07 January 2014

The legacy of Abd-ar-Rahman III, Emir and Caliph of Cordoba

From the Wikipedia entry:
"Abd-ar-Rahman was a patron of arts, especially architecture. A third of his revenue sufficed for the ordinary expenses of government, a third was hoarded, and a third was spent on buildings. After declaring the caliphate, he had a massive palace complex, known as the Medina Azahara, built some five kilometers north of Córdoba. The Medina Azahara was modeled after the old Umayyad palace in Damascus and served as a symbolic tie between the new caliph and his ancestors. It was said that Cordoba contained 3000 mosques and 100,000 shops and homes during his reign. 
Under his reign, Córdoba became the most important intellectual centre of Western Europe. He expanded the city's library, which would be further enriched by his successors.

He also reinforced the Iberian fleet, which became the most powerful in Mediterranean Europe. Iberian raiders moved up to Galicia, Asturias, and North Africa. The colonizers of Fraxinetum came from al-Andalus as well. Due to his consolidation of power, Muslim Iberia became a power for a few centuries. It also brought prosperity, and with this he created mints where pure gold and silver coins were created. He renovated and added to the Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba.

He was very wary of losing control and kept tight reins in his family. In 949, he executed one of his sons for conspiring against him. He was extremely tolerant of non-Muslims and Jews and Christians both were treated fairly."
Added to the blog because of this quotation, which I've had in my commonplace book for 40 years:
"I have now reigned above fifty years in victory or peace; beloved by my subjects, dreaded by my enemies, and respected by my allies. Riches and honours, power and pleasure, have waited on my call, nor does any earthly blessing appear to have been wanting to my felicity. In this situation, I have diligently numbered the days of pure and genuine happiness which have fallen to my lot: they amount to Fourteen: - O man! place not thy confidence in this present world!" 

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