Page 1294

1294 UNIVERSAL HISTORY--THE MODERN WORLD.

a brief struggle with the contending factions,

under the leadership of rival emirs, he was

elevated to the throne of Cordova, and thus,

in 756, was established the Ommiyad dynasty

in the Western Caliphate.

While these movements were taking place

south of the Pyrenees, the Mohammedans

were gradually expelled from their foothold

in the North and driven back into Spain.

The triumph of the Franks, however, was as

advantageous to the Mohammedans as to

themselves. A mountain barrier was established between the two races, and the Islamites were left on the southern slope to concentrate their energies and develop into

nationality.

At first the head of the Eastern Caliphate

relished not the idea of the independence of

Spain. On the contrary, it was determined

to make a strenuous effort to subject the

Caliphate of Cordova to the scepter of Baghdad. One of the Abbasside lieutenants was

sent into Spain with a fleet and army, but

was overthrown in battle and slain by Abderrahman. The Caliph AI-Mansour at length

came to understand that it was best for his

rival to be left undisturbed in the West,

lest his dangerous energies should be turned

against himself. By the time of the accession of Charlemagne, the Caliphate of Cordova

had already grown so much in solidity and

strength as to become a formidable power

with which to contend, even to the king of

the Franks. The meager success, or positive

unsuccess, of Charlemagne's expedition against

Saragosa has already been narrated in the

preceding Book.

Much of the glory of the Arabian civilization in Spain must be referred to the greatness of Abderrahman and his reign. To

him the city of Cordova was indebted for

the most magnificent of her mosques, of

which structure the Caliph himself was

the designer. He also it was who planted

the first palm-tree in Cordova, and from

that original all the palms of Spain are said

to be descended. His immediate successors were Hashem, Al Hakem, and Abderrahman II, whose reign extended to the year 852. The greatest of the

House after the founder was Abderrahman III, who in the beginning of the tenth century occupied the throne for forty-nine years.

The whole Ommiyad Dynasty in Spain embraced the reigns of twenty-two Caliphs and

extended to the year 1031, when Hashem III.

was deposed by a revolution having its origin

in the army. During this time Spain, under

the patronage of the Mohammedans, made

greater progress in civilization than at any

period before or since. Agriculture and commerce were promoted. Science and art

flourished, and institutions of learning were

established, the fame of which extended

from Ireland to Constantinople, and drew

within their walls a host of students from

almost every country in Europe. It was

from this source that the fundamentals of

scholarship were deduced by the uncultured

Christians north of the Apennines and the

Alps. The language and customs of the Moors

became predominant in the peninsula, and

during the latter half of the eighth and the

whole of the ninth century there was little disposition to dispute the excellence of the Mohammedan institutions which spread and

flourished under the patronage of the Cordovan

Caliphs.

In the course of time, however, the relative

power of the Cross and the Crescent in Spain

began to be reversed. About the beginning

of the eleventh century, the dissensions and

strife which prevailed in the Caliphate of

Cordova gave opportunity for the growth of

the Christian states in the northwestern

part of the peninsula. Here, in the mountainous district of Oviedo, under Pelayo and

Alfonso, the dominion of the Cross was

considerably extended. Portions of Leon

and Castile were added to Oviedo by conquest, and thus was planted the kingdom

of Asturias. Under Ordono II the kingly

residence was transferred to Leon, and that

city henceforth gave the name to the Christian kingdom. Meanwhile, on the Upper

Ebro and Pisuerga, arose the kingdom of

Castile. In this region there had always

been preserved a remnant of independence,

even since the days of the Mohammedan

conquest. Until the year 961 Castile was in

some sense a dependency of Leon. At that

date Femando Gonzales appeared, and the

people of Castfle, under his leadership, gained

and kept their freedom. In 1037 Ferdinand reunited the kingdoms of Leon and Castile,

and the combined states soon became the

most powerful in Spain.

While these events were in progress north