The House of David

"dawnbreak in the west"

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

The conclave of the rings

Continuing thoughts about the First Fitna, and Mu'awiya's seizing of the Precious...

Caetani was right to notice that the Arab sources don't mention the rings much. They have much to say on the meeting, at Dumat Jundal and/or Adhruh; and they do (like Bar-Hebraeus) remember that Amr tricked Abu Musa, and that the occasion initiated a war of insults. They also remember a theme of removing the amirate like one removes some article symbolic of it: if not a signet-ring, then a turban or a sword. The 1234 Chronicle and Bar-Hebraeus were both Syriac-Christian; Constantine was a Greek (mostly). For Arab memory of the rings here we are left with Yaʿqūbī.

The story reads like folklore, like the sort of humourous anecdote one might read in the 'Iqd - and, indeed, a version of it did end up there (no ring). Constantine's text even had an Arabic word - qâdî - although the emperor did not really know what it meant.

Some might assume its basis to be Shi'ite inasmuch as 'Ali's man is reckoned pious and Mu'awiya's man acts like a lying snake. Certainly Abu Mikhnaf, whose (also ringless) account has informed the Shia and also Tabari, portrayed the events in such a manner. However the 1234 chronicle understands Mu'awiya's man to be just smarter. This might be a Syrian post-Umayyad development of an originally Shi'ite tradition.

posted by Zimri on 18:38 | link | 0 comments

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