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cHAP. kingdom in the absence of his general. Spain, which, * in a more savage and disorderly state, had resisted, two hundred years, the arms of the Romans, was overrun in a few months by those of the Saracens; and such was the eagerness of submission and treaty, that the governor of Cordova is recorded as the only chief who fell, without conditions, a prisoner into their hands. The cause of the Goths had been irrevocably judged in the field of Xeres; and, in the national dismay, each part of the monarchy declined a contest with the antagonist who had vanquished the united strength of the whole.' That strength had been wasted by two successive seasons of famine and pestilence; and the governors, who were impatient to surrender, might exaggerate the difficulty of collecting the provisions of a siege. To disarm the Christians, superstition likewise contributed her terrors; and the subtle Arab encouraged the report of dreams, omens, and prophecies, and of the portraits of the destined conquerors of Spain, that were discovered on breaking open an apartment of the royal palace. Yet a spark of the vital flame was still alive: some invincible fugitives preferred a life of poverty and freedom in the Asturian valleys; the hardy mountaineers repulsed the slaves of the caliph; and the sword of Pelagius has been transformed into the sceptre of the Catholic kings.” Conquest On the intelligence of this rapid success, the ap; so plause of Musa degenerated into envy; and he began, ** not to complain, but to fear, that Tarik would leave - him nothing to subdue. At the head of ten thousand Arabs and eight thousand Africans, he passed c
y Such was the argument of the traitor Oppas, and every chief to whom it was addressed did not answer with the spirit of Pelagius: Omnis Hispania dudum sub uno regimine Gothorum, omnis exercitus Hispaniae in uno congregatus Ismaelitarum non valuit sustinere impetum. Chron. Alphonsi Regis, apud Pagi, tom, iii. p. 177.
* The revival of the Gothic kingdom in the Asturias is distinctly though concisely noticed by D'Anville (Etats de l'Europe, p. 159).
over in person from Mauritania to Spain: the first of his companions were the noblest of the Koreish; his eldest son was left in the command of Africa; the three younger brethren were of an age and spirit to second the boldest enterprises of their father. At his landing in Algezire, he was respectfully entertained by count Julian, who stifled his inward remorse, and testified, both in words and actions, that the victory of the Arabs had not impaired his attachment to their cause. Some enemies yet remained for the sword of Musa. The tardy repentance of the Goths had compared their own numbers and those of the invaders; the cities from which the march of Tarik had declined considered themselves as impregnable; and the bravest patriots defended the fortifications of Seville and Merida. They were successively besieged and reduced by the labour of Musa, who transported his camp from the Boetis to the Anas, from the Guadalquivir to the Guadiana. When he beheld the works of Roman magnificence, the bridge, the aqueducts, the triumphal arches, and the theatre, of the ancient metropolis of Lusitania, “I should imagine,” said he to his four companions, “ that the human race must have united their art and power in the foundation of this city: happy is the man who shall become its master!” He aspired to that happiness, but the Emeritans sustained on this occasion the honour of their descent from the veteran legionaries of Augustus." Disdaining the confinement of their walls, they gave battle to the Arabs on the plain; but an ambuscade rising from the
* The honourable relics of the Cartabrian war (Dion Cassius, l. liii. p. 720) were planted in this metropolis of Lusitania, perhaps of Spain (submittit cui tota suos Hispania fasces). Nonius (Hispania, c. 31. p. 106–110) enumerates the ancient structures, but concludes with a sigh: Urbs haec olim nobilissima ad
magnam incolarum infrequentiam delapsa est, et praeter priscae claritatis ruinas nihil ostendit.
CHAP. shelter of a quarry, or a ruin, chastised their indis
cretion, and intercepted their return. The wooden turrets of assault were rolled forwards to the foot of the rampart; but the defence of Merida was obstinate and long; and the castle of the martyrs was a perpetual testimony of the losses of the Moslems.
The constancy of the besieged was at length sub
dued by famine and despair; and the prudent victor disguised his impatience under the names of clemency and esteem. The alternative of exile or tribute was allowed; the churches were divided between the two religions; and the wealth of those who had fallen in the siege, or retired to Gallicia, was confiscated as the reward of the faithful. In the midway between Merida and Toledo, the lieutenant of Musa saluted the vicegerent of the caliph, and conducted him to the palace of the Gothic kings. Their first interview was cold and formal: a rigid account was exacted of the treasures of Spain: the character of Tarik was exposed to suspicion and obloquy; and the hero was imprisoned, reviled, and ignominiously scourged by the hand, or the command, of Musa. Yet so strict was the discipline, so pure the zeal, or so tame the spirit, of the primitive Moslems, that, after this public indignity, Tarik could serve and be trusted in the reduction of the Tarragonese province.
• A mosch was erected at Saragossa, by the liberality
of the Koreish: the port of Barcelona was opened to the vessels of Syria; and the Goths were pursued beyond the Pyrenean mountains into their Gallic province of Septimania or Languedoc.” In the church of St. Mary at Carcassone, Musa found, but it is chap.
* Both the interpreters of Novairi, De Guignes (Hist, des Huns, tom. i. p. 349), and Cardonne (Hist. de l'Afrique et de l'Espagne, tom. i. p. 93, 94. 104, 105), lead Musa into the Narbonnese Gaul. But I find no mention of this enterprise, either in Roderic of Toledo, or the MSS. of the Escurial, and the invasion of the Saracens is postponed by a French chronicle till the ixth year after the conquest of Spain, A. D. 721 (Pagi, Critica, tom. iii. p. 177. 195. Historians of France, tom. iii). I much question whether Musa ever passed the Pyrenees.
improbable that he left, seven equestrian statues of
* See the treaty in Arabic and Latin, in the Bibliotheca Arabico-Hispana, tom. ii. p. 105, 106. It is signed the 4th of the month of Regeb, A. H. 94, the
demir and his subjects were treated with uncommon lenity; but the rate of tribute appears to have fluctuated from a tenth to a fifth, according to the submission or obstinacy of the Christians." In this revolution, many partial calamities were inflicted by the carnal or religious passions of the enthusiasts: some churches were profaned by the new worship: some relics or images were confounded with idols: the rebels were put to the sword; and one town (an obscure place between Cordova and Seville) was razed to its foundations. Yet if we compare the invasion of Spain by the Goths, or its recovery by the kings of Castille and Arragon, we must applaud the moderation and discipline of the Arabian conquerors. The exploits of Musa were performed in the evening of life, though he affected to disguise his age by colouring with a red powder the whiteness of his beard. But in the love of action and glory, his breast was still fired with the ardour of youth; and the possession of Spain was considered only as the first step to the monarchy of Europe. With a powerful armament by sea and land, he was preparing to repass the Pyrenees, to extinguish in Gaul and Italy the declining kingdoms of the Franks and Lombards, and to preach the unity of God on the altar of the Vatican. From thence, subduing the barbarians of Germany, he proposed to follow the course of the Danube from its source to the Euxine sea, to
5th of April, A. D. 713, a date which seems to prolong the resistance of Theo
demir and the government of Musa.
has given the substance of another treaty concluded A. AE. C. 782, A. D. 734,
between an Arabian chief and the Goths and Romans, of the territory of Co
nimbra in Portugal. The tax of the churches is fixed at twenty-five pounds of gold; of the monasteries, fifty; of the cathedrals, one hundred: the Christians are judged by their count, but in capital cases he must consult the alcaide. The church doors must be shut, and they must respect the name of Mahomet. I have not the original before me; it would confirm or destroy a dark suspicion, that the piece has been forged to introduce the immunity of a neighbouring convent.