Page images
PDF
EPUB

had filled up. Thus there ensued a great scarcity at Damascus, and Adil expended his stores upon his soldiers. In this way the Musalmáns exchanged war with Franks for war with each other. Then they made use of the expedient of buying off; and Al Kamil assisted his father Adil with four hundred thousand dinárs, with which he prevailed, and Al Afdhal returned to Egypt. Upon this, Adil made haste, and followed him, and came up to him at Al Ghirabí, and entered Egypt, which Al Záhir then ruled. Upon this Al Afdhal returned to Sáckhad. Adil therefore appointed his son Kamil Sultán of Egypt; and they made a solemn agreement and consent to this. In the year 597, Al Afdhal and Al Záhir again returned to the siege of Damascus, wherein there then was Al-Muzim-Issá-Ibn-Al-Adil ; but the siege went on slowly and tediously: therefore, at last, this celebrated siege was given up; for unexpected differences fell out between the two aforesaid brethren; and they marched from Damascus. After this Zahir died, in the year 613, in the winter, and Adil in the year 615, in another winter, outside Damascus. They brought him in a litter to Damascus, and buried him in the citadel. He was however, after four years,

, transported from the citadel to a tomb in the little mosque of the house of Adil, and there interred.

Adil left behind him twelve sons; the most remarkable of whom were Kámil Muhammad, lord of Egypt, and Muzim-Issá, lord of Damascus, and Al-Shirref-Músa, and Al-Násir-Daood, and others besides them. And when Al Muzim ruled in Damascus, he was earnestly pressed to fulfil his design of dismantling the castle of Mount Sinai, and the castle of Tabnín, and of Bányás; and subsequently in the beginning of the year 616), from an apprehension that the Franks might make an attempt upon them, and for the

purpose

of

preventing them from undertaking such expeditions under pretence of (the Holy City) being blocked up (guarded) against them. This design, then, he resolutely undertook; and the Holy City, when Muzim destroyed the walls, was one of the most strongly fortified cities. He also exhausted the city of the greater part of its inhabitants, and returned to Damascus.

Now, with regard to Kamil Muhammad:-Whilst he ruled Egypt, the Franks took Damietta, in the month Shabán, the year 616, whose inhabitants had been wasted and exhausted with famine and pestilence, and yielded upon terms to the Franks, who, being enraged with them, slaughtered and took captive and gave the whole country to the Church. Now when this took place, Al Kámil was engaged in war with the Turks or

Tartars; and he routed the Christians in the defeat of Búkas, and drove them, and those who were embodied with them, to Damietta. Terrible battles ensued between them and Kamil, wherein God granted the superiority to the Musalmáns ; nor did Al Kámil cease a vigorous prosecution of war with the Franks who had taken Damietta. He at that time built a city, and named it Al Mansurah, upon the creek (or bay) of the sea Hálwa, and colonized it with his troops; for there were present with him many troops and armed men from all quarters. Truly the matter was an important one, and the experiment very great. Afterwards, in the year 618, Al Kámil expelled the Franks from Damietta in the following manner :- The Franks, one day, marched forth in complete array, with a zealous desire to possess themselves of more remote territory. It being then the season of the inundation of the Nile, Al Kámil opened the sluices upon them; so that the water completely begirt them on four sides, every where, so that they were unable to communicate with Damietta.

We learn from Ibn-Al-Athir,-Although the Prince Kámil prolonged for one day the execution of his merciful intention of taking them prisoners in this their extremity; yet, after he had sent to them his son, Prince Saláh-Najur-Uddin-Aiyoub,

he granted them quarter. Then their kings came with Najur to his army, when he treated them kindly. Now there were there, in company with him, his two brethren, the Sultáns, whose names were Al-Muzim-Issa and Al-Ashraf-Músá, with their troops and attendants. And the Sultán Al Kámil displayed that day a great assemblage at his levee. There were present the princes of the Franks; and his brothers Issá and Moses, in splendid dresses, stood in the lines. That was a public day : the people and the privileged were present. There fell out also, among other strange things, a strange coincidence; which was, that Kamil's name was Muhammad ; Al Muzim's, Issá (Jesus); and Al Ashraf's, Músá (Moses). Then stood up Rajib, the most accomplished and polished poet, and recited before Al Kámil this beautiful stanza :" Truly, let tongues spread throughout the world, with a loud voice, this state of things. Let it be noised abroad, in both horizons, O servants of Issá! that Issá and his companions, and Músá together, are allies of Muhammad !"

I will omit the enumeration of all that happened between the year 719 and 725 to Al Kamil and his brethren, and their sons, and their uncle's successors, as also of their transactions with the Franks, and the Tartars and others—the expedi

T

tions, the numerous pitched battles, and the wars, the storms, and the sieges, and the migrations; because the minute explication would be long. However, Al Muzim died, and the investiture of his sovereignty in Syria passed from Kamil to the son of his brother Al-Násir-Dáood-Ibn-Muzim, in Safar, the year above mentioned. In another year, Al Kámil presented himself before Damascus, and Asad Aduddin, lord of Emessa, came to him. Then Al-Násir-Dáood shut the gates of Damascus, and summoned to his aid his uncle Al-Ashraf-Músá, who arrived from Khilat. Upon this, Al Kámil began to slacken and hold his hand, and prosecuted the matter no further; saying, I will never fight with my brother, with Ashraf; which expression arriving at Al Ashraf's ears, he said to Al-Násir-Dáood, My brother hath now withdrawn himself, and the matter will now be brought to a conclusion with him in an amicable way. Then he marched towards him, and joined with him, and became an ally against Al Násir-not for him. The two brothers then engaged in conjunction to expel Násir from Damascus; and Al Kamil called in the assistance of the Franks; upon which, Al Abrúz, king of the Franks (Frederic Barbarossa), came forward with å great army; and Al Kámil gave him the Holy City, whose walls had been destroyed. This

« PreviousContinue »