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Book Title The History Of The Mohammedan Dynasties In Spain
Book AuthorAhmed ibn Mohammed al Makkari
Total Pages695
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The History of the Mohammedan Dynasties in Spain By Ahmed ibn Mohammed al Makkari


An exceptional example of typographic artistry, this book serves as an early, clever, and captivating account of Muslim Spain. Even after one hundred and fifty years, it remains a cornerstone of our contemporary comprehension of this magnificent civilization, offering a lively and invigorating introduction to the historical period.

The conquests and settlements of the Arabs in the south of Europe may be ranked among the events best calculated to engage our curiosity and attention. The followers of Mo- hammed, whether considered as the enthusiastic warriors whose victorious arms spread terror and consternation over our continent, or as the cultivated race who led the way for us in the career of letters and civilisation, are certainly entitled to a prominent place in the annals of modern Europe.

That part of their history especially which relates to the occupation of the Spanish Peninsula merits a careful investigation. It was from Spain that issued those dreaded expeditions which threatened more than once the liberties of Europe; in Spain shone the first rays of that civilisation which subsequently illumined the whole of the Christian world; in the Arab schools of Cordova and Toledo were gathered, and carefully preserved for us, the dying embers of Greek learning; and it is to Arab sagacity and industry that we owe the discovery or dissemination of many of the most useful and important modern inventions.

However palpable and undeniable these facts may now appear, it was long before men of letters in Europe could be brought to admit them; and the Arabs, instead of being com- mended to the gratitude of modern ages, as they assuredly deserved to be, have been often charged with corrupting the infancy of modern literature. In no country of Europe, perhaps, were the pernicious effects of this unjust accusation so sensibly felt as in Spain, once the seat of their glory, and the country which participated most largely in the benefits of their civilisation.

Mariana, and the best Spanish historians, actuated either by violent national hatred, or by a spirit of religious bigotry, have always manifested the greatest contempt for the writings of the Arabs, whom they frequently stigmatize as “a ruthless warlike “nation, hostile to science and polite literature.”

Rejecting the means of research afforded them by the abundant historical records of the Arabs, as well as the advantages likely to result from a comparison between the Christian and Mohammedan accounts of the same events, they compiled their histories chiefly from one-sided national authorities; and, without attending to the successive revolutions of the Arab states, their internal wars, divisions, and numerous dynasties,

without stopping to consider their social condition, or to inquire into the causes of the rise and fall of their power,-topics all so closely allied with the subject they had in hand, those historians proceeded on their course wholly unmoved by the vicissitudes of the Mohammedan kingdoms, and as if not deigning even to cast a glance on the enemies of their country and religion.

The effects of such illiberality on their writings need scarcely be pointed out. The history of Spain during the Middle Ages has been, and still is, notwithstanding the labours of modern critics, a tissue of fable and contradiction.

What else could be expected from authors who confidently believed and blindly copied in their writings the wretched production of the Morisco Miguel de Luna, whose work,’ it might be plausibly argued, was intended rather as a hoax upon the grave inquisitors at whose command it was written, than as a history of the Spanish Moslems; inasmuch as his ignorance of the language of his ancestors,-sufficiently evinced in the etymologies interspersed throughout his work,-cannot adequately account for his not knowing that Ya’kúb Al-mansúr, in whose time he places the invasion of Spain, lived five centuries after that rent!………………………………………….

Book Contents

Etymology of the name of Andalus-Climate-Geographical divisions-Dimensions of the country Shape Ancient divisions-First settlers-Vandals-Africans-Romans-Ishbán, son of Titus Bishtilikát-Goths-Iskhander

Division of Andalus into three great districts-The central-Cordova-Granada-Toledo- Malaga-Almeria-Jaen


Western district-Seville-Xerez-Gibraltar-Tarifa-Beja-Badajos-Merida-Lisbon Silves


Eastern district-Saragossa-Valencia-Murcia Cartagena-Albarracin


Islands surrounding or dependent on Andalus-Cadiz-Canary Islands-Fortunate Islands  Algesirae Tarifa-Mallorca Menorca-Iviza


Rains and ancient remains-The aqueduct of Tarragona-that of Cadiz-Roman causeways- Idol of Cadiz The pit of Cabra-Iron pot of Kal’atu-Aurád-Ancient tradition concerning the conquest of Andalus-Extraordinary olive tree-Water-clocks of Toledo


Anecdotes respecting Andalus-Population-Productions of the soil


Government-Public functionaries-Wizir-Kátib-Sáhibu-l-ashghál-Sahibu-sh-shartah– Mohtesib-Ad-dárabán, or night watch-Revenues

Book 2

Religion-Orthodox sects-That of Málik Ibn Ans-When introduced-Faquirs-Costume of the Andalusians-Their weapons and equipments in time of war Their eminent qualities Their similarity to the Greeks-Their skill as workmen-They teach the Africans the useful arts of life


Character of the Andalusians Their hospitality-Their courage in battle-Their haughtiness of temper-Devotion to their friends-Their justice-Forgiveness Generosity


State of science in Andalus-Passion for books-Education-Ethics and metaphysics-Rhetoric and grammar-Language-Hand-writing-Story tellers-Quickness at repartee-Memory-Their love of science-Their talent for poetry-natural in children-Jewish and Christian poets.


State of literature in Andalus-Epistle on the subject from Ibnu-r-rabíb At-temímí to Abú-l-mugheyrah Ibn Hazm-Answer of Abú Mohammed Ibn Hazm-Traditions respecting Andalus-

Review of the Andalusian literature-Theology and jurisprudence-Works on the sect of Málik Commentaries on the Korán-Legal decisions founded on the Korán-Biography of the companions of the Prophet-Grammar and lexicography-Medicine-Philosophy-Poetry-History-Metaphysics


The same subject continued-Ibnu Sa’id’s addition to Ibn Hazm’s epistle-Sciences relative to the Korán-Traditions-Jurisprudence-Dogmas of religion-History-Polite literature-Grammar -Geography-Music-Medicine Natural philosophy

Book 3

Various descriptions of Cordova-Ancient history of the city-Etymology of its name-Size and extent-Suburbs Gates-Royal Palace-Pleasure-houses and gardens belonging to the Khalifs- Bridges on the Guadalquivir-Jurisdiction of Cordova-Revenue-Productions of the land round the city-Increase of Cordova during the administration of Al-mansúr


The great mosque of Cordova-Built on the site of a Christian temple-Begun by ‘Abdu- r-rahman-Continued by his successors-Its dimensions-Makssúrah-Mihráb-Copy of the Korán written by ‘Othmán-Tower-Al-hakem’s addition-Alms-houses-Al-mansúr’s addition- Number of chandeliers in the mosque-Attendants

City and palace of Az-zahrá-Cause of its foundation-Expenditure-Materials used in its erection-The two fountains-The hall of the Khalifs-Mosque in Az-zahrá


 Aqueduct of Cordova-Built by ‘Abdu-r-rahmán III.-The palace and city of Az-záhirah- Christian churches in Cordova-Tribunal of appeal

Book 4

Chap 1

Causes of the conquest-Appointment of Músa-Takes possession of the government of Africa -Severe drought and famine-His conquests-Takes Tangiers-General submission of the Berbers-Músa meditates the conquest of Andalus-Siege of Ceuta by Tárik-King Wittiza sends reinforcements to the besieged-His death-Usurpation of Roderic-Ilyán, Lord of Ceuta -His discontent-His daughter’s dishonour-Spells constructed by the Greeks for the pre- servation of their country.


Ilyán goes to see Músa-Makes a successful incursion-Músa acquaints Al-walid with the vic- tory-Sends Tarif Abú Zar’ah-His landing at Tarifa-Músa sends Tárik Ibn Zeyád-He lands at Gibraltar-Is attacked by Theodomir-Roderic hastens to the defence of his kingdom-Arrives in Cordova-Writes to the sons of Wittiza-Tarik sends to Africa for reinforcements-Dis- content of the Gothic nobles-Treason of the sons of Wittiza-Roderic encamps on the banks of the Guadalete Tárik addresses his men-Battle of Guadalete-Roderic’s fate-Taking of Sidonia, Carmona, and Ezija


Tirik divides his army-Mugheyth besieges Cordova-Takes the governor prisoner-Malaga and Granada taken by Tarik’s lieutenants-Theodomir attacked-Besieged in Orihuela-Capitu- lates-Siege and taking of Toledo by Tárik-Spoils found by Tárik-Músa prepares to cross over to Andalus-Rebellion at Seville-Músa goes to Toledo-The table of Suleyman described


Músa’s reconciliation with Tárik-They invade France-Arrival of Mugheyth with a message from the Khalif-Galicia and Asturias invaded-A second message from Al-wálid-Músa departs for the East-Leaves Africa for Syria-Arrives in Damascus-Falls into disgrace-Is imprisoned and fined-His death-Opinions concerning his family and origin-His character

Book description of “The History of the Mohammedan Dynasties in Spain” by Ahmed ibn Mohammed al Makkari – Book

The book is a timeless masterpiece penned by the illustrious scholar Ahmed ibn Mohammed al Makkari. This remarkable tome stands as a testament to typographic artistry, offering an early, astute, and enchanting chronicle of Muslim Spain that continues to resonate over one hundred and fifty years since its creation. Within its pages lies an indispensable cornerstone of our modern comprehension of this splendid civilization, extending an animated and rejuvenating introduction to a bygone historical epoch.

In the annals of human history, the conquests and settlements of the Arabs in the southern reaches of Europe stand as an unparalleled saga, one that beckons our curiosity and commands our attention. The followers of Mohammed, be they the fervent warriors whose triumphant exploits sent waves of terror and awe across our continent, or the enlightened community that pioneered the path of knowledge and civilization, undoubtedly merit an eminent position in the chronicles of contemporary Europe.

Amidst this captivating historical tapestry, a chapter of profound significance unfolds—the occupation of the Spanish Peninsula by these audacious forces. From the shores of Spain emanated dreaded expeditions that repeatedly menaced the liberty of Europe itself. It was within the borders of Spain that the first rays of an illuminating civilization emerged, a radiance that would eventually grace the entirety of the Christian world. Arab schools in Cordova and Toledo became crucibles where the remnants of Greek erudition were meticulously preserved, a treasure for future generations. To Arab sagacity and diligence, the world owes the discovery and propagation of a plethora of groundbreaking modern inventions.

Yet, the appreciation of these truths was not immediate. The recognition of Arab contributions faced prolonged resistance from the pens of European scholars. The Arabs, deserving of gratitude from the modern era, were instead unjustly indicted as architects of the decay of early literature. Nowhere was the impact of this unjust accusation more keenly felt than in Spain itself—the very land that once flourished under their influence. Esteemed historians like Mariana, motivated either by fervent national rivalry or religious bias, consistently dismissed Arab writings with scorn, branding them as a nation hostile to knowledge and the refined arts.

The prevailing narrative from these historians ignored the vast historical treasures offered by Arab records and the insight to be gained from comparing Christian and Mohammedan perspectives on shared events. Instead, these accounts were fashioned primarily from one-sided, national sources. This historical myopia led to a skewed representation of Spain’s medieval history, a tangled web of legend and contradiction.

Against this backdrop, “The History of the Mohammedan Dynasties in Spain” emerges as a scholarly triumph, casting aside the shackles of bias to unveil the truth. The text embarks on an exploration of the etymology of Andalus, its climate, geographical divisions, and the echoes of its ancient past. It meticulously traces the contours of Cordova, Granada, Toledo, Malaga, Almeria, Jaen, Seville, Xerez, Gibraltar, and beyond, painting a vivid tableau of the various districts that collectively defined the legacy of Muslim Spain.

The pages of this monumental work unveil the Andalusians—their character, their contributions, and their boundless spirit. With a deft touch, al Makkari illuminates their passion for literature, their fervor for science, and their indomitable courage in the face of battle. The authors delve into the rich tapestry of Andalusian society, highlighting their love for books, their pursuit of education, and their prowess in various arts. From theology to philosophy, from grammar to medicine, Andalusians left an indelible mark on the world of knowledge.

The journey continues, delving into the grandeur of Cordova, the architectural marvels of the Great Mosque, the opulence of Az-zahrá, and the intricate aqueducts that marked the landscape. But the tale also delves into the clashes and conquests, the political intrigue and grandeur that marked the rise and fall of dynasties.

The definitive recounting of the momentous conquest unfolds in the latter parts of the book. From the causes that set the stage for the conquest to the battles of Guadalete and the swift advances into various regions, the reader is transported into the heart of epic struggles that shaped the fate of Spain. It’s a chronicle of heroism, audacity, and the forces that shaped the destiny of nations.

Ahmed ibn Mohammed al Makkari’s magnum opus, “The History of the Mohammedan Dynasties in Spain,” stands as a testament to the enduring power of scholarship. It resuscitates a past often obscured by bias, resurrecting the true spirit of a civilization that has left an indelible mark on the tapestry of history. This volume is not just a book; it is a journey through time, an odyssey through the annals of a civilization that has enriched humanity’s story.

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