Chronicle of the Conquest of Granada
Washington Irving

Part 6 out of 9

the guard released his arm to enable him to drink. The marchioness
perceived a sudden change in his countenance and something sinister
in the expression of his eye, and shifted her position to a more remote
part of the tent. Pretending to raise the water to his lips, the Moor
unfolded his albornoz, so as to grasp a scimetar which he wore
concealed beneath; then, dashing down the jar, he drew his weapon
and gave Don Alvaro a blow on the head that struck him to the earth
and nearly deprived him of life. Turning then upon the marchioness,
he made a violent blow at her; but in his eagerness and agitation his
scimetar caught in the drapery of the tent; the force of the blow was
broken, and the weapon struck harmless upon some golden ornaments
of her head-dress.*

*Pietro Martyr, Epist. 62.

Ruy Lopez de Toledo, treasurer to the queen, and Juan de Belalcazar,
a sturdy friar, who were present, grappled and struggled with the
desperado, and immediately the guards who had conducted him
from the marques de Cadiz fell upon him and cut him to pieces.*

*Cura de los Palacios

The king and queen, brought out of their tents by the noise, were
filled with horror when they learned the imminent peril from which
they had escaped. The mangled body of the Moor was taken by the
people to the camp and thrown into the city from a catapult. The
Gomeres gathered up the body with deep reverence as the remains
of a saint; they washed and perfumed it and buried it with great
honor and loud lamentations. In revenge of his death they slew
one of their principal Christian captives, and, having tied his body
upon an ass, they drove the animal forth into the camp.

From this time there was appointed an additional guard around the
tents of the king and queen, composed of four hundred cavaliers of
rank of the kingdoms of Castile and Aragon. No person was admitted
to the royal presence armed; no Moor was allowed to enter the camp
without a previous knowledge of his character and business; and on
no account was any Moor to be introduced into the presence of the

An act of treachery of such ferocious nature gave rise to a train of
gloomy apprehensions. There were many cabins and sheds about
the camp constructed of branches of trees which had become dry
and combustible, and fears were entertained that they might be
set on fire by the mudexares, or Moorish vassals, who visited the
army. Some even dreaded that attempts might be made to poison
the wells and fountains. To quiet these dismal alarms all mudexares
were ordered to leave the camp, and all loose, idle loiterers who
could not give a good account of themselves were taken into custody.



Among those followers of the santon that had effected their entrance
into the city was a dark African of the tribe of the Gomeres, who was
likewise a hermit or dervise and passed among the Moors for a holy
and inspired man. No sooner were the mangled remains of his
predecessor buried with the honors of martyrdom than this dervise
elevated himself in his place and professed to be gifted with the
spirit of prophecy. He displayed a white banner, which he assured
the Moors was sacred, that he had retained it for twenty years for
some signal purpose, and that Allah had revealed to him that under
that banner the inhabitants of Malaga should sally forth upon the
camp of the unbelievers, put it to utter rout, and banquet upon the
provisions in which it abounded.* The hungry and credulous Moors
were elated at this prediction, and cried out to be led forth at once
to the attack; but the dervise told them the time was not yet
arrived, for every event had its allotted day in the decrees of fate:
they must wait patiently, therefore, until the appointed time should
be revealed to him by Heaven. Hamet el Zegri listened to the dervise
with profound reverence, and his example had great effect in
increasing the awe and deference of his followers. He took the
holy man up into his stronghold of Gibralfaro, consulted him on all
occasions, and hung out his white banner on the loftiest tower as
a signal of encouragement to the people of the city.

*Cura de los Palacios, cap. 84.

In the mean time, the prime chivalry of Spain was gradually assembling
before the walls of Malaga. The army which had commenced the siege
had been worn out by extreme hardships, having had to construct
immense works, to dig trenches and mines, to mount guard by sea
and land, to patrol the mountains, and to sustain incessant conflicts.
The sovereigns were obliged, therefore, to call upon various distant
cities for reinforcements of horse and foot. Many nobles also
assembled their vassals and repaired of their own accord to the
royal camp.

Every little while some stately galley or gallant caravel would stand
into the harbor, displaying the well-known banner of some Spanish
cavalier and thundering from its artillery a salutation to the
sovereigns and a defiance to the Moors. On the land side also
reinforcements would be seen winding down from the mountains
to the sound of drum and trumpet, and marching into the camp
with glistening arms as yet unsullied by the toils of war.

One morning the whole sea was whitened by the sails and vexed by
the oars of ships and galleys bearing toward the port. One hundred
vessels of various kinds and sizes arrived, some armed for warlike
service, others deep freighted with provisions. At the same time the
clangor of drum and trumpet bespoke the arrival of a powerful force
by land, which came pouring in lengthening columns into the camp.
This mighty reinforcement was furnished by the duke of Medina
Sidonia, who reigned like a petty monarch over his vast possessions.
He came with this princely force a volunteer to the royal standard,
not having been summoned by the sovereigns, and he brought,
moreover, a loan of twenty thousand doblas of gold.

When the camp was thus powerfully reinforced Isabella advised that
new offers of an indulgent kind should be made to the inhabitants,
for she was anxious to prevent the miseries of a protracted siege
or the effusion of blood that must attend a general attack. A fresh
summons was therefore sent for the city to surrender, with a promise
of life, liberty, and property in case of immediate compliance, but
denouncing all the horrors of war if the defence were obstinately

Hamet again rejected the offer with scorn. His main fortifications
as yet were but little impaired, and were capable of holding out
much longer; he trusted to the thousand evils and accidents that
beset a besieging army and to the inclemencies of the approaching
season; and it is said that he, as well as his followers, had an
infatuated belief in the predictions of the dervise.

The worthy Fray Antonio Agapida does not scruple to affirm that the
pretended prophet of the city was an arch nigromancer, or Moorish
magician, "of which there be countless many," says he, "in the
filthy sect of Mahomet," and that he was leagued with the prince of
the powers of the air to endeavor to work the confusion and defeat
of the Christian army. The worthy father asserts also that Hamet
employed him in a high tower of the Gibralfaro, which commanded
a wide view over sea and land, where he wrought spells and
incantations with astrolabes and other diabolical instruments to
defeat the Christian ships and forces whenever they were engaged
with the Moors.

To the potent spells of this sorcerer he ascribes the perils and
losses sustained by a party of cavaliers of the royal household in a
desperate combat to gain two towers of the suburb near the gate
of the city called la Puerto de Granada. The Christians, led on by
Ruy Lopez de Toledo, the valiant treasurer of the queen, took and
lost and retook the towers, which were finally set on fire by the
Moors and abandoned to the flames by both parties. To the same
malignant influence he attributes the damage done to the Christian
fleet, which was so vigorously assailed by the albatozas, or floating
batteries, of the Moors that one ship, belonging to the duke of
Medina Sidonia, was sunk and the rest were obliged to retire.

"Hamet el Zegri," says Fray Antonio Agapida, "stood on the top
of the high tower of Gibralfaro and beheld this injury wrought upon
the Christian force, and his proud heart was puffed up. And the
Moorish nigromancer stood beside him. And he pointed out to him
the Christian host below, encamped on every eminence around the
city and covering its fertile valley, and the many ships floating upon
the tranquil sea, and he bade him be strong of heart, for that in a
few days all this mighty fleet would be scattered by the winds of
heaven, and that he should sally forth under the guidance of the
sacred banner and attack this host, and utterly defeat it, and make
spoil of those sumptuous tents; and Malaga should be triumphantly
revenged upon her assailants. So the heart of Hamet was hardened
like that of Pharaoh, and he persisted in setting at defiance the
Catholic sovereigns and their army of saintly warriors."



Seeing the infatuated obstinacy of the besieged, the Christians
now approached their works to the walls, gaining one position after
another preparatory to a general assault. Near the barrier of the
city was a bridge with four arches, defended at each end by a strong
and lofty tower, by which a part of the army would have to pass in
making an attack. The commander-in-chief of the artillery, Francisco
Ramirez de Madrid, was ordered to take possession of this bridge.
The approach to it was perilous in the extreme, from the exposed
situation of the assailants and the number of Moors that garrisoned
the towers. Francisco Ramirez therefore secretly excavated a mine
leading beneath the first tower, and placed a piece of ordnance with
its mouth upward immediately under the foundation, with a train of
powder to produce an explosion at the necessary moment.

When this was arranged he advanced slowly with his forces in face
of the towers, erecting bulwarks at every step, and gradually gaining
ground until he arrived near to the bridge. He then planted several
pieces of artillery in his works and began to batter the tower. The
Moors replied bravely from their battlements, but in the heat of the
combat the piece of ordnance under the foundation was discharged.
The earth was rent open, a part of the tower overthrown, and
several of the Moors were torn to pieces; the rest took to flight,
overwhelmed with terror at this thundering explosion bursting
beneath their feet and at beholding the earth vomiting flames and
smoke, for never before had they witnessed such a stratagem in
warfare. The Christians rushed forward and took possession of the
abandoned post, and immediately commenced an attack upon the
other tower at the opposite end of the bridge, to which the Moors
had retired. An incessant fire of crossbows and arquebuses was kept
up between the rival towers, volleys of stones were discharged, and
no one dared to venture upon the intermediate bridge.

Francisco de Ramirez at length renewed his former mode of approach,
making bulwarks step by step, while the Moors, stationed at the other
end, swept the bridge with their artillery. The combat was long and
bloody--furious on the part of the Moors, patient and persevering on
the part of the Christians. By slow degrees they accomplished their
advance across the bridge, drove the enemy before them, and
remained masters of this important pass.

For this valiant and skilful achievement King Ferdinand after the
surrender of the city conferred the dignity of knighthood upon
Francisco Ramirez in the tower which he had so gloriously gained.*
The worthy padre Fray Antonio Agapida indulges in more than a
page of extravagant eulogy upon this invention of blowing up the
foundation of the tower by a piece of ordnance; which, in fact, is
said to be the first instance on record of gunpowder being used
in a mine.

*Pulgar, part 3, c. 91.



While the dervise was deluding the garrison of Malaga with vain hopes
the famine increased to a terrible degree. The Gomeres ranged about
the city as though it had been a conquered place, taking by force
whatever they found eatable in the houses of the peaceful citizens,
and breaking open vaults and cellars and demolishing walls wherever
they thought provisions might be concealed.

The wretched inhabitants had no longer bread to eat; the horse-
flesh also now failed them, and they were fain to devour skins and
hides toasted at the fire, and to assuage the hunger of their children
with vine-leaves cut up and fried in oil. Many perished of famine or
of the unwholesome food with which they endeavored to relieve it,
and many took refuge in the Christian camp, preferring captivity to
the horrors which surrounded them.

At length the sufferings of the inhabitants became so great as to
conquer even their fears of Hamet and his Gomeres. They assembled
before the house of Ali Dordux, the wealthy merchant, whose stately
mansion was at the foot of the hill of the Alcazaba, and they urged
him to stand forth as their leader and to intercede with Hamet for a
surrender. Ali Dordux was a man of courage as well as policy; he
perceived also that hunger was giving boldness to the citizens,
while he trusted it was subduing the fierceness of the soldiery. He
armed himself, therefore, cap-a-pie, and undertook this dangerous
parley with the alcayde. He associated with him an alfaqui named
Abraham Alhariz and an important inhabitant named Amar ben Amar,
and they ascended to the fortress of Gibralfaro, followed by several
of the trembling merchants.

They found Hamet el Zegri, not, as before, surrounded by ferocious
guards and all the implements of war, but in a chamber of one of
the lofty towers, at a table of stone covered with scrolls traced with
strange characters and mystic diagrams, while instruments of singular
and unknown form lay about the room. Beside Hamet stood the
prophetic dervise, who appeared to have been explaining to him
the mysterious inscriptions of the scrolls. His presence filled the
citizens with awe, for even Ali Dordux considered him a man inspired.

The alfaqui, Abraham Alhariz, whose sacred character gave him
boldness to speak, now lifted up his voice and addressed Hamet el
Zegri. "We implore thee," said he, solemnly, "in the name of the
most powerful God, no longer to persist in a vain resistance which
must end in our destruction, but deliver up the city while clemency
is yet to be obtained. Think how many of our warriors have fallen by

the sword; do not suffer those who survive to perish by famine. Our
wives and children cry to us for bread, and we have none to give
them. We see them expire in lingering agony before our eyes, while
the enemy mocks our misery by displaying the abundance of his camp.
Of what avail is our defence? Are our walls, peradventure, more
strong than the walls of Ronda? Are our warriors more brave than the
defenders of Loxa? The walls of Ronda were thrown down and the
warriors of Loxa had to surrender. Do we hope for succor?--whence
are we to receive it? The time for hope is gone by. Granada has lost
its power; it no longer possesses chivalry, commanders, nor a king.
Boabdil sits a vassal in the degraded halls of the Alhambra; El
Zagal is a fugitive, shut up within the walls of Guadix. The kingdom
is divided against itself--its strength is gone, its pride fallen, its very
existence at an end. In the name of Allah we conjure thee, who art
our captain, be not our direst enemy, but surrender these ruins of
our once-happy Malaga and deliver us from these overwhelming

Such was the supplication forced from the inhabitants by the
extremity of their sufferings. Hamet listened to the alfaqui without
anger, for he respected the sanctity of his office. His heart too
was at that moment lifted up with a vain confidence. "Yet a few
days of patience," said he, "and all these evils will suddenly have
an end. I have been conferring with this holy man, and find that
the time of our deliverance is at hand. The decrees of fate are
inevitable; it is written in the book of destiny that we shall sally
forth and destroy the camp of the unbelievers, and banquet upon
those mountains of grain which are piled up in the midst of it. So
Allah hath promised by the mouth of this his prophet. Allah Akbar!
God is great! Let no man oppose the decrees of Heaven!"

The citizens bowed with profound reverence, for no true Moslem
pretends to struggle against whatever is written in the book of
fate. Ali Dordux, who had come prepared to champion the city and
to brave the ire of Hamet, humbled himself before this holy man
and gave faith to his prophecies as the revelations of Allah. So the
deputies returned to the citizens, and exhorted them to be of good
cheer. "A few days longer," said they, "and our sufferings are to
terminate. When the white banner is removed from the tower, then
look out for deliverance, for the hour of sallying forth will have
arrived." The people retired to their homes with sorrowful hearts;
they tried in vain to quiet the cries of their famishing children, and
day by day and hour by hour their anxious eyes were turned to
the sacred banner, which still continued to wave on the tower of



"The Moorish nigromancer," observes the worthy Fray Antonio Agapida,
"remained shut up in a tower of the Gibralfaro devising devilish means
to work mischief and discomfiture upon the Christians. He was daily
consulted by Hamet, who had great faith in those black and magic arts
which he had brought with him from the bosom of heathen Africa."

From the account given of this dervise and his incantations by the
worthy father it would appear that he was an astrologer, and was
studying the stars and endeavoring to calculate the day and hour
when a successful attack might be made upon the Christian camp.

Famine had now increased to such a degree as to distress even the
garrison of Gibralfaro, although the Gomeres had seized upon all the
provisions they could find in the city. Their passions were sharpened
by hunger, and they became restless and turbulent and impatient
for action.

Hamet was one day in council with his captains, perplexed by the
pressure of events, when the dervise entered among them. "The
hour of victory," exclaimed he, "is at hand. Allah has commanded
that to-morrow morning ye shall sally forth to the fight. I will bear
before you the sacred banner and deliver your enemies into your
hands. Remember, however, that ye are but instruments in the
hands of Allah to take vengeance on the enemies of the faith. Go
into battle, therefore, with pure hearts, forgiving each other all
past offences, for those who are charitable toward each other
will be victorious over the foe." The words of the dervise were
received with rapture; all Gibralfaro and the Alcazaba resounded
immediately with the din of arms, and Hamet sent throughout the
towers and fortifications of the city and selected the choicest
troops and most distinguished captains for this eventful combat.

In the morning early the rumor went throughout the city that the
sacred banner had disappeared from the tower of Gibralfaro, and
all Malaga was roused to witness the sally that was to destroy the
unbelievers. Hamet descended from his stronghold, accompanied
by his principal captain, Ibrahim Zenete, and followed by his Gomeres.
The dervise led the way, displaying the white banner, the sacred
pledge of victory. The multitude shouted "Allah Akbar!" and prostrated
themselves before the banner as it passed. Even the dreaded Hamet
was hailed with praises, for in their hopes of speedy relief through
the prowess of his arm the populace forgot everything but his bravery.
Every bosom in Malaga was agitated by hope and fear: the old men,
the women, and children, and all who went not forth to battle mounted
on tower and battlement and roof to watch a combat that was to
decide their fate.

Before sallying forth from the city the dervise addressed the troops,
reminding them of the holy nature of this enterprise, and warning
them not to forfeit the protection of the sacred banner by any
unworthy act. They were not to pause to make spoil nor to take
prisoners: they were to press forward, fighting valiantly, and granting
no quarter. The gate was then thrown open, and the dervise issued
forth, followed by the army. They directed their assaults upon the
encampments of the master of Santiago and the master of Alcantara,
and came upon them so suddenly that they killed and wounded
several of the guards. Ibrahim Zenete made his way into one of the
tents, where he beheld several Christian striplings just starting from
their slumber. The heart of the Moor was suddenly touched with pity
for their youth, or perhaps he scorned the weakness of the foe.

He smote them with the flat instead of the edge of the sword. "Away,
imps!" cried he, "away to your mothers!" The fanatic dervise reproached
him with his clemency. "I did not kill them," replied Zenete, "because I
saw no beards!"*

*Cura de los Palacios, c. 84.

The alarm was given in the camp, and the Christians rushed from
all quarters to defend the gates of the bulwarks. Don Pedro Puerto
Carrero, senior of Moguer, and his brother, Don Alonzo Pacheco,
planted themselves with their followers in the gateway of the
encampment of the master of Santiago, and bore the whole brunt of
battle until they were reinforced. The gate of the encampment of the
master of Calatrava was in like manner defended by Lorenzo Saurez
de Mendoza. Hamet was furious at being thus checked where he
had expected a miraculous victory. He led his troops repeatedly to
the attack, hoping to force the gates before succor should arrive: they
fought with vehement ardor, but were as often repulsed, and every
time they returned to the assault they found their enemies doubled
in number. The Christians opened a cross-fire of all kinds of missiles
from their bulwarks; the Moors could effect but little damage upon a
foe thus protected behind their works, while they themselves were
exposed from head to foot. The Christians singled out the most
conspicuous cavaliers, the greater part of whom were either slain
or wounded. Still, the Moors, infatuated by the predictions of the
prophet, fought desperately and devotedly, and they were furious
to revenge the slaughter of their leaders. They rushed upon certain
death, endeavoring madly to scale the bulwarks or force the gates,
and fell amidst showers of darts and lances, filling the ditches with
their mangled bodies.

Hamet el Zegri raged along the front of the bulwarks seeking an
opening for attack. He gnashed his teeth with fury as he saw so
many of his chosen warriors slain around him. He seemed to have
a charmed life, for, though constantly in the hottest of the fight
amidst showers of missiles, he still escaped uninjured. Blindly
confiding in the prophecy of victory, he continued to urge on his
devoted troops. The dervise too ran like a maniac through the ranks,
waving his white banner and inciting the Moors by howlings rather
than by shouts. "Fear not! the victory is ours, for so it is written!"
cried he. In the midst of his frenzy a stone from a catapult struck
him in the head and dashed out his bewildered brains.*

*Garibay, lib. 18, c. 33.

When the Moors beheld their prophet slain and his banner in the
dust, they were seized with despair and fled in confusion to the
city. Hamet el Zegri made some effort to rally them, but was himself
confounded by the fall of the dervise. He covered the flight of his
broken forces, turning repeatedly upon their pursuers and slowly
making his retreat into the city.

The inhabitants of Malaga witnessed from their walls with trembling
anxiety the whole of this disastrous conflict. At the first onset,
when they beheld the guards of the camp put to flight, they
exclaimed, "Allah has given us the victory!" and they sent up shouts
of triumph. Their exultation, however, was soon turned into doubt
when they beheld their troops repulsed in repeated attacks. They
could see from time to time some distinguished warrior laid low and
others brought back bleeding to the city. When at length the sacred
banner fell and the routed troops came flying to the gates, pursued
and cut down by the foe, horror and despair seized upon the populace.

As Hamet entered the gates he heard nothing but loud lamentations:
mothers whose sons had been slain shrieked curses after him as he
passed; some in the anguish of their hearts threw down their
famishing babes before him, exclaiming, "Trample on them with thy
horse's feet, for we have no food to give them, and we cannot endure
their cries." All heaped execrations on his head as the cause of the
woes of Malaga.

The warlike part of the citizens also, and many warriors who with
their wives and children had taken refuge in Malaga from the
mountain-fortresses, now joined in the popular clamor, for their
hearts were overcome by the sufferings of their families.

Hamet el Zegri found it impossible to withstand this torrent of
lamentations, curses, and reproaches. His military ascendancy was
at an end, for most of his officers and the prime warriors of his
African band had fallen in this disastrous sally. Turning his back,
therefore, upon the city and abandoning it to its own counsels, he
retired with the remnant of his Gomeres to his stronghold in the



The people of Malaga, being no longer overawed by Hamet el Zegri
and his Gomeres, turned to Ali Dordux, the magnanimous merchant,
and put the fate of the city into his hands. He had already gained
the alcaydes of the castle of the Genoese and of the citadel into his
party, and in the late confusion had gained the sway over those
important fortresses. He now associated himself with the alfaqui
Abraham Alhariz and four of the principal inhabitants, and, forming
a provisional junta, they sent heralds to the Christian sovereigns
offering to surrender the city on certain terms protecting the
persons and property of the inhabitants, permitting them to reside
as mudexares or tributary vassals either in Malaga or elsewhere.

When the herald arrived at the camp and made known their mission
to King Ferdinand, his anger was kindled. "Return to your fellow-
citizens," said he, "and tell them that the day of grace is gone by.
They have persisted in a fruitless defence until they are driven by
necessity to capitulate; they must surrender unconditionally and
abide the fate of the vanquished. Those who merit death shall
suffer death; those who merit captivity shall be made captives."

This stern reply spread consternation among the people of Malaga,
but Ali Dordux comforted them, and undertook to go in person and
pray for favorable terms. When the people beheld this great and
wealthy merchant, who was so eminent in their city, departing
with his associates on this mission, they plucked up heart, for they
said, "Surely the Christian king will not turn a deaf ear to such a
man as Ali Dordux."

Ferdinand, however, would not even admit the ambassadors to
his presence. "Send them to the devil!" said he in a great passion
to the commander of Leon; "I'll not see them. Let them get back
to their city. They shall all surrender to my mercy as vanquished

*Cura de los Palacios, cap. 84.

To give emphasis to this reply he ordered a general discharge
from all the artillery and batteries, and there was a great shout
throughout the camp, and all the lombards and catapults and
other engines of war thundered furiously upon the city, doing
great damage.

Ali Dordux and his companions returned to the city with downcast
countenances, and could scarce make the reply of the Christian
sovereign be heard for the roaring of the artillery, the tumbling
of the walls, and the cries of women and children. The citizens
were greatly astonished and dismayed when they found the little
respect paid to their most eminent man; but the warriors who were
in the city exclaimed, "What has this merchant to do with questions
between men of battle? Let us not address the enemy as abject
suppliants who have no power to injure, but as valiant men who
have weapons in their hands."

So they despatched another message to the Christian sovereigns,
offering to yield up the city and all their effects on condition of
being secured in their personal liberty. Should this be denied, they
declared they would hang from the battlements fifteen hundred
Christian captives, male and female--that they would put all their
old men, their women, and children into the citadel, set fire to the
city, and sally forth, sword in hand, to fight until the last gasp. "In
this way," said they, "the Spanish sovereigns shall gain a bloody
victory, and the fall of Malaga be renowned while the world endures."

To this fierce and swelling message Ferdinand replied that if a
single Christian captive were injured, not a Moor in Malaga but
should be put to the edge of the sword.

A great conflict of counsels now arose in Malaga. The warriors were
for following up their menace by some desperate act of vengeance or
of self-devotion. Those who had families looked with anguish upon
their wives and daughters, and thought it better to die than live to
see them captives. By degrees, however, the transports of passion
and despair subsided, the love of life resumed its sway, and they
turned once more to Ali Dordux as the man most prudent in council
and able in negotiation. By his advice fourteen of the principal
inhabitants were chosen from the fourteen districts of the city, and
sent to the camp bearing a long letter couched in terms of the most
humble supplication.

Various debates now took place in the Christian camp. Many of the
cavaliers were exasperated against Malaga for its long resistance,
which had caused the death of many of their relatives and favorite
companions. It had long been a stronghold also for Moorish
depredators and the mart where most of the warriors captured in
the Axarquia had been exposed in triumph and sold to slavery. They
represented, moreover, that there were many Moorish cities yet to be
besieged, and that an example ought to be made of Malaga to prevent
all obstinate resistance thereafter. They advised, therefore, that all
the inhabitants should be put to the sword.*


The humane heart of Isabella revolted at such sanguinary counsels:
she insisted that their triumph should not be disgraced by cruelty.
Ferdinand, however, was inflexible in refusing to grant any
preliminary terms, insisting on an unconditional surrender.

The people of Malaga now abandoned themselves to paroxysms of
despair; on one side they saw famine and death, on the other slavery
and chains. The mere men of the sword, who had no families to
protect, were loud for signalizing their fall by some illustrious action.
"Let us sacrifice our Christian captives, and then destroy ourselves,"
cried some. "Let us put all the women and children to death, set fire
to the city, fall on the Christian camp, and die sword in hand," cried

Ali Dordux gradually made his voice be heard amidst the general
clamor. He addressed himself to the principal inhabitants and to
those who had children. "Let those who live by the sword die by
the sword," cried he, "but let us not follow their desperate counsels.
Who knows what sparks of pity may be awakened in the bosoms
of the Christian sovereigns when they behold our unoffending wives
and daughters and our helpless little ones? The Christian queen,
they say, is full of mercy."

At these words the hearts of the unhappy people of Malaga yearned
over their families, and they empowered Ali Dordux to deliver up their
city to the mercy of the Castilian sovereigns.

The merchant now went to and fro, and had several communications
with Ferdinand and Isabella, and interested several principal
cavaliers in his cause; and he sent rich presents to the king and
queen of Oriental merchandise and silks and stuffs of gold and
jewels and precious stones and spices and perfumes, and many other
sumptuous things, which he had accumulated in his great tradings
with the East; and he gradually found favor in the eyes of the
sovereigns.* Finding that there was nothing to be obtained for
the city, he now, like a prudent man and able merchant, began to
negotiate for himself and his immediate friends. He represented
that from the first they had been desirous of yielding up the city,
but had been prevented by warlike and high-handed men, who had
threatened their lives; he entreated, therefore, that mercy might
be extended to them, and that they might not be confounded with
the guilty.

*MS. Chron. of Valera.

The sovereigns had accepted the presents of Ali Dordux--how
could they then turn a deaf ear to his petition? So they granted a
pardon to him and to forty families which he named, and it was
agreed that they should be protected in their liberties and property,
and permitted to reside in Malaga as mudexares or Moslem vassals,
and to follow their customary pursuits.* All this being arranged, Ali
Dordux delivered up twenty of the principal inhabitants to remain as
hostages until the whole city should be placed in the possession of
the Christians.

*Cura de los Palacios, cap. 84.

Don Gutierrez de Cardenas, senior commander of Leon, now entered
the city armed cap-a-pie, on horseback, and took possession in the
name of the Castilian sovereigns. He was followed by his retainers
and by the captains and cavaliers of the army, and in a little while
the standards of the cross and of the blessed Santiago and of the
Catholic sovereigns were elevated on the principal tower of the
Alcazaba. When these standards were beheld from the camp, the
queen and the princess and the ladies of the court and all the royal
retinue knelt down and gave thanks and praises to the Holy Virgin
and to Santiago for this great triumph of the faith; and the bishops
and other clergy who were present and the choristers of the royal
chapel chanted "Te Deum Laudamus" and "Gloria in Excelsis."



No sooner was the city delivered up than the wretched inhabitants
implored permission to purchase bread for themselves and their
children from the heaps of grain which they had so often gazed
at wistfully from their walls. Their prayer was granted, and they
issued forth with the famished eagerness of starving men. It was
piteous to behold the struggles of those unhappy people as they
contended who first should have their necessities relieved.

"Thus," says the pious Fray Antonio Agapida,--"thus are the
predictions of false prophets sometimes permitted to be verified,
but always to the confusion of those who trust in them; for the
words of the Moorish nigromancer came to pass that the people
of Malaga should eat of those heaps of bread, but they ate in
humiliation and defeat and with sorrow and bitterness of heart."

Dark and fierce were the feelings of Hamet el Zegri as he looked
down from the castle of Gibralfaro and beheld the Christian legions
pouring into the city and the standard of the cross supplanting the
crescent on the citadel. "The people of Malaga," said he, "have
trusted to a man of trade, and he has trafficked them away; but let
us not suffer ourselves to be bound hand and foot and delivered up
as part of his bargain. We have yet strong walls around us and
trusty weapons in our hands. Let us fight until buried beneath the
last tumbling tower of Gibralfaro, or, rushing down from among its
ruins, carry havoc among the unbelievers as they throng the streets
of Malaga."

The fierceness of the Gomeres, however, was broken. They could
have died in the breach had their castle been assailed, but the slow
advances of famine subdued their strength without rousing their
passions, and sapped the force of both soul and body. They were
almost unanimous for a surrender.

It was a hard struggle for the proud spirit of Hamet to bow itself
to ask for terms. Still, he trusted that the valor of his defence
would gain him respect in the eyes of a chivalrous foe. "Ali,"
said he, "has negotiated like a merchant; I will capitulate as a
soldier." He sent a herald, therefore, to Ferdinand, offering to
yield up his castle, but demanding a separate treaty.[15] The
Castilian sovereign made a laconic and stern reply: "He shall
receive no terms but such as have been granted to the community
of Malaga."

For two days Hamet el Zegri remained brooding in his castle after
the city was in possession of the Christians; at length the clamors
of his followers compelled him to surrender. When the remnant of
this fierce African garrison descended from their cragged fortress,
they were so worn by watchfulness, famine, and battle, yet carried
such a lurking fury in their eyes, that they looked more like fiends
than men. They were all condemned to slavery, excepting Ibrahim
Zenete. The instance of clemency which he had shown in refraining
to harm the Spanish striplings on the last sally from Malaga won him
favorable terms. It was cited as a magnanimous act by the Spanish
cavaliers, and all admitted that, though a Moor in blood, he
possessed the Christian heart of a Castilian hidalgo.*

*Cura de los Palacios, cap. 84.

As to Hamet el Zegri, on being asked what moved him to such hardened
obstinacy, he replied, "When I undertook my command, I pledged
myself to fight in defence of my faith, my city, and my sovereign
until slain or made prisoner; and, depend upon it, had I had men
to stand by me, I should have died fighting, instead of thus tamely
surrendering myself without a weapon in my hand."

"Such," says the pious Fray Antonio Agapida, "was the diabolical
hatred and stiff-necked opposition of this infidel to our holy cause.
But he was justly served by our most Catholic and high-minded
sovereign for his pertinacious defence of the city, for Ferdinand
ordered that he should be loaded with chains and thrown into a
dungeon." He was subsequently retained in rigorous confinement
at Carmona.*

*Pulgar, part 3, cap. 93; Pietro Martyr, lib. 1, cap. 69; Alcantara,
Hist. Granada, vol. 4, c. 18.



One of the first cares of the conquerors on entering Malaga was to
search for Christian captives. Nearly sixteen hundred men and women
were found, and among them were persons of distinction. Some of them
had been ten, fifteen, and twenty years in captivity. Many had been
servants to the Moors or laborers on public works, and some had
passed their time in chains and dungeons. Preparations were made
to celebrate their deliverance as a Christian triumph. A tent was
erected not far from the city, and furnished with an altar and all
the solemn decorations of a chapel. Here the king and queen waited
to receive the Christian captives. They were assembled in the city
and marshalled forth in piteous procession. Many of them had still
the chains and shackles on their legs; they were wasted with famine,
their hair and beards overgrown and matted, and their faces pale and
haggard from long confinement. When they found themselves restored
to liberty and surrounded by their countrymen, some stared wildly
about as if in a dream, others gave way to frantic transports, but
most of them wept for joy. All present were moved to tears by so
touching a spectacle. When the procession arrived at what is called
the Gate of Granada, it was met by a great concourse from the camp
with crosses and pennons, who turned and followed the captives,
singing hymns of praise and thanksgiving. When they came in presence
of the king and queen, they threw themselves on their knees, and
would have kissed their feet as their saviors and deliverers, but the
sovereigns prevented such humiliation and graciously extended to
them their hands. They then prostrated themselves before the altar,
and all present joined them in giving thanks to God for their liberation
from this cruel bondage. By orders of the king and queen their chains
were then taken off, and they were clad in decent raiment and food
was set before them. After they had ate and drunk, and were
refreshed and invigorated, they were provided with money and all
things necessary for their journey, and sent joyfully to their homes.

While the old chroniclers dwell with becoming enthusiasm on this
pure and affecting triumph of humanity, they go on in a strain of
equal eulogy to describe a spectacle of a far different nature. It
so happened that there were found in the city twelve of those
renegado Christians who had deserted to the Moors and conveyed
false intelligence during the siege: a barbarous species of punishment
was inflicted upon them, borrowed, it is said, from the Moors and
peculiar to these wars. They were tied to stakes in a public place,
and horsemen exercised their skill in transpiercing them with
pointed reeds, hurled at them while careering at full speed, until
the miserable victims expired beneath their wounds. Several
apostate Moors also, who, having embraced Christianity, had
afterward relapsed into their early faith, and had taken refuge in
Malaga from the vengeance of the Inquisition, were publicly burnt.
"These," says an old Jesuit historian exultingly,--"these were the
tilts of reeds and the illuminations most pleasing for this victorious
festival and for the Catholic piety of our sovereigns."*

*"Los renegados fuernon acanavareados: y los conversos quemados;
y estos fueron las canas, y luminarias mas alegres, por la fiesta
de la vitoria, para la piedad Catholica de nuestros Reyes."--Abarca,
"Anales de Aragon," tom. 2, Rey xxx. c. 3.

When the city was cleansed from the impurities and offensive
odors which had collected during the siege, the bishops and other
clergy who accompanied the court, and the choir of the royal chapel,
walked in procession to the principal mosque, which was consecrated
and entitled Santa Maria de la Incarnacion. This done, the king and
queen entered the city, accompanied by the grand cardinal of Spain
and the principal nobles and cavaliers of the army, and heard a
solemn mass. The church was then elevated into a cathedral, and
Malaga was made a bishopric, and many of the neighboring towns were
comprehended in its diocese. The queen took up her residence in the
Alcazaba, in the apartments of her valiant treasurer, Ruy Lopez,
whence she had a view of the whole city, but the king established
his quarters in the warrior castle of Gibralfaro.

And now came to be considered the disposition of the Moorish
prisoners. All those who were strangers in the city, and had either
taken refuge there or had entered to defend it, were at once
considered slaves. They were divided into three lots: one was set
apart for the service of God in redeeming Christian captives from
bondage, either in the kingdom of Granada or in Africa; the second
lot was divided among those who had aided either in field or cabinet
in the present siege, according to their rank; the third was
appropriated to defray by their sale the great expenses incurred in
the reduction of the place. A hundred of the Gomeres were sent as
presents to Pope Innocent VIII., and were led in triumph through the
streets of Rome, and afterward converted to Christianity. Fifty
Moorish maidens were sent to the queen Joanna of Naples, sister to
King Ferdinand, and thirty to the queen of Portugal. Isabella made
presents of others to the ladies of her household and of the noble
families of Spain.

Among the inhabitants of Malaga were four hundred and fifty Moorish
Jews, for the most part women, speaking the Arabic language and
dressed in the Moresco fashion. These were ransomed by a
wealthy Jew of Castile, farmer-general of the royal revenues derived
from the Jews of Spain. He agreed to make up within a certain time
the sum of twenty thousand doblas, or pistoles of gold, all the money
and jewels of the captives being taken in part payment. They were
sent to Castile in two armed galleys. As to Ali Dordux, such favors
and honors were heaped upon him by the Spanish sovereigns for
his considerate mediation in the surrender that the disinterestedness
of his conduct has often been called in question. He was appointed
chief justice and alcayde of the[10]mudexares or Moorish subjects,
and was presented with twenty houses, one public bakery, and
several orchards, vineyards, and tracts of open country. He retired to
Antiquera, where he died several years afterward, leaving his estate
and name to his son, Mohamed Dordux. The latter embraced the
Christian faith, as did his wife, the daughter of a Moorish noble. On
being baptized he received the name of Don Fernando de Malaga,
his wife that of Isabella, after the queen. They were incorporated
with the nobility of Castile, and their descendants still bear the
name of Malaga.*

*Conversaciones Malaguenas, 26, as cited by Alcantara in his
History of Granada, vol. 4, c. 18.

As to the great mass of Moorish inhabitants, they implored that
they might not be scattered and sold into captivity, but might be
permitted to ransom themselves by an amount paid within a certain
time. Upon this King Ferdinand took the advice of certain of his
ablest counsellors. They said to him: "If you hold out a prospect
of hopeless captivity, the infidels will throw all their gold and
jewels into wells and pits, and you will lose the greater part of
the spoil; but if you fix a general rate of ransom, and receive
their money and jewels in part payment, nothing will be destroyed."
The king relished greatly this advice, and it was arranged that all
the inhabitants should be ransomed at the general rate of thirty
doblas or pistoles in gold for each individual, male or female,
large or small; that all their gold, jewels, and other valuables
should be received immediately in part payment of the general
amount, and that the residue should be paid within eight months--
that if any of the number, actually living, should die in the interim,
their ransom should nevertheless be paid. If, however, the whole
of the amount were not paid at the expiration of the eight months,
they should all be considered and treated as slaves.

The unfortunate Moors were eager to catch at the least hope of
future liberty, and consented to these hard conditions. The most
rigorous precautions were taken to exact them to the uttermost. The
inhabitants were numbered by houses and families, and their names
taken down; their most precious effects were made up into parcels,
and sealed and inscribed with their names, and they were ordered to
repair with them to certain large corrales or enclosures adjoining
the Alcazaba, which were surrounded by high walls and overlooked by
watch-towers, to which places the cavalgadas of Christian captives
had usually been driven to be confined until the time of sale like
cattle in a market. The Moors were obliged to leave their houses one
by one: all their money, necklaces, bracelets, and anklets of gold,
pearl, coral, and precious stones were taken from them at the
threshold, and their persons so rigorously searched that they
carried off nothing concealed.

Then might be seen old men and helpless women and tender maidens,
some of high birth and gentle condition, passing through the
streets, heavily burdened, toward the Alcazaba. As they left their
homes they smote their breasts and wrung their hands, and raised
their weeping eyes to heaven in anguish; and this is recorded as
their plaint: "O Malaga! city so renowned and beautiful! where now
is the strength of thy castle, where the grandeur of thy towers? Of
what avail have been thy mighty walls for the protection of thy
children? Behold them driven from thy pleasant abodes, doomed
to drag out a life of bondage in a foreign land, and to die far from
the home of their infancy! What will become of thy old men and
matrons when their gray hairs shall be no longer reverenced? What
will become of thy maidens, so delicately reared and tenderly
cherished, when reduced to hard and menial servitude? Behold
thy once happy families scattered asunder, never again to be
united--sons separated from their fathers, husbands from their
wives, and tender children from their mothers: they will bewail each
other in foreign lands, but their lamentations will be the scoff of
the stranger. O Malaga! city of our birth! who can behold thy
desolation and not shed tears of bitterness?"*

*Pulgar, Reyes Catolicos, c. 93.

When Malaga was completely secured a detachment was sent against
two fortresses near the sea, called Mixas and Osuna, which had
frequently harassed the Christian camp. The inhabitants were
threatened with the sword unless they instantly surrendered. They
claimed the same terms that had been granted to Malaga, imagining
them to be freedom of person and security of property. Their claim
was granted: they were transported to Malaga with all their riches,
and on arriving there were overwhelmed with consternation at finding
themselves captives. "Ferdinand," observes Fray Antonio Agapida,
"was a man of his word; they were shut up in the enclosure at the
Alcazaba with the people of Malaga and shared their fate."

The unhappy captives remained thus crowded in the courtyards of
the Alcazaba, like sheep in a fold, until they could be sent by sea
and land to Seville. They were then distributed about in city and
country, each Christian family having one or more to feed and
maintain as servants until the term fixed for the payment of the
residue of the ransom should expire. The captives had obtained
permission that several of their number should go about among
the Moorish towns of the kingdom of Granada collecting contributions
to aid in the purchase of their liberties, but these towns were too
much impoverished by the war and engrossed by their own distresses
to lend a listening ear; so the time expired without the residue of
the ransom being paid, and all the captives of Malaga, to the
number, as some say, of eleven, and others of fifteen, thousand,
became slaves. "Never," exclaims the worthy Fray Antonio Agapida in
one of his usual bursts of zeal and loyalty,--"never has there been
recorded a more adroit and sagacious arrangement than this made by
the Catholic monarch, by which he not only secured all the property
and half of the ransom of these infidels, but finally got possession
of their persons into the bargain. This truly may be considered one
of the greatest triumphs of the pious and politic Ferdinand, and as
raising him above the generality of conquerors, who have merely the
valor to gain victories, but lack the prudence and management
necessary to turn them to account."*

*The detestable policy of Ferdinand in regard to the Moorish
captives of Malaga is recorded at length by the curate of Los
Palacios (c. 87), a contemporary, a zealous admirer of the king,
and one of the most honest of chroniclers, who really thought
he was recording a notable instance of sagacious piety.



The western part of the kingdom of Granada had now been conquered
by the Christian arms. The seaport of Malaga was captured; the fierce
and warlike inhabitants of Serrania de Ronda and the other
mountain-holds of the frontier were all disarmed and reduced to
peaceful and laborious vassalage; their haughty fortresses, which
had so long overawed the valleys of Andalusia, now displayed the
standard of Castile and Aragon; the watch-towers which crowned
every height, whence the infidels had kept a vulture eye over the
Christian territories, were now either dismantled or garrisoned with
Catholic troops. "What signalized and sanctified this great triumph,"
adds the worthy Fray Antonio Agapida, "were the emblems of
ecclesiastical domination which everywhere appeared. In every
direction rose stately convents and monasteries, those fortresses
of the faith garrisoned by its spiritual soldiery of monks and friars.
The sacred melody of Christian bells was again heard among the
mountains, calling to early matins or sounding the Angelus at the
solemn hour of evening."*

*The worthy curate of Los Palacios intimates in his chronicle that
this melody, so grateful to the ears of pious Christians, was a
source of perpetual torment to the ears of infidels.

While this part of the kingdom was thus reduced by the Christian
sword, the central part, round the city of Granada, forming the
heart of the Moorish territory, was held in vassalage of the
Castilian monarch by Boabdil, surnamed El Chico. That unfortunate
prince lost no occasion to propitiate the conquerors of his country by
acts of homage and by professions that must have been foreign to
his heart. No sooner had he heard of the capture of Malaga than
he sent congratulations to the Catholic sovereigns, accompanied
with presents of horses richly caparisoned for the king, and precious
cloth of gold and Oriental perfumes for the queen. His congratulations
and his presents were received with the utmost graciousness, and
the short-sighted prince, lulled by the temporary and politic
forbearance of Ferdinand, flattered himself that he was securing
the lasting friendship of that monarch.

The policy of Boabdil had its transient and superficial advantages.
The portion of Moorish territory under his immediate sway had a
respite from the calamities of war, the husbandmen cultivated their
luxuriant fields in security, and the Vega of Granada once more
blossomed like the rose. The merchants again carried on a gainful
traffic: the gates of the city were thronged with beasts of burden,
bringing the rich products of every clime. Yet, while the people of
Granada rejoiced in their teeming fields and crowded marts, they
secretly despised the policy which had procured them these
advantages, and held Boabdil for little better than an apostate and
an unbeliever. Muley Abdallah el Zagal was now the hope of the
unconquered part of the kingdom, and every Moor whose spirit was not
quite subdued with his fortunes lauded the valor of the old monarch
and his fidelity to the faith, and wished success to his standard.

El Zagal, though he no longer sat enthroned in the Alhambra, yet
reigned over more considerable domains than his nephew. His
territories extended from the frontier of Jaen along the borders of
Murcia to the Mediterranean, and reached into the centre of the
kingdom. On the northeast he held the cities of Baza and Guadix,
situated in the midst of fertile regions. He had the important
seaport of Almeria also, which at one time rivalled Granada itself
in wealth and population. Besides these, his territories included a
great part of the Alpuxarras mountains, which extend across the
kingdom and shoot out branches toward the sea-coast. This
mountainous region was a stronghold of wealth and power. Its stern
and rocky heights, rising to the clouds, seemed to set invasion at
defiance, yet within their rugged embraces were sheltered delightful
valleys of the happiest temperature and richest fertility. The cool
springs and limpid rills which gushed out in all parts of the
mountains, and the abundant streams which for a great part of the
year were supplied by the Sierra Nevada, spread a perpetual verdure
over the skirts and slopes of the hills, and, collecting in silver
rivers in the valleys, wound along among plantations of mulberry
trees and groves of oranges and citrons, of almonds, figs, and
pomegranates. Here was produced the finest silk of Spain, which gave
employment to thousands of manufacturers. The sunburnt sides of the
hills also were covered with vineyards; the abundant herbage of the
mountain-ravines and the rich pasturage of the valleys fed vast
flocks and herds; and even the arid and rocky bosoms of the heights
teemed with wealth from the mines of various metals with which they
were impregnated. In a word, the Alpuxarras mountains had ever
been the great source of revenue to the monarchs of Granada. Their
inhabitants also were hardy and warlike, and a sudden summons from
the Moorish king could at any time call forth fifty thousand fighting-
men from their rocky fastnesses.

Such was the rich but rugged fragment of an empire which remained
under the sway of the old warrior-monarch El Zagal. The mountain-
barriers by which it was locked up had protected it from most of the
ravages of the present war. El Zagal prepared himself by
strengthening every fortress to battle fiercely for its maintenance.

The Catholic sovereigns saw that fresh troubles and toils awaited
them. The war had to be carried into a new quarter, demanding
immense expenditure, and new ways and means must be devised
to replenish their exhausted coffers. "As this was a holy war,
however," says Fray Antonio Agapida, "and peculiarly redounded
to the prosperity of the Church, the clergy were full of zeal, and
contributed vast sums of money and large bodies of troops. A
pious fund was also produced from the first fruits of that glorious
institution, the Inquisition."

It so happened that about this time there were many families of
wealth and dignity in the kingdoms of Aragon and Valencia and the
principality of Catalonia whose forefathers had been Jews, but had
been converted to Christianity. Notwithstanding the outward piety
of these families, it was surmised, and soon came to be strongly
suspected, that many of then had a secret hankering after Judaism,
and it was even whispered that some of them practised Jewish rites
in private.

The Catholic monarch (continues Agapida) had a righteous abhorrence
of all kinds of heresy and a fervent zeal for the faith; he ordered,
therefore, a strict investigation of the conduct of these pseudo-
Christians. Inquisitors were sent into the provinces for the purpose,
who proceeded with their accustomed zeal. The consequence was,
that many families were convicted of apostasy from the Christian
faith and of the private practice of Judaism. Some, who had grace
and policy sufficient to reform in time, were again received into the
Christian fold after being severely mulcted and condemned to
heavy penance; others were burnt at "auto de fes" for the
edification of the public, and their property was confiscated for
the good of the state.

As these Hebrews were of great wealth and had an hereditary passion
for jewelry, there was found abundant store in their possession of
gold and silver, of rings and necklaces, and strings of pearl and
coral, and precious stones--treasures easy of transportation and
wonderfully adapted for the emergencies of war. "In this way,"
concludes the pious Agapida, "these backsliders, by the all-seeing
contrivances of Providence, were made to serve the righteous cause
which they had so treacherously deserted; and their apostate wealth
was sanctified by being devoted to the service of Heaven and the
Crown in this holy crusade against the infidels."

It must be added, however, that these pious financial expedients
received some check from the interference of Queen Isabella. Her
penetrating eyes discovered that many enormities had been committed
under color of religious zeal, and many innocent persons accused by
false witnesses of apostasy, either through malice or a hope of
obtaining their wealth: she caused strict investigation, therefore,
into the proceedings which had been held, many of which were
reversed, and suborners punished in proportion to their guilt.*

*Pulgar, part 3, c. 100.



"Muley Abdallah el Zagal," says the venerable Jesuit father Pedro
Abarca, "was the most venomous Mahometan in all Morisma;" and
the worthy Fray Antonio Agapida most devoutly echoes his opinion.
"Certainly," adds the latter, "none ever opposed a more heathenish
and diabolical obstinacy to the holy inroads of the cross and sword."

El Zagal felt that it was necessary to do something to quicken his
popularity with the people, and that nothing was more effectual than
a successful inroad. The Moors loved the stirring call to arms and a
wild foray among the mountains, and delighted more in a hasty spoil,
wrested with hard fighting from the Christians, than in all the steady
and certain gains secured by peaceful traffic.

There reigned at this time a careless security along the frontier of
Jaen. The alcaydes of the Christian fortresses were confident of
the friendship of Boabdil el Chico, and they fancied his uncle too
distant and too much engrossed by his own perplexities to think of
molesting them. On a sudden El Zagal issued out of Guadix with a
chosen band, passed rapidly through the mountains which extend
behind Granada, and fell like a thunderbolt upon the territories in
the neighborhood of Alcala la Real. Before the alarm could be spread
and the frontier roused he had made a wide career of destruction
through the country, sacking and burning villages, sweeping off
flocks and herds, and carrying away captives. The warriors of the
frontier assembled, but El Zagal was already far on his return
through the mountains, and he re-entered the gates of Guadix in
triumph, his army laden with Christian spoil and conducting an
immense cavalgada. Such was one of El Zagal's preparatives for the
expected invasion of the Christian king, exciting the warlike spirit
of his people, and gaining for himself a transient popularity.

King Ferdinand assembled his army at Murcia in the spring of 1488.
He left that city on the fifth of June with a flying camp of four
thousand horse and fourteen thousand foot. The marques of Cadiz led
the van, followed by the adelantado of Murcia. The army entered the
Moorish frontier by the sea-coast, spreading terror through the land:
wherever it appeared, the towns surrendered without a blow, so
great was the dread of experiencing the woes which had desolated
the opposite frontier. In this way Vera, Velez el Rubio, Velez el
Blanco, and many towns of inferior note to the number of sixty
yielded at the first summons.

It was not until it approached Almeria that the army met with
resistance. This important city was commanded by the prince
Zelim, a relation of El Zagal. He led forth his Moors bravely to the
encounter, and skirmished fiercely with the advance guard in the
gardens near the city. King Ferdinand came up with the main body
of the army and called off his troops from the skirmish. He saw that
to attack the place with his present force was fruitless. Having
reconnoitred the city and its environs, therefore, against a future
campaign, he retired with his army and marched toward Baza.

The old warrior El Zagal was himself drawn up in the city of Baza
with a powerful garrison. He felt confidence in the strength of the
place, and rejoiced when he heard that the Christian king was
approaching. In the valley in front of Baza there extended a great
tract of gardens, like a continued grove, intersected by canals and
water courses. In this he stationed an ambuscade of arquebusiers
and crossbowmen. The vanguard of the Christian army came
marching gayly up the valley with great sound of drum and trumpet,
and led on by the marques of Cadiz and the adelantado of Murcia.
As they drew near El Zagal sallied forth with horse and foot and
attacked them for a time with great spirit. Gradually falling back,
as if pressed by their superior valor, he drew the exulting Christians
among the gardens. Suddenly the Moors in ambuscade burst
from their concealment, and opened such a fire in flank and rear
that many of the Christians were slain and the rest thrown into
confusion. King Ferdinand arrived in time to see the disastrous
situation of his troops, and gave signal for the vanguard to retire.

El Zagal did not permit the foe to draw off unmolested. Ordering out
fresh squadrons, he fell upon the rear of the retreating troops with
triumphant shouts, driving them before him with dreadful havoc. The
old war-cry of "El Zagal! El Zagal!" was again put up by the Moors,
and echoed with transport from the walls of the city. The Christians
were in imminent peril of a complete rout, when, fortunately, the
adelantado of Murcia threw himself with a large body of horse and
foot between the pursuers and the pursued, covering the retreat
of the latter and giving them time to rally. The Moors were now
attacked so vigorously in turn that they gave over the contest and
drew back slowly into the city. Many valiant cavaliers were slain in
this skirmish; among the number was Don Philip of Aragon, master
of the chivalry of St. George of Montesor: he was illegitimate son of
the king's illegitimate brother Don Carlos, and his death was
greatly bewailed by Ferdinand. He had formerly been archbishop of
Palermo, but had doffed the cassock for the cuirass, and, according
to Fray Antonio Agapida, had gained a glorious crown of martyrdom
by falling in this holy war.

The warm reception of his advance guard brought King Ferdinand
to a pause: he encamped on the banks of the neighboring river
Guadalquiton, and began to consider whether he had acted wisely in
undertaking this campaign with his present force. His late successes
had probably rendered him over-confident: El Zagal had again
schooled him into his characteristic caution. He saw that the old
warrior was too formidably ensconced in Baza to be dislodged by
anything except a powerful army and battering artillery, and he
feared that should he persist in his invasion some disaster might
befall his army, either from the enterprise of the foe or from a
pestilence which prevailed in various parts of the country. He
retired, therefore, from before Baza, as he had on a former occasion
from before Loxa, all the wiser for a wholesome lesson in warfare,
but by no means grateful to those who had given it, and with a
solemn determination to have his revenge upon his teachers.

He now took measures for the security of the places gained in the
campaign, placing in them strong garrisons, well armed and supplied,
charging their alcaydes to be vigilant on their posts and to give no
rest to the enemy. The whole of the frontier was under the command
of Luis Fernandez Puerto Carrero. As it was evident from the warlike
character of El Zagal that there would be abundance of active service
and hard fighting, many hidalgos and young cavaliers eager for
distinction remained with Puerto Carrero.

All these dispositions being made, King Ferdinand closed the dubious
campaign of this year, not, as usual, by returning in triumph at the
head of his army to some important city of his dominions, but by
disbanding the troops and repairing to pray at the cross of Caravaca.



"While the pious king Ferdinand," observes Fray Antonio Agapida,
"was humbling himself before the cross and devoutly praying for the
destruction of his enemies, that fierce pagan, El Zagal, depending
merely on arm of flesh and sword of steel, pursued his diabolical
outrages upon the Christians." No sooner was the invading army
disbanded than he sallied forth from his stronghold, and carried
fire and sword into all those parts which had submitted to the
Spanish yoke. The castle of Nixar, being carelessly guarded, was
taken by surprise and its garrison put to the sword. The old warrior
raged with sanguinary fury about the whole frontier, attacking
convoys, slaying, wounding, and making prisoners, and coming by
surprise upon the Christians wherever they were off their guard.

Carlos de Biedma, alcayde of the fortress of Culla, confiding in the
strength of its walls and towers and in its difficult situation, being
built on the summit of a lofty hill and surrounded by precipices,
ventured to absent himself from his post. He was engaged to be
married to a fair and noble lady of Baeza, and repaired to that city
to celebrate his nuptials, escorted by a brilliant array of the best
horsemen of his garrison. Apprised of his absence, the vigilant
El Zagal suddenly appeared before Culla with a powerful force,
stormed the town sword in hand, fought the Christians from
street to street, and drove them with great slaughter to the
citadel. Here a veteran captain, by the name of Juan de Avalos,
a gray-headed warrior scarred in many a battle, assumed the
command and made an obstinate defence. Neither the multitude
of the enemy nor the vehemence of their attacks, though led on
by the terrible El Zagal himself, had power to shake the fortitude
of this doughty old soldier.

The Moors undermined the outer walls and one of the towers of the
fortress, and made their way into the exterior court. The alcayde
manned the tops of his towers, pouring down melted pitch and
showering darts, arrows, stones, and all kinds of missiles upon the
assailants. The Moors were driven out of the court, but, being
reinforced with fresh troops, returned repeatedly to the assault.
For five days the combat was kept up: the Christians were nearly
exhausted, but were sustained by the cheerings of their stanch old
alcayde and the fear of death from El Zagal should they surrender.
At length the approach of a powerful force under Don Luis Puerto
Carrero relieved them from this fearful peril. El Zagal abandoned
the assault, but set fire to the town in his rage and disappointment,
and retired to his stronghold of Guadix.

The example of El Zagal roused his adherents to action. Two bold
Moorish alcaydes, Ali Aliatar and Yzan Aliatar, commanding the
fortresses of Alhenden and Salobrena, laid waste the country of the
subjects of Boabdil and the places which had recently submitted to
the Christians: they swept off the cattle, carried off captives, and
harassed the whole of the newly-conquered frontier.

The Moors also of Almeria and Tavernas and Purchena made inroads
into Murcia, and carried fire and sword into its most fertile regions.
On the opposite frontier also, among the wild valleys and rugged
recesses of the Sierra Bermeja, or Red Mountains, many of the
Moors who had lately submitted again flew to arms. The marques of
Cadiz suppressed by timely vigilance the rebellion of the mountain-
town of Gausin, situated on a high peak almost among the clouds;
but others of the Moors fortified themselves in rock-built towers and
castles, inhabited solely by warriors, whence they carried on a
continual war of forage and depredation, sweeping down into the
valleys and carrying off flocks and herds and all kinds of booty to
these eagle-nests, to which it was perilous and fruitless to pursue

The worthy Fray Antonio Agapida closes his history of this checkered
year in quite a different strain from those triumphant periods with
which he is accustomed to wind up the victorious campaigns of the
sovereigns. "Great and mighty," says this venerable chronicler,
"were the floods and tempests which prevailed throughout the
kingdoms of Castile and Aragon about this time. It seemed as though
the windows of heaven were again opened and a second deluge
overwhelming the face of nature. The clouds burst as it were in
cataracts upon the earth; torrents rushed down from the mountains,
overflowing the valleys; brooks were swelled into raging rivers;
houses were undermined; mills were swept away by their own
streams; the affrighted shepherds saw their flocks drowned in the
midst of the pasture, and were fain to take refuge for their lives in
towers and high places. The Guadalquivir for a time became a roaring
and tumultuous sea, inundating the immense plain of the Tablada and
filling the fair city of Seville with affright.

"A vast black cloud moved over the land, accompanied by a hurricane
and a trembling of the earth. Houses were unroofed, the walls and
battlements of fortresses shaken, and lofty towers rocked to their
foundations. Ships riding at anchor were either stranded or
swallowed up; others, under sail, were tossed to and fro upon
mountain waves and cast upon the land, where the whirlwind rent
them in pieces and scattered them in fragments in the air. Doleful
was the ruin and great the terror where this baleful cloud passed
by, and it left a long track of desolation over sea and land. Some of
the faint-hearted," adds Antonio Agapida, "looked upon this torment
of the elements as a prodigious event, out of the course of nature.
In the weakness of their fears they connected it with those troubles
which occurred in various places, considering it a portent of some
great calamity about to be wrought by the violence of the bloody-
handed El Zagal and his fierce adherents."*

*See Cura de los Palacios, cap. 91; Palencia, De Bello Granad.,
lib. 8.



The stormy winter had passed away, and the spring of 1489 was
advancing, yet the heavy rains had broken up the roads, the
mountain-brooks were swollen to raging torrents, and the late
shallow and peaceful rivers were deep, turbulent, and dangerous.
The Christian troops had been summoned to assemble in early
spring on the frontiers of Jaen, but were slow in arriving at the
appointed place. They were entangled in the miry defiles of the
mountains or fretted impatiently on the banks of impassable floods.
It was late in the month of May before they assembled in sufficient
force to attempt the proposed invasion, when at length a valiant
army of thirteen thousand horse and forty thousand foot marched
merrily over the border. The queen remained at the city of Jaen with
the prince-royal and the princesses her children, accompanied and
supported by the venerable cardinal of Spain and those reverend
prelates who assisted in her councils throughout this holy war.

The plan of King Ferdinand was to lay siege to the city of Baza,
the key of the remaining possessions of the Moor. That important
fortress taken, Guadix and Almeria must soon follow, and then the
power of El Zagal would be at an end. As the Catholic king advanced
he had first to secure various castles and strongholds in the vicinity
of Baza which might otherwise harass his army. Some of these made
obstinate resistance, especially the town of Zujar. The Christians
assailed the walls with various machines to sap them and batter them
down. The brave alcayde, Hubec Abdilbar, opposed force to force and
engine to engine. He manned his towers with his bravest warriors,
who rained down an iron shower upon the enemy, and he linked
caldrons together by strong chains and cast fire from them, consuming
the wooden engines of their assailants and those who managed them.

The siege was protracted for several days: the bravery of the
alcayde could not save his fortress from an overwhelming foe, but
it gained him honorable terms. Ferdinand permitted the garrison
and the inhabitants to repair with their effects to Baza, and the
valiant Hubec marched forth with the remnant of his force and took
he way to that devoted city.

The delays caused to the invading army by these various
circumstances had been diligently improved by El Zagal, who felt
that he was now making his last stand for empire, and that this
campaign would decide whether he should continue a king or sink into
a vassal. He was but a few leagues from Baza, at the city of Guadix.
This last was the most important point of his remaining territories,
being a kind of bulwark between them and the hostile city of
Granada, the seat of his nephew's power. Though he heard of the
tide of war, therefore, collecting and rolling toward the city of Baza,
he dared not go in person to its assistance. He dreaded that should
he leave Guadix, Boabdil would attack him in the rear while the
Christian army was battling with him in front. El Zagal trusted in
the great strength of Baza to defy any violent assault, and profited
by the delays of the Christian army to supply it with all possible
means of defence. He sent thither all the troops he could spare from
his garrison of Guadix, and despatched missives throughout his
territories calling upon all true Moslems to hasten to Baza and make
a devoted stand in defence of their homes, their liberties, and their
religion. The cities of Tavernas and Purchena and the surrounding
heights and valleys responded to his orders and sent forth their
fighting-men to the field. The rocky fastnesses of the Alpuxarras
resounded with the din of arms: troops of horse and bodies of foot-
soldiers were seen winding down the rugged cliffs and defiles of
those marble mountains and hastening toward Baza. Many brave
cavaliers of Granada also, spurning the quiet and security of Christian
vassalage, secretly left the city and hastened to join their fighting
countrymen. The great dependence of El Zagal, however, was upon
the valor and loyalty of his cousin and brother-in-law, Cid Hiaya
Alnagar,* who was alcayde of Almeria--a cavalier experienced in
warfare and redoubtable in the field. He wrote to him to leave Almeria
and repair with all speed at the head of his troops to Baza. Cid Hiaya
departed immediately with ten thousand of the bravest Moors in the
kingdom. These were for the most part hardy mountaineers, tempered
to sun and storm and tried in many a combat. None equalled them
for a sally or a skirmish. They were adroit in executing a thousand
stratagems, ambuscadoes, and evolutions. Impetuous in their assaults,
yet governed in their utmost fury by a word or sign from their commander,
at the sound of a trumpet they would check themselves in the midst of
their career, wheel off and disperse, and at another sound of a trumpet
they would as suddenly reassemble and return to the attack. They were
upon the enemy when least expected, coming like a rushing blast,
spreading havoc and consternation, and then passing away in an
instant; so that when one recovered from the shock and looked around,
behold, nothing was to be seen or heard of this tempest of war but a
cloud of dust and the clatter of retreating hoofs.**

*This name has generally been written Cidi Yahye. The present mode
is adopted on the authority of Alcantara in his History of Granada,
who appears to have derived it from Arabic manuscripts existing in
the archives of the marques de Corvera, descendant of Cid Hiaya.
The latter (Cid Hiaya) was son of Aben Zelim, a deceased prince of
Almeria, and was a lineal descendant from the celebrated Aben Hud,
surnamed the Just. The wife of Cid Hiaya was sister of the two
Moorish generals, Abul Cacim and Reduan Vanegas, and, like them,
the fruit of the union of a Christian knight, Don Pedro Vanegas, with
Cetimerien, a Moorish princess.

**Pulgar, part 3, c. 106.

When Cid Hiaya led his train of ten thousand valiant warriors into
the gates of Baza, the city rang with acclamations and for a time
the inhabitants thought themselves secure. El Zagal also felt a glow
of confidence, notwithstanding his own absence from the city. "Cid
Hiaya," said he, "is my cousin and my brother-in-law; related to me
by blood and marriage, he is a second self: happy is that monarch
who has his kindred to command his armies."

With all these reinforcements the garrison of Baza amounted to above
twenty thousand men. There were at this time three principal leaders
in the city: Mohammed Ibn Hassan, surnamed the Veteran, who was
military governor or alcayde, an old Moor of great experience and
discretion; the second was Hamet Abu Zali, who was captain of the
troops stationed in the place; and the third was Hubec Abdilbar,
late alcayde of Zujar, who had repaired hither with the remains of
his garrison. Over all these Cid Hiaya exercised a supreme command
in consequence of his being of the blood-royal and in the especial
confidence of Muley Abdallah el Zagal. He was eloquent and ardent in
council, and fond of striking and splendid achievements, but he was
a little prone to be carried away by the excitement of the moment
and the warmth of his imagination. The councils of war of these
commanders, therefore, were more frequently controlled by the
opinions of the old alcayde Mohammed Ibn Hassan, for whose
shrewdness, caution, and experience Cid Hiaya himself felt the
greatest deference.

The city of Baza was situated in a great valley, eight leagues in
length and three in breadth, called the Hoya, or Basin, of Baza.
It was surrounded by a range of mountains called the Sierra of
Xabalcohol, the streams of which, collecting themselves into
two rivers, watered and fertilized the country. The city was built
in the plain, one part of it protected by the rocky precipices of
the mountain and by a powerful citadel, the other by massive walls
studded with immense towers. It had suburbs toward the plain
imperfectly fortified by earthen walls. In front of these suburbs
extended a tract of orchards and gardens nearly a league in length,
so thickly planted as to resemble a continued forest. Here every
citizen who could afford it had his little plantation and his garden
of fruits and flowers and vegetables, watered by canals and rivulets
and dominated by a small tower for recreation or defence. This
wilderness of groves and gardens, intersected in all parts by canals
and runs of water, and studded by above a thousand small towers,
formed a kind of protection to this side of the city, rendering all
approach extremely difficult and perplexed.

While the Christian army had been detained before the frontier
posts, the city of Baza had been a scene of hurried and unremitting
preparation. All the grain of the surrounding valley, though yet
unripe, was hastily reaped and borne into the city to prevent it
from yielding sustenance to the enemy. The country was drained
of all its supplies; flocks and herds were driven, bleating and
bellowing, into the gates: long trains of beasts of burden, some
laden with food, others with lances, darts, and arms of all kinds,
kept pouring into the place. Already were munitions collected
sufficient for a siege of fifteen months: still, the eager and hasty
preparation was going on when the army of Ferdinand came in sight.

On one side might be seen scattered parties of foot and horse
spurring to the gates, and muleteers hurrying forward their burdened
animals, all anxious to get under shelter before the gathering storm;
on the other side, the cloud of war came sweeping down the valley,
the roll of drum or clang of trumpet resounding occasionally from its
deep bosom, or the bright glance of arms flashing forth like vivid
lightning from its columns. King Ferdinand pitched his tents in the
valley beyond the green labyrinth of gardens. He sent his heralds
to summon the city to surrender, promising the most favorable terms
in case of immediate compliance, and avowing in the most solemn
terms his resolution never to abandon the siege until he had
possession of the place.

Upon receiving this summons the Moorish commanders held a council
of war. The prince Cid Hiaya, indignant at the menaces of the king,
was for retorting by a declaration that the garrison never would
surrender, but would fight until buried under the ruins of the walls.
"Of what avail," said the veteran Mohammed, "is a declaration of the
kind, which we may falsify by our deeds? Let us threaten what we
know we can perform, and let us endeavor to perform more than
we threaten."

In conformity to his advice, therefore, a laconic reply was sent to
the Christian monarch, thanking him for his offer of favorable terms,
but informing him that they were placed in the city to defend, not to
surrender it.



When the reply of the Moorish commanders was brought to King
Ferdinand, he prepared to press the siege with the utmost vigor.
Finding the camp too far from the city, and that the intervening
orchards afforded shelter for the sallies of the Moors, he determined
to advance it beyond the gardens, in the space between them and
the suburbs, where his batteries would have full play upon the city
walls. A detachment was sent in advance to take possession of the
gardens and keep a check upon the suburbs, opposing any sally
while the encampment should be formed and fortified. The various
commanders entered the orchards at different points. The young
cavaliers marched fearlessly forward, but the experienced veterans
foresaw infinite peril in the mazes of this verdant labyrinth. The
master of St. Jago, as he led his troops into the centre of the
gardens, exhorted them to keep by one another, and to press
forward in defiance of all difficulty or danger, assuring them that
God would give them the victory if they attacked hardily and
persisted resolutely.

Scarce had they entered the verge of the orchards when a din of
drums and trumpets, mingled with war-cries, was heard from the
suburbs, and a legion of Moorish warriors on foot poured forth. They
were led on by the prince Cid Hiaya. He saw the imminent danger of
the city should the Christians gain possession of the orchards.
"Soldiers," he cried, "we fight for life and liberty, for our families, our
country, our religion;* nothing is left for us to depend upon but the
strength of our hands, the courage of our hearts, and the almighty
protection of Allah." The Moors answered him with shouts of war
and rushed to the encounter. The two hosts met in the midst of the
gardens. A chance-medley combat ensued with lances, arquebuses,
crossbows, and scimetars; the perplexed nature of the ground, cut
up and intersected by canals and streams, the closeness of the trees,
the multiplicity of towers and petty edifices, gave greater advantages
to the Moors, who were on foot, than to the Christians, who were on
horseback. The Moors, too, knew the ground, with all its alleys and
passes, and were thus enabled to lurk, to sally forth, attack, and
retreat almost without injury.

*"Illi (Mauri) pro fortunis, pro libertate, pro laribus patriis, pro
vita denique certabant."--Pietro Martyr, "Epist. 70."

The Christian commanders, seeing this, ordered many of the horsemen
to dismount and fight on foot. The battle then became fierce and
deadly, each disregarding his own life, provided he could slay his
enemy. It was not so much a general battle as a multitude of petty
actions, for every orchard and garden had its distinct contest. No
one could see farther than the little scene of fury and bloodshed
around him, nor know how the general battle fared. In vain the
captains exerted their voices, in vain the trumpets brayed forth
signals and commands: all was confounded and unheard in the
universal din and uproar. No one kept to his standard, but fought as
his own fury or fear dictated. In some places the Christians had the
advantage, in others the Moors; often a victorious party, pursuing
the vanquished, came upon a superior and triumphant force of the
enemy, and the fugitives turned back upon them in an overwhelming
wave. Some broken remnants, in their terror and confusion, fled from
their own countrymen and sought refuge among their enemies, not
knowing friend from foe in the obscurity of the groves. The Moors
were more adroit in these wild skirmishings from their flexibility,
lightness, and agility, and the rapidity with which they would
disperse, rally, and return again to the charge.*

*Mariana, lib. 25, cap. 13.

The hardest fighting was about the small garden-towers and
pavilions, which served as so many petty fortresses. Each party
by turns gained them, defended them fiercely, and were driven out;
many of the towers were set on fire, and increased the horrors of
the fight by the wreaths of smoke and flame in which they wrapped
the groves and by the shrieks of those who were burning.

Several of the Christian cavaliers, bewildered by the uproar and
confusion and shocked at the carnage which prevailed, would have
led their men out of the action, but they were entangled in a labyrinth
and knew not which way to retreat. While in this perplexity Juan
Perea, the standard-bearer of one of the squadrons of the grand
cardinal, had his arm carried off by a cannon-ball; the standard was
wellnigh falling into the hands of the enemy, when Rodrigo de
Mendoza, an intrepid youth, natural son of the grand cardinal,
rushed to its rescue through a shower of balls, lances, and arrows,
and, bearing it aloft, dashed forward with it into the hottest of
the combat, followed by his shouting soldiery.

King Ferdinand, who remained in the skirts of the orchard, was in
extreme anxiety. It was impossible to see much of the action for the
multiplicity of trees and towers and the wreaths of smoke, and those
who were driven out defeated or came out wounded and exhausted
gave different accounts, according to the fate of the partial conflicts
in which they had been engaged. Ferdinand exerted himself to the
utmost to animate and encourage his troops to this blind encounter,
sending reinforcements of horse and foot to those points where the
battle was most sanguinary and doubtful.

Among those who were brought forth mortally wounded was Don
Juan de Luna, a youth of uncommon merit, greatly prized by the king,
beloved by the army, and recently married to Dona Catalina de Urrea,
a young lady of distinguished beauty.* They laid him at the foot of
a tree, and endeavored to stanch and bind up his wounds with a
scarf which his bride had wrought for him; but his life-blood flowed
too profusely, and while a holy friar was yet administering to him the
last sacred offices of the Church, he expired, almost at the feet of
his sovereign.

*Mariana, P. Martyr, Zurita.

On the other hand, the veteran alcayde Mohammed Ibn Hassan,
surrounded by a little band of chieftains, kept an anxious eye upon
the scene of combat from the walls of the city. For nearly twelve
hours the battle raged without intermission. The thickness of the
foliage hid all the particulars from their sight, but they could see
the flash of swords and glance of helmets among the trees. Columns
of smoke rose in every direction, while the clash of arms, the
thundering of ribadoquines and arquebuses, the shouts and cries of
the combatants, and the groans and supplications of the wounded
bespoke the deadly conflict waging in the bosom of the groves. They
were harassed, too, by the shrieks and lamentations of the Moorish
women and children as their wounded relatives were brought bleeding
from the scene of action, and were stunned by a general outcry of
woe on the part of the inhabitants as the body of Reduan Zafarjal,
a renegado Christian and one of the bravest of their generals, was
borne breathless into the city.

At length the din of battle approached nearer to the skirts of the
orchards. They beheld their warriors driven out from among the
groves by fresh squadrons of the enemy, and, after disputing the
ground inch by inch, obliged to retire to a place between the
orchards and the suburbs which was fortified with palisadoes.

The Christians immediately planted opposing palisadoes, and
established strong outposts near to the retreat of the Moors, while
at the same time King Ferdinand ordered that his encampment
should be pitched within the hard-won orchards.

Mohammed Ibn Hassan sallied forth to the aid of the prince Cid
Hiaya, and made a desperate attempt to dislodge the enemy from
this formidable position, but the night had closed, and the darkness
rendered it impossible to make any impression. The Moors, however,
kept up constant assaults and alarms throughout the night, and the
weary Christians, exhausted by the toils and sufferings of the day,
were not allowed a moment of repose.*

*Pulgar, part 3, cap. 106, 107; Cura de los Palacios, cap. 92;
Zurita, lib. 20, cap 31.



The morning sun rose upon a piteous scene before the walls of Baza.
The Christian outposts, harassed throughout the night, were pale
and haggard, while the multitudes of slain which lay before their
palisadoes showed the fierce attacks they had sustained and the
bravery of their defence.

Beyond them lay the groves and gardens of Baza, once favorite
resorts for recreation and delight, now a scene of horror and
desolation. The towers and pavilions were smoking ruins; the canals
and water-courses were discolored with blood and choked with the
bodies of the slain. Here and there the ground, deep dinted with the
tramp of man and steed and plashed and slippery with gore, showed
where had been some fierce and mortal conflict, while the bodies of
Moors and Christians, ghastly in death, lay half concealed among the
matted and trampled shrubs and flowers and herbage.

Amidst these sanguinary scenes rose the Christian tents, hastily
pitched among the gardens in the preceding evening. The experience
of the night, however, and the forlorn aspect of everything in the
morning convinced King Ferdinand of the perils and hardships to
which his camp must be exposed in its present situation, and after
a consultation with his principal cavaliers he resolved to abandon
the orchards.

It was a dangerous movement, to extricate his army from so entangled
a situation in the face of so alert and daring an enemy. A bold front
was therefore kept up toward the city; additional troops were ordered
to the advanced posts, and works begun as if for a settled encampment.
Not a tent was struck in the gardens, but in the mean time the most
active and unremitting exertions were made to remove all the baggage
and furniture of the camp back to the original station.

All day the Moors beheld a formidable show of war maintained in
front of the gardens, while in the rear the tops of the Christian
tents and the pennons of the different commanders were seen rising
above the groves. Suddenly, toward evening the tents sank and
disappeared, the outposts broke up their stations and withdrew,
and the whole shadow of an encampment was fast vanishing from
their eyes.

The Moors saw too late the subtle manoeuvre of King Ferdinand.
Cid Hiaya again sallied forth with a large force of horse and foot,
and pressed furiously upon the Christians. The latter; however,
experienced in Moorish attack, retired in close order, sometimes
turning upon the enemy and driving them to their barricadoes, and
then pursuing their retreat. In this way the army was extricated
without much further loss from the perilous labyrinths of the gardens.

The camp was now out of danger, but it was also too distant from
the city to do mischief, while the Moors could sally forth and return
without hindrance. The king called a council of war to consider in
what manner to proceed. The marques of Cadiz was for abandoning
the siege for the present, the place being too strong, too well
garrisoned and provided, and too extensive for their limited forces
either to carry it by assault or invest and reduce it by famine,
while in lingering before it the army would be exposed to the usual
maladies and sufferings of besieging armies, and when the rainy
season came on would be shut up by the swelling of the rivers. He
recommended, instead, that the king should throw garrisons of horse
and foot into all the towns captured in the neighborhood, and leave
them to keep up a predatory war upon Baza, while he should
overrun and ravage all the country, so that in the following year
Almeria and Guadix, having all their subject towns and territories
taken from them, might be starved into submission.

Don Gutierre de Cardenas, senior commander of Leon, on the other
hand, maintained that to abandon the siege would be construed by
the enemy into a sign of weakness and irresolution. It would give new
spirits to the partisans of El Zagal, and would gain to his standard
many of the wavering subjects of Boabdil, if it did not encourage the
fickle populace of Granada to open rebellion. He advised, therefore,
that the siege should be prosecuted with vigor.

The pride of Ferdinand pleaded in favor of the last opinion, for it
would be doubly humiliating again to return from a campaign in this
part of the Moorish kingdom without effecting a blow. But when he
reflected on all that his army had suffered, and on all that it must
suffer should the siege continue--especially from the difficulty of
obtaining a regular supply of provisions for so numerous a host
across a great extent of rugged and mountainous country--he
determined to consult the safety of his people and to adopt the
advice of the marques of Cadiz.

When the soldiery heard that the king was about to raise the siege
in mere consideration of their sufferings, they were filled with
generous enthusiasm, and entreated as with one voice that the
siege might never be abandoned until the city surrendered.

Perplexed by conflicting counsels, the king despatched messengers to
the queen at Jaen, requesting her advice. Posts had been stationed
between them in such manner that missives from the camp could reach
the queen within ten hours. Isabella sent instantly her reply. She left
the policy of raising or continuing the siege to the decision of the king
and his captains, but, should they determine to persevere, she pledged
herself, with the aid of God, to forward them men, money, provisions
and all other supplies until the city should be taken.

The reply of the queen determined Ferdinand to persevere, and when
his determination was made known to the army, it was hailed with as
much joy as if it had been tidings of a victory.



The Moorish prince Cid Hiaya had received tidings of the doubts and
discussions in the Christian camp, and flattered himself with hopes
that the besieging army would soon retire in despair, though the
veteran Mohammed shook his head with incredulity. A sudden
movement one morning in the Christian camp seemed to confirm the
sanguine hopes of the prince. The tents were struck, the artillery
and baggage were conveyed away, and bodies of soldiers began
to march along the valley. The momentary gleam of triumph was
soon dispelled. The Catholic king had merely divided his host into
two camps, the more effectually to distress the city.

One, consisting of four thousand horse and eight thousand foot,
with all the artillery and battering engines, took post on the side of
the city toward the mountain. This was commanded by the marques of
Cadiz, with whom were Don Alonso de Aguilar, Luis Fernandez Puerto
Carrero, and many other distinguished cavaliers.

The other camp was commanded by the king, having six thousand horse
and a great host of foot-soldiers, the hardy mountaineers of Biscay,
Guipuscoa, Galicia, and the Asturias. Among the cavaliers who were
with the king were the brave count de Tendilla, Don Rodrigo de
Mendoza, and Don Alonso de Cardenas, master of Santiago.

The two camps were wide asunder, on opposite sides of the city, and
between them lay the thick wilderness of orchards. Both camps were
therefore fortified by great trenches, breastworks, and palisadoes.
The veteran Mohammed, as he saw these two formidable camps
glittering on either side of the city, and noted the well-known
pennons of renowned commanders fluttering above them, still
comforted his companions. "These camps," said he, "are too far
removed from each other for mutual succor and cooperation, and the
forest of orchards is as a gulf between them." This consolation
was but of short continuance. Scarcely were the Christian camps
fortified when the ears of the Moorish garrison were startled by the
sound of innumerable axes and the crash of falling trees. They
looked with anxiety from their highest towers, and beheld their
favorite groves sinking beneath the blows of the Christian pioneers.
The Moors sallied forth with fiery zeal to protect their beloved
gardens and the orchards in which they so much delighted. The
Christians, however, were too well supported to be driven from their
work. Day after day the gardens became the scene of incessant and
bloody skirmishings; yet still the devastation of the groves went
on, for King Ferdinand was too well aware of the necessity of
clearing away this screen of woods not to bend all his forces to the
undertaking. It was a work, however, of gigantic toil and patience.
The trees were of such magnitude, and so closely set together, and
spread over so wide an extent, that, notwithstanding four thousand
men were employed, they could scarcely clear a strip of land ten
paces broad within a day; and such were the interruptions from the
incessant assaults of the Moors that it was full forty days before
the orchards were completely levelled.

The devoted city of Baza now lay stripped of its beautiful covering
of groves and gardens, at once its ornament, its delight, and its
protection. The besiegers went on slowly and surely, with almost
incredible labors, to invest and isolate the city. They connected
their camps by a deep trench across the plain a league in length,
into which they diverted the waters of the mountain-streams. They
protected this trench by palisadoes, fortified by fifteen castles
at regular distances. They dug a deep trench also, two leagues
in length, across the mountain in the rear of the city, reaching
from camp to camp, and fortified it on each side with walls of earth
and stone and wood. Thus the Moors were enclosed on all sides by
trenches, palisadoes, walls, and castles, so that it was impossible
for them to sally beyond this great line of circumvallation, nor
could any force enter to their succor. Ferdinand made an attempt
likewise to cut off the supply of water from the city; "for water,"
observes the worthy Agapida, "is more necessary to these infidels
than bread, making use of it in repeated daily ablutions enjoined by
their damnable religion, and employing it in baths and in a thousand
other idle and extravagant modes of which we Spaniards and
Christians make but little account."

There was a noble fountain of pure water which gushed out at the
foot of the hill Albohacen just behind the city. The Moors had
almost a superstitious fondness for this fountain, and chiefly
depended upon it for their supplies. Receiving intimation from some
deserters of the plan of King Ferdinand to get possession of this
precious fountain, they sallied forth at night and threw up such
powerful works upon the impending hill as to set all attempts of
the Christian assailants at defiance.



The siege of Baza, while it displayed the skill and science of the
Christian commanders, gave but little scope for the adventurous
spirit and fiery valor of the young Spanish cavaliers. They repined
at the tedious monotony and dull security of their fortified camp,
and longed for some soul-stirring exploit of difficulty and danger.
Two of the most spirited of these youthful cavaliers were Francisco
de Bazan and Antonio de Cueva, the latter of whom was son to the
duke of Albuquerque. As they were one day seated on the ramparts
of the camp, and venting their impatience at this life of inaction,
they were overheard by a veteran adalid, one of those scouts or
guides who were acquainted with all parts of the country. "Seniors,"
said he, "if you wish for a service of peril and profit, if you are
willing to pluck the fiery old Moor by the beard, I can lead you to
where you may put your mettle to the proof. Hard by the city of
Guadix are certain hamlets rich in booty. I can conduct you by a way
in which you may come upon them by surprise, and if you are as cool
in the head as you are hot in the spur, you may bear off your spoils
from under the very eyes of old El Zagal."

The idea of thus making booty at the very gates of Guadix pleased
the hot-spirited youths. These predatory excursions were frequent
about this time, and the Moors of Padul, Alhenden, and other towns
of the Alpuxarras had recently harassed the Christian territories by
expeditions of the kind. Francisco de Bazan and Antonio de Cueva
soon found other young cavaliers of their age eager to join in the
adventure, and in a little while they had nearly three hundred
horse and two hundred foot ready equipped and eager for the foray.

Keeping their destination secret, they sallied out of the camp on
the edge of an evening, and, guided by the adalid, made their way
by starlight through the most secret roads of the mountains. In this
way they pressed on rapidly day and night, until early one morning,
before cock-crowing, they fell suddenly upon the hamlets, made
prisoners of the inhabitants, sacked the houses, ravaged the fields,
and, sweeping through the meadows, gathered together all the flocks
and herds. Without giving themselves time to rest, they set out upon
their return, making with all speed for the mountains before the
alarm should be given and the country roused.

Several of the herdsmen, however, had fled to Guadix, and carried
tidings of the ravage to El Zagal. The beard of old Muley trembled
with rage: he immediately sent out six hundred of his choicest horse
and foot, with orders to recover the booty and to bring those
insolent marauders captive to Guadix.

The Christian cavaliers were urging their cavalgada of cattle and
sheep up a mountain as fast as their own weariness would permit,
when, looking back, they beheld a great cloud of dust, and presently
descried the turbaned host hot upon their traces.

They saw that the Moors were superior in number; they were fresh
also, both man and steed, whereas both they and their horses were
fatigued by two days and two nights of hard marching. Several of the
horsemen therefore gathered round the commanders and proposed
that they should relinquish their spoil and save themselves by flight.
The captains, Francisco de Bazan and Antonio de Cueva, spurned at
such craven counsel. "What?" cried they, "abandon, our prey without
striking a blow? Leave our foot-soldiers too in the lurch, to be
overwhelmed by the enemy? If any one gives such counsel through
fear, he mistakes the course of safety, for there is less danger in
presenting a bold front to the foe than in turning a dastard back,
and fewer men are killed in a brave advance than in a cowardly

Some of the cavaliers were touched by these words, and declared that
they would stand by the foot-soldiers like true companions-in-arms:
the great mass of the party, however, were volunteers, brought

together by chance, who received no pay nor had any common tie to
keep them together in time of danger. The pleasure of the expedition
being over, each thought but of his own safety, regardless of his
companions. As the enemy approached the tumult of opinions increased
and everything was in confusion. The captains, to put an end to the
dispute, ordered the standard-bearer to advance against the Moors,
well knowing that no true cavalier would hesitate to follow and
defend his banner. The standard-bearer hesitated: the troops were
on the point of taking to flight.

Upon this a cavalier of the royal guards rode to the front. It was
Hernan Perez del Pulgar, alcayde of the fortress of Salar, the same
dauntless ambassador who once bore to the turbulent people of Malaga
the king's summons to surrender. Taking off a handkerchief which he
wore round his head after the Andalusian fashion, he tied it to the
end of a lance and elevated it in the air. "Cavaliers," cried he, "why
do ye take weapons in your hands if you depend upon your feet for
safety? This day will determine who is the brave man and who the
coward. He who is disposed to fight shall not want a standard: let
him follow this handkerchief." So saying, he waved his banner and
spurred bravely against the Moors. His example shamed some and
filled others with generous emulation: all turned with one accord,
and, following Pulgar, rushed with shouts upon the enemy. The Moors
scarcely waited to receive the shock of their encounter. Seized with
a panic, they took to flight, and were pursued for a considerable
distance with great slaughter. Three hundred of their dead strewed
the road, and were stripped and despoiled by the conquerors; many
were taken prisoners, and the Christian cavaliers returned in triumph
to the camp with a long cavalgada of sheep and cattle and mules


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