Hazm fled from the city of his birth and set out upon extensive wanderings, of which he gives us fascinating glimpses in the pages of this book. In 1 o 16 `Ali IbnHammud proclaimed himself Caliph, but did not long survive his usurpation of power. The next fourteen years were chaotic in the extreme, as Umaiyad andHammudid pretenders struggled for possession of the precarious throne. In 1030the citizens of Cordova, weary of so much disorder, declared the Caliphate to be atan end and set up in its place a sort of republic; but the authority of Cordova hadmeanwhile dwindled away, and Andalusia was split between numerousindependent principalities. The way was being prepared for the Reconquista. Thefall of Granada in 1492 drove the Moslems from their last foothold in the IberianPeninsula.Ibn Hazm's first refuge after his flight from Cordova was Almeria, where helived quietly and in comparative security for a time. But in 1016 Khairan, thegovernor of that city, having made common cause with `Ali Ibn Hammud againstthe Umaiyad Sulaiman, accused Ibn Hazm of harbouring Umaiyad sympathies,and after imprisoning him for some months banished him from his province. Ourauthor made a brief stay at Aznalcazar, and then betook himself to Valencia,where `Abd al-Rahman IV al-Murtada the Umaiyad had just announced hissuccession to the Caliphate. He served al-Murtada as vizier and marched with hisarmy to Granada; but the cause he supported was not successful, and he wascaptured and thrown into prison. However his release was not long delayed; and inFebruary 1019 he returned to Cordova, after an absence of six years, to find al-Qasim Ibn Hammud in power. In December 1023 the Umaiyads again seized theCaliphate, and Ibn Hazm became vizier to 'Abd al-Rahman V al-Mustazhir. Hehad only seven weeks' enjoyment of this turn of fortune, for al-Mustazhir wasassassinated and he himself was once again in jail. History does not record howlong his new incarceration lasted; we only know that in 1027 he was in Jativa,where he composed the present book. He appears to have kept clear of politics forthe rest of his days, which ended on 15 August 1064; but he by no means keptclear of trouble, for his religious views were in conflict with the prevalentorthodoxy and his writings were publicly burnt in Seville during his lifetime.
The Ring of the Dove
was Ibn Hazm's only experiment in the field of elegantliterature; for he was primarily interested in theology and law, on which he wrotevoluminously. Its survival hangs upon the tenuous thread of a single manuscript,itself in fact an epitome rather than a complete transcription of the original. Thisprecious codex, which is dated Rajab 738 of the Mohammedan reckoning, orFebruary 1338 of the Christian era, is preserved in the fine Leiden collection, andwas first studied by R. Dozy, the eminent historian of Moslem Spain. In 1914 theRussian savant D. K. Petrof published the text, which was reprinted as it stood, atDamascus in 1931. The editio princeps was necessarily somewhat defectivetextually, for the copyist of the manuscript was not very careful; but many