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vinces of Old and New Castile. It was di. vided from the kingdom of Leon on one side by some little rivers ; on the other it was bounded by Biscay, Rioja, and the Asturias, and had the mountains of Avila and Segovia on the south : thus lying between the Christian state of Leon and the Moorish kingdom of Cordova. It remained under its own princes for about five hundred years; but at the expiration of that time it was annexed to the crown of Leon, as will appear in the sequel.
But to resume the thread of our history. Alphonso, being now advanced in years, expressed a wish to spend the remainder of his life in im. proving his dominions and augmenting the happiness of his subjects : but the affection which he manifested toward the common people, gave great umbrage to the nobility, and occasioned some formidable rebellions : these, however, were happily crushed ; and a fresh irruption of the Moors added fresh laurels to his venerable brow. Whilst the king was expressing his
A. D. gratitude, by various acts of piety, for
908. his repeated successes, he was sensibly wounded by the baseness of his own son, Gar. cias, who had formed the design of deposing him, and seating himself upon the throne. Upon the first intimation of this vile intention, Alphonso seized the unnatural traitor, and threw him into confinement; but, as this step excited loud murmurs among the populace, and as the discontent of the queen, the prince Ordogno, and the father-in-law of the prisoner, threatened the most fatal consequences to the state, he summoned a general assembly of his VOL. XV, P
nobles and counsellors, and publicly resigned the crown to Don Garcias, and the province of Galicia to Don Ordogno. The two princes were deeply affected by this act of unexpected generosity, and threw themselves on their knees to implore forgiveness for their rebellion; Alphonso sealed their pardon with affectionate sincerity; and Don Garcias was solemnly proclaimed king of Leon and Oviedo. A. D.
The new king, having conciliated the
esteem of his clergy, by founding a 911.
monastery, assembled a numerous army, in order to attack the Moors, who, during the last three years, had been free from irruptions. The king of Cordova made the best provision he could for his enemy's reception, and put his own forces under the command of a gallant of ficer, who was ordered to remain, as much as possible, on the defensive. Garcias, however, soon forced the infidels to a battle, in which most of their bravest troops were cut to pieces, and their heroic general was taken prisoner.
Garcias was much eiated with this victory; and the generality of his subjects were loud in commendation of his military abilities: but his father assured him that incursions and conquests were of little avail, if made with the mere design of enriching the soldiery, or acquiring applause. He, therefore, advised him to levy a powerful body of forces, of which he would himself take the command, while a number of cities, which lay in ruins along the river Duro, might be repaired and repeopled. Garcias immediately reduced this plan to execution; and the cities of Rueda, Osma, Cocca, and Corunna, rose to their pristine splendor, whilst Don
Alphonso made a glorious and profitable campaign against the Saracens.
Shortly after his return from this expedition, Alphonso was attacked by an indisposition which put a period to his life, in the sixty-third year of his age.
With respect to his character, he was a sound politician, a justly renowned warrior, and a passionate admirer of learning. The whole sum of money which he possessed at his death was devoted to religious purposes; and by his assiduity several records of the Spanish affairs have been transmitted to posterity in the form of a chronicle.
Upon the demise of his illustrious father, Don Garcias made some vigorous preparations against Abdelrahman III, king of Cordova; and, with the assistance of Ordogno, he gained some considerable advantages : but at the close of the campaign he was seized with a disorder which proved fatal, after he had worn the diadem for about three Don Ordogno, having received inti.
A. D. mation of his brother's death, hastened
9i4. to Leon, and took possession of the vacànt throne with the unanimous consent of the clergy and nobility. The commencement of his reign, like that of his predecessor, was marked by an expedition against the Saracens, and his arms were crowned with extraordinary success, for he reduced several of the Moorish towns; compelled others to purchase an ignominious peace upon exorbitant terms; and defeated an army of eighty thousand men, which had been drawn from various parts of Africa in order to subvert his government. On his return from a campaign which he had P2
undertaken in behalf of the king of Navarre, he espoused a lady named Argonta, who was descended from one of the most illustrious families in Galicia; but, at the instigation of some vile calumniator, he repudiated her; in consequence of which, she devoted the remainder of her days to religious solitude. About the same time, the king, having conceived some suspicion of the counts of Castile, caused them to be imprisoned and put to death: but, as historians differ materially in their assertions upon this subject, it is not easy to determine whether the sufferers were really guilty of the crimes laid to their charge.
At the request of the king of Navarre; Don Ordogno opened a fresh campaign, in 923, against the Moors, and recovered several impor. tant places from that ambitious and enterprising people. He then married a princess of Navarre, and returned in triumph to his own dominions; but his nuptials were soon followed by his death, and the throne became vacant after it had been occupied by this prince for rather more than seventeen years.
Don Ordogno left two sons, by his
queen; but as their tender years
precluded them from claiming the government, their uncle, Don Froila, presented himself as a candidate, and was cheerfully accepted by the assembled nobles. He commenced his reign with violent and sanguinary measures; driving the eldest of his nephews into exile, and causing the sons of a Spanish grandee to be put to death, because they had disapproved his election. However, his tyranny was terminated by a fatal distemper, after he had borne the regal title for thirteen months;
and Alphonso IV. the son of Ordogno, was proclaimed king amidst universal acclamations. 29. This prince had no sooner- assumed the reins
of government, than he recalled the bishop of Leon; and gave many convincing proofs of equity and moderation: but he seems to have had a strong predilection for the repose of a pri vate life; and, on the demise of his beloved queen Urraca, he made a voluntary resignation of the crown, and prevailed on the nobles to transfer their allegiance to his brother Ramiro, who had been, for some time, stationed on the frontiers of Portugal. Ramiro II. had scarcely assumed the
A. D. insignia of royalty, and led out an army
927. to repress an irruption of the Moors, before he received intelligence that his brother had changed his mind, and resumed the supreme authority at Leon. Hereupon he led his forces back to the capital, and invested it so closely that the inhabitants were soon reduced to extremities, and Alphonso was eventually compelled to throw himself on the new monarch's clemency.
During the siege of Leon, a formidable rebellion had broken out in the Asturias, under the sons of king Froila: but on the approach of Ramiro the insurgents laid down their arms, and obtained a pardon by delivering up the young princes, who were immediately deprived of their sight, and sentenced to pass the remainder of their days in confinement. As soon as Ramiro had re-established
A.D. the tranquillity of his dominions, he re
932. newed his attack upon the Moors; took the city of Madrid by assault; insulted the garrison of Toledo; and returned in triumph with