ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA)

Page 4 sur 5 Précédent  1, 2, 3, 4, 5  Suivant

Aller en bas

ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA) - Page 4 Empty Re: ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA)

Message  Javier Ven 28 Juin 2019, 4:40 am

Zamora was twenty miles farther on. Just beyond Toro
a courier from Valdez met them. He begged them in God’s
name to hurry, for Alfonso suspected something. On the
evening before he had ordered Valdez to let certain troops
pass the bridge, evidently with secret instructions to seize
the fort and Valdez. The governor replied that it was too
late; they must wait until morning. If Fernando failed him,
he was lost.

Fernando arrived in time. Having taken possession of the
fort commanding the bridge, he had only to hold it until
Isabel brought up reinforcements and artillery. A few big
guns on that bridge would command the Alcázar of Zamora,
though not the town itself.

Isabel had the guns on the road before dawn. It would
take two or three days to bring them up.

Alfonso almost had a stroke when he saw the Castilian
flag over the bridge. He would have ordered an immediate
attack with all his power if Carrillo had not dissuaded him,
pointing out that the approach to the bridge from the town
was too narrow for more than two men to pass by at a time.
Besides, he said, Fernando would never have put himself in
such a hazardous position without the expectation of heavy
reinforcements during the day. Isabel’s bluff had succeeded.

During the next night Alfonso abandoned his untenable
position in the Alcázar, and withdrew a league into the open
country, leaving a strong force in the town. Fernando
occupied the castle.

Like a chess player directing a dozen games simultaneously,
Isabel sat in her armour at Tordésillas planning
her next move. Her instinct told her that Fernando’s
moment was at hand. She feared that the memory of his
previous débâcle might make him err this time on the side
of caution. To add to her anxiety, disquieting intelligence
reached her from the north. Louis XI, as Alfonso’s ally, had
sent into Guipúzcoa 40,000 men, who were making straight
for the strategic point of Fuenterrabía, that city where Isabel
as a child of twelve had seen the meeting of three kings.
The town is powerfully situated at the mouth of the Alduida.
At high tide the sea nearly surrounds it, covering half the
thick, lofty walls. The people of the town appealed to Isabel
for help against the invaders. She commanded two of her
nobles in Guipúzcoa to hasten there with what troops they
had and sent Juan de Gamboa, a cavalier she trusted, to
assume command of the town and hold it. Gamboa arrived
barely in time to organize a defence. For the next three
months he held out desperately against enormous odds.

TBC...

ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA) - Page 4 23915810
Javier
Javier

Nombre de messages : 4068
Localisation : Ilici Augusta (Hispania)
Date d'inscription : 26/02/2009

Revenir en haut Aller en bas

ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA) - Page 4 Empty Re: ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA)

Message  Javier Sam 29 Juin 2019, 3:11 am

From Fernando came word that Alfonso had challenged
him to leave the fortress of Zamora and fight. With the
reinforcements Isabel had sent her husband, the Castilian
army was somewhat larger than the Portuguese. Six months
before, Fernando would have rushed forth to join battle.
Now he was resolved to wait for the most favourable moment.
At a council of war, the veteran Conde de Alva de Liste
had said to him, “It is always a mistake to do what the
enemy wants you to do. Alfonso wants you to fight. Refuse.”

Fernando had accepted his counsel; yet he wanted Isabel’s
opinion, for he considered her intuitions more valid than
his own.

Her heart said that the moment to fight had come, but
her reason told her it was impossible to make a sensible
decision without being on the ground, and her place in the
present crisis was at headquarters. She sent the Cardinal of
Spain, in whose judgment she had unlimited confidence, to
advise the King what to do. Mendoza saw the whole picture
at a glance. The peasants were manifesting signs of warweariness.
Inaction was wearing down the morale of
Fernando’s army. The men were clamouring for money
again, and desertions were becoming numerous. The
Cardinal helped to meet the financial difficulty by giving
the King all his family plate, even the renowned table silver
that had belonged to his father, the Marqués of Santillana,
to melt into money. And his opinion was that the Castilians
should give battle at once.

Leaving a garrison on the bridge and in the Alcázar,
Fernando took his army into the plain and drew up in battle
array, to wait for Alfonso. Four hours passed. The Portuguese
did not appear; the Castilians returned that night to
Zamora.

The next day Alfonso was reinforced by his fiery son, Dom
Joao, with 20,000 troops. The shoe was now on the other
foot. Looking out one morning from his fort on the bridge,
Fernando saw himself besieged by a greatly superior force.
It was too late to fight. He remained cooped up for the
next fortnight, chafing under the taunts of the Portuguese.

Isabel, at Tordesillas, slept less than ever, and prayed
more. She forgot to eat and grew thin. She thought of
everything but herself. In her officers and men her almost
superhuman powers inspired a fanatical devotion. They
considered her a saint.2 Like St. Joan of Arc, she insisted
upon clean living and clean speech; there were no
blasphemies or obscenities in any camp where she was; and
rough soldiers knelt daily at prayer in the field, while Mass
was being said, and took it as a matter of course because
the Queen requested it.


She saw plainly the ABC of all military success: attack,
attack, attack. If Alfonso’s force outnumbered hers, it must
be divided. She sent a force to attack Toro. She hurled
others against Castro Nuño and Siete Iglesias, on the right
flank of the invaders. Alfonso was obliged to send help to
all these places. And then Isabel had an inspiration.
Fuentesauco, almost at the enemy’s rear, had poor defences
and a small garrison, and yet it directly commanded his line
of communications. She gave the word, and the Count of
Trevino, with 2,000 cavalry, swooped down on the place
and seized it.

His communications broken and his forces divided,
Alfonso found the tables turned on him again. His army
was suffering from the bitterly cold nights. A scarcity of
food threatened him. Unwilling to make an open bid for
peace to an inferior force, he secretly offered to cross the
Douro with only two companions if Fernando would meet
him privately by the river bank. Fernando was willing.
While he waited on the edge of the stream, he saw a boat
put forth from the opposite bank. Under the weight of the
fat Alfonso it sprang a leak, half filled with water, and was
rowed heavily back to land. Another rendezvous was
arranged for one hour after midnight. At one o’clock by
the clock of Zamora Fernando went to the river. He waited
an hour, decided that Alfonso had changed his mind and
returned to his camp. Alfonso, crossing an hour later, found
no one. The clock of Zamora struck three. It was two
hours fast. No third interview was arranged. Pulgar saw in
all this the hand of Providence, saving Isabel from the
payment of the indemnity that Fernando probably would
have promised Alfonso to rid the land of him.

TBC...

ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA) - Page 4 23915810
Javier
Javier

Nombre de messages : 4068
Localisation : Ilici Augusta (Hispania)
Date d'inscription : 26/02/2009

Revenir en haut Aller en bas

ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA) - Page 4 Empty Re: ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA)

Message  Javier Lun 01 Juil 2019, 4:20 am

His supplies running low, the Portuguese was now reduced to sending an official embassy to Fernando suggesting a fifteen-day truce. Fernando called a council of war. Most of his officers advised accepting the truce; for if Alfonso was in difficulty now, his plight would be even worse in two weeks. The Cardinal of Spain arose. His words had great weight, because all felt them to be in a sense the words of Queen Isabel:

“My lord, for the reconciliation and peace of the human race God our Redeemer suffered many injuries; and you, for the peace of your realms, ought to suffer the injury which it appears the King of Portugal has done you in establishing his camp where he has. But that you suffer by a truce of fifteen days does not appear to me to be to your advantage nor to that of the Queen my lady, nor to the honour of your royal Crown. He wants a truce to take his camp away and set it up again where he pleases, and all for his safety, without hindrance from anybody. ... In this matter, Señor, I will speak not as a son of religion and the cloth which I have received, but as the son of the Marques of Santillana, my father, who by his own great practice in arms and that of his ancestors was well versed in this military science. No cavalier should tolerate, and especially a king so powerful as you, that another king, a foreigner, should enter his realms and take up a position where he wishes, and abandon it with impunity when he finds it convenient to do so, unless necessity constrains. . . . The Queen by words and deeds, and by providing your host with troops and supplies, has shown her great determination. ... If this were permitted, all her efforts would be in vain. Here they are, in a foreign country, running short of supplies. Surely, God has given you this advantage. ... If we delay further, we shall be subject to the vicissitudes of fortune. And thus in a little while you and the Queen will retain but slight power to give, and even less to utilize, the justice which is your office; whence it must follow that these realms will be reduced again into a dissolution of tyrannies, to the disservice of God.” 8

Fernando felt that this was substantially what Isabel would have said had she been there. He sent Alfonso a refusal, appending a reproof from Cardinal Mendoza for the destruction of the beautiful monastery of Saint Francis.

The next day, March 1, 1476, was Friday, always a fortunate and conspicuous one in Spanish history. At the first streak of dawn Fernando’s guards on the bridge brought him word that the enemy had broken camp and vanished. A reconnoitring party reported that the Portuguese, sending their baggage ahead during the night, and breaking camp just before dawn, were proceeding rapidly eastward along the southern bank of the Douro, undoubtedly making for Toro. Fernando joyfully gave the order for the pursuit. Trumpets blared, arms were seized, the ranks were formed. At last!

Crossing the river was slow work. The narrow bridge had been further restricted by bulwarks hastily thrown up by the Castilians. So eager were the peones to fight that many of them swarmed across in boats, or on the dam, or by swimming. Fernando detailed 200 knights to whip them into order on the opposite side. The cavalry crossed by the bridge, two by two. It took more time to form a battle array on the south bank. The morning was nigh spent when the army, in three sections, followed the tracks of the invaders along the river. The air was cold and damp. Light clouds obscured the sun from time to time, shadowing the grey landscape.

TBC...
Javier
Javier

Nombre de messages : 4068
Localisation : Ilici Augusta (Hispania)
Date d'inscription : 26/02/2009

Revenir en haut Aller en bas

ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA) - Page 4 Empty Re: ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA)

Message  Javier Mar 02 Juil 2019, 11:20 am

By the middle of the afternoon they came to a small hill, halfway between Zamora and Toro. Beyond that hill, lying between the river and a mountain ridge, was a flat place, known as the Field of Pelayo Gonzalez; and beyond the field was a narrow pass where the mountains jutted down against the Douro. If the Portuguese intended to give battle, that field would be the place they would choose. But if they had already gone through the narrow defile, they would be safe in Toro before the Castilians could pass through. Fernando hastily called his captains together. Several nobles advised returning to Zamora. It was too late to begin a battle, and the horizon looked rainy. Cardinal Mendoza volunteered to go alone over the hill and reconnoitre.

“If they are retreating in disorder we can pursue them," he said. “If they are ready for battle, we may still retreat if we wish without their seeing us."  The young King nodded. The Cardinal, a linen rochet over his chain armour and a visor projecting over his black eyes, spurred ahead followed by a single orderly, and disappeared over and through the portillo. In a moment he returned, his face set, his eyes agleam from what he had beheld. Something bred in his blood during a thousand years of war had silenced in him the voice of the statesman and the voice of the priest.

“Señor,” he said quietly, “the King of Portugal is not proceeding in flight, as they said, but has his regiments drawn up in battle formation; and if you now order your troops to retreat, and do not attack, he will wrest from you this day all the honour which you think to take from him, since you have not put him to flight. Hence it seems to me that you ought to command all your people to advance and form a battle front, if the King of Portugal waits for you, and trust God, in whose hands are all victories, to give you today the triumph you hope for.” 4

The captains were silent, waiting for the King to speak. “Forward!” said Fernando. The captains galloped back to their posts, and gave the word.

Slowly the Castilian host went over the rising ground and defiled into the plain. The sun, far down the western sky, was at their backs, shining murkily from under a heavy curtain of grey clouds. The dismal light smote the Portuguese full in the eyes. It played over their bluish armour and their multicoloured pennons and the cloth of gold on their caparisoned horses. It glittered in little points on the tips of lances held aloft and ready to be couched, and on many it glimmered dully from the tails of foxes, hoisted by the cavaliers for luck. While the Spanish came over the hill and descended into the shadowy flats, the Portuguese reformed and closed their ranks and waited.

A cloud swallowed the sluggish sun. Now both armies were in shadow, the Portuguese standing grim and silent, the Castilians swarming and seething from columns of four into long battle lines, a rhythmical confusion subsiding into order.

TBC...

ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA) - Page 4 23915810
Javier
Javier

Nombre de messages : 4068
Localisation : Ilici Augusta (Hispania)
Date d'inscription : 26/02/2009

Revenir en haut Aller en bas

ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA) - Page 4 Empty Re: ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA)

Message  Javier Mer 03 Juil 2019, 4:29 am

Fernando commanded the centre, opposite Alfonso. On his left, by the river, Cardinal Mendoza and the Duke of Alba opposed Carrillo and the Count of Faro. On the Castilian right, six squadrons of horse under six captains faced the powerful wing of Prince Dom Joao, who had with him the Portuguese artillery and a squadron of cavaliers under the fighting Bishop of Évora. On each side the infantry were massed behind the wing of cavalry that impinged on the river bank. Gunpowder had only begun to do away with the warfare of chivalry. The peones were still considered largely an auxiliary arm, to dispatch or capture fallen knights, to run among horses and hamstring them and, increasingly, to fire crossbows, espingardas or Moorish muskets, and arquebusses.

While the Castilians were forming, Alfonso was making a speech to his army: they were at least as numerous as the enemy; let them fight bravely and victory was certain. The trumpets sounded. On both sides the cavalry spurred their horses, lowered their spears, galloped to the shock. A fine cold drizzly rain began to fall.

A long splintering crash as the hosts came together and were interlocked . , the splitting of lances, the rattle of armour, the thumping of horses; riders catapulted to the ground to lie still or rise and draw swords, footmen running out among them with daggers and axes . . . the mêlée grimly settled down to a business-like hacking and thrusting with swords. “Fernando!” cried the Castilians. “Alfonso!” shouted the Portuguese. Where the standards of the rival Kings fluttered to and fro on the waves of steel, there was the fiercest fighting and shouting and letting of blood and piling up of slain. On the left the Cardinal of Spain, his bishop’s rochet torn and spattered with blood that looked almost black in that leaden dusk, fought with the fury of a tiger, laying men flat to right and left of him as he pressed forward through the ranks of Portuguese. On the right, Dom Joao’s artillery thundered; the echoes rumbled from the river to the crags, followed by the brisk rattle of his musketry. At this the six squadrons of Fernando’s Galician and Asturian cavalry broke and fled, pursued by the yelling Portuguese.

Entangled with their foes, neither Fernando nor the Cardinal could go to the help of their right wing; and, to make matters worse, Dom Joao doubled back after a brief pursuit of the scared mountaineers, and fell upon their flank. The fighting was desperate, to the death. Backwards and forwards, up and down they swayed in the cold crepuscular rain, while the shouts became hoarser and the moanings of the wounded more frequent under foot, and the darkness came swiftly down from the slaty sky, and still neither side had the victory. Thus for three hours the fortune of the battle hung in the balance. They fought silently now, panting for breath.

Mendoza had hacked his way through the Portuguese right to where he could barely see in the thick gloom the standard of King Alfonso, rising and falling. Alfonso’s ensign, Duarte de Almeida, was making a heroic struggle to keep it flying. Wounded in the right arm, he held the flag in his left. A Castilian arrow transfixed his left arm. He held the staff between his teeth until he fell, pierced through the body, while the Cardinal of Spain seized the Portuguese flag and bore it off. The fat Alfonso, puffing valiantly, gave ground. Their flag down, their king beaten back, a great hesitation like some slow fog began to drift over the mass of the tired Portuguese, who had eaten nothing since they left Zamora at daybreak. They gave way here, they drew in there. It was now quite dark.

Suddenly, with a mighty shout, the six battalions of mountain horse who had fled from Dom Joao’s guns at the outset, but had slowly reassembled in shame on the hillside, fell upon the disordered Portuguese. The whole line began to retreat. At the same time the Cardinal of Spain and the Duke of Alba drove them from the flank toward the river. In vain Alfonso and Dom Joao shouted their battle-cries. In vain the stout-hearted Carrillo, blood from head to foot, the red cloak torn from his back, stormed and pleaded with them while he smote about him like some Homeric hero in the opaque night.

The flight became a panic. “Santiago!” cried the victors. “Castile! Castile for King Fernando and Queen Isabel!", The miserable Portuguese slew each other by mistake, they ran up the hills, they leaped into the swift river and were sucked under the cold waters by the weight of their armour. Bands of them rushed wildly about seeking their king and crying “Fernando ! Fernando!” to avoid slaughter.

The carnage continued through half the night. Prince Joao and the remnants of his cavalry, after a skilful retreat, gained the heights above the river, where they wandered all night in the pouring rain and howling wind, shouting and lighting fires to guide their King in case he had escaped. Where was Alfonso? Nowhere among the rocks and wet defiles could the Portuguese find him. Nowhere on the battlefield could Fernando come upon a trace of him, though he remained there searching until morning. Nowhere among the twelve hundred corpses lying in the cold mud was the fat carcass of the gallant Alfonso.

Fernando ordered his troops to cease slaying the vanquished and make prisoners of them. Some two thousand were taken. Besides the royal standard, eight other illustrious banners were among the spoils. The dawn showed how utterly the invading host had been shattered. Characteristically laconic and roughly affectionate was the account of his triumph that Fernando sent to Isabel at Tordesillas. “Had it not been for the young chick,” he added, “I would have caught the old cock.”

That morning he had food and clothing given to the stragglers who came in to surrender. Most of the survivors, however, had fled to Toro, pursued to the very gates by Castilian cavaliers. Zamora was apprised of the disaster by the corpses that the swift Douro carried past the bridge next day. 5

When the Archbishop of Toledo and other Castilian lords arrived at Toro, the Portuguese on the walls accused them of treachery to Alfonso, and refused to admit them until Prince Joao appeared and ordered the gates to be opened. It was a gloomy Carrillo who followed the Prince within the castle.

TBC...

ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA) - Page 4 23915810
Javier
Javier

Nombre de messages : 4068
Localisation : Ilici Augusta (Hispania)
Date d'inscription : 26/02/2009

Revenir en haut Aller en bas

ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA) - Page 4 Empty Re: ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA)

Message  Javier Jeu 04 Juil 2019, 12:01 pm

For some weeks to come there were thousands of survivors straggling about Castile, preying on the farms and towns, or slowly beating their way back to Portugal. It was suggested in Fernando’s council that all of them be put to the sword. After the Portuguese defeated Fernando’s grandfather at Aljubarrota, they had slain the vanquished to the last man. And now that they had come bloated with pride into Castile, to loot the countryside and violate women, what could be more just than to give them a dose of their own medicine?

Fernando listened, pondering. The Cardinal of Spain gave his opinion:

To kill one who surrenders is more like shameful vengeance than glorious victory. If you, cavaliers, should kill them in battle, it would be the deed of soldiers, but if they surrendered to you and then you slew them, it would be esteemed cruelty and would be offensive to the traditions of Castilian nobility. . . . Indeed, the idea is foreign to all virtue. . . . These Portuguese who are returning to Portugal are common people who came under the constraint or at the call of their king; and if they have committed acts of rapine in this kingdom, we should have committed the same in theirs if the King had taken us there. But Gonzalez de Mendoza, my grandfather, Lord of Alava, fought in that battle of Aljubarrota that you speak of and, having saved King Juan from death, returned to the conflict and was killed fighting, and so ended all my relatives there, and many others of the chief men of Castile. And it is no new thing, that with the pride of victory those cruelties you mention were done, for it is difficult to retrain the sword in the hour of wrath. But it would be an inhuman thing if ten days after the battle there persisted the rage to kill those who come asking pity. Never, please God, may such a thing be said, or such an example of us remain in the memory of living men. Let us strive to conquer and not think of vengeance, for to conquer is for strong men, and to avenge is for weak women.” 6

The chivalry in Fernando’s nature assented to the Cardinal’s wisdom. He released all prisoners and commanded that no one should prevent the return of the fugitives to their own nation.

Isabel, who had spent that Friday praying to Saint John the Evangelist for victory, was radiant with joy over her husband’s success. It seems not to have occurred to her to claim a share in the credit. God had given the glory to Fernando. At a more fitting time she intended to arrange a public triumph for him and to build a fitting memorial to his valour. For the present she ordered all the clergy of Tordesillas to assemble and march through the streets, singing the Te Deum. The young Queen, thin and pale, but her eyes shining with happiness, came out of the palace barefoot, and thus she walked over the rough stones of the streets to the monastery of Saint Paul, where she went on silent white feet through the murmuring crowd to the high altar, and prostrated herself with great devotion and humility, giving thanks to the God of Battles.

TBC...

ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA) - Page 4 23915810
Javier
Javier

Nombre de messages : 4068
Localisation : Ilici Augusta (Hispania)
Date d'inscription : 26/02/2009

Revenir en haut Aller en bas

ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA) - Page 4 Empty Re: ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA)

Message  Javier Sam 06 Juil 2019, 4:50 am

IX - RESTORATION OF ORDER IN THE KINGDOM— SEVERITY OF THE NEW MEASURES—THE YOUNG INFANTA IN DANGER OF CAPTURE—THE RESCUE


Standing sadly in the midst of the wreckage of her kingly inheritance, Isabel wondered how much of it could be salvaged. Industries crippled, money almost worthless, a hundred towns defying her authority under Alcaides (mayors) who ruled as petty kings, the people dying of famine and pestilence, rogues everywhere preying on the miserable peasants, a Church in need of reform and a paralysed government— such was the legacy of the Kings of Castile on that spring morning in 1476. But the victory of Toro had saved it from utter ruin, and the comparative peace that followed gave the Queen an opportunity to plan the reconstruction of her kingdoms. She found cause for hope, too, in the submission of various rebel barons.

Carrillo had ridden by circuitous ways to Alcalá. There he barricaded himself, and there that other arch-rebel, the Marqués of Villena, presently joined him. After a wait of some months to see which way the tide was turning, the two decided to sue for pardon. They persuaded Fernando’s father, with whom the Archbishop had continued to correspond throughout the Portuguese war, to intercede for them. A letter from the King of Aragon naturally carried much weight with Fernando and Isabel.

About the same time there came a Franciscan with a long message from the Archbishop, begging their Highnesses to remember his services in times gone by, and to forget his later mistakes, “for so much the greater does the grandeur and magnanimity of kings show itself, the more grave the error which they forgive those who come to beg their pardon.” After a great show of reluctance, but secretly pleased, Isabel and Fernando forgave the two insurgents, upon Villena’s delivering to them the keys of Madrid. The Archbishop had some difficulty explaining to the Pope his various changes of opinion. In one letter to Rome he admitted gravely that he had made a serious error in judgment in thinking that Alfonso V and Juana were the rightful heirs to the kingdom!

Isabel reaped other advantages from her husband’s victory at Toro. The Marshal Alfonso de Valencia, commanding the fortress at Zamora, sued for peace through his relative Cardinal Mendoza. He delivered to the King, with the keys of the fortress, the sumptuous bed and gorgeous furnishings that King Alfonso V had abandoned in his flight, Fernando ordered them to be sent to Alfonso at Castro Ñuño, with his compliments. To a cavalier who suggested confiscation, the young King replied, in high good humour, “We desire, if possible, to rid the King of Portugal, my cousin, of the evil thoughts of his mind, not of the good appendages of his person.” Fernando was usually magnanimous in victory.

Leaving Zamora in safe hands, the King and the Cardinal went to Medina del Campo, where Isabel joined them, and the three had a long conference. It was agreed that the Cardinal should write “informally” to King Alfonso about a treaty of peace. This he did, only to receive a prompt refusal. For Alfonso had decided to go in person to France, to solicit further aid from Louis XI. Meanwhile some of his partisans in Castile continued the war, while others, like the Count of Urena, made peace with the victors.

Going to Madrigal, the King and Queen assembled a Cortes of the three estates. It was a stormy one, for the harassed nation was clamouring for reforms. After the procuradores had taken the oath of allegiance to the King and Queen, and to the Infanta as heiress, there followed a long, passionate discussion of the notorious ills of the time. “No one paid his debts if he did not want to. The people were accustomed to all disorders . . . and the citizens and labourers and peaceful men were not masters of their own property, and had no recourse to anybody for the robberies and acts of violence they endured. . . . Each man would willingly have given half his goods, if he could purchase security for himself and his family.” 1

Various remedies were suggested. The one that appealed to Isabel and Fernando as most practical was that of Alonso de Quintanilla, to revive the Santa Hermandad, Holy Brotherhood. In the fourteenth century, this volunteer police force, little more than a local vigilance committee, had done much useful service. In general its function had been to defend local fueros or charters against the crown, but in the end it had become the instrument of the feudal nobility, rather than of the people. Isabel saw an opportunity to convert this old weapon of the privileged classes into an instrument of royal discipline. With her permission, the question was placed before the country. Two months later the delegates of all the eligible cities of Castile, Leon and Aragon met at Dueñas to vote on the proposal.

After much fiery Renaissance oratory, the Hermandad was re-established as a purely domestic police, with functions carefully limited to jurisdiction over murders, robberies, acts of violence in general, assaults upon women, defiance of laws and magistrates. The Cortes voted to authorize, for three years only, a force of 2,000 horsemen under a captain-general, the Duke of Villahermosa, bastard brother of the King, with eight captains under him. Every hundred householders maintained a horseman, well armed and equipped, ready at any moment to start in pursuit of a criminal. For every community of thirty families there were two alcaldes, magistrates, with plenary jurisdiction, though appeals from their decisions might be addressed to Don Lope de Ribas, Bishop of Cartagena, and finally to the King and Queen in Council. But unless a criminal had good grounds for an appeal, the law gave him short shrift. The mildest penalty he could expect was the loss of an ear, or a hand. A petty thief was deprived of one of his feet, to make sure that he would not repeat the offence. More often, the penalty was death. As soon as sentence was pronounced, a priest was fetched to hear the prisoner’s confession and give him the last sacraments. Tied to the nearest tree, the convict was despatched with arrows by the Hermandad. Evidently the authors of the ordinances of the Brotherhood were sceptical about the permanency of any moral reforms effected by force among criminals, for they commanded that the shooting follow the absolution “as speedily as possible, that his soul may pass from his body with the greater safety.”

TBC...

ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA) - Page 4 23915810
Javier
Javier

Nombre de messages : 4068
Localisation : Ilici Augusta (Hispania)
Date d'inscription : 26/02/2009

Revenir en haut Aller en bas

ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA) - Page 4 Empty Re: ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA)

Message  Javier Dim 07 Juil 2019, 6:16 am

To Isabel and Fernando, and most of their contemporaries, this stern and speedy justice seemed a matter of course. The sympathy that Enrique El Impotente had lavished on the criminal they reserved for the murdered man and his widow and children, the ravished woman, the family burned to death in the middle of the night by the lackeys of some degenerate baron. Blood flowed easily, life was incredibly cheap. Those who see death often, and may themselves be killed before they return to their homes, are not greatly concerned over the deaths of others. It was not that the Spanish were any more cruel than other western peoples. No country in Europe had ever got entirely free from the casual attitude of Imperial Rome toward human life; it would take the printing press, and the more refined tyranny of an industrial age to effect that. In England, a century later, it appears,2 from 300 to 400 “rogues” including petty thieves, were hanged every year, and the bishop of Lexovia recorded that, during the reign of Henry VIII alone, the gallows choked off 72,000 human lives for thefts alone— “great thieves, petty thieves and rogues,” they are called— not to mention more serious offenders. Death was the penalty in England for rape, embezzlement of over forty shillings by a servant, “carrying horses or mares into Scotland,” sodomy, conjuring, forgery, “witchcraft, and digging up of crosses,” slander, desertion, “letting out of ponds,” “stealing of whatsoever cattle,” counterfeiting, cutting of purses, and some hundreds of other offences.

Only the determined eloquence of Quintanilla, pleading for the Hermandad, carried the reform against violent objections in the Cortes. Most of the nobles opposed the Brotherhood, some because it had failed under Enrique in 1465, some because it was expensive, some because they were astute enough to see in it the possibility of an alliance between the Crown and the common people against their own privileged order. The Conversos resented the reform for a similar reason.

The cost was to be defrayed out of taxation, each 100 households being assessed at 18,000 maravedis—15 shillings a year for each household, if the maravedi be estimated at a penny. Towns refusing to pay the tax were excluded from the benefit of the Hermandad. Some of them refused for years to accept it, others were won over by the success of the experiment wherever it was tried. Perhaps the country as a whole would never have submitted if Count Haro, one of the great proprietors of the north, had not established it in all his dominions, as an example for others.

From the very beginning the institution was popular among the poor. They saw in it their only protection. It made little difference to them that in restoring justice the Queen would also acquire a small standing army, something almost unknown in the Middle Ages.

TBC...

ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA) - Page 4 23915810
Javier
Javier

Nombre de messages : 4068
Localisation : Ilici Augusta (Hispania)
Date d'inscription : 26/02/2009

Revenir en haut Aller en bas

ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA) - Page 4 Empty Re: ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA)

Message  Javier Mar 09 Juil 2019, 4:11 am

During the next three years one could hardly ride from one village to another without seeing on a tree by the roadside the strange fruit of a human corpse; or a body full of arrows tied to a stump, as a grim evidence that the Hermandad had been performing their duty. Isabel sentenced many of the criminals in person. Riding into a town with some troopers at her heels, she would announce that she had come to hold court, to show how justice could be administered without delay and without cost to the people. She would hear complaints, order reconciliations and restitutions, condemn the guilty to death, and go her way to another place. Corpses had been familiar sights to her from childhood. Many a time in her brother’s reign she had seen the bodies of murdered men by the roadsides. Two years of bitter warfare had made death even more familiar to her.

Her soul, sickened by it all, cried out within her, night and day, for peace. But peace required order, and order, as Isabel saw, required political unity under a strong hand. There was more principle than vanity in her resolve to be a Queen in fact as well as in name. She could not forget that day when, walking with the Count of Benavente, she was accosted by a woman who came weeping to implore justice. Her husband had been slain in spite of his having a royal safe-conduct, and the widow produced the Queen’s letter, pierced by the sword that had ended the man’s life, and stained with his blood.

“A cuirass would have served him better," said the Count, ironically.

Isabel was piqued.

She said, “Do you wish then that there were no king in Castile?”

“Señora, I wish there were many.”

“And why, pray?”

“Because then I should be one of them,” said Benavente with a smile.

It was no smiling matter to the Queen. She tightened her lips and thought of a time to come when her safe-conduct would be more protection to a man than a coat of mail.

Her justice now filled the country with terror by its cold thoroughness. It was the more terrible because it was felt to be impartial and incorruptible. When the Queen held court at Medina del Campo a poor woman knelt before her, sobbing and begging her protection. Her husband, a notary, had disappeared after a visit to the house of a wealthy noble, Alvar Yáñez. Isabel commanded a search. The notary’s body was found buried in the courtyard of Yanez’s home. A brief trial disclosed that after inducing the notary to attest a forged deed to a neighbour’s property Yáñez had murdered him to destroy the evidence of his plot. Confident that his enormous wealth and influence would save him, and calculating shrewdly on the Queen’s piety and her well-known ambition to drive the Moors out of Spain, he confessed and offered her 40,000 ducats as a contribution toward the Holy War against the infidels of Granada. Isabel was advised by some of her Council to accept the large gift and pardon the criminal.

But Isabel “preferred justice to money”3 and one of the evils she had resolved to abolish was the bribing of officials, the common expedient of Jews and Conversos.4 The head of Yáñez was struck off that same day. To avoid any imputation of mercenary motives, the Queen ordered the dead man’s property to be distributed among his sons, although there were plenty of precedents to justify her in confiscating it, and she needed money.

TBC...

ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA) - Page 4 23915812
Javier
Javier

Nombre de messages : 4068
Localisation : Ilici Augusta (Hispania)
Date d'inscription : 26/02/2009

Revenir en haut Aller en bas

ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA) - Page 4 Empty Re: ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA)

Message  Javier Mer 10 Juil 2019, 4:17 am

Her rounds of justice led Isabel to Valladolid. Fernando had just met her there when an urgent appeal came from his father, the King of Aragon. Taking advantage of the comparative quiet in the west, he hastened to Vittoria, assumed command of a huge popular army recruited in Old Castile and the mountains of Asturias and, marching through Guipúzcoa, relieved Fuenterrabia, where Isabel’s governor had been holding out against the French for three months. Louis XI, having no navy to support his army, gave up the siege. Fernando returned by way of the mountains with Count Haro, holding court, condemning criminals, restoring justice everywhere.

Isabel meanwhile had gone to Tordesillas, to be nearer Toro. As Alfonso’s garrison there numbered only 300, she sent a force under Don Alonso Enriquez, Fernando’s uncle, to take the citadel; but, lacking artillery, they were compelled to retreat after a day of heavy fighting and serious losses. The Queen brought reinforcements and instituted a regular siege. Toro held out until July. Then a shepherd named Bartolomé, descrying an unguarded section of wall from a hill, informed a partisan of the Queen. The town was taken by storm. After Isabel had entered it in triumph, she sought out Bartolomé and gave him a pension with perpetual immunity from taxes for himself and his descendants.

Two weeks later, while she was resting at Tordesillas, she had news from Segovia that made her blanch with fear. A serious revolt had begun, and her baby Isabel, guarded only by a handful of loyalists who were besieged in a tower of the Alcázar, was in danger of capture or death. As luck would have it, Beatriz de Bobadilla, the child’s guardian, had come to Tordesillas to confer with the Queen.

Isabel suffered the anguish natural to a mother. Her imagination pictured the Infanta as a hostage in the hands of enemies, perhaps delivered to Alfonso V of Portugal; perhaps dead—all her trouble, all her life’s work and Fernando’s, all the hope and peace of Castile and Aragon, lost in a moment. Memories of the Segovia massacre of 1473 passed through her mind. She wasted no time in lamenting, however, but ordered horses to be saddled at once.

The messenger gave some details. During the absence of Andres de Cabrera, the governor, a disappointed office- seeker named Maldonado had smuggled several men, with weapons concealed under their labourers’ garb, into the Alcázar. They killed the guard at the gate, they took his keys, they captured Mosen Pedro de Bobadilla, Cabrera’s father-in-law. But they had not counted on the loyalty of the handful of troops detailed to guard the Infanta Isabel. These men, fighting furiously, retreated to the tower where the child and her nurse were, and resisted all attempts of Maldonado and his friends to dislodge them. Maldonado, taking possession of another tower, was compelled to institute a siege of the first. The tumult aroused the whole city. Men took arms and joined one side or the other. The majority, through prejudice against Cabrera, since he was a Converso, favoured Maldonado. The rebels were in possession of all the Alcázar except the tower where the Princess was.

Don Juan Arias de Ávila, bishop of Segovia, himself the son of Jewish converts, threw his influence on the side of Maldonado, for he, too, had a grudge against Cabrera. The populace, encouraged by the bishop’s eloquence, attacked the city gates, taking the gate of St. Martin and the gate of Santiago. A handful of Isabel’s soldiers, barricading themselves at the gate of St. John, were holding out valiantly against furious odds. A messenger from the gate of St. John had ridden all night to notify the Queen of the disaster.

Isabel had with her at the moment only the Cardinal of Spain, her friend, Beatriz de Bobadilla, and the Count of Benavente. There was no time to assemble troops; besides, she could travel more rapidly without them. Four horses were saddled. She mounted one of them and, followed by her three friends, commenced a sixty-mile ride to Segovia. The sun glared on the white road, as hot as on the sands of Sahara. The dust, six inches deep, arose in clouds about her and her horse; it whitened them with powder, it blinded her eyes and rubbed the skin off her lips.

The Queen had not even thought of a change of clothing. Over the sandy plains she flew to Olmedo, tried to save time by cutting through the pine forest at Villaguilo, lost the trail, returned in exasperation to the roads, rested her horses a while at Coca, and during the night, when a cold wind came up with the August moon, pressed on to Segovia. At dawn they arrived within sight of the tower of the Alcázar, rising above that rocky spur that projects over the grey plain like the prow of a galley. All around them, barren and treeless, stretched the desolate waste—a cruel, inscrutable country. Was the princess still in that tower? Were they too late?

TBC...

ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA) - Page 4 23915810
Javier
Javier

Nombre de messages : 4068
Localisation : Ilici Augusta (Hispania)
Date d'inscription : 26/02/2009

Revenir en haut Aller en bas

ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA) - Page 4 Empty Re: ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA)

Message  Javier Jeu 11 Juil 2019, 4:11 am

The Queen’s approach having been noted from within the walls, the Bishop Don Juan Arias and several of the chief citizens came forth to receive her. The bishop addressed her with the greatest respect. Since the people, he said, were infuriated beyond measure, he had two earnest requests to make: first, for her own safety, that she would not attempt to enter by the gate of St. John, where there was sharp fighting; second, that she leave outside the walls Cabrera’s wife and his friend the Count of Benavente, since both were anathema to the mob. Several cavaliers added their respectful admonitions to the Bishop’s.

The cold passion of Isabel’s reply cut short their ceremonious speeches.

“Tell those cavaliers and citizens of Segovia that I am Queen of Castile, and this city is mine, for the King my father left it to me; and to enter what is mine I do not need any laws or conditions that they may lay down for me. I shall enter the city by the gate I choose, and the Count of Benavente shall enter with me, and all others that I think proper for my service. Say to them further that they shall all come to me, and do what I shall command like loyal subjects, and cease making tumults and scandals in my city, lest they suffer hurt in their persons and their property.” 5

So saying, she clapped spurs into her jaded horse, brushed past the bishop and the gaping cavaliers and, followed by her three friends, galloped through the gate of Saint John. She went directly to the Alcázar. Disregarding the Cardinal’s advice, she pushed through the howling mob. Swords and spears flashed about her in the morning sun. She pressed on to the small courtyard near the tower. The bishop followed, vainly trying to quiet the people. The mob surged around the little group.

“Kill them all !” they cried. “To the sword with the friends of the Mayordomo! Down with Cabrera! Storm the tower and kill them all!”

The Queen, silent, haggard and dusty on her white horse, faced them. The Cardinal leaned toward her. Urgently he begged her to have the gate of the Alcázar closed, that no more of the mob might enter the court. The Queen shook her head.

“Open the gates wider,” she said, “and bid them all come in."

The gates creaked.

“Friends," shouted a cavalier, “the Queen commands that all come in, as many as can."

A murmur went over the crowd. The Queen! After a hesitation there was a forward seething of the human sea, and all overflowed into the court. The Queen waited for silence. The Cardinal, indifferent to his own safety, watched her with a mixture of admiration and fear. Her words, clear and resonant, sped like arrows over the heads of the shoving and grumbling people:

“My vassals and servants, say now what you desire, for what suits you is agreeable to me, since it is for the common good of the city.”

It was the complete confidence in her bearing and in her musical voice that silenced them. Fear would have been fatal, but Isabel in a crisis was no longer the tender mother and the womanly wife, but one of those mujeres varoniles, like Juana of Aragon and the Amazonian Countess of Medellin, in whom the cruel times and many hardships bred masculine qualities before which the most hardened ruffians quailed and hung their heads. "My city . . . my kingdom - . . my vassals and servants. . ." Her attitude was always proprietary.

A leader of the mob, motioning for quiet, stood forth as spokesman to relate their grievances at length.

“Señora," he began, “we have several supplications to make. The first is that the Mayordomo Andres de Cabrera no longer have the keeping of this Alcázar! The second ..."

“What you wish, I wish. He is removed. I shall take possession of these towers and walls and commit them to a loyal companion of mine, who will guard them with loyalty to me, and honour to you."

A howl broke from the crowd, a howl of triumph and approbation. “Viva la Reina!” It was the same motley, swarthy multitude that had screamed those words to her that winter morning three years ago, when she rode out of this very court to be crowned. “Viva la Reina!” The people outside the gate took up the cry. In a trice the men who had been cursing Cabrera were clamouring for the blood of Maldonado and his partisans. The rebel leaders fled for their lives. By noon the towers and walls had been cleared of them, and the Queen was in complete possession of the Alcázar. Her first thought was to embrace the Princess, from whom she had so long been separated. Then she rode in weary triumph through the streets to the palace near the church of St. Martin, followed by a mob that all but smothered her in their joy and admiration. From the steps of the palace she made a brief speech, promising them protection from the tyranny of Cabrera and all others, bidding them go peacefully to their homes, promising that if they would send a committee to her to explain all their grievances, she would have justice done. The multitude melted away. The Queen entered the palace, threw herself on a bed, and slept.

Subsequently, when she considered the complaints laid before her by the committee and sifted them to the bottom, she concluded that Cabrera himself was innocent of the charges against him, though some of his subordinates had committed minor tyrannies, and that most of the animus against him could be traced either to envy on the part of men who wanted his post, or to the strong Old Christian prejudice against him as an influential Converso. She reinstated him. That other Corverso, Don Juan Arias, repented of his part in the day’s work, bethinking him that the Queen might have a long memory and a long arm. The time was coming, though he little suspected it, when he would have a particular need of her friendship.

TBC...

ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA) - Page 4 23915810
Javier
Javier

Nombre de messages : 4068
Localisation : Ilici Augusta (Hispania)
Date d'inscription : 26/02/2009

Revenir en haut Aller en bas

ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA) - Page 4 Empty Re: ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA)

Message  Javier Ven 12 Juil 2019, 6:48 am

X - THE QUEEN ASSUMES CONTROL OF THE ORDER OF SANTIAGO — CARDENAS APPOINTED GRAND MASTER—THE MOORS REFUSE TO PAY TRIBUTE

As soon as Isabel had met one emergency, she was summoned to cope with another. Having gone back to Valladolid late in September to meet the King on his return from the north, she learned that the death of the Count of Paredes, chief claimant to the title of Grand Master of Santiago, had raised a new crisis in the affairs of the Order. The Count was hardly cold in his grave when his principal rival, Don Alonso de Cárdenas, marched at the head of his troops to Uclés, where the treces and comendadores of the Order assembled at his bidding to elect him Grand Master.

Isabel was vitally interested. She had no personal objection to Cárdenas. On the contrary, she had valued him highly since his exploit in taking a handful of cavalry to rout the four thousand warriors and the nine choir singers of the Duke of Medina Sidonia, and her judgment of him had been confirmed by many reports of his fine generalship in Estremadura against the Portuguese. It would be a serious blunder to offend a man who could be of the greatest service in the coming war against the Moors. On the other hand, the Queen had vivid and painful memories of the Woes brought upon Castile by the struggle for the Mastership of Santiago between the elder Marqués of Villena and Don Beltran de la Cueva. Such conflicts had disturbed the public peace and impaired the authority of the Crown.

There was no room in her conception of the state for powerful kingdoms within the kingdom. “My kingdom ... my people ... God’s service and mine.”

Infinite adroitness and tact were needed to carry out the programme she had conceived. Santiago was only one of three military orders—all anachronisms with roots deep in the soil, the race, that they had kept Spanish, all sprung from the very necessities of the ancient death-struggle with Islam.

The Order of Calatrava had got its name from a bloodily contested outpost commanding the passes between Castile and Andalusia. When the Knights Templar gave it up as untenable in 1157, King Sancho III offered it to anyone strong enough to occupy it and hold it. Two Cistercian monks, one of whom had been a knight, accepted the perilous gift and led into the grim castle a band of Christians, whom they proceeded to organize, with the sanction of the Pope, into an order under the severe rule of Saint Benedict. They bound themselves to celibacy, silence in the refectory and the dormitory, abstinence four days a week besides the usual fasts; and the lay brothers, who bore the brunt of the defence, slept only in armour, with swords girt on in perpetual readiness. In a critical moment these monks and knights saved Christian Spain from being reconquered by the Moors. They grew and prospered until they could bring 1200 to 2000 belted knights into the field. As the Moors lost ground and were finally driven into the mountains of Granada, however, their raison d’être gradually was forgotten, and like many other human organizations they became at last a political machine, whose leaders tended to seek power rather than foster the ideal of their founders. Wars for the Grand Mastership had more than once divided the Order and the whole country, as when Don Pedro Giron, Isabel’s most loathed suitor, prevailed over two other candidates. The Order of Calatrava ruled over fifty-six commanderies, sixteen priories, sixty-four villages and many forts. Its annual income was 50,000 ducats, an immense sum for the times.

TBC...

ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA) - Page 4 23915810
Javier
Javier

Nombre de messages : 4068
Localisation : Ilici Augusta (Hispania)
Date d'inscription : 26/02/2009

Revenir en haut Aller en bas

ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA) - Page 4 Empty Re: ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA)

Message  Javier Sam 13 Juil 2019, 4:57 am

Similar in form and purpose, but smaller, was the Order of Alcántara, organized to hold the outpost of Alcántara when it was taken from the Moors in 1214. Warfare in the Middle Ages being a sporadic and temporary affair, there were no standing armies and no garrisons. To supply the deficiency, a group of knights banded themselves together under the Cistercian rule, wearing over their armour the white Cistercian mantle embroidered with a scarlet overcross. Like Calatrava, they had gone the way of all flesh as the need for their services disappeared. On Isabel’s accession they had thirty-seven commanderies and fifty-three castles or villages.

But the most illustrious of the three orders was that of Santiago, founded in the twelfth century to protect pilgrims going from all parts of Europe to the shrine of Santiago (Saint James the Apostle) at Compostela, in Galicia.1 Their great popularity and rapid growth may be attributed partly to the fact that they were laymen who adopted the mild rule of Saint Augustine rather than the rigorous one of Saint Benedict. With the king’s permission the members might marry, provided they observed continence during Lent and Advent. As war with the Infidel languished under indolent kings, the knights turned to warring with one another, particularly over the great emoluments of their order. The election of a Grand Master often meant a civil war. That potentate enjoyed a greater income and more power than many of the kings. His sway extended over eighty- three commanderies, two cities, one hundred and seventy- eight boroughs and villages, two hundred parishes, five hospitals, five convents, and one college at Salamanca. In time of war he could lead into the field four hundred knights and a thousand lances—each lance meaning three to five men— all trained men “of the sword and of the shell,” from the two symbols they wore, a red cross terminating in a sword, and a scallop-shell, the device of St. James and the universal badge of pilgrims to his shrine.

The body of Saint James, according to a tradition accepted as veracious by Mariana—whom Prescott, by the way, has grossly misrepresented—was taken to Spain by his disciples after his martyrdom in Jerusalem, and after a lapse of eight centuries was miraculously found. Shortly afterwards the Christians, fighting against overwhelming odds near Clavijo, saw an apparition of the Saint on a white horse, leading them against the Moors. They followed, and won the victory. From then on Santiago was the patron saint of Spain, invoked in every battle. His share in the building of the Spanish nation can hardly be overestimated. But in the fifteenth century the Order named after him was in danger of forgetting the heroic genesis of his cult.

Isabel saw plainly that Granada would never succumb to volunteer armies of crusaders loosely organized as in the days of chivalry. If chivalry was not dead, it was dying perceptibly, and gunpowder would soon give it the coup de grâce, for the simple reason that two or three plebeians with a bombard could blow up any number of men in armour, be their blood ever so blue or their hearts ever so stout. Gunpowder, in short, was destroying and creating a world. And in that new world of absolute monarchy, of which Isabel’s genius had an intuition, there would be no room for military orders except as social survivals, decorations to flatter men’s vanity. Powerless at present to destroy three such mighty states within the State, she planned instead to annex the powers of the masters to the Crown by asking the Pope to appoint Fernando to the vacancies, as each master died. The death of the Count of Paredes was her first opportunity. Isabel had despatched a messenger to the Pope with her request, but before a reply could come, Cárdenas with his
usual promptness in action had jeopardized her whole plan, perhaps her entire policy of royal supremacy.

Taking a small retinue, the Queen started on her two- hundred-mile ride to Uclés. If her plan was to succeed she must arrive before the knights had time to elect a master. She hoped to reach Uclés by the end of the third day, but the roads over the mountains were so bad and it rained so steadily that she found herself, at dusk on the third day, in Ocaña, fifty miles from her destination. Her followers urged her to spend the night in the palace there, the palace she had fled from with Carrillo eight years before. But fearing that the election might be held next morning, she pressed on all night in the heavy downpour.

The chapter had concluded its business and was about to vote on the mastership when the door opened and the weary rain-drenched Queen walked silently into the midst of the astonished knights. She attacked the heart of the problem as usual, without any preliminary beating about the bush.

“Since the Master of Santiago is one of the great dignitaries of the realm,” she said, “and has many revenues and dependencies, and many fortresses along the Moorish frontier, the Kings my ancestors have always kept it under their direct control, giving it to their second sons or some other royal person. And though the comendador mayor of Leon is most loyal to the King my lord and to me, I have decided that his Majesty ought to have the administration of the Mastership, and have so appealed to our Holy Father the Pope. For this reason I command you, as my loyal vassals and servants, to postpone your election, for it does not comport with the King’s service, nor with mine, nor with the welfare of these realms.” 2

As usual, the Queen’s self-possession carried the day. To Cárdenas, waiting at the Corral de Almaquer to hear of his election, her interference was most untimely. Before he had time to decide, however, what he would do, a message came from her bidding him “give up his solicitude for the dignity, since it did not comport with the King’s service, nor with hers.” If on enquiry he should be found to have a rightful claim to the office, she would see that it was bestowed upon him. Meanwhile he must wait upon her royal convenience.

Cárdenas submitted with good grace. After the first pang of disappointment he resumed his warfare on the Portuguese in Estremadura, serving her as loyally as if she had loaded him with dignities. And as soon as Isabel had in her hand the Papal bull giving complete administration of the Order to Fernando, she made Cárdenas Grand Master. She could afford to be generous. She had conferred on him as a favour an office that he had claimed as a right and, as a condition of her gift, had exacted the promise of 3,000,000 maravedís a year from the income of the Order for the maintenance of forts along the Moorish frontier.

Thus again Isabel had increased the authority and dignity of the Crown. Further, she had deftly prepared for the complete concentration of the powers of all three orders in the hands of the King. On the death of Cárdenas in 1499, Fernando was appointed to the Mastership for life by Pope Alexander VI. Similarly he assumed the administration of Calatrava in 1487; that of Alcántara in 1492. Isabel was looking far ahead. Ultimately her foresight was to increase the royal revenues by the equivalent of over two hundred thousand pounds a year.

TBC...

ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA) - Page 4 23915810
Javier
Javier

Nombre de messages : 4068
Localisation : Ilici Augusta (Hispania)
Date d'inscription : 26/02/2009

Revenir en haut Aller en bas

ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA) - Page 4 Empty Re: ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA)

Message  Javier Lun 15 Juil 2019, 5:03 am

Now, forgetting her great weariness and the wet and the cold in her satisfaction at having reached Uclés in the nick of time, Isabel returned to Ocaña, to wait for Fernando. He came from Fuenterrabia by way of Toro, stopping on the road to organize sieges at Castro Ñuño, Cubellas and Siete Iglesias, and leaving in command of them his natural brother and Count Haro. Together the sovereigns proceeded to Toledo. There, at the Queen's orders certain extraordinary preparations were being made.

Before the battle of Toro she had promised St. John the Evangelist, to whom she was especially devoted, that if victory were hers she would give public thanks to God in his honour at Toledo, and would build a church there to commemorate his patronage and her husband’s valour. A brief period of comparative quiet gave her the first opportunity to keep her word.

Cantering over the rolling brown vega in the afternoon, the King and Queen and their cavaliers saw the ancient city high on a hill, darkly outlined against the pale sky, like a rich mosaic of Moorish and Christian architecture. From the dome and spire of the Cathedral down to the hovels by the river bank and the long arches of the Moorish bridge across the Tagus, a faint murmuring of music arose. Out of the northern Moorish gate, the Puerta de Visagra, came dancing boys in fantastic costumes, and musicians playing on divers instruments, and other children singing the song Isabel had heard that day at Ocaña when the populace rose up between her and the wrath of Enrique:

Flores de Aragon, dentro Castilla son!
Pendón de Aragon! Pendón de Aragon!


On a mule magnificently caparisoned with silks and cloth of gold, the bridle held by two pages of noble family, Queen Isabel entered the city, smiling happily, a slender figure with hair like molten copper in the sun. Fernando, in sparkling armour from head to foot, was mounted beside her on a great chestnut horse. Past the hermitage of San Eugenio, near the gate, they rode through the Moorish Zocober and the Calle Real to the Cathedral, where they met a procession of prelates, canons and priests who had walked from the Puerta del Perdón, at the other side of the city, with a crucifix raised before them, followed by an enormous crowd. On each side of the arch above the doorway of the great church stood an angel, and in the centre another beautiful maiden crowned with gold, in a blue mantle, representing the Blessed Virgin. As the King and Queen dismounted, the angels began to sing:

“Tua est potentia, tuum est regnum, Domine; Tu es super omnes gentes; da pacem, Domine, in diebus nostris”

To the rhythm of the triumphal chant the procession entered the church. In the vast grove of marble and granite, rich colours of sunlight filtered through stained glass and mingled with the shadows about the young King and the beautiful Queen, kneeling in silence before the high altar. If success had made them somewhat lordlier to men, it had left them humbler before the Most High, and they never failed to give thanks for even the most insignificant successes. God, who might have given them the acid cup of defeat, had given them victory instead—to God, then, not to them, be the glory!

TBC...

ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA) - Page 4 23915810
Javier
Javier

Nombre de messages : 4068
Localisation : Ilici Augusta (Hispania)
Date d'inscription : 26/02/2009

Revenir en haut Aller en bas

ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA) - Page 4 Empty Re: ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA)

Message  Javier Mer 17 Juil 2019, 4:58 am

On the next day there was a second and more magnificent procession to the Cathedral. With a blaring of trumpets, and rolling of drums and the fluttering of many banners, they marched through the portal of their ancestor, Saint Fernando, who had freed Spain from the Moorish yoke by taking Córdoba, the Almohad capital, in 1235. Isabel, an expert in mob psychology, who never lost an opportunity to impress the Castilian imagination with the glitter of royalty on state occasions—she always remembered the slovenly boots of Enrique with something like a shudder— appeared that morning in a rich gown of white brocade, flowered with castles and lions of gold. On her brow sat the golden crown of Saint Fernando, afire with precious stones. From her shoulders fell a long mantle of ermine, the train of which was held by two pages with escutcheons of the arms of Castile on their breasts. Around her neck was the famous necklace of pearls and the collar of balas rubies, pale rose colour in the sunlight, the largest of them, in the centre, popularly believed to have belonged to King Solomon, when he sent to Spain, the ancient Tarshish of the Jews, for his gold and silver, his ivory and apes and peacocks.

After hearing High Mass, the King and the Queen walked to the tomb of their ancestor, Juan the first of Castile, who had been humbled by the Portuguese at Aljubarrota nearly a hundred years before. Over the place where he rested, Isabel draped the torn and bloody standard of Alfonso V, captured by the Cardinal of Spain in the battle of Toro. The wheel of time had come full circle: the vanquished was in the ascendant, Castilian honour had been redeemed.

Before leaving Toledo, Isabel bought several houses between the gate of St. Martin and the gate of Cambron, ordered them to be destroyed, and there broke ground for the Franciscan monastery of Saint John of the Kings—for Kings (reyes) she often styled herself and Fernando, since the Spanish word is not restricted to the male sex. She engaged Juan Guaz, the maestro mayor, a Fleming, as architect. Years would pass before the completion of the great single nave divided into four vaults, carved with the most delicate lace- work in stone, no two arches alike anywhere. It was a work always dear to the Queen, the concrete expression of her love carved in imperishable stone. Everywhere in that church may be found the arms of Castile and Aragon with the ciphers of Isabel and Fernando interlaced with flowers, fruits, leaves and carvings of odd birds and weird beasts. The young Queen never tired of contributing gold chalices, jewels, trophies, tapestries, paintings to the memorial.

The sovereigns went from Toledo to Madrid. While they were there, an ambassador with a fair moustache came from King Edward IV of England, to negotiate a treaty allowing reciprocal privileges to merchants of both nations. Fernando had already begun to think of an alliance with England against the new French autocracy that had despoiled his father of Roussillon and Cerdagne; and he too, like his wife, was descended from the House of Lancaster. They received the ambassador with all honour. As he desired to deliver a formal address before them, a platform was erected, that he might declaim with greater dignity and effect. He commenced a long harangue in Latin on the marvellous love his liege lord bore the most serene and puissant majesties of Spain, while Fernando and Isabel, who knew no Latin, must have wondered what he was talking about. Unhappily, when the diplomat was working himself up to a fine crescendo, the plank he was standing on gave way, and he was buried up to his armpits. The King and Queen, much mortified, looked as solemn as possible to keep from laughing. Before help could reach the ambassador, he extricated himself and continued his discourse, true Briton that he was, without losing countenance.

After this comic interlude, there came a diplomatic communication of quite another tenor from the new king of Granada—Muley Abou’l Hassan his name was, and he was a Moorish potentate of the old fighting tradition. In 1476, Isabel had sent to ask him for the customary tribute. His answer was a refusal. It was believed in Castile that he was preparing to renew the ancient war that had languished under his voluptuous predecessors; that he looked back with regret to the glorious day in the previous century when 400,000 Moors had invaded the Christian kingdoms, and cherished some hope of emulation.

On the heels of Muley’s refusal came the report that fresh Portuguese armies had entered Castile from Badajoz and Ciudad-Rodrigo; that Alfonso’s Castilian allies were assuming the offensive from Castro Ñuño, Cubellas and Cantalapiedra; that Alfonso V had arrived in Paris and been received with great honour by Louis XI. Fernando decided to crush the Castilian rebels in the west, once and for all, while Cárdenas went into Estremadura to repel the Portuguese. There remained a third, and in some respects more critical theatre of war—the south, where the wildest anarchy reigned. There Isabel herself proposed to go.

The King and the Council objected that the risk was too great. There was no city or town in all southern Estremadura that she could use as a base of operations. Every fortress was in the hands of some petty tyrant whose crimes were so notorious that he dared not surrender for fear of being hanged. If Isabel asked for the delivery of a fort and was refused, she would be in the disadvantageous position of requesting what she could not command. While she assailed one place, others would rebel. The continuance of looting and burning while the Queen was in the neighbourhood would injure her royal prestige incalculably. Better remain in a safe place such as Toledo, they said, where she could be in touch with all developments, until the King took the key positions of Castro Ñuño, Cubellas and Siete Iglesias, and Cárdenas defeated the Portuguese.

The Queen listened to the advice, and as usual, calmly announced her own decision.

“I have ever heard it said that the blood, like a good schoolmistress, always goes to repair the part of the body that receives some hurt. Now, to hear continually of the war that the Portuguese make as foes and the Castilians as tyrants, and to endure it with complacency, would not be the office of a good king; for kings who wish to reign have to labour. It seems to me that my lord ought to go to those places beyond the mountain pass, and I to the other parts of Estremadura. ... It is true that there are certain obstacles to my going, such as you have mentioned. But in all human affairs there are things both certain and doubtful, and both are equally in the hands of God, who is accustomed to guide to a good end the causes that are just and are sought with diligence.”

The King and the Council acquiesced, knowing well that when the Queen spoke in that vein, further argument was useless. While Fernando took the field in the west, therefore, Isabel donned her armour again and rode south into the country of her foes the robber barons.


To be continued...

ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA) - Page 4 23915810
Javier
Javier

Nombre de messages : 4068
Localisation : Ilici Augusta (Hispania)
Date d'inscription : 26/02/2009

Revenir en haut Aller en bas

ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA) - Page 4 Empty Re: ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA)

Message  Javier Ven 19 Juil 2019, 5:14 am

Seville, that ancient city on the left bank of the Guadalquivir had been for uncounted centuries what Valdes called it—the symbol of light, the city of love and joy. It was Hispal to the Phoenicians, Hispalis to the Romans, Ishbilliah to the conquering Moslems, Sevilla to the Christians who recaptured it under Saint Fernando. As capital of Baetica it had been a pleasure-resort for wealthy Romans; in its suburbs were born the emperors Hadrian, Trajan, Theodosius. Saint Gerontius preached there while Saints Peter and Paul were in Rome. Saints Justa and Rufina, the potters, were martyred there in 303 for refusing to adore the idol Salambo. The Moors, having conquered it, rebuilt it to their own liking and, as Isabel knew it, it was architecturally a Moorish city. The Cathedral, where the choir boys danced in gay costumes before the high altar on the feasts of Corpus Christi and the Immaculate Conception, had been a mosque turned into one of the finest Gothic structures in Europe. The delicate Giralda tower adjoining it, with the image of Faith above, had been the work of the Arab Al-Jebr, inventor of algebra; and the Alcázar, which San Fernando adopted as his residence, had been the dwelling place of the Almarovid and Almohad kings—in fact, when Pedro the Cruel rebuilt it in the fourteenth century, he summoned from Granada workmen who had toiled on the Alhambra, to keep its Moorish character. The whole city, indeed, was Moorish, a bewildering labyrinth of narrow winding streets and lanes, lined with one-storey white houses enclosing gay flowers and cool fountains in patios where the people virtually lived most of the year. In Isabel’s time, as now, it was a sensuously charming city that seemed made for a perpetual summer evening, drowsy with the scent of orange blossoms in the light of the moon. The sound of guitars and castanets came from the gipsy quarter at Triana: across the river and in patios and balconies everywhere were heard singing and dancing, and the laughter of men and women.

Yet this city, in the year 1477, was reeking with corruption, and trembling with hatred and fear. For, though the architecture was Moorish, the population was chiefly divided into the two irreconcilable camps of Christianity and Judaism.

There was a large Jewish quarter, the judería, but the old law compelling the Jews to reside in it was no longer enforced. Far more numerous than the sad-eyed children of Israel were those of their race who lived as Conversos among the Christians, intermarried with them, held the most influential and lucrative offices, owned the most valuable property in the city, and derived great incomes from merchandise, from money-lending and from the busy slave market in which Moors and blacks from Africa were bought and sold. To introduce one more discord, the Duke of Medina Sidonia and young Don Rodrigo Ponce de Leon, Marqués of Cádiz, had been fighting pitched battles in and about the city for three years.

TBC...

ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA) - Page 4 23915881
Javier
Javier

Nombre de messages : 4068
Localisation : Ilici Augusta (Hispania)
Date d'inscription : 26/02/2009

Revenir en haut Aller en bas

ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA) - Page 4 Empty Re: ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA)

Message  Javier Sam 20 Juil 2019, 11:49 am

When Isabel approached Seville on a July morning in 1477, a long procession of negroes from Triana in brilliant suits of red, green and yellow came dancing from the gates along the road to meet her. Light and joyous in their movements, they seemed insensible even to the burning glow of the Andalusian sun, and flung arms and legs and lithe bodies in a frenzy of rhythm until they were ordered to desist.2 The Queen, on a pale Andalusian mule, entered with her usual magnificence, accompanied by a brilliant cortege of nobles, and of rich Jews and Conversos, anxious to show their loyalty. The streets were canopied with rich old tapestries stretched from one roof to another, so that the royal cortege, glittering with gems and purple and cloth of gold, might advance in a soft multicoloured shadow, over ground strewn with jasmine and roses from hundreds of gardens. Going first to the Cathedral, Isabel knelt before an ivory statue of Our Lady of the Kings that her ancestor San Fernando had always carried in battle at his saddlebow, and gave thanks to God for all His mercies. Afterward she went to the Alcázar, the home of many kings. She walked through gardens where tufted palms swayed over pomegranates laden with blood-red fruit, and orange-trees with their spheres of gold. She sat, pensive and grave, in the judgment seat of San Fernando, in the Hall of the Ambassadors; and there she resolved to restore peace to laughing Seville. While the chief men of the city were hurrying about to arrange for her entertainment, she was calmly thinking of having some of them hanged.

Never, in the memory of its inhabitants, had any monarch had such a welcome in Seville. The “Twenty-Four” imposed a heavy tax to defray the expenses of the demonstration; ordered merchants to furnish fine Venetian velvet woven with gold for the hanging of the royal bed-chamber;3 commandeered ornaments, laces, fine Oriental stuffs, for the Queen’s uses; gave new uniforms to the militia; bade the heralds buy better horses.

The feasts and banquets that followed were brilliant. There were bull-fights in the great arena where the Romans had enjoyed the bloody sport fifteen centuries before. But the Queen looked with impatience at the procession of alguacils, in archaic police uniforms, the espadas who waited with swords on foot to engage the huge black beast when he rushed out angered by the darts of the banderilleros and the waving red pennants of the chulos; the picadors on horseback, with spears or lances; a beautiful horse ripped open; the black snorting bull sinking at last to his death in the bloody sand, the muleteros with gaily caparisoned mules dragging the corpse from the ring—it only sickened her. Not that bloodshed troubled her particularly—when it was necessary. Wars were sometimes necessary, in her philosophy, and so were executions justly ordered by royal persons who had received authority from God. But this was different —it was unnecessary; and Isabel, on seeing a torero killed, forbade all bull-fighting in future. Fernando and Mendoza, who knew how passionately the Andalusians loved the sport, said she was attempting the impossible. In the end she had to modify her rule, ordering that false horns, blunted, be fixed to the heads of the bulls. But if the Sevillanos imagined that the Queen was averse to bloodletting in a cause she considered necessary, they were soon to be disillusioned.

TBC...

ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA) - Page 4 23915810
Javier
Javier

Nombre de messages : 4068
Localisation : Ilici Augusta (Hispania)
Date d'inscription : 26/02/2009

Revenir en haut Aller en bas

ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA) - Page 4 Empty Re: ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA)

Message  Javier Lun 22 Juil 2019, 12:35 pm

The festivities concluded, she demanded reports on the condition of the city from nobles and clergy. What she heard more than confirmed her apprehensions. Apart from the civil wars between great nobles, major crimes were daily commonplaces. Tales of murder, arson, rape, sodomy, blasphemy, every sort of theft and robbery, poured into the Queen’s ears. The leading Christians of Seville, both lay and clerical, attributed the laxity in morals to the contact of the Christian population with Conversos who had given up Judaism without sincerely accepting Christianity. Fray Alonzo de Ojeda, a Dominican, advised her to establish an Inquisition So did Philip de Barberis, Inquisitor in Fernando’s kingdom of Sicily, who was then in Seville. Without such an instrument, they predicted, Christianity would soon disappear from the land, and Isabel and Fernando would be responsible.

“The Spanish Jews differed but little from the Christian population with regard to customs and education,” says a Jewish authority. “They were fond of luxury, and the women wore costly garments with long trains, also valuable jewellery; this tended to increase the hatred of the populace toward them. They were quarrelsome and inclined to robbery, and often attacked and insulted one another even in their synagogues and prayer houses, frequently inflicting wounds with the rapier or sword they were accustomed to carry.” 4 This was equally true of the Marranos; but they were even more disliked because as “Christians” they dominated activities from which the Jews were excluded.

The Queen had long known how acute the problem was in Seville, Córdoba, and Toledo. In her own time there had been several massacres of Conversos, besides the one at Córdoba in 1473. In Seville the New Christians, numerous enough to consider retaliation in force, had secretly organized and armed a militia of more than 5,000 men, only to provoke a new massacre of which they were the victims. To put an end to this warfare once and for all was one of the chief objects of Isabel’s policy.

She did not believe the antipathy between Christians and Conversos was racial. She would not have agreed with the gloomy view of the modern Jew who wrote that “Jew and Gentile are two worlds—between you Gentiles and us Jews there lies an unbridgeable gulf,"  though she might have agreed with his “Wherever the Jew is found, he is a problem —a source of unhappiness to himself and to those around him.”4a But the difference as Isabel saw it was chiefly religious, not racial. She had no prejudice against those Conversos who sincerely attempted to practise the doctrines of Christianity. To the end of her life she employed many of them in positions of trust, and it was her opinion that the truly Christian Jews, who gave up altogether the customs that marked the Jews as a people apart, got on much better with their Christian neighbours. The final assimilation of millions of Jews by the Spanish people seems to lend some confirmation to her theory. But the impression prevailed in Spain that most of the Conversos went to Mass on Sunday and to the synagogue on Saturday. It was difficult to tell which of them were truly Christians and which were Jews.The way of the mob was to murder all indiscriminately. Isabel viewed such injustice with horror and anger. But how was she to distinguish between the sincere and the pseudo-Christian?

TBC...

ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA) - Page 4 23915810
Javier
Javier

Nombre de messages : 4068
Localisation : Ilici Augusta (Hispania)
Date d'inscription : 26/02/2009

Revenir en haut Aller en bas

ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA) - Page 4 Empty Re: ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA)

Message  Javier Mar 23 Juil 2019, 11:04 am

To ascertain whether the Inquisition was the best means to accomplish her purpose, she asked Don Alonso de Solis, the venerable Bishop of Cadiz, to investigate the situation in Seville and report to her. But the crimes of Seville she intended to deal with in her own direct way, under the existing laws. She announced that every Friday she would hold, in accordance with an old custom of the Kings of Castile, an audiencia, to which all plaintiffs in criminal or civil causes might bring their suits and obtain justice quickly and without cost.

All day Friday, during the next two months, the poor and oppressed would go from the Plaza de la Monteria through the Court of the Ladies with its fifty-two white marble columns into the Hall of the Ambassadors. There against a background of blue glazed tiles, azulejos, and Arabian decorations, stood a high dais, draped with cloth of gold, on which, gravely attentive, sat the young Queen. On one side, below her, were several prelates and cavaliers; on the other, the doctors of her Council; in front, three or four secretaries; farther off, the alcaldes, alguacils and mace-bearers of the court.

The number of plaintiffs fully justified the Queen’s estimate of the need of hearings. As each petition was received by the secretaries, Isabel committed it to one of the councillors, with instructions that the evidence be examined diligently, and a decision returned in three days. She herself heard all doubtful cases and appeals. Soldiers began bringing in malefactors, great and small, rich and poor, from all parts of Seville and its environs. Murderers and other major offenders were taken out, given time to confess, and hanged without further ceremony. Goods were restored to owners in huge quantities.

As it became evident that the Queen was in earnest, supplications began to pour in from various influential people, some of whom offered her money if she would relent. But Isabel was impervious to bribery, to supplications, to threats and criticisms. She began to appear to the dismayed Sevillanos almost like a bloodless abstraction, the cold personification of mechanical justice. Even the wrongdoers who had not been denounced began to leave their homes by night. Four thousand persons fled from the city within a week.

So heavily did the Queen’s mailed hand fall that at length the Bishop of Cádiz begged an audience with her, bringing with him a great throng of the wives, children, parents, brothers and sisters of the fugitives. Having great respect for the learned old man, she listened to his fervent rhetoric with the patience she had denied to others. The rigour of her magistrates, said the Bishop, had converted their joy into sorrow, fear and anguish. It was only natural that under a lax government like Enrique’s, human nature should have followed the course of least resistance. So many in Seville were guilty that hardly a house was without a criminal, or an accessory in some way to crime. If the Queen continued to insist upon absolute justice, the city would be depopulated and ruined. Humbly, as she could see, and “with tears and groans,” they all begged for mercy.

“True it is, most excellent Queen and Lady, that our Lord uses justice as well as mercy; but justice sometimes, and mercy all the time,” said the old Bishop, “for if He used justice as He does mercy, all mortals would be condemned, and the world would perish. . . . Scripture enjoins mercy, and the Holy Catholic Church continually chants in praise of the mercy of God. The reign of justice is nigh to cruelty, and the prince is called cruel who, even though he has cause, does not use moderation in punishing.” 5

Frank words, these, to an autocrat of Isabel’s temper; yet she listened thoughtfully, as she usually did to criticism, and concluded that there was something in what the prelate was saying—and after all, she had accomplished her end. She acceded to the request for mercy, by proclaiming a general amnesty covering all offences save one—heresy. The exception was significant.

TBC...

ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA) - Page 4 23915810
Javier
Javier

Nombre de messages : 4068
Localisation : Ilici Augusta (Hispania)
Date d'inscription : 26/02/2009

Revenir en haut Aller en bas

ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA) - Page 4 Empty Re: ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA)

Message  Javier Mer 24 Juil 2019, 6:07 am

When Isabel first went to Seville, the Duke of Medina Sidonia had joined the Conversos in protesting against the Holy Brotherhood, but on being informed that she had no intention of bringing back the times of Enrique IV, he had eulogized the Queen’s audiencias with all the assiduity he was master of. After the amnesty he had praises not only for the Queen’s justice but for the Queen’s surpassing mercy. He had, however, one suggestion to make: no matter how many judgments she pronounced, no matter how many Hermanos (members of the Brotherhood) ranged the roads from Portugal to Barcelona, there would be no peace in Seville and in Spain until she crushed and exterminated that notorious tyrant and criminal, that lawless, murderous, destructive, disloyal, traitorous viper, the Marqués of Cádiz. For years that graceless young reprobate had kept the city embroiled in civil war. Since Isabel’s accession, he had been conspiring against her with the King of Portugal. Had he not married a sister of that other infamous rebel, the Marqués of Villena? The true reason why the Duke, always heart and soul devoted to Isabel, had been unable to aid her in the war against Portugal, had been the necessity of protecting her city of Seville against the Marqués.6 She had no idea what trouble and expense he had been put to in her service. He accepted the burden in a cheerful spirit, for it was a pleasure to exhaust one’s health and patrimony in the service of so great a Queen. Nevertheless all would be in vain if the Marqués roamed at liberty. The Duke begged the Queen to proceed against him as against a public enemy.

Opinion in Seville somewhat confirmed the Duke’s account, for he was popular there. It was openly predicted that the Queen would never tame the Marqués without waging an expensive civil war against him. These prognostications having reached the Queen’s ear, she “conceived a great indignation against Don Rodrigo.”

How the feud between him and the Duke began, she was unable to discover. Like the King Fernando, he was evidently nursed on battles—Bernaldez mentions his being wounded as a boy in a pitched battle with the Moors in 1462. Much younger than the Duke, he seems to have offended that magnate’s delicate sense of punctilio in some way difficult to forgive or to apologize for. Both lived in Seville, and both being meticulous on points of honour, their quarrel grew into a civil war until all the city was full of armed men crying, “Niebla!” and “Ponce de Leon!”

The account of Bernaldez shows graphically the sort of anarchy that Isabel had to suppress everywhere before she could begin the reconstruction of Spain. At one time the Marqués virtually sacked the city. Ruffians in his employ set fire “unintentionally” to the doors of the church of St. Mark to drive out of it some of the Duke’s partisans, and the whole church was burned down. The entire town, with a furious ringing of the church bells, joined with the Duke in driving Don Rodrigo out of the city. He seized the strong fort of Jerez, and made war in revenge on “all Andalusia.” Subsequently, on Monday, March 8, 1473, the two factions met at Carmona, and fought a furious battle in which the two bastard brothers of the Duke were killed, and Luis de Pernia, a brother-in-arms of the Marqués, who had fought with him against the Moors, was laid low with a ball from an espingarda. Both the Duke and the Marqués vowed vengeance. They had been at war continuously ever since—a period of four years.

TBC...

ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA) - Page 4 23915810
Javier
Javier

Nombre de messages : 4068
Localisation : Ilici Augusta (Hispania)
Date d'inscription : 26/02/2009

Revenir en haut Aller en bas

ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA) - Page 4 Empty Re: ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA)

Message  Javier Ven 26 Juil 2019, 4:07 am

The arrival of King Fernando and the consequent ceremonies in his honour, temporarily diverted Isabel from her purpose to seize the Marqués and make an example of him. His friends in the city, however, got wind of her displeasure, and warned him of his danger. Instead of taking flight, he mounted a horse one August evening, rode to Seville, with only one servant, passed through the tortuous streets where his enemies lived, till he came to the Alcázar, and asked for an audience with the Queen.

Isabel had retired to her chamber, but on receiving the startling intelligence that Don Rodrigo Ponce de Leon was outside, she went forth and received him. She saw a man in his early thirties, of middle height, though his powerful and compact frame made him look shorter; a man with an open, ruddy countenance, somewhat pock-marked; a face framed by curly red hair and ending in a pointed beard of fiery red. Two frank and fearless eyes calmly met the Queen’s cool scrutiny. Don Rodrigo made a bow in which there was respect but no servility. She waited for him to speak.

“You see me here, most powerful Queen, in your hands," he began, “to show my innocence and, that being demonstrated, your royal highness may do with me what you please. I do not come here with faith in any safe-conduct that your royal majesty has given me, but I come with that which my innocence gives me. Nor do I come to speak words, but to show deeds; having no desire to weary your royal ears with denunciations of anyone else, but only to save myself with the truth, which always saves the innocent. Send, Señora, to receive your fortresses of Jerez and Alcalá, which, as my enemies have given you to understand, can be taken only with difficulty, by many troops, with much waste of time; and if those of my patrimony are needed for your service, I will have them delivered from this your room, as I deliver my person to you. And to avoid displeasing your Majesty, I refrain from saying how the Duke my adversary united the greater part of the people of this city, and came to my house, and drove me out of it, and despoiled me of my own land. Nor do I even wish to cite the wrongs that he has done to me and to mine, since your Highness will learn of these through accurate sources. And above all, let your Royal Highness believe that I will console myself before enduring your wrath and his pride. And if I correspond with the King of Portugal, or do anything to your disservice, I call upon God, who knows the secret of all hearts, as my witness, and you, who have seen my public deeds." 7

The Queen was immensely relieved. Her secretary wrote that hearing his reasons, she was “muy contenta, since he spoke briefly and with effect."

After a moment of thought she said: “It is true that I have no good reports of you; but the confidence that you have shown in coming to me gives evidence of your blamelessness; and granting that you deserved punishment, your placing yourself in this manner in my hands would oblige me to treat you with benignity. Deliver then those fortresses of mine, Jérez and Alcalá, and I will investigate the disputes between you and the Duke of Medina, and determine what may be just, protecting the honour of both of you.” 8

Isabel, with her knowledge of Andalusian character, had shrewdly put her finger on the sensitive point in the Marqués' nature—his aggrieved sense of honour. She was rewarded by seeing his proud reserve melt, and his blue eyes shine with confidence and admiration, as he said:

“I hold you, Señora, in singular gratitude, that it pleases you to investigate those differences between me and the Duke; for your Royal Highness must certainly find that none exists, save the Duke’s desire to rule this city alone, so that neither you, who are its mistress, can use your seignory, nor the cavalier native to it enjoy the place of his residence. And concerning the reports you have had of conversations I have entered into with the King of Portugal, against your service, on account of my brother-in-law, the Marqués of Villena, it is true that I am married to his sister, but marriage does not make it necessary that I should desire what he desires, nor follow the road that he follows—and if by chance, by any way public or secret, your Highness finds that I in those past times favoured the cause of the King of Portugal, I will suffer with patience whatever penalty you may ordain for me. True it is, that in the past wars I have not served your Highness as I ought and as I desired, on account of the hindrances and great wars that were made for me on the part of the Duke, in which I certainly did not serve Portugal, as the Duke says, but resisted him, as all know.”

Isabel smiled on the Marqués with that frank impersonal confidence that her greenish-blue eyes held for those whom she respected, and sent him away, her friend for life. With him went one of her captains to take possession of Jérez and Alcalá.

TBC...

ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA) - Page 4 23915810
Javier
Javier

Nombre de messages : 4068
Localisation : Ilici Augusta (Hispania)
Date d'inscription : 26/02/2009

Revenir en haut Aller en bas

ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA) - Page 4 Empty Re: ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA)

Message  Javier Sam 27 Juil 2019, 11:28 am

The submission of the Marqués was a great disappointment to the Duke and his friends, some of whom had hoped he would cause a new civil war which might bring both diversion and profit. Even more distressing to the Duke was the Queen’s command that he deliver up seven fortresses illegally bestowed on him by Enrique IV. However, he yielded gracefully to the inevitable.

To another lawless noble, the Mariscal Saavedra, the Queen sent a demand for Tampa, which he occupied, and the powerful Utrera, which one of his henchmen held for him. He replied that King Enrique had given them to his father, and he saw no reason why he should be despoiled of them. Isabel brought up all her heavy bombards and turned them on the thick walls of Utrera. The siege lasted forty days, at the end of which time Alonso de Cárdenas, fresh from his triumphs in the west, took it by assault. The Alcaide and all but a score of his men were killed in the furious battle. Cárdenas took the twenty-two captives to Seville, where the King, learning that they were all notorious brigands, had them hanged.

Fernando had been engaged that summer in work similar to the Queen’s. He had attempted to take Castro Nuño by storm and had failed, for it was on a high fortified hill and could not be commanded by artillery. There was nothing to do but leave a besieging army there to starve out the garrison.

The sovereigns, reunited at Seville in August, went to the Cathedral together to pray for a male heir. Fernando was beginning to see how useful children, even daughters, might be in the great European chess game that he hoped to enter after the restoration of peace. But, like all kings, he greatly desired a son. So did Isabel: “and with great supplications and sacrifices; and the pious works that she did,” wrote Pulgar, “it pleased God that she conceived.” Her child was expected in the summer of 1478.

Even during pregnancy the Queen seldom cancelled her engagements or relaxed in her energetic prosecution of public business. Her labours were prodigious. Yet there were always new reforms to be undertaken: there were more than a hundred private mints to be suppressed; money to be raised; castles to be taken; enormous estates, illegally given away by Enrique, to be resumed by the Crown, naturally to the displeasure of the recipients. And meanwhile she found time to teach her daughter Isabel, and to be a patron of the arts.

In October the Duke of Medina Sidonia entertained the sovereigns at San Lúcar. Then, to show their impartiality, they went to Rota, where the Marqués of Cádiz gave them banquets more magnificent, if possible, than those of the Duke. All Isabel’s powers of persuasion, however, failed to thaw Andalusian pride and punctilio to the point of reconciliation between the old foes. Hence she ordered both to stay on their estates, and not to enter Seville under pain of death.

TBC...

ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA) - Page 4 23915810
Javier
Javier

Nombre de messages : 4068
Localisation : Ilici Augusta (Hispania)
Date d'inscription : 26/02/2009

Revenir en haut Aller en bas

ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA) - Page 4 Empty Re: ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA)

Message  Javier Lun 29 Juil 2019, 6:03 am

About the first of December the Court returned to Seville for the winter. On Christmas Day that year, Isabel and Fernando issued the first known royal decree on printing. Thierry Martins or Dierck Maertens, the famous Alost and Louvain printer whose disappearance from 1476 to 1480 so long remained a mystery, appeared that winter in Seville, where he was called Theodoric the German, or Teodorico Aleman. Isabel’s decree of December 25, 1477, makes him exempt from taxation, as “one of the chief persons in the discovery of the art of printing books, an art imported into Spain at great risk and expense, to enrich the libraries of the kingdoms, and providing more books for many learned men of our kingdoms, which redounds to the honour and utility of them and of our subjects.” Any one who hinders Thierry or his workmen companions is threatened with civil and criminal prosecution and the confiscation of his property. 9 The first book printed in Spain was a collection of songs in honour of Our Lady, 1474, followed by an edition of Sallust, 1478, and a translation of the Bible into Castilian, 1478, by Father Boniface Ferrer. Isabel, who had found time even during the war to add to her father’s collection of illuminated manuscripts, immediately saw the possibilities of the new invention.

Seville, chastened by the Queen’s justice and restored to tranquillity by her mercy, enjoyed a gay winter outwardly, whatever discontents may have rankled under the surface. Spring came, and with it some interesting news from Portugal. A wondrous mine of gold, discovered at St. George la Mina six years before, was making the Portuguese fabulously rich. It was said that the naked black barbarians would give a nugget as large as a man’s fist for an old suit of clothes, or a few hawk’s bells. From Seville, from Cádiz, from every port of Spain, caravels and galleys set sail, and one ship brought back 10,000 pesos (twenty thousand pounds) in gold.

But the most common topic of conversation in the Court and all Spain was the Queen’s approaching accouchement. Prayers were said for her in the churches of Castile and Leon; and there was great joy, and much ringing of bells and firing of cannon, when she gave birth to a son on the morning of June 30th. 10 The King, according to ancient custom, commanded Garci Tellez, Alonso Melgarejo, Fernando de Abrego and Juan de Pineda to be present as witnesses with the midwife, a woman of Seville called la Herradera; and the tiny Prince, on his arrival, was committed to the care of a wet-nurse of noble family, Doña Maria de Guzman. The people of Seville celebrated for three days and nights.

Prince Juan was taken to the Cathedral to be baptized on the ninth of July. Fortunately for curious posterity, there stood among the spectators a young priest with the eye of a society reporter, who set down all he saw in minute detail.

The chapel where the baptismal font was, and the pillars of the whole forest of marble and granite, were draped with brocades and silks of all gay colours imaginable. Followed by the glad cries of the people, and held on a pillow of red brocade in the arms of a nurse, the royal child entered the Cathedral at the head of a splendid procession, including the Court, the foreign ambassadors, the officials of Seville, and the great prelates and nobles of the south. First came Cardinal Mendoza, “the third King of Spain,” followed by the distinguished godfathers, the Papal Legate, the Ambassador of Venice, the Constable of Castile, and the Count of Benavente.

In Spain no such ceremonial is complete without music. So there were infinitos instrumentos de música, including horns of all sorts from the highest piccolo to the throatiest basso- profundo. The magistrates of Seville carried the rods of justice in their hands, and all wore new robes of ornamental black velvet that the city purchased for the occasion. Don Pedro de Stuniga guarded a great silver dish containing the baptismal candle and the customary offerings. Before him, carrying the dish, walked a page so small that he held it atop of his head, steadying it with his hands, that the people might see that the offering was a great gold excelente made of 50 melted gold pieces. Walking beside this midget were two damsels of the Queen, and behind them two brothers of noble birth with a gilded pitcher and a golden cup for the ceremony. The high-born wet-nurse was attended by four grandees of the court, and many other caballeros and notables. Last of all, in a burst of splendour, came the godmother, the Duchess of Medina Sidonia, carried, “for greater honour,” on the haunches of the mule of the Count of Benavente, and followed by nine damsels clad in silk of different colours, with silken skirts and tabards. The Duchess herself, with a heavy chain at her neck, wore a rich skirt of brocade, embroidered with pearls, and a tabard of white satin lined with damask. At the feast that followed the baptism, the King and the Court were very festive and merry. King Fernando’s pet dwarf, Alegre, was never more amusing. As he admired the tabard of the Duchess, she sent it to him after the banquet. 11

TBC...

ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA) - Page 4 23915810
Javier
Javier

Nombre de messages : 4068
Localisation : Ilici Augusta (Hispania)
Date d'inscription : 26/02/2009

Revenir en haut Aller en bas

ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA) - Page 4 Empty Re: ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA)

Message  Javier Mar 30 Juil 2019, 9:35 am

Just a month later, on a Sunday in August, the Queen went to Mass to present the Prince at the temple, as the Infant Jesus had been presented in Jerusalem by His Mother. The King went before her, very splendid on a small silver-grey nag. His Majesty wore a sumptuous brocade trimmed with gold and a sombrero bordered with thread of gold, and the trappings of his horse were of gold on a black velvet. Queen Isabel sat on a small white horse with a gilded saddle and caparisons of gold and silver, and her silk skirt was woven with pearls. With her went the Duchess of Villahermosa, and no other lady. Following joyously were many musicians; and walking before their Majesties were the officials of the city, on foot, and the grandes of the court.

The nurse of the Prince followed on a mule, proudly bearing the Prince on a pillow in her arms. Grandes of the court surrounded her, and with her went the Admiral of Castile. “That day they said Mass at the bright altars of the Cathedral muy festivamente” wrote Bemaldez, 12 and all returned to the Alcázar.

Three weeks after this event the people of Seville and all Andalusia were terrified by a total eclipse of the sun. Scientists in the Dominican college at Salamanca had expected it, and observed it, but the populace were sorely troubled when the sun became black in the middle of the day, and the stars appeared as at night. With cries and prayers they rushed into all the churches to implore God not to destroy them. Bernaldez reports that the sun did not resume the natural clear colour it had the day before the eclipse.13 Astrologers looked solemn and gave various interpretations. Some said it was a good omen of the greatness of the King and Queen and of the mighty power that the Prince Don Juan would inherit. Others feared disasters for the Prince and Castile.

Over the heads of some unfortunate inhabitants of Seville, at any rate, a storm was indeed gathering. It was about this time that the Bishop of Cádiz reported the results of his investigation. He told the Queen what she had long suspected, that most of the Conversos were secret Jews, who had kept contact with the Jews of the synagogue. They were continually winning over Christians to Judaical practices. They were “on the point of preaching the law of Moses” 14 from Catholic pulpits. The Bishop saw no prospect of avoiding continual bickerings and crimes and massacres unless Their Highnesses removed the causes of these disorders. And this could be done only by enforcing the ancient laws compelling the Jews to live apart from the Conversos in juderías, where they could not proselytize; and by establishing a special court to punish those Marranos who were guilty of Judaizing and other offences against the State religion. If these measures were not taken, the Jews would sooner or later succeed in their design to destroy Christianity in Spain, to make it into a Jewish country, and to reduce the Christians to virtual bondage, political as well as economic.

TBC...

ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA) - Page 4 23915810
Javier
Javier

Nombre de messages : 4068
Localisation : Ilici Augusta (Hispania)
Date d'inscription : 26/02/2009

Revenir en haut Aller en bas

ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA) - Page 4 Empty Re: ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA)

Message  Javier Mer 31 Juil 2019, 11:43 am

How to distinguish between the Judaizing Conversos and the sincere Christian Jews by judicial process—that was still the question. And in the venerable Bishop’s opinion it could not be done by the ordinary criminal courts of the state. Serious as the crimes against faith were in their effects on public morality, they were so secret that overt acts were difficult to prove. The test must be whether the accused Jew professing Christianity really believed and practised the teachings of the Christian Church or followed those of the synagogue and induced others to do likewise. An ordinary judge, though a lawyer, could not pass judgment intelligently on matters purely religious. Therefore a religious court of inquiry was needed to judge of the orthodoxy of the accused before the State proceeded against him.

It is probable that the Bishop only voiced the growing conviction of both the King and Queen that there was no practical way to complete their ambitious programme for the independence of Christian Spain except to borrow the spiritual powers of the Church. To them, as to all rulers of their time—Catholic and otherwise—unity of faith seemed the first essential of good government, and its enforcement the first duty of a King. If this appeared true in the days of peace, it was hardly likely to be questioned in wartime, when all governments everywhere insisted upon unity at any cost. And Castile was undoubtedly on the eve of a long and dangerous conflict.

To the Spanish Christian, descended from a long line of crusaders and taught from the cradle the glories of the perpetual war that could end only in the complete reconquest of Granada, any mention of the Moors was likely to conjure up recollections of the historic alignment of the Jews on the side of the enemy. What the children of Israel had done once, their descendants might do again. In any tribunal that could compel the Conversos to be loyal and besides make them pay a goodly share of the expenses of the imminent war, the Old Christians saw but a beautiful example of poetic justice. The Jews had invited the Moors into Spain; let the sons of the Jews pay for driving them out again. King Fernando is said to have made some such argument to the Queen.

Events were lending an edge to his logic. While the King and Queen were at Seville, their envoy came back from Granada with Muley Abou’l Hassan’s reply to their final demand for the tribute. It was this:

“The Kings of Granada who paid tribute are dead, and so are the Kings who received it.”

He had no objection, however, to a three-year truce, and Isabel and Fernando, having neither money nor men, were obliged to consent. The terms of the treaty permitted either side to make brief raids, and to capture any towns that could be reduced within three days 15—a concession to hotheaded frontiersmen whom neither government could restrain. But the treaty had hardly been signed when Muley invaded Christian Murcia with 4,000 cavalry and 30,000 infantry, destroyed the crops and drove off cattle. Taking the Christian town of Cieza by storm within three days, he put all the inhabitants, men, women and children, to the sword, and withdrew at leisure to Granada. 16

Isabel and Fernando were compelled to endure the humiliation of permitting him to escape unpunished after this atrocity. But they solemnly renewed the promise they had made in their marriage-agreement nine years before never to rest while the Moslem held power in Spain. It took no prophet to foresee that the death-grapple between Cross and Crescent would probably commence when the truce expired in 1481.

In 1478, about the time of Muley's raid, Fernando began ordering artillery from Italy, 17 and planning imaginary campaigns. It was obvious that the two chief bases of operations must be Seville and Córdoba. In both places the Conversos were numerous, rich and powerful. Seville, which had escaped the butcheries of 1473, was almost completely in their grasp. Their persecution would have been a foregone conclusion—granted the circumstances—under almost any military strategist who ever lived.

Isabel was an excellent strategist. Yet she strove to be just and merciful. Therefore when Cardinal Mendoza suggested that it was unfair to punish Conversos for heresy when so many of them had had no opportunity to be decently instructed in Christian doctrine, she was probably rather relieved to have an excuse for further delay. The Cardinal proposed to write a clear, simple and comprehensive catechism of the chief truths of the Christian religion, and have it expounded in all the churches of Seville and near-by places where the Conversos were numerous. The Queen gave him permission, and he began the labours that occupied him for the next two years. 18 But at the same time she secretly applied to Pope Sixtus, through her representatives at Rome, for permission to organize an inquisitorial court of the traditional type at Seville—the Inquisitors to be appointed by the Crown.

TBC...

ISABELLA OF SPAIN (ISABEL LA CATÓLICA) - Page 4 23915810
Javier
Javier

Nombre de messages : 4068
Localisation : Ilici Augusta (Hispania)
Date d'inscription : 26/02/2009

Revenir en haut Aller en bas

Page 4 sur 5 Précédent  1, 2, 3, 4, 5  Suivant

Revenir en haut


 
Permission de ce forum:
Vous ne pouvez pas répondre aux sujets dans ce forum