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CHAP. and the hostile nations prepared, or seemed to pre
pare, for the refreshment of the evening, and the encounter of the ensuing day. On a sudden the charge was sounded; the Arabian camp poured forth a swarm of fresh and intrepid warriors; and the long line of the Greeks and Africans was surprised, assaulted, overturned, by new squadrons of the faithful, who, to the eye of fanaticism, might appear as a band of angels descending from the sky. The praefect himself was slain by the hand of Zobeir: his daughter, who sought revenge and death, was surrounded and made prisoner; and the fugitives involved in their disaster the town of Sufetula, to which they escaped from the sabres and lances of the Arabs. Sufetula was built one hundred and fifty miles to the south of Carthage: a gentle declivity is watered by a running stream, and shaded by a grove of juniper trees; and, in the ruins of a triumphal arch, a portico, and three temples of the Corinthian order, curiosity may yet admire the magnificence of the Romans." After the fall of this opulent city, the provincials and barbarians implored on all sides the mercy of the conqueror. His vanity or his zeal might be flattered by offers of tribute or professions of faith: but his losses, his fatigues, and the progress of an epidemical disease, prevented a solid establishment; and the Saracens, after a campaign of fifteen months, retreated to the confines of Egypt, with the captives and the wealth of their African expedition. The caliph's fifth was granted to a favourite, on the nominal payment of five hundred thousand pieces of gold;" but the state was doubly injured by this fallacious transaction, if each foot-soldier had shared one thousand, and each horseman three thousand, pieces, in the real division of the plunder. The author of the death of Gregory was expected to have claimed the most precious reward of the victory: from his silence it might be presumed that he had fallen in the battle, till the tears and exclamations of the praefect's daughter at the sight of Zobeir revealed the valour and modesty of that gallant soldier. The unfortunate virgin was offered, and almost rejected as a slave, by her father's murderer, who coolly declared that his sword was consecrated to the service of religion; and that he laboured for a recompense far above the charms of mortal beauty, or the riches of this transitory life. A reward congenial to his temper was the honourable commission of announcing to the caliph Othman the success of his arms. The companions, the chiefs, and the people, were assembled in the mosch of Medina, to hear the interesting narrative of Zobeir; and, as the orator forgot nothing except the merit of his own counsels and actions, the name of Abdallah was joined by the Arabians with the heroic names of Caled and Amrou.” The western conquests of the Saracens were suspended near twenty years, till their dissensions were composed by the establishment of the house of Ommiyah; and the caliph Moawiyah was invited by the cries of the Africans themselves. The successors of Heraclius had been informed of the tribute which they had been compelled to stipulate with the Arabs; but instead of being moved to pity and relieve their distress, they imposed, as an equivalent or a fine, a second tribute of a similar amount. The ears of the CHAP. Byzantine ministers were shut against the complaints
m Shaw's Travels, p. 118, 119.
* Mimica emptio, says Abulfeda, erat haec, et mira donatio; quandoquidem Othman, ejus nomine nummos ex ærario prius ablatos arario praestabat (Annal. Moslem. p. 78). Elmacin (in his cloudy version, p. 39) seems to report the
same job. When the Arabs besieged the palace of Othman, it stood high in their catalogue of grievances.
o Ersarearsvaay Xagaznvo, rny Apetzny, xz. orvo.62×ovros ry rvezvyo, Ten yoguo Tourov retroval, zal rows avy avro wortivoval, zai oroux.nway+ss poeous Patra, ray Apowy Özieresway. Theophan. Chronograph. p. 285. edit. Paris. His chronology is loose and inaccurate.
the Saracens in Africa, A. D. 665 –689.
of their poverty and ruin: their despair was reduced to prefer the dominion of a single master; and the
extortions of the patriarch of Carthage, who was in
vested with civil and military power, provoked the sectaries, and even the Catholics, of the Roman province to abjure the religion as well as the authority of their tyrants. The first lieutenant of Moawiyah acquired a just renown, subdued an important city, defeated an army of thirty thousand Greeks, swept away fourscore thousand captives, and enriched with their spoils the bold adventurers of Syria and Egypt.” But the title of conqueror of Africa is more justly due to his successor Akbah. He marched from Damascus at the head of ten thousand of the bravest Arabs; and the genuine force of the Moslems was enlarged by the doubtful aid and conversion of many thousand barbarians. It would be difficult, nor is it necessary, to trace the accurate line of the progress of Akbah. The interior regions have been peopled by the Orientals with fictitious armies and imaginary
citadels. In the warlike province of Zab, or Nu
midia, fourscore thousand of the natives might assemble in arms; but the number of three hundred and sixty towns is incompatible with the ignorance or decay of husbandry;" and a circumference of three leagues will not be justified by the ruins of Erbe
or Lambesa, the ancient metropolis of that inland
country. As we approach the sea-coast, the well
known cities of Bugia' and Tangier" define the more
P Theophanes (in Chronograph. p. 293) inserts the vague rumours that might reach Constantinople, of the western conquests of the Arabs; and I learn from Paul Warnefrid, deacon of Aquileia (de Gestis Langobard. l. v. c. 13), that at
, this time they sent a fleet from Alexandria into the Sicilian and African seas.
* See Novairi (apud Otter, p. 118), Leo Africanus (fol. 81. verso), who reckons only cinque citta è infinite casale, Marmol (Description de l'Afrique, tom. iii. p. 33), and Shaw (Travels, p. 57.65–68). -
* Leo African. fol. 58 verso, 59. recto. Marmol, tom. ii. p. 415. Shaw, p. 43. * Leo African, fol. 52. Marmol, tom. ii. p. 228.
certain limits of the Saracen victories. A remnant chap. LI.
of trade still adheres to the commodious harbour of Bugia, which, in a more prosperous age, is said to have contained about twenty thousand houses; and the plenty of iron which is dug from the adjacent mountains might have supplied a braver people with the instruments of defence. The remote position and venerable antiquity of Tingi, or Tangier, have been decorated by the Greek and Arabian fables; but the figurative expressions of the latter, that the walls were constructed of brass, and that the roofs were covered with gold and silver, may be interpreted as the emblems of strength and opulence. The province of Mauritania Tingitana," which assumed the name of the capital, had been imperfectly discovered and settled by the Romans; the five colonies were confined to a narrow pale, and the more southern parts were seldom explored except by the agents of luxury, who searched the forests for ivory and the citron-wood," and the shores of the ocean for the purple shell-fish. The fearless Akbah plunged into the heart of the country, traversed the wilderness in which his successors erected the splendid
* Regio ignobilis, et vix quicquam illustre sortita, parvis oppidis habitatur, parva flumina emittit, solo quam viris melior et segnitie gentis obscura. Pomponius Mela, i. 5. iii. 10. Mela deserves the more credit, since his own Phoenician ancestors had migrated from Tingitana to Spain (see in ii. 6. a passage of that geographer so cruelly tortured by Salmasius, Isaac Vossius, and the most virulent of critics, James Gronovius). He lived at the time of the final reduction of that country by the emperor Claudius; yet almost thirty years afterwards, Pliny (Hist. Nat. v. i) complains of his authors, too lazy to inquire, too proud to confess their ignorance of that wild and remote province.
* The foolish fashion of this citron-wood prevailed at Rome among the men, as much as the taste for pearls among the women. A round board or table, four or five feet in diameter, sold for the price of an estate (latifundii taxatione), eight, ten, or twelve thousand pounds sterling (Plin. Hist. Natur. xiii. 29). I conceive that I must not confound the tree citrus, with that of the fruit citrum. But I am not botanist enough to define the former (it is like the wild cypress) by the vulgar or Linnaean name; nor will I decide whether the citrum be the orange or the lemon. Salmasius appears to exhaust the subject, but he too often involves himself in the web of his disorderly erudition (Plinian. Exercitat. tom. ii. p. 666, &c.)
VOL. VI. H H
CHAP. capitals of Fez and Morocco," and at length pene
trated to the verge of the Atlantic and the great desert. The river Sus descends from the western sides of Mount Atlas, fertilizes, like the Nile, the adjacent soil, and falls into the sea at a moderate distance from the Canary, or Fortunate, islands. Its banks were inhabited by the last of the Moors, a race of savages, without laws, or discipline, or religion: they were astonished by the strange and irresistible terrors of the oriental arms; and as they possessed neither gold nor silver, the richest spoil was the beauty of the female captives, some of whom were afterwards sold for a thousand pieces of gold. The career, though not the zeal, of Akbah was checked by the prospect of a boundless ocean. He spurred his horse into the waves, and raising his eyes to heaven, exclaimed with the tone of a fanatic, “Great God! if my course were not stopped by this sea, I would still go on, to the unknown kingdoms of the West, preaching the unity of thy holy name, and putting to the sword the rebellious nations who worship any other gods than thee.” Yet this Mahometan Alexander, who sighed for new worlds, was unable to preserve his recent conquests. By the universal defection of the Greeks and Africans, he was recalled from the shores of the Atlantic, and the surrounding multitudes left him only the resource of an honourable death. The last scene was dignified by an example of national virtue. An ambitious chief, who had disputed the command and failed in the attempt, was led about as
" Leo African, fol. 16. verso. Marmol. tom. ii. p. 28. This province, the first scene of the exploits and greatness of the cherifs, is often mentioned in the curious history of that dynasty at the end of the iiid volume of Marmol, Description de l'Afrique. The iiid vol. of the Recherches Historiques sur les Maures (lately published at Paris) illustrates the history and geography of the kingdoms of Fez and Morocco.
* Otter (p. 119) has given the strong tone of fanaticism to this exclamation, which Cardonne (p. 37) has softened to a pious wish of preaching the Koran. Yet they had both the same text of Novairi before their eyes.