Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

cia, in which many salutary canons were çnacted; and, about the same time, the inhabitants of Toledo gained some important advantages over the Saracens.

The spring of 1131 opened with various troubles, and called all the abilities of Alphonso into action ; for he was at once alarmed by an insurrection in the Asturias, an incursion of the infidels, and an invasion of Galicia by Don Al. phonso of Portugal. However, the king acted with such prudence and vigilance upon this trying occasion that the rebels were soon compelled to lay down their arms; the Moors were defeated with prodigious loss, and driven to the very gates of Cordova ; and the Portuguese invaders were speedily repulsed, and stripped of all their former possessions in the country of Limmia.

Having delivered himself from these formi. dable enemies, Alphonso marched with a numerous army into the territories of Arragon, where he offered to assist the new king, Don Ramiro, against the infidels, and where he received the benedictions of the Arragonian pre. lates. Ramiro was so highly gratified by his conduct on this occasion, that he yielded to bim the city of Sarragossa. The new king of Navarre also paid him voluntary homage, in order to obtain his protection; the counts of Thoulouse and Barcelona took the earliest opportunity of acknowledging their vassalage; and preparations were made at Leon for investing the successful prince with imperial honours.

The ceremony of coronation was performed with all possible magnificence, and the shouts of Long live his imperial majesty Don Alphonso,”

resounded

resounded through every part of the royal city : but the circumstance of Alphonso's elevation soon excited the jealousy of his neighbours, and a league was formed against him by the kings of Navarre and Portugal. However, his exertions were attended with complete success, and he was soon enabled to turn his arms against the infi. dels, from whom he wrested the fortresses of Oreja and Mora, the city of Coria, and some other places of great importance.

Elated with these repeated conquests, A. D. the emperor resolved to make an attempt

1147. on the city, fortress, and port of Almeria, which had long been formidable to the Christian states of Spain and the adjacent islands, both on account of their prodigious strength, and as the grand rendezvous of Moorish pirates. Accordingly he levied a numerous body of forces; procured some powerful succours from Arragon, Montpelier, Pisa, and Genoa ; and effected his great design, after a siege of about ten weeks. All the inhabitants that were found in arms perished by the sword; the greatest part of the plunder. was appropriated to the use of the allies; and the imperial victor regarded this campaign as one of the most glorious and bene. ficial that had ever been undertaken by a Spanish prince.

Aben Gama, the Moorish viceroy, was so deeply chagrined at the loss of Almeria, that he panted with impatience for an opportunity of revenging himself on the Spaniards, and, after some time, formed a project for the assassination of the emperor: but his diabolical intention was turned upon his own head ; and Alphonso soon

R 2

obtained

obtained another glorious victory over the infia dels.

Having made a partition of territory between his two sons, Sancho and Ferdinand; and hav. ing also solemnized a marriage between his eldest son, Sancho, and the sister of the king of Navarre, the emperor resolved to enter a second time into the connubial bonds. Accordingly he espoused the princess Rica, daughter of Ladislaus II. king of Poland. The kings of France and Navarre formed conjugal alliances about the same time; and the Spanish court was so entirely engaged by these circumstances, that the Saracens began to enjoy some respite from the fierce attacks of their implacable enemy. Al phonso, however, soon convinced them that his military zeal was unabated; and the Moorish city of Andujar, which had hitherto escaped, was soon added to his other brilliant conquests.

About the spring of 1156 a project was formed for the invasion of Navarre by the Arragonians, but we have no satisfactory account of the progress of that war. It appears, however, that the emperor's attention was diverted from it by a threatened invasion of the Moors, and that he fought with his usual success against those an. cient enemies. But he was incapacitated from pursuing his victory, by a violent distempery which compelled him to halt at the frontier town of Fresneda, and terminated his mortal existence on the 21st of August 1157. He was indispu. tably one of the greatest monarchs, most successful generals, and ablest politicians that Spain could ever boast of. He extended his dominions from the mountains of Biscay to those of the

Sierra Morena; he obtained the imperial title by the homage of the kings of Navarre and Ar. ragon; he was highly respected by all the neighbouring princes ; and his own subjects regarded him with the most affectionate fondness for his strict maintenance of their ancient laws and privileges. As soou as the mournful ceremony of

A. D. the emperor's interment was over,

Don

1157 Sancho and Don Ferdinand repaired to Burgos, where the first was unanimously acknowledged king of Castile, and the second was, with equal unanimity, admitted to the sovereignty of Leon, the Asturias, and Galicia. The young princes, however, were unfortunately more attentive to the pomp of their inaugurations than to the discharge of their regal duties: and the Saracens began to make such incursions into the Spanish territories as overwhelmed the Christians with consternation. Pedraches, Andujar, Baeza, and several other important places, were recovered by these assailants with surprising rapidity; and in the space of one campaign the Spaniards were driven out of all the territories which had been conquered, by their late emperor, in Andalusia.

Whilst the court of Castile was alarmed by these unexpected calamities, the new king of Leon was persuaded to dismiss most of the old statesmen who had been peculiarly honoured with his royal parent's favour : and, upon those persons retiring to Burgos, he marched at the head of a numerous army into his brother's dominions. But Sancho treated him with such fraternal kindness, and expatiated so forcibly on the danger of listening to the suggestions of

R 3

parasites,

parasites, that the old counsellors were reina stated in their employments, and Ferdinand escaped the snare which had been artfully laid for the express purpose of subverting his government and authority. Shortly after this occur. rence, Don Sancho concluded an amicable treaty with the kings of Arragon, and Navarre.

In consequence of the great success which had recently crowned the arms of the Moors, and of the prodigious succours which were said to be raising in Morocco, the knights Templars, who had hitherto held Calatrava as a fief from the crown, made a voluntary resignation of a town which they were unable to defend : and the king of Castile published an edict, whereby he offered the place to any of his nobles or prelates who would undertake to preserve and maintain it. Hereupon Saint Raymond, abbot of Vitero, expressed his resolution of defending Calatrava and, without any other assistance than that of a monk called Diego Velasquez, he raised twenty thousand followers in the space of a few weeks: upon this success he

gave

the Cistercian order a military turn; and from hence arose that or. der of religious chivalry which has, in later ages, been distinguished by the name of Calatrava.

Upon the arrival of the Moorish forces from the court of Morocco, the kingdom of Toleda was threatened with a powerful invasion; and Aben Jacob, son of Abdulmenon, took the earliest opportunity of commencing hostilities: but, after a most sanguinary conflict, victory decided in favour of the Christians, and their in. vaders were defeated with equal loss and ignominy. The exultation of the Spaniards, how: ever, was soon checked by the death of Don

Sanchoy

« ZurückWeiter »