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3

HARVARD COLLEGE LIBRARY

CAIRO, JERUSALEM, AND

DAMASCUS

CAIRO

JERUSALEM, AND

DAMASCUS

THREE CHIEF CITIES OF THE EGYPTIAN SULTANS

D. S. MARGOLIOUTH, D.LitL

With lUuttraliini m Cahur hf W. S. S. TYRWHITT, R-RA.

STnn fuck

Dodd, Mead and Company

1907

n

sKt^Jj-

^1

J lt<.\^iM-'^ •^^^

/^^

*J^\JU\AA

COPYMCHT, 1907, BY

DODD, MEAD & COMPANY

Fuhliihed OcioUr, IQO/

OEDICATED TO HER HIGHNESS PRINCESS NAZLI, DAUGHTER OF MUSTAFA FADL PASHA AND GREAT-GRAND- DAUGHTER OF MOHAM- MED ALI PASHA Madame, I utilise your kindly per^ mission to dedicate a book to you by offering this, in the confidence that the work of the artists will have your approval, whatever may be your judgment on the text. The scenes which they have painted, and which I have attempted to describe, are familiar to your Highness from childhood. In and about them your ancestors have played a great part, and two out of the three cities illus- trated here are indissolubly con- nected with their names. It has long been your Highnesses custom to judge with leniency and sympathy what- ever comes from this country to yours; may the same charity be ex- tended to this book.

Your Highnesses humble servant,

THE AUTHOR

PREFACE

^^^^^HE task of composing the letterpress to ac- m C\ company Mn Walter Tyrwhitt's paintings ^^^^^ of scenes at Cairo, Jerusalem and Damas- ^™^ cus 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 associated at any time in his life with the Fine Arts constituted a temptation which he was unable to resist

The account of Cairo has been based on the Khitat Taufikiyyah Jaddiah of Ali PasHA MUBARAK, cor- rected 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 VANBerchem. 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 Modern Egypt (Arabic) by his friend, G. Zatoan, which has been of use especially for the Turkish period. For Chapter XI (Jerusalem) the author must ac-

[vii]

PREFACE

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

The architectural paragraphs have been cither 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, Sepumber, igo?.

[ viii ]

CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGB

I. Cairo before the Fatimides i

11. The Fatimide Period 30

III. Buildings of the Fatimide Period .... 6j

IV. The Ayyubid Period and its Buildings . . 81 V. The First Mameluke Sovereign 107

VI. Nasir and His Sons 139

VII. The Early Circassian Mamelukes . . . . 170

VIII. The Last of the Circassian Mamelukes . . 206

IX. The Turkish Period 228

X. The Khedivia Polderi 256

XL Jerusalem: An Historical Sketch .... 293

XII. The Praises of Damascus 366

XIII. Scenes from the History of Damascus . . 402

Appendix 453

[ix]

ILLUSTRATIONS

The Sphinx Frontispiece

Facing Page

The Sentinel of the Nile 2

Tooloon (Tulun) Mosque, Cairo 12

In a Cairene Street 20

Midan-el-Adaoui (Maidan El-Adawi) 26

Street Scene, Bab el Sharia (Bab Al-sha'Riyyah)| Cairo . 34

Old Gateway near Bab-al-Wazir, Cairo 42

Sharia el Azhar (Shari-al-Azhar), Cairo 50

Courtyard of the Mosque of El Azhar, University of Cairo 58 A Mosque in the Saida Zeineb (Sayyidah Zainab) Quarter,

Cairo 66

The Citadel of Cairo .' 74

An Old Palace, Cairo 82

Door of a Mosque, Cairo 92

Mosque of Sultan Bibars (Baibars), Cairo 100

The Khan El Gamaliyeh (Jamaliyyah), Cairo . . . . 108

A Street near El Gamaliyeh (Jamaliyyah), Cairo . . . 116

Mosque of Almas; Interior, Cairo 124

Minaret of Ibrahim Agha's Mosque, Cairo 132

Outside the Mosque of Ibrahim Agha, Cairo .... 140

Ibrahim Agha's Mosque: the Interior 148

The Washing-place, Ibrahim Agha's Mosque . . . . 156

Interior of the Mosque of Shakhoun (Shaikhun), Cairo . 164

The Tentmakers' Bazaar, Cairo 172

[xi]

ILLUSTRATIONS

Facing Pagi

An Old House near the Tentmakcrs' Bazaar, Cairo .176

Tombs of the Caliphs, Cairo 182

The Dome of El Moaiyad (Muayyad) from Bab Zuweyleh

(Zuwailah), Cairo 188

A Courtyard near the Tentmakers' Bazaar, Cairo . . 200

Palace of Kait Bey (Kaietbai), Cairo 216

The Mosque el Ghoree (Ghuri), Cairo 222

Mosques in the Sharia Bab al Wazir, Cairo 230

A Side Street in Cairo 236

A Street Scene in Cairo 244

Sharia el Kirabiyeh or Street of the Water-Carriers, Cairo . 256

The Klhan el Dobabiyeh (Dubabiyyah), Cairo .... 266

Cairo: Shari Darb el Gamamiz (Jamamiz) .... 274

Souk Silah, the Armourers' Bazaar, Cairo 284

The Fair, Moolid el Ahmadee (Maulid Ahmadi), Cairo . 290 Morning in Jerusalem: The Dome of the Rock on the

Shaded Side 296

Jerusalem: The Dome of Kait Bey (Kaietbai) Haram-es-

Shercef (Sharif) 308

The Gate of the Cotton Merchants, Jerusalem .... 320

South Porch of Mosque and Summer Pulpit, Jerusalem . 330

Dome of the Rock from Al Aksa, Jerusalem 346

Haram es Shereef (Sharif), Jerusalem 356

Damascus from the Salahiyeh (Salihiyyah) : Sunset over the

City 368

House of Naaman, Damascus 374

Tomb of Sheik (Shaikh) Arslan, Damascus 382

Walls of the City and Barada River, Damascus . . . 3S8

The Hamareh (SukAli Pasha), Damascus 39^

A Khan in Damascus 402

[xii]

ILLUSTRATIONS

Facing Pagi

(i) Syrian Tilc of the XVIIIth Century, from a Damascus Mosque, (2) Syrian Tfle, XVIth or XVIIth Century,

from a Damascus Mosque 408

Minaret of the Bride, Damascus 418

Damascus, Minaret of Jesus 424

General View of Damascus in Early Spring .... 428 Traditional Site where St Paul was let down in a Basket,

Damascus 432

Domes of Damascus 438

The Moslem Cemetery and View of Mount Hermon,

Damascus 442

The Midan (Maidan), Damascus 446

Near the Midan (Maidan), Damascus 450

LINE DRAWINGS

Pagi

Hezekiah's Fool 303

Tower Antonia, Jerusalem 339

Dome of the Rock, Interior 353

Summer Pulpit, Haram Area 363

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

Tooloon Mosque; In a Cairene Street; A Street Scene, Cairo; The Mosque £1 Ghoree, Cairo; and Door of a Mosque, Cairo, by kind per- mission of the owner, T. M. Kitchin, Esq.: and the Sentinel of the Nile, by kind permission of the owner, M. le Vicomte R. d'Humiires.

Eruata. The titles of the two plates " Morning in Jerusalem : The Dome of the Rock on the Shaded Side," and " Minaret of Ibrahim Ayha'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-Wazis." Where the phonetic spelling of other titles differs in text and illustrations, the alternative titles are given in brackets in the list of illustrations and on the tissues.

[ xiii 1

CAIRO BEFORE THE FATIMIDES

XF modern Egypt is a doubly dependent country, tributary 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, Pales- tine and Arabia. And when in the thirteenth cen- tury 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 recognised as suzerain even where it did not appoint the ruler: being itself the laboratory of a political experiment perhaps never tried else- where. Its monarchs bore the title Slave {Mame- luke), not in mock humility like the Servus servorum Dei, but in the plain and literal sense of the term.

[I]

CAIRO, JERUSALEM, AND DAMASCUS

The occupant 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 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 in- deed 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 external ; 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 suc- cessful adventurer, who, claiming to be of the Prophet Mohammed's line, had founded a dynasty

[2]

CAIRO BEFORE THE FATIMIDES

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 (Kahirah) in commemoration of the conquest already achieved, and as an augury of others to be won.

Those who found cities to inaugurate new dynasties ordinarily keep near the beaten track. Cairo is but two miles to the north of Fostat, which had been the capital of the country from the time of the Moham- medan conquest. Its name is the Latin word Fos- satum " 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 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 eye- witnesses. At one time it was supposed to contain 36,000 mosques and 1270 public baths. A descrip- tion 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 monasteries. Fostat was celebrated not only for

[5]

CAIRO, JERUSALEM, AND DAMASCUS

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 inhabitants 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 sov- ereign, in the year 1163 having to defend the coun- try 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 mosques, baths, and wherever else there was space in Cairo. For fifty days the ancient city blazed; when at last the flames were extin- guished, 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: the Fatimide, the Ayyubid, the Mameluke, the Turk- ish, 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 governing

[6]

CAIRO BEFORE THE FATIMIDES

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 statesmen a combination of piety, benev- olence, 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 born 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 at- tacks 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 Tarsus he found oppor- tunities 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 capacity. The caravan, five hundred strong, to which he had attached himself, was convey- ing a great collection of contraband treasures from

[7]

CAIRO, JERUSALEM, AND DAMASCUS

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 Caliph'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 accompanied him to exile at Wasit in the capacity of guardian, in which he conducted himself with modesty and gentleness. A command from Samarra to dispatch his prisoner 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 governor 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 Bagh- dad, was under another official, independent of the governor and inclined to thwart him. This finance minister, like many of his successors, had re/idered himself unpopular by a variety of ingenious extor- tions, and in order to protect his life had surrounded himself with a bodyguard of a hundred armed pages. Ahmad excited this man's suspicion by re- fusing a handsome present of money, and demanding of him instead his bodyguard, which he was com- pelled to hand over. In spite of the finance minis-

[8] .

CAIRO BEFORE THE FATIMIDES

ter's consequent 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 con- ferred upon his father-in-law, who not only retained Ahmad in office, but placed under him those Egyp- 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 appropriated the Egyptian tribute, Ahmad was summoned to Syria and authorised 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 re- turn 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 diflFerent classes of which the army was formed; its area was about a square mile. It has been re- marked that each epoch in the development of the Moslem capital of Egypt was marked by the fresh location of a permanent 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 consoli- dating his power, and, by various devices, not un- scrupulous for an Oriental, getting free from his enemies. . Agents were maintained by him in Bagh-

[9]

L

"x ^.v

CAIRO, JERUSALEM, AND DAMASCUS

dad to intercept communications from Egypt di- rected 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, re- leased 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 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 allegi- ance ; 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 ad- vanced 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 Askar, southwest of the new quarter Kata'i, is accurately described by the great

[10]

CAIRO BEFORE THE FATIMIDES

medisval 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 endowment. Patients, during their stay in it, were to be fed and clothed at the expense of the hospital ; when by eating a chickea and a roll one of them had given evidence of being restored to health, his gar- ments and any money that he had brought were re- turned to him, and he was dismissed. Ahmad Ibn Tulun was a diligent visitor at his hospital until a practical 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 Mokattam was brought northwards. The aqueduct, at its commencement not more than six metres high, gradually becomes 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 1 891 we shall be indebted for part of the description of Ahmad's Mosque), with an aqueduct known as Migret al- Imam, commencing opposite 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 re- warded for his services with five hundred blows and imprisonment The immediate purpose of the aqueduct was to furnish water to a mosque called the

[II]

CAIRO, JERUSALEM, AND DAMASCUS

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 institutions was well endowed. The excel- lence of the construction of the aqueduct caused it to be imitated afterwards, it is said, without success. In 1894 ^ 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 con- queror of Egypt, of which the original has quite dis- appeared, 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 edifices, this mo- tive 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 valuable. This was the design adopted by Ahmad Ibn Tulun, but a building of the

[12]

CAIRO BEFORE THE FATIMIDES

size contemplated required a vast number of columns, such as could only be obtained by demolishing exist- ing churches or oratories, since the supply to be had from ancient and disused edifices 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 described, 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 flat, 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 con- quest 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 exceptions, has re- sisted the effects of time, only one row of piers the front row of the sanctuary having fallen, in conse- quence of an earthquake on Sunday, June 8, 1814.

[IS]

CAIRO, JERUSALEM, AND DAMASCUS

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 employ- ment on a large scale in Moslem architecture of the pointed arch, which is said to be specially character- istic of Coptic architecture, and indeed to be found in all Coptic churches and monasteries; the builder of the Mosque had already employed them in the aqueduct. The arches (according to Corbet's measurements) spring from a height of 4.64 metres from the ground, rising at the apex to a perpendicu- lar 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 distance of about fifteen metres from the cloisters. Various geometri- cal ornaments in low relief are worked in the stucco both around 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

[16]

CAIRO BEFORE THE FATIMIDES

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 sycamore beams is filled with wooden planks, con- taining verses of the Koran in Cufic letters cut in wood and attached to the planking. Exaggerated accounts make this frieze contain 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 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 resembling 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

[17]

CAIRO, JERUSALEM, AND DAMASCUS

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 the minaret of his mosque should be built. Other writers, however, 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 su- premacy 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 pro- vincial 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 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

[18]

CAIRO BEFORE THE FATIMIDES

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 pro- vided for the inaugural ceremony; how it was even intended to encircle the Mosque with a line of ambergris, that the worshippers might always have a fragrant odour to delight their sense. The dedi- catory 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 Mos- lem community, out of legitimate and well-gotten wealth granted him by God. Desiring thereby the favour of God and the future world, and seeking 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 per- mitted to be raised, wherein His name is mentioned, and wherein praise is rendered unto Him morning

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and evening by men that are distracted neither by merchandise nor by selling from making mention 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 bestows on whom He will with- out 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, he gracious unto Mohammed, and Mohammed'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 Moor- ish caravans on their way to Mecca, who stabled their camels in the cloisters. Its use as a hostel was coun-

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tenanced by the Egyptian rulers of the twelfth cen- tury, 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 Mame- luke Sultan Lajin, who, after murdering his master in the year 1294, ^^ok refuge in the then desolate Mosque, and there vowed that, if he escaped his pur- suers 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 thousand pounds. He rebuilt the fountain in the centre of the court, turning it into a lavatory for the ceremonial ablution, and his building still remains; he provided a handsome mimbar or pulpit, of which some panels have found their way into the South Kensington Museum; but the inscription which re- cords 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 north colonnade was rebuilt, and perhaps the arches which connect the minaret which has been described with the Mosque were constructed.

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Under the dominion of the Turks the Mosque was again allowed to fall into neglect, and became a fac- tory 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 interior profaned and desecrated in every possible way. The poor- house was closed in 1877, and in 1890 the Committee for the Preservation of the Monuments of Arab Art succeeded 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 Tulun in 884 to the foundation of Cairo in 969 was in the highest degree eventful, but the events which it contained were of little consequence for the subject of this book. The last days of Ahmad were embit- tered by the 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 com- petence both as a diplomatist and as a soldier; he re- stored 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 stretching from Barca to the Tigris. He was, however, more famous for his magnificence than for his statesman- ship or his military skill. Wonderful tales are told of his palaces, his gardens and his menageries; of walls frescoed at his order with pictures of the ladies in his harem, with crowns on their heads; of trees

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CAIRO BEFORE THE FATIMIDES

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 perpetual rocking might give him the sleep which his physicians could not procure for him save by dis- tasteful 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 apparently 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 consequence of some indulgence; and his sons and other successors 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 Baghdad, with a finance minister equal to him in authority.

The weakness of the Caliphate prevented this ar- rangement from working as it had worked in earlier times. Another Turk from Farghanah, similar in a variety of ways to Ahmad Ibn Tulun, utilised the favour of a vizier with whom he had contracted an alliance to obtain by fraud an appointment to the governorship of Egypt. In August, 935, this person

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