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Moorish Empire 





Corduba famosa locuples de nomine dicta, 
Inclyta deliciis, rebus quoque splendida cunctis 

Hroswitha, Passio S. Pelagii 






Copyright, 1904 
By J. B. LippiNCOTT Company 

Published March, 1904 

Printed by J. B. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia, U. S. A. 





Permanence of Arab Ideas in the South of Europe Social 
Corruption Revolts against the Papacy Antagonism 
of^the Holy ^ee and the German Empire Consolida- 
tion of the Papal Power under Innocent III. Civi- 
lizing Agencies in Sicily Influence of the Normans 
as Heirs of the Arabs Birth of Frederick II. Char- 
acter of Innocent III. Genius of the Emperor His 
Reforms System of Jurisprudence Commerce 
Legislation The University of Naples The Medi- 
cal School of Salerno Character of Frederick His 
Court The South of France Its Early Civilization 
Cosmopolitan Character of its Population Its 
Wealth, Intelligence, and Profligacy Debased Con- 
dition of the Clergy The University of Montpellier 
The Troubadours The Albigenses Their Defiance 
of Rome A Crusade is preached against Them They 
are annihilated Cruelty of the Crusaders Parallel 
between the Civilization of Sicily and Languedoc 
Survival of the Philosophical Principles and Opinions 
of the Thirteenth Century 1 



Influence of the Semitic Race on Civilization Enterprise of 
the Ancient Jews Their Eminent Talents Their 
Power during the Middle Ages Their Universal Pro- 
scription Their Condition under the Moors of Spain 
Their Extraordinary Attainments Their Devotion 
to Letters Their Academies Rabbis as Ambassadors 
of the Khalifs Learned Men Poets, Physicians, 

vi Contents of Volume III. 


Statesmen, Philosophers Maimonides : His Genius 
and His Works His Character Preponderating In- 
fluence of the Spanish Jews in Government and Society 
Their Necessity to the Ruling Classes They are 
driven to Usury Their Prosperity They are favored 
by Alfonso X. and Pedro el Cruel Their Proficiency 
in Medicine Obligations of Mediaeval and Modern 
Science to the Jews Their Wonderful Survival under 
Oppression Their Exile from the Peninsula Their 
Sufferings The Taint of Hebrew Blood in the Aris- 
tocracy of Spain and Portugal 105 




Scarcity of Information concerning the Tributary Chris- 
tians Supremacy of the Church under the Visigoths 
Independence of the Spanish Hierarchy Its Wealth 
Civil Organization of the^Christians under the Moors 
Their Privileges Restrictions imposed upon Them 
Freedom of Worship Churches, Monasteries, and 
Convents Conditions in Sicily Greater Severity of 
the Laws in that Island Anomaly in the Ecclesiasti- 
cal Government of Spain The Khalif the Virtual 
Head of the Church Abuse of His Power Results of 
the Arab Occupation of Septimania Increased Au- 
thority of the Spanish Hierarchy resulting from its 
Isolation Social Life of the Christian Tributaries 
Their Devotion to Arab Learning They are em- 
ployed by the Khalifs in Important Missions Innate 
Hostility of Moslem and Christian Number and In- 
fluence of the Renegades The Martyrs Causes of 
Persecution Contrast between the Maxims and Policy 
of the Two Religions Impediments to Racial Amal- 
gamation , 177 



State of the Kingdom after the Conquest Superiority of 
the Moors Policy of the Crown Introduction of the 
Holy Office Administration of Talavera His Popu- 

Contents of Volume III. vii 


larity He is superseded by Ximenes The Two Great 
Spanish Cardinals Their Opposite Characters In- 
fluence on Their Age Violence of Ximenes He burns 
the Arabic Manuscripts Insurrection of the Moriscoes 
Rout in the Sierra Berraeja Bigotry of Isabella 
The Moors under Charles V. Persecution by the 
Clergy and the Inquisition under Philip II. War in 
the Alpuj arras Ibn-Ommeyah Operations of Don 
John of -Austria Removal of the Moors of Granada 
Death of Ibn-Ommeyah Ibn-Abu becomes King 
Siege of Galera Atrocities of the Campaign Fate of 
Ibn-Abu Condition of the Moriscoes in Spain They 
are Exiled by Philip III. Their Sufferings Effect 
of their Banishment upon the Prosperity of the King- 
dom 218 




Effects of Barbarian Supremacy on the Nations of Europe 
Rise of the Papal Power Character of the Popes 

Their Vices and Crimes The Interdict Corrupt 
Practices of Prelates and Degradation of the Papacy 

Institution of the Monastic Orders Their Great 
Influence Their Final Degeneracy Wealth of the 
Religious Houses The Byzantine System Its Char- 
acteristics Power of the Eunuchs Splendor of Con- 
stantinople Destruction of Learning Debased Con- . 
dition of the Greeks The People of Western Europe 
Tyranny of Caste and its Effects Feudal Oppres- 
sion Life of the Noble His Amusements The Serf 
and his Degradation His Hopeless Existence Treat- 
ment of the Jews Prevalence of Epidemics Religious 
Festivals General Ignorance Scarcity and Value of 
Books Persecution of Learning The Empire of the 
Church Its Extraordinary Vitality 324 

viii Contents of Volume III. 




Intellectual Stagnation of Europe during the Period of 
Moslem Greatness High Rank of Scholars in Spain 

Attainments of the Khalifs Character of Arab 
Literature Progress of Science The Alexandrian 
Museum Its Wonderful Discoveries Its Contributions 
to Learning Its Influence on the Career of the Moham- 
medans The Arabic Language Poetry of the Arabs 

Its General Characteristics Theology and Juris- 
prudence History Geography Philosophy 
Libraries Rationalism Averroes Mathematics 

Astronomy Al-Hazen Gerbert Botany 
Alchemy Chemistry Pharmacy Albertus Magnus, 
Robert Grossetete, and Roger Bacon Medicine and 
Surgery Ignorance of their Theories and Scientific 
Application in Mediaeval Europe Prevalence of Im- 
posture Fatality of Epidemics Great Advance of the 
Arabs in Medical Knowledge Hospitals Treatment 
of Various Diseases The Famous Moslem Practi- 
tioners Contrast between the Christian and Moham- 
medan Systems Enduring Effects of Arab Science 
Its Example and Benefits the Creative Influence of 
Modern Civilization 423 



Absolute Ignorance of Art among the Original Arabs 
Their Debt to Antiquity Their Early Architecture- 

Materials Massive Character of the First Edifices of 
the Moslems The Horseshoe Arch Its Phallic Deri- 
vation Progress of Artistic Embellishment Its 
Wonderful Diversity Byzantine Influence Employ- 
ment of Encaustic Tiles Mosaics of the Mosque of 
Cordova Stuccoes Their Composition and Infinite 
Variety of Form Stalactitic Pendentives Woodwork 
Its Beautiful and Intricate Designs Disappear- 
ance of Arabic Architectural Monuments in Sicily 
Military Structures of Mohammedan Spain Typical 
Form of the Mosque Its Hebrew Origin Manifold 

Contents of Volume III. ix 


Derivation of Hisp^no-Arab Architecture Develop- 
ment of Art in Moorish Spain Its Three Epochs 
The Alhambra its Culmination Representation of 
Animal Forms Painting and Sculpture Mural Dec- 
oration The Industrial Arts Working of Metals 
Arms Engraved Gems Ceramics The Leathern 
Tapestry of Cordova Textile Fabrics Calligraphy 
and Illumination Destruction of the Artistic Remains 
of the Moors 584 


agriculture, manufactures, and commerce of the european 
Moslems; their manners, customs, and amusements 

Disappearance of the Memorials of Arab Civilization 
Agricultural System of the Spanish Moors Its Won- 
derful Perfection Irrigating Apparatus The Tri- 
bunal of the Waters The Work of Ibn-al-Awam 
Universal Cultivation of the Soil Mineral Resources 
of the Peninsula Manufactures The Great Moslem 
Emporiums of the Mediterranean Commerce Its Ex- 
tensive Ramifications Articles of Traffic Commercial 
Prosperity of Sicily The Magnetic Needle Gun- 
powder and Artillery War Coinage Characteristics 
of the Khalifs Demoralization of the People The 
Bath General Prevalence of Superstition Social Life 
of the Moslems of Europe Privileges of Women 
Polygamy and Morals Slavery Amusements The 
Game of Chess Other Pastimes Dances Music 
Equestrian Sports The Bull Fight The Tilt of 
Reeds The Course of the Rings Hawking Pecu- 
liarities of Hispano-Arab Civilization The Crusades 
Their Effect on Christendom |Jnrivalled Achieve- 
ments of the Moors in Europe Conclusion 595 







Permanence of Arab Ideas in the South of Europe Social Cor- 
ruption Revolts against the Papacy Antagonism of the 
Holy See and the German Empire Consolidation of the 
Papal Power under Innocent III. Civilizing Agencies in 
Sicily Influence of the Normans as Heirs of the Arabs 
Birth of Frederick II. Character of Innocent III. Genius 
of the Emperor His Reforms System of Jurisprudence 
Commerce Legislation The University of Naples The 
Medical School of Salerno Character of Frederick His 
Court The South of France Its Early Civilization Cos- 
mopolitan Character of its Population Its Wealth, Intelli- 
gence, and Profligacy Debased Condition of the Clergy 
The University of Montpellier The Troubadours The Al- 
bigenses Their Defiance of Rome A Crusade is preached 
against Them They are annihilated Cruelty of the Cru- 
saders Parallel between the Civilization of Sicily and 
Languedoc Survival of the Philosophical Principles and 
Opinions of the Thirteenth Century. 

The extraordinary impulse to scientific investiga- 
tion, to historical research, to the development and 
perfection of the industrial arts, to the extension of 
commerce, to the improvement of the social and eco- 

VOL. III. 1 

2 History of the 

nomic conditions which are so intimately connected 
with the comfort and happiness of mankind, imparted 
by the Saracen kingdoms of Southern Europe, was 
far from being destroyed by the absorption or con- 
quest of their provinces or by the final extinction of 
their empire. The progress of their humanizing in- 
fluence upon other nations had been slow and im- 
perceptible. The philosophical ideas and principles 
advanced by the Arab universities were necessarily 
hostile to the doctrines of Christianity, to the opinions 
of the Fathers, to the inspiration of an infallible 
Pope, to the imperious claims of ecclesiastical suprem- 
acy. In consequence of their heretical tendency, they 
were perused in secret; and the diligence with which 
this prohibited literature was studied is revealed by 
the number of sects which arose, and the defiance of 
Papal authority, which is the distinguishing charac- 
teristic of European annals during the first half of 
the thirteenth century. The doctrines taught at Cor- 
dova and Palermo inspired those audacious mediaeval 
reformers, far in advance of their age, whose aspira- 
tions for intellectual and religious liberty were 
promptly and mercilessly extinguished at the stake 
and on the scaffold. The spirit of resistance to Papal 
aggression, corruption, and tyranny, temporarily 
checked, in time revived, and found permanent ex- 
pression in the bold and revolutionary theories of the 
Reformation. These great and radical changes were 
not spontaneously effected; the causes of their de- 
velopment had been in silent operation for many 

The schools of Moslem Spain and Sicily had long 
been the resort of students, ambitious of literary 
attainments and distinction, from every country in 
Europe. Princes of Castile and France had for 
generations enjoyed the benefits of the educational 
advantages to be obtained in the Spanish Peninsula. 

Moorish Empire in Europe 3 

The proximity of the pohshed and luxurious towns 
of Sicily to the ancient seat of Roman greatness 
and power had produced a corresponding elf ect, less 
evident and less durable, it is true, but still most civil- 
izing and beneficial, upon the ferocious barbarism 
which had succeeded the cruel and shameless vices 
of the Caesars. The sacerdotal order had profited 
more largely than all others by the learning of the 
Mohammedans. Pope Sylvester II., the most ac- 
complished ecclesiastic of his time, whose prodigious 
acquirements caused him to be accused of sorcery 
and led to his assassination by poison, was educated 
at the University of Cordova. Roger Bacon, another 
reputed wizard, had deeply imbibed the heretical but 
fascinating opinions of the sages of the Tagus and 
the Guadalquivir. In almost every European monas- 
tery, whose inmates, corrupted by wealth and de- 
praved by sensual indulgence, had abandoned the 
ascetic habits of the cloister, the infidel works of the 
Arabian philosophers were studied with curiosity and 
delight by jovial monks, long strangers to the vows 
inculcated as cardinal precepts by the regulations of 
their order. 

With the secular clergy, whose ostentatious luxury 
was proverbial, the case was even worse. While con- 
siderations of policy and self-interest prevented the 
avowal of principles totally at variance with the tenets 
of their profession, the fact that those principles were 
entertained was far from being a secret. The influ- 
ential prelates of the Church, ignorant or heedless of 
the prejudicial effects which must inevitably ensue 
from familiarity with the works of the Moslem phi- 
losophers, did not vigorously attempt to suppress them 
until the mischief they had produced was almost 
irreparable. The unbelief and moral obliquity of 
the clergy reacted upon their flocks. The latter saw 
fii'st with surprise, then with indifference the ill- 

4 History of the 

concealed skepticism and open immorality of their 
spiritual counsellors. As a result of this lax and in- 
consistent behavior, society became permeated with 
hypocrisy. The popular tales of the Middle Ages, 
many of them undoubtedly founded on fact, indicate 
only too plainly the estimation in which the clergy 
were held by the people. That such pictures of eccle- 
siastical life could be drawn and published without 
interference or punishment shows not only the extent 
of the evil, but the recognition of its existence by every 
class of the community. The licentious stories of the 
mediaeval writers were read or repeated with delight 
both in the palace of the noble and the hovel of the 
serf. One of the most remarkable of these collections 
owes its origin to the patronage of Louis XI., the 
Most Christian King of France. 

Although the clergy, and especially the members 
of the monastic orders, were, in these facetious pro- 
ductions, uniformly represented as objects of hatred 
and contempt, the practice of the vices and weak- 
nesses imputed to them was evidently so common to 
their calling as not even to arouse those feelings of 
resentment which would naturally arise from accusa- 
tions so nearly affecting their piety and virtue. So 
little attention, indeed, was paid to these disclosures 
of the habits of ecclesiastics, that their recital formed 
one of the ordinary diversions of conventual life, 
and the Gesta Romanorum, which long maintained 
a questionable celebrity, is a monkish compilation. 
When the spiritual guides of a community are 
deliberately held up to ridicule as the incarnation of 
all that is vile, rapacious, and bestial, their usefulness 
as directors of the public conscience and arbiters of 
private morals is at an end. Their pernicious example 
was not lost upon the people, although their influence 
for good declined. Universal corruption became the 
most prominent trait of every rank of society. The 

Moorish Empire in Europe 5 

most glaring acts of impiety remained unrebuked. 
National faith and personal obligations were alike 
unblushingly violated. Every revolting crime was 
committed by those whose means were sufficient to 
appease sacerdotal venality and purchase temporary 
absolution. No epoch in European history presents 
a more distressing picture of social demoraliza- 
tion, of royal perfidy, of priestly hypocrisy, of uni- 
versal wickedness, than the twelfth and thirteenth 
centuries. But while this condition of affairs was 
productive of widespread moral debasement, it was 
not wholly an unmixed evil. The weakening of the 
sentiments of fatuous reverence with which things 
denominated sacred had for ages been regarded, 
awakened among the masses a spirit of intellectual 
independence. The right of the exercise of private 
judgment began to be first tolerated, and afterwards 
tacitly recognized. Then originated the great moral 
revolution which, subsequently checked and almost 
overwhelmed by the power of the Papacy and dis- 
graced by scenes of horror to which history affords 
no parallel, ended in the momentous struggle of the 
sixteenth century, and the permanent triumph of 
reason over dogma, of intelligence over ecclesiastical 

But it was not only by the removal of superstitious 
prejudice, through the comparison of creeds, the ju- 
dicious employment of the principles of philosophical 
criticism, and the public exposure of the lives of the 
clergy, that this great and beneficial change was ac- 
complished. The commerce of the European Mos- 
lems was almost coextensive with the world at that 
time familiar to mariners. The excellence and beauty 
of their wares, unequalled by those of any other 
nation, were eagerly sought after by the wealthy and 
luxurious inhabitants of Christian countries. Mer- 
chants, traders, and students had spread far and wide 

6 History of the 

accounts of the marvels to be seen beyond the Pyr- 
enees, opulent and flourishing communities, where 
the meanest citizen was in the daily enjoyment of 
comforts unattainable as luxuries by the greatest 
potentates of Christendom ; edifices whose decorations 
surpassed in richness the wildest conceptions of Ori- 
ental fiction ; vast plantations, where fruits, unknown 
to colder climes, grew in prodigal abundance; cara- 
vansaries and markets crowded with a profusion of 
costly fabrics, and resounding with a Babel of strange 
and guttural tongues; institutions of learning fre- 
quented by tens of thousands of students, whose at- 
tainments extraordinary in a world of ignorance 
were believed to have been secured by an unholy com- 
pact with the infernal powers. 

The existence of this civilization in close proximity 
to the semi-barbarous Mediterranean nations and the 
salutary experience of its benefits could not fail to 
produce upon the latter a deep and lasting impres- 
sion. The Crusades, also, to some extent had enlarged 
the minds of the fierce warriors of the West. Their 
respect had been inspired by the equal valor and supe- 
rior intelligence of their Mohammedan adversaries; 
and a Saracen was no longer, as formerly, considered 
a demon incarnate, destitute of honor, insatiable of 
blood, incapable of compassion, ignorant alike of the 
courtesies of war and the suggestions of humanity. 
These various moral and physical agencies, acting 
through the maintenance of maritime intercourse and 
the promiscuous association with travellers of every 
description, gradually produced effects long unper- 
ceived and unappreciated by the class whose material 
interests were most vitally endangered. 

The dawn of the thirteenth century witnessed the 
outbreak and the arrest of two most significant move- 
ments of the human mind, destined to exercise im- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 7 

mense influence on the intellectual character and po- 
litical destiny of Europe. The one appeared in Sicily; 
arose under the auspices and was supported by the 
power of the Emperor Frederick II., that prodigy 
of mediaeval learning and diplomacy, great by birth, 
and, through the hereditary traditions of his line, still 
greater through the talents with which he was en- 
dowed and the accomplishments that adorned his 
character ; a colossal figure among the pygmy soldiers 
and churchmen of his time; a combination of oppo- 
site and eccentric qualities; brave but treacherous, 
impetuous but crafty; a skeptic, and an unrelenting 
persecutor of heretics ; at one time heading a crusade 
for the recovery of the Holy Sepulchre; at another 
marshalling Saracen armies against the partisans of 
the Pope ; a vassal of the Holy See, and an open ally 
and friend of the infidel; a professed champion of 
Christianity, while endeavoring to wrest from its 
acknowledged head that spiritual dominion which 
invested him with unlimited power over the lives, the 
fortunes, and the ultimate destiny of men ; legislator, 
troubadour, author, naturahst; " a poet in an age of 
schoolmen, a philosopher in an age of monks, a states- 
man in an age of crusaders." 

The other intellectual revolution against ecclesiasti- 
cal traditions and Papal despotism originated in the 
sunny lands of Provence and Languedoc, between the 
Mediterranean and the Pyrenees. That region, early 
overrun and colonized by the Saracen, had long re- 
mained subject to the Mohammedan princes of Spain. 
Although nominally Christian, its population was 
deeply infected with heterodox and atheistical opin- 
ions. The country had never lost the characteristics 
peculiar to the Moslem conqueror, the intelligent 
and persevering cultivation of the soil, the venture- 
some spirit of commercial enterprise, the development 
and profitable adaptation of every natural resource. 

8 History of the 

the pride of ostentatious luxury, the profound distrust 
of the female sex, which condemns its members to 
the seclusion of the harem. Amidst the freedom and 
gayety of its semi-Oriental cities, sectaries of every 
creed lived unquestioned and undisturbed. Polygamy 
was practised without concealment or reproach; 
scarcely a castle of count or baron was without 
its numerous seraglio. Education was general, and 
remarkable in its scope and efficiency when contrasted 
with the ignorance of contemporaneous societies. The 
famous University of Montpellier, a manifestation of 
the intellectual ideas and spirit which pervaded the 
South of France, was for generations a monument of 
the progress and erudition of the inhabitants of Lan- 
guedoc. Among the public teachers were many Jews 
and Mohammedans, who, in addition to the profound 
and varied learning of the schools of Cordova, 
brought to the notice of a curious and speculative 
race theories that boded ill to the ecclesiastical estab- 
lishment, which, stained with every hideous and dis- 
gusting vice, was fast sinking into universal and 
deserved contempt. The practice of improvisation, 
the composition of extemporaneous poetry, de- 
rived from the imaginative but unlettered tribes of 
the Arabian Desert, and for generations the delight 
of the capitals of Moorish Spain, found here its most 
fascinating expression and its highest development. 
Next to the prince himself, the troubadour was the 
most important personage of the Proven9al court. 
His accomplishments, often acquired by association 
with the Moslem, were the envy of the cavalier and 
the horror of the priest. His elegant manners and 
poetical talents gained for him the passionate adora- 
tion of high-born ladies, whose beauty he celebrated 
in florid and licentious verse. His satires were often 
directed against the clergy, whose lives too readily 
furnished cause for ridicule and censure. With him 

Moorish Empire in Europe 9 

occasionally travelled the jongleur, who, to the reci- 
tation of amorous chants, added the charm of har- 
monious minstrelsy. The ditties of the troubadours, 
like the coarse and facetious tales of this and subse- 
quent periods, afforded an unfailing index of popu- 
lar taste and prevalent opinions. In their lays the 
ecclesiastic is almost invariably an object of derision. 
His hypocrisy, his licentiousness, his greed, are de- 
picted in language which admits of no palliating or 
ambiguous interpretation. He is constantly repre- 
sented as the proverbial embodiment of all that is 
execrable and repulsive. If a butt for ridicule was 
needed, to give an appropriate climax to a story com- 
posed for the amusement of the court, the monastery 
could be relied upon to furnish an inexhaustible num- 
ber of subjects, whose foibles were at once recognized 
by the delighted and scoffing auditors. The sacred 
calling of the ministers of religion was constantly 
made the occasion of ribald pleasantry; the tricks of 
practical jokers were played with impunity upon 
every incumbent of the sacerdotal dignity, from the 
haughty bishop to the cowled and barefooted friar. 
Even the populace, in whom the spirit of superstitious 
reverence is always the first to be awakened and the 
last to be destroyed, shared in an equal degree the 
feelings of their superiors. The vagrant rhymer, de- 
claiming his sarcastic verses in the streets or by the 
wayside, was always sure of a liberal and appreciative 
audience. Such a condition of society indicates a cer- 
tain degree of intellectual progress which can only 
result from independence of thought and moral irre- 
sponsibility of action. The extraordinary opinion 
began to be advanced and largely accepted that the 
investiture of the priesthood, of itself, conveyed no 
special virtue which dispensed with the rules of social 
morality or conferred immunity from public criti- 
cism. This idea, at variance with all the traditions 

10 History of the , 

of a Church which attached the highest importance to 
the rigid observance of mere f ormahties, was followed 
by others of even more novel and startling character. 
The unbroken intercourse with the Moslem princi- 
palities of the Peninsula had introduced into a coun- 
try, whose people might, in some degree, justly claim 
consanguinity with the Saracens of Andalusia, the 
arts, the philosophy, and the erudition which had long 
embellished the accomplished courts of the Western 
Khalif ate. Hence arose the popularity of the works 
of Averroes, and the general familiarity with the pan- 
theistic ideas of Indian origin, subsequently adopted 
by the heretical sects which, from time to time, sprang 
up to vex the Papal orthodoxy of Europe. With their 
importation into France, the doctrines of the Arab 
philosophers were invested with a far broader signifi- 
cance than had ever been claimed by those who first 
inculcated their truths. The gay ballads of the South 
assumed a greater license of sentiment and language 
than their prototypes, whose freedom had provoked 
the censure of the Mohammedan society of the Gua- 
dalquivir, little inclined to displays of prudish moral- 
ity. It was from such beginnings that were derived 
the suggestions of those memorable religious revolu- 
tions which, headed by Wyclif in England, Huss in 
Bohemia, and Luther in Germany, in defiance of the 
tremendous power of the Vatican, impressed an in- 
delible seal upon the character and belief of so large 
a portion of the inhabitants of the civilized globe. 
The influence that Troubadour and Trouvere poets 
and minstrels during their incessant wanderings 
exerted upon the provincial dialects in which their 
productions were composed, and the extensive dis- 
tribution of the latter, did more than all else to form 
and perfect the language of France. It was the same 
in Italy. That country also indirectly owes the sweet 
and musical accents of its graceful idiom, equally 

Moorish Empire in Europe 11 

adapted to the descriptions of the historian, the rep- 
resentations of the dramatist, and the melodious ver- 
sification of the poet, to a race foreign in all its char- 
acteristics and traditions to that quarter of the world 
where it exercised its greatest power. As with poetry, 
so it was with other manifestations of genius. Much 
of the architecture of Southern Europe, and espe- 
cially those buildings devoted to religious worship, 
present unmistakable evidences of their Moorish 
origin; and thus the law of Mohammed, while it 
failed to retain its dominion over the minds of men, 
was enabled to perpetuate the memory of the arts, 
which it promoted in the construction of magnificent 
and imposing edifices raised for the celebration of the 
rites of another and an inimical religion. In a thou- 
sand ways, the march of intellectual improvement, 
suggested by the presence and example of Moslem 
skill and learning, was accelerated in the provinces 
of the South of France. The active minds of the 
inhabitants of the valley of the Rhone devoured with 
eagerness the extravagant tales of Moorish fiction, 
and their curiosity was stimulated by the study of the 
maxims of Plato and Aristotle contained in Arabic 
versions of those writers. Their manners insensibly 
became softened, their ideas were enlarged, their tastes 
were cultivated; they no longer regarded the torture 
of heretics and the massacre of infidels as conform- 
able to the precepts of a religion based upon " peace 
and good-will to men." With deep disgust they threw 
off their allegiance to the Church of Rome. Woman, 
hitherto a slave, subjected to the caprice of an im- 
perious and irresponsible master, was raised by the 
hand of chivalry and made the cherished companion, if 
not the equal, of her lord. Semi-barbarous Europe 
looked with wonder upon a land so blessed by nature 
and adorned by art; where the remains of classic an- 
tiquity were taught in the same schools with the botany 

12 History of the 

of Syria and the chemistry of Spain; where a philo- 
sophic spirit of inquiry had awakened the noblest 
aspirations of the human intellect, and where knightly 
courtesy had replaced the rudeness of the sword. 

This advanced civilization had, unfortunately, come 
four centuries too soon. The fears of the Papacy 
were excited, and a ferocious crusade, which spared 
neither rank, age, sex, nor infirmity, was published 
against the unfortunate Albigenses. Upon the ruins 
of one of the most refined societies that had arisen 
to instruct mankind since the days of Athenian great- 
ness, a society which embodied all that was interesting, 
learned, profitable, or entertaining in human life, was 
erected the Inquisition, the bane of science, and the 
implacable foe of civil and religious liberty. 

The great contest of the thirteenth century between 
the Empire and the Holy See for the mastery of the 
world derived its origin from the barbarian occupation 
of Italy. The imperial dignity of the Csesars em- 
bodied, as is well known, not only its supreme exer- 
cise, but the prestige and the mysterious power which 
attached to the place of Pontif ex JMaximus, the proto- 
type of the Papacy. That power had been solemnly 
confirmed, and materially enlarged, by the ambition 
and politic measures of Constantine. The occasional 
employment of the Bishop of Rome as arbiter of the 
differences between the Sees of Constantinople and 
Alexandria had magnified the importance and insen- 
sibly extended the jurisdiction of his office. Aspiring 
prelates, who held their court on the banks of the 
classic Tiber, in sight of the stupendous memorials 
of ancient civilization, soon began to arrogate to them- 
selves a preponderance in the determination of secular 
matters to which their comparatively obscure prede- 
cessors had advanced no claim. The texts of Scrip- 
ture were invoked and interpreted to confirm their 
pretensions. In addition to the alleged vicarious sov- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 13 

ereignty vested in them by the traditional choice of 
the Saviour, they asserted that the privileges and 
authority enjoyed by the Pontifex Maximus were 
theirs by the right of inheritance. They insisted, 
moreover, that as celestial matters were of far greater 
importance to mankind than any connected with the 
affairs of a transitory life, the sacredness of their 
exalted position conferred extraordinary prerogatives, 
and that the imperial power was subordinate to, and, 
under some circumstances, actually merged into, the 
pontifical dignity. By thus shrewdly taking advan- 
tage of every circumstance which could either 
strengthen its influence or extend its jurisdiction, 
the Holy See subjected to its tyrannical and irrespon- 
sible sway a far more extensive and populous terri- 
tory than had ever paid reluctant tribute to the masters 
of imperial Rome. Excommunication, anathema, and 
interdict, the means by which this tremendous au- 
thority was enforced, were moral instruments which 
appealed with irresistible force to the fears of a 
superstitious age. 

The barbarian invasions, which swept away the last 
vestige of imperial greatness, introduced the heretical 
doctrines of Arius into Southern Europe. The re- 
ligious antagonism resulting from the incessant clash 
of adverse opinions was perpetuated by the mutual 
jealousies of king and bishop, until the accession of 
Charlemagne practically united in the hands of that 
emperor the temporal and sacerdotal powers, the 
dominion of the earth, and the control of an order 
whose members were universally regarded as media- 
tors with heaven. With his death the exercise of the 
exalted prerogative of spiritual jurisdiction reverted 
to the Papacy. The claim to its enjoyment was never 
afterwards successfully urged by any monarch who 
was entitled, by right of inheritance, to the dignities 
and privileges of the Carlovingian empire. By de- 

14 History of the 

grees, the resistless influence of intellectual supe- 
riority, quietly, but none the less powerfully exerted, 
began to manifest itself. It was to the fact that the 
Church monopolized all the learning of early mediaeval 
times, even more than to the reverence that attached 
to the holy calling of its ministers, that its boundless 
power over the most truculent and merciless bar- 
barians is to be attributed. A mysterious and exag- 
gerated importance was ascribed to that profession 
whose members held communion with past ages ; who 
called down the blessings or the maledictions of 
celestial beings in a tongue unlvnown to the vulgar; 
who communicated, in unintelligible characters, with 
the learned and the wise of distant nations; and who, 
in the seclusion of the laboratory, indulged in pursuits 
condemned by the canons of their faith, but occasion- 
ally productive of results whose character, remarkable 
for that epoch, not infrequently acquired for the 
monkish chemist the unenviable and perilous title of 
conjuror. The hterary and scientific attainments 
acquired in the cloister bore, however, no comparison 
to the erudition of those countries where Saracen 
energy and munificence had long promoted the exer- 
cise and expansion of the highest faculties of the 
human intellect. The knowledge possessed by the 
clergy was only extensive by contrast with the impene- 
trable ignorance by which they were surrounded, and 
which it was their interest to diligently propagate and 

The era which witnessed the climax of Papal su- 
premacy was coincident v/ith the most thoroughly 
concerted and menacing attempt at its overthrow 
ever directed by any secular potentate. The birth of 
Frederick II. preceded the election of Innocent III. 
to the Holy See only three years. In the deadly 
struggle that arose between these two mighty antago- 
nists, a struggle which was far more pohtical than 

Moorish Empire in Europe 15 

religious, and whose tempting prize was the dominion 
of the earth, the influence of the Saracen was a 
powerful, and, in many instances, a predominant 
factor. Moslem laws, institutions, and customs had 
for centuries, amidst communities hostile in origin and 
belief, survived alike the existence of their own dy- 
nasties and the domination of their conquerors. Tribal 
dissensions and hereditary enmity had prompted and 
facilitated the destruction of the splendid ]\Ioham- 
medan empire in Sicily. In its turn, the Norman 
kingdom, after a prolonged and stormy existence, in 
which the Moorish tributaries played no inconsiderable 
part, lost its identity; and, by the marriage of Con- 
stance, the mother of Frederick II., with Henry VI., 
was merged into the German Empire. During the 
great political and moral revolutions which disposed 
of crowns and repeatedly changed the destinies of the 
island, the Arab element of the population maintained 
an undisputed superiority in arts, in commerce, in 
literature, in short, in all professions and employ- 
ments save that of war alone. The semi-barbarian 
conqueror, whose only passports to distinction were 
the dexterity with which he wielded lance and sword 
and the undaunted courage with which he faced ten- 
fold odds, early recognized the advantages of that in- 
tellectual power which enabled his Moorish vassals to 
cope with, and overreach, in both trade and diplo- 
macy, the astute politicians of Christian Italy. This 
exotic population, notwithstanding the successive ca- 
lamities which had afflicted it, exhibited through long 
periods of time no extraordinary diminution of num- 
bers, a fact no doubt largely attributable to the preva- 
lence of polygamous customs. In the centre of the 
island many Moorish settlements, defended by im- 
pregnable fortresses, subsisting by pastoral occupa- 
tions, and whose comparative poverty offered little 
inducement to invasion, remained in tranquillity and 

16 History of the 

in the enjoyment of a rustic independence. In the 
great seaports, on the other hand, the Moslem tribu- 
taries retained under foreign domination all of the 
refinement and much of the splendor which had distin- 
guished the luxurious court of the emirs. In these 
vast emporiums, where were constantly assembled 
the merchants of every Christian and of every Mo- 
hammedan state, a numerous, motley, and industrious 
people pursued, without oppression or hinderance, all 
the avocations of thriving mercantile communities. 
The peculiar adaptability of the genius of the Nor- 
man to novel social and political conditions, a quality 
which was the main source of his prosperity and great- 
ness, was never more prominently displayed than after 
the conquest which transferred the sceptre of Sicily 
from one race of foreign adventurers to another. 
No more striking antagonism of national customs, 
religious prejudices, habits, and traditions could be 
conceived than that existing between the victor and 
the vanquished. One came from the borders of the 
Arctic Circle; the original home of the other was in 
the Torrid Zone. Both traced their lineage to tribes 
steeped in barbarism and idolatry; but the Norman, 
though he had changed his system of worship, still 
retained many of its objectionable and degrading 
features, while the Arab professed a creed that re- 
garded with undisguised abhorrence the adoration of 
images and the invocation of saints. In the arts of 
civilization, there was no corresponding advance which 
could suggest resemblance or justify comparison. 
Poverty, ignorance, ferocity, still remained the char- 
acteristics of the Norman, as when, with a handful 
of resolute companions, he scattered to the winds the 
armies of the Sicilian Mussulman. The latter, how- 
ever, if inferior in endurance and martial energy to 
his conqueror, was possessed of accomplishments 
which justly entitled him to a prominent rank in the 

Moorish Empire in Europe 17 

community of nations. No circumstance of honor, of 
distinction, of inventive genius, was wanting to exalt 
his character or magnify his reputation. The fame 
of his miHtary achievements had filled the world. His 
commercial relations had made his name familiar to 
and respected by remote and jealous races, to whom 
the Christian kingdoms of Europe were unknown. 
His civil polity was admirably adapted to the character 
and necessities of the people its laws were intended to 
govern. Under those laws, administered by a succes- 
sion of great princes, Moslem society had become opu- 
lent, polished, and dissolute beyond all example, but 
eventually and inevitably enervated and decadent. 
Political and social disorganization had not, however, 
entirely destroyed the prestige earned by ages of 
military glory and intellectual pre-eminence. The 
schools of Cordova had been swept away by hordes 
of African fanatics. Her libraries had been scattered 
or destroyed. Her incomparable palaces had been 
levelled with the ground or had succumbed to the 
gradual decay to which they had been abandoned by 
ferocious chieftains, alike ignorant of the arts and 
indifferent to the claims of civilization. But the glory 
of the fallen metropolis had been reflected upon the 
provincial capitals of a distracted and dismembered 
monarchy. Malaga, Granada, Toledo, Seville, were 
still celebrated as seats of learning; civil war had in- 
terrupted but not extinguished the pursuit of science ; 
a taste for letters counteracted in some degree the 
thirst for blood which prompted the atrocities of tribal 
hate and hostile faction; and the chivalrous inter- 
course established at intervals between the two races 
contending for national superiority afforded a happy 
if a deceptive image of affluence and security. The 
Sicihan Mohammedans, while the vicissitudes and 
calamities of their history presented in miniature a 
general resemblance to those experienced by their 

Vol. III. 2 

18 History of the 

brethren of the Spanish Peninsula, were never sub- 
jected to such repeated and overwhelming disasters 
as fell to the lot of the subjects of the Ommeyade 
dynasty and of the principalities which inherited its 
enmities, and the shattered fragments of its once vast 
and populous but cumbersome empire. The Norman 
acquisition of Sicily, unlike the Spanish Reconquest, 
was accomplished with surprising ease and rapidity. 
In the former instance there was but little of that in- 
discriminate ferocity which was characteristic of the 
conflicts of the Middle Ages, and especially of these 
where religious interests were directly involved. The 
experience of the conquerors obtained in many lands 
enabled them to appreciate the value of the monu- 
ments of a highly developed civilization, whose pro- 
moters were soon to pass under their sceptre. For 
this reason there was no ruthless spoliation of cities, 
no indiscriminate devastation of a fertile country 
which had been reclaimed by infinite toil and perse- 
verance from an unpromising prospect of marsh, 
ravine, and precipice. The tangible results of three 
hundred years of national progress and culture were 
transmitted, with but little impairment, to the victori- 
ous foreigner. These advantages were at once grasped 
and appropriated with an avidity absolutely phenome- 
nal in a people whose career had been dictated by the 
predatory instincts of the bandit, and whose manners 
had been formed amidst the license of the camp, the 
superstition of the cloister, and the carnage of the 

Norman Sicily exhibited, to all intents and pur- 
poses, a prolongation, under happier auspices, of that 
dominion to which the island owed its prosperity and 
its fame. The influence of Moorish thrift, capacity, 
and skill was everywhere manifest and acknowledged. 
Its silent operation facilitated its progress and in- 
creased its power. The maritime interests of the 

Moorish Empire in Europe 19 

island were in the hands of the Moslems; they con- 
trolled the finances ; they negotiated treaties ; to them 
was largely confided the administration of justice and 
the education of youth. Their integrity was acknowl- 
edged even by those whose practices appeared most 
unfavorable by contrast ; their versatile talents not in- 
frequently raised them to the highest and most respon- 
sible posts of the Norman court. That court is de- 
clared by contemporary historians to have equalled in 
splendor and culture those of Cairo and Bagdad. This 
comparison, while the highest encomium that could be 
pronounced upon its grandeur and brilliancy, also de- 
noted unmistakably the Oriental influence which per- 
vaded it. Great dignitaries, with pompous titles and 
retinues imposing in numbers and magnificence, exer- 
cised the principal employments of the crown. A rigid 
system of subordination and accountability was estab- 
lished, governing the conduct of the minor officials 
in their relations to their superiors and to the sover- 
eign. The gradations in rank of these civil magistrates 
were numerous, and their respective duties plainly and 
accurately defined. The system of fiefs had never 
obtained in Northern Italy, owing to the extraordi- 
nary growth of maritime enterprise, the mutual jeal- 
ousies engendered by commercial rivalry, the preju- 
dices of the Lombard population, hostile to the 
restraints and abuses which the adoption of that 
system implied, the foundation of many independent 
and wealthy communities, conditions naturally in- 
compatible with the maintenance of an establishment 
based upon obligations of military service and baronial 
protection. In Apulia and Northern Sicily, however, 
Norman domination transplanted, to some extent, the 
laws and customs of Western Europe, which found a 
congenial soil in provinces already familiar with the 
exactions of Saracen despotism. But the feudal sys- 
tem of Norman rule had lost much of its original 

20 History of the 

severity, and had been curtailed of those oppressive 
privileges with difficulty endured even in countries for 
centuries accustomed to the suffering and degradation 
they entailed. These modifications were so extensive 
and radical as to be almost revolutionary in their na- 
ture. The disputes of lord and vassal, of noble and 
suzerain, were decided by a court of judicature. Vil- 
leinage, as recognized elsewhere in Europe, was practi- 
cally unknown. While the villein was attached to the 
glebe and passed with its transfer, he could not be 
persecuted with impunity ; he could own property and 
alienate it, make wills, ransom his services, and, in 
many other respects, exercise the rights of a freeman, 
while still subject to the disabilities of a serf. The 
days of compulsory labor enjoined upon him were 
prescribed by law. His testimony was admissible in 
the trial of causes ; he could not be illegally deprived 
of the results of his industry when his duties to his 
lord had been faithfully discharged; and, under cer- 
tain circumstances, he was permitted to enter the cleri- 
cal profession, whose opportunities might open to an 
aspiring zealot a career of the highest distinction. 

The barbarian prejudices of the Norman conqueror 
survived in many institutions inherited from ages of 
gross superstition and ignorance. Among these were 
the absurd and iniquitous trials by fire, water, and 
judicial combat, prevalent in societies dominated 
partly by priestcraft and partly by the sword. But 
more correct ideas of the true character of evidence 
and its application, acquired from association with a 
people familiar with the codes of Justinian and Mo- 
hammed, eventually mitigated the evils produced by 
such irrational procedure; and, while not entirely 
abandoned, its most offensive features were gradually 
suffered to become obsolete. In other respects, the 
administration of justice for the excellence of its 
system, for the rapidity with which trials were con- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 21 

ducted, for the opportunity afforded the htigant for 
appeal and reversal of judgment was remarkable. 
Invested with a sacred character, the judge, in the 
honor of his official position, was inferior to the king 
alone. His person was inviolable. No one might 
question his motives or dispute his authority under 
penalty of sacrilege. The head of the supreme court 
of the kingdom, by which all questions taken on appeal 
from the inferior tribunals were finally adjudicated, 
was called the Grand Justiciary. His powers and 
dignity claimed and received the highest consideration. 
None but men conspicuously eminent for learning and 
integrity were raised to this exalted office. The Grand 
Justiciary, although frequently of plebeian extrac- 
tion, took precedence of the proud nobility, whose 
titles, centuries old and gained in Egypt and Pales- 
tine, had already become historic. A silken banner, 
the emblem of his office, was carried before him. In 
public assemblies and royal audiences he sat at the 
left hand of the sovereign. Only the constable, of all 
the officials of the crown, approached him in rank. 
These unusual honors paid to a dignitary whose title 
to respect was due, not to personal prowess or to 
hereditary distinction, but to the reverence attaching 
to his employment, indicate a great advance in the 
character of a people which, but a few years before, 
acknowledged no law but that of physical superiority, 
no tribunal but that of arms. In the other depart- 
ments of government in finance, in legislation, in 
the regulations of commerce, in the protection and 
encouragement of agriculture, in the maintenance of 
order the Norman domination in Sicily presented an 
example of advanced civilization to be seen nowhere 
else in Europe, except in the ^loorish principalities 
of Spain. The system of taxation not only embraced 
regular assessments, but authorized such extraordinary 
contributions as might be required for the construction 

22 History of the 

of great public works or demanded by the exigencies 
of war. A powerful and well-equipped navy en- 
forced the authority and protected the rights of the 
Norman kings in the Mediterranean. In the classi- 
fication of orders, ecclesiastics were not, as elsewhere, 
granted extraordinary privileges by reason of their 
sacred profession. Those of rank were enrolled 
among the feudatories ; the inferior clergy were rele- 
gated to the intermediate grade of subjects placed 
between the noble and the serf ; all were, equally with 
the laity, responsible for infractions of the laws. The 
monarch was the head of the Church under the Pope ; 
the office of Papal legate, which he usurped, was as- 
sumed, by a convenient fiction, to have been trans- 
mitted by inlieritance ; he exercised the rights of the 
erection of bishoprics, the presentation of benefices, 
the translation of prelates, the exemption of abbeys; 
he imposed taxes on the priesthood, and, when occa- 
sion demanded, did not hesitate to seize and appro- 
priate property set aside for the uses of public wor- 
ship. In his dominions, the Pope, while the nominal 
head of Christendom, was merely a personage of sec- 
ondary importance, with little real influence and with 
no prestige save that derived from his venerated title 
and from his residence in that city which had once 
given laws to the world. The Papacy, it is true, had 
not yet fully established those portentous claims to 
empire which subsequently brought the most remote 
countries under its jurisdiction; but its aspiring pon- 
tiff's had already laid the foundations of their despo- 
tism; and this defiance of their authority, at the very 
gates of the capital of Christendom, was fraught with 
the most vital consequences to the future peace and 
welfare of Europe. 

No people presented greater variety in manners, 
language, habits, and religion than that of Norman 
Sicily. The mingling of strange tongues, the constant 

Moorish Empire in Europe 23 

recurrence of picturesque costumes, denoted the pres- 
ence of many distinct nationalities. In general, al- 
though close relations were maintained and intermar- 
riages were common, the different races were distrib- 
uted in separate quarters and districts, and existed as 
castes. Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Arabic, as well as the 
harsh and barbaric dialects of Germany and France, 
were spoken; the laws of each nation were suffered 
to prevail, except when they conflicted with the su- 
preme authority; enforced proselytism and religious 
persecution were unknown; and, in a society of such 
a diversified character, it was impossible that national 
prejudice could obtain a permanent foothold. The 
tendency of public opinion, as well as the policy of 
the government, was towards the indulgence of re- 
ligious and intellectual freedom. In no respect was 
this liberality so apparent as in the treatment of the 
Jews. Elsewhere in Europe they were considered the 
legitimate prey of every oppressor ; liable to be trans- 
ferred by entire communities, like so many cattle, 
from one petty tyrant to another ; robbed and tortured 
with impunity ; incapacitated from invoking the pro- 
tection of the laws; rendered powerless by centuries 
of systematic oppression to exert the right of self- 
defence or to successfully appeal to arms in an age of 
anarchy and violence. In Sicily, under the Normans, 
an enlightened public sentiment dictated the measures 
pursued in the treatment of an enterprising but un- 
fortunate people. Their usefulness to the state was 
recognized by the immunities they enjoyed. For 
generations, no badge of infamy or servitude made 
them conspicuous in the crowded streets; no onerous 
taxes were laid upon them as a class; they shared, in 
large measure, the rights and privileges of other citi- 
zens ; no tribunal was permitted to discriminate against 
them in the dispensation of justice; they were not 
prohibited from exercising the profession of bankers, 

24 History of the 

but the rate of interest they might exact was limited 
to ten per cent. 

The lustre of Saracen civilization was rather height- 
ened than tarnished by the Norman conquest. The 
stability and confidence which the rule of the victors 
produced more than compensated for the damage in- 
evitably resulting from their military operations. The 
supremacy of law was everywhere established. Tribal 
animosity, which had been the curse of Moslem so- 
ciety, was suppressed, if not entirely eradicated. The 
seaports increased rapidly in extent and opulence. 
Palaces of equal dimensions and beauty, but more 
substantial in their construction, replaced the airy and 
picturesque villas which had displayed the taste of the 
Moorish princes. Massive stairways afforded access 
to the broad stone quays encumbered with the mer- 
chandise of the Mediterranean. The narrow and tor- 
tuous thoroughfares of the Orient gave way to wide 
and well-paved avenues adapted to the commercial 
necessities of a numerous trading population. As 
formerly, under Greek and Moslem, Palermo ex- 
hibited, in the highest degree, the influence and prog- 
ress of the arts of civilization. Its citadel, defended 
by every resource of military science, was of such 
extent as to merit of itself the appellation of a city. 
Here were situated the warehouses, the bazaars, the 
baths, the markets, the churches, and the mosques. 
Above it rose the castle reared by the Normans, the 
solid blocks which composed its walls being covered 
with arabesques and inscriptions. The residences of 
the merchants and the nobility were conspicuous for 
their number and elegance; the royal palace was in 
itself a marvel of architectural grandeur and sybaritic 
luxury. But the edifices which sti-uck the imagina- 
tion of the stranger most forcibly were the two great 
shrines respectively allotted to Christian and to JNIos- 
lem worship. Sectarian rivalry had exhausted itself 

Moorish Empire in Europe 25 

in their construction and adornment. The mosque was 
one of the most superb in all Islam. Its beauty was 
enhanced by its rich tapestries, and by the exquisite 
coloring and gilding it exhibited in the delicate carv- 
ings which embellished its interior. But grand and 
beautiful as it was, the Christian cathedral was gen- 
erally conceded to surpass it in those material attrac- 
tions which appeal most strongly to the senses of the 
enthusiastic and the devout. Arab writers have vied 
with each other in celebrating the majesty and splen- 
dor of this famous temple. The combined skill of 
the Moorish and the Byzantine artist had been laid 
under contribution in its embellishment. The walls 
were incrusted with gold, whose dazzling brilliancy 
was relieved by panels of precious marble of various 
colors bordered with foliage of green mosaic. The 
columns were sculptured with floral ornaments, inter- 
spersed with inscriptions in Cufic characters. The 
lofty cupola, covered with glistening tiles, was one of 
the landmarks of the capital, and, projected against 
the cloudless sky, was the most prominent object which 
caught the eye of the expectant mariner. Around the 
city, rising in terraces, like the seats of an amphi- 
theatre, were the suburbs, verdant with the luxuriant 
vegetation of every country that could be reached by 
the enterprise of man, through whose leafy screen 
appeared at intervals the gayly painted villas of the 
merchant princes or the sumptuous and imposing 
palaces of the Norman aristocracy. 

Amidst the numerous measures originated and 
brought to maturity by the new domination, it is 
remarkable that no especial encouragement was 
afforded to institutions of learning. A tradition 
exists of the academy of the great Count Roger, 
but it is only a tradition. No national university 
was founded to perpetuate the fame or to exalt the 
benefits of regal patronage. No general plan of pro- 

26 History of the 

moting the education of the masses was inaugurated. 
The Jewish and Saracen schools, however, still sur- 
vived; they were often the recipients of royal gener- 
osity, and were resorted to by such Christians as were 
desirous of profiting by the valuable instruction they 
afforded. As elsewhere in Christendom, the clergy 
were the general depositaries of knowledge, an ad- 
vantage which they thoroughly understood, and were 
by no means willing to voluntarily relinquish. In one 
respect alone their power was seriously curtailed. 
The spurious medicine of the time, as practised under 
the sanction of the Holy See, had raised up a herd 
of ignorant and mercenary ecclesiastical charlatans. 
These operated by means of chants, relics, and incense ; 
and their enormous gains were one of the chief sources 
of revenue to the parish and the monastery, and a 
corresponding burden on the people. King Roger 
abolished this abuse, and required an examination, by 
experienced physicians, of all candidates for the pro- 
fession of medicine and surgery, restricting those 
whose superstition was ineradicable or whose learning 
was deficient to the clandestine ministrations of the 
shrine and the confessional. 

In the subjugated race, which had inherited the 
wisdom and experience of many ages and peoples, is 
to be discerned the principal, and indeed the indispen- 
sable, factor of Norman prosperity and civilization. 
Its characteristics had been deeply impressed upon the 
various regulations which controlled the destinies of 
the island; they reappeared in the military organiza- 
tion, in the civil polity, in the social customs, in the 
architectural designs, even in the religious ceremonial, 
of the conquerors. The invaders were but a handful 
in immber; but the moral influence they wielded, 
through invincible valor, prodigious personal strength, 
and inflexible tenacity of purpose, at once gave them 
almost undisputed ascendency. These qualities, how- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 27 

ever, could not, unaided, found or maintain a flourish- 
ing state eminent in those arts which contribute to the 
welfare and opulence of nations. Oriental craft, 
refinement, and learning were able, however, to supply 
the deficiencies of whose existence the rude and un- 
polished Western adventurers were thoroughly cog- 
nizant. The Moslem stood high in the confidence and 
favor of the Norman princes. Quick to appreciate 
and meet the exigencies of every occasion, his prowess 
was invaluable in the suppression of anarchy and the 
estabhshment of order. Saracen cavalry were enrolled 
by thousands in the Norman armies. Saracen coun- 
cillors stood in the shadow of the throne. Saracens 
collected taxes and administered the public revenues. 
They conducted, with the artful diplomacy character- 
istic of their race, important negotiations with foreign 
powers. Their religious assemblies were protected 
from intrusion and insult with the same solicitude 
which assured the inviolability of Christian worship. 
The unobstructed enjoyment and disposal of real and 
personal property was accorded to them by the laws. 
Their impress on the customs of social and domestic 
life was deep and permanent. The prevailing lan- 
guage of court and city alike was Arabic. Eunuchs, 
in flowing robes and snowy turbans, swarmed in the 
palaces of king, noble, and bishop. Dark-eyed 
beauties of Moorish lineage filled the harems of the 
martial and licentious aristocracy. The kadi, retain- 
ing the insignia and authority of his original official 
employment, was an important member of the Sicilian 
judiciary. He not only determined the causes of his 
countrymen, but was frequently the trusted adviser 
of the monarch. From the summits of a hundred 
minarets which seemed to pierce the skies, the muezzin, 
shrilly intoning the prescribed verses of the Koran, 
summoned the followers of Mohammed to prayer. As 

28 History of the 

was Palermo, such were the other Sicihan cities, 
Messina, Syracuse, Enna, Agrigentum. 

Moslem institutions, with the powerful influences 
resulting from their universal adoption, thus main- 
tained an overwhelming preponderance throughout 
the provinces of the Norman kingdom. Even in 
Apulia and Calabria, the original seat of the new 
dynasty, the same conditions prevailed. The centre 
of the Papal power and of the various states subject 
to its immediate jurisdiction a jurisdiction already 
important, but not as yet exercised with undisputed 
authority could not fail to be profoundly impressed 
by the proximity of this anomalous empire; where 
Christian symbols and Koranic legends were blended 
in the embellishment of cathedrals; where the cruci- 
fixion and the mottoes of Mohammedan rulers were 
impressed together upon the coinage of the realm; 
where eminent prelates owed investiture, rendered 
homage, and paid tribute to the secular power ; where 
Moslem dignitaries not infrequently took precedence 
of Papal envoys; and the hereditary enemies of 
Christendom fought valiantly under the standard of 
the Cross. Nor was the effect of this ominous ex- 
ample confined to localities where daily familiarity 
had caused it to lose its novelty. The traders who 
visited the remote and semi-barbarous courts of Eu- 
rope, the Crusaders who from time to time enjoyed 
the hospitality of the Sicilian cities, the returned ad- 
venturers who had served in the armies of the princely 
House of De Hauteville, all spread, far and wide, ex- 
aggerated and romantic accounts of the strange and 
sacrilegious customs of the Norman monarchy. Ec- 
clesiastics crossed themselves with dismay when they 
heard of the honors lavished upon infidels, whose co- 
religionists had profaned the Holy Sepulchre, evoking 
gigantic expeditions which had depopulated entire 
provinces and drained the wealth of credulous and 

Moorish Empire in Europe 29 

fanatic Europe. Others, whom study and reflection 
had made wise beyond the age in which they hved, 
saw, with open indifference and concealed dehght, in 
this defiance and contempt of Popish tyranny, the 
dawn of a brighter era, the prospect of the ultimate 
emancipation of the human mind. The progress of 
the mental and moral changes which affected Eu- 
ropean society, acting through the intervention of 
Norman influence in the political and religious life 
of the continent, was gradual, indeterminate, and long 
imperceptible, but incessant and powerful. The uni- 
versal deficiency of the means of information, the 
dearth of educational facilities, which promoted the 
dependence of the masses upon the only class capable 
of instructing and improving them, the terrible pen- 
alties visited upon heresy, deferred for nearly three 
hundred years the inevitable outbreak of an intellec- 
tual revolution. The principles on which that revolu- 
tion was based, although at first discussed furtively 
and in secret, in time became so popular as to endanger 
the empire of the Church and to seriously impair its 

The influence of the royal House of De Hauteville 
was extended, magnified, perpetuated, by the imperial 
House of Hohenstauf en. The traditions of the Arab, 
inherited by the Norman, were transmitted to and be- 
came the inspiration of the German. The genius of 
Frederick II. impressed itself indelibly upon the en- 
tire Teutonic race. It must not be forgotten that the 
most formidable revolt against Papal tyranny and 
corruption broke out in Saxony. The new German 
Empire owes largely its commanding position in Eu- 
rope and its exalted rank in the scale of civilization 
to the talents, the energy, and the transcendent wisdom 
of the greatest monarch of mediseval times. 

The fierce struggle between the Papacy and the 
Empire for universal rule began with the ascendency 

30 History of the 

of the House of Hohenstaufen, in the beginning of 
the twelfth century. The princes of that House, emi- 
nent for valor and diplomacy, early displayed a spirit 
of insubordination towards the Holy See which au- 
gured ill for the political supremacy which had begun 
to be the leading object of its ambition. The Papal 
power, not yet consolidated, nor even fully defined, 
was unable to successfully oppose to the encroach- 
ments of the haughty German sovereigns those meas- 
ures which afterwards proved so effective against the 
recalcitrant monarchs of Europe in the settlement of 
disputes involving its doctrines and its authority. 
The chaotic state of European politics made it impos- 
sible for the Pope to enlist the aid of any potentate 
able to withstand the tj'-rants of the North, whose am- 
bition aimed at the absorption of St. Peter's patri- 
mony, as their insolence had already menaced the in- 
dependence of his throne. Diplomatic negotiation had 
proved of no avail. The once formidable weapon of 
excommunication was treated with contempt. No 
other resource remained. The influence of the Empire 
attained its maximum during the reign of Henry 
VI.; and the Pope, surrounded on every side by 
powerful and determined enemies, seemed about to 
be degraded to the rank of an imperial vassal, when 
the sudden death of the Emperor, and the election of 
one of the greatest of the Supreme Pontiffs ever 
raised to the chair of the Holy See, reversed the po- 
litical and ecclesiastical conditions, to all appearances 
firmly established, and upon whose maintenance so 
much depended, and opened the way for a train of 
calamities unequalled in their atrocious character by 
any acts of tyranny that have ever stifled independent 
thought or retarded the progress of human civiliza- 

Innocent III., when elected to the Papal dignity, 
was already a man of mature years, wide experience, 

Moorish Empire in Europe 31 

and established reputation. His abilities as a scholar 
and a diplomatist, his familiarity with the principles 
of theology and law, had made his name known and 
respected throughout Europe, while the influence he 
exerted in the councils of the Church, long before his 
exaltation to its highest office, rendered him eminently 
conspicuous in the ecclesiastical affairs of Italy. With 
his extensive erudition and versatility of character 
were united talents for intrigue and administration 
equal to the most exacting requirements of statesman- 
ship and command. Insinuating in address, jovial in 
conversation, by turns haughty and affable in manner, 
his unrivalled acquaintance with human nature, and 
his delicacy of tact, enabled him to regulate his con- 
duct and his demeanor according to the circumstances 
of his political or religious environment. Conscious 
of his commanding genius, his insatiable ambition was 
not content with the enjoyment of the traditional 
honors and material advantages of Papal sovereignty ; 
it aimed at the establishment of an autocracy, free 
from the interference of earthly potentates, nominally 
subject to celestial power alone, but, in fact, absolutely 
irresponsible and despotic. 

Such was the formidable antagonist who, at the 
close of the twelfth century, confronted the majesty 
of the German Empire, represented by an infant less 
than four years of age. The minority of that infant, 
afterwards Frederick II., was one of degrading de- 
pendence and constant humiliation. His mother was 
compelled to acknowledge the suzerainty of the Pope 
in order to retain even nominal authority in her own 
hereditary dominions. Her death left her child the 
ward of the Holy See, in addition to being its vassal, 
and, in consequence, the entire ecclesiastical polity of 
his kingdom was changed; the clergy were declared 
independent of the secular power; grants of real 
property, confiscated by preceding emperors and 

32 History of the 

confirmed by long prescription, were revoked, and 
the lands restored to the Church ; quarrels among the 
turbulent nobles were industriously fomented, to 
afford a pretext for Papal interference and an ex- 
tension of ecclesiastical jurisdiction, for the nominal 
purpose of reconciling enmities and preserving order ; 
the Jews and Moslems, left without a protector and 
subjected to horrible persecution, were driven to the 
desperate alternative of exile or brigandage. As a 
result of these impolitic measures, Sicily became op- 
pressed by anarchy far more deplorable and vexatious 
than that produced by the crimes and follies of Sara- 
cen misgovernment. Its population diminished; its 
prosperity declined ; its commerce almost disappeared. 
With the returning ascendency of the priesthood, the 
evils inseparable from that condition ignorance, in- 
tolerance, private corruption, organized hypocrisy 
once more became predominant. The irruption of a 
horde of greedy and insatiable ecclesiastics into the 
rich Sicilian benefices brought with it all the abuses 
of Papal Italy. Simony was openly practised. Some 
priests lent money at ruinous rates of interest; some 
kept taverns; others derived enormous incomes from 
even more questionable places of public entertainment. 
The impurity of their lives and the blasphemies in 
which they often indulged soon caused them to for- 
feit the respect of their parishioners, as had long been 
the case at Rome. They were so careless of the out- 
ward observances and duties enjoined by their profes- 
sion as to neglect the service of the altar until their 
conduct became a scandal. It was a matter of com- 
mon complaint that the sacred vestments were ragged 
and filthy; the chalices unpolished; the sacramental 
wine sour; the Host, the visible symbol of God, un- 
protected from insects and covered with dust. The 
habits of the clergy were incredibly vile. The more 
exalted the rank and the more conspicuous the prelate, 

MooEiSH Empire in Europe 33 

the greater was the example of pecuniary corruption 
and social depravity. The revenues of the Church, 
extorted from a reluctant and impoverished people, 
were squandered in the purchase of fine equipages, in 
sumptuous banquets, and upon rapacious courtesans. 
The duties of religion were forgotten in the general 
scramble for power. The palace of Palermo was the 
rallying point of these ecclesiastical politicians, whose 
broils and intrigues, so inconsistent with their calling, 
frequently disturbed the peace of the city, and whose 
vices were the reproach of a population which had 
never been able to boast of a high standard of personal 

The imperious spirit of Frederick, unwilling to 
brook interference in the affairs of his kingdom even 
from his feudal superior, first disclosed itself when 
he was but fourteen years old in a dispute with the 
clergy of Palermo, who appealed from his decision to 
the Pope. His defiance of the Pontiff was subse- 
quently of such frequent occurrence as to be regarded 
as one of the leading principles of his administration. 
Innocent seems to have viewed with almost paternal 
indulgence the disobedience of a youth of excellent 
parts and undaunted resolution, who was subject to 
his authoritj^ not only as a mem.ber of the Christian 
communion, but in the double capacity of ward and 
vassal. His inability to appreciate the true character 
of Frederick was never so apparent as when he com- 
mitted the fatal error which raised that prince to the 
greatest throne in Christendom. The paltry conces- 
sions extorted as the price of this great dignity were 
an indifferent compensation for the series of mis- 
fortunes its bestowal entailed upon Europe, the ran- 
corous hostility of faction; the perpetuation of in- 
testine conflict, with its inseparable evils, widespread 
anarchy, the destruction of cities, the waste of prov- 
inces, the massacre of non-combatants, the obstruction 

Vol. III. 3 

34 History of the 

of national progress; and the partial return to the 
barbarous conditions of former ages induced by the 
relentless strife of Guelf and Ghibelline. It is not the 
object of this work to minutely set forth the events 
of that mighty struggle. The relations of the Holy 
See and the Empire are only important as they may 
have affected indirectly the influence of the reforms 
instituted by the great Emperor; reforms whose 
foundation had been laid by two preceding dynasties 
of widely different character, and whose principles de- 
rived their origin from the colonization of Sicily by a 
nation utterly foreign to the laws and traditions of 
contemporaneous Europe. 

Born under a southern sky, accustomed from child- 
hood to daily intercourse with the most intellectual 
society of the age, Frederick II. retained to the last 
a decided predilection for Sicily, the land of his birth. 
The classic memories and romantic history of that 
famous island exerted over his active mind a most 
potent and lasting influence. He had no sympathy 
with, and less inclination for, the rude and barbarous 
customs, the coarse festivities, the ferocity, drunken- 
ness, and bestiality of that country which was the 
original seat of his royal House, the realm whence 
he derived the proudest and most grandiloquent of 
his numerous titles. Educated by two Moorish pre- 
ceptors, under the superintendence of a cardinal, a 
curious circumstance which indicates that infidel learn- 
ing had not yet entirely succumbed to ecclesiastical 
prejudice, he in time became proficient in all the arts 
and accomplishments possessed by that remarkable 
people whose erudition and industry were admired 
and feared by the dominant race whose members the 
fortune of arms had made the depositaries of power 
and the interpreters of orthodoxy. This early, inti- 
mate, and constant association with Mohammedans 
and Greeks, in each of whose systems of government 

Moorish Empire in Europe 35 

the temporal and spiritual functions were vested in 
one individual, undoubtedly suggested to the mind of 
the Emperor the stupendous project of merging the 
Papal office in the imperial dignity, a combination of 
two despotisrns under a single head, whose powers, of 
uncertain and indefinable extent, could not be ques- 
tioned without incurring the penalties of both treason 
and sacrilege, and whose jurisdiction would eventually 
embrace the habitable world. The political and ju- 
dicial systems instituted and perfected by Frederick 
II., remarkable in themselves, become almost marvel- 
lous when considered in relation to the era of their 
establishment, the difficulties encountered in their 
application, and the antagonism of the privileged 
classes whose designs they interfered with and whose 
abuses they were intended to correct and restrain. 
Two questions of paramount importance engaged 
the attention of this enlightened prince, questions 
containing in themselves the solution of every admin- 
istrative and every social problem, the promulga- 
tion of law and implicit obedience to its mandates, and 
the adoption of measures which might secure the 
greatest attainable happiness of the people. To the 
accomplishment of these noble and praiseworthy ends 
the talents and energy of the great ruler were con- 
stantly devoted, in hours of triumph and in hours of 
humiliation ; when engrossed with the cares of a vast 
and seditious empire; in the deserts of Syria; in the 
very face of death ; in the bitterness of spirit induced 
by shattered dreams of long-nourished ambition. 

The evils incident to a protracted minority had 
manifested themselves with more than ordinary promi- 
nence in the Kingdom of Sicily. The supervision of 
the Pope had, as usual, been uniformly exercised for 
the benefit of the ecclesiastical order and the aggran- 
dizement of the Holy See. A fierce and rapacious 
aristocracy, impatient of restraint and eager for inno- 

36 History of the 

vation, defied the laws, and wreaked their hereditary 
vengeance upon each other with every circumstance of 
merciless atrocity. The mass of the population, prob- 
ably composed of more diversified elements and na- 
tionalities than any community of equal numbers in 
the world, unable to prosper and scarcely able to live, 
endeavored to obtain, by different methods, exemption 
from the intolerable persecution of their enemies. 
The Greek, with the craft of his race, attached him- 
self to the faction which, for the time being, enjoyed 
the best prospect of success. The Jew purchased a 
temporary immunity by the voluntary surrender of 
the greater part of his possessions. Alone among his 
companions, the Saracen took up arms. His martial 
spirit and the numbers of his countrymen obtained 
from his turbulent and disorganized adversaries a tacit 
recognition of independence, which the rugged nature 
of the country that contained his strongholds did not 
a little to confirm. In the effort to re-establish the 
royal authority, the Saracens rendered invaluable as- 
sistance ; they were among the first to assemble around 
the imperial standard; without their co-operation the 
result would have been uncertain ; and their valor and 
fidelity preserved the empire of Frederick, as that of 
their fathers had consolidated the power of the Nor- 
man domination. 

The jurisprudence of the Emperor was based upon 
and included the system established by the Normans. 
Its rules were modified and improved as experience 
had suggested would be expedient and profitable. The 
main objects of the laws were the extinction of feudal 
tyranny, and the enjoyment of private liberty so far 
as it was not inconsistent with the prerogatives of the 
crown. No monarch of ancient or modern times was 
more solicitous for the happiness of his subjects, and 
none ever more fully appreciated the fact that the test 
of a nation's greatness is the benefit derived by man- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 87 

kind from its works, its history, its example. The 
difficulties encountered in the formation of a uniform 
code which could be enforced in such a cosmopolitan 
society as that of Sicily seemed insuperable. Feudal 
rights and ecclesiastical exemptions ; the privileges of 
the Jews and Saracens, founded on prescription and 
confirmed by tribute; the jealous contentions of many 
forms of religious belief; the perpetual encroach- 
ments and usurpations of pontifical authority; the 
skepticism of Moslem philosophers, and the fanatical 
rage of persecuting zealots, all of these antagonistic 
rights, claims, prejudices, and prerogatives it was 
necessary to correct, rearrange, amend, and embody 
in one practical, efficient, and harmonious system. 
The task, though stupendous, was not beyond the 
abilities and constructive genius of the great law- 
giver. The turbulence of the nobles was firmly re- 
strained. All members of the clerical order were 
rendered amenable to the laws of the realm in cases 
which concerned the dignity and traditions of the em- 
pire. In matters relating to marriage alone they were 
permitted to exercise jurisdiction over those who had 
not taken the tonsure ; the assent of the Emperor was 
necessary to the validity of an election ; the prelate as 
well as the layman was compelled to assist in defray- 
ing the expenses of the government ; nor, in any way, 
could he escape the discharge of duties enjoined by the 
Imperial Code or plead immunity from burdens neces- 
sary to the security of the state or the enforcement of 
order. The law of mortmain, framed under the direc- 
tion of the Emperor, preceded the famous statute of 
Edward I., of which it was the prototype, nearly a 
century. Upon every individual the maxim was con- 
tinually impressed that the sovereign was the fountain 
of justice, authority, and mercy. The criminal pro- 
cedure, founded on Norman precedents, was singu- 
larly free from the legal atrocities generally prescribed 

38 History of the 

by feudal regulations ; the penalty of death was only 
inflicted for the most heinous offences ; mutilation was 
seldom permitted except in the cases of incorrigible 
criminals; torture, while recognized, was one of the 
rarest of punishments. The courts were invested with 
every outward circumstance of official pomp and dig- 
nity. From the decision of the supreme tribunal there 
was no appeal; even in the monarch vexatious litiga- 
tion was systematically discouraged; judicial bribery 
was considered a crime of peculiar infamy; and the 
practice of holding the magistrate responsible for the 
maintenance of peace in his district was a most efficient 
check upon the violence and depredations of profes- 
sional malefactors. 

In the statutes relating to the detection and punish- 
ment of heresy, the character of Frederick appears to 
singular and manifest disadvantage. His long wars 
with the Pope, his close intimacy with infidels, his op- 
pression of ecclesiastics, the repeated acts of sacrilege 
of which he was guilty, the blasphemous speeches con- 
stantly upon his tongue, the profane and mysterious 
studies in which he delighted, his employment of and 
confidence in wizards and astrologers, demonstrate 
beyond contradiction the weakness of his faith or the 
profoundness of his hypocrisy. But the latitude of 
opinion and conduct which he allowed himself was in 
an inverse ratio to that which he vouchsafed to others. 
No familiar of the Inquisition ever pursued heretics 
with greater zeal or pertinacity than the famous mon- 
arch whose name is constantly associated with all that 
is liberal, enlightened, and profitable in the annals of 
human progress, an inconsistency all the more glaring 
in a prince whose favorite sentiment was, " The glory 
of a ruler is the safe and comfortable condition of the 
subject." History has never been able to advance a 
satisfactory or even a plausible explanation of this 
anomaly; its cause, at this distance of time, must re- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 39 

main forever unknown, and may be ascribed, for want 
of a better solution, to the innate perversity of the 
human mind, which often by a single glaring defect 
obscures the brilliant lustre of a character eminently 
conspicuous for every princely quality, for every gen- 
erous impulse, and for every literary and artistic 

His commercial regulations were among the princi- 
pal sources of Frederick's power and greatness. His 
genius perceived at a glance the vast advantages which 
must result from an interchange of commodities Avith 
maritime nations ; and, in the application of this prin- 
ciple, every facility was afforded those bold spirits 
whose energy the expectation of gain or the love of 
adventure directed into the channels of trade. Treaties 
more liberal in their provisions and more profitable in 
their effects than any which had heretofore been 
adopted by the powers of the Mediterranean were con- 
cluded with the greatest mercantile communities of 
Europe, Constantinople, Venice, Genoa, as well as 
with Damascus and Alexandria and the Moorish 
principalities of Africa and Spain. 

The intimacy maintained by Frederick with Mo- 
hammedan sovereigns contributed greatly to the pros- 
perity of his dominions. The Sultan of Egypt was 
his friend. The Emir of Tunis was his tributary. 
With the other Moslem princes he was on the best 
of terms. Treaties of commerce, framed for mu- 
tual advantage, were frequently negotiated with these 
potentates, who were only too willing to discriminate 
against other European monarchs in favor of the 
Emperor of Germany. In 1241, on the arrival of the 
Imperial ambassadors, Cairo was illuminated in their 
honor. The trade of Sicily extended to India. The 
luxuries of the Orient were brought to the ports of 
Palermo and Messina. In their markets the arms, the 
jewels, the stuffs, the porcelain, of countries remote 

40 History of the 

from civilization found a ready sale. In return, im- 
mense quantities of grain and manufactured articles 
were exported. It has been established upon un- 
doubted authority that white female slaves of Chris- 
tian birth formed no inconsiderable portion of the 
commodities dealt in by the subjects of Frederick II. 
The fortunate geographical situation of Sicily, her 
magnificent harbors, the productiveness of her soil, the 
excellence and variety of her manufactures, had, in 
all ages, been factors of paramount importance in her 
commercial development. That development was now 
materially aided by the reciprocal observance of hu- 
mane and courteous regulations, hitherto unrecognized 
in the intercourse of nations during the Middle Ages. 
Merchants in foreign ports were received with lavish 
hospitality; distrust of strangers gradually subsided; 
and unfortunates, cast away at sea, were no longer 
compelled to endure both the violence of the elements 
and the heartless rapacity of ferocious outlaws or 
amateur freebooters. In the widely distributed com- 
merce of the monarchy the crown enjoyed no insig- 
nificant share. The ships of Frederick were anchored 
in every harbor; his warehouses were filled with the 
choicest and most costly fabrics of every country ; and 
his agents, conspicuous for their enterprise and daring, 
collected, in the distant and almost unknown regions 
of the Orient, articles whose sale would most contribute 
to the benefit of the royal treasury. The principles of 
free trade seem to have been first promulgated in the 
maritime code of Sicily. The Emperor, however, in 
the application of those principles, evinced no reluc- 
tance in discriminating against his own subjects, whose 
vessels were not permitted to clear for foreign ports 
until those of the crown had been a certain time at sea. 
Every branch of commerce paid tribute to the im- 
perial merchant. His ships carried pilgrims to the 
Holy Land. The grain he annually sent to Africa 

Moorish Empire in Europe 41 

returned an enormous and certain profit. His trade 
with India brought into European markets objects of 
unfamiHar uses and elaborate workmanship, whose 
rarity often increased their great intrinsic value. His 
friendly relations with Mohammedan princes, begun 
during the Crusade and terminated only by his death, 
made him frequently the recipient of magnificent 
presents. We read that on one occasion an eastern 
potentate sent him a dozen camels laden with silver 
and gold. All ships trading to Palestine were required 
to bring back a cross-bow for each of their cables, a 
measure which, while it replenished the royal arsenals 
with the most effective weapons of the age, was 
free from the dangers of official incapacity or cor- 
ruption, and entailed no expense on the government. 
A great fleet of galleys, commanded by the Genoese 
admiral Spinola, maintained the naval power of the 
kingdom and protected the coasts from the depreda- 
tions of pirates. 

In the internal administration of the kingdom, the 
most progressive and equitable ideas of commercial 
honor and common advantage prevailed. No duty 
could be levied on articles of necessity transported 
from one province to another. While monopolies were 
not forbidden, they were restricted to the crown, and 
the oppression resulting from this measure in other 
countries was not felt by the subjects of Frederick. 
Annual fairs were held in all the principal cities; 
markets existed everywhere. Taxes were apportioned 
according to the wealth of the district where they were 
to be collected. Constant war made these impositions 
onerous at times, but there was some relief in the 
knowledge that the clergy were forced to contribute 
their share to the public burdens, an inconvenience 
from which they were elsewhere exempt. The coinage 
was one of the purest, the most convenient, the most 
beautifully executed that had ever been put in circu- 

42 History of the 

lation by any government. Agriculture, still largely 
in the hands of the Arabs, was carried to the highest 
perfection. Every plant or tree, whose culture was 
known to be profitable and which could adapt itself 
to a soil of phenomenal fertility, was to be found in 
the gardens and plantations of Sicily. The regula- 
tions of the kingdom concerning the rural economy of 
its people were minute and specific, even paternal, in 
their character. They were especially exact in details 
when directing how the royal demesnes should be ad- 
ministered. Records were kept of the crops produced 
in each district. Inventories of all the stock, poultry, 
grain, and fruit were made each year ; the methods of 
their disposition and the prices they brought were 
noted on the public registers. The very uses to which 
even the feathers of the domestic fowls were destined 
was a matter of official inquiry. The breeds of horses, 
asses, and cattle were improved ; the greatest care was 
taken of these animals. Food, which after experiment 
was found to be the most nutritious, was adopted ; and 
the Emperor, whose interest in these matters was stim- 
ulated by the profit he derived from his stables, per- 
sonally scrutinized their management with the most 
assiduous care. The supervision exercised by govern- 
ment officials over all occupations was most precise, 
and must have often proved vexatious. Weights and 
measures were prescribed by law, and any departure 
from honest dealing in this respect was visited with 
the severest penalties. Officers were appointed in 
every town for the detection of false weights and 
the sale of spurious merchandise. The laws of hy- 
giene were understood and enforced with a degree of 
intelligence unknown to many European communities 
even at the present day. Unwholesome provisions 
could not be exposed for sale in the markets. Trades 
offensive to the senses or injurious to public health 
were prohibited within the walls of cities. A depth 

Moorish Empire in Europe 43 

was prescribed for graves, that the exhalations pro- 
ceeding from them might not contaminate the air. No 
carrion was permitted to be left on the highways. 

In questions of legislation, as well as in those re- 
lating to political economy, the kingdom of Sicily 
was far in advance of its contemporaries. The con- 
stitution of England, and especially the organization 
of the House of Commons, owe much to the Sicilian 
Parliament. While the duties of its members were 
ordinarily confined to the registering of royal edicts 
and the imposition of taxes, it presents the first ex- 
ample of a truly elective, representative assembly that 
is mentioned in history. From the institutions of 
Frederick, his relative, Alfonso X. of Castile, appro- 
priated many of the legislative and judicial provisions 
of Las Siete Partidas, a compilation for which that 
monarch is principally entitled for his fame. France 
and Germany also ultimately experienced the imper- 
ceptible but potent impulse communicated to society 
by the supremacy of law over theology, which had its 
beginning in Sicily during the thirteenth century. 

Extensive and important as were the reforms of 
Frederick, it was from the munificent and discerning 
patronage extended to science and literature that is 
derived his most enduring claim to the gratitude and 
commendation of posterity. The impressions im- 
parted by Moslem taste, in the prosecution of early 
studies, during the formation of his character, never 
lost their power. His court was frequented by the 
most accomplished Jews and Arabs of the age. They 
were the favorite instructors of youth. Their opin- 
ions, drawn from the sources of classic and Oriental 
learning, were heard with respect and awe, even by 
those who dissented from their creeds and deprecated 
their influence. They filled the most responsible and 
lucrative offices of the government. Admitted to 
friendly and confidential audiences with the sover- 

44 History of the 

eign, who, himself an excellent mathematician, de- 
lighted to pose them with abstruse problems in 
geometry and algebra, their philosophy was regarded 
with signal disfavor by distinguished prelates that 
daily, in halls and antechambers, impatiently awaited 
the pleasure of the Emperor. So fond was Frederick 
of these intellectual diversions, that he sent certain 
questions for solution to the Mohammedan countries 
of Africa and the East; but no one was found com- 
petent to answer them until they reached the court of 
one of the princes of Moorish Spain. One of the most 
accomplished of linguists, Frederick sedulously en- 
couraged the study of languages throughout his do- 
minions. Arabic, Hebrew, and Greek were under- 
stood and spoken by all who made any pretensions 
to thorough education. Naples and Salerno were the 
most famous seats of learning in that epoch, at the 
former was the University established by the Em- 
peror; the Medical College of Salerno is justly cele- 
brated as one of the most extraordinary academical 
institutions that has ever existed. The Faculty of 
the Universitj^ was composed of the most eminent 
scholars who could be attracted by ample salaries, the 
prospect of literary distinction, and the certain favor 
of an enlightened monarch. The resources of all 
countries were diligently laid under contribution to 
insure the success of this noble foundation. The 
popularity of Frederick with the Moslem princes of 
the East gave him exceptional facilities for the ac- 
quirement of literary treasures. The collections of 
Egypt and Syria and of the monasteries of Europe 
were ransacked for rare and curious volumes with 
which to furnish the library of the great Neapolitan 
college. No city was better adapted to the necessities 
of a large scholastic institution than Naples. Its situ- 
ation in the centre of the Mediterranean, the salu- 
brity of the climate, the cheapness and variety of its 

Moorish Empire in Europe 45 

markets, offered unusual inducements to poor and 
ambitious students desirous of an education. Their 
interests were protected and their security assured by- 
special and rigorous laws. Extraordinary precautions 
were taken to prevent their being molested during 
their journeys to and fro. The prices which might 
be charged for lodging were clearly and definitely 
established. Provision was made for loans, at a 
nominal interest, to such scholars as did not have the 
funds requisite to successfully prosecute their studies. 
The preparatory schools of the kingdom were con- 
ducted with equal care and prudence, and nowhere 
else in the world, in that age, could educational ad- 
vantages of a similar character be enjoyed as in the 
Sicilian dominions of the Emperor. 

Great as it was, the reputation of the University 
of Naples has been eclipsed by the superior renown 
of the Medical College of Salerno. There the study 
of surgery and medicine was pursued under the eyes 
of the most learned and distinguished practitioners 
of every nation familiar with the healing art. Igno- 
rance of any language could scarcely be an impedi- 
ment to the student, for instruction was given in 
Latin, Greek, German, Hebrew, Arabic. Scientific 
methods were invariably observed in its curriculum. 
The prevalent superstitions, which, encouraged by the 
clergy, appealed to the credulous fears of the vulgar, 
were contemjituously banished from its halls. While 
the School of Salerno had existed since the eighth 
century, and, from its origin, chiefly owed its fame 
and success to Arabic and Jewish influence, it attained 
its greatest prosperity under the fostering care of 
Frederick II. The writers principally relied on by 
its professors were Hippocrates and Galen, whose 
works had been preserved from barbarian destruction 
or oblivion by the Saracens of Egypt and Spain. But 
while these venerable authorities were always quoted 

46 History of the 

with reverence, no obstinate adherence to tradition, no 
devotion to errors consecrated by the usages of cen- 
turies, characterized the College of Salerno. Its 
spirit was eminently progressive, inquisitive, liberal. 
The monk, the rabbi, the imam, the atheist, were num- 
bered among its teachers, and each maintained a posi- 
tion among his fellows in a direct ratio to his intellec- 
tual attainments. This anomalous condition, the more 
conspicuous in an era of general ignorance, and flour- 
ishing under the very shadow of the Papacy, itself 
inimical to all pursuits which tended to mental prog- 
ress and interference with its spiritual emoluments, 
rendered the existence of such an institution all the 
more remarkable. To its researches are to be attrib- 
uted many maxims, theories, and methods of practice 
still recognized as correct by modern physicians. Its 
investigations were thoroughly philosophical and 
based largely upon experiment. Information was 
communicated by lectures; anatomical demonstra- 
tions, as in modern times, were considered among the 
most useful and valuable means of instruction. Medi- 
eeval prejudice still opposed the mutilation of the 
human form, which, with the sectarian prohibition 
of ceremonial uncleanness, had long before been over- 
come by the Moorish surgeons of Cordova; and, in 
the Salernitan clinic, anatomists were forced to be 
apparently content with the dissection of hogs and 
monkeys. In secret, however, human bodies were not 
infrequently delivered to the scalpel, and the offices of 
many internal organs were observed and determined 
by the aid of vivisection, a practice indispensable to 
a proper understanding of surgery, yet reprobated, 
even in our age of scientific inquiry, by a class of 
noisy, but well-meaning, fanatics. The unsatisfac- 
tory memorials of the School of Salerno which have 
descended to us some of doubtful authenticity, 
others of unknown derivation nevertheless disclose 

Moorish Empire in Europe 47 

the extraordinary discoveries its professors had made 
in anatomy; among them those of the functions of 
the chyle ducts, of the lymphatic system, of the capil- 
laries, which then received their name ; of the different 
coats and humors of the eye; of the phenomena of 
digestion, together with detailed descriptions of the 
office of the ovaries and their tubes, which anticipated 
the researches of Falloppio by more than four hundred 
years. Specialists then, as now, devoted their talents 
to the improvement and perfection of certain branches 
of medical science. There were many celebrated ocu- 
lists and lithotomists, and practitioners who were 
highly successful in the treatment of hernia, of me- 
chanical injuries of every kind, and of the diseases of 
women. The rules of hygiene, the properties of the 
various substances of the Materia Medica, the prin- 
ciples of pathology and therapeutics, as laid down by 
the faculty of Salerno, have been transmitted to us 
in a lengthy and curious poem entitled, " Flos Medi- 
cinse Scholse Salerni," popularly known as Regimen 

This extraordinary production, none of which is 
probably later than the twelfth century, and whose 
origin is unknown, has been ascribed by Sprengel to 
Isaac ben Solomon, a famous Jewish practitioner of 
Cordova, who died in 950. Careful examination, how- 
ever, discloses the fact that it is not the work of a 
single hand, but a compilation of various medical pre- 
cepts and opinions belonging to different epochs. In 
its prologue, the pre-eminent value of temperance in 
all things is diligently inculcated : 

" Si vis incolumem, si vis te vivere sanum : 
Curas linque graves^ irasci crede profanum. 
Parce mero, coenato parum; non sit tibi vanum 
Surgere post epulas; somnum fuge meridianum. 
Si tibi deficiant Medici, medici tibi fiant 
Haec tria; mens laeta, requies, moderata diaeta." 

48 History of the 

It also contains hints on diagnosis and prognosis; in- 
formation indicating no small degree of anatomical 
and physiological knowledge ; formulas for antidotes 
of poisons; advice for the care of the body during 
every month in the year; and astrological indications 
of the favorable or malign influence of the signs of 
the zodiac and the stars. From the following couplet, 
designating the Seven Ages of Man, 

" Infans, inde puer, adolescens^ juvenis, vir, 
Dicitur inde senex, postea decrepitus," 

seems to have been derived the inspiration of the 
familiar lines of Shakspeare. 

The vitiated taste of an age not yet fully acquainted 
with the properties of correct literary composition 
caused the incorporation of verses into many of its 
most serious and dignified productions. These di- 
dactic poems seem singularly out of place in a medi- 
cal treatise, and especially so where, as is usually the 
case, the poetry is, in both matter and harmony of 
numbers, below mediocrity. 

Apothecaries and chemists, of whom a competent 
knowledge of drugs was required, were subject to the 
corps of physicians who were forbidden to join in 
their enterprises or share their profits; they were 
sworn to obey the Code; the number of pharmacies 
was limited; and they were liable to the visitation of 
imperial inspectors responsible for the purity of their 
merchandise and the observance of the law. The pre- 
cautions required in the sale of poisons ; the directions 
for compounding electuaries and sj^nips; the most 
approved methods for the preparation of the love- 
potions believed to be so efficacious by mediaeval cre- 
dulity; the fabrication of charms for the prevention 
of disease, are all set forth in the Salernitan Code with 
minute and tedious exactness. 

Moorish Empire in Europe 49 

In the city were many hospitals, the oldest of which 
was established in the ninth century, and was con- 
temporaneous with similar institutions founded by the 
Ommeyade dynasty of Cordova. Some of them were 
richly endowed, others were entirely supported by 
charitable donations. The strict requirements of 
medical police were recognized in the isolation of 
patients suffering from contagious diseases. A sys- 
tematic distinction was observed in the purposes of 
these beneficent foundations; they were of various 
classes and devoted to the care of the poor and the 
homeless, to the protection of invalid females of rank 
and fortune, to the support of foundlings; and the 
most intelligent treatment of every malady was 
gratuitously afforded. The members of monastic 
orders, for the most part, had charge of the hospitals, 
and acted in the capacity of nurses and attendants. 

The regulations of Frederick, who united the vari- 
ous schools of Salerno into one vast institution of 
medical learning, exacted the possession of the high- 
est abilities, dexterity, and experience by the expectant 
practitioner. A preparatory course of three years in 
the general branches of literature and philosophy was 
required of him. Five years at least were to be de- 
voted to study in the colleges, and one year was then 
to be passed under the eye of an experienced physician 
before the aspirant for professional distinction was 
pronounced competent to prescribe for the suffering. 

The remarkable attainments and skill of Roger of 
Parma, the great surgeon, who was famous for the 
treatment of wounds and fractures and the extirpa- 
tion of tumors and polypi; of Maurus, Gaulterius, 
and Matthew Silvaticus, who published treatises on 
phlebotomy, general practice, and the Materia 
Medica; of Garipontus, an expert in operations 
for calculus and other diseases of the pelvic organs; 
of Giovanni da Procida, the accomplished court 

Vol. hi.- 

50 History of the 

physician of Frederick II., all graduates of the 
School of Salerno, are conspicuous in the annals of 
mediaeval surgery and medicine. Then first appeared 
the patronymic of Farragut afterwards destined to 
such renown in the naval history of the New World 
borne by a Jew of INIessina, who was educated at 
Salerno and Montpellier, and whose translation of the 
" Continent" of Rhazes, made in the latter part of the 
thirteenth century, was dedicated to Charles of Anjou, 
brother of Louis IX., King of France. 

Students of both sexes were permitted to enjoy the 
rare advantages aflPorded by the School of Salerno; 
no prejudice hampered the acquisition by woman of 
medical knowledge, in whose application her natural 
acuteness and sympathy rendered her remarkably pro- 
ficient and successful. Many female physicians rose 
to great eminence in the different departments of their 
profession as lecturers, chemists, operators: among 
them the names of Rebecca, who wrote on fevers and 
the embryo ; Abella, on generation and prenatal life ; 
Trotula, on the Materia Medica, hernia, and obstet- 
rics; Mercuriade, on general surgery; and Costanza 
Colenda, whose scientific accomplishments, as well as 
her beauty, made her famous in Europe, have de- 
scended to our time. A college of midwifery existed 
at Salerno, whose graduates were subjected to exami- 
nations fully as strict as those required of candidates 
for medical honors, and who, sworn to fidelity, en- 
joyed a lucrative practice in the opulent families of 
Naples and Messina. Although a lofty sense of pro- 
fessional etiquette distinguished the faculty of Sa- 
lerno, imperial supervision, which, under Frederick, 
found nothing too minute for its attention, carefully 
protected the public from extortion. Fees were fixed 
by law; their amounts were regulated by circum- 
stances. Even the ordinary number of visits required 
in a given time was defined; and attendance was 

Moorish Empire in Europe 51 

accorded without charge to the poor. In our age, 
so prohfic of professional incompetence, the exalted 
rank and profound attainments of the graduates of 
the Salernitan school may well excite astonishment; 
amidst the darkness of mediaeval ignorance it was the 
educational and literary phenomenon of Europe. 

A generous patron of every art and occupation 
which could embellish his domains, benefit his subjects, 
or enrich his treasury, the Emperor gave also much 
attention to great public works, the fortification of 
cities, the improvement of harbors, the construction 
of highways. His palaces disclosed a marked parti- 
ality for Moorish customs and Moorish architecture. 
Some of these beautiful edifices had come down from 
the Saracen domination, but many were constructed 
after the plans of the royal architect, who personally 
superintended their erection. They were finished with 
costly marbles and adorned with bas-reliefs, statues, 
and paintings. The eagles of Germany were sculp- 
tured over their portals. Outworks of vast extent 
defended their approaches. In all were courts and 
gardens odorous with the blossoms of jasmine and 
orange and surrounded by secluded apartments des- 
tined for the occupants of the imperial seraglio. At- 
tached to some of these delightful retreats were exten- 
sive menageries, aviaries, and miniature lakes filled 
with gold and silver fish. There was no appliance of 
Oriental luxury, no means which could contribute to 
the gratification of the senses, that was not to be found 
in the Sicilian palaces of Frederick II. In the foun- 
dation of new cities, extensive districts were depopu- 
lated to provide them with inhabitants. This arbitrary 
proceeding was often a measure of profound policy, 
which insured the good behavior of a turbulent popu- 
lation that, removed from the influence of former 
associations, transplanted among strangers, and re- 
garded by their new neighbors with suspicion and hos- 

52 History of the 

tility, were rendered incapable of serious mischief. In 
this manner was established the Saracen colony of 
Lucera, whose members, composed of rebellious Mus- 
sulmans of Sicily, became, soon after their settlement, 
the most faithful subjects of Frederick and the chief 
support of the imperial throne. 

That city was built on the slope of the Apennines, 
in a location most advantageous for both the purposes 
of commerce and defence. Its citadel was a mile in 
circuit and protected by fortifications of enormous 
strength. In the centre stood a lofty tower, at once 
the palace and the treasury of the Emperor. Fred- 
erick neglected no opportunity of gratifying the pride 
and confirming the attachment of his Saracen sub- 
jects. The spoils of the Papal states were lavished 
upon them. The trade of the colony was encouraged 
by every available means. Armorers and workers in 
the precious metals were imported from Syria. From 
Egypt came laborers highly skilled in horticulture. 
Great orchards were planted in the environs. The 
soldiers of the imperial body-guard were Moslems of 
Lucera. Splendidly uniformed and mounted, they 
were constantly on duty at the palace, on the march, 
in the camp. Conspicuous in the funeral escort of the 
deceased monarch, their duties were only relinquished 
at the grave. 

The maintenance of this infidel stronghold in the 
heart of Christian Europe was a standing reproach to 
the Papacy ; and the horror of the clergy was aggra- 
vated by the knowledge that churches had been de- 
molished to supply it with building materials; that 
the revenues of rich and populous districts were di- 
verted through its agency from the coffers of the 
cathedral and the monastery; that it enjoyed exclu- 
sive and valuable commercial privileges; and that, 
worst of all, it was able at a moment's notice to furnish 
more than twenty thousand well-equipped, valiant, 

Moorish Empire in Europe 53 

and incorruptible soldiers to the armies of the Em- 

The patronage of letters, which distinguished this 
accomplished sovereign, is not the least of his titles to 
renown. No prince ever sought out books and manu- 
scripts with greater assiduity, or more strenuously 
endeavored, bj^ the bestowal of scholastic honors and 
pecuniary emoluments, to attract the learned to his 
court. Nationality, creed, partisanship, feudal en- 
mity, private grudges, were alike forgotten in the 
friendly contest for literary pre-eminence. In the 
royal antechambers, in the halls of the University, no 
student was entitled to precedence, save only through 
his established claim to mental superiority. The in- 
cessant rivalry of many acute and highly cultivated 
intellects, stimulated by rewards and unhampered by 
restrictions, was productive of results most important 
for the revival of letters and the future benefit of 
humanity. Great advances were made in all depart- 
ments of knowledge, chemistry, natural history, 
botany, poetry, mathematics. The famous scholar, 
Michael Scott, whose rare attainments contemporane- 
ous ignorance attributed to magic, and whose simple 
tomb in IMelrose Abbey awakens to-day the veneration 
of every educated and appreciative traveller, was em- 
ployed by the Emperor as a translator of the classics, 
and carried to Palermo vast stores of learning ac- 
quired in the schools of the Spanish Moslems. Theo- 
dore, called " The Philosopher," published treatises on 
geometry and astrology; John of Palermo wrote on 
arithmetical problems; Leonardo Fibonacci brought 
to the general notice of Europe the science of algebra 
as known and used in modern schools; the versatile 
Pietro de Vinea, statesman, jurist, orator, amused his 
leisure in the composition of the first Italian lyric 
poetry, and of epistolary correspondence unsurpassed, 
in any age, for perspicuity, ease, and elegance of 

54> History of the 

diction. Frederick himself wrote amorous sonnets, 
and published in Latin a work on hawking and birds 
of prey, which is even now an authority on the sub- 
ject. The apocryphal book, De Tribus Impostoribus, 
an alleged compendium of blasphemy and vileness, 
attributed to him by the clergy of the INIiddle Ages, 
is now known to have been an invention of ecclesiasti- 
cal malice to blacken a character only too vulnerable 
to such attacks. At the Sicilian court was formed that 
melodious and graceful idiom afterwards employed 
with such success by Petrarch, Dante, and Boccaccio. 
The political, social, and literary revolutions of seven 
centuries have not materially altered the grammatical 
construction or orthography of the beautiful language 
spoken and sung by the knights and ladies of Pa- 
lermo. The enduring fame of such an achievement 
far exceeds in value and utility the temporary and 
barren distinctions obtained by the gaining of battles, 
the sack of cities, the plunder of baronial strongholds, 
and the humiliation of popes. 

Such was the Emperor Frederick II., and such the 
civilization which, inspired by Moslem precept, tradi- 
tion, and example, his commanding genius established 
in Southern Europe. Not only was he the most intel- 
ligent, but he was the most powerful and illustrious 
sovereign of his age. In addition to the imperial dig- 
nity, he possessed the titles of King of Naples and 
Sicily, of Lombardy, of Poland, of Bohemia, of Hun- 
gary, of Denmark, of Sardinia, of Aries, and of 
Jerusalem. In birth and affinity he was first among 
the great potentates of the earth. He was the grand- 
son of the famous Barbarossa and of King Roger of 
Sicily. He was the uncle of Jaime I. of Aragon, Lo 
Conquerador. He was the father-in-law of the Greek 
Emperor of Nicea. He was the son-in-law of the 
Latin Emperor of Constantinople. He was the 
brother-in-law of the King of England. His rela- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 55 

tions with the Sultan of 'Kgypt, dictated, in a meas- 
ure, by state pohcy, but for the most part prompted 
by personal admiration, were of the most social and 
friendly character. He exchanged gifts with the 
chief of the execrated Ismailian sect known as the 
" Old Man of the IMountain." Community of ideas, 
tastes, languages, and mercantile interests, which he 
shared with Mohammedan rulers, confirmed the inti- 
macy already long existing between the Kingdom of 
Sicily and the fragments of the Hispano-Arab em- 
pire. His authority was respected from the Mediter- 
ranean to the Baltic; his matrimonial connections 
made his influence felt from the banks of the Nile to 
the Pillars of Hercules. It was this power, exercised 
over a territory of vast extent and unlimited resources, 
added to a consciousness of pre-eminent ability, that 
suggested to Frederick a renewal of the ancient Car- 
lo vingian jurisdiction, and the daring but imprudent 
attempt, by usurping the prerogatives of the Papacy, 
to realize a dream of more than imperial ambition. 

That dream contemplated the foundation of a na- 
tional, schismatical church, of which he was to be the 
head and Pietro de Vinea the vicar. The Pope was 
to be restricted to the exercise of spiritual functions, 
and finally deposed. In the Emperor were to be 
centred all the glory, the majesty, the sanctity, of an 
omnipotent ruler, presumably responsible only to the 
Almighty; really the sole arbiter of the religious 
professions and the actions of mankind. How the 
demands of such a system, which must necessarily 
be maintained, to a certain extent, by intellectual 
coercion, could be reconciled with the broad and 
equitable tolerance which was for the most part the 
distinguishing characteristic of the policy of Fred- 
erick, does not appear. The claim was, as has already 
been mentioned, that ecclesiastical supremacy was 
vested in the secular power of the empire, and dated 

56 History of the 

from the time of the Roman emperors. They were 
the Supreme Pontiffs from whom the Pope derived 
his title, but not his authority. That office was merged 
into, and was inferior to, the imperial dignity. Its 
inheritance by the monarch of Italy rested upon a 
more secure basis than the ambiguous and disputed 
commission alleged to have been conferred upon the 
fisherman of Galilee. Its validity had been strength- 
ened by centuries of prescription. It had been exer- 
cised by many generations of sovereigns. The minis- 
trations of the chief priest of a sect embracing millions 
of worshippers, the revered intermediary between the 
devotee and Heaven, are only too easily confounded 
with the attributes of divinity. These advantages 
were early recognized and diligently improved by 
Constantine. The Byzantine emperor was the head 
of the Greek Church. In Mohammed temporal and 
spiritual functions were united. Such examples, con- 
stantly present to the mind of Frederick, exerted no 
small influence in determining his course. In the eyes 
of his Sicilian subjects, the claim of the Imperial 
Crown to religious supremacy was regarded as a royal 
prerogative, which had been suspended but never re- 
linquished. The usurpation of the Papal power was 
a favorite project of European monarchs in succeed- 
ing ages. It was seriously meditated by Philippe le 
Bel in France during the fourteenth century. It 
was effected by Henry VIII. in England during the 
sixteenth century. The defiance of the Pope by the 
great German Emperor was, even at the distance of 
three hundred years, one of the inspiring causes of 
the Reformation. The spirit of intellectual liberty, 
oppressed at first, was victorious in the end. 

The genius of Frederick II. was five centuries in 
advance of his time. His most intelligent contempo- 
raries were incapable of understanding his motives 
or of appreciating his efforts for the regeneration of 

Moorish Empire in Europe 57 

humanity. No individual of that age accomplished 
so much for civilization. He improved the condition 
of every class of society in his dominions. He dif- 
fused the learning of the Arabs throughout Europe. 
He imparted a new impulse to the cause of education 
in distant countries not subject to his sway; an im- 
pulse which, while it was often impeded, was never 
wholly suppressed. His liberal ideas excited the ab- 
horrence of the devout. His superstitions evoked the 
anathemas of the clergy. In his expedition for the 
recovery of the Holy Sepulchre, his guards and coun- 
cillors were Mohammedans. He attended service in 
the mosques. He knighted the Emir Fakr-al-Din at 
Acre. He feasted the envoy of the Sheik of the As- 
sassins at Amalfi. At his court the astrologer was a 
more important personage than the logothete. 

Under the administration of this great prince per- 
sonal merit was the best title to official promotion. 
His most eminent ministers were of plebeian origin. 
From them he exacted unremitting attention to their 
duties. His suggestions to his ambassadors recall the 
maxims of Machiavelli. As a negotiator, he had no 
rivals in an age of shrewd and crafty politicians. His 
erudition was vast, varied, and profound. To aid the 
study of natural history he collected extensive menag- 
eries. He read medical works and prescribed rules of 
hygiene for his family and household. With his own 
hands he drew the plans for his palace at Capua. 
Magnificent hospitals, aqueducts, bridges, castles, 
arsenals, arose in the imperial domains of Sicily 
and Italy. 

With all his accomplishments, Frederick was singu- 
larly deficient in military ability and generalship. He 
cared more for the pomp than for the victories of 
war. His crusade was a campaign of diplomacy. 
The defeat he sustained at the hands of the Parme- 
sans, and which shook the foundations of his throne. 

58 History of the 

was effected by a rabble of peasants and women who 
attacked his camp while he was absent on a hunting 

The gorgeous court of Palermo, with its stately 
ceremonial, its heterodox opinions, its intellectual at- 
mosphere, and the predominant Moslem influence 
which controlled its policy, prescribed its customs, and 
contributed largely to its importance, was at once the 
envy and the scandal of Christendom. The bulk 
of the imperial armies was composed of Saracens. 
Philosophers and statesmen of the latter nationality 
often engrossed, to the exclusion of all others, the 
confidence and intimacy of the Emperor. His dif- 
ferent consorts, in turn, subjected to Oriental restric- 
tions, were attended by guards of African eunuchs, 
colossal in stature, hideous in feature, splendidly 
apparelled. His harems, luxuriant establishments, 
not confined to Palermo, but scattered through the 
cities of Southern Italy, were filled with Moorish 
beauties from Syria, Egypt, Morocco, and Spain. A 
number of their occupants always formed part of his 
retinue in both peace and war. They journeyed after 
the fashion of the East, in closed litters borne by 
gayly caparisoned camels. Arab ladies, as remarkable 
for wit and learning as for their personal charms, 
mingled freely with the brilliant society of the capital. 
Among the diversions of the court were the dances 
of the East, feats of jugglers and buflfoons, amatory 
improvisations of minnesinger and troubadour, games, 
falconry, literary contests, magnificent banquets. In 
these merry assemblies, where pleasure reigned su- 
preme, the sensual was, however, never permitted to 
prevail over the intellectual; they were enlivened by 
philosophical discussions, by the application of prov- 
erbs, by the stories of travellers, by the recitation of 

The personal aspect of Frederick did not corre- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 59 

spend to the expectations of those who had formed 
an ideal from the fame of his talents and the extent 
of his erudition. His stature was short, his shoulders 
bent, his form ungainly and corpulent. He was bald 
and near-sighted. His reddish beard indicated the 
hneage of the Hohenstaufens. So insignificant was 
his appearance, that an Arab writer, who saw him 
at Jerusalem, asserts, with astonishment and contempt, 
that if he had been exposed for sale as a slave he 
would not have brought two hundred drachms of 
silver. The general lustre of his character was marred 
by many serious and fatal defects. He was tyranni- 
cal, perfidious, hypocritical, superstitious, and inordi- 
nately dissolute, even in a licentious age. The domestic 
relations of the greatest of mediaeval emperors were 
the reproach of the Papacy and the horror of Chris- 
tian Europe. Like the infamous Marquis de Sade, 
he considered tears and suffering the most desirable 
prelude to libidinous pleasures. The festivals of the 
imperial palace of Palermo were enlivened by the 
performances of the singing- and dancing-girls of the 
East. European females of the same profession, 
during the Crusade, travelled in the royal train to 
Acre, where the novelty of their appearance and cos- 
tume amused the idle moments of the Moslem princes 
of Egypt and Syria. Nothing in the career of Fred- 
erick provoked the ire of the clergy more than this 
concession to infidel curiosity. The gigantic Nubians 
who watched over the Empress, and whose faces were 
compared to " ancient masks," awakened the amaze- 
ment of foreign travellers at the Sicilian court. 

The most frightful torments, whose ingenious 
cruelty was long remembered with fear and hatred, 
were inflicted on his victims. Many were dismem- 
bered by wild horses; some were crushed by ponder- 
ous cloaks of lead; others were slowly roasted by fire 
applied to brazen helmets in which their heads had 


splendid civilization, at once the exemplar and the 
pride of antiquity. The Phoenicians had early estab- 
lished trading-posts on its shores, and had introduced, 
with the commercial policy and enterprise of their 
race, the arts, the learning, and the culture which had 
laid the foundation of the wealth and renown of 
Carthage. To the Phoenicians succeeded the Greeks 
of Phocsea, that flourishing Ionian seaport which, for 
dignit}^ elegance of manners, and erudition, ranked 
among the most famous cities of the Grecian name. 
Its principal colony, Massilia, exercised dominion over 
nearly all of the territory south of the Loire; a ter- 
ritory already rich and populous, and containing, 
among the twenty-five important cities subject to its 
jurisdiction, such great and opulent communities as 
Monaco, Nice, Aries, Nimes, Beziers, Avignon. Un- 
aided by extraneous support, the people of Massilia, 
in spite of the efforts of barbarian neighbors and 
jealous rivals, preserved their political and mercantile 
importance until their conquest by Ceesar degraded 
their commonwealth to a subordinate rank among the 
provinces composing the gigantic fabric of the Ro- 
man Empire. The policy of that great soldier de- 
spoiled them of their dependencies, crippled their 
resources, and turned to letters and the arts the restless 
spirit which had formerly been engrossed by the pur- 
suits of commerce and the exercise of arms. Before 
its political annihilation, the colony of JNIassilia, in 
extent, in population, in wealth, and in intelhgence, 
ranked higher than any Grecian republic that had ever 
existed, save Athens alone. Its possessions were not 
acquired by conquest. They were gradually absorbed 
through the imperceptible influence of superior knowl- 
edge, the example of prosperity and luxury, the 
acuteness of sagacious and aggressive rulers, the ex- 
hibition of magnificent monviments of artistic genius. 
Under the Romans, this region, designated as Narbon- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 63 

nese Gaul, was one of the most flourishing provinces 
of the empire. Its Hterary culture was proverbial. Its 
schools were famous. It is mentioned by Livy as 
having preserved without contamination the arts, the 
manners, and the laws of Greece. The ancient pohty 
of Massilia is eulogized by Cicero as a scheme of 
almost ideal perfection. The philosophers of that city 
enjoyed such a reputation for learning, that the pa- 
tronage of such of the Roman youth as were ambitious 
of the most finished education was equally divided 
between it and Athens. The first three professors of 
Latin rhetoric at Rome were Gauls educated at Mas- 
silia. Its intellectual progress was greatly assisted 
by the mercantile spirit of its citizens, whose faculties 
were developed and enlarged by constant and familiar 
intercourse with other nations. Its navigators pos- 
sessed all the skill and activity of their Phoenician 
ancestors. Their vessels were seen on the western 
coast of Africa, in the Euxine, in the Baltic, in the 
distant fjords of Norway. Their factories and their 
agents were established in Germany and Britain. 
Their internal trade was most extensive and impor- 
tant. They traversed the course of the Rhone and 
the Loire from their sources to the sea. Every tribe 
in communication with those waterways paid tribute 
to their shrewdness and shared the benefits of their 
experience. The Greek language was familiar to the 
inhabitants of Gaul; it was even adopted and used 
by the Druidical priesthood, and eventually became 
the general medium of commercial and social inter- 
course. The dark and cruel superstitions and legends 
of the country were supplanted by the elegant and 
graceful fictions of Paganism; by the songs, the 
dances, the floral games, the pomp of sacrifice, the 
joyous festivals, which characterized the religious 
ceremonials of Greece and Italy. The existence of 
such conditions could not fail to exeii; a marked 

62 History of the 

splendid civilization, at once the exemplar and the 
pride of antiquity. The Phoenicians had early estab- 
lished trading-posts on its shores, and had introduced, 
with the commercial policy and enterprise of their 
race, the arts, the learning, and the culture which had 
laid the foundation of the wealth and renown of 
Carthage. To the Phoenicians succeeded the Greeks 
of PhocEea, that flourishing Ionian seaport which, for 
dignity, elegance of manners, and erudition, ranked 
among the most famous cities of the Grecian name. 
Its principal colony, Massilia, exercised dominion over 
nearly all of the territory south of the Loire; a ter- 
ritory already rich and populous, and containing, 
among the twenty-five important cities subject to its 
jurisdiction, such great and opulent communities as 
Monaco, Nice, Aries, Nimes, Beziers, Avignon. Un- 
aided by extraneous support, the people of Massilia, 
in spite of the efforts of barbarian neighbors and 
jealous rivals, preserved their political and mercantile 
importance until their conquest by Csesar degraded 
their commonwealth to a subordinate rank among the 
provinces composing the gigantic fabric of the Ro- 
man Empire. The policy of that great soldier de- 
spoiled them of their dependencies, crippled their 
resources, and turned to letters and the arts the restless 
spirit which had formerly been engrossed by the pur- 
suits of commerce and the exercise of arms. Before 
its political annihilation, the colony of Massilia, in 
extent, in population, in wealth, and in intelligence, 
ranked higher than any Grecian republic that had ever 
existed, save Athens alone. Its possessions were not 
acquired by conquest. They were gradually absorbed 
through the imperceptible influence of superior knowl- 
edge, the example of prosperity and luxury, the 
acuteness of sagacious and aggressive rulers, the ex- 
hibition of magnificent monuments of artistic genius. 
Under the Romans, this region, designated as Narbon- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 63 

nese Gaul, was one of the most flourishing provinces 
of the empire. Its literary culture was proverbial. Its 
schools were famous. It is mentioned by Livy as 
having preserved without contamination the arts, the 
manners, and the laws of Greece. The ancient polity 
of Massilia is eulogized by Cicero as a scheme of 
almost ideal perfection. The philosophers of that city 
enjoyed such a reputation for learning, that the pa- 
tronage of such of the Roman youth as were ambitious 
of the most finished education was equally divided 
between it and Athens. The first three professors of 
Latin rhetoric at Rome were Gauls educated at Mas- 
silia. Its intellectual progress was greatly assisted 
by the mercantile spirit of its citizens, whose faculties 
were developed and enlarged by constant and familiar 
intercourse with other nations. Its navigators pos- 
sessed all the skill and activity of their Phoenician 
ancestors. Their vessels were seen on the western 
coast of Africa, in the Euxine, in the Baltic, in the 
distant fjords of Norway. Their factories and their 
agents were established in Germany and Britain. 
Their internal trade was most extensive and impor- 
tant. They traversed the course of the Rhone and 
the Loire from their sources to the sea. Every tribe 
in communication with those waterways paid tribute 
to their shrewdness and shared the benefits of their 
experience. The Greek language was familiar to the 
inhabitants of Gaul; it was even adopted and used 
by the Druidical priesthood, and eventually became 
the general medium of commercial and social inter- 
course. The dark and cruel superstitions and legends 
of the country were supplanted by the elegant and 
graceful fictions of Paganism; by the songs, the 
dances, the floral games, the pomp of sacrifice, the 
joyous festivals, which characterized the religious 
ceremonials of Greece and Italy. The existence of 
such conditions could not fail to exert a marked 

64 History of the 

effect upon the minds of a people, barbarous indeed, 
yet highly susceptible to impressions which appealed 
equally to its imagination and its interest. Narbon- 
nese Gaul, under the emperors, maintained the literary 
and artistic pre-eminence which had, from time im- 
memorial, distinguished it among the provinces of 
Western Europe. The most copious, elegant, and 
euphonic of languages was still spoken throughout 
the various municipalities that formerly acknowledged 
the jurisdiction of the Massilian Republic. The capi- 
tal was especially renowned for its philosophers and 
physicians; for its patronage of letters; for the re- 
finement of its society; and for the number and 
excellence of its educational institutions, which, in the 
estimation of many distinguished Romans, took pre- 
cedence of the schools of Greece. Imperial favor 
bestowed upon the Narbonnese province monuments 
whose perfection was eminently worthy of the taste 
and splendor of the Augustan age. Its cities were 
adorned with beautiful temples, porticos, and theatres. 
In the gardens were peristyles of precious marble, 
mosaic pavements, superb fountains, vases filled with 
flowers, and statues of gilded bronze. Sumptuous 
baths administered to the luxury of the populace. In 
the circus, the chariot race displayed a pomp but little 
inferior to that exhibited by the imperial spectacles of 
Rome. Aqueducts of colossal dimensions brought, 
for a distance of many leagues, the water demanded 
by the requirements of an immense population. In 
no portion of the Roman world have such a variety 
of the architectural memorials of classic elegance 
survived as in the district of Provence and Langue- 
doc. From the magnificent ruins that still remain, 
we are enabled to form a grand but inadequate idea 
of the structures created by imperial munificence and 
Grecian taste which have perished by the neglect and 
the violence of thirteen centuries. After the Roman 

Moorish Empire in Europe 65 

came the Goth, and then the Arab, himself at first 
but a marauder. By degrees, however, his nobler in- 
stincts obtained the mastery over his love of rapine; 
his predatory strongholds were transformed into 
centres of trade; and with the habits and religion of 
the Orient were introduced all the benefits and all 
the vices of its voluptuous existence. The Moorish 
principality of Narbonne was subject to the Western 
Emirate only forty years; yet, during that short 
period, the impressions produced by Moorish occu- 
pancy were so deeply stamped upon the mental and 
physical characteristics of the population that no sub- 
sequent revolutions have ever been able to entirely 
efface them. The practical genius of the Arab, which 
considered utility as the first and most valuable of 
all the objects of civilization, was again exhibited in 
the improvements applied to all the arts and avoca- 
tions of life which sprang up in the track of his vic- 
torious armies. The Oriental principles of agricul- 
ture, with its painstaking tillage of the soil, its perfect 
irrigating system, its introduction of foreign plants, 
were applied with wonderful success to the delightful 
region watered by the Rhone and the Garonne. Many 
varieties of grain, including the buckwheat, originall}^ 
brought from Persia, and which at that time obtained 
its significant name of sarrasin, were imported from 
Spain. The bark of the cork-tree, still one of the 
greatest sources of wealth to Catalonia and Provence, 
was then first made known to Europe. The boundless 
evergreen forests on the slopes of the Pyrenees were 
utilized for the manufacture of pitch and rosin. In 
every district, the breed of horses was improved by 
crosses with the best blood of Arabia. Innumerable 
articles of luxury preserved in museums and private 
collections beautiful objects of silver, ivory, and 
crystal, damascened armor, and silken robes attest 
the variety and excellence of the Moorish manufac- 

VoL. III. 5 

66 History of the 

tures. The popular dances and other amusements of 
Southern France are also striking reminiscences of 
the Moslem ascendency. While Arabic literature 
must have exercised an important influence upon the 
public mind of Provence and Languedoc, no histori- 
cal information has been transmitted to us relative to 
its character, and even its existence during this period 
is largely a matter of conjecture. There is no doubt, 
however, concerning the effects subsequently pro- 
duced by familiarity with Moorish civilization, estab- 
lished by conquest and perpetuated by the aid of mer- 
chants and travellers. The learning, the elegance, the 
refinement, and the infidelity of the court of Cordova 
were carried beyond the Pyrenees. The writings of 
Averroes and other Arabian philosophers were studied 
with pleasure by the scholars of Southern France. 
That entire region was more Mohammedan than 
Christian and more infidel than either. The nobles 
adopted polygamous habits and maintained harems 
filled with concubines. A thriving trade in eunuchs 
was carried on with the Spanish Arabs, whose profits, 
it was notorious, w^ere principally engrossed by eccle- 
siastics. A passionate love of poetry developed the 
troubadour, a most important factor of European in- 
tellectual progress, and the counterpart and repre- 
sentative of the Arab bard, whose improvisations had, 
from time immemorial, been the delight of the emo- 
tional tribes of the Desert. A language infinitely 
sweeter and more melodious than modern French, and 
exhibiting a strong similarity to the Italian formed 
at the court of Frederick II., became the vehicle of 
charming poetical compositions, which satirized the 
lives of the priesthood, recounted the achievements 
of the tournament and the foray, and celebrated, in 
graceful and rhythmic hyperbole, the beauty and 
fascinations of woman. This tongue, known as the 
Langue d'Oc, while indirectly derived from the Latin, 

Moorish Empire in Europe 67 

owed, in fact, nothing to classic associations or influ- 
ence. It was the first of the numerous family of 
languages and dialects of Roman origin which, during 
mediseval times, attained to any marked degree of 
perfection in grammatical construction or in elegance 
of expression. It is a significant fact that it onl)^ 
obtained a permanent foothold in countries once sub- 
ject to Arab domination. It spread eventually all 
over the South of Europe. It was spoken in Valencia, 
Barcelona, and the Balearic Isles, whose dialects are 
now corrupted forms of the ancient Limousin. The 
productions of which it formed the medium were read 
in Italy, Germany, Sicily, and England. It adapted 
itself with such ease to the purposes of the poet that 
it almost seemed constructed especially for that va- 
riety of composition. It early incurred the hostility 
of the Church on account of the Albigensian heresy; 
and in 1248, Innocent IV., by a special bull, forbade 
its study to all good Catholics. The rapidity with 
which it was perfected, the extent of its distribution, 
the number of provincial dialects to which it gave rise, 
the richness of the literature which adopted it, and 
the suddenness and completeness of its extinction con- 
stitute one of the most interesting and extraordinary 
phenomena in the annals of linguistics. 

The literary and social condition of Southern 
France was, with the single exception of Sicily, which 
bore to it a remarkable resemblance, anomalous among 
the countries of civilized Europe. Its population was 
singularly cosmopolitan; half a score of races had 
contributed to its formation ; it had inherited the cult- 
ure of the Greek, the Roman, the Arab; mixture of 
blood and comparison of creeds had produced uni- 
versal toleration of belief and widespread and un- 
compromising skepticism. In its courts, its schools, 
its learned professions, Semitic ideas, traditions, and 
influence preponderated. Not a few Moslems had 

68 History of the 

established themselves in the cities of Nimes, Nar- 
bonne, and Toulouse, and the Jews abounded in every 
community which afforded encouragement to scien- 
tific attainments or facilities for traffic. The system 
of public instruction was essentially Hebrew; the 
faculty of the famous medical school of Montpellier, 
the successful competitor of that of Salerno, was at 
first principally composed of Jews and Mohamme- 
dans, and retained for centuries, amidst foreign con- 
quest and domestic convulsion, the impress derived 
from the character of its founders. The closest rela- 
tions were maintained between the academies of 
Languedoc and those of imperial Sicily and Moorish 
Spain. This intimacy was strengthened by the multi- 
plicity of mercantile transactions arising from a con- 
stant interchange of commodities dependent upon a 
vast and profitable trade. The capitals of Cordova, 
Seville, and Palermo were better known to the people 
of Provence than any of the Mediterranean cities to 
the inland towns of continental Europe; now, great 
centres of wealth, commerce, and civilization; then, 
despised as semi-barbarous and rarely visited. The 
continuance of this friendly intercourse with Moham- 
medan countries, confirmed at once by congenial pur- 
suits and by the powerful influence of pecuniary 
advantage, was portentous in its effects, and boded 
ill to the propagation of Christianity and the main- 
tenance of ecclesiastical discipline. The succession of 
numerous forms of worship, distinct in their origin, 
unlike in their ceremonial, irreconcilably hostile in 
their polity, each asserting divine infallibility, yet 
each, in turn, overthrown by a new and more popular 
belief, was not favorable to the existence of any 
religion. Strongly attached to the cheerful festivals 
of Paganism, the inhabitants of Southern France had 
embraced the precepts of the Gospel with insincerity 
and reluctance. Their disposition, their traditions, the 

Moorish Empire in Europe 69 

souvenirs of classic magnificence and beauty which 
surrounded them, all contributed to confirm the deeply 
grounded affection they entertained for the creed of 
their fathers. Nowhere else in Christendom was such 
a spectacle presented of all that is attractive to the 
luxurious, and all that is admired by the intellectual, 
as that disclosed by the life of the polished and cor- 
rupt society of Southern France. That entire region 
was subjected to the highest cultivation of which the 
soil, naturally fertile and improved by every resource 
of scientific agriculture, was susceptible. The cities, 
large and populous, enjoyed every advantage of 
wealth which could be derived from an extensive 
traffic. Beziers had sixty thousand inhabitants, a 
larger number than any town in England. Nimes, 
Aries, Carcassonne, were but little inferior in size and 
grandeur. Every commercial device was familiar to 
the people. Their shrewdness was proverbial. Their 
trade was enormous. A knowledge of banking and 
bills of exchange, with many important fiscal regu- 
lations, had been introduced by the Jews of Barce- 

Toulouse, one of the most beautiful and licentious 
of mediaeval capitals, was the focus of this splendid 
civilization. It was the seat of the Muses, the home 
of chivalry, the goal of every devotee of love and 
of ambition. There the knightly adventurer sought 
distinction in the tournament and the tilt of reeds, 
martial amusements borrowed from the Moor. 
Thither journeyed the troubadour and the jongleur, 
sure of hospitality and reward in palace and castle, 
in the comfortable home of the merchant, in the 
humble dwelling of the laborer. There was crowned 
the poet, successful in the literary contest, two hun- 
dred years before the laurel was placed upon the brow 
of Petrarch in the Capitol at Rome. There were held 
the Courts of Love, where women argued and deter- 

70 History of the 

mined, with all the grave impartiality of a judicial 
tribmial, questions involving the laws of gallantry, 
their observance and their violation. The potentate, 
who, under the modest title of count, governed this 
great and opulent realm, enjoyed a larger measure 
of authority than most representatives of the royal 
houses of Europe. His family was of high antiquity, 
and its rank dated back for many centuries. The rich 
fiefs of Beziers, Foix, Quercy, Montpellier, and Nar- 
bonne, with their numerous important dependencies, 
acknowledged his authority as suzerain. Wealthier 
than any of his Christian contemporaries, he was more 
powerful in all the attributes of monarchical dignity 
than the King of France. His dominions included the 
greater part of the territory south of the Loire, and 
embraced the fertile and flourishing districts bounded 
by the Garonne, the Isere, the Mediterranean, and the 
Alps. He had achieved renown in the Crusades. His 
sword had won for him the principality of Tripoli. 
He had been an unsuccessful but prominent competi- 
tor for the throne of Jerusalem. In his public rela- 
tions he was the soul of chivalric courtesy ; in his 
personal habits a fastidious voluptuary; in belief a 
skeptic; in tastes a Mohammedan. The conspicuous 
valor he displayed on the fields of Palestine was, in 
some degree, neutralized by a moral cowardice which 
instinctively shrank from a conflict involving the 
dearest privileges for which humanity can contend, 
the preservation of political integrity and the exer- 
cise of the right of intellectual freedom. Brave, im- 
petuous, sensual, vacillating, and insincere, such was 
Raymond VI., Count of Toulouse, the representative 
of the most polished and dissolute state in Europe. 

The political organization of the various cities and 
provinces composing the County of Toulouse pre- 
sented a strange anomaly. Some were, in all but 
name, republican; their magistrates, under the title 

Moorish Empire in Europe 71 

of consuls, administered the affairs of government, 
and were elected by the public voice of the people. 
The civil regulations of others partook rather of the 
nature of feudal tenures in which the most oppressive 
privileges had been relaxed or entirely discharged. 
But neither the feeble copy of the institutions of 
ancient Rome nor the barbarous laws of mediaeval 
tyranny were sufficient to compel the obedience of 
such a heterogeneous population. The authority' of 
the elective magistracy was frequently defied. The 
fealty of the great vassals was but nominal. The 
jurisdiction of the suzerain was, under various, and 
sometimes under frivolous, pretexts, questioned or ig- 
nored. There was no organized military power to 
enforce the mandates of the ruling authority. Ener- 
vated by pleasure, the people of Languedoc and 
Provence passed their existence in a constant round 
of intellectual diversions and refined sensuality. The 
martial sports of the chase and the tourney did little 
but recall the profession of arms, once the only occu- 
pation worthy of the dignity of the mediaeval cava- 
lier. Thus, broken up into semi-independent com- 
munities, destitute of military resources, and incapable 
of systematic defence or united action, the power of 
the Count of Toulouse was ready to crumble at the 
approach of the first resolute aggressor. The civili- 
zation represented by that power lacked the indispen- 
sable essentials of every permanent government, 
loyalty and religion. Want of centralization, and a 
multiplicity of rulers, weakened the patriotic attach- 
ment of the people, and discouraged the growth of an 
enlightened and healthy public sentiment. National 
pride could not exist when there was no royal per- 
sonage to whom all could appeal, no common country 
to exalt and defend. In addition to these serious im- 
pediments to durability and progress was added an 
absolute want of rehgious feeling. Numerous causes 

72 History of the 

had combined to produce this condition. Comparisons 
of many forms of faith had exposed their defects and 
inconsistencies, and led to a general rejection of them 
all. The Crusaders had familiarized all Europe, and 
especially France, with the manners and religion of 
the Mussulmans. Hundreds of enterprising mer- 
chants had assumed the cross, much less for the piety 
it was presumed to indicate and the sacred privileges 
it conferred, than for the worldly advantages to be 
procured by traffic with distant, and otherwise in- 
accessible, regions. Their glowing reports of Oriental 
civilization had dissipated the remaining prejudices of 
a people whose intercourse with the Moslem kingdoms 
beyond the Pyrenees had long predisposed them in 
favor of a race held in peculiar abhorrence by the See 
of Rome. The silks and gold of Syria and Egypt 
appealed far more eloquently to the passions of the 
multitude than the genuflexions of the priest or the 
rosary and cowl of the friar. Even the sacred pro- 
fession was invaded by the prevailing spirit of tolera- 
tion, itself dependent on material interests; the in- 
ferior clergy dealt as brokers in the money of the 
East, and from the mints of bishops and metropolitans 
were issued coins impressed with Mohammedan texts 
and symbols. In addition to this extraordinary parti- 
ality for infidel customs, and the practical renunciation 
of the vow of poverty, which were calculated to arouse, 
especialy among the vulgar, a suspicion of heterodoxy, 
the entire body of the Proven9al clergy had become 
thoroughly debased and profligate. Those of high 
rank vied with the nobles in prodigal and ostentatious 
luxury. Prelates constantly abandoned the duties of 
their office for the fascinations of the chase and the 
licentious pleasures of intrigue. They travelled in 
state with numerous trains of ladies and attendants, 
the richness of whose appointments rivalled that of a 
royal equipage. The Ai'chbishop of Narbonne kept 

Moorish Empire in Europe 73 

in his pay a band of foreign outlaws who levied black- 
mail on opulent citizens, and who, protected by their 
ecclesiastical patron, defied the weak and disorganized 
civil power of the land. In every gay assembly where 
the song of the troubadour recounted the triumphs 
of love and gallantry, or aimed its satirical shafts at 
the failings of the priesthood, the bishop was fore- 
most in laughter and applause. It was a common 
saying among the people that while the apostles were 
poor, their successors, plunged in luxury, " loved fine 
horses and splendid garments, white women and red 
wine." The vices of the higher class, confii*med by the 
possession of great wealth and secure from the censure 
of ecclesiastical tribunals, surpassed, in turpitude and 
effrontery, the excesses of any other society then exist- 
ing in Christendom. 

The episcopal dignitaries were usually of noble 
blood and connected with the most ancient and distin- 
guished families of France. Not so, however, with the 
inferior members of the hierarchy. The avarice, the 
extortion, the hypocrisy, the drunkenness, and the de- 
bauchery universally imputed to all included in that 
sacred profession had made it infamous. The prel- 
ates, indeed, enjoyed all that could be purchased or 
exacted by eminent birth, boundless opulence, and 
irresistible power. The priests, however, were nearer 
the people, and were taken from the lowest ranks of 
society. Such was their degradation, that it had 
passed into a proverb. The populace, by way of im- 
precation, were accustomed to say, " May I become a 
priest before I do such a thing!" Livings were filled 
exclusively from the ranks of the coarse and brutal 
peasantry, for no citizen of the middle class would 
permit his son to be disgraced by the assumption of 
the tonsure. Even respectable vassals recoiled from 
the equivocal honors of the Church, and the lords, who 
regarded the tithes as a portion of their legal per- 

74 History of the 

quisites, were forced to select as candidates for holy 
orders the most ignorant and degraded of their de- 
pendents and slaves. The rude manners and vicious 
tastes engendered by a debased and plebeian origin 
increased the hatred and contempt of the scoffing 
multitude. In some parts of Languedoc public feel- 
ing ran so high against the clergy, that priests, to avoid 
personal violence, were forced to conceal from the 
passers-by all outward evidences of their calling. 

The Pope, long aware of the insults offered to his 
dignity and of the evils which threatened the faith 
of Rome, had frequently condemned in unmeasured 
terms the conditions which imperilled the existence of 
all religion in the South of France. Ecclesiastical 
fulminations, however, possessed no terrors for the 
blithe and careless inhabitants of Provence and Lan- 
guedoc. The Papal bulls only furnished another 
amusing theme for the sarcasm of the poet. Inter- 
dicts, elsewhere so potent, in that land, alone of all 
those subject to Christian authority, were treated with 
derision. The pretensions of the legate of the Apos- 
tolic See were ridiculed in his very presence, and even 
the Holy Father himself was not able to escape the 
raillery and censure of those whom experience had 
made acquainted with the shocking venality and license 
of the Roman court. Every vestige of moral influence 
upon which rested public consideration for the clergy 
had disappeared. The churches were all but deserted. 
Latin, the language of the altar, had been discarded 
for the Langue d'Oc, the idiom of the skeptical and 
the dissolute. In many parishes bells had ceased to 
announce the hour of worship, for no one heeded 
them. The priest, intent on his pleasures, was only 
too ready to abandon the duties enjoined by his call- 
ing, especially when there were few to listen and still 
fewer to contribute. The revenues of the Church, 
greatly diminished, were diverted into channels en- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 75 

tirely foreign to the purpose for which they had nomi- 
nally been collected. Some were appropriated by the 
nobles, whose vassals had been presented to livings. 
Vast sums were squandered by licentious prelates in 
vices whose enormity appalled every sincere Christian. 
The greatest profits which enured to the benefit of 
the clergy were derived from the uncanonical and pro- 
hibited practices of simony and usury. No effort was 
made to conceal the existence of these abuses, and the 
ecclesiastical residence was generally recognized as the 
head-quarters of brokerage in bills and benefices. 

Thus had the Roman Catholic Church, by the cor- 
ruption and effrontery of its ministers, forfeited the 
respect of mankind. Its edicts were disregarded. Its 
lessons were unheard. The pious turned with loathing 
from the hypocritical exhortations of religious teach- 
ers whose lives were stained with every crime, and 
whose conduct presented examples of flagrant in- 
iquity, which fortunately had few parallels outside 
of their profession. The reverence once attaching to 
the Vatican was sensibly impaired. While its policy 
encouraged the promotion of the humble, its authority 
necessarily suffered through the enrolment into the 
priesthood of men without education, refinement, 
honor, decency, or independence. Public respect 
could not be retained by a class degraded by servile 
associations and still subject to the arbitrary caprices 
of a secular lord. As in every community are to be 
found many individuals to whom religion is a neces- 
sity, so in the Proven9al cities and villages devout 
persons turned from the ancient and discredited 
hierarchy to other quarters for the inestimable con- 
solations of forgiveness and hope. Such conditions 
infallibly generate heresy, and the eagerness and 
unanimity with which heterodox opinions were 
adopted in that populous region demonstrated at 
once the extent of the evil and the necessity for the 

76 History of the 

radical measures by which its removal was acccom- 

The centre of intellectual culture in Southern 
France was the University of Montpellier. It has 
been well said that the history of the faculty of that 
famous institution is to a great extent the history of 
medicine in Europe. During the early part of the 
twelfth century, Montpellier was the most important 
emporium of France. The trade of the entire country 
converged to that point. Its commercial establish- 
ments were upon a colossal scale. Its population was 
cosmopolitan. The conquests of Ferdinand and 
Jaime, the occupation of Cordova, Seville, Majorca, 
and Valencia had attracted to Languedoc, and espe- 
cially to its most thriving city, tens of thousands of 
Mohammedan refugees. The Jews had long been 
numerous in that region, and were already conspicu- 
ous for wealth, intelligence, and power. 

From that epoch dates, in reality, the foundation 
of the University. A school of medicine had existed 
there for nearly a century, but to the influx of Moorish 
and Hebrew learning must be attributed the reputa- 
tion soon obtained by that institution throughout Eu- 
rope. The majority of its professors belonged to 
those two nationalities. They brought with them the 
experience, the methods, the remedies, and the instru- 
ments of the most eminent and successful practitioners 
of the Peninsula. Many of them from time to time 
visited the colleges of Granada and Toledo for the 
purpose of adding to their stock of information, and 
of profiting by the superior facilities those schools 
afforded. A broad and catholic spirit controlled the 
organization and the policy of the University. Sec- 
tarian prejudice was unknown. Teacher and scholar 
were free to worship according to their belief, or to 
entertain and express the most radical philosophical 
opinions. Intellectual attainments and marked ability 

Moorish Empire in Europe 77 

were the principal qualifications for admission to the 

The Lords of Montpellier, and subsequently the 
Kings of France, were the patrons of the school. 
They conferred upon it at different times great and 
extraordinary privileges. The rights it had enjoyed 
under the Count were confirmed by the sovereign. 
Philip of Valois, in 1331, by a special edict placed 
its doctors under the royal protection. Charles VI., 
in 1350, granted its beadles permission to carry silver 
maces as symbols of its dignity. The Duke of Ara- 
gon, in 1364, exempted it from taxation. The patents 
of Charles VIII., in 1484, transferred all causes in 
which the professors and students were interested to 
the jurisdiction of the Governor of Montpellier. The 
execution of legal process could only be made in the 
presence of the Chancellor. To the officers of the 
Faculty were committed the supervision and inspec- 
tion of the apothecary shops of the city, in order to 
insure the purity of the medicines dispensed. 

At Montpellier were performed the first public ana- 
tomical demonstrations of Christian Europe. The 
surgical investigations of the School of Salerno had 
been principally confined to the lower animals. Moor- 
ish and Hebrew operators carried into France the 
advanced ideas of Mohammedan Spain, which, in 
defiance of ancient prejudice and mediaeval supersti- 
tion, sought for the knowledge of the location and 
functions of the human organs in the intelligent and 
systematic dissection of the human body. In the 
thirteenth century, the corpse of a criminal was every 
year given to the Faculty of Montpellier for this 
purpose. Two hundred years elapsed before similar 
demonstrations were authorized by the University of 

The Medical Academy of Montpellier inherited the 
energetic and progressive spirit of its prototype, the 

78 History of the 

University of Cordova. It absorbed all the available 
learning of antiquity. It adopted the maxims and the 
methods of the great Arab surgeons and physicians of 
the Peninsula. Among its most celebrated professors 
were graduates of the School of Salerno. It utilized 
the talents and experience of famous practitioners of 
every country and of every creed. There the works 
of Hippocrates and Galen were translated from the 
Arabic, in which idiom they had been preserved, into 
the Latin, by which they were to be transmitted to 
posterity. There the learned disquisitions of Aver- 
roes, Avicenna, Rhazes, and Abulcasis were enriched 
with voluminous and invaluable commentaries. 

A long and thorough course of study was required 
to obtain the title of Doctor. The office of Chancellor 
was one of great dignity, and carried with it many 
privileges. It may well be imagined that ecclesiastical 
imposture could not flourish in the shadow of such an 
institution. Such was its influence, even with a class 
naturally hostile, that as early as the last half of the 
twelfth century the First and Second Councils of 
Montpellier prohibited all members of the clergy from 
teaching medicine, under severe penalties. The scien- 
tific character of the studies pursued in that city, and 
the success of those who profited by them, discredited 
the practice of shrine-cure and the imposition of relics. 
The theological odium attaching to the University was 
not less than that which had stigmatized kindred seats 
of learning among the Arabian infidels. Many works 
of its professors were publicly burned by the Inquisi- 

And yet no class of men was more highly esteemed 
by the orthodox sovereigns of Christendom than the 
graduates of the University of Montpellier. They 
were the friends and confidants of popes and kings. 
Their heretical principles were forgotten at the bed- 
side of the sick and the afflicted. Arnold de Villanova 

Moorish Empire in Europe 79 

was the physician of Clement V., of Peter III., King 
of Aragon, of Frederick II., Emperor of Germany. 
Guy de Chauliac was the regular medical adviser of 
Clement VI., of Innocent VI., of Urban V. While 
its greatest reputation is derived from its influence on 
medicine, the labors of the School of Montpellier 
were not confined to that science. They gave rise to 
many valuable contributions to various branches of 
literature. The astronomical researches of the Span- 
ish Jew, Profatius, in 1300, his tables of longitude; 
his calculations, which established the declination of 
the sun and the inclination of the earth's axis, by 
means of which terrestrial motion was conclusively 
demonstrated, have not lost their authority in our 

The treatises of Gordonius on Diseases of the Kid- 
neys, of Gerard de Solo on Hygiene, of Raymond 
de Vinario on the Plague, indicate to the medical 
scholar the extraordinary accomplishments of the 
members of the Faculty of Montpellier. The great 
work of Guy de Chauliac on General Surgery was the 
main reliance of European operators for two hundred 
and fifty years. 

The mad extravagance of the Proven9al nobility, 
their lavish expenditures, the pomp of their retinues, 
their efforts to surpass in prodigality and luxury the 
splendid festivals of imperial Rome, aroused the 
wonder of Europe. Their chargers were shod with 
silver. Their dogs wore collars set with precious 
jewels. It was an ordinary occurrence for a wealthy 
lord to scatter great sums to be scrambled for by the 
populace. One sowed like seed thirty thousand gold 
crowns in the neighborhood of his castle. Another 
enriched his noble guests by the bestowal of gifts of 
incalculable value. A third sacrificed upon a funeral 
pyre, in the presence of an immense assemblage, thirty 
of his finest horses. There was apparently no limit to 

80 History of the 

the intoxication produced by the pride, the opulence, 
and the voluptuousness of Proven9al society. In that 
society differences in rank were not so sharply defined 
as in those of other countries. The serf, indeed, re- 
tained his degradation; but the ordinarily intermedi- 
ate class of burghers were practically the equals of the 
feudal aristocracy. Many of them boasted a purer 
and a more distinguished lineage. They used coats 
of arms. They had their mansions, their embattled 
castles, their bodies of organized retainers. They 
excelled in martial exercises, and it was no unusual 
occurrence for knights who had crossed swords with 
the infidels of Palestine to be worsted by them in the 
tournament. The title to noble rank was thus to a con- 
siderable extent connected with municipal residence. 
In the cities all was splendor, gayety, courtesy. Out- 
side of them, the inhabitants were for the most part 
condemned to villeinage. In the Courts of Love, 
whose absurdity has caused them to be regarded as 
mythical by many subsequent writers, judicial deci- 
sions were rendered on every point of amorous casu- 
istry. The mock solemnity with which such matters 
were propounded and determined was only exceeded 
by the dissolute tendency of the customs that governed 
the proceedings of these extraordinary tribunals. No 
greater proof of the prevalent laxity of morals could 
be desired than that furnished bv their canons. Thev 
encouraged the violation of the marriage vow. They 
defined with minute and curious particularity the rules 
of intrigue. The nature of the questions debated by 
high-born ladies in the presence of a numerous audi- 
tory was such as cannot be even designated, still less 
described, in a modern book. The brazen coarseness 
which characterized these ridiculous controversies 
afforded a remarkable contrast to the refinement of 
manners otherwise displayed by those who partici- 
pated in them. The popularity of this unique system 

Moorish Empire in Europe 81 

of jurisprudence was so great, that, at the time of the 
Albigensian crusade, it was on the point of being gen- 
erally established in every part of France. No insti- 
tution, even in those times of heresy and unbelief, was 
so fatal to religion. It undermined the vital princi- 
ples by which society is held together. It defied the 
injunctions and ridiculed the dogmas of the Church. 
The Virgin, as the object of adoration, was sup- 
planted by the mistress of the cavalier, often a woman 
of dissolute character and the recipient of the adula- 
tion of a score of favored lovers. 

A charming picture of mediaeval society is pre- 
sented by the life of the educated classes of Lan- 
guedoc and Provence. Everywhere was dispensed 
the most elegant and lavish hospitality. The table was 
spread before the open door of the castle. Marked 
attention was shown to the guest, whether merchant, 
knight, pilgrim, minstrel, or troubadour. He was 
welcomed with unaffected cordiality. He was ten- 
dered the use of the hot-air bath. A wreath of flowers 
was placed upon his brow. The ladies themselves 
ministered to his necessities. In accordance with a 
custom borrowed from the Arabs, the choicest mor- 
sels were placed in his mouth by dainty white and 
jewelled fingers perfumed with lavender and rose. 
The diversions of the day were feats of strength and 
displays of horsemanship, the game of chess, the chase 
with the falcon, the contest for the prize of knightly 
dexterity in the lists of the tournament. In winter, 
the company gathered about the huge fireplace of the 
banqueting hall; in summer, under the rustling fo- 
liage of the park. The evening was spent with song 
and dance, with the recital of the story-teller, with the 
improvisations of the poet. The feast was enlivened 
by wit, by jest, by sparkling repartee. The returned 
crusader related his adventures in the Holy Land, 
the bloody encounters of the siege of Acre; the 

Vol. III. 6 

82 History of the 

quarrels of the Christian chieftains; the events in 
which were displayed the dignity, the valor, the noble 
generosity of Saladin. The trader, just from the 
Moorish cities of Spain, then, indeed, sadly fallen 
from their first estate, but still exhibiting in their 
fading splendor no unworthy image of their former 
grandeur and power, described in glowing language 
the beauties of Cordova, Valencia, and Seville. Be- 
tween cavalier and mistress communication was con- 
stantly maintained unobserved, through the silent and 
pantomimic medium of the language of flov/ers. 

In this brilliant company the troubadour was pre- 
eminently conspicuous. Although often the butt of 
the equivocal speeches and practical jokes of his com- 
panions of both sexes, attentions which he did not 
fail to repay with interest in the cutting satire of 
his verse, his opinions, generally authoritative, were 
always heard with respect. He determined points of 
precedence and etiquette. He gave wholesome advice 
to young ladies on the care of their persons, on their 
behavior at table, on their treatment of lovers. His 
principal duties were, however, the glorification of the 
family of his patron and the celebration of the charms 
of his mistress. All courted his favor. Few were rash 
enough to provoke his enmity. In the society of 
Languedoc, whether the dependent of a noble house 
or a careless wanderer from court to court, he was 
always the central figure. 

Among the inmates of the baronial palace, if an 
intrigue existed, it was concealed by the mask of de- 
cency. The poet, in the burning verses which enumer- 
ated the charms of his lady-love, never mentioned her 
name, or betrayed the slightest indication of her iden- 
tity. His attachment he regarded in the same light as 
the tribute paid by a Pagan worshipper to his tutelary 
goddess. The laws of his code demanded impene- 
trable reserve. The object of his devotion was, to all 

Moorish Empire in Europe 83 

appearances, an imaginary personage, an ideal of 
feminine perfection. 

The highest development of splendor, taste, intelli- 
gence, and luxury was to be found in the feudal castle. 
In the cities, it is true, great pomp and extravagance, 
the results of the accumulation of incredible wealth, 
were constantly displaj^ed. The mansions of many 
opulent merchants far surpassed in the magnificence 
of their interiors the palaces of the King of France. 
On occasions of festivity priceless hangings of bro- 
cade and velvet, of silken tapestry and cloth of gold, 
were suspended over the streets. The households of 
these powerful citizens were on a scale commensurate 
with the dignity of their masters. Hundreds of 
retainers obeyed their bidding. Their apartments 
were full of singers, dancers, buffoons, and eunuchs. 
There was no delicacy not to be found upon their 
tables; no means of sensual enjoyment which did not 
contribute to the stimulation of their blunted appe- 
tites ; no vice with which they were not familiar. 

Thus in the courts of the numerous principalities 
of Southern France, amidst the delights of a society 
gay, skeptical, licentious, the troubadour was the 
arbiter of taste, the oracle of the populace, the idol 
of women. Public opinion was far from discour- 
aging the practice of gallantry in an age which scoffed 
alike at the maxims of social morality and the cere- 
monies of religion. The mistress of the vagrant bard 
was always the wife of a noble, not infrequently a 
princess of the highest dignity. To her was addressed 
his passionate homage, often in strains whose expres- 
sions are too bold and ardent for translation into a 
modern language. The adoration they convey, unsur- 
passed in fervency by any vows ever offered at the 
shrine of a celestial divinity, affords a key to both the 
influence of the poet and the relaxation of manners. 
The life of the latter was passed in an intoxicating 

84 History of the 

atmosphere of music, flattery, and amorous intrigue. 
His power over society was not less important than 
that formerly exercised b}?^ the repudiated clergy, and 
was, morally speaking, fully as pernicious. The adu- 
lation he lavished upon the object of his affections, 
represented as the personification of every physical 
grace and every mental accomplishment, could not fail 
to fire the romantic imagination of the goddess in 
whose veins coursed the hot blood of the South, and 
whose vanity caused her to recognize in this extrava- 
gant flattery and devotion the highest tribute to her 
charms. Around the bard, in the brilliant circles of 
Aries or Carcassonne, was grouped a mirthful and 
appreciative auditory, ladies in brocades and jewels, 
knights in burnished armor, pages in silk and gold. 
In that animated assemblage the restraints of rank, 
never rendered irksome by the exactions of pompous 
ceremonial, were for the moment entirely suspended. 
The conversation sparkled with epigram, equivocal 
allusions, and good-humored satire. Its character, 
formed by the dissolute customs of the age, often 
transgressed the rules of propriety which govern 
modern social intercourse. Inspired by such sur- 
roundings, the troubadour arose and began the recital 
of an impromptu amatory ode. Young, slender, and 
handsome, his physical appearance alone might well 
elicit female admiration. His long, dark locks fell 
in ringlets upon his shoulders. A golden chain hung 
about his neck. His fingers glittered with gems. 
From his belt an enamelled poniard was suspended. 
His picturesque costume of brilliant colors, his silken 
doublet, his velvet cloak, set ofl* to the best advantage 
the graces of his person, and revealed the popularity 
which he enjoyed with his patrons. All eyes were 
turned upon him, for his talents were of the highest 
order, and the object of his admiration was present, 
perchance in the person of the chatelaine herself. As 

Moorish Empiee in Europe 85 

he chanted his verses in accents, now ardent, now 
pathetic, now humorous, the enraptured audience, 
swayed by conflicting emotions, broke forth alter- 
nately into tears and laughter. His ambiguous ex- 
pressions, his licentious images, whose boldness the 
severity of modern criticism would reject as offensive 
to decency, were received with every manifestation 
of approval by his delighted hearers. The nature of 
the entertainment was often varied by the perform- 
ances of the jongleur. That personage, Avho, as a 
retainer of the troubadour, occupied a position analo- 
gous to that of esquire to knight, united in his calling 
the office of minstrel, juggler, story-teller, and buf- 
foon. Sometimes he accompanied the song of the 
poet upon the harp or the guitar; sometimes, with 
expressive gesticulation, he recounted the legends, the 
martial exploits, and the popular romances whose rela- 
tion was a favorite diversion of mediaeval society. His 
rank was ordinarily far beneath that of his compan- 
ion; yet it was not unusual for the two professions 
to be combined; and there were instances when their 
positions were reversed through the vicissitudes of 
success or misfortune. 

The extraordinary privileges enjoyed by these va- 
grant sonneteers were by no means entirely attribu- 
table to the amusement which their talents afforded. 
Their compositions were the sole medium by which 
public opinion could be aroused and the abuse of 
power and the excesses of social depravity restrained. 
The influence of the pulpit, long omnipotent in the 
regulation of morals, had declined ; in some localities 
it had wholly disappeared. Centuries were destined 
to elapse before the press, the most formidable weapon 
of political censure, could become available. The 
satire of the poet, whose verses, carried from place 
to place, in a fortnight became familiar to a hundred 
communities, was recognized as the instrument of 

86 History of the 

moral correction, the dread of the tyi'ant, the scourge 
of the shamelessly dissolute. Its potent effects were 
feared by wrong-doers of every class, and by none so 
much as by those of exalted position. 

The fierceness and rancor displayed by the trouba- 
dours in their attacks upon obnoxious personages, in 
an age of irresponsible authority, can only be ex- 
plained upon the hypothesis that they were encouraged 
and protected by the force of overwhelming public 
sentiment. Their poems were composed in the Lan- 
gue d'Oc, the first perfected and the most important 
of the Romance languages, an idiom of great com- 
pass and power, and beyond the Loire used by the 
educated and polished members of society alone. The 
finest of these productions frequently owed their 
origin to authors destitute of literary culture; many 
troubadours could not even read. They evinced no 
admiration of the beauties of nature. The stanzas 
were isolated, often absolutely without continuity. A 
common similarity of type and resemblance of ideas 
pervaded all. It is a singular circumstance, that in 
form and metrical arrangement the last poem of a 
troubadour was not, in any important particular, su- 
perior to the oldest, at present, known ; there was no 
improvement in two hundred years. In delicacy of 
sentiment, in vigor of expression, in sweetness of 
melody, these compositions are not excelled by the 
lyrics of any nation. Their analogy to those of the 
Spanish Mohammedans is striking and self-evident. 
There is the same play of words, the same predomi- 
nating class of subjects, the same far-fetched and 
extravagant similies, the same incessant obtrusion of 
the author's personality. The Langue d'Oc contains 
a greater number of rhyming terminations than any 
other language except Arabic; a coincidence to be 
attributed to imitation or a common poetic taste, and 
certainly not the result of accident. In the produc- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 87 

tions of both idioms the prevaiHng rhyme is by dis- 
tichs, and occurs throughout the entire poem, the sec- 
ond verse of every distich always ending with the 
same sound; and the meaning is often obscured or 
sacrificed to preserve continuous harmony of versifi- 

The taste for letters was introduced into France 
partly as a consequence of the Moslem occupation, 
but principally by the Jews, who remained after their 
allies had been driven back over the Pyrenees. The 
similarity of taste and expression existing between the 
poets of these two branches of the Semitic race is 
apparent to every one who has compared the Bible 
and the Koran. ^lany of the Hebrew colonists of 
Narbonne and Marseilles had been educated at Cor- 
dova, and all spoke the Arabic language with fluency. 
Not a few were scholars of marked ability, gifted with 
poetic talents, the possessors of large libraries. These 
superior advantages had great weight with a semi- 
barbarous people steeped in ignorance, with no mental 
resources except the interchange of gossip, and the 
exhortations of a priest, who often could not under- 
stand his breviary. The ferocious and intolerant spirit 
with which the Jew was generally regarded, counter- 
acted, in a measure, the effect of his influence, but the 
power of intellect and culture finally prevailed. The 
Hebrews familiarized the population of Languedoc 
and Provence with the art, the science, and the litera- 
ture of the Arabs. Through their agency an acquaint- 
ance with the Arabic language and literature became 
in Southern France and in Sicily indispensable to the 
education of a scholar. Another factor of great im- 
portance in the intellectual development of Southern 
Europe was the number of Moslem refugees who 
sought safety in foreign lands from the influx of 
African barbarism and from the perils incident to con- 
stant revolution. A large proportion of these were 

88 History of the 

philosophers, whose high attainments had made them 
dangerously conspicuous, and whose heretical doc- 
trines were obnoxious to the stern fanaticism of the 
Almoravides. Such an immigration could not fail to 
produce a profound impression upon the mental char- 
acteristics and literary habits of any people. 

The intercourse of all classes of the population in 
Southern France was distinguished by every manifes- 
tation of courtesy. The degrees of precedence, the 
style of dress, the order of amusements, the arrange- 
ment of the banquet, were governed by established 
rules of etiquette. 

Nor was this life by any means devoted to frivolous 
pursuits. The great hall of the castle was often the 
scene of debate between famous scholars and eccle- 
siastics. There, too, were performed the burlesque 
miracle-plays of the age. An expensive library was 
the pride of the count. The philosopher was fre- 
quently, the astrologer almost invariably, a member 
of his household. In the secret vaults of the labora- 
tory, surrounded by crucibles and alembics, the adept 
sought for the secret of potable gold ; from the sum- 
mit of the keep the astronomer held nightly com- 
munion with the stars. 

An inclination to dialectical controversy, inherited 
from their Greek ancestry; the subtle arguments of 
Arab metaphysicians and natural philosophers ; com- 
mercial intercourse with the Orient, which familiarized 
them with the religious theories and principles of vari- 
ous heretical beliefs; and the corrupt and debauched 
lives of the clergy, which excited the universal abhor- 
rence of all, predisposed the piously inclined to the 
acceptance of new forms of faith. Among the heter- 
odox sects which arose in the early ages of Chris- 
tianity, that of the Paulicians was the most numerous, 
the most popular, and the most enduring. Its tenets 
were partlj^ borrowed from those of the Gnostics, but 

Moorish Empire in Europe 89 

largely derived from the ancient Persian doctrine of 
the two antagonistic Principles of Good and Evil, 
ever contending for the mastery of the universe and 
the empire of mankind. The peculiar ideas of this 
Manichean sect had, from the first, awakened the ap- 
prehensions and called forth the anathemas of the 
Church. The mysticism which characterized them, the 
ascetic life which they inculcated, appealed powerfully 
to the superstitions and devout impulses which most 
strongly influence the human mind. From Armenia 
the belief of the Paulicians rapidly invaded every 
province of the Byzantine Empire, and then, follow- 
ing the lines of trade, made innumerable proselytes in 
Germany, Italy, Spain, and France. It gave rise to 
the Waldenses and the Albigenses, names of sad and 
ominous import in the religious annals of Europe. 
In no country were these false doctrines embraced 
with such enthusiasm as in Provence and Languedoc. 
Their adoption was not confined to the ignorant and 
the obscure, for many personages of the most exalted 
rank openly avowed their adherence to this danger- 
ous heresy. Simplicity of creed and purity of man- 
ners distinguished the new sectaries from the subjects 
of the ancient hierarchy. They denied the real pres- 
ence in the Eucharist; the value of baptism as a cere- 
mony; the efficacy of absolution granted by a priest 
whose calling was not unf requently dishonored by acts 
of the most glaring profligacy. Their ministers dis- 
carded the splendid vestments of the Roman Catholic 
priesthood for simple robes of black. They rejected 
the Old Testament, as inspired by the Spirit of Evil, 
because of the sanguinary deeds authorized by a supe- 
rior power, which, by the extermination of populous 
communities, indicated irreconcilable enmity to the 
human race. Bells and images of every kind alike 
shared their animadversion. They advocated benevo- 
lence, abstinence, chastity, celibacy. In self-abnega- 

90 History of the 

tion many of them exceeded the discipline of the most 
exacting of the monastic orders. They denounced as 
one of the most grievous oiFences against morahty the 
practice of every form of lying and deceit. In their 
creed the sacerdotal office and the ceremonial of the 
Church were invested with no sanctity, and could 
confer no benefits, if not associated with honesty of 
purpose and purity of life. Their very existence was 
a protest against Papal infallibility and an assertion 
of the right of individual judgment. Their liberal 
opinions, their charity, the persuasive eloquence with 
which they promulgated their doctrines, obtained for 
them the respect of the nobility and the ardent devo- 
tion of the multitude. The name of the obnoxious 
sect was to every consistent member of the Catholic 
communion a term of peculiar infamy and reproach. 

Throughout the region tainted with this heresy, 
which derived its name from the diocese of Albi, where 
its professors were most numerous, the authority of 
the Vatican was undermined or entirely destroyed. 
The habits of the clergy had prejudiced all classes 
against them. The churches were empty. Payment 
of tithes had ceased. Vassals subject to ecclesiastical 
jurisdiction refused obedience and withheld their trib- 
ute. In certain districts it was unsafe for a priest to 
appear upon the highway. The public exhortations 
of friars, whose extraordinary influence was now for 
the first time disclosed, were interrupted by shouts of 
derision and flying missiles. At Toulouse, the centre 
of the Albigensian doctrines, a renegade prelate, 
usurping the functions of the Pope, convoked at in- 
tervals councils of heretic bishops. The recalcitrant 
sectaries possessed houses of worship, ecclesiastical 
residences, cemeteries. The piety or fears of the 
devout bestowed upon their clergy valuable estates 
and great sums in legacies. That portion of the 
community which did not accept the new behef 

Moorish Empire in Europe 91 

which probably equalled the rest in numbers, and 
certainly surpassed it in wealth and social importance, 
infected with the theories of Arabic philosophy was 
thoroughly infidel. Against such rebels the thunders 
of the Vatican availed nothing. Apostolic admoni- 
tions were treated with ridicule. Interdicts had lost 
their power. Even the Papal legate was treated with 
scant courtesy. The missionary efforts of Dominic, 
whose fiery zeal now began to raise him to eminence, 
met with signal and ignominious failure. The Church 
menaced at the same time by this serious defectioiij 
by rebellion in her own temporal dependencies, and 
by the aspiring genius of the youthful emperor, Fred- 
erick II. was in great distress. At no time in her 
history had she been confronted with such powerful 
enemies or been exposed to more deadly perils. And 
yet this beautiful land, now under the ban of the 
Papal See, had scarcely a century before been re- 
garded as one of the bulwarks of the Christian faith. 
It was at Clermont that the first Crusade was pro- 
claimed by the Languedocian Bishop of Puy, as the 
representative of the Pope. A hundred thousand per- 
sons from Southern France followed Peter the Her- 
mit to Palestine. The famous Order of Hospitallers 
was a Provencal institution. A large proportion of 
its Grand IMasters were natives of Languedoc. The 
treasure contributed by its people to the prosecution 
of these chimerical expeditions of Rome was far from 
inconsiderable. Such a radical change had increased 
intelligence and the untrammelled exercise of reason 
wrought in the minds of the inhabitants of the most 
civilized country of Christian Europe. 

The malignant genius of Innocent III. was, how- 
ever, equal to the emergency. In spite of the fact 
that ecclesiastical corruption was principally respon- 
sible for the widespread revolt against Papal au- 
thority, the Count of Toulouse and his feudatories 

92 History of the 

were, in exquisite irony, appointed the ministers of 
apostolic vengeance. The mandate was issued by the 
Vatican that the Proven9al nobility should become the 
persecutors of their vassals and lay waste their own 
possessions with fire and sword. TsTo family ties, no 
considerations of friendship or intimacy, no heredi- 
tary connections, were exempted from the operation 
of this atrocious decree. When it had failed, as it 
was certain to do, as a last decisive expedient, a bull 
was promulgated announcing a crusade against the 
infidels of France. Their lands and their lives were 
declared forfeited for the crime of heresy; all good 
Catholics were called to arms; and the property of 
the rebellious sectaries was promised as a reward to 
the faithful champions of the Holy See. Every re- 
source of Papal ingenuity and power was invoked. 
From twelve hundred monasteries, bands of fanatics 
issued to preach the crusade in all the states of Chris- 
tendom. Plenary indulgence was granted to the 
warrior who donned his armor in the cause of the 
Church. Excommunication and the withdrawal of 
ecclesiastical protection were denounced against any 
guilty of hesitation or lukewarmness. In addition to 
the general absolution authorized by the Pope, the 
Crusaders were during the continuance of this Holy 
War released from the payment of all pecuniary obli- 
gations contracted prior to their enlistment, a conces- 
sion which was practically equivalent to the repudia- 
tion of their debts. The answer to the summons of 
the Vatican was ready and unanimous. Every ab- 
sorbing passion and every ignoble impulse love of 
fame, religious zeal, national prejudice, desire of 
novelty, insatiable cupidity, private malice attracted 
the roving, the licentious, and the unprincipled to the 
standard of the Cross. At that time Europe swarmed 
with military adventurers, some of whom had served 
in Palestine, in the trains of eminent personages; 

Moorish Empire in Europe 93 

others, the refuse of disbanded armies, were outlaws 
and criminals who subsisted by plunder and extortion. 
To men like these, the announcement of such an enter- 
prise appeared a singular stroke of good fortune. 
Provence and Languedoc embraced the richest terri- 
tory, of its dimensions, west of Constantinople. Its 
luxury and its opulence, its elegant civilization, the 
magnificence of its cities, the vast treasures of its ware- 
houses, the beauty of its women, were well known to 
its envious and ambitious neighbors. It was also 
known that no adequate means of defence existed, and 
that the hands, which had in the midst of barbarism 
evoked these marvels, lacked both the power and the 
resolution to protect them. The frontier was exposed 
to the invader. No efficient military force could be 
assembled to successfully resist a hostile advance. The 
stern qualifications of a soldier were not to be obtained 
in the effeminate atmosphere of the Provencal court, 
devoted to dancing, poetry, and amorous indulgence. 
Physically as well as morally the soft and idle popula- 
tion of the South was not fitted to cope with hardy 
adventurers accustomed to arms from childliood, tried 
in a hundred battles, and exercised daily in the broils 
and contests inseparable from the society of a turbu- 
lent and lawless age. 

No incentive was wanting to arouse the enthusiasm 
of every rank, from the king to the villain, from 
the archbishop to the monk. The monarchy of 
France, whose feudal obligations nominally included 
the powerful states of the Pyrenees and the Mediter- 
ranean, was, in fact, unable to enforce its mandates 
beyond the Loire. The sovereignty of that rich coun- 
try, now abandoned to conquest, could not fail to im- 
measurably augment the power and consequence of 
the crown. Ecclesiastical avarice and revenge looked 
longingly upon the wealthy benefices usurped and 
administered by heretics, the prospect of enormous 

94) History or the 

forfeitures, the certainty of a fearful retribution en- 
tailed by religious errors and imj)ious defiance of the 
admonitions of the Pope. Hope of the unbridled 
indulgence of every brutal passion appealed to the 
baser and more selfish instincts of the rabble, the 
beggars, the robbers, the soldiers of fortune. The 
popularity of the enterprise is shown by the numbers 
who assumed the cross. It is estimated that from 
three hundred thousand to half a million engaged in 
the war, of whom nearly a hundred thousand were 
fighting men who had seen military service. There 
was not a government in Europe at that time able to 
withstand the onslaught of such a force. Appalled 
by the frightful prospect of impending destruction, 
the Count of Toulouse consented to observe uncondi- 
tionally the requirements of the Holy See, in the 
delusive hope of averting from his dominions the tem- 
pest which must involve all his subjects in one common 
ruin. His punishment was inflicted with every cir- 
cumstance of public ignominy and personal degrada- 
tion. His excommunication, long since pronounced 
for heretical opinions which he did not entertain, was 
not revoked. Summoned before an ecclesiastical coun- 
cil at Valence, he acknowledged his sins and promised 
future obedience. Stripped naked to the girdle, he 
was conducted, in the presence of a great multitude, 
to the front of the principal church, where he abjured 
his errors, and, his hands placed in those of the Legate, 
he swore allegiance to the Pope. He conveyed to the 
clergy, as security for his obligations, seven of the 
strongest castles in his dominions, a fatal step, which 
rendered his downfall, hitherto scarcely doubtful, now 
a matter of absolute certainty. Then, a rope having 
been passed about his neck, he was dragged through 
the aisle to the altar, where he was scourged like the 
vilest criminal. His recantation was repeated, and 
absolution was finally pronounced under condition of 

Moorish Empire in Europe 95 

implicit submission, and with the promise that he 
would assist in the prosecution of a war which in- 
volved the devastation of his country and the exter- 
mination of his subjects. These humiliating sacrifices, 
made with the implied understanding that future im- 
munity would be granted his vassals in case they sub- 
mitted to pontifical authority, proved unavailing. The 
clergy placed their own construction upon matters 
in which they were at once prosecutors and judges. 
Although the Count of Toulouse observed as far as 
possible the degrading conditions through whose per- 
formance he became reconciled to the Church, it was 
not the policy of Innocent to deal leniently with those 
who had disobeyed her canons, questioned her inspira- 
tion, or intercepted her revenues. Pretexts were easily 
found under which Raj^mond was accused of having 
violated his covenants. His castles were declared 
escheated to the Papacy. His actions were carefully 
observed, and it became evident that his presence with 
the Crusaders was enforced rather than voluntary. 
The great army which had assembled to vindicate the 
outraged majesty of the Vicar of Christ now clam- 
ored to be led to battle. Their irresistible numbers 
darkened the plains of Lyons and spread consterna- 
tion among the peasantry, whose women they insulted 
and whose substance they consumed. The eminent 
prelates of the French hierarchy sanctioned by their 
presence and their example the most awful of out- 
rages on human rights and intellectual Hberty. The 
religious character of the enterprise was indicated by 
the predominance of the sacerdotal order; by the om- 
nipresence of holy emblems, crosiers, censers, ban- 
ners, relics ; by the mitre of the metropolitan ; by the 
scallop-shell of the pilgrim; by the cowl and the 
knotted cord of the friar; by the tattered garb and 
emaciated form of the hermit. The clergy were 
headed by Arnold, Abbot of Citeaux, the Papal Leg- 

96 History of the 

ate. Four archbishops and ten bishops, in their official 
vestments, were conspicuous in the van. Monkish 
zealots, whose untaught eloquence had inflamed the 
worst passions of the ignorant populace of Europe, 
brandishing crucifix and sword, and calling for ven- 
geance against the abhorred sectaries whom divine 
justice had delivered as a prey to the elect, foaming 
at the mouth, and uttering maledictions and inarticu- 
late cries, rushed to and fro through the maddened 
and tumultuous throng. All wore the cross embroid- 
ered upon the breast, in contradistinction to the Cru- 
saders of Palestine, who wore it upon the shoulder. 
In the train of the higher clergy were numerous 
priests and thousands of dependents and retainers. 
The Archdeacon of Paris, a distinguished member of 
the church militant, was present in the capacity of 
chief engineer. Despite his pacific calling, he proved 
himself, in the discharge of the seemingly incongru- 
ous duties of his new profession, one of the most 
talented soldiers of the age. The shrewd and politic 
Philip Augustus, while anxious to secure for the 
Crown of France the substantial benefits certain to 
result from the conquest and spoliation of the great 
feudatories of the South, yet unwilling to share the 
ignominy attaching to the undertaking, promoted it 
in secret, but refused to openly employ the resources 
of his kingdom in such a cause. The French nobility 
also, for the most part, held aloof; but the names of 
the Duke of Burgundy and the Counts of Nevers and 
St. Pol have come down to us as instruments of the 
apostolic wrath which extirpated the Albigensian 

Of all the leaders, spiritual or secular, Simon de 
Montf ort. Earl of Leicester, was the most zealous and 
distinguished. An English adventurer, of ancient and 
illustrious lineage, he had long followed the exciting 
career of a soldier of fortune, and had won a high 


Moorish Empire in Europe 97 

reputation for courage and military capacity among 
the Christian warriors who contended with the infidel 
in the wars of the Holj^ Land. In his political and 
social relations, De Montfort was a man of excep- 
tional probity, coui'tesy, and honor; but in matters 
that involved the maintenance of ecclesiastical suprem- 
acy, he was a monster of savage brutality, a remorse- 
less persecutor, an incarnate fiend. His bravery, his 
fanaticism, and his talents for war early secured for 
him the admiration of the clergy, whose influence 
eventually raised him to the supreme command of 
the motley host which their exhortations had as- 
sembled. The infamy of the Albigensian crusade is 
inseparably associated with his name, which has de- 
scended to posterity as the synonym of all that is 
merciless, base, and treacherous in the history of re- 
ligious persecution. Attendant upon their feudal 
lords were long retinues of vassals, resplendent in 
sumptuous armor and gaudy liveries, and the sturdy 
yeomanry, now beginning to assert their importance 
in the mailed armies of Europe. The promise of 
boot}^ and glory, of pardon for past offences and of 
immunity for future crimes, had, as in former Cru- 
sades, drawn from every quarter the dregs of the city 
and the camp, the footpad and the outlaw, the merci- 
less slaves of rapine, lust, and superstition. This mob 
was for the most part unarmed, but many were pro- 
vided with scythes and other implements of husbandry, 
impotent against the armor of the knight, but amply 
sufficient for the destruction of those whom age, in- 
firmity, or the disadvantages of sex rendered incapable 
of defence. Confident in their immense superiority in 
numbers, this fanatical and disorderly rabble swept 
like a tornado over the smiling and fertile territory 
of the Rhone. The authority of the Count of Tou- 
louse, who, incapacitated from hostile action by his 
humiliating compact with the Pope, was forced to aid 

Vol. III. 7 

98 History of the 

the invaders, had been assumed by his nephew, Ray- 
mond Roger. The latter, relying upon the strength 
of his principal cities, Beziers and Carcassonne, two 
of the best-fortified fortresses in Europe, awaited 
the approach of the enemy with the calm intrepidity 
born of the consciousness of right and the resolution 
of despair. While the Crusaders were pitching their 
camp, they were surprised by a sally of the besieged. 
Overwhelmed by numbers, the latter were driven 
back; the gateways, choked by the fugitives, per- 
mitted the ingress of the enemy, and almost in an 
instant the fate of the populous and thriving city of 
Beziers was decided. In the horrible butchery that 
ensued no quarter was shown. The old and the young, 
the strong and the weak, perished alike under the 
weapons of the infuriated assailants. Catholics ob- 
tained no immunity by reason of their belief, but fell 
by the side of their Albigensian neighbors. When the 
soldiers, in the heat of the massacre, demanded of the 
Papal Legate how they might distinguish the orthodox 
believer from the heretic, that pious monster replied, 
" Kill them all; God will know His own!" In the 
Roman Catholic cathedral seven thousand corpses 
were counted after the assault. Priests, clad in their 
sacred vestments, fell at the very foot of the altar. 
The population of the city had been greatly increased 
by the neighboring peasantry, who had sought pro- 
tection behind its ramparts. Of all this multitude, not 
a single person escaped alive. The estimates of those 
thus devoted to slaughter are variously given by dif- 
ferent writers at from twelve to sixty thousand. The 
city was pillaged and set on fire, and even the churches 
and monasteries belonging to the See of Rome dis- 
appeared in the indiscriminate destruction. The in- 
vading army, flushed with triumph, and not yet sati- 
ated with blood, next invested Carcassonne, whose 
fortifications, still stronger than those of Beziers, 

Moorish Empire in Europe 99 

offered some hope of successful resistance. Its re- 
sources, however, were seriously impaired by the num- 
ber of refugees who had fled thither for safety. In 
a few days the water gave out. Defective sanitary 
conditions, increased by great masses of human beings 
crowded together in a limited space, produced a pesti- 
lence. A surrender was agreed upon, by which the 
inhabitants were permitted to depart, leaving behind 
them all their effects. In consequence of these rigor- 
ous measures, the entire country was filled with 
starving beggars, many of whom, but a week before, 
had been living in affluence and luxury. The Vis- 
count, Raymond Roger, whose safe-conduct had been 
perfidiously violated, was imprisoned and died sud- 
denty, probably of poison. 

The examples of Beziers and Carcassonne were not 
lost upon the terror-stricken people of Languedoc. 
Strongholds and villages submitted by the hundred 
without resistance ; the garrisons of those castles which 
held out were massacred to a man; the lands of the 
heretic were parcelled out among the crusaders, under 
the suzerainty of that faithful and consistent servant 
of the Papacy, the Earl of Leicester. The establish- 
ment of the Inquisition, under the auspices of the 
Dominican order of friars, completed the ruin of the 
country, whose civilization had long been a shining 
beacon amidst the intellectual darkness of Christen- 
dom. The classic monuments which had escaped the 
violence of former ages were broken to pieces or de- 
faced. The destruction of great cities, the dread of 
mysterious tribunals, whose victims, immured in filthy 
dungeons or devoted, in the name of religion, to awful 
tortures and a lingering death, never saw again the 
light of day, the insatiable rapacity of the clergy, the 
tyranny of alien masters, depopulated entire districts 
and turned the commerce upon which the prosperity 
of Southern France principally depended into foreign 

100 History of the 

channels, where the property and person of the mer- 
chant could be reasonably secure. The beautiful and 
melodious language of the troubadours, the parent of 
the modern idioms of Latin derivation, which seemed 
about to be adopted by all the people of French 
extraction, was abandoned, and degraded to a patois 
which, much corrupted, is still spoken by the Gascon 
and Catalan peasantry. The gay diversions, the 
dances, the literary contests, the musical chants of 
the jongleur, the passionate and satirical verses of the 
poet, the banquets, the Courts of Love, the hunting 
parties, the tournaments, disappeared forever. 

The Albigensian crusade is one of the darkest blots 
upon the religious history of Rome. It gave rise to 
the infamous maxim, then first officially promulgated 
by Papal authority, that no contract made with here- 
tics was binding upon a member of the Roman 
Catholic faith. Then the civil power was for the first 
time employed in the systematic and unrelenting sup- 
pression of independent thought. Then was organ- 
ized and set in motion the most gigantic and effective 
engine of persecution that the world has ever known. 
Then was perfected that grand and imposing fabric 
of government which, begun and improved by the 
genius of many successive pontiffs, rose to such a 
towering height during the administration of Inno- 
cent III., a system in whose policy the religious and 
the secular powers, while theoretically separate, were, 
in fact, closely co-ordinated and combined; which, 
while draining of its revenues every kingdom within 
its grasp, extolled beyond all virtues the merit of evan- 
gelical poverty ; which, while discouraging philosophi- 
cal studies, endeavored to secure a monopoly of learn- 
ing, thus adding to the superiority attaching to a 
sacred character and profession the influence derived 
from mental attainments and unusual erudition ; which 
fastened upon Europe an intolerable despotism, under 

Moorish Empire in Europe 101 

which it was doomed to suffer for more than three 
hundred years, and which brought to the prosecution 
of its ambitious designs every device of intrigue and 
every method of intimidation, enforced by the inflic- 
tion of punishments whose ingenious and merciless 
atrocity had been hitherto unknown to the political 
oppression of ancient or of medieeval times. 

In this way was the absolute power of the Papal 
system consolidated by one of the greatest of the 
Supreme Pontiffs, through the extirpation of two 
grand civilizations which for more than a century 
had represented the intelligence, the culture, and the 
science of Christian Europe. 

I have thus related not in their chronological 
order, but in the order of their importance the events 
growing out of the rise, development, and suppres- 
sion of the intellectual revolutions which, in the thir- 
teenth century, appeared in Sicily and Southern 
France, for the reason that they were the direct and 
legitimate results of Arab conquest and the subsequent 
promulgation of Arab philosophical opinions. A 
striking analogy exists between the circumstances re- 
spectively connected with these two great movements 
of the human mind. Both arose in regions which had 
been subject to Moslem domination. In both, after 
the extinction of Saracen rule, the customs of the 
vanquished race long maintained their influence over 
the ruder conquerors, who insensibly adopted and dili- 
gently observed them. Commercial relations strength- 
ened the bonds already existing between Christian 
master and Moslem tributary. In the heyday of their 
prosperity, the courts of Toulouse and Palermo were, 
in all but name and costume, Mohammedan. Indeed, 
one of these exceptions scarcely applied to the Sicilian 
capital, where the ample robes and spotless turbans 
of the Moorish philosophers suggested at every step 
the habits and traditions of the Orient. In Sicily, the 

102 History of the 

Arabic language was almost universally used by the 
nobility and the mercantile classes; in Provence and 
Languedoc, intercourse with the Moorish principali- 
ties of Spain rendered its adoption necessary to a large 
portion of the community ; in both countries its study 
formed an essential part of a learned education. The 
general trend of scientific thought, and its practical 
adaptation to the intellectual requirements of the 
people, is disclosed by the establishment of those two 
great literary foundations, the medical colleges of 
Salerno and Montpellier. In the curriculums of these 
magnificent schools, which were by no means confined 
to instruction in the art of healing, Arabic and 
Hebrew literature, taught by professors of those 
nationalities, predominated. The Romance idiom, 
more widely diffused than any other tongue spoken 
in Europe since the dissolution of the Roman Em- 
pire, has, in a measure, survived the calamities of con- 
quest and revolution ; still indicates its Arabic deriva- 
tion by words daily heard upon the banks of the Seine 
and the Danube ; and forms no inconsiderable portion 
of the language of the English-speaking world. In 
Italy, it made greater progress than in any other 
country, advancing simultaneously through the North 
from France and through the South from Sicily, su- 
perseding the unformed dialects of the Latin Penin- 
sula, and, through its adoption by the potentates of 
Ferrara and Montferrat, it reached even the Greek 
principality of Thessalonica ; its impress is to-day 
apparent in Portuguese, in Castilian, and in the nu- 
merous soft and guttural dialects of Spain. 

From Moorish sources, through intercourse with the 
Hispano-Arabs and the medium of French and 
Sicilian conquest, were derived those maxims of 
chivalry which modified the turbulent barbarism of 
feudal Europe, the courteous gallantry of the tourna- 
ment, idolatrous devotion to the female character, a 

Moorish Empire in Europe 103 

high sense of honor and personal dignity, and the 
refining amenities of social life. 

From these originals sprang the germ of modern 
literature and the earliest models of modern poetry. 
The Arabs were unrivalled masters of improvisation, 
an art which attained an extraordinary degree of 
popularity in the Middle Ages ; and the employment 
of rhyme, the most important and striking charac- 
teristic of modern versification, was familiar to the 
Bedouin centuries before the appearance of Moham- 
med. The vagrant bard of the Desert was the literary 
progenitor of the troubadour, as was the Arabian 
buifoon and story-teller the prototype of his com- 
panion the jongleur, whose broad pleasantry and sug- 
gestive antics diverted the appreciative and not over- 
delicate assemblies of the Proven9al and Sicilian 
courts. Through the schools of Montpellier and 
Salerno, contemporaneous seats of learning and both 
dominated by Arabian influence, the philosophy of 
Averroes, the botany of Ibn-Beithar, the surgery of 
Abulcasis, the agriculture of Ibn-al-Awam, the his- 
tories of Ibn-al-Khatib, became familiar to the be- 
nighted and priest-ridden people of Europe. 

It was, however, in the impetus it gave to the asser- 
tion of the right of private interpretation in religious 
matters that Moorish influence was most marked and 
permanent. One of the principal tenets of the Mos- 
lem creed was toleration. On the other hand, the first 
duty of the Christian was unquestioning obedience to 
his spiritual advisers. The rapid and almost miracu- 
lous development of the human mind during the thir- 
teenth century was the inevitable consequence of a 
policy based upon those principles whose application 
had promoted the wonderful progress of every nation 
ruled by the enlightened successors of Mohammed. 

The parallel existing between the Sicilian and 
Languedocian civilizations in origin, in progress, in 

104 History of the 

thought, in education, in skepticism, in the repudiation 
of ecclesiastical interference, is continued even in the 
date and the method of their extirpation. Both 
reached their climax during the pontificate of Inno- 
cent III., the exemplar of Papal autocracy, the ruth- 
less foe of religious freedom, the evil genius of the 
thirteenth century. Each was destroyed by a crusade 
which under the mask of piety appealed to the most 
sordid impulses and degrading instincts of humanity. 
Both were followed by conflicts, seditions, and perse- 
cutions which endured for centuries. But the fires, 
while apparently quenched, still smouldered under the 
ashes of their victims. The principles advocated by 
philosophical thinkers at the courts of Raymond and 
Frederick formed the basis of the creeds of Lollard, 
Huguenot, Puritan. All of the blessings of civil and 
religious liberty now enjoyed by the enlightened na- 
tions of the earth, all of the wonderful mechanical 
contrivances which Hghten toil, diminish suffering, 
facilitate communication, encourage commerce, pro- 
mote manufactures, and conduce to the general hap- 
piness of the human race, are indirectly derived from 
the impulse given to philosophical inquiry and scien- 
tific progress b)^ the Norman kings of Sicily, the Em- 
peror Frederick II., and the Counts of Provence, ani- 
mated by the spirit and emulous of the achievements 
of Ai'ab civilization. These inestimable benefits are 
inseparable from the innate right of every individual 
to freely exercise and profit by his mental faculties. 
That right the Church has always denied as subversive 
of her alleged prescriptive title to universal sover- 
eignty over the opinions of mankind. In Europe it 
was first publicly asserted upon the banks of the 
Guadalquivir, and the advantages its untrammelled 
practice affords the present generation are a priceless 
legacy of the founders of the Moslem empire in Spain. 

Moorish Empire in Europe 105 




Influence of the Semitic Race on Civilization Enterprise of the 
Ancient Jews Their Eminent Talents Their Power dur- 
ing the Middle Ages Their Universal Proscription Their 
Condition under the Moors of Spain Their Extraordinary 
Attainments Their Devotion to Letters Their Academies 
Rabbis as Ambassadors of the Khalifs Learned Men 
Poets^ Physicians, Statesmen, Philosophers Maimonides : 
His Genius and His Works His Character Preponderating 
Influence of the Spanish Jews in Government and Society 
Their Necessity to the Ruling Classes They are driven to 
Usury Their Prosperity They are favored by Alfonso X. 
and Pedro el Cruel Their Proficiency in Medicine Obli- 
gations of Mediaeval and Modern Science to the Jews Their 
Wonderful Survival under Oppression Their Exile from 
the Peninsula Their Sufferings The Taint of Hebrew 
Blood in the Aristocracy of Spain and Portugal. 

The preponderance of Semitic influence is one of 
the most remarkable phenomena in the annals of 
human civilization. The progress of those nations, 
which in ancient times attained the highest rank of 
intellectual culture, is directly traceable to that influ- 
ence. The success of the Semitic element in modify- 
ing the character of eveiy people with which it had 
been brought in intimate contact, either by conquest 
or through commercial intercourse, is one of the most 
striking and instructive incidents of history. From 
the days when the Phoenicians controlled the trade of 
antiquity, profiting by their thorough knowledge of 
humanity, whose avarice they stimulated by the intro- 
duction of unknown luxuries, and whose fears they 
excited by the invention of portentous fables ; through 

106 History of the 

the Middle Ages, whose tyrants and inquisitors plun- 
dered and oppressed the Hebrew bankers and mer- 
chants of Europe, down to our time, when the Jew is 
not only the possessor of a large proportion of the 
wealth of the globe, but also a dominating force in 
the business community of every city and village of 
the Old and New Worlds, the enterprising genius of 
the Semitic race has been paramount in its control over 
the minds and the fortunes of men. And not merely 
in a mercantile but in a religious point of view is this 
influence manifest. The Scriptures and the Koran 
monopolize the pious reverence of the civilized world. 
The successors of Mohammed in Hindustan alone 
changed the faith of forty-one million souls. The 
most important dogmas of the Church, the leading 
maxims of kingly government, are of Semitic origin; 
the majority of the popular legends and tales which 
compose the folk-lore of France, Germany, Scan- 
dinavia, and Britain are indigenous to the Valley of 
the Nile or the plains of Arabia. Asiatic ideas, which 
dominated the comparatively insignificant geographi- 
cal area of the continent of Europe whose apprecia- 
tion of the advantages of literary and scientific in- 
vestigation made it so conspicuous amidst mediaeval 
ignorance, have maintained their power unshaken 
through many centuries. To the impulse thus im- 
parted to letters, modern society owes a debt which it 
long repudiated, and which it is even now loath to 
acknowledge. Among those races which have exer- 
cised the greatest influence on human destiny that of 
the Hebrews is pre-eminently distinguished. From 
the earliest times of which history makes mention, the 
Jews have occupied an exalted place among civilized 
nations. They were among the first of traders, mer- 
chants, navigators. Neighbors of the Phoenicians, they 
imbibed the commercial spirit of that adventurous 
people, accompanied their expeditions, participated in 

Moorish Empire in Europe 107 

their enterprises, shared their profits, and with them 
overcame the obstacles which invested the navigation 
of unknown and mysterious seas. They were not slow 
to recognize the immense commercial advantages to 
be obtained from the development of the boundless 
resources of the Spanish Peninsula, whence the Tyrian 
and Sidonian mariners brought such quantities of 
silver that their vessels could scarcely transport it, 
notwithstanding that the anchors, the most common 
utensils, and even the ballast, were composed of that 
precious metal. 

The accounts of the reign of Solomon aiFord abun- 
dant evidence of the wealth and prosperity of the 
Hebrews. Their abilities and services were highly 
appreciated by the most enlightened governments of 
antiquity. They were invited by the Ptolemies to 
establish colonies on the banks of the Nile. They were 
often intrusted by the Roman emperors with the col- 
lection and disbursement of the imperial revenues. 
The Emperor Hadrian declared that during his 
travels in Egypt he had never met a Jew of that 
country who was not an expert mathematician. In 
the far Orient, where their ancestors had once been 
detained in ignominious captivity, they rose to be the 
confidential friends of powerful monarchs. They 
were known and welcomed in every seaport of the 
Mediterranean, and their thirst for gain even induced 
them to boldly encounter the perils of the barbarous 
countries of Europe. In all their social and political 
relations, they maintained their reputation for that 
mental superiority which is still one of the marked 
characteristics of the Hebrew race. All of the knowl- 
edge extant among contemporaneous nations the 
secret lore of the Egyptians, imparted in mysterious 
temples under the shadow of the Pyramids ; the hoary 
traditions of the Magi ; the rich inheritance of classic 
antiquity; the argumentative skill acquired in the 

108 History of the 

Museum of Alexandria and the philosophical schools 
of Athens was the patrimony of the Jew. His cu- 
riosity was awakened by travel and by contact with a 
hundred diiferent peoples included within the sphere 
of his commercial activity; his genius was developed 
and matured by studious industry; and the affluence 
resulting from his shrewdness enabled him to profit to 
the utmost by his unrivalled opportunities. No fact 
is better established than that the intellectual improve- 
ment of a nation, its progress in the arts, its scientific 
acquirements, its literary culture, have a direct and 
absolute dependence upon its material prosperity and 
the independent pecuniary circumstances of its schol- 
ars and learned men. While poverty is often an in- 
centive to that perseverance which insures success, it 
is a condition which only affects individual and not 
national development. Without leisure, there can be 
no studies; without studies, no advance. Another 
factor of paramount importance in the evolution and 
maintenance of civilization, and one to which the 
Hebrew was deeply indebted, was the wide and varied 
experience derived from cosmopolitan habits and asso- 
ciations. This intercourse was facilitated by the easy 
and rapid means of international communication at 
the disposal of the Jewish trader. The Mediter- 
ranean, which washed the shores of three great conti- 
nents, presented no obstacles to the enterprise of the 
Phoenicians, whose intimate connections with the Jews 
gave the latter advantages enjoyed by no other people; 
and the fabled monsters invented by those astute navi- 
gators to damp the ardor of other maritime adventu- 
rers, and which survive in the traditions of classic 
mythology, possessed no terrors for the allies and 
friends of the Tyrian merchants and sailors. No area 
of equal extent in the world offered so diversified and 
instructive a spectacle of human life and manners as 
the winding coast of that great inland sea. With its 

Moorish Empire in Europe 109 

cities and its kingdoms, founded under different 
political conditions, living under different systems, 
governed by different laws, frequent and prolonged 
visits had early made the Jew familiar. To the au- 
dacious navigator who had sailed over the mysterious 
Ocean, far beyond the Pillars of Hercules, the coast- 
ing of the Mediterranean was a trifle. In subsequent 
times the military highways of the Roman Empire 
whose construction, the first work after the invasion of 
a countrj^ destined to subjection, indicated the fate of 
its people, and insured their obedience with far more 
certainty than the fortified camps of the legions 
afforded the Hebrew merchant easy access to the ut- 
most limits of the vast region subject to imperial au- 
thority. But it was not only in lands generally acces- 
sible to commercial enterprise that the mercantile and 
intellectual activity of the Jew was displayed. With 
the periodical caravans he traversed the Arabian 
Peninsula, and braving the perils of the Desert the 
stifling heat, the sand-storms, the robbers who thrived 
amidst its desolation collected and distributed the 
precious commodities of Yemen. He penetrated to 
the centre of Ethiopia ; his costume and his wares were 
known to the inhabitants of every city on the Red 
Sea and the Persian Gulf. The coast of Britain was 
visited by Jews long before the invasion of Csesar. 
The restless, adventurous spirit, so universal that it 
became a national characteristic fostered through un- 
told generations, and the extensive and profound 
acquaintance with the motives and the affairs of 
humanity which resulted from its exercise, is the 
principal secret of the prodigious and phenomenal 
development of the Hebrew mind. Other considera- 
tions of no less importance contributed largely to this 
result. In the estimation of those who strictly ob- 
served the precepts of the law, and to whom were 
committed the instruction of youth and the guidance 

110 History of the 

of the community, idleness was considered one of the 
most despicable of vices. " Whoever," say the learned 
rabbis, " does not teach his son some trade, rears him 
for a life of brigandage;" and the sedulous inculcation 
of this principle led to its universal adoption and prac- 
tice, until its effects are to-day discernible in the habits 
of every individual of Hebrew extraction. In ancient 
times there was no industrial occupation whose require- 
ments were unfamiliar to the Jewish artisan, no pro- 
fession in which the scholars of that nation did not 
excel. The talents of the latter were often unprofit- 
ably employed in commentaries on the Talmud and 
whimsical interpretations of the Scriptures, whose 
texts were at times distorted to support some absurd 
and extravagant conception which the fruitless in- 
genuity of the doctors of the law, devoted to meta- 
physical subtleties, had invented. The Talmud was 
regarded with even greater reverence than the Penta- 
teuch. Its diligent perusal was required as a duty; 
children were familiar with its maxims long before 
their minds were sufficiently developed to thoroughly 
comprehend them; and the mastery of this volumi- 
nous and incongruous compilation was regarded as 
the rarest and most desirable of mental accomplish- 
ments. From the study of this work was derived the 
partiality for mysticism, magic, and oneiromancy, 
topics which formed so large a proportion of ancient 
Hebrew literature, and which frequently dissipated 
the efforts of genius which might have been exercised 
in more practical and advantageous employments. In 
the Talmud, however, are also to be found the germs 
of medical science in which, from the remotest an- 
tiquity, the Jews were distinguished, and whose pur- 
suit, thus sanctioned by an authority regarded as 
divine, became the favorite pursuit of that extraordi- 
nary people. Some of its ideas and principles had 
been learned from the Magi of Persia; others were 

Moorish Empire in Europe 111 

borrowed from the Egyptian priesthood. The more 
numerous, and by far the most valuable, precepts 
of that science, however, were a portion of the in- 
heritance transmitted by the noble school of the 
Ptolemies. With all were mingled not a few puerile 
superstitions which exalted the virtues of charms and 
amulets. The Bible gives many instances of diseases 
and their treatment, which in that age was the pecu- 
liar province of the Levites. The talents of the He- 
brew thus early directed to medicine and botany 
arrived eventually at an extraordinary degree of de- 
velopment; and his adaptive ingenuity was revealed 
in the discovery and application of many indispen- 
sable drugs of the Materia Medica, and in the intelli- 
gent use of the instruments and caustics of the sur- 
geon. In ancient Chaldea and Babylonia there were 
no physicians. The priesthood, as in the Middle Ages, 
enjoyed a monopoly of learning, which, so far as the 
practice of medicine was concerned, rested upon no 
more substantial foundation than the imposture of the 
charlatan. The cure of disease was effected by the 
exorcism of evil spirits; and such is the tenacity of 
venerable ideas and the lamentable credulity of the 
human mind that, through the influence of a certain 
class whose pecuniary interests are directly involved, 
this superstitious belief, with others equally absurd, 
still prevails among the members of educated commu- 
nities even in our enlightened age. The difference 
between the f etichism of the African savage, the med- 
iaeval relic-cure, and the so-called Christian Science of 
modern days is one of degree and not of kind. In 
the infancy of civilization every malady was attrib- 
uted to demoniacal possession. The Jews were the 
first to detect the tiiie nature of disease and to realize 
the necessity for the employment of physical remedies, 
where heretofore, through the medium of spells and 
incantations, the aid of the supernatural alone had 

112 History of the 

been invoked. By the adoption and application of 
rational principles, they revolutionized the theory and 
practice of medicine. Their attempts to thus partially 
emancipate the human mind from the degrading thral- 
dom of superstition brought upon them the anathemas 
of the priesthood wherever these innovations were 
attempted. The wonder-workers of Pagan temples 
and the monkish custodians of Christian shrines saw 
with dismay their incomes decreasing as a consequence 
of the successful ministrations of the Hebrew prac- 
titioner. It was not without reason that the latter 
became an object of clerical animadversion, for the 
offerings annually bestowed by grateful credulity 
upon the custodians of some apocryphal relic of im- 
aginary virtues not infrequently exceeded in value the 
revenues of a city. Much of the prejudice everywhere 
existing against the Jewish name is thus attributable to 
sacerdotal malevolence, originallj^ excited by interfer- 
ence with material interests. But even in an age of 
ignorance homage was paid, however reluctantly, to 
the ascendency of intellectual power; and the Jews 
flourished in countries where the laws did not tolerate 
their presence and sovereigns were pledged by their 
coronation oaths to their destruction. Political neces- 
sity proved stronger than popular odium; and the 
strange anomaly of a proscribed race, whose existence 
was condemned by the civil and ecclesiastical codes 
alike, flourishing in the midst of implacable enemies 
was exhibited in every country of mediseval Europe. 
This peculiar condition was due to the dominating 
force of intellect alone. It is true that toleration was 
frequently purchased with gold; but the Jews were 
the sole depositaries of real knowledge, and without 
their wise and practical counsels the wheels of gov- 
ernment could not be kept in motion. This indispen- 
sable necessity of maintaining in positions of honor 
and power a class whose nominal disabilities degraded 

Moorish Empire in Europe 113 

them below the legal status of cattle was a result of 
the illiterate and priest-ridden state of the Dark Ages. 

The cause of the universal prejudice existing 
against the Jews from time immemorial has been the 
subject of much speculation, but has never been defi- 
nitely ascertained. That prejudice long antedates the 
Christian era. They were banished by the Egyptians, 
enslaved by the Persians, despised by the Greeks, per- 
secuted by the Romans. So little were they esteemed 
by the latter, that during the wars with Hadrian four 
Jews were bartered for a modius of barley. A well- 
founded tradition, repeated time and again by classic 
historians, declared that they were expelled from 
Egypt for fear that the plague might be communi- 
cated by the loathsome diseases with which they were 
afflicted. In that country, as elsewhere subsequently, 
they were isolated from all other members of the 
community. Moses is designated by ancient writers 
as the " Chief of the Lepers." It is well known that 
leprosy was first introduced into Italy by the soldiers 
of Pompey, who contracted it in Palestine. This 
awful malady was not only indigenous to the latter 
country, but was generally considered a morbid physi- 
ological condition peculiar to the Hebrew people, with 
whom, in fact, it was chronic and hereditary, and 
among whom it assumed its most malignant and 
appalling form. 

The national customs of the Jews were regarded 
with peculiar abhorrence by the polished nations of 
antiquity. They practised human sacrifices. Tacitus 
says that they rendered distinguished homage to the 
ass, an animal sacred to the Phoenician goddess As- 
tarte. A golden head of that animal was worshipped 
in their temples. The Bible repeatedly mentions the 
fact that they were debased and incorrigible idolaters. 
In Pagan Arabia they conformed to the religious 

Vol. hi. 8 

114. History of the 

customs of the country, shaved their heads, venerated 
the images of the Kaaba, and made the circuit of that 
shrine upon their knees. The idea of the Resurrec- 
tion, which, with that of the Trinity, formed no part 
of the primitive behef of any Semitic race, but is a 
purely Aryan conception, they learned during the 
latter part of the Babylonian captivity. Its adoption 
was far from unanimous, however, for it was always 
repudiated by the Sadducees, reputed the most ortho- 
dox and precisian sect of the Hebrew nation. They 
sold their children into slavery. Their personal habits 
were indescribably filthy. It was believed by the 
African Christians that a peculiarly offensive odor, 
an evidence of Divine wrath provoked by the tragedy 
of the crucifixion, and which could only be removed 
by baptism, emanated from them. Hatred of every- 
thing non-Jewish was a ruling principle of their 
nature and conduct, and every country in which they 
were domiciled they betrayed, in turn, to the invader. 

The moral and physical condition that of a race 
of pariahs infected with foul distempers which char- 
acterized them in ancient times presents a singular 
contrast to that under which they actually existed 
subsequently, and under which they exist to-day. 
They were not affected by the great epidemics which 
swept with devastating force over Europe during the 
Middle Ages, although they were as fully exposed to 
contagion as any of the nations which were decimated 
by them. Their immunity to many of the most serious 
ailments which afflict mankind is demonstrated by 
every table of medical statistics. Their longevity, un- 
questionably due to a strong constitution, is proverbial. 
Their average annual death-rate, in both Europe and 
America, is less than one-half that of persons of other 
nationalities subjected to the influence of similar 
conditions of climate, food, and occupation. Their 
freedom from criminality and pauperism is one of 

Moorish Empire in Europe 115 

their most remarkable characteristics. Every lawyer 
knows how rarely a Jew is seen in courts of justice, 
either as a litigant, a malefactor, or a witness. 

The propagation and improvement of a people 
under circumstances which indicated their speedy and 
inevitable extinction is one of the most curious prob- 
lems in the annals of ethnology. Not only is it anom- 
alous, but it is absolutely inexplicable under any scien- 
tific and logical hypothesis which can now be advanced. 
It would ordinarily be conceded that a race affected 
with congenital leprosy, whose habits were uncleanly, 
and whose members constantly intermarried, must 
certainly perish in a few generations. It would also 
not be denied that such a race would be especially 
hable to visitations by epidemics, and that its reduced 
capacity for resistance would induce an extraordinary 
fatality. Not so, however, with the Jews. They grew 
stronger by intermarriage. They threw off the disease 
which had once made them odious in the sight of men. 
The plague and the typhus which desolated the homes 
of their neighbors passed them by. They not only 
survived, but throve under persecution which would 
have exterminated any other branch of the human 
family. Their tenacity of life, the persistence of their 
institutions, the boundless power they wield in the 
commercial world, their versatility of character, their 
success in the most difficult undertakings, their na- 
tional and religious organization maintained in the 
face of appalling obstacles, tend to confirm the an- 
cient tradition that they are the Chosen People of 

The Hebrew, whatever his capacity or experience, 
was in the eye of the law immeasurably inferior to the 
most humble and ignorant of those who ruled him. He 
paid higher taxes than any one else. His testimony 
was not competent in a court of justice. He was ex- 
cluded from the enjoyment of office. If, having be- 

116 History of the 

come an apostate through force or policy, he addressed 
a word to one who was loyal to the faith and tradi- 
tions of his people, even though of his own blood, he 
was condemned to slavery. He was not permitted to 
abstain from food which his ordinances declared un- 
clean. The practice of the rite of circumcision, a rite 
pronounced by the rabbi more meritorious than all 
others, and enjoined by the Talmud, brought with it 
confiscation and death. The ancient national records 
the books of the Law, the chronicles of bygone 
dynasties, the treatises of Hebrew physicians alreadj^ 
prominent in the world of science were diligently 
sought for and destroyed. Every effort was made to 
separate wives from their husbands and slaves from 
their masters, by the edict that the ceremony of bap- 
tism, when solicited by consort or bondsman, produced, 
according to circumstances, ipso facto, divorce or 
emancipation. All Jews were enrolled upon the 
public registers, and at stated times were mustered 
by the bishop. They were also required to report 
to the magistrate at every town they visited, to be 
examined as to their business and destination. The 
Seventeenth Council of Toledo, by a sweeping decree, 
seized the property of all the Jews in the kingdom and 
sentenced its owners, without exception, to absolute 
servitude. They were accused of practices alike re- 
volting to humanity and subversive of morals, of 
poisoning the sacramental elements, of the torture of 
children, of crimes against nature, of cannibalism. 
The ecclesiastical denunciations of offences concern- 
ing religion, such as the blasphemy of images and 
relics, the ridicule of orthodox tenets, the promulga- 
tion of the doctrines of the Talmud, and the soliciting 
of proselytes, were not less violent than those which 
reprobated the greatest enormities of which human 
frailty is susceptible. Every rank of society vied with 
the others in manifestations of hostihty towards the 

Moorish Empire in Europe 117 

despised race. The monarch, upon frivolous pretexts, 
confiscated their property and abandoned them to the 
violence of the populace. In the eyes of the ferocious 
noble, who scarcely acknowledged the superior dig- 
nity of his king, they were sources of wealth to be 
utilized as occasion or inclination demanded; and the 
levy of an excessive contribution was regarded as an 
act of especial leniency, when the last ducat might 
have been exacted with impunity. The Church never 
failed to pour out upon these victims of prejudice 
the full measure of ecclesiastical oppression and 
hatred, and no deed was more meritorious than the 
persecution of a Jew. But it was with the lower 
orders that the unfortunate Children of Israel fared 
the worst. Their wealth aroused the basest passions 
of the ignorant and fanatical rabble. To the malice 
incited by poverty and envy was added the animosity 
engendered by religious prejudice, which found ex- 
pression in every kind of maltreatment and outrage. 
Although necessary to the state and indispensable to 
its political and financial prosperity, the Jew was pre- 
cluded from claiming the protection of the very laws 
he assisted to administer. Deprived of this unques- 
tionable right, he was unfitted by his constitution, his 
habits, and his traditions for armed resistance. Cen- 
turies of oppression had taught him to rely on pacific 
rather than on violent measures for the discomfiture 
of his enemies. None understood more thoroughly 
than he the secret springs of action which control the 
movements of mankind ; and with its worst and most 
degrading characteristics, his experience, reaching 
through many troubled generations, had rendered him 
especially familiar. His practical and thorough ac- 
quaintance with every foible of human nature thus 
made him equal to the exigencies of every occasion. 
He dispensed his gold with unstinted liberality. Pow- 
erful nobles, everywhere, were in his pay. Ecclesi- 

118 History of the 

astics of eminent talents and reputed sanctity were 
not ashamed to accept his gifts, and, in return, to 
secretly and effectually protect his person and his in- 
terests. No efforts were spared to impress the sover- 
eign with the extent of his attainments and the value 
of his services. The people, despite their prejudices, 
looked with awe and respect upon the members of a 
race who had visited lands whose very names were 
unknown to them, who conversed fluently in strange 
and guttural tongues, and who spread before their 
wondering and delighted eyes precious articles of 
merchandise of whose existence they had hitherto re- 
mained in ignorance. 

Under such circumstances, however disadvanta- 
geous, the Jews, scattered throughout the countries 
of Europe, maintained from century to century the 
integrity of their social and religious organization. 
Their isolation was in many respects productive of 
personal safety and financial benefit. Exempted by 
their civil disabilities from exposure to the dangers of 
revolution, they escaped the penalties of unsuccessful 
treason and profited by the necessities of every fac- 
tion. They alone of all classes flourished amidst the 
perils of internal disorder. By the liberal and judi- 
cious employment of money, they secured the favor 
of the party for the moment in power. Meanwhile 
the commerce of every country was almost exclu- 
sively under their control. No competition, of any 
importance, interposed to diminish their enormous 
profits. There was not a city, scarcely a hamlet, where 
the Hebrew was not sure of sympathy and assistance 
from his countrymen. With them his goods were 
secure. They afforded him valuable information. 
Their experience enabled him to obtain the highest 
prices for his wares, and the secret intelligence at their 
disposal gave him timely warning of the presence of 
danger and facilitated his escape. His cosmopolitan 

Moorish Empire in Europe 119 

habits prevented national affiliations, and permitted 
him to immediately change his residence whenever it 
was required by personal considerations or commercial 
interests. He bought amber on the Baltic. He sold 
slaves in Constantinople. He exchanged the com- 
modities of Spain for the furs of Russia and the 
pearls and incense of Yemen. In France he found 
a profitable market for jewels, spices, and cochineal. 
His intimate and extensive relations with the grreat 
emporiums of the Orient were one of the most im- 
portant factors of his success. In that quarter of 
the world, enjoying the protection and confidence of 
the rulers of Persia, Babylonia, Syria, and Egypt, 
were to be found the most powerful and wealthy com- 
munities of the Hebrew nation. The omnipresent 
Jew had established a chain of trading stations across 
every continent, and even far beyond the most distant 
limits of civilization. This immense advantage was 
his alone ; no competitor possessed, or could ever hope 
to obtain, such extraordinary mercantile facilities. 
From the depths of the mysterious East came the rare 
products which commanded fabulous prices in the 
European capitals, costly tissues, gems, dyes, aro- 
matics, porcelain, articles which often brought far 
more than their weight in gold. The monopoly en- 
joyed by the shrewd importers enabled them to receive 
for their commodities sums which far exceeded their 
intrinsic value, and placed them beyond the reach of 
any excepting the most opulent. 

But the enterprise of the Jew was not confined to 
the importation and distribution of luxuries. He 
furnished society with every species of merchandise, 
from the crown of the monarch to the sandals of the 
beggar. The law forbade him to be seated by an 
ecclesiastic without the latter' s invitation, but the 
bishop was compelled to purchase of him the sacer- 
dotal vestments in which his race was anathematized; 

120 History of the 

and the sacred furniture of the altar, including even 
the crucifix, the significant emblem of the Passion, was 
sold to the cathedral chapter by the descendants of 
those who had enacted the tragedy of Golgotha, and 
had trafficked in the bodv and blood of our Saviour. 
The Jews of Provence paid their tribute to the Church 
in wax, and provided the tapers used in the ceremonies 
of great religious festivals. The vessels destined for 
the celebration of the mass were frequently disposed 
of to Jewish merchants by dishonest custodians; 
and this sacrilegious trade became at one time so 
notorious and shameless in France as to call forth the 
indignant denunciation of the Holy See. The pawn- 
ing of objects consecrated to Christian worship for 
loans ostensibly contracted for the benefit of the 
Church was one of the most flagrant abuses of eccle- 
siastical authority in mediaeval times. These pledges, 
often forfeited, became the property of the lender, 
and the clergy were constantly subjected to the scandal 
arising from their exposure for sale in the shops and 
public markets. It was no unusual circumstance in 
those days for the greater part of the sacred plate of 
an entire diocese to be temporarily in the hands of 
Jewish usurers. It was, moreover, a matter of com- 
mon notoriety that the families of wealthy Jewish 
brokers daily drank from golden chalices in which once 
had been offered the holy sacramental wine of the 

The confidence reposed by all classes in the He- 
brews, despite the universal and ineradicable preju- 
dice entertained against their nationality, affords un- 
deniable proof of their integrity. Their financial 
capacity and experience procured for them the office 
of receiver of royal taxes in countries where public 
sentiment was absolutely opposed to their toleration. 
Their fitness for this important and responsible post 
was emphasized not only by their abilities, but by the 

Moorish Empire in Europe 121 

fact that their prosperous circumstances were, in a 
measure, a guaranty of their honesty, their wealth 
removing the principal incentive to peculation. The 
most bigoted Christians eagerly sought their services 
in the management of property and the settlement of 
estates; and to their sagacity and v^^isdom was fre- 
quently committed the solution of the difficult prob- 
lems relating to the methods of taxation and enforced 
contribution adopted by both the Crown and the 
Church. During the Middle Ages, every court in 
Europe patronized the Hebrew physician. His prac- 
tice, while by no means free from the prevailing char- 
latanism of the time, embodied many principles of 
the healing art still recognized as sound, and repre- 
sented all that was then known of medical science. 

In literary culture, as in commercial ability and 
scientific acquirements, the mediaeval Jew of Christian 
Europe had no rivals. It was an extraordinary cir- 
cumstance when a sovereign could even read, in an 
age when one of the greatest princes in Europe was 
invested with the title of Beauclerc because he could 
write his own name legibly, a remarkable distinction in 
an era of almost universal ignorance. Such accom- 
plishments, when they did exist in any community, 
were almost entirely confined to the clerical profes- 
sion, and, even among its members, were far from 
being generally diffused. The officiating priest had, 
ordinarily, sufficient education to enable him to 
stumble through the pages of his missal. In the mo- 
nastic establishments, where the opportunity afforded 
by solitude and leisure permitted, and even encour- 
aged, the cultivation of letters, the talents of able 
men were too often wasted in frivolous and unprofit- 
able pursuits. While such unpromising conditions 
prevailed among the higher classes, the state of the 
populace was incredibly degraded. The latter natu- 
rally looked to its spiritual advisers for instruction and 

122 History of the 

guidance, and the evil influence of the Church was 
everywhere significantly disclosed by the crowds of 
stupid and fanatical devotees who listened with awe 
and rapture to the incoherent harangues of monkish 
zealots, or, bowed upon their faces, grovelled in the 
mire before the idolatrous shrine of some spurious 

In the midst of the darkness which obscured the 
face of the mediaeval world, Hebrew learning emitted 
a small but brilliant ray of light. Priestly tyranny 
and popular odium prevented the regeneration of the 
masses, which, under different auspices, might readily 
have been accomplished. The erudition of the early 
rabbis, remarkable even at the present time, was, in 
the age in which they flourished, absolutely phenome- 
nal. Their superior intelligence and extensive ac- 
quirements caused them to be universally branded as 
wizards and enchanters. Men shunned all intercourse 
with them, and even feared to encountei' them upon 
the highways. ~No greater tribute could be paid to 
their knowledge and ability than the ecclesiastical de- 
crees launched against the Jews at the very time when 
their talents were employed in directing the financial 
affairs of the Church. In spite of his indispensable 
usefulness to government and society, the proscribed 
Hebrew was always under the ban of the law and 
lived in a state of constant apprehension. Princes 
claimed and exercised the privilege of absolute owner- 
ship of all the Jews and their property in their do- 
minions. Even such an enlightened sovereign as the 
Emperor Frederick II. published a sweeping edict 
reducing the Jews of his realms to servitude, and 
declaring their wealth forfeited to the state. In Eng- 
land, near the end of the thirteenth century, every 
Jew in the kingdom was arrested and held in durance 
until a ransom of twelve thousand pounds had been 
extorted. Three years afterwards all their property 

Moorish Empire in Europe 123 

was taken, and they were expelled from the country. 
The bishop often received, as a token of royal esteem, 
the present of the Jews of his diocese. This singular 
prerogative, which was neither based upon prescriptive 
custom, former enslavement, nor any claim excepting 
that of force, was first exerted in France; and the 
enormous profits resulting from its application led to 
its general adoption by all the Christian sovereigns of 
Europe. The Jew, by the stringent restrictions of 
savage laws, was degraded below the level of hu- 
manity. The owner of a beast was entitled to fixed 
legal compensation for its death, but no penalty was 
enacted and no damages could be claimed for the 
murder of a Jew. If maltreated, no evidence could 
be received against his assailant. The Jews of Tou- 
louse, who, tradition declared, had surrendered the 
city to the Moors, were condemned each year on that 
anniversary to furnish one of their number to receive 
a box on the ear at the cathedral door. One of the 
oldest and most respectable of the community was 
always selected; the blow was usually given with a 
mailed hand, and the victim not infrequently died 
from the effects of it. During Passion Week, the 
active persecution of the accursed sect was considered 
so meritorious as to be almost equivalent to the per- 
formance of a religious duty. At that time no He- 
brew could appear in the street without endangering 
his life. On Good Friday, in the year 1016, an earth- 
quake destroyed many of the houses in Rome. Pope 
Benedict VIII., having learned that at the time of its 
occurrence the Jews were worshipping in their syna- 
gogue, and attributing the catastrophe to their influ- 
ence, caused a great number to be massacred. At all 
times they were exposed to the contumely of adults 
and the petty persecutions of children. The isolated 
quarter in every community, to which their residence 
was restricted, and separated from the dwellings of 

124 History of the 

orthodox Christians to prevent contamination, is to- 
day, in nearly all the cities of Europe, still known by 
its once distinctive name ; although, in most instances, 
its Jewish population has disappeared. It was also a 
common pastime of the mob to stone the houses of 
the Jews, and, as the latter were not permitted to de- 
fend themselves, all large towns resounded with tu- 
mult and disorder during the celebration of the most 
sacred festival of Christendom. Upon every occasion, 
these unfortunates were pursued and baited like wild 
animals ; always with the tacit connivance, often with 
the open encouragement, of the authorities. Their 
intimate relations with the countries of the East 
offered substantial grounds for the belief that they 
introduced leprosy into France, Spain, and England, 
a disease whose general dissemination has ordinarily 
been credited to the Crusades, but whose existence in 
France as early as the sixth century must be attrib- 
uted to some anterior agency. The undoubted Ori- 
ental origin of this malady pointed strongly to the 
itinerant Jewish merchants as responsible for its ap- 
pearance in Western Europe ; while its loathsome and 
incurable character tended to increase the popular 
odium with which those suspected of infecting a por- 
tion of the human race hitherto exempt from this 
affliction were universally regarded. 

Every precaution which could have a tendency to 
maintain the social and domestic ostracism that popu- 
lar intolerance had placed upon the Jew was enforced 
by civil and ecclesiastical authority. He could not 
legally marry a Christian, inlierit real property, hold 
slaves. In royal donations, where, without warrant of 
right or pretence of ancient custom, he was deprived 
of his liberty and his possessions, his person was there- 
after attached to the glebe. He was forbidden the 
exercise of many of the most j)rofitable mechanical 
arts in which he excelled. Christians could not eat 

Moorish Empire in Europe 125 

or drink with him, visit his house, listen to his conver- 
sation, or learn his language. The priesthood con- 
sidered the integrity of the doctrines which were at 
once the foundation and the instruments of their 
power as of far greater importance than the material 
comfort and intellectual improvement of their parish- 
ioners. They were quick to recognize the peril with 
which ecclesiastical institutions would be threatened 
if exposed to the logic and sarcasm of Hebrew criti- 
cism. The necessities of society could not, as yet, per- 
mit the extermination of the Jews, but their practical 
isolation was imperatively demanded by considerations 
of prudence, and by the just apprehension that the 
toleration of social intimacy would eventually result 
in the emancipation of the masses from ignorance, and 
the consequent disintegration of the Church. The 
Dominican and Franciscan Orders were the sworn 
enemies of the Jew from the very day of their organi- 
zation. The Inquisition was introduced into Spain 
for the express purpose of plundering the rich Jews 
of Aragon. The efforts of the Papacy were assisted 
by the policy of the more bigoted of the rabbis, who 
saw, with no less apprehension than their Christian 
oppressors, the diffusion of liberal ideas which threat- 
ened their own authority and importance. Under such 
discouraging conditions had the Jews maintained their 
national existence, the purity of their religion, the per- 
petuation of their customs, the permanence of their 
laws amidst the anarchy, corruption, and intolerance 
of mediaeval Europe. 

The origin of this strange people is absolutely un- 
known. Their roving propensity probably dates from 
the very foundation of the race, as the words Hebrew 
and pilgrim are derived from the same root. No ques- 
tion, however, can exist concerning their Semitic 
affiliations. Their geograj)hical distribution was ex- 
tensive in very early times. The most ancient coUec- 

126 History of the 

tion of myths extant describes their migrations. They 
were numerous in China during the third century 
before Christ. Profoundly superstitious, impHcit be- 
Hevers in omens, idolaters while professing mono- 
theism, the facile dupes of wizards and magicians, 
the simplest phenomena of nature were always, in 
their eyes, invested with a mysterious or an astrological 
significance. Even their division into tribes has been 
traced by Dozy to a cabalistic association with the 
twelve signs of the zodiac. 

The Israelites are first noticed in history as a horde 
of vagabond herdsmen in Mesopotamia. Oppressed 
by powerful neighbors, repeatedly enslaved, and re- 
duced to those depths of moral degradation incident 
only to long-continued servitude, they still succeeded 
in preserving inviolate the principles of their religious 
and social organization. They were almost univer- 
sally considered as outcasts, with whom it was contami- 
nation to associate. But in all their adversity their 
peculiar theocratic belief confirmed their resolution 
and sustained their hopes. They were the Chosen 
People of God. His Spirit was ever with them, 
speaking through the voices of their teachers, direct- 
ing the councils of their rulers, illuminating the Holy 
of Holies of the Tabernacle, hovering about the Ark 
with its golden cherubim. They had the Divine assur- 
ance that one day their troubles would end, that the 
scattered members of their race would be again united, 
that they would inherit the kingdoms and possess the 
riches of the earth. Their arrogant exclusiveness was 
unconsciously, but none the less diligently, fostered 
by the prejudices and regulations of the countries 
within whose borders they fixed their residence. In 
each city they were confined to a certain quarter, 
within whose precincts Christian men were little dis- 
posed, and Christian women absolutely forbidden, to 
enter. The use of a distinctive costume, popularly 

Moorish Empire in Europe 127 

regarded as a badge of ignominy, was imposed upon 
them. They were not allowed to marry outside their 
sect. The minute and innumerable restrictions of 
Hindu caste were not more rigid or vexatious than 
those ordinances which regulated the intercourse of 
Jew and Christian during the Middle Ages. The en- 
forcement of these social distinctions, as well as the 
inexorable requirements of the laws, increased the iso- 
lation of the Jews in every community. In this man- 
ner their unity was preserved, and the extraordinary 
vitality which characterized their existence in all its 
phases was promoted. 

In no part of Europe had their influence exhibited 
such constant, marked, and permanent effects as in 
the Spanish Peninsula. On its coast, with which 
their ancestors had long been familiar, and where 
archaeological research has placed the Tarshish of 
Holy Writ, the establishment of the Hebrew is of 
such high antiquity that history has failed to record 
it; and it may not unreasonably be assumed that it 
antedated the Christian era by at least a thousand 
years. The turbulent and perfidious character of the 
Hebrew sectaries caused them to be regarded with 
apprehension by the Romans. In the time of Ha- 
drian, their old and powerful families were distrib- 
uted, as a measure of public safety, among the most 
widely separated provinces of the empire. The fact is 
well ascertained that the Spanish Jews were rich and 
numerous in the fifth century, and then practically 
controlled the commerce and the financial resources of 
the country. Even at that early period they were 
renowned for their intellectual accomplishments, their 
extensive literature, their dexterity in the mechanical 
employments, the assiduity with which they pursued 
the most abstruse branches of science, and their pro- 
ficiency in those practical arts which tend to the ame- 
lioration of the condition of the human race and the 

128 History of the 

prolongjation of the term of human hfe. As has been 
mentioned in a previous chapter, although occasion- 
ally pursued by royal avarice and clerical animosity, 
the Jews did not experience in Spain the full effects 
of that hatred which seemed to be their unhappy birth- 
right until the accession of Reccared, the first orthodox 
sovereign of the Visigothic dynasty. From the latter 
part of the sixth century, the malice accumulated in 
the church and the cloister through ages of alternate 
restraint and forbearance w^as unmercifully wreaked 
upon them. The Visigothic Code is largely taken up 
with the statement of their disabilities, the denun- 
ciation of their customs, the enumeration of their 
offences, and the description of the penalties to be 
inflicted by the avenging magistrate. The paternal 
character of the ecclesiastical legislation, then and 
long afterwards in the ascendant in the Councils, 
scrutinized with jealous vigilance not only the public 
actions of the offensive sectaries, but invaded with 
brutal violence the sacred privacy of domestic life. 
The celebration of all national religious festivals was 
prohibited. A Jew could not be a witness against a 
Christian ; intermarriage of the two races was declared 
null and void, and all issue of such unions were subject 
to seizure by the clergy, to be reared and educated 
in monastic institutions; circumcision was declared 
illegal; and the grotesque cruelty of the law which 
enforced the use of pork as food violated without 
cause or excuse a rational prejudice of the Jew, 
established by Divine command and confirmed by the 
unbroken practice of countless generations of his kins- 
men. The observance of these savage and unreason- 
able regulations was enforced by penalties of corre- 
sponding severity. The culprit w^as usually burned 
alive ; in cases where it seemed that leniency might be 
properly exercised, he was stoned to death. The con- 
stant and systematic evasion of these laws, which even 

Moorish Empire in Europe 129 

priestly malevolence hesitated to enforce, was the con- 
sequence of their extreme rigor. Many circumstances 
then, as subsequently, intervened to mitigate the con- 
dition of the Jews; the necessities of the state, the 
jealousy of the nobles, the venal and corrupt disposi- 
tion of the clergy, who were often the first to violate 
the ordinances which they themselves had been instru- 
mental in having enacted, were all enlisted, from time 
to time, in securing for the objects of popular hatred 
a temporary and precarious indulgence. 

Under the Visigothic domination, as a rule, the 
policy of the government was decidedly hostile. The 
opulent were, as is usual in such cases, considered the 
most guilty ; and thousands were seized, despoiled, and 
murdered on no other provocation than the evidences 
of prosperity and the imprudent and ostentatious ex- 
hibition of their wealth. In the Council, which chose 
the sovereign, ecclesiasticism always preponderated; 
and through its influence a clause was early inserted 
in the coronation oath which bound the king to suffer 
no other religion but the Roman Catholic in his do- 
minions. Powerful protectors, whose services were 
purchased by the lavish distribution of bribes, averted 
the storm for the time; but about the beginning of 
the seventh century public opinion declined to be 
longer conciliated, and a frightful persecution was 
begun. An immense number, amounting, it is said, to 
ninety thousand, apostatized and publicly received the 
rite of baptism. Multitudes, who preferred banish- 
ment to renunciation of their faith, fled to France, 
Italy, and other countries. Such extreme measures 
drove the suffering Israelites to resistance, but their 
hereditary cowardice and their total want of organiza- 
tion rendered their exertions hopeless, and produced 
no result but an aggravation of their misfortunes. 

While these events were transpiring in the Visi- 
gothic kingdom, Mohammedan conquest had spread 

Vol. III. 9 

130 History of the 

from Central Arabia to the western extremity of the 
African continent. Before its irresistible force, the 
activity of the Berber savage and the discipline of the 
Roman veteran had alike been humbled in the dust. 
The dangerous proximity of the Moslem outposts at 
the south had more than once aroused the apprehen- 
sions of the proud and luxurious sovereigns of Spain. 
But their efforts had been directed rather to the in- 
dulgence of their passions and the extirpation of 
heresy than to the fortification of the frontiers of the 
kingdom against the ambition of an unknown and 
underrated foe. The Jews, however, fully realized 
the gravity of the situation, and were only too willing 
to promote the designs of an enemy whose success, 
they were convinced, would enure to their own advan- 
tage and security. Numerous considerations of pro- 
found significance impelled them to this course. They 
themselves and the Arabs were derived from a com- 
mon origin. Both sprang from the same branch of 
the great human family. Many of their customs were 
identical ; their traditions denote a similar source ; their 
languages vary but little in construction and pronun- 
ciation, and have been so slightly modified by the vicis- 
situdes of centuries that the Hebrew rabbi and the 
Bedouin sheik of to-day can readily communicate with 
each other by means of their respective idioms. Both 
nations had for centuries been accustomed to a pastoral 
life on the vast plains of Asia, where the illimitable 
monotony of the landscape, the unbroken stillness of 
immense solitudes, the magnificent spectacle of the 
unclouded heavens glowing with the most gorgeous 
constellations of the firmament, have always impressed 
upon the nations subject to these potent and omni- 
present influences the conviction of the unity of God. 
The caravans that issued from the Desert exchanged 
the precious commodities of that region for the wares 
manufactured and imported by the Hebrews of Alex- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 131 

andria, Damascus, and Antioch. Although in the 
early ages of Islam the Jews were often harshly 
treated, the Arabs were quick to perceive the advan- 
tages to be obtained from their commercial experience 
and literary knowledge. As Hebrew enterprise was 
instrumental in opening to the world the lucrative and 
important trade of the Arabian Peninsula, so Hebrew 
genius disclosed to the descendants of Ishmael the 
capacity of their own tongue, which until then had 
found no permanent mode of expression. The first 
book which appeared in the Arabic language was 
written by Javaich, a Syrian Jew. It was the trans- 
lation of a medical work by a famous practitioner of 
Alexandria, and the practical character of the subject 
not only indicates the serious nature of early Hebrew 
research, but also becomes a matter of curious signifi- 
cance when the subsequent interest and proficiency of 
Arab scholars in everything concerning the scientific 
acquirements of that profession are considered. 

The impulse thus early exerted by Jewish culture 
upon the Arab intellect was eventually productive of 
the most extraordinary results. The scholars soon 
surpassed their instructors in the extent and pro- 
fundity of their knowledge. The Arab mind assimi- 
lated, with wonderful ease and insatiable avidity, the 
useful and valuable information afforded it, while its 
critical faculty enabled it to reject what it intuitively 
perceived to be spurious. In all the countries subject 
to the Khalifates of Mecca and Damascus, the He- 
brew opened to the Moslem conqueror the avenues of 
literature and science. He was treated by the Moham- 
medan princes with far more consideration and justice 
than he had ever experienced under Pagan or Chris- 
tian domination. His synagogues were erected in the 
shadow of Moslem minarets. His academies became 
famous as centres of learning. The works of Grecian 
philosophers, the fragmentary treasures of Alexan- 

132 History of the 

drian erudition, were, through his efforts, made famil- 
iar to the studious of the great Mohammedan capitals. 
In the distribution of literary patronage the Jews 
were the most distinguished recipients of royal munifi- 
cence. In proportion to the eminence they attained in 
the province of letters, their political power and finan- 
cial prosperity increased. They enjoyed the familiar 
confidence of the monarch, when his favorite coun- 
cillors dared not venture without a summons into his 
presence. They amassed great fortunes in the various 
branches of trade and industry. Their mercantile 
occupations brought them frequently in contact with 
their fellow-sectaries, who, in other parts of the world, 
maintained under the weighty sceptre of cruel and 
bigoted sovereigns an existence fraught with danger 
and hardship. 

These facts were well known to the Spanish Jews 
who had, amidst the multiplied catastrophes afflicting 
their race, survived the effects of Visigothic tyrannj^ 
Notwithstanding the successive persecutions of which 
they had been the object, they were still numerous in 
the Peninsula. The phenomenal vitality of a people 
which, from time immemorial, has preserved its integ- 
rity under the most adverse conditions, enabled it to 
defy the malice of courts and the edicts of councils 
whose office and pastime was the pitiless extirpation 
of heresy. The Jews flourished in defiance of blood- 
thirsty laws. In many ways they evaded the effects 
of proscription. Thousands apostatized. Multitudes 
secretly purchased immunity by means of the arts of 
corruption. Of those who had gone into exile, the 
majority quickly returned and took up their residence 
in other provinces, where, unknown to the populace, 
and often with the venal connivance of civil officials 
and prelates, they were permitted to pursue their avo- 
cations in comparative security. The Israelitish ele- 
ment was so preponderant in Toledo, Lucena, and 

Moorish Empire in Europe 133 

Granada, at the time of the Moorish invasion, that 
they were known as Jewish cities. This large popu- 
lation formed a separate state, an iinperium in im- 
perio, whose members, exasperated by the memory of 
intolerable suffering and sustained by the hope of 
retribution, were ready to embrace the first oppor- 
tunity to avenge the oppression of centuries. Thus 
the fatal policy of the Visigoths weak, violent, and 
corrupt had introduced an organized, powerful, un- 
scrupulous, and vindictive enemy into every province 
and city of their tottering empire. With their Afri- 
can brethren the Jews of Spain maintained an inti- 
mate and frequent correspondence. Numbers of the 
latter had sought a refuge beyond the sea, as their 
descendants did, under similar circumstances, seven 
centuries afterwards. The settlements of the Mauri- 
tanian coast swarmed with indigenous or exiled He- 
brews, attracted thither by the superior facilities they 
offered to commercial pursuits. All of these shrewd 
and intelligent traders were perfectly familiar with 
the condition of the Visigothic monarchy; with its 
apparent splendor and actual decay; with the politi- 
cal and social disorganization pervading every depart- 
ment of the state and every rank of society ; with the 
tyranny of the King; with the universal disaffection 
of the nobles ; with the grasping avarice of the clergy, 
whose exactions spared neither the plenty of the rich 
nor the starving wretchedness of the poor; with the 
weakness of the army, whose soldiers, subsisting by 
pillage, had neither weapons to arm nor officers to 
command them; with the abject misery of the people, 
who, protected by none and plundered by all, insecure 
in the pursuit of every employment, a constant prey 
to licensed brigandage, with no recollection of the past 
but the bitter reminiscence of unprovoked and re- 
peated injury, with no hope of the future save in the 
intervention of a more powerful, perhaps a more 

134 History of the 

ruthless, oppressor, were certain of tranquillity only 
in the silence and oblivion of the grave. 

The advent of Moslem supremacy, which promised 
a new and splendid career to the down-trodden race, 
was welcomed by the Jews of Africa with all the 
enthusiasm of an impulsive and excitable people. 
Al-Maghreb had scarcely been conquered before the 
Moslem generals were more conversant with the de- 
tails of Visigothic weakness and demoralization than 
the councillors of Roderick himself. The minute and 
secret ramifications of Jewish society united in a 
common cause the widely distributed communities of 
Africa and Spain; the intelligence and resolution of 
the conspirators, whose hostility was increased by the 
bitterness of sectarian hatred, rendered their enterprise 
and activity the more dangerous; and a propitious 
opportunity alone was awaited to pour upon the fer- 
tile and defenceless plains of the Peninsula the resist- 
less torrent of Moslem invasion. That opportunity 
soon arrived. The fortress of Ceuta, lost by treason, 
fell into the hands of the Arabs ; the Visigothic power, 
crushed in one great battle, succumbed to the superior 
valor of an enterprising enemy ; and within the short 
period of fourteen months the sceptre of empire 
passed from the feeble hands of a barbarian dynasty 
to the control of a foreign race, whose mental capacity 
and intellectual ambition, as yet untried, were sub- 
sequently found to be equal to the most exacting de- 
mands of a refined and highly developed civilization. 
In these events, whose consequences produced such 
radical modifications in the religious, political, and 
domestic conditions of European society, Hebrew 
energy and craft were eminently conspicuous. One 
of the principal divisions of Tarik's army was com- 
manded by a Jew. During the invasion, Jewish guides 
conducted the JMoslem squadrons along the highways 
of an unknown country, furnished information of the 

Moorish Empire in Europe 135 

enemy's movements, disclosed the whereabouts of mih- 
tary supplies and hidden wealth. When the slender 
numbers of the Arab forces would not admit of their 
diminution for garrison duty, the Jews volunteered 
their services to defend the conquered cities and faith- 
fully discharged the important trust. The obligations 
thus incurred by the Moorish invaders to their allies 
were of the most important character. The latter not 
only facilitated an enterprise whose difficulty, without 
their co-operation, would have been enormously in- 
creased, if not actually rendered impracticable, but, 
the country once subdued, they directed the atten- 
tion of the Arabs to elegant pursuits, of whose nature 
and value they had hitherto remained in ignorance. 
Moslem civilization in Europe owed an incalculable 
debt of gratitude to the Jews. They were its real 
founders. They inculcated a taste for letters. They 
promoted the investigations of science, the develop- 
ment of industry and the arts. Their refined tastes 
and intellectual employments aroused a noble emu- 
lation in the minds of their pupils and imitators, which, 
in turn, reacted upon their own talents and aspirations. 
Hebrew genius and ambition were no longer hampered 
by the malicious interference of royal councils and 
ecclesiastical synods. The Jewish merchant and the 
Jewish banker pursued their way to opulence and 
distinction, unmolested by the extortionate demands 
of corrupt officials and tyrannical farmers of the 
revenue. Their scholars were not insensible to the 
advantages to be derived from the study of ancient 
learning, and the Greek and Latin classics were thor- 
oughly familiar to the Spanish Jew, whose com- 
mentaries upon them were of considerable extent and 
of unquestionable authority. 

Under a government favorable to their existence 
and prosperity, their numbers rapidly increased. The 
depopulation resulting from the conquest of an 

138 History of the 

already impoverished and exliausted territorj'' required 
an extraordinary and immediate remedy. Publica- 
tion was everywhere made throughout the Orient 
inviting the settlement of immigrants in Spain. 
Lands and houses were promised to all who were 
willing to change their domiciles for new homes in 
the distant and recently founded Mohammedan em- 
pire. In the multitude that responded were, it is said, 
fifty thousand Hebrew families, amounting to not less 
than a quarter of a million individuals. These, with 
their fellow-sectaries already established in the Penin- 
sula, composed a most important element of its popu- 
lation. Highly favorable social and domestic condi- 
tions, among which must be considered the prevalent 
institution of polygamy, caused in after years a pro- 
digious multiplication of the race. The colonists 
brought with them the devotion to learning which 
they had imbibed in the presence of the great me- 
morials of ancient civilization on the banks of the 
Nile and the Euphrates, and many volumes of native 
and foreign lore which were destined to form the 
nucleus of the magnificent libraries of Moorish Spain. 
History has repeatedly mentioned the tireless assiduity 
with which the Jews, secure and tranquil under the 
tolerant administration of the klialifs, devoted them- 
selves to the cultivation of letters. Their diligence 
was only exceeded by the marvellous proficiency they 
attained in every branch of useful knowledge. They 
mastered with ease the most abstruse and perplexing 
mathematical problems. The rabbis were great lin- 
guists; there were few of them not thoroughly con- 
versant with the numerous idioms of Europe and 
Asia. Medicine and astronomy, their favorite pur- 
suits, under their direction soon acquired an unprece- 
dented, almost a magical, development. 

The tenth, eleventh, and twelfth centuries represent 
the epoch of the greatest fame and influence of the 

Moorish Empire in Europe 137 

Spanish Jews. This period, coincident with the high- 
est power and civihzation of the Hispano-Arab em- 
pire, had, however, been preceded by two centuries of 
uninterrupted progress. The enhghtened pohcy of 
the Western khahfs, from the accession of the Om- 
meyade dynasty, attracted to their capital the learned 
of every country and of every profession. Of these 
strangers, the Hebrews constituted the largest pro- 
portion of any one race, excepting the Arabs. The 
schools and academies they founded vied in educa- 
tional opportunities and literary culture with the Mos- 
lem institutions of similar character whose reputation 
was unrivalled in the world. The interpretations of 
the Scriptures and the Talmud, as promulgated by 
the synagogues of Toledo and Cordova, were acknowl- 
edged everywhere as of the highest and most binding 
authority. A constant and profitable intercourse was 
maintained with their kinsmen of the Orient, which 
promoted an interchange of ideas, and was conse- 
quently of incalculable advantage to the mental de- 
velopment of both divisions of the race. The intel- 
lectual supremacy of the Spanish Jew was, however, 
rarely disputed. The opportunities he enjoyed in the 
society of the most splendid of mediaeval capitals ; the 
vast stores of information at his disposal; the great 
libraries collected by the klialif s to which he had access ; 
the permanent distinction which awaited successful 
competition in the public contests for literary prece- 
dence; the favor of the sovereign, often himself a 
scholar of great erudition and varied accomplishments, 
always a liberal patron of science and the arts; the 
applause of the multitude; the substantial pecuniary 
benefits which promised a life of ease and opulence to 
all whose abilities were sufficiently eminent to merit 
public recognition and recompense; with these mani- 
fold privileges and incentives it is not singular that 
Hebrew genius obtained and preserved an exalted 

138 History of the 

rank in the literary society of the age. Encouraged 
by the influence which they wielded, and presuming 
upon the favor of a liberal and indulgent sovereign, 
the Jews of the Moorish empire formed an organiza- 
tion modelled after the institutions of their ancestors 
which could scarcely have been tolerated under a severe 
and jealous despotism. They elected as their king a 
prince of the house of Judah, who, while not openly 
invested with the insignia of royalty, received the 
homage and the tribute of his subjects. Under this 
potentate judges and priests were chosen, who exer- 
cised the functions performed centuries before in the 
days of the independence and renown of the Hebrew 
nation. The Moors countenanced, and even approved 
of, the establishment of this anomalous system. Its 
officials, despite their grandiloquent titles, were strictly 
subordinated to the authority of the khalifate. Thej'" 
were suffered, however, to administer the affairs of 
those who acknowledged their jurisdiction; their de- 
cisions in theological matters limited to their faith 
were unquestioned; and they were intrusted with the 
collection of taxes, whose amount and apportionment 
had been previously determined by the regular officers 
of the imperial treasury. 

The eminently practical character of the Jewish 
mind did not confine itself to speculations upon the 
traditions of the Talmud or disquisitions concerning 
abstruse points of philosophy. The Hebrew sages 
embraced with the greatest ardor the fascinating pur- 
suits of mechanical invention and scientific discovery. 
In medicine and surgery they particularly excelled. 
They wrote treatises on the application of hydraulics 
and the comparative merits of various systems of irri- 
gation. They thoroughly understood the principles 
of horticulture. The excellence of the manufactures 
for which the Khalifate of Cordova was famous was, 
to a considerable extent, indebted to Jewish talents 

Moorish Empike in Europe 139 

and industry. In many instances the nationality of 
Hebrew scholars was obscured through the similarity 
of their names and occupations to those of their dis- 
tinguished associates in the great Moslem centres of 
learning. Many Jewish doctors received Arab appel- 
lations and wrote almost exclusively in the Arabic 
language. Among these v/as Ibn-Zohr, who, for these 
reasons, has been generally considered a Mohamme- 
dan, but whose parentage, religion, associations, and 
education were entirely Hebrew. 

The tenth century witnessed the culmination of 
Jewish greatness in Europe. In its rapid advance- 
ment, it had kept pace with the ever-progressive march 
of Moslem power and culture. Wherever the Sara- 
cens established themselves, the Jewish population in- 
creased. The harmonious co-operation of the two 
races one of which, while nominally tributary to and 
dependent upon the other, was in reality upon a foot- 
ing of friendly intimacy with its acknowledged supe- 
rior proved of immense advantage to both, in the 
promotion of every measure which could enure to the 
substantial benefit of humanity. In the consideration 
which they enjoyed, and in the prosperity and dis- 
tinction which were the reward of intelligent and use- 
ful effort, the Jews lost the memory of the calamities 
which had been their lot for so many centuries. In 
common with all peoples who have attained the highest 
civilization, they abandoned themselves to luxury. 
The men were clothed in the richest of silken fabrics. 
The jewels of the women equalled in brilliancy and 
value the choicest treasures of the imperial harems. 
The great Hebrew functionaries of state, who pos- 
sessed the confidence of the sovereign, appeared in 
public, guarded by retinues of armed and magnifi- 
cently attired eunuchs. Their mansions exhibited all 
the luxurious appointments of the fastidious sybarite. 
The Rabbi Hasdai-ben-Schaprut was one of the prin- 

140 History of the 

cipal ministers of Abii-al-Rahman III. Al-Hakem 
II. enlisted the services of Jewish ambassadors in 
important embassies. Hischem II. ordered a transla- 
tion of the Talmud to be made into Arabic, and caused 
its literature to be introduced as a branch of study in 
the Moslem colleges. The educated Moors treated 
with the greatest honor and respect the princes and 
officials of the hierarchy chosen by the assemblies of 
the Synagogue. The beginning of the tenth century 
witnessed the destruction of the renowned academies 
of Persia, whose members, by the promulgation of 
liberal doctrines, had rendered themselves obnoxious 
to Oriental despotism. Their societies dissolved, these 
learned men were forced to seek security in exile. 
Some of the most famous, including the Rabbi Moses, 
of the Academy of Pumbedita, were taken by African 
corsairs and exposed for sale in the slave-market of 
Cordova. Such was the eminent reputation of this 
doctor, that, as soon as his identity was disclosed, he 
was unanimously elected prince of the Hispano-He- 
brew nation. 

These Oriental scholars were not the only exiles who 
enriched the universities of Spain with their accumu- 
lated stores of wisdom. From every country where 
the hand of persecution was raised against the Jew 
refugees flocked by thousands into the Peninsula, until 
the Ommeyade khalif included among his subjects a 
larger proportion of the people of this race than any 
other sovereign of the age. The list of rabbis who 
illuminated with their genius and learning the reign 
of the Cordovan princes is both instructive and inter- 
esting, especially when we consider the benighted con- 
dition of contemporaneous Europe. In France, dur- 
ing the ninth century, a Christian bishop declared the 
rabbis preached better than the priests. 

The active minds of these gifted scholars enabled 
them to master at the same time the most complicated 

Moorish Empire in Europe 141 

problems of widely different branches of scientific 
knowledge. The difficulty and novelty of the subject 
were always the strongest incentives to their industry. 
The study of jurisprudence enjoined by their law, as 
a religious duty, was always entered upon in the be- 
ginning of their literary career, no matter to what pro- 
fessions they were subsequently to be devoted. Rabbi 
Hasdai-ben-Schaprut wrote a commentary on the bo- 
tanical treatise of Dioscorides, of which he had made 
an Ai*abic version; Rabbi Judah, who lived under 
Abd-al-Rahman III., was renowned for his acquaint- 
ance with both Hebrew and Arabic literature ; Joseph 
translated the Talmud for Hischem II.; Manasseh- 
ben-Baruch compiled a critical lexicon, a colossal 
monument of patience and erudition. To Isaac-ben- 
Chanan is ascribed the rendering into classic Hebrew 
of the complete works of Aristotle. Isaac Alphes 
codified the laws of the Talmud; Samuel-ben-Alarif, 
the minister of Habus, King of Granada, renowned 
alike as statesman, astronomer, and poet, composed a 
panegyric of his sovereign in seven languages. Moses- 
ben-Ezra wrote poems which disclose instructive scenes 
of mediaeval life and manners ; the grammatical works 
of Judas-ben-David were recognized as authoritative 
wherever the Hebrew tongue was spoken ; Isaac-ben- 
Baruch was one of the most learned and accomplished 
mathematicians of his time. In addition to these 
names, famous in the history of letters, the Hebrew 
community of Spain included poets like Judas Levi, 
whose works, translated into Arabic and Latin, ob- 
tained a wide and deserved popularity; astronomers 
like Ben-Chia; geographers like Isaac Latef ; physi- 
cians like Charizi; travellers like Benjamin of Tudela, 
whose writings may still be perused with pleasure and 
advantage; natural philosophers like Solomon-ben- 
Gabirol, who had the rare faculty of clothing scientific 
conceptions in poetical language; universal geniuses 

142 History of the 

like Moses-ben-Maimon and Ben-Ezra, whose talents 
illustrated and embellished every subject within the 
realm of human knowledge. Not less noted were the 
Jewish physicians, who did not, however, exist as a 
distinctive profession, their commanding abilities 
being also displayed in other departments of litera- 
ture and science. 

Most prominent among the names which immortal- 
ize the golden age of Hebrew erudition is that of 
Moses-ben-Maimon, popularly known as Maimonides. 
A native of Cordova, and sprung from a family which 
had furnished many learned and distinguished mem- 
bers of the Jewish hierarchy, he enjoyed from his 
earliest youth the unrivalled educational advantages 
of the great Moslem capital. His mind was formed 
and his tastes developed under the most able in- 
structors of the University of Cordova, and it has 
even been stated, upon disputed authority, however, 
that he was the pupil and friend of the famous phi- 
losopher Averroes. The profession of medicine which 
he adopted, and in which he afterwards so greatly ex- 
celled, he regarded rather as an instrument with which 
to observe the secret characteristics and incentives of 
human nature than as a means of livelihood. At the 
age of thirty, his reputation for prodigious erudition 
had spread far beyond the limits of the Moslem em- 
pire of the West. The fanatical policy of Abd-al- 
Mumen, founder of the Almohade dynasty, demanded 
the conversion of the Jews ; thousands, under the fear 
of death, renounced their religion, and among them 
was Maimonides, whose resolution was not proof 
against the prospective sufferings of martyrdom. 
Escaping soon after to Egypt, where his renown had 
preceded his arrival, he became the friend and adviser 
of the Sultan. It is said that whenever he left his 
house he was compelled to pass through lines of 
people, some of whom desired his opinion on meta- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 143 

physical questions, and others, who were afflicted with 
various aiknents, that sought the aid of his medical 
knowledge. Such was his devotion to his profession, 
that in the care of his patients he deprived himself of 
sleep, and many times fainted from sheer exhaustion. 
In the midst of his arduous duties he found time for 
the composition of many voluminous treatises, on 
biblical and rabbinical literature; on the action of 
remedies; on the duties and responsibilities of man as 
inculcated by the higher philosophy. His principal 
work, More-Hanebushim, " The Guide of Lost 
Spirits," is one of the masterpieces of Hebrew 
literature. The learning it displays, the profound 
knowledge of mankind it reveals, the originality of 
its conceptions, the ingenuity and logical force of the 
argument, the sublime moral maxims it inculcates, 
and the elegance and beauty of the style, owing little 
to the native harshness of the idiom in which it is 
written, stamp it as one of the most remarkable pro- 
ductions of the human mind. The genius of this 
great writer regarded as diversions undertakings 
which would have appeared formidable tasks to men 
of inferior capacity. His medical works, fourteen 
in number, and especially his learned commentary on 
Hippocrates, were long the guide of the profession, 
and to this day many of his precepts for the treatment 
of disease are employed by the intelligent practitioner. 
He was one of the first to recognize that mental de- 
rangement is often the result of physical indisposition. 
Maimonides was more familiar with the doctrines of 
Christian theology than the majority of the prelates 
whose duty it was to inculcate them. His understand- 
ing rejected with contempt the alluring and prevalent 
delusions of the age, which too frequently contami- 
nated the wisdom of the scholar with the mummeries 
of the impostor. His condemnation of judicial astrol- 
ogy, in which he exposed by irrefutable arguments the 

144 History of the 

absurdities and dangers of that puerile but fascinating 
science, was adoj)ted and promulgated as authoritative 
by both Popes Sixtus V. and Urban VIII. While he 
criticised with uncompromising severity the faults of 
his sect and the weakness and inconsistency of many 
of its traditions, Maimonides never intentionally 
swerved from the path of orthodox Judaism. His 
surroundings and associations were, however, on the 
whole not favorable to the maintenance of archaic 
theological systems. The intellectual society of Cor- 
dova was deeply infected with infidelity. The in- 
structors of youth, the professors of the University, 
were disciples of Averroes. Religious commentary 
had long been supplanted by philosophical skepticism. 
Even the populace, always the last to abandon the 
obsolete opinions of theological infancy, were imbued 
with the same iconoclastic ideas. The sublime concep- 
tions of India, the doctrine of Emanation and Ab- 
sorption, had been largely adopted by the educated 
communities of JMoorish Spain. The exposure of the 
Hebrew dogmas to the mocking and sarcastic raillery 
of his learned companions produced no effect upon 
the faith of Maimonides. His principles were too 
firmly grounded to be shaken by the jeers of polished 
atheism. While his progressive ideas caused him to 
be for a time regarded with suspicion by the stricter 
of the Hebrews, they eventually contended with each 
other in paying tribute to his lofty genius, and in 
their extravagant admiration styled him " The Eagle 
of Jewish Literature," " The Guide of the Rabbis," 
" The Light of the Occident." The liberal character 
of his doctrines may be inferred from the following 
passage taken from the preface to his works: " The 
end of religion is to conduct us to perfection, and to 
teach us to act and think in conformity with reason. 
In this consists the distinctive attribute of human 

Moorish Empire in Europe 145 

Maimonides was one of the most eminent person- 
ages of his time. No writer of his nationahty ever 
attained to such an exalted rank, even among those 
who dissented from his opinions. The kindness of his 
disposition was not less remarkable than the extent 
of his intellectual acquirements. Although a born 
polemic and controversialist, he never voluntarily 
wounded the feelings of an adversary. The object 
of his investigations was invariably the discovery of 
truth. His learning, his critical acumen, his quick- 
ness of perception, his accuracy of judgment, his 
talent for argument, were unrivalled. His system 
aimed at the reconciliation of revealed maxims and 
scientific deductions; at the co-ordination of Biblical 
and Talmudical ideas with the principles of ancient 
wisdom and contemporaneous philosophj^. Such a 
task was beyond even his great abilities. The studies 
of the infidel schools of Spain had, unconsciously to 
himself, affected his religious belief. The instruc- 
tions of Averroes were not conducive to the exist- 
ence of rigid Judaism. Maimonides was, in fact, a 
pantheist. Throughout his writings, despite their 
mysticism, the doctrine of Emanation is everywhere 
prominent. He refers to successive spheres born of 
Divine thought. He considers the absorption of the 
souls of the good into the Divine Essence. While 
admitting the indestructibility of force, he rejects the 
idea of the eternity of matter. With him, as with the 
majority of scholars who had been educated under 
Arabic auspices, the authority of Aristotle was para- 
mount. His works, while professedly written to eluci- 
date and confirm the Talmud, really undermined it. 
His Mischne Thora and Commentaiy on the JMischna 
are prodigies of dialectical skill and varied erudition. 
In the first of these, a religious code, ten years of 
constant labor were expended. 

The life of Maimonides was an eventful period in 

Vol. III. 10 

146 History of the 

the history of his race. Then it reached the highest 
point of intellectual distinction, but among its sages 
none ranked with the distinguished rabbi. In addition 
to his vast stores of universal laiowledge, he had 
profited by the practical benefits of travel. He had 
visited Fez, Montpellier, Cairo, Bagdad, Jerusalem. 
He was the court physician of Saladin. He refused 
a similar employment tendered by Richard I., King 
of England. He was raised to the important office 
of Chief Rabbi of all the Hebrew communities of 
Egypt. From the East and West, his countrymen 
sought his opinion on abstruse questions of religion 
and philosophical doctrine, and accepted his answers 
as infallible. His influence was by no means confined 
to members of his own sect. His works, translated 
into Latin, were diligently studied by Christian po- 
lemics, and furnished arguments to successive genera- 
tions of schoolmen. Diffused throughout the South 
of France, their rationalist opinions played no small 
part in the promotion of the Albigensian heresy. 

But while the intellectual supremacy of Maimo- 
nides placed him far in advance of his contemporaries, 
he was by no means the only distinguished scholar of 
his epoch. Ben-Ezra, equally proficient in the depart- 
ments of medicine, literature, and astronomy, enjoyed 
a reputation second only to that of the Greatest of 
the Hebrews. His inquisitive mind, stimulated by 
years of assiduous application, sought in the scenes 
of foreign lands the valuable experience and intimate 
acquaintance with human life which are not to be ob- 
tained by the perusal of books alone. The remarkable 
abilities of Ben-Ezra were exercised alike in the solu- 
tion of mathematical problems and in the composi- 
tion of sacred poems. In his knowledge of astron- 
omy, he surpassed the most accurate observers of an 
age especialy devoted to the cultivation of the grand- 
est and most fascinating of sciences. In his moments 

Moorish Empire in Europe 147 

of mental relaxation he embodied in verse the rules of 
the game of chess; and the preface to this poem, in 
which the reader is warned against the evils of cards 
and dice, proves conclusively that gaming implements 
supposed to have been invented hundreds of years 
afterwards were familiar to the Spanish Jews and 
Moors in the early part of the thirteenth century. 

Not unworthy rivals of Ben-Ezra in the contest for 
literary precedence were Nachmanides, who at the age 
of sixteen was the honored associate of the most 
learned of the Jewish nation, and whose precocious 
maturity acquired for him in early manhood the title 
of Abu-Harushma, " The Father of Wisdom;" Jo- 
seph Hadain, whose charming verses were the delight 
of the people of Cordova ; Solomon-ben-Gabirol, and 
Abraham-ben-David-Halevi, distinguished philoso- 
phers, in whose writings were illustrated the principles 
of theological reform and independent criticism de- 
manded by the bold and progressive spirit of the age. 
Among the Jews of Spain were also many original 
poets, fabulists, and writers of romance. Such were 
the most eminent scholars whose attainments reflected 
honor on the Hebrew name, under the beneficent rule 
of the Moslem princes of the West, an era coincident 
with the darkest period of European history. Be- 
sides these there were others in every community, 
some of rabbinical rank, some of humble station, with 
talents that elsewhere would have raised them far 
above mediocrity, but who were obscured and over- 
whelmed in the dazzling glare of literary excellence. 
The commercial prosperity of the Jews; the univer- 
sality of education, whose institutions afforded facili- 
ties nowhere else attainable in the world; the natu- 
rally inquisitive bent of the Hebrew mind, whose 
acuteness seemed capable of solving questions when 
all others had failed, and whose versatility was equal 
to the most varied and arduous undertakings; the 

148 History of the 

superhuman industry which shrank from no task, 
however difficult; the consideration with which they 
were treated by sovereign and plebeian alike, gave full 
scope to the capabilities of a race of men who never 
previously, even in the days of Judea's splendor, had 
been afforded such opportunities for development. 
The generous emulation provoked by the intellectual 
eif orts of their Saracen rivals was exerted by the Jews 
in every branch of learning and every department of 
scientific research. Through the literary productions 
of these two nations alone was the way of knowledge 
accessible. A thorough acquaintance with Arabic and 
Hebrew was indispensable to the ambitious student. 
Latin, whose corrupted idiom was the language of the 
Church, was the vehicle of priestlj^ intercourse, and 
the medium through which were transmitted Papal 
decrees and ecclesiastical tradition. The ancient 
classics of Greece and Rome were practically un- 
known outside the Peninsula; and there is good 
reason to believe that a majority of the famous prel- 
ates of the time were ignorant that they had ever 
existed. The accurate retranslations of these works 
into Latin from the Arabic, into which they had been 
originally transcribed, first revealed their merits to 
Western Europe, and paved the way to the revival 
of learning. The impulse imparted by this means to 
literary curiosity and investigation found its culmina- 
tion in the epoch which produced Aretino, Petrarch, 
Boccaccio, and Dante. The Italian Renaissance, the 
dawn of modern European intelligence and progress, 
received its inspiration from the civilizing influences 
and cultivated tastes brought to extraordinary perfec- 
tion in the great cities of Southern Spain. 

The dissolution of the Moslem empire, its subse- 
quent division and gradual conquest, naturally 
effected great changes in the political relations and 
ultimate destiny of the Hebrew race. Under the 

Moorish Empire in Europe 149 

petty kings who administered with various fortune 
the shattered fragments of the magnificent inheri- 
tance bequeathed by the Ommeyade khahfs, the con- 
dition of the Jews changed with the caprices and the 
passions of each new tyrannical potentate. For the 
most part, however, they received indulgent and often 
flattering treatment. The Mohammedan sovereigns 
recognized the value of such subjects; there were 
many whose political sagacity was not obscured by 
prejudice, and who still observed the tolerant precepts 
of Islam. At Granada the Jews had always been 
popular; there is a tradition that the capital of the 
kingdom was founded by them. In the fourteenth 
century, there were fifteen thousand Hebrew families 
resident in that city. While the rest of the Peninsula 
was convulsed with revolution and disorder, and their 
kinsmen were being everywhere persecuted and robbed 
by Papal inquisitor and Christian king, the Jews of 
Granada pursued their occupations in peace, under 
the protection of the Zirite and Alhamar dynasties, 
until the final success of the Spanish arms involved 
their nation in irretrievable ruin. 

The Jews were the principal medium through which 
Moorish civilization was permanently impressed upon 
Europe. Their peculiar characteristics ; their vitality 
amidst the most dreadful misfortunes; the intimate 
relationship maintained by their communities, where 
distance and territorial isolation seemed matters of 
little importance, and their wide distribution were 
most important factors in the maintenance and dis- 
semination of knowledge. The Jew travelled with 
safety in lands where a price was set upon his head; 
outside of Moslem jurisdiction, even among strangers 
unfamiliar with his story and his creed, the Saracen 
was an outcast. The requirements of royal and eccle- 
siastical incompetency contributed to the preservation 
of that learning which ignorance and fear constantly 

150 History of the 

incited to destroy. As the Peninsula yielded by de- 
grees to the steady encroachments of Christian power, 
the superior abilities of the Jews proved a potent safe- 
guard against oppression. In spite of the furious 
protests of fanatics, they exercised the most impor- 
tant public employments. Kings of irreproachable 
orthodoxy habitually availed themselves of their 
unrivalled medical attainments. The physicians of 
Alfonso X., Pedro el Cruel, Henry III., Juan II. of 
Castile, of Jaime I. of Aragon, of Duarte and Juan 
I. of Portugal, were all members of the detested 
sect. Their tact and discernment caused their services 
to be enlisted in the settlement of perplexing ques- 
tions of diplomacy. The early times of the Recon- 
quest were far from exhibiting the vindictive and 
intolerant spirit which marked its termination. The 
Hebrew colony at Toledo numbered twelve thousand 
souls. Its academy stood fii'st in rank among similar 
institutions in Europe. A vast sum was annually paid 
by this tributary population into the royal treasury 
of Castile. 

The king, the noble, and the scholar treated the 
Jew with favor, often with the highest consideration. 
The clergy and the mob were ever his bitterest enemies. 
His extraordinary influence was daily manifested in 
defiance of savage laws which public sentiment en- 
acted and applauded, but was unable to enforce. The 
hated sectary, proscribed by both the ecclesiastical and 
civil powers, pursued his way, indifferent to the edicts 
of either the altar or the throne. He dictated the 
policy of the government. He made treaties with 
foreign nations. He flaunted his wealth in the faces 
of the rabble. With strange inconsistency, members 
of the priesthood sold him Christian serfs, whom their 
own decrees declared it was illegal for him to own. 
They pledged with him the consecrated vessels of their 
calling for money with which to indulge in forbidden 

Moorish Empire in Europe 151 

pleasures. His opulence was his most serious offence. 
In the thirteenth century, one-third of the entire real- 
property of Castile was in the possession or under the 
control of the Hebrews. At the death of Pedro II. 
of Aragon, they had acquired possession of all the 
demesnes of the crown, by the purchase of claims 
against the state. At one time they owned nearly all 
the city of Paris. Their pomp and insolence aroused 
the envy and hatred of the nobles, many of whom 
were virtually their prisoners for default in the pay- 
ment of debts. During the reign of Pedro el Cruel, 
Joseph-ben-Ephraim, the royal tax-gatherer, rode in 
a magnificent coach, guarded by a retinue of fifty 
armed attendants. His clerks were the sons of Span- 
ish grandees. It was long a popular saying in Europe 
that " The Castilians had the pride and the devotion, 
the Jews the talents and the money." 

The Spanish cavaliers who had experienced the 
prowess and courtesy of their Moorish adversaries, 
as a rule, cherished no bitterness against the Jews. 
Those who, in the course of events, were absorbed 
with the territory of the growing kingdom, often 
elicited admiration and respect by reason of their 
commanding talents and erudition. The political ad- 
ministration of Castile and Leon, under Alfonso 
VIII., was committed to a Jew; and his physician, 
who was of the same race and enjoyed the royal 
confidence, was chosen by the nobles as an intermedi- 
ary between themselves and their sovereign in a trans- 
action which required the exercise of the greatest 
ability and discretion. A beautiful Jewess was for 
many years the mistress of Alfonso IX., over whom 
her empire, while unbounded, was never abused ; until 
at last the clergy, scandalized rather by the nationality 
of the favorite than by the gravity of the sin, caused 
her to be sacrificed to public resentment. It requires 
but a glance at the writings of the few mediaeval 

152 History of the 

reformers to infer how much consistency there was 
in this simulated indignation. The works of these 
alone are sufficient to establish the existence of uni- 
versal sacerdotal depravity among those censors of 
public morals whose scruples were excited by the in- 
fluence ascribed to the charms of a lovely infidel. 
Under Alfonso el Sabio, the Jews received greater 
consideration than under any other Christian monarch 
of Spain. The famous Alphonsine Tables, drawn up 
under the direction of Hebrew astronomers, were the 
most memorable scientific achievement of the epoch. 
Their cost, which exceeded the enormous sum of four 
hundred thousand ducats, is indicative not only of the 
interest of that prince in undertakings whose impor- 
tance was neither understood nor appreciated else- 
where, but of the value attached to the services of 
great scholars, whose knowledge had been imparted 
by a civilization which their royal patron considered it 
his political and religious duty to eradicate. 

The indulgent policy of Don Pedro el Cruel to- 
wards his Hebrew subjects was one of the most re- 
markable peculiarities of his sanguinary reign. His 
financiers and his confidential advisers were members 
of that proscribed race. The treasurer of the mon- 
archy, Samuel Levi, whose position and favor enabled 
him to amass a princely fortune, is remembered by 
Jewish tradition as one of the great benefactors of 
humanity. The extraordinary power he wielded ; the 
splendor of his retinue ; the sumptuous appointments 
of his palace ; his patronage of letters ; the prodigal 
generosity he displayed in the relief of the unfortu- 
nate and the deserving of every nationality, have 
exalted, perhaps exaggerated, his merits in the mem- 
ory of his countrymen. His greatest claim to distinc- 
tion, however, consists in the erection, at his own ex- 
pense, of a superb synagogue at Toledo. This edifice, 
unique of its kind, was built by the most skilful Moor- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 153 

ish artificers of Granada, and its decorations sug- 
gested the most finished and elegant models of Arab 
art. Its walls were embellished with miniature horse- 
shoe and stalactitic arches, whose openings were re- 
lieved by polygonal ornaments and golden stars. 
Belts of foliage alternating with appropriate inscrip- 
tions composed the frieze ; and the ceiling, which was 
of the incorruptible cedar of Lebanon, resembled, in 
the maze of its geometrical designs, the artesonados 
of the Alhambra. In common with the other prin- 
cipal synagogues of Toledo, the earth upon which 
the pavement was laid was said to have been brought 
from Mount Sion, a tradition which enhanced their 
sanctity in the eyes of the worshipper. 

Many converted Hebrews, as the reward of their 
apostasy, were raised to the most exalted civil and 
episcopal dignities ; unusual literary accomplishments 
in a Spanish prelate during the Middle Ages were 
almost infallible indications that his information had 
been derived from infidel sources ; and Catholic piety 
recognized no more ardent defenders of the dogmas 
of the Church than the converted Jews, Paul, Bishop 
of Burgos and Grand Chancellor of Castile, and 
Alfonso de Spina, Rector of the University of Sala- 
manca. The celebrated Bible produced at Alcala de 
Henares through the munificence of Cardinal Xime- 
nes, at a cost of fifty thousand pieces of gold, and 
which required the unremitting labor of fifteen years, 
was the work of apostate Jews. Three secretaries of 
Queen Isabella were of the despised nationality. One 
of them, the famous chronicler Pulgar, had held the 
same office of trust under King Henry IV. 

The intolerance of the Spanish clergy increased in 
an exact ratio with the decadence of Moslem power. 
As ecclesiastical supremacy became strong enough to 
control the policy of the throne, the privileges of the 
Jews, already greatly curtailed, were almost entirely 

154 History of the 

abolished. As yet, however, the sovereign was unable 
to dispense either with the taxes they paid, which were 
the most important part of the royal revenues, or with 
the financial talents and sterling honesty which in- 
sured their proper disbursement. It was not until the 
reign of Ferdinand and Isabella that fanaticism was 
allowed to prevail over the wise and prudential con- 
siderations of policy which, though frequently inter- 
rupted by scenes of horror and carnage, had in prac- 
tice ignored for centuries the fulminations of eccle- 
siastical synods and councils. As the rise of Hebrew 
greatness in the Peninsula dates from, and is attrib- 
utable to, the Moslem conquest, in like manner its 
decay progressed with the declining fortunes of the 
Saracens, and its destruction was coincident with the 
disappearance of their empire. 

Scattered throughout Europe, the Jews alone pre- 
served for future generations the precious heritage of 
Arab science and culture; and had they not proved 
capable of retaining and transmitting it, the dis- 
coveries of Moorish genius, banished with those who 
made them, would have been forever lost to posterity. 
The effects of civilization, whose arts, distributed 
through the agency of the Hebrews, were productive 
of such great results, were principally manifested, as 
might readily be conjectured, in the countries contigu- 
ous to or most intimately connected with the Penin- 
sula. The tide of Hebrew emigration and trade rolled 
steadily into France, Portugal, Italy. The states of 
Provence and Languedoc, under the Gothic name of 
Septimania, early overrun by the conquerors of Spain, 
were, long prior to that time, subject to Hebrew in- 
fluence. Attracted by the salubrious climate and the 
excellent commercial facilities of the coast, the Jews 
settled there in great numbers. The overthrow of the 
Mohammedan power in that region was not followed 
by the immediate abohtion of the social and educa- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 155 

tional systems which it had inaugurated, and whose 
perpetuation was insured by the most favorable ch- 
matic and ethnological conditions. At Lyons, the 
Jews at one time were held in such esteem that the 
market day was changed from Saturday to Sunday 
in deference to their religious prejudices. In Prov- 
ence, practically free from the humiliating distinc- 
tions of caste, they enjoyed the same privileges and 
were entitled to the same protection as other citi- 
zens. At Beziers, Carcassonne, Avignon, Montpel- 
lier, and Narbonne the Hebrew element predomi- 
nated. It has already been stated that the famous 
school of Montpellier owed its origin to the Arabs 
and the Jews. The Moslem conquest vastly increased 
the Hebrew population, which had already been nu- 
merous in Southern France for more than eight 
hundred years. The mystery which in times of medi- 
aeval darkness enveloped everything derived from 
Hebrew and Arabic sources, the peculiarities of the 
written, the incomprehensibility of the spoken, idioms, 
in which education was imparted, the methodical 
treatment of disease, so thorough in application, so 
successful in results, pursued by its graduates, and 
immeasurably superior in every respect to the mum- 
meries of priestly superstition, invested the University 
of Montpellier with a reputation which, acquired at 
the expense of sacerdotal influence, was attributed by 
the ignorant to the invocation of infernal spirits. The 
infidel physicians of that institution were shunned by 
the devout as sorcerers. The Church excommunicated 
all who had recourse to them. Not only in that city, 
but through the greater part of Christendom, it was 
considered far better to permit an invalid to perish 
than to secure his recovery by the aid of practitioners 
whose methods were denounced from every pulpit as 
diabolical and infamous. Christian women often died 
in childbed rather than summon a Jewish midwife, 

156 History of the 

whose profession was exercised with signal ability, and 
whose education was little less thorough and profound 
than that of the doctors of the medical school. Such 
sacrifices were regarded as peculiarly meritorious, as 
establishing beyond doubt the consistent piety of the 
victim. Under existing circumstances, there was no 
relief for the priest-ridden sufferer, for the practice 
of medicine was confined to the Jews. The applica- 
tion of relics, even when strengthened by the most 
edifying exhibition of faith, could hardly prevail 
against a fatal distemper. On the one hand was the 
terrifying prospect of impending dissolution; on the 
other, the assurance of divine displeasure and the cer- 
tainty of sacerdotal condemnation. In the midst of 
this general intolerance the Lords of Montpellier 
stood firm. They were proud of their city, proud 
of its wealth, its enterprise, its intelligence, its repu- 
tation. They thoroughly appreciated the conditions 
under which that reputation had been created. Their 
Jewish subjects were the wealthiest, the most learned, 
the most law-abiding of citizens. They had more than 
once discharged with credit important public employ- 
ments. They had their exchange, their banks, their 
schools, their cemeteries, even their own wells for 
purposes of ablution. They worshipped in a magnifi- 
cent synagogue, which in richness and beauty vied 
with the most splendid mosques, and from whose ceil- 
ing of aromatic woods were suspended hundreds of 
golden lamps. Not only had their hereditary com- 
mercial instincts made Montpellier a great and pros- 
perous emporium, but their ingenuity was exhibited in 
the establishment of many important branches of 
manufactures. The cloths exported by them were 
especially noted for delicacy of finish and texture. In 
the goldsmiths' shops was produced elegant jewelry 
of classic design. Not a few of the sacred vessels 
used for the celebration of the mass in the cathedrals 

Moorish Empire in Europe 157 

of Europe were fabricated by the Jewish artisans of 
MontpelHer. Some of the most lucrative depart- 
ments of industry for which Mohammedan Spain 
was famous were represented in that city, among 
them those of silk, leather, and porcelain. The in- 
corporation of the dominions of the Lords of Mont- 
pelHer into the French monarchy not only subjected 
the Jews to the disabilities and persecutions elsewhere 
the heritage of their race, but, as a necessary conse- 
quence, proved fatal to the prosperity of that flour- 
ishing provincial capital. Royal and episcopal avarice 
rioted in a new and productive field of legalized ex- 
tortion. The Jews were robbed and expelled, recalled 
under promises of immunity, and plundered again and 
again. The feudal law of mortmain authorized the 
confiscation of their property if they were converted ; 
if they refused this questionable privilege, official 
oppression at once reduced them to beggary. 

With the increase of Christian influence in South- 
ern Europe their condition grew more and more 
desperate. At Toledo, a riot having broken out on 
account of the levy of an obnoxious tax, the public 
disorder was made an excuse for the spoliation and 
massacre of the Jews. In many districts in Europe 
people were prohibited from furnishing them with 
the necessaries of life. At Aix, a Jew was flayed alive 
for alleged blasphemy, and a column was erected to 
commemorate the pious deed. The menacing elo- 
quence of St. Vincent Ferrer is said to have driven 
fifteen thousand Valencian Hebrews to the Catholic 
communion. The cry raised against Jewish rapacity 
by dishonest or insolvent debtors enured to their bene- 
fit in the proceeds resulting from pillage, and by the 
forcible recovery of chattels deposited with brokers 
as security. Public hatred was not confined to de- 
nunciation of their financial methods; their learning 
and its depositories shared the common obloquy. He- 

158 History of the 

brew manuscripts were destroyed whenever found. 
At Salamanca alone, six thousand were consumed in 
a single bonfire. In Paris, in one day, twenty-four 
cart-loads of literary treasures were committed to 
the flames. Monkish intolerance raged everywhere 
against these dangerous competitors for popular 
favor and pecuniary gain. This prejudice extended 
to their language; its study was forbidden under 
penalty of excommunication; and it was constantly 
proclaimed from the pulpit that whoever acquired it 
became from that moment to all intents and purposes 
a Jew. Gradually excluded from all mechanical 
trades and liberal professions, the unhappy people 
were driven to the business of brokerage. To this un- 
popular calling, whose commercial necessity was as 
yet unrecognized by European ignorance, Hebrew 
enterprise was ultimately, for the most part, restricted. 
The practice of usury, reprobated by those whose im- 
providence or vices forced them to have recourse to 
it for temporary relief, had existed in Europe long 
before the stigma arising from its abuse attached to 
the Jewish name. The Lombards and Florentines, 
whose unfeeling rapacity belied their claim to hu- 
manity, were those who first rendered it odious; and 
the Apostolic See repeatedly sold to commercial or- 
ganizations the privilege of financial oppression. The 
small amount of cash in circulation authorized the 
imposition of enormous rates of interest. In Spain, 
under Christian domination, the rate was limited to 
thirty-three and a third per cent., and in other coun- 
tries it was even more exorbitant, but regulated, as 
such matters always are, by the natural laws of 
supply and demand. The Italian brokers, who plied 
their calling in France, not infrequently exacted one 
hundred and twenty per cent, per annum. The edicts 
of kings and the anathemas of councils were in- 
effectually directed against this evil, which threatened 

Moorish Empire in Europe 159 

the impoverishment of every necessitous person of 
credit, produced unspeakable suffering, and seriously 
retarded the progress of national prosperity. Those 
loudest in their denunciations were generally the first 
to apply for pecuniary advances to the objects of 
their simulated wrath. Catholic sovereigns secretly 
pledged the royal jewels with Hebrew usurers; and 
it was the public boast of the latter that the sacred 
vessels of cathedrals and religious houses were the 
greater part of the time at their absolute or condi- 
tional disposal. The glaring inconsistency which 
characterized every phase of Jewish persecution was 
thus unusually conspicuous in the condemnation of 
their usurious practices. 

In Portugal, whose proximity to and original in- 
corporation with the Hispano-Arab empire had at- 
tracted a large Hebrew immigration, the Jews, as else- 
where, availing themselves of the superior attainments 
acquired under Moslem institutions, speedily grew 
rich and powerful. There, also, in an ignorant society 
debased by the predominance of a narrow and des- 
potic ecclesiastical system, their toleration became for 
a time a political necessity. Their services were so 
indispensable to all orders of the state that the dis- 
abilities imposed upon them were regarded as merely 
nominal, and the laws regulating their intercourse 
with each other and with the Christians remained for 
the most part inoperative. 

In Italy, the hand of the Jew was visible in the 
energy and enterprise of the maritime states of 
Venice, Genoa, Leghorn, and Naples. A less intoler- 
able existence was insured to him under the shadow 
of the Papal throne. The exiles of Western Europe, 
expelled by the short-sighted policy of irrational 
fanatics, were coldly welcomed on the banks of the 
Po and the Tiber and on the sunny shores of the 
Adriatic. The industry and culture inherited from 

160 History of the 

the golden age of Moslem domination became sources 
of wealth, mercantile importance, and literary dis- 
tinction to the Italians, whose reluctant hospitality 
was eventually repaid a hundred-fold by the profit 
derived from the labors of these refugees and the re- 
sults of the emulation excited by their example. It 
was thus that, after the lapse of five centuries and at 
a distance of a thousand miles, the civilization of the 
JMoslem empire in Spain produced, through the 
agency of an alien and exiled race, the glorious revival 
of arts and letters in Italy. That the Jews should 
be credited with the dissemination of Arab science 
and literature is demonstrated by the fact that in 
whatever country those of Spanish extraction, or their 
descendants, established themselves, the people of that 
country quickly experienced an intellectual impulse 
unknown to others not exposed to similar associations. 
Modern civilization has ill-requited the priceless bene- 
fits it has received from Jewish learning and Jewish 

The tenacity of the mind of the Israelite was 
amazing. It never relaxed its hold upon a valuable 
idea once within its grasp. Much as it communicated, 
its secretive character induced it always to suppress 
far more than it imparted, a habit which increased its 
mysterious influence. It had the peculiar quality of 
immediately quickening into life the more sluggish 
mental natures of all with whom it was brought in 
contact. No disposition, however harsh or ascetic, was 
proof against the exertion of its power. The Jewish 
colonies, transplanted into the midst of an ignorant 
population, became at once foci of learning. Bigotry 
itself regarded with awe and respect the intellectual 
superiority which anticipated and checked hostile 
measures directed against its continuance, and, with- 
out the employment of force, nullified laws espe- 
cially enacted for its repression. It was not strange 

Moorish Empire in Europe 161 

that prosperity maintained in the presence of such 
obstacles should be attributed to diabolical interfer- 
ence. Into his new home the Jew brought not only 
the energy and acuteness which were the guaranty of 
his success, but the intelligent curiosity which was the 
principal factor of his extraordinary mental develop- 
ment. Not a few possessed extensive libraries, lux- 
uries absolutely unknown in many European coun- 
tries where even writing materials did not exist, or, 
if they did, were unavailable. The scattered books 
to be found in churches and monasteries were palimp- 
sests, ancient parchments from which the productions 
of classic authors had been laboriously effaced to make 
room for saintly homilies and patristic legends. Per- 
fection in calligraphy had kept pace with the other 
artistic achievements of the Spanish Hebrews. Their 
Biblical manuscripts had a world-wide celebrity for 
accuracy of text and beauty of ornamentation. Many 
were illuminated with arabesques and floral designs 
executed in colors and embellished with gold. So 
highly were these copies of the Scriptures valued that 
in Spain one of but ordinary merit readily brought a 
hundred crowns. 

The number of Hebrew writers who attained dis- 
tinction in the Middle Ages was enormous. The great 
catalogue of Bartholoccius, which enumerates those 
of Spain, Italy, and France countries particularly 
subject, directly and individually, to Arab influence 
fills four volumes in folio and contains four thou- 
sand names. Among these, authors of Spanish origin 
largely predominate. The activity of the Hebrew in- 
tellect was not hampered by conventional restrictions 
of sex, nor deterred by the difiiculties or demands of 
any profession or calHng. Among that people, pre- 
cautions arising from Oriental jealousy, which had 
been observed from time immemorial, required the 
seclusion of women; and this custom was naturally 

Vox,, IIL XI 

162 History of the 

unfavorable to female education. They were practi- 
cally the slaves, first of their fathers, then of their 
husbands. In public they always appeared veiled 
from head to foot. In so little esteem were they ordi- 
naily held, that it was not considered necessary to 
instruct them even in the doctrines of religion. What- 
ever talents, therefore, Jewish females possessed were, 
until the Saracen domination in Europe, unknown and 

The educational facilities afforded the Moorish 
women under the beneficent sway of the Ommeyade 
khalifs, and the prominence attained by many of 
them in the world of letters, did not fail to exercise 
its influence upon the habits and the career of their 
Jewish sisters. This fact is of the greatest impor- 
tance, in view of the strict subordination enforced 
upon Hebrew women in all periods of their history, 
a regulation largely due to their naturally dependent 
condition and their alleged intellectual inferiority. 
In the cultivated society of Cordova, the stubborn 
tenacity of long-established prejudice vanished before 
the enlightened and progressive spirit of the age. 
Under such circumstances, even the severe authority 
of the rabbis became, in a measure, relaxed ; and while 
the names of no Jewish women pre-eminently distin- 
guished for learning have come down to us, it is an 
unquestionable fact that they were allowed to enjoy, 
to an extent hitherto unprecedented, the literary ad- 
vantages whose possession was generally admitted to 
constitute an exclusive privilege of the masculine sex. 
As the policy and traditions of the Synagogue dis- 
couraged such innovations, it is not strange that no 
record of their results has been preserved. The ex- 
haustive researches of Kayserhng have brought to 
Hght the name of a single Hebrew poetess, Xemosa, 
of the era of the khalif ate ; but all particulars of time 

Moorish Empire in Europe 163 

and locality, of her literary career, and of the char- 
acter of her works are missing. 

The most remarkable peculiarity of the Hebrew 
character was its versatility. In every pursuit in 
which his talents were employed the Jew of Spanish 
origin rose to unrivalled distinction. The marvellous 
erudition and diversified accomplishments of their 
scholars were not inferior to those of the Moorish 
philosophers of Cordova in the most glorious days of 
Moslem dominion. They became equally proficient in 
many branches of abstruse science, any one of which 
was sufficient to exhaust the mental resources of an 
ordinary student. Their eminence in the practice of 
medicine gave rise to the popular belief that an ad- 
mixture of Jewish blood was absolutely essential to 
success in that profession, an opinion not confined to 
the vulgar, but seriously discussed by a learned Italian 
historian. The fact that the study of astronomy 
should have been almost always combined with that 
of medicine is one of the most singular incidents in 
the annals of literature. It might be explained by a 
predilection for astrology, if Hebrew intelligence had 
not long outgrown the belief in that delusion, so prev- 
alent in the infancy of knowledge. In familiarity 
with the visible heavens, with the motions of the 
planets, and the relative position of stars, in accuracy 
of mathematical calculation, in dexterous use of the 
astrolabe and the armillary sphere, they surpassed all 
other observers except the Arabs. So popular was 
this science among them in Spain during the thirteenth 
century that the Jewish astronomers of Toledo alone 
exceeded in numbers all the others of Christian Eu- 
rope combined. The invaluable services they rendered 
to learning were not inferior to the ingenious methods 
by which they facilitated international communica- 
tion and promoted the convenience and security of 
trade. When suddenly expelled from France by 

164 History or the 

Philip Augustus, they left with Christians in whom 
they could confide their personal property, which, 
from its bulk or its value, they were unable to carry 
with them. After their arrival in Italy, they drew 
through Lombard merchants upon the custodians of 
their chattels, either for the goods themselves or for 
the cash realized from their sale. In this way Eu- 
rope became indebted to the Jews for the general in- 
troduction of bills of exchange, previously invented 
by their countrymen at Barcelona, which from a 
benefit to mercantile transactions in the settlement of 
foreign obligations have now grown to be a com- 
mercial necessity. 

Po^^ular prejudice against the Hebrew nationality 
was aggravated, not only because of the eminent 
ability in matters of literature and finance, implying 
superiority, which it displayed, but on account of its 
control of the markets of the world and of its pos- 
session of the greater part of the money in circulation 
west of the Bosphorus. From the tenth century, when 
the Moorish ports of Southern Spain had become the 
emporiums of the Mediterranean, to the sixteenth, 
when the discovery of Columbus and the passage of 
the Cape of Good Hope had opened a new field to 
the cupidity and ambition of Europe, the trade of 
three great continents was subservient to the enter- 
prise of the Jews. The commercial heritage be- 
queathed to their allies by the Phoenicians had endured 
through changes of empire, through the wrecks of 
successive dynasties, through persecutions of in- 
credible atrocity, for more than twenty centuries. 

The persistency which is a marked ethnological 
peculiarity of the Jews is at once the cause and the 
effect of their claim to Divine favor. The more 
intelligent of that people have never expected the 
appearance of a personal Messiah. They regard the 
popular myth of his coming as symboUzing the 

Moorish Empire in Europe 165 

termination of national exile, a mere allegorical 
allusion to the eventual independence and tranquil- 
lity which hope, deepening through ages into belief, 
assured them would one day be the condition of their 
race. This conviction, founded rather in the knowl- 
edge of its justice than in any well-defined prospect 
of its realization, sustained them through a long series 
of grievous trials and misfortunes. Accused of crimes 
such as the utmost ingenuity of malice has never im- 
puted to any other sect, they retaliated by acts of self- 
sacrifice and generosity. In the midst of the futile 
solemnities of the Church, the pomp of processions, 
the intonation of litanies, the muttering of prayers, 
the smoking of censers, the exhibition of relics, they 
administered the remedies of scientific medicine to the 
suffering stricken with the pestilence. During the 
first visitation of the plague at Venice, in addition to 
a liberal donation, they lent the government a hundred 
thousand ducats for the relief of the poor. In time of 
national peril, their loyalty never faltered, except 
when their spirit had been exasperated by continued 
oppression. The funds they advanced were employed 
to drive the Arabs out of Spain. JMoorish domination, 
established through their instrumentality, was thus in- 
debted to their contributions for its overthrow. The 
most exacting requirements of retributive justice were 
certainly satisfied with the penalty exacted by fate for 
this perfidious act of ingratitude. 

Modern prejudice, like medieeval ignorance, is re- 
luctant to confess the obligations learning owes to 
Hebrew genius and industry. The Jews were, in turn, 
the teachers, the pupils, and the coadjutors of the 
Moors; the legatees and the distributors of the pre- 
cious stores of Arab wisdom. The rabbis, few of 
whom, it may be remarked, were not expert workmen 
in the mechanical trades, a knowledge of which was 
enjoined by their religion, spread the love of letters 

166 History of the 

everywhere. All treatises in Arabic, of practical or 
scientific value, were translated into Hebrew. Their 
familiarity with every branch of classical literature is 
apparent in their writings; even the Fables of ^sop 
were reproduced in their language. Purity of diction 
and elegance of stjde were striking characteristics of 
all the literary productions of the Spanish Jews. The 
most eminent Christian prelates of Spain during the 
twelfth and thirteenth centuries were apostate rabbis. 
The proficiency of their medical practitioners has 
already been repeatedly alluded to. For years after 
the banishment of the Jews from the Peninsula, entire 
districts remained without the benefits of medical 
treatment. Such as were able resorted to foreign 
countries at great expense and inconvenience; the 
vast majority of invalids suffered without relief. 
The reputation of the Hebrew was so great, even in 
the sixteenth century, that Francis I. sent to the Em- 
peror Charles V. for a Jewish physician; and one 
who had been converted to Christianity having under- 
taken the journey to Paris, the French king refused 
to receive him as soon as he learned that he was an 
apostate. Hebrew erudition exercised no small influ- 
ence on both Moorish and Spanish literature. Many 
of the treatises of the Jewish philosophers, written in 
Arabic, enjoyed a wide circulation in the cultivated 
society of the khalif ate and of the principalities which 
succeeded it. The first biography of the Cid was 
written by Ibn-Alfange, a Jew. The collection of 
tales entitled El Conde Lucanor, by Don Juan 
Manuel, is borrowed from a composition of similar 
character by Moses Sephardi, a Hebrew fabulist. 

In the works of all the distinguished Jewish writers 
who had either directly or remotely been subjected to 
the influence of the Moslem academies of Spain, Aris- 
totelian and Neo-Platonic opinions prevail. Orthodox 
Judaism could not survive in the atmosphere of those 

Moorish Empire in Europe 167 

infidel institutions. The rabbis were, without excep- 
tion, to a greater or less degree, infected with panthe- 
istic ideas. They were firm believers in the heretical 
doctrine of Emanation and Absorption. In common 
with their Arabic associates, who had long since repu- 
diated the legends of the Koran, they accepted in all 
its portentous significance the aphorism, " Science is 

Nothing is more remarkable in the history of the 
Jews of the Middle Ages than their survival under 
persecution. The most awful calamities failed to im- 
pair their organization or destroy their faith. They 
were naturally a rebellious people. Their ancient 
history is a tale of breaches of faith, treason, and 
sedition. They were enslaved in a body by Egiza, 
King of the Visigoths, for a conspiracy which aimed 
at the overthrow of the monarchy. The Crusaders, 
inflamed by the harangues of the clergy, on their 
march to Palestine butchered them wherever found. 
In France alone a hundred thousand were massacred 
by the truculent soldiers of the Cross. The Almohade 
fanatics drove them out of Spain. Philippe le Bel 
confiscated their property and expelled them from his 
kingdom. Henry III., of England, sold all the Jews 
in his dominions to his brother Richard for a large 
sum of money. The Emperor Louis IV. pawned the 
Hebrew colony of the city of Spires, like so much 
merchandise, to the Bishop as security for a debt. In 
Aragon, at the close of the fifteenth century, fiftj^ 
thousand were put to death and double that number 
compelled to renounce their religion. The popes alter- 
nately treated them with severity and indulgence, as 
the financial condition of the Holy See was pros- 
perous or necessitous. Thus, while grievously op- 
pressed in other countries of Europe, they often en- 
joyed temporary immunity in Italy. Possessed of no 
civil rights, existing only by sufferance, they were 

168 History of the 

the prey of every one clothed for the moment with 
power. Church and State, ahke, regarded them as 
a most valuable source of income. The money annu- 
ally extorted from the Jewish population of a king- 
dom was frequently far in excess of all other revenues 

The Hebrew works of mediaeval antiquity contain 
the germs of scientific discoveries which modern pride 
is pleased to designate as of comparatively recent 
origin. In the Zohar, a collection of treatises belong- 
ing to the Kabbala, are embodied highly philosophic 
cosmological ideas, and rational conceptions relating 
to the vital principle of Nature, and the scientific 
treatment of disease, which were subsequently applied 
to public instruction and practical use in the famous 
schools of Salerno and Montpellier. The various 
physiognomical changes wrought upon the lineaments 
of the human countenance by the cultivation of be- 
nevolent instincts or the indulgence of evil passions 
are there described with a faithfulness which points 
to an extraordinary insight into the incentives and 
desires which control the actions of men. In this 
remarkable compilation of Hebrew learning, the doc- 
trine of Pantheism, as suggested by the time-honored 
philosophy of India, is set forth ; the globular form of 
the earth, its diurnal revolution on its axis, the varying 
phases of that planet, the difference in the length of 
day and night at the equator and the poles, and the 
scientific reasons for the existence of these phenomena, 
are all described with an accuracj'^ which is wonderful 
when the general ignorance of the epoch during which 
these opinions, so far in advance of the time, were 
promulgated, is remembered. In the thirteenth cen- 
tury, Jedediah-ben-Abraham, of Beziers, advanced 
the hypothesis that all objects impelled in opposite 
directions, and undisturbed by other forces, move in 
straight lines, the essential element of one of the 

Moorish Empire in Europe 169 

laws now universally recognized as governing the mo- 
tions of the heavenly bodies. Solomon-ben- Virga, a 
Spanish refugee, in his historical treatise, Sebeth-Je- 
huda, published in the sixteenth century, states that 
the earth, equally attracted by the surrounding stars, 
remains suspended in the midst of space; an unmis- 
takable conception of the principle of gravity which 
antedates its republication in Europe by more than a 
hundred years. The philosophical truths just enumer- 
ated, which anticipate the important discoveries of 
Boerhaave, Lavater, Galileo, Kepler, and Newton, 
afford a suggestive idea of the attainments of the 
rabbis, the accuracy of their reasoning, and the extent 
and profundity of their scientific knowledge. 

While Jewish exiles were instrumental in awaken- 
ing the spirit which inspired the Renaissance, and the 
consequent intellectual regeneration of Europe, their 
literature produced no inconsiderable effect upon the 
fortunes of that other momentous revolution which 
changed its religious aspect, the Protestant Reforma- 
tion. The right of unrestricted perusal and private 
interpretation of the Scriptures, which was the vital 
principle of that movement, had always been enjoyed 
by the Hebrews. Their commentaries on the Bible 
were surprisingly voluminous: whole libraries were 
composed of them. The writings of the rabbis which 
elucidated obscure passages of Holy Writ were com- 
posed in a spirit of judicious toleration, entirely for- 
eign to the policy dictated by bigoted ecclesiasticism 
and Papal authority. To exercise private judgment 
in religious matters was to invite the discipline of the 
Inquisition. Not one priest in ten thousand under- 
stood a word of Hebrew. Its study was prohibited to 
Catholics as conducive to heresy. On the other hand, 
Luther, Calvin, Melanchthon, Zwinglius, Conrad, in 
short, all the great Reformers, were thoroughly pro- 
ficient in that language. Rabbinical literature exerted 

170 History of the 

a powerful influence on their minds, inspired their 
efforts, provoked their rivalry, confirmed their resolu- 
tion. In this respect, as in numerous others, posterity- 
owes much to the despised Israelites of the mediseval 
era. A vast interval of time divides the ages of Abd- 
al-Rahman I. and Luther; the cities of Cordova and 
Worms are separated by many hundred leagues ; but 
the inherent ideas of personal liberty and private right 
recognized on the banks of the Guadalquivir ulti- 
mately prevailed in the centre of Germany, once the 
most unlettered of countries. Thus the inheritance of 
barbarism, rendered possible by Roman decadence, 
transmitted by Goth, Hun, and Vandal, and perpetu- 
ated for the material interests of the Church, was 
supplanted by the labors and the example of rabbinical 
industry and learning. The epoch of ignorance, dur- 
ing which men feared to be enlightened by a people 
whose transcendent knowledge was believed to be of 
infernal origin, was past; but their disabilities were 
never entirely removed, and Jew-baiting is, unfortu- 
nately, still a popular diversion in some of the coun- 
tries of Europe. 

The importance of the invention of printing was 
at once understood and appreciated by the Jews. Ten 
years after it became known, their presses in Italy 
produced typographical works of extraordinary 
beauty and excellence. Their prominence in every 
movement directed towards the weakening of super- 
stition and the emancipation of the human intellect 
did not prevent them from sustaining intimate and 
confidential relations with the Holy See. The Papacy 
was, as a rule, not unfavorably inclined towards them ; 
it borrowed their money, and availed itself of their 
talents in the conduct of public affairs. Many Jews 
of Rome attained to great political distinction. Jehid 
was the financial minister of Alexander III. ; and the 
son of a wealthy Hebrew merchant, named Pietro il 

Moorish Empire in Europe 171 

Buono, is known to posterity as the antipope Anacle- 
tus. Such were the Hebrews of the Middle Ages, 
whose success in hterature, art, science, commerce, 
pohtics, and diplomacy is to be attributed to the im- 
pulse originally imparted to their genius, and to the 
privileges enjoyed by their ancestors, under the gen- 
erous and tolerant policy of the Khalif s of Cordova. 

The expulsion of the Spanish Jews is one of the 
saddest and most deplorable tragedies in history. The 
royal edict which decided their fate, and whose execu- 
tion had been deferred until the Moorish wars were 
ended, was published March 31, 1492. The charge 
brought against them of having menaced the security 
of the State and the tranquillity of the Church, by 
projected conspiracy, is too absurd to be seriously 
considered. To strengthen these unfounded accusa- 
tions, the threadbare fables relating to the sacrifice of 
Christian infants at Easter, and the repeated solicita- 
tion of Catholics to apostasy, w^ere once more utilized 
to inflame the passions of the fanatical multitude. 
Three months only were allowed for the disposal of 
their property and the completion of their prepara- 
tions for departure ; and, if that term were exceeded, 
the proclamation made them liable to the seizure 
of their chattels, and even to the penalty of death. 
They were prohibited from removing from the king- 
dom money or vessels of gold or silver; and the only 
objects specified in the royal ordinance which they 
were permitted to retain were bills of exchange and 
portable effects which could easily be transported. 
The Grand Inquisitor, Torquemada, revered in the 
annals of the Church as one of her most famous 
champions, and the confessor of Queen Isabella, to 
whose credit stand the tortures of a hundred thousand 
heretics and the grief and misery of other unnum- 
bered multitudes, was the inspiring spirit of this atro- 
cious crime against humanity. His influence neu- 

172 History of the 

tralized the supplications of an entire people; the 
remonstrances of the few statesmen who, withstanding 
the popular clamor, foresaw the certain decline of com- 
mercial prosperity incident to the enforcement of this 
measure ; the insidious and hitherto omnipotent agency 
of vast sums of gold. Accounts differ materially as 
to the number of Jews expelled from Spain; it was, 
however, not less than four hundred thousand, and was 
probably near a million. Their sufferings equalled, 
if they did not surpass, those of the Moriscoes, after- 
wards condemned by a similar proscription. The air 
was filled with their lamentations. Many remained 
for days in the cemeteries, weeping over the graves 
of their ancestors. The majority who travelled by 
land went on foot. With the exiles departed the 
greater portion of the learning, the skill, the wealth, 
the industry, and the prosperity of Spain. Their 
estates were confiscated by the crown. Rigid personal 
search was made of every individual for concealed 
valuables, which impelled many to swallow their gold. 
Brigands stripped them on the highway. Sailors 
robbed them on the sea. Their wives were ravished, 
their children despatched before their eyes. Many 
perished from want of food. A pestilence decimated 
an entire company, and the survivors were abandoned 
to die on a desert island, without water or shelter. 
Great numbers were sold by their barbarous custodians 
to slave traders. The inadverent disclosure of wealth 
was fatal to its possessor ; he was at once thrown over- 
board, and his property became the spoil of the mur- 
derer. Those who landed in Morocco were not per- 
mitted to enter the cities, and a famine which at that 
time v/as desolating the country made it impossible 
for such an increased population to obtain subsistence. 
Encamped in the arid desert, they were compelled to 
have recourse to unwholesome roots and herbs in a 
desperate effort to sustain life. Thousands died of 

Moorish Empire in Europe 173 

exposure. Many sold their children to avoid starva- 
tion. A large proportion of these refugees landed in 
Italy, where an enlightened public sentiment stood 
ready to profit by the wealth and industry that the 
narrow spirit of Spanish bigotry was so determined 
to throw away. Pope Alexander VI., the head of the 
house of Borgia, notwithstanding that the prominent 
Israelites of Rome offered him a thousand pieces of 
gold to exclude them, received the heretics proscribed 
by the most Catholic sovereigns with the utmost con- 
sideration and sympathy. The maritime states of the 
Adriatic compelled their Hebrew citizens, who, fear- 
ing commercial rivalry, were inclined to regard this 
influx of strangers with disfavor, to render substan- 
tial assistance to their unfortunate brethren. In Hol- 
land, also, the exiles were welcomed with a hospi- 
tality that in after years the advantages derived from 
their establishment abundantly repaid. The antipathy 
entertained by the Spanish populace towards the Jews, 
diligently fostered by the infamous arts of the Inqui- 
sition, was far from being dissipated by the banish- 
ment and extermination of the victims of its malevo- 
lence; in default of the living, its vengeance was 
wreaked upon the dead. Nearly a century after the 
expulsion, when an avowed Israelite could not be 
found in the Spanish monarchy, the Hebrew cemetery 
at Seville was invaded by a mob; the costly monu- 
ments were battered into fragments; the graves 
opened and rifled, and the mouldering bones found in 
them burned to ashes. A considerable booty in gold 
and silver trinkets, jewels, precious stuffs, and illu- 
minated manuscripts rewarded this act of sacrilege, 
whose authors were neither molested nor punished by 
the authorities. 

Among the most eminent victims of Jewish perse- 
cution was the great statesman and scholar, Abarbanel. 
No name in letters stood higher than his. In turn, the 

174 History of the 

favorite and absolute minister of the sovereigns of 
Portugal, Spain, and Naples, he shared the fate of 
his countrymen, and, deprived of his offices and home 
in each of these kingdoms, was three times driven into 
exile. Such was the respect which his talents inspired, 
that the princes who had been foremost in persecuting 
him were glad to avail themselves of his experience 
in settlements of important questions of diplomacy. 
His literary ability was so great that his admirers have 
classed him with Maimonides. In philosophy he was 
most liberal ; in religion a polemic ; in politics, strange 
to say, a republican. In private or in public life no 
stain or dishonor ever attached to his name. 

The scenes witnessed during the expulsion of the 
Jews from Portugal were even more shocking in their 
barbarity than those that characterized their expatria- 
tion from any other country of Christian Europe. 
Only two months were allowed them to settle their 
affairs; if any remained beyond that time they were 
condemned to slavery. All males under the age of 
fourteen were to be separated from their relatives, that 
they might be brought into the pale of the Church, 
which aimed at the annihilation of their race. The 
latter part of the inexorable sentence was the first to 
be executed. The screaming boys were torn from 
the arms of their parents, who were brutally clubbed 
until they released their hold ; many distracted mothers, 
unable to sustain the loss of their children, committed 
suicide or killed their offspring; of the latter some 
were cast into wells, others were strangled. Every 
obstacle was thrown in the way of the departure of 
the Jews until the limited time had expired, and then 
nearly the entire number was enslaved. Apostasy was 
now the only remedy for their distressed condition, and 
this many embraced. Their social status was thereby 
immensely improved at the expense of their con- 
science. They contracted distinguished alliances with 

Moorish Empire in Europe 175 

their recent oppressors, and their children were 
adopted into the families of the nobility. 

The Spanish Jews, by reason of the peculiarities of 
their situation, the hostility of their rulers, ^which 
their pecuniary resources and natural acuteness often 
baffled, yet never entirely overcame, and their suc- 
cessive domination by races of different origin, faith, 
and language, were impressed with mental character- 
istics and peculiarities not to be met with in their 
brethren of other countries. Their rigid formalism 
was proverbial, and the Hebrew of Toledo observed 
more conscientiously the precepts of the Pentateuch 
and the Talmud than the Hebrew of Damascus or 
Jerusalem. But their traditional reserve did not pre- 
vent them from soliciting proselytes; and it is stated 
that the rabbis, ignoring the prohibitory injunctions 
of the national Code, upon one occasion challenged 
the bishops to a debate, in presence of the throne, upon 
the merits of their respective systems; an act of 
audacity which does not seem to have excited even the 
surprise of the prelates of that age. The Spanish 
grandee prides himself upon his Gothic ancestry, the 
sangre azul, whose presence is presumed to indicate 
conclusively that in the ascending line can be found 
no progenitor of the despised Semitic race. The fal- 
sity of this presumption was, however, established by 
the councils convoked by royal authority at Burgos, 
Valladolid, and Madrid during the sixteenth and 
seventeenth centuries, to settle the question of purity 
of blood. According to the statutes adopted by these 
Informaciones de Nobleza, as they were called, de- 
scent from a Jewish ancestor was solemnly declared 
to be no blemish upon a noble escutcheon, a decision 
which affected not a few of the oldest and haughtiest 
families of Castile and Aragon. 

There are to-day few of the great houses of Por- 
tugal and Spain which have not an admixture of 

176 History of the 

Hebrew blood. Works have been published by eccle- 
siastics tracing this contaminated lineage to its source, 
which all the authority of a despotic government was 
not able to suppress. It is said that the Portuguese 
King Joseph I. once ordered every male of Jewish 
descent in his dominions to wear a yellow hat. The 
Marquis of Pombal appeared with three; and on being 
asked by the King for what use he intended them, he 
answered, " In obedience to the royal decree, I have 
brought one for Your Majesty, one for the Grand 
Inquisitor, and one for myself." This anecdote, whose 
authenticity is well established, shows the extent to 
which the blood of a once proscribed and persecuted 
people, despite all attempts at its annihilation, had 
been infused into the veins of the proudest and most 
exclusive aristocracy in Europe. 

Moorish Empire in Europe 177 




Scarcity of Information concerning the Tributary Christians 
Supremacy of the Church under the Visigoths Indepen- 
dence of the Spanish Hierarchy Its Wealth Civil Organi- 
zation of the Christians under the Moors Their Privileges 
Restrictions imposed upon Them Freedom of Worship 
Churches, Monasteries, and Convents Conditions in Sicily 
Greater Severity of the Laws in that Island Anomaly 
in the Ecclesiastical Government of Spain The Khalif the 
Virtual Head of the Church Abuse of His Power Results 
of the Arab Occupation of Septimania Increased Authority 
of the Spanish Hierarchy resulting from its Isolation 
Social Life of the Christian Tributaries Their Devotion 
to Arab Learning They are employed by the Khali fs 
in Important Missions Innate Hostility of Moslem and 
Christian Number and Influence of the Renegades The 
Martyrs Causes of Persecution Contrast between the 
Maxims and Policy of the Two Religions Impediments to 
Racial Amalgamation. 

No portion of Spanish annals presents such diffi- 
culties to historical research as that which relates to the 
condition of the Christians under the Moorish domi- 
nation. Arab writers, usually so minute and circum- 
stantial in their narratives, have scarcely mentioned 
the subject. The extraordinary conduct of the 
martyrs, who courted death by open violation of 
Moslem law, seems alone to have attracted their at- 
tention or deserved their notice. From this significant 
silence the inference would seem to be that the great 
mass of Christian tributaries were contented and 
peaceable. We learn from St. Eulogius and other 
eminent ecclesiastics that the majority of the con- 
quered race had apostatized. It is with unconcealed 

Vol. III. 12 

178 History of the 

feelings of sorrow and vexation that they refer to the 
widespread defection from the ancient faith. Even 
among those whose constancj?^ was unshaken, the 
zealots were in a minority. It is not strange, there- 
fore, that the Ai-abs should have considered the latter 
as irresponsible persons, whose offences, unpardon- 
able under the Code of Islam, were punished because 
the law permitted the exercise of no discretion on the 
part of the magistrate. It is evident that those who 
solicited the honors of martyrdom were not regarded 
as representatives of either their sect or their nation- 
ality. The Moorish historians recount the voluntary 
sacrifice of those enthusiasts with every manifestation 
of wonder and pity. It was not until their obstinacy, 
provoking dissension and revolt, began to menace the 
safety of the government, that their language reveals 
a feeling of vindictiveness against their misguided 

On the other hand, little information of value is 
to be gleaned from the Christian chroniclers. Those 
who have related the events of their times were all 
members of the persecuted faction. Both contempo- 
rary and subsequent writers were blinded by prejudice 
and actuated by every motive of sectarian bigotry to 
the perversion of the truth. Prolix in their enumera- 
tion of the sufferings of martyrs, their accounts of 
all other occurrences are remarkable for extreme 
meagreness of detail. No descriptions are given of 
the social relations of the dominant and subject races; 
no direct mention is ever made of the thousand inci- 
dents constantly transpiring in the intercourse of the 
two peojples, trivial in themselves, yet most important 
in forming a correct idea of the character, the aspira- 
tions, and the life of a nation. Such matters, so in- 
teresting to posterity as depicting the manners of a 
class during a period conspicuous in history, were too 
insignificant for the pen of the monkish annalist, and 

Moorish Empire in Europe 179 

must now be gathered at random from the narra- 
tives of other events, in the elucidation of which they 
have been casually and undesignedly mentioned. The 
works of these ecclesiastical writers are filled with 
errors. They are, as usual, overloaded with absurd 
legends and spurious miracles. It is apparent, even 
from a superficial perusal, that not only the sufferings, 
but the virtues of the saints whose lives they describe 
are largely fictitious and often exaggerated. To such 
authorities, therefore, little credit can be given by the 

No people mentioned in history ever attained to a 
high rank in the scale of civilization whose policy was 
founded on the systematic repression of religious 
opinions. Theological intolerance is the most serious 
of obstacles to intellectual progress. Among the great 
nations of antiquity, freedom in religious matters was 
generally conceded as a matter of right. Where in- 
vasions of that right occurred, they may almost in- 
variably be traced to interference with the established 
government. The intimate connection of political and 
rehgious institutions in those times will readily account 
for occasional examples of apparent persecution. The 
most eminent Athenian statesmen not infrequently 
performed the functions of priest in the ceremonial 
of public worship. The title of Pontifex Maximus 
was one of the most honorable and coveted of the 
dignities of the Repubhc of Rome, and under the 
Empire it conferred additional distinction upon the 
attributes and the exercise of imperial power. Under 
that wise and politic dispensation, the gods of foreign 
countries were admitted into the national pantheon on 
an equal footing with the domestic divinities, and none 
could claim an excessive and undue pre-eminence in 
the national system. It was not until the Christians 
profaned the altars, and excited mutiny in the army, 
that their privileges were curtailed and their religious 

180 History of the 

ceremonies interrupted. The conditions formerly 
prevailing were then revolutionized. Indulgence was 
followed by persecution. Persecution disclosed and 
produced tens of thousands of proselytes. The ex- 
perience of the Christian sect suggested the perpetua- 
tion in its religious constitution of the incomparable 
political system of the empire, a measure which in the 
end contributed so largely to its success, its discipline, 
and its permanence. In no country subject to the 
authority of the Papacy were the effects of these 
advantages of imperial organization more apparent 
than in the Spanish Peninsula. 

During the era of Visigothic supremacy the influ- 
ence of the Church was paramount in every depart- 
ment of the civil administration. Its councils regu- 
lated the succession, framed the laws, chose the sover- 
eign. Its servants dictated every measure of national 
policy. Its sanction imparted a sacred character to the 
royal edicts. Eminent prelates, who even in trivial 
matters never permitted the pretensions of their order 
to be subordinated to the interests of the crown, con- 
stituted in reality the supreme power of the state. 
They negotiated treaties. They participated in cam- 
paigns. They imposed and collected taxes. In re- 
peated contests with the nobility they generally 
emerged victorious. Their intellectual acquirements, 
superficial as they were, gave them a decided advan- 
tage over their illiterate and often brutal antagonists. 
The authority they obtained by superior knowledge, 
craft, and energy was in time confirmed by habit and 
strengthened by prescription. That authority, based 
upon public veneration and extending through count- 
less generations, has often been shaken, but never 
abolished. The disastrous effects of its abuse are 
apparent in every period of Spanish history for more 
than a thousand years. 

At the time of the Arab invasion, the Visigothic 

Moorish Empire in Europe 181 

hierarchy was at the summit of its importance and 
power. Its former adherence to the Arian heresy had 
engendered within it a spirit of independence, which 
was not rehnquished with the return of the Spanish 
Church to the orthodox communion. The facility with 
which an entire people at the command of the monarch 
renounced the faith of their ancestors for unfamiliar 
and hitherto reprobated doctrines is one of the most 
extraordinary events in the annals of Christianity. 
Such a peaceful revolution, involving the most sacred 
interests of a numerous sect, affords incontestable 
proof of the slight hold possessed in those times by 
any religious dogma upon the popular mind. With 
the acceptance of the Athanasian creed was necessarily 
included the acknowledgment of Papal supremacy. 
The Gothic prelates, however, were never obsequious 
vassals of the Holy See. The Pope soon found that 
while he might solicit, he could not compel their obe- 
dience. His fulminations did not excite the terror in 
Spain which they did in other countries of Catholic 
Europe. Where he was not able to command, he was 
forced to flatter, to recommend, to temporize. A com- 
pact and powerful body of ecclesiastics, in whose 
hands were the government of their country and the 
election of its king, were naturally loath to submit to 
the arrogant dictation of a foreign potentate, whom 
their predecessors had regarded as a heretic, and whose 
faith they had adopted rather from policy than from 
sincere conviction. 

The Spanish Church under the Visigoths was emi- 
nently worthy of the attention and the favor of the 
Holy Father. Its organization was thorough; its 
wealth enormous; its priesthood numerous and supe- 
rior to their contemporaries in learning and ability; 
its national influence unrivalled. Its temples, in a 
country whose public monuments had least experi- 
enced the destructive effects of barbarian violence, 

182 History of the 

exhibited in their noble proportions and harmonious 
decoration the expiring efforts of classic taste and 
genius. The superb edifices of imperial power, vis- 
ible on every side, had been at once the inspiration 
and the models of the ecclesiastical architect. The 
churches and cathedrals of the seventh and eighth 
centuries afforded the best examples of the ambition 
and opulence of the omnipotent hierarchy. Their 
plan was usually that of the basilica. Their walls 
were incrusted with precious marbles. Their floors 
were of mosaic. In the apse, where stood the altar, 
the skill of the artist exhausted itself in elaborate 
carvings, paintings, and sculpture. The sacred ves- 
sels were of solid gold and silver. Offerings of un- 
told value, the tribute of grateful convalescents, 
were suspended before the shrine. The accession of 
each sovereign was marked by the donation of a 
magnificent votive crown to the Cathedral of Toledo. 
The pomp of worship in the Visigothic metropolis 
exceeded that of all others, excepting Constantinople 
and Rome. Its religious processions equalled in 
splendor those which awakened the pious enthusiasm 
of the devout in the metropolitan churches of those 
two famous capitals. The greatest deference was 
paid to the sacerdotal dignity. The congregation, 
when not kneeling, stood during the service. The 
women, always veiled, occupied galleries by them- 
selves. No priesthood in Christendom was treated 
with more respect, enjoyed more extensive privileges, 
or lived in greater luxury than the Gothic clergy of 

With the Arab occupation this imposing fabric of 
spiritual and temporal grandeur fell to the ground. 
The power of the hierarchy, formerly unlimited, van- 
ished in the twinkling of an eye. Its sacred edifices 
were seized and devoted to the sacrilegious uses of 
the conqueror. The precious furniture of its altars 

Moorish Empire in Europe 183 

was deposited in the treasury of the khalif . Its reve- 
nues were confiscated. Many of its members fell 
victims to the rage of oppressed and injured vassals. 
Thousands of others fled almost penniless to Christian 
lands. Monks were enslaved and condemned to the 
performance of the most arduous and exhausting 
labors. Multitudes of nuns passed from the solitude 
and meditation of the cloister to the revelry and de- 
lights of the seraglio. In view of the popular opin- 
ions and prejudices of the time, it is not singular that 
this sudden and tremendous revolution should have 
been universally attributed to the vengeance of God. 

When the fii'st shock of conquest had passed, the 
overpowering terror inspired by the presence of the 
invaders subsided. They proved to be something very 
different from the incarnate demons which a distorted 
imagination had painted them. They were found to 
be lenient, generous, humane. The law of Moham- 
med had specifically designated the privileges of vic- 
tory and the rights of the vanquished. The latter 
were not slow to recognize and accept the advantages 
arising from a speedy and unreserved submission, and 
were thus enabled to participate in the benefits of the 
civilization, almost from the very beginning inaugu- 
rated by their rulers. 

The civil organization of the Christians under 
Moslem domination differed little from that under 
which they had been governed by the princes of Visi- 
gothic blood. The amount of tribute which permitted 
the free exercise of religious worship, the jurisdiction 
of their own tribunals, and the terms conferring the 
preservation and enjoyment of their national customs 
were defuiitely fixed by law. Each bishopric was as- 
sessed at the sum of one hundred ounces of silver 
annually, monasteries at fifty, churches at twenty-five. 
Individuals were classified according to their rank and 
possessions. The rich paid forty-eight dirhems, or 

184 History of the 

thirty-two dollars, per annum; the middle class, 
twenty-five dirhems; the laborer, twelve. From 
owners of land a tax upon its products of twenty 
per cent., called the Kharadj, was collected. Apos- 
tasy was rewarded by the remission of the former ; the 
latter, however, was never abrogated. Women, chil- 
dren, cripples, beggars, and monks were exempt from 
all enforced contributions. Except in cases of obsti- 
nate resistance, private property was untouched. The 
wealth of the churches, except that of such as were 
expressly mentioned in treaties, was legitimate spoil. 
Under the rule of the Visigoths, the ownership of 
chattels was only conditional, and they could not be 
alienated ; under the Moors, that ownership was abso- 
lute. The condition of the serfs that cultivated the 
royal demesnes whose area was so vast that they 
embraced the fifth part of all confiscated territory 
was greatly ameliorated. They still surrendered 
thirty-three per cent, of the crops, as under their 
former masters; but they were freed from the fre- 
quent and arbitrary impositions which often deprived 
them of the entire fruits of their labor. The conquest 
had caused the division of the extensive estates held 
by the privileged classes, and obtained by centuries 
of extortion and cruelty, into innumerable farms, a 
condition which facilitated cultivation and increased 
agricultural wealth. Many of these lands, formerly 
devoted to pasturage and to the sports of the nobility, 
were now improved, and under the skilful efforts of 
Moorish industry yielded immensely profitable re- 

Each Christian community was rigidly isolated 
from its Moslem neighbors. In the large cities, the 
quarter inhabited by the tributaries was walled, and 
at sunset the gates were closed. A count of their own 
selection, who was generally of noble blood, dis- 
charged the functions of governor and collected the 

Moorish Empire in Europe 185 

taxes, of which he rendered an account to the Divan. 
The proceedings of the judicial tribunals were con- 
ducted by Christian magistrates under the forms of 
Visigothic law. All disputes between Christians were 
decided there, and criminals paid the penalty of their 
misdeeds as prescribed by the ancient statutes. No 
sentence of death, however, could be executed without 
the approval of the Moslem authorities. Suits in 
which a Mohammedan was a party, and prosecutions 
where he was either the participant in, or the victim 
of, a crime, were removed from the jurisdiction of the 
Christian courts. The Code of Islam prescribed cer- 
tain regulations to be observed by all tributaries, and 
obedience to which was a consideration for the pro- 
tection which the latter enjoyed. Blasphemy of the 
Prophet or of his religion, entrance into a mosque, 
and apostasy were capital offences. Upon these 
points the law was inexorable. Violation of the 
chastity of a Moslem woman was also punishable with 
death, a penalty which, however, might be averted by 
the offender embracing the Mohammedan faith. The 
repetition of the familiar formula of Islam, even in 
jest, carried with it a renunciation of all former creeds, 
and an assumption of the responsibilities of a behever 
which could never thereafter be relinquished. These 
laws, while apparently of a religious character, were, 
owing to the Moslem constitution which united the 
functions of both spiritual and temporal sovereignty, 
vitally necessary to the dignity and maintenance of 
government. Christian fanatics, bhnded by preju- 
dice and eager for martyrdom, regarded them as un- 
reasonable and tyrannical restrictions, whose public 
violation was a duty which they owed to their sect; 
meritorious, not only as evincing contempt for a de- 
tested religion, but as affording opportunities for 
exhibitions of self-sacrifice, certain to elicit the praise 
of their companions, and likely to deserve the coveted 

186 History of the 

honor of canonization. All, therefore, that was re- 
quired of the Christians living under Moslem juris- 
diction was that they should pay tribute regularly and 
obey the laws of the land. 

To insure the protection to which they were entitled, 
and to secure them from insult and oppression, a 
special magistrate was appointed, under the klialifs, 
to watch over their interests and supervise their con- 
duct. This official, whose title was that of katib, or 
secretary, was invested with extraordinary powers, and 
was usually a noble of distinguished rank as well as a 
personage of high consideration in the Divan. 

At the time of the Conquest, a certain number of 
churches were set aside for Christian worship ; but that 
number could not be increased, nor could additions be 
even made to the ancient edifices. In case reconstruc- 
tion or repairs were necessary, the identical old ma- 
terials were required to be used. The stringency of 
these rules was, however, often relaxed by the gen- 
erous indulgence of the authorities. The law which 
forbade that a building erected by a Christian should 
be of greater height than that of a Moslem was also 
frequently evaded. In Spain and Sicily the towers of 
church and cathedral often overtopped the minaret of 
the mosque, an implication of superiority which, in 
other countries of the Mohammedan world, would 
have caused their instant demolition. In those two 
kingdoms of Islam alone the use of bells was toler- 
ated. Elsewhere, boards suspended by cords and 
beaten with mallets took their place and announced 
the opening of Christian service. The greatest liberty 
was permitted in the exercise of public worship. The 
clergy wore their sacred vestments. They discharged 
the duties of their holj^ calling in peace and security, 
and those who ventured to interfere with them were 
liable to severe punishment. They celebrated mass 
with all the pomp of the ancient Visigothic ceremonial. 

Moorish Empire in Europe 187 

The priest carried the viaticum to the dying, in solemn 
procession through the crowded streets. The bodies 
of the dead, enveloped in the smoke of tapers and 
incense, and preceded by chanting choristers, were 
borne to the cathedral for the performance of the final 
rites of the Church. The toleration of the Spanish 
Moslems even went to the extent of permitting the 
use of images execrated as idolatrous by every fol- 
lower of the Prophet in Christian temples. Effigies 
of saints were by no means rare. In the Cathedral of 
Santa Maria at Cordova was a statue of the Virgin. 
Her shrine was famous for its sanctity, and, more 
accessible than that of Santiago, yearly attracted mul- 
titudes of devout pilgrims from every part of Europe. 
In each church was preserved the body of the martyr 
to whom the sacred edifice was dedicated, and from 
whom it derived its name. The great city of Cordova 
contained six Christian houses of worship besides the 
cathedral. Eleven monasteries and convents offered 
a refuge to those who sought the devotional retirement 
of cloistered life. Of these, three were in the city and 
eight upon the wooded slopes of the Sierra Morena. 
Some, instituted probably with a view to the acquisi- 
tion of increased merit by resistance to constant temp- 
tation, were occupied by both sexes under a single 
abbot. The monks appeared in cowl and tonsure ; the 
nuns were constantly veiled. All members of the 
monastic orders, as well as those of the secular priest- 
hood, traversed at will and unmolested the streets of 
the capital. St. Eulogius, Cyprian, Samson, and 
other contemporaneous ecclesiastical writers bear re- 
peated and voluntary testimony to the indulgent for- 
bearance extended to Christians by the Khalifs of 

In Sicily, practically the same conditions prevailed. 
As, however, the indigenous population overwhelm- 
ingly exceeded in number that of the invaders, tolera- 

188 History of the 

tion was necessary for the maintenance of public tran- 
quillity, and was, in fact, a measure of expediency as 
well as of justice. The civil organization of the 
Byzantine Empire was continued. The magistrates 
retained the same titles and exercised the same juris- 
diction as formerly, subject always to the supendsion 
of the officials of the Divan. The procedure of the 
ancient tribunals was but slightly modified. The 
rights of person and property were fully recognized. 
Freedom of worship was guaranteed to all law- 
abiding tributaries. Taxation was uniform and 
regular; the legal impositions were far less onerous 
than those exacted by the tyrannical rapacity of the 
Greek administration. Under the Moors, all persons 
whose condition or infirmities prevented them from 
obtaining a livelihood were exempt; the Byzantine 
fiscal agents carried their merciless perquisitions into 
the abodes of helplessness, disease, and destitution. 
The Moslem law regulating the distribution of estates 
and the rights of heirs was so admirably adapted to 
the purpose, that it was continued, with trifling modi- 
fications, by the Normans, after it had been in force 
for nearly two centuries. No lands were confiscated 
but those which had been abandoned by their owners. 
The number of these was so great that they afforded 
ample space for the settlements of the Saracen colo- 
nists, who occupied the most valuable portions of the 
States of Trapani, Palermo, and Agrigentum. 

The restrictions imposed upon the Sicilian Chris- 
tians were more harsh than the requirements exacted 
of their Spanish brethren. The general provisions of 
the Mohammedan code relating to the prohibited acts 
of misbelievers were, of course, rigidly enforced. The 
Christian priests of Sicily, like those of Spain, were 
compelled to perform the rites of their religion behind 
closed doors. Like them also, they were forbidden 
to publicly discuss the merits of their creed or to at- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 189 

tempt to secure proselytes. The laws of that island, 
considering the numerical weakness of the dominant 
race, were strangely severe. As tokens of degrada- 
tion, peculiar marks were placed upon the houses of 
Christians; they were restricted to a costume distinc- 
tive in materials and color, and wore girdles of woollen 
cloth or leather. They were forbidden to mount a 
horse, to own saddles, to bear arms. They could not 
use seals with Arabic inscriptions or give their children 
Arabic names. In the streets they gave way to their 
Saracen masters, and always stood with bowed heads 
in their presence. Drinking wine in the sight of a 
Mussulman was visited with exemplary punishment. 
No Christian woman was allowed to remain in the 
bath with a Mohammedan, even though the latter were 
one of the humblest maid-servants of the harem. If 
one of the tributary sect admitted the slave of a Mus- 
sulman into his house, he was liable to a heavy fine. 
The ringing of the bells of church or monastery 
loudly was prohibited, as was also the reading of the 
Scriptures in the hearing of the followers of the 
Prophet. No Christian could cross himself in public. 
The slightest interference with Moslem worship was 
punishable with death. 

Despite these arbitrary and often oppressive laws, 
the condition of the Christians of Sicily was, upon the 
whole, far more agreeable and prosperous under the 
Arabs than it had been under the Greeks. Relief 
from arbitrary taxation made secure the profits of 
industry. Every branch of commerce was open to the 
enterprising. The system of guilds and corporations, 
which had existed among tradesmen since the Roman 
domination, remained unimpaired. If a Christian dis- 
trusted the integrity or capacity of his own magis- 
trate, he was at liberty to submit his cause to the kadi, 
who rendered judgment according to the maxims and 
precedents of Moslem jurisprudence. 

190 History of the 

In the Spanish Peninsula, the government of the 
Church presented a strange and portentous anomaly. 
As the representative of Islam was a member of the 
family of the Ommeyades, which had, in the begin- 
ning, exerted all the influence of a powerful caste to 
overwhelm its founder and render his teachings odious, 
so now the interests of Christianity were delivered 
over to the tender mercies of its hereditary and most 
unrelenting foe. The Visigothic sovereigns, chosen 
by ecclesiastical councils, were, by virtue of their elec- 
tion, clothed with a certain degree of sanctity, and 
enjoyed an ample measure of spiritual power. The 
monarch practically controlled the policy of the 
Church. His decision was final in all matters not 
important enough to be submitted to the assembled 
wisdom of the great' ecclesiastical dignitaries of the 
kingdom. He consecrated bishops. He exercised 
without question the sacerdotal rights of presenta- 
tion, translation, investiture. He convoked councils. 
The fate of every member of the hierarchy, from 
acolyte to archbishop, was in his hands. Even the 
metropolitan see of Toledo, the primacy of Spain, 
could not be filled without his sanction. He could 
appoint the most unworthy candidate to the most 
exalted station in the priesthood. He could arbitrarily 
depose ministers whose lives had exhibited the practice 
of every Christian virtue. He interpreted and dic- 
tated the application of intricate points of ecclesiasti- 
cal law. Notwithstanding the apparent ascendency 
of the sacerdotal order in the temporal affairs of the 
government on the one hand, it was largely neutral- 
ized on the other by the influence of the Crown over 
the fortunes of the Church, an influence always 
weighty and often predominant. 

These prerogatives, dangerous to religious liberty 
and liable to abuse even in the hands of an orthodox 
sovereign, were transmitted, in all their force, to the 

Moorish Empire in Europe 191 

Arabian khalifs, as the lords of the lost heritage of 
the Visigothic kings. The principle upon which such 
authority could pass to the head of a hostile sect, 
whose sworn purpose was the annihilation of the very 
religion which he was presumed, by virtue of his 
office, in duty bound to protect, has not been, and 
never can be, explained by any considerations of 
honor, consistency, or equity. It was practically a 
flagrant usurpation of privileges for which the Mos- 
lem sovereign could not allege even a shadow of right. 
It was not conferred by conquest. It could not be 
accounted for under the color of a legal fiction. Su- 
premacy in ecclesiastical government, where the prac- 
tice of public worship was guaranteed by treaty, and 
the clergy purchased by tribute the management of 
their affairs and the enforcement of discipline, cer- 
tainly was not implied by the fact that it had been 
enjoyed by the ruling prince of the vanquished faith. 
Its peaceful exercise for centuries for its validity 
does not seem to have been questioned in the writings 
of even the most bigoted ecclesiastics is one of the 
most singular problems of religious history. 

The consequences of this anomalous condition were, 
as may readily be conjectured, fatal to the dignity 
and order of the Catholic hierarchy. The khalif was, 
to all intents and purposes, the spiritual head of two 
hostile religions, one of which it was his duty, as well 
as his inclination, to exalt ; the other of which he was 
prompted by the prejudices of race, inheritance, and 
belief to destroy. There were few Hispano-Arab 
monarchs who did not contribute their share to the 
degradation of Christianity. The highest offices of 
the Church were put up at auction. The orthodoxy 
and fitness of the candidate were never considered ; his 
qualifications were ignored; and his success was de- 
pendent upon the amount he was willing to disburse 
for the coveted dignity. In this scandalous traffic the 

192 History of the 

women of the harems and the eunuchs were the recog- 
nized agents of the purchaser. There was no secrecy 
about these transactions. The practice of simony was 
so universal that even the greatest offenders made no 
attempt to conceal it. A profligate canon, named 
Saul, entered into a written obligation to pay these 
corrupt intermediaries four hundred ounces of silver 
for the bishopric of Cordova. Some of those raised 
to the richest sees of the Peninsula were heretics or 
infidels. It was not unusual for a prelate, even dur- 
ing Holy Week, to abandon the service of the altar 
and indulge in the most shameless excesses of drunk- 
enness and debauchery. The ordinances of the 
Church were interpreted by men ignorant of the first 
rudiments of ecclesiastical law. Priests, whose athe- 
ism was notorious, administered the sacraments with 
mock humility and imparted hypocritical consolation 
to the devout. If any of his flock eluded the search 
of the tax-collector, the bishop, more faithful to the 
power to which he owed his authority than to the in- 
terests of the congregation over which he presided, 
stood ready to furnish the desired information from 
the registers of the diocese, and to assist in the punish- 
ment of the delinquents. When a prelate disregarded 
the summons to a council, the vacancy was filled by the 
appointment of a Mussulman or a Jew. Such circum- 
stances as these were not propitious to either sacer- 
dotal welfare or successful proselytism. 

Nor were abuses of power confined to the ecclesi- 
astical system. The dignity of count, the most emi- 
nent office of the Christian magistracy, was also a sub- 
ject of negotiation and barter. The opportunities it 
afforded for extortion and peculation made it one of 
the most lucrative employments in the gift of the 
khalif. It was ordinarily bestowed upon a member 
of the Visigothic nobility, but the rapacity of the 
eunuchs looked rather to the means than to the birth 

Moorish Empire in Europe 193 

of the aspirant; and persons of base origin and 
doubtful integrity not infrequently received the 
coveted distinction, which was utilized largely for 
the benefit of their patrons, the fiscal officers and 
the degraded servitors of the harem. Count Servan- 
dus, the son of a slave, who lived during the reign 
of the Khalif JNIohammed, has been handed down to 
the execration of all good Christians as one of the 
most cruel and infamous of oppressors. On a single 
occasion, he extorted from his unliappy vassals the 
enormous sum of a hundred thousand solidi, equal in 
our time to more than half a million dollars. 

The various gradations of the hierarchy were pre- 
served as before the Arab occupation. The arch- 
bishops had the usual number of suffragans subject 
to their jurisdiction; the lower orders of the clergy, 
their clerks, choristers, readers, and other subordi- 
nates. To exercise the office of priest it was neces- 
sary for both parents to be of the Christian faith; 
if the father were a Moslem, the law of the conqueror 
interposed its claim upon the candidate, who, regarded 
as a Mussulman by birth, was liable to condemnation 
for apostasy. Unlike the canonical practice of other 
Catholic countries, an ecclesiastic was eligible to 
offices of the most distinguished rank, even to the 
primacy itself, without being compelled to pass 
through the intermediate grades of the priesthood. 
There was no diminution of pomp or solemnity in 
the celebration of the rites of Christian worship. 
Councils for the regulation of church government 
and discipline were even more frequent than under 
the Visigoths; during the ninth century, three were 
held at Cordova alone in less than thirty-five years. 
In many of the monasteries, schools were established 
for the communication of instruction, on both sacred 
and profane subjects, to those whose religious scruples 
prevented them from profiting by the splendid oppor- 

VoL. Ill, 13 

194 History of the 

tunities afforded by the great Arab institutions of 
learning. In some of these religious houses were ex- 
tensive libraries, composed for the most part, however, 
of treatises of patristic science, polemics, and hagiol- 
ogy. To St. Eulogius, alarmed by the increasing in- 
fluence of the Mussulman academies, which ofl'ered 
irresistible attractions to the Christian youth, is due 
the credit of having introduced to the notice of his 
countrymen the works of Horace, Virgil, Juvenal, and 
others of the Latin classics, copies of which he obtained 
during a visit to Navarre. 

In Spain, as in Sicily, the influence of the Holy 
See disappeared with the advent of Moslem suprem- 
acy. The clergy of the khalif ate became independent 
of the Papacy, arid did not even recognize the au- 
thority of the Asturian priesthood, whose members 
held councils and promulgated canons, with a nominal 
allegiance to Rome. In the abeyance of Papal repre- 
sentation, the Metropolitan of Toledo was the su- 
preme head of the Spanish hierarchy. The Christians 
of Sicily acknowledged the jurisdiction of the Patri- 
arch of Constantinople. During the Moorish occupa- 
tion of Southern France, the existing religion was 
scarcely interfered with. No counts were appointed 
to govern or oppress the conquered. No unworthy 
prelates were assigned to rich sees as the result of 
intrigue or corruption. Few churches were trans- 
formed into mosques. The only attempt to restrain 
the Christian tributaries was shown by a disposition 
to isolate, as far as possible, the clergy of the pro- 
vincial settlements from those of the larger to^vns. 
The tolerance of Mussulman i-ule is disclosed by the 
great preponderance of the subject race existing at 
Narbonne, which was always rather a Christian than 
a Moslem capital. 

The long independence of the Spanish Church ex- 
erted no inconsiderable influence upon its subsequent 

Moorish Empire in Europe 195 

history. Its isolation enabled it to preserve uncon- 
taminated the ancient forms and discipline transmitted 
by ecclesiastical tradition from apostolic times. The 
authority of its councils or the validity of their canons 
was never questioned by the most exacting digni- 
taries of the Roman hierarchy after it had again ac- 
knowledged the jurisdiction of the Papal See. Its 
orthodoxy was never impeached. While Europe was 
distracted by heresy, no daring religious innovator 
threatened the integrity or disputed the power of the 
ecclesiastical government of the Peninsula. Its policy 
was inimical to change in organization, in ceremonial, 
in doctrine. Of all the religious ceremonials in Chris- 
tendom its liturgy showed the least alteration, not even 
excepting that used in St. Peter's at Rome. When 
in 1067 King Alfonso of Leon submitted the rival 
claims of the Gothic and Roman rituals fost to the 
wager of battle and then to the ordeal of fire, the 
Christians of Arabian Spain resolutely adhered to the 
ancient and time-honored formulary. The only 
schisms recorded were those which sprang from the 
conflicting ambition of rival prelates. Under the 
iron rule of the khalif s no irregular councils assembled 
to disturb the harmony or excite the doubts of the 
Faithful. The principal abuse that existed was the 
fraudulent manufacture of charters, and the multi- 
tude of these pious forgeries whose spurious character 
has been exposed indicate at once the ease with which 
such documents could be issued, as well as the profit 
that must have attended their fabrication. The gen- 
erally undisturbed condition of the Mozarabes under 
the sway of the House of Ommeyah is the best evi- 
dence of their enjoyment of the blessings of civil and 
religious liberty. 

Their social customs and mode of life show in 
many particulars a close affiliation with their masters. 
They had forgotten the rude idiom of their fathers. 

196 History of the 

Arabic was the language in common use among all 
classes of the tributary population, both Jew and 
Christian. It was an indispensable requisite of offi- 
cial position that the incumbent should possess a com- 
petent knowledge of that tongue. St. Eulogius re- 
peatedly deplores the fact that its prevalence was 
universal in the Peninsula. Its popularity increased 
with time, and was so great during the domination of 
the Almoravides that the Archbishop of Seville caused 
the Bible to be translated into Arabic, in order that 
it might be intelligible to the priests of his diocese. 
The peculiar phrases of Moslem intercourse, such as 
" God preserve you!" " May you rest in heaven!" con- 
stantly on the lips of the reverent Mohammedan, 
formed part of the daily greetings of every Christian. 
They gave their children Arabic names. Their attire 
and their furniture were similar to those of the domi- 
nant race. The conspicuous tokens of degradation 
imposed upon the Mozarabes of Sicily were unknown 
in Spain even under the Almoravide bigots. The con- 
fidence reposed in their fidelity, and the respect with 
which their courage was regarded, were evinced by 
their constant enrolment in the body-guard of the 
khalif s. Partly from a desire to propitiate the favor 
of their rulers, and perhaps through conviction of their 
physiological benefits, they abstained from pork, and 
adopted the rite of circumcision, concessions which, 
once granted, practically left the repetition of the 
Moslem formula the sole remaining barrier between 
the followers of Christ and the sectaries of Moham- 
med. These practices, elsewhere unknown to the 
Christian communities of Europe, excited the wonder 
and abhorrence of the stout old monk, John de Gorza, 
ambassador of the German Emperor to the court of 
Abd-al-Rahman. He denounced them in unmeasured 
terms to the Archbishop of Cordova, who excused their 
observance under the plea of necessity, and as customs 

Moorish Empire in Europe 197 

long countenanced by the Church, a statement which 
indicates that in the tenth century they had already 
been in use for many generations. In a spirit of 
charity, greatly at variance with the intolerant hatred 
displayed towards the Moors in subsequent ages, 
prayers were regularly offered for the khalif in every 
Christian church of Arabian Spain. 

Every circumstance relating to the habits and inter- 
course of the two races which has come down to us 
proves that, openly at least, they did not consider each 
other as enemies. Great numbers of Christians em- 
braced with eagerness the extraordinary educational 
benefits afforded by the schools and academies of the 
klialifate. The University of Cordova, open to indi- 
viduals of every rank, creed, and nationality, was at- 
tended by Christian students, not only resident in the 
Peninsula, but attracted from almost every country of 
Europe, The infidel doctrines taught in that famous 
institution had long provoked the animadversion of 
Moslem theologians; but the prejudices they excited 
among orthodox Mussulmans were far less intense and 
bitter than the aversion entertained towards the pro- 
fessors of these opinions by the Catholic clergy. In- 
termarriages were frequent, although public senti- 
ment, as well as the policy of Islam, discouraged such 
alliances. A far greater number of women than of 
men renounced their ancestral faith in consequence of 
these unions, and the majority of proselytes were those 
who embraced the religion of JVIohammed. 

Important civil employments were repeately con- 
ferred upon Christians eminent for their talents and 
integrity. The expostulations of the faquis and the 
united influence of the Divan were hardly sufficient 
to prevent Abd-al-Rahman III. from appointing a 
renegade, whose parents were both Christians, to the 
office of Grand Kadi of Cordova, the highest judicial 
position of the empire. The latter monarch habitu- 

198 History of the 

ally employed Christian prelates in missions requiring 
the exercise of the greatest tact and ability. Rabi, 
Archbishop of Cordova, was sent on different occa- 
sions as envoy to the courts of Germany and Con- 
stantinople. It was he who was intrusted with the 
conveyance of valuable gifts from the Emperor of 
the East to the Khalif, among them the fountains 
of the palace of Medina-al-Zahra. The Bishop of 
Granada was selected to secure the withdrawal by the 
German Emperor of the scurrilous letter which the 
fanatic John de Gorza was charged to deliver, a task 
of great responsibility and one which few were either 
competent or willing to undertake. Another prelate 
of episcopal rank was also despatched by Abd-al-Rah- 
man to congratulate Otho on his victory over the 
Hungarians. The predilection of Ali for members 
of the nominally prescribed sect constantly aroused the 
indignation and alarm of the Almoravide zealots. 

Christians were not excluded from the most respon- 
sible posts of the Moorish fiscal administration. They 
discharged with skill and fidelity the duties connected 
with all the various employments of the revenue. To 
members of their sect was invariably committed the 
collection of the tribute due from their coreligionists. 
Thousands of them served in the Mussulman armies. 
When Barcelona was besieged by the Franks, the 
Christian residents of that city fought side by side 
with the Moslems against the orthodox King of Aqui- 
taine. Of all nationalities, the Spanish Christians 
were considered most worthy to guard the sacred per- 
son of the khalif. At no period of the Arab domina- 
tion were they absolutely excluded from court. Under 
the administration of the Almoravide sultan, Ali, who 
was conspicuous among the fanatical princes of his 
line for the strictness of his orthodoxy and the au- 
sterity of his manners, the Mozarabes were in high 

Moorish Empire in Europe 199 

favor, and exerted an almost preponderating influence 
in the government. 

Although in theory belonging to an inferior caste, 
in fact the tributary could not, by the unpractised eye, 
be distinguished from the votary of Islam. His life, 
his habits, his language, were the same. His house 
was an exact counterpart of that of his Moorish neigh- 
bor; his garments were cut after the pattern of the 
Orient. His manners were no longer suggestive of the 
rudeness of his Gothic ancestors. When his means 
permitted, he went to great lengths in the gratification 
of propensities censured by the canons of his Church, 
entertained catamites, indulged in polygamous prac- 
tices, and filled his harem with female slaves guarded 
by retinues of eunuchs. 

But while the line of demarcation between Moslem 
and Christian was thus faintly drawn, and threatened, 
in the course of time, to entirely disappear through the 
fusion of the two races, there still existed in the minds 
not only of the zealots of the hostile sects, but also 
in those of the masses, a profound and irreconcilable 
antipathy. This prejudice was sedulously and suc- 
cessfully nourished by the Mohammedan faquis as 
well as by the Christian clergy. The tributaries, while 
apparently on the point of merging into the body of 
the conquerors, were in reality isolated from them by 
the most powerful emotions that can influence the 
human heart. No concessions could thoroughly eradi- 
cate the prejudices arising from difl'erence of religious 
belief. No familiarities of social intercourse could 
banish the humiliating remembrance of conquest. No 
political honors could compensate for the injuries in- 
flicted by racial animosity. The actual condition of 
the Spanish Christians was, therefore, the reverse of 
that exhibited by their daily life. In the presence of 
a mutual antagonism, all the more violent for being 
repressed, there oould be no thorough amalgamation 

200 History of the 

of races. The exalted spirit of religious enthusiasm 
which could voluntarily solicit the tortures of martyr- 
dom was not propitious to national apostasy. 

And yet the circumstances which appear most con- 
spicuous and vital in the consideration of this ethno- 
logical paradox would seem to point to an opposite 
conclusion. A community of customs generally ex- 
isted in which those of the Arab always predominated. 
The harems of the Moslems were filled with Chris- 
tian maidens who had, without hesitancy or compen- 
sation, renounced the faith of their fathers. The cor- 
rupted Latin dialect of the Visigoths, proscribed by 
Hischem I., was almost extinct. The law forbade it 
to be either written or spoken; and it survived only 
in the massive volumes of the Fathers or in the 
secluded intercourse of the occupants of monasteries 
and convents. By the same decree of the Khalif , edu- 
cation in the Arabian schools was made compulsory. 
Alvarus, who wrote about the middle of the ninth 
century, declares that not one Christian could be found 
among a thousand who could compose a letter in Latin. 
On the other hand, the popularity of the Arab writers, 
and the enthusiasm with which their compositions were 
peiiised by persons of all ages, were in the eyes of 
pious ecclesiastics a national scandal. The growing 
inclination to apostasj^, the natural result of these 
associations, was also one of the crowning grievances 
of the Spanish clergy. As heretofore stated, it is a 
fact, well established by the reluctant testimony of the 
Fathers themselves, that the greater part of the con- 
quered nation had fallen away from Christianity. 

Many causes had conspired to produce this lament- 
able condition of affairs. The geographical isolation 
of the Peninsula, which has always had a tendency 
to preserve unaltered the mental and phj^sical char- 
acteristics of its people, has also had no unimportant 
influence upon the national faith. That country, even 

Moorish Empire in Europe 201 

at the time of the Saracen invasion, was Christian only 
in name. It had never wholly discarded its Pagan 
forms or traditions. It was the last kingdom of Eu- 
rope to nominally accept the new religion. Its creed 
had long been heretodox, and that creed it had aban- 
doned, without remonstrance or regret, at the com- 
mand of its sovereign. The despotic power of the 
hierarchy had never been able to abolish the ceremonies 
of Pagan antiquity which were incorporated with the 
ritual of the Church. The population, the offspring 
of a score of nations, each of which worshipped dif- 
ferent divinities and was familiar with the fraudulent 
pretensions of many sacerdotal claimants to inspira- 
tion, was inclined to discredit and deride them all. To 
such a society religious professions and formalities 
were naturally matters of indifference. A nation 
which could spontaneously abandon the heresy of 
Arius would hardly hesitate to embrace the monothe- 
istic doctrines of Mohammed. By the Moslems, so 
far as their tributaries were concerned, no open induce- 
ments were offered for apostasy. The practice of 
Islam discouraged the active proselytism advocated by 
other sects. The conversion of a Christian tributary, 
unless he had violated the law, must be voluntary, 
and the obligation, once assumed, could never be 

The favor enjoyed by the renegade was, however, a 
far more powerful incentive than any that the prom- 
ises of the ministers of religion could evoke. The 
apostate was at once received into full social com- 
munion with his former masters. He was eligible to 
the highest political and military honors. In theory, 
at least, no stigma could attach to his former condition 
or antecedents. The equality of all men who pro- 
fessed belief in its dogmas was, as is well known, the 
cardinal principle of the law of the Prophet. 

To the slave, these considerations appealed with 

202 History of the 

peculiar force. Tens of thousands of this oppressed 
and degraded caste had been transferred, at a single 
stroke by the fortunes of war, from the hands of one 
master to those of another. A host of captives had 
been taken in battle. In the minds of but few of 
these unfortunates the obligations of religion were 
deeply founded. While emancipation did not invari- 
ably follow the profession of the faith of Islam, it 
usually did ; and the condition of the slave was always 
greatly improved by this concession to the prejudices 
of him who regulated his conduct and controlled his 
destiny. In view of these facts, there is little wonder 
that multitudes of slaves embraced the Mussulman 

The religious freedom of the Christians under Mos- 
lem rule was mainly dependent on the prejudices of 
their own clergy, the character of the dominant fac- 
tion, and the temper of the sovereign. The provisions 
of the treaties which guaranteed their privileges were 
at first strictly observed. The general influx of 
fanatical foreigners, in time, however, created a strong 
l^ublic sentiment against the proscribed tributaries. 
They were sometimes deprived of their houses of 
worship. Arbitrary contributions were frequently 
exacted from them. On one occasion, the Christians 
of Cordova were compelled to pay into the treasury 
the sum of a hundred thousand pieces of gold, nearly 
a million and a quarter dollars. The revenues of the 
Church were so impaired by these grievous imposi- 
tions, that ecclesiastics were often forced to engage 
in commercial pursuits to provide for the pressing 
necessities of their order. Some carried the manu- 
factures of Cordova to Germany. Others journeyed 
as peddlers through France. The trading priest of 
Moorish Spain was well known in the markets of 
Genoa and Constantinople. Persons in clerical garb 
were no longer safe in public places. In the time of 

Moorish Empire in Europe 203 

the Almoravides, when a Christian passed through the 
streets, the crowd shrank from contact with him as 
from one stricken with the plague. Rehgious proces- 
sions were pelted by mobs of hooting children, and 
those who took part in them were fortunate if they 
escaped without serious personal injury. The ring- 
ing of the church-bells provoked the loud threats and 
curses of intemperate zealots. The breaking up of a 
congregation during Holy Week was often the signal 
for a riot. The vengeance of Allah upon the idolater 
was invoked by the scoffing bystanders when the corpse 
of a Christian was consigned to the grave. 

The clergy, against whom these insults were prin- 
cipally aimed, were naturally exasperated by the in- 
dignity suffered by their creed and their profession. 
Their ignorance, in spite of the example and the bene- 
fits of Moslem civilization ever before their eyes, was 
not less dense than that of their brethren of Catholic 
Europe. With every opportunity to familiarize them- 
selves with the tenets of Islam, and thoroughly con- 
versant with Arabic, they steadfastly declined to honor 
the alleged revelations of the Prophet with their atten- 
tion or penisal. Their opinions on this subject they 
obtained from the writings of fanatical monks, fully 
as ignorant as, and even more bigoted than, themselves. 
The sage conclusion which they arrived at from these 
researches was that the doctrines of the most uncom- 
promising of monotheists and image-breakers were 
Pagan and idolatrous. 

Apprehensive of violence if they ventured to show 
themselves in public, they remained almost constantly 
in the seclusion of their dwellings. Even the sacred 
calls of duty remained unanswered. Often, for weeks, 
mass was not celebrated. The pulpit and the con- 
fessional were deserted. The dying passed away 
unshriven. Maddened by rage and terror, they were 
scarcely accessible even to their sympathizing parish- 

204 History of the 

ioners, who themselves incurred the risk of ill-treat- 
ment from the populace in their visits to the episcopal 
palace and the parsonage. Brooding over their 
wrongs, encouraged by the promises and exhortations 
of the Fathers of the Church, wi-esting the texts of 
Scripture to their purpose, fasting many consecu- 
tive days, praying for hours at a time, exhausted by 
penance, their enthusiasm became wrought up to the 
highest pitch. From such a condition the progress to 
martyrdom is easy. 

The persecution of the Christians of Spain was in- 
flicted, for the most part, under the reigns of Abd-al- 
Rahman II. and Mohammed. The annoyances to 
which they were subjected were by no means so seri- 
ous as they subsequently became, when the influence 
of the Africans preponderated. The word persecu- 
tion, implying as it does the tyrannical abuse of su- 
perior power, is not applicable to the circumstances 
under which the Mozarabes were sent to the scaffold. 
They were rather criminals than martyrs. They vol- 
untarily offered themselves for the sacrifice. They 
denounced the religion of Islam as false and idola- 
trous. They reviled the name of the Prophet. They 
rushed into the mosques. When the voice of the muez- 
zin resounded from the minaret, they crossed them- 
selves, and cried out, " Save us, O Lord, from the call 
of the Evil One, both now and in eternity !" In their 
eagerness to court destruction, they pushed their way 
into the tribunals, and, in the presence of the judge, 
gave utterance to their blasphemies. Even the ma- 
jesty of the throne was not respected by these frantic 
enthusiasts. St. Pelayus called the Khalif a dog to 
his face. St. Isaac, not content with heaping abuse on 
Mohammed, grossly insulted the Grand Kadi of Cor- 
dova. Such offences were capital under the law, and 
admitted of neither extenuation nor pardon. 

At first, the magistrates, moved by astonishment 

Moorish Empire in Europe 205 

and compassion, refused to condemn persons whose 
actions seemed attributable only to intoxication or 
insanity. But the deluded wretches would accept no 
indulgence. Thrown into prison, they continued their 
revilings. Their spurious zeal, mistaken constancy, 
and self-inflicted tortures produced many imitators. 
Their cells became places of pilgrimage. From them 
each day went forth new candidates for pious consid- 
eration, fresh victims for the executioner. Some were 
hanged, others beheaded. Not a few were burned at 
the stake and their ashes cast into the river. The bitter 
feelings engendered by religious controversy were not 
confined to Mohammedans. The ties of blood seemed 
for a time forgotten or ignored. The hiding-places 
of the accused were revealed by their own kindred. 
Brothers and sisters denounced each other for the sake 
of the property they might inherit. But the punish- 
ment only aggravated the evil. The number of 
martyrs constantly multiplied. A great many of these 
came from the laity. Youths of tender age excited the 
wonder and admiration of the devout by the boldness 
of their utterances and the unflinching courage with 
which they met their fate. Delicate women walked 
barefoot for leagues, nominally to share the glory of 
dying for the Faith, in reality to solicit the infliction 
of the extreme penalty of violated law. 

The contagion of example spread fast through the 
Christian community of Cordova. No distinction was 
now so honorable as to stand in the foremost rank of 
the blasphemers of the Prophet. In this pious and 
meritorious performance, the secular clergy were, 
however, not conspicuous. Their lives were entirely 
too precious to be endangered so long as members of 
their flocks were eager to demonstrate their willing- 
ness to die for a perverted religious principle, involv- 
ing an unprovoked breach of the contract from which 
they derived security of worship, life, and property. 

206 History of the 

In secret, they promoted the increasing madness by 
prayer and vehement exhortation. The impulse to 
the spirit of spontaneous martyrdom was not a little 
stimulated by the honors paid to the victims. Inde- 
pendent of both Roman and Asturian influence, the 
Andalusian hierarchy conferred without delay the 
distinction of canonization upon each aspirant for 
celestial glory. Their remains were conveyed to the 
churches, where they at once began to disclose their 
supernatural powers by response to prayer, by the 
cure of disease, by the working of portentous and 
astonishing miracles. 

The Moslem authorities were appalled by the 
strange conduct of their tributaries, insensible alike 
to the inducement of clemency or the dread of pun- 
ishment. In the hope of abating the evil by summary 
measures, Abd-al-Rahman II. authorized, by public 
edict, any one to kill on the instant a Christian who 
was guilty of blasphemy. This decree, while not fully 
accomplishing its object, lessened the number of ap- 
plicants for martyrdom and produced a great increase 
of apostates and fugitives. 

But the mania which impelled the most fanatical to 
self-sacrifice was far from infecting the entire Chris- 
tian population of the capital. There were many who 
looked with disapproval upon a course which must 
eventually result in the oppression of their sect, in the 
increase of its burdens, in the curtailment of its privi- 
leges. They foresaw that the acts of a few irrespon- 
sible individuals would ere long be regarded by the 
Moslem government as the authorized policy of the 
Church. Many Christians held office under the ad- 
muiistration. It was only a question of time, if these 
disturbances continued, when they would be dismissed 
from their employments. The klialifate was then at 
the height of its power. If an uprising provoked by 
the clergy should occur, as seemed not improbable, the 

Moorish Empire in Europe 207 

entire tributary sect might be exterminated; and, in- 
deed, this measure had already been vehemently urged 
by the intolerant African marabouts. In any event, 
there would be arbitrary taxation, confiscation, vio- 
lence, exile. In their extremity, the more sober- 
minded of the Christians petitioned the Khalif to 
summon a council, whose decision might be authori- 
tative and final in determining the duty of the people 
in the present emergency. 

All the prelates in the jurisdiction of the khalif ate 
were accordingly convoked. Abd-al-Rahman ap- 
pointed as his representative an official named Gomez, 
prominent in the administration, nominally attached to 
the Christian communion, but of suspicious morals and 
of more than suspicious orthodoxy. He was a man of 
fine education, conspicuous talents, polished manners, 
insufferable pride, and enormous wealth. The head 
of the faction which had, in vain, endeavored to check 
the increasing disposition to martyrdom which men- 
aced the destruction of his sect, he had incurred the 
unmeasured hatred of the clergy. Realizing fully 
the fatal consequences of the insane acts of his co- 
religionists if unrestrained, his interest concurred with 
his inclination to repress the dangerous manifesta- 
tions of their intemperate zeal before it became too 

With great ability and eloquence he presented his 
views to the council. The assembled prelates, awed 
by the government and possessing little sympathy for 
those who were destroying the credit of their order, 
were not disinclined to condemn these fanatical sui- 
cides. But here a serious difficulty arose. The 
martyrs had been canonized. Their relics had already 
demonstrated their sanctity by the production of 
miracles. Their bodies were enshrined in the shadow 
of the altar; their deeds and their sufferings were 
now a part of the history of the Church. It was there- 

208 History of the 

fore manifestly impolitic, as well as sacrilegious, to 
attempt to deprive them of the rank in the celestial 
hierarchy which had been conferred by the infallible 
wisdom of God. A middle com'se was possible. The 
council, silent upon past martyrdoms, prohibited them 
in the future. Like all temporizing measures intended 
to correct deeply rooted abuses, this evasion of the 
issue left matters worse than before. The extremists, 
headed by St. Eulogius, declared that the real senti- 
ment of the council manifestly ran counter to the one 
it expressed, as it did not pronounce deserving of 
censure the acts of those who had suffered for the 
Faith. The priests continued to arouse the zeal of 
their misguided parishioners ; enthusiasts continued to 
outrage the sanctity of the mosques and the dignity 
of the tribunals, and the executions went relentlessly 
on. Recafred, Archbishop of Cordova, exasperated 
by the contempt with which the decree of the council 
had been received, heartily co-operated with the Mos- 
lems in the punishment of the offenders, now under 
the ban of both the government and the Church. 
Many recalcitrant priests were seized and thrown into 
prison. Others eluded with the greatest difficulty the 
search of the authorities. Among the latter was St. 
Eulogius, with whom, as well as with many of his holy 
brethren, the merits of martyrdom seemed most glori- 
ous when obtained by the sufferings of others. These 
vigorous measures filled the souls of the elect with 
terror. A few escaped to the Asturias. A consider- 
able number, including some who had been loudest in 
their praise of the saints and apparently most eager 
to emulate their example, apostatized. 

The so-called persecution, begun under Abd-al- 
Rahman II. and continued under Mohammed, lasted 
eight years. The works of contemporaneous ecclesi- 
astical writers conclusively establish the fact that it 
was provoked by the violence of the Christians them- 

MooEisH Empire in Europe 209 

selves. It is apparent from the same authorities that 
its effects and importance were grossly exaggerated. 
The Memorial of the Saints, by Eulogius, the last 
and most eminent of the alleged victims of Moslem 
tyranny, contains the names of comparatively few 
martyrs. But forty-four are mentioned by the erudite 
historian Florez, whose diligent industry has collated 
the voluminous records bearing upon the hagiology of 
that time, as having been executed at Cordova. Sev- 
eral of these were women, between whom and their 
male companions in suffering and glory, the pious 
chronicler naively declares, " mysterious affinities" 

With the dechne of the empire, the prevalence of 
anarchy, and the ascendency of the Berbers, the con- 
dition of the Spanish Christians became more and 
more distressing. The suspension of the laws afforded 
every facility for their oppression. Their churches 
were torn down. Their property was confiscated. 
The descendants of the partisans of Ibn-Hafsun 
maintained a correspondence with the Castilian enemy. 
Alfonso of Aragon traversed the Peninsula from the 
Ebro to the sea, at the invitation of the Mozarabes of 
Granada. Ten thousand of the latter attended him in 
his retreat. The vengeance exacted of their treacher- 
ous vassals by the Moors of that kingdom was terrible. 
The expedition was productive of not less unhappy 
results at Cordova. Nearly every church was de- 
stroyed, the Christians were tortured, despoiled of 
their possessions, and deported in a body to Africa. 

At the beginning of the twelfth century, the mis- 
fortunes of the maltreated sectaries had reached their 
culmination. The Almohades, when not dominated 
by the marabouts, were inclined to be tolerant. The 
Arab chronicles which treat of the Moorish principali- 
ties do not mention the subject of persecution, and no 
Christian records of that time have been preserved. 

Vol. III. 14 

210 History of the 

The Mozarabes of the kingdom of Granada enjoyed 
the largest liberty. In Sicily, during the entire period 
of Moslem supremacy, martyrdoms were exceedingly 

Considering the widely extended apostasy which 
followed the Arab conquest, it is remarkable, if viewed 
only from a worldly stand-point, that the entire Chris- 
tian population of the Peninsula did not become Mo- 
hammedan. There is no doubt that those who re- 
mained consistently steadfast in the faith were in a 
decided minority. No inconsiderable number of prose- 
lytes was recruited from the patrician class. Among 
the great body of serfs and slaves, there were few who 
were not willing to renounce their religion for the 
certain enjoyment of liberty and the flattering pros- 
pect of future ease or distinction. The mass of the 
tributaries of the province of Seville had earl}^ aban- 
doned the Christian communion, and during the reign 
of Abd-al-Rahman II. a magnificent mosque was built 
for their especial accommodation. The majority of 
the prisoners taken in war embraced without hesitation 
the doctrines of Islam. Leaving out of consideration 
the influence of that Divine Power which must have 
preserved its servants under the severest trials, cir- 
cumstances of a political or social character may have 
arisen to prevent the wholesale apostasy of a nation. 

And such was indeed the case. The treatment to 
which the renegades were subjected is a single instance 
of many, most important in determining the causes of 
the decline of proselytism. In this class, the f reedmen 
largely preponderated in numbers. Notwithstanding 
the nominal equality of the renegade granted by his 
former masters in the beginning, this equality was 
now never conceded. The stigma of servitude which 
attached to the majority became the unjust reproach 
of the caste. While many were sincere in their be- 
lief, others took small pains to disguise the interested 

Moorish Empire in Europe 211 

motives which had prompted their conversion. The 
knowledge of this fact impelled the Moslems to treat 
all converts with the greatest indignity. They were 
publicly insulted. Opprobrious epithets were heaped 
upon them. Even those whose ancestors had ranked 
with the most distinguished of the Gothic aristocracy 
were not exempt from the sneers of the Mussulman 
rabble. Possession of vast wealth, reputation for 
genius, taste, or learning, aiForded no immunity from 
outrage by the vilest of mankind. It was rare that a 
renegade, no matter how conspicuous his abilities, ob- 
tained a responsible office in the government. Even 
the Christian stood a far better chance of official pro- 
motion by the followers of the Prophet than the recent 
proselyte to Islam. It was not in the nature of a 
numerous and powerful caste, smarting under un- 
merited humiliation and conscious of its strength, to 
calmly submit to such injustice. Nor was it long be- 
fore this destructive policy, which, like many of the 
evils that afflicted the Mussulman domination, had its 
origin in Arab pride, produced momentous political 
results. It encouraged treasonable correspondence 
with the Christians of the North. It raised up spies 
in every community. It provoked the bloody revolt 
of the southern suburb of Cordova during the reign 
of Al-Hakem I. It recruited the armies of Ibn-Haf- 
sun, who for thirty years defied the power of the khali- 
fate. The renegades, who outnumbered all other 
classes combined, lacked only organization and leader- 
ship to have driven their haughty oppressors into the 
sea. When the power of the Arab faction was de- 
stroyed, their condition was improved, but the ardor 
of proselytism had vanished. Such experiences tended 
rather to confirm than to weaken the faith of the hesi- 

Other causes contributed to the prevalent apathy. 
The semi-theocratical character of the Moslem consti- 

212 History of the 

tution implied to all believers the active exertion of 
supernatural power. The head of the government was 
at the same time the Successor and the Representative 
of the Prophet. A system which claims divine supe- 
riority should by all means be free from turmoil, from 
vices, from schism; its infallibility should be demon- 
strated by the pre-eminent wisdom of its decrees; its 
banners should never be lowered. Yet Islam was rent 
by faction and controversy. Rival princes, on every 
side, asserted their conflicting pretensions. In the con- 
fusion of warring sects, it was always impossible to 
distinguish the heretic from the orthodox. The Mus- 
sulman armies had often retired in disgrace from 
before the half-savage and ill-equipped Asturian 
mountaineers. Tried by the standards of mediaeval 
ignorance, standards founded upon unity of purpose 
and invincibility in war, Islamism was no better than 
the creeds it had supplanted. 

Again, the results of Moslem civilization, whose 
benefits were apparent to the least discerning, were 
not derived from the efforts of the devout. The 
theologians, without exception, were obstructionists. 
They decried learning. They denounced philosophy. 
To them the elegant pursuits of literature were an 
abomination. As a rule, they had nothing in common 
with the scholars of Cordova, renowned for their wit, 
their politeness, their culture. Their persons were 
neglected, their manners uncouth, their language 
coarse, ungrammatical, and insolent. In their opinion 
a madman was inspired, and a scientific instrument a 
device of Satan. 

Not so, however, with the eminent instructors who 
directed the public mind of the nation, who imparted 
knowledge to eager pilgrims from foreign lands. It 
was to their lectures that the young Christians de- 
lighted to repair. There was no subject on which they 
were not competent to discourse ; no topic which they 

Moorish Empire in Europe 213 

did not elucidate with their learning and adorn with 
their eloquence. They were, almost to a man, what 
would be called in our day agnostics. Some were 
acknowledged atheists. Others inclined to the Pan- 
theism of India. None mentioned without a contemp- 
tuous smile the celestial origin of the Koran or the 
claims of the Prophet to divine inspiration. 

The University of Cordova was the seat of the lit- 
erary faction whose influence was long paramount in 
the empire. Although its exercises were sometimes 
held in the Great Mosque, it had no sympathy with 
rehgion or its ministers. Its infidel teachings had for 
generations been the reproach of the pious f aquis and 
the abhorrence of the Catholic clergy. Its doors were 
open to the studious of every race; its honors were 
bestowed upon the meritorious scholar, without regard 
to his belief or his ancestry. In its great library, the 
Mussulman, the Christian, the Buddliist, and the Jew 
pursued their researches in generous rivalry or friendly 

Under such unfavorable circumstances, it is not sur- 
prising that the conversion of Christians to Islamism 
was permanently arrested. Outrages upon proselytes, 
frequent insurrections, confusion of doctrines, vul- 
garity of theologians, infidelity of those best qualified 
to determine the value of established opinions, and 
the unrestricted enjoyment of educational facilities 
were serious impediments, rather than incentives, to a 
change of religious belief. 

The fierce hostility that has always been manifested 
by the ApostoHc Church against every kind of pro- 
fane learning the outgrowth of the tremendous 
power successfully exerted for many centuries to 
degrade the mind, to pervert the understanding, to 
dwarf the noble faculty of reason had no terrors 
for the more enlightened part of the Christian popu- 
lation of the khalifate. There, in the presence of the 

214 History of the 

unrivalled achievements of Moslem genius, the stern 
intolerance of Patristicism could not stand before the 
liberal policy of Islam and the daily application of the 
lofty sentiment of its Prophet, " Whoso pursues the 
road of knowledge, God will direct him to the road 
of Paradise. Verily, the superiority of a learned man 
over a mere worshipper is like that of the full moon 
over all the stars!" The exhibition of universal 
charity, of broad philanthropy, of educational advan- 
tages impartially bestowed, as contrasted mth the 
narrow maxims of their own communion; the over- 
whelming superiority of Mussulman civilization; the 
powerful influence of daily intercourse and example ; 
the prodigious augmentation of commercial prosperity 
and worldly grandeur ; the alluring prospect of carnal 
pleasures, while they might not conduce to prosely- 
tism, nevertheless undermined the faith and constancy 
of the Christian youth. 

The teachings of the philosophers of Cordova were 
not propitious to the maintenance of either established 
dogma or ecclesiastical superiority; and the clergy 
saw, with undisguised dismay, the growing prevalence 
of lukewarmness and skepticism. The predominance 
of the Spanish Arabs in every branch of literary cul- 
ture, their eminent success in arms, their intelligence, 
their valor, their courtesy, the seductive power of 
their splendor and their opulence had far more effect 
upon the minds of the rising generation of Christians 
than the delusive promises and impotent anathemas 
proclaimed every week from a thousand pulpits. And, 
indeed, the contrast presented by the two rival re- 
ligions was most striking to the unprejudiced seeker 
after truth. On the one hand was the church, with 
its resounding vaults and its gloomy and sepulchral 
crypt ; the monastery, with its privations ; the reliqua- 
ries, with their offensive hoards of withered flesh and 
mouldering bones; the inconsistencies of a system 

Moorish Empire in Europe 215 

which inculcated charity and commanded persecution ; 
the inexorable tyranny of the priesthood; the sys- 
tematic discouragement of learning; the confessional 
with its enforced revelation of secrets; the mass with 
its monotonous services and its ritual in an unknown 
tongue; the penance with its sufferings and humilia- 
tion. On the other hand rose the mosque, light, airy, 
beautiful; its graceful minaret pointing towards the 
heavens; its court shaded by palm- and orange-trees, 
redolent with the mingled fragrance of a thousand 
exotics, musical with the plashing of crystal waters; 
its walls covered with a maze of intricate and brilliant 
stuccoes ; its ceiling emblazoned with the golden texts 
of the Koran; its sanctuary sparkling with mosaics, 
whose exquisite tracery rivalled the fabled creations 
of the genii; the sermon, intelligible to the most 
humble and untutored listener; the prayer, remark- 
able for earnestness, simplicity, reverence. On this 
side were exhibited the factitious virtues and revolt- 
ing license inseparable from the unnatural condition 
of celibacy; the sacrifice of every diversion that ren- 
ders health attainable or existence attractive; the 
morose austerity of monastic solitude; the ill-con- 
cealed excesses by which human nature attempts to 
indemnify itself for the restraints imposed by organ- 
ized hypocrisy; the solicited martyrdom of the half- 
crazed zealot; the savage pursuit of infidels and 
schismatics; the sanctified example of ecclesiastical 
ignorance, moral abasement, and physical impurity. 
On the other were the delights of the harem; the 
physical and mental vigor derived from constant 
exercise of the muscular system and the intellectual 
faculties; the benefits arising from the practice of 
frequent ablution; the palatial appointments of the 
public bath; the innumerable conveniences invented 
or adopted by a society ever alert to grasp every new 
idea, to profit by every past experience; the advan- 

216 History of the 

tages of a method of education unparalleled in excel- 
lence and unapproached by even the wisest teachers 
of antiquity; the vast libraries, filled with the stores 
of ancient learning; the lectures of the lyceum; the 
curious experiments of scientific observers ; the enter- 
taining scenes of social festivity; the animated dis- 
putations of learned assemblies. 

The jurisprudence of the orthodox believer was 
basely subservient to the claims of superstition. His 
cause was determined by the uncertain results of ju- 
dicial combat, by the oaths of prejudiced compurga- 
tors, by the frivolous ordeals of water and fire. The 
sectary of Mohammed was tried by the kadi, a magis- 
trate governed by established principles of law, and 
bound by religious as well as by temporal considera- 
tions to an impartial administration of justice. 

When a Christian became ill, attempts were made 
to exorcise the evil spirit to which his sufferings were 
attributed by binding him to the altar, by the invoca- 
tion of saints, by the application of relics and conse- 
crated amulets. The Moslem was conveyed to the 
hospital provided and maintained by royal benefi- 
cence; the cause of his complaint was ascertained; 
and during his stay he received gratuitously the assid- 
uous attentions of the nurse and the intelligent care 
of the surgeon. 

While the priest-ridden peasantry of the Pyrenees 
and the Rhone denounced the Saracen as a foe of God 
and a scourge to humanity, the Christian who lived 
in security under his government, enjoyed his favor, 
shared his hospitality, profited by his instruction, knew 
but too well the calumny of these assertions, and that 
their maligned object exhibited upon occasion all the 
noble attributes of a faithful friend and a brave and 
chivalrous enemy. The dissensions of the Arabs, and 
their ungenerous treatment of those who voluntarily 
embraced their faith, were largely instrumental in pre- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 217 

venting the amalgamation of races, even then far on 
the way towards accompHshment. Had not these 
causes intervened, only a few centuries would prob- 
ably have elapsed before the subject nation, already 
closely united with the predominant caste by the bonds 
of marriage, consanguinity, and interest, by intimate 
mercantile associations, by the powerful influence of 
habits, education, and language, might have become 
thoroughly Mohammedanized. As it was, a greater 
affinity always existed between the Christian vassals 
of the Spanish khalifs and their lords than between 
the members of the several factions of the Arabs 
themselves, whose inextinguishable hatred, the fruit 
of coimtless generations of hostility, eventually com- 
passed the destruction of their empire. 

218 History of the 




State of the Kingdom after the Conquest Superiority of the 
Moors Policy of the Crown Introduction of the Holy 
Office Administration of Talavera His Popularity He is 
superseded by Ximenes The Two Great Spanish Cardinals 
Their Opposite Characters Influence on Their Age 
Violence of Ximenes He burns the Arabic Manuscripts 
Insurrection of the Moriscoes Rout in the Sierra Bermeja 
Bigotry of Isabella The Moors under Charles V. 
Persecution by the Clergy and the Inquisition under Philip 
II. War in the Alp uj arras Ibn-Ommeyah Operations of 
Don John of Austria Removal of the Moors of Granada 
Death of Ibn-Ommeyah Ibn-Abu becomes King Siege of 
Galera Atrocities of the Campaign Fate of Ibn-Abu 
Condition of the Moriscoes in Spain They are Exiled by 
Philip III. Their Sufferings Effect of their Banishment 
upon the Prosperity of the Kingdom. 

The close of the Reconquest left the Spanish mon- 
archy in a condition of physical and financial collapse. 
The maintenance of a great army for ten years, with 
the resultant casualties of battle, exposure, and dis- 
ease, had sensibly diminished the population. The 
treasury had long been depleted. The Queen had 
pawned her jewels to the bankers of Valencia and 
Barcelona. Wealthy subjects had been induced to 
advance funds to the government by methods equiva- 
lent to confiscation, and which held out but slender 
hopes of ultimate reimbursement. National credit 
was practically destroyed. The absence of the more 
industrious citizens in military service, the incorrigible 
idleness of those who remained, had impaired the pur- 
suit of agriculture, upon which the resources of the 

Moorish Empire in Europe 219 

kingdom depended. Had it not been for the taxes 
and extraordinary contributions levied upon the Jew- 
ish and Moslem tributaries, the war could not have 
been prosecuted to a successful conclusion. These 
two sects, which occupied an anomalous position in the 
body politic, numbered over two million. Although 
so inferior in numbers, they engrossed the trade and 
controlled the personal property of the Peninsula. 
The Jew, who practised with enormous profit the con- 
genial but unpopular profession of usury, converted 
his gains into money and jewels. The Mudejar, who, 
after the Conquest, gave place to the Morisco, mind- 
ful of the Koranic precept which inculcates industry 
as a virtue and stigmatizes idleness as a crime, was the 
most laborious and successful of agriculturists, the 
most skilful of artisans. Representatives of these 
two classes directed the operations of the largest mer- 
cantile houses in the principal cities, and the commerce 
of the entire country was practically in their hands. 
Their prosperity was regarded with an evil eye by 
their Castilian masters, and the Moslem was espe- 
cially the object of this animadversion. For genera- 
tions the former had pursued the glorious but brutal- 
izing calling of arms. With them, every occupation 
that implied or necessitated the performance of man- 
ual labor was considered undignified and degrading. 
Centuries of unremitting warfare had impressed upon 
the whole nation a military character, with its inevi- 
table concomitants of pride, tyranny, and insolence; 
and these sentiments were intensified a hundred-fold 
by racial hatred and sectarian prejudice. From the 
earliest times the Moors had been regarded as inter- 
lopers, scarcely entitled to the ordinarily indisputable 
rights of conquest. The acquisition of their domain 
by Spanish prowess was always considered as the re- 
covery of former inalienable possession, not as new 
territory wrested from an adversary by dint of supe- 

220 History of the 

rior strength and valor. The estabhshment of the 
Cathohc faith was, in the opinion of adroit casuists, 
an additional argument in favor of their title, for it 
was held that the consecration of altars to Christianity- 
conferred rights which could never be abrogated 
through occupation by infidels. With the inconsist- 
ency of ignorance, the Castilians asserted their title 
both by inheritance and prescription. They forgot 
that Spain had ever been the rich prize for which 
almost every warlike nation of the ancient world had 
contended. The Visigoths overran and ravaged it in 
the fifth century, and their occupancy, derived solely 
from conquest, lasted three hundred years. Then 
came the Saracens, whose domination, obtained in pre- 
cisely the same manner, required about the same 
length of time for the conquest, but endured for more 
than twice as long. It was evident, therefore, to 
every mind not obscured by prejudice, that the title 
of the Moslems, even from the Spanish point of view, 
was better than that of their conquerors. In more 
than one respect, indeed, had the followers of Moham- 
med claims upon the country of their adoption as well 
as upon the gratitude and admiration of mankind. 
Their industry and enterprise had developed beyond 
all precedent the wonderful resources of the Penin- 
sula. Its prosperity had never been so great, its peo- 
ple so happy, its sovereigns so renowned, as at the 
meridian of the Moslem power. In intellectual at- 
tainments, and the skilful adaptation of scientific 
principles to the practical affairs of life, the subjects 
of the khalifate far surpassed all their contempo- 
raries. The civilization if it is worthy of the name 
which the Saracens overthrew was infinitely inferior 
to the one that they created. The Visigoths had 
scarcely emerged from barbarism. Their monarchs 
attempted to emulate, in their magnificence and lux- 
ury, the brilliant court of the Eastern Empire, and to 

Moorish Empire in Europe 221 

supply, by the splendor and richness of the materials, 
the glaring deficiencies in skill and workmanship 
which characterized the productions of their artisans. 
They never discarded the savage customs engendered 
and perpetuated by ages of violence and injustice. 
Sedentary and industrial occupations were repugnant 
to the genius of a people whose national traditions 
from time immemorial had breathed a spirit of trucu- 
lence and war. And yet, even in their chosen field, 
they at once demonstrated their inferiority to an 
enemy who had hardly completed his apprenticeship 
in arms. 

After the Conquest, the insignificant number of 
Christians saved by the inaccessible fastnesses of the 
Asturias from Mohammedan subjection had little left 
but their swords and their independence. Their pre- 
vious habits had unfitted them for labor. The ungen- 
erous nature of the soil and the severity of the climate 
offered few inducements for tillage. They had, 
therefore, no resource but war by which to maintain 
their existence and repair their broken fortunes. 
Their children were reared in ignorance and under 
conditions favorable to the development of the highest 
degree of ferocity and fanaticism. They were 
taught to regard their enemies as monsters, unworthy 
of the name and attributes of humanity, and having 
nothing in common with the remainder of mankind 
but an erect form and the capacity of speech. In the 
course of time, greater familiarity with their adver- 
saries insensibly produced a change of feeling, and 
many of these absurd and unjust prejudices were 
modified or entirely discarded. Numerous Moham- 
medan customs were adopted, especially by the nobil- 
ity of Castile, whose inherent profligacy especially in- 
clined them to the forbidden and unorthodox license 
of the seraglio. Moslem kings were not infrequently 
appointed arbiters of disputes between Christian 

222 History of the 

princes of the blood. In arms, in manners, in cos- 
tume, in amusements, the despised infidel furnished 
models to the proud and boorish descendants of Pe- 
layus and his mountaineers. Even the language was 
contaminated. Thousands of terms familiar to the 
reader of the Koran were incorporated unchanged 
into its comprehensive vocabulary, and the noble and 
sonorous Castilian idiom remains to-day almost one- 
third Arabic. The system of warfare, the evolutions 
of cavalry, the adoption of lighter armor, all exhibited 
the effect of the pervading Moorish influence. Archi- 
tects from Granada were employed by Castilian mon- 
archs in the construction of palaces, and even by or- 
thodox prelates in the ornamentation of cathedrals. 
It was the custom of many sovereigns in those turbu- 
lent times to intrust their safety to a body-guard of 
Saracen mercenaries, who could neither be intimidated 
nor corrupted. The honors paid to deceased Cas- 
tilian royalty by the Moslems were not inferior to 
those with which the obsequies of the greatest emirs 
were celebrated. The court of Granada went into 
mourning for Ferdinand III., and a guard of Moor- 
ish nobles escorted his remains to the tomb. Henry 
IV. gave audience to ambassadors seated upon a divan 
and supported by cushions, in the traditional Saracen 
fashion. The tilt of reeds and the bull-fight, the ex- 
ercises of the grand arena, which, requiring the great- 
est address and agility, were so popular with the 
Spanish chivalry, superseded the ruder and more 
dangerous exhibitions of the tournament. In innu- 
merable examples, in every phase of the public and 
domestic life of the Christians, the influence of 
Mohammedan association was manifested. It is a 
curious fact, as already stated, that, in spite of this, 
the deep-seated prejudices of the two races, so far 
from being eradicated, were scarcely even perceptibly 
modified. Notwithstanding intermarriages, the for- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 223 

mal and elaborate display of public courtesy, the fre- 
quency of appeals to royal arbitration, the adoption 
of official ceremonials by one people, the voluntary 
solicitation of protection by the other, all appearances 
of amity were fallacious, and a feeling of irrecon- 
cilable hostility constantly prevailed between the two 
races. Both reduced their prisoners to slavery, a con- 
dition which generally imphed the most inhmnan 
treatment. The captives taken by the Castilians were 
branded upon the forehead, a mark of degradation 
which could never be erased; the slaves of the Mos- 
lems were confined in damp and unwholesome dun- 
geons, and compelled to labor daily in the construction 
of mosques and fortifications. It was no unusual oc- 
currence, when a place had provoked the animosity of 
either by an obstinate resistance, for the entire popu- 
lation, irrespective of age or sex, to be ruthlessly put 
to the sword. In the heat of conflict, quarter was sel- 
dom expected. Despite the omnipresent and irre- 
futable evidences of superior knowledge, refinement, 
and culture, the arrogant and conceited Castilians 
always stigmatized their adversaries as barbarians. 
With them, implicit belief in and attachment to the 
Roman Catholic faith was the infallible touchstone 
of civilization. Whatever they did not understand 
they attributed to magic. The mysterious accents of 
the Arabic language, and the intricate manner in 
which its characters were combined in the inscriptions 
which adorned the public edifices, aroused in the minds 
of the ignorant suspicions of sorcery, with its accom- 
paniments of talismans, amulets, charms, and incan- 
tations. The magnificent architectural works of Arab 
genius were attributed to infernal agency, as beyond 
the efforts of unaided human power; an opinion still 
entertained by the Spanish peasantry, who not only 
firmly believe that the Moslem palaces were con- 
structed by evil spirits, but also ascribe the origin of 

224 History of the 

the gigantic, and apparently eternal, monuments of 
classic antiquity to the hands of the devil himself. 

Besides the inveterate prejudices arising from an- 
tagonistic faiths and protracted warfare, other cir- 
cumstances intervened to preclude the fusion of the 
two races after the Conquest. The Spaniard, with 
characteristic pride, asserted the superiority and pre- 
dominance of his race and origin, and the slightest 
suspicion of Moorish blood constituted a blemish 
which no political or militarj'^ distinction was ever able 
to eradicate. The industry of the Mudejares, their 
frugality, their clannishness, the seclusion of their 
women, aroused unfavorable comment among a peo- 
ple whose prejudices associated these practices with 
the name of an hereditary and implacable enemy. It 
had long been a subject of universal complaint that 
the larger proportion of the wealth of the kingdom 
was possessed by these unpopular tributaries. The 
idle Castilian, whose ancestors had for twenty-three 
generations subsisted by rapine, could not regard with 
indifference the plodding industry that conferred 
upon a subjugated and misbelieving race those sub- 
stantial benefits which he had always been taught to 
regard as the birthright of a Christian. It was also 
publicly stated, to the prejudice of the tributary 
Moors, that even when they renounced their faith they 
still adhered to their former laborious habits; that 
none of them ever entered convents or monasteries; 
and that their contributions to the Church were not 
of the value to be expected from the zeal and generos- 
ity of sincere proselytes. Their conversion did not 
bring with it that indulgence and those privileges to 
which their ghostly instructors assured them they 
would be entitled; it did not even confer immunity 
from insult. Until the reign of Henry II. the Mude- 
jares were exempt from the inconvenience of wearing 
a distinctive mark indicative of their social condition, 

Moorish Empire in Europe 225 

which, long before imposed upon the Jews, was justly 
considered a badge of ignominy. After that time, 
however, they were required to wear upon their caps 
and turbans a blue crescent "of the size of an orange," 
which constantly brought upon them the affronts of 
children, and not infrequently the taunts and violence 
of a fanatical populace. In spite of the serious re- 
strictions imposed upon the Mudejares, and the enor- 
mous contributions levied upon their industry, they 
continued to prosper, and at the time of the surrender 
of Granada they were the most valuable subjects of 
the Spanish Crown. Policy, based upon a sense of 
weakness, had long repressed the avarice and envy of 
the Castilian sovereigns in their relations with a class 
whose skill and labor were the principal sources of the 
opulence of the realm. The time had now come when 
all restraint could be cast aside without danger, and 
royal aggression, not only sanctioned but suggested 
and encouraged by ecclesiastical authority, could vio- 
late every obligation, human and divine, that had been 
entered into with a conquered people, whose principal 
crime was their prosperity, and whose independence 
had been voluntarily relinquished under solemn 
treaties which had absolutely guaranteed their per- 
sonal safety and the unmolested exercise of their civil 
and religious rights and privileges. A most pernicious 
maxim, but one entirely consonant with the prevailing 
sentiments of the age, had been recently adopted, 
and declared by the highest ecclesiastical authority 
susceptible of unHmited application. This was that, 
the original conquest of the Peninsula by the Moors 
partaking of the nature of an usurpation, or rather 
of a theft obtained by violence, all treaties or engage- 
ments entered into with the descendants of the in- 
vaders were valid only so long as the Christians chose 
to observe them, as having been dictated by necessity 
and contracted with persons outside the pale of the 

Vol. III. 15 

226 History of the 

law. The peculiar casuistry, which deduced from 
Biblical precedent and the exterminating wars of the 
Jews analogies whose application wrought such havoc 
among the conquered nations of Spain and the New 
World, found no difficulty in the acceptation of the 
broader, and consequently even more atrocious, prin- 
ciple that no faith whatever was to be kept with in- 
fidels. Ecclesiastical ingenuity has never invented 
more potent weapons for the attainment of absolu- 
tism than these two maxims, which, rigorously ap- 
plied, demonstrated their temporary and apparent 
efficacy by the utter extermination of millions of 
nominal enemies of the Spanish monarchy. 

By the union of Castile and Aragon and the Con- 
quest of Granada national unity had been secured; 
it now remained to place the religious establishment 
of the kingdom upon the same advantageous footing. 
The Inquisition, an engine of tremendous power, 
whose operations were attended by the most gratify- 
ing results, had, for more than two centuries, been 
employed in subduing recalcitrant heretics, procuring 
conversions, and replenishing the exhausted coffers 
of Church and State. First introduced into Aragon 
from France, its efforts were mainly directed against 
the Jews, whose wealth had brought upon them a con- 
venient suspicion of heresy. The main objects of the 
Inquisition were in reality secular and political. That 
hideous institution aimed at the establishment of un- 
questioned sovereignty by the instruments of perse- 
cution. Religious dogmas, while nominally of vital 
importance in its procedure, were but pretexts by 
which the clergy, and indirectly the orthodox monarch, 
profited in the acquirement and consolidation of irre- 
sponsible authority. The stiffing of human thought, 
the suppression of every branch of knowledge, the 
prohibition of the exercise of private judgment, the 
infinite multiplication of offences against religion, the 

Moorish Empire in Europe 227 

minute gradation of penances, many of them of bar- 
barous and incredible severity, were all means to the 
accomplishment of one base and ignoble end. The 
theological aspect of the Inquisition has engrossed the 
attention of historians to the exclusion of its genuine 
but concealed objects. That the punishment of heresy 
was not the real mission of its tribunal is proved by 
the fact that its sentences were frequently suspended, 
commuted, or abrogated by the sovereign, conditional 
on the payment of money. The rich were the especial 
objects of its hostility; the denunciation of a wealthy 
person was equivalent to conviction ; and if a Hebrew 
or a Moslem, he could hardly escape the extreme pen- 
alty. The mystery of its organization, its unexpected 
arrests, its secret procedure, its frightful dungeons, 
the fiendish cruelty of the tortures it inflicted, and the 
atrocities of its public exhibitions which partook of 
the nature of religious festivals, and, with shocking 
inconsistency, were supposed to be devoted to popular 
recreation struck terror into every community and 
every family. 

The successful prosecution of heresy by the Inquisi- 
tion, as well as the financial advantages it promised, 
and the increase of ecclesiastical and royal power 
which followed its estabhshment, appealed forcibly 
to the bigoted and arbitrary mind of the Spanish 
Queen. Not so, however, with Ferdinand, whose ex- 
perience with that dread tribunal had caused him to 
regard its operations with disfavor, and who had ren- 
dered his orthodoxy liable to suspicion by intrusting 
to Jewish bankers the administration of the finances 
of the Crown of Aragon. His remonstrances were, 
however, unheeded by his obstinate and despotic con- 
sort. The Kingdom of Castile had alwaj^s enjoyed 
an unquestioned preponderance of authority and pres- 
tige in the affairs of the Peninsula. The compact 
which consolidated the two great realms into one em- 

228 History of the 

pire expressly conferred upon Isabella the exclusive 
control of all matters relating to ecclesiastical juris- 
diction. The right of presentation to benefices long 
asserted by Castilian princes as a royal prerogative, 
and whose exercise, denounced by the Papacy as an 
usurpation, had repeatedly brought upon them the 
censures of the Holy See invested the Queen with a 
power of vast and indefinable extent over the mem- 
bers of the Roman Catholic hierarchy, who owed their 
offices to her generosity, and whose revenues were 
largely dispensed in accordance with her advice. Her 
policy and her apparent interest induced her, there- 
fore, to consent to the introduction of the Holy Office ; 
and its tribunal was established at Cordova, under the 
direction of Tomas de Torquemada, first Inquisitor- 
General of the kingdom, a name of awful prominence 
in the history of Spanish persecution. 

The capitulation of Granada had been concluded 
with every indication of sincerity, and with the most 
solemn assurances with which it is possible to invest 
the provisions and confirm the faith of treaties. The 
unsuspecting Moslems did not long remain in igno- 
rance of the duplicity of their conquerors. Excesses 
were publicly committed by licentious cavaliers, who, 
instead of undergoing the penalty of death adjudged 
for such offences, escaped with a gentle reprimand, 
and were even conspicuously distinguished by the 
favor of their royal mistress. The seclusion of domes- 
tic life, so jealously guarded by Mohammedan cus- 
tom, was unceremoniously invaded upon the most 
frivolous pretexts by the rude and insolent soldiery. 
The mosques, whose possession had been especially 
guaranteed by the articles of the treaty, were one 
after another seized and consecrated to the Christian 
worship. For these flagrant breaches of trust, the 
stupid and remorseless bigotry of Isabella was largely 
responsible. The city had hardly passed into the 

Moorish Empire in Europe 229 

hands of the conquerors, before the advisability of 
forcible conversion began to be seriously discussed, 
and the Queen listened with pleasure to suggestions 
of indiscriminate and compulsory baptism. The ef- 
forts of priestly avarice and intolerance, secure in the 
royal support, began to encroach more and more upon 
the acknowledged rights of these unfortunate victims 
of persecution, until a revolution broke out, which 
threatened the integrity of the newly acquired domin- 
ions, and required the entire resources of the kingdom 
to suppress it. The government of Granada had been 
left in the hands of three men, whose excellent quali- 
fications, previous experience, and inborn sense of jus- 
tice rendered them eminently qualified for the difficult 
task to which they had been assigned. The famous 
Count of Tendilla was appointed Captain-General of 
the province. The interests of the Church were com- 
mitted to Hernando de Talavera, Archbishop of Gra- 
nada, a prelate in whose mind fanaticism never at- 
tained predominance over the noble impulses which 
assert the dignity of human nature ; and whose liber- 
ality, rare in his age and profession, never refused 
indulgence and compassion to those of different blood 
or hostile faith. To these two representatives of royal 
and ecclesiastical authority was added as an adviser, 
and an interpreter of the treaty of capitulation, which 
he himself had drafted, Hernando de Zaf ra, secretary 
of the Catholic sovereigns, a man of talent, intelli- 
gence, and spotless integrity, who enjoyed the confi- 
dence of his superiors, and who, while conspicuously 
devout, was far less tinctured with the prejudices of 
the time than his theological education and previous 
associations would seem to imply. 

Under the administration of these three dignitaries, 
the territory of Granada once more assumed an ap- 
pearance of prosperity. Their probity won the confi- 
dence of the Moors, which had been shaken by the 

230 History of the 

arbitrary and indefensible proceedings following the 
surrender. The capital, fallen into neglect and decay 
during years of insurrection and war, was repaired; 
new streets were opened, sanitary regulations were 
enforced, the markets were again crowded with 
traders ; the Vega, long the scene of desolation, began 
to blossom once more under the patient hands of the 
industrious laborer. While a high sense of honor and 
an unusual diplomatic tact obtained for the Count of 
Tendilla the respect of his dependents, it was upon 
the disposition of the Archbishop that the security of 
the government and the pacification of the Moslems 
principally depended. The fii'st great difficulty was, 
in reality, not with the latter, but with the Christian 
colonists, who had received, in recompense for real or 
fictitious services, establishments in the city, and whose 
licentious conduct provoked the animosity of the van- 
quished, and rendered the streets unsafe at night for 
w^ayfarers of every description. 

The conduct of the Archbishop was beyond all 
praise. He endeavored by every conceivable means 
to improve the condition of his diocese, to revive de- 
caying industry, and to promote the friendly relations 
of the two races whose previous traditions made com- 
plete fusion impossible. He dispensed at all times 
the most unbounded and discerning charity. He 
caused public works to be inaugurated, by which the 
needy poor were provided with employment. His 
apostolic zeal never stooped to the violence of perse- 
cution; his appeals were made to reason alone; and 
his subordinates, for the effectual performance of 
their duties, were compelled to learn the Arabic lan- 
guage, in which he himself, although far advanced in 
years, became sufficiently proficient to employ it suc- 
cessfully for the noble purposes of religious instruc- 
tion. From the printing-presses, established by his 
munificence, issued sumptuous volumes printed in 

Moorish Empire in Europe 23l 

Castilian and Arabic, whose perusal might not only 
arouse the interest of old believer and recent prose- 
lyte, but could not fail to alike confirm the faith and 
facilitate the intercourse of both Christian and Mos- 
lem. Under his direction schools were founded ; rit- 
uals and works embodying the doctrines and discipline 
of the Church translated; and regular conferences 
organized, wherein, at stated intervals, the compara- 
tive merits of the Christian and Mohammedan creeds 
were publicly discussed by learned theologians of both 

This excellent prelate, whose virtues are the more 
conspicuous and admirable when contrasted with the 
generally dissolute character of the ecclesiastics of the 
Spanish court, voluntarily renounced the larger por- 
tion of the emoluments of his office, reserving only 
what was sufficient for his immediate necessities, and 
dispensing with the pomp which the dignitaries of 
the hierarchy were accustomed to assume in the ex- 
ercise of their calling. Two hundred and fifty per- 
sons shared daily the hospitality of his table; his 
bounty was enjoyed ahke by officials of the highest 
rank, by Moors of every degree, by pilgrims and trav- 
ellers soliciting alms. In his visits to the sick and the 
unfortunate he permanently impaired his health. 
Recognizing the importance of a consistent example, 
he instituted extensive reforms among the clergy. 
Their luxury was repressed, their intemperate zeal 
restrained, the systematic observance of their duties 
compelled, and those vices which had long been the 
scandal of the pious were either entirely checked, or, 
driven from public view, were forced into seclusion 
for their indulgence. In every possible manner he 
attempted to relieve the oppressive burdens imposed 
upon his parishioners by the fiscal regulations. His 
notaries were forbidden to collect the fees, which 
formed an important part of the revenues of the 

232 History of the 

archiepiscopal see. He interposed his authority to 
prevent illegal and oppressive exactions by the tax- 
collectors. In his sermons, and by the exertion of his 
authority, he discouraged the practice of professional 
mendicity, the scourge and the disgrace of both Cath- 
olic and Mussulman countries. 

With the secular and the ecclesiastical power vested 
in the hands of such men as the Count of Tendilla and 
Hernando de Talavera, the greatest results could not 
fail of accomplishment. The manners of the Span- 
iards were insensibly reformed. Such was the public 
tranquillity, that a mere handful of soldiers sufficed 
for the garrison of the Alhambra and the guard of 
the captain-general. The pious and unselfish example 
of the Archbishop soon bore fruit. Great numbers 
of Moors voluntarily signified their desire to become 
Christians. In one day three thousand were baptized, 
not one of whom ever afterwards recanted. These 
conversions were not obtained through suggestions of 
temporal advantage or the influence of fear; nor were 
the proselytes admitted to communion without pre- 
vious instruction in the doctrines they were expected 
to profess or the duties they would be required to per- 
form. The affection and respect of the Moslems for 
their instructor and friend were unbounded. They 
called him the " Holy Faqui of the Christians." The 
churches were found unable to accommodate the in- 
creasing numbers of converts, and altars and pulpits 
were erected in the three principal squares of the city ; 
the nightly brawls excited by the turbulent soldiers of 
fortune, domiciled by the Conquest in the Moorish 
capital, became more and more infrequent; a sense 
of security began to prevail in the community; the 
relations of noble and vassal were modified, to the 
decided advantage of the latter; ancient prejudices, 
confirmed by the enmity of centuries, were softened; 
and the political union of the two peoples, which could 

Moorish Empire in Europe 233 

only be effected by a just and conciliatory policy, and 
upon which, in fact, depended the future prosperity 
of the Peninsula, seemed at length to offer a flatter- 
ing prospect of realization. 

Under these favorable auspices, for the space of 
several years, order, tranquillity, and contentment 
reigned in Granada. The courteous and equitable, 
but firm, administration of the governor; the blame- 
less life, the humble piety, the sympathetic interest of 
the Archbishop had awakened the love and compelled 
the obedience of the tributary Moslems, who com- 
pared with wonder and gratification the operation of 
a system of kindness and justice with the arbitrary 
and violent measures of the despotism to which they 
had heretofore always been accustomed. During that 
period many important and tragic events transpired. 
Al-Zagal, oppressed with years and calamities and 
broken in spirit, had gone into voluntary exile. Boab- 
dil, by means of an ignoble and treacherous device, 
whose adoption was alike unworthy of a monarch and 
a Christian, had been deprived of the principality for 
which he had bartered his crown and forced to retire 
into Africa. Every important provision of the capit- 
ulation had been repeatedly violated, and only the tact 
of those who controlled the government of Granada 
had prevented the most serious consequences. The 
Jews, under circumstances of unspeakable cruelty, 
had been expelled from the kingdom. In the hier- 
archy changes had taken place which boded no good 
to the heretic and the suspected apostate. Cardinal 
Mendoza, Primate of Spain, had died, and Francisco 
Ximenes de Cisneros, a Franciscan friar and the con- 
fessor of the Queen, had been promoted to that ex- 
alted dignity, whose power and emoluments rivalled 
those of the crown. The life, the associations, the 
studies of this man had developed a mind whose feel- 
ings were in perfect accordance with the narrow and 

234 History of the 

intolerant spirit of the age. Without indulgence for 
the inherent weakness of human nature, without pa- 
tience to await the eiFect of the deliberate and rational 
methods of discussion which promote religious convic- 
tion, absolutely devoid of generosity, of tenderness, of 
sympathy, he regarded unquestioning obedience to the 
Church as the most imperative of all obligations and 
mortification of the flesh as the most meritorious of 
virtues. He had recently secured the appointment of 
Diego de Deza, one of his creatures, to the place of 
Inquisitor-General, which gave him absolute control 
of the operations of the Holy Office. 

The characters of the two great churchmen who in 
succession dictated the policy of the crown, though 
widely diff'erent in many respects, in general faith- 
fully represent the prevalent ideas and aspirations of 
every class of society in the kingdom. The aim of 
both was religious unity, which during the long cru- 
sade against the infidel had usurped the place and de- 
preciated the worth of patriotism. Both governed the 
sovereign, and with the sovereign the monarchy. 
Both filled the highest ecclesiastical office in the Penin- 
sula, an office second in dignity and power only to the 
Papacy. Both were zealous patrons of the Inquisi- 
tion. One recommended the expulsion of the Jews. 
The other inaugurated the persecution of the Moris- 
coes. Both commanded armies. Both founded insti- 
tutions of learning. Both were regarded at Rome as 
the most valuable servants of the Holy See. Here, 
however, all resemblance ends. Mendoza belonged to 
the haughtiest of the Castilian aristocracy; he traced 
his lineage in a direct line to Roman patricians on one 
side and to the Gothic Dukes of Cantabria on the 
other ; the Cid was his ancestor, as were also the Lords 
of Biscay; the blood of royalty coursed in his veins; 
he was the cousin of Ferdinand and Isabella ; he was 
nearly related to the princely house of Infantado, 

Moorish Empire in Europe 235 

whose duke took precedence of all Spanish grandees ; 
more than seventy titles of nobility were in his family, 
which was the first in the Peninsula and one of the 
most celebrated in Europe. 

Ximenes sprang from the people. His ancestry, 
while respectable and deserving recognition as of the 
hidalgo class, was not noble. He renounced his bap- 
tismal name for that of the founder of his order, the 
Franciscans. He had no relatives, a fact which after- 
wards obtained for him the Regency. 

The dignities of Mendoza were the most eminent in 
the hierarchy and the kingdom, and were all conferred 
before he had reached the meridian of life. He was 
Bishop of Calahorra and Siguenza, Archbishop of 
Seville and Toledo, Primate of Spain, a Prince of the 
Church, Patriarch of Alexandria, Legate of the 
Pope. He became Chancellor of Castile. He was 
appointed Captain-General under both Henry IV. 
and Isabella. He was most prominent in all the 
events of the civil and the Moorish wars. He won the 
battle of Olmedo for Juan II. He defeated the King 
of Portugal on the field of Toro. At twenty-foui* 
he was practically minister of state. At sixty-four 
he planned the last campaign before Granada as com- 
mander-in-chief of the besieging army. His hands 
raised upon the Tower of Comares the archiepiscopal 
cross of his diocese, the symbol of Christian suprem- 
acy and ecclesiastical power. 

In habits, tastes, demeanor, and personal appear- 
ance a marked contrast existed between the two most 
famous prelates of the fifteenth century. Mendoza 
was epicurean, Ximenes ascetic. The table of the 
Great Cardinal was furnished with every luxury. 
His garments were of the finest quality, as befitted 
his rank. Jewels sparkled upon his fingers. His 
cleanliness excited the wonder and often the disappro- 
bation of the pious, as savoring of heresy. None but 

236 History of the 

youths of distinguished birth were admitted to his 
household. His morals partook of the laxity of the 
time. The ladies honored with his attentions were 
members of the aristocracy, daughters of noble 
houses, maids of honor to the Queen. His three sons 
were legitimatized by Pope Innocent VIII. in 1486 
and by Isabella in 1487. Through their matrimonial 
connections, the blood of this famous ecclesiastical 
grandee has been mingled with that of many of the 
proudest families of Castile. 

While the promotion of Mendoza to the highest 
offices of Church and State was due partly to his illus- 
trious ancestry and partly to his eminent talents, that 
of Ximenes was derived entirely from his reputation 
for piety and wisdom. Honors were hterally thrust 
upon him. With real or affected humility, he at- 
tempted to evade the search and disobey the commands 
of those who wished to raise him to absolute power. 
He loudly protested his unworthiness. He declared 
his preference for the duties and the seclusion of a 
private station. Even while at the height of his great- 
ness, he never abandoned the habits of the monastery. 
He carried into the splendid archiepiscopal see of To- 
ledo, the highest post in the ecclesiastical system of 
Europe, the practices of the penitent and the anchor- 
ite. Under his cardinal's robes of scarlet and gold 
he wore constantly the cowl and knotted girdle of the 
Franciscan friars. A haircloth shirt, which was never 
changed, irritated his flesh. His diet was frugal to 
excess. " He only ate enough," says his biographer, 
" to sustain the little life that penance had left him." 
His food consisted principally of herbs, his only drink 
was water. His virtue was impregnable, even St. 
Anthony himself might have envied him his constancy 
under temptation. To him was never imputed the re- 
proach of frequent ablution, the stigma of the Mos- 
lem heretic. The constant use of a haircloth under- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 237 

garment, while not conducive to personal purity, is 
readily productive of those physical conditions which, 
in the Middle Ages, were almost infallible signs of a 
good Christian. 

The early life of Mendoza was passed amidst the 
atmosphere of the most dignified and punctilious 
court in Europe. His experience from boyhood fitted 
him for any service to which he might be assigned by 
the order of his king. He was thoroughly familiar 
with the arts of diplomacy. He had led his vassals in 
many a bloody encounter. With the skill of a suc- 
cessful general he had directed the movements of 
large bodies of troops in action. In every conflict he 
had fearlessly exposed himself to danger. He was 
indulgent to the faults of his ecclesiastical inferiors. 
For the glory of the Church he built and endowed the 
College of Valladolid. The Hospital of Santa Cruz 
at Toledo was a superb monument to his munificence. 
He expended great sums in charity. The debasing 
vice of bigotry was far from dominating his character. 

The person of Mendoza was tall, erect, and com- 
manding ; his features handsome ; his bearing that of 
a soldier and a gentleman; his manners affable and 
unaffected; in all respects he was the model of dig- 
nity, of gentleness, and of courtesy. His influence in 
the government was so great that he was everywhere 
known as " The Third King of Spain." It was said 
of him as of Csesar, " Quicquid volebat, valde vole- 

Ximenes brought to the management of a great 
empire none of that familiarity with public affairs so 
essential to the statesman. His life had been bounded 
by the narrow horizon of the cloister. His reading 
had been confined to the homilies and polemics of the 
Fathers. At the assault of Oran, instead of leading 
his troops, he retired to pray in his tent. The univer- 
sity he established at Alcala, as a rival to that of Sala- 

238 History or the 

manca, was far from realizing his hopes. His ap- 
pearance disclosed his obscure lineage and his plebeian 
associations. His form was bent, his face emaciated, 
his manners shy and awkward. He possessed none of 
that winning grace which is the common birthright of 
his countrymen. In the administration of his office he 
was arbitrary and irascible. His obstinacy was only 
exceeded by the severity with which he enforced his 
decrees; his pursuit of heresy and monastic license, 
only by the vigor with which he encountered and 
crushed all opposition. His reputation for ability, for 
learning, for sanctity, for every attribute that evokes 
the admiring applause of mankind, far surpassed that 
of his predecessor among all ranks of his contempo- 

Such were the two churchmen, both of whom had 
obtained the finest education afforded by their age and 
country ; both founders of great colleges ; both gifted 
with extraordinary talents ; both clothed with despotic 
power ; to whose agency is to be principally attributed 
the absolute annihilation of Jewish and Moslem sci- 
ence and literature in the Spanish Peninsula. 

It is impossible for us at this distance of time to 
fully appreciate the enormous influence wielded by 
a prelate who dispensed the wealth and patronage of 
the ecclesiastical establishment of the Spanish mon- 
archy. His capacity for good or evil was practically 
unlimited. He was the keeper of the royal conscience. 
The sentiments of every community, the decision of 
important questions of diplomacy, the adoption of 
measures vital to the permanence of national exist- 
ence, the prosecution of war, the negotiation of peace, 
all depended upon the opinions and advice which ema- 
nated from the throne of the metropolitan see of 
Toledo. When to the prestige and revenues of the 
primacy were added the mysterious procedure and 
dreadful energy of the Inquisition, the formidable 

MooEiSH Empire in Europe 239 

character of the power possessed by Ximenes may be 
conjectured. His will was law in every parish in the 
kingdom. Through the fears and mistaken devotion 
of a superstitious queen he was already the virtual 
ruler of Castile. His zeal was the more dangerous 
from the fact that it was sincere; no element of 
hypocrisy discredited the motives or impaired the 
supremacy of this uncompromising fanatic. The 
sweeping reforms he instituted among the clergy, and 
the rigor with which all disobedience was punished, 
awakened the resentment of every ecclesiastic whose 
lax morality or religious indifference had rendered 
him the object of official admonition or discipline. 
Those who appealed to the Pope were thrown into 
prison. Petitions for indulgence were treated with 
contempt. Remonstrances were chastised by sus- 
pension from functions and deprivation of benefices. 
The energy of his measures, the rudeness of his man- 
ners, the arbitrary, almost brutal, defiance of prece- 
dent and custom with which he treated his inferiors, 
his well-known control over the infamous tribunal 
whose public sacrifices in the name of religious unity 
had already terrorized the kingdom, his incorrupti- 
bility and self -mortification, invested the office of 
Ximenes with more than imperial authority. Isabella 
congratulated herself on her discernment. Her pious 
ambition was excited. In the hands of this active 
prelate the Moors of Granada might be speedily 
Christianized. The slow and pacific methods of Tala- 
vera had frequently aroused the displeasure and in- 
voked the censures of the impatient Queen. Her 
partiality for the eccentric and determined church- 
man whose enforcement of long-neglected monastic 
regulations and whose condemnation of the luxurious 
habits of his subordinates had procured for him the 
open homage and secret execration of bishop and friar 
alike, whose inflexible decision, whose disregard of 

240 History of the 

humanity and justice whenever he conceived the in- 
terests of the Church were involved, rendered him so 
offensively conspicuous, suggested him at once as a 
pre-eminently suitable instrument for the extermina- 
tion of Moslem heresy and the rapid propagation of 
the Faith. He was, therefore, ordered to Granada, 
nominally as the adviser of Talavera in the work of 
spiritual regeneration, with the secret understanding, 
however, that his superior rank would exempt him 
from even the apparent exercise of official duties in 
a subordinate capacity. His first step, and one of 
which it is scarcely possible that Isabella could have 
been ignorant, was to procure a formal authorization 
from the Holy Office to investigate and punish the 
crime of heresy. 

Armed with this document, and confident in the 
support of the Queen, Ximenes arrived at Granada 
in October, 1499. His conduct from the beginning 
was marked by unflinching audacity and resolution. 
The prestige of his dignity and the arrogance of his 
manners at once overawed the gentle Archbishop, 
who, renouncing the means which had achieved such 
great success, henceforth abandoned himself blindly 
to the merciless impulses of his distinguished supe- 
rior. The latter was not long in profiting by the 
ascendency he had obtained. He claimed for himself 
supreme and dictatorial authority in matters not only 
ecclesiastical, but in questions often affecting the 
jurisdiction of the civil power. His first measures 
evinced none of the unrelenting severity of the in- 
quisitor ; they were corrupt, politic, conciliato^J^ The 
faquis and santons, whose influence with their coun- 
trymen was supposed to be the greatest and whose 
mercenary character had been notorious in the evil 
days preceding the surrender, were enlisted in the 
service of conversion by magnificent gifts of silken 
garments, jewels, and gold. With their zeal quick- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 241 

ened by these potent arguments, the new missionaries 
had no difficulty in securing multitudes of proselytes. 
Their ardor was further stimulated by forcible repre- 
sentations of the inconveniences and trials which 
would inevitably be visited upon all who persisted in 
their adherence to error. Great emulation was ex- 
cited by these extraordinary inducements to Moham- 
medan apostasy; each faqui reckoned with pride the 
number of converts he had conducted to the altar; the 
unprincipled populace welcomed, with feigned and 
interested enthusiasm, a religious compliance pur- 
chased with the mammon of unrighteousness; the 
Great Mosque of the Albaycin in which quarter the 
Moors had, by a highly impolitic decree, been con- 
centrated after the Conquest was consecrated to 
Christianity, and within its precincts more than four 
thousand alleged penitents received the rite of bap- 
tism. This ceremony was effected without previous 
examination or instruction; and the candidates were 
equally ignorant of their duties and of the dreadful 
consequences involved in the sin of recantation. From 
that moment their moral responsibility was fixed. No 
excuse could be pleaded for the unconscious mainten- 
ance of heretical opinions or even for involuntary in- 
fractions of ecclesiastical discipline; the voice of the 
informer was ever ready to denounce, the hand of 
the inquisitor to punish. 

This triumph of the Faith, while exceedingly 
gratifying, was proportionately expensive. The en- 
tire available revenues of the See of Toledo, amount- 
ing to seventy thousand ducats, were expended in its 
accomplishment. Even this great sum proved insuffi- 
cient, and Ximenes was forced to pledge his private 
credit to appease the demands of the crowd of mer- 
cenary sycophants and spurious converts who claimed 
the reward of their abasement and dishonor. Among 
the sincere disciples of the Prophet, and there were 

Vol. III. 16 

242 History of the 

many in Granada, the course of their perfidious 
brethren was regarded with unconcealed abhorrence. 
The more earnest and devout of these endeavored to 
counteract the growing inclination to religious defec- 
tion by public exhortations and remonstrances. It 
was not in the imperious nature of the Primate to 
brook such opposition. The offending faquis were 
thrown into prison. History has not revealed the na- 
ture of the arguments employed to shake their con- 
stancy, but the persecuted Moslems were evidently 
not of the stuff of which martyrs and saints are made. 
One after another recanted and were baptized ; many 
of their fellow-sectaries profited by their example; 
resistance was for the time effectually suppressed; 
and Ximenes pursued, without molestation, his favor- 
ite and inexorable method of wholesale conversion. 
To his narrow and arbitrary mind the employment 
of the most radical measures seemed to promise 
the greatest assurances of success. In the further- 
ance of this idea, and with a view to eradicating the 
apparent cause of the evil, he now planned what he 
considered a master-stroke of policy. Without pre- 
vious notice, a diligent search was made of every 
house throughout the entire city, and every manuscript 
in the Arabic language which could be found was 
seized. The number thus secured amounted to nearly 
a million. Among them were not only superb copies 
of the Koran, but relics of the great Ommeyade body 
of literature, which had been the pride of the imperial 
court of Cordova, and had been cherished as priceless 
through many generations ; the contents of the public 
libraries, whose preservation and increase had been the 
especial care of the enlightened Alhamares ; treatises 
on history and science, which described the events and 
pictured the intellectual advancement of what had 
been the most learned and polished of nations; and 
the literary treasures of every scholar and philosopher 

Moorish Empire in Europe 243 

in the capital. The works on chemistry, botany, as- 
tronomy, and medicine, subjects which had always 
engaged the diligent curiosity of the Spanish Arab, 
predominated. There, too, were doubtless to be found 
many translations of the classics, inheritances from 
the Grecian school of Alexandria, henceforth for- 
ever lost, which had found their way into the Penin- 
sula from the distant banks of the Nile. These vol- 
umes exhibited in the beauty of their calligraphy and 
the magnificence of their adornment all the pomp, the 
pride, the luxury, of Saracen art. Beautiful ara- 
besques in gold, silver, and many colors, embellished 
pages written with a delicacy and regularity which 
equalled that of the finest type. The bindings were 
of inlaid leather ; some were embroidered ; others were 
incrusted with tortoise-shell, mother-of-pearl, ivory, 
and jewels; the clasps were of solid gold. All of 
these inestimable stores of learning were heaped in 
one immense pile in the centre of the Plaza de la Bab- 
al-Rambla, set on fire, and consumed. The impor- 
tance of this sacrifice to bigotry may be inferred from 
the fact that there was probably in the entire world 
no collection of equal extent and value as that de- 
stroyed by Ximenes in this historic square, where, in 
the time of the emirs, national festivals had been cele- 
brated, and the emulation of distinguished warriors 
in the martial sports of the tournament excited by 
the presence of the beauty and the gallantry of the 
Moslem court; where the differences of Castilian 
princes had been settled by a chivalric appeal to arms ; 
where cultured audiences had witnessed the friendly 
rivalry of Moorish poets and troubadours, and the re- 
ward of the victor had been bestowed by the hand of 
royalty, all little suspecting that on the scene of their 
pleasures would one day be exhibited such a melan- 
choly spectacle. 

The pecuniary loss entailed by this vandalism was 

244 History of the 

of itself immense, but the destructive effect it pro- 
duced upon society was incalculable. By it perished 
unique literary monuments which it was impossible to 
replace; it offered a premium upon ignorance, for 
through such deeds alone was the favor of the all- 
powerful sacerdotal order to be secured; it discour- 
aged learning to such a degree that from that time 
forth no JVIoslem writer of distinction appeared to 
illustrate the annals or depict the manners of his race; 
and it annihilated in a single hour the precious accu- 
mulation of ages, from which the modern historian 
might have collected data relative to Moorish civili- 
zation elsewhere unattainable in the world of letters. 
The intellectual degradation resulting from this in- 
tolerant act of Ximenes was most deplorable. All 
knowledge was thereafter filtered through the narrow 
channels of ecclesiastical inspection and thoroughly 
cleansed of every suspicion of heresy ; the missal and 
the breviary supplanted the works of Arabic annalists 
and philosophers; and the enduring results of this 
crime against learning and of its pernicious example 
are still apparent in the remarkably illiterate and 
fanatical character of the inhabitants of Granada. 
Three hundred volumes on the science of medicine 
were saved from the flames, for the library of the 
University of Alcala; but no entreaties or remon- 
strances from his companions could move the fero- 
cious bigot to exempt from the sacrifice volumes- 
whose jewelled covers and clasps of gold represented 
in themselves a princely fortune. 

The destruction of Arabic manuscripts was the first 
step towards the employment of violence. With 
characteristic energy, the Primate availed himself 
of the authority with which he had been armed by the 
Holy Office. Persons suspected of heresy were sum- 
marily seized, imprisoned, tortured; and those who 
for the moment escaped experienced all the indignities 

Moorish Empire in Europe 245 

which could be inflicted by the hands of ecclesiastical 
malice strengthened by boundless power. These 
outrages, and the repeated violation of the rights 
granted in their treaty with the crown, aroused the 
populace to desperation; and the arrest of a widow, 
whose wealth had attracted the cupidity of the authori- 
ties, was the signal for a dangerous revolt. The gates 
of the Albaycin were closed and guarded. The streets 
were barricaded. The towers were occupied, and 
Ximenes, whom the indignant threats of the people 
openly devoted to death, was besieged by an armed 
multitude in his palace, from which perilous situation 
he was with difficulty released by the Count of Ten- 
dilla. The news of the insurrection called down upon 
the tyrannical prelate the wrath of his sovereigns, but 
the singular credit he enjoyed and the vast influence 
he was able to wield soon restored him to royal favor. 
It was now resolved to carry matters to extremes, 
and the choice of baptism or death was ofl'ered to the 
Moors, whose rebellion, although provoked by the op- 
pression of their masters, was declared to have caused 
a forfeiture of all their privileges. The disafl'ection 
spread rapidly to the provinces ; the mountaineers of 
the Alpuj arras and the adjacent rugged country, 
which were the resorts of bands of desperate outlaws 
who entertained intimate relations with the Barbary 
corsairs, became involved ; and the Catholic monarchs, 
so far from the religious triumph which they had 
anticipated, saw themselves suddenly confronted by 
a war which promised to assume formidable propor- 
tions. Space will not permit a detailed description of 
the repeated insurrections and final subjugation of 
the Moriscoes, and only the more important events of 
that memorable struggle can be touched upon. The 
mountain ranges of Southern Spain were admirably 
adapted to the desultory tactics in which they excelled, 
and the prolongation of the struggle was the natural 

246 History of the 

consequence of the difficulties of the ground, of the 
boldness and activity of the insurgents, of the inca- 
pacity of the Castilian commanders, and of the pro- 
verbial want of discipline and fatal recklessness of 
the Christian soldiery. The general disarmament of 
the Moors had deprived them of the greater part 
of their weapons, but this disadvantage v/as eventually 
repaired by the spoils of battle and by the enterprise 
of Aragonese and Castilian traders, who, undismayed 
by the prospect of detection and punishment, were 
always ready, for an extravagant compensation, to 
furnish the enemies of their king with arms of the 
most approved pattern and workmanship. The oper- 
ations of the contending forces were prosecuted with 
a cruelty hitherto unknown, even in the bloody annals 
of the Peninsula; and the ultimate triumph of the 
Spaniards was signalized by acts of such merciless 
vengeance that the foreign soldiers of fortune, enlisted 
for plunder and long seasoned by bloodshed, were ap- 
palled by their dreadful atrocity. The massacre of 
the population of a place taken by storm was the rule 
and not the exception; the wounded remaining on 
fields of battle were exterminated; prisoners were 
subjected to horrible tortures; every crime suggested 
by the incentives of lust, rapine, and hereditary aver- 
sion was perpetrated; and the most desirable fate of 
a captive was to be consigned for life to the tyranny 
of an unfeeling master dominated by every vice, in- 
accessible to mercy, and unrestrained by any law either 
of God or man. 

An army of nearly a hundred thousand men assem- 
bled, at the summons of the Spanish sovereigns, for 
the suppression of the insurrection, at Alliendin near 
Granada. Formidable in numbers alone, this great 
host was composed of materials very different from 
the soldiery that had achieved the Conquest. It was 
indifferently equipped, unorganized, and absolutely 

Moorish Empire in Europe 247 

deficient in discipline. The flower of the Castilian 
youth, inspired by the discoveries of Columbus, had 
sought new scenes of adventure on the shores of mys- 
terious lands beyond the ocean. Commercial pursuits 
had weakened the military spirit; a peace of many 
years had impaired the energy of the nation and inca- 
pacitated, for the exposure of a perilous service, a 
people who had been reared and nurtured amidst the 
din of arms. The blessings of internal tranquillity, 
almost forgotten in the conflict of centuries, had once 
more permitted the unmolested exercise of the me- 
chanical arts and the practice of agricultural industry. 
The better class of citizens, in the full enjoyment of 
security, were loath to resume, for the sake of a re- 
ligious principle, whose enforcement promised much 
danger and trifling advantage, the hazards of the un- 
certain game of war. The army was therefore mainly 
composed of the retainers and vassals of the nobility, 
whose duty required their presence, and an innumer- 
able horde of penniless adventurers, who sought, in 
the excitements and vicissitudes of a campaign against 
the infidel, an opportunity for the improvement of 
their desperate fortunes. Aided by a smaller force 
operating from Almeria, the rebellion was, after some 
fighting and much cruel retaliation, put down; the 
insurgents, impelled by the promise of immunity or 
the menace of death, consented to embrace the Cath- 
olic faith ; the ancient chroniclers relate with becoming 
pride that during a single day ten thousand proselytes 
were baptized in the Sierra de Filabres alone; and 
through material inducements, or from the contagion 
of example, the inhabitants of Baza and Guadix, of 
the Alpuj arras, and of the mountain regions to the 
south as far as the sea, were reckoned among those 
who acknowledged the authority of the Church and 
accepted the doctrines of Christianity. 

With the advent of the sixteenth century, a royal 

248 History of the 

decree was promulgated, establishing at Granada the 
same civil jurisdiction which obtained in the other pro- 
vincial capitals of the kingdom. The magistracy was 
nominally divided between the Spaniards and the 
Moors, but the equality was only apparent, and the 
preponderance of power virtually remained with the 
conquerors. Allured by the delusive prospect of a 
voice in the affairs of the government, and despairing 
of assistance from their brethren in Africa, whose 
good offices they had repeatedly but vainly solicited, 
the Moors of the Albaycin finally consented to bap- 
tism. They required, as a condition of their compli- 
ance, permission to wear their national costume and 
to use the Arabic language, privileges which were sub- 
sequently made pretexts for oppression. It was also 
agreed that the Holy Office should not be established 
at Granada for the space of forty years; a provision 
which ecclesiastical acumen readily evaded by placing 
that city under the jurisdiction of the Inquisitorial 
tribunal of Cordova. 

Still dissatisfied with the slow progress made by her 
ministers in bringing the obdurate Moors within the 
pale of Christianity, Isabella a second time ordered 
Ximenes to Granada. Instructed by his prior expe- 
rience, he conducted himself with more discretion than 
before; but his proselytes, driven into the Church by 
hundreds, without previous instruction, remained, like 
their predecessors, profoundly ignorant of its doc- 
trines and of the responsibilities imposed upon them 
by their enforced conversion. This time the stay of 
the Primate was short ; his ascetic habits had impaired 
a constitution never extremely robust; and a pulmo- 
nary affection of a serious character, whose symptoms 
were aggravated by unremitting excitement and toil, 
speedily developed. The available resources of medi- 
cal science were unable to relieve his malady, and, 
abandoned as hopeless by regular practitioners, in the 

Moorish Empire in Europe 249 

hour of his extremity he was induced to submit to the 
treatment of a venerable Moorish woman, who com- 
bined with Arabic science the mysterious and uncanny 
ceremonies of the witch and the empiric. Under her 
ministrations the distinguished sufferer improved with 
a rapidity which, under other conditions, would have 
been deemed miraculous ; and he was soon able to leave 
the scene of his labors, owing his life to the skill of a 
member of that race which he had relentlessly perse- 
cuted, after a career which, however short, had made 
a more profound and fatal impress upon the policy of 
the Spanish Crown than that of any other dignitary 
of his time, and which was destined subsequently to 
exert a powerful influence upon the political fate and 
the future civilization of Europe. 

A sequence of calamities, traceable to royal perfidy 
and ecclesiastical usurpation, was now about to de- 
scend upon the Spanish monarchy. The apprehen- 
sions of the inhabitants of the Serrania of Ronda had 
been aroused by reports of the injustice and violence 
visited upon their countrymen of Granada. The 
Moorish citizens of the ancient capital and its environs 
were now all nominally Christians. The persuasive 
methods of Talavera and the severity of Ximenes had 
enrolled upon the registers of the Church more than 
seventy thousand proselytes. Under the circum- 
stances, the professions of a vast majority of these 
were necessarily insincere. It was an example of the 
organization of hypocrisy upon a gigantic scale, where 
religious principle was subordinated to material inter- 
ests, and an outward observance of superstitious rites 
was accepted as an equivalent of earnest devotion and 
genuine piety. These reputed converts had not, how- 
ever, by any means abandoned the faith of their fore- 
fathers. They diligently celebrated its rites in secret. 
Their children were early, and with secrecy, instructed 
in the doctrines of Islam. In defiance of royal de- 

250 History of the 

crees, they practised many suspicious ceremonies not 
recognized even by orthodox Moslems, performed in- 
cantations, wore tahsmans and charms. A concealed 
system of communication was established between 
them and their brethren in the provinces; and each 
important event that took place in the city was known 
within a few hours to every inhabitant of the sierras. 
The Moors of the Serrania of Ronda did not receive 
the Gospel with the same docility as their kinsmen of 
the Alpuj arras, whose doubts had been speedily re- 
moved by the cogent argument of a hundred thousand 
armed men. The missionaries, who tried to carry mat- 
ters with a high hand, were maltreated and driven 
away. The mountaineers rose ; the country was swept 
by bands of merciless brigands ; the corsairs of Africa 
repaired in large numbers to the scene of booty and 
adventure; the passes were barricaded; and the re- 
gion in the vicinity of Ronda assumed the appearance 
of a fortified camp. Offers of amnesty, conditional 
on baptism, were received with scorn. An army under 
Don Alonso de Aguilar, the Count of Cifuentes, and 
the Count of Urefia then entered the mountains. The 
Moors, evacuating their villages, slowly retired to the 
Sierra Bermeja, where they made a final stand. The 
impetuosity and want of discipline of the Christians 
lured them into a disadvantageous situation, whence 
there was no escape. After a day of fighting, they 
were surrounded in the darkness and routed with 
frightful slaughter. Don Alonso de Aguilar, Fran- 
cisco Ramirez de Madrid, chief of ordnance of the 
Spanish army, and many other cavaliers, were killed; 
and the mountain slopes were strewn with the bodies 
of soldiers who had been butchered as they fled. The 
victory of the Sierra Bermeja was the only important 
one gained by the insurgents in the long course of the 
Morisco wars. It was productive of no substantial 
advantage; and its only permanent effect was to ex- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 251 

asperate the Queen, who, now regarding herself as 
the injured party, devoted henceforth all her energy 
to the oppression of a heretic race whose existence she 
considered a blemish upon her piety and a scandal to 
her dominions. 

The submission of the Moors, during the gradual 
subjugation of the Peninsula, had left large numbers 
in different conditions of life scattered through the 
provinces of the various kingdoms. A few had early 
apostatized; many were held in a state of servitude; 
but by far the larger portion enjoyed a nominal free- 
dom, and purchased immunity from molestation by 
the payment of tribute. All who complied with the 
laws regulating their responsibilities to the govern- 
ment were allowed the peaceful exercise of their re- 
ligious ceremonies. The principal wealth of the Cas- 
tilian nobility consisted in the industry of these their 
intelligent and laborious dependents. On what are 
now known as the dehesas and despoblados " pas- 
tures" and " deserts" of Castile and Estremadura, 
the Moorish agriculturists produced from an ungrate- 
ful soil the wheat which supplied the population of 
the entire Peninsula. These invaluable tributaries of 
the Spanish Crown had never evinced the slightest 
concern for the fate of their fellow-sectaries contend- 
ing for liberty and religion on the distant banks of the 
Genii. Not only had they failed to manifest their 
sympathy, but the extraordinary contributions for the 
prosecution of the war levied upon the products of 
their thrift largely contributed to the successful ter- 
mination of a struggle in whose result they naturally 
must have felt a more than passing interest. Had 
their feelings been sufficiently ardent to have induced 
active and armed co-operation, the difficulties of the 
Reconquest must have been vastly increased. As it 
was, their apathetic and selfish conduct was far from 
securing them immunity from persecution. 

252 History of the 

The malignant bigotry of the Queen, flinging to 
the winds every sentiment of justice, piety, and hu- 
manity, had now usurped over her better nature an 
imperious and undisputed dominion; and on the 
twelfth of February, 1502, she published an edict or- 
dering the banishment of all the Moors of Leon and 
Castile. The extraordinary lack of political discern- 
ment disclosed by such a step affords painful evidence 
to what dishonorable and injurious expedients a mind 
of more than ordinary capacity may be impelled by 
the fury of religious passion. These objects of her 
animadversion were, as a class, her most faithful, obe- 
dient, and valuable subjects. They had always ob- 
served the laws with scrupulous fidelity. Those most 
prejudiced against their blood and their belief had 
never imputed to them the crimes of sacrilege, of con- 
spiracy, of treason. Under their patient and skilful 
hands, the most unpromising regions, heretofore aban- 
doned by native ignorance and sloth as totally unpro- 
ductive, now blossomed with unsurpassed fertility. 
Their industry filled the granaries of the kingdom; 
there was no other available source of supply, and 
with their expulsion a famine was imminent; in the 
future, as was subsequently demonstrated, there were 
none competent or willing to take their place. The 
slaves of her powerful vassals, serfs who represented 
infinite blood and treasure expended in the service of 
the crown, were not originally exempted from the 
force of this sweeping decree, and the infringement 
of private rights resulting from the arbitrary confis- 
cation of this property, without excuse or recompense, 
promised disastrous political complications. These 
considerations had, however, no weight in the mind of 
the obstinate Isabella. The fact that in the midst 
of a Christian population an infidel community was 
sufl'ered to exist, especially after the Moslems of Gra- 
nada had declared their adherence to the Faith, was 

Moorish Empire in Europe 253 

repugnant to her intolerant nature, and a standing 
reproach to the religion she professed. In support of 
her policy, she coined the atrocious maxim, worthy 
of the ingenious casuistry of a Jesuit, " It is better 
to prevent than to punish; and it is right to punish 
the little for the crimes of the great." The vicarious 
sufferings of the Castilian Arabs were now to atone 
for the offences of the rebels of Granada, with whom 
they had nothing in common but a similar origin and 
an inherited creed, and in whose behalf they had 
never exhibited the slightest indication of countenance 
or sympathy. The enforcement of this measure, 
whose inhuman provisions subjected the unhappy ob- 
jects of its severity to the treatment due outlaws and 
criminals, was only partially observed. At the very 
beginning it was seen that, if carried out to the letter, 
a considerable part of the kingdom would become a 
barren and uninliabited solitude. The decree was 
therefore revoked. A compromise, by which the deli- 
cate scruples of the Queen were satisfied, was effected, 
baptism was substituted for exile ; the scenes of in- 
discriminate and wholesale aspersion were repeated; 
a large and industrious population bartered their re- 
ligious convictions for safety, and, by the force of a 
royal proclamation, were transformed from a self- 
respecting body of colonists into a nation of hypo- 

With the death of Isabella, which occurred at this 
time, the Moriscoes were relieved from the persecution 
of a vindictive and persevering enemy. The perma- 
nent elimination of her influence from the politics of 
the Peninsula did not, however, improve the condition 
of the recent victims of her fiery and unrelenting zeal. 
The system by which she governed; the infamous 
maxims which guided her conduct in the relations ex- 
isting between sovereign and subject; the shameless 
violation of treaties ; the audacious usurpations of the 

254 History of the 

clergy; the prejudices engendered by years of oppres- 
sion, were perpetuated by her successors, and adopted 
by their ministers as an essential part of the policy of 
the crown. The reverence with which her memory is 
regarded is to be attributed, not so much to the great- 
ness of her abilities, eminent as they were, but to their 
misapplication; not to the military achievements of 
her armies, but to the sanguinary revenge they in- 
flicted upon vanquished enemies ; not to the blessings 
of a wise, a just, and a stable government, the most 
substantial foundation upon which the fame of a mon- 
arch can be erected, but to the inauguration of meas- 
ures which eventually purged the kingdom of mis- 
believers, who were the source of its material wealth 
and of its commercial and agricultural prosperity. A 
princess who could deliberately repudiate the obliga- 
tions of national honor can scarcely be regarded in the 
light of a public benefactor. The patroness of the 
Inquisition has but a slender claim to the admiration 
of posterity. The popularity of Isabella is based 
upon the fact that she was the representative of con- 
temporaneous popular sentiment. In the fifteenth 
and sixteenth centuries no proceeding was so merito- 
rious as the torture of heretics. All questions of po- 
litical expediency were rigidly subordinated to the 
claims of what was universally regarded as a para- 
mount religious duty. The progressive decadence of 
Spanish power dates from its very establishment, and 
is directly traceable to the incessant intervention of 
ecclesiastical authority in civil affairs, and to the awful 
consequences resulting from the unlimited application 
of the atrocious principle that national faith and pub- 
lic honor must be always sacrificed to the interests of 
the Roman Catholic religion. 

The different aspects under which the same things 
appeared, during the sixteenth century, to people of 
a common nationality, living under the same laws and 

Moorish Empire in Europe 255 

professing the same doctrines, are remarkable. Dur- 
ing the bitter persecutions in Castile, the Aragonese 
Moslems retained their privileges unimpaired. Not 
only that, but while the spirit of fanaticism was 
driving the tributaries of Isabella by thousands to sim- 
ulated conversion, Ferdinand issued a decree granting 
to the Moors of Valencia the enjoyment of their re- 
ligious and social rights in perpetuity. On the one 
hand, therefore, was the most radical suppression of 
individual thought and action ; on the other, a tolera- 
tion worthy of the most enlightened statesmanship, 
and, it must be added, little to be anticipated under 
the circumstances. But the sagacity of Ferdinand 
never willingly countenanced the employment of force 
in matters of religion. His jealousy of power caused 
him to resent the encroachments of the priesthood; 
and he secretly discouraged the oppression of a race 
which he recognized as controlling the material re- 
sources upon whose maintenance depended the preser- 
vation of his dignity and prestige. 

During the twelve years that intervened between 
the death of Isabella and that of Ferdinand, the 
Moors enjoyed comparative peace and immunity; and 
the advent of Charles V. brought at first no unfavor- 
able changes in their political or social conditions. 
That prince was scarcely seated upon the throne which 
he had inherited, and by whose acceptance there de- 
volved upon him responsibilities of the greatest mo- 
ment and the government of a people of whose dispo- 
sition and character he was profoundly ignorant, when 
serious internal disturbances began to menace his 
authority. In Castile, the Comuneros, a conspiracy 
of nobles and municipalities, arose to assert their an- 
cient privileges, impaired by foreign influence; and, 
at the same time, the Valencian populace banded 
together under the name of Germania, or Brother- 
hood, to repress the growing insolence of the aristoc- 

256 History of the 

racy. The encroachments of the latter had long been 
a serious grievance in the kingdom of Valencia. Its 
members, ever since the Conquest, had maintained an 
insulting deportment with their inferiors, which had 
exasperated the latter beyond all endurance. They 
borrowed money of wealthy merchants and repaid 
them with curses and ridicule. TJie establishment of a 
regency had weakened the administration of the laws ; 
the nobles were not slow to observe the advantages 
which a virtual interregnum afforded the development 
of private ambition ; and, in the assertion of obsolete 
feudal privileges, every wrong which avarice or hatred 
could suggest was inflicted upon the citizens of a rich 
and defenceless community. The Moors, who were 
the vassals of the Valencian nobles, were not infre- 
quently the instruments of their malevolence, and 
shared with their masters the general obloquy which 
attached to their conduct. The organization of the 
Germania had an important and disastrous effect 
upon the fortunes of the former. Their lot was cast 
with their lords, and the predominance temporarily 
acquired by the rebels through the incapacity of the 
Viceroy proved fatal in the end to the liberties of the 
vassal. The popular cry of infidel was raised by the 
insurgents, who numbered many ecclesiastics in their 
ranks, and sixteen thousand Moslems submitted to the 
infliction of compulsory baptism. The Emperor, who 
seems to have inherited with his dominions a taste for 
persecution, was not satisfied while a single Moham- 
medan remained within the jurisdiction of the Spanish 
Crown. With great difficulty he extorted a bull from 
the Pope which absolved him from the oath he had 
taken to observe the ancient laws and treaties of the 
kingdom, and expressly authorizing the reduction to 
slavery of every Mussulman whose scruples or obsti- 
nacy might prevent him from renouncing the belief of 
his fathers. Secure of Papal sanction, Charles now 

Moorish Empire in Europe 257 

issued a proclamation requiring the Moors, under mys- 
terious but unspecified penalties, to become Christians 
within ten days. The latter, who did not manifest the 
submissive spirit of their brethren, maintained a sullen 
demeanor, and, disposing of their personal effects for 
whatever they could obtain, prepared to go into exile. 
The publicity of their intention, however, defeated it ; 
the authorities forbade the sale of their property as 
well as their departure, and nothing remained for 
them but apostasy or armed resistance. The former 
alternative was embraced by far the great^^ number. 
With such a multitude individual aspersion was im- 
possible ; the water of regeneration was sprinkled over 
kneeling thousands with branches of hyssop, and more 
than one unrepentant infidel, who had submitted with 
secret disgust to an obnoxious ceremony, was heard 

to mutter, " Praise be to Allah ! Not a drop defiled 


The rural communities of Valencia regarded the 
prospect of conversion with even more disfavor than 
did the inhabitants of the capital. The ecclesiastical 
commissioners sent to enforce the royal edicts were 
excluded from the dwellings of the peasantry, who 
refused to hear their exhortations. In some localities 
open violence was manifested; the Baron of Cortes, 
who had urged submission, was killed by his retainers, 
and his body left to be devoured by swine. Resistance 
to royal authority was soon followed by organized re- 
volt, and the Sierra de Espadan became the seat of a 
formidable insurrection. Including the banditti who 
habitually infested the mountains, and the African 
freebooters who hailed every disturbance as a source 
of plunder and profit, the army of the rebels amounted 
to more than four thousand well-armed men. A 
farmer named Selim Carbaic was elected their gen- 
eral, whose natural abilities and the valor of whose 
followers maintained for months an unequal strug- 

VoL. III. 17 

258 History of the 

gle with the combined resources of the monarchy. 
Overcome at last, two thousand of the insurgents with 
their leader perished in a single battle ; and a general 
amnesty was declared, under the sole condition by 
which any Moslem was now permitted to retain life or 
liberty. The Moors of Catalonia and Aragon were 
tendered the same alternative. Without hesitation 
they preferred hypocrisy to martyrdom; and by the 
year 1526 there no longer remained within the limits 
of the Spanish Peninsula a single individual who 
dared to openly acknowledge his belief in the creed 
of Mohammed. 

This flattering result having been finally accom- 
plished, it was now considered advisable to reform the 
proselytes. In nearly all localities where the Moris- 
coes predominated they occupied an anomalous posi- 
tion, so far as their spiritual welfare was concerned, 
for they were practically living without any religion. 
They neglected to conform to the ordinances or to 
observe the canons of the Church whose pale they had 
entered under compulsion. The evasion of their 
duties was connived at by the priests, who, so long as 
their parishioners were quiet and regularly paid their 
contributions, closed their eyes to all formal irregulari- 
ties, and never troubled themselves with the instruc- 
tions which it was their office to impart. This indul- 
gence was further secured by donatives that exempted 
unwilling sinners from penance, whose vexatious per- 
formance might always be commuted for a pecuniary 
consideration. In the sight of the clergy, spiritual 
duties were thus entirely obscured by the more pal- 
pable advantages to be derived from worldly benefits 
and the maintenance of their flocks in ignorance, a 
policy which at the same time confirmed their author- 
ity and increased their revenues. But the Moriscoes, 
while they shunned the mass, could not with safety 
resort to any other source of religious consolation. 

Moorish Empire in Europe 259 

They were more than suspected of practising the rites 
of Islam in secret; but the jealousy with which they 
guarded the privacy of their domestic life prevented 
the verification of this suspicion. In the eyes of de- 
vout Christians, who did not fail to notice and repro- 
bate their shortcomings, they were regarded as some- 
thing worse than Pagans. Although they possessed 
all the requisites of good citizenship, and their inter- 
course with their neighbors was marked by every evi- 
dence of honor and probity, these qualities<;;^.vere ig- 
nored when their religious consistency was called in 

The visit of Charles V. to Granada in 1526 was 
made the occasion for a strenuous appeal for the re- 
form of the Moriscoes. Petitions and remonstrances 
without number, reinforced with all the arts of sacer- 
dotal eloquence, were presented to the Emperor, 
urging that radical measures be taken to correct an 
evil which was seriously affecting the credit and the 
discipline of the Church. A commission of thirteen 
members, most of them high ecclesiastical dignitaries, 
and presided over by Don Alonso Manrique, Grand 
Inquisitor of Spain, was therefore appointed, and 
began an investigation. There was no difficulty in 
anticipating the decision of such a tribunal. That its 
decrees might be properly executed, the Holy Office 
was brought from Jaen and formally established in 
one of the palaces of the city. Ten sessions sufficed to 
determine a question in which were involved matters 
of the greatest consequence to the welfare of the king- 
dom, the maintenance of national honor, and the jus- 
tice and integrity of the crown. Every accusation 
against the Moriscoes was received and considered, but 
they were not permitted to be heard in their own de- 
fence. The determination of the commission was pub- 
lished in a royal edict, which prohibited the Moriscoes 
the use of their family names, their dress, their Ian- 

260 History of the 

guage ; which compelled the exposure of the faces of 
their women to the insulting gaze of the loungers in 
the streets; which required the abandonment of the 
peculiar ceremonies employed in the slaughter of ani- 
mals for food ; which sanctioned by domiciliary visits 
invasion of the privacy of their homes; and forbade 
them to ever lose sight of the Inquisitorial palace, 
whose officials were directed to henceforth exercise 
careful supervision over their conduct, and to punish 
with their customary rigor all infractions of religious 

The terror experienced by the victims of this atro- 
cious decree, which not onlv violated the conditions 
upon which Spanish supremac}^ depended, but delib- 
erately sacrificed every consideration of justice for 
which national honor had solemnly pledged its faith, 
can hardly be imagined. But the ]Moriscoes, whose 
experience with their spiritual advisers had taught 
them the efficacy of certain methods in averting im- 
pending evil, had recourse to an expedient which, on 
a smaller scale, had repeatedly proved successful. It 
was no secret that the royal treasury was em^pty ; and 
it was suspected that the depressed condition of the 
national finances was largely responsible for the prose- 
lyting zeal so unexpectedly exerted against a peace- 
able and inoffensive class. In consideration of a 
" gift" of eight thousand ducats, the execution of the 
obnoxious decree was suspended, during the pleasure 
of the Emperor, as soon as it had been signed; but 
this indulgence, it was expressly declared, did not 
affect the jurisdiction of the Holy Office. The para- 
sites who surrounded the throne demanded and re- 
ceived an equal amount for an influence they claimed 
to possess, but which was probably never exerted. 
Thus a monarch, who posed as the secular representa- 
tive of Roman Catholicism, consented to sacrifice the 
religious interests of a large body of his subjects and 

Moorish Empiee in Europe 261 

to compromise the imperial dignity for a sum equiva- 
lent at the present day to nine hundred thousand dol- 
lars in gold. No event in Spanish history discloses 
more clearly than this the true motives which insti- 
gated the prosecution of heresy, or the extraordinary 
wealth of those who were the objects of official cupid- 
ity and public malevolence. . 

The JNIoors of Granada, who had heretofo?^ been 
almost exempt from the exactions of inquisitorial 
tyranny, now experienced for the fii'st time the dire 
powers of the Holy Office. One of the fii'st acts of 
Isabella, after the Conquest, was the foundation of 
innumerable monasteries. The favorite sites of these 
establishments were the suburban palaces of the JNIos- 
lem princes, it being considered a pecuharly merito- 
rious achievement to erect on the ruins of a splendid 
villa, devoted to the pleasures of a votary of Islam, 
an abode for holy men, who, by a pious fiction, were 
supposed to employ their abundant leisure in praying 
for the salvation of heretics. In building these struct- 
ures the baths were first demohshed, on account of the 
scandal the sight of apartments devoted to ablution 
and luxury caused everj^ good Christian, as well as for 
the reason that their use was always considered en- 
tirely superfluous in a monastic institution. As a re- 
sult of the partiality exhibited by successive princes 
towards the monachal orders, the city swarmed with 
friars of every description. Their prejudices made 
them the bitter enemies of the jNIoriscoes, while their 
numbers and audacity rendered them both influential 
and formidable. The fact that the inferior officials 
of the Inquisition were principally recruited from 
their ranks augmented the terror which their insolence 
and rapacity inspired, and no familiar who wore the 
Dominican or Franciscan garb was ever known to in- 
cline to the side of mercy. To such hands was now 
committed the fate of the jSIoors of Granada. The 

262 History of the 

compact with the Emperor, by which they had been 
confirmed for the time in the enjoyment of their cus- 
toms, was broken. Their property was confiscated. 
They were subjected to the diabohcal tortures adopted 
by the direst of tribunals for the production of tes- 
timony and the confession of guilt. In the famous 
Plaza de la Bab-al-Rambla, the scene of many 
knightly encounters and of the destruction of Moslem 
learning by Ximenes, the condemned underwent the 
final penance, the sacrifice of the auto-da-fe. The 
annoying restraints imposed upon them by priestly 
intolerance were the least oppressive of the many evils 
the Moriscoes were condemned to endure. In the fre- 
quent controversies which arose concerning the inter- 
pretation of imperial edicts and canonical decrees, the 
authority of the latter always prevailed. Every offi- 
cial, civil, religious, or military, asserted the privilege 
of magistracj^ and claimed the right to compound an 
offence or to impose a penalty. In the art of extort' 
ing money, as in the direction of all matters pertaining 
to civil and ecclesiastical jurisdiction, the servants of 
the Church displayed an extraordinary aptitude. The 
regular taxes imposed upon the Moriscoes, a grievous 
burden in themselves, were augmented a hundred-fold 
by impositions unauthorized by law, and which had no 
other foundation than the demands of official rapac- 
ity. The sums obtained from these enforced contri- 
butions were enormous. An idea may be formed of 
the probable amount they yielded when it is remem- 
bered that the legitimate tax paid annually by the silk 
markets of Almeria, Malaga, and Granada added 
more than a million dollars to the royal treasury. The 
irregular means employed were far more profitable in 
their results than those countenanced by legal author- 
ity ; and there were few demands, however iniquitous, 
which a Morisco dared refuse when confronted with 
the menacing power of the Inquisition. 

Moorish Empire in Europe 263 

In Valencia also the Holy Office, supported by 
Papal sanction and imperial duplicity, found a rich 
and most fruitful field for its nefarious operations. 
It was in this kingdom, so remarkable for its natural 
advantages and the industry of its people, that the 
Spanish proverb, " Quien tiene Moro, tiene oro," had 
its origin. The relation of vassalage which the Moors 
of that kingdom in general sustained to the nobility 
was far from sufficient to protect them against the 
effects of secular and ecclesiastical prejudice. The 
unquestioned orthodoxy of the lord, his generosity to 
the Church, the antiquity of his family, the prestige 
of his name, his services to the crown, were swept aside 
when the question of disciplining his retainers was in- 
volved. The slightest suspicion attaching to a Mos- 
lem was enough to invite the descent of a horde of 
familiars and alguazils, who never failed to discover 
evidences of irregularity sufficient to render their 
examination profitable. The visitations of these 
functionaries were doubly offensive by reason of 
the unfeeling and insolent manner in which they 
were conducted. They left no corner of a dwelling 
unsearched ; they destroyed property, insulted women, 
and without color of right or pretence of conceal- 
ment appropriated such jewels and trinkets as struck 
their fancy. Spies of the Holy Office swarmed in the 
Moorish quarter, ever alert for signs of heresy. For 
these outrages there was no possibility of redress, and 
the trembling victim gladly purchased, by the confisca- 
tion of his effects, temporary security from greater 
misfortunes, which, if his worldly possessions were 
sufficient to warrant further interference, he was cer- 
tain sooner or later to undergo. The intolerable 
nature of these persecutions impelled thousands of 
Moriscoes to seek by flight the only available relief 
from oppression. The Holy Fathers of the Inqui- 
sition were horrified by the retaliatory measures 

264 History of the 

adopted by the friends of those who, for the welfare 
of their souls, were subjected to the salutary restraints 
of ecclesiastical discipline. Every time that the 
Moors condemned by that tribunal expiated their 
heresies in an auto-da-fe, information was promptly 
sent to Barbary, and an equal number of Christian 
captives perished by fire. 

The African corsairs, under the command of the 
relentless Barbarossa, at that time held the empire 
of the Mediterranean, and by their aid multitudes 
of Moriscoes succeeded in escaping to Morocco. In 
vain the nobles protested against a policy which de- 
preciated the value of their estates, depopulated their 
villages, and daily deprived them of laborers whose 
services could not be dispensed with and w^hose loss 
could not be replaced ; both royal power and popular 
sentiment sanctioned the course of the Church, and 
the material prosperity of a single province was not 
worthy of consideration when weighed with the per- 
ishing souls of thousands of suspected heretics. Pecu- 
niary arguments were then employed, and after sev- 
eral years of negotiation the operations of the Holy 
Office were suspended upon the payment of a yearly 
donative of twenty-five hundred ducats. Once more 
free from the perils of Inquisitorial visitation and 
punishment, the Moriscoes at once relapsed into their 
former religious indiff*erence ; the clergy viewed with 
unconcern the unmistakable evidences of apostasy 
among their parishioners; the nobles welcomed with 
undisguised satisfaction the relief of their vassals, the 
increase of their revenues, and the indications of re- 
turning prosperity ; while the inquisitors, whose treas- 
ury had been filled to overflowing with the gold wrung 
by fines and confiscations from the wealthiest subjects 
of the kingdom, sought in other quarters new mate- 
rial for the stake and the dungeon, to be condemned 

Moorish Empire in Europe 265 

to present torture and eternal infamy in the name of 
an All-Merciful God. 

The abdication of Charles V. brought a grateful 
respite to the harassed and suffering Moors. The 
mighty interests of an empire which extended over 
two worlds engrossed the attention of Philip II., and 
he had, at first, no time to devote to the persecution of 
a handful of alleged heretics lost in a corner of his 
vast dominions. The Roman Pontiff, who, perhaps 
influenced by motives of humanity, but certainly not 
absolutely free from political bias or resentment for 
the outrage inflicted by the Emperor upon the Holy 
See, had always discountenanced his oppression of 
the Moriscoes, now heartily co-operated with Philip 
in alleviating the misery of their condition. A brief 
issued from the Vatican in 1556 empowered confess- 
ors to absolve from the offence of heresy without pen- 
ance, and deprived the Inquisition of the greater part 
of its jurisdiction and authority. The nature of the 
young King had not yet been corrupted by absolute 
power; nor were his actions now controlled by that 
morose and pitiless spirit subsequently developed by 
remorse, disease, and bigotry, which, added to the 
hereditary taint of insanity which afflicted his family, 
rendered him, during the greater portion of his life, 
one of the most unfeeling monsters that has ever dis- 
graced a throne. 

The beneficial effects of leniency upon the Moris- 
coes, as contrasted with the employment of violent 
measures, were soon disclosed. They conformed, with 
seeming alacrity, to the often vexatious regulations 
imposed upon their conduct. They wore the Spanish 
costume; they adopted, in all public transactions at 
least, the use of the Castilian language. Colleges 
were founded for their instruction by devout and en- 
terprising prelates. Their children, male and female, 
were educated in the schools, and assumed the eccle- 

266 History of the 

siastical habit of the various monastic orders within 
whose jurisdiction they were enrolled. From Morisco 
seminaries missionaries went forth to instruct and rec- 
oncile their doubting countrymen. In imitation of 
their patrons, they founded and supported religious 
brotherhoods. Their professions were apparently sin- 
cere ; they began to perform their duties with scrupu- 
lous regularity ; and it seemed as if at last the hitherto 
delusive hope of Moslem conversion was about to be 
realized. But the spirit of ferocious intolerance, ever 
predominant in the Spanish character, and which in 
the sixteenth century amounted to a frenzy, regarded 
with anything but complacency the indulgent con- 
sideration extended towards the unhappy objects of 
hereditary aversion. With this sentiment generally 
prevalent, fresh pretexts for encroachment were easily 
invented. In 1560 the assistance of the government 
was invoked by the Christians of Granada to restrain 
the purchase of slaves by the Moriscoes, who, it was 
stated, were in the habit of instructing their servants 
secretly in the doctrines of Islam and thereby multi- 
plying the number of its adherents, to the scandal of 
the Church and the prejudice of the royal authority. 
No attempt was made to ascertain the truth or falsity 
of this accusation, and the Moriscoes were deprived, 
by royal decree, of the right of possessing slaves, a 
measure seriously affecting the rural and domestic 
economy of the entire population of Granada, which 
was dependent upon the cultivation of the soil by a 
multitude of negroes held by the JNIoorish farmers in 

In addition to this virtual confiscation of property 
for no valid cause and without indemnity, the Moors 
were compelled to produce the arms whose posses- 
sion had already been licensed, in order to have them 
stamped by the government, and thus contribute still 
further to the gratification of official greed. The 

Moorish Empire in Europe 267 

penalty incurred for the possession of a weapon with- 
out permission was six years in the galleys ; that for 
counterfeiting the royal stamp was death. The en- 
forcement of these regulations, the first of which 
threatened to paralyze agricultural labor, the princi- 
pal occupation of the Moriscoes and the main depend- 
ence of the revenues of the crown, exasperated beyond 
endurance those affected by their enactment. The 
loss of their slaves impoverished many. Some surren- 
dered their arms and procured others clandestinely. 
Others enlisted in the organized bands of outlaws who, 
under the name of monfis, roamed through the sierras 
and levied at will contributions upon the wealthy 
Spaniards of the Vega. Many of these brigands, 
through the connivance of their sympathizers, entered 
the capital by night in force, bore away the wives and 
children of their enemies, and left in the squares and 
highways the mutilated corpse of every Christian they 
encountered. The numbers of the monfis increased 
with alarming rapidity. Their incursions began to 
resemble the operations of an organized army; prep- 
arations for an insurrection were secretly instituted, 
and the assistance of the rulers of Fez, Algiers, and 
Constantinople was earnestly solicited in behalf of 
those who represented themselves as persecuted Mo- 
hammedans, abandoned without any other resource to 
the tyranny of Christian avarice and power. 

Untaught by experience and regardless of conse- 
quences, the officials of the various civil and eccle- 
siastical tribunals pursued their extortionate policy 
without pity or restraint. The competition existing 
between them, and the adverse claims involving con- 
tested jurisdiction and disputed plunder which con- 
stantly arose, often caused serious conflicts of author- 
ity, from which the representatives of the Church and 
the Inquisition generally emerged victorious. These 
quarrels between these two classes of oppressors em- 

268 History of the 

bittered them both against their common victims, and 
dissension increased instead of alleviating the suffer- 
ings of the latter. To make their situation even more 
desperate, the decree of Charles V., promulgated in 
1526, was now put in force by the King. The Moris- 
coes, unable longer to sustain the grievous exactions 
which they well understood were but preliminaries to 
the expulsion of their race, now rapidly matured their 
plans of rebellion. In the accomplishment of this 
they displayed extraordinary tact and shrewdness. A 
considerable estate had been granted to them in the 
neighborhood of Granada for the erection of a hos- 
pital. Under pretence of soliciting funds for its com- 
pletion, trusty emissaries of revolt were despatched to 
every Moorish community of the kingdom. The col- 
lectors employed in this dangerous service visited in 
their journey one hundred and ten thousand families. 
The incorruptible faith of the Moors and their loy- 
alty to their race were unprecedented ; for among the 
multitudes intrusted with a secret for which a traitor 
would have received a fortune not a single individual 
abused the confidence of his countrymen. The entire 
sum obtained by this means is not known; it must, 
however, have been amply sufficient, for the contribu- 
tions of those who were fit for military service alone 
amounted to forty-five thousand pieces of gold. 

Messengers were next despatched to Africa to pur- 
chase arms. Secret and well-organized communica- 
tion was perfected. The election of a leader now 
became imperative. In the old Moorish capital there 
lived a young man of amiable disposition and excel- 
lent mental capacity, but of prodigal and licentious 
habits, named Don Fernando de Valor, in whose veins 
coursed the blood of the famous Ommeyade dynasty 
of Cordova. A prince by birth, and enjoying the 
greatest popularity as a citizen, his prominence in the 
community had secured for him a place among the 

Moorish Empire in Europe 269 

councillors who, under the constitution granted by the 
crown, assisted in the nominal government of the city. 
Although his dissolute manners and frivolous associa- 
tions exempted him from the suspicion of the authori- 
ties, and his public observance of religious ceremonies 
stamped him as an orthodox believer, he had not for- 
gotten the glorious traditions of his royal line, and in 
spite of his apparent sloth was active, brave, aspiring, 
and unscrupulous. In the house of a wealthy resident 
of the Albaycin, and within a stone's throw of the in- 
quisitorial palace, the chiefs of the conspiracy con- 
ferred upon this youth the perilous honor of leading 
a hopeless insurrection. With all the ceremonial of 
the ancient klialifate, he was invested with the royal 
insignia; his new subjects rendered him obeisance; he 
named the dignitaries of his court, and the assemblage 
invoked the blessing of heaven upon the Servant of 
Allah and the Representative of the Prophet, Muley 
Mohammed-Ibn-Ommeyah, King of Granada and 
Andalusia! The performance of this farcical cere- 
mony neither inspired confidence nor awakened enthu- 
siasm among the Moriscoes of the city. The character 
of the personage selected to re-establish the glories of 
Moslem dominion was too well known in Granada to 
arouse any other sentiments than those of ridicule and 
contempt. Intolerable as their condition was, the 
wealthy Moors hesitated to hazard their lives and 
property in support of a cause in whose success they 
had little faith ; and the populace, while ever prone to 
riot, waited patiently for the signal from their supe- 
riors. For this reason, although several uprisings 
were projected, and even the hours of their accom- 
plishment appointed, popular indecision and apathy 
rendered all designs abortive. 

In the Alpuj arras, where everything was already 
upon a hostile footing, the case was different, and 
the wild mountaineers hailed with enthusiasm the ad- 

270 History of the 

vent of a sovereign and the welcome prospect of war 
and depredation. The tempest of rebellion burst 
forth at once in every settlement of the sierras. The 
excesses committed by the insurgents are incredible in 
their atrocity and worthy of a race of savages. Their 
animosity was especially directed against the priests, 
whom they considered as the instigators and the in- 
struments of their misfortunes. Some had their 
mouths stuffed with gunpowder and their heads blown 
to atoms. Others were compelled to sit before the 
altar while their former parishioners tore out the hairs 
of their heads and eyebrows one by one and then 
slashed them to death with knives and razors. Others, 
still, were subjected to ingenious tortures and barbar- 
ous mutilation; compelled to swallow their own eyes, 
which had been torn from the sockets ; to be gradually 
dismembered ; to have their tongues and hearts cut out 
and thrown to dogs. Hundreds of monks were 
seethed in boiling oil. Nuns were subjected to shock- 
ing indignities and then tortured to death. The 
glaring hypocrisy in which the Moriscoes had been 
living was disclosed by their conduct as soon as they 
believed themselves emancipated from the restraints 
under which they had chafed so long. They exulted 
in every form of sacrilege. Dressed in sacerdotal 
habiliments, they travestied the solemn ceremonies of 
the mass. They defiled and trampled upon the Host. 
The churches were filled with laughing, jeering 
crowds that polluted every portion of the sanctuary. 
Sacred images, donated by pious monarchs and 
blessed by famous prelates, were broken to pieces and 
burnt. Ecclesiastical hatred had, as an indispensable 
sign of regeneration, forced all Moslem converts to 
eat pork, a kind of food doubly offensive from inher- 
ited prejudice and Koranic prohibition. In retalia- 
tion for this annoying requirement, the insurgents, 
with mock solemnity, and invested with all the para- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 271 

phernalia of Catholic worship, sacrificed hogs upon 
the Christian altars. Every form of violence, every 
outrage which newly-found freedom exasperated by 
the memory of long-continued injury could devise, 
was perpetrated by the enraged Moriscoes. So un- 
bridled was their fury that even the common usages 
of war were constantly violated; prisoners taken in 
battle were put to death without mercy, and it was 
publicly declared that not a Christian should be left 
alive within the insurgent territory. This resolution, 
promulgated without his knowledge, was discounte- 
nanced by Ibn-Ommeyah, and he deposed the com- 
manders who had by their arbitrary conduct and im- 
politic cruelty insulted the honor of his crown, but not 
until irreparable wrong had been committed. 

The news of the insurrection, the exaggeration of 
its extent, and the horrors which followed in its train 
produced a general panic in Granada. All Christians 
who could do so took refuge in the Alhambra. The 
Moriscoes, in vain protesting their innocence, barri- 
caded themselves in their houses, and such as impru- 
dently ventured into the streets perished at the hands 
of the infuriated mob. The contest of jurisdiction 
which had so long existed between the civil and mili- 
tary authorities, each of whom claimed the supremacy, 
and neither of whom was willing to sacrifice his pre- 
tensions, even in the face of a cunning and dangerous 
enemy, added to the perplexities of the situation. 
Thoroughly acquainted with the discord of their mas- 
ters, the Moriscoes, alread}^ elated by the exploits of 
their countrymen, of which they had early and accu- 
rate intelligence, began to manifest a suspicious ac- 
tivity. The prospect of war called to arms the turbu- 
lent and dissolute spirits of the kingdom. The feudal 
laws, which were still in force in the Peninsula, pre- 
vented, through the disputes of the nobles for prece- 
dence, that submission to authority requisite for sue- 

272 History of the 

cessful operations. With these independent bands 
there was no question of patriotism; the national 
standard was merely a rallying point for pillage, and 
that commander was the most popular whose neglect 
of discipline afforded the greatest opportunities for 
unbounded license. These troops were commanded 
by the Marquis de Monde jar, Governor of Granada, 
and the Marquis de los Velez, both of whom were in- 
debted rather to their names than to their qualifica- 
tions for the prominence they enjoyed, for the one 
was without discretion and the other without expe- 

In the campaign that ensued every consideration of 
military virtue, of pity, of humanity, was cast aside. 
The Christians fought with an energy dictated by 
fanaticism and rapacity, the Moors with all the reck- 
less courage of despair. The Castilian officers, so far 
from restraining the excesses of the soldiery, encour- 
aged them in order to increase their ferocity and ren- 
der reconciliation impossible till all the available booty 
could be secured. The Moors of Granada paid dearly 
for the apathy with which they had received the over- 
tures of their more daring countrymen. The lawless 
rabble of the Spanish camp, which recognized no re- 
straint but that of superior force, was quartered upon 
the wealthy citizens of the Albaycin. It is notorious 
that even the plain-spoken old chroniclers of the time 
blushed to record the outrages inflicted by these sav- 
age volunteers, callous to every appeal of decency or 
honor. An extraordinary tax of six thousand ducats 
was imposed upon the Albaycin for the purpose of 
provisioning the army; and the Moorish farmers of 
the Vega were compelled under heavy penalties to 
furnish every day twenty thousand pounds of bread 
at a price arbitrarily fixed by the authorities. Thus 
the unhappy Moriscoes of the capital, too timorous to 
second an attempt to regain their independence, were 

Moorish Empire in Europe 273 

forced to contribute to the discomfiture of their 
friends, to undergo unspeakable insults and frightful 
suffering, and in the end to sacrifice their property 
and in many instances their lives as the result of their 
distrust of a cause which lack of intelligent co-opera- 
tion rendered hopeless from the very beginning. The 
activity of the Spanish generals, and the superiority 
in numbers of their troops, soon gained for them the 
advantage. The campaign resolved itself into a suc- 
cession of skirmishes and marauding expeditions, 
whose monotony was occasionally relieved by promis- 
cuous butchery. In consequence of a disturbance pro- 
voked by the insolent conduct of a Spanish soldier, 
thirteen hundred prisoners, of whom a thousand were 
women, were massacred at the Castle of Jubiles. The 
plans of the royal commanders were hampered by the 
insubordination of the soldiery ; their insatiable greed 
placed the army in desperate situations, whence by 
good fortune alone it could be extricated, and the fre- 
quency of desertion seriously threatened the efficiency 
of a force unrestrained either by self-respect or mili- 
tary law. Driven from point to point, the army of 
Ibn-Ommeyah was finally beaten and dispersed. The 
Alpuj arras were occupied by lines of fortified posts, 
which prevented the assembling of any considerable 
body of insurgents; the mountaineers of the adjacent 
sierras were gradually reduced to submission, and the 
insurrection was at last only represented by the fugi- 
tive prince and a handful of followers, whose fidelity 
was sorely tried by the tempting reward offered for 
the head of their sovereign. 

The Moriscoes, terrified by the misfortunes which 
they had undergone, offered, for the sake of present 
security, to submit to any conditions that might be 
imposed, to deportation, to exile, to confiscation, to 
the maintenance of the troops that might be detailed 
as their guards against future hostility. Different 

Vol. III. 18 

274 History of the 

and irreconcilable opinions prevailed among the offi- 
cials of the crown as to the policy to be adopted ; one 
party advocated amnesty, another extermination. In 
the mean time, while their superiors were wrangling, 
the soldiers pursued without interruption the agreeable 
diversion of rapine. Although hostilities had ceased, 
small bands of military brigands roamed everywhere 
without control, robbing houses, destroying property, 
ravishing women. Inoffensive peasants, who had 
never borne arms, were seized, carried to Granada, 
and publicly sold as slaves in the markets of the 
city by these outlaws, with the knowledge and con- 
nivance of the authorities. The latter quarrelled over 
the division of the spoil and the questionable distinc- 
tion acquired by conflagration and massacre. No 
faith was kept with the vanquished. Safe-conducts 
signed by the highest officials were not respected. No 
Morisco was exempt from molestation and violence; 
no house was secure from the intrusion of prowling 
and bloodthirsty ruffians. When a body of Christian 
troops passed through a Moorish community every- 
thing portable departed with it, the rest was burned. 
There was deliberate method in this wholesale destruc- 
tion of property. The army desired nothing so little 
as peace. War had been profitable even beyond ex- 
pectation. The booty already secured was immense, 
but the greater portion had as yet escaped the avarice 
of the conqueror. The general and the common sol- 
dier alike cast longing glances upon the wealth of the 
Albaycin; upon the productive estates of the Vega, 
still cultivated by Moorish industry; upon the untold 
wealth in gold and jewels known to be hoarded by 
the residents of Guadix, Baza, and Almeria. Leaving 
all else out of consideration, the Moriscoes themselves, 
who numbered more than half a million, if condemned 
to slavery, would realize a prodigious sum. These 
were the sinister motives which urged an indefinite 

Moorish Empire in Europe 275 

prosecution of the war, and it was not long before the 
desired object was attained. The Moriscoes, driven 
to despair by the dupHcity of their enemies whose 
violence they could not resist, again fled to the moun- 
tains and sought the standard of Ibn-Ommeyah. The 
Spanish mob of Granada, excited by rumors of con- 
spiracy, at once massacred the defenceless Moorish 
occupants of the prisons to the number of several hun- 
dred. Their personal effects were appropriated by the 
governor; their lands were confiscated for the benefit 
of the crown; and their widows and orphans were 
reduced to beggary. A judgment of the court subse- 
quently obtained confirmed this arbitrary act, stating 
that its decision was based upon the fact that, " while 
some of the prisoners were actually guilty, all were 
guilty in intention." The affair was regarded as a 
suggestive warning, and in the future the insurgents 
did not receive or expect assistance from their friends 
in Granada. 

Once more the flames of war were kindled in the 
sierras, and the scenes of indiscriminate butchery were 
resumed. The power of Ibn-Ommeyah, strengthened 
by thousands of desperate men fleeing from perse- 
cution, by the monfis, by the corsairs, and by numbers 
of savage adventurers from the northern coast of 
Africa, now became more formidable than ever. That 
power he exercised with ferocious severity. The dis- 
cipline of his troops was improved. Marauding 
parties of Christians from the principal cities were 
surprised and cut to pieces. Prominent officials who 
had ventured to advocate surrender were promptly 
executed for treason. The discouraging and hitherto 
hopeless task of enlisting the sympathy and aid of 
the Mohammedan princes of Fez and Algiers was 
resumed, but with no better prospect of success than 

Philip, fully informed of the incapacity and mu- 

276 History of the 

tual distrust of those hitherto charged with the gov- 
ernment of Granada, now determined to commit the 
subjection of the rebels to a general whose rank and 
talents would command the obedience and check the 
insubordination of the ill-disciplined bands composing 
the bulk of the Spanish army. Don John of Austria, 
his half-brother, the natural son of Charles V., a youth 
whose opportunities had as yet given little indication 
of the military genius he possessed, but in whom dis- 
cerning eyes had already perceived the existence of 
those brilliant qualities subsequently displayed with 
such lustre at Lepanto, was assigned to the command. 
The greatest enthusiasm was aroused by this ap- 
pointment. Nobles and peasants alike, ambitious of 
serving under a prince of the blood, flocked by hun- 
dreds to the royal standard. The new commander, 
although inexperienced, perfected his arrangements 
with all the caution and skill of a veteran. The army 
was thoroughly reorganized. Disorder was checked. 
Outlaws and beggars were expelled from the camp. 
As far as the annoying feudal regulations would 
permit, discipline was enforced. Licensed brig- 
andage, which had done so much to destroy the effi- 
ciency of the troops, was punished with impartial 
rigor. Under these improved conditions the army, 
which had hitherto resembled a disorderly mob, now 
assumed the appearance of a compact and formidable 
force. Meanwhile, the insurgents had not been idle. 
Instructed by experience and adversity, Ibn-Omme- 
yah introduced many necessary reforms into his civil 
and military administration; purchased arms in 
Africa; invited the presence of corsairs; procured 
supplies; and, dividing his territory into districts 
whose arrangement facilitated mutual support and 
defence, awaited with resolution and confidence the 
approach of the enemy. The first operations of the 
campaign were favorable to the Moriscoes, whose 

Moorish Empire in Europe 277 

successes, while neither material nor decisive, never- 
theless resulted in substantial additions to their ranks. 
Although able to bring several thousand men into the 
field, their want of artillery, ignorance of engineer- 
ing science, and traditional dependence on partisan 
warfare made their victories worthless. The latter 
were obtained in skirmishes where but a few hundreds 
were engaged, the nature of the ground and the op- 
portunities for surprise giving unperceived assailants 
the advantage. 

Irritated by these reverses, a decisive step, long con- 
templated, and frequently from politic motives post- 
poned, was now resolved upon by the government. 
The rumor of impending revolt was diligently circu- 
lated throughout Granada. As no evidence was sub- 
sequently disclosed to confirm this report, it was prob- 
ably entirely fictitious, but it accomplished the object 
for which it was promulgated. A panic seized the 
excitable populace, and a universal demand arose for 
the expulsion of the Moriscoes. The authorities were 
quick to profit by the commotion and the fears which 
their own perfidy aroused ; and, at a concerted signal, 
twenty thousand arquebusiers, with lighted fuses, oc- 
cupied the approaches to the Albaycin. The Mo- 
riscoes, when ordered to assemble in their churches, 
anticipating a massacre, abandoned themselves to 
despair. It required all the influence of the municipal 
authorities, and the royal word of Don John of 
Austria himself that their lives would be spared, to 
reassure the terror-stricken prisoners. Crowded to- 
gether in the aisles, they passed an agonizing and 
sleepless night. The next morning the males between 
the ages of ten and sixty years, with their hands bound 
behind them, were conducted outside the walls, where 
a decree of perpetual banishment was pronounced 
against them and their kindred. A few days of grace 
were accorded to these unfortunates to dispose of, or 

278 History of the 

rather to sacrifice, their personal property ; and then, 
divided into several companies, each escorted by a 
strong guard, they began their journey towards cen- 
tral Andalusia, Estremadura, and Castile, whither, for 
purposes of security, it had been decided to conduct 

The exiles were about eleven thousand in number. 
They included the descendants of the wealthiest and 
noblest Moorish families of Granada, and, indeed, of 
the entire Peninsula. Many of them traced their 
ancestry back to the princely families of the Idialif ate, 
eminent alike for intellectual accomplishments and 
military renown. In their keeping were the ancient 
traditions of their race; the rare memorials of the 
Moslem conquest and domination; the remnants of 
Arabic literature which had escaped the destructive 
zeal of Ximenes and the exhaustive search of prying 
alguazils and inquisitors. Their houses still displayed 
the splendid decorations peculiar to the palmy days 
of the emirate ; marble halls and alabaster fountains ; 
hangings of embossed and gilded leather; stuccoes 
that in elegance of design and delicacy of execution 
equalled those of the Alhambra. In the Vega were 
many estates, cultivated by their dependents, which 
returned each year a large and profitable income. All 
of these landed possessions were unceremoniously 
appropriated by the Spaniards, and the personal 
effects sold by the exiles yielded scarcely a tithe of 
their value. Driven by force from their homes, and 
despoiled on every side, the JNIoriscoes pursued their 
sorrowful way. Reared in comfort and affluence and 
accustomed to luxury, they were ill-fitted for a long 
and toilsome journey. Few of the multitude that 
started arrived at their destination. The hardships 
incident to travel and exposure to the burning heat 
proved fatal to hundreds. Many expired from grief, 
from hunger, from disease. Others were wantonly 

Moorish Empire in Europe 279 

killed by their guards, who plundered, without hesi- 
tancy or compunction, both the living and the dead. 
When this source of profit was exhausted, the strong- 
est men and the most attractive women were sold as 
slaves. The condition of the few survivors who ar- 
rived at Seville was so deplorable that even the com- 
passion of ecclesiastics, whose lives had been passed 
in the infliction of persecution and torture, was ex- 
cited. The greater portion of the inhabitants, how- 
ever, regarded these victims of tyranny with indiffer- 
ence or curiosity. The sufferings of tender youth, of 
decrepit age, of beauty in distress, awakened no sym- 
pathy; and if any feelings were exhibited by the 
throngs that lined the highways along which, under 
a scorching sun, the fainting exiles staggered, they 
were those of bitter enmity and of exultation at the 
misfortunes of heretics who had forfeited all title to 
humanity through the inherited blood of a despised 
and conquered race. 

No beneficial consequences resulted from this meas- 
ure, as cruel as it was unwise. The insurgents con- 
tinued their depredations. Every straggler was killed ; 
and no foraging party whose force was less than that 
of a regiment could hope to return. The Moriscoes 
by degrees became more daring, and it was no longer 
safe for individuals to venture beyond the limits of 
the camp. The encounters were all to the advantage 
of the rebels; and the great city of Almeria, by the 
merest accident, escaped falling into their hands. The 
latter, however, were not only unable to cope with the 
entire power of the Spanish monarchy, but were even 
unprovided with the means necessary for the reten- 
tion of their paltry conquests. Even in a situation 
where unity was more than ever indispensable to self- 
preservation, the irrepressible tendency of the Arab 
mind to factional disturbance began to manifest itself. 
Nine centuries of national disaster had been insuffi- 

280 History of the 

cient to repress the tribal hatred and the thirst for 
private vengeance which had sapped the vitahty and 
finally torn into fragments the realm of a vast and 
splendid empire. The Moor was incapable of profit- 
ing by experience. The law of reprisal, that accursed 
legacy of his Bedouin forefathers, had never been 
lost sight of, even amidst all the culture and all the 
wisdom of his civiUzation. It was the most powerful 
and effective weapon that his enemies possessed, and 
it was eternally used to his prejudice. To its aid the 
Reconquest was far more indebted than to the energy 
of Alfonso VI. or to the craft of Ferdinand the 
Catholic. It won more battles than all the conquer- 
ing sovereigns from Pelayus to Isabella. No Cas- 
tilian prince had ever failed to recognize its impor- 
tance or to profit by its employment. And now, in 
the remote Alpuj arras, the last resort of Moorish 
valor and ambition, it was again to be wielded with 
even more fatal and demorahzing effects than had 
ever marked its use since the troublous epoch which 
followed the decline of the Ommeyade supremacy. 

The popularity of Ibn-Ommeyah had of late 
greatly suffered through the strictness of the dis- 
cipline which he had inaugurated and the oppressive 
acts of his advisers, for the most part men of obscure 
lineage and grasping avarice. The soldiers, accus- 
tomed to the exercise of the greatest freedom in their 
conduct and in their treatment of the enemy, viewed 
with unconcealed disgust the restraints to which they 
were subjected. In the councillors of their king, the 
rich Moriscoes, who had forfeited their lives and ex- 
pended their treasure in sustaining his pretensions, 
saw a band of robbers, who abused the opportunities 
of their positions for their own pecuniary benefit. 
Especially were those whose wealth made them con- 
spicuous the objects of the selfish animadversion of 
these base-born officials. No person of eminence, 

Moorish Empire in Europe 281 

whether civihan or military officer, was safe from the 
denunciation of informers. The experience of Ibn- 
Ommeyah, and his frequent escapes from premedi- 
tated treachery, had made him impulsive, vindictive, 
and cruel. Constantly exposed to danger, he was only 
too ready to listen to the voice of suspicion, and in 
the court of a despot the punishment follows swiftly 
upon the accusation. Besides the alienation of many 
of his principal adherents from the above-mentioned 
causes, Ibn-Ommeyah had recently gained for him- 
self, by an egregious act of folly, the enmity of one 
of the most powerful tribes in the kingdom. 

Among the most distinguished families of Granada 
was that of the Beni-Alguazil-al-Karimi, in which 
was vested, by hereditary right, the office of vizier of 
the district of Ujijar. Inherited rivalry, the pride 
of conscious merit, and the jealousy of power had 
made the Beni-Alguazil the enemies of the house of 
Ibn-Ommeyah. Their hostility, manifested upon 
more than one occasion, had aroused the apprehen- 
sions of the Moorish prince; and the assassination of 
Miguel de Rojas, the chief of the tribe, was, not with- 
out probability, attributed to his instigation. In con- 
sequence, the Beni-Alguazil, while unwilling to assist 
the Christian foe, maintained a suspicious and sullen 
demeanor, and, with the characteristic vindictiveness 
of the Arab, awaited patiently the moment of reprisal. 
With a perfidy natural to his character, and from 
the effects of which he was ultimately destined to 
perish, Ibn-Ommeyah had adopted the custom of pro- 
moting to favor and apparent confidence those whom 
he had already marked for destruction. Among those 
who shared this perilous honor was Diego Alguazil, 
a member of the rival clan, whose animosity had been 
soothed by the gifts and the consideration he received 
at the hands of his sovereign. In his harem was a 
lovely slave, the perfection of whose charms, impru- 

282 History of the 

dently disclosed by her master, aroused the curiosity 
and inflamed the desires of Ibn-Ommeyah. Consid- 
erations of poHcy or justice were of trifling moment 
where the ungovernable passions of the Moorish king 
were concerned; the slave was rudely appropriated 
without apology or compensation; and this arbitrary 
invasion of the rights of a subject raised up for Ibn- 
Ommeyah an implacable enemy. The ambition of 
the beautiful Zahra, who aspired to the position of 
Sultana, was disappointed by her continuance in an 
inferior rank, and, her hopes thus blasted, she found 
in her former master a pliant and serviceable instru- 
ment of revenge. The support of other malcontents, 
dissatisfied with the cruelty and arrogance of their 
king, was readily secured; the fears of the royal 
guard of six hundred Turks were excited by an in- 
genious, but discreditable, stratagem; and Ibn-Om- 
meyah, torn from the arms of his women and thrown 
into prison, perished miserably before morning at the 
hands of the executioner. His death seemed not en- 
tirelj^ unjustifiable, for he proclaimed with his last 
breath his secret and unshaken belief in the Christian 
religion. The hypocrisy, which, for the sake of lux- 
ury and power, could feign attachment to a creed that 
upon the slightest pretext it was ready to betray, was 
not unworthily punished by the treachery of a slave. 
Ibn-Abu, a cousin of Ibn-Ommeyah, succeeded to the 
empty honors and dangerous responsibilities of a tot- 
tering throne. The treasures of the palace and the 
seraglio were divided among the conspirators. The 
guards, whose fidelity to the new administration was 
suspected, were disbanded; the unpopular officials, 
deprived of the power which they had abused and the 
wealth which they had accumulated by extortion and 
perfidy, were despoiled and exiled ; and the new King, 
crowned at Lanjar with all the pomp which the lim- 
ited resources that a fugitive court and an impover- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 283 

ished treasury could command, assumed, with an ap- 
pearance of confidence, the direction of a government 
divided against itself and confronted with the com- 
bined and resistless power of the Spanish monarchy. 

Ibn-Abu, when invested with the royal dignity, of 
whose precarious character he was perfectly aware, 
but whose acceptance he was afraid to refuse, was far 
past the prime of life. In the course of an eventful 
and romantic career, he had undergone many exciting 
and hazardous experiences. From his youth iden- 
tified with the party hostile to the Christians, his 
fidelity to the Moslem cause had been severely tested 
on numerous occasions. Implicated with the monfis, 
he had submitted to torture and had been sent to the 
galleys rather than betray his comrades. Again, for 
refusing to disclose the hiding-place of his sovereign, 
he was subjected to a shocking and indescribable mu- 
tilation. His sufferings had confirmed his loyalty and 
intensified his hatred; the noble qualities with which 
he was endowed endeared him to his countrymen ; but 
his indecision, his lack of energy, and his inability to 
profit by the means at his disposal in the presence of 
any sudden exigency unfitted him for the position of 
responsibility to which he had been so unexpectedly 
promoted. In spite of the disadvantages under which 
he labored, he, however, soon placed his forces upon a 
more effective footing, and his position was greatly 
strengthened by the discord of his enemies. 

The reforms inaugurated by Don John of Austria 
proved impracticable when their full import became 
known to the soldiers and they began to experience 
the inconveniences attendant upon military restraint. 
Feudal customs also interfered with the enforcement 
of discipline; and the lords, fearful of a retrench- 
ment of their own privileges, indulged their vassals 
in acts of rapine prejudicial to the well-being of the 
entire army. The quarrels and recriminations of the 

284 History of the 

Marquis de Monde jar and the Marquis de los Velez, 
so far from being extinguished by the appointment 
of a commander-in-chief, became more aggravated 
and violent than ever. The power of the latter was 
hampered by contradictory orders from Madrid, and 
the prosecution of energetic measures was prevented 
by incessant and acrimonious disputes. As soon as 
the prospect of booty was diminished, the army was 
threatened with dissolution. Desertions were so com- 
mon and their effect was so demoralizing that all re- 
views were abandoned, in order that the enemy might 
not become acquainted with the diminished numbers 
of their antagonists. Scores of officers were cashiered 
for peculation ; but their successors, unintimidated by 
the penalty, followed, without hesitation, their dis- 
graceful example. In the markets of the city, the 
government supplies were publicly exposed for sale 
by the commissaries. The camp was filled with spies. 
Not only had many Moriscoes enlisted with the object 
of betraying their comrades, but the Spaniards them- 
selves constantly sold both official secrets and arms to 
the rebels. Entire garrisons mutinied because of the 
necessary precautions instituted by their commanders ; 
and it was not unusual for parties organized for rob- 
bery to leave their posts in violation of the express 
orders of the general. Of these marauders few re- 
turned, but their fate failed to deter others ; the love 
of plunder prevailed over every other incentive; and 
the safety of the troops was often jeopardized by the 
misconduct of unprincipled adventurers, whose inso- 
lence and insubordination even the highest authority 
seemed unable to restrain. These breaches of order 
and discipline were by no means confined to the ranks ; 
every grade of the military was affected; and no less 
a personage than the Marquis de los Velez himself 
assumed the right to act independently of the com- 
mander-in-chief, and to disregard all orders from 

Moorish Empire in Europe 285 

head-quarters unless they suited his convenience or 
promoted his interest. 

The army of Ibn-Abu amounted to twelve thousand 
men, of whom four thousand were thoroughly drilled 
arquebusiers. This force, though for the most part 
well equipped, experienced in war, aided by the advan- 
tages of situation, and fighting for liberty on its own 
ground, was unable to accomplish any important re- 
sult, even when engaged with a demoralized enemy. 
The achievements of the Moriscoes, limited to the 
blockade of a few fortresses and to marauding expe- 
ditions that harassed the cultivators of the Vega, are 
scarcely worthy of notice, still less of detailed nar- 
ration. In the vicinity of Orgiba and Baza their 
troops appeared in force, but retired at once at the 
approach of the Christians. It was only by the prac- 
tice of treacherous methods that the Moorish tactics 
ever prevailed. The want of stability and resolution 
which had proved fatal to the permanence of the 
Hispano-Arab empire survived in the final operations 
of the Morisco rebellion. The superior steadiness of 
the Spanish infantry invariably carried the day, even 
against overwhelming odds. The Moors were easily 
disheartened ; after a trifling repulse it was impossible 
to rally them ; and, even when protected by fortifica- 
tions, they could not withstand the dogged pertinacity 
which was a prominent trait of the Castilian. 

With the appearance of Don John of Austria in 
the field, hostilities were prosecuted with more rigor 
and with greater cruelty. The unimportant but 
bloody successes of the Moors had infused into the 
Spanish soldiery an even more pitiless spirit than be- 
fore. The Austrian prince, at first disposed to leni- 
ency, soon became, through association and prejudice, 
as unfeeling as the meanest soldier in the ranks. The 
siege and assault of Galera, which was the turning- 
point of the war, exemplified, in a striking degree, the 

286 History of the 

dominant principle which actuated the minds of those 
M^ho directed the campaign. That town, situated upon 
an isolated rock, was one of the most strongly fortified 
places in Spain. In addition to its position, its facili- 
ties for defence were excellent. Its garrison was com- 
posed of three thousand veterans. Its supplies were 
ample, and the prudence of Ibn-Abu, who fully ap- 
preciated its value, had long before filled to overflow- 
ing its magazine and its arsenal. Two falconets, 
one of which had been captured from the Marquis 
de los Velez, defended the castle, an unusual advan- 
tage, for the Moriscoes were generally unprovided 
even with such insignificant artillery. A concealed 
gallery cut through the mountain, and extending 
below the bed of the river at its base, provided the 
inhabitants with water, whose existence, unknown to 
the enemy, made its destruction impossible. In addi- 
tion to the garrison, the walls of Galera sheltered a 
population of five thousand, including residents and 

Every precaution that skill and experience could 
suggest had been adopted to strengthen the defences 
of a place regarded as already impregnable. Barri- 
cades were erected at frequent intervals in the streets, 
and between them the houses were pierced with open- 
ings, to facilitate communication and afford means 
of retreat. The town, built in terraces upon the 
sloping rock, offered an ascending series of lines of 
resistance. Those ordinarily considered as non-com- 
batants were animated by a spirit of determination 
equal, if not superior, to that of the garrison, and 
their presence promised to be an important aid rather 
than a drawback in the impending contest. 

Twelve thousand men, commanded by Don John 
of Austria in person, invested Galera on the eigh- 
teenth day of January, 1570. The approaches to the 
town were defended with stubborn resolution. When 

Moorish Empire in Europe 287 

forced behind the walls, it became evident that the 
position of the Moriscoes was so strong that ordinary 
methods of assault must prove useless. Mining was 
therefore resorted to; and a passage, terminating 
under the citadel, was cut with infinite trouble through 
the solid rock. As soon as it was completed, a storm- 
ing party was detailed for the attack, and the explo- 
sion of forty-five barrels of gunpowder announced 
that the mine had been sprung. Little damage was 
done to the castle, however; the walls remained in- 
tact; and the Spaniards were driven back with heavy 
loss. Two other mines were opened and exploded, 
and three assaults were made simultaneously. One 
explosion effected some injury, but the ruins raised 
by the other counteracted it; the loss of the insur- 
gents was trifling; and again the Spaniards sustained 
a bloody and serious repulse. 

Another charge, in which the besiegers infuriated 
by the fall of their general, who was struck by a 
bullet which his armor of proof fortunately deflected 
succeeded in passing the ramparts, procured for 
them admission into the streets. Here thej'- were met 
by scarcely less formidable obstacles, and their ad- 
vance was, foot by foot, contested. Amidst these 
frightful scenes, the people of Galera vied in gal- 
lantry with the soldiers of the garrison. Old men 
fought bravely in the foremost line for the preserva- 
tion of their homes. The wounded and dying re- 
ceived the grateful ministrations of delicate women, 
who fearlessly exposed themselves to fire in the dis- 
charge of the offices of mercy. Even children of 
tender years, undismayed by the smoke and din of 
battle, carried missiles to repel the enemy. The con- 
test soon assumed the character of a hand-to-hand 
encounter. The barricaded streets, the battlemented 
houses built of stone and with few openings 
checked at each step the progress of the assailants. 

288 History of the 

For nine hours with incessant fury the battle raged. 
At length the survivors were driven into an angle of 
the fortifications from whence there was no escape. 
Here, in the face of a relentless foe, the Moriscoes 
made their final stand, without the hope of clemency 
or the fear of death. Young girls died, scimetar in 
hand, with a resolution foreign to their age and sex. 
Fathers deliberately killed their wives and children, 
and then rushed forward to perish on the weapons of 
the Spaniards. Even the veterans of Italy, accus- 
tomed to the atrocities characteristic of the wars of 
the sixteenth century, were sickened by the frightful 
carnage. The population was almost annihilated. 
Of eight thousand persons who had composed it, 
fifteen hundred women and children alone survived 
the final assault, which, not inclusive of the losses of 
the besiegers, cost thirty-six hundred lives. The ava- 
rice of the victors had spared four hundred helpless 
captives, whom Don John of Austria, enraged at the 
casualties which his army had suffered, caused to be 
butchered in his presence. In this diabolical massacre 
the halberdiers of the royal guard took a conspicuous 
part, encouraged by the approving gestures of their 
commander, who regarded with pious complacency 
the extermination of these rebellious infidels. 

The siege of Galera is memorable, not only on ac- 
count of the gallantry of the defence, but also from 
the fact that it indicates the true beginning of the 
military career of the future hero of Lepanto. While 
in reality reflecting but little credit upon the reputa- 
tion of that prince, the popularity he acquired by the 
achievement discloses the moral perversity of the pub- 
lic mind in that fanatical age. Not a word was uttered 
in censure of the savage vindictiveness directed against 
the aged and the helpless, a class whose condition 
appeals to the most generous impulses of mankind, 
but whose fate was universally applauded by bigots 

Moorish Empike in Europe 289 

of every degree, as one step more towards the extir- 
pation of heresy. A spirit of inherent deviltry 
seemed to distinguish for centuries the princes of 
the monarchy estabhshed by Ferdinand and Isabella. 
The progressive decadence of that monarchy from 
the day of its foundation imperceptible at first, and 
concealing the incurable defects of the Castilian polity 
by the spurious glory of unprofitable wars and ruin- 
ous triumphs, and the genuine splendors of unparal- 
leled discoveries, whose proceeds were employed for 
the oppression and debasement of countless millions 
of human beings is one of the most significant and 
instructive events in the history of mankind. 

The capture of Galera was a dearly purchased vic- 
tory. The character of the resistance offered by its 
defenders did not afford a flattering prospect for the 
success of similar enterprises in the future. Many 
important strongholds, as difficult of approach, of 
equal strength, and of larger population, were still 
in the hands of the insurgents. The fate of the place, 
while a warning, served rather to confirm the obsti- 
nacy than to arouse the trepidation of the Moriscoes. 
Their dauntless courage had left hundreds of their 
enemies on the field. The bodies of Moor and Chris- 
tian alike strewed the ramparts; and in the streets 
through which had surged the ever-advancing tide 
of battle had fallen many of the most distinguished 
nobles in the Spanish service. Realizing the diffi- 
culties he was liable to encounter, Don John made a 
demand upon the King for men and money. Rein- 
forcements were easily obtained, but only through the 
clergy, who, as a rule, were always ready to profit by 
a crusade, but who generally regarded their spiritual 
aid as abundantly sufficient, and were never eager to 
furnish substantial contributions, could funds for the 
prosecution of the war be procured. This was accom- 
phshed by the estabhshment of rehgious brotherhoods 

Vol. III. 19 

290 History or the 

in every diocese, whose members, by the purchase of 
indulgences, could thus perform a service of signal 
merit to the Church and, at the same time, secure 
absolution for their sins. The scheme proved remark- 
ably successful; and larger sums were eventually 
collected than those yielded by the sale of similar 
concessions issued for this purpose directly from the 
Holy See. 

Papal influence, at that time predominant in Eu- 
ropean politics, had, immediately after the storming 
of Galera, tendered to the Austrian prince, through 
Philip, the place of generalissimo of the Holy 
League against the Turks. The vast international 
interests which depended upon the proper exercise of 
this office could not be neglected or their protection 
deferred until after many months had been consumed 
in suppressing the revolt of a few thousand rebels. 
By that time the Ottoman fleet would have obtained 
the supremacy of the Mediterranean, and an innu- 
merable horde of bloodthirsty fanatics have descended 
upon the continent of Europe. While military pres- 
tige was presumably essential to one accepting a posi- 
tion of such responsibility and power, the risks were 
too great and the field too narrow to seek it in a cam- 
paign of such doubtful results as that against the 
Moriscoes. Peremptory orders were sent Don John 
to hasten by diplomacy what it had been demonstrated 
would be both difficult and tedious to secure by arms. 
An attempt was therefore made to corriipt the fidelity 
of Fernando-al-Habaqui, the favorite councillor of 
Ibn-Abu, whose wisdom and discernment, like those 
of many statesmen of his time, were superior to his 
patriotism and integrity. In various interviews, 
nominally appointed for purposes relating to the ex- 
change of prisoners, the co-operation of this influ- 
ential personage was obtained; he was promised an 
unconditional pardon ; and the lives of those who sur- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 291 

rendered voluntarily were to be spared. As second 
in command, he was enabled to control a large extent 
of territory in the accomplishment of his treacherous 
design; all the detachments of Morisco troops out- 
side the Alpuj arras and within his jurisdiction were 
suddenly withdrawn; the dismayed inhabitants were 
abandoned to their fate; many of those taken were 
reduced to slavery or sent to the galleys; some suc- 
ceeded in escaping to the mountains; and the entire 
district of the River Almanzora, thus driven to sub- 
mission, yielded such a multitude of captives that the 
general, unable to feed or control them, was com- 
pelled to leave them unmolested until arrangements 
could be made for their final disposition. A royal 
decree recently promulgated had ordered the removal 
of all the Moriscoes of the lately conquered districts 
to Castile. This measure, nominally adopted for pub- 
lic security, had, in fact, its origin in more ignoble 
motives; in the country of the insurgents a consider- 
able number of Moorish proprietors had succeeded, 
amidst the general confusion, in retaining their 
estates; and the effectual means of disposing of ob- 
noxious neighbors by enforced migrations had demon- 
strated its value when the Moriscoes of the Albaycin 
had perished miserably on the highways. The un- 
fortunate victims of state policy and religious per- 
secution were surrounded and herded like cattle ; their 
number is unrecorded, but it must have amounted to 
thousands; the few effects which they possessed they 
were generously permitted to sell for a trifle; and, 
shelterless and almost naked, they were distributed 
over the deserts of La Mancha, where the savage 
peasantry, considering them as intruders, inflicted 
upon these wretched exiles every outrage which ma- 
lignity could devise or lawlessness execute. The 
presence of the Moriscoes in Castile, at that time a 
recent event, no doubt suggested to the fertile mind 

292 History of the 

of Cervantes one of the most entertaining episodes 
in the crowning masterpiece of Spanish literature. 

The remaining Morisco strongholds, contrary to 
general expectation, and discouraged by the treason 
of Al-Habaqui, were far from emulating the heroic 
example of Galera. Seron, Purchena, Tijola, all 
well-fortified towns, submitted without serious resist- 
ance. Negotiations, now authorized by Ibn-Abu, 
were still carried on with Al-Habaqui, whose treach- 
ery does not seem to have destroyed the harmony 
existing between himself and his sovereign. The 
impatience of Don John for the termination of hos- 
tilities induced him to publish a proclamation of 
partial and conditional amnesty. Its terms granted 
life to all, without distinction, who within twenty 
days should surrender; promised that men between 
the ages of fifteen and fifty, who within the specified 
time should deliver to the proper officials an arque- 
buse or a cross-bow, should not be sold as slaves ; and 
required that the leaders of the revolt, and such as 
were unwilling to take advantage of the proclama- 
tion, should be given up as an indispensable prelimi- 
nary to leniency towards those who submitted. The 
ambiguity which pervaded the document caused it to 
be regarded with suspicion, and the Moriscoes, who 
had learned by repeated experience the duplicity of 
their enemies, declined to accept conditions whose un- 
certainty offered such inducements to abuse and mis- 
construction, even if they had not been actually drawn 
up for that purpose. 

Unable any longer to cope with his adversaries in 
the open field, Ibn-Abu adopted the more effective 
policy of guerilla warfare. His army, divided into 
strong detachments, was posted at advantageous 
points whence the operations of the enemy could be 
observed and communication easily maintained. In 
this way the invaders were placed at a great disad- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 293 

vantage. The Moors retired before their advance; 
the towns were evacuated; all property was removed 
or concealed; convoys were cut off; and the army 
of the Duke of Sesa, who commanded the Christians, 
was almost reduced to extremity by famine. It be- 
came absolutely necessary to establish a base of sup- 
plies, and the Marquis of Favara was despatched with 
a considerable force to Calahorra. The Spaniards 
reached their destination in safety; but their move- 
ments had not escaped the vigilance of the moun- 
taineers; and their return march, conducted without 
the precautions adopted by every wise commander, 
encountered an ambuscade in the valley of Ravaha. 
Here the road, so constructed that four men could 
with difficulty move abreast, was blocked by loaded 
beasts of burden, purposely left there by the Moors ; 
and the soldiers, tempted by the hope of plunder, 
broke into disorder to seize them. The measures of 
Ibn-Abu had been taken with consummate skill. The 
Spaniards, hopelessly entangled in the narrow defile 
and completely surrounded, were ruthlessly slaugh- 
tered. In former attacks the mountains had always re- 
sounded with the piercing war-cries of the assailants, 
but now not a sound, save the scattering reports of 
arquebuses and the whistling of arrows, broke the 
ominous stillness of the scene. The advance guard 
and the centre had been destroyed before the Marquis 
was even apprized of the presence of an enemy. He 
effected his escape only by superhuman exertion, and 
of the sixteen hundred soldiers who composed his 
command fourteen hundred atoned for the military 
crimes of official negligence and disregard of disci- 
pline. On the Moorish side not a man was killed, and 
less than twenty were wounded. History affords but 
few parallels to the battle of Ravaha when both the 
numbers engaged and the immunity of the victors are 

294 History of the 

This disaster compelled a precipitate retreat, and, 
unmolested by the enemy, who had ample opportu- 
nities to intercept them, the Spaniards fell back upon 
Adra. Such was their desperate condition from 
hunger that the gardens and orchards in the neigh- 
borhood were stripped of everything edible, and the 
chronicles relate that not even a leaf remained. The 
capture of the insignificant fortress of Castil-de- 
Ferro, whose garrison numbered less than a hundred, 
was the only exploit which relieved the disastrous 
monotony of the Duke of Sesa's campaign. The 
Alpuj arras, although still occupied by the Moriscoes, 
were practically untenable. Every hostile army which 
had entered their defiles had marked with utter devas- 
tation an area of many square leagues. The fields 
were laid waste. The villages were burned. Infor- 
mation of the hidden magazines of the inhabitants 
was sold by their countrymen, and the stores destined 
for the winter were carried away or destroyed. At 
many points the peasantry had sought refuge in caves. 
It was a favorite diversion of the Spaniards to stifle 
these wretches with smoke, like so many wild animals 
in their burrows. The survivors were hunted like 
game through the mountains. On a single occasion, 
Don John received a most acceptable gift of four 
hundred heads and eleven hundred captives. It was 
a remarkable circumstance when any considerable 
body of insurgents were taken, for indiscriminate 
massacre was the rule of every campaign. It was 
considered a peculiarly pious and meritorious action 
to ransom prisoners and present them to the Inquisi- 
tion. The fate for which these unfortunate victims 
were reserved made the most shocking enormities of 
open warfare seem trivial in comparison. 

The relations of Al-Habaqui with the Christians 
were now generally known; his influence was con- 
stantly solicited by his countrymen; and his power 

Moorish Empire in Europe 295 

became so great that even Ibn-Abu himself was com- 
pelled to pay court to his minister, and countenance 
proceedings of which he heartily disapproved to avoid 
incurring the hostility of a favorite in whom was 
practically vested the supreme authority. The latter 
considered that the time had at last arrived for the 
conclusion of his treasonable negotiations. With the 
countenance of Ibn-Abu, and accompanied by seven- 
teen Moriscoes of rank, he met the commissioners of 
Don John at Andarax. Nothing came of the con- 
ference, but the secret understanding between the 
minister and the Spaniards was carried out as pre- 
arranged. An adroit substitution of a document em- 
bodying the concessions of the Spaniards for the one 
containing the demands of the Moriscoes completed 
the deception of the latter ; the arrogance of the Cas- 
tilians caused a withdrawal of the envoys; and Al- 
Habaqui, with a single companion, appeared before 
Don John and, in the name of Ibn-Abu, gave up his 
own scimetar and answered for the surrender of the 
insurgents. This farce had but little effect, and was 
speedily repudiated by the Morisco king. Then Al- 
Habaqui received eight hundred gold ducats from the 
Spanish general, with which to raise a company whose 
especial mission it was to bring in Ibn-Abu, dead or 
alive. The prominence of Al-Habaqui had turned his 
head. His imprudent boasts betrayed him; he was 
seized by the Turks, imprisoned, and strangled. The 
treaty he had negotiated at the sacrifice of every prin- 
ciple of honor and patriotism died with him. Ibn- 
Abu used every expedient to keep the execution of 
his treacherous minister from obtaining publicity. 
Still resolved on resistance, he hoped by temporizing 
with the enemy to procure better terms. His resources 
were by no means exhausted. Five thousand well- 
equipped veterans were under his command. He 
entertained hopes of assistance from Africa that 

296 History or the 

ignis f atuus of every Moslem revolution, which prom- 
ised so much and always ended in nothing. In the 
mean time all was uncertainty in the Christian camp. 
Although a formal capitulation by an authorized 
functionary had been formally signed, no insurgents 
surrendered. The whereabouts of Al-Habaqui were 
unknown, and, while his death was unsuspected, his 
absence could not be explained. Under a safe-conduct 
an envoy was despatched to the Morisco king ; he soon 
ascertained the truth and carried back a message of 
defiance. Preparations were at once made for a re- 
newal of hostilities ; the Spanish army, in three divi- 
sions, advanced upon the Alpuj arras from as many 
different directions, and every eifort was exerted to 
close the war by a vigorously prosecuted campaign. 
The situation of Ibn-Abu now became critical. The 
country in which he was compelled to operate had been 
stripped of everything that could sustain life. Much 
of it that a few years previously exhibited a high de- 
gree of cultivation had been transformed into a prime- 
val solitude, where only the charred remnants of once 
flourishing settlements attested the former presence 
of man. His army was discouraged by the unrelent- 
ing pursuit of the enemy. As usual, the faithfully 
promised support from Africa proved a delusion. 

The Moorish prince sent his brother, Mohammed- 
al-Galipa, an experienced captain, to direct the insur- 
rection in the Serrania de Ronda. Betrayed by a 
Christian guide, who led him within the Spanish lines, 
he was killed, and his escort of two hundred picked 
soldiers destroyed. In Valencia, a conspiracy formed 
in collusion with the Moriscoes of the Alpuj arras was 
detected before it had time to mature, and its insti- 
gators were punished with merciless cruelty. Encom- 
passed by a numerous and powerful foe, Ibn-Abu rec- 
ognized the impossibility of resistance and disbanded 
his army. A few of his adherents took refuge among 

Moorish Empire in Europe 297 

their kindred in Barbary. The majority, however, 
unable to escape and disdaining submission, which im- 
phed a slavery worse than death or inquisitorial tor- 
ture, remained with their sovereign. All were scat- 
tered through the mountains and found shelter in the 
caves of that region, which were known only to shep- 
herds and to those whose haunts were in the wildest 
and most rugged parts of the sierra. The march of 
the Spaniards was accomplished amidst the silence 
of desolation. In the distance at times could be seen 
flying parties of scouts, but no resistance was encoun- 
tered. Whatever had escaped the destructive progress 
of former expeditions was now annihilated. Soldiers 
wandering in quest of plunder occasionally stumbled 
upon an inhabited cavern ; its inmates were driven out 
by fire, and the infliction of torture soon disclosed the 
location of others. In one of these the wife and 
daughters of Ibn-Abu were suffocated, while he, with 
two companions, escaped through a secret opening in 
the mountain. The insatiable thirst of blood and 
booty which urged on the invaders rendered protracted 
concealment impossible. With each new discovery, 
other places of refuge were successively revealed 
through the unsparing and diabolical torments devised 
by the Castilians. The women were spared and con- 
demned to slavery. Male captives under twenty, as 
a rule, shared a similar fate; all over that age were 
put to death, some amidst prolonged and frightful 
sufferings. Rank, innocence, the helplessness of age, 
the touching infirmity of disease, important services 
previously rendered to the royal cause, the prospect 
of future loyalty which might result from clemency 
judiciously bestowed, considerations of public wel- 
fare, dependent upon the preservation of an indus- 
trious people, afforded no exemption from the inex- 
orable decree of destruction, enforced with every cir- 
cumstance of savage malignity. The tracking of 

298 History of the 

fugitive Moriscoes was as exciting and far more 
profitable than the chase of wild beasts. It was no 
unusual occurrence for a party of these terrified 
wretches to be pursued for a distance of fifty miles. 
No obstacles were sufiScient to deter the Spaniards in 
the tireless search for their prey; the more arduous 
the hardships undergone, the greater the enjoyment 
when the victims, vainly suppliant for mercy, were put 
to the sword or burned at the stake. This time no 
organized enemy was left in the Alpuj arras to disturb 
in future the peace of the monarchy. More than ten 
thousand insurgents were murdered or enslaved in the 
space of a month. Wherever the soldiery could pene- 
trate, every vestige of human life and artificial vege- 
tation were alike swept away. The terraced slopes of 
the mountains, reclaimed by infinite toil to profitable 
culture, the once smiling and fertile valleys, were re- 
stored to their native wildness. No voice remained in 
that infinite solitude to dispute the dogmas of the 
Church or to offend the scruples of the orthodox by 
the celebration of the profane and detested rites of 

In the Serrania de Ronda the rebels still continued 
active, but the ambition of rival chieftains aiming at 
supreme power frustrated each other's plans and 
eventually caused the discomfiture of all. The repu- 
tation for valor which the mountaineers of Ronda had 
attained was national; military operations in that 
locality were not prosecuted with the same energy as 
elsewhere, but the irreconcilable spirit of faction, ever 
so fatal to the progress and stability of the Arab race, 
again interposed as a potent factor of disorganization. 
A sharp campaign directed by the Duke of Arcos 
scattered the forces of the rebels, and the Serrania de 
Ronda, while not actually conquered, no longer con- 
tained a force capable of even temporary resistance. 

The war now substantially ended, it was announced 

Moorish Empire in Europe 299 

by royal proclamation that every Morisco, without a 
single exception, should be forever expelled from the 
kingdom of Granada. The order was carried out to 
the letter, under the supervision of Don John of Aus- 
tria. The number of the exiles was from fifty to a 
hundred thousand. Superior discipline and the per- 
sonal attention of the prince prevented the horrors that 
had attended the banishment of the residents of the 
Albaycin. Some were sent to Seville and Murcia, 
others to Estremadura, La Mancha, and Navarre. 
The Castilian peasantry resented their appearance 
among good Christians and resisted the soldiers, whose 
presence alone prevented a massacre. As usual, the 
lands which the Moriscoes possessed were seized for 
the benefit of the crown ; their personal property was 
sacrificed for much less than its value, and many hith- 
erto accustomed to luxury, plundered of the little they 
had saved from Spanish rapacity, reached their new 
homes in a state of absolute destitution. The remote 
fastnesses of the Alpuj arras still concealed a number 
of fugitives, who cherished the fallacious hope that 
amidst the rejoicings incident to victory they might 
remain unnoticed and forgotten. Among them was 
Ibn-Abu, whose followers, the infamous monfis, alike 
inaccessible to honor or pity, were ready for every act 
of treachery, and some of whom had already discussed 
the expediency of obtaining pardon by the sacrifice of 
the King. These homeless wanderers soon realized 
that they were still the objects of Spanish animosity. 
The establishment of regular garrisons and the dis- 
banding of the rest of the army were coincident with 
the formation of bands of scouts, whose duty it was 
to scour the country and capture every Morisco that 
could be found. In order to stimulate their activity, a 
reward of twenty ducats was offered for each insur- 
gent. The chase of Moriscoes now became a more 
lucrative diversion than ever. The wildest portion of 

300 History of the 

the sierra was examined foot by foot. Large numbers 
of fugitives were taken, and the prisons soon became 
too small to contain the multitudes that crowded them 
to suffocation. The utmost diligence of the authori- 
ties was unequal to the task of providing quarters for 
the new-comers, even by the wholesale execution of the 
old. The most distinguished prisoners were hung. 
Others were tortured. Many were handed over to the 
Inquisition, which, while never unsupplied with vic- 
tims, was glad of the opportunity to make a signal 
example of such troublesome heretics. The majority 
were condemned to the galleys, which, all things being 
taken into account, was perhaps the most severe pun- 
ishment that a prisoner could undergo. To be consid- 
ered a mere machine, almost without identity and des- 
titute of feeling, chained for days to the oar, exposed 
alike to the burning sun and the tempest, subject to 
hourly laceration by the scourge of a brutal overseer; 
ill- fed and unprotected from the weapons of an 
enemy, no fate to which unfortunate humanity is liable 
would not seem preferable to the lot of the galley- 
slave. Finally, the available facilities of Granada 
proved totally inadequate for the disposition of captive 
Moriscoes ; extraordinary powers were conferred upon 
the commanders of the fortresses and outposts; the 
scenes of carnage were transferred from the capital 
to every accessible point of the Alpuj arras, and the 
objects of national hatred and intolerance daily paid 
by hundreds the extreme penalty of misfortune and 

The capture or death of Ibn-Abu now alone was 
necessary for the full gratification of Christian ven- 
geance. With trifling difficulty Gonzalo-al-Seniz, 
who enjoyed his confidence and had shared his tent, 
was persuaded to betray him. The rewards of treach- 
ery were definitely stipulated in advance, the principal 
inducements being a pension of a hundred thousand 

Moorish Empire in Europe 301 

maravedis and a promise of amnesty. An attempt to 
take the unfortunate prince alive failed of success; 
he was killed in the struggle ; of his faithful compan- 
ions, some were cut to pieces, some implored the doubt- 
ful clemency of the Christians, and others, after many 
perilous adventures, succeeded in escaping to Africa. 
The body of the Morisco king, strapped like a bale of 
goods upon a beast of burden, was transported to 
Granada and deposited at the door of the municipal 
palace. Then preparations were made for a ceremony 
unparallelled in the history of civilized nations, and 
whose character shows to what a depth the base de- 
scendants of Castilian chivalry had fallen. Procla- 
mation was issued for the celebration of a travesty of 
regal authority and the offer of a public insult to the 
dead. At the appointed time a vast multitude of peo- 
ple, attracted by the novelty of the spectacle from 
every corner of the city and for a distance of many 
leagues around, crowded the streets and squares of the 
picturesque old Moorish capital. The line of march 
led from the Plaza de la Bab-al-Rambla to the foot of 
the Alhambra hill, a route which in the glorious days 
of the emirs had been the scene of many a martial 
triumph. The procession was headed by the corpse of 
Ibn-Abu, held erect by a concealed wooden frame- 
work, which was fastened upon the back of a mule. 
To insure its preservation, the body had been opened, 
the viscera extracted, and the cavity filled with salt ; it 
was dressed in the scarlet and gold habiliments of roy- 
alty ; upon its head was the turban of the khalif s ; the 
face was uncovered, and the pallid, ghastly features 
seemed, in their fixed and mournful expression, to 
gaze reproachfully upon the jeering throng. By the 
side of the mule walked the traitor Gonzalo-al-Seniz, 
bearing the splendid arms of the king he had betrayed, 
a cross-bow and a scimetar embossed and damascened 
with gold. In the rear marched a company of Moris- 

302 History of the 

coes, exempted from the general proscription for par- 
ticipation in this ceremony, laden with the personal 
eiFects and the baggage of the Moslem prince. A 
nmnerous escort of arquebusiers enclosed the cortege, 
which was received with becoming pomp by the cap- 
tain-general and all the military and civil function- 
aries of the kingdom. As Gonzalo-al-Seniz delivered 
to the Duke of Arcos the glittering weapons which he 
carried, he remarked in the figurative language of the 
Orient, " The shepherd could not bring the sheep 
alive, but he has brought the fleece." In the presence 
of the assembled dignitaries of the realm the head of 
Ibn-Abu was cut oiF, and afterwards, placed in an 
iron cage, was fixed upon the battlements of the gate 
of Bab-al-Racha, which faced the Alpuj arras. The 
trunk was abandoned to a mob of children, who 
amused themselves by hacking and disfiguring it until, 
wearied of this extraordinary pastime, they consumed 
it in a bonfire. 

Such was the unworthy fate of the last of the impe- 
rial line of the Ommeyades. Eight hundred years 
before, Abd-al-Rahman, hunted like a wild animal 
through the Libyan Desert, had been summoned from 
a life of obscurity and danger to found a great and 
powerful empire. Although it rapidly reached its 
meridian, that empire required many centuries for its 
final overthrow. The proud dynasty of the Western 
Khalifate ended as it had begun, in proscription, in 
exile, in treachery, in violence. The causes which 
hastened its maturity also contributed largely to its 
decay. The aspirations of its sovereigns were, on the 
main, noble and generous. Their services to humanity 
were of incalculable value and of far-reaching effect. 
The fire and sword of tyranny and persecution could 
not efface the lasting impression made by the ideas 
they promulgated, the science they developed, the lit- 
erature they created. These survived the tortures of 

Moorish Empire in Europe 303 

the Inquisition, the anathemas of the Pope, the tur- 
moil of revolution, the funeral pyres of Ximenes. It 
is a remarkable fact that while the Hispano-Arabs 
brought within the sphere of their influence and cul- 
ture the most remote nations, their nearest neighbors 
were incapable of appreciating their attainments or 
profiting by their knowledge. The inveterate preju- 
dice against every phase of Moorish life and manners 
entertained by the Spanish Christians was fatal to 
their intellectual development. They regarded the in- 
truders as barbarians, as, indeed, the majority of their 
descendants do even to this day. They were brought 
in intimate contact with no other form of civilization, 
and, rather than adopt what their ignorance and fanat- 
icism prompted them to detest and despise, they chose 
to rely on their own limited resources. In consequence, 
their mental and social condition, so far from im- 
proving, gradually retrograded. The Goths of the 
age of Roderick were more polished, more intelligent, 
actuated by better motives, capable of higher aspira- 
tions, susceptible to nobler impulses than the Span- 
iards governed by Charles and Philip. In their prog- 
ress from the banks of the Vistula to the shores of the 
Mediterranean, they had encountered many nations 
long subject to the civilizing influence of Rome. Not 
a few of them had visited the Eternal City itself. 
Some had served in the armies of the decaying empire ; 
all had been impressed by the grand and imposing 
monuments of its magnificence and power. In the 
court of the last of the Gothic kings were men not 
unfamiliar with the masterpieces of classic literature. 
Its publicists had framed a code of laws which is the 
foundation of every modern system of jurisprudence. 
In the mechanical arts Gothic skill and industry had 
made no inconsiderable progress. While feudalism 
had retarded the development of society, its privileges, 
contrary to the practice of subsequent times, had not 

304 History of the 

as yet seriously encroached upon the dignity and pre- 
rogatives of the throne. The institution of councils 
under ecclesiastical influence was not entirely subser- 
vient to the interests of superstition, and often exer- 
cised a wholesome check upon the arbitrary designs of 
a tyrannical sovereign. 

With the Spaniards of the sixteenth century, every- 
thing was subordinated to a single principle, the exal- 
tation of the Church. Its servants were the chosen 
confidants of the monarch ; its policy guided his move- 
ments, controlled his actions, furnished his ideas, in- 
flamed his prejudices. Whatever was worthy of the 
name of learning the clergy monopolized and per- 
verted. They diligently fostered the ignorance of the 
masses, until in all the continent of Europe there is 
not at the present time a more benighted class than the 
peasantry of the Spanish Peninsula. The treasures 
of the world were lavished with unparalleled prodigal- 
ity upon religious institutions and edifices. A tithe of 
the wealth squandered upon these vast foundations, 
whose history is tainted with scandal, would have suf- 
ficed, under intelligent direction, to have transformed 
the entire country into a garden and to have rendered 
Spain one of the richest of nations. Ecclesiasticism 
promoted crime and idleness by making beggary re- 
spectable, and by countenancing the indiscriminate be- 
stowal of alms as a cardinal virtue. The expulsion of 
the Jews and the Moriscoes were acts entirely con- 
sistent with the general scheme of its polity. They 
were indispensable for the realization of religious 
unity, to which every consideration of national wel- 
fare, public faith, and individual probity were unhesi- 
tatingly sacrificed. The atrocities which accompanied 
these violent and disastrous measures were regarded 
as peculiarly meritorious and most acceptable to an 
avenging God. Upon such insecure foundations was 
the splendid but unsubstantial fabric of Spanish 

Moorish Empire in Europe 305 

greatness erected. A sad inheritance has descended 
to the progeny of those stern warriors who founded 
an empire on the wreck of civiHzation, the repudiation 
of treaties, and the obHteration of entire races from 
the face of the earth. 

The war which had effected the conquest and en- 
slavement of the Moriscoes lasted a little more than 
three years. No period of the same duration in the 
history of the Peninsula was fraught with more im- 
portant consequences. The Spaniards lost by the cas- 
ualties of battle, exposure, and disease sixty thousand 
men. The losses of the Moors were much greater; 
twenty thousand were killed with arms in their hands, 
but no account has survived of those who were mas- 
sacred in cold blood. The expense involved in the de- 
struction of the most useful element of the population 
appalled the corrupt and incompetent financiers of 
the kingdom. Extraordinary and unwise fiscal meth- 
ods, devised to remedy the evil, only rendered it more 
aggravated and desperate. Repeated campaigns of 
desolation had turned the whole country into a waste. 
Not only was the material wealth annihilated, but the 
means of recuperation were forever removed. Under 
the iron hand of remorseless persecution, industry had 
vanished. In vain the government offered alluring 
inducements to immigrants and colonists, fertile 
lands, moderate rents, nominal taxation. Few ac- 
cepted these offers and still fewer remained. The 
provinces of the South continued a prey to the bri- 
gands of the mountains and the corsairs of Barbary. 
Life and property were notoriously insecure. Cas- 
tilian pride and indolence were unequal to the patient 
drudgery which had made hill-side and valley blossom 
with teeming vegetation ; and men whose chosen trade 
for ages had been war were wholly destitute of the 
agricultural experience and skill necessary to repro- 
duce these marvellous effects. The royal demesnes, 

V^OL. III. 20 

306 History of the 

in 1592, yielded annually a sum equal to fifteen thou- 
sand dollars; during the closing years of Moslem rule, 
when the kingdom had been exhausted by incessant 
war and rebellion, the revenues from this source pro- 
duced by territory of equal area and fertility had been 
more than ten times as great. Plundered, tortured, 
expatriated, the Moriscoes were still subjected to in- 
numerable vexations ; the curse of their race was ever 
upon them. But they were at last comparatively ex- 
empt from the odious imputation of heresy. After 
1595 the most rigid inquisitorial vigilance was unable 
or unwilling to detect any heterodox opinions or 
breaches of ecclesiastical discipline among these un- 
promising proselytes. And yet it was notorious that 
they were ignorant of the doctrines of the Church, and 
that competent persons were not appointed to instruct 
them. Some zealots, indeed, maintained that they 
should not be permitted to communicate, and that the 
exposure of the Host in their churches was a desecra- 
tion ; others, on the other hand, refused absolution to 
such as would not acknowledge apostasy. Their con- 
fessions were often regarded as feigned, and the 
priests who received them did not hesitate to violate 
the obligations of their order by divulging privileged 
confidences to the magistrate. The Morisco could not 
change his residence without permission; he was not 
allowed the possession of arms; the approach within 
forty miles of the kingdom of Granada was punish- 
able with death. Notwithstanding these severe regu- 
lations, many succeeded in evading the vigilance of 
the authorities. Some took refuge in Valencia, where 
the feudal lords still protected their brethren; others 
concealed themselves in the Alpuj arras; many es- 
caped to Africa. In their new homes they were gen- 
erally treated with far more indulgence than in the 
old. Prelates and nobles who profited by their in- 
dustry not infrequently interposed their influence to 

Moorish Empire in Europe 307 

prevent persecution, interested officials connived at 
breaches of the law, and it was a common occurrence 
for the alguazil appointed to prevent the observance 
of the feast of Ramadhan to pass his time carousing 
with those whom it was his office to restrain. The 
condition of the Moriscoes was also rendered less in- 
tolerable by the secret employment of both civil and 
ecclesiastical dignitaries of high rank and extensive 
influence, at a regular salary, to guard their rights 
and frustrate the iniquitous designs of their enemies. 

The once flourishing land of Granada was a desert, 
but the demands of orthodox Christianity at last were 
satisfied. The devout regarded with unconcealed com- 
placency the fertile territory formerly rich in every 
variety of agricultural products, and now abandoned 
to sterility, but which was defiled no longer by the 
contaminating presence of the heretic and the infidel. 
But, while the Faith was vindicated by the expulsion 
of these objects of pious detestation, the secret of 
prosperity had departed with them. The imported 
colonists were unable, under new and unfamiliar con- 
ditions and heedless of the frugality and patience 
which insure success, to render their undertakings 
profitable; indeed, most of them could hardly exist. 
Their taxes had, in violation of contract and on ac- 
count of the pressing exigencies of the state, been 
gradually increased; the demands of importunate 
creditors and tyrannical officials made them desper- 
ate; and these exactions, which exhausted the scanty 
returns of an ill-conducted cultivation, kept the un- 
fortunate immigrants in a state of hopeless penury. 
They either abandoned their farms or were forcibly 
ejected, and in 1597 the royal estates were sold because 
it was found impossible to operate them at a profit. 

While in Granada such discouraging conditions pre- 
vailed, those portions of the kingdom which had un- 
willingly received the banished Moriscoes experienced 

308 History of the 

the beneficial results of their labors. The hitherto 
barren regions of La Mancha and Estremadura began 
to exhibit signs of unexampled fertility. The new 
settlers were peaceable, frugal, industrious. In Cas- 
tile they were generally farmers; in Aragon, mer- 
chants; in Valencia, manufacturers. Not a few at- 
tained great distinction in the practice of medicine and 
surgery ; and, like the Jews of former ages, they were 
frequently employed by the court and the family of 
the sovereign. The life of Philip III. when a child 
was saved by the skill of a Moorish physician, a service 
which was ill-requited by the deeds of his manhood. 
The exiles practically contributed the funds which 
supported the monarchy. The insatiable rapacity of 
adventurers had soon exhausted the available wealth 
of a magnificent colonial empire. Official corruption 
constantly drained the ordinary sources of revenue. 
In all financial difficulties taxation of the Moriscoes 
afforded an unfailing and profitable means of replen- 
ishing the treasury. Their burdens were first doubled, 
then quadrupled. Every species of imposition was 
practised upon them. Their debtors paid them in 
spurious coin, struck for their benefit. False jewels 
were pledged with them for loans. The chicanery of 
the law was employed to defraud them with impunity, 
while the most severe penalties were inflicted upon 
them for trifling breaches of trust. They were sys- 
tematically swindled by cheats and usurers. In all 
possible ways they were made to feel the unmerited 
degradation of their caste and the utter hopelessness 
of relief. Yet under this weight of malevolence and 
injustice they prospered and preserved at least the 
appearance of equanimity. Nothing could, with 
truth, be alleged against their morals. They were 
nominally good Christians. They attended mass. 
They conformed to the customs of their rulers, wore 
their dress, participated in their festivals, spoke Cas- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 309 

tilian. Their regular and temperate lives and their 
buoyant spirits under misfortune promoted extraor- 
dinary longevity. It was by no means unusual to en- 
counter individuals whose age had passed the limit of 
a century. Early marriages and polygamous unions 
caused the population to increase with amazing 
rapidity. The census taken regularly by the Moris- 
coes to ascertain the proportion of taxes to be levied 
upon them and to insure its equitable distribution 
demonstrated conclusively that this growth was in a 
progressive ratio that was phenomenal in its character. 
The enumeration made at Valencia in 1602 showed an 
increase of ten thousand in three years. Modern in- 
vestigation has established the fact that a population 
existing under the most favorable economic conditions 
will double itself every twenty-five years. The Moris- 
coes were far exceeding that estimate, for their rate 
of increase was triple. This wonderful augmentation 
must have been coincident with the highest degree of 
prosperity, otherwise subsistence could not have been 
provided for the multitudes of children. This con- 
dition was not peculiar to Valencia: it was the same 
in Aragon, in Castile, in Estremadura, in Andalusia. 
The Moors who had failed to conquer their enemies 
by arms now threatened to overwhelm them by sheer 
force of numbers. The Spaniards, not being suffi- 
ciently civilized to take their census regularly or ac- 
curately, were ignorant of the numerical strength of 
their own population, as compared with that of their 
Moorish subjects; but it was evident that there was a 
tremendous preponderance in favor of the latter. 

The officials became so alarmed that just before the 
death of Philip II. he was requested to prohibit any 
further enumeration of the Moriscoes, because it ac- 
quainted them with their power and must eventually 
prove prejudicial to the interests of the monarchy. 
Besides their menacing increase, which no supervision, 

310 History of the 

however eiFective, could prevent, they possessed quali- 
ties that made them highly obnoxious to their masters. 
Their frugality and thrift, their shrewdness and en- 
terprise, rendered competition with them impossible. 
There was no profitable occupation in which they did 
not excel. In agriculture they had no rivals. They 
monopolized every industrial employment; all of the 
most useful trades were under their control. They 
undersold the Castilian peasantry in their own mar- 
kets. Even the most opulent, instructed by previous 
experience, sedulously avoided every exhibition of lux- 
ury ; but the Moorish artisan had not lost the taste and 
dexterity of his ancestors, and the splendid products 
of the loom and the armory still commanded high 
prices in the metropolitan cities of Europe. It was 
known that the Moriscoes were wealthy, and popular 
opinion, as is invariably the case, delighted in exag- 
gerating the value of their possessions. While they 
sold much, they consumed comparatively Httle and 
purchased even less. Although the offence of heresy 
could no longer be consistently imputed to them, spe- 
cious considerations of public policy, as well as defer- 
ence to ineradicable national prejudice, demanded 
their suppression. Their prosperity, secured at the 
expense of their neighbors, and a standing reproach to 
the idleness and incapacity of the latter, was the meas- 
ure of Spanish decay. In the existing state of the 
public mind, and under the direction of the statesmen 
who controlled the actions of the King, a pretext could 
readily be found for the perpetration of any injustice. 
The Moriscoes of Valencia, the most numerous, 
wealthy, and influential body of their race, protected 
by the nobles, had always shown less alacrity in the 
observance of the duties of the Church than their 
brethren, and had thus rendered themselves liable to 
the suspicion of apostasy. It was declared that after 
a generation of espionage, prayer, and religious in- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 311 

struction they were still secret Mussulmans. This 
opinion, perhaps in some instances not without foun- 
dation, amounted to absolute certainty in the narrow 
mind of Don Juan de Ribera, Archbishop of Valen- 
cia, a prelate of vindictive temper, arbitrary disposi- 
tion, limited abilities, and violent prejudices. He 
owed much of his reputation for piety to the fact that 
he had denounced to the Inquisition more than four 
thousand alleged Moorish apostates. Knowing his 
feelings towards them, the Moriscoes generally turned 
a deaf ear to his admonitions and threats, and thus fur- 
ther incurred his displeasure. The energy of Ribera 
was incessantly exerted for the ruin of these supposed 
heretics, either by exile or by extermination. With 
this end in view he addressed several memorials to 
Philip III., who had now ascended the throne, in 
which the objects of his wrath were accused of every 
crime against the civil and the moral law, treason, 
murder, kidnapping, blasphemy, sacrilege. In these 
appeals the Moriscoes were called " the sponge that 
absorbed the riches of Spain." He enforced his argu- 
ments by the extraordinary statement that the destruc- 
tion of the Armada was a divine judgment for the in- 
dulgence exhibited towards these enemies of the Faith, 
and that Philip II. was aware of it, for he himself had 
informed him of that fact. The recent occurrence of 
earthquakes, tempests, and comets was also sagely at- 
tributed to the same cause. The Moriscoes were not 
ignorant of the designs which the Archbishop was 
prosecuting to their injury, and endeavored to obtain 
the assistance of France and England, both of which 
countries were then hostile to Spain. They offered 
King Henry IV. the services of a hundred thousand 
well-armed soldiers if he would invade the Peninsula. 
The Duke of Sully says they even signalized their 
willingness to embrace Protestantism in consideration 
of support, it being a form of worship not tainted 

312 History of the 

with idolatry, like that of Rome. Negotiations were 
privately opened with the courts of Paris and London, 
and commissions were even appointed by the latter to 
verify the claims of the ]Moriscoes ; but no conclusion 
was arrived at, and the plot was eventually betrayed 
by the very sovereigns whose honor was pledged to the 
maintenance of secrecy. An embassy was also sent to 
the Sultan of Turkey by the Moors, soliciting his aid 
and tendering him their allegiance. 'No plan which 
promised relief was neglected. The furious Ribera 
again urged upon the King the dangers that the tol- 
eration of such a numerous and perfidious people im- 
plied; he alleged their prosperity and their superior 
inteUigence as crimes against the state; and as abso- 
lute extermination did not seem to be feasible, he sug- 
gested expulsion as of greater inconvenience, but of 
equal efficacy. Once more the nobles interposed in 
behalf of their vassals, and while the King was hesi- 
tating the Moriscoes endeavored to anticipate his de- 
cision by the formation of an extensive conspiracy. 
Again they were betrayed, this time by one of their 
own number. Pubhc opinion, aroused by these oc- 
currences, and further inflamed by ecclesiastical malice 
and by the pernicious influence of the Duke of Lerma, 
the all-powerful minister of PhiHp III., now impera- 
tively demanded their banisliment. This nobleman, 
of base antecedents and unprincipled character, and 
whose dominating passion was avarice, was Viceroy 
of Valencia. His brother was the Grand Inquisitor 
Their influence easily overweighed the remonstrances 
of the Pope, whose voice was raised on the side of 

On the fourth of August, 1609, the royal decree 
which announced the fate of the Moriscoes of Valen- 
cia was signed at Segovia. No precaution which pru- 
dence could suggest was neglected to prevent disaster 
consequent upon its enforcement. Great bodies of 

Moorish Empire in Europe 313 

troops were placed under arms. The frontiers of the 
kingdom were patrolled by cavalry. Seventy-seven 
ships of war, the largest in the navy, were assembled 
on the coast. In every town the garrison was doubled. 
Several thousand veterans disembarked from the fleet 
and were distributed at those points where the Morisco 
population was most numerous. Such preparations 
left no alternative but submission, and the Valencians, 
anticipating the final movement which would deliver 
the unhappy Moors into their hands, began to rob and 
persecute them without pity. Even after all had been 
arranged for the removal, the nobles urged Philip to 
revoke an order which must cause incalculable injury 
to his kingdom. The most solemn and binding guar- 
antees were offered for the public safety and for the 
peaceable behavior of the Moriscoes. It was demon- 
strated that the manufacturing and agricultural inter- 
ests of the entire monarchy were involved ; that a pop- 
ulation of a million souls, whose industry represented 
of itself a source of wealth which could not be re- 
placed, would be practically exterminated; that the 
educational and rehgious foundations of the realm 
alone received from JVIoorish tributaries an annual 
sum exceeding a milhon doubloons of gold. It was 
also shown that the vassals of the Valencian nobles 
paid them each year four million ducats, nearly thirty- 
two million dollars. The alleged conspiracies were 
imputed to the malice of the monks, who invented 
them in the cloister; the heresies to ignorance of the 
clergy, too idle or too negligent to afford their par- 
ishioners instruction. The evil results of the iniquitous 
decree had already begun to manifest themselves. 
The cultivation of the soil had almost ceased. The 
markets were deserted. Commerce languished, and 
the Moriscoes, to avoid the insults of the populace to 
which they were now subjected, only appeared in the 
streets when impelled to do so by absolute necessity. 

314 History of the 

The Archiepiscopal See of Valencia, which derived its 
revenues almost entirely from Morisco taxation, was 
threatened with bankruptcy, and Don Juan de Ribera, 
realizing when too late the disastrous consequences of 
the project he had so sedulously advocated, now in 
vain endeavored to stem the tide of public bigotry and 
official madness. While bewailing his unhappy con- 
dition to his clerical subordinates, he was heard to 
plaintively remark, " My brethren, hereafter we shall 
be compelled to live upon herbs and to mend our own 

Philip refused to reconsider his determination, and 
the nobility manifested their loyalty by the unflinching 
support of a measure running directly counter to their 
interests. On the twenty-second of September, 1609, 
the edict of expulsion was proclaimed by heralds 
throughout the kingdom of Valencia. It represented 
that by a special act of royal clemency " the heretics, 
apostates, traitors, criminals guilty of Use-majeste 
human and divine," were punished with exile rather 
than with death, to which the strict construction of the 
laws condemned them. It permitted the removal of 
such effects as could be carried, and as much of their 
harvests as was necessary for subsistence during their 
journey; all else was to be forfeited to their suzerains.. 
They were forbidden to sell their lands or houses. 
Three days of preparation were granted; after that 
they were declared the legitimate prey of every as- 
sailant. Dire penalties were denounced against all 
who should conceal them or in any way assist in the 
evasion of the edict. Those who had intermarried with 
Christians could remain, if they desired; and six per 
cent, of the families were to be reserved by the lords, 
that the horticultural and mechanical dexterity which 
had enriched the country might not be absolutely ex- 
tinguished. These subjects of interested clemency 

Moorish Empire in Europe 315 

refused to accept this invidious concession, however, 
and hastened to join their countrymen beyond the sea. 

The wretched Moriscoes received the tidings of their 
expatriation with almost the despair with which they 
would have listened to a sentence of death. Astonish- 
ment, arising from the suddenness of the notice and 
the inadequate time allotted them for preparation, was 
mingled with their dismay. The traditions of cen- 
turies, the souvenirs of national glory, the memory of 
their ancestors, contributed to endear them to their 
native land. There were centred the most cherished 
associations of a numerous and cultivated race. All 
around were the visible signs of thrift and opulence 
and their results, won by laborious exertion from the 
soil. The disfigured but still magnificent monuments 
of fallen dynasties recalled the departed glory of 
Arab genius and Moslem power. The loss of their 
wealth, the sacrifice of their possessions, portended 
the endurance of calamities for which they were ill- 
prepared, and of whose dreadful character their most 
gloomy apprehensions could convey no adequate con- 

In every Moorish community appeared the signs of 
unutterable misery and woe. The shrieks of frenzied 
women pierced the air. Old men sobbed upon the 
hearthstones where had been passed the happy days of 
infancy and youth. Overcome with grief, life-long 
friends met in the streets without notice or salutation. 
Even little children, unable to comprehend, yet awed 
by the prevailing sorrow, ceased their play to mingle 
their tears with those of their parents. 

As the disconsolate and sobbing multitude, urged 
on by the ferocious soldiery taught by their religion 
to regard these victims of national prejudice as the 
enemies of Christ, left their homes behind forever, 
their trials and sufferings increased with their prog- 
ress. The government provided them with neither 

316 History of the 

food, shelter, nor transportation. The difficulties of 
the march were aggravated by clouds of dust and by 
the pitiless heat of summer. Many were born on the 
highway. Great numbers fell from exhaustion. 
Some, in desperation, committed suicide. Every 
straggler was butchered by the armed rabble which, 
equally ravenous for plunder or blood, constantly 
hung on the flanks of the slowly moving column. 
Many were assassinated by Old Christians, men of 
Moorish ancestry, the conversion of whose forefathers 
dated before the Conquest, and who told their beads 
and muttered prayers after each murder, as if they 
had committed an action acceptable to God. The 
armed brigands who composed the escort vied with the 
mob in their atrocities. The men were openly killed, 
the women violated. Their property was appropriated 
by force. Some died of hunger. Parents, in their 
extremity, became so oblivious of the instincts of 
nature as to barter their children for a morsel of bread. 
When they embarked for Africa they fared even 
worse than they had done on land. On the sea the op- 
portunities for outrage were multiplied, the means of 
escape and detection diminished. No pen can portray 
the horrors visited upon the unhappy Moriscoes, help- 
less in the midst of savage enemies who were insen- 
sible to pity, hardened by cruelty, and dominated by 
the furious lust of beauty and gold. 

The decree was not received everywhere with the 
same submission as at the city of Valencia. There the 
exiles, overawed by the large military force, yielded 
without disturbance. Half -crazed by misfortune, 
they even feigned exultation, marched on board the 
ships dressed in holiday costume and headed by bands 
of music, and in token of delight gave themselves up 
to the most extravagant exhibitions of joy. Some 
kissed the shore, others plunged into the sea, others 
again quaffed the briny water as if it were a delicious 

Moorish Empire in Europe 317 

beverage. Before embarking they sold much of their 
property, and articles of great elegance and beauty 
curiously wrought vessels of gold and enamel, silken 
veils embroidered with silver, magnificent garments 
were disposed of for a small fraction of their value. 
During these transactions, and in settlement of their 
passage to Africa, the Moriscoes succeeded in placing 
in circulation an immense amount of counterfeit 
money which they had obtained in Catalonia, thus lit- 
erally paying the Spaniards in their own coin. The 
portable wealth of which the kingdom was deprived 
by their banishment cannot be estimated. It 
amounted, however, to many millions of ducats. 
Some of the exiles were known to possess a hundred 
thousand pieces of gold, an enormous fortune in those 
times. It was ascertained after their departure that 
their lords, in defiance of law, had purchased many of 
their estates, and had connived at the sale or conceal- 
ment of a great amount of their personal property. 
Those who succeeded in reaching the cities were re- 
ceived with courteous hospitality, but the desert tribes 
showed scant mercy to the multitudes that fell into 
their hands. 

Elsewhere in the kingdom the Moriscoes stubbornly 
resisted the decree of expatriation. The Sierra de 
Bernia and the VaTe of Alahuar were the scene of 
the most serious disturbances, and at one time twenty 
thousand insurgents were in the field. Armed for the 
most part with clubs, their valor was ineffectual in the 
presence of veteran troops. The women alone were 
spared; the men were butchered; the brains of chil- 
dren were beaten out against the walls. The garrison 
of the castle of Pop, which for a few weeks defied the 
Spanish army, alone obtained advantageous terms. 
Of the one hundred and fifty thousand Moors exiled 
from Valencia, at least two-thirds perished. A large 
number had previously succumbed to persecution or 

318 History of the 

had escaped, and including these the total number of 
victims of the inauguration of the insane policy of 
Philip III. was at least two hundred thousand. The 
continuance of that policy until its aim had been fully 
accomplished had already been determined on by the 
councillors of the King. The secrecy which concealed 
their design did not impose upon those who were the 
objects of it. They began by tens of thousands to 
emigrate quietly to Africa. Then the decree, which 
had been signed a month before, was published, with 
an attempt to give the impression that it had been pro- 
voked by a circumstance of which it was really the 
cause, namely, the agitation of the Moriscoes. The 
latter were peremptorily commanded to leave the king- 
dom within eight days. They were forbidden to take 
with them money, gold, jewels, bills of exchange, or 
merchandise. They were not permitted to dispose of 
their estates. In Catalonia their property was confis- 
cated, " in satisfaction of debts which they might have 
owed to Christians," and three days only were allowed 
them in which to prepare for departure. Their little 
children were to be left behind to the tender mercies of 
their oppressors, in order that their salvation might 
be assured. Those of the northern provinces were 
prohibited from moving southward; those of Anda- 
lusia were directed to emigrate by sea. Within the 
allotted time all were in motion. The embarkation of 
the exiles destined for Africa was effected without 
difficulty. But their brethren of Castile and Aragon 
were refused admission into France, by the direct 
order of Henry IV., to whose agency was largely at- 
tributable their deplorable condition. His opportune 
death somewhat relaxed official severity, and a great 
number entered Provence. Although they were 
peaceable and inoffensive, the French were anxious to 
be rid of their unwelcome guests. Free transportation 
was furnished them by the city of Marseilles, and they 

Moorish Empire in Europe 319 

were distributed through Turkey, Italy, and Africa. 
So many died during the passage by sea that their dead 
bodies encumbered the beach, and the peasants refused 
for a long time to eat fish, declaring that it had the 
taste of human flesh. The progress of the unfortu- 
nates driven northward was marked by daily scenes 
of persecution and agony. The commissioners ap- 
pointed to supervise the emigration connived at the 
evasion of the decree for their own profit. They ex- 
torted enormous sums for protection, which their duty 
required them to aff'ord without compensation, and 
which, even after these impositions, was insolently de- 
nied. Those things which the ordinary dictates of 
humanity delight to bestow were sold to the hapless 
wanderers at fabulous prices. For the shade of the 
trees on the highway the grasping and unprincipled 
peasant exacted a rental; and the water dipped from 
the streams in the trembling hands of the sufferers 
commanded a higher price than that usually paid for 
the wine of the country. The little which the commis- 
sioners overlooked was seized by rapacious French 
officials, and the condition of the Moriscoes was still 
further aggravated by the absconding of those of their 
number to whom the common purse had been in- 

In the merciless proscription thus imposed upon an 
entire people, an insignificant number temporarily 
escaped. In the latter were included young children 
torn from their parents to be educated by the Church, 
and such persons " of good life and religion" as the 
clergy, through interested or generous motives, chose 
to recommend to royal indulgence. In 1611 the ex- 
emption enjoyed by these classes was removed; 
searching inquiry was instituted throughout the king- 
dom, and every individual of Moorish blood who could 
be discovered was inexorably condemned to banish- 
ment or slavery. By the persecution of the Moriscoes 

320 History of the 

and the losses by war, assassination, voluntary emigra- 
tion, and enforced exile, Spain was deprived of the 
services of more than a million of the most intelligent, 
laborious, and skilful subjects in Christendom. Those 
who were finally excluded were probably not more 
than half of the entire Moorish population. No sta- 
tistics are accessible in our day from which an estimate 
can be formed of the vast number that perished by 
famine, by torture, by massacre. Their trials were 
not at an end even in Africa; they were pursued for 
sectarian diiFerences, and some who were sincere 
Christians returned to Spain, where they were at once 
sentenced to the galleys. The skill and thrift of the 
Moriscoes, qualities which should have made them de- 
sirable, rendered them everywhere unpopular; they 
monopolized the trade of the Barbary coast, even 
driving out the Jews; in Algiers the populace rose 
against them, all were expelled, and large numbers 
were remorselessly butchered. Hatred of their op- 
pressors induced many of hitherto peaceful occupa- 
tions to embrace the trade of piracy, and the southern 
coast of the Peninsula had reason to long remember 
the exploits of the Morisco corsairs. 

The ruthless barbarity, the blind and reckless folly 
of this measure, was followed by an everlasting curse 
of barrenness, ignorance, and penury. The sudden 
removal of enormous amounts of portable wealth de- 
ranged every kind of trade. The circulation of coun- 
terfeit money impaired public confidence. In Valen- 
cia four hundred and fifty villages were abandoned. 
The absence of the most industrious and prosperous 
class of its inhabitants was apparent in every commu- 
nity of Castile. Catalonia lost three-quarters of its 
population. The districts of Aragon rendered deso- 
late by Moorish expulsion have never been repeopled. 
Agricultural science and mechanical skill disappeared. 
The hatred and disdain entertained by the Spaniards 

Moorish Empire in Europe 321 

for the conquered race had never permitted them to 
profit by the experience and ingenuity of the latter. 
Intercourse with a Moor brought moral and social con- 
tamination. Still less could the admission of infe- 
riority, which the adoption of his methods implied, be 
tolerated by the haughty, the vainglorious, the impe- 
cunious hidalgo. 

The effects of the discouragement of all forms of 
art and industry consequent upon war and persecution 
had been felt long previous to the expulsion of the 
Moriscoes in every part of the Peninsula. For many 
years after the capture of Cordova by Ferdinand III., 
it was found necessary to bring provisions from the 
North, not onlj^ for the support of the army, but to 
rescue from famine the sparse and thriftless popula- 
tion of a province which under the Ommeyade khahfs 
maintained with ease the great capital, as well as 
twelve thousand villages and hamlets. 

The decline in the number of inhabitants under 
Spanish rule indicates the utter stagnation of trade 
and agriculture. In 1492 the population of Castile 
was six and three-quarter million; in 1700 there were 
in the entire kingdom of Spain but six million souls 
such had been the significant retrogression in two hun- 
dred years. 

The combined revenues of the Spanish Crown at 
the close of the fifteenth century amounted to a sum 
equal to three hundred thousand dollars, about one- 
thousandth of the annual receipts of the imperial 
treasury at the death of Abd-al-Rahman III., seven 
hundred years before. 

Fifty years after the banishment of the Moors, the 
combined population of the cities of Cordova, Seville, 
Toledo, Granada, had decreased by more than four- 
fifths ; it is now about one-tenth of its amount during 
the Moslem domination. In 1788 there were fifteen 
hundred and eleven deserted towns in the Peninsula. 

Vol. hi. 31 

322 History of the 

Toledo, celebrated for its silken fabrics, in the latter 
part of the fifteenth century had sixty thousand 
looms ; in 1651 it had five thousand ; to-day it has none. 
The same industry was pursued with great success at 
Seville; in the seventeenth century the number of its 
looms had decreased from sixteen thousand to sixteen. 
All othep branches of manufactures declined in the 
same proportion. Even a large part of the kingdom 
of Valencia, the garden of Europe, was for years an 
uninhabited wilderness. With the Moslem expulsion 
the knowledge of many arts, once the source of great 
profit, was hopelessly lost. 

To the pious Spaniard all these sacrifices were as 
nothing when compared with the triumph of the Faith. 
The ports were unoccupied, the quays grass-grown, 
but the armies of the Cross had conquered. The man- 
ufactories had fallen into decay, the streets were silent, 
the highways were deserted except by the timorous 
traveller and the lurking robber, but not a Moslem 
or a Jewish heretic was to be encountered in His Most 
Catholic Majesty's dominions. At the close of the 
seventeenth century, throughout the entire Peninsula, 
once the centre of learning in Europe, the resort of 
scholai^ of every land, the seat of the greatest educa- 
tional institutions of the Middle Ages, not a single 
academy existed where instruction could be obtained 
in astronomy, natural philosophy, or any branch of 
mathematics. A hundred years later no one could be 
found who understood even the rudiments of chemis- 
try. To-day, among the inhabitants of Spain, accord- 
ing to the published tables of statistics, only one person 
in every four can read. But what mattered the de- 
struction of commerce, the decay of production, the 
dearth of intelligence, if the land was purged of false 
doctrines? Was it not a source of national congratu- 
lation that ecclesiastical authority was once more para- 
mount; that half of the able-bodied population, male 

Moorish Empire in Europe 323 

and female, were devoted to monastic life ; that mag- 
nificent religious foundations, such as the world had 
never before seen, arose on every side; that, though 
the royal treasury was bankrupt, the annual revenues 
of the Church amounted to nearly fifty-three million 
dollars? Surely these manifold divine blessings were 
not to be weighed with the transitory benefits derived 
from the labors of a mass of perverse and unregen- 
erate heretics ! 

The results, both immediate and remote, of this 
crime against civihzation thus proved fatal to Spain. 
Its principal sources of subsistence removed, the king- 
dom was desolated by famine. It became necessary 
to extend public aid to many noble families, once af- 
fluent, but now impoverished by the suicidal course of 
the crown. Popular sentiment, exasperated by dis- 
tress, denounced in unsparing terms the authors of the 
national calamity. The Archbishop of Valencia, un- 
able to endure the daily reproaches to which he was 
subjected, and overcome by the sufferings for which 
he was responsible, died of remorse. Silence and 
gloom occupied vast tracts formerly covered by ex- 
uberant vegetation. In the place of the farmer and 
the mechanic appeared the brigand and the outlaw. 
Deprived of protection, the open country was aban- 
doned ; the peasantry sought the security of fortified 
places, and all occupations whose pursuit implied ex- 
posure to the danger of violence were necessarily sus- 
pended. The conditions controlling every rank of 
society which were estabhshed in the Peninsula by the 
blind and savage prejudices of the seventeenth cen- 
tury are largely prevalent to-day. A dreadful retri- 
bution has followed a tragedy whose example happily 
no other nation has ventured to imitate; and which, 
from the hour of its occurrence, has afflicted with 
every misfortune to the last generation the people re- 
sponsible for its hideous atrocities. 

324) History of the 





Effects of Barbarian Supremacy on the Nations of Europe Rise 
of the Papal Power Character of the Popes Their Vices 
and Crimes The Interdict Corrupt Practices of Prelates 
and Degradation of the Papacy Institution of the Monas- 
tic Orders Their Great Influence Their Final Degeneracy 
Wealth of the Religious Houses The Byzantine System 
Its Characteristics Power of the Eunuchs Splendor of 
Constantinople Destruction of Learning Debased Condi- 
tion of the Greeks The People of Western Europe Tyr- 
anny of Caste and its Effects Feudal Oppression Life of 
the Noble His Amusements The Serf and his Degrada- 
tion His Hopeless Existence Treatment of the Jews 
Prevalence of Epidemics Religious Festivals General 
Ignorance Scarcity and Value of Books Persecution of 
Learning The Empire of the Church Its Extraordinary 

In order that the reader may thoroughly understand 
and properly appreciate the moral and intellectual 
supremacy of the Spanish Arabs and their prodigious 
advance in the domain of science and the arts, I have 
thought it advisable, by way of contrast, to present to 
him a short and superficial sketch of the religious, po- 
litical, and domestic conditions which prevailed in the 
society of contemporaneous Europe. The extent of 
this vast and comprehensive subject one which has 
exhausted the erudition of many great historians, 
whose works of themselves would constitute a consid- 
erable library must, therefore, excuse the incomplete 
and cursory character of this chapter; while its im- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 325 

portance as a standard of comparison will account for 
an apparent deviation from the general plan embraced 
by these volumes. 

The elegant luxury and refined civilization of the 
Romans had disappeared amidst the universal anarchy 
which followed the dissolution of their empire. The 
boundaries of great states and kingdoms had been 
obliterated. Provinces once famed for their fertility 
were now the haunts of prowling beasts and truculent 
barbarians. The despotic but generally salutary gov- 
ernment of the Cassars had everywhere, save in the 
immediate vicinity of Byzantium, been replaced by the 
capricious and irregular jurisdiction of petty chief- 
tains, whose violent passions were restrained only by 
their weakness, and of marauding princes, ambitious 
to destroy every vestige of that architectural magnifi- 
cence and mental culture whose monuments they de- 
spised, and whose example they had neither the desire 
nor the capacity to emulate. Instead of a smiling 
landscape, everywhere exhibiting the traces of agri- 
cultural skill and laborious and patient industry, a 
prospect of universal desolation met the eye of the 
anxious and hurrying wayfarer. Moss-grown heaps 
of rubbish alone marked the site of many a once flour- 
ishing and opulent city. The towering aqueducts, 
those engineering marvels of the ancient world, 
whose majestic ruins still excite the admiration of all 
mankind, were broken and fallen into decay. The 
peerless temples and altars of the gods had been dese- 
crated by the hands of sacrilegious Goth, Hun, and 
Lombard. Bands of brigands, insensible to pity, 
swarmed upon the highways. In the cities the equita- 
ble decisions of the praetor had been supplanted by 
the extortions of ecclesiastical fraud and barbarian in- 
solence. The vices prevalent during the most aban- 
doned period of Roman licentiousness had survived, 
and had been aggravated by the unfeeling cruelty of 

326 History of the 

the conquerors. No scruples of humanity or delicacy- 
suggested the concealment of the most revolting 
orgies. The streets of the Eternal City exhibited 
enormities whose very mention the rules of modern 
propriety do not tolerate. Banquets where the brutal 
propensities of the turbulent and uncouth guests were 
indulged to the utmost constantly afforded provoca- 
tion for bloodshed and murder. Knowledge of letters, 
understanding and appreciation of the arts, had 
already wholly vanished. The literary masterpieces 
of classic genius remained unknown or forgotten in 
the insignificant collections of scattered libraries, or 
had been buried under the smoking ruins of those in- 
stitutions of learning which once adorned the capitals 
and the provincial cities of Greece and Italy. 

By the accident of geographical position, by the 
adoption of familiar political maxims, and by the in- 
corporation into its ritual of many ceremonies long 
endeared to the votaries of Paganism, the Church of 
Rome had secured an influence over the minds of men 
which under any other circumstances it could scarcely 
have acquired. The revered name and dignity of 
Supreme Pontiff imparted authority to its decrees and 
gave prestige to its decisions on questions of doctrine. 
The five Christian emperors, from Constantine to 
Gratian, adopted without alteration the attributes and 
wore the insignia of the sacred office established by 
Numa and usurped by Augustus. The assumption of 
imperial power is shown by the extent of Papal juris- 
diction long sharply defined by the ancient limits of 
the empire. The adoption of the Latin idiom enabled 
the Church to communicate secretly with its servants 
in the most distant countries; while at the same time 
it invested the proceedings of its worship with a mys- 
tery which awed the ignorant and fanatic believer. 
The splendid ceremonial, the imposing temples, the 
elaborate vestments, the costly furniture of the altar 

Moorish Empire in Europe 327 

enriched with gold and jewels, the incense, the solemn 
chants, the consecration of the Host, all powerfully 
impressed the superstitious children of the slaves of 
ancient mythology, in whose minds still lingered traces 
of those traditions which had been received by their 
fathers with the implicit faith due to the oracles of the 

In the course of centuries, the primitive simplicity 
of the Gospel and the purity of life which distin- 
guished the first Christians had been lost in the com- 
plex theology, in the unseemly contests for precedence, 
in the crimes and the licentiousness which distracted 
the society of the Eternal City. From a simple priest, 
whose tenure of office was dependent on the pleasure 
of his associates, the Bishop of Rome had been exalted 
into a mighty sovereign, responsible only to the powers 
of Heaven. The palace of the Vatican exhibited all 
the vices of the most corrupt of courts. The assump- 
tion of infallibility, an inevitable result of the pre- 
posterous claims of the Papacy, through the contra- 
dictory interpretations of different individuals whose 
interests were conflicting led to the most opposite con- 
clusions, often to results fatal to the peace and honor 
of the Church. The faith of the populace was weak- 
ened. Infidelity in the priesthood became too com- 
mon to excite remark. The universal depravity was 
incredible and appalling. The general demoralization 
resulting from the example of the clergy, whose athe- 
ism and debauchery were proverbial, threatened the 
existence of society, a catastrophe which the thorough 
organization of the hierarchy alone prevented. Even in 
the fifteenth century Machiavelli wrote, " The nearer 
a nation is to Rome the more impious are the people." 
When the German Schopp called the famous scholar, 
Casaubon, an atheist, the latter retorted: " If I were 
an atheist I should now be at Rome, where I have 
often been invited." The effects of this su'perb eccle- 

328 History of the 

siastical organization were not long in manifesting 
themselves. The legitimate resources of power were 
aided by every device of fraud, of oppression, of 
imposture, of forgery. A succession of able and un- 
principled pontiffs fastened on Christendom a yoke 
which the intelligence and the science of subsequent 
generations have not even yet been able to entirely 
remove. The temporal supremacy of the Csesars was 
re-estabhshed over Europe; the dogmas of Catholi- 
cism were preached in distant continents unknown to 
the ancient world; and a tyranny far more terrible 
in its consequences than that experienced under the 
cruel rule of Nero and Domitian was imposed upon 
the intellectual aspirations of mankind. 

No branch of history affords such a significant illus- 
tration of human craft and human weakness as the 
story of the ambition, the intrigues, and the vices of 
the Popes. In its consideration, the fact must never 
be lost sight of that the Holy Father was, as a neces- 
sary consequence of his creed, the earthly embodiment 
of spiritual perfection, the vicegerent of Almighty 
God. Either the admission of a single error of judg- 
ment, or a controversy involving the most insignificant 
tenet sustained by one pope and disputed by his suc- 
cessor, was fatal to the claim of infallibility, which 
was the foundation of the entire ecclesiastical system. 
The omniscience conferred by the apostolic succes- 
sion, which traced its origin to the Saviour Himself, 
could never be mistaken. The example of the Su- 
preme Pontiff, the relations he sustained to the great 
officials of his court, his occupations, his diversions, his 
tastes, his habits, his conversation, were of far greater 
importance in the eyes of the meanest peasant of some 
remote kingdom who acknowledged his mission than 
were the most glorious achievements of any temporal 
sovereign. The possibilities for the attainment to po- 
sitions of such authority and influence as were offered 

Moorish Empire in Europe 329 

by the Roman Catholic hierarchy had been unknown 
to Paganism. These opportunities enabled men of 
base origin, but of extraordinary talents, to reach the 
chair of St. Peter, men whose faults were overlooked 
or palliated by the indulgent spirit of the age on 
account of the successful prosecution of their schemes 
and the veneration which attached to their calHng. 

Thus, among the powers of the earth, highest in 
rank, greatest in renown, supreme in influence, pre- 
eminent in infamy, was the Papacy of Rome. The 
maintenance of an uniform standard of orthodoxy 
was little considered by the spiritual potentate whose 
will was the law of Christendom. It is well known 
to every student of Church history that Jewish doc- 
trines predominated in the early days of Christianity 
and controlled the policy of its priesthood. The 
Pagan ideas and ceremonies inherited from the Roman 
pontiffs it never laid aside. Every form of heterodox 
belief was entertained at different periods by the in- 
cumbents of the Holy See. St. Clement was an 
Arian; Anastasius a Nestorian; Honorius a Mono- 
thelite; John XXII. an unconcealed atheist. The 
contradictory dogmas, the acrimonious disputes, the 
frightful anathemas, that resulted from the adoption 
of these heretical principles of doctrine were the pub- 
lic reproach of the Christian world. As the power 
of the Papacy increased, its possession became more 
and more an object to ambitious and unscrupulous 
adventurers. It was sought and obtained by arts 
countenanced only by the vilest of demagogues. It 
was sold by one Pope to another; and, like the im- 
perial laurel appropriated by the Pretorian Guards, 
it was put up at auction by cardinals and became the 
property of the most wealthy purchaser. Some of the 
Holy Fathers had not taken orders; others had not 
even received the sacraments of baptism and com- 
munion before being invested with the pontifical dig- 

330 History of the 

nity. In some instances the tiara and the mitre were 
placed upon the brows of children. Neither John 
XII. nor Benedict IX. had attained the age of thirteen 
years when intrusted with the direction of the spir- 
itual aif airs of Christendom. An infant of five years 
was consecrated Archbishop of Rheims. Another who 
was only ten was placed upon the episcopal throne 
of Narbonne. Alonso of Aragon, the natural son 
of Ferdinand the Catholic, was made Archbishop of 
Saragossa at the age of six. The origin of the vicars 
of Christ was sometimes of the most obscure and often 
of the most disgraceful character. Stephen VII., 
John X., John XI., John XII., Boniface VII., Greg- 
ory VII., were the sons of courtesans. In some in- 
stances the infamy was further increased by the addi- 
tional stigma attaching to the crime of incest. The 
famous courtesan Marozia, who for the greater part 
of her life disposed of the Papacy at her will, is 
credited with the installation of eight Popes, all her 
lovers or her children, one of whom was at once her 
son and grandson. The empire she acquired by her 
talents and her beauty lasted almost a quarter of a 
century. To that epoch is ascribed an occurrence that 
many writers have designated as fabulous, but which 
is established by evidence far more convincing than 
many events that have successfully withstood the most 
formidable assaults of hostile criticism. It was long 
asserted by chroniclers of the orthodox faith, and uni- 
versally credited, that in the capital of Christianity, 
hallowed by the glorious deaths of countless martyrs, 
linked with the proud associations of the rise and 
progress of the spiritual power of the Papacy, and 
ennobled by the most signal victories of the Church, 
a monstrous prodigy had occurred. It was said that 
Pope John VIII., whose sex had hitherto been un- 
suspected save by those favored with her intimacy, 
while returning from the celebration of a solemn fes- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 831 

tival, at the head of a procession of cardinals and 
bishops and surrounded with the ghttering emblems 
of pontifical power and majesty, had been seized with 
the throes of parturition in one of the most public 
thoroughfares of Rome. 

The original acceptance of and belief in this por- 
tentous catastrophe, and its subsequent denial, form 
one of the most curious episodes in the annals of the 
Church. For five centuries it was implicitly received 
as historic truth. The life of Pope Joan long occupied 
a prominent place in the biographies of the successors 
of St. Peter, dedicated to eminent prelates, often to 
the Pontiffs themselves. The occurrence whose lo- 
cality was marked by the statue of a woman wearing 
the Papal insignia and holding a child in her arms 
was minutely described in the works of learned and 
respectable historians. This memorial was thrown into 
the Tiber by the order of Sixtus V. Her bust, de- 
stroyed by Charles VIII. during the French invasion 
of Italy, was long an ornament of one of the churches 
of Sienna. Until the time of Leo X. certain cere- 
monies, which cannot be described, were publicly insti- 
tuted at the election of every Pope to determine his 
sex. To these even the licentious Borgia was forced 
to conform. John Huss, when arraigned before the 
Council of Constance, amidst an unbroken silence, re- 
proached the ecclesiastical dignitaries assembled to 
condemn him, and whom the slightest heretical asser- 
tion roused to tumultuous fury, with the imposture 
which had so signally demonstrated the weakness of 
the vaunted inspiration of the Papacy. More than 
five hundred writers, whose interests were identical 
with those of the Vatican among them chroniclers, 
polemic divines, authorities on the history of the 
Church and its discipline, all enthusiastic members of 
the Roman Catholic communion have confirmed the 
existence of a female Pope. 

332 History of the 

But, whether true or false, the disgrace consequent 
upon this gigantic scandal was insignificant when 
compared with the moral eiFect of the long series of 
crimes which disfigure the annals of Papal Rome. 
The shameless venality of the Princes of the Church 
had from the most remote times disgraced the pro- 
ceedings by which was elevated to the throne of the 
apostles the immaculate Vicar of God. So corrupt 
was the ecclesiastical society of the capital that no 
Pontiff who endeavored to live a moral life was secure 
for a single hour. Celestine was poisoned at the in- 
stance of the cardinals eighteen days after receiving 
the tiara. Adrian V. was poisoned in the conclave 
itself before his election. The partisans of antago- 
nistic claimants of the Papacy pursued each other with 
a vindictiveness scarcely equalled by the most intense 
bitterness of political faction. Each aspirant to the 
pontifical dignity denounced his opponent as an anti- 
pope, and exhausted the rich vocabulary of clerical 
invective in consigning him to the vengeance of 
Heaven. The defeated candidate was subjected to 
every variety of torture; to the deprivation of his 
nose, his eyes, his tongue ; to the suffering of confine- 
ment in noisome dungeons ; to the pangs of prolonged 
starvation. The temporal enemies of the Holy Father 
fared even worse than his rivals for spiritual suprem- 
acy. No deed was considered too flagitious for the 
removal of a dangerous and obstinate adversary. In- 
nocent IV. employed the trusted physician and friend 
of the Emperor Frederick II. to compass his destruc- 
tion. The Emperor Henry VII. was poisoned by 
order of Clement V. The assassination of the Medici 
under Sixtus IV. was planned by that Pope, and car- 
ried out before the altar, the signal for attack being the 
elevation of the Host by the celebrant, an archbishop. 
Half of the population of Rome was sacrificed to 
gratify the malignity of Formosus, whose quarrels 

Moorish Empire in Europe 333 

long survived him and desolated the fairest provinces 
of Italy. Three years after the establishment of the 
Inquisition in Spain by Gregory IX. its victims 
already numbered tens of thousands. 

In the variety and shrewdness of schemes for pro- 
curing money the statesmen of no government have 
ever equalled the astute financiers of the Apostolic 
See. In addition to the infinite number of vexatious 
and cruel expedients suggested by the possession and 
exercise of irresponsible power, the Popes employed 
means which violated every precept of morality, but 
whose successful issue demonstrated the practical 
wisdom which had inspired them. Simony was in- 
variably practised, and not infrequently defended, 
even by those whose manifest duty it was to suppress 
it. The wealthiest candidate for the Papacy, whose 
physical infirmities indicated a speedy demise, had the 
best prospect for the realization of his ambition. The 
price of a cardinal's hat varied from one thousand to 
ten thousand florins; the pallium of an archbishop 
was rated still higher in the ecclesiastical market, for 
the dignity of which it was the symbol usually brought 
thirty thousand ducats in gold. To meet this tax 
demanded at the death of every metropolitan, the 
new incumbent was sometimes reduced to pledge the 
furniture of the altar as security to Jewish usurers, 
who alone were able to raise such exorbitant amounts ; 
and it was a source of complaint among the devout 
that Hebrew children had been seen to amuse them- 
selves with the utensils consecrated to pious uses, and 
that in the unhallowed orgies of their fathers sacred 
vessels were habitually profaned which had originally 
been destined to receive the body and blood of Christ. 
When the exigencies of the Pontiff required it, the 
sacrifice of a few cardinals afforded a safe and easy 
means of replenishing the Papal treasury by the sale 
of the vacant dignities and by the reversion of the 

334 History of the 

estates of the victims to the domain of the Holy See. 
It is a well-known fact that Alexander VI. died from 
drinking poisoned wine intended for certain princes 
of the Church whom he had invited to share his treach- 
erous hospitality. Great wealth was obtained by the 
sale of absolutions granted by one Pope from the 
anathemas of his predecessor. This device suggested 
the traffic in indulgences, promising immunity from all 
punishment for crime. The avarice of John XXII. 
prompted him to draw up and promulgate a schedule 
of fines, so that by the payment of trifling sums the 
culprit was completely absolved from the moral and 
secular consequences of the most atrocious offences in 
the criminal calendar. 

In their relations with foreign courts the Popes 
brought to bear every source of corruption and vio- 
lence for the accomplishment of their ends. They 
availed themselves of the prestige attaching to their 
sacred office for the encouragement of insurrection 
and parricide. They openly sold the investitures of 
distant kingdoms. They armed the servant against 
his master, the vassal against his lord, the subject 
against his king. They prohibited the education of 
children as inimical to the interests of the clergy, 
who alone were declared worthy to enjoy the bene- 
fits of learning. When an obnoxious enemy was 
to be removed, they did not shrink from selecting 
instruments at whose employment honor and piety 
alike revolt, the envenomed poniard, the sacramen- 
tal elements mingled with deadly poisons and yet 
blessed by the ceremonies of the officiating prelate, 
whose instructions impressed the unsuspicious victim 
with the belief that he knelt in the very presence of 
God. According to Montaigne, the Holy Father was 
accustomed to use during the pontifical mass a con- 
trivance which counteracted the effects of a conse- 
crated draught which might otherwise be a messenger 

Moorish Empire in Europe 335 

of death. From having been the vassals of the Em- 
peror, the tributaries of the Saracen Emirs, and the 
tools of the Kings of France, the Popes in time arro- 
gated to themselves imperial prerogatives; and his 
title to the crown was not considered as vested in a 
sovereign until it had been placed upon his brow by 
an ecclesiastic duly commissioned by the Successor of 
St. Peter. Through the insidious influence of a super- 
stition, fostered by the ignorance of the time, the 
authority of powerful monarchs was disputed in their 
capitals. Degrading penances were imposed upon 
and performed by them without remonstrance. The 
humiliation of the prince in the eyes of his people in- 
creased, in a corresponding degree, the importance of 
the spiritual ruler who could inflict such punishments. 
By excommunication and interdict the one cutting 
off an individual from the fellowship of believers, the 
other aimed at an entire community or kingdom and 
involving the innocent with the guilty the vengeance 
of the Church was visited upon all, of whatever rank, 
who had violated her canons or interfered with her 
projects of ambition. It is difficult in our age to ap- 
preciate the grave effects of ecclesiastical fulminations 
which the progress of intelligence and the development 
of civilization have long since deprived of their terrors. 
Of excommunication, anything besides a human being 
might be the subject, from a comet to rats, worms, and 
every kind of vermin. The interdict was equivalent 
to a dreadful curse inflicted by the vicegerent of God. 
With awe-inspiring ceremonies, usually performed at* 
midnight to increase their impressive effect, the de- 
cree of the Holy See was solemnly proclaimed. In 
gloomy silence, occasionally broken by sobs and half- 
stifled lamentations, the terror-stricken multitude 
listened to a sentence which, in their eyes, exceeded, 
through the direful consequences it entailed, the 
severest penalty that any earthly tribunal could in- 

336 History of the 

flict. The churches were closed. The bells were 
silent. The tapers burning on the altars were extin- 
guished. The relics were concealed. Before every 
house of worship where the Host was enshrined the 
consecrated wafer was publicly committed to the 
flames. The crucifixes of chapel and cathedral alike, 
enveloped in folds of black cloth, were hidden from 
the reverential gaze of those on whose heads had fallen 
the censure of the Almighty. All religious ceremonies 
were suspended save the aspersion, which secured for 
the Church the hope of another devotee, the solemni- 
zation of marriage, and the final rites which dismissed 
the passing soul on the threshold of eternity. The 
endearments of conjugal affection, the last blessing 
of the parent, the diversions of youth, the familiar 
greetings of friendship and esteem, were all pro- 
hibited. Surrounded by black-garbed priests bearing 
torches, an officiating cardinal, robed in violet, the 
mourning of his order, read the fatal edict which cut 
off absolutely the only medium of communication be- 
tween the sinner and his God. From that moment the 
people were deprived of those welcome ministrations 
which had been their pleasure and consolation from 
infancy; which had directed their footsteps; which 
had confirmed their wavering resolution in many an 
emergency ; which had relieved their suiFerings ; which 
had enhanced their happiness and furnished almost 
their sole amusements. No opportunity w^as neglected 
to impress the offending children of Rome with the 
'awful consequences of the malediction which the per- 
versity of their rulers had inflicted upon them. Sub- 
jects were absolved from their allegiance. The chan- 
nels of commerce were closed. Trade of every kind 
was suspended. Worshippers, whose piety urged 
them, in spite of ecclesiastical menace, to frequent the 
portals of the church, were rudely driven back. The 
use of meat was forbidden, as in Lent; the familiar 

Moorish Empire in Europe 337 

objects connected with the service of rehgion disap- 
peared; the bells, deprived of their clappers, were 
taken down from the steeples; the sacred effigies of 
the saints were laid upon the ground and sedulously 
concealed from the profane gaze of an accursed peo- 
ple; the rich trappings of the shrines, the utensils of 
the mass, the vestments of the priests, were collected 
and carried away. The festivals which stimulated the 
devotion and amused the leisure of the gay and care- 
less multitude were discontinued ; the procession, which 
impressed all classes with its solemnity and magnifi- 
cence, no longer moved with barbaric pomp through 
the crowded streets lined with long rows of kneeling 
worshippers; the voice of prayer was unheard; mar- 
riages were celebrated in churchyards; the bodies of 
the dead, denied a resting-place in consecrated ground 
and deprived even of the ordinary rites of sepulture, 
were cast unceremoniously beyond the walls of cities, 
to be devoured by unclean beasts and to poison the air 
with noxious odors. 

When the ban was removed, the purification of 
every edifice, altar, and vessel, the reconsecration of 
every relic and image, rites which demanded heavy 
contributions, evinced the foresight and thrift of the 

Such were the frightful methods by which the Pa- 
pacy, in an age of ignorance, punished a nation for 
the offences of a sovereign who had thwarted its 
schemes, defied its power, or incurred its enmity. In 
the estimation of the credulous and in those days all 
were credulous the interdict was not only a general 
curse enforced by every circumstance which could 
appeal to the prejudices of the devout; it was the 
sudden intercepting of the means of salvation, only 
attainable through the agency of the servants of the 
Church. Mediaeval writers have left us affecting 
accounts of the universal wretchedness which the use 

Vol. III. 22 

338 History of the 

of this instrument of ecclesiastical tyrann}?^ produced. 
It rarely failed of success, for no monarch, however 
bold or arbitrary, could long withstand its power ; and 
the mere threat of its exercise was often sufficient to 
strike terror into a whole people and to peremptorily 
check the well-conceived designs of ambitious royalty. 
The interdict only fell into disuse after the founda- 
tion of the Inquisition, the most effective and formid- 
able weapon ever devised by the merciless spirit of 
Papal despotism. 

With the financial exhaustion induced by profuse 
expenditure in every species of luxury and vice, new 
and ingenious expedients were invented for the re- 
lief of the pressing necessities of the Vatican. The 
institution and frequent recurrence of the Jubilee, 
with its concourse of millions of fanatics, each bear- 
ing his offering to the insatiable genius of Rome ; the 
Crusades, which acquired for the Papacy incalculable 
wealth by the conveyance of lands for a nominal con- 
sideration and the generous contributions of pilgrims ; 
the Constitutions of Leo, which declared the real prop- 
erty of ecclesiastical foundations to be inalienable ; the 
Inquisition, whose origin was more political than 
moral, and by whose rules one-half of the property of 
the condemned was forfeited to the sovereign and one- 
half to the Church, are prominent examples of the 
financial ability of the Popes. 

The personal characters of the infallible and in- 
spired guides of the Christian world cannot be deline- 
ated in the fulness of their impious depravity. The 
moral supremacy assumed by them as the representa- 
tives of celestial power was presumed to excuse the 
open indulgence of vices which even the most licentious 
temporal potentates sedulously veiled from the eyes 
of mankind. For more than two centuries the Papal 
court presented an almost uninterrupted exhibition of 
profligacy, which scandalized devout believers, whose 

Moorish Empire in Europe 339 

imagination had invested the Holy Father with the 
attributes of divinity, and excited the horror of the 
few eminent and consistent Christian prelates who 
remained pure amidst the general contamination. 
Some priests celebrated mass in a state of intoxica- 
tion. Others paraded the streets with a train of bac- 
chantes singing profane and licentious songs. They 
presented their boon companions with the sacred ves- 
sels of the altar. Archbishops appointed women of 
infamous antecedents to the superintendence of con- 
vents. The Vatican swarmed with catamites and cour- 
tesans. Colonies of nuns, members of the seraglios of 
the cardinals and the Pope, occupied houses adjoining 
the sanctuary of St. Peter's. The satellites of the 
Papacy obtained the most lucrative employments by 
means of unnatural blandishments and ministrations 
of unspeakable vileness. The most debased ideas 
were entertained of the ecclesiastical functions de- 
volving upon the head of the Christian communion. 
Ministers of religion were consecrated in stables. Ca- 
thedrals were made the theatre of mummeries and 
obscene dances. Virgins were torn from the precincts 
of the sanctuary and dragged to the Papal harem. In 
the time of John XII. no woman was safe from in- 
dignity and outrage in the very temple of God. Boni- 
face IX. sold a cardinal's hat to a profligate adven- 
turer named Bathalzar Cossa, who afterwards seized 
the tiara by force and passed from the deck of a pirate 
galley to the Apostolic Throne. The latter, under the 
name of John XXIII., in a few years attained a repu- 
tation remarkable even in the annals of Papal degra- 
dation. He was deposed by the Council of Constance 
after conviction of every offence of which a depraved 
imagination could conceive. The infallibility of his 
mission was thus impugned both by his irregular ap- 
pointment and by the intervention of his spiritual sub- 
ordinates who effected his deposition. It was an axiom 

340 History of the 

of the canon law, inevitably resulting from the original 
spurious grant of pontifical authority, that no guilt 
or heresy of the Pope could divest him of his spiritual 
powers or of the sanctity which enveloped his person 
as the Vicar of God. A dire necessity alone could 
impel a council to violate this fundamental principle 
upon which depended the prestige of the Papacy. 
The impiety of the Holy Fathers was not less promi- 
nent than their defiance of the rules of morality. Boni- 
face VIII. openly blasphemed the name of Christ. 
John XXII. ridiculed the sacraments. At the ban- 
quets of John XII., Venus and Bacchus were in turn 
toasted by noisy revellers of both sexes, the favorite 
associates of that Pontiff. 

The admissions of Pius II., in his correspondence 
preserved in the Vatican, indicate without concealment 
the practice of the grossest libertinage. From the 
orgies of Benedict XII. dates the famous proverb, 
" Bibere papaliter," " To drink like a Pope." Sixtus 
IV., who inaugurated the custom of licensing the 
brothels of Rome, derived annually from this horrible 
traffic the enormous sum of thirty thousand ducats. 
Innocent X. sold to the starving peasantry, at an ad- 
vance of a hundred per cent., the grain he had pur- 
chased at the price he himself had fixed. Sixtus IV. 
gravely decreed that the illegitimate children of the 
Popes should, by reason of their birth alone, be placed 
on an equality with the descendants of the princely 
houses of Italy. The scandals of the court of Avig- 
non under Clement VI. and his successors surpassed 
even those which had for ages made the Eternal City 
a reproach to civilization and Christianity. Of the 
latter, Benedict XII. has been conspicuously held up 
to the execration of posterity as the violator of the 
sister of Petrarch, whose connivance he attempted to 
purchase with a cardinal's hat and a purse of a thou- 
sand florins of gold. The bull of Alexander VI., 

Moorish Empire in Europe 341 

which countenanced the slaughter of fifteen milHon 
inoffensive natives of the New World, is a fitting cli- 
max to this revolting chronicle of crime and infamy. 
Well might the indignant Cardinal Baronius exclaim, 
that " the Popes were monsters who installed them- 
selves on the throne of Christendom by simony and 
murder." Few indeed there were of the Holy Fathers 
who tolerated even the suspicion of profane learning 
in their jurisdiction. Most of them were the impla- 
cable enemies of every kind of knowledge. Gregory 
I. burnea all the copies of Livy that the most rigorous 
search could disclose. Gregory VIII., scandalized by 
the " superstitious tales" contained in the work of the 
great Roman historian, completed, as far as human 
energy and malignity could effect, the destructive task 
of his predecessor. In consequence, out of a hundred 
and forty-two books known to have existed during the 
reign of these two Pontiffs, but thirty-five have sur- 
vived. Sylvester II. is said by Petrarch to have been 
" Negromante, e di dottrina eccellente," qualifications 
which seem rather incongruous with the duties and the 
traditions of the Papacy. Nor was the famous Ger- 
bert the only Pope devoted to uncanonical and pro- 
hibited investigations of the false science of the age. 
John XIX. was skilled in hydromancy; John XX. 
was an expert in the casting of horoscopes and in 
divination; Benedict IX. consulted the famihar 
geniuses of the forests and the mountains ; Gregory 
VII. possessed a manual of enchantment, and shook 
clouds of sparks from his sleeves when he pronounced 
the Pontifical blessing ; Alexander VI. had the repu- 
tation throughout Italy of "an abominable sorcerer." 
The spirit of infidelity and blasphemy which pre- 
vailed in the highest ranks of the priesthood also in- 
fected the occupants of the throne. The lives of some 
of the most devout sovereigns presented incredible ex- 
amples of cruelty, hypocrisy, and deceit. Ecclesiasti- 

342 History of the 

cal example and the facility of absolution had appar- 
ently destroyed all reverence for the precepts of the 
Gospel, all apprehension of Divine wrath. The con- 
tempt often entertained by royalty for the decrees of 
the Almighty is disclosed by the impious speech of 
Alfonso X., the Most Catholic King, " If God had 
consulted me when He created the world, I would 
have given Him some good advice." 

The spurious donation of Constantine, by which the 
first Christian sovereign was alleged to have ^onveyed 
to Pope Sylvester I. the title to the Western Empire, 
and with it the inlierited authority of the Caesars, was 
supplemented in the eighth century by the Forged 
Decretals, a series of epistles declared to have been 
promulgated by the first Bishops of Rome, whose 
names and order of apostolic succession are themselves 
either apocryphal or based entirely on uncertain tra- 
dition. The inconsistencies, contradictions, and ab- 
surdities of the Decretals, which afford abundant 
internal evidence of the ignorance of those who com- 
posed them, and their entire want of concord on im- 
portant points of doctrine, have demonstrated beyond 
question their fraudulent origin. But in an age of 
superstition their authority was amply sufficient to ac- 
complish the object for which they were invented, 
the autocracy of the Popes. The general deficiency of 
critical knowledge, assisted by the reverence enter- 
tained by the masses for the decisions of the Successor 
of St. Peter, caused these glaring forgeries to be ac- 
cepted with the same faith which was accorded to the 
precepts of the Gospel, They conferred the most ex- 
tensive and dangerous prerogatives on the Papacy. 
They subjected the claims of every temporal sover- 
eign to the extravagant pretensions of the Roman 
Catholic hierarchy. The right of regal investiture 
was by their maxims declared to be inherent in mem- 
bers of the sacerdotal order, and the title of a monarch 

Moorish Empire in Europe 343 

alleged to be imperfect until he had been crowned by 
a servant of the Church. By their incorporation into 
the civil procedure of Europe, for centuries domi- 
nated by the canon law, they established on a perma- 
nent basis the ideas and the principles of Papal su- 
premacy. No measure of statecraft has ever advanced 
the interests of the Holy See to such an extent as the 
publication of the Decretals, nor has any genuine series 
of laws exercised over society a more potent influence 
than that imposed by these fraudulent epistles upon 
subsequent legislation. 

The vast ecclesiastical system, whose ramifications 
extended to the most insignificant hamlets of every 
country in Europe and whose jurisdiction was para- 
mount in the domains of the most powerful monarchs, 
carried with it the abuses and vices of the central and 
irresponsible authority. The spiritual courts of pro- 
vincial metropolitans and bishops presented on a di- 
minished scale the greed and sensuality of the Vati- 
can. The same organized simony regulated the pres- 
entation and promotion of clerk and prelate. The 
same iniquitous expedients were adopted for the aug- 
mentation of ecclesiastical revenues. Priests and 
bishops lived in avowed and unblushing concubinage. 
The seraglio of the Abbot of San Pelayo de Anteal- 
taria contained seventy concubines. Henry III., 
Bishop of Liege, acknowledged the paternity of sixty- 
five illegitimate children. In Spain, the metropoli- 
tans, as well as their subordinates, maintained harems 
guarded by eunuchs. In Germany, sacerdotal digni- 
taries of the highest rank endeavored to overturn the 
empire by the aid of idolaters, and enlisted bands 
of robbers who plundered cities and extorted enormous 
ransoms from wealthy merchants and defenceless 
travellers. In France, the clergy of Verdun regularly 
furnished Jewish traders with Christian children who 
had been emasculated for the slave-markets of Cor- 

344 History of the 

dova and Seville. In Italy, the sale of young and 
beautiful maidens to the Moors of Sicily and Mauri- 
tania, which had invoked the indignant protest of 
Charlemagne, was for many years one of the most 
lucrative perquisites of the priesthood. 

The laxity of morals prevalent in the hierarchy was 
fatal to the preservation of ecclesiastical discipline. 
Priests and nuns, divesting themselves of their sacred 
character, which was supposed to present an edifying 
example to the laity, contended with each other for 
the infamous superiority of promiscuous lewdness. 
The contributions of charity, the oblations of the 
devout, were squandered in drunken orgies and mid- 
night banquets. In certain Swiss cantons a new priest 
was compelled, on his arrival, to choose a concubine as 
a theoretical safeguard of the honor of his female 
parishioners. These connections were authorized by 
the laws of some countries, among them the fueros of 
Castile, which permitted the sons of a celibate to in- 
herit half his property. The sale of licenses to enter- 
tain what were known as " sub-introduced women" 
was for centuries a profitable source of revenue to the 
bishops of England, and no priest was exempt from 
this tax whether he wished to avail himself of its privi- 
leges or not. The dignity of the sacred profession in 
France had been degraded by the sacrilege of the Car- 
lovingians, who appointed their favorite officers to the 
richest benefices ; and the antecedents and manners of 
these rude veterans were, as may be supposed, but 
ill-adapted to the solemn ceremonies of the altar and 
the confessional. Following this worthy example, 
churchmen of the highest rank conferred the best 
livings at their disposal on panders, lackeys, and 
barbers. The coarse and unfeeling nature of the Ger- 
man ecclesiastics did not hesitate to prompt the viola- 
tion of every sentiment of honor in the gratification 
of its brutal instincts. The holding of pluralities in 

Moorish Empire in Europe 345 

England had become an evil of national importance. 
Many foreign prelates had never even visited the sees 
whose revenues they enjoyed. The possession of from 
twenty to thirty benefices was not uncommon, and 
some fortunate individuals are mentioned who held 
from three to four hundred. The deplorable condi- 
tion of the priesthood was largely due to the enforce- 
ment of celibacy on the one hand, and the sale of dis- 
pensations to violate it on the other. 

The poems, the satires, and the tales which have 
come down to us from the Middle Ages reveal the 
profligate manners of the clergy, as well as the gen- 
eral contempt in which they were held by those whose 
consciences were nominally in their keeping. In these 
amusing literary productions the priest, the monk, and 
the cardinal are almost invariably objects of ridicule. 
Their peculiar garb, their uncouth manners, their 
lubricity, their gluttony, their avarice, are made the 
butt of profane and vulgar witticisms. They are 
entrapped in ludicrous and compromising situations. 
They are made the victims of severe practical jokes. 
The language put into their mouths is a compound 
of obscenity and blasphemy. A society which could 
countenance such scandalous revelations must have 
had scanty respect for the clerical profession and its 
ministers. Assemblages of eminent episcopal digni- 
taries fare little better than individuals at the hands of 
the irreverent narrator. Nor can we wonder that such 
is the case when we recall the conditions and the acces- 
sories associated in the public mind with the Councils 
of the Church. At the departure of the Papal court 
from Lyons, in the thirteenth century, Cardinal Hugo, 
a distinguished prelate, in the presence of an immense 
concourse, made the increased depravity of that city, 
for which its reverend visitors were confessedly re- 
sponsible, the subject of a pleasing jest. The Holy 
Fathers of the famous Council of Constance con- 

346 History of the 

voked to reform the priesthood, punish heresy, and 
estabhsh a more exalted standard of moral discipline 
for the edification of the ungodly, beguiled the 
moments snatched from the labors of pious delibera- 
tions and religious controversy in the society of 
crowds of buffoons and dancers and of seven hun- 
dred courtesans. The institution of the monastic 
orders not only contributed greatly to the power of 
the Papacy but exercised, as well, a direct and gen- 
erally a most pernicious influence on society. An 
immense body of fanatics, blindly devoted to the See 
of Rome, was placed at the absolute disposal of the 
Pope, invaluable allies in the bitter contests between 
the Altar and the Throne. The mutual jealousies 
and enmities of the secular and the regular clergy 
made both the more dependent on the favor of the 
Supreme Pontiff. Every individual in a religious 
house was sworn to inviolable secrecy concerning all 
that took place within its walls, a regulation which 
became in subsequent times a convenient precaution 
for the concealment of orgies that shunned the light 
of day. The assumption of the vows of poverty, 
chastity, and obedience imparted to the monk and 
the begging friar a peculiar sanctity in the eyes of 
the credulous multitude. They mortified the flesh and 
suppressed carnal provocations by frequent bleeding 
and long abstinence from food. They disclaimed the 
aristocratic tastes which were a reproach to the luxu- 
rious members of the secular priesthood. They re- 
nounced all the allurements, even all the comforts, of 
life. Their physical necessities were supplied by alms. 
Their fervid oratory, not confined by the pillared 
vaults of churches, but which, in the open air, appealed 
to the imagination and the prejudices of the ignorant, 
their voluntary renunciation of the pleasures of the 
world, the ostentatious self-sacrifice of their lives, 
made them universal favorites with the -people. Men 

Moorish Empire in Europe 347 

of all classes showered gifts upon them. Women 
eagerly sought their services as confessors. Their 
visits to the isolated villages of the simple peasantry- 
were hailed as harbingers of good fortune. Their 
abodes offered gratuitous rest and refreshment to the 
belated traveller. Their benediction attended the birth 
and the christening of the infants of the poorest cot- 
tage. Their prayers brought consolation and relief to 
the bedside of the earnest Christian and the repentant 
sinner alike. At every fireside their temporary and 
accidental presence was regarded as a blessing. 

But a change soon came over the monastic orders. 
The temptations of wealth, luxury, and personal en- 
joyment proved too strong to be resisted. The robe 
of coarse cloth was metamorphosed into a mantle of 
the finest fabric, trirmned with costly furs. The prior 
no longer travelled alone and on foot, but rode an 
ambling palfrey, followed by a train of obsequious 
attendants. The hermitage developed into a stately 
palace, whose appointments and surroundings equalled 
and not infrequently eclipsed in splendor the seats of 
princes. The monk became a great landed proprietor. 
By purchase, by gift, by inheritance, by forfeiture, he 
acquired in every countrj'- large and profitable estates. 
Half of the lands of France were at one time in his 
possession. The German nobility complained that 
monasteries had absorbed the bulk of the real property 
of the empire. The visitation of Henry VIII., which 
led to the suppression of the religious houses of Eng- 
land, revealed the fact that the regular clergy had for 
centuries enjoyed the fruits of the most productive 
and valuable portion of the public domain. The pecu- 
liar character of its tenure made ecclesiastical proprie- 
torship the more oppressive. Its title was in mort- 
main, and its estates inalienable. It could always 
acquire, but never relinquish, territorial rights. The 
transfers of land, which constitute so important an 

348 History of the 

incentive to commercial activity in every community, 
were not merely discountenanced, but were absolutely 
prohibited, by its selfish and unjust regulations. 

Monastic life, while nominally ascetic, presented in 
the more opulent communities a picture of sybaritic 
indulgence. In the cloister the refining influence of 
literature had, even with the gratification of sensual 
appetites, modified in the monk the degrading pro- 
pensities and ferocious temper which actuated his asso- 
ciate, the feudal baron. The dishes were more varied 
and delicate; the choicest wines took the place of the 
coarse product of the brewery; and the conversation, 
while fully as irreverent and licentious as that which 
entertained the guests of the noble, was deprived of 
much of its repulsiveness by an outward observance 
of decency. When overcome with too much hospi- 
tality, the genial votary of Bacchus, instead of being 
left under the table, exposed to the ridicule of his 
companions or the swords of brawlers, was quietly con- 
veyed to his cell by his more sober brethren. The 
customs of the age imperatively demanded that the 
head of a religious house should possess all the attri- 
butes of aristocratic birth and gentle breeding. In 
the eyes of the Celt especially, symmetry of form and 
dignity of carriage were indispensable characteristics 
of the ruler of a monastic community. Both abbot 
and abbess were selected for corporeal rather than for 
moral or intellectual qualifications, for handsome 
features, commanding presence, and elegant manners. 
Popular opinion insensibly associated mental supe- 
riority and pious inclinations with physical perfection ; 
and personal deformity was supposed, especially by 
the ignorant multitude, to indicate a disposition to 
crime. This belief, no doubt unconsciously derived 
from the impressions left by the Pagan deities of 
antiquity, in whose statues, models of beauty, were 
embodied the unrivalled conceptions of the ancient 

Moorish Empire in Europe 849 

sculptor, demonstrates the persistent survival of time- 
honored tradition and religious prejudice in the human 

With the unlimited opportunities for their grati- 
fication, uncanonical practices were at first secretly 
indulged in and afterwards openly tolerated. The 
refectory, once noted for frugality and pious exhor- 
tation, was now the scene of gluttonous feasts and 
licentious jesting. Foreign delicacies and wines of 
exquisite flavor appeared daily on the table. Monks 
and nuns maintained unholy relations under the same 
roof. Many priors had acknowledged concubines, and 
he who restricted himself to a single mistress was 
regarded as a paragon of ecclesiastical virtue. In 
contravention of every rule of their order, monks 
assumed disguises and wandered over the country in 
search of amorous adventures. Through their agency 
obnoxious relatives were kidnapped and forced into 
perpetual confinement, or, if sufficient pecuniary in- 
ducements were offered, made to disappear forever 
from the knowledge of man. In England they fre- 
quently figured in disgraceful brawls with other dissi- 
pated patrons of lupanars and taverns. The monas- 
teries of Spain, France, and Italy presented an even 
more disgraceful picture of drunkenness, licentious- 
ness, and disorder. 

The reputation for dissolute practices sustained by 
the convent was in no respect inferior to that of the 
monastery. The nuns notoriously affected all the airs 
and graces of the most accomplished coquetry. They 
arrayed themselves in rich garments covered with 
beautiful embroidery, the work of their own skilful 
hands. Their chemises of violet silk, their scarlet 
shoes, their veils of silver tissue, were the delight of 
their admirers and the abomination of the pious. They 
wore chains and bracelets of gold and rings set with 
precious gems. They painted their faces. King Ed- 

350 History of the 

gar publicly reproved the nuns of his kingdom for 
their attire of purple and their jewels. The inmates 
of Fontevrault wore the horned head-dress aifected 
by the fashionable ladies of the time. The spouses of 
Christ adopted every art to attract the attention of 
the sinful passer-by. In the orgies which defiled even 
the houses dedicated to divine worship their shameless- 
ness was proverbial. They bathed in perfect nudity 
with monks and deacons. They sang bacchanalian 
songs. Their conversation was spiced with blasphe- 
mous ribaldry. The universal prevalence of the evil 
is proved by the frequency with which it is denounced 
by the Councils of the Church. The Council of Co- 
logne, held in 1307, was especially severe in its 
reprobation of the custom by which nuns abandoned 
for a time the conventual life for a career of debauch- 
ery and then resumed their former relations with the 
Church, without repentance, and, what was even worse, 
without remonstrance from their superiors. 

For indulgence in these pleasures prohibited by the 
laws of God and man, the revenues of the religious 
houses, although in many instances enormous, were 
entirely inadequate. The extravagant demands of the 
Holy See, which collected its tribute at frequent and 
irregular intervals, further reduced the financial re- 
sources of the monastic treasury. The ingenuity of 
the abbots was not at a loss, however, to devise means 
to replenish their exhausted coffers. Noble forests, 
many of them contemporaneous with the reign of the 
Druidical priesthood, were cut down and sold. Chal- 
ices, patens, ciboria, and crucifixes were placed in 
pawn with Jewish goldsmiths and merchants. Jewels 
were extracted from votive offerings and altar orna- 
ments and disposed of at a fraction of their real value. 
These thefts of sacred articles were so serious that 
inventories of the furniture and utensils of cathedrals 
were often taken by the orders of primates and sover- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 351 

eigns, rather with a view to discover the losses than to 
put a stop to a practice which under the existing sys- 
tem was incurable. Absolutions, some forged, but 
many genuine, bearing the Papal seal and ready to 
be filled up with the name of the purchaser and the 
description of the offence of which he was guilty or 
which he was about to commit, were at the disposal of 
every criminal. The official visitors of the English 
abbeys discovered in the cells of recluses who were 
popularly supposed to be laying up treasures in 
heaven implements of the counterfeiter and quantities 
of spurious coin. With the ministrations to the dying 
the duty of the sufferer to the Church was unceasingly 
inculcated by the shrewd confessor, until it came to 
be considered an act of impiety, ranked with sacrilege 
and suicide, to refuse to bequeath ^ large share of one's 
wealth to the servants of God. 

The number, riches, and influence of these ecclesias- 
tical establishments were enormous. At the end of the 
thirteenth century, there were six hundred monasteries 
and convents in England, two thousand three hundred 
and thirty-seven in France, and fifteen hundred in the 
remaining countries of Europe. Many of these sup- 
ported communities of more than a thousand monks; 
that of the great Abbey of Bangor the largest in 
Great Britain numbered three thousand. Towns, 
villages, and immense tracts of arable soil, pasture, 
and forest were included in their possessions. Multi- 
tudes of tenants and vassals tilled these lands, the 
lion's share of whose produce found its way into the 
storehouses and granaries of the prosperous Fathers. 
The rehgious duties of the latter did not hinder them 
from profiting by the advantages of domestic and 
foreign trade. They bought and sold almost every de- 
scription of merchandise. The usurious rates of in- 
terest which they obtained from necessitous borrowers 
extorted the admiration of the shrewd and experienced 

352 History of the 

Hebrew broker. They managed tanneries, dealt ex- 
tensively in cloth and leather, and imported many 
luxuries from the Orient. The wool market of Eng- 
land was absolutely controlled by them. The popular 
clamor aroused by this monopoly, which dispossessed 
and ruined tenants by turning tillable land into past- 
ure and depriving large numbers of industrious people 
of the means of livelihood, contributed, in no small 
degree, to the suppression of the English monasteries. 
An inexhaustible mine of wealth was made available 
by traffic in relics and the entertainment and fleecing 
of pilgrims. The methods of the Holy See in the 
sale of sacred objects of more than doubtful authen- 
ticity were improved upon by the cunning and au- 
dacity of monkish charlatans. Immense quantities of 
bones were imported from Italy and disposed of to 
the devout at fabulous prices. Most of these sacred 
treasures were taken from the catacombs, where was 
deposited a practically unlimited supply of Pagan and 
barbarian skeletons, whose original owners never 
dreamed of the adoration they were destined one day 
to receive on the banks of the Thames, the Seine, the 
Rhine, and the Danube. When a church was to be 
constructed, no difficulty was ever experienced in pro- 
curing the relics of the saint to which it was dedicated, 
and the mouldering remains of some priest of Jupiter 
or Venus were probably not infrequently laid, with 
every token of reverence, under the altar of a magnifi- 
cent cathedral, whose idolatrous ceremonies would 
have presented many striking points of resemblance 
with heathen rites to the frequenters of the ancient 
temples. Other sacred mementos of equal virtue 
often presented a singular mixture of absurdity and 
blasphemy. The reproductions of the crown of thorns 
and the nails of the Crucifixion were infinite in num- 
ber. The list included the coals that roasted St. Law- 
rence, the cloth used at the Lord's Supper, a finger 

Moorish Empire in Europe 353 

of the Holy Ghost, and some of the milk of the 
Mother of God. The tail of Balaam's ass was for a 
century one of the most precious treasures of St. John 
Lateran at Rome. When the zeal of the pious 
flagged, the genius of the monks resorted to extraor- 
dinary means to stimulate this unprofitable apathy. 
The sympathies and fanaticism of the superstitious 
were appealed to by processional images which could 
weep and bleed. Letters were exhibited purporting to 
have been penned by the divine hands of the Almighty 
and the Saviour. The composition and style of these 
productions, it may be remarked, indicate an extraor- 
dinary degree of illiteracy in the exalted personages 
to whom their execution was profanely attributed. 
Many relics were supposed to possess marvellous 
healing virtues, an opinion diligently propagated by 
those whose interest it was to have it generally enter- 
tained. Pilgrims crowded in enormous numbers to 
these shrines, whose reputation promised speedy and 
certain relief from every physical infirmity. As few 
came empty handed, the contents of a single reliquary 
were often a more important source of revenue than 
all the royal demesnes of a kingdom. In the Middle 
Ages the Church of St. Thomas of Canterbury was 
by far the richest in Christendom. It had for three 
hundred years received the tribute of pilgrims from 
every land. Kings had placed crowns and priceless 
jewels upon its altar. The great tomb of the saint 
was entirely covered with plates of gold, but the pre- 
cious metal was hardly visible on account of the profu- 
sion of gems with which it was incrusted. The value of 
the gold and silver obtained by its confiscation under 
Henry VIII. was nearly one million pounds sterling, 
and this estimate did not include the precious stones, 
of which no appraisement was made. Much of this 
wealth had been accumulated by the thrifty monks 
through the sale of water alleged to contain a portion 

Vol. III. 23 

354) History of the 

of the blood of St. Thomas shed at the time of his 
martyrdom, whose supply, by the miraculous power 
of multiplication enjoyed by certain relics, was never 
exhausted, and which, aided by implicit faith and re- 
ligious enthusiasm, may really have been instrumental 
in temporarily relieving diseases induced by disordered 
functions of the nervous system. 

The power of the rulers of these populous commu- 
nities was very extensive. In most instances the abbot 
enjoyed not a few of the highest privileges of the 
nobility. In addition to his spiritual functions, he ex- 
ercised the duties of a civil and criminal magistrate, 
and in extreme cases could inflict the penalty of death. 
He was expected to act as sponsor to children of royal 
lineage. While bound to observe the rules of his order, 
his interpretation of those rules was final and his de- 
cision absolute. In England, if entitled to wear the 
mitre, he sat in the Upper House of Parliament by 
the side of the bishops. Usually he was a veritable 
epicurean, more fond of field sports than of his 
breviary, a jovial companion, a connoisseur of wines, 
an adorer of women. His table, his attire, and his 
habits exhibited all the fastidiousness of a sybarite. 
Numerous dishes, prepared by skilful cooks, tempted 
his pampered tastes. The wines of his cellar were 
the choicest and most expensive in the market. His 
garments were sometimes of party-colored and em- 
broidered silk, sometimes of scarlet cloth lined with 
white satin. His boots, of the softest leather, fitted 
his burly limbs without a wrinkle. Jewels sparkled 
upon his snowy fingers. The retainers of his house- 
hold were clad in gaudy liveries. He maintained 
jesters and buffoons. To the noble amusement of 
hawking he was so devoted, and his falcons were so 
excellent, that for these reasons he often incurred the 
envy of his aristocratic companions and the severe 
censure of his more rigid ecclesiastical superiors. 

Moorish Empire in Europe 355 

Troops of strolling players always found a welcome 
and munificent largess for their exhibitions in the 
great hall of the abbey. In addition to the nuns, of 
whom he was the especial patron, high-born ladies were 
delighted to receive his amorous compliments and to 
partake of his dangerous but splendid hospitality. 

The inmates of the religious houses entertained far 
closer relations with the great body of the population 
than did the secular clergy. The original simplicity 
of their lives, the apparent fervor of their devotion, 
acquired for them a peculiar sanctity which their sub- 
sequent irregularities could never entirely abrogate. 
Unlike the secular priesthood, whose traditions were 
of an aristocratic tendency, their necessities and their 
ministrations brought them in intimate contact with the 
lower orders of the people, who repaid their services 
with fulsome idolatry. Of the two divisions of the 
regular clergy, the friars, who only differed from the 
monks in that they subsisted on alms, enjoyed the 
greater consideration. Their blessing was earnestly 
solicited by the traveller on the highway. Ladies wore 
their rope girdles in Lent, partly by way of penance, 
partly as amulets of sovereign virtue against the 
machinations of evil spirits. The spurious relics which 
they hawked about were supposed to be endowed with 
more miraculous qualities than those retailed by the 
bishop in the cathedral. Their eloquence carried with 
its pathetic appeals and homely illustrations a convic- 
tion denied to the labored efforts of the most accom- 
plished and popular preacher. 

It was not within the power of human nature to 
long withstand the allurements which such opportuni- 
ties for luxurious indulgence afforded. Within less 
than half a century from their foundation, the mendi- 
cant friars of St. Francis could boast of wealth equal 
to that of any of the monastic orders. Their common 
appellation Cordelier, derived from their hempen 

356 History of the 

girdle, became a synonym of lubricity and drunken- 
ness. Both monks and friars enticed wives from their 
husbands, and not infrequently reduced the latter to 
beggary. They administered narcotics and aphrodisi- 
acs to nuns, and pointed to their contortions and in- 
coherent ravings as the effects of divine inspiration. 
It was an ordinary occurrence for young girls to don 
male attire and take up their abode in a monastery; 
and a memorial of the time of Henry VII. of Eng- 
land is extant in which the royal protection is solicited 
by the farmers and gentry of Carnarvonshire against 
the dissolute practices of the regular clergy. The 
profanity of the monks during the celebration of the 
mass, and their offensive language in the confessional, 
sometimes resulted in temporary suspension from 
those sacerdotal functions. Gaming was a common 
amusement in which even abbesses had been known to 
indulge. Whenever an abbot died the treasury was 
plundered, and its contents distributed among the 
brethren fortunate enough to be present. 

These excesses were encouraged by the insignificant 
penances imposed for their commission. Some escaped 
with a reprimand, especially when the prior was known 
to be equally guilty. Among the English clergy, mor- 
tal sin could be condoned for the trifling sum of six 
shillings and eight pence. Bearing a crucifix through 
the aisles of the church and a fine of three shillings 
and four pence entitled a delinquent to absolution for 
incest. Fornication was expiated by an offering of 
candles and the repetition of a few Paters and Aves. 
As in the case of the laity, a regular schedule existed, 
accurately defining the punishments to be inflicted for 
every degree of ecclesiastical misconduct. 

The ordinary criminal courts of judicature, through 
the operation of privileges extorted from stupid and 
fanatical sovereigns by the astuteness of designing 
churchmen and the prejudices of a superstitious age, 

Moorish Empire in Eueope 857 

had no authority over a clerk until he had been con- 
demned by a religious tribunal. The course of prose- 
cution, in which the sympathies of the judges were 
enhsted on the side of the culprit, through the bond 
of a common profession, and often by reason of 
participation in similar oiFences, was always slow and 
sometimes interminable. By these delays, and the 
purposely complicated process of the spiritual courts, 
the civil statutes were practically nullified. The mu- 
tual antagonism of the lay and clerical professions 
indirectly encouraged the most revolting crimes. As 
the learning of Europe was monopolized by the 
clergy, every one who was able to read was deemed 
a " clerk," and could demand the interference and 
protection of the ecclesiastical authorities in case of 
arrest. The tonsure was also regarded as prima-facie 
evidence of being in orders, and of equal efficacy in 
obtaining immunity, as many of the priesthood were 
ignorant of letters. By taking advantage of these 
privileges, so dangerous to the welfare of society, des- 
perate malefactors continually escaped the conse- 
quences of their deeds ; and the criminal, whose scanty 
learning or shaven crown suggested a connection with 
the all-powerful hierarchy, was demanded in vain by 
the official avengers of the outraged laws. The benefit 
of clergy was carried to such extremes in England 
that Parliament found it necessary on one occasion to 
proceed by bill of attainder against the Bishop of 
Rochester's cook, who, wearing the tonsure and as- 
sisted by the influence of his master, had defied the 
criminal magistracy and tribunals of the realm. The 
rendition of a trifling service, the payment of a sum of 
money proportioned to the means of the applicant, 
and which was often the proceeds of the crime for 
which absolution was requested, relieved the highway- 
man and the murderer from all apprehension of the 
penalties of secular justice. 

358 History of the 

Thus had the monastic orders fatally degenerated 
from the simplicity and purity of their original insti- 
tution. In common with the other branches of the 
ecclesiastical profession, they had become infected 
with every vice and steeped in every sin. They were 
especially noted for their propensity to the most dis- 
graceful offences in the calendar of human infirmities, 
to drunkenness, fornication, rape, and incest. Men 
who habitually defied the canons of morality by indul- 
gence in such practices must necessarily have enter- 
tained but little respect for a system which, so far 
from restraining, was known to secretly encourage 
them. As a consequence, hypocrisy prevailed every- 
where among the ministers of the Church, from the 
Holy Father, surrounded by the beauties of his 
seraglio, to the mendicant friar, who repaid the ser- 
vices of the obsequious peasant by the plunder of his 
goods and the corruption of his family. The morals 
of the ecclesiastic were, as a rule, far worse than those 
of the layman. In Southern France it was a custom, 
which precedent had almost invested with the force of 
law, for a priest, after the celebration of his first mass, 
to invite his clerical friends to a carousal at the nearest 
tavern. Bishops read the service in bed. The lower 
clergy divided the solemn office of the Eucharist into 
several parts, and, demanding a fee for each, quad- 
rupled their emoluments. A French Council, in 1317, 
menaced with excommunication any magistrate who 
should, at sound of tinimpet, expose priests in public, 
with their weapons about their necks, an ordinary 
penalty for fighting and riotous conduct. The policy 
of the Church considered the most flagrant injustice, 
the most atrocious crime, as venial in comparison with 
neglect of the outward obedience of her rules and the 
observance of the formalities of her ritual, such as 
rare attendance at mass, blaspheming of relics, with- 
holding of tithes, eating meat in Lent, labor on holi- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 359 

days. In the prosecution of the Templars, the articles 
of accusation did not regard the charge of inconti- 
nence as important in comparison with those of athe- 
ism and idolatry, although it was notorious that more 
than thirteen thousand concubines were maintained at 
the expense of the priories of that Order in Europe. 

The violation of the vow of chastity was so common 
that only the most outrageous indecency could excite 
comment, and the spiritual authorities, whom the 
Church had appointed to exercise a censorship over 
public morals, hesitated to perform their duties lest 
their own delinquencies might thereby be exposed. It 
was considered not only meritorious, but convenient, 
to have a clergyman for a lover, on account of the 
facility of concealment and the certainty of immediate 
absolution. The presence of the mistresses of bishops, 
priests, and canons insulted the wives of honest nobles 
and burghers at coronations and tournaments. The 
vicinity of abbeys and convents swarmed with the 
natural children of ecclesiastics. These members of 
priestly households were liberally provided for from 
revenues ostensibly collected for pious uses and the 
propagation of religious truth. So degraded had 
some of the monks become that they utilized even the 
House of God for the basest purposes. Guyot de 
Provins, a writer of the thirteenth century and him- 
self the member of a monastic fraternity, relates that 
he had seen Cistercians turn church-yards into pigsties 
and tether asses in chapels. In addition to immoderate 
indulgence in the strongest of wines, the successors 
of Pachomius and Antony held eating contests, in 
which the palm was awarded to the brother possess- 
ing the greatest abdominal capacity. Among these 
were the Glutton Masses of England, celebrated five 
times a year in honor of the Virgin, when the parish 
church was made the scene of the voracious exploits 
of the priest and the clerks, who contended for this 

360 History of the 

enviable distinction with an ardor that often termi- 
nated in riot. Every effort to reform these depraved 
communities proved futile. The abbot who attempted 
to correct the vices of his flock was harassed until he 
was glad to relinquish his unpromising task or abandon 
his charge. If he boldly attempted to enforce his 
authority, he stood an excellent chance of being poi- 
soned. The famous Abelard narrowly escaped this 
fate, and the pronounced and vindictive hostility mani- 
fested by the inmates of his abbey finally compelled 
him to insure his safety by flight. Even the deter- 
mined character of Cardinal Ximenes was forced to 
succumb to the obstinacy of his Franciscan brethren, 
whose extortions and irregular lives had excited his 
horror and disgust. For seven years, William, Bishop 
of Paderborn, employed in vain the authority vested 
in his high oflice to free the monasteries of his diocese 
from the scandal produced by the vices of their occu- 

Much of the corruption of the regular clergy was 
to be attributed to the impostors and malefactors who 
found shelter and safety in their ranks. The assump- 
tion of the tonsure alone was sufficient to insure 
immunity to the most notorious outlaw. The slave, 
impatient under the lash of a cruel master or appre- 
hensive of the consequences of inexcusable faults, 
acquired security and freedom in the shadow of the 
towers of the abbey. The identity of the criminal 
and the fugitive, the schemes of the hypocrite and the 
knave, were effectually disguised by the cowl of the 
friar. The humane and beneficent privilege of sanc- 
tuary was abused by the reception and shelter of every 
class of dangerous and disreputable offenders against 
the public peace. Association with persons of this 
abandoned character could not fail to be demoralizing, 
even to those of the fraternity who observed their 
vows, and must have still further corrupted the idle 

Moorish Empire in Europe 361 

and the dissolute who had already embraced the 
alluring and luxurious routine of conventual life. 

The incapacity, arrogance, and debauchery of the 
clergy at length grew intolerable, even to a bigoted 
and priest-ridden people. The translation of the Bible 
by Wyclif, the teachings of John Huss and Jerome 
of Prague, paved the way for the exercise of private 
judgment and the privilege of independent thought. 
All over Europe a reaction took place. It was least 
felt in Italy, where the masses had for ages been 
familiar with the impostures and crimes of the Pa- 
pacy. It was most marked in England, where the 
grievances imposed on the laity by their religious in- 
structors had become insufferable, and the wealth of 
the kingdom had been absorbed by the creatures of 
Rome. The heresies of France for a time threatened 
the existence of the hierarchy, and were only sup- 
pressed by a crusade and the diabolical energy of the 
Inquisition. Reverence for every form of belief had 
been shaken by the universal prevalence of sacerdotal 
iniquity. In Provence and Languedoc priests were 
insulted by the mob and lampooned by minstrels. 
Their services were rejected with contempt, their ges- 
tures were mocked, their vices satirized with pitiless 
severity. The English populace, exasperated beyond 
measure by their wrongs, occasionally proceeded 
to acts of violence. In some towns an ecclesiastic 
was hardly safe on the streets. No clerk dared to 
commit himself or his cause to the verdict of a jury. 
A handful of worshippers was lost in the nave of the 
cathedral, where thousands once had congregated. 
Women went unshriven rather than trust themselves 
in the confessional, whose precincts, from being the 
abode of religious advice and consolation, had grown 
dangerous to the preservation of feminine honor. In 
1746 a remonstrance was made to the Primate of 
England against the participation of women in pil- 

362 History of the 

grimages, as the cities of France, Lombardy, and the 
Rhine were filled with courtesans, who had abused 
these opportunities for the exhibition of religious zeal. 
The authority of the ecclesiastical tribunals was openly 
defied, their proceedings derided, their judges in- 
sulted, their subordinate officers maltreated. In Lon- 
don, towards the close of the fifteenth century, it was 
a serious matter to attempt to serve a process of the 
Consistorial Court. The power for evil of this once 
formidable engine of persecution, which had exercised 
an offensive censorship over every community, had 
become hopelessly impaired. 

Of such a character were the religious instructors of 
the people of Western Christendom for five hundred 
years. The original austerity of the monastic orders 
had disappeared. In no instance had it actually sur- 
vived the first century dating from the institution of 
any ecclesiastical fraternity. With it had departed by 
far the greater portion of its capacity for usefulness. 
The daily lives of the secular priesthood presented dis- 
gusting examples of human depravity. Among the 
laity, the rich, at least, were secure from damnation; 
for by a judicious and liberal offering and the deposit 
of a schedule of their sins under the altar-cloth of 
a compassionate saint, in a few hours the sheet was 
found to be blank and the generous penitent, by the 
immediate intercession of his patron, was absolved 
from the consequences of his transgressions without 
the delay or the exposure of confession. The foun- 
dation of a religious house was often derived from 
the fears or the repentance of a wealthy and supersti- 
tious sinner. An immense tract of unimproved land 
was conveyed to a colony of monks. In the most 
sequestered spot, far removed from the turmoil, the 
vanities, and the temptations of the world, an unpre- 
tending structure, composed of wattled boughs and 
thatched with straw or rushes, was constructed. The 

Moorish Empire in Europe 363 

surrounding forest was stocked with game. A neigh- 
boring lake or streamlet furnished a supply of fish. 
In many fraternities, however, such food was for- 
bidden, for the austerity of discipline sometimes per- 
mitted nothing but a meagre diet of herbs and pulse 
washed down with water. The obligations of their 
profession as well as the necessity of sustenance re- 
quired that a portion of their time should be spent in 
the cultivation of the soil. A number of the brethren 
labored in the fields while the others attended to the 
domestic and sacred duties enjoined by their monastic 
vows. In some monkish abodes the voice of praise was 
never silent. Relays of choristers occupied the chapel 
without intermission day or night. The summons to 
devotion were frequent. To preserve decorum, spies 
were appointed to report irregularities of conduct 
within the monastery. No monk was permitted to 
leave its precincts without a companion, that each 
might restrain the other from the indulgence in sinful 
thoughts and carnal recreations. In the cloister the 
recluse was constantly reminded of the requirements 
and obligations of his profession by the fervent exhor- 
tations of his superior and the enforced observance of 
silence, meditation, and prayer. By self -infliction of 
grievous penances, scourging, fasting, wearing of 
shirts of haircloth or mail, immersion in water of icy 
coldness, worldly temptations and sensual desires 
were effectually suppressed, and mind and body were 
devoted to the ostensible and original objects of mon- 
achal life, the service and the glorification of God. 

In time their modest and contracted habitations 
became too small to accommodate the increasing num- 
bers or to satisfy the ambitious zeal of the pious breth- 
ren. The wealth derived from the assiduous cultiva- 
tion of their lands, the profits of their trade, the con- 
tributions of royal visitors, and the generosity of their 
founders enabled them to erect buildings whose im- 

364 History of the 

posing proportions and exquisite ornamentation are 
the delight and the despair of modern architects. The 
church dedicated to a certain saint was founded on the 
day preserved by tradition as the date of his birth. A 
vigil was maintained, and when the first rays of the 
sun reddened the horizon the work was commenced. 
As the point where that luminary appeared was taken 
for the east, on account of the constantly varying posi- 
tion of the sun in the heavens there are but few eccle- 
siastical edifices constructed during the Middle Ages 
whose walls correspond with the four cardinal points 
of the compass. In the ranks of the religious brother- 
hoods were to be found artisans of every description, 
whose professional efforts were prompted and encour- 
aged by the inspiring spirit of religious devotion. 
Such were the dimensions of these magnificent struct- 
ures that the chapels of many abbeys such as St. 
Albans, Southwell, St. Ouen, Durham, Canterbury 
are now cathedral churches of some of the richest dio- 
ceses of France and England. The architectural 
splendor of Westminster is familiar to every traveller. 
The buildings included in the great Cistercian Abbey 
of Tinterne, which were enclosed by a wall, were dis- 
tributed over thirty-four acres. The symmetry and 
beauty of the Gothic temples of Normandy are un- 
impaired and unrivalled after the revolutions of more 
than seven centuries. The ecclesiastical jurisdiction 
of some sees extended over as many as seven thousand 
mansi, or cottages of serfs; those who only received 
the tribute of two thousand were so numerous as to be 
comparatively insignificant. 

All the possessions of the clergy were exempt from 
taxation. Tithes, at first limited to a tenth of the 
products of the soil, were, by ecclesiastical artifice and 
Papal rapacity, extended and made to include the 
entire yield of every crop, the increase of every herb, 
the labor of every artisan. Without taking into ac- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 365 

count the territorial area in the hands of the See of 
Rome at the period of the Reformation, the monastic 
guilds and corporations had absorbed half of the 
livings of Great Britain. The revenues of some re- 
ligious foundations in that country were not less 
than fifty thousand pounds sterling, reckoning vol- 
untary donations alone. In the thirteenth century the 
English clergy bore to the laity the ratio of one to four 
hundred in number, while their lands amounted to 
thirty -three per cent, of the entire real property of the 
kingdom. In Spain during the same period the pro- 
portion of ecclesiastics was one to seven, and fifty per 
cent, of the landed possessions under Christian control 
belonged to them. The pressing necessities of grasp- 
ing and irreverent princes, who did not scruple to 
appropriate under various pretexts the riches of the 
ecclesiastical order, alone prevented the eventual ex- 
clusion of the laity of Europe from all ownership of 
or jurisdiction over the soil. 

No religious service could be more solemn, no spec- 
tacle more awe-inspiring, than the celebration of a 
Church festival in one of the grand old abbey chapels 
in mediaeval times. The edifice itself was the ideal of 
architectural beauty. Through the elegant designs 
of painted windows, the light, in iridescent hues, shone 
in tempered radiance over the richly sculptured tombs 
of prelate and crusader and the checkered pavement 
brilliant with its graceful patterns of tile and marble 
mosaic. The walls of nave and transept were hung 
with tapestry, embroidered sometimes with represen- 
tations of scriptural events, sometimes with the fig- 
ures of departed abbots or the portraits of a line of 
famous kings. The altar, before whose holy presence 
constantly burned rows of waxen tapers, glittered 
with ornaments bestowed by the hand of opulent 
piety and massive reliquaries set with priceless gems. 
The resounding notes of the Gregorian chant filled 

366 History of the 

the air; the officiating monks in splendid vestments, 
the pomp of crucifix and incense, added to the impres- 
siveness of the ceremonial and imparted to the scene a 
striking representation of divine worship which could 
hardly be paralleled in Rome itself. Truly, in its 
palmy days the monastery was an important adjunct 
to Papal power and grandeur! 

From the consideration of the manifold vices and 
flagrant corruption with which the life of monastic 
institutions was tainted, it becomes a pleasure to enu- 
merate the benefits that these establishments conferred 
upon humanity. First in importance is the fact that 
they were the depositories of learning during the Dark 
Ages. The requirements of the sacred profession, 
whose dogmas they were designed to uphold and prop- 
agate, demanded the possession of some degree of 
knowledge. The standard of intelligence was far 
higher in the monastery than in the chapter house of 
the cathedral or in the episcopal palace. Many of the 
secular clergy could neither read nor write; their ex- 
position of the sacraments was pronounced in an inco- 
herent jargon, and a canon who understood grammar 
was an object of general wonder and respect. The 
lewd and profane character of the discourses from 
the pulpit was often such that it would not be toler- 
ated for an instant by the fastidious delicacy of a 
modern audience. The enjoyment of abundant lei- 
sure, the praiseworthy impulse of accumulating infor- 
mation which might prove of advantage, both in 
disseminating the truths of the Gospel and in mag- 
nifying the importance of their order, actuated a cer- 
tain number of the inmates of every cloister to the 
transcription of books, to the studj'' of authors, to the 
illumination of missals. Some wrote poems in Latin. 
Others, like Hrotswitha, the German nun of Ganders- 
heim, composed dramas in imitation of the classics. 
These literary efforts, while often coarse in sentiment, 

Moorish Empire in Europe 367 

immoral in tendency, and crude in execution, seem 
prodigies of learning when we recall the dense atmos- 
phere of ignorance in which they were produced. In 
the abbey were preserved contemporaneous records 
not only of all transactions in which that institution 
was concerned, but also many details of affairs of 
national interest, which furnished in after ages inval- 
uable data to the historian. In many convents there 
existed schools where novices as well as the chil- 
dren of the peasantry could receive rudimentary in- 
struction. Books, among which is mentioned the 
Fables of ^sop, were chained to tables in the halls 
for the benefit of those pupils. The great impulse 
given to intellectual progress by Wyclif 's incomplete 
translation of the Bible in the fourteenth century is 
indicated by the ludicrous complaint of an old monk- 
ish chronicler, who lamented that " Women are now 
grown more versed in the New Testament than 
learned clerks." Coincident with that auspicious 
event, the monopoly of letters, so long enjoyed and 
perverted by the clergy, came to an end. In cases 
where the interests of religion were thought to be im- 
perilled, the monks did not hesitate to obstruct the 
path of knowledge. Through their influence the 
study of physics and of law was forbidden in the 
twelfth century to the students of the University of 
Montpellier. In contradistinction to this spirit of 
offensive bigotry, it must not be forgotten that the 
first printing-presses used in Europe were placed in 

The seclusion of monasticism encouraged to a con- 
siderable extent the love of the arts. In beauty of 
design and completeness of finish the efforts of the 
Gothic architect have never been surpassed. Book- 
making was carried to an advanced state of perfection. 
From unwieldy volumes with wooden leaves, bound 
in leaden covers, manuscripts developed into the ex- 

368 History of the 

quisite specimens of calligraphic and decorative ele- 
gance so prized by modern collectors. Some were 
written in gold and silver letters on purple vellum. 
The illuminations whence was derived the first in- 
spiration of modern painting were often the work 
of years. The bindings were of carved ivory or of 
the precious metals, not infrequently enriched with 
jewels. Those volumes destined for the service of the 
altar sometimes enclosed a reliquary and became 
doubly precious, as well by reason of the sacred me- 
mento they contained as on account of their costly 
materials and the labor expended upon them. The 
art of the sculptor owes much to the diligence and 
skill displayed by the mediaeval wood-carver, whose 
handiwork is visible in the stalls and altar-screens 
of Gothic cathedrals. The embroidered vestments 
wrought by nuns during the twelfth and thirteenth 
centuries are marvels of ornamentation, patience, and 
dexterity. Constant practice in the choir led to a con- 
siderable advance in the knowledge of poetry and 
music. Nor were philosophical pursuits, despite their 
confessed antagonism to the Church, altogether neg- 
lected. The name and acquirements of Pope Syl- 
vester II. were to his contemporaries as well as to 
posterity long suggestive of a compact with the Devil 
and the practice of magic. Modern science, in its in- 
discriminate censure of monasticism, should not forget 
that the great natural philosophers of the Middle 
Ages, Albertus Magnus and Roger Bacon, belonged 
to the orders of mendicant friars, for the one was a 
Franciscan and the other a Dominican. 

In the monastery was dispensed not only medical 
aid, so far as the rudeness and ignorance of the super- 
stitious practitioner allowed, but also unstinted and 
gratuitous hospitality. The conventual establishment 
was at once the hospital and the hotel of mediaeval 
society. In the thinly peopled districts usually se- 

Moorish Empiee in Eueope 369 

lected by its founders, no public provision was made 
for the relief of the sufferings of the invalid or the 
necessities of the traveller, and both found within its 
walls a generous and cordial greeting. Its sanctuary 
covered the trembling victim of feudal oppression 
with the mantle of its comfort and protection. Its 
towers, secure in their sacred character, passed un- 
scathed through the wreck of dynasties and the perils 
of revolutionary violence. The substantial walls of 
donjon and barbican went down under the assaults of 
Norman, Saxon, Dane, and Lombard, but the abbey, 
defenceless save in the immunity afforded by the holy 
calling of its inmates, remained unchanged amidst 
these scenes of universal disorder and ruin, the deposi- 
tory of ancient learning, the refuge of the remnant 
of those elegant social courtesies which had survived 
the fall of imperial greatness, the asylum of the per- 
secuted, the home of the arts, the preserver of civiHza- 
tion in a martial and unenlightened age. 

While Rome was the centre of ecclesiastical and 
temporal power, Constantinople was the undisputed 
seat of the refinement and culture of Christian 
Europe. The transfer of the government of the 
Empire to the confines of Asia had not, however, 
destroyed the prestige which the Eternal City had 
obtained by her glorious achievements in arts, in arms, 
in Hterature, in politics, during so many centuries. 
The new capital of the Caesars could not properly be 
called a Roman city. Its population, after the first 
fifty years following its foundation, was more Greek 
than Latin, but its most distinctive features were 
always Asiatic. The ordinary idiom of its citizens 
was that of Ionia and Attica. The despotism of its 
court, the manners of its people, bore the pronounced 
stamp of the Orient. Its society was cosmopolitan, 
and the relations it maintained through the channels 
of trade with remote countries constantly filled its 

Vol. III. 24 

370 History of the 

thoroughfares with picturesque and barbaric costumes. 
The brutahty of the West, the vices of the East, the 
superstitions of Africa, the cinielty of Italy, found a 
congenial home on the shores of the Bosphorus. The 
successors of Constantine claimed and exercised pre- 
rogatives wholly inconsistent with the security of the 
community or the principles of equity. They inter- 
posed their authority to annul the sentences of judicial 
tribunals. They inflicted frightful tortures without 
the warrant of law or precedent. They imposed taxes 
which impoverished even the wealthiest of their sub- 
jects. They permitted their flatterers to extort ran- 
soms, traflic in justice, and dispose of employments 
without even the decorous pretext of concealment. 
The mutual hatred existing between the bloodthirsty 
factions of the capital, the ancient enmity of the 
nobles, the jealousy of rival princes, which had more 
than once caused disastrous riots, the tumultuous fury 
of the rabble, induced the emperors to habitual^ dis- 
trust the fidelity of those statesmen whose birth and 
education best qualified them to direct the policy of 
a great empire. As a necessity, therefore, eunuchs 
were intrusted with the management of afl'airs of 
state and filled the responsible oflices of the imperial 
household. Surrounded by a crowd of dependents 
and flatterers, these monsters were the fountain of all 
honor and the recipients of all homage; while the 
sovereign of the East, shorn of his actual power, was 
left to the society of monks and parasites. An ex- 
cessive love of pomp and of magnificent attire was a 
marked trait of the Byzantine character. The impe- 
rial train often included more than twenty thousand 
servants, the majority of whom were eunuchs. The 
eunuch was the most conspicuous personage in the 
government, in the hierarchy, in commercial adven- 
ture, in social amusement, in political intrigue. He 
discharged the functions of a general often with 

Moorish Empire in Europe 371 

credit, sometimes with consmnmate skill. His secre- 
tive habits and demeanor admirably fitted him for the 
tortuous paths and insidious methods of diplomatic 
intercourse. He was a power in the Byzantine hie- 
rarchy. Members of his caste were exalted to high 
positions in the ecclesiastical order. Some attained to 
the supreme dignity of Patriarch, an office for cen- 
turies of greater importance than that of Bishop of 
Rome. Others controlled the wealthiest sees of the 
Eastern Church. Monastic life seemed to possess a 
peculiar attraction for them, and many convents in 
Constantinople were peopled exclusively by the vic- 
tims of man's deliberate cruelty. Some of these in- 
stitutions contained nearly a thousand inmates. The 
prominent part taken by this odious class in establish- 
ing the standard of modern orthodoxy, through its in- 
fluence on the ladies of the imperial household in the 
early days of Christianity, is familiar to every reader 
of Church history. The insatiable avarice and rapac- 
ity of the eunuch impelled him to the accumulation 
of wealth through the legitimate channels of foreign 
commerce and domestic enterprise, as well as by the 
more questionable means of servility and corruption. 
His ships were known in every port of the Mediterra- 
nean. He was identified with the largest mercantile 
establishments of the capital. In every social assem- 
bly he was conspicuous, in every conspiracy his con- 
cealed but powerful hand was felt. His equipage was 
the gayest, his train the most imposing on the streets. 
In the circus he took precedence of haughty patri- 
cians, whom he far eclipsed in splendor of costume. 
Ever with an eye to his own aggrandizement, he whis- 
pered treason in the ears of the nobles and instigated 
the rabble to revolt. The sentiments of gratitude, of 
sympathy, of charity, were unknown to him. The 
frightful punishments inflicted by the court on politi- 
cal offenders were notoriously suggested by his mahg- 

372 History of the 

nant genius. With the loss of his procreative power 
seemed to have vanished every trace of honor, of jus- 
tice, of humanity, of loyalty, of devotion. He was 
execrated by the Byzantine populace, whose feelings 
were expressed by the current saying, "If you have 
a eunuch, kill him ; if you have none, buy one and kill 
him I" 

The government of the Byzantine Empire exhib- 
ited a curious mixture of irresponsible power and ab- 
ject dependence. The emperors displayed all the in- 
signia and all the arrogance of despotism, while at the 
same time they were really the slaves of their para- 
sites. The career of a sovereign was certain to be a 
short one if he manifested an inclination to indepen- 
dence and to the assertion of his legal prerogatives. In 
the court of Constantinople poisoning was reduced to 
a science, and eunuchs, astrologers, priests, and char- 
latans were ready instruments of ambition and re- 
venge. The formalities attending the intercourse of 
members of the royal family and the aristocracy were 
so complicated as to require a long course of study to 
master them. They were reduced to a code, familiar- 
ity with whose rules was considered the greatest ac- 
complishment of a courtier. While this frivolous cer- 
emonial was being sedulously perfected, the constantly 
receding frontiers of the Empire were abandoned to 
the encroachments of the barbarians of the Baltic and 
the Caspian. The state revenues were squandered 
by ecclesiastics and insatiable favorites. Rapacious 
tax-collectors displayed the character and adopted the 
customs of licensed brigands. Their extortions be- 
came so excessive and the distress of the people was 
so great that three-fourths of the inhabitants of the 
monarchy were officially inscribed upon the public reg- 
isters as mendicants. 

From the eighth to the twelfth century Constanti- 
nople was, in all probability, the most opulent and 

Moorish Empire in Europe 873 

populous city in the world. It had inherited the tra- 
ditions of the ancient Roman capital, while it had in a 
great measure discarded the policy which had made 
those traditions famous. The most exquisite of the 
works of art that had escaped the fury of the bar- 
barous hordes of Scythia and Gaul had been conveyed 
within its walls. Its streets were lined with magnifi- 
cent mansions, colonnades, temples. Everywhere rose 
suggestive mementos of that great power whose 
name had been renowned and feared from the High- 
lands of Scotland to the banks of the Oxus. In forum 
and garden the mean and stolid visages of sainted 
monk and anchorite stood side by side with the noble 
busts and statues of the most illustrious heroes and 
citizens of classic Rome. The royal palaces were mod- 
elled, some after the beautiful villas which had once 
adorned the Campagna, others after plans suggested 
by the Saracen architects of Bagdad. The churches 
also bore evidence of the imitative character of Byzan- 
tine art, which borrowed its inspiration from Greece 
and the Orient. It is said that in 1403 there were three 
thousand of them in the city. Monolithic columns of 
different colored marble supported their domes, 
sometimes as many as five in number, roofed with 
tiles of gilded bronze. Their walls were incrusted 
with lapis-lazuli and jasper. The sculpture in relief 
was covered with gold. Elaborate patterns of ara- 
besques in mosaics embellished the walls and formed 
the pavements. The fountains were of silver and their 
basins were filled with wine instead of water, for the 
benefit of the Byzantine mob, whose struggles often 
diverted the indolent leisure of the monarch and his 
luxurious court. A separate dwelling was used by the 
Emperor during each season of the year, and the 
appointments and furniture of each of them were 
adapted to the atmospheric vicissitudes of the climate 
of Constantinople. In all the decorations of these 

374s History of the 

sumptuous edifices jewels were lavished in ostenta- 
tious and semi-barbaric profusion. The perverted in- 
genuity of the Byzantine inventor was expended in 
the construction of curious toys that might delight the 
simplicity of childhood, but which could hardly be ex- 
pected to engage the attention of royalty, even in a 
degenerate age. One of the masterpieces of these skil- 
ful artisans was a tree of the precious metals with 
foliage occupied by golden birds, whose shrill notes 
filled the halls of the palace. Notwithstanding its 
vast expenditure of treasure, such were the resources 
of the Byzantine monarchy that even after its terri- 
tory was contracted almost to the walls of the capital, 
it still embraced the wealthiest community in Christen- 
dom. The unrivalled commercial facilities enjoyed by 
Constantinople more than counterbalanced for cen- 
turies the disadvantages of political incapacity, na- 
tional idleness, and official corruption. The losses 
resulting from ecclesiastical quarrels, the sanguinary 
revolutions of political factions, the ravages of Cru- 
saders and the pestilence were speedily supplied from 
the cities of Greece and the colonies of Asia Minor. 
The heterogeneous elements of its population, thus 
recruited from so many sources, early caused it to as- 
sume the appearance and the character of the most 
cosmopolitan of cities ; and as the capital was the type 
of the entire region subject to the sovereign, it has 
been remarked, not incorrectly, that the Byzantine 
Empire was a government without a nation. 

So marked, however, was the religious and intel- 
lectual debasement of contemporaneous Europe that 
the weakness and crimes of the Greek emperors passed 
unnoticed amidst the recognized superiority of the 
civilization which their wanton extravagance polluted. 
The extent and magnitude of their commerce, the 
splendor of their embassies, the munificence with 
which they rewarded their allies, afforded the most 

Moorish Empire in Europe 375 

exaggerated ideas of their importance and power. 
The pomp which invested their presence concealed the 
deplorable conditions under whose restraints they were 
compelled to direct the aifairs of their empire. The 
political imbecility of the Greeks was, therefore, not 
visible to their neighbors. These observed only the 
gorgeous theatrical effects which sustained the pres- 
tige of a decaying monarchy, and the alliance of the 
princes of Constantinople was solicited alike by the 
khalifs of Bagdad, Cairo, and Cordova, by the em- 
perors of the West, and by the kings of England. In 
the social polity of the Greeks the court was every- 
thing and the people nothing. The natural law of 
progress, by which man is encouraged to accumulate 
wealth by the knowledge that he can enjoy it unmo- 
lested, and is impelled to intellectual pursuits through 
the hope of political advancement, a law practically 
annulled by the Caesars of Rome, was entirely abol- 
ished under the emperors of Byzantium. Little se- 
curity could be expected from a government which 
attempted to extort from the wretched peasant, whose 
harvests had been swept away by the barbarian, the 
same tax demanded from the prosperous merchant, 
and made no allowance for the destitution for which 
its own incapacity and corruption were responsible. 

The most pernicious ideas relative to the duties and 
privileges of citizenship had been imported from 
Italy. The people were divided into castes. The aris- 
tocracy considered all occupations carried on for profit 
as disgraceful to a patrician. It was a maxim with 
the populace, and one which it would have been dan- 
gerous to controvert, that the state owed it sustenance 
and amusement. In maintaining such a principle, the 
lower classes could have no motive for labor, and the 
rabble of Constantinople had not forgotten that the 
Roman citizen who so far disregarded his dignity as 
to become an artisan was ignominiously driven from 

376 History of the 

his tribe. The only career open to the aspiring ple- 
beian was through the Church. To obtain a command- 
ing position in the hierarchy, the favor and assistance 
of a eunuch or of a princess of the royal family was 
indispensable. The duties of the priesthood required 
the possession of little intelligence and less education. 
The affairs of palace and cathedral were usually ad- 
ministered by emasculated monks, indebted for their 
places to the ostentatious devotion or convenient ser- 
vility by which they demonstrated their usefulness in 
furthering the designs of ambitious patrons. While 
the general licentiousness which scandalized the papal 
court did not prevail to an equal extent among the 
clergy of Constantinople, the lives of many of the 
patriarchs were stained with vices equal in baseness 
and impiety to any that defiled the character of the 
worst of the pontiffs. Soldiers, eunuchs, parasites, 
and tools of intriguing statesmen were elevated in turn 
to the most eminent dignity of the Eastern Church. 
Some carried with them into the episcopal palace the 
manners and the license of the camp. Others, by en- 
listing the services of the monks and the populace, 
fomented sanguinary and disastrous revolutions. 
Others again, by the monstrous extravagance of their 
behavior and the irreverence which they displayed in 
the discharge of their sacred functions, aroused the 
indignation and incurred the censure of the devout. 
Of the latter, Theophylactus offers a conspicuous ex- 
ample. The sale of ecclesiastical preferments fur- 
nished him regularly with means for the gratification 
of his unholy passions. He was raised to the patri- 
archal throne of Constantinople at the age of twelve 
years. He introduced into the Greek ritual absurd 
ceremonies and licentious hymns which, strange to re- 
late, survived him for almost two centuries. To this 
practice are traceable the riotous and obscene festivals 
of the Middle Ages, when religion was travestied and 

Moorish Empire in Europe 377 

the rites of the Church profaned by license as gross 
as that which characterized the excesses of the de- 
cadent empire of the Csesars. He deprecated the 
wrath of the Devil with heathen sacrifices. In his 
stable were two thousand horses, which were fed on 
almonds and figs steeped in wine, regaled with costly- 
liquors, and sprinkled with the most exquisite per- 
fumes. Not infrequently in the midst of the mass he 
left his congregation to visit the stall of some favorite 
charger. Could piety or virtue be expected from a 
people whose spiritual necessities were ministered to 
by such a prelate ? 

With moral degeneracy came also intellectual de- 
crepitude. A scanty but inestimable remnant of the 
vast stores of learning which had instructed and de- 
lighted the Pagan world had been rescued from the 
hands of the ruthless barbarian and preserved on the 
shores of the Bosphorus. But the scarcity of writing 
materials and the ignorance and prejudice of the un- 
lettered ecclesiastics into whose hands many of these 
treasures fell insured their destruction. Great num- 
bers of the productions of classic authors were erased 
from the precious parchment to make room for the 
legendary miracles of fictitious saints. Others per- 
ished by mould and mildew in the dripping vaults of 
monasteries and churches. Near the Cathedral of St. 
Sophia there stood in the eighth century a great basil- 
ica of unique and elegant design called the Octagon. 
It was approached by eight magnificent porticos sup- 
ported by pillars of white marble. The edifice itself 
displayed the taste and skill of the Grecian architect, 
whose type, while suggestive of the decline of an art 
once carried to a perfection without parallel, was, even 
in its decadence, superior to the masterpieces of all 
other nations. Erected by Constantine the Great for 
purposes of religious worship, JuHan had consecrated 
it to literature, had deposited within its halls his ex- 

378 History of the 

tensive library, and had established there an academy 
in imitation of the famous Museum founded by the 
Ptolemies at Alexandria. Here a corps of teachers, 
maintained at the expense of the state, imparted in- 
struction gratuitously on all branches of theology and 
the arts. The library was open to every student of 
whatever creed or nationality. A number of expert 
calligraphists and scholars were constantly employed 
in adding to the collection, or in reproducing manu- 
scripts that had been damaged by abuse or neglect. 
The professors of this university the only institution 
worthy of the name in the entire realm of the empire 
were held in the highest reverence. Sometimes their 
opinions were taken on important questions of law and 
diplomacy. Often their mediation was solicited by the 
heads of contending factions. By the pre-eminence 
of their acquirements and the weight attaching to their 
decisions, they averted many a national catastrophe. 
The incumbents of the most exalted places in the 
Church were frequently taken from their ranks. Dur- 
ing the season of its prosperity no institution of learn- 
ing outside of the dominions of the khalif s wielded such 
a salutary influence or was regarded with such respect 
and homage by all classes of mankind as the Octagon 
of Constantinople. In the reign of Zeno, when it was 
consumed by fire, this famous edifice contained a 
library of a hundred and twenty thousand volumes. 
Among the treasures lost in the conflagration was a 
wonderful manuscript of the works of Homer, more 
than one hundred feet long, composed of serpent skins 
inscribed with characters of gold. Restored by the 
emperors to some degree of its former splendor, Leo 
the Isaurian, who, after repeated interviews, had 
failed to convert to his iconoclastic views the teachers 
of the University, determined to effectually silence 
those who had so signally refuted his arguments. Se- 
cretly, and during the night, an immense quantity of 

Moorish Empire in Europe 379 

combustibles was distributed about the building, the 
torch was applied, detachments of troops prevented 
all attempts at rescue, and the assembled wisdom and 
learning of the Byzantine Empire perished in one in- 
discriminate ruin. From this inexcusable act of van- 
dalism dates the disappearance of many of the great- 
est works of the poets, philosophers, and historians of 
antiquity. What the iconoclast had begun the cru- 
sader completed. The storming of the capital by the 
Latins dealt another destructive blow to literature. 
The martial fanaticism of the West saw nothing to 
admire and much to execrate in the immortal produc- 
tions of Pagan genius. The ignorant monks who fol- 
lowed in the train of the Count of Flanders and the 
Marquis of Montf errat showed scant consideration to 
such of the classics as fell into their hands. The pre- 
cious remains that survived this age of violence, super- 
stition, and intellectual apathy rested uncared for and 
forgotten in the seclusion of private libraries and the 
sacred recesses of the cloister until they were resur- 
rected by the insatiable demand for knowledge which 
distinguished the people of Europe during the fif- 
teenth and sixteenth centuries. 

In every phase of social as well as of intellectual 
life, the national inferiority of the Byzantine was 
manifest. He could copy with a fair degree of skill, 
but he could not originate. He absorbed little and 
created almost nothing. The works of art in which he 
took most pride were rather indebted for their value 
to the nature of their materials than to the labor and 
ingenuity that had produced them. In the style of 
ornamentation, especially as regards the pattern of 
textile fabrics and the settings of jewels, the Syrian 
taste, which delighted in floral designs and the forms 
of grotesque animals, predominated. There was little 
in the work of the Byzantine sculptor to call to mind 
the simplicity and delicacy that pre-eminently distin- 

380 History of the 

guished the exquisite products of the Attic chisel. 
Yet its imitative tendency induced the genius of the 
Eastern Empire to borrow from all its neighbors, and 
especially from Greece, whose art had greatly retro- 
graded even before the accession of Constantine. 
The adoption of Christianity as the religion of the 
state was most unfavorable to sculpture, which was 
associated by the ignorant with the representation and 
worship of the gods of antiquity. The term " Byzan- 
tine," as applied to decoration, is most comprehensive, 
and, employed by writers at will, has become indefinite. 
When examples of this style possess marked charac- 
teristics, however, and can readily be identified, they 
show clearly the impress of foreign influence, result- 
ing commercial activity, and intimate diplomatic rela- 
tions of the Greek Empire with nations of the most 
discordant customs and religious traditions. The mu- 
ral designs in mosaic peculiar to Constantinople were 
reproduced in temples dedicated to the ceremonial of 
widely different creeds, as the Mosque of Cordova, the 
Church of St. Mark at Venice, and the Cathedral of 
St. Isaac at St. Petersburg. 

The division of society into castes was the most 
serious and insurmountable impediment to progress 
encountered by the people of the Greek Empire. Pub- 
lic opinion was voiced by the court at the instigation 
of the clergy. There was one law for the members of 
the imperial household and another for all who did not 
enjoy that adventitious privilege. What was a crime 
in the citizen was scarcely considered an error in the 
patrician. The tradesmen, who to some extent con- 
stituted a middle class, were not wealthy or influential 
enough to own slaves, a criterion of social impor- 
tance, and in nine cases out of ten sympathized with, 
if they did not actually support, the claims of the 
rabble. The cultivator of the soil, uncertain whether 
he would be permitted to enjoy the fruit of his labors, 

MooEiSH Empire in Europe 381 

through the rapacity of the imperial officials or the 
relentless fury of the barbarians, pursued his useful 
vocation to little purpose. In a region proverbial for 
fertility, under a sky unusually favorable to the 
husbandman, there was no uniformity in the amount 
of the yield, no certainty of even a moderate harvest. 
Under the same atmospheric conditions a year of fam- 
ine often succeeded a year of the greatest abundance. 
The most lucrative branch of commerce was the slave- 
trade. The Saracen pirates, who swarmed in the 
Mediterranean, exchanged their captives in the mar- 
kets of Byzantium for Baltic amber, Chinese silks, 
Arabian spices, and Indian jewels. These slaves, both 
male and female, were sold to Jews, who disposed of 
them to the Moslems of Persia, Egypt, Mauritania, 
and Spain. The manufacture of eunuchs was not 
only a profitable industry, but was often resorted to 
with a view to the future political or ecclesiastical pro- 
motion of the unfortunate subject. Parents muti- 
lated their children in the hope that they might rise to 
the administration of important dignities in the palace 
or the Church. Unsuccessful aspirants to the throne 
were compelled to undergo this painful and dangerous 
operation, and were then confined for life in some 
secluded monastery. The abject degeneracy of the 
nation further revealed itself by the infliction of even 
more inhuman and revolting punishments. Political 
conspirators were flayed alive. Vivisection was prac- 
tised upon criminals not sufficiently adroit or wealthy 
to escape the vigilance of the magistrate. Ofl*enders 
guilty of public sacrilege were scourged, crucified, or 
burnt. With the intellectual debasement indicated by 
the enjoyment of human suffering were mingled the 
most puerile superstitions. Every class of society, 
from the emperor to the peasant, was a firm believer 
in visions, omens, auguries. The flight of birds was 
observed, the entrails of a slaughtered animal exam- 

382 History of the 

ined with an eagerness never surpassed by that of the 
votaries of Paganism. The occurrence of an inau- 
spicious event, an unusual dream, an apparent prod- 
igy, overwhehned the unhappy Byzantine with dis- 
may. Still tinctured with the idolatrous superstition 
of his fathers, he secretly placed gifts upon the de- 
faced altars of ruined temples, consulted the silent 
oracles, endeavored to propitiate the neglected gods 
by nocturnal sacrifices. Belief in the evil-eye was uni- 
versal, a delusion not extinct even in our day among 
the more ignorant peasantry of Italy, who think that 
the possession and exercise of this myterious power 
is one of the prerogatives of the Pope. In such a 
community the charlatans who thrive by the weakness 
of mankind were not wanting. Astrologers were con- 
sidered necessary appendages to the grandeur of the 
imperial court. They abounded in every quarter of 
the city, and were regarded by the populace with feel- 
ings of mingled fear and veneration. Even members 
of the priesthood, terrified by some unfamiliar natural 
phenomenon, which their ignorance suggested might 
portend an imminent calamity, did not hesitate to 
openly visit these impostors. 

To the hands of these two great powers, the Papacy 
of Rome and the Empire of the Greeks, were virtually 
intrusted the destinies of the vast and constantly in- 
creasing population of Europe. Their evil influence 
over the minds of men was incalculable. What the 
unprincipled methods and insolent pretensions of the 
former failed to effect was supplied by the political 
duplicity of the latter. While often apparently at 
variance, they were in reality, though unconsciously, 
seeking to compass a common end, the moral, social, 
and intellectual degradation of humanity. No con- 
ceptions of honor, consistency, generosity, or pa- 
triotism affected the policy of either. Is it sur- 
prising that under such circumstances and with such 

Moorish Empire in Europe 383 

masters the society of the Christian world should have 
remained for many centuries absolutely stagnant, 
without advancement in the arts, without incentives 
to literary effort, without exertion in the fascinating 
domain of science, almost without the consolation of 
hope beyond the grave ? When we consider the bound- 
less opportunities for good in the grasp of these two 
great enemies of human progress, and the energy and 
ability employed by one of them especially to stifle all 
inquiry and every aspiration for mental improvement, 
we may realize the extent of the darkness which en- 
veloped the society of Europe for nearly a thousand 
years, and appreciate the efforts of the Mohammedan 
nations, whose self-instructed genius illumined with 
such a brilliant light the path of civilization and 

The most pernicious and debasing conditions of 
Byzantine society prevailed to even a greater degree 
in the brutalized communities of Central and Western 
Europe. In no country of that continent did there 
exist a firmly established or legally constituted gov- 
ernment. The authority of the sovereign was nominal 
and complimentary, obeyed when it was more con- 
venient to do so than to dispute it, and practically 
recognized under protest. The order of succession was 
perpetually violated. Ambitious vassals overturned 
thrones won by the valor of great chieftains, or ruled 
with despotic power in the names of their feeble 
progeny. Anarchy prevailed throughout those prov- 
inces whose population was not intimidated by the 
immediate presence of the court. Property and life 
were at the mercy of banditti in the pay and under 
the protection of powerful nobles, who complacently 
shared the spoils and the infamy of these highway 
plunderers. The savage and absurd customs imported 
by barbarians from the forests of Germany and Brit- 
ain usurped the office of laws approved by the wisdom 

384 History of the 

and practice of Roman jurisprudence. The decay of 
that science under the later emperors, and especially 
under the system established by Constantine, must be 
attributed to the increasing interest in religious doc- 
trines and theological controversy, which ignored the 
talents and ambition once exercised in the profession 
of the civil law. The priest had become the successful 
rival of the advocate, and ecclesiastical preferment 
was prized more highly by the educated than the 
triumphs of judicial learning and forensic eloquence. 
The arm of the strongest determined the justice of a 
cause without the formalities of evidence and argu- 
ment. A graduated tariff of compensation for bodily 
injury existed, and any offence could be expiated by 
the payment of a stipulated sum. The imposition and 
collection of taxes were not regulated by any estab- 
lished principles, and the obvious rules of political 
economy were violated in the application and enforce- 
ment of the fiscal regulations. Amidst the universal 
disorder, the Church lost no opportunity to increase 
her acquisitions and consolidate her power. She en- 
couraged the continuance of the incredible ignorance 
and inhumanity of the age. She resolutely set her 
face against every attempt of the laity to shake off 
the fetters imposed upon it by violence and super- 
stition. She punished with atrocious severity the 
slightest manifestation to question the genuineness 
of her pretensions or the validity of her canons. 

The warlike and pugnacious spirit of an age gov- 
erned by force affected even a profession generally 
associated with the offices of mercy and peace. For 
centuries among the Saxons it was the bishop and not 
the king who conferred the distinction of knighthood. 
In martial assemblies no difference existed in the ap- 
pearance of the prelate and the warrior. The panoply 
and weapons of the field were often also a feature of 
ecclesiastical convocations. Godfrey, Archbishop of 

Moorish Empire in Europe 385 

Narbonne, presided in complete armor over councils 
called to determine points of religious doctrine. The 
Bishop of Cahors, in Provence, refused to say mass 
unless his sword and gauntlets had been previously 
deposited on the altar. The Treasurer of the Cathe- 
dral of Nevers appeared in the choir armed to the 
teeth and with his hawk upon his wrist. In Langue- 
doc, during the thirteenth century, it was the practice 
of priests to settle questions in dispute by fisticuffs. 

After the destruction of the Roman Empire, the 
fii'st attempt to reorganize society was made by the 
institution of the Feudal System. It was an instance 
of the selection of the lesser of two evils. In consid- 
eration of protection, the vassal paid homage to his 
lord and promised him military and other services 
under certain ill-defined conditions. Defective and 
susceptible of enormous abuses as this arrangement 
was, it alleviated to some degree the misery of the 
lower orders. Its jurisdiction was coextensive with 
the dominions formerly embraced by the empire of 
Charlemagne. The temptation it held out to oppres- 
sion more than neutralized the benefits it occasionally 
conferred. It organized and perpetuated the most 
vexatious of thraldoms, the tyranny of caste. It ap- 
propriated all property in the soil, and a person not 
of noble birth or ecclesiastical distinction was doomed 
to the humiliating dependence of vassalage or serf- 
dom. The nominal liberty originally enjoyed by the 
descendants of the ancient Roman colonists was easily 
forfeited by the non-payment of taxes, whose amount 
was regulated by the caprice of the lord ; the failure 
to perform military service or even the neglect to 
observe obligations of trifling importance of them- 
selves was sufficient to reduce the offender to a con- 
dition of servitude. 

The serfs were divided into two principal classes, 
known to the technical jargon of the law as villains in 

Vol. hi. 25 

386 History of the 

gross and villains regardant. The authority of the 
lord over both of these was absolute and irresponsible ; 
the former were attached to his person and, like other 
chattels, could be sold or otherwise disposed of; the 
latter belonged to the soil and could under no circum- 
stances be alienated. In every case villains were in- 
ventoried and valued as beasts of burden. They ex- 
perienced all the hardships that greed and malice could 
invent or cruelty inflict. Not only were they exposed 
to the violence and rapacity of their superiors, but they 
were subject to the exaction of certain privileges 
which could only have been tolerated in an age wholly 
devoid of the principles of honor, justice, and decency. 
A conveyance for the transfer of a fief scarcely 
deigned to mention the wretched creatures who in the 
eye of the law formed a part of the glebe, and one 
from which the latter derived its principal value. The 
avarice of unfeeling lords compelled the peasant to 
labor throughout the night and to share the lodgings 
of the cattle. Around his neck was soldered a metal 
collar, sometimes of brass, often of silver, on which 
were engraved his name and that of his master. His 
manhood was entirely destroyed; he possessed no 
rights, enjoyed no liberties, participated in no diver- 
sions. His identity was lost, his very being was 
merged into the soil on whose surface he toiled from 
early childhood until released by death. No more 
pathetic and forlorn example of the deplorable eiFects 
of human tyranny and human suiFering exists than 
that presented by the life of the villain regardant of 
the Middle Ages. 

The code of seignioral rights which governed the 
lord in the relations he maintained with his vassals is 
one of the most curious and remarkable collections in 
the entire system of jurisprudence. Voluminous trea- 
tises have been written upon it. Dictionaries have 
been compiled in explanation of the obscure and tech- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 387 

nical terms by which its customs are designated. The 
abuse of its prerogatives has led to more than one 
event whose effects have been experienced in the fall 
of empires, the institution of anarchy, the weakening 
of religious sentiment, the destruction of social order. 
By the provisions of this code, whose authority was 
usually presumed to be based upon charters or capitu- 
laries conferred by reigning monarchs, the suzerain, 
always an individual of noble lineage or clerical im- 
portance, was invested with all the powers of des- 
potism, so far as the jurisdiction of his estates was 
concerned. The infliction of the death penalty was 
within his discretion. He could impose taxes at will, 
and there was no check upon his rapacity except that 
suggested by considerations of private interest. The 
rights of legalized plunder were multiplied to an as- 
tonishing degree for every important action of life, 
for the performance of every labor, for every change 
of condition, for birth, death, marriage, for the gath- 
ering of harvests, for the construction of buildings, 
for the keeping of animals, permission was required 
and a contribution demanded. The virtue of the fe- 
male serf was absolutely at the mercy of her lord. She 
was the subject of the most flagitious and degrading 
section in this code of infamy. The charters or the 
prescriptive regulations of many fiefs conceded to the 
lord the exercise of certain prior rights over the bride 
of a vassal. Where such a privilege existed, none of 
any rank who owed homage to prince or noble were 
exempt from its enforcement. Known in difl'erent 
countries by various names, in France, as Cuissage; 
in Italy, as Cazzagio; in Flanders, as Bednood; in 
Germany, as Reit-Schot; in England, as Maidenrent, 
it was one of the most widely difl'used of all feudal 
exactions. The gentlemen of the clergy practised it 
most assiduously; they were among the first to adopt 
and the last to relinquish it. This odious privilege 

388 History of the 

attached to the estates of most of the great abbeys and 
sees of Catholic Europe. Its exertion might be com- 
muted for a sum of money, but this was a matter en- 
tirely dependent on the caprice of him who enjoyed it. 
In different localities the interpretation of the general 
law which sanctioned its use was, by common consent, 
enlarged, and its indiscriminate infliction was not in- 
frequently imposed upon the serfs of a neighbor as a 
penalty for trespass and other misdemeanors. Mod- 
ern propriety will not tolerate the enumeration of the 
curious and revolting details concerning the *' Droit 
de prelibation," with which the ancient charters of 
mediaeval times are filled. The evils resulting from 
this custom frequently aroused the indignation of 
even the meek and plodding villain, and incited him 
to assassination and rebellion. It is an extraordinary 
circumstance, however, that the victim most nearly 
affected by the operation of this iniquitous law, which 
had a direct tendency permanently to impair domes- 
tic happiness and cast a stigma upon the offspring 
of every family, never complained of its hardships. 
Among all the remonstrances and memorials presented 
during the Middle Ages to monarchs and legislative 
bodies which have been preserved, and many of which 
are signed by women, not a single instance can be 
found where a female vassal requested the abolition 
of a custom whose continuance was a constant menace 
to her modesty and virtue. 

The essential principles of feudalism were territo- 
rial and martial. The right to receive homage implied 
the possession of real property and the privilege of 
private warfare. The soldier was the controlling 
power in the state. Questions affecting the integrity 
or loyalty of an individual, the liability for civil for- 
feiture or criminal punishment, the settlement of a 
boundary, the vindication of personal honor, were re- 
ferred, not to a judicial tribunal to be determined by 

Moorish Empire in Europe 389 

the application of well-established rules and prece- 
dents, but to the wager of battle. In cases where 
heresy was suspected, other and even more absurd 
tests, such as the ordeals by fire and water, were 
adopted. No rational ideas existed for the ascertain- 
ment of truth or the dispensation of justice. Every 
nation was subject to a haughty and cruel aristocracy, 
whose tyranny was sometimes tempered and some- 
times aggravated by the influence of the clerical order, 
as its interests or its passions at the time might dictate. 
Whenever a rebellious spirit was evinced by the peas- 
antry, and the authority of the barons was not strong 
enough to suppress it, bands of foreign mercenaries 
and outlaws were enlisted, who were paid with the ef- 
fects of the serfs which had escaped the rapacity of 
the suzerain. The maintenance of a system which 
countenanced the settlement of private feuds by the 
sword and admitted the virtual independence of the 
nobles was, of course, inimical to the dignity and 
power of the sovereign. In France the seignioral fiefs 
bestowed by charters numbered five thousand, and 
their lords exercised jurisdiction over thirty thousand 
villages. There were abbeys whose domains were 
tilled by as many as twenty thousand serfs attached 
to the glebe. This enumeration did not include the 
villains in gross, who sometimes exceeded in number 
all the other retainers and dependents of the lords. 
The greater portion of the vast territory administered 
by the hierarchy under the customs of feudalism was 
obtained from wealthy pilgrims and crusaders, who 
sacrificed their earthly possessions to the thrifty priest- 
hood for a trifle in the vain expectation of securing a 
celestial inheritance. By means of this folly, as well 
as through the effects of ecclesiastical oppression and 
torture, France lost thirty-three per cent, of its popu- 
lation during the thirteenth century. In Saxon Eng- 
land the peasants had absolutely no guaranty of pro- 

390 History of the 

tection. Their property was appropriated and their 
persons enslaved by the petty kings and piratical 
chieftains who contended in incessant warfare for con- 
trol of the affairs of Britain. The conquest by the 
Normans was productive of little improvement. A 
tyranny of race and caste arose, aggravated by the 
worst features of the Feudal System, and the despised 
and humiliated Saxon was degraded almost to the 
level of a brute. During this unhappy epoch the law 
of force was paramount throughout Europe. The 
moral influence exerted by the clergy through the 
medium of superstitious fear afforded the only in- 
stance where obedience was not dependent upon the 
sword. AVhere the privileges of feudalism were com- 
bined with the exactions of sacerdotal avarice and in- 
tolerance, the lot of the serf was indeed grievous. But 
in cases that did not compromise the prestige or affect 
the revenues of the hierarchy, the Church not infre- 
quently interposed to protect the victim of aristocratic 
persecution and injustice. The savage baron, all but 
omnipotent elsewhere, dared not invade the hallowed 
precincts of her sanctuary. Under the beneficent 
shadow of her altar the fugitive peasant was safe 
from the vengeance of his oppressor. By the tender 
of her mediation in the quarrels of powerful chief- 
tains, peace was re-established over extensive provinces 
where anarchy and implacable hatred had long held 
sway. And it was by her aid, combined with the ef- 
forts of the outraged Third Estate, and encouraged 
by monarchs whose prerogatives had been usurped, 
that the offensive and cruel rights of feudalism were 
finally abolished. The Crusades struck a fatal blow 
at the system by impoverishing the lords through the 
alienation of their estates and the consequent over- 
throw of their power. For this service, if for no other, 
posterity owes to the priesthood an incalculable debt 
of gratitude. So firmly rooted were many of the 

Moorish Empire in Europe 391 

practices of the Feudal System that to this day they 
have not been entirely eradicated. Ceremonies un- 
questionably derived from seignioral privileges are 
still observed in remote districts of France and Italy. 
The statutes of England and her colonies have not 
yet been purged of provisions and terms which sug- 
gest to the legal antiquary the mutual obligations of 
vassal and suzerain. 

The relative position of nations in the scale of bar- 
barism or civilization is largely determined by the 
nature of their tastes and favorite occupations, by 
their pastimes, by the means which they invent or 
adopt to add to the comforts and conveniences of 
daily life. During the greater portion of the period 
under consideration in this chapter, the existence of 
the people of Europe, without distinction of rank or 
resources, was a purely animal one. The necessities 
of the fortress, the camp, and the hovel were easily 
supplied. Articles of the simplest construction and 
most inexpensive materials, whose uses must have oc- 
curred spontaneously to the most unimaginative mind, 
and are now considered indispensable in every house- 
hold, were unknown. The castle of the noble partook 
of all the forbidding characteristics of a prison. Its 
frowning donjon, its impassable moat, its embattled 
walls, its jealously guarded portals, were suggestive 
of tyranny and disorder. The interior was not more 
inviting. The halls were cold and cheerless; the 
gloomy chambers, into whose damp recesses the rays 
of the sun struggled with difficulty through narrow, 
unglazed windows, the stone seats, the massive furni- 
ture and mildewed tapestry were typical of the coarse 
simplicity and unsettled condition of society in that 
age. The banqueting hall, where hospitality was dis- 
pensed on state occasions with rude magnificence, was 
at almost every meal the scene of gluttony and uncon- 
trolled inebriety. 

392 History of the 

The decorations and their surroundings exhibited 
the greatest possible incongruity. Hangings of silk 
and velvet embroidered with gold were suspended 
against whitewashed walls. Plate of the precious 
metals was served upon tables of rough and uneven 
boards. The mailed foot of the knight and the dainty 
slipper of the chatelaine reposed upon undressed flags, 
whose coldness was somewhat counteracted by a cover- 
ing of straw or fragrant herbs. In the viands abun- 
dance was considered rather than excellence of flavor, 
which, however, on extraordinary occasions was sup- 
posed to be supplied by the use of rose-water profusely 
sprinkled over every dish. The repast, where incred- 
ible quantities of food were consumed, was character- 
ized by coarse jests and barbaric revelry. The favor- 
ite beverage was beer, often brewed in the castle and 
indulged in to disgusting excess; for through its 
potency the festivities became the fatal cause of inde- 
scribable libertinism and sanguinary encounters. The 
guests were served by squires and pages, youths of 
rank, who, inmates of the castle, acquired there a 
knowledge of arms as well as an acquaintance with 
the more doubtful accomplishments of gaming and 
amorous intrigue. The intimate associations and do- 
mestic character of mediaeval society arising from a 
sparse population removed all suspicion of menial ser- 
vice from this duty, which was considered highly hon- 
orable, and was gladly performed by the proudest 
noble at the board of his royal suzerain. 

The amusements of the feudal lord were confined 
to war or its substitute, the chase. In the intervals of 
peace the tournament supplied the necessary practice 
in arms as well as the military pomp and excitement 
of the field. One of the favorite diversions of both 
the nobility and the wealthier clergy was flying the 
falcon. An extraordinary importance attached to the 
possession and use of these birds of prey. Property 

Moorish Empire in Europe 893 

in them was inviolate. They were inseparably con- 
nected with the aristocratical or personal privileges of 
the owner, and could not be alienated, even with his 
consent, for the ransom of their master. Persons of 
plebeian station were not permitted to purchase or 
keep them. They were universally recognized sym- 
bols of suzerainty. Kings, bishops, abbots, ladies 
never went abroad without these birds upon their fists. 
Warriors carried them in battle. Prelates deposited 
them in the chancel while they recited the service of 
the altar. The regulations of falconry constituted a 
science only to be mastered after months of assiduous 
study. The education of these birds required the ex- 
ertion of great skill and boundless patience. Each 
falcon was carried upon a glove which could not be 
used for any other. It bore the arms of the master, 
and was often embroidered with gold and ornamented 
with jewels. In many kingdoms the office of Grand 
Falconer was one of the greatest distinction and im- 
portance. In France the emoluments of this dignitary 
were eighty thousand francs a year, and gentlemen of 
rank eagerly competed for the subordinate employ- 
ments at his disposal. 

The supreme ambition of baronial life was the fame 
that attached to martial deeds and romantic adventure. 
The first care of the noble was to secure himself 
against the treachery and violence of his neighbors. 
His castle, perched upon a lofty eminence, was fur- 
nished with every device to render it impregnable. 
The most incessant vigilance was adopted to provide 
against surprise. In front of the gateway, or pro- 
jected from the summit of the keep and overhanging 
the moat, was a gibbet, a significant reminder to male- 
factors of the consequences of violated law or resisted 
oppression. By the over-scrupulous, immunity was 
purchased from the Church with the proceeds of the 
spoliation of the helpless. On all sides in the bloody 

394i History of the 

traditions of the moated stronghold, with its subterra- 
nean dungeons and its instruments of torture; in the 
license of the armored troop that rode down the ripen- 
ing harvest and levied blackmail on the trader and the 
pilgrim ; in the perpetual labors of the uncomplaining 
serf; in the outraged modesty of weeping woman- 
hood ; in the summary execution of suspected offend- 
ers against feudal privilege, everywhere were visible 
the brutalizing effects of unrestrained cruelty and ir- 
responsible power. 

But with all their defects, the baronial institutions 
of mediaeval times bestowed upon society advantages 
that in some measure compensated for the evil which 
they too often occasioned. The military tastes of the 
age gave rise to the laws of chivalry and the institution 
of knighthood, whence in turn were derived graces and 
amenities of social intercourse hitherto unpractised by 
the savage warriors of Gallic and Saxon Europe. 

The tournament was, as might be imagined, the 
most popular of the diversions of the Middle Ages. 
From far and near multitudes flocked to the scene 
of martial skill and splendor. The town where it 
was held presented the aspect of an immense fair. 
For leagues around the country was dotted with tents, 
and with pavilions surmounted by the pennons of the 
chivalry of many lands. The retinues of prince and 
noble not infrequently assumed the dimensions of an 
army. The followers of Gottfried, Duke von Lowen, 
at Trazignies in 1169 numbered three thousand. At 
a tournament near Soissons in 1175, Count Baldwin 
von Hennegau appeared with an escort of a hundred 
knights and twelve hundred esquires. The blazons of 
the most ancient and celebrated houses of Europe 
were conspicuous in the vast encampment. Kings fre- 
quently held their courts within its precincts. All 
classes were in holiday garb. The magnificence of the 
spectacle was enlianced by gorgeously caparisoned 

Moorish Empire in Europe 895 

horses, damascened harnesses, waving plumes, many 
colored silks, sparkling jewels, the parade of men-at- 
arms, the pomp of marching squadrons, the resplen- 
dent charms of female beauty. The contest, repeat- 
edly, but without effect, prohibited by the edicts of 
Pope and Council, was conducted with all the ferocity 
of battle. The thirst of blood predominated over 
every other sentiment. It was not an unusual occur- 
rences for scores of knights to be carried lifeless from 
the lists after one of these fierce encounters. 

The point of honor which inspired the conduct of 
the mediseval champion of distressed innocence and 
avenger of privileged oppression had no existence 
among the most civilized races of antiquity. The in- 
dividuality implied by its exercise could not be com- 
prehended by communities whose members, while ca- 
pable of renouncing every tie of kindred in behalf of 
the interests of the state and of undergoing the most 
severe privations to sustain the national supremacy, 
were prevented by the peculiar circumstances of their 
surroundings from appreciating the qualities which 
ennobled even the vices of the knight of the Middle 
Ages. Without this prominent and compensating 
feature the condition of society during the tenth, 
eleventh, and twelfth centuries would have been one 
of unredeemed and unequivocal barbarism. 

The coarse though abundant fare of the castle 
board, the more delicate but still far from dainty 
viands of the monastic refectory, the boisterous amuse- 
ments which occupied the leisure and menaced the 
safety of the participants, the drunken revels of glut- 
tonous banquets, the incessant perils of domestic war- 
fare, to which baron and monk were alike exposed, 
were suggestive of absolute happiness and luxury 
when contrasted with the conditions under which was 
sustained the miserable existence of the serf. His 
habitation was shared by beasts of burden, the com- 

396 History of the 

panions of his daily and nightly toil. Composed of 
unhewn logs or of sticks wattled with rushes, thatched 
with straw and plastered with mud, its primitive and 
defective construction afforded little security against 
the vicissitudes of the climate or the inclemency of the 
seasons. Through a hole in the centre of the roof the 
smoke emerged and the storm descended; the walls 
were blackened with soot; the earthen floor was cov- 
ered with a trampled litter of hay, mingled with bones 
and the decaying fragments of many a repast which 
the occupants had never taken the trouble to remove. 
Of furniture there was almost none; a bench, per- 
haps, and a table of unsmoothed planks answered the 
simple requirements of the hapless villain. He re- 
posed upon a heap of straw with a block of wood for 
a pillow; the few culinary utensils he possessed were 
of the rudest description, and had been fashioned by 
the hand of the owner. No provision was made for 
the decencies of life or the safeguards of virtue, which 
were indeed unknown ; the family occupied a common 
apartment, and often a single bed, while the grunting 
of swine and the lowing of oxen, which animals ranged 
at will through the dwelling, were sounds too familiar 
to disturb the slumbers of the drowsy household. The 
accumulated filth of years, combined with indescriba- 
ble personal neglect and revolting customs, attracted 
and multiplied swarming multitudes of every species 
of vermin. The garments of the peasant, usually of 
skins, descended uncleansed and unchanged from 
father to son through many generations, bearing in 
their contaminated folds the germs of pestilence and 
death. Where the circumstances of the serf were not 
sufficiently prosperous to afford even this protection 
against the weather, his shivering limbs were wrapped 
with ropes of straw. His head was uncovered, often 
even in the depth of winter. The most obvious pre- 
cautions of hygiene were neglected ; the simplest pre- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 397 

cepts of medical science had not yet penetrated to the 
isolated communities of Western Europe or were 
sedulously discountenanced by the interests of super- 
stition ; and the plague, assisted by favorable climatic 
conditions, as well as by the physical debasement and 
the fears of the people, at each visitation numbered 
its victims by myriads. With game in every grove and 
fish in every stream, the famishing peasant was often 
reduced to appease his hunger with unwholesome roots 
and bark when the meal of chestnuts and acorns, his 
most luxurious fare, was wanting. The severity of 
the forest laws visited upon the poacher, even when 
impelled by the pangs of starvation to trespass on the 
seignioral demesnes, the most barbarous of punish- 
ments. Around the monastery and the castle were 
visible the signs of unskilled and reluctant cultivation ; 
but not far away was a wilderness diversified with vast 
forests, majestic rivers, and pestilential marshes. In- 
tercommunication was irregular and limited to popu- 
lous districts; many villages of no inconsiderable 
dimensions were as completely separated from the out- 
side world as if they stood on islands in the midst of 
the ocean. Barter of commodities necessarily prevailed 
in the almost entire absence of money; there was no 
opportunity for the establishment of trade ; no incite- 
ment to agricultural industry ; no work for the artisan. 
The accumulation of property was effectually discour- 
aged through the incapacity of the laborer to retain 
or enjoy it when his hopes were constantly frustrated 
by the insinuating artifices of the priest or the sig- 
nificant threats of the noble. The extortions of the 
inexorable tax-receiver, the inhumanity of licensed 
hirelings, the enormities countenanced by baronial 
tyranny, carried dismay into every hamlet. Epidemics 
appeared without warning, and spread with mysteri- 
ous and appalling rapidity ; the death-rate was fright- 
ful; fatal symptoms developed almost with the first 

398 History of the 

attack, while in the ignorance of rational treatment 
the application of relics and the mummeries of the 
clergy proved signally ineffectual to avert what was 
considered the vengeance of Heaven. 

Confined in the lazar-house with hundreds of his 
fellow-sufferers or banished to a lonely hut, far from 
the haunts of men, the hapless leper dragged out his 
melancholy existence in pain, in disgrace, in penury. 
The law declared him civilly dead. With a ceremony 
not less solemn than that performed over the remains 
of a Christian actually deceased, the priest announced 
his final separation from the society of mankind. His 
body was enveloped in a shroud. He was laid upon 
a bier. With the repetition of the legal formula which 
consigned him to a life of odium and sorrow, a few 
garments and necessary utensils were placed in his 
hands. He was forbidden to eat with any person but 
a leper; to wash his hands in running water; to give 
away any object he had touched; to frequent places 
of public resort ; even to enter the house of a relative 
or a friend. With his shoulders covered with a tat- 
tered scarlet mantle, a danger-signal, visible from 
afar, hideous to the sight, emaciated to a skeleton, 
and horribly scarred with disease, he crouched by the 
wayside, sounding his rattle to arouse the compassion 
and solicit the charity of the passer-by. Deprived of 
civil rights and debarred from invoking the protection 
of the law, he was, however, not wholly an outcast, 
for with the exclusion from these privileges he became 
the ward and vassal of the Church. So loathed and 
dreaded was his malady often considered a divine 
penalty for crime or sacrilege that no physician could 
be induced to employ the scanty medical science of the 
day for the alleviation of his sufferings ; and, even if 
wealthy, he was abandoned to the suspicious ministra- 
tions of wizards, barbers, and charlatans. Shunned 
as accursed and repulsive during his lifetime, when 

Moorish Empire in Europe 399 

dead he was unceremoniously buried under the floor of 
his hovel. 

The segregation of lepers in the Middle Ages, as a 
measure of public safety, was productive of singular 
results in subsequent times. The disease, which at dif- 
ferent periods seems to have been both infectious and 
contagious, gradually disappeared. But the preju- 
dice attaching to the posterity of the unfortunate out- 
casts, formerly cut off from all intercourse with their 
fellow-men, and who formed isolated communities, 
still remained. The origin of that prejudice was 
completely forgotten. The people in their ignorance 
attributed the cause of their enmity to religious dif- 
ferences. It was believed that the objects of their 
unreasoning aversion were variously sprung from the 
Goths, the Jews, the Saracens, the Albigenses. Mod- 
ern research, however, has definitely established the 
fact that the former pariahs of Southwestern Europe, 
known in Languedoc and Gascony as Capots and 
Gahets, in Brittany as Cacous, in the Pyrenees as 
Cagots, in Spain as Agotes, were the descendants of 
mediaeval lepers. A century has hardly elapsed since 
these victims of popular antipathy have been divested 
of that suspicion of uncleanness which was their an- 
cient and unhappy heritage. 

In the disorganized state of society which every- 
where prevailed, facilities for the profitable and 
friendly intercourse which promote the intelligence 
and contribute to the temporal welfare of nations 
could not exist. Even in provinces of the same coun- 
try the professional robber and the bandit noble united 
to imperil the life and seize the merchandise of the 
trader. The courses of the old Roman highways, un- 
used for centuries, concealed by rubbish and sometimes 
overgrown with forests, had been utterly lost. There 
was no provision made by the state for the protection 
of commerce, and the universal insecurity discouraged 

400 History of the 

the schemes of private enterprise. The mortality re- 
sulting from habitual violation of the most obvious 
sanitary laws, from the use of insufficient and innu- 
tritions food, from the hardships of incessant toil, and 
from daily exposure to the elements, effectually re- 
tarded the increase of population. That district was 
fortunate indeed where even a uniform standard was 
preserved. In many localities in kingdoms where 
modern civilization has achieved her most signal 
triumphs, a solitary shepherd pasturing his flock, or 
a tottering hovel standing in the centre of a dismal 
waste, alone proclaimed the presence of man. 

The condition of the towns, where an improvement 
in the manner of living might reasonably have been 
expected, was in but few respects superior to that of 
the scattered villages and isolated settlements of the 
country. Even the main thoroughfares were narrow, 
tortuous, and dirty. Without drainage or adequate 
municipal supervision, they were receptacles for the 
refuse of the household and the offensive carcasses of 
dead and decaying animals. Even as late as the reign 
of Francis I., the hogs belonging to the monks of St. 
Anthony, who asserted and exercised special privi- 
leges for the animals sacred to their patron, wandered 
at will through the fashionable quarters of the metro- 
politan city of Paris. From the overhanging bal- 
conies filthy slops were dashed, without warning, upon 
the head of the unwary passer-by. By night, daring 
criminals, secure from the risk of punishment, plied 
their lawless calling in these dismal and unlighted 
lanes. He who ventured, unattended, to thread the 
maze of alleys that wound through even the most fre- 
quented quarters of great cities did so at peril of his 
life. Each corner formed a convenient lair for the 
lurking assassin. The projecting gables of the houses 
aided in obscuring the gloomy footways. As the citi- 
zen stood in constant fear of robbers, his dwelling was 

Moorish Empire in Europe 401 

always barred and silent. No light was visible any- 
where save the flickering gleam in the lantern carried 
by the trembling pedestrian, always on his ^uard 
against some prowling assailant. Sometimes the mud 
was so deep that locomotion was impossible for the 
bearers of sedans, and women were carried from place 
to place upon the backs of porters, as the narrow and 
crooked streets precluded the use of vehicles drawn 
by horses. In the habitations of even those considered 
wealthy, a general air of discomfort was prevalent. 
The apartments were dark, ill-ventilated, and unclean. 
In the windows plates of horn and sheets of oiled 
paper supplied the place of glass, which was practi- 
cally unknown. No carpet covered the floors, which 
were strewn with rushes. The foul surroundings as- 
sisted materially in the propagation of fevers and the 
spread of contagion. Provision for frequent ablu- 
tion, so conducive to personal comfort as well as to 
immunity from disease, was unheard of. In many of 
the most populous capitals of Europe not a single 
public bath could be found. The attire of the pros- 
perous burgher and merchant was prescribed by sump- 
tuary laws dictated by the jealous spirit of the aris- 
tocracy, who could not tolerate a display of plebeian 
splendor to which their own resources were unable to 
attain. Their garments were limited to coarse woollen 
stuff's, whose cut and fashion were regulated accord- 
ing to the capricious decisions of the court. The use 
of golden ornaments and jewels, so indispensable to 
the gratification of female vanity, was prohibited to 
the wives and daughters of their households, who were 
also restricted to a sombre and unattractive garb. In 
some instances this contemptible exercise of authority 
went still further. It dictated the quantity and quality 
of the food and the beverages to be consumed at the 
table of the citizen, the description and the price of 
the light which illumined his home and of the fuel 

Vol. III. 26 

402 History of the 

that warmed him. If he had anything to sell, he was 
paid by his superiors in the product of a debased coin- 
age or with counterfeit money, whose manufacture 
was everywhere prosecuted with comparative impu- 

Drunkenness was so prevalent in England during 
the reign of Edgar that restrictions were placed upon 
the quantity of liquor to be consumed, the amount 
allowed each guest being indicated by a mark on the 
side of the cup or the drinking-horn. The observance 
of these tyrannical and senseless ordinances was 
secured by a harassing system of espionage and in- 
formers, and their violation was punished by ruinous 
fines and by condemnation to the stocks or the pillory. 
The publication and enforcement of sumptuary laws 
necessarily prevented the development of commerce, 
already greatly retarded by the prevalent barbarism 
and poverty of the age. Countries enjoying unlim- 
ited natural resources of soil, minerals, timber, and 
water-power, and whose noble streams only required a 
portion of the energy and enterprise of man to bring 
the fertile regions they traversed into intimate contact 
with the humanizing influences and exquisite products 
of the highest civilization, were as backward as the 
savage kingdoms of central Africa are to-day. 

A good index of the force of the bigoted prejudice 
and public intolerance of the time is discernible in 
the treatment universally received by the Jew. He 
was the financier, the physician, the merchant, the 
broker, the scholar of the Middle Ages. He man- 
aged with eminent success the fiscal departments of 
vast empires and kingdoms. In the great catastrophes 
which overwhelmed entire nations, amidst the want 
and despair occasioned by earthquakes, wars, famine, 
pestilence, his shrewdness and his resources always 
afforded relief to the suffering induced by the preva- 
lent evils, although it must be confessed rarely without 

Moorish Empire in Europe 403 

exorbitant compensation. His medical talents and 
surgical skill brought him under the ban of the clergy 
as a dealer in magic; but neither the statutes of 
Parliament nor the anathemas of priests could de- 
prive him of the protection and friendship of or- 
thodox monarchs, or of even the Sovereign Pontiff 
himself. True to the adventurous and acquisitive 
character of his race, he introduced the knowledge 
and use of foreign commodities in lands rarely- 
trodden by the foot of the stranger, defying the 
storms of sea and ocean, braving alike the unprincipled 
rapacity of the noble, the violence of the highwayman, 
the perils of remote and unexplored solitudes. In 
maritime cities he established depots for the importa- 
tion and exchange of every description of merchan- 
dise. His credit and his tact enabled him to negotiate 
loans for improvident princes, which, more than 
once, saved distressed nations from bankruptcy. 
Amidst the multifarious variety of his occupations, he 
found time for the recreation derived from the pur- 
suits of literature. In this sphere, as in all others to 
which he devoted his talents, he attained to the highest 
distinction. In philosophy, in astronomy, in chemis- 
try, in mathematics, his opinions were regarded by his 
contemporaries with the reverence attaching to oracles. 
His poetry and his eloquence delighted such courts as 
those of Cordova and Bagdad ; his erudition instructed 
and his genius illumined schools like those of Salerno, 
Montpellier, and Narbonne. 

How then did society reward such inestimable bene- 
fits? Alas ! for the credit of humanity, it must be con- 
fessed that the intolerance fostered by centuries of 
hatred obliterated every generous impulse, every senti- 
ment of gratitude. The remembrance of the decision 
of the Sanhedrim, the story of the sacrifice on Cal- 
vary, extinguished in the minds of the fanatical popu- 
lace the sense of any subsequent obligation. The anni- 

404 - History of the 

versary of that tremendous event was the signal for 
insult and outrage. The most heinous accusations, 
many of them extravagant and improbable in their 
very nature, were brought by popular clamor, insti- 
gated by ecclesiastical malice, against the defenceless 
Hebrew. His commercial relations with the East had 
introduced the leprosy. The plague was caused by 
poison which he had thrown into the wells. The meat 
he sold was sometimes whispered to be human flesh; 
and the milk he dealt in not yielded by the cow, but 
dra^vn from the breasts of the females of his house- 
hold. He kidnapped children, whose blood he made 
use of in the concoction of magical potions. On Good 
Friday, aided by his kinsmen, he re-enacted the 
tragedy of Golgotha, the victim being a Christian 
youth who played, perforce, the role of the Saviour, 
and who, with unavailing struggles and lamentations, 
endured the humiliation and agony of the Crucifixion. 
Kings, merely by proclamation, appropriated the Jews 
of their realms as the absolute property of the cro^vn. 
Then, by virtue of this arbitrary proceeding, they con- 
fiscated the possessions of these victims of royal ava- 
rice, under pretence of fines or ransom. Under these 
significant circumstances it requires no extraordinary 
degree of discernment to perceive that the wealth of 
the Jews was the principal cause of their persecution. 
By their talents and industry they had reached the 
highest posts in the learned professions ; had monopo- 
lized the trade; had controlled, to a greater or less 
extent, the policy of every government in Christen- 
dom. Under Charlemagne and Louis le Debonnair 
their condition was more prosperous than under suc- 
ceeding monarchs for eight hundred years. In every 
walk of life they received the consideration merited by 
their commanding abilities. Their influence was un- 
rivalled. They maintained royal state. Great conces- 
sions were made to their convenience and religious 

Moorish Empire in Europe 405 

prejudices. Their prosperity excited the envy of the 
rabble. Their influence with the monarch enraged the 
courtiers. The clergy, whose profits were reduced by 
their enterprise and whose monopolies they antago- 
nized by their insinuating arts, regarded them with the 
double hatred engendered by imperilled temporal in- 
terests and ferocious bigotry. Among every class and 
rank their superior intelligence was believed to be due 
to sacrilegious bargains with the powers of darkness. 
The prejudice attaching to their name and religion 
always afforded a specious pretext for persecution. 
In every Christian kingdom they were the objects 
of popular execration. They were unceremoniously 
robbed by the government. They were banished with- 
out notice. Their debtors were encouraged to repudi- 
ate contracts made with them. The officials of the In- 
quisition took exquisite pleasure in burning Hebrews, 
always selecting the most wealthy for its victims. Of 
the one hundred and sixty thousand persons burnt or 
disciplined during the twenty-eight years comprising 
the administrations of Torquemada and Ximenes as 
Inquisitors-General, the majority were of that unfor- 
tunate race. The cause of a Jew was prejudged be- 
fore every tribunal, and it was often difficult for him 
to obtain a hearing, and still more to secure the protec- 
tion to which he was legally entitled. Under such 
intolerable oppression it is not strange that he should, 
by the adoption of unprincipled methods and by the 
exaction of enormous usury, have endeavored to com- 
pensate himself, in some degree, for the degradation 
and hardships he was compelled to undergo. This 
course, however, only intensified the popular hatred 
until the term Jew was considered the epitome of all 
dishonor, deceit, and unprincipled villany. These dis- 
creditable prejudices, dictated by general ignorance 
and by the sacerdotal malice of the Middle Ages, are 
still, it is well known, far from being eradicated even 

406 History of the 

by the superior understanding and liberal opinions of 
the twentieth century. 

The universal distress which afflicted the peasantry, 
as well as the poorer classes of the cities, is revealed 
by the inhumanity with which they were accustomed 
to treat their offspring. Robbed and oppressed by 
both priest and baron, and barely able to eke out a 
miserable existence by themselves, they regarded the 
birth of an infant as a domestic calamity. Parents 
deliberately abandoned their children in unfrequented 
places to perish by starvation or to be torn to pieces 
by birds of prey. Many were drowned like puppies. 
Some were buried alive. Others were deposited at 
the doors of churches and convents, where they were 
often killed by dogs. The extent of the evil, as well 
as the prevalent immorality existing in a single coun- 
try, may be inferred from the fact that the Hospital 
of Santa Cruz, founded by Cardinal Mendoza of 
Spain in the sixteenth century, received and sheltered 
during twenty years more than thirteen thousand 

The great epidemics that from time to time raged 
throughout Europe afford glimpses of the life and 
character of the people not readily obtained from 
other sources. Medical science recognizes to-day that 
the principal causes of such visitations are private 
uncleanness and the accumulation of filth in public 
places. During the Middle Ages, the regulations of 
sanitary police were wholly unknown. On every side 
heaps of garbage and putrefying offal met the eye 
and offended the nostrils. The necessity for the thor- 
ough ventilation and drainage of dwellings was unsus- 
pected. The prejudice against bathing, which univer- 
sally existed, was partly due to the example of the 
clergy, who were not supposed to have time to spare 
from their sacred duties to care for their persons, and 
partly due to contempt for the Mohammedans, whose 

Moorish Empire in Europe 407 

lustrations were a peremptory religious duty. As 
Christianity spread, the practice of ablution gradually 
declined. The Roman thermae, one of the wonders of 
the capital, were at first abandoned and afterwards 
utilized as quarries for the palace and the cathedral. 
A general idea prevailed that the ceremony of bap- 
tism removed all necessity for the subsequent appli- 
cation of water to the body. Filth became a test of 
devotion, and, following the example of their spiritual 
guides, the multitude came finally, by the natural law 
of association, to regard the unsavory manifestations 
of personal neglect as prima-facie evidence of Chris- 
tian orthodoxy. Thus, sanctioned by public opinion 
and confirmed by ecclesiastical authority, a stigma was 
placed upon cleanliness, and a premium oiFered for 
corporeal foulness and offensive surroundings. Those 
who violated the established custom were in danger of 
being denounced as heretics. It was one of the most 
serious accusations against the Emperor Frederick II. 
that he was addicted to the frequent use of the bath. 
Among the upper classes of society, the unpleasant 
consequences of untidy habits were in a measure neu- 
tralized by the excessive use of strong perfumes, such 
as musk, civet, and ambergris. Among the lower 
orders many of the physical conditions of life were 
indescribable. In the vicinity of towns, as well as of 
isolated habitations, equal negligence of the laws of 
health prevailed. From the moat, with its stagnant 
waters reeking with the refuse of the castle, to the vast 
marshes, with their exhalations poisoning the air 
around the hut of the shepherd, the atmosphere was 
charged with the miasma of death. When to the 
effects of such surroundings were added the depress- 
ing influences of contagion and terror, the results were 
appalling. The plague of the sixth century, whose 
course raged unchecked from the Bosphorus to the 
Atlantic, desolated entire countries ; the Black Death 

408 History of the 

of the fourteenth carried off seventy-five million per- 
sons, one-half the inliabitants of Christendom. So 
favorable to the spread of the pestilence were the cli- 
matic conditions of the country and the personal habits 
of the people of England that the majority of them 
perished in a few months by a single visitation of this 
dreadful epidemic. It so diminished the population 
that the pursuits of mechanical industry were seriously 
and permanently affected. Wages became higher 
than ever before, and legislation concerning the vexed 
question of the mutual rights of employer and em- 
ployed was inaugurated, a question which has not been 
settled to the present day. The vicinity of the dying 
and the dead carried with it almost certain infection. 
Even the extraordinary brilliancy of the eyes of pa- 
tients suffering from delirium was supposed, in con- 
formity with the prevailing superstition, to convey a 
malignant and fatal influence upon all within the 
range of their glances. The air was so tainted that 
domestic animals, cattle, horses, sheep, even the birds, 
died by hundreds of strange and fatal distempers. 
The mortality was so great in some districts that the 
helpless convalescents were unable to perform the 
burial rites for their friends and neighbors. Ships 
encumbered with the corpses of their crews drifted 
about in the ocean without sailor or helmsman. Men 
became insane through fright, and thousands com- 
mitted suicide. The wealthy flocked to the churches 
and poured their gold upon the altars; but for once 
ecclesiastical avarice was forgotten, and the timid 
priests, through dread of the scourge, often refused 
the proffered treasure. As a result of the universal 
consternation inspired by the calamity, negligent and 
hasty interment was, in many instances, responsible for 
the rapid propagation of the pestilence. Multitudes 
of corpses, covered only with a thin layer of earth, 
were placed in shallow trenches. Others were cast into 

Moorish Empire in Europe 409 

the rivers, to be in time lodged against their banks, 
fresh sources of contagion and death. Through all 
these scenes of physical and mental agony no scientific 
medical aid was available. The few skilled Jewish 
practitioners, who, graduates of the schools of the 
Moslem, had ventured into the dangerous precincts 
of Christian courts, were looked upon with suspicion 
as professors of sorcery and members of a proscribed 
and accursed race. In the South of France it was un- 
lawful to consult them or to receive their prescriptions. 
No correct theories were entertained concerning the 
cause and prevention of disease, even by the intelhgent 
and educated. The malady was attributed to the active 
intervention of the devil or his agents, and the sick 
were bound and brought, dozens at a time, to the 
Church as the most suitable place for exorcism, where, 
in general, their sufferings were speedily terminated 
by agony and neglect. There was no comfort for the 
terrified but the whispers of the confessional ; no re- 
source for the pest-stricken suiFerer but the Host and 
the reliquary. Indeed, it was but natural that these 
should be appealed to for succor, for it had long been 
assiduously taught that Divine wrath was the imme- 
diate cause of all physical misfortune. The pestilence 
was now considered a tremendous judgment for the 
derelictions of mankind. The ravings of insanity and 
delirium were declared to be due to possession by 
demons, only to be relieved by bell, book, and candle, 
and all the manifold impostures of sacerdotal mum- 
mery. During the continuance of the plague the 
Church prospered amazingly, as she always does 
prosper by the woes and the misery of mankind. Her 
gains were far greater than during the Crusades. The 
zeal of the devout, the superstitious fear and remorse 
of the wicked, alike paid enormous tribute to her 
rapacity. Valuable estates were devised by dying 
penitents to her ministers. Sumptuous cathedrals 

410 History of the 

were raised and endowed by the grateful piety of 
those who attributed their recovery to the intercession 
of her saints. Monasteries and chapels were founded 
by those whom her prayers were supposed to have 
rescued from the very jaws of death. The portable 
wealth of empires poured daily into her treasury. But 
all these sacrifices, all this generosity, all this religious 
display, afforded no perceptible relief. If they proved 
anything, they demonstrated effectually the worthless- 
ness of cure by the resorting to shrines and the appli- 
cation of relics. The pestilence ceased its ravages on 
account of the want of material, not because its prog- 
ress was stayed by priestly intercession. But while its 
violence abated and its characteristic symptoms dis- 
appeared, its effects remained, and it bequeathed a 
frightful legacy to posterity. Although respectable 
medical authority has contended for a different origin 
of the disease, there can be little doubt in the minds 
of those who have thoroughly familiarized themselves 
with the subject that syphilis is either the result of a 
recrudescent form of leprosy or of a modified morbid 
condition developed from the plague. Such is a por- 
tion of the foul inheritance for which the twentieth 
century is indebted to the ignorance, the filth, and the 
superstition of the Middle Ages. 

Wretched as was the physical condition of the peo- 
ple of Europe, their moral state was even more de- 
plorable. The revolting characteristics and manners 
of the clergy have already been considered in these 
pages. Under such instructors, whose admonitions 
were so palpably at variance with their unholy lives, 
it cannot be wondered at that society was permeated 
with treachery and hypocrisy. It is one of the most 
remarkable of mental phenomena that man should 
earnestly solicit the intercession of the members of 
a sacred profession with Heaven, while at the same 
time he demonstrates unequivocally by his actions 

Moorish Empire in Europe 411 

that he has no respect for their calling and no faith 
in their prayers. Such was largely the case of the 
Roman Catholics of the Dark Ages. They lavished 
their wealth with unstinted profusion upon the 
Church. They greeted her ministers with servile 
tokens of respect and homage. They sought her 
advice in worldly affairs; they obeyed her oppressive 
edicts; they voluntarily relinquished their natural 
rights at her despotic bidding. But when opportu- 
nity offered, the insincerity of these professions be- 
came unmistakably evident. In the midst of the 
apparent blind and devoted subserviency to the prin- 
ciples of a debased religion, ancient Pagan ideas were 
constantly manifesting themselves. The worship of 
fairies, often scarcely concealed, was wide-spread 
throughout the Christian world. The knight placed 
far more confidence in his armor, consecrated by 
heathen ceremonies, than in the reliquary that was 
attached to his saddle-bow or the Agnus Dei sus- 
pended about his neck. The anxious housewife on 
the eve of a feast preferred to address her petitions 
to some popular and beneficent Pagan spirit, accus- 
tomed to good living and luxury, than to a female 
saint with whom abstinence was a duty, and whose 
life had been passed amidst the privations of the 
convent or the hermitage. 

The death of a pope was hailed with indecorous joy 
in every quarter of Rome. The election of a new 
pontiff was the signal for disorder, riot, massacre. 
Yelling mobs filled the streets, singing impious and 
obscene songs. The most indecent actions were per- 
petrated in the face of open day. The papal palace 
was repeatedly sacked and its precious contents de- 
stroyed. The mansions of the cardinals and the 
nobility were plundered. It was not safe for these 
dignitaries to appear in public until the popular ex- 
citement had subsided, and the death of the spiritual 
sovereign of the Christian world was often concealed 


until his successor had been chosen, in order to pre- 
vent the scenes of anarchy certain to result if this 
precaution was not taken. So far from conceding 
divine attributes to the pontifical character, the 
Roman populace habitually and openly derided its 
pretensions to infallibility. It not infrequently in- 
terfered with the freedom of the conclave and, in- 
timidating the cardinals, dictated the selection of a 
pope. If such was the disrespect manifested by the 
inhabitants of the papal capital towards the head 
of the Church, little courtesy could be expected by his 
ecclesiastical subordinates anywhere. The veneration 
they claimed by reason of their calling was oiFered 
only by the more ignorant of the masculine sex and 
by women. The latter, more weak and credulous in 
their nature, were the bulwark of superstition, as in- 
deed they have always been in every age. But with 
the educated the case was far diiFerent. As has been 
already remarked, the ecclesiastic was represented in 
the most popular writings of the time as a foolish, 
licentious, and degraded hypocrite. Public opinion 
would not have tolerated this holding up the sacerdotal 
profession to derision had there not been ample provo- 
cation for such a course. There are good reasons for 
believing that the awkward and disgraceful predica- 
ments of profligate clerks described in the entertain- 
ing pages of the Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles, Boccaccio, 
Poggio, the Queen of Navarre, and similar collections 
were actual occurrences. It is indisputable that many 
of these tales were obtained from the archives of re- 
ligious houses and the humorous traditions of monastic 
life. The existence of universal corruption among the 
regular clergy indicated by these satirical authors re- 
ceives a significant illustration from the fact that they 
invariably include the nunnery and the brothel in the 
same category, and indiscriminately designate the 
heads of these establishments by the title of " abbess." 

Moorish Empire in Europe 413 

In the religious festivals and dramatic representa- 
tions there also appeared conspicuous indications of 
the prevalent irreverence and mockery of the age. The 
most solemn and awful events of sacred history were 
absurdly burlesqued amidst the jeers of a scoffing and 
delighted mob. The grotesque features of these cere- 
monies were a survival of the Roman Saturnalia not 
yet extinct among the less enlightened peasantry of 
Europe. The most holy mysteries of the Church were 
parodied in obscene and sacrilegious scenic exhibitions. 
The actors in these profane representations were 
selected from the lower orders of the priesthood. 
They assumed the characters of popes, cardinals, 
bishops. Sometimes they were dressed in the vest- 
ments and equipped with the insignia of their rank, 
the tiara, the mitre, the crosier, the crucifix ; but often 
they donned the party-colored attire of the profes- 
sional fool and jester and carried his truncheon. The 
mass was celebrated in due form, but accompanied 
with a thousand extravagant and often indecent gest- 
ures by these privileged buffoons. Men entirely nude 
were conducted into the churches and deluged with 
pailfuls of holy water. Old shoes burned in the cen- 
sers filled the atmosphere with a sickening stench. A 
repast was spread upon the altar, and all who desired 
regaled themselves while the representative of the cele- 
brant recited the impressive service of the Church. 
In the mean time, the aisles were swarming with 
maskers, whose coarse jests and lascivious contortions 
evoked the applause and laughter of the audience. 
Men gambled within the rail of the chancel. Every 
excess was indulged in without check or remonstrance 
during the continuance of these festivals. Debauch- 
ery ran riot even in the most holy places. Priests, 
stripped of their clerical vestments, danced half-naked 
in the streets. The bells were removed from the 
church-towers and concealed. During the Feast of 

414 History of the 

Asses, a donkey with his rider was conducted into the 
choir, and the responses of the congregation were 
made in imitation of the unmelodious voice of that 
useful but proverbially stupid animal. In this in- 
stance, sausages seasoned with garlic supplied the 
place of frankincense. In the celebration of another 
festival, a fox, dressed in the habiliments of the Pa- 
pacy, was carried in state by an escort of mock car- 
dinals. A quantity of poultry was distributed at in- 
tervals in the streets through which this singular pro- 
cession was to pass, and when the fox, dropping his 
tiara and trailing his purple robes in the dust, occa- 
sionally attempted to seize a hen, the delighted multi- 
tude fairly rent the air with acclamations. 

The dramas, known under the name of miracle and 
moral plays, were often fully as depraved in tone and 
as demoralizing in effect as the festivals. They owed 
their origin to the lively imagination and love of spec- 
tacular display characteristic of the Greeks of Con- 
stantinople. In some instances, the actors repre- 
sented Scriptural personages, in others the virtues and 
vices of an allegory. The greatest incongruities of 
locality, time, and character were introduced without 
question or criticism. With the absurdities of the plot 
were mingled impious sentiments and vulgar witti- 
cisms. Notwithstanding the coarseness and profanity 
of these dramas, their value in controlling the minds 
of the impressionable populace was fully recognized 
by the hierarchy. Generally enacted by members of 
the priesthood, funds were appropriated from the 
treasury of the Church for their celebration, and in- 
dulgences granted to induce pilgrims to attend them. 

The dramatic spectacles of the JMiddle Ages were, 
however, not confined to representations of a nomi- 
nally religious character. As early as the tenth cen- 
tury, the plays of the nun Hrotswitha were enacted 
in monasteries and convents for the amusement of 

Moorish Empire in Europe 415 

their inmates. These productions, imitations of the 
comedies of Terrence, far surpassed the latter in free- 
dom of language and action. Their coarseness is such 
that they will not bear translation. The poems of the 
same author, whose life was ostensibly devoted to pious 
thoughts and communion with the saints, are even 
more extraordinary. The sentiments they express and 
the scenes they depict are the last which the reader 
would ordinarily expect to find in compositions pro- 
ceeding from such a source, and must have been sug- 
gested by an extensive and varied experience. 

These things, necessarily transitory in their char- 
acter, have vanished with the gross ignorance and 
credulity of mediaeval life. But more permanent 
memorials, carved upon the corbels, capitals, and archi- 
traves of edifices dedicated to divine worship, disclose 
more forcibly, if possible, the want of reverence for 
the rites of the Church, and the callous indifference 
of the priesthood to what cannot be construed other- 
wise than as a deliberate insult to religion. Monks, 
priests, and bishops in full canonicals are depicted 
with the attributes of cunning and filthy animals, such 
as foxes, wolves, asses, and baboons. The hog is a 
favorite subject, and seems to have been considered by 
the mediaeval sculptor as possessing traits peculiarly 
applicable to delineations of monastic life and char- 
acter. These grotesque caricatures are frequently in- 
terspersed with indescribable obscenities. A partial 
explanation of their occurrence may be found in the 
fact that they were sculptured by the monks them- 
selves. The latter were the only class of their age 
skilled in the practice of the mechanical arts. In their 
order was centred the architectural as well as the liter- 
ary knowledge of the time. They built and decorated 
their own churches and abbeys. It is difficult to recon- 
cile the spirit which could conceive and execute such 
representations with that which could endure their 

416 History of the 

publicity, especially in the temples of God. For the 
fact is only too well established that medigeval church- 
men were far from being noted for toleration. Still, 
the ruling sentiments of society in those days were far 
diiFerent from those which obtain in ours. Its stand- 
ard of morality was lower, but, at the same time, it 
was evidently not disposed to conceal its favorite vices. 
One thing, however, is certain, the failings of the 
clergy were so open and notorious as to have become a 
common jest, in whose merriment even the subjects 
themselves were not ashamed to participate. It is not 
a pleasing reflection upon the state of public morals 
that its teachers had not only become insensible to 
contempt for their violation of human and divine laws, 
but encouraged and even rewarded the preservation 
of their monstrous vices in imperishable materials for 
the amazement and disgust of posterity. 

With the fall of the Roman Empire the knowledge 
of letters, in common with every other accomplish- 
ment, had departed. From the time of Charlemagne, 
no instruction was accessible save that transmitted 
through the doubtful medium of ecclesiastical institu- 
tions. That monarch had imparted a great impulse to 
learning by the foundation of academies; by attract- 
ing to his court the wisdom of other lands; by the 
appointment of monastic chroniclers ; and by the en- 
couragement of the Jews. As it was the policy of 
the Church to keep the masses in ignorance, the 
scanty and general information to be derived from 
that source was restricted to members of the privileged 
classes. The general and incredible abasement of the 
people in those times may be inferred from the fact 
that so late as 1590, when a mouse had devoured the 
sacramental wafer in one of the churches of Italy, 
it was gravely discussed by an ecclesiastical council 
convoked for that purpose, in the presence of a pious 
and wondering audience, whether the Holy Ghost 

Moorish Empire in Europe 417 

had entered the animal or not, and if the demands of 
religion required that it should be killed or be made 
an object of worship! 

Many of the priesthood could neither read nor 
write, and, having memorized the service by rote, cel- 
ebrated mass like so many parrots, as ignorant of 
what they were saying as their stohd congregations. 
Bishops made their marks upon important documents 
with their fingers dipped in sacramental wine. The 
books used in the service were more esteemed for 
their pecuniary value than on account of the precepts 
they contained. Their golden, jewel-studded covers 
often attracted the cupidity of the brethren, who de- 
faced, pawned, or bodily abstracted the volumes as 
opportunity offered or their carnal necessities re- 
quired. Almost incredible difficulties attended the 
dissemination of learning. In addition to the hostility, 
negligence, and incapacity of the clergy, who were its 
privileged custodians, great expense was involved in 
the manufacture of books. Parchment was gener- 
ally of wretched quality and commanded extravagant 
prices. The supply to be obtained by the erasure of 
ancient manuscripts was limited, and, in the universal 
decline of the arts, the knowledge of its preparation 
had been lost. The skins which were brought to the 
monasteries were required to be cleaned and smoothed 
by the writers themselves before they could be ren- 
dered available. The time required for the completion 
of a book was a serious impediment to the scholar. The 
transcription and illumination of a manuscript often 
consumed years of arduous labor. With the Hebrews, 
the copying of the Scriptures was a proceeding not 
less solemn than the invocation of the sacred name 
of Jehovah. The materials were prepared, with every 
precaution, by the orthodox of the Jewish faith. The 
most dextrous and pious calligraphists were employed. 
Every other occupation was abandoned until this holy 

Vol. III. 27 

418 History of the 

task whose performance was considered as not less 
important than the celebration of the rites of the syna- 
gogue had been completed. 

As a rule, the productions of the scribe and the 
illuminator were considered too valuable to be used 
for any other than religious purposes. The donation 
was accompanied with the ceremony of music and 
prayer as the missal, often enclosed in an exquisite 
golden casket, was deposited upon the altar. 

It was only through political or pecuniary necessity, 
or to obtain the favor of royalty, that these specimens 
of art were allowed, even temporarily, to leave the 
hands of their owners. In 1190 the Bishop of Ely 
pawned with the Jews of Cambridge thirteen volumes, 
to aid in obtaining the ransom of Richard Cceur de 
Lion. To secure the loan of a single missal, a king 
of France was compelled to give a bond, with his 
nobles as sureties, and to deposit with the cathedral 
chapter a quantity of plate of enormous value. One 
of the kings of Northumberland gave a productive 
estate for a copy of the Gospels. The Elector of 
Bavaria offered a city in exchange for a manuscript, 
and was refused. The illuminated romance of chiv- 
alry, worth more than its weight in gold, was the most 
highly prized possession of the opulent baron. So 
valuable, in fact, were these treasures that those des- 
tined for public inspection were fastened to the walls 
with massive chains, and guardians were appointed to 
turn over the leaves. Peter de Nemours, Bishop of 
Paris, on his departure for the Crusade, presented to 
the Abbey of St. Victor " his great library, consisting 
of eighteen volumes;" a gift at that time worth a 
prince's ransom. It will be seen from these examples 
that during the Middle Ages books were not always at 
the command of the greatest princes, and a collection 
of a few hundred volumes was a marvel; that of 
Queen Isabella contained two hundred and one, of 

Moorish Empire in Europe 419 

which sixty-seven were treatises on theology. Other 
circumstances contributed to their scarcity. Written 
usually in a learned language, it required a special 
education to read them, to say nothing of their com- 
position. The expensiveness of writing materials pre- 
vented many from acquiring familiarity with the use 
of the pen. The dimensions of leaves designed for 
various purposes were established by law, but the 
original sizes into which a sheepskin could be folded 
have been preserved in the quartos, octavos, and duo- 
decimos of the modern bookseller. As a menace to 
the irreverent and the dishonest, the author frequently 
appended to his manuscript a malediction on whomso- 
ever should steal or mutilate the product of his indus- 
try. The donor also added his imprecations upon the 
head of the borrower when the book was presented 
to a church or monastery. As the modern languages 
of Europe were not formed, communication by other 
than oral means was not possible among the unedu- 
cated; and the art of writing was in some localities 
entirely lost. With the great mass of the people the 
word " library" was understood to mean the Holy 
Scriptures ; they were ignorant of the existence of any 
other books. The immense advantages accruing to the 
clergy from the habitual use of an idiom unfamiliar 
to the vulgar, as well as from the monopoly of the 
simplest rudiments of knowledge, were not lost upon 
these shrewd observers of human nature. The church 
became the point whence royal edicts were promul- 
gated and where commercial bargains were concluded. 
Proclamations were issued at its doors. Contracts 
were entered into before its altar. Oaths were taken 
upon the Scriptures and the crucifix. The Host was 
used in the detection of criminals and in the solemni- 
zation of treaties. Land was conveyed by the mere 
transfer of a twig or a clod of earth in the presence 
of clerical witnesses. The cross still traced upon legal 

420 History of the 

documents by the hands of the illiterate, in lieu of 
a signature, is a suggestive reminiscence of an age 
when the potency of ecclesiastical influence was recog- 
nized in every important transaction of life. 

The persecution of learning was systematized and 
maintained, first, by the creation of theological odium, 
and subsequently by the institution of such tribunals 
as the Holy Office ; not through a desire to preserve a 
becoming reverence for religious worship, but from a 
consciousness of the inability of the existing system to 
withstand the examination of reason. Heresy was a 
convenient and ever available pretext for crushing 
that independence of thought which threatened the 
integrity of doctrine or the permanence of sacerdotal 
supremacy. The Inquisition was, when its real object 
is considered, as has already been stated, a temporal 
rather than an ecclesiastical device. Its unspeakable 
atrocities and their effects are too well known to 
require description. In refutation of its claim as a 
means of moral purification may be introduced the in- 
disputable fact that during the period of its greatest 
power the worst atheists, blasphemers, and criminals 
in Europe were to be found masquerading in the cowl 
and the surplice. The outrages it committed on 
humanity must be regarded as the legitimate results 
of the papal system, which, inheriting to a great ex- 
tent the organization, the prestige, and the traditions 
of imperial authority, encouraged, by immunity pur- 
chased with corruption and by the profligate example 
of the Holy See, the neglect of every duty and the 
commission of every crime. 

The exercise of the faculties of the human mind in 
the Dark Ages, when they were permitted to develop 
and be employed for the benefit of the Church, their 
only profitable patron, are eminently suggestive of 
the capacity which it possessed when afl"orded encour- 
agement. The cathedrals, the carvings, and the mis- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 421 

sals, which, in their respective departments of art, far 
surpass the eiforts of modern times, are appropriate 
examples of the scope and fertility of mediaeval 

I have now endeavored to depict the general and 
more striking features which distinguished society 
during the Middle Ages coincident with the period 
of the Hispano-Arab domination. The description, 
from the limited space allotted to the subject, is neces- 
sarily imperfect. Volumes might still be composed on 
the events and customs of that dismal period whose 
most prominent characteristic is the intellectual degra- 
dation of mankind. The reader cannot have failed 
to remark, in every instance whether merely the 
trifling incidents of private life were affected or 
whether the interests of extensive kingdoms were in- 
volved the incessant interference as well as the un- 
questioned predominance of the ecclesiastical power. 
He cannot but respect, if he is unable to admire, the 
commanding genius of an organization which could 
appropriate and utilize with success the profound 
policy, the consummate skill, the incomparable talents 
for administration, the heartless selfishness, of its 
political exemplar and religious prototype, the Roman 
Empire. He may turn with disgust from its crimes 
and its horrors ; from papal grandeur built upon for- 
gery and maintained by fraud and torture ; from the 
shamelessness of monastic life ; from the duplicity of 
a system which could avail itself of the uncertain 
caprices and hideous brutality of barbarian kings; 
from the repulsive chronicles of famous churchmen, 
with their long catalogue of appalling cruelties, their 
obscene and portentous legends. But while disap- 
proving of its methods, he must admit its eminent 
adaptability to secure the end at which it aimed, and 
acknowledge that since the institution of society no 
government has ever exercised such a powerful influ- 

422 History of the 

ence over the bodies and minds of men as the Papacy. 
From that influence no potentate, however great, was 
free. The reputation of many a mediseval monarch 
and statesman with posterity is based, in reahty, not 
upon talents and merit, but upon the standing and 
relations he maintained during his lifetime with the 
sacerdotal order. 

In the universal ignorance of mankind, the familiar 
phenomena of nature contributed to the ascendency 
of unprincipled charlatans, who based their hopes of 
success and its necessary incidents, wealth, power, and 
glory, on the invention and sedulous propagation of 
falsehood. The personification of everything material 
and immaterial, the globe of the earth, the sparkling 
orbs of the visible heavens, the sudden and often un- 
expected effects of the action of the imponderable 
agents, the most ordinary operation of nature's laws, 
were classed as supernatural manifestations, were 
engrafted upon religion and received the obsequious 
homage of fear and superstition. The wily ecclesi- 
astic never forgot that 

" Das Wunder ist des Glaubens liebstes Kind." 

Gnomes, witches, goblins, those imaginary denizens 
of the spiritual world whose weird and mischievous 
antics were so well authenticated as to strike the simple 
masses with terror and to cause even the learned to 
shudder when their sins had not been removed by the 
godly solace of confession and absolution, were en- 
hsted as the allies of the politic Church. By the aid 
of such auxiliaries and the ability to profit by every 
phase of human weakness and every incitement to 
human ambition, she has maintained her authority even 
under the most discouraging circumstances until her 
achievements in defiance of law and progress, arduous 
as they seem, are even less remarkable than the appar- 
ently eternal duration of her empire. 

Moorish Empire in Europe 423 




Intellectual Stagnation of Europe during the Period of Moslem 
Greatness High Rank of Scholars in Spain Attainments 
of the Khalifs Character of Arab Literature Progress of 
Science The Alexandrian Museum Its Wonderful Dis- 
coveries Its Contributions to Learning Its Influence on 
the Career of the Mohammedans The Arabic Language 
Poetry of the Arabs Its General Characteristics The- 
ology and Jurisprudence History Geography Philoso- 
phy Libraries Rationalism Averroes Mathematics 
Astronomy Al-Hazen Gerbert Botany Al- 
chemy Chemistry Pharmacy Albertus Magnus, Robert 
Grossetete, and Roger Bacon Medicine and Surgery 
Ignorance of their Theories and Scientific Application in 
Mediseval Europe Prevalence of Imposture Fatality of 
Epidemics Great Advance of the Arabs in Medical Knowl- 
edge Hospitals Treatment of Various Diseases The 
Famous Moslem Practitioners Contrast between the Chris- 
tian and the Mohammedan Systems Enduring Effects of 
Arab Science Its Example and Benefits the Creative In- 
fluence of Modern Civilization. 

While the Christian world was enveloped in dark- 
ness, and all learning save that of worthless meta- 
physics and polemic theology had been banished from 
the minds of men; while England was distracted by 
Danish and Norman invasion, and barbarous monks 
defied the authority of her kings in the very presence 
of the throne ; while Charlemagne was desolating the 
provinces of Germany by sweeping and merciless pro- 
scription ; while ecumenical councils were proclaiming 
the virtues of celibacy and the sanctity of images; 
while the populace of Rome was amused by the scan- 

424 History of the 

dal of a female pope; during this period of intel- 
lectual stagnation the Moorish princes of Spain and 
Sicily, alone among the sovereigns of the West, kept 
alive the sacred fires of art, science, and philosophy. 
The thirst of empire, stimulated by the fervor of 
religious enthusiasm, had subjected to the Moslem 
sceptre a territory exceeding in extent and opulence 
the vast and fertile area which, in its most prosperous 
age, acknowledged the authority of the Ceesars. The 
Arab capitals of Cordova, Cairo, Damascus, and Bag- 
dad did not yield in magnificence of architecture, in 
pomp of ceremonial, in the skilful adaptation of the 
mechanical arts, in the accumulation of prodigious 
wealth, in the opportunities for luxurious indulgence, 
to the traditional precedence of imperial Rome. In 
scientific attainments no comparison existed between 
the vague and unprofitable speculations derived from 
the schools of Greek and Latin philosophy and the 
results obtained from the practical application of 
principles conducive to the development of the human 
reason and the promotion of the welfare of mankind. 
In the intellectual as well as in the physical world 
the success of the Arabs was unprecedented. During 
the most splendid period of the Spanish-Mohamme- 
dan empire, ignorance was accounted so disgraceful 
that men who had not enjoyed opportunities of edu- 
cation in early life concealed the fact as far as pos- 
sible, just as they would have hidden the commission 
of a crime. On the other hand, the learned trusted 
by the sovereign, the oracles of the schools, the de- 
positaries of influence and power never relaxed their 
efforts for the development of their talents and the 
increase of their knowledge ; and such was their ardor 
and their perseverance, that they gave rise to the 
popular proverb, " There are two creatures that are 
insatiable, the man of money and the man of sci- 
ence." The thorough instruction imparted by the 

Moorish Empire in Europe 425 

Hispano-Arab institutions of learning was highly 
appreciated by foreign nations, and students went 
from the most bigoted communities of Europe to enter 
the Universities of Cordova and Seville. In every 
branch of polite literature the indefatigable Moslem 
manifested his genius and his diligence. His versatile 
talents and his prolixity are at once the wonder and 
the despair of the most patient and studious reader. 
One remarkable personage, Ibn-al-Khatib, of Cor- 
dova, who died in the tenth century, is credited with 
nearly eleven hundred works on metaphysics, history, 
and medicine. Ibn-Hasen composed four hundred 
and fifty books on philosophy and jurisprudence. 
Another writer left behind him eighty thousand pages 
of closely written manuscript. It was no unusual cir- 
cumstance for a dictionary or an encyclopaedia to 
number fifty volumes. Commentaries on theology, 
religious tradition, and law were almost infinite in the 
extent and diversity of their topics. The historical 
productions of the Spanish Arabs were probably the 
most minute and voluminous ever published by any 
people, and their scrupulous fidelity to truth has been 
repeatedly established by the comparison of their de- 
scriptions with the architectural monuments which 
have descended to us, and by the corroborative evi- 
dence of distant and often hostile writers. The 
authors are usually deficient, however, in the applica- 
tion, and often even in the knowledge, of the canons 
of historical criticism; their love of the marvellous 
occasionally interferes with their judgment, and their 
descriptions, overloaded with florid rhetoric, belong 
rather to the province of the orator than to that of the 
accurate and discriminating historian. More than a 
thousand chroniclers have illustrated the annals of 
Moorish Spain. Their style, at once turgid and ob- 
scure, often renders their meaning unintelligible, while 
their text is overburdened with puerile anecdotes, 

426 History of the 

Koranic allusions, and perplexing Oriental metaphors. 
Generations passed in another land, under conditions 
of extraordinary political and industrial activity, 
seemed powerless to eradicate or even to substan- 
tially modify the mental characteristics of a race bred 
amidst the solitude and dominated by the prejudices 
and the superstitions of the Asiatic Desert. The stub- 
born persistence of these traits is one of the most 
singular phases of its life and history. Its polity and 
its religious belief were foreign to, and irreconcilable 
with, those that prevailed elsewhere in Europe. Its 
customs, its language, its literature were all exotic. In 
works of imagination, the elegant fictions of the East, 
fascinating to the highest degree, and better adapted 
to the expanding intellect of man than the coarse 
and barbaric tales of Gothic origin, soon supplanted 
the latter, as the light and keen-edged scimetar had 
already driven out the clumsy broadsword of the 
followers of Roderick. The practical methods of 
thought founded upon the system of Aristotle every- 
where obtained precedence over the unsubstantial and 
visionary theories of the Platonic school. In pubhc 
assemblies, where men and women alike competed for 
the prize of literary superiority; in social intercourse, 
where the fair sex were accorded far more liberty than 
had ever been vouchsafed to the matrons and virgins 
of antiquity, or than is now enjoyed in the harems of 
the Orient, were developed and practised those ameni- 
ties and graces which, fostered by songs of love and 
gallantry, eventually, through the agency of bard and 
minstrel, were distributed far and wide throughout the 
continent of Europe. The desire for learning and the 
appreciation of its advantages were so universal as to 
be considered national characteristics. The Khali f was 
the discriminating and generous patron of genius. 
His favorite ministers were those whose productions 
had raised them to deserved eminence in the world of 

Moorish Empire in Europe 427 

letters. In the Moslem system, a competent acquaint- 
ance with the principles of jurisprudence was an essen- 
tial requisite of every finished education. The won- 
derful grasp of the Arab mind, which seemed to adapt 
itself with equal facility to the most opposite condi- 
tions, was especially fitted for the exacting require- 
ments of diplomacy, a calling for which proficiency 
in learning has, in later times, come to be regarded 
rather as a disqualification than an advantage. The 
greatest scholars, therefore, discharged the most im- 
portant employments, and stood highest in the pre- 
carious favor of the Moslem princes of Europe. 
Their literary productions were recompensed with 
even greater munificence than their services to the 
state. They almost constituted a caste, so marked 
were their pride and exclusiveness. Untold wealth 
was lavished upon them. They took precedence of 
nobles who traced their ancestry to a period lost in 
the mazes of Arabic tradition. Their daughters, occu- 
pants of the imperial harems, not infrequently became 
the mothers of sovereigns. Their ostentatious mag- 
nificence moved the envy of the most opulent subjects 
of the empire. Their residences were not inferior in 
extent and splendor to the habitations of royalty. 
Great retinues of slaves attended their progress 
through the streets. Soldiers in uniforms of silk and 
gold guarded their palaces, preceded their march, and 
protected their persons from the eiFects of popular 
violence. The most lovely women to be procured in 
the slave-markets of Europe and Asia filled their 

The poet, the astronomer, and the historian, raised 
to posts of high political responsibility, enjoyed the 
confidence and the intimate familiarity of the mon- 
arch in whose presence the most distinguished soldiers 
trembled. Such was the grateful tribute paid by im- 
perial power to intellectual pre-eminence. That this 

428 History of the 

extraordinary favor should not be abused could 
scarcely have been expected from even the strongest 
understandings when subjected to the temptations of 
flattery and ambition. The lessons of philosophy were 
insuflicient to correct the ignoble vices inseparably 
incident to human nature, and which, in all ages, have 
exercised despotic influence over the mind of man. 
The insolence and rapacity of these ministers rendered 
them ofl'ensive to the people ; their dangerous aspira- 
tions eventually excited the fears of the sovereign. 
No class of men was so universally detested. The 
ancient chronicles are filled with accounts of their 
cruelty, their injustice, and their misfortunes. Some 
were sacrificed to the jealousy of their master, others 
fell victims to the unreasoning fury of the populace. 
Few there were who retained, in the midst of great- 
ness, those virtues and that modesty which should 
always characterize the noble pursuit of letters, suc- 
cess in which had raised these statesmen to places of 
such consideration and authority. While the Koran, 
as interpreted by the more rigid Mussulman theolo- 
gians, discourages scientific inquiry and the study of 
natural philosophy, the Khalifs of Cordova, in more 
than one instance, incurred the reproach of hetero- 
doxy through the indulgence of investigations pro- 
hibited by law to their subjects, and, thus encouraged, 
the intelligent society of the capital did not disdain to 
adopt the noble maxim of the head of a rival sect, 
which declares that " the ink of the learned is as pre- 
cious as the blood of the martyrs," while the consistent 
believer kept constantly in remembrance the statement 
of the Prophet that on the Day of Judgment a rigid 
account will be required of the literary opportunities 
improved or abused by the Faithful. Not only did 
these great princes encourage literature by the be- 
stowal of substantial honors and rewards, but they 
themselves won in that field laurels more profitable and 

Moorish Empire in Europe 429 

enduring than any gained in the most successful cam- 
paign against the infidel. Abd-al-Rahman I. was an 
astronomer and a poet of unusual ability. Hischem 

I. and Al-Hakem I. were among the best informed 
scholars and critics of their time. The talents and 
learning which rendered illustrious the life and char- 
acter of Abd-al-Rahman II., his acquaintance with 
the sciences of law and natural philosophy, his patron- 
age of letters, caused him to be compared to Al- 
Mamum, the most renowned of the Khalifs of Bag- 
dad. The erudition and acquirements of Al-Hakem 

II. were prodigious; the volumes of the immense 
library of Cordova were enriched by notes and com- 
ments in his own hand, and such was his zeal that his 
eyesight was ultimately sacrified to the assiduity with 
which he applied himself to every branch of knowl- 
edge. The imperial dignity, great as it appeared at 
its culmination, during his reign was the least im- 
portant of his titles to eminence. In the golden age 
of Arabic literature, he stood conspicuous amidst 
thousands of distinguished writers, jurists, annalists, 
biographers. A critical history of Andalusia which 
he composed was famous for its accuracy and for the 
vast stores of information it contained, and, widely 
read, it long remained a monument to the remarkable 
erudition and industry of its author. No scholar of 
his time was his superior in depth and variety of intel- 
lectual attainments. He was the master of many 
languages and dialects. He wrote with equal fluency 
and elegance on almost every subject. Nothing 
pleased him so much as the perusal of a new and valu- 
able work, and the accumulation of books was with 
him a passion, which supplanted the duty of prosely- 
tism and the lust of power. His library was so ex- 
tensive that it overflowed the great building which had 
been erected for its reception, and whose treasures, the 
masterpieces of every nation Greek, Roman, Byzan- 

430 History of the 

tine, Egyptian, Persian, Hebrew, and Arabic were 
the delight of the learned and the marvel of an illiter- 
ate and superstitious age. 

Abdallah attained distinction by the plaintive ele- 
gies in which he celebrated the misfortunes of his 
house; Suleyman was dreaded for the cutting verses 
in which he satirized the treachery and hypocrisy of the 
city and the court. 

The spirit of literary taste and rivalry which had 
inspired the accomplished society of the khalif ate was 
not lost with the dismemberment of the empire. The 
capital of each principality became a centre of culture, 
of learning, of the arts. The rulers of these petty 
states, whose population still retained, amidst the tur- 
bulent scenes of civil discord and foreign encroach- 
ment, no small measure of that intelligence and taste 
which had so eminently distinguished their fathers, 
vied with each other in their encouragement of science 
and in their patronage of learned men. In this noble 
emulation, as well as in their own scholastic acquire- 
ments, the Moorish princes maintained the fame of 
their ancestors and the traditions of the monarchy. 
Every facility was afforded to the professors of 
experimental science. Political honors, salaries, 
pensions, attracted the scholars of distant countries. 
Religious intolerance had no place in a society whose 
cardinal principle was absolute liberty of thought, and 
which had long been accustomed to consider the un- 
trammelled exercise of reason as an inherent and in- 
alienable right. Al-Moktadir, King of Saragossa, 
was renowned for his erudition ; his knowledge of phi- 
losophy, geometry, and astronomy was superior to 
that of any of the wise men of his court. Al-Mod- 
haffer. King of Badajoz, compiled a great encyclo- 
paedia. The rulers of Almeria, Valencia, and Seville 
were not less distinguished for their profound scholar- 
ship and the protection they afforded to letters. The 

Moorish Empire in Europe 431 

monarchs of the Abbadide dynasty, and especially 
Motamid II., were renowned for the harmony and 
pathos of their verses. The Almohade sovereign, 
Abd-al-Mumen, the nominal representative of the de- 
stroying principle of fanaticism, was the admiring 
patron of Ibn-Tofail, Ibn-Zohr, and Averroes, three 
of the greatest writers who ever embellished by their 
talents the literature of any age. The achievements 
of the Alhamares of Granada in the world of art and 
science, and the culture of their court the last refuge 
of learning in mediseval Europe form the most at- 
tractive episode in the annals of the thirteenth and 
fourteenth centuries. 

Encouraged by the example and the patronage of 
royalty, the mental development of the masses ad- 
vanced with gigantic strides. The spirit of progress, 
the incentives of a lofty ambition, animated all orders 
and conditions of men. So universal was the thirst for 
knowledge that even the blind, though hampered by 
the unkindness of nature, were still able, in that age 
of intellectual rivalry, to attain a high rank in the 
scale of literary excellence. The rhyming dictionaries, 
suggestive memorials of perverted and laborious in- 
genuity; the impassioned poems, born of a tropical 
chme and a sensual religion; the unprecedented and 
rapid progress attained in the exact sciences; the 
voluminous works on theology and history, and the 
incredible erudition of their authors, the numerous 
universities, the grand libraries, the competitive ex- 
aminations, the public contests for literary prece- 
dence and royal favor, attest a degree of enlighten- 
ment little to be expected from a people sprung from 
a barbarian and idolatrous ancestry, and are all the 
more remarkable when contrasted with the degrada- 
tion of contemporaneous Europe. Fanaticism and 
prejudice closed to the inquisitive mind of the Mos- 
lem some of the most important stores of classic 

432 History of the 

wisdom. For, while the natural philosophers and 
historians of Athens were studied with the greatest 
assiduity, Mohammedan piety rejected with abhor- 
rence the sublime creations of Grecian poetry on 
account of the gross fictions of its mythology, so re- 
pugnant to the exalted ideas of the unity and perfec- 
tion of God. Nor was the fiery and impassioned 
nature of the Ai-ab capable of appreciating the dig- . 
nity of heroic verse or the measured cadence and 
majestic pomp of the Attic drama. It delighted 
in stirring lyrics, satirical epigrams, amatory songs, 
and pathetic elegiac lays. The marked influence ex- 
erted by Arabic poetry on the civilization of Europe 
has already been referred to in these pages. Its 
matter is frequently overloaded with quaint con- 
ceits and obscure allusions, its lucidity habitually 
sacrificed to difficult feats of rhyme, its style disfig- 
ured by extravagant metaphor and hyperbole. Love 
of the beautiful, the marvellous, the supernatural were 
the most prominent characteristics of Arabic writers, 
and from the effects of these national propensities 
even dignified works on scientific subjects were not 
entirely free. 

Learned and voluminous as were the purely literary 
productions of the Hispano-Arab scholars, they were 
of secondary importance when compared with the 
practical achievements of the experimenters in the 
world of science. The Saracens introduced into West- 
ern Europe the Indian numerals, the tabulated ob- 
servations of Babylon, and the discoveries of the 
astronomers of the Alexandrian School. These wise 
investigators examined the effect of gravity, and nar- 
rowly missed ascertaining its principles; they con- 
structed the pendulum clock and the balance; they 
explained with perspicuity and exactness the origin of 
many hitherto mysterious physical occurrences which 
popular ignorance was accustomed to ascribe to super- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 433 

natural intervention rather than to the inexorable and 
necessary operation of Nature's laws. They were the 
first to demonstrate that the aerolite was a cosmic 
fragment and not a missile of Divine wrath, and to 
subject the substances of which it was composed to 
chemical analysis. They formulated a table of specific 
gravities, and the densities of bodies as laid down by 
them is said by Tyndall not to vary essentially from 
those accepted at the present day. They understood 
the force of capillary attraction; they had approxi- 
mated to the true height of the atmosphere, and had 
noted its diminished weight at a distance from the 
earth. As early as the tenth century they had formed 
singularly correct ideas of the nature and causes of 
many geological phenomena, such as the varying 
erosion of strata by the action of the elements, the 
presence of fossil remains on the summits of mountain 
ranges and the different characteristics they exhibited 
according as their origin was terrestrial or aquatic, 
the elevation and depression of the surface of the 
globe extending through inconceivably protracted 
periods of time. Both chemistry and pharmacy were 
pursued with remarkable success in the laboratories 
of Moorish Spain. Medicine and surgery especially 
engaged the attention of the ambitious student, who 
found an enthusiastic and dangerous competitor for 
distinction in the Hebrew, whose attainments and skill 
not unfrequently placed him at the head of his pro- 
fession. Dissection was not unknown, but reverence 
for the dead preserved the human form from the 
scalpel, and the anatomical researches of the Arab 
surgeon were, in public at least, limited to animals of 
the lower orders, multitudes of which were annually 
sacrificed to the demands of science. In that noble 
pursuit which has for its object the determination of 
the motions of the celestial bodies, and the establish- 
ment of their relations with each other and with the 

Vol. III. 28 

434 History of the 

universe, the Hispano-Arab, as in the investigation 
of other natural phenomena and in the solution of 
abstruse philosophical problems, evinced a rare and 
peculiar aptitude. In Moorish Spain, as in Chaldea, 
Babylonia, and ancient Egypt where all astronomers 
were priests the sanctuary of God was in part de- 
voted to the study of the most sublime and wonderful 
of His creations, the visible heavens. Gnomons, astro- 
labes, dioptras, solstitial and equinoctial armils, were 
placed upon the minarets of the most sacred temples. 
The calculations of the observer were completed in the 
academical institution which Moslem tradition and 
practice caused to be attached to every building con- 
secrated to the worship of Allah. No profession 
ranked higher than that of the astronomer. The 
sovereign loaded him with wealth and honors. In the 
mosque he was received with a consideration not in- 
ferior to that exacted by the most revered expounders 
of the Mohammedan law. The populace, recognizing 
in him a mysterious personage who in secret held com- 
munion with other worlds, and too often confounding 
him with the astrologer, gave way as he traversed the 
streets, and in whispers spoke of him as the heir of 
the wisdom of Solomon and as a mortal invested with 
supernatural powers. The study of the heavens was 
greatly promoted by the progress made in the science 
of optics, and by the lucid explanation of illusions due 
to atmospheric refraction. In this way the twinkling 
of the stars, the apparent inequality of the horizontal 
and vertical diameters of the planets, and the pro- 
longation of the day after sunset were accounted for. 
The invention of the telescope, the comparison of ob- 
servations taken at widely distant stations in every 
portion of the globe, the perfection of apparatus 
which measures, weighs, and separates the component 
elements of our atmosphere, the intelligent applica- 
tion of the principles of physics, and the progressive 

Moorish Empire in Europe 435 

experience of nine hundred years have not affected 
the definiteness and scientific accuracy of these con- 

The Spanish Moslems possessed both terrestrial and 
celestial globes ; some were composed of brass, others 
of massy silver. Their astronomical instruments were 
beautifully made, and were graduated with the 
greatest minuteness and precision. They had ten dif- 
ferent kinds of quadrants, one of the most ingenious 
and complete having been invented by Al-Zarkal, of 
Toledo. They made use of clocks moved by water, 
sand, and weights. The Arabic armillary spheres and 
astrolabes preserved in the museums of Europe are 
not surpassed by the most laborious efforts of modern 
ingenuity in excellence of finish, and in the accuracy 
of adjustment which implies the possession by the 
artisan of a competent knowledge of the delicate 
operations for which they were intended. It must not 
be forgotten that these instruments, through whose 
agency such wonderful results were achieved, will 
compare favorably in elegance of construction with 
the optical appliances of the best equipped observa- 
tory of to-day. 

To facilitate the investigations of the natural his- 
torian, there were numerous zoological collections, 
where the habits and characteristics of animals and 
birds of every description could be observed and noted 
for the present entertainment and future profit of 
mankind. The royal botanical gardens contained an 
endless variety of plants, both indigenous and exotic, 
cultivated for their brilliant foliage, their grateful 
fragrance, or their culinary and medicinal virtues. 

The portentous development of Arabic intellectual 
activity presents one of the most interesting and in- 
structive examples of progress in the history of the 
human mind. The Bedouin was a typical barbarian 
and freebooter. He had no organized government, 

436 History of the 

and acknowledged no permanent authority. Without 
a settled habitation, he despised all who pursued the 
avocations of peace. He subsisted by pillage. His 
religion was debased, cruel, idolatrous. With the ex- 
ception of a few poems and some collections of tales 
recounting the exploits of spirits and magicians, he 
had nothing which could be dignified by the name of 
literature. It is true that his language w^as one of the 
most copious and flexible ever devised by man, but its 
powers had never been tested and were practically un- 
known. Even the courage of the Arab was not ex- 
empt from suspicion, and he notoriously preferred the 
advantages of ambuscade and surprise to the more 
hazardous encounter of the open field. Almost his 
sole, certainly his most conspicuous, virtue was hos- 
pitality; but every consideration of friendship and 
courtesy was forgotten as soon as the guest of the 
night had quitted the precincts of his camp. The 
prevalence of such conditions was, it must be admitted, 
eminently unfavorable to the encouragement of 
science and letters. The Arab conqueror, therefore, 
in the prosecution of his literary career, owed nothing 
to the usually powerful influence of national tradition 
and example. His first important act was the de- 
struction of the great library of Alexandria, his sec- 
ond the spoliation of the monuments of the Pharaohs, 
and the razing in order to obtain materials for his 
own inferior constructions of the vast structures of 
Greek and Roman antiquity which adorned that 
famous capital. The thoroughness with which this 
work was accomplished is demonstrated by the total 
absence of any remains of those superb edifices which 
were alike the pride of the Macedonian dynasty and 
the boast of the age of Augustus and Hadrian. In 
these acts of violence he only followed the inherent 
destructive and predatory instincts of his race. Con- 
tact with civilization and experience of its benefits, 

Moorish Empire in Europe 437 

however, soon wi'ought a change in his nature, a 
change momentous in its results and which has no 
parallel in the annals of human advancement. A cen- 
tury after the Hegira, the descendant of the vagrant 
Bedouin had attained a remarkable predominance in 
every department of polite literature and scientific 
knowledge. The impulse which wrought this mighty 
intellectual transformation was imparted by Egypt, 
and sprang from the historical and philosophical 
reminiscences of the Alexandrian Museum. That re- 
nowned institution was the unique and practical em- 
bodiment of the passion for innovation, of the inven- 
tive faculty, of the utilitarian spirit of the ancient 
world. The doctrines of the higher antiquity were, as 
is well known, largely theoretical and speculative. 
The occasional appearance of men of genius like Hip- 
pocrates and Aristotle only served to emphasize the 
worthless character of the verbose and unprofitable 
disquisitions of the schools of Greek philosophy. An- 
terior to the fourth century before Christ, science owed 
little to experiment, and all knowledge of any value 
was empirical, or the result of purely accidental dis- 
covery. No intelligent method of investigation 
existed. No system which had for its object the 
physical amelioration of humanity was deemed worthy 
of attention. Such practical aims were trifles and 
beneath the dignity of the wise man of that age. His 
time was occupied in attempts to explain the nature 
of the soul, to define the supreme good, to discover 
the original essence of all created things, to demon- 
strate the fancied harmony or dissonance of numbers. 
In these absurd and fruitless occupations were wasted 
intellectual abilities which, properly directed, might 
have changed the aspect of nature and the condition 
of society many centuries before modern inventive 
genius was afforded an opportunity to exhibit its 
marvellous powers. The shrewd and discerning sol- 

438 History of the 

dier, who, in the partition of empire, received as his 
share the ancient dominion of Egypt, pursued a 
diametrically opposite course in the policy he adopted 
for the promotion of education and literature. He 
united the culture of Macedon and the venerable tra- 
ditions of the civilization of Persia with the experience 
gained in many campaigns. His skeptical and arbi- 
trary nature had little sympathy with the abject super- 
stitions of his Egyptian subjects, and still less with 
the despotic pretensions of their priesthood. His posi- 
tion as ruler invested him with almost theocratical 
authority. Scarcely was he seated upon the throne 
before a radical change was resolved upon. The 
genius of Ptolemy impelled him to attempt the modi- 
fication of a system, sanctified by the practice of im- 
memorial antiquity, in such a way that its outward 
observance would not be repugnant to Greek intelli- 
gence nor, by the violation of long-established preju- 
dices, the stability of the newly constituted govern- 
ment be endangered. To accomplish this end, the 
worship of Serapis, the representative of Oriental 
Pantheism, was introduced. This strange co-ordina- 
tion of skepticism and idolatry was productive of 
remarkable consequences. The Egyptians admitted 
with enthusiasm a new god into their Pantheon. The 
Ptolemaic dynasty was placed upon a firm and en- 
during basis. In the magnificent temple where was 
enshrined the image of the divinity, whose nominal 
worship became of such importance to future civiliza- 
tion, a grand institution of learning, totally unlike any 
that had hitherto imparted instruction to man, was 
established. Considerations of practical utility were 
recognized as the sole and legitimate objects of its 
foundation. Observation, experiment, debate, occu- 
pied the leisure of its professors. The principles of 
every known science whose application could enure to 
the benefit of humanity medicine, surgery, astron- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 439 

omy, botany, physics were expounded in its halls. 
Its library, subsequently destroyed by Amru, was the 
greatest collection of books ever assembled in ancient 
times. The fame of this great university soon spread 
throughout the world. The number of students who 
attended its lectures was incredible, not infrequently 
reaching the enormous figure of thirteen thousand. 
Their ambition was excited by the presence of the 
sovereign, who often assisted in the experiments and 
participated in the discussions. 

The most prominent characteristic of this unique 
educational institution was the catholic spirit which 
it manifested towards the representatives of hostile 
religious systems. Paganism was the recognized wor- 
ship of the state. Its temples were numerous, its 
ceremonials of sacrifice, divination, and augury were 
performed with every accessory which could be af- 
forded by unlimited wealth and prodigal munificence. 
Yet the philosophical doctrines consecrated by a hoary 
antiquity, and whose study has given rise to modern 
agnosticism, were highly esteemed by the educated 
classes of Egypt. It was to facilitate their introduc- 
tion and acceptance that the scoffing Greeks had con- 
sented with mock solemnity to prostrate themselves 
before the altar of Serapis. The Jew, elsewhere 
despised, readily found a respectful audience for his 
monotheistic principles in the cosmopolitan society of 
Alexandria, and, what was to him of far greater 
moment, an opportunity to reap enormous profits 
from the commercial advantages offered by the most 
flourishing metropolis in the world. The fabled gene- 
alogies of the Olympian deities were perused by 
Jewish scholars with the same attention, if not with 
the same respect, as the sacred legends of the Hebrew 
race. The poems of Homer survived to delight pos- 
terity through the editions of the Alexandrian Mu- 
seum ; the Greek version of the Old Testament, known 

440 History of the 

as the Septuagint, published by Ptolemy Philadel- 
phus, is still an authority with erudite theologians. 
The spirit of inquiry was the dominating factor of 
the Ptolemaic educational and philosophical systems. 
Every hypothesis was rejected which could not stand 
the test of practical experiment and demonstration. 
No fact was considered too insignificant to be made 
the subject of intelligent and exhaustive scrutiny. 
The most abstruse problems of mathematical and 
physical science, the most obscure and difficult ques- 
tions concerning life its origin, its progress, its de- 
cay were daily proposed for investigation and solu- 
tion. The study of biology was one of the favorite 
pursuits of the Alexandrian School, and it is not 
impossible that topics which in recent years have so 
deeply engaged the attention of the learned may have 
been a subject of its profound and labored disquisi- 
tions. Among these was, perhaps, the doctrine of the 
Survival of the Fittest, which was not unfamiliar to 
the Greeks, for its adoption is advocated by Plato in 
his Republic, and its practical application was long a 
leading principle of the Code of Lacedeemon. The 
rational procedure employed in the study of medicine 
and surgery was most favorable to the prosecution of 
biological and physiological research. These sciences 
were established upon the solid foundation of ana- 
tomical demonstration. Autopsies and vivisections 
were of daily occurrence. The active participation of 
the kings in the operations of the clinic was due, no 
doubt, to a desire to discover the secret of longevity, 
and to justify by their sanction proceedings which the 
prejudices of all the races of antiquity branded as 
desecrations, actions abhorrent to reverence and de- 
cency. Many notable discoveries were the result of 
these enlightened methods. The offices of the inter- 
nal organs, the ramifications of the venous system, 
the form and convolutions of the brain, the phe- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 441 

nomena of respiration, digestion, and procreation, 
were described in terms remarkable for correctness 
and lucidity. It is a singular fact that in the midst 
of all these anatomical investigations, many of which 
were made upon the bodies of living animals, the 
peculiar function of the arteries remained unknown. 
The Alexandrian academicians supposed that they 
were intended, in their normal condition, for the cir- 
culation of air, and the vast period of thirteen cen- 
turies was destined to elapse before the genius of 
Harvey designated their true place in the human 
economy. Herophilus explained the relations of the 
brain and the nervous system. Erasistratus estab- 
lished the distinction between the nerves of sensation 
and motion. Alexandria abounded in specialists of 
every kind, oculists, lithotomists, surgeons who 
treated the diseases of women. The practice of medi- 
cine was indirectly aided by a pursuit of a widely 
divergent character, the cultivation of alchemy. As, 
afterwards, under the Arabs, though not with such 
marked results, this delusion, through the discoveries 
induced by its study, proved of substantial service to 
the intelligent physician. The department of the 
Materia Medica was enriched by the importation of 
drugs, and by the cultivation, in botanical gardens, of 
foreign plants of great medicinal value. The school 
of the Ptolemies was so famous that an attendance 
upon its lectures, for however short a period, con- 
ferred upon a practitioner great professional distinc- 
tion. All of the celebrated medical men of antiquity, 
with the single exception of Hippocrates, derived 
their information, and were indebted for their success, 
to the Alexandrian Museum. The extraordinary im- 
pulse imparted to all branches of science by this splen- 
did institution was not materially checked for cen- 
turies. Before its foundation astronomy had long 
been stationary, but with the faciHties it afforded a 

442 History of the 

gigantic advance was accomplished. The heavens 
were mapped out and the constellations defined. The 
stars were catalogued. The motions of the planets 
were observed and compared, and the erroneous but 
plausible system of eccentrics and epicycles invented 
to account for the various phases they presented at 
different times. The globular form of the earth was 
demonstrated to the satisfaction of every intelligent 
mind. The mechanism and cycles of eclipses, the pre- 
cession of the equinoxes, the first and second inequali- 
ties of the moon were explained. Estimates, more or 
less approximated to correctness, were made of the 
dimensions of the globe. Its surface was delineated, 
its climates described, hypotheses to account for the 
phenomena of its atmospheric changes advanced. Be- 
sides those already referred to, all sciences of a prac- 
tical tendency geometry, botany, natural history 
were accorded a place in the course of the Museum; 
even the ordinarily prohibited studies of astrology and 
divination were not excluded. The names of such 
mathematicians as Euclid, Archimedes, and Conon; 
of such astronomers as Ptolemy and Hipparchus ; of 
such geographers as Eratosthenes ; of such geometers 
as Apollonius Pergasus ; of such ornithologists as Cal- 
hmachus ; of such poets as Theocritus and Lycophron, 
suggest the infinite obligations of posterity to the 
noble institution established by Ptolemy Philadelphus 
at the mouth of the Nile. From such a source was de- 
rived the inspiration of Arab intellectual progress that 
preserved and multiplied the precious literary treas- 
ures in which were embodied the wisdom and the 
achievements of antiquity. That inspiration was, how- 
ever, destined to long remain dormant. A melancholy 
period of eleven centuries of bigotry, ferocity, and 
ignorance separates the Alexandrian Museum from 
the University of Cordova. 

To the unrivalled capabihties of the Arabic Ian- 

Moorish Empire in Europe MS 

guage was principally due the success of those who 
employed it in all branches of literature. That rich 
and sonorous idiom, isolated for centuries in the 
Desert, had been formed and perfected without con- 
tamination by extraneous influences. The peculiari- 
ties of its alphabet, the infinite multitude of its terms, 
the complexity of its conjugations, and the obscurity 
of style which its writers regard as an excellence 
worthy of assiduous cultivation, render its mastery by 
one not native to the soil a task of almost insuperable 
difficulty. The perfection of its grammar and the ele- 
gance of its construction imply many centuries of use 
and much literary practice for their establishment. 
Each tribe had contributed to its copious vocabulary. 
The number of synonyms by which objects of com- 
mon occurrence or habitual usage are designated is 
enormous. It contains eighty names for honey, two 
hundred for a serpent, five hundred for a lion, one 
thousand for a sword. It has exerted a marked and 
permanent influence on the idioms and the literature 
of Europe. Many of our most familiar English terms 
have come down from it unaltered. French abounds 
in words and expressions derived from the same 
source. Spanish has been called a corrupt Arabic dia- 
lect, and its richness in proverbs is due to the use of 
that tongue in the Peninsula for nine hundred years. 
The influence of the Sicilian Moslems on Italian is 
very apparent. The Romance languages were largely 
Arabic and Hebrew. This exuberance gave the poet 
an immense advantage for the exercise of his talents. 
The periodical literary assemblies, popular in Arabia, 
had the efl'ect of improving the diction of the com- 
petitors, and contributed greatly to the embellishment 
of the language in which their poems were composed. 
Facility of versification was so common that its pos- 
session was not regarded as an accomplishment, ex- 
cept where it produced results denoting unusual 

444 History of the 

ability. So many words have a similar termination in 
Arabic, that in poems of considerable length the same 
rhyme is alternately made use of from beginning to 
end. Improvisatorial skill, so highly esteemed by the 
Moors, was rather mechanical than the result of poetic 
inspiration, and was immensely facilitated by the 
abundance of terms at the command of the poet, whose 
mind was trained to this mental exercise from child- 
hood. Arabic versification readily adapts itself to 
every quantity and variation of numbers required by 
the practice of the art of poetical composition. It is 
lavish in the use of metaphor, simile, antithesis. In 
elegance of style, in brilliancy of expression, and in 
fertility of fancy it presents examples not inferior to 
the finest models of classic antiquity. Its charac- 
teristic extravagance was the result of national taste, 
a taste often perverted by a passion for the weird and 
the supernatural. It delights in the representation of 
abstractions as material beings; it bestows life and 
speech upon the zephyr and the rose. The play of 
words in which it abounds, the elaborate and quaint 
conceits dependent upon pronunciation and upon 
phrases susceptible of varied significance, while they 
may obscure the diction, are never suffered to inter- 
fere with the harmony. The vivacity of Arabic poetry 
is one of its greatest charms. Its imagery is born of 
the fiery imagination of the East; its proficiency in the 
delineation of human passion is the fruit of centuries 
of study, reflection, and jealous rivalry. Perfect 
familiarity with the poems of the pre-Islamic Bed- 
ouins, regarded as models by every generation of their 
descendants, was considered an indispensable qualifi- 
cation of every well-informed scholar. The Arabs 
were so deeply impressed by the potent influence of 
poetical genius that they assigned it a place among 
the kabbala of magical science. Rhymes were intro- 
duced into the most solemn discussions. An im- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 445 

promptu couplet opportunely spoken was often the 
surest recommendation to the favor of a prince. 
Poetic sentiment was such an essential characteristic 
of the Arab intellect that even grave metaphysical 
and historical treatises were designated by the most 
romantic and whimsical titles. 

Under the Mohammedan dynasties of Spain the wit 
and skill of the successful poet claimed and enjoyed 
the highest consideration. It has been aptly remarked 
that poetry was the central point about which revolved 
the intellectual life of the Andalusian Moors. Its in- 
fluence upon the invaders was rather augmented than 
diminished by the transplantation of the lyrics and 
satires of the Desert to the soil of Southern Europe. 
The universality of its cultivation and the honors and 
emoluments which rewarded popularity expanded its 
productions to an enormous volume. At the close of 
the reign of Al-Hakem II., hundreds of manuscripts 
were required for the catalogues of the poetical works 
which crowded the shelves of the imperial libraries. 
Verse was employed alike in the most momentous and 
the most unimportant transactions of life, in the con- 
gratulation of royalty, in the celebration of triumphs, 
in the familiar intercourse of neighbors and friends, 
in the frivolities and gossip of the seraglio. Its power 
over the nature of the sensitive and impulsive Asiatic 
cannot be measured. It diminished the agony of the 
suiFering. It hastened the cure of the convalescent. 
Its voice brought temporary oblivion to the dungeon 
of the captive, its pictures of paradise lighted the dark 
pathway to the grave. Rhyming prose was used in 
private correspondence by all persons who laid claim 
to good breeding. The Hispano-Arab histories are 
filled with verses. They were frequently employed to 
relieve the severity of scientific works, whose authors 
were equally celebrated as philosophers and as poets. 
Diplomatists inserted couplets and stanzas of more or 

446 History of the 

less merit and propriety into their state papers. The 
passport given to the great scholar Ibn-Khaldun by 
Mohammed V., King of Granada, was written in 

In the classification of subjects, amatory poems, as 
in all countries which acknowledge the power of the 
lyric muse, claim precedence. It is obviously unfair 
to judge Hispano-Arab poetry by the accepted rules 
of modern criticism. The totally different conditions 
of society, the education of an audience whose ideas of 
literary excellence and correctness of expression were 
strongly at variance with ours; the similes, now ob- 
scure, but then full of meaning to the appreciative 
listener, the idioms of a copious and extremely com- 
plicated language but imperfectly understood by the 
most accomplished scholars of our day, ignorance of 
the physical environment of the writer, the distance 
and vicissitudes of nine centuries, all contribute to ren- 
der the formation of an accurate and impartial opinion 
on the merits of Arab poetry an arduous, indeed an 
almost hopeless, task. 

The exalted position occupied by women under the 
Arab domination in Spain gave them an influence, 
and invested them with an importance, elsewhere un- 
known in the Mohammedan world. This peculiar 
social condition had a tendency to restrain the sensual 
instincts of the bard, not yet entirely emancipated 
from the coarse traditions of the Desert, while at the 
same time it encouraged the cultivation of generous 
and lofty sentiments. Admiration for the qualities 
and accomplishments of the mind gradually sup- 
planted the hyperbolical praise of corporeal perfec- 
tion, which had hitherto predominated in the composi- 
tions of the Arabian poet. The verses of the later era 
of the khalifate allude to the perfections and graces 
of the sex in terms of honor and veneration worthy of 
the noblest paladin of chivalry. This admiration was 

Moorish Empire in Europe 447 

intensified by the eminent rank attained by many 
women in the hterary profession. The female rela- 
tives of khalifs and courtiers vied with each other in 
the patronage and cultivation of letters. Ayesha, the 
daughter of Prince Ahmed, excelled in rhyme and 
oratory; her speeches aroused the tumultuous enthu- 
siasm of the grave philosophers of Cordova; her 
library was one of the finest and most complete in the 
kingdom. Valada, a princess of the Almohades, 
whose personal charms were not inferior to her talents, 
was renowned for her knowledge of poetry and 
rhetoric; her conversation was remarkable for its 
depth and brilliancy; and, in the academical contests 
of the capital which attracted the learned and the elo- 
quent from every quarter of the Peninsula, she never 
failed, whether in prose or in poetical composition, to 
distance all competitors. Algasania and Safia, both 
of Seville, were also distinguished for poetical and 
oratorical genius ; the latter was unsurpassed for the 
beauty and perfection of her calligraphy ; the splendid 
illuminations of her manuscripts were the despair of 
the most accomplished artists of the age. The literary 
attainments of Miriam, the gifted daughter of Al- 
Faisuli, were famous throughout the Peninsula; the 
caustic wit and satire of her epigrams were said to 
have been unrivalled. Umm-al-Saad was famous for 
her familiarity with Moslem tradition. Labana, of 
Cordova, was thoroughly versed in the exact sciences ; 
her talents were equal to the solution of the most com- 
plex geometrical and algebraic problems, and her vast 
acquaintance with general literature obtained for her 
the important employment of private secretary to the 
Khalif Al-Hakem II. Inherited genius for poetical 
composition, joined to constant familiarity with its 
exercise, the tendency of early education, the influence 
of intellectual association and example, the exalted 
estimation in which proficiency in it was held, the ex- 

448 History of the 

traordinary facility afforded by the Arabic language 
for the formation of rhyme, the inherent predilection 
of the Asiatic for the employment of epigram, hyper- 
bole, and allegory, called into existence a race of 
juvenile poets whose number and abilities seem, in our 
practical and unimaginative age, absolutely incredible. 
In readiness of improvisation and quickness of repar- 
tee these youthful rhymers displayed talents scarcely 
to be expected of the most precocious intellect. Some 
of the rhyming couplets composed by the children of 
Moorish Spain which have descended to us, in pro- 
priety of expression and elevation of feeling, in apt- 
ness of comparison and in elegance of style, are not 
inferior to the classic productions of educated ma- 

Nor was the taste for and the delight in the arts 
of extemporaneous composition confined to the emi- 
nent and the learned ; all classes practised it, and it was 
said that in the district of Silves alone there was hardly 
a laborer to be encountered who could not improvise 
creditable verses with facility. Volumes devoted to 
the lives and productions of the princely and noble 
poets of Andalusia were published; the palaces of 
royalty and the mansions of the great fairly swarmed 
with men of genius and poetasters, greedy of wealth 
and ambitious of renown. The ancient and venerated 
models of the Desert were never lost sight of in the 
productions of Moslem Europe. Their striking pecu- 
liarities, their lofty sentiments, their obscure meta- 
phors, their extravagant panegyrics, their fantastic 
imagery, were regarded as merits which, while they 
might provoke, would ever defy imitation. In Anda- 
lusia, however, the enlarged and humanizing ideas of 
an advanced civilization, the steady march of material 
and intellectual improvement, familiarity with the 
literary masterpieces of antiquity and intercourse with 
foreign nations, modified to some fextent the character 

Moorish Empire in Europe 449 

of the subjects treated by the Moorish poet, although 
his style remained the same. Similes deduced from 
the nomadic life of the Bedouin a life abandoned, 
centuries before, for the monotonous occupations of 
trade and agriculture still, in the midst of conditions 
incompatible with the existence of predatory habits, 
and side by side with the tribal hatred whose intensity 
never diminished, maintained their universal ascend- 
ency. Adroitness in the metrical art; the gift of 
combining the infinite resources of the Arabic idiom 
in complicated phrases and rhymes which nothing but 
the enthusiasm and penetration of the illuminated 
could understand and unravel; the introduction of 
mysterious allegories, remote and obscure analogies, 
bold and striking antitheses, these were the artificial 
excellences of Hispano-Arab poetry. The perfect 
comprehension of its productions implies an acquaint- 
ance with the language practically unattainable by a 
foreigner. The original form of Semitic poetry, 
whether Hebrew or Arabic, was improvisatorial ; it 
was inspired by passing events; it was gay or plain- 
tive, didactic or satirical, but never solemn and 
grandly impressive, like the sublime flights of the Gre- 
cian muse. The Arab poet was deficient in the dra- 
matic faculty. His versatility, elsewhere remarkable, 
was unequal to the composition of an epic. His 
ignorance was so profound that he could not even 
give a correct definition of tragedy or comedy. To 
the greatest scholars of Mohammedan Spain, men who 
knew Aristotle by heart, and who were capable of the 
instant solution of the most difficult equations of 
Conon and Euclid, the works of Sophocles, ^Eschy- 
lus, and Euripides were unknown. The mental con- 
stitution of the Arab was thus not adapted to the crea- 
tion of plays, a form of literature also discouraged by 
his traditions; while his prejudices forbade the study 
of the classic models which his religion stigmatized as 

Vol. III. 29 

450 History of the 

idolatrous and indecent. Poetical narration was not 
unfamiliar to him, but a lengthy historic or allegorical 
composition, either in blank verse or rhyme, which 
required sustained and protracted action, was both 
repugnant to his taste and beyond his powers. 

While love-ditties were the favorite productions of 
the Hispano-Arab, the martial lyrics of battle and 
triumph, sonnets depicting the pleasures of wine with 
more than Roman freedom, and the mourful elegies 
suggested by the events of a decadent empire, claimed 
a large proportion of the efforts of his poetic genius. 
Among the myriad poets whose compositions have 
adorned the Moorish domination in Spain, it is difficult 
to attempt to distinguish a few of superior merit ; yet 
the following may be designated as masters in that art 
whose possession was a passport alike to political emi- 
nence and popular veneration. Ibn-Hasn, Ibn-Zeidun, 
of Cordova, Abbas-Ibn-Ahnaf, were noted for the 
sweetness and beauty of their amorous songs ; the mar- 
tial airs of Ibn-Chafadscha, of Valencia, chanted by 
the Moslems in the front of battle, assisted in turning 
the tide of many a doubtful day; the bacchanalian 
verses of Ibn-Said, of Seville, were the delight of the 
corrupt and voluptuous Andalusian capital, and were 
even sung by the children in the streets; the keen 
satires of Ibn-Ammar of Silves the unhappy memo- 
ries of whose early life, passed in mendicity, tinctured 
his writings with bitterness even when raised by his 
talents to the highest posts in the kingdom spared 
neither prince nor courtier in their indiscriminate and 
playful wit; Abul-Beka, of Ronda, Ibn-al-Lebburn, 
of Murviedro, and Ibn-al-Khatib, of Granada, de- 
scribed, in language of inexpressible beauty and 
pathos, the national calamities inflicted by Christian 
supremacy, the dissolution of empire, the desecra- 
tion of the sanctuary, the dismemberment of families, 
the exile of the vanquished, the horrors of servitude. 

Moorish Empire in Europe 451 

The ordinary lyrics of the Spanish Moslems were 
technically known as the Kasida and the Ghazal, and, 
in the composition of both, only the alternate verses 
were in rhyme. The sonnets of Petrarch are modelled 
after this peculiar method of versification, or rather 
after its imitations prevalent among the vagrant poets 
of Southern Europe. It was principally through the 
example afforded by the Moorish kingdom of Sicily 
that an intellectual impulse was imparted to the found- 
ers of Italian mediaeval literature. The Mohamme- 
dan princes who governed that fertile island were 
generous and enthusiastic patrons of letters. The 
Normans, whose enlightened spirit preserved with 
little modification the laws and customs of a civiliza- 
tion whose benefits were so apparent, encouraged with 
especial favor the labors of the Arab muse. The com- 
positions of the Sicilian poets embodied principles and 
were governed by canons identical with those in vogue 
beyond the Pyrenees. In a land abounding in classic 
associations, the scene of military and maritime events 
upon whose issue had depended the destiny of em- 
pires; whose striking natural features had given rise 
to the most charming fictions that adorn the produc- 
tions of antiquity, and where the architectural monu- 
ments of Grecian elegance and grandeur recalled the 
magnificence of former ages ; the Arab, enveloped in 
the exclusiveness of his own personality, fettered by 
the influence of inherited tradition, never departed 
from the beaten track of his ancestors. Physical en- 
vironment, unusually so potent in the formation of 
taste and the modification of national impulse and 
individual characteristics, produced no visible effect 
upon the mental constitution of the Moorish poet. 
Everything else physiological peculiarities, the gen- 
eral tendency of thought, the nature of the objects 
of intellectual inquiry, opinions of the benefits to be 
obtained from the prosecution of scientific pursuits, 

452 History of the 

the occupations of daily life underwent radical 
changes, but the methods of the poet remained to 
the last invariable. The persistence of this spirit 
of immobility is further demonstrated by the popu- 
lar ballads of the conquerors to whom the Moslems 
bequeathed it. The striking resemblance of the songs 
of the troubadours to those of the Arabs indicate 
plainly the source whence the former derived their in- 
spiration. Other circumstances, based upon national 
customs, go far towards confirming this opinion. 
The Mohammedan Peninsula abounded with itiner- 
ant rhymers and sonneteers. They travelled from 
mansion to mansion, everywhere welcomed with joy 
and hospitality. They attended the person of the 
prince. They formed an indispensable part of the 
retinue of every great household. Their poems were 
ordinarily improvisations, evoked by the occurrences 
of the moment or the suggestions of the locality. 
Their compensation was gratuitous, entirely depend- 
ent upon the caprice of the patron or the generosity 
of the auditory. The privileged character of their 
profession enabled them to use a boldness of speech 
and a freedom of criticism which an ordinary person- 
age would not have dared to exercise. In their train 
often followed the story-teller, the prototype of the 
jongleur, whose lineal descendant may still be seen 
amusing with his coarse buffoonery the idle crowds of 
Tangier and Cairo. 

The graceful courtesy and deference to the sex, 
which were the indispensable attributes of every gal- 
lant cavalier, in short, the very genius of chivalry, 
originated among the Spanish Molmmmedans. The 
women of Christian Europe except in countries in- 
fluenced by Moslem culture from the tenth to the 
fifteenth century received no such social consideration 
and enjoyed no such educational advantages as did 
their infidel sisters of the Peninsula. In Southern 

Moorish Empire in Europe 453 

France and Italy a tolerant spirit, fostered by a light 
and pleasing literature, had invested woman with an 
eminent, indeed with a despotic, authority. Elsewhere 
it was far different. Condemned to unspeakable hard- 
ships; degraded by brutal associations; if of high 
rank, the mere plaything of a tyrannical master; if 
born in an inferior position, classed with beasts of 
burden; in every situation of life kept in ignorance; 
subject to insult, to oppression, to all the sufferings in- 
cident to a condition of humiliating dependence little 
removed from servitude, such was the lot of woman 
in orthodox Christendom. This state of moral and 
physical degradation long prevailed, save where inti- 
mate contact with Arab civilization produced a sub- 
stantial and permanent improvement of social and 
intellectual conditions. The most important factor of 
this metamorphosis was the poetry of which the 
troubadour was the exponent. This erratic calling 
drew its members from every rank of society: it in- 
cluded sovereigns, princesses, nobles, peasants, beg- 
gars. As the rhyming instinct is not innate and almost 
universal in Europe as in Asia, the often unlettered 
troubadour was more highly considered in Languedoc 
and Calabria than was the wandering poet among the 
hypercritical literary dilettanti of Seville and Gran- 

In addition to the presumption afforded by the re- 
semblance of subject, style, and metre, the fact that 
only countries contiguous to, or directly influenced by, 
Moorish civilization during the Middle Ages devel- 
oped a taste for poetry similar to that of the Arabs, 
furnishes strong .corroborative evidence that the gai 
science, as the art of improvising verses was called, was 
of Arabic derivation. The natural haunt of the trou- 
badour was the romantic, semi-tropical region washed 
by the waves of the northwestern Mediterranean. The 
genius of his poetry ardent, extravagant, voluptuous 


had nothing in common with the cold and sluggish 
spirit of the North. France and Italy were the only 
European countries whose boundaries coincided with 
those of the Moslems. In both the revival of learning, 
after centuries of darkness, first arose. France was 
the abode of the Huguenot and the Camisard; the 
birthplace of Henry IV. and Coligny; the seat of the 
Great Schism which rent the Church in twain; the 
vantage-ground of the philosophers who precipitated 
the frightful struggle for civil and religious freedom 
in the eighteenth century. Italy was the land of 
Galileo, of Bruno, of Savonarola, of the Medici; the 
home of the Florentine academicians, whose labors and 
experiments effected so much for the advancement 
of science; the scene of the most extensive reaction 
against mediaeval ignorance, a movement inaugu- 
rated in the immediate neighborhood of Rome, and 
in defiance of the vehement protest of the Papal See. 
The greatest names in Italian literature insensibly 
acknowledged their obligations to Arabic poetry, by 
adopting the style and rhythm of its European imita- 
tors, the troubadours. The peerless Dante himself did 
not disdain to follow and to advocate the observance of 
its rules. The Canzoni of Petrarch present innumer- 
able points of resemblance to the productions of Mos- 
lem Sicily. Ariosto is greatly indebted to Elmacin. 
In the melodious and charming songs of Lorenzo, the 
same sources of inspiration are discernible, and the 
same rhyme is used. In England, the Canterbury 
Tales of Chaucer bear an unmistakable relation in 
form and metre to the mediaeval compositions of 
Southern France. Nor was this powerful and all-per- 
vading influence confined to poetry. The tales of 
Boccaccio have an Oriental cast. The very manner of 
their recital recalls the customs of the Desert. They are 
reminiscences of the popular calling of the Proven9al 
jongleur and the Arabic story-teller. In the license 

Moorish Empiee in Europe 455 

of their expressions, in the wit of their repartee, in the 
amusing character of the events which they describe, 
they may be classed as reahstic adaptations of the 
Thousand and One Nights. The patronage and ex- 
ample of the Emperor Frederick II. carried beyond 
the Alps the cultivation of letters, and with it the 
traditions of Sicilian civilization. From this literary 
transmigration originated the Minnesingers, German 
counterparts of the troubadours, whose elegant verses 
sensibly modified the innate coarseness of the Teu- 
tonic character, and introduced a spirit of refinement, 
in pleasing contrast with the drunken orgies of the 
banquet and the festival. Their two principal pro- 
ductions, the Minnesong and the Minnelay, were 
models of elegance of diction, beauty of sentiment, 
and perfection of rhyme. For more than a century 
they were the delight of all classes of German society, 
nor did any compositions of equal merit succeed them 
until the age of Goethe and Schiller. Into Germany 
were also introduced, by the influence of the Emperor, 
a spirit of inquiry, the foundation of all true knowl- 
edge, and the philosophical and heterodox ideas en- 
tertained by the educated Moslems of his Sicilian 
dominions. The ultimate efl*ect of this enlightened 
policy upon the national mind, imperceptible at the 
time, but increasing in intensity with the lapse of cen- 
turies, was the defiant course of Luther, which estab- 
lished the right of private interpretation of the Scrip- 
tures and shook the foundations of the papal throne. 
The fact that these three countries, which alone were 
directly acted upon by the spirit of Arabic learning 
and the example of Moorish civilization, were the scene 
of the revival of letters, when the rest of Christen- 
dom was plunged in the most abject ignorance, is of 
profound significance in ascertaining the causes that, 
promoting the intellectual advancement of Europe, 


have culminated in the great scientific achievements 
of modern times. 

In Moorish Spain great attention was paid to the 
study of the kindred subjects of theology and law. 
The commentaries on the rites of the various sects 
into which Islam is divided; the arrangement and 
review of the enormous mass of tradition which tends 
to elucidate or to confirm the ambiguous texts of the 
Koran; the digests of the decisions whose authority 
is considered unimpeachable, form a stupendous body 
of literature chiefly remarkable for the patience, the 
learning, and the labor necessarily employed in its 
compilation. The muftis and the faquis were the 
authorities whose office it was to explain perplexing 
questions of Mohammedan jurisprudence. In the 
system of the latter, a system generally remarkable 
for its simplicity and efficiency, the Koran was the 
guide of every magistrate. The rules were supple- 
mented by the precepts and suggestions of the Sun- 
nah, a collection of traditions derived from sources 
more or less authoritative, and transmitted through 
many generations. The conflicting interpretation 
placed upon ancient customs sanctified by prescrip- 
tion, and the disputed authenticity of many of them, 
gave rise to a swarm of sects whose rancorous dis- 
putes were often terminated by bloodshed. In the 
Moslem judicature, the sovereign was the sole foun- 
tain of justice. Heir to the patriarchal customs of 
the East, he often sat in judgment at the gate of his 
palace, heard the complaints of his subjects, composed 
their quarrels, reproved their faults, condemned their 
animosity, and decided upon their merits all con- 
troversies between worthy litigants. Under him was 
the kadi, in whom was vested civil and criminal juris- 
diction, whose judgments were rendered and whose 
sentences from the scourging and the cruel mutila- 
tions enjoined by the law to the supreme penalty of 

Moorish Empire in Europe 457 

decapitation were executed with a relentless promp- 
titude little in accordance with modern ideas of crimi- 
nal procedure. In these courts there were no opportu- 
nities for oratorical display ; custom discouraged such 
exhibitions ; and Arab eloquence, unlike that of other 
nations, was most concise and laconic. The doctors 
of the law and the commentators on the Koran re- 
ceived greater homage than any other class of Moslem 
men of letters. Their occupation invested them with 
a measure of the reverence enjoyed by the works to 
which their labors were consecrated; it implied the 
possession of superior knowledge, perhaps of inspira- 
tion; they were ordinarily personages of venerable 
appearance and irreproachable character; and upon 
their opinions, promulgated with all the authority of 
age, wisdom, and experience, depended the adminis- 
tration of justice and the preservation of order 
throughout the vast extent of the empire. 

The extensive and diversified character of the works 
of the Arabs is one of the wonders of literature. This 
extraordinary fertility attained a greater develop- 
ment in Spain than in any other portion of the Mus- 
sulman empire. Al-ModhafFer, King of Badajoz, 
wrote fifty volumes; Ibn-Hayyan, sixty; Honein, 
a hundred; Abdallatif and Ahmed-Ibn-Iban, the 
same; Ibn-al-Heitsam, two hundred; Abu-Moham- 
med-Ibn-Han, four hundred; Ibn-Habib-al-Solami 
and Abu-Merwan-Abd-al-Melik, each a thousand. 

In the realm of history and biography the genius 
of the Hispano-Arab was most prolific. The sub- 
jects treated are of great variety, and are usually ex- 
panded into a prodigious number of books. Tedi- 
ous and obscure as is much of their narrative, its 
minuteness of detail and extraordinary fidelity to 
truth render the surviving collections which, exten- 
sive as they are, compose but a fragment of the his- 
torical literature that once existed invaluable to the 

458 History of the 

student. The biographical dictionary of Hadji 
Khalfa contains notices of twenty thousand works, of 
which twelve hundred are historical. The Arabic criti- 
cal, theological, and geographical cyclopaedias were 
scarcely less voluminous. 

The plan of this work does not contemplate more 
than a passing allusion to the principal historical 
writers whose learning and talents were conspicuous 
during the Moorish domination in Spain. Among 
them may be mentioned Ibn-al-Afttas, Prince of 
Badajoz, who composed a valuable treatise on the 
political and literary events of the Peninsula; Ibn- 
Ahmed-al-Toleytoh, of Toledo, who wrote a General 
History of Nations; Al-Khazraji, of Cordova, to 
whom is attributed a History of the Khalifs; Al- 
Ghazzal and Al-Hijari, who published, the one a 
rhyming history, the other a topographical descrip- 
tion of Andalusia; Ibn-Bashkuwal, of Cordova, and 
Mohammed Al-Zuluyide, famous for their biographi- 
cal dictionaries; Ibn-al-Khatib, of Granada, whose 
marvellous erudition was displayed in the greatest of 
his works. The Universal Library, an immense epitome 
of the literary and historical facts obtainable in his 
time. Disquisitions on general topics were not, how- 
ever, the favorite employment of Moorish authors; 
their subtle minds preferred the narration of impor- 
tant events, the tracing of remote causes, the solution 
of obscure historical problems. In the treatment of 
special subjects they displayed a wonderful, often a 
tedious, prolixity. Each khalif and prince entertained 
at his court an historian charged with the description 
of the principal occurrences of his reign. Every town 
had its annalist, every province its chronicler. There 
was not an art or a science, not a profession or a call- 
ing, whose origin and influence had not been described, 
and its distinguished teachers enumerated, by some 
eminent writer. Mohammed Abu-Abdallah, of Gran- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 459 

ada, compiled an historical dictionary of the sciences ; 
Al-Assaker is credited with a curious and instructive 
history of inventors. Even animals famous for their 
superior qualities were assigned an honorable place 
in the biographical productions of the Spanish Mo- 
hammedans. Abu-al-Monder, of Valencia, and Ibn- 
Zaid-al-Arabi, of Cordova, composed memoirs re- 
counting the genealogy, the endurance, the speed, and 
the beauty of certain horses conspicuous in a race 
proverbial for its excellence. Abd-al-Malik wrote an 
account of celebrated camels. The names given to 
books, even by the grave and pious, partake of the 
fanciful and figurative imagery of the Orient, and 
were suggestive of the most precious objects admired 
and coveted by man, such as " The Silken Vest," 
" Strings of Pearls," " Links of Gems," " Prairies of 
Gold." From a remote antiquity similar titles had 
been adopted, for, as has already been remarked, the 
earliest of Arabic poems, the Moallakat, derive their 
collective appellation, not from having been suspended 
in the Kaaba of Mecca, but on account of their 
figurative resemblance to the pendants of a necklace. 

The Arabic language, regarded by Moslems as the 
most perfect of all idioms, received great attention 
from grammarians. Their works upon this subject 
are infinite, exhaustive, perplexing. One treatise, in 
a hundred parts, treats solely of genders. Knowl- 
edge of this character was held in the highest estima- 
tion. Abu-Ghalib, of Murcia, refused a thousand 
dinars of gold from the sultan of that kingdom, who 
had solicited, as an honor, the dedication of a work 
upon grammar composed by that celebrated scholar, 
whose labors were devoted to the instruction of the 
people, and not to the flattery of power. Natural his- 
tory, chronology, numismatics, were treated at great 
length by the European Moslems. The menageries 
and aviaries maintained in the principal cities af- 

460 History of the 

forded unusual advantages to the student of zoology. 
Chronological computations were based upon the de- 
ductions of the Alexandrian Museum. The Moorish 
scholars of Spain and Sicily made invaluable contribu- 
tions to the general stock of geographical knowledge. 
The measurement of a degree which they effected 
approximates very nearly to the one accepted by 
modern science. Abulfeda enumerates sixty Arabic 
geographers who lived before the thirteenth century. 
Many of their maps were veritable works of art, in 
which, upon a ground of silk, continents, mountains, 
lakes, and streams, represented in relief, were em- 
broidered in gold and silver. Their researches were 
aided by the historical remains of antiquity, by the 
accounts of merchants and mariners, and by the re- 
ports of travellers despatched by their sovereigns to 
collect information in the remotest corners of the 
earth. Ibn-Hamid penetrated to the most inaccessible 
regions of Central Asia. Ibn-Djobair visited and de- 
scribed Sicily and the countries of the Orient. The 
travels of Ibn-Batutah were prolonged through 
twenty-four years. Obeyd-al-Bekri, of Onoba, was 
the author of a geographical dictionary, in which were 
described an immense number of cities, principalities, 
and kingdoms. The reputation of all mediaeval geog- 
raphers, however distinguished, was obscured by the 
fame of the great Edrisi. A native of Malaga, of 
royal blood, and a lineal descendant of Mohammed, he 
united to pride of birth and the advantages of fortune 
all the learning and all the accomplishments to be 
acquired in an enlightened age. His relationship to 
the Prophet invested him with a dignity and an im- 
portance second to none, in the sight of every devout 
Mussulman. His education at Cordova was the best 
that the ancient capital of the khalifs, still the intel- 
lectual centre of the world, could afford. His mind, 
improved by travel, was familiar with many countries 

Moorish Empire in Europe 461 

whose physical features he afterwards depicted with 
such abiHty. Invited to Palermo by Roger, King 
of Sicily, he speedily attained a high rank among the 
scholars of that brilliant court. The geography he 
composed, partly from his own information, partly 
from data furnished by the King, who had long made 
a study of that science, represented the labor of fifteen 
years. In vividness of description, in accuracy of 
detail, in correct estimation of distances, it is one of 
the most remarkable literary productions of mediasval 
times. The incomplete work of Ptolemy had for 
centuries been the recognized, indeed the only, au- 
thority. The configuration of the earth's surface, its 
climates, the locations of continents and seas, of cities 
and empires, were facts little known, even to persons 
of the best education. In Christian lands the Church 
sedulously discouraged all such studies as inimical 
to Scriptural revelation. Geographical works had 
already appeared in Arabic, but they were grossly 
inaccurate, and largely based on fable, romance, and 
tradition. The compilation of Edrisi marks an era 
in the history of science. Not only is its historical 
information most interesting and valuable, but its 
descriptions of many parts of the earth are still 
authoritative. For three centuries geographers copied 
his maps without alteration. The relative position of 
the lakes which form the Nile, as delineated in his 
work, does not differ greatly from that established 
by Baker and Stanley more than seven hundred years 
afterwards, and their number is the same. The me- 
chanical genius of the author was not inferior to his 
erudition. The celestial and terrestrial planisphere of 
silver which he constructed for his royal patron was 
nearly six feet in diameter, and weighed four hundred 
and fifty pounds; upon the one side the zodiac and 
the constellations, upon the other divided for con- 
venience into segments the bodies of land and water, 


with the respective situations of the various countries, 
were engraved. As a recompense for his skill, Edrisi 
received from King Roger the remainder of the 
precious material, amounting to two-thirds, a hun- 
dred thousand pieces of silver, and a ship laden with 
valuable merchandise. Such was the munificence with 
which the son of a Norman freebooter, bred to arms 
and rapine and ignorant of letters, rewarded the 
genius of a scholar whose race was stigmatized by 
every Christian power in Europe as barbarian and 

In philosophical studies, the European Arab 
evinced the same curious and inquiring spirit which 
characterized his investigations of natural phenomena. 
The multiplicity of sects into which the religion of 
Mohammed was divided, and the incessant religious 
controversies which the disputed texts of the Koran 
and the conflicting interpretations of doubtful tradi- 
tions evolved, were not favorable either to proselytism 
or to the maintenance of orthodoxy. The Moslems 
had their Nominalists and their Realists, their Mys- 
tics and their Epicureans. They understood the 
esoteric doctrines of the most renowned schools of 
antiquity. They had read and commented upon 
Pythagoras, Heraclitus, Socrates, Empedocles, Plato. 
They were familiar with the atomic theory of Democ- 
ritus. They recognized the argumentative ability of 
the Stoics. With the productions of the Alexandrian 
School through whose medium was derived their 
knowledge of the dogmas of the Portico and the 
Academy they were thoroughly conversant. The 
prolonged and attentive consideration of these vain 
and unprofitable opinions did not, however, commend 
itself to the ingenious and practical mind of the Arab. 
He indulged in no abstract speculations concerning 
the origin, nature, and destiny of man. He wasted no 
time in attempts to decide the vexed and frivolous 

Moorish Empire in Europe 463 

question of the supreme good. He regarded with 
boundless favor the works of Aristotle, a predilection 
destined with years to develop into an undiscerning 
admiration akin to idolatry. To the influence of this 
sage of the ancients, the educated Moorish population 
of Spain was pecuHarly susceptible. The doctrines 
of Al-GhazzaH, of Bagdad, who lived in the eleventh 
century, had also obtained general acceptance. His 
teachings involved the absolute separation of philos- 
ophy from superstition. He believed in a higher 
sphere than that of human reason, where was exhibited 
the manifestation of the Divine Essence pervading all 
space, all matter, a form of the Pantheism of India. 

The Peninsula had for centuries experienced the 
ascendency of different races of men, the successive 
predominance and decay of many forms of religious 
belief. The transmission of national peculiarities ; the 
survival of various, often hostile, political and social 
opinions; the comparison of a series of creeds, each 
claiming divine origin and inspiration, yet each, in its 
turn, supplanted by a more powerful adversary, had 
disposed the minds of men to investigation and reason. 
It was only among the intellectual, however, that such 
a disposition prevailed. With no class of fanatics did 
intolerance exist in greater intensity than among the 
orthodox masses of Mohammedan Spain. Their an- 
tipathy to all who questioned the revelation of the 
Koran or the authenticity of accepted tradition was 
irreconcilable. In the unreasoning fury engendered 
by prejudice, they forgot the marvels of the civiliza- 
tion that surrounded them; the encouragement that 
their greatest princes had extended to learning; the 
statement of the Prophet that the first thing created 
by God was Intelligence. While they loved the ma- 
terial pomp which thinly disguised the forms of des- 
potism, while they cringed before the pride of rank 
and opulence, they found the quiet and unassuming 

464 History of the 

pre-eminence derived from superior wisdom and a pro- 
found acquaintance with letters intolerable. These 
narrow ideas, so prejudicial to mental development, 
were diligently fostered by the doctors of the law, who 
discerned, in the general diffusion of philosophical 
opinions, a serious menace to their importance and 
dignity. Natural philosophy was the object of their 
especial abhorrence. A system which professed to 
account for the familiar phenomena daily manifested 
on the earth and in the heavens by the operation of 
natural causes and inexorable necessity, and which 
absolutely dispensed with divine revelation, might well 
awaken the suspicion and alarm of a class whose 
worldly interests absolutely depended upon the sup- 
pression of knowledge and the maintenance of ortho- 
doxy. The populace, as usual, sided with their 
teachers. As a result the philosopher was an object of 
aversion, often of horror, to the conscientious Moham- 
medan. In the eyes of the irrational zealot the pursuit 
of science was a certain indication of a bargain with 
the devil. No rank, however exalted, was proof 
against this odious imputation. The greatest of the 
Ommeyade and Abbaside khalifs, whose highest title 
to fame was the encouragement of letters, were stig- 
matized as wizards and magicians. The union of the 
powers of Church and State in a single individual, and 
the number and importance of the institutions for the 
diffusion of knowledge, alone prevented the extinc- 
tion of learning by popular violence. The majority 
of the Hispano-Arab princes were men of unusual 
intellectual attainments, historians, poets, chemists, 
philosophers. The patronage they afforded to science 
had a deterrent effect on those who longed for the 
restoration of purity of doctrine, which had disap- 
peared, as it invariably does, before the progressive 
march of civilization. Emulating the examples of the 
khalifs, the governors of provinces vied with their 

Moorish Empire in Europe 465 

royal masters in the propagation of knowledge. They 
founded schools and academies. They offered prizes 
for new and useful discoveries. At their invitation, 
the greatest scholars in their jurisdiction assembled 
once a year at the seat of government, for public 
discussion of subjects of interest to the learned pro- 
fessions, or of such as could, through the medium 
of practical inventions, be made to enure to the benefit 
of the community. 

The high estimation in which letters were held was 
indicated by the honors paid to writers and the con- 
sideration attaching to the office of public librarian. 
In the catalogues were inscribed not only the title of 
the work, but the name, the parentage, the dates of 
the birth and of the decease of the author; and, not 
infrequently, interesting biographical notices were 
appended to the already ample record. In the 
provinces, the custody of the assembled manuscripts 
was entrusted to a noble of distinction; but at the 
capital the charge of the magnificent library of Al- 
Hakem was considered an employment worthy of 
royalty itself, and was committed to Abd-al-Aziz, a 
brother of the Khalif. The general supervision of 
all educational institutions was exercised by Al- 
Mondhir, another brother of Al-Hakem, who, in the 
absence of the sovereign, presided over the contests of 
the famous literary institute in which were exhibited 
the talents and the learning of the aspiring scholars of 
the empire. 

The indefatigable energy of the Arabs exhausted 
every source of knowledge. Not only did they trans- 
late the masterpieces of Greek and Roman literature, 
but they familiarized themselves with Persian, Chal- 
daic, Hebrew, Chinese, Hindu, and Sanscrit works. 
Honein translated the Septuagint into Arabic. Abul- 
f eda was the first to direct attention to the so-called 
inconsistencies of the Pentateuch and the pronounced 

Vol. III. 30 

466 History of the 

materialistic character pervading it; to its want of 
coherence; to its apparent solecisms; to state that it 
contains no mention of a future life, of heaven or hell, 
of the immortality of the soul ; and to suggest that its 
legends indicate a Persian rather than a Jewish deri- 
vation. Averroes had mastered and embraced the 
philosophical ideas of India; he believed in the Uni- 
versal Intellect; the popular religious fictions which 
evoke the hopes and fears of the vulgar he treated with 
contempt. The precocity and vast intellectual powers 
of the great scholars of Islam are almost beyond 
belief. Avicenna, at sixteen, had attained to such 
eminence that learned and experienced physicians 
came from remote countries to enjoy the benefit of 
his wisdom; at twenty-two he was Grand Vizier. 
Abul-Hamid-al-Isfaraini was accustomed to lecture 
every day on a new topic to a class of seven hundred 
students of jurisprudence. Yezid-Ibn-Harun, of 
Bagdad, knew by heart thirty thousand traditions. 
All were pantheists or agnostics. The generally 
irreverent spirit of the age is disclosed by the epigram 
of Abu-Ala-Temouki, " The world is divided into 
two classes of people, one with wit and no religion, 
the other with religion and little wit." 

The instruction imparted by the provincial acade- 
mies of the empire and by the University of Cordova 
the centre of the intellectual activity of Europe 
was essentially infidel in character and tendency. The 
influence of these institutions upon the public mind 
was immense and far-reaching. Thousands of stu- 
dents attended their lectures. Their professors were 
the first scholars of the age, whose genius and abilities 
were not limited to the duties of their calling, but 
who at times administered with equal dexterity and 
success the most important judicial and diplomatic 
employments. Education was in a measure compul- 
sory, and, to obtain additional force for the mandates 

Moorish Empire in Europe 467 

of the law, the sanction of rehgion was enlisted, and 
the school became an indispensable appendage to the 
mosque. The various institutions appertaining to the 
academic system of the Peninsula which culminated in 
the University were graded much as are those of mod- 
ern times. In Cordova were eight hundred public 
schools frequented alike by Moslems, Christians, and 
Jews, where instruction was imparted by lectures. 
The natural quickness which distinguished the intel- 
lectual faculties of the Arab, and his phenomenally 
retentive memory, enabled him to achieve results of 
incalculable value to the development of his civiliza- 
tion. This marvellous progress was promoted by 
every incentive which could arouse the energies of 
the aspiring or the covetous, by the expected favor 
of the monarch, by the prospect of exalted and hon- 
orable dignities, by the certainty of magnificent 
rewards, by the hope of social distinction, by the 
ambition of literary fame. There was not a village 
within the limits of the empire where the blessings of 
education could not be enjoyed by the children of the 
most indigent peasant, and the universities of Gra- 
nada, Seville, and Cordova were held in the highest 
estimation by the scholars of Asia, Africa, and Eu- 
rope. In the various departments of these great insti- 
tutions were taught, in addition to the doctrines of 
the Koran and the principles of Mohammedan law, 
the classics, the exact sciences, medicine, music, poetry, 
and art. In the superintendence of academies and 
colleges, the profession of Islamism was not consid- 
ered an indispensable prerequisite by a liberal and en- 
lightened public sentiment; scholarly acquirements 
and devotion to learning were the accepted criterions 
of fitness for the direction of youth; and both Jews 
and Christians attained to acknowledged distinction 
as professors in the great University of the capital. 
In the ninth century, in the department of theology 

4(68 History of the 

alone, four thousand students were enrolled, and the 
total number in attendance at the University reached 
almost eleven thousand. Nor were these priceless 
educational privileges restricted to one people or to 
the votaries of a single faith. The doors of the col- 
lege were open to students of every nationality, and 
the Andalusian Moor received the rudiments of 
knowledge at the same time and under the same con- 
ditions as the literary pilgrims from Asia Minor and 
Egypt, from Germany, France, and Britain. A re- 
markable correspondence exists between the proced- 
ure established by those institutions and the methods 
of the present day. They had their collegiate courses, 
their prizes for proficiency in scholarship, their ora- 
torical and poetical contests, their commencements, 
their degrees. In the department of medicine, a 
severe and prolonged examination, conducted by the 
most eminent physicians of the capital, was exacted 
of all candidates desirous of practising their profes- 
sion, and such as were unable to stand the test were 
formally pronounced incompetent. Great and invalu- 
able contributions to the fund of historical and sci- 
entific information were made by the members of 
the various academies and schools. They composed 
voluminous treatises on surgery and medicine. They 
bestowed upon the stars the Arabic names which still 
cover the map of the heavens. Above the lofty sta- 
tion of the muezzin, as he called the devout to prayer, 
were projected against the sky the implements of 
science to whose uses religion did not refuse the 
shelter of her temples, the gnomon, the astrolabe, the 
pendulum clock, and the armillary sphere. 

The trading expeditions of the adventurous Arab 
had long before familiarized him with the relative 
positions, areas, and natural productions of the prin- 
cipal countries of the globe. But the princes of the 
Western Khalifate, not satisfied with the results acci- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 469 

dentally obtained, frequently despatched to the most 
distant regions accomplished scholars with the object 
of making new contributions to art, literature, and 
geography. In consequence of these extensive voy- 
ages, no science was better understood by the Moorish 
teachers than that treating of the earth's surface ; and 
its practical application was demonstrated by means 
of accurate representations of its principal features 
carved in relief upon globes of copper and silver. 

In the cultivation of the two sciences, geography 
was considered as dependent on history, and was often 
treated in connection with it and in a subordinate ca- 
pacity. The Chaldean shepherds had already, upon 
the plains of Asia Minor, by the measurement of a 
degree of a great circle, determined the form and 
dimensions of the earth; their observations had been 
confirmed by the experiments of the Khalif Al-Ma- 
mun; and these important data were carried into 
Spain with many other treasures of Oriental wisdom. 
The earth was whimsically divided into seven zones 
or climates, to correspond with the seven planets and 
the seven metals known to the Arabs, that number 
having with them, as with other branches of the Semi- 
tic race, a peculiar and mystic significance. With the 
Arab, however, the study of the earth was rather topo- 
graphical than geometric ; his measurements were con- 
fined to the estimated distances between important 
points ; and his figures were approximately calculated 
according to the popular but unreliable conception 
of the length of a day's journey, which was usually 
twenty-five miles on land and a hundred miles by sea. 
The geographer, in his description of the provinces 
of a country, devoted much space to the location of 
springs, wells, and rivulets, a consideration of more 
importance in the mind of the traveller whose ante- 
cedents were to be traced to the pathless and arid 
wastes of Arabia than were even the woody shores and 

470 History of the 

unruffled harbors of an hospitable coast to the eye of 
the shipwrecked mariner. 

Nor must the Hbraries be omitted from this list of 
those factors of progress which so signally contributed 
to public enlightenment and to the formation of na- 
tional character. There was no city of importance 
without at least one of these treasure-houses of litera- 
ture. Their shelves were open to every applicant. 
Catalogues facilitated the examination of the collec- 
tions and the classification of the various subjects. 
Many of the volumes were enriched with illuminations 
of wonderful beauty; the more precious were bound 
in embossed leather and fragrant woods; some were 
inlaid with gold and silver. Here were to be found 
all the learning of the past and all the discoveries of 
the present age, the philosophy of Athens, the as- 
tronomy of Babylon, the science of Alexandria, the 
results of prolonged observation and experiment on 
the towers and in the laboratories of Cordova and 
Seville. Here also were mysterious treatises of 
Indian lore, whose origin ascended beyond the records 
of history, whose doctrines, perused for centuries in 
a dead language, had travelled through the medium 
of Greek and Arabic versions from the Indus to the 
Guadalquivir, and were ultimately destined to form 
the basis of the pantheistic ideas popular among edu- 
cated persons at the present day. These opinions had, 
long anterior to the invasion of Tarik, provoked the 
curiosity and engaged the attention of studious Mo- 
hammedans. Under the khalifate, and subsequently, 
they were taught in the schools of the Peninsula, fig- 
ured in elaborate disquisitions of philosophers, formed 
the subject of learned discussion in lyceums and lit- 
erary assemblies. Their vital principles were founded 
upon the eternity of matter, the unity of intellect, the 
final absorption of the spirit of the individual into 
the Soul of the World. They accounted for the sue- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 471 

cession of natural phenomena by laws resulting from 
inevitable necessity. They refused to acknowledge 
the possibility of the supernatural, and renounced the 
time-honored and popular idea of incessant providen- 
tial interventions. They ridiculed the apparitions of 
angels and demons as phantasms evoked by the credu- 
lity and fears of the ignorant. The tenets and cere- 
monial of religion were regarded as the convenient 
pretexts and apparatus of imposture. The origin of 
life was explained by the development of the germ 
through its latent force. The law of progressive evo- 
lution was considered susceptible of universal appli- 
cation, as embracing animal, vegetable, even mineral, 
forms. The theory of Lord Monboddo, promulgated 
in the eighteenth century and elaborated with such 
ingenuity by Darwin in our own time, was, it is evi- 
dent, far from being original with either; for Moor- 
ish philosophers had, ages before, elucidated its lead- 
ing principles. Thus, in the end, they even went to 
the extent of including in its operations every descrip- 
tion of matter, a course of thought evidently sug- 
gested by advanced Hindu conceptions and confirmed 
by the fancied analogy between the transmutation of 
metals and the transmigration of souls, doctrines also 
imported from the extreme Orient. These ideas, so 
antagonistic to the dogmas of religion, while long 
entertained in secret, had been first publicly advocated 
by Solomon-ben-Gabirol, the Jewish philosopher of 
Malaga, during the eleventh century. The Moorish 
school of rationalism soon included many distin- 
guished names. The development of the mental 
faculties of humanity was declared to be a manifes- 
tation of the incessant activity of the omnipotent, in- 
tellectual principle that pervaded all Nature. The 
supreme object of human existence was the mastery 
of the sensations by the purer and nobler parts of the 

472 History of the 

From these speculations, generally accepted, the 
opinions of many of the Hispano-Arab philosophers 
in time exhibited wide and radical divergence. Some, 
it is true, adhered to Peripatetic Pantheism in its 
integrity. Others oscillated between the extremes 
of mysticism and materialism. Against all, without 
exception, the doctors and the populace displayed a 
mortal hatred, whose influence even royal favor was 
not always able to withstand. Those who had risen 
to pohtical eminence were compelled to relinquish their 
employments. Many were driven into exile. The 
intensity of popular odium forced those who still 
pursued their studies into obscurity, sometimes into 
penury. Consciousness of a defective title to the 
crown often impelled a prince to resort to the ignoble 
expedient of persecuting science for the sake of ob- 
taining popularity. It was thus that Al-Mansur, the 
greatest of Moorish conquerors, himself an enthusiast 
for and an adept in the very studies he professed to 
condemn, as a political measure for the consolidation 
of his power discouraged literature and oppressed 

In spite of the extraordinary literary privileges 
within their grasp, the masses of Moorish Spain 
largely dominated by African influence never ad- 
vanced beyond the primary stage of learning. It is 
true that they appreciated, in a measure, the benefits 
accruing from the employment of scientific methods 
in their various occupations of a mechanical or agri- 
cultural character. But this reluctant acknowledg- 
ment of the advantages of science extended no fur- 
ther. The invincible prejudices of the Semitic race 
clung to them through all the phases of their civili- 
zation. They never discarded the opinions born of a 
pastoral life, of all the most conducive to the perpetu- 
ation of ignorance. Their antipathy to innovation 
was only exceeded by the aversion they entertained 

Moorish Empire in Europe 473 

towards all who questioned the authenticity of their 
religious belief. Greek philosophy they regarded 
with undisguised detestation. For their countrymen 
who devoted themselves to its study they evinced an 
abhorrence greater even than that with which they re- 
garded apostasy. 

The most famous of the natural philosophers of 
Mohammedan Spain, whose transcendent ability has 
caused him to be considered the exemplar of all, was 
Ibn-Roschid, popularly known as Averroes. His life 
embraced the greater portion of the twelfth century; 
his voluminous works on theology, jurisprudence, phi- 
losophy, and medicine denote an important epoch in 
Arabic literature; and his influence, which prepon- 
derated over that of any writer of his age, has sur- 
vived the overthrow of his government, the dispersion 
of his people, the abandonment of his language, and 
the manifold catastrophes of more than seven hundred 
years. His industry was indefatigable. It is said 
that during the greater part of his life there were but 
two nights which he did not pass in study, the night 
of his marriage and that of the death of his father. 
The genius he displayed in other professions has been 
overshadowed by the reputation he acquired as a phi- 
losopher. He occupied the responsible position of 
first physician to the Almohade Emir, Yakub-Al- 
Mansur-Billah. He administered for a time the office 
of Grand Kadi of Cordova. His immense erudition 
was the wonder of Europe. His commentaries on 
Aristotle were more highly esteemed by his disciples 
and admirers than were even the originals, the master- 
pieces of the great founder of the Peripatetics. His 
popularity with the Jews was so great that manu- 
scripts of his works are more numerous in Hebrew 
than any other book except the Pentateuch. By his 
Mussulman contemporaries he was believed to have 
concluded a compact with Satan; to Christian theo- 

474 History of the 

logians his name has ever been a synonym of evil. 
The audacity of his opinions was indeed calculated 
to provoke ecclesiastical indignation. He diligently 
inculcated the Indian dogma of Emanation and Ab- 
sorption. He treated all revelations as impostures. 
Religions he pronounced convenient instruments of 
statecraft, admirable contrivances for the preservation 
of order and the encouragement of morality. The 
three then predominant in the world he held in equal 
contempt, the Christian he declared was impossible; 
the Jewish he characterized as a creed adapted only to 
children; the Mohammedan as a doctrine for swine. 
He indulged in sarcasms highly derogatory to the 
sanctity of the Eucharist. His popularity among the 
clerical profession was not enhanced by the saying 
attributed to him: " The tyrant is he who governs for 
himself and not for the people, and the worst of 
tyrannies is that of the priest." 

The power of public opinion, stimulated by the 
efforts of orthodox Mussulmans, procured the dis- 
grace of Averroes. He was deprived of his judicial 
office. The honorable post of court physician was 
taken from him. He was compelled to seek refuge in 
Africa; his property was confiscated; and, in age 
and infirmity, he was exposed to the insults of the 
fanatical rabble, who spat in his face as he sat help- 
less at the door of the mosque of Fez. With his death 
in 1198 disappeared from the Peninsula every out- 
ward trace of the doctrines of which he had been both 
the champion and the representative. Posterity, on 
account of the variety and excellence of his intellectual 
gifts, the extent of his erudition, and the boldness with 
which he asserted his opinions, has seen fit to dissociate 
him from the other learned men of his epoch, his in- 
structors, his collaborators, his disciples. There were 
many other philosophers, however, such as Solomon- 
ben-Gabirol, Ibn-Badja, Ibn-Tofail, Ibn-Zohr, who 

Moorish Empire in Europe 475 

were his equals in learning and scarcely inferior to him 
in natural courage and in argumentative ingenuity 
and eloquence. 

The apparent extinction of his theories, obnoxious 
alike to muftis and populace, was illusory. Intro- 
duced with other branches of Moslem science by the 
Jews, through the convenient channels of France and 
Italy, they eventually permeated the intellectual life 
of Europe. The Universities of Paris and Padua, 
the literary centres of the age, were from the four- 
teenth to the sixteenth century foci of infidelity. The 
impiety of propositions openly promulgated by the 
faculties of those two great institutions would to-day 
shock any one except the most daring agnostic. The 
seed thus sown bore abundant fruit. All Italy be- 
came tainted with heresy. The Lateran Council, sum- 
moned to place the official stamp of ecclesiastical con- 
demnation upon the prohibited doctrines, was unable 
to check their progress. The Jews carried these ideas 
everywhere; scholastics adopted them; they were 
even disseminated by members of the monastic orders. 
Alexander de Hales, of the Franciscans, was one of 
their ardent advocates. Robert Grossetete, Bishop 
of Lincoln, second in attainments and reputation only 
to his great contemporary Roger Bacon, believed in 
the Universal Intellect. It was Savonarola who 
wrote, " Ille ingenio divinus homo Averroes philoso- 
phus." From the propagation of these theories was 
derived the idea of the mythical book, entitled De 
Tribus Impostoribus, an alleged satire aimed at 
Moses, Christ, and Mohammed, variously attributed 
to a score of authors; supposed to be filled with 
blasphemy; whose very title was a powerful weapon 
in the hands of the clergy, yet whose publication was 
apocryphal, and whose contents were necessarily 
purely imaginary. 

The general acceptance and perpetuation of the 


opinions of Averroes, denounced from every pulpit, 
persecuted by the secular authority and anathematized 
by councils, is a striking proof of the universal de- 
cline of ecclesiastical power. The most popular poeti- 
cal compositions bore the impress of the prevailing 
spirit of incredulity and pantheism, which indeed 
pervaded, to a greater or less extent, every class of 
literature. It was in vain that those most deeply con- 
cerned vehemently protested against the alarming 
growth of this detested heresy. No rank of the cleri- 
cal order was exempt from its effects; it was whis- 
pered that its insidious influence had even penetrated 
the sacred precincts of the Vatican. That influence 
was transmitted unimpaired to posterity, and modern 
science is largely indebted for its inquisitive and im- 
partial spirit to the doctrines of the great Arabian 
philosopher of the twelfth century. 

In their treatment and application of the exact 
sciences, and especially in the development of the 
higher branches of mathematics, the Spanish Moham- 
medans exhibited pre-eminent ability. The Arabs 
were the first to ascertain with accuracy the length of 
the year. They tabulated the movements of the stars. 
They discovered the third lunar inequality of 45' six 
hundred and fifty years before Tycho Brahe. They 
determined the eccentricity of the sun's orbit; the 
movement of its apogee; the progressive diminution 
of the obliquity of the ecliptic; the amount of the 
precession of the equinoxes. To them is due the 
credit of having introduced to the knowledge of 
Europe many ingenious devices and processes of cal- 
culation which diminished labor, and, at the same 
time, opened new fields of investigation that otherwise 
might have remained unknown and unexplored. The 
grand work of Ptolemy, the Syntaxis, had, under the 
name of the Almagest, been translated before the 
ninth century, and been revised by Isaac-ben-Honein 

Moorish Empire in Europe 477 

in 827. In the tenth century, the famous Abul-Wefa, 
of Bagdad, wrote an astronomical treatise to which 
he gave the same name, which caused the two to be 
long confounded by scholars. Both of these composi- 
tions, equally wonderful for their learning, were early 
known to the Spanish Arabs. The numerals of 
India, which they adopted, at once superseded the 
cumbersome Roman characters hitherto in use. The 
decimal system was also introduced by them. They 
greatly advanced the study of algebra, whose scope 
and possibilities had previously been imperfectly un- 
derstood, and applied it to geometry. They substi- 
tuted sines for chords, invented modern trigonometry, 
proposed a formula for the solution of cubic equa- 
tions. They understood the principles of the calculus. 
Geber, of Seville, published rules for one of the most 
important demonstrations of spherical trigonometry. 
Al-Zarkal, of Toledo, was the first to suggest the 
substitution of the elliptical orbit to correct the errors 
of the generally accepted Ptolemaic system, thus an- 
ticipating Copernicus and Kepler. In his attempts 
to determine the movement of the sun's apogee alone, 
he made four hundred and two observations ; and the 
result he obtained was within a fraction of a second 
of the amount declared to be correct by modern 
astronomers. Abul-Hassan-Ali, by a series of obser- 
vations extending over a distance of nine hundred 
leagues to establish the elevation of the pole, esti- 
mated with precision the dimensions of the Mediter- 
ranean. The catalogue made by Ibn-Sina contains 
a thousand and twenty-two stars. Ibn-Abi-Thalta 
studied the movements of the heavenly bodies with- 
out intermission for thirty years. Averroes, while 
computing the motion of the planet Mercury, dis- 
covered spots upon the sun. The far greater portion 
of the results of the labors of the Moorish astronomi- 
cal observers of the Peninsula, having shared the 

478 History of the 

general fate of the monuments of Moslem learning, 
are lost. No complete copy of the works of any 
Arab astronomer who lived since the ninth century is 
known to exist. The extent of this calamity may be 
inferred from the fact that in the royal library of 
Cairo there were six thousand works on mathematics, 
copies of many of which must have been in the hands 
of the Moslems of Spain, and none of which have sur- 
vived. They made constant use of the formulas of 
Ibn-Junis for tangents and secants, of whose exist- 
ence Europe was ignorant for six hundred years 
after their publication. As the duty of pilgrimage 
promoted the study of geography, so an acquaint- 
ance with astronomy was rendered necessary to Mo- 
hammedans by the requirements of their religion. In 
order to determine the direction of Mecca, an exact 
knowledge of the points of the compass was indis- 
pensable. It was equally important to establish, 
without error, the hours of prayer and of diurnal 
ablution, and the dates of festivals which began with 
the rising of the moon. These considerations, which 
invested astronomical pursuits with a semi-religious 
character, greatly promoted their popularity. The 
study of mathematics was, independently of this in- 
fluence, an occupation especially congenial to the 
Arab mind. In all the schools were globes, both ter- 
restrial and celestial, of wood and metal, planispheres, 
and astrolabes. The construction of these latter in- 
struments, the precursors of the sextant, as perfected 
by the Arabs, was very complicated, and demanded 
the exercise of the highest degree of scientific in- 
genuity. They were used for the measurement of 
angles, and for ascertaining the hour either of the day 
or night. Some had as many as five tables, were en- 
graved on both sides, and were provided at the bot- 
tom with eleven difl'erent projections for as many 
horizons. On them were represented the movement 

Moorish Empire in Europe 479 

of the celestial sphere, the signs of the zodiac, and 
the position of the principal stars and constellations. 
Interchangeable plates, calculated for different lati- 
tudes, facilitated observations wherever made. It 
was not unusual for an astrolabe to give the latitudes 
of nearly a hundred cities. The invention of the 
pierced gnomon by Ibn-Junis greatly simplified ob- 
servations made to determine the altitude of the sun. 
The passage of time was usually marked by sundials, 
and by clepsydras of complex and elaborate mechan- 
ism. The oscillatory property of suspended bodies, 
represented by the isochronism of the pendulum, was 
familiar to the Arabs, who had adapted it to a con- 
trivance whose construction resembled that of the 
modern clock, an invention generally attributed to 
Galileo. Many of the instruments used by them in 
their astronomical observations were of enormous 
dimensions. Some of their armillary spheres were 
twenty-five feet in diameter, and quadrants with a 
radius of fifteen feet were not uncommon. The 
bronze sextant, employed in the tenth century for the 
determination of the obliquity of the ecliptic and de- 
scribed by Abul-Hassan, of Morocco, had a radius 
of fifty-eight feet, and its arc was divided into 
seconds. At that time astronomy, especially among 
the Spanish Moslems, had advanced as far as was pos- 
sible without the use of the telescope. It was through 
the influence of the Arabs that knowledge of that 
science, as well as of all other branches of mathe- 
matics, was universally diffused. The modern al- 
manac, as its name denotes, is their invention, and the 
signs by which it designates the seven planets have 
been transmitted through their agency. As with all 
pastoral nations, their attention was early directed to 
the phenomena of the heavens. They noted the rising 
and setting of certain stars which seemed intended to 
mark the advent of the seasons; they divided the 

480 History of the 

most prominent groups into constellations, and as- 
signed to them, as did the Greeks, a fanciful and 
legendary origin and nomenclature. With the prac- 
tice of astral worship, incident to every race at a cer- 
tain stage of its intellectual progress, was associated 
the study of astrology, whose principles, based upon 
the imaginary effect of benign or malignant plan- 
etary influence, has still in educated as well as in 
ignorant communities its enthusiastic votaries. The 
practice of this false but attractive science was, how- 
ever, in no age confined to impostors. Some of the 
greatest minds of mediaeval or modern times believed 
in its delusions, which were especially popular with 
the most eminent astronomers of the Middle Ages. 
Tycho Brahe, who gravely interpreted dreams, drew 
the horoscope of the Emperor Rudolph. Even the 
ability of Kepler did not preserve him from the preva- 
lent superstition; he also cast horoscopes and pub- 
lished prophetic almanacs. Its pursuit led to the 
cultivation of other and more debased superstitions, 
the chimerical follies of geomancy and oneiromancy, 
the profane rites of divination and magic, the belief 
in the occult virtues of talismans and amulets. The 
persistence of those practices, through unnumbered 
centuries to the present time, is a singular commen- 
tary on human credulity in enlightened as well as in 
unlettered ages. In many parts of Germany the 
horoscope of an infant is cast at its nativity, and is 
religiously preserved, with its baptismal certificate, 
until the hour of dissolution. Our farmers sow and 
reap and perform the various duties incident to rural 
economy with diligent attention to the phases of the 
moon. Confidence in the efficacy of talismans is even 
in our generation far from extinct. It is uncon- 
sciously manifested in the cruciform plan of our ma- 
jestic cathedrals; in the gilded emblem which points 
heavenward on the summits of their loftiest towers; 

Moorish Empire in Europe 481 

in the curves of their painted windows, glowing with 
all the hues of the rainbow; in the armorial bearings 
of some of the proudest royal houses of Europe; in 
the carvings of our furniture; in the horseshoe sus- 
pended over doorways; in the Teraphim and the 
phylacteries of the Jew; in the holy symbols em- 
broidered upon the vestments of the Catholic clergy; 
in the badges of our secret societies; in the settings 
of the jewels which rise and fall on the voluptuous 
bosom of Beauty. The superstition of the evil-eye, 
universally prevalent in the Orient, is largely respon- 
sible for the employment of charms. It is not im- 
probable that this belief may have been originally 
derived from the peculiar influence exercised by some 
person endowed with an extraordinary degree of hyp- 
notic power. To animal magnetism as a mysterious 
force is certainly due a large proportion of the 
magic fascinations of ancient times ; and the power of 
the serpent over birds and animals probably gave rise 
to the popular fable of the basilisk. The virtues of 
amulets were derived, according to common opinion, 
not from the substance of which they were composed, 
but from the portion of the Universal Intelligence by 
which they were supposed to be tenanted. 

Thus a desire to penetrate the secrets of futurity 
and avert impending misfortune gave rise to the 
spurious science of astrology, itself the parent of 
astronomy. The European Arabs cultivated both 
with almost equal assiduity. The mind of the philoso- 
pher, disciplined by the daily habit of mathemati- 
cal calculation, was yet unable to discard the delusions 
of the horoscope or to forget the visionary and ficti- 
tious properties of talismans. In the mental consti- 
tution of the ablest Arabian scholars, the fascination 
of the occult and the forbidden predominated over 
the experience of centuries, the influence of letters, 
and the dictates of reason. 

Vol. III. 3X 

482 History of the 

The discoveries of Al-Hazen in optics, communi- 
cated to Europe by the Spanish and Sicilian Moham- 
medans, have had a marked effect on the development 
of that science, and are the basis of all that we know 
on the subject. He understood the cause of the 
twilight; estimated the density and calculated the 
height of the atmosphere. He explained by the prin- 
ciple of refraction why celestial bodies are visible 
when they are actually below the horizon. He dis- 
cussed the effect upon vision of the varying trans- 
parency of the air, and suggested that beyond our 
atmosphere there was nothing but ether, a proposi- 
tion which modern astronomy accepts. First of all in- 
vestigators, he corrected the prevalent fallacy that the 
rays of light proceed from the eye to the object seen, 
an error which had hitherto deceived all who had 
written on the science of optics. The works of Al- 
Hazen were used as text-books in the Andalusian col- 
leges, and they were first made known to Christendom 
through the foreigners who came to study Arabic 
learning in the schools of Toledo. Among such 
literary pilgrims of the twelfth century were the 
Englishmen Adelard of Bath, Robert of Reading, 
Daniel Morley, William Shelley, and the Italian 
Gerard of Cremona. The translations of Arabic 
works into Latin introduced by the labors of these and 
subsequent scholars in the department of medicine 
alone amount to nearly four hundred. 

Great as was the reputation of these ambitious 
ecclesiastics among the ignorant masses of their coun- 
trymen, it did not approach that of the famous Ger- 
bert, whose genius had unsuccessfully attempted the 
enlightenment of Europe nearly two hundred years 
before. The attainments of that accomplished 
scholar, respectable in any age, were so superior to 
those of his contemporaries that, as has been pre- 
viously stated, they procured for him the unenviable 

Moorish Empire in Europe 483 

and dangerous title of magician. A native of Aqui- 
taine, of obscure birth and without resources, his 
talents early attracted the notice of the Count of 
Barcelona, who provided for his education in that 
city. Thence, after a time, he visited the principal 
Moorish cities of Andalusia. It was the tenth cen- 
tury, the epoch of the highest prosperity and mag- 
nificence of the Ommeyade Khalifate. Everywhere 
were visible the effects of that civilization which had 
no rival in the world. The thorough agricultural de- 
velopment of the country; the busy seaports; the 
luxurious palaces ; the populous cities ; the well-paved 
streets, filled by day with surging multitudes, and 
lighted at night by tens of thousands of twinkling 
lamps; the illimitable expanse of verdure which 
marked the environs of the great Moorish capital, 
broken only by occasional watch-towers and gilded 
minarets; the gorgeous splendor of the court; the 
prodigious libraries; the innumerable schools and 
colleges, equipped with every scientific appliance 
known to Moslem culture colored maps, armils, sun- 
dials, clepsydras, hydrometers, parallactic rules, quad- 
rants, astrolabes, planispheres, globes; the mosque 
with its throngs of pilgrims gay with the costumes of 
every land acknowledging the creed of Islam, these 
scenes did not fail to profoundly impress the young 
French ecclesiastic, already imbued with prohibited 
ideas and fresh from the intolerance, the barbarism, 
the credulity, and the intellectual debasement of 
Christian Europe. The mind of Gerbert was prompt 
to recognize the manifold advantages to be derived 
from familiarity with Moslem institutions and erudi- 
tion. He became a student of the University of Cor- 
dova. During the few years he remained in that city, 
his talents and perseverance procured for him a fund 
of scientific information unexampled for that period. 
On his return he established schools in both Italy and 

484 History of the 

France. He imported books from every quarter of 
the world, and especially from Spain. His pupils, 
reckoned by thousands, diffused throughout Europe 
the fame of their teacher and the precepts of his 
works. The instruction he imparted embodied the 
forbidden learning taught beyond the Pyrenees. He 
was the first to explain to Europeans the abacus, the 
Indian numerals, the science of arithmetic. He 
taught geography and astronomy from globes con- 
structed at Cordova. He observed the motions of the 
planets and determined the elevation of the pole 
through diopters. The results of the mechanical in- 
genuity which amused his leisure moments awakened 
the horror of his ignorant and pious contemporaries. 
He invented a steam or hydraulic organ; a clock 
whose mechanism was largely composed of wheels and 
pinions; and automatons whose mysterious move- 
ments suggested to the vulgar a diabolical agency. 
He improved the science of music. His system of 
imparting knowledge, based upon experiment and 
demonstration, exhibited a radical difference from the 
prevalent methods of an epoch whose instruction was 
limited to Scriptural texts and ecclesiastical admoni- 
tion. The renown of the great scholar excited the 
envy of the monks, to whom the popular imputation 
of infernal communion afforded a pretext for per- 
secution. They instigated marauders to plunder his 
abbey at Bobbio, in Italy. His library was burned, 
his instruments were destroyed, his students dispersed. 
This ill-treatment, so far from being, as intended, pre- 
judicial to the fortunes of Gerbert, ultimately pro- 
moted them. His reputation was everywhere known, 
and the awe his wisdom excited was increased by the 
supernatural means he was believed to employ. He 
was patronized by the King of France and the Em- 
peror of Germany ; he became successively Bishop of 
Rheims and of Ravenna; and, through the influence 

Moorish Empire in Europe 485 

of the latter sovereign, he was, in the year 999, raised 
to the pontifical dignity, under the name of Sylvester 
II. Even in that exalted position, the relentless spirit 
of ecclesiastical malice did not permit him to rest. 
His attempts to reform clerical abuses brought down 
upon him the vengeance of the corrupt and rapacious 
ministers of the papal court. The most absurd 
fables were invented to account for the results of his 
scientific experiments, otherwise incomprehensible 
by mediaeval ignorance. He was accused of gross im- 
morality, blasphemy, magical incantations, the invo- 
cation of demons. It was whispered that goblins of 
fantastic dress and repulsive aspect attended him at 
midnight during the celebration of impious orgies and 
profane sacrifices. The diligent propagation of these 
scandals prepared the way for the punishment meted 
out in that age to all daring reformers, and especially 
to those who presumed to interfere with the preroga- 
tives and emoluments of the clergy. A victim of slow 
poison, Sylvester II. survived his elevation to the 
Papacy less than four years. His name was anathe- 
matized, his doctrines condemned as heretical, and the 
perusal of his writings prohibited as contrary to the 
canons of the Church and prejudicial to the interests 
of religion. After his decease, a long period of dark- 
ness again clouded the Christian world. The dawn- 
ing spirit of inquiry thus suppressed, men once more 
turned to the priest for counsel, for assistance, for 
the explanation of natural phenomena, for the cure 
of disease. Such was the inauspicious and apparently 
futile result of the first introduction of Arabian learn- 
ing into Roman Catholic Europe. 

The unrivalled excellence of the agricultural 
methods employed by the Spanish Mohammedans was, 
in large measure, due to their profound botanical 
knowledge. That science, practically unknown in the 
desert wastes of Arabia, to which nature has be- 

486 History of the 

grudged the wealth of her vegetable kingdom, was 
early pursued with great energy and success by the 
conquering Moslems. In no other part of their em- 
pire, however, was such progress made in its study 
or such beneficial results obtained from the culture 
of plants as in Andalusia. Their analysis and classi- 
fication, and the determination of their properties, 
were sedulously encouraged by the government. The 
scientific expeditions of the khalifs collected speci- 
mens and seeds from every quarter of the world. 
Gardens for the propagation of both native plants 
and exotics were established in the environs of all the 
great cities, and the results of intelligent observation 
and experiment were regularly tabulated for the pub- 
lic benefit. In the oases of the Desert, along the 
banks of the Nile, on the fertile plains of Mesopoto- 
tamia, on the arid plateaus of Central Asia, in the 
pestilent delta of the Ganges, the botanists of Cor- 
dova added to the stock of ideas and principles to be 
subsequently developed and advantageously applied 
in the valley of the far distant Guadalquivir, Nor 
were their efforts confined to the mere collection and 
examination of products of the vegetable kingdom. 
Every novel appliance, every useful invention, which 
might prove beneficial to horticulture, to irrigation, to 
the various branches of rural economy, were diligently 
noted and carefully preserved. As a consequence of 
these laborious researches, the Andalusian Arabs be- 
came more proficient in the kindred sciences of botany 
and agriculture than any people who have ever ex- 
isted. In their country were concentrated all the 
fruits of the learning and experience of centuries then 
extant in the world. It is said that they added to the 
herbals of the ancients more than two thousand 
varieties of plants. They described the circulation of 
the sap; they understood the ofiices of the bark and 
the leaves. Every source of information was thor- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 487 

oughly explored. Already, in the tenth century, the 
treatise of Dioscorides had been translated into Ara- 
bic by a monk of Constantinople, sent by the Em- 
peror at the special request of the Khalif, because 
the subjects of the latter were ignorant of Greek. 
The botanical works of the Hispano- Arabs were en- 
riched with drawings from nature, beautifully exe- 
cuted in colors. When Ibn-Beithar, of Malaga, the 
most famous of Moslem botanists, travelled in the 
Orient, he was accompanied by a corps of artists, 
whose skill preserved the form and tints of unfamiliar 
flora in all their beauty and perfection. His is the 
greatest name in the annals of this important branch 
of learning from Dioscorides to Linnaeus, an interval 
of fifteen hundred years. 

In the wide range of philosophical and experimen- 
tal study, however, no subject was so congenial to the 
taste of the Arab or appealed more strongly to his 
imagination than the pursuit of the spurious science 
of alchemy. That science originated in Egypt, the 
land of isolation, of enchantment, of prodigy. Its 
investigation, confined to a privileged class, had been 
protected by the double safeguard of religion and 
secrecy. For innumerable centuries the Egyptian 
priesthood, the sole depositaries of knowledge, had, in 
laboratories hidden in temples or excavated in the 
rocky sides of mountains, eagerly devoted themselves 
to the discovery of the universal panacea, of the 
elixir of life, of the transmutation of inferior metals 
into gold. The Ptolemaic dynasty, heir to these de- 
lusions so acceptable to human egotism and avarice, 
had contributed to their universal dissemination over 
Europe and Asia. The Arabs, from the first hour of 
their intellectual emancipation, prosecuted with alac- 
rity a study especially adapted to their national in- 
clination and genius. The fact that the Koran pro- 
hibits such occupations made their association with 


religion, contrary to the custom in Egypt, imprac- 
ticable. At Toledo and Cordova, alchemy was not 
designated, as at Memphis and Thebes, the " Sacred 
Art," cultivated in the precincts of temples, com- 
municated only to royalty, screened from the pro- 
fanation of the vulgar by the delusive mummeries of 
processions and sacrifices. Its close relations with 
thaumaturgy and divination, with astrology and 
magic, were inevitable consequences of the uncer- 
tainty of its results, and of the mystery that envel- 
oped its professors. Ancient Hebrew tradition, as 
disclosed by the apocryphal books of the Bible, asserts 
that the occult arts and sciences were the gift of evil 
spirits to the children of men. The Romans punished 
such practices with death, probably for the reason 
that they came into competition with the oracles, a 
fruitful source of revenue and prestige to the state. 
Thus, in a measure, placed under the ban of rehgion 
and law, a subject of suspicion and fear to the masses, 
the study of alchemy was fraught with danger, even 
amidst the Pagan associations of antiquity. In the 
Middle Ages, the endangered interests of priestcraft 
added to legal prohibition and the prejudice of public 
opinion the resistless force of their condemnation. 

The Spanish Arabs, passionately fond of experi- 
ment and novelty, were eminently proficient in the 
technicalities of the Hermetic Art. They entertained 
the idea that the same elements, in different propor- 
tions, were present in all metals, and that, by certain 
processes of elimination, any metal, as, for instance, 
ffold, could be obtained. Like their masters, the 
Alexandrian Greeks, they concealed their discoveries 
in the obscurities of a learned jargon. The principles 
of their calling were indicated by mysterious sym- 
bols, enigmatical phrases, mutilated formulas, capable 
of interpretation only by themselves. With the ad- 
vancement of learning, the operations of the alchemist 

Moorish Empire in Europe 489 

were practised with less concealment and mystery. 
His labors were encouraged by the Idialifs, of whom 
some were themselves adepts, and prosecuted their 
investigations in well-equipped laboratories. The 
prevalence of one delusion led to the propagation of 
others, and the original objects of alchemical research 
became confounded with astrology, mysticism, and all 
their chimerical relations and incidents, theories in- 
volving the seven planets and the seven metals, the 
ceremonies of exorcism, the procuring of happiness 
by the identification of the soul with the Universal 
Intellect. Attracted by the profits to be obtained 
from human credulity, a swarm of charlatans sprang 
up in every community, prototypes of the impostors 
who infested the society of Europe during the four- 
teenth and fifteenth centuries. Among these the Jews 
attained an unenviable notoriety, a reputation des- 
tined in subsequent ages to produce most deplorable 
consequences. Even under the Pharaohs, Hebrew 
astuteness had succeeded in penetrating the well- 
guarded arcana of the Egyptian priesthood. It was 
mainly through their traditional avarice that the pre- 
cepts and formulas of the Sacred Art, divulged to 
the Greeks and afterwards to the Arabs, became the 
property of mediaeval Europe. In Mohammedan 
Spain the Jews excelled in this unpopular but lucra- 
tive profession, as they did in every pursuit requiring 
intelligence, energy, craft, and skill. From this con- 
fused medley of philosophy, magic, and imposture 
were unconsciously obtained results of superlative 
value to the human race. The adept, poring over 
his retorts and crucibles in vaulted chambers far 
removed from inquisitive eyes, stumbled upon dis- 
coveries more important than that of the philosopher's 
stone. In attempts to accomplish the transmutation 
of metals, processes were invented by which the analy- 
sis, separation, and smelting of ores were, hundreds 

490 History of the 

of years afterwards, facilitated, and the visionary aim 
of the alchemist, in a measure, accomplished. From 
these secret experiments came the knowledge of the 
working of metals, of the composition of alloys, of 
the fusing of glass, of the application of enamels. 
Alchemy was thus the precursor of chemistry, and, 
so intimately are their principles and relations con- 
nected, that it is impossible to determine where the 
false science terminates and where the true science 
begins. The Hispano-Arabs carried the operations 
of both to a point not hitherto attained by the ex- 
perimenters of the ancient world. While they 
profited largely by the learning of the East, it would 
be unjust to deny them the merit of conspicuous 
and striking originality. They practically invented 
modern chemistry. Their writers describe with clear- 
ness and precision the processes of crystallization, 
sublimation, distillation, filtration, solution. They 
introduced nitric and sulphuric acids, those powerful 
solvents, without whose agency chemical combinations 
could not be effected. To them is due the discovery 
of alcohol, muriate of ammonia, potassa, bichloride 
of mercury, nitrate of silver, and phosphorus. The 
adaptation of these substances to the multifarious 
purposes of daily existence has bestowed upon the 
inventor almost boundless resources for the develop- 
ment of the industrial arts, and has provided the sur- 
geon with efficacious means of alleviating human 
suffering. The use of caustics and acids produced 
a revolution in medicine, and the skill of the physi- 
cian, even in Christendom, was no longer classed with 
the exorcisms of the necromancer or subordinated to 
the mummeries of the priest. The Moslems of the 
Peninsula were aware that a calcined metal gains 
instead of loses weight, a fact whose knowledge 
foreshadows an acquaintance with gases and the 
discovery of oxygen; nor were they ignorant of 

Moorish Empibe in Europe 491 

the existence and the properties of hydrogen. Pro- 
cesses for the oxidation of metals and for the gen- 
eration of gases are first mentioned by Djabar-al- 
Kufi, or Geber, whose personal history is unknown, 
and who is often confounded with the mathematician, 
Djabar-Ibn-Aflah, of Spain. The greatest Arabian 
chemist of any age, his abilities have been recognized 
and his name has been mentioned with respect by 
every investigator of the exact and experimental 
sciences down to the present day. It has been well 
said that he bears the same relation to chemistry 
that Hippocrates does to medicine. His writings 
calm, judicious, eminently logical are not ob- 
scured or disfigured by the absurdity and charla- 
tanism of the epoch. Aside from his reference to 
the generation of gases by heat, and the radical 
alterations undergone by the substances from which 
they are derived, his fame would have been per- 
manently established by his discovery of nitric acid 
and aqua regia, products of the laboratory not pre- 
viously described by any author. Thus the philo- 
sophical methods of the Spanish Moslems gradually 
developed the visionary operations of alchemy into 
the science of chemistry. To the latter, however, still 
clung numerous indications of an origin fraught with 
imposture. Important experiments were deferred 
until the planetary influences were declared to be au- 
spicious. The elixir of life was sought for with un- 
diminished ardor. Monarchs were still deluded and 
plundered by means of fallacious promises of wealth 
to be obtained by the transmutation of metals. But, 
in many respects, notable changes were discernible, 
harbingers of incalculable benefit to both the physical 
and intellectual condition of humanity. Then was 
first effected the permanent separation between ex- 
perimental science and religious mysticism, a union 
fatal to mental development and to the arts of civili- 

492 History of the 

zation. From the earliest times, every important un- 
dertaking had been invested with a sacred character, 
and supplemented with ceremonies adopted to avoid 
publicity and to enhance its mysterious significance. 
It was no longer accounted sacrilege to explain the 
secrets of nature or necessary to enshroud the dis- 
coveries of the philosopher with the terms of an alle- 
gorical jargon. The scientific lectures of the Moorish 
universities of Spain were open to all students; the 
analyses of the laboratory were daily performed in 
the presence of thousands. Familiarity with its 
operations, experience of its advantageous applica- 
tion, diminished in time the suspicion with which 
chemistry was viewed by the populace. That science, 
necessarily slow in its development, originally based 
upon erroneous principles, profiting by the opportuni- 
ties of accidental discovery, retarded by innumerable 
failures, hated by the priesthood, feared by the igno- 
rant, classed as diabolical by the superstitious, was far 
from possessing the capability for progressive ad- 
vancement and permanence of which mathematics was 
susceptible. Although practically its inventors, the 
Arabs paid more attention to the adaptation of its 
discovery to medicine than to the improvement of its 
processes or the purification of its products. This 
predilection induced them to separate pharmacy from 
chemistry as well as from medicine, thus creating a 
new and most important branch of science, of uni- 
versal application and of practical benefit. 

Europe is indebted to the Moslems of Spain and 
Sicily for the introduction of such drugs as nux 
vomica, cassia, croton, tamarind, myrrh, sandal, 
cubebs, ergot, senna, rhubarb, and camphor; for such 
spices as cloves, nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon; for 
such compounds as juleps, elixirs, syrups, and elec- 
tuaries, still known to commerce by their Arabic 
names. Under the Idialifs, pharmacies were estab- 

Moorish Empire in Europe 493 

lished in all the principal towns of the empire, 
subordinated to great central depots at Toledo and 
Cordova. These were placed under government su- 
pervision, were visited by inspectors, and their owners 
held accountable for the purity of their commodities 
and the methods of their preparation. In Sicily the 
laws were even more stringent: every dispenser of 
drugs was subjected to a rigid examination as to his 
qualifications, and the professional oath of the physi- 
cian required him to denounce to the proper authori- 
ties any pharmacist whose wares were inferior in 
quality to the regular standard. In addition to these 
salutary precautions against dishonesty and fraud, a 
scale of prices, publicly displayed, prevented extor- 
tion; and violation of the law subjected the offender 
to serious penalties. These regulations, adopted in 
the thirteenth century by the Emperor Frederick II., 
contributed greatly to the success attained by the 
medical schools of Salerno and Naples, and made 
Sicily the most famous market for medicaments in the 

It is a remarkable circumstance that the science of 
the Saracens was largely diffused among the nations 
of Northern Europe through the agency of the ec- 
clesiastical order, to whose faith, organization, and 
traditions it had always evinced an implacable hostility. 
The general dearth of educational facilities in the 
Middle Ages, the monopoly by the clergy of such 
learning as existed, and the fact that, among the lat- 
ter, would be found, sooner or later, superior minds 
dissatisfied with the ignorance and the absurdities of 
the Fathers, were conditions that inevitably tended to 
this result despite the anathemas of pontiffs and the 
decrees of synods. Many of these innovators came 
from the monastic orders. It must not be forgotten 
that both Savonarola and Bruno were Dominicans. 
For more than a century there emanated from Toledo 

494 History of the 

translations into Latin of classical works that had 
long before been rendered from Greek into Arabic. 
The pioneer of this intellectual movement was Arch- 
bishop Raj^mond, a Frenchman. His example was 
followed by Herman of Dalmatia, Michael Scott, 
and John of Seville. The three greatest Christian 
disseminators of the science derived from the Moors, 
however, were Albertus Magnus, Bishop of Ratisbon ; 
Robert Grossetete, Bishop of Lincoln; and Roger 
Bacon, professor in the University of Oxford, all of 
the thirteenth century. The first is popularly known 
to posterity as an alchemist and a magician. He was, 
besides, a man of extensive knowledge, and a writer 
of voluminous treatises on theology, philosophy, 
alchemy, and chemistry. He described successfully 
the action of acids, the character of alkalies, the forms 
and alloys of metals. The method used to-day in the 
manufacture of caustic potash is identical with the 
one he recommends. He was the first to prove by 
sublimation that cinnabar was a compound of sulphur 
and mercury. He understood perfectly the prepara- 
tion of acetate of copper, of arsenic, of oxide of lead. 
The process of refining metals was also familiar to 
him. He gives the composition of gunpowder, an 
invention also attributed to Friar Bacon, but unques- 
tionably due to the Arabs. The idle legends attaching 
to his name, which have ascribed to him supernatural 
powers derived from an intercourse with demons, are 
a part of the homage that mediaeval credulity was 
accustomed to pay to superior intelligence. His life, 
devoted to science, was as exemplary in its character, 
in an age of ecclesiastical corruption, as his talents 
were great and his deeds meritorious. His mathe- 
matical knowledge and his mechanical skill were the 
marvel of his contemporaries. The curious automa- 
ton that he constructed, which could open doors and 
utter guttural sounds, was broken to pieces by St. 

Moorish Empire in Europe 495 

Thomas Aquinas, who had previously satisfied him- 
self of its magical origin and diabolical character. 

Robert Grossetete, Bishop of Lincoln, eminent 
alike in scientific attainments and theological con- 
troversy, is one of the prominent and interesting 
characters of English mediaeval history. An ac- 
complished scholar, he was profoundly versed in all 
the learning of his time. Anticipating WycMf by 
more than a century, he was not afraid to criticise 
publicly the abuses of the Papacy, to defy its man- 
dates, and to advocate the exercise of individual judg- 
ment in ecclesiastical matters. In these daring inno- 
vations we obtain the first glimpse of the audacious 
spirit which animated the founders of the English 
Reformation. He resisted successfully the presen- 
tation of Italian prelates to the vacant benefices of 
England, a prerogative hitherto exercised by the See 
of Rome, almost without remonstrance. He elevated 
the standard of scholarship at Oxford by introducing 
the methods of examination which obtained in the 
University of Paris, at that time the first institution 
of learning in Christian Europe. Although of dis- 
tinguished rank in the Roman Catholic hierarchy, the 
unconcealed exultation of the Pope at his decease is 
a suggestive indication of the broadness of his views, 
and of the danger to the cause of ecclesiastical su- 
premacy incurred by the extent of his knowledge, the 
boldness of his sentiments, and the unchecked propa- 
gation of his heretical doctrines. 

But the greatest of this trio of illustrious names, in 
both renown and influence, is that of Roger Bacon. 
Born in 1214, he was early distinguished for his ex- 
traordinary abilities. He studied at Oxford and 
Paris, mastered without difiiculty the sciences as 
taught at those two universities, and, unfortunately 
for himself, adopted the habit of the Franciscan 
Order. His inclinations, little in accordance with the 

496 History of the 

maxims of his profession, impelled him to the investi- 
gation of natural phenomena. He seems to have had 
well-defined notions of many practical devices which 
have contributed largely to the triumphs of modern 
civilization. He regarded experiment and demon- 
stration as the only rational method of arriving at 
philosophical truth. A mind endowed with remark- 
able versatility, a spirit of indomitable perseverance, 
acquired for him an acquaintance with languages un- 
exampled in his age. In addition to being thoroughly 
conversant with the classics, Hebrew and Arabic, 
generally unknown in the thirteenth century except 
to the Jew and the Saracen, were as familiar to Bacon 
as the accents of his mother tongue. It is said that 
he devoted forty consecutive years to the study of 
science. He expended for rare books and for the 
apparatus necessary for its researches the sum of two 
thousand pounds sterling, an amount corresponding 
to seventy-five thousand dollars of our money. In 
his writings, he especiallly recommends the study of 
mathematics as the most potent instrument of mental 
culture, the only key which can unlock the secrets of 
Nature. His erudition embraced the most recondite 
branches of learning, and some of his suggestions 
viewed in connection with subsequent discoveries al- 
most seem prompted by supernatural inspiration. He 
recognized the necessity for the reform of the calen- 
dar, and applied to Pope Clement IV. for permission 
to rectify its errors, but the latter refused. He de- 
clared a thorough knowledge of optics to be indis- 
pensable for the construction of astronomical instru- 
ments. After the perusal of his writings, a doubt 
can hardly be entertained that he was the inventor 
of spectacles, whose idea he obtained from Al- 
Hazen, and that he also understood the adjust- 
ment of the lenses in the telescope. He explained 
the phenomena of the rainbow as due to refrac- 

Moorish Etvipire in Europe 497 

tion. The power of magnifying-glasses he correctly 
states to vary with the size of the angle under which 
the object is seen. He gives the ingredients and 
describes the effects of gunpowder, a discovery in 
which he was, however, anticipated by Albertus 
Magnus. He discourses on the possibilities of in- 
ventions similar to the steam-engine, the balloon, 
and the application of electricity, obscure, it is true, 
yet with an accuracy of perception that seems incredi- 
ble, and which cannot be questioned without denying 
the authenticity of his works. He apparently un- 
derstood the theory of the suspension-bridge. He 
refers to the inflammable product obtained by the 
sublimation of organic matter, probably an allusion 
to hydrogen. The properties of carbonic acid gas, 
unfavorable to combustion and fatal to animal life, 
he mentions in terms whose meaning cannot be mis- 
understood. He entertained the ancient idea of the 
compound nature of metals, and declares that, in order 
to effect their transmutation, a reduction to their pri- 
mary elements is an essential requisite to success. He 
explains their artificial coloration, a trick very popular 
with charlatans, who passed off inferior metals sub- 
jected to processes that changed their appearance for 
silver and gold. The latter metal he asserts to be 
perfect, because in its formation the operations of 
countless ages have been completed, and similar pro- 
cesses must be devised by man before he can hope to 
enter into competition with Nature. In addition to 
his proficiency in mathematics and chemistry. Bacon 
was a learned astronomer and a physician. He also 
constructed automatons, which brought down upon 
his head the censures of the Church and the enmity 
of the ignorant. Accused of magic, although he 
wrote a treatise against it, fanaticism and hatred sen- 
tenced him to imprisonment and anathematized his 
works. After ten years of confinement in a dungeon, 

Vol. III. 32 


he was liberated, only to die with the first return of 
the blessings of freedom. The intolerant spirit of the 
age that condemned him is epitomized in a sentence 
taken from a chapter in which he deplores the irra- 
tional bigotry that obstructs the progress of scien- 
tific investigation, "Animus ignorans veritatem sus- 
tinere non potest." The versatility of his talents was 
only surpassed by the audacity with which he at- 
tacked and the success with which he controverted 
the absurd prejudices of his epoch. His name, sy- 
nonymous with progress, stands forth in prominent 
contrast with the intellectual abasement and unques- 
tioning credulity with which he was surrounded. His 
prophetic foresight, while it provoked the ridicule of 
the thirteenth century, commands alike the respect 
and astonishment of ours. Like every innovator, he 
experienced the penalties of superior genius, per- 
secution, contumely, deprivation of liberty. Among 
the representative scholars of the Middle Ages, he de- 
serves pre-eminent celebrity as a bold and original 
exponent of experimental philosophy and scientific 

Although unappreciated by his contemporaries, 
Roger Bacon found a host of imitators during the 
next three centuries. Members of every rank and 
profession embraced the study of alchemy. The cleri- 
cal order included the larger number; the secrecy of 
the cloister was made subservient to the purposes of 
magic; and the formulas of the laboratory claimed 
far more attention than the accomplishment of pen- 
ance or the ceremonies of devotion. It was even 
alleged that Pope John XXII. found time at Avig- 
non to engage in a fruitless search for the philoso- 
pher's stone. From these illusory occupations were, 
as already remarked, occasionally derived discoveries 
of great practical value. The benefits resulting from 
the exercise of the spirit of inquiry and the vigorous 

Moorish Empire in Europe 499 

employment of the intellectual faculties were of even 
greater consequence to the growth of civilization and 
the future welfare of mankind. 

In no department of scientific investigation was the 
genius of Arabian culture more signally displayed 
than in the noble profession of medicine. In ancient 
Arabia, disease was supposed to be an indication of 
the anger of God, which it was the peculiar province 
of the sorcerer to remove. The erroneous ideas of 
morbific conditions common to nations in their intel- 
lectual infancy, among the primitive Arabs, conspicu- 
ous for their ignorance, were even more pronounced 
than was characteristic of other races not less barbar- 
ous. It was a long step from the fetichism of the 
Desert to the sacrificial ceremonies of Rome and the 
Asclepiads of Greece, yet all were of a similar char- 
acter, though the latter represented the origin of the 
medical science of antiquity. Temperance was at 
once the precaution and the remedy of the abstemious 
Bedouin. Mohammed diligently inculcated the doc- 
trine that the stomach was the seat of all diseases, 
and fasting their cure. 

The beneficent art which has for its object the alle- 
viation of human suffering was in the seventh century 
degraded to the vilest purposes of the priest and the 
charlatan. The writings of the celebrated Greek 
practitioners, lost in the universal destruction of 
learning consequent upon barbarian supremacy or 
hidden in the seclusion of the cloister, had been for- 
gotten. The reputation of the medical school of 
Alexandria, whose methods had wrought such mira- 
cles in the advancement of science, was, in the minds 
of the more intelligent, but an indistinct and doubt- 
ful tradition ; to the ignorant it was wholly unknown. 
Then, and for centuries afterwards, throughout 
Christendom, medicine was closely allied with sorcery 
and imposture, partly astrological, partly mystical, 

500 History of the 

but never scientific. The supernatural character with 
which ecclesiastical shrewdness and cunning had in- 
vested it, the accepted principle that disease was 
punishment inflicted for the commission of sin, a 
principle which, strange to say, has still its advocates 
even in our enlightened age, rendered all progress 
impossible. INIaladies were largely attributed to the 
influence of spirits or to the possession of devils, to 
be exorcised by prayer, holy water, the application of 
relics, the invocation of saints. The superstitions in- 
herited from Pagan antiquity, and of incalculable 
potency in their action upon the minds of the multi- 
tude, were a source of great revenue to the clergy. 
Among the vast number of holy men whose names 
fill the pages of the Roman Catholic calendar there 
were many individuals whose intercession was con- 
sidered especially efficacious in the treatment of cer- 
tain diseases. The policy of the Church, which lost 
no opportunity of impressing the fancy of its vo- 
taries, even went so far as to expel from the con- 
stellations of the zodiac the familiar forms of the 
ancients, and to substitute in their stead represen- 
tations of cenobites and martyrs, the piety of whose 
lives, often of questionable authenticity, had obtained 
for them the honor of canonization. The identifica- 
tion of the treatment of disease with religious cere- 
monial, and indirectly with celestial interference, 
conferred upon the priesthood a new and formid- 
able weapon of spiritual power. Their influence, 
already great at the bedside of the sick and the 
dying, soon became paramount. To the weight which 
their ecclesiastical functions imposed, they added the 
dictatorial manner which is essential to the successful 
ministrations of the physician. They collected enor- 
mous fees. They disposed of estates. Often, in the 
very presence of death, they engaged in unseemly 
disputes over the division o'f the spoil. They forced 

Moorish Empire in Europe 501 

the afflicted to the most humihating compliances. 
Profoundly ignorant of the nature of disease and 
its cure, they supplied their glaring deficiencies by the 
employment of every resource of imposture known 
to their calling. By aspersions and the exhibition of 
the Host they cast out demons. They removed pain 
with the sovereign virtues of relics. Chronic affec- 
tions were treated by protracted prayer and vicarious 
penance. Pilgrimages to sacred localities, supple- 
mented by frequent and generous contributions, were 
also of notable efficacy. The waters of certain wells 
and springs under the patronage of a saint, and which 
had been the scenes of well-attested miracles, were 
classed among the most popular therapeutic agents. 
The gift of healing, especially efficacious in cases of 
goitre and scrofula, with which royal personages were 
supposed to be endowed, was another of the delusions 
in which mediaeval times were so remarkably prolific. 
This singular idea, probably of British origin, can 
be traced to the reign of Edward the Confessor, and 
was not discarded until the accession of the House 
of Brunswick. Its institution was undoubtedly ec- 
clesiastical; the repetition of a religious formula ac- 
companied the touch of the sovereign; and the prac- 
tice of the ceremony at Pentecost was always a source 
of much edification to the multitude, and of substan- 
tial profit to the religious establishment under whose 
auspices it happened to be conducted. 

Side by side with clerical impostors, another class 
of practitioners, equally ignorant and scarcely less 
dangerous, preyed upon the superstitious and credu- 
lous of mediaeval society. These were the charlatans 
who posed as astrologers, alchemists, magicians. 
Their encroachments upon the territory of the 
Church, and the suspicious methods they employed, 
necessitated a certain degree of concealment and 
secrecy, but their haunts were well known to their 

502 History of the 

victims. They professed to consult the appearance 
of the heavens, the motions of the planets, the recur- 
rence of eclipses, the apparition of comets and 
meteors, in the compounding of medicines and the 
treatment of distempers. Celestial phenomena were 
thus regarded as of the highest importance in the 
determination of symptoms and the administration 
of remedies. The curative virtues of plants were 
entirely dependent on the position of the star under 
which they were gathered. A correspondence of 
qualities was presumed to exist between objects hav- 
ing the same color or form, an idea possibly as old 
as man himself. Hence were derived the imaginary 
aphrodisiacal virtues of the mandrake, and the al- 
leged properties of red and white substances as calori- 
facients and refrigerants. The occupations of these 
pretenders, usually confined to the fleecing of their 
dupes, were, however, not always so innocuous. They 
were eminently skilled in the composition of love- 
philters and poisons, whose secret administration is 
believed to have more than once changed the succes- 
sion of certain of the royal houses of Europe. The 
criminal history of the Middle Ages is not more re- 
markable for the nefarious deeds of these fraudulent 
practitioners than for the immunity which the posses- 
sion of dangerous secrets enabled them to enjoy. 

To the ministrations of these two classes that of 
the ecclesiastic and that of the charlatan was the 
health of Christian Europe thus committed for many 
centuries. A striking similarity characterized the pro- 
ceedings of both. Each employed mummeries, exor- 
cisms, incantations. Each professed to believe in the 
efficacy of amulets. One invoked the intercession of 
the saints ; the other was credited with holding nightly 
intercourse with the spirits of the infernal world. 
Both, by the alleged exercise of supernatural affilia- 
tion, wielded great power, and lived in luxury at the 

Moorish Empihe in Europe 503 

expense of those whom they habitually deluded. 
While each considered the other as encroaching on his 
peculiar domain and an object of suspicion, a com- 
munity of sentiment between them generally pre- 
vented any serious outbreak of hostility. The favor 
and protection of the prince was equally accorded to 
these two appendages of the court. One was the 
keeper of the royal conscience; the other was valued 
as an unscrupulous and ever available instrument of 
secret vengeance. Both at times exercised the im- 
portant functions of physician. Unfortunate, indeed, 
was the invalid dependent upon such inadequate re- 
sources. For him there was no prospect of substantial 
relief; no system of intelligent treatment; no reme- 
dies but incense, relics, and the mysterious formulas 
of imposture; no prophylactic but the talisman; no 
diagnosis but the consultation of the stars; no pre- 
scription but the Pater and the Ave. In the estima- 
tion of the populace, the calling of the physician was 
identical with that of the necromancer. In the advice 
of the priest the greater confidence was reposed, his 
connection with the Church investing his opinions with 
a divine, even an infallible, sanction. When failure 
resulted, as was often the case, it was not attributed 
to inexperience and ignorance, but to neglect to pro- 
pitiate the saints and the Virgin. The commonest 
rules of hygiene, upon which are absolutely depend- 
ent the health of communities, were habitually ig- 
nored. The streets were open sewers. The court- 
yards steamed with miasmatic vapors engendered by 
decaying garbage. Into most houses the purifying 
rays of the sun could never penetrate. Floors and 
walls alike were grimy with filth. Linen and cotton 
garments worn next the skin, and which contribute 
so much to personal comfort and cleanliness, were 
unknown; the Arabs, by whom they were invented, 
had not yet introduced them to the knowledge of Eu- 

504 History of the 

rope. The supply of water, everywhere contami- 
nated, became a proHfic source of infection. Public 
baths did not exist; a profane luxury of the Pagan 
and the Saracen, their use was contrary to the tradi- 
tions of Christianity; the Gospels contain no general 
precepts for ablution; and its practice was abhorrent 
to the meditative simplicity of clerical and monastic 
life. The universal existence of these pathogenic 
conditions is alone sufficient to account for the rapid 
diffusion and frightful mortality of contagious dis- 
eases. Leprosy had under the filthy habits and pro- 
miscuous intercourse of the populations of the 
Middle Ages assumed a character of extraordinary 
virulence. France, at that time certainly not the least 
civilized country of Europe, furnishes a suggestive 
instance of the prevalence and disastrous effects of 
this incurable disorder. From the eleventh to the 
fourteenth century, there was not a village scarcely 
a hamlet without its lazar-house ; the streets of great 
cities swarmed with leprous beggars in every stage 
of loathsome deformity; and in 1250 there were 
known to be two thousand leper-asylums in that king- 
dom, there were nineteen thousand in Europe. The 
result of the disregard of sanitary precautions, and 
the deplorable lack of medical knowledge, is also 
established by the fatality of great epidemics, pre- 
viously mentioned. Such was the awful penalty 
entailed by hatred of learning, personal neglect, and 
public indifference to the laws of health, conditions 
sedulously maintained by the policy of the papal 
system, whose ministers collected immense revenues 
from shrines, relics, amulets, and the endless para- 
phernalia of superstition, and discouraged, by all the 
insidious arts of their profession, every rational 
method for the prevention and treatment of disease. 
In the Orient, on the other hand, great progress 
had early been made in the various branches of the 

Moorish Empire in Europe 505 

healing art. The number of Arab physicians was 
prodigious. An entire volume of the biographical 
work of Abu-Osaibah is taken up with their names. 
In the city of Bagdad, at one time during the eleventh 
century, there were nearly nine hundred. The Nes- 
torian school of Djondisabour had already, in the 
sixth century, sent forth many eminent practitioners. 
Some of these, in search of more extensive knowledge, 
travelled in India; at least one of them, Harets-Ibn- 
Keladah, an Arab, established himself at Mecca. 
From him Mohammed, who was his friend, obtained 
something more than the rudiments of medicine, an 
accomplishment which contributed greatly to his suc- 
cess. The Prophet attended the sick, gave consulta- 
tions, and imparted his learning to his wives. He 
recognized the paramount importance of hygiene, and 
inculcated its maxims upon every occasion. " God 
has not caused a single disease to descend upon men 
without providing a remedy," "Diet is the principle 
of cure, and intemperance the source of all physical 
ills," were some of the aphoristical sayings whose 
truth he constantly impressed upon his followers. 
The renowned Khalif Al-Mamun was the first Mos- 
lem prince to impart a decided impulse to the study 
of scientific medicine. To Bagdad, his capital, which 
he had named the City of Peace, he attracted, by the 
promise of magnificent rewards, the chief professors 
of the medical school of Djondisabour. The fact that 
they were Christians was in the eyes of that great 
monarch no impediment to their employment or pro- 
motion. Under their intelligent di