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Secret Societies of the Middle Ages

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Author Topic: Secret Societies of the Middle Ages  (Read 1740 times)
Trena Alloway
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« Reply #30 on: January 04, 2009, 11:03:41 pm »

p. 109

command of the army, by his nephew Saladin, u ho now became in effect master of Egypt. Noor-ed-deen, thinking the time was come for establishing the spiritual sway of the house of Abbas, sent directions to Saladin to fill all the offices which had been occupied by the Sheähs with the orthodox, and hear prayer celebrated in the name of the Khalif of Bagdad; but this prudent chief, who knew that the great majority of the people of Egypt were firmly attached to the belief of the Fatimites being the rightful successors of the Prophet, hesitated to comply. At length the death of the Fatimite khalif occurred most opportunely to free him from embarrassment. Adhad-ladin-Allah, the last of the descendants of Moez-ladin-Allah, the founder of the dynasty, died suddenly--of disease, according to the oriental historians,--by the hand of Saladin, according to the rumour which went among the Christians *. All obstacles being now removed, public prayer was celebrated in the mosks of Egypt in the name of the Abbasside khalif, and the power of the western Ismaïlites, after a continuance of 200 years, brought completely to an end.

Noor-ed-deen, who saw that the power of his lieutenant was now too great to be controlled, adopted the prudent plan of soothing him by titles and marks of confidence. The khalif of Bagdad sent him a dress of honour and a letter of thanks for having reduced under his spiritual dominion a province which had been so long rebellious against his house. But the most important consequence of the timely death of the khalif to Saladin was the acquisition of the accumulated treasures of the Fatimites, which fell into his hands, and which he employed as the means of securing the fidelity of his officers and soldiers. As a specimen of oriental exaggeration, we shall give the list of these treasures- as they are enumerated by


p. 110

eastern writers. There were, we are assured, no less than 700 pearls, each of which was of a size that rendered it inestimable, an emerald a span long, and as thick as the finger, a library consisting of 2,600,000 books, and gold, both coined and in the in ass; aloes, amber, and military arms and weapons past computation. A large portion of this enormous treasure was distributed by Saladin among his soldiers; the remainder was applied, during ten successive years, to defray the expenses of his wars and buildings. As Saladin's name was Yoossuf (Joseph), the same with that of the son of Jacob, the minister of king Pharaoh, it is not an improbable supposition that, in Egyptian tradition, the two Josephs have been confounded, and the works of the latter been ascribed to the former; for it is the character of popular tradition to leap over centuries, and even thousands of years, and to form out of several heroes one who is made to perform the actions of them all.

As long as Noor-ed-deen lived, Saladin continued to acknowledge his superiority; and when, on his death, he left his dominions to his son Malek-es-Saleh, the coins of Egypt bore the name of the young prince. As Malek-es-Saleh was a minor, and entirely under the guidance of the eunuch Kameshtegin, great discontent prevailed among the emirs; and Seif-ed-deen (Sword of Religion), the cousin of the young prince, who was at the head of an army in Mesopotamia, prepared to wrest the dominion from the young Malek-es-Saleh. All eyes were turned to Saladin, as the only person capable of preserving the country. He left Egypt with only 700 horsemen. The governor and people of Damascus cheerfully opened the gates to him. Hems and Hama followed the example of Damascus. Saladin took the government under the modest title of

p. 111

lieutenant of the young atabeg, whose rights he declared himself ready to maintain on all occasions. He advanced to Aleppo, where Malek-es-Saleh was residing; but the militia of that town, moved by the tears of the young prince, who was probably influenced by the eunuch Kameshtegin, who feared to lose his power, marched out and put to flight the small force with which Saladin had approached the town. Having collected a larger army, Saladin laid siege regularly to Aleppo, and Kameshtegin, despairing of force, resolved to have recourse to treachery. He sent accordingly to Sinan, the Sheikh of the Assassins, who resided at Massyat, representing to him how dangerous a foe to the Ismaïlites was the valiant Koord, who was so ardent in his zeal for the house of Abbas, and had put an end to the dynasty of the Fatimites, who had so long given lustre to the maintainers of the rights of Ismaïl by the possession of extensive temporal power and dignity. He reminded him that, if Saladin succeeded in his ambitious projects in Syria, he would, in all probability, turn his might against the Assassins, and destroy their power in that country. These arguments were enforced by gold, and the sheikh, readily yielding to them, despatched without delay three Fedavees, who fell on Saladin in the camp before Aleppo. The attempt, however, miscarried, and the murderers were seized and put to death. Saladin, incensed at this attempt on his life, and guessing well the quarter whence it came, now pressed on the siege with greater vigour.

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