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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 336



The Seljukian sultans, after lording it over their imperial masters, had shared the same fate ; and, having yielded themselves up to the enticements of luxury and wealth, were in turn tyrannized over by their more vigorous Turkish slaves the Atabeks. The founder of this family, a favourite slave of Melik Shah, had been promoted to the governorship of Aleppo, but perished in the civil disorders consequent on the death of the sultan and the final division of the Seljukian kingdom. His son Zanghi did good service against the Franks at Antioch, and was rewarded by the caliph with the sovereignty of Aleppo and Mosul. His career was one of uninterrupted success, and, in a comparatively short space of time, he had taken Edessa, and wrested from the Franks their possessions beyond the Euphrates. His son Nûr-ed-din completed the work which his father had begun ; he once more raised the prestige of the Mohammedan name, and added the kingdom of Damascus to that of Aleppo and Edessa, which he had inherited. Christian and Mohammedan authors alike testify to the uprightness and integrity of his character, to bis impartial justice, and to the austere simplicity of his manners. He rigorously proscribed the use of wine, he wore neither gold nor silk, and on one occasion when his favourite wife requested the indulgence of some feminine fancy, he bestowed upon her " three shops in the city of Hums," alleging that he had no other private property, and that he dared not alienate the public funds, which he considered as a sacred trust. He is usually designated by Moslem writers by the title of Shehid the Martyr, not because he fell fighting for the faith, but because his life was spent in one continuous series of holy works. The Frank occupation of Syria and the Holy Land had spread dismay throughout the whole of Islam ; in their distress the followers of the prophet turned to Damascus, and saw in the rising greatness of its sovereign a fresh


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