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SPAIN (1034-1248)


The period of Spanish history between 1034 (the date when the Caliphate of Cordova fell) and 1248 (when Seville was taken by Ferdinand III, King of Castile) is marked by such distinctive characteristics as to warrant its separation from the ages which preceded it, and such as gave a new bent to the political and social life of the Peninsula.

Up to 1034 the Muslims were in the ascendant and took the lead in Spain in political and economic life and in civilisation. Subsequently these advantages passed for the most part to the Christian States to their great benefit. This change is accounted for by two fundamental causes. The Western Caliphate was destroyed by the action of internal elements of disintegration; but its strength had lain chiefly in that unity which, when opposed by the military power of the Christians, had presented a united front rich in resources and directed by skilful and energetic leaders. When unity of action and co-operation were lost, not only was the power of attack gone, but also that of resistance to the blows of the enemy. On the other hand, the Christians had gained by the natural accumulation of strength in the course of time (the three centuries after the Arab invasion), the gradual establishment of security in a great part of the reconquered territory, and the development of economic resources resulting from the increase in population, agriculture, and commerce. Moreover, in the literature of the period and in actual social conditions there is evident an intensification of religious sentiment and of political opposition, both tending to stimulate the struggle against the Muslims and heighten the work of reconquest.

These two causes combined to render the period we are considering that of decisive victories for the Christian States. In spite of reverses, some of them severe, Toledo, Valencia, Las Navas, Murcia, the Balearic Islands, Cordova, Jaen, and Seville mark the rapid successive stages of the Christian advance towards the South, and as numerous factors of civilisation and wealth became absorbed into the life of the Spanish States thus augmented in territory, population, and resources, there appeared (at the close of the period under consideration and in that immediately following) splendid expressions of the Spanish genius, now so enhanced.

It is therefore strictly in consonance with the facts to shift the centre of interest in the history of the Peninsula from the Muslim to the Christian States? which were henceforth predominant and in which the different parts (kingdoms or independent counties) combined to form larger and mightier political groups.

Three years after the extinction of the Caliphate of Cordova in name and in fact, Ferdinand I of Castile united in his person the two crowns of Leon and Castile (1037); a little later, in accordance with a tendency which is very marked in Spanish history, and which perhaps originated in a subconscious realisation of the diversity of races and of their destinies, he refused to add to his dominions the kingdom of Navarre, notwithstanding the defeat he had inflicted at Atapuerca (1054) on his brother Garcia, King of Navarre, who fell on the battlefield. This war had, indeed, been provoked not by the ambition of Ferdinand but by that of Garcia, who wished to deprive his brother of the crown of Castile-Leon; but it is none the less singular to find a medieval monarch refusing to accept so tempting a prize. On the other hand, it is obvious that Ferdinand was concerned because the success of hs reign was menaced by the opposition of the Leonese, occasioned not only by the defeat of their former king, Bermudo, but also, and probably still more, by the persistent feelings of hostility which had always separated the Castilians from the Leonese, and which are reflected in contemporary popular literature. Ferdinand’s chief political significance may be found in his policy against the Muslims. He was above all a chieftain of the Reconquest, and circumstances favoured him.

The collapse of the Caliphate of Cordova had given rise by subdivision to several independent kingdoms governed by the most prominent person­ages of the army and of the Muslim aristocracy in the various regions. There were as many as twenty-three of these kingdoms, extending over a wide area from Aragon in the north and Valencia in the east to Andalusia and Murcia in the south and the former Lusitania in the west. They were called the kingdoms of the Taifas, from an Arabic word equivalent to “people” or “tribe.” The natural ambition of each of these chiefs was to restore under his own rule the unity of the fallen Caliphate; which, in conjunction with the old political and social enmity between the Slaves and Berbers, gave rise to desperate struggles between them, more especially between the Kings of Granada, Malaga, and Seville, who were among the most powerful.

At Seville, the political power had been seized, under the outward form of a republic, by the Cadi Abul-Qasim Muhammad of the family of the Abbadites, a man possessing all the necessary qualities for obtaining ascendancy. He was first of all successful over his colleagues of the aristocratic Committee or Senate which governed the city and territory of Seville; then he made use of a stratagem often resorted to in the Muslim world, which consisted in the presentation of a false Hisham II as a refugee in Seville, claiming the supreme power as rightfully his. The fraud was successful in Seville, and the Muslim Kings of Valencia, dDenia, Tortosa, Carmona, and even the aristocratic republic of Cordova, were also duped. This enabled Abul-Qasim, who had been appointed Prime Minister by the false Hisham, to open hostilities against Yahya, King of Malaga, chief of the Berbers, whom he crushed, and against Badis, King of Granada, who succeeded Yahya as leader of the Berber party.

Abul-Qasim died in 1042, and his son Abbad, surnamed Muffadid, (still as minister to the false Hisham) continued the policy of territorial expansion by the capture of several cities and territories bordering on modern Portugal (Mertola, Niebla, Santa Maria de Algarve), and near Malaga and Cadiz (Ronda, Moron, Arcos, Jerez, Algeciras), meanwhile still prosecuting the war with Badis and greatly reducing the power of the King of Badajoz. By these means in 1058 Mu‘tadid was master of all the southwestern portion of the former Caliphate, and was supported by his alliance with the Kings of Valencia and Benia.

It was, nevertheless, evident that the military power of the Muslims was much enfeebled. On the other hand, the union of Castile, Leon, and Galicia under Ferdinand I had increased the power of this king, who with his warlike disposition and desire for conquest did not fail to seize the opportunity. He first attacked the northern regions of modern Portugal, i.e. those farthest from Seville, quickly seizing Viseu and Lamego (1057). He next turned eastward and advanced on the territory of the Muslims of Aragon, taking some fortresses south of the Douro which belonged to the King of Saragossa. Finally, he advanced to the south against the King of Toledo, his troops penetrating as far as Alcala de Henares, along the line of the Henares, a tributary of the Tagus. The result of these victories, combined with an offensive on Andalusian territory towards Seville (1063), was that Mutadid and the Kings of Badajoz, Toledo, and Saragossa became Ferdinand’s tributaries, thus recognising his military ascendancy. The situation of the time of Almanzor was exactly reversed. Moreover, Ferdinand’s campaigns continued. In 1064 he captured the city of Coimbra to the south of Viseu, where he took over five thousand prisoners, and he waged war on the King of Valencia, whom he vanquished at Paterna, almost at the gates of the Muslim capital in the east. He only failed to capture the city itself owing to an illness which compelled him to withdraw. Shortly afterwards he died at Leon (1065), having smitten the Muslim power on all his frontiers, which he extended in all directions.

About the same time the new kingdom of Aragon, whose first king, Ramiro, had enlarged his dominions by the addition of Sobrarbe and Ribagorza on the death of his brother Gonzalo, also began the work of reconquest at the expense of the Kings of Huesca and Saragossa. The first assault on Graus, to the north-east of Barbastro, was a failure and Ramiro was killed. But his son Sancho Ramirez (1065) continued the campaign, seized Barbastro, a strongly fortified town, with the help of a band of Normans recently arrived from France under the command of William de Montreuil, captured Monzon (farther south along the line of the river Cinca), and finally took Graus itself.

In spite of the fact that Mu‘tadid had been obliged to recognise the political supremacy of the Castilian king, the kingdom of Seville continued to grow in power among the Muslim States. Mutadid seized the first favourable occasion to do away with the fiction invented by his father, and announced that the false Hisham had recently died, appointing him as heir to the throne. He himself died in 1069, but his son Mutamid extended his dominions to the north and east, seizing Cordova and the kingdoms of Murcia. Seville thus became the most important political centre of Muslim Spain, while at the same time the intellectual tastes of Mu‘tamid and his minister, Ibn‘Ammar, rendered the city a refuge to the scientists and men of letters of their race, thereby recalling the splendours of Cordova under the Caliphate.

The reign of Mutamid coincided to a great extent with a temporary enfeeblement of the Christian kingdom of Castile and Leon, due to the inexplicable will of Ferdinand I, who, notwithstanding the grievous consequences due to the division of his states made by his father Sancho, and his experience of the power gained by their reunion under a single king, divided them anew between his sons : Castile went to the eldest, Sancho II, Leon to Alfonso VI, Galicia to Garcia. To his two daughters, Urraca and Elvira, he gave the territories of Zamora and Toro respectively. War very soon broke out between the brothers. Sancho, aspiring to be the sole ruler over the dominions of Ferdinand, attacked his brothers of Leon and Galicia, vanquished them, and obliged them to take refuge with the Muslims, Alfonso fiecing to Toledo, whose king was still a tributary of Castile, Garcia to Seville, which was in the same position with regard to Galicia. In these circumstances, no advantage was gained from Ferdinand’s successful campaigns. Possibly Sancho might have achieved the end he had in view; but, not content with the great spoils of his brothers' kingdoms, he wished also to seize the modest possessions of his sisters; and during his siege of the town of Zamora, he was treacherously assassinated (1072) by a partisan of the princess Urraca, whose name is traditionally said to have been Bellido Dolfos. In this tragedy was involved the name of a Castilian knight who had already won renown during Ferdinand’s last years, and whom we shall meet again in notable wise—the Cid.

Sancho’s death reversed the international political situation with regard to the Muslims. Alfonso returned to Leon, and not only recovered his own kingdom but was recognised by the Castilians as heir to his brother Sancho. Not content with this unlooked-for addition to his possessions, Alfonso coveted Galicia, which he wrested from his brother Garcia, who had likewise returned from Seville with some auxiliary Arab troops. Garcia was vanquished, captured by Alfonso, and imprisoned in a castle; thus for a second time a single monarch ruled over the territories of central and western Spain, north of the line of the Tagus. 

The conquest started again under Alfonso VI; the chief figures in it were the king himself and the Cid. Together they might possibly have finished the work of political reintegration so gallantly begun by Ferdinand I. But their dissensions, and above all the suspicious and resentful character of Alfonso, caused each of them to fight for his own hand in different parts of Spain to the detriment of the decisive success of their efforts. But each of them inflicted deadly injury to the power of the Muslims.

Alfonso was bound to the Muslim King of Toledo by a pact dating from the hospitality extended to the Christian prince when a fugitive from Leon. As regards his other tributary, the King of Seville, matters were very different. Mutamid had given military assistance to Garcia in his struggle with Alfonso, who now in revenge invaded his dominions; the Muslim ruler was only permitted to retain his kingdom at the intercession of his minister, Ibn ‘Ammar, who was a personal friend of Alfonso. The King of Castile consented to be satisfied with the doubling of the tribute paid by MuTamid. Irregularities in its payment led to a second attack on Seville by Alfonso, and a military advance as far as Tarifa, in which many prisoners and much booty were secured (1082). Yet once again the Muslim king was allowed to retain his throne.

Shortly afterwards, a political revolt in Toledo, resulting in the expulsion of King Qadir, Alfonso’s ally, afforded the latter a pretext for seizing the city. He began by restoring Qadir to his throne in return for increased tribute and certain fortresses (1084); but presently he demanded the city itself, and to attain this object he laid siege to it. The shortness of the siege betrayed the political weakness of the Muslims in a striking manner. On 25 May 1085, Alfonso made his entry into Toledo, thus securing the effective possession of a great part of the line of the Tagus, and a formidable base of operations for farther advances into Andalusia, in view of the strategic situation of the city. The consequences of this event were: firstly, the capture of Valencia by the Castilian troops to establish Qadir there as king, in compensation for his lost throne of Toledo, a step which placed the city and its surrounding territory (i.e, part of the eastern coast) in the power of the Castilian king, and enlarged the reconquered zone along the same parallel from the east to the west, from the Tagus to the Turia; secondly, the capture of the castle of Aledo farther south, which commanded the region of Murcia; finally, the submission of all the kings of the Taifas in the east and the south, from whom Alfonso exacted tribute and advantageous treaties.

The little kingdom of Aragon, whose beginnings we have noted, was not yet in a position to lend great assistance to Alfonso’s victorious advance, but the latter prosecuted his efforts also to the east, and for some time laid siege to the city of Saragossa, the capital of one of the strongest Arab kingdoms in the north-east of Spain.

In their turn the Counts of Barcelona, successors of Raymond-Berengar I, waged war against the Muslim Kings of Saragossa and Tarragona, thus seeking to extend their dominions to the west and south. They failed in the west, but, probably in 1091, Berengar-Raymond II, son of Raymond- Berengar I, captured the city of Tarragona, and so almost reached the line of the Ebro, near its mouth; he thus secured the peaceful possession of the territories to the north of the river, the former counties of Barcelona, Manresa, Gerona, and others, as also of the region named Panades. The rulers of Barcelona also increased their domains and feudal suzerainty towards Roussillon and the country round Toulouse by means of family ties resulting from their marriages.

The Muslim world was not unnaturally perturbed by the Christian victories. The kings of the Andalusian Taifas were convinced that they were powerless to stem the forces of the Castilians and Leonese. But the spirit of nationality awoke in them, and also a feeling of responsibility towards their people. Therefore, though not without hesitation, they resolved to appeal for help to the nearest and most formidable Muslim political power; this was the empire of the Murabitin Berbers (Almordvides), which extended over north-eastern Africa from Senegal to Algeria, and which was ruled over at this time by Yusuf ibn Tashfin. The kings of the Taifas were well aware of the danger they were incurring when they invited a conqueror such as Ibn Tashfin to come to Spain. Mu‘tamid realised it better than any of the others, but the shame of being so quickly driven out by the Christians decided them to send Ibn Tashfin an embassy consisting of envoys from the Kings of Badajoz, Seville, Granada, and Cordova. 

Ibn Tashfin agreed to a clause binding him Ito respect the Spanish possessions of his co-religionists, but demanded jthe town of Algeciras. The ambassadors had no power to accede to thisl, and they received no definite promise of the required assistance. But Tashfin did not wait for a second invitation. As soon as the ambassadors had departed, he set out for Spain, seized Algeciras, and continued his military advance as far as Seville. The invasion of the Almoravides had become an accomplished fact without the formality of a treaty, and the kings of the Taifas were obliged to accept it. When Ibn Tashfin’s troops were reinforced by the armies of the Kings of Seville, Malaga, Granada, Almeria, and Badajoz, they constituted a formidable army. Alfonso bravely awaited their onslaught. The encounter took place in the fields round Azagal (Zalaca) near Badajoz, and the Christians were defeated with heavy losses (October 1086).

The military consequences of this reverse were that the Castilians were forced to retreat from the region of Valencia and to raise the siege of Saragossa; but the Muslim offensive was not pushed forward, and gained no advantage from the victory of Zalaca, because Ibn Tashfin was summoned from Spain to Africa by the death of his eldest son. Most of his soldiers followed him, those who remained being under the command of Mutamid. The Muslim attack became paralysed. The Christian troops even succeeded in making some advance towards Murcia and Almeria, and a Muslim expedition against the castle of Aledo failed.

Thereupon Ibn Tashfin was again summoned, and returned to Spain in 1090. He commenced operations with the siege of Aledo, which he did not indeed succeed in taking. But the castle was in so battered a condition as the result of the siege that Alfonso abandoned it after rasing it to the ground. Practically therefore this strong military base was lost to the Christians.

There was accordingly every prospect of a formidable attack by the Almoravides in conjunction with the Spanish Muslims against the territory of Castile and the other Christian States. But this invasion did not in fact take place. The explanation for this must be sought in the real state of weakness of the Muslim military forces, arising not from lack of numbers or of fighting spirit, but from the fact that their military organisation was less coherent and efficient than that of the Christians, and also possibly from a want of clearness as to the real objective. This last hypothesis is founded on the speedy abandonment by Ibn Tashfln of the championship of Islam represented by the struggle with the Christians, in favour of destroying the independence of the Taifas to his own advantage. Ibn Tashfln was indeed urged thereto by the intrigues of the intolerant faqihs who complained of the wide religious liberty granted by the kings of the Taifas, but he was not less moved by greed of the wealth of his co-religionists, and the lure of the Spanish lands, which differed so greatly from those of North Africa and the Sahara. The result was the destruction of the Taifa kingdoms, and the reconstruction of Muslim political unity by Ibn Tashfin (1091) and his successor Ali (1111); but this in no way improved the political situation of the Muslims in Spain. In spite of continual war during the early years of the twelfth century, the frontiers gained by the Christians were not adversely affected On the contrary, they were advanced on the side of Aragon when Huesca was captured by King Peter I, Sancho’s son (1096), and Saragossa by Peter’s son Alfonso I (in 1118), resulting in the domination of a large tract south of the Ebro in which there were important cities, including Tarazona, Calatayud, Daroca.

Owing to the military character of the age, the representative figures of contemporary Spanish society must be sought among the warriors. But although among these there were kings such as Alfonso VI of Castile and Alfonso I of Aragon, the most adequate and lofty expression of Spain at the close of the eleventh and the opening of the twelfth century is found in the person of a Castilian noble, who became enshrined in so truly human a manner in the literature of the people that his name has been permanently impressed on the imagination of the European world. This noble was Rodrigo or Ruy Diaz de Vivar, the Cid. He united in his own person,the characteristic qualities of the Castilian nobility of the day, whether from the political, military, or legal point of view, together with the ideal of national reconquest so dear to the hearts of the kings and their peoples.

We are now beginning to know the historical character of the Cid, whose very existence was for a while denied by modern historians. We know that, he was born at Burgos, or else in the village of Vivar, in the immediate neighbourhood of the Castilian capital. During the last years of Ferdinand I’s reign he was already a notable figure at court. He served in the army of King Sancho II, by whose side he fought in the battle of Golpejar and in the siege of Zamora. At Sancho’s death, the Cid, like all the other Castilian nobles, recognised Alfonso VI as king, and was highly valued by the latter in the early years of his reign. This esteem was proved by Rodrigo’s marriage to Jimena Diaz, daughter of the Count of Oviedo, Alfonso’s cousin, which was arranged by the king himself. A little later the king shewed his confidence in the Cid by sending him to Seville to fetch the tribute due from King Mu'tamid. Mu‘tamid was then at war with the King of Granada, who was supported by Count Garcia Ordonez and other Castilian nobles. As this support was in con­travention of Alfonso’s alliance with Mu‘tamid, the Cid attacked these nobles and made them prisoners. But a little later he himself engaged in a warlike raid against the King of Toledo, an ally of Alfonso, who as a punishment exiled the Cid from Castile (1081). With this event begins the characteristic phase of the Cid’s career.

His exile released him from all dependence on the King of Castile, and left him free to offer his services as a soldier in any quarter. The Cid, however, never forgot either the general trend of the external policy of his nation, or bis love of the country which he had been forced to leave. As the King of Castile was the ally and protector of the Muslim kings of the south, the Cid was for many years the ally and protector of the King of Saragossa—a proof of the strength and efficiency of his personal military power and that of the friends and adherents who had followed him into exile. On the other hand, the Muslim King of Lerida was an ally of Berengar-Raymond II, Count of Barcelona, and of Sancho Ramirez, King of Aragon. Consequently the Cid, in defence of his protege who had been attacked by the King of Lerida, was obliged to fight against the Aragonese and Catalan troops engaged in the siege of the castle of Almenar. Rodrigo was victorious and the Count of Barcelona himself was for a while his prisoner (1082). An incident of this campaign was the entry of the Cid into the comarca of Morelia near Valencia, which a few years later was the goal and centre of his military plans.

During the years 1087 and 1088 Rodrigo was once more at the Castilian court, having been restored to royal favour. But in 1089 Alfonso was again won over by the accusations of Rodrigo’s enemies, who gave a malicious explanation of the fact that the Cid had made a belated appearance in the Aledo campaign against Ibn Tashfln in 1090. This time the king was not content with exiling the Cid, but confiscated all his property and imprisoned Jimena and their children. Rodrigo offered to submit himself to the ordinary judicial procedure of the time and to clear himself on oath, but Alfonso would not consent; and the Cid had to leave his country for the second time, fortunate in being able to take with him his wife and children, whom the king released.

Once again Rodrigo entered the service of the Muslim King of Saragossa, and waged war against the King of Lerida, who was still being supported by the King of Aragon and the Count of Barcelona. Once again the Cid was victorious and took Berengar-Raymond prisoner. One result of this fresh victory and of the generosity of Rodrigo towards the Catalan count, whom he set at liberty, was the friendship which the latter vowed to the Cid, and which he proved by the marriage of his nephew (the future Count of Barcelona, Raymond-Berengar III, called the Great) to Maria, the Cid’s daughter. Moreover, Rodrigo was granted the protectorate over the Muslim provinces south-west of Catalonia, in place of the Catalan count who had been so unfortunate in war (1090-1091). Hereby all the territory south of the little kingdom of Aragon up to the frontiers of Valencia, Toledo, and Murcia was actually in the hands of the Cid, although the nominal sovereignty remained with the Kings of Saragossa and Lerida. Rodrigo, however, was anxious to return to his native land, in response to the overtures made to him by the Queen of Castile. To please Alfonso, the Cid co-operated with him in a military expedition he had undertaken against the Almoravid Muslims of Andalusia; but Alfonso remained obdurate (1092).

For the third time Rodrigo was driven from Castile, and this time he did what he had never previously done, although contemporary 'feudal law permitted such a course to a noble at enmity with the king and treated unjustly by him: he laid waste the Castilian district of Rioja, and sent a formal defiance to his old enemy, Garcia Ordonez, Count of Najera, who did not answer to the challenge.

Until 1092 the Cid had kept up political relations with the Muslim kingdom of Valencia. We have already seen that Alfonso of Castile had placed Qadir, his former ally in Toledo, on the throne of the greats city of the east coast (1085-1086). When the Castilian troops left in support of the new King of Valencia were obliged to retire to Castile after the defeat of Zalaca (1086), Qadir felt so insecure on his throne that he sought an alliance with the Muslim King of Saragossa, which was in effect alliance with the Cid. The latter accordingly arrived at Valencia at the head of a mixed army of Muslims and Christians, established Qadir on the throne, defeated the kings and chiefs of Tortosa, Albarracin, Alpuente, and other places close to the Valencian comarca. He then concluded a treaty with Qadir, by the terms of which the Muslim monarch paid tribute to him.

In 1092 an event of a nature very common in the kingdoms of the Taifas again brought the Cid into action at Valencia. An insurrection led by the Cadi Ibn-Jahhaf resulted in the capture of the city and the murder of Qadir. Rodrigo intervened, and after many vicissitudes which it is unnecessary to mention here, he captured the city (1094), and for six years retained it as a Christian stronghold and a personal and independent lordship. Under the firm rule and able government of the Cid, Valencia became the impregnable rampart of Spanish power against the attacks of the monarch of the Ahnoravides, Ibn Tashfin, who, had he succeeded in overcoming the Cid's resistance, would have invaded the provinces of Aragon and Catalonia, thus endangering anew the north-east of Spain. But victory always accompanied the Cid, who was not content to remain on the defensive but attacked also, and was constantly intent on strengthening his military situation. For this purpose in 1098 he carried out the conquest of Murviedro (the ancient Saguntum) and Ahnenara, a little farther to the north, in the present province of Castellon. The petty Muslim kings of the neighbouring districts (Albarracin, Alpuente, etc.) were his tributaries, and the King of Aragon, against whom he had previously fought, and who, as we have seen, had taken the city of Huesea in 1096, now sought an alliance with the Castilian knight.

Rodrigo died in 1099, adored by his soldiers and honoured by the Christian sovereigns of Spain in spite of the ill-will of Alfonso of Castile; by his enemies he was alike feared and praised. He was connected with the Castilian royal family through liis wife Jimena; with the house of the Counts of Barcelona by the marriage of bis younger daughter, Maria, as we have already seen; and with the Kings of Navarre by the marriage of his 01der daughter, Christina, to the Infante Ramiro, lord of Monzon, whence sprang the future King of Navarre (1134), Garcia Ramirez.

In spite of her widowed state, Jimena—an admirable example of moral force not uncommon among the women of medieval Spain—continued to hold Valencia and to repel the repeated attacks of the Ahnoravides. After three years of struggle, however, she realised that her military situation was becoming precarious, and therefore appealed for help to her cousin King Alfonso. He marched to Valencia with his army; but as he considered the eity untenable and required all his forces to repulse the attacks of the Almoravides on Castile, he abandoned it, first setting it on fire (1102), and returned to Castile. He was accompanied by Jimena and her soldiers, bearing with them the body of the Cid, which was buried at San Pedro de Cardena (Burgos); there too Jimena was interred a few years later. In 1842 their remains were discovered at Burgos, where a monument was erected in 1922.

These, omitting certain non-essential details, are the historical facts of the Cids' life. A great number of legends have sprung up round his name, partly from popular literature beginning with the poem of Cantor de mio Cid (the earliest of the poetical works dedicated to Rodfigo now extant, dating from about 1140, i.e. forty years after his death) down to the romances of the fifteenth century; their growth has been fostered by the credulity of medieval historians, and the bias shewn by most modern critics. The result has been the creation of a fantastic figure, sometimes adorned with qualities and deeds which were not his, and which are often absolutely foreign to the age in which he lived; at other times blackened by accusations of disloyalty, cruelty, and avarice which do not seem to be warranted either by documents or by historic sources, whether of his own time or a little later. We are beginning to study the actual biography of the man, now that the evolution of the poetic and historical sources has been worked out, and the actual text of the primitive poem settled. The Cid remains the most typical figure of the Spanish warrior in the eleventh century, and the only example in Spanish history of a noble who in his time enjoyed greater political power and military prestige than any contemporary king, notwithstanding the strong personality of Alfonso VI. He was alike a vigorous champion of the work of reconquest so gallantly undertaken by Ferdinand and Alfonso, and a striking proof of the military strength to which the Christians had now attained, and which the Muslims were henceforward unable to destroy.

Although Valencia was lost, Toledo was still in the hands of the Castilians, who continued to repel the incessant attacks of Yusuf ibn Tashfin and his successor Ali; and it is indeed surprising that, in spite of several victories won by the Almoravid troops, Castilian territory was never invaded and conquered. In one of these victories, obtained by Ali’s soldiers in 1108 at Uclés (near Tarancón, in the region of Cuenca, not far from Toledo and Madrid), Alfonso’s son Sancho was killed as well as several of the Castilian leaders, and it seemed as though this must be the decisive blow to Castile. Nothing came of it, however, as the King of the Almoravides did not know how to make use of his victory; or per­haps once more his actual forces were capable of winning a single battle but not of effective conquest. There was no panic in Toledo; and most of the Castilian territory including its new frontier lands suffered no injury.

In the following year Alfonso died at Ucles (80 June 1109). This event gave rise to a grave political problem in Castile. The king left as heiress his daughter Urraca, widow of Count Raymond of Franche-Comté (one of the French nobles who had helped in the conquest of Toledo), and mother of a little Alfonso, too young to assume the government of a kingdom. However, custom in Castile and the other Spanish kingdoms recognised the right of a woman to the crown, and from this point of view Urraca would have had no difficulty in ascending the throne. But circumstances called for a warlike king, capable of resisting the redoubled attacks of the Muslims, now that the Cid and Alfonso were dead. The Castilian nobles could find no other solution than to arrange a marriage for Urraca; and in spite of the queen’s opposition, they chose as her second husband Alfonso I, King of Aragon. From the military point of view they had chosen well. Alfonso was a valiant warrior, and the union of the Castilian and Aragonese monarchies must necessarily be of assistance in repelling the Almoravides and even in forwarding the task of reconquest. But once again in. history, matters of trivial importance brought about the failure of a plan so wisely conceived. In the first place, the characters of the newly-wedded pair were absolutely incompatible, and this in itself was enough to prevent harmonious co-operation. In the second place, Alfonso wished to interfere in the internal government of Castile, and ruffled the patriotic feelings of the Castilians by appointing natives of Aragon and Navarre as commanders of fortresses in the territories belonging to Urraca. Finally, the queen was not a model of conjugal fidelity. Discord culminated in a declaration of the nullity of the marriage by the Pope. The final consequence was that, instead of an increase in the Christian power, there was war, almost a civil war in character, between the Castilians and Aragonese. The situation was rendered more serious by the insurrection of part of the Galician nobility under the leadership of Diego Gelmirez, Bishop of Santiago and lord of a territory of considerable importance, to maintain the cause of Urraca’s son, the Infante Alfonso, whom they declared King of Galicia, as had been the wish of his grandfather Alfonso VI. They also tried to crown him King of Leon (1110). A period of absolute anarchy followed. The political and social forces of Castile were pro­foundly divided and were not only fighting amongst themselves; they were struggling against foreign interference, represented both by the King of Aragon, and by Teresa, Urraca’s sister, who was married to Count Henry, a cadet of the Dukes of Burgundy; the latter wished to fish in these troubled waters and so to enlarge the county of Portucale, or Portugal, given to him by Alfonso VI, the history of which will be narrated in another volume of this work.

In this state of anarchy, which persisted until Urraca’s death in 1126, we may perceive the expression of the unsettled condition of a society in travail with the evolution of its future unity. This was only achieved, after the removal and absorption of the different factors which had gradually been created by human necessities, by the military effort of reconquest, and by the reconstruction of Christian Spain. In these circumstances it was suitable that the most characteristic figure in this crisis should be the bishop already referred to, Gelmirez, who, in addition to his high ecclesiastical importance, which the pilgrimages to Compostella are enough to prove, was almost a feudal lord, with a history full of dramatic interest

The most striking proof of the state of anarchy is presented by the historical obscurity in which Urraca’s last years are buried. The lack of documents, and the contradictory accounts given in the few extant, speak volumes as to the troubled condition of the kingdom. On the death of the queen, there was a natural concentration of most of the Castilian forces round prince Alfonso, the sole legitimate heir to the throne, on which he was the seventh of his name.

But the upheaval had been too complete for peace to come at once. For some time yet Alfonso had difficulties with the Castilian and Galician nobles, who wished to assert their absolute independence; with his step­father, Alfonso of Aragon, with whom he came to terms which cost Castile the territory of Villorado and Calahorra (to the north-east of the present province of Logrono), and the provinces of Guipuzcoa and Alava; and with the Countess Teresa and her son and heir, Alfonso Enriquez, who finally submitted and renewed the feudal oath to Castile (1137).

Three years before this last date, Alfonso I of Aragon died without leaving any direct heir. The Castilian king put forward claims to the Aragonese throne, and invaded first Navarre and the Basque provinces, and later Aragon, seizing the capital, Saragossa (1136); but he relinquished it in 1140, having come to an agreement with the husband of Petronilla, the new Queen of Aragon, that he should be recognised as feudal overlord of the Aragonese kingdom, and that Castile should retain the north-eastern territory up to the Ebro, which thus became the boundary between the two kingdoms on that side.

Alfonso VII now renewed the war against the Muslims, who had naturally benefited from the internal troubles of the Christian kingdoms. Fortunately for the latter, the causes of weakness among the Almoravides and the Arab kingdoms of the north and east which still retained their independence were becoming more and more accentuated. The kings of the Almoravides had become demoralised by the wealth and the mild climate of Southern Spain; they had given up their former hardy and warlike habits, thus producing profound and general discontent among the Muslims, which found expression in constant insurrections and widespread anarchy, soon seized on by some bold leaders as an opportunity for declaring themselves independent of ‘All and his successor Tashfin (1143-1145). There was now practically another period of disintegration such as that which followed the fall of the Caliphate of Cordova. At the same time the African possessions of the Almoravides were threatened by a fresh uprising of African tribes, coming this time from the Atlas, who rallied round the banner of religious reform and set up a powerful state. They took the name of Alraohades (Muwahhid), which in Arabic means Unitarians, and they demolished the empire of the Almord vides (1125), in spite of the assistance of troops sent to Africa by the monarch resident in Spain.

This new period of decomposition in the Muslim power coincided as regards Castile with the anarchy of Urraca’s reign and the early days of Alfonso VII. In Aragon, on the other hand, it corresponded with the reign of Alfonso I, whom his contemporaries surnamed the Warrior (Batallador), and favoured him in his capture of Saragossa (1118) and the neighbouring regions of the north, west, and south. The Muslims tried to recapture Saragossa, but were defeated by Alfonso at Cutanda (1120). This victory emboldened the king, who entered on a campaign of invasion towards Valencia, Murcia, and eastern Andalusia (1125) with few political results; however, he reached the sea at Salobrena (Granada), in 1126 he gained a great battle at Arinsol near Lucena (to the south of the region of Cordova), and he brought back with him 14,000 Mozarabs with whom to people the conquered territory south of the Ebro. Shortly after, he transferred his military effort to the east of his kingdom with the object of conquering the Ebro up to its mouth and securing certain important cities to the north of the river which were not yet in his possession. In 1133 he took Mequinenza and its strong castle (to the south of the district of Lerida), and then moved a little northward to besiege Fraga. The troops which held the place having been reinforced by contingents sent from Cordova, the Aragonese were defeated (July 1134). Alfonso raised the siege and turned to attack the castle of Lizana (Lerida). Here death overtook him on 7 September 1134.

Almost exactly contemporaneous with Alfonso I of Aragon was Raymond-Berengar III, Count of Barcelona, son-in-law of the Cid, and, like him, a bold and fortunate warrior. He too contributed greatly to the work of reconquest and to the enfeeblement of Muslim power. His personal gifts as a conqueror were assisted by the enormous increase in his dominions in Catalonia and the south of France, due to his family relationships with other independent counts, and to his second marriage with Douce of Provence. As a result, by 1123, of all the former Catalan counties there remained none free of the sovereignty of Barcelona, except those of Urgel and Peralada, for that of Ampuria had recognised its vassalage. And, beyond the Pyrenees, the county of Provence had. just been joined to the State of Barcelona (1112).

But peaceful gains were not enough for Raymond-Berengar III. In 1106 he wrested the town of Balaguer and its castles from the Muslims. In 1115, in alliance with the republic of Pisa, he made a military expedition to the islands of Majorca and Iviza, by which he gained the vassalage of the Arab governor, and a Balearic poem was composed in praise of his exploits; a little later he invaded the territory of Lerida and Tortosa, where certain dominions were still in the hands of the Muslims, and even entered part of Valencia, but here he did not succeed in making permanent conquests.

The Almordvidesdid not fail to retaliate, and once even penetrated to the suburbs of Barcelona, but they were defeated in 1114 and 1115. At the death of Raymond-Berengar III, the county of Barcelona was a very strong State by land and by sea, which entertained diplomatic and commercial relations with Italy, and played a part in the politics of Southern France and the Mediterranean. His son, and successor in the Spanish part of his possessions, Raymond-Berengar IV, some years later married Petronilla, Queen of Aragon, as has already been said. This event (brought him into contact with Alfonso VII of Castile, who was just resuming the struggle with the Muslims of Andalusia and Estremadura.

After some military expeditions which placed him temporarily in posession of Cordova (1144) and the fortresses of Aurelia (near Ocaha) and Coria, Alfonso laid siege to the city of Almeria (1147); in this enterprise he was assisted by the Count of Barcelona and the Genoese navy. A few years before he had secured the castle of Rueda belonging to the Muslim chief Mustansir, who was his ally and associate in these expeditions.

These advantages obtained by the various Christian sovereigns provoked a fresh African invasion of Spain. This time it was the Almohades, who, having conquered the Almoravides in Africa, now seemed to offer to the Spanish Muslims, still alive to the claims of their race and religion, the same hope as had formerly been offered by Ibn Tashfln. The Almohades arrived in Spain in 1146 at the urgent summons of one of those chiefs who had declared themselves independent of Ali, and by 1178 they had already restored unity to the Muslim States by means of the subjection of all the new kings of the Taifas. The last of these to resist the new dependence on the Africans was Ibn Mardanish (Ibn Sa‘ad), King of Valencia and Murcia (the Wolf King), an ally of the Count of Barcelona, whom he joined against the Almohades; however, the son of Ibn Mardanish submitted to them in 1178. War broke out afresh between the two powers which were intent on contesting the possession of Spain. The chief events of this war took place in the reigns of Alfonso VIPs successors.

Alfonso died in 1157. To medieval historians he is known under the surname of Emperor; and indeed he took this title and was crowned as such at Leon in 1135. But he was not the first Spanish monarch who combined the title of Emperor with that of king. Previous to his day, Ferdinand I had been honoured with this dignity, which to Spanish sovereigns represented the same political ideals as it did to those of France and Germany. In Spain, “Empire” also meant a protest and a kind of safeguard against the possibility of a claim to superiority by the German Emperors. Within the limits of Spanish political life, Alfonso had earned the title by the military ascendancy which had brought him the vassalage of, or the recognition of his superiority by, the Kings of Navarre and Aragon, the Counts of Barcelona and Toulouse, and other lords in Southern France, and the already mentioned Muslim chiefs and kings of the Taifas.

Unfortunately for the accomplishment of political unity in Christian Spain, the idea of Empire had as yet no permanency. Emperor was still a personal title, and not a name expressing the highest conception of political unity. Alfonso VII himself hindered the cause by his will, in which he divided his States between his two sons, Sancho and Ferdinand, who became respectively the Kings of Castile and Leon. The final and definitive reunion of the two crowns was thus postponed for sixty-three years, during which there were frequent struggles caused by the ambition of the two sovereigns.

Sancho III, the new King of Castile, whose reign was very short (only a year) spent almost the whole of the time at war with his brother Ferdinand II who wished to seize Castile, and with the Kings of Navarre and Aragon who were upholding their claims as to frontiers.

The political situation became further involved by the death of Sancho. He left a son, Alfonso VIII, aged three years. On this young king were focused the greed of the Christian monarchs neighbouring on Castile, and the rivalries of the Castilian nobles who aspired to hold the office of royal guardian and consequently to exercise political hegemony in the kingdom. The aristocratic forces of Castile and many adventurers and mercenaries collected round two great rival families, the Castro and the Lara. And while bloody civil war was devastating town and country, as usual to the injury of the peaceful population, the King of Leon seized several Castilian cities and fortresses, and the King of Navarre invaded the district of Rioja. This situation of serious danger for Castile lasted for eight years. At last Alfonso VIII succeeded in escaping from the city of Soria, where the Lara were keeping him practically as a prisoner, and, supported by several Castilian nobles who were partisans of neither great rival house, he began a melancholy journey round the free communes to secure their recognition of his sole authority. In 1166 he reached Toledo, where he was acclaimed king when only eleven years of age. This was decisive. Day by day his adherents increased in number, finally enabling him to subdue the unruly nobles, the Castro, the Lara, and others who wished to live in absolute independence. The points at dispute with Aragon were settled by agreement (1170—1177), and the Aragonese king (Alfonso II) helped Alfonso to recover the cities and lands which the King of Navarre had seized in Rioja. Finally in 1180 Alfonso came to terms with his uncle, Ferdinand of Leon. However, the restless character of the men of that day and the ambition of the kings presently caused fresh wars between the Christian kingdoms, particularly on the part of the Kings of Navarre and Leon against Castile; but the support of the King of Aragon (then Peter II) led to a second treaty of peace with the Leonese king (Alfonso IX, son of Ferdinand II) and to the defeat of the King of Navarre, who lost to Castile much territory in the region of the Basque provinces. This considerably reduced the extent of the kingdom of Navarre (1200), and led to the colonisation of several towns on the Cantabrian side (Castro Urdiales, San Vicente de la Barquera, Santander, Laredo, San Sebastian, Fuenterrabia, etc.) by Castilian families. Castile and Leon became allied by the marriage of Berenguela, daughter of Alfonso VIII, with the Leonese King, Alfonso IX.

This long period of strife and warfare between the Christians could not have occurred at a worse time. The Spanish Muslims had been strengthened by African troops of the Almohades and by a fresh concentration of effort, and were attacking the reconquered territory on every side. Almeria and Cordova were recaptured and in the west the wave of conquest advanced as far as Alcantara (Estremadura), a stronghold which was only saved by the heroism of the Abbot of Fitero and the monk Fray Diego Velazquez, who preached a successful Castilian crusade. This was the origin of the Military Order of Calatrava, founded in 1164 by Alfonso VIII.

Alfonso had inherited the patriotic and warlike spirit of his grandfather. Even before he had settled the perplexities and difficulties of the internal policy of his kingdom, or his disagreements with his Christian neighbours, he undertook campaigns against the Muslims. To the east, this time with the aid of his namesake of Aragon, Alfonso attacked the stronghold of Cuenca, and took it after a long siege (1177), while simultaneously the Leonese king was making war towards Estremadura and advancing his frontiers on that side of his kingdom. After the success at Cuenca, the Archbishop of Toledo, who like many others was a warrior as well as a prince of the Church, led the recently-formed Knights of Alcantara on an incursion into the districts of Cordova and Jaen, and inflicted heavy loss in life and property on the Muslims; whereupon Yaqub, Emperor of the Almohades, wishing to avenge these defeats, sent over a strong contingent of African troops. On the news Alfonso summoned the Cortes to obtain the necessary supplies for the approaching campaign. He also appealed for help to the Leonese and Navarrese. Although this did not come, and the full military resources of Castile had not yet been collected, Alfonso was too impatient to wait, and accepted battle with the powerful army of the Almohades at Alarcos (a little west of the present Ciudad Real) on 18 July 1196, with the result that the Christian army received a crushing defeat. The chronicles speak of 25,000 Spaniards killed or severely wounded. The king himself was forcibly hurried from the field of battle by his faithful followers. The Almohades were free to spread northward and westward; Toledo, Madrid, Alcala, Cuenca, and other cities were besieged by the conquerors. Seizing their opportunity while Alfonso was in these difficulties, the Kings of Leon and Navarre invaded Castilian territory. Alfonso was obliged to ask the Muslims for a truce; but as soon as the matters in dispute with his neighbours had been settled in 1197 and 1200, he resumed hostilities against the Almohades.

Both sides realised that a critical hour was at hand. The Almohades collected all their available troops. Alfonso VIII appealed for aid to all the Spanish sovereigns, and even to the Count of Portugal and the Holy See. The Pope ordered a Crusade to be preached, whereby many foreign knights and adventurers were attracted to Spain; these, however, almost all deserted soon after the campaign started. There remained with Alfonso only the Spanish forces (except those of Leon), and the Archbishop of Narbonne, who was a native of the Peninsula and had brought with him 150 soldiers. The army left Toledo on 20 June 1212, and after some victories in the course of its march southward—at Malagon, Calatrava, Alarcos, Piedrabuena, and other places—the Christian troops crossed the Sierra Morena by the pass of Muradal. On the other side, at Las Navas de Tolosa, there awaited them the army of the Almohades led by their emperor himself. The battle took place on 16 July and resulted in a complete victory for the Christians, who secured enormous booty. The road to the south now being clear, the army proceeded to take the castles and towns of Vilches, Ferral, Baños, Tolosa, Ubeda, and Baeza. This triumphant advance towards southern Andalusia was only arrested by the plague, which broke out among the troops; but the Muslim forces had been sufficiently enfeebled by this decisive action. Thus an invasion of Estremadura attempted with some initial success by the Almoliade general, Abu Sahd, in ISIS, was stayed by the defeat of Febragaen. The King of Leon, who had taken no part at Las Navas, profited by this victory to attack in his turn, seizing the important towns of Caceres, Merida, and Badajoz (1229).

Alfonso VIII did not live to enjoy all the results of his victory, for he died, two years after Las Navas (October 1214); but he had already seen the effects of the Muslim defeat in the beginnings of a fresh disintegration of the Muslim State, which was greatly hastened by the death of the Emperor Yusuf II ten years later.

In Castile there was likewise a fresh period of dynastic and civil up­heaval. Henry I, Alfonso’s son, only reigned three troubled years, full of dissensions arising over the guardianship of the king, who was a minor. The crown passed to Berenguela, daughter of Alfonso VIII and divorced wife of Alfonso IX of Leon. Of this marriage was born a son, Ferdinand, to whom Berenguela ceded the throne, but his father Alfonso protested, alleging his own superior rights, as Ferdinand was the son of a marriage which had been dissolved by the Pope. Fortunately the new King of Castile was backed by a very strong party, consisting of all the nobles opposed to the Lara family (which supported Alfonso IX) and most of the communes. In the end he overcame the opposition of the Lara, repelled his father’s intervention, and subdued a few nobles who had revolted against the royal authority from a spirit of independence.

Internal peace having been attained, Ferdinand (the third of this name) resumed the war with the Muslims. Circumstances were propitious. The union of the kingdom of Aragon and the principality of Catalonia in the person of Alfonso II of Aragon, son of Queen Petronilla and Count Raymond-Berengar IV, had created a very strong Christian State in the east and north-east of the Peninsula. This already strong power had been augmented by the inheritances of the Counts of Provence (1167-1168) and Roussillon (1217), as well as by the suzerainty acquired over Bearn and Bigorre (1187). In these ways the kingdom of Aragon was gravitating as an international power towards Southern France; and this presently led-to important political consequences.

We have already seen that, save for short intervals, Alfonso II had been the ally of Alfonso VIII of Castile during the difficulties which disturbed the latter’s reign. He aided him also in the work of reconqucst, not only by the support given to the Castilian arms in the attack on the town of Cuenca and other places, but also in the campaigns which he personally undertook and in which he gained the towns of Caspe and Teruel (1170) and secured the districts of Albarracin and Tarragona (outside the city). By his assistance at Cuenca the King of Aragon obtained at the hands of Alfonso VIII his release from the vassalage which bound him to Castile. In 1179 the two monarchs signed a treaty fixing the respective limits of their future conquests in Muslim territory. Aragon was awarded the district of Valencia up to the port of Biar (almost in the centre of the present province of Alicante), a precedent for the frontier agreed on a few years later between Ferdinand III and James I, grandson of Alfonso II.

Alfonso died in April 1196, and his son and successor, Peter II, made yet another addition to his father’s States in the shape of the county of Urge!, ceded to him by Countess Elvira (1205), aiid that of Montpellier, which came to him through his marriage with its heiress, Maria. These additions only served to complicate yet further the political problem created by the possessions of the crown of Aragon north of the Pyrenees. This problem was caused by the proximity of the French kingdom, whose rulers aimed at the mastery of southern France. An occasion of rupture soon offered itself in connexion with the religious situation in this territory, then permeated by the Albigensian doctrines, which were considered heretical by the Catholic Church. Peter was a Catholic, but he was also feudal overlord of the land in which the Albigenses lived and spread their doctrines. Thus, while from a religious point of view he was bound to combat the heretics, from the political point of view he was bound to protect them from all attack, especially if sentiments other than religious were involved; and this was to be feared on the part of the King of France and certain Catholic French nobles. It is thought that the consideration of this danger contributed to a very extraordinary political action on the part of Peter II when he went to Rome to be crowned by the Pope in November 1204. On this occasion the king promised to be the defender of the Catholic Faith, to guard the churches and their immunities, and to prosecute heretics, at the same time acknowledging himself vassal of the Pope, from whom Peter offered to hold in feudal vassalage the States of Aragon and Catalonia, with payment to the Holy See of an annual tribute, in return for the support the Pope would always give to the rulers of Aragon. If, as has also been suggested, the reason for Peter’s liberality was merely to secure aid from the Pope and the Genoese and Pisans in his enterprise of conquering the Balearic Isles, it must be owned that the price paid was excessive.

This was certainly the opinion held by most of Peter’s Spanish subjects. Nobles and communes alike demanded that the king should cancel the grant made to the Pope, and the king was obliged to yield; but Rome continued to regard the infeudation as valid, and the tribute to the Holy See was paid. Peter II and his vassals in Southern France reaped, however, no advantage from this feudal relationship. Certain Catholic elements proved irreconcilable, and the nobles of Toulouse and Provence resisted all enterprises against their Albigensian vassals, other than the preaching undertaken at this time in Provence by Dominic de Guzman, a Spanish monk who was the founder of the Dominican Order. Matters ended in the organisation of a crusade against the heretics, which was commanded and led by Count Simon de Montfort. The crusaders, who assembled at Lyons and consisted of French troops, advanced into the territory of the Count of Toulouse, then into Provence, and treated the people with unparalleled cruelty, especially the inhabitants of Beziers and Carcassonne, who offered a heroic resistance. No one was spared, no respect being paid to age or sex, and even Catholics fell victims to the fury of the assailants, who were severely blamed by Dominic.

The King of Aragon intervened as peacemaker in defence of his subjects; and although he was powerless to avert the slaughter, his mediation and that of the papal legate succeeded in arranging a convention which ended the war. Peter recognised Simon de Montfort as Lord of Beziers and. Carcassonne, in vassalage to him, and a marriage was arranged between his son James and Simon’s daughter.

Peace lasted only a very short time. Peter made use of the interval to join in the crusade against the Muslims which resulted in the victory of Las Navas. In 1213 war broke out again in the Toulousain territory, especially against the Count of Toulouse, who was Peter’s brother-in-law. Peter again attempted to settle the quarrel by peaceful means, and to this end approached the Pope and the Council which had assembled at Lavaur for the precise purpose of deciding on the claims of the King of Aragon, and which was presided over by the Archbishop of Narbonne. The Council rejected Peter’s appeal, and he thereupon declared war against Simon de Montfort in defence of the Count of Toulouse and other Toulousain and Provençal nobles who were his vassals. The only battle took place at Muret (12 September 1213), and in it the king lost his life.

His premature death occasioned a situation of great difficulty for the Spanish kingdom. Peter’s only son James was still a child and was in the hands of Simon de Montfort, pending his projected marriage. At first Simon was not disposed to liberate the prince, but the energetic action of the Pope obliged him to give up their legitimate sovereign to the Aragonese and Catalans (1214). The minority of this prince (James I of Aragon and Catalonia) was disturbed by the ambitions of various nobles and members of the royal family. The former wished to assert their independence, the latter to seize the crown. It is unnecessary to mention the numerous vicissitudes of James and his partisans between 1216 and 1227, when a convention with the nobles was signed, terminating the strife which was dislocating the internal life of the kingdom. The personal character of the king, who was brave, energetic and discreet, contributed to increase gradually the number of his adherents, to settle many critical situations, and to ensure his complete success. This result attained, James found himself in a position to take his full share in the work of reconqucst. It was about the same time that Ferdinand III of Castile, having overcome political difficulties similar to those of James, also resumed the all-important task of the Christian people of Spain. The two kings worked hand in hand for this object, as had formerly Alfonso VIII of Castile and Alfonso II of Aragon.

Ferdinand’s first campaign in 1225 was directed against the territory of Cordova. He seized Andujar and other towns, in preparation for an attack on the capital. With an eye to the future, Ferdinand, who had formed an alliance with Mamun, Emperor of the Almohades, when the latter was dethroned by a successful insurrection, sent an army to Africa to succour him. Mamun was reinstated on his throne (1229), and out of gratitude to the Christian monarch he allowed the Castilians to settle at Marrakash; it appears they did this on the lines of a former emigration which had begun in the ninth century, and the influence of which had been long-lasting. This also served as the base of the Franciscan missions in Morocco.

In 1230, at the death of Alfonso IX of Leon, the two crowns became united in the hands of Ferdinand III, after some difficulties caused by Alfonso’s will. Henceforward, Ferdinand could dispose of the military forces of the two great kingdoms in the centre and west of Spain. The day of decisive victory had now dawned and the task was facilitated by the subdivision of the Muslim States. After the death of Yusuf, indeed, the personal ambitions of the emperor’s relatives and captains revived, and several kingdoms arose out of the fragments of the former Almohade State in Spain: one at Valencia of short duration; another in Murcia (1228-1241), which under its king, Ibn Hud, for a few years comprised most of the territory remaining to the Muslims; a third at Arjona (north­west of Jaen, near Andujar), founded in 1230 by Muhammad Abu-Abdallah al-Ahmar, and increased later by the addition of Jaen, Baza$ Guadix, and Granada. This last town was converted by al-Ahmar into the capital of the kingdom (1238), which eventually became the last representative of the al-Ahmar Muslim power, in the hands of the Nasrid or Nasrite dynasty, of which al-Ahmar was the founder.

His enemies being thus weakened, Ferdinand III determined to aim at the (jonquest of Cordova, which he realised in 1236. A few years later, the Muslim King of Murcia, Muhammad ibn Ali, sought for the help of Ferdinand and, in return, offered him vassalage and half the contents of the royal treasury. The Castilian king accepted the offer, as a result of, which the kingdom of Murcia, which included the territory of the south­east from Alicante to Alhama, became subject to the crown of Castile (1341). This political success was doubled five years later by the alliance of Muhammad al-Ahmar of Granada, who, to ensure the safety of his kingdom, ceded to Ferdinand III the city of Jaen (1346), and bound himself to send Muslim troops to assist in carrying on the campaign in Andalusia. Ferdinand next advanced on Seville, where there existed one of the independent kingdoms which had arisen on the disintegration of the Almohade Empire. He took Carmona in 1347, and the Christian squadron commanded by the first Castilian admiral, Haymond de Bonifaz, having destroyed the Muslim fleet which was guarding the Guadalquivir, Seville was invested without any hope of relief. The city surrendered to Ferdinand after fifteen months’ resistance, on 33 December 1348, and its surrender occasioned that of Medina-Sidonia, Arcos, Cadiz, Sanlucar, and other cities to the south of the capital. Notwithstanding this great success, which left him master of the whole of southern Spain except Granada and a small tract of territory in the south-west near Huelva, Ferdinand did not consider his task ended. Like all those who have thoroughly understood the danger to Spanish independence presented by the existence of an important political power in northern Africa, the King of Castile wished to prosecute the war beyond the Straits of Gibraltar, so as to destroy the possibility of a reaction of Muslim elements against Spain. But before he was able to realise the projected expedition, he died at Seville on 30 May 1353. With him there ended the period of great Castilian conquests in the Muslim dominions, only to be resumed two centuries later.

At the same time that Ferdinand III was attacking the south and south-east, James I of Aragon was carrying on the work of reconquest to the east. His first objective was the Balearic Isles. Majorca was famous for the fertility of its soil, and feared as a nest of pirates which rendered navigation in the western Mediterranean dangerous. James appealed to the nobles of his Aragonese States, but they did not look with favour on the expedition; the king, however, firmly convinced of the political and economic advantages to be gained, persisted and secured the co­operation of certain nobles and cities in Catalonia and Southern France. The Cortes which assembled in Barcelona in 1338 decided on the conquest of Majorca, which was quickly achieved, as James entered the capital of the island on 31 December 1339. In view of this success of the Christians, the Muslims of Minorca capitulated (1333), and in 1335 Iviza was conquered by the Archbishop of Tarragona and some Catalan nobles. The possession of the Balearic Islands secured for Barcelona a large share of Mediterranean commerce, and prepared the way for future military and economic exploits by Catalonia in the south of Europe. The territories of the islands were divided between the leaders of the expedition and colonised by settlers from the Peninsula, especially from the north of Catalonia (Ampurdan), who brought with them their language, their civilisation, and their commercial spirit.

In the same year that Majorca was taken, an Aragonese noble, Blasco de Alagon, undertook an expedition on his own account into the mountainous territory north-west of Valencia, and captured the stronghold of Morelia. James, who had likewise started an enterprise against the Muslims of Valencia in the direction of Ares, did not approve of this dangerous kind of independence, and betook himself to Morelia with the intention of making Blasco give up the town, which should belong to no one but the king. Blasco was obliged to yield, whereupon James bestowed the town on him as a fief. The king prosecuted the campaign with the help of only a few of the lords and cities of Catalonia; but as his victories in the direction of Valencia continued, and the city itself was besieged (1238), most of the nobles and communes of Aragon and Catalonia finally joined in. sending troops and militia. The capital surrendered in September of the same year, and this triumph was followed by the capture of Xativa, a very strong place, Alcira, and other towns in the plain of Valencia. The king divided the territory between the nobles who had helped in the campaign. The Muslim population remained in the country districts; but there were two revolts in the course of a few years, especially in the mountainous regions to the south and west, and their suppression necessitated much military effort.

When he had secured the Valencian region as far as Biar (Villena was conquered in 1240), James' share in the work of reconquest was ended, as the old convention of 1179 was ratified at Almizra in 1244. This established a frontier starting at the confluence of the rivers Jucar and Cavriel near the town of Cofrentes, bent to the south between Xativa, which remained in James1 hands, and Enguera, then passed near the dry port of Biar in the district of Alicante, and ended at the Mediterranean, a little south of the comarca of Benia. But in 1261 the Muslims of Murcia revolted against the Castilian yoke, which had weighed on them since the pact of 1241. Then King Alfonso X of Castile, son and successor of Ferdinand III and son-in-law of James, appealed to the latter for help against the Murcians, who with the support of the Muslims of Granada were threatening the territory belonging to the King of Aragon. James sent the required help, and, while Alfonso was fighting the Murcian Muslims on one side, James crossed the frontiers fixed in 1244 and seized the cities of Alicante, Elche, and in 1266 Murcia itself, thus securing all the Murcian region for the Castilian crown. The Muslims now only retained the new kingdom of Granada, which included the province of that name and those of Almeria and Malaga as far as Gibraltar. The reconqnest of Spain was virtually accomplished. James could now ven ture to take part in a crusade to Palestine (1269), which was a failure, although a part of the expedition which reached Acre gave valuable help to the Christians who were defending the city against the Muslims. In another expedition, the Catalan fleet captured the town of Ceuta, but its possession was not maintained.

The natural development of the kingdoms of Castile and Aragon to the south blocked the path of Navarre and kept it isolated in the Pyrenees. In spite of the constant effort of many of her kings to increase their states at the expense of Castilian territory, Navarre saw her political power in the Peninsula steadily on the wane. From 1076 to 1134 she was united to Aragon, but regained her independence on the death of Alfonso I. During the remainder of the twelfth and early years of the thirteenth century, her monarchs continued, with some intervals of peace, their struggles with Castile and Aragon. The last Spanish King of Navarre, Sancho VII, at first pursued the same policy as his predecessors; but afterwards he helped Alfonso VIII in the Andalusian campaign (at the battle of Las Navas), and in the agreement of Tudela (February 1231) with James I of Aragon he betrayed a desire to appoint the latter heir to the Navarrese throne. But James did not take advantage of this opportunity, and the Navarrese chose as their king Sancho’s nephew Theobald IV, Count of Champagne (1234). Henceforth, for many years the history of Navarre falls out of the main current of Spanish history.

The period between 1034 and 1248 is as important from the point of view of the history of institutions, wealth, and general civilisation in Spain, as it is from the military point of view and that of the reconquest which we have hitherto been considering. Great progress was made in all departments of social life, while simultaneously were being revealed more and more clearly the bases of the future greatness of the Spanish people, and of the originality of its legal, literary, and artistic achievement. In this process of settlement of the new elements of life created by the special circumstances of the time, by the effort to reconstruct a Western and Christian society, and by the Eastern influences emanating from the Arabs and the Jews, the different provinces of Spain followed diverse paths, and according to their character developed special qualities and institutions. But the movement of progress was not rhythmical and equal in all these provinces.

Thus the evolution of Castile and Leon was much more democratic and advanced, taken as a whole, than that of other parts of Spain. In the first place, the noble class became increased by the development of its lower grade, the secondary nobility, through the enlargement of the class of the former Infanzones, to whom was applied the new name of Fijosdalgo (whence the term Hidalgo), and by the admission to the tank of knight of every freeman who was able to keep a horse, i.e. able to become a military factor of the first class in the warfare of the period. Secondly, the repopulation of the lands taken from the Muslims, the security for a settled existence acquired as the frontiers advanced southward, and the increased possibility every year of cultivating the soil and establishing the industries necessary for the economic needs of the new or enlarged towns, served to recreate a middle class, as well as a class of free workmen and industrial employees who were to form the backbone of society in the communes snatched from the former seignorial jurisdiction. Finally, the rural Christian serfs who were the basis of agricultural life, and who until the end of the twelfth century represented a large and socially subject class, gradually became released from many of the bonds limiting their personal freedom, and developed into free workers, whence there soon emerged a rural democracy. A document of 1215 signed by Alfonso IX of Leon marks the beginning of this legal evolution, which, by the close of the thirteenth century, had generally bestowed on the former serfs the right of leaving the estates of their lords and of not being sold along with the land, had established the validity of their marriages without the necessity of obtaining their lord’s consent, and had fixed the exact amount of dues in kind, in money, or in labour owed to their masters. The frequent revolts of serfs in lay and ecclesiastical lordships, and even of the free population in seignorial towns, shew very clearly the painful and sustained effort to obtain these improvements. Only, as is to be seen in all the legal documents of the period, the servitude of Muslim prisoners of war was still very hard, in contrast to the liberties granted to the Arab populations admitted into the Christian social structure, as will presently be shewn.

Conditions were different in Aragon and Catalonia. In Aragon during the thirteenth century there was a reaction which kept long depressed the condition of rural labourers, whether Christian or Muslim (exaricos). A document emanating from the Cortes of Huesca in 1245 shews that the lords enjoyed very harsh rights, extending to the absolute power of killing their serfs by starvation or cold. In Catalonia the serfs (payeses) were crushed by dues and personal services, to which were given the name of “evil usages.” By the thirteenth century they had only obtained the possibility of purchasing their liberty by paying a sum of money (remensa). In Catalonia the total liberation of this social class did not come about until the fifteenth century, and in Aragon later still.

On the other hand, the middle class enjoyed a greater development and a higher importance in Catalonia than elsewhere. This was the result of both the industrial and the commercial progress of' the country, and naturally was mainly found on the coast, where the most prosperous towns were situated. It was this ci ass that gave birth to the great Catalan expansion of future centuries. In Catalonia there was also an intermediate class between the serfs and the bourgeois of the communes, consisting of men who were free in law but who were dependents of noble landowners, which was eventually to form a kind of agrarian middle class and to play a very important part.

Gradually, as Christian territory increased, two new elements of population were added to the original stock: the Mozarabs, who became incorporated in the Christian society by the conquest of the cities they inhabited (e.g. Toledo) or by emigration (e.g. those brought to Aragon by Alfonso I), and the free Muslims (mudejares), whose personal and fundamental rights were respected by the conquerors in the treaties of capitulations of cities. The autonomous rights which these two kinds of population for centuries enjoyed are a very characteristic feature of Spanish life in the Middle Ages. Both alike brought very marked influences of civilisation and manners.

A third foreign element was also imported by the reconquest, which created so many fresh needs. This was the Jewish element. The Jews were very numerous and very prosperous in Muslim districts until the end of the twelfth century, when there was an outbreak of religious fanaticism against them, especially after the arrival of the Almohades in Spain; and this policy, ruthlessly applied during the later years of the period under consideration, caused a flood of Jewish emigration to the Christian kingdoms, into which they had already been introduced by the reconquest of several towns where they formed important communities. Christian society in Spain did not reject them. On the contrary, they were received very cordially and were granted legal and religious autonomy similar to that enjoyed by the mudejares. This liberty, which continued until the beginning of the fourteenth century, attracted the Jews in vast numbers. In Toledo there were as many as 12,000. Alfonso VI allowed them to become eligible for public offices. They played a great part in commerce, in certain industries, and, above all, in intellectual life, as intermediaries between Oriental science and literature and European civilisation, which was still in a backward condition. They were thus the natural intermediaries between Christians and Muslims in treaties, alliances, and the like, and they were often found in the armies of Castile and other Spanish kingdoms.

In the political world, the struggle between the monarchy, now frankly hereditary, and the nobles still continued. Various instances of this struggle have been referred to in the history of several of the kings. The powei' represented by the nobles is reflected in the legislation which particularly concerns them, such as the code of the Usages of Catalonia, which is to a great extent a feudal code. Leon, Castile, and Navarre all have laws belonging to the same category.

On the other hand, the development of the communes, which was favoured by the kings, gave birth to a political element opposed to the nobles; this in one way made the State more democratic, in another furthered the triumph of the monarchy and thus paved the way for despotism. The solid autonomy of the communes and the important rights acquired by the townsmen are very well expressed in their special legislation of charters (Jueros), of which some are complete codes (Cuenca, Caceres, Teruel, Valencia). At the same time there were compilations of local customs (Lerida, Tortosa), and of those common to whole provinces (Aragon, Catalonia). Some very important communes had their private legislation, consisting of a body of various laws and customs, though not codified till later. Gradually there also began to appear the regulations issued by the communal assemblies, which constituted a considerable addition to the fueros issued by the kings or other lords.

The political importance acquired by the communes is expressed above all in two institutions, of which one was peculiar to them, and the other received its particular character from the intervention in it of the bourgeois element. These were the local Confraternities (Hermandades and Comunidades) formed by the towns against the nobles and against evil­doers, who were often soldiers thrown out of employment by the cessation of war, and the Cortes of the realm. The Hermandades or Comunidades existed in all parts of the Peninsula. In the first place they were the expression of the political sense of the communes, who recognised the advantage of co-operation in guaranteeing and defending their rights; in the second place, they provided a police force in days when the central authority had not enough power to enforce respect for the lives and property of its subjects.

The Cortes were formed by the old nucleus of the assemblies (conventus, curiae, concilia) of nobles and ecclesiastics, summoned by the king, with the addition of delegates from the communes. This took place for the first time in Leon, in the reign of Alfonso IX (1188). At this period in no other country of Europe did the townsmen thus participate in one of the most important political functions of the State. This innovation was paralleled in Aragon (1163?), Catalonia (1218), Castile (1250 ?), and Valencia (1283). Navarre had no democratic Cortes at this time. The Cortes prove not only how much political importance already attached in the twelfth century to the middle class which inhabited the towns, but also its social and economic importance. Indeed, the principal and most characteristic duty of the Cortes was the voting of the taxes demanded by the king—the first beginnings of the financial function of parliaments. They also possessed the right of demanding from the king the enactment of new laws or the repeal of existing ones, and they intervened at certain grave moments in political history, such as the succession to the crown, the appointment of Councils of Regency, the oath of new sovereigns, and the like. In practice, political circumstances presen ted opportunities of still more extended intervention to the Cortes, and especially to the bourgeois element.

Nevertheless, the communal power tended to encourage privilege, as each city aimed at having a statute to itself, the most favourable possibly and local codes of law. But in the thirteenth century the influence of Roman law intervened to arrest this disintegration of legal life. This influence found expression in a tendency to issue codes or compilations of law of general application. In Castile, Ferdinand III rdered the issue of a code (Sentenario) which did not acquire the force of law, but which paved the way for the great reforms of his son, Alfonso X. In Aragon, James I issued a compilation (Compilacion de Canellas, or de Huesca), which, in addition to a summary of the legal principles of traditional Aragonese law, gave as supplementary sources natural sense and equity, which, in view of the university education of the jurists, meant Roman law. At the royal court the Compilation was regarded as the source of jurisprudence, but it did not abrogate the fueros of the cities. In Catalonia Roman law, as it existed previous to Justinian, was traditionally applied as supplementary. In spite of the lively opposition to Romanism, especially by the nobles (laws of 1243 and 1251), Roman law gradually assumed greater importance, which led to the unification of legislation. The new Justinianean law of the jurists is reflected in the code of the Customs of Tortosa.

By the side of the monarchy, the nobles, and the communes, the Church appears as one of the strongest moral and social forces. She was no more so in Spain than in the other countries of Europe. It is even noteworthy that the unifying and centralising movement of the Papacy, represented in south-western Europe by the Order of Cluny, was met in Spain by a strong national resistance, especially in the provinces of Castile and Leon. The very picturesque episode of the changing of the traditional Mozarabic rite for the Roman is a good demonstration of this resistance. The establishment of the Inquisition in the kingdom of Aragon was, moreover, only an episode in the movement of intolerance which was sweeping gradually over the Christian world. The name and personality of Dominic de Guzman so closely associated with it are much more characteristic of the period than of the nation. Perhaps the most characteristic feature in the social life of the Church in Spain was the growth of the immunities or privileges, personal and real (as regards taxes and landed property), which strengthened the economic and political power of the clergy.

Any picture of Spain in these ages would be incomplete without an examination of its intellectual life, in the particularly original spheres of literature, the plastic arts, philosophy, and law. But these points will be dealt with in the various chapters devoted to the general history of medieval civilisation. We shall then see the important part played in almost all these spheres by the influence of the East, which had so strong a centre in Spain, and among the Muslims and Jews there.

For this reason Spain played a very important part in Europe in assimilating and spreading to other Christian countries the civilisation of the East, which in its turn enshrined many classical elements gained by contact with the vestiges of the Greek and Latin world in Asia and Egypt. It was thanks to Christian Spain and the liberal hospitality she extended to Arab and Jewish philosophers, physicians, and writers, that Europe received the first impulses of her intellectual renaissance. Meanwhile, the Spain of the reconquest, by continual crusades against the Muslims, was the strongest rampart for the rest of Europe, and saved the Christian world from an invasion which would otherwise have been easier on the Western side. The answer given by one of the Castilian kings to some one who sought his co-operation in the crusades in the East, was therefore justified: We are always on crusade here, and so we do our share