The Tulunids (868-905) – Islamic History of Egypt


The Tulunids (868-905) – Islamic History of Egypt

The Tulunids (868—905). Ahmad ibn Tulun governed at first from Fustat and, over several years, gradually extended his administrative and territorial power. He constructed a new town, al-Qata’i’ (The Concessions), to the NW of Fustat and built up a great army of slaves. His eventual influence was such that he was able to interfere in a struggle between two contenders for the Khalifate. By the time he died he was in control of much of Syria and independent of Baghdad. He had restored economic stability to Egypt and, although the Khalifate retaliated, the system he instituted outlived him and such was the power of his son and successor, Khumarawayh (884), that he was able to dictate terms to the khalif delineating his own territory. Although a capable man, he was a spendthrift, the economy decayed and in 896 he was murdered by his slaves. He was succeeded by his two young sons. The first, Jaysh, alienated the troops and was himself murdered after nine months; the second, Harun, although managing to govern for nine years, was unable to halt the economic decline and he was also mysteriously murdered in 904. The “Abbasid forces invaded in 905 and, although Harun’s uncle, Shayban, tried to rally support, he was captured and sent to Baghdad in chains.

A new governor was chosen by the khalif and for the next thirty years Egypt was under direct control of the central government in Baghdad, ruled by a series of military leaders However, the rule was oppressive and taxation high, the usual signs of ineffectual administration. The Byzantines were again attempting invasion on the N coast and a new power in the W, the Fatimids, had made several efforts at conquest. At this point the khalif al-Radi, looking for a strong self-reliant province of Egypt, appointed Muhammad ibn Tughj as governor in 935.


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