afterwards for a great ransom. Da- 
mietta itself was restored to the Egyptian Sultan, and lest 
it should again harbour an invader, utterly destroyed. All 
that was left of it for the time was a group of fishermen's 
huts. But Turanshah offended the Mamlukes of his father 
by preferring his own satellites above them, and committed 
the still greater error of underrating the ability of his 
father’s widow Shajar al-durr, who proved a formidable 
adversary. This woman, reviving the traditions of old Egyp¬ 
tian and Ethiopian queens, replied to the threats of her 
stepson by organizing a conspiracy among his father’s ser¬ 
vants. An assault was made upon him at a banquet given 
at Mansurah. From the sword he fled into a wooden refuge, 
soon to be devoured by flame; and thence he flung himself 
into the water, where he was ultimately dispatched. His 
reign lasted forty days only, and with its end the Ayyubid 
period practically closed. 

The great relic of the Ayyubid period is then the Citadel; 
from the time of Saladdin till the nineteenth century the 
history of Egypt centres round that of the fortress which 
commanded Cairo. The religious importance of the Ayyubid 
dynasty is also very great. By restoring Moslem orthodoxy 
in Egypt, they fitted that country to serve as the head¬ 
quarters of Islam during the centuries which elapsed be¬ 
tween the fall of Baghdad and the consolidation of the power 



Cairo 

of the Ottomans. They made Cairo the University of Islam, 
and that position it holds to this day. Politically they accus¬ 
tomed the people of Egypt to government by aliens and 
Turks, taking on therein a tradition which had commenced 
before the Fatimide dynasty had begun. 

Historically their importance otherwise is to be found in 
the fact that they bore the brunt of the Crusades; to recover 
the cities which the Frankish invader had taken was the 
problem which they had to face, and before the dynasty was 
over this problem had practically been solved. The founder 
of the line, Saladdin, towers far above the others; the admi¬ 
rable biography of him by Mr Lane Poole enables the general 
reader to estimate him aright. When he first took part in 
affairs there was a prospect of Egypt being annexed to the 
Frankish Empire, and indeed we find the Franks in actual 
occupation of Cairo. Aided partly by circumstances, such as 
the dissensions of the Frankish chiefs, and the want of suit¬ 
able successors to the throne of Jerusalem, but chiefly through 
his own ability as a statesman and general, Saladdin was 
able to reconquer Jerusalem, and so write the death-warrant 
of the Frankish occupation of the nearest East. Al-Kamil 
was, by the invasion of Egypt in the years 1218 to 1221, 
brought into greater straits than Saladdin had been. But 
the loss of Damietta, after its long and heroic resistance, 
was compensated in the following year by the Sultan’s well- 
planned and successful resistance to the Crusaders’ expe¬ 
dition against Cairo, which ended in the Franks being 
driven from Egypt. The Sultan on the occasion of his bril¬ 
liant victory showed that the chivalrous spirit which sheds 
a halo round the memory of Saladdin was in his nature too. 
The heroism of his successor Salih is sufficiently indicated 
by the circumstances of his end. Few, if any, of the dynas¬ 
ties of Islam have in so short a time brought to the front so 
many capable rulers. 


64 



DOOR OF A MOSQUE, CAIRO 







cpi 











CHAPTER V 

The First Mamluke Sovereigns 

A FTER the murder of Turanshah the Emirs accepted 
the government of the woman who had organized the 
coup, and she was enthroned in the same style asmale 
sovereigns, except that a curtain separated her from the 
ministers who kissed the ground as their act of homage. To 
the rule of infants the Islamic peoples were accustomed; but 
it was to them a great rarity to hear the preachers in the 
mosques name after the Caliph “the wife of the Sultan Salih, 
the Queen of the Moslems, the Protectress of the world and 
of the faith, the screened and veiled Mother of the deceased 
Khalil”—for in that name she chose to reign, since her own 
name, “Pearl-tree,” too obviously suggested the slave-girl— 
both male and female slaves being commonly called after 
gems. 

In spite of her eminent qualifications for the sovereignty, 
she could not long resist the popular objections to a woman 
holding such a post; and the Caliph himself sent from Bagh¬ 
dad to tell the Egyptians that if they had not among them 
a man qualified to be Sultan, they might apply to him, and 
he would send them some one. After three months’ sove¬ 
reignty she consented to a compromise whereby she abdi¬ 
cated, only, however, to continue to rule as the wife of Izz 
al-din Aibek, whom she had employed as chief minister. 
This person had originally been a slave purchased by the 
Sultan Salih, and enrolled in the force of Raudah Island, 
presently manumitted and promoted to high office. 

The praetorians were, however, not yet accustomed to 
seeing one of their number Sultan: they clamoured for a 

65 5 



Cairo 

member of the Ayyubid family. Aibek, perhaps by the di¬ 
rection of his wife, sent for such a person, a youth of tender 
years, who agreed to be joint Sultan with Aibek, the names 
of both figuring on coins and being recited in the public 
prayer; but the husband of Shajar al-durr was resolved to 
be sole master, and utilized the treasures at his disposal for 
the purchase of armed men. When sufficiently strong, he 
entrapped one of the leaders of the opposition in the Citadel, 
had him assassinated and his head flung to his friends in 
the Rumailah Place. The rest of the opposition fled into 
Syria, among them two men, afterwards prominent as 
Egyptian Sultans, Baibars and Kala’un. The Ayyubid prince 
was then imprisoned, and Aibek reigned alone. 

He now considered himself strong enough to displace his 
wife, Shajar al-durr, and sent to solicit the hand of a daugh¬ 
ter of Badr al-din Lulu, prince of Mausil. This proceeding 
was followed by violent recriminations on the part of the 
ex-Queen, to escape which Aibek abandoned the Citadel 
and went to reside in the new quarter called Luk, which, in 
consequence of the innovations of al-Aziz and al-Kamil was 
springing up between the Great Canal and the Nile. Shajar 
al-durr contrived, however, by various blandishments to allure 
him back to the Citadel, where she had arranged that five 
of her Byzantine eunuchs should murder him in his bath. 

The tragedy was not yet finished. Aibek had left a son, 
Ali, by another wife, whom Shajar al-durr had forced him to 
put away when she raised him with herself to the throne. This 
son, having his father’s praetorians at his command, handed 
his stepmother over to the tender mercies of his mother, who 
ordered her handmaids to beat the fallen Queen to death with 
their shoes. She was then stripped, dragged by the feet, and 
flung into a ditch, where she remained unburied three days. 
At the end of this time she was taken out and interred in 
the mausoleum which she had built for herself, and which 

66 



The First Mamin ke Sovereigns 

still exists between the Mashhads of Sayyidah Nafisah and 
Sayyidah Sakinah. M. van Berchem shows by the evidence 
of an inscription—in modern letters, but doubtless copied 
from an older bne—that this mausoleum must have been 
built after Shajar al-durr had become queen, but before she 
married Aibek; for among her official titles she is there 
called Mother of Khalil, but not wife of Aibek. The present 
building is modern, being a restoration dating from the year 
1873. It also contains the tomb of one of the shadowy 
Caliphs, of whom we shall hear more. Her death took place 
April 15, 1257: she had ascended the throne May 14, 1250. 

Aibek is said to have destroyed the barracks built by his 
predecessor on Raudah Island, and to have cleared away 
many dwellings in the parts of Cairo that stretch from Bab 
Zuwailah to the Citadel, and westward to the Bab al-Luk. 
He built a college in old Cairo called Mu’izziyyah, after his 
title Malik Mu’izz. 

The new Sultan, who had dealt such vengeance on his 
stepmother, was eleven years of age: a regent had to be ap¬ 
pointed, and a Mamluke of his father, named Kotuz, was 
chosen. The next year Baghdad was taken by the Mongol 
Hulagu, who now threatened to advance westward; and just 
as it had been the business of the Ayyubids to arrest the 
progress of the Crusaders, so it became that of the Mamluke 
dynasty to check this more terrible enemy. A council was 
held at which the chief jurist of the time declared that the 
occasion called for a man, and not a child, to be at the head 
of affairs; and on Nov. 4, 1259, Ali, called al-Mansur, son 
of Aibek, was deposed, and the regent installed Sultan in 
his place. Such events were destined to occur with great 
frequency during this dynasty, and the fate of the deposed 
monarch was ordinarily unenviable. In some cases, as that 
of Ali, it was lifelong imprisonment: sometimes it was 
honourable banishment, and more frequently still it was 

67 5a 



Cairo 

execution. For a man to whom allegiance had once been 
sworn could generally be suspected of harbouring designs 
against his successor. 

The command of the forces was given by the new Sultan 
to Baibars al-Bundukdari, an officer who was credited with 
much of the merit of the great victory over Louis IX. Almost 
immediately after the enthronement of Kotuz there arrived 
a missive from Hulagu couched in the style of Senna¬ 
cherib of old; and by tremendous efforts, coupled with ruth¬ 
less extortions, an army was equipped and despatched to 
Syria to meet the Tartars. On Sept. 3, 1260, a battle was 
fought at Ain Jalut, in which the victory remained with the 
Egyptians. This was presently confirmed by another victory, 
and Kotuz not only repelled the Mongol invasion, but secured 
for Egypt the suzerainty over the whole of Saladdin’s old 
empire. But on his triumphant return to Egypt, he was at¬ 
tacked and slain by the Emir Baibars, who approached the 
Sultan ostensibly to kiss his hand for the present of a slave 
girl. Since the officers decided that Baibars, by way of 
compensation for this act, should be made sovereign in 
his victim’s stead, it is probable that the assassination was 
the outcome of a widespread conspiracy. The contemporary 
biographer of Baibars, who fills pages with eulogies of his 
master’s virtues, can only say of this act that there happened 
what did happen. The date is given as Nov. 21, 1260. 

Baibars reigned for seventeen years, and showed great 
capacity as both a warrior and administrator, though 
utterly unscrupulous in his dealings. He re-established in 
theory, as we have seen, the Caliphate of the Abbasids by 
recognizing the claim of one Abu’ 1 -Kasim Ahmad to be the 
heir of the Baghdad potentates, and installing him in the 
Citadel as Caliph with the title Mustansir. Mustansir then 
proceeded to confer on Baibars the title Sultan, and invest 
him with all Islamic lands and any lands that might after- 

68 



The First Mamluke Sovereigns 

wards become Islamic by conquest. The address in which 
this shadowy Caliph instructs Baibars in his duties is a curi¬ 
ous document. It appears that Baibars at one time intended 
to restore his Caliph to Baghdad, and to equip him with a 
force which might have been sufficient to enable him to re¬ 
conquer that capital. But he was advised in time not to make 
his creature powerful enough to become his master, and sent 
with him so small a force that he was easily defeated and 
slain by the troops of the Mongol governor of Baghdad. After 
his death a substitute was speedily found in another person 
who claimed descent from the Abbasid family: but this Caliph 
remained in Cairo, and, though one of his successors was 
actually Sultan for a few days, the greater number of these 
Egyptian Caliphs served no other purpose than to confer 
legitimacy on their Mamluke masters. 

The reign of Baibars was spent largely in successful wars 
against the Crusaders, from whom he took many cities, nota¬ 
bly Safad, Caesarea and Antioch; the Armenians, whose 
territory he repeatedly invaded, burningtheir capital Sis; and 
the Seljucids of Asia Minor. All these were to some extent 
the allies of the Mongols. He further reduced the Isma’ilians, 
better known as the Assassins, whose existence as a com¬ 
munity lasted on in Syria after it had practically come to an 
end in Persia. He established friendly relations with some of 
the Christian powers of Europe, e.g. the Emperor of Con¬ 
stantinople, the King of Naples, and the King of Castile. 
He made Nubia tributary to Egypt, thereby extending Mos¬ 
lem arms further south than they had been extended by any 
earlier sovereign. 

He was, as has been noticed, the first sovereign who ac¬ 
knowledged the equal authority of the four orthodox systems 
of law, and appointed judges belonging to each of them in 
Egypt and Syria. 

Two buildings in Cairo commemorate the reign of the Sul- 

69 



Cairo 

tan Baibars, whose title was at first al-Kahir, and afterwards 
al-Zahir. One of these is a disused mosque at the end of 
the Zahir Street, which leads out of the Faggalah. The ma¬ 
terials employed for this building were largely taken from the 
Crusaders’ Castle at Jaffa, which was seized by him on March 
7, 1268, by surprise, he being supposed to be at peace with 
its governor. The building materials, including columns and 
marble slabs, were piled on a vessel and conveyed by water 
to Cairo. The site selected for the mosque was the exercise- 
ground named after Saladdin’s minister Karakush. Thecupola 
over the Kiblah (or mihrab) was in imitation of the cupola 
over Shafi’i’s grave; the doorway was copied from the door 
of his own school (madrasah) which had already been built. 

Ali Pasha has been able to produce few notices of the fate 
of this great building—which Baibars does not appear to 
have ever intended for his own mausoleum— before the time 
of the French expedition, when the invaders turned it into 
a fortress. The place was then desecrated and various dwell¬ 
ings erected within and around it. In Mohammed Ali’s time 
a military bake-house was instituted inside the old mosque r 
this was removed in the time of Isma’il Pasha, but has been 
renewed since the British occupation. Three inscriptions that 
still remain have been published by M. van Berchem, in 
which the name, date and titles of the founder are preserved. 
An interesting title is that of “ Copartner with the Commander 
of the Faithful,” by whom the Abbasid is meant, whose in¬ 
stallation at Cairo constituted one of Baibars's masterstrokes. 
These Mamluke Sultans seem to have been quite ready to 
acknowledge their original status; and one of the adjectives 
employed as a title of the founder means that he was the 
freedman of the Ayyubid Sultan Salih. 

The same Sultan was also the founder of a school (ma¬ 
drasah) called theZahiriyyah, which used to be in the Nahha- 
sin Street, forming part of the ancient avenue “Between 

70 



MOSQUE OF SULTAN BIBARS, CAIRO 












The First Mamluke Sovereigns 

the two Palaces.” This was erected in 1263, when the Sultan 
was in Syria, on the site of part of the old Fatimide Palace 
called the Golden Gate. It had four liwans, one for each 
school of law, according to the system already prevailing; 
it was furnished with a rich library, and beside it was built 
a school for instructing poor orphans in the Koran. The 
buildings in the space between the Zuwailah and Faraj 
Gates (outside the city) were settled on the madrasah, which 
was to be supported by their rents. In Makrizi's time it had 
been superseded by the numerous other institutions of the 
same kind which had been erected in the neighbourhood; 
till 1870 some ruins still remained; but in 1874 they were 
almost entirely removed, owing to the cutting of a new 
street to the Bait al-Kadi. One of the doors in finely wrought 
bronze was discovered by M. van Berchem in the French 
Consulate-general, whither it had been taken apparently 
at the time when the ruins were cleared away. It bears an in¬ 
scription with the name of the Sultan, and a date in some¬ 
what later style. 

One chronicler credits Baibars with rebuilding al-Azhar 
“after it had been in ruins since the time of Hakim,” but 
this must be a gross exaggeration. He also built a bridge 
over the Great Canal, long famous as “ The Lions’ Bridge,” 
so called after some stone lions with which it was adorned, 
and which were put there because the animal figured on the 
Sultan’s coat of arms. This bridge was near Sayyidah Zai- 
nab, and was of great height. The great builder Mohammed 
al-Nasir replaced it by a bridge that was lower and wider, 
not, Makrizi states, because there was anything the matter 
with it, but because this Sultan envied any architectural or 
engineering glory enjoyed by his predecessors. Baibars also 
restored the barracks on the Island of Raudah, and com¬ 
pelled his bodyguard to establish themselves there. 

The Bab al-Luk quarter also, we are told, received an 

7i 



Cairo 

access of population owing to the policy of the Sultan in 
welcoming Tartar colonists. Quite at the beginning of his 
reign emissaries, sent by him into Syria to discover the 
plans of Hulagu, found a detachment of Mongols who were 
anxious to seek the protection of the Egyptian Sultan, being 
in number about a thousand horsemen with their families. 
On Nov. 11, 1262, these refugees were given a public recep¬ 
tion by the Sultan, who had ordered houses to be built for 
their habitation in the region that has been mentioned, and 
the welcome granted to these Mongols with the promotion 
that was speedily accorded them in the Sultan’s service led 
to many more of their brethren following their example. An 
exercise-ground was laid out in the same region, and there 
every Tuesday and Saturday the Sultan rode to play ball. 
The origin of the name Luk appears to be quite obscure ; 
the grammarians try to show that it means land originally 
submerged, but afterwards recovered, a description which 
would suit this part of Cairo accurately. 

Another quarter that grew up in Baibars’s time was in the 
region between Sayyidah Zainab and the Nile, and another 
in the region yet further south, adjoining the river, called 
Dair al-Tin, or Clay Monastery, where brick-kilns had pre¬ 
viously occupied the ground. 

The character of Baibars is one of great psychological 
interest, and in some ways resembles that of Napoleon. His 
victories, like Napoleon’s, were won by his great rapidity of 
movement: he went from Egypt to Syria and Syria to Egypt 
in times that constituted records for that age. Where his 
personal ambition was concerned, he appears to have recog¬ 
nized no moral obligations. The indictment against him 
drawn up by the German historian Weil leaves a most 
painful impression on the reader. Perfidy and cunning can 
nowhere be better illustrated. Apparently, however, the 
Moslem world of those days, owing to the terrible catastro- 

72 



The First Mamluke Sovereigns 

phes which it had undergone, could not easily be shocked; 
and we find that the murder of Turanshah with which his 
career commenced, horrified the imprisoned Crusaders much 
more than Turanshah’s subjects; and the calmness with 
which the people of Egypt permitted Baibars to seat him¬ 
self on the throne of the meritorious Sultan whom he had 
assassinated could not easily be paralleled either in earlier 
or later times. That such a man as Baibars should have 
been a founder of religious edifices is not surprising; what 
astonishes us more is that he appears in many ways to have 
led a blameless life, and to have sincerely interested him¬ 
self in the reformation of public morals. The growth of Cairo 
in his time was largely due to the scrupulousness with which 
he looked after the administration of justice. His services 
to Islam in repellin g the Mongols and bringing the Frankish 
kingdom established by the Crusaders to the verge of ex¬ 
tinction, were very great; and, probably, the elaborate hie¬ 
rarchy of officials which characterizes Mamluke times was 
at least in part due to his genius for organization. 

On July i, 1277, Baibars died and was buried in Damas¬ 
cus. He was succeeded by an incompetent son, Barakah 
Khan, otherwise called al-Malik al-Sa’id, who soon became 
involved in disputes with both his provincial governors and 
his bodyguard in Egypt. M. van Berchem identified a 
mosque in the old street Khurunfush, which had been built 
by the maternal uncle of the Sultan, of whom we read that 
he was imprisoned for ten days for the offence of represent¬ 
ing to the Sultan’s sister that unless he acted with greater 
prudence he would lose his throne. This mosque was in ruins 
when the Swiss archaeologist first saw it, and has since been 
displaced by a caf6. Sa’id himself is said to have built a 
bath, but of this there appears to be no trace. 

Sa’id found first a mentor and presently a dangerous 
rival in the Emir Kala’un al-Alfi, who was in command of 

73 



Cairo 

the Syrian forces, and had been promoted and highly 
trusted by Baibars. The Queen-mother endeavoured to 
mediate between them, but, though treated with respect, 
she succeeded only partially, and after some negotiations 
Kala un marched against Cairo, and besieged the Citadel 
in the Sultan’s absence. Kala’un permitted the Sultan to 
join his besieged adherents, in order thereby to get him 
more easily into his power. The Sultan found himself unable 
to stand a siege, and was soon induced to abdicate, on con¬ 
dition of being allowed possession of Kerak, a city which 
played a rather important part in Mamluke times as a re¬ 
fuge for deposed sovereigns. There shortly afterwards he 
died of a fall from his horse. 

Kala’un did not at first venture to proclaim himself 
sovereign, thinking it safer to make an infant brother of 
Sa’id nominal Sultan. His confederates, however, repre¬ 
sented to him that this arrangement would lead them into 
danger, since the bodyguard of Baibars would probably 
group round the son of their former chief and eventually 
oust the usurper. To this argument he yielded, and allowed 
himself to be installed as Sultan on November 18, 1279. 

An Under-secretary of State, who has left us a biography, 
or rather panegyric of this Sultan, gives an account of an 
interview that proceeded the proclamation. He had already 
taken possession of the Palace of the Sultan Sa’id on the 
Citadel, and had opened a window in the Great Hall, where 
he sat to discharge his duties as regent: He commanded me, 
says the Under-secretary, to write out the names of a num¬ 
ber of earlier kings—doubtless with the view of selecting a 
suitable name. The Under-secretary refused to make out 
such a list in the palace of a king who was reigning, and 
could not be prevailed upon to do so until all the ministers 
were assembled: so great was his fear of being an accom¬ 
plice in a coup which might after all fail. When the ministers 

74 



The First Mamluke Sovereigns 

were all present, the Under-secretary made out his list; and 
Kala’un selected the name Mansur as his royal title. He 
had been manumitted from slavery thirty-three years before. 

His first years of sovereignty were occupied with troubles 
in Syria, where a governor of Damascus rebelled; and 
though this rebellion was crushed in the spring of 1280, the 
disaffected Syrians entered into relations with the Mongols, 
who repeatedly invaded and ravaged the country, but were 
defeated by Kala’un in a great battle under the walls of 
Homs on October 30, 1281. 

During his residence in Damascus Kala’un had been 
cured of the colic by remedies prepared at the hospital that 
had been founded there by the Sultan Nur al-din. Kala’un 
resolved to provide his Egyptian capital with a similar in¬ 
stitution, and the name of this still remains in the Muristan 
(an abbreviation of the Persian word Bimaristan) or hospital 
in the Nahhasin Street. The name is ordinarily made to in¬ 
clude three buildings, the hospital, the school and the 
mausoleum of the Sultan, which lay behind the others. The 
building which they replaced belonged originally to the 
daughter of the Fatimide Sultan Aziz, and when taken over 
by Kala’un was in the possession of an Ayyubid princess, 
to whom the Emerald Palace, part of the ancient Fatimide 
Palace, was given in exchange. The Fatimide princess had 
been served in it by 8,000 slave girls (if Oriental figures are 
to be trusted)—a statement which indicates its size. A story 
similar to that connected with the Tulun Mosque was excogi¬ 
tated to conceal the source whence funds had been supplied 
for covering the expense. The workmen when digging the 
soil fortunately discovered sealed boxes containing jewels 
and coin in sufficient quantities to defray the whole. The 
reason for this fiction was that great violence had been used 
by the contractor in employing forced labour for the build¬ 
ing. All the artisans, we are told, in Cairo and Fostat were 

75 



Cairo 

compelled to work at this and nothing else, no other orders 
in either city being allowed to be attended to while it was 
being erected. Passers-by were compelled to stop, or if 
mounted to descend from their horses and carry stones, and 
in order to supply materials, buildings in the Island of 
Raudah were pulled down. Besides this it was generally 
supposed that the Ayyubid princess had been turned out of 
her palace against her will; though Makrizi observes about 
this that no resentment could justly be felt for the robbery 
of the Ayyubids, who themselves had robbed the Fatimides. 
It would seem, however, that the mode in which the trans¬ 
formation of the building was carried out gave great offence, 
and means had to be devised to allay the agitation. The 
arrangements when the hospital was complete were said to 
be superior to those of any similar institution. It was to be 
open to any number of persons for any length of time, 
whether male or female, bond or free. Separate wards were 
assigned to different diseases; arrangements were made for 
the treatment of out-patients as well as in-patients; and 
medical courses were to be given for the benefit of students 
who “walked the hospital.” From the rents which were set¬ 
tled upon it, amounting to a million dirhems, a whole staff 
of officials, including bed-makers, male and female, were to 
be paid; and materials of various sorts required for the com¬ 
pounding of drugs were liberally supplied. Arrangements 
on a similar scale were made in connexion with the school, 
the orphanage and the sepulchral cupola which was to be 
the Sultan's own resting-place; fifty readers of the Koran 
were employed to recite the Sacred Volume in turns with¬ 
out ceasing day or night; and a library was, as usual, added 
to the foundation. Van Berchem shows by the evidence of 
inscriptions that the hospital took five months, the mauso¬ 
leum four months, and the school three months to build: a 
fact which agrees with what we are told of the violent 

76 



The First Mamluke Sovereigns 

methods employed by the contractor for hurrying on the 
work. The date of the completion of the whole was August, 
1285. 

The scene which is described as taking place after the 
completion of the buildings gives us an idea of the liberty 
of speech permitted at this time in Egypt, which we could 
scarcely have gleaned from the history. The jurists declared 
prayer in such a place unlawful. The chief ecclesiastical 
authority of the time long refused to preach an inaugural 
sermon, and when at last he consented to do so, it contained 
some bitter reproaches levelled both at the Sultan and the 
minister who had been entrusted with the work of erection. 
Even the principal finally appointed to the new institution 
expressed his opinion of both quite freely before he accepted 
the post. 

The hospital remained in use for many centuries, and re¬ 
ceived benefactions from Ezbek, after whom the Ezbekiyyeh 
is named, and also from some of the Turkish Sultans. It 
appears to have fallen into neglect at the time of the French 
occupation, and never afterwards recovered. A school of 
Malekite law still remains. In the earthquake of 1303 a 
minaret was damaged, but was immediately afterwards re¬ 
stored by that great builder, the Sultan Nasir, who also 
placed the railing round the Sultan Kala’un’s tomb. That 
Kala’un should have set about building his Mosque-mauso¬ 
leum so soon after his accession to the throne shows how 
quickly the idea of such a form of monument, which was 
originally quite alien to Islam, had taken root. 

Two obelisks now in the British Museum, covered with 
hieroglyphics, were found by the French in the school of 
Kala’un, and sent off to France. The vessel by which they 
were conveyed was captured by an English man-of-war, 
which brought the obelisks to England. 

The conversion to Islam of the Ilchan (the title by which 

77 



Cairo 

the Mongol ruler of Baghdad was known) and the consequent 
troubles in the Mongol Empire led to a cessation of hostilities 
between Egypt and the Ilchanate, though the Mongol rulers 
did not cease to agitate in Europe for a renewal of the Cru¬ 
sades with little result. Kala’un did not at first pursue any 
career of active conquest, though he did much to consolidate 
his dominions, and especially to extend Egyptian commerce, 
for which purpose he started a system of passports enabling 
merchants who possessed them to travel with safety through 
Egypt and Syria and as far as India. After the danger from the 
Mongols had ceased, he directed his energies towards cap¬ 
turing the last places in Syria that were still occupied by 
the Franks. In 1290 he planned an attack on Acre, but died 
(Nov. 1 o) in the middle of his preparations. During the greater 
part of his reign he took one of his sons as associate 
in the government, and indeed left him to take care of 
Egypt, while himself absent in Syria; on the death of his son 
Musa, in 1288, he associated with himself his son Khalil who 
was his successor. The Under-secretary has preserved a very 
elaborate set of instructions given by Kala’un to his viceroy 
for the conduct of affairs during his absence. The pigeon-post, 
the telegraph of the time, was to be organized so as to con¬ 
vey to headquarters early tidings of the rising of the Nile; 
and great trouble was to be taken to see that all bridges and 
embankments were in good order. The viceroy must also see 
that every patch of ground in which cultivation was possible 
should be cultivated. 

The viceroy’s first business, we read in oneofthesesetsof in¬ 
structions, when he returns to the Citadel after bidding his fa¬ 
ther farewell and Godspeed on one of his warlike expeditions, 
is to look carefully after the disaffected Emirs who happen to 
be imprisoned in the Citadel, to see that they are properly fed 
and clothed, and that if any of them are ill, they should receive 
proper medical attendance, and by fair promises to endea- 

78 



The First Mamluke Sovereigns 

vour to win their loyalty. Great care is to be taken that the 
gates of the Citadel are properly guarded, and indeed the 
Eastern or Cemetery Gate is to be kept locked the whole time 
of Our absence. The municipal authorities are to keep special 
guard on such parts of both cities as are likely to be rendez¬ 
vous to evil-doers: such places are in particular theNile-bank, 
the Cemeteries, and the Ponds, i.e. the Elephant’s Pool, the 
Abyssinian’s Pool and some others now dried up. At night both 
cities should be patrolled and the Dispensaries locked up; and 
especially certain publichalls in the Husainiyyah quarter, call¬ 
ed Halls of Chivalry (ka’at al-futuwah) which were frequented 
by turbulent persons. All persons practising astrology are to 
be inhibited, and their instruments seized, while the public are 
to be warned to place no confidence in their arts. The judges 
appointed to settle religious questions are to sit in the liwans 
of the various schools every day, Fridays not excepted, both 
morning and evening, and are to avoid all mutual rivalry. 
The provincial governors are to be perpetually reminded that 
no one must be allowed to get more or less than his fair share 
of Nile water. The viceroy is advised not to ride out much, 
and when he does so to keep to the highway, only to admit 
to his neighbourhood persons in whom he has complete con¬ 
fidence; and when in the course of his promenades petitions 
arehanded to him, to see that justice is done to the petitioners. 

Kala’un appears to have built barracks on the Citadel 
for the large numbers of guards whom he purchased, 
whilst still retaining some on the Island of Raudah: the 
former class came to be entitled the Mamlukes of the Tower 
(Burjis), and when Kala’un’s dynasty was overthrown that 
which succeeded it was called by that name. The native 
historians praise him for giving the Mamlukes a less 
hideous uniform than they had previously been compelled 
to wear. The old uniform had included a dull blue cap, the 
hair being allowed to grow in long tresses which were tied 

79 



Cairo 

up in a bag of red or yellow silk; the tunics were fastened with 
a buckle of leather and brass, to which were attached great 
bags of black leather, containing a wooden spoon and a 
long knife. Kala’un abolished this eccentric attire, and 
adorned his officers with fur and velvet. 

He was succeeded by his son Khalil, who carried out his 
father’s policy of driving the Franks out of Palestine and 
Syria, and proceeded with the siege of Acre, which he took 
(May 18, 1291) after a siege of forty-three days. The capture 
and destruction of this important place was followed by the 
capture of Tyre, Sidon, Haifa, Athlith and Beyrut; and 
thus the nearer East was cleared of the Crusaders. 

Acre was utterly destroyed by Khalil, and its fine build¬ 
ings came to be a quarry for building materials. Khalil’s 
brother Nasir, who reigned after him, got thence the marble 
doorway of his school; it had originally adorned a church 
in Acre. Others were used by Khalil himself for edifices 
which he caused to be constructed in Damascus and else¬ 
where. His own tomb, to which a school was once attached, 
in the Sayyidah Nefisah region, was built before this event, 
and while he was associated with his father, who is named 
in the epitaph with such titles as are assigned only to living 
sovereigns. Close by is the tomb of his stepmother, the 
mother of his brother Salih, who had originally been ap¬ 
pointed to succeed. 

The triumphal entry of Khalil into Cairo after his return 
from the holy war must have been one of the most glorious 
processions in which Moslem Sultan ever figured. “He 
entered at the Nasr Gate, and went across the City, the 
Emirs walking before him, while the Viceroy carried the 
parasol with the bird over his head, and the caparisons were 
shaken before him; and when he arrived at the hospital, 
he turned his horse, and went to visit his father’s grave; 
after which he rode up to the Citadel, and distributed de- 

80 



The First Mamluke Sovereigns 

corations.” The name Saladdin which was one of his titles of 
honour, while he reigned under the name of al-Ashraf, had 
not been given him in vain. Yet it does not appear that he 
shared with his illustrious namesake the qualities which 
have rendered the latter a type of chivalry. And the glory 
of having achieved what his predecessors for two hundred 
years had vainly striven to accomplish is said to have 
turned his head. 

The career of the Conqueror of the Franks was brought 
to an abrupt conclusion at the beginning of the fourth year 
of his reign (December 12, 1293). In the disputes between 
his favourite Ibn Sa’lus and his Viceroy Baidara, he took 
the part of the former, and the Viceroy, who appears to 
have peculated on a tremendous scale, organized a con¬ 
spiracy against his master. Baidara and his party fell upon 
the Sultan when he was hunting without escort at Tarujah, 
near Damanhur; they killed and mutilated him, and pro¬ 
ceeded to elect Baidara Sultan in his place, after the prece¬ 
dent set in the time of Baibars. But thirty years of orderly 
government had changed men’s ideas on this subject; the 
ministers and guards of the murdered Sultan met the assas¬ 
sins on the left bank of the Nile, as they were returning to 
Cairo, and routed them. Baidara was himself killed, and 
the avengers of al-Ashraf regaled themselves in primitive 
and savage style on his liver. But the corpse of the victim 
remained three days in the desert, and was gnawed by 
wolves before what was left of it could be taken up and de¬ 
posited in the mausoleum that had been built none too soon. 


81 


6 



CHAPTER VI 

Nasir and his Sons 

T HE younger son of Kala'un, who was now placed 
on the throne, had the singular fortune of reigning 
three times, being twice dethroned. He was first 
appointed Sultan on Dec. 14, 1293, when he was nine years 
old, and the affairs of the kingdom were undertaken by a 
Cabinet, consisting of a vizier, a viceroy, a war minister, a 
prefect of the palace and a secretary of state. Three of these 
five were destined to enjoy ephemeral sovereignty; the first, 
Sanjar al-Shuja’i, though never a sovereign, is known to 
history as the general employed by the Sultan Khalil in his 
wars against the remnant of the Franks. According to the 
historian, he aspired to be Sultan, and went so far as to offer 
a price for the head of any follower of the Viceroy Ketbogha: 
the latter got together a force, defeated the Vizier’s troops 
in the Horse-market between Cairo and the Citadel, and be¬ 
sieged his rival, who had retreated into the fortress. The 
Queen-mother then addressed the besiegers from the wall 
of the Citadel, and asked what they wanted: the reply was 
the deposition of the Vizier. To this the Queen-mother as¬ 
sented, and the Vizier’s fickle followers turned against him 
and beheaded him. A man carried his head out to the be¬ 
siegers in a silk wrapper. “What have you there?” asked 
the guardian of the gate, an adherent of the fallen Vizier. 
“Hot bread, to show them that they are not likely to starve 
us out,” was the reply. The head was then carried round the 
city; and since it was this Vizier who had organized the forced 
labour in connexion with the building of Kala’un’s Hospi¬ 
tal, the Cairenes paid the carriers money to let them have 

82 



Nasir and his Sons 

the head in their houses to beat it with sandals. The con¬ 
queror Ketbogha assumed the reins, and after a short 
time, was strong enough to depose the infant Sultan, whose 
first reign was eleven stormy months. The new Sultan was 
a Mongol, who had been taken prisoner by Kala’un in one 
of his battles. 

This Sultan’s reign was rather less than two years, and 
was clouded by famine and pestilence. The occasion of his 
absence was seized by his viceroy, Lajin, who, after the mur¬ 
der of Khalil, had hidden in the Mosque of Ahmad Ibn 
Tulun, and afterwards been promoted by Ketbogha, to oust 
his benefactor and master. During Ketbogha’s time the 
population of Cairo was increased by a fresh colony of Mon¬ 
gols, who settled in the Husainiyyah quarter, to the north 
of the Futuh Gate; while in the south, overlooking the 
Elephant’s Pool, some building was occasioned by the Sul¬ 
tan laying out an exercise-ground, as a substitute for that 
which Baibars had selected at the Bab al-Luk. This exer¬ 
cise-ground soon had to give way to a palace, built by the 
Sultan Nasir. 

Lajin himself fell a victim to a conspiracy of the praeto¬ 
rians when he had reigned two years and two months. The 
murderer was almost immediately executed by a commander 
who returned to Cairo the day after the event; and the Emirs 
decided on the recall of al-Nasir, then in exile at Kerak. 
Feb. 11,1298, was the day on which he commenced his second 
term of sovereignty. 

M. van Berchem has discovered some curious vestiges of 
the quick succession of rulers in the school of the Sultan 
Nasir, which is to the north of the mausoleum of the Sultan 
Kala’un. An inscription contains the contradictory state¬ 
ment that it was built by the Sultan Mohammed al-Nasir in 
the year of the Hijrah 695, when, in fact, Ketbogha and not 
al-Nasir was reigning. Apparently then—and this is asserted 

83 6 a 



Cairo 

by the archaeologists—the school was begun by Ketbogha, 
and had risen as high as the gilt band on the fa5ade, when 
Ketbogha was dethroned. Work on the school was resumed 
when Mohammed was restored and then apparently the 
old date was allowed to stand, while the name of the sovereign 
was altered—perhaps in virtue of a theory similar to that 
by which the reign of Charles II is supposed to have com¬ 
menced at the death of Charles I. M. van Berchem ac¬ 
counts for the date of completion, 703 A. D., which seems to 
involve a longer time than might reasonably have been 
occupied by a moderate sized edifice (supposing indeed that 
building was continuous)—by the supposition that it suf¬ 
fered from the great earthquake of the year 702, and had to 
be rebuilt a year or two after its actual completion. Its 
doorway was regarded by Makrizi as one of the wonders of 
the world. It was of white marble, of great beauty and ex¬ 
traordinary workmanship, having come originally from one 
of the churches at Acre. Inside the gate there is a cupola, 
smaller than that built by the Sultan’s father, where his 
mother and one of his sons lie buried, he himself lying near 
his father. 

This earthquake commenced in August, 1 303 A. D., and 
shocks were felt for twenty successive days. Great damage 
was done in Alexandria, where the returning wave, which is 
a phenomenon often accompanying great earthquakes, in¬ 
undated a considerable portion of the city. On Thursday, 
the 23rd of the month Dhu’l-Hijjah, says Makrizi, at the 
moment of morning prayer, the whole land shook; the walls 
were heard to crack, and terrible sounds proceeded from the 
roofs. Pedestrians were compelled to bend down, men on 
horseback fell off their mounts. The people imagined that 
the sky was coming down. All the inhabitants, men and 
women, rushed out into the streets. The terror and haste 
was such that the women did not wait to veil their faces. 

84 



THE KHAN EL GAMALIYEH [jAMALIY- 
YAH], CAIRO 















Nasir and his Sons 

Houses tumbled down, walls split, the minarets of the mos¬ 
ques and the schools were overthrown, many children were 
prematurely born. Violent winds arose, the Nile overflowed, 
and tossed such boats as happened to be on the bank to the 
distance of a bowshot. Presently the water withdrew, and 
left these vessels with broken anchors high and dry. The 
inhabitants, driven by fright out of their houses, took no 
thought of what they had left inside. They were entered by 
robbers, who seized whatever they chose. The owners passed 
the nights in tents, which were set up from Boulak to 
Raudah. Only Thursday night was spent in the mosques 
and chapels by crowds imploring the mercy of God. 

Of edifices that were damaged by the earthquake—which 
left fallen bricks or other traces of itself in the doorway of 
every house—Makrizi enumerates the mosque of Amr, the 
mosque al-Azhar, the mosque of Salih situated outside the 
Bab Zuwailah, the school of Kala’un, which lost its minaret, 
and the mosque of al-Fakihani, which underwent the same 
disaster. Forty curtains and twenty-seven towers belonging 
to the wall of Cairo fell. Cairo and Fostat were left in such 
a condition that anyone who saw them might have supposed 
that they had been sacked by an enemy. 

To the second reign of the Sultan Nasir belongs the 
Mosque of Jauli, removed by a couple of hundred metres 
from the Mosque oflbnTulun. It contains two domed tombs 
of the Emirs Sanjar and Salar, both celebrities of this period. 
The inscription published by van Berchem gives the date of 
construction as 703. The mosque, of which the shape is un¬ 
usually irregular, occupies 780 square metres. In one of the 
many apartments which it contains for the use of Sufis (or 
ascetics) there is, says Ali Pasha Mubarak, a square blue 
stone, of which the greater portion is buried in the soil, and 
in which there is a hole. Piles, it was supposed, could be 
cured by the sufferer placing in this hole some olive oil; he 

85 



Cairo 

then sat in the hole a quarter-of-an-hour, after which he 
would anoint himself with the oil, and his cure would be 
effected. When the Pasha wrote, he could speak of three 
tombs, of which, however, one was unknown. The Emir 
Salar was Viceroy when he built this monument, and held 
this post for eleven years. By domineering overmuch over 
his master, al-Nasir, he caused the Sultan, in the year 1308, 
to retire from the sovereignty for a second time. When al- 
Nasir returned for the third time, Salar resigned his office, 
and was at first treated honourably by the Sultan, but was 
presently seized and starved to death in prison, where he 
is last heard of trying to eat his shoes. As Viceroy, he en¬ 
joyed a revenue of 100,000 dirhems a day; and a pretended 
report of the treasures found in his house at the time of his 
arrest gives the items discovered day by day, thus: 

Sunday: Nineteen Egyptian quarts of emeralds; 

Two Egyptian quarts of rubies; 

Two-and-a-half quarts of jacinths; 

Six boxes of gems for rings, diamonds and others: 

and so on, the figures getting more and more fabulous. 

The task of arresting him had been committed to the other 
occupant of this mausoleum, Sanjar al-Jauli, who also ob¬ 
tained leave to bury his friend Salar after his death from 
starvation. This person, after filling other offices, was gover¬ 
nor of Gaza and Southern Palestine for a number of years; 
he was then recalled and imprisoned for eight years by al- 
Nasir, after which time he was released and given office at 
the Cairene Court. During the ephemeral reigns that fol¬ 
lowed on the death of Nasir, he played an important part. 
In his governorship of South Palestine he distinguished 
himself by numerous works of public utility; he rebuilt Gaza, 
and founded mosques, hospitals and schools, both there and 
in other important cities of his province. Unlike his friend, 

86 



A STREET NEAR EL QAMALIYEH 
[jAMAHYYAH], CAIRO 
















Nasir and his Sons 

he died in his bed in Cairo, and was honoured with a solemn 
funeral. 

When, in 1308, the SultanNasir abdicated and took refuge 
in Kerak, his place was taken by the Emir Baibars (called 
the Jashangir, which properly means the taster) who had 
been one of the Cabinet which had governed for him 
at his accession. His reign lasted not quite a year, in 
which he rendered himself odious by punishing with bar¬ 
barous cruelty numbers of the common people who were 
guilty of singing a comic song in which he was lampooned. 

A monument of this ephemeral sovereign exists in the 
monastery called Rukniyyah (after his official title Rukn 
al-din) or Baibarsiyyah, in the Jamaliyyah Street. The der¬ 
vish who should have no home but the Mosque was a natural 
object for the bounty of pious founders, and about 400 A.H. 
the custom arose of building places where they could carry 
on their devotional exercises undisturbed. The earliest place 
of the sort built in Cairo was, as has been seen, the work of 
the great Saladdin, and the ascetics seem to have done fairly 
well in it at first: each man was to have daily three pounds 
of bread, three pounds of meat with broth, sweets once a 
month, a provision ofsoap, and forty dirhemsyearly forclothes. 
In time the revenue of Saladdin's hospice proved insufficient 
for this outlay, and great troubles arose. The hospice of Bai¬ 
bars II was the second of its kind in Cairo. Its site is where the 
ancient palace of the Fatimide viziers stood. Originally it 
had three windows facing the street, of which one was a 
famous window brought from Baghdad by that Basasari who 
defeated the Abbasid Caliph Ka’im, and for the moment ren¬ 
dered the metropolis of the East subject to the heretical 
Caliphate of the West. This part of the place was left un¬ 
changed when it was transferred to its religious purpose. 
The windows were afterwards removed, and shops substituted 
in order to furnish rentals for the maintenance of the institu- 

87 



Cairo 

tion when, owing to the failure of the Nile, the ordinary reve¬ 
nues were cut off. It was begun by the Emir before his brief 
reign, during which it was completed, but he was compelled 
to flee before the inaugural ceremony could take place; and 
when Nasir returned he closed the hospice, and it remained 
empty for nineteen years, when the same Sultan reopened 
it. The inscription which remains contains traces of this 
chequered history, which van Berchem with his usual skill 
has succeeded in enucleating. A story perhaps less apocry¬ 
phal than others dealing with buried treasure is to the eifect 
that a friendly Emir informed Baibars when he commenced 
building that there was a store of rich marble under part of 
the ancient Fatimide palace, which, when discovered, had 
been left undisturbed and ready for use: that Baibars made 
use of this information, had the marble unearthed, built his 
hospice, mausoleum, and military asylum with part of it, and 
stored the remainder in the hospice where Makrizi declares 
that it remained till his own time. The hospice was to hold 
400 ascetics, the asylum 100 decayed soldiers: the mausoleum 
was for himself, and thither his body was ultimately brought, 
probably after the reopening of the establishment. Accord¬ 
ing to Makrizi the workmanship was so sound that no repairs 
were required for a century and a half. 

In 1892 the Committee found that the state of decomposi¬ 
tion to which the walls had come must speedily lead to the 
total ruin of this monument and preventive measures were 
taken. The marble with which the walls were still clothed 
proved that this rich ornamentation at one time rose to the 
height of more than 3.60 metres. Slabs of coloured marble 
alternated with slabs of mosaic. Many had fallen and others 
owing to the moisture of the walls were about to follow them. 

If Baibars II had permitted the exiled Sultan to remain 
quietly at Kerak, he might have retained his throne: but 
by sending threatening and extortionate letters he compelled 

88 



MOSQUE OF ALMASE: INTERIOR, 
CAIRO 













Nasir and his Sons 

Nasir to invoke the feeling of loyalty to his father Kala’un 
that slumbered in the breasts of his former subjects, especi¬ 
ally in Syria. They invited him to resume the sovereignty, 
and Baibars had to retreat precipitately, being followed out 
of his capital by the hisses of the mob. He was granted a 
provincial governorship, but before he could reach it, was 
arrested by order of Nasir, and strangled with a bowstring. 

Nasir’s third reign lasted from 1309 to 1340, and was 
prosperous in most ways. The Sultan developed a great 
taste for building and similar operations, and some of the 
work done by him on the Citadel has already been noticed. 
A work of another sort was the Nasiri Canal which he had 
dug: in a mode not unlike that which was used in much 
later times for the excavation of the Suez Canal. This 
Canal started from the Nile in the Kasr al-Ain region, 
and after a long course mainly northward, discharged into 
the Great Canal near the Mosque of Baibars. Its purpose 
was, it is said, to convey goods to the buildings erected 
near the new exercise-ground laid out by the Sultan at 
Siriacos; but it was also used for pleasure parties and pro¬ 
cessions, and many mansions were built along its banks. 

Probably more buildings remain from the time of this 
Sultan than from any of his predecessors. Such are the 
mosques of the Emir Husain in a street leading out of the 
Mohammed Ali Boulevard in the direction of the Bab al- 
Khalk: of the Emir al-Malik Jaukandar in the Husainiyyah 
quarter: of the Emir Almas in the Place Hilmiyyah: of the 
Emir Kausun (most of it destroyed when the Mohammed 
Ali Boulevard was constructed); of the Emir Beshtak in 
the Jamamiz Street, entirely renewed in the year i860 by 
the brother of the Khedive Isma’il: of the Emir al-Maridani 
near the Mihmandar Mosque, in the Tabbanah quarter, 
leading from the Zuwailah Gate to the Citadel, which also 
dates from a late period of Nasir’s reign: and of the Lady 

89 



Cairo 

Maskah near the Mosque of the Shaikh Salih to the south 
of the Mabduli Street. The lady who founded this last 
mosque was a slave of the Sultan, who rose to the office of 
manageress of such matters as were entrusted to the women 
of the palace, such as the etiquette of weddings, the educa¬ 
tion of the royal children and the organization of various 
ceremonies. The foundress records in the dedicatory inscrip¬ 
tion that she had visited both Meccah and Medinah. All the 
Emirs mentioned in this list were persons of mark in Nasir’s 
reign. The Emir Husain was also the builder of a bridge 
and a wicket called after his name, to enable people to 
come from Cairo to his mosque. The Emir Sanjar, who was 
governor at the time, objected to a hole being made by a 
private individual in the city wall. When the Emir Husain, 
nevertheless, obtained leave from the Sultan to make it, 
and boasted ot his victory to Sanjar, the latter persuaded 
the despot that Husain meant treason, and Husain was 
sent away to Damascus. 

The Mosque of Kausun was built by an architect from 
Tabriz, who modelled the minarets on those of a Tabriz 
edifice: the founder appears to have come there to Cairo as 
a trader in the escort of one of Nasir’s brides; and is said to 
have sold himself—a somewhat unusual proceeding—into 
the service of the Sultan, and once enrolled, to have advanced 
rapidly. Like Joseph of old he presently sent for his relatives, 
and gave his sister to the Sultan, who married him to his 
daughter. On the Sultan’s death he was left in charge of 
the royal children, and met with his end in an attempt to 
secure the power to himself by maintaining infants on the 
throne. One of the minarets fell, carrying with it a large 
part of the mosque, in the year 1800, apparently being ex¬ 
ploded by the French; the other minaret was destroyed in 
1873 when the Boulevard Mohammed Ali was cut. 

The Emir Beshtak was a famous builder, and among 

90 



MINARET OF IBRAHIM AGHA’S 
MOSQUE, CAIRO ’ 









Nasir and his Sons 

other achievements erected himself a palace in the main 
avenue of Cairo, facing that of his rival Bisri, both so splen¬ 
did that the avenue could once more be called Between the 
two Palaces, as it had been called in the days of Fatimides. 
The remains of the palace are on the right of the Nahhasin 
Street, the actual entry to them being in the lane which leads 
to the School of Sabik al-din. M. van Berchem has discovered 
the fragment of an inscription belonging to it, which, how¬ 
ever, contains neither date nor name. His mosque was built 
in a place occupied by Franks and Copts, “who committed 
such atrocities as might be expected of them.” When the 
call to prayer resounded from the minaret, they were over¬ 
awed and left the neighbourhood. 

A bath erected by the same person is to be found at the 
opening of the lane which bears his name, opposite the south¬ 
west corner of the ruined Mosque Mir-Zadeh. The interior 
is said to belong to a later date: but the exterior is thought 
by Herz Bey to be still as it was built by the Emir, and it is 
of importance for the history of the development of the 
fa?ade. 

This Emir died in 1341, the year after Nasir. He was one of 
those ministers who under theMamluke Sultans acquired fa¬ 
bulous wealth. Aconversation is recorded between him and an¬ 
ther mosque-builder, the Emir Kausun, in which the latter 
declared himself disqualified for theSultanate as havingonce 
sold leather; whereas Beshtak was disqualified as having 
sold beer. It is characteristic of Egypt that it was consi¬ 
dered a degradation for a man in high office to know 
the language of the country. Beshtak, therefore, though 
knowing Arabic well, would never talk to his servants ex¬ 
cept through a dragoman. His object in life was to obtain 
the governorship of Damascus, and with this he eventually 
was invested, but was executed before he could enter upon 
office. 


91 



Cairo 

Maridani is better known by the name Altinbogha. He 
was one of the Emirs who took a great part in the trouble¬ 
some times that followed on the death of Nasir, and appears 
to have played a double game with Kausun; and eventually 
he was sent into exile as a provincial governor in Syria, 
where he died. In constructing his mosque he took material 
from the Mosque of Rashidah, erected by Hakim. Ori¬ 
ginally it was isolated on all sides; at a period unknown, 
though not distant, a house was built contiguous to the 
north-west fa5ade. The surface occupied by it is said to be 
2,664 square metres: originally it consisted of an uncovered 
court surrounded by four liwans. At present only the eastern 
liwan remains, containing relics of finely-executed mosaics. 

The enumeration given by the archaeologists of the pub¬ 
lic works carried on in Cairo under the Sultan Nasir is very 
lengthy. It includes canals, embankments, pools, palaces, 
exercise-grounds, and indeed every branch of the architect’s 
and engineer’s art. The security produced by a long and 
prosperous reign led to a rise in the value of land, which 
accordingly was everywhere about the city cut up into build¬ 
ing plots. Owing to the number of buildings erected, says 
Ali Pasha, Cairo became continuous with Fostat, and the 
two came to be one city: from the Tabar Mosque to the 
Vizier’s Garden south of the Abyssinians’ Pool, and from 
the Nile bank at Gizeh to Mount Mokattam all was covered 
with houses. 

In the year 1320, which fell near the middle of this Sul¬ 
tan’s reign there was a great conflagration in Cairo, which 
was attributed by the populace to the Christians. On May 
19 of that year a number of churches in various Egyptian 
cities had been destroyed by the Moslems: their fanaticism 
was constantly aroused by the invasion of the public offices 
by Christian secretaries, who for clerical work were always 
found more competent than Moslems. The incendiarism 

92 



OUTSIDE THE MOSQUE OF IBRAHIM 
AGHA, CAIRO 













Nasir and his Sons 

which followed, and which had for its objects buildings in 
the Citadel as well as the city, was attributed to the 
resentment of the Christians, and it is asserted that the 
Coptic patriarch did not deny that his co-religionists were 
concerned in it. The Sultan, who himself favoured the 
Christians, did his utmost to prevent violent reprisals; but 
popular feeling was too much for him, and Moslem indig¬ 
nation found vent in a series of highly oppressive enact¬ 
ments. Anti-Christian feeling ran so high that for a time 
Christians who wished to appear in the streets disguised 
themselves as Jews; to show themselves in Christian attire 
was dangerous, while to be caught in Moslem attire meant 
certain death. From the fact that these intolerant edicts had 
constantly to be re-enacted, we may reasonably infer that 
after a very short time they fell into abeyance. Whether 
there was any truth in the ascription of this incendiarism 
to the Christians cannot be easily determined. In the reign 
of Baibars I a similar event had occurred, and the Sultan 
determined to make a pyre of all the Jews and Christians 
that could be found. Some pious persons bargained with 
him to redeem these victims at so much per head, and the 
Sultan made a considerable sum by the transaction. 

Nasir was succeeded by no fewer than eight of his sons. 
The son Abu Bakr, to whom he at his death on June 7, 1341, 
left the throne, was able to maintain himself on it for a few 
months only, being compelled to abdicate on Aug. 4, 1341, 
in favour of his infant brother Kuchuk: the revolution was 
brought about by Kausun. This person’s authority was soon 
overthrown by a party formed by the Syrian prefects, and 
on the following Jan. 11, Ahmad, an elder son, was in¬ 
stalled in his place, though he did not actually arrive in 
Cairo till Nov. 6, being unwilling to leave Kerak, where he 
had been living in retirement. After a brief sojourn in Cairo 
he speedily returned to Kerak, thereby forfeiting his throne, 

93 



Cairo 

which was conferred by the Emirs on his brother Isma’il. 
This Sultan was mainly occupied during his short reign 
with besieging and taking Kerak, whither Ahmad had 
taken refuge, and himself died August 3,1345, when another 
son of Nasir, named Sha’ban, was placed on the throne. 
Sha’ban proved no more competent than his predecessors, 
being given up to open debauchery and profligacy, an example 
followed by his Emirs: fresh discontent led to his being de¬ 
posed by the Syrian governors, when his brother Hajji was 
proclaimed Sultan in his place. Hajji was deposed and killed 
Dec. 10, 1347, and another son, Hasan, who took his father’s 
title, proclaimed. Hasan’s rule was slightly less ephemeral 
than that of his predecessors, for he remained in power till 
August 21, 1351, and though then deposed, he received a 
fresh lease of sovereignty three years afterwards, which he 
retained for six years and a half, when he was finally dis¬ 
placed. 

During this reign Egypt was visited by the Black Death, 
which is said to have carried off 900,000 of the inhabitants of 
Egypt, and to have raged as far as Assouan. The result was 
to reduce Cairo to the proportions which it had attained be¬ 
fore the time of the Sultan Nasir. The plague was followed 
by a famine, due to the wholesale destruction of the agri¬ 
cultural population, and of their beasts, for these were at¬ 
tacked by a simultaneous epidemic. 

Some of the Cairene monuments date before Hasan’s re¬ 
sumption of the sovereignty. One of these is the Mausoleum 
of the Sultan Kuchuk, who was dethroned in 1342, and 
strangled three years later. It forms part of the Mosque of 
Ibrahim Agha, of which the present volume contains several 
illustrations. Ibrahim Agha was not the founder of the mos¬ 
que, but its restorer: its founder was the Emir Ak Sonkor, 
of whom three inscriptions remain. The mosque is note¬ 
worthy for the tiles which cover the walls in parts to a 

94 



IBRAHIM AGHA’S MOSQUE 
THE INTERIOR 












Nasir and his Sons 

height of four metres. The Emir who built it was a celebrity 
of the reign of Nasir, during which he was governor of a 
number of Syrian cities: finally he was made viceroy in 
Egypt itself. The last scene in which he figures is one in 
which he plays rather a courageous part; when the sixth of 
Nasir*s successors came to the throne and desired to have 
him arrested, he drew his sword and tried to attack the Sul¬ 
tan’s person: he was, however, overcome in time and strangled 
the following day. This was six weeks after the mosque had 
been inaugurated. Much of the property of the mosque was 
in Aleppo, and when after the death of the Sultan Barkuk 
the Syrian governors revolted, the revenues accruing to the 
mosque were stopped, whence many of the institutions con¬ 
nected with it fell into abeyance. Apparently, however, they 
were afterwards restored, or else the properties in Cairo 
settled upon it rose greatly in value, since Ali Pasha gives 
them at a very high figure. The restoration was executed in 
1650, duringtheTurkish period,andlbrahimAgha’s tomb was 
built two years afterwards, when Abd al-Rahman was govern¬ 
or of Egypt. An inscription to the left of the Kiblah states 
that on the night of Friday, July 14, 1463, the Prophet was 
seen standing and praying on the spot. 

The two tombs in the Mosque are those of the founder and 
the restorer. Our artist lingered over it because it is situ¬ 
ated in an old street, and the surrounding buildings have not 
lost the flavour of antiquity. Due North of it there is a sebil 
or fountain also instituted by Ibrahim Agha. A pond roofed 
over, the roof being on marble pillars, was placed inside this 
mosque in the year 1422, the materials being taken from the 
Mosque of the Ditch which was pulled down for the purpose, 
having been long disused. The person who was responsible 
for this proceeding had the name Toghan. 

One or two more monuments belong to the period of the 
Sultan Hasan, besides the magnificent building that bears his 

95 



Cairo 

name, and claims to be one of the great mosques of the world. 
Such is the Mosque of the Emir Shaikho, with a monastery 
facing it, to the west of the Rumailah Place. This part of 
the city is outside the old square of Jauhar, and in the region 
called of old Kata'i: various houses were bought by the 
founder of these two edifices, and pulled down to make room 
for it. He was one of the temporary rulers of Egypt who rose 
from honour to honour, and at one time is said to have re¬ 
ceived from his various estates the sum of 200,000 dirhems 
daily. He perished, finally, at the hand of an assassin, a man 
who, being denied the promotion for which he had peti¬ 
tioned, revenged himself by a murderous assault on the 
Emir. The Mosque was built in the year 1349, and a com¬ 
pany of Sufis at the first maintained there; six years after¬ 
wards the Hospice was built on the opposite side of the road, 
and special residences provided there for the ascetics who 
were transferred thither from the Mosque. Nevertheless, the 
object and the external appearance of the two buildings 
being very similar, it has often been a matter of doubt which 
was meant to be mosque and which hospice. The inscrip¬ 
tion on the front entrance of the Hospice is couched, M. van 
Berchem observes, in the language of the Sufis or ascetics, 
and care is taken therein to avoid the pompous titles which 
the Emir who founded the building could have claimed. In¬ 
deed, the Hospice seems to have been built by him in an 
access of religious fervour, such as would be accompanied 
by self-abasement. He was buried in his Hospice with great 
pomp, the ceremony being conducted by the Sultan Hasan 
himself; and nature, to exhibit her sympathy with the people 
of Cairo in their bereavement, produced a slight earthquake, 
and equally strange, a shower of rain, though it was summer. 
At the time of the final downfall of the Mamluke dynasty, 
when Tumanbai was attacked by the Sultan Selim, 
the former took up his headquarters in the Hospice of 

96 



THE VVASHING-PLACE, IBRAHIM 

agha’s mosque 








Nasir and his Sons 

Shaikho: fire was accordingly set to the building by the 
Ottomans, and a considerable part of it burned down. The 
preacher of the mosque was brought before the Sultan Se¬ 
lim, who at first determined on his execution, but after¬ 
wards thought fit to pardon him. The mischief that had been 
done was then speedily repaired. A restoration of both 
Mosque and Hospice is recorded for the year 1816. 

The great monument of this time, however, is the Mosque 
of the Sultan Hasan, on the right hand of the Boule¬ 
vard Mohammed Ali, at the end which looks towards the 
Citadel. It covers an area of 8,525 square metres; a magnifi¬ 
cent gate situated at the north angle gives access to a 
vestibule covered by a dome, which rests on a crown of 
stalactites. Turning in a south-east direction, after a detour, 
we reach the Court of the Mosque. The middle of this is oc¬ 
cupied by a fountain. In front is the great Liwan, with 
the prayer-niche, are the pulpit and the dikkah; to the left, 
the right and behind, three other oratories. The site had been 
formerly occupied by the house of the Emir Yelbogha. The 
Mosque was begun in the year 1356, and took three years to 
build, 20,000 dirhems being each day devoted to the cost of 
the operations. The Sultan would have desisted from the 
undertaking when he learned to what the expense would 
amount, had it not been that he regarded it as unworthy of 
a Sultan of Egypt to desist from an enterprise that had been 
once begun. The chief court measures sixty-five yards by 
sixty-five; the great dome was thought to have no rival in 
any Islamic city, and the marble of the pulpit is of unequalled 
beauty. Originally the architect had planned four minarets: 
one, however, that had been erected over the portal fell, in 
the course of building, burying under it some three hundred 
persons: the Sultan therefore contented himself with the 
two that are still standing. 

The Mosque of the Sultan Hasan plays a more important 

97 7 



Cairo 

part than any other in the political history of Cairo; for owing 
to its proximity to the Citadel and to its enormous size, it 
could be regularly employed as a counter-citadel, and on the 
occasion of any civil war, it was usually so used by the force 
which aimed at dislodging the inmates of the Citadel itself. 
The Sultan Barkuk destroyed the perron in front of the 
mosque as well as the staircases which led up to the mina¬ 
rets, and blocked up the front door. A side door was opened 
in one of the law-schools, which, as usual, surround the 
main court, to enable worshippers to enter and use the 
mosque; but the means of ascending the roof and the mina¬ 
rets were taken away. The bronze door, which was regarded 
as of unrivalled beauty, was afterwards purchased for a com¬ 
paratively small sum by the founder oftheMuayyad Mosque, 
which alone rivals it in importance. In 1421, in the reign of 
Barsbai, the innovations of Barkuk were cancelled; the 
perron, minaret staircases and the original entrance were re¬ 
stored and a bronze door was introduced in place of that 
which had been removed. This portal seems to have been 
again closed in the year 1639, an d reopened 150 years later. 
Of the two minarets erected by the founder, the eastern fell 
in the year 1659, and was rebuilt on a smaller scale than the 
original. The cupola of which Makrizi speaks so admiringly 
collapsed in the following year, and it was replaced by the 
existing dome under the government of Ibrahim Pasha. The 
account of the condition of the building given in the report 
of the Committee for 1894 is exceedingly gloomy. Since then, 
large sums have been spent in effecting a worthyrestoration. 

Ali Pasha gives at length the document in which various 
properties were settled on the Mosque by the Sultan and 
here as in the case of al-Azhar the most trivial details were 
provided, and money lavished on each. A couple of physi¬ 
cians with a surgeon were appointed to treat such of the 
officials or students as were invalided; provision was made 

98 



INTERIOR OF THE MOSQUE OF 
SHAKHOUN [SHAIKHUNj, CAIRO 














Nasir and his Sons 

for a number of orphans to be educated and fitted out when 
they reached maturity: and in the list of religious and other 
officials we find specialization carried to an extent pre¬ 
viously unknown. These vast revenues have for the most part 
disappeared. In Ali Pasha’s time the whole institution pos¬ 
sessed a hundred and fifty pounds a year, which was devoted 
to the payment of salaries and partly to upkeep and repairs. 

Twenty-two years after the completion of the Mosque, 
which took place two years after the founder's death, his tomb 
was erected and inscribed; it is thought that the exact spot 
where he lay may have been then unknown. 

After the second dethronement and subsequent murder of 
the Sultan Hasan a son of his dethroned brother Hajji was 
proclaimed; but on May 29, 1363, this Sultan also was de¬ 
posed on the ground of incompetence, and his place given 
to another grandson of Nasir, Sha’ban, who at the time was 
ten years old. His reign was rather longer than that of his 
predecessors, and it was not until March 15, 1376, that he 
was paurdered by the Mamlukes, for refusing a largess of 
money which they demanded. To the right of the street 
leading to the Citadel there is to be found the mosque of this 
Sultan, the founder’s inscription dating from the year 1369. 
It contains a wonderful plenitude of titles, among which the 
mostremarkableis that of “master of the Isma’ilian fortresses 
and the Alexandrian frontiers.” Theconquestof the Assassins, 
who played so ominous a part in Oriental politics, was an 
achievement of which the Sultan Baibars was justly proud; 
the remnant of the sect were, however, under the protection 
of the Egyptian Sultans, and every now and then they were 
required to supply persons ready to discharge the function 
which won them their former fame. The mention of Alexan¬ 
dria is due to the fact that in 1365 the King of Cyprus thought 
fit to make a raid on Alexandria which he took and sacked; 
his success was only momentary, for an Egyptian army was 

99 7 * 



Cairo 

speedily sent to the relief of the maritime capital, and the 
Franks fled with their plunder before it arrived. The Sultan, 
however, decided to garrison Alexandria with a stronger force 
than before. 

The popular name for this Mosque is “the Sultan's 
Mothers”; or “Queen Barakahs,” to whom it was dedicated 
by the Sultan. The meaning of such a dedication probably 
is that the Sultan assigned to her the merit that he had 
acquired by the foundation. She was afterwards buried under 
the cupola. A tomb that by popular tradition is supposed 
to contain the Queen’s remains is shown by an inscription 
to belong to a princess Zahrah, whose name the chroniclers 
do not appear to know. The Sultan himself is said to repose 
in this mosque, though his corpse went through some vicis¬ 
situdes before it reached its final resting-place. After his 
assassination it was thrown into a well, whence it was 
presently rescued to be interred near the sanctuary of the 
Sayyidah Nefisah; a slave transferred it thence to the 
mosque that bears his mother’s name. 

The Mosque or School of the Emir Al-Jai contains the 
grave of the minister after whom it is named, and who was 
the husband of the Princess Barakah. After the death of the 
Queen he disputed with the Sultan her son over the succession 
to her property, fought some battles, and being compelled 
to flee from Egypt was drowned while attempting to cross 
the Nile on horseback. His body was fished up by divers 
and was interred in the mosque which he had built, north 
of the Mosque of the Sultan Hasan. As usual copious 
revenues were settled upon it, and courses instituted for 
two of the orthodox schools of law. 

After the murder of this Sultan an infant son of his named 
Ali was set on the throne, and eventually the highest offices 
in the state came into the hands of two praetorians, Barakah 
and Barkuk, of whom the latter ere long succeeded in ousting 

ioo 



Nasir and his Sons 

the former, and usurping the Sultan’s place. On May 19, 
1381, when the Sultan Ali died, his place was given to an 
infant brother Hajji; but on November 26,1382, Barkuk set 
this child aside, and had himself proclaimed Sultan, thereby 
ending the Bahri dynasty, and commencing that of the 
Buijis or Circassians. 


101 



CHAPTER VII 

The Early Circassian Mamlukes 

T HE reign of Barkuk, who was the first of the 
Circassians to displace the family of Kala’un, was 
exceedingly troublous, since many of the Emirs 
aspired to do as he had done. Indeed, after seven years 
he was actually compelled to abdicate and allow his 
predecessor Hajji to be restored to the throne under the 
tutelage of another Emir, Kerak being, as usual, the place 
of retirement for the ousted sovereign. Before this calamity 
he had taken care to perpetuate his name by a mosque or 
school in the ancient Nahhasin Street, between the Hospital 
of Kala’un and the Kamiliyyah School. It is called the New 
Zahiriyyah, to distinguish it from the foundation of the 
Sultan Baibars I, who also bore the title Zahir; only in the 
case of Barkuk it is said to have been taken with the signifi¬ 
cation “midday ruler,” because he happened to be proclaim¬ 
ed Sultan at midday, whereas his predecessor had meant 
nothing more definite by it than “ conqueror.” This building, 
which has a right to the names mosque, school and hospice 
—since it was originally intended to harbour a number of 
Sufis—is remarkable for the long corridors and large vesti¬ 
bules which have to be traversed before arriving at the main 
court; for the arcades which, set at an equal distance from 
the north and south walls of the court, divide it into three 
portions; and for the coloured marbles which to a height 
of six metres cover the wall which contains the Kiblah. 
The tomb which adjoins the building is thought to contain 
the remains of a daughter of the Sultan who died in infancy 
in 1386, before the completion of the building; at a later 

102 



THE TENTMAKERS’ BAZAAR, CAIRO 








The Early Circassian Mamlukes 

period the remains of different members of his family were 
brought together and buried in the same spot. He himself, 
of course, lies in the vast mausoleum built for him in the 
desert by his son Faraj. The Minbar is the gift of the Sultan 
Jakmak, who reigned from 1438 to 1453; a door plated with 
bronze, which originally belonged to some part of the insti¬ 
tution, was at one time in the possession of an Armenian 
dealer in the Mouski. 

Owing to the ever-increasing popularity of al-Azhar, the 
lectures which were originally to have been given in this 
building have long ceased; but this, says Ali Pasha, is the 
case with the greater number of the schools and colleges 
founded in Cairo. Indeed, it is clear that far more of these 
buildings were erected than bore any relation to either the 
spiritual or educational needs of the people. Sultans and 
Emirs thought this the proper line for them to follow, and 
in founding schools and hospices merely did as others 
had done. 

To Egyptians Barkuk is a monarch of interest, as having 
abolished the old “bank-holiday” with which the Coptic 
New Year’s Day was celebrated. The description which the 
historians give of it resembles the English bank-holiday in 
some particulars, while it has some features which we do 
not attempt to reproduce. “ On that day the rabble of Cairo 
used to gather together at the doors of the great; the Master 
of the Ceremonies used to make out receipts for large sums, 
and any magnate who refused to pay them had to endure a 
volley of abuse. A picket would be stationed at his door, and 
refuse to leave it till he had paid the sum assigned him by 
the Master, which was taken from him by violence. The lazy 
crowd would stand in the streets and besprinkle each other 
with dirty water, throw raw eggs in each other’s faces and 
interchange missiles of mats and shoes. All the streets were 
blocked and traffic stopped. Houses and shops were all 

103 



Cairo 

locked up, and any person found in the market, whatever 
his eminence or station, would be rudely accosted, be¬ 
sprinkled with dirty water, pelted with raw eggs and buffeted 
with shoes. Neither buying nor selling was permitted, and 
the people drank wine and committed other improprieties 
in places of public recreation. The brawling that ensued led 
to the loss of many lives.” A more pleasant feature of the 
celebration was that people sent each other presents of fruit 
—pomegranates, almonds, quinces, apples, dates, grapes, 
melons, figs, peaches, pots of chicken jelly, barrels of rose¬ 
water, trays of Cairene sweets. 

Barkuk, whose name means Apricot, and had to be ban¬ 
ished from the fruiterers’ vocabulary so long as he reigned, 
made a sort of alliance with the Ottoman Sultan Bay azid, and 
incurred the wrath of his enemy the terrible Timur Lenk, who 
at this time was desolating the East. In order that there might 
be no truce, he proceeded to murder the envoy of the Mongol 
world-conqueror—a proceeding which at this time was nor¬ 
mal in Oriental diplomacy. The great encounter with Timur, 
however, was postponed until the following reign. 

A monument of the time of Barkuk is the school of the 
Emir Inal al-Yusufi, south of the Bab Zuwailah. The in¬ 
scription which records the name of the founder is on the 
neighbouring fountain, and is of interest, according to van 
Berchem, as being the earliest example of a poetical distich 
inscribed on a fountain, to which in later times there were 
many parallels. 

The founder was a celebrity of the time, who held various 
offices and enjoyed many honours. He figures on the stage 
first about the time when Barkuk was aiming at the sove¬ 
reignty. Being in command of an army corps, he seized the 
Citadel, and endeavoured to maintain it in the Sultan Hajji’s 
name, but was outwitted by Barkuk, who got into the for¬ 
tress by a secret door. He was afterwards able to secure 

104 



The Early Circassian Mam lubes 

Barkuk’s favour, and was appointed to the governorship of 
various cities in Syria; this mode of employment constitu¬ 
ting, as indeed it still does, an honourable form of banish¬ 
ment. As governor of Aleppo he took the side of Barkuk 
against Yelbogha, who in the year 1389 raised the standard 
of revolt, but was defeated and imprisoned. Nor was he re¬ 
leased till Yelbogha, who for a time had obtained the mas¬ 
tery in Cairo, had been expelled by another Emir Mintash, 
and this Emir was in his turn overthrown by Barkuk, who 
again resumed the sovereignty. His mosque was commenced 
in 1392 and finished the next year, after the founder’s death. 
His body, which had been temporarily interred outside 
Cairo, was then brought to the resting place which he had 
prepared for it. 

The uncertainty which attached to the post of Sultan ap¬ 
parently had at this time the rather remarkable effect of 
making the rival usurpers more lenient and forgiving to¬ 
wards each other. Barkuk, when caught by his enemy Yel¬ 
bogha, had been honourably treated, and though condign 
punishment had been threatened to anyone who harboured 
him, the person found guilty of this act was, in fact, praised 
and rewarded. When Barkuk in his turn got Yelbogha in 
his power, the restored Sultan gave him an honourable 
place in the court at which he had for a time been virtually 
supreme. 

To the time of Barkuk belongs the Khan Khalili, now a 
famous and familiar place of merchandise. Its site is that 
part of the ancient Fatimide Palace where the Caliphs used 
to be buried. Chaharkas, master of the stable to Barkuk, 
becoming possessed of the site, had the remains of the Fa¬ 
timide Caliphs exhumed, and carried on asses' backs to the 
Barkiyyah Gate, where they were flung on dunghills, this 
being his mode of showing his contempt for dead here¬ 
tics: an act of fanaticism for which, if Makrizi may be be- 

105 



Cairo 

lieved, he was afterwards punished by being- allowed to re¬ 
main naked and unburied outside the walls of Damascus. 

When Barkuk died in 1398, according to the custom that 
had so often proved disastrous, his son, Faraj, a lad aged 
thirteen, was appointed his successor under the guardian¬ 
ship of two Emirs. In the three years that followed the 
Egyptian dominions in Asia were in consequence swallowed 
up partly by the Ottoman Sultan, and partly by the terrible 
Timur, whose demand for homage was granted in 1402 by 
the Egyptian government, when the princes who had sought 
refuge from the world-conqueror in Egypt were also de¬ 
livered up. The death of Timur in the beginning of 1405 
restored Egyptian authority in Syria, which, however, be¬ 
came a rendezvous for all who were discontented with the 
rule of Faraj and his Emirs, and two months after Timur’s 
death was in open rebellion against Faraj. He succeeded 
indeed in defeating the rebels, but was compelled by in¬ 
subordination on the part of his Circassian Mamlukes to 
abdicate, when his brother was proclaimed Sultan in his 
place. This brother was, however, deposed after two months, 
and Faraj, who had been in hiding, was recalled. Most of 
his reign was occupied with revolts on the part of Syrian 
governors, which he repeatedly visited Syria in order to 
quell. Among the leaders of the rebels was Shaikh Mah- 
mudi, afterwards Sultan in Egypt, with the title Muayyad. 
Owing to the disturbance andmisgovernment the population 
of Syria and Egypt is said to have shrunk in the time of 
Faraj to one-third of what it had been before, and the Sul¬ 
tan violated Moslem sentiment not only by debauchery, but 
even more by having his image stamped on coins. 

The reign of Faraj, though politically disastrous, is per¬ 
petuated in Egypt by several notable buildings. One of 
these is the school of the Emir Jamal al-din Yusuf in the 
Jamaliyyah Street. It is sometimes called the “Suspended 

106 



AN OLD HOUSE NEAR THE TENT- 
- MAKERS’ BAZAAR, 

CAIRO 







The Early Circassian Mamlukes 

Mosque,” a name given to any such building to which there 
is access by a flight of stairs. The place was originally a 
store. When the Emir began to turn it into a mosque and 
school, he utilized materials purchased by him for a trifling 
sum from the Sultan Hajji, who for a time displaced Bar- 
kuk, and which had formed the furniture of the mosque of 
the Sultan Sha’ban on the Citadel. The sums settled on 
teachers and pupils in this school seem to have been specially 
handsome—300 francs a month for each of the former, and 
thirty with rations for each of the latter. The teachers at 
al-Azhar have to be contented still with pay on the latter scale. 

This generosity had, however, been provided by gross ex¬ 
tortion. Moreover by a method adopted by many in Egypt 
the interest on the benefactions was settled on the founder’s 
family in perpetuity. Before the Mosque was completed, the 
Emir Yusuf was imprisoned and executed by the Sultan, who, 
as usual, confiscated the property. His first idea was to de¬ 
stroy the new building; but being warned by the legal au¬ 
thorities that such an act would leave a painful impression 
on the people, he preferred the alternative of appropriating 
it, and having his own name inscribed instead of Yusufs. 
This was therefore carried out. The name of the Sultan Faraj 
was placed at the summit of the walls which bound the cen¬ 
tral court, on the chandeliers, carpets and ceilings. How¬ 
ever, the name of Faraj no longer appears there, nor indeed 
in the solitary inscription round the court which is the only 
inscription that remains. It would appear that after the death 
of Faraj the brother of the founder succeeded in recovering 
control of the institution, with possession of the benefactions, 
and he probably had the name of Faraj removed. The docu¬ 
ment in virtue of which this brother had got possession of the 
institution was afterwards demonstrated to be a forgery, and 
the control was restored to the court official who by the will 
of the first founder was to have charge of it. 

107 



Cairo 

The great Mausoleum in the cemetery called the Tombs 
of the Caliphs which is named after Barkuk is the work of the 
Sultan Faraj. The popular ascription is so far right that 
Barkuk is actually buried in the mosque, and that the 
building was ordered by that Sultan though achieved by his 
son. The inscriptions which it contains furnish a series of 
dates from 1398 to 1483, the earliest being that on a marble 
column in front of the Sultan Barkuk’s tomb in the north 
Mausoleum, which, however, merely records the time of his 
death; the latest being that of the Sultan Kayetbai, on the 
marble pulpit in the sanctuary of the monastery. Barkuk’s 
tomb was not finished till nine years after his death. Other 
persons buried in the building are his son Abd al-Aziz whose 
short reign interrupted that of Faraj; a “young man," pro¬ 
bably a son of Faraj, who himself died at Damascus; and 
one of his daughters, the princess Shakra. 

The so-called Tombs of the Caliphs occupy a cemetery first 
used in Fatimide times, when Badr al-Jamali, a famous per¬ 
sonage of that period, erected himself a tomb north of the 
hill on which the Citadel was afterwards built. The region 
became popular and fashionable for this purpose. The fact 
of various saints being buried there was probably what sug- 
gested to Barkuk tohave his Mausoleum in the same place. He 
died without having commenced to build it; his son set about 
the filial duty at once, and it took twelve years to complete. 

Another monument of the Sultan Faraj is a school, called 
by the modest name Zawiyah (literally “Cell,”) a little to 
the south of the Bab Zuwailah. It is usually known as the 
Zawiyat al-Duheshah, the latter word signifying Hall or 
Court. Over it are rooms the rental of which was settled on 
the school. The school or mosque itself has a kiblah of 
coloured marble. Close by it is a fountain with a maktab, or 
school for the young above it, also the foundation of the same 
Sultan. 


108 



TOMBS OF THE CALIPHS, CAIRO 







The Early Circassian Mamlukes 

The causes of the frequent change of rulers from the time of 
Barkuk to the end of the Circassian dynasty are not always 
intelligible; in the case of Faraj they appear to have been 
notorious incompetence displayed at a period when the 
Moslem world- was confronted in the person of Timur with 
an enemy who threatened to exterminate it. His career was 
closed by a general revolt of the Syrian Emirs, who defeated 
him at the battle of Lajun in May, 1412. A document was 
drawn up by the judges at the command of the victors de¬ 
claring Faraj a murderer and debauchee who was unfit to 
reign; and that there might be no jealousy between the two 
Emirs who were chiefly responsible for his downfall, they 
agreed to install as Sultan the Caliph Musta’in while the 
two Emirs were to have separate spheres of influence. More 
than a century and a half, then, since the termination of Ab- 
basid rule in Baghdad, a descendant, or at least a professed 
descendant of the imperial family was given something more 
than a nominal position at the head of the chief Moslem state. 
He did not apparently much believe in his good fortune; and 
before investiture as Sultan stipulated that, if he were forced 
to abdicate, he might resume his nominal dignity of Caliph. 
This stipulation turned out to be very necessary, although it 
was not observed; at the end of less than six months the 
Emir to whom Egypt had fallen, Shaikh Mahmudi, desired 
the title as well as the rights of Sultan, and easily obtained 
a declaration from the ecclesiastical authorities that a man 
of business was wanted at the head of affairs. The Abbasid 
was therefore deposed from his Sultanate, and soon after was 
deprived of the title Caliph also. Naturally the new Sultan 
had to fight the colleague whos'e sphere of influence was to 
have been Syria, and who refused to recognize any overlord 
but the Caliph. But Shaikh Mahmudi, now called the Sultan 
Muayyad, appears to have been a capable general, and in the 
course of several campaigns he reduced Syria to complete 

109 



Cairo 

subjection, captured his rival Nauruz, “who had been to 
him more than a brother and reposed his head on the same 
pillow,” andsent his head to be exposed on the Bab Zuwailah. 

With the Bab Zuwailah this Sultan was otherwise con¬ 
nected, for he had in the time of Faraj been imprisoned in 
the Shama’il gaol, which adjoined it. To commemorate his 
imprisonment and subsequent promotion, he determined to 
erect on the site of this prison a mosque which should bear 
his name, in fulfilment of a vow that he made when confined 
therein and suffering from the vermin which infested the 
place. The mosque was commenced three years after his 
elevation; no forced labour was employed over the construc¬ 
tion, all workmen being honourably remunerated; only the 
marble slabs and columns were taken from a variety of older 
buildings which had to be pulled down. In two years’ time 
the eastern liwan was finished, and the Friday prayer was 
celebrated there. Before this the Sultan had endowed the in¬ 
stitution with a rich library, taken from the old library of the 
Citadel, and so perhaps containing some volumes that had 
once belonged to the Fatimide collection, to which a certain 
Barizi, whose house at Boulak the Sultan was in the habit 
of visiting, added 500 volumes to the value, we are told, of 
10,000 dinars, securing to himself and his descendants by 
this gift the office of librarian. In order to find place for the 
lavatory some dwellings were purchased and demolished 
by the vizier, whose own foundation will next be mentioned. 
The minarets of the new mosque were built on the flanking 
towers of the Bab Zuwailah; one of them, soon after erec¬ 
tion, was found to be out of the perpendicular, and its demo¬ 
lition was ordered by the architect. In the course of this 
operation a stone fell and killed one of the passers-by, in 
consequence whereof the gate was closed for thirty days, 
“ the like whereof had not happened since Cairo was built.’ 
The cupolas which cover the graves of a daughter of the 

110 



THE DOME OF EL MOAIYAD [mUAY- 
YAD] FROM BAB ZUWEYLEH, CAIRO 











The Early Circassian Mamlukes 

Sultan, buried before the first service had been held in the 
mosque, and the Sultan himself with his son Ibrahim, were 
finished at different times, both after 1421, the year of the 
Sultan’s death. 

The story of this Ibrahim throws a painful light on the 
builder of the mosque and its first librarian and preacher. 
The year before the Sultan’s death he became so infirm that 
when he wanted to move he had to be carried on the shoul¬ 
ders of his slaves. The preacher told him that the army 
were tired of a paralysed Sultan, and were turning their 
regards to his strong and gallant son. The best plan, he 
suggested, was to get rid of this rival by poison. The advice 
was followed; but on the following Friday the Sultan came 
to hear a funeral sermon preached over his victim in the 
mosque which contained his remains. The preacher, with 
the view of diverting suspicion from his master, delivered 
an affecting discourse, telling how the Prophet late in life 
had himself lost a son of the same name, Ibrahim, and 
quoting the affecting and noble words of grief and resigna¬ 
tion with which the founder of Islam bore the blow. What 
was intended to clear the Sultan’s fame was regarded by 
him as a reproach; he determined then to get rid of the 
preacher by the same means as had carried off his son, and 
invited him to a meal, from the effects of which he died in 
a few days’ time. 

The mosque rises about five metres above the level of the 
street; in the time of Isma’il Pasha the whole building with 
the exception of the wall containing the Kiblah was in 
ruins. During his government it was restored, and various 
repairs have at different times been executed by order of 
the Committee. An inscription in the sanctuary records some 
restorations done by order of Ibrahim Pasha, son of Mo¬ 
hammed Ali, and some are recorded as having been exe¬ 
cuted under a yet earlier Ibrahim Pasha, who governed 

111 



Cairo 

Egypt as viceroy for the Turks at the end of the sixteenth 
century. 

The partial destruction of the mosque must have taken 
place after 1826,when apian was made—published in Coste’s 
Illustrations of Cairene Architecture —which represents all 
four cloisters as complete. The work done under Ibrahim 
and Isma’il Pashas must have been inadequate, since the 
plan of 1890 shows only the sanctuary, or south-east, liwan 
as standing, with the rest in ruins. The work done by the 
Committee in 1890 and later consisted in restoring the sanc¬ 
tuary and rendering it fit for public worship, repairing the 
great perron by which the mosque is entered, and comple¬ 
ting the minarets. 

Two years before the erection of this wonderful edifice a 
school was built in the ancient region Between the Two 
Walls, sometimes called theFakhri School after its founder 
Fakhr al-din, Vizier of the Sultan Muayyad, but better 
known as the “ Girls’ School.” Its founder had an unenvi¬ 
able reputation: “He combined the tyranny of the Arme¬ 
nians with the cunning of the Christians, the devilry of the 
Copts and the injustice of the tax-gatherers, being by origin 
an Armenian, and trained among the other three classes 
mentioned.” He at one time had to flee to the Kan of Bagh¬ 
dad, but found means to regain the favour of the Egyptian 
Sultan, who had in him a convenient instrument for the 
extortion of money from his subjects. In 1852 it was restored 
by a wife of Mohammed Ali, but has since undergone further 
alterations. 

To a competent ruler Orientals, and perhaps not they 
only, are willing to forgive much: and the judgement which 
they pass on the Sultan Muayyad is on the whole exceedingly 
favourable. They admire his skill in music and versification, 
his taste for the fine arts, which undoubtedly is exemplified 
in his Mosque, and his keen knowledge of men. 

112 



The Early Circassian Mamlukes 

There lies in the Muayyad Mosque one more member of 
its founder’s family, his son, Ahmad, who reigned after him, 
if a suckling can be said to reign. His story is rather tragical. 
Muayyad’s praetorians demanded that a son of his should 
reign over them; and the surviving son was eighteen months 
old. He was proclaimed sovereign in his nurse’s arms, and 
injured for life by fright at the beating of the drums. The 
Emir who was to govern for him married his mother so soon 
as he decently could, and hurried him off to Syria, there to 
quell one of the rebellions that had by this time become 
normal on such occasions. By the most ruthless executions 
he succeeded in quelling it; and when he had quelled it he 
at once divorced the queen-mother, deposed her son, and 
sent him to Alexandria where dangerous persons were 
ordinarily imprisoned. There nine years later he was carried 
off by plague. But the queen-mother had not been Muayyad’s 
wife without learning some of the secrets of empire. Before 
the usurper reached his capital, he knewthatthere was poison 
in his veins; and after three months’ reign he went to join 
his victims. “ God be pleased with him! ” says the historian 
—truly a marvellous wish. 

Another ephemeral child’s reign and a series of palace 
intrigues ended in the throne being occupied in 1422 by a 
powerful ruler, Barsbai, who took the title Ashraf, less ruth¬ 
less in his ways than his predecessors, yet not unwilling to 
use poison when convenient. His reign lasted from 1422 till 
1438, and was on the whole a peaceful time for Egypt, though 
twice while it lasted much of the population was swept away 
by plague. In a census made during this reign, on the occa¬ 
sion of a new tax being introduced, it was found that the 
total number of towns and villages in Egypt had sunk to 
2,170, whereas in the fourth century A.H. it had stood at 
10,000. Barsbai began shortly after his usurpation to build 
his monument, which is called Ashrafiyyah, after the title 

113 8 



Cairo 

by which he reigned. It is situated where the street of the 
same name crosses the Rue Neuve. Its site was occupied 
by a number of stores, of which the rents were settled on 
another mdsque; these were pulled down, but that there 
might be no sacrilege, other rents were substituted for them. 
The construction was confided to a certain Abd al-Basit, 
who occupied important posts in both this reign and the 
last; he was in Muayyad’s reign manager of the trust funds 
which provided the covering for the Ka’bah sent yearly to 
Meccah, and keeper of the royal wardrobe; Barsbai made 
him inspector-general of the army, and relied in most things 
on his advice. In Muayyad’s reign he had himself built a 
School or Hospice in the Khurunfush quarter, opposite the 
palace of the Sayyid al-Bekri. 

The Mosque of Barsbai consists of two large and two small 
liwans—a characteristic of the later period of mosque con¬ 
struction, due to the fact that of the four orthodox systems 
of law only two retained their popularity in Egypt. No 
columns are employed in it; and it belongs to the class called 
Suspended, as there is an ascent to it by a flight of steps. 
Ali Pasha tells us that it is largely used by students of al- 
Azhar in preparing their lessons, owing to its size and the 
clean condition in which it is kept, and, of course, its proxi¬ 
mity to the great University. A mueddin who once was drunk 
when he performed his sacred duty dreamed that the Prophet 
whipped him with the kurbash; he woke and finding on his 
person the weals resulting from the blows, repented of the 
wickedness of his ways. For many years the helmet of the 
King of Cyprus was suspended over the door. For one of 
Barsbai’s titles to the gratitude of the Egyptians was that 
he avenged the repeated raids of the Cyprians on Alexandria 
by sending to Cyprus a fleet which burned Limasol, and 
another which took Famagusta, while a later expedition 
succeeded in taking the King of Cyprus captive, who was 

114 



The Early Circassian Mamlukes 

brought to Cairo, and presently released for a ransom of 
200,000 dinars, on condition of acknowledging the suzerainty 
of the Egyptian Sultan and paying him tribute. An inscrip¬ 
tion going along the sanctuary and the western liwan about 
the middle of the wall, contains the deed of settlement on 
the Mosque, which has been reproduced with an ample and 
exhaustive commentary by van Berchem. The benefactions 
as usual took the shape of rents on buildings for the most 
part, but some of them were in the form of lands. The deed 
also gives a list of other settlements made by the same 
Sultan both on his heirs and on other pious institutions. 

This is the last building mentioned by the great Cairene 
topographer, Makrizi, whose work was begun in the reign 
of Muayyad, and finished in the fourth year of Barsbai. 
Few cities in the world have been so exhaustively described 
as Cairo is by this writer, who also composed a history of the 
Mamluke dynasty up to his time, and a biographical dic¬ 
tionary of persons who had lived in Egypt. His book on 
Cairo has been the basis of all archaeological studies con¬ 
nected with Moslem Egypt; and the French Archaeological 
Mission has provided students with a translation of it. 

In the cemetery to the east of Cairo the Sultan Barsbai 
built himself a mausoleum and a hospice. The latter has dis¬ 
appeared ; the former exists, but has undergone some altera¬ 
tions. In the ruins of the latter a lengthy inscription has been 
discovered, detailing the revenues settled by the Sultan on 
these institutions; it is rather remarkable that two of this 
Sultan’s foundations should contain such deeds which are 
somewhat rare. The present deed contains provision for the 
maintenance of certain other tombs besides the Sultan’s; 
among the buildings furnishing rentals are some shops at 
Bab al-Luk. These inscriptions, Ali Pasha observes, by no 
means had the effect contemplated by their author, which 
was to render the settlements inalienable, and the founda- 

115 8 a 



Cairo 

tions regularly maintained; they were overtaken by decay, 
as others were. 

The last years of Barsbai were clouded by the decay of 
the Sultan’s mental faculties, leading him to reproduce the 
part played of old by Hakim. He enacted that no woman 
should appear in the streets at all; the layers-out of corpses 
had to apply for a special badge from the magistrate before 
they could discharge their duty. The animosity against dogs 
that atone timeseized the Prophet of Islam also found its way 
into this Sultan’s bosom; they were banished from Cairo to Gi- 
zeh, and a reward offered to all who arrested one of these 
animals. Wrongs done to women and dogs perhaps evoked 
little resentment in the minds of the Egyptians; but the Sul¬ 
tan’s eccentricity also assumed a homicidal turn, and his 
death was probably a relief to his subjects. 

He left as successor a son fourteen years of age, who was 
almost immediately displaced by a minister, Jakmak, origi¬ 
nally a freedman of the Sultan Barkuk, and sixty-seven 
years of age when he usurped the throne. And, indeed, the 
Palace revolutions which regularly followed on the death of 
a Sultan in this period, succeeded in fairly often putting 
into power a man of ripe experience, and free from the vices 
associated often with heirs-apparent.The dethroned lad made 
an attempt to escape from his honourable quarters in the Cita¬ 
del; he dressed himself as a kitchen boy, bore a tray on his head, 
begrimed his face, and went out in the company ofthe cook, who 
rated him in suitable style. But the unfortunate lad had no 
plan in his head of the course to be pursued when he had 
escaped, and so waited about in Cairo until he was retaken. 
The early days of Jakmak were distinguished by a Servile 
War, reminding the reader of his Roman history; five hun¬ 
dred blacks fled from their masters, crossed to Gizeh, and 
there set up a state and a Sultan of their own. This attempt 
ended as the Roman Servile Wars ended; the slaves were 

116 



The Early Circassian Mamlukes 

captured and sent off in dhows to the markets of the now 
powerful Ottoman Empire. 

The time of this Sultan was also marked by persecution 
of Christians and Jews, involving the destruction of many 
Christian churches. As the chronicles represent the matter, 
this persecution was caused by the Sultan’s desire to enforce 
total abstinence; and, of course, the wine trade was in the 
hands of these two communities. If the Sultan heard of any 
of his praetorians being intoxicated, he would banish him, 
cut off his allowance and confiscate his property. A strict 
search was made into all houses, and wherever any liquor was 
found it was poured away. 

Some monuments are left of Jakmak’s reign. One is the 
Mosque of the Emir Tangri Bardi, called also the Mosque 
of Mu’dhi, in the Salibah Street. It consists, says Ali Pasha, 
of two liwans with a covered court between them; this area 
is illuminated by a skylight. A white cupola covers the tomb 
of the founder, an Emir who held high office, but owing to 
his surliness was known by the title, “the Public Nuisance,” 
which the alternate name of the founder of the Mosque sig¬ 
nifies. His disagreeable conduct was finally the cause of his 
death at the hands of his Mamlukes. 

A more important personage of this reign was the Kadi 
Yahya (the Arabic for John), whose mosque is by the Bridge 
which takes the Mouski over what was once the Great Canal. 
Its founder had the high office of Mayor of the Palace, and 
underwent repeatedly exile and torture, finally dying of the 
latter, when at the close of his long life he was drawn from 
his retirement by the Sultan Kaietbai, and bastinadoed in 
the hope that treasure might be extorted from him. Of his 
mosque, Herz Bey observes that it is of the model belonging 
to the latest period of the Circassian Mamlukes. Its dimen¬ 
sions are small, its shape cruciform, the north and south li¬ 
wans are reduced, the minaret is at the point most in view, 

117 



Cairo 

the Mausoleum is at the south-east, and is surrounded by a 
small school. 

The name of Jakmak himself is commemorated by a 
mosque in the Salibah region, and a school, of which only 
the fa9ade is preserved, in a street between the Mouski and 
the Boulevard Mohammed Ali. 

Jakmak tried to perpetuate his dynasty by a plan which 
has often proved successful—abdicating in favour of his son, 
who, being nineteen years of age, might reasonably have 
been competent to reign. And, indeed, he commenced by 
administering tortures to various Emirs from whom he hoped 
to extort money, in a manner worthy of an older man. The 
money was required for the usual largess demanded by the 
praetorians on a new sovereign’s accession; and little of it 
being forthcoming, his minister of the works thought of the 
by no means new expedient of debasing the coinage to make 
a little go a longer way; a proceeding which so exasperated 
those whom it was meant to cajole, that a new Sultan was 
immediately elected, under whom the revolted praetorians 
besieged the son of Jakmak in the Citadel, and ere long 
starved him into surrender. Though at first imprisoned, the 
dethroned Sultan lived not only to be released, but to return 
to the Citadel, not, indeed, as monarch, but as the honoured 
guest of one of his successors. 

The succeeding Sultan Inal tried to secure the succession 
to his son by appointing him, so soon as he was himself 
sovereign, to high office in the State; but he had to retract 
this step, which provoked jealousy. Since it was the custom 
of each succeeding Sultan to imprison numerous suspects, 
but to release many of those whom his predecessors had 
incarcerated, possibly there were always many to whom the 
continuity of a dynasty was undesirable, for some persons 
are likely to have been interested in those who pined in 
captivity. Yet it would be unsafe to draw any inferences from 



The Early Circassian Mamlukes 

ordinary communities to these regiments of freed slaves tom 
violently from their homes in youth and spending their 
whole lives as garrison amid an alien population. The 
Janissaries would form the nearest parallel to them; but 
then the Janissaries did not furnish the sovereign, nor 
ordinarily the ministers. 

This Sultan—whose reign lasted from 1453 to 1460, and 
whose year of accession was noteworthy because in it Cairo 
was decorated to celebrate the taking of Constantinople by 
the Ottomans, who before another century had passed were 
to be masters of Egypt also—like his predecessor perpetu¬ 
ated his name by a school, mosque and monastery in the 
cemetery that already contained some noble monuments of 
the kind. The whole set of buildings is surrounded by a wall 
which encloses various spaces, covered and uncovered. The 
mausoleum, was commenced by the founder when he was 
still a minister only, two years before he ascended the throne, 
and is said to be the only example of a monument begun 
by a minister and ended by the same man as sovereign. 
Some of his children appear to have been buried in it before 
his accession, and steps were taken to alter the inscriptions 
in order to make them accord with his regal titles. After he 
had become Sultan, he decided on enlarging his former 
scheme by the inclusion in it of a vast monastery or hospice, 
the numerous cells of which, though deserted, count, says 
van Berchem, among the most curious relics of Egyptian 
Sufism. The historians record the festivities with which the 
inauguration of the monastery was accompanied; and the 
dedicatory inscription, without naming, makes an allusion 
to Jamal al-din Yusuf, director of public works at this time, 
who oversaw the building of this monument, and indeed is 
said to have supplied the necessary funds. We have already 
met with this personage, suggesting tampering with the coin¬ 
age as a financial expedient. At a later period he suggested, 

119 



Cairo 

and with some difficulty carried through, an expedient of 
the contrary sort, the restoration of pure metal; a proceeding 
which cost many persons the third of their fortunes, though 
its beneficial results were speedily felt. 

How many persons took advantage of the numerous hos¬ 
pices for religious retirement we cannot say; besides those 
which have met us as connected or identical with mosques, 
there was a humbler sort called Takiyyeh or Ribat, and a 
building of this sort, founded by Inal, still exists in Cairo, 
though only three of those mentioned by Makrizi have left 
any traces. Some of these institutions wereforfemaleascetics, 
the greater number for male. The Moslem notion of asceticism 
or sainthood by no means excludes marriage; yet it is likely 
that most of those who passed their lives in these retreats 
were, when they entered, near the end of their worldly careers. 

The account given of the Sultan Inal personally is more 
than usually favourable. He shed no blood, except in judi¬ 
cial executions, and he lived with one wife. On the other 
hand, he was so ignorant that he had to sign public docu¬ 
ments with his mark, being unable to read or write. 

An event occurred in this reign which illustrates the 
relations between Sultan and Caliph. The solitary duty of 
the latter was, as we have often seen, to give legitimacy to 
the title of the former; and in the uncertainty as to the re¬ 
sult, when there was a variety of pretenders to the throne, the 
Caliph’s course was not easy to steer. The Caliph who had 
invested Inal, having espoused his cause before his rival had 
been defeated, considered himself afterwards insufficiently 
rewarded and took up with another pretender. The pretender 
was defeated, and Inal then demanded that the Caliph should 
divest himself of his office. “ I divest myself of the Caliphate," 
he then exclaimed, “and I also divest Inal of the Sul¬ 
tanate.” This proceeding alarmed the audience, not seeing 
an exit from the deadlock. A courtier easily found one. 

120 



A COURTYARD NEAR THE TENT- 
MAKERS’ BAZAAR, CAIRO 








The Early Circassian ZMamlukes 

Having- divested himself first, he observed, the ex-Caliph 
no longer had the power to divest anyone else. He ought to 
have begun with the Sultan, if he had meantthe actto be valid. 

The sufferings of the civil population are said to have been 
very great in this reign, notwithstanding the benevolence of 
the Sultan. Where the sovereign’s right was based entirely on 
force, and had absolutely no root in the loyalty of the sub¬ 
jects or their hereditary affection, it was his natural policy 
to furnish himself with a bodyguard of which the members 
solely looked to him; the freedmen of an earlier sovereign 
could not be trusted, as such loyalty as they were capable 
of feeling would have for its object, at least in part, 
the heirs of their former master. The accession of each 
usurper therefore either threw out of work, or left in danger¬ 
ous idleness, a great number of mercenaries who had no 
affection for the Egyptian populace, while introducing a 
fresh supply in the service of the new Sultan whom he could 
not venture by violently repressive measures to offend. The 
result was a succession of riots, in which shops were looted 
and peaceful passengers robbed without any possibility of 
obtaining redress. 

The successor of Inal, his son Ahmad, who came to the 
throne in 1460, his father having abdicated in his favour 
some time before his own death, was a favourite of the 
Egyptian people, and endeavoured to repress the evils 
which have been stated. He apparently trusted too much to 
the loyalty of his father’s freedmen and slaves, who as soon 
as they saw that he intended to govern for the good of his 
subjects, turned against him. They sent to the Governor of 
Damascus, offering him the Sultanate; but, in their impa¬ 
tience to get rid of Ahmad, could not wait for his arrival, 
and appointed the commander of the forces, Khushkadam’ 
as stopgap. Naturally the stopgap refused to make way for the 
person whose deputy he was meant to be,and retained his place. 

121 



CHAPTER VIII 

The Last of the Circassian 
Mamlukes 

K HUSHKADAM, the thirty-eighth Sultan of the 
Mamluke dynasty, is said to have been in origin a 
Greek slave, but the name which Arab writers use 
for “Greek” does not give much information, since it is ap¬ 
plied to all residents in Asia Minor or Turkey in Asia, and 
indeed the Ottoman Sultan is by Arabic authors of this 
period called the King of the Greeks [Rum). His reign is 
noteworthy for the commencement of the struggle between 
the Ottoman and the Egyptian Sultanates, which finally 
led to the incorporation of Egypt in the Ottoman Empire. 
This began with a quarrel over the succession in the prin¬ 
cipality of Karaman, where the two Sultans favoured rival 
candidates, and the Ottoman Sultan Mohammed supported 
his candidate with force of arms, obtaining as the price of 
his assistance several towns in which the suzerainty of 
the Egyptian Sultan had hitherto been acknowledged. Open 
war did not, however, break out between the two states in 
Khushkadam’s time. His reign of six years is not otherwise 
of consequence for the development of either Egypt or Cairo, 
though he, as usual, built himself a mausoleum. 

His death was followed by the accession successively of 
two ephemeral usurpers, after whom there came another 
great sovereign in the person of Kaietbai, who occupied the 
throne for the lengthy period of twenty-seven years (1468- 
1495). Much of his time was spent in struggles with Uzun 
Hasan, Prince of Diyarbekr, and Shah Siwar, chief of the 

122 



The Last of the Circassian ZMamlukes 

Zulkadir Turcomans. He gave grave offence to the Ottoman 
Sultan, Bayazid II, by entertaining his brother Jem, who 
afterwards took refuge in Christian Europe, and was poi¬ 
soned by Pope Alexander VI. In the war which ensued the 
troops of Kaietbai were successful, and after they had re¬ 
peatedly defeated the Ottomans, peace was made in 1491, 
when the keys of the towns which the Ottomans had seized, 
were handed back to the Egyptian Sultan. 

Kaietbai was a builder on about as great a scale as the 
Sultan Nasir, and extended his operations far beyond Cairo; 
he erected edifices on a costly scale at Meccah and Medi- 
nah, Jerusalem and elsewhere. The Citadel and the parts of 
Cairo in its neighbourhood were, if we may believe the 
chroniclers, practically rebuilt in a more magnificent style 
than before by this Sultan, and he founded a whole series 
of mosques in different parts of his capital, on the island 
Raudah, in the Kabsh, and in the great cemetery which 
already contained so many of these monuments. Apparently 
the revenues of the country must have been wasted on these 
costly schemes, and the State treasury was regularly during 
his reign in an exhausted condition. The historians, however, 
turn their attention to his piety rather than to his extrava¬ 
gance, and surround his person with the romance attaching 
to a saint. Before his accession to the Sultanate was ever 
thought of, pious persons had the fact revealed to them. 
When a plague was raging in Cairo, some one dreamed that 
the Prophet’s servant averted the destroying angel from 
Kaietbai’s person. He told Kaietbai of this vision, and the 
future Sultan wisely bade him conceal it. Another person 
saw in a dream a pomegranate tree with a single fruit upon 
it, which Kaietbai hastened to pluck. He told Kaietbai that 
this was a sure omen of his sovereignty, but was rebuked by 
the future Sultan when he ventured to narrate the vision. In 
a vision which the Sultan himself saw when he went on 

123 



Cairo 

pilgrimage he was informed by the Prophet that he was 
one of the saved. 

Many of the great monuments of Cairo underwent some 
form of restoration by his care, such as the Mosque al-Azhar, 
that of Sayyidah Nefisah, that of Amr Ibn al-As, the tomb of 
al-Shafi’i, the Meidan of the Sultan Nasir and many more. 

The chief architectural monument of his reign, which also 
marks the highest point to which art was carried in the 
days of the Circassian Mamlukes is his mosque in the ceme¬ 
tery now called “The Tombs of the Caliphs.’’ “Everything 
that is to be found separately in the other temples is united 
in this with incomparable talent,” says Gayet. “The bold 
gateway is surmounted by trefoil arch; to the left the fa5ade 
is pierced by the windows of a fountain ( sebil ) and a school. 
Those of the fountain are closed with grilles of network, to 
the right is an octagon minaret with a square base orna¬ 
mented with rosettes. The back wall of the sanctuary is pierced 
by two double windows, separated by a rose window, also 
in glass. This arrangement is reproduced in the sepulchral 
hall. The octagonal dome of the latter is of incomparable 
grace,” etc. The building embraces a school, a fountain, a 
school for children, a mausoleum and as usual a hospice for 
Sufis, though this last has disappeared. German travellers 
visiting Cairo in 1483 were enthusiastic over the beauty of 
this mosque which had then been completed nine years. 
These travellers—whose accounts are reprinted by M. van 
Berchem—were greatly struck by the noise made by the 
Mohammedan “ priests,” i.e., Mueddins and Dervishes, 
lodged in the hospice provided for their use. The uncom¬ 
plimentary epithet “dogs” was applied by these devotees 
to their European visitors. 

The plan of the school (madrasah) was that of the latest 
period, in which, as has been seen, the two lateral liwans 
are increased, and the others diminished in size. Together 

124 



The Last of the Circassian ^Mamlukes 

with the alteration in the structure of the schools or mosques 
comes the gradual displacement of brick by stone. The em¬ 
ployment of the latter material in Egypt was a natural relic 
of the traditions of the Abbasid Caliphate, since the Baby¬ 
lon of that monarchy, no less than that of its predecessor, 
was an a figulis munita urbs. The architects towards the 
beginning of the fifteenth century succeeded in building 
stone cupolas over tombs, but for arches which had to sup¬ 
port great weights they found stone difficult to work, and 
soon took to covering the liwans with wooden ceilings in 
preference to arched roofs. 

The deed of foundation is given at length by Ali Pasha, 
and apparently exceeds in munificence all preceding foun¬ 
dations, lavish as many of these had been. The leader of 
prayer was to have five hundred dirhems a month, and three 
loaves a day; there were to be nine well-paid mueddins, 
“scholarships” for two orphan schools, one of twenty and 
the other of thirty children; five hundred dirhems a day 
for each of forty Sufis with their head, and special benefac¬ 
tions for special occasions. The mere enumeration of build¬ 
ings settled on this fourfold institution is lengthy. 

A building less religious in character also belonging to 
the epoch of Kaietbai is the Bait al-Kadi, occupying part 
of the site of the old Eastern Palace of the Fatimides. This 
house was a portion of the Palace of the Emir Mamai, which 
he appears to have repaired rather than to have built. The 
late Mr H. C. Kay, who did not a little for the exploration 
of Cairo, discovered some forty yards west of the law court 
which is usually identified with the Palace, a ruined saloon, 
with liwans separated from the central portion by lofty 
arches of solid masonry. The base of the arches contained 
an inscription which identified this saloon as part of Ma- 
mai’s Palace. In Mr Kay's time it was occupied as a corn 
mill, with stabling for the cattle that worked the mill. This 

125 



Cairo 

Mamai played an important part in the history of his time, 
and was repeatedly employed as ambassador from the 
Egyptian Sultan to the Ottoman Porte. The loggia is re¬ 
markable for its size. 

Another Palace, of which some remains are to be found, 
is that of the Emir Yashbak, behind the mosque of the Sul¬ 
tan Hasan, constituting one of the latest specimens of the 
civil architecture of the Mamlukes. It comprehends a rez- 
de-chaussee vaulted with a saloon (ka’ah) of gigantic di¬ 
mensions. 

Three buildings bearing the title Wakalah (often pro¬ 
nounced Ukalah) were erected by Kaietbai inside Cairo. 
This form of edifice is similar to what is called a khan in 
Syria; it means a magazine in which strange merchants can 
deposit their wares. One of those founded by this Sultan 
was in the Rue Surujiyyah, and was condemned by the 
Committee, who, however, took care that any objects left 
there of artistic or archaeological interest should be care¬ 
fully removed and preserved. Of the two others, opposite 
al-Azhar and near the Bab al-Nasr respectively, the 
fa9ades are preserved. The Wakalah in the neighbourhood 
of the Nasr Gate had three fa5ades—that which faces the 
street shows an alternate series of mashrabiyyahs and 
grilles, the first floor overlapping the ground floor. 

Various other buildings of interest date from the time of 
the Sultan Kaietbai. One of these is the School or Mosque 
of Muzhir, in the lane leading from the street Between the 
Two Walls to the Khurunfiish. Of its two gates one is orna¬ 
mented with bronze, the other with inlaid ivory work in 
geometrical patterns. The two larger liwans have pillars of 
marble, and the whole is paved with marbles of various 
colours also arranged in geometrical designs. The wood¬ 
work of this mosque is also highly admired. The whole is 
said to be still much as its founder left it, except for certain 

126 



The Last of the Circassian Mam hikes 

slight improvements and repairs executed at various times. 
Muzhir, or rather Ibn Muzhir, was private secretary to the 
Sultan Kaietbai, and as such had to represent him on cer¬ 
tain occasions. On one that is recorded by the chronicler he 
was sent by the Sultan to a council that had been sum¬ 
moned of the ecclesiastical authorities, to decide whether 
for the defence of the State it was desirable to seize the re¬ 
venues of the religious foundations, leaving them just enough 
to maintain them in working order. The Shaikhs naturally 
made the same reply as the privileged orders when their 
taxation was suggested at the commencement of the French 
Revolution; such an act was against the divine law, and the 
Shaiks, if they countenanced it, would have to answer for 
their impiety on the Day of Judgement; it was of no use 
summoning them to a council, if such a proposition were put 
before them to discuss. 

The Sultan Kaietbai made himself famous for the economy 
ofhisregime, and the expedientswhichheinventedforsaving 
the revenues of the State—in order to squander them on his 
buildings—one of these might have been borrowed from the 
Odyssey of Homer, if we could imagine that this Sultan had 
access to that poem. Persons enjoying military pay were 
summoned to the Sultan’s presence and invited to draw a 
tough bow; if they failed, they were disqualified and their 
pay withdrawn. The task of distributing it was undertaken 
by the Sultan personally, who sat on definite days for the 
purpose. In spite of this economy the fortunes which the 
Emirs managed to accumulate show that further supervision 
would have been desirable. 

The Mosque often known as that of the Shaikh Abu 
Haribah (after a saint buried in it) in the Ahmar Street, be¬ 
longs to the time of Kaietbai, and was built by an Emir of 
his named Kachmas (Turkish for “flees not”). This person, 
who held a variety of important posts, signalized himself 

127 



Cairo 

by building outside Alexandria a refuge for travellers who 
arrived after the closing of the gates of the city, when they 
were exposed to the attacks of marauders. He also founded 
a number of religious institutions in the various cities in 
which he held office, chiefly hospices for Sufis. The Shaikh 
Abu Haribah is a modern celebrity who died in the year 
1851. Born in Upper Egypt, he studied various forms of Su¬ 
fism, until he was ready to start a system of his own; he 
came to Cairo and took a situation as clerk in a Christian 
bakehouse, where he proselytized and made as many as sixty 
converts to Islam. His teaching was greatly sought after, 
and his fame attracted the attention of the rulers of Egypt; 
Mohammed Ali sent him a present of £Eg.5oo, and Abbas 
Pasha offered him a gift of land, but both presents were de¬ 
clined. His disciples have erected an ivory monument to him 
in the Mosque. 

The part of Cairo called Ezbekiyyeh, familiar to all Euro¬ 
pean visitors, dates from the reign of Kaietbai. According 
to the chronicler it was during the Fatimide period partly 
sand-heaps and partly morass; at some time it was drained 
by a canal called the Male Canal, which was blocked when 
the Sultan Nasir had his Nasiri Canal dug. The buildings 
which had sprung up in consequence of the land being 
drained now fell into ruin, and the region became a haunt 
of evil doers. By private enterprise a bath was presently 
built in the region, to which water was conveyed by an 
aqueduct from the Nasiri Canal; the same water was also 
used for agricultural purposes and cereals grown in fields. 
In the year 1470, near the beginning of Kaietbai’s reign, the 
Emir Ezbek decided to build here some stalls for his camels, 
and afterwards residential quarters. He proceeded to have 
the rubbish-heaps that were there removed, to have the land 
levelled, and to excavate a pond, into which water was 
introduced from the Nasiri Canal. The pond was surrounded 

128 



The Last of the Circassian Mamlukes 

by a stone embankment. Owing to the great liking of the 
Egyptian residents for views over water, the region speedily 
became fashionable, and handsome residences were erected 
all round the new pool. By the end of Kaietbai’s reign the 
Ezbekiyyeh, as the quarter was called after its founder, had 
become “a city for itself,” and the same Emir proceeded 
to build a mosque in splendid style for the religious needs 
of his “new city," with baths, stores, mills and bakehouses 
for its temporary wants. The day in the year on which water 
was let into the pool became one of public rejoicing, and the 
occasion would be celebrated by the lighting of a bonfire of 
unheard-of magnitude. 

At the time of the French occupation the bed of the pond 
was according to M. Rhone’s estimate about three times the 
area of the Place de la Concorde, or equal to the interior of 
the Champ de Mars. When the inundation of the Nile filled 
it with water, the surrounding buildings had the aspect of 
Venetian palaces, whereas in winter the area was covered 
with green vegetation. The pond was drained by Mohammed 
Ali, and his successor Ibrahim Pasha had the recovered 
land covered with fine trees. These were cut down by Isma’il 
Pasha, who “abandoned the place to the horrors of specula¬ 
tion,” and instituted the public park which now occupies 
the middle of the quarter. The statue of Ibrahim Pasha 
which originally stood on a mound was transferred to its 
present site, and the Mosque of Ezbek demolished to make 
room for its pedestal. The modem buildings in this region 
date from the reign of Isma'il or his successors. 

The Emir Ezbek is celebrated for much besides the Ezbe¬ 
kiyyeh. Originally a slave of the Sultan Barsbai, he was 
purchased and manumitted by Jakmak,who gavehim succes¬ 
sively two of his daughters. He was promoted to high office 
at the Egyptian court, and for a time held a governorship 
in Syria, whence he returned to Egypt to be commander of 

129 9 



Cairo 

the forces, under Kaietbai; it was this office which under 
the Circassian regime often trained a man to be Sultan. He 
led expeditions against the Bedouins and Turcomans, 
helped to defeat the Ottomans, and in the absence of Kaiet¬ 
bai from Cairo was left in charge of affairs. According to a 
custom illustrated in English history by the practice of 
Queen Elizabeth he was in the habit of defraying out of his 
own purse the cost of the expeditions which he commanded. 
Like many eminent men’s careers his was not unclouded; 
he was banished four times in the course of it and imprisoned 
in Alexandria twice. When he died, owing to a dispute 
between his heirs, his estate was seized by the Sultan, and 
was discovered to include 700,000 dinars in coin, besides 
goods corresponding in value; indeed, the chroniclers add, 
had it not been for what he spent in the public service, and 
what he had laid out on the Ezbekiyyeh, his wealth would 
have defied calculation. He is credited with great personal 
ability, but otherwise with few good qualities; he had a 
sharp tongue and an arrogant manner; he was implacable 
if once offended, and if ever he imprisoned anyone, would 
never permit a release. 

A Mosque erected by another Emir Ezbek still exists in 
the Birket al-Fil (Elephant’s Pool) region. It is of the late 
style, in which the two main liwans are enlarged to the de¬ 
triment of the two lateral cloisters. It contains the tomb of 
a stepson of the founder, Sidi Faraj, son of a governor of 
Damascus whose widow became the wife of Ezbek. This 
lady, called the Princess Bunukh, is buried close by. 

The architectural and engineering works ordered by the 
Sultan Kaietbai were more varied in character than most of 
those of his predecessors. Ezbek—of the Ezbekiyyeh—was 
employed by him to restore certain bridges over the canals 
which came between the Pyramids and Gizeh, and which 
when Saladdin ordered his great plan of fortification, had 

130 



PALACE OF KAIT BEY [KAIETBAl], 
CAIRO 











The Last of the Circassian Mamlukes 

formed part ot a road whereby material was to be taken 
from the pyramids and brought to the Nile. These bridges 
were seen and their inscriptions copied in the eighteenth 
century; but in the nineteenth century the bridges disap¬ 
peared, and with them their inscriptions. One of these in¬ 
scriptions spoke of ten arches, of which the original con¬ 
struction went back to a period anterior to Islam. This was 
probably an exaggeration, though perhaps intended in good 
faith. 

Ezbek’s last triumph was in the year 1491, when he 
brought his troops home from Asia Minor, after having in¬ 
flicted a severe defeat on the Ottoman forces, stormed some 
fortresses, and taken many captives. He returned, indeed, 
without having received leave from his chief, owing to the 
insubordination of his troops, who demanded more and more 
pay; but Cairo was adorned to welcome the victors, and 
Kaietbai made peace with the Ottomans on the earliest op¬ 
portunity. The want of money in Egypt had by this time 
reached its height, and not all the expedients which the 
Sultan and his ministers could devise produced a sufficient 
supply. The revenues of all religious foundations were se¬ 
questrated for seven months, a measure extended to Syria as 
well as Egypt, and ruthlessly executed. Another plan 
adopted by the Sultan was to endow research in the shape 
of alchemy, various persons professing to turn base metal 
into gold, if money were provided to pay for experiments. 
When these experiments proved unsuccessful, the Sultan 
avenged himself by depriving the unfortunate alchemists 
of their eyes and tongues. The great Nur al-din in Saladdin's 
time had allowed himself to be cajoled by a man of this 
craft, who offered to utilize his art for the Sultan’s benefit 
on condition that the gold so produced should only be em¬ 
ployed for the sacred war. The charlatan melted down a 
thousand dinars, to give the Sultan the satisfaction of seeing, 

131 9 a 



Cairo 

as he thought, a gold ingot produced out of base metal; 
and the Sultan, when he had seen it, liberally equipped the 
adventurer to go in search of a large supply of the chemicals 
that he required for his experiments, of which, naturally, 
sufficient was not to be had in Damascus. One of the Sultan's 
subjects then made out a class-list of fools, placing the 
Sultan at the head; he offered if the alchemist ever returned 
to erase the Sultan’s name from this post of honour, and 
give it to the former, but never had occasion to alter his list. 

Kaietbai had one son, Mohammed, whose mother after 
his death married one of his ephemeral successors, Jan-balat, 
and experienced various vicissitudes of fortune in the trou¬ 
blous times which Egypt passed through in the early tenth 
century of the Mohammedan era, but has left a monument 
of herself in a mosque at Fayyum. This princess was the 
wife of two Sultans, the mother of a third, and the sister of 
a fourth; for the first of the two Kansuhs who mounted the 
throne during these troubles owed his promotion to the dis¬ 
covery that he was the brother of Kaietbai’s Queen. The 
Sultan Kaietbai had built a palace for his son, in order to 
gratify his taste for building; and in consequence of a palace 
intrigue which he was unable to quell he was induced to 
allow the prince to be proclaimed Sultan the day before his 
own death (Aug. 7, 1496), though, being only fourteen years 
of age, he would be unable to govern himself, but would be 
a puppet in the hands of the Commander of the forces. The 
expedient of securing the succession by appointing the new 
Sultan during his father’s lifetime had been already tried 
under more favourable circumstances, and had failed. It 
succeeded no better now; for four years the supreme power 
passed into the hands of a series of adventurers: and not till 
1501 was there seated on it a monarch possessing the capa¬ 
city to maintain himself. 

Kansuh al-Ghuri is the last great monarch of the Circas- 

132 



THE MOSQUE EL GHOREE [OHURl], 
CAIRO 



































The Last of the Circassian hMamlukgs 

sian dynasty, and indeed of Independent Egypt. His name 
is perpetuated by the Mosque al-Ghuri,in the neighbourhood 
of the Citadel, and by another in the Street called after it 
Ghuriyyah, not far from the Ashrafiyyah Mosque. There are 
two large and two small liwans (as usual at this period), and 
no columns. The pulpit, which is much admired, is said to 
have a talisman to keep off flies which is, according to Ali 
Pasha, found to be quite effective. The minaret commands 
a fine view; and the mosque, which was intended to be a 
school, had the usual adjuncts of an hospice, a fountain, and 
a school for children. The cupola was supposed to have been 
built to hold the Koran of the Caliph Othman of which the 
binding, as might well be imagined, was by this time sorely 
in need of repair; the Sultan had it freshly bound, placed 
in a wooden case, and stored under the Cupola specially 
built to receive it. A deed of benefactions rivalling that of 
Kaietbai's foundation is given by our guide in connexion 
with this mosque; the writer of the deed was to have a pen¬ 
sion of thirty dirhems a month and three loaves a day for the 
rest of his life. 

The story of Kansuh al-Ghuri’s accession shows that the 
state of Egypt was generally unhealthy, and its easy con¬ 
quest by a foreign power to be expected; for he was selected 
by the mutinous praetorians on the remarkable ground that 
being a man of little wealth and little influence, he could 
easily be deposed; and indeed he stipulated that if they 
chose to depose him, his life was to be guaranteed. Once in 
power he endeavoured by a variety of artifices to isolate the 
Emirs who were in control of affairs, and where more gentle 
means were unavailing, to employ poison. His reign was 
remarkable for a naval conflict between the Egyptians and 
Portuguese, whose fleet interfered with the trade between 
India and Egypt; Kansuh caused a fleet to be built which 
fought naval battles with the Portuguese with varying re- 

133 



Cairo 

suit. In 1515 there began the war with the Ottoman Sultan 
Selim, which led to the close of the Mamluke period, and 
the incorporation of Egypt with its dependencies in the 
Ottoman Empire. Kansuh was charged by Selim with 
giving the right of way through Syria to the envoys of the 
Safawid Isma’il, whose destination was Venice, where they 
hoped to form a confederacy of west and east against the 
Turks. The actual declaration of war was not made by Selim 
till May 1515, when all his preparations had been made; at 
the Battle of Marj Dabik, Aug. 24, 1516, Kansuh was de¬ 
feated by the Ottoman forces, and fell fighting. His body 
was left on the battlefield and never was interred in his 
mausoleum. His successor Tumanbai made a brave but use¬ 
less resistance to the Ottomans, who now invaded Egypt. 

The Mamluke rule had at no time been identified with 
any national cause in Egypt, though the victories of the 
first dynasty over the Crusaders had won for it the respect 
of the Moslems. The chroniclers do not wish us to suppose 
that the defeat of the Mamluke by the Ottoman Sultan was 
regarded as a national misfortune; indeed they suggest that 
the extortion and injustice which the lastoftheMamlukeshad 
organized, or at least countenanced, rendered the prospect 
of a change almost desirable. As has been seen, the Egypt¬ 
ians cared not at all to which of the two powers they paid 
their taxes, their only anxiety was not to pay them twice. 

In his history of the Egyptian Revolution, Mr A. A. Paton 
produced a description of the court of Kansuh al-Ghuri given 
by a Venetian ambassador, who visited it in the year 1503. 
The Sultan had then been seated on the throne three years; 
“ On reaching the foot of the castle they dismounted and 
ascended a staircase of about fifty steps, at the top of which 
they found a large iron door open, and within seated, the 
warder, dressed in white, with a muslin turban. On either 
side of him were perhaps 300 Mamlukes dressed in white, 

i34 



The Last of the Circassian ZMamlukes 

with long caps on their heads, half black and half green; 
they were ranged all in line, so silent and respectful that 
they looked like observant Franciscan friars. After entering 
this door they passed eleven other iron doors, between each 
of which there was a guard of eunuchs, black and white, 
three or four for each door, and all of them seated with an 
air of marvellous pride and dignity. At each door upwards 
of one hundred Mamlukes stood respectful and silent. After 
passing the twelfth door, the ambassador and his suite were 
tired out, and had to sit down to rest themselves, the dis¬ 
tance they had traversed being nearly a mile. They then 
entered the area or courtyard of the castle, which they 
judged to be six times the area of St Mark’s Square. On 
either side of this space 6,000 Mamlukes dressed in white 
and with green and black caps were drawn up; at the end 
of the court was a silken tent with a raised platform, covered 
with a carpet, on which was seated Sultan Kansuh al-Ghuri, 
his undergarment being white surmounted with:dark green 
cloth, and the muslin turban on his head with three points 
or horns, and by his side was the naked scimitar.” The 
Ambassador observed of Cairo itself, “ In the first place it 
is so peopled that one cannot judge of the amount of its 
population, and one can scarcely make way through the 
streets; there are very large mosques in great number, very 
excellent houses and palaces, handsomer within than with¬ 
out, and the streets are straight and wide (straight they 
certainly were, but their width must have been judged by a 
Venetian standard) living is dear; there is much populace 
and a few men of account. The Mamlukes are in fact the 
masters.” 


135 



CHAPTER IX 

The Turkish Period 

T HE Ottoman army, though they had circumvented 
Tumanbai, did not take the metropolis without a 
severe struggle, in which large parts of Cairo under¬ 
went serious damage.Forfour days the inhabitants maintained 
the unequal conflict, and contested with the Ottomans every 
inch of ground; 10,000 of them are said in that period to 
have lost their lives. A rigid search was then made by the 
conquerors for such of the Mamlukes as were concealed in 
the houses, and as many as were taken were killed. For 
eight months the Sultan Selim remained in Egypt, arran¬ 
ging the future government of the country; when he left for 
Constantinople he took away with him numerous artisans 
and various persons of importance, and, most important of 
all, the Caliph who had accompanied the unfortunate Sultan 
Ghuri on his last expedition. By a satisfactory arrangement 
the Caliph was induced to resign his rights as spiritual chief 
of the Moslems to the Ottoman Sultan; and those who hold 
that such transference was within the rights of the last of 
the Abbasids recognize the Sultan of Turkey as the Succes¬ 
sor of the Prophet. 

The taking of Egypt by the Ottomans, however, deprived 
Cairo of its status as an imperial city, and, as has been seen, 
one of the first acts of the new ruler was to transfer to his 
own capital some of the beautiful marbles which had adorned 
the Citadel, where it was not now desirable that the Gover¬ 
nor’s Palace should be too luxurious. With the vast numbers 
of religious and philanthropic institutions in Cairo it was 
not his intention to tamper. 

136 



The Turkish Period 

The administration of the new province of the Ottoman 
Empire had for its aim the suppression of any forces that 
might make for independence. Three powers were, therefore, 
created, whose mutual jealousies might serve as a safeguard 
to the sovereign state. These powers were the Pasha, or 
governor, sent from Constantinople, and often recalled after 
a few years, or even months: an army of occupation divided 
into six regiments under a commander who was to reside 
in the Citadel, and leave it under no pretext whatever, while 
to each regiment six officers with different duties were as¬ 
signed. These officers together formed the governor’s coun¬ 
cil, and had the right to veto his orders. The third power 
was the Mamlukes, who provided the Beys or heads of the 
twelve provinces or Sanjaks into which Egypt was divided. 
The Sultan who succeeded Selim, Sulaiman, and who reigned 
forty-two years, further created two Chambers, called re¬ 
spectively the Greater and the Lesser Diwan; of these the 
former sat on important occasions, the latter daily. The 
members of the former were partly military, partly eccle¬ 
siastical officials, while the religious officers of Islam were 
not represented on the latter. The control of both extended 
to various departments of internal administration. This 
Sultan also added a seventh regiment to the existing six, 
in which the Mamluke freedmen were enrolled. The total 
numbers of the army of occupation thus came to about 
20,000. Besides the title Pasha which the Turkish conquest 
introduced into Egypt there are a variety of others that 
meet us first from this time. Such is Agha, the name for the 
commander of the forces, or of the separate regiments; 
Ketkhuda or Kehya, the Pasha’s deputy, used also as the 
title of an official attached to each regiment: Bey and Efendi; 
most of these had at the first special applications, which in 
the course of time they lost, degrading into a mere hierarchy 
of titles. 


137 



Cairo 

The first governor appointed in Egypt by the Ottoman 
Sultan was Khair Bey, the man who is supposed to have 
betrayed the cause of his master Ghuri, who when he reached 
Syria in his campaign against the Ottomans was repeatedly 
warned against this lieutenant, but was afraid of causing 
open division in his force if he showed his suspicions openly. 
Having to command one of the divisions of the Egyptian 
Army in the battle of Marj Dabik, he is supposed to have, 
by preconcerted arrangement with the enemy, made his men 
leave the field, a proceeding which, of course, led to a general 
rout. His government lasted rather more than five years, and 
owingto his unpopularity with his Moslem subjects, heespous- 
ed the cause of the Jews and Christians. He is celebrated for a 
deathbed repentance. When he despaired of life, he liberated 
all except criminals who were pining in the dungeons of 
Cairo, and caused quantities both of goods and coin to be 
distributed among the indigent and those who were depen¬ 
dent on the religious institutions of the capital. His mosque 
is close to that of Ibrahim Agha in the quarter called after 
him Kharbakiyyeh, and it is there that he lies. 

His successor Mustafa, the Sultan Selim’s son-in-law, 
was the first of the governors of Egypt who had the title 
Pasha (pronounced in Egypt Basha). The contemporary 
historian gives a rather humorous account of his arrival, 
and receiving deputations lying on his back, and through 
his ignorance of the national language looking as though 
he were made of wood. 

The need for provision against attempts on the part of 
governors to render themselves independent of the Porte 
was shown very soon after the conquest; the third of the 
governors sent, Ahmad Pasha, made such an endeavour, 
and went so far as to assume the insignia of sovereignty in 
the East, having his name mentioned in public prayers, 
and having coins struck in his name—and indeed the right 

138 



MOSQUES IN THE SHARIA BAB AL- 
WAZIR, CAIRO 










The Turkish Period 

to an independent coinage had been left to Egypt by the 
Ottoman conqueror. The safeguards which had been devised 
were found to work effectually; two emirs whom Ahmad 
had imprisoned broke from their confinement, and attacked 
the ambitious Pasha in his bath. Though he escaped their 
onslaught and got away, he was presently captured, and 
his head, after being suspended on Bab Zuwailah, was sent 
to Constantinople. 

The history of Egypt during the first century of Ottoman 
rule has little interest even for Egyptians. It consists of a 
series of governors, sometimes no sooner appointed than re¬ 
called, of whom a few built schools or mosques in the style 
of the old Mamluke Sultans, while most spent their time, as 
might be expected, in profiting as well as they could by their 
opportunity of acquiring wealth. Of governors who perpe¬ 
tuated their names by monuments we may especially men¬ 
tion Sinan Pasha, who governed from 1567 to 1571, with an 
interval, and Masih Pasha, governor from 1575 to 1580. 
The name of Sinan Pasha is otherwise famous in Turkish 
history for his wars in North Africa. He founded a mosque 
with its ordinary accompaniments in Boulak, and the deed 
of settlement contains the elaborate provisions for its main¬ 
tenance to which we are accustomed. The control of the 
funds was to lapse after his death to the Shaikh of Islam or 
highest ecclesiastical authority in Constantinople, who was 
to appoint a suitable agent in Egypt. 

Masih Pasha left a monument in the Masihi Mosque in 
the street called after his name, east of the Bab al-Karafah. 
It is called after Nur al-din al-Karafi, a learned man of the 
time, for whose devotions and perhaps lectures it was built, 
and in it he, and perhaps the founder, have their last rest¬ 
ing place. Masih Pasha is commended by the chroniclers 
for having restored peace to Cairo with security for life and 
property, and for having ordered all his rescripts to be 

139 



Cairo 

prefaced with some pious sentiments out of the Koran. His 
methods of restoring order were apparently drastic in the 
extreme, as they are said to have involved the execution of 
some 10,000 persons. 

For various reasons the Ottoman Pasha exhibited the 
tendency which the nominal head of the state or province so 
often displayed in the East, that of ceasing to be virtually at 
the head of affairs. The character of the army of occupation 
enabled it to dispose of the Pasha as it wished, and get rid 
of him by violence if his measures were displeasing to it. 
When the Pasha took the part of the people of Egypt, and 
wished to relieve them of onerous exactions by which the 
army profited, he had the army against him. One of these 
Pashas had to face an organized revolt, of which the leaders 
had even chosen a sovereign to supersede him. With the 
aid of some troops that remained faithful, and the guns at 
his disposal he succeeded in quelling it. Large numbers of 
the disaffected were then banished to Yemen, while some 
seventy were executed. And in the troubles over the succes¬ 
sion at Constantinople, which followed on the decease of 
the Sultan Ahmad I, the Egyptian forces could defy the 
Porte and choose their own governor in opposition to the 
sovereign’s views. This governor, Mustafa Pasha, used the 
opportunity of a terrible pestilence which devastated the 
country in 1625 to declare himself heir to all property left 
by its victims. The feeling which he roused against himself 
by this proceeding led to his downfall, and the Porte had no 
difficulty in recalling him. His successor compelled him to 
disgorge his plunder, and he himself was executed in Con¬ 
stantinople. 

The process by which there came to be substituted for the 
influence of the Pasha that of the chief of the Mamlukes, 
called Shaikh al-Balad (something like Mayor of the City), 
is not easy to follow. It would seem that the perpetual 

140 



The Turkish Period 

changes at headquarters and the disputes between the 
governor and the army left a bureaucracy the chance of 
gaining or regaining power, by the possession of hereditary 
acquaintance with the affairs of the country which the stran¬ 
gers sent from Constantinople did not possess, and also by 
the bureaucrats being identified in their interests with a 
permanent part of the population. What is clear is that 
the practice of Mamluke times, the acquisition by wealthy 
persons of Circassian, Turkish and other slaves, whom they 
trained in arms and whom they could promote to places of 
wealth,'did not cease with the Turkish occupation, and that 
the Mamlukes remained a power in the country through the 
whole of this period. By the end of the seventeenth century 
the Shaikh al-Balad becomes an official of first-class im¬ 
portance. When a governor was sent from Constantinople, 
the Shaikh and his associates would despatch a deputation 
to Alexandria to inquire into his intentions. If they found 
him likely to be a peaceful nonentity, they would conde¬ 
scend to give him an official welcome, whereas if he seemed 
likely to assert himself they would bid him remain where 
he was, while sending word to Constantinople that the 
governor appointed was unfit for the post and that his 
arrival would be injurious to the welfare of the community. 
The army of occupation appears to have been permanently 
quartered in the capital and so to have gradually transferred 
its allegiance to the permanent Emirs. 

By the early eighteenth century the Mamlukes are them¬ 
selves divided into factions, named respectively the Kasi- 
mites and Fijarites, whose origin is mysterious, but may go 
back to the time of the conqueror Selim, or be much later. 
Nothing appears to be heard of the rivalry between these 
factions till the year 1707, when Hasan Pasha, one of the 
ephemeral governors, set himself to create bad blood be¬ 
tween the two with so much success that a battle was fought 

141 



Cairo 

lasting eighty days. The Mamlukes had, it is said, the con¬ 
sideration to go outside Cairo and carry on the fight in the 
daytime, without interfering with the business of the in¬ 
habitants ; at night they, or such of them as survived the 
fray, went home and reposed like ordinary citizens. In this 
prolonged battle, the Shaikh al-Balad Kasim Iywaz perished. 
He was succeeded in his municipal office by his son Isma’il 
Bey, who was fortunate enough to be able to reconcile the 
contending parties for the time. How much more influential 
the Shaikh al-Balad was now than the governor is shown 
by a story in which Isma’il compels the latter to restore a 
quantity of coffee which was in the possession of a man whose 
execution had been ordered from Constantinople. He held 
the office sixteen years, when his end was brought on by a 
concession to one of his faction, the Kasimites, who desired 
to seize an estate belonging to a Fikarite. The Fikarite 
complained to the Pasha, who could only suggest to him 
that he had best get an assassin to put an end to Isma’il. 
This suggestion was successfully executed*, and the confusion 
which arose gave the Pasha opportunity to organize a 
general massacre of Isma’il’s followers and to assign his 
place to the head of a rival faction named Shirkas Bey. 

It illustrates the condition of Egypt at this time that the 
assassin, on whom thewealth of his victim had been bestowed 
as a reward, was in a position to purchase and train a force 
of Mamlukes, with whose aid he was able to eject Shirkas 
Bey, the Shaikh al-Balad, and install himself in the vacant 
place, when he proceeded to execute numerous Beys, with 
the idea of founding a tyranny. The expelled Shirkas Bey 
was repeatedly invited by the discontented to unseat the 
usurper, but failed and was finally defeated and drowned; 
while the assassin (named Dhu’l-Fikar) himself presently 
fell a victim to an onslaught similar to that which had been 
the foundation of his fortunes. His lieutenant, Othman Bey, 

142 



A SIDE STREET’IN CAIRO 










The Turkish Period 

avenged his death by numerous executions, and succeeded 
in obtaining the place of Shaikh al-Balad, though one of 
his rivals attempted the familiar stratagem of preparing a 
banquet which was to be followed by the massacre of 
Othman and his party, who had been invited to it; Othman 
had, however, taken precautions, and his rival fled to Con¬ 
stantinople after seeing his helpers’ heads lying severed 
outside the Hasanain Mosque. 

Othman Bey is the hero of various stories showing that 
he left on the people of Cairo a favourable impression of his 
justice and courage. The former quality is illustrated by an 
anecdote recorded by Zaidan. A donkey-boy (the word “ boy” 
in this context implies nothing as to age) found in his house 
some treasure, which he put in his wife’s charge, telling her 
to conceal the find, lest the government should claim it as 
treasure trove. This she consented to do; but when her hus¬ 
band refused to buy her some ornaments with the wealth 
now at his disposal, she betrayed the discovery to Othman 
Bey. The donkey-boy was summoned before the Shaikh al- 
Balad, who to his surprise bade him retain the treasure, but 
divorce his wife. 

A fresh couple of names that meet us in Egyptian politics 
of this period is that of the Kazdoglu and the Julfi Mamlukes. 
The founder of the first faction was a saddler by profession; 
the eponymous hero of the latter was a porter, who became 
possessed of a secret hoard. The heads of these factions, named 
Ibrahim and Ridwan respectively, formed in Othman Bey’s 
time a close alliance, and by their united wealth won such in¬ 
fluence that they were in a position to challenge Othman 
Bey’s supremacy. The latter endeavoured to form a counter¬ 
alliance of influential Beys, who advised the assassination 
of Ibrahim, at that time Ketkhuda of the Janissary regiment. 
The plot was betrayed by an official in the household of 
Othman Bey, who, fearing reprisals, fled to Syria, leaving 

H3 



Cairo 

Cairo clear to the hostile factions. The leaders of these, 
having possessed themselves of Othman’s house and effects, 
proceeded to organize a massacre of his supporters. These 
were lured into the Citadel, the gates closed on them, and 
firing upon them ordered. The Pasha’s consent had been 
obtained for this proceeding, which he would probably have 
been unable to prevent. When it was over, the government 
remained in the hands of Ibrahim Bey and Isma’il Bey, who 
agreed to take the offices of Shaikh al-Balad and Leader of 
the Pilgrim Caravan, and hold them in alternate years; a 
curious form of dual sovereignty which was successfully 
imitated at a later period. The former, who was the more 
energetic of the two, immediately set about recouping him¬ 
self for the money expended in the attainment of his ambi¬ 
tion, by a series of violent extortions, practised on all in 
Cairo who were supposed to be possessed of means. An 
attempt was made to overthrow the two Consuls by one of 
the ephemeral Pashas. Ibrahim’s absence on pilgrimage 
offered a good opportunity for devising a plot, and in fact 
after Ibrahim’s return he and his colleague were actually 
seized and imprisoned. Their supporters, however, came to 
the rescue, broke open their prison, and drove the refractory 
Pasha back to Constantinople. 

The new Pasha came with instructions to gain the con¬ 
fidence of the Beys, with a view to getting them at some 
time into his power, and restoring the effective control of 
the Porte by a massacre. But Ibrahim Bey was wary, and 
though the coup was not attempted till the new governor 
had been in office two years, it only partially succeeded; 
Ibrahim Bey himself escaped, and only three of his adhe¬ 
rents werekilled. The Shaikh al-Balad thereupon took it upon 
himself to depose the Governor, and sent to Constantinople 
requesting that he be replaced. Into one of the vacant Bey- 
ships he promoted Ali, known as Ali Bey the Great, destined 

144 



The Turkish Period 

to play somewhat an important part in the history of Egypt; 
he was a freedman of Ibrahim, who had won his esteem by 
fighting and defeating a gang of brigands who attacked the 
Pilgrim Caravan. It will be remembered that Ahmad Ibn 
Tulun won his spurs by a not very dissimilar exploit. 

The promotion of Ali Bey evoked the jealousy of another 
follower of Ibrahim Bey, called Ibrahim the Circassian, who 
presently gave vent to his resentment by murdering his 
master; whose office fell to his colleague Ridwan, who had 
maintained friendly relations with Ibrahim Bey all along. 
But another follower of Ibrahim Bey who himself aspired to 
the headship was able to direct the guns of the Citadel at 
the palace of Ridwan overlooking the Elephant’s Pool, and 
in the course of the bombardment to inflict a wound on 
Ridwan himself of which he shortly after died. His mur¬ 
derer, however, soon succumbed to the resentment of Ridwan’s 
friends, and a certain Khalil Bey became Shaikh al-Balad. 

For eight years Ali Bey kept pursuing the plan by which 
the sovereignty of Egypt had been so often acquired, that of 
purchasing slaves and training them as a bodyguard, while 
doing his utmost to conciliate the other Beys. Finally his 
proceedings aroused the suspicions of the Shaikh al-Balad, 
who endeavoured to get rid of him by an open assault. Ali 
Bey’s bodyguard defended their master, but were defeated 
and compelled to flee to Upper Egypt; his office and those 
of his adherents were declared forfeited, and many persons 
known to belong to his party executed. In Upper Egypt Ali 
Bey found other malcontents, who, joining his bodyguard, 
made up an army large enough to warrant an attack on 
Cairo, which he did not hesitate to execute. In a series of 
successful engagements Ali Bey drove his rival northwards, 
and finally obtained possession of his person. Khalil Bey 
was first banished, and then executed. Ali Bey remained 
supreme in Egypt, and in 1763 was installed Shaikh al-Balad. 

145 10 



Cairo 

Shortly after his appointment he ordered the execution of 
the murderer of his former master Ibrahim Bey, an act which 
was so ill received by the other Beys that Ali Bey had to 
flee from Egypt to Jerusalem and then Acre. At the latter 
place he succeeded in winning the favour and affection of 
the commander of the garrison, who obtained from Con¬ 
stantinople confirmation of his appointment as Shaikh al- 
Balad at Cairo, whither he proceeded to return. 

Ali Bey appears to have possessed the qualities which 
appertained to most of the great founders of dynasties in 
in Egypt—astuteness, courage and ruthlessness. Jazzar, who 
as governor of Acre acquired a European reputation for the 
last of these qualities, began his career as one of his lieu¬ 
tenants, sent out by him to quell a rebellion in the southern 
provinces of Egypt. Ali elevated eighteen persons to the rank 
of Bey, hoping thereby to provide himself with faithful and 
powerful supporters, since each of them commanded some 
sort of force. These were, as usual, Circassians or Georgians. 
His ultimate aim was to render Egypt independent of the 
Sublime Porte, being herein as in much else the precursor 
of Mohammed Ali. With this view he endeavoured to oust 
on one pretext or another all the nominees of the Porte from 
their places in the Egyptian army, and to fill the vacancies 
with creatures of his own. A much more momentous step, 
and one which must surely have been attempted before, was 
to monopolize the right to purchase and train Mamlukes, and 
so to prevent possible rivals arising in Cairo itself. 

When in 1768 war broke out between Turkey and Russia 
Egyptwas ordered to provide 12,000 men for the Porte. Ali Bey 
began to draft them, but it was uncertain whether he in¬ 
tended them to aid the Sultan or the Czar. Every provincial 
governor from the commencement of the Caliphate had found 
it necessary to maintain spies at the metropolis, and those 
kept by Ali Bey at Constantinople informed him on this 



The Turkish Period 

occasion that despatches were being sent to the Pasha at 
Cairo to put Ali Bey to death. The Shaikh al-Balad was 
ready for the emergency; he had the envoys waylaid and 
killed, and their bodies buried in the sand, while he himself 
secured the despatches, of which he published an account 
suitable to his purpose. He averred that what was ordered 
from Constantinople was a general massacre of theMamlukes, 
and urged his colleagues to fight for their lives. In a power¬ 
ful oration he reminded them of the old glories of the Mam- 
luke Sultans, of whose monuments Cairo was full. The time 
had now arrived to revive the old Mamluke Sultanate, and 
free Egypt from the Ottoman yoke. His speech carried con¬ 
viction, and his project was approved. The Pasha was given 
forty-eight hours to leave the country. Ali Bey’s old friend 
the governor of Acre promised his warm support to the 
Shaikh al-Balad’s plans, and an attempt made by the 
governor of Damascus to reduce him to order was defeated 
with loss. 

The Porte being unable owing to the European war to 
attend to remote provinces, Ali Bey proceeded to consolidate 
his power in Egypt, and sent a force to reduce Arabia. Success 
attended his efforts in the peninsula, and he further des¬ 
patched his son-in-law and favourite Abu’l-Dhahab with a 
force of 30,000 men to reduce Syria, and here too his arms 
were successful. Abu’l-Dhahab, whose name “father of gold” 
was earned, it is said, by his habit of giving all his charity 
in that metal, met with little resistance. 

But now the fickle goddess began to assert her character. 
The Syrian lieutenant, who on a former occasion had been 
concerned in a plot against Ali Bey, in which his part had 
been condoned in consideration of his betraying his fellow- 
conspirators, preferred to conquer for himself rather than 
for his master; and, apparently, entered into an arrange¬ 
ment with the Porte by which he was to have under Turkish 

147 10 a 



Cairo 

suzerainty the reversion of Ali Bey’s possessions, if he suc¬ 
ceeded in overthrowing that usurper. With the troops em¬ 
ployed by him in Syria he crossed to Egypt, where, avoiding 
Cairo, he made for Southern Egypt, and seized Asiout. Ali, 
being quite unable to defend his capital, fled once more to 
his benefactor, the governor of Acre, followed by an insig¬ 
nificant number of adherents. At the time when he raised 
the standard of revolt from the Porte he had endeavoured 
to enter into alliance with Venice and Russia, and his 
negotiations had met with fair success. Such a measure was 
at that time risky for anyone who depended on the favour 
of a Moslem nation, since alliance with Infidels against 
Believers is not only liable to denunciation as being in de¬ 
fiance of the doctrines of the Koran, but could be shown 
historically to be disastrous. However, at Acre Ali Bey 
enjoyed the fruits of his Russian policy, as a Muscovite fleet 
which happened to be there renewed the alliance with the 
refugee, and encouraged him to retake the Syrian cities 
which, after the departure of Abu’l-Dhahab, had fallen 
back into Ottoman possession; and about a year after his 
flight messages came from Cairo requesting his return to 
Egypt, to put a stop to the arbitrary regime introduced by 
Abu’l-Dhahab, who had assumed the title Shaikh al-Balad, 
and was rendering himself unpopular by coercive measures. 

Ali Bey thereupon decided to march into Egypt with a 
motley force of eight thousand men, and in an engagement 
with his rival at Salihiyyah scored a slight success. But his 
alliance with Christian powers againstthe Turks had brought 
his cause into disrepute with the Moslems of Egypt, and he 
learned that he could count on no effective aid from his 
partisans in Cairo; illness and wounds, moreover, prevented 
his taking an active part in the management of his affairs. 
Abu’l-Dhahab, besides, exhibited far more skill than Ali 
Bey in winning over adherents from the opposite party by 

148 



A STREET SCENE IN CAIRO 











The Turkish Period 

various modes of corruption. In a following engagement 
many of Ali Bey’s soldiers and captains left him for the 
enemy, and those that remained faithful fled in confusion. 
Ali had not himself, owing to illness, been able to take part 
in the battle, and his routed followers desired him to mount 
a horse as well as he could, and once more seek refuge at 
Acre. He determined that death was preferable to this 
humiliation, and waited by his tent until a detachment of 
the enemy came up to it; with these he fought bravely till 
disabled by shots and thrusts. He was finally taken and 
conveyed to his house in Cairo “in the Abd al-Hakk Lane, 
al-Bakir Street, behind the Debt Chest,” where he was not 
molested; but he died after seven days of wounds and 
chagrin. 

The Egyptian chroniclers give Ali Bey the title “the 
Great,” which is perhaps more than he deserved, since his 
enterprise left no permanent mark on the fortunes of Egypt. 
He, apparently, was less to blame than some other conquerors 
of that country for risking all in the attempt to acquire pos¬ 
session of Syria, since his obligations to the governor of 
Acre forced this upon him. He appears to have made un¬ 
pardonable mistakes in the choice of instruments. He was 
for a time popular in Egypt because he endeavoured to 
check various forms of extortion which had been long exer¬ 
cised; but it is observable that his cry was not Egypt for 
the Egyptians, but Egypt for the Mamlukes. 

During the period covered by Othman Bey and Ali Bey 
vast restorations were carried out in the buildings of Cairo 
by a man whose name has already met us in connexion with 
them, Abd al-Rahman Ketkhuda. His father was patron of 
a certain Othman Ketkhuda, who in this office had acquired 
great wealth, which some time after the latter’s death was 
assigned to his patron’s son in virtue of a theory that 
the property of freedmen goes to those who have manu- 

149 



Cairo 

mitted them, in default of other heirs. Abd al-Rahman 
further attracted the notice of Othman Bey, with whom he 
went on pilgrimage, and by whom on their return to Cairo 
he was made administrator of trusts. He utilized the funds at 
his disposal for a general restoration of the religious insti¬ 
tutions of Cairo, as well as the erection of a variety of monu¬ 
ments which were to perpetuate his own name. His work of 
renovation extended to all the sanctuaries which bear the 
names of famous ladies of the Prophet’s house. Eighteen 
mosques were either built or repaired by him, all these being 
places of public worship; the smaller sanctuaries which he 
restored were still more numerous, and he also saw to the 
erection of numerous cisterns, fountains, bridges and other 
engineering works. His useful labours were continued till 
1764, when Ali Bey was in power, who, fearing the influence 
he had acquired, banished him to the Hejaz. Twelve years 
later, when the days of Ali Bey were over, he was recalled to 
Cairo, only to die. He was buried in a mausoleum that he 
had prepared for himself in his additions to al-Azhar. His 
personal character appears to have displayed more piety 
than virtue, since he is credited with having introduced 
bribery and corruption on an unprecedented scale—a diffi¬ 
cult achievement in Egypt. 

Abu’l-Dhahab was rewarded by the Porte in 1772 for his 
services in suppressing Ali Bey, with the title Pasha and 
the official governorship of Cairo. He did not enjoy his 
honours long, for he died—it is uncertain how—two years 
later on his successful expedition for the recovery of Syria. 
After some disorders two of the Beys created by Ali, who 
had afterwards deserted his cause for that of his rival, per¬ 
sons named Ibrahim and Murad respectively, got possession 
of the Citadel, and agreed on a divided rule similar to that 
which had been arranged between a former Ibrahim and 
Ridwan, the one to fill the office of Shaikh al-Balad, the 

150 



The Turkish Period 

• to be Leader of the Pilgrim Caravan. The arrange- 
was at the first marred by broils, and even armed con- 
, but presently the two found themselves able to work 
loniously, and their government, with an interruption, 
i on till the French invasion of Egypt. This interrup- 
tvas occasioned by an expedition sent from Constanti- 
; to restore order in Egypt. The episode of Ali Bey 
ed that the assertion of Ottoman sovereignty was ne- 
,ry, and indeed, for a long time the official representa- 
of the Sultan had been treated with scant courtesy, 
n the Shaikh al-Balad and his Emirs wanted a Pasha 
ved, they sent to Constantinople to request his removal, 
imissary would then be despatched, who would be in- 
iced to the Citadel, where he would kneel before the 
a. On rising he would fold up the carpet on which he 
bielt, and cry aloud, Pasha, descend! The Pasha would 
by be deprived of his office, and the emissary would 
temporary charge. 

June, 1786, the Turkish expedition arrived in Egypt, 
the Mamlukes found themselves unable to make any 
tance to the artillery of the Ottomans. Ibrahim and 
id fled before the invaders to Upper Egypt, and Cairo 
seized by the Turkish troops. Their treatment of the 
.lation was no improvement on that of the Beys, and 
the interference of the ecclesiastical authorities pre- 
sd atrocities which went beyond what the people of 
pt were accustomed to. No great change was made in 
ystem of government by the conquerors, who installed 
aaikh al-Balad Isma’il Bey, a former supporter of Ali 
who had even held the office for a short time after the 
1 of Abu’l-Dhahab. When, in 1790, he and most of his 
ly were swept off by a plague, Murad and Ibrahim, 
ng had experience of government, found it possible to 
m to Cairo and resume the offices which they had pre- 

151 



Cairo 

viously held. Of these they were in possession when in 1798 
Bonaparte invaded the country. Murad Bey carried on some 
operations ostensibly for the restoration of the Mosque of 
Amr, but really, it is said, in order to discover an iron chest 
which the Jews knew to be hidden somewhere about the 
Mosque, and the secret of whose existence they had sold to 
Murad as the price of his remitting an extraordinary con¬ 
tribution which he had imposed on their community. The 
chest was discovered, but found to contain only leaves from 
an ancient copy of the Koran. Murad Bey’s piety was not 
sufficient to make him consider this find a substitute for the 
treasure which he had expected, and the Jews got harder 
terms than if they had consented to the imposition at the first. 

The Turkish period was on the whole of little importance 
for the decoration or growth of Cairo, though, as has been 
seen, some Pashas and others went to the expense of erecting 
mosques, and many a palace was built by the wealthy 
Mamlukes. Writers on Arab art usually stop at the taking 
of Cairo by the Ottomans, because the architecture of Egypt 
from that time becomes more and more dependent on 
Turkish models. 

Many European travellers visited Cairo between the entry 
of Selim and that of Bonaparte, and some selections from 
their experiences are put together by Mr W. F. Rae, in his 
work called Egypt To-day: the First to the Third Khedive. 
These extracts deal chiefly with the condition of foreigners 
in Cairo, which is painted in very dark colours. The mass 
of the people, we are told, in no place could be more bar¬ 
barous than in Cairo; foreigners, persecuted and even ill- 
treated under the most frivolous pretexts, lived there in per¬ 
petual fear. If they ventured to appear in public in the attire 
of their own country, they would be infallibly tom in pieces. 
Bruce, who visited Cairo in 1748, asserts that a more brutal, 
unjust, tyrannical, oppressive, avaricious set of infernal 

152 



The Turkish Period 

miscreants there was not on earth than the members of the 
Government of Cairo. Of the streets it was asserted that 
the widest would be looked upon as a lane in Europe. Has- 
selquist, in a letter to Linn6, dated 1750 from Cairo, said 
that if a man were guilty of any crime he could not expiate 
it better than by going to reside for a little while in that city. 


153 



CHAPTER X 


The Khedivial Period 

T HE sufferings of the French merchants resident in 
Cairo would have been a sufficient justification for 
the enterprise of Bonaparte, but its object was un¬ 
doubtedly to strike a blow at Great Britain, and the latter 
country endeavoured to stop it at the outset, and succeeded in 
crippling it and eventually bringing it to a disastrous termi¬ 
nation. On the history of the French occupation of Egypt,which 
has often been described, we need not dilate here; the Beys 
were as much put out of their reckoning by the tactics of 
the greatest general of the age as the Sultan Ghuri had 
been put out of his by the artillery of the Sultan Selim. 
The capture of the Egyptian capital caused the plunder of 
many houses by the invaders and the mob, and besides 
meant the desecration of numerous religious edifices which 
were required for the French system of fortification. After 
the naval engagement of Abu Kir had resulted in the anni¬ 
hilation of the French fleet, the people of Cairo rose against 
the invader and barricaded the streets. Bonaparte planted 
artillery on all high points, partly destroyed the Husainiyyah 
quarter where the fiercest resistance had been made, and 
occupied al-Azhar, which had been the headquarters of 
disaffection, with a force. Cavalry stabled their horses in 
the great home of Moslem learning, smashed the coloured 
lamps and tried to erase the verses of the Koran with which 
the walls were decorated. Only after complete submission 
on the part of the insurgents, and the intercession of the 
most esteemed shaikhs, did the French general agree to 
withdraw his soldiery from the Mosque. 

154 



SHARI A-EL-KTRABIYEH, OR STREET 
OF THE WATER CARRIERS, 
CAIRO 














The Khedivial Period 

Short as was the French occupation of Cairo, it marked 
the introduction of European methods into the government 
of the city, which it was left to the Khedivial family to carry 
out. The gates which had formerly closed the streets and 
lanes were all removed by order of the French commander; 
the practice of lighting the streets at nights was introduced, 
and for administrative purposes the city was divided into 
eight quarters (or rather eighths), each under the super¬ 
vision of a shaikh. To the French are due the registration 
of births and deaths, the abolition of intramural interment 
and some other precautions of sanitation. An honourable 
monument of the French occupation is the great Description 
of Egypt, well worthy of the keen interest in science and 
archaeology which characterizes the people from whom it 
emanated. 

Whether the programme of the French occupation was in 
itself consistent and intelligible to the Egyptian people is 
not very clear, but it may be considered to have first formu¬ 
lated the Egyptian nationalist aspirations, though the 
French may have done little to gratify them. Ostensibly 
the invaders wished to abolish the tyranny of the Mam- 
lukes, who are attacked ifi their manifestos in violent terms; 
and though the Egyptians at first supposed that the purpose 
of the invasion was to reclaim the country for the Sultan, it 
was soon shown that this view deviated widely from the 
facts. To Bonaparte’s profession of belief in Islam ap¬ 
parently no importance was attached by the real adherents 
of that religion. The Turkish manifesto which declared the 
old faiths of Europe to be far nearer Islam than the religion 
of the French Revolution was undoubtedly in accordance 
with the facts. Most writers are agreed in regarding these 
professions of Mohammedanism as a mistaken policy. The 
French occupation, however, while it may be doubted 
whether the moral and political standards which the inva- 

i55 



Cairo 

ders exhibited were a very great improvement on those 
to which the Egyptians were accustomed, prepared the 
country for that discipleship to Europe which it underwent 
for the greater part of the nineteenth century and is still 
undergoing. Other invaders were no further advanced than 
the Egyptians in science and culture; from the French the 
inhabitants learned that in such matters they were far be¬ 
hind. The respect for the ability of the European, which is 
now so often exaggerated in the East, begins in Egypt with 
the French occupation. And the cry of “Liberty, Equality 
and Fraternity,” which perhaps had never been heard in 
the East before, at least with any practical meaning at¬ 
tached to it, could not fail to rouse an echo here and there even 
in a population that had been accustomed from time imme¬ 
morial to despotism, and for centuries to the despotism of 
foreigners. 

Like Ali Bey, Bonaparte regarded the possession of Syria 
as necessary to the security of Egypt, and in February 1799 
he started on a career of conquest in the former country, 
which terminated with the well-known check at Acre, occa¬ 
sioned by the co-operation of the British fleet under Sir 
Sidney Smith with the Turkish troops. Bonaparte on his 
return had to satisfy himself with fortifying al-Arish, the 
key of Egypt, in lieu of the possession of Syria, but the 
failure of his original scheme was doubtless the cause of his 
evacuation of the valley of the Nile. Murad Bey and Ibrahim 
Bey, who had been in retreat in Upper Egypt, were em¬ 
boldened by the defeat of Bonaparte to proceed southwards, 
hoping to co-operate with a Turkish force that was to land 
at Abu Kir. Bonaparte had, however, no difficulty in defeating 
the Beys, and afterwards inflicting a crushing blow on the 
Turks at the moment of their disembarking. But from the 
English squadron at Abu Kir he learned news of European 
affairs which determined him to quit Egypt, and his de- 

156 



The Khedivial Period 

parture sealed the future of the French occupation of the 
country. 

Kleber, whom Bonaparte had left to govern at Cairo, showed 
himself equal to dealing with a difficult situation, and ar¬ 
ranged by an honourable convention at the beginning of 1800 
for the evacuation of the country; the rejoicings in Cairo over 
the prospective departure of the French were great, and 
an enforced impost was cheerfully paid. The Mamlukes 
whose houses had been pillaged and who had been com¬ 
pelled to conceal themselves, began to return, hoping to 
enjoy a new lease of power; and one Nasif Pasha placed 
himself at their head. Meanwhile through the intervention 
of Great Britain the convention was rendered ineffective; an 
Ottoman army after taking al-Arish, advanced towards Cairo, 
and at Matariyyah, north of the capital, an engagement took 
place in which the united forces of the Turks and Mamlukes 
were defeated by the French general. Nasif Pasha, retreat¬ 
ing from the battlefield, marched to Cairo with his Mamlukes, 
and succeeded in rousing the Moslem population against the 
French, and even started a massacre of the Christian popu¬ 
lation both native and foreign. Nasif s attacks on the Cita¬ 
del and the forts in the possession of the French were, how¬ 
ever, unsuccessful, and in a bayonet charge of 200 French 
troops in the Ezbekiyyeh the superiority of European dis¬ 
cipline asserted itself over the Mamlukes and their Cairene 
allies. The French continued to bombard the city from the 
Citadel and the forts, while batteries were erected by the 
insurgents for cannon, dug up out of places where they had 
been hidden. The streets were barricaded; a powder factory 
was improvized; and every Moslem was compelled to pass 
the night in the discharge of some military duty. 

Before Nasif Pasha could renew his attack on the French 
headquarters, and when the insurrection had lasted two 
whole days, a force arrived to relieve the French garrison, 

157 



Cairo 

having been sent for that purpose by Kleber. The vigour 
and enthusiasm of the insurgents and the able measures 
which they had taken for the defence of the streets rendered 
it difficult for the French relieving force to retake the city. 
And though Nasif Pasha, when Kleber himself arrived on 
the spot, was disposed to capitulate, the fanatical party 
prevented him from doing so. Kleber resolved to storm 
Boulak before attacking the city, and on April 14, 1800, 
carried out this project and gave up the place to pillage and 
conflagration. He immediately proceeded after this success 
to an attack upon the city itself, in which numerous houses 
were burned down, especially in the region of the Ezbekiyyeh. 
Lighted torches were, it is said, flung right and left by the 
soldiers, with the object of destroying the whole city by 
conflagration; and women and children flung themselves off 
walls and roofs to escape being burned. Nasif Pasha him¬ 
self went into hiding. 

When at last resistance had ceased, Kleber ordered an 
amnesty to be proclaimed, and proceeded to have the streets 
cleared of debris and corpses, after which a three days’ feast 
was announced in celebration of the victory. The arrest of 
fifteen shaikhs with their subsequent release on payment of 
twelve millions of francs was the only repressive measure 
which followed the retaking of Cairo. Orders were then 
issued to repair those parts of the city that had suffered 
during the insurrection. 

Two months after these successful operations Kleber was 
assassinated at the house of General Damas in the Ezbekiy¬ 
yeh ; and the assassin when discovered was shown to have 
been instigated by a commander of Janissaries, and to have 
been in communication with the shaikhs of al-Azhar, three 
of whom were condemned to execution as having been acces¬ 
sories before the fact. The assassin himself was impaled, 
public opinion in Europe at that time not sufficiently con- 

158 



The Khedivial Period 

demning the barbarous punishments in use in the East; the 
act, however, was rendered the more culpable, because it 
would appear that the man had been induced to confess on 
promise of a free pardon. 

Kleber’s follower, Menou, was an eccentric personage, 
who adopted Islam, and tried in various other ways to con¬ 
ciliate the Cairene population, with whom he gained little 
favour, while losing his influence with the French. As an 
ardent convert he deprived the Egyptian Christians of the 
equality which under Bonaparte’s regime they had shared 
with the Moslems. As an equally ardent Frenchman he de¬ 
clared Egypt a French colony, whereas till then the suzer¬ 
ainty of the Porte had been nominally recognized. He had 
soon, however, to have his military skill put to the test, and 
this proved no greater than his administrative ability. 

On March 21 there was fought the action in which Sir 
Ralph Abercrombie, having landed with a British force at 
Abu Kir, defeated the French army brought against him by 
Menou, at the cost of his own life. Four days later the 
English were reinforced by a body of Turks, which pro¬ 
ceeded to capture Rosetta. And another Turkish army was 
now on its way from Syria and was advancing towards 
Cairo. The defence of that city had been left to General 
Belliard, whom Menou, now shut up in Alexandria, had 
left in command, when he went north to meet Abercrombie. 
A junction having been effected between the English and 
Turkish armies, Cairo was invested; and the French com¬ 
mander not having sufficient troops to hope for victory over 
the allies, an armistice was agreed to on June 22, followed 
by a convention on June 26, by which Cairo was to be 
evacuated by the French troops, who were to proceed to the 
coast and embark for France. The evacuation of Egypt was 
accomplished a few months later. 

This was the end of French domination in Egypt, and the 

159 



Cairo 

commencement of the relations of Great Britain with that 
country. At first the Mamlukes seemed to have their star in 
the ascendant. A contingent of Mamlukes had been with the 
force that compelled General Belliard to treat for the evacua¬ 
tion of Cairo, and Ibrahim Bey, emerging from his hiding 
place, had implored the assistance of the English General, 
and been treated with respect. Murad Bey had succeeded in 
negotiating with Kleber before that General was assassinated 
and had by him been confirmed in the government of Upper 
Egypt. He died shortly before the evacuation. His depen¬ 
dents broke his arms over his bier, in token that no one was 
worthy to bear them after him. It was possible that the end 
of the foreign occupation might lead to a resumption of the 
old regime. Those, therefore, who aimed at ruling Egypt 
considered that the relics of the Mamlukes must before all 
things be destroyed. 

The process was commenced by the agents of the Porte, 
and in the style familiar to readers of Moslem history. 
The Turkish Admiral at Abu Kir entrapped a number of 
Beys into his barge by inviting them to a conference, and 
this barge was presently surrounded and attacked; whereas 
a number more were bombarded at Gizeh without previous 
intimation of any difference. In spite of these disasters the 
country even before the final departure of the English fell 
back fast into Mamluke hands—besides Alexandria and 
Cairo little was virtually subject to the Porte, and the newly 
appointed Pasha was unable to procure the money to pay the 
troops who now occupied the Citadel. 

The situation gave an opportunity to a man who proved 
himself well qualified to use it—Mohammed Ali, the founder 
of the dynasty that now reigns in Egypt; often called by 
anticipation the first Khedive, wrongly, inasmuch as that 
title was conferred first on Isma’il Pasha; yet not without 
ground, since the fortunes of the Khedivial family were made 



THE KHAN EL DOBABIYEH [DUBABiy*- 
YAH], CAIRO 









The KJhedivial Period 

by the founder of the line. He comes to the front in history 
first as leader of a corps of Albanians in the Turkish force 
which soon after the arrival of the English took Rosetta; his 
birthplace was Cavalla, where he lost his parents in infancy, 
but received kindness from an uncle, and also from a French 
resident, a fact which did much towards determining Mo¬ 
hammed Ali’s Francophile policy at a later time. Like other 
residents in Cavalla in his early years, he traded in tobacco 
with conspicuous success. Coming to Egypt with the Turkish 
force sent out for the recovery of the country, he advanced 
in the service by leaps and bounds, and was after a short 
time given command over a force of between three and four 
thousand Albanians by Khosrau Pasha, a Georgian freed- 
man of the Turkish Admiral, who at the latter’s suggestion 
had been installed by the Porte in the government of Egypt. 
In the struggle that ensued on the one hand between the 
governor and his discontented soldiers, on the other, between 
the Turks and the Mamlukes, Mohammed Ali succeeded in 
at first holding the balance between the parties, and pre¬ 
sently found an opportunity for decisive action when 
Khosrau Pasha had been driven by a revolution in the 
Citadel to fly in the direction of Damietta, and another 
ephemeral ruler had been installed in Khosrau’s place. 
Mohammed Ali decided to join forces with the Mamluke 
leaders, Othman al-Bardisi and the veteran Ibrahim Bey, 
took possession of the Citadel, and drove out of it all troops 
save his own Albanians and those under the Mamlukes; 
he then proceeded in the direction of Damietta, where he 
compelled the Pasha to capitulate. At first, apparently, the 
old system was to be restored; Bardisi, the Mamluke leader, 
was to be in a position similar to that held by the Shaikh 
al-Balad, whether with or without the title, while the pre¬ 
sence of a powerless governor was to maintain the tradition 
of the Porte’s suzerainty. 

161 11 



Cairo 

Soon, however, Mohammed Ali turned against Bardisi; 
his Albanian troops demanded arrears of pay, and threat¬ 
ened disturbances unless their demands were complied with. 
To meet them Bardisi imposed heavy contributions on the 
people of Cairo, which only aroused general indignation. 
Finally, March 12, 1804, Mohammed Ali with his troops 
attacked Bardisi’s palace, and having previously won over 
his artillerymen had little difficulty in driving him out of 
Cairo, when he was followed by Ibrahim Bey, who appears 
to have resumed his old place in the government of the city. 
The Cairenes summoned Khurshid Pasha, Governor of 
Alexandria, to undertake the government of Cairo, and he 
had a triumphal entry. He proved no more capable of deal¬ 
ing with the difficult situation than those who had preceded 
him, but saw the necessity of maintaining a force capable of 
counteracting that of Mohammed Ali, whose Albanians 
were greatly attached to his person, and to that end obtained 
a regiment of Moors, whom he introduced into the Citadel; 
Mohammed Ali, who was engaged at the time in reducing 
Upper Egypt, returned to Cairo on hearing of this, and in 
May, 1805, received the appointment of Governor of Jeddah 
from the Porte. Before leaving for Arabia, his Albanians 
demanded pay from the Pasha, and were told to obtain the 
equivalent by plundering. Before Mohammed Ali could 
leave for his post, if indeed he ever had intended to do so, 
a deputation came to him from the leading shaikhs in Cairo, 
urging him to undertake the government of the city, and to 
depose Khurshid Pasha, of whose incompetence and arbi¬ 
trary methods they declared themselves tired. After some 
hesitation Mohammed Ali consented to accept their nomi¬ 
nation, and a deputation was sent to Khurshid Pasha, in¬ 
forming him of his deposition, which he, as the representative 
of the Sultan, refused to recognize, since only the authority 
by whom he had been appointed could cashier him. As 

162 



The Khedivial Period 

Khurshid Pasha did not hesitate to bombard the town, 
Mohammed Ali employed the Mosque of the Sultan Hasan 
as a counter-citadel, a use to which it was accustomed, and 
dragged cannon up Mount Mokattam so as to command the 
Citadel from behind also. Earnest representations had mean¬ 
while been sent to Constantinople, urging the recall of 
Khurshid and the appointment of Mohammed Ali in his 
place; and by July 9 a rescript arrived from the Sultan, 
confirming the action of the shaikhs, and declaring Khur¬ 
shid deposed. A Turkish force was also sent to carry out 
these orders by force, should Khurshid continue to resist. 
Khurshid presently saw the vanity of such an endeavour, 
and on August 3 Mohammed Ali entered the Citadel as 
governor of Egypt for the Porte. 

The Mamlukes had played an important part in the rise 
of Mohammed Ali, but he proved to be a more effective 
enemy to them than either the Turks or Bonaparte had 
been. In two scenes of carnage he caused the remains of 
them to disappear from the face of Egypt. In August, 1805, 
shortly after his official appointment, a party of Mamlukes 
were through the Pasha’s agents induced to enter Cairo by 
the Northern Gate, on the supposition that the Pasha was 
away, seeing to the opening of the Nile dams, a ceremony 
which the chief authority in the capital regularly attended; 
soldiers had been put in ambuscade in the houses that line 
the narrow street that ends at Bab Zuwailah, and these 
marksmen, when the Mamluke cavalry entered, dealt deadly 
execution on both men and horses. The survivors took refuge 
in the School of the Sultan Barkuk, in the Nahhasin Street; 
here they were captured, and most of them afterwards 
executed. 

The second massacre took place in February, 1811, when 
an army was equipped and ready to start for Arabia, to re¬ 
store the authority of the Porte, and quell the Wahhabi 

163 11 a 



Cairo 

rebellion. A reception was given at the Citadel, to which 
the Mamlukes were invited in numbers. On their departure 
they were attacked by the Albanian troops of the Viceroy, 
in the avenue cut in the solid rock which leads down from 
the Citadel, the lower gate having been closed. In this gorge 
460 are said to have perished, and orders had been issued 
to massacre those that were scattered about in Egypt. The 
event was followed by an attempt made by the soldiery to 
sack Cairo, which the Pasha had some difficulty in repressing. 

To understand the feeling which prompted this measure 
it must be remembered that after the departure of the French 
one of the Mamluke leaders had visited England, and for a 
time, while French influence was on the side of the main¬ 
tenance of Mohammed Ali, English influence was in favour 
of the restoration of the Mamluke regime. The idea of the 
Pasha was then to annihilate the party which in the event 
of disasters in Arabia might be in a position again to bring 
Egypt into disorder. And he did annihilate it. The Mam¬ 
lukes play no part in the politics of Egypt since 1811. The 
widows of the slain were spared, but the Pasha claimed the 
right to give them in marriage to his followers. 

In the whole Mamluke system there is much that is ob¬ 
scure, especially in the phenomenon that these slave-rulers 
required constantly to be refreshed from outside, the offspring 
of the Emirs apparently amalgamating with the Moslem 
population, and invariably taking ordinary Moslem names. 
It was a late survival in history of the old beginning of 
kingship, where a man slew the slayer and should himself 
be slain; for if this does not always literally hold good of 
the Mamluke sovereigns, yet it is a formula which does not 
diverge over widely from the truth. Ali Bey saw that the 
system must be struck at, but was satisfied with preventive 
measures for the future; Mohammed Ali tore out the system 
by the roots. 


164 



CAIRO : SHARI DARB EL GAMAMIZ 
[JAMAMIZ] 










The Khedivial Period 

Not quite a century has elapsed since that event, and 
Cairo is still the capital of Mohammed Ali’s dynasty, and 
has expanded to greater dimensions than it ever reached 
under the most prosperous of its earlier sovereigns. 

Mohammed Ali’s career has been repeatedly narrated, and 
we have no room even to sketch it here. Aided by his able 
son, Ibrahim Pasha, he subdued Arabia, whereas two other 
sons extended his dominions by conquests in the region of 
the Upper Nile. Like other possessors of Egypt, he was 
anxious to hold Syria as well; and, picking a quarrel with 
the Porte when that power had been weakened by the 
Greek War of Independence, he sent Ibrahim Pasha north¬ 
wards, and shortly overran Syria and Asia Minor, and was 
in a position to threaten Constantinople itself. The inter¬ 
ference of Russia prevented the Egyptian Pasha dealing 
with the Sultan as the Buyids and Seljukes had dealt with 
the Caliph of Baghdad; but for some six years Syria was an 
Egyptian province. The discontent of the Syrian population 
then gave the Porte an opportunity to attempt the recovery 
of this region, only, however, to sustain severe losses both 
on land and sea. But at this point the European concert 
stepped in. Yet it was not before Ibrahim Pasha had been 
defeated by European officers that the pretensions of the 
Pasha of Egypt were moderated, and he was satisfied with 
the hereditary government of the Valley of the Nile. In 
1841, by the terms of peace between Mohammed Ali on the 
one side and the Sultan with his European allies on the 
other, the government of Egypt was vested in the Pasha’s 
family, though the title Khedive was not conferred on the 
ruler till some time later. 

Perhaps, if the history of the older Eastern conquerors 
were better recorded, we should in each case understand 
the means whereby they came to the front and defeated 
their rivals. In Mohammed Ali’s case, the secret lay in his 

165 



Cairo 

determination to adopt the civilization of Europe. The in¬ 
troduction of European drill and tactics was entirely against 
the prejudices of his subjects, and at first led to a plot for 
his assassination; the conspiracy was revealed in time, but 
the unpopularity of his measures did not daunt the Pasha, 
and he even allowed the objectors to go unpunished. 
European, and especially French, officials were introduced 
to train troops, cast cannon and build men-of-war; but the 
military inventions of the West were not exclusively adopted 
by the Pasha, who imported education, architecture and 
medical appliances from the same source. Vast schemes, 
some successful, others destined to failure, were set on foot 
with the object of increasing the productiveness of Egypt 
and even rendering it a manufacturing country, and the in¬ 
ternal administration both of town and country underwent 
a radical change. To Mohammed Ali, moreover, is due, if 
not the introduction yet the enforcement of religious tolera¬ 
tion on an ample scale. Fanaticism, whether exercised 
against native or foreign Christians, was punished by him 
with exemplary promptitude; and the attitude of mutual 
respect and consideration adopted by the various religious 
communities of Egypt, which is a pleasing feature to any 
visitor of that country, probably dates from Mohammed 
Ali’s time, though the brief French occupation may have 
contributed towards bringing it about. 

In Cairo itself Mohammed Ali introduced the first speci¬ 
mens of European architecture, and of course the capital 
was greatly altered during his long and eventful reign. His 
draining of the Ezbekiyyeh Pool has already been noticed; 
he built himself a palace at Shubra and laid out the long 
boulevard that connects this suburb with the capital, as 
well as another connecting Cairo with Boulak, where a sub¬ 
stantial new stone quay was erected for river steamers. To 
a late period in his reign belongs the Rue Neuve, the need 

166 



The Khedivial Period 

for which was occasioned by the great number of foreign 
merchants settled in the Mouski, a street which derives its 
name from a bridge built over the Great Canal by one 
Musak, a relation of the great Saladdin, who died in the 
year 1188. The Rue Neuve was begun in the year 1845, its 
width being calculated by the space requirements of two 
loaded camels passing each other. It crosses at right angles 
the old thoroughfare which originally bore the name Be¬ 
tween the Two Palaces, and, doubtless, in the course of its 
construction many an old landmark was obliterated. 

The name of Mohammed Ali is perpetuated in Cairo by his 
great mosque, erected on the Citadel after the older mosques 
of which there were so many, at different times had fallen 
into ruin or become disused. The Mosque of Nasir still re¬ 
mains as a shell, but of the others few but archaeologists 
know the traces. Mohammed Ali’s building is in imitation 
of the mosques of Constantinople, for all which the original 
model was furnished by Saint Sophia. Prince Puckler 
Muskau visited Cairo when this mosque was in course of 
erection, and speaks of it in the following enthusiastic 
strain: 

“At the southern extremity of the Citadel the viceroy is 
now erecting a mosque, just opposite to the ruined Saladdin 
[rather Nasir] Mosque, which in some respects will be the 
most superb edifice in the world; for not only are all the 
columns made of massive, polished alabaster, but even the 
inner and outer walls are completely covered with this costly 
material, which has hitherto been employed only in making 
vases, watchstands and little knick-knacks of the kind; and 
I should not be in the least surprised if the entire quarry of 
Shaikh Abadeh were to be exhausted in the creation of this 
temple. The effect of the whole is quite astonishing; but it 
is very much apprehended that this delicate stone will not 
be able to withstand the effects of the climate.” 

167 



Cairo 

Most European visitors are much more restrained in their 
admiration of this building, and regard the taste which it 
displays as vastly inferior to that exhibited in the mosques 
of the Mamluke period. The following is a translation of Ali 
Pasha Mubarak’s description of it: 

“This Mosque was built by the late Hajj [i.e.. Pilgrim], 
Mohammed Ali Pasha, native of Kavalla, founder of the 
Khedivial family in Egypt. He began its erection in the year 
of the Hijrah, 1246 [1830-1831], after he had set the affairs 
of Egypt in order, and terminated those operations of vast 
utility which we have sketched in the introduction to this 
book. He selected for its site the Citadel of Cairo, in order 
that the benefits of public worship might be enjoyed by the 
employes in the palaces and public offices, inasmuch as dur¬ 
ing his time all the ministries and most of the offices were 
on the Citadel. He prepared for its erection a broad area, 
which contained the remains of edifices that had been erected 
by former sovereigns, all of which he ordered to be cleared 
away, as also the soil till he came to the solid rock, on which 
he ordered the foundations to be laid. He built the walls of 
enormous stones, some three-and-a-half metres in length; iron 
rods connected each pair of stones, and molten lead was poured 
in. In this style the foundations were laid till thesurfaceof the 
ground was reached. The mosque was modelled on the beau¬ 
tiful Nur Osmaniyyeh Mosque of Constantinople, and in part 
on that of Sidi Sariyah on the Citadel—an unimportant 
mosque of which the original appears to be obscure. The 
building of the walls was continued in the style that has 
been described. Four doors were made, two to the north, one 
admitting to the court, the other to the dome; two also 
were placed on the south side. The stone walls were faced 
with alabaster both within and without to their full height. 
He who enters from the gate of the Citadel called Bab al- 
Daris finds a wide place in which he is confronted by the 

168 



The Khedivial Period 

doors of the court and the dome. The door leading into the 
court has inscribed over it in marble a text from the Koran 
commending prayer. The letters are gilt. The threshold is 
of marble, the door of antique wood; the tympanum is of 
wood also. The height of the door is four metres, the wooden 
tympanum is one metre high. The wall is two metres thick. 
The court is fifty-seven metres long by fifty-five broad, its 
surface being 3,135 square metres. It embraces five liwans, 
surmounted by forty-seven domes, mounted on marble pil¬ 
lars, eight metres high, exclusive of the base. The number 
of these pillars which surround the court and support the 
domes is forty-five. Each has a necking and torus of brass, 
and each column is connected with every other by an iron 
bar; the number of these bars amount to ninety-four. To 
each dome there is appended a brass chain, to which a lamp 
is attached. On the left side as one enters from this door is 
the door of the minaret, of ordinary wood, 265 steps lead to 
the summit, exclusive of those which lead up to the iron 
obelisk which crowns it. On the left side in the middle, be¬ 
tween the two liwans is the door which leads from the court 
into the dome; it is of folding doors of antique wood, as also 
is the semicircular tympanum; over it the date is written in 
Turkish. Some seven yards in front of the liwan which comes 
next to the door of the dome is the door which leads to the 
second minaret, ascended by the same number of steps as 
the last; they form winding staircases with bronze balus¬ 
trades. The height of each of these minarets is eight-four 
metres from the ground, of which twenty-five and two-thirds 
are from the ground to the roof of the mosque. On the same 
left hand side are nine windows belonging to the dome, 
each of which contains a text from the Surah called Path, 
engraved in marble and filled in with gold. Over the door of 
the dome there is written a text promising Paradise to Be¬ 
lievers; doubtless this promise has been realized in the foun- 

169 



Cairo 

der’s case. In the middle of the court there is a wooden dome 
mounted on eight marble columns, seven metres high, 
underneath which there is a fountain with an alabaster cu¬ 
pola, and sixteen spouts, with a marble spout over each, 
containing the text of the Koran which enjoins washing 
before prayer, and the tradition, ‘Washing is the Believer’s 
Weapon.’ In front of each spout there is a marble base. 
Between each pair of pillars there is an iron rod, holding a 
brass chain for a lamp, while over each is a crescent of 
bronze. Close by is the entrance to the cistern which is 
underneath the court; the coping is of alabaster, and the 
lid of brass. There is a pump there also for raising the water. 

“The southern gate of the court resembles the northern, 
which it faces, and there is engraved above it in marble the 
text, ‘Your Lord hath prescribed unto Himself mercy.’ In 
the liwans which surround the court there are thirty-eight 
windows, each two-and-a-half metres in length and one-and- 
a-half in breadth; the thickness of the wall is two metres. 
It contains a window in bronze. In front of the north door 
which gives entrance to the dome there is a gallery on 
twenty-four alabaster columns, with bronze neckings and 
tori, each eight metres high, not including the base. The 
pillars are connected by twenty-two iron bars, and sur¬ 
mounted by eleven domes with bronze crescents. Hence you 
proceed into the sanctuary, which is almost square, forty- 
six metres by forty-five, exclusive of the liwan on the kiblah 
side, which is seventeen metres by nine, with an area of one 
hundred and thirty-five metres. In it there is a very lofty 
dome, some sixty-one metres above the floor of the Mosque, 
mounted on four piers of hewn stone, faced with marble to 
a height of two metres. The dome has four semicircles, one 
on each side, and four small domes. The whole of the great 
dome is elaborately painted, and decorated with gold-leaf. 
There are circles painted round it, with certain pious for- 

170 



The Khedivial Period 

mulae inscribed in gold-leaf. To the left of the sanctuary you 
find the Mihrab, with a semicircular roofing, while the 
niche itself is in marble with an inscription in coloured 
glass. The niche is enclosed by two small marble columns, 
with brass necking and torus. To the left, close to one of the 
piers that have been mentioned, is the reader’s chair made 
of wood, with a balustrade of the same material turned. Five 
steps lead up to it, and it is carpeted with red cloth. To 
the right is the pulpit of wood, decorated with gold-leaf, 
reached by twenty-five steps, also carpeted with red cloth 
and with folding doors. Above in a circle there is inscribed 
the text, ‘ Friday is with God the best of days.’ Above the 
preacher’s seat is a tall dome on four wooden columns, with 
a Koranic text written round it. At the bottom of the pulpit 
there is a guichet on each side, inscribed with texts; be¬ 
tween them there is a sort of cupboard to which access is 
given by a door under the pulpit. Opposite the Mihrab is 
the door of the dome leading out of the court, surmounted 
by a dikkah for the Mueddins, extending the whole breadth 
of the sanctuary, and mounted on eight marble pillars, 
eight metres high, surrounded by a bronze balustrade, which 
also surrounds the upper part of the sanctuary, this upper 
part containing thirty-one windows framed in brass, with 
lights of white glass. At a distance of about twelve metres 
there is another balustrade, facing thirty-one more windows, 
this time of stained glass. Between [r] the two there are the 
twenty-four windows of the great dome, with a brass balus¬ 
trade, the windows being of bronze work with stained glass 
lights, and the balustrade at the top of the dome has in 
front of it forty stained glass windows. Round each of the 
four domes mentioned above there are ten windows with 
balustrades. The purpose of these balustrades is to support 
lamps. In the semicircle of the Mihrab there are sixteen win¬ 
dows, with a gallery containing a balustrade in front, and 

171 



Cairo 

round the wall low down there are thirty-six windows each 
two-and-a-half metres long, with white glass lights, each 
one containing a portion of the poem called ‘Burdah.’ Ac¬ 
cess is given to the galleries from the two minarets and the 
roof of the Mosque. The southern door of the dome, which 
faces the northern, has written on the outside ‘God’s are 
the places of worship, and invoke no one with God.’ In 
front is a vast gallery, on eleven columns of alabaster, some 
eight metres high. Twenty-two iron bars connect these pil¬ 
lars, which are surmounted by eleven domes, similar to 
those in the gallery facing the first door. The tomb of the 
founder, which he ordered to be hewn for himself in the 
solid rock, is in the south-west corner to the right as one 
enters from the door leading from the court into the dome. 
The completion of the Mosque in this style was in the year 
1261 [1845]. The founder died three years later, and was 
followed by Ibrahim his son, who died shortly after. He was 
succeeded by Abbas Pasha, son of Tusun, who ordered the 
Mosque to be finished. They whitewashed the piers, and 
then painted them to look like alabaster, paved the floor, and 
painted and inscribed the domes.” 

One other monument in Cairo which preserves the name 
of Mohammed Ali, the Boulevard called after him, belongs 
to the reign of Isma’il Pasha, who governed Egypt from 1863 
to 1882. Its site was a series of graveyards, which continued 
in use till Mohammed Ali’s time. The bones were collected 
when the Boulevard was cut, and distributed in various 
places; over thespot where many of them were laid a mosque 
called the Bone Mosque was built. The plans were drawn 
in 1873. M. Rhon6, who is no friend to the renovation of 
Cairo, gives the following description of the process by which 
the Boulevard was made: “Like a shot fired too soon, it 
started one fine day from the Ezbekiyyeh, without knowing 
whither it was going, and alighted at a distance of two kilo- 

172 



SOUKTHE ARMOURERS’ 
* ! -' r BAZAAR, CAIRO 








The Khedivial Period 

metres from its starting-point, at the formidable angle of the 
mosque of the Sultan Hasan, which it could not help en¬ 
countering. On its way it had displaced a whole hillfull of 
houses and mosques; half-way, on the canal, it let fall its 
burden of debris, and this gave birth to the palace of Mansur 
Pasha.” Ali Pasha, who took part in the undertaking, natu¬ 
rally speaks in a different style of this great artery, which 
he holds to have benefited Cairo enormously, among other 
services purifying the air. But the amount of displacing done 
was enormous; 398 buildings had to be removed to make 
room for the Boulevard; of these 325 were dwellings, some 
large and some small; the rest were baths, bakehouses, etc., 
besides religious buildings. We have already seen that the 
Mosque of Kausun suffered severely, though it must be added 
that Mehren, who made his list of the religious monuments 
of Cairo before the construction of the Boulevard found this 
mosque in a ruinous condition; another sanctuary that suf¬ 
fered was that of the Shaikh Nu’man, dating from the year 
1575 - 

Isma’il Pasha is the founder of modern Cairo, of which the 
centre is the Place Atabah al-Khadra, or the Green Thres¬ 
hold, supposed to be called after a palace with that name 
which formerly existed there, and was the abode of one 
Mohammed al-Shara’ibi, who lived in the twelfth Moham¬ 
medan century. Fromit there radiate streets or boulevards in 
all directions; the Mouski leads eastwards to the old parts of 
the city, crossing where was once the Grand Canal to what 
remains of the work of the Fatimides; westwards a number 
of avenues lead to the quarter called after Isma'il, the abode 
of the English and the wealthy. When new streets are built, 
an attempt is made to preserve some history in their names; 
a few, such as the Boulevard Clot Bey, are called after quite 
modern personages; in most cases they preserve the memory 
of either an ancient quarter, or some building that once 

173 



Cairo 

stood near their sites. The Committee, to whose work allu¬ 
sion has so often been made, acting on expert opinion, sees 
that no ancient work is destroyed which has either historical 
or artistic interest. Europe has taught the East to pay reve¬ 
rence to its ancient monuments. 

If Cairo should ever indulge in the taste for historical pa¬ 
geants which is so characteristic of our country at this time, 
it would not be difficult to find a number of scenes worth re¬ 
producing, some of them graced with figures that loom large 
in the vista of the centuries. Ahmad Ibn Tulun’s architect 
summoned from his prison to solve the problem of the 
mosque; Jauhar drawing the lines of his city at an auspicious 
moment; Saladdin rejecting the splendours of the Fatimide 
Palace; Shajar al-durr receiving the homage of the Emirs 
behind her curtain; Baibars receivinghis investiture from the 
Caliph of his own appointment; Kala’un’s Hospital inaugu¬ 
rated by a disloyal preacher; Cairo decorated to celebrate 
the fall of Constantinople, and presently itself entered in 
triumph by the Ottoman Sultan; al-Azhar, stormed by 
Bonaparte’s soldiers; the Mamlukes surrendering to Mo¬ 
hammed Ali in the Barkuk Mosque—these might be sug¬ 
gested as a characteristic and not wholly uninteresting 
selection. And if scenes from yet later times were included, 
there might be a few in which great Englishmen figured 
also: Baker, sent by Isma’il Pasha to suppress the slave- 
trade in the Soudan; Gordon, hastening to his heroic defence 
of Khartoum; and last, but not least, the farewell address of 
the statesman to whom the present financial and adminis¬ 
trative prosperity of Cairo is due. 


>74 



THE FAIR, MOOLID, EL AHMADEE- 
[mA U LUjgAHM AD IJ, CAIRO 










CHAPTER XI 

Jerusalem: an Historical Sketch 

T HE situation of Jerusalem is majestic and impres¬ 
sive. It lies on four hills, which some with a taste 
for sacred numbershave wished to increase to seven; 
on three sides deep valleys encircle it. Both those that 
separate the hills and those which surround them were at 
an earlier period far deeper than they are now, since ex¬ 
cavators have found accumulations of rubbish about them, 
varying in depth from forty to over a hundred feet; one of 
the hills was, it is said, deliberately lowered as a military 
precaution, and one of the internal depressions artificially 
filled up. Before these operations of art and nature were 
accomplished, the features which excite our admiration now 
must have been greatly accentuated. And those have taught 
us most about the ancient topography of the city who have 
driven shafts and tunnels through these accumulations, and 
mapped out underground Jerusalem. Their work constituted 
a record in excavation, and some of their names are dear 
to the British nation on quite other than archaeological 
grounds. If they have left many a controversy undetermined, 
it is because inscriptions, the surest indications of ancient 
sites, have rarely been discovered, and still more rarely on 
the places where they originally stood; because the place 
has been often taken by relentless enemies, determined if 
possible to leave no stone upon another; and because ancient 
descriptions of it are often either ideal descriptions, or made 
by persons who wrote at a distance from the scenes which 
they described, and were perhaps unskilled in accurate ob¬ 
servation and the technicalities of architecture. 

175 



Jerusalem 

The nature of the soil has determined the area of the city, 
but except for its brief period of glory, to which allusion 
will presently be made, there was no reason why it should 
ever have to harbour a great population. Since the building 
of the second Temple it has been far more a religious than 
a political centre; and even as such it has never been able 
to occupy quite the first rank. With Islam it was only occa¬ 
sionally and under special circumstances able to rival 
Meccah; with the more powerful portion of Christianity it 
was superseded by Rome. Probably the more energetic and 
capable of the Israelites have regularly preferred to be its 
occasional visitors than to constitute part of its permanent 
population. The class whom such a place attracts consists 
of persons worn out with worldly things, and interested 
only in spiritual concerns, while the expectation of a golden 
stream from outside discourages in the natives original 
effort and the growth of those sterling qualities which the 
struggle for existence ordinarily produces. Constantly re¬ 
cruited from without, it produces little or nothing from 
within. Thus for an indigenous art or architecture in Jerusa¬ 
lem no one looks; the explorer searches only for relics of 
the styles imported at different periods sometimes by do¬ 
mestic rulers, more often by donors and benefactors. The 
Solomonic Temple was in Phoenician style, the Temple of 
Nehemiah probably Persian; for later buildings the models 
were furnished by Greece, Rome and Byzantium, after 
which came Norman and Gothic importations from Europe; 
to-day the patterns in fashion in every European state of 
consequence are represented. Should a new Jewish Temple 
be built on the Haram area, it would probably be from 
French or Italian designs. 

The period during which the city could claim the title 
imperial was very short, extending no longer than the reigns 
of David and Solomon, the former of whom appears to have 

176 



MQRNING IN JERUSALEM: THE DOME 
OF THE ROCK ON THE SHADED 
SIDE 










Historical Sketch 

brought several of the surrounding peoples into subjection. 
This is the view which we take, if we approach the Old Testa¬ 
ment record without too great scepticism. With the name of 
the first of these two sovereigns the city has been in historic 
times connected, although there is a great doubt as to the 
part of it which he occupied; the operations executed by 
him with the view of making the place a metropolis are too 
briefly stated to permit of much being elicited. The name 
appears to go back to a much earlier period than that of 
David, who is said to have found the city, or part of it, in pos¬ 
session of a tribe called Jebus, after whom it was then called; 
members of the tribe occasionally meet us after David’s 
seizure of their stronghold. Their fortress is usually sup¬ 
posed to have occupied one of the hills only, with which the 
founder of Israelitish Jerusalem incorporated others, enclos¬ 
ing the whole with a wall. Such dwellings as already existed 
would then be allotted to those who helped to storm the 
fortress, and permission given for others to build. The speed 
with which the residence of a victorious prince attracts in¬ 
habitants is extraordinary, and Jerusalem was doubtless a 
populous city before his reign ended. That no sanctuary was 
erected by him to the national Deity seems certain, and the 
fact required explanation at an early time; that in which 
the later Jews acquiesced was that he was disqualified for 
erecting a sanctuary by the blood which he had shed, but the 
earlier explanation may have been different. 

The only monument in the city’s neighbourhood which 
may be actually connected with David is the King's tomb out¬ 
side the Sion Gate. The exact spot where David was buried 
is not mentioned in his biography, but his tomb is employed 
as a landmark by Nehemiah, and is mentioned repeatedly 
by Josephus, who declares that the King had much treasure 
deposited with him, which in the centuries just preceding 
the Christian Era was despoiled by Hyrcanus and Herod. 

177 12 



Jerusalem 


In the Acts of the Apostles also the tomb of David is men¬ 
tioned as a well-known object in Jerusalem. A Christian 
tradition identifies a room in the buildings surrounding the 
tomb as the Upper Chamber where the Eucharist was in¬ 
stituted and where the miracle of Pentecost was wrought. 
The room is said by Epiphanius to have remained un¬ 
destroyed when the city was burned by Titus, and to have 
afterwards been used as a church. A convent for the Fran¬ 
ciscans was here erected in the fourteenth century by Sancia, 
Queen of Robert of Sicily, which was taken from them by 
the Moslems in 1560, it is said, owing to the vengeance of a 
Jew, who had desired to perform his devotions at the tombs 
of David and Solomon underneath the convent, and had 
been refused permission by the Franciscans, and who then 
persuaded the Grand Vizier at Constantinople to take the 
tombs of the two Kings, whom the Koran calls Prophets, 
out of the hands of unbelievers. A few favoured travellers 
have had access to the tombs themselves, which appear to 
have been discovered in the time of Benjamin of Tudela, 
when stones were taken from the wall of Mount Sion to 
repair the church. The story of their discovery is not free 
from fabulous elements, but some monuments of artistic 
excellence appear to exist on the spot. The question to 
whom they belong has not been definitely solved, and even 
in Nehemiah’s time the traditional site may not necessarily 
have been the real one. 

Solomon’s character, like that of David, is a familiar one 
to readers of Oriental history. While the father was the enter¬ 
prising and astute empire-builder, the son was the magni¬ 
ficent patron of the arts, of literature, and of commerce. 
Under him the metropolis began to be adorned with edifices 
worthy of the sovereign’s power and wealth, and foreign 
artificers were summoned to erect them, the Phoenicians at 
this time occupying the place which at a later period be- 

178 



Historical Sketch 

longed to Greeks, and after them to nations yet further west. 
Of the building of the Temple, the sacred writers have pre¬ 
served a most elaborate account; and though there is some 
controversy as to the part of the Haram area which it occu¬ 
pied, there appears to be general agreement as to the prac¬ 
tical correctness of the traditional site. The breaches in the 
continuity of the tradition are not indeed considerable ; per¬ 
haps the most considerable being that between the times of 
Jeremiah and Nehemiah, though Moslem writers make it 
appear that when the Mohammedan conqueror wished to 
be directed to the site of the Temple, wrong directions were 
given him at first, apparently through ignorance. The pro¬ 
bability is that none of the vicissitudes through which 
Jerusalem passed left the country quite without inhabitants 
familiar with so notable a site. Besides the Temple, the 
King's own domestic arrangements required the erection of 
several palaces, and probably of numerous shrines for the 
housing of the deities worshipped by the different nationali¬ 
ties represented in his household. 

Of these palaces and sanctuaries the Bible preserves some 
names and some architectural details; but of the general 
appearance of the city in Solomon’s time it is not possible 
to gather any distinct impression. The material used by him 
appears to have been perishable in the extreme, and it is 
unlikely that any work executed by him still remains. 
Owing, however, to the memories of Solomon’s wisdom and 
magnificence, legend attributes to him all anonymous works 
on a great scale that are to be found either in the city or in 
its neighbourhood. The theory that Solomon had super¬ 
natural agencies under his control enabling him to carry 
out the vastest designs can be traced back to the time of 
Josephus, and through the influence of the Koran has be¬ 
come an article of faith with Moslems. The Biblical account 
of his methods shows that no supernatural agents were 

179 12a 



"Jerusalem 


requisite. The whole wealth of a small country, and unlimited 
labour, such as lay at the disposal of the Sultan of the time, 
would easily account for the execution of any of the works 
attributed to him. No contemporary traveller tells us what 
Jerusalem looked like in his day, for the memoirs of the 
Queen of Saba, if she left any, have not come down. Pro¬ 
bably it was largely a collection of wooden huts. These form 
an intermediate stage between the dwellings of the nomad 
and the town resident; and the cry, “ To your tents, O 
Israel ” had not ceased to be heard in Solomon’s time. The 
palaces differed from the other houses in the quality, but 
not in the nature of the material of which they were mainly 
constructed. 

The magnificent monarch often leaves on the mind of his 
subjects not so much pride in his grandeur as resentment at 
the extortions which have been the source of his magnifi¬ 
cence, and with all but Solomon’s own tribe and one other 
the latter appears to have been the sentiment which domi¬ 
nated. The unpopularity which has attached to the tribe of 
Judah ever since it became known to the general world, seems 
to have belonged to it in its relations with the other tribes 
constituting Israel, and so soon as Solomon was dead, they 
hastened to throw off a yoke, which indeed the King’s taste 
far building by forced labour had rendered exceptionally 
severe. Other sanctuaries became more popular with the 
northern kingdom, which was far more populous and power¬ 
ful than the small remnant which remained loyal to the 
family of David. That loyalty, however, appears to have 
been a deep-rooted sentiment, and to have kept the southern 
kingdom tolerably free from the scramble for the sovereignty 
which disturbed and finally wrecked the northern. The re¬ 
cord which we have of both is exceedingly imperfect, and in 
the matter of building we hear chiefly of repairs done to the 
wall of Jerusalem, of the occasional erection of towers, and 

180 




hezekiah’s pool 




















Historical Sketch 

of provision made for a better water supply. The only in¬ 
scription in Jerusalem which is from the period of the kings 
is that which records the construction of an aqueduct in the 
time of King Hezekiah. This aqueduct, which took the form 
of a tunnel, appears to have been commenced at both ends 
at once, a fact which implies the existence of greater engi¬ 
neering skill, and instruments of greater precision, than we 
should ordinarily suppose to have been possessed by the Jews. 

The condition of Jerusalem during the period of the di¬ 
vided kingdom, as the Books of Kings record it, was by no 
means one of quiet development; it was, on the contrary, 
one of perpetual disturbance, in which city and temple were 
repeatedly sacked, varied at times by spells of peace and 
prosperity under some competent ruler. The maintenance of 
the Temple was, it would seem, during the whole time, the 
chief function of the King, and according to the influences 
to which different kings were subject many innovations were 
introduced, both in the structure of the sanctuary and in the 
form of ritual. The unfriendly attitude adopted by the Jewish 
religion towards all others appears at least in practice to 
date from the last century of the monarchy; previously Jeru¬ 
salem contained sanctuaries dedicated to objects of worship 
other than the God of Israel, and the Temple itself at times 
harboured altars of more than one Deity. The record which 
has come down to us of Jewish history is written in the 
spirit of Deuteronomy, and is too deeply hostile to pagan 
cults to take any interest in the monuments erected for their 
celebration; while, therefore, we hear occasionally of the 
names of deities to whom shrines were dedicated in Jerusa¬ 
lem, it is chiefly when the historian rejoices over their de¬ 
struction ; neither has he any more sympathy with sanctua¬ 
ries intended for the God of Israel, but outside the Temple 
area. We therefore conjecture rather than know for certain 
that Jerusalem, in its best days, presented an appearance 

183 



Jerusalem 

not unlike what it exhibits to-day, where with one pre¬ 
eminent mosque representing the dominant cult, there is 
associated a variety of other mosques, churches and syna¬ 
gogues, the latter belonging, to a large extent, to strangers, 
though in part to natives; the notion that the sanctity of 
the chief edifice is impugned by the presence of these other 
places of worship has now been outgrown, even before the 
Deuteronomic reform it had no wide currency. 

The mode whereby that reform was introduced has been 
made out, so far as the nature of the evidence admits of positive 
conclusions, by those who have written on the history of 
Israelitish religion, and we know that when Judaism was once 
started on the doctrine of one God, one Temple, it drew the 
inferences with ever-increasing rigour. Probably those are 
right who trace the origin of the process to the deliverance 
of Jerusalem from Sennacherib, when the northern Kingdom 
had been swept away by Assyria. If, as the history suggests, 
there were strong reasons why the sect, whose motto was the 
doctrine stated, could claim the miracle as one granted 
specially to their cause, their ability to monopolize Judaism 
and in time Jerusalem seems to be explained. That effect 
was not attained without violent reactions, in the course of 
which Jerusalem itself perished, for the miracle was not re¬ 
newed, and the violent religious persecutions which followed 
the reign of Hezekiah must have greatly reduced such power of 
resistance as the Jewish people might have been able to bring 
against the tremendous power of Babylon. Belief, however, 
in the sanctity of the spot where alone a temple might stand 
and sacrifice could be offered was harboured as a precious 
heirloom by the descendants of those who had been forcibly 
ej ected from the sacred city. The conviction that it would e veitt- 
ually arise from its ruins, mo more to be polluted by alien 
worships, gave it fora time an ideal existence, and enthusiasts 
devoted their energies to planning how it should be laid out. 

184 



Historical Sketch 

The time which elapsed before such operations could be 
executed seems to have been very lengthy. It is not now 
thought probable that there was a Jerusalem between that of 
David and that of Nehemiah; if there was it must have been a 
place of small importance, for the inquisitive Herodotus, who 
composed his inquiry in the fifth century B.C., had heard of 
Palestine but appears not to have heard of Jerusalem. J osephus 
answers that he had also not heard of Rome, a reply which 
seems unsatisfactory. A return from exile in the form of a 
splendid pageant, such as some of the Prophets awaited, did 
not take place; but early in the fourth century, B.C., one 
Nehemiah, who had won promotion at the Persian court, then 
in possession of the East, obtained leave to rebuild city and 
temple on a modest scale. The restored Jerusalem appears to 
date from his efforts, but the combination of his authentic 
narrative with another of unknown date and authority has 
rendered the process of restoration hard to follow. The un¬ 
friendly attitude adopted towards their neighbours by the 
Israelites seems to have involved the rebuilders of Jerusalem 
in difficulties, but there is no doubt that through the work of 
Nehemiah it was raised to the rank of something like a pro¬ 
vincial capital, and this rank it retained when before the close 
ofthe fourth century Persian domination gave way to Greek. 

For the gap which separates the termination of the Old 
Testament from the Maccabaean period even Josephus ap¬ 
pears to have had only historical romances to guide him, but 
in the restored city, prevented by the suzerain power from 
having an independent foreign policy, something like the 
theocracy contemplated in the Mosaic legislation could be put 
in practice. And of the divine worship which constituted the 
main concern of the city the representation projected by the 
Books of Chronicles into the age of David is likely to be a 
faithful account. 

The one fragment of history that belongs to this period 

185 



Jerusalem 

tells how one of the high priests fortified the Temple and 
secured the city against besieging. This does not imply in¬ 
dependence, but a wise precaution, since one of the most 
painful features of warfare in all but the most modern times 
was that the people, whether belonging to the ruling castes 
or not, suffered all the horrors that accompanied the sacking 
of cities in quarrels that were not theirs. During this period 
Palestine was alternately in the power of Egyptian and Sy¬ 
rian princes, and was perpetually exposed to their hordes. 
The peculiarities of Israelitish worship began to attract 
some attention in the Hellenic world, and with these the 
foreign garrisons located in the Citadel could not fail to ob¬ 
tain a tolerable acquaintance. While in some cases the im¬ 
pression created was not unfavourable, in others Judaism 
roused the vehement hatred which for some reason or other 
it has constantly been found capable of exciting. Finally, in 
the first third of the second century B.C., the Syrian mo¬ 
narch Antiochus Epiphanes set himself the task of destroy¬ 
ing Judaism, and compelling its adherents to adopt Hellenic 
culture. Pagan worship was instituted in the Temple itself, 
and the animal which for unknown reasons is abhorred by 
Jews and Moslems was selected for sacrifice. Interference 
with the exercise of the Law provoked resentment which no 
amount of oppression of a different sort couldhave awakened: 
the family of Mattathias, a descendant of Asmoneus, was 
found equal to organizing resistance, and its members by 
their victories secured to their countrymen a fresh lease of 
independence, and renewed prosperity for Jerusalem. A 
tower commanding the Temple area which had been erected 
by the persecutors was destroyed by the defenders of Judaism, 
and the Temple purified from its defilement. 

To the Maccabsean period—or a little later—there belongs 
a description of the city, professedly written by a Greek of 
the third century B.C., but in reality by a Jew of a much 

186 



Historical Sketch 

later time, anxious as many as of his race have often been 
to conceal his nationality and identity. Whether this writer 
had ever seen the city which he depicts is uncertain: in any 
case his account is quite ideal and belongs rather to the 
conception of the heavenly Jerusalem, of which we have 
seen the origin. Situated in the midst of mountains, on a 
high hill, Jerusalem was crowned by a Temple girt with three 
walls over seventy cubits high. The court of the Temple, 
which was paved with marble, covered vast reservoirs of 
water—this part of the description is confirmed by Sir C. 
Warren’s discoveries—fountains of which washed away the 
blood of the myriads of beasts there offered. The streets 
formed a series of terraces stretching from the brow of the 
hill down into the valley, and were furnished with raised 
pavements, the purpose of which was to prevent the clean 
being contaminated by contact with the unclean. It was ad¬ 
mirably fortified with a number of towers arranged like the 
tiers in a theatre. The compass of the city was about forty 
stades. The comparison of the city to a theatre, of which 
the temple area was the stage, has been made by others, yet 
its appropriateness seems very doubtful. 

Before the Maccabsean dynasty had lasted a century, the 
precious possession of independence was sacrificed to the 
personal ambitions of rival claimants for the chief place in 
the State; Jerusalem was taken by Pompey, and the Holy 
of Holies profaned by the entrance of a stranger. But ere 
long Herod, who in the troubles which ruined the Roman 
Republic, had played with consummate skill a difficult hand, 
being installed as monarch, and obtaining possession of 
Jerusalem at the price of a tremendous massacre, restored the 
city to greatness by no means inferior to that of its imperial 
days. His deeds were recounted by a contemporary of his 
own, whose work survives in the excerpts made by the 
Jewish historian Josephus, whose books form a storehouse 

187 



yerusalem 

of information on the topography of Jerusalem, which, if in 
no wise to be compared with Makrizi’s account of Cairo, is 
yet highly prized for its fullness of detail. 

Money ruthlessly extorted by Herod was spent by him in 
beautifying and strengthening his capital, where he rebuilt 
the Temple on a scale of unsurpassed magnificence—unless, 
indeed, the concept of the heavenly Jerusalem may have af¬ 
fected the representations of Josephus. The king built three 
towers “ excelling all in the world in size,beauty and strength,” 
which he named after his brother, his friend and his wife. 
To the north of the city he built a palace surpassing all 
powers of description, surrounded with a wall thirty cubits 
high, containing banqueting-halls, guest-chambers, avenues, 
channels for water, and all else that can be imagined. The 
white marble blocks of which the towers were constructed 
were so truly joined that each appeared to be one mass of 
stone. How much in the descriptions of these buildings is due 
to the imagination is unknown: the buildings themselves 
have disappeared without a trace. Herod’s magnificence no 
more won the affection of his subjects than did Solomon’s 
before him; the people at his death thought the direct yoke 
of Rome preferable to an Oriental despotism, and before 
the destruction of the city they had painful experience of 
both. 

The Jerusalem of the Gospels is, of course, Herod’s Jeru¬ 
salem, with some alterations effected by Roman occupation. 
On the whole the magnificence ascribed by Josephus to the 
buildings of Herod is borne out by allusions in the early 
Christian records, and an inscription discovered by M. 
Clermont-Ganneau, composed in the Greek of this period, 
in which strangers are forbidden to proceed beyond a cer¬ 
tain point in the Temple area on pain of death, strikingly 
confirms the statements of the Jewish historian. The em¬ 
ployment of the Temple at this time as a place where those 



Historical Sketch 

who wished to give instruction could do so is similar to that 
which is characteristic of the Moslem Mosque. But the ela¬ 
borate ritual of which the Temple was the scene has rather 
been inherited by the Christian sanctuary, though of course 
the abolition of sacrifice, due to the destruction of the 
Temple, has deprived religious worship of what used to be its 
most important feature. The attention of the Jewish his¬ 
torian and the oral tradition of his countrymen is so much 
engrossed by the Temple, the palaces and the forts, that 
little is left for the other public and private buildings which 
at this time filled the city; we hear casually of a gymnasium, 
and obtain a casual reference to public baths. We hear of 
numerous synagogues shortly after the destruction of the 
Temple, and it is likely that there was no lack of these, in 
different parts of the city, in the period which preceded that 
disaster. Some provision must also have been made for the 
religious wants of the foreign army of occupation, and in¬ 
deed for those of other foreign visitors, though the Romans 
seem ordinarily to have respected Jewish prejudices on this 
subject so far as possible. And especially must provision 
have been made for the great numbers of devout persons 
who visited the metropolis regularly at feast times. 

Of Herod’s descendants, Herod Agrippa, the friend of 
Claudius, who for his services in connexion with the Em¬ 
peror’s accession had received his grandfather’s kingdom, 
continued the work of fortification, and commenced, where 
practicable, a new encircling wall, rendered necessary by 
the growth of the population, which, had it been completed, 
should, in the opinion of Josephus, have rendered the city 
impregnable. 

The city was for a short time the focus of general atten¬ 
tion during the rebellion quelled by Vespasian and Titus, 
and ending in the fall of Jerusalem in the year 70. It would 
be interesting to know the amount of the population at this 

189 



Jerusalem 

time, but our authorities give figures which could only with 
great difficulty be accommodated in the space; 600,000, or 
about eight times the present population, and 2,500,000, or 
about thirty-five times the existing numbers. Moreover, the 
present population covers an area which seems certainly to 
include ground that was outside the city besieged by Titus. 
The same must be said of these numbers as of the wall 
seventy cubits high that surrounded the Temple, that they 
suit the heavenly Jerusalem rather than the earthly. What¬ 
ever the numbers may have been, they were unable to de¬ 
fend the city, which appears to have been destroyed no less 
thoroughly than after its capture by the Babylonians. Herod’s 
three towers are said to have been left, with as much of the 
western wall as would serve to protect the ruins. It would 
seem that the destruction of the public buildings did not 
prevent a certain number of persons returning to their homes, 
and a community established itself there after the fall, simi¬ 
lar to that which may have occupied the same site before 
the time of Nehemiah. 

About sixty years after the fall a man who believed him¬ 
self to be the Messiah, and persuaded others of the same, 
Bar Cochba, heading a new nationalist movement on the 
part of the Jews, seized the ruined city, refortified it, and 
proceeded to rebuild the Temple. The revolt was not more 
successful than that described by Josephus ; and, after its 
suppression, Jerusalem was turned into a Roman colony, 
called Aelia Capitolina, with a temple to Jupiter Capitolinus 
on the Temple area. To that god in Vespasian’s time the 
tribute had been assigned that had previously been sent by 
the Jews to their own Temple, and the Jews were forbidden 
access and even approach to the city of their fathers. The 
name Aelia supplanted the time-honoured name, which for 
awhile belonged exclusively to the heavenly city of devo¬ 
tional fancy, which the fall of Jerusalem under Titus had 

190 



Historical Sketch 

caused to be painted in more gorgeous colours than before. 
Even now Aelia is with Moslems the alternative appellation 
for “the Holy City,” and figures on the imprints of books 
printed at Jerusalem. 

Of the events which led to Jerusalem being endeared to 
half the world, few at the time realized the importance. The 
progress of Christianity, its separation from Judaism, its 
honeycombing the Roman Empire, and its final adoption by 
a Roman emperor, form a fascinating subject of study, 
which at no time is likely to make the process perfectly 
clear. Except for the brief period occupied by siege and fall, 
it is probable that the Christian community at Jerusalem 
maintained a sort of continuity, and the concept of the New 
Jerusalem covered the site of the Old with a sanctity of 
which it was never divested, even before the instinct for pil¬ 
grimage found its interpretation in the desire to visit the 
sacred sites. 

One of the first results of the conversion of the Empire to 
Christianity was that steps were taken to cover with worthy 
monuments the places where scenes of transcendent impor¬ 
tance had been enacted. A church was erected with great 
magnificence by Constantine, containing within its walls 
the Tomb of Christ, the place of the Crucifixion, and the 
spot where the True Cross had been found. 

What reason is there for supposing that the sites were 
still known in the fourth century, and could be accurately 
located? The question has often been debated, though it is 
uncertain when scepticism was first expressed. The best dis¬ 
cussion of it is to be found in the posthumous work of Sir 
Charles Wilson, called Golgotha and the Holy Sepulchre, pub¬ 
lished by the Palestine Exploration Fund in 1906. The 
eminent explorer’s conclusion is ambiguous, and does not 
therein differ from that of many others who have been over 
the ground. There is no evidence that the site had any 

191 



"Jerusalem 

interest for the Christian community till long after all chance 
of being able to identify to it had disappeared, owing to the 
violent convulsions which had attended the taking of Jeru¬ 
salem by Titus, its recapture at a later time by Bar Cochba, 
and its transformation into a Roman colony by Hadrian. 
To those who were filled with belief in the living Christ, any 
interest in the Holy Sepulchre would savour of the absurdity 
condemned in the Gospel of seeking the living among the 
dead. Only when an emperor desired the site to be re¬ 
covered persons would not be wanting ready to discover it. 
The question for us is what indications led those who identi¬ 
fied the site to select one rather than another. How came 
they, to mention only the most obvious difficulty, to place 
the Tomb inside the City, when the Gospel leads us to sup¬ 
pose that it was outside ? If the site was in accordance with 
authentic tradition, the City must have been moved, i.e., its 
walls must in the time of Constantine have included a space 
which they did not include at a time when there is great 
reason for supposing the City to have been far more populous. 
Moreover, is the proximity of the Sepulchre to the place of 
crucifixion either likely or suggested by the sacred narra¬ 
tive ? The writers who narrate the discovery of these sacred 
sites usually introduce into the story the miraculous element; 
and this portion of it is scarcely less improbable than the 
explanation given by some narrators that the site was learned 
from a Jew tortured to reveal it. For why should such know¬ 
ledge be preserved by Jews ? Tradition seems unanimously 
to assert that the site was hidden beneath a Temple of Venus, 
a goddess of evil reputation, whose shrine was thought to 
be an intentional profanation of the holy spot, and that those 
who searched there were rewarded by the discovery of a 
grave, and presently by other confirmation of their find. The 
large literature that exists on this subject illustrates the 
varying effect of arguments not only on different minds, but 

192 



Historical Sketch 

on the same mind at different times. The ordinary visitor 
may be contented with Sir C. Wilson’s conclusion that while 
there is no decisive reason, historical, traditional or topo¬ 
graphical, for placing Golgotha and the Tomb where they 
are now shown, yet no objection urged against the sites is 
of such a convincing nature that it need “disturb the minds 
of those who accept in all good faith the authenticity of 
places that are hallowed by the prayers of countless pil¬ 
grims.” 

Other writers have expressed themselves with much less 
caution on this subject. Some have regarded the credit of 
Christianity as in a way bound up with the site selected 
in the time of Constantine, and even Sir C. Wilson says 
he would attach more weight to the opinion of Constan¬ 
tine’s contemporaries than to the conjectures of modern 
scholars, if it is a question of conjecture. On the other hand, 
those who have been fortunate enough in modern times to 
hit upon places which seem to them to correspond to the 
requisite conditions are apt to express themselves very 
positively; so Colonel Conder, whose suggestion is marked 
on modem maps, regards it as a happy occurrence that the 
sacred site was trodden by the Crusaders without knowledge 
of its importance, and so spared the terrible scenes that 
were enacted at the taking of Jerusalem in the immediate 
neighbourhood of the site selected by Constantine. Scepti¬ 
cism has once or twice been expressed on the identity of the 
present location of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre with 
that of Constantine’s building; but for this there appears to 
be a continuous tradition, interrupted once or twice for 
a very few years only, not for a period during which there 
would be any probability of the sites being forgotten. Of 
the interruption of the tradition before the time of Constan¬ 
tine there is no question, but we have no accurate knowledge 
of the length of the break. In a city built on the plain, a site 

193 13 



yerusalem 

is easily rendered unrecognizable by such convulsions as 
befell Jerusalem and its neighbourhood in the three cen¬ 
turies which elapsed before Constantine built his church; but 
on such ground as is occupied by Jerusalem, landmarks are 
somewhat more permanent. 

In the period which followed the conversion of Constan¬ 
tine Jerusalem was adorned with many religious edifices, 
and the whole land began to teem with monasteries and the 
abodes of anchorites. There is a record of a strarige attempt 
made by the Emperor Julian to restore the Jewish Temple 
on the area which probably contained a disused sanctuary 
of Capitoline Jupiter, but for some reason or other this 
scheme was not carried out. The practice of pilgrimage to 
the sacred sites grew in popularity, and owing to vari¬ 
ous inconveniences that arose was at times discouraged, 
though with little effect, by the Fathers of the Church. The 
Empress Eudocia is said to have rebuilt the walls of the 
city, and to have founded various religious and philanthropic 
institutions both in and around the place. More importance at¬ 
taches to the buildings of the Emperor Justinian, who erected 
a hospital for sick pilgrims and finished the Church of the 
Virgin which the Patriarch Elias had begun. Twelve years 
were occupied in the erection of this edifice, of which con¬ 
temporary writers speak in enthusiastic terms. The platform 
on the Temple area selected for the building not being 
large enough, it was artificially increased by arches on 
substructures. New methods were devised for bringing on 
stones and columns of a size vast enough for the building 
contemplated. The hospital was to contain 200 beds, and 
substantial revenues were settled upon it. 

The Church of St Mary in some way escaped destruction, 
when in 614 the nearer East was invaded by Chosroes—that 
last dying exploit of the Sassanian Empire, whose days were 
numbered. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre was not equal- 

194 



Historical Sketch 

ly fortunate, as it, with all its contents, was burnt to the 
ground. The malice of the Persian invaders is said to have 
been directed by Jews, who, as usual, were destined to reap 
no permanent advantage from the catastrophe. If the figures 
of the historians are to be trusted, the massacre effected by 
the Persians must have been on as great a scale as any of 
the events of the kind witnessed by Jerusalem; 90,000 Chris¬ 
tians of both sexes are said to have perished, and 65,000 
corpses were presently gathered and deposited in a single 
cave outside the Western Gate. 

The news of this terrible blow to the Byzantine Empire 
penetrated into Arabia, where the Prophet Mohammed, still 
at Meccah, foretold that the Persian victory would shortly be 
followed by a defeat. The rebuilding of the Church of the 
Holy Sepulchre appears to have commenced almost as soon 
as the Persians had departed, the name of Modestus, supe¬ 
rior of the monastery of Theodosius, being connected with 
this restoration, which took ten years to accomplish. Moham¬ 
med’s prophecy was fulfilled fourteen years after its occa¬ 
sion, and in 628 the conqueror Heraclius visited the city on 
pilgrimage, and the part taken by the Jews in the former 
disaster was now visited on them heavily at the time when 
their brethren in Arabia were suffering persecution at the 
hands of another enemy. The imperial visit had doubtless 
the effect of causing the city to rise fast from its ruins, and 
a few years later a calculation, which may rest on tradition 
or conjecture, estimates the population of Jerusalem at 
12,000 Greeks and 50,000 natives, nearly the number of 
human beings which the city with its suburbs contains at 
the present day. 

But the restoration of Christian rule in Jerusalem was not 
destined to be permanent. A power of which there had been 
no previous indication was springing up at the time, des¬ 
tined to give Jerusalem a new lease of existence as a sacred 

195 130 



"Jerusalem 


city, while banishing Christianity, at least as a dominant 
religion, from the nearer East. On Mohammed’s mind the 
sanctity of Jerusalem had in his youth been impressed by 
those Jewish or Christian story-tellers with whom he had 
associated in his travels as a leader or as a follower of a 
caravan. And to him it had been portrayed as somewhat 
similar to the Bethel of Jacob’s dream; the place where 
there was a ladder between heaven and earth, whereby 
visitors could ascend or descend. For him who was to be 
permitted to approach the Deity’s abode Jerusalem was the 
starting point. Thither the Koran tells us the Prophet made 
a night journey from Meccah; and as dreamland is bound 
by no conditions of space or time, it was the Temple—long 
ruined and even polluted, but still the Furthest Sanctuary, 
furthest from us and so nearest to Allah—whither he was 
taken; it was there that—according to the tradition—he 
mounted the Pegasus that was to convey him to the upper 
world and its seven stories. Whether the tradition that 
gives us the details of this eventful journey is all of it or any 
of it Mohammed’s statement, cannot now be known; all that 
concerns history is that it was believed. Jerusalem was to 
the followers of Mohammed what Sinai was to ancient 
Israel, more than the unknown Mount of the Transfiguration 
ever became to Christians; and yet, just as most Islamic 
institutions are coloured by something out of both the pre¬ 
ceding systems, so the Furthest Mosque has associations 
similar to those that belong to each of these mountains. 
Starting thence the Prophet associated with some of his 
less mighty forerunners, and received the honours due to 
his worth; and thither he brought down some of the legisla¬ 
tion which through the ages is distinctive of Islam. So long 
as Mohammed was bent on holding no compromise with 
Meccan idolatry, it was to the Furthest Sanctuary that 
his followers were commanded to turn when they prayed. 

196 



Historical Sketch 

Only when circumstances rendered it necessary to conciliate 
Pagans and exasperate Jews, was Meccah substituted as 
the direction of prayer. 

Fourteen years after Mohammed’s flight from Meccah 
came the Moslem conquest of Syria, decided by the battle 
of Yarmuk. The Patriarch of Jerusalem was invited to de¬ 
liver up the city without resistance to the Caliph’s general, 
Abu Ubaidah, and since the terms of capitulation included 
security for life and property, religious toleration, and in¬ 
volved only the payment of a poll-tax and certain other by 
no means vexatious duties, not much difficulty was made 
about accepting them. As the Christians, it is said, de¬ 
clined to treat with anyone but the Caliph himself, perhaps 
doubting the power of any subordinate to make treaties, 
Omar, the second follower of the Prophet, then reigning at 
Medinah, decided to accept this condition, and came to re¬ 
ceive the capitulation of the sacred city. His name has ever 
since clung to it, in connexion with the Mosque of Omar, 
often falsely located. 

From 636 till July 15, 1099, the city remained under 
Moslem government; the nature of which renders religious 
toleration very variable, since it depends on the taste of the 
ruler for the time being whether non-Moslems shall be 
molested or not. And in such a city as Jerusalem, the pos¬ 
session of which could not fail to be an object of keen desire' 
to Jews and Christians, the tendency to fanaticism must 
always have been greater than in any part of the Moslem 
world, except perhaps the sanctuaries of Meccah and 
Medinah. 

TheMoslem conquesttended, therefore, to secure to Jerusa¬ 
lem sanctity similar to that which it had enjoyed under 
Byzantine rule, though to the Moslems it was one of three 
sanctuaries, to only one of which, and that not Jerusalem, 
pilgrimage was enjoined. When in Umayyad times the 

197 



Jerusalem 


Caliphate gravitated towards Damascus, Jerusalem ran a 
chance of becoming the central sanctuary, perhaps even the 
capital of Islam; but this prospect was found to be incapable 
of realization, and Islam would scarcely have survived such 
a shifting of its religious centre. If any place in Palestine 
could supplant Meccah, it should rather have been Hebron, 
the city of Ibrahim or Abraham, the mythical founder of 
the Islamic or Hanefite faith. The doctrine of the Koran 
connected the sacrifice of Abraham’s son not with Mount 
Moriah but with the neighbourhood of Meccah, where indeed 
the Ka’bah was supposed to have been rebuilt by Abraham 
and Ishmael; the heroes of Jerusalem were persons in the 
main respected indeed, but not of primary importance for 
Islam. 

In accordance with the territorial division which the Arabs 
took over from the Byzantines, Jerusalem was situated in 
the Jund [or army] of Filastin (Palestine), of which the 
capital was Ramlah, in the time of the Caliph Sulaiman 
( 7 I 5 _ 7 I 7 ) w h° founded it, and long after; when Ramlah had 
been destroyed by Saladdin in 1187, Jerusalem inherited the 
right to the title of capital in this province. But the history 
of Syria was chequered, and as the conquest of the Abbasids 
had meant the loss of the metropolis to that country, it had 
a tendency to fall to those usurpers whose efforts gradually 
led to the establishment of a western Caliphate, to which 
Syria regularly belonged. Professor Palmer observes that 
the ravages of the Carmathians in Arabia, where, in 929, 
Meccah itself was pillaged, and the Black Stone removed, led 
to Jerusalem being for a time the chief resort of Moslem pil¬ 
grims, a circumstance which also tended to cause a recru¬ 
descence of persecution. 

The annals of a cathedral town, especially when it is not 
the capital of a province, are unlikely to be exciting; and 
the scantiness of the annals of Jerusalem before the Frank- 

198 



Historical Sketch 

ish conquest and after it is easily explicable. Its history is 
little more than a record of damage and repair to the Chris¬ 
tian and the Moslem sanctuaries. This, as will be seen, is 
fairly well recorded, but the governors of the place were not 
sufficiently important for chronicles of their doings to be 
kept. The present condition of the city, in which the Chris¬ 
tian feasts are the matter of real importance, which the 
Moslems, whose religious concern they are not, have to 
regulate, is likely to reflect the state of affairs that has been 
normal since the Moslem conquest. The Moslem is a casual 
visitor, the Christian a visitor to be reckoned on. He is not 
a welcome guest, but as a show place lives by its visitors, 
it is unwise to discourage him too much. On the other hand, 
a place of pilgrimage loses something of its attractiveness, 
if it be too accessible; exploits over which no risk is in¬ 
curred are of little honour. So long then as the Christian 
pilgrims were only moderately humiliated and fleeced, Jeru¬ 
salem could prosper. 

Mr Lestrange, whose Palestine under the Moslems contains 
extracts from Moslem writers both before and after the Cru¬ 
saders, lucidly arranged and interpreted with reference to 
the present topography of Jerusalem, has drawn attention to 
the descriptions of Jerusalem by Moslems who wrote at the 
end of the tenth and in the middle of the eleventh century 
respectively. The first of these was a native of the place, 
whose description is somewhat coloured by patriotism, and 
by the theory of the heavenly Jerusalem. The second, a Per¬ 
sian visitor, of excellent repute as a writer, estimated the 
population at twenty thousand, and fancied that as many 
more Moslem pilgrims sometimes came in the month of 
pilgrimage. 

Numbers of Christians also came on pilgrimage, and the 
Jews had a synagogue which was to them what the Church 
of the Holy Sepulchre was to the Christians; the native writer 

199 



^Jerusalem 

of half a century before declared that these two communities 
had all the power. One can hear similar complaints from 
Moslems now in Turkish cities. Both praise the place for 
its cleanliness; which, however, they rightly attribute to the 
geographical position of the city, and to the mode in which 
the streets are laid out, which permits impurities to be carried 
down by the rain. Of the list of eight gates made in the tenth 
century only one, the Bab al-Amud (called by Europeans the 
Damascus Gate) has preserved its name [up to the present 
time. The sites of the remainder are not difficult of identifica¬ 
tion. Perhaps some of these may be on the same sites as gates 
mentioned by Nehemiah, though the variations in the ele¬ 
vation of the soil renders this doubtful. 

In spite of the assertions of these writers the condition of 
the Christians within Jerusalem, as in other places where Mos¬ 
lems were in power, was precarious in the highest degree. They 
were in a way hostages for the good behaviour of their co¬ 
religionists outside; and activity on the part of the Christian 
powers might be avenged on them. Moreover, Islam was 
lacerated by internal wars, and the contributions which the 
different aspirants to power required for the support of their 
armies could more easily and conveniently be levied on un¬ 
believers than on believers. The Crusades were preceded by 
armies of pilgrims, large enough to inspire suspicion, though 
not of sufficient size to attempt violence with much hope of suc¬ 
cess. The destruction of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre 
in 1010 by the mad Hakim had aroused some indignation in 
Europe, and the Seljuke rule, which at Baghdad was ac¬ 
companied at first by violent disorders, had put the Chris¬ 
tians of Palestine in a worse plight than before. The Jews, 
whether truly or not, were supposed to get at the ear of 
Moslem sovereigns, and avenge the ill-treatment of their 
brethren in Europe by falsely accusing the Christians of the 
East. Yet all the wrongs of the branches of the Church sub- 

200 



Historical Sketch 

ject to Moslems, and all the humiliations to which pilgrims 
from the West were subjected, would have produced no effect, 
had not one man been found gifted with the'enthusiasm, the 
eloquence, and the energy to transform sentiment into words 
and action. The historians of the Crusades rightly give Peter 
the Hermit a place beside the most powerful movers of human 
masses that are known to fame. That such a man should have 
proved but an indifferent fighter is not surprising; credit 
must be given him for the possession of more organizing 
ability than many mere rousers of enthusiasm have been 
able to display. 

The movement started by Peter the Hermit led to the 
foundation of the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem, of which lucid 
accounts have been given by Conder, Palmer and many 
others. On Friday, July 15, 1099, after a siege of forty days, 
Jerusalem was taken by the forces led by Godfrey of Bouil¬ 
lon, who himself was the first to scale the wall. His scaling 
tower, which had been vainly tried on the east of the city, 
was advanced with greater effect on the north side of the 
wall, near the gate called after Herod; and when once the 
city had been entered on this side, the forces of Raymond 
of Toulouse entered without difficulty from the west and 
south. The vanquished Moslems sought refuge partly in the 
Haram area, and partly in the Tower of David. In the for¬ 
mer place a massacre took place, in which the slain are es¬ 
timated by Arabic writers, accustomed to exaggerate, at 
70,000; while the other refugees appear to have been sent 
in safety to Askalon by the efforts of Count Raymond. The 
impression created by the news in the Moslem world was 
vast. An attempt was made at Baghdad, its centre, to start 
a rival crusade for the delivery of the captured city, but the 
time was not yet ripe amid Moslem dissensions for such an 
enterprise. 

Godfrey was appointed ruler of the reclaimed city, where 

201 



Jerusalem 


he refused on religious grounds to bear the title king. He 
proceeded to transform the mosques into what many of them 
had been before, Christian churches, and to arrange on 
western lines for the proper maintenance of these as also of 
those churches which the Christians had under Moslem do¬ 
mination been allowed to retain. A patriarch was soon ap¬ 
pointed without reference to either the local Church or to 
the Pope; and a code of laws gradually drawn up which has 
won much admiration, as displaying a spirit far in advance 
of the time to which it belongs. For military purposes a 
modification of the feudal system of Europe was introduced 
in the new kingdom, which was to include all Palestine, 
with certain vassaldoms beyond its confines. 

Among the most remarkable phenomena of the Crusades 
was the establishment of the orders at once military and 
ecclesiastical of the Templars and the Knights of St John. 
The Templars were lodged in the Aksa Mosque, which at 
first was used as a royal palace; when in 1118 the Order 
was founded, King Baldwin removed to other quarters, and 
the knights were housed in what they called the Temple of 
Solomon, to which they made various additions for religious 
and other needs. The Muristan, now incorporated in the re¬ 
cently built German Church, retains the memory of the 
Hospice of the Knights of St John, who there had two 
buildings of this nature, one for males and another for fe¬ 
males. They were not the first buildings of the sort for the 
use of Christians even since Moslem domination; since the 
good relations between Charlemagne and the famous Harun 
al-Rashid had rendered it possible for the former to found 
a hospice in Jerusalem, and in general obtain tolerable con¬ 
ditions for the Christians resident there. A third Order, 
the Teutonic, also had a hospital of St Mary in Jerusalem, 
founded after that of St John’s Knights, for the accommo¬ 
dation of German pilgrims. 


202 



Historical Sketch 

The theory of the Frankish kings appears to have been 
to exclude Moslems from Jerusalem, just as non-Moslems 
were excluded from the Arabian sanctuaries. In order to 
replenish the devastated city the second king, Baldwin I, 
brought into it a number of Syrians from villages beyond 
Jordan. The needs of trade appear to have caused the ad¬ 
mission of a certain number of Jews into the city during 
Frankish times, since a traveller found two hundred Jewish 
dyers living under the Tower of David. The various branches 
of the Oriental Church, Abyssinians, Armenians, Copts, 
Georgians and the different sects of Syrians appear to have 
all found representation in the Frankish city, just as they 
find it now. 

Whereas at one time it was supposed that the West 
owed much of its architecture to the East, the converse 
is now very generally believed. “The monuments,” says 
Colonel Conder, “which the Latins left behind them 
attest their mastery in the art of building. The ma¬ 
sonry was far more ftruly cut than that of the Byzan¬ 
tines. The slender clustered pillars, the bold sharp relief 
of the foliaged capitals, the intricate designs of cor¬ 
nices witness their skill as masons and sculptors.” The 
authors of The Survey of Western Palestine have made out a 
list of thirty-seven churches known to have existed in Jeru¬ 
salem or in the vicinity of the city walls in the twelfth cen¬ 
tury. “Nor,” they add, “is this all that remains of the 
crusading town, for wherever the explorer walks through 
the Holy City he encounters mediaeval remains. The whole 
of the present Meat Bazaar, adjoining the Hospital of St 
John on the east, is crusading work, representing the old 
street of Malcuisinat; and the walls of the street leading 
thence towards the Damascus Gate, together with a fine 
vaulted building on the east side, are of mediaeval masonry. 
The present Tower of David is the Crusading Castle of the 

203 



Jerusalem 


Pisans, which was rebuilt as soon as the city was taken by 
Godfrey. The so-called Kal’at Jalut in the north-west angle 
of the present city is the mediaeval Tancred’s Tower.” 

The Frankish kingdom of Jerusalem lasted eighty-eight 
years, and the throne was occupied during that time by 
nine sovereigns, one of them an infant, and more than one 
under the influence of a woman. Apparently western govern¬ 
ment of eastern states can only be carried on successfully 
when the western invader is not a colonist, but a temporary 
occupant, to be replaced after a time by some one fresh from 
the West; the colonist speedily degenerates and cannot even 
cope with the indigenous inhabitant. Although the State 
founded by the Crusaders was perhaps less disturbed by 
wars and dangers than the ordinary histories of the time 
might lead the reader to believe, and the condition of Mos¬ 
lems subject to the Frankish king was not intolerable, the new 
kingdom took no root, and it is agreed by students that the ef¬ 
fect produced by the Crusaders on Europe was far greater than 
anything which they achieved in Asia. It has been pointed 
out that many Arabic words remain in European languages, 
as mementoes of that enterprise, whereas few, if any, Frankish 
words have got into the vernaculars of Syria or Egypt in 
consequence of the presence of the knights. When once the 
differences between the sections of the Islamic world had 
been appeased by the great Saladdin, the ejection of the 
Franks ceased to be impossible. The final battle, of Tiberias 
or Hattin, fought July 2, 1187, ended with the army of the 
King of Jerusalem being annihilated by Saladdin, and the 
King himself, Guy of Lusignan, falling into the Moslem 
leader’s hands. The defeat appears to have been due to in¬ 
competent leadership on the Christian side, not to brilliant 
generalship on the part of Saladdin. The effect, however, 
was the same. Town after town now fell back into Moslem 
hands, and after a futile attempt at resistance Jerusalem was 

204 



JERUSALEM: THE DOME OF KAIT BEY 
[kaietbai], HARAM-ES-SHEREEF 
[sharif] 








Historical Sketch. 

given back by capitulation to Saladdin on October 2 of the 
same year. Few events in the history of Islam are more 
honourable than Saladdin’s entry into Jerusalem without mas¬ 
sacre and without pillage. According to the Mohammedan his¬ 
torian of Jerusalem the number of the inhabitants at the time 
was 100,000, from whom ransom was demanded at the rate 
of ten dinars per man, five per woman and one per child. 
Guards were stationed at the gates, and only those who paid 
their ransom allowed to go out. Yet several managed to 
climb down the walls, and many were released on one pre¬ 
text or another, the Sultan being kind-hearted. 

The recovery of Jerusalem by the Moslem Sultan counted 
in the East as no less an exploit than its conquest had 
counted in the West, and pilgrimages to Jerusalem com¬ 
menced from all Islamic countries. The Frankish residents 
sold their goods for whatever they would fetch, being an¬ 
xious to quit a Moslem city; and it was suggested to the Sul¬ 
tan to seize the gold and silver in the churches, as not 
having been included by the capitulation, but he, anxious 
for the fair fame of Islam in Europe, refused to profit by this 
suggestion. Owing to the crusade for the second recovery of 
Jerusalem in which the English king, Richard I, played so 
noteworthy a part, Saladdin deemed it advisable to streng¬ 
then the fortifications of the city, and for that purpose came 
and took up his abode in the hospital near the Church of the 
Holy Sepulchre, now called Muristan. Artisans were sent 
for from Mosul, with whom 2,000 Christian prisoners were 
compelled to work; a series of towers was constructed from 
the Jaffa to the Damascus Gate, a trench being at the same 
time excavated in the rock, whence the stones were used in 
erecting the towers. The Sultan himself set the example of 
carrying stones on his saddle, and the whole Moslem popu¬ 
lation, including ecclesiastical and military dignitaries, 
helped in the work. In this way operations that might have 

205 



Jerusalem 

taken, we are told,m any years were accomplished very quickly. 
The English forces did not actually besiege Jerusalem on this 
occasion, as a treaty was made between Richard and Sa- 
laddin, securing certain advantages for the Christians in 
the holy city. Whence its great number of Moslem inhabi¬ 
tants had come we are not told; but probably the state of 
war caused many to be homeless, and of the Moslem pilgrims 
attracted by the recovery of the place many may have been 
induced to remain by the favourable conditions on which 
property could be purchased; and the colleges of Baghdad 
musthavebeen turning out numerous jurists and theologians 
anxious to be placed. A certain number of Christians, we are 
told, asked and obtained leave to continue residing in the 
city on the terms granted by Moslem rulers to tolerated cults. 

The work of Saladdin was not to remain undisturbed. In 
1219, when Damietta was being besieged by the Franks, Isa, 
called al-Muazzam, who had inherited Syria from his father 
al-Adil, fearing that Jerusalem might again be taken by the 
Christians, sent a party of masons and sappers to destroy it. 
This measure was followed by a general stampede of the in¬ 
habitants, who disposed of their property at ruinous prices. 
The people who remained assembled in solemn supplication 
at the two great sanctuaries on the Temple area, where this 
sovereign had himself carried out many works of decoration, 
besides founding schools for the study of law and grammar 
in the vicinity.Doubtless the idea of this prince was the humane 
and advanced one that the only way to avoid disputes between 
thetwo religions was to render the city common property, each 
secthavingfree access to its own sanctuary—a condition which 
would be rendered impossible by the presence of walls and 
fortresses, which must necessarily be in the possession of one 
party, only too likely to tyrannize over the other. The prince 
should have lived either much earlier or much later for his 
views to be practical. 


206 



Historical Sketch 

Some authorities go so far as to assert that his workmen 
reduced the whole city to a heap of ruins with the exception 
of the great Christian and Moslem sanctuaries and the Tower 
of David. The demolition of these walls shortly afterwards 
caused the failure of negotiations for the restoration of Jeru¬ 
salem to the Franks, as an indemnity was demanded which 
the Egyptian Sultan refused to pay. In 1229 owing to the 
quarrels between the representatives of the Ayyubid family 
the Emperor Frederic II succeeded in obtaining the ruined 
city from the Egyptian Sultan, on condition that the walls 
should not be rebuilt, and that there should be no interference 
with the sanctuaries on the Temple area. These terms natur¬ 
ally gave little satisfaction to either of the contending re¬ 
ligions. For eleven years the Franks held the cityunder them, 
when al-Nasir, prince of Kerak, on the pretence that the 
conditions under which the sacred city was held were being 
violated by its fortification, attacked the place, and levelled 
to the ground the Tower of David which al-Muazzam had 
spared. But four years afterwards (1243) on the arrival of the 
Duke of Cornwall, brother of Henry III, with a company of 
English Crusaders the former treaty was renewed, the Prince 
of Kerak who was in possession finding it desirable to obtain 
the aid of the Franks for purposes of his own. It was not, 
however, to remain long in European hands. The next year 
the Egyptian Sultan obtained the help of the subjects of the 
Khwarizm-Shah, driven from their country by the Mongol 
hordes, and 20,000 of these appeared before Jerusalem, whose 
defences had only begun to rise after their complete demoli¬ 
tion. The Khwarizmians, whom history represents as little 
less savage than the Mongols, swept away the Christian 
population, beheaded the priests ministering at the altar in 
the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and wrought great havoc 
in that edifice; the graves of the kings there buried were 
opened and their ashes scattered, and other churches in and 

207 



Jerusalem 

about the city were desecrated or demolished. Since the year 
1244 Jerusalem has remained in Moslem hands. 

With other possessions of the Ayyubids, Jerusalem was 
handed on to the Mamluke dynasties, whence it came into 
possession of the Turks. The attitude adopted by these 
dynasties towards Jews and Christians was ordinarily tole¬ 
rant, and both Jews and Melchite Christians undoubtedly 
received better treatment under their rule than under that 
of the Franks. At no time since the abandonment of the 
Crusades has the City of David been the focus of public at¬ 
tention in both East and West as it was when Europe and 
Asia were contending for its possession. It sinks into pro¬ 
vincial mediocrity, and is entirely overshadowed by Cairo 
or Constantinople, the capital whence it derives its ruler. 
Even its special historians have little to say about it from 
this time. To the imperial historians it is chiefly of interest 
as a place of exile or retirement of eminent men who com¬ 
memorate their residence there by some benefaction. The 
ruined fortifications appear to have lain in heaps till the 
time of the Ottoman Sultan Sulaiman, the builder of the 
existing walls which bear date 1542. To the Christians the 
chief interest of the place lay in the Church of the Holy 
Sepulchre; to the Moslems in the Temple area. For these two 
sanctuaries Jerusalem might be said to exist. 

In order to be true to the title of this book, a little should 
be said about the work done by the Mamluke Sultans for the 
decoration of the city. Baibars I, who built a mosque over 
the supposed Tomb of Moses, is said to have instituted the 
festival in honour of the “ Prophet Moses," which to this 
day serves as a sort of counterpoise to the Greek Easter. He 
renewed “the stonework which is above the marble ” of the 
Dome of the Rock. Outside the city on the north-west he 
built in the year 1264 a Khan or Hospice, which he adorned 
with a door taken from the Fatimide palace in Cairo, and 

208 



THE GATE OF THE COTTON MER¬ 
CHANTS, JERUSALEM 










H 


TOWER ANTONIA, JERUSALEM 











































































SOUTH PORCH OF MOSQUE AND 
SUMMER PULPIT, JERUSALEM 










Historical Sketch 

on which he settled the revenues of several villages in the 
neighbourhood of Damascus. The building contained a mill 
and a bakehouse, as well as a mosque. Its purpose was to 
harbour visitors (perhaps belated visitors) to the city, and an 
arrangement was made for the distribution of bread at the 
door. In Mujir al-din’s time the revenues had already been 
sequestrated, and no more bread was handed out. Baibars 
also repaired the Dome of the Chain. 

The Sultan Ketbogha is credited with having done some 
repairs to the stonework of the Dome of the Rock, and 
having rebuilt the wall of the Temple area which overlooks 
the cemetery of the Bab al-Rahmah in the year 1299. His 
successor Lajin renewed the mihrab of David in the southern 
wall near the Cradle of Jesus. 

The great builder Mohammed al-Nasir naturally left some 
memorials of his taste in Jerusalem. He faced the front of 
the Aksa Mosque with marble, and opened in it two windows 
which are to the right and left of the mihrab. This was done 
in the year 1330-1331. He had the domes of the two chief 
edifices regilt, so well, says Mujir al-din, that, though in his 
time 180 years had passed since the operation, the work still 
looked brand-new. He rebuilt the Gate of the Cotton-mer¬ 
chants in very elaborate style. 

The Sultan Sha'ban, grandson of Nasir, built the minaret 
near the Gate of the Tribes in the year 1367. He renewed 
the wooden doors of the Aksa Mosque, and the arches over 
the western stairs in the Court of the Dome, opposite to the 
Bab al-Nazir, nine years later. The next year the Fran¬ 
ciscans on Mount Sion were massacred by this Sultan’s 
order. 

The great Sultan Barkuk built the Mueddin’s bench oppo¬ 
site the mihrab in the Dome of the Rock, and repaired the 
Sultan’s Pool outside Jerusalem on the west. The author 
quoted remarks that it had gone to ruin and was useless in 

211 14a 



Jerusalem 

his day. In 1394 a governor named Shihab al-din al- 
Yaghmuri, appointed by Barkuk, placed on the western 
door of the Dome a marble slab containing a declaration 
that various imposts instituted by former governors had 
been remitted. 

The following Sultan Faraj placed on the wall of the Bab 
al-Silsilah a slab declaring that in future the Sultan’s repre¬ 
sentative at Meccah and Medinah must be a different person 
from the governor of Jerusalem, which was to form an 
administrative unit with Hebron. The effect of this edict was 
quite temporary. 

The Sultan Jakmak on the occasion of his turning the 
Christians out of the Tomb of David in the year 1452 insti¬ 
tuted a severe inquisition into the monasteries of Palestine, 
and, in consequence of this, damage was done to the Church 
of the Holy Sepulchre and other Christian edifices. New 
constructions raised by the Franciscans in the Monastery 
of Mount Sion were demolished, and a chapel erected by 
them near their cloister was in 1491 destroyed by order of 
Kaietbai. 

We may now condense the history of the two chief sites. 
The Temple area, containing the Dome of the Rock and 
the Furthest Mosque, counts, as we have seen, as one of 
the three great sanctuaries of Islam. On the Israelitish 
temples that once stood there much has been written, and 
ingenious reconstructions of them are exhibited by the heirs 
of the late Dr Shick; it does not come within our scope to 
do more than allude to them. When Jerusalem was taken 
by the Moslems, the church erected by Justinian was on 
part of the area; and a late writer who narrates the erection 
of the Moslem temple, states that Omar prayed in this 
building. For the rest the account reproduced by E. H. 
Palmer of the founding of the Furthest Mosque has been 
shown by Mr Lestrange to be apocryphal. It belongs to a 

212 



Historical Sketch 

period after the recovery of Jerusalem from the Franks, 
when the Arabs produced many an historical romance, and 
the exploits of the early heroes of Islam were adorned with 
divers fabulous details. According to these works Omar, 
coming to the Sacred City to receive the capitulation of the 
Patriarch, demands to be shown the Furthest Sanctuary. 
He is taken to the Church of the Resurrection, but tells his 
guide that he lies; he is then conducted to another church, 
and again refuses to be cajoled; finally, he is brought to the 
Temple area, which, from Christian spite against the Jews, 
is covered so thickly with refuse that it can scarcely be ap¬ 
proached. The Caliph proceeds in great humility to clear 
away the refuse with his cloak, and his followers aid him. 
Even when this work of purification has been performed, the 
area has to be three times cleansed by rain from heaven 
before prayer on it is permitted. Apparently this story is in 
the main an etymological myth, to account for the name 
Kumamah (sweepings) applied by Moslems not to the Temple 
area, but to the Church of the Resurrection (Kiyamah). The 
connexion of Omar’s name with the Dome of the Rock is 
probably due to the tradition of his clearing the site. A 
curious description of a building by him above the Rock 
has been preserved by Adamnan, Abbot of St Columba, as 
related to him by a French pilgrim, Bishop Arculphus. He 
states that the Mosque of the Saracens was a square build¬ 
ing, put together of planks and beams yet large enough to 
contain 3,000 worshippers. 

The building by Omar of a Mosque in Jerusalem is, how¬ 
ever, not recorded by early Arabic historians, though Mr 
Lestrange has discovered an allusion to it in the Byzantine 
chronicler Theophanes. Of that which now bears his name 
the Arabic geographers appear to take no notice; it is a 
meagre building, probably meant to commemorate a site 
on which the Caliph said his prayers, he having magnani- 

213 



mously, according to the legend, refused to do this in the 
Church of the Holy Sepulchre, for fear this might afterwards 
give the Moslems a title to the place ; a story which implies 
that Omar possessed a remarkable power of projecting him¬ 
self into the future. That the Moslems who took Jerusalem 
did not seize the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is doubtless 
due to the fact that this site could have no interest for them, 
since their system denies both the death and resurrection of 
the Christian Saviour; the very name Holy Sepulchre in¬ 
volves according to them mendacity almost comparable to 
that of the Cretans. The Temple area contains two sacred 
buildings of primary importance, the Dome of the Rock 
which is in the centre, and the Furthest Mosque. Both are 
ascribed to the Caliph Abd al-Malik, who reigned from 
685-705, and who had a political reason for endeavouring to 
make Jerusalem once more supersede Meccah as the great 
place of pilgrimage. Belonging to the Umayyad dynasty, 
which, though descended from the most stubborn of the 
Prophet’s opponents, had, through the ability of Mu’awiyah, 
the first Umayyad Caliph, not only usurped the Prophet’s 
throne, but made it an hereditary possession, he had the same 
reasons as Jeroboam of old for wishing to divert the stream 
of pilgrimage from the place where both objects and persons 
would remind the visitors that their sovereign was seated 
on a throne to which others had a better claim. The worship 
of a stone was held by the ancients to be the main article 
of Arabian religion, and to this sentiment Mohammed had 
to give way, though Omar was notoriously reluctant to re¬ 
tain the ceremony of kissing the Black Stone, which was 
the nucleus of the Meccan Ka’bah, the surrounding sanctu¬ 
ary, and of Islam. Abd al-Malik, like most of the Umayyads, 
considering religion as of political value only, fancied he 
could satisfy his co-religionists if he provided them with a 
stone and a sanctuary round it, and appears deliberately to 


214 



DOME OF THE ROCK FROM THE MOS¬ 
QUE AL AKSA,JERUSALEM 












Historical Sketch 

have started the cult of the Rock round which he in the 
year 691 built the Dome which was to correspond with the 
Ka’bah, ordaining at the same time a ceremony similar to 
the time-honoured circuit round the Meccan shrine. Like 
Jeroboam he went so far as to forbid the pilgrimage pre¬ 
scribed in the Koran, and substitute his own for it. The 
second founder of the Abbasid line of Caliphs, whose capital 
Baghdad became world-famous, made a similar endeavour, 
and for the same reason; the fear that a visit to Meccah 
might turn Moslems into partisans of the Prophet’s descen¬ 
dants. But even in the year 691 the ordinances of Islam were 
too deeply rooted to permit of so tremendous an innovation; 
and later writers, regarding even the attempt as inconsistent 
with ordinary prudence, suppose the sagacious Caliph’s 
purpose to have been to counteract the effect produced on 
men’s minds by the magnificence of Christian churches 
existing at the time at Jerusalem and elsewhere. 

It should be observed that some eminent authorities identify 
the Dome of the Rock with Justinian’s Church of S. Sophia, 
and it has even been suggested that the Rock is itself one 
of the sites regarded as Golgotha. This opinion has, however, 
few supporters. 

With regard to the Stone it appears that nothing is known 
of it prior to the statement of the Bordeaux Pilgrim, who 
visited Jerusalem A.D. 333, and asserts that near the two 
equestrian statues of the Emperor Hadrian still standing on 
the Temple Area there was a pierced stone which it was the 
custom of the Jews to anoint with oil once in the year, when 
they wailed and tore their garments, after which ceremonies 
they retired. The process of pouring oil on stones belongs to 
the pre-Mosaic religion of the patriarchs; it has no coun¬ 
tenance in the law of Moses. We find, however, that accor¬ 
ding to the Moslem tradition the anointing of the stone 
was ordered by the Umayyad Abd al-Malik, and continued 

215 



Jerusalem 

till his dynasty closed. It would seem, then, that what the 
Dome of the Rock restored was not a Mosaic cult, but one 
which belongs to a different stratum of the Israelitish re¬ 
ligion, which somehow was continued, probably in secret, 
during the domination of Judaism, and after the destruction 
of the Temple was revived. The ordinary theory identifies the 
rock with the site of the altar of burnt sacrifice, whence the 
blood is supposed to have been conveyed into a chamber 
below the rock, whence it was drained into the Kedron. Other 
suggestions have been made by eminent explorers. 

The name of Abd al-Malik lies concealed in the inscrip¬ 
tion above the cornice of the octagonal colonnade which 
supports the Dome. For Abd al-Malik the name of Mamun, 
who reigned from 813 to 833 has been substituted, the 
alteration being still noticeable in the crowding of the let¬ 
ters, and the different tint of the tiles. The person who made 
this alteration forbore to alter the date also, whence Mamun 
is said to build this Dome in the year 691 [72 A.H.], nearly 
a century before his birth. From M. van Berchem’s Corpus of 
Cairene inscriptions we have already had examples of this 
mode of alteration, which reminds us of the treatment by an¬ 
cient compilers of the documents which they embodied in their 
books, resulting in contradictory statements being left side by 
side. M. van Berchem thinks that the bronze plates above 
the northern and eastern doors belong to the period of Abd 
al-Malik, but in these cases both names and dates have been 
altered, the latter to the year 216 A.H. [831 A.D.] 

The quotations of Mr Lestrange show that the shape and 
appearance of the Dome have varied very slightly since its 
foundation by Abd al-Malik, though during the period that 
has elapsed it has frequently suffered from earthquake, and 
the episode of the occupation of Jerusalem by the Franks 
might have been expected to leave a permanent mark upon 
it. The chief effect of the Frankish possession would seem to 

216 



HARAM ES SHEREEF [SHARIF], 
JERUSALEM 










DOME OF THE ROCK, INTERIOR 









































Historical Sketch 

be found in the chipping away of pieces of the Rock to be 
taken to Europe as relics; the priests in charge of the Rock 
being amply paid for these fragments. This abuse is said to 
have led to its being paved over as a precaution; Saladdin 
ordered the pavement to be removed, the Moslem theory of 
sacred objects beingdifferentfromtheChristian. The accounts 
given by different visitors vary somewhat as to the number 
of columns, but in most matters are in striking agreement 
with the present condition of the edifice. Abd el-Malik un¬ 
doubtedly employed Byzantine artists for his building, and 
to them is due the extremely rich mosaics which cover the 
arcades above the columns, form a wide border round the 
dome and fill the spaces between the windows. The cubes are 
not only of glass coloured and gilt, but of ebony and mother- 
of-pearl,whichlatter material gives a lovely translucent effect 
in the dim light beneath the dome. The designs are chiefly 
large vases and crowns whence wreaths andgarlands depend. 

Other sovereigns who have left inscriptions in the Dome, 
commemoratin g work d one by them in restoring or beautifying 
it, are the Fatimide Caliph Zahir (1022 A.D.), who rebuiltit after 
it had fallen in, in consequence of the earthquake of the year 
1016; Saladdin (1187), who renewed the gilding; the great 
Cairene builder, Nasir son of Kala’un (1318 and 1319) and 
the Ottoman Sultan Mahmud II; the last repaired the Dome 
in the first third of the nineteenth century, but the inscription 
which records what he did is imperfect. Of the restoration 
by Sulaiman the Magnificent (1520-1566) there is no com¬ 
memorative inscription. 

Yet much of the special beauty of the mosque is due to him; 
it was he who restored the cupola and altered its windows, 
the arches of which are slightly pointed, while the older and 
wider arches beneath are round; he filled them with coloured 
glass in an elaborate settingof small patterns, so thatthelight 
filters through with rich effect. He substituted Persian tiles on 

219 



Jerusalem 


the upper parts of the outer fa$ade for El-Walid’s mosaics: for 
this he probably imported Persian potters, as his predecessors 
had mosaic workers. On the broad border round the building 
a broken colour effect is obtained by the juxtaposition of 
enamelled bricks of very varied shades, chiefly blues, from tur¬ 
quoise to full and dark tints relieved with pale and rich 
greens, while the bricks of the archivolts are glazed on 
their outer surfaces with blue and white alternately. The 
pilasters between the windows are chiefly of a golden brown. 
These, however, seem to have suffered more from restoration 
than other parts. And there must be frequent occasion for 
restoration. We saw workmen without ladders attempting 
to remove weeds growing far above them with a long pole 
pointed with metal; this while ineffective against plants, as 
it could at most cut off their leaves, scratched the enamel 
and occasionally knocked out a tile. Several bays have lost 
their marble casing and are temporarily covered with a 
plastering like mud, till Yildiz Kiosk allows the replacing of 
the slabs, which are, we were assured, ready to hand. 

The other great building whichoccupies part of the Temple 
area, the Aksa or Furthest Mosque, was probably built at 
the same time as the Dome of the Rock or rather trans¬ 
formed into a mosque from the remains of Justinian’s 
Church; but there appears to be no authentic account of its 
origin. The later romancers state that in Abd al-Malik’s time 
the gates were covered with plates of gold and silver, which 
were stripped off and turned into money by order of the 
Abbasid Mansur, who utilized the sum so obtained for re¬ 
storing the Mosque after the ravages of an earthquake, 
which had wrecked it shortly before the fall of the Umayyad 
dynasty. Another earthquake brought the building down 
after this restoration, and the Caliph Mahdi (775-785 A.D.) 
had it rebuilt, but with the proportions somewhat altered; 
for supposing that the weakness of the edifice had been oc- 

220 



Historical Sketch 

casioned by excessive length and deficient breadth, he made 
the new building shorter but broader than the old. It has 
been shown that these Caliphs did actually visit Jerusalem, 
whence there is no inherent improbability in the romancers’ 
statements with regard to the successive restorations, though 
the story of the gold and silver plates is probably apocry¬ 
phal. According to a geographer of the tenth century, in the 
restoration effected by Mahdi, the rebuilding of the several 
colonnades was assigned by the Caliph to various governors, 
but a portion of the ancient edifice and that supported on 
marble columns, remained embedded in the new. A marble 
colonnade on the north side had been added in the first half 
of the ninth century by the governor of Khorasan. 

The account of the building given by the historian of Jeru¬ 
salem at the end of the fifteenth century agrees very closely 
with its present condition, but those historians who de¬ 
scribed it before the times of thei Crusaders appear to have 
seen a much more magnificent edifice, double the width of 
the present Mosque, with 280 pillars supporting the roof, and 
fifteen aisles. The Mosque has now seven aisles only. The 
dimensions, according to the eleventh-century traveller, were 
420 by 150 cubits, the former a wholly impossible figure, for 
which Mr Lestrange reads 120, making the width greater 
thanthelength. Another English writer supposes the Mosque 
to have suffered in the taking of Jerusalem by the Crusaders, 
and accounts for its reduced dimensions (230 feet by 170) by 
the work of the Franks, who, however, are supposed to have 
added rather than to have taken away, and whose work was 
removed without much difficulty, it would seem, by Saladdin. 
In the case of a building at Jerusalem the chance of exaggera¬ 
tion cannot be eliminated, whence it seems doubtful whether 
there is any necessity for the hypothesis to which reference 
has been made. 

The small Dome of the Chain, which is a few paces east of 

221 



Jerusalem 

the Dome of the Rock, is supported on seventeen pillars, 
without any enclosing wall, except on the kiblah side. 
Moslem writers have fabulous accounts of the reason why a 
chain was suspended from this dome, which in Frankish days 
is said to have been called the Chapel of St James the Less. 
Mr Lestrange has, in this case, too, the merit of having refuted 
certain fictions that have got into European works from a 
late Arabic historian of Jerusalem, with reference to the 
origin of this building, which may be as old as the Dome of 
the Rock. A dome should serve to shelter something, pro¬ 
bably an image, and the fact of this dome being open all 
round is evidence that its original purpose must have been 
something of the kind. 

Another of the many isolated buildings is a little sebil or 
drinking fountain built in 1445 by Kaietbai, of whose palace 
in Cairo we have an illustration and who has left traces at 
Damascus also of his love of building. This fountain is 
thoroughly Egyptian in style, and bears considerable re¬ 
semblance to Kaietbai’s tomb, especially in the shape of 
the cupola, its ornamentation of arabesques and its metal 
finial. 

Of the other domes and sanctuaries included in the Temple 
area the existence is certified at different times before the 
Crusades, but there would appear to have been some varia¬ 
tion both in their names and location. The same is true of 
the eleven gates of the area. 

We have seen that the Church of the Holy Sepulchre goes 
back to the time of Constantine, who enclosed the three 
sites of importance within a single building. After the de¬ 
struction of the church by Chosroes three, or according to 
some authorities four, separate churches were erected in the 
same area. In 1010 the church was again destroyed by order 
of the Fatimide Caliph Hakim; various accounts are given 
of the motive or occasion for this arbitrary proceeding, and, 

222 



DAMASCUS FROM THE SALAHIYEH 
[salihiyyah], SUNSET OVER 
THE CITY 











SUMMER PULPIT, HARAM AREA 






































































HOUSE OF NAAMAN, DAMASCUS 




BK 





Historical Sketch 

as might be expected, the Jews are supposed to have had 
a hand in it. In the case of this particular despot it is unne¬ 
cessary to search for either. Rebuilding is said to have 
commenced shortly afterwards, but it would appear that 
serious operations did not begin till 1037, after lengthy ne¬ 
gotiations between the Byzantine Emperors and the Egyp¬ 
tian Caliphs; the church, in the condition in which it was 
found by the Crusaders, was finished by the year 1048, chiefly 
at the expense of Constantine Monomachus, who sent Byzan¬ 
tine architects for the purpose. The cave of the sepulchre 
was surmounted by a circular church, while detached chapels 
were erected over the other sites, which were now, owing to 
the accumulation of legends, more numerous than they had 
been in the time of Constantine or Heraclius. The Franks 
enlarged the Rotunda, which covered the sepulchre, by the 
addition of the choir, from the south-east of which walls 
were built so as to include the Calvary chapel, while on the 
east the choir was connected through the Chapel of St He¬ 
lena with the Chapel of the Invention of the Cross. During 
the Frankish period the Church was, of course, in the pos¬ 
session of the Latins, whereas after the conquest of the city 
by Saladdin the Greeks resumed possession; certain rights 
were afterwards purchased for the Latins in 1305, and in 
1342 they obtained possession of the Chapel of the Appari¬ 
tion. Of the damage done to the church by the Khwariz- 
mians when the city was finally restored to the Moslems 
mention has already been made, and at some time all 
entrances were closed except one in order to save Moslems 
trouble in the collection of admission fees from pilgrims. 
In 1502 Peter Martyr was sent by Ferdinand of Aragon to 
negotiate a treaty for the defence of pilgrims and the main¬ 
tenance of the sanctuaries. In 1598 the Pasha of Damascus 
wished to turn the church into a mosque, but was induced 
to desist by the representations of French and Venetian 

225 15 



Jerusalem 

envoys. These dates are given by Sepp, who has also gone 
more fully than other writers into the history of the Latin 
orders established in Palestine, and the martyrdoms en¬ 
dured by over-enthusiastic preachers to Moslems, till orders 
were issued from Rome, forbidding such endeavours. In 
1808 a conflagration occurred which did considerable da¬ 
mage, but this had been repaired by September 11, 1810, 
at a cost of 4,000,000 of roubles. To one who has witnessed 
the ceremony of the appearance of the Sacred Fire it is 
marvellous that such conflagrations are not more frequent. 

Modern Jerusalem is the product of a variety of forces 
which had free play in the nineteenth century, religious re¬ 
vivals in England and America, archaeological enthusiasm 
in the same countries, and political ambitions on the part 
of various European nations concerned with the nearer 
East. To these there has been added in quite recent times 
the force of Zionism, the programme of those who regard a 
return to Palestine as the natural solution of the problem 
raised by anti-Semitism in the countries where there are 
the largest Jewish congregations. The relations between the 
Ottoman Empire and the European powers being so very 
different from what they were when Europe was in disorder, 
Jerusalem has by these various forces been transformed into 
a centre for religious and philanthropic effort, unconnected 
to a great extent with either of the sanctuaries which for¬ 
merly constituted its chief attraction. Curiosity attracts 
nearly as many visitors as are drawn by devotion, and the 
ease with which pilgrimage can be accomplished detracts 
somewhat from its merit. While the Christian and Jewish 
quarters are constantly expanding, the latter indeed at an 
enormous rate, the Moslem population shows no sign of 
increase, and its members, while not unaffected by European 
philanthropy, appear ordinarily incapable of emulating 
Western enterprise. Those who; like the Khalidi family, 

226 



TOMB OF SHEIK SHAIKH ARSLAN, 
DAMASCUS 










Historical Sketch 

do so, are happily adopting the conception of unsectarian 
philanthropy, which the new and bloodless invasion from 
Europe has brought. The enthusiasm which characterized 
the descriptions of those who arrived there at the cost of 
vast sacrifices is wanting in the memoirs of the traveller who 
is conveyed thither comfortably by steam; yet it is probable 
that in population and in the beauty of its buildings modem 
Jerusalem would compare favourably with the Jerusalem of 
any earlier period. Certainly at no time have life and pro¬ 
perty been so safe, or the relations between the different 
elements of the population so satisfactory. The number of 
tongues spoken by its inhabitants and its visitors, great 
even in the time of the Apostles, is now phenomenal, being 
variously estimated at from twenty-five to forty. But the 
dangers which used at one time to attend a great influx of 
strangers are now almost forgotten, and the most crowded 
solemnities pass off with little or no disorder. Should the 
present tendencies meet with no unexpected check, the city 
may long maintain the position of an international sanc¬ 
tuary, common to the chief religions of the world. 



CHAPTER XII 

The Praises of Damascus 

T HE enthusiastic language of Moslem writers about 
the beauties of Damascus, which they regard as an 
earthly Paradise, may seem to western visitors ex¬ 
aggerated and true of it only at an age long past, if ever. 
And, indeed, there are few show buildings left where once 
there were many. The great Umayyad Mosque, much of it 
brand new, is the one important edifice, whither the sight¬ 
seer hastens; there are besides one or two show-houses, 
gorgeous rather than beautiful; and the Bazaars, still illus¬ 
trative of Oriental manners, are probably roofed with Eu¬ 
ropean materials, and largely stocked with European goods. 
The beauty of the place lies rather in its natural than 
its artificial endowments. Its situation is indeed neither 
wild nor grand; but the contrast between its luxurious 
vegetation with its copious waters, and the arid region which 
often lies between it and the traveller’s starting-point 
or destination, connects it in the mind with eastern concep¬ 
tions of Paradise, literally a garden, and never represented 
without trees and running water. A fountain enlivens the 
courtyard of every house: to him who looks down upon the 
city from Mount Kasion the minarets and castle-battlements 
appear to rise out of an orchard; peace seems to reign with¬ 
in its walls, and plenteousness within its palaces. To the 
south-west the snow of Mount Hermon lends a touch of Al¬ 
pine beauty to the scene. The mountains which surround it 
on three sides are no more than a background to the picture, 
viewed from the east; they are a natural finish to the land¬ 
scape, not a bulwark of defence. 

228 



WALLS OF THE CITY AND BARADA 
RIVER, DAMASCUS 








Praises of Damascus 

Probably the eastern admiration for Damascus was in 
part at least influenced by certain material comforts, chiefly 
its abundant fruit, and in ordinary circumstances the cheap¬ 
ness of living, which even a system of railways with Damas¬ 
cus for terminus has not yet seriously changed. Another 
beauty of a more artificial sort lay in the goods manufac¬ 
tured there by craftsmen who inherited their skill and trans¬ 
mitted it to their descendants, till foreign conquerors with¬ 
drew them from the place, hoping to transplant their crafts. 
Such was the manufacture of damask, and equally famous 
that of Damascene blades. 

A Damascene writer of the ninth or tenth century of Is¬ 
lam, translated by M. Sauvaire, makes out a list of the 
beauties of his native city, some of which still exist, while 
others are in ruins or have disappeared. The list is hete¬ 
rogeneous, as it deals with single buildings, villages and 
flowers. The last include “the many-flowering eglantine, 
trained over arbours like the vine”; narcissus, violets— 
this flower gives its name to a neighbouring valley— 
jessamine, lily, lilac, ox-eye, cyclamen, myrtle, anemone, 
water-lily, Egyptian sallow, and one called “Stop and 
look!” 

Among buildings he assigns the first place to the Citadel, 
which has long been a shell; from a distance it still looks 
formidable, but the interior is in ruins. In the tenth century 
of Islam it was still a hive of activity, containing a bath, a 
mill, various shops, a mint, a mosque and, of course, the 
governor’s palace. The canal called Banyas passed through 
the Citadel, and divided into two streams, one for drinking 
purposes, parted afresh into a number of rills, while the other 
served as a drain, and went some twelve feet underground 
to issue at the Little Gate, whence it was turned towards 
farms. The round tower of the Citadel, “ which might have 
been cast in a mould of wax,” was thought to have no rival 

229 



Damascus 

in the world. At one time—probably during the Mamluke 
period only—the Citadel possessed a great council-chamber 
whose walls and ceilings were covered with the richest ara¬ 
besques, and inscribed with texts of the Koran written in 
gold-leaf. Its foundation is ascribed to Atsiz, the contempo¬ 
rary of Badr al-Jamali, who for a time got possession of the 
chief Syrian cities; but it was rebuilt by Nur al-din, in whose 
time the eastern peoples had learned something about for¬ 
tresses from the Crusaders. Further improvements were 
made by the Egyptian Sultan Adil, who ordered each mem¬ 
ber of his family to build a tower, and whose name remains 
in an inscription of the north-east tower. The towers were 
stripped of their roofs and the walls of their battlements 
by Hulagu’s Mongols; these were restored by the Sultan 
Baibars, whose services are recorded in several inscriptions. 
Great damage was done when Timur-Lenk besieged and 
took the city; a trench was dug round the round tower, and 
wood piled against it and fired. The ruinous condition of 
the whole edifice apparently dates from the time of the dis¬ 
banding of the Janissaries at the beginning of the nine¬ 
teenth century. 

In Mamluke times the governor’s palace was within the 
Citadel, once three stories high. The present palace, or Serai, 
is said to occupy the site of one built by the Sultan Nur al- 
din, called “ House of Justice.” The modern building dates 
from the time of Ibrahim Pasha, who effected many changes 
in Damascus. A famous palace in Damascus called the Par¬ 
ticoloured Castle was the model for similar buildings else¬ 
where ; it dated from the time of the Sultan Baibars, and 
was located in the Meidan. 

Below the Citadel, i.e., on the east side, there was a square 
somewhat similar to the Rumailah Place below the Cairene 
Citadel. This counted as one of the beauties of Damascus, 
being surrounded by palaces, and supplied with all that 

230 



THE HAMAREH [s(JK AU PASHA], 
DAMASCUS'* 












Praises of Damascus 

could delight the ear or charm the eye. Shops stocked with 
all kinds of goods were established there. It was a pleasure 
resort of the people of the city at evening time, till a double 
beat on the drums within the Citadel reminded them that 
the second watch of night had begun, and they cleared 
away to their homes. 

The Citadel was joined at either side by the Walls, which, 
where they still exist, display, as has often been remarked, 
traces of three styles of building—Roman, Arab and Turkish. 
Inscriptions on the towers forming part of the wall record 
the names of Nur al-din, who is credited by the historians 
with having rebuilt the walls, and the Ayyubid Salih. The 
height is from fifteen to twenty feet. The Moslems have a 
tradition that when the place was taken there were seven 
gates, called like the weekdays after the seven planets; and 
the gates, they assert, were surmounted by images of the 
deities corresponding with those planets—probably they 
mean before Christian times. If there be any truth in this 
tradition, the names must have all been altered; for the 
modern names can be traced back to an early period of the 
Moslem occupation with only a few variations. Two new 
gates, called Faraj and Salamah, in the style of the gates of 
Cairo—these words meaning “ Safety” and “Deliverance” 
—are said to have been added by the Ayyubids. Another 
gate that once existed was called Bab al-Imarah, from the 
new quarter to which it led. 

The waters of Damascus naturally take their place among 
its beauties, and of the pride of the inhabitants in their rivers 
we have a trace in the Old Testament story of Naaman, who 
felt personally wounded at the suggestion that the Israeli- 
tish Jordan could possess properties not to be found in the 
waters of Damascus. In these days the Damascenes are said 
to attribute to their waters the actual property required by 
the Syrian Captain, viz. that of curing leprosy, or at least 

231 



Damascus 

preventing it spreading. This belief must go back in some 
way to the story of Naaman. From an early time there has 
existed an elaborate system of canals, by which the water 
of the Barada has been made to irrigate a large area. Within 
the city the water is conducted in underground tubes from 
which every house gets its supply. In von Kremer’s time 
leaks in the tubes were repaired by putting refuse into the 
water, which eventually stopped them; but this process na¬ 
turally was insanitary. Modem and ancient writers agree as 
to the names of six canals drawn off the main river before 
it enters Damascus and flowing at different levels. The chan¬ 
nels for these are largely excavated in the rock, and are 
thought to be at least partly pre-Islamic. The most nor¬ 
therly of these, which bears the name Yazid, is said to have 
been dug by the Caliph of that name, who reigned from 680 
to 683. Further operations, with a view to irrigation, are 
said to have been executed by the Umayyad Caliphs Sulai- 
man and Hisham, but the account of them is not quite easy 
to understand. Apparently they consisted in making ar¬ 
rangements whereby the amount of water to flow in each 
channel could be exactly regulated. Besides the water sup¬ 
plied by the Barada, there were supposed to be 360 springs 
between the Bab Salamah and the Bab Tuma to the north¬ 
west of the city, all flowing southwards. The number is one 
used by Arabic writers to denote an indefinite quantity, 
one for each day in the year. 

Two places are mentioned by a writer on the Beauties of 
Damascus, in which the water furnished the chief attrac¬ 
tion. One of these was called the Place Between the Two 
Rivers, to the east of the city, where the Barada parted 
into two channels, of which one bore the name of the saintly 
Shaikh Arslan. It was used as a place of public entertain¬ 
ment, and the names of the dealers in different kinds of 
refreshments who had stalls there exhibit wonderful specia- 

232 



Praises of Damascus 

lization. That the religious needs of the visitors might be 
gratified also, there was a chapel where special rites were 
performed on Tuesdays and Saturdays; some of these cere¬ 
monies, probably forms of dance, were of a sort calculated 
to daze those who witnessed them. Another place of public 
resort was “The Parting of the Streams,” said to be where 
the seven canals divided, but this can scarcely be correct. 
The pools and cascades formed by one of these canals were, 
we are told, and may well believe it, “ a spectacle which 
banished care and made sorrow fly away.” 

The southerly canal, called Kanawat, was made with the 
view of supplying the city with drinking water, which is 
abundant and good. But as all advantages have some cor¬ 
responding drawback, the wealth of water with which Da¬ 
mascus is blessed is probably the reason why fever prevails 
there as much as in any city of Syria. On the other hand, 
those who had to defend the place against besiegers could 
at times utilize the waters for rendering approach difficult, 
and the Barada itself saved the necessity of building many 
towers to strengthen the wall before which it flows. 

The classical writers say little or nothing of the buildings 
of Damascus, yet there is evidence that the city contained 
some fine monuments when the Arabs took it, and we hear 
of two palaces near the site of the Umayyad Mosque. With 
the Street called Straight, famous from the allusion to it in 
the Acts of the Apostles, it is usual to identify the great 
thoroughfare bisecting the city from the western gate, called 
Bab al-Jabiyah probably from a village of that name, to the 
gate still called eastern (Sharki). The gates were originally 
threefold, and between them was a threefold avenue, divided 
by Corinthian colonnades, the central being for the use of 
foot-passengers, while the other two were to enable the 
horse-traffic going in opposite directions to keep separate. 
“I have been enabled,” says J. L. Porter, “to trace the re- 

233 



Damascus 

mainder of colonnades at various places over nearly one third 
of the length of this street. Wherever excavations are made 
in the line, fragments of columns are found in situ, at the 
depth in some places of ten feet and more below the present 
surface: so great has been the accumulation of rubbish during 
the ages. This street was thus a counterpart to those still seen 
in Palmyra and Jerash.” Further traces of this ancient thor¬ 
oughfare have been discovered at a later period. The Arabs 
blocked up all but the northern passage of the gates. There 
is at present no street in Damascus which would command 
much admiration, but the long-roofed bazaars, of which that 
called Hamidiyyah (after the present Sultan) is the most im¬ 
portant, are admirably adapted to the traffic of the place, 
though the absence of trottoirs occasions some inconveni¬ 
ence. On the justice of the identification of the Street called 
Straight it would be unwise to make any pronouncement. 

Fifteen churches are said to have been granted to the 
Christians by the Moslem conqueror, but the author of the 
Description can apparently enumerate only thirteen, and in 
this list one is a Jewish synagogue. In most cases too he can 
only locate them roughly, without being able to specify their 
names: the romancer translated in the next chapter was better 
informed. The Church of St Mary was the most famous, and 
according to Ibn Jubair was the next most important Christian 
edifice in the east, after the Church of the Holy Sepulchre; 
it contained a marvellous number of ikons, “ sufficient to be¬ 
wilder the thought and arrest the eye.” When the news of 
the defeat of the Mongols in 1260 reached Damascus, the 
Moslems attacked this church and destroyed it. Most of the 
others fared similarly at some time or other. A church, curi¬ 
ously called “the Crusaders’,” was turned into a mosque in 
the time of Saladdin at the instance of a silk-merchant, who 
asserted that it had been a mosque originally; he got a crowd 
together to dismantle it, and when the images had been re- 

234 



A KHAN IN DAMASCUS 













Praises of Damascus 

moved from the south side, a mihrab was discovered, sur¬ 
rounded by an Arabic inscription in lapis lazuli; the crowd 
were overjoyed at this confirmation of the man's assertion. 
Another pretence whereby churches could be destroyed was 
that they had either not been included in the original treaty 
of capitulation, or that they had been built since that time, 
so we are told that “ the Mosque of Shahrazuri in Eloquence 
Street” was a church that had not been specified in the treaty. 
When the Description was written, it would appear that there 
were only two churches in Damascus, one belonging to the 
Jacobites, the other probably to the Melchites, called the 
Church of Humaid son of Durrah (a relation on the mother’s 
side of the Caliph Muawiyah), who was owner of the street in 
which the church was situated. 

The relations between Moslems and Christians in this 
place appear rarely to have been cordial. It is asserted that 
at the time of the Moslem conquest only one Christian 
family adopted Islam, and this would imply greater tenacity 
on the part of the Damascene believers than was displayed 
by their co-religionists in most Oriental cities. The latest 
writer on the history of Islamic civilization charges the 
Umayyads, in whose time Damascus was the capital of the 
Moslem Empire, with persecution of Christians; and the 
transformation of the Church of St John into a mosque is 
admitted by Moslem historians to have been against the 
treaty. These persecutions were not dictated by fanaticism 
on the part of the Umayyads, who, with one exception, were 
notoriously lax; but by the need for money with which to 
pay partisans, their claim to the Caliphate being untenable 
on its own merits. This at least is the explanation given by 
the writer quoted. Syrians were, moreover, constantly sus¬ 
pected of being in league with and abetting the Byzantine 
Emperor, and the Episode of the Crusades naturally embit¬ 
tered the relations between the communities, thoughDamas- 

235 



Damascus 

cus never actually fell into Frankish hands. In the extract 
dealing with the taking of Damascus by Hulagu, it will be 
seen that in the year 1260 the Christians for a few months 
enjoyed the privilege of avenging to some extent the oppres¬ 
sion of centuries, and how speedily the sky clouded again 
over them after that brief gleam of sunshine. Since the time 
of Ibrahim Pasha, when various humiliations imposed on 
Christian visitors were removed, the relations have probably 
improved; yet the events of i860 showed that the anti- 
Christian feeling was deep, and among certain portions of 
the Moslem population it might still be roused. 

The Umayyads in such anecdotes as are preserved of 
them often figure as luxurious and magnificent princes, 
whence we should expect to hear something of their palaces, 
since wonderful things are told us of those belonging to the 
Caliphs of Baghdad and Cairo. Our curiosity in this matter 
is not adequately gratified, though occasionally there is a 
notice to the effect that some mosque or other edifice occupies 
part of the ground at one time covered by an Umayyad 
palace. Of that built by the founder of the dynasty, Muawi- 
yah, whose reputation was rather for gluttony and cunning 
than magnificence, though in some tales he is represented 
as boasting that he had enjoyed all that the world could 
give, we have an anecdote which suggests anything but 
splendour. When this prince, who at first held the office of 
governor only, built himself a palace of baked brick, he had 
occasion to receive a Byzantine envoy, whose opinion he 
asked about the structure. “ The upper part,” replied the 
Greek, “will do for birds, and the lower for rats.” Muawiyah 
had the house pulled down and rebuilt of stone. It was pur¬ 
chased afterwards by Abdal-Malik, the othergreat sovereign 
of this line, from a descendant of its founder, for the sum of 
40,000 dinars and four estates; but this need not imply that 
it was on a grand scale, since it was the fashion at the time 

236 



(i) SYRIAN TILE, OF THE XVUIth 
CENTURY, FROM A DAMASCUS 
-MOSQUE 











Praises of Damascus 

to pay huge sums for any dwelling that had ever been occu¬ 
pied by one of the early heroes of Islam. Fabulous prices 
are recorded as having been given for dwellings of this sort 
at Meccah, which we cannot believe to have been very 
gorgeous. The list of show-houses at Damascus given by the 
author of the Description consists almost entirely of build¬ 
ings that enjoyed such a reputation. Part of the Copper¬ 
smiths’ Bazaar, stretching as far as the Bazaar of the Boot¬ 
makers, was said to have been the site of the residence of a 
son of Utbah Ibn Rabi’ah, an eminent contemporary of the 
Prophet. Inside the Gate of Thomas was the house of the 
conqueror Khalid with his oratory. The house of Auf Ibn 
Malik, another hero of the early days of Islam, was shown 
near the old Thread-market. Inside the eastern gate to the 
right was the house of Malik Ibn Hubairah, Muawiyah’s 
general, etc. 

A rather more important mansion was that of the cele¬ 
brated Hajjaj, viceroy of Abd al-Malik, notorious in eastern 
history for his ruthless severity, but celebrated for his mag¬ 
nificence also. A whole quarter of Damascus was called 
after his palace, and the name is not yet obsolete; but no 
traces of the building have been discovered. In 1237-8 the 
whole of this region was burned down, and the remains of 
the palace, which had probably been a ruin long before, are 
likely to have perished then. 

In most descriptions of Damascus, whether ancient or 
modem, every religious building appears to be dwarfed by 
the Great Umayyad Mosque, which we shall leave to the 
end. The rulers of Damascus were no less liberal founders of 
/ r religious edifices than were other Sultans and governors; and 
the Description enumerates no fewer than 241 mosques for 
public worship, afterwards supplemented by lists which bring 
the number up to 572, though this figure includes some that 
were outside the walls. The same work gives eleven other 

237 



Damascus 

lists of buildings in which provision was made for religious 
service, unless (which is unlikely) the medical schools were an 
exception. In the time of the traveller Ibn Jubair—i.e. the 
latetwelfth century—there were, besides these,two hospitals, 
the old and the new, of which the latter was probably the 
institution founded by Nur al-din, to which reference has 
already been made; it had an endowment of fifteen dinars 
daily. Doctors visited it every morning to prescribe for the 
patients, of whom lists were kept. There was special treat¬ 
ment for the insane, who were chained. The medical schools 
of the Description are all of a later period than the hospitals. 
The first was called the Dakhwariyyah “in the old Bazaar 
of the Goldsmiths” south of the Great Mosque, founded in 
in the year 12 50 by a physician, who, for his successful treat¬ 
ment of maladies suffered by the Ayyubid princes, was given 
the title Chief of the Physicians of the Two Zones (Syria and 
Egypt). It appears that a successful medical career was a 
road to fortune in those days as in these; this person received 
as fees for special cures the sums of 7,000 and 12,000 dinars, 
and al-Ashraf settled on him estates which brought in 1,500 
dinars annually, when he gave him the post of court- 
physician. The building left by him to the city as medical 
school had been his own house. Two other houses were de¬ 
voted to the same object within the next sixty years, but one 
of these was afterwards turned into a mosque, whereas the 
other went to ruin. 

The traveller Ibn Jubair was greatly struck by the mon¬ 
asteries or hospices, of which the number at the time of the 
Description had risen to about twenty-nine. The friendly 
disposition of the Ayyubids towards the Sufis has already 
been noticed; and according to the Spanish visitor these 
ascetics had things very much their own way at Damascus. 
Their hospices, he says, are splendidly decorated palaces, in 
all of which there is running water, beautifully conducted. 

238 



MINARET OF THE BRIDE, DAMASCUS 











Praises of Damascus 

“The Sufis are kings in this city, for God has spared them the 
trouble of worldly employment, has rendered it possible for 
them to devote their minds to His service, and has housed 
them in mansions, such as must ever remind them of the 
mansions of Paradise; to those of them who are saved the 
pleasures of both this world and the next have been given. 
Very admirable are the practices and orders of these brother¬ 
hoods, especially the arrangement by which different mem¬ 
bers undertake different departments of service. Beautiful 
are their gatherings to hear thrilling melodies, where not 
unfrequently in the intensity of their emotion some of them 
pass away out of the world. The most wonderful building 
belonging to them is a palace called by them the Tower, which 
rises high in the air, with dwellings at the top, commanding 
a glorious view; it is half a mile distant from the city. To it 
there is attached a vast garden, said to have been the plea¬ 
sure ground of a Turkish sovereign. One night he was amus¬ 
ing himself by pouring some of the wine, which was being 
drunk in the palace, on the heads of Sufis who passed by; 
complaint was made to Nur al-din who did not rest till he 
had got the whole place as a gift from its owner, which he 
then proceeded to settle on the Sufis in perpetuity.” In the 
siege of Damascus of the year 1228 several of these hospices 
were pillaged and ruined. 

A considerable number of schools still exist in Damascus, 
but many edifices which were originally designed for this 
purpose have been turned into private houses; von Kremer 
identified a number which had experienced this change in 
the street which leads northwards from Bab al-Barid to the 
Tomb of Baibars, and a number more in the quarter between 
Suk Bab al-Barid and Suk Jakmak. Still, several that are 
mentioned in the Description appear to be in existence, and 
several have been built since. Some of those which were in¬ 
tended to be for advanced study have sunk to the level of 

239 



Damascus 

infant schools. Probably aspirants after the higher Moslem 
education have for many centuries gone to al-Azhar to seek 
it, whereas Constantinople attracts students of another kind. 

Of schools that receive the attention of visitors there may 
be mentioned that of the heroic Nur al-din, whose name 
occurs in the history of Egypt also, in the Cloth Bazaar. 
The building is said to have been originally part of the 
palace of the Umayyad Hisham, son of Abd al-Malik, who 
reigned from 724-743. The prince Nur al-din was at first 
buried in the Citadel, but his body was afterwards transferred 
to this school; which the author of the Description asserts 
to have been built for him by his son, al-Salih Isma’il, 
although it would appear that this is contradicted by in¬ 
scriptions on the school itself, which name Nur al-din him¬ 
self as founder. A similar institution is that called Raihaniy- 
yah, a little to the west of the Nuriyyah. Its date is 1178-9; 
its founder was a eunuch and freedman of Nur al-din, who 
entrusted to his charge the Citadel and prison of Damascus, 
in which posts he was confirmed by Saladdin, whose cause 
he espoused when the famous Sultan took Damascus. An 
inscription copied by M. Sauvaire still records the lands 
settled upon it. A school of some celebrity is the Kaimariy- 
yah, founded 1266 by al-Kaimari, an Emir who at the death 
of Turanshah played a part of importance in Syria. He is 
said to have spent 40,000 dirhems on a clock put up over 
the door of his school. Von Kremer describes it as a 
moderate-sized building, with a stone-paved court, cloistered 
all round below, and with open corridors above. The front 
towards the street has three cupolas. 

Of more interest than these is the school of the Sultan 
Baibars, between the gates Bab al-Faraj and Bab al-Fara- 
dis, north of the Umayyad Mosque. It had originally been 
the house of a certain Akiki, of whom 'Ayyub, father of 
Saladdin, purchased it; apparently Baibars himself turned 

240 



DAMASCUS, MINARET OF JESUS 












Praises of Damascus 

it into a school and mausoleum, but some ascribe this action 
to his son Barakah Khan. The foundations are said to have 
been laid on Oct. 12, 1277. In the time of the author of the 
Description it had been turned into a private house. 

Between the library of Baibars and the Umayyad Mosque 
is the Tomb of Saladdin, side by side with that of one of his 
ministers. The Description locates the tomb of the great 
Sultan in the school of al-Aziz, west of the tomb of al- 
Ashraf, north of the School of Tradition founded by the 
“Excellent Judge,” a man of great note of the time of 
Saladdin, especially as stylist and poet, and the collector of 
a great library in Cairo. Planned by al-Afdal (1186-1196) 
it was finished by al-Aziz of Egypt, who had the body of 
the Sultan, first deposited in the Citadel, transferred thither. 
Prayers offered at this tomb are, the author assures us, 
answered: “the fact has been recounted by the greatest and 
most distinguished doctors, and admits of no doubt.” An 
epitaph by the “Excellent Judge” was inscribed on the 
grave, in which the wish was expressed that after so many 
cities had opened their gates to him, Paradise might do the 
same. 

Damascus is otherwise famous for harbouring the ashes 
of numerous persons of importance; the graveyard of the 
Little Gate is said to contain those of Bilal, the Prophet’s 
Mueddin, an important person at the beginning of Islam, 
and two of the Prophet’s wives. Outside the gate of the 
Jarrah Mosque there is, or used to be, a pile of stones 
marking where the grave of the Caliph Yazid once stood. 
The stones were thrown by Persian visitors, with a view of 
expressing their abhorrence of the worst of the Umayyads 
—the Caliph under whom occurred the affair of Kerbela, 
when Husain, the Prophet’s grandson, was killed, to be 
mourned, wherever Shiites are to be found, on the tenth of 
the month Muharram. 

241 16 



Damascus 

Most of the mausoleums described in the work translated 
by M. Sauvaire belong to sovereigns and other persons of 
eminence not later than the Ayyubid period. The author 
dwells especially on those which contain the ashes of the 
three princes, al-Adil, al-Ashraf and al-Kamil, whose names 
all figure in the history of Egypt. An interesting personage 
also occurring in this list is Ismat al-din Khatun, wife of 
Nur al-din and afterwards of Saladdin, highly esteemed for 
her piety and virtue, “ who did no act without a good in¬ 
tention.” She founded in her husband’s city a mosque, which 
was afterwards turned into a private dwelling, a hospice, 
and a mausoleum for herself on the Yazid Canal in the 
Salihiyyah, which some 150 years after her death was 
turned into a mosque, and after a somewhat longer period 
had elapsed, was, in the year 1568, yet further enlarged and 
endowed. 

Leaving the abodes of the dead for those of the living, 
we notice what has often been observed, that the outside of 
the houses is rarely of great magnificence. It is inside that 
the architects display their skill and the wealthy their riches. 
The rooms usually open out into a court and are discon¬ 
nected. This practice is said to go back to pre-Islamic 
times. In the two houses which are usually exhibited to 
visitors there is an abundance of marbles and mosaics, with 
enamelled tiles and profusion of gold and colouring. 

Two other classes of buildings to which the visitor may 
be taken are the Baths, of which that called the Queen’s 
Bath is perhaps the finest, and the Khans, or storehouses 
for merchandise, among which that which bears the name 
of As’ad Pasha is pre-eminent. It is supported on four piers 
with nine domes above them. 

Of the number of actual mosques given above from the 
Description, many must have become disused or been de¬ 
molished before the seventeenth century, when the figure 

242 



GENERAL VIEW OF DAMASCUS IN 
EARLY SPRING 












Praises of Damascus 

was 150. During Ibrahim Pasha’s government some further 
transformation of mosques took place. That of Yelbogha was 
turned into a biscuit-factory, and that of Tengiz into barracks, 
and then into a military college. The existing mosques that 
attract the notice of travellers are chiefly the following: that 
of Sinan Pasha (near the Jabiyah Gate), the minaret of which 
is conspicuous everywhere for the highly-glazed green tiles 
with which it is covered; the interior is decorated with marble 
columns and a marble pavement. It was originally, we are 
told, called The Onion Mosque. In the year 1585, when Sinan 
Pasha was appointed governor of Damascus, he rebuilt it and 
made it suitable for Friday worship. Though the governor¬ 
ship of this Pasha lasted only six months, the building of his 
Mosque appears to have taken—probably intermittently— 
some years, since 1590 is given as the date of its completion. 
To about the same period belongs the Derwishiyyah Mosque, 
which also was a reconstruction of a similar building on a 
smaller scale, ordered by Derwish Pasha, governor from 1571 
to 1574. Somewhat earlier is theiMosque of the Sultan Selim 
in the Salihiyyah. It contains the tomb of the greatest of the 
Sufi writers, Ibn Arabi, whose works have often been con¬ 
demned for heresy, but nevertheless whose reputation for 
sanctity perhaps surpasses that of any other Moslem saint. 
The mosque was built by the Sultan in the years 1517 and 
1518 out of respect for the memory of the saint. Previously, 
we are told, the spot had been marked by a ruined bath and 
a pile of refuse. The Sultan spent “incalculable sums” upon 
it, and provided it with four mueddins and thirty readers of 
the Koran. 

Another mosque built by an Ottoman Sultan is that called 
after Sulaiman, who founded it in 1554, together with the 
Tekiyyeh, or hospice, which also bears his name. They are 
situated on the site of the famous palace of the Sultan 
Baibars in the “ Green Meidan.” The materials which be- 

243 16 a 



!Damascus 

longed to the palace were employed again for these build¬ 
ings, the erection of which took six years. The author of the 
supplement to the Description declares the marble, the 
cupolas, and the leaden work of the buildings to be such as 
“stupefy the spectator while rejoicing his heart." Special 
attention is called to the basin in the middle of the court, to 
the pulpit and the mihrab. Only the writer complains that 
in accordance with a tradition current among the architects 
the minarets were placed east and west instead of north and 
south, whence the area in which the call to prayer would be 
heard was considerably reduced. The architect was “the 
most incomparable of great geniuses, the noblest of the 
children of Persia, our master Mulla Agha." He was also 
set in charge of the administration, and followed, we are 
told, the unusual plan of giving the best places to those who 
injured him, and the worst to those who tried to do him a 
kindness. 

We conclude with the great Umayyad Mosque. This is 
the grandest of all Mohammedan buildings, and Arabic 
writers give full rein to their powers of description in 
recounting its magnificence and the riches lavished upon 
its erection by al-Walid, the whole revenue of Syria for 
seven years, not counting eighteen shiploads of gold and 
silver from Cyprus and many rich gifts of precious stones. 
These latter enriched the mihrab and minbar but, with the 
600 golden lamps suspended by chains of the like precious 
metal, were soon diverted to other uses by a following Caliph. 
The leaden roof of the mosque is described in as high terms 
of admiration as the gold so lavishly spread on the interior. 
Every town had to furnish its quota, but so difficult was it 
to obtain sufficient that tombs were rifled. From one sarco¬ 
phagus the body was taken from its leaden shell and laid 
on the ground; the head fell into a ravine and blood burst 
from the mouth. Terror-struck, the bystanders made inquiry 

244 



Praises of Damascus 

till at last they were told, “It is the tomb of King Talut 
(Saul).” A prettier story is that of a woman who refused to 
sell some lead, needed to complete one corner, save weight 
for weight in gold. The Caliph wrote that her demand should 
be complied with, but then the woman said, “It is my gift 
to the mosque.” “You were too avaricious to sell save weight 
for weight, and now do you offer a gift?” “I acted thus be¬ 
lieving that your lord played the tyrant and exacted forced 
labour^ Now that I see he pays punctually and weight for 
weight, I acknowledge that in this matter he wrongs no 
one.” The commissioner reported these words, and the Caliph 
commanded that these sheets of lead should be marked “For 
Allah”; this was done by means of a mould. 

To return to figures, there was praying space for 20,000 
men; as for the money expended, one item, viz., the cost of 
the cabbages eaten by the workmen is said to have been 
6,000 dinars (£2,500). When the wondrous work was finished, 
the Caliph would not look at the accounts brought to him on 
eighteen laden mules, but ordered that they should be burnt 
and thus addressed the crowd: “Men of Damascus,you pos¬ 
sess four glories above other people; you are proud of your 
water, your air, your fruits, your baths; your mosque shall 
be your fifth glory.” 

Like some other famous places of worship, this mosque 
was once the site of a heathen temple, portions of which can 
be traced in the porticoes. Theodosius built a church there 
(a.d. 379) and dedicated it to St John the Baptist, to whom 
there is still an imposing shrine. When the Moslems entered 
Damascus (A.D. 63 5), by an amicable arrangement, the build¬ 
ing was shared between Christians and Mahommedans, but 
inA.D. 708 al-Walid, sixth of the Umayyads, drove the Chris¬ 
tians out, confirming them, however, in the possession of other 
churches. But to this day one of the three minarets is called 
by the name of Isa (Jesus), and above a gate, long since closed, 

245 



Damascus 

is the inscription, “Thy kingdom, O Christ, is an everlasting 
kingdom, and Thy dominion endureth throughout all gener¬ 
ations.” 

Al-Walid summoned a fabulous number of craftsmen (one 
writer says 200, another prefixes one and makes it 1,200, a 
third adds a nought and reckons 12,000) from Constantinople, 
and his magnificent mosque was, like other early Moslem 
edifices, entirely Byzantine in style and rich with rare mar¬ 
bles and fine mosaics; while in accordance with another 
Moslem custom, antique columns were plundered from many 
Syrian towns. Many of these remain in the interior but most 
of those described by the Arab geographer Mukkadisi as sus¬ 
taining the arcade round the great court, have disappeared 
and piers covered with plaster have taken their place. It is 
thought, however, that many columns remain within these 
piers of masonry. The mosaics represented Meccah, Medinah 
and Jerusalem and other principal towns of the world, amid 
groves of orange and palm, while long inscribed scrolls and 
wreaths of foliage filled the interspaces; of these, fragments 
can still be traced and more are probably hidden under 
plaster and whitewash. 

The two principal gates are at the west and east, they are 
named Babal-Barid (Gate of the Post) and Bab Jairun after 
a mythical conqueror. They had triple portals closed with 
bronze-covered doors; one of these which remains at the 
East Gate (Bab Jairun) bears a central band of inscription 
with the name of the Sultan Abd al-Aziz, son of Barkuk 
(1405) and a chalice, a device of the Mamlukes. The gates 
and adjoining porticoes have retained more ancient work 
both of construction and of ornament, such as inlay of beau¬ 
tiful-coloured marble, than the rest of the building. 

There were originally towers at the four comers, those 
at the south side remain; the Madanah Gharbiyyah (Wes¬ 
tern Minaret) formerly inhabited by anchorites, also named 

246 



TRADITIONAL SITE WHERE ST PAUL 
WAS LET DOWN IN A BASKET, 
DAMASCUS 







Praises o/D amascus 

after Kaietbai; opposite it, i.e., at the south-east angle, is 
the Madanat Isa (Minaret of Jesus) or the White Minaret. 
On the north side, rather more than a third from the east 
angle, stands the Madanat al-Arus (Minaret of the Bride); 
this was not as the other towers, originally Byzantine, but 
was built by al-Walid. 

The Great Court is surrounded on three sides by spacious 
corridors, now resting on piers, with round arches; the upper 
story retains at the east double arches separated by a small 
column; these have been replaced elsewhere by common¬ 
place narrow windows. 

Within the Court stand three small and beautiful cupolas, 
at the west the Kubbat al-Khaznah (Dome of the Treasury), 
for the mosque had great endowments. This building is, 
however, no longer used, but is filled with ancient MSS. 
jealously kept from view; it was only as a special favour to 
the Emperor Wilhelm that German scholars were allowed 
to handle them, and for a specified time only. The Kubbat 
al-Naufarah(DomeoftheFountain), in the centre of the court, 
serves for ablutions; it is also called Kafs al-Ma (the Water 
Cage), because a spout rises from a grating so that people 
drink from the side. The building stands on arches upheld by 
four thick and as many slender columns, an upper room has 
wooden supports only and a flattish broad leaden roof with 
a little cupola in the middle. The third, Kubbat al-Sa’at 
(Dome of the Hours) stands at the east of the Court. 

The whole of the south side of the Court is occupied by 
the mosque, with its three great aisles divided by columns 
twenty-three feet high; its interior measurements are 429 
feet by 124. The whole floor is covered by more carpets than 
we could count, about eight abreast, and many of them fine. 
The clerestory has round arches. The chief entrance is in the 
middle of the north side, i.e., from the Court; it leads under 
wide transepts to the mihrab and chief pulpit in the southern 

247 



Damascus 

wall ; there are three other mihrabs for the other Schools of 
Law. Over the centre, where the transepts cross the aisles, 
is the great dome, nearly fifty feet in diameter and above 
120 in height; it is called Kubbat al-Nasr (the Vulture 
Dome) itself counting as the head, the aisle below as the 
breast and the lofty transept roofs, high above the other 
roofs, being likened to outspread wings. “From whatever 
quarter you approach the city, you see the dome high above 
all else, as though suspended in the air.” 

The Mosque has suffered repeatedly from fires, especially 
in 1069, owing to riots between the Fatimides and Shiahs; 
in 1400, when Timur-Lenk took the town; lastly, and very 
severely, in 1894, since when plaster and whitewash have 
taken the place of the gold and coloured brilliance of old. 


248 



CHAPTER XIII 

Scenes from the History of 
Damascus 

I T has been observed with justice that Damascus has 
prospered in a variety of conditions, as the capital of a 
state, more frequently as the capital of a province, some¬ 
times as a provincial town. It never as a metropolis grew to 
the vast dimensions of Babylon or Baghdad; on the other 
hand it never suffered very seriously by the removal of the 
court. The periods when it has been the chief city of a 
sovereign state have not been many. From the Old Testa¬ 
ment we learn of a kingdom of Aram with Damascus for its 
capital, which was contemporary with the northern Israeli- 
tish kingdom, and perished with it; and we hear inciden¬ 
tally of a temple of Rimmon, a god whose name appears to 
show Assyrian affinities; we learn also the names of a few 
kings, and are amazed that the Israelitish prophets should 
interfere in the matter of their appointment. Little is heard 
of the place during the period when Persia dominated the 
nearer East, and when after the fall of that Empire a Greek 
kingdom of Syria was set up, Damascus was superseded 
after a time by a new capital Antioch. At times before and 
and after the commencement of Christianity it was occupied 
by Nabataean rulers, some of whom are known to us by in¬ 
scriptions in Arabia. Christianity appears to have made way 
in the city at an early date, and probably long subsisted by 
the side of a mixture of Greek and Nabataean cults. A fresh 

249 



Damascus 

era in its history was constituted by the Mohammedan con¬ 
quest, especially when the founder of the Umayyad dynasty 
(661-750) made it the capital of an empire that steadily grew 
in extent. Since the termination of that period it has not 
been a metropolis, for even such sovereigns as Nur al-din 
acknowledged the suzerainty of the Caliph of Baghdad, 
while other rulers have been commissioned by the Sultans 
reigning in Cairo and Constantinople. Numerous rebellions 
have indeed been commenced at the Syrian capital, but 
their success has usually been temporary, and the indepen¬ 
dence of Syria rarely their ultimate object. 

In Mohammedan times it has sometimes, but not always, 
been the chief city of Syria. Its rival has been Aleppo, 
which it displaced in the year 1312, by command of the 
Sultan Nasir, anxious to gratify the Emir Tengiz, a faithful 
partisan, whose daughter the Sultan married. When Tengiz 
came to Cairo to be present when his grandchild was born, 
and both spent and received fabulous sums, he thankfully 
prostrated himself when the child proved to be a girl: had 
it been a boy, he would have thought his luck too great! 
His distrust of fortune was justified; for, ere a year was over, 
the Sultan’s face changed towards him, and he was sum¬ 
moned from Damascus, imprisoned and executed. The reason 
for this proceeding is unknown, but is said to have been the 
Sultan’s resentment at his harshness towards the Christians 
of Damascus, who had been charged with incendiarism. 

In 1366 Aleppo was again given precedence over Damas¬ 
cus, and this relation appears to have lasted until Turkish 
times. 

Imperfect as is the record of Damascene history, the city 
has more than one historian, and indeed one of the most 
frequently cited monuments of Arabic literature is the History 
of Damascus by Ibn Asakir, filling some sixty volumes, but 
occupied for the most part with biographies of persons who 

250 



Historical Scenes 

at any time in their lives had any connexion with the city. 
Thus a whole volume is devoted to the first Caliph, who may 
perhaps have visited it on a trading expedition. This author 
lived in the sixth century of Islam, and many exciting scenes 
have taken place in the city since his i time. These have their 
historians, but the centre of interest in the Islamic world has 
usually been elsewhere. Syrian history is either Egyptian 
history or Turkish history: those who write it are more con¬ 
cerned with the succession of Sultans at the capital than 
with that of governors in the provinces. 

Of the scenes that have been enacted in Damascus four 
of special interest have been selected for description: one, 
the taking of the city by the first Moslem conquerors, as told 
by the most trustworthy of Moslem Chroniclers, and also as 
told in one of the romances which were inspired by the ex¬ 
ploits of those who had to repel the Crusaders; another the 
brief period of sunshine enjoyed by the Christians at the time 
of the first Mongol conquest; and the third the destruction 
of the city by the terrible Timur. The last occasion on which 
Damascus was the focus of general attention, the massacre 
of i860, is told after an anonymous Arabic author; it has 
also, it may be observed, been portrayed with remarkable 
skill by the author of the admirable novel, Sa’td the Fisher - 
man, in which Oriental thought and manners are delineated 
with an accuracy rarely to befound in either history or fiction. 

CAPTURE OF DAMASCUS <BY THE MOSLEMS 
a.d. 634 (a.h. 13). After Tabari 

W HEN outposts had been despatched to guard the 
roads between Damascus and Emesa, and Damas¬ 
cus and Palestine, the city was itself invested, where 
the governor was Nastus son of Nastus. Different detach¬ 
ments of Moslems were posted at different quarters; their 

251 



Damascus 

commanders being Abu Ubaidah, Amr and Yazid. Hera- 
clius was at the time in Emesa, but steps had been taken to 
deal with relief coming thence. The place was besieged some 
seventy nights, during which various assaults were made, 
and engines made to play on the walls, within which the in¬ 
habitants were entrenched, expecting relief from Heraclius, 
who was so near, and to whom they had sent for help. The 
cavalry despatched by the Emperor in answer to this appeal 
were intercepted by Dhu’ 1 -Kula, who had been stationed at 
a day’s journey from Damascus on the Emesa road, and 
whose camp the relief forces from Heraclius were compelled 
to besiege. When the Damascenes became convinced that 
no help would arrive, they became despondent and down¬ 
hearted, while the Moslems were all the more eager to take 
the place. At first the inhabitants had supposed that this was 
an ordinary raid, and that when the cold weather came on, 
the besiegers would withdraw; and now the Pleiads fell, and 
the besiegers still remained. This made the Damascenes de¬ 
spair, and the troops regretted that they had shut themselves 
up in the city. Now it so happened that a child was bom to 
the Patrician who was governor of Damascus. He in conse¬ 
quence gave a banquet, and in consequence of the feasting 
the soldiers neglected their stations. None of the Moslems 
perceived this except Khalid, who neither took nor allowed 
others any rest, nor suffered anything that was going on in 
the town to escape him. Keen of vision, he was always at¬ 
tentive to that on which he was engaged. He had prepared 
a set of rope-ladders with nooses. When evening was come, 
he with a picked party started out, taking the lead himself, 
with al-Ka’ka son of Amr, and Madh’ur son of Adi, and some 
other men of the same stamp, who had served him on simi¬ 
lar enterprises before. Their instructions to their followers 
were to wait until they heard the cry, Allah Akbar [God is 
greatest!] from the walls, when they should make for the 

252 



DOMES OF DAMASCUS 







Historical Scenes 

gate. When Khalid had come to the gate opposite which 
he was stationed, he and his picked men, having on their 
backs the inflated skins with which they had crossed the 
ditch, threw their nooses at the battlements; and when two 
had caught, al-Ka’ka and Madh’ur climbed up, whereupon 
they proceeded to fix all the other rope-ladders to the battle¬ 
ments. The place they were storming was one of the best 
fortified in Damascus, having the deepest water in front of 
it, and being most difficult to approach. However, they suc¬ 
ceeded in ascending it, and every one of their party either 
climbed up the wall, or drew near to the gate. Having reached 
the top of the wall Khalid let his comrades down, and de¬ 
scended himself, after leaving a party to guard the ascent 
for such as should follow: those on the top of the wall then 
raised the cry, Allah Akbar. The Moslems outside advanced 
to the gate, some of them, however, making for the rope- 
ladders ; Khalid meanwhile had got to the gate, where he 
slew the warders. There rose a great uproar in the city, and 
the soldiers rushed to their stations, not knowing what was 
the matter; and while each party was concerned with its own 
part of the wall, Khalid and his followers smashed the bolts 
of the gate with their swords, and let the Moslems in. They 
proceeded to slay all the soldiers in the neighbourhood of 
Khalid’s gate, and when Khalid had thus stormed his por¬ 
tion of the city, such as escaped ran to the gates where other 
detachments of the Moslem army had been stationed. These 
had repeatedly offered terms to the inhabitants which had 
been refused; and now to their surprise the inhabitants them¬ 
selves were offering terms of capitulation, which the Mos¬ 
lems accepted. The gates were then opened to these other 
detachments, whom the inhabitants begged to enter and 
protect them from those who were coming in by Khalid’s 
gate. Thus the other detachment entered by treaty, while 
Khalid took his part by storm; Khalid and the other com- 

253 



Damascus 

manders met in the middle of the city, the first plundering 
and massacring, the second quieting disturbance and pre¬ 
serving order. Khalid’s portion was then brought within the 
terms of the treaty. The treaty was that all property, landed 
and coined, should be equally divided between the inhabi¬ 
tants and the Moslems; and a dinar was demanded per head 
of the population. When the spoil was divided, Khalid’s 
troops only shared like the others. 

THE TAKING OF DAMASCUS BY THE MOSLEMS 

According to the Arabic romance called “ Wakidi'% Qonquest of Syria ” 

A BU UBAIDAH had stationed his captains at the 
various gates of Damascus; sorties and battles took 
place at each one of them except the Gate of St 
Mark, which was never opened for this purpose, and so was 
afterwards called the Gate of Safety or Peace. Damascus 
was under the command of Thomas, son-in-law of the Em¬ 
peror Heraclius.—This Thomas is represented as a brave 
man; but in one of the sorties he loses the Great Cross, and 
is shot in the eye by Umm Aban, daughter of Utbah, whose 
husband he had killed. The arrow cannot afterwards be got 
out, and the end has to be sawn off. This wound only infu¬ 
riates Thomas, who orders a night sortie. The Christians 
issue from the gates, and the Jews help them by discharging 
missiles from the battlements. Khalid, whose business it has 
been to guard the women and children, is so alarmed by this 
night attack, that he leaves hisi camp and rushes unarmed 
to the fray at the head of 400 horse. A terrible duel takes 
place, outside the Gate of Thomas, between Thomas himself 
and the Moslem commander Shurahbil, once the Prophet’s 
secretary. Umm Aban tries to help the latter, as before, 
with her arrows, but at last she is taken captive, and Shu- 
rahbil’s sword is broken. Thomas is about to take him 

254 



Historical Scenes 

prisoner also, when the horsemen come up in time and 
rescue both captives. The result of the sortie is in general 
so disastrous to the Greeks, that when the gates are 
once more closed, a deputation approaches Thomas, telling 
him that if he will not make terms with the enemy they will 
without him, and he begs for time to send word to the 
Emperor. 

The letter was written and sealed and sent off before 
morning; but when morning came Khalid ordered a renewed 
assault, and refused to give the Damascenes a moment’s truce 
for deliberation. Worn out with the siege and waiting for the 
answer of the Emperor, the chief people at last assembled, 
and said to each other, “Friends, we cannot endure any 
longer what the Moslems are doing to us; if we fight 
against them, they are always victorious, whereas if we re¬ 
frain from fighting and shut ourselves up in the city we 
shall be ruined by the siege. Let us no longer be obstinate, 
but rather ask peace of them on their own terms.” Then there 
rose up an old Greek, who had read the Ancient Books 
and pondered on them, and said: “ Friends, I am certain that 
if the king were to come with all his forces he could not 
raise the siege; for I have read in the Books that their 
founder Mohammed is the Seal of the Prophets and the 
Prince of the Apostles, and that his religion is bound to 
triumph over every other. Let us, therefore, abandon all vain 
hopes and fancies and give the Moslems the terms they de¬ 
mand; that is our best course.” When the people heard this 
utterance, they took the old man’s side, owing to the respect 
in which he was held and to his knowledge of the records 
and the oracles. So they asked him how they should set 
about it. “You are to know,” he replied, “that the com¬ 
mander at the eastern gate is a shedder of blood [meaning 
Khalid, son of al-Walid]. If, therefore, you wish hostilities 
to cease, you had best go to the commander at Bab al- 

255 



Damascus 

Jabiyah [meaning Abu Ubaidah].” They approved his sug¬ 
gestion ; and, when night came on, they went in a body to 
Bab al-Jabiyah, and one of them, who was acquainted with 
Arabic, cried out in a loud voice, “Ye Arabs, have we a 
safe-conduct that we may come down unto you and speak 
with your commander, that we may make a treaty of peace ?” 

Now Abu Ubaidah had sent some of his soldiers to keep 
watch near the gate, fearing a surprise like that which had 
taken place on a previous night. The party sent that night 
were Dausites, commanded by Amir, son of Tufail. “ Whilewe 
were seated in our places,” said Abu Hurairah, a member 
of the tribe, “ we heard the people shouting. I immediately 
rushed to Abu Ubaidah and gave him the good news, say¬ 
ing to him, ‘There is a chance now that God may relieve 
the Moslems of their fatigue.’ My message cheered him, 
and he bade me go and tell the Romans that they should 
be safe till they had got back to their city. So I went and 
called to them that they might come down without harm. 
They asked me which of Mohammed’s followers I was, and 
whether I could be trusted? I replied that I was Abu 
Hurairah, a companion of the Prophet, and that treachery 
was not our custom. ‘Why,’ I said, ‘ if one of our slaves were 
to give a guarantee of security, we should respect it; since 
God says, “ Keep promises, for a promise is to be claimed.” 
The Arabs were always celebrated for good faith in the 
times of paganism; much more then when God has given 
them Mohammed for a guide.’ ” 

So the Greeks descended and opened the gate. Those 
that came out were a hundred in number, men of note, 
priests and doctors of theology. When they came near Abu 
Ubaidah’s camp, the Moslems hastened, and divested them 
of their belts [this zonarion was part of the Christian cos¬ 
tume in Moslem countries] and crosses, when they were led 
to the tent of Abu Ubaidah, who bade them welcome, rose 

256 



Historical Scenes 

up to greet them, and bade them be seated. Mohammed, he 
observed, bade us treat with honour visitors who were 
honoured in their own country. The subject of peace was 
then started. “We wish you,” they said, “to leave us our 
churches, and not to turn us out of them; these being the 
Church of St John (now the Mosque), the Church of St 
Mary, of Ananias, of St Paul, of al-Miksat, of the Night 
Market, of St Andrew, of Quirinarius (by the house of 
Humaid, son of Durrah).” Abu Ubaidah agreed to this, and 
to all their stipulations. He then drew up a deed of capitula¬ 
tion, to which, however, he neither attached his own name 
nor those of witnesses; being unwilling to act as commander, 
after he had been deposed from that office by Abu Bakr. 

When he had made out the document, and handed it over 
to them, they asked him to comeiwith them. So he mounted, 
and took with him thirty-five companions of the Prophet, 
and sixty-five undistinguished Moslems, and rode up to the 
gate; before, however, he would enter the city he demanded 
hostages, which they at once produced. 

Others, however, say that he did not demand hostages, 
relying instead on God. For in the night on which the 
agreement was made, after saying his prayer he had fallen 
asleep, and seen the Prophet in a dream; who uttered the 
words, “This night shall the city be taken, if God will.” The 
Prophet then hastened away. Abu Ubaidah asked whither 
he was hurrying, and was told that it was to the funeral of 
Abu Bakr. When Abu Ubaidah awoke from his sleep, there 
was Abu Hurairah, bringing the tidings of the offer of 
terms. So he took no hostages, relying on God’s word. 

He then entered the city, preceded by the priests and the 
monks, clad in sackcloth, holding up copies of the Gospel, 
and censers filled with incense. The day was Monday, 
Jumada II, 13 A.H. [Aug. 22, 634]. 

Abu Ubaidah entered at the Bab al-Jabiyah, Khalid 

257 i7 



Damascus 

having no knowledge of what was going on, since he was 
engaged in a fierce fight at the eastern gate. He was greatly 
incensed against the Damascenes, because another Khalid, 
son of Sa’id, brother of Amr son of al-As on the mother’s 
side, had been killed with a poisoned arrow; Khalid, son of 
al-Walid, had prayed over him when he was buried between 
the Eastern Gate and the Gate of Thomas. Now there was a 
Greek priest named Joshua, son of Mark, living in a house 
close to that part of the wall which adjoined the eastern 
gate. He possessed the Oracles of Daniel and other books, 
whence he knew that God would put the city into the hands 
of the Moslems, and that their religion would prevail over 
every other. On the Sunday night preceding the day of 
which the date has been given, he made a hole in the wall and 
went outside without his wife or children knowing anything 
of it. Coming before Khalid, he told him how he had dug a hole 
inthewall,throughwhichhehad comeout, and asked that his 
life and the lives of his family should be guaranteed. Khalid 
gave his hand upon that, and sent with him a hundred men with 
their armour, most of them of the tribe of Himyar. They had 
orders, when they got into the city, to shout altogether, and 
to make for the door, of which they were to smash the bolts 
and fling away the chains. The men were then preceded by 
Joshua son of Mark, who led them in by the hole which he 
had made, and when they got into the house they put on 
their armour, then issued forth and made for the gate, where 
they raised the cry, Allah Akbar. The Greeks were fighting 
on the wall, and when they heard this cry they were alarmed, 
and felt sure that the Companions of the Prophet must have 
entered the city with them; and they were greatly distressed. 
Then the commander of the party got to the gate and broke 
the bolts and cut the chains, so that Khalid and his fol¬ 
lowers were able to enter. They began to slaughter the 
Greeks, who retreated before him till he reached the 

258 



THE MOSLEM CEMETERY AND VIEW 
OF MOUNT HERMON, DAMASCUS 








Historical Scenes 

Church of St Maty, all the way killing or taking 
prisoners. 

So the two hosts met in the church of St Mary, those of 
Khalid and of Abu Ubaidah. Khalid beheld a procession led 
by priests and monks whom Abu Ubaidah followed, none 
of his followers having their swords drawn, or fighting. He 
was amazed thereat, and gazed in wonder. Abu Ubaidah, 
perceiving in his face the signs of disapproval, said to him, 
“Abu Sulaiman, the city has been taken by me under an 
agreement, and God has saved the Moslems the trouble of 
fighting.” “Agreement?” said Khalid; “God make your 
circumstances anything but agreeable! I have taken the city 
by storm, and there are no defenders left; what agreement 
can I make with them?” Abu Ubaidah replied, “Comman¬ 
der, fear God; I have covenanted with these people, and the 
arrow has been discharged with what is upon it [i.e. the 
matter is irrevocable]. I have written the contract, and see 
there it is in their hands unfolded.” “How dare you make 
agreements without my order and without giving me no¬ 
tice?” replied Khalid; “am I not your chief, and are not 
you under my flag? No, I will not sheathe the sword until I 
have slain them every one!” Abu Ubaidah cried, “By Al¬ 
lah, I never thought that you would disallow any covenant 
that I had made, or disapprove of any opinion that I had 
expressed. I adjure you by God, respect what I have done. 
I have given my guarantee to them all, and pledged thereto 
the faith of God and of the Prophet. All the Moslems who 
were with me assented thereunto, and treachery is not our 
custom. God have mercy on you.” 

A fierce quarrel broke out between them, and the spec¬ 
tators took sides. Khalid was unwilling to change his reso¬ 
lution, and Abu Ubaidah looked at the followers of Khalid, 
Bedouin and old campaigners, and saw that they were 
eager for rapine and slaughter, and unwilling to spare a 

259 17 a 



Damascus 

life. He began to cry with bitterness that he had been 
affronted and his promise disregarded ; and, setting spurs 
to his horse, he began to point to the Arabs, now right and 
now left, and adjure them by the Prophet to move no further 
in the direction whence he had come till some arrangement 
might be come to between himself and Khalid. At his en¬ 
treaty they stopped slaying and pillaging, and a number of 
the captains gathered together at the church where they had 
met with the view of deliberation. Some of these captains 
urged the advisability of carrying out Abu Ubaidah’s wishes 
on the ground that Syria was as yet imperfectly conquered, 
and that Heraclius was still at Antioch. If the rumour 
spread that having once made terms the Moslems had 
violated them, no other city would capitulate by agreement; 
and secondly, it would be better to have the Christians of 
Damascus peaceful subjects than to slaughter them. It was 
then agreed that each of the two commanders should retain 
possession of the part of the city which he had got, and 
write to ask the Caliph’s decision, by which they should 
abide. To this Khalid assented. Presently, much against 
Khalid’s wishes, the two governors, Thomas and Arabius, 
are allowed to leave the city with quantities of treasure, with 
a promise that they shall not be molested within three days 
of their departure. Khalid makes up his mind to follow them 
when that period has elapsed. 

And now there follows a romance in the stricter sense of 
the word. 

I was [said one Wathilah] among the horsemen whom 
Khalid employed to patrol between the gates under com¬ 
mand of Dirar, son of al-Azwar. On one moonlight night 
before Damascus was taken, we were near the Kaisan 
Gate, when, hearing the hinges creak, we stopped. The 

260 



Historical Scenes 

gate was opened, a horseman came out, whom we al¬ 
lowed to proceed till he came near us, when we arrested 
him, telling him that if he uttered a word he would be be¬ 
headed. Two other mounted men then came out and stood 
on guard at the gate. They called to our prisoner by his 
name, and we bade him reply and decoy them out. He called 
to them in Greek, “ The bird is in the net,” whence they 
learned that he was arrested, and hastened inside and 
locked the gate. We wanted to kill the prisoner, but some of 
us suggested that he should be taken to the Commander, 
who might decide what should be done with him. When 
Khalid saw the man,he askedhim who he was. He answered, 
“I am a patrician, one of the rulers of Syria. Before your 
arrival I was betrothed to a maiden of my people whom I 
deeply love. As the siege became protracted, I asked her 
people to let the marriage take place, but they refused, say¬ 
ing that theyhadotherthingstothinkabout. Being anxious to 
meet the maiden, I made an appointment with her that we 
should both be present at the city sports. There we met and 
conversed, when she asked me to take her to the city gate, 
where I left her, and came out to reconnoitre when I was 
caught by your men. My two friends with the maiden came 
out after me, but I called out to them that the bird was in 
the net to warn them, for fear the maiden might be made 
prisoner. Had it been anyone else I should not have minded.” 
Khalid suggested to him that he should embrace Islam, in 
which case, should the city be taken, he should wed his 
bride. “Otherwise,” he said, “I shall kill you.” The patrician 
elected to become a Moslem, and testified that there was no 
God but Allah and Mohammed was His Prophet. He then 
showed himself a doughty warrior on our side. Whe# we 
entered the city in virtue of the capitulation, he went to look 
for his bride and was told that she had become a nun out of 
grief for him. He went to the church and saw her, but she 

261 



!Damascus 

did not recognize him. He asked her what had induced her 
to take the veil ? She replied that she had taken it because 
she had caused her betrothed to risk his life and be captured 
by the Arabs. She had become a nun out of grief over him. 
He said, “lam thy betrothed; I have embraced the religion 
of the Arabs, and thou art now under my protection.” When 
she heard his words she cried out, “No, by the Lord Jesus! 
Never ! This cannot be!” She left Damascus with the two 
patricians, Thomas and Arabius. When her betrothed saw 
that she was determined to discard him, he went and com¬ 
plained to Khalid. Khalid informed him that Abu Ubaidah 
had taken the city by capitulation, and that he had no con¬ 
trol over her. Knowing, however, that Khalid intended fol¬ 
lowing the refugees, he offered to go with the commander 
on the chance of finding his bride. Khalid waited until the 
fourth day after their departure; and when he did not start, 
the Greek came and asked him whether after all he intended 
following the two miscreants, and taking from them what 
they had got. Khalid replied that such had been his inten¬ 
tion, but that he was kept from executing it by the distance 
which now lay between him and them, since the refugees 
had been hastened by their terror and they could not now 
be overtaken. The patrician, whose name was Jonas, said 
that the distance was no sufficient reason for abandoning 
the enterprise, since he knew the country and could take 
Khalid’s forces by short cuts which would enable them to 
overtake the party, and that he would willingly do this on 
the chance of recovering his bride. After assuring Khalid 
that he was acquainted with the country, he advised that 
Khalid’s followers should don the attire of the Christian 
Arab tribes, Lakhm and Judham, and take sufficient pro¬ 
vision for the journey. The people did as he advised. Khalid 
collected his 4,000 guards, and ordered them to mount the 
fleetest of their horses, and reduce their store of provisions 

262 



THE MAIDAN, DAMASCUS 









Historical Scenes 

to the lightest possible weight. They then started, Khalid 
having left Abu Ubaidah in charge of the city. 

So we rode, guided by Jonas, who followed their trail, 
which, indeed, we could often make out ourselves, not only 
from the track of the horses and mules, but also because any 
mount, camel or mule, that fell was left by them, and any 
horse that could not proceed was hamstrung. We rode on 
night and day, stopping only at prayer-times, till the trail 
came to an end. This alarmed us, and Khalid asked Jonas 
what he had to say about it. “Commander,” he replied, 
“ride on and ask God’s aid; the refugees have turned out of 
the road for fear of you, and taken to the mountains and 
passes; still we have all but overtaken them.” 

Then he made the Moslems turn aside from the road, and 
took them through ravines and over mountains and stone- 
heaps. “ He took us,” said one of the party, “ over a very 
stony track, out of which a man could with difficulty extri¬ 
cate himself. We compelled our horses to go among the 
stones, and could see the blood oozing from their hocks, and 
their shoes falling off their hoofs. Our own shoes were cut 
to pieces, and only the uppers left.” Another member of the 
party said, “ I was with Khalid on that expedition, and we 
had to follow the guide. I had a pair of leather shoes with 
Yemen soles, of which I was very proud, and which I fancied 
would last me for years. On that night nothing remained of 
them but the uppers on my leg. I was afraid of the results 
of the rough and difficult mountain path that we had tra¬ 
versed, and perceived that the others were complaining and 
wishing that the guide had kept to the beaten track. How¬ 
ever, before nightwasoverwehad got over the worst part, and 
emerged into the main road, where the guide hoped that we 
should have come up with the fugitives; but when we had 
reached it, we saw their track, and found that they had got 
in front of us, by forced marches apparently. Khalid said, 

263 



Damascus 

‘ They have escaped us.’ But the guide Jonas said, ‘ I have 
hopes that God Almighty will detain them till we can come 
up with them, if He will. So let us hasten.’ Khalid accor¬ 
dingly bade the men bestir themselves. The Moslems said, 

‘ Commander, the difficult path has worn us out, so let us 
rest and give our horses food and rest also.’ But he said, 

‘ Move on in the name of God, for it is God who bids you 
march; hasten in pursuit of your enemies.’ ” 

So they hastened, the guide showing i the way, and also 
acting as our interpreter, and whatever village we entered, 
the people there thought us Christian Arabs of the tribes 
Ghassan, Lakhm or Judham. He took us past Jibili and 
Latakieh, and brought us at last within sight of the sea, 
still following the trail. And then we saw that the fugitives 
had passed by Latakieh without entering it for fear of the 
Emperor Heraclius. Jonas was amazed at this, and going to 
a village near asked some of the proprietors what had hap¬ 
pened; and they informed him that the Emperor Heraclius, 
hearing that Thomas and Arabius had delivered the city of 
Damascus to the Moslems, was exceedingly angry, and had 
not permitted them to approach him; his purpose being to 
collect an army and despatch it to Yarmuk. He was afraid 
of their telling the soldiers about the courage of the Pro¬ 
phet’s Companions, and so disheartening them; he had 
therefore sent orders to them to proceed with their company 
to Constantinople, and not to enter Latakieh. When the 
Damascene Jonas heard that the fugitives had gone off in 
the direction of the sea, he was vexed and alarmed for the 
Moslems, and uncertain what to do. He was in favour of go¬ 
ing back, but Khalid encouraged the Moslems by narrating 
a dream which appeared to promise success. Heavy rains 
now delay the fugitives, and after some more time spent in 
pursuit the Moslems reach a spot where they can hear 
sounds which seem to proceed from the Christian host. 

264 



Historical Scenes 

Jonas with another ascends a mountain called by the Greeks 
Jebel Barik (the Lightning Mountain), and see below a fer¬ 
tile meadow, green and flowery, in the middle of which the 
Christians are loitering, worn out with fatigue and wet with 
the rain. Many are asleep, and the loads have been taken 
off many of their beasts. 

The good news is brought to Khalid by the two scouts, 
and Jonas takes care to stipulate that his bride must be re¬ 
served for his own possession, should she be captured by any¬ 
one else. Khalid then divides his party into four troops who 
charge the fugitives from different sides. The Christians re¬ 
sist, supposing at first that the Arabs are a small detachment 
whom they can easily overcome, but they find themselves in¬ 
volved in a terrible conflict. 

Said one of those who were present: “I was in Khalid’s 
right wing, and had gone with my band to attack the part 
of the Christian host that contained the women, children and 
baggage. I observed the Greek women defending themselves 
vigorously, and I noticed a horseman attired in Greek style 
dismount and commence fighting with a Greek woman, each 
of whom displayed great vehemence. I approached to see who 
it was. It was Jonas fighting with his bride, and the struggle 
was like one between lion and lioness.” 

For a time this spectator was occupied with a fight on his 
own account, having endeavoured to capture a number of 
Greek women, one of whom killed his horse. He succeeded 
however in making her his prisoner, and she turned out to 
be Heraclius’s daughter. But before leaving the field he 
wished to see what had become of Jonas. “Finally I found 
him sitting with his bride before him, she weltering in blood 
and he in tears. I asked him what had happened. He said, 
‘This is my bride, my sole object of pursuit. I loved her 
dearly. When I saw her, I said “ See, I have overtaken thee, 
and shalt thou escape from my hand?” She said, “By the Lord 

265 



Damascus 

Jesus, thou and I shall never be united, seeing thou hast 
left thy faith and entered into the religion of Mohammed. 
I have given myself to Christ, and am on my way to Con¬ 
stantinople, there to enter a convent." Then she fought for 
her liberty, and I fought with her till I had made her my 
prisoner; and when she saw that she was taken, she drew 
out a knife and plunged it into her breast, and fell down 
dead. And see I am weeping over her, broken-hearted.’ ” 

This story is no mean tribute from a Moslem writer to 
the heroism of Christian women. 

THE TAKING OF DAMASCUS BY HULAG U 
After D’Ohsson 

O N Jan. 29, 1260, Nasir, great-grandson of Saladdin, 
prince of Damascus, hearing of the sack of Aleppo, 
was persuaded by his generals to retreat in the direc¬ 
tion of Egypt, leaving Damascus undefended. By his order 
all the chief inhabitants, soldiers as well as citizens, departed 
hastily for Egypt, some after selling their goods at ruinous 
prices. Seven hundred silver dirhems were the hire of a 
camel. After the departure of Nasir the Emir Zain al-din 
Sulaiman, better known as Zain al-Hafizi, closed the gates 
of the city, assembled the notables, and agreed with them 
to deliver Damascus to the Mongols in order to spare the 
blood of the people. In consequence a deputation, composed 
of the chief inhabitants, left for the Mongol camp at Aleppo, 
taking with them some rich presents and the keys of the 
city. Hulagu bestowed a robe of honour on the head of the 
deputation, the Judge Muhyi’l-din, son of al-Zaki, and 
nominated him chief judge of Syria. This personage im¬ 
mediately thereupon returned to Damascus, where he as¬ 
sembled the doctors and notables, before whom, clad in his 
robe of honour, he read out the letters nominating him to 

266 



NEAR THE MIDAN, DAMASCUS 















Historical Scenes 

his new post. He then published an edict whereby Hulagu 
promised the inhabitants of Damascus the security of their 
lives. 

The Mongol chief then sent two commanders, one a 
Mongol the other a Persian, to Damascus, with instructions 
to follow the advice of Zain al-Hafizi, and treat the inhabi¬ 
tants well. A short time after there arrived the general, 
Kitubogha, with a detachment of Mongol troops. The city 
sent to meet them a deputation of shaikhs and notables, 
carrying banners and copies of the Koran. The new gover¬ 
nor renewed the edict promising security, and saw that 
neither life nor property was violated. 

When the Christians of Damascus saw the city occupied 
by Mongol troops, they produced an order of Hulagu, 
granting them protection, and armed with this they pro¬ 
ceeded to defy their oppressors. Mohammedan historians 
relate with indignation how they drank wine publicly, even 
in the fasting month, spilling it on the garments of the 
Moslems and the doors of the mosques; how they compelled 
the Moslems to rise when they passed with the Cross before 
the Moslem shops; insulting any who refused to do so. 
They ran through the streets singing psalms and proclaim¬ 
ing that Christ’s religion was the true one; they went so far 
as to pull down mosques and minarets that were close to 
their churches. The outraged Moslems made complaint to 
the Mongol governor; but he being a Christian disregarded 
them, and caused some of them to be beaten; whereas he 
treated the Christian priests with great respect, visited the 
churches, and took the Christian leaders under his protec¬ 
tion. On the other hand the chief Judge Zain al-Hafizi ex¬ 
torted large sums of money from the inhabitants, with which 
he purchased valuable fabrics which he presented to the 
Mongol chiefs; and every day he sent them loads of pro¬ 
visions for their banquets. 


267 



Damascus 

The Citadel had not yet capitulated. Kitubogha began 
the siege on the night of March 21, and battered the place 
with twenty catapults until April 6, when it yielded. The 
Mongols sacked it, burned the buildings which it contained, 
demolished most of the towers, and destroyed all the military 
engines. Zain al-Hafizi wrote to Hulagu to ask for instruc¬ 
tions with regard to the commander of the Citadel and his 
adjutant, who had been made prisoners; he received as 
reply their death-warrant, and proceeded to execute them 
himself; he beheaded them at Marj Barghuth, where Kitu¬ 
bogha had placed his camp. 

In September of the same year was fought the battle of 
Ain Jalut at which the Mongols were defeated by the forces 
of the Egyptian Sultan. The Mongol camp, with the women 
and children, fell into the power of the victors. Hulagu's 
governors were assassinated in a number of towns. Those 
who were in Damascus were able to escape in time. When 
the news reached this place, the Mongol commanders and 
their partisans immediately made off, but they were plun¬ 
dered by the country people. The Mongol occupation of Da¬ 
mascus had lasted seven months and ten days. 

From Tiberias, a day or two after his victory, the Sultan 
addressed a letter to the city of Damascus, proclaiming the 
victory which had been vouchsafed him by God. The news 
caused transports of joy, because the Moslems were despair¬ 
ing of ever being delivered from the yoke of the Mongols, 
who till then had appeared invincible. The Moslem inhabi¬ 
tants immediately rushed to the houses of the Christians, 
which they pillaged and ruined; many Christians were killed. 
The churches of St James and St Mary were burned. The 
Jews had to suffer similarly. Their houses and shops were 
completely looted, and armed force had to be employed to 
prevent the people from setting fire to their dwellings and 
synagogues. Then came the turn of those Moslems who had 



Historical Scenes 

acted as partisans and agents of the Mongols; they were 
massacred. A few days later Kotuz arrived with his army 
before Damascus, and remained in camp for two days be¬ 
fore entering the city. He ordered the execution of several 
Moslems who had taken the Mongol side, and had thirty 
Christians hung. He then imposed on the Christian popula¬ 
tion a fine of 150,000 dirhems. 

$THE DESTRUCTION OF DAMASCUS BY TIMUR 

After Ibn Iyas 

T HE Sultan Faraj had, on hearing of the advance of 
Timur into Syria, come to Damascus in person, 
where he had scored some slight victories over the 
outpost of the Mongol invader, and received large acces¬ 
sions of deserters. News, however, of an attempted revo¬ 
lution at home caused him to withdraw suddenly, leaving 
Damascus exposed to the attack of Timur. Hearing of 
the approach of the Mongols, the people of Damascus 
on Saturday 21 Jumada I, 803 [Jan. 8, 1400] were in 
great dismay, and locked the gates of the city. They 
mounted the walls, and began to shoot at Timur’s army, and 
dragged each other forward to fight. The first day there was a 
considerable engagement, in which some 2,000 of Timur's 
army were killed. On Sunday Timur sent requesting that 
some eminent and intelligent citizen should be sent to act 
as intermediary, with a view to peace negotiations. When 
Timur’s envoy brought this message, there was some discus¬ 
sion as to whom they should send, and the choice finally 
fell on the Kadi Taki al-din Ibn Muflih the Hanbalite, he 
being a ready speaker, skilful in both Turkish and Persian. 
He was let down from the top of the wall in a basket, and 
with him five other eminent Damascenes. He stayed away a 
little time, and then returned, when he stated that Timur 
had been exceedingly courteous. “This city,” he hadsaid, “ is 

269 



Damascus 

the home of the Prophets, and I give it its liberty for their 
sake.” He had also gone to see the tomb of Umm Habibah 
(one of the Prophet’s wives), and expressed his regret that 
such a monument should be without a cupola; he had there¬ 
fore undertaken to provide it with one himself. Ibn Muflih 
further stated that the Mongol prince throughout the 
audience had been frequently mentioning the name of God 
Almighty, and asking forgiveness for his sins, and that he 
never let the rosary drop from his hands. This, however, was 
as Ibrahim al-Mi’mar says : 

As the butcher pronounces the name 
Of the Lord on the beast that he slays : 

So our governor’s tyrannous acts 

He preludes with prayer and praise. 1 

Ibn Muflih was indeed so eloquent on the virtues of Timur 
that the people of Damascus felt unwilling to fight against 
such a man, and anxious to be his subjects. Or rather, they 
divided into two parties, one siding with Ibn Muflih, the 
other still bent on fighting, and deaf to Ibn Muflih’s persua¬ 
sions. At first the greater number of the townsfolk were on 
the latter side; but by Monday morning Ibn Muflih had 
secured a majority for his policy, and wished to'open the Bab 
al-Nasr. This, however, was opposed by the commander of 
the Citadel, who threatened to burn the city if it were done. 
Ibn Muflih then got together a deputation of doctors, judges, 
and shaikhs, to demand an audience of Timur, and these 
were let down in baskets from the top of the wall. They were 
entertained the Monday night in Timur’s camp, and sent 
back to Damascus the next day with aproclamation by Timur 
in nine lines, guaranteeing the Damascenes security. This 
proclamation was read aloud in the Umayyad Mosque, and 
was received with great rejoicing by the people of the city, 
who then opened the Bab Saghir. They felt perfectly secure, 
but God only knows what is in the heart, as has been said: 

270 



Historical Scenes 

He whose help I hoped for hit me, 

Like a snake he turned and bit me, 

His beaming expression no confidence brings, 

Any more than the snake’s that can smile when it stings. 

When the gate was opened, one of Timur’s officers took his 
station there, asserting that it was his business to see that 
the Mongol troops did no damage. Timur then sent for Ibn 
Muflih, and the latter undertook to collect a million dinars 
from the citizens of Damascus. This he set about doing im¬ 
mediately after the audience, but when the sum was made 
up and brought to Timur, the Mongol made a wry face and 
declared himself dissatisfied, asserting it was a million to¬ 
mans for which he had stipulated, a toman having the value 
of ten [million] dinars. Ibn Muflih was disconcerted by this 
demand, and after leaving Timur tried every expedient in 
his power to get together the money, applying rack and tor¬ 
ture to the citizens, demanding ten Syrian dirhems from 
each individual, great or small; three months’ revenue was 
demanded from all religious establishments: and the distress 
resulting from these measures was indescribable, especially 
as prices had risen during the siege, a bushel of wheat 
fetching forty Syrian dirhems. Public prayer and preaching 
were abandoned, and one of Timur’s captains, named Shah 
Malik, took up his quarters with his women folk in the 
Umayyad Mosque, of which he locked the door; he took up 
the carpets and the matting of the mosque, and with them 
blocked up the spaces between the columns, and he with his 
soldiers proceeded to drink wine, beat drums and play dice in 
the Mosque. While this lasted, there was no call to prayer 
or any public worship in any of the sanctuaries; business 
was at a standstill, and the markets empty, while each day 
more and more of Timur’s troops entered the city, till it be¬ 
came full of them, and they proceeded to lay siege to the 
Citadel. This was delivered up to the Mongols after twenty- 

271 



'Damascus 

nine days’ siege, when the governor thought there was no 
prospect of saving it. The Mongols took possession of every¬ 
thing, animate and inanimate, which it contained, and, 
indeed, of the whole city. Ibn Muflih then made a second 
presentation of money to Timur, who told him that what he 
had brought amounted in Mongol reckoning to three mil¬ 
lion dinars; there were thus still seven millions owing. The 
first stipulation made by the Mongol with Ibn Muflih had 
been for a million dinars, exclusive of the goods, arms and 
beasts left by the Egyptian Sultan and his officers when 
they went away. Returning from the audience Ibn Muflih had 
a proclamation made that whoever had in his keeping any 
property left on trust by the Sultan, his officers or his sol¬ 
diers, should immediately produce it. The order was obeyed, 
and the whole brought before Timur, who told Ibn Muflih 
he must now bring the property of all Damascene merchants 
and persons of eminence who had left the city. When all this 
had been brought, Ibn Muflih was told to bring all the beasts 
of burden in the city, horses, mules, camels and asses; these 
were brought to the number of 12,000 head. Next he was 
told to collect and bring all weapons of any sort, however 
good or bad. After these had been.fetched, Ibn Muflih was 
ordered to make out a list of all the quarters and streets of 
Damascus. When Ibn Muflih had made out a set of tables, 
and broughtthem to Timur, he was told finally to apportion 
the sum of 7,000,000 dinars which was still owing ac¬ 
cording to the terms of the capitulation. Ibn Muflih replied 
that there was not aigold or silver coin left in the place. At 
this Timur was angry, and commanded Ibn Muflih and his 
assistants to be arrested and put in irons. “ Cauterization is 
the leech’s last expedient.” It turned out then as has been 
said: 


272 



Historical Scenes 

A king’s intent is gall to eat 

Coated with honey from outside: 

So he who tastes it thinks it sweet 
Till he find out what it doth hide. 

Timur then distributed the tickets containing the names 
of the streets among his officers, and the whole army was 
introduced within the walls. Each officer stationed himself 
in a street, and demanded of its inhabitants an impossible 
sum. Each householder would be made to stand in his rags 
at the door of his house, arid bidden to pay the sum allotted 
to him; when he replied that he had nothing left, he would 
be violently beaten, his house entered, and all the furniture 
and copper utensils would be taken away. He with all his 
family would then be dragged out, and his wives and daugh¬ 
ters would be violated before his eyes. The male children 
after being made to undergo similar atrocities would be 
beaten, and the scourging of the householder himself con¬ 
tinued while all this was done. Ingenious forms of torture 
were devised; hempen cord would be tied round a man’s 
head and tightened till it sank in; then it would be put 
under his arms, and his thumbs be tied together behind his 
back; then he would be made to lie on his back, and a cloth 
containing hot ashes be put over him. Men were suspended 
by their great toes, and fires lighted under them, till they 
either died of the agony or fell into the blaze. Timur’s 
soldiers did such things as it whitens the hair to hear of. 
Nineteen days did these atrocities continue; on Wednesday 
the eighteenth of Rejeb of the year 803 [March 4, 1400], 
Damascus was entered by an army like the waves of the 
sea, all foot-soldiers, with drawn swords in their hands. 
These looted whatever remained in the city, and bound the 
men, women and children, whom they dragged off in ropes 
not knowing whither they were to be taken. They left in the 

273 18 



‘Damascus 

city infants under four years of age, and decayed old women 
and men. The rest were led off. 

On Thursday the first of Sha’ban [March 17, 1400], Timur 
ordered the city of Damascus to be set on fire, which was 
done; a pyre blazed which discharged sparks as big as 
yellow camels. The Umayyad Mosque was burned till all 
left was a wall standing with no roof, nor door nor marble; 
most of the mosques and oratories of Damascus were burned 
also, as were the market-places and the magazines which 
had first been plundered, and most of the streets were de¬ 
stroyed by the fire so as to become unrecognizable, as has 
been said: 

I pass by haunts I once knew well, 

Bright homes of wealth and gladness, 

Only the owls do there now dwell— 

Plague on ye, birds of sadness! 

So Damascus that had been so prosperous, so happy, so 
bright, so luxurious, so magnificent, was turned into a heap 
of ruins, of desolate remains, destitute of all its beauty and 
all its art. Not a living being was moving, nothing was there 
except carcases partly burned, and figures disfigured with 
dust, covered with a cloak of flies, and become the prey 
and the spoil of dogs. Even a sagacious man could not find 
the way to his house, nor distinguish between a stranger's 
dwelling and his own. “We are God’s and to God do we 
return!” 


274 



APPENDIX 
The Massacre of i860 

From a Work called The Unveiling of the Troubles of Syria 

T HERE was at this time in Damascus a governor named 
Ahmad Pasha, who had been given control of both the 
administration and the army. The whole history of Tur¬ 
key offers no example of a baser, more mischievous or more 
cunning scoundrel. He made it his chief business to stir up angry 
passions and prepare the way for a massacre. The massacres of 
Hasibiyya and Rashiyya were by his orders and under his direc¬ 
tion, and the Turkish soldiers who carried them out were his 
servants. Circumstances helped him to stir up bad blood, espe¬ 
cially the rescript in which the Sultan proclaimed equality between 
his subjects in accordance with the Treaty of Paris. When the 
Moslems perceived that their power of lording it over the Chris¬ 
tians was gone, that all communities were now equal, and that 
no sooner had the Christians been enfranchized than they had be¬ 
gun to surpass the Moslems in wealth, honour, knowledge and 
everything else, the latter resented this and harboured mischie¬ 
vous designs. Now one of the articles of the Treaty of Paris was 
that soldiers should be drawn from the Christian no less than from 
the Moslem part of the population; the Government, however, 
did not observe this article for reasons that are well known, and 
in lieu of military service levied a heavy contribution on the 
Christians, £$o a head. This sum being more than they were able 
to pay, they made repeated complaints and begged the Govern¬ 
ment to reduce the amount or else permit Christians to serve in 
the army. The Government would not listen to these appeals, and 
in the year i860 insisted on the payment of all arrears. The Ortho¬ 
dox Greek Patriarch at that time was a Greek unacquainted with 
the language and charadter of the people. When his flock thronged 
round him and encompassed his residence, begging his media¬ 
tion in this matter, he wished to disperse them with the aid of the 
soldiers; he therefore wrote to the Governor informing him that 

275 18a 



t Appendix 

the Christians were in a turbulent and excited state in conse¬ 
quence of the imposition of the heavy military tax, and expressed 
the hope that the Governor would disperse them, as they were 
crowding round his house. The Governor was delighted with this 
communication and kept the letter in his pocket to serve as his 
justification, if necessary, for the massacre that he meant to bring 
about; for in answer to any question hq could produce the letter 
of the Patriarch, attesting the fa£t that the Christians were start¬ 
ing a riot, which he had been compelled to repress by force 
of arms. 

By the secret instigations of Ahmad Pasha the excitement of 
the Moslems in Damascus increased daily, and presently they 
heard with delight of the massacres in Hasibiyya, Rashiyya, 
Zahlah and Dair al-Kamar. With the heroes of Zahlah they had a 
long'account to settle, and when they received the news of the 
fall of Zahlah and the massacre of its defenders, they decorated 
Damascus and instituted public rejoicings. The Christians looked 
on but durst not interfere; only some of the more distinguished 
and virtuous of the Moslems were displeased with this proceeding 
and extinguished the illuminations, and besid es went round and 
urged their co-religionists to be sensible and calm. Their laudable 
efforts had little effedt; they were overcome by the Government 
and the mob. At the end of this chapter we shall record the names 
of the noble-minded men, in order that their memory and the 
memory of their services may endure in history. As we said, the 
excitement of the Moslems kept increasing daily, whilst the 
Christians had to suffer contempt and insult and contumely of 
every sort. Complaint brought no redress and they found that 
application to the Government was useless. Most of them re¬ 
mained shut up in their houses; merchants and employes durst 
not go out to their business, but passed the time in prayer, medi¬ 
tation and deliberation. Meanwhile the feeling of the Moslems 
grew worse and worse, and the Christians saw death approaching. 

The Consuls, perceiving the state of affairs, kept sending re¬ 
ports to their Governments, and when matters came to a crisis a 
meeting was held in the house of the British Consul, in accor- 

276 



The ^Massacre of i860 

dance with his request, at which they all attended. After con¬ 
sidering what measures they could take to prevent a massacre, 
they agreed to open their houses to refugees from murder or 
pillage; and determined to warn the Governor of the consequences 
of negligence. The Greek Consul was selected to convey their 
message to the Governor, this Consul being skilled in Turkish. 
He did his utmost to impress on the Governor the necessity of 
calming the excitement, but without effect; Ahmad Pasha at first 
professed absolute ignorance of the existence of any excitement, 
maintaining that the city was perfectly quiet. When, however, as 
the days passed, it became impossible for him to deny the fact, 
he began to excuse himself on the plea that the soldiers whom he 
had were not sufficient to restrain the mob from carrying out 
their designs. He also began to make an exhibition of surprise 
and anxiety at the state of affairs, but he did not issue a single 
order to the effect that either the soldiers or the mob should be 
restrained from attacking the Christians. When the debate be¬ 
came hot between him and the Consul who was commissioned 
to converse with him, he would declare that the Christians 
had rebelled against the Porte and endeavoured to shake 
off their allegiance; “and this,” he said, “I can prove by 
the letters of their bishops and chief ecclesiastical authorities.” 
The Consuls then went in a body to the palace of the Governor 
and insisted that he must do something to improve the state of 
affairs. Finding he could no longer refuse, he promised to do as 
they wished, and issued an order to the inhabitants and the army 
that they should keep quiet and not molest the Christians. This 
order was partly effective, and the Christians experienced a cer¬ 
tain amount of relief; orders were presently sent by the Governor 
to such of them as were in the employ of the Government, bid¬ 
ding them have no fear, and return to their duties. Supposing the 
excitement to have subsided they took courage, and people were 
near imagining that the waters had returned to their channels. 

Ahmad Pasha, however, had no idea of letting this tranquillity 
continue, but continued his secret instigations, and the army with 
the mob became even more seriously excited than before, whilst 

277 



Appendix 

the Christians were again compelled to conceal themselves from 
their enemies. Every one perceived that something" terrible was 
about to happen, although the Consuls of Great Britain and 
Greece tried to urge the distinguished Moslems to help them in 
quieting the excitement. A few of the best among the Damascenes 
came to their aid, but their efforts were unavailing; for the dis¬ 
turbance kept increasing, and the ruffians began to thirst more 
and more for blood. Hearing of this the Arabs and other Moslem 
neighbours of Damascus came to the city from all quarters, 
anxious to gratify their resentments by the murder of Christians 
and plunder of Christian goods. Most unfortunately those who 
had escaped from the massacre of Hasibiyya arrived in Damascus 
at that time, bringing with them, as it were, the infection of 
massacre. The ruffians could wait no longer, and the Druzes from 
the outside and the Moslems from the inside kept urging the 
Government to issue a rescript giving them leave to commence 
slaying, violating women, plundering goods and burning houses. 
Ahmad Pasha saw that the time had come for the execution of 
his purpose, and fanned the flame by circulating a rumour that 
the Christians were planning a night attack on the Moslem 
quarters, with a general assault, notwithstanding that the Chris¬ 
tians of Damascus were the weakest of God’s creatures, not one 
of whom could handle a weapon, and whose only expedient for 
self-defence was imploring mercy or hiding. The wicked Governor, 
whenever he went to public prayer, had the troops ranged round 
the mosque, on the pretence that the Christians were meditating 
an assault on his person. By means of these rumours and slanders 
the wrath of the Moslems was roused to such a pitch that the con¬ 
tinuance of quiet was impossible. Presently the Governor removed 
his family to the Citadel which he protected with guns, and this 
served as a signal to the Damascenes that the time was come, and 
they commenced making preparations for the absolute annihila¬ 
tion of the Christians of the city. The excitement grew fiercer and 
fiercer, the preparations for a massacre were completed, and the 
Christians despaired of deliverance. 

The Governor now sent a regiment of soldiers to the Bab Tuma, 

278 



The Massacre of i860 

where is the Christian quarter, to protect the Christians, who, 
however, had heard of the sort of protection accorded by these 
Turks at the other massacres in Syria, and were convinced that 
one was about to commence. They supposed the soldiers had 
been sent to attack them, and their terror was vastly increased 
when they learned from the Hasibiyya refugees that this was the 
very regiment that had been in Hasibiyya and assisted in the 
massacre there, and having got some practice in such proceedings 
had come on to Damascus to repeat the scenes of Hasibiyya. And, 
indeed, the intentions of these soldiers were apparent on their 
countenances. The Christians, in despair, committed their future 
to God, some of them indeed trying to take refuge in the houses 
of the more virtuous Moslems or to leave the city secretly when not 
prevented by the soldiers, while others tried to soften the soldiers and 
officers by presents of money. Indeed, these were so lavishly be¬ 
stowed that the poorest of these Turkish soldiers became richer 
than the most eminent of the Christians, the wealth of the un¬ 
fortunate Christians being transferred to these savages, who, 
having been sent to protect their lives, attacked them in contra¬ 
vention of the law of God, the law of Islam and the law of 
manhood. 

When Ahmad Pasha perceived that further delay would be 
harmful rather than profitable, and that all that was now wanted 
was a signal, he began to search for something that would excite 
the Moslems to such a pitch that they would of their own accord 
start on a massacre without instructions from the Government. 
He found an expedient directly. 

The Moslems, especially the Turks, had at that time repeatedly 
insulted the Christian religion, and complaints about this had re¬ 
peatedly been made to the Governor. When he wished the massa¬ 
cre to commence, he ordered the arrest of three Moslem lads who 
had openly insulted the Cross, and sent them bound and escorted 
to the Christian quarter, with orders to sweep its streets as a 
punishment for their conduct. The Moslems, seeing them in this 
state, and being told by the Turks that they were going to act as 
slaves to the Christians because they had insulted the Cross, 

279 



Appendix 

stopped them at the entrance of the Umayyad Mosque, and 
loosed their bonds without opposition from the soldiers. Entering 
the Mosque they deliberated for a short time, after which they left 
the building, one of them shouting at the top of his voice, ‘ ‘ Help, 
help, Mohammed’s Religion; the Cause of the Faith; the Cause 
of God against the Unbelieving Nazarenes!” The cry went from 
mouth to mouth, the people became infuriated, and the Moslem 
rabble rushed from every quarter upon the Christian quarter like 
ravening wolves, eager to slake their fury by spilling Christian 
blood. This, then, was the beginning of the terrible massacre. 

While rushing upon the Christian quarter the rioters said to 
each other, “Fear not that the Government will intervene or that 
the soldiers will oppose our holy enterprise, but slaughter the 
Christians to a man this day; make their homes the food of the 
flame, and let their women taste the bitterness of dishonour; rid 
yourselves after such long endurance of these Nazarene unbe¬ 
lievers.” By order of the Governor a blank discharge was fired atthe 
Greek Orthodox Church; it set some matting alight, and when the 
rioters saw the flame they began to kindle fires on all sides of the 
Christian quarter, and entering the houses began to slay and pil¬ 
lage. The Turkish soldiers opened the doors to the invaders and 
prevented the Christians from escaping; before midday the whole 
quarter was a sheet of flame, and in the following night its ap¬ 
pearance might have whitened an infant’s hair. There were 
wretched creatures trying to escape from the jaws of the fire, 
when the walls fell down with them, and they were left to die in 
indescribable torment. When day dawned and the rioters saw 
that there was nothing left to plunder, they employed their 
weapons upon all who had escaped from the fire, slaughtering 
every Christian whom they could find, sparing neither young nor 
old; they cut down the mothers and violated the daughters; they 
committed every form of atrocity. The blood of the victims 
flowed in the streets in rills. Destruction was everywhere; no¬ 
thing could be seen in the Christian quarter except heads on 
which bullets were raining from the Turkish rifles, chests tram¬ 
pled by horse-hoofs, corpses partly devoured by flames and turned 

280 



The Massacre of i860 

into ashes or charcoal blacker than night. The cry of women and 
children rose to heaven and the blood of the slain flowed in the 
streets imploring succour. To the spectator it seemed as though 
not a Christian soul remained alive except some who had been 
spared by some of the ruffians for evil purposes, and who were 
begging for death, and welcomed it after the terrors that they 
had witnessed. Six thousand innocent persons perished after en¬ 
during unspeakable agonies. 

Still, even in that gloomy time there were not wanting noble 
men, a remnant of whom are always to be found surviving, how¬ 
ever savage the majority may be. Among the savage murderers 
there was found a man of high station, noble worth, lofty aspira¬ 
tions and attachment to Islamic virtues, high-born and of high 
repute, a master with the sword and a master with the pen, a hero 
and a champion, familiar with war and its terrors, wherein he 
had played the man. In the days of his power his enemies had 
been Christians, whom he had fought courageously; when for¬ 
tune had played him false and his sovereignty had come to an 
end, he had resolved on retiring to Damascus, there to pass the 
remainder of his days in such courses as pleased God. He detested 
the treacherous murder of the weak, and tried to restrain others 
from such adts as are forbidden by the Moslem religion. Among 
these debased mobs he shone like a gem in dull, black stone; his 
spirit rose superior to the intrigues of the Turks and the machi¬ 
nations of the mischief-makers, and the deeds of the savages. 
This person was the unique Emir Abd al-Kadir of Algiers, whose 
memory God render fragrant, and on whom may He confer a 
thousand mercies; and may He make many like to him among 
the sons of Adam. He it was who showed himself brave and 
manly among the herd of evil-doers, cowards, dastards, villains 
and traitors. 

Having perceived on men’s faces the signs of unholy inten¬ 
tions, and inferring from the negligence of the authorities in re¬ 
pressing the rioters that the authorities either had a hand in 
the business themselves or were actually the instigators of the 
atrocities, when one day he met a number of the chief Moslems 

281 



Appendix 

in the presence of Ahmad Pasha, after a long discussion he per¬ 
suaded them that such treachery towards a feeble community that 
did not amount to a tenth of the population of Damascus—ex¬ 
clusive of the army, and exclusive of the faCt that the Christians 
were utterly unaccustomed to fighting—could only be regarded 
as an infamous piece of cowardice, bringing disgrace on him who 
was guilty of it; and that an attack on “the people of the Cove¬ 
nant ”—the legal name for tolerated seCts living under Moslem 
rule—so long as they remained obedient to the Moslem govern¬ 
ment, was a violation of the Sacred Code, and was not permitted 
by any religious system. The Governor, being unable to refuse his 
assent to these propositions, agreed to take joint steps to allay 
the excitement and to protect the Christians. Hence, when Abd 
al-Kadir learned of the despatch of the regiment to the Chris¬ 
tian quarter shortly before the butchery, his apprehensions 
were appeased, and he supposed that he had done his duty 
and succeeded in carrying out his noble purpose. The Tur¬ 
kish Governor, however, and his satellites had no thought 
about honour nor about any code save that of their passion 
for blood and plunder, whence, over-riding all laws, they perpe¬ 
trated those adls which have been narrated. But when Abd al- 
Kadir heard of this, he sent his followers at night-time to every 
quarter of Damascus to search everywhere for Christians and 
bring them, wherever found, to the Emir’s palace, protecting them 
on the way from the rioters. The whole of the night and the fol¬ 
lowing day Abd al-Kadir kept gathering these poor wretches into 
his house where he provided them with food and drink at his 
own expense and did his best to console them, allay their fears 
and promise them an alleviation of their trials. No nobler conduCt 
has ever been heard of. Many a time he went out himself and 
passed through the streets in which the butchery was going on, 
and with his own hand kept the murderer off his prey. Going to 
the booths, churches and consulates, where refugees were gathered 
by the hundred and thousand, he took them under his protection 
and led them off to his own house, whence he returned to deliver 
a fresh batch. He also encouraged his own servants to do the 

282 



The Massacre of i860 

same, and begged them to exert themselves therein. Finally, 
when he had got round him 12,000 refugees, his palace was too 
small to hold them, and he requested the brutal Governor, Ahmad 
Pasha, to order that they should be received in the Citadel, after 
having obtained from the Turk the most solemn promise that he 
would do them no harm. The unfortunate people were in conse¬ 
quence placed in the Citadel where they remained days and 
weeks without clothing, shelter or food, and where they endured 
every kind of misery after the trials that they had undergone. 
God alone knows the anguish of these refugees over the dear ones 
whom they had lost; over their personal losses and over the 
miserable plight to which they had come; especially as most of 
them believed the Citadel was going to turn out a death-trap like 
the Palace of Hasibiyya or Dair al-Kamar or Rashiyya, and that 
one day the Governor would open the gates and order the Druzes 
and Turks to massacre them to a man, as had happened to their 
brethren. This apprehension was strengthened one day when an 
officer was sent by the Governor with orders to separate the wo¬ 
men from the men for a purpose that was not then explained; 
the refugees gave up all hope and made ready for death, im¬ 
ploring mercy for those whom they were preceding to Eternity 
and who had still some chance of abiding in the vale of tears. 
Fortunately this fear was not realized—chiefly through the efforts 
of the brave and philanthropic Abd al-Kadir. The efforts of the 
Consuls were of no avail, for the authorities regarded them as 
enemies and wished to attack them with the rest. 

When the number of refugees assembled in Abd al-Kadir’s 
house became very great—in addition to those who had been sent 
to the Citadel—the rioters wished to kill them also to a man, and 
resented the conduct of the Emir Abd al-Kadir in helping the 
Christians. Gathering round his house in masses they began to 
shout and cry and demand the immediatasurrender of the Chris¬ 
tians, failing which they threatened to burn his house and destroy 
him with his prot^gds; thinking that Abd al-Kadir was a coward 
like the rest, who would be moved by threats and menaces. 
Hearing this, the hero ordered his followers to gather round his 

283 



Appendix 

castle; they were picked champions, whose prowess had been 
tried on battlefields, as when under their heroic leader they had 
won a victory over the Sultan of Morocco at Mulaya, being 2,500 
against 60,000. These troops maintained their allegiance to their 
prince, and such of them as survived the wars had come with him 
to Damascus. When, therefore, he summoned them on that 
terrible day, they surrounded him on every side, and the rioters 
seeing their valiant appearance, took to their heels; whereupon 
the Emir advanced by himself into the middle of the cowardly 
rioters and addressed them to the following effedt: “Avaunt, ye 
Moslem dogs, ye scum of mankind! Is it thus that ye honour your 
Prophet and obey his holy ordinances, ye vilest of unbelievers? 
Did God’s Apostle bid ye deal thus with the people of the Covenant 
who were to be safe under your shadow? Is it this which Arabian 
courage nerves ye to do? Plague on ye for cowardly traitors, who 
murder the Christians who are fewer and weaker than your¬ 
selves, and reckon this to be valour, when it is disgrace itself. 
Go back at once or I will not sheathe this sword till I have satu¬ 
rated it with your blood, and will command my men to fall upon 
you, until not a single coward remain to tell what has happened 
to his brethren. And be well assured that ye shall repent in dust 
and ashes when the Franks shall come to avenge these injured 
Christians, and shall turn your mosques into churches, and make 
of you an example to them that will be warned. Go back, cease 
from your folly, or I will make this hour the last of your lives, 
and will take retribution from you for the evil which you have 
committed.” 

The mighty man’s words terrified these hearts of the dastards, 
and they went back dismayed, and so 12,000 lives were saved 
through the instrumentality of one hero. His name shall last so 
long as honour lasts or courage is remembered. 

[There follows a list of other eminent Moslems who aided the 
efforts of Abd al-Kadir.] 

This is the substance of the terrible story. We narrate it here 
and leave the reader to say to himself what he pleases. The num¬ 
ber of the slain in Damascus and its suburbs was 6,000, and of 

284 



The Massacre of i860 

nose slain elsewhere about the same. The whole of this happened 
1 the month of June of the Black Year (i860). The number of 
ersons left homeless and destitute was more than 150,000; the 
umber of women and children that became widows and orphans 
ras not less than 20,000; the number of houses belonging to inno- 
ent Christians that were burned down was about 7,000; the num- 
er of persons who died in this month of the effects of fright, 
■rief, anxiety and sudden poverty was not less than 14,000; and 
he amount of money pillaged and looted was not less than 
£3,000,000. 

Consider these matters—God guard you—and pray God that 
le will deliver the earth from the evil-doers. 


285 




GLOSSARY 


A BBASID: descended from the Prophet’s uncle Abbas. 
Name of the third Mohammedan dynasty, whose capital 
was ordinarily Baghdad. 

Abd: slave of. As an element in proper names prefixed to names 
of God. 

Abu: father of. A form of name taken by Arabs, called kunyah. 
Agha: master, commander, or chief (Turkish). 

Ayyubid: descended from Ayyub (Job), father of Saladdin. 
Azhar: brilliant, masculine of Zahra, a title of the Prophet’s 
daughter Fatimah. 

Bab: door, gate. 

Bahr: sea, great river, used for the Nile. 

Bahri: of the Nile, name given to first Mamluke dynasty, be¬ 
cause of their barracks on an island in the Nile. 

Bait : house, room. 

Bey : prince or noble. Turkish title. 

Birket: pool (of), pond (of). 

Burji : of the Castle, name given to second series of Mamluke 
dynasties, from their barracks on the Citadel. 

Caliph: successor, ordinarily of the Prophet, in the sovereignty 
of the Moslems. 

Caravanserai : inn for the lodging of caravans. 

Dikkah: bench. 

Diwan: bureau, public office, council. 

Efendi: Turkish title, corresponding with our “esquire,” usually 
confined to Moslems, but now not exclusively. 

Emir: governor, name given to high officials at the Mamluke 
court. 

Fatimide: descended from Fatimah, the Prophet’s daughter and 
her husband AH, the Prophet’s cousin. Name taken by the 
Egyptian Caliphs, who, rightly or wrongly, claimed such 
descent. 

Gharbiyyah: western (fern.) 

Harah : street. 

Hisn: fort, fortress. 

Ibn: son of. 


287 



Cairo 

Ikhshid: title used in Farghanah for sovereign. 

Imam : leader, usually in prayer. 

I wan: see liwan. 

Kadi : judge. 

Kan : title of Mongol rulers of Baghdad. 

Karafah: cemetery. 

Ka’ah: saloon, large room 
Ketkhuda: steward. 

Khan: sovereign (in Turkey); noble (in Persia); storehouse for 
merchandise (chiefly in Syria). 

Khanagah: hospice. 

Khedive : king or prince. Persian title, given the Egyptian ruler. 
Kiblah : niche marking direction of prayer in a mosque. 
Kubbah: cupola. 

Liwan: word employed by writers on Egyptian architecture for 
an arched hall, usually with one side open towards a court; 
aisle of a mosque. 

Madanah : minaret. Madanat : minaret of. 

Madrasah : school, college, place of instruction. 

Maksurah : portion of a mosque marked off for the use of the 
sovereign or governor. 

Maktab: elementary school. 

Malik : king. Title taken by Egyptian rulers, and sometimes by 
their ministers. 

Mamluke: slave. 

Mashhad : grave of a saint. 

Mihrab: see Kiblah. 

Minaret: tower adjoining a mosque, with one or more galleries 
whence the call to prayer is chanted. 

Minbar : pulpit of a mosque. 

Mosque: Mohammedan place of worship. 

Mueddin : official whose business it is to chant the call to prayer. 
Muristan: hospital. 

Pasha: title given to very high officials in the Turkish Empire. 
Ribat: small monastery. 

Sayyid, fern. Sayyidah : title given to descendants of the Prophet. 
Sebil : public drinking fountain. 

Shaikh : head of a tribe; doctor of theology. 

Shi’ah: partisans of Ali, as opposed'to orthodox Moslems. 

Sidi : abbreviation of Sayyidi, my lord, used of Egyptian princes. 
Sufi : Mohammedan mystic or ascetic. 

Sultan: title assumed by Mohammedan sovereigns, who ruled 

288 



Glossary 

under the nominal suzerainty of the Caliph. In the Ottoman 
Empire the two titles are combined. 

Sunni : orthodox Moslem, opposed to Shi’i. 

Takiyyah: monastery. 

Ukalah or Wakalah : building for the storage of Merchandise. 
Zahir : title taken by Sultans, signifying victorious. 

Zawiyah: cell, small monastery. 


289 


19 




Index 

Abbreviations. —AC—Abbasid Caliph. AS—Ayyubid Sultan. C—Cairo. 
C-ple—Constantinople. D—Damascus. Emp.— Roman Emperor. FC—Fati- 
mide Caliph. J—Jerusalem. Kh—Khedive. MS—Mamluke Sultan. OS—Otto¬ 
man Sultan. UC—Umayyad Caliph. 


A BBAS, Vizier of Zafir, 36 
Abbas Pasha, 47, 128, 172 
Abbasid Caliphs, 18, 39, 65, 68, 87, 
109,125; last of the, 136 
Abdal-Aziz, son of Barkuk (MS), 108, 
246 

Abd al-Basit, 114 
Abd al-Hakk Lane (C), 149 
Abd al-Kadir of Algiers, 28iff 
Abd al-Malik (UC), 2i4ff, 236f 
Abd al-Rahman, 95 
Abd al-Rahman Ketkhuda, 44f, 47,57, 
149 

Abercrombie, Sir Ralph, 139 
Abraham, owner of Mustansir’s mo¬ 
ther, 32 

Abu Bakr, First Orthodox Caliph, 257 
Abu Bakr, son of Nasir, 93 
Abu’l-Dhabab, I47ff 
Abu’l-Fada'il, 27 
Abu Haribah, 128 
Abu Hurairah, 2s6f 
Abu’l Kasim: see Mustansir 
Abu Kir (Aboukir) 154, 156, iS9f 
Abu Ubaidah, 197, 252, 254-262, 2ssf, 
262f 

Acre, 31, siege and destruction of, 80; 
doorway brought thence to Cairo, 
84; Napoleon defeated at, 156 
Adamnan, Abbot of St Columba, 213 
al-Adid, last Fatimide Caliph, 36ff, 51 
Adil, brother of Saladdin (AS), s8f; 
his buildings (D), 230; tomb of, 
242 

Adil II, nephew of Saladdin (AS), 59 
Aelia Capitolina, igof 
al-Afdal, son of Saladdin (AS), 38, 
241 

al-Afdal Vizier, 34f 
Aftakin, 26 


Ahmad, son of al-Afdal, Vizier, 35 
Ahmad, son of Inal, 121 
Ahmad, infant son of Muayyad, 113 
Ahmad, son of Nasir, 93f 
Ahmad I, (OS), 140 
Ahmad ibn Tulun: see Tulun 
Ahmad Pasha, governor of Damas¬ 
cus, 273!? 

Ahmad Pasha, third Turkish gover¬ 
nor of Egypt, I38f 
Ahmar Street (C), 127 
al-Ahsa, 25 

Aibek, Izz al-din (MS), 22, 32, 6sfF 

Ain Shams, 19, 25 

Ain Jalut, battle of, 68, 268 

Ak Sonkor, 94 

Aktai, 22 

Akrad (Kurds), a quarter of the City 
of Cairo, 23 

Aleppo, 27, siege of, 28; capital ot 
Syria, 250; sacked by Mongols, 
266 

Alexandria, capital of Egypt, 3, 38; 
earthquake, 84; sacked by the 
King of Cyprus, 99 j place of poli¬ 
tical imprisonment, 113; refuge 
then for travellers, 128 
Altinbogha (Madarani), 92 
Ali Bey, the Great, 144-15X, 164 
An Pas*a Mubarak, 24,47 etc.; his 
description of Mohammed Ali’s. 
mosque, 168-172 
Ali, son of Sha’ban, 100 
al-Amir (FC), 34f 

Amr ibn al-As, conqueror of Egypt, 
2, 8 

Amr, commander at the taking of 
Damascus by the Moslems, 232 
Antioch, 28, 69; capital of Greek 
Syria, 249 


291 


19a 



Qairo 


Antiochus Epiphanes, 186 
Arab Art, Committee for the 
Preservation of the Monu¬ 
ments of, 8, 14, 88, 92, 112 
Archeological Mission, the 
French, 115 

Architedture, Byzantine, of the Dome 
of the Rock, 219; of the Umayyad 
Mosque, 246f; of the East and 
West contrasted, 203; European 
(C), 166; of houses at Damascus, 
242; of the Fatimides, 173; of the 
Mamluke period, 53,126,152,168; 
(J), 208; of the Turkish period, 
152; ofthe Walls of Damascus, 231 
al-Arish, is6f 
Arminjean, 45 

As’ad Pasha, Khan of (D), 242 
Ibn Asakir, 250 
al-Asam, 25 

ascetics, or Sufis: see hospices 
al-Ashraf, title of Barsbai, 113 
al-Ashraf, title of Khalil, 81 
al-Ashraf, Musa (AS), (D), 238; tomb 
of (D), 24if 

Askalon, 26; taken by the Crusaders, 
36; Moslem refugees sent to, 201 
Askar, quarter or suburb of Fostat, 

7 f». 19 

Assassins, the, 69, 99 
Assiout, 148 
Assouan, 94 
Assyria, 184 

Atabah al-Khadra, Place (C), 173 
Athlith, 80 
Atsiz, 33, 230 

Ayyub, Father of Saladdin, 240 
al-Azhar : see Mosque 
Aziz, son of Muizz (FC), 26fF, 75 
Aziz, son of Saladdin (AS), 26,58, 241 

B abylon, 125,184 * 

Babylon in Egypt, 3 
Badr al-din Lulu, 66 
Badr al-Jamali, 20, 33®; tomb of, 108 
Baghdad, centre of the Mohammedan 
world, if; Egypt subject to, 4-6, 
15, 18; taken for the Fatimide 
Caliph, 32; capital of Abbasid 
Caliphs, 38f, 60; taken by Mon¬ 
gols, 67; Mongol governors of, 


69, 78; under Seljuke rule, 32, 
20of; colleges of, 206; a window 
brought thence, 87 
Bahram, 35f 
Bahri Mamlukes, 60 
Baibars, 1; Rukn ad-din, al-Bunduk- 
dari (Ms), 63, 66 , 68-75, 93> 99 ! 
his buildings, the “House of 
Gold” (C), 52, (J), 208f, (D), 230; 
palace of (D), 243; Library of(D), 
241; tomb of, 73 

Baibars II, Rukn al-din al-Jashangir, 
52, 63, 87-89 
Baidara, 81 
Bait al-Kadi, 71, 125 
Bain al-Kasrain: see Between the Two 
Palaces 

Baker, Sir Samuel, 174 
al-Bakir Street (C), 149 
Baldwin, King of Jerusalem, 202f 
“Bank Holiday” Egyptian, I03f 
Bar Cochba, 190, 192 
Barada river (D), 232f 
Barakah, a Mamluke, 100 
Barakah Khan, al-Malikal-Sa’ id, son 
of Baibars I (MS), 73f 
Barcah, 15, 30 
Bardisi: see Othman 
Barizi, 110 

Barkiyyah quarter (C), 24 
Barkuk (MS), 95, 98, 100-109, 21 1; 
tomb of, 108, 116 

Barsbai, al-Ashraf (MS), 98, 113-116 
Basariri, 187 
Basatin, village, 7 
Bashir, 44 

Basil, Greek Emperor, 28 
Bayazid (OS), 104 
Bayazid II, (OS), 123 
Belliard General, \ 

Benjamin of Tudela, 178 

van Berchem, 55, 216, and passim 

Beshtak, Emir, 90 

“ Between the Two Palaces ” (C), 22f, 
57 . 7 °f. 9 i. l6 7 

“Between the Two Rivers" (D), 232 
“Between the Two Walls" (C), 112, 
126 

Beyrut, 80 

Bilal, Mueddin of Mohammed, tomb 
of (D), 241 


292 



Index 


Bisri, gi 

Birket al-Fil: see Pool 
Black Death, the, 94 
Bonaparte, Napoleon, enters Cairo, 
152-154; professes belief in Islam, 
ISS; invades Syria, is6f 
Bordeaux Pilgrim, the, 215 
Boulak, no, 139; stormed by Kleber, 
158, 166 

Boxmakers’ Street (C), 45 
Britain, 154; commencement of its re¬ 
lation with Egypt, 160 
British Museum, 77 
Bruce, 152 
Bunukh Princess, 130 
Burj Zafar, 22 
Burji Mamlukes, 79 
Burjuwan, 28 

Burjuwan, quarter of Cairo, 23 
Byzantine: see Architedture 


C jESAREA, 69 

Cairo founded, if, 14, i8ff; names 
of its quarters, 23; its expansion, 
24, 53; rebuilt, 2of; besieged by 
Shirguh, 38; residential quarter, 
5 8 

Caliphs: see Abassid; Baghdad; 
Tombs 

Canal, Banyas (D), 229 
—, the Great (C), 21, 58, 60, 66, 71, 
88,89,117,173 
—, the Male (C), 128 
—, the Nasiri (C), 89, 128 
—, Yazid (D), 232, 242 
Canals bounding Cairo, now dry, 19 
Carmathians, 24ft, 34ff, 198 
Casanova, igff, 50, 55 
Castile, King of, 69 
Chaharkas, 105 
Chosroes, 194, 222 
Church of the Crusaders (D), 234 
— of Humaid, son of Durrah (DJ, 235 
— of St James (D), 268 
— of St John the Baptist (D), 245,257 
— of St Mary (D), 234, 257, 268 
— of St Mary (J), 194, 234 
— of the Resurredtion (J), 29, 213 
— of St Sophia (J), 215 
Citadel, the (C), built by Saladdin, 
23, 4gff; rebuilt by Nasir, 53ff; 


completed by al-Kamil 59b 63 
66; besieged, 74; Emirs impri 
soned in, 78; barracks built i 
79; rebuilt by Kaietbai, 123 
stripped by the Turks, 136; hel 
by the French, 157; massacre c 
of Mamlukes in, 164 
Citadel (D), 229f, 27of, 268, 283 
Citadel (J), 186 
Clermont-Ganneau, 188 
Clot Bey, Boulevard, 173 
College: see mosque or school 
Committe, the : see Arab Art 
Conder, Col., 193, 2038? 
Constantine the Great, 192!, 201 
Constantine Monomachus, 225 
Constantinople, I36ff; governors < 
Egypt sent thence, 141®, 151 
fall of, 119, 163, 165 
‘ 1 Copartner with the Commander < 
the Faithful,” title of, Baibar; 
1, 70 

Corbet Bey, 7, gff 
Coste, 112 
Cromer, Lord, 174 
Crusades, effedt of, 202, 204 
Crusaders, first invasion of Egyp 
34; 37, 62ff, 69f; driven out < 
Egypt, 64; out of Syria, 80; fin; 
defeat of, 204; English, 2c 
Cufic inscriptions, 10, 21 
“Cupola of the Air" (C), 50 
Cyprus, King of, 99, ii4f 


D AILEMITES, quarter of, tl 

(G). 24 . _ 

Dair al-Tin, region (C), 72 
Damascus, under Seljuke rule, 33, 3: 
under the Atabeks, 56; supe 
seded as capital of Syria t 
Antioch, 240; Umayyad capita 


Damietta, besieged by the Frank 
38, 206; taken, 62; destroyed t 
Turanshah, 63; taken by tl 
Turks, 161 

David, 176!!, tomb of, 177b 212 
Derwish, Pasha, 243 
Description of Egypt, the, 155 
Dhu'l Fikar, 142 
Dhu’l Kula, 252 


293 



Dirgham, 37 
Diyarbekr, 128 
D Ohsson, 266 

Dome of the Chain (J), 211, 221 

— of the Hours (D), 247 
—, al-Naufarah (D), 247 

— of the Rock (J), 208-221 

— of the Treasury (D), 247 
—, the Vulture (D), 248 

E arthquake of 1303,84,96 

Emirs, quarter of the (C), 23 
Epiphanius, 178 
Eudocia, Empress, 194 
Ezbek, the Emir, 130 
Ezbek, the Emir, founder of the 
Ezbekiyyeh, 77, i28ff 
Ezbekiyyeh, the, I28f, quarter, the, 
S 8 > 77 . J S 7 f 

F A’IZ, Isa (FC), 36 

Farahiyyah, the, quarter of 
Cairo, 23 

Faraj, son of Barkuk (MS), 103, 106- 
110, 212, 269 

Faraj, Sidi, son of a governor of 
Damascus, 130 
Fakhr al-din, 112 
Farghanah, 16 
Ibn Fatik al-Bata’ihi, 34 
Ferdinand of Aragon, 225 
Fijarite Mamiukes, i4if 
Fostat, 2f, sf, i8f; the burning of, 3; 
rebuilt 58 

Frederic II, Emp., 207 
French invasion of Egypt, isifj oc¬ 
cupation ofEgypt, 154-160; effedls 
of, 156; merchants in Cairo, 154 
Furthest Sanftuary, the, 196, 210 -.see 
Aksa Mosque 

G ATE, al-Barid (D), 239, 246 
—, al-Barkiyyah (C), 20, 22, 105 
— of the Bridge (C), 20, 22 
—, the Cemetery (C), 22 
— of the Cotton merchants (J), 211 
— of the Burned: see Mahruk 
—, the Damascus (J), 200, 205 
—, al-Daris, of the Citadel (C), 168 
—, Eastern or Cemetery, of the Cita¬ 
del (C): see Karafah 


Qatro 

Gate, the Eastern (D): see 
—, Faraj (C), 20, 71 
—, Faraj (D), 231 
—, the Forage-dealers; 
Mahruk 

—, al-Futuh (C), 20, 22, 52, 
—, the Golden, part of the 
Palace (C), 71 
—, al-Imarah (D), 231 
—, al-Jabiyah (D), 233, 24c 
—, Jaffa (J), 205 
—, Jairun, of the Mosque (1 
—, al-Karafah (C), 53, 139 
—, al-Khark or al-Khalk (1 
—, Khukhah (C), 20 
—, the Little (Saghir), (D), 
269 

—, al-Luk (C), 67, 83, 115 
—, Mahruk (C), 20, 22 

— of St Mark (D), 254 
—, Mutwalli; same as Zuw 
—, al-Nasr (C), 20, 22, 80, 
—, al-Nasr (D), 270 
—, al-Nazir(J), 211 
—, the New (C), 22 
—, the Old (C), 22 
—, al-Rahmah, of the Cem 

211 

—, Sa’adat, (C), 20 
—, Safa (C), 22 
—, Salamah (D), 23if, 252 
—, Sha’riyyah (C), 21, 58 
—, al-Sharki (D), 233, 256 
—, al-Silsilah, of the Tem 
(J), 2t2 

—. Sion (J), 177 
—, the Step, of the Citadel 

— of the Tribes (J), 211 

— of Thomas (Tuma), (D), 
254, 278 

—, the Vizier’s (C), 22 
—, al-Zuhumah, of the 
Palace (C), 61 
—, Zuwailah, also called 
(C), 2oflf, 47, 67, 89, IIC 
Gates of Damascus, 231 

— of the Temple Area (J), 
Gayet, 124 

al-Ghuri (MS), Kansuh 132- 
ture of, 55 

Ghuriyyah Street (C), 133 


294 



Index 


Gizeh, pyramids of, 59, 92; 116, 
160 

Godfrey of Bouillon, 201, 203 
Gold, House of (C), 52 
Golgotha, I9iff, 215 
Gordon, General, 174 
Greeks, quarter of the (C), 24 
Guy of Lusignan, 204 

H adrian, Emp. 192, statues 
of (J), 215 
Hafiz (FC), 35 
Haifa, 80 

Hajji, son of Nasir, 94, 99, 107 
Hajji, son of Sha’ban, 101, 104 
Hakim al-Mansur, the Mad (FC), 
28-31, builds mosques 42f, 925 
destroys churches, 200, 222 
Hamidiyah Bazaar (D), 234 
Hanauer, a. 52 
Harat Karakush (C), 51 
Hasan, son of Nasir, 94-99 
Hasan, son of Hafiz, 35 
Hassan, 141 
Hasselquist, 153 
Heraclius, Emp. 195, 252, 261 
Herod, 177, 186-188, 200 
Herod Agrippa, 189 
Herodotus, 185 
Herz Bey, 48, 6if, 91, 117 
Hilmiyyah Place (C), 89 
Hisham (UC), 232, 240 
Hosh, i.e., the lower part of the Cita¬ 
del (C), 55 

Hospices for Sufis (C), 57, 87, 96, 
120, 125 
(D), 2 3 8f 

Hospice, the Baibarsiyyah or Rukniy- 
yah, 87 

Hospital of Charlemagne (J), 202 
— of Saladdin (C), 58 
— of St John (J), 208 
— of St Mary (J), 202 
— of Nur al-din (D), 75, 238 
— at Damascus, 235 
See also Muristan 
ibn Hubairah, Malik, 237 
Hulagu, 67f, 72, 230, 266f 
Husain, son of Ali, 241 
Husain, Emir of Nasir, 90 
Husainiyyah quarter of Cairo, 79, 


83, 89, partly destroyed by Napo¬ 
leon, 154 

I BN IYAS, 269 
Ibrahim Agha, 94f 
— Bey, a Kazdoglu Mamluke, I43(f 
— Bey, isof, 156, i6off 
—, the Circassian, 145 
—, son of Muayyad, 111 
— Pasha, 98, 11 if, 129, 165, 172, his 
buildings (D), 230 
Idumir, Izz al-din, 43 
Ikhshidis, the, i6f, 25 
Ilchan of Baghdad, the, 77 
Ilchanate, the, 78 
Inal (MS) 118-131, tomb of, 119 
Isa, see Fa’iz 

— al-Muazzam, see under M. 

Islam, three great sanctuaries of, 
2I2ff 

Isma’il, Bey, 151 

— Bey, son of Kasim Ihwaz, 142, 144, 

151 

— Pasha, 31, 70, 11 if, 129, 172, 174; 
first Khedive, 89, 160; founder of 
Modern Cairo, 173 
—, (MS) son of Nasir, 94 
—, see Zafir 

Isma’ilians, see Assassins 
Isma’iliyyah quarter of Cairo, the, 
173 

Iywaz Bey, 44 

Izz al-din: see Aibek and Idumir 

J AMALI, see Badr 

Jacob, son of Killis, Vizier, 18 1 
26f, 4of, 245 
Jaffa, 70 

Jakmak (MS), 103, 116-118, 129, 212 
Jamal al-din Yusuf, 107, 119 
Jamaliyyah Street (C), 87, 106 
Jamamiz Street (C), 89 
Janbalat, 132 

Janissaries, 55f, 62, 119, 143, 158; 

the disbanding of, 228 
Jazzar, 146 

Jaudar quarter of Cairo, 23 
Jauhar, 18-24, 26; founds al-Azhar, 
40-42, 174 

Jauhar, Square of, 96 
al-Jauli, see Sanjar 


295 



Qairo 


Jeddah, 162 
Jem, Prince, 123 
Jerusalem, Latin kingdom of, 20iff, 
2i4f, reconquered by Saladdin, 
64, 205; governed from Cairo or 
Constantinople, 208 
Josephus, Chapter XI passim 
Ibn Jubair, 57f, 234, 238 
Julfi Mamlukes, 143 
Julian, Emp., 194 

Justinian, Emp., his buildings (J), 194, 
212, 220 

K A’BAH at Meccah, the, 198, 213 
al-Ka’im, 87 

al-Ka’ka, son of Amr, 250 
Kachmas, Emir, I28f 
Kafur, i6ff; his garden, 23f 
al-Kahir, see Baibars, 1 
Kaietbai (MS) 122-132; his building 
(C) 45 . (D) 245, (J) 222; tomb 
of, 108, 124 
Haifa, 63 
al-Kaimari, 240 

Kala’un al-Mansur (MS), 53, 66, 73- 
80, 89, 102; hospital of, 174; tomb 
of, 77. 

Kal’at Talut or Tancred’s Tower (J), 
204 

al-Kamil, nephew of Saladdin (AS), 
SO. 5 2 > 59 - 64 ; tomb of (D), 242 
Kansuh: see al-Ghuri 
Kansuh, brother-in-law of Kaietbai, 
132 

Kasim Ihwaz, 142 

Kasimite Mamlukes, I4if 

Kasr al-Ain region of Cairo, 89 

Karamaidan, the (C), 55 

Karakush, 49-52, 70 

Kasion, Mount (D) 228 

Kata’i, city of Ahmad Ibn Tulun, 6ff, 

13. IS. 19.96 

Kausun Emir, 90ft 
Kay, H. C., 125 
Kazdoglu Mamlukes, 143 
Kerak, 74, 83, 87f, 93 
Kerbela, 241 
Ketbogha (MS), S2ff, 211 
Khair Bey, 138 

Khalid, Conqueror of Damascus, 
237, 252ff, 2S4ff 


Khalil Bey, 145 

Khalil, son of Kala'un (MS), 78, 
8°ff 

Khalil, son of Shajar al-durr, 6sf 
Khan Khalili, the, 105 
Kharbakiyyeh quarter of Cairo, 138 
Khartoum, 174 
Khosrau Pasha, 161 
Khumaruyah, 15 
Khurshid Pasha, i62f 
Khurunfush Street (C), 73, 126; quar¬ 
ter of Cairo, 114 
Khushkadam (MS), I2lf 
Khwarizm-Shah, 217 
Khwarizmians, 207, 225 
“ Kitubogha,” 2&7f 
Kieber, i57f, t6o 
Knights of St John, 202 

— Templars, 202 

— of the Teutonic Order, 202 
Kotuz, 67f, 269 

von Kremer, 23gfif 
Kuchuk, son of Nasir(MS), 93; tomb 
of, 94 

Kulzum or Klysma, ancient port on 
the Nile, 19 

L AJIN (MS), i 3 f, 83, 211 
Lane-Poole, 8, 64 

Law, Mohammedan, four systems of, 
61, 69, 71, 114, 248ff 
—, Malekite, 77 

“Leader of the Pilgrim Caravan,” 
144 . 151 

Lestrange, Chapter XI passim 

Lion’s Bridge (C), 71 

Louis IX, 62f, 68 

Louvre Museum, 55 

Luk, 72; quarter of Cairo, 66 

M ACCABEAN period, the, 185, 
I86f 

Mahdi (AC), 22of 

Mahdiyyah, capital of a North Afri¬ 
can dynasty, 18 
Mahmud n (OS), 219 
Mahmudiyyah quarter of Cairo, 23 
Maks or Maksim, ancient port on the 
Nile, 21 

Makrizi, 7, 53, 115 and passim 
Malcuisinat Street (J), 203 


296 



Index 


Mamai, Emir, 126; husband of Shajar 
al-durr, 67 

Mamlukes, the institution of, 1,27,6off, 
65, 137, 164; period of the, 4, 24, 
28, 32, 56, 73; end of the, 134; 
Sultans, 70, 91, 147; later Mam- 
luke Sultans, 42; last MS, 55; 
tyranny of, 155, 157; downfall of, 
96; massacred, 163; architecture 
of, 53, 126; art of, 124; uniform 
of. 79 f> i 34 f 

Mamun, son of Harun al-Rashid(AC), 
4, 216 

Mansur (AC), 215, 220 
al-Mansur Ali, son of Aibek (MS), 
66f 

Mansur, son of Aziz: see Hakim 

Mansur: see Kala’un 

Mansurah, 62f 

Marj Barghuth, 268 

Marj Dabik, Battle of, 134, 138 

Masih Pasha, 139 

Maskah, 90 

Matariyyah, Battle of, 157 
Mausil (Mosul), 56; artisans from, 205 
Meccah, sacred carpets for, 21, 55, 
114; 195IT, 214, 242 
Medinah, 3, 90, 123, 197, 242 
Meidan (D), 230 
—, the Green (D), 243 

— of Nasir (C), 124 
Mehren, 173 
Menou, 159 

Migret al-Imam aqueduct, 7 
Minaret al-Arus(of the Bride)(D), 247 

— Isa (of Jesus) (D), 247, 242f 

— of Kaietbai (D), 247 

— al-Gharbiyyah (Western) (D), 246 
—, the White, 245 

Mintash, Emir, 105 
Modestus, Abbot, 195 
Mohammed, the Prophet, 195 
Mohammed Ali, 4, 70, 112, I28f, 146; 
founder of the present dynasty, 
160-167 

Mohammed Ali Boulevard, 89f, 97, 

118, 172 

Mohammed Ali Place: see Rumailah 
Mohammed, son of Kaietbai (MS), 
132 

Mohammed: see al-Nasir the Sultan 


Mohammed (OS), 122 
Mokattam Mount, 7, 19, 49, 92, 163 
Monasteries of Palestine, 178, 193, 
212ft 

Mongols, wreck Baghdad, 1; rulers 
of Baghdad, 69,78; coloniesof, at 
Cairo, 72, 83; defeated at Homs, 



Lenk, 269-274 

Mosque of Abu Haribah, 127 

— of the Emir Almas, 89 
—, al-Akmar, 48 

—, al-Aksa (J), 202, 2lift 
—, al-Amr (C), 8, 22, 83, 124, 132 
—, the Ashrafiyyah (C), 113ft 
—, al-Azhar (C), 40-46; 39, 71; sala¬ 
ries of professors, 107, 114; re¬ 
stored, 124; later additions, J50; 
occupied by Napoleon, 134 

— of the Emir Beshtak (C), 89 
—, the Bone, 172 

— of the Ditch, 93 

—, the Derwishiyyah (D), 243 

— of Ezbek (C), 129 

— of another Ezbek (C), 130 

— of al-Fakakhani (C), 83 

— of the Feet (C), 8 

— of the Gate of the Nile or of the 

Sons of Anan (C), 21 
—, al-Ghuri (C), 133 

— of Hakim (C), 20, 46f 

— of the Sultan Hasan (C), 96ft, 126, 

143, 163, 173 

— of the Emir Husain (C), 8 gf 

— of Sayyiduna Husain (C), 47f, 57 

— of Ibrahim Agha, 94f, 138 (C) 

— of Inal (C), 119 

— of Jarrah (D), 241 

— or School of the Emir al-Jai (C), 

' 100 

— of Jauli (C), 83 

— of Kadi Yahya (C), 117 

— of Kala’un: see Muristan 

— of the Emir Kausun (C), 89f, 173 

— of Khair Bey (C), 138 

— of the Emir al-Malik Jaukandar 

(C), 89 

— of the Emir al-Maridani (C), 89 

— of al-Masihi (C), 139 

— of the Lady Maskah (C), 90 


297 



Qairo 


Mosque of Mihmandar (C), 89 

— of Mirzadah (C), 91 

— of Mohammed Ali (C), 54, 56, 167- 

172 

— of the Muayyad (C), 2of, 98, noff 

— of Muzhir (C), i26f 

— of al-Nazir (C), S 3 . 56. 167 

— of Sayyidah Nefisah (C), 124 

— of the Shaikh Nu’man (C), 173 

— of Nur al-din al-Karafi (C), 139 

— of Nur Osmaniyyah (C-ple), 16S 

— of Omar (J) 197, 212, 

— of Rashidah (C), 92 

— of Salih (C), 85, 90 

— of Sidi Sariyah (C), 168 

— of the Sultan Selim (D), 243 

— of Sha'ban or of Queen Barakah 

or of the Sultan's Mother (C), 100 

— of Shahrazuri (D), 235 

— of the Emir Shaikho (C), g6f 

— of Sinan Pasha (Boulak), 139 

— of Sinan Pasha or the Onion 

Mosque (D), 243 

— of St Sophia (C-ple), 169 

—, the “Suspended” or School of the 
Emir Jamal al-din Yusuf (C),io6 

— of the Sultan Sulaiman (D), 243 
—, the Tabar (C), 92 

— of the Emir Tangri Bardi or 

Mu’dhi (C), 117 

— of Tengiz (D), 243 

— of ibn Tulun (C), 8-14, 43, 46, 75, 

83 

—. the Umayyad (D), 237«f, 235, 244- 
248, 271, burned, 274 

— of Yelbogha (D), 243 
—, the Zahir (C), 89, 102 

—, the New Zahiriyyah (C), 102,112, 
174: see also Hospice 
Mouski, the, 20, 103, ii7f, 167, 173 
Muayyad (MS), 106, 109-1x5 
Mu’awiyah, founder of the Umayyad 
dynasty (UC), 214, 236 
al-Muazzam, Isa, son of al-Adil, 206 
Ibn Muflih, Taki al-din, 26g£f 
Muhyi’l-din, son of al-Zaki: see Zain 
al-Hafizi 
Muizz (FC), 26 

—, al-Malik, title of the Sultan Aibek 
Mujir al-din, 211 
al-Mukkadisi, 246 


Murad Bey, xsoff, 156, 160 
Muristan, the (J), 202, 205 
— of Kala’un, the (C), 7sff, 82, toz 
Murtahiyyah quarter of Cairo, 23 
Musa, son of Kala'un (MS), 78 
Musta’in (AC), 109 
Mustafa Pasha, 140 
Mustafa, son-in-law to Sultan Selim, 

138 

Musta’li (FC), 34 
Mustansir (FC), 13, 20, 31-34 
Mustansir, Abu’l Kasim Ahmad (FC), 
68f 

Musuk, i67;his bridge over the Grand 
Canal, ib. 
al-Mutannabi, 17 
Ibn-Muzhir, 127 

N AHHASIN Street (C), 22, 29, 

70.7^.91.112.163 

Najm al-din, Ayyub: see Salih 
Nasir al-daulah, 32f 
al-Nasir, Mohammed, son of Kala’un 
(MS), 83-93, his buildings (C), 
53?. 7 1 . 77 . 8o > (J)> 2xi> 219, 247 
al Nasir, great-grandson of Salad- 
din, Prince of Kerak, 207, 266 
Naples, the King of, 69 
Nasif Pasha, i$7f 
Nasr (favourite of Isma'il Zafir), 36 
Nastus, 251 

Nationalist aspirations, Egyptian, 
Nauruz, no 

Nefisah, Sayyidah, 67, 100 
—, region of Cairo, 80 
Neuve, Rue (C), 114, 166 
Nizar, 35 
Nubia, 69 

Nur al-din, al-Karafi, 139 
Nur al-din, Zengi, Prince of Damas¬ 
cus, 37f, 56; encourages alche¬ 
mists, 131; his buildings (D), 23of, 
238; buried in the Citadel, 240, 
248 

O LD CAIRO: see Fostat 

Oipar, Second Orthodox Caliph, 
197, 2I2ff 

Othman al-Bardisi, i6if 
Othman Bey, I42ff, 150 



Index 


)thman, Third Orthodox Caliph, 133 
)thman Ketkhuda, 149 
Ittoman conquest of Constantinople, 
119: defeat in Asia Minor, 131; 
conquest of Egypt, I22f, 134,136!?, 
iSi 

P alace of the Sayyid al-Bekri (C), 
114 

- of the Emir Beshtak (C), 91 
- of Bisri (C), 91 
- the Emerald (C), 75 
- of the Fatimides, 23, 57, 61, 105, 
“5 

’alace of Hajjaj (D), 237 
- of the Fatimide Viziers (C), 50, 
5 Z > 8 7 f 

-,the Kabsh (C), 17 

-, the Lesser (C), 17 

-, of the Emir Mamai, (C), 125 

- of Mansur Pasha (C) 173 

-, the Particoloured (C), 230 

-, the Particoloured Castle (D), 230 

-, the Red (C), S 3 

’alestine Exploration Fund, 191 

’almer, Prof., 198, 201, 212 

5 aton, A. A., 134 

’eter the Hermit, 201 

’ICKTHALL, M., 251 

3 igeon-post, 78 

’ilgrimages to Jerusalem, 195, 200, 
205, 22lf 
’tolemais, 34 

’ompey takes Jerusalem, 187 
5 ool, the Abyssinian’s (C), 79, 92 
-, the Elephant's (C), 79, 83, 130, 
"45 

-, the Sultan’s (J), 209 
’orter, J. L., 233 
’ortuguese, the, 133 
’UCKLER MOSKAU, PRINCE, 167 

R AE, W. F., 152 

Ramlah, 26; capital of a pro¬ 
vince of Palestine, 198 
laudah Island, fortress on, 52, 60, 
65. 7 »> 79 . 8 S. I2 3 
Iavaisse, 23 

Raymond of Toulouse, Count, 201 
Ihon6, 172 

lichard I of England, 2osf 


Richard of Cornwall, brother of 
Henry III, 207 
Ridwan, Vizier, 36 
—, a Julfi Mamluke, 143L 150 
Robert of Sicily, 178 
Rosetta taken by the Turks, 159, 
161 

Rukn al-din, title of both Sultans 
Baibars, 52, 87 
Rumailah, Place, 52, 66, 96 
Russia, 146, 165 
Ibn Ruzzik: see Tala’i 

S AAD al-daulah, 27 
Safad, 69 

Safawid isma’il, 134 
Sa’id al-Suada, 57 

Saladdin, title of the Sultan Khalil, 
80 

Saladdin (Salah al-din Yusuf, AS) 
sent to Egypt, 37; puts an end to 
the Fatimide dynasty, 23; Vizier 
of Egypt, 49-52; plans walls of 
Cairo, 21; his buildings (C), 57f, 
(J), 216; destroys Ramlah, 198; 
defeats the Crusaders, 204; entry 
into Jerusalem, 205; tomb of (D), 
241 

Salahiyyah (D), 242 
— (Egypt), 148 
Salar, Emir, 85f 

Samarra, residence of the Abbasid 
Caliph 4f, 60; its mosque, 11 
Salibah Street (C), 117; region, 118 
Salih, son of Kala’un (MS), 80 
al-Salih Isma’il, son of Nur al-din, 240 
Salih Najm al-din Ayyub, nephew of 
Saladdin (AS), 59-65; 70, 23 J 
Ibn Sallar, Vizier, 36 
Sallar, Emir, 44 
Ibn Sa’lus, 81 

Sancia, Queen of Sicily, 178 

Sanjar al-Jauli, 85f, 90 

Sanjar al-Shuja'i, 82 

Sauvaire, 229H 

School of Akbogha (C), 44f 

— of al-Aziz (D), 241 

— of Baibars (D), 240 

— of Barkuk (C), 163 

—, the Dakhwariyyah (D), 238 

— of the Excellent Judge (D), 241 


299 



Qairo 


Shoo), the Fakhri or the Girls (C), 
112 

— of the Emir Inal al-Yusufi, 104 

— of the Emir Jamal al-din Yusuf, 

106 

—, the Kaimariyyah (D), 240 
—, the Kamiliyyah (C), 59 
—, the Mu'izziyyah (C), 67 

— of the Sultan Nasir (C), 83 
—, the Nuriyyah (D), 240 

— of Sabuk al-din (C), 91 

— of the Sultan SaUh (C), 64 
—, the Taibarsi (C), 44 

—, the Zahiriyyah (C), 70 
—, the Zahwiyat al-Duheshah (C), 
108 

Schools generally held in mosques; 
see Mosque 

Selim (OS), 56, g6f; conquers Egypt, 
134, 136, 141; enters Cairo, 152 
Seljukes, 32!?, 185, 200 
Sepp, 226 

Sepulchre, Church of the Holy (J), 
191-196, igqf, 212, 214, 2i9f 
Sha’ban son of Nasir (MS), 94, 99f; 

his buildings, (J), 211 
Shafak Nur, 17 
Shah Siwar, 122 

Shah Malik, A Mongol captain, 271 
Shaikh* Abadeh, quarry of, 167 
Shaikh Arslan, stream named after 
(D), 232 

Shaikh al-Balad (title), 140-148, isof 
Shaikh Mahmudi; see Muayyad 
Shajar al-durr (MS), widow of Sultan 
Salih, 63, 65!, 174 
Shakra, a daughter of Barkuk, 108 
Shama'il Gaol, 110 
Shawar, 3, 37f 
Shick, Dr, 212 

Shihab al-din al-Yaghmuri, 212 
Shirguh, uncle of Saladdin, 37f 
Shirkas Bey, 142 
Shubra, 166 
Sidney Smith, Sir, 156 
Sidon, 80 

Sinan Pasha, 139, 243 
Siriacos, 89 

Sis, capital of Armenia, 69 
Solomon, 176, 178-180, 188 
South Kensington Museum, 14 


Straight Street (D), 233f 
Suez Canal, 89 
Sufis: see Hospice 
Sulaiman (UC), 198, 232 
Sulaiman the Magnificent (OS), 62, 
137, 208; his buildings (J), 208, 
219, (D), 243f 
Surijiyyah Street (C), 126 


T ABBANAH quarter (C), 89 
Tabari, 251 
Tabriz, 90 

Tala’i ibn Ruzzik, Vizier, 36f, 47 
Tarujah, 81 

Tengiz, Emir, a father-in-law of the 
Sultan Nasir, 250 
Tewfik(Kh), 17 
Theodosius, Emp., 241 
Theophanes, 213 

Tiberias, 268; or Hattin, battle of, 
204 

Tibri Zawiyah, 17 
Timur Lenk, 104, 106, 109, 230, 248, 
269(1 

Tinnis, 25 

Titus, Emp., 178, iSgff 
Toghan, 95 

Tomb of ibn Arabi (D), 243' 

Tomb of Christ, igif: see Sepulchre 
Tombs of the Caliphs (C), 108, 113, 
I23f 

Tombs in Mosques, 62 
Tomb of al-Shafi’i (C), 57, 124 
Tower of David, the (I), 201, 203f, 
207 

Tripoli, 34 

Tulun, Ahmad ibn, 4-9,11-16, 24, 50, 


_ SS. 174 
Tulun, 4 

Tulunid dynasty, 18 
Tumanbai (MS), 96, 134SF 
Turanshah (AS), 63, 65, 73 
Turks, quarter of the (C), 24 
Tutush, 33 
Tyre, 80 


U BAIDAH: see Abu 

Umayyad dynasty, 214; Da¬ 
mascus the capital of, 235; period, 
I97f; reputed luxury of, 236 
Ushmunain, battle of, 37 


300 



Index 


Utbah ibn Rabi’ah, 237 
Utuf quarter of Cairo, 24 
Uzun Hasan, 122 

ELLETRI, Museo Borgia, 52 
Venice, 134, 148 
Vespasian, Emp., i8qf 
Vizier’s Garden, the (C), 92 
Viziers Street (C), 27 


W AHHABI rebellion, the, 163 
Wakidi, 254ff 

al-Walid (UC), 244!?; his work (J), 
220 

Warren, Sir Charles, 187 
Wasit, s 

Watson, Major C. M., 54 
Weil, 72 

Wilson, Sir Charles, igxfF 


Y AHYA, Kadi, 117 
Yanis, 5 

Yarmuk, battle of, 197 
Yashbak, Emir, n 6 
Yashkur, Hill of (C), 9 
Yazid, son of Mu’awiyah (UC), 232, 
241, 252 

Yelbogha, Emir, 97, 105 
Yemen, 32, 140 

Z AFIR ISMA’IL (FC), 36 
al-Zahir, (FC) 31, 219 
—, title of Baibars, 170 
— Street (C), 70 
Zahrah, Princess, 100 
Zaidan, G., 143 

Zain al-Hafizi ibn al-Zaki, also called 
Zain al-din Sulaiman, 266ff 
Zainab, Sayyidah, 48, 7if 
Zuwailah quarter of Cairo, 23; see 
Gate 




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