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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 109



EL ΙΤΛΚΕΜ BI AMB ILL AU. 103 pieces, and their contents poured into the road ; all the dogs in Cairo were slaughtered, because a cur had barked at the caliphs horse. In the year 1007—probably inspired by a revolt which had, at one time, threatened the total extinction of his. power—he began to display some slight signs of moderation, and, amongst other things, caused the anathemas against the enemies of 'Ali to be defaced from the mosques, and otherwise sought to conciliate his Sunni subjects. The Christians, however, in no way profited by the change, and a more rigorous persecution than ever was instituted against them. Three years later, Hakem gave the order for the destruction of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem. The excuse alleged by the Mohammedan authorities for this outrage was the caliph's pious horror at the disgraceful orgies and juggling imposture attending the so-called descent of the Holy Fire at the Easter celebration : " on which occasion," as the Arab historian naively remarks, "the most frightful and blasphemous enormities are committed before the very eyes of the faithful. The Christians positively make a parade of their misbelief, reading and reciting their books aloud, in a manner too horrible to speak of, while they raise their crucifixes over their heads till one's hair absolutely stands on end !" The real cause, however, appears to have been the machinations of a certain monk named John. This man had in vain endeavoured to induce his patriarch (Zacharias) to consecrate him to the office of bishop, but his superior had persistently refused to accede to his repeated request. Impelled by ambition and revenge, John came to Egypt, presented himself before Hakem at Jebel Mokattem (where the caliph was in the habit of resorting to practise his superstitious and profane ceremonies), and addressed to him a petition filled with the grossest calumnies against the patriarch. " Thou art the king of the country," so


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