Count Cassius

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Count Cassius (flourished in the eighth century A.D.), also called "Count Casius", (Arabic: قَسِىّ قُومِس‎, "Kasi kūmis", or "Qasi qūmis"), was the Hispano-Roman or Visigothic nobleman who founded the Banu Qasi dynasty.

According to the tenth century Muwalladi historian Ibn al-Qūṭiyya, Count Cassius converted to Islam in 714, shortly after the Umayyad conquest of Hispania, as a client (mawali) of the Umayyads; his family came to be called the Banu Qasi (بنو قَسِىّ, the "sons [or descendants] of Cassius"). Cassius had converted at the hands of the Arab, Hassan ibn Yassar al-Hudhali, qadi in Zaragoza at the time of Abd ar-Rahman's arrival in the peninsula, as a means to preserve his lands and political power.[citation needed] Cassius joined forces with Musa ibn Nusayr and Tariq ibn Ziyad and travelled to Damascus to personally swear allegiance to the Caliph Al-Walid I.

An Arab historian who lived in the eleventh century, Ibn Hazm, identified Cassius's sons as Fortun, Abu Tawr, Abu Salama, Yunus, and Yahya. The Banu Qasi dynasty descended from Fortun, the eldest son; the second son may have been the Abu Taur of Huesca who invited Charlemagne to Zaragoza in 778; and the Banu Salama, a family that ruled Huesca and Barbitanya (Barbastro) in the late tenth century, may have descended from Abu Salama.[1]

At the time of the Muslim arrival and after, Cassius ruled an area comprising Tudela, Tarazona, Borja, and, probably, Ejea.

In part because the name "Cassius" is not attested anywhere in the period as a name, some historians doubt whether a "Count Cassius" actually existed. They point out that the origins of the Banu Qasi, as recounted by Ibn al-Qutiyya, could be a product of the spurious antiquarianism of the latter Umayyad period rather than reliable genealogy, satisfying the need for stories which bridged the conquest.[2]


  1. ^ Cañada Juste, Los Banu Qasi, pp. 7-9.
  2. ^ Ann Christys, Christians in Al-Andalus, 711-1000, p. 176.


  • Alberto Cañada Juste, "El posible solar originario de los Banu Qasi", in Homenaje a don José M.ª Lacarra..., Zaragoza, 1977, I.
  • Alberto Cañada Juste, "Los Banu Qasi (714-924)", in Principe de Viana, vol. 41, pp. 5-95 (1980).
  • Glick, Thomas F. (eds.) (2005) Islamic and Christian Spain in the Early Middle Ages, BRILL. ISBN 90-04-14771-3
  • Christys, Ann (eds.) (2002) Christians in Al-Andalus, 711-1000, Routledge. ISBN 0-7007-1564-9

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