Rock art of the Djelfa region
The rock art of the Djelfa region in the Ouled Naïl Range consists of prehistoric cave paintings and petroglyphs dating from the Neolithic age which have been recognized since 1914. Following the Saharan Atlas Mountains they follow on from those, to the west, of south Oran, to which they are related. Comparable engravings have been described further to the east, in the Constantine region; some of the engravings of the Djelfa region seem to have been known since the 1850s. Among the best-known, those of Zaccar were discovered in 1907, Flamand described in 1914 the station of Daïet es Stel. In the mid-1960s the active Djelfa Council of Initiatives undertook to record engravings and paintings, Father F. de Villaret, who accompanied the visitors, thus made known works from some twenty new stations, notably those of Oued el Hesbaïa and Aïn Naga. In total more than 1,162 engravings have been discovered in the region. Henri Lhote referred to these engravings in his major work, Les Gravures rupestres du Sud-oranais, which he published in 1970 in the series of the Mémoires du Centre de recherches anthropologiques préhistoriques et ethnographiques.
For him they could not "be separated archaeologically from those of south Oran, because they show with some variations the same style, the same technical formulae, the same patinations and the same fauna". It may therefore be possible to analyse them making use of the hypotheses and the classification which he developed; the engravings of the Djelfa region appeared to him like "foreign works, which are a copying from those of south Oran", a region which for the author was "the principal centre of the rock art of the pre-Saharan regions." Some belong to the earliest stage of the large-scale Hartebeest school, like "The Apollo of Ouled Naïl", others are more recent or indeed more decadent. Regretting "the misreading of the importance of the south Algerian rock art" in the work of Lhote, P. Huard and L. Allard published in 1976 in Lybica an important study on Les figurations rupestres de la région de Djelfa, Sud Algérois; the authors therein recorded forty-three numbered sites or stations which are with some exceptions located near the interior or at the edges of a triangle formed on the north by the town of Djelfa, on the south-west by the village of Sidi Makhlouf and on the south-east by the town of Messaad.
The region of Djelfa on Wikimapia. Around the road from Djelfa to Laghouat twenty-three stations are shown: no 28, 38, 39, 40, 30, 31, 32, 27, 26, 25, 24, 23, 22, 21, 16, 20, 19, 18, 33, 34, 41, 17, 42. Three stations are in addition mentioned to the east of Djelfa: no 1, 2, 3. Three other sites are found to the west: n° 37, 36, 35. Around the road from Djelfa to Messaad twelve stations follow from north to south: no 29, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 9, 8, 11, 12, 13, 14. To the east of Messad two final stations are named: no 43 and 15; the engravings are located near dwelling sites, shown by the presence of worked flints and debitage, "stratified in various levels or at the foot of cliffs of reddish sandstone, the patina of which can become nearly black, which run along the djebels or stand at the edges of the oueds." They are "by-and-large arranged in little separate groups", the monumental friezes or richly decorated murals like those of Oued el Hesbaïa or Aïn Naga being "exceptions". Recognizing that the engravings of the Djelfa region are "similar to those of south Oran by subject and technique", P. Huard and L. Allard judge however that they have a rich cultural content of their own which, show the ancient buffalo as bearers of attributes of the heads, the fact that all the ovines are endowed with classic spheroids or horns enclosed in a ring, which are a stylization of the motif".
According to these authors "The introduction in the most ancient stage of the south-Oranian of rams with spheroids can hardly tally with the south-Algerian material, where the most accomplished depictions are associated with men in developed costume, whereas others, associated with cattle, are of a pastoral epoch". What is more "The'bovidian' stage, which would come only in the fourth place in the sequence of the south-Oranian, where it shows a'decadent' character, is much more developed in the south Algerian." Deducing that these evidences "show that in the two sectors, its origin must be more ancient", Huard and Allard prefer to speak "of a pastoral stage of long duration, with cows and sheep". In the stage of Hunters the authors gather the depictions of the large wild fauna: ancient buffalo, rhinoceros, lions and human figures. Of the seventeen buffalo recorded in the region, twelve belong to the large, naturalistic art and are similar to those of the south-Oranian, they are found at Oued el Hesbaïa, Aïn Naga
The Aghlabids were an Arab dynasty of emirs from the Najdi tribe of Banu Tamim, who ruled Ifriqiya, nominally on behalf of the Abbasid Caliph, for about a century, until overthrown by the new power of the Fatimids. In 800, the Abbasid Caliph Harun al-Rashid appointed Ibrahim I ibn al-Aghlab, son of a Khurasanian Arab commander from the Banu Tamim tribe, as hereditary Emir of Ifriqiya as a response to the anarchy that had reigned in that province following the fall of the Muhallabids. At that time there were 100,000 Arabs living in Ifriqiya, although the Berbers still constituted the great majority. Ibrahim was to control an area that encompassed eastern Algeria and Tripolitania. Although independent in all but name, his dynasty never ceased to recognise Abbasid overlordship; the Aghlabids paid an annual tribute to the Abbasid Caliph and their suzerainty was referenced in the khutba at Friday prayers. After the pacification of the country Ibrahim ibn al-Aghlab established a residence at a new capital, al-‘Abbāsiyya, founded outside Kairouan to distance himself from the opposition of the Malikite jurists and theologians, who condemned what they saw as the luxurious life of the Aghlabids, disliked the unequal treatment of the Muslim Berbers.
Additionally, border defenses were set up in Monastir. The Aghlabids built up the irrigation of the area and enhanced the public buildings and mosques of al-‘Abbāsiyya, it was recorded. One unique feature of the Aghlabids is that despite the political differences and rivalry between Aghlabids, who served under the Abbasid Caliphate, the Umayyad Emirate of Cordoba, the Muslims in Spain sent a fleet under Asba' ibn Wakil to aid the Aghlabids conquest of Sicily. Ibn Kathir recorded that a joint force of 300 Aghlabid ships were present; the Aghlabid garrison at Mineo managed to get into contact with the Andalusian Umayyads whom agreed to the alliance, provided that Asbagh was recognized as the overall commander, together with fresh troops from Ifriqiya they marched on Mineo. Theodotus retreated to Enna and the siege of Mineo was broken; the combined Ifriqiyan and Andalusian army torched Mineo and laid siege to another town Calloniana. However, a plague broke out in their camp causing the death of many others.
The town fell in autumn, but the Arabs' numbers were depleted subsequently they had to abandon it and retreat west. Theodotus launched a pursuit and inflicted heavy casualties, so that most of the Andalusians departed the island. However, Theodotus too was killed at this time in one of these skirmishes. Under Ziyadat Allah I came the crisis of a revolt of Arab troops in 824, not quelled until 836 with the help of the Berbers; the conquest of Byzantine Sicily from 827 under Asad ibn al-Furat was an attempt to keep the unruly troops under control - it was only achieved and only in 902 was the last Byzantine outpost taken. Plundering raids into mainland Italy, which included the sack of the Roman basilicas in 846, took place until well into the 10th century; the Aghlabids lost control of the Arab forces in Sicily and a new dynasty, the Kalbids, emerged there. The Aghlabid kingdom reached its high point under Ahmad ibn Muhammad al-Aghlabi. Ifriqiya was a significant economic power thanks to its fertile agriculture, aided by the expansion of the Roman irrigation system.
It became the focal point of trade between the Islamic world and Byzantium and Italy the lucrative slave trade. Kairuan became the most important centre of learning in the Maghreb, most notably in the fields of theology and law, a gathering place for poets; the Aghlabid emirs sponsored building projects, notably the rebuilding of the Mosque of Uqba and the kingdom developed an architectural style which combined Abbasid and Byzantine architecture. The decline of the dynasty began under Ibrahim II ibn Ahmad. An attack by the Tulunids of Egypt had to be repelled and a revolt of the Berbers put down with much loss of life. In addition, in 893 there began amongst the Kutama Berbers the movement of the Shiite Fatimids to overthrow the Aghlabids. Abdullah al-Mahdi Billah captured the cities of Qairawan and Raqqada and took an oath of allegiance from the people. By 909, the Aghlabid Dynasty was replaced with the Fatimids. Ibrahim I ibn al-Aghlab ibn Salim Abdallah I ibn Ibrahim Ziyadat Allah I ibn Ibrahim al-Aghlab Abu Iqal ibn Ibrahim Abu'l-Abbas Muhammad I ibn al-Aghlab Abi Affan Ahmad ibn Muhammad al-Aghlabi Ziyadat Allah II ibn Abil-Abbas Abu'l-Gharaniq Muhammad II ibn Ahmad Abu Ishaq Ibrahim II ibn Ahmad Abu'l-Abbas Abdallah II ibn Ibrahim Abu Mudhar Ziyadat Allah III ibn Abdallah History of Islam in southern Italy History of medieval Tunisia List of Sunni Muslim dynasties History of Algeria History of Libya Georges Marçais, "Aghlabids," Encyclopedia of Islam, 2nd ed. Vol. I, pp. 699–700.
Mohamed Talbi, Emirat Aghlabide, Paris: Adrien Maisonneuve, 1967. Maurice Vonderheyden, La Berbérie orientale sous la dynastie des Benoû l-Aṛlab, 800-909, Paris: Geuthner, 1927. Versteegh, Kees; the Arabic Language. Columbia University Press
The term exarch comes from the Ancient Greek ἔξαρχος, designates holders of various historical offices, some of them being political or military and others being ecclesiastical. In the late Roman Empire and early Byzantine Empire, an exarch was a governor of a particular territory. From the end of 3rd century or early 4th, every Roman diocese was governed by vicarius, titled "exarch" in eastern parts of the Empire where the Greek language and the use of Greek terminology dominated. Even though Latin was the language of the imperial administration from the provincial level up until the 440s. In Greek texts the Latin title is spelled'Bicarios.' The office of exarch as a governor with extended political and military authority was created in Byzantine Empire, with jurisdiction over a particular territory a frontier region at some distance from the capital Constantinople. In the Eastern Christian Churches, the term exarch has three distinct uses: metropolitan who holds the office of exarch is the deputy of a patriarch and holds authority over bishops of the designated ecclesiastical region.
In the civil administration of the Byzantine Empire the exarch was, as stated above, the imperial governor of a large and important region of the Empire. The Exarchates were a response to weakening imperial authority in the provinces and were part of the overall process of unification of civil and military offices, initiated in early form by Justinian I, which would lead to the creation of the Thematic system by either the Emperor Heraclius or Constans II. After the dissolution of the Western Empire in the late fifth century, the Eastern Roman Empire remained stable through the beginning of the Middle Ages and retained the ability for future expansion. Justinian I reconquered North Africa, Italy and parts of Spain for the Eastern Roman Empire. However, this put an incredible strain on the Empire's limited resources. Subsequent emperors would not surrender the re-conquered land to remedy the situation, thus the stage was set for Emperor Maurice to establish the Exarchates to deal with the evolving situation of the provinces.
In Italy the Lombards were the main opposition to Byzantine power. In North Africa the Amazigh or Berber princes were ascendant due to Roman weakness outside the coastal cities; the problems associated with many enemies on various fronts forced the imperial government to decentralize and devolve power to the former provinces. The term Exarch most refers to the Exarch of Italy, who governed the area of Italy and Dalmatia, still remaining under Byzantine control after the Lombard invasion of 568; the exarchate's seat was at Ravenna, whence it is known as the "Exarchate of Ravenna". Ravenna remained the seat of the Exarch until the revolt of 727 over Iconoclasm. Thereafter, the growing menace of the Lombards and the split between eastern and western Christendom that Iconoclasm caused made the position of the Exarch more and more untenable; the last Exarch was killed by the Lombards in 751. A second exarchate was created by Maurice to administer northern Africa a separate praetorian prefecture, the islands of the western Mediterranean and the Byzantine possessions in Spain.
The capital of the Exarchate of Africa was Carthage. The exarchate proved both financially and militarily strong, survived until the Arab Muslim conquest of Carthage in 698; the term exarch entered ecclesiastical language at first for a metropolitan with jurisdiction not only for the area, his as a metropolitan, but over other metropolitans within local political dioceses. Since imperial vicarius was called "exarch" in eastern, Greek speaking parts of the Empire, it became customary for the metropolitans of the diocesan capitals to use the title "exarch" in order to emphasize their precedence and primatial status over other metropolitans within local political dioceses; the Council of Chalcedon, which gave special authority to the see of Constantinople as being "the residence of the emperor and the Senate," in its canons spoke of diocesan "exarchs", placing all metropolitans in dioceses of Asia, Thrace an Pontus under the jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Constantinople. Metropolitans-exarchs of Ephesus tried to resist the supreme jurisdiction of Constantinople, but failed since imperial government supported the creation of a centralized Patriarchate.
When the proposed government of universal Christendom by five patriarchal sees, under the auspices of a single universal empire, was formulated in the legislation of Emperor Justinian I in his Novella 131, received formal ecclesiastical sanction at the Council in Trullo, the name "patriarch" became the official one for the heads of major autocephalous churches, the ti
Numidia was an ancient Berber kingdom of the Numidians, located in what is now Algeria and a smaller part of Tunisia and Libya in the Berber world, in North Africa. The polity was divided between Massylii in the east and Masaesyli in the west. During the Second Punic War, king of the Massylii, defeated Syphax of the Masaesyli to unify Numidia into one kingdom; the kingdom began as a sovereign state and alternated between being a Roman province and a Roman client state. It was bordered by Atlantic ocean to the west, Africa Proconsularis to the east, the Mediterranean Sea to the north, the Sahara Desert to the south, it is considered to be one of the first major states in the history of the Berber world. The Greek historians referred to these peoples as "Νομάδες", which by Latin interpretation became "Numidae". Historian Gabriel Camps, disputes this claim, favoring instead an African origin for the term; the name appears first in Polybius to indicate the peoples and territory west of Carthage including the entire north of Algeria as far as the river Mulucha, about 160 kilometres west of Oran.
The Numidians were composed of two great tribal groups: the Massylii in eastern Numidia, the Masaesyli in the west. During the first part of the Second Punic War, the eastern Massylii, under their king Gala, were allied with Carthage, while the western Masaesyli, under king Syphax, were allied with Rome. However, in 206 BC, the new king of the eastern Massylii, allied himself with Rome, Syphax of the Masaesyli switched his allegiance to the Carthaginian side. At the end of the war, the victorious Romans gave all of Numidia to Masinissa of the Massylii. At the time of his death in 148 BC, Masinissa's territory extended from Mauretania to the boundary of the Carthaginian territory, southeast as far as Cyrenaica, so that Numidia surrounded Carthage except towards the sea. After the death of the long-lived Masinissa around 148 BC, he was succeeded by his son Micipsa; when Micipsa died in 118 BC, he was succeeded jointly by his two sons Hiempsal I and Adherbal and Masinissa's illegitimate grandson, Jugurtha, of Ancient Libyan origin, popular among the Numidians.
Hiempsal and Jugurtha quarrelled after the death of Micipsa. Jugurtha had Hiempsal killed. By 112 BC, Jugurtha resumed his war with Adherbal, he incurred the wrath of Rome in the process by killing some Roman businessmen who were aiding Adherbal. After a brief war with Rome, Jugurtha surrendered and received a favourable peace treaty, which raised suspicions of bribery once more; the local Roman commander was summoned to Rome to face corruption charges brought by his political rival Gaius Memmius. Jugurtha was forced to come to Rome to testify against the Roman commander, where he was discredited once his violent and ruthless past became known, after he had been suspected of murdering a Numidian rival. War broke out between Numidia and the Roman Republic and several legions were dispatched to North Africa under the command of the Consul Quintus Caecilius Metellus Numidicus; the war dragged out into a long and endless campaign as the Romans tried to defeat Jugurtha decisively. Frustrated at the apparent lack of action, Metellus' lieutenant Gaius Marius returned to Rome to seek election as Consul.
Marius was elected, returned to Numidia to take control of the war. He sent his Quaestor Lucius Cornelius Sulla to neighbouring Mauretania in order to eliminate their support for Jugurtha. With the help of Bocchus I of Mauretania, Sulla captured Jugurtha and brought the war to a conclusive end. Jugurtha was placed in the Tullianum. Jugurtha was executed by the Romans in 104 BC, after being paraded through the streets in Gaius Marius' Triumph. After the death of Jugurtha, the far west of Numidia was added to the lands of Bocchus I, king of Mauretania. A rump kingdom continued to be governed by native princes, it appears that on the death of King Gauda in 88 BC, the kingdom was divided into a larger eastern kingdom and a smaller western kingdom. The kings of the east minted coins, while no known coins of the western kings survive; the western kings may have been vassals of the eastern. The civil war between Caesar and Pompey brought an end to independent Numidia in 46 BC; the western kingdom between the Sava and Ampsaga rivers passed to Bocchus II, while the eastern kingdom became a Roman province.
The remainder of the western kingdom plus the city of Cirta, which may have belonged to either kingdom, became an autonomous principality under Publius Sittius. Between 44 and 40 BC, the old western kingdom was once again under a Numidian king, who killed Sittius and took his place, he was himself killed. After the death of Arabio, Numidia became the Roman province of Africa Nova except for a brief period when Augustus restored Juba II as a client king. Eastern Numidia was annexed in 46 BC to create Africa Nova. Western Numidia was annexed after the death of its last king, Arabio, in 40 BC, the two provinces were united with Tripolitana by Emperor Augustus, to create Africa Proconsularis. In AD 40, the western portion of Africa Proconsularis, including its legionary garrison, was placed under an imperial legatus, in effect became a separate province of Numidia, though the
Tunisia is a country in the Maghreb region of North Africa, covering 163,610 square kilometres. Its northernmost point, Cape Angela, is the northernmost point on the African continent, it is bordered by Algeria to the west and southwest, Libya to the southeast, the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Tunisia's population was 11.435 million in 2017. Tunisia's name is derived from its capital city, located on its northeast coast. Geographically, Tunisia contains the eastern end of the Atlas Mountains, the northern reaches of the Sahara desert. Much of the rest of the country's land is fertile soil, its 1,300 kilometres of coastline include the African conjunction of the western and eastern parts of the Mediterranean Basin and, by means of the Sicilian Strait and Sardinian Channel, feature the African mainland's second and third nearest points to Europe after Gibraltar. Tunisia is a unitary semi-presidential representative democratic republic, it is considered to be the only democratic sovereign state in the Arab world.
It has a high human development index. It has an association agreement with the European Union. In addition, Tunisia is a member state of the United Nations and a state party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Close relations with Europe – in particular with France and with Italy – have been forged through economic cooperation and industrial modernization. In ancient times, Tunisia was inhabited by Berbers. Phoenician immigration began in the 12th century BC. A major mercantile power and a military rival of the Roman Republic, Carthage was defeated by the Romans in 146 BC; the Romans, who would occupy Tunisia for most of the next eight hundred years, introduced Christianity and left architectural legacies like the El Djem amphitheater. After several attempts starting in 647, the Muslims conquered the whole of Tunisia by 697, followed by the Ottoman Empire between 1534 and 1574; the Ottomans held sway for over three hundred years. The French colonization of Tunisia occurred in 1881.
Tunisia gained independence with Habib Bourguiba and declared the Tunisian Republic in 1957. In 2011, the Tunisian Revolution resulted in the overthrow of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, followed by parliamentary elections; the country voted for parliament again on 26 October 2014, for President on 23 November 2014. The word Tunisia is derived from Tunis; the present form of the name, with its Latinate suffix -ia, evolved from French Tunisie. in turn associated with the Berber root ⵜⵏⵙ, transcribed tns, which means "to lay down" or "encampment". It is sometimes associated with the Punic goddess Tanith, ancient city of Tynes; the French derivative Tunisie was adopted in some European languages with slight modifications, introducing a distinctive name to designate the country. Other languages remained untouched, such as Spanish Túnez. In this case, the same name is used for both country and city, as with the Arabic تونس, only by context can one tell the difference. Before Tunisia, the territory's name was Ifriqiya or Africa, which gave the present-day name of the continent Africa.
Farming methods reached the Nile Valley from the Fertile Crescent region about 5000 BC, spread to the Maghreb by about 4000 BC. Agricultural communities in the humid coastal plains of central Tunisia were ancestors of today's Berber tribes, it was believed in ancient times that Africa was populated by Gaetulians and Libyans, both nomadic peoples. According to the Roman historian Sallust, the demigod Hercules died in Spain and his polyglot eastern army was left to settle the land, with some migrating to Africa. Persians became the Numidians; the Medes settled and were known as Mauri Moors. The Numidians and Moors belonged to the race from; the translated meaning of Numidian is Nomad and indeed the people were semi-nomadic until the reign of Masinissa of the Massyli tribe. At the beginning of recorded history, Tunisia was inhabited by Berber tribes, its coast was settled by Phoenicians starting as early as the 12th century BC. The city of Carthage was founded in the 9th century BC by Phoenicians. Legend says that Dido from Tyre, now in modern-day Lebanon, founded the city in 814 BC, as retold by the Greek writer Timaeus of Tauromenium.
The settlers of Carthage brought their culture and religion from Phoenicia, now present-day Lebanon and adjacent areas. After the series of wars with Greek city-states of Sicily in the 5th century BC, Carthage rose to power and became the dominant civilization in the Western Mediterranean; the people of Carthage worshipped a pantheon of Middle Eastern gods including Tanit. Tanit's symbol, a simple female figure with extended arms and long dress, is a popular icon found in ancient sites; the founders of Carthage established a Tophet, altered in Roman times. A Carthaginian invasion of Italy led by Hannibal during the Second Punic War, one of a series of wars with Rome, nearly crippled the rise of Roman power. From the conclusion of the Second Punic War in 202 BC, Carthage functioned as a client state of the Roman Republic for another 50 years. F
The Abbasid Caliphate was the third of the Islamic caliphates to succeed the Islamic prophet Muhammad. It was founded by a dynasty descended from Muhammad's uncle, Abbas ibn Abdul-Muttalib, from whom the dynasty takes its name, they ruled as caliphs for most of the caliphate from their capital in Baghdad in modern-day Iraq, after having overthrown the Umayyad Caliphate in the Abbasid Revolution of 750 CE. The Abbasid Caliphate first centred its government in Kufa, modern-day Iraq, but in 762 the caliph Al-Mansur founded the city of Baghdad, near the ancient Sasanian capital city of Ctesiphon; the Abbasid period was marked by reliance on Persian bureaucrats for governing the territories as well as an increasing inclusion of non-Arab Muslims in the ummah. Persianate customs were broadly adopted by the ruling elite, they began patronage of artists and scholars. Baghdad became a centre of science, culture and invention in what became known as the Golden Age of Islam. Despite this initial cooperation, the Abbasids of the late 8th century had alienated both non-Arab mawali and Iranian bureaucrats.
They were forced to cede authority over al-Andalus to the Umayyads in 756, Morocco to the Idrisid dynasty in 788, Ifriqiya to the Aghlabids in 800 and Egypt to the Isma'ili-Shia caliphate of the Fatimids in 969. The political power of the caliphs ended with the rise of the Iranian Buyids and the Seljuq Turks, who captured Baghdad in 945 and 1055, respectively. Although Abbasid leadership over the vast Islamic empire was reduced to a ceremonial religious function, the dynasty retained control over its Mesopotamian domain; the Abbasids' period of cultural fruition ended in 1258 with the sack of Baghdad by the Mongols under Hulagu Khan. The Abbasid line of rulers, Muslim culture in general, re-centred themselves in the Mamluk capital of Cairo in 1261. Though lacking in political power, the dynasty continued to claim religious authority until after the Ottoman conquest of Egypt in 1517; the Abbasid caliphs were Arabs descended from Abbas ibn Abd al-Muttalib, one of the youngest uncles of Muhammad and of the same Banu Hashim clan.
The Abbasids claimed to be the true successors of Prophet Muhammad in replacing the Umayyad descendants of Banu Umayya by virtue of their closer bloodline to Muhammad. The Abbasids distinguished themselves from the Umayyads by attacking their moral character and administration in general. According to Ira Lapidus, "The Abbasid revolt was supported by Arabs the aggrieved settlers of Merv with the addition of the Yemeni faction and their Mawali"; the Abbasids appealed to non-Arab Muslims, known as mawali, who remained outside the kinship-based society of the Arabs and were perceived as a lower class within the Umayyad empire. Muhammad ibn'Ali, a great-grandson of Abbas, began to campaign in Persia for the return of power to the family of Prophet Muhammad, the Hashimites, during the reign of Umar II. During the reign of Marwan II, this opposition culminated in the rebellion of Ibrahim the Imam, the fourth in descent from Abbas. Supported by the province of Khorasan though the governor opposed them, the Shia Arabs, he achieved considerable success, but was captured in the year 747 and died assassinated, in prison.
On 9 June 747, Abu Muslim, rising from Khorasan initiated an open revolt against Umayyad rule, carried out under the sign of the Black Standard. Close to 10,000 soldiers were under Abu Muslim's command when the hostilities began in Merv. General Qahtaba followed the fleeing governor Nasr ibn Sayyar west defeating the Umayyads at the Battle of Gorgan, the Battle of Nahāvand and in the Battle of Karbala, all in the year 748; the quarrel was taken up by Ibrahim's brother Abdallah, known by the name of Abu al-'Abbas as-Saffah, who defeated the Umayyads in 750 in the battle near the Great Zab and was subsequently proclaimed caliph. After this loss, Marwan fled to Egypt; the remainder of his family, barring one male, were eliminated. After their victory, As-Saffah sent his forces to Central Asia, where his forces fought against Tang expansion during the Battle of Talas; the noble Iranian family Barmakids, who were instrumental in building Baghdad, introduced the world's first recorded paper mill in the city, thus beginning a new era of intellectual rebirth in the Abbasid domain.
As-Saffah focused on putting down numerous rebellions in Mesopotamia. The Byzantines conducted raids during these early distractions; the first change the Abbasids, under Al-Mansur, made was to move the empire's capital from Damascus, in Syria, to Baghdad in Iraq. This was to both appease as well to be closer to the Persian mawali support base that existed in this region more influenced by Persian history and culture, part of the Persian mawali demand for less Arab dominance in the empire. Baghdad was established on the Tigris River in 762. A new position, that of the vizier, was established to delegate central authority, greater authority was delegated to local emirs; this meant that many Abbasid caliphs were relegated to a more ceremonial role than under the Umayyads, as the viziers began to exert greater influence, the role of the old Arab aristocracy was replaced by a Persian bureaucracy. During Al-Mansur's time control of Al-Andalus was lost, the Shia revolted and were defeated a year at the Battle of Bakhamra.
The Abbasids had depended on the support of Persians in their overthrow of the Umayyads. Abu al-'Abbas' successor, Al-Mansur welcomed non-Arab Musli