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sábado, 17 de janeiro de 2015

Muhammad ibn Abu 'Amir: Al-Mansur



 "During the 10th century, al-Andalus reached the pinnacle of its power, with its influence stretching from the Pyrenees well into North Africa. When the powerful caliph, Abd al-Rahman III, died in 961 the Umayyad dynasty seemed more entrenched than ever, but amazingly within 70 years the caliphate was in ruins. But at least it did not go out without a kind of bang, the fireworks being provided in the last years of the century by the powerful vizier, Muhammad ibn Abu ‘Amir, de facto ruler during most of the reign of Abd al-Rahman's weak grandson, Hisham II (ruled 976-1009, 1010-1013).


Abu ‘Amir, better known by his honorific title, al-Mansur (meaning "the Victorious." Almanzor in Spanish) was a noble of Arab background from near Algeciras. He manoeuvred his way into power when befriended by Hisham's mother, a Christian captive from Navarre (who allegedly became his lover as well). Al-Mansur is best remembered for the numerous, devastating raids (razzias) - some 57 in all - directed against the Christian north. He swept across Christian lands, from Barcelona (985) to Coimbra (987); he attacked Leon and Zamora (988), and numerous smaller places. The high point was the raid on Santiago de Compostela (Galicia) in 997, in which the town was razed, the church destroyed and its bells taken to Córdoba –on the backs of prisoners-of-war-- to be used as lamps in the Great Mosque. All that remained apparently was the tomb of Santiago which, we are told, was spared because it was a holy place, and because al-Mansur was impressed by the courage of an old priest who refused to abandon it. 


In order to improve the efficiency of his forces for the razzias, al-Mansur reorganised his armies in 991, and eliminated regiments made up of tribal groups. He also recruited mercenaries, especially Berbers from the Maghreb --and even Christian soldiers-- to provide the manpower that the raids required.  


In many ways, the actions of al-Mansur were a challenge to the Umayyad caliphate and an attempt to establish his own personality on Córdoba: he was more pious than the caliph (ostensibly the successor to the Prophet, Muhammad), he burned secular books from al-Hakam’s magnificent libraries, and he undertook more razzias than Abd al-Rahman III.  And in adding to the Great Mosque and building his own palace complex, al-Mansur signalled his power and authority in much the same way the palace of Madinat al-Zahra conveyed the greatness of Abd al-Rahman III. The eight-aisled extension at the east end of the Mosque is remarkably restrained, but it underlines al-Mansur’s piety, especially when compared to the luxurious addition of al-Hakam II (ruled 961-76). As for the palace, whose name–Madinat al-Zahira— implicitly challenges that of Abd al-Rahman III’s Madinat al-Zahra, it has never been found. All we know is that it was built somewhere on the other side of Córdoba from Madinat al-Zahra!


 
Nevertheless, al-Mansur was not above coming to terms with his Christian enemies if it served his personal ambitions.  Having usurped power from the Umayyads, he sought to legitimize his dynastic aims through marriage to royalty, in this case with a Christian princess.  In 992, he married the daughter of the king of Navarre, who bore him a son pointedly named Abd al-Rahman, but equally or better known as Sanjul or Sanchuelo (after his maternal grandafther, Sancho, king of Pamplona).  Al-Mansur's death in 1002 when returning from a successful expedition in the Rioja area effectively marks the end of Córdoba.

Source - Spain, Then and now:10th C. Al-Andalus: Al-Mansur

20 comentários:

  1. A wonderful study of an historical character - quite noble too. Nice photography as well.

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  2. Great painted figure, background and historical information! Thanks for sharing!

    Greetings
    Peter

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    Respostas
    1. Thank you, Peter, for your visit and kind comment! :) Greetings!

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  3. Quel article magnifique! Texte, figurine et photos sont parfaits!

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    1. Merci, merci beaucoup pour ta amabilité, Phil! :D

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  4. nice figure and painting...bur..umm for some reason I cannot follow your blog...perhaps you have me on your block list?

    cheers,

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  5. You´re one of the nicest people I found in the blog world Phil, and I love your work - excellent reasons to be very proud of your visits and kind comments. I don´t have a clue to what´s happening :( I don´t have a block list, but I just checked the followers list and you´re not in it. So, could you please click the "join this site button" ? Maybe that would solve the problem, and it would make me very happy and pleased to have you as a follower. You are most welcome here! :D

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  6. Como sempre, além da pintura e cenários fantásticos, adoro as anotações históricas. Ainda bem que Al-Mansur poupou o suposto túmulo do apóstolo Tiago, ou Santiago, pois é, sem dúvida, um dos lugares de culto mais bonitos que conheço e com fortes raízes celtas (muito brevemente tenho de me aventurar até lá a pé para cumprir uma promessa).

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    1. Obrigado Cristina pela visita e pelo comentário tão gentil :D A Catedral de Santiago de Compostela é de facto um dos templos mais belos de toda a Europa :) Conheço bastantes pessoas que fizeram o Caminho, e todas adoraram a experiência :)

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  7. Tremendous work, but I nearly missed it - for some reason your posts are not updating on my blog roll. I'm sure it's a problem at my end, I'll just have to keep stopping by.

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    1. Thanks for your visit and kind comment, Michael - my friend Phil from "Toy Soldiers Studio" had the same problem, I really don´t know why this happens.. :S Best regards, and please do stop by, you are very welcome :D

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    2. Well the strangest thing has happened, suddenly all your recent posts have come through together! Fabulous news, let's hope that they now come through on a regular basis.

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    3. Thanks Michael, I guess it´s solved!! Cheers! :D

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  8. The prototype of this figure appeared very entertaining character. Unfortunately the history of your region is a little familiar to me. Thanks for information 8)

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    1. Пожалуйста, спасибо большое за комментарии, Klingula :D I thank you for your interest in the history of the Iberian Peninsula. I will post more about Portugal and Spain in the future :D Greetings!

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  9. Bonita figura a caballo! Me gusta como te ha quedado

    Un saludo

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    1. Muchas gracias Kike! :) Un saludo, y bienvenido! :)

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