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numerous and distinguished enough to produce more than one man of letters and noble birth at the court of Al Māmūn.1 Leaving now the "Philosopher," we way proceed, therefore, to consider the internal evidence furnished by the book itself of its age and authorship.

I have said that the name of Al Māmūn, though given in the Preface, occurs nowhere in the Epistles themselves. But the manner in which the Caliph is throughout referred to in both, accords entirely with the assumption that they were written at his court. He is spoken of as the paternal cousin of the Moslem writer; his just and tolerant sway is repeatedly acknowledged by Al Kindy; the descent of the dynasty from the family of Mahomet is over and again referred to, and our Author prays that the Empire may long be perpetuated in his Patron's line. All this is, perfectly natural, and in entire consistency with the ascription of the work to a courtier in the reign of Al Māmūn.

Not less remarkable are the propriety and accuracy of all the historical notices. For example, when tracing the fate of the four Exemplars of the Coran deposited by Othmān in the chief cities of the Empire, our Apologist tells us that the copy at Medina disappeared in "the reign of terror, that is, in the days of Yezīd ibn Muāvia"; and that the manuscript of Mecca was lost or burnt in the sack of that city by Abu Sarāya, "the last attack made upon the Kįaba."2 This is exactly what a person writing

1  See Preface, supra, p. 6.

2  Page 81.


some fifteen years after the event, and in the reign of Al Māmūn, would say; for the siege of Mecca was then, in point of fact, the last which had taken place, under the insurgent, Abu Sarāya, in the year 200 A.H. Had the Apology been written later on, say in the fourth century, the "latest attack" on Mecca would not have been that of Abu Sarāya, but of Soleimān Abu Tāhir in 317 A.H. So also, in illustrating the rapine and plunder of the early Moslem campaigns, Al Kindy mentions, as of a similar predatory and ravaging character, the insurrection of Bābek Khurramy, and the danger and anxiety it occasioned thereby "to our lord and master the Commander of the Faithful." This rebellious leader, as we know, had raised the. standard of revolt in Persia and Armenia some years before, routed an army of the Caliph, and long maintained himself in opposition to the imperial forces; and the notice, as one of an impending danger then occupying men's minds, is precisely of a kind which would be natural and apposite at the assumed time, and at no other.1 Once more, in challenging his friend to produce a single prophecy which had been fulfilled since the era of Mahomet, he specifies the time that had elapsed as "a little over 200 years," and uses the precise expression to denote the period, which one would expect from the pen of a person writing about the era,

1  Page 47. The name is erroneously print. But there can be no doubt that Bābek Khurramy is the correct reading.

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