Moors in Spain - M. Florian

The Kings of Grenada

Middle of the Thirteenth Century to the period of the Total Expulsion of the Moors from Spain, A.D. 1492.

The unprecedented success of the Spaniards, and, above all, the loss of Cordova, spread consternation among the Moors. That ardent and superstitious people, who were ever equally ready to cherish delusive hopes, and to yield to despondency when those. anticipations were disappointed, looked upon their empire as ruined the moment the Christian cross surmounted the pinnacle of their grand mosque, and the banner of Castile waved over the walls of their ancient capital—those walls on which the standards of the Caliphs of the West and of their Prophet had for centuries floated in triumph.

Notwithstanding this national dejection, however, Seville, Grenada, Murcia, and the kingdom of Algarva still belonged to the Mussulmans. They possessed all the seaports, and the whole maritime coast of the south of Spain. Their enormous population, and great national wealth and industry, also secured to them immense resources; but Cordova, the holy city, the rival of Mecca in the West—Cordova was in the possession of the Christians, and the Moors believed that all was lost.

But the hopes of these despairing followers of Islam were rekindled by the almost magical influence of a single individual, a scion of the tribe of the Alhamars, named Mohammed Aboussaid, who came originally from the celebrated Arabian city of Couffa.

Several historians, who speak of Mohammed under the title of Mohammed Alhamar, assure us that he commenced his career as a simple shepherd, and that, having afterward borne arms, he aspired to the attainment of royal power in consequence of his martial exploits. Such an incident is not extraordinary among the Arabs, where all who are not descended either from the family of the Prophet or from the royal race, possessing none of the privileges of birth, are esteemed solely according to their personal merits.

But, be that as it may, Mohammed Aboussaid possessed sufficient intellectual powers to reanimate the expiring courage of the vanquished Moslems. He assembled an army in the city of Arjona, and, well knowing the peculiar character of the nation that he wished to control, proceeded to gain over to his interests a santon, a species of religious character highly venerated among the Moors. This oracular individual publicly predicted to the people of Algarva that Mohammed Alhamar was destined speedily to become their king. Accordingly, he was soon proclaimed by the inhabitants, and several other cities followed the example thus set them.

Mohammed now filled the place of Benhoud, to whom he possessed similar talents for government; and, feeling the necessity of selecting a city to replace Cordova in the affections of the Moors, to become the sacred asylum of their religion, and the centering point for their military strength, he founded a new kingdom, and made the city of Grenada its capital, A.D. 1236, Heg. 634.

This city, powerful from the remotest times, and supposed to be the ancient Illiberis of the Romans, was built upon two hills, not far distant from the Sierra Nevada, a chain of mountains whose summits are covered with perpetual snow. The town was traversed by the river Darra, and the waters of the Xenil bathed its walls. Each of the two hills was crowned by a fortress; on the one was that of the Alhambra, and on the other that of the Albayzin. These strongholds were either of them sufficient in extent to accommodate forty thousand men within their walls. The fugitives from the city of Alhambra, as has already been stated, had given the name of their former home to the new quarters that they peopled; and the Moors who had been driven from Baeca when Ferdinand III. became master of that place, had established themselves, in a similar manner, in the quarter of the Albayzin.

This city had also received many exiles from Valencia, Cordova, and other places which the Mussulmans had deserted.

With a population whose numbers were daily augmented, Grenada, at the period of which we now speak, was more than three leagues in circuit, surrounded by impregnable ramparts, defended by many strong towers, and by a brave and numerous people, whose military prowess seemed to ensure their safety and independence.

Various were the advantages that combined in giving to Grenada the supremacy she had assumed. Her location was one of the most agreeable and beautiful in the world, and rendered her mistress of a country on which nature had lavished her choicest gifts. The famous vega, or plain, by which the city was surrounded, was thirty leagues in length and eight in breadth. It was terminated on the north by the mountains of Elvira and the Sierra Nevada, and enclosed on the remaining sides by hills clothed with the verdure of the olive, the mulberry, the lemon, and the vine.

This enchanting plain was watered by five small rivers and an infinite number of gushing springs, whose streams wandered in graceful meanderings through meadows of perpetual verdure, through forests of oak and plantations of grain, flax, and sugar-cane, or burst forth in the midst of gardens, and orchards, and orange-groves.

All the rich, and beautiful, and varied productions of the soil required but little attention in their culture. The earth was continually covered with vegetation, in myriads of changing forms, and never knew the repose of winter.

During the heat of summer, the mountain breezes spread a refreshing coolness through the air of this lovely vega, and preserved the early brilliancy and beauty of the flowers, that were ever mingled in delightful confusion with the varied fruits of a tropical region.

On this celebrated plain, whose charms no description can embellish; on this enchanting vega, where nature seemed to have exhausted her efforts in lavishing all that the heart of man could desire or his imagination conceive, more blood has been shed than on any other spot in the world. There—where, during two centuries of unceasing warfare, whose baleful effects extended from generation to generation, from city to city, and from man to man—there does not exist a single isolated portion of earth where the trees have not been wantonly destroyed, the villages reduced to ashes, and the desolated fields strewn with the mingled corses of slaughtered Moors and Christians.

Independent of this vega, which was of such inestimable value to Grenada, fourteen great cities and more than one hundred of smaller size, together with a prodigious number of towns, were embraced within the boundaries of this fine kingdom.

The extent of Grenada, from Gibraltar (which was not taken by the Christians until long after this period) to the city of Lorca, was more than eighty leagues. It was thirty leagues in breadth from Cambril to the Mediterranean.

The mountains by which the kingdom of Grenada was intersected, produced gold, silver, granite, amethysts, and various kinds of marble.

Among these mountains, those of the Alpuxaries alone formed a province and yielded the monarch of Grenada more precious treasures than their mines could furnish—active and athletic men, who became either hardy and industrious husbandmen, or faithful and indefatigable soldiers.

In addition to all this, the ports of Almeria, Malaga, and Algeziras received into their harbors the vessels of both Europe and Africa, and became places of deposite for the commerce of the Mediterranean and the Atlantic.

Such, at its birth, was the kingdom of Grenada, and such it long continued. Mohammed Alhamar, from the period of its establishment, made useless efforts to unite all the remaining dominions of the Mussulmans of Spain under one scepter, as the only means of successfully resisting the encroachments of the Christians. But the little kingdom of Murcia and that of Algarva were each governed by separate princes, who persisted in maintaining their independence. This was the cause of their ruin, for they thus became more readily the prey of the Spaniards.

Alhamar signalized the commencement of his reign by military achievements. In the year 1242, Heg. 640, he gained some important advantages over the troops of Ferdinand. But repeated revolts in the capital and disturbances in other parts of his new empire, eventually compelled Mohammed to conclude a dishonorable peace with the King of Castile. He agreed to do homage for his crown to the Castilian sovereign, to put the strong place of Jaen into his hands, to pay him a tribute, and to furnish him with auxiliary troops for any wars in which he should engage. On these conditions Ferdinand acknowledged him King of Grenada, and even aided him in subduing his rebellious subjects.

The sagacious Ferdinand thus established a truce with Grenada, that he might the more effectually concentrate his forces against Seville, which he had long entertained hopes of conquering.

The important city of Seville was no longer under the dominion of a king, but formed a kind of republic, governed by military magistrates. Its situation at no great distance from the mouth of the Guadalquivir, its commerce, its population, the mildness of its climate, and the fertility of the environs, rendered Seville one of the most flourishing cities of Spain.

Ferdinand, foreseeing a long resistance, commenced the campaign by seizing upon all the neighboring towns.

Finally, he laid siege to Seville itself, and his fleet, stationed at the mouth of the Guadalquivir, closed the door to any assistance which might be sent from Africa in aid of the beleaguered city.

The siege was long and bloody. The Sevillians were numerous and well skilled in the arts of war, and their ally, the King of Algarva, harassed the besiegers unceasingly. Notwithstanding the extreme bravery displayed by the Christians in their assaults, and the scarcity of provisions which began to be felt within the walls, the city, after an investment of a whole year, still refused to surrender.

Ferdinand then summoned the King of Grenada to come, in accordance with their treaty, and serve under his banners. Alhamar was forced to obey, and soon presented himself in the Christian camp at the head of a brilliant army. The inhabitants of Seville lost all hope after this occurrence, and surrendered to the Castilian monarch. The King of Grenada returned to his own dominions with the humiliating glory of having contributed, by his assistance, to the ruin of his countrymen.

Ferdinand, with more piety than policy, banished the infidels from Seville. One hundred thousand of that unfortunate people left the city, to seek an exile's home in Africa or in the provinces of Grenada.

The kingdom of Grenada now became the sole and last asylum of the Spanish Moslems. The little kingdom of Algarva was soon obliged to receive the yoke of Portugal, and Murcia, in consequence of its separation from Grenada, became the prey of the Castilians.

During the life of Ferdinand III., nothing occurred to interrupt the good understanding that existed between that monarch and Mohammed Alhamar.

The King of Grenada wisely took advantage of this peaceful period more effectually to confirm himself in the possession of his crown, and to make preparations for a renewal of hostilities against the Christians, who would not, he foresaw, long remain his friends.

Mohammed, by this means, ultimately found himself in a condition that would enable him long to defend his power and dominions. He was master of a country of great extent, and he possessed considerable revenues, the amount of which it is now difficult correctly to estimate, in consequence of the ignorance which prevails on the subject of the peculiar financial system of the Moors, and the different sources from which the public treasury was supplied. Every husbandman, for example, paid the seventh part of the produce of his fields to his sovereign; his flocks even were not exempted from this exaction. The royal domain comprised numerous valuable farms; and, as agriculture was carried to the highest degree of perfection, the revenues from these, in so luxuriant a country, must have amounted to a very large sum. The annual income of the sovereign was augmented by various taxes levied on the sale, marking, and passage from one point to another of all kinds of cattle. The laws bestowed on the king the inheritance of such of his subjects as died childless, and gave him, in addition, a portion in the estates of other deceased persons. He also possessed, as has been already shown, mines of gold, silver, and precious stones; and though the Moors were but little skilled in the art of mining, still there was no country in Europe in which gold and silver were more common than among them.

The commerce carried on in their beautiful silks, and in a great variety of other productions; their contiguity to the Mediterranean and Atlantic; their activity, industry, and astonishing population; their superior knowledge of the science of agriculture; the sobriety natural to all the inhabitants of Spain; and that peculiar property of a southern climate, by which much is produced from the soil, while very little suffices for the maintenance of its possessor; all these, united with their other national advantages, will furnish some idea of the great power and resources of this singular people.

Their standing military force—it can scarcely be said in times of peace, for they rarely knew the blessings of that state—amounted to nearly a hundred thousand men; and this army, in case of necessity, could easily be increased to double that number. The single city of Grenada could furnish fifty thousand soldiers. Indeed, every Moor would readily become a soldier to oppose the Christians. The difference of faith rendered these wars sacred in their eyes; and the mutual hatred entertained by these two almost equally superstitious nations never failed to arm, when necessary, every individual of both sides, even from children to old men.

Independent of the numerous and brave, but ill-disciplined troops, who would assemble for a campaign, and afterward return to their homes without occasioning any expense to the state, the Moorish monarch maintained a considerable corps of cavaliers, who were dispersed along the frontiers, particularly in the direc tions of Murcia and Jaen, those parts of the country being most exposed to the repeated incursions of the Spaniards. Upon each of these cavaliers the king bestowed for life a small habitation, with sufficient adjoining ground for his own maintenance, and that of his family and horse. This method of keeping soldiers in service, while it occasioned no expense to the public treasury, served to attach them more firmly to their country, by identifying their interests with hers; and it held out to them the strongest motives faithfully to defend their charge, inasmuch as their patrimony was always first exposed to the ravages of the enemy.

At a time when the art of war had not reached the perfection it has now attained, and when large bodies of troops were not kept continually assembled and exercised, the system of stationing this peculiar guard along the frontiers was of admirable effect.

The knights who composed this unrivalled cavalry were mounted on African or Andalusian chargers, whose merits in the field are so well known, and were accustomed from infancy to their management; treating them with the tenderest care, and regarding them as their inseparable companions: by these means they acquired that remarkable superiority for which the Moorish cavalry is still so celebrated.

These redoubtable squadrons, whose velocity of movement was unequalled; who would, almost at the same moment, charge in mass, break into detached troops, scatter, rally, fly off, and again form in line; these cavaliers, whose voice, whose slightest gesture, whose very thoughts, so to speak, were intelligible to their docile and sagacious steeds, and who were able to recover a lance or sabre that had fallen to the earth while in full gallop, constituted the principal military force of the Moors. Their infantry was of little value; and their ill-fortified towns, surrounded only by walls and moats, and defended by this worthless infantry, could offer but an imperfect resistance to that of the Spaniards, which began already to deserve the reputation it afterward so well sustained in Italy, under Gonzalvo, the Great Captain.

After the death of St. Ferdinand, his son Alphonso the Sage, mounted the throne, A.D. 1252, Heg. 650. The first care of Mohammed Alhamar after this event was to go in person to Toledo, followed by a brilliant retinue, to renew the treaty of alliance, or, rather, of dependence, by which he was united to Ferdinand. The new king of Castile remitted on this occasion a part of the tribute to which the Moors had been subjected.

But this peace was not of long continuance; and the two contending nations now recommenced the war with nearly equal advantages.

An incident is related as having occurred during this war, which reflects equal honor on the humanity of the Moors and the courage of the Spaniards. It refers to Garcias Gomes, governor of the city of Xeres. He was besieged by the Grenadians, and his garrison nearly destroyed, but still he refused to surrender; and, standing on the ramparts covered with blood, and literally bristling with arrows, he sustained alone the onset of the assailants. The Moors, on seeing him in this situation, agreed, with one accord, to spare the life of so brave a man. Garcias then threw himself from the walls upon some iron hooks; but he was rescued alive in spite of his efforts to prevent it, treated with respect by his captors, and, after his wounds were healed, dismissed with presents.

Alhamar could not prevent Alphonso from adding the kingdom of Murcia to his dominions; and the fortunes of war compelled him to obtain peace by submitting anew to the payment of tribute to the Catholic sovereign, A.D. 1266, Heg. 665.

But some dissensions which soon after arose between the Castilian monarch and some of the grandees of his kingdom, inspired the Grenadian king with the hope of repairing the loss he had sustained. The brother of Alphonso, together with several noblemen belonging to the principal Castilian families, retired to Grenada in open defiance of the authority of the Spanish monarch, and materially aided Mohammed Alhamar in repressing the insurrectionary movements of two of his rebellious subjects, who were countenanced in their attempts by the Christians.

But, just at this juncture, the wise and politic King of Grenada died, leaving the throne that he had acquired and preserved by his talents to his son Mohammed II., El Fakik, A.D. 1273, Heg. 672.

The new Mussulman king, who took the title of Emir al Mumenim, adopted in all respects the policy of his father. He took every advantage in his power of the discord which reigned at the Castilian court, and of the ineffectual voyages undertaken by Alphonso in the hope of being elected emperor. Finally, during the absence of his enemy, Mohammed formed an offensive league with Jacob, the king of Morocco, a prince of the race of the Merines, the conquerors and successors of the Almohades. The Grenadian sovereign ceded to his African ally the two important places of Tariffe and Algeziras, on condition of his crossing the Mediterranean to the Peninsula.

Jacob, in accordance with this agreement, arrived in Spain, at the head of an army, in the year 1275 (the 675th of the Hegira); and the two Moorish leaders, by acting in concert, gained some important advantages.

But the criminal revolt of Sancho, the Infant of Castile, against his father Alphonso the Sage, soon afterward divided these Mussulman monarchs. The King of Grenada took the part of the rebellious son, while Alphonso, reduced to extremity by the abandonment of his subjects, implored the assistance of the King of Morocco. Jacob recrossed the sea with his troops, and met Alphonso at Zara. At that celebrated interview, the unfortunate Castilian wished to concede the place of honor to the king, who was there as his defender. "It belongs to you," said Jacob to him, "because you are unfortunate! I came here to avenge a cause which should be that of every father. I came here to aid you in punishing an ingrate, who, though he received life from you, would still deprive you of your crown. When I shall have fulfilled this duty, and you are again prosperous and happy, I will once more become your enemy, and contest every point of precedence with you."

The soul of the Christian prince was not sufficiently noble, however, to prompt him to confide himself to the monarch who had uttered these sentiments, and he escaped from the camp. Alphonso died soon after this event, disinheriting his guilty son before he expired, A.D. 1284, Heg. 683.

Sancho reigned in his father's stead, however, notwithstanding this prohibition, and international troubles convulsed Castile anew.

Mohammed seized this moment to enter Andalusia. He gained several battles, and took some important places in that kingdom, and thus victoriously terminated a long and glorious reign, A.D. 1302, Heg. 703.

This Mohammed Emir al Mumenim  the principal political events of whose life have now been briefly narrated, was a munificent patron of the fine arts. He added their charms to the attractions of a court which poets, philosophers, and astronomers alike contributed to render celebrated.

As an illustration of the scientific superiority that the Moors still maintained over the Spaniards, the fact may be mentioned that Alphonso the Sage, king of Castile, availed himself, in the arrangement of his astronomical tables (still known as the Alphonsine Tables), of the assistance of some contemporary Moslem savants.

Grenada began by this time to replace Cordova. Architecture, above all, made great advances. It was during the reign of Mohammed II. that the famous palace of the Alhambra was commenced, a part of which still remains to astonish travelers, whom its name alone suffices to attract to Grenada.

To prove to what a height of perfection the Moors had succeeded in carrying the art, then so little known to Europeans, of uniting the magnificent and the luxurious, a few details may perhaps be pardoned concerning this singular edifice, and as an illustration, also, of the particular manners and customs of the Moors.

The Alhambra, as has been said, was at first only a vast fortress, standing upon one of the two hills enclosed within the city of Grenada. This hill, though environed on every side by the waters either of the Darra or the Xenil, was defended, in addition, by a double enclosure of walls. It was on the summit of this elevation, which overlooked the whole city, and from which one might behold the most beautiful prospect in the world, in the midst of an esplanade covered with trees and fountains, that Mohammed selected the site of his palace.

Nothing with which we are familiar in architecture can give us a correct idea of that of the Moors. They piled up buildings without order, symmetry, or any attention to the external appearance they would present. All their cares were bestowed upon the interior of their structures. There they exhausted all the resources of taste and magnificence, to combine in their apartments the requisites for luxurious indulgence with the charms of nature in her most enchanting forms. There, in saloons adorned with the most beautiful marble, and paved with a brilliant imitation of porcelain, couches, covered with stuffs of gold and silver, were arranged near jets d'eau, whose waters glanced upward toward the vaulted roof, and spread a delicious coolness through an atmosphere embalmed by the delicate odors arising from exquisite vases of precious perfumes, mingled with the fragrant breath of the myrtle, jasmine, orange, and other sweet-scented flowers that adorned the apartments.

The beautiful palace of the Alhambra, as it now exists at Grenada, presents no facade. It is approached through a charming avenue, which is constantly intersected by rivulets, whose streams wander in graceful curves amid groups of trees. The entrance is through a large square tower, which formerly bore the name of the Hall of Judgment. A religious inscription announces that it was there that the king administered justice after the ancient manner of the Hebrew and other Orient l nations. Several buildings, which once adjoined this tower were destroyed in more recent times, to give place to a magnificent palace erected by Charles V., a description of which is not necessary to our subject. Upon penetrating on the northern side into the ancient palace of the Moorish kings, one feels as if suddenly transported to the regions of fairyland. The first court is an oblong square, surrounded on each side by a gallery in the form of an arcade, the walls and ceiling of which are covered with Mosaic work, festoons, arabesque paintings, gilding, and carving in stucco, of the most admirable workmanship. All the plain spaces between these various ornaments are filled with passages transcribed from the Alkoran, or by inscriptions of a similar character to the following, which will suffice to create some idea of the figurative style of Moorish composition:

"Oh Nazir! thou wert born the master of a throne, and, like the star that announces the approach of day, thou art refulgent with a brilliancy that belongs to thee alone! Thine arm is the rampart of a nation; thy justice an all-pervading luminary. Thou canst, by thy valor, subdue those who have given companions to God! Thy numerous people are thy children, and thou renderest them all happy by thy goodness. The bright stars of the firmament shine lovingly upon thee, and the glorious light of the sun beams upon thee with affection. The stately cedar, the proud monarch of the forest, bows his lofty head at thy approach, and is again uplifted by thy puissant hand!"

In the midst of this court, which is paved with white marble, is a long basin always filled with running water of sufficient depth for bathing. It is bordered on each side by beds of flowers, and surrounded by walks lined with orange-trees. The place was called the Mesuar, and served as the common bathing-place of those who were attached to the service of the palace.

From thence one passes into the celebrated Court of Lions. It is a hundred feet in length and fifty in breadth. A colonnade of white marble supports the gallery that runs around the whole. These columns, standing sometimes two and sometimes three together, are of slender proportions and fantastic design; but their lightness and grace afford pleasure to the eye of the wondering beholder. The walls, and, above all, the ceiling of the circular gallery, are covered with embellishments of gold, azure, and stucco, wrought into arabesques, with an exquisite delicacy of execution that the most skillful modern workmen would find it difficult to rival. In the midst of these ornaments of ever-changing variety and beauty are inscribed passages from the Koran, such as the following, which all good Mussulmans are required frequently to repeat: God is great: God alone is supreme: There is no god but God: Celestial enjoyment, gratifications of the heart, delights of the soul to all those who believe.

At either extremity of the Court of Lions are placed, within the interior space enclosed by the gallery, and, like it, supported by marble columns, two elegant cupolas of fifteen or sixteen feet in circumference. These graceful domes form a covering for beautiful jets d'eau. In the center of the lengthened square, a superb alabaster vase, six feet in diameter, is supported in an elevated position in the midst of a vast basin by the forms of twelve lions sculptured from white marble. This vessel, which is believed to have been modeled after the design of the "molten sea" of the Temple of Solomon, is again surmounted by a smaller vase, from which shoot forth innumerable tiny cascades, which together present the form of a great sheaf; and, falling again from one vase into another, and from these into the large basin beneath, create a perpetual flow, whose volume is increased by the floods of limpid water which gush in a continual stream from the mouth of each of the marble lions.

This fountain, like each of the others, is adorned with inscriptions; for the Moors ever took pleasure in mingling the eloquence of poetry with the graces of sculpture. To us their conceptions appear singular and their expressions exaggerated; but our manners are so opposite to theirs; the period of their existence as a nation is so far removed, and we know so little of the genius of their language, that we have, perhaps, no right to judge the literature of the Moors by the severe rules of modern criticism. And, indeed, the specimens we possess of the French and Spanish poetry of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries are, many of them, little superior to the verses engraven on the Fountain of Lions, of which the following is a translation:

"Oh thou who beholdest these lions! dost thou not perceive that they need only to breathe to possess the perfection of nature? Oh Mohammed! Oh potent sovereign! God originated and prolonged thy existence, that thou mightest be inspired with the genius to conceive and accomplish these novel and beautiful embellishments! Thy soul is adorned by the most ennobling qualities of humanity. This enchanting spot pictures thy admirable virtues. Like the lion, thou art terrible in combat; and nothing can be more justly compared to the bountiful and unceasing profusion of the limpid waters which gush from the bosom of this fountain, and fill the air with glittering and brilliant particles, than the liberal hand of Mohammed."

We will not attempt a description in detail of such other portions of the palace of the Alhambra as still exist. Some of these served as halls of audience or of justice; others enclosed the baths of the king, the queen, and their children. Sleeping apartments still remain, where the couches were disposed either in alcoves, or upon platforms covered with the peculiar pavement already alluded to; but always near a fountain, the unceasing murmur of whose dreamy voice might sooth the occupants to repose.

In the music saloon of this once luxurious royal abode are four elevated galleries, which, ere the glory of the Alhambra had passed away, were often filled by Moorish musicians, the delightful strains of whose varied instruments enchanted the court of Grenada. Then the fair and brave reclined in graceful groups in the center of the apartment, upon rich Oriental carpets, surrounding the alabaster fountain, whose balmy breath diffused refreshing coolness, and whose softly gurgling sounds mingled with the gentle music which was ever the accompaniment of repose and enjoyment.

In an apartment which was at the same time the oratory and dressing-room of the queen of this magnificent residence, there still exists a slab of marble, pierced with an infinite number of small apertures, to admit the exhalations of the perfumes that were incessantly burning beneath the lofty ceiling. From this part of the palace, too, the views are exquisitely beautiful. The windows and doors opening from it are so arranged, that the most agreeable prospects, the mellowest and most pleasing effects of light, perpetually fall upon the delighted eyes of those within, while balmy breezes constantly renew the delicious coolness of the air that breathes through this enchanting retreat.

Upon leaving the marble halls and lofty towers of the Alhambra, one discerns, on the side of a neighboring mountain, the famous garden of the Generalif, which signifies, in the Moorish tongue, the Home of Love. In this garden was the palace to which the kings of Grenada repaired to pass the season of spring. It was built in a style similar to that of the Alhambra: the same gorgeous splendor, the same costly magnificence reigned there. The edifice is now destroyed; but the picturesque situation, the ever-varied and ever-charming landscape, the limpid fountains, the sparkling jets d'cau, and tumbling waterfalls of the Generalif, are still left to excite admiration.

The terraces of this garden are in the form of an amphitheatre, and the lingering remains of their once beautiful Mosaic pavements are still to be seen. The walks are now darkly umbrageous, from the interwoven branches of gigantic cypresses and aged myrtles, beneath whose grateful shades the kings and queens of Grenada have so often wandered. The blooming groves and forests of fruit-trees were agreeably intermingled with graceful domes and marble pavilions: then the sweet perfume of the countless flowers that mingled their varied dyes in delightful confusion, floated in the soft air. Then the delicate tendrils of the vine clasped the supporting branches of the orange, and both together hung the mingled gold and purple of their clustering fruits over the bright waters that from marble founts

"Gushed up to sun and air!"

Then valor and beauty strayed side by side, beneath embowering branches, the fire of the one attempered to gentleness by the softer graces of the other, and the souls of both elevated and purified by nature's holy and resistless influences.

But now the luxuriant vine lies prostrate, its climbing trunk and clinging tendrils rudely torn from their once firm support: even the voice of the fountain no longer warbles in the same gladsome tone as of yore; the mouldering fragments of the polished column and sculptured dome are now strewed on the earth; the sighing of the gentle breeze no longer awakens the soft breath of responding flowers; the loveliness and the glory of the Home of Love  are vanished away for ever; and the crumbling stones of the tesselated pavements echo naught but the lingering footfall of the solitary stranger, who wanders thither to enjoy those mournful charms of which the destroyer cannot divest a spot that must ever appeal so strongly to the vision and the heart, to the memory and the imagination. It is painful to quit the Alhambra and the Generalif, to return to the ravages, incursions, and sanguinary quarrels of the Moors and Christians.

It was the fate of Mohammed III. (surnamed the Blind), to be obliged at the same time to repress the rebellious movements of his own subjects and repel the invasions of his Catholic neighbors. Compelled by the infirmity from which he derived his appellation to chose a prime minister, he bestowed that important post upon Faraday, the husband of his sister, a judicious statesman and brave soldier, who for some time prosperously continued the war against the Castilians, and finally concluded it by an honorable peace.

But the courtiers, jealous of the glory and envious of the good-fortune of the favorite, formed a conspiracy against his master, and instigated revolts among the people. To complete his calamities, foreign war gain broke forth; the King of Castile, Ferdinand IV., surnamed the Summoned, united with the king of Aragon in attacking the Grenadians.

Gibraltar was taken by the Castilians, and the conqueror expelled its Moorish inhabitants from its walls. Among the unfortunate exiles who departed from the city was an old man, who, perceiving Ferdinand, approached him, leaning on his staff: "King of Castile," he said to him, "what injury have I done to thee or thine? They great-grandfather Ferdinand drove me from my native Seville: I sought an asylum at Xeres; thy grandfather Alphonso banished me from thence: retiring within the walls of Tariffe, thy father Sancho exiled me from that city. At last I came to find a grave at the extremity of Spain, on the shore of Gibraltar; but thy hatred hath pursued me even here: tell me now of one place on earth where I can die unmolested by the Christians!"

"Cross the sea!" replied the Spanish prince; and he caused the aged petitioner to be conveyed to Africa.

Vanquished by the Aragonians, harassed by the Castilians, and alarmed by the seditious proceedings which the grandees of his court were encouraging among his own subjects, the King of Grenada and his prime minister were forced to conclude a shameful peace.

The intestine storm, whose gathering had long disturbed the domestic security of the kingdom, soon after burst forth. Mohammed Abenazar, brother of Mohammed the Blind, and the head of the conspiracy, seized the unfortunate monarch, put him to death, and assumed his place, A.D. 1310, Heg. 710.

But the usurper himself was soon driven from his throne by Farady, the ancient minister, who, not daring to appropriate the crown to himself, placed it on the head of his son Ismael, the nephew of Mohammed the Blind, through his mother, the sister of that monarch.

This event took place A.D. 1313, Heg. 713. From that period the royal family of Grenada was divided into two branches, which were ever after at enmity with each other; the one, called the Alhamar, included the descendants of the first king through the males of the line, and the other, named Farady, was that of such of his offspring as were the children of the female branches of the royal race.

The Castilians, whose interests were always promoted by cherishing dissensions among their Moorish neighbors, lent their countenance to Abenazar, who had taken refuge in the city of Grenada. The Infant Don Pedro, uncle to the youthful King of Castile Alphonso the Avenger, as he was surnamed, took the field against Ismael, and several times gave battle to the followers of the Crescent. Then joining his forces to those of another Infant named Don Juan, the two friends carried fire and sword to the very ramparts of Grenada. The infidel warriors did not venture to sally from their walls to repel the invaders; but when, loaded with booty, the Christians had commenced their return to Castile, Ismael followed on their route with his army, and, soon overtaking his ruthless foes, fell suddenly upon their rear. It was now the 26th of June, and the time chosen by the Mussulmans for the attack was the hottest hour of a burning day. The two Spanish princes made such violent efforts to reorganize their scattered bands and to recover their lost authority, that, exhausted at last by thirst and fatigue, they both fell dead without having received a wound.

The dismayed and exhausted Spaniards could now no longer offer any resistance to their furious enemies. They betook themselves to flight, leaving their baggage, with the bodies of the two unfortunate Infants, on the field of battle. Ismael caused the remains of these princes to be conveyed to Grenada and deposited in coffins covered with cloth of gold: he then restored them to the Castilians, after having bestowed on them the most distinguished funeral honors.

This victory was rapidly followed by the conquest of several cities and the establishment of an honorable truce. But Ismael did not live to enjoy the fruits of his success: being enamored of a young Spanish captive, who had fallen, in the division of the spoils, to the share of one of his officers, the king so far forgot the laws of justice and honor as to possess himself by force of the beautiful slave. Such an insult among the followers of Islam can only be expiated by blood: the monarch was assassinated by his exasperated officer. His son Mohammed V. mounted the throne in his stead, A.D. 1322, Heg. 722.

The reign of Mohammed V. and that of his successor Joseph I., both of whom perished in the same manner (being murdered in their palace), present nothing during thirty years but an unbroken series of ravages, seditions, and combats.

At the request of the Grenadians, Abil-Hassan, king of Morocco, of the dynasty of the Merinis, landed in Spain at the head of innumerable troops, with whom he joined the army of Joseph. The kings of Castile and Portugal unitedly gave battle to this immense army on the shores of Salado, not far from the city of Tariffe. This encounter, equally celebrated with the victory of Toloza in the history of Spain, terminated in the defeat of the Moors. Abil-Hassan returned hastily to Morocco, to conceal within his own dominions his chagrin at its unexpected and disastrous issue.

The strong place of Algeziras, the bulwark of Grenada, and the magazine in which was deposited the necessary supplies received by that kingdom from Africa, was besieged by the Castilians A.D. 1342, Heg. 742. Several French, English, and Navarrois cavaliers resorted on this occasion to the camp of the beleaguering army. The Mussulmans availed themselves of the use of cannon in the defence of their city; and this is the first time that the employment of that description of ordnance is spoken of in history. We are told that it was used at the battle of Cressy by the English; but that event did not take place until four years after the date of the present siege. It is, then, to the Spanish Moors that we owe, not the discovery of gunpowder (for that is attributed by some to the Chinese, by others to a German monk named Schwartz, and by others again to Roger Bacon, an Englishman), but the terrible invention of artillery. It is at least certain, that the Moors planted the first cannon of which we have any account. But, in spite of the advantages it thus possessed, Algeziras was taken by the Christians, A.D. 1344, Heg. 745.

About ten years after this event, the unfortunate Joseph, who had been so often attacked by foreign enemies, met his death from the hands of his own subjects.

It may have been remarked by the reader, that no established law regulated the regal succession among the Moors. Yet, notwithstanding the perpetual conspiracies and intrigues which rendered the possession of the crown so insecure and of such uncertain duration, a prince of the royal race always occupied the throne. We have seen Grenada divided, since the violent termination of the reign of Ismael, between the factions of the Alhamar  and the Farady, and the former deposed by the latter, who always regarded the Alhamars as usurpers. This unhappy contest was the source of numberless disorders, conspiracies, and assassinations.

The monarch next in order to Joseph I. on the throne of Grenada was his uncle, a Farady prince named Mohammed VI., and called the Old, in consequence of his succeeding at a somewhat advanced period of life.

Mohammed the Red, a scion of the Alhamar race, drove his cousin, Mohammed the Old, from the throne, A.D. 1360, Heg. 762, and retained it for some years, through the protection of the King of Aragon.

Peter the Cruel, then king of Castile, espoused the cause of the banished Farady, supported his claims by warlike arguments, and so closely pressed Mohammed the Alhamar, that he adopted the resolution of repairing to Seville, and abandoning himself to the magnanimity of his royal foe.

Mohammed arrived at the court of Seville accompanied by a suite composed of his most faithful friends, and bearing with him vast treasures. He presented himself with note confidence in the presence of the monarch. "King of Castile!" said he to Peter, "the blood alike of Christian and Moor has too long flowed in my contest with the Farady. You protect my rival; yet it is you whom I select to adjudge our quarrel. Examine my claims and those of my enemy, and pronounce who shall be the sovereign of Grenada. If you decide in favor of the Farady, I demand only to be conducted to Africa; if you accord the preference to me, receive the homage that I have come to render you for my crown!"

The astonished Peter lavished honors upon the Mussulman king, and caused him to be seated at his side during the magnificent feast by which he signalized the occasion. But, when the Alhamar retired from the entertainment, he was seized and thrown into prison. From thence he was afterward conducted through the streets of the city, seated, half naked, upon an ass, and led to a field termed the Tablada, where thirty-seven of his devoted followers were deprived of their heads in his presence. The execrable Peter, envying the executioner the pleasure of shedding his blood, then thrust through the unfortunate King of Grenada with his own lance. The dying sovereign uttered only these words as he expired: "Oh Peter, Peter, what a deed for a cavalier!"

By a very extraordinary fatality, every throne in Spain was at this period occupied by princes whose characters were blackened by the most atrocious crimes. Peter the Cruel, the Nero of Castile, assassinated the kings who confided themselves to his protection, put to death his wife Blanche of Bourbon, and, in short, daily imbrued his hands in the blood of his relatives or friends. Peter IV. of Aragon, less violent than the Castilian, but equally unfeeling and even more perfidious, despoiled one of his brothers of his kingdom, commanded another to be put to death, and delivered his ancient preceptor to the executioners. Peter I., king of Portugal, the lover of the celebrated Inez de Castro, whose ferocity was doubtless excited and increased by the cruelty that had been exercised against his mistress, tore out the hearts of the murderers of Inez, and poisoned a sister with whom he was displeased. Finally, the contemporary King of Navarre was that Charles the Bad, whose name alone is sufficient still to cause a shudder. All Spain groaned beneath the iron rule of these monsters of cruelty, and was inundated by the blood of their victims. If it be remembered that, at the same time, France had become a prey to the horrors which followed the imprisonment of King John; that England witnessed the commencement of the troubled reign of Richard II.; that Italy was delivered up to the contentions of the rival factions of the Guelfs and Ghibelines, and beheld two occupants at the same time upon the papal throne; that two emperors disputed the right to the imperial crown of Germany; and that Timurlane ravaged Asia from the territories of the Usbeks to the borders of India, it will not be disputed that the history of the world records the annals of no more unhappy epoch in its affairs.

Grenada was at last tranquil after the crime of Peter the Cruel. Mohammed the Old, or the Farady, being now freed from the rival claims of his competitor, remounted the throne without opposition.

Mohammed was the only ally of the King of Castile who remained faithful to that inhuman monster up to the period of his death. Peter was at last the victim of a crime similar to those of which he had so often himself been guilty: his illegitimate brother, Henry de Transtamare, deprived him of his crown and his life, A.D. 1369, Heg. 771.

The King of Grenada made peace with the new sovereign of Castile, maintained it for several years, and finally left his kingdom in a flourishing condition to his son Mohammed VIII., Abouhadjad, called by the Spanish historians Mohammed Gaudix.

This prince commenced his reign A.D. 1379, Heg. 782. He was the best and wisest of the Spanish Mohammedan kings. Intent only upon promoting the happiness of his people, he was desirous of securing to them the enjoyment of that foreign and domestic peace to which they had so long been almost utter strangers. The more effectually to ensure this, Abouhadjad commenced his reign with fortifying his towns, raising a strong army, and allying himself with the King of Tunis, whose daughter Cadiga he espoused. When well prepared for war, the Moorish sovereign sent ambassadors to the King of Castile, to solicit his friendship. Don Juan, the son and successor of Henry de Transtamare, being sufficiently occupied by his quarrels with Portugal and England, readily signed a treaty with the royal follower of the Crescent; and Abouhadjad, on his part, kept it unbroken. Secured from the inroads of the Christians, this wise monarch now occupied himself in promoting the increase of agriculture and commerce: he likewise diminished the rates of imposts, and soon found his income increased in consequence of this judicious measure. Beloved by a people whom he rendered happy, respected by foreign neighbors whom he had no reason to fear, and possessed of an amiable wife, who alone engaged his affections, this excellent Mussulman prince spent the wealth and leisure that he could with propriety devote to such. objects, in adorning his capital, in cherishing the fine arts, and in cultivating architecture and poetry. Several monuments of his munificence existed at Grenada, and at Gaudix, a city in favor of which he entertained strong predilections. His court was the favored abode of genius and elegance.

The Moors of Spain still possessed poets, physicians, painters, sculptors, academies, and universities. And these were all liberally encouraged and endowed by Mohammed Gaudix.

Most of the productions of the Grenadian authors of this period perished at the final conquest of their country; but some of them have been preserved, and still exist in the library of the Escurial. They chiefly treat of grammar, astrology (then greatly esteemed), and, above all, of theology, a study in which the Moors excelled. That people, naturally gifted with discriminating minds and ardent imaginations, produced many distinguished theologians, who may easily be supposed to have introduced into Europe the unfortunate scholastic taste for subtle questions and disputes, which once rendered so celebrated, men whose names and achievements have since sunk for ever into oblivion. The pretended secrets of the cabal, of alchymy, of judicial astronomy, of the divining rod, and all the accounts, formerly so common, of sorcerers, magicians, and enchanters, are derived from these descendants of the Arabs. They were a superstitious race from the remotest times; and it is probable that to their residence in Spain, and their long intercourse with the Spaniards, is owing that love for the marvelous, and that well-deserved reputation for superstitious credulity, with which philosophy still reproaches a sprightly and intellectual nation, upon whom nature has bestowed the germs of the best qualities that adorn humanity.

A kind of literature which was common among these Saracens, and for which the Spaniards were indebted to them, was that of novels or romances. The Arabs were ever, as they still are, passionate lovers of story-telling. As well in the tents of the wild Bedouin as in the palaces of the East, alike under the gilded domes and peasant roofs of Grenada, this taste prevailed. Everywhere they assembled nightly to listen to romantic narratives of love and valor. Everywhere they listened in silent attention, or wept from sympathetic interest in the fate of those whose adventures formed the subject of the tale. The Grenadians joined with this passion for exciting incident, a taste for music and singing. Their poets imbodied in verse these favorite recitals of love and war. Musicians were employed in composing suitable airs for them, and they were thus sung by the youthful Moors with all the enthusiasm that passion, poetry, and dulcet harmony can unitedly inspire. From this national custom are derived the multitude of Spanish romances, translated or imitated from the Arabic, which, in a simple and sometimes touching style, recount the fierce combats of the Moors and Christians, the fatal quarrels of jealous and haughty rivals, or the tender conversation of lovers. They describe with great exactness everything relating to the peculiar manners and amusements of this interesting and extinguished nation: their fetes, their games of the ring and of canes, and their bull-fights, the latter of which they adopted from the Spaniards, are all portrayed. Thus we learn that their war-like equipments consisted of a large cimeter, a slender lance, a short coat of mail, and a light leathern buckler. We have descriptions of superb horses, with their richly-jeweled and embroidered housings sweeping the earth in ample folds, and of the devices emblazoned on the arms of the graceful Moorish cavaliers. These last consisted frequently of a heart pierced by an arrow, or perhaps of a star guiding a vessel, or of the first letter of the name of the fair recipients of their vows of love. We learn, too, that their colors each bore a peculiar signification: yellow and black expressed grief; green, hope; blue, jealousy; violet and flame color, passionate love.

The following abridged translation of one of these little compositions will produce a more correct idea of them in the mind of the reader than any description could convey:

Gonzulo And Zelinda

A Moorish Romance

In a transport of jealousy and pride

Zelinda spurned her lover from her side!

His cruel doom Gonzulo heard

With bosom wrung; and disappeared!

But the fair maid soon deeply felt

The torturing wound herself had dealt;

As glides the snow from mountain crest,

So fled resentment from her breast.

They tell her that the Moor's proud heart

Is pierced by grief's most poisoned dart,

And that he'd doffed, when flying from her side,

The tender colors that were once his pride;

That green, of hope the cherished emblem gay,

To sorrow's mournful hues had given way.

A badge of crape his lance's point now wears,

A blackened crown his shield as emblem bears!

To proffer gifts with different meaning fraught,

Zelinda now her errant lover sought:

The blue of jealousy she had united

With all the hues most dear to lovers plighted;

A violet gem, entwined with gold,

Gleamed mid a broidered turban's fold;

And every silken riband that she bore,

Of lovely innocence the symbol wore.

Zelinda reached the soft retreat

Where Gonzulo his fate must meet!

O'erwhelmed with doubt, the dark-eyed maid

Reclined beneath a myrtle shade,

And sent a faithful page to guide

Her banished lover to her side.

Gonzulo scarce the message would receive,

For woe had taught his heart to disbelieve!

But soon he flew, on wings of love,

To seek Zelinda's chosen grove.

Then tearful glances of regret

By words of tenderness were met;

And ne'er did guardian nymphs record

More ardent vows than there were poured!

'Twas thus triumphant love repaired

The cruel wrongs that each had shared!

The delicate and peculiar gallantry, which rendered the Moors of Grenada famous throughout Europe, formed a singular contrast to the ferocity that is so natural to all nations of African origin. These Islamites, whose chief glory it was dexterously to deprive their enemies of their heads, attach them to their saddle bows, and afterward display them as trophies on the battlements of their towers or at the entrance of their palaces; these restless and ungovernable warriors, who were every ready to revolt against their rulers, to depose or to murder them, were the most tender, the most devoted, the most ardent of lovers. Their wives, though their domestic position was little superior to that of slaves, became, when they were beloved, the absolute sovereigns, the supreme divinities of those whose hearts they possessed. It was to please these idolized beings that the Moorish cavaliers sought distinction in the field; it was to shine in their eyes that they lavished their treasures and their lives—that they mutually endeavored to eclipse each other in deeds of arms, in the splendor of their warlike exploits, and the Oriental magnificence of their fetes.

It cannot now be determined whether the Moors derived this extraordinary union of softness and cruelty, of delicacy and barbarity—this generous rivalry in courage and in constancy, from the Spaniards, or whether the Spaniards acquired these characteristics from the Moors. But when it is remembered that they do not belong to the Asiatic Arabs, from whom these gallant knights originally sprang; that they are found, even in a less degree, if possible, among these followers of Mohammed in that portion of Africa where their conquests have naturalized them; and, that after their departure from Spain, the Grenadians lost every trace of the peculiarly interesting and chivalrous qualities by which they had previously been so remarkably distinguished, there is some ground for the opinion that it was to the Spaniards that their Moslem neighbors were indebted for the existence of these national attributes. In truth, before the invasion of Spain by the Arabs, the courts of the Gothic kings had already offered knightly examples of a similar spirit. And after that event we find the cavaliers of Leon, Navarre, and Castile equally renowned for their achievements in war and their romantic devotion to the fair sex. The mere name of the Cid  awakens in the mind recollections alike of tenderness and bravery. It should be remembered, too, that, long after the expulsion of the Moors from the Peninsula, the Spaniards maintained a reputation for gallantry far superior to that of the French, some portion of the spirit of which, though extinct among every other European nation, still lingers in Spain.

But, be this point decided as it may, it is not to be disputed that the daughters of Grenada merited the devotion which they inspired: they were perhaps the most fascinating women in the world. We find in the narrative of a Moorish historian, who wrote at Grenada during the reign of Mohammed the Old, the following description of his countrywomen:

"Their beauty is remarkable; but the loveliness which strikes the beholder at first sight afterward receives its principal charm from the grace and gentleness of their manners. In stature they are above the middle height, and of delicate and slender proportions. Their long black hair descends to the earth. Their teeth embellish with the whiteness of alabaster; vermillion lips, which perpetually smile with a bewitching air. The constant use which they make of the most exquisite perfumes, gives a freshness and brilliancy to their complexions possessed by no other Mohammedan women. Their walking, their dancing, their every movement, is distinguished by a graceful softness, an ease, a lightness, which surpasses all their other charms. Their conversation is lively and sensible, and their fine intellects are constantly displayed in brilliant wit or judicious sentiments "

The dress of these elegant females was composed, as that of the Turkish women still is, of a long tunic of linen confined by a cincture, of a doliman  or Turkish dress with close sleeves, of wide trousers and Morocco slippers. The materials of their clothing were of the finest fabric, and were usually woven in stripes: they were embroidered with gold and silver, and profusely spangled with jewels. Their waving tresses floated over their shoulders; and a small cap, adorned with the richest gems, supported an embroidered veil, which fell nearly to the feet. The men were clothed in a similar manner: with them were carried in the girdle the purse, the handkerchief, and the poniard: a white, and sometimes a colored, turban covered the head; and over the Turkish doliman they wore in summer a wide flowing white robe, and in winter the albornos  or African mantle. The only change made in their dress by the Moorish cavaliers when preparing for battle was the addition of a coat of mail, and an iron lining within their turbans.

It was the custom of the Grenadians to repair every year, during the autumn, to the charming villas by which the city was surrounded. There they yielded themselves up to the pursuit of pleasure. The chase and the dance, music and feasting, occupied every hour.

The manners of those who participated in these national dances were in a high degree unreserved, as was the language of the songs and ballads in which they joined. Were it not for the contradictions in the human character, one might be surprised at this want of delicacy in a people who were capable of so much refinement of feeling. But, in general, nations of Oriental origin possess but little reserve in their manners: they have more of passion than sentiment, more of jealousy than delicacy in their haughty and excitable natures.

In giving these details, we have perhaps trespassed too long on the period of calm repose enjoyed by the kingdom of Grenada during the reign of Abouhadjad. That excellent sovereign, after having filled the throne for thirteen years, left his flourishing dominions to his son Joseph, who succeeded him without opposition, A.D.1392, Heg. 795.

Joseph II. was desirous, in imitation of the course pursued by his father, of maintaining the truce with the Christians. It was, however, soon disturbed by a fanatical hermit, who persuaded the Grand-master of Alcantara, Martin de Barbuda, a Portuguese, that he had been selected by Heaven as the chosen instrument for expelling the infidels from Spain. He promised the credulous Martin, in the name of God, that he should succeed in conquering the enemies of the Cross, and in carrying the city of Grenada by assault, without the loss of a single soldier. The infatuated grand-master, convinced of the certainty of the fulfillment of this promise, immediately sent ambassadors to Joseph, with orders to declare to that sovereign, in his name, that, since the religion of Mohammed was false and detestable, and that of Jesus Christ the only true and saving faith, he, Martin de Barbuda, defied the King of Grenada to a combat of two hundred Mussulmans against one hundred Christians, upon condition that the vanquished nation should instantly adopt the faith of the conquerors.

The reception these ambassadors met with may be easily imagined. Joseph could scarcely restrain the indignation of his people. The envoys, driven contemptuously away, returned to the presence of the grand-master, who, surprised at receiving no response to his proposal, soon assembled a thousand foot-soldiers and three hundred cavaliers, and hastened to the conquest of Grenada under the guidance of the prophetic hermit.

The King of Castile, Henry III., who desired to preserve peace with the followers of the Prophet at the commencement of a reign during which his own dominions were but ill at rest, was no sooner informed of the enterprise of Barbuda, than he sent him positive orders not to cross the frontiers; but that dignitary replying that he ought to obey the commands of Jehovah rather than those of any earthly master, proceeded on his way. The governors of the different cities through which he passed on his route endeavored, though vainly, to arrest his progress; but the people overwhelmed him with homage, and everywhere added to the number of his forces.

The army of the grand-master amounted to six thousand men, when, in A.D. 1394, Heg. 798, he entered the country which his folly taught him to regard as already in his possession. In attacking the first castle at which he arrived, three soldiers were killed and their fanatical commander himself wounded. Surprised beyond measure at beholding his own blood flow and three soldiers fall, he summoned the anchorite into his presence, and sedately demanded what this meant, after his express promise that not a single champion of the true faith should perish. The fanatic replied, that the word he had pledged extended only to regular battles. Barbuda complained no more, and presently perceived the approach of a Moorish army composed of fifty thousand men. The conflict soon commenced: the grand-master and his three hundred mounted followers perished in the field, after having performed prodigies of valor. The remainder of the Spanish army were either taken prisoners or put to flight; and the silence of historians respecting the hermit, leads to the opinion that he was not among the last to seek safety at a distance from the scene of action.

This foolish enterprise did not interrupt the good understanding subsisting between the two nations. The King of Castile disavowed all approval of the conduct of Martin de Barbuda, and Joseph long continued to reign with honor and tranquility. But he was at last poisoned, it is said, by a magnificent robe which he received from his secret enemy, the King of Fez, through the ambassadors of that sovereign. Historians assert that this garment was impregnated with a terrible poison, which caused the death of the unfortunate Joseph by the most horrible torments. The .peculiar effect it produced was that of detaching the flesh from the bones, the misery of the wretched sufferer enduring for the protracted period of thirty days.

Mohammed IX., the second son of this hapless monarch, who, even during the lifetime of his father, had excited commotions in the realm, usurped the crown that of right belonged to his elder brother Joseph, whom he caused to be confined in prison.

Mohammed was courageous and possessed some talents for war. Allied with the King of Tunis, who joined his fleet with that of Grenada, he broke the truce maintained with Castile during the two preceding reigns, and at first gained some advantages over his adversaries; but the Infant Don Ferdinand, the uncle and tutor of the young king John II., was not long in avenging the cause of Spain.

Mohammed IX. died in the year 1408, Heg. 811. When the expiring monarch became conscious that his end was rapidly approaching, desirous of securing the crown to his son, he sent one of his principal officers to the prison of his brother Joseph, with orders to cut off the head of the royal occupant. The officer found Joseph engaged in a game of chess with an iman (Mohammedan priest): he sorrowfully announced the mournful commission with which he was charged. The prince, without manifesting any emotion at the communication, only demanded time to conclude his game; and the officer could not refuse this slight favor. While the philosophical Mussulman continued to play, a second messenger arrived, bearing the news of the death of the usurper, and of the proclamation of Joseph as his successor to the throne.

The people of Grenada were happy under the rule of the good King Joseph III. So far was he from avenging himself upon those who had aided his brother in depriving him of his rights, that he lavished favors and offices on them, and educated the son of Mohammed in the same manner as his own children. When his councilors blamed him for a degree of indulgence which they regarded as hazardous, "Allow me," replied the sovereign, "to deprive my enemies of all excuse for having preferred my younger brother to me!"

This excellent prince was often obliged to take arms against the Christians. He was so unfortunate as to lose some cities, but he preserved the respect and affection of his subjects, and died lamented by the whole kingdom, after a reign of fifteen years, A.D. 1423, Heg. 927.

After the death of Joseph the state was distracted by civil wars. Mohammed X. Abenazar, or the Left-handed, the son and successor of that benevolent king, was banished from the throne by Mohammed XI., El Zugair, or the Little, who preserved his ill-gotten power but two years. The Abencerrages, a powerful tribe at Grenada, re-established Mohammed the Left-handed in his former place, and his competitor perished on the scaffold.

About four years after the death of Joseph, the Spaniards renewed their inroads into Grenada, and carried fire and sword to the very gates of the capital. All the neighboring fields were devastated; the crops were burned and the villages destroyed. John II., who then reigned in Castile, wishing to add to the miseries he had already occasioned these unhappy people the still greater misfortune of civil war, instigated the proclamation at Grenada of a certain Joseph Alhamar, a grandson of that Mohammed the Red, so basely assassinated at Seville by Peter the Cruel.

All the discontented spirits in the kingdom joined the faction of Joseph Alhamar; and the Zegris, a powerful tribe, who were at enmity with the Abencerrages, lent their aid to the usurper. Mohammed Abenazar was again driven from the capital, A.D.1432, Heg. 836, and Joseph IV. Alhamar possessed his dominions six months. At the termination of that time he expired.

Mohammed the Left-handed once more resumed his royal seat; but, after thirteen years of misfortune, this unhappy prince was again deposed for the third time, and imprisoned by one of his nephews, named Mohammed XII. the Osmin, who was himself afterward dethroned by his own brother Ismael, and ended his days in the same dungeon in which his uncle Mohammed Abenazar had languished.

All these revolutions did not prevent the Christian and Moorish governors who commanded on their respective frontiers from making incessant irruptions into the enemy's country. Sometimes a little troop of cavalry or infantry surprised a village, massacred the inhabitants, pillaged their houses, and carried away their flocks. Sometimes an army suddenly appeared in a fertile plain, devastated the fields, uprooted the vines, felled the trees, besieged and took some town or fortress, and retired with their booty. This kind of warfare was ruinous, most of all, to the unfortunate cultivator of the soil. The Grenadian dominions suffered so much during the reign of Ismael II., that the king was compelled to cause immense forests to be cleared for the support of his capital, which then drew scarcely any supplies from the vast and fertile vega  which had been so often desolated by the Spaniards.

Ismael II. left the crown to his son Mulei-Hassem, a young and highly courageous prince, who, profiting by the disastrous condition of Castile under the deplorable reign of Henry IV. the Impotent, carried his arms into the center of Andalusia. The success that marked the commencement of the reign of this sovereign, together with his talents and warlike ardor, tempted the Moors to believe that they might yet recover their former greatness. But the occurrence at this juncture of a great and unlooked-for event, arrested the victorious progress of Mulei-Hassam, and prepared the way for the total ruin of his kingdom.

Isabella of Castile, the sister of Henry the Impotent, notwithstanding the opposition of her brother and the intervention of almost insurmountable obstacles, espoused Ferdinand the Catholic, the king of Sicily, and heir presumptive of the kingdom of Aragon. This marriage, by uniting the two most powerful monarchs of Spain, gave a fatal blow to the prosperity of the Moors, which they had been able to maintain, even in the degree in which it now existed, only through the divisions which had hitherto perpetually prevailed among their Christian opponents.

Either of the two enemies, now unitedly arrayed against them, had been singly sufficient to overwhelm the Mussulmans. Ferdinand was alike politic, able, and adroit. He was pliant, and, at the same time, firm; cautious to a degree sometimes amounting to pusillanimity; cunning even to falsehood, and endowed in an extraordinary degree with the power of discerning at a single glance all the various means of attaining a particular end. Isabella was of a prouder and more noble nature; endowed with heroic courage and the most unyielding constancy of purpose, she was admirably qualified for the pursuit and accomplishment of any enterprise to which she might direct the energies of her powerful mind. The exalted endowments of one of these royal personages have been employed to enoble the character of the other. Ferdinand often played the part of a weak, perfidious woman, negotiating only to deceive; whereas Isabella was always the high-souled sovereign, advancing openly to her purposes, and marching directly to honorable conflict and generous triumph.

No sooner had these distinguished individuals secured possession of their respective kingdoms, suppressed all domestic disturbances, and effected peaceful arrangements with foreign powers, than they mutually resolved to concentrate all their efforts for the annihilation of the Mohammedan dominion in Spain.

This century seemed destined to be marked by the glory of the Spaniards. In addition to the immense advantages afforded them by the union of their forces, Ferdinand and Isabella were surrounded by the wisest and most experienced advisers. The celebrated Cardinal Ximenes, at one time a simple monk, was now at the head of their councils; and that able minister "led,"  as he himself averred, "all Spain by his girdle!"  The civil wars with which the Peninsula had been so long disturbed, had created among the Christian powers a host of brave soldiers and excellent commanders. Among the latter were particularly distinguished the Count de Cabra, the Marquis of Cadiz, and the famous Gonzalvo of Cordova, whose just claim to the surname of the Great Captain, given him by his countrymen, the lapse of time has only served to confirm. The public treasury, which had been exhausted by the lavish prodigality of Henry, was soon replenished by the rigid economy of Isabella, aided by a bull from the pope, permitting the royal appropriation of the ecclesiastical revenues. The troops were numerous and admirably disciplined, and the emulation which existed between the Castilians and Aragonians redoubled the valor of both. Everything, in short, prognosticated the downfall of the last remaining throne of the Moors.

Its royal champion, Mulei-Hassem, was not dismayed, however, even by such an accumulation of danger. He was the first to break the truce, by taking forcible possession of the city of Zahra, A.D. 1481, Heg. 886. Ferdinand despatched ambassadors to the Moslem court to complain of this breach of faith; with orders, at the same time, to demand the ancient tribute which had been paid by the kings of Grenada to the sovereigns of Castile.

"I know," replied Mulei-Hassem, when the envoys of the Spanish prince had delivered their message, "I know that some of my predecessors rendered you tribute in pieces of gold; but this  is the only metal now coined in the national mint of Grenada!" And, as he spoke, the stern and haughty monarch presented the head of his lance to the Spanish ambassadors.

The army of Ferdinand first marched upon Alhamar, a very strong fortress in the neighborhood of Grenada, and particularly famous for the magnificent baths with which it had been embellished by the Moorish kings. The place was taken by surprise, and thus a war was lighted up that was destined to be extinguished only with the last expiring sigh of Grenada.

Victory seemed at first to be equally poised between the two contending powers. The King of Grenada possessed ample resources in troops, artillery, and treasure. He might long have maintained the contest, but for an act of imprudence which precipitated him into an abyss of misfortune from which he was never afterward able to extricate himself.

The wife of Mulei-Hassem, named Aixa, belonged, before her marriage with the king, to one of the most important of the Grenadian tribes. The offspring of this marriage was a son named Boabdil, whose right it was to succeed to his father's throne. But the reckless Mulei repudiated his wife at the instance of a Christian slave, of whom he became enamored, and who governed the doting monarch at will. This act of cruelty and injustice was the signal for civil war. The injured Aixa, in concert with her son, excited her relatives and friends, and a large number of the inhabitants of the capital, to throw off their allegiance to their sovereign.

Mulei-Hassem was eventually driven from the city, and Boabdil assumed the title of king. Thus father and son were involved in a contest for the possession of a crown, of which Ferdinand was seeking to deprive them both.

To add to the misfortunes which were already fast crushing this distracted and miserable country beneath their weight, another aspirant to the throne presented himself, in the person of a brother of Mulei-Hassem named Zagel. This prince, at the head of a band of Moorish adventurers, had succeeded in obtaining some important advantages over the Spaniards in the defiles of Malaga, A.D. 1483, Heg. 888.

His achievements having won for him the hearts of his countrymen, Zagel now conceived the design of dethroning his brother and nephew, and of appropriating the dominions of both to himself. Thus a third faction arose to increase the dissensions of the state.

Boabdil still held insecure possession of the capital; and, desirous of attempting some action, the brilliancy of which would reanimate the hopes and confidence of a party that was ready to abandon him, he sallied forth at the head of a small force, with the intention of surprising Lucena, a city belonging to the Castilians.

But the ill-fated Boabdil was made a prisoner in this expedition.

He was the first Moorish king who had ever been a captive to the Spaniards. Ferdinand lavished on him the attentions due to misfortune, and caused him to be conducted to Cordova, attended by an escort.

The old king, Mulei-Hassem, seized this opportunity to repossess himself of the crown of which his rebellious son had deprived him, and, in spite of the party of Zagel, he again became master of his capital. But the restored monarch could oppose but a feeble resistance to the progress of the Spaniards, who were rapidly reducing his cities and advancing nearer to his devoted capital. Within the walls of that city the wretched inhabitants were madly warring against one another, as if unconscious of the destruction that was fast approaching them from without. To increase the sanguinary feuds which already so surely presaged their destruction, the Catholic sovereigns had become the allies of the captive Boabdil, engaging to assist him in his efforts against his father on condition that he should pay them a tribute of twelve thousand crowns of gold, acknowledge himself their vassal, and deliver certain strong places into their hands. The base Boabdil acceded to everything; and, aided by the politic Spanish princes, hastened again to take arms against his father.

The kingdom of Grenada was now converted into one wide field of carnage, where Mulei-Hassem, Boabdil, and Zagel were furiously contending for the mournful relics of their country.

The Spaniards, in the meantime, marched rapidly from one conquest to another, sometimes under pretext of sustaining their ally Boabdil, and often in open defiance of the treaty they had formed with that prince; but always carefully feeding the fire of discord, while they were despoiling each of the three rival parties, and leaving to the vanquished inhabitants their laws, their customs, and the free exercise of their religion.

In the midst of these frightful scenes of calamity and crime, old Mulei-Hassem died, either worn out by grief and misfortune, or through the agency of his ambitious brother. This event occurred A.D. 1485, Heg. 890.

Ferdinand had now rendered himself master of all the western part of the kingdom of Grenada, and Boabdil agreed to divide with Zagel the remnant of this desolated state. The city of Grenada was retained by Boabdil, while Gaudix and Almeria fell to the share of Zagel. The war was not the less vigorously prosecuted in consequence of this arrangement; and the unprincipled Zagel, doubting his ability long to retain the cities in his possession, sold them to King Ferdinand in consideration of an annual pension.

By virtue of this treaty, the Catholic sovereigns took possession of the purchased cities; and the traitor Zagel even lent the aid of his arms to the Christian army, the more speedily to overthrow the royal power of his nephew, and thereby terminate the existence of his expiring country.

All that now remained to the Mussulmans was the single city of Grenada. There Boabdil still reigned; and, exasperated by misfortune, he vented his rage and despair in acts of barbarous cruelty towards its wretched inhabitants.

Ferdinand and Isabella, disregarding the conditions of their pretended alliance with this now powerless prince, summoned him to surrender his capital, in compliance, as they said, with the terms of a secret treaty, which they affirmed had been concluded between them. Boabdil protested against this perfidious conduct. But there was no time allowed for complaint: he must successfully defend himself, or cease to reign. The Moorish prince adopted, therefore, to say the least, the most heroic alternative; and resolved to defend to the last what remained to him of his once beautiful and flourishing country.

The Spanish sovereign, at the head of an army of sixty thousand men, the flower and chivalry of the united kingdoms of Castile and Aragon, laid siege to Grenada on the 9th of May, 1491, and in the 897th year of the Hegira.

This great city, as has been already mentioned, was defended by strong ramparts, flanked by a multitude of towers, and by numerous other fortifications, built one above the other. Notwithstanding the civil wars which had inundated it with blood, Grenada still enclosed within its walls more than two hundred thousand inhabitants. Every brave Moorish cavalier who still remained true to his country, its religion, and its laws, had here taken refuge. Despair redoubled their strength in this last desperate struggle; and had these fierce and intrepid warriors been guided by a more worthy chief than Boabdil, their noble constancy might still have saved them; but this weak and ferocious monarch hesitated not, on the slightest suspicion, to consign his most faithful defenders to the axe of the executioner. Thus he became daily more and more an object of hatred and contempt to the Grenadians, by whom he was surnamed Zogoybi, that is to say, the Little King. The different tribes now grew dissatisfied and dispirited, especially the numerous and powerful tribe of the Abencerrages. The alfaquis and the imans, also, loudly predicted the approaching downfall of the Moorish empire; and nothing upheld the sinking courage of the people against the pressure of a foreign foe and the tyranny of their own rulers but their unconquerable horror of the Spanish yoke.

The Catholic soldiers, on the other hand, elated by their past success, regarded themselves as invincible, and never for a moment doubted the certainty of their triumph. They were commanded, also, by leaders to whom they were devotedly attached: Ponce de Leon, marquis of Cadiz, Henry de Guzman, duke of Medina, Mendoza, Aguillar, Villena, and Gonzalvo of Cordova, together with many other famous captains, accompanied their victorious king. Isabella, too, whose virtues excited the highest respect, and whose affability and grace won for her the affectionate regard of all, had repaired to the camp of her husband with the Infant and the Infantas, and attended by the most brilliant court in Europe. This politic princess, though naturally grave and serious, wisely accommodated herself to the existing circumstances. She mingled fetes and amusements with warlike toil: jousts and tournaments delighted at intervals the war-worn soldiery; and dances, games, and illuminations filled up the delicious summer evenings.

Queen Isabella was the animating genius that directed everything; a gracious word from her was a sufficient recompense for the most gallant achievement; and her look alone had power to transform the meanest soldier into a hero.

Abundance reigned in the Christian camp; while joy and hope animated every heart. But within the beleaguered city, mutual distrust, universal consternation, and the prospect of inevitable destruction, had dampened the courage and almost annihilated the hopes of the wretched inhabitants.

The siege, nevertheless, lasted for nine months. The cautious commander of the Christian army did not attempt to carry by assault a place so admirably fortified. After having laid waste the environs, therefore, he waited patiently until famine should deliver the city into his hands. Satisfied with battering the ramparts and repelling the frequent sorties of the Moors, he never engaged in any decisive action, but daily hemmed in more closely the chafed lion that could not now escape his toils.

Accident one night set fire to the pavilion of Isabella, and the spreading conflagration consumed every tent in the camp. But Boabdil derived no advantage from this disaster. The queen directed that a city should supply the place of the ruined camp, to convince the enemies of the cross that the siege would never be raised until Grenada should come into possession of the conquering Spaniards. This great and extraordinary design, so worthy the genius of Isabella, was executed in eighty days. The Christian camp thus became a walled city; and Santa Fé still exists as a monument of the piety and perseverance of the heroic Queen of Castile.

At last, oppressed by famine, less frequently successful than at first in the partial engagements that were constantly taking place under the walls, and abandoned by Africa, from which there was no attempts made to relieve them, the Moors now felt the necessity of a surrender.

Gonzalvo of Cordova was empowered by the conquerors to arrange the articles of capitulation. These provided that the people of Grenada should recognize Ferdinand and Isabella, and their royal successors, as their rightful sovereigns; that all their Christian captives should be released without ransom; that the Moors should continue to be governed by their own laws; should retain their national customs, their judges, half the number of their mosques, and the free exercise of their faith; that they should be permitted either to keep or sell their property, and to retire to Africa, or to any other country they might choose, while, at the same time, they should not be compelled to leave their native land. It was also agreed that Boabdil should have assigned to him a rich and ample domain in the Alpuxares, of which he should possess the entire command.

Such were the terms of capitulation, and but ill were they observed by the Spaniards. Boabdil fulfilled his part of the stipulations some days before the time specified, in consequence of being informed that his people, roused by the representations of the imans, wished to break off the negotiations, and to bury themselves beneath the ruins of the city rather than suffer their desolate and deserted homes to be profaned by the intruding foot of the spoiler.

The wretched Moslem prince hastened therefore to deliver the keys of the city, and of the fortresses of the Albazin and the Alhambra, into the hands of Ferdinand.

Entering no more, after this mournful ceremony, within the walls where he no longer retained any authority, Boabdil took his melancholy journey, accompanied by his family and a small number of followers, to the petty dominions which were now all that remained to him of the once powerful and extensive empire of his ancestors.

When the cavalcade reached an eminence from which the towers of Grenada might still be discerned, the wretched exile turned his last sad regards upon the distant city, amid ill-suppressed tears and groans. "You do well,"  said Aixa, his mother, "to weep like a woman for the throne you could not defend like a man!"

But the now powerless Boabdil could not long endure existence as a subject in a country where he had reigned as a sovereign: he crossed the Mediterranean to Africa, and there he ended his days on the battle-field.

Ferdinand and Isabella made their public entrance into Grenada on the 1st of January, 1492, through double ranks of soldiers, and amid the thunder of artillery. The city seemed deserted; the inhabitants fled from the presence of the conquerors, and concealed their tears and their despair within the inner-most recesses of their habitations.

The royal victors repaired first to the grand mosque, which was consecrated as a Christian church, and where they rendered thanks to God for the brilliant success that had crowned their arms. While the sovereigns fulfilled this pious duty, the Count de Tendilla, the new governor of Grenada, elevated the triumphant cross, and the standards of Castile and St. James, on the highest towers of the Alhambra.

Thus fell this famous city, and thus perished the power of the Moors of Spain, after an existence of seven hundred and eighty-two years from the first conquest of the country by Tarik.

It may now be proper briefly to remark upon the principal causes of the extinction of the national independence of the kingdom of Grenada.

The first of these arose from the peculiar character of the Moors: from that spirit of inconstancy, that love of novelty, and that unceasing inquietude, which prompted them to such frequent change of their rulers; which multiplied factions among them, and constantly convulsed the empire with internal discords, expending its strength and power in dissensions at home, and thus leaving it defenceless against foreign enemies. The Moors may also be reproached with an extravagant fondness for architectural magnificence, splendid fetes, and other expensive entertainments, which aided in exhausting the national treasury at times when protracted warfare scarcely ever permitted this most fertile region of the earth to reproduce the crops the Spaniards had destroyed. But, more than all, they were a people without an established code of laws, that only permanent basis of the prosperity of nations. And then, too, a despotic form of government, which deprives men of patriotism, induced each individual to regard his virtues and attainments merely as affording the means of personal consideration, and not, as they should be considered, the property of his country.

These grave defects in the national character of the Moors were redeemed by many excellent qualities, which even the Spaniards admitted them to possess. In battle they were no less brave and prudent than their Christian antagonists, though inferior in skill and discipline. They excelled them, however, in the art of attack. Adversity never long overwhelmed them; they saw in misfortune the will of Heaven, and without a murmur submitted to it. Their favorite dogma of fatalism doubtless contributed to this result. Fervently devoted to the laws of Mohammed, they obeyed with great exactness his humane injunctions respecting almsgiving: they bestowed on the poor not only food and money, but a portion of their grain, fruit, and flocks, and of every kind of merchandise. In the towns and throughout the country, the indigent sick were collected, attended, and nursed with the most assiduous care. Hospitality, so sacred from the remotest time among the Arabs, was not less carefully observed among the people of Grenada, who seemed to take peculiar pleasure in its exercise. The following touching anecdote is told in illustration of the powerful influence of this principle. A stranger, bathed in blood, sought refuge from the officers of justice under the roof of an aged Moor. The old man concealed him in his house. But he had scarcely done so before a guard arrived to demand possession of the murderer, and, at the same time to deliver to the horror-stricken Mussulman the dead body of his son, whom the stranger had just assassinated. Still the aged father would not give up his guest. When the guard, however, was gone, he entreated the assassin to leave him. "Depart from he,"  he cried, "that I may be at liberty to pursue thee!"

These Moslems were but little known to the historians by whom they have been so often calumniated. Polished, enthusiastic, hospitable, brave, and chivalrous, but haughty, passionate, inconstant, and vindictive, their unfortunate fate entitles them, at least, to compassion and sympathy, while their virtues may well excite respect and interest.

After their final defeat, many of the followers of the Prophet retired to Africa. Those who remained in Grenada suffered greatly from the persecution and oppression to which they were subjected by their new masters. The article in their last treaty with the Spaniards, which formally ensured their religious freedom, was grossly violated by the Catholics, who compelled the Mussulmans to abjure their national faith by force, terror, and every other unworthy means.

At last, outraged beyond endurance by this want of good faith, and wrought to desperation by the cruelties they were compelled to endure, in the year 1500 the Moors attempted to revolt against their oppressors. Their efforts were, however, unavailing: Ferdinand marched in person against them, repressed by force of arms the struggles of a people whom he designated as rebels, and, sword in hand, administered the rite of baptism to more than fifty thousand captive Moslems.

The successors of Ferdinand, Charles V. and especially Philip II., continued to harass the Moors. The Inquisition was established in the city of Grenada, and all the terrors of that dreaded institution were added to gentler means for the conversion of the infidels to Christianity. Their children were taken from them to be educated in accordance with the precepts of that religion whose Adorable Founder enjoined peace, mercy, and forbearance upon his followers, and forbade the practice of injustice and cruelty in every, form.

Yielding to the promptings of despair, this crushed and wretched remnant of a once powerful and glorious nation again flew to arms in the year 1569, and executed the most terrible vengeance upon the Catholic priesthood. Mohammed-ben-Ommah, the new king whom they chose to direct their destinies, and who was said to have sprung from the cherished race of the Ommiades, several times gave battle to his opponents in the mountains of the Alpuxares, where he sustained the cause of his injured countrymen for the space of two years. At the end of that time he was assassinated by his own people. His successor shared the same fate, and the Mussulmans were again compelled to submit to a yoke their revolt had rendered even more intolerable than before.

Finally, King Philip III. totally banished the Moors from Spain, The depopulation thus produced inflicted a wound upon that kingdom, from the effects of which it has never since recovered.

More than one hundred and fifty thousand of this persecuted race took refuge in France, where Henry IV. received them with great humanity. A small number also concealed themselves in the recesses of the Alpuxares; but the greatest part of the expatriated Islamites sought a home in Africa. There their descendants still drag out a miserable existence under the despotic rule of the sovereigns of Morocco, and unceasingly pray that they may be restored to their beloved Grenada.