Christianity and Islam in Spain (756-1031) eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 224 pages of information about Christianity and Islam in Spain (756-1031).

It was against the converted Jews that the Inquisition was first established, and they chiefly suffered under it at first.  In 1492, on the final extinction of the Arab dominion in Spain, a very large number of Jews were expelled from Castile,[1] the evil example being afterwards followed in other parts of Spain.  The story of the treatment of Jews by Christians is indeed one of the darkest in the history of Christianity.

    [1] Variously estimated at 160,000 or 800,000.



Perhaps no part of the history of Spain affords so interesting a study as the consideration of those gradual steps by which, from being one of the most independent of Churches, she has become the most subservient, and therefore the most degraded, of all.  The question of how this was brought about, apart from its intrinsic interest as illustrating the development of a great nation, is well worth investigating, from the momentous influence which it has had upon the religious history of the world at large.  For it is not too much to say that Rome could never have made good its ascendency, spiritual no less than temporal, over so large a part of mankind, had not the material resources and the blind devotion of Spain been ready to back the haughty pretensions and unscrupulous ability of the Italian pontiffs.

In fact, Spain is the only country, apart from Italy, that as a nation, has accepted the monstrous doctrines of Rome in all their entirety—­doctrines which the whole Christian East repudiated from the first with scorn, and which the North and (with the exception of Spain) the West of Europe—­the birthplace and cradle of the mighty Teutonic races—­have agreed with equal disdain to reject and trample under their feet.

This result is all the more remarkable, from the fact that in early times the Church of Spain, from its rapid extension, its greatness, and its prosperity, held a position of complete equality with the Roman and other principal churches.  The See of Cordova held so high a rank in the fourth century that Hosius, its venerable bishop, was chosen to preside at the important councils of Nice (325) and Sardica (347).

The Gothic invasion at the beginning of the fifth century made Spain still less likely to acknowledge any supremacy of Rome, for the Goths, besides being far more independent in character than the Romanized Kelts, were Arian heretics, and cut off, in consequence, from all communion with Rome.  The orthodox party, however, gradually gained strength, and in 560 the remnants of the Suevi abjured Arianism, and the Gothic king’s son Ermenegild, with their help, revolted against his father.  He was finally put to death for his treason, but his brother, Recared, on ascending the throne in 589, avowed his conversion to the orthodox creed, his example being followed by most of his nobles and prelates.

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Christianity and Islam in Spain (756-1031) from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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