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).

The Syrians gladly accepted this invitation, and under Balj ibn Besher, nephew of Kolthum, crossed the Straits, readily promising at the same time to return to Africa when the Spanish Berbers were overcome.  This desirable end accomplished, however, they refused to keep to their agreement, and Abdalmalik soon found himself driven to seek anew the alliance of the Berbers and also of the Andalusian Arabs against his late allies.[2] But the latter proved too strong for the Ameer, who was defeated and killed by the Yemenite followers of Balj.

    [1] Cardonne, i. p. 135.

    [2] The Syrian Arabs seem to have borne a bad character away
    from home.  The Sultan Muawiyah warned his son that they altered
    for the worse when abroad.  See Ockley’s “Saracens.”

These feuds of Yemenites against Modharites, complicated by the accession of Berbers now to one side, now to the other, continued without intermission till the first Khalif of Cordova, Abdurrahman ibn Muawiyah, established his power all over Spain.

The successor of Balj and Thaleba ibn Salamah did indeed try to break up the Syrian faction by separating them.  He placed those of Damascus in Elvira; of Emesa in Seville; of Kenesrin in Jaen; of Alurdan[1] in Malaga and Regio; of Palestine in Sidonia or Xeres; of Egypt in Murcia; of Wasit in Cabra; and they thus became merged into the body of Andalusian Arabs.

These Berber wars had an important influence on the future of Spain; for, since the Berbers had settled on all the Northern and Western marches, when they were decimated by civil war, and many of the survivors compelled to return to Africa,[2] owing to the famine which afflicted the country from 750 to 755, the frontiers of the Arab dominion were left practically denuded of defenders,[3] and the Christians at once advanced their boundaries to the Douro, leaving however a strip of desert land as a barrier between them and the Moslems.  This debateable land they did not occupy till fifty years later.[4]

    [1] I.e., Jordan.  See Al Makkari, i. 356, De Gayangos’ note.

    [2] Dozy, iii. 24.

    [3] Al Makkari, ii. 69.

    [4] When they built a series of fortresses as Zarnora,
    Simancas, San Estevan.


The martyrdoms at Cordova.

Abdurrahman Ibn Muawiyah landed in Spain with 750 Berber horsemen in May 756.  The Khalifate of Cordova may be said to begin with this date, though it was many years before the new sultan had settled his power on a firm basis, or was recognised as ruler by the whole of Moslem Spain.

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