The Annals of Eutychius of Alexandria (10th c. AD) – chapter 19d – Abbasids part 4

CALIPHATE OF AL-MUTASIM (218-227/833-842).

1. The bay’ah was given to al-Mu`tasim, i.e. Abū Ishāq Muhammad b. Hārūm ar-Rashid – his mother was a “umm walad” named Māridah – at Tarsus.  But some of al-Ma’mūn’s generals advocated appointing al-‘Abbās, son of al-Ma’mūn, as caliph, and in fact acknowledged al-‘Abbās ibn al-Ma’mūn as their caliph.  All the other generals recognized al-Mu’tasim as their caliph.  The news of his appointment came to Baghdad where the bay’ah was given to him by Abū Ishāq Ibrāhim b. al-Husayn b. Mus’ab – who was then in Baghdad -, the Hāshemites and the various generals who were in the city. The bay’ah was also given by ‘Abd Allah ibn Zāhir in Khurāsān and he summoned al-Mu’tasim.  Al-Mu’tasim went to Baghdad at the beginning of the month of Ramadan of year 218 and remained there until 222.  Then he moved on Surramanra’à, surrounded it with a wall and camped there with his soldiers.  He sent Afshin Kindarā ibn Kāwus to fight against Tābak al-Gurrami, who occupied the city and imprisoned him together with his men.  The conquest took place in the month of Ramadan of the year 222.  He sent Uğayf ibn ‘Anbasa against the Zutt who lived in Batā’ih, took them prisoners and carried them off with him.  Al-Māziyār had revolted with the army of Tabaristan.  ‘Abd Allah ibn Zāhir sent [against him] his uncle al-Hasan ibn al-Husayn who made him prisoner and brought him to al-Mu’tasim.

2. Then al-Mu’tasim entered the territory of the Rūm, with the intention of invading, taking with him the Patriarch of Antioch Job, and besieging the city of Ankara.  The patriarch Job spoke in Greek to the Rūm saying to them: “Make submission to the Sultan and pay the poll tax. It is better to do this than to be killed or taken prisoner.” The Rūm rejected him and threw stones at him.  Then al-Mu’tasim captured Ankara and burned it.  Then he went on ‘Ammūriyyah and besieged it for a month (In another text it says “for months”).  Every day the patriarch of Antioch Job went to the citadel alone and spoke to the Rūm in Greek, trying to play on their fear and persuade them to pay the poll tax, so that al-Mu’tasim would leave them in peace.  But the Rūm covered him with insults and pelted him with dirt.  They continued until al-Mu’tasim captured ‘Ammūriyyah: many were killed and many others were taken prisoners.  This was in the month of Ramadan of the year 223.  After having captured ‘Ammūriyyah, al-Mu’tasim started his way back.  During his absence, al-‘Abbās ibn al-Ma’mūn died.  Al-Mu’tasim gave his property to al-Afshin in the year 225.

3. Constantine, king of the Rūm, died.  After him there reigned over Rūm Theophilus.  In the fourth year of al-Mu’tasim’s caliphate there became patriarch of Alexandria Sophronius.  He held the office for thirteen years.  He was a philosopher and a wise man.  In the seventh year of the caliphate of al-Mu’tasim, John was patriarch of Jerusalem; but the inhabitants of Jerusalem spoke so much ill of him that, frightened, he wrote a letter, under duress, in which he renounced the office.

4. Al-Mu’tasim died in the month of Rabī ‘al-awwal of the year 227.  His caliphate lasted eight years and eight months.  He died at the age of forty-eight and was buried at Surramanra’à al-Ğawsaq.  Al-Mu’tasim was fair of body and face, with a wide chest, strong body, and a long beard with no white hair.  The chief of his bodyguard was Ishāq ibn Ibrāhim.  His huggab, for the audience of the nobility, were the freedman Simā at-Turkī, the freedman Wasif at-Turki and Bughā at-Turki.  His huğgāb for the audience of the people were Muhammad ibn ‘Āsim al-Hanaki, Ya’qūb ibn Ibrāhim, ‘Attāb ibn ‘Attāb and Muhammad ibn Hammād b. Danqash.  His influential advisers were the supreme “qadi”, Ahmad ibn Abi Dāwūd and the secretary Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Malik az-Zayyāt.

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