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The history of the Saracens by Simon Ockley - PDF ebook (1890)

The history of the Saracens

The history of the Saracens


Comprising the lives of Mohammed and his successors, to the death of Abdalmelik, the eleventh caliph, with an account of their most remarkable battles, sieges, revolts, [etc.] collected from authentic sources, especially Arabic MSS

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, continues to be regarded as the standard history of this eventful period. 


The establishment of Islamism is undoubted 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 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 Oakleys pages. The most unqualified praise has been awarded to the author for the laborious research and xm^wearied energy displayed under peculiar difficulties, which has resulted in the production of work at once enriching the literature of our country, and furnishing materials of the highest importance to historians and travelers 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 Autobiography, 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. axis.) 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."

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