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CHARLES J. ROSEBAULT. Saladin. Prince of Chivalry

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CHARLES J. ROSEBAULT.
Saladin. Prince of Chivalry
page 42



the columns are covered with gold and the vaulting above the arcades are everywhere ornamented in mosaics. Both within the shrine and around it are set cut agates and turquoises of the size of the finest stones used in rings." To construct the mosaics Caliph al Walid brought skilled workmen from Persia, India, West Africa and Byzantium, " spending thereon the revenues of Syria for seven years, as well as eighteen shiploads of gold and silver. And this does not include what the Emperor of Byzantium gave to him in the matter of precious stones and other materials." Eight years were devoted to the reconstruction, and when it was finished it required eighteen camels to bear to the Caliph the records of his accountants, showing the various items of cost. If there were no other proof of the wisdom of Al Walid it is shown in his disposition of these voluminous papers. Without so much as a glance at them he ordered them all to be burned, thus removing with one magnificent gesture every evidence of extravagance as well as saving the time and annoyance of reading them. Here was a monarch who appreciated the advantages of his position. Why burden himself and risk a quarrel with his contractors when lifting a tax here or there would take care of any unnecessary outlay? He wanted the best obtainable and he had it. The railed-in space reserved for his prayers had gates plated with gold and the six hundred choice lamps which furnished illumination for the vast in


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