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Ismaili History 531 - War with the Byzantines

In 345/956, the Fatimid naval fleet inflicted a major defeat on the Byzantines in Italy, following several minor entanglements and forcing the emperor Constantine VII (913-959) to pay tribute and send a peace-negotiating embassy to al-Muizz in 346/957. In 351/962, Ahmad bin Hasan, the second Kalbid governor of Sicily had staged war against the eastern part of the island and captured Taormina, whose name was changed to al-Muizzia in honour of Imam al-Muizz. In 354/964, following the accession of the emperor Nicephorus II Phocas (963- 969), who had delibrately stopped the customary tribute to the Fatimids, the Byzantines were severely defeated on land and sea by the joint Fatimid and Kalbid forces, and occupied Rametta, the last ashes of the Byzantium; and the simultaneous victory at sea known as the wak'at al-majaz (battle of the straits), which is celebrated in a turgid qasida of Ibn Hani (d. 362/973), vide his 'Diwan' (Cairo, 1271 A.H., no. 40, pp. 540-59). In 356/967, a peace treaty was concluded between the Fatimids and the Byzantines, and accordingly, the Muslims sought the right to impose jaziya on the Christian inhabitants of Sicily. This defeat of the Byzantines was indeed celebrated with pomp through out the Islamic world.


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