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The persecution of the Jews by the Gothic Spaniards naturally made them
the implacable enemies of the Christians. Being a very numerous colony
in Spain - for Hadrian had transported thither many thousand
families - the Jews gave the Arabs very effective help in conquering the
country, both by betraying places to them, and garrisoning captured
towns while the Arabs went on to fresh conquests. Consequently the
relations between the Jews and Moslems were for a long time very
cordial, though this cordiality wore off in the course of time. Their
numbers seem to have been considerable under the Moslem occupation, and
whole towns were set apart as Jewries.[1]

In France the prejudice against the Jews shewed itself very strongly
among the clergy, though Louis I. and his wife Judith favoured them.
They were generally ill-treated, and their slaves were induced by the
clergy to be baptized. Thereupon they became free, as Jews were not
allowed to have Christian slaves.[2] But it must be admitted that the
Franks had reason for disliking the Jews, as it was well known that they
sold Christian children as slaves to the Moslems of Spain.[3]

[1] Al Makkari, ii. 452.

[2] Fleury, v. 408.

[3] _Ibid._

They also seem to have been able to make some proselytes from among the
Christians, and we hear of one apostate of this kind, named Eleazar, to
whom Alvar addressed several letters under the title of "the
transgressor." This man's original name was Bodon. A Christian of German
extraction,[1] he was brought up with a view to Holy Orders. In 838,
while on his way to Rome,[2] he apostatised to Judaism,[3] and opened a
negotiation with the Jews in France to sell his companions as slaves,
stipulating only to keep his own grandson. The next year he let his hair
and beard grow, and went to Spain, where he married a Jewess, compelling
his grandson at the same time to apostatise. In 845 or 847 his attitude
became so hostile to the Christians in Spain, that the latter wrote to
Charles, praying him to demand Eleazar as his subject, which however
does not seem to have been done. There seems good reason to believe that
Eleazar stirred up the Moslems against the Christians, and the deaths of
Prefectus and John may have been due to him.[4] After this we hear no
more of Eleazar; but the position of the Jews with regard to the Arabs
seems to have been for long after this of a most privileged character.
Consequently the Jews in Spain had such an opportunity to develop their
natural gifts as they have never had since the capture of Jerusalem by
Nebuchadnezzar; and they shewed themselves no whit behind the Arabs, if
indeed they did not outstrip them, in keeping alive the flame of
learning in the dark ages.[5] In science generally, and especially in
the art of medicine they had few rivals, and in learning and
civilisation they were, no less than the Arabs, far ahead of the

[1] "Ann. Bertin.," 839.

[2] Orationis gratia, "Ann. Bert," 1.1.

[3] Florez, xi. p. 20 ff.

[4] The "Ann. Bert." say that he induced Abdurrahman II. to
give his Christian subjects the choice between Islam, Judaism,
or death. See Rohrbacher, xii. 4.

[5] Prescott, "Ferd. and Isab." p. 153.

[6] _Ibid._, p. 134.

The good understanding between the Jews and the Arabs with the gradual
process of time gave place to an ill-concealed hostility, and at the
beginning of the twelfth century there seems even to have been a project
formed for forcing the Jews to become Moslems on the ground of a promise
made by their forefathers to Mohammed that, if in five centuries their
Messiah had not appeared, they would be converted to Mohammedanism.[1]
Perhaps this was only a pretext on the part of the Moslems for extorting
money; at all events the Jews only succeeded in evading the alternative
by paying a large sum of money. Even in the early years of the conquest
they were subject to the rapacity of their rulers, for when, on the
rumour of the Messiah having appeared in Syria, many of the Spanish
Jews, leaving their goods, started off to join him, the Moslem governor,
Anbasa, seized the property so left, and refused to restore it on the
return of the disappointed emigrants.

From their contact with Arabs and Christians the Jews seem to have lost
many of their distinctive beliefs, and in the twelfth century
Maimonides,[2] the greatest name among the Spanish Jews, wrote against
their errors. One of these seems to have been that the books of Moses
were written before the Creation;[3] another, that there was a series of
hells in the next world.[4]

Many Jews attained to very high positions among the Arabs, and we hear
of a certain Hasdai ibn Bahrut, who was inspector of customs to
Abdurrahman III., ambassador to the King of Leon in 955, and the king's
confidential messenger to the monk, John of Gorz, a few years later. He
was also distinguished as a physician.[5]

[1] Conde, ii. 326.

[2] Fleury, v. 409.

[3] Cp. the Moslem belief about the Koran. Sale, Introduc., p.
50. (Chandos Classics.)

[4] _Ibid._, p. 72.

[5] Al Makk., i., App. v. p. xxiv. Note by De Gayangos.

While the Arabs still retained their hold on the fairest provinces of
Spain, the lot of the Jews, even in Christian territories, was by no
means unendurable. They were sometimes advanced to important and
confidential posts, and it was the murder of Alfonso VI.'s Jewish
ambassador by the King of Seville which brought about the introduction
of the Almoravides into Spain.

There is a strange story told of the Jews at the taking of Toledo by the
Christians in 1085. They waited on Alfonso and assured him that they
were part of the ten tribes whom Nebuchadnezzar transported into Spain,
and not the descendants of those Jerusalem Jews who crucified Christ.
Their ancestors, they said, were quite free from the guilt of this act,
for when Caiaphas had written to the Toledan synagogue for their advice
respecting the person who claimed to be the Messiah, the Toledan Jews
returned for answer, that in their judgment the prophecies seemed to be
fulfilled in Him, and therefore He ought not by any means to be put to
death. This reply they produced in the original Hebrew.[1] It is
needless to say that the whole thing was a fabrication.

Gradually, as the Christians recovered their supremacy in Spain, the
tide of prejudice set more and more strongly against the Jews. They were
accused of "contempt for the Catholic worship, desecration of its
symbols, sacrifice of Christian infants,"[2] and other enormities.
Severe laws were passed against them, as in the old Gothic times, and
their freedom was grievously curtailed in the matters of dress,
residence, and profession. As a distinctive badge they had to wear
yellow caps.[3]

[1] Southey, "Roder.," i. p. 235, note.

[2] Prescott, "Ferd. and Isab.," pp. 134, 135.

[3] Al Makk., i. 116.

At the end of the fourteenth century the people rose against them, and
15,000 Jews were massacred in different parts of Spain. Many were
nominally converted, and 35,000 conversions were put to the credit of a
single saint. These new Christians sometimes attained high
ecclesiastical dignities, and intermarried with the noble families - the
taint of which "mala sangre" came afterwards to be regarded with the
greatest horror and aversion.

It was against the converted Jews that the Inquisition was first
established, and they chiefly suffered under it at first. In 1492, on
the final extinction of the Arab dominion in Spain, a very large number
of Jews were expelled from Castile,[1] the evil example being afterwards
followed in other parts of Spain. The story of the treatment of Jews by
Christians is indeed one of the darkest in the history of Christianity.

[1] Variously estimated at 160,000 or 800,000.



Perhaps no part of the history of Spain affords so interesting a study
as the consideration of those gradual steps by which, from being one of
the most independent of Churches, she has become the most subservient,
and therefore the most degraded, of all. The question of how this was
brought about, apart from its intrinsic interest as illustrating the
development of a great nation, is well worth investigating, from the
momentous influence which it has had upon the religious history of the
world at large. For it is not too much to say that Rome could never have
made good its ascendency, spiritual no less than temporal, over so large
a part of mankind, had not the material resources and the blind devotion
of Spain been ready to back the haughty pretensions and unscrupulous
ability of the Italian pontiffs.

In fact, Spain is the only country, apart from Italy, that as a nation,
has accepted the monstrous doctrines of Rome in all their
entirety - doctrines which the whole Christian East repudiated from the
first with scorn, and which the North and (with the exception of Spain)
the West of Europe - the birthplace and cradle of the mighty Teutonic
races - have agreed with equal disdain to reject and trample under their

This result is all the more remarkable, from the fact that in early
times the Church of Spain, from its rapid extension, its greatness, and
its prosperity, held a position of complete equality with the Roman and
other principal churches. The See of Cordova held so high a rank in the
fourth century that Hosius, its venerable bishop, was chosen to preside
at the important councils of Nice (325) and Sardica (347).

The Gothic invasion at the beginning of the fifth century made Spain
still less likely to acknowledge any supremacy of Rome, for the Goths,
besides being far more independent in character than the Romanized
Kelts, were Arian heretics, and cut off, in consequence, from all
communion with Rome. The orthodox party, however, gradually gained
strength, and in 560 the remnants of the Suevi abjured Arianism, and the
Gothic king's son Ermenegild, with their help, revolted against his
father. He was finally put to death for his treason, but his brother,
Recared, on ascending the throne in 589, avowed his conversion to the
orthodox creed, his example being followed by most of his nobles and

The reception of Recared and his Court into the Catholic fold was the
signal for an attempt to establish the papal authority, which was the
more dangerous now, as the popes had gained a great increase of power
since Spain was cut off from orthodox Christendom by the invasion of the
Arian Goths.

One of Recared's first acts was to write to the pope and, saluting him,
ask him for his advice in spiritual matters. The papal authority thus
acknowledged was soon exercised in -

_(a.)_ Deciding ecclesiastical appeals without regard to the laws of the

_(b.)_ Sending to Spain pontifical judges to hear such cases;

_(c.)_ Sending legates to watch over the discipline of the Church;

_(d.)_ Sending the pall to metropolitans.

These metropolitans, unknown in the earlier history of the Spanish
Church, came gradually to be recognised, owing to the papal practice of
sending letters to the chief bishops of the country. They became
invested in consequence with certain important powers, such as those of
convoking provincial councils; of consecrating suffragans; of holding
ecclesiastical courts, and watching over the conduct of bishops.[1]

But though a certain authority over the Spanish Church _was_ thus
conceded to the pope, yet owing to the independent spirit of the Spanish
kings and clergy, he contented himself with a very sparing use of his
power. In two points, in especial, the claims of the pope were
strenuously resisted.

_(a.)_ The purchase of dispensations from Rome was expressly forbidden.

_(b.)_ Papal infallibility was a dogma by no means admitted. Thus the
prelates of Spain in the fifteenth and sixteenth councils of Toledo,
defended the orthodoxy of their fellow-bishop, Julian, against the
strictures of the then pope, Bendict II.; and Benedict's successor, John
V., confessed that they had been in the right.[2]

This spirit of opposition to the supremacy of the pope we find
manifested to the last by the Spanish kings, and there is some reason
for thinking that in the very year of the Saracen invasion the king,
Witiza, held a synod, which emphatically forbade appeals to Rome.[3]
One author even goes so far as to say that the Gothic king and his
clergy being at variance with the pope, the latter encouraged and
favoured the Saracen invasion.[4]

[1] Masdeu, xi. p. 167, ff., quoted by Dr Dunham.

[2] Dunham, i. p. 197.

[3] See Hardwicke's "Church in the Middle Ages," p. 42. He
quotes Gieselar, "Ch. Hist.," iii-132.

[4] J.S. Semler, quoted by Mosheim, ii. 120, note.

However that may have been, and it certainly looks very improbable, the
invasion did not help the pope much directly, though indirectly, and as
events turned out, the Arab domination was undoubtedly the main cause of
the ultimate subjection of Spain to the papal yoke, which happened in
this way: - The Christian Church in the North being, though free, yet in
a position of great danger and weakness, would naturally have sought
help from their nearest Christian neighbours, the Franks. But the
selfish and ambitious policy of the latter, who preferred extending
their temporal dominion to fighting as champions of Christianity in
defence of others, naturally forced the Spanish Christians to look to
the only Christian ruler who could afford them even moral assistance;
and the popes were not slow to avail themselves of the opportunity thus
offered for establishing their authority in a new province. It was by
the intervention of the popes that the war against the Arabs partook of
the nature of a crusade, a form of warfare which carried with it the
advantage of filling the treasury of the Bishops of Rome. By means of
indulgences, granting exemption from purgatory at 200 maravedis a head,
the pope collected in four years the sum of four million maravedis.[1]

The first important instance of the Pope's intervention being asked and
obtained was in 808, when, the body of St James being miraculously
discovered, Alfonso wrote to the pope asking leave to move the see of
Ira Flavia (Padron) to the new church of St lago,[2] built on the spot
where the relics were found. The birth of the new Spanish Church dates
from this event, which was of ominous import for the future independence
of the Church in that country. What the claims of Rome had come to be
within a quarter of a century of this epoch, we may see from the
controversy which arose between Claudius, Bishop of Turin, and the papal
party. Claudius was himself a Spaniard, and a pupil of the celebrated
Felix, Bishop of Urgel, one of the authors of the Adoptionist heresy.
Among other doctrines obnoxious to the so-called Catholic party,
Claudius stoutly resisted the papal claim to be the head of Christendom,
resting his opposition, so far as we can gather from what remains to us
of his writings,[3] on the grounds, first, that Christ did _not_ say to
Peter, "What thou loosest in heaven, shall be loosed upon earth;"
meaning by this that the authority vested in Peter was only to be
exercised during his life; secondly, in answer to the supposed efficacy
of a pilgrimage to Rome, Claudius retorts on his accuser, Theodomir,
abbot of a monastery near N√Ѓmes: - "If a doing of penance to be effectual
involves a journey to Rome, why do you keep so many monks in your
monastery and prevent them from going - as you say is necessary - to Rome
itself?" As to the journey itself, Claudius said that he neither
approved nor disapproved of it, knowing that it was not prejudicial to
all, nor useful to all: but this he was assured of, that eternal life
could not be gained by a mere journey to Rome; thirdly, as to the pope
being the Dominicus Apostolicus, as his supporters called him,
apostolic, says Claudius, is a title that does not belong to one "who
fills the see of an apostle, but who fulfils the duties thereof."

[1] Prescott, "Ferd. and Isab.," p. 64, n.

[2] Romey, "Hist. d'Esp.," iii. 420.

[3] Jonas of Orleans, iii., apud Migne, vol. civ. p. 375 ff.
Fleury, v. 398.

Being summoned to appear before a council, the bishop proved
contumacious, and refused to go, calling the proposed assemblage a
congregation of asses. In spite of his independence of spirit Claudius
remained Bishop of Turin till his death in 839.

The pope's authority being once recognised in Spain, the sphere of his
interference rapidly enlarged, and we soon find the king unable even to
call a council of bishops without a papal bull. This became the
established practice.[1] In the tenth century Bermudo II. (982-999), in
confirming the laws of the Goths, took the opportunity to make the
canons and decrees of the pope binding in secular cases.[2]

Meanwhile, even before the free Christians in the North had established
their independence, the weakness of the Christian Church under Arab
domination seemed to afford a good opportunity for obtaining from them a
recognition of the authority of the pope. We accordingly find that an
appeal was made to the pope towards the close of the eighth century to
give an authoritative decision with regard to what the appellants deemed
to be certain irregularities which had found their way into the practice
of those Christians who were under the Arab yoke. The Pope Adrian
readily undertook to define what was, and what was not, in accordance
with Christianity. In a letter addressed to the Bishops of Spain he
inveighs against the following errors, countenanced by a certain
Migetius, and by Egila, Bishop of Elvira, and sometimes called in
consequence the Migetian errors: -

_(a.)_ The wrong celebration of Easter. This had already been noticed
and condemned by Peter, a deacon of Toledo, in a letter to the people of
Seville (750).[3] The error was not the same as that of the
Quarto-decimani, but consisted apparently in deferring Easter to the
twenty-second day, if the full moon fell on the 14th, and the following
day was Sunday. Curiously enough this very error had been held by the
Latin Church itself till the sixth century.[4] The fulminations of the
Pope failed in suppressing the error. As late as 891 it was sufficiently
general in Andalusia to cause the date of a battle which took place at
the Easter of that year to be placed in the year of the Hegira 278,
which only began on April 15th, whereas had Easter been observed
according to the usage of the Latin Church, the Paschal feast would have
been already past.[5]

_(b.)_ The eating of pork and things strangled.[6] With respect to these
innocent articles of food, the pope goes so far as to threaten anathema
against those who will not abstain from them. It is curious to find the
Christian Church upholding the eating of pork, when brought into contact
with the Moslems, and forbidding it elsewhere.

_(c.)_ Intermarriage with Jews and Moslems, which had become very
common, is denounced and forbidden.[7]

_(d.)_ The Pope cautions the Spanish Church against consecrating priests
without due preparation, and speaks as if there were many false priests,
wolves in sheep's clothing, dealing havoc in the flock.

_(e.)_ One doubtful authority,[8] who tells us that Adrian ordered
Cixila, Bishop of Toledo, to hold a council and condemn Egila for not
fasting on Sundays, according to the decrees of previous popes.

[1] "Chron. Sil.," sec. 13, who says that in 1109 a legate was
in Spain holding a council at Leon. "Chron. Sampiri," (Florez,
xiv.), sec. 6 (a later addition), says that in 869 Alfonso IV.
sent Severus and Sideric, asking the leave of Pope John VIII.
to hold a council and consecrate a church. Cp. Mariana, vii. 8.

[2] Mariana, viii. 6.

[3] Isid. Pac, sec. 77. See Migne, vol. xcviii. pp. 339, 376,

[4] See Victorius Aquitanus, quoted by Noris "de Paschali
Latinorum Cyclo." (iii. 786), apud Migne.

[5] Dozy, ii. p. 355, note.

[6] Florez, "Esp. Sagr.," v. 514: Fleury, ii. 235.

[7] Adrian's Letter to the Spanish Bishops.

[8] The Pseudo-Luitprand, sec. 236 - "Ex mandatis litterisque
Adriani papae contra Egilanum ... nolentem Dei Sabbate a
carnibus abstinere" (776 A.D.).

But though there was a strong party in Spain favouring the pretensions
of the pope, yet many of the clergy and laity, headed by the venerable
Elipandus, Bishop of Toledo (782-810), boldly resisted the encroachments
of the Bishop of Rome. Elipandus himself, as Primate of all Spain, wrote
to Migetius condemning him for certain heresies, and boasts of having
completely refuted and silenced him;[1] but at the same time Elipandus
shewed his independence of the Roman Pontiff by characterising those who
abstained from pork and things strangled as foolish and ignorant men;
though Migetius in this matter was in thorough accord with the pope,[2]
and could justify his views by a reference to the decision of the Church
of Jerusalem in the earliest days of Christianity.[3]

Another doctrine combated by Elipandus was the unscriptural one, that it
was unlawful to eat with unbelievers, or even to take food touched by
them. It was easy for him to quote texts such as: "Not that which
entereth into the mouth defileth the man; but that which proceedeth out
of the mouth, this defileth the man;" [4] or "to the pure all things are
pure;"[5] and to point out that Christ ate with publicans and sinners.

But the assumption which Elipandus, like his fellow-countrymen, Claudius
of Turin, later, especially attacked, was that which regarded the Roman
See as alone constituting the Catholic Church and the power of God.[6]
This he very properly calls a heresy; and indignantly denies that
Christ's words, "Thou art Peter," &c., apply to the Church of Rome
alone, affirming that they were spoken of the whole Church. "How," he
adds, "can the Roman Church be, as you say it is, the very power of God
without spot or blemish, when we know that at least one bishop of Rome
(Liberius) has been branded as a heretic by the common voice of

[1] Epilandus, Letter to Migetius. Migne, xcviii. p. 859. See
Neander, v. 216 ff. n. Enhueber, "Dissert," secs. 29, 33, apud
Migne, vol. ci.

[2] See Adrian's Letter to Egila.

[3] Acts xv. 19, 29. See, however, Epist. to Timothy, i. 3.

[4] St Matt. xv. 11.

[5] Titus i. 15.

[6] See also letter to Alcuin, and Felix's answer to Alcuin's
first book, where he gives us his idea of a _Catholic_ church
founded on our Lord Christ (and not on the pope), ... which
Catholic church may even consist of few members. Neander, v.

Had the Arab domination embraced the whole of Spain, and continued to be
established over it, Spain could never have become the priest-ridden
country which it now is; but the gradual advance of the Christian arms
in the North brought in its train a more and more complete subserviency
to the pope.

As the kings of Castile and Leon gradually won back towns and provinces
from the Arabs, some difference was observed to exist between the
religious usages of the newly freed Christians and of those who had set
them free. This was specially apparent in the old Gothic liturgy, which
the Muzarabic Christians had used all along, and were still using,
whereas the Christians of Leon and the Asturias had imported a newer
recension from Rome.

Rumours of these discrepancies in religious ritual reached Rome, and
accordingly a legate,[1] named Zanclus, was sent to Spain in 925 from
John X. to inquire into matters of religion, and particularly into the
ceremony of the mass, the opinion being prevalent at Rome that the mass
was incorrectly performed according to the Gothic liturgy, and that
false doctrines were taught. However, Zanclus found that the divergence
was not sufficiently wide to warrant the suppression of the ancient
ritual. It may be that the power of the Roman Church was not established
so securely as to admit of an interference so unpalatable to the ancient
church. She was content to bide her time; for such a standing witness
to the primitive usage[2] of the Church against the innovations of the
Roman See could not long be allowed to continue. Accordingly, we find
that very soon after the fall of Toledo in 1085, the question of the old
Gothic liturgy came up for discussion again. The Gothic and the Roman
books were subjected, after the absurd fashion of the times, to two
ordeals - by water and by fire; but in spite of the fact that the Gothic

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