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Chronicle of the Conquest of Granada by Washington Irving

Part 4 out of 9

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was not the idea that presented itself to the mind of the count de
Cabra. He had captured one king; here was a fair opportunity to
secure another. What a prisoner to deliver into the hands of his
royal mistress! Fired with the thoughts, the good count forgot all
the arrangements of the king; or rather, blinded by former success,
he trusted everything to courage and fortune, and thought that by
one bold swoop he might again bear off the royal prize and wear
his laurels without competition.* His only fear was that the master
of Calatrava and the belligerent bishop might come up in time to
share the glory of the victory; so, ordering every one to horse, this
hot-spirited cavalier pushed on for Moclin without allowing his
troops the necessary time for repose.

*Mariana, lib. 25, c. 17; Abarca, Zurita, etc.

The evening closed as the count arrived in the neighborhood of
Moclin. It was the full of the moon and a bright and cloudless
night. The count was marching through one of those deep valleys or
ravines worn in the Spanish mountains by the brief but tremendous
torrents which prevail during the autumnal rains. It was walled on
each side by lofty and almost perpendicular cliffs, but great masses
of moonlight were thrown into the bottom of the glen, glittering on
the armor of the shining squadrons as they silently passed through
it. Suddenly the war-cry of the Moors rose in various parts of the
valley. "El Zagal! El Zagal!" was shouted from every cliff,
accompanied by showers of missiles that struck down several of the
Christian warriors. The count lifted up his eyes, and beheld, by the
light of the moon, every cliff glistening with Moorish soldiery. The
deadly shower fell thickly round him, and the shining armor of his
followers made them fair objects for the aim of the enemy. The count
saw his brother Gonzalo struck dead by his side; his own horse sank
under him, pierced by four Moorish lances, and he received a wound
in the hand from an arquebuse. He remembered the horrible massacre
of the mountains of Malaga, and feared a similar catastrophe. There
was no time to pause. His brother's horse, freed from his slaughtered
rider, was running at large: seizing the reins, he sprang into the
saddle, called upon his men to follow him, and, wheeling round,
retreated out of the fatal valley.

The Moors, rushing down from the heights, pursued the retreating
Christians. The chase endured for a league, but it was a league of
rough and broken road, where the Christians had to turn and fight at
almost every step. In these short but fierce combats the enemy lost
many cavaliers of note, but the loss of the Christians was infinitely
more grievous, comprising numbers of the noblest warriors of Vaena
and its vicinity. Many of the Christians, disabled by wounds or
exhausted by fatigue, turned aside and endeavored to conceal
themselves among rocks and thickets, but never more rejoined
their companions, being slain or captured by the Moors or perishing
in their wretched retreats.

The arrival of the troops led by the master of Calatrava and the
bishop of Jaen put an end to the rout. El Zagal contented himself
with the laurels he had gained, and, ordering the trumpets to call
off his men from the pursuit, returned in great triumph to Moclin.*

*Zurita, lib. 20, c. 4; Pulgar, Cronica.

Queen Isabella was at Vaena, awaiting with great anxiety the result
of the expedition. She was in a stately apartment of the castle
looking toward the road that winds through the mountains from
Moclin, and regarding the watch-towers on the neighboring heights
in hopes of favorable signals. The prince and princess, her children,
were with her, and her venerable counsellor, the grand cardinal. All
shared in the anxiety of the moment. At length couriers were seen
riding toward the town. They entered its gates, but before they
reached the castle the nature of their tidings was known to the
queen by the shrieks and wailings from the streets below. The
messengers were soon followed by wounded fugitives hastening
home to be relieved or to die among their friends and families. The
whole town resounded with lamentations, for it had lost the flower
of its youth and its bravest warriors. Isabella was a woman of
courageous soul, but her feelings were overpowered by spectacles
of woe on every side: her maternal heart mourned over the death
of so many loyal subjects, who shortly before had rallied round her
with devoted affection, and, losing her usual self-command, she sank
into deep despondency.

In this gloomy state of mind a thousand apprehensions crowded upon
her. She dreaded the confidence which this success would impart
to the Moors; she feared also for the important fortress of Alhama,
the garrison of which had not been reinforced since its foraging
party had been cut off by this same El Zagal. On every side she saw
danger and disaster, and feared that a general reverse was about
to attend the Castilian arms.

The grand cardinal comforted her with both spiritual and worldly
counsel. He told her to recollect that no country was ever conquered
without occasional reverses to the conquerors; that the Moors were
a warlike people, fortified in a rough and mountainous country, where
they never could be conquered by her ancestors; and that, in fact,
her armies had already, in three years, taken more cities than those
of any of her predecessors had been able to do in twelve. He
concluded by offering to take the field himself with three thousand
cavalry, his own retainers, paid and maintained by himself, and
either hasten to the relief of Alhama or undertake any other
expedition Her Majesty might command. The discreet words of the
cardinal soothed the spirit of the queen, who always looked to him
for consolation, and she soon recovered her usual equanimity.

Some of the counsellors of Isabella, of that politic class who seek
to rise by the faults of others, were loud in their censures of the
rashness of the count. The queen defended him with prompt
generosity. "The enterprise," said she, "was rash, but not more
rash than that of Lucena, which was crowned with success, and
which we have all applauded as the height of heroism. Had the
count de Cabra succeeded in capturing the uncle, as he did the
nephew, who is there that would not have praised him to the

The magnanimous words of the queen put a stop to all invidious
remarks in her presence, but certain of the courtiers, who had
envied the count the glory gained by his former achievements,
continued to magnify, among themselves his present imprudence;
and we are told by Fray Antonio Agapida that they sneeringly
gave the worthy cavalier the appellation of count de Cabra the

Ferdinand had reached the place on the frontier called the Fountain
of the King, within three leagues of Moclin, when he heard of the
late disaster. He greatly lamented the precipitation of the count,
but forbore to express himself with severity, for he knew the value
of that loyal and valiant cavalier.* He held a council of war to
determine what course was to be pursued. Some of his cavaliers
advised him to abandon the attempt upon Moclin, the place being
strongly reinforced and the enemy inspirited by his recent victory.
Certain old Spanish hidalgos reminded him that he had but few
Castilian troops in his army, without which stanch soldiery his
predecessors never presumed to enter the Moorish territory, while
others remonstrated that it would be beneath the dignity of the king
to retire from an enterprise on account of the defeat of a single
cavalier and his retainers. In this way the king was distracted by a
multitude of counsellors, when, fortunately, a letter from the queen
put an end to his perplexities. Proceed we in the next chapter to
relate what was the purport of that letter.

*Abarca, Anales de Aragon.



"Happy are those princes," exclaims the worthy padre Fray Antonio
Agapida, "who have women and priests to advise them, for in these

dwelleth the spirit of counsel." While Ferdinand and his captains
were confounding each other in their deliberations at the Fountain
of the King, a quiet but deep little council of war was held in the
state apartment of the old castle of Vaena between Queen Isabella,
the venerable Pedro Gonzalez de Mendoza, grand cardinal of Spain,
and Don Garcia Osoria, the belligerent bishop of Jaen. This last
worthy prelate, who had exchanged his mitre for a helm, no sooner
beheld the defeat of the enterprise against Moclin than he turned
the reins of his sleek, stall-fed steed and hastened back to Vaena,
full of a project for the employment of the army, the advancement
of the faith, and the benefit of his own diocese. He knew that the
actions of the king were influenced by the opinions of the queen,
and that the queen always inclined a listening ear to the counsels
of saintly men: he laid his plans, therefore, with the customary
wisdom of his cloth, to turn the ideas of the queen into the proper
channel; and this was the purport of the worthy bishop's suggestions:

The bishopric of Jaen had for a long time been harassed by two
Moorish castles, the scourge and terror of all that part of the
country. They were situated on the frontiers of the kingdom of
Granada, about four leagues from Jaen, in a deep, narrow, and
rugged valley surrounded by lofty mountains. Through this valley
runs the Rio Frio (or Cold River) in a deep channel worn between
high, precipitous banks. On each side of the stream rise two vast
rocks, nearly perpendicular, within a stone's throw of each other,
blocking up the gorge of the valley. On the summits of these rocks
stood the two formidable castles, Cambil and Albahar, fortified with
battlements and towers of great height and thickness. They were
connected together by a bridge thrown from rock to rock across the
river. The road which passed through the valley traversed this
bridge, and was completely commanded by these castles. They
stood like two giants of romance guarding the pass and dominating
the valley.

The kings of Granada, knowing the importance of these castles,
kept them always well garrisoned and victualled to stand a siege,
with fleet steeds and hard riders to forage the country of the
Christians. The warlike race of the Abencerrages, the troops of the
royal household, and others of the choicest chivalry of Granada made
them their strongholds or posts of arms, whence to sally forth on
those predatory and roving enterprises in which they delighted. As
the wealthy bishopric of Jaen lay immediately at hand, it suffered
more peculiarly from these marauders. They drove off the fat beeves
and the flocks of sheep from the pastures and swept the laborers
from the field; they scoured the country to the very gates of Jaen,
so that the citizens could not venture from their walls without the
risk of being borne off captive to the dungeons of these castles.

The worthy bishop, like a good pastor, beheld with grief of heart
his fat bishopric daily waxing leaner and leaner and poorer and
poorer, and his holy ire was kindled at the thoughts that the
possessions of the Church should thus be at the mercy of a crew
of infidels. It was the urgent counsel of the bishop, therefore,
that the military force thus providentially assembled in the
neighborhood, since it was apparently foiled in its attempt upon
Moclin, should be turned against these insolent castles and the
country delivered from their domination. The grand cardinal
supported the suggestion of the bishop, and declared that he
had long meditated the policy of a measure of the kind. Their
united opinions found favor with the queen, and she despatched
a letter on the subject to the king. It came just in time to relieve
him from the distraction of a multitude of counsellors, and he
immediately undertook the reduction of those castles.

The marques of Cadiz was accordingly sent in advance, with two
thousand horse, to keep a watch upon the garrisons and prevent
all entrance or exit until the king should arrive with the main army
and the battering artillery. The queen, to be near at hand in case
of need, moved her quarters to the city of Jaen, where she was
received with martial honors by the belligerent bishop, who had
buckled on his cuirass and girded on his sword to fight in the cause
of his diocese.

In the mean time, the marques of Cadiz arrived in the valley and
completely shut up the Moors within their walls. The castles were
under the command of Mahomet Lentin Ben Usef, an Abencerrage,
and one of the bravest cavaliers of Granada. In his garrisons were
many troops of the fierce African tribe of Gomeres. Mahomet Lentin,
confident in the strength of his fortresses, smiled as he looked
down from his battlements upon the Christian cavalry perplexed in
the rough and narrow valley. He sent forth skirmishing parties to
harass them, and there were many sharp combats between small
parties and single knights; but the Moors were driven back to their
castles, and all attempts to send intelligence of their situation to
Granada were frustrated by the vigilance of the marques of Cadiz.

At length the legions of the royal army came pouring, with vaunting
trumpet and fluttering banner, along the defiles of the mountains.
They halted before the castles, but the king could not find room in
the narrow and rugged valley to form his camp; he had to divide it
into three parts, which were posted on different heights, and his
tents whitened the sides of the neighboring hills. When the
encampment was formed the army remained gazing idly at the
castles. The artillery was upward of four leagues in the rear, and
without artillery all attack would be in vain.

The alcayde Mahomet Lentin knew the nature of the road by which
the artillery had to be brought. It was merely a narrow and rugged
path, at times scaling almost perpendicular crags and precipices, up
which it was utterly impossible for wheel carriages to pass, neither
was it in the power of man or beast to draw up the lombards and
other ponderous ordnance. He felt assured, therefore, that they
never could be brought to the camp, and without their aid what
could the Christians effect against his rock-built castles? He scoffed
at them, therefore, as he saw their tents by day and their fires by
night covering the surrounding heights. "Let them linger here a
little while longer," said he, "and the autumnal torrents will wash
them from the mountains."

While the alcayde was thus closely mewed up within his walls and
the Christians remained inactive in their camp, he noticed, one calm
autumnal day, the sound of implements of labor echoing among the
mountains, and now and then the crash of a falling tree or a
thundering report, as if some rock had been heaved from its bed
and hurled into the valley. The alcayde was on the battlements of
his castle, surrounded by his knights. "Methinks," said he, "these
Christians are making war upon the rocks and trees of the mountains,
since they find our castle unassailable."

The sounds did not cease even during the night: every now and then
the Moorish sentinel as he paced the battlements heard some crash
echoing among the heights. The return of day explained the mystery.
Scarcely did the sun shine against the summits of the mountains than
shouts burst from the cliffs opposite to the castle, and were answered
from the camp with joyful sounds of kettledrums and trumpets.

The astonished Moors lifted up their eyes and beheld, as it were,
a torrent of war breaking out of a narrow defile. There was a
multitude of men with pickaxes, spades, and bars of iron clearing
away every obstacle, while behind them slowly moved along great
teams of oxen dragging heavy ordnance and all the munitions of
battering artillery.

"What cannot women and priests effect when they unite in council?"
exclaims again the worthy Antonio Agapida. The queen had held
another consultation with the grand cardinal and the belligerent
bishop of Jaen. It was clear that the heavy ordnance could never be
conveyed to the camp by the regular road of the country, and without
battering artillery nothing could be effected. It was suggested,
however, by the zealous bishop that another road might be opened
through a more practicable part of the mountains. It would be an
undertaking extravagant and chimerical with ordinary means, and
therefore unlooked for by the enemy; but what could not kings effect
who had treasure and armies at command?

The project struck the enterprising spirit of the queen. Six
thousand men with pickaxes, crowbars, and every other necessary
implement were set to work day and night to break a road through
the very centre of the mountains. No time was to be lost, for it was
rumored that El Zagal was about to march with a mighty host to the
relief of the castles. The bustling bishop of Jaen acted as pioneer
to mark the route and superintend the laborers, and the grand
cardinal took care that the work should never languish through
lack of means.*

*Zurita, Anales de Aragon, lib. 20, c. 64; Pulgar, part 3, cap. 51.

"When kings' treasures," says Fray Antonio Agapida, "are dispensed
by priestly hands, there is no stint, as the glorious annals of Spain
bear witness." Under the guidance of these ghostly men it seemed
as if miracles were effected. Almost an entire mountain was levelled,
valleys were filled up, trees hewn down, rocks broken and overturned;
in short, all the obstacles which nature had heaped around entirely
and promptly vanished. In little more than twelve days this gigantic
work was effected and the ordnance dragged to the camp, to the
great triumph of the Christians and confusion of the Moors.*


No sooner was the heavy artillery arrived than it was mounted in
all haste upon the neighboring heights: Francisco Ramirez de Madrid,
the first engineer in Spain, superintended the batteries, and soon
opened a destructive fire upon the castles.

When the alcayde, Mahomet Lentin, found his towers tumbling about
him and his bravest men dashed from the walls without the power of
inflicting a wound upon the foe, his haughty spirit was greatly
exasperated. "Of what avail," said he, bitterly, "is all the prowess
of knighthood against these cowardly engines that murder from afar?"

For a whole day a tremendous fire kept thundering upon the castle
of Albahar. The lombards discharged large stones which demolished
two of the towers and all the battlements which guarded the portal.
If any Moors attempted to defend the walls or repair the breaches,
they were shot down by ribadoquines and other small pieces of
artillery. The Christian soldiery issued from the camp under cover
of this fire, and, approaching the castles, discharged flights of
arrows and stones through the openings made by the ordnance.

At length, to bring the siege to a conclusion, Francisco Ramirez
elevated some of the heaviest artillery on a mount that rose in
form of a cone or pyramid on the side of the river near to Albahar
and commanded both castles. This was an operation of great
skill and excessive labor, but it was repaid by complete success,
for the Moors did not dare to wait until this terrible battery should
discharge its fury. Satisfied that all further resistance was in
vain, the valiant alcayde made signal for a parley. The articles of
capitulation were soon arranged. The alcayde and his garrisons
were permitted to return in safety to the city of Granada, and the
castles were delivered into the possession of King Ferdinand on the
day of the festival of St. Matthew in the month of September. They
were immediately repaired, strongly garrisoned, and delivered in
charge to the city of Jaen.

The effects of this triumph were immediately apparent. Quiet and
security once more settled upon the bishopric. The husbandmen tilled
their fields in peace, the herds and flocks fattened unmolested in
the pastures, and the vineyards yielded corpulent skinsful of rosy
wine. The good bishop enjoyed in the gratitude of his people the
approbation of his conscience, the increase of his revenues, and the
abundance of his table a reward for all his toils and perils. "This
glorious victory," exclaims Fray Antonio Agapida, "achieved by such
extraordinary management and infinite labor, is a shining example of
what a bishop can effect for the promotion of the faith and the good
of his diocese."



While these events were taking place on the northern frontier of the
kingdom of Granada the important fortress of Alhama was neglected,
and its commander, Don Gutiere de Padilla, clavero of Calatrava,
reduced to great perplexity. The remnant of the foraging party which
had been surprised and massacred by El Zagal when on his way to
Granada to receive the crown had returned in confusion and dismay
to the fortress. They could only speak of their own disgrace, being
obliged to abandon their cavalgada and fly, pursued by a superior
force: of the flower of their party, the gallant knights of Calatrava,
who had remained behind in the valley, they knew nothing. A few
days cleared up the mystery of their fate: tidings were brought that
their bloody heads had been borne in triumph into Granada. The
surviving knights of Calatrava, who formed a part of the garrison,
burned to revenge the death of their comrades and to wipe out the
stigma of this defeat; but the clavero had been rendered cautious by
disaster--he resisted all their entreaties for a foray. His garrison was
weakened by the loss of so many of its bravest men; the Vega was
patrolled by numerous and powerful squadrons sent forth by El Zagal;
above all, the movements of the garrison were watched by the warriors
of Zalea, a strong town only two leagues distant on the road toward
Loxa. This place was a continual check upon Alhama when in its most
powerful state, placing ambuscades to entrap the Christian cavaliers
in the course of their sallies. Frequent and bloody skirmishes had
taken place in consequence; and the troops of Alhama, when returning
from their forays, had often to fight their way back through the
squadrons of Zalea. Thus surrounded by dangers, Don Gutiere de
Padilla restrained the eagerness of his troops for a sally, knowing
that an additional disaster might be followed by the loss of Alhama.

In the mean while provisions began to grow scarce; they were
unable to forage the country as usual for supplies, and depended
for relief upon the Castilian sovereigns. The defeat of the count de
Cabra filled the measure of their perplexities, as it interrupted the
intended reinforcements and supplies. To such extremity were
they reduced that they were compelled to kill some of their horses
for provisions.

The worthy clavero, Don Gutiere de Padilla, was pondering one day
on this gloomy state of affairs when a Moor was brought before him
who had surrendered himself at the gate of Alhama and claimed an
audience. Don Gutiere was accustomed to visits of the kind from
renegado Moors, who roamed the country as spies and adalides, but
the countenance of this man was quite unknown to him. He had a
box strapped to his shoulders containing divers articles of traffic,
and appeared to be one of those itinerant traders who often resorted
to Alhama and the other garrison towns under pretext of vending trivial
merchandise, such as amulets, perfumes, and trinkets, but who often
produced rich shawls, golden chains and necklaces, and valuable gems
and jewels.

The Moor requested a private conference with the clavero. "I have
a precious jewel," said he, "to dispose of."

"I want no jewels," replied Don Gutiere.

"For the sake of Him who died on the cross, the great prophet of
your faith," said the Moor solemnly, "refuse not my request; the
jewel I speak of you alone can purchase, but I can only treat about
it in secret."

Don Gutiere perceived there was something hidden under these
mystic and figurative terms, in which the Moors were often
accustomed to talk. He motioned to his attendants to retire. When
they were alone the Moor looked cautiously around the apartment,
and then, approaching close to the knight, demanded in a low
voice, "What will you give me if I deliver the fortress of Zalea into
your hands?"

Don Gutiere looked with surprise at the humble individual that made
such a suggestion.

"What means have you," said he, "of effecting such a proposition?"

"I have a brother in the garrison of Zalea," replied the Moor,
"who for a proper compensation would admit a body of troops
into the citadel."

Don Gutiere turned a scrutinizing eye upon the Moor. "What right
have I to believe," said he, "that thou wilt be truer to me than to
those of thy blood and thy religion?"

"I renounce all ties to them, either of blood or religion," replied
the Moor; "my mother was a Christian captive; her country shall
henceforth be my country, and her faith my faith."*

*Cura de los Palacios.

The doubts of Don Gutiere were not dispelled by this profession
of mongrel Christianity. "Granting the sincerity of thy conversion,"
said he, "art thou under no obligations of gratitude or duty to the
alcayde of the fortress thou wouldst betray?"

The eyes of the Moor flashed fire at the words; he gnashed his
teeth with fury. "The alcayde," cried he, "is a dog! He has deprived
my brother of his just share of booty; he has robbed me of my
merchandise, treated me worse than a Jew when I murmured at his
injustice, and ordered me to be thrust forth ignominiously from his
walls. May the curse of God fall upon my head if I rest content until
I have full revenge!" "Enough," said Don Gutiere: "I trust more to
thy revenge than thy religion."

The good clavero called a council of his officers. The knights of
Calatrava were unanimous for the enterprise--zealous to appease
the manes of their slaughtered comrades. Don Gutiere reminded
them of the state of the garrison, enfeebled by their late loss
and scarcely sufficient for the defence of the walls. The cavaliers
replied that there was no achievement without risk, and that there
would have been no great actions recorded in history had there not
been daring spirits ready to peril life to gain renown.

Don Gutiere yielded to the wishes of his knights, for to have
resisted any further might have drawn on him the imputation of
timidity: he ascertained by trusty spies that everything in Zalea
remained in the usual state, and he made all the requisite
arrangements for the attack.

When the appointed night arrived all the cavaliers were anxious to
engage in the enterprise, but the individuals were decided by lot.
They set out under the guidance of the Moor, and when they had
arrived in the vicinity of Zalea they bound his hands behind his
back, and their leader pledged his knightly word to strike him dead
on the first sign of treachery. He then bade him to lead the way.

It was near midnight when they reached the walls of the fortress.
They passed silently along until they found themselves below the
citadel. Here their guide made a low and preconcerted signal: it was
answered from above, and a cord let down from the wall. The knights
attached to it a ladder, which was drawn up and fastened. Gutiere
Munoz was the first that mounted, followed by Pedro de Alvarado,
both brave and hardy soldiers. A handful succeeded: they were
attacked by a party of guards, but held them at bay until more of
their comrades ascended; with their assistance they gained
possession of a tower and part of the wall. The garrison by this
time was aroused, but before they could reach the scene of action
most of the cavaliers were within the battlements. A bloody contest
raged for about an hour--several of the Christians were slain, but
many of the Moors: at length the citadel was carried and the town
submitted without resistance.

Thus did the gallant knights of Calatrava gain the strong town of
Zalea with scarcely any loss, and atone for the inglorious defeat of
their companions by El Zagal. They found the magazines of the place
well stored with provisions, and were enabled to carry a seasonable
supply to their own famishing garrison.

The tidings of this event reached the sovereigns just after the
surrender of Cambil and Albahar. They were greatly rejoiced at
this additional success of their arms, and immediately sent strong
reinforcements and ample supplies for both Alhama and Zalea.
They then dismissed the army for the winter. Ferdinand and Isabella
retired to Alcala de Henares, where the queen on the 16th of
December, 1485, gave birth to the princess Catharine, afterward
wife of Henry VIII. of England. Thus prosperously terminated the
checkered campaign of this important year.



Muley Abdallah el Zagal had been received with great acclamations
at Granada on his return from defeating the count de Cabra. He had
endeavored to turn his victory to the greatest advantage with his
subjects, giving tilts and tournaments and other public festivities
in which the Moors delighted. The loss of the castles of Cambil and
Albahar and of the fortress of Zalea, however, checked this sudden
tide of popularity, and some of the fickle populace began to doubt
whether they had not been rather precipitate in deposing his
brother, Muley Abul Hassan.

That superannuated monarch remained in his faithful town of
Almunecar, on the border of the Mediterranean, surrounded by
a few adherents, together with his wife Zoraya and his children,
and he had all his treasures safe in his possession. The fiery
heart of the old king was almost burnt out, and all his powers of
doing either harm or good seemed at an end.

While in this passive and helpless state his brother, El Zagal,
manifested a sudden anxiety for his health. He had him removed,
with all tenderness and care, to Salobrena, another fortress on the
Mediterranean coast, famous for its pure and salubrious air; and the
alcayde, who was a devoted adherent to El Zagal, was charged to
have especial care that nothing was wanting to the comfort and
solace of his brother.

Salobrena was a small town, situated on a lofty and rocky hill in
the midst of a beautiful and fertile vega shut up on three sides by
mountains and opening on the fourth to the Mediterranean. It was
protected by strong walls and a powerful castle, and, being deemed
impregnable, was often used by the Moorish kings as a place of
deposit for their treasures. They were accustomed also to assign
it as a residence for such of their sons and brothers as might
endanger the security of their reign. Here the princes lived in
luxurious repose: they had delicious gardens, perfumed baths, a
harem of beauties at their command--nothing was denied them but
the liberty to depart: that alone was wanting to render this abode
an earthly paradise.

Such was the delightful place appointed by El Zagal for the
residence of his brother, but, notwithstanding its wonderful
salubrity, the old monarch had not been removed thither many days
before he expired. There was nothing extraordinary in his death:
life with him had long been glimmering in the socket, and for some
time past he might rather have been numbered with the dead than
with the living. The public, however, are fond of seeing things in a
sinister and mysterious point of view, and there were many dark
surmises as to the cause of this event. El Zagal acted in a manner
to heighten these suspicions: he caused the treasures of his
deceased brother to be packed on mules and brought to Granada,
where he took possession of them, to the exclusion of the children
of Abul Hassan. The sultana Zoraya and her two sons were lodged
in the Alhambra, in the Tower of Comares. This was a residence in
a palace, but it had proved a royal prison to the sultana Ayxa la
Horra and her youthful son Boabdil. There the unhappy Zoraya had
time to meditate upon the disappointment of all those ambitious
schemes for herself and children for which she had stained her
conscience with so many crimes.

The corpse of old Muley was also brought to Granada--not in state
becoming the remains of a once-powerful sovereign, but transported
on a mule, like the corpse of the poorest peasant. It received no
honor or ceremonial from El Zagal, and appears to have been interred
obscurely to prevent any popular sensation; and it is recorded by an
ancient and faithful chronicler of the time that the body of the old
monarch was deposited by two Christian captives in his osario or
charnel-house.* Such was the end of the turbulent Muley Abul
Hassan, who, after passing his life in constant contests for empire,
could scarce gain quiet admission into the corner of a sepulchre.

*Cura de los Palacios, c. 77.

No sooner were the populace well assured that old Muley Abul
Hassan was dead and beyond recovery than they all began to
extol his memory and deplore his loss. They admitted that he
had been fierce and cruel, but then he had been brave; he had,
to be sure, pulled this war upon their heads, but he had likewise
been crushed by it. In a word, he was dead, and his death atoned
or every fault; for a king recently dead is generally either a hero or
a saint.

In proportion as they ceased to hate old Muley they began to
hate his brother. The circumstances of the old king's death, the
eagerness to appropriate his treasures, the scandalous neglect
of his corpse, and the imprisonment of his sultana and children,
--all filled the public mind with gloomy suspicions, and the epithet
of Fratricide was sometimes substituted for that of El Zagal in the
low murmurings of the people.

As the public must always have some object to like as well as to
hate, there began once more to be an inquiry after their fugitive
king, Boabdil el Chico. That unfortunate monarch was still at
Cordova, existing on the cool courtesy and meagre friendship of
Ferdinand, which had waned exceedingly ever since Boabdil had
ceased to have any influence in his late dominions. The reviving
interest expressed in his fate by the Moorish public, and certain
secret overtures made to him, once more aroused the sympathy
of Ferdinand: he advised Boabdil again to set up his standard
within the frontiers of Granada, and furnished him with money
and means for the purpose. Boabdil advanced but a little way into
his late territories; he took up his post at Velez el Blanco, a strong
town on the confines of Murcia: there he established the shadow of
a court, and stood, as it were, with one foot over the border, and
ready to draw that back upon the least alarm. His presence in the
kingdom, however, and his assumption of royal state gave life to his
faction in Granada. The inhabitants of the Albaycin, the poorest but
most warlike part of the populace, were generally in his favor: the
more rich, courtly, and aristocratical inhabitants of the quarter of
the Alhambra rallied round what appeared to be the most stable
authority and supported the throne of El Zagal. So it is in the
admirable order of sublunary affairs: everything seeks its kind;
the rich befriend the rich, the powerful stand by the powerful,
the poor enjoy the patronage of the poor, and thus a universal
harmony prevails.



Great and glorious was the style with which the Catholic sovereigns
opened another year's campaign of this eventful war. It was like
commencing another act of a stately and heroic drama, where the
curtain rises to the inspiring sound of martial melody and the whole
stage glitters with the array of warriors and the pomp of arms. The
ancient city of Cordova was the place appointed by the sovereigns
for the assemblage of the troops; and early in the spring of 1486
the fair valley of the Guadalquivir resounded with the shrill blast
of trumpet and the impatient neighing of the war-horse. In this
splendid era of Spanish chivalry there was a rivalship among the
nobles who most should distinguish himself by the splendor of his
appearance and the number and equipments of his feudal followers.
Every day beheld some cavalier of note, the representative of some
proud and powerful house, entering the gates of Cordova with sound
of trumpet, and displaying his banner and device renowned in many
a contest. He would appear in sumptuous array, surrounded by
pages and lackeys no less gorgeously attired, and followed by a
host of vassals and retainers, horse and foot, all admirably equipped
in burnished armor.

Such was the state of Don Inigo Lopez de Mendoza, duke of Infantado,
who may be cited as a picture of a warlike noble of those times. He
brought with him five hundred men-at-arms of his household armed and
mounted "a la gineta" and "a la guisa." The cavaliers who attended
him were magnificently armed and dressed. The housings of fifty of
his horses were of rich cloth embroidered with gold, and others were
of brocade. The sumpter mules had housings of the same, with halters
of silk, while the bridles, head-pieces, and all the harnessing glittered
with silver.

The camp equipage of these noble and luxurious warriors was equally
magnificent. Their tents were gay pavilions of various colors, fitted
up with silken hangings and decorated with fluttering pennons. They
had vessels of gold and silver for the service of their tables, as if they
were about to engage in a course of stately feasts and courtly revels,
instead of the stern encounters of rugged and mountainous warfare.
Sometimes they passed through the streets of Cordova at night in
splendid cavalcade, with great numbers of lighted torches, the rays
of which, falling upon polished armor and nodding plumes and silken
scarfs and trappings of golden embroidery, filled all beholders with

*Pulgar, part 3, cap. 41, 56.

But it was not the chivalry of Spain alone which thronged the
streets of Cordova. The fame of this war had spread throughout
Christendom: it was considered a kind of crusade, and Catholic
knights from all parts hastened to signalize themselves in so holy
a cause. There were several valiant chevaliers from France, among
whom the most distinguished was Gaston du Leon, seneschal of
Toulouse. With him came a gallant train, well armed and mounted
and decorated with rich surcoats and panaches of feathers. These
cavaliers, it is said, eclipsed all others in the light festivities of the
court: they were devoted to the fair, but not after the solemn and
passionate manner of the Spanish lovers; they were gay, gallant,
and joyous in their amours, and captivated by the vivacity of their
attacks. They were at first held in light estimation by the grave
and stately Spanish knights until they made themselves to be
respected by their wonderful prowess in the field.

The most conspicuous of the volunteers, however, who appeared in
Cordova on this occasion was an English knight of royal connection.
This was the Lord Scales, earl of Rivers, brother to the queen of
England, wife of Henry VII. He had distinguished himself in the
preceding year at the battle of Bosworth Field, where Henry Tudor,
then earl of Richmond, overcame Richard III. That decisive battle
having left the country at peace, the earl of Rivers, having conceived
a passion for warlike scenes, repaired to the Castilian court to keep
his arms in exercise in a campaign against the Moors. He brought
with him a hundred archers, all dextrous with the longbow and the
cloth-yard arrow; also two hundred yeomen, armed cap-a-pie,
who fought with pike and battle-axe--men robust of frame and
of prodigious strength. The worthy padre Fray Antonio Agapida
describes this stranger knight and his followers with his accustomed
accuracy and minuteness.

"This cavalier," he observes, "was from the far island of England,
and brought with him a train of his vassals, men who had been
hardened in certain civil wars which raged in their country. They
were a comely race of men, but too fair and fresh for warriors,
not having the sunburnt, warlike hue of our old Castilian soldiery.
They were huge feeders also and deep carousers, and could not
accommodate themselves to the sober diet of our troops, but must
fain eat and drink after the manner of their own country. They were
often noisy and unruly also in their wassail, and their quarter of the
camp was prone to be a scene of loud revel and sudden brawl.
They were, withal, of great pride, yet it was not like our inflammable
Spanish pride: they stood not much upon the "pundonor," the high
punctilio, and rarely drew the stiletto in their disputes, but their
pride was silent and contumelious. Though from a remote and
somewhat barbarous island, they believed themselves the most
perfect men upon earth, and magnified their chieftain, the Lord
Scales, beyond the greatest of their grandees. With all this, it
must be said of them that they were marvellous good men in the
field, dextrous archers and powerful with the battle-axe. In their
great pride and self-will they always sought to press in the advance
and take the post of danger, trying to outvie our Spanish chivalry.
They did not rush on fiercely to the fight, nor make a brilliant onset
like the Moorish and Spanish troops, but they went into the fight
deliberately and persisted obstinately and were slow to find out
when they were beaten. Withal, they were much esteemed, yet
little liked, by our soldiery, who considered them stanch companions
in the field, yet coveted but little fellowship with them in the camp.

"Their commander, Lord Scales, was an accomplished cavalier, of
gracious and noble presence and fair speech: it was a marvel to see
so much courtesy in a knight brought up so far from our Castilian
court. He was much honored by the king and queen, and found great
favor with the fair dames about the court, who, indeed, are rather
prone to be pleased with foreign cavaliers. He went always in costly
state, attended by pages and esquires, and accompanied by noble
young cavaliers of his country, who had enrolled themselves under
his banner to learn the gentle exercise of arms. In all pageants and
festivals the eyes of the populace were attracted by the singular
bearing and rich array of the English earl and his train, who prided
themselves in always appearing in the garb and manner of their
country, and were, indeed, something very magnificent, delectable,
and strange to behold."

The worthy chronicler is no less elaborate in his description of the
masters of Santiago, Calatrava, and Alcantara and their valiant
knights, armed at all points and decorated with the badges of their
orders. These, he affirms, were the flower of Christian chivalry:
being constantly in service, they became more steadfast and
accomplished in discipline than the irregular and temporary levies
of the feudal nobles. Calm, solemn, and stately, they sat like
towers upon their powerful chargers. On parades they manifested
none of the show and ostentation of the other troops; neither in
battle did they endeavor to signalize themselves by any fiery
vivacity or desperate and vainglorious exploit: everything with
them was measured and sedate, yet it was observed that none
were more warlike in their appearance in the camp or more terrible
for their achievements in the field.

The gorgeous magnificence of the Spanish nobles found but little
favor in the eyes of the sovereigns. They saw that it caused a
competition in expense ruinous to cavaliers of moderate fortune,
and they feared that a softness and effeminacy might thus be
introduced incompatible with the stern nature of the war. They
signified their disapprobation to several of the principal noblemen,
and recommended a more sober and soldier-like display while in
actual service.

"These are rare troops for a tourney, my lord," said Ferdinand to
the duke of Infantado as he beheld his retainers glittering in gold
and embroidery, "but gold, though gorgeous, is soft and yielding:
iron is the metal for the field."

"Sire," replied the duke, "if my men parade in gold, Your Majesty
will find they fight with steel." The king smiled, but shook his
head, and the duke treasured up his speech in his heart.

It remains now to reveal the immediate object of this mighty and
chivalrous preparation, which had, in fact, the gratification of a
royal pique at bottom. The severe lesson which Ferdinand had
received from the veteran Ali Atar before the walls of Loxa, though
it had been of great service in rendering him wary in his attacks
upon fortified places, yet rankled sorely in his mind, and he had
ever since held Loxa in peculiar odium. It was, in truth, one of
the most belligerent and troublesome cities on the borders,
incessantly harassing Andalusia by its incursions. It also
intervened between the Christian territories and Alhama and
other important places gained in the kingdom of Granada. For
all these reasons King Ferdinand had determined to make
another grand attempt upon this warrior city, and for this
purpose had summoned to the field his most powerful chivalry.

It was in the month of May that the king sallied from Cordova at the
head of his army. He had twelve thousand cavalry and forty thousand
foot-soldiers armed with crossbows, lances, and arquebuses. There
were six thousand pioneers with hatchets, pickaxes, and crowbars for
levelling roads. He took with him also a great train of lombards and
other heavy artillery, with a body of Germans skilled in the service
of ordnance and the art of battering walls.

It was a glorious spectacle (says Fray Antonio Agapida) to behold
this pompous pageant issuing forth from Cordova, the pennons
and devices of the proudest houses of Spain, with those of gallant
stranger knights, fluttering above a sea of crests and plumes--to
see it slowly moving, with flash of helm and cuirass and buckler,
across the ancient bridge and reflected in the waters of the
Guadalquivir, while the neigh of steed and blast of trumpet vibrated
in the air and resounded to the distant mountains. "But, above all,"
concludes the good father, with his accustomed zeal, "it was
triumphant to behold the standard of the faith everywhere displayed,
and to reflect that this was no worldly-minded army, intent upon
some temporal scheme of ambition or revenge, but a Christian host
bound on a crusade to extirpate the vile seed of Mahomet from the
land and to extend the pure dominion of the Church."



While perfect unity of object and harmony of operation gave power
to the Christian arms, the devoted kingdom of Granada continued
a prey to internal feuds. The transient popularity of El Zagal had
declined ever since the death of his brother, and the party of Boabdil
was daily gaining strength; the Albaycin and the Alhambra were
again arrayed against each other in deadly strife, and the streets
of unhappy Granada were daily dyed in the blood of her children. In
the midst of these dissensions tidings arrived of the formidable army
assembling at Cordova. The rival factions paused in their infatuated
brawls, and were roused to a temporary sense of the common danger.
They forthwith resorted to their old expedient of new-modelling their
government, or rather of making and unmaking kings. The elevation
of El Zagal to the throne had not produced the desired effect; what,
then, was to be done? Recall Boabdil el Chico and acknowledge him
again as sovereign? While they were in a popular tumult of
deliberation Hamet Aben Zarrax, surnamed El Santo, rose among
them. This was the same wild, melancholy man who had predicted
the woes of Granada. He issued from one of the caverns of the
adjacent height which overhangs the Darro, and has since been called
the Holy Mountain. His appearance was more haggard than ever, for
the unheeded spirit of prophecy seemed to have turned inwardly and
preyed upon his vitals. "Beware, O Moslems," exclaimed he, "of men
who are eager to govern, yet are unable to protect. Why slaughter
each other for El Chico or El Zagal? Let your kings renounce their
contests, unite for the salvation of Granada, or let them be deposed."

Hamet Aben Zarrax had long been revered as a saint--he was now
considered an oracle. The old men and the nobles immediately
consulted together how the two rival kings might be brought to
accord. They had tried most expedients: it was now determined to
divide the kingdom between them, giving Granada, Malaga, Velez
Malaga, Almeria, Almunecar, and their dependencies to El Zagal,
and the residue to Boabdil el Chico. Among the cities granted to
the latter Loxa was particularly specified, with a condition that he
should immediately take command of it in person, for the council
thought the favor he enjoyed with the Castilian monarchs might
avert the threatened attack.

El Zagal readily agreed to this arrangement: he had been hastily
elevated to the throne by an ebullition of the people, and might be
as hastily cast down again. It secured him one half of a kingdom to
which he had no hereditary right, and he trusted to force or fraud
to gain the other half hereafter. The wily old monarch even sent a
deputation to his nephew, making a merit of offering him cheerfully
the half which he had thus been compelled to relinquish, and
inviting him to enter into an amicable coalition for the good of
the country.

The heart of Boabdil shrank from all connection with a man who
had sought his life, and whom he regarded as the murderer of his
kindred. He accepted one half of the kingdom as an offer from the
nation, not to be rejected by a prince who scarcely held possession
of the ground he stood on. He asserted, nevertheless, his absolute
right to the whole, and only submitted to the partition out of anxiety
for the present good of his people. He assembled his handful of
adherents and prepared to hasten to Loxa. As he mounted his horse
to depart, Hamet Aben Zarrax stood suddenly before him. "Be true to
thy country and thy faith," cried he; "hold no further communication
with these Christian dogs. Trust not the hollow-hearted friendship of
the Castilian king; he is mining the earth beneath thy feet. Choose
one of two things: be a sovereign or a slave--thou canst not be both."

Boabdil ruminated on these words; he made many wise resolutions,
but he was prone always to act from the impulse of the moment, and
was unfortunately given to temporize in his policy. He wrote to
Ferdinand, informing him that Loxa and certain other cities had
returned to their allegiance, and that he held them as vassal to
the Castilian Crown, according to their convention. He conjured
him, therefore, to refrain from any meditated attack, offering free
passage to the Spanish army to Malaga or any other place under
the dominion of his uncle.*

*Zurita, lib. 20, c. 68.

Ferdinand turned a deaf ear to the entreaty and to all professions
of friendship and vassalage. Boabdil was nothing to him but as an
instrument for stirring up the flames of civil war. He now insisted
that he had entered into a hostile league with his uncle, and had
consequently forfeited all claims to his indulgence; and he prosecuted
with the greater earnestness his campaign against the city of Loxa.

"Thus," observes the worthy Fray Antonio Agapida, "thus did this
most sagacious sovereign act upon the text in the eleventh chapter
of the evangelist St. Luke, that 'a kingdom divided against itself
cannot stand.' He had induced these infidels to waste and destroy
themselves by internal dissensions, and finally cast forth the
survivor, while the Moorish monarchs by their ruinous contests
made good the old Castilian proverb in cases of civil war, 'El vencido
vencido, y el vencidor perdido' (the conquered conquered, and the
conqueror undone)."*

*Garibay, lib. 40, c. 33.



The royal army on its march against Loxa lay encamped one pleasant
evening in May in a meadow on the banks of the river Yeguas, around
the foot of a lofty cliff called the Rock of the Lovers. The quarters
of each nobleman formed as it were a separate little encampment,
his stately pavilion, surmounted by his fluttering pennon, rising
above the surrounding tents of his vassals and retainers. A little
apart from the others, as it were in proud reserve, was the
encampment of the English earl. It was sumptuous in its furniture
and complete in all its munitions. Archers and soldiers armed with
battle-axes kept guard around it, while above the standard of
England rolled out its ample folds and flapped in the evening breeze.

The mingled sounds of various tongues and nations were heard from
the soldiery as they watered their horses in the stream or busied
themselves round the fires which began to glow here and there in the
twilight--the gay chanson of the Frenchman, singing of his amours on
the pleasant banks of the Loire or the sunny regions of the Garonne;
the broad guttural tones of the German, chanting some doughty
"krieger lied" or extolling the vintage of the Rhine; the wild romance
of the Spaniard, reciting the achievements of the Cid and many a
famous passage of the Moorish wars; and the long and melancholy
ditty of the Englishman, treating of some feudal hero or redoubtable
outlaw of his distant island.

On a rising ground, commanding a view of the whole encampment,
stood the ample and magnificent pavilion of the king, with the banner
of Castile and Aragon and the holy standard of the cross erected
before it. In this tent there assembled the principal commanders of
the army, having been summoned by Ferdinand to a council of war
on receiving tidings that Boabdil had thrown himself into Loxa with a
considerable reinforcement. After some consultation it was determined
to invest Loxa on both sides: one part of the army should seize upon
the dangerous but commanding height of Santo Albohacen in front of
the city, while the remainder, making a circuit, should encamp on the
opposite side.

No sooner was this resolved upon than the marques of Cadiz stood
forth and claimed the post of danger in behalf of himself and those
cavaliers, his companions-in-arms, who had been compelled to
relinquish it by the general retreat of the army on the former
siege. The enemy had exulted over them as if driven from it in
disgrace. To regain that perilous height, to pitch their tents upon
it, and to avenge the blood of their valiant compeer, the master
of Calatrava, who had fallen upon it, was due to their fame: the
marques demanded, therefore, that they might lead the advance
and secure that height, engaging to hold the enemy employed
until the main army should take its position on the opposite side
of the city.

King Ferdinand readily granted his permission, upon which the count
de Cabra entreated to be admitted to a share of the enterprise. He
had always been accustomed to serve in the advance, and now that
Boabdil was in the field and a king was to be taken, he could not
content himself with remaining in the rear. Ferdinand yielded his
consent, for he was disposed to give the good count every opportunity
to retrieve his late disaster.

The English earl, when he heard there was an enterprise of danger in
question, was hot to be admitted to the party, but the king restrained
his ardor. "These cavaliers," said he, "conceive that they have an
account to settle with their pride; let them have the enterprise to
themselves, my lord: if you follow these Moorish wars long, you will
find no lack of perilous service."

The marques of Cadiz and his companions-in-arms struck their tents
before daybreak; they were five thousand horse and twelve thousand
foot, and marched rapidly along the defiles of the mountains, the
cavaliers being anxious to strike the blow and get possession of the
height of Albohacen before the king with the main army should arrive
to their assistance.

The city of Loxa stands on a high hill between two mountains on the
banks of the Xenil. To attain the height of Albohacen the troops had
to pass over a tract of rugged and broken country and a deep valley
intersected by those canals and watercourses with which the Moors
irrigated their lands: they were extremely embarrassed in this part
of their march, and in imminent risk of being cut up in detail before
they could reach the height.

The count de Cabra, with his usual eagerness, endeavored to
push across this valley in defiance of every obstacle: he, in
consequence, soon became entangled with his cavalry among the
canals, but his impatience would not permit him to retrace his steps
and choose a more practicable but circuitous route. Others slowly
crossed another part of the valley by the aid of pontoons, while the
marques of Cadiz, Don Alonso de Aguilar, and the count de Urena,
being more experienced in the ground from their former campaign,
made a circuit round the bottom of the height, and, winding up it,
began to display their squadrons and elevate their banners on the
redoubtable post which in their former siege they had been compelled
so reluctantly to abandon.



The advance of the Christian army upon Loxa threw the wavering
Boabdil el Chico into one of his usual dilemmas, and he was greatly
perplexed between his oath of allegiance to the Spanish sovereigns
and his sense of duty to his subjects. His doubts were determined
by the sight of the enemy glittering upon the height of Albohacen
and by the clamors of the people to be led forth to battle. "Allah,"
exclaimed he, "thou knowest my heart: thou knowest I have been
true in my faith to this Christian monarch. I have offered to hold
Loxa as his vassal, but he has preferred to approach it as an enemy:
on his head be the infraction of our treaty!"

Boabdil was not wanting in courage; he only needed decision.
When he had once made up his mind he acted vigorously; the
misfortune was, he either did not make it up at all or he made
it up too late. He who decides tardily generally acts rashly,
endeavoring to make up by hurry of action for slowness of
deliberation. Boabdil hastily buckled on his armor and sallied
forth surrounded by his guards, and at the head of five hundred
horse and four thousand foot, the flower of his army. Some he
detached to skirmish with the Christians, who were scattered
and perplexed in the valley, and to prevent their concentrating
their forces, while with his main body he pressed forward to drive
the enemy from the height of Albohacen before they had time to
collect there in any number or to fortify themselves in that
important position.

The worthy count de Cabra was yet entangled with his cavalry among
the water-courses of the valley when he heard the war-cries of the
Moors and saw their army rushing over the bridge. He recognized
Boabdil himself, by his splendid armor, the magnificent caparison of
his steed, and the brilliant guard which surrounded him. The royal
host swept on toward the height of Albohacen: an intervening hill
hid it from his sight, but loud shouts and cries, the din of drums
and trumpets, and the reports of arquebuses gave note that the
battle had begun.

Here was a royal prize in the field, and the count de Cabra unable
to get into the action! The good cavalier was in an agony of
impatience; every attempt to force his way across the valley only
plunged him into new difficulties. At length, after many eager but
ineffectual efforts, he was obliged to order his troops to dismount,
and slowly and carefully to lead their horses back along slippery
paths and amid plashes of mire and water where often there was
scarce a foothold. The good count groaned in spirit and sweat with
mere impatience as he went, fearing the battle might be fought and
the prize won or lost before he could reach the field. Having at
length toilfully unravelled the mazes of the valley and arrived at
firmer ground, he ordered his troops to mount, and led them full
gallop to the height. Part of the good count's wishes were satisfied,
but the dearest were disappointed: he came in season to partake
of the very hottest of the fight, but the royal prize was no longer
in the field.

Boabdil had led on his men with impetuous valor, or rather with
hurried rashness. Heedlessly exposing himself in the front of the
battle, he received two wounds in the very first encounter. His
guards rallied round him, defended him with matchless valor, and
bore him bleeding out of the action. The count de Cabra arrived
just in time to see the loyal squadron crossing the bridge and
slowly conveying their disabled monarch toward the gate of
the city.

The departure of Boabdil made no difference in the fury of the
battle. A Moorish warrior, dark and terrible in aspect, mounted on
a black charger, and followed by a band of savage Gomeres, rushed
forward to take the lead. It was Hamet el Zegri, the fierce alcayde
of Ronda, with the remnant of his once-redoubtable garrison.
Animated by his example, the Moors renewed their assaults upon
the height. It was bravely defended, on one side by the marques
of Cadiz, on another by Don Alonso de Aguilar, and as fast as the
Moors ascended they were driven back and dashed down the
declivities. The count de Urena took his stand upon the fatal spot
where his brother had fallen; his followers entered with zeal into
the feelings of their commander, and heaps of the enemy sunk
beneath their weapons--sacrifices to the manes of the lamented
master of Calatrava.

The battle continued with incredible obstinacy. The Moors knew
the importance of the height to the safety of the city; the cavaliers
felt their honors staked to maintain it. Fresh supplies of troops
were poured out of the city: some battled on the height, while some
attacked the Christians who were still in the valley and among the
orchards and gardens to prevent their uniting their forces. The
troops in the valley were gradually driven back, and the whole host
of the Moors swept around the height of Albohacen. The situation of
the marques de Cadiz and his companions was perilous in the extreme:
they were a mere handful, and, while fighting hand to hand with the
Moors who assailed the height, were galled from a distance by the
crossbows and arquebuses of a host that augmented each moment
in number. At this critical juncture King Ferdinand emerged from the
mountains with the main body of the army, and advanced to an
eminence commanding a full view of the field of action. By his side
was the noble English cavalier, the earl of Rivers. This was the
first time he had witnessed a scene of Moorish warfare. He looked
with eager interest at the chance-medley fight before him, where
there was the wild career of cavalry, the irregular and tumultuous
rush of infantry, and where Christian and Moor were intermingled
in deadly struggle. The high blood of the English knight mounted
at the sight, and his soul was stirred within him by the confused
war-cries, the clangor of drums and trumpets, and the reports of
arquebuses. Seeing that the king was sending a reinforcement to
the field, he entreated permission to mingle in the affray and fight
according to the fashion of his country. His request being granted,
he alighted from his steed: he was merely armed "en blanco"--that
is to say, with morion, back-piece, and breast-plate--his sword was
girded by his side, and in his hand he wielded a powerful battle-axe.
He was followed by a body of his yeomen armed in like manner, and
by a band of archers with bows made of the tough English yew tree.
The earl turned to his troops and addressed then briefly and bluntly,
according to the manner of his country. "Remember, my merry men
all," said he, "the eyes of strangers are upon you; you are in a
foreign land, fighting for the glory of God and the honor of merry
old England!" A loud shout was the reply. The earl waved his battle-
axe over his head. "St. George for England!" cried he, and to the
inspiring sound of this old English war-cry he and his followers
rushed down to the battle with manly and courageous hearts.*
They soon made their way into the midst of the enemy, but when
engaged in the hottest of the fight they made no shouts nor outcries.
They pressed steadily forward, dealing their blows to right and left,
hewing down the Moors and cutting their way with their battle-
axes like woodmen in a forest; while the archers, pressing into the
opening they made, plied their bows vigorously and spread death
on every side.

*Cura de los Palacios.

When the Castilian mountaineers beheld the valor of the English
yeomanry, they would not be outdone in hardihood. They could
not vie with them in weight or bulk, but for vigor and activity they
were surpassed by none. They kept pace with them, therefore,
with equal heart and rival prowess, and gave a brave support to
the stout Englishmen.

The Moors were confounded by the fury of these assaults and
disheartened by the loss of Hamet el Zegri, who was carried
wounded from the field. They gradually fell back upon the bridge;
the Christians followed up their advantage, and drove them over
it tumultuously. The Moors retreated into the suburb, and Lord
Rivers and his troops entered with them pell-mell, fighting in the
streets and in the houses. King Ferdinand came up to the scene
of action with his royal guard, and the infidels were driven within
the city walls. Thus were the suburbs gained by the hardihood of
the English lord, without such an event having been premeditated.*

*Cura de los Palacios, MS.

The earl of Rivers, notwithstanding he had received a wound, still
urged forward in the attack. He penetrated almost to the city gate,
in defiance of a shower of missiles that slew many of his followers.
A stone hurled from the battlements checked his impetuous career:
it struck him in the face, dashed out two of his front teeth, and laid
him senseless on the earth. He was removed to a short distance by
his men, but, recovering his senses, refused to permit himself to be
taken from the suburb.

When the contest was over the streets presented a piteous
spectacle, so many of their inhabitants had died in the defence
of their thresholds or been slaughtered without resistance.
Among the victims was a poor weaver who had been at work
in his dwelling at this turbulent moment. His wife urged him to
fly into the city. "Why should I fly?" said the Moor--"to be
reserved for hunger and slavery? I tell you, wife, I will await
the foe here, for better is it to die quickly by the steel than to
perish piecemeal in chains and dungeons." He said no more,
but resumed his occupation of weaving, and in the indiscriminate
fury of the assault was slaughtered at his loom.*

*Pulgar, part 3, c. 58.

The Christians remained masters of the field, and proceeded to pitch
three encampments for the prosecution of the siege. The king, with
the great body of the army, took a position on the side of the city
next to Granada; the marques of Cadiz and his brave companions
once more pitched their tents upon the height of Santo Albohacen;
but the English earl planted his standard sturdily within the suburb
he had taken.



Having possession of the heights of Albohacen and the suburb of
the city, the Christians were enabled to choose the most favorable
situations for their batteries. They immediately destroyed the stone
bridge by which the garrison had made its sallies, and they threw
two wooden bridges across the river and others over the canals and
streams, so as to establish an easy communication between the
different camps.

When all was arranged a heavy fire was opened upon the city from
various points. They threw not only balls of stone and iron, but
great carcasses of fire, which burst like meteors on the houses,
wrapping them instantly in a blaze. The walls were shattered and
the towers toppled down by tremendous discharges from the lombards.
Through the openings thus made they could behold the interior of the
city--houses tumbling or in flames, men, women, and children flying
in terror through the streets, and slaughtered by the shower of
missiles sent through the openings from smaller artillery and from
crossbows and arquebuses.

The Moors attempted to repair the breaches, but fresh discharges
from the lombards buried them beneath the ruins of the walls they
were mending. In their despair many of the inhabitants rushed forth
into the narrow streets of the suburbs and assailed the Christians
with darts, scimetars, and poniards, seeking to destroy rather than
defend, and heedless of death in the confidence that to die fighting
with an unbeliever was to be translated at once to Paradise.

For two nights and a day this awful scene continued, when certain
of the principal inhabitants began to reflect upon the hopelessness
of the conflict: their king was disabled, their principal captains were
either killed or wounded, their fortifications little better than heaps
of ruins. They had urged the unfortunate Boabdil to the conflict;
they now clamored for a capitulation. A parley was procured from the
Christian monarch, and the terms of surrender were soon adjusted.
They were to yield up the city immediately, with all their Christian
captives, and to sally forth with as much of their property as they
could take with them. The marques of Cadiz, on whose honor and
humanity they had great reliance, was to escort them to Granada
to protect them from assault or robbery: such as chose to remain in
Spain were to be permitted to reside in Castile, Aragon, or Valencia.
As to Boabdil el Chico, he was to do homage as vassal to King
Ferdinand, but no charge was to be urged against him of having
violated his former pledge. If he should yield up all pretensions to
Granada, the title of duke of Guadix was to be assigned to him and
the territory thereto annexed, provided it should be recovered from
El Zagal within six months.

The capitulation being arranged, they gave as hostages the alcayde

of the city and the principal officers, together with the sons of their
late chieftain, the veteran Ali Atar. The warriors of Loxa then issued
forth, humbled and dejected at having to surrender those walls which
they had so long maintained with valor and renown, and the women
and children filled the air with lamentations at being exiled from their
native homes.

Last came forth Boabdil, most truly called El Zogoybi, the Unlucky.
Accustomed, as he was, to be crowned and uncrowned, to be ransomed
and treated as a matter of bargain, he had acceded of course to the
capitulation. He was enfeebled by his wounds and had an air of
dejection, yet, it is said, his conscience acquitted him of a breach of
faith toward the Castilian sovereigns, and the personal valor he had
displayed had caused a sympathy for him among many of the Christian
cavaliers. He knelt to Ferdinand according to the forms of vassalage,
and then departed in melancholy mood for Priego, a town about three
leagues distant.

Ferdinand immediately ordered Loxa to be repaired and strongly
garrisoned. He was greatly elated at the capture of this place, in
consequence of his former defeat before its walls. He passed great
encomiums upon the commanders who had distinguished themselves,
and historians dwelt particularly upon his visit to the tent of the
English earl. His Majesty consoled him for the loss of his teeth by
the consideration that he might otherwise have lost them by natural
decay, whereas the lack of them would now be esteemed a beauty
rather than a defect, serving as a trophy of the glorious cause in
which he had been engaged.

The earl replied that he gave thanks to God and to the Holy Virgin
for being thus honored by a visit from the most potent king in
Christendom; that he accepted with all gratitude his gracious
consolation for the loss of his teeth, though he held it little to
lose two teeth in the service of God, who had given him all--"A
speech," says Fray Antonio Agapida, "full of most courtly wit and
Christian piety; and one only marvels that it should have been
made by a native of an island so far distant from Castile."



King Ferdinand followed up his victory at Loxa by laying siege to
the strong town of Illora. This redoubtable fortress was perched
upon a high rock in the midst of a spacious valley. It was within
four leagues of the Moorish capital, and its lofty castle, keeping
vigilant watch over a wide circuit of country, was termed the right
eye of Granada.

The alcayde of Illora was one of the bravest of the Moorish
commanders, and made every preparation to defend his fortress
to the last extremity. He sent the women and children, the aged
and infirm, to the metropolis. He placed barricades in the suburbs,
opened doors of communication from house to house, and pierced
their walls with loopholes for the discharge of crossbows, arquebuses,
and other missiles.

King Ferdinand arrived before the place with all his forces; he
stationed himself upon the hill of Encinilla, and distributed the
other encampments in various situations so as to invest the
fortress. Knowing the valiant character of the alcayde and the
desperate courage of the Moors, he ordered the encampments
to be fortified with trenches and palisadoes, the guards to be
doubled, and sentinels to be placed in all the watch-towers of
the adjacent heights.

When all was ready the duke del Infantado demanded the attack: it
was his first campaign, and he was anxious to disprove the royal
insinuation made against the hardihood of his embroidered chivalry.
King Ferdinand granted his demand, with a becoming compliment to
his spirit; he ordered the count de Cabra to make a simultaneous
attack upon a different quarter. Both chiefs led forth their troops--
those of the duke in fresh and brilliant armor, richly ornamented,
and as yet uninjured by the service of the field; those of the count
were weatherbeaten veterans, whose armor was dented and
hacked in many a hard-fought battle. The youthful duke blushed at
the contrast. "Cavaliers," cried he, "we have been reproached with
the finery of our array: let us prove that a trenchant blade may
rest in a gilded sheath. Forward! to the foe! and I trust in God
that as we enter this affray knights well accoutred, so we shall
leave it cavaliers well proved." His men responded by eager
acclamations, and the duke led them forward to the assault. He
advanced under a tremendous shower of stones, darts, balls, and
arrows, but nothing could check his career; he entered the suburb
sword in hand; his men fought furiously, though with great loss,
for every dwelling had been turned into a fortress. After a severe
conflict they succeeded in driving the Moors into the town about the
same time that the other suburb was carried by the count de Cabra
and his veterans. The troops of the duke del Infantado came out of
the contest thinned in number and covered with blood and dust and
wounds; they received the highest encomiums of the king, and there
was never afterward any sneer at their embroidery.

The suburbs being taken, three batteries, each furnished with eight
huge lombards, were opened upon the fortress. The damage and
havoc were tremendous, for the fortifications had not been constructed
to withstand such engines. The towers were overthrown, the walls
battered to pieces; the interior of the place was all exposed, houses
were demolished, and many people slain. The Moors were terrified
by the tumbling ruins and the tremendous din. The alcayde had
resolved to defend the place until the last extremity: he beheld it
a heap of rubbish; there was no prospect of aid from Granada;
his people had lost all spirit to fight and were vociferous for a
surrender; with a reluctant heart he capitulated. The inhabitants
were permitted to depart with all their effects, excepting their arms,
and were escorted in safety by the duke del Infantado and the count
de Cabra to the bridge of Pinos, within two leagues of Granada.

King Ferdinand gave directions to repair the fortifications of Illora
and to place it in a strong state of defence. He left as alcayde
of the town and fortress Gonsalvo de Cordova, younger brother
of Don Alonso de Aguilar. This gallant cavalier was captain of the
royal guards of Ferdinand and Isabella, and gave already proofs
of that prowess which afterward rendered him so renowned.



The war of Granada, however poets may embroider it with the flowers
of their fancy, was certainly one of the sternest of those iron conflicts
which have been celebrated under the name of "holy wars." The worthy
Fray Antonio Agapida dwells with unsated delight upon the succession
of rugged mountain-enterprises, bloody battles, and merciless sackings
and ravages which characterized it; yet we find him on one occasion
pausing in the full career of victory over the infidels to detail a stately
pageant of the Catholic sovereigns.

Immediately on the capture of Loxa, Ferdinand had written to Isabella,
soliciting her presence at the camp that he might consult with her as
to the disposition of their newly-acquired territories.

It was in the early part of June that the queen departed from Codova
with the princess Isabella and numerous ladies of her court. She had
a glorious attendance of cavaliers and pages, with many guards and
domestics. There were forty mules for the use of the queen, the
princess, and their train.

As this courtly cavalcade approached the Rock of the Lovers on the
banks of the river Yeguas, they beheld a splendid train of knights
advancing to meet them. It was headed by that accomplished cavalier
the marques-duke de Cadiz, accompanied by the adelantado of
Andalusia. He had left the camp the day after the capture of Illora,
and advanced thus far to receive the queen and escort her over
the borders. The queen received the marques with distinguished
honor, for he was esteemed the mirror of chivalry. His actions in
this war had become the theme of every tongue, and many hesitated
not to compare him in prowess with the immortal Cid.*

*Cura de los Palacios.

Thus gallantly attended, the queen entered the vanquished frontier
of Granada, journeying securely along the pleasant banks of the
Xenil, so lately subject to the scourings of the Moors. She stopped
at Loxa, where she administered aid and consolation to the wounded,
distributing money among them for their support according to their rank.

The king after the capture of Illora had removed his camp before
the fortress of Moclin, with an intention of besieging it. Thither
the queen proceeded, still escorted through the mountain-roads
by the marques of Cadiz. As Isabella drew near to the camp the
duke del Infantado issued forth a league and a half to receive her,
magnificently arrayed and followed by all his chivalry in glorious
attire. With him came the standard of Seville, borne by the men-
at-arms of that renowned city, and the prior of St. Juan with his
followers. They ranged themselves in order of battle on the left
of the road by which the queen was to pass.

The worthy Agapida is loyally minute in his description of the state
and grandeur of the Catholic sovereigns. The queen rode a chestnut
mule, seated in a magnificent saddle-chair decorated with silver
gilt. The housings of the mule were of fine crimson cloth, the
borders embroidered with gold, the reins and head-piece were
of satin, curiously embossed with needlework of silk and wrought
with golden letters. The queen wore a brial or regal skirt of velvet,
under which were others of brocade; a scarlet mantle, ornamented
in the Moresco fashion; and a black hat, embroidered round the crown
and brim. The infanta was likewise mounted on a chestnut mule
richly caparisoned: she wore a brial or skirt of black brocade and a
black mantle ornamented like that of the queen.

When the royal cavalcade passed by the chivalry of the duke del
Infantado, which was drawn out in battle array, the queen made a
reverence to the standard of Seville and ordered it to pass to the
right hand. When she approached the camp the multitude ran forth
to meet her with great demonstrations of joy, for she was universally
beloved by her subjects. All the battalions sallied forth in military
array, bearing the various standards and banners of the camp, which
were lowered in salutation as she passed.

The king now came forth in royal state, mounted on a superb chestnut
horse and attended by many grandees of Castile. He wore a jubon or
close vest of crimson cloth, with cuisses or short skirts of yellow satin,
a loose cassock of brocade, a rich Moorish scimetar, and a hat with
plumes. The grandees who attended him were arrayed with wonderful
magnificence, each according to his taste and invention.

These high and mighty princes (says Antonio Agapida) regarded each
other with great deference as allied sovereigns, rather than with
connubial familiarity as mere husband and wife. When they approached
each other, therefore, before embracing, they made three profound
reverences, the queen taking off her hat and remaining in a silk net
or caul, with her face uncovered. The king then approached and
embraced her, and kissed her respectfully on the cheek. He also
embraced his daughter the princess, and, making the sign of the
cross, he blessed her and kissed her on the lips.*

*Cura de los Palacios.

The good Agapida seems scarcely to have been more struck with
the appearance of the sovereigns than with that of the English earl.
He followed (says he) immediately after the king, with great pomp
and, in an extraordinary manner, taking precedence of all the rest.
He was mounted "a la guisa," or with long stirrups, on a superb
chestnut horse, with trappings of azure silk which reached to the
ground. The housings were of mulberry powdered with stars of gold.
He was armed in proof, and wore over his armor a short French mantle
of black brocade; he had a white French hat with plumes, and carried
on his left arm a small round buckler banded with gold. Five pages
attended him, apparelled in silk and brocade and mounted on horses
sumptuously caparisoned; he had also a train of followers bravely
attired after the fashion of his country.

He advanced in a chivalrous and courteous manner, making his
reverences first to the queen and infanta, and afterward to the
king. Queen Isabella received him graciously, complimenting him
on his courageous conduct at Loxa, and condoling with him on the
loss of his teeth. The earl, however, made light of his disfiguring
wound, saying that "our Blessed Lord, who had built all that house,
had opened a window there, that he might see more readily what
passed within;"* whereupon the worthy Fray Antonio Agapida is
more than ever astonished at the pregnant wit of this island cavalier.
The earl continued some little distance by the side of the royal
family, complimenting them all with courteous speeches, his horse
curveting and caracoling, but being managed with great grace and
dexterity, leaving the grandees and the people at large not more
filled with admiration at the strangeness and magnificence of his
state than at the excellence of his horsemanship.**

*Pietro Martyr, Epist. 61.

**Cura de los Palacios.

To testify her sense of the gallantry and services of this noble
English knight, who had come from so far to assist in their wars,
the queen sent him the next day presents of twelve horses, with
stately tents, fine linen, two beds with coverings of gold brocade,
and many other articles of great value.

Having refreshed himself, as it were, with the description of this
progress of Queen Isabella to the camp and the glorious pomp of
the Catholic sovereigns, the worthy Antonio Agapida returns with
renewed relish to his pious work of discomfiting the Moors.

The description of this royal pageant and the particulars concerning
the English earl, thus given from the manuscript of Fray Antonio
Agapida, agree precisely with the chronicle of Andres Bernaldez, the
curate of Los Palacios. The English earl makes no further figure in
this war. It appears from various histories that he returned in the
course of the year to England. In the following year his passion
for fighting took him to the Continent, at the head of four hundred
adventurers, in aid of Francis, duke of Brittany, against Louis XI.
of France. He was killed in the same year (1488) in the battle of
St. Alban's between the Bretons and the French.



"The Catholic sovereigns," says Fray Antonio Agapida, "had by
this time closely clipped the right wing of the Moorish vulture."
In other words, most of the strong fortresses along the western
frontier of Granada had fallen beneath the Christian artillery. The
army now lay encamped before the town of Moclin, on the frontier
of Jaen, one of the most stubborn fortresses of the border. It stood
on a high rocky hill, the base of which was nearly girdled by a river:
a thick forest protected the back part of the town toward the
mountain. Thus strongly situated, it domineered, with its frowning
battlements and massive towers, all the mountain-passes into that
part of the country, and was called "the shield of Granada." It had
a double arrear of blood to settle with the Christians: two hundred
years before, a master of Santiago and all his cavaliers had been
lanced by the Moors before its gates. It had recently made terrible
slaughter among the troops of the good count de Cabra in his
precipitate attempt to entrap the old Moorish monarch. The pride
of Ferdinand had been piqued by being obliged on that occasion
to recede from his plan and abandon his concerted attack on the
place; he was now prepared to take a full revenge.

El Zagal, the old warrior-king of Granada, anticipating a second
attempt, had provided the place with ample ammunitions and
provisions, had ordered trenches to be digged and additional
bulwarks thrown up, and caused all the old men, the women,
and the children to be removed to the capital.

Such was the strength of the fortress and the difficulties of its
position that Ferdinand anticipated much trouble in reducing it,
and made every preparation for a regular siege. In the centre of
his camp were two great mounds, one of sacks of flour, the other of
grain, which were called the royal granary. Three batteries of heavy
ordnance were opened against the citadel and principal towers, while
smaller artillery, engines for the discharge of missiles, arquebuses,
and crossbows, were distributed in various places to keep up a fire
into any breaches that might be made, and upon those of the
garrison who should appear on the battlements.

The lombards soon made an impression on the works, demolishing a
part of the wall and tumbling down several of those haughty towers
which, from their height, had been impregnable before the invention
of gunpowder. The Moors repaired their walls as well as they were
able, and, still confiding in the strength of their situation, kept up a
resolute defence, firing down from their lofty battlements and towers
upon the Christian camp. For two nights and a day an incessant fire
was kept up, so that there was not a moment in which the roaring
of ordnance was not heard or some damage sustained by the
Christians or the Moors. It was a conflict, however, more of engineers
and artillerists than of gallant cavaliers; there was no sally of troops
nor shock of armed men nor rush and charge of cavalry. The knights
stood looking on with idle weapons, waiting until they should have
an opportunity of signalizing their prowess by scaling the walls or
storming the breaches. As the place, however, was assailable only in
one part, there was every prospect of a long and obstinate resistance.

The engineers, as usual, discharged not merely balls of stone and
iron to demolish the walls, but flaming balls of inextinguishable
combustibles designed to set fire to the houses. One of these, which
passed high through the air like a meteor, sending out sparks and
crackling as it went, entered the window of a tower which was used
as a magazine of gunpowder. The tower blew up with a tremendous
explosion; the Moors who were upon its battlements were hurled
into the air, and fell mangled in various parts of the town, and the
houses in its vicinity were rent and overthrown as with an earthquake.

The Moors, who had never witnessed an explosion of the kind,
ascribed the destruction of the tower to a miracle. Some who had
seen the descent of the flaming ball imagined that fire had fallen
from heaven to punish them for their pertinacity. The pious Agapida
himself believes that this fiery missive was conducted by divine
agency to confound the infidels--an opinion in which he is supported
by other Catholic historians.*

*Pulgar, Garibay; Lucio Marino Siculo, Cosas Memoral. de Hispan.,

Seeing heaven and earth, as it were, combined against them, the
Moors lost all heart: they capitulated, and were permitted to depart
with their effects, leaving behind all arms and munitions of war.

The Catholic army (says Antonio Agapida) entered Moclin in solemn
state, not as a licentious host intent upon plunder and desolation,
but as a band of Christian warriors coming to purify and regenerate
the land. The standard of the cross, that ensign of this holy crusade,
was borne in the advance, followed by the other banners of the
army. Then came the king and queen at the head of a vast number
of armed cavaliers. They were accompanied by a band of priests and
friars, with the choir of the royal chapel chanting the canticle "Te
Deum laudamus." As they were moving through the streets in this
solemn manner, every sound hushed excepting the anthem of the
choir, they suddenly heard, issuing as it were from under ground, a
chorus of voices chanting in solemn response "Benedictum qui venit
in nomine Domini."* The procession paused in wonder. The sounds
rose from Christian captives, and among them several priests, who
were confined in subterraneous dungeons.

*Marino Siculo.

The heart of Isabella was greatly touched. She ordered the captives
to be drawn forth from their cells, and was still more moved at
beholding, by their wan, discolored, and emaciated appearance, how
much they had suffered. Their hair and beards were overgrown and
shagged; they were wasted by hunger, half naked, and in chains.
She ordered that they should be clothed and cherished, and money
furnished them to bear them to their homes.*

*Illescas, Hist. Pontif., lib. 6, c. 20, \0xA4 1.

Several of the captives were brave cavaliers who had been wounded
and made prisoners in the defeat of the count de Cabra by El Zagal
in the preceding year. There were also found other melancholy traces
of that disastrous affair. On visiting the narrow pass where the
defeat had taken place, the remains of several Christian warriors
were found in thickets or hidden behind rocks or in the clefts of the
mountains. These were some who had been struck from their horses
and wounded too severely to fly. They had crawled away from the
scene of action, and concealed themselves to avoid falling into the
hands of the enemy, and had thus perished miserably and alone. The
remains of those of note were known by their armor and devices, and
were mourned over by their companions who had shared the disaster
of that day.*

*Pulgar, part 3, cap. 61.

The queen had these remains piously collected as the relics of so
many martyrs who had fallen in the cause of the faith. They were
interred with great solemnity in the mosques of Moclin, which had
been purified and consecrated to Christian worship. "There," says
Antonio Agapida, "rest the bones of those truly Catholic knights,
in the holy ground which in a manner had been sanctified by their
blood; and all pilgrims passing through those mountains offer up
prayers and masses for the repose of their souls."

The queen remained for some time at Moclin, administering comfort to
the wounded and the prisoners, bringing the newly-acquired territory
into order, and founding churches and monasteries and other pious
institutions. "While the king marched in front, laying waste the land
of the Philistines," says the figurative Antonio Agapida, "Queen
Isabella followed his traces as the binder follows the reaper, gathering
and garnering the rich harvest that has fallen beneath his sickle. In
this she was greatly assisted by the counsels of that cloud of bishops,
friars, and other saintly men which continually surrounded her,
garnering the first fruits of this infidel land into the granaries of the
Church." Leaving her thus piously employed, the king pursued his
career of conquest, determined to lay waste the Vega and carry fire
and sword to the very gates of Granada.



Muley Abdallah el Zagal had been under a spell of ill-fortune ever
since the suspicious death of the old king his brother. Success had
deserted his standard, and with his fickle subjects want of success
was one of the greatest crimes in a sovereign. He found his
popularity declining, and he lost all confidence in his people. The
Christian army marched in open defiance through his territories,
and sat down deliberately before his fortresses; yet he dared not
lead forth his legions to oppose them, lest the inhabitants of the
Albaycin, ever ripe for a revolt, should rise and shut the gates of
Granada against his return.

Every few days some melancholy train entered the metropolis, the
inhabitants of some captured town bearing the few effects spared
them, and weeping and bewailing the desolation of their homes.
When the tidings arrived that Illora and Moclin had fallen, the people
were seized with consternation. "The right eye of Granada is
extinguished," exclaimed they; "the shield of Granada is broken:
what shall protect us from the inroad of the foe?" When the
survivors of the garrisons of those towns arrived, with downcast
looks, bearing the marks of battle and destitute of arms and
standards, the populace reviled them in their wrath, but they
answered, "We fought as long as we had force to fight or walls
to shelter us; but the Christians laid our town and battlements
in ruins, and we looked in vain for aid from Granada."

The alcaydes of Illora and Moclin were brothers; they were alike
in prowess and the bravest among the Moorish cavaliers. They
had been the most distinguished in those tilts and tourneys which
graced the happier days of Granada, and had distinguished
themselves in the sterner conflicts of the field. Acclamation had
always followed their banners, and they had long been the delight
of the people. Yet now, when they returned after the capture of
their fortresses, they were followed by the unsteady populace with
execrations. The hearts of the alcaydes swelled with indignation;
they found the ingratitude of their countrymen still more intolerable
than the hostility of the Christians.

Tidings came that the enemy was advancing with his triumphant
legions to lay waste the country about Granada. Still El Zagal did
not dare to take the field. The two alcaydes of Illora and Moclin
stood before him. "We have defended your fortresses," said they,
"until we were almost buried under their ruins, and for our reward
we receive scoffings and revilings: give us, O king, an opportunity
where knightly valor may signalize itself--not shut up behind stone
walls, but in the open conflict of the field. The enemy approaches
to lay our country desolate: give us men to meet him in the advance,
and let shame light upon our heads if we be found wanting in the

The two brothers were sent forth with a large force of horse and
foot; El Zagal intended, should they be successful, to issue forth
with his whole force, and by a decisive victory repair the losses he
had suffered. When the people saw the well-known standards of
the brothers going forth to battle, there was a feeble shout, but
the alcaydes passed on with stern countenances, for they knew
the same voices would curse them were they to return unfortunate.
They cast a farewell look upon fair Granada and upon the beautiful
fields of their infancy, as if for these they were willing to lay down
their lives, but not for an ungrateful people.

The army of Ferdinand had arrived within two leagues of Granada,
at the bridge of Pinos, a pass famous in the wars of the Moors and
Christians for many a bloody conflict. It was the pass by which the
Castilian monarchs generally made their inroads, and was capable of
great defence from the ruggedness of the country and the difficulty
of the bridge. The king, with the main body of the army, had
attained the brow of a hill, when they beheld the advance guard,
under the marques of Cadiz and the master of Santiago, furiously
attacked by the enemy in the vicinity of the bridge. The Moors
rushed to the assault with their usual shouts, but with more than
usual ferocity. There was a hard struggle at the bridge; both
parties knew the importance of that pass.

The king particularly noted the prowess of two Moorish cavaliers,
alike in arms and devices, and whom by their bearing and attendance
he perceived to be commanders of the enemy. They were the two
brothers, the alcaydes of Illora and Moclin. Wherever they turned
they carried confusion and death into the ranks of the Christians,
but they fought with desperation rather than valor. The count de
Cabra and his brother Don Martin de Cordova pressed forward with
eagerness against them, but, having advanced too precipitately, were
surrounded by the foe and in imminent danger. A young Christian
knight, seeing their peril, hastened with his followers to their
relief. The king recognized him for Don Juan de Aragon, count of
Ribargoza, his own nephew, for he was illegitimate son of the duke
of Villahermosa, illegitimate brother of King Ferdinand. The
splendid armor of Don Juan and the sumptuous caparison of his
steed rendered him a brilliant object of attack. He was assailed
on all sides and his superb steed slain under him, yet still he fought
valiantly, bearing for a time the brunt of the fight and giving the
exhausted forces of the count de Cabra time to recover breath.

Seeing the peril of these troops and the general obstinacy of the
fight, the king ordered the royal standard to be advanced, and
hastened with all his forces to the relief of the count de Cabra. At
his approach the enemy gave way and retreated toward the bridge.
The two Moorish commanders endeavored to rally their troops and
animate them to defend this pass to the utmost: they used prayers,
remonstrances, menaces, but almost in vain. They could only collect
a scanty handful of cavaliers; with these they planted themselves
at the head of the bridge and disputed it inch by inch. The fight was
hot and obstinate, for but few could contend hand to hand, yet many
discharged crossbows and arquebuses from the banks. The river
was covered with the floating bodies of the slain. The Moorish band
of cavaliers was almost entirely cut to pieces; the two brothers fell,
covered with wounds, upon the bridge they had so resolutely
defended. They had given up the battle for lost, but had determined
not to return alive to ungrateful Granada.

When the people of the capital heard how devotedly they had fallen,
they lamented greatly their deaths and extolled their memory: a
column was erected to their honor in the vicinity of the bridge,
which long went by the name of "the Tomb of the Brothers."

The army of Ferdinand now marched on and established its camp in
the vicinity of Granada. The worthy Agapida gives many triumphant
details of the ravages committed in the Vega, which was again laid
waste, the grain, fruits, and other productions of the earth
destroyed, and that earthly paradise rendered a dreary desert.
He narrates several fierce but ineffectual sallies and skirmishes
of the Moors in defence of their favorite plain; among which one
deserves to be mentioned, as it records the achievements of one
of the saintly heroes of this war.

During one of the movements of the Christian army near the walls
of Granada a battalion of fifteen hundred cavalry and a large force
of foot had sallied from the city, and posted themselves near some
gardens, which were surrounded by a canal and traversed by ditches
for the purpose of irrigation.

The Moors beheld the duke del Infantado pass by with his two
splendid battalions--one of men-at-arms, the other of light cavalry
armed "a la gineta." In company with him, but following as a rear-
guard, was Don Garcia Osorio, the belligerent bishop of Jaen,
attended by Francisco Bovadillo, the corregidor of his city, and
followed by two squadrons of men-at-arms from Jaen, Anduxar,
Ubeda, and Baeza.* The success of last year's campaign had given
the good bishop an inclination for warlike affairs, and he had once
more buckled on his cuirass.

*Pulgar, part 3, cap. 62.

The Moors were much given to stratagem in warfare. They looked
wistfully at the magnificent squadrons of the duke del Infantado,
but their martial discipline precluded all attack: the good bishop
promised to be a more easy prey. Suffering the duke and his troops
to pass unmolested, they approached the squadrons of the bishop, and
making a pretended attack, skirmished slightly and fled in apparent
confusion. The bishop considered the day his own, and, seconded
by his corregidor Bovadillo, followed with valorous precipitation. The
Moors fled into the "Huerta del Rey," or Orchard of the King; the
troops of the bishop followed hotly after them.

When the Moors perceived their pursuers fairly embarrassed among
the intricacies of the garden, they turned fiercely upon them, while
some of their number threw open the sluices of the Xenil. In an
instant the canal which encircled and the ditches which traversed
the garden were filled with water, and the valiant bishop and his
followers found themselves overwhelmed by a deluge.* A scene of
great confusion succeeded. Some of the men of Jaen, stoutest of
heart and hand, fought with the Moors in the garden, while others
struggled with the water, endeavoring to escape across the canal,
in which attempt many horses were drowned.


Fortunately, the duke del Infantado perceived the snare into which
his companions had fallen, and despatched his light cavalry to their
assistance. The Moors were compelled to flight, and driven along
the road of Elvira up to the gates of Granada.* Several Christian
cavaliers perished in this affray; the bishop himself escaped with
difficulty, having slipped from his saddle in crossing the canal,
but saving himself by holding on to the tail of his charger. This
perilous achievement seems to have satisfied the good bishop's
belligerent propensities. He retired on his laurels (says Agapida)
to his city of Jaen, where, in the fruition of all good things, he
gradually waxed too corpulent for his corselet, which was hung
up in the hall of his episcopal palace, and we hear no more of his
military deeds throughout the residue of the holy war of Granada.**


**"Don Luis Osorio fue obispo de Jaen desde el ano de 1483, y
presidio in esta. Iglesia hasta el de 1496 in que murio en Flandes,
a donde fue acompanando a la princesa Dona Juana, esposa del
archiduque Don Felipe."--"Espana Sagrada," por Fr. M. Risco, tom.
41, trat. 77, cap. 4.

King Ferdinand, having completed his ravage of the Vega and kept
El Zagal shut up in his capital, conducted his army back through the
Pass of Lope to rejoin Queen Isabella at Moclin.

The fortresses lately taken being well garrisoned and supplied, he
gave the command of the frontier to his cousin, Don Fadrique de
Toledo, afterward so famous in the Netherlands as the duke of Alva.
The campaign being thus completely crowned with success, the
sovereigns returned in triumph to the city of Cordova.



No sooner did the last squadron of Christian cavalry disappear
behind the mountains of Elvira and the note of its trumpets die away
upon the ear than the long-suppressed wrath of Muley el Zagal
burst forth. He determined no longer to be half a king, reigning over
a divided kingdom in a divided capital, but to exterminate by any
means, fair or foul, his nephew Boabdil and his faction. He turned
furiously upon those whose factious conduct had deterred him from
sallying upon the foe: some he punished by confiscations, others by
banishment, others by death. Once undisputed monarch of the entire
kingdom, he trusted to his military skill to retrieve his fortunes and
drive the Christians over the frontier.

Boabdil, however, had again retired to Velez el Blanco, on the
confines of Murcia, where he could avail himself, in case of
emergency, of any assistance or protection afforded him by the
policy of Ferdinand. His defeat had blighted his reviving fortunes,
for the people considered him as inevitably doomed to misfortune.
Still, while he lived El Zagal knew he would be a rallying-point for
faction, and liable at any moment to be elevated into power by
the capricious multitude. He had recourse, therefore, to the most
perfidious means to compass his destruction. He sent ambassadors
to him representing the necessity of concord for the salvation of the
kingdom, and even offering to resign the title of king and to become
subject to his sway on receiving some estate on which he could live
in tranquil retirement. But while the ambassadors bore these words
of peace they were furnished with poisoned herbs, which they
were to administer secretly to Boabdil, and if they failed in this
attempt they had pledged themselves to despatch him openly while
engaged in conversation. They were instigated to this treason by
promises of great reward, and by assurances from the alfaquis that
Boabdil was an apostate whose death would be acceptable to Heaven.

The young monarch was secretly apprised of the concerted treason,
and refused an audience to the ambassadors. He denounced his uncle
as the murderer of his father and his kindred and the usurper of his
throne, and vowed never to relent in hostility to him until he should
place his head on the walls of the Alhambra.

Open war again broke out between the two monarchs, though feebly
carried on in consequence of their mutual embarrassments. Ferdinand
again extended his assistance to Boabdil, ordering the commanders of
his fortresses to aid him in all enterprises against his uncle, and
against such places as refused to acknowledge him as king; and Don
Juan de Bonavides, who commanded in Lorca, even made inroads in his
name into the territories of Almeria, Baza, and Guadix, which owned
allegiance to El Zagal.

The unfortunate Boabdil had three great evils to contend with--
the inconstancy of his subjects, the hostility of his uncle, and the
friendship of Ferdinand. The last was by far the most baneful: his

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