Manṣūr°

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article Share Article
views updated

MANṢŪR°

MANṢŪR ° (Al ; full name: al-Mansur Ibn Abi ʿAmir ; in Christian sources, Almanzor ; d. 1002), chamberlain (Ar. ḥājib) of Caliph Hishām ii (976–1013) of Spain. Al-Manṣūr in effect ruled *Umayyad Spain as virtual dictator and in 996 assumed royal titles. His reign marked the climax of the Umayyad political, economic, cultural, and military supremacy in Spain. A religious fanatic, al-Manṣūr embarked on a lengthy and successful campaign against the Christians in northern Spain (against Catalonia in 985), in which he ruthlessly destroyed Christian holy places. He, however, did not harm the Christian and Jewish communities in his domain. The responsa of R. Ḥanokh of Cordoba attest to the conversions of Jews to Islam under al-Manṣūr, who intensified and increased Muslim preaching and other religious activities. Spain was extremely prosperous during his reign and Jewish immigration therefore increased. The Jews came mainly from North Africa (present Morocco and Algeria), together with many *Berbers, whom al-Manṣūr employed in his military campaigns. The military security and economic stability contributed to an efflorescence of Jewish culture, halakhah, poetry, etc. (see *Spain). The 12th-century historian Abraham *Ibn Daud recalls "King" al-Manṣūr's appointment of Jacob *Ibn Jau, a wealthy and opportunistic silk merchant, to the position of nasi in charge of all Jewish communities in his domain. Al-Manṣūr empowered Ibn Jau to collect taxes from whomever he desired. He had Ibn Jau imprisoned one year later for not collecting enough money from the Jews. Al-Manṣūr's son ʿAbd al-Malik al-Muẓzaffir succeeded him, thus founding the Amirid dynasty.

bibliography:

E. Levi-Provençal, Histoire de l'Espagne Musulmane, 2 (1950), 196–272; Ashtor, Korot, 1 (19662), 244–8; ibn Daud, Sefer ha-Qabbalah - the Book of Tradition, ed. and tr. by G.D. Cohen (1967), 69.