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Baldwin, M. W. (ed.) / The first hundred years
(1969)

II: Conflict in the Mediterranean Before the First Crusade,   pp. [30]-[79] PDF (19.6 MB)


Page 39

Ch. II THE RECONQUEST OF SPAIN 39 
this expedition or to a second, abortive one being organized in 1073 by Ebles
II, count of Roucy, remains unclear. In any case, the crossing of the Pyrenees
by French knights (a movement the chroniclers Raoul Glaber and Adhémar
of Chabannes carry back to the time of Sancho the Great) and the intervention
in the reconquest of the reform papacy (leading Gregory VII in 1073 and 1077
to claim suzerainty over all territories recovered from the infidel, and
indeed all Spain) demonstrate how these extra-Iberian forces now viewed the
peninsular struggle against Islam as a Christian holy war. At the same time
Ferdinand I and Alfonso VI, in alliance with Cluny, and as self-proclaimed
emperors of Hispania (i. e., all Iberia, Christian and Moslem), moved vigorously
to reduce the Taifa kingdoms to vassalage or outright annexation through
imposition of economically ruinous annual tributary exactions (parias). 
 After the reunion of Castile, Leon, and Galicia, Alfonso in tensified the
raids against the weak emirs. The tribute collected supplied his war chest,
and on May 25, 1085, he occupied Toledo, bringing the frontier of Castile
well to the south of the Tagus. By raids and seizures his forces made themselves
felt against the Moslem borders in all directions, penetrating south ward
to the vicinity of Granada. Threatened with subjection or destruction, the
Moslems reluctantly sought outside help. Al Mu'tamid, the 'Abbadid ruler
of Seville and chief survivor of the internecine warfare among the petty
kingdoms, sought help from Morocco. The Murãbit (hispanized Almoravid)
sect of veiled Touaregs from the Sahara2 had unified Morocco under Yüsuf
ibn-Tãshfin, who now acceded to al-Mu'tamid's request for aid, crossed
to Andalusia in 1086, and annihilated Alfonso's army near Badajoz on October
23. His mission accomplished, he withdrew to Africa but returned with his
Murãbits in 1090 and quickly conquered all Moslem-held Spain except
Saragossa, an exposed outpost ruled by the Banü-Hüd. He also re
conquered many of the border towns taken by the Christians. 
 Alfonso was able to retain Toledo while Rodrigo Diaz of Vivar, called the
Cid, established himself in Valencia and was able for a time to oppose the
advance of the Moslems into northeastern Spain. In 1095 the territory of
the peninsula was fairly evenly divided between the Spanish Christians in
the north and the African and Andalusian Moslems in the south. Military power
was in precarious and sensitive balance. 
 2 For detailed consideration of the Murãbits of Morocco and Andalusia
and their rise to power, see the chapter on Moslem North Africa in volume
III (in preparation). 


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