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Hisham II
(11 June 965 - 11 May 1013) Spain

Hisham II

Cordoban Arabian ruler

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Abu-l-Walid Hisham ben al-Hakam, called Hisham II was the third Caliph of Cordoba, of the Umayyad dynasty. He ruled 976-1009, and 1010-1013 in the Al-Andalus (Moorish Iberia).

Hisham II succeeded his father Al-Hakam II as Caliph of Cordoba in 976 at the age of 10, with his mother Subh and the first minister Jafar al-Mushafi acting as regents. General Ghalib and Al-Mansur Ibn Abi Aamir (Almansur) managed to prevent the eunuchs from placing a brother of al-Hakam II on the throne. Subh advanced Almansur and appointed him to the treasury of the Caliphate.

Hisham II himself was kept from government and exercised no political influence, and in 997 he was even forced to officially hand over sole control of the government to Almansur, under whom the Caliphate reached its greatest extent and attained its greatest success over the Christian states. It should be noted that the global Muslim population had climbed to about 4 per cent as against the Christian population of 10 per cent by the year 1000.

After Almansur's death in 1002 his son Abd al-Malik (1002-1008) came to power and secured his position in the Caliphate with successful campaigns against Navarre and Barcelona before being murdered by Abd ur-Rahman Sangul (1008-1009). In 1009 a popular uprising led by Muhammad II al-Mahdi deposed both Sangul and Hisham II, the latter being kept imprisoned in Cordoba under the new regime.

The next few years saw rapid changes of leadership as a result of wars between Berber and Arab armies, as well as of Slavic mercenaries, with al-Mahdi losing out to Sulaiman al-Mustain in 1009 before regaining power in 1010. Finally the Slavic troops of the Caliphate under al-Wahdid restored Hisham II as Caliph (1010-1013).

Hisham II was now under the influence of al-Wahdid, who was nevertheless unable to gain control of the Berber troops - these still supported Sulaiman, and the civil war continued. In 1013 the Berbers took Cordoba with much plundering and destruction. What happened to Hisham after that is uncertain - supposedly he was killed on 19th April 1013 by the Berbers. In any case, Sulaiman al-Mustain (1013-1016) became Caliph.

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Al-Andalus had many links to Hellenistic culture, and except for the Almoravid and Almohad periods (1086 - 1212), it was hedonistic and tolerant of homosexuality, indeed one of the times in world history in which sensuality of all sorts has been most openly enjoyed.

Important rulers such as Abd ar-Rahman III,al-Hakem II, Hisham II, and al-Mutamid openly chose boys as sexual partners, and kept catamites. Homosexual prostitution was widespread, and the customers were from higher levels of society than those of heterosexual prostitutes.

The poetry of Abu Nuwas was popular and influential; the verses of poets such as Ibn Sahl, Ibn Quzman, and others describe an openly bisexual lifestyle. The superiority of sodomy over heterosexual intercourse was defended in poetry. Some of the abundant pederastic poetry was collected in the contemporary anthologies Dar at-tiraz of Ibn Sana al-Mulk and Rayat al-mubarrizin of Ibn Said al-Maghribi (The Banners of the Champions, trans. James Bellamy and Patricia Steiner, Madison, Wisconsin: Hispanic Seminary of Medieval Studies, 1988).

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Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - et alii

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