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M.Besant E.Walter
Jerusalem, the city of Herod and Saladin

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M.Besant E.Walter
Jerusalem, the city of Herod and Saladin
page 99



in to their aid, and the rich treasures of historical and legendary lore were ransacked and laid hare, while later on the philosophy and speculative science of the Greeks were eagerly sought after and studied. Jerusalem also profited by Mamun's peaceful rule and aesthetic tastes, and. the Haram buildings were thoroughly restored. So completely was this done that the Masjid may be almost said to owe its present existence to El Mamun ; for had it not been for his care and munificence, it must have fallen into irreparable decay. I have already mentioned the substitution of El Mamun's name for that of the original founder, 'Abd el Melik, in the mosaic inscription upon the colonnade of the Cubbetes Sakhrah ; inscriptions, implying the same wilful misstatement of facts, are found upon large copperplates fastened over the doors of the last-named building. Upon these we read, after the usual pious invocations and texts, the following words: " Constructed by order of the servant of God, 'Abdallah el Mamun, Commander of the Faithful, whose life may God prolong! during the government of the brother of the Commander of the Faithful, Er Eashid, whom God preserve ! Executed by Sâleh ibn Yahyah, one of the slaves of the Commander of the Faithful, in the month Babi* el Akhir, in the year 216." (May, A.D. 831.) It is inconceivable that so Uberai and intellectual a prince should have sanctioned such an arrogant and transparent fiction ; and we can only attribute the misstatement io the servile adulation of the officials entrusted with the carrying-out of the restorations. The Christian patriarch Thomas now sought for an opportunity to restore the ruined Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and the occasion was not long wanting. One of those great plagues of locusts, which from time to time devastate Jerusalem, had just visited the city ; the crops entirely failed in consequence of their depredations, and as a famine appeared imminent, every Mohammedan


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