« 上一頁繼續 »
expulsion from the city in 1248. Since that period different kings of Spain have at various times held their court there.
When the Arab General, Muza, had taken Carmona, he next marched against Seville, where he met with a vigorous opposition. But the inhabitants, seeing that they could not long defend the city, it was resolved that a body of the young men should leave the city, and, cutting their way through the ranks of the enemy, seek aid from abroad, and then return to its rescue. They assembled to the number of 3,000, and, leaving the city. at dead of night, made a desperate attack on the Moslem camp, and, having slaughtered a large number, they escaped and Aled to Beza, in Portugal. The next morning the Saracens perceived that the gates of the city were open, and a deputation of aged and venerable men presented themselves at the tent of the general, imploring mercy, and placing the city at his disposal. A moderate tribute was exacted of the inhabitants, and a guard left for the defence of the city. Soon after the departure of the Saracen army, however, the young men who had fled by night returned with foreign aid, and took the city, but the Arabs speedily recaptured it, and slaughtered a large number of the inhabitants. From that time forward Seville increased in wealth and prosperity, while the Moors were in power there, until, in the days of her highest glory, she is said to have contained a population of 400,000 souls. No one will wonder that such should have been the fact, who has wandered over the widespread and fertile plains of Andalusia, when clothed in the deep and glowing verdure of their rich and luxuriant vegetation. Indeed, it is computed even now, that this province, with proper tillage, would furnish wheat enough for the support of a population of 50,000,000.
The beautiful Exilona, daughter of the king of Algiers, had been betrothed to the sovereign of Tunis; and, while proceeding in splendid array to his capital, where the nuptials were to be celebrated, the bark in which she sailed was driven by storms upon the coast of Spain. She was con: ducted to Toledo, then the capital of the Gothic king, Don Roderic, who, being captivated by her charms, and she renouncing the Mahometan for the Catholic faith, he made her his queen. After his overthrow at the battle of Xerez, she fell into the hands of the Saracens, and was conducted as a captive to Seville, where Abdalasis, the son of Muza, the first Emir of Spain, had, fixed his court. It was there her lot
again to win the affections of a sovereign, who held her in his power, and a second time to become a queen. But, as she still adhered to Christianity, the enemies of Abdalasis falsely accused him of having become, through her influence, an apostate from the Moslem faith, and of aiming, through the aid of the Christians, to erect for himself an independent sovereignty in Spain. As a result of these calumnies, the Caliph of Damascus issued an order for the death of Abdalasis; and he and his wife, who were then at a country palace, were seized by a mob while engaged in devotion at the shrines of their respective systems of faith, were hurried to the great square in Seville, where public executions are still performed, and were there beheaded on the scaffold, amid the shouts and execrations of a deluded and fanatical rabble. Their bodies would have been devoured by dogs, had not some friendly hand conveyed them by night to a place of burial. Thus perished these ill-fated lovers, and though Abdalasis when seized was in a mosque, worshipping at the shrine of Mahomet, yet his name, with that of his wife, has ever been held sacred, as having died as martyrs to the Christian faith.
At a later period we read that Othman, a Saracen chief in Spain, having taken captive the daughter of the Duke of Aquitania, married her, and through her influence entered into a truce with the Christians. Being, however, commanded by his sovereign to advance, he frankly avowed his situation, and in consequence of it his death was resolved upon. To escape this he fled with his wife to the mountains, and, while refreshing themselves beside a fountain, they were overtaken, and after a desperate defence he fell covered with wounds, and breathed his last in her arms. He was afterwards beheaded, and she was sent as a captive to end her days in the royal seraglios of Damascus.
Late in the eleventh century Alfonso the Sixth, king of Castile and Leon, having taken Toledo, turned his arms against Mohamed Ben Abad, king of Seville, then one of the most powerful Moorish princes of the age. A battle was fought, in which the Christians were beaten, and 50,000 men of both parties were slain. A peace ensued, and Alfonso having seen Zaida, the beautiful daughter of the king of Seville, was led captive by her charms, and married her on condition of her renouncing the Mahometan faith. Thus she became the Queen of Castile and Leon, and the nuptials were celebrated at Seville, by both Moors and Christians,
with more than Eastern pomp and magnificence. limits admit, we might draw from the rich storehouse of Spanish history many a wild and romantic tale of early times, which would cast important light alike upon the past and present character of the nation, strongly marked as it is with the fiery passions, the glowing enthusiasm, and the Oriental extravagance and exaggeration both of manner and language, which they have inherited from their Mussulman conquerors. We might dwell on the gallant bravery of the sainted King Ferdinand, which shone so conspicuously in the lengthened siege which resulted in rescuing Seville from the hands of the Moors. We might portray the sad and melancholy scene presented by the Moslem inhabitants of Seville, who, as if endued with a foresight of the dark and savage persecution with which in after times Catholic bigotry was to pursue those of their race who should remain behind, to the number of 100,000 became voluntary exiles from the land of their birth, and, forsaking for ever the fair and fertile valleys of Spain, sought an uncertain resting-place in distant and less genial climes. We might speak of the fierce and eventful struggle for the throne between those rival brothers, Pedro the Cruel and Henry de Trastemere, in which the chivalry of France were opposed by those of England, commanded by one of the bravest of her kings, the whole ending in a bloody personal contest between the royal brothers, when Pedro received his death-wound from the dagger of Henry. Seville is also connected with the history alike of the darker and the brighter days of Blanche de Bourbon, Queen of Pedro the Cruel, and Leonora de Guzman, whom this savage monarch put to death, as well as of numerous other beautiful or high-born dames, the sad or eventful history of whose lives has furnished incidents of no common interest to both the tragic and historic muse.
It is claimed that the walls of Seville were built by Julius Cæsar, though the low, rugged turrets, with which they are surmounted, give them quite a Moorish air. They enclose a space more than a league in circumference, and, taken in connexion with the immediate suburbs, including that of Friana, on the opposite side of the river, Seville embraces a circuit of three and a half leagues. The city has thirteen large and two small gates, and its streets are exceedingly narrow, crooked, and irregular. The interior of the houses, however, is truly beautiful. They are commonly built round an open court, paved with marble, and, like enchanted bowers, filled with orange trees, and other evergreens, and flowering plants. In this court, and the covered corridor around it, the family live during the summer, protected from the heat by an awning overhead, while towards the street are doors made of thin bars or laths of iron some distance apart, and wrought into a thousand graceful forms. Through these one may look as he passes along, and behold within many a gay and happy social group:
“ The Royal School of the Noble Arts” in Seville, was founded near two centuries ago, and has furnished the means of instruction to many distinguished artists. It is under the patronage of government, from whom, in addition to its permanent property, it annually receives the sum of $ 1,800. The Seville School of Painting, with Murillo at its head, has been justly the pride and the glory of Spain. To his name we may also add those of other distinguished national artists, such, for example, as Velasquez, Alonzo Cano, and Ribera, or Spagnoletto, whose works are to be met with in all the principal museums of Europe, and who, by their genius and their taste, have added much to the fame of their native land. While Seville was the port where every Spanish vessel returning from America was bound to deliver its cargo, the immense wealth of the New World thus disgorged there, gave rise to princely fortunes, and raised up many liberal patrons of the arts. Thus many of the mansions of the wealthy were adorned with rich collections of paintings, the works of the first masters. On the decline of wealth and commerce, however, these paintings were many of them sold, and thus were scattered throughout Europe. Still, some valuable private collections yet exist in the city, and, should the contemplated plan of collecting these, and the best there are to be found in the churches and convents throughout the province, and placing them in a public gallery, be carried into effect, Seville might boast of a museum of paintings which would do credit to any of the capitals of Europe.
Of these private collections, the largest is that of J. Williams, Esq., English Consul at Seville, a gentleman whose kind and polite attentions to such travellers as are so happy as to form his acquaintance, deserve the most grateful acknowledgments. He has more than 200 choice paintings, in fine order, and well arranged as to light and effect. He is making constant additions to this rich collection, which already contains thirty-seven paintings by Murillo; forty by Alonzo Cano, and four by Velasquez, besides others by highly celebrated authors.
Señor Bravo, an aged Spanish merchant, has more than 180 paintings, mostly of the Spanish, Flemish, and Italian schools, some of which have much merit. Don Francisco Perceira, a prebendary of the cathedral, has more than 170 paintings, and Don Joaquin Cortes, a director of the Academy of Noble Arts, has 220 of the Spanish, Italian, Dutch, and Flemish schools. Don Pedro Garcia has more than 150, to say nothing of other handsome collections, — all of which may aid us in forming an idea of what treasures in the fine arts Seville must have been possessed in the days of her wealth and glory.
Of the convents which are enriched with paintings, I will notice but two. The first is that of the Capuchins, without the walls of the city. Its church has a greater number of valuable paintings than any other in Seville. Among these, are seventeen by Murillo, most of which possess a high degree of merit. The story told me of a picture of the Madonna and Child, which is highly valued, was, that Murillo, having been confined in the convent for some offence given to the rulers of the church, he was one morning told by the Superior of the Institution, that he should not have his breakfast until he had earned it. Calling for a napkin, the artist hastily struck off the painting referred to above, which is now regarded as a treasure.
The Hospital de la Caridad contains six of Murillo's paintings, which give one a good idea of the richly varied merits of bis style and manner of execution, wbile some of them rank among the noblest triumphs of art. There were formerly five others there, the works of the same artist, which were carried off at the time of Napoleon's invasion. Of these, four are now in the possession of Marshal Soult, while the other on its return from France was retained in the Royal Academy of San Fernando, in Madrid. The two principal paintings of Murillo are in the chapel of the Hospital, directly opposite each other, and measure near sixteen feet in horizontal length, and eight or ten feet in breadth. One of these represents Christ's miracle of feeding the five thousand with five loaves and two small fishes. Our Saviour and his twelve disciples are slightly elevated on the side of a mountain which rises in the back-ground, and, as he blesses the