Granada is the capital city of the province of Granada, in the autonomous community of Andalusia, Spain. Granada is located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains, at the confluence of four rivers, the Darro, the Genil, the Monachil and the Beiro, it sits at an average elevation of 738 m above sea level, yet is only one hour by car from the Mediterranean coast, the Costa Tropical. Nearby is the Sierra Nevada Ski Station, where the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships 1996 were held. In the 2005 national census, the population of the city of Granada proper was 236,982, the population of the entire urban area was estimated to be 472,638, ranking as the 13th-largest urban area of Spain. About 3.3% of the population did not hold Spanish citizenship, the largest number of these people coming from South America. Its nearest airport is Federico García Lorca Granada-Jaén Airport; the Alhambra, an Arab citadel and palace, is located in Granada. It is the most renowned building of the Islamic historical legacy with its many cultural attractions that make Granada a popular destination among the tourist cities of Spain.
The Almohad influence on architecture is preserved in the Granada neighborhood called the Albaicín with its fine examples of Moorish and Morisco construction. Granada is well-known within Spain for the University of Granada which has an estimated 82,000 students spread over five different campuses in the city; the pomegranate is the heraldic device of Granada. The region surrounding what today is Granada has been populated since at least 5500 BC and experienced Roman and Visigothic influences; the most ancient ruins found in the city belong to an Iberian oppidum called Ilturir, in the region known as Bastetania. This oppidum changed its name to Iliberri, after the Roman conquest of Iberia, to Municipium Florentinum Iliberitanum; the Umayyad conquest of Hispania, starting in AD 711, brought large parts of the Iberian Peninsula under Moorish control and established al-Andalus. Granada's historical name in the Arabic language was غرناطة; the word Gárnata means "hill of strangers". Because the city was situated on a low plain and, as a result, difficult to protect from attacks, the ruler decided to transfer his residence to the higher situated area of Gárnata.
In a short time this town was transformed into one of the most important cities of al-Andalus. In the early 11th century, after the collapse of the Umayyad Caliphate, the Berber Zawi ben Ziri established an independent kingdom for himself, the Taifa of Granada, his surviving memoirs — the only ones for the Spanish "Middle Ages" — provide considerable detail for this brief period. The Zirid Taifa of Granada was a Jewish state in all but name, it is the only time between Biblical times and the twentieth century that a Jewish ruler commanded an army. It was the center of Jewish culture and scholarship. Early Arabic writers called it "Garnata al-Yahud".... Granada was in the eleventh century the center of Sephardic civilization at its peak, from 1027 until 1066 Granada was a powerful Jewish state. Jews did not hold the foreigner status typical of Islamic rule. Samuel ibn Nagrilla, recognized by Sephardic Jews everywhere as the quasi-political ha-Nagid, was king in all but name; as vizier he made policy and—much more unusual—led the army....
It is said that Samuel’s strengthening and fortification of Granada was what permitted it to survive as the last Islamic state in the Iberian peninsula. All of the greatest figures of eleventh-century Hispano-Jewish culture are associated with Granada. Moses Ibn Ezra was from Granada. Ibn Gabirol’s patrons and hosts were the Jewish viziers of Granada, Samuel ha-Nagid and his son Joseph; when Joseph took over after his father's death, he proved to lack his father's diplomacy, bringing on the 1066 Granada massacre, which ended the Golden Age of Jewish Culture in Spain. By the end of the 11th century, the city had spread across the Darro to reach the hill of the future Alhambra, included the Albaicín neighborhood; the Almoravids ruled Granada from 1090 and the Almohad dynasty from 1166. In 1228, with the departure of the Almohad prince Idris al-Ma'mun, who left Iberia to take the Almohad leadership, the ambitious Ibn al-Ahmar established the last and longest reigning Muslim dynasty in the Iberian peninsula, the Nasrids.
With the Reconquista in full swing after the conquest of Córdoba in 1236, the Nasrids aligned themselves with Fernando III of Castile becoming the Emirate of Granada in 1238. According to some historians, Granada was a tributary state to the Kingdom of Castile since that year, it provided connections with Muslim and Arab trade centers for gold from sub-Saharan Africa and the Maghreb, exported silk and dried fruits produced in the area. The Nasrids supplied troops from the Emirate and mercenaries from North Africa for service to Castile. Ibn Battuta, a famous traveller and an authentic historian, visited the Kingdom of Granada in 1350, he described it as a powerful and self-sufficient kingdom in its own right, although embroiled in skirmishes with the Kingdom of Castile. In his journal, Ibn Battuta called Granada the “metropolis of Andalusia and the bride of its cities.”During the Moor rule, Granada was a city with adherents to many religions and ethnicities who lived in separate quarters. During this Nasrid period there were 137 Muslim mosques in the Medina of Granada.
On January 2, 1492, the last Muslim ruler in Iberia
Filippo Maria Visconti
Filippo Maria Visconti was the duke of Milan from 1412 to 1447. Filippo Maria Visconti, who had become nominal ruler of Pavia in 1402, succeeded his assassinated brother Gian Maria Visconti as Duke of Milan in 1412, they were the sons of Gian Galeazzo Visconti, Gian Maria's predecessor, by his second wife, Caterina Visconti. From Filippo's marriage to Beatrice Lascaris di Tenda, Countess of Biandrate and the unhappy widow of Facino Cane—the condottiere who had fomented strife between the factions of Filippo's elder brother and his mother, Caterina Visconti, the regent—Filippo Maria received a dowry of nearly half a million florins. Cruel and sensitive about his personal ugliness, he was a great politician, by employing such powerful condottieri as Carmagnola, Piccinino—who unsuccessfully led his troops at the Battle of Anghiari, 1440— and Francesco Sforza, he managed to recover the Lombard portion of his father's duchy. At the death of Giorgio Ordelaffi, lord of Forlì, he took advantage of his guardianship of the boy heir, Tebaldo Ordelaffi, to attempt conquests in Romagna, provoking war with Florence, which could not permit his ambitions to go uncontested.
Venice, urged on by Francesco Bussone da Carmagnola, decided to intervene on the side of Florence and the war spread to Lombardy. In March 1426 Carmagnola fomented riots in Brescia, which he had conquered for Visconti just five years previously. After a long campaign, Venice conquered Brescia, extending its mainland possessions to the eastern shores of Lake Garda. Filippo Maria unsuccessfully sought imperial aid but was constrained to accept the peace proposed by Pope Martin V, favoring Venice and Carmagnola; the terms were grudgingly accepted by the emperor. The following year the duke married his second wife Marie of Savoy, Duchess of Milan, daughter of Duke Amadeus VIII of Savoy, a potent ally. With Visconti's support, Amadeus reigned as antipope Felix V from November 1439 to April 1449, he invited the famous scholar Gasparino Barzizza to establish a school at Milan. Barzizza served as his court orator, he died in 1447, the last of the Visconti in direct male line, he was succeeded in the duchy, after the short-lived Ambrosian republic, by Francesco Sforza, who had married in 1441 Filippo Maria's only heir, his natural daughter Bianca Maria by his mistress Agnese del Maino.
The oldest extant Tarot decks called carte da trionfi, were commissioned by Filippo Maria Visconti. Montechino Castle Wars in Lombardy Vincenzo Bellini's 1833 opera Beatrice di Tenda Marina, Areli. "The Langobard Revival of Matteo il Magno Visconti, Lord of Milan". I Tatti Studies in the Italian Renaissance. University of Chicago Press. Vol. 16, No. 1/2 September. Wilkins, David G.. The Search for a Patron in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. E. Mellen Press; this article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed.. "Visconti". Encyclopædia Britannica. 28. Cambridge University Press. P. 129
A Turkish bath is a place of public bathing associated with the culture of the Ottoman Empire and more the Islamic world. A variation on it as a method of cleansing and relaxation became popular during the Victorian era, spread through the British Empire and Western Europe; the buildings are similar to the thermae. Unlike Russian saunas, which use ambient steam, Turkish baths focus on water; the process is similar to that of a sauna, but is more related to ancient Greek and ancient Roman bathing practices. It starts with relaxation in a room heated by a continuous flow of hot, dry air, allowing the bather to perspire freely. Bathers may move to an hotter room before they wash in cold water. After performing a full body wash and receiving a massage, bathers retire to the cooling-room for a period of relaxation; the difference between the Islamic hammam and the Victorian Turkish bath is the air. The hot air in the Victorian Turkish bath is dry; the bather in a Victorian Turkish bath will take a plunge in a cold pool after the hot rooms.
In the Islamic hammams the bathers splash themselves with cold water. The Victorian Turkish bath was described by Johann Ludwig Wilhelm Thudichum in a lecture to the Royal Society of Medicine given in 1861, one year after the first such bath was opened in London: The discovery, lost and has been found again, is this, in the fewest possible words: The application of hot air to the human body, it is not vapoury air. It is an immersion of the whole body in hot common air. One of the Five Pillars of Islam is prayer, it is customary before praying to perform ablutions. The two Islamic forms of ablution are ghusl, a full-body cleansing, wudu, a cleansing of the face and feet. In the absence of water, cleansing with pure soil or sand is permissible. Mosques always provide a place to wash, but hammams are located nearby for those who wish to perform deeper cleansing. Hammams in Morocco, evolved from their Roman roots to adapt to the needs of ritual purification according to Islam. For example, in most Roman-style hammams, one finds a cold pool for full submersion of the body.
The style of bathing is less preferable in the Islamic faith, which finds bathing under running water without being submerged more appropriate. Al-Ghazali, a prominent Muslim theologian writing in the 11th century, wrote Revival of the Religious Sciences, a multi-volume work on dissecting the proper forms of conduct for many aspects of Muslim life and death. One of the volumes, entitled The Mysteries of Purity, details the proper technique for performing ablutions before prayer and great ablutions after physical activities deemed unclean, such as sex or defecation. For al-Ghazali, the hammam is a male experience, he cautions that women are to enter the hammam only after childbirth or illness. Al-Gazali finds it admissible for men to prohibit their wives or sisters from using the hammam; the major point of contention surrounding hammams in al-Ghazali's estimation is nakedness. In his work he warns. "… he should shield it from the sight of others and second, guard against the touch of others." He focuses extensively in his writing on the avoidance of touching the penis during bathing and after urination.
He writes that nakedness is decent only when the area between the knees and the lower stomach of a man are hidden. For women, exposure of only the face and palms is appropriate. According to al-Gazali, the prevalence of nakedness in the hammam could incite indecent thoughts or behaviours and so it is a controversial space. Ritual ablution is required before or after sexual intercourse. Knowing that, May Telmissany, a professor at the University of Ottawa, argues that the image of a hyper-sexualised woman leaving the hammam is an Orientalist perspective that sees leaving or attending the hammam as a sign of pre-eminent sexual behaviour. Arab hammams are gendered spaces where being a woman or a man can make someone included or a representant of the "other" respectively. Therefore, they represent a special departure from the public sphere in which one is physically exposed amongst other women or men; this declaration of sexuality by being nude makes hammams a site of gendered expression. One exception to this gender segregation is the presence of young boys who accompany their mothers until they grow old enough to necessitate attending the male hammam with their fathers.
The separation from the women’s hammam and entrance to the male hammam occurs at the age of 5 or 6. As a female space, women's hammams play a special role in society. Valerie Staats finds that the women's hammams of Morocco serve as a social space where traditional and modern women from urban and rural areas of the country come together, regardless of their religiosity, to bathe and socialise. While al-Ghazali and other Islamic intellectuals may have stipulated certain regulations for bathing, the regulations, being outdated and fundamental, are not upheld in the everyday interactions of Moroccans in the hammam. Staats argues that hammams are places where women can feel more at ease than they feel in many other public interactions. In addition, in his work "Sexuality in Islam," Abdelwahab Bouhiba notes that some historians found evidence of hammams as spaces for sexual expression among women, which they believed was a result of the universality of nudity in these spaces. Arab hammams in general are not researched among Western scholars
A caliphate is an Islamic state under the leadership of an Islamic steward with the title of caliph, a person considered a religious successor to the Islamic prophet Muhammad and a leader of the entire ummah. The caliphates were polities based in Islam which developed into multi-ethnic trans-national empires. During the medieval period, three major caliphates succeeded each other: the Rashidun Caliphate, the Umayyad Caliphate and the Abbasid Caliphate. In the fourth major caliphate, the Ottoman Caliphate, the rulers of the Ottoman Empire claimed caliphal authority from 1517. During the history of Islam, a few other Muslim states all hereditary monarchies, have claimed to be caliphates. Prior to the rise of Muhammad and the unification of the tribes of Arabia under Islam, Arabs followed a pre-Islamic Arab polytheism, lived as self-governing sedentary and nomadic communities, raided their neighbouring tribes. Following the early Muslim conquests of the Arabian Peninsula, the region became unified and most of the tribes adopted Islam.
The first caliphate, the Rashidun Caliphate, was established after Muhammad's death in 632. The four Rashidun caliphs, who directly succeeded Muhammad as leaders of the Muslim community, were chosen through shura, a process of community consultation that some consider to be an early form of Islamic democracy; the fourth caliph, who, unlike the prior three, was from the same clan as Muhammad, is considered by Shia Muslims to be the first rightful caliph and Imam after Muhammad. Ali reigned during the First Fitna, a civil war between supporters of Ali and supporters of the assassinated previous caliph, from Banu Umayya, as well as rebels in Egypt; the second caliphate, the Umayyad Caliphate, was ruled by Banu Umayya, a Meccan clan descended from Umayya ibn Abd Shams. The caliphate continued the Arab conquests, incorporating the Caucasus, Sindh, the Maghreb and the Iberian Peninsula into the Muslim world; the caliphate had considerable acceptance of the Christians within its territory, necessitated by their large numbers in the region of Syria.
Following the Abbasid Revolution from 746–750, which arose from non-Arab Muslim disenfranchisement, the Abbasid Caliphate was established in 750. The third caliphate, the Abbasid Caliphate was ruled by the Abbasids, a dynasty of Meccan origin which descended from Hashim, a great-grandfather of Muhammad, making them part of Banu Hashim, via Abbas, an uncle of Muhammad, hence the name. Caliph al-Mansur founded its second capital of Baghdad in 762 which became a major scientific and art centre, as did the territory as a whole during a period known as the Islamic Golden Age. From the 10th century, Abbasid rule became confined to an area around Baghdad. From 945 to 1157, the Abbasid Caliphate came under Buyid and Seljuq military control. In 1250, a non-Arab army created by the Abbasids called. In 1258, the Mongol Empire sacked Baghdad, ending the Abbasid Caliphate, in 1261 the Mamluks in Egypt re-established the Abbasid Caliphate in Cairo. Though lacking in political power, the Abbasid dynasty continued to claim authority in religious matters until the Ottoman conquest of Mamluk Egypt in 1517.
The fourth major caliphate, the Ottoman Caliphate, was established after their conquest of Mamluk Egypt in 1517. The conquest gave the Ottomans control over the holy cities of Mecca and Medina controlled by the Mamluks; the Ottomans came to be viewed as the de facto leaders and representatives of the Muslim world. In the Indian subcontinent, dominant powers such as the Delhi Sultanate's Alauddin Khilji, Mughal Empire's sixth ruler Aurangzeb, Mysore's kings Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan have been heralded as few of the Indian caliphs existed, due to their establishments of Islamic laws throughout South Asia. Following their defeat in World War I, their empire was partitioned by the United Kingdom and French Third Republic, on 3 March 1924, the first President of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, as part of his reforms, constitutionally abolished the institution of the caliphate. A few other states that existed through history have called themselves caliphates, including the Isma'ili Fatimid Caliphate in Northeast Africa, the Umayyad Caliphate of Córdoba in Iberia, the Berber Almohad Caliphate in Morocco and the Fula Sokoto Caliphate in present-day northern Nigeria.
The Sunni branch of Islam stipulates that, as a head of state, a caliph may come to power in one of four ways: either through an election, through nomination, through a selection by a committee, or by force. Followers of Shia Islam, believe a caliph should be an Imam chosen by God from the Ahl al-Bayt. In the early 21st century, following the failure of the Arab Spring and defeat of the self-proclaimed "Islamic State", there has seen "a broad mainstream embrace of a collective Muslim identity" by young Muslims and the appeal of a caliphate as a "idealized future Muslim state" has grown stronger. Before the advent of Islam, Arabian monarchs traditionally used the title malik, or another from the same root; the term caliph, derives from the Arabic word khalīfah, which means "successor", "steward", or "deputy" and has traditionally been considered a shortening of Khalīfat Rasūl Allāh. However, studies of pre-Islamic texts suggest that the original meaning of the phr
Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa
The Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa, known in Arab history as the Battle of Al-Uqab, took place on 16 July 1212 and was an important turning point in the Reconquista and in the medieval history of Spain. The Christian forces of King Alfonso VIII of Castile were joined by the armies of his rivals, Sancho VII of Navarre, Peter II of Aragon and Afonso II of Portugal, in battle against the Almohad Muslim rulers of the southern half of the Iberian Peninsula; the Caliph al-Nasir led the Almohad army, made up of people from the whole Almohad empire. Most of the men in the Almohad army came from the African side of the empire. In 1195, Alfonso VIII of Castile was defeated by the Almohads in the so-called Disaster of Alarcos. After this victory the Almohads took several important cities: Trujillo, Talavera and Uclés. In 1211, Muhammad al-Nasir crossed the Strait of Gibraltar with a powerful army, invaded Christian territory, captured Salvatierra Castle, the stronghold of the knights of the Order of Calatrava.
The threat to the Hispanic Christian kingdoms was so great that Pope Innocent III called European knights to a crusade. There were some disagreements among the members of the Christian coalition: French and other European knights did not agree with Alfonso's merciful treatment of Jews and Muslims who were defeated in the conquest of Malagón and Calatrava la Vieja, they had caused problems in Toledo, with assaults and murders in the Jewish Quarter. Alfonso crossed the mountain range that defended the Almohad camp, sneaking through the Despeñaperros Pass, being led by Martin Alhaja, a local shepherd who knew the area; the Christian coalition caught the Moorish army at camp by surprise, Alhaja was granted the hereditary title Cabeza de Vaca for his assistance to Alfonso VIII. According to legend, the Caliph had his tent surrounded with a bodyguard of slave-warriors who were chained together as a defense; the Navarrese force led by their king. The Caliph escaped; the victorious Christians seized several prizes of war: Miramamolín's tent and standard were delivered to Pope Innocent III.
Christian losses were far fewer. The losses were heavy among the Orders; those killed included Pedro Gómez de Acevedo, Alvaro Fernández de Valladares, Pedro Arias and Gomes Ramires. Ruy Díaz was so grievously wounded; the Caliph Muhammad al-Nasir himself died in Marrakech shortly after the battle, where he had fled after the defeat. The crushing defeat of the Almohads hastened their decline both in the Iberian Peninsula and in the Maghreb a decade later; that gave further impulse to the Christian Reconquest and reduced the declining power of the Moors in Iberia. Shortly after the battle, the Castilians took Baeza and Úbeda, major fortified cities near the battlefield and gateways to invade Andalusia. According to Letter from Alfonso VIII of Castile to Pope Innocent III, Baeza was evacuated and its people moved to Úbeda, here the king laid siege and put to death 60,000 muslims and enslaved many more. According to the latin chronicle of kings of Castile the number given is 100,000 Saracens, including children and women, were captured.
Thereafter, Alfonso VIII's grandson Ferdinand III of Castile took Cordova in 1236, Jaén in 1246, Seville in 1248. In 1252, Ferdinand was preparing his army for invasion of the Almohad lands in Africa, but he died in Seville on 30 May 1252, during an outbreak of plague in southern Hispania. Only Ferdinand's death prevented the Castilians from taking the war to the Almohad on the Mediterranean coast, James I of Aragon conquered the Balearic Islands and Valencia. By 1252 the Almohad empire was finished, at the mercy of another emerging African power. In 1269 a new association of African tribes, the Marinids, took control of the Maghreb, most of the former Almohad empire was under their rule; the Marinids tried to recover the former Almohad territories in Iberia, but they were definitively defeated by Alfonso XI of Castile and Afonso IV of Portugal in the Battle of Río Salado, the last major military encounter between large Christian and Muslim armies in Hispania. In 1292 Sancho IV took Tarifa, key to the control of the Strait of Gibraltar.
Granada, Almería, Málaga were the only major Muslim cities of the time remaining in the Iberian peninsula. These three cities were the core of the Emirate of Granada, ruled by the Nasrid dynasty. Granada was a vassal state of Castile, until taken by the Catholic Monarchs in 1492. Harry Harrison's 1972 alternate history/science fiction novel Tunnel Through the Deeps depicts a history where the Moors won at Las Navas de Tolosa and retained part of Spain into the 20th century. Alvira Cabrer, Martín, Las Navas de Tolosa, 1212: idea, liturgia y memoria de la batalla, Sílex Ediciones, Madrid 2012. García Fitz, Las Navas de Tolosa, Barcelona 2005. García Fitz, Was Las Navas a decisive battle?, in: Journal of Medieval Iberian Studies, vol. 4, no. 1, 5–9. Nafziger, George F. and Mark W. Walton, Is
Caliphate of Córdoba
The Caliphate of Córdoba was a state in Islamic Iberia along with a part of North Africa ruled by the Umayyad dynasty. The state, with the capital in Córdoba, existed from 929 to 1031; the region was dominated by the Umayyad Emirate of Córdoba. The period was characterized by an expansion of trade and culture, saw the construction of masterpieces of al-Andalus architecture. In January 929, Abd ar-Rahman III proclaimed himself Caliph of Córdoba, replacing thus his original title of Emir of Córdoba, he was a member of the Umayyad dynasty, which had held the title of Emir of Córdoba since 756. The caliphate disintegrated during the Fitna of al-Andalus, a civil war between the descendants of the last caliph, Hisham II, the successors of his hayib, Al-Mansur. In 1031, after years of infighting, the caliphate fractured into a number of independent Muslim taifa. Abd ar-Rahman I became Emir of Córdoba in 756 after six years in exile after the Umayyads lost the position of Caliph in Damascus to the Abbasids in 750.
Intent on regaining power, he defeated the area's existing Islamic rulers and united various local fiefdoms into an emirate. Raids increased the emirate's size; the emirate's rulers used the title "emir" or "sultan" until the 10th century. In the early 10th century, Abd ar-Rahman III faced a threatened invasion from North Africa by the Fatimids, a Shiite rival Islamic empire based in Cairo. Since the invading Fatimids claimed the caliphate, Abd ar-Rahman III claimed the title of caliph himself. Prior to Abd ar-Rahman's proclamation as the caliph, the Umayyads recognized the Abbasid Caliph of Baghdad as being the rightful rulers of the Muslim community. After repulsing the Fatimids, he kept the more prestigious title. Although his position as caliph was not accepted outside of al-Andalus and its North African affiliates, internally the Spanish Umayyads considered themselves as closer to Muhammad, thus more legitimate, than the Abbasids; the caliphate enjoyed increased prosperity during the 10th century.
Abd ar-Rahman III united al-Andalus and brought the Christian kingdoms of the north under control by force and through diplomacy. Abd ar-Rahman III stopped the Fatimid advance into Morocco and al-Andalus in order to prevent a future invasion; the plan for a Fatimid invasion was thwarted when Abd ar-Rahman III secured Melilla in 927, Ceuta in 931, Tangier in 951. This period of prosperity was marked by increasing diplomatic relations with Berber tribes in North Africa, Christian kings from the north, with France and Constantinople; the caliphate became profitable during the reign of Abd ar-Rahman III, by increasing the public revenue to 6,245,000 dinars from Abd ar-Rahman II. The profits made during this time were divided into three parts: the payment of the salaries and maintenance of the army, the preservation of public buildings, the needs of the caliph; the death of Abd ar-Rahman III led to the rise of his 46-year-old son, Al-Hakam II, in 961. Al-Hakam II continued his father's policy, dealing humanely with disruptive Christian kings and North African rebels.
Al-Hakam's reliance on his advisers was greater than his father's because the previous prosperity under Abd ar-Rahman III allowed al-Hakam II to let the caliphate run by itself. This style of rulership suited al-Hakam II since he was more interested in his scholarly and intellectual pursuits than ruling the caliphate; the caliphate was at its intellectual and scholarly peak under al-Hakam II. The death of al-Hakam II in 976 marked the beginning of the end of the caliphate. Before his death, al-Hakam named his only son Hisham II successor. Although the 10-year-old child was ill-equipped to be caliph, Al-Mansur Ibn Abi Aamir, who had sworn an oath of obedience to Hisham II, pronounced him caliph. Almanzor had great influence over Subh, the mother and regent of Hisham II. Almanzor, along with Subh, isolated Hisham in Córdoba while systematically eradicating opposition to his own rule, allowing Berbers from Africa to migrate to al-Andalus to increase his base of support. While Hisham II was caliph, he was a figurehead.
He, his son Abd al-Malik and his brother retained the power nominally held by Caliph Hisham. However, during a raid on the Christian north a revolt tore through Córdoba and Abd al-Rahman never returned; the title of caliph became symbolic, without influence. The death of Abd al-Rahman Sanchuelo in 1009 marked the beginning of the Fitna of al-Andalus, with rivals claiming to be the new caliph, violence sweeping the caliphate, intermittent invasions by the Hammudid dynasty. Beset by factionalism, the caliphate crumbled in 1031 into a number of independent taifas, including the Taifa of Córdoba, Taifa of Seville and Taifa of Zaragoza; the last Córdoban Caliph was Hisham III. Córdoba was the cultural centre of al-Andalus. Mosques, such as the Great Mosque, were the focus of many caliphs' attention; the caliph's palace, Medina Azahara is on the outskirts of the city, where an estimated 10,000 laborers and artisans worked for decades on the palace, constructing the decorated buildings and courtyards filled with fountains and airy domes.
Córdoba was the intellectual centre of al-Andalus, with translations of ancient Greek texts into Arabic and Hebrew. During the reign of al-Hakam II, the royal library possessed an estimated 500,000 volumes. For comparison, the Abbey of Saint Gall in Switzerland contained just over 100 volumes; the university in Córdoba became the most celebrated in the world. It was attended by Christian st
The Zirid dynasty was a Sanhaja Berber dynasty from modern-day Algeria which ruled the central Maghreb from 972 to 1014 and Ifriqiya from 972 to 1148. Descendants of Ziri ibn Menad, a military leader of the Cairo-based Fatimid Caliphate and the eponymous founder of the dynasty, the Zirids were Emirs who ruled in the name of the Fatimids; the Zirids established their autonomy in Ifriqiya through military conquest until breaking with the Fatimids in the mid-11th century. The rule of the Zirid emirs opened the way to a period in North African history where political power was held by Berber dynasties such as the Almoravid dynasty, Almohad Caliphate, Zayyanid dynasty, Marinid dynasty and Hafsid dynasty. Continuing their conquests to Fez and much of modern-day Morocco in 980, the Zirids encountered resistance from the local Zenata Berbers, who gave their allegiance to the Caliphate of Cordoba. Various Zirid branches did however rule the central Maghreb; this branch of the Zirids, at the beginning of the 11th century, following various family disputes, broke away as the Hammadids and took control of the territories of the central Maghreb.
The Zirids proper were designated as Badicides and occupied only Ifriqiyah between 1048 and 1148. Part of the dynasty fled to al-Andalus and founded, in 1019, the Taifa of Granada on the ruins of the Caliphate of Cordoba; the Zirids of Granada were again defeated by the expansion of the Almoravids, who annexed their kingdom in 1090, while the Badicides and the Hammadids remained independent. Following the recognition of the Sunni Muslim Abbasid Caliphate and the assertion of Ifriqiya and the Central Maghreb as independent kingdoms of Sunni obedience in 1048, the Fatimids masterminded the migration of the Hilalians to the Maghreb. In the 12th century, the Hilalian invasions combined with the attacks of the Normans of Sicily on the littoral weakened Zirid power; the Almohad caliphate conquered the central Maghreb and Ifriqiya in 1152, thus unifying the whole of the Maghreb and ending the Zirid dynasties. The Zirids were Sanhaja Berbers originating from the area of modern Algeria. In the 10th century this tribe served as vassals of the Fatimid Caliphate, defeating the Kharijite rebellion of Abu Yazid, under Ziri ibn Manad.
Ziri was installed as the governor of central Maghreb and founded the gubernatorial residence of Ashir south-east of Algiers, with Fatimid support. When the Fatimids moved their capital to Egypt in 972, Ziri's son Buluggin ibn Ziri was appointed viceroy of Ifriqiya; the removal of the fleet to Egypt made the retention of Kalbid Sicily impossible, while Algeria broke away under the governorship of Hammad ibn Buluggin, Buluggin's son. The relationship with their Fatimid overlords varied - in 1016 thousands of Shiites lost their lives in rebellions in Ifriqiya, the Fatimids encouraged the defection of Tripolitania from the Zirids, but the relationship remained close. In 1049 the Zirids broke away by adopting Sunni Islam and recognizing the Abbasids of Baghdad as rightful Caliphs, a move, popular with the urban Arabs of Kairouan; the Zirid period of Tunisia is considered a high point in its history, with agriculture, industry and learning, both religious and secular, all flourishing in their capital, Kairouan.
Management of the area by Zirid rulers was neglectful as the agricultural economy declined, prompting an increase in banditry among the rural population. When the Zirids renounced Shia Islam and recognized the Abbasid Caliphate in 1048, the Fatimids sent the Arab tribes of the Banu Hilal and the Banu Sulaym to Ifriqiya; the Zirids were defeated, the land laid waste by the Bedouin conquerors. The resulting anarchy devastated the flourishing agriculture, the coastal towns assumed a new importance as conduits for maritime trade and bases for piracy against Christian shipping, as well as being the last holdout of the Zirids. After the loss of Kairouan the rule of the Zirids was limited to a coastal strip with Mahdia as the capital, while several Bedouin Emirates formed inland. Between 1146 and 1148 the Normans of Sicily conquered all the coastal towns, in 1152 the last Zirids in Algeria were superseded by the Almohad Caliphate; the Zirid period is a time of great economic prosperity. The departure of the Fatimids to Cairo, far from ending this prosperity, saw its amplification under the Zirid and Hammadid rulers.
Referring to the government of the Zirid Emir al-Mu'izz, the historian Ibn Khaldun describes: "It never seen by the Berbers of that country a kingdom more vast and more flourishing than his own." The northern regions produced wheat in large quantities, while the region of Sfax was a major hub of olive production and the cultivation of the date is an important part of the local economy in Biskra. Other crops such as sugar cane, cotton, sorghum and chickpea are grown; the breeding of horses and sheep was flourishing and fishing was active, providing plentiful food. The Mediterranean is an important part of the economy though it was, for a time, abandoned after the departure of the Fatimids when the priority of the Zirid Emirs turned to territorial and internal conflicts, their maritime policy enabled them to establish trade links, in particular for the importation of timber necessary for their fleet, enabled them to begin an alliance and close ties with the Kalbid Emirs of Sicily. They did, face blockade attempts by the Venetians and Normans who sought to reduce their wood supply and thus their dominance in the region.
The Arab chronicler Ibn Hawqal visited and described the city of Algiers under the Zirid er