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CHARLES J. ROSEBAULT. Saladin. Prince of Chivalry

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CHARLES J. ROSEBAULT.
Saladin. Prince of Chivalry
page 40



in the world still inhabited. For a time it was the seat of the Omayyad Caliphate, this having been transferred there from Mecca when Ali, the Fourth Caliph, was murdered. At one time it looked as though it would succumb to the Christian invaders, but the leaders allowed themselves to be misled by bad advisers, and thereafter they were invariably repulsed. Before the dawn of history it had been a city and in all recorded time it had evoked the enthusiasm of all who beheld it. At the northern edge of an extensive plain well watered by two rivers, it was ever surrounded by gardens and orchards of unusual fertility. Greeks, Romans, Egyptians and Arabs had contributed the best of their architecture, and the homes were famous for their beautiful and rich interiors, walls and ceilings inlaid with splendid mosaics and adorned with exquisite carvings. The Greeks had named it The Most Beauteous and the Arabs the Garden of the World and the Bride of the Earth. The seat of a great trade with all the countries of the East, and visited by countless caravans, its busy marts were picturesque not only in their exhibits of all the rare products of oriental workmanship but likewise in the varying types of humanity representing all the races of Asia. It had not changed much at this time from what it had been when Mukaddasi wrote of the palaces and monuments, the edifices of wood and of brick erected by the Caliphs. Also of the Street called Straight, which extended from one end of the city to the other, and was " a fine market not roofed over." A city " in


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