He possessed the characteristic vigour and astuteness of the old Arab stock from which he sprang; and in his wife, the renowned Zenobia, he found an able supporter of his policy.
This vizier had the astuteness to see the necessity of codifying the doctrines of the Ftimites, and himself undertook this task; in the newly-established mosque of el-Azhar he got his master to make provision for a perpetual series of teachers and students of his manual.
His wealth, astuteness, experience and tenacity of purpose, were to baffle Henry's attacks on Scottish independence, till the daggers of pietistic cut-throats closed the long debate.
The final debates of 1706 were conducted under apprehensions of an invasion of Edinburgh by highlanders and wild western fanatics of the Covenant; but the astuteness of Harley's agent in Edinburgh, de Foe, the resolution of Argyll and the tact of Queensberry, who easily terrified the duke of Hamilton, carried the measure into haven.
In his attitude towards Arabi, the would-be saviour of Egypt, Abd-ul-Hamid showed less than his usual astuteness, and the resulting consolidation of England's hold over the country contributed still further to his estrangement from Turkey's old ally.
When elected pope, or rather anti pope, by the cardinals of Avignon, on the 28th of September 1 394, it was he who by his astuteness, his resolution, and, it may be added, by his unswerving faith in the justice of his cause, was to succeed in prolonging the lamentable schism of the West for thirty years.