ePub 版

the Mozarabic Christians the free exercise of their religion, so long as they conducted in a quiet and peaceable manner, but would not permit them to revile Mahomet and his system of faith. In the reign of Abderrahman the Second, two Christians, while conversing with some of their Mussulman friends, freely expressed their contempt of the Prophet of Mecca, and being denounced as blasphemers, they were put to death. This aroused such a raging flame of religious zeal, that monks and nuns, and great numbers of others of both sexes, and of all ages, from childhood upwards, thronged the courts of justice, and by there publicly cursing Mahomet, obtained the honor of martyrdom. So distressed were the Mussulman judges at the frequent executions which this fanatical abuse of their Prophet and their creed compelled them to order, that, by every persuasive means in their power, they strove to prevail on these wretched enthusiasts to cease from such wanton and gratuitous insults of those who ruled over them. Not succeeding in this, however, they applied to the Caliph, who, failing in his efforts, had recourse to Reccafrid, the Christian Archbishop, that he might use his influence and authority over his flock. Reccafrid advanced the sensible opinion, that when Christians traduced the Mahometan religion without urgent cause, and labored to introduce their own in the place of it, if they thereby lost their lives, they could not be accounted martyrs. A portion of the Christians agreed with the Archbishop, but the majority opposed him. Eulogius, a Christian author, who was afterwards put to death, wrote against Reccafrid, and composed histories of the martyrs, an exhortation to them, and a defence of them against their calumniators. He, and those who agreed with him, used their utmost efforts to overthrow Mahometanism, and make converts to Christianity. Eulogius was put to death for detaining and secreting a Spanish girl, whom he had converted to the Christian faith, and not giving her up to her parents and friends. Thus the strong and deadly power of the law, to. gether with the united authority and influence of the Caliph, his judges, and the Christian Archbishop, scarce availed at length to check, and finally to subdue, this wild and raging flame of fanaticism. The result was, that the privileges before enjoyed by the Mozarabic Christians, were much abridged by their Saracen masters, while at the same time a sad, but instructive, example was furnished, of the dark and deadly influence of a blind and misguided religious zeal.

The only public building which I visited in Cordova, was the vast Moorish cathedral. It is said to occupy what was once the site of a temple of Janus, and that the materials of which it is built once formed part of the city of Carthage. Judging however from the different form, size, and color of the numerous columns of granite, marble, jasper, porphyry, and other costly stones which adorn its interior, the more rational opinion seems to be, that they were collected from the temples of the gods, which had been erected throughout Spain, by the Greeks, Phænicians, and other nations, who flourished there before the introduction and triumph of Christianity. This cathedral, which was once a place of Mahometan worship, was built by the Caliph Abderrahman the First, in the eighth century. His aim was to adorn his capital with a mosque, surpassing in richness and splendor those of Bagdad and Damascus,- a shrine, whose magnificence should attract from afar vast numbers of the faithful, alike to perform their devotions, and to gaze with admiring wonder on the noble structure, which made the fair and lovely Cordova the Mecca of the West,

According to the Saracen writers, this mosque had 19 naves one way, and 39 the other, supported by 1,093 columns of marble. There were also 19 gates, one of which was covered with plates of gold, and the rest with richly ornamented bronze, while above the minarets were gilt balls, crowned with golden pomegranates. The interior was brilliantly lighted by 4,700 lamps, supplied with oil which was perfumed with amber and aloes. The exterior walls of this structure are now about 50 feet in height, and entirely plain and free from ornament. They enclose a space 512 feet long by 423 broad, and throughout the whole interior the eye rests upon a constant succession of richly polished columns of every variety of color and materials, and some of them of the most costly description. Of these there still remain 632, though 10 naves have been removed from the building, and many more have been displaced by the erection of chapels, and of the huge Gothic choir, which now disfigures the centre of the cathedral, and has greatly injured the original harmony and beauty of the structure.

The Zancarron, or Sanctuary of the Koran, which was accidentally discovered while removing some brick work in the year 1815, is one of the finest specimens of Moorish architecture in the world. The gate is of white marble, beautifully sculptured, and adorned with numerous columns of the same material. The arched roof is mosaic, of gold, red, blue, and green, with decorations superbly gilt, and, in the days of its glory, this chapel must truly have been a place of most striking magnificence.

Without here dwelling upon the spacious garden connected with the cathedral, with its venerable orange trees, and its flowing fountains of water, which for centuries were used by the followers of Mahomet in performing the various ablutions which the Koran requires, - I would barely remark, that the effect produced upon the mind when viewing this cathedral, is owing rather to its vastness, the great number of its columns, and the singular beauty of some of its rich and graceful arabesque ornaments, than to any thing grand or imposing in architectural proportions. Indeed, so low is it, in proportion to its size, and to so great a degree is the attention distracted and divided by the numerous naves, columns, chapels, and other objects with which it abounds, that one feels none of those emotions excited by gazing on the stern and lofty grandeur of a noble Gothic edifice, or on the tall and graceful elegance of some Moorish structures which I have seen.

Cordova has the narrow crooked streets of Moorish towns, and though her walls now enclose the same space as in the days of her highest glory, and the wide-spread plain in the midst of which she stands is still enriched by the fertilizing waters of the Guadalquivir, yet, with a squalid and indolent population of less than 30,000 souls, how has she changed, and fallen from that high estate of wealth and splendor which she enjoyed, when, with a million of inhabitants, she was honored as the seat of the Caliphs, and the civil, literary, and religions capital of Spain.

The only towns worthy of notice between Cordova and Seville, are Ecija, which was formerly a fortress, distinguished in the contests between the Moors and Christians, and Carmona, once a place of great strength, and still remarkable for the number of its Roman and Moorish remains. Among these, are a small, but elegant, Roman temple, portions of the external wall, the massive gate of the town, which is supposed to have been built in the time of Trajan, and the picturesque ruins of its ancient Moorish castle. Carmona owed much of its former strength to its elevated situation, as compared with the fertile and beautiful plain which surrounds it.

After Tarick, who first led the Saracen forces into Spain, had extended his conquests far and wide, Muza ben Nozier, bis superior in command, who had remained behind in Africa, becoming jealous of the renown acquired by Tarick, and, anxious himself to reap the glory of the enterprise, crossed the Straits of Gibraltar with an army of 18,000 men, and be. . sieged Carmona. Several brilliant and desperate sallies were made by the inhabitants, who carried devastation and slaughter to the heart of the Saracen camp, and bravely perished there, while those who attempted to storm the city were met by showers of stones, arrows, and boiling pitch, and were thus overthrown and defeated. When matters were in this position, the traitor Count Julian, who had deserted the cause of his country, devised a stratagem for delivering the city into the hands of the Arabs. Dressing himself and a number of his followers in the garb of travelling merchants, just at the time of evening twilight they reached one of the gates, conducting a train of mules laden with arms. Claiming that they were pursued by the Arabs, the gates were opened to them, and they were received with joy. At midnight they secretly assembled at one of the gates, which, after having surprised and killed the guards, they opened, and thus admitted the Saracen army. A savage massacre ensued, in which none were spared, but such of the females as by their youth and beauty were fitted to grace the harems of their conquerors.* Such are some of the evils with which war and military ambition have cursed the earth, and darkened and disgraced the history of man.

* Legends of the Conquest of Spain.



History of Seville. - Muza. Exilona. Othman. - Alfonso the Sixth.

Zaida. – Expulsion of the Moors. – Walls of the City. - Houses. — School of the Noble Arts. - Spanish Painters. - Collections of Paintings. Convents. – Murillo. – Hospital. - Population. - Longevity: The Golden Tower. - Italica. – Roman Emperors. — The Alcazar. – Hall of the Ambassadors. — Gardens. House of Pilate. - Cannon-Foundery. — Tobacco Factory. – Female Operatives. — Cathedral. - Giralda. — Paintings. — Columbian Library. – Clergy. - Society and Manners. - Parting of Friends.

- A Spanish Steamboat. - A Foolish Priest. — Arrive at Cadiz. – Situation of the City. - Its Beauty. - Population. — Public Morals. — Houses. - St. Mary's. — Xerez. – Vintage. Wine-Press.- Manufacture of Wine. - Temperance Wines. — Agrass. – Wine-Vaults. – Wealth of the WineMerchants. Anecdotes of Robbers. Crime. - Roads. — Agriculture. Commerce of Cadiz. — We leave Cadiz.

We entered Seville by the Gate of Xerez, and, taking lodgings at the principal hotel, a number of days were busily spent in examining the curiosities of the place. Its ancient name was Hispalis, and, though its origin is lost in the shades of remote antiquity, yet Spanish historians speak of it as one of the oldest cities of Europe, and claim that it was founded by Hercules Livius, in the year of the creation 2228, or 592 years after the deluge, and 1717 before Christ. This would make it contemporary with the time of the patriarch Jacob, an age as great surely as any modest city could well wish to be honored with. Others suppose that Seville was founded at a later day by the Phænicians; but, be this as it may, its favorable situation for commerce, lying as it does on the banks of the Guadalquivir, and surrounded far and wide by one of the most fertile regions in the world, must early have made it a rich and flourishing city. Thus we find that in / the time of the Romans it attained to the dignity of a colony, was the seat of one of the public tribunals of justice, and with Cadiz and Cordova held a conspicuous place in connexion with the wars of Cæsar and Pompey, and other important events which occurred in Spain. Seville was afterwards the capital of the Vandals, of the Goths during the early part of their domination, and of the Moors from 1031 until their

« 上一頁繼續 »