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a general assembly of the states, he expressed his affection by kissing the hand of that monarch as he took his seat. This salutation was afterwards construed into a solemn act of homage, and occasioned several serious ruptures between the two princes, though their forces acted, for some time, in perfect concert, and recovered several important places out of the hands of their common enemy.
Historians have observed that the king of Castile was inspired with unreasonable haughtiness by the proposal of a marriage between his daughter Berengara, and prince Conrad, son of the emperor Frederic Barbarossa. The intend. ed bridegroom was received at Toledo with ex. traordinary magnificence; the contract of marriage was signed; and great preparations were made for the solemnization of the nuptials; but, on the birth of an heir male to the throne of Castile, the German prince felt himself disappointed of his expectations, and returned into his own country without espousing the infanta.
Exasperated by this disappointment, and presuming on his cousin's youth, the Castilian monarch made an irruption into Leon, and committed many flagrant outrages: but the king of Arragon espoused the cause of his injured neighbour, and the nobles of both kingdoms interposed their good offices to prevent a greater effusion of Christian blood.
Shortly after the termination of this war, cardinal Gregory, the pope's legate, declared that the marriage of the king of Leon with the infanta of Portugal was illegal and null; and that therefore they ought to part. Finding his
private süggestions were useless, he summoned a council at Salamanca, where he carried his point, after excommunicating four prelates who had protested against him. The king, how ever, still refused to part from his beloved consort, and persisted in his obstinacy till his dominions were laid under an interdict, and his su. perstitious subjects began to clamour loudly for his obedience to the Roman pontiff.
The king of Castile, in the mean time, had sent a numerous army into Andalusia under the command of the archbishop of Toledo; and that prelate acted with such unexampled severity against the Moors, that Jacob Aben Joseph, king of Morocco, immediately published a gacia, * and came over with a prodigious army to revenge his injured countrymen.
Upon the first intimation of Joseph's arrival at Seville, the Castilian monarch condescended to crave the assistance of Navarre and Leon, observing that he was attacked on the score of religion, and that the common cause of all the Spanish Christians was at stake: but before his cousin or the king of Navarre could march to his assistance, he sallied out against the enemy, and came to a general action, in the vicinage of Alarcos, which terminated in the utter defeat of his army and the loss of his own military reputation. Upwards of twenty thousand Castilians were cut to pieces upon this melancholy occasion; the camp and baggage were likewise taken by the victorious enemy; and the shattered remains of
* The gncia auswers to a popish crusade, and insures to every Mussulinan who either kills a Christian or perishes in the attempt, a plenary absolution from all his sins, and an immediate entrance into the joys of paradise. VOL. XV. S
the Christians retired, with great difficulty, to the fortifications of Toledo.
Alphonso had scarcely entered his A.D. 1195.
capital before the king of Leon arrived
with a numerous army, and expostulated mildly on the imprudence of the recent action; but the proud Castilian answered in such insolent terms, that his auxiliary immediately returned, in disgust, to his own dominions, and the king of Navarre followed his example; while Jacob Aben Joseph reduced Alarcos and Calatrava, and made a furious irruption into Portugal, where he murdered all the ecclesiastics who fell into his hands, and wasted the country with unparalleled barbarity.
Whilst the infidels were thus marking their progress with fire and sword, the king of Castile left the security of his own territories to chance, and turned his arms against his cousin. In this expedition he took several places of inconsider, able strength, destroyed one of the suburbs belonging to the capital, and wasted all the open country with a degree of cruelty little inferior to that of the Moors. Upon his return to Toledo, he entered into a negociation with Pedro, king of Arragon, and prevailed on him to assist hin in his next campaign; so that it seemed as if the Christian princes had resolved to act in concert with their merciless invaders, and to accelerate each other's destruction. A. D.
At this critical juncture, the Moorish 1197.
prince appeared in the field, at the head
of an army which threatened nothing less than the utter subversion of the Castilian government: a circumstance which induced Alphonso to suspend his resentment against his
cousin, and to provide for his own safety by garrisoning his fortresses, and remaining among the mountains with a flying army, which might harass and weaken the enemy without incurring the danger of a pitched battle. In consequence of these precautions, the expected ruin of Castile was averted, and the Moors were compelled, after a fatiguing campaign, to retire into Andalusia. Immediately after the infidels had retreated, Alphonso renewed hostilities against Leon, and the king of that country resolved to check his progress by force of arms. However, by the strenuous advice of the nobility, all differences were compromised; peace was concluded between the contending princes; and a marriage was, soon afterwards, solemnized between the king of Leon and the infanta of Castile.
Early in the ensuing spring, Alphonso of Castile concluded an advantageous 1198.
A. D. peace with the miramolin of Africa. He also gained some important advantages against the king of Navarre; and his satisfaction on these accounts was soon after augmented by the marriage of his daughter Blanche with prince Louis, heir apparent to the crown of France.
Meanwhile, pope Innocent III. succeeding Celestine in the papal chair, took umbrage at the union of the king of Leon with his cousin, and sent positive orders to his nuncio to dissolve the marriage. The nuncio, being less violent than his master, gave time for the father and husband of Donna Berengara to send their ambassadors to Rome: but the haughty pontiff persisted in his resolution, and enforced obedience to his commands by threatening to lay S 2
all the churches of Leon and Castile under an interdict. The king of Leon resolved, for some time, to resist this arbitrary proceeding, and actually persisted in his design, till a schism arose among his prelates in consequence of the threatened interdict, and the whole kingdom was thrown into consternation. At length, however, he per. mitted his consort to retire to her father's court, and the pope vouchsafed to declare the children legitimate, because the marriage had been solemnized on both sides with sincere and laudable intentions. The divorced queen generously gave up her dowry to her affectionate consort; her eldest son, Don Ferdinand, was declared heir apparent to the crown of Leon, in case of his brother's demise; and the other children, viz. Alphonso, Eleonora, Constantia, and Berengara, were left under their father's protection, A.D.
Though the surrender of the queen's 1205.
dowry was perfectly voluntary, and sanc
tioned by the papal confirmation, it seems to have been disagreeable to the king of Castile, as his governors refused to surrender the places which constituted that dowry, and a war ensued, which, with the interposition of some truces, continued for three years. At length, however, the cause of dispute was obviated, by the king of Leon's generosity; and the attention of the Castilians was totally engrossed by a marriage between this monarch's second daughter, Urraca, and the infant Don Alphonso, of Portugal.
As the truce with the miramolin was now on the point of expiring, the Castilian monarch became extremely solicitous to put an end to all disputes among his Christian neighbours, and