Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / Volume III: The fourteenth and fifteenth centuries
XIII: Moslem North Africa, 1049-1394, pp. 457-485 PDF (25.3 MB)
464 A HISTORY OF THE CRUSADES III gold struck at Mahdia in the name of Ma'add. However, if there was such an attempt, it failed, and it is very unlikely that Ma'add could have recalled the voracious horde he had sent against Tunisia.5 The other cities of Tunisia reached separate agreements with the invaders, after the first murderous pillaging, and set up tiny sover eignties under Arab or Berber nobles or adventurers. It is not too far-fetched to compare their status in 1049 to that of provincial towns of the Roman empire at its height, and in 1059 to that of the same towns after the barbarian invasions, so shattered was the entire political and economic structure. The Hammadids of eastern Algeria were slightly less hard hit. It is true they were defeated in battle by the Arabs, and their countryside was stripped, but the assault was weaker and less persistent, and a modus vivendi was soon reached by which the Berbers held the towns and paid tribute to the invaders. In partial recompense, Algeria inherited some of the commerce and culture which fled ravaged Tunisia. Scholars, artisans, and merchants moved to Qal'at Bani Hammad and, when Arab impositions made that inland stronghold untenable, they accompanied the Hammãdids to the new capital at Bugia in 1069, and again, definitively, in 1104. Yet the net effect of the Arab incursion on eastern Algeria was to decrease its prosperity in agriculture and commerce and to eliminate personal security for ruler and citizen alike. This relatively unsatisfactory pattern became stabilized for the whole region between Egypt and Algiers, with land commerce totally prevented by roving marauders, with agriculture drastically curtailed, and with civilization isolated in fortified towns paying tribute to the nomads. Among the permanent effects of the Arab invasion must also be included the increase in the proportion of pastoral nomads to sedentary cultivators, the displacement of Berber nomads—chiefly Zanatah—by the newcomers, the diffusion of the Arabic language in rural areas, the movement of whatever culture survived northward to the ports or mountain towns such as Constantine, and the seaward orientation of Berber commercial activity and military prowess.6 Morocco meanwhile was undergoing a sharply contrasting series of events. An ascetic religious reformer, ' Abd-Allah ibn-Yasin, of the Kaztfli tribe, had appeared in the desert fringes and secured support 5. The invaders, ironically enough, were admired by later generations as the epitome of Arab chivalry, and inspired a popular ballad-cycle, Sirat abi Zaid wa-Bani Hilal (for editions see Brockelmann, II, 74; sII, 64). 6. For further details consult Marcais, op. cit., and Les Arabes en Berbérie du XIe au XIVe siècle (Constantine, 1913).
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