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The German Empire and the Papacy (843-1122); The Moors and Christians in Spain; the Byzantine Empire; the Rize of the Italian Re page 2

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We now turn to the Moors and Christians in Spain, to view conflicts between the two faiths, and to survey the civilisation introduced by the Arab conquerors of Andalusia. The caliphate of Cordova, in the 9th century, fell into a state of anarchy due to the revolt of Arab governors, the hostility of Spanish renegades, or Mohammedan Spaniards, to the central power, and the brigandage of Berbers who had become independent in the western districts such as Estremadura and the south of Portugal. From this evil condition the land was quickly and completely rescued through the succession, in 912, of the young Abd-er-Rahman III. to the sultanate. He was already popular from his handsome person, dignified demeanour, graceful manners, and mental powers, and he was now to show, in a series of campaigns, his possession of the qualities of an able warrior. His march through rebellious regions was in some cases a triumphal progress. City after city opened its gates; the Berbers were overcome; the Christians of Regio, dwelling among the mountain-fastnesses of the Sierra Nevada, were brought to submission; and by 930 the surrender of Toledo, the last seat of rebellion, placed him in full possession of his dominions. Abd-er-Rahman, ruling with justice, tolerance, and enlightened views, was a beneficent despot who brought back peace and plenty to a long-suffering land. He had a large standing army, with a choice bodyguard of foreigners - Franks, Slavs, Lombards, and men of many other races - purchased as children from Greek and Venetian traders, and educated in the faith of Islam. These men were, in fact, like the famous Mamluks of a later time in Egypt and Syria. They had their own slaves under them, and held estates granted by the Sultan, being thus like feudal retainers in other countries. With forces including this special corps, the Sultan had not only made an end of rebellion and brigandage, but had gained successes over the Christians in the north. In 920 he totally defeated the combined armies of Navarre and Leon, and after further successes Abd-er-Rahman III. set aside openly his supposed allegiance to the effete rulers at Bagdad, by assuming, in 929, the title of "Caliph," with the addition of words meaning "Defender of the Faith of God." For 30 years more he ruled with wisdom in civil affairs, waging constant war against the Christians, and sustaining from them in 939 a tremendous defeat, in which he lost many thousands of men and barely escaped with his life. The blow was not followed up, and while the victors were quarrelling among themselves the Caliph recruited his army, and was soon again ready for the foe. In 961 the great Caliph died, after a reign of nearly 50 years, during which he had effected a complete change. He had curbed the growing power of the Christians of Leon, Castile, and Navarre; he had made Andalusia great and happy, and had acquired a fame for wisdom, power, and- resources which extended to three continents, and brought envoys to his court from the emperor at Constantinople, and from rulers in France, Germany, and Italy. This eminent Mussulman was not less distinguished by mildness and generosity than by strong intellect, strict justice, warlike courage, religious zeal, and love of science and learning.

The beauty and brilliancy of Cordova in those days illustrate the marvellous civilisation attained by the Moors in the 10th century, at a time when our English forefathers lived in wooden houses and trod upon straw, when the language was unformed, and reading and writing were unknown except to ecclesiastics. The city covered many square miles of ground, and the banks of the Guadalquivir were adorned with houses of marble, mosques, and gardens showing the rarest flowers and trees of other lands. The Arabs brought into the country their own system of irrigation, and the exotic plants and trees were watered from the mountains by means of leaden pipes bringing the pure liquid to basins of silver, inlaid brass, and even of gold, and to lakes, tanks, fountains, and reservoirs of marble. A splendid bridge of 17 arches across the calmly flowing river showed the skill of the Arabs as engineers, and the city, at the height of its prosperity, contained 50,000 houses of the noble, official, and wealthy classes; more than double that number of the mass of the people; 700 mosques; and 900 public baths, essential for Mohammedans whose cleanliness, a part of their religion, was in the strongest contrast to the saintly dirt of Christians in that age. It is interesting to know that these and all other public baths were afterwards destroyed by order of Philip II., as "relics of infidelity." The chief mosque still displays much of its marvellous beauty in countless columns, rare stones, and glass mosaics. Cordova was at this time the centre of European culture, sought by students from all quarters in search of the knowledge which could there be best supplied.

It is remarkable that the devotees of a religion whose holy book contains not a single precept encouraging the study of science or literature, became, after their period of conquest, in their days of repose and wealth, the possessors and promoters of high culture at a time when the Aryan races of Europe were in the depths of the "dark ages." At Bagdad the Caliphs Almansor and Haroun-al-Raschid invited learned men from all countries to their courts, and treated them with princely munificence. The works of the chief Greek and old Persian writers were translated into Arabic, and spread abroad in numerous copies. Under Al-Mamun excellent schools were founded in Bagdad, Basra (Bassora), and Bokhara, and great libraries were formed at Bagdad, Alexandria, and Cairo. Greek philosophy, especially that of Aristotle, became known then in Europe through translation from the Arabic into Latin, when few European schokrs could read the Greek original. In science the Arabs or Moors of Cordova were proficient in zoology, botany, chemistry, and astronomy; and in geography, while the scholars of the Western and Eastern Empires believed the earth to be flat, the teachers in the preparatory and upper schools of Cordova and other cities in Andalusia were giving instruction from globes. It was the Arabs who first built in Europe observatories for astronomical study, and we have a fact pregnant with meaning in that the Spaniards who boasted of driving the Moors out of Spain turned such a tower at Seville into a belfry, because they could make nothing else of it. Bigotry and superstition have had much to do with the present backward condition of the country once glorified by Moorish enlightenment.

Among the great names of the period are those of Averroes of Cordova, the translator and expounder of Aristotle, and Avicenna, born near Bokhara, another commentator on Aristotle and a writer on medicine and geometry. The mathematical learning of the Arabs was derived from the Greeks and the Hindus, translations being made from Euclid, Archimedes, and other writers. Their arithmetic, with the figures still in use and the decimal system, was derived from India, and modern Europe had its first knowledge of algebra from the same source, mainly through Ben Musa, who lived under the Caliph Al-Mamun (813-833). The science of mathematics was simplified and extended by the Arabian professors, who translated the Almagest of the Greek Ptolemy, the first regular treatise on astronomy, early in the 9th century, made discoveries on the true line of the earth's orbit, and noticed the obliquity of the ecliptic. In all parts of the Saracenic empire there were medical schools, cultivating knowledge of Hindu origin, though the students were debarred from progress in anatomy by the Koran's prohibition of dissection. In historical geography much valuable information is due to Arabian travellers in and writers on Africa, India, China, Russia, and other parts of the world. Chemical pharmacy was created by the Arab alchemists, the pioneers of scientific chemistry, men who, toiling over their crucibles and alembics (stills), discovered by the way the chemical properties of substances, as- they worked with mercury and gold, salts and acids, sulphur and arsenic, and furnished us with the terms alcohol, alcali, borax, and elixir. In architecture Saracenic art developed the horseshoe shape of arch from the ancient Eastern pointed form, and the fantastic sculptured and painted decoration called " arabesque," a mode of enrichment much used both by the Greeks and Romans, but rendered more elaborate in the complex combination of botanical and geometrical forms employed by artists whose religion forbade the introduction of animal figures. Nothing more graceful than the domes and minarets and gateways of Arab architecture has ever been devised. The visitor to the Crystal Palace on the heights at Sydenham may see, in the Alhambra Court, a good reproduction of the exquisite building at Granada, a palace of the old Moorish kings, within the ruined fortress styled "Alhambra," or "the red castle," whose turreted walls look down on one of the richest and loveliest plains in the world. The stone lacework of the original building, richly coloured in the three primary hues - red, green, and blue - scattered over all the architectural work, is an arrangement of Arabic poetry and verses from the Koran. Nor were the Moors of Spain less skilled in manual arts than in intellectual pursuits. Andalusia had workmen of high excellence in making silks and carpets, and the Italian "Majolica" pottery had its name from the Moorish ware of Majorca, where the workmen produced pottery shining with iridescent gold or copper hue. The early specimens of Italian manufacture were simple copies from the Moorish, painted with arabesque patterns in yellow and green upon a blue ground. Almeria, a very populous and flourishing town on the south-east coast, great in the arts, industry, and commerce, the chief port of trade with Italy and the East, was famous for vessels of glass, iron, and brass. Beautiful jewellery in silver-gilt adorned with pearls, sword-hilts, keys, ivory-carving of much delicacy, chased bronze, filigree-work, Toledo sword-blades, fine armour - all these, in extant specimens, prove the skill of the Moorish artisans. Here we must close our scanty contribution towards payment of the great European debt, never yet fittingly acknowledged, to these Mohammedan conquerors of Spain.

Hakam II., son and successor of Abd-er-Rahman III., was a peaceful studious personage, and the Mohammedan cause against the Christians was sustained by his very able and energetic minister Almanzor, who became the virtual ruler of all Mohammedan Spain, ridding himself of all rivals with unscrupulous skill. He reformed the military force, won the devotion of the troops by liberality combined with strict discipline, led them to battle and booty in many successful campaigns against the Christians of the north, kept a keen eye on all departments of administration, and before his death in 1002 brought Andalusia to its highest point of glory. A time of anarchy then came for, nearly a century - a time of revolution; tumults and massacres and plunder in beautiful Cordova; the rise of independent petty dynasties in many provinces or towns; devastation by the Berbers and the revolted corps of "Slavs." The Christians did not fail to take advantage of this state of affairs. Alfonso III., whose reign of 44 years ended in 910, had by his valour and firmness secured, for many years, the Christian hold upon Asturias, Biscay, Galicia, northern Portugal, and a large part of Navarre. He won many victories over the Moors, and left the territory with the name of the "kingdom of Leon," called from the new capital, a city in the open plain, half-way between the sea and the Douro. The assumption of this position showed a great advance for the Christians, who had long been sheltered in mountain-regions. Then, after suicidal warfare between the new kingdom and the rising Christian realm Castile, came the conquering career of Almanzor, and in 996 the capital, Leon was taken, with the slaughter of all the people. Another turn of fortune was seen in the helpless state of Andalusia as above described. Leon was rebuilt, and peace was made with Castile. Sancho, king of Navarre, became master of Castile in 1026, in right of his wife, and was on the way to form a united Christian kingdom of Spain by the conquest of Leon when his death in 1035 threw all into the confusion of strife between his three sons. At last Alfonso VI. became king of Asturias, Leon, and Castile, and won much territory from the Moors before his utter defeat, in 1086, by some new Berber possessors of southern Spain, a sect of fanatics, called the "marabouts" or saints, the Almoravides of Spanish writers. They had crossed over from the dominion which they had acquired in Africa, extending from Algiers to Senegal, and by 1102 they were masters, under their king Yusuf, of all Mohammedan Spain, with the exception of Toledo. These savage Berbers were men of most austere character, haters of all philosophy and culture, cruel persecutors of Jews and Christians, but stern maintainers, at first, of law and order. Then they, like the Romans and the Visigoths centuries before, became corrupted by prosperity, and in 20 years' time had lost all martial power. The Mohammedan empire was falling to pieces under the assaults of the Christians when the people rose and drove the Almoravides from the land, and the Almohades, another sect who had conquered the African territory, became masters of Andalusia about the middle of the iath century. To the period of warfare between Moors and Christians in the 11th century belongs the story of the famous fighter called by the Moors Sid-i, or "my lord," turned by the Spaniards into Cid. This hero of poetry and romance, the central figure of mediaeval Spain, was really named Rodrigo, or Ruy, Diaz, being by birth a Castilian noble, and through his daughters an ancestor of the royal lines of Castile, Bourbon, Hapsburg, and Brunswick. He was by no means a faultless character, but an unscrupulous leader of mercenaries, who fought for pay or plunder, and could be at times rapacious, cruel, and deceitful. He was, however, immensely outnumbered by the Moors, and could only keep his army together by making plunder a primary object of his warfare. He was a born leader of men, a most gallant warrior, and a thorough patriot at heart, whom a contemporary and foe, a Moorish writer, describes as "the scourge of his time, and, in his love of glory, strength of character, and heroic courage, one of the marvels of the Lord. Victory always followed his banner - God's curse be on him." His surname Campeador, added to Cid, means "champion," or strictly "challenger," on account of his prowess in the single combats which often preceded a general engagement. He died in 1099 of grief for the defeat of some of his troops by the Moors.

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