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SPAIN AND PORTUGAL
Of the habits and organization of the people of Spain at the time it first became known to the Greeks and Phoenicians or later to the Romans we know very little. They are mentioned as barbarous tribes. The Phoenicians were the first to make settlements and establish trading ports on the coast. Gades, Tartessus and Tarraco are said to have been flourishing towns as early as the seventh century B.C., Carthage, itself a Phoenician colony, had acquired a kind of dominion over the peninsula by the time of the first Punic war, 264 B.C., but had not succeeded in establishing a settled government over the interior tribes. Considerable progress was made by Hamilcar and Hasdrubal in extending their rule over the peninsula prior to the second Punic war, but, beyond the facts that they were backed by strong armies and at the same time encouraged matrimonial unions between their followers and the natives, little can be told of the system by which they governed. During this war the Romans invaded Spain, and by 205 B.C. they had taken the mastery of the country out of the hands of the Carthaginians. The process of planting Roman colonies and introducing the Roman system met with much resistance from the interior tribes, and it was not till the time of Augustus that the whole peninsula to the Pyrenees became pacified. The Roman system then became general, and under it Spain enjoyed a marked degree of prosperity and exemption from war for nearly three hundred years, though sorely oppressed by the tax gatherers.
Under Augustus Spain was divided into three provinces, Boetica in the southeast with Corduba for its capital, Lusitania, corresponding to modern Portugal, of which Emerita Augusta was the capital, and Tarraconensis, covering all the remainder, with Tarraco for its capital. Of these Boetica,
the most orderly and thoroughly Romanized, was a senate province, and the other two were imperial provinces, of which the Emperor named the governors. The whole peninsula was divided into fourteen conventus, each made up of a combination of communities within the district, and having a chief town at which justice was administered. In the time of Vespasian 360 towns are enumerated, including those having the full Roman franchise, those having the inferior franchise, the colonia, and the tributary towns, on the inferior classes of which he conferred Latin rights. Spain became one of the most thoroughly Latinized of all the Roman provinces, and all the characteristics of Roman civilization were developed throughout the peninsula. The vine and the olive were successfully planted, and agriculture flourished. The rich mines were opened, and the working of metals and weaving of fabrics were industriously followed. Latin became the lanugage of the country, and among its sons the two Senecas, Lucan, Florus and Martial, were types of philosophers and poets of high order. In politics Spain can boast of having produced a Trajan and a Hadrian, who, during forty of the best years the Roman empire ever knew, directed its affairs. The first great shock came in 256, when the Franks passed the Pyrenees and spread destruction over the peninsula. Tarragona was sacked and almost destroyed, and for twelve years the rich provinces were desolated and scourged by the barbarous invaders. After this storm another era of peace and prosperity followed till 409. Contemporaneous with the sacking of Rome by Alaric, a tide of Suevi, Alani and Vandals swept over the country and desolated it. About 414 a Visigothic horde under Ataulphus and as an ally of Rome entered the country. Soon afterward Ataulphus was murdered and his successor Walia made a treaty with the Emperor Honorius, by which he nominally acknowledged the imperial sovereignty, and thereafter proceeded to subdue the Suevi, Alani and Vandals. Although he was able to extend his authority over most of the peninsula, he was not able to thoroughly subdue these tribes, and for many years there was warfare between the Romanized Goths and the German tribes. About 429 the Vandals, led by their king Genseric, passed into Africa and established their dominion there. Under Euric, 466 to 485, the Gothic state was extended over a large part of Gaul, and the seat of government established at Bordeaux. Euric was a legislator as well as a warrior, and he caused to be collected and embodied into a written code the “Customs of the Goths." His successor Alaric II caused the work to be revised and enlarged by civil lawyers, incorporating many of the principles of Roman civil and ecclesiastical law. Roman sovereignty gradually gave way even in name to the actual rule of the Goths. The Gothic dominion soon yielded north of the Pyrenees to that of the Franks, but continued in Spain with many wars and frequent domestic upheavals till the advent of the Saracens in 711. Under the Goths the people were ruled by an elective monarch and an hereditary aristocracy, representing the temporal power, and by the church, which soon gained a predominant influence in the state. Bigotry, persecution and the inquisition, exhibited their barbarities, and by their side the Christian doctrine of the equality of all men before the law found place in their code. The barbarisms of valuing men's lives according to rank, of judicial combat and trial by ordeal, were unknown. The succession to the Gothic throne was often contested, and many occupants of it fell by the hands of assassins. Here as elsewhere the dangers of wearing a crown failed to deter men from seeking the coveted prize.. The Goths were Arians, though the major part of the Spanish population adhered to the orthodox faith. In the latter part of the sixth century King Ricared adopted the Catholic faith and proceeded vigorously and successfully with the conversion of his subjects. From that time forth Spain became the most reliable of Catholic states. Religious zeal, whetted possibly by the known wealth of the Jews, who dwelt in Spain in great numbers, caused their cruel and bloody persecution and a decree for the expulsion of the last of them from the country at the time when the Mohammedan power was spreading over northern Africa.
The Jews invited the Saracens to invade Spain, but it can hardly be said that their encouragement was the cause of the
invasion. In 711 Tarik with 5,000 men landed at Gibraltar. This force was inadequate to the task before it, and Tarik wisely awaited reinforcements before hazarding a decisive battle. Having received large accessions to his force both from Africa and from Disaffected subjects of Spain, he marched out and destroyed the army of King Roderic in a long and hard fought battle, in which the tide was turned by the treachery of a part of Roderic's army. Tarik at once took advantage of his success and quickly overran the country. A state which it had taken the Romans two centuries to subdue was overrun and reduced by the Saracens in a few months. The rapid success of the Mohammedan armies in Spain, as elsewhere in the early days of religious zeal, was largely due to the superior treatment by them of conquered people. The alternative of the "sword, the tribute or the Koran" offered to those capable of adapting their beliefs to their material interests an easy escape from all oppression, and even when the tribute was imposed, it was a more moderate burden than many of the Christian rulers placed on their subjects. An example of this is given in the terms of the capitulation of Theodomir to Abdelazis after a stubborn resistance.
"In the name of the most merciful God, Abdelazis makes peace on these conditions, that Theodomir, shall not be disturbed in his principality, nor any injury be offered to the life or property, the wives and children the religion and temples of the Christians . . . that he shall not assist nor entertain the enemies of the Caliph, but shall faithfully communicate his knowledge of their hostile designs, that himself and each of the Gothic nobles shall annually pay one piece of gold, four measures of wheat, as many of barley, with a certain proportion of honey, oil and vinegar, and that each of their vassals shall be taxed at one moiety of said imposition.” This was dated in the ninety-fourth year of the Hegira.
Not content with the possession of Spain, the Saracens passed the Pyrenees and overran the southern part of Gaul, till their crushing defeat near Tours in 732 by the Franks under Charles Martel "put a definite end to their encroachments. By 759 they abandoned all possessions beyond the Pyrenees.
The struggle for the mastery of the Mohammedan world carried on in the east resulted in the overthrow of the Omayads and the destruction of the members of the royal household, except Abd-al-Rahman, who effected his escape to Spain, where he was warmly welcomed and after a struggle with the Abbasid adherents succeeded in establishing his authority. Though he and his immediate successors assumed the modest title of emir, all connection with the Caliphate was in fact severed and the independence of Spain was maintained. Under Abd-al-Rahman a struggle for mastery against opposing factions aided by the then overshadowing power of the Franks resulted in the firm establishment of his power and a long era of peace, during which the schools of Cordova took high rank, and the study of mathematics, astronomy, medicine and kindred sciences was carried to the highest stage anywhere attained at that time. His descendants, who succeeded him in authority, left notable monuments of the wealth produced by the skill and industry of the people. The elegances of eastern civilization and the public utilities of roads, bridges and aqueducts, so characteristic of the Roman provinces, were exhibited in city and country in forms which have excited the wonder and admiration of later generations. To clearly comprehend what is sometimes called Moorish civilization it must be borne in mind that the Mohammedans merely imposed their own authority and civilization on that which they found in Spain on their arrival. The country was not cleared of its ancient inhabitants, but the descendants of Phoenicians, ancient tribes, Greeks, Romans and Germanic tribes still inhabited it and constituted a great majority of the population. In agriculture the Roman system prevailed. In trade Jews as well as Romans played an important part. In the arts and sciences the rulers wisely encouraged men of skill and learning from all parts of the world to teach as well as to labor among their people. The wealth of Spain was not alone in gold, silver and the works of laborers' hands, but in knowledge as well, and Cordova could boast of its library of 600,000 volumes. The prosperity of Spain under the Omayad dynasty illustrates the advantages of combining different civilizations