Download 3.98 Mb.Pdf просмотр
is clear from the Prophet Muḥammad’s covenant with them. The Ghassānids, who
levied the tax on the caravaneers of the spice route at Bostra, may also have been
responsible for levying it on those who sailed the Red Sea on their way to Iotabe and
thence to Ayla, especially if they were Arab merchants. The Ghassānids thus had a
presence in the Gulf of Eilat in both Iotabe and Ayla—an outgrowth of the strong
Byzantine presence in the Red Sea in this period.68 One demonstration of that pres-
ence is the number of ships that sailed from the Red Sea’s northern Byzantine ports
to support the Negus of Ethiopia in his South Arabian campaign. The survivors
Dīwān Ḥassān ibn Thābit, ed. W. ʿArafāt, Gibb Memorial New Series 25 (London, 1971),
I, 308, verse 9.
64 For this verse, see Uḥayḥa ibn al-Julāḥ in Yāqūt,
Muʿ jam al-Buldān (Beirut, 1955), I, 292,
Column B, verse 2.
65 Koran, 7:163.
66 See M. Hamidullah,
Majmūʿat al-Wathāʾiq al-Siyāsiyya, li al-ʿAhd al-Nabawi (Beirut, 1987),
16–118. The covenant clearly implies that the inhabitants of Ayla with whom the Prophet dealt were
Arabs, and it reflects the new world order—the Prophet is now himself taxing the
earlier had taxed him when he arrived at the frontier as a caravan leader.
Nöldeke thought that Yūḥanna ibn Ruʾba was a descendant of Abū Karib, whom he believed was
a Kindite; see
GF, 17 note 1. But he came to that conclusion before the discovery of the Sabaic Dam
inscription of Abraha, which proved that Abū Karib was the brother of Arethas, a Ghassānid. Nöldeke
recognized his mistake in his
67 Ayla was especially prosperous in the Mamlūk period. These Islamic sources have important data
on Ayla, now al-‘Aqaba; one of them,
Khitat al-Maqrīzi, refers to the existence of a bāb maʿqūd, possibly
a vaulted porch, that contained a military station for the Romans (referred to as
Qaysar, Caesar), where
miks) were levied; see the index of Y. Ghawanmeh, al-Tārikh al-Siyāsi li Sharq al-Urdunn fi ʿAsr
Dawlat al-Mamālīk al-Ūlā (Amman, 1982), s.v. al-ʿAqaba.
68 In effect, the Red Sea became a Byzantine lake, especially in the reigns of Justin I and Justinian;
see J. Ruska, “Milāḥaʾ,”
EI2, VII, 41–42.
byzantium and the arabs in the sixth century
from the martyrdoms of Najrān around 520 had come to Jābiya in the Golan to
ask their relative, the Ghassānid king Jabala, for military help; though Jabala could
not at that time aid them, the emperor Justin, according to the
soon thereafter sent fifteen ships from Ayla, twenty from Clysma, seven from
Iotabe, and two from Berenice.69 Surely these ships, especially those that sailed
from Ayla and Iotabe, also carried Ghassānid troops, eager to exact vengeance for
the martyrs, which they had been unable to do without Byzantine support.
3. Although seafaring and water-borne traffic in the Dead Sea is not explic-
itly mentioned in the contemporary sources, the Madaba Mosaic map does include
a scene depicting ships. That evidence from the mosaic—together with references
in the Islamic sources of later times, when the two shores of the sea were similarly
united under one power—suggests that some vessels traversed the Dead Sea. Dubbed
Mare Mortuum, it did not support fishing, but there must have been some traffic in
such products as bitumen and salt; the Islamic sources specifically name indigo,
and boats built at Zoghar that reached the Dead Sea shore near Jericho.70
BALA III, 39 and note 53.
70 See Gawanmeh,
al-Tārikh al-Siyāsi li Sharq al-Urdunn fi ʿAsr Dawlat al-Mamālīk al-Ūlā.
aswāq (plural of sūq), the markets or fairs, were a key feature of the eco-
nomic and social life of the pre-Islamic Arabs in the Arabian Peninsula as
they were in the Byzantine Empire. They were the centers at which the urban and
the pastoral sectors of Arab society met and connected within an inter-Arab and
intra-Arabian framework.1 The
soons were harnessed, the Red Sea began offering an alternative route for interna-
tional trade between the two worlds of the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean;
the Ptolemies, Romans, Byzantines, and Ethiopians subsequently began partic-
ipating in this maritime commerce, sometimes as competitors with one another
and with the Ḥimyarites of South Arabia. The importance of these intra-Arabian
markets reached its peak when hostilities between Byzantium and Persia resumed
in the sixth century and war broke out in the reign of every emperor and shah
of that century. Because of these conflicts, traffic shifted from the Mesopotamian
route to the overland Arabian route, the famous
via odorifera, which extended
from South Arabia to the southern part of Oriens, comprising Palaestina Tertia
and the Provincia Arabia. The same century also witnessed the rise of Mecca to the
position of the dominant Arab caravan city, as nearby ʿUkā
z became the primary
market of the Arabs in pre-Islamic times—a development of great importance to
the rise of Islam and the Arab Muslim Conquests of the seventh century.
Nothing better illustrates the surge in the economic life of Arabia and the
Arabs than the rise of about ten of these fairs, which sprang up throughout the
Peninsula.2 This feverish intra-Arabian economic expansion in sixth-century Arabia
1 For the
aswāq, see T. Bianquis and P. Guichard, “Sū
EI2, IX, especially 786–87 (on the pre-
Islamic period); see also I. M. Ḥammūr,
Aswāq al-ʿArab (Beirut, 1979); S. al-Afghānī, Aswāq al-ʿArab
fi al-Jāhiliyya wa al-Islam (Cairo, 1993). For the fair, πανήγυρις, in Byzantine life, see Ph. Koukoules,
Byzantinon bios kai politismos (Athens, 1949), III, 270–83, S. Vryonis, “The Panegyris of the Byzantine
The Byzantine Saint: University of Birmingham Fourteenth Spring Symposium of Byzantine
Studies, ed. S. Hackel (London, 1981), 196–227; L. de Ligt, Fairs and Markets in the Roman Empire:
Economic and Social Aspects of Periodic Trade in a Pre-industrial Society (Amsterdam, 1993).
2 A highly intelligent account of this surge and the importance of the
aswāq as local trade within
the Peninsula may be found in M. B. Piotrovski, “L’économie de l’Arabie préislamique,” in
byzantium and the arabs in the sixth century
Map V. The Three Arab Fairs,
benefited the Ghassānids, both as protectors of the caravans and as conveners and
tax collectors at these fairs.
The Ghassānids were involved in these markets in two different areas, one outside
Oriens in the Arabian Peninsula and the other within Oriens.
The sources are clear on the Ghassānid ties to one important market in Arabia,
that of Dūma. Dūma was an important strategic site for Byzantium, both because
l’Islam, ed. S. Noja (Aix-en-Provence, 1994), 211–39 (reviewed by the present writer in International
Journal of Middle East Studies 32 , 538–41). For the medieval Arabic sources on the aswāq, see
Tārīkh (Beirut, n.d.), I, 313–14; Ibn Ḥabīb, Kitāb al-Muḥabbar, ed. I. Lichtenstädter (1942;
reprint, Beirut, n.d.), 263–68; Abū-ʿAli al-Marzūqi,
Kitāb al-Azmina wa al-Amkina (Hyderabad, 1914),
Yaʿqūbi lists ten fairs (for the English version, see R. G. Hoyland,
2001], 109–10); though Ḥammūr’s work (
Aswāq al-ʿArab) makes clear that the actual number was
higher, these ten were the most important.
it was located at the southern entrance of an important gateway to Oriens from the
Arabian Peninsula, namely Wādī Sirḥān (Map III), and because it was the loca-
tion of a fair that had international as well as Arabian significance.3 The Byzantine
presence there was simultaneously direct, through its Ghassānid
indirect, through allied groups such as Kinda and Kalb. The sources speak of the
involvement of the Ghassānids in this
nately with Kalb or a Kalb subdivision, the Kināna.4 The merchants who used to
of the sources uses the verb
ghalaba,5 “gain the upper hand,” to characterize the
alternating control of the
sūq between Ghassān and Kalb—a curious term to use
of allies. Another source, however, relates the term to a contest of wits between the
two groups that involved solving an enigma,
Of all the fairs in Arabia, the one in Dūma had the most international impor-
tance—an importance derived from the strategic position of Dūma itself at the
intersection of several routes, halfway between Ḥīra and Persia on the one hand
and Mecca and Medina on the other: it was a central point on an international
trade route running from east to west. One of the two main sources on
it more space than all the other fairs of Arabia. Apparently, the
sūq was a site of
Byzantine-Persian rivalry,7 which further endowed it with international impor-
tance and naturally involved the Ghassānids, as
3 On the
sūq of Dūma, see Afghānī, Aswāq al-ʿArab, 232–39, and Ḥammūr, Aswāq al-ʿArab,
4 For the medieval Arabic sources on the
sūq of Dūma, see Yaʿqūbi, Tārīkh, I, 270–71, and the
expansive account in Ibn Ḥabīb,
al-Muḥabbar, 263–64. Ibn Habīb provides a detailed description of
how business in the
sūq was conducted and what role the Ghassānids played; M. Lecker has clarified
some of its confusing elements in “Were Customs Dues Levied at the Time of the Prophet Muhammad?”
Al-Qantara 22 (2001), 19–43 (on Dūma, see 27–28).
6 Ibn Ḥabīb,
7 The rivalry is perceptively noted by Lecker in “Were Customs Dues Levied?” For the Sasanid
presence in the Arabian Peninsula and its economic implications, see M. Morony, “The Late Sasanian
Economic Impact on the Arabian Peninsula,”
Nāme-ye Irān-e Bāstān 1.2 (2002), 26–37.
8 The work of the most recent traveler to Dūma, the scholar Ḥamad al-Jāsir, should be noted; see
Fi Shamāl Gharb al-Jazīra (Riyadh, 1981), 528–33. Inter alia he refers to a church that used to be in the
vicinity of the fortress, the
qalʿa (530), perhaps recalling the phrase qaṣr Dūma in Ḥassān’s verse; see
Dīwān Ḥassān ibn Thābit, ed. W. ʿArafāt, Gibb Memorial New Series 25 (London, 1971), I, 75, verse 20.
A verse in an ode by the Umayyad poet Kuthayyir ʿAzza (d. 723) refers to a monk, to merchants, and
to pilgrims in Dūma, suggesting that much of Dūma’s pre-Islamic Christianity persisted at least until the
middle of the Islamic Umayyad period. Reference to pilgrims might also imply that Dūma was a pilgrimage
center, perhaps featuring a
Dūma thus emerges as a
sūq that, like Dayr Ayyūb in Oriens, may have had some religious significance. For
the verse, see Abdulla al-Majdhūb,
al-Murshid il-a Fahm Ashʿār al-ʿArab (Cairo, 1995), I, 436.
byzantium and the arabs in the sixth century
Ghassānids (see Map V).
sūq of Dayr Ayyūb. Nowadays an insignificant village called Shaykh
Saʿd,10 in ancient and Byzantine times Dayr Ayyūb was much more important. It
lay 10 kilometers to the south of Jābiya in the Golan. As its name indicates, it was
related in the popular mind to Ayyūb, the biblical Job, a connection that has sur-
vived in the form of a
Ghassānland proper. This biblical figure was of importance to the Ghassānids as
warriors, since in war they invoked not just St. Sergius but also Ayyūb, Job,11 cel-
ebrated in the Bible for his endurance and fortitude in the face of adversity—quali-
ties that the Ghassānids saw in themselves. They identified so strongly with the
ṣabr (endurance) that a clan or a subdivision within the Ghassānids was
ṣubr: that is, those who were known for their endurance.12
The sources state that Dayr Ayyūb was the first stop for the Arabs of the
Peninsula after they completed their transactions at the three
aswāq of Ḥijāz—
z, Majanna, and Dhu al-Majāz. Their caravans would then proceed to the three
markets of Oriens, beginning with Dayr Ayyūb.13 And because this
one of the
loca sancta of Oriens, it brings to mind ʿUkā
z, the pan-Arab
sūq near the
sites of the pre-Islamic Arab pilgrimage to ʿArafāt; for the Byzantine world, it recalls
the fair at Thessalonike, so closely associated with the feast day of St. Demetrios.
2. Bostra. The second
sūq visited by the caravans from Arabia was Bostra, the
most important of the three markets in Oriens. The town had been founded by
Nabataean Arabs and had become the capital of the Provincia Arabia. The rise to
prominence of the West Arabian spice route enhanced its importance, since Bostra
was one of the route’s two termini (the other being Gaza). It therefore developed
into a great emporium frequented by the Arab caravans carrying international
goods that hailed ultimately from Abyssinia, South Arabia, and India.14
9 All unknown to the medieval sources Ibn Ḥabīb and Jaʿqūbi, but known to Marzūqi; see
al-Azmina wa al-Amkina, II, 169–70.
10 See R. Dussaud,
Topographie historique de la Syrie antique et médiévale (Paris, 1927), 244.
11 See Al-Nābigha,
Dīwān, ed. S. Fayṣal (Beirut, 1968), 53, verse 16. The biblical figure appears in
the Koran (38:41–44). See also the appendix to Chapter 11 in Part II.
12 The association of
ṣabr with Ghassān, and the unit called al-ṣubr or al-ṣubur, survived well into
the Umayyad period, since it appears in the verse of al-Akhṭal, the poet laureate of the Umayyad caliph
‘Abd al-Malik; see his
that Ḥassān in the text should read Ghassān).
13 See Ḥammūr,
Aswāq al-ʿArab, 195–96, and Afghānī, Aswāq al-ʿArab, 362–63.
14 On Bostra, the standard work is M. Sartre,
Bostra, des origines à l’Islam (Paris, 1985) (see G. W.
Bowersock’s review in
American Journal of Philology 106 , 139–42); see also A. Abel, “Bosrā,”
EI2 I, 1275–77.
The Arabic sources single out for special mention two items for which Bostra
was known among the Arabs: the wines sold there, whether locally pressed or
brought thither from other parts of Oriens, and its swords with broad blades,
safā’iḥ, mentioned in Arabic pre-Islamic poetry.15 The swords’ prominence at this
fair suggests that there may have been a
fabrica in Bostra in addition to the better-
fabricae in Oriens.
One sign of Bostra’s importance is the length of its
sūq, which was held for
twenty-five days, a fact that no doubt derives from its being the terminus of the
spice route. The
duration increased to thirty or forty days.16
With the rise of Mecca to a dominant position as the main caravan city of
Arabia, Bostra became a final destination of the Meccans and their caravans.17
One of the caravaneers, according to the sources, was none other than the future
Prophet of Islam, who is supposed to have visited Bostra on two occasions—once
as a child in the caravan of his uncle Abū Ṭālib and again when he himself led the
caravans of his wife Khadīja. It was during one of these visits that he is said to have
met the monk Baḥīra in a monastery, the famous Dayr Bostra.18
As the capital of Provincia Arabia, the main Ghassānid province under the
celebrated Arethas, the supreme phylarch, and until the end of the dynasty, Bostra
was a key city for the Ghassānids. There were kept the regalia of the Ghassānid
kings.19 So, as the guardians of Bostra’s
acted for Byzantium as they tithed Arabia’s caravaneers, who brought their mer-
It was only natural that the Ghassānids should have been responsible for levy-
ing the tax in Bostra. The sources attest to their delegation of that charge to the
tribe of Judām at the point where the merchants first crossed the Byzantine fron-
tier in Palaestina Tertia, when the merchandise was still in transit.20 In Bostra,
selling and buying were taxed, again by Arabic-speaking Ghassānids dealing with
3. Adriʿāt. After Bostra, the Arabs and Arabian caravans visited the third
15 See Afghānī,
Aswāq al-ʿArab, 370–71.
16 See Marzūqi,
al-Azmina wa al-Amkina, 167.
17 On Bostra’s relations with Mecca and Ḥijāz, see Sartre,
18 See S. Gero, “The Legend of the Monk Baḥīra: The Cult of the Cross and Iconoclasm,” in
Syrie de Byzance à Islam, ed. P. Canivet and J.-P. Rey-Coquais (Damascus, 1992), 47–57.
BASIC I.1, 469.
20 See Chapter 5, below.
21 See M. Lecker’s ingenious argument and the sources he cites for the phrase “taxes of Bostra,”
kharāj Busrā, in “The Levying of Taxes for the Sassanians in Pre-Islamic Medina (Yathrib),” Jerusalem
Studies in Arabic and Islam 27 (2002), 109–26; on the taxes of Bostra, 115–20.
byzantium and the arabs in the sixth century
Adriʿāt. It lay to the northwest of Bostra in the Bathaniyya region (biblical Bāshān),
and it survives nowadays in Syria as the chief town of Ḥawrān, called Derʿa.22
The sources that mention it make clear that the
sūq of Adriʿāt lasted a long
time, apparently longer than the other two
aswāq. Al-Marzūqi, a writer of the
fifth century of the
hijra, says that it was still functioning in his day, some five
centuries after the fall of the Ghassānids.23 Adriʿāt, like Dayr Ayyūb, was under
Ghassānid phylarchal control in the Provincia Arabia. The few sources extant
do not expressly state that the Ghassānids levied the taxes on its caravaneers—a
responsibility (according to these sources) they had for Bostra’s, as Arabs dealing
with Arab traders—but it seems very likely. One sign of the Ghassānid associa-
tion with Adriʿāt is provided by the Kindite poet Imruʾ al-Qays, a relative of the
Ghassānids, who visited it, as a verse of his reveals.24 The association is confirmed
by the famous battle of Adriʿāt in a.d. 614. The Ghassānids were employed to
defend Oriens against the Persians during the Persian war of Heraclius’ reign,
and they participated in the battle fought at Adriʿāt.25 Such links strongly suggest
Ghassānid involvement in the town and in the
sūq associated with it.26
It is not clear whether Adriʿat had any religious significance (such as Dayr
Ayyūb had), which would have made its
sūq more attractive. When members of the
Jewish community of Banū al-Naḍīr were expelled from Yathrib/Medina in a.d. 626,
they chose to settle in Adriʿāt; perhaps that was their place of origin,27 or perhaps the
place held some religious association for them. 28 Such an association would also have
22 On Adriʿāt, see Dussaud,
Topographie historique de la Syrie, 325ff.
al-Azmina wa al-Amkina, 170.
24 See Imruʾ al-Qays,
Dīwān, ed. M. Ibrāhīm (Cairo, 1958), 31, verse 2. The poet, known as the
Do'stlaringiz bilan baham:
ma'muriyatiga murojaat qiling