« VorigeDoorgaan »
THE PUBLISHER of the STANDARD LIBRARY has much satisfaction in presenting to his subscribers an improved edition of a book so remarkable for curious, original, and instructive matter as OCKLEY'S HISTORY OF THE SARACENS. Upon its first publication this work was received by scholars with marked approbation, as the most complete and authentic account of the Arabian Prophet and his successors which had yet been given to the world; and even at the present day, after the lapse of nearly a century, it continues to be regarded as the standard history of this eventful period.
The establishment of Islamism is undoubtedly to be numbered among those stupendous events which have changed the face of society in the East; and is a subject deserving not only of the careful study of the statesman and the divine,
but of all who delight to search, patiently and reverently, into the ways of Providence. With the Koran in one hand, and the scimitar in the other, the impetuous and indomitable Arab achieved a series of splendid victories unparalleled in the history of nations; for in the short space of eighty years that mighty range of Saracenic conquest embraced a wider extent of territory than Rome had mastered in the course of eight hundred.
It is evident that a work designed for popular circulation, and which is intended to allure those whom business or indolence may prevent from more laborious reading, requires a nice combination of qualities which do not often meet together in the same intellect-accuracy, judgment, taste, and scholarship—all of which, it will be seen, are exhibited in Ockley's pages.
The most unqualified praise has been awarded to the author for the laborious research and unwearied energy displayed under peculiar difficulties, which has resulted in the production of a work at once enriching the literature of our country, and furnishing materials of the highest importance to historians and travellers of every age. Gibbon made considerable use of this work, in his “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire," where he speaks of Ockley as a learned and spirited interpreter of Arabian authorities, whose tales and traditions afford an artless picture of the men and the times;" and in his Autobio
graphy he describes him as an original in every sense, who had opened his eyes." Professor Smyth, also, in his recent Lectures on Modern History, recommends "Ockley's curious work as necessary to enable the student to comprehend the character of the Arabians, which is there displayed by their own writers in all its singularities." A writer in the Quarterly Review (No. xxix.) likewise adds, that "the History of the Saracens is a splendid instance of success in this most difficult branch of authorship, and will considerably overpay a perusal, by the strong moral painting and dramatic vivacity with which the vigorous writer diversified and elevated his subjects."
The literary character of the work being so well established, and the last edition having become extremely scarce, the reasons for its republication must be obvious. In preparing the present Edition for the Press, it is confidently hoped, that the various improvements introduced throughout, have enhanced its value, and will entitle it to a high degree of popular favour. The entire work is now compressed in a single volume, printed from the third and best edition of 1757, which appeared in two volumes, 8vo, and it has been enriched with considerable additions in the form of Notes, from the researches of later writers on Arabian History, particularly Major Price, Burckhardt, Mills, Lane, Dr. Weil, and Don Pascual de Gayangos. The orthography of the Oriental names, which in the work as left by Ockley was by no means uniform, has, as far as possible, been reduced to the standard
now most generally acceptable to English readers. A Memoir
In a future volume it is intended to give a continuation of
YORK STREET, March, 1847.
H. G. B.
LIFE OF MOHAMMED. Born A.D. 571, died A.D. 632. AN. HEJ.11.
Ancient Arabs The Kaaba-Birth and family of Mohammed-
Traditions of his childhood-Marries Kadija-Writes the Koran-
His mission-First converts Marries Ayesha, Hafsa, &c.-Tradi-
tions of his night-journey to heaven-Persecuted by the Koreish-
Flight to Medina-Victory at Beder-Defeat at Ohud-Prohibits
wine War of the Ditch-Marries Zainab and Juweirah-Ayesha's
intrigue-Submission of Mecca-Nearly poisoned-Bewitched by
the Jews-His amours with Mary-Conquest of Arabia-Marches
into Syria-Farewell pilgrimage to Mecca-His death-His person
and character-His wives-The Koran-His miracles-Mohamme-
dan religion-Mohammedan creed and practice.
ABUBEKER. AN. HEJ. 11–14. A.D. 632-634
Election of Caliph-General disaffection of the Arabians-Malec
Ebn Noweirah beheaded by Kaled-Moseilama the false prophet
defeated and slain-War with Syria-Kaled, general-Bostra taken
-Siege of Damascus-Battle of Ajnadin-Damascus taken-Abu-
beker's sickness and death-Collected the Koran into one volume-
OMAR I. AN. HEJ. 13-23. A.D. 634-643
Sends Abu Obeidah Ebn Masud into Persia-Death of Abu
Obeidah-War with Persia-Slaughter of the Damascenes-Story
of the two lovers-Deposition of Kaled-Fair at Dair Abi'l Kodas
-Siege of Hems or Emesa, raised by Abu Obeidah Ebn Jerahh-
Kinnisrin taken-Siege of Baalbec-Hems taken-Arrestan taken--
Battle of Yermouk-Siege of Jerusalem-Omar's journey-Treaty
with the inhabitants-Victories in Persia-Siege of Aleppo-Suc-
cessful stratagem of Dames- Aazaz taken-Surrender of Antioch-
Omar writes to Heraclius-Plague in Syria-Amrou's conquests in
Egypt-Treacherous surrender of Misrah-Alexandria taken, and
library burnt-Assassination of Omar-His person and character-
OTHMAN. AN. HEJ. 23-35. A.D. 643–655.
Chosen Caliph by six commissioners-Deposes Amrou-Moawiyah
invades Cyprus-Death of Yezdejird-Disaffection of the Saracens
-Revolt at Cufah-Merwan's ill-ministration-Othman's palace
ALI. AN. HEJ. 25—40. A.D. 655-661
Dissensions among the Arabians-Ali consents to become Caliph