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A History of Spain by Charles E. Chapman

Who had lost their territories in the days of Almansor


of Almansor and Abdul Malik,

the Christian kings returned to the conquest. Alfonso V (994-1027) of Le?n and his uncle Sancho "the Great" (970-1035) of Navarre pushed their frontiers southward, Alfonso crossing the Douro in Portugal. The counts of Castile, too, now aiding one Moslem faction, now another, now remaining neutral, profited by each new agreement to acquire additional territory or fortified posts. Shortly after the death of Alfonso V, Sancho the Great intervened successfully in the wars of the Christian kingdoms, and united Castile and Le?n under his authority. Since he was also king in Navarre, Aragon, and the Basque provinces of France and Spain, only Galicia, where the kings of Le?n took refuge, and the counties of Catalonia remained free from his rule in the north. Here seemed to be an important moment in the history of Spain,--one which might have had tremendous consequences. But it was as yet too early, not alone for Spanish nationalism, but even for the conception of a Spanish state. Sancho the Great undid his own work, and consigned himself to a place only a little short of oblivion by dividing his kingdom among his sons. The three most important regions resulting from this act were the kingdoms of Navarre, Castile, and Aragon. The death of Sancho in 1035 is an important date, however, for it marks the time when work had to be begun over again to achieve the distant ideal of the unity of Spain. Meanwhile, the counts of Barcelona, who had lost their territories in the days of Almansor, regained
them in the ensuing decline of the caliphate, whether by military conquest, or by intervention in the wars of the Moslem state in return for concessions. The important year 1035 is notable also in Catalonia, for at that time Ram?n Berenguer I, the first outstanding figure among the counts of Barcelona, inherited the rule of the county.

[Sidenote: Inter-relations of the Christian and Moslem peoples.]

Except in times of war, relations between the Christian and Moslem peoples were even cordial and intimate. They visited one another's countries, aided one another in civil wars, engaged in commerce, and even contracted mixed marriages, not only among people of the lower classes, but also among those of the highest rank, even to that of royalty. Mohammedan law did not require the conversion of Christian wives, but many of the latter embraced the Moslem faith, with the consent, too, of their families. Although there were instances of Mohammedan women marrying Christians, the reverse was usually the case, for the conquerors did not bring their families as had the earlier Germanic invaders. Religious differences were not an insuperable barrier in this period: there was scarcely a war confined to Christians on the one side and Mohammedans on the other; the Moz?rabes were not greatly molested within the Moslem state; Christians were often employed in administrative capacities by the emirs and caliphs; and Christian mercenaries, many of them Spaniards, fought in the Moslem armies. It was only natural, therefore, that the neighboring Arabic civilization should have exercised not a little influence on Christian Spain, especially since the power and wealth of the caliphate were so much greater than in the kingdoms of the north. In intellectual aspects--for example, in philosophy and science--the Arabic influence was to be greater at a succeeding time, but in political and military matters and in language much passed over to the Christians in this period. In like manner the Spanish peoples reacted upon the invaders, but this was confined principally to the effects produced by the Renegados and Moz?rabes, whose contributions were largely due to the conditions of the Moslem world in which they lived.


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