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9 juin 2012 6 09 /06 /juin /2012 18:20

Muhyi-d-Dîn Ibn ‘Arabî  tells how “a mission of Spanish Christians came from the north to negotiate with the Caliph. The Caliph wished to inspire then with awe by showing them the splendor of his kingdom. To this effect, he lined the road leading from the city gate of Cordoba to the gate of Medinat az-Zahra, a distance of one parasange (about 12 miles), with a double row of soldiers on either side who held aloft their naked swords that were both broad and long, with tips touching to form a roof. At the command of the ruler, the ambassadors were led between this double row of soldiers as through a covered way. The terror induced by this display is indescribable. In this way they reached the gateway of Medinat az-Zahra. The Caliph had had the ground from this gateway as far as the area where the reception by the ruler was to take place covered with brocade. At certain intervals along the way, dignitaries were seated, who could have been mistaken for kings, for they sat on splendid chairs, and were clothed in silks and brocades. Each time the ambassadors caught sight of one of these dignitaries, they fell  to the ground before them, taking him for the Caliph. Then they would be told, “Raise your heads! This is but a servant of his servants.” Finally they came to a courtyard, the floor of which was strewn with sand. In the center was the Caliph. His clothing was coarse and scanty. All he had on him was worth no more than four dirham. He sat on the ground, with his head bent forward. Before him was a copy of the Koran, a sword and a fire. “This is the ruler,” the ambassadors were told, who threw themselves to the ground. He raised his face in their direction, and even before they were able to utter a sound, he said to them, “God has commanded us, O you people, to call upon you to submit to this.” With these words, he showed them the Koran. “If you refuse, we shall compel you with this,” and he indicated the sword, “and if we kill you, then you will go thither!” and he pointed at the fire. The ambassadors were overcome with terror. At the command of the Caliph, they were led away before they could say anything. Subsequently, they signed the peace treaty, complete with all the conditions the ruler imposed.” (Titus Burckhardt, Moorish culture in Spain, London, Allen & Unwin, 1972, p. 34-35)

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