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to the month of Ramadan, of the ninety-first year of cor.
the Hegira, to the month of July, seven hundred and forty-eight years from the Spanish aera of Caesar,” seven hundred and ten after the birth of Christ. From their first station, they marched eighteen miles through a hilly country to the castle and town of
Julian:" on which (it is still called Algezire) they
bestowed the name of the Green Island, from a verdant cape that advances into the sea. Their hospitable entertainment, the Christians who joined their standard, their inroad into a fertile and unguarded province, the richness of their spoil, and the safety of their return, announced to their brethren the most favourable omens of victory. In the ensuing spring, five thousand veterans and volunteers were embarked under the command of Tarik, a dauntless and skilful soldier, who surpassed the expectation of his chief; and the necessary transports were provided by the
industry of their too faithful ally. The Saracens Their se.
landed' at the pillar or point of Europe; the corrupt
and familiar appellation of Gibraltar (Gebel alTarik) oil,
describes the mountain of Tarik; and the intrenchments of his camp were the first outline of those fortifications, which, in the hands of our countrymen,
detected by the more correct industry of modern chronologists, above all of Pagi (Critica, tom. iii. p. 169. 171–174), who have restored the genuine date of the revolution. At the present time an Arabian scholar, like Cardonne, who adopts the ancient error (tom. i. p. 75), is inexcusably ignorant or careless. P The AEra of Caesar, which in Spain was in legal and popular use till the xivth century, begins thirty-eight years before the birth of Christ. I would refer the origin to the general peace by sea and land, which confirmed the power and partition of the Triumvirs (Dion Cassius, 1. xlviii. p. 547. 553. Appian de Bell. Civil. 1. v. p. 1034. edit, fol.). Spain was a province of Caesar Octavian; and Tarragona, which raised the first temple to Augustus (Tacit. Annal. i. 78), might borrow from the Orientals this mode of flattery. q. The road, the country, the old castle of count Julian, and the superstitious belief of the Spaniards of hidden treasures, &c. are described by Père Labat (Voyages en Espagne eten Italie, tom. i. p. 207–217) with his usual pleasantry. * The Nubian Geographer (p. 154) explains the topography of the war; but it is highly incredible that the lieutenant of Musa should execute the desperate and useless measure of burning his ships.
cHAP have resisted the art and power of the house of Bour* bon. The adjacent governors informed the court of Toledo of the descent and progress of the Arabs; and the defeat of his lieutenant Edeco, who had been commanded to seize and bind the presumptuous strangers, admonished Roderic of the magnitude of the danger. At the royal summons, the dukes and counts, the bishops and nobles of the Gothic monarchy, assembled at the head of their followers; and the title of King of the Romans, which is employed by an Arabic historian, may be excused by the close affinity of language, religion, and manners, between the nations of Spain. His army consisted of ninety or a hundred thousand men; a formidable power, if their fidelity and discipline had been adequate to their numbers. The troops of Tarik had been augmented to twelve thousand Saracens; but the Christian malecontents were attracted by the influence of Julian, and a crowd of Africans most greedily tasted the temporal blessings of the Koran. In the neighbourhood of Cadiz, the town of Xeres' has been illustrated by the encounter which and victory, determined the fate of the kingdom; the stream of ;" "T the Guadalete, which falls into the bay, divided the two camps, and marked the advancing and retreating skirmishes of three successive and bloody days. On the fourth day, the two armies joined a more serious and decisive issue; but Alaric would have blushed at the sight of his unworthy successor, sustaining on his head a diadem of pearls, incumbered with a flowing robe of gold and silken embroidery, and reclining on a litter or car of ivory drawn by two white mules. Notwithstanding the valour of the Saracens,
• Xeres (the Roman colony of Asta Regia) is only two leagues from Cadiz. In the xvith century it was a granary of corn; and the wine of Xeres is familiar to the nations of Europe (Lud. Nonii Hispania, c. 13. p. 54–56, a work of correct and concise knowledge; D'Anville, Etats de l'Europe, &c. p. 154).
they fainted under the weight of multitudes, and the chor.
plain of Xeres was overspread with sixteen thousand of their dead bodies. “My brethren,” said Tarik to his surviving companions, “the enemy is before you, the sea is behind; whither would ye fly? Follow your general: I am resolved either to lose my life, or to trample on the prostrate king of the Romans.” Besides the resource of despair, he confided in the secret correspondence and nocturnal interviews of count Julian with the sons and the brother of Witiza. The two princes and the archbishop of Toledo occupied the most important post: their well-timed defection broke the ranks of the Christians; each warrior was prompted by fear or suspicion to consult his personal safety; and the remains of the Gothic army were scattered or destroyed in the flight and pursuit of the three following days. Amidst the general disorder, Roderic started from his car, and mounted Orelia, the fleetest of his horses; but he escaped from a soldier's death to perish more ignobly in the waters of the Boetis or Guadalquivir. His diadem, his robes, and his courser, were found on the bank; but as the body of the Gothic prince was lost in the waves, the pride and ignorance of the caliph must have been gratified with some meaner head, which was exposed in triumph before the palace of Damascus. “And such,” continues a valiant historian of the Arabs, “is the fate of those kings who withdraw themselves from a field of battle.”"
Count Julian had plunged so deep into guilt and Ruin of
infamy, that his only hope was in the ruin of his
the Gothic monarchy,
country. After the battle of Xeres he recommended “” 7":
“Id sane infortunii regibus pedem ex acie referentibus sape contingit. Ben Hazil of Grenada, in Bibliot. Arabico-Hispana, tom. ii. p. 327. Some credulous Spaniards believe that king Roderic, or Rodrigo, escaped to a hermit’s cell; and others, that he was cast alive into a tub full of serpents, from whence he exclaimed, with a lamentable voice, “they devour the part with which I have so grievously sinned.” (Don Quixote, part ii. l. iii. c. i.).
CHAP, the most effectual measures to the victorious Saracen.
“The king of the Goths is slain; their princes are fled before you, the army is routed, the nation is astonished. Secure with sufficient detachments the cities of Boetica; but in person, and without delay, march to the royal city of Toledo, and allow not the distracted Christians either time or tranquillity for the election of a new monarch.” Tarik listened to his advice. A Roman captive and proselyte, who had been enfranchised by the caliph himself, assaulted Cordova with seven hundred horse: he swam the river, surprised the town, and drove the Christians into the great church, where they defended themselves above three months. Another detachment reduced the sea-coast of Boetica, which in the last period of the Moorish power has comprised in a narrow space the populous kingdom of Grenada. The march of Tarik from the Boetis to the Tagus" was directed through the Sierra Morena, that separates Andalusia and Castille, till he appeared in arms under the walls of Toledo." The most zealous of the Catholics had escaped with the relics of their saints; and if the gates were shut, it was only till the victor had subscribed a fair and reasonable capitulation. The voluntary exiles were allowed to depart with their effects; seven churches were appropriated to the Christian worship; the archbishop and his clergy were at liberty to exercise their functions, the monks to practise or neglect their penance; and the Goths and Romans were left in all civil and criminal cases
"The direct road from Corduba to Toledo was measured by Mr. Swinburne's mules in 723 hours; but a larger computation must be adopted for the slow and devious marches of an army. The Arabs traversed the province of La Mancha, which the pen of Cervantes has transformed into classic ground to the readers of every nation.
" The antiquities of Toledo, Urbs Parva in the Punic wars, Urbs Regia in the vith century, are briefly described by Nonius (Hispania, c. 59. p. 181—186). He borrows from Roderic the fatale palatium of Moorish portraits; but modestly insinuates that it was no more than a Roman amphitheatre.
to the subordinate jurisdiction of their own laws and CHAP.
magistrates. But if the justice of Tarik protected the Christians, his gratitude and policy rewarded the Jews, to whose secret or open aid he was indebted for his most important acquisitions. Persecuted by the kings and synods of Spain, who had often pressed the alternative of banishment or baptism, that outcast nation embraced the moment of revenge: the comparison of their past and present state was the pledge of their fidelity; and the alliance between the disciples of Moses and of Mahomet was maintained till the final aera of their common expulsion. From the royal seat of Toledo, the Arabian leader spread his conquests to the north, over the modern realms of Castille and Leon; but it is needless to enumerate the cities that yielded on his approach, or again to describe the table of emerald," transported from the East by the Romans, acquired by the Goths among the spoils of Rome, and presented by the Arabs to the throne of Damascus. Beyond the Asturian mountains, the maritime town of Gijon was the term * of the lieutenant of Musa, who had performed, with the speed of a traveller, his victorious march, of seven hundred miles, from the rock of Gibraltar to the bay of Biscay. The failure of land compelled him to retreat; and he was recalled to Toledo, to excuse his presumption of subduing a
" In the Historia Arabum' (c. 9. p. 17, ad calcem Elmacin), Roderic of Toledo describes the emerald tables, and inserts the name of Medinat Almeyda, in Arabic words and letters. He appears to be conversant with the Mahometan writers; but I cannot agree with M. de Guignes (Hist, des Huns, tom. i. p. 350), that he had read and transcribed Novairi; because he was dead a hundred years before Novairi composed his history. This mistake is founded on a still grosser error. M. de Guignes confounds the historian Roderic Ximenes archbishop of Toledo in the xiiith century, with cardinal Ximenes who governed Spain in the beginning of the xvith, and was the subject, not the author, of historical compositions.
*Tarik might have inscribed on the last rock, the boast of Regnard and his companions in their Lapland journey,
“Hic tandem stetimus, nobis ubi defuit orbis.”
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