Abd al-Rahman II

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Abd al-Rahman II
عبد الرحمن الأوسط
Dirham abd al rahman ii 20192.jpg
Silver dirham coined during the reign of Abd ar-Rahman II.
4th Emir of Córdoba
Reign21 May 822–852
Predecessoral-Hakam I
SuccessorMuhammad I
Died852 (aged 59–60)
DynastyUmayyad dynasty
FatherAl-Hakam I

Abd ar-Rahman II (Arabic: عبد الرحمن الأوسط) (792–852) was the fourth Umayyad Emir of Córdoba in the Al-Andalus Iberia from 822 until his death.[1]

Statue of Abd ar-Rahman II in Murcia, Spain

Abd ar-Rahman II was born in Toledo, the son of Emir Al-Hakam I. In his youth he took part in the so-called "massacre of the ditch", when from 700 to 5,000 people came to pay homage to the princes who were killed by order of Al-Hakam.

He succeeded his father as Emir of Córdoba in 822 and engaged in nearly continuous warfare against Alfonso II of Asturias, whose southward advance he halted (822–842). In 825, he had a new city, Murcia, built, and proceeded to settle it with Arab loyalists to ensure stability. In 835, he confronted rebellious citizens of Mérida by having a large internal fortress built; again in 837, he suppressed a revolt of Christians and Jews in Toledo via the same measures.[2] He issued a decree by which the Christians were forbidden to seek martyrdom, and he had a Christian synod held to forbid martyrdom.

In 839 or 840, he sent an embassy under al-Ghazal to Constantinople to sign a pact with the Byzantine Empire against the Abbasids.[3]

In 844, Abd ar-Rahman repulsed an assault by Vikings who had disembarked in Cádiz, conquered Seville (with the exception of its citadel) and attacked Córdoba itself. Thereafter he constructed a fleet and naval arsenal at Seville to repel future raids. He may have sent al-Ghazal on a second embassy to the Vikings in Ireland after this.[3]

He responded to William of Septimania's requests of assistance in his struggle against Charles the Bald's nominations.

Abd ar-Rahman was famous for his public building program in Córdoba where he died in 852. He made additions to the Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba.[1] A vigorous and effective frontier warrior, he was also well known as a patron of the arts.[4] He was also involved in the execution of the "Martyrs of Córdoba",[5] and was a patron of the great composer Ziryab.


  1. ^ a b "'Abd ar-Rahman II". Encyclopædia Britannica. I: A-Ak - Bayes (15th ed.). Chicago, IL: Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. 2010. pp. 17. ISBN 978-1-59339-837-8.
  2. ^ The Inheritance of Rome, Chris Wickham, Penguin Books Ltd. 2009, ISBN 978-0-670-02098-0. p. 341.
  3. ^ a b Huici Miranda, Ambrosio (1965). "al-Ghazāl". In Lewis, B.; Pellat, Ch. & Schacht, J. (eds.). The Encyclopaedia of Islam, New Edition, Volume II: C–G. Leiden: E. J. Brill. p. 1038. OCLC 495469475.
  4. ^ Thorne, John (1984). Chambers biographical dictionary. Edinburgh: Chambers. ISBN 0-550-18022-2.
  5. ^ Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Abd-ar-Rahman s.v. Abd-ar-Rahman II" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 1 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 31.
Abd al-Rahman II
Cadet branch of the Banu Quraish
 Died: 852
Preceded by Emir of Córdoba
Succeeded by