Abd al-Rahman IV

Abd al-Rahman IV. (? -Guadix, 1018 ) Caliph of Córdoba. It was a mere instrument of the lords of Almería and Zaragoza , who assassinated him shortly after his proclamation.


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  • 1 Biographical synthesis
    • 1 Life
  • 2 Attack on the Zirids
  • 3 Sources

Biographical synthesis

Full name Abd al-Rahman ben Muhammad ben Abd al-Malik, seventh Cordoba Caliph of al-Andalus ( 1018 ), great-grandson of the great Caliph Abd al-Rahman III ( 912 – 961 ), was born in Córdoba on an undetermined date and died in Guadix in mid-1018. He was put by the lords of Zaragoza and Almería at the head of a movement to expel the Hammudí dynasty from the Caliphate throne of Cordoba. Proclaimed nominal caliph in April 1018, he did not actually reign when he was assassinated by those who had raised him.


Retired from the Cordovan court from the first moments of the fitna (civil war) unleashed by the Caliphal throne, during the brief reign of the Idrisi Ali Ibn Hammud ( 1016 – 1018 ), the Umayyad prince was rescued from his golden Valencian exile by Jayran de Almería (the same one who previously induced Ali Ibn Hammud to march against Córdoba to overthrow the Caliph Sulayman), and by the Tuchibí Mundhir ben Yahya of Zaragoza, who put him at the head of the rebellious armies of the eastern peninsula with the aim of overthrow the hammudí dynasty reigning in Córdoba. It also had the collaboration of an important contingent of troops contributed by the count of Barcelona. The rebel forces were concentrated in Játiva, a place where the Umayyad pretender went to lead the bulk of the army that was to go to Córdoba, first passing through Jaén to conquer it and establish a bridgehead that controlled the accesses and routes to the south.

When on the night of the 21 to the 22 March the same year, the Caliph Ali ibn Hammud was killed, supporters of the hammudid dynasty hastened to warn the brother, to el-Qasim ibn Hammud, governor of Seville, who as only six days did he appear in Córdoba ready to take the place of his unfortunate brother.

Upon learning of the coup done by al-Qasim, the conspirators determined to accelerate the preparations of the invading army, composed of some 40,000 men. But before leaving, they legalized the status of the Umayyad suitor and, on April 29 , proclaimed him the legitimate caliph of Córdoba, with the title or laqab of al-Murtado (‘he who enjoys divine satisfaction’). Abd al-Rahman IV, to the surprise of Jayran and Mundhir ben Yahya, revealed himself as a person not devoid of energy and courage to assume all the responsibilities he had acquired as Caliph of Cordoba, in view of which the same people who had Enthroned earlier, believing they were choosing a manageable caliph without little personality, they decided to get rid of him at the slightest opportunity.

Attack on the Zirids

The occasion for the defenestration of Abd al-Rahman IV was given by himself when he committed the imprudence of launching an attack against the Zirids of Granada, a city defended by the experienced General Zawi ben Ziri, who twice refused to surrender the ultimatum thrown by the Umayyad suitor.

In the middle of the talks, Jayran made known to Zawi his and his colleague Mundhir’s intentions to abandon such annoying suitor in the middle of battle. When Abd al-Rahman IV ordered the final assault on Grenada, Zawi’s few thousand soldiers charged with all their fury against the surprised attackers, put them to flight and then chased them until almost the entire army was annihilated. The two traitors, without caring the least for the fate of the reckless Umayyad, rushed to Almería, while the Catalan soldiers did the same, turning around and returning north in full defeat. At first, Abd al-Rahman IV managed to escape a certain slaughter by taking refuge in the town of Guadix,

The news of the death of the hapless Umayyad caliph further increased the bitterness and fear of the people of Cordoba, anguished at the prospect of being ruled by another member of the Hammudi dynasty, al-Qasim ibn Hammud.


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