a holy toledo

By the middle of the fourteenth-century the once Moslem city of Toledo had been under Christian domination for three hundred years. This period gave rise to the blend of Christian and Moslem decoration known as the Mudejar style. The city’s finest example is paradoxically, the synagogue, El Transito, where inscriptions in Hebrew are combined with latticed Moslem windows and, in the exquisitely worked plaster foliage below them, the arms of Catholic Leon and Castile.

El Transito, Toledo source:Wiki:This Synagogue was the private family synagogue of the king's wealthy treasurer, Don Samuel ha-Levi Abulafia. When he built it around year 1400, he defied all the laws about synagogues being smaller and lower than churches, and plain of decoration.

If anything, the rule of Islam in Spain helped bring the Dark Ages to an end by their example of a more refined and luxurious style of living than northern Europe and the desire of the feudal lords to raise more money so as to emulate it. The philosophy they picked up from Maimonides, Avempace among others was recycled Plato and Aristotle and the astronomy and medicine was from the Alexandrian Greeks, but both initially made a strong impact. Nonetheless, it set off a wave movement in Western philosophy that culminated in Albertus Magnus, Thomas Aquinas, and Duns Scotus. Ultimately, Spanish Islam passed on their acquisitions to a more creative and energetic world just as it was coming to an end itself.

The Capitulation of Granada, by Francisco Pradilla y Ortiz: Boabdil confronts Ferdinand and Isabella. 1882 ---The unfortunate Boabdil plunged once more amidst the recesses of the Alhambra. Whatever his anguish or his despondency, none were permitted to share, or even to witness, his emotions. But he especially resisted the admission to his solitude, demanded by his mother, implored by his faithful Amine, and sorrowfully urged by Muza: those most loved, or most respected, were, above all, the persons from whom he most shrank. Almamen was heard of no more. It was believed that he had perished in the battle. But he was one of those who, precisely as they are effective when present, are forgotten in absence. And, in the meanwhile, as the Vega was utterly desolated, and all supplies were cut off, famine, daily made more terrifically severe, diverted the attention of each humbler Moor from the fall of the city to his individual sufferings.---Lytton. Image : WIKI

Their great gift to Europe had been the philosophy and science they had passed on, not to the Spaniards, but to the nations of the north. Even this had not been very original, for the talent of the Arabs in these matters lay in assimilation rather than original creation, which was reserved for poetry and architecture and for their wonderful materials and handicrafts. But peoples must be judged for themselves, not for what they convey to others. And so we may be glad that during the darkest age of Western history the Arabs gave to a little corner of Europe a brilliant, if deeply flawed civilization.



In palace and street tu

’ d heads I behold !
My steed paws the street and my banner’s

•anfurl’d !
Bright gleam from yon minarets crescents of gold !
Bride of Heav’n, Granada smiles Queen of the

world !

‘Tis Fancy’s false dream, and thy glory is gloom !
By cannon I see thy tall battlements torn !
No rose on thy wall ! on the orange no bloom !
Thy knights are in chains, and an exile I mourn.

Yes ! Infidel swords in thy streets flash their flames,
And Infidel songs e’en now burst from thy halls !
The Infidel priest thine own Prophet defames !
The Infidel cross gleams o’er Alhambra’s walls !

Be done Allah’s will ! This my star did foretell,
That rose o’er a throne but to set in a grave ;
The Moor’s empire is o’er ! Granada, farewell !
Thy king drops a tear for thy fair, good, and
brave ! Read More:http://archive.org/stream/newworldtragedie00leav/newworldtragedie00leav_djvu.txt

…”Traders and men of merchandise flock thither daily; the spot is one bazaar; all that should supply our famishing country pours its plenty into their mart.”

Boabdil motioned to the Moor to withdraw, and an alfaqui advanced in his stead.

“Successor of the Prophet, and darling of the world!” said the reverend man, “the alfaquis and seers of Granada implore thee on their knees to listen to their voice. They have consulted the Books of Fate; thy have implored a sign from the Prophet; and they find that the glory has left thy people and thy crown. The fall of Granada is predestined; God is great!”

“You shall have my answer forthwith,” said Boabdil. “Abdelemic, approach.”

From the crowd came an aged and white-bearded man, the governor of the city.

“Speak, old man,” said the king.

“Oh, Boabdil!” said the veteran, with faltering tones, while the tears rolled down his cheeks; “son of a race of kings and heroes! would that thy servant had fallen dead on thy threshold this day, and that the lips of a Moorish noble had never been polluted by the words that I now utter! Our state is hopeless; our granaries are as the sands of the desert: there is in them life neither for beast nor man. The war-horse that bore the hero is now consumed for his food; the population of thy city, with one voice, cry for chains and–bread! I have spoken.”

“Admit the Ambassador of Egypt,” said Boabdil, as Abdelmelic retired. There was a pause: one of the draperies at the end of the hall was drawn aside; and with the slow and sedate majesty of their tribe and land, paced forth a dark and swarthy train, the envoys of the Egyptian soldan. Six of the band bore costly presents of gems and weapons, and the procession closed with four veiled slaves, whose beauty had been the boast of the ancient valley of the Nile….Read More:http://www.readbookonline.net/read/20668/57856/

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