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A History of Spain by Charles E. Chapman

Juan appeared before Tarifa with a Moslem army


[23]

At the present time the word _alf?rez_ is equivalent to "sub-lieutenant."

[24] It is still allowed to exist in a chapel of the cathedral of Toledo, and in another of Salamanca.

[25] To Saint Dominic is due the institution of the rosary.

[26] A curious law of Jaime I recommended that ladies of noble rank should not offer food or lodging to jugglers, or even give them kisses.

[27] Neoplatonism was a late and decadent form of the Greek philosophies. It endeavored to unite the precepts of Christian, Jewish, and oriental religions, and displayed a disregard for the empirical investigation of the universe, holding that the way to redemption lay through rising superior to the material manifestations of life.

[28] The wars of Sancho and Juan gave rise to the celebrated act of heroism of Guzm?n el Bueno. Guzm?n was governor of Tarifa, and had promised Sancho that he would not surrender the place. Juan appeared before Tarifa with a Moslem army, and threatened to kill Guzm?n's infant son, whom he had in his power, unless the fortress were delivered. Guzm?n preferred to keep faith with his king, and sent his own dagger for Juan to use in fulfilling his threat. Juan had the boy beheaded in front of the walls of Tarifa, but failed to take the town. The incident is illustrative of the savage brutality of the age, and was

a rather unusual instance for that time of keeping political faith at any cost.

[29] So called from a legend respecting his death. He is said to have ordered two men put to death for a crime which they protested they did not commit. As the sentence was being executed they summoned Ferdinand to appear before the tribunal of God within thirty days, and on the thirtieth day thereafter Ferdinand was dead.

[30] The eldest son of Fernando de la Cerda, and therefore the rightful king according to the laws of Alfonso X.

[31] This document is often rendered in English as "Privilege of Union," a phrase which is frequently misunderstood to mean, privilege to unite. The use of the article is necessary in order to give the correct connotation.

[32] The lack of regular armies in the medieval period gave rise to the employment of mercenary troops composed of adventurers from all countries, whose presence became a danger to the state, once the purpose for which they had been hired had been achieved. Fadrique of Sicily found himself in this position at the end of the war with his father in 1302. He therefore suggested to Roger de Flor, one of his mercenary leaders, that he go to the aid of the Roman emperor of Constantinople, then in grave danger from the Turks, who had overrun Asia Minor. Roger de Flor accepted the idea, and embarked for the east with a large body of mercenaries, many of whom were Catalans. Through their aid the emperor won great successes against the Turks, and he therefore granted wealth and honors to his mercenary helpers, with the result that yet more mercenaries came to share in the prosperity of their brothers in arms. Some of the Byzantine Greek nobles became jealous of the favor accorded to Roger de Flor and his men, and planned a massacre which was so successfully executed that that leader and thousands of his followers were killed. The survivors, some 3300 in number, did not lose courage, but on the contrary resolved to avenge this treachery, and did so, so effectively that the "Catalan vengeance" has become quite as famous a term in history as the "Sicilian vespers." They defeated their enemies in several battles, and sacked and burned many towns, but at length accepted a call from the duke of Athens to assist him in his wars. They freed the duke from the danger which threatened him, but when he tried to deal with them as the Byzantine Greeks had done they dethroned him and sent a message to Fadrique of Sicily asking him to take them under his protection. Fadrique sent his son, Manfred, who established the Catalan duchy of Athens, which was destined to endure over half a century, from 1326 to 1387 or 1388.


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