The Rashidun Caliphate was the first of the four major caliphates established after the death of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. It was ruled by the first four successive caliphs of Muhammad after his death in 632 CE; these caliphs are collectively known in Sunni Islam as the Rashidun. This term is not used in Shia Islam as Shia Muslims do not consider the rule of the first three caliphs as legitimate; the Rashidun Caliphate is characterized by a twenty-five year period of rapid military expansion, followed by a five-year period of internal strife. The Rashidun Army at its peak numbered more than 100,000 men. By the 650s, the caliphate in addition to the Arabian Peninsula had subjugated the Levant, to the Transcaucasus in the north; the caliphate arose out of the death of Muhammad in 632 CE and the subsequent debate over the succession to his leadership. Abu Bakr, a close companion of Muhammad from the Banu Taym clan, was elected the first Rashidun leader and began the conquest of the Arabian Peninsula.
He ruled from 632 to his death in 634. Abu Bakr was succeeded by Umar, his appointed successor from the Banu Adi clan, who began the conquest of Persia from 642 to 651, leading to the defeat of the Sassanid Empire. Umar was assassinated in 644 and was succeeded by Uthman, elected by a six-person committee arranged by Umar. Under Uthman began the conquest of Armenia and Khorasan. Uthman was assassinated in 656 and succeeded by Ali, who presided over the civil war known as the First Fitna; the war was between those who supported Uthman's cousin and governor of the Levant and those who supported the caliph Ali. The civil war permanently consolidated the divide between Sunni and Shia Muslims, with Shia Muslims believing Ali to be the first rightful caliph and Imam after Muhammad. A third faction in the war supported the governor of Egypt; the war was decided in favour of the faction of Muawiyah, who established the Umayyad Caliphate in 661. After Muhammad's death in 632 CE, his Medinan companions debated which of them should succeed him in running the affairs of the Muslims while Muhammad's household was busy with his burial.
Umar and Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah pledged their loyalty to Abu Bakr, with the Ansar and the Quraysh soon following suit. Abu Bakr thus became the first Khalīfaṫu Rasūli l-Lāh, or Caliph, embarked on campaigns to propagate Islam. First he would have to subdue the Arabian tribes which had claimed that although they pledged allegiance to Muhammad and accepted Islam, they owed nothing to Abu Bakr; as a caliph, Abu Bakr never claimed such a title. Rather, their election and leadership were based upon merit. Notably, according to Sunnis, all four Rashidun Caliphs were connected to Muhammad through marriage, were early converts to Islam, were among ten who were explicitly promised paradise, were his closest companions by association and support and were highly praised by Muhammad and delegated roles of leadership within the nascent Muslim community. According to Sunni Muslims, the term Rashidun Caliphate is derived from a famous hadith of Muhammad, where he foretold that the caliphate after him would last for 30 years and would be followed by kingship.
Furthermore, according to other hadiths in Sunan Abu Dawood and Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, towards the end times, the Rightly Guided Caliphate will be restored once again by God. Shortly before his death, Muhammad called all the Muslims who had accompanied him on the final Hajj to gather around at a place known as Ghadir Khumm. Muhammad gave a long sermon; the Muslims responded, "Allah and His messenger." Muhammad said: Behold! Whosoever I am his master, this Ali is his master. O Allah! Stay firm in supporting those who stay firm in following him, be hostile to those who are hostile to him, help those who help him, forsake those who forsake him. O people! This Ali is my brother, the executor of my, the container of my knowledge, my successor over my nation, over the interpretation the Book of Allah, the mighty and the majestic, the true inviter to its, he is the one who acts according to what pleases Him, fights His enemies, causes to adhere to His obedience, advises against His disobedience. He is the successor of the Messenger of Allah, the commander of the believers, the guiding Imam, the killer of the oath breakers, the transgressors, the apostates.
I speak by the authority of Allah. The word with me shall not be changed; this event has been narrated by both Shia and Sunni sources. Further, after the sermon, Abu Bakr and Uthman are all said to have given their allegiance to Ali, a fact, reported by both Shia and Sunni sources. In Medina, after the Farewell Pilgrimage and the event of Ghadir Khumm, Muhammad ordered an army to be mustered under the command of Usama bin Zayd, he commanded all the companions, except for his family, to go with Usama to Syria to avenge the Muslims’ defeat at the Battle of Mu'tah. Muhammad gave Usama the banner of Islam on the 18th day of the Islamic month of Safar in the year 11 A. H. Abu Bakr and Umar were among those. However, Abu Bakr and Umar resisted going under the command of Usama because they thought that he
The Nasrid dynasty was the last Muslim dynasty in the Iberian Peninsula, ruling the Emirate of Granada from 1230 until 1492. The Nasrid dynasty rose to power after the defeat of the Almohad Caliphate in 1212 at the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa. Twenty-three emirs ruled Granada from the founding of the dynasty in 1230 by Muhammad I until 2 January 1492, when Muhammad XII surrendered all lands to King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabella I of Castille. Today, the most visible evidence of the Nasrid dynasty is the Alhambra palace complex built under their rule; the Nasrid dynasty was descended from the Arab Banu Khazraj tribe, claimed direct male-line descent from Sa'd ibn Ubadah, the chief of the tribe and one of the companions of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. The nasab of Yusuf. During the time the Christians were launching a campaign against the Emirate of Granada that would end the Nasrid dynasty, the Nasrids were engaged in a civil war over the throne of Granada; when Abu l-Hasan Ali, Sultan of Granada, was ousted by his son Muhammad XII, Abu l-Hasan Ali retreated to Málaga and civil war broke out between the competing factions.
Christians took full advantage of continued capturing Muslim strongholds. Muhammed XII was caught by Christian forces in 1483 at Córdoba, he was freed after he swore an oath of allegiance to Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile. Abu l-Hasan Ali abdicated in favor of his brother Muhammad XIII, Sultan of Granada, known as Al-Zaghal, a power struggle with Muhammad XII continued. Al-Zaghal was forced to surrender to the Christians. Muhammad XII was given a lordship in the Alpujarras mountains but instead took financial compensation from the Spanish crown to leave the Iberian Peninsula; the Nasrid dynasty was the longest ruling Muslim dynasty in the Iberian Peninsula, reigning for more than 250 years from the establishment of the Emirate of Granada in 1230 to its annexation in 1492. The Nasrids constructed the Alhambra palace-fortress complex in Granada; the family tree below shows the genealogical relationship between each sultan of the Nasrid dynasty. It starts with Yusuf al-Ahmar. Daughters are omitted.
During times of rival claims to the throne, the family tree recognizes the sultan who controlled the city of Granada itself and the Alhambra palace. First dynasty: Muhammad I ibn Nasr Muhammed II al-Faqih Muhammed III Nasr Second dynasty: Ismail I Muhammed IV Yusuf I Muhammed V Ismail II Muhammed VI Yusuf II Muhammed VII Yusuf III Muhammed VIII Muhammed IX Yusuf IV Yusuf V Muhammed X Muhammed XI Sa'ad Abu l-Hasan Ali, known as Muley Hacén Abu ‘Abd Allah Muhammed XII, known as Boabdil Abū ‘Abd Allāh Muhammed XIII, known as El Zagal Al-Andalus Alhambra Romance of Abenamar Taifa of Granada Fernández Puertas, Antonio; the Alhambra. Vol 1. From the Ninth Century to Yusuf I. Saqi Books. ISBN 0-86356-466-6. Fernández Puertas, Antonio; the Alhambra. Vol. 2.. Saqi Books. ISBN 0-86356-467-4. Harvey, Leonard Patrick. Islamic Spain 1250 to 1500. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-31962-8. Watt, W. Montgomery. A History of Islamic Spain. Edinburgh University Press. ISBN 0-7486-0847-8. Arié, Rachel. L’Espagne musulmane au Temps des Nasrides.
De Boccard. ISBN 2-7018-0052-8. Bueno, Francisco. Los Reyes de la Alhambra. Entre la historia y la leyenda. Miguel Sánchez. ISBN 84-7169-082-9. Cortés Peña, Antonio Luis. Historia de Granada. 4 vols. Editorial Don Quijote. Miranda, Ambroxio Huici. "The Iberian Peninsula and Sicily". In Holt, P. M. S.. The Cambridge History of Islam. Vol. 2A. Cambridge University Press. Fernández-Puertas, Antonio. "The Three Great Sultans of al-Dawla al-Ismā'īliyya al-Naṣriyya Who Built the Fourteenth-Century Alhambra: Ismā'īl I, Yūsuf I, Muḥammad V". Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society. Third Series. Vol. 7
The Banu Hud were an Arab dynasty that ruled the taifa of Zaragoza from 1039-1110. In 1039, under the leadership of Al-Mustain I, Sulayman ibn Hud al-Judhami, the Bani Hud seized control of Zaragoza from a rival clan, the Banu Tujibi, his heirs Ahmad I al-Muqtadir, Yusuf al-Mutamin, Al-Mustain II, Ahmad ibn Yusuf, were patrons of culture and the arts. The Aljafería, the royal residence erected by Ahmad I, is the only palace from that period to have survived in its entirety. Despite their independence, the Banu Hud were forced to recognize the superiority of the kingdom of Castile and pay parias to it as early as 1055. In 1086, they led the smaller kingdoms in their resistance to the Almoravids, who did not succeed in conquering Zaragoza until May 1110; the conquest represented the end of the dynasty. The last of the Banu Hud, Imad al-Dawl Abd al-Malik Al Hud, the last king of Zaragoza, forced to abandon his capital, allied himself with the Christian kingdom of Aragon under Alfonso the Battler, who in 1118 reconquered the city for the Christians and made it the capital of Aragon.
The last king's son, had some territorial authority before being killed by Christians during a battle. Taifa of Zaragoza Taifa of Seville Taifa of Cordoba The Reconquista List of Muslim rulers
Sunni Islam is the largest denomination of Islam, followed by nearly 90% of the world's Muslims. Its name comes from the word sunnah; the differences between Sunni and Shia Muslims arose from a disagreement over the succession to Muhammad and subsequently acquired broader political significance, as well as theological and juridical dimensions. According to Sunni traditions, Muhammad did not designate a successor and the Muslim community acted according to his sunnah in electing his father-in-law Abu Bakr as the first caliph; this contrasts with the Shia view, which holds that Muhammad announced at the event of Ghadir Khumm his son-in-law and cousin Ali ibn Abi Talib as his successor. Political tensions between Sunnis and Shias continued with varying intensity throughout Islamic history and they have been exacerbated in recent times by ethnic conflicts and the rise of Wahhabism; as of 2009, Sunni Muslims constituted 87–90% of the world's Muslim population. Sunni Islam is the world's largest religious denomination, followed by Catholicism.
Its adherents are referred to in Arabic as ahl as-sunnah wa ahl as-sunnah for short. In English, its doctrines and practices are sometimes called Sunnism, while adherents are known as Sunni Muslims, Sunnis and Ahlus Sunnah. Sunni Islam is sometimes referred to as "orthodox Islam". However, other scholars of Islam, such as John Burton believe that there is no such thing as "orthodox Islam"; the Quran, together with hadith and binding juristic consensus form the basis of all traditional jurisprudence within Sunni Islam. Sharia rulings are derived from these basic sources, in conjunction with analogical reasoning, consideration of public welfare and juristic discretion, using the principles of jurisprudence developed by the traditional legal schools. In matters of creed, the Sunni tradition upholds the six pillars of iman and comprises the Ash'ari and Maturidi schools of rationalistic theology as well as the textualist school known as traditionalist theology. Sunnī commonly referred to as Sunnīism, is a term derived from sunnah meaning "habit", "usual practice", "custom", "tradition".
The Muslim use of this term refers to living habits of the prophet Muhammad. In Arabic, this branch of Islam is referred to as ahl as-sunnah wa l-jamāʻah, "the people of the sunnah and the community", shortened to ahl as-sunnah. One common mistake is to assume that Sunni Islam represents a normative Islam that emerged during the period after Muhammad's death, that Sufism and Shi'ism developed out of Sunni Islam; this perception is due to the reliance on ideological sources that have been accepted as reliable historical works, because the vast majority of the population is Sunni. Both Sunnism and Shiaism are the end products of several centuries of competition between ideologies. Both sects used each other to further cement their own doctrines; the first four caliphs are known among Sunnis as the Rashidun or "Rightly-Guided Ones". Sunni recognition includes the aforementioned Abu Bakr as the first, Umar as the second, Uthman as the third, Ali as the fourth. Sunnis recognised different rulers as the caliph, though they did not include anyone in the list of the rightly guided ones or Rashidun after the murder of Ali, until the caliphate was constitutionally abolished in Turkey on 3 March 1924.
The seeds of metamorphosis of caliphate into kingship were sown, as the second caliph Umar had feared, as early as the regime of the third caliph Uthman, who appointed many of his kinsmen from his clan Banu Umayya, including Marwan and Walid bin Uqba on important government positions, becoming the main cause of turmoil resulting in his murder and the ensuing infighting during Ali's time and rebellion by Muawiya, another of Uthman's kinsman. This resulted in the establishment of firm dynastic rule of Banu Umayya after Husain, the younger son of Ali from Fatima, was killed at the Battle of Karbala; the rise to power of Banu Umayya, the Meccan tribe of elites who had vehemently opposed Muhammad under the leadership of Abu Sufyan, Muawiya's father, right up to the conquest of Mecca by Muhammad, as his successors with the accession of Uthman to caliphate, replaced the egalitarian society formed as a result of Muhammad's revolution to a society stratified between haves and have-nots as a result of nepotism, in the words of El-Hibri through "the use of religious charity revenues to subsidise family interests, which Uthman justified as "al-sila"."
Ali, during his rather brief regime after Uthman maintained austere life style and tried hard to bring back the egalitarian system and supremacy of law over the ruler idealised in Muhammad's message, but faced continued opposition, wars one after another by Aisha-Talhah-Zubair, by Muawiya and by the Kharjites. After he was murdered his followers elected Hasan ibn Ali his elder son from Fatima to succeed him. Hasan, shortly afterwards signed a treaty with Muawiaya relinquishing power in favour of the latter, with a condition inter alia, that one of the two who will outlive the other will be the caliph, that this caliph will not appoint a successor but will leave the matter of selection of the caliph to the public. Subsequently, Hasan was poisoned to death and Muawiya enjoyed unchallenged power. Not honouring his treaty with Hasan he however nominated his son Yazid to succeed him. Upon Muawiya's death, Yazid asked Husain the younger brother of Hasan, Ali's son and Muh
The Numayrids were an Arab dynasty based in Diyar Mudar. They were emirs of the Banu Numayr; the senior branch of the dynasty, founded by Waththab ibn Sabiq in 990, ruled the Euphrates cities of Harran and Raqqa more or less continuously until the late 11th century. In the early part of Waththab's reign, the Numayrids controlled Edessa until the Byzantines conquered it in the early 1030s. In 1062, the Numayrids lost Raqqa to their distant kinsmen and erstwhile allies, the Mirdasids, while by 1081, their capital Harran and nearby Saruj were conquered by the Turkish Seljuks and their Arab Uqaylid allies. Numayrid emirs continued to hold isolated fortresses in Upper Mesopotamia, such as Qal'at an-Najm and Sinn Ibn Utayr near Samosata until the early 12th century, but nothing is heard of them after 1120; as Bedouin, most Numayrid emirs avoided settled life in the cities. An exception to this situation was Emir Mani' ibn Shabib, under whose reign the Numayrids reached their territorial peak. Mani' resided in Harran itself, transforming its Sabian temple into an ornate, fortified palace.
The Numayrids were Shia Muslims and recognized the religious sovereignty of the Sunni Muslim Abbasid Caliphate, at least nominally, but switched allegiance to the Shia Fatimid Caliphate after the latter extended its influence into northern Syria in 1037. By 1060, they reverted to Abbasid suzerainty; the Numayrids ruled the Diyar Mudar region, controlling the lands between Harran and Raqqa more or less continuously between 990 and 1081. For much of this time, they were bordered to the south and west by the Aleppo-based Mirdasid Emirate, to the east by the Mosul-based Uqaylid Emirate, to the north by the Mayyafariqin-based Marwanid Emirate and to the northwest by the Byzantine Empire; the Numayrids and Uqaylids were Arab dynasties and the Marwanids were Kurds. All were independent, petty dynasties that emerged in northern Syria and Upper Mesopotamia in the late 10th–early 11th centuries due to the inability of the great regional powers i.e. the Baghdad-based Abbasid Caliphate, the Cairo-based Fatimid Caliphate and the Byzantines, to control or annex these regions.
At different times, the Numayrids formed loose alliances with all three powers. The Numayrid emirs belonged to the dynasty's namesake; the Banu Numayr were a branch of the Banu'Amir ibn Sa'sa' tribe and therefore of Qaysi, or north Arabian, lineage. The name "Numayr" is associated with nimr, the Arabic word for "leopard". Unlike most of the children of'Amir ibn Sa'sa' who became progenitors of large branches of the tribe, Numayr was thought to have had a different maternal lineage and did not enter into any tribal alliances. For much of their history, the Banu Numayr were an impoverished, nomadic group that engaged in brigandage, they did not enter the historical record until the Umayyad era when they dominated the western hills of al-Yamamah in central Arabia. As a consequence of their brigandage, the Banu Numayr were dispersed in an expedition by the Abbasid general Bugha al-Kabir in 846, but recuperated in decades. Medieval chronicler Ibn al-Adim holds that the Banu Numayr migrated to Upper Mesopotamia from al-Yamamah in 921, while historian Clifford Edmund Bosworth puts their arrival as sometime between 940 and 955.
This corresponded with the second major, post-Islamic migration of Arab tribes to Syria and Mesopotamia, this time in association with the Qarmatian movement. Like the Banu Numayr, many of the tribes that formed part of the Qarmatian army were branches of the Banu'Amir from Arabia, including the Banu Kilab, Banu Khafaja, Banu Uqayl and Banu Qushayr; these Bedouin groups uprooted the pre-established, sedentary Arab tribesmen of Upper Mesopotamia, rendered the roads unsafe for travel and damaged crop cultivation. According to 10th-century chronicler Ibn Hawqal... the Banu Numayr... expelled them from some of their lands, indeed most of them, while appropriating some places and regions... They decide over their protection money. In 942, Banu Numayr tribesmen served as auxiliary troops for an Abbasid governor in Upper Mesopotamia. Six years they were employed in the same fashion by Sayf ad-Dawla, the Hamdanid emir of Aleppo, against incursions by the Ikhshidid leader Abu al-Misk Kafur. Not long after, Sayf attempted to check the Bedouin tribes, whose growing strength came at the expense of the settled population.
Thus, the Banu Numayr were driven out of Diyar Mudar and took refuge in Jabal Sinjar in Diyar Rabi'a to the east. Along with other Qaysi tribes, the Banu Numayr revolted against Sayf and the Hamdanid emir of Mosul, Nasir al-Dawla; the latter expelled them to the Syrian Desert, while in 955/56, Sayf gained their submission, after which he confined them to an area near the Khabur River in Diyar Mudar. By 957, Sayf launched another expedition against the Banu Numayr; when Sayf died in 967, his Aleppo-based emirate entered a period of administrative decline. This hampered the Hamdanids' ability to control the southeastern areas of Diyar Mudar, near the hostile Byzantine frontier, necessitating further reliance on the Banu Numayr. To that end, Sayf's successor, Sa'd ad-Dawla, assigned members of the tribe to governorships
Emirate of Sicily
The Emirate of Sicily was an emirate on the island of Sicily which existed from 831 to 1091. Its capital was Palermo. Muslim Moors, 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, although Rometta in the far northeast of the island held out until 965. An Arab-Byzantine culture developed, producing a multilingual state; the Emirate was conquered by Christian Norman mercenaries under Roger I of Sicily, who founded the County of Sicily in 1071. The last Muslim city in the island, was conquered in 1091. Sicilian Muslims remained citizens of the multi-ethnic County and subsequent Kingdom of Sicily, until those who had not converted were expelled in the 1240s; until the late 12th century, as late as the 1220s, Muslims formed a majority of the island's population, except in the northeast region of Val Demone which remained predominantly Byzantine Greek and Christian during Islamic rule. The Islamic and Arabic influence remains in some elements of the Sicilian language, as well as in architecture and place names.
In 535, Emperor Justinian I returned Sicily to the Roman Empire ruled from Constantinople exclusively. As the power of what is now known as the Byzantine Empire waned in the West, Sicily was invaded by the Rashidun Caliphate during the reign of Caliph Uthman in the year 652. However, this first invasion was short-lived, the Muslims left soon after. By the end of the 7th century, with the Umayyad conquest of North Africa, the Muslims had captured the nearby port city of Carthage, allowing them to build shipyards and a permanent base from which to launch more sustained attacks. Around 700, the island of Pantelleria was captured by Muslims, it was only discord among the Muslims that prevented an attempted invasion of Sicily at that time. Instead, trading agreements were arranged with the Byzantines, Muslims merchants were allowed to trade goods at the Sicilian ports; the first true conquest expedition was launched in 740. Ready to conquer the whole island, they were however forced to return to Tunisia by a Berber revolt.
A second attack in 752 aimed only to sack the same city. 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 occupied Syracuse, he offered rule of Sicily over to Ziyadat Allah the Aghlabid Emir of Tunisia in return for a place as a general and safety. The latter agreed to conquer Sicily, promising to give it to Euphemius in exchange for a yearly tribute, 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 laid siege to Syracuse. After a year of siege, an attempted mutiny, his troops were however able to defeat a large army sent from Palermo 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. They returned to the offensive, but failed to conquer Castrogiovanni and retreated back to Mazara. In 830 they received a strong reinforcement of 30,000 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 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 conquest was a see-saw affair. Syracuse held out for a long time but fell in 878, Taormina fell in 902, the last Byzantine outpost was taken in 965. In succession, Sicily was ruled by the Sunni Aghlabid dynasty in Tunisia and the Shiite Fatimids in Egypt. However, throughout this period, Sunni Muslims formed the majority of the Muslim community in Sicily, with most of the people of Palermo being Sunni, leading to their hostility to the Shia Kalbids.
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 as Emir of Sicily, he managed to control the continuously revolting Byzantines and founded the Kalbid dynasty. Raids into Southern Italy continued under the Kalbids into the 11th century, in 982 a German army under Otto II, Holy Roman Emperor was defeated near Crotone in Calabria. With Emir Yusuf al-Kalbi a period of steady decline began. Under al-Akhal the dynastic conflict intensified, with factions within the ruling family allying themselves variously with the Byzantine Empire and the Zirids. After this period, Al-Mu'izz ibn B
The Emesan dynasty called Sempsigerami or Sampsiceramids, were a ruling Roman client dynasty of priest-kings in Emesa, Syria Province. Iamblichus, the famous Neoplatonist philosopher of the Third century, was one of their descendants. Emesa was famous for the worship of the strong ancient pagan cult El-Gebal known as Elagabal; the city was renowned for El-Gebal’s place of worship the Temple of the Sun. El-Gebal was worshipped in the form of a conical black stone. El-Gebal means God of the Mountain. Most sources declare the family to be of Arab origin; some authors, advise not to make this judgement since some of their attested kings had Aramaic names like Sampsiceramus and Iamblichus. Other kings, namely Azizus and Sohaemus, had clear Arab names, Iamblichus, was referred to as "Phylarch of the Arabs" by Cicero. In any case, it is agreed upon that Emesa and its surrounding had a strong presence of Arabic-speaking people at the time. Sampsiceramus I was the founding Priest-King of the Emesene dynasty who lived in the 1st century BC and was a tribal chieftain or Phylarch.
The ancestors of Sampsiceramus I were Bedouins who had travelled the Syrian terrain, before deciding to settle in the Orontes Valley and South of the Apamea region. Sampsiceramus I, his family and his ancestors in Syria had lived under the Greek rule of the Seleucid Empire. Sampsiceramus I was a son of Aziz. In Emesa and Greek were spoken languages and Latin was commonly spoken in the city. Through the rule and influence of the Seleucid dynasty and Greek settlement in the Seleucid Empire, Emesa was assimilated into the Greek language and culture of the Hellenistic period. Hence, Sampsiceramus I and his ancestors became Hellenized through the Greek rule of Syria and the surrounding territories; the father of Sampsiceramus I, Aziz known as Azizus the Arab and Azizus the Phylarch of the Arabs was an ally to the last Seleucid Greek Monarchs of Syria. Aziz is associated with the rule of the Seleucid Kings Philip I Philadelphus and his brother Demetrius III Eucaerus. Aziz may have assisted Philip I some years before about 87 BC, in the defeat of Demetrius III who ended his days in Parthian exile.
Aziz assisted in putting the last Seleucid King, Philip II Philoromaeus, the son of Philip I on the throne, by arranging to meet him and putting the Diadem on his head. However Philip II saw that Aziz befriended him in order to murder him to gain a portion of a divided Syrian Kingdom, fled to Antioch. Sampsiceramus I, like his father, continued as an ally to the last Seleucid Greek Monarchs of Syria. Like his father, Sampsiceramus I was known as the Phylarch of the Arabs. By this time, the Seleucid Empire had become weak and always appealed to the Roman Republic to help solve political or succession problems. Around 64 BC, the Roman General and Triumvir, Pompey had reörganised Syria and the surrounding countries into Roman provinces. Pompey had installed client kings in the region. Among these was Sampsiceramus I; the Roman politician Marcus Tullius Cicero, nicknamed Pompey ‘Sampsiceramus’ to make fun of Pompey’s pretensions as an eastern potentate. At the request of Pompey, Sampsiceramus I captured and killed in 64 BC, the second last Seleucid King Antiochus XIII Asiaticus.
After the death of Antiochus XIII, Sampsiceramus I was confirmed in power and his family was left to rule the surrounding region under Roman suzerainty. Client rulers such as Sampsiceramus I could police routes and preserve the integrity of Rome without cost to Roman manpower or to the Roman treasury. Emesa was added to the domains of Sampsiceramus I, but the first Emesene capital was Arethusa, a city north of Emesa, along the Orontes River; the kingdom of Sampsiceramus I was the first of Rome’s client kingdoms on the desert’s fringes. The kingdom’s boundaries extended from the Beqaa Valley in the West to the border of Palmyra in the East, from Yabrud in the South to Arethusa in the North and Heliopolis. During his reign, Sampsiceramus I built a castle at Shmemis on top of an extinct volcano and rebuilt the city of Salamiyah which the Romans incorporated in the ruled territory. In time, Sampsiceramus I established and formed a powerful ruling dynasty and a leading kingdom in the Roman East, his Priest-King dynasty ruled from 64 BC until at least 254.
When Sampsiceramus I died in 48 BC, he was succeeded by son, Iamblichus I. In his reign, the prominence of Emesa grew after Iamblichus I established it as the new capital of the Emesene dynasty; the economy of the Emesene Kingdom was based on agriculture. With fertile volcanic soil in the Orontes Valley and a great lake, as well as a dam across the Orontes south of Emesa, which provided ample water, Emesa’s soil was ideal for cultivation. Farms in Emesa provided wheat and olives. Emesa in antiquity was a wealthy city; the city was a part of a trade route from the East, heading via Palmyra that passed through Emesa on its way to the coast. An example on how wealthy Emesa was, ancient pieces of jewellery have been found at the necropolis of Tell Abu Sabun, suggests that the engineering work demanded to be constructed along the lake. ]Apart from Antioch a important city for the Romans, this port city, prospered under its Roman vassal rulers. Each year neighbourhood princes and rulers sent generous gifts honoring and celebrating Emesa’s cult and its Temple of the Sun.
The priesthood of the cult of El-Gebal in Emesa was