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By Dionisius A. Agius

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Extra info for Al-Masaq - Islam and the Medieval Mediterranean (Volume 21 Issue 3 2009)

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P. Duggan set high upon a pedestal, brandishing a mighty iron lance which glowed like a flame by reason of the fiery star upon the horizon’’. When they came close, they could distinguish that the rider, his horse, and his pedestal were all of brass and that, upon the iron of the lance, were graved these words in fiery character: If you know not where to go In this forbidden place, Turn me about with all your strength And I will show Your path by the direction which at length I face.

_ Fidda was married to Abu¯ Tha 6laba l-Habashi, to whom she bore four sons and _ _ _ one daughter, named after prophets. Fidda was intelligent and forthright. She is reported as having known the Qur 8a¯n _ _ by heart and used Qur 8a¯nic verses in her conversation. Among the qualities attributed to her by Shi 6ite sources are a knowledge of alchemy and miracle-working powers. She is also quoted as a transmitter of traditions in the name of Fa¯tima, 6Ali, Hasan and Husayn. _ _ _ Is there a purpose behind the various tales told about this woman?

It is reported to have rotated on the dome, to have turned about and to have pointed to indicate the direction of threat to the caliphate and was not therefore a weather-vane-like sculpture, but had a different mechanism. With the Green Dome—the Dome of Heaven—visible from the edge of the vast city surrounding the inner city, it must have been a truly impressive sight. The horseman and the dome were brought down in a storm in 329/941. 60 _ It may be that the symbolic significance of this horseman and his lance was recognised by the Emperor Theophilus (213–227/829–842) in his Roman-style triumph, marking his attack on Muslim settlements of 215/831, celebrated in Constantinople when the first recorded East Roman joust took place,61 during which the eunuch Krateras challenged an Arab captive and unseated him with his lance.

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Al-Masaq - Islam and the Medieval Mediterranean (Volume 21 Issue 3 2009) by Dionisius A. Agius


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