Islamic Spain and the Reconquista

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Many Christians in Spain assimilated parts of the Muslim culture. The ongoing conflict between the two rival claiments to the throne of Granada greatly impaired the kingdom's ability unite in resistance to Ferdinand. Finally the Christian kingdoms united against him, and at the Battle of Calatanazor, he was defeated and killed. Granada therefore had over a century of reprieve while the Christians fought largely among themselves. The rot came from both the centre and the extremities.

Christians who did this were known as Mozarabs. In however, the Franks, under the command of the great Christian warrior Charlemagne, withdrew all of their forces from Spain due to conflicts in Saxony. The Muslim army defeated the Visigoth army easily, and Roderick was killed in battle. Civil wars within the Christian and Moorish kingdoms that occurred contemporaneously are dealt with elsewhere. Internal rebellions in and further shattered Islamic unity, and despite intermittent military successes, Islam's domination of Spain was ended for good.

Islamic Spain and the Reconquista

It was only a temporary

It was the Frankish kingdom in Gaul, rather than the isolated and overwhelmed Christians of northern Spain, that opposed the Moorish expansion over the Pyrenees. Christians were not allowed taller houses than Muslims, could not employ Muslim servants, and had to give way to Muslims on the street. And during the following century, the Christian kingdoms began to make their first real headway against the disunited Moorish kingdoms on their borders. Bell-ringing or chanting too loudly were frowned on and public processions were restricted. The story of the appeal for help is not universally accepted.

The battles considered here are primarily those between Christian and Moorish powers. There were bookshops and more than seventy libraries. The credit goes to Amir Abd al-Rahman, who founded the Emirate of Cordoba, and was able to get the various different Muslim groups who had conquered Spain to pull together in ruling it.

With the retreat of the Franks, the king of Asturia was officially recognized by the Pope as a sovererign Christian kingdom within Spain. By Spain was largely under Muslim or Moorish, as it was called control. The Reconquista began in the immediate aftermath of the Islamic conquest and passed through major phases before its completion. Three contributors discuss these questions with Melvyn Bragg. The fighting between Christian and Moslem was furious when it occurred, but most of the war was marked by long seiges, and chivalric skirmishes between the two armies.

The true position is

The Castilian War against Granada lasted for over ten years years, and was carried on by a series of systematic attacks on fortifications, and seiges of cities. There were mosques and public baths spread throughout the city and its twenty-one suburbs.

The death of Almansur changed the aspect of things considerably. In a new Emirate was formed, independent of the Caliph of Baghdad and Cordova was maintained as the Moorish capital.

The fighting along the Christian-Muslim frontier was punctuated by periods of prolonged peace and truces. He fought other Moslem princes as well as Christians and succeeded again in bringing all of Moorish Spain under his dominion. In Isabella and Ferdinand came to the throne, combining the kingdoms of Castile and Aragon.

There were persecutions and executions. It was only a temporary set back however. The true position is more complicated. For a time many of the Moriscoes lived peaceably, but under worsening oppressions. Muslim scholars served as a major link in bringing Greek philosophy, of which the Muslims had previously been the main custodians, to Western Europe.

For a time many of

The Moorish empire remained divided however, and the Christians continued to attack Moorish territory. Another Berber army then arrived en force, led by the great Almoravid conqueror Yusuf, and dealt the Christians a serious blow at the battle of Zalaka a. The Wars of the Reconquista are relatively difficult to follow for those unfamiliar with Spanish history. From this beginning, the kingdoms of Leon and Castile, which were to eventually reconquer all of Spain and Portugal for Christiandom, eventually emerged.

Muslim scholars served as

The Jew and the Christian are better fitted for such trades, since they are the trades of those who are vile. Even after the death of Cid the the Moors continued to lose ground to the Christians.

There were persecutions and