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but few disturbances along the Spanish

frontier of Gaul. The Christians and Mohammedans coming to a better understanding, and having a tolerable regard for each

other's rights, had maintained a fair degree

of peace. With the accession of Charlemagne,

however, the ambitions of the Franks and

the jealousies of the Saracens had in a measure

revived. The one, perhaps, cherished the

dream of an early expulsion of the Mohammedans from Europe, and the other

looked with ill-concealed enmity at the

rapid progress and overwhelming influence

of the barbarian Emperor on the other

side of the Pyrenees. Nor might it well be forgotten or forgiven that he was the

grandson of that other Charles, at whose

hands the great Abdalrahman had met

his fate.

Mixed with these general motives was

a specific act of treason. Among those

who in 777 had convened at the assembly

of Paderborn was a certain Ibn al Arabi,

the Saracen governor of Saragossa. Having a difficulty with the Caliph, he sought

the aid of the Christian Franks, and would

fain make common cause with them against

the Mohammedans. For this reason came

he to the assembly called by Charlemagne.

The king of the Franks was quick to seize

the opportunity thus afforded of extending his

dominions on the side of Spain. Though still

embarrassed with his German wars, he gladly

accepted the invitation of Ibn al Arabi to become his champion and avenger.

In the spring of 787 the Frankish sovereign, having divided his army into two parts,

as in the Italian campaign, set out on the

Spanish expedition. One division of his

troops, under command of Duke Bernard,

was directed to seek the eastern passes of the

Pyrenees, and traverse the peninsula by way

of Gerona and Barcelona to Saragossa. The

other division, led by Charlemagne in person,

was to pass to the west, enter Spain by the

valley of Roncesvalles, and march by way

of Pampeluna to the place of meeting before

the walls of Saragossa. In carrying out his

own part of the campaign, Charlemagne traversed the provinces of Aquitaine and Vasconia, at this time ruled by Duke Lupus II, son of that Duke Waifar who will be recalled

as a formidable antagonist of Pepin the Short.

The reigning prince was descended from

the Merovingians, and could neither by

blood kinship or political inclination be

expected to favor the cause of the Carlovingian conqueror. The latter, however, soothed

Duke Lupus, and by generous treatment

secured from him an oath of fealty. But

the event soon showed that the pledge was

given with the mental reservation to break

it as soon as circumstances might seem

to warrant the act of perfidy.

After this brief but necessary detention Charlemagne hurried forward to prosecute his work in Spain. Passing through

the valley of Roncesvalles, he arrived before Pampeluna, and received the surrender

of that city; for the Arab governor deemed

himself ill able to make a successful defense

against the Franks. The king then pressed

forward to Saragossa, where he expected

to receive a similar surrender at the hands

of his friend Ibn al Arabi. But as has so

many times occurred in the history of the

world, the recreant governor had promised

more than he could fulfill. It was one thing

to agree and another to deliver. For, in

the mean time, the old Arab spirit was thoroughly aroused from its dream of peace. The

local quarrels of these ambitious towns

of the Western Caliphate were suddenly

hushed in the presence of the common danger.

The Saracens rushed forward to the succor of Saragossa, and Charlemagne found

that he must take by a serious siege-should he be able to take at all-the prize which the officious Arabi was to have delivered with such facility.

In a short time there was a greater

scarcity of provisions outside than inside

the walls. The besiegers were constantly

beset by new bodies of troops arriving from

various parts of the peninsula. Diseases

broke out in the camp of the Franks, and

they found themselves more endangered

by the invisible plagues of the air than by

the swords of the Saracens. At the same

time intelligence came that the Saxons

on the opposite side of the kingdom had

again risen in arms, and were threatening

to undo the entire work of conquest on

the northeast. It was, therefore, fortunate for Charlemagne that at this juncture the

Arabs sought to open negotiations. The king

gladly accepted their offer of a large ransom