Biography of Emir de al-Andalus Abd al-Rahman o Abderramán II (792-852)

Fourth emir of Cordoba (822-852), son and successor of al-Hakam (796-822), born in Toledo in the year 792 and died in Córdoba on 19 August of the year 852. Like its successors, their stage of Government was dotted with great political and social instability because he/she had to war simultaneously with the Christians of the Northern peninsular, the Franks of the Emperor Louis the pious and the Caliph of Baghdad abassi. It also had to cope with several uprisings in the interior against its power and a revolt of importance by the powerful religious group of Mozarabs. During his reign there were Norman attacks on Spanish coasts, who even came to threaten the own capital of the Emirate. Even so, Abd al-Rahman II undertook a profound reorganization of the State, which was based on administrative models of the Caliphate of Baghdad abassi.

Córdoba Umayyad Emirate.


Ascent to the throne: internal problems

When Abd al-Rahman II inherited the throne at the age of thirty years, encountered problems identical to the of their predecessors, which could solve thanks to careful preparation, so much intellectual as policy (Governor of the upper mark was).

The first serious conflict appeared in the region of Tudmir (Murcia), as a result of the fierce struggle that the Arab clans of the mudaries and the Yemenis held in the year 823, seems to be a rather trivial matter, as it was a mudari to start a simple sheet of vineyard of the fencing of a yemeni. The war lasted about seven years, time in which Abd al-Rahman II left that both clans smashed each other for, when judged it appropriate, send a contingent of the troops was in charge of restoring internal peace in the region without little resistance against the survivors.

Simultaneously, Abd al - Rahman met with harassment by his uncle Abd Allah from his exile of Tangier, which won third consecutive against the cordoban Government, with pretensions to the throne. Abd Allah returned to the Peninsula with a large contingent of mercenary troops of Berbers, but the armies of Abd al-Rahman II went out to him the step, so it had to take refuge in Valencian lands, where it had no choice but to surrender to the overwhelming superiority of his nephew. Abd al - Rahman II, demonstrating a great magnanimity with the stubborn rebel, spared him and entrusted with the governance of the unruly part region of Tudmir, since it could only enjoy a few months, then died the same year of the rebellion, at the end of the year 823.

The uprising in the city of Toledo, started in the year 829, had as its main architect to a modest journeyman convert, Hashim al - Darrab, who knew how to attract the sympathy of the powerful Jewish and Mozarabic of city sectors by appealing to the still fresh memories of the "massacre of the moat" carried out by the father of Abd al - Rahman II in the year 797, Al - Hakam I. Thus, stood at the head of a major game of followers, together which skipped roads, desvalijó travelers and docked hamlets and farms in the Toledo region. In view of this, the central Government of Cordoba was forced to intervene without delay. Abd al-Rahman II ordered the area to his general Muhammad ben Rustum, who, in one of their raids in the area, met with the insurgent and killed him near the city of Daroca in 831. However, the city of Toledo could not be pacified until the year 838, date in which the brother of the emir, al - Walid, commanded a punitive expedition that ended with the last rebel pockets.

In the year 828, the city of Mérida also rebelled against the authority of Abd al - Rahman II, helped a decisive by contingents sent by franco Emperor Louis the pious. The uprising was led by the Berber Mahmud Ibn Abd al - Chabbar and convert Sulayman Ibn Martín, which broke all ties that linked them to the cordoban power and murdered the official Governor of the city, Marwan al - Chilliqui. The own Abd al-Rahman II stood at the head of a column of punishment that site Merida, but without any result. A new siege, the year 830, gave the desired results, since the rebels surrendered and swore obedience to the emir and the new Governor, submission that turned out to be fleeting and that forcing the emir to besiege the plaza twice more, until, finally, in the year 834, the situation returned to normal.

The last serious problem of internal character which had to solve the emir emerged in the unstable territories border the North, at the upper mark, from the powerful muladi family of the Banu Qasi and his family head Musa Ibn Musa Ibn Qasi of Tudela. This rebellion brought with it serious external complications by the blood ties between Musa with the descendants of the Navarrese King Íñigo Arista (820-851), his stepfather. Abd al-Rahman II wanted to punish dissent of Musa, but results, although important, as the outlet of Arnedo, Pamplona, Tudela, Azagra, only produced a temporary submission of the rebel, who, along with its successors, did not inspire and encourage all muladíes revolts that were arising against Córdoba.

The Mozarabic opposition in Cordoba: the problem of the martyrs

In the year 851, appeared in cordoba a serious conflict of a religious nature with mystical overtones that affected much of the mozarab community in the capital. The problem had its roots in the imprisonment and subsequent execution, a year earlier, the perfect priest, accused of utter public insults against the Prophet Muhammad and the Quran. Led by the two ringleaders more important movement, Eulogio priest and his friend Álvaro, wealthy merchant, the most radical Mozarabs initiated a campaign of slander and insults in the streets of the capital against Muhammad for the sole purpose of being imprisoned and executed to be declared martyrs and enter into the official list of the martyrology of the Church. Cordoba authorities initially tried to turn a blind eye and they didn't have much attention to such serious provocations, but to continue stubbornly in a posture that amounted almost to an advertised suicide, Cordoba Islamic judges had no choice but to condemn many of them to the death penalty, what did but further aggravate strained relations between the Islamic community and the Christian, the latter in franca minority. The two most important deaths by default and the offspring of its protagonists were which corresponded to the Virgin Flora and María, executed in the year 851.

To put an end to such wave of volunteer martyrs and a proposal from other groups of Mozarabic more realistic as to the position of minority as society of al - Andalus, which also feared the logic and immediate reaction in a repressive State, asked for permission to the own Abd al - Rahman II to convene an emergency Council that put an end to the problemrequest to which the emir did not stick any, indeed, encouraged and protected the meeting so that you develop in the best possible way.

At that meeting Council, held in Cordoba in the year 852, presided over by the Metropolitan of Seville Recafredo, all attendees, with the exception of Sauul, Bishop of Cordoba, were to enact a clear-cut order forbidding voluntary sacrifice, since this was tantamount to suicide, practice Christianity rejected flat.

But, or order given by the Council, nor the mass arrests against those who were causing the authorities with insulting against the Prophet insults, made an impact on the mood of the most exalted. Six days before his death of Abd al - Rahman II, were handed over to the executioner a good number of cordoban Christians who had dared to insult the memory of the Prophet in full prayer on good Friday in the Aljama mosque. The conflict of the martyrs was inherited by the successor of Abd al - Rahman II, emir Muhammad I (852-886).

The Normandy landings

In the year 844, an unusual event stunned the Emirate of Abd al - Rahman II and the Peninsula in general: the invasive attempt by the peoples of the North, the Normans (machus). After having made two failed landings in Christian territory (one next to the current Gijón and the other at the height of La Coruña), the impressive fleet of more than 60 ships descended in a southerly direction following the shoreline, until you reach the estuary of the Tagus River, and on 20 August desembarcarpon in Lisbon, from where they were expelled three days after a bloodless fight. From Lisbon followed the same direction for the next month, appear along the coast of Medina Sidonia and take ownership of the port of Cadiz. A few days later they went by the course of the Guadalquivir, RAID which annihilated the population of Coria del Río, and ultimately fell on Seville, the city that endured a frightening foray during six days in a row. When Abd al-Rahman II was threatening the capital by the Cowgirl of the Normans throughout the region, it mobilized all the army available to him to deal with the wild hordes advancing towards Córdoba intending to plunder it. After several skirmishes between both armies petty, on 11 November there was the battle of La Tablada, which prepared the emir troops destroyed literally to poorly coordinated Norman uproar. In the lid they killed more than a thousand Norman, in addition to the 400 who were taken prisoner and sold as slaves. The Normans who could reach the few boats that Abd al-Rahman II could not seize or burn, headed north course hastily, in the direction of Aquitaine, place where returned to their prey and depredations. The Norman threat prompted the emir to increase the number of its fleet of war, which was useful in the next century, when al - Andalus suffered the danger of the growing power of the Fatimids.

Relations with the Christian kingdoms

The continuation of the fight against the Christians of al - Andalus borders was one of the essential points of the political program of Abd al - Rahman II, so rare was the year of his reign in which does not prepare a military campaign of punishment to sow desolation and death at one or several points of the upper markat the same time that recovered territorial positions lost during the previous reigns.

In the year 823, his general Abd al-Wahib Ben Mugith led a devastating aceifa by Álava land, campaign repeated the following year in which collided with the troops of the Asturian King Alfonso II (791-842), who managed to disperse after having sustained a bloody battle at the foot of the Hill known by Muslim chroniclers as mountain of the Magi. At the same time, another important contingent of Cordoba troops ventured in Galician territory from Viseo and Coimbra, sowing desolation by all districts that passed.

In the year 826, the cordoban general Ubayd Allah returned to obliterate the Galician lands to then direct their forces to the very heart of Castilla. Two years later, the same general devastated the Eastern territory of the Superior brand, in a RAID which lasted two months long and in which laid siege to Barcelona and Girona, without any positive result.

In the year 839, the Asturian King Alfonso II was stunned by a triple campaign carried out by three relatives of Abd al-Rahman II: the first penetrated into Galicia, sent by the uncle of the emir, Al - Walid Ben Hisham; the second, directed by his brother Said, successfully attacked the regions of Araba and the eastern part of the County of Castile; and, finally, a third, in charge of al - Walid, another brother of the emir, who raided the farmhouse Castle. The more or less periodic attacks against the Asturian Kingdom continued producing year after year, although with different results.

In the year 841, Abd al-Rahman II put his attention in the Catalan counties. Troops under the command of Walid Ben Yazid went into Catalonia, ran through magazine Ausona, crossed the Pyrenees-orientales, plagued Sardinia and reached the vicinity of Narbonne, where it returned victorious.

In the year 846, the heir of Abd al-Rahman II, Prince Muhammad, laid siege to the city of León, and although it failed to bring down its walls, sacked it mercilessly and burned it before retiring. Finally, in the year 848, another son of the emir, al - Mundhir, took just another attack on Alava which failed miserably.

Administration and reform of the Emirate

Without a doubt, was Abd al - Rahman II the emir introduced more innovations and administrative reforms, all of them in order to further strengthen the supreme power of the figure of the emir; In addition, it greatly contributed to improving the management of a realm increasingly powerful and complex, so much so that when Abd al-Rahman III assumed the throne in the year 912, future cordovan Caliph was limited to filing certain imperfections of the machinery of State he/she inherited.

Abd al-Rahman II took as a model the Organization of the Caliphate abassi, very hierarchical and centralized, and the figure of the emir made the centerpiece of all administrative, judicial, military and religious system. No decision could be taken without their consent. Real power was translated, as in Baghdad, by the institution of the State monopolies: minting of currency on your behalf, maintenance of the workshops of precious fabrics, etc.

His was also the initiative of organizing what came to be called the "hierarchy of judiciaries of Government" (maratib to el-jutat), and set exactly the position that each of the social classes should take care in the official protocol of the Court, by printing to the Emirate a dignity and Majesty not known in Córdoba to date. Divided into two groups to State officials: the attached to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (secretaries and viziers) and the general Directorate of the Treasury (mayors and the bookkeepers). Above all he/she placed a kind of Prime Minister (hachib), responsible for personally directing the various councils or secretaries (diwan). All the civil service fully lived in the Royal Palace in order to report in person to the emir when this claim his presence.

In relation to the Government daily in the capital, which had not stopped rising, Abd al-Rahman II created new charges, each with specific compensation and responsible for tasks as diverse as the maintenance of police, patterns and weights setting, service cleaning, etc., which previously were the responsibility of a single man, the prefect of market (sahib al - suq).

Obviously, the army was also subject to constant concerns of Abd al - Rahman II. Considerably increased the personal guard of the emir (had five thousand men, between cavalry and infantry), formed basically of rompers and Slavs from Central and Northern Europe. It also reinforced the pictures of the regular army, establishing a clear division between paid mercenaries for hire (murtaziqa) and the recruits in the military districts of the Kingdom (chund). Finally, as a result of the Norman landing of the year 844, the Navy was equipped with a good number of new units.

Abd al-Rahman II was not only a skillful Organizer, but also a great Builder, both civil constructions as religious. The city of Murcia, the alcazaba of Mérida and Seville walls were built under his rule. In Córdoba, he/she made to rebuild the road on the right bank of the Guadalquivir River and rushed deep modifications in the alcazar. He/She was the first to bring running water to the capital through the construction of several public sources. In Seville he/she ordered to build the mosque. In terms of the Aljama mosque of Cordoba, Abd al-Rahman II ordered to extend it twice throughout his reign: the first in the year 833, widthwise, and later in the year 848, in terms of depth.

Abd al-Rahman II also took the abassies way of life Palace, full of wealth, luxury and ostentation, who could afford thanks to the wealth of his private treasure. His court boasted an impressive amount of poets, conceptualisation, writers, musicians, intellectuals of all kinds and followers, who include Yahya Ibn Yahya, lawyer and defender of the orthodox doctrine maliki, musician and Syrian poet Ziryab, which became referee undisputed of the elegances and promoter of all trends imported from the East that prevailed since then.

His succession

Abd al-Rahman II never worry about officially appoint his successor from among the numerous sons he/she had with all his concubines, although it always showed preferences for Prince Muhammad, his firstborn. After surviving an attempted poisoning by a favorite, the Princess Tarub, who wanted to put Sulayman, the son, on the throne, Abd al - Rahman in the year 850 II died suddenly two years later, apparently victims of a new attempt, again directed by the ambitious Tarub, when only he/she was sixty years of age. But, despite the efforts of this to hide the death of the emir to allow his son take over the fortress, one of the eunuchs of the Palace told time Prince Muhammad, that he/she first came to the Palace and quickly became the domain of the situation.


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