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Baldwin, M. W. (ed.) / Volume I: The first hundred years

II: Conflict in the Mediterranean before the First Crusade,   pp. [30]-[79] PDF (10.8 MB)

Page 35

 The son and successor of Ordono, Alfonso III (866—909), continued
the military and repopulation policies of his father. He attempted to establish
himself south of the Douro. In Portugal between the Douro and the Mondego,
the towns Lamego, Viseu, and Coimbra, and in Leon, Salamanca were successfully
taken. On the upper course of the Douro he established strong points at Zamora,
Toro, Simancas, and Dueñas. His raids carried him deep into Moslem
territory. After repulsing a Moslem attack from Zamora he followed the retreat
to Toledo but accepted a ransom to leave the city un harmed. At the end of
his reign the populated southern frontier of. the kingdom had been materially
advanced from its location in the middle of the eighth century. The Mondego-Douro
line was now firmly held in Portugal, Leon, and Castile. It is in the time
of Alfonso III, about 884, that Burgos, seat of the early county of Castile,
was founded by count Diego Rodriguez. 
 This reign of Alfonso III fell in a period of opportunity for the Christians,
when the emirate was weakened by internal dis sension. His reign ended in
a disastrous division of territory forced on him by the revolt of his wife
and his sons. During the tenth century, rivalries within the dynasty and
struggles with an unruly aristocracy absorbed the energies of the Oviedo
kings at a time when they were confronted with a comparatively strong Moslem
state under 'Abd-ar-Rahmãn III and then the chamberlain al-Mansür.
It was to be more than a hundred years before the Christian states could
recover from their weakness and division in the face of strength. 
 The three sons of Alfonso III were assigned respectively Leon, Galicia and
Lusitania (Portugal), and the Asturias. The disastrous effect of this division
of inheritance was not im mediately apparent. The oldest son reigned only
three years, after which Ordoño 11(914—924) reunited Leon and
Galicia. In alliance with the king of Navarre he fought 'Abd-ar-Rahmãn,
winning one battle but losing a second. Following the death of Ordoflo, his
sons disputed the succession. During this period a separatist movement led
by the counts of Castile began to make its appearance. This movement was
comparable to the partic ularist movements in Galicia. Control over the counts
on the frontier was seldom adequate. Negotiation with the enemy and disobedience
to the sovereign were not uncommon. Under Ramiro II (931—950), the
revolt of count Fernán Gonzalez of Castile virtually nullified the
advantage gained by a victory over 'Abd-ar-Rahmãn III The fame of
the caliph—a title 

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