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Title: History of the Moors of Spain
Author: Florian, M.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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329 & 331 PEARL STREET,


[Transcriber's note: Page numbers in this book are indicated by numbers
enclosed in curly braces, e.g. {99}.  They have been located where page
breaks occurred in the original book, in accordance with Project

[Transcriber's note: This book contains a number of variations in the
spelling of some words/names, e.g. Haccham/Hacchem, Gengis/Zengis
(Khan), etc.]

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1840 by

Harper & Brothers,

In the Clerk's Office of the Southern District of New York



We are accustomed to look upon the followers of the Arabian Prophet as
little better than barbarians, remarkable chiefly for ignorance,
cruelty, and a blind and persecuting spirit of fanaticism.  As it
regards the character of the Mohammedans at the present day, and,
indeed, their moral and intellectual condition for the last two
centuries, there is no great error in this opinion.  But they are a
degenerated race.  There has been a period of great brilliancy in their
history, when they were distinguished for their love of knowledge, and
the successful cultivation of science and the arts; nor is it too much
to say, that to them Christian Europe is indebted for the generous
impulse which led to the revival of learning in the thirteenth and
fourteenth centuries.  Of the various nations of the great Moslem
family, none were more {vi} renowned in arts, as well as arms, than the
Moorish conquerors of Spain, whose history is contained in the
following pages.  The French original of this work has long enjoyed a
deservedly high reputation; and the translation here offered is by an
American lady, whose literary taste and acquirements well qualified her
for the task.

A sketch of Mohammedan history, &c., from Rev. S. Greene's Life of
Mohammed, has been appended at the close of the volume, to present to
the reader a comprehensive view of that very remarkable people, of whom
the Moors of Spain formed so distinguished a branch.

H. & B.

New York, October, 1840.





  The Origin of the Moors  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   19
  The Arabs  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   21
  The Birth of Mohammed  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   23
  Religion of Mohammed   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   23
  The Progress of Islamism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   25
  Victories of the Mussulmans  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   26
  New Conquests of the Mohammedans . . . . . . . . . . . . .   29
  The Moors become Mussulmans  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   32
  Condition of Spain under the Goths . . . . . . . . . . . .   33
  Conquest of Spain by the Moors . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   35
  The Viceroys of Spain  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   36
  Insurrection of Prince Pelagius  . . . . . . . . . . . . .   36
  Abderamus attempts the Conquest of France  . . . . . . . .   39
  He penetrates as far as the Loire  . . . . . . . . . . . .   41
  The Battle of Tours  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   42
  Civil Wars distract Spain  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   43


  The Kings of Cordova become the Caliphs of the West  . . .   45
  The Asiatic Mussulmans divide  . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   46
  The Dynasty of the Ommiades lose the Caliphate . . . . . .   48
  Horrible Massacre of the Ommiades  . . . . . . . . . . . .   52
  An Ommiade Prince repairs to Spain . . . . . . . . . . . .   53
  Abderamus, the first Caliph of the West  . . . . . . . . .   53
  Reign of Abderamus I.  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   54
  Religion and Fêtes of the Moors of Spain . . . . . . . . .   55
  Civil Wars arise among the Moors . . . . . . . . . . . . .   57
  The Reigns of Hacchem I. and of Abdelazis  . . . . . . . .   58
  Reign of Abderamus II. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   58
  Condition of the Fine Arts at Cordova  . . . . . . . . . .   60
  Anecdote of Abderamus  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   61
  Reigns of Mohammed, Almouzir, and Abdalla  . . . . . . . .   62
  Reign of Abderamus III.  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   62
  Embassy from a Greek Emperor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   64
  Magnificence and Gallantry of the Moors  . . . . . . . . .   64
  Description of the City and Palace of Zahra  . . . . . . .   65
  Wealth of the Caliphs of Cordova . . . . . . . . . . . . .   68
  The Fine Arts cultivated at Cordova  . . . . . . . . . . .   71
  Reign of El Hacchem  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   74
  Laws of the Moors, and their Mode of administering Justice   75
  Authority possessed by Fathers and old Men . . . . . . . .   77
  An Illustration of the Magnanimity of El Hakkam  . . . . .   78
  Reign of Hacchem III.  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   80
  Successful Rule of Mohammed Almonzir as Hadjeb under
    the imbecile Hacchem   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   80
  Disorders at Cordova . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   82
  End of the Caliphate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   83


  The principal Kingdoms erected from the Ruins of the
    Caliphate of the West  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   85
  Condition of Christian Spain at this Juncture  . . . . . .   88
  The Kingdom of Toledo; its Termination . . . . . . . .   87, 88
  Success of the Christians  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   89
  The Cid  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   89
  The Kingdom of Seville . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   91
  The Dynasty of the Almoravides hold Supremacy in Africa  .   92
  Conquests of the Almoravides in Spain  . . . . . . . . . .   93
  French Princes repair to Spain . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   94
  Extinction of the Kingdom of Saragossa . . . . . . . . . .   95
  Foundation of the Kingdom of Portugal  . . . . . . . . . .   95
  State of the Fine Arts among the Moors at this Period  . .   97
  Abenzoar and Averroes  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   97
  Dissensions between the Moors and Christians . . . . . . .   98
  The Africans, under Mohammed _the Green_, land in Spain  .  100
  Battle of Toloza . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  102-104
  Tactics of the Moors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  105
  The discomfited Mohammed returns to Africa . . . . . . . .  109
  Extent of the Territories still retained by the Moors
    in Spain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  110
  St. Ferdinand and Jaques I.  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  111
  Valencia is attacked by the Aragonians . . . . . . . . . .  113
  Siege of Cordova . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  114
  Surrender of Valencia  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  116


  The Kings of Grenada . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  118
  The Condition of the Moors; their Despondency  . . . . . .  118
  Mohammed Alhamar; his Character and Influence with his
    Countrymen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  119
  He founds the Kingdom of Grenada . . . . . . . . . . . . .  120
  Description of the City of Grenada and its _Vega_  . . . .  121
  Extent and Resources of this Kingdom . . . . . . . . . . .  123
  Reign of Mohammed Alhamar I. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  124
  The Moorish Sovereign becomes the Vassal of the King
    of Castile . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  124
  Ferdinand III. besieges Seville  . . . . . . . . . . . . .  125
  The Taking of Seville  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  126
  Revenues of the Kings of Grenada . . . . . . . . . . . . .  127
  Military Forces  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  129
  Cavalry of the Moors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  129
  Disturbances in Castile  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  133
  Reign of Mohammed II. El Fakik . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  133
  He forms a League with the King of Morocco . . . . . . . .  134
  Misfortunes of Alphonso of Castile . . . . . . . . . . . .  134
  Interview between Alphonso and the Sovereign of Morocco  .  134
  State of Learning and the Fine Arts under Mohammed al
    Mumenim  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  136
  Description of the Alhambra  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  137
  The Court of Lions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  140
  The Generalif  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  145
  Mohammed III. El Hama, or _the Blind_, ascends the Throne
    of Grenada . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  147
  Troubles in Grenada  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  149
  Reign of Mohammed IV. Abenazar . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  149
  Reign of Ismael  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  149
  Reign of Mohammed V. and of Joseph I.  . . . . . . . . . .  152
  The Battle of Salado . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  152
  Successive Reigns of Mohammed VI. and Mohammed VII.  . . .  154
  Horrible Crime of Peter the Cruel of Castile . . . . . . .  150
  Condition of Spain--of Europe in general . . . . . .   156, 157
  Mohammed VI. reassumes the Crown . . . . . . . . . . . . .  158
  Reign of Mohammed VIII. Abouhadjad . . . . . . . . . . . .  158
  Favourite Literary and Scientific Pursuits of the Moors
    under the munificent Rule of Abouhadjad  . . . . . . . .  160
  Universal prevalence of a Taste for Fiction
    among the Arabs  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  161
  Music and Gallantry of the Moors . . . . . . . . . . . . .  162
  The mixture of Refinement and Ferocity in the Character
    of the Moors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  166
  Description of the Women of Grenada  . . . . . . . . . . .  169
  The national Costume of both Sexes . . . . . . . . . . . .  170
  Moorish Customs  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  171
  Folly of the Grand-master of Alcantara . . . . . . . . . .  172
  The Result of his Expedition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  174
  Dreadful Death of Joseph II. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  175
  Mohammed IX. usurps the Throne . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  175
  Singular Escape of a condemned Prince  . . . . . . . . . .  176
  Generous Disposition of Joseph III.  . . . . . . . . . . .  176
  Disturbed Condition of the Kingdom after his Death . . . .  177
  A rapid Succession of Rulers . . . . . . . . . . . . . 177, 178
  Reign of Ismael II.  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  178
  The Miseries of War most severely felt by the Cultivator
    of the Soil  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  179
  Mulei-Hassem succeeds Ismael II. . . . . . . . . . . . . .  179
  Marriage of Ferdinand and Isabella . . . . . . . . . . . .  180
  The respective Characters of these Sovereigns  . . . . . .  181
  They declare War against the Grenadians  . . . . . . . . .  182
  Statesmen and Soldiers of the Spanish Court  . . . . . . .  182
  Stern Reply of the Grenadian King  . . . . . . . . . . . .  183
  Alhama is Surprised  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  184
  Civil War is kindled in Grenada by the Feuds of the
    Royal Family . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  184
  Boabdil is proclaimed King . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  185
  Cause of the ambitious hopes of Zagal  . . . . . . . . . .  185
  Boabdil is taken Prisoner by the Spaniards . . . . . . . .  186
  The politic Spanish Rulers restore Boabdil to Liberty  . .  187
  The Moors become their own Destroyers  . . . . . . . . . .  187
  Death of Mulei-Hassem  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  187
  Boabdil and his Uncle divide the Relics of Grenada
    between them . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  188
  Baseness of Zagal  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  188
  Boabdil reigns alone at Grenada  . . . . . . . . . . . . .  188
  Ferdinand lays Siege to the City of Grenada  . . . . . . .  189
  Condition of the City  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  189
  The Spanish Camp . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  191
  Isabella repairs to the Camp . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  191
  She builds a City  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  192
  Surrender of Grenada . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  194
  Departure of Boabdil from the City . . . . . . . . . . . .  194
  The entrance of the Spanish Conquerors into the City . . .  195
  Summary of the Causes of the Ruin of the Moors . . . . . .  196
  Characteristics of the Moors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  197
  Anecdote illustrative of their Observance of the Laws
    of Hospitality . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  198
  Christian Persecution of the Moors . . . . . . . . . . . .  199
  Revolts of the Moors, and their Results  . . . . . . . . .  199
  Final Expulsion of the Moors from Spain  . . . . . . . . .  201
  Notes  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  203

  A Brief Account of the Rise and Decline of the
    Mohammedan Empire  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  227
      Chapter I  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  229
      Chapter II . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  243
      Chapter III  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  266



The name of the Moors of Spain recalls recollections of gallantry and
refinement, and of the triumphs of arts and arms.  But, though thus
celebrated, not much is generally known of the history of that
remarkable people.

The fragments of their annals, scattered among the writings of the
Spanish and Arabian authors, furnish little else than accounts of
murdered kings, national dissensions, civil wars, and unceasing
contests with their neighbours.  Yet, mingled with these melancholy
recitals, individual instances of goodness, justice, and magnanimity
occasionally present themselves.  These traits, too, strike us more
forcibly than those of a similar description with which we meet in
perusing the histories of other nations; perhaps in {xiv} consequence
of the peculiar colouring of originality lent them by their Oriental
characteristics; or perhaps because, in contrast with numerous examples
of barbarity, a noble action, an eloquent discourse, or a touching
expression, acquire an unusual charm.

It is not my intention to write the history of the Moors in minute
detail, but merely to retrace their principal revolutions, and attempt
a faithful sketch of their national character and manners.

The Spanish historians, whom I have carefully consulted in aid of this
design, have been of but little assistance to me in my efforts.
Careful to give a very prominent place in their extremely complicated
narratives to the various sovereigns of Asturia, Navarre, Aragon, and
Castile, they advert to the Moors only when their wars with the
Christians inseparably mingle the interests of the two nations; but
they never allude to the government, customs, or laws of the enemies of
their faith.


The translations from the Arabian writers to which I have had recourse,
throw little more light upon the subject of my researches than the
productions of Spanish authors.  Blinded by fanaticism and national
pride, they expatiate with complacency on the warlike achievements of
their countrymen, without even adverting to the reverses that attended
their arms, and pass over whole dynasties without the slightest notice
or comment.

Some of our _savans_ have, in several very estimable works, united the
information to be collected from these Spanish and Arabian histories,
with such additional particulars as they were able to derive from their
own personal observations.

I have drawn materials from all these sources, and have, in addition,
sought for descriptions of the manners of the Moors in the Spanish and
ancient Castilian romances, and in manuscripts and memoirs obtained
from Madrid.

It is after these long and laborious researches {xvi} that I venture to
offer a brief history of a people who bore so little resemblance to any
other; who had their national vices and virtues, as well as their
characteristic physiognomy; and who so long united the bravery,
generosity, and chivalry of the Europeans, with the excitable
temperament and strong passions of the Orientals.

To render the order of time more intelligible, and the more clearly to
elucidate facts, this historical sketch will be divided in four
principal Epochs.

The _first_ will extend from the commencement of the Conquests of the
Arabs to the Establishment of the Dynasty of the Ommiade princes at
Cordova: the _second_ will include the reigns of the Caliphs of the
West: in the _third_ will be related all that can now be ascertained
concerning the various small kingdoms erected from the ruins of the
Caliphate of Cordova: and the _fourth_ will comprehend a narration of
the prominent events in the lives of the successive sovereigns of the
Kingdom of Grenada, until the {xvii} period of the final expulsion of
the Mussulmans from that country.

Care has been taken to compare the dates according to the Mohammedan
method of computing time, with the periods fixed by the ordinary mode
of arrangement.  Some of the Spanish historians, Garabai for instance,
do not agree with the Arabian chronologists in relation to the years of
the Hegira.  I have thought proper to follow the Arabian authorities,
and have adopted, with occasional corrections, the chronological
arrangements of M. Cardonne, whose personal assurance I possess, that
he attaches high importance to his calculations on this subject.  I
have thus reason to hope that this little work will serve to elucidate
many points hitherto doubtful in relation to this matter.

The proper names of the Moors vary even more in the different
authorities than their statements respecting the date of events, either
in consequence of the difficulty of pronouncing them, or from ignorance
of their proper {xviii} orthography.  In instances of this character I
have always given the preference to such as appeared to be most
generally adopted, and were, at the same time, most harmonious in sound.





_Extending from the end of the Sixth Century to the middle of the

The primitive Moors were the inhabitants of the vast portion of Africa
bounded on the east by Egypt, on the north by the Mediterranean, on the
west by the Atlantic, and on the south by the deserts of Barbary.

The origin of the Moors, or Mauritanians, is, like that of most other
ancient nations, obscure, and the information we possess concerning
their early history confusedly mingled with fables.  The fact, however,
appears to be established, that Asiatic emigrations were, from the
earliest times, made into Africa.  In addition to this, the {20}
historians of remote ages speak of a certain Meleck Yarfrick, king of
Arabia Felix, who conducted a people called _Sabaei_[1] into Libya,
made himself master of that country, established his followers there,
and gave it the name of Africa.  It is from these Sabians or _Sabaei_
that the principal Moorish tribes pretend to trace their descent.  The
derivation of the name Moors[2] is also supposed, in some degree, to
confirm the impression that they came originally from Asia.

But, without enlarging upon these ancient statements, let it suffice to
say, that nearly certain ground exists for the belief that the original
Moors were Arabians.  In confirmation of this impression, we find that,
during every period of the existence of their race, the descendants of
the primitive inhabitants of Mauritania have, like the Arabs, been
divided into distinct tribes, and, like them, have pursued a wild and
wandering mode of existence.

The Moors of Africa are known in ancient {21} history under the name of
Nomades, Numidae or Numidians, Getulae, and Massyli.  They were by
turns the subjects, the enemies, or the allies of the Carthaginians,
and with them they fell under the dominion of the Romans.

After several unsuccessful revolts, to which they were instigated by
their fiery, restless, and inconstant temper, the Moors were at length
subjugated by the Vandals, A.D. 427.

A century afterward these people were conquered by Belisarius: but the
Greeks were in their turn subdued by the Arabs, who then proceeded to
achieve the conquest of Mauritania.

As, from the period when that event occurred, the Mauritanians or
Moors, who were thus suddenly converted to Mohammedanism, have
frequently been confounded with the _native Arabians_, it will be
proper to say a few words concerning that extraordinary people: a
people who, after occupying for so many centuries an insignificant
place among the nations of the earth, rapidly rendered themselves
masters of the greater part of the known world.

The Arabs are, beyond question, one of the most ancient races of men in
existence;[3] and {22} have, of all others, perhaps, best preserved
their national independence, and their distinctive character and
manners.  Divided from the most remote times into tribes that either
wandered in the desert or were collected together in cities, and
obedient to chiefs who in the same person united the warrior and the
magistrate, they have never been subjected to foreign domination.  The
Persians, the Romans, and the Macedonians vainly attempted to subdue
them: they only shattered their weapons in fragments against the rocks
of the Nabatheans.[4]  Proud of an origin which he traced back even to
the patriarchs of olden time, exulting in his successful defence of his
liberty and his rights, the Arab, from the midst of his deserts,
regarded the rest of mankind as consisting of mere bands of slaves,
changing masters as chance or {23} convenience directed.  Brave,
temperate, and indefatigable, inured from infancy to the severest toil,
fearing neither thirst, hunger, nor death itself--these were a people
by whose assistance a leader suitably endowed could render himself
master of the world.  Mohammed appeared:[5] to him nature had accorded
the requisite qualifications for executing such a design.  Courageous,
sagacious, eloquent, polished, possessed in an eminent degree of the
powers which both awe and delight mankind, Mohammed would have been a
great man had he belonged to the most enlightened age--among an
ignorant and fanatical people he became a prophet.

Until Mohammed arose among them, the Arab tribes, surrounded by Jews,
Christians, and idolaters, had entertained a superstitious faith,
compounded of the religious belief of their various neighbours and that
of the ancient Sabaei.  They fully credited the existence of genii,
demons, and witchcraft, adored the stars, and offered idolatrous
sacrifices.  But Mohammed--after having devoted many years to profound
and solitary meditation upon the new dogmas he designed to establish;
after having either convinced {24} or won to his interests the
principal individuals of his own family,[6] possessing pre-eminent
consequence among their countrymen--suddenly began to preach a new
religion, opposed to all those with which the Arabs were hitherto
familiar, and whose principles were well-adapted to inflame the ardent
temper of that excitable people.

Children of Ishmael, said the Prophet to them, I bring you the faith
that was professed by your father Abraham, by Noah, and by all the
patriarchs.  There is but one God, the Sovereign Ruler of all worlds:
he is called THE MERCIFUL; worship Him alone.  Be beneficent towards
orphans, slaves, captives, and the poor: be just to all men--justice is
the sister of piety.  Pray and bestow alms.  You will be rewarded in
Heaven, by being permitted to dwell perpetually in delicious gardens,
where limpid waters will for ever flow, and where each one of you will
eternally enjoy the companionship of women who will be ever beautiful,
ever youthful, ever devoted to you alone.  Courageously combat both the
unbelieving and the impious.  Oppose them until they {25} embrace
Islamism[7] or render you tribute.  Every soldier who dies in battle
will share the treasures of God; nor can the coward prolong his life;
for the moment when he is destined to be smitten by the angel of death
is written in the Book of the Eternal.

Such precepts, announced in majestic and highly figurative language,
embellished with the charms of verse, and presented by a warrior,
prophet, poet, and legislator, professing to be the representative of
an angel, to the most susceptible people in the world--to a people
possessing a passion alike for the marvellous and the voluptuous, for
heroism and for poetry--could scarcely fail to find disciples.
Converts rapidly crowded around Mohammed, and their numbers were soon
augmented by persecution.  His enemies obliged the Prophet to fly from
his native Mecca and take refuge in Medina.  This flight was the epoch
of his glory and of the Hegira of the Mussulmans.  It occurred A.D. 622.

From this moment Islamism spread like a torrent over the Arabias and
Ethiopia.  In vain did the Jewish and idolatrous tribes attempt to
maintain their ancient faith; in vain did Mecca {26} arm her soldiers
against the destroyers of her gods; Mohammed, sword in hand, dispersed
their armies, seized upon their cities, and won the affections of the
people whom he subdued, by his clemency, his genius, and his
fascinating address.

A legislator, a pontiff, the chief of all the Arab tribes, the
commander of an invincible army, respected by the Asiatic sovereigns,
adored by a powerful nation, and surrounded by captains who had become
heroes in serving under him, Mohammed was on the point of marching
against Heraclius, when his designs were for ever interrupted by the
termination of his existence.  This event took place at Medina, A.D.
632, Hegira 2, and was the effect of poison, which had, some time
before, been administered to this extraordinary man by a Jewess of

The death of the Prophet arrested neither the progress of his religion
nor the triumphs of the Moslem arms.

Abubeker, the father-in-law of Mohammed, became his successor, and
assumed the title of _Caliph_, which simply signifies _vicar_.  During
his reign the Saracens penetrated into Syria, dispersed the armies of
Heraclius, and took the {27} city of Damascus, the siege of which will
be for ever celebrated in consequence of the almost superhuman exploits
of the famous Kaled, surnamed the _Sword of God_.[8]

Notwithstanding these successive victories, and the enormous amount of
booty thus taken from the enemy and committed to his keeping, Abubeker
appropriated to his own particular use a sum scarcely equivalent to
forty cents a day.

Omar, the successor of Abubeker, commanded Kaled to march against
Jerusalem.  That city soon became the prize of the Arabs; Syria and
Palestine were subdued; the Turks and the Persians demanded peace;
Heraclius fled from Antioch; and all Asia trembled before Omar and the
terrible Mussulmans.

Modest, in spite of the triumphs that everywhere attended them, and
attributing their success to God alone, these Moslems preserved
unaltered their austere manners, their frugality, their severe
discipline, and their reverence for poverty, though surrounded by the
most corrupt of the nations of the earth, and exposed to the seductive
influences of the delicious climates and the luxurious pleasures of
some of the richest and most {28} beautiful countries in the world.
During the sacking of a city, the most eager and impetuous soldier
would be instantly arrested in the work of pillage by the word of his
chief, and would, with the strictest fidelity, deliver up the booty he
had obtained, that it might be deposited in the general treasury.  Even
the most independent and magnificent of the heroic chiefs would hasten,
in accordance with the directions of the caliph, to take the command of
an army, and would become successively generals, private soldiers, or
ambassadors, in obedience to his slightest wish.  In fine, Omar
himself--Omar, the richest, the greatest, the most puissant of the
monarchs of Asia, set forward upon a journey to Jerusalem; mounted upon
a red camel, which bore a sack of barley, one of rice, a well-filled
water-skin, and a wooden vase.  Thus equipped, the caliph travelled
through the midst of conquered nations, who crowded around his path at
every step, entreating his blessing and praying him to adjudge their
quarrels.  At last he joined his army, and, inculcating precepts of
simplicity, valour, and humility upon the soldiers, he made his
entrance into the Holy City, liberated such of its former Christian
possessors as had become {29} the captives of his people, and commanded
the preservation of the churches.  Then remounting his camel, the
representative of the Prophet returned to Medina, to perform the duties
of the high-priest of his religion.

The Mussulmans now advanced towards Egypt.  That country was soon
subdued.  Alexandrea was taken by Amrou, one of the most distinguished
generals of Omar.  It was then that the famous library was destroyed,
whose loss still excites the profound regrets of the learned.  The
Arabians, though such enthusiastic admirers of their national poetry,
despised the literature of all the rest of the world.  Amrou caused the
library of the Ptolemies to be burned, yet this same Amrou was
nevertheless celebrated for his poetical effusions.  He entertained the
sincerest affection and respect for the celebrated John the Grammarian,
to whom, but for the opposing order of the caliph, he would have given
this valuable collection of books.  It was Amrou, too, who caused the
execution of a design worthy of the best age of Rome, that of
connecting the Red Sea with the Mediterranean by means of a navigable
canal, at a point where the waters of the Nile might be diverted from
{30} their course for its supply.  This canal, so useful to Egypt, and
so important to the commerce of both Europe and Asia, was accomplished
in a few months.  The Turks, in more modern times, have suffered it to
be destroyed.

Amrou continued to advance into Africa, while the other Arabian
commanders passed the Euphrates and conquered the Persians.  But Omar
was already no more, and Othman occupied his place.

It was during the reign of this caliph that the Saracens, banishing for
ever its enfeebled Greek masters, conquered Mauritania, or the country
of the Moors of Africa, A.D. 647, Heg. 27.

The invaders met with serious resistance only from the warlike tribes
of the Bereberes.[9]  That bold and pastoral people, the descendants of
the ancient inhabitants of Numidia, and preserving, even to this day, a
species of independence, intrenched as they are in the Atlas Mountains,
long and successfully resisted the conquerors of the Moors.  A Moslem
general named Akba finally succeeded in subjugating them, and in
compelling them to adopt the laws and faith of his country.


After that achievement Akba carried his arms to the extreme western
point of Africa, the ocean alone resisting him in his progress.  There,
inspired by courage and devotion with feelings of the highest
enthusiasm, he forced his horse into the waves, and, drawing his sabre,
cried, "God of Mohammed, thou beholdest that, but for the element which
arrests me, I would have proceeded in search of unknown nations, whom I
would have forced to adore thy name!"

Until this epoch, the Moors, under the successive dominion of the
Carthaginians, the Romans, the Vandals, and the Greeks, had taken but
little interest in the affairs of their different masters.

Wandering in the deserts, they occupied themselves chiefly with the
care of their flocks; paid the arbitrary imposts levied upon them,
sometimes passively enduring the oppression of their rulers, and
sometimes essaying to break their chains; taking refuge, after each
defeat of their efforts, in the Atlas Mountains, or in the interior of
their country.

Their religion was a mixture of Christianity and idolatry; their
manners those of the enslaved Nomades: rude, ignorant, and wretched,
{32} their condition was the prototype of what it now is under the
tyrants of Morocco.

But the presence of the Arabs rapidly produced a great change among
these people.  A common origin with that of their new masters, together
with similarity of language and temperament, contributed to bind the
conquered to their conquerors.

The announcement of a religion which had been preached by a descendant
of Ishmael, whom the Moors regarded as their father; the rapid
conquests of the Mussulmans, who were already masters of half of Asia
and a large portion of Africa, and who threatened to enslave the world,
aroused the excitable imaginations of the Moors, and restored to their
national character all its passionate energy.  They embraced the dogmas
of Mohammed with transport; they united with the Arabs, volunteered to
serve under the Moslem banners, and suddenly became simultaneously
enamoured with Islamism and with glory.

This reunion, which doubled the military strength of the two united
nations, was disturbed for some time by the revolt of the Bereberes,
who never yielded their liberty under any circumstances.


The reigning caliph, Valid the First, despatched into Egypt
Moussa-ben-Nazir, a judicious and valiant commander, at the head of a
hundred thousand men, A.D. 708, Heg. 89.

Moussa defeated the Bereberes, restored quiet in Mauritania, and seized
upon Tangier, which belonged to the Goths of Spain.

Master of an immense region of country, of a redoubtable army, and of a
people who considered his supremacy as essential to their well-being,
the Saracen general from this period contemplated carrying his arms
into Spain.

That beautiful kingdom, after having been successively under the yoke
of the Carthaginians and the Romans, had finally become the prey of the
Barbarians.  The Alains, the Suevi, and the Vandals had divided its
provinces among them; but Euric, one of the Visigoths, who entered the
country from the south of Gaul, had, towards the end of the fifth
century, gained possession of the whole of Spain, and transmitted it to
his descendants.

The softness of the climate, together with the effects of wealth and
luxury, gradually enfeebled these conquerors, creating vices from which
they had been previously free, and depriving {34} them of the warlike
qualities to which alone they had been indebted for their success.  Of
the kings who succeeded Euric, some were Arians and others Catholics,
who abandoned their authority to the control of bishops, and occupied a
throne shaken to its centre by internal disturbances.  Roderick, the
last of these Gothic sovereigns, polluted the throne by his vices; and
both history and tradition accuse him of the basest crimes.  Indeed, in
the instance of nearly all these tyrants, their vices either directly
occasioned, or were made the pretext of their final ruin.

The fact is well established, that Count Julian and his brother Oppas,
archbishop of Toledo, both of them distinguished and influential men,
favoured the irruption of the Moors into Spain.

Tarik, one of the most renowned captains of his time,[10] was sent into
Spain by Moussa.  He had at first but few troops; but he was not by
this prevented from defeating the large army that, by command of
Roderick, the last Gothic king, opposed his course.

Subsequently, having received re-enforcements {35} from Africa, Tarik
vanquished Roderick himself at the battle of Xeres, where that
unfortunate monarch perished during the general flight in which the
conflict terminated, A.D. 714, Heg. 96.

After this battle, the Mohammedan general, profiting by his victory,
penetrated into Estremadura, Andalusia, and the two Castiles, and took
possession of the city of Toledo.  Being soon after joined by Moussa,
whose jealousy of the glory his lieutenant was so rapidly acquiring
prompted him to hasten to his side, these two remarkable commanders,
dividing their troops into several corps, achieved, in a few months,
the conquest of the whole of Spain.

It should be observed, that these Moors, whom several historians have
represented as bloodthirsty barbarians, did not deprive the people whom
they had subjugated either of their faith, their churches, or the
administrators of their laws.  They exacted from the Spaniards only the
tribute they had been accustomed to pay their kings.  One cannot but
question the existence of the ferocity that is ascribed to them, when
it is remembered that the greater part of the Spanish cities submitted
to the invaders {36} without making the least attempt at resistance;
that the Christians readily united themselves with the Moors; that the
inhabitants of Toledo desired to assume the name of _Musarabs_; and
that Queen Egilona, the widow of Roderick, the last of the Gothic
sovereigns, publicly espoused, with the united consent of the two
nations, Abdelazis the son of Moussa.

Moussa, whom the success of Tarik had greatly exasperated, wishing to
remove a lieutenant whose achievements eclipsed his own, preferred an
accusation against him to the caliph.  Valid recalled them both, but
refused to adjudge their difference, and suffered them to die at court
from chagrin at seeing themselves forgotten.

Abdelazis, the husband of Egilona, became governor of Spain A.D. 718,
Heg. 100, but did not long survive his elevation.  Alahor, who
succeeded him, carried his arms into Gaul, subdued the Warbonnais, and
was preparing to push his conquests still farther, when he learned that
Pelagius, a prince of the blood-royal of the Visigoths, had taken
refuge in the mountains of Asturia with a handful of devoted followers;
that with them he dared to brave the conquerors of Spain, and had
formed the bold design of {37} attempting to rid himself of their yoke.
Alahor sent some troops against him.  Pelagius, intrenched with his
little army in the mountain gorges, twice gave battle to the
Mussulmans, seized upon several castles, and, reanimating the spirits
of the Christians, whose courage had been almost extinguished by so
long a succession of reverses, taught the astonished Spaniards that the
Moors were not invincible.

The insurrection of Pelagius occasioned the recall of Alahor by the
Caliph Omar II.  Elzemah, his successor, was of opinion that the most
certain means of repressing revolts among a people is to render them
prosperous and contented.  He therefore devoted himself to the wise and
humane government of Spain; to the regulation of imposts, until then
quite arbitrary; and to quieting the discontents of the soldiery, and
establishing their pay at a fixed rate.  A lover of the fine arts,
which the Arabs began from that time to cultivate, Elzemah embellished
Cordova, which was his capital, and attracted thither the _savans_ of
the age.  He was himself the author of a book containing a description
of the cities, rivers, provinces, and ports of Spain, of the metals,
mines, and quarries it {38} possesses; and, in short, of almost every
object of interest either in science or government.

But little disturbed by the insurrectionary movements of Pelagius,
whose power was confined to the possession of some inaccessible
mountain fortresses, Elzemah did not attempt to force him from his
strongholds, but, impelled by the ardent desire of extending the
Moorish conquests into France, with which the governors of Spain were
ever inflamed, he passed the Pyrenees, and perished in a battle fought
against Eudes, duke of Aquitania, A.D. 722, Heg. 104.

During the remainder of the Caliphate of Yezid II.,[11] several
governors followed each other in rapid succession after the death of
Elzemah.[12]  None of their actions merit recital, but, during this
period, the brave Pelagius aggrandized his petty state, advancing into
the mountains of Leon, and, in addition, making himself master of
several towns.

This hero, whose invincible daring roused the Asturians and Cantabrians
to struggle for liberty, laid the foundations of that powerful monarchy
{39} whose warriors afterward pursued the Moors even to the rocks of
the Atlas.

The Moslems, who dreamed only of new conquests, made no considerable
efforts against Pelagius: they were confident of checking his rebellion
with the utmost ease when they should have accomplished the subjugation
of the French dominions; and that desire alone fired the ardent soul of
the new governor Abdalrahman, or, as he is commonly called, Abderamus.

His love of glory, his valour, his genius, and, above all, his
immeasurable ambition, made the Mussulman governor regard this conquest
as one that could be easily effected; but he himself was destined to be
the vanquished.

Charles Martel, the son of Pepin d'Heristel, and the grandfather of
Charlemagne, whose exploits effaced the recollection of those of his
father, and whose fame was not eclipsed by that of his grandson, was at
this time mayor of the palace, under the last princes of the first
race; or, rather, Charles was the real monarch of the French and German

Eudes, duke of Aquitania, the possessor of Gascony and Guienne, had
long maintained a quarrel with the French hero.  Unable longer, {40}
without assistance, to resist his foe, he sought an alliance with a
Moor named Munuza, who was the governor of Catalonia and the secret
enemy of Abderamus.  These two powerful vassals, both discontented with
their respective sovereigns, and inspired as much by fear as dislike,
united themselves in the closest bonds, in despite of the difference in
their religious faith.  The Christian duke did not hesitate to give his
daughter in marriage to his Mohammedan ally, and the Princess Numerance
espoused the Moorish Munuza, as Queen Egilona had espoused the Moorish

Abderamus, when informed of this alliance, immediately divined the
motives which had induced it.  He soon assembled an army, penetrated
with rapidity into Catalonia, and attacked Munuza, who was wounded in a
fruitless endeavour to fly, and afterward perished by his own hand.
His captive wife was conducted into the presence of the victorious
governor Abderamus, struck with her beauty, sent the fair Numerance as
a present to the Caliph Haccham, whose regard she elicited; and thus,
by a singular chance, a princess of Gascony became an inmate of the
seraglio of a sovereign of Damascus.


Not content with having so signally punished Munuza, Abderamus crossed
the Pyrenees, traversed Navarre, entered Guienne, and besieged and took
the City of Bordeaux.  Eudes attempted, at the head of an army, to
arrest his progress, but was repelled in a decisive engagement.
Everything yielded to the Mussulman arms: Abderamus pursued his route,
ravaged Perigord, Saintonge, and Poitou, appeared in triumph in
Touraine, and paused only when within view of the streaming ensigns of
Charles Martel.

Charles came to this rencounter followed by the forces of France,
Asturia, and Bourgogne, and attended by the veteran warriors whom he
was accustomed to lead to victory.  The Duke of Aquitania was also in
the camp.  Charles forgot his private injuries in the contemplation of
the common danger: this danger was pressing: the fate of France and
Germany--indeed, of the whole of Christendom, depended on the event of
the approaching conflict.

Abderamus was a rival worthy of the son of Pepin.  Flushed, like him,
with the proud recollection of numerous victories; at the head of an
innumerable army; surrounded by experienced captains, who had been the
frequent {42} witnesses of his martial triumphs; and long inspired with
the warmest hopes of finally adding to the dominion of Islamism the
only country belonging to the ancient Roman empire that still remained
unsubdued by the Saracens, the Moorish leader met his brave foe, upon
equal terms, on the battle-field of Tours, A.D. 733, Heg. 114.

The action was long and bloody.  Abderamus was slain; and this
dispiriting loss, without doubt, decided the defeat of his army.[13]
Historians assert that more than three hundred thousand men perished.
This statement is probably exaggerated; but it is certainly true, that
the Moors, who had thus penetrated into the midst of France, were
relentlessly pursued after their defeat, and were many of them unable
to escape from the army of the victors and the vengeance of the people.

This memorable battle, of which we possess no details, saved France
from the yoke of the Arabs, and effectually arrested their spreading

Once again, subsequent to this reverse, the Moors attempted to
penetrate into France, and {43} succeeded in seizing upon Avignon; but
Charles Martel defeated them anew, retook the captured city, drove them
from Narbonne, and deprived them forever of the hope with which they
had so often flattered themselves.

After the death of Abderamus, Spain was torn by dissensions between the
two governors[14] named successively by the Caliph.  A third pretender
arrived from Africa.  A fourth added himself to the list;[15] factions
multiplied; the different parties often had recourse to arms; chiefs
were assassinated, cities taken, and provinces ravaged.

The details of these events are variously related by different
historians, but possess little interest in the narrations of any.

These civil wars lasted nearly twenty years.  The Christians, who had
retired into Asturia, profited by them to the utmost.  Alphonso I., the
son-in-law and successor of Pelagius, imitated the career of that hero.
He seized upon a part of Galicia and Leon, repulsed the Mussulman
troops who were sent to oppose him, and rendered himself master of
several towns.

The Moors, occupied by their domestic {44} quarrels, neglected to
arrest the progress of Alphonso, and from that time the growth of a
miniature kingdom commenced, whose interests were inimical to those of
the Saracens in Spain.

After many crimes and combats, a certain _Joseph_ had succeeded in
triumphing over his different rivals, and was at last reigning supreme
in Cordova, when there occurred a memorable event in the East, which
was destined greatly to affect the condition of Spain.

From that period, A.D. 749, Heg. 134, commences the second epoch of the
empire of the Moors of Spain, which makes it necessary to revert
briefly to the history of the Eastern caliphs.

[1] The _Sabaei_, according to the best ancient authorities, were the
inhabitants of the extensive Arabian kingdom of _Saba_.--_Translator_.

[2] The term Moors, according to Bochart, comes from a Hebrew word,
_Mahuran_, which signifies Western.

[3] It is scarcely necessary to remind the reader that these _Children
of the Desert_ are supposed to be the lineal descendants of Ishmael,
the wandering, outcast son of the patriarch Abraham and the much-abused

[4] The primitive name of the Arabs, from _Nabathaea_, an appellation
for their country which is probably derived from _Nabath_, the son of
Ishmael.  The capital city of Nabathaea was that _Petra_, of whose
present appearance and condition our eminent countryman, Stephens, has
given his readers so graphic a sketch in his "Travels,"

[5] A.D. 569.

[6] The Coheshirites, the guardians of the Temple of the Caaba at Mecca.

[7] See Note A, page 203.

[8] See Note B, page 206.

[9] See note C, page 207.

[10] See note D, page 208.

[11] See Note E, page 308.

[12] Ambeza, Azra, Jahiah, Osman, Hazifa, Hacchem, and Mohammed.

[13] It was in this battle that Charles acquired the title of _Martel_,
or the _Hammer_.

[14] Abdoulmelek and Akbe.

[15] Aboulattar and Tevaba.




_Extending from the middle of the Eighth to the commencement of the
Eleventh Century._

We have seen that, under their first three caliphs, Abubeker, Omar, and
Othman, the Arabian conquerors of Syria, Persia, and Africa preserved
their ancient manners, their simplicity of character, their obedience to
the successors of the Prophet, and their contempt for luxury and wealth:
but what people could continue to withstand the influence of such an
accumulation of prosperity?  These resistless conquerors turned their
weapons against each other: they forgot the virtues which had rendered
them invincible, and assisted by their dissensions in dismembering the
empire that their valour had created.

The disastrous effects of the baneful spirit that had thus insidiously
supplanted the original principles of union, moderation, and prudence, by
which, as a nation, the Moslems had been {46} actuated, were first
manifested in the assassination of the Caliph Othman.

Ali, the friend, companion, and adopted son of the Prophet, whose
courage, achievements, and relationship to Mohammed, as the husband of
his only daughter, had rendered him so dear to the Mussulmans, was
announced as the successor of Othman.

But Moavias, the governor of Syria, refused to recognise the authority of
Ali, and, under the guidance of the sagacious Amrou, the conqueror of
Egypt, caused himself to be proclaimed Caliph of Damascus.  Upon this,
the Arabians divided: those of Medina sustaining Ali, and those of Syria
Moavias.  The first took the name of _Alides_, the others styled
themselves _Ommiades_, deriving their denomination from the grandfather
of Moavias.  Such was the origin of the famous schism which still
separates the Turks and Persians.

Though Ali succeeded in vanquishing Moavias in the field, he did not
avail himself judiciously of the advantage afforded him by his victory.
He was soon after assassinated,[1] and the spirit and courage of his
party vanished with the {47} occurrence of that event.  The sons of Ali
made efforts to reanimate the ardour of his partisans, but in vain.

Thus, in the midst of broils, revolts, and civil wars, the Ommiades still
remained in possession of the Caliphate of Damascus.[2] It was during the
reign of one of these princes, Valid the First, that the Arabian
conquests extended in the East to the banks of the Ganges, and in the
West to the shores of the Atlantic.  The Ommiades, however, were for the
most part feeble, but they were sustained by able commanders, and the
{48} ancient valour of the Moslem soldiers was not yet degenerated.

After the Ommiades had maintained their empire for the space of
ninety-three years, Mervan II.,[3] the last caliph of the race, was
deprived of his throne and his life[4] through the instrumentality of
Abdalla, a chief of the tribe of the Abbassides, who were, like the
Ommiades, near relatives of Mohammed.

Aboul-Abbas, the nephew of Abdalla, supplanted the former caliph.  With
him commenced the dynasty of the Abbassides, so celebrated in the East
for their love of science and their connexion with the names of Haroun Al
Raschid, Almamon, and the Bermasides.[5]

The Abbassides retained the caliphate during five successive
centuries.[6]  At the termination of {49} that period, they were
despoiled of their power by the Tartar posterity of Gengis Khan, after
{50} having witnessed the establishment of a race of Egyptian caliphs
named _Fatimites_, the pretended descendants of Fatima, the daughter of

Thus was the Eastern empire of the Arabs eventually destroyed: the
descendants of Ishmael returned to the country from which they had
originally sprung, and gradually reverted to nearly the same condition as
that in which they existed when the Prophet arose among them.  {51} These
events, from the founding of the dynasty of the Abbassides, have been
anticipated in point of time in the relation, because henceforth the
history of Spain is no longer intermingled with that of the East.

After having dwelt briefly upon an event intimately connected as well
with the establishment of the Abbassides upon the Moslem throne as with
the history of Spain, we will enter continuously upon the main subject of
our work.

To return, then, for a moment, to the downfall of the Ommiade caliphs.

When the cruel Abdalla had placed his nephew, Aboul-Abbas, on the throne
of the Caliphs of Damascus, he formed the horrible design of
exterminating the Ommiades.  These princes were very numerous.  With the
Arabs, among whom polygamy is permitted, and where numerous offspring are
regarded as the peculiar gift of Heaven, it is not unusual to find
several thousand individuals belonging to the same family.

Abdalla, despairing of effecting the destruction of the race of his
enemies, dispersed as they were by terror, published a general amnesty to
all the Ommiades who should present themselves before him on a certain
day.  Those ill-fated {52} people, confiding in the fulfilment of his
solemn promises, hastened to seek safety at the feet of Abdalla.  The
monster, when they were all assembled, caused his soldiers to surround
them, and then commanded them all to be butchered in his presence.  After
this frightful massacre, Abdalla ordered the bloody bodies to be ranged
side by side in close order, and then to be covered with boards spread
with Persian carpets.  Upon this horrible table he caused a magnificent
feast to be served to his officers.  One shudders at the perusal of such
details, but they serve to portray the character of this Oriental

A solitary Ommiade escaped the miserable fate of his brethren; a prince
named Abderamus.  A fugitive wanderer, he reached Egypt, and concealed
himself in the solitary recesses of its inhospitable deserts.

The Moors of Spain, faithful to the Ommiades, though their governor
Joseph had recognised the authority of the Abbassides, had no sooner
learned that there existed in Egypt a scion of the illustrious family to
which they still retained their attachment, than they secretly sent
deputies to offer him their crown.  Abderamus foresaw the {53} obstacles
with which he would be compelled to struggle, but, guided by the impulses
of a soul whose native greatness had been strengthened and purified by
adversity, he did not hesitate to accept the proposal of the Moors.

The Ommiade prince arrived in the Peninsula A.D. 755, Heg. 138.  He
speedily gained the hearts of his new subjects, assembled an army, took
possession of Seville, and, soon after, marched towards Cordova, the
capital of Mussulman Spain.  Joseph, in the name of the Abbassides,
vainly attempted to oppose his progress.  The governor was vanquished and
Cordova taken, together with several other cities.

Abderamus was now not only the acknowledged king of Spain, but was
proclaimed _Caliph of the West_ A.D. 759, Heg. 142.

During the supremacy of the Ommiades in the empire of the East, Spain had
continued to be ruled by governors sent thither from Asia by those
sovereigns; but it was now permanently separated from the great Arabian
empire, and elevated into a powerful and independent state, acknowledging
no farther allegiance to the Asiatic caliphs either in civil or religious
matters.  Thus was the control hitherto exercised over the {54} affairs
of Spain by the Oriental caliphs forever wrested from them by the last
surviving individual of that royal race whom Abdalla had endeavoured to

Abderamus the First established the seat of his new greatness at Cordova.
He was not long allowed peacefully to enjoy it, however.  Revolts
instigated by the Abbassides, incursions into Catalonia by the French,
and wars with the kings of Leon,[7] incessantly demanded his attention;
but his courage and activity gained the ascendency even over such
numerous enemies.  He maintained his throne with honour, and merited his
beautiful surname of _The Just_.

Abderamus cultivated and cherished the fine arts, even in the midst of
the difficulties and dangers by which he was surrounded.  It was he who
first established schools at Cordova for the study of astronomy,
mathematics, medicine, and grammar.  He was also a poet, and was
considered the most eloquent man of his age.

This first Caliph of the West adorned and fortified his capital, erected
a superb palace, which he surrounded by beautiful gardens, and commenced
the construction of a grand mosque, the {55} remains of which continue
even at this day to excite the admiration of the traveller.  This
monument of magnificence was completed during the reign of Hacchem, the
son and successor of Abderamus.  It is thought that the Spaniards have
not preserved more than one half of the original structure, yet it is now
six hundred feet long and two hundred wide, and is supported by more than
three hundred columns of alabaster, jasper, and marble.  Formerly there
were twenty-four doors of entrance, composed of bronze covered with
sculptures of gold; and nearly five thousand lamps nightly served to
illuminate this magnificent edifice.

In this mosque the caliphs of Cordova each Friday conducted the worship
of the people, that being the day consecrated to religion by the precepts
of Mohammed.  Thither all the Mussulmans of Spain made pilgrimages, as
those of the East resorted to the temple at Mecca.  There they
celebrated, with great solemnity, the fête of the great and the lesser
Beiram, which corresponds with the Passover of the Jews; that of the
Newyear, and that of Miloud, or the anniversary of the birth of Mohammed.
Each of these festivals lasted for eight days.  During that time {56} all
labour ceased, the people sent presents to each other, exchanged visits,
and offered sacrifices.  Disunited families, forgetting their
differences, pledged themselves to future concord, and consummated their
renewed amity by delivering themselves up to the enjoyment of every
pleasure permitted by the laws of the Koran.

At night the city was illuminated, the streets were festooned with
flowers, and the promenades and public places resounded with the melody
of various musical instruments.

The more worthily to celebrate the occasion, alms were lavishly
distributed by the wealthy, and the benedictions of the poor mingled with
the songs of rejoicing that everywhere ascended around them.

Abderamus, having imbibed with his Oriental education a fondness for
these splendid fêtes, first introduced a taste for them into Spain.
Uniting, in his character of caliph, the civil and the sacerdotal
authority in his own person, he regulated the religious ceremonies on
such occasions, and caused them to be celebrated with all the pomp and
magnificence displayed under similar circumstances by the sovereigns of

Though the caliph of Cordova was the enemy {57} of the Christians, and
numbered many of them among his subjects, he refrained from persecuting
them, but deprived the bishoprics of their religious heads and the
churches of their priests, and encouraged marriages between the Moors and
Spaniards.  By these means the sagacious Moslem inflicted more injury
upon the true religion than could have been effected by the most rigorous

Under the reign of Abderamus, the successors of Pelagius, still retaining
possession of Asturia, though weakened by the internal dissensions that
already began to prevail among them, were forced to submit to the payment
of the humiliating tribute of a hundred young females, Abderamus refusing
to grant them peace except at this price.

Master of entire Spain, from Catalonia to the two seas, the first caliph
died A.D. 788, Heg. 172, after a glorious reign of thirty years, leaving
the crown to his son Hacchem, the third of his eleven sons.

After the death of Abderamus the empire was disturbed by revolts, and by
wars between the new caliph and his brothers, his uncles, or other
princes of the royal blood.  These civil wars {58} were inevitable under
a despotic government, where not even the order of succession to the
throne was regulated by law.  To be an aspirant to the supreme authority
of the state, it was sufficient to belong to the royal race; and as each
of the caliphs, almost without exception, left numerous sons, all these
princes became the head of a faction, every one of them established
himself in some city, and, declaring himself its sovereign, took up arms
in opposition to the authority of the caliph.  From this arose the
innumerable petty states that were created, annihilated, and raised again
with each change of sovereigns.  Thus also originated the many instances
of conquered, deposed, or murdered kings, that make the history of the
Moors of Spain so difficult of methodical arrangement and so monotonous
in the perusal.

Hacchem, and, after him, his son Abdelazis-el-Hacchem retained possession
of the caliphate notwithstanding these unceasing dissensions.  The former
finished the beautiful mosque commenced by his father, and carried his
arms into France, in which kingdom his generals penetrated as far as
Narbonne.  The latter, Abdelazis-el-Hacchem less fortunate than his
predecessor, did not {59} succeed in opposing the Spaniards and his
refractory subjects with unvarying success.  His existence terminated in
the midst of national difficulties, and his son Abderamus became his

Abderamus II. was a great monarch, notwithstanding the fact that, during
his reign, the power of the Christians began to balance that of the Moors.

The Christians had taken advantage of the continual divisions which
prevailed among their former conquerors.  Alphonso the Chaste, king of
Asturia, a valiant and politic monarch, had extended his dominions and
refused to pay the tribute of the hundred young maidens.  Ramir, the
successor of Alphonso, maintained this independence, and several times
defeated the Mussulmans.  Navarre became a kingdom, and Aragon had its
independent sovereigns, and was so fortunate as to possess a government
that properly respected the rights of the people.[8]  The governors of
Catalonia, until then subjected to the kings of France, took advantage of
the feebleness of Louis le Debonnaire to render themselves independent.
In fine, all the north of Spain declared itself in opposition to the
Moors, {60} and the south became a prey to the irruptions of the Normans.

Abderamus defended himself against all these adversaries, and obtained,
by his warlike talents, the surname of _Elmonzaffer_, which signifies
_the Victorious_.  And, though constantly occupied by the cares of
government and of successive wars, this monarch afforded encouragement to
the fine arts, embellished his capital by a new mosque, and caused to be
erected a superb aqueduct, from which water was carried in leaden pipes
throughout the city in the utmost abundance.

Abderamus possessed a soul capable of enjoying the most refined and
elevated pleasures.  He attracted to his court poets and philosophers,
with whose society he frequently delighted himself; thus cultivating in
his own person the talents he encouraged in others.  He invited from the
East the famous musician Ali-Zeriab, who established himself in Spain
through the beneficence of the caliph, and originated the celebrated
school[9] whose pupils afterward afforded such delight to the Oriental

The natural ferocity of the Moslems yielded to the influence of the
chivalrous example of {61} the caliph, and Cordova became, under the
dominion of Abderamus, the home of taste and pleasure, as well as the
chosen abode of science and the arts.

A single anecdote will serve to illustrate the tenderness and generosity
that so strongly characterized this illustrious descendant of the

One day a favourite female slave left her master's presence in high
displeasure, and, retiring to her apartment, vowed that, sooner than open
the door for the admittance of Abderamus, she would suffer it to be
walled up.  The chief eunuch, alarmed at this discourse, which he
regarded as almost blasphemous, hastened to prostrate himself before the
Prince of Believers, and to communicate to him the horrible purpose of
the rebellious slave.  Abderamus smiled at the resolution of the offended
beauty, and commanded the eunuch to cause a wall composed of pieces of
coin to be erected before the door of her retreat, and avowed his
intention not to pass this barrier until the fair slave should have
voluntarily demolished it, by possessing herself of the materials of
which it was formed.  The {62} historian[10] adds, that the same evening
the caliph entered the apartments of the appeased favourite without

This prince left forty-five sons and nearly as many daughters.  Mohammed,
the eldest of his sons, succeeded him, A.D. 852, Heg. 238.  The reigns of
Mohammed and his successors, Almanzor and Abdalla, offer to the historian
nothing for a period of fifty years but details of an uninterrupted
continuation of troubles, civil wars, and revolts, by which the governors
of the principal cities sought to render themselves independent.

Alphonso the Great, king of Asturia, profited by these dissensions the
more effectually to confirm his own power.  The Normans, from another
side, ravaged Andalusia anew.  Toledo, frequently punished, but ever
rebellious, often possessed local sovereigns.  Saragossa imitated the
example of Toledo.  The authority of the caliphs was weakened, and their
empire, convulsed in every part, seemed on the point of dissolution, when
Abderamus III., the nephew of Abdalla, ascended the throne of Cordova,
and restored for some time its pristine splendour and power, A.D. 912,
Heg. 300.


This monarch, whose name, so dear to the Moslems, seemed to be an
auspicious omen, took the title of _Emir-al-Mumenin_, which signifies
_Prince of true Believers_.

Victory attended the commencement of his reign; the rebels, whom his
predecessors had been unable to reduce to submission, were defeated;
factions were dissipated, and peace and order re-established.

Being attacked by the Christians soon after he had assumed the crown,
Abderamus applied for assistance to the Moors of Africa.  He maintained
long wars against the kings of Leon and the counts of Castile, who
wrested Madrid, then a place of comparative insignificance, from him,
A.D. 931, Heg. 319.  Often attacked and sometimes overcome, but always
great and redoubtable notwithstanding occasional reverses, Abderamus knew
how to repair his losses, and avail himself to the utmost of his good
fortune.  A profound statesman, and a brave and skilful commander, he
fomented divisions among the Spanish princes, carried his arms frequently
into the very centre of their states, and, having established a navy,
seized, in addition, upon Ceuta and Seldjemessa on the African coast.


Notwithstanding the incessant wars which occupied him during the whole of
his reign, the enormous expense to which he was subjected by the
maintenance of his armies and his naval force, and the purchase of
military assistance from Africa, Emir-al-Mumenim supported a luxury and
splendour at his court, the details of which would seem to be the mere
creations of the imagination, were they not attested by every historian
of the time.

The contemporary Greek emperor, Constantine XI., wishing to oppose an
enemy capable of resisting their power, to the Abbassides of Bagdad, sent
ambassadors to Cordova to form an alliance with Abderamus.

The Caliph of the West, flattered that Christians should come from so
distant a part of the world to request his support, signalized the
occasion by the display of a gorgeous pomp which rivalled that of the
most splendid Asiatic courts.  He sent a suit of attendants to receive
the ambassadors at Jean.  Numerous corps of cavalry, magnificently
mounted and attired, awaited their approach to Cordova, and a still more
brilliant display of infantry lined the avenues to the palace.  The
courts were covered with the most {65} superb Persian and Egyptian
carpets, and the walls hung with cloth of gold.  The caliph, blazing with
brilliants, and seated on a dazzling throne, surrounded by his family,
his viziers, and a numerous train of courtiers, received the Greek envoys
in a hall in which all his treasures were displayed.  The _Hadjeb_, a
dignitary whose office among the Moors corresponded to that of the
ancient French _mayors of the palace_, introduced the ambassadors.  They
prostrated themselves before Abderamus in amazement at the splendour of
this array, and presented to the Moorish sovereign the letter of
Constantine, written on blue parchment and enclosed in a box of gold.
The caliph signed the treaty, loaded the imperial messengers with
presents, and ordered that a numerous suite should accompany them even to
the walls of Constantinople.

Abderamus III., though unceasingly occupied either by war or politics,
was all his life enamoured of one of his wives named Zahra.[11]  He built
a city for her two miles distant from Cordova, which he named Zahra.

This place is now destroyed.  It was situated {66} at the base of a high
mountain, from which flowed numerous perpetual streams, whose waters ran
in all directions through the streets of the city, diffusing health and
coolness in their course, and forming ever-flowing fountains in the
centre of the public places.  The houses, each built after the same
model, were surmounted by terraces and surrounded by gardens adorned with
groves of orange, laurel, and lime, and in which the myrtle, the rose,
and the jasmine mingled in pleasing confusion with all the varied
productions of that sunny and delicious clime.  The statue of the
beautiful Zahra[12] was conspicuously placed over the principal gate of
this City of Love.

But the attractions of the city were totally eclipsed by those of the
fairy-like palace of the favourite.  Abderamus, as the ally of their
Imperial master, demanded the assistance of the most accomplished of the
Greek architects; and the sovereign of Constantinople, which was at that
time the chosen home of the fine arts, eagerly complied with his desires,
and sent the caliph, in addition, forty columns of granite of the rarest
and most beautiful workmanship.  Independent {67} of these magnificent
columns, there were employed in the construction of this palace more than
twelve hundred others, formed of Spanish and Italian marble.  The walls
of the apartment named the _Saloon of the Caliphate_, were covered with
ornaments of gold; and from the mouths of several animals, composed of
the same metal, gushed jets of water that fell into an alabaster
fountain, above which was suspended the famous pearl that the Emperor Leo
had presented to the caliph as a treasure of inestimable value.  In the
pavilion where the mistress of this enchanting abode usually passed the
evening with the royal Moor, the ceiling was composed of gold and
burnished steel, incrusted with precious stones.  And in the resplendent
light reflected from these brilliant ornaments by a hundred crystal
lustres, flashed the waters of a fountain, formed like a sheaf of grain,
from polished silver, whose delicate spray was received again by the
alabaster basin from whose centre it sprung.

The reader might hesitate to believe these recitals; might suppose
himself perusing Oriental tales, or that the author was indebted for his
history to the _Thousand and One Nights_, were {68} not the facts here
detailed attested by the Arabian writers, and corroborated by foreign
authors of unquestionable veracity.  It is true that the architectural
magnificence, the splendid pageantry, the pomp of power that
characterized the reign of this illustrious Saracenic king, resembled
nothing with which we are now familiar; but the incredulous questioners
of their former existence might be asked whether, had the pyramids of
Egypt been destroyed by an earthquake, they would now credit historians
who should give us the exact dimensions of those stupendous structures?

The writers from whom are derived the details that have been given
concerning the court of the Spanish Mussulmans, mention also the sums
expended in the erection of the palace and city of Zahra.  The cost
amounted annually to three hundred thousand dinars of gold,[13] and
twenty-five years hardly sufficed for the completion of this princely
monument of chivalrous devotion.


To these enormous expenditures should be added the maintenance of a
seraglio, in which the women, the slaves, and the black and white eunuchs
amounted to the number of six thousand persons.  The officers of the
court, and the horses destined for their use, were in equally lavish
proportion.  The royal guard alone was composed of twelve thousand

When it is remembered, that, from being continually at war with the
Spanish princes, Abderamus was obliged to keep numerous armies
incessantly on foot, to support a naval force, frequently to hire
stipendiaries from Africa, and to fortify and preserve in a state of
defence the ever-endangered fortresses on his frontiers, it is hardly
possible to comprehend how his revenues sufficed for the supply of such
immense and varied demands.  But his resources were equally immense and
varied; and the sovereign of Cordova was perhaps the richest and most
powerful monarch then in Europe.[14]

He held possession of Portugal, Andalusia, the Kingdom of Grenada,
Mercia, Valencia, and the greater part of New-Castile, the most beautiful
and fertile countries of Spain.


These provinces were at that time extremely populous, and the Moors had
attained the highest perfection in agriculture.  Historians assure us,
that there existed on the shores of the Guadalquiver twelve thousand
villages; and that a traveller could not proceed through the country
without encountering some hamlet every quarter of an hour.  There existed
in the dominions of the caliph eighty great cities, three hundred of the
second order, and an infinite number of smaller towns.  Cordova, the
capital of the kingdom, enclosed within its walls two hundred thousand
houses and nine hundred public baths.

All this prosperity was reversed by the expulsion of the Moors from the
Peninsula.  The reason is apparent: the Moorish conquerors of Spain did
not persecute their vanquished foes; the Spaniards, when they had subdued
the Moors, oppressed and banished them.

The revenues of the caliphs of Cordova are represented to have amounted
annually to twelve millions and forty-five thousand dinars of gold.[15]
Independent of this income in money, many imposts were paid in the
products of the soil; and among an industrious agricultural {71}
population, possessed of the most fertile country in the world, this
rural wealth was incalculable.  The gold and silver mines, known in Spain
from the earliest times, were another source of wealth.  Commerce, too,
enriched alike the sovereign and the people.  The commerce of the Moors
was carried on in many articles: silks, oils, sugar, cochineal, iron,
wool (which was at that time extremely valuable), ambergris, yellow
amber, loadstone, antimony, isinglass, rock-crystal, sulphur, saffron,
ginger, the product of the coral-beds on the coast of Andalusia, of the
pearl fisheries on that of Catalonia, and rubies, of which they had
discovered two localities, one at Malaga and another at Beja.  These
valuable articles were, either before or after being wrought, transported
to Egypt or other parts of Africa, and to the East.  The emperors of
Constantinople, always allied from necessity to the caliphs of Cordova,
favoured these commercial enterprises, and, by their countenance,
assisted in enlarging, to a vast extent, the field of their operations;
while the neighbourhood of Africa, Italy, and France contributed also to
their prosperity.

The arts, which are the children of commerce, and support the existence
of their parent, added {72} a new splendour to the brilliant reign of
Abderamus.  The superb palaces he erected, the delicious gardens he
created, and the magnificent fêtes he instituted, drew to his court from
all parts architects and artists of every description.  Cordova was the
home of industry and the asylum of the sciences.  Celebrated schools of
geometry, astronomy, chymistry, and medicine were established
there--schools which, a century afterward, produced such men as Averroes
and Abenzoar.  So distinguished were the learned Moorish poets,
philosophers, and physicians, that Alphonso the Great, king of Asturia,
wishing to confide the care of his son Ordogno to teachers capable of
conducting the education of a prince, appointed him two Arabian
preceptors, notwithstanding the difference of religious faith, and the
hatred entertained by the Christians towards the Mussulmans.  And one of
the successors of Alphonso, Sancho the Great, king of Leon, being
attacked by a disease which it was supposed would prove fatal in its
effects, went unhesitatingly to Cordova, claimed the hospitality of his
national enemy, and placed himself under the care of the Mohammedan
physicians, who eventually succeeded in curing the malady of the
Christian king.


This singular fact does as much honour to the skill of the learned
Saracens as to the magnanimity of the caliph and the trusting confidence
of Sancho.

Such was the condition of the caliphate of Cordova under the dominion of
Abderamus III.  He occupied the throne fifty years, and we have seen with
what degree of honour to himself and benefit to his people.  Perhaps
nothing will better illustrate the superiority of this prince to monarchs
generally than the following fragment, which was found, traced by his own
hand, among his papers after his death.

"Fifty years have passed away since I became caliph.  Riches, honours,
pleasures, I have enjoyed them all: I am satiated with them all.  Rival
kings respect me, fear, and envy me.  All that the heart of man can
desire.  Heaven has lavishly bestowed on me.  In this long period of
seeming felicity I have estimated the number of days during which I have
enjoyed _perfect happiness_: they amount to _fourteen_!  Mortals, learn
to appreciate greatness, the world, and human life!"

The successor of this monarch was his eldest {74} son, Aboul-Abbas El
Hakkam, who assumed, like his father, the title of _Emir-al-Mumenim_.

The coronation of El Hakkam was celebrated with great pomp in the city of
Zahra.  The new caliph there received the oath of fidelity from the
chiefs of the scythe guard, a numerous and redoubtable corps, composed of
strangers, which Abderamus III. had formed.  The brothers and relations
of El Hakkam, the viziers and their chief, the _Hadjeb_, the white and
black eunuchs, the archers and cuirassiers of the guard, all swore
obedience to the monarch.  These ceremonies were followed by the funeral
honours of Abderamus, whose body was carried to Cordova, and there
deposited in the tomb of his ancestors.

Aboul-Abbas El Hakkam, equally wise with his father, but less warlike
than he, enjoyed greater tranquillity during his reign.  His was the
dominion of justice and peace.  The success and vigilance of Abderamus
had extinguished, for a time, the spirit of revolt, and prepared the way
for the continued possession of these great national blessings.

Divided among themselves, the Christian kings entertained no designs of
disturbing their infidel neighbours.


The truce that existed between the Mussulmans and Castile and Leon was
broken but once during the life of El Hacchem.  The caliph then commanded
his army in person, and completed a glorious campaign, taking several
cities from the Spaniards, and convincing them, by his achievements, of
the policy of future adherence to the terms of their treaty with their
Saracen opponents.

During the remainder of his reign the Moorish sovereign applied himself
wholly to promoting the happiness of his subjects, to the cultivation of
science, to the collection of an extensive library, and, above all, to
enforcing a strict observance of the laws.

The laws of the Moors were few and simple.  It does not appear that there
existed among them any civil laws apart from those incorporated with
their religious code.  Jurisprudence was reduced to the application of
the principles contained in the Koran.  The caliph, as the supreme head
of their religion, possessed the power of interpreting these principles;
but even he would not have ventured to violate them.  At least as often
as once a week, he publicly gave audience to his subjects, listened to
their {76} complaints, examined the guilty, and, without quitting the
tribunal, caused punishment to be immediately inflicted.  The governors
placed by the sovereign over the different cities and provinces,
commanded the military force belonging to each, collected the public
revenues, superintended the administration of the police, and adjudged
the offences committed within their respective governments.  Public
officers well versed in the laws discharged the functions of notaries,
and gave a juridical form to records relating to the possession of
property.  When any lawsuits arose, magistrates called _cadis_, whose
authority was respected both by the king and the people, could alone
decide them.  These suits were speedily determined; lawyers and attorneys
were unknown, and there was no expense nor chicanery connected with them.
Each party pleaded his cause in person, and the decrees of the cadi were
immediately executed.

Criminal jurisprudence was scarcely more complicated.  The Moors almost
invariably resorted to the _punishment of retaliation_ prescribed by the
founder of their religion.  In truth, the wealthy were permitted to
exonerate themselves from the charge of bloodshed by the aid {77} of
money; but it was necessary that the relations of the deceased should
consent to this: the caliph himself would not have ventured to withhold
the head of one of his own sons who had been guilty of homicide, if its
delivery had been inexorably insisted upon.

This simple code would not have sufficed had not the unlimited authority
exercised by fathers over their children, and husbands over their wives,
supplied the deficiencies of the laws.  With regard to this implicit
obedience on the part of a family to the will of its chief, the Moors
preserved the ancient patriarchal customs of their ancestors.  Every
father possessed, under his own roof, rights nearly equal to those of the
caliph.  He decided, without appeal, the quarrels of his wives and those
of his sons: he punished with severity the slightest faults, and even
possessed the power of punishing certain crimes with death.  Age alone
conferred this supremacy.  An old man was always an object of reverence.
His presence arrested disorders: the most haughty young man cast down his
eyes at meeting him, and listened patiently to his reproofs.  In short,
the possessor of a white beard {78} was everywhere invested with the
authority of a magistrate.

This authority, which was more powerful among the Moors than that of
their laws, long subsisted unimpaired at Cordova.  That the wise Hacchem
did nothing to enfeeble it, may be judged from the following illustration.

A poor woman of Zahra possessed a small field contiguous to the gardens
of the caliph.  El Hacchem, wishing to erect a pavilion there, directed
that the owner should be requested to dispose of it to him.  But the
woman refused every remuneration that was offered her, and declared that
she would never sell the heritage of her ancestry.  The king was,
doubtless, not informed of the obstinacy of this woman; but the
superintendent of the palace gardens, a minister worthy of a despotic
sovereign, forcibly seized upon the field, and the pavilion was built.
The poor woman hastened in despair to Cordova, to relate the story of her
misfortune to the Cadi Bechir, and to consult him respecting the course
she should pursue.  The cadi thought that the Prince of true Believers
had no more right than any other man to possess himself by violence of
the property of another; and he endeavoured to {79} discover some means
of recalling to his recollection a truth which the best of rulers will
sometimes forget.

One day, as the Moorish sovereign was surrounded by his court in the
beautiful pavilion built on the ground belonging to the poor woman, the
Cadi Bechir presented himself before him, seated on an ass, and carrying
in his hand a large sack.  The astonished caliph demanded his errand.
"Prince of the Faithful!" replied Bechir, "I come to ask permission of
thee to fill this sack with the earth upon which thou standest."  The
caliph cheerfully consented to this desire, and the cadi filled his sack
with the earth.  He then left it standing, and, approaching his
sovereign, entreated him to crown his goodness by aiding him in loading
his ass with its burden.  El Hacchem, amused by the request, yielded to
it, and attempted to raise the sack.  Scarcely able to move it, he let it
fall again, and, laughing, complained of its enormous weight.  "Prince of
Believers!" said Bechir then, with impressive gravity, "this sack, which
thou findest so heavy, contains, nevertheless, but a small portion of the
field thou hast usurped from one of thy subjects; how wilt thou sustain
the weight {80} of this entire field when thou shalt appear in the
presence of the Great Judge charged with this iniquity?"  The caliph,
struck with this address, embraced the cadi, thanked him, acknowledged
his fault, and immediately restored to the poor woman the field of which
she had been despoiled, together with the pavilion and everything it

The praise due to a despotic sovereign capable of such an action, is
inferior only to that which should be accorded to the cadi who induced
him to perform it.

After reigning twelve years, El Hakkam died, A.D. 976, Heg. 366.  His son
Hacchem succeeded him.

This prince was an infant when he ascended the throne, and his
intellectual immaturity continued through life.  During and after his
minority, a celebrated Moor named Mohammed Almanzor, being invested with
the important office of _Hadjeb_, governed the state with wisdom and

Almanzor united to the talents of a statesman the genius of a great
commander.  He was the most formidable and fatal enemy with whom the
Christians had yet been obliged to contend.  He {81} ruled the Moorish
empire twenty-six years under the name of the indolent Hacchem.  More
than fifty different times he carried the terrors of war into Castile or
Asturia: he took and sacked the cities of Barcelona and Leon, and
advanced even to Compostella, destroying its famous church and carrying
the spoils to Cordova.

The genius and influence of Mohammed temporarily restored the Moors to
their ancient strength and energy, and forced the whole Peninsula to
respect the rights of his feeble master, who, like another Sardanapalus,
dreamed away his life in the enjoyment of effeminate and debasing

But this was the last ray of unclouded splendour that shone upon the
empire of the Ommiades in Spain.  The kings of Leon and Navarre, and the
Count of Castile, united their forces for the purpose of opposing the
redoubtable Almanzor.

The opposing armies met near Medina-Celi.  The conflict was long and
sanguinary, and the victory doubtful.  The Moors, after the termination
of the combat, took to flight, terrified by the fearful loss they had
sustained; and {82} Almanzor, whom fifty years of uninterrupted military
success had persuaded that he was invincible, died of grief at this first
mortifying reverse.

With this great man expired the good fortune of the Saracens of Spain.
From the period of his death, the Spaniards continued to increase their
own prosperity by the gradual ruin of the Moors.

The sons of the hadjeb Almanzor successively replaced their illustrious
father; but, in inheriting his power, they did not inherit his talents.
Factions were again created.  One of the relations of the caliph took up
arms against him, and possessed himself of the person of the monarch,
A.D. 1005, Heg. 596; and, though the rebellious prince dared not
sacrifice the life of Hacchem, he imprisoned him, and spread a report of
his death.

This news reaching Africa, an Ommiade prince hastened thence to Spain
with an army, under pretext of avenging the death of Hacchem.  The Count
of Castile formed an alliance with this stranger, and civil war was
kindled in Cordova.  It soon spread throughout Spain, and the Christian
princes availed themselves of its disastrous effects to repossess
themselves of the cities of {83} which they had been deprived during the
supremacy of Almanzor.

The imbecile Hacchem, negotiating and trifling alike with all parties,
was finally replaced on the throne, but was soon after forced again to
renounce it to save his life.

After this event a multitude of conspirators[17] were in turn proclaimed
caliph, and in turn deposed, poisoned, or otherwise murdered.  Almundir,
the last lingering branch of the race of the Ommiades, was bold enough to
claim the restoration of the rights of his family, even amid the tumult
of conflicting parties.  His friends represented to him the dangers he
was about to encounter.  "Should I reign but one day," replied lie, "and
expire on the next, I would not murmur at my fate!"  But the desire of
the prince, even to this extent, was not gratified; he was assassinated
without obtaining possession of the caliphate.

Usurpers of momentary authority followed.  Jalmar-ben-Mohammed was the
last in order.  His death terminated the empire of the Caliphs {84} of
the West, which had been possessed by the dynasty of the Ommiades for the
period of three centuries, A.D. 1027, Heg. 416.

With the extinction of this line of princes vanished the power and the
glory of Cordova.

The governors of the different cities, who had hitherto been the vassals
of the court of Cordova, profiting by the anarchy that prevailed, erected
themselves into independent sovereigns--That city was therefore no longer
the capital of a kingdom, though it still retained the religious
supremacy which it derived from its mosque.

Enfeebled by divisions and subjected to such diversity of rule, the
Mussulmans were no longer able successfully to resist the encroachments
of the Spaniards.  The Third Epoch of their history, therefore, will
present nothing but a narrative of their rapid decline.

[1] See Note A, page 208.

[2] The dynasty of the Ommiades, whose capital, as M. Florian informs us,
was Damascus, is most familiarly known in history as that of the _Caliphs
of Syria_; and the Abbassides, who succeeded them upon the throne of
Islam, are usually designated as the _Caliphs of Bagdad_, which city they
built, and there established the seat of their regal power and
magnificence.  It may be observed, in connexion with this subject, that
though the authority of the Caliphs of Damascus continued to be disputed
and resisted after the death of Ali, yet with that event terminated the
temporary division of the civil and sacerdotal power which had been at
first occasioned by their usurpation of sovereignty.  The political
supremacy of the party of Ali ceased with his existence, and the
authority that had belonged to the immediate successors of Mohammed long
continued to centre in the family of the Ommiade princes.--_Trans_.

[3] See Note B, page 209.

[4] A.D. 752, Heg. 134.

[5] See Note C, page 209.

[6] It was under the government of the Abbassides that the empire of the
East possessed that superiority in wealth, magnificence, and learning for
which it was once so celebrated.  Under the sway of the Caliphs of
Bagdad, the Mohammedans became as much renowned for their attainments in
the higher branches of science as in the elegant and useful arts.  To
them the civilized world is indebted for the revival of the exact and
physical sciences, and the discovery or restoration of most of the arts
that afterward lent such beneficial aid to the progress of European
literature and refinement.  The far-famed capital of the Abbassides was
adorned with every attraction that the most unbounded wealth could
secure, or the most consummate art perfect.  There taste and power had
combined exquisite luxury with unparalleled splendour, and there all that
imagination could suggest to fascinate the senses or enrapture the mind,
was realized.  These princes of Islam, by their unbounded liberality,
attracted the learning and genius of other countries to their brilliant
court, several of them were the ardent lovers of science as well as the
munificent patrons of its devotees.  Thus Bagdad became the favoured and
genial home of letters and the arts; and luxury and the pursuit of
pleasure were ennobled by a graceful union with the more elevated
enjoyments of cultivated intellect and refined taste.  Nor were these
beneficent influences confined to the Mohammedan court, or to the period
of time when they were so powerfully exercised.  The Moslem sovereigns
gave laws to a wide realm in arts as well as arms; and if the whole of
Europe did not acknowledge their political superiority, in the world of
science their supremacy was everywhere undisputed.  That, like the
gradually enlarging circles made by a pebble thrown into calm water,
continued to spread farther and farther, until it reached the most
distant shores, and communicated a generous impulse to nations long sunk
in intellectual night.

      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *

Such was the celebrated empire of the Abbassides in its halcyon days of
undiminished power--such the beautiful City of Peace, the favoured home
of imperial magnificence, ere the despoiling Tartar had profaned its
loveliness and destroyed its grandeur.  Yet, when we look beneath the
brilliant exterior of these Oriental scenes and characters, we discover,
under the splendour and elegance by which the eyes of the world were so
long dazzled, the corruption and licentiousness of a government
containing within itself the seeds of its own insecurity and ultimate
destruction.  We behold the absence of all fixed principles of
legislation; we frequently find absolute monarchs guided solely by
passion or caprice in the administration of arbitrary laws, and swaying
the destinies of a people who, as a whole, were far from deriving any
substantial advantage from the wealth and greatness of their despotic
rulers.  We are thus led to observe the evils that necessarily result
from a want of those principles of vital religion, without which mere
human learning is so inadequate to discipline the passions or direct the
reason, and of those just and equal laws, the supremacy of which can
alone secure the happiness of a people or the permanency of political

[7] See note D, page 212.

[8] See note E, page 218.

[9] See note F, page 313.

[10] Cardonne, in his History of Spain.

[11] This word signifies, in the Arabic, _Flower_, or _Ornament of the

[12] See Note G, page 213.

[13] The _dinar_ is estimated by M. Florian to be equal to at least _ten
livres_.  According to that computation, the aggregate cost of the palace
and city of Zahra would amount to considerably more than $14,000,000.

[14] See note H, page 214.

[15] About $22,500,000.

[16] See Note I, page 214.

[17] Mahadi, Suleiman, Ali, Abderamus IV., Casim, Jahiah, Hacchem III.,
Mohammed, Abderamus V., Jahiah II., Hacchem IV., and Jalmar-ben-Mohammed.




_Extending from the Commencement of the Eleventh to the Middle of the
Thirteenth Century._

At the commencement of the eleventh century, when the throne of Cordova
was daily stained by the blood of some new usurper, the governors of
the different cities, as has been already remarked, had assumed the
title of kings.  Toledo, Saragossa, Seville, Valencia, Lisbon, Huesca,
and several other places of inferior importance, each possessed
independent sovereigns.

The history of these numerous kingdoms would be nearly as fatiguing to
the reader as to the writer.  It presents, for the space of two hundred
years, nothing but accounts of repeated massacres, of fortresses taken
and retaken, of pillages and seditions, of occasional instances of
heroic conduct, but far more numerous crimes.  Passing rapidly over two
centuries of {86} misfortunes, let it suffice to contemplate the
termination of these petty Moorish sovereignties.

Christian Spain, in the mean time, presented nearly the same picture as
that exhibited by the portion of the Peninsula still in possession of
the Mohammedans.  The kings of Leon, Navarre, Castile, and Aragon were
almost always relatives, and sometimes brothers; but they were not, for
that reason, the less sanguinary in their designs towards each other.
Difference of religion did not prevent them from uniting with the
Moors, the more effectually to oppress other Christians, or other Moors
with whom they chanced to be at enmity.  Thus, in a battle which
occurred A.D. 1010 between two Mussulman leaders, there were found
among the slain a count of Urgel and three bishops of Catalonia.[1]
And the King of Leon, Alphonso V., gave his sister Theresa in marriage
to Abdalla, the Moorish king of Toledo, to convert him into an ally
against Castile.

Among the Christians, as among the Moors, crimes were multiplied; civil
wars of both a local and general nature at the same time distracted
Spain, and the unhappy people expiated with {87} their property and
their lives the iniquities of their rulers.

While thus regarding a long succession of melancholy events, it is
agreeable to find a king of Toledo called Almamon, and Benabad, the
Mussulman king of Seville, affording an asylum at their courts, the one
to Alphonso, the young king of Leon, and the other to the unfortunate
Garcias, king of Galicia, both of whom had been driven from their
kingdoms by their brother Sancho, of Castile, A.D. 1071 Heg. 465.
Sancho pursued his brothers as though they had been his most implacable
enemies; and the Moorish monarchs, the natural enemies of all the
Christians, received these two fugitive princes as brothers.  Almamon,
especially, lavished the most affectionate attention upon the
unfortunate Alphonso: he endeavoured to entertain him at Toledo with
such varied pleasures as should banish regret for the loss of a throne:
he gave him an income, and, in short, treated the prince as though he
had been a near and beloved relative.  When the death of the cruel
Sancho (A.D. 1072, Heg. 466) had rendered Alphonso king of Leon and
Castile, the generous Almamon, who now had the person of the king of
his enemies in his {88} power, accompanied the prince to the frontiers
of his kingdom, loaded him with presents and caresses, and, at parting,
offered the free use of his troops and treasures to his late guest.

While Almamon lived, Alphonso IV. never forgot his obligations to his
benefactor.  He maintained peace with him, aided him in his campaigns
against the King of Seville, and even entered into a treaty with
Hacchem, the son and successor of his ally.  But, after a brief reign,
Hacchem left the throne of Toledo to his youthful brother Jahiah.  That
prince oppressed the Christians, who were very numerous in his city;
and they secretly implored Alphonso to make war upon Jahiah.  The
memory of Almamon long caused the Spanish monarch to hesitate in
relation to this subject.  Gratitude impelled him not to listen to the
suggestions of ambition and the prayers of his countrymen; but the
arguments of gratitude proved the least strong, and Alphonso encamped
before Toledo.

After a long and celebrated siege, to which several French and other
foreign warriors eagerly hastened, Toledo finally capitulated, A.D.
1085, Heg. 478.

The conqueror allowed the sons of Almamon {89} to go and reign at
Valencia, and engaged by an oath to preserve the mosques from
destruction.  He could not, however, prevent the Christians from
speedily violating this promise.

Such was the end of the Moorish kingdom of Toledo.  This ancient
capital of the Goths had belonged to the Arabs three hundred and
eighty-two years.

Several other less important cities now submitted to the Christian
yoke.  The kings of Aragon and Navarre, and the Count of Barcelona,
incessantly harassed and besieged the petty Mussulman princes who still
remained in the north of Spain.  The attacks of the kings of Castile
and Leon afforded sufficient occupation for those of the south,
effectually to prevent their rendering any assistance to their
brethren.  Above all, the Cid, the famous Cid, flew from one part of
Spain to another, at the head of the invincible band with whom his fame
had surrounded him, everywhere achieving victories for the Christians,
and even lending the aid of his arms to the Moors when they were
internally divided, but always securing success to the party he

This hero, one of the most truly admirable of those whom history has
celebrated, since in his {90} character were united the most exalted
virtue and the highest qualities of the soldier; this simple Castilian
cavalier, upon whom his reputation alone bestowed the control of
armies, became master of several cities, assisted the King of Aragon to
seize upon Huesca, and conquered the kingdom of Valencia without any
other assistance than that of his men-at-arms.  Equal in power with his
sovereign, of whose treatment he frequently had reason to complain, and
envied and persecuted by the jealous courtiers, the Cid never forgot
for a moment that he was the subject of the King of Castile.  Banished
from court, and even exiled from his estates, he hastened, with his
brave companions, to attack and conquer the Moors, and to send those of
them whom he vanquished to render homage to the king who had deprived
him of his rights.

Being soon recalled to the presence of Alphonso, in consequence of the
king's needing his military aid, the Cid left the scenes of his martial
triumphs, and, without demanding reparation for the injuries he had
sustained, returned to defend his persecutors; ever ready, while in
disgrace, to forget everything in the performance of his duty to his
king, and equally ready, when enjoying {91} the favour of the
sovereign, to displease him, if it should be necessary to do so, by
advocating the cause of truth and justice.[2]

While the prowess of the Cid maintained the contest, the Christians had
the advantage; but a few years after his death, which occurred in the
year 1099 and the 492d of the Hegira, the Moors of Andalusia changed
masters, and became, for a time, more formidable than ever to their
Spanish foes.

After the fall of Toledo, Seville had increased in power.  The
sovereigns of that city were also masters of ancient Cordova, and
possessed, in addition, Estremadura and a part of Portugal.  Benabad,
king of Seville, one of the most estimable princes of his age, was now
the only one of its enemies capable of disturbing the safety of
Castile.  Alphonso IV., desirous of allying himself with this powerful
Moor, demanded his daughter in marriage.  His proposal was acceded to,
and the Castilian monarch received several towns as the dowry of the
Moorish princess; but this extraordinary union, which seemed to ensure
peace between the two nations, nevertheless soon became either the
cause or the pretext of renewed contests.


Africa, after having been separated from the vast empire of the Caliphs
of the East by the Fatimite caliphs, and being, during three centuries
of civil war, the prey of a succession of conquerors more ferocious and
sanguinary than the lions of their deserts,[3] was now subjected to the
family of the _Almoravides_, a powerful tribe of Egyptian origin.
Joseph-ben-Tessefin, the second prince of this dynasty, founded the
kingdom and city of Morocco.

Endowed with some warlike talents, proud of his power, and burning to
augment it, Joseph regarded with a covetous eye the beautiful European
provinces which had formerly been conquered by the Mussulmans of Africa.

Some historians assert that the King of Castile, Alphonso IV., and his
father-in-law Benabad, king of Seville, having formed the project of
dividing Spain between them, committed the capital error of summoning
the Moors of Africa to their assistance in this grand design.  But
others, founding their assertions upon more plausible reasoning, say
that the petty Mussulman kings, who were the neighbours or tributaries
of Benabad, justly alarmed at his alliance with a {93} Christian king,
solicited the support of the Almoravide.

But, be that as it may, the ambitious Joseph eagerly availed himself of
the fortunate pretext presented by the invitation he had received, and
crossed the Mediterranean at the head of an army.  He hastened to
attack Alphonso, and succeeded in overcoming him in a battle that took
place between them, A.D. 1097, Heg. 490.  Then turning his arms against
Benabad, Joseph took Cordova, besieged Seville, and was preparing for
the assault of that city, when the virtuous Benabad, sacrificing his
crown and even his liberty to save his subjects from the horrors that
threatened them, delivered himself up, together with his family of a
hundred children, to the disposal of the Almoravide.

The barbarous African, dreading the influence of a monarch whose
virtues had rendered him so justly dear to his people, sent him to end
his days in an African prison, where his daughters were obliged to
support their father and brothers by the labour of their hands.

The unfortunate Benabad lived six years after the commencement of his
imprisonment, regretting his lost throne only for the sake of his {94}
people, and beguiling the period of his protracted leisure by the
composition of several poems which are still in existence.  In them he
attempts to console his daughters under their heavy afflictions,
recalls the remembrance of his vanished greatness, and offers himself
as a warning and example to kings who shall presume to trust too
confidently to the unchanging continuance of the favours of fortune.

Joseph-ben-Tessefin, after he had thus become master of Seville and
Cordova, soon succeeded in subjugating the other petty Mussulman
states; and the Moors, united under a single monarch as powerful as
Joseph, threatened again to occupy the important position they had
sustained during the supremacy of their caliphs.  The Spanish princes,
alarmed at this prospect, suspended their individual quarrels, and
joined Alphonso in resisting the Africans.

At this particular juncture, a fanatical love of religion and glory
induced many European warriors to take up arms against the infidels.
Raymond of Bourgogne, and his kinsman Henry, both French princes of the
blood, Raymond of Saint-Gilles, count of Toulouse, with some other
cavaliers from among their vassals, crossed the {95} Pyrenees with
their retainers, and fought under the banners of the King of Castile.
Thus assisted, that sovereign put the Egyptian commander to flight, and
compelled him, soon afterward, to recross the Mediterranean.

The grateful Alphonso gave his daughters as a recompense to the
distinguished Frenchmen who had lent him the aid of their arms.  The
eldest, Urraca, espoused Raymond of Bourgogne, and their son afterward
inherited the kingdom of Castile.  Theresa became the wife of Henry,
and brought him as a dowry all the land he had thus far conquered or
should hereafter conquer in Portugal: from thence originated that
kingdom.  Elvira was given to Raymond, count of Toulouse, who carried
her with him to the Holy Land, where he gained some possessions by his

Excited by these illustrious examples, other French cavaliers resorted
soon after to the standard of the King of _Aragon_, Alphonso I., who
made himself master of Saragossa, and for ever destroyed that ancient
kingdom of the Moors, A.D. 1118, Heg. 512.

The son of Henry of Bourgogne, Alphonso I. king of Portugal, a prince
renowned for his {96} bravery, availed himself of the presence of a
combined fleet of English, Flemings, and Germans, who had anchored in
the harbour of that city on their way to the Holy Land, to lay siege to
Lisbon.  He carried that place by assault, in spite of its great
strength, and made it the capital of his kingdom, A.D. 1147, Heg. 541.

During this period the kings of Castile and Navarre were extending
their conquests in Andalusia.

The Moors were attacked on all sides, and their cities were everywhere
compelled to surrender, now that they were no longer materially aided
by the Almoravides.  Those African princes were at this time
sufficiently occupied at home in opposing some new sectaries, the
principal of whom, under pretext of reinitiating the people in a
knowledge of the pure doctrines of Mohammed, opened for themselves a
path to the throne, and, after many struggles, ended by effectually
driving the family of the Almoravides from its possession.  The new
conquerors, becoming by these means masters of Morocco and Fez,
destroyed, according to the African custom, every individual of the
supplanted race, and founded a new dynasty, which is known under {97}
the name of the _Almohades_, A.D. 1149, Heg. 543.

In the midst of these divisions, these wars and combats, the fine arts
still continued to be cultivated at Cordova.  And though they were no
longer in the flourishing condition in which they were maintained
during the reigns of the several caliphs who bore the cherished name of
Abderamus, yet the schools of philosophy, poetry, and medicine had
continued to exist.  These schools produced, in the twelfth century,
several distinguished men, among the most celebrated of whom were the
learned Abenzoar and the famous Averroes.  The former, equally profound
in medicine, pharmacy, and surgery, lived, it is said, to the age of
one hundred and thirty-five years.  Some estimable works which he
produced are still extant.  Averroes was also a physician, but he was
more of a philosopher, poet, lawyer, and commentator.  He acquired a
reputation so profound, that passing centuries have only served more
firmly to establish it.  The disposition made by this remarkable man of
his time during the different periods of his existence, will illustrate
his mental character.  In his youth he was the passionate votary of
{98} pleasure and poetry: in more mature age he burned the verses he
had previously composed, studied the principles of legislation, and
discharged the duties of a judicial officer: having advanced still
farther in life, he abandoned these occupations for the pursuit of
medicine, in which he attained very great eminence: at last philosophy
alone supplied the place of every earlier taste, and wholly engrossed
his attention for the remainder of his life.  It was Averroes who first
created among the Moors a taste for Greek literature.  He translated
the works of Aristotle into Arabic, and wrote commentaries upon them.
He also published several other works upon philosophy and medicine, and
possessed the united glory of having both enlightened and benefited

As Africa, distracted by the long war of the Almoravides and the
Almohades, was unable to offer any opposition to the progress of the
Christians in Spain, these last, availing themselves of this condition
of affairs, continued to extend their conquests in Andalusia.  If the
Spanish princes had been less disunited, and had acted in concert
against the infidels, they would have been able {99} at this period to
deprive the Mussulmans of their entire dominions in the Peninsula.  But
these ever-contending princes had no sooner taken a Moorish city than
they began to dispute among themselves about its possession.

The newly-created kingdom of Portugal, established by the military
powers of Alphonso, was soon at war with that of Leon.[5]  Aragon and
Castile, after many bloody quarrels, united in a league against
Navarre.  Sancho VIII., the sovereign of that little state, was forced
to resort to Africa for assistance, and implore the aid of the
Almohades.  But they, being but recently established on the throne of
Morocco, were still employed in exterminating the dismembered fragments
of the party of the Almoravides, and could not, in spite of their eager
desire to do so, establish any claim to their assumed rights in Spain.
Nevertheless, two kings of the race of the Almohades, both named
Joseph, passed the Mediterranean more than once with numerous armies.
The one was successfully opposed by the Portuguese, and did not survive
his final defeat; the other was more fortunate, and succeeded in
vanquishing the Castilians, but {100} was soon after obliged to accept
a truce and return in haste to Morocco, to which new disturbances
recalled him, A.D. 1195, Heg. 591.

But these useless victories, these ill-sustained efforts, did not
permanently disable either the Mussulmans or the Christians.  On both
sides, the vanquished parties soon re-entered the field, in utter
neglect of the treaties into which they might ever so recently have
entered.  The sovereigns of Morocco, though regarded as the kings of
Andalusia, nevertheless possessed only a precarious authority in that
country, which was always disputed when they were absent, and
acknowledged only when necessity forced the Mussulman inhabitants to
have recourse to their protection.

At last Mohammed _El Nazir_, the fourth prince of the dynasty of the
Almohades, to whom the Spaniards gave the name of the Green, from the
colour of his turban, finding himself in quiet possession of the
Moorish empire of Africa, resolved to assemble all his forces, to lead
them into Spain, and to renew in that country the ancient conquests of
Tarik and Moussa.  A holy war was proclaimed, A.D. 1211, Heg. 608, and
an innumerable army {101} crowded around the ensigns of Mohammed, left
the shores of Africa under the guidance of that monarch, and safely
arrived in Andalusia.  There their numbers were nearly doubled by the
Spanish Moors, whom hatred to the very name of Christian, arising from
the vivid remembrance of accumulated injuries, induced to join the
bands of El Nazir.

The sanguine Mohammed promised an easy triumph to his followers,
together with the certainty of rendering themselves masters of all that
their ancestors had formerly possessed; and, burning to commence the
contest, he immediately advanced towards Castile at the head of his
formidable army, which, according to the reports of historians,
amounted to more than six hundred thousand men.

The king of Castile, Alphonso the Noble, informed of the warlike
preparations of the King of Morocco, implored the assistance of the
Christian princes of Europe.  Pope Innocent III. proclaimed a crusade
and granted indulgences most lavishly.  Rodrique, archbishop of Toledo,
made in person a voyage to Rome, to solicit the aid of the sovereign
pontiff; and, returning homeward through France, preached to the people
{102} on his route, and induced many cavaliers to proceed at the head
of bands of recruits to Spain, and join the opponents of the Mussulmans.

The general rendezvous was at Toledo, at which point there were soon
collected more than sixty thousand crusaders from Italy and France, who
united themselves with the soldiers of Castile.  The King of Aragon,
Peter II., the same who afterward perished in the war of the Albigense,
led his valiant army to the place of meeting, and Sancho VIII., king of
Navarre, was not backward in presenting himself at the head of his
brave subjects.  The Portuguese had recently lost their king, but they
despatched their best warriors to Toledo.  In short, all Spain flew to
arms.  There was general union for the promotion of mutual safety; for
never, since the time of King Rodrique, had the Christians been placed
in such imminent danger.

It was at the foot of the Sierra Morena, at a place named _Las Navas de
Toloza_, that the three Spanish princes encountered the Moors, A.D.
1212, Heg. 609.

Mohammed El Nazir had taken possession of the mountain gorges through
which it had been the intention of the Christians to approach {103} his
camp.  The adroit African thus designed, either to force his opponents
to turn back, which would expose them to the danger of a failure of
provisions, or to overwhelm them in the pass if they should attempt to
enter it.  Upon discovering this circumstance, a council was called by
the embarrassed Christian leaders.  Alphonso was desirous of attempting
the passage, but the kings of Navarre and Aragon advised a retreat.  In
the midst of this dilemma, a shepherd presented himself before them,
and offered to conduct them through a defile of the mountain, with
which he was familiar.  This proposal, which was the salvation of their
army, was eagerly accepted, and the shepherd guided the Catholic
sovereigns through difficult paths and across rocks and torrents,
until, with their followers, they finally succeeded in attaining the
summit of the mountain.

There, suddenly presenting themselves before the eyes of the astonished
Moors, they were engaged for the space of two days in preparing
themselves for the conflict, by prayer, confession, and the solemn
reception of the holy sacrament Their leaders set an example to the
soldiers in this zealous devotion; and the prelates and {104}
ecclesiastics, of whom there were a great number in the camp, after
having absolved these devout warriors, prepared to accompany them into
the midst of the conflict.

Upon the third day, the sixteenth of July, in the year twelve hundred
and twelve, the Christian army was drawn up in battle array.  The
troops were formed into three divisions, each commanded by a king.
Alphonso was in the centre, at the head of his Castilians and the
chevaliers of the newly-instituted orders of Saint James and Calatrava;
Rodrique, archbishop of Toledo, the eyewitness and historian of this
great battle, advanced by the side of Alphonso, preceded by a large
cross, the principal ensign of the army; Sancho and his Navarrois
formed the right, while Peter and his subjects occupied the left.  The
French crusaders, now reduced to a small number by the desertion of
many of their companions, who had been unable to endure the scorching
heat of the climate, marched in the van of the other troops, under the
command of Arnault, archbishop of Narbonne.

Thus disposed, the Christians descended towards the valley which
separated them from their enemies.


The Moors, according to their ancient custom, everywhere displayed
their innumerable soldiers, without order or arrangement.  An admirable
cavalry, to the number of a hundred thousand men, composed their
principal strength: the rest of their army was made up of a crowd of
ill-armed and imperfectly trained foot-soldiers.  Mohammed, stationed
on a height, from which he could command a view of his whole army, was
encompassed by a defence made of chains of iron, guarded by the
choicest of his cavaliers on foot.  Standing in the midst of this
enclosure, with the Koran in one hand and an unsheathed sabre in the
other, the Saracen commander was visible to all his troops, of whom the
bravest squadrons occupied the four sides of the hill.

The Castilians directed their first efforts towards this elevation.  At
first they drove back the Moors, but, repulsed in their turn, they
recoiled in disorder and began to retreat.  Alphonso flew here and
there, attempting to rally their broken ranks, "Archbishop," said he to
the prelate who everywhere accompanied him, preceded by the grand
standard of the Cross, "Archbishop, here are we destined to die!"  "Not
{106} so, sire," replied the ecclesiastic; "we are destined here to
live and conquer!"  At that moment the brave canon who carried the
chief ensign threw himself with it into the midst of the infidels; the
prelate and the king followed him, and the Castilian soldiers rushed
forward to protect their sovereign and their sacred standard.  The
already victorious kings of Aragon and Navarre now advanced at the head
of their wings to unite in the attack upon the height.  The Moors were
assaulted at all points: they bravely resisted their opponents; but the
Christians crowded upon them--the Aragonais, the Navarrois, and the
Castilians endeavouring mutually to surpass each other in courage and
daring.  The brave King of Navarre, making a path for himself through
the midst of its defenders, reached the enclosure, and struck and broke
the chains by which the Moorish commander was surrounded.[6]  Mohammed
took to flight on beholding this catastrophe; and his soldiers, no
longer beholding their king, lost both hope and courage.  They gave way
in all directions, and fled before the Christians.  Thousands of the
Mussulmans fell beneath the {107} weapons of their pursuers, while the
Archbishop of Toledo, with the other ecclesiastics, surrounding the
victorious sovereigns, chanted a _Te Deum_ on the field of battle.

Thus was gained the famous battle of Toloza, of which some details have
been given in consequence of its great importance, and in illustration
of the military tactics of the Moors.  With them the arts of war
consisted solely in mingling with the enemy, and fighting, each one for
himself, until either the strongest or the bravest of the two parties
remained masters of the field.

The Spaniards possessed but little more military skill than their
Moslem neighbours; but their infantry, at least, could attack and
resist in mass, while the discipline of that of the Saracens amounted
to scarcely anything.  On the other hand, again, the cavalry of the
Moors was admirably trained.  The cavaliers who composed it belonged to
the principal families in the kingdom, and possessed excellent horses,
in the art of managing which they had been trained from childhood.
Their mode of combat was to rush forward with the rapidity of light,
strike with the sabre or the lance, fly away as quickly, and then wheel
suddenly and return again to the {108} encounter.  Thus they often
succeeded in recalling victory to their standard when she seemed just
about to desert them.  The Christians, covered as they were with iron,
had in some respects the advantage of these knights, whose persons were
protected only by a breastplate and headpiece of steel.  The Moorish
foot-soldiers were nearly naked, and armed only with a wretched pike.
It is easy to perceive that, when involved in the _mêlée_, and, above
all, during a route, vast numbers of them must have perished.  This,
too, renders less incredible the seemingly extravagant accounts given
by historians of their losses in the field.  They assert, for example,
that, at the battle of Toloza, the Christians killed two hundred
thousand Moors, while they lost themselves but fifteen hundred
soldiers.  Even when these assertions are estimated at their true
value, it remains certain that the infidels sustained an immense loss;
and this important defeat, which is still celebrated yearly at Toledo
by a solemn fête, long deprived the kings of Morocco of all hope of
subjugating the Spaniards.

The victory of Toloza was followed by more fatal consequences to the
unfortunate Mohammed than to the Moors of Andalusia; for the {109}
latter retired to their cities, defended them by means of the remains
of the African army, and successfully resisted the Spanish princes, who
succeeded in taking but few of their strong places, and, speedily
dissolving their league, separated for their respective kingdoms.  But
Mohammed, despised by his subjects after his defeat, and assailed by
the treachery of his nearest relations, lost all authority in Spain,
and beheld the principal Moors, whom he had now no power to control,
again forming little states, the independence of which they were
prepared to assert by force of arms.[7]  The discomfited El Nazir
consequently returned to Africa, where he soon after died of chagrin.

With Mohammed the Green vanished the good fortune of the Almohades.
The princes of that house, who followed El Nazir in rapid succession,
purchased their royal prerogatives at the expense of continual
unhappiness and danger, and were finally driven from the throne.  The
empire of Morocco was then divided, and three new dynasties were
established; that of Fez, of Tunis, and of Tremecen.  These three
powerful and rival sovereignties greatly multiplied the {110}
conflicts, crimes, and atrocities, the narration of which alone
constitutes the history of Africa.

About this period some dissensions arose in Castile, which, together
with the part assumed by the King of Aragon in the war of the Albigense
in France, allowed the Moors time to breathe.  The Moslems were still
masters of the kingdoms of Valencia, Murcia, Grenada, and Andalusia,
with part of Algarva and the Balearic Isles, which last, until that
time, had continued to be but little known to the Christians of the

These states were divided between several sovereigns, the principal of
whom was Benhoud, a descendant of the ancient kings of Saragossa, a
sagacious monarch and a great commander, who by his genius and courage
had obtained dominion over all the southeastern part of Spain.  Next to
Benhoud in rank, the most important of these Mohammedan princes were
the kings of Seville and Valentia.  The barbarian who reigned at
Majorca was a mere piratical chief, whose enmity was formidable only to
the inhabitants of the neighbouring coast of Catalonia.

Such was the condition of Moorish Spain, {111} when two young heroes
seated themselves, nearly at the same time, on the thrones of the two
principal Christian states; and, after having allayed the commotions
created during the period of their minority, directed their
concentrated efforts against the Mussulmans, A.D. 1224, Heg. 621.

These princes, who were mutually desirous to emulate each other in
fame, but were never rivals in interest, both consecrated their lives
to the extirpation of the inflexible enemies of their native land.  One
of these sovereigns was Jacques I., king of Aragon (a son of the Peter
of Aragon who distinguished himself on the field of Toloza), who united
to the courage, grace, and energy of his father, a greater degree of
genius and success than fell to the lot of that sovereign.  The other
was Ferdinand III., king of Castile and Leon, a discerning, courageous,
and enterprising monarch, whom the Romish Church has numbered with its
saints, and history ranks among its great men.

This prince was the nephew of Blanche of Castile, queen of France, and
cousin-german of St. Lewis,[8] whom he nearly resembled in his {112}
piety, his bravery, and the wise laws he framed for the benefit of his

Ferdinand carried his arms first into Andalusia.  When he entered the
territories of the infidels, he received the homage of several Moorish
princes, who came to acknowledge themselves his vassals.  As he
proceeded, he seized upon a great number of places, and, among others,
the town of Alhambra, whose frightened inhabitants retired to Grenada,
and established themselves in a portion of that city, which thus
obtained the name by which it was afterward so much celebrated.

Jacques of Aragon, on his part, set sail with an army for the Balearic
Isles.  Though impeded in his progress by contrary winds, he succeeded
at last in reaching Majorca, on the shore of which island he defeated
the Moorish force that attempted to oppose his landing, and then
marched towards their capital and laid siege to it.

The chivalrous Jacques, who, when danger was to be encountered, always
took precedence of even his bravest officers and most daring soldiers,
was, as usual, the first to mount the walls in the assault upon this
city.  It was carried, {113} notwithstanding its great strength, the
Mussulman king driven from the throne, and this new crown permanently
incorporated with that of Aragon, A.D. 1229, Heg. 627.

Jacques had long been meditating a most important conquest.  Valencia,
after the death of the Cid, had again fallen into the hands of the
Moors.  This beautiful and fertile province, where nature seemed to
delight herself by covering anew with fruit and flowers the soil that
man had so often deluged with blood, was now under the dominion of
Zeith, a brother of Mohammed El Nazir, the African king who was
vanquished at Toloza by the Christians.  A powerful faction, inimical
to the power of Zeith, wished to place upon the throne a prince named
Zean.  The two competitors appealed to arms to decide their respective
claims.  The King of Aragon espoused the cause of Zeith, and, under
pretext of marching to his assistance, advanced into the kingdom of
Valencia, several times defeated Zean, seized upon his strong places,
and, with the active intrepidity that rendered him so formidable a foe,
invested the capital of his enemy, A.D. 1234, Heg. 632.

Thus pressed by the sovereign of Aragon, {114} Zean implored the aid of
Benhoud, the most puissant of the kings of Andalusia.  But Benhoud was
at this time occupied in resisting the encroachments of Ferdinand.  The
Castilians, under the conduct of that valiant prince, had made new
progress against the Moors.  After possessing themselves of a great
number of other cities, they had now laid siege to ancient Cordova.

Benhoud had been often vanquished, but always retained the affections
of a people who regarded him as their last support.  He had again
collected an army, and, though possessed with an equally earnest desire
to relieve both Cordova and Valencia, was about to march towards the
latter, from a belief that he was most likely to be there successful,
when his life was treacherously terminated by one of his lieutenants.

The Catholic kings were by this means delivered from the opposition of
the only man who was capable of impeding the accomplishment of their

The death of Benhoud deprived the inhabitants of Cordova of all courage
and hope.  Until then they had defended themselves with {115} equal
courage and constancy; but they offered to capitulate upon receiving
intelligence of this disastrous event.[9]

The Christians made the most rigorous use of their victory, granting
only life and liberty of departure to the unfortunate disciples of the
Prophet.  An innumerable host of these wretched people came forth from
their former homes, weeping, and despoiled of all their possessions.
Slowly they left the superb city which had been for more than five
hundred and twenty years the principal seat of their national
greatness, their luxurious magnificence, their cherished religion, and
their favourite literature and fine arts.

Often did these desolate exiles pause on their way, and turn their
despairing eyes once again towards the towering palaces, the splendid
temples, the beautiful gardens, that five centuries of lavish expense
and toilsome effort had served to adorn and perfect, only to become the
spoil of the enemies of their faith and their race.

The Catholic soldiers who were now the occupants of these enchanting
abodes, were so far from appreciating their loveliness and value, {116}
that they preferred rather to destroy than inhabit them; and Ferdinand
soon found himself the possessor of a deserted city.  He was therefore
compelled to attract inhabitants to Cordova from other parts of his
dominions, by the offer of extraordinary immunities.  But,
notwithstanding the privileges thus accorded them, the Spaniards
murmured at leaving their arid rocks and barren fields, to dwell in the
palaces of caliphs and amid nature's most luxuriant scenes.

The grand mosque of Abderamus was converted into a cathedral, and
Cordova became the residence of a bishop and canons, but it was never
restored to the faintest shadow of its former splendour.

Not long after the fall of Cordova, Valencia also submitted to the
Christian yoke.  Zean, besides being assailed externally by the force
of the intrepid Jacques, had, in addition, to oppose within his walls
the faction of Zeith, whom he had dethroned.  The king of Tunis, too,
had been unsuccessful in an attempt to send a fleet to the relief of
Valencia: it at once took to flight on the appearance of the vessels of
Jacques.  Abandoned by the whole world, disheartened by the fate of
Cordova, and betrayed {117} by the party of his competitor, Zean
offered to become the vassal of the crown of Aragon, and to pay a
tribute in acknowledgment of his vassalage; but the Christian monarch
was inflexible, and would accede to no terms that did not include a
stipulation to surrender the city.

Fifty thousand Moors, bearing their treasures with them, accompanied
the departure of their sovereign from Valencia.  Jacques had pledged
his royal word to protect the rich booty which they so highly valued
from the cupidity of his soldiers, and he faithfully performed his

After the destruction of the two powerful kingdoms of Andalusia and
Valencia, there seemed to exist no Moorish power capable of arresting
the progress of the Spanish arms.  That of Seville, which alone
remained, was already menaced by the victorious Ferdinand.  But, just
at this period, a new state rose suddenly into importance, which
maintained a high degree of celebrity for two hundred years, and long
prevented the final ruin of the Moors.

[1] See note A, page 216.

[2] See note B, page 216.

[3] See note C, page 218.

[4] See Note D, page 220.

[5] A.D. 1178.

[6] See Note E, page 221.

[7] A.D. 1213, Heg. 610.

[8] See Note F, page 231.

[9] A.D. 1236, Heg. 634.




_Extending from the middle of the Thirteenth Century to the period of
the Total Expulsion of the Moors from Spain, A.D. 1493._

The unprecedented success of the Spaniards, and, above all, the loss of
Cordova, spread consternation among the Moors.  That ardent and
superstitious people, who were ever equally ready to cherish delusive
hopes, and to yield to despondency when those anticipations were
disappointed, looked upon their empire as ruined the moment the
Christian cross surmounted the pinnacle of their grand mosque, and the
banner of Castile waved over the walls of their ancient capital--those
walls on which the standards of the Caliphs of the West and of their
Prophet had for centuries floated in triumph.

Notwithstanding this national dejection, however, Seville, Grenada,
Murcia, and the kingdom of Algarva still belonged to the Mussulmans.
They possessed all the seaports, and the {119} whole maritime coast of
the south of Spain.  Their enormous population, and great national
wealth and industry, also secured to them immense resources; but
Cordova, the holy city, the rival of Mecca in the West--Cordova was in
the possession of the Christians, and the Moors believed that all was

But the hopes of these despairing followers of Islam were rekindled by
the almost magical influence of a single individual, a scion of the
tribe of the _Alhamars_, named Mohammed Aboussaid, who came originally
from the celebrated Arabian city of Couffa.

Several historians, who speak of Mohammed under the title of _Mohammed
Alhamar_, assure us that he commenced his career as a simple shepherd,
and that, having afterward borne arms, he aspired to the attainment of
royal power in consequence of his martial exploits.  Such an incident
is not extraordinary among the Arabs, where all who are not descended
either from the family of the Prophet or from the royal race,
possessing none of the privileges of birth, are esteemed solely
according to their personal merits.

But, be that as it may, Mohammed Aboussaid {120} possessed sufficient
intellectual powers to reanimate the expiring courage of the vanquished
Moslems.  He assembled an army in the city of Arjona, and, well knowing
the peculiar character of the nation that he wished to control,
proceeded to gain over to his interests a _santon_, a species of
religious character highly venerated among the Moors.  This oracular
individual publicly predicted to the people of Algarva that Mohammed
Alhamar was destined speedily to become their king.  Accordingly, he
was soon proclaimed by the inhabitants, and several other cities
followed the example thus set them.

Mohammed now filled the place of Benhoud, to whom he possessed similar
talents for government; and, feeling the necessity of selecting a city
to replace Cordova in the affections of the Moors, to become the sacred
asylum of their religion, and the centring point for their military
strength, he founded a new kingdom, and made the city of Grenada its
capital, A.D. 1236, Heg. 634.

This city, powerful from the remotest times, and supposed to be the
ancient Illiberis of the Romans, was built upon two hills, not far
distant from the Sierra Nevada, a chain of {121} mountains whose
summits are covered with perpetual snow.  The town was traversed by the
river Darra, and the waters of the Xenil bathed its walls.  Each of the
two hills was crowned by a fortress: on the one was that of the
Alhambra, and on the other that of the Albayzin.  These strongholds
were either of them sufficient in extent to accommodate forty thousand
men within their walls.  The fugitives from the city of Alhambra, as
has already been stated, had given the name of their former home to the
new quarter that they peopled; and the Moors who had been driven from
Baeca when Ferdinand III. became master of that place, had established
themselves, in a similar manner, in the quarter of the Albayzin.

This city had also received many exiles from Valencia, Cordova, and
other places which the Mussulmans had deserted.

With a population whose numbers were daily augmented, Grenada, at the
period of which we now speak, was more than three leagues in circuit,
surrounded by impregnable ramparts; defended by many strong towers, and
by a brave and numerous people, whose military prowess seemed to ensure
their safety and independence.


Various were the advantages that combined in giving to Grenada the
supremacy she had assumed.  Her location was one of the most agreeable
and beautiful in the world, and rendered her mistress of a country on
which nature had lavished her choicest gifts.  The famous _vega_, or
plain, by which the city was surrounded, was thirty leagues in length
and eight in breadth.  It was terminated on the north by the mountains
of Elvira and the Sierra Nevada, and enclosed on the remaining sides by
hills clothed with the verdure of the olive, the mulberry, the lemon,
and the vine.

This enchanting plain was watered by five small rivers[1] and an
infinite number of gushing springs, whose streams wandered in graceful
meanderings through meadows of perpetual verdure, through forests of
oak and plantations of grain, flax, and sugar-cane, or burst forth in
the midst of gardens, and orchards, and orange-groves.

All the rich, and beautiful, and varied productions of the soil
required but little attention in their culture.  The earth was
continually {123} covered with vegetation, in myriads of changing
forms, and never knew the repose of winter.

During the heat of summer, the mountain breezes spread a refreshing
coolness through the air of this lovely vega, and preserved the early
brilliancy and beauty of the flowers, that were ever mingled in
delightful confusion with the varied fruits of a tropical region.

On this celebrated plain, whose charms no description can embellish; on
this enchanting vega, where nature seemed to have exhausted her efforts
in lavishing all that the heart of man could desire or his imagination
conceive, more blood has been shed than on any other spot in the world.
There--where, during two centuries of unceasing warfare, whose baleful
effects extended from generation to generation, from city to city, and
from man to man--there does not exist a single isolated portion of
earth where the trees have not been wantonly destroyed, the villages
reduced to ashes, and the desolated fields strewn with the mingled
corses of slaughtered Moors and Christians.

Independent of this _vega_, which was of such inestimable value to
Grenada, fourteen great cities and more than one hundred of smaller
{124} size, together with a prodigious number of towns, were embraced
within the boundaries of this fine kingdom.

The extent of Grenada, from Gibraltar (which was not taken by the
Christians until long after this period) to the city of Lorca, was more
than eighty leagues.  It was thirty leagues in breadth from Cambril to
the Mediterranean.

The mountain, by which the kingdom of Grenada was intersected, produced
gold, silver, granite, amethysts, and various kinds of marble.

Among these mountains, those of the Alpuxaries alone formed a province,
and yielded the monarch of Grenada more precious treasures than their
mines could furnish--active and athletic men, who became either hardy
and industrious husbandmen, or faithful and indefatigable soldiers.

In addition to all this, the ports of Almeria, Malaga, and Algeziras
received into their harbours the vessels of both Europe and Africa, and
became places of deposite for the commerce of the Mediterranean and the

Such, at its birth, was the kingdom of Grenada, and such it long
continued.  Mohammed Alhamar, from the period of its establishment,
{125} made useless efforts to unite all the remaining dominions of the
Mussulmans of Spain under one sceptre, as the only means of
successfully resisting the encroachments of the Christians.  But the
little kingdom of Murcia and that of Algarva were each governed by
separate princes, who persisted in maintaining their independence.
This was the cause of their ruin, for they thus became more readily the
prey of the Spaniards.

Alhamar signalized the commencement of his reign by military
achievements.  In the year 1242, Heg. 640, he gained some important
advantages over the troops of Ferdinand.  But repeated revolts in the
capital and disturbances in other parts of his new empire, eventually
compelled Mohammed to conclude a dishonourable peace with the King of
Castile.  He agreed to do homage for his crown to the Castilian
sovereign, to put the strong place of Jaen into his hands, to pay him a
tribute, and to furnish him with auxiliary troops for any wars in which
he should engage.  On these conditions Ferdinand acknowledged him King
of Grenada, and even aided him in subduing his rebellious subjects.

The sagacious Ferdinand thus established a {126} truce with Grenada,
that he might the more effectually concentrate his forces against
Seville, which he had long entertained hopes of conquering.

The important city of Seville was no longer under the dominion of a
king, but formed a kind of republic, governed by military magistrates.
Its situation at no great distance from the mouth of the Guadalquivir,
its commerce, its population, the mildness of the climate, and the
fertility of the environs, rendered Seville one of the most flourishing
cities of Spain.

Ferdinand, foreseeing a long resistance, commenced the campaign by
seizing upon all the neighbouring towns.

Finally, he laid siege to Seville itself, and his fleet, stationed at
the mouth of the Guadalquivir, closed the door to any assistance which
might be sent from Africa in aid of the beleaguered city.

The siege was long and bloody.  The Sevillians were numerous and well
skilled in the arts of war, and their ally, the King of Algarva,
harassed the besiegers unceasingly.  Notwithstanding the extreme
bravery displayed by the Christians in their assaults, and the scarcity
of {127} provisions which began to be felt within the walls, the city,
after an investment of a whole year, still refused to surrender.

Ferdinand then summoned the King of Grenada to come, in accordance with
their treaty, and serve under his banners.  Alhamar was forced to obey,
and soon presented himself in the Christian camp at the head of a
brilliant army.  The inhabitants of Seville lost all hope after this
occurrence, and surrendered to the Castilian monarch.  The King of
Grenada returned to his own dominions with the humiliating glory of
having contributed, by his assistance, to the ruin of his countrymen.

Ferdinand, with more piety than policy, banished the infidels from
Seville.  One hundred thousand of that unfortunate people left the
city, to seek an exile's home in Africa or in the provinces of Grenada.

The kingdom of Grenada now became the sole and last asylum of the
Spanish Moslems.  The little kingdom of Algarva was soon obliged to
receive the yoke of Portugal, and Murcia, in consequence of its
separation from Grenada, became the prey of the Castilians.


During the life of Ferdinand III., nothing occurred to interrupt the
good understanding that existed between that monarch and Mohammed

The King of Grenada wisely took advantage of this peaceful period more
effectually to confirm himself in the possession of his crown, and to
make preparations for a renewal of hostilities against the Christians,
who would not, he foresaw, long remain his friends.

Mohammed, by this means, ultimately found himself in a condition that
would enable him long to defend his power and dominions.  He was master
of a country of great extent, and he possessed considerable revenues,
the amount of which it is now difficult correctly to estimate, in
consequence of the ignorance which prevails on the subject of the
peculiar financial system of the Moors, and the different sources from
which the public treasury was supplied.  Every husbandman, for example,
paid the seventh part of the produce of his fields to his sovereign;
his flocks even were not exempted from this exaction.  The royal domain
comprised numerous valuable farms; and, as agriculture was carried to
the highest degree of perfection, the revenues from {129} these, in so
luxuriant a country, must have amounted to a very large sum.  The
annual income of the sovereign was augmented by various taxes levied on
the sale, marking, and passage from one point to another of all kinds
of cattle.  The laws bestowed on the king the inheritance of such of
his subjects as died childless, and gave him, in addition, a portion in
the estates of other deceased persons.  He also possessed, as has been
already shown, mines of gold, silver, and precious stones; and though
the Moors were but little skilled in the art of mining, still there was
no country in Europe in which gold and silver were more common than
among them.

The commerce carried on in their beautiful silks, and in a great
variety of other productions; their contiguity to the Mediterranean and
Atlantic; their activity, industry, and astonishing population; their
superior knowledge of the science of agriculture; the sobriety natural
to all the inhabitants of Spain; and that peculiar property of a
southern climate, by which much is produced from the soil, while very
little suffices for the maintenance of its possessor; all these, united
with their other national {130} advantages, will furnish some idea of
the great power and resources of this singular people.

Their standing military force--it can scarcely be said in times of
peace, for they rarely knew the blessings of that state--amounted to
nearly a hundred thousand men; and this army, in case of necessity,
could easily be increased to double that number.  The single city of
Grenada could furnish fifty thousand soldiers.  Indeed, every Moor
would readily become a soldier to oppose the Christians.  The
difference of faith rendered these wars sacred in their eyes; and the
mutual hatred entertained by these two almost equally superstitious
nations never failed to arm, when necessary, every individual of both
sides, even from children to old men.

Independent of the numerous and brave, but ill-disciplined troops, who
would assemble for a campaign, and afterward return to their homes
without occasioning any expense to the state, the Moorish monarch
maintained a considerable corps of cavaliers, who were dispersed along
the frontiers, particularly in the directions of Murcia and Jaen, those
parts of the country being most exposed to the repeated incursions of
the Spaniards.  Upon each of these cavaliers the king {131} bestowed
for life a small habitation, with sufficient adjoining ground for his
own maintenance, and that of his family and horse.  This method of
keeping soldiers in service, while it occasioned no expense to the
public treasury, served to attach them more firmly to their country, by
identifying their interests with hers; and it held out to them the
strongest motives faithfully to defend their charge, inasmuch as their
patrimony was always first exposed to the ravages of the enemy.

At a time when the art of war had not reached the perfection it has now
attained, and when large bodies of troops were not kept continually
assembled and exercised, the system of stationing this peculiar guard
along the frontiers was of admirable effect.

The knights who composed this unrivalled cavalry were mounted on
African or Andalusian chargers, whose merits in the field are so
well-known, and were accustomed from infancy to their management;
treating them with the tenderest care, and regarding them as their
inseparable companions: by these means they acquired that remarkable
superiority for which the Moorish cavalry is still so celebrated.


These redoubtable squadrons, whose velocity of movement was unequalled;
who would, almost at the same moment, charge in mass, break into
detached troops, scatter, rally, fly off, and again form in line; these
cavaliers, whose voice, whose slightest gesture, whose very thoughts,
so to speak, were intelligible to their docile and sagacious steeds,
and who were able to recover a lance or sabre that had fallen to the
earth while in full gallop, constituted the principal military force of
the Moors.  Their infantry was of little value; and their ill-fortified
towns, surrounded only by walls and moats, and defended by this
worthless infantry, could offer but an imperfect resistance to that of
the Spaniards, which began already to deserve the reputation it
afterward so well sustained in Italy, under Gonzalvo, the Great Captain.

After the death of St. Ferdinand, his son Alphonso the Sage[2] mounted
the throne, A.D. 1252, Heg. 650.  The first care of Mohammed Alhamar
after this event was to go in person to Toledo, followed by a brilliant
retinue, to renew the treaty of alliance, or, rather, of dependance, by
which he was united to Ferdinand.  {133} The new king of Castile
remitted on this occasion a part of the tribute to which the Moors had
been subjected.

But this peace was not of long continuance; and the two contending
nations now recommenced the war with nearly equal advantages.

An incident is related as having occurred during this war, which
reflects equal honour on the humanity of the Moors and the courage of
the Spaniards.  It refers to Garcias Gomes, governor of the city of
Xeres.  He was besieged by the Grenadians, and his garrison nearly
destroyed, but still he refused to surrender; and, standing on the
ramparts covered with blood, and literally bristling with arrows, he
sustained alone the onset of the assailants.  The Moors, on seeing him
in this situation, agreed, with one accord, to spare the life of so
brave a man.  Garcias then threw himself from the walls upon some iron
hooks; but he was rescued alive in spite of his efforts to prevent it,
treated with respect by his captors, and, after his wounds were healed,
dismissed with presents.

Alhamar could not prevent Alphonso from adding the kingdom of Murcia to
his dominions; and the fortunes of war compelled him to obtain {134}
peace by submitting anew to the payment of tribute to the Catholic
sovereign, A.D. 1266, Heg. 665.

But some dissensions which soon after arose between the Castilian
monarch and some of the grandees of his kingdom, inspired the Grenadian
king with the hope of repairing the loss he had sustained.  The brother
of Alphonso, together with several noblemen belonging to the principal
Castilian families, retired to Grenada in open defiance of the
authority of the Spanish monarch, and materially aided Mohammed Alhamar
in repressing the insurrectionary movements of two of his rebellious
subjects, who were countenanced in their attempts by the Christians.

But, just at this juncture, the wise and politic King of Grenada died,
leaving the throne that he had acquired and preserved by his talents to
his son Mohammed II., El Fakik, A.D. 1273, Heg. 672.

The new Mussulman king, who took the title of _Emir al Mumenim_,
adopted in all respects the policy of his father.  He took every
advantage in his power of the discord which reigned at the Castilian
court, and of the ineffectual voyages undertaken by Alphonso in the
hope of {135} being elected emperor.[3]  Finally, during the absence of
his enemy, Mohammed formed an offensive league with Jacob, the king of
Morocco, a prince of the race of the _Merines_, the conquerors and
successors of the Almohades.  The Grenadian sovereign ceded to his
African ally the two important places of Tariffe and Algeziras, on
condition of his crossing the Mediterranean to the Peninsula.

Jacob, in accordance with this agreement, arrived in Spain, at the head
of an army, in the year 1275 (the 675th of the Hegira); and the two
Moorish leaders, by acting in concert, gained some important advantages.

But the criminal revolt of Sancho, the Infant of Castile, against his
father Alphonso the Sage, soon afterward divided these Mussulman
monarchs.  The King of Grenada took the part of the rebellious son,
while Alphonso, reduced to extremity by the abandonment of his
subjects, implored the assistance of the King of Morocco.  Jacob
recrossed the sea with his troops, and met Alphonso at Zara.  At that
celebrated interview, the unfortunate Castilian wished to concede the
place of honour to the king, who was there as {136} his defender.  "It
belongs to you," said Jacob to him, "because you are unfortunate!  I
came here to avenge a cause which should be that of every father.  I
came here to aid you in punishing an ingrate, who, though he received
life from you, would still deprive you of your crown.  When I shall
have fulfilled this duty, and you are again prosperous and happy, I
will once more become your enemy, and contest every point of precedence
with you."

The soul of the Christian prince was not sufficiently noble, however,
to prompt him to confide himself to the monarch who had uttered these
sentiments, and he escaped from the camp.  Alphonso died soon after
this event, disinheriting his guilty son before he expired, A.D. 1284,
Heg. 683.

Sancho[4] reigned in his father's stead, however, notwithstanding this
prohibition, and international troubles convulsed Castile anew.

Mohammed seized this moment to enter Andalusia.  He gained several
battles, and took some important places in that kingdom, and thus
victoriously terminated a long and glorious reign, A.D. 1302, Heg. 703.


This Mohammed _Emir al Mumenim_, the principal political events of
whose life have now been briefly narrated, was a munificent patron of
the fine arts.  He added their charms to the attractions of a court
which poets, philosophers, and astronomers alike contributed to render

As an illustration of the scientific superiority that the Moors still
maintained over the Spaniards, the fact may be mentioned that Alphonso
the Sage, king of Castile, availed himself, in the arrangement of his
astronomical tables (still known as the _Alphonsine Tables_), of the
assistance of some contemporary Moslem _savans_.

Grenada began by this time to replace Cordova.  Architecture, above
all, made great advances.  It was during the reign of Mohammed II. that
the famous palace of the Alhambra was commenced, a part of which still
remains to astonish travellers, whom its name alone suffices to attract
to Grenada.

To prove to what a height of perfection the Moors had succeeded in
carrying the art, then so little known to Europeans, of uniting the
magnificent and the luxurious, a few details may perhaps be pardoned
concerning this {138} singular edifice, and as an illustration, also,
of the particular manners and customs of the Moors.

The Alhambra, as has been said, was at first only a vast fortress,
standing upon one of the two hills enclosed within the city of Grenada.
This hill, though environed on every side by the waters either of the
Darra or the Xenil, was defended, in addition, by a double enclosure of
walls.  It was on the summit of this elevation, which overlooked the
whole city, and from which one might behold the most beautiful prospect
in the world, in the midst of an esplanade covered with trees and
fountains, that Mohammed selected the site of his palace.

Nothing with which we are familiar in architecture can give us a
correct idea of that of the Moors.  They piled up buildings without
order, symmetry, or any attention to the external appearance they would
present.  All their cares were bestowed upon the interior of their
structures.  There they exhausted all the resources of taste and
magnificence, to combine in their apartments the requisites for
luxurious indulgence with the charms of nature in her most enchanting
forms.  There, in saloons adorned with the most beautiful marble, and
paved with a {139} brilliant imitation of porcelain, couches, covered
with stuffs of gold or silver, were arranged near _jets d'eau_, whose
waters glanced upward towards the vaulted roof, and spread a delicious
coolness through an atmosphere embalmed by the delicate odours arising
from exquisite vases of precious perfumes, mingled with the fragrant
breath of the myrtle, jasmine, orange, and other sweet-scented flowers
that adorned the apartments.

The beautiful palace of the Alhambra, as it now exists at Grenada,[5]
presents no _façade_.  It is approached through a charming avenue,
which is constantly intersected by rivulets, whose streams wander in
graceful curves amid groups of trees.  The entrance is through a large
square tower, which formerly bore the name of the _Hall of Judgment_.
A religious inscription announces that it was there that the king
administered justice after the ancient manner of the Hebrew and other
Oriental nations.  Several buildings, {140} which once adjoined this
tower were destroyed in more recent times, to give place to a
magnificent palace erected by Charles V., a description of which is not
necessary to our subject.  Upon penetrating on the northern side into
the ancient palace of the Moorish kings, one feels as if suddenly
transported to the regions of fairyland.  The first court is an oblong
square, surrounded on each side by a gallery in the form of an arcade,
the walls and ceiling of which are covered with Mosaic work, festoons,
arabesque paintings, gilding, and carving in stucco, of the most
admirable workmanship.  All the plain spaces between these various
ornaments are filled with passages transcribed from the Alkoran, or by
inscriptions of a similar character to the following, which will
suffice to create some idea of the figurative style of Moorish

"Oh Nazir! thou wert born the master of a throne, and, like the star
that announces the approach of day, thou art refulgent with a
brilliancy that belongs to thee alone!  Thine arm is the rampart of a
nation; thy justice an all-pervading luminary.  Thou canst, by thy
valour, subdue those who have given companions to {141} God!  Thy
numerous people are thy children, and thou renderest them all happy by
thy goodness.  The bright stars of the firmament shine lovingly upon
thee, and the glorious light of the sun beams upon thee with affection.
The stately cedar, the proud monarch of the forest, bows his lofty head
at thy approach, and is again uplifted by thy puissant hand!"

In the midst of this court, which is paved with white marble, is a long
basin always filled with running water of sufficient depth for bathing.
It is bordered on each side by beds of flowers, and surrounded by walks
lined with orange-trees.  The place was called the _Mesuar_, and served
as the common bathing-place of those who were attached to the service
of the palace.

From thence one passes into the celebrated _Court of Lions_.  It is a
hundred feet in length and fifty in breadth.  A colonnade of white
marble supports the gallery that runs around the whole.  These columns,
standing sometimes two and sometimes three together, are of slender
proportions and fantastic design; but their lightness and grace afford
pleasure to the eye of the wondering beholder.  The walls, and, above
all, the ceiling of the circular gallery, are covered {142} with
embellishments of gold, azure, and stucco, wrought into arabesques,
with an exquisite delicacy of execution that the most skilful modern
workmen would find it difficult to rival.  In the midst of these
ornaments of ever-changing variety and beauty are inscribed passages
from the Koran, such as the following, which all good Mussulmans are
required frequently to repeat: _God is great: God alone is supreme:
There is no god but God: Celestial enjoyment, gratifications of the
heart, delights of the soul to all those who believe_.

At either extremity of the Court of Lions are placed, within the
interior space enclosed by the gallery, and, like it, supported by
marble columns, two elegant cupolas of fifteen or sixteen feet in
circumference.  These graceful domes form a covering for beautiful
_jets d'eau_.  In the centre of the lengthened square, a superb
alabaster vase, six feet in diameter, is supported in an elevated
position in the midst of a vast basin by the forms of twelve lions
sculptured from white marble.  This vessel, which is believed to have
been modelled after the design of the "molten sea" of the Temple of
Solomon, is again surmounted by a smaller vase, from which shoot {143}
forth innumerable tiny cascades, which together present the form of a
great sheaf; and, falling again from one vase into another, and from
these into the large basin beneath, create a perpetual flow, whose
volume is increased by the floods of limpid water which gush in a
continual stream from the mouth of each of the marble lions.

This fountain, like each of the others, is adorned with inscriptions;
for the Moors ever took pleasure in mingling the eloquence of poetry
with the graces of sculpture.  To us their conceptions appear singular
and their expressions exaggerated; but our manners are so opposite to
theirs; the period of their existence as a nation is so far removed,
and we know so little of the genius of their language, that we have,
perhaps, no right to judge the literature of the Moors by the severe
rules of modern criticism.  And, indeed, the specimens we possess of
the French and Spanish poetry of the thirteenth and fourteenth
centuries are, many of them, little superior to the verses engraven on
the Fountain of Lions, of which the following, is a translation.[6]


"Oh thou who beholdest these lions! dost thou not perceive that they
need only to breathe to possess the perfection of nature!  Oh Mohammed!
Oh potent sovereign!  God originated and prolonged thy existence, that
thou mightest be inspired with the genius to conceive and accomplish
these novel and beautiful embellishments!  Thy soul is adorned by the
most ennobling qualities of humanity.  This enchanting spot pictures
thy admirable virtues.  Like the lion, thou art terrible in combat; and
nothing can be more justly compared to the bountiful and unceasing
profusion of the limpid waters which gush from the bosom of this
fountain, and fill the air with glittering and brilliant particles,
than the liberal hand of Mohammed."

We will not attempt a description in detail of such other portions of
the palace of the Alhambra as still exist.  Some of these served as
halls of audience or of justice; others enclosed the baths of the king,
the queen, and their children.  Sleeping apartments still remain, where
the couches were disposed either in alcoves, or upon platforms covered
with the peculiar pavement {145} already alluded to; but always near a
fountain, the unceasing murmur of whose dreamy voice might sooth the
occupants to repose.

In the music saloon of this once luxurious royal abode are four
elevated galleries, which, ere the glory of the Alhambra had passed
away, were often filled by Moorish musicians, the delightful strains of
whose varied instruments enchanted the court of Grenada.  Then the fair
and the brave reclined in graceful groups in the centre of the
apartment, upon rich Oriental carpets, surrounding the alabaster
fountain, whose balmy breath diffused refreshing coolness, and whose
softly gurgling sounds mingled with the gentle music which was ever the
accompaniment of repose and enjoyment.

In an apartment which was at the same time the oratory and
dressing-room of the queen of this magnificent residence, there still
exists a slab of marble, pierced with an infinite number of small
apertures, to admit the exhalations of the perfumes that were
incessantly burning beneath the lofty ceiling.  From this part of the
palace, too, the views are exquisitely beautiful.  The windows and
doors opening from it are so arranged, that the most agreeable
prospects, the {146} mellowest and most pleasing effects of light,
perpetually fall upon the delighted eyes of those within, while balmy
breezes constantly renew the delicious coolness of the air that
breathes through this enchanting retreat.

Upon leaving the marble halls and lofty towers of the Alhambra, one
discerns, on the side of a neighbouring mountain, the famous garden of
the _Generalif_, which signifies, in the Moorish tongue, the _Home of
Love_.  In this garden was the palace to which the kings of Grenada
repaired to pass the season of spring.  It was built in a style similar
to that of the Alhambra: the same gorgeous splendour, the same costly
magnificence reigned there.  The edifice is now destroyed; but the
picturesque situation, the ever-varied and ever-charming landscape, the
limpid fountains, the sparkling _jets d'eau_, and tumbling waterfalls
of the _Generalif_, are still left to excite admiration.

The terraces of this garden are in the form of an amphitheatre, and the
lingering remains of their once beautiful Mosaic pavements are still to
be seen.  The walks are now darkly umbrageous, from the interwoven
branches of gigantic cypresses and aged myrtles, beneath whose {147}
grateful shades the kings and queens of Grenada have so often wandered.
Then blooming groves and forests of fruit-trees were agreeably
intermingled with graceful domes and marble pavilions: then the sweet
perfume of the countless flowers that mingled their varied dyes in
delightful confusion, floated in the soft air.  Then the delicate
tendrils of the vine clasped the supporting branches of the orange, and
both together hung the mingled gold and purple of their clustering
fruits over the bright waters that from marble founts

  "Gushed up to sun and air!"

Then valour and beauty strayed side by side, beneath embowering
branches, the fire of the one attempered to gentleness by the softer
graces of the other, and the souls of both elevated and purified by
nature's holy and resistless influences.

But now the luxuriant vine lies prostrate, its climbing trunk and
clinging tendrils rudely torn from their once firm support: even the
voice of the fountain no longer warbles in the same gladsome tone as of
yore; the mouldering fragments of the polished column and sculptured
dome are now strewed on the earth; the sighing of the gentle breeze no
longer awake: is the soft breath {148} of responding flowers; the
loveliness and the glory of the _Home of Love_ are vanished away for
ever; and the crumbling stones of the tesselated pavements echo naught
but the lingering footfall of the solitary stranger, who wanders
thither to enjoy those mournful charms of which the destroyer cannot
divest a spot that must ever appeal so strongly to the vision and the
heart, to the memory and the imagination.

It is painful to quit the Alhambra and the Generalif, to return to the
ravages, incursions, and sanguinary quarrels of the Moors and

It was the fate of Mohammed III. (surnamed the Blind) to be obliged at
the same time to repress the rebellious movements of his own subjects
and repel the invasions of his Catholic neighbours.  Compelled by the
infirmity from which he derived his appellation to choose a prime
minister, he bestowed that important post upon Farady, the husband of
his sister, a judicious statesman and a brave soldier, who for some
time prosperously continued the war against the Castilians, and finally
concluded it by an honourable peace.

But the courtiers, jealous of the glory and {149} envious of the
good-fortune of the favourite, formed a conspiracy against his master,
and instigated revolts among the people.  To complete his calamities,
foreign war again broke forth; the King of Castile, Ferdinand IV.,
surnamed _the Summoned_,[7] united with the King of Aragon in attacking
the Grenadians.[8]

Gibraltar was taken by the Castilians, and the conqueror expelled its
Moorish inhabitants from its walls.  Among the unfortunate exiles who
departed from the city was an old man, who, perceiving Ferdinand,
approached him, leaning on his staff: "King of Castile," he said to
him, "what injury have I done to thee or thine?  Thy great-grandfather
Ferdinand drove me from my native Seville: I sought an asylum at Xeres;
thy grandfather Alphonso banished me from thence: retiring within the
walls of Tariffe,[9] thy father Sancho exiled me from that city.  At
last I came to find a grave at the extremity of Spain, on the shore of
Gibraltar; but thy hatred hath pursued me even here: tell me now of one
place on earth where I can die unmolested by the Christians!"


"Cross the sea!" replied the Spanish prince; and he caused the aged
petitioner to be conveyed to Africa.

Vanquished by the Aragonians, harassed by the Castilians, and alarmed
by the seditious proceedings which the grandees of his court were
encouraging among his own subjects, the King of Grenada and his prime
minister were forced to conclude a shameful peace.

The intestine storm, whose gathering had long disturbed the domestic
security of the kingdom, soon after burst forth.  Mohammed Abenazar,
brother to Mohammed the Blind, and the head of the conspiracy, seized
the unfortunate monarch, put him to death, and assumed his place, A.D.
1310, Heg. 710.

But the usurper himself was soon driven from his throne by Farady, the
ancient minister, who, not daring to appropriate the crown to himself,
placed it on the head of his son Ismael, the nephew of Mohammed the
Blind, through his mother, the sister of that monarch.

This event took place A.D. 1313, Heg. 713.  From that period the royal
family of Grenada was divided into two branches, which were ever after
at enmity with each other; the one, called {151} the _Alhamar_,
included the descendants of the first king through the males of the
line, and the other, named _Farady_, was that of such of his offspring
as were the children of the female branches of the royal race.

The Castilians, whose interests were always promoted by cherishing
dissensions among their Moorish neighbours, lent their countenance to
Abenazar, who had taken refuge in the city of Grenada.  The Infant Don
Pedro, uncle to the youthful King of Castile, Alphonso _the Avenger_,
as he was surnamed, took the field against Ismael, and several times
gave battle to the followers of the Crescent.  Then joining his forces
to those of another Infant named Don Juan, the two friends carried fire
and sword to the very ramparts of Grenada.  The infidel warriors did
not venture to sally from their walls to repel the invaders; but when,
loaded with booty, the Christians had commenced their return to
Castile; Ismael followed on their route with his army, and, soon
overtaking his ruthless foes, fell suddenly upon their rear.  It was
now the 26th of June,[10] and the time chosen by the Mussulmans for the
attack was the hottest hour of a {152} burning day.  The two Spanish
princes made such violent efforts to reorganize their scattered bands
and to recover their lost authority, that, exhausted at last by thirst
and fatigue, they both fell dead without having received a wound.

The dismayed and exhausted Spaniards could now no longer offer any
resistance to their furious enemies.  They betook themselves to flight,
leaving their baggage, with the bodies of the two unfortunate Infants,
on the field of battle.  Ismael caused the remains of these princes to
be conveyed to Grenada and deposited in coffins covered with cloth of
gold: he then restored them to the Castilians, after having bestowed on
them the most distinguished funeral honours.[11]

This victory was rapidly followed by the conquest of several cities and
the establishment of an honourable truce.  But Ismael did not live to
enjoy the fruits of his success: being enamoured of a young Spanish
captive, who had fallen, in the division of the spoils, to the share of
one of his officers, the king so far forgot the laws of justice and
honour as to possess himself {153} by force of the beautiful slave.
Such an insult among the followers of Islam can only be expiated by
blood: the monarch was assassinated by his exasperated officer.  His
son Mohammed V. mounted the throne in his stead, A.D. 1322, Heg. 722.

The reign of Mohammed V. and that of his successor Joseph I., both of
whom perished in the same manner (being murdered in their palace),
present nothing during thirty years but an unbroken series of ravages,
seditions, and combats.

At the request of the Grenadians, Abil-Hassan, king of Morocco, of the
dynasty of the _Merinis_, landed in Spain at the head of innumerable
troops, with whom he joined the army of Joseph.  The kings of Castile
and Portugal unitedly gave battle to this immense army on the shores of
Salado, not far from the city of Tariffe.  This encounter, equally
celebrated with the victory of Toloza in the history of Spain,
terminated in the defeat of the Moors.  Abil-Hassan returned hastily to
Morocco, to conceal within his own dominions his chagrin at its
unexpected and disastrous issue.

The strong place of Algeziras, the bulwark of {154} Grenada, and the
magazine in which was deposited the necessary supplies received by that
kingdom from Africa, was besieged by the Castilians A.D. 1342, Heg.
742.  Several French, English, and Navarrois cavaliers resorted on this
occasion to the camp of the beleaguering army.  The Mussulmans availed
themselves of the use of cannon in the defence of their city; and this
is the first time that the employment of that description of ordnance
is spoken of in history.  We are told that it was used at the battle of
Cressy by the English; but that event did not take place until four
years after the date of the present siege.  It is, then, to the Spanish
Moors that we owe, not the discovery of gunpowder (for that is
attributed by some to the Chinese, by others to a German monk named
Schwartz, and by others again to Roger Bacon, an Englishman), but the
terrible invention of artillery.  It is at least certain, that the
Moors planted the first cannon of which we have any account.  But, in
spite of the advantages it thus possessed, Algeziras was taken by the
Christians, A.D. 1344, Heg. 745.

About ten years after this event, the unfortunate Joseph, who had been
so often attacked by {155} foreign enemies, met his death from the
hands of his own subjects.

It may have been remarked by the reader, that no established law
regulated the regal succession among the Moors.  Yet, notwithstanding
the perpetual conspiracies and intrigues which rendered the possession
of the crown so insecure and of such uncertain duration, a prince of
the royal race always occupied the throne.  We have seen Grenada
divided, since the violent termination of the reign of Ismael, between
the factions of the _Alhamar_ and the _Farady_, and the former deposed
by the latter, who always regarded the Alhamars as usurpers.  This
unhappy contest was the source of numberless disorders, conspiracies,
and assassinations.

The monarch next in order to Joseph I. on the throne of Grenada was his
uncle, a Farady prince named Mohammed VI., and called _the Old_, in
consequence of his succeeding at a somewhat advanced period of life.

Mohammed the Red, a scion of the Alhamar race, drove his cousin,
Mohammed the Old, from the throne, A.D. 1360, Heg. 762, and retained it
for some years, through the protection of the King of Aragon.


Peter the Cruel, then king of Castile, espoused the cause of the
banished Farady, supported his claims by warlike arguments, and so
closely pressed Mohammed the Alhamar, that he adopted the resolution of
repairing to Seville, and abandoning himself to the magnanimity of his
royal foe.

Mohammed arrived at the court of Seville accompanied by a suite
composed of his most faithful friends, and bearing with him vast
treasures.  He presented himself with noble confidence in the presence
of the monarch.  "King of Castile!" said he to Peter, "the blood alike
of Christian and Moor has too long flowed in my contest with the
Farady.  You protect my rival; yet it is you whom I select to adjudge
our quarrel.  Examine my claims and those of my enemy, and pronounce
who shall be the sovereign of Grenada.  If you decide in favour of the
Farady, I demand only to be conducted to Africa; if you accord the
preference to me, receive the homage that I have come to render you for
my crown!"

The astonished Peter lavished honours upon the Mussulman king, and
caused him to be seated at his side during the magnificent feast by
{157} which he signalized the occasion.  But, when the Alhamar retired
from the entertainment, he was seized and thrown into prison.  From
thence he was afterward conducted through the streets of the city,
seated, half naked, upon an ass, and led to a field termed the
_Tablada_, where thirty-seven of his devoted followers were deprived of
their heads in his presence.  The execrable Peter, envying the
executioner the pleasure of shedding his blood, then thrust through the
unfortunate King of Grenada with his own lance.  The dying sovereign
uttered only these words as he expired, "Oh Peter, Peter, what a deed
for a cavalier!"

By a very extraordinary fatality, every throne in Spain was at this
period occupied by princes whose characters were blackened by the most
atrocious crimes.  Peter the Cruel, the Nero of Castile, assassinated
the kings who confided themselves to his protection, put to death his
wife Blanche of Bourbon, and, in short, daily imbrued his hands in the
blood of his relatives or friends.  Peter IV. of Aragon, less violent
than the Castilian, but equally unfeeling and even more perfidious,
despoiled one of his brothers of his kingdom, commanded another to be
{158} put to death, and delivered his ancient preceptor to the
executioners.  Peter I., king of Portugal, the lover of the celebrated
Inez de Castro,[12] whose ferocity was doubtless excited and increased
by the cruelty that had been exercised against his mistress, tore out
the hearts of the murderers of Inez, and poisoned a sister with whom he
was displeased.  Finally, the contemporary King of Navarre was that
Charles the Bad, whose name alone is sufficient still to cause a
shudder.  All Spain groaned beneath the iron rule of these monsters of
cruelty, and was inundated by the blood of their victims.  If it be
remembered that, at the same time, France had become a prey to the
horrors which followed the imprisonment of King John; that England
witnessed the commencement of the troubled reign of Richard II.; that
Italy was delivered up to the contentions of the rival factions of the
Guelfs and Ghibelines, and beheld two occupants at the same time upon
the papal throne; that two emperors disputed the right to the imperial
crown of Germany; and that Timurlane ravaged Asia from the territories
of the Usheks to the borders of India, it will not be disputed {159}
that the history of the world records the annals of no more unhappy
epoch in its affairs.

Grenada was at last tranquil after the crime of Peter the Cruel.
Mohammed the Old, or the Farady, being now freed from the rival claims
of his competitor, remounted the throne without opposition.

Mohammed was the only ally of the King of Castile who remained faithful
to that inhuman monster up to the period of his death.  Peter was at
last the victim of a crime similar to those of which he had so often
himself been guilty: his illegitimate brother, Henry de Transtamare,
deprived him of his crown and his life, A.D. 1369, Heg. 771.

The King of Grenada made peace with the new sovereign of Castile,
maintained it for several years, and finally left his kingdom in a
flourishing condition to his son Mohammed VIII., Abouhadjad, called by
the Spanish historians Mohammed Gaudix.

This prince commenced his reign A.D. 1379, Heg. 782.  He was the best
and wisest of the Spanish Mohammedan kings.  Intent only upon promoting
the happiness of his people, he was desirous of securing to them the
enjoyment of {160} that foreign and domestic peace to which they had so
long been almost utter strangers.  The more effectually to ensure this,
Abouhadjad commenced his reign with fortifying his towns, raising a
strong army, and allying himself with the King of Tunis, whose daughter
Cadiga he espoused.  When well prepared for war, the Moorish sovereign
sent ambassadors to the King of Castile, to solicit his friendship.
Don Juan, the son and successor of Henry de Transtamare, being
sufficiently occupied by his quarrels with Portugal and England,
readily signed a treaty with the royal follower of the Crescent; and
Abouhadjad, on his part, kept it unbroken.  Secured from the inroads of
the Christians, this wise monarch now occupied himself in promoting the
increase of agriculture and commerce: he likewise diminished the rates
of imposts, and soon found his income increased in consequence of this
judicious measure.  Beloved by a people whom he rendered happy,
respected by foreign neighbours whom he had no reason to fear, and
possessed of an amiable wife, who alone engaged his affections, this
excellent Mussulman prince spent the wealth and leisure that he could
with propriety devote to such objects, in {161} adorning his capital,
in cherishing the fine arts, and in cultivating architecture and
poetry.  Several monuments of his munificence existed at Grenada, and
at Gaudix, a city in favour of which he entertained strong
predilections.  His court was the favoured abode of genius and elegance.

The Moors of Spain still possessed poets, physicians, painters,
sculptors, academies, and universities.  And these were all liberally
encouraged and endowed by Mohammed Gaudix.

Most of the productions of the Grenadian authors of this period
perished at the final conquest of their country;[13] but some of them
have been preserved, and still exist in the library of the Escurial.
They chiefly treat of grammar, astrology (then greatly esteemed), and,
above all, of theology, a study in which the Moors excelled.  That
people, naturally gifted with discriminating minds and ardent
imaginations, produced many distinguished theologians, who may easily
be supposed to have introduced into Europe the unfortunate scholastic
taste for subtle questions and disputes, which once rendered so
celebrated, men whose names and achievements have since sunk for ever
into oblivion.  The {162} pretended secrets of the cabal, of alchymy,
of judicial astronomy, of the divining rod, and all the accounts,
formerly so common, of sorcerers, magicians, and enchanters, are
derived from these descendants of the Arabs.  They were a superstitious
race from the remotest times; and it is probable that to their
residence in Spain, and their long intercourse with the Spaniards, is
owing that love for the marvellous, and that well-deserved reputation
for superstitious credulity, with which philosophy still reproaches a
sprightly and intellectual nation, upon whom nature has bestowed the
germes of the best qualities that adorn humanity.

A kind of literature which was common among these Saracens, and for
which the Spaniards were indebted to them, was that of novels or
romances.  The Arabs were ever, as they still are, passionate lovers of
story-telling.  As well in the tents of the wild Bedouin as in the
palaces of the East, alike under the gilded domes and peasant roofs of
Grenada, this taste prevailed.  Everywhere they assembled nightly to
listen to romantic narratives of love and valour.  Everywhere they
listened in silent attention, or wept from sympathetic interest in the
fate {163} of those whose adventures formed the subject of the tale.
The Grenadians joined with this passion for exciting incident, a taste
for music and singing.  Their poets imbodied in verse these favourite
recitals of love and war.  Musicians were employed in composing
suitable airs for them, and they were thus sung by the youthful Moors
with all the enthusiasm that passion, poetry, and dulcet harmony can
unitedly inspire.  From this national custom are derived the multitude
of Spanish romances, translated or imitated from the Arabic, which, in
a simple and sometimes touching style, recount the fierce combats of
the Moors and Christians, the fatal quarrels of jealous and haughty
rivals, or the tender conversation of lovers.  They describe with great
exactness everything relating to the peculiar manners and amusements of
this interesting and extinguished nation: their fêtes, their games of
the ring and of canes, and their bull-fights, the latter of which they
adopted from the Spaniards, are all portrayed.  Thus we learn that
their war-like equipments consisted of a large cimeter, a slender
lance, a short coat of mail, and a light leathern buckler.  We have
descriptions of superb horses, with their richly-jewelled and {164}
embroidered housings sweeping the earth in ample folds, and of the
devises emblazoned on the arms of the graceful Moorish cavaliers.
These last consisted frequently of a heart pierced by an arrow, or
perhaps of a star guiding a vessel, or of the first letter of the name
of the fair recipients of their vows of love.  We learn, too, that
their colours each bore a peculiar signification: yellow and black
expressed grief; green, hope; blue, jealousy; violet and flame colour,
passionate love.

The following abridged translation of one of these little compositions
will produce a more correct idea of them in the mind of the reader than
any description could convey.[14]



  In a transport of jealousy and pride,
  Zelinda spurned her lover from her side!
  His cruel doom Gonzulo heard
  With bosom wrung; and disappeared!
  But the fair maid soon deeply felt
  The torturing wound herself had dealt;
  As glides the snow from mountain crest,
  So fled resentment from her breast.

  They tell her that the Moor's proud heart
  Is pierced by grief's most poisoned dart,
  And that he'd doffed, when flying from her side,
  The tender colours that were once his pride;
  That green, of hope the cherished emblem gay,
  To sorrow's mournful hues had given way.
  A badge of crape his lance's point now wears,
  A blackened crown his shield as emblem bears!


  To proffer gifts with different meaning fraught,
  Zelinda now her errant lover sought:
  The blue of jealousy she had united
  With all the hues most dear to lovers plighted;
  A violet gem, entwined with gold,
  Gleamed mid a broidered turban's fold,
  And every silken riband that she bore,
  Of lovely innocence the symbol wore.

  Zelinda reached the soft retreat
  Where Gonzulo his fate must meet!
  O'erwhelmed with doubt, the dark-eyed maid
  Reclined beneath a myrtle shade,
  And sent a faithful page to guide
  Her banished lover to her side.
  Gonzulo scarce the message would receive,
  For wo had taught his heart to disbelieve!


  But soon he flew, on wing of love,
  To seek Zelinda's chosen grove.
  Then tearful glances of regret
  By words of tenderness were met;
  And ne'er did guardian nymphs record
  More ardent vows than there were poured!
  'Twas thus triumphant love repaired
  The cruel wrongs that each had shared!

The delicate and peculiar gallantry, which rendered the Moors of
Grenada famous throughout Europe, formed a singular contrast to the
ferocity that is so natural to all nations of African origin.  These
Islamites, whose chief glory it was dexterously to deprive their
enemies of their heads, attach them to their saddle-bows, and afterward
display them as trophies on the {168} battlements of their towers or at
the entrance of their palaces; these restless and ungovernable
warriors, who were ever ready to revolt against their rulers, to depose
or to murder them, were the most tender, the most devoted, the most
ardent of lovers.  Their wives, though their domestic position was
little superior to that of slaves, became, when they were beloved, the
absolute sovereigns, the supreme divinities of those whose hearts they
possessed.  It was to please these idolized beings that the Moorish
cavaliers sought distinction in the field; it was to shine in their
eyes that they lavished their treasures and their lives--that they
mutually endeavoured to eclipse each other in deeds of arms, in the
splendour of their warlike exploits, and the Oriental magnificence of
their fêtes.

It cannot now be determined whether the Moors derived this
extraordinary union of softness and cruelty, of delicacy and
barbarity--this generous rivalry in courage and in constancy from the
Spaniards, or whether the Spaniards acquired these characteristics from
the Moors.  But when it is remembered that they do not belong to the
Asiatic Arabs, from whom these gallant knights originally sprang; that
they are {169} found, even in a less degree, if possible, among these
followers of Mohammed in that portion of Africa where their conquests
have naturalized them; and, that after their departure from Spain, the
Grenadians lost every trace of the peculiarly interesting and
chivalrous qualities by which they had previously been so remarkably
distinguished, there is some ground for the opinion that it was to the
Spaniards that their Moslem neighbours were indebted for the existence
of these national attributes.  In truth, before the invasion of Spain
by the Arabs, the courts of the Gothic kings had already offered
knightly examples of a similar spirit.  And after that event we find
the cavaliers of Leon, Navarre, and Castile equally renowned for their
achievements in war and their romantic devotion to the fair sex.  The
mere name of _the Cid_ awakens in the mind recollections alike of
tenderness and bravery.  It should be remembered, too, that, long after
the expulsion of the Moors from the Peninsula, the Spaniards maintained
a reputation for gallantry far superior to that of the French, some
portion of the spirit of which, though extinct among every other
European nation, still lingers in Spain.


But, be this point decided as it may, it is not to be disputed that the
daughters of Grenada merited the devotion which they inspired: they
were perhaps the most fascinating women in the world.  We find in the
narrative of a Moorish historian, who wrote at Grenada during the reign
of Mohammed the Old, the following description of his countrywomen:

"Their beauty is remarkable; but the loveliness which strikes the
beholder at first sight afterward receives its principal charm from the
grace and gentleness of their manners.  In stature they are above the
middle height, and of delicate and slender proportions.  Their long
black hair descends to the earth.  Their teeth embellish with the
whiteness of alabaster, vermillion lips, which perpetually smile with a
bewitching air.  The constant use which they make of the most exquisite
perfumes, gives a freshness and brilliancy to their complexions
possessed by no other Mohammedan women.  Their walking, their dancing,
their every movement, is distinguished by a graceful softness, an ease,
a lightness, which surpasses all their other charms.  Their
conversation is lively and sensible, and their fine intellects are
{171} constantly displayed in brilliant wit or judicious sentiments."

The dress of these elegant females was composed, as that of the Turkish
women still is, of a long tunic of linen confined by a cincture, of a
_doliman_ or Turkish dress with close sleeves, of wide trousers and
Morocco slippers.  The materials of their clothing were of the finest
fabric, and were usually woven in stripes: they were embroidered with
gold and silver, and profusely spangled with jewels.  Their waving
tresses floated over their shoulders; and a small cap, adorned with the
richest gems, supported an embroidered veil, which fell nearly to the
feet.  The men were clothed in a similar manner: with them were carried
in the girdle the purse, the handkerchief, and the poniard: a white,
and sometimes a coloured, turban covered the head; and over the Turkish
doliman they wore in summer a wide and flowing white robe, and in
winter the _albornos_ or African mantle.  The only change made in their
dress by the Moorish cavaliers when preparing for battle was the
addition of a coat of mail, and an iron lining within their turbans.

It was the custom of the Grenadians to repair {172} every year, during
the autumn, to the charming villas by which the city was surrounded.
There they yielded themselves up to the pursuit of pleasure.  The chase
and the dance, music and feasting, occupied every hour.

The manners of those who participated in these national dances were in
a high degree unreserved, as was the language of the songs and ballads
in which they joined.  Were it not for the contradictions in the human
character, one might be surprised at this want of delicacy in a people
who were capable of so much refinement of feeling.  But, in general,
nations of Oriental origin possess but little reserve in their manners:
they have more of passion than sentiment, more of jealousy than
delicacy in their haughty and excitable natures.

In giving these details, we have perhaps trespassed too long on the
period of calm repose enjoyed by the kingdom of Grenada during the
reign of Abouhadjad.  That excellent sovereign, after having filled the
throne for thirteen years, left his flourishing dominions to his son
Joseph, who succeeded him without opposition, A.D. 1392, Heg. 795.

Joseph II. was desirous, in imitation of the {173} course pursued by
his father, of maintaining the truce with the Christians.  It was,
however, soon disturbed by a fanatical hermit, who persuaded the
Grand-master of Alcantara, Martin de Barbuda, a Portuguese, that he had
been selected by Heaven as the chosen instrument for expelling the
infidels from Spain.  He promised the credulous Martin, in the name of
God, that he should succeed in conquering the enemies of the Cross, and
in carrying the city of Grenada by assault, without the loss of a
single soldier.  The infatuated grand-master, convinced of the
certainty of the fulfilment of this promise, immediately sent
ambassadors to Joseph, with orders to declare to that sovereign, in his
name, that, since the religion of Mohammed was false and detestable,
and that of Jesus Christ the only true and saving faith, he, Martin de
Barbuda, defied the King of Grenada to a combat of two hundred
Mussulmans against one hundred Christians, upon condition that the
vanquished nation should instantly adopt the faith of the conquerors.

The reception these ambassadors met with may be easily imagined.
Joseph could scarcely restrain the indignation of his people.  The
{174} envoys, driven contemptuously away, returned to the presence of
the grand-master, who, surprised at receiving no response to his
proposal, soon assembled a thousand foot-soldiers and three hundred
cavaliers, and hastened to the conquest of Grenada under the guidance
of the prophetic hermit.

The King of Castile, Henry III., who desired to preserve peace with the
followers of the Prophet at the commencement of a reign during which
his own dominions were but ill at rest, was no sooner informed of the
enterprise of Barbuda, than he sent him positive orders not to cross
the frontiers; but that dignitary replying that he ought to obey the
commands of Jehovah rather than those of any earthly master, proceeded
on his way.  The governors of the different cities through which he
passed on his route endeavoured, though vainly, to arrest his progress;
but the people overwhelmed him with homage, and everywhere added to the
number of his forces.

The army of the grand-master amounted to six thousand men, when, in
A.D. 1394, Heg. 798, he entered the country which his folly taught him
to regard as already in his possession.  In attacking the first castle
at which he {175} arrived, three soldiers were killed and their
fanatical commander himself wounded.  Surprised beyond measure at
beholding his own blood flow and three soldiers fall, he summoned the
anchorite into his presence, and sedately demanded what this meant,
after his express promise that not a single champion of the true faith
should perish.  The fanatic replied, that the word he had pledged
extended only to regular battles.  Barbuda complained no more, and
presently perceived the approach of a Moorish army composed of fifty
thousand men.  The conflict soon commenced: the grand-master and his
three hundred mounted followers perished in the field, after having
performed prodigies of valour.  The remainder of the Spanish army were
either taken prisoners or put to flight; and the silence of historians
respecting the hermit, leads to the opinion that he was not among the
last to seek safety at a distance from the scene of action.

This foolish enterprise did not interrupt the good understanding
subsisting between the two nations.  The King of Castile disavowed all
approval of the conduct of Martin de Barbuda, and Joseph long continued
to reign with honour and tranquillity.  But he was at last poisoned,
{176} it is said, by a magnificent robe which he received from his
secret enemy, the King of Fez through the ambassadors of that
sovereign.  Historians assert that this garment was impregnated with a
terrible poison, which caused the death of the unfortunate Joseph by
the most horrible torments.  The peculiar effects it produced was that
of detaching the flesh from the bones, the misery of the wretched
sufferer enduring for the protracted period of thirty days.

Mohammed IX., the second son of this hapless monarch, who, even during
the lifetime of his father, had excited commotions in the realm,
usurped the crown that of right belonged to his elder brother Joseph,
whom he caused to be confined in prison.

Mohammed was courageous, and possessed some talents for war.  Allied
with the King of Tunis, who joined his fleet with that of Grenada, he
broke the truce maintained with Castile during the two preceding
reigns, and at first gained some advantages over his adversaries, but
the Infant Don Ferdinand, the uncle and tutor of the young king John
II., was not long in avenging the cause of Spain.

Mohammed IX. died in the year 1408, {177} Heg. 811.  When the expiring
monarch became conscious that his end was rapidly approaching, desirous
of securing the crown to his son, he sent one of his principal officers
to the prison of his brother Joseph, with orders to cut off the head of
the royal occupant.  The officer found Joseph engaged in a game of
chess with an iman:[15] he sorrowfully announced the mournful
commission with which he was charged.  The prince, without manifesting
any emotion at the communication, only demanded time to conclude his
game; and the officer could not refuse this slight favour.  While the
philosophical Mussulman continued to play, a second messenger arrived,
bearing the news of the death of the usurper, and of the proclamation
of Joseph as his successor to the throne.

The people of Grenada were happy under the rule of the good King Joseph
III.  So far was he from avenging himself upon those who had aided his
brother in depriving him of his rights, that he lavished favours and
offices on them, and educated the son of Mohammed in the same manner as
his own children.  When his councillors blamed him for a degree of
indulgence {178} which they regarded as hazardous, "Allow me," replied
the sovereign, "to deprive my enemies of all excuse for having
preferred my younger brother to me!"

This excellent prince was often obliged to take arms against the
Christians.  He was so unfortunate as to lose some cities, but he
preserved the respect and affection of his subjects, and died lamented
by the whole kingdom, after a reign of fifteen years, A.D. 1423, Heg.

After the death of Joseph the state was distracted by civil wars.
Mohammed X. Abenazar, or the _Left-handed_, the son and successor of
that benevolent king, was banished from the throne by Mohammed XI. _El
Zugair_, or the Little, who preserved his ill-gotten power but two
years.  The Abencerrages, a powerful tribe[16] at Grenada,
re-established Mohammed the Left-handed in his former place, and his
competitor perished on the scaffold.

About four years after the death of Joseph, the Spaniards renewed their
inroads into Grenada, and carried fire and sword to the very gates of
the capital.  All the neighbouring fields were devastated; the crops
were burned and the {179} villages destroyed.  John II., who then
reigned in Castile, wishing to add to the miseries he had already
occasioned these unhappy people the still greater misfortune of civil
war, instigated the proclamation at Grenada of a certain Joseph
Alliamar, a grandson of that Mohammed the Red so basely assassinated at
Seville by Peter the Cruel.

All the discontented spirits in the kingdom joined the faction of
Joseph Alhamar; and the Zegris, a powerful tribe, who were at enmity
with the Abencerrages, lent their aid to the usurper.  Mohammed
Abenazar was again driven from the capital, A.D. 1432, Heg. 836, and
Joseph IV. Alhamar possessed his dominions six months.  At the
termination of that time he expired.

Mohammed the Left-handed once more resumed his royal seat; but, after
thirteen years of misfortune, this unhappy prince was again deposed for
the third time, and imprisoned by one of his nephews, named Mohammed
XII. the Osmin, who was himself afterward dethroned[17] by his own
brother Ismael, and ended his days {180} in the same dungeon in which
his uncle Mohammed Abenazar had languished.

All these revolutions did not prevent the Christian and Moorish
governors who commanded on their respective frontiers from making
incessant irruptions into the enemy's country.  Sometimes a little
troop of cavalry or infantry surprised a village, massacred the
inhabitants, pillaged their houses, and carried away their flocks.
Sometimes an army suddenly appeared in a fertile plain, devastated the
fields, uprooted the vines, felled the trees, besieged and took some
town or fortress, and retired with their booty.  This kind of warfare
was ruinous, most of all, to the unfortunate cultivator of the soil.
The Grenadian dominions suffered so much during the reign of Ismael
II., that the king was compelled to cause immense forests to be cleared
for the support of his capital, which then drew scarcely any supplies
from the vast and fertile _vega_ which had been so often desolated by
the Spaniards.

Ismael II. left the crown to his son Mulei-Hassem, a young and highly
courageous prince, who, profiting by the disastrous condition of
Castile under the deplorable reign of Henry IV. the {181} Impotent,
carried his arms into the centre of Andalusia.  The success that marked
the commencement of the reign of this sovereign, together with his
talents and warlike ardour, tempted the Moors to believe that they
might yet recover their former greatness.  But the occurrence at this
juncture of a great and unlooked-for event, arrested the victorious
progress of Mulei-Hassam, and prepared the way for the total ruin of
his kingdom.

Isabella of Castile, the sister of Henry the Impotent, notwithstanding
the opposition of her brother and the intervention of almost
insurmountable obstacles, espoused Ferdinand the Catholic, the king of
Sicily, and heir presumptive of the kingdom of Aragon.[18]  This
marriage, by uniting the two most powerful monarchs of Spain, gave a
fatal blow to the prosperity of the Moors, which they had been able to
maintain, even in the degree in which it now existed, only through the
divisions which had hitherto perpetually prevailed among their
Christian opponents.

Either of the two enemies, now unitedly arrayed against them, had been
singly sufficient {182} to overwhelm the Mussulmans.  Ferdinand was
alike politic, able, and adroit.  He was pliant, and, at the same time,
firm; cautious to a degree sometimes amounting to pusillanimity;
cunning even to falsehood, and endowed in an extraordinary degree with
the power of discerning at a single glance all the various means of
attaining a particular end.  Isabella was of a prouder and more noble
nature; endowed with heroic courage and the most unyielding constancy
of purpose, she was admirably qualified for the pursuit and
accomplishment of any enterprise to which she might direct the energies
of her powerful mind.  The exalted endowments of one of these royal
personages have been employed to ennoble the character of the other.
Ferdinand often played the part of a weak, perfidious woman,
negotiating only to deceive; whereas Isabella was always the
high-souled sovereign, advancing openly to her purposes, and marching
directly to honourable conflict and generous triumph.

No sooner had these distinguished individuals secured possession of
their respective kingdoms, suppressed all domestic disturbances, and
effected peaceful arrangements with foreign powers, {183} than they
mutually resolved to concentrate all their efforts for the annihilation
of the Mohammedan dominion in Spain.

This century seemed destined to be marked by the glory of the
Spaniards.  In addition to the immense advantages afforded them by the
union of their forces, Ferdinand and Isabella were surrounded by the
wisest and most experienced advisers.  The celebrated Cardinal Ximenes,
at one time a simple monk, was now at the head of their councils; and
that able minister "_led_," as he himself averred, "_all Spain by his
girdle!_"  The civil wars with which the Peninsula had been so long
disturbed, had created among the Christian powers a host of brave
soldiers and excellent commanders.  Among the latter were particularly
distinguished the Count de Cabra, the Marquis of Cadiz, and the famous
Gonzalvo of Cordova, whose just claim to the surname of _the Great
Captain_, given him by his countrymen, the lapse of time has only
served to confirm.  The public treasury, which had been exhausted by
the lavish prodigality of Henry, was soon replenished by the rigid
economy of Isabella, aided by a bull from the pope, permitting the
royal appropriation of the {184} ecclesiastical revenues.  The troops
were numerous and admirably disciplined, and the emulation which
existed between the Castilians and Aragonians redoubled the valour of
both.  Everything, in short, prognosticated the downfall of the last
remaining throne of the Moors.

Its royal champion, Mulei-Hassem, was not dismayed, however, even by
such an accumulation of danger.  He was the first to break the truce,
by taking forcible possession of the city of Zahra, A.D. 1481, Heg.
886.  Ferdinand despatched ambassadors to the Moslem court to complain
of this breach of faith; with orders, at the same time, to demand the
ancient tribute which had been paid by the kings of Grenada to the
sovereigns of Castile.

"I know," replied Mulei-Hassem, when the envoys of the Spanish prince
had delivered their message, "I know that some of my predecessors
rendered you tribute in pieces of gold; but _this_ is the only metal
now coined in the national mint of Grenada!"  And, as he spoke, the
stern and haughty monarch presented the head of his lance to the
Spanish ambassadors.

The army of Ferdinand first marched upon Alhamar, a very strong
fortress in the {185} neighbourhood of Grenada, and particularly famous
for the magnificent baths with which it had been embellished by the
Moorish kings.  The place was taken by surprise, and thus a war was
lighted up that was destined to be extinguished only with the last
expiring sigh of Grenada.

Victory seemed at first to be equally poised between the two contending
powers.  The King of Grenada possessed ample resources in troops,
artillery, and treasure.  He might have long maintained the contest,
but for an act of imprudence which precipitated him into an abyss of
misfortune from which he was never afterward able to extricate himself.

The wife of Mulei-Hassem, named Aixa, belonged, before her marriage
with the king, to one of the most important of the Grenadian tribes.
The offspring of this marriage was a son named Boabdil, whose right it
was to succeed to his father's throne.  But the reckless Mulei
repudiated his wife at the instance of a Christian slave, of whom he
became enamoured, and who governed the doting monarch at will.  This
act of cruelty and injustice was the signal for civil war.  The injured
Aixa, in concert with her son, excited her relatives and friends, {186}
and a large number of the inhabitants of the capital, to throw off
their allegiance to their sovereign.

Mulei-Hassem was eventually driven from the city, and Boabdil assumed
the title of king.  Thus father and son were involved in a contest for
the possession of a crown, of which Ferdinand was seeking to deprive
them both.

To add to the misfortunes which were already fast crushing this
distracted and miserable country beneath their weight, another aspirant
to the throne presented himself, in the person of a brother of
Mulei-Hassem named Zagel.  This prince, at the head of a band of
Moorish adventurers, had succeeded in obtaining some important
advantages over the Spaniards in the defiles of Malaga, A.D. 1483, Heg.

His achievements having won for him the hearts of his countrymen, Zagel
now conceived the design of dethroning his brother and nephew, and of
appropriating the dominions of both to himself.  Thus a third faction
arose to increase the dissensions of the state.

Boabdil still held insecure possession of the capital; and, desirous of
attempting some action, the brilliancy of which would reanimate the
{187} hopes and confidence of a party that was ready to abandon him, he
sallied forth at the head of a small force, with the intention of
surprising Lucena, a city belonging to the Castilians.

But the ill-fated Boabdil was made a prisoner in this expedition.

He was the first Moorish king who had ever been a captive to the
Spaniards.  Ferdinand lavished on him the attentions due to misfortune,
and caused him to be conducted to Cordova, attended by an escort.

The old king, Mulei-Hassem, seized this opportunity to repossess
himself of the crown of which his rebellious son had deprived him, and,
in spite of the party of Zagel, he again became master of his capital.
But the restored monarch could oppose but a feeble resistance to the
progress of the Spaniards, who were rapidly reducing his cities and
advancing nearer to his devoted capital.  Within the walls of that city
the wretched inhabitants were madly warring against one another, as if
unconscious of the destruction that was fast approaching them from
without.  To increase the sanguinary feuds which already so surely
presaged their destruction, the Catholic sovereigns had become the
{188} allies of the captive Boabdil, engaging to assist him in his
efforts against his father on condition that he should pay them a
tribute of twelve thousand crowns of gold, acknowledge himself their
vassal, and deliver certain strong places into their hands.  The base
Boabdil acceded to everything; and, aided by the politic Spanish
princes, hastened again to take arms against his father.

The kingdom of Grenada was now converted into one wide field of
carnage, where Mulei-Hassem, Boabdil, and Zagel were furiously
contending for the mournful relics of their country.

The Spaniards, in the mean time, marched rapidly from one conquest to
another, sometimes under pretext of sustaining their ally Boabdil, and
often in open defiance of the treaty they had formed with that prince;
but always carefully feeding the fire of discord, while they were
despoiling each of the three rival parties, and leaving to the
vanquished inhabitants their laws, their customs, and the free exercise
of their religion.

In the midst of these frightful scenes of calamity and crime, old
Mulei-Hassem died, either worn out by grief and misfortune, or through
{189} the agency of his ambitious brother.  This event occurred A.D.
1485, Heg. 890.

Ferdinand had now rendered himself master of all the western part of
the kingdom of Grenada, and Boabdil agreed to divide with Zagel the
remnant of this desolated state.  The city of Grenada was retained by
Boabdil, while Gaudix and Almeria fell to the share of Zagel.  The war
was not the less vigorously prosecuted in consequence of this
arrangement; and the unprincipled Zagel, doubting his ability long to
retain the cities in his possession, sold them to King Ferdinand in
consideration of an annual pension.

By virtue of this treaty, the Catholic sovereigns took possession of
the purchased cities; and the traitor Zagel even lent the aid of his
arms to the Christian army, the more speedily to overthrow the royal
power of his nephew, and thereby terminate the existence of his
expiring country.

All that now remained to the Mussulmans was the single city of Grenada.
There Boabdil still reigned; and, exasperated by misfortune, he vented
his rage and despair in acts of barbarous cruelty towards its wretched


Ferdinand and Isabella, disregarding the conditions of their pretended
alliance with this now powerless prince, summoned him to surrender his
capital, in compliance, as they said, with the terms of a secret
treaty, which they affirmed had been concluded between them.  Boabdil
protested against this perfidious conduct.  But there was no time
allowed for complaint: he must successfully defend himself, or cease to
reign.  The Moorish prince adopted, therefore, to say the least, the
most heroic alternative; and resolved to defend to the last what
remained to him of his once beautiful and flourishing country.

The Spanish sovereign, at the head of an army of sixty thousand men,
the flower and chivalry of the united kingdoms of Castile and Aragon,
laid siege to Grenada on the 9th of May, 1491, and in the 897th year of
the Hegira.

This great city, as has been already mentioned, was defended by strong
ramparts, flanked by a multitude of towers, and by numerous other
fortifications, built one above the other.  Notwithstanding the civil
wars which had inundated it with blood, Grenada still enclosed within
its walls more than two hundred thousand {191} inhabitants.  Every
brave Moorish cavalier who still remained true to his country, its
religion, and its laws, had here taken refuge.  Despair redoubled their
strength in this last desperate struggle; and had these fierce and
intrepid warriors been guided by a more worthy chief than Boabdil,
their noble constancy might still have saved them; but this weak and
ferocious monarch hesitated not, on the slightest suspicion, to consign
his most faithful defenders to the axe of the executioner.  Thus he
became daily more and more an object of hatred and contempt to the
Grenadians, by whom he was surnamed _Zogoybi_; that is to say, _the
Little King_.  The different tribes now grew dissatisfied and
dispirited, especially the numerous and powerful tribe of the
Abencerrages.  The alfaquis and the imans, also, loudly predicted the
approaching downfall of the Moorish empire; and nothing upheld the
sinking courage of the people against the pressure of a foreign foe and
the tyranny of their own rulers but their unconquerable horror of the
Spanish yoke.

The Catholic soldiers, on the other hand, elated by their past success,
regarded themselves as invincible, and never for a moment doubted the
{192} certainty of their triumph.  They were commanded, also, by
leaders to whom they were devotedly attached: Ponce de Leon, marquis of
Cadiz, Henry de Guzman, duke of Medina, Mendoza, Aguillar, Villena, and
Gonzalvo of Cordova, together with many other famous captains,
accompanied their victorious king.  Isabella, too, whose virtues
excited the highest respect, and whose affability and grace won for her
the affectionate regard of all, had repaired to the camp of her husband
with the Infant and the Infantas, and attended by the most brilliant
court in Europe.  This politic princess, though naturally grave and
serious, wisely accommodated herself to the existing circumstances.
She mingled fêtes and amusements with warlike toil: jousts and
tournaments delighted at intervals the war-worn soldiery; and dances,
games, and illuminations filled up the delicious summer evenings.

Queen Isabella was the animating genius that directed everything; a
gracious word from her was a sufficient recompense for the most gallant
achievement; and her look alone had power to transform the meanest
soldier into a hero.

Abundance reigned in the Christian camp; {193} while joy and hope
animated every heart.  But within the beleaguered city, mutual
distrust, universal consternation, and the prospect of inevitable
destruction, had damped the courage and almost annihilated the hopes of
the wretched inhabitants.

The siege, nevertheless, lasted for nine months.  The cautious
commander of the Christian army did not attempt to carry by assault a
place so admirably fortified.  After having laid waste the environs,
therefore, he waited patiently until famine should deliver the city
into his hands.  Satisfied with battering the ramparts and repelling
the frequent sorties of the Moors, he never engaged in any decisive
action, but daily hemmed in more closely the chafed lion that could not
now escape his toils.

Accident one night set fire to the pavilion of Isabella, and the
spreading conflagration consumed every tent in the camp.  But Boabdil
derived no advantage from this disaster.  The queen directed that a
city should supply the place of the ruined camp, to convince the
enemies of the cross that the siege would never be raised until Grenada
should come into possession of the conquering Spaniards.  This great
and {194} extraordinary design, so worthy the genius of Isabella, was
executed in eighty days.  The Christian camp thus became a walled city;
and Santa Fe still exists as a monument of the piety and perseverance
of the heroic Queen of Castile.

At last, oppressed by famine, less frequently successful than at first
in the partial engagements that were constantly taking place under the
walls, and abandoned by Africa, from which there were no attempts made
to relieve them, the Moors now felt the necessity of a surrender.

Gonzalvo of Cordova was empowered by the conquerors to arrange the
articles of capitulation.  These provided that the people of Grenada
should recognise Ferdinand and Isabella, and their royal successors, as
their rightful sovereigns; that all their Christian captives should be
released without ransom; that the Moors should continue to be governed
by their own laws; should retain their national customs, their judges,
half the number of their mosques, and the free exercise of their faith;
that they should be permitted either to keep or sell their property,
and to retire to Africa, or to any other country they might choose,
while, at the same time, they should not be compelled to leave their
{195} native land.  It was also agreed that Boabdil should have
assigned to him a rich and ample domain in the Alpuxares, of which he
should possess the entire command.

Such were the terms of capitulation, and but ill were they observed by
the Spaniards.  Boabdil fulfilled his part of the stipulations some
days before the time specified, in consequence of being informed that
his people, roused by the representations of the imans, wished to break
off the negotiations, and to bury themselves beneath the ruins of the
city rather than suffer their desolate and deserted homes to be
profaned by the intruding foot of the spoiler.

The wretched Moslem prince hastened therefore to deliver the keys of
the city, and of the fortresses of the Albazin and the Alhambra, into
the hands of Ferdinand.

Entering no more, after this mournful ceremony, within the walls where
he no longer retained any authority, Boabdil took his melancholy
journey, accompanied by his family and a small number of followers, to
the petty dominions which were now all that remained to him of the once
powerful and extensive empire of his ancestors.


When the cavalcade reached an eminence from which the towers of Grenada
might still be discerned, the wretched exile turned his last sad
regards upon the distant city, amid ill-suppressed tears and groans.
"_You do well_," said Aixa, his mother, "_to weep like a woman for the
throne you could not defend like a man!_"

But the now powerless Boabdil could not long endure existence as a
subject in a country where he had reigned as a sovereign: he crossed
the Mediterranean to Africa, and there he ended his days on the

Ferdinand and Isabella made their public entrance into Grenada on the
1st of January, 1492, through double ranks of soldiers, and amid the
thunder of artillery.  The city seemed deserted; the inhabitants fled
from the presence of the conquerors, and concealed their tears and
their despair within the innermost recesses of their habitations.

The royal victors repaired first to the grand mosque, which was
consecrated as a Christian church, and where they rendered thanks to
God for the brilliant success that had crowned their arms.  While the
sovereigns fulfilled this pious duty, the Count de Tendilla, the new
governor {197} of Grenada, elevated the triumphant cross, and the
standards of Castile and St. James, on the highest towers of the

Thus fell this famous city, and thus perished the power of the Moors of
Spain, after an existence of seven hundred and eighty-two years from
the first conquest of the country by Tarik.

It may now be proper briefly to remark upon the principal causes of the
extinction of the national independence of the kingdom of Grenada.

The first of these arose from the peculiar character of the Moors: from
that spirit of inconstancy, that love of novelty, and that unceasing
inquietude, which prompted them to such frequent change of their
rulers; which multiplied factions among them, and constantly convulsed
the empire with internal discords, expending its strength and power in
dissensions at home, and thus leaving it defenceless against foreign
enemies.  The Moors may also be reproached with an extravagant fondness
for architectural magnificence, splendid fêtes, and other expensive
entertainments, which aided in exhausting the national treasury at
times when protracted warfare scarcely ever permitted this most fertile
region of the earth to reproduce the {198} crops the Spaniards had
destroyed.  But, more than all, they were a people without an
established code of laws, that only permanent basis of the prosperity
of nations.  And then, too, a despotic form of government, which
deprives men of patriotism, induced each individual to regard his
virtues and attainments merely as affording the means of personal
consideration, and not, as they should be considered, the property of
his country.

These grave defects in the national character of the Moors were
redeemed by many excellent qualities, which even the Spaniards admitted
them to possess.  In battle they were no less brave and prudent than
their Christian antagonists, though inferior in skill and discipline.
They excelled them, however, in the art of attack.  Adversity never
long overwhelmed them; they saw in misfortune the will of Heaven, and
without a murmur submitted to it.  Their favourite dogma of fatalism
doubtless contributed to this result.  Fervently devoted to the laws of
Mohammed, they obeyed with great exactness his humane injunctions
respecting almsgiving:[19] they bestowed on the poor not only food and
{199} money, but a portion of their grain, fruit, and flocks, and of
every kind of merchandise.  In the towns and throughout the country,
the indigent sick were collected, attended, and nursed with the most
assiduous care.  Hospitality, so sacred from the remotest time among
the Arabs, was not less carefully observed among the people of Grenada,
who seemed to take peculiar pleasure in its exercise.  The following
touching anecdote is told in illustration of the powerful influence of
this principle.  A stranger, bathed in blood, sought refuge from the
officers of justice under the roof of an aged Moor.  The old man
concealed him in his house.  But he had scarcely done so before a guard
arrived to demand possession of the murderer, and, at the same time, to
deliver to the horror-stricken Mussulman the dead body of his son, whom
the stranger had just assassinated.  Still the aged father would not
give up his guest.  When the guard, however, were gone, he entreated
the assassin to leave him.  "_Depart from me_," he cried, "_that I may
be at liberty to pursue thee!_"

These Moslems were but little known to the historians by whom they have
been so often calumniated.  Polished, enthusiastic, hospitable, {200}
brave, and chivalrous, but haughty, passionate, inconstant, and
vindictive, their unfortunate fate entitles them, at least, to
compassion and sympathy, while their virtues may well excite respect
and interest.

After their final defeat, many of the followers of the Prophet retired
to Africa.  Those who remained in Grenada suffered greatly from the
persecution and oppression to which they were subjected by their new
masters.  The article in their last treaty with the Spaniards, which
formally ensured their religious freedom, was grossly violated by the
Catholics, who compelled the Mussulmans to abjure their national faith
by force, terror, and every other unworthy means.

At last, outraged beyond endurance by this want of good faith, and
wrought to desperation by the cruelties they were compelled to endure,
in the year 1500 the Moors attempted to revolt against their
oppressors.  Their efforts were, however, unavailing: Ferdinand marched
in person against them, repressed by force of arms the struggles of a
people whom he designated as rebels, and, sword in hand, administered
the rite of baptism to more than fifty thousand captive Moslems.


The successors of Ferdinand, Charles V. and especially Philip II.,
continued to harass the Moors.[20]  The Inquisition was established in
the city of Grenada, and all the terrors of that dreaded institution
were added to gentler means for the conversion of the infidels to
Christianity.  Their children were taken from them to be educated in
accordance with the precepts of that religion whose Adorable Founder
enjoined peace, mercy, and forbearance upon his followers, and forbade
the practice of injustice and cruelty in every form.

Yielding to the promptings of despair, this crushed and wretched
remnant of a once powerful and glorious nation again flew to arms in
the year 1569, and executed the most terrible vengeance upon the
Catholic priesthood.  Mohammed-ben-Ommah, the new king whom they chose
to direct their destinies, and who was {202} said to have sprung from
the cherished race of the Ommiades, several times gave battle to his
opponents in the mountains of the Alpuxares, where he sustained the
cause of his injured countrymen for the space of two years.  At the end
of that time he was assassinated by his own people.  His successor
shared the same fate, and the Mussulmans were again compelled to submit
to a yoke their revolt had rendered even more intolerable than before.

Finally, King Philip III. totally banished the Moors from Spain.  The
depopulation thus produced inflicted a wound upon that kingdom, from
the effects of which it has never since recovered.

More than one hundred and fifty thousand of this persecuted race took
refuge in France, where Henry IV. received them with great humanity.  A
small number also concealed themselves in the recesses of the
Alpuxares; but the greatest part of the expatriated Islamites sought a
home in Africa.  There their descendants still drag out a miserable
existence under the despotic rule of the sovereigns of Morocco, and
unceasingly pray that they may be restored to their beloved Grenada.

[1] The Darra, Xenil, Dilar, Vagro, and Monachil.

[2] See note A, page 222.

[3] See note B, page 222.

[4] See note C, page 222.

[5] It should be borne in mind, that the description given by M.
Florian of the remains of the once gorgeous splendours of this palace
was written nearly half a century ago; and that time, and the yet more
ruthless destroyer man, may have wrought great changes since that
period amid the ruins of the Alhambra.--_Trans._

[6] The translator has adopted the literal French version of this
inscription, given in a note by M. Florian, from the impression that
the spirit of the original would thus be better preserved than by
attempting to render into rhyme his poetical interpretation.

[7] See Note D, page 223.

[8] See note E, page 224.

[9] A.D. 1302, Heg. 703.

[10] A.D. 1319, Heg. 719.

[11] The mountains of Grenada, in the neighbourhood of which this
action took place, have, ever since that event, borne the name of LA

[12] See Note F, page 224.

[13] See Note G, page 225.

[14] The translator ventures to offer an imitation of M. Florian's
French version of this Moorish ballad, and appends the Spanish original
with which he presents his readers.



  En el tiempo que Zelinda
  Cerro ayrada la ventana
  A la disculpa a los zelos
  Que el Moro Ganzul le daya,
  Confusa y arrepentida
  De averse fingido ayrada,
  For verle y desagravialle,
  El corazon se le abraza;
  Que en el villano de amor
  Es mui cierta la mudanza, etc.

  Y como supo que el Moro
  Rompio furioso la lanca, etc.
  Y que la librea verde
  Avia trocado en leonada;
  Saco luego una marlota
  De tufetan roxo y plata,
  Un bizarro capellar
  De tela de oro morada, etc.

  Con une bonete cubierto
  De zaphires y esparaldas,
  Que publican zelos muertos,
  Y vivas las esperancos,
  Con una nevada toça;
  Que el color de la veleta
  Tambien publica bononça
  Informandose primero.

  A donde Ganzul estava,
  A una caza de plazer
  Aquella tarde le llama
  Y diziendole a Ganzul.
  Que Zelinda le aguardava,
  Al page le pregunto
  Tres vezes si so burlava;
  Que son malaas de creer
  Las nuevas mui desseadas, etc.
  Hollola en un jardin,
  Entre mosquetta y jasmine, etc.

  Viendose Moro con ella,
  A penas los ojos alça;
  Zelinda le asio la mano,
  Un poco roxa y turbada;
  Y al fin de infinitas guexas
  Que en tales passes se passan,
  Vistio se las ricas presas
  Con las manos de su dama, etc.

[15] Mohammedan priest.

[16] See Note H, page 225.

[17] A.D. 1453, Heg. 857.

[18] A.D. 1469, Heg. 874.

[19] See Note I, page 226.

[20] The edicts of Charles V., which were renewed and rendered more
severe by Philip II., directed an entire change in the peculiar
domestic habits and manners of the Moors, prescribed their adoption of
the Spanish costume and language, forbade their women to wear veils,
interdicted the use of the oath and the celebration of their national
dances, and ordered that all their children from the age of five to
fifteen should be registered, that they might be sent to Catholic




A, page 25.

_Until they embrace Islamism, &c._

The word _Islamism_ is derived from _islam_, which signifies
_consecration to God_.

The brief synopsis given in the text of the principles of the
Mohammedan religion, is literally rendered by the author from several
different chapters of the Koran.  These precepts are there to be found
almost lost amid a mass of absurdities, repetitions, and incoherent
rhapsodies.  Yet, throughout the entire work, there are occasionally
bright gleams of fervid eloquence or pure morality.  Mohammed never
speaks on his own authority; he pretends always to be prompted by the
angel Gabriel, who repeats to him the commands of the Most High: the
Prophet does but listen and repeat them.  The angelic messenger has
taken care to enter into a multitude of details, not only in relation
to religion, but also to legislation and government.  And thus it
happens that the Koran is regarded by the Mussulmans as their standard,
no less for civil than for moral law.  One half of this book is written
in verse, and the remainder in poetical prose.  Mohammed possessed
great poetical talent; an endowment so highly esteemed by his
countrymen, that they were in the habit of assembling at Mecca to
pronounce judgment on the different poems affixed {204} by their
respective authors to the walls of the temple of tie Caaba; and the
individual in whose favour the popular voice decided was crowned with
great solemnity.  When the second chapter of the Koran, _Labia ebn
rabia_, appeared on the walls, the most famous poet of the time, who
had previously posted up a rival production of his own, tore it down,
and acknowledged himself conquered by the Prophet.

Mohammed was not altogether the monster of cruelty so many authors
represent him to have been.  He often displayed much humanity towards
offenders who were in his power, and even forgave personal injuries.
One of the most unrelenting of his enemies, named Caab, on whose head a
price had been set, had the audacity suddenly to appear in the mosque
at Medina while Mohammed was preaching to the multitude.  Caab recited
some verses which he had composed in honour of the Prophet.  Mohammed
listened to them with pleasure, embraced the poet, and invested him
with his own mantle.  This precious garment was afterward bought by one
of the caliphs of the East, from the family of Caab, for the sum of
twenty thousand drachms, and became the pride of those Asiatic
sovereigns, who wore it only on the occasion of some solemn festival.

The last moments of Mohammed would seem to prove that he was far from
possessing an ignoble mind.  Feeling his end approaching, he repaired
to the mosque, supported by his friend Ali.  Mounting the tribune, he
made a prayer, and then, turning to the assembly, uttered these words:
"Mussulmans, I am about to die.  No one, therefore, need any longer
fear me; if I have struck any one among you, here is my breast, let him
strike me in return: if I have wrongfully taken the property of any
one, here is my purse, let him remunerate himself: if I have humbled
any one, let him now {205} spurn me: I surrender myself to the justice
of my countrymen!"  The people sobbed aloud: one individual alone
demanded three drachms of the dying Prophet, who instantly discharged
the debt with interest.  After this he took an affectionate leave of
the brave Medinians who had so faithfully defended him, gave liberty to
his slaves, and ordered the arrangements for his funeral.  His last
interview with his wife and daughter, and Omar and Ali, his friends and
disciples, was marked by much tenderness.  Sorrow and lamentation were
universal throughout Arabia on this occasion; and his daughter Fatima
died of grief for his loss.

The respect and veneration entertained by his followers for Mohammed is
almost inconceivable.  Their doctors have gravely asserted in their
writings that the world was created for him; that the first thing made
was light, and that that light became the substance of the soul of
Mohammed, etc.  Some of them have maintained that the Alcoran was
uncreated, while others have adopted a contrary opinion; and out of
these discordant views have arisen numerous sects, and even wars that
have deluged Asia with blood.

The life of Mohammed was terminated by poison, which had been
administered to him some years before by a Jewess named Zainab, whose
brother had been slain by Ali.  This woman, to avenge the death of her
brother, poisoned some roasted lamb which she served up for the
Prophet.  Scarcely had he put a morsel of it into his mouth, when,
instantly rejecting it, he exclaimed that the meat was poisoned.
Notwithstanding the prompt use of antidotes, the injurious consequences
were so severe, that he suffered from them during the remainder of his
life, and died four years after, in the sixty-third year of his age.


B, page 27.

_Kaled, surnamed the Sword of God, &c._

The feats of arms ascribed by historians to Kaled resemble those of a
hero of romance.  He was at first the enemy of the great Arabian
leader, and vanquished that commander in the conflict of _Aheh_, the
only battle which Mohammed ever lost.  Having afterward become a
zealous Mussulman, he subjugated such parts of the Mohammedan dominions
as had revolted after the death of the Prophet, opposed the armies of
Heraclius, conquered Syria, Palestine, and a part of Persia, and came
off victor in numerous single combats in which he was at different
times engaged: always challenging to an encounter of this kind the
general of the hostile army.  The following anecdote will illustrate
his character.  Kaled besieged the city of Bostra.  The Greek governor,
named Romain, under pretence of making a sortie, passed the walls with
his troops, and arranged them in order of battle in front of the
Mussulman army.  At the moment when he should have given the signal for
the onset, the valiant Greek demanded an interview with Kaled.  The two
commanders, therefore, advanced into the centre of the space which
separated the opposing armies.  Romain declared to the Saracen general
that he had determined not only to deliver the city to him, but to
embrace the religion of the crescent; he at the same time expressed a
fear that his soldiers, among whom he was by no means popular, intended
to take his life, and intreated Kaled to protect him against their

"The best thing you can do," replied the Moslem leader, "is immediately
to accept a challenge to a single combat with me.  Such an exhibition
of courage will gain for you the respect of your troops, and we can
treat together afterward!"


At these words, without waiting for a reply from the governor, the
champion of Islamism drew his cimeter and attacked the unfortunate
Romain, who defended himself with a trembling hand.  At each blow
inflicted by the redoubtable follower of the Prophet, Remain cried out,
"Do you then wish to kill me?"  "No," replied the Mussulman; "my only
object is, to load you with honour; the more you are beaten, the more
esteem you will acquire!"  At last, when he had nearly deprived the
poor Greek of life, Kaled gave up the contest, and shortly after took
possession of the city: when he next saw the pusillanimous governor, he
politely inquired after his health.

C, page 30.

_The warlike tribes of the Bereberes, &c._

The name of the portion of Africa called _Barbary_ is derived from the
Bereberes.  This people regarded themselves, with much appearance of
truth, as the descendants of those Arabs who originally came into the
country with Malek Yarfric, and who are often confounded with the
ancient Numidians.  Their language, which differs from that of every
other people, is, in the opinion of some authors, a corruption of the
Punic or Carthaginian.  Divided into tribes and wandering among the
mountains, this peculiar race still exists in the kingdom of Morocco.
The Bereberes were never allied with the Moors, for whom they always
entertained a feeling of enmity.  Though at present under the dominion
of the kings of Morocco as their religious head, they brave his
displeasure and authority at will.  They are formidable in consequence
of their numbers, courage, and indomitable spirit of independence; and
still preserve unimpaired the peculiar simplicity of their ancient
manners and habits.


D, page 34.

_Tarik, one of the most renowned captains of his time, &c._

Tarik landed at the dot of the Calpe Mountain, and took the city of
Herculia, to which the Arabs gave the name of _Djebel Tarik_, of which
we have made Gibraltar.

E, page 38.

_During the remainder of the Caliphate of Yezid II., &c._

This caliph, the ninth of the Ommiades, ended his existence in a manner
that at least merits pity.  He was amusing himself one day with
throwing grapes at his favourite female slave, who caught them in her
mouth.  This fruit, it must be remembered, is much larger in Syria than
in Europe.  Unfortunately, one of the grapes passed into the throat of
the slave and instantly suffocated her.  The despairing Yezid would not
permit the interment of this dearest object of his affections, and
watched incessantly beside the corpse for eight successive days.  Being
compelled at last, by the condition of the body, to separate himself
from it, he died of grief, entreating, as he expired, that his remains
might be interred in the same tomb with his beloved Hubabah.


A, page 46.

_He was soon after assassinated, &c._

Three Karagites (a name applied to a pre-eminently fanatical sect of
Mussulmans), beholding the disorders created in the Arabian empire by
the contentions of Ali, Moavias, and {209} Amrou, believed that they
should perform a service that would be acceptable to God, and restore
peace to their country, by simultaneously assassinating the three
rivals.  One of them repaired to Damascus, and wounded the usurper
Moavias in the back; but the wound did not prove mortal.  The
confederate charged with the murder of Amrou, stabbed, by mistake, one
of the friends of that rebel.  The third, who had undertaken to
despatch Ali, struck him as he was about to enter the mosque, and the
virtuous caliph was the only one who fell a victim to the design of the

B, page 48.

_Mervan II., the last caliph of the race, &c._

This Ommiade was surnamed _Alhemar_, that is to say, _The Ass_: an
appellation which, in the East, is considered highly honourable, from
the singular regard there entertained for that patient and
indefatigable animal.  Ariosto derived his touching episode of Isabella
of Gallicia from the history of this prince.  Mervan, being at one time
in Egypt, became enamoured of a religious recluse whom he chanced to
see there, and endeavoured to persuade her to break her monastic vows.
Effectually to relieve herself from his persecutions, the young devotee
promised him an ointment which would render him invulnerable, and
volunteered to prove its efficacy on her own person.  After having
anointed her neck with the mixture, she requested the caliph to test
the keenness of his cimeter on it, which the barbarian did; and the
result may be easily imagined.

C, page 48.

_The names of Haroun al Raschid, &c._

Haroun al Raschid (which signifies Haroun the Just) was {210} greatly
renowned in the East.  He undoubtedly, in part, owed his fame, as well
as his surname, to the protection he afforded to men of letters.  His
military exploits and his love of science prove this caliph to have
been no ordinary man; but then the glory of his achievements was
tarnished by his cruelty to the Barmacides.  These were a distinguished
tribe or family, descended from the ancient kings of Persia.  They had
rendered the most signal services to the successive caliphs, and won
the respect and affection of the whole empire.  Giaffar Barmacide, who
was considered the most virtuous of Mussulmans and the most eminent
author of the age, was the vizier of Haroun.  He entertained a
passionate regard for Abassa, the beautiful and accomplished sister of
the caliph, and the princess reciprocated his affection; but the
sovereign made the most unreasonable opposition to the celebration of
their nuptials.  This they effected, however, without his knowledge;
and for some time Haroun remained ignorant of the union of the lovers.
But, at the end of some years, the caliph made a pilgrimage to Mecca,
to which city, the more effectually to secure the inviolability of his
secret, the Bermacide had sent his infant son to be reared.  There the
representative of the Prophet, through the instrumentality of a
perfidious slave, became acquainted with all the circumstances of the
deception that had been practised on him.  It would be difficult to
believe the account of what followed, but that the facts were so well
authenticated throughout Asia.  Haroun caused his sister to be thrown
into a well, commanded that Giaffar should lose his head, and ordered
every relative of the unfortunate Bermacide to be put to death.  The
father of the vizier, a venerable old man, respected throughout the
empire, which he had long governed, met his fate with the most heroic
firmness.  Before he expired, he wrote these {211} words to the
sanguinary despot: "_The accused departs first; the accuser will
shortly follow.  Both will appear in the presence of a Judge whom no
arguments can deceive!_"

The implacable Haroun carried his vengeance so far as to forbid that
any one should mention the names of his hapless victims.  One of his
subjects, named Mundir, had the courage to brave this edict, and
publicly to pronounce the eulogy of the beloved Bermacides.

The tyrant commanded that the offending Mussulman should appear before
him, and threatened him with punishment for what he had done.

"You can silence me only by inflicting death upon me!" replied Mundir:
"that you have the power of doing; but you cannot extinguish the
gratitude entertained by the whole empire for those virtuous ministers:
even the ruins you have made of the monuments which they erected, speak
of their fame in spite of you!"  It is said that the monarch was
touched by the words of this fearless defender of the dead, and that he
commanded a golden plate to be presented to him.

Such was the famous caliph who bore the name of _the Just_.  Almamon,
his son, received no surname; but he deserved to be ranked with the
wisest and the most virtuous of men.  Some idea of his character may be
formed from the following anecdote.  It is recorded of him, that his
viziers urged him to punish with death one of his relations who had
taken arms against him, and caused himself to be proclaimed caliph.
Almamon, however, rejected this sanguinary counsel, saying at the same
time, "Alas! if they who have injured me, knew how much pleasure I
experience in forgiving my enemies, they would hasten to appear before
me to confess their faults!"  This excellent prince was the munificent
{212} patron of science and the arts, and his reign formed the most
brilliant epoch of the glorious days of the Arabs.

D, page 54.

_Wars with the kings of Leon, and incursions into Catalonia, &c._

Historians do not agree concerning the precise period when Charlemagne
entered Spain.  It would appear, however, that it was during the reign
of Abderamus that the emperor crossed the Pyrenees, took Pampeluna and
Saragossa, and was attacked, during his retreat, in the defiles of
Roncevaux, a place rendered famous in romantic literature by the death
of Roland.

E, page 59.

_A government that properly respected the rights of the people, &c._

The ancient laws of Aragon, known under the name of _Fore de Sobarbe_,
limited the power of the sovereign by creating a balance for it in that
of the _ricos Hombres_, and of a magistrate who bore the name of

F, page 60.

_The celebrated school, &c._

The musical school, founded at Cordova by Ali-Zeriab, produced the
famous Moussali, who was regarded by the Orientals as the greatest
musician of his time.  The music of the Moors did not consist, like
ours, in the concord of different instruments, but simply in soft and
tender airs, which the musicians sung to the accompaniment of the lute.
Sometimes several voices and lutes executed the same air in unison.
This simple style of music satisfied a people who were {213} such
passionate lovers of poetry, that their first desire, when listening to
a singer, was to hear the words he uttered.

Moussali, who was the pupil of Ali-Zeriab at Cordova, became afterward,
in consequence of his musical talents, the favourite of Haroun al
Raschid, the celebrated caliph of the East.  It is related that this
prince, in consequence of a misunderstanding with one of his favourite
wives, fell into such a slate of melancholy that fears were entertained
for his life.  Giaffar, the Bermacide, at that time the principal
vizier of the caliph, entreated the poet Abbas-ben-Ahnaf to compose
some verses on the subject of this quarrel.  He did so, and they were
sung in the presence of the prince by Moussali; and the royal lover was
so softened by the sentiments of the poet and the melody of the
musician, that he immediately flew to the feet of his fair enslaver,
and a reconciliation took place between the disconsolate monarch and
the offended beauty.  The grateful slave sent twenty thousand drachms
of gold to the poet and Moussali, and Haroun added forty thousand more
to her gift.

G, page 66.

_The statue of the beautiful Zahra, &c._

Mohammed, to discourage idolatry, forbade his followers, in the Koran,
to make images in any form; but this injunction was very imperfectly
observed.  The Oriental caliphs adopted the custom of stamping their
coins with an impression of their own features, as is proved by
specimens still existing in the collections of the curious.  On one
side of these was represented the head of the reigning caliph, and on
the other appeared his name, with some passages from the Alcoran.  In
the palaces of Bagdad, Cordova and Grenada, figures of animals, and
sculpture of various kinds, both in gold and marble, abounded.


H, page 69.

_The richest and most powerful, &c._

Some conception of the opulence of the caliphs of the West, during the
palmy days of their prosperity, may be formed from the value of the
gifts presented to Abderamus III. by one of his subjects,
Abdoumalek-ben-Chien, on the occasion of his being appointed to the
dignity of chief vizier.  The articles composing this present are thus
enumerated: Four hundred pounds of virgin gold; four hundred and twenty
thousand sequins, in the form of ingots of silver; four hundred and
twenty pounds of the wood of aloes; five hundred ounces of ambergris;
three hundred ounces of camphor; thirty pieces of silk and cloth of
gold; ten robes of the sable fur of Korassan; one hundred others, of
less valuable fur; forty-eight flowing housings for steeds; a thousand
bucklers; a hundred thousand arrows; gold tissues, from Bagdad; four
thousand pounds of silk; thirty Persian carpets; eight hundred suits of
armour for war horses; fifteen Arabian coursers for the caliph; a
hundred for the use of his officers; twenty mules, saddled and
caparisoned; forty youths and twenty young maidens, of rare beauty.

I, page 81.

About this time occurred the famous adventure of the seven sons of
Lara, so celebrated in Spanish history and romance, and of which, as in
some degree connected with Moorish history, we may briefly narrate the

These young warriors were brothers, the sons of Gonzalvo Gustos, a near
relative of the first counts of Castile, and lords of Salas de Lara.
Ruy Velasquez, brother-in-law of Gonzalvo Gustos, instigated by his
wife, who pretended to {215} have some cause of offence against the
youngest of the seven brothers, meditated the execution of a horrible
scheme for their destruction.  Ho commenced by sending their father
Gonzalvo on an embassy to the court of Cordova, making him, at the same
time, the bearer of letters, in which he prayed the caliph to put the
envoy to death, as the enemy of the crescent and its followers.  The
Mussulman sovereign, being unwilling to commit so barbarous an act,
contented himself with retaining Gonzalvo as a prisoner.  In the mean
time, the perfidious Velasquez, under pretence of conducting an attack
against the Moors, led his nephews into the midst of an ambuscade,
where, overpowered by numbers, they all perished, after a most heroic
defence, accompanied by circumstances which render their end truly
affecting.  The barbarous uncle sent the gory heads of the murdered
youths to the royal palace of Cordova, and caused them to be presented
to the unhappy father, in a golden dish covered with a veil.  No sooner
did Gonzalvo behold the ghastly contents of the dish, than he fell to
the earth, deprived of sense.  The Caliph of the West, filled with
indignation at the demoniac cruelty of Velasquez, restored his captive
to liberty.  But the foe of his race was too powerful to permit the
childless Gonzalvo to avenge the murder of his offspring.  He
attempted, indeed, to do so; but old age had deprived him of his former
strength and vigour.  With his wife, therefore, he mourned in solitude
over the untimely fate of his sons, and entreated Heaven to permit him
to follow them to the tomb: but a champion of his cause unexpectedly
arose in the person of an illegitimate son of Gonzalvo's at the Moorish
court.  When this boy had attained the age of twelve years, he was
informed of his parentage by his mother, who was the sister of the
sovereign of Cordova, and of the wrongs which his father had suffered.


The heroic youth, who bore the name of _Mendarra Gonzalvo_, resolved to
become the avenger of his brothers.  Hastening to execute his purpose,
he left Cordova, challenged Valasquez, and slew him.  Cutting off the
head of his father's foe, he sought with his burden the presence of the
old man, demanded to be acknowledged as his son, and admitted into the
Christian church.  The wife of Gonzalvo joyfully consented to receive
the brave Mendarra as her son, and he was solemnly adopted by the
venerable pair.  The wife of Velasquez, who, it will be remembered, had
instigated the ferocious uncle to his murderous deed, was stoned to
death and afterward burned.  It is from this valiant Mendarra Gonzalvo
that the Mauriques de Lara, one of the most important Spanish families,
seek to trace their descent.


A, page 86.

_Three bishops of Catalonia, &c._

These three bishops of Catalonia, who died fighting for the Mussulmans
at the battle of Albakara, which took place in the year 1010, were
Arnaulpha, bishop of Vic; Accia, bishop of Barcelona; and Othon, bishop
of Girona.

B, page 91.

_And equally ready, when enjoying the favour of the sovereign, to
displease him, if it should be necessary to do so, &c._

RODRIGUE DIAS DE BIVAR, surnamed _the Cid_, so well known by his
affection for Chimena and his duel with the Count Gormas, has been the
subject of many poems, novels {217} and romances in the Spanish tongue.
Without crediting all the extraordinary adventures ascribed to this
hero by his countrymen, it is proved by the testimony of reputable
historians, that the Cid was not only the bravest and most dreaded
warrior of his time, but one of the most virtuous and generous of men.
De Bivar was already famed for his exploits while Castile was still
under the dominion of Ferdinand I.  When the successor of that monarch,
Sancho II., endeavoured to despoil his sister Uraque of the city of
Zamora, this champion of the oppressed, with noble firmness,
represented to the king that he was about being guilty of an act of
injustice, by which he would violate, at the same time, the laws of
honour and the ties of blood.  The offended Sancho exiled the Cid, but
was soon after obliged by necessity to recall him.  When the
treacherous assassination of Sancho, while encamped before Zamora,
entitled his brother Alphonso to the throne, the Castilians were
anxious that their new sovereign should disavow, by a solemn oath,
having had any agency in the murder of his brother.  No one dared
demand of the king to take this oath except the Cid, who constrained
him to pronounce it aloud at the same altar where his coronation was
celebrated; adding, at the same time, the most fearful maledictions
against perjury.  Alphonso never forgave the liberty thus taken with
him, and soon after banished the Spanish hero from court, under
pretence of his having trespassed on the territories of an ally of
Castile, the King of Toledo, into whose dominions the Cid had
inadvertently pursued some fugitives from justice.

The period of his exile became the most glorious epoch in the history
of the Chevalier de Bivar: it was then that he achieved so many
triumphs over the Moors, aided solely by the brave companions in arms
whom his reputation drew to his standard.  After a time Alphonso
recalled the Cid, and {218} received him into apparent favour; but
Rodrigo was too candid long to enjoy the royal smiles.  Banished from
court anew, he hastened to accomplish the conquest of Valencia; and
master of that strong city, with many others, and of a territory of
great extent, to make the Cid a monarch it was only necessary that he
himself should desire it.  But the noble Spaniard never for a moment
indulged the wish, and ever continued the faithful subject of the
ungrateful and often-offending Alphonso.

This celebrated hero died at Valencia A.D. 1099, crowned with years and
honours.  He had but one son, and of him he was early deprived by
death.  The two daughters of the Cid espoused princes of the house of
Navarre; and, through a long succession of alliances, formed at length
the root whence is derived the present royal race of Bourbons.

C, page 92.

_More ferocious and sanguinary than the lions of their deserts, &c._

The history of Africa, during the period referred to in the text, is
but a narrative of one continued succession of the most atrocious
murders.  Were we to judge of humanity by these sanguinary annals, we
should be tempted to believe, that, of all ferocious animals, man is
the most bloodthirsty and cruel.

Amid the multitude of these African tyrants, there was one, of the race
of the _Aglhebites_, named _Abon Ishak_, who was particularly
distinguished for the demoniac barbarity of his character.  Having
butchered eight of his brothers, he next indulged his horrid thirst for
blood in the sacrifice of his own offspring.  The mother of this
monster succeeded with difficulty in preserving from his fury a part of
his family.  One {219} day, while dining with Ishak, upon his
expressing some feeling of momentary regret that he had no more
children, his mother tremblingly ventured to confess that she had
preserved the lives of six of his daughters.  The sanguinary wretch
appeared softened, and expressed a desire to see them.  When they were
summoned to his presence, their youth and loveliness touched the
ferocious father; and while Ishak lavished caresses upon his innocent
children, his mother retired, with tears of joy, to render thanks to
Heaven for this apparent change in the temper of her son.  An hour
afterward, a eunuch brought her, by order of the emperor, the heads of
the young princesses.

It would be easy to cite other parallel deeds, attested by historians,
which were perpetrated by this execrable monster.  Suffice it to say,
he escaped the violent death due to such a life, and long maintained
his hateful rule.

Time has not softened the sanguinary ferocity, which seems like an
inherent vice produced by the climate of Africa.  Mulei-Abdalla, the
father of Sidi Mohammed, the recent king of Morocco, renewed these
scenes of horror.  One day, while crossing a river, he was on the point
of drowning, when one of his negroes succeeded in rescuing him from the
waves.  The slave expressed his delight at having had the good fortune
to serve his master.  His words were heard by Abdalla, who, drawing his
cimeter, and crying, "Behold an infidel, who supposes that God required
his assistance in preserving the life of an emperor," instantly struck
off the head of his preserver.

This same monarch had a confidential domestic who had been long in his
service, and for whom the savage Abdalla appeared to entertain some
affection.  In a moment of good-nature he entreated this aged servant
to accept two thousand ducats at his hand and leave his service, lest
he should be {220} seized with an irrepressible desire to kill him, as
he had so many others.  The old man clung to the feet of the king,
refused the two thousand ducats, and assured him that he preferred
perishing by his hand rather than abandon so beloved a master.  Mulei,
with some hesitation, consented to retain his aged servant.  Some days
afterward, impelled by that thirst for blood whose impulses were
sometimes uncontrollable, and without the slightest provocation to the
deed, the fiendish despot struck the unfortunate man dead at his feet,
saying, at the same moment, that he had been a fool not to accept his
permission to leave him.

It is painful to relate these shocking details; but they present a true
picture of the character of these African sovereigns, while they
inspire us with a horror of tyranny, and a veneration for the
restraints of civilization and law, so indispensable to the well-being
of every community.

D, page 98.

_And possessed the united glory of having both enlightened, &c._

Averroes belonged to one of the first families in Cordova.  His version
of the writings of Aristotle was translated into Latin, and was for a
long time the only translation of the works of that author.  The other
productions of Averroes are still esteemed by the learned.  He is
justly regarded as the chief of the Arabic philosophers: a class of men
not numerous in a nation abounding in prophets and conquerors.  The
principles he entertained exposed him to much persecution.  His
indifference to the religious creed of his countrymen excited the
enmity of the imans or priests against him, and afforded a pretext for
the animosity of all whom his genius inspired with envy.  He was
accused of heresy before the {221} Emperor of Morocco; and the
punishment decreed against him was, that he should do homage at the
door of the mosque, while every true Mussulman who came thither to pray
for his conversion should spit in his face.  He submitted patiently to
the humiliating infliction, merely repeating the words _Moriatur anima
mea morte philosophorum_ (_Let me die the death of a philosopher_).

E, page 106.

_And broke the chains, &c._

This King of Navarre was Sancho VIII., surnamed _the Strong_.  It was
in commemoration of the chains broken by him at the battle of Toloza
that Sancho added the chains of gold to the arms of Navarre, which are
still to be seen on the field of gules.

F, page 111.

_Cousin-german of St. Lewis, &c._

Blanche, the mother of St. Lewis, was the daughter of Alphonso the
Noble of Castile.  She had a sister named Beringira, who became the
wife of the King of Leon, and the mother of Ferdinand III.  Several
historians, among others Mariana and Garibai, maintain that Blanche was
older than Beringira.  If it were so, St. Lewis was the rightful heir
to the throne of Castile.  France long asserted the pretensions thus
created.  It is surprising that historians have not settled this
disputed point.  One thing, however, is certain: the claims of
Ferdinand, sustained as they were by the partiality of the Castilians,
prevailed over those of his cousin.



A, page 132.

_Alphonso the Sage, &c._

Alphonso the Sage was a great astronomer: his _Alphonsine Tables_ prove
that the happiness of his people occupied his attention as much, at
least, as his literary pursuits.  It is in this collection that this
remarkable sentence occurs--remarkable when it is considered that it
expresses the sentiments of a monarch of the thirteenth century: "_The
despot uproots the tree: the wise sovereign prunes it._"

B, page 135.

_In the hope of being elected emperor, &c._

ALPHONSO THE SAGE was elected Emperor of Germany in the year twelve
hundred and fifty-seven: but he was at too great a distance from that
country, and too much occupied at home, to be able to support his
claims to the imperial throne.  Sixteen years afterward, however, he
made a voyage to Lyons, where Pope Gregory X. then was, to advocate his
rights before that dignitary.  But the sovereign pontiff decided in
favour of Rodolph of Hapsburg, a scion of the house of Austria.

C, page 136.

_Sancho reigned in his father's stead, &c._

This Sancho, surnamed _the Brave_, who took up arms against his father
and afterward obtained his throne, was the second son of Alphonso the
Sage.  His elder brother, Ferdinand de la Cerda, a mild and virtuous
prince, died in the {223} flower of his age, leaving two infant sons,
the offspring of his marriage with Blanche, the daughter of St. Lewis
of France.  It was to deprive these children of their reversionary
right to the crown of Castile that the ambitious Sancho made war upon
his father.  He succeeded in his criminal designs; but the princes of
La Cerda, protected by France and Aragon, rallied around them all the
malecontents of Castile, and the claims they were thus enabled to
support long formed a pretext or occasion for the most bloody

D, page 149.

_Ferdinand IV., surnamed the Summoned, &c._

Ferdinand IV., the son and successor of Sancho the Brave, was still in
his infancy when he succeeded to the throne.  His minority was
overshadowed by impending clouds; but the power and influence of Queen
Mary, his mother, enabled her eventually to dissipate the dangers which
threatened the safety of her son.  This prince obtained his appellation
of _the Summoned_ from the following circumstance.  Actuated by
feelings of strong indignation, Ferdinand commanded that two brothers,
named Carvajal, who had been accused, but not convicted, of the crime
of assassination, should be precipitated from a rocky precipice.  Both
the supposed criminals, in their last moments, asserted their innocence
of the crime alleged against them, appealed to Heaven and the laws to
verify the truth of their protestations, and summoned the passionate
Ferdinand to appear before the Great Judge of all men at the end of
thirty days.  At the precise time thus indicated, the Castilian king,
who was marching against the Moors, retired for repose after dinner,
and was found dead upon his couch.  The Spaniards attributed this
sudden death to the effects of Divine justice.  It had been well if the
{224} monarchs who succeeded Ferdinand, Peter the Cruel in particular,
had been convinced of the truth of this sentiment.

E, page 149.

_Retiring within the walls of Tariffe, &c._

After Sancho the Brave became master of Tariffe, it was besieged by the
Africans.  It was during this siege that Alphonso de Guzman, the
Spanish governor of the city, exhibited an example of invincible
firmness and self-command, of which none but parents can form a just
estimate.  The son of De Guzman was taken prisoner during a sortie.
The Africans conducted their captive to the walls, and threatened the
governor with his immolation unless the city should be immediately
surrendered.  The undaunted Spaniard replied only by hurling a poniard
at his enemies, and retired from the battlements.  In a moment loud
cries burst from the garrison.  Hastily demanding the cause of this
alarm, the unhappy father was told that the Africans had put to death
his son.  "God be praised," said he, "I thought that the city had been

F, page 158.

_The celebrated Inez de Castro, &c._

The passion of Peter the Cruel for Inez de Castro was carried to such
excess as, perhaps, in some degree, to account for the atrocity of his
revenge upon her murderers.  These were three distinguished Portuguese
lords, who themselves stabbed the unfortunate Inez in the arms of her
women.  Peter, who, at the time this barbarous deed was committed, had
not yet attained regal power, seemed from that period to lose all
command of himself: from being gentle and virtuous, he became ferocious
and almost insane.  He openly rebelled against his father, carried fire
and sword into those {225} parts of the kingdom in which the domains of
the assassins of Inez were situated, and, when he afterward came into
possession of the crown, insisted that the King of Castile should
deliver up Gonzales and Coello, two of the guilty noblemen, who had
taken refuge at his court.  Thus master of the persons of two of his
victims (the third had fled into France, where he died), Peter
subjected them to the most dreadful tortures.  He caused their hearts
to be torn out while they were yet living, and assisted himself at this
horrible sacrifice.  After thus glutting his vengeance, the
inconsolable lover exhumed the body of his murdered mistress, clothed
it in magnificent habiliments, and, placing his crown upon the livid
and revolting brow, proclaimed Inez de Castro queen of Portugal;
compelling, at the same time, the grandees of his court to do homage to
the insensible remains which he had invested with the attributes of

G, page 161.

_Most of the productions of the Grenadian authors, &c._

After the surrender of Grenada, Cardinal Ximenes caused every copy of
the Koran of which he could obtain possession to be burned.  The
ignorant and superstitious soldiery mistook for that work everything
written in the Arabic language, and committed to the flames a multitude
of compositions both in prose and verse.

H, page 178.

_The Abencerrages, &c._

The inhabitants of Grenada, and, indeed, the whole Moorish people, were
divided into tribes, composed of the different branches of the same
family.  Some of these tribes were more numerous and important than
others: but two distinct {226} races were never united together, nor
was one of them ever divided.  At the head of each of these tribes was
a chief who was descended in a direct male line from the original
founder of the family.  In the city of Grenada there existed thirty-two
considerable tribes.  The most important of these were the
Abencerrages, the Zegris, the Alcenabez, the Almorades, the Vanegas,
the Gomeles, the Abidbars, the Gauzuls, the Abenamars, the Aliatars,
the Reduans, the Aldoradins, etc.  These separate races were, many of
them, at enmity with each other; and their animosity being perpetuated
from one generation to another, gave rise to the frequent civil wars
which were attended with such disastrous consequences to the nation at

I, page 198

_His humane injunctions respecting almsgiving, &c._

Almsgiving is one of the leading principles of the Mohammedan religion.
It was enjoined upon the followers of the Prophet by a variety of
allegories, among which is the following: "The sovereign Judge shall,
at the last great day, entwine him who has not bestowed alms with a
frightful serpent, whose envenomed sting shall for ever pierce the
avaricious hand that never opened for the relief of the unfortunate!"















Extent of the Arabian Empire.--Causes which led to that
extent.--Continuance of Mohammedanism.--Decay of the Empire.--What led
to it.--Spain revolts and sets up a separate
Caliph.--Africa.--Egypt.--Bagdad.--Fall of the House of the Abbassides.

The first battle in which the Arabs tried their power against the
disciplined forces of the Roman empire was the battle of Muta.  Though
on that occasion they were successful, the most sanguine could not have
ventured to predict that, before the close of a century, their empire
would become more extensive than any that had ever before existed.  Yet
such was the fact.  It overthrew the power of the Romans, and rendered
the successors of the Prophet the mightiest and most absolute
sovereigns on earth.

Under the last monarch of the Ommiade race, {230} the Arabian empire,
excepting only an obscure part of Africa, of little account, embraced a
compact territory equal to six months' march of a caravan in length and
four in breadth, with innumerable tributary and dependant states.  In
the exercise of their power, the caliphs were fettered neither by
popular rights, the votes of a senate, nor constitutional laws: the
Koran was, indeed, their professed rule of action; but, inasmuch as
they alone were its interpreters, their will was in all cases law.  The
loss of Spain to the empire was more than made up by conquests in
India, Tartary, and European Turkey.  Samarcand and Timbuctoo studied
with equal devotion the language and religion of the Koran, and at the
temple of Mecca the Moor and the Indian met as brother pilgrims.
Throughout the countries west of the Tigris, the language of Arabia
became the vehicle of popular intercourse; and, although in Persia,
Tartary, and Hindostan the native dialects continued in common use, the
Arabic was also there the sacred tongue.

We will advert to some of the causes which led to this astonishing
success.  The leading article of the Mohammedan faith, the unity of
God, harmonized with what Jews and Christians universally believed.
Mohammed propounded this doctrine, by excluding the Deity of Jesus
Christ, so as {231} to fall in with the views of the greater number of
the Christian sectaries.  He moreover enjoined practices which, in the
then corrupt state of religion, were beginning widely to prevail.  To
the untutored mind of the desert wanderer, his doctrine would thus
possess all the attractiveness he might have heard ascribed to
Christianity, while his being of the same country would secure for him
the greater attention.  Systems in which truth and error have been
combined are by no means unwillingly received, especially by those who
are already superstitious and fanatical, and such was pre-eminently the
character of the Arabians.  Mohammed's religious, moral, and juridical
system was in general accordance with Asiatic opinions; it provided a
paradise exactly suited to the imagination and taste of the Orientals;
and, as the superstitious are always more powerfully influenced by that
which awakens apprehension and appeals to fear than by what enkindles
hope, his hell contributed even more than his heaven to multiply

Still, had no resort been had to arms, the Mohammedan faith would in
all probability have been confined to the deserts of Arabia.  The whole
of Asia was at that time in a state of unprecedented military
inactivity, and opportunity was thus afforded for the success of his
enterprise.  Empires {232} were tottering and powerless; political
wisdom had almost disappeared; and to military talents and courage the
Arabs alone could make any pretensions.  Previous contentions between
the Persian and Byzantine empires had entirely destroyed what little
remains of internal vigour those governments might otherwise have
possessed.  Civil revolts, tyranny, extortion, sensuality, and sloth,
had annihilated the ambition of universal rule which the Greek and
Roman governments had once cherished; and their provinces, neglected or
oppressed, became an easy prey to the Moslem power.

The nations were the more rapidly subdued, since to the indomitable
ferocity of the desert wanderer the Saracens added those other features
which complete a warlike character.  They despised death, and were
self-denying and energetic to a degree far beyond the soldiers of
civilized countries, while they were scarcely less familiar with the
military art.  The lieutenants of the caliphs soon vied with the Roman
generals in skill; and it is by no means difficult to explain their
almost uniform superiority, when we bear in mind the character of the
armies they respectively commanded.  Terror, moreover, is epidemic; and
a force already successful commonly finds its victorious progress
greatly aided by the prevailing notion of its prowess.  Thus we have
witnessed, {233} in the wars of more disciplined troops, the tremendous
effect of a name alone.

It may be added, also, that the Saracen success is greatly attributable
to that ardent and impetuous spirit of religious enthusiasm with which
they fought.  They deemed their cause the cause of God; heaven, they
were persuaded, was engaged in their behalf; every one who fell in
their wars was a martyr; and cowardice was tantamount to apostacy.

The religious ardour of the Crusaders, in the eleventh and twelfth
centuries, to exterminate Mohammedanism, did not exceed, if it even
equalled, that of the Arab soldiers by whom that system had been
originally propagated.  Whatever secular principles and ambition
influenced them, they took credit for fighting in the support of truth
and virtue.  The sword and the Koran were equally the companions and
the instruments of their wars.  "The circumstance," says Paley, in his
admirable exhibition of the Evidences of Christianity,[1] "that
Mohammed's conquests should carry his religion along with them, will
excite little surprise when we know the conditions which he proposed to
the vanquished: death or conversion was the only choice offered to
idolaters.  To the Jews and Christians was left the somewhat milder
{234} alternative of subjection and tribute if they persisted in their
own religion, or of an equal participation of the rights and liberties,
the honours and privileges of the faithful if they embraced the
religion of their conquerors."

Literature, in the days of Mohammed, was as little regarded as was pure
and practical Christianity.  His followers everywhere met with an
ignorant and easily deluded people.  Both the monuments of science and
the means of freedom had been abolished by the barbarians of the North.
Philosophy and the liberal arts found no patrons among indolent and
luxurious emperors and nobles.  Superstition, therefore, naturally took
possession of the minds of men, and, as neither fears nor hopes were
moderated by knowledge, idle, preposterous, and unnecessary ceremonies
easily obtained currency.  Mohammed merely changed one set of
ceremonies for another; and in this there was little difficulty, since,
in the almost universal darkness of mankind, terror and credulity
everywhere prevailed.

The continuance of the religion of Mohammed in countries after the Arab
dominion over them had ceased, may be also easily accounted for.
"Everything in Asia is a matter of regulation; and freedom of opinion
being but little permitted or encouraged in the despotic governments of
the {235} East, Mohammedanism, when once received, became stationary.
The human code is mingled with the divine, and the ideas of change and
profanation are inseparable.  As the unsettling of the political and
social fabric might ensue from a change of modes of faith, all classes
of men are interested in preserving the national religion." [2]
Besides this, in their own nature religious doctrines are more
permanent in their hold than forms of civil government: it may be
questioned, for in stance, whether, whatever civil changes Scotland
might undergo, Presbyterianism would ever cease to be the prevalent
faith of its inhabitants.  A people may, with the overthrow of usurped
civil power, return to their ancient religion, whatever it is: but when
once a religion has become, so to speak, indigenous, it is likely to be
permanent.  Such is the religion of the Koran both in Asia and Africa.

The elements of political weakness and decay soon began to be developed
in the chief seat of the Saracen empire.  In the earliest days of the
caliphate, after the accession of the Ommiade dynasty, the princes of
Damascus were regarded as the heads of the Moslem faith; while the
governors of Arabia successively obtained, as to civil rule, their
independence.  To this the widely-extended wars in which the caliphs
were engaged no doubt {236} contributed.  Other provinces followed the
example; and, as the empire enlarged, the remoteness and degeneracy of
the Syrian court encouraged the governors to assume to themselves
everything except the name of king, and to render their dignities
hereditary.  All the provinces were nominally connected with the empire
by the payment of tribute; but means were easily devised to withhold
this, under pretence of prosecuting the wars of the caliph, though
really to strengthen his rebellious deputies against him.  If in this
we discover a want of efficiency in the government, we need not be
surprised: the systems of the Macedonian hero and of the Roman
conquerors were equally defective; and perhaps we should attribute such
deficiency to a wise and beneficent arrangement of Providence, which,
that oppression may never become permanent and universal, permits not
any empire for a very long time to hold dominion over countries
dissimilar in their habits and character and independent of each other.

To the establishment of these separate states, the luxury and
effeminacy of the court at Damascus in no small degree contributed.  In
the early periods of the caliphate, simplicity and charity chiefly
distinguished their rulers; but, as the wealth and power of the
Saracens increased, they imitated the splendour and magnificence of the
monarchs of Persia {237} and Greece.  Abulfeda says of the court in the
year 917: "The Caliph Moctadi's whole army, both horse and foot, were
under arms, which together made a body of one hundred and sixty
thousand men.  His state officers stood near him in the most splendid
apparel, their belts shining with gold and gems.  Near them were seven
thousand black and white eunuchs.  The porters or doorkeepers were in
number seven hundred.  Barges and boats, with the most superb
decorations, were swimming on the Tigris.  Nor was the palace itself
less splendid, in which were hung thirty-eight thousand pieces of
tapestry, twelve thousand five hundred of which were of silk
embroidered with gold.  The carpets on the floor were twenty-two
thousand.  A hundred lions were brought out, with a keeper to each
lion.  Among the other spectacles of rare and stupendous luxury was a
tree of gold and silver, which opened itself into eighteen larger
branches, upon which and the other smaller branches sat birds of every
sort, made also of gold and silver.  The tree glittered with leaves of
the same metals; and while its branches, through machinery, appeared to
move of themselves, the several birds upon them warbled their natural

When, moreover, decline had once commenced, its progress was
accelerated by the means taken {238} to arrest it.  After the regular
troops had been corrupted by faction, the caliphs, for the defence of
their person and government, formed a militia; but the soldiers
composing this force, not unfrequently foreigners, soon governed with a
military despotism similar to that of the janizaries of Turkey, the
Mamelukes of Egypt, or the praetorian guards of Rome; and, in addition
to these causes of decay, a furious spirit of sectarianism tore asunder
the very strength and heart of the empire.  The colossal power of the
successors of Mohammed, suddenly towering to its awful height, almost
as suddenly fell, as if to yield more perfect confirmation of the
truth, that all earthly things are destined to pass away, while the
word of the living God abideth for ever.

Spain, as has been seen, was the first distant province of the Arabian
empire which succeeded in separating itself and setting up an
independent caliph.  As this country had been brought under the Moslem
yoke by means chiefly furnished from the northern states of Africa, its
independence was likely to produce a corresponding effect upon those
states.  They were governed in the name of the Bagdad caliphs; but for
nearly a century they had been growing into independence, under rulers
usually known, from the name of their progenitor, as the Aglabite
dynasty.  Early in the ninth century, {239} the throne of Mauritania,
Massilia, and Carthage was seized by Obeidollah, whose successors
assumed the title of Mihidi, or directors of the faithful.  The
districts of Fez and Tangiers, which had been already wrested from the
princes of Bagdad by the real or pretended posterity of Ali, were soon
brought under his dominion; and, before the end of the tenth century,
all acknowledgment of the Abbassidan rule was obliterated by the
suppression of public prayers for the princes of that race.  A
succession of changes distracted the country for some five centuries
afterward; but, about the year 1516, the descendants of Mohammed were
raised to the throne of Morocco, which has been transmitted, without
interruption, in the same line, to its present possessors.  Moez, the
last of the African princes of the house of Obeidollah, who seems to
have depended for his dominion more on his prowess than on his supposed
descent from Mohammed,[3] transferred his court to Grand Cairo, a city
which he had built in Egypt after his conquest of that country.  Africa
was to be held as a fief of this new empire.  Large tracts of Syria and
the whole of Palestine acknowledged the {240} supremacy of his
descendants, commonly known as Fatimites, from their supposed
relationship to Ali, and to Fatima, the Prophet's daughter.  They
possessed also the sovereignty of the Holy Land; against them,
therefore, the crusades of Europe were chiefly directed.  During these
formidable wars the caliphs of Egypt sought assistance from those of
Bagdad; and Noureddin, a prince of that empire, protected them against
their Western assailants.  The weakness of Egypt, however, came thus to
be known to the crafty and powerful caliphs of Bagdad, and in a short
time its Asiatic dominions were seized upon by Noureddin and Saladin.
As Adhed, the last caliph of Egypt, was dying in the mosque of Cairo,
these generals proclaimed Morthadi, the thirty-third caliph of Bagdad,
as his successor.  Saladin, whose name, from his activity, courage, and
success against the crusaders, is better known to the readers of
European history than that of almost any other Mohammedan prince, soon
made himself master of Egypt; but his successors could not maintain the
power he had acquired.  The country is now governed by the celebrated
Mohammed Ali, nominally as viceroy of the Turkish emperor, though he is
in reality a sovereign and independent prince.

The caliphs of the house of Abbas, having built the city of Bagdad soon
after their accession to the {241} throne, transferred thither their
court and the seat of power.  For five centuries they reigned there
with various degrees of authority; but foreign wars and domestic
revolts gradually dissolved the empire, and their dominion at length
passed away.  Badhi, the twentieth caliph of the race, was "the last,"
says Abulfeda, "who harangued the people from the pulpit; who passed
the cheerful hour of leisure with men of learning and taste; whose
expenses, resources, and treasures, whose table and magnificence, had
any resemblance to those of the ancient caliphs."  "During the next
three centuries," says a modern historian of the Arabian empire, "the
successors of Mohammed swayed a feeble sceptre.  Sometimes their state
was so degraded that they were confined in their palaces like
prisoners, and occasionally were almost reduced to the want of
corporeal subsistence.  The tragic scenes of fallen royalty at length
were closed; for, towards the middle of the seventh century of the
Hegira, the metropolis of Islamism fell into the hands of Houlagou
Khan, the grandson of Zenghis Khan, and emperor of the Moguls and
Tartars, who reigned at that period with absolute and unmixed despotism
over every nation of the East.  The caliph Mostasem, the thirty-seventh
of his house, was murdered under circumstances of peculiar barbarity,
and the caliphate of Bagdad {242} expired.  Though the dignity and
sovereignty of the caliphs were lost by this fatal event, and the soul
which animated the form had fled, yet the name existed for three
centuries longer in the eighteen descendants of Mostanser Billah, a
son, or pretended son, of Daker, the last but one of this race of

"Mostanser Billah and his successors, to the number of eighteen, were
called the second dynasty of the Abbassides, and were spiritual chiefs
of the Mohammedan religion, but without the slightest vestige of
temporal authority.  When Selim, emperor of the Turks, conquered Egypt
and destroyed the power of the Mamelukes, he carried the caliph, whom
he found there a prisoner, to Constantinople, and accepted from him a
renunciation of his ecclesiastical supremacy.  On the death of the
caliph, the family of the Abbassides, once so illustrious, and which
had borne the title of caliph for almost eight hundred years, sunk with
him from obscurity into oblivion." [4]

[1] Vol. ii., Section 3.

[2] Mills, p. 179.

[3] When it was demanded of Moez from what branch of Mohammed's family
he drew his title, "This," said he, showing his cimeter, "is my
pedigree; and these," throwing gold among his soldiers, "are my

[4] Mill's History, 160.



Literature and Science of the Arabs.--Their Facilities for Literary and
Scientific Pursuits.--Patronage of Literature by the Princes of the
House of Abbas.--Almamoun.--Arabian Schools.--Eloquence.--Poetry.--The
Arabian Tales.--History.--Geography.--Speculative
Sciences.--Astrology.--Mathematical Knowledge of the
Arabs.--Astronomy.--Architecture.--The Fine
Arts.--Agriculture.--Medicine.--Chymistry.--Our obligations to Arab

The early followers of the Arabian prophet were only enthusiastic
military adventurers, subduing in their wide and rapid progress most of
the nations of the then known world.  The lust of power, and successful
military enterprise, are commonly unfavourable to the cultivation of
the liberal arts, so that a conquering people usually exhibit but
little taste for science or literature.  The Goths and the Huns, for
instance, were among the most implacable foes of knowledge.  Nor did
the early Arabs regard it with more favour.  Mohammed found his
countrymen sunk in the deepest barbarism: he was incapable of any
direct effort to raise them; and, from the ruthless destruction of the
Alexandrean library by Omar, one of his earliest successors, they
appear not to have been in a much {244} better condition after the
close than at the commencement of his eventful career.

Their settlement in the countries they had subdued, the unlimited
resources which their wide-spread conquests placed within their reach,
and probably the leisure which their almost universal dominion
afforded, speedily led to a change in their character in relation to
literary pursuits, of which the more enlightened nations of the West
are still reaping the advantage.  It was about the middle of the
seventh century that Omar committed the famous library of Alexandrea to
the flames: before the end of the eighth, literature began to enjoy the
munificent patronage of the caliphs of the Abbassidan race, who
superinduced upon the stern fanaticism of the followers of the Prophet
the softening influences of learning; and, by an anomaly in the history
of mankind, the most valuable lessons in science and the arts have been
received from a people who pursued with relentless hostility the
religion and liberties of every other nation.

The Greeks were the most distinguished patrons of literature and
science.  Among them philosophy found its earliest home, and the arts
are commonly supposed to have sprung up chiefly under their fostering
care, though modern researches have shown that much of their knowledge
was derived from still more ancient sources.  Their {245} philosophy,
though greatly improved by them, was borrowed from the mysteries of the
Egyptian priests and the Persian magi.  Their system of the universe,
which made the nearest approach to the more correct discoveries of
modern times, was previously known to the learned Hindus; and it may
admit of question whether their whole mythology, allowing for the
additions which a chastened and vivid imagination would make to it, had
not its prototype in some Asiatic religio-philosophical system.  A
learned writer on the erudition of the Asiatics says, that the whole of
the theology of the Greeks, and part of the philosophy of modern
scientific research, may be found in the Hindu Vedas.  He adds, "That
most subtile spirit which Newton suspected to pervade natural bodies,
and to lie concealed in them so as to cause attraction and repulsion,
the emission, reflection, and refraction of light, electricity,
calefaction, sensation, and muscular motion, is described by the Hindus
as a fifth element, endued with those very powers; and the Vedas abound
with allusions to a force universally attractive, which they chiefly
attribute to the sun."  The extension, therefore, of the Arabian
victories over the Eastern world, and their entire command, after the
overthrow of the Greek empire, of the resources possessed by that
people, {246} gave them access to all the literary stores then in

It has been said, and probably not without good reason, that Mohammed
himself saw and felt the importance of literary distinction.  Among the
sayings attributed to him, the following has been considered as
evincing his sense of the value of learning: "A mind without erudition
is like a body without a soul.  Glory consists not in wealth, but in
knowledge;" and, as the Koran affords abundant proof, he was by no
means unmindful of that mental cultivation, of which the means were
within his reach.  His immediate followers, occupied only with the
ideas of conquest and conversion, despised equally the religion and
learning of the nations they subdued; but when the age of rapine and
violence yielded at length to comparative security and quiet, and the
fair and splendid city of the Oriental caliphs arose, the Muses were
courted from their ancient temples, and by the milder and more graceful
achievements of literature and science, efforts were made to expiate
the guilt of former conquest, and to shed a purer lustre over the
Mohammedan name.

Almansor, the second of the dynasty of the Abbassides, whose reign
commenced A.D. 754, and lasted twenty-one years, was among the first of
the Arab princes to foster learning and the arts.  {247} Jurisprudence
and astronomy were the principal subjects of his study, which, however,
through the instruction of a Greek physician in his court, he extended
to the art of healing, and probably to those kindred arts with which,
in all ages and countries, medical science has been connected.  What
progress was made by himself or his subjects, we cannot now ascertain.
His two immediate successors seem not to have trodden in his steps,
though it is probable they did not undo what he had done; for the next
caliph, Haroun al Raschid, is renowned as one of the most munificent
patrons that literature ever enjoyed.  He was fond of poetry and music:
he is said to have constantly surrounded himself with a great number of
learned men; and to him the Arabs were deeply indebted for the progress
in knowledge which they were enabled to make.  Every mosque in his
dominions had a school attached to it by his order; and, as if his love
of learning were superior even to his hereditary faith, he readily
tolerated men of science who refused to yield to the bold pretensions
of the Prophet.  A Nestorian Christian presided over his schools, and
directed the academical studies of his subjects.  His successor
imitated his wise and generous course; and thus knowledge extended from
the capital to the most distant extremities of the empire.


But it was during the reign of Almamoun, the seventh of the Abbassidan
princes, A.D. 813-833, that literature flourished most among the Arabs.
Learned men, professors of the Christian faith, had multiplied at
Bagdad under the tolerant reigns of his predecessors, and they were now
liberally encouraged to unfold their ample stores of knowledge.  The
copious language of Arabia was employed to communicate whatever that of
the Greeks had hitherto concealed, though, with a barbarism for which
it is difficult to account, many of the original works were destroyed
as soon as translations of them were made.  Almamoun in his youth had
associated with the most eminent scholars of Greece, Persia, and
Chaldea; and he now invited them to his court.  Bagdad was resorted to
by poets, philosophers, and mathematicians, from every country and of
every creed.  Armenia, Syria, and Egypt were explored by his agents for
literary treasures, which were amassed with infinite care, and
presented at the foot of the throne as the richest and most acceptable
tribute that conquered provinces could render.  Camels, hitherto
employed exclusively in traffic, were seen entering the royal city
laden with Hebrew, Persian, and Grecian manuscripts.  The court assumed
the appearance rather of an academy than of a council guiding the
affairs of a luxurious and warlike {249} government, and all classes
were encouraged to apply themselves to the acquisition of knowledge
with a zeal commensurate to the advantages thus afforded.  "I chose,"
said Almamoun, when remonstrated with for appointing a learned
Christian to an office of no small influence over the intellectual
pursuits of his people, "I chose this learned man, not to be my guide
in religious affairs, but to be my teacher of science; and it is well
known that the wisest men are to be found among the Jews and
Christians." [1]

Under such favourable auspices, it is not to be wondered at that the
Saracens became a literary people.  The caliphs of the West and of
Africa imitated their brethren of the East.  "At one period, six
thousand professors and pupils cultivated liberal studies in the
college of Bagdad.  Twenty schools made Grand Cairo a chief seat of
letters; and the talents of the students were exercised in the perusal
of the royal library, which consisted of one hundred thousand
manuscripts.  The African writers dwell with pride and satisfaction on
the literary institutions which adorned the towns on the northern coast
of their sandy plain.  The sun of science arose even in Africa, and the
manners of the Moorish savage were softened by philosophy.  {250} Their
brethren in Europe amassed numerous and magnificent collections; two
hundred and eighty thousand volumes were in Cordova, and more than
seventy libraries were open to public curiosity in the kingdom of

We know but little of the internal government of the Arabian schools,
or of the studies actually pursued.  Aristotle, no doubt, was the great
master to whom, in philosophy, all deference was paid.  The Prophet had
prescribed their religion.  Their schools were of two kinds, or rather
classes; the one comprehending the inferior institutions, in which
elementary branches of instruction, such as reading, writing, and
religious doctrine were chiefly attended to; the other, called
_Madras_, mostly connected with the mosques, as were all the schools of
the former class, included those institutions in which the higher
departments of knowledge were explored.  Here grammar, logic, theology,
and jurisprudence were studied.  The management of each school was
confided to a principal of known ability, and not always, a Mohammedan.
The professors lectured on the several sciences; and the pupils, if not
in every department, of which there is some doubt, certainly in that of
medicine, were publicly examined, and diplomas were given under the
hand of the chief physician.

Of elegant composition, the Koran was {251} universally esteemed the
model.  Hence it was studied with the most diligent care by all who
sought to distinguish themselves in the art of eloquence, one of the
leading acquirements of Arab scholars.  Subordinate to this pre-eminent
composition, their schools of oratory boasted of models scarcely
inferior to the celebrated orators of antiquity.  Malek and Sharaif,
the one for pathos, the other for brilliancy, are the chief of these.
Horaiai was esteemed as the compeer of Demosthenes and Cicero.
Bedreddin, of Grenada, was their "torch of eloquence;" and Sekaki
obtained the honourable designation of the Arabian Quinctilian.

The ancient Arabs were much inclined to poetry.  The wild, romantic
scenery of the land they inhabited, the sacred recollections of their
earliest history, the life they led, everything around them,
contributed to poetic inspiration.  After the revival of letters, this
art was cultivated with enthusiasm.  The heroic measures of Ferdousi,
the didactic verses of Sadi, and the lyric strains of Hafiz, even
through the medium of imperfect translations, discover animated
descriptions, bold metaphors, and striking expressions, that at once
delight and surprise us.  In splendour, if not in strength, the poets
of the courts of Haroun and Almamoun, or those of the Ommiades of
Spain, have, perhaps, in no age been excelled.  In this art, as among
other {252} people, so among the Arabs, the fair sex have distinguished
themselves.  Valadata, Aysha, Labana, Safia, and others, have obtained
the highest encomiums.

So great is the number of Arabian poets, that Abul Abbas, a son of
Motassem, who wrote an abridgment of their lives in the ninth century,
numbers one hundred and thirty.  Other authors have occupied
twenty-four, thirty, and one no less than fifty volumes, in recording
their history.

The Arabs, however, are entirely without epic poetry, so important a
department of the art; nor have they anything that may be properly
ranked as dramatic composition.  Sophocles, Euripides, Terence, and
Seneca, the classic models of Greece and Rome, they despised as timid,
constrained, and cold; and under whatever obligation to these ancient
nations the Arabs may have been in other departments of literature,
they owe them nothing, or next to nothing, in this.  Their poetry was
original and local; their figures and comparisons were strictly their
own.  To understand and properly appreciate them, we must have a
knowledge of the productions of their country, and of the character,
institutions, and manners of its inhabitants.  The muse delights in
illustrations and figures borrowed from pastoral life; that of Judea
revels among the roses of Sharon, the verdant slopes of {253} Carmel,
and the glory of Lebanon; while the Arab muse selects for her ornaments
the pearls of Omar, the musk of Hadramaut, the groves and nightingales
of Aden, and the spicy odours of Yemen.  If these appear to us
fantastic, it must be remembered they are borrowed from objects and
scenes to which we are almost utter strangers.

Who is not familiar with the Alif lita wa lilin, or the thousand and
one tales, commonly known as the Arabian Nights' Entertainment?  Some
have questioned whether they are an original work, or a translation
from the Indian or Persian, made in the Augustan age of Arab
literature: a doubt certainly not warranted by any want of exactness in
their description of Arabian life and manners.  They seem to have been
originally the legends of itinerant story-tellers, a class of persons
still very numerous in every part of the Mohammedan world.  The scenes
they unfold, true to nature; the simplicity displayed in their
characters, their beauty and their moral instruction, appeal
irresistibly to the hearts of all; while the learned concede to them
the merit of more perfectly describing the manners of the singular
people from whom they sprung, than the works of any traveller, however
accomplished and indefatigable.

Of history the ancient Arabs were strangely negligent; but, by the more
modern, this {254} department of knowledge has been cultivated with
greater care and success.  Annals, chronicles, and memoirs, almost
numberless, are extant among them: kingdoms, provinces, and towns are
described, and their history is narrated in volumes, a bare catalogue
of which would extend to a wearisome length.  They abound, however,
more in the fanciful than in the substantial and correct.  Of this, the
titles of some of the most approved works of this kind may be taken as
specimens: A Chronology of the Caliphs of Spain and Africa is
denominated "A Silken Vest, embroidered with the Needle;" a History of
Grenada, "A Specimen of the Full Moon;" Ibu Abbas and Abu Bakri are
authors of historical collections, entitled respectively, "Mines of
Silver," and "Pearls and picked-up Flowers."  Yet some of their
writers, as Ibn Katibi, are chiefly remarkable for the extent and
accuracy of their historical knowledge; and some of their works are
exceedingly voluminous.  A full history of Spain occupied six authors
in succession, and cost the labour of one hundred and fifteen years to
complete.  Their biography was not confined to men.  Ibn Zaid and Abul
Mondar wrote a genealogical history of distinguished horses; and
Alasucco and Abdolmalec performed the same service for camels worthy of
being had in remembrance.  Encyclopaedias and gazetteers, {255} with
dictionaries of the sciences and other similar works, occupied Arabian
pens long before they came into vogue among more modern literati.
Every species of composition, indeed, and almost every subject, in one
age or another, have engaged the attention of learned Mohammedans.

Geography they did not so well understand, their means of acquiring
knowledge on this subject being exceedingly limited.  Yet their public
libraries could boast of globes, voyages, and itineraries, the
productions of men who travelled to acquire geographical information.
With statistics and political economy they had but an imperfect
acquaintance; yet so early as the reign of Omar II. we find a work
devoted to these subjects, giving an account of the provinces and
cities of Spain, with its rivers, ports, and harbours; of the climate,
soil, mountains, plants, and minerals of that country; with its
imports, and the manner in which its several productions, natural and
artificial, might be manufactured and applied to the best advantage.
Money, weights, and measures, with whatever else political economy may
be understood to include, were also subjects which employed their
ingenious speculations, and, in some cases, their laborious research.

The speculative sciences, scarcely less than polite literature,
flourished among the Arabs.  {256} Indeed, what superstitious,
enthusiastic people has ever neglected these?  Their ardour in the more
dignified of these pursuits was badly regulated; subtleties were
preferred to important practical truths; and, frequently, the more
ingenious the sophism, constructed after the rules of Aristotle, the
more welcome was it to men who rendered to that philosopher a homage
almost idolatrous.  The later Arabs, and the Turks of the present day,
pay no little attention to astrology, though it is strongly prohibited
by their Prophet.  This science was universally employed by the
idolaters, against whom his denunciations are scarcely less inveterate
than are those of the inspired volume; and doubtless he apprehended
that its prevalence would hazard the integrity, if not the very
existence, of his own system of religion.  For many ages, therefore, it
was discountenanced; but, at length, the habit of consulting the stars
on important public occasions became frequent, and was attended with as
much anxiety and as many absurd ceremonies as disgraced the nations of
antiquity.  Among the modern Mohammedans, no dignity of state is
conferred; no public edifice is founded, except at a time recommended
by astrologers.  These pretenders to knowledge are supported by persons
of rank; and in vain do the more enlightened part of the community
exclaim that astrology is a false {257} science.  "Do not think," said
a prime minister, who had been consulting a soothsayer as to the time
of putting on a new dress, "that I am such a fool as to put faith in
all this nonsense; but I must not make my family unhappy by refusing to
comply with forms which some of them deem of consequence."

After these references to the polite literature of the Arabs, it will
be expected that they should have paid attention to the natural
sciences.  They were not, indeed, discoverers and inventors, but they
considerably improved upon what they acquired in their extensive
intercourse with other nations; and, as forming the link which unites
ancient and modern letters, they are entitled to our respect and
gratitude.  We derive our mathematics from them; and to them, also, we
owe much of our astronomical knowledge.  Almamoun, by a liberal reward,
sought to engage in his service a famous mathematician of
Constantinople; and Ibn Korrah enriched the stores of his country in
this department with translations of Archimedes and the conics of
Apollonius.  Some have said that, on the revival of European literature
in the fifteenth century, mathematical science was found nearly in the
state in which it had been left by Euclid; and the justly celebrated
Brucker contends, that the Arabs made no progress whatever in this
{258} most important branch of knowledge; later writers, however, and
particularly Montucia, the author of the Histoire des Mathematiques,
have done ample justice to their researches.  Numerical characters,
without which our study of the exact sciences were almost in vain,
beyond all doubt came to us from the Arabs: not that they invented
them--it is probable they were originally words, perhaps Hindu words,
expressing the quantities they respectively represent, but abbreviated
and brought to their present convenient form by the followers of the
Prophet.  Trigonometry and algebra are both indebted to their genius.
The sines of the one of these sciences instead of the more ancient
chord, and the representatives of quantities in the other, descend
through the Arabs to us, if they did not at first invent them.
Original works on spherical trigonometry are among the productions of
Ibn Musa and Geber, the former of whom is accounted the inventor of the
solution of equations of the second degree.  The University of Leyden
still retains a manuscript treatise on the algebra of cubic equations,
by Omar ibn Ibrahim; and Casiri, who, preserved and classed 1851
manuscripts, even after a fire had destroyed the magnificent collection
or the Escurial, informs us, that the principles and praises of
algebraic science were sung in an elaborate poem by Alcassem, a native
of Grenada.  {259} These departments of knowledge were studied by the
Arabs as early as the eighth and ninth centuries.

Astronomy, the science of a pastoral people, and eminently so in
regions with an almost cloudless sky, like the East, was studied with
great eagerness by Arabian philosophers.  Almamoun, who has been before
mentioned, was ardently devoted to it: at his cost the necessary
instruments of observation were provided, and a complete digest of the
science was made.  The land where, many ages before, this science had
been successfully studied by the Chaldeans, was in his power, and upon
its ample plains a degree of the earth's circle was repeatedly
measured, so as to determine the whole circumference of the globe to be
twenty-four thousand miles.  The obliquity of the ecliptic they settled
at twenty-three degrees and a half: the annual movement of the
equinoxes and the duration of the tropical year were brought to within
a very little of the exact observations of modern times, the slight
error they admitted resulting from the preference they gave to the
system of Ptolemy.  Albathani, or, as his name has been Latinized,
Albatenius, in the ninth century, after continuing his observations for
forty years, drew up tables, known as the Sabean tables, which, though
not now in very high repute because of more accurate calculations,
{260} were for a long time justly esteemed.  Other Arabian astronomers
have rendered considerable service to this science.  Mohammedanism did
not, like ancient paganism, adore the stars; but its disciples studied
them with a diligence, without which, perhaps, Newton, Flamstead, and
Halley had observed and calculated almost in vain.

Architecture was an art in which the Arabs greatly excelled; their wide
extension gave them command of whatever was worthy of observation, and
their vast revenues afforded the most abundant means of indulging a
taste thus called into exercise.  The history of Arabian architecture
comprises a period of about eight centuries, including its rise,
progress, and decay: their building materials were mostly obtained from
the ruined structures and cities that fell into their hands; and if no
one particular style was followed by them, it was because they
successfully studied most of the styles then known.  On their buildings
but little external art was bestowed; all their pains were exhausted on
the interior, where no expense wag spared that could promote luxurious
ease and personal comfort.  Their walls and ceilings were highly
embellished, and the light was mostly admitted in such manner as, by
excluding all external objects, to confine the admiration of the
spectator to the beauties produced within.  With the art {261} of
preserving their structures from decay they must have had an adequate
acquaintance.  Their stucco composition may still be found as hard as
stone, without a crack or flaw: the floors and ceilings of the
Alhambra, the ancient palace of Grenada, have been comparatively
uninjured by the neglect and dilapidation of nearly seven centuries;
while their paint retains its colour so bright and rich as to be
occasionally mistaken for mother-of-pearl.  Sir Christopher Wren
derives the Gothic architecture from the Mohammedans; and the crescent
arch, a symbol of one of the deities anciently worshipped throughout
the heathen world, was first adopted by the Arabs of Syria, and
invariably used in all the edifices erected during the supremacy of the
Ommiades.  The succeeding dynasty declined following this model; but,
during the reign of the house of Moawiyah, in Spain, it was imitated
from the Atlantic to the Pyrenees.

The fine arts, painting, and sculpture, were not so much cultivated
among the early Mohammedans: they were thought to involve a breach of
the divine law.  In this particular they agreed with the Jews.
Subsequently, however, these scruples were, by degrees, overcome; that
style of embellishment denominated Arabesque, which rejects figures of
men and animals, being first adopted, and afterward sculpture, more
nearly resembling {262} that of modern times.  The Alhambra, or palace
of that suburb, had its lions, its ornamented tiles, and its paintings.
Abdalrahman III. placed a statue of his favourite mistress over the
palace he erected for her abode.  Music was ardently cultivated.  At
first, in the desert, its strains were rude and simple; subsequently,
the professors of the art were as much cherished, honoured, and
rewarded, as were the poets in the courts of the Arab sovereigns.  Many
were celebrated for their skill in this art, especially Isaac
Almouseli.  Al Farabi has been denominated the Arabian Orpheus: by his
astonishing command of the lute, he could produce laughter, or tears,
or sleep in his auditors at pleasure.  He wrote a considerable work on
music, which is preserved in the Escurial.  Abul Faragi is also a
famous writer among the Mohammedans on this subject.  To them we are
indebted for the invention of the lute, which they accounted more
perfect than any other instrument; the use, also, of many of our modern
instruments, as the organ, flute, harp, tabor, and mandoline, was
common among them.  Some say that the national instrument of the
Scottish highlander is taken from them.

In many of the useful arts of modern days the Arabs were proficients;
as agriculture, gardening, metallurgy, and the preparing of leather.
The {263} names Morocco and Cordovan are still applied, in this latter
art, to leather prepared after the Arabian method.  They manufactured
and dyed silk and cotton, made paper, were acquainted with the use of
gunpowder, and have claims to the honour of inventing the mariner's
compass.  But perhaps there is no art in which their knowledge is so
much a subject of curious inquiry as medicine.  Their country was
salubrious, their habits simple, and their indulgences few; so that
large opportunities of practically studying the art, at least among the
Arabs of earlier date, would not occur.  Anatomy, except that of the
brute creation, was shut up from their study by the prejudices of their
creed; yet they excelled in medical skill.  Hareth ibn Kaldar, an
eminent practitioner settled at Mecca, was honoured with the
conversation and applause of Mohammed.  Honain was an eminent Arab
physician in the middle of the sixth century; Messue, the celebrated
preceptor of Almamoun, belonged to this profession; and a host of
others adorn the early annals of the Saracens.  Al Rhagi, or Ullages,
as commonly called, and Abdallah ibn Sina, or Avicenna, are names to
which, for centuries, deference was paid by professors of the healing
art throughout Europe, though it would not be difficult to show that
their doctrines and practice must have been beyond measure absurd.
They {264} administered gold, and silver, and precious stones to purify
the blood.

Of chymistry, so far as it relates to medicine, the Arabs may be
considered as the inventors; and botany, in the same connexion, they
cultivated with great success.  Geber, in the eighth century, is known
as their principal chymical writer; he is said to have composed five
hundred volumes, almost every one of which is lost.  The early
nomenclature of the science indicates how much it owes to this people.
Alcohol, alembic, alkali, aludel, and other similar terms, are
evidently of Arabic origin; nor should it be forgotten that the
characters used for drugs, essences, extracts, and medicines, the
import of which is now almost entirely unknown (and which are
consequently invested, in vulgar estimation, with occult powers), are
all to be traced to the same source.

It may be impossible now to estimate accurately the extent of our
obligations to Arabian literature.  An empire so widely spread, by the
encouragement it gave to letters, must have had a beneficial influence
on almost every country.  Europeans, whether subject to its sway or
only contemplating it from a distance, copied or emulated the example.
Gerbert, who subsequently occupied the papal chair as Silvester II.,
acquired the Arabic method of computation during his travels in Spain,
{265} previously to his elevation.  Leonardo, a Pisan merchant,
obtained a knowledge of the same art in his intercourse with the
Mohammedans on the coast of Africa; and by him it was introduced into
his own native republic, from whence it was soon communicated to the
Western World.  In the city of Salernum, a port of Italy, Mussulmans
and Christians so intermixed as to communicate insensibly the
literature of the Saracens to the Italians, and in the schools of that
city students were collected from every quarter of Europe.  Arabic
books, by command of Charlemagne, were translated into Latin for the
use of learned men throughout his vast empire; and, without
exaggerating the merits of the followers of the Prophet, it may be
admitted that we are indebted to them for the revival of the exact and
physical sciences, and for many of those useful arts and inventions
that have totally changed the aspect of European literature, and are
still contributing to the civilization, freedom, and best interests of

[1] Abulferage, p. 160.



The present Condition of Mohammedanism.--In Turkey.--The Doctrines
believed there.--Their Forms of
Devotion.--Lustrations.--Prayer.--Mohammedan Sabbath.--Fast of
Ramadan.--Meccan Pilgrimage.--Proselytism.--Mohammedan
Hierarchy.--Islamism in Tartary.--In Hindustan.--In China.--In
Persia.--In Africa.--In the Indian Archipelago.--The Sooffees.--The

The present condition of the Mohammedan faith, with some account of the
standing it maintains in the world, will not be deemed an inappropriate
subject for the closing pages of this volume.  Its votaries have long
ceased to spread alarm through the nations by their victorious and
devastating progress; the fire of its fanaticism is almost extinct;
nevertheless, its doctrines prevail over a larger number of mankind
than any other system of false religion: they are professed in nations
and countries remote from each other, and having no other mutual
resemblance than that involved in their common superstition.  In Spain,
indeed, Christianity has triumphed over Islamism; and in the
inhospitable regions of Siberia, a part of the ancient Tartary, its
advance has been somewhat checked; but in middle and lower Asia, and in
Africa, the {267} number of Mohammed's followers has increased.  We
cannot state with accuracy the number either of Mohammedan or of
nominal Christians; but, looking at religion geographically, while
Christianity has almost entire dominion in Europe, in Asia Islamism is
the dominant faith: in America the cross is rapidly becoming the symbol
of faith throughout both its vast continents; but in Africa the
crescent waves to the almost entire exclusion of every other emblem.

It is in Turkey that Mohammedanism exists at the present day in its
most perfect form.  To this country, therefore, our attention shall be
first directed.

Constantinople, anciently called Byzantium, and the countries over
which the Greek emperors residing in that city reigned, were subdued by
the powerful caliphs of Bagdad, while those of Spain and the West were
endeavouring to push their conquests over the fairest portions of
Europe.  The situation of Constantinople and the surrounding empire lay
especially open to the Eastern Mohammedans, whose warlike incursions
were incessant.  Tartars from Asia overran the empire.  Othman, in the
early part of the thirteenth century, laid the foundation of Turkish
greatness.  Orchan, Amurathi and Bajazet, his successors, amid both
foreign and domestic wars, greatly contributed to its {268}
establishment and increase.  The children of the last of these
conquerors threw the empire into a frightful state of distraction by
their unnatural quarrels, till, at last, the youngest of them, named
after the Prophet, restored its integrity, and established something
like domestic tranquillity.  Under a grandson of his, Mohammed II.,
whom Bayle describes as one of the greatest men recorded in history,
the Morea was subjugated, and the Greek empire, so long shaken by
internal dissensions, and tottering to dissolution by its luxury, was
trampled in the dust by the Moslem conquerors.  Constantinople at last
yielded to their power, and a palace for the victor was erected on the
very spot which Constantine had chosen for his magnificent abode.

From this time to that of Solyman the Magnificent, to whom the Turks
owe their laws and police, the empire continued to prosper, but
immediately afterward its decline commenced.  Letters and science have
made but little progress among that people, and their sultans have
possessed none of the martial enterprise and energy of their early
predecessors; still the faith of Mohammed has maintained, and down to
this day continues to maintain, a hold which it enjoys in almost no
other country.

The Turks generally repose the most implicit faith in the two leading
articles of the Mohammedan {269} creed, that there is but one God, and
that Mohammed is his Prophet; and since, in the opinion of the Moslems,
a simple assent to these doctrines comprises all that is valuable in
religion, and will be surely followed by the possession of heaven,
either immediately or remotely, it is readily conceivable that
infidelity will be exceedingly rare.  In religious matters, the heart
opposes not so much what is to be believed as what is to be done.

Minor points of their theology have been from time to time disputed,
but these may be regarded as generally settled.  Predestination is one
of the chief dogmas on which the faith of the Turk is as firmly fixed
as on the most momentous article in his creed.  Fatalism was the great
engine employed by Mohammed in establishing his religion; and among the
Turks this doctrine is received as regulating their destiny,
controlling all events, and determining the results of every
individual's actions; thus unnerving the soul for generous and manly
enterprise, and casting a lethargy on the whole nation.  In everything
the operations of reason are checked, and even made to wait for the
imagined manifestations of Deity.  According to the creed of the Turks,
not only is everything foreknown to God, but everything is
predetermined, and brought about by his direct and immediate agency.


The Turk is keen and wise in his ordinary transactions: in promoting
his own interests, he knows how to exercise the powers of his mind,
but, when difficulty or doubt overtakes him, he makes no effort.  The
thick cloud of his misfortunes is suffered to remain; his troubles are
yielded to with sullen indifference; he considers it impious to oppose
the determinations of the Most High.  To all improvement, such a
doctrine is a decided and invincible foe; in some circumstances,
however, it appears to have its advantages.  Does a Mohammedan suffer
by calamity?  Is he plundered or ruined?  He does not fruitlessly
bewail his lot.  His answer to all murmuring suggestions is, "It was
written;" and to the most unexpected transition from opulence to
poverty, he submits without a sigh.  The approach of death does not
disturb his tranquillity; he makes his ablution, repeats his prayers,
professes his belief in God and his Prophet, and in a last appeal to
the aid of affection, he says to his child, "turn my head towards
Mecca," and calmly expires.

A people's religion is traced in their established and common forms of
devotion, and none are more attentive to these than the Turks.  To
neglect any ceremony which their religion prescribes, is deemed a mark
either of inferior understanding or of depraved character.  Public
decorum is {271} everywhere observed; and though both moral and
religious precepts are violated with impunity and without remorse, they
are always spoken of with great respect.  A Mohammedan is never ashamed
to defend his faith; and of his sincerity and firmness, the earnestness
of his vindication may be taken as sufficient proof: he not
unfrequently interrupts the progress of conversation by repeating his
religious formula.  In the Turkish towns, travellers are incessantly
met with the cry of Allah Ackbar; and by Mussulmans, who would be
esteemed pious, the divine name is as frequently repeated as if
reverent and devout thoughts were habitually uppermost in their minds.

Purifications are constantly, and with great strictness, performed by
the Mussulmans of every country, but especially by those of Turkey.
Their professed object is to render the body fit for the decorous
performance of religious duties; no act being praiseworthy or
acceptable, in their estimation, unless the person of the performer be
in a condition of purity.  Some have thought, but without sufficient
grounds, that these external purifications are believed to supersede an
inward cleansing of the heart.  Fountains placed round their mosques,
and numerous baths in every city, enable the devout to perform their
five prayers daily, during which, if they chance to receive pollution
{272} from anything accidentally coming in contact with them, their
devotions are suspended till the offensive inconvenience is removed by
water or other means.

At the appointed hour, the Maazeens or criers, with their faces towards
Mecca, their eyes closed, and their hands upraised, pace the little
galleries of the minarets or towers of the mosques, and proclaim in
Arabic, the Moslem language of devotion, that the season of prayer has
arrived.  Instantly, every one, whatever may be his rank or employment,
gives himself up to it.  Ministers of state suspend the most important
affairs, and prostrate themselves on the floor; the tradesman forgets
his dealings, and transforms his shop into a place of devotion; and the
student lays aside his books, to go through his accustomed
supplications.  "Never to fail in his prayers" is the highest
commendation a Turk can receive; and so prejudicial is the suspicion of
irreligion, that even libertines dare not disregard the notices of the
Maazeen.  The mosques, like chapels in Catholic countries, are always
open, and two or three times every day prayers are offered within their
walls.  It has often been remarked, that the devotions of Christians
might acquire something valuable from the gravity, the decorum, and the
apparently intense occupation of mind in Turkish worship.  The Jews
trod {273} their holy place barefoot: the Turks, on the contrary, keep
on their boots and shoes.  Christians uncover their heads in prayer;
the Moslems seldom lay aside their turbans; but for hours they will
remain prostrate, or standing in one position, as if absorbed in the
most intense abstraction.  They have neither altars, pictures, nor
statues in their places of worship.  Verses of the Koran, the names and
personal descriptions of their Prophet, of Ali and his two sons, Hassan
and Hosein, with other Moslem saints, are sometimes inscribed in
letters of gold on their walls.  All distinctions of rank and
profession are forgotten when they pray.  Persons of every class, on
the first sound of the accustomed cry, cast themselves on the ground,
and thus declare their belief in the equality of mankind, in the sight
of the great Father of all.

The Mohammedans of Turkey have a Sabbath, for which the Jewish or
Christian may be supposed to have furnished the model.  Friday is their
day of rest, which commences on the preceding evening, when the
illuminated minarets and colonnades of the mosques give to their cities
the appearance of a festival.  At noon, on Friday, all business is
suspended, the mosques are filled, and prayers are read by the
appointed officers, accompanied by the prostrations of the people.
Discourses are likewise frequently delivered on {274} practical points
in their theology; and sometimes, in the ardour of excitement,
political corruption and courtly depravity are fiercely assailed.  A
voluptuous sultan has been known, under the effect of these discourses,
to tear himself from the soft indulgences of his harem and court, to
lead his martial subjects to war and victory on the plains of their
enemies.  As soon as the public religious services are concluded, all
return to their ordinary pursuits; the day, however, is strictly
observed by all classes in the manner prescribed by law, it being a
received maxim that he who, without legitimate cause, absents himself
from public devotion on three successive Fridays, abjures his religion.
It is worthy of observation, that the prayers of the Turks consist
chiefly of adoration, of confessions of the Divine attributes and the
nothingness of man, and of homage and gratitude to the Supreme Being.
A Turk must not pray for the frail and perishable blessings of this
life; the health of the sultan, the prosperity of his country, and
divisions and wars among the Christians alone excepted.  The legitimate
object of prayer they hold to be spiritual gifts, and happiness in a
future state of being.

No one of their religious institutions is more strictly observed by the
Turks than the fast of Ramadan.  He who violates it is reckoned either
{275} an infidel or an apostate; and if two witnesses establish his
offence, he is deemed to have incurred the severest penalty of the law.
Abstinence from food, and even from the use of perfumes, from sunrise
to sunset, is enjoined.  The rich pass the hours in meditation and
prayer, the grandees sleep away their time, but the labouring man,
pursuing his daily toil, most heavily feels its rigour.  "When the
month of Ramadan happens in the extremities of the seasons, the
prescribed abstinence is almost intolerable, and is more severe than
the practice of any moral duty, even to the most vicious and depraved
of mankind."  During the day all traffic is suspended; but in the
evening, and till late at night, it is actively carried on in the
streets, shops, and bazars, most splendidly illuminated.  From sunset
to sunrise, revelry and excess are indulged in.  Every night there is a
feast among the great officers of the court: the reserve of the Turkish
character is laid aside, and friends and relations cement their union
by mutual intercourse.  Sumptuous banquets and convivial hilarity are
universal; and, were not women everywhere excluded from the tables of
the men, the pleasure of the festivals would amply compensate the
rigorous self-denial of their fasts.

The pilgrimage to Mecca is with the Turks more a matter of form than of
reality.  Its {276} importance as a part of the Moslem ritual is
admitted, and apparently felt, but the number of pilgrims annually
decreases.  The sultan, having dominion over the country through which
the pilgrims must pass, preserves the public ways leading to the
venerated city; the best soldiers of his empire are charged with the
protection of the caravans, which are sometimes numerous; but of his
own subjects, properly so called, few comparatively accompany them;
they are made up of devotees from a greater distance.  The sultan, no
doubt, encourages the pilgrimage as much on commercial as on religious
grounds.  The Koran has determined it to be very proper to intermingle
commerce and religion: "It shall be no crime in you," it says, "if ye
seek an increase from your Lord by trading during the pilgrimage."
Accordingly, articles of easy carriage and ready sale are brought by
the pilgrims from every country.  The productions and manufactures of
India thus find their way into other parts of Asia and throughout
Africa.  The muslins and chintses of Bengal and the Deccan, the shawls
of Cashmere, the pepper of Malabar, the diamonds of Golconda, the
pearls of Kilkau, the cinnamon of Ceylon, and the spices of the
Moluccas, are made to yield advantage to the Ottoman empire, and the
luxury of its subjects is sustained by contributions from the most
distant nations.


Mohammedans of the present day, at least those of Turkey, are less
anxious to make proselytes than were those of a former age.  Those of
India and Africa may, to some extent, still retain the sentiment, that
to convert infidels is an ordinance of God, and must be observed by the
faithful in all ages; but in Turkey little desire of this kind is felt,
chiefly because, by a refinement of uncharitableness, the conversion of
the world is deemed unworthy of their endeavours.  Now and then a
devout Moslem, instigated by zeal or personal attachment, may offer up
this prayer for a Jew or a Christian: "Great God, enlighten this
infidel, and graciously dispose his heart to embrace thy holy
religion;" and perhaps to a youth, esteemed for his talents or
knowledge, the language of persuasion may occasionally be addressed
with an air of gentleness and urbanity; but the zeal of the missionary
is in such cases commonly subject to what are conceived to be the rules
of good breeding, and a vague reply or silence is regarded as an
indication that the subject is disagreeable, and should not be
continued.  A Mussulman may pray for the conversion of infidels, but,
till they are converted, no blessing may be supplicated in their
behalf.  "Their death is eternal, why pray for them?" is the language
of the Mohammedan creed: do not {278} "defile your feet by passing over
the graves of men who are enemies of God and of his Prophet."

Of the Mohammedan hierarchy, some idea may be obtained from the form it
assumes in Turkey.  The Koran is considered the treasure of all laws,
divine and human, and the caliphs as the depositaries of this treasure;
so that they are at once the pontiffs, legislators, and judges of the
people, and their office combines all authority, whether sacerdotal,
regal, or judicial.  To the grand sultan titles are given, styling him
the vicar, or the shadow of God.  The several powers which pertain to
him in this august capacity are delegated to a body of learned men,
called the Oulema.  In this body three descriptions of officers are
included: the ministers of religion, called the Imams; the expounders
of the law, called the Muftis; and the ministers of justice, called the
Cadis.  The ministers of religion are divided into chief and inferior,
the former of whom only belong to the Oulema.  Both classes are made up
of Sheiks, or ordinary preachers; the Khatibs, readers or deacons; the
Imams, a title comprising those who perform the service of the mosque
on ordinary days, and those to whom pertain the ceremonies of
circumcision, marriage, and burial; the Maazeens, or criers, who
announce the hours of prayer; and the Cayuns, or common attendants of
the mosque.  The {279} idea of this classification was, perhaps, taken
from the Mosaic priesthood; the Khatib being the Aaron, and the next
four the several orders of the Levites, with their servants or helpers.
The imperial temples have one Sheik, one Khatib, from two to four
Imams, twelve Maazeens, and twenty Cayuns, among whom, except in a few
of the chief mosques of Constantinople, the Khatibs have the
pre-eminence.  All these ministers are subject to the civil magistrate,
who is looked upon as a sort of diocesan, and who may perform at any
time all the sacerdotal functions.  The ministers of religion are not
distinguishable from other people; they mix in the same society, engage
in similar pursuits, and affect no greater austerity than marks the
behaviour of Mussulmans generally.  Their influence depends entirely on
their reputation for learning and talents, for gravity and correct
moral conduct; their employment is, for the most part, very simple, as
chanting aloud the public service, and performing such offices as every
master of a family may discharge.  As Mohammedanism acknowledges no
sacrifices, it appoints no priests; the duties performed by the
ministers of religion being seemingly devolved on them more as a matter
of convenience than on account of any sacredness attaching to their

The vast country to which the general name of {280} Tartary has been
given, is that from whence Mohammedanism has gone forth to the East,
the West, and the South.  In Thibet, the Grand Lama and various
national idols hold divided empire with the Prophet; and in the
inhospitable regions of Siberia, the churches of Greece and Russia have
successfully promulgated the Christian doctrines; while the
Circassians, with some other Tartar races, are almost without religion.
In the Crimea, the people are Mussulmans, as rigid and devoted as the
Turks; and over the vast tract called by modern geographers Independent
Tartary, the crescent triumphantly waves.  From these regions sprung,
in the earlier ages of Mohammedan conquest, those vast empires which,
in the East, comprise so large a number of the professors of the faith
of Islam.  The first sovereign of this country, to whom the title of
sultan was awarded early in the tenth century, conducted several
expeditions into Hindustan, and secured the homage of many of the
cities.  The ancient Indian superstition was in a great measure
overturned by his victorious arms.  Long and fierce contests ensued:
the princes of the subdued provinces, often throwing off their forced
allegiance, endeavoured to regain their independence and re-establish
their ancient faith, till, at length, the great Timurlane, having
overrun the country with his legions, received at Agra the title {281}
of Emperor of Hindustan.  Scarcely, however, had two centuries and a
half rolled away, when his successors fell in their turn under the
Persian power; and the empire he established was weakened, and
ultimately destroyed.  As the result of these conquests, Mohammedanism
prevailed to a great extent, but rather nominally than really, among
the millions of India: it was the religion of the court and government;
but, either from indifference or timidity in the Moslem conquerors, the
ancient idols still held extensive influence, and were at length
gradually restored.  In the twelfth century, Benares, the ancient seat
of Brahminical learning and of Hindu idolatry, fell into the hands of
the conqueror, who destroyed its numerous objects of popular adoration.
Yet, soon afterward, the religious character of the place was restored,
and the demolished idols were replaced by others, that were as eagerly
resorted to as had been their predecessors.  To this consecrated
metropolis, a pilgrimage was regarded by the millions of India as
imperatively commanded, and as necessary as was a visit to Mecca by the
Mohammedans; and the weakness or the policy of its Moslem conquerors
did not long withhold from them this valued privilege; the government
of the city was committed to the Hindus, and their conquerors, in the
plenitude of their bigotry, pride, and power, never {282} thought of
suffering their own magistrates to exercise authority within its walls.
Thus Mohammedanism is the religion, not of the ancient inhabitants of
India, but of the descendants of the millions of Tartars, Persians, and
Arabians who, at various periods, have left their native seats to
participate in the riches of these far-famed plains.  The north and
northwestern parts are filled with them, and from thence they have
wandered over the whole of that vast country.  Perhaps their numbers
may now amount to nearly twenty millions, among whom, however, though
they are mostly of foreign extraction, are many converts from Hinduism.
They form separate communities, amalgamating in some parts of the
country, and living as sociably with Hindus as the differences in their
respective faiths will permit.  Hindu princes have at times paid their
devotions at Mohammedan shrines, and observed their feasts; while
Mohammedans have relaxed somewhat the strictness of their observances,
and manifested an inclination to conform, as far as possible, to their
Hindu neighbours.  Some five centuries ago, the Borahs, a people who
once occupied the kingdom of Guzerat, were converted _en masse_ to
Islamism.  The Arab traders to the coasts of Malabar have always been
exceedingly earnest in their endeavours to convert the natives, in
which they have {283} been greatly aided by the facility with which
they have been allowed to purchase the children of the poorer classes,
to educate them in the principles of their faith, and also by the
frequency with which the inhabitants of those districts lose caste.
This badge of the Hindu faith is often forfeited by the people mixing
with those of other countries, and when it is lost they easily become

It has been maintained that the native inhabitants of India are
absolutely unchangeable in their sacred, domestic, and political
institutions, and, at first sight, there would appear to be much to
warrant such an opinion; but the history of many of them, and
especially of the Sikhs, who inhabit the provinces of the Panjab,
between the rivers Jumna and Indus, may be alleged as proofs to the
contrary.  Still, in the religion of the Sikhs, Mohammedan fable and
Hindu absurdity are mixed; its founder wishing to unite both these
prevalent systems in one.  He had been educated in a part of the
country where these two religions appeared to touch each other, if not
commingle, and he was no stranger to the violent animosity existing
between their respective professors; he sought, therefore, to blend the
jarring elements of both in peaceful union.  The Hindu was required to
abandon his idols, and to worship the one Supreme Deity whom his
religion acknowledged; while the Mohammedan {284} was to abstain from
such practices (especially the killing of cows) as were offensive to
the superstition of the Hindus.  This plan so far prevailed, that,
without acknowledging the Prophet, the Sikhs became more Mohammedans
than Hindus; and though the institutions of Brahma are not admitted
among them, they insult and persecute true Moslems more fiercely and
cruelly than any other people.  They compel them to eat that which is
forbidden by their law; animals which they account unclean are
frequently thrown into their places of public assembly, and they are
prohibited from proclaiming the hour of prayer to the faithful.

China is one of those countries to which Mohammedanism was carried by
the hordes of Tartary.  From the scrupulous jealousy with which this
vast empire is guarded from observation, it is difficult to say to what
extent the Mohammedan faith, or, indeed, any other, prevails among its
numberless inhabitants; but, beyond question, it is tolerated.

The irruption of the Saracens into China under Walid can scarcely be
termed a conquest.  Subsequently, the successors of Zenghis Khan seated
themselves on the throne of Pekin, and opened the country to an
intercourse with all nations.  The commercial Arabs had visited the
ports and cities in the south of China; and, now that access to the
{285} capital was unrestrained, multitudes of them repaired thither.
They acquired the language, and adopted the dress and manners of the
people, to whom also they rendered valuable aid in adjusting their
chronology, and making the necessary calculations for their calendar.
Intercourse with the Chinese made the Mohammedans desirous of effecting
their conversion, the means adopted for which were both wise and
humane.  Deserted children were taken under their protection, and
educated in Islamism; while in other ways they sought to commend
themselves to confidence, and their religion to respect, by alleviating
the wretchedness induced by a cruel superstition.  The Mohammedans of
China seem to partake of the mild and quiet character of the
inhabitants generally, and are therefore tolerated; though there have
been some exceptions to this encomium.  About sixty years ago they were
instrumental in promoting an unsuccessful rebellion, and the Emperor
Kien Long, after suppressing it, ordered one hundred thousand of them
to be put to death.

Persia, from an early period, has been almost entirely a Mohammedan
country.  On its conquest by the Saracens, the religion of Zoroaster,
which had till then prevailed, was nearly abolished.  Those who
persevered in retaining it were obliged to flee to the mountains or to
the western parts {286} of India, where their old forms of worship
still linger.  In the disputes which ensued on the death of Mohammed
concerning the caliphate, the Persians espoused the cause of Ali, the
Prophet's son-in-law, and to his memory they are still attached.  "May
this arrow go to the heart of Omar," is a frequent expression among
them in drawing a bow; and not long since, when Mr. Malcolm, during his
travels in Persia, was praising Omar, the antagonist of Ali, as the
greatest of the caliphs, a Persian, overcome by the justice of his
observations, yet still adhering to his rooted prejudices, replied,
"This is all very true, but he was a dog after all."

Here Mohammedanism exists in a less rigorous form than in Turkey.  Its
ceremonies are observed by those who are little disposed to practice
its moral code: they say their prayers at the appointed season, and
make a show of devotion to prevent their being suspected of irreligion;
but the people generally are little concerned about the pilgrimage to
Mecca, and other matters on which, in the Koran, much stress is laid.
They choose rather to resort to the tomb of Ali, and to that of his son
Hosein, whose name is reverenced among them with a feeling approaching
to adoration.

In Africa, Mohammedanism has very widely prevailed.  Algiers, Tunis,
Tripoli, all the northern parts of this continent, acknowledge its
sway.  {287} From Arabia and Egypt it spread west and south nearly to
the great rivers.  It is the established religion of Morocco; and in
Western Barbary and several kingdoms of the interior the Arabic
language is spoken, the Koran believed, and the Prophet almost
worshipped.  The Senegal, up to the small Moorish state of Gedumah, is
the line of division between the Mohammedans and the Negroes: from
thence the line passes eastward of north, through Nigritia and Nubia to
the Nile.  As yet, however, it is but indistinctly marked, it being
doubtful whether Timbuctoo is a Mohammedan or Negro town.  The courts
of Bornou and Cassina are Mohammedan, but a majority of their subjects
are pagans.  Islamism in these vast territories is in an exceedingly
degenerate state when compared with either its first development in the
Arabian desert, or with what now obtains in Turkey.  It is said that
but little more than its exclusive persecuting spirit remains: the
Oriental lustrations are almost unknown, Mohammedan temperance is
neglected, and the great doctrine of the unity of God is confounded
with, or supplanted by, the polytheism of the native inhabitants.  The
Mussulman is more depraved than the pagan; so that, while travellers
frequently mention the hospitality they received from the latter, by
the former they were constantly insulted and annoyed on account of
{288} their religion.  In no quarter of the world does the faith of the
Prophet wear so frightful an aspect as in Africa.

The region from which Mohammedanism first sprung has not remained in
all respects faithful to the precepts of the Prophet.  In Mecca and
Medina, indeed, his name and system are held in the profoundest
veneration; and no wonder, since both these cities are mainly supported
by the superstitious observances enjoined in the Koran; but the
Bedouins are as licentious in their religion as in their policy and
habits.  On the Turkish frontiers they keep up an appearance of respect
for the name of the Prophet and his doctrines; but, in answer to all
reproaches for their unfaithfulness, they say in words worthy a better
taught and more civilized race, "The religion of Mohammed could never
have been intended for us.  We have no water in the desert.  How, then,
can we make the prescribed ablutions?  We have no money.  How, then,
can we give alms?  The fast of Ramadan is a useless command to persons
who fast all the year round; and, if God be everywhere, why should we
go to Mecca to adore him?"

From the southernmost part of Hindustan, Mohammedanism made its way to
the Malayan peninsula; to Sumatra, Java, Borneo, the Manillas, and the
Celebes: Goram, one of the Spice Islands, is {289} its eastern
boundary.  In the interior of these islands it prevails less than on
the shores.  To these remote regions Islamism has been carried more by
the commercial than the military enterprise of its votaries.  What is
its present condition there, it is difficult, perhaps impossible,
accurately to ascertain.  In Java it was the established religion; but,
when the Dutch settled that island early in the seventeenth century,
many of the natives were converted.  Little respect is paid by the
Javans of the present day either to their ancient paganism, or to
Mohammedanism which took its place; though some of the forms of the
latter are still in force, and its institutions are said to be gaining

The reader of Mohammedan history will meet with the terms Sooffee and
Wahabee, as designating certain divisions of the disciples of the
religion of the Prophet.  It will not, therefore, be inappropriate to
close with a brief account of these respective sects.

Sooffee is a term originating in Persia, meaning enthusiasts or
mystics, or persons distinguished by extraordinary sanctity.  The
object of the Sooffee is to attain a divine beatitude, which he
describes as consisting in absorption into the essence of Deity.  The
soul, according to his doctrine, is an emanation from God, partaking of
his nature; just {290} as the rays of light are emanations from the
sun, and of the same nature with the source, from whence they are
derived.  The creature and the Creator are of one substance.  No one
can become a Sooffee without strictly conforming to the established
religion, and practising every social virtue; and when, by this means,
he has gained a habit of devotion, he may exchange what they style
practical for spiritual worship, and abandon the observance of all
religious forms and ceremonies.  He at length becomes inspired, arrives
at truth, drops his corporeal veil, and mixes again with that glorious
essence from which he has been partially and for a time separated.  The
life of the Sooffees of Persia, though generally austere, is not
rendered miserable, like that of the visionary devotees of Hinduism, by
the practice of dreadful severities, their most celebrated teachers
have been famed for knowledge and devotion.  The Persians are a poetic
people, and the very genius of Sooffeeism is poetry.  Its raptures are
the raptures of inspiration; its hopes are those of a highly sensitive
and excited imagination; its writers in the sweetest strains celebrate
the Divine love, which pervades all nature: everything, from the very
highest to the lowest, seeking and tending towards union with Deity as
its object of supreme desire.  They inculcate forbearance,
abstemiousness, and {291} universal benevolence.  They are unqualified
predestinarians.  The emanating principle, or the soul, proceeding from
God, can do nothing, they say, without his will, nor refuse to do
anything which he instigates.  Some of them, consequently, deny the
existence of evil; and the doctrine of rewards and punishments is
superseded by their idea of re-absorption into the Divine essence.  The
free opinions of this class of enthusiasts subvert the doctrines of
Islamism, yet they pay an outward respect to them; they unsettle the
existing belief, without providing an intelligible substitute; they
admit the divine mission of the Prophet, but explain away the dogmas he
uttered; and while they affect to yield him honour as a person raised
up by God, to induce moral order in the world, they boast their own
direct and familiar intercourse with Deity, and claim, on that account,
unqualified obedience in all that relates to spiritual interests.

The similarity of Sooffeeism to the ancient Pythagorean and Platonic
doctrines will occur to every one at all acquainted with the religion
and philosophy of antiquity.  It as closely resembles some of the
distinguishing tenets of the Brahminical faith.  In fact, it seems as
if designed, in conjunction with the refined theology of ancient, and
the sublime visions of modern idolaters, to teach us that, without
Divine guidance, the loftiest human {292} conceptions on subjects
connected with God and religion invariably err; the ignorant and the
instructed are equally wrong; "the world by wisdom knows not God."

The Wahabees are a modern sect of Mohammedan reformers, whose efforts
have considerably changed the aspect of the religion of the Prophet.
Perhaps to them may be owing much of that rigid adherence to Mohammedan
doctrine and practice which prevails in those parts where their
influence has been felt.  They are the followers of Abdol Wahab, who
commenced his career in the region where, during the lifetime of the
Prophet, Moseilama had threatened a considerable division among his
followers.  Wahab was an ambitious fanatic, who aimed, nevertheless, at
reforming the national religion.  He was aided by powerful princes of
the province of Nejed; and, within a short time, the tenets he
maintained spread throughout the peninsula.  His fundamental principle,
like that of Mohammed, was the unity of God.  The Koran he regarded as
divine, rejecting all the glosses which ignorance and infatuation had
put upon it, and holding in utter contempt all the traditions and tales
concerning its author, which the devout of every generation had eagerly
received.  The reverence, approaching to adoration, which the Arabs
were wont to pay to the name of Mohammed, all visits to his tomb, and
all {293} regard to the tombs and relics of Arab saints, he denounced;
and the costly ornaments with which a mistaken piety had enriched these
sacred spots, he thought might be appropriated to ordinary purposes.
Wahab would not suffer the common oath of, by Mohammed, or by Ali, to
be used among his followers, on the very rational ground that an oath
is an appeal to a witness of our secret thoughts, and who can know
these but God?  The title of Lord, generally given to the Prophet by
his followers, Wahab rejected as impious.  He was commonly mentioned by
this zealous reformer and his adherents by his simple name, without the
addition of "our Lord, the Prophet of God."  All who deviated in any
degree from the plain sense of the Koran, either in belief or practice,
were infidels in their esteem; upon whom, therefore, according to its
directions, war might be made.  Thus was the martial spirit of the
early Saracens again called into exercise; and with the ardour that
characterized the days of the immediate successors of the Prophet, they
were prepared at once to assail the consciences and the property of men
not exactly of their own faith.

At the call of their leader, they assembled first in the plain of
Draaiya, some 400 miles east of Medina, armed and provided at their own
expense for war.  Bagdad and Mecca in vain attempted to {294} suppress
them; the seraglio itself was filled with their formidable war-cry; the
sultan trembled on his throne; and the caravans from Syria suspended
their usual journeys.  The imperial city suffered from their ravages in
its usual supplies of coffee; and the terror of their name was widely
spreading among devout Mohammedans of every country, for they had
violated the shrines of saints, and levelled to the ground the chapels
at Mecca, which devotion had consecrated to the memory of the Prophet
and his family.  At the commencement of the present century, however,
Mecca was recovered from them by the Turkish arms, and the plague, with
the smallpox, breaking out just at this time among the followers of
Wahab, probably saved the mighty fabric of Islamism.  These reverses
did not quench, however, the ardour of the Wahabees.  Their leader had
been assassinated, but his son, already distinguished for his prudence
and valour, succeeded him in the command.  Medina fell beneath his
power, and from thence to the Persian Gulf he seemed likely to reign
lord paramount.  In 1805 he was able to impose a heavy tax on the
caravan of pilgrims from Damascus to the Holy City, and declared that
thenceforth it should consist of pilgrims alone, without the pride and
pomp of a religious procession.  Soon afterward they again entered
Mecca, and immediately threatened with destruction every {295} sacred
relic; but they did not put their threats into execution.  Various
conflicts between them and the orthodox Mohammedans have since ensued,
the general result of which has been to break the martial and fanatical
spirit of the Wahabees, and to re-establish the power of the grand
sultan in cities and districts where it had been placed in jeopardy.
They are still, indeed, dreaded as plunderers, but no great national
convulsion has resulted from their efforts.

Some writers regret the suppression of this once powerful sect of
Mohammedans, believing that, if continued, they would have been
instrumental in overthrowing the Moslem faith, and making way for a
purer religion; but for ourselves, we see little occasion for these
regrets.  The Wahabees must not be supposed more favourable to a pure
faith than are those by whom they have been overthrown.  If they must
be regarded as reformers, they only attempted to correct a few absurd
and scandalous practices: the impious and abominable dogmas of the
Koran they left untouched; or, if they touched them, it was only to
enforce their observance with greater rigour.  Their creed was even
more sanguinary and intolerant than that of the ancient Mohammedans,
and probably the continuance of their power would have been nothing
more than the continuance of injustice, cruelty, and {296} persecution.
We do not look for the overthrow of Mohammedanism by such means.  One
system of error may sometimes destroy another, but the pure faith,
which blesses a miserable world by directing men in the path of safety,
knowledge, and happiness, will extend only as the sacred volume is
diffused, and as that holy influence from God accompanies it by which
the understanding is illuminated and the heart renewed.  Fanaticism is
no auxiliary of the religion of the Bible; it neither prepares its way
nor accelerates its progress.  Violence and war are utterly rejected by
this divine system, as alien from its spirit and character.  "My
kingdom," says its founder, "is not of this world: if my kingdom were
of this world, then would my servants fight; but now is my kingdom not
from hence."


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