|Al-Hakam II (الحکم ثانی)|
|2nd Caliph of Córdoba|
|Reign||15 October 961 – 16 October 976|
|Born||January 13, 915|
|Died||October 16, 976 61) (aged|
Al-Hakam II (أَبُو الْعَاصٍ الْمُسْتَنْصِرِ بِاللهِ الْحُكْمِ بْن عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ); January 13, 915 – October 16, 976) was an Arab Caliph of Córdoba. He was the second Umayyad Caliph of Córdoba in Al-Andalus, and son of Abd-ar-Rahman III and Murjan. He ruled from 961 to 976.
Al-Hakam II succeeded to the Caliphate after the death of his father Abd-ar-Rahman III in 961. He secured peace with the Catholic kingdoms of northern Iberia, and made use of the stability to develop agriculture through the construction of irrigation works. Economic development was also encouraged through the widening of streets and the building of markets.
Hakam himself was very well versed in numerous sciences. He would have books purchased from Damascus, Baghdad, Constantinople, Cairo, Mecca, Medina, Kufa, and Basra. His status as a patron of knowledge brought him fame across the Muslim world to the point that even books written in Persia, which was under Arab Abbasid control, were dedicated to him. During his reign, a massive translation effort was undertaken, and many books were translated from Latin and Greek into Arabic. He formed a joint committee of Muwallad Muslims and Mozarab Catholics for this task.
His personal library was of enormous proportions. Some accounts speak of him having more than 600,000 books. However, Hitchcock (2014: 91-92) argues that any number in excess of 600 is "inconceivable".The catalogue of library books itself was claimed to be 44 volumes long. According to Hitchcock (ibid.), this may be because "volume" and "page" were confused. Of special importance to Al-Hakam was history, and he himself wrote a history of al-Andalus. Following his death, Hajib Almanzor had all "ancient science" books destroyed.
The mathematician Lubna of Córdoba was employed as Al-Hakam's private secretary. She was said to be "thoroughly versed in the exact sciences; her talents were equal to the solution of the most complex geometrical and algebraic problems".
The famous physician, scientist, and surgeon Abu al-Qasim al-Zahrawi (Abulcasis) was also active in Al-Hakam's court during his reign.
His building works included an expansion of the main mosque of Córdoba (962–966), the Mezquita, and the completion of the royal residence Medina Azahara (976), which his father had begun in 936.
Whilst the internal administration was left increasingly to vizir Al-Mushafi,general Ghālib ibn ʿAbd al-Raḥmān was gradually gaining influence as leader of the army in North Africa. He was chiefly preoccupied with repulsing the last Norman attacks (c. 970), and with the struggle against the Zirids and the Fatimids in northern Morocco. The Fatimids were defeated in Morocco in 974, while Al-Hakam II was able to maintain the supremacy of the caliphate over the Catholic states of Navarre, Castile and León.
Al-Hakam married Subh of Cordoba, a Basque concubine. She held sway and strong influence over the court. It is said that al-Hakam nicknamed her with the masculine name Ja'far.She bore him two sons, the first is Abd al-Rahman, who died young, and the second is Hisham II.
According to É. Lévi-Provençal, the phrase Ḥubb al-walad, as found in al-Maqqari's Nafḥ al-ṭayyib,is a reference to al-Hakam's homosexuality or "preference for boys". However, several historians render it as "paternal love", referring instead to him choosing his young son as a successor. The fact that he did not produce a suitable heir before the age of 46 has been ascribed either to him being more attracted to men, --although this is only reported euphemistically in the sources, --or because he was too absorbed with his books to care for sensual pleasures. Subh may have dressed as a ghulam or a young man to make herself more attractive to al-Hakam (adopting a short haircut and wearing trousers), although it is also possible she did this in order to gain better access to the male-dominated royal court.
Al-Hakam II suffered a stroke near the end of his life that curtailed his activities and may explain why he was unable to properly prepare his son for leadership.Modern scholars have speculated that, based on the historical descriptions of his death, it was another cerebrovascular stroke, possibly brought on by the cold weather, that claimed his life in October 976. He was succeeded by his son, Hisham II al-Mu'ayad, who was 11 years old at the time and was a nominal ruler under Almanzor.
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Hay, indudablemente, algo de verdad en la alusién que un cronista musulmán (apud Maqqari, Analectes, II, 59) hace a la «paidofilias» (hubb al-walad) de al-Hakam II, antes de su accesién al trono. En todo caso es evidente que sólo después de su adveni- miento fué cuando se preocupó de tener un hijo susceptible de sucederle. ¿Habrá que creer, según el mismo cronista, que fué la practica de este vicio, tan corriente en la España musulmana en todas las épocas, el que occasionó la paternidad tan tardía de al-Hakam II? Véase, sin embargo, Ibn Hazm, Tawg al-hamama, pág. 6, a propósito de la pasión que sentía el califa por su concubina Subh.
Ibn Bessam, copying Ibn Hayyan, says, "Among other virtues Al-hakem possessed that of paternal love in such a degree that it blinded his prudence and induced him to appoint a son of his, who was then a child, to be his successor, in preference to any of his brothers or nephews, all men of mature age, well versed in the management of affairs and in the command of the armies, capable of making their mandates obeyed, and of maintaining themselves in power.
Cabe señalar, por último, que sería bastante difícil dar credibilidad a la cuestión de la "paidofilia" de al-Hakam II en un pasaje de Ibn Hayyān tomado por al-Maqqarī -y viene más claro en el Dajīra -, en el cual figura ḥubb al-walad en el contexto de una crítica de Ibn Ḥayyān dirigida a al-Ḥakam II por haberse dejado llevar por el amor al hijo (ḥubb al-walad) que le impulsó a nombrar y tomar juramento de fidelidad a su hijo menor en calidad de presunto heredero del califato, acto que tuvo lugar el 1 de Jumāda II del 365 (=5 febrero 975) en el Alcázar de Córdoba, La misma crítica basada en dicho argumento, la hace también Ibn al-Jaṭīb en sus Aʿmāl. Y no vamos a insistir in la evidencia de que el término waled significa "hijo", empleado en muchas ocasiones en los textos andalusíes para referirse a un infante Omeya, y no "efebo/s" (gulam/gilmān), y éste precedido por "hubb" indicaría lo que se ha dicho antes.
Ibn Hayyan, quien no duda en condenar la actuación de al-Hakam sobre su sucesión, acusándolo de haberse dejado llevar en exceso por el amor hacia el hijo (kāna mimman istahwā-hu ḥubb al-walad wa-afraṭa fī-hī) y descartando así como heredero a algún adulto, bien fuese alguno de sus hermanos u otro miembro del linaje Omeya que pudiese haber desempeñado el imamato «sin favoritismos» (bi-lā muḥābā).
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Cadet branch of the Banu Quraish
Abd ar-Rahman III
| Caliph of Córdoba |