(EUROPE: 1001 to 1212 – continued)
The harmony and political unification that made this grandeur possible ended in the eleventh century. Rahman III's successors, ruling caliphs, failed to maintain the dynasty's unity. The last Cordoba Caliph was Hisham III. With different factions competing for power, the Caliphate finally crumbled in 1031. The caliphate was dissolved, and independent Moorish kingdoms arose across al-Andalus.
Naturally, these petty kingdoms warred against each other. And Muslim kingdoms sought help in their wars by bringing onto their side Christian rulers in the far north of Spain. In a war between Toledo and Zaragoza, Toledo paid the Christian kingdom of Navarro to raid Zaragoza; similarly, Zaragoza, and Zaragoza paid the León–Castilian Christians to raid Toledo. Division among the Muslims made them weak and vulnerable to a move by the Christians to expand against al-Andalus.
Religious zealotry inspired the Christians. Pope Alexander II viewed Muslims as an enemy, and he wanted no cooperation or traffic with them. He looked forward to Christian domination of Spain. In 1062, Ferdinand I of Castile and León invaded Toledo with a large army. Ferdinand then invaded Badajoz. In 1063, Pope Alexander II sent a combined force of Italian, Norman, French and Christian Spaniards against city of Barbastro (in the northwest and the Pyrenees), massacring many inhabitants and enslaving the rest.
The idea of Christians, Jews and Muslims living in peaceful coexistence was in decline. In Grenada. the Muslim poet Abu Ishaq exercised Muslim chauvinism and rebuked the Berber ruler of the city for having a Jewish minister. No Muslim, he claimed, should be under the authority of a Jew or Christian. Passions were whipped up. The Jewish minister was killed and Jews were killed in the streets.
Christian expansion against the Muslims continued into the era of the Crusades of the 1100s to the Middle East.
Copyright © 2010-2011 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.