Σάββατο, 30 Απριλίου 2016

The Emirate of Sicily and the greek general Ja'far al-Siqilli 

The Emirate of Sicily was an Islamic state (emirate) on the island of Sicily which existed from 831 to 1072. Its capital was Palermo. Muslims, who first invaded in 652, seized control of the entire island from the Byzantine Empire in a prolonged series of conflicts from 827 to 902. An Arab-Byzantine culture developed, producing a multiconfessional and multilingual state. The Emirate was conquered by Christian Norman mercenaries under Roger I of Sicily, who founded the County of Sicily in 1071.
Sicilian Muslims remained citizens of the multi-ethnic County and subsequent Kingdom of Sicily, until those who had not already converted were expelled in the 1240s. In 826 Euphemius, the commander of the Byzantine fleet of Sicily, forced a nun to marry him. Emperor Michael II caught wind of the matter and ordered that General Constantine end the marriage and cut off Euphemius' nose. Euphemius rose up, killed Constantine and then occupied Syracuse; he in turn was defeated and driven out to North Africa. He offered rule of Sicily over to Ziyadat Allah the Aghlabid Emir of Tunisia in return for a place as a general and safety; an Arab army was sent. The latter agreed to conquer Sicily, promising to give it to Euphemius in exchange for a yearly tribute, and entrusted its conquest to the 70-year-old qadi Asad ibn al-Furat. The Muslim force counted 10,000 infantry, 700 cavalry and 100 ships, reinforced by Euphemius' ships and, after the landing at Mazara del Vallo. A first battle against the loyal Byzantine troops occurred on July 15, 827, near Mazara, resulting in an Aghlabid victory. Asad subsequently conquered the southern shore of the island and laid siege to Syracuse. After a year of siege, and an attempted mutiny, his troops were however able to defeat a large army sent from Palermo, also backed by a Venetian fleet led by Doge Giustiniano Participazio. But when a plague killed many of the Muslim troops, as well as Asad himself, the Muslims retreated to the castle of Mineo. Later they returned to the offensive, but failed to conquer Castrogiovanni (Enna, where Euphemius died) and retreated back to Mazara. In 830 they received a strong reinforcement of 30,000 Ifriqiyan and Andalusian troops. The Iberian Muslims defeated the Byzantine commander Teodotus in July–August of that year, but again a plague forced them to return to Mazara and then to Ifriqiya. The Ifriqiyan units sent to besiege Palermo managed to capture it after a year long siege in September 831. Palermo became the Muslim capital of Sicily, renamed al-Madinah ("The City"). The conquest was a see-saw affair; with considerable resistance and many internal struggles, it took over a century for Byzantine Sicily to be conquered. Syracuse held out for a long time but fell in 878, Taormina fell in 902, and the last Byzantine outpost was taken in 965. The Sunni population of the island was replenished following sectarian rebellions across north Africa from 943-47 against the Fatimids harsh religious policies, leading to several waves of refugees fleeing to Sicily in an attempt to escape Fatimid retaliation. The Byzantines took advantage of temporary discord to occupy the eastern end of the island for several years. After suppressing a revolt the Fatimid caliph Ismail al-Mansur appointed al-Hasan al-Kalbi (948–964) as Emir of Sicily. He successfully managed to control the continuously revolting Byzantines and founded the Kalbid dynasty. The local population conquered by the Muslims were Greek speaking Christians of the island, but there were also a significant number of Jews. Christians and Jews were tolerated under Muslim rule as dhimmi, but were subject to some restrictions. The dhimmi were also required to pay the jizya, or poll tax, and the kharaj or land tax, but were exempt from the tax that Muslims had to pay (Zakaat). Under Arab rule there were different categories of Jizya payers, but their common denominator was the payment of the Jizya as a mark of subjection to Muslim rule in exchange for protection against foreign and internal aggression. The conquered population could avoid this subservient status simply by converting to Islam. Whether by honest religious conviction or societal compulsion large numbers of native Sicilians converted to Islam. However, even after 100 years of Islamic rule, numerous Greek speaking Christian communities prospered, especially in north-eastern Sicily, as dhimmi. This was largely a result of the Jizya system which allowed co-existence. This co-existence with the conquered population fell apart after the reconquest of Sicily, particularly following the death of Norman King William II of Sicily in 1189.
Jawhar ibn Abdallah, surnamed Ja'far al-Siqilli ("the Sicilian"), al-Rumi ("the Byzantine
"), al-Saqlabi ("the Slav"), al-Katib ("the Chancellor") and al-Qaid ("the General"), born early 10th century, died 992, was the most important military leader in Fatimid history. He led the conquest of North Africa and then of Egypt, founded the city of Cairo and the great al-Azhar Mosque. Jawhar was a Sicilian ghulam of Greek ethnicity. His family originated from the Emirate of Sicily (hence the epithet the Sicilian), and came as a slave to North Africa. He was sent to the Caliph Ismail al-Mansur on account of his intelligence and cunning. Under his son al-Muizz (953-975) he gained his freedom and became his personal secretary. Soon he was the vizier and the highest-ranking military commander of the Fatimids. In this role he resumed the expansion of the Fatimids and, together with the Zirids, conquered Fez in Northern Morocco, and pushed towards the Atlantic. Only the strongholds of Ceuta and Tangier could be retained by the Umayyads of Córdoba. After the Western borders had been secured, Jawhar as-Siqilli pushed towards Egypt and occupied the land around the Nile in 969 from the Ikhshidids after a siege at Giza. The conquest was prepared by a treaty with the Ikhshidid vizier Abu'l-Fadl Ja'far ibn al-Fadl (by which Sunnis would be guaranteed freedom of religion), so the Fatimids encountered little resistance. Afterwards Jawhar ruled Egypt until 972 as viceroy. In this capacity he founded the city of Cairo in 969 north of Fustat, to serve as the new residence of the Fatimid Caliphs,and the al-Azhar Mosque in 970. Although Palestine was occupied after the conquest of Egypt, Syria could not be overcome, following a defeat at the hands of the Qarmatians at Damascus. However, when the Qarmatians overran Egypt, Jawhar was able to defeat them north of Cairo on the 22 December 970, although the struggle continued until 974. To secure the southern border of Egypt a legation was sent to the Christian land of Nubia. After the establishment of the residence at Cairo, Jawhar fell into disfavour with al-Muizz. Under his successor al-Aziz (975-996) however, in whose accession to the throne Jawhar played an important role, he was rehabilitated. He was regent again until 979, but was finally stripped of power after a campaign against Syria was once again defeated near Damascus. Jawhar died on 1 February 992.
Πηγή: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jawhar_al-Siqilli
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emirate_of_Sicily

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