Sketches from Eastern History

Sketches from Eastern History

Sketches from Eastern History

Sketches from Eastern History

Excerpt

The Arabs had established a vast empire with great rapidity, but to keep it together was hardly possible 80 long as its purely Arab character was retained. The reigning house of the Omayyads had to contend with very dangerous political and religious antipathies; and, perhaps a greater danger, the Arabs, who now controlled a world-empire, kept up without abatement the old untractableness and exaggerated zeal for the honour of family and tribe which they had developed in their desert life. The only difference now was, that their tribal patriotism had reference not so much to the small subdivisions in which the Bedouin lives, as to large tribal groups, the unity of which was in part no more than a fiction. If a governor leaned upon the Yemenites, the Modarites forthwith became his open or secret foes; any prominent official who belonged to the Kais group was hated by the Kelb. And almost every one in authority was ready to overlook in his tribesmen even those offences which, in members of another tribe, he severely, and rightly, punished. The Omayyad Caliphs accordingly found the utmost difficulty in keeping down the private feuds even of the Arabs of Syria, who were generally loyal; and their troubles were much greater in the remoter provinces, where there was little or no sympathy with the reigning house. The kingdom of the Omayyads was never in a state of tolerable order and prosperity unless there was an eminently astute and energetic governor in Babylonia (Irák) as well as a capable . . .

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