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Thus, as we have seen, Hostegesis, relying on the support of the secular
arm,[7] beat and imprisoned the clergy for withholding from him the
Church tithes, dragging them through the city naked, with a crier crying
before them: - "Such is the punishment of those who will not pay their
tithes to their bishop."[8] Bishops were even found to make episcopal
visitations, getting the names of all their flock, as if with the
intention of praying for them individually, and then to hand in their
names to the civil power for the purpose of taxation.[9] Others obtained
from the Arabs the privilege of farming the revenues derived from
Christian taxation, and cruelly oppressed their coreligionists.[10]

[1] The Christians in the North were vulgarly supposed by the
Arabs not to wash. See Conde, i. 203 - "It is related of these
people of Galicia ... that they live like savages or wild
beasts, and never wash either their persons or their garments."

[2] "Chron. Albeld.," sec. 58 - "Ordinem Gothorum sicuti Toleto
fuerat statuit."

[3] "Chron. Silense," sec. 72 - "Eadem tempestate in Hispania
omnis divinus cultus periit."

[4] He was not defeated in his last battle, as is generally
stated in histories. - See Al Makkari, ii. 197.

[5] Florez, "Esp. Sagr.," xviii. 312.

[6] _Ibid._, xvii. 244.

[7] "Praesidali manu fultus." Samson, ii. Pref. sec. 2.

[8] _Ibid._

[9] _Ibid._, and Eulog., "Mem. Sanct.," iii. c. iv. sec. 5.

[10] Eul., 1.1.

These nefarious measures were backed up, even if they were not
instigated, by Servandus, the Christian Count of Cordova. He was the son
of a serf of the Church,[1] and married a cousin of Hostegesis.[2]
Instead of championing the cause of the Christians, as his position
should have impelled him to do, he went so far in the opposite direction
as to call them up before him, and try to shake their attachment to
Christianity - a religion, nominally at least, his own also. Those who
held firm he forced to pay increased taxes, and even levied blackmail on
the churches. He did not scruple to drag forth the bodies of martyrs
from under the altars of churches, and, showing them to the king, to
remind him that it had been forbidden to Christians to bury their

Following up the hostile measures instituted by Hostegesis against
Samson and Valentius, he proceeded to accuse them of inciting the
fanatics to revile Mohammed, urging that they should be tested with this
dilemma. They should be asked whether what the revilers said were true
or not. "If they answer, 'true,' let them be punished as well as the
reviler; if 'false,' bid them slay the man themselves; refusing which,
you will know that they have aided and abetted him to abuse your
Prophet. In that case, give me permission, and I will slay the three

[1] Dozy, ii. 268.

[2] Samson, "Apol.," ii. Pref. sec. 5.

[3] Samson, 1.1.

[4] _Ibid._, sec. 9. This same Servandus, the meanest of
timeservers, seeing the Sultan's (Abdallah's) cause failing,
deserted to the rebel Omar and his Christian following, and was
killed at Polei(?) - Ibn Hayyan., apud Dozy, ii. 270. His Arab
name was Sherbil, and he was beheaded at Cordova by the
Arabs. - See De Gayangos' note on Al Mak., ii. 451, 2.

We have had occasion to mention one or two cases of Church, and
national, Councils held in Spain under the Arabs, and it will be worth
while to enumerate all the instances which are recorded, that we may
contrast them with those held under the Goths. It was one of the most
characteristic features of the Old Church in Spain that it was united
so closely with the civil power as almost to render the Government of
Spain a theocracy. This intimate connection of Church and State was
naturally overthrown by the Arab conquest; but the Moslem rulers, seeing
how useful such institutions as general councils were likely to be in
adjusting the relations between Mussulmans and Christians, both allowed
purely ecclesiastical councils to be called under their jurisdiction,
and also summoned others in which they took part themselves, together
with Jews, to the great scandal of the stricter Christians.[1]

To the purely ecclesiastical kind belong a council held at Seville by
Elipandus[2] to condemn the errors of Migetius; and another, held by
Cixila at Toledo in 776, against the errors of Egila, bishop of
Elvira.[3] Whether Egila abjured his error is not known, but it is
certain that he remained bishop.

Elipandus is also said, but on very doubtful authority, to have held a
council, whereat he renounced his own error of Adoptionism.[4]

[1] We even find in 962 that the bishops of Toledo and Cordova
had Moslem names, viz., Obeidollah ibn Kasim (Al Makkari, ii.
162), and Akbar ibn Abdallah. Dozy, iii. 99.

[2] The exact date is unknown. Fleury, ii. p. 235.

[3] "Pseudo Luitprand," sec. 236, says - "Ad concilium ex
omnibus Hispaniae partibus concurrunt." See also Pope Adrian
I.'s Letter to the bishops of Spain in 785. Very little is
known of this Egila, nor is it certain of what see he was the

[4] See below, p. 131 ad fin. and 166 ff.

But the other class of councils, partly ecclesiastical and partly
political, seem to have been commoner, and we have already seen how
Reccafredus, Bishop of Seville, in conjunction with the Moslem
authorities, held such a council, in order to coerce the fanatical party
among the Christians; and we have a more particular account of another,
which was held by Hostegesis, Bishop of Malaga, and Servandus, Count of
Cordova.[1] This council seems to have had some connection with the
preceding one under Reccafredus, for Servandus was a strong and
unscrupulous opponent of the party led by Eulogius, while Samson was
their devoted supporter, though he did not carry his opinions so far as
to suffer martyrdom in his own person. Samson was now accused of
heresy[2] and sacrilege, as has been already mentioned. Hostegesis
forced his views on the assembled bishops by the help of the secular
arm, and a sentence of anathema and deposition was accordingly
pronounced against the unfortunate Abbot.[3] One of the apparently
consenting bishops was Valentius, Bishop of Cordova, but his judgement
had evidently been coerced, for after the close of the council he
sounded the other consenting bishops, and some who had not attended, as
to their opinions, and found that most of them were ready to affirm
Samson's orthodoxy, and a memorial was drawn up to that effect This
action of Valentius' brought upon him also a sentence of deposition, and
he was succeeded by Stephanus Flaccus,[4] - the election of the latter
being quite informal, as no metropolitan assisted thereat,[5] and
neither the clergy nor laymen of his diocese made a petition in his

[1] Samson, "Apol.," ii. Pref.

[2] On the ground, among others, that he recognised "nescio
quam similitudines (besides the Trinity) non creaturas sed
creatores." These appear (chap, ix.) to have been merely
qualities, such as wisdom, etc. See Samson, chap. iii.

[3] "Indiscreta simplicitate et metu impiorum in superbiae
fascibus sedentium." - _Ibid_. Samson was rendered incapable of
holding office, or even of belonging to the Church. - _Ibid_.

[4] In 864.

[5] See above, p. 8.

This fresh deposition was formally sanctioned by a new council, held at
the church of St Acislus; Flaccus, and some of those who had sided with
Valentius, but were now terrified into submission, being in attendance;
while the places of those who refused to come were taken by Jews and
Moslems.[1] These high-handed proceedings nearly led to an open rupture
in the Church.[2]

In 914 a council is said to have been held (but on doubtful authority)
by Orontius of Toledo,[3] and twenty years later by Basilius of Cordova.
These would fall under the reign of the greatest of the Umeyyade Khalifs
of Spain.[4]

[1] Sayones (?) in the Latin. Samson, chap. iii.

[2] _Ibid._, sec. 10.

[3] "Pseudo Luit," sec. 328.

[4] _Ibid._ sec. 341.



Abdurrahman III., Annasir Lidinillah (912-961), may be looked upon as
the Solomon of the Spanish Sultans. Succeeding to the throne when quite
a youth, to the exclusion of his uncles, the sons of the late Sultan, he
found the country torn by innumerable factions, and the king's power
openly defied by rebels, Arab, Berber, and Christian. In person, and
through his generals, he put down all these rebels, and though not
uniformly successful against the Christians in the North, yet he
defeated them in a series of great engagements.[1] He welded all the
discordant elements under his rule into one great whole,[2] thereby
giving the Arab domination in Spain another lease of life. In 929 he
took the title of Amir al Mumenin, or Commander of the Faithful. His
alliance was sought by the Emperor of the East,[3] and he treated on
equal terms with the Emperor of Germany and the King of France. To this
great king, with more truth than to his namesake Abdurrahman II., may be
applied the words of Miss Yonge: - [4]

"He was of that type of Eastern monarch, that seems moulded on the
character of Solomon - large-hearted, wise, magnificent, tolerant, and
peaceful. He was as great a contrast to the stern, ascetic,
narrow-minded, but earnest Alfonso or Ramiro, as were the exquisite
horse-shoe arches, filagree stonework lattices, inlaid jewellery of
marble pavements, and slender minarets, to their dark vault-like,
low-browed churches, and solid castles built out of hard unmanageable

[1] Mutonia (918); Calaborra; Vale de Junqueras (921).

[2] Dozy, ii. 351, from an Arab writer.

[3] A very interesting account of this embassy from Constantine
VII. (947) is given in Al Makkari, ii. 137, from Ibn
Khaldun. - -See Conde, i. 442.

[4] P. 57.

We find in this king none of that suspicious jealousy which we saw in
Mohammed, even though Omar, the arch rebel, and Christian renegade,
still held out at Bobastro, when he ascended the throne; and his
treatment of Christians was, throughout his reign, tolerant and politic.

But his claims in this respect will be best seen from a very interesting
fragment that has come down to our own times, describing the embassy of
a certain John of Gorz, a monk from an abbey near Metz, who carried
letters from Otho, emperor of Germany, to the Spanish Sultan.[1]

In 950 Abdurrahman had sent an embassy to the emperor. A bishop who had
been at the head of this embassy died, and this seems to have caused a
delay in the answer. As the Khalif's letter contained blasphemies
against Christ, it was determined to write a reply in the king's name,
such as might perhaps convince Abdurrahman of the error of his ways. A
certain bishop, Adalbero, was appointed to be at the head of the return
embassy,[2] and he asks the abbot of the monastery of Gorz to give him
two assistants. Two are chosen, but one of these quarrels with his
superior, and is expelled from the body; whereupon John offers himself
as a substitute. The abbot only gives his consent to John's going with
great reluctance, knowing that the young monk had an ardent longing to
be a martyr, if he could only get the opportunity.

[1] See "Vita Johannis Abbatis Gorziensis," 973, by John, Abbot
of Arnulph. "Migne," vol. cxxxvii., pp. 239-310.

[2] In 953.

Going through Lyons, and by ship to Barcelona, the ambassadors reached
the frontier town, Tortosa, and at last got to Cordova, where they were
assigned a house two miles from the palace, and, though well
entertained, were informed, to their dismay, that, as the Moorish
ambassadors had been made to wait three years for an answer, Otho's
messengers would have to wait nine years. Moreover, they now discovered
that the king had been already apprised of the contents of the letter,
which Otho had sent, by a comrade of the late ambassador-bishop, whom
John and his companions had taken with them to Barcelona.

The king employs Hasdai, a Jew, as his go-between; who warns them not to
divulge the contents of the letter, as it would make them liable to
punishment; for the letter contained what Moslems would consider
blasphemy against their Prophet. Soon after this John, the Bishop of
Cordova, is sent to them to suggest that they should carry their gifts
to the king, and say nothing of the letter. But John of Gorz stoutly
refused to do this, saying that the delivery of the letter was his chief
duty, and that as Abdurrahman had begun by reviling Christ, he must not
be surprised at Otho's retaliating against Mohammed. However, John of
Cordova begs him to remember the position in which the Christians stood,
viz., under Pagan rule. "We are forbidden," he said, "by the apostle to
resist the powers that be. In our calamity, we have this one
consolation, we are allowed to observe our own laws and rites, and our
rulers, if they see us diligent in our religion, honour us, cherish us,
and delight in our society, while they abhor the Jews. As our religion,
then, suffers no harm at their hands, let us obey the Moslems in other
things." The bishop was anxious, therefore, that the letter should be
suppressed, as calculated to do harm to the Christian community, and no
good to Otho. His advice, however, fell on deaf ears. The monk of Gorz
was resolved on doing what he deemed his plain duty; nor was he content
to forego his chance of martyrdom, though his action might entail
disastrous consequences on the Christians subject to the Moors. He
taunted the bishop with giving his advice from a fear of man. "Better
die of hunger than eat the salt of unbelievers;" and expressed horror at
the fact that the bishop was circumcised, and also abstained from
certain meats in deference to Moslem scruples. It was in vain that the
bishop pointed out that otherwise they could not live with the Saracens.

John of Gorz now expressed his intention of delivering the letter
forthwith; but the king denied the ambassadors an audience, leaving them
to themselves for six or seven weeks. Early in 955, however, the king
sent to them, and asked if they held firm to their previous resolve, and
on receiving an answer in the affirmative, he threatened all the
Christians in his dominions with loss of privileges and even death. John
of Gorz merely answers that the guilt would be on the king's head; but
the latter is persuaded to milder counsels by his advisers, who remind
him of Otho's power, and the certainty that he would interfere in favour
of his ambassadors.

John of Gorz now proposes the only practicable course, that Abdurrahman
should send a fresh embassy to Otho and ask for instructions for his
ambassadors under the circumstances. Recemundus,[1] a Christian, offers
to go as ambassador, if a vacant bishopric be given him as a reward. He
sets out and reaches Gorz in February 956. Otho gives him a fresh
letter, with instructions to suppress the former one, to conclude an
alliance with the Sultan, and make an arrangement with him for putting
down the brigands who infested the marches.

[1] De Gayangos, on Al Makkari, ii. p. 464, identifies him with
Rabi, a bishop mentioned as an ambassador of Abdurrahman III.
in Al Makkari, i. 236, ii. 139; but Rabi may have been the
bishop who died during the embassy to Otho. Recemundus, as De
Gayangos (1.1.) says, was a katib or clerk of the palace.

Leaving Gorz with Dudo, the emperor's legate, on March 30, he reached
Cordova on June 1st, but the Sultan declined to receive the second
comers till he had received the earlier embassy. So, after three years
semi-captivity, John is released, and told to prepare himself for the
king's presence by shaving, washing, and putting on new apparel. He
declines to go in any otherwise than he is; and even when the king,
thinking his refusal due to poverty, sends him a sum of money, the monk
accepts the gift and distributes it to the poor, but says he will only
see the king as a poor monk. The king good-naturedly said: "Let him come
as he likes." On June 21, 956, the ambassadors were conducted to the
king's presence along a road thronged with sight-seers. The steps of the
palace were laid down with tapestry, and a guard of honour lined both
sides of the approach. On John's entrance, the king, as a great mark of
distinction, gave him his open palm to kiss, and beckoned him to a seat
near his own couch. After a silence Abdurrahman apologised to the monk
for the long delay which he had been obliged to impose on the embassy,
and which was in no sense due to disrespect for John himself, whose
virtue and wisdom he could not but acknowledge. As a proof that this was
no mere empty compliment, the king expressed his readiness to give him
whatever he asked. John's wrath vanishes at these gracious words, and
they talk amicably together. But when the monk asks leave to depart
Abdurrahman says: - "After waiting so long to see one another, shall we
part so soon?" He suggests that they should have at least three
interviews. At their next meeting they discourse on the respective power
of the empires of Otho and the Khalif himself; and the Sultan, taught by
the experience of Spain, points out the unwisdom of allowing feudal
subjects to become too powerful, by dividing kingdoms between them.

So ends this unique and interesting fragment, which throws so pleasant a
light on the character and the Court of the greatest of Spanish Sultans,
and proves that the Christians at that time enjoyed considerable
freedom, and even honour, at the hands of the Moslem Government.

The reason why the king was unwilling to receive the first letter
brought by John was not so much because he was reluctant to read words
against Mohammed, as because he would by so doing render himself liable
to the penalty of death, which was ordained by law to any Moslem - king
or slave - who listened to abuse of the Prophet without exacting summary
vengeance from the blasphemer. But - and here was the king's dilemma - he
could not punish the ambassadors without incurring the enmity of Otho.
The only possible alternative was that suggested by John, that Otho
should be asked to withdraw the objectionable letter, without the Sultan
having officially read it, and this Abdurrahman adopted. The moderation
of the king is conspicuous throughout, for we must regard the threat
against the Christians as merely a threat, never really intended to be
put into execution.

In showing tolerance towards their Christian subjects, the Spanish
khalifs might be thought to have forgotten the traditions of Islam; but,
as a matter of fact, Mohammed seems to have been very inconsistent in
his views with regard to Christians and Jews at different times of his
career, and while he enjoined the necessity of Holy Wars,[1] he
permitted the people of the book to be admitted to tribute.[2] In one
passage he even seems to allow the possibility of salvation to Jews,
Christians, and Sabians: "Verily they who believe, and those who
Judaize, and the Sabians, and the Christians - whoever of these believeth
in God and the last day, and doeth that which is right - there shall come
no fear on them, neither shall they be grieved."[3] And there is one
remarkable text to find in the mouth of Mohammed, "Let there be no
violence in religion." [4]

Moreover, some of the best Mohammedan rulers that have ever lived upheld
the same principle of toleration. Abbas II., one of the Persian Sufis,
is reported to have said: "It is for God, not for me, to judge of men's
consciences, and I will never interfere with what belongs to the
tribunal of the great Creator and Lord of the Universe."[5] Again,
Akbar, one of the greatest kings that ever lived, followed in practice
the principle thus expressed by his minister, Abul Fazl: "Persecution
after all defeats its own ends; it obliges men to conceal their
opinions, but produces no change in them."[6] Noble sentiments surely,
and such as we should expect from followers of Christ rather than of

[1] Tradition attributes even stronger approval of Holy Wars to
Mohammed than can be found in the Koran, - _e.g._, "The sword is
the key of Paradise and Hell. A drop of blood shed in the cause
of God, a night spent in arms, are of more avail than two
months of fasting and prayer. Whoever falls in battle against
the infidel, his sins are forgiven him."

[2] Koran, xlvii., ad init.

[3] Koran, v., v. 73. This may be said in the general sense of
Acts x. 35.

[4] Koran, ii., v. 258.

[5] See Freeman's "Saracens," p. 230; from Malcolm's "Persia,"
i. p 583.

[6] _Ibid._, from "Ayeen Akbery," p. 11.

Yet far too often have portions of the Christian Church been conspicuous
for intolerance rather than tolerance. Alcuin, indeed, does say in his
letter to Aquila, Bishop of Winchester, that he does not approve of
punishing heresy with death, because God, by the mouth of His prophet,
had said: "I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the
wicked turn from his way and live;"[1] but Alcuin was a man of unusual
mildness and sweet reasonableness, as his letters to Felix and Elipandus
testify. On the other hand, there were too many frantic bigots in the
Church, like Arnold of Citeaux, whose impious words, in connection with
the massacre of Albigensians, are not likely to be forgotten - "Slay all;
God will know His own."

In fact, so opposed did the Christian spirit come to be to the
Mohammedan in this respect, that their toleration was made a principal
argument against the Moors by the Archbishop of Valencia in his memorial
to Philip III. at the end of the sixteenth century.[2]

A very melancholy instance of bigotry and intolerance is afforded by
Bernard, a French monk, who was made Archbishop of Toledo by Alfonso, on
the capture of that city in 1085. By the treaty of capitulation certain
mosques had been expressly reserved to the Moslems, just in the same way
as certain churches had been reserved for the Christians by Musa in 712.
But Bernard, by way of showing his zeal in the cause of God, in defiance
of the king's plighted word, chose to perform mass in the chief mosque.
Alfonso was furiously angry when he heard of his archbishop's
proceedings, but the Moslems, with wonderful forbearance, seeing that
the king had not authorised Bernard's outrageous conduct, came forward
of their own accord and begged him to pardon the act, and even
voluntarily surrendered their mosque.[3]

Not only were the Christians allowed to practise their religion, but
even, as we have seen above, encouraged in it.[4] Almanzor, the champion
of Islam, allowed his Christian servants to rest on Sundays. Christians
in every reign held high posts at court[5] and throughout the land, and
not only timeserving Christians but men like Samson and Leovigild, who
were known to sympathise with the party of zealots, were employed by the
king to write letters to, and negotiate with, the neighbouring kings.
This was no doubt due to their general trustworthiness, their quickness,
and their knowledge of Arabic as well as Latin.

[1] Ezekiel xxxiii. 11.

[2] Prescott, "Ferd. and Isab.," p. 376, n.

[3] Mariana, ix. 10.

[4] See p. 57. Recent history affords a similar instance from
the Christian side. See "Gordon in Central Africa," p. 54 - "I
have made them make a mosque, and keep the Ramadhan." _Ibid._,
p. 249, "I had the mosque cleared out and restored for worship,
and endowed the priests and crier, and had a great ceremony at
the opening of it.... They blessed me and cursed Zebehr Pasha
who took the mosque from them. To me it appears that the
Mussulman worships God as well as I do, and is as acceptable,
if sincere, as any Christian."

[5] Such as secretary, farmer of taxes, or even prime minister.

Among the great functionaries of state there was one who held the office
of Kitabatu-dh-dhimam, which, being interpreted, is "the office of
protection." The Christians and Jews were under his general
jurisdiction, and were called "the people of the protection."[1] But
besides this Arab "Secretary of State for the Christians," the latter
had their own counts - a relic of the Gothic system - who, however, did
not always stand up for their interests.[2] There were also Christian
censors,[3] but it is not known what position they held in the State.

The young Christian cadets of noble birth were brought up at Court, and

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