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vested him with the regal title: and thereby laid the foundation of a new government in the province of Liebana, which, from its natural fortifications, seemed to bid defiance to invasion, and enabled its inhabitants to take such steps as appeared most likely to accomplish their important design.
Upon the first intimation of Pelagio's election, and the consequent revival of the Gothic kingdom, Alahor sent a powerful army, under the command of one Alchaman, to crush the new sovereign and his adherents : but Pelagio distributed his troops with such extraordinary judgment, and exhorted them so earnestly to retrieve the honor of their fallen country, that the Saracens were repulsed, and eventually defeated with prodigious slaughter. An ambuscade being placed on both sides of the valley, many of the infidels were cut off in their retreat, and their leader, Alchaman, was sacrificed to the vengeance of the Christians. The poor remains of the Moorish army retired with precipitation toward the river Deva, which they designed to have coasted ; but by the sudden fall of a hanging precipice they were involved in the general destruction of their unhappy comrades.
Muza, being apprised of this disaster, resolved to march at the head of his best troops, and take possession of some more important post than he now occupied : but, previously to the execution of this design, he was attacked by Don Pelagio, and routed with a dreadful loss. By this victory Pelagio cleared the Asturias from all his enemies, except such as he reduced to a state of slavery, and established a reputation which proved of more essential service to his interests 0 2
than either the number or the exertions of his forces. He did not, however, become indolent or arrogant in consequence of his successes, but employed the leisure which they afforded him, in repairing and rebuilding his towns, founding new churches, and encouraging his subjects to preserve that spirit of heroism which, under Divine Providence, had enabled them to resist their formidable enemies. He also procured his son, Favila, to be associated with him in the go. vernment ; and took such prudent measures for the restoration of the ancient constitution in all its branches, that great numbers of Christians retired from the Moorish provinces in order to place themselves under his protection. Having effected these great designs, and bestowed the hand of his daughter, Ormisinda, on Don Alphonso, a nobleman of great merit and accomplishments, Pelagio died, in the nineteenth year of his reign, and was buried in the church of Santa Olalla de Velena, which is said to have been of his own foundation. The memory of this prince has been immortalised by his valour and virtue, and his reputation will remain, at least, as long
that vast monarchy which has arisen from his patriotic and well timed exertions.
Of Don Favila, Pelagio's son and successor, we have no authentic account, except that he was killed by a bear after a short reign, and that his remains were interred in the church of Santa Cruz, in the territory of Cangas. A. D.
Upon the demise of this prince, the 742.
crown was conferred upon Don Alphonso,
the son-in-law of Pelagio, who, in conjunction with his brother Froila, fell upon the northern towns of Galicia, and recovered the
greatest part of that province in a single campaign. In the following year, he invaded the plains of Leon and Castile, and reduced As, torgas, Leon, Saldagna, Amaya, Alava, and all the country at the foot of the mountains, before the Moors could assemble any forces to arrest or impede his progress. He, soon after, extended his conquests to the frontiers of Castile and Portugal; and laid the whole of the flat country waste, obliging the Christians to remove to the mountains, and carrying off all the Saracens for slaves. Having thus secured his territories by a desert frontier, and rendered his name formidable to the enemy, he enjoyed a profound tranquillity for several years, and the strength of his kingdom augmented so rapidly that he, at length, judged it expedient to repeople some part of the desolated plains, and to rebuild the cities of Leon and Astorgas, which he had caused to be demolished. He died in the year 757, and was buried in the monastery of Santa Maria de Cangas. By the
great zeal which this monarch evinced in building Christian churches, he obtained the appellation of “ Catholic ;” and he appears to have had an equal claim to the titles of a great captain, and a consummate politician.
Froila ascended his father's throne by the general consent of the nobility ; and gave a striking proof of his conduct and bravery in reducing the revolted inhabitants of Navarre and Alava. About this time Abdelrahman, the caliph's viceroy in Spain, threw off his allegiance and established himself, as an independent sovereign, at Cordova. In consequence of this
transaction, the Moors composed the intestine di visions, which had long distracted their councils and tarnished their reputation : but fortune stiil continued to frown upon their designs, and upwards of fifty thousand of their bravest troops were slain or made prisoners in an engagement with the army of Froila. Soon after this victory, the king founded the city of Oviedo, and made it the seat of his government, that he might be enabled to protect the flat country, which he anxiously desired to people.
About the year 758, the power of the Moors received a severe blow by the rise of the kingdom of Navarre, which is said to have taken its origin from the acidental meeting of some gentleren at the tomb of an hermit who had die: among the Pyrenees. At this place, where they assembled on account of the sanctity of the defunct, they took occasion to converse on the tyrannical cruelty of the Moors, and the glory that would result from shaking off their intolerable yoke, which, from the natural strength of their country, seemed easy to be effected. After mature deliberation this project was adopted, and the regal dignity was conferred upon a per: son of great abilities, named Garcia Ximenes, who soon wrested the important town of Ainsa out of the hands of the infidels. His successor, Garcia Inigas, extended his territories as far as Biscay; and the dissensions of the Saracens, which revived after the demise of Abdelrahman, contributed greatly to the augmentation of the Christian power. In 778 Charles the Great passed through Navarre, and pushed his conquests to the borders of the Ebro; but in 831
the independency of this kingdom was revived by count Azner; and in 857 the title of “ king of Navarre” was publicly assumed by Don Garcia. ; But to return from this digression. Froila, who now called himself king of Leon and Oviedo, chastised the Galicians withr unexampled severity for having neglected to assist him against the Saracens: but, though he reduced the rebels, he lost the affection of his subjects, and clearly perceived that their obedience resulted entirely from motives of fear. Exasperated at this discovery, lie abandoned himself to pride and cruelty, and even stabbed his own brother to the heart, because his amiable temper had endeared him to the populace. This crime, however, did not long remain unpunished ; for a conspiracy was soon formed among the nobles, and the people congratulated each other on hearing that their sanguinary tyrant had fallen by assassination.
Don Aurelio, a prince of engaging manners, and a mild disposition, was placed on the vacant throne, and applied himself with great assiduity to reform and regulate the affairs of his domi. nions: but, while he was thus employed, the very existence of his government was threatened by a general revolt of the Moorish slaves. This, however; was happily subdued, and the rebels were deprived of all those indulgences which they had hitherto possessed. Nothing further is related of Aurelio except that he bestowed his cousin, Adosinda, and a large share of the administration, upon a Gothic nobleman named Silo, and that he was buried, after a reign of seven years, in a church of his own foundation, situated about fifteen miles from Oviedo.