Page:EB1911 - Volume 25.djvu/563

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542
[HISTORY
SPAIN


but a great belt of desolation separated it from the regions in which the Moslem were fighting out their own quarrels. Alphonso swept all through that region, already more than half depopu- lated, slaying the lingering remnants of the Berbers, and carrying back the surviving Christians to the north. Behind that shield of waste the Christian kingdom developed; from the death of Alphonso I. to the reign of Ramiro II. (931-950) it was subject to no serious attack, though raids on the frontier never ceased. Norse pirates appeared on the coast in the 9th century, but made no permanent settlements. As the population grew, it pushed down to the plain of Leon and Castile. The advance is marked by the removals of the capital forward from Cangas de Ona to Oviedo, from Oviedo to Leon, and by the settlement of adven- turous frontier men in the ancient Bardulia, which from their " peels," and towers of strength, gained the name of Castilla — the castles. Burgos became its centre. The Montana (hill country) of Burgos, and in particular the district called the Alfoz of Lara, was the cradle of the heroes of the Castilian share in the reconquest — the count Porcellos, and the judge of the people, Lain Calvo, the infantes of Lara, the bastard Mudarra, and Ruy Diaz of Bivar, in whose lives legend and history are mingled beyond disentanglement, and of whom some are pure figures of romance. By a process which was going on elsewhere in Europe the frontier settled into a new political organism. As the Marca Hispanica on the east became the county of Barcelona, so the chiefs of Bardulia became the counts of Castile, then the count of Castile, the rival of the king at Leon, and in time the king of Castile, and head of Christian Spain.

There is much in the internal history of that kingdom which stands apart from the general development of western Europe, from which it was shut out. In all the long period from Pelayo to Ramiro II. only one event occurred which had much tendency to bring the Christians of the north-west into close relations with their neighbours of the same faith north of the Pyrenees. This was the discovery, or, in strict ecclesiastical language, the " invention " of the body of St James the Apostle in the reign of Alphonso II. the Chaste (789-842). The shrine at Santiago in Gallicia was accepted in an age when evidence and criticism were words of no meaning, and it attracted pilgrims, who brought trade. But, apart from this opening for foreign influence, the Christians were left to develop their order untouched by alien examples, and they developed from the Visigoth monarchy. The men who raised Pelayo on the shield believed themselves to be electing a successor to Roderic, and indeed they were. They continued for a time to call themselves Goths, and to claim Gothic descent, which had become for them very much what descent from the companions of the conqueror was to Englishmen of the 14th or 15th centuries and later — another name for nobility of blood. There was the same king possessing theoretically almost absolute power, both administrative and legislative; the same nobles who limited his effective power by rebellion, their constant effort to keep the crown elective, and his no less steady, and by the 10th century victorious, effort to make it hereditary; the same distinction between the few free, who are also the rich owners of land, and the many serfs, who are partial bondsmen, or the slaves pure and simple. But the fact that every arm was needed for the raids on the frontier, and to provide settlers who should also be garrison for the regained lands, worked for freedom. The serf, who was also a soldier, revolted against bondage. The chief who had to " people " a new and exposed township had to tempt men by freedom and secure rights to follow his banner. The influences which by the r3th century had abolished serfdom in western Spain were all at work before the reign of Ramiro II. In spite of revolts and of fratricidal struggles a state was formed. To the east of it, the Navarrese, having rid themselves of the Carolingian counts and marchers, had made a kingdom in their mountains, and beyond them the little free territories of the central Pyrenees were advancing, in subordination to the Navarrese king at Pamplona. The Arab called them the Christians of Al Frank, and distinguished them from the Gallicians.

The 10th century and the first years of the nth saw a great


set-back of the Christian revival. Dissensions among them- selves coincided with an energetic rally of the Moslem power. From the foundation of the amirate by Abdur- jj, ejna . rahman I. (758-7^0) to the beginning of the reign of hpmmedan Abdurrahman III. (912-961) Mahommedan Spain had Amirate. shared the usual fortunes of an Oriental monarchy. p " iod ° f A strong amir, such as Abdurrahman I. or his grandson Hakam I. (796-822), could enforce obedience by arms, or by murder, but it was the rule of the most pugnacious and the hardest hitter. Even with him it was often only apparent. On the upper frontier, which is now Aragon, the " Visigoth " Beni-Casi ruled, doing homage and paying tribute intermittently, supported by a loyal population of native Mahommedans, whose Christian or nominally Christian fathers had been their fol- lowers before the conquest. The " Moors," so called, who afterwards filled the kingdom of Aragon were of native blood. Toledo, relying on the immense military strength of its position, was more often in rebellion than in subordination. The mas- sacre which Hakam I. effected by a lavish use of fraud cowed it only for a time. Abdurrahman III. found it independent again when he came to the throne, and had to besiege it for two years before it yielded. The renegades grew in numbers, and in faith. Under the influence of orthodox Berber teachers their fanaticism was turned against the amir himself. Hakam, a winebibber much suspected of heterodoxy, had to expel thousands from his capital. Part went to people the town of Fez, newly founded in the Morocco, by the Idrisites. Part wandered eastward to found a Mahommedan state in Crete. Under the stimulus of Berber fanaticism the toleration first shown to the Christians was turned to persecution. A counter fanaticism was aroused in them, and for years the " Martyrs of Cordoba " continued to force the often reluctant cadis to behead them, by blaspheming the Prophet. The relations of the amir to the Christian bishops were very much those of the Ottoman sultan to the Greek patriarch. There were Spaniards who, like the Greeks of the Phanar, were the servile instruments of their Moslem master. Under Abdurrahman II. (822-852), who spent his life listening to a favourite and highly accomplished , Persian tenor and in the company of dancing girls, and under Mahommed I. (852-886), the niggardly Mondhir (886-888), whose time was short, and Abdalla (888-912), who was feeble, the amirate was torn to fragments.

From this state of anarchy the amirate was saved by Abdur- rahman III. (912-961), the Akbar of his race. He came to the throne when half a century of war and murder had p ev iy a i produced exhaustion. The country was swarming under Ab- with brigands, and the communications were so durrahmaa dangerous that seven years had been known to pass ' during which no caravan travelled from Cordova to Saragossa. There was a disposition on all hands, save among the irrecon- cilable Christians of the Sierra de Ronda, to accept peace under a capable master. The Arabs were beaten down, and the renegades had gained most of what they fought for when the aristocracy was cowed. Abdurrahman III., an Oriental ruler of the great stamp, industrious, resolute, capable of justice, magnificent, and free handed without profusion, was eminently qualified to give all that his people wanted. The splendour of his reign is a commonplace. He restored order even in the Ronda, and then he took the field against the Christians. He obeyed the rule which has called upon all the intelligent governors of Spain to make sure of the African coast by occupying it. He saw the Christian princes of the north become his vassals and submit to his judgment in their quarrels. But within a period not so long as his own life his dynasty was extinct and his kingdom in fragments.

Hakam II. (961-976), Abdurrahman's son, ascended the throne in mature years, and continued his father's policy. A lover of books, he gave protection to writers and thinkers who were not strictly orthodox. From his Christian neighbours he had nothing to fear. The anarchy which broke out in the north- west, the kingdom now called Leon, on the death of Ramiro II. I — whose sons fought among themselves — and the endless