FA'TIXIDES, or FA'TIMITES, the name of an Arabian dynasty which reigned for nearly two centuries over Egypt. Its founder was 31ahadi-obaidaliali, who flourished from 910 to 934 A.D. He asserted that he was descended from Fatima, the daughter of the prophet, and Ismael, a grandson of Ali. He thus won over to his side all the adher ents of the widely diffused Ismaelites, an extravagantly schismatic sect of Mohamme dans in Africa, and overthrew the race of the Aghlabides, who ruled at Tunis. His successor extended his dominion as far as Fez, and his descendant Idoezz, in the year 970, conquered Egypt, expelled the reigning family, removed his court thither, founded Cairo, assumed the title of caliph. thus proclaiming himself the lawful successor of the prophet. and subdued Syria and Palestine. After the death of Moezz, the F. maintained their high position for some time; but gradually degenerated, and resigned all the cares of government into the hands of their viziers Their power now rapidly declined, and their vast territories melted away. In religious matters, the F., because they were raised to power by the followers bf Ali, took upon themselves the protection of the Shiite sect, and the establishinent of the Ismaelitic doctrines: Between the years 1009-21, the caliph Hakem-Biamr-Allah persecuted the orthodox Mohammedans or Sunnites, as well as Jews and Christians. He founded an academy at Cairo, and endowed it largely,
but connected with it a secret society for the diffusion of Ismaelitic opinions. In the first stages, the novice was shown the untenable nature of the precepts of the Koran; in the sixth, the advanced student found that religious legislation must give way to the claims of philosophy; in the seventh, a mystic pantheism was proved to be the true philosophy; and finally, in the ninth, the initiated discovered that lie was not reqired to believe anything, and might do whatever he pleased. His system, with considerable modifications, found a home among that peculiar people the Druses (q.v.). After the death of Adhid, the last of the F., in 1171, the founder of the dynasty of the Ayubides, Salfthed-din (Saladin), took possession of Egypt.