ABD-AR-RAHMAN III (′ABD AR-RAHMāN IBN MUHAMMAD IBN ′ABD ALLāH IBN MUHAMMAD IBN ′ABD AR-RAHMAN IBN AL-HAKAM AR-RABDI IBN HISHAM IBN ′ABD AR-RAHMAN AD-DAKHIL; Arabic : عبد الرحمن الثالث; 11 January 889/91 – 15 October 961) was the Emir and Caliph of Córdoba (912–961) of the Umayyad dynasty in al-Andalus . Called al-Nasir li-Din Allah ("the Defender of God's Faith"), he ascended the throne in his early 20s, and reigned for half a century as the most powerful prince of Iberia. Although people of all creeds enjoyed tolerance and freedom of religion under his rule, he repelled the Fatimids , partly by supporting their Maghrawa enemies in North Africa , and partly by claiming the title Caliph (ruler of the Islamic world ) for himself.
* 1 Life
* 1.1 Early years * 1.2 Accession to throne * 1.3 Early rule * 1.4 Ibn Hafsun and other rebels * 1.5 The Levente and Algarve rebels * 1.6 Assumption of the Caliphate * 1.7 War with the Christian kingdoms of the north * 1.8 Later years
* 2 Legacy * 3 Ancestry * 4 Notes and references * 5 Bibliography * 6 External links
Abd ar-Rahman was born in Córdoba , the grandson of Abdullah ,
Umayyad emir of
Al-Andalus . His parents were
Abdullah's son Muhammad and Muzna (or Muzayna), a Christian concubine.
His paternal grandmother was also a Christian, the royal infanta
Onneca Fortúnez , daughter of the captive king Fortún Garcés of
.. white skin, blue eyes and attractive face; good looking, although somewhat sturdy and stout. His legs were short, to the point that the stirrups of his saddle were mounted just one palm under it. When mounted, he looked tall, but on his feet he was quite short. He dyed his beard black.
Muhammad was assassinated by his brother Al-Mutarrif, who had
allegedly grown jealous of the favour Muhammad had gained in the eyes
of their father Abdallah. Al-Mutarrif had accused Muhammad of plotting
with the rebel
Umar ibn Hafsun
ACCESSION TO THRONE
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Emir Abdallah died at the age of 72. Despite the fact that four of
his sons (Aban, Abd al Rahman, Muhammad and Ahmad) were alive at the
time of his death, all of them were passed over for succession.
Abdallah instead chose as his successor his grandson, Abd al-Rahman
III (the son of his first son). This came as no surprise, since
Abdallah had already demonstrated his affection for his grandson in
many ways, namely by allowing him to live in his own tower (something
he did not allow for any of his sons), and allowing him to sit on the
throne on some festive occasions. Most importantly Abdallah gave Abd
al-Rahman his ring, the symbol of power, when Abdallah fell ill prior
to his death. Abd al-Rahman succeeded Abdallah the day after his
death, 16 October 912. Historiographers of the time, such as al-Bayan
l'Mogrib and the Cronica anonima de
Abd-ar-Rahman III, state that his
succession was "without incident". At the time, Abd al-Rahman was
about 21 or 22 years old. He inherited an emirate on the verge of
dissolution, his power extending not far beyond the vicinity of
Córdoba. To the north, the Christian
Kingdom of Asturias was
continuing its program of
Reconquista in the
From the very early stages of his reign, Abd ar-Rahman showed a firm resolve to quash the rebels of Al-Andalus, consolidate centralized power, and reestablish internal order within the emirate. Within 10 days of taking the throne, he exhibited the head of a rebel leader in Cordoba. From this point on he led annual expeditions against the northern and southern tribes to maintain control over them. To accomplish his aims he introduced into the court the saqalibah , slaves of East European origin. The saqalibah represented a third ethnic group that could neutralize the endless strife between his subjects of Muslim Arab heritage, and those of Muslim Berber heritage.
Hasdai ibn Shaprut , a Jewish courtier of the king's court who served as financier to the king, wrote of the king's revenues on this wise: "The revenue of the king amounts annually to 100,000 florins, this arising only from the income derived from the numerous merchants who come hither from various countries and isles. All their commerce and affairs must be subjected to my guidance, praised be the Almighty, who bestows his mercy upon me! The kings of the world no sooner perceive of the greatness of my monarch, than they hasten to convey to him presents in abundance. It is myself who am appointed to receive such presents, and at the same time to return rewards awarded to them."
During the first 20 years of his rule, Abd ar-Rahman avoided military action against the northern Christian kingdoms, Asturias and Navarre . The Muladi rebels were the first problem he confronted. Those powerful families were supported by Iberians who were openly or secretly Christians and had acted with the rebels. These elements, which formed the bulk of the population, were not averse to supporting a strong ruler who would protect them against the Arab aristocracy. Abd ar-Rahman moved to subdue them by means of a mercenary army that included Christians. The Great Mosque of Córdoba .
He first had to suppress the rebel Umar ibn Hafsun. On 1 January 913
an army, led by the eunuch Badr, conquered the fortress of
In the first year of his reign, Abd ar-Rahman took advantage of the
rivalries between the Banu Hayyay lords of
The region of
IBN HAFSUN AND OTHER REBELS
Abd ar-Rahman's next objective was to quash the longstanding
Umar ibn Hafsun
His troops left Córdoba on 7 May 914 and, after a few days, encamped before the walls of Balda (identified with today's Cuevas de San Marcos ). His cavalry ravaged the nearby woods and the countryside, while the rest of the troopes moved to Turrus, a castle located in the present municipality of Algarinejo , which was surrounded within five days, while its environs were also devastated.
Umayyad army then moved to Bobastro, while the cavalry was sent
to the castle of Sant Batir, which was abandoned by the defenders,
allowing Abd ar-Rahman's troops to secure a large booty. Then it was
the turn of the castles of Olías and Reina. The latter fell after a
violent fight, leaving the road open to the major city and provincial
capital of Málaga, which he captured after one day. Abd ar-Rahman
then turned and followed the coast by Montemayor, near
Fuengirola ) and another castle called Turrus or Turrus Jusayn
Évariste Lévi-Provençal as
Ojén ). He finally
Algeciras on 1 June 914. He ordered a patrol of the coast
to destroy the boats that supplied
Umar ibn Hafsun
Abd ar-Rahman launched three different campaigns against Ibn Hafsun (who died in 917) and his sons. Among them, Jafar ibn Hafsun held the stronghold of Toledo. Abd ar-Rahman ordered ravaged the city's countryside. Jafar, after two years of siege, escaped the city to ask for help in the northern Christian kingdoms. In the meantime Abd ar-Rahman obtained the surrender of the city from its population, after promising them immunity, although 4,000 rebel men escaped in a night sally. The city surrendered on 2 August 932, after a siege of two years.
In 921 the Banu Muhallab of
Guadix submitted, followed by those of
The last of Ibn Hafsun to fall was Hafs, who commanded his powerful fortress of Bobastro. Surrounded by Abd ar-Rahman's vizier Said ibn al-Mundhir who had ordered the construction of bastions around the city, he resisted the siege for six months, until he surrendered in 928 and had his life spared.
THE LEVENTE AND ALGARVE REBELS
The continued expeditions against the Hafsunids did not distract Abd
ad-Rahman III from the situation of other regions in al-Andalus, which
recognized him only nominally, if not being in open revolt. Most of
the loyal governors of the cities were in a weak position, such as the
In much of the eastern and western province, Abd ar-Rahman's
authority was completely unrecognized. The lord of Badajoz, Abd Allah
ibn Muhammad, grandson of
Abd-ar-Rahman ibn Marwan al-Yilliqi, not
only fortified his city against a possible attack from Ordoño, but
also acted in complete independence from Córdoba. To avoid the fall
The absence of royal authority enabled Ordoño II to easily campaign in this area, his main objective being the city of Mérida , in the summer of 915. Abd ar-Rahman III did not send an army and only several local Berber jefes offered some resistance which was ineffective.
ASSUMPTION OF THE CALIPHATE
Letter proclaiming Abd-ar-Rahman III's assumption of the Caliph title We are the most worthy to fulfil our right, and the most entitled to complete our good fortune, and to put on the clothing granted by the nobility of God, because of the favour which He has shown us, and the renown which He has given us, and the power to which He has raised us, because of what He has enabled us to acquire, and because of what He has made easy for us and for our state to achieve; He has made our name and the greatness of our power celebrated everywhere; and He has made the hopes of the worlds depend on us , and made their errings turn again to us and their rejoicing at good news be (rejoicing at good news) about our dynasty . And praise be to God, possessed of grace and kindness, for the grace which He has shown, most worthy of superiority for the superiority which He has granted us. We have decided that the da‘wa should be to us as Commander of the Faithful and that letters emanating from us or coming to us should be in the same manner. Everyone who calls himself by this name apart from ourselves is arrogating it to himself and trespassing upon it and is branded with something to which he has no right. We know that if we were to continue the neglect of this duty which is owed to us in this matter then we should be forfeiting our right and neglecting our title, which is certain. So order the khaṭīb in your place to pronounce using and address your communications to us accordingly, if God will. Written on Thursday, 2 Dhū al-Ḥijja 316 . Translated by David Wasserstein
In the next year, despite having defeated only some of the rebels,
Abd ar-Rahman III considered himself powerful enough to declare
Caliph of Córdoba (16 January 929), effectively breaking his
allegiance to, and ties with, the
Abbasid caliphs. The
caliphate was thought only to belong to the Emperor who ruled over the
sacred cities of
Abd ar-Rahman's move made him both the political and the religious leader of all the Muslims in al-Andalus, as well as the protector of his Christian and Jewish subjects. The symbols of his new caliphate power were a scepter (jayzuran) and the throne (sarir). In the mint he had founded in November 928, Abd ar-Rahman started to coin golden dinars and silver dirhams, replacing the "al-Andalus" title with his name.
In his new role of caliph, he achieved the surrender of
Ibn Marwan of
Badajoz in 930. On the southern front, to counter the increasing
Fatimid power in North Africa, abd ar-Rahmad ordered the construction
of a fleet based in
Almeria . The caliph helped the
In the end he was able to create a protectorate covering the northern
and central Maghreb, supporting the
Idrisid dynasty; the caliphate
influence in the area disappeared after a
Fatimid offensive in 958,
after which abd ar-Rahman kept only the strongholds of
WAR WITH THE CHRISTIAN KINGDOMS OF THE NORTH
Even before al-Andalus was firmly under his rule, he had restarted the war against King Ordoño II of León , who had taken advantage of the previous troublesome situation to capture some boundary areas and menace the Umayyad territory. In 917 the then emir had sent a large army under his general Ahmad ibn Abi Abda against León, but this force was destroyed at the Battle of San Esteban de Gormaz in September of that year.
Recognizing he had underestimated the power of Ordoño II, in 920 Abd
ar-Rahman mustered another powerful army to reclaim the territories
lost after the previous campaign. He captured the forts of
In 924 Abd-ar-Rahman felt obliged to avenge the massacre of Viguera castle perpetrated by King Sancho Ordóñez of Navarre one year earlier. he launched counter offensive against Sancho in which Abd-ar-Rahman devastated a large area of Basque territory.
The succession crisis which struck León after Ordoño II's death in
the same year caused hostilities to cease until Ramiro II obtained the
throne in 932; a first attempt by him to assist the besieged rebels in
Toledo was repelled in 932, despite the Christian king capturing
In 934, after reasserting supremacy over
Despite early defeats, Ramiro and García were able to crush the
caliphate army in 939 at the
Battle of Simancas , and almost kill
Abd-ar-Rahman, due, most likely, to treason by Arab elements in the
caliph's army. After this defeat,
Abd-ar-Rahman stopped taking
personal command of his military campaigns. His cause was helped,
Fernán González of Castile
In 950 Abd ar-Rahman received in Córdoba an embassy from count
Borrell II of Barcelona
Until 961, the caliphate played an active role in the dynastic strife
characterizing the Christian kingdom during the period. Ordoño III's
half-brother and successor, Sancho the Fat , had been deposed by his
cousin Ordoño IV . Together with his grandmother Toda of Navarre,
Sancho sought an alliance with Córdoba. In exchange for some castles,
Abd-ar-Rahman helped them to take back Zamora (959) and
Abd-ar-Rahman was accused of having sunk in his later years into the self-indulgent habits of the harem . He is known to have openly kept a male as well as a female harem. This likely influenced the polemical story of his falling in love with a 13-year-old boy (later enshrined as a Christian martyr and canonised as Saint Pelagius of Córdoba ) who refused the Caliph's advances. The love story may have been a construct on top of an original tale, however, in which he ordered the boy-slave to convert to Islam. Either way, enraged, he had the boy tortured and dismembered, thus contributing to the Christian perception of Muslim brutality.
Abd-ar-Rahman spent the rest of his years in his new palace outside Córdoba. He died in October 961 and was succeeded by his son al-Hakam II .
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.
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!
He also reinforced the Iberian fleet, which became the most powerful
Mediterranean Europe . Iberian raiders moved up to Galicia ,
Asturias, and North Africa. The colonizers of
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 tolerant of non-Muslims, Jews and Christians who were
treated fairly. European nations sent emissaries such as from Otto I
of Germany, and the
Abd-ar-Rahman III's mother Muzna was a Christian captive, possibly
from the Pyrenean region. His paternal grandmother Onneca Fortúnez
was a Christian princess from the Kingdom of
ANCESTORS OF ABD-AR-RAHMAN III
16. Abd ar-Rahman II, Emir of Córdoba
8. Muhammad I, Emir of Córdoba
4. Abdullah, Emir of Córdoba
20. García Íñiguez, King of
10. Fortún Garcés, King of
5. Onneca Fortúnez (Durr)
1. ABD-AR-RAHMAN III, CALIPH OF CóRDOBA
3. Muzna (originally Maria?)
NOTES AND REFERENCES
* ^ A B C D E Fletcher, Richard (2006) . "Chapter 4: The Caliphate of Córdoba". Moorish Spain (2nd ed.). Berkeley, California: University of California Press. pp. 53–54. ISBN 978-0-520-24840-3 . * ^ A B Wasserstein, David (1993). The Caliphate in the West: An Islamic Political Institution in the Iberian Peninsula (snippet view). Oxford: Clarendon Press. p. 11. ISBN 978-0-19-820301-8 . Retrieved 5 September 2010. * ^ Azizur Rahman, Syed (2001). The Story of Islamic Spain (snippet view). New Delhi: Goodword Books. p. 129. ISBN 978-81-87570-57-8 . Retrieved 5 September 2010. 16 Oct., 912 after 26 years of writing an intro to the first caliph and leaving his fragmented and bankrupt kingdom to his grandson ‘Abd ar-Rahman. The following day, the new sultan received the oath of allegiance at a ceremony held in the "Perfect salon" (al-majils al-kamil) of the Alcazar. * ^ Byers, Paula Kay, ed. (1998). "Abd al-Rahman III". Encyclopedia of World Biography. Volume 1: A – Barbosa (2nd ed.). Thomson Gale. p. 14. ISBN 978-0-7876-2541-2 . Retrieved 5 September 2010. * ^ A B Gordon, Matthew (2005). "Document 15: Abd al-Rahman III of al-Andalus". The Rise of Islam. Greenwood guides to historic events of the medieval world. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 151. ISBN 978-0-313-32522-9 . * ^ A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q "'Abd ar-Rahman III". Encyclopædia Britannica. I: A-Ak - Bayes (15th ed.). Chicago, IL: Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. 2010. pp. 17–18. ISBN 978-1-59339-837-8 . * ^ Kennedy, Hugh N. (1996). Muslim Spain and Portugal: A Political History of al-Andalus (snippet view). London: Longman. p. 99. ISBN 978-0-582-49515-9 . Retrieved 6 September 2010. The Caliph died on 15 October 961 and was buried with his predecessors in the Alcazar at Cordoba. * ^ A B Vallvé Bermejo, Joaquín (1999). Al-Andalus: sociedad e instituciones . Volume 20 of Clave historial (in Spanish). Madrid: Real Academia de la Historia. pp. 48–50. ISBN 978-84-89512-16-0 . * ^ Marín, Manuela (2002). "Marriage and Sexuality in Al-Andalus". In Lacarra Lanz, Eukene. Marriage and Sexuality in Medieval and Early Modern Iberia. Volume 26 of Hispanic issues. New York: Routledge. p. 14. ISBN 978-0-415-93634-7 . * ^ A B Kassis, Hanna (1999). "A glimpse of openness in medieval society: Al-Ḥakam II of Córdoba and his non-Muslim collaborators". In Nagy, Balázs; Sebők, Marcell. The Man of Many Devices, Who Wandered Full Many Ways ( Festschrift in Honor of János M. Bak). Budapest: Central European University Press. p. 162. ISBN 978-963-9116-67-2 . * ^ Lane-Poole 1894 , p. 11 * ^ A B C D E Lane-Poole 1894 , p. 22 * ^ Daftary, Farhad (1992). The Isma\'ilis: Their History and Doctrines. Cambridge University Press. p. 173. ISBN 978-0-521-42974-0 . ... the Umayyad ʿAbd al-Raḥmān III, who was a Mālikī Sunnī. * ^ His date of birth is given as 891 in Chambers Biographical Dictionary , ISBN 0-550-18022-2 , page 2 * ^ The Golden Caliphate * ^ Abd al-Rahman, III Biography * ^ Ibn Idhari , Kitab al-Bayan * ^ Ibn Hazm * ^ Mahberet Menahem (ed. Herschell Filipowski), London cf. Elkan Nathan Adler, Jewish Travellers, Routledge:London 1931, pp. 22–36 . * ^ A B C D One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). " Abd-ar-Rahman s.v Abd-ar-Rahman III". Encyclopædia Britannica . 1 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 31–32. * ^ Schreiber, Hermann. Gli Arabi in Spagna. Garzanti. p. 142. * ^ Abd-ar-Rahman III Archived 17 February 2008 at the Wayback Machine . * ^ No golden Islamic coins had been found in Spain preceding Abd ar-Rahman III's reign. See Schreiber, Gli Arabi in Spagna, p. 143. * ^ Schreiber, Gli Arabi in Spagna, p. 154 * ^ Al Maqqari, Nafh at-Tih, I, page 363 * ^ Encyclopedia of Medieval Iberia, ed. Michael Gerli (New York: Routledge, 2003), 398–399. * ^ Walter Andrews and Mehmet Kalpaklı, The Age of Beloveds, Duke University Press, 2005; p.2 * ^ Mark D. Jordan, The Invention of Sodomy in Christian Theology, Chicago, 1997; pp.10–28 * ^ Ibn Idhari , p. 188 * ^ Ibn Idhari , p. 233 * ^ A B C D Salas Merino, Vicente (2008). "La Dinastía Íñiga (820–905)". La Genealogía de Los Reyes de España (in Spanish) (4th ed.). Madrid: Editorial Visión Libros. pp. 216–217. ISBN 978-84-9821-767-4 .
* Coope, Jessica (1995). Martyrs of Córdoba: Community and Family Conflict in an Age of Mass Conversion. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. ISBN 0-8032-1471-5 . * Fierro, Maribel (2005). Abd-al-Rahman III of Córdoba. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. ISBN 1-85168-384-4 . * Ibn Idhari (1860) . Al-Bayan al-Mughrib (in Spanish). Volume 1. trans. Francisco Fernández y González. Granada: Francisco Ventura y Sabatel. OCLC 557028856 . * Lane-Poole, Stanley (1894). The Mohammedan Dynasties: Chronological and Genealogical Tables with Historical Introductions. Westminster: Archibald Constable and Company. OCLC 1199708 . * Lévi-Provençal, Évariste ; García Gómez, Emilio , eds. (1950). Una crónica anónima de 'Abd al-Rahman III al-Nasir (in Spanish). Madrid-Granada: Instituto Miguel Asin. * Scales, Peter (1994). Fall of the Caliphate of Córdoba. New York: EJ Brill. ISBN 90-04-09868-2 . * Wolf, Kenneth (1988). Christian Martyrs in Muslim Spain. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-34416-6 .
* "Abd-er-Rahman III.". Collier\'s New Encyclopedia . 1921.
Abd-ar-Rahman III BANU UMAYYAH Cadet branch of the BANU QURAISH
Preceded by Abdallah ibn