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AFTER the successes of Musa, and Abdal Aziz and the occupation of the Iberian Peninsula by Hurr the slight resistance of the Christians may be neglected, while we follow the victorious Muslims through Gaul up to the defeat of the Emir Abd-ar-Rahman at Poitiers by Charles Martel (732). From that date till the accession of Abd-ar-Rahman ibn Muawiya the whole history of Muslim Spain may be said to consist of internal dissensions between Yemenites and Kaisites, Syrians and MedineseAbdal-Malik, an old Medinese chief, was appointed governor of Spain in October 732. He refused to provide some Syrians, who were starving in Ceuta, with the means of crossing over into Spain, but an insurrection among the Berbers in the peninsula compelled him to summon them to his aid. The ragged and starving Syrians fought so fiercely that they routed the Berbers, and then having no desire to return to Africa where they had fared so ill, they revolted and proclaimed Balj as their Emir (741). They sought to inspire terror. They crucified Abdal­Malik, and defeated his sons at Aqua Portora (August 742). The civil war ended with the appointment by the Emir of Africa of Abul­-Khattar the Kalbite as governor. He pacified Spain and settled the Syrians along the southern fringe from Murcia to Ocsonoba (Algarve); but the conflict was promptly renewed between Kaisites or Maaddites and Yemenites or Kalbites. The rebels defeated the Kalbites under Abul-Khattar at the battle of Guadalete (745), their leader Thuwaba becoming Emir. On his death war between rival tribes lasted some six years longer.

According to the oldest Arab and Christian chroniclers Asturias was the only part where the Visigoths prolonged their resistance. Some nobles of the south and centre of Spain had taken refuge there with the remnants of their defeated armies. The death of Roderick at Segoyuela led them to elect Pelayo as their king, who took up Roderick’s task of heroic resistance. Pelayo retired to the Picos de Europa; there in the valley of Covadonga the Visigoths defeated (718) an expedition led against them by Alkama, who lost his life in the battle. This victory, all the more remarkable after signal defeats, has been taken as the turning point from which the reconquest of Spain has been dated. National legend has told that Pelayo was chosen king not before this success but as the result of his victory, great if magnified in the telling.

In the north of Aragon and on the frontier of the Basque country (which was for the most part independent) a new centre of resistance arose in 724 under the leadership of Garcia Ximenez, who defeated the Arabs and occupied the town of Ainsa in the district called Sobrarbe. Another independent centre of resistance connected with Sobrarbe must have been formed in Navarre, and its leader according to the oldest records seems to have been Iñigo Arista. But of all this we have only confused and contradictory accounts.

For a century few victories were won over the invaders in the kingdom of Asturias. Its history may be said, according to Visigothic tradition, to have resolved itself into a struggle between king and nobles. The former aimed at an hereditary and absolute monarchy while the latter strove to keep their voice in the king's election and their long-cherished independence. Alfonso I the Catholic, Duke of Cantabria and son-in-law of Pelayo, was the only one to take advantage of the internal conflicts among the Muslims. He made raids through Galicia, Cantabria and Leon, and occupied or laid waste important territories like Lugo. At his death in 756 the Muslim frontier ran by Coimbra, Coria, Toledo, Guadalajara, Tudela and Pampeluna, and the Christian frontier included Asturias, Santander, parts of Burgos, Leon and Galicia. Between these two lines was an area continually in dispute.

Such was the state of Spain on the arrival of Abd-ar-Rahman ibn Muawiya. He had escaped from the general massacre of the Umayyads, which had been ordered by the Abbasids, by swimming across the Euphrates, and had seen from the opposite bank the slaughter of his thirteen-year-old brother. His faithful freedmen Badr and Salim, who had been in his sister’s service, joined him in Palestine with money and precious stones, and thence he passed to Africa, where he might have lived in peaceful obscurity. But (according to Dozy) “ambitious dreams haunted without ceasing the mind of this youth of twenty. Tall, vigorous and brave, he had been carefully educated and possessed talents out of the common. His instinct told him of his summons to a glorious destiny”, and the prophecies of his uncle Maslama confirmed his belief that he would be the savior of the Umayyads. He believed that he was destined to sit upon a throne. But where would he find one? The East was lost; there remained Spain and Africa.

In Africa the government was in the hands of Ibn Habib, who had refused to recognize the Abbasids and aimed at an independent kingdom. Because of the prophecies favorable to Abd-ar-Rahman he persecuted him: indeed he persecuted every member of the Umayyad dynasty, and had executed two sons of Caliph Walid II for some indiscreet remarks which he had overheard. “Wandering from tribe to tribe and from town to town”, says Dozy, “Abd-ar-Rahman passed from one end of Africa to the other”. For some five years it is clear he had never thought of Spain.

At length he turned his eyes towards Andalusia, of which his former servant Salim, who had been there, gave him some account. Badr went over to Spain, to the clients of the Umayyads, of whom some few hundreds were scattered among the Syrians of Damascus and Kinnasrin in Elvira and Jaen; he bore a letter to them, in which Abd-ar-Rahman told his plight and set forth his claim to the Emirate as grandson of the Caliph Hisham. At the same time he asked their help and offered them important posts in the event of a victory. As soon as they had received this letter, the chiefs of the Syrians of Damascus, Ubaid-Allah and Ibn Khalid, joined with Yusuf ibn Bukht, chief of the Syrians of Kinnasrin. It was as much from a sense of their duty as vassals as from hope of office and self-interest that they decided to forward the undertaking. But what means had they at their disposal? They resolved to consult Sumail the Kaisite, a hero of the civil wars. He put off giving an answer in a matter of such importance, but entertained Badr and the other Umayyads. Afterwards he left for Cordova, where the Emir Yusuf was collecting forces to punish the Yemenites and Berbers who had revolted at Saragossa. Yusuf bought the help of the Umayyads for the campaign.

When Yusuf crossed the Guadalquivir, Ubaid-Allah and Ibn Khalid appeared before him and begged they might first be allowed to get in their crops and then they would join him at Toledo—a request which was granted. Thereupon they urged Abd-ar-Rahman’s cause on Sumail, who had just risen from one of his frequent orgies; he was out of temper with Yusuf and gave way to their demands, and so the Umayyads started on their homeward journey well satisfied. However, as soon as Sumail reflected that it would end in the extinction of the independence of the tribal chiefs and of his own authority, he sent messengers to overtake the Umayyads, and informing them that he could not support their master, advised them not to attempt any change of government.

Seeing that all hope was lost of forming an alliance with Kaisites, the Umayyads threw themselves into the arms of the Yemenites, who were burning to shake off the yoke of the Kaisites. The answer to their call surpassed their expectations. As soon as the subject Umayyads felt sure of the support of the Yemenites and could count on Yusuf and Sumail being engaged in the north, they sent to Tammann in Africa money for the Berbers, who had refused to allow Abd-ar-Rahman to leave them till a ransom was paid. Then Abd-ar-Rabman left for Spain and reached Almuñecar in September 755. There Ubaid-Allah and Ibn Khalid awaited him, and put him in possession of the castle of Torrox between Iznajar and Loja.

The receipt of this news made a deep impression on Yusuf. He had caused distrust by executing three rebel Kuraishite chiefs at the instance of Sumail, and his resolution to attack the pretender immediately caused the desertion of almost the whole of his army, which was reluctant to undertake a fresh campaign in the depth of winter and in the mountainous district of Regio (Málaga). Yusuf therefore opened negotiations with Abd-ar-Rahman. His envoys had an interview with Abd-ar-Rahman, whom they found surrounded by his little court, in which Ubaid-Allah held the first place; and they offered him on Yusuf’s behalf a safe refuge in Cordova, the hand of Yusuf's daughter as well as a large dowry and the lands of Caliph Hisham. They showed him as evidence of good faith a letter from Yusuf and promised him magnificent presents, left cautiously behind. These terms seemed satisfactory to the Umayyads; Ubaid-Allah was on the point of answering Yusuf's letter, when the envoy Khalid, a renegade Spaniard, insolently told him that he was incapable of writing a letter like his; Ubaid-Allah’s Arab pride was wounded by the Spaniard’s reproach, and he gave orders for his arrest. The negotiations were broken off. As soon as winter was over Abd-ar-Rahman advanced to Archidona, where the Kaisite governor, Jidar, proclaimed him Emir, and entered Seville about the middle of March 756. He then marched out towards Cordova along the left bank of the Guadalquivir, while Yusuf advanced to Seville along the right bank. On sighting one another the two armies continued their march towards Cordova, still separated by the river. As soon as they reached Mosara, Abd-ar-Ralman resolved to give battle. By a cunning move he managed to cross the river without any opposition from Yusuf, a manoeuvre which gave him provisions for his troops. On Friday, 14 May, a sacrificial feast, being the day of the battle of Marj Rahit, which had given the crown to the Umayyads of the East, the combat opened. The cavalry of Abd-ar-Rahman routed the right wing and centre of the army commanded by Yusuf and Sumail, who each saw the death of his own son. The left wing alone sustained the attack all day until all the notable Kaisites had fallen, including their chief Ubaid. The victors began to pillage; but Abd-ar-Rahman forbade it and showed magnanimity in his treatment of Yusuf's wife and sons. The Yemenites were offended by his generous behaviour, and formed a plot to kill him. However, he discovered the conspiracy, and no opposition was made to his offering as Imam the Friday prayers in the principal mosque of Cordova. Negotiations were begun, and finally Yusuf recognized Abd-ar-Rahman as Emir of Spain in July 756. It was not long before Yusuf was slain in battle, and one morning Sumail himself was found dead, strangled by order of Abd-ar-Rahman.

In spite of his growing power Abd-ar-Rahman had to suppress other revolts, of which the most formidable was that of the Yemenites. In 764 Toledo made its submission. Its chiefs had to pass through Cordova clad in sackcloth, with their heads shaved and mounted on donkeys. But the Yemenites continued restless.

Shortly after 764 the Berbers, who had hitherto kept quiet, rose in arms, headed by a schoolmaster named Shakya, half fanatic and half impostor, who gave himself out to be a descendant of Ali and Fatima. After six years of warfare Abd-ar-Rahman succeeded in sowing discord among them. He advanced against the rebels, who retreated northwards. Meanwhile the Yemenites and the Berbers of the East advanced towards Cordova. On the banks of the river Bembezar the Yemenites were treacherously left to their fate by the Berbers, and 30,000 perished at the hands of Abd-ar-Rahman's soldiers. The Berbers of the centre were only subdued after ten years' fighting, when Shakya was murdered by one of his adherents.

In 777 Arabi the Kalbite, governor of Barcelona, formed a league against Abd-ar-Rahman and sent to Charlemagne for help. Charles, who reckoned on the complete pacification of the Saxons, crossed the Pyrenees with an army. Arabi was to support him north of the Ebro, where his sovereignty was to be recognized, while the African Berbers were to help in Murcia by raising the standard of the Abbasid Caliph, Charles's ally. But this coalition failed. Just as Charlemagne had begun the siege of Saragossa he was called home by the news that Widukind had re-entered Saxony and pushed on to Cologne. On his return to France through Roncesvalles the rear-guard of his army was attacked and annihilated by the Basques. There the famous Roland, who was afterwards immortalized in the medieval epic, met his death. Abd-ar-Rahman reaped the benefit of these successes, which were due to his rebel subjects at Saragossa, to the Basques and to a Saxon prince who did not even know of his existence. He advanced and took possession of Saragossa; he attacked the Basques, and forced the Count of Cerdagne to become his tributary.

These feats were the admiration of the world and evoked from the Abbasid Caliph Mansur the following speech concerning Abd-ar­Rahman: “Although he had no other support to rely on but his statesmanship and perseverance, he succeeded in humbling his haughty opponents, in killing off all insurgents, and in securing his frontier against the attacks of the Christians. He founded a mighty empire, and united under his sceptre extensive dominions which had hitherto been divided among a number of different chiefs”. This judgment is an exact description of Abd-ar-Rahmaan’s life-work.

Detested by the Arab and Berber chiefs, deserted by his followers and betrayed by his own family, he summoned mercenary troops to his aid. Though his policy, which was both daring and treacherous, might alienate his people's affection, yet it was invariably clever and adapted to his circumstances. The very means which he used, violence and tyranny, were the same as those by which the kings of the fifteenth century were victorious in their struggle against feudalism. He had already traced the outlines of the military despotism, which his successors were to fill in.

His successor Hisham I (788-796) was a model of virtue. In his reign the sect of Malik ibn Anas was started in the East, and the Emir, who had been commended by Malik, did his utmost to spread its doctrines, choosing from its members both judges and ecclesiastics. When Hisham died the sect, to which most of the fakihs (professional theologians) belonged, was already powerful. It was headed in Spain by a clever young Berber, Yahya ibn Yahya, who had ambition, enterprise and experience, along with the impetuosity of a demagogue.

Although the next Emir, Hakam, was by no means irreligious, his easy disposition, his love of the chase and of wine, brought on him the hatred of the fakihs, which was intensified by his refusing them the influence they desired. They were not sparing in their attacks upon him and used as their tools the renegados, who were called muladíes (muwallad or the adopted). The position of these renegades was uneasy; in religion they were subject to Muslim law, which punished apostasy with death and counted any one born a Muslim to be a Muslim. Socially they were reckoned as slaves and excluded from any share in the government. Nevertheless they were able to help the fakihs in bringing about a revolution.

The first rising took place in 805, but was put down by the Emir's bodyguard. Then other conspirators offered the throne to Ibn Shammas, the Emir’s cousin, but he revealed the plot, and sixty-two of the conspirators were put to death, while two of them fled to Toledo. When Hakam was reducing Merida (806), the inhabitants of Cordova rose a second time, but he successfully crushed the revolt, beheading or crucifying the leaders. Hakam now showed himself even more cruel and treacherous than before. His cruelty at Cordova was followed by a massacre at Toledo.

The Toledans were a people difficult to govern, and under the headship of the poet Gharbib, a renegade by birth, they had already caused alarm to the Emir. On the death of Gharbib he appointed as governor an ambitious renegade from Huesca, Amrus, a man subtle and dishonest, but a mere puppet in the hands of his master. He cleverly won over the Toledans, and was able to build a castle in the middle of the city, where the Emir's troops were quartered. An army under the prince Abd-ar-Rahman arrived, and the leading Toledans were invited to a banquet at the castle. Bidding them enter one by one, he had their heads cut off in the courtyard of the castle and flung into a ditch. It is impossible to fix the number of those slain on this "day of the ditch," and estimates vary between 700 and 5000.

The impression made by this slaughter kept the people of Cordova quiet for seven years. Moreover, the Emir strengthened his bodyguard with slaves known as "mutes," because they spoke no Arabic. Nevertheless discontent steadily grew among the students and theologians in the quarter of Arrabal del Sur. At length a formidable revolution broke out. In the month of Ramadan (May 814) a soldier killed a polisher who refused to clean his sword, and this act was made the pretext for the revolt. A huge mob marched in spite of cavalry charges to the Emir's palace. But Hakam with the utmost calmness ordered the execution of some imprisoned fakihs; then after this sacrilege a body of his troops set fire to Arrabal del Sur. The rebels, as he expected, rushed to the help of their families and, attacked on every side, suffered fearful slaughter at the hands of the terrible mutes. Thereupon Hakam ordered the expulsion within three days under pain of crucifixion of all the inhabitants of Arrabal del Sur. On reaching the Mediterranean, one body consisting of 15,000 families went to the East, and there after a struggle with the Bedouins seized Alexandria and soon founded an independent kingdom under Abu Hafs Omar al-Balluti. Another body of 8000 families settled at Fez in Morocco. Hakam now issued an amnesty to the fakihs and allowed them to settle anywhere in Spain, except Cordova and its neighborhood. Yahya even managed to secure his sovereign’s favor.

Hakam, relentless towards the Toledans and the artisans of Arrabal del Sur, showed towards the Arabs and Berbers who were of his own race a clemency attributed by Arab historians to remorseful conscience. Some of his verses suggest that he followed the example of Abd-ar­Rahman: “Just as a tailor uses his needle to join different pieces of cloth, so I use my sword to unite my separate provinces”. He maintained the throne of the Umayyads by a military despotism.

At Cordova his son and successor, Abd-ar-Rahman II (822-852), set a high standard of magnificence. A lover of poetry, mild even to weakness, he let himself be guided by a fakih, a musician, a woman and an eunuch. The fakih was Yahya, the leader of the Arrabal rebellion; he now dominated the Emir, who had given into his hands his own ecclesiastical and judicial functions. The musician was the singer Ziryab of Bagdad, the pupil of Harun ar-Rashid’s famous singer, Ishak of Mosul, and out of jealousy compelled by him to leave the East. On his arrival in Spain, where Abd-ar-Rahman II had just ascended the throne, he soon gained the friendship of the sovereign, thanks to his voice, his wit and his wide knowledge of history, poetry, science and art. He became the king of fashion in Cordova as well as the model of good taste, but he did not meddle in politics; they were the province of the Sultana Tarub, bound to one much like herself, the cruel and treacherous eunuch Nasr. The son of a Spaniard, Nasr could speak no Arabic and hated the Christians with the rancor of an apostate. While they governed, the monarch devoted himself to beautifying his capital, which from his time becomes a centre of art and of science for Western Europe.

The country was disturbed: there was the seven years’ war between the Maaddites and Yemenites in Murcia; there were constant risings of Christians in Merida; a rebellion, with all the characteristics of a real germanía (the later Hermandad, brotherhood), broke out in Toledo, lasting until the city was taken by storm in 837. Then came a new danger: in 844 the Northmen, who were called the Majus by the Arabs, appeared off the coast of Spain. They made a descent on the coast of Galicia and, being repulsed, moved on to Lisbon, Cadiz and up to Seville, but the Emir’s troops defeated them and drove them back across the Guadalquivir. In 858 or 859 they returned and sacked Algeciras, carrying their raids along the east coast as far as the Rhone. But they left the coast of Spain as soon as the Muslims began building vessels of the same type as theirs.

But the most formidable difficulty of all came from the Christians: the life of bandits or guerrilla warriors was now impossible for them, and in the cities the path of martyrdom lay plain before them. They were headed by Eulogio and Alvaro. Eulogio belonged to a Cordovan family who detested the Muslims, and was educated at the school of Abbot Spera-in-Deo, where he formed a friendship with Alvaro, a rich young noble of Cordova. As priest at St Zoilo his virtues made him everywhere beloved. He fell under the influence of Flora, the daughter of a Christian mother and so a Christian from birth. Flora was a bold and active champion of militant Christianity; Eulogio made her acquaintance when she escaped from prison and took refuge in the house of a Christian, after she had been accused by her brother and condemned by the cadi (Kadi) to the punishment of scourging; her personality along with her adventures greatly affected the young priest.

The fanatical hatred of the Muslims was strengthened by the punishment of the priest Perfecto, who was condemned for blasphemy and, owing to the treachery of Nasr, executed on the feast after Ramadan (18 April 850). He prophesied that Nasr would die within a year, and so it came to pass. For Tarub, who was eager to claim the succession for her son Abdallah to the exclusion of her step-son Mahomet, compromised Nasr in a plot to poison the Emir. To this end Nasr had the poison prepared by the famous doctor Harrani; but the latter told a woman of the harem, who warned Abd-ar-Rahman. Thereupon Nasr was ordered to drink the poison himself, and the mere fact of his death sufficed to canonize Perfecto. One Isaac, a monk of Tabanos, appeared before the cadi and blasphemed the Prophet, which led naturally to his martyrdom on 3 June 851; he was followed by eleven martyrs in less than twelve months. This new kind of rebellion alarmed the government, which put out a decree forbidding Christians to seek martyrdom. A Christian synod was summoned by order of Abd-ar-Rahman II, who was represented at it by his secretary or katib, Gomez, who, while indifferent to religion, was determined not to confound all Christians with fanatics. The Council pronounced against the martyrs despite the opposition of Saul, Bishop of Cordova, many members only assenting through fear of imprisonment. Eulogio fought hard against its decrees, and on this account was imprisoned with many others. In prison he again met Flora, who was there with another nun, named Maria, and had been threatened by the cadi with prostitution. Concealing his love (for such might be termed his affection for Flora), Eulogio exhorted both of them to face their martyrdom. Whilst in prison he worked feverishly at his writings so as to forget his pain, until at length he came forth to practice what he had preached to the two women.

Abd-ar-Rahman died on 22 September 852, and despite Tarub’s intrigues Mahomet I ascended the throne. A man of small intelligence, cold-blooded and selfish, he was despised generally for his avarice. But he was supported by the fakihs, who aimed at making him devout and inspired him with hatred of the Christians, whom he persecuted so terribly that, if we are to believe Eulogio, almost all abjured their faith. But the Emir's intolerance caused the Toledans to revolt; and they advanced as far as Andujar. Reinforced here by an army that Ordoño I of Leon had sent, the rebels gave battle at Guadacelete, but were terribly defeated. Mahomet continued the persecution, while Eulogio and Alvaro persisted in exhorting the people; though lukewarm in Cordova, the Christians were extremely excitable in Toledo, and secured the nomination of Eulogio to the archbishopric in defiance of the refusal of the Emir to give his consent. Mahomet made one last attack on the Toledans and reduced them to submission. Eulogio was charged with concealing an accused Christian, Leocricia, and suffered on 11 March 859. With their death this type of enthusiasm gradually died out, and this painful struggle came to an end.

To return to the Spanish side. After a struggle of twenty years Toledo was placed under the protection of the king of Leon, and extorted a treaty from the Emir who agreed to respect its republican institutions. In Aragon the Beni-Kasi, an old Visigothic family, were lords of Saragossa, Tudela, Huesca and the whole of the neighboring frontier. Throughout a reign of twenty years their chief, Musa II, who took the title of Third King of Spain, held his own. In 862 the Emir captured Saragossa and Tudela; but ten years later Musa’s sons turned out his garrisons. At this time Ibn Marwan founded an independent principality in Merida and, later, in Badajoz. In 879 an insurrection broke out in Regio under Omar ibn Hafsun. After a mingled career of robbery and warfare, he became from 884 the leader of the Spanish people in the south, where his good qualities won him general affection. Meanwhile Mahomet was succeeded (886) by his son Mundhir (886-888), who, however, was poisoned by his brother Abdallah.

Abdallah ascended the throne at a disastrous time. Besides the revolts already begun, he had to deal with the attempts of the Arab aristocracy to recover their independence. In Elvira (Granada), where there were numerous renegades, the Spaniards, whether Muslims or Christians, were called and treated as a low rabble by the Arabs. The result was a tremendous struggle between the two parties, who fought and massacred each other for many months.

Meanwhile greater events were happening at Seville. The power was divided between the Spanish party in the town, represented by the Beni-Angelino, and the Arab party in the remoter country, led by the Beni-Hajjaj and the Beni-Khaldun. At the outset of Abdallah’s reign the leader of the Khaldun was Kuraib, a treacherous but able man and a whole-hearted enemy of the monarchy. He formed a league to capture Seville and plunder the Spaniards. Under the guidance of Kuraib the Berbers of Merida and Medellin made a terrible raid on Seville. The most formidable of the bandits was a Bornos Berber of Carmona, who was named Tamashecca. Mahomet ibn Ghalib, a gallant renegade from Ecija, offered to make the roads secure if he were allowed to build a fortress near Siete Torres. He had begun his task when the Hajjaj and the Khaldun attacked his castle. The Arabs promptly revolted, captured Carmona, and so filled Seville with alarm. To satisfy them Abdallah resolved upon the treacherous execution of Ibn Ghalib. As soon as the renegades knew of the death of Ibn Ghalib, they rose to avenge him. The prince Mahomet, then at Seville, begged for reinforcements from the Beni-Angelino, who with some hesitation sent troops to hold the palace. Every moment the situation became more desperate, and it was only saved by the timely arrival of Jad, governor of Elvira. The Spanish party in Seville were afterwards almost all put to the sword by the Hajjaj and the Khaldun. It was these tribes who reaped full advantage from the position of affairs, and not the Emir, while Jad’s successors were constantly threatened and even placed under constraint.

Such was the position of affairs in Seville in 891. The rest of Muslim Spain was quite as independent. The lords of Mentesa, Medina Sidonia, Lorca and Saragossa only obeyed the Emir when it suited them. The Berbers had reverted to a system of tribal government. The renegades, however, maintained their position in Ocsonoba, in Beja and Mértola, and in Priego. The nobles in the province of Jaen were all in alliance with Omar ibn Hafsun. Another independent chief, Daisam ibn Ishak was lord of almost the whole of Todmir (Murcia).

But the Emir's most formidable enemy was still Omar Ibn Hafsun. Although the Emir made a truce, Ibn Hafsun broke it whenever he chose. When Ibn Mastana of Priego, however, formed an alliance with some Arabs, Ibn Hafsun took the side of the Emir. But as his supporters wearied of so temporizing a policy, he imprisoned the commander of the Emir's army, and thus caused a complete rupture. Realizing that he was virtually master of Spain and imagining that the Arabs and Berbers would refuse to yield him obedience, Omar entered into negotiations for his appointment as emir by the Abbasid Caliph, and through him came into touch with Ibn al-Aghlab, the emir of Africa. As Cordova was now in desperate straits, and his own position even worse, the Emir resolved to stake everything on a single cast, and with the approval of all his supporters attacked the enemy. On Thursday in Holy Week, 16 April 891, the battle began near the castle of Polei (now Aguilar). For the royalists the fortunes of the Umayyads were at stake and they fought desperately. They routed Ibn Hafsun, while Abdallah sat in his tent and hypocritically recited verses from the Koran expressing his whole confidence in God. He then laid siege to Polei, and soon took it, pardoning the Muslims but slaying the Christians.

The result of the battle of Polei was the surrender of Ecija, Archidona, Elvira and Jaen and the restoration of the Emir's authority; but their submission did not last long. In 892 Ibn Hafsun captured Archidona and Elvira; and to crown his success seized Jaen. In 893, however, he lost Elvira again; in 895 the Emir advanced against Seville, which Kuraib Ibn Khaldun successfully defended. Ibn Hajjaj, who became master of Seville, made his submission for a brief period and left his son Abd-ar-Rahman as a hostage in Cordova; shortly after he formed an alliance with Ibn Hafsun. Because he had become a Christian Omar had been deserted by many of his Muslim subjects, and he therefore gladly made a new confederacy with the Beni-Kasi of Saragossa and the king of Leon. The Emir's position was deplorable, though he succeeded in making peace with Ibn Hafsun (901). In 902 he renewed the war, which went against the allies. In hopes of detaching Ibn Hajjaj from the league Abdallah handed over to him his son Abd-ar-Rahman. Ibn Hajjaj was grateful and was reconciled with the Emir. Abdallah advanced from one victory to another. He captured Jaen, and seemed to have greatly improved his position, when he died on 15 October 912.

When Abd-ar-Rahman III, Abdallah’s grandson, ascended the throne of the Umayyads, he found Muslim Spain rent by civil war and menaced by two enemies from outside, the kingdom of Leon and the Faimite Caliphate in Africa. The latter had been founded by the Ismaelites, who were one of the Shiite sects, and aimed at forcing their way into Spain, through the preaching of the Mahdi or secret Imam, with the object of establishing a universal monarchy. One of the tools employed by the Fatimites seems to have been Ibn Masarra, a philosopher at Cordova. But though he had made proselytes among the common people, he had failed to obtain a following among the fakihs, and his books were burnt as heretical. The kingdom of Leon, although since Alfonso I it had made no real advance, now took advantage of the revolts in the south to extend its frontier to the Douro and to capture the strongholds of Zamora, Simancas, St Esteban de Gormaz and Osma, which together formed an almost unbreakable barrier against the Muslims. Leonese raids extended to the Tagus and even to the Guadiana. In 901 Ahmad ibn Muawiya proclaimed himself to the Berbers as the Mahdi. They collected an army and advanced against Zamora, which had been rebuilt by Alfonso III in 893. The Berber leaders, however, were jealous of the power of the Mahdi, who had been victorious in the first battle. They therefore deserted, with the result that Ahmad ibn Muawiya’s army perished and he himself was put to death by the Leonese. This victory, won with the help of Toledo and Sancho of Navarre, gave great impetus to progress in the latter kingdom, which had hitherto been chiefly engaged in combating the Franks. The courage of the Leonese was now raised to such a pitch that they felt strong enough to strike a blow at Muslim civilization. The life-work of Abd­ar-Rahman III was to defend that civilization from the dangers that threatened it on the north and south, but first of all he had to bring his own subjects to obedience.

In dealing with the Spanish party and the Arab aristocracy, he abandoned the tortuous policy of Abdallah in favor of a bolder one which soon won him success. In a few years everything had changed. The chiefs who fought Abdallah were dead, and the aristocracy had no leaders. The Spanish party had lost its first vigour and, although the people were patriotic, they had grown tired of war. Omar, like the Emir, began hiring mercenaries, and these troops were not too heroic, while the lords of the castles were thoroughly demoralized. The struggle had really lost its national character and was becoming a religious war. All these things told in favor of the Emir, whom everyone regarded as the one hope of safety. He vigorously opened the campaign. Within three months he had captured Monteleon and reduced almost all the fortresses of Jaen and Elvira. On the death of Ibrahim ibn Hajjaj, Ahmad ibn Maslama was appointed governor of Seville, and he formed an alliance with Ibn Hafsun. But the Emir laid siege to Seville and defeated Ibn Hafsun’s army, while Seville surrendered 20 December 913. In another campaign against the mountain land of Regio (Malaga) (914) Abd-ar­Rahman treated the Christians equitably, and this policy was eminently effective; for the commanders of almost all the castles surrendered. That indomitable Spanish hero, Omar ibn Hafsun, died in 917: he had in the last thirty years often made the throne of the Umayyads totter, but he had failed to secure the freedom of his country or to found a new dynasty; he was, however, spared the sight of his party's ruin. The revolt in Regio lasted another ten years under the sons of Omar. At length in 927 the Emir laid siege to their stronghold, Bobastro, which surrendered on 21 January 928. Ibn Hafsun’s daughter, Argentea, who was a religious devotee, died a martyr, and this was the end of the family. Abd-ar­Rahman III did not find so much difficulty in putting down the independent Arab and Berber nobles. Ibn Marwan was reduced in 930, and Toledo, the last stronghold of the revolt, followed suit in 932. Arabs, Spaniards and Berbers all submitted to Abd-ar-Rahman, who thus achieved his object, the fusion of all the Muslim races in Spain and the formation of a united nation.

In 914 Ordoño II, king of Leon, laid waste the district of Merida and captured the castle of Alanje. Abd-ar-Rahman III was eager to punish him. In 918 Ordoño II with his ally Sancho of Navarre made an attack on Najera and Tudela. Sancho captured Valtierra, but Abd-ar-Rahman’s army under the command of the hajib Badr twice defeated the Leonese at Mutonia. In 920 Abd-ar-Rahman took command of the army in person. By a clever move he seized Osma and then took other places. Meanwhile Sancho had retired, but after a junction with Ordoño II attacked Abd-ar-Rahman, who found himself in a similar position to Charlemagne’s rear-guard at Roncesvalles. At Val de Junqueras the Christians suffered a crushing defeat owing to the mistake they made in accepting battle in the plain. Abd-ar-Rahman returned to Cordova triumphant. But the Christians did not despair. In 923 Ordoño captured Najera, while Sancho seized Viguera. But in 924 Abd-ar-Rahman replied by marching in triumph as far as Pampeluna. On the death of Ordoño II, which occurred before this campaign, a civil war broke out between his sons, Sancho and Alfonso IV, while Sancho of Navarre was so far humbled that Abd-ar-Rahman had leisure to stamp out the rebellion in the south. As he had now attained the height of his ambition, he changed his title and henceforth from 16 January 929 he styled himself Caliph, Anzir al-muminin (Commander of the Faithful) and An-Nasir lidin Allah (Defender of the Faith).

In Africa he now began a more active policy, and the Maghrawa Berbers, after he had driven the Fatimites out of the central part of North Africa (Algiers and Oran), acknowledged his suzerainty. In 931 Abd-ar­Rahman occupied Ceuta, the key to Mauretania.

In the north the civil war left Ramiro II king in the end (932). This warlike monarch marched to the rescue of Toledo, which stood alone in its resistance to the Caliph. He took Madrid on the way, but failed to save Toledo which, as we have already mentioned, surrendered. In 933 he defeated a Muslim army at Osma, but the following year Abd-ar-Rahman revenged himself by a terrible raid as far as Burgos. Ramiro II formed an alliance with Mahomet ibn Hashim at-Tujibi, the disaffected governor of Saragossa.

In 937 the Caliph advanced against the allies, capturing some thirty castles. He next turned his arms against Navarre and then against Saragossa, which surrendered. Ibn Hashim was pardoned owing to his great popularity. Tota (Theuda), the Queen-regent of Navarre, recognized the Caliph as suzerain, so that with the exception of Leon and part of Catalonia the whole of Spain had submitted to Abd-ar-Rahman III.


Rise of Castile

From 939 onwards the fortune of war turned somewhat against the Caliph. Carrying out his policy of humbling the great nobles, he had given all the highest civil and military posts to the slaves, who included Galicians, Franks, LombardsCalabrians, and captives from the coast of the Black Sea; he had increased their number and compelled the Arab aristocracy to submit to them. In the campaign of 939, during which Najda the slave was in command, the nobles had their revenge on Abd-ar-Rahman They allowed themselves to be beaten by Ramiro and Tota at Simancas, and they also were responsible for a terrible defeat at Alhandega, in which Najda was killed and Abd-ar-Rahman himself narrowly escaped. Their victory did not profit the Christians, however, since Castile, under its Count Fernan (Ferdinand) Gonzalez, the hero of the medieval epic, took advantage of the Caliph's inactivity to declare war on Ramiro II.

During this period Abu Yazid of the Berber tribe of Iforen came forward to oppose the Fatimites in Africa. He declared himself a khariji or nonconformist, and united all the Berbers. He recognised Abd-ar-Rahman, to whom he gave military help, as the spiritual suzerain of the dominions which he had wrested from the Fatimites. But when Abu Yazid discarded his ascetic sackcloth for more splendid silk, and fell out with the Sunnites (orthodox Muslims), he suffered defeat from the Fatimite Caliph Mansur, and the Fatimite dynasty recovered all the territory it had lost.

The civil war in the north among the Christians ended favorably to Ramiro II. He took Fernan Gonzalez prisoner, and only set him free on swearing fealty and obedience; and forced him further to give up his county and to marry his daughter Urraca to Ordoño, Ramiro’s son. Ramiro thus lost the real loyalty of Castile, which henceforth was opposed to Leon. Ramiro II died in 951 and a war of succession broke out between his sons Ordoño III and Sancho, supported by the Navarrese and his uncle Fernan Gonzalez, who preferred his nephew to his son-in-law. Ordoño III, the final victor in the civil strife, sought peace with the Muslims, and Abd-ar-Rahman was thus left free to fight the Fatimites, whose power was increasing every day. In 955 the fourth Fatimite Caliph Muizz was planning an invasion of Spain and sent a squadron to Almeria, which set fire to all the vessels it encountered and plundered the coast. In 959 Abd-ar-Rahman replied by an expedition against Ifrikiya (Tunis), but gained no advantage. To leave himself free for Africa he had made peace with Ordoño III; but owing to Ordoño’s death in 957 and the accession of Sancho the Fat the calm was broken.

Sancho, who attempted to crush the nobles and to restore the absolute power of his predecessors, was deposed in 958, for reasons which included excessive corpulence, through a conspiracy headed by Fernan Gonzalez. Ordoño IV the Bad was elected king, while Sancho, who was supported by his grandmother, the aged and ambitious Tota of Navarre, sent ambassadors to ask the Caliph of Cordova for aid. The ambassador, whom Abd-ar-Rahman sent to Navarre, was an excellent Jewish physician who cured Sancho, while by his diplomatic ability he brought to Cordova the rulers of Navarre. They were welcomed there with a splendor that dazzled them. Abd-ar-Rahman had now at his feet not only the haughty Tota whose valor had guided her armies to victory, but also the son of his enemy, Ramiro II, the other victor of Simancas and Alhandega. To induce the Caliph to renew his attack on Leon, the unfortunate Sancho was obliged to hand over ten fortresses. With the help of the Arabs Sancho, who no longer could claim the name of Fat, took Zamora in 959 and Oviedo in 960. Afterwards he invaded Castile and took Count Fernan prisoner, while Ordoño IV fled to Burgos. At this point Abd-ar-Rahman fell ill and died on 16, October 961 at the age of seventy, after reigning for forty-nine years.

Abd-ar-Rahman III was the greatest of the Umayyad princes. He saved Andalusia not only from the civil wars but also from the possible foreign domination in the north and south. He established order and prosperity at home and imposed respect and consideration abroad. He encouraged and developed agriculture, commerce, industry, art and science; he beautified Cordova, so that it bore comparison with Bagdad, and he built beside it the city of Az-Zahra, called after his favorite wife. Outside his realm he contested the command of the Mediterranean with the Fatimites. The Eastern Emperor and the kings of Western Europe opened up a diplomatic friendship with him. To quote the very words of Dozy, our indispensable guide throughout: “But when his glorious reign comes to be studied, it is the worker rather than the work that rouses our admiration. Nothing escaped that powerful comprehensive intellect, and its grasp of the smallest details proved to be as extraordinary as that of the loftiest conceptions. The sagacity and cleverness of this man who by his centralizing policy firmly established the unity of the nation and the foundations of his own authority, who by his system of alliances set up a kind of balance of power, whose broad tolerance led him to summon to his council men of different religions, these characteristics are typical of the modern monarch rather than of the medieval caliph”.

His successor, Hakam II, was pacific, but when Sancho and Garcia of Navarre failed to fulfill their treaties with his father and Fernan Gonzalez began hostilities, he was forced to prepare for war. Meanwhile Ordoño the Bad implored the Caliph to help him against his brother Sancho, and had a splendid reception at Cordova. As soon as Sancho saw that the Caliph’s army was supporting Ordoño, he assured the Caliph that he would fulfill his obligations. Hakam therefore broke his promise to Ordoño, who soon died at Cordova. Sancho still refused to carry out the treaty, whereupon Hakam declared war on the Christians, and compelled Fernan Gonzalez, Garcia of Navarre and Sancho of Leon to sue for peace; the Catalan counts, Borrel and Miron, followed their example at the same time.

Hakam was content to leave the Christians to their internal strife. A civil war broke out, during which Sancho died of poison towards 966: he was succeeded by Ramiro III, to whom his aunt, the nun Elvira, was guardian. Under her the kingdom split into pieces. Fernan Gonzalez died in 970, and thenceforth Hakam was able to devote himself to literature, his favorite pursuit.

Under him one commanding personality fills the scene of the Caliphate. Mahomet ibn Abi-Amir, known to history as Almanzor, belonged to the noble family of the Beni-Abi-Amir, and from earliest youth he dreamt of becoming prime minister: natural ability and audacity in action made his dream a reality. From a subordinate official of the cadi of Cordova he rose at the age of twenty-six to administer the property of Abd-ar-Rahman, the son of Hakam. By his courtesy and wit he won the favor of the Sultana Aurora, became administrator of her property and shortly after inspector of the mint, in which post he made many friends. Other offices, all of them lucrative, were heaped upon him. He lived in princely grandeur and he soon became popular.

The Fatimite danger had disappeared in 969 when Muizz moved from Ifrikiya to the new city of Cairo, but Hakam had still to fight the Idrisids in Morocco, and the war opened up a connection with the African princes and Berber tribes.

Shortly afterwards the Caliph fell ill, and on 1 October 976 he died. Next day Hisham II took the oath, and his accession raised even higher the power of Ibn Abi-Amir who was made vizier, while Mukafi, the ex-vizier, was appointed hajib or prime minister.

The Christians in the north had renewed hostilities at the time of Hakam’s illness. Ibn Abi-Amir undertook the command of an army and returned to Cordova laden with plunder. This triumph made him still more popular in Cordova, and brought about a friendship between him and the commanders of the army.

Soon came the inevitable struggle between the two ministers. On 25 March 978 Mushafi was deposed and imprisoned on a charge of embezzlement. All his property was confiscated and after five years of the utmost destitution he was executed.

Ibn Abi-Amir was appointed hajib. His relations with the Sultana Aurora were much criticized in Cordova, and he had to face faction and conspiracy. When his chief enemies, the fakihs, asserted that he was given over to philosophy, he ordered all the books on that subject in the library of Hakam II to be burnt, and in this way he achieved a great reputation for orthodoxy. He had shut up the Caliph in his newly-built palace of Zahira, adjoining Cordova, and determined to reform the army. But as he could not rely on the Arabs for this task, he brought Berbers from Ceuta in Morocco, whom he loaded with wealth, and unpatriotic Christians from Leon, Castile and Navarre, drawn by high pay. At the same time he carried through the reorganization of the military system by abolishing the identity of tribes and regiments. Then, to show the superiority of the army he had created, he turned his arms against the Leonese. He invaded Leon, captured and sacked Zamora (981). Ramiro III of Leon was joined by Garcia Fernandez, Count of Castile, but they were beaten at Rueda to the east of Simancas. He then advanced against Leon, but although he reached its gates in triumph, he failed to take the city. On his return from this campaign he took the title of Al-mansur billah, “the Victorious by the help of God” (whence his Spanish name of Almanzor is derived), and had royal honors paid him. Owing to the disastrous campaign of 981 the nobles of Leon proclaimed as their king Bermudo II, a cousin of Ramiro III, who being besieged in Astorga sought the aid of Almanzor, but died soon after. Bermudo also asked his help in crushing the nobles, but after giving it Almanzor allowed the Muslim troops to remain in the country. Thus Leon ended by becoming a tributary of Almanzor. He now advanced into Catalonia and took Barcelona by storm on 1 July 985.

Almanzor’s tyranny and cruelty at home, however, were making him hated. To make good his position he resolved to enlarge the mosque at great expense. He even worked like an ordinary laborer among a crowd of Christian prisoners. Meanwhile Bermudo II drove out of Leon the Muslim troops who had been left there; but in 987 Almanzor in a terrible raid seized Coimbra and routed all who opposed his march to Leon. He captured the city and only spared one tower to show posterity its grandeur. After he had also taken Zamora his sovereignty was acknowledged by all the country, while Bermudo kept only the districts near the sea.

Almanzor, already the real ruler, aimed at being even more. For this design he had no fear of the Caliph, who was his prisoner, nor of the army which yielded him blind obedience; but he feared the nation, for whom unreasoning devotion to the dynasty was its very life, and he also feared Aurora, whose affection for him had now turned to hatred. She succeeded in inspiring Hisham II with a semblance of will and energy. She sought the aid of Ziri ibn Atiya, the viceroy of Morocco. Almanzor however managed to see Hisham, reimposed his will upon him, and persuaded the Caliph to issue a decree entrusting to him all affairs of state as formerly. Aurora acknowledged herself defeated and devoted herself to works of piety.

Ziri’s defeat at Ceuta in 998 brought about the end of his power and the transference of all his territory to the Andalusians. At the same time Almanzor attacked Bermudo II for refusing to pay tribute. He penetrated as far as Santiago in Galicia, and after a victorious march returned to Cordova with a crowd of prisoners. These carried on their shoulders the gates of the city, which were placed in the mosque, while the bells of its church were used as braziers.

In 1002 Almanzor went on his last expedition against Castile. Concerning it, the Muslim historians only mention that on his return march from the successful expedition Almanzor’s illness grew worse; that he died at Medinaceli in 1002 and was buried there.

The Historia Compostellana and the Chronicon Burgense give much the same account; the latter saying: “Almanzor died in the year 1002, and was buried in hell”. But Don Rodrigo Ximenez de Rada, Archbishop of Toledo (d. 1247), and Lucas, Bishop of Tuy (d. 1249), tell us that Bermudo II of Leon, Garcia of Navarre and Garcia Fernandez, Count of Castile, formed a league in 998 and attacked Almanzor at Calatañazor, where they inflicted a great defeat on him, and that he died afterwards at Medinaceli from the wounds he had received; and on the return of the Muslim army to Cordova a shepherd miraculously appeared, singing the famous strain: “In Calatañazor Almanzor lost his drum”. The appearance in the battle of Bermudo II and Garcia of Navarre, who were already dead, the tale of the shepherd (who was taken for the devil by Christian historians), and the fixing of the date of the battle as 998, induce Dozy to reject the story. But recently Saavedra has attempted to prove the probable truth of the legend. He argues that possibly after the withdrawal of Almanzor through his illness his rear-guard was attacked at Calatañazor; that his not accepting battle and the pursuit by the Christians to the gates of Medinaceli may have been regarded by them as a victory; the anachronisms of the narratives may be due to their having been written two centuries after the event: they failed to be accurate in date and repeated some legendary details which had already gathered round the truth.

But whether this battle was ever actually fought or no, Almanzor, the terrible foe of Christendom, was dead. He was endowed with energy and strength of character; he was idolized by his soldiers whom he led to invariable victory; his love of letters was shown in a splendid generosity; at the same time, he watched over the material interests of the country and strictly executed justice. In all that he undertook he showed a clearness of vision which marked his genius. Of his greatness there can be no doubt.

Muzaffar, Almanzor’s son, who took his father’s place, won great victories over the Christians and put down some risings. But great changes had occurred in Muslim Spain. Class feeling had taken the place of racial discord, and new sects appeared, advocating innovations in politics and religion. The people were profoundly attached to the Umayyad Caliphate and ardently desired the fall of the Amirite house of Almanzor. Such was the position of affairs when Muzaffar died (1008) and was succeeded by his brother Abd-ar-Rahman, nicknamed Sanchuelo. He was unpopular with the fakihs and lacked the ability of his father or brother, but he succeeded in obtaining from Hisham II what they had never extorted, his nomination as heir apparent. This brought to a head discontent in Cordova. While Sanchuelo was away on a campaign against Alfonso V of Leon, a revolution placed Mahomet II al-Mahdi on the throne, whereupon Hisham II abdicated. Seeing himself deserted, Sanchuelo sued for pardon, but on his return to Cordova he was slain (4 March 1009). Mahdi, who was bloodthirsty, and yet lacked courage, alienated both ‘slaves’ and Berbers. When the Berbers proclaimed another Umayyad, Hisham, on Mahdi’s passing off Hisham II as dead, he defeated and killed him. A chief, Zawi, however, rallied the Berbers, and the slain man’s father, Sulaiman al-Mustain, was proclaimed Caliph. They formed an alliance with the Castilians. Mahdi was beaten at CantichSulaiman entered Cordova, where the Berbers and Castilians committed every kind of excess; Hisham II returned, only to abdicate in favor of Sulaiman. Mahdi’s party, on their side, made an alliance with the Catalan Counts, Raymond of Barcelona and Armengol of Urgel, and defeated Sulaiman at Alkabat-al-bakar near Cordova, which the Catalans plundered. The Slaves now turned against Mahdi, murdered him, and for the third time proclaimed Hisham II in 1010. Sancho of Castile used the opportunity to recover the fortresses captured by Almanzor. The Berber opposition continued; in 1012 they pitilessly sacked Cordova, houses and palaces were destroyed, and Sulaiman was once more proclaimed Caliph. It was a war of factions, and in 1016 the Slaves entered Cordova. They sought in vain for Hisham II. Sulaiman gave out that he was dead; but apparently, he fled to Asia, where he ended his life in obscurity. The welter became more confused, till in 1025 for six months the government was in the hands of a Council of State. In 1027 the Slaves proclaimed the last of the Umayyads, Hisham III al-Mutadd. He too failed to satisfy expectations. A revolution broke out in December 1081; Hisham was taken prisoner. The viziers announced the abolition of the Caliphate and declared the government devolved on the Council of State.

Meanwhile in the Christian kingdoms a steady advance had been made. In 1020 Alfonso V of Leon summoned a council to his capital to reform the government, and there issued the fuero of Leon and other general laws. His son Bermudo III succeeded in 1027, and through his marriage with a sister of Garcia, Count of Castile, whose other sister was married to Sancho the Great of Navarre, the relations between the rulers of the three kingdoms became far more intimate. Castile, despite the occasional intervention of Leon, had been independent since the days of Fernan Gonzalez. The happy understanding which prevailed among the Christian states was broken up through the murder of Garcia of Castile. Garcia’s brother-in-law, Sancho of Navarre, seized the territories of Castile, and a dispute over the frontier led to war with Bermudo III of Leon, which was ended by the marriage of Bermudo’s sister with Sancho’s eldest son, Ferdinand, the future King of Castile. On the speedy renewal of the war the Castilians and Navarrese conquered the whole of Leon, Bermudo only retaining Galicia. Navarre then became the dominant power from the frontier of Galicia to the county of Barcelona, and Sancho ruled over Leon, Castile, Navarre, Aragon and all the Basque country. But shortly before his death he divided the kingdom among his sons. He left Navarre and the Basque provinces to Garcia, Castile to Ferdinand, Aragon to Ramiro, and the lordship of Sobrarbe and Ribagorza to Gonzalo. Bermudo III continued to reign in Galicia, but after the death of Sancho (1035) he was defeated at Tamaron by Ferdinand in 1037, who thus united under his scepter all Leon and Castile.

The counts of Barcelona who succeeded Wifred I had extended their dominions beyond the river Llobregat and, despite invasions by Almanzor (986) and his son Muzaffar, they recovered their lost territory through their intervention in the civil wars of the Muslims after the fall of the Almanzors. The breakup of the Caliphate was taken advantage of by Count Raymond-Berengar I (1035-1076), to consolidate his power.


Muslim Spain;

(1) races and classes

With the fall of the Caliphate there began for Spain the great period of Christian conquest, when the leadership passed from the Caliphate to the Christian kingdoms. The Muslim supremacy had been due partly to higher military efficiency, which was never recovered after the collapse of the Caliphate, and even more to the brilliance of its civilization compared with the backward condition of the Northern States. This Arab civilization claims especial notice.

The great variety of races in the country hindered the immediate development of Muslim civilization, and despite the efforts at union of Abd-ar-Rahman III the conflict between the different peoples and tribes still persisted. The Arabs refused to regard the Persians, Berbers and other conquered races as their countrymen, while even among the Arabs themselves Syrians, Yemenites, and other tribes were in constant feud. Inside the tribes there were freemen, divided into aristocracy and people, and slaves. Under Abd-ar-Rahman III the unbroken struggle with the emirs all but destroyed the Arab aristocracy. Its place was taken on the one hand by the middle classes, who had amassed much wealth through the great expansion of trade and industry, and on the other hand by a feudal aristocracy of military commanders. The working-men remained under the thumb of the middle classes, and owing to their economic inferiority were stirred occasionally to class hatred. The grants of lands and slaves freely given by the emirs made the dominant aristocracy the wealthiest class, and enabled it to form independent or nearly independent domains. This process may account for the fact that the Arabs and Berbers preferred the country to the cities, whose inhabitants, as in the case of Toledo, Seville and Elvira, were mainly renegades and Mozarabs.

The unfree classes were divided into peasant serfs, whose status was better than under the Visigoths, and household or personal slaves; among the latter the eunuchs who were set apart for the service of the harem enjoyed a privileged position. Occasionally they held the highest appointments, and since they had followers as well as wealth, could intervene effectively in politics. The Slaves, who were not only the soldiers but the serfs of the Caliph, held civil as well as military offices, and, as we have seen, on the fall of the Almanzor’s their political influence was decisive.

The Muladíes (Muwallad) were in an intermediate position. They were mainly descendants of Visigothic serfs who had secured freedom by their profession of Islam. As we have seen, they were viewed with suspicion by Muslims of old standing, and this bitterness caused frequent revolts. From the reign of Abd-ar-Rahman II their numbers increased owing to the frequent conversions of Mozarabs or Spanish Christians, and their influence on Muslim civilization was considerable.

The legal status of the Jews improved under the Arabs. The destructive policy of the Visigoths was succeeded by wide toleration and freedom, which was characteristic of the Muslim conquest. In particular the commercial and industrial prosperity of Cordova, which dated from the independence of the Caliph, was due to this liberal policy. The Jew Hasdai Ibn Shabrut, who was the treasurer and minister of Abd-ar-Rahman III and translated the works of Dioscorides, was famous as a diplomatist. Under his influence many of his co-religionists came from the East. They started a Talmudic school which eclipsed the schools of Mesopotamia. The Jews in Cordova adopted the dress, language and customs of the Arabs, and were consistently protected by the Caliphs.

(2) Administration and justice

The Mozarabs still kept their government and administration in their own hands under special governors (counts) who were selected by the Caliph. They still kept their defensor to represent them at the court of the Caliph. It is not known whether the curia survived; but the exceptor, who was now a tax-collector, survived, as did also the censor, who was a judge of first instance, while the count (conde) presided over the court of appeal. He still administered the code (Fuero/Juzgo) while transgressions of the law of Islam came before the Muslim authorities. The Mozarabs lived in districts apart, and apparently there was no marked distinction between the Visigothic and Hispano-Roman elements. Except for brief periods of persecution, they were treated tolerantly.

Spain was at first a province of the Caliphate of Damascus with an emir at its head. Abd-ar-Rahman I put an end to this dependent position by breaking with the Caliphate of Bagdad, although it was not till 929 that the title of Caliph was assumed by Abd-ar-Rahman III. The Caliph was the supreme temporal and spiritual head. Sometimes he was elected by the nobles, but usually it was a hereditary office. The hierarchy consisted: of the hajib or prime minister; of various wazirs (viziers) or ministers, who were responsible for the various administrative departments, such as the Treasury and War Office, though they only communicated with the Caliph through the hajib; and of the katibs or secretaries. The administrative offices together formed the diwan and there were as many offices as public services. The provinces, which were six in number apart from Cordova, were under a civil and military governor called a wali. In some important cities there were also walis at the head of affairs, and on the frontier there was a military commander.

The Caliph administered justice in person; but as a rule this function was exercised by the cadis (kadi) (and in small villages by hakims). At their head stood the cadi of the cadis, who was established at Cordova. A special judge, the Sahib-ash-shurta or Sahib-al-madina (zal-medina) heard criminal and police cases, under a procedure simpler than that of the cadi. The zabalaquen or hakim carried out the sentences of the cadi. The muhtasib or almotacén regulated police, trade and markets, and intervened in questions of sales, gambling, weights, measures and public dress. Cordova had a special judge (Sahib-al-mazalim) who was appointed by the Emir to hear complaints of breach of privilege or of offences committed by public officials; Ribera considers that the Justicia mayor de Aragon was set up in imitation of this functionary. The usual punishments were fines, scourging, mutilation and death; this last penalty applied to cases of blasphemy, heresy, and apostasy.

Besides the taxes on personal and real property (quit rents) paid by holders of khums (State-lands), there was the azzaque, a tithe of agriculture, industry and commerce, and also the customs, the head of which was called al-mushrif (almojarife). A census with statistics based on tribal organization was drawn up for the assessment of taxation, but this method of organization died out on the fall of the Arab aristocracy.

(3) Army and religion

The tribe was the unit of military organization. Each tribe rallied round its chief and its standard. The soldiers received pay at the end of the campaign at the rate of five to ten gold pieces, and the baladis, who were descended from Musa’s Arabs, were never summoned except in case of need. Campaigns were generally conducted in the spring and had the character of an algaras or raid. The object was booty and with that secured the army invariably retired from any position conquered. The commander-in-chief was called al-kaid (alcaide); the cavalry was mounted on mules and without stirrups. They used the sword, the pike, the lance and the bow, while their defensive armour consisted of helmets, shields, cuirasses and coats of mail. Their siege weapons were the same as those employed by the Byzantines.

The army underwent many changes in organization, as the Caliphs became more dependent on foreign troops, and Almanzor completed this process. He substituted the regimental for the tribal division, and thus put an end to the power of the tribal chiefs. There were, moreover, foreign elements; first the Slaves and then the mercenary Christian troops from Leon, Navarre and Castile, who became dangerous to the tranquility of the country when Almanzor’s iron grasp relaxed. The navy under Abd-ar-Rahman III, with Almeria as its chief harbor, became the most powerful in the Mediterranean. Their raids, under commanders of a squadron called the Alcaides of the fleet, extended to Galicia and Asturias, and also to Africa where they attacked the Fatimites. In fact, Muslim piracy was the terror of the Mediterranean, and it was from Spain that the colonists of Fraxinetum came. When at the end of the tenth century the Fatimite danger disappeared, the Arabs neglected their navy.

The Muslim religion is based on the recognition of one God and of Mahomet as his prophet, and the Caliph is the supreme spiritual head. But among Arabs and Berbers alike grew up many heterodox sects. These made proselytes in Spain, but were not openly professed for fear of the populace. Among orthodox Muslims in Spain the Malikites were dominant. Fervent Muslims were inclined to asceticism and were called Zahids. There sprang up regular monasteries, such as those of Ibn Masarra at Montana and of Ibn Mujahid of Elvira at Cordova, where apparently they devoted their time to the study of philosophy and other forbidden branches of learning.

The basis of Muslim law was the Koran and the traditions concerning the acts and sayings of the Prophet. These were known as Sunna. The chief collection of them, so far as Spain was concerned, was called Al-Muwatta, composed by Malik ibn Anas, and contained one thousand seven hundred cases, to which additions were made later. They had no code, properly speaking, until much later than this period; but there were special compilations including very heterogeneous subjects, such as prayer, purification, fasting, pilgrimages, sales, the division of inheritances, marriage and so on; and under Malikite influence these compilations were introduced into Spain.

(4) Wealth and industry

In the days of the Caliphs Muslim Spain became one of the wealthiest and most thickly populated countries in Europe. Cordova expanded till it contained two hundred thousand houses, and, as we have seen, was greatly embellished in the reigns of Abd-ar-Rahman II and III, who erected the palace of Az-Zahra, and under Almanzor who built the palace of Zahira : another wonderful building was the Mosque, which was begun by Abd-ar-Rahman I. Cordova was the meeting point of travelers from all over the world, who came to admire the splendour in which the Caliphs lived.

This magnificence was due to the extraordinary growth of industry and commerce. In agriculture a distinct advance was made in the number of small holders, who also stood socially higher than under the Visigoths. The Arabs rapidly assimilated such knowledge of farming as the Spaniards possessed, and added to it the agricultural experience of other Asiatic peoples. The greatest writers on agriculture were Mozarabs; but the Arabs soon learned the lesson taught them, and successfully cultivated the vine on a large scale despite the prohibition of wine. The Muslims introduced the cultivation of rice, pomegranates, cane sugar, and other Oriental products. They started or completed a system of canals for the irrigation of gardens, especially in the provinces of Murcia, Valencia and Granada, and they were devoted to cattle breeding. It is noteworthy that the laborers used the Roman and not the Arab calendar.

Mining of gold, silver and other metals was pre-eminent among industries, the mines of Jaen, BulcheAroche, and Algarve being renowned, while the rubies of Béjar and Málaga were famous. The woolen and silk weaving in Cordova, Málaga and Almería was justly celebrated, and in Cordova alone there seem to have been thirteen thousand weavers. Paterna (Valencia) carried the ceramic art to great perfection, and Almería produced glass as well as many kinds of bronze and iron vessels. At Játiva the manufacture of writing-paper out of thread was introduced by the Arabs. Arms for defence and offence were made at Cordova and elsewhere, while Toledo was famous for its swords and armour. Cordova was the home of all kinds of leather industry, and thence was derived the trade term cordobanes (cordwainers). Ibn Firnas of Cordova, according to Al-Makkari, in the ninth century invented a method for manufacturing looking-glasses, various kinds of chronometers, and also a flying machine.

This industrial movement had far-reaching commercial results. Trade was mainly carried on by sea, and under Abd-ar-Rahman III the most important sources of revenue were the duties on imports and exports. The exports from Seville, which was one of the greatest river-ports in Spain, were cotton, oil, olives and other local produce. It was peopled, as we have seen, mainly by renegades, who by devotion to business had amassed large fortunes. During the emirate of Abdallah, when Ibn Hajjaj held the sovereignty in Seville, the port was filled with vessels laden with Egyptian cloth, slaves, and singing girls from every part of Europe and Asia. The most important exports from Jaén and Málaga were saffron, figs, wine, marble and sugar. Spanish exports went to Africa, Egypt and Constantinople, and thence they were forwarded to India and Central Asia. Trade was kept up not only with Constantinople, but with the East generally, especially Mecca, Bagdad and Damascus. The Caliphs organized a regular postal service for the government. The necessities of government and of commerce compelled the Arabs to issue a coinage, which, though at first copied from Oriental models, took on later a character of its own. The gold unit was the dinar, and they also used half dinars and one-third dinars. The silver unit was the dirham, and the copper the fals (Latin, follis). In time, however, these coins went down considerably in weight and value.

(5) Language and education

The official language for the government service of Muslim Spain was classical Arabic, the language of the Koran. But the speech of everyday life was a vulgar Arabic dialect, which contained a mixture of various Latin or Romance tongues of the conquered races, and was scarcely understood in the East. Ribera, in his study of the Song Book of Ibn Kuzman, has proved that, even at the court of the Caliphs in Cordova, a vulgar Romance dialect was spoken, which was understood by the cadis and the other officials. He explains the existence of this Romance dialect by the probability that the Arabs, who formed the backbone of the army, must have married Spanish women. Ibn Bashkuwal, Ibn al-Abbar and other Muslim biographers always praise highly scholars who know Arabic. Thus among the Muslims, as among all the European peoples of that date, there was both a literary language and a language of daily speech. Just as the Mozarabs used Latin and Arabic, so the Spaniards of the North employed Latin in their documents and Romance dialects in their everyday life. There was no regular system of education, and it is only in 1065 that the first university appears at Bagdad. Up till the reign of Hakam government interest in education, according to Ribera, was limited to “maintaining freedom of instruction in opposition to the narrowness of the Malikite clergy who attempted to monopolize the teaching”. Hakam II, who was unable to travel to the East, invited Oriental scholars to Cordova, where they gave lectures but received no official recognition. At the end of his life he set aside legacies for the payment of professors in Cordova with an eye to poor students. But this only applied to religious education. The authorities intervened to test the orthodoxy of the teaching, and at first a great impulse was given to the spread of Malikite doctrines. But later the fakihs became exceedingly intolerant of all doctrine which they suspected of heterodoxy.

Primary education consisted, as in all Muslim countries, of writing and reading from the Koran, to which the Spanish professors added pieces of poetry and epistolary exercises in composition, and the pupils had to learn by heart the elements of Arabic grammar. Writing was taught at the same time as reading, and to learn writing was compulsory on all. Although education was purely a private matter, yet it was so widely diffused that most Spaniards knew how to read and write, a standard which, as Dozy observes, was still unknown in the rest of Europe. Higher education included, according to Ribera, translations, readings from the Koran and the interpretation of the text; jurisprudence, practical instructions for notaries and judges, the law of succession; branches of religious knowledge; politics, scholastic and ascetic theology; Arabic philosophy, grammar and lexicography; literature, including history, poetry, rhymed prose, stories and anecdotes; medicine, philosophy, astronomy, music, studied in an order which it is impossible to determine.

(6) Literature and science

Undoubtedly poetry was the most popular branch of general culture. Among the Arabs even before the advent of Islam every tribe had a poet, who sang the conflicts, the triumphs and defeats of his tribesmen and, according to Goldziher, had some of the characteristics of the prophet or seer. A copious literature in verse has come down to us from that period, which in its treatment of wars, horses and the wilds has always been a model and a source of inspiration. The chiefs who settled in Spain brought their poets in their train; emirs and Caliphs composed verses, while improvisation was common in the streets and roads. Even the women shared the popular taste, and some of the Caliph’s wives and slaves showed remarkable poetic skill. Moreover, the Caliphs had their court poets, to whom they paid high salaries and showed the utmost consideration. From primitive themes these writers went on to the love poem. Satire and epigram were also much in use. Besides poetry the Spanish Arabs diligently studied history and geography, but although they cultivated the short story the drama was unknown to them. Although philosophy was distrusted by the vulgar and its followers filled orthodox theologians with alarm, the highest classes were much addicted to its study in private. Some schools of philosophy, indeed, resembled secret societies. It was certainly through this movement that philosophy found its way into Europe; for the Spanish scholars, who travelled in the East, had read the works of the commentators and translators of the Greek philosophers. Thus the Spaniards served as the channel of communication with the rest of Europe and particularly influenced the development of scholastic philosophy. Astronomy, like philosophy, was viewed with suspicion by the public, and their efforts to prohibit its study were successful. Despite this fact Muslim Spain produced famous astronomers. More freedom was allowed to the study of pure and applied mathematics, and in medicine Spaniards surpassed the Oriental physicians who had learned their art from Persian Christians, and their influence on medieval medical science was profound. Natural science was another subject studied by their doctors, who were also chemists. The Jews followed attentively these systematic achievements of Arab learning, and more especially its progress in physical and natural science. They, too, influenced the rest of the West.


(7) Books and libraries

Side by side with all this progress there was a wide and enthusiastic demand for books. This was due to various causes, such as the cursive character of Arabic writing, which might be compared with the labour-saving device of shorthand, and the employment of linen paper from the earliest times, which was cheaper than papyrus or parchment. Moreover the peculiarities of Muslim life, without political assemblies, theatres, or academies, which were the characteristic features of Greece and Rome, made books their sole means of instruction. In the early days of the conquest the Mozarabs preserved their Latin traditions in a Latin form; but with the increase of educated people and the demand for men learned in Muslim law there followed the gradual introduction of books, at first only on legal and theological subjects. The renegades took up the study of their newly adopted language and religion with enthusiasm, and their influence gave fresh impetus to the general appetite for reading. The movement was slow and indecisive at first and only reached its height with the advent of Abd-ar-Rahman III. Thanks to his establishment of peace and order, learned professors, students from every country, skilled copyists, rich dealers and booksellers, flocked to Cordova until it became the intellectual centre of the West. The Royal Library was already in the reign of Mahomet I one of the best in Cordova, and Abd-ar-Rahman III added to it. His two sons Mahomet and Hakam II showed their dissatisfaction with their father’s library by each forming a separate collection, and in the end Hakam II made the three libraries into one vast collection of four hundred thousand volumes. He employed a principal librarian, who had instructions to draw up a catalogue, as well as the best binders, draughtsmen and illuminators. The dispersal of this library at the fall of the Caliphate was a disaster to the West.

Cordova had also its celebrated private libraries. Among women, too, bibliomania became the fashion, and Aisha, who belonged to the highest society in Cordova, had a notable collection, while women of the lower classes devoted their time to copying the Koran or books of prayers. The Jews, the Mozarabs and the renegades were carried away by the current, and eunuchs acquired considerable learning and even founded libraries.

“The period of these splendid achievements”, declares Ribera, the best authority, “was doubtless of short duration. After the rule of Almanzor Cordova was in the throes of civil war, and the Berbers, who formed the majority of the royal army, inaugurated a period of barbarism, plundering and burning palaces and libraries. Wealthy families migrated to the provinces; students and professors tied the capital. Then they formed teaching centers and their enthusiasm for books spread among those populations, who afterwards formed the kingdoms of the Taifas (provincial dynasties)”.

(8) The Arts 

Side by side with science and literature the Fine Arts flourished. As we have already seen, Cordova had become the leading city in Spain; the splendor of her buildings and palaces vied even with the court of Bagdad. The architectural methods adopted by the Arabs differed greatly from those of the Romanized Spaniards. The beginnings of Arabic architecture are to be found even before Islam under the Sassanids. From this source the Arabs probably derived not only the gypsum arch embellished with honeycomb cells and pyramids suspended like stalactites, but also the stuccoed walls with their reliefs and decorations which adorn so effectively the interior of Muslim houses. Byzantine influences reinforced those from the Muslim East and affected both the architecture and the scheme of ornamentation, all of which the Spanish Arabs took over bodily, just as they gave Visigothic and classical influences free play in their artistic modelling, the horse-shoe arch, later on so typically Muslim, being of Visigothic origin.

The first period in the development of Hispano-Arabic architecture covers the era of the Caliphate from the eighth to the tenth century, and of it the mosque of Cordova is the most important monument. It was begun in the reign of Abd-ar-Rahman I and the process of building went on from the eighth to the tenth century. The ground plan of a mosque is rectangular and comprises : a courtyard surrounded by a portico and as a rule planted with trees, with a fountain for the ceremonial ablutions of the faithful; one or more lofty towers of graceful proportions, called saumaa (but in Spanish known as alminares, minarets) which were used by the muadhdhin to give the call to prayer; and a covered part (cubierta) completely surrounding the courtyard and extending much farther in the direction of the mihrab or niche which faces toward Mecca, while somewhat to the right of this stands the pulpit or mimbar from which the imam offers prayer. The architectural features of the building are the arches, mainly of the horse-shoe form, though other forms such as the pointed and the lobe-shaped arch were also used, and the cupola resting on its square base; while the columns employed on the early Roman and Visigothic buildings imitated the Corinthian or composite capital, which was afterwards superseded by the Cordovese capital, that flourished until the Nasarite or Grenadine style in the last period of Hispano-Muslim architecture. The walls were ornamented with bas-relief plaques in stone or gypsum, the scheme of decoration being sometimes floral and sometimes geometrical on a background usually red or blue. The decoration showed traces of classical, VisigothicSyro-Byzantine and Mesopotamian influences.

Painting and sculpture were encouraged by the Spanish Muslims without any restriction save in regard to religion. There are some remarkable examples of representations of animals and persons, among them some glazed vessels at Elvira on which are depicted painted human figures. In metallurgy and ceramics great advances were made, but the glazed tiles or bricks belong to a later period. In bronze work mention should be made of the mosque lamps, and the chest, studded with silver plates of the period of Hakam II, which is preserved in the cathedral of Gerona. In furniture immense luxury was displayed; their carpets, silk curtains, divans and cushions gave scope to many industries. With the growth of Muslim influence, buildings for public baths multiplied and at length came to be used even more than in the days of the Romans. The difference between their family life and that of the Christians was very marked. As is well known, Muslims might have even four lawful wives and as many concubines as they could support : hence the Caliphs and the wealthy had many wives whom they kept in harems. The law gave the first wife the right to secure a promise from her husband that he would not contract a fresh marriage or take concubines. Within the house the woman was subject to the man; but she could dispose of the greater part of his property and appear in the law courts without her husband’s leave. She exercised the same authority as he did over the sons, so far as concerned their formal protection, and could obtain divorce for valid grounds. Further, the women enjoyed more liberty in their social relations than is generally supposed. They often walked through the streets with their heads uncovered and attended men’s meeting-places like the schools.

The brilliant civilization of the Caliphate naturally influenced the Christians to the North. This influence was not only due to proximity, but also, contrary to the general view, to frequent community of interests between Christians and Muslims, and especially to Christian slaves who escaped or secured their freedom and on their return home nearly always kept their Arab names. Between Christians and Muslims visits were frequently exchanged and mutual succor given in time of civil war; they traded together and inter-married not only in the lower but also in the higher classes, including royalty. Such marriages must have been very common, since the Arabs arrived in Spain not as tribes but as bands of warriors. Throughout the later wars the combatants on both sides were apparently a mixture of Muslims and Christians.

When two people come into contact the higher civilization invariably influences the other. Such indeed was the case of the Arabs in Spain and the Spaniards from the beginning of the ninth to the end of the thirteenth century, when Arab philosophy and science were at their height. In practical life Arab influence was even greater, not only in political but also in legal and military organization; and this explains why the Christians after the re-conquest of the districts inhabited by Muslims were compelled to respect existing institutions, while they set up analogous systems for the new settlers, as is proved by the charters (fueros) granted by the kings of Aragon and Castile to the conquered cities. The literary influence was not so strong. Arabic phrases were common in Leon, Castile, Navarre, and other parts; the Romance languages, which were then in the process of formation, took over a large number of Arabic terms, sometimes making up hybrid words and sometimes pronouncing the Latin words or their derivatives in the Arabic fashion. There were many Moors who understood Romance, particularly in the frontier districts, and they were called Latin Moors (ladinos) just as many Christians with some knowledge of Arabic (algarabía) were called Christians who talked a jargon (algaraviados). The Mozarabs naturally felt Arab influence even more throughout this period. The following passage occurs in the writings of Alvaro of Cordova, the companion of Eulogio, who exhorted the Cordovan martyrs : “Many of my fellow Christians read Arab poetry and stories, and study the works of Mohammedan philosophers and theologians, not with the object of refuting them, but to learn to express themselves in Arabic with greater elegance and correctness. Alas! all our Christian youths, who are winning a name for themselves by their talents, know the language and literature of the Arabs alone; they read and study assiduously their books; at huge expense they form large libraries, and on every occasion they positively declare that this literature merits our admiration”. The Muslim people in turn adopted something of Visigothic culture from the renegades and Mozarabs, particularly in language, administration and the organization of the arts. The Mozarabs still kept up their old ecclesiastical schools where, under the direction of the Abbots Samson, Spera-in-Deo and others, they carefully kept the Isidorian tradition. The Christian women, who formed an ordinary part of Arab and Berber households, must have added to the force of these influences, which, however, were never so powerful as those exercised by the Muslim over the Christian element.

But, despite the Muslim influence, Christian civilization with its Visigothic basis continued to grow along its own lines. The political unity of the Visigothic kingdom disappeared with the concentration of Christian resistance at a few isolated points, and in this period there cannot be said to be any national life; in fact, Spain has no real existence : we can only speak of Asturias, Leon, Galicia, Navarre, Castile, and Catalonia. This diversity of states, institutions and nationalities, is the characteristic feature of medieval Spain.

So far as Asturias, Leon and Castile are concerned, the distinction between slaves and freemen still continued, while the latter were subdivided into nobles and plebeians. The nobles were dependent on the king, who gave them grants of land, titles and offices, etc.; from time to time a revolt broke out among these nobles, and this gave rise to a new class of nobles, the infanzones, more immediately dependent on the king. In this period, too, first appear the milites (caballeros) free men who received certain privileges in return for military service, and also the infanzones de fuero, nobles of a peculiar kind chosen by the king from inhabitants of cities or boroughs. Some men too put themselves under the protection of nobles, giving personal services and payments in return for it; this protection was known as encomienda or benefactoria.

The serfs were divided as in the Visigothic period into those belonging to the State (fiscales), those owned by ecclesiastics (ecclesiasticos) and those who were the property of private individuals (particulares). According to their status they might be either personal property (personales) or bound to the soil (colonos). The latter were indissolubly tied to the soil (gleba) so that they were regarded as part of the land like trees or buildings, and were therefore included in contracts for sale or purchase. The status of a serf might be acquired by birth, by debt, by captivity or by voluntary assignment to a lord. These last had a higher status and were called oblati. Freedom might be recovered by manumission, which was due to the influence of Christianity and to economic necessities, by revolt or flight; hence arose a class of freedmen with special privileges and more advantages than the primitive serf. By the end of the tenth century these freedmen formed the majority of the population and were known as juniores. They spoke of themselves as tenants-in-chief (de cabeza), though they were liable to personal service, and were regarded as part and parcel of the inheritance (heredad) or ancestral demesne (solariegos); even when they worked elsewhere or lived away on an alien plot, they still paid tribute. Such was their condition as it appears in the charter of Leon at the beginning of the eleventh century ; but afterwards it steadily improved.

The king was at the head of the government, but his power varied in different cases. He combined legislative and judicial functions, and claimed the sole prerogative of coining money as well as the right to summon his vassals to war (fonsadera). There was, however, considerable variation in practice. In the lands directly dependent on the king (realengas) he had full jurisdiction over all orders, and was himself their mesne lord. But the nobles sometimes exercised over their own lands an authority that practically superseded the king’s. All the inhabitants of the domain were dependent on their feudal lord, some as serfs, others under his patronage. He collected tribute from them, he accepted their personal services; he compelled them to go out on military duty; in a sense he dictated their laws and divided the functions of government between the judex, mayordomusvillicus, and sagio who presided over the concilium. He could not extend his privileges over lands newly acquired without the express leave of the king. The powers of the king over the lands of ecclesiastical vassals were also limited, while the ecclesiastics had the advantage of setting down their privileges in written documents. Their duties as well as their rights were on the same footing as those of secular feudatories. The nobles, bishops and abbots could often interfere in lands which were exempt from aristocratic or ecclesiastical control. They were members of the Palatine Office (oficio palatino) as well as of the Royal Council and the other councils. They kept in their hands the government and administration of the districts, called commissa, mandationestenentiae, etc., and in their capacity of counts they were assisted by a vicar and the council of neighbors (conventus publicus vicinorum). Such powers intensified their turbulent spirit. They imposed their policy on the crown, interfered in the struggles for the succession, and consequently the monarchy found in them the strongest force in the country. But despite all this there was no feudal hierarchy as in France and Germany, since they exercised all their privileges by the favour of the king.

Leon and Castile; their nobles and towns

In Leon and Castile we can trace the rise of behetrías or collective benefices “groups of free men who sought the protection of a powerful lord”. If they might freely choose their own lord, they were known as behetrias de mar a mar, but if their choice were restricted to one family, they were called de linaje a linaje. They were never very vigorous, owing to their dependence, but in the tenth century they gave rise to the chartered town or concejo which comprised “the inhabitants who had been conquered by the king and were attached to the royal domain, as well those who had recently settled there and were exempt from the jurisdiction of the counts. The reason for the establishment of concejos was the necessity of populating the frontier. Since no one would live there owing to its insecurity, the king had to attract inhabitants for chartered towns by granting them privileges. Sometimes all who entered them were declared free men, even if they sprang from the lowest serfs; sometimes they were exempted from services and contributions; sometimes they were allowed some political independence and self-government; sometimes the existing practices and customary exemptions were recognized. These privileges were definitely set forth in the fuero or charter of the inhabitants (carta de poblacion); of those that have come down to us the charters of Burgos, Castrojeriz, etc., date from the tenth, and those of Najera, Sepulveda and Leon from the beginning of the eleventh century. As a rule the organization of the chartered town depended on the formation of the concilium (concejo) or assembly of neighbors, which exercised judicial and administrative functions. The Council appointed every year a judge, several assessors, clerks of the market and inspectors, who were entirely dependent on its goodwill. Such were the beginnings of municipal life. Its growth was marked by the gradual absorption by the concilium of the powers and prerogatives, which had once belonged to the king and the count; but the king still kept the right to appoint judges who continued side by side with those elected by the council. There were usually distinctions between greater and lesser members of the concejo, between nobles (infanzones) and citizens, between holders of office (honoratii) and simple neighbours (vicini), the villagers or townsmen.

Legislation had other sources besides the Fuero Juzgo through the new charters granted by the king. The municipality exercised jurisdiction according to custom and tradition in cases which were not expressly included in their charter. Further, the fueros of the bishop and the lords contributed an element to the legislation of the period, just as did the municipal councils.

The inhabitants of Leon and Castile lagged far behind the Muslims in point of material comfort. Agriculture, limited as yet by the bare necessities of life, was fostered by the Benedictine monks alone, and for the most part the population confined its energies to war. Industries, however, sprang up at Santiago de Compostela in Galicia round the shrine of St James, and craftsmen began to organize gilds. The salt industry, too, was kept up in Galicia. But there was less freedom of trade than in the preceding period, and taxation generally took the form of duties imposed on the necessaries of life. Money was scarce, and Roman and Gothic types of coin were still current. The official language was Latin; but Romance was already a formed language, although there are no documents extant in the vulgar tongue till the end of the eleventh or the beginning of the twelfth century.

Scarcely anything is known of Aragon and Navarre at this period. In Catalonia, a West Frankish fief, the Franks exercised a profound influence on the organization of society. Here the counts were landowners, who granted or leased out their lands, and this practice gave rise to the copyholders (censatarios), the viscounts and other subordinates of the count. Later, the grant of lands by the king to soldiers, whether in the shape of alods or in that of beneficia, led to the formation of a fresh group of free owners. Thus the nobility of Catalonia acquired the full powers of French feudal seigneurs. The common law of all three realms was the Fuero Juzgo, to which Catalonia added the Frankish capitularies. There were also charters for towns in Aragon and Navarre, but their text has not come down to us, while the fuero of Sobrarbe is generally regarded as a forgery. In Catalonia there are extant the fuero of Montmell, the town charter of Cardona given by Wifred, and the privilege of Barcelona granted by Berengar-Raymond I.

The history of Spain, so far traced, is very different from that of other Western countries. No land is more marked out by its mere geography and local separations as the very home of rival kingdoms. It fronts towards the sea, and it looks towards Africa: if it borders upon modern France, it is yet separated from it by the almost impassable Pyrenees. It still bore the imperishable marks of Roman rule: it had been flooded by the Teutonic invaders when the Empire fell, and it had been by them even more closely joined to Africa. Then it was again marked out from the rest of Europe by the Muslim conquest, and Spain gave a rival to the Eastern Caliphate just as the Franks gave a rival to the Eastern Emperor. In itself the Iberian peninsula was split up by many mountain ranges, and marked by startling variations in climate and soil : it had a unity compatible with the strongest local divergencies. Thus it was destined for a history strangely apart from other lands : if at times it drew to itself outside races and outside influences, these in their turn were molded into types among themselves both akin and separate. So, if splendid, it was always weak through its many divisions, and many contests between Berbers and Arabs, and of Arabs among themselves. The history of Arab civilization in Spain intertwines itself in many links with medieval learning, science and thought, while the presence of a rival race and rival creed at its very doors gave a special tinge to Spanish fervor and Spanish faith. In the field of thought, even in constitutional experiments, Spanish history has thus from early times a significance far greater than that of its mere events. Even after its splendor had reached its height the influence of the Moorish kingdom was not ended. Small Christian states, separated from each other by physical conditions, had been born in conflict with it, and were sometimes united in enmity against it, sometimes at strife in contest for its alliance. Thus the later Spanish kingdoms were growing up, but their day was yet to come.