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city of the Abbasids; their interest is entirely connected with the events of the earlier period. Mansur built a palace in Rusafah for his son Mahdi, in whose reign this quarter, inhabited by himself and his courtiers, became the most fashionable part of the capital. More famous was the palace of Ja'far the Barmecide in the quarter of Mukharrim. It was given by its builder as a free gift to prince Mamun, who enlarged it, built a hippodrome, and laid out a wild beast park. When Mamun came to the throne, he generally lived here, whenever he was in Baghdad, and from this time we may date the upward rise of Eastern Baghdad. For the decline and destruction of the Round City of Mansur had been initiated in the struggle between Mamun and his brother Amin, when its walls and houses were ruined in a siege which lasted for a year. Mamun rebuilt it, but neither he nor his successors cared to live in it, and the neglect of the Caliphs led to its ultimate ruin and decay. For a time indeed it seemed that Baghdad itself might permanently be abandoned for a new residence. The Caliph Mutasim, who had built himself a new palace in Mukharrim, was forced by the mutinies of the Turkish Guards to leave Baghdad, and Samarra, higher up the river, was the seat of the court and government of the Commander of the Faithful for about sixty years (A.D. 836-94). Once indeed, during this period, a caliph took up his quarters for a year in Baghdad. It was Mustain, who fled from Samarra, unable to
, endure his subjection to the Turkish praetorians (A.D. 865). But he came not to the city of Mansur, but to the quarter of Rusafah, which he surrounded with a wall to stand the siege of the rival whom the Turks had set up. This siege was as fatal to the old quarters of Eastern Baghdad as the earlier siege was to the Round City and its suburbs. When the Court finally returned from Samarra, thirty years later, new palaces and a new Eastern Baghdad arose farther to the south, on ground which was wholly beyond the limits of the suburbs of Mansur's city.
and of the more influential Nestorians, both of whom lived unmolested under the rule of the Abbasids. The Nestorian church is said to have been large, solid, and beautiful; the
Catholicus of the Nestorians lived in the adjacent monastery, the Dayr arRûm (ib. 208).
1 Ib. 243 sqq.
§ 3. The Frontier Defences of the Empire and the Caliphate
The sway of the Caliph extended from the northern shores of Africa to the frontiers of India, but after the year 800 his lordship over northern Africa was merely nominal, and the western limits of his realm were virtually marked by Cyprus and Egypt. For Ibrahim, son of Aghlab, who was appointed governor of Tunis, announced to the Caliph Harun that he was prepared to pay a yearly tribute but was determined to keep the province as a perpetual fief for himself and his descendants. Harun, who was at the moment beset by war and revolts elsewhere, was compelled to acquiesce, and the Aghlabid dynasty was thus founded in Africa. The whole Caliphate was divided into some fifteen administrative provinces, and the Asiatic provinces alone formed a far larger realm than the contemporary Roman Empire.
The circumscriptions of Syria and Armenia were separated from Roman territory by frontier districts, which were occupied by forts and standing camps. The standing camp, or fustat,
an institution which had been developed under the Omayyads, and was continued under the early Abbasids. The ancient towns of Tarsus, Adana, and Mopsuestia were little more than military establishments of this kind. the line of defences along the Taurus range from the Euphrates to the frontier of Cilicia, our eye falls first on Melitene (Malatia) which lies at the meeting of the great highroads leading from Sebastea (Sivas) and Caesarea to Armenia and northern Mesopotamia, not far from the loop which the river describes below the point at which its parent streams unite their waters.
T! road from Melitene to Germanicia, across the Taurus, was marked by the fastnesses of Zapetra (at Viranshahr) and Hadath or Adata, both of which were frequently attacked by the Romans. Germanicia and Anazarbos were strongly fortified by the Caliph Harun, and between these
If we survey
1 The Euphrates (Kara-su) and Arsanias (Murad-su).
2 For a demonstration of the site of Zapetra (the ancient Sozopetra), and for the position of Hadath (near Inekli) see Anderson, Campaign of Basil I., in Classical Review, x. 138-9 (April 1896). In his Map of Asia
Minor he equates Hadath with Pavrali, north of Inekli. The roads across Commagene to Samosata, from Zapetra and from Germanicia, were defended respectively by the forts of Hisn Mansur or Perrhe and Bahasnā (for which cp. Anderson's Map).
main positions, in the hilly regions of the upper Pyramus, were the forts of Kanisah and Haruniyah. This line, from Melitene (which gave his title to the Emir of the district) to Anazarbos, formed the defence against invasion of Mesopotamia. The province of Syria was secured by another line, in which the chief points were Mopsuestia (Massisah), Adana and Tarsus. When the coast road, emerging from the Syrian Gates, had swept round the bay of Issus, it turned inland to Mopsuestia, and thence ran due westward to Tarsus, passing Adana, which it entered by the old bridge of Justinian across the Sarus. Under Harun, Tarsus was garrisoned by eight thousand soldiers, and it was fortified by double walls surrounded by a moat.
Of the Taurus mountain passes, through which the Christians and Moslems raided each other's lands, the two chief were (1) the defiles, known from ancient times as the Cilician Gates, through which the Saracens, when Tarsus was their base, carried the Holy War into the central regions of Asia Minor, and (2) the pass which connected Germanicia with Arabissos.
The pass of the Cilician Gates, famous in ancient as well as in medieval history, is about seventy miles in length from the point where the ascent from the central plateau of Asia Minor begins, south of Tyana, to the point where the southern foothills of Taurus merge in the Cilician plain. Near the northern extremity of the pass, a lofty isolated peak rises to the height of about a thousand feet, commanding a wide view both of the southern plains of Cappadocia and of the northern slopes of Taurus. On this impregnable height stood the fortress of Lulon, which, though it could defy armed assault, yet, whether by treachery or long blockades, passed frequently backwards and forwards from the Saracens to the Romans. was the key of the Cilician pass. While it was in the hands of the Romans, it was difficult for a Saracen army to invade
i These have not been identified. The latter, built by Harun (A.D. 799) was a day's march to the west of Germanicia, and Kanisah-as-Sawdā, " the black church,” was about twelve miles from Haruniyah. Le Strange, Eastern Caliphate, pp. 128-9.
2 The following description of the
pass is derived from Ramsay, Cilicia.
3 The Arabic authorities call it both Lulon and al-Safsaf, “the willow.” For the identification see Ramsay, ib. 405. It is supported by the fact that Tabari calls the pass "the pass of alSafsaf” (A.H. 188).
Cappadocia; while the Saracens held it, an Imperial army could not venture to enter the defiles. The northern road to Tyana and the western road to Heraclea meet close to Lulon at the foot of the pass, so that the fort commanded both these ways.
The road winding first eastward and then turning south ascends to the oval vale of Podandos, called the “Camp of Cyrus,” because the younger Cyrus encamped here on his march against his brother. The path rises from Podandos through steep and narrow glens to the summit of the pass; and on the east side, high up on the mountain, it was commanded by a stronghold, built of black stone, known as the Fortress of the Slavs. From the summit, marked by a little plateau which is now called Tekir," a descent of about three miles leads to the rocky defile which was known as the Cilician Gates and gave its name to the whole pass.
It is a passage, about a hundred yards long and a few yards wide, between rock walls rising perpendicular on either side, and capable of being held against a large force by a few resolute men. Above, on the western summit, are the remains of an old castle which probably dates from the times when Greeks and Saracens strove for the possession of the mountain frontier.
In the period with which we are concerned Podandos and the pass itself seem to have been durably held by the Saracens. Lulon frequently changed hands. When the Romans were in possession, it served as the extreme station of the line of beacons, which could flash to Constantinople, across the highlands and plains of Asia Minor, the tidings of an
1 Cp. Ramsay, Asia Minor, 354.
2 Ramsay (Cilicia, 386 sqq.) shows that Cyrus and Xenophon did not march through the Cilician Gates proper.
From Podandos (Bozanti) they took a south-easterly path, which followed the course of the Chakut-Su and was the direct way to Adana but a considerably longer route to Tarsus.
called the fort Rodentós (Constantine, Themes, 19, where it is mentioned with Lulon and Podandos). The Butrentum of the Crusaders may be, as Ramsay suggests, a contamination of Podandos and Rodentos.
Ramsay points out that this is in modern warfare strategically the most important point of the pass. In ancient times the places of most importance, because most easily defensible by a small body, were the Gates south of the summit and the narrow glen descending to Podandos, north of the summit.
3 Hisn as-Šakalibah. The ruins are known as Anasha Kalahsi ; they stand high on Mt. Anasha (Ramsay, ib. 383). In the reign of Justinian II. there was a large desertion of Slavs to the Arabs (Theoph. A.M. 6184), and doubtless these or similar deserters were placed as a garrison in this fort. The Ĝreeks
5 The Roman road was about 11 feet wide (Ramsay, 379).
impending invasion. The light which blazed from the lofty hill of Lulon was seen by the watchers on the peak of Mount Argaios—not the Argaios which looks down on Caesarea, but another mountain, south-east of Lake Tatta. It travelled in its north-westward course across the waters of the lake, to be renewed on the hill of Isamos, and the signal was taken up on the far-off height of Aigilos. The beacon of Aigilos, visible to the great military station of Dorylaion which lies on the river Tembris some thirty miles to the north-west, signalled to Mamas, a hill in the south-eastern skirts of Mount Olympus, and another fire passed on the news to Mokilos. The light of Mokilos crossed the Bithynian Gulf, and the last beacon on the mountain of St. Auxentios transmitted the message to those who were set to watch for it in the Pharos of the Great Palace.
Such telegraphic communication had been devised in remote antiquity, and had been employed by the Romans elsewhere. But the mere kindling of beacons could only convey a single message, and if the line of fires in Asia Minor was established as early as the eighth century, they were probably lit solely to transmit the news that a Saracen incursion was imminent. But a simple plan for using the beacons to send as many as twelve different messages is said to have been contrived by Leo the mathematician 2 and adopted by the Emperor Theophilus. Two clocks were constructed which kept exactly the same time and were set together; one was placed in the palace, the other in the fortress nearest to the Cilician frontier. Twelve occurrences, which were likely to happen and which it was important to know, were selected; one of the twelve hours was assigned to each ; and they were written on the faces of both clocks. If at four o'clock the commander of Lulon became aware that the enemy were about to cross the frontier, he waited till the
1 The list of the stations is given in Olympus, Const., (6) Kyrizos, C. Th., Constantine, IIepi tač. 492, and C. Th. Const. (Kirkos, Cedr.), (7) Mókilos, C. 197=Cedrenus, ii. 174. See Ramsay, Th., Μ ώκιλλος, Cedr. Μούκιλος επάνω Asia Minor, pp. 352-3 and 187 (cp. Twv IIulôv, Const., (8) S. Auxentios his maps of Galatia and Bithynia). (Kaich - Dagh), (9) Palace. I have The stations are given th in the followed Ramsay's general identificatexts : (1) Lulon, (2) Argaios, C. Th., tion of the route. He conjectures Cedr.; Aiyéas Bouvbs, Const., (3) Isamos that Kyrizos is Katerli Dagh, and (Samos, Const.), (4) Aigilon (Aigialos, identifies Mokilos with Samanli Dagh. Cedr.), (5) Mamas, C. Th., Čedr. ; ? See below, Chap. XIV. § 2.