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A History of Spain by Charles E. Chapman

One finds Moslem descended Andalusian traits in the Americas


[Sidenote:

Saint Isidore.]

Spain also fell back in general culture. Public schools disappeared. The church became almost the only resort for Christians desirous of an education, but there were Jewish academies in which the teachers read from books, and commented on them,--the system adopted by the Christian universities centuries later. Latin became the dominant tongue, while Gothic speech and Gothic writing gradually disappeared. The Greek influence was notable, due to the long presence of Byzantine rule in southern Spain. The writers of the period were in the main churchmen, particularly those of Seville. Orosius of the fifth century, author of a general history of a pronouncedly anti-pagan, pro-Christian character, was one of the more notable writers of the time. By far more important, one of the greatest writers in the history of Hispanic literature in fact, was Saint Isidore, archbishop of Seville in the early part of the seventh century. Among his numerous works were the following: a brief universal history; a history of the Visigoths, Vandals, and Suevians; lives of illustrious men; an encyclopedia of Greco-Roman knowledge; and books of thoughts, of a philosophical and juridical character. He represented very largely the ideas of the Spanish clergy, and many of the principles enunciated by him were later embodied in the _Fuero Juzgo_. He maintained that political power was of divine origin, but that the state must protect the church. He supported

the ideas of hereditary succession and the prestige and inviolability of kings as the best means of securing peace.

[Sidenote: The fine arts.]

In architecture the Visigoths followed the Romans, but on a smaller and poorer scale. Perhaps the only matter worthy of note as regards the fine arts was the presence of Byzantine influences, especially marked in the jewelry of the period.

CHAPTER V

MOSLEM SPAIN, 711-1031

[Sidenote: Importance of the Moslem conquest.]

The Moslem period in Spanish history is the subject of a number of popular misconceptions. The Moslems are believed to have attained to a phenomenally high stage of culture and to have lived in a luxury without parallel at that time in the world. While these views are not without truth, it is also true that the conquerors never shook themselves free from their tribal instincts, and it was not until the tenth century that their civilization was well established. Even then it was more largely through the efforts of others whom they imitated than through innovations of their own that they reached their high estate, which was the natural result of their power and wealth, although its ripest fruit was reserved for a later period, when much of their political authority had passed. Nevertheless, the Moslem occupation of Spain was on other grounds fully as important for Europe as it has usually been regarded, and perhaps more important for Spain and Spanish America than has ever been stated. As to the first point, it is true that Europe, through Moslem Spain, gained a knowledge of classical and Byzantine civilization. As to the second, racial elements entered the peninsula at this time which have left a deep impress on Spanish character, especially on that of the Andalusians and through them on Spanish America. The later Spanish colonization of the Americas passed almost wholly through the ports of Seville and C?diz, and was confined in large measure to Castilians. At that time, however, Andalusia was considered part of Castile, and it was only natural that the Andalusian "Castilians" should have been the ones to go. Many present-day Spanish American peoples pronounce their language in the Andalusian way, although differing in degree of similarity and having certain practices peculiar to themselves. In other respects, too, one finds Moslem-descended Andalusian traits in the Americas.


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