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The Mosques were never to be polluted by the step of an infidel.[4]

[1] Dozy, ii. 162.

[2] Monasteries were established in Spain 150 years before the
Saracen conquest. They mostly fared badly at the hands of the
Arabs, in spite of the injunctions of the Khalif Abubeker (see
Conde, i. 37, and Gibbon), but that of Lorban at Coimbra
received a favourable charter in 734 (Fleury, v. 89; but
Dunham, ii. 154, doubts the authenticity of the charter).

[3] Cp. the stipulation of Omar at the fall of Jerusalem.

[4] See Charter of Coimbra, apud Fleury, v. 89.

The religious ferment, which manifested itself so strongly at Cordova,
did not extend to other parts of Spain. For instance, at Elvira, the
cradle of Spanish Christianity, it was shortly after the Cordovan
martyrdoms (in 864) that the mosque, founded in the year of the
conquest, and left unbuilt for 150 years, was finally finished. What we
hear about the Christians at Elvira at this time is not to their credit,
their bishop, Samuel, being notorious as an evil liver.[1] It is in
Cordova that the main interest at this period centres; and to Cordova we
will for the present confine our attention.

There is abundant evidence to show that the party of enthusiasts, both
those who offered themselves for martyrdom, and those who aided and
abetted their more impulsive brethren, were a comparatively small body
in the Church of Spain; and that their proceedings awakened little short
of dismay in the minds of the more sensible portion of the Christian
community, both in the Arab part of Spain, and perhaps in a less degree
in the free North.[2] The chief leaders of the party of zealots - as far
as we find mention of them - were Saul, bishop of Cordova (850-861),
Eulogius, and Samson, abbot of the monastery of Pegnamellar; while
Reccafredus, bishop of Seville, and Hostegesis of Malaga, were the
prominent ecclesiastics on the other side.

[1] Ibn Khatib, apud Dozy, ii. 210.

[2] Yonge, p. 63.

Before relating what steps the latter took in conjunction with the
Moslem authorities to put down the dangerous outbreak of fanaticism, it
will be interesting to note what was the attitude of the different
sections of the Church towards the misguided men who gave themselves up
to death, and their claims to the crown of martyrdom. Those who denied
the validity of these claims, rested their contention on the grounds,
that the so-called martyrs had compassed their own destruction, there
being no persecution at the time; that they had worked no miracles in
proof of their high claims; that they had been slain by men who believed
in the true God; that they had suffered an easy and immediate death; and
that their bodies had corrupted like those of other men.

It was an abuse of words, said the party of moderation, to call these
suicides by the holy name of martyrs, when no violence in high places
had forced them to deny their faith,[1] or interfered with their due
observance of Christianity. It was merely an act of ostentatious
pride - and pride was the root of all evil - to court danger. Such conduct
had never been enjoined by Christ, and was quite alien from the meekness
and humility of His character.[2]

They might have added that such voluntary martyrdoms had been expressly

(_a._) By the circular letter of the Church of Smyrna to the other
churches, describing Polycarp's martyrdom, in the terms: "We commend not
those who offer themselves of their own accord, for that is not what the
gospel teacheth us:"[3]

(_b._) By St Cyprian,[4] who, when brought before the consul and
questioned, said "our discipline forbiddeth that any should offer
themselves of their own accord;" and in his last letter he says: "Let
none of you offer himself to the pagans, it is sufficient if he speak
when apprehended:"

(_c._) By Clement of Alexandria: "We also blame those who rush to death,
for there are some, not of us, but only bearing the same name, who give
themselves up:"[5]

(_d._) Implicitly by the synod of Elvira, or Illiberis (_circa_ 305),
one of the canons of which forbade him to be ranked as a martyr, who
was killed on the spot for breaking idols:

(_e._) By Mensurius, bishop of Carthage, who, when consulted on the
question of reducing the immense lists of acknowledged martyrs, gave it
as his opinion that those should be first excluded who had courted
martyrdom.[6] One bishop alone, and he a late one, Benedict XIV. of
Rome,[7] has ventured to approve what the Church has condemned. Nor is
this the only instance in which the Roman Church has set aside the
decisions of an earlier Christendom.

[1] Eul., "Mem. Sanct.," i., sec. 18, "Quos nulla praesidalis
violentia fidem suam negare compulit, nec a cultu sanctae
piaeque religionis amovit:" sec. 23, "Quos liberalitas regis
suum incolere iusserat Christianismum."

[2] Quoting such texts as Matt. v. 44, "Bless them that curse
you, and pray for them that despitefully use you:" Pet. ii. 23,
"Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's

[3] Eusebius iv. 15. See Neander, i. p. 150. (A.D. 167.)

[4] Martyred 258.

[5] See Long's "M. Aurelius Antoninus," Introd., p. 21.

[6] Burton's "History of the Christian Church," p. 336.

[7] 1740-1748: in his "De Servorum Dei beatificatione et
beatorum canonizatione," Bk. iii. 16, sec. 7. Fleury, v. 541.

The charges against the zealots were twofold, that there had been no
persecution worthy of the name, such as to justify their doings, and
that those doings themselves were contrary to the teaching and spirit of
Christianity. The latter part of the charge has already been dealt with,
and may be considered sustained. As to the other part, the apologists,
it must be confessed, answer with a very uncertain sound. Sometimes,
indeed, they deny it point-blank:[1] "as if," says Eulogius, "the
destruction of our churches,[2] the insults heaped upon our clergy, the
monthly tax[3] which we pay, the perils of a hard life, lived on
sufferance, are nothing." These insults and affronts are continually
referred to. "No one," says the same author,[4] "can go out or come in
amongst us in security, no one pass a knot of Moslems in the street
without being treated with contumely. They mock at the marks[5] of our
order. They hoot at us and call us fools and vain. The very children
jeer at us, and even throw stones and potsherds at the priests. The
sound of the church-going bell[6] never fails to evoke from Moslem
hearers the foulest and most blasphemous language. They even deem it a
pollution to touch a Christian's garment." Alvar adds that the Moslems
would fall to cursing when they saw the cross;[7] and when they
witnessed a burial according to Christian rites, would say aloud, "Shew
them no mercy, O God," throwing stones withal at the Lord's people, and
defiling their ears with the filthiest abuse.[8] "Yet," he indignantly
exclaims, "you say that this is not a time of persecution; nor is it, I
answer, a time of apostles. But I affirm that it is a deadly time[9] ...
are we not bowed beneath the yoke of slavery, burdened with intolerable
taxes, spoiled of our goods, lashed with the scourges of their abuse,
made a byword and a proverb, aye, a spectacle to all nations?"[10]

[1] Eul., "Mem. Sanct.," i. sec. 21: Alvar, "Ind. Lum.," sec.

[2] _Ibid._; and Alvar, "Ind. Lum.," sec. 7.

[3] Leovigild, "De habitu Clericorum." "Migne," 121, p. 565.

[4] Eul., l.l.

[5] Stigmata.

[6] Alvar, "Ind. Lum.," sec. 6, "Derisioni et contemptui
inhiantes capita moventes infanda iterando congeminant." He
adds: "Daily and nightly from their minarets they revile the
Lord by their invocation of Allah and Mohammed!" Eul., "Lib.
Ap.," sec. 19, confesses that hearing their call to prayer
always moved him to quote Psalm xcvi. 7: "Confounded be all
they that worship carved images" - a very irrelevant
malediction, as applied to the Moslems.

[7] Alvar, l.l., "Fidei signum opprobrioso elogio decolorant."

[8] "Spurcitiarum fimo." - _Ibid._

[9] "Mortiferum." - "Ind. Lum.," sec. 3.

[10] Alvar, "Ind. Lum.," sec. 31, gives us a very savage
picture of the Moslem character: "Sunt in superbia tumidi, in
tumore cordis elati, in delectatione carnalium operum fluidi,
in comestione superflui ... sine misericordia crudeles, sine
iustitia invasores, sine honore absque veritate, benignitatis
nescientes affectum ... humilitatem velut insaniam deridentes,
castitatem velut spurcitiam respuentes."

That there was a certain amount of social ill-treatment, and that the
lower classes of Moslems did not take any pains to conceal their dislike
and scorn of such Christian beliefs and rites as were at variance with
their own creed, and moreover regarded priests and monks with especial
aversion, there can be no doubt. But, on the other hand, there is no
want of evidence to show that the condition of the Christians was by no
means so bad as the apologists would have us suppose. Petty annoyances
could not fail to exist anywhere under such circumstances, as were
actually to be found in Spain at this time, and we may be sure that the
Christian priests in particular did not bear themselves with that
humility which might have ensured a mitigation of the annoyances.
Organised opposition to Christianity, unless the Moslem rule can itself
be called such, there was none, till it was called into being by the
action of the fanatics themselves. But apart from all the other facts
which point to this conclusion, we can call the apologists themselves in
evidence that there was no real persecution going on at the time of the
first martyrdoms.

Eulogius[1] admits that the Christians were not let or hindered in the
free exercise of their religion by saying that this state of things[2]
was not due to the forbearance (forsooth!) of the Moslems, but to the
Divine mercy. Alvar, too, in a passage which seems to contradict the
whole position which he is trying to defend, says[3]: - "Though many were
the victims of persecution, very many others - and you cannot deny
it - offered themselves a voluntary sacrifice to the Lord. Is it not
clear that it was not the Arabs who began persecuting, but we who began
preaching? Read the story of the martyrs, and you will see that they
rushed voluntarily on their fate, not waiting the bidding of
persecutors, nor the snares of informers; aye, and - what is made so
strong a charge against them - that they tired out the forbearance of
their rulers and princes by insult upon insult."[4]

[1] "Mem. Sanct.," i. sec. 29.

[2] Viz., "Quod inter ipsos sine molestia fidei degimus."

[3] "Ind. Lum.," sec. 3.

[4] "Fatigasse praesides et principes multis
contumeliis." - _Ibid._

As to the other part of the accusation, that voluntary martyrs were no
martyrs, Eulogius could only declaim against the Scriptures quoted by
his opponents,[1] and refer to the morally blind, who make evil their
good, and take darkness to be their light;[2] while he brought forward a
saying of certain wise men that "those martyrs will hold the first rank
in the heavenly companies who have gone to their death unsummoned."[3]

He also sought to defend the practice of reviling Mohammed by the plea
that exorcism was allowed against the devil, which is sufficiently
ridiculous; but Alvar goes further, and calmly assures us that these
insults and revilings of the prophet were merely a form of preaching[4]
to the poor benighted Moslems, na√ѓvely remarking that the Scriptures
affirm that the Gospel of Christ must be preached to all nations.
Whereas, then, the Moslems had not been preached to, these martyred
saints had taken upon themselves the sacred duty of rendering them
"debtors to the faith."

The second count[5] against the martyrs was that they had worked no
miracles - a serious deficiency in an age when miracles were almost the
test of sanctity. Eulogius[6] could only meet the charge by admitting
the fact, but adding that miracles were frequent in the early ages, in
order to establish Christianity on a firm basis; and that the constancy
of the martyrs was in itself a miracle (which was true, but not to the
point). Had he been content with this, he had done wisely; but he goes
on: "Moreover, miracles are no sign of truth, as even the unbelievers
can work them."[7] Now, by trying to show why these martyrs did not
perform any miracles, he admits by implication that they were deficient
in this particular;[8] and yet in other parts of his work he mentions
miracles performed by these very martyrs, as, for instance, by Isaac,
and by Flora, and Maria.[9] So that the worthy priest is placed in this
dilemma: If miracles are really no sign of truth, why attribute them to
the martyrs, when, as is allowed elsewhere, they were unable to work
them? if, on the other hand, they did perform these miracles, why not
adduce them in evidence against the detractors?

[1] Eul., "Mem. Sanct.," i. sec. 19.

[2] Isaiah v. 20.

[3] Eul., "Mem. Sanct.," i. sec. 24. Taken from some "Acts of
the Saints," probably those of SS. Emetherius and Caledonius - a
book obviously of no authority.

[4] "Ind. Lum.," sec. 10, "In hac Israelitica gente nullus
hactenus exstitit praedicator, per quod debitores fidei
tenerentur. Isti enim (_i.e._, the martyrs) apostolatus vicem
in eosdem et evangelicam praedicationem impleverunt, eosque
fidei debitores reddiderunt."

[5] Eul., "Mem. Sanct.," i. 13.

[6] "Lib. Apol.," sec 7.

[7] "Lib. Apol.," sec. 10.

[8] Cp. "Mem. Sanct.," i. sec. 13.

[9] "Mem. Sanct.," Pref., sec. 4.

The third objection is a curious one, that the martyrs were not put to
death by idolaters, but by men worshipping God and acknowledging a
divine law,[1] and therefore were not true martyrs. Eulogius misses the
true answer, which is obvious enough, and scornfully exclaims: - "As if
they could be said to believe in God, who persecute His Church, and deem
it hateful to believe in a Christ who was very God and very man."[2]

Fourthly, the martyrs died a quick and easy death. But, as Eulogius
points out,[3] pain and torture give no additional claim to the martyr's

Lastly, it was objected that the bodies of these martyrs, as indeed was
to be expected, corrupted, and were even, in some cases, devoured by
dogs. "What matter," says Eulogius,[4] "since their souls are borne away
to celestial mansions."

[1] Eul. "Lib. Apol.," sec. 3.

[2] _Ibid._, sec. 12.

[3] _Ibid._, sec. 5.

[4] "Mem. Sanct.," i. sec. 17.

But it was not objections brought by fellow-Christians only that
Eulogius took upon himself to answer, but also the taunts and scoffs of
the Moslems. "Why," said they, "if your God is the true God, does He not
strike terror into the executioners of his saints by some great
prodigy? and why do not the martyrs themselves flash forth into miracles
while the crowd is round them? You rush upon your own destruction, and
yet you work no wonders that might induce us to change our opinion of
your creed, thereby doing your own side no good, and ours no harm."[1]

Yet the constancy of the martyrs affected the Moslems more than they
cared to confess, as we may infer from the taunts levelled at the
Christians, when, in Mohammed's reign, some Christians, from fear of
death, even apostatized. "Whither," they triumphantly asked,[2] "has
that bravery of your martyrs vanished? What has become of the rash
frenzy with which they courted death?" Yet though they affected to
consider the martyrs as fools or madmen, they could not be blind to the
effect that their constancy was likely to produce on those who beheld
their death, and to the reverence with which their relics were regarded
by the Christians. They therefore expressly forbade the bodies of
martyrs to be preserved[3] and worshipped, and did their best to make
this in certain cases impossible by burning the corpses and scattering
the ashes on the river, though sometimes they contented themselves with
throwing the bodies, unburnt, into the stream.

[1] "Mem. Sanct.," i. sec. 12.

[2] Eulog., "Mem. Sanct.," iii. sec. 6.

[3] See "De Translatione corporum Sanctorum Martyrum," etc.,
sec. 11. "Non enim, quos martyres faciunt, venerari Saraceni
permittunt." See above, p. 38. The bodies of earlier martyrs
were more freely given up at the request of the Christians. See
"Chron. Silen.," secs. 95-100; Dozy, iv. 119, for the surrender
of the body of Justus; and Eul., "Ad Wiliesindum," sec. 9,
where Eulogius mentions that he had taken the bodies of Saints
Zoilus and Austus to Pampluna. Later, Hakem II. (961-976) gave
up the body of the boy Pelagius at Ramiro III.'s request.
Mariana, viii. 5.

However, in spite of these regulations, many bodies were secretly
carried off and entombed in churches, where they were looked upon as
the most precious of possessions; and martyrs, who, by the admission of
their admirers themselves, had never worked any miracles when living,
were enabled, when dead, to perform a series of extraordinary ones,
which did not finally cease till modern enlightenment had dissipated the
darkness of the Middle Ages.

We happen to possess a very interesting account of the circumstances
under which the relics of three of these Cordovan martyrs were
transferred from the troubled scene of their passion to the more
peaceful and more superstitious cloisters of France.[1]

It was in 858 that Hilduin, the abbot of the monastery of St Vincent and
the Holy Cross, near Paris, learning that the body of their patron
saint, St Vincent, was at Valencia, sent two monks, Usuard and Odilard,
with the king's[2] permission, to procure the precious relics for their
own monastery. On their way to perform this commission, the monks learnt
that the body was no longer at Valencia. It had been, in fact,
carried[3] by a monk named Andaldus to Saragoza. Senior, the bishop of
that city, had seized it, and it was still held in veneration there, but
under the name of St Marinus, whose body the monk had stoutly asserted
it to be. Senior apparently doubted the statement, and tortured Andaldus
to get the truth out of him, but in vain; for the monk, knowing that St
Vincent had been deacon of Saragoza, feared that the bishop would never
surrender the body if aware of its identity. However, Usuard and Odilard
knew not but that the body was that of Marinus, as stated.

[1] De Translatione SS. martyrum Georgii, Aurelii, et Nathaliae
ex urbe Cordobae Parisios: auctore Aimoino. - "Migne," vol. 115,
pp. 939 ff.

[2] Charles the Bald.

[3] "Under a divine impulse," as usual.

Disappointed, therefore, in their errand, they lingered about at
Barcelona, thinking to pick up some other relics, when a friend, holding
a high position in that town, Sunifridus by name, mentioned the
persecution at Cordova, news of which does not seem to have travelled
beyond Spain. They determine at once to go to Cordova, relying on a
friend there, named Leovigild, to help them to obtain what they wished.
Travelling in Spain, however, seems to have been by no means safe[1] at
this period, and their bold resolution is regarded with fear and
admiration by their friends. The lord of the Gothic marches, Hunifrid,
being on friendly terms with the Wali of Saragoza, writes to him on
their behalf, and he entrusts them to the care of a caravan which
chanced to be just starting for Cordova.

[1] See sec. 2, and Eul., "Ad Wiliesindum," where he speaks of
the road to Gaul as "stipata praedonibus," and of all Gothia as
"perturbata funeroso Wilihelmi incursu."

On reaching Cordova, after many days, they go to St Cyprian's Church,
where lay the bodies of John and Adulphus. The rumour of their arrival
brings Leovigild (called Abad Salomes), who proves a very useful friend,
and Samson, who just at this juncture is made abbot of the monastery at
Pegnamellar, where the bodies of George, Aurelius, and Sabigotha were
buried - the very relics which they had decided to try and obtain.

The monks of the monastery naturally object to parting with such
precious possessions, but Samson contrives to get the bishop's
permission to give up the bodies.

This was all the more opportune, as a chance was now given them of
returning to Barcelona, by joining the expedition which Mohammed I. was
on the point of making against Toledo. Orders had been given that all
the inhabitants, strangers as well as citizens, except the city guard,
should go out with the King. However, the Frankish monks were met by an
unexpected difficulty. In the temporary absence of the abbot, the monks
of Pegnamellar refused to give up the relics, and it was only with much
difficulty that the bishop Saul was induced to confirm his former
permission to remove them.

The bodies were now exhumed without the knowledge of the Moslems, and
sealed with Charles' own seal, brought for that purpose. George's body
was found whole, but of the other two, only the head of Nathalia, and
the trunk of Aurelius' body. The two latter are united to form one
corpse, as it is written, "they two shall be one flesh." After a stay in
Cordova of eight weeks, they set out under the protection of some
Christians serving in the army. Leovigild, who had been away on the
King's business, now returns, and escorts them to Toledo. The approach
of the army having cleared away the brigands who infested those parts,
the monks with their precious freight got safely away to Saragoza, and
returned with their booty to France, where the relics worked numbers of
astonishing miracles.

Let us return from this digression to the steps taken by the moderate
party among the Christians, and by the Moslem authorities, to put an end
to what seemed so dangerous an agitation. That Reccafredus was not the
only ecclesiastic of high position who took exception to the new
movement we learn clearly enough from Alvar,[1] who tells us that
"bishops, priests, deacons, and 'wise men' of Cordova joined in
inveighing against the new martyrdoms, under the impulse of fear
wellnigh denying the faith of Christ, if not in words, yet by their
acts." We may, therefore, conclude that the greater part of the
ecclesiastical authorities were heart and soul with the Bishop of
Seville, while the party led by Eulogius and Saul was a comparatively
small one. However, strong measures were necessary, and Reccafredus did
not hesitate to imprison several priests and clergy.[2] Eulogius
complains that the churches were deprived of their ministers, and the
customary church rites were in abeyance, "while the spider wove her web
in the deserted aisles, tenanted only by a dreadful silence." In this
passage the writer doubtless gives reins to his imagination, yet there
must have been a certain amount of truth in the main assertion, for he
repeats it again and again.[3]

The evidence of Alvar is to the same effect: "Have not those who seemed
to be columns of the church, the very rocks on which it is founded, who
were deemed the elect of God, have they not, I say, in the presence of
these Cynics, or rather of these Epicureans, under no compulsion, but of
their own free will, spoken evil of the martyrs of God? Have not the
shepherds of Christ, the teachers of the Church, bishops, abbots,
priests, the chiefs of our hierarchy, and its mighty men, publicly
denounced the martyrs of our Church as heretics?"[4]

[1] "Life of Eulog.," ch. i. sec. 4.

[2] Alvar, "Life of Eulog.," ii. sec. 4 - "Omnes sacerdotes quos
potuit carcerali vinculo alligavit." Eul., "Doc. Martyr," sec.
11 - "Repleta sunt penetralia carceris clericorum catervis,
viduata est ecclesia sacro praesulum et sacerdotum officio ...
privata prorsus ecclesia omni sacro ministerio." Alvar, "Ind.
Lum.," secs. 14, 18 - "Templa Christi a sacrificio desolata, et
loca sancta ab ethnicis exstirpata."

[3] Eul., "Doc. Mart.," sec. 16 - "Eremitatem ecclesiarum,
compeditionem sacerdotum ... et quod non est nobis in hoc
tempore sacrificium nec holocaustum nee oblatio." Cp. Ep. ad
Wilies, sec. 10.

[4] Alvar, "Ind. Lum.," sec. 14.

Not content with imprisoning the fanatics, the party of order forced
them to swear that they would not snatch at the martyr's palm by
speaking evil of the Prophet.[1] Those who disobeyed were threatened
with unheard-of penalties, with loss of limbs, and merciless
scourgings.[2] This last statement must be taken with reservation, at

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