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Title: Toledo. The Story of an Old Spanish Capital

Author: Hannah Lynch

Illustrator: Helen M. James

Release Date: July 16, 2014 [EBook #46301]

Language: English

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Plan of Toledo

(etext transcriber's note)


The Story of an Old Spanish Capital

The Mediæval Town Series

*ASSISI. By Lina Duff Gordon. [5th Edition.

†BRUGES. By Ernest Gilliat-Smith. [3rd Edition.

†BRUSSELS. By Ernest Gilliat-Smith.

†CAIRO. By Stanley Lane-Poole. [2nd Edition.

†CAMBRIDGE. By the Rt. Rev. C. W. Stubbs, D.D. [2nd Edition.

†CHARTRES. By Cecil Headlam, M.A. [2nd Edition.

*CONSTANTINOPLE. By Wm. H. Hutton. [3rd Edition.

†DUBLIN. By D. A. Chart, M.A.

†EDINBURGH. By Oliphant Smeaton, M.A.

†FERRARA. By Ella Noyes.

†FLORENCE. By Edmund G. Gardner. [9th & Revised Edition.

†LONDON. By Henry B. Wheatley. [2nd Edition.

†MILAN. By Ella Noyes.

*MOSCOW. By Wirt Gerrare. [3rd Edition.

*NUREMBERG. By Cecil Headlam. M.A. [5th Edition.

†OXFORD. By Cecil Headlam. M.A.

†PADUA. By Cesare Foligno.

†PARIS. By Thomas Okey.

*PERUGIA. By M. Symonds and Lina Duff Gordon. [6th Edition.

†PISA. By Janet Ross.

*PRAGUE. By Count Lützow. [2nd Edition.

†ROME. By Norwood Young. [5th Edition.

†ROUEN. By Theodore A. Cook. [3rd Edition.

†SEVILLE. By Walter M. Gallichan. [2nd Edition

†SIENA. By Edmund G. Gardner. [2nd Edition.

*TOLEDO. By Hannah Lynch. [2nd Edition.

†VENICE. By Thomas Okey. [3rd & Revised Edition.

†VERONA. By Alethea Wiel. [3rd Edition.

The price of these marked (*) is 3s. 6d. net in cloth, 4s. 6d. net in leather; †, 4s. 6d. net in cloth, 5s. 6d. net in leather.

All rights reserved
First Edition, August 1898
Second Edition, July 1903.
Third Edition, May 1910.

Antonio de Covarrubias.

T o l e d o.  The    Story
of  an  Old   Spanish  Capital
by Hannah Lynch Illustrated
by      Helen      M.    James


London, 1910
J.   M.   Dent   &   Sons,   Ltd.
New   York:   E.   P.   Dutton   &   Co.

Anda el tiempo y anda
y todo se acaba.
Romancero General.


Earliest History of Toledo1
Under Goth Rule26
Under the Moslems64
Her latest History81
The Old Capital, once and now115
The Cathedral150
Domenico Theotocopoulos, “El Greco”193
San Juan de los Reyes, Santa Maria la Blanca,
El Transito
Vanished Palaces243
Minor Churches, Convents, and Hospitals266
Bridges and Gates292
Practical Information305
INDEX: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, V, W, Y, Z


Portrait of Antonio de Covarrubias, from the painting by El GrecoFrontispiece.
Puente de Alcántara4
Puente de Alcántara41
The Cathedral83
Puente S. Martino97
Moorish Arch leading to Zocodover121
House Cervantes stayed in, Toledo123
The Zocodover125
The Tagus135
Mill on the Tagus137
Toledo from Left Bank of Tagus141
Puente S. Martino of Bano de la Cava145
A Street Corner, Toledo147
Interior of Cathedral153
North Transept Door of Cathedral160
Interior of Cathedral Coro from S. Aisle163
Detail of Reja to Capilla Mayor, Cathedral, Toledo167
Detail, Tomb of King, Gospel Side of High Altar, Cathedral, Toledo170
Tomb of Cardinal Mendoza171
Capitular Door in Toledo Cathedral177
Tombs of Count Alvaro de Luna and Wife, the Cathedral, Toledo183
The Cathedral Tower191
“The Burial of the Count of Orgaz,” from the painting by El Greco202
Detail of Ornament, Interior of S. Juan de los Reyes221
Cloister, S. Juan de los Reyes223
S. Luke Angle of Cloister, S. Juan de los Reyes227
Detail of Ornament, El Transito233
Santa Maria la Blanca241
Remains of Palace, said to be that of Don Pedro el Cruel251
Casa Fuensalida256
Moorish Window in Casa de Mesa259
The Castle of San Servando263
San Tomé267
Santiago, Toledo272
Santo Pablo273
Cristo de la Luz277
Door of Santa Cruz285
Tomb of Cardinal Tavera290
Puerta Visagra (Antigua)297
Puerta del Sol300



The Story of an Old Spanish Capital


What is Known of Toledo’s earliest history

WHAT more stupefying contrast than that of cheap commonplace Madrid (cheap alas! only in the artistic sense) and the legendary still visage of Toledo? The capital you leave abustle with modern movement, glaring, gesticulating, chattering, animated in its own empty and insignificant fashion, with its pleasant street of Alcala, so engagingly unhistoric, its shop-fronts full of expensive and second-rate articles from other capitals, the vulgar vivacity of the Puerta del Sol thronged with everlasting gossips in trousers and wide-brimmed hats; with its swindling hotel-keepers and insolent drivers. The train sweeps you past the wide empty bed of the Manzanares, covered here and there with a film you understand by courtesy to represent a river, and the city behind is a gay compact picture, slightly waving upward from its bridges, white and flourishing above the broad yellow plain. The tones of the land are rough and crude, red striking hotly against brown and greyish purple. Here and there a solitary hill, burnt and defoliaged, with a glimpse of ruined ramparts, a mule-path along which a file of peasants pass, the women{2} lost in roomy saddles, with feet dangling in the air, and red or yellow handkerchiefs tied under their chins. Carts move slowly along the old diligence road, guided by heavy-browed males.

The swallows’ flight reveals the exquisite limpidity of the air and the height of the unstained heaven, azure in the infinite depths of aërial sapphire, blue beyond blue, translucent almost to the furthest reach of vision. And the light shines broadly upon an incomparable mingling in landscape of insensate ardour and changeless moroseness. So still, so brilliant, so burnt and empty! revealing the national traits of mournful hopelessness and unembittered, unregretful resignation. The rays lie in a luminous quietude upon the red-brown land, while the breath of fresh day just touches the leaves of the scant olives and shows them silver. Then midway the desert swims behind, and the eye is mildly refreshed with little signs of pastoral life, ineffectual efforts at gaiety amid tyrannous sadness. Imagination leaps at sight of a cheering bit of verdure, not for the beauty of it, though beauty is not altogether absent, but for the old familiar eloquence of trees and grassy spaces, the twinkling brightness of rills and flashing water and wooded fringes, with a hint of shadow along the horizon. Between the poplared banks of the river, yellow and waveless as befits a river of dead romance, the eye lingers on glimpses of emerald islets, with reedy edges against the fuller foliage of elm. Above, exposed on a rocky throne, belted by the sombre Tagus, sits Toledo.

“The landscape of Toledo and the banks of the Tagus,” writes M. Maurice Barrès, with singular felicity, “are amongst the saddest and most ardent things of this world. Whoever lives here has no need to consider the grave youth, the Penseroso, of the Medicis Chapel; he may also do without the biography{3} and the Pensées of Blaise Pascal. With the very sentiment realised by these great solitary works, he will be filled, if he but give himself up to the tragic fierceness of the magnificences in ruins upon these high rocks.

“Toledo, on its hillside, with the tawny half circle of the Tagus at its feet, has the colour, the roughness, the haughty poverty of the sierra on which it is built, and whose strong articulations from the very first produce an impression of energy and passion. It is less a town, a noisy affair yielding to the commodities of life, than a significant spot for the soul. Beneath a crude illumination, which gives to each line of its ruins a vigour, a clearness by which the least energetic characters acquire backbone, at the same time it is mysterious, with its cathedral springing towards the sky, its alcázars and palaces that only take sight from their invisible patios. Thus secret and inflexible, in this harsh overheated land, Toledo appears like an image of exaltation in solitude, a cry in the desert.”

The train leaves you at the foot of the town before the quaint fortressed bridge of Alcántara. In these days of unpretentious exits and entrances, when we scarcely detect the outskirts of a city from the open way, or the suburbs from the heart of urban movement, these two castellated bridges, by which you enter and leave Toledo, have a strange and insistent air of feudality that at once captures fancy, and resembles the flourish of trumpets in martial dramas. Civilisation instantly waves backward, and leaves imagination thrilled upon the shores of legend. At a bound memory is at the core of troubled Spanish history, a sad and spectral ghost, in the thrall of wonderment and admiration. Surely never was town, with all our modern needs of bread-winning and competition, of commerce and politics, of cheap ambition and every-day social{4} intercourse, so curiously, magnificently faithful to its past. So precisely must Toledo have looked, barring the electric light, when the last page of its intimate history was written. Just so brown and barren, with its front of unflinching austerity, its stern wealth of architecture, the air of romantic elegance and charmed slumber it breathes upon sadness, with its look of legendary musing and widowed remembrance. So, unchanged, must it have been in its great day of hieratic glory, of Gothic rule, of Saracen triumph and of feudal revolt.



From the bridges, the road winds up the steep rock, upon whose summit this unique old city is built. The views at every turn of the winding path are entrancing. There is every strange effect to gratify the eager eye in search of the picturesque: an unsurpassed boldness of site, from the wide zone of the Tagus to the point of the Cathedral tower pinnacled against the upper arch of heaven. Project high rocks upon which odd and delightful passages, neither street nor lane, full of colour{5} and curve and varied line, are cut like sharp upward and downward strokes, over frowning ravines, and swelling by swift ascent from the yellow band of water below, that imprisons the town like a moat, and along with the martial bridges, give the impression of being cut off from the big lively world, a prisoner in a city of dreamland. At once you yield yourself to the gracious grip of your enchanter and gaoler. The eye rests in ineffable contentment upon the violent line of empty hills, yellow and brown and rose, turned violet by the sun’s retreat, and you feel no longing for the vulgar and bustling present you have left behind. Here to sit awhile and dream, not days but unending months, in the shadow of a mighty cathedral, in what a Spanish writer with Iberian imagery, has called “a case of mediæval jewels.” It is a fitting note of environment that the landscape should be stamped by an ardent and ineffaceable desolation, incessantly exposed to devastating winds, swept by fierce rains and blinding dust and remorseless sunfire. Nature is neither instigated by contrast, nor softened by charm. Unsmiling in its arid austerity, it is grand by the magic of its simplicity. The audacity with which it reveals its nakedness in the glare of unshaded light that has burnt its flanks a peculiar reddish-brown hue, sinks all impression of crudity, and becomes the supreme effect of natural art. It makes no pretence to shield the peril of its broken precipices with the beguilement of verdure, but lets them hack their murderous way to the river-brim without shrub or any vigorous sign of vegetation. Heavy and still, like the glittering light that fatigues the eye, it has nevertheless its secret, matchless captivation, such as Venice, its sister-town in strangeness (though of softer and more alluring beauty, feminine to its stern masculine), and casts the mind, conquered, into the mazes of reverie. You may have{6} come by a train into this mausoleum of petrified memories, you may sit at the usual table d’hôte, but you cannot feel modern: the present slips away, and forgotten is the march of centuries.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Of the town’s earliest history knowledge is merely the wildest assumption, and we have no reason to believe any of the legends handed down to us by historians as tradition. For instance, that obscure if venerable voice, asserts, that when God made the sun he placed it over Toledo (previously made, of course) and planted the foot of Adam, first King, beneath it at that particular spot of the globe. This is at least a fine testimony of the Spaniard’s lofty faith in the antiquity of Toledo. A less sweeping assertion connects the first light of the town with Tubal, the grandson of Noah, who is supposed to have come hither after the deluge, and this view is naïvely supported by the verses of Gracia Dei, the chronicler of King Pedro:

“Tubal, nieto de Noé,[1]

Alphonsus the Learned, in his Cronica General, maintains and is supported in his no less extravagant opinion by Diego Mossem Valera, Isabel the Catholic’s historian, that Toledo was founded by Pyrrhus, captain of the army of Cyrus, and son-in-law of King Hispan, father of Iberia. It is imagined that Iberia, Pyrrhus’s wife, was in need of the freshness and verdure of the leafy banks of the Tagus, and that her husband brought{7} her hither to taste the air and delights of the gardens around. But we are not told how there came to be gardens and foliaged places along the silent Tagus, nor who fashioned them, nor how Pyrrhus heard of them. The wife, Iberia, and the father-in-law appear as adequate explanations of the subsequent history of Spain, since both furnish the names of the land that Europe is familiar with. Once upon the banks of the Tagus, the gardens did not content Pyrrhus, so he began to enlarge the spot he had chosen. He discovered two towers, one at San Roman, and the other at the Alcázar, called Los Dos Hermanos, (The Two Brothers), built, tradition then told him, by the two sons of King Rocas in defence against the enemies of Rocas and his father Tartus. But whence came Rocas and Tartus and the two brothers? Why should Alphonso the Learned choose Pyrrhus and his wife, those remote{8} tourists, as the founders of Toledo, rather than Rocas and Tartus?

Rufo Festo Avieno regards Hercules as the founder of the Carpetanian city, and celebrates the achievement in verse:

“Et Carpetanos inter proverbe sub Auras
Toletum labor Alcide præclareque gentes
Metropolis in gente Tajo ses undique iactat
In qua tardi gradus conspectat parte Trionis
Haud Pater Alcides (ut dicunt) condidit urbem,
Mor ubi ter gemina victor gerione perempto,
In latium meditatus iter Dionysii quondam,
Prium dicta fuit de fundatoris honesto
Nomine; Toletum alii dixere coloni.”

This version explains the name of Toledo as Ptoliethron, signifying important race, bestowed by Hercules. Honour is also awarded to a certain Greek astrologer, Ferecio, who came to Galicia with Teucer, Ulysses and Diomedes, after the siege of Troy, and having killed one of his companions, flew from the anger of the others into the heart of the Peninsula, until the security of the high rocks on which Toledo is built, tempted him to seek shelter amid these altitudes, which he at once consecrated to Hercules. As the natives gathered round him, and the town spread, he initiated them in the mysteries of magic and astrology, arts until then unknown in Spain, and for this reason called arta Toledana.

Less wild and improbable is the last legend, that the Jews came hither when Nebuchadnezzar took Jerusalem, and created the town they called Toledoth, “city of generations.” From this period is supposed to date the synagogue Santa Maria la Blanca. The explanation of the fact that under Christian rule the Jews of Toledo were permitted to have their synagogues and worship unmolested according to their rites, is based on the tradition that the Jews of Jerusalem consulted them{9} before condemning Christ to death. They withheld their consent, and pronounced the sentence both heedless and imprudent, but their letter arrived too late for consideration. The mere belief that this letter had been sent, however, secured them for some centuries from insult or persecution.[2]

The famous archbishop, Don Rodrigo Jimenez de Rada, rejects all these theories, and goes to Rome in search of founders, which he discovers in two consuls, Tolemon and Brutus, 108 years before Cæsar’s time, when Ptolemy Evergetes was reigning. But this seems no nearer truth, since there exists no vestige of any domination anterior to the Roman Conquest, and there are no data on which to found a definite statement. The most convenient way of disposing of the question, up to the day of Livy’s emphatic description of Toledo as “parva urbs, sed loco munita,” is to say with the old-fashioned writers that its beginning is “lost in the night of ages.” For lost it most certainly is, and the ancient Spanish historians are not to be trusted. It is probable that the first start of the race was a Celtic group of shepherds, wild and rude, whose wanderings led them to the leafy and verdant banks of the Tagus, and here, finding abundance of water, and rich and fertile land between Aranjuez and Toledo, they agreed to settle. Gradually the little town, pitched high above the river upon its unattackable rocky seat, spread itself; the{10} number of huts grew into streets and lanes, the vague and wandering groups became more dense, and attracted others within their dominating influence, until the capital of Carpetania was formed. The shepherds left their flocks to build themselves walls and strong places, and thus bring upon their little city the imperious and conquering eye of Rome. Here again we have nothing but untrustworthy generalities to guide us, and no prehistoric remains on which to base conclusions about this vanished race. Alcocer, the old historian of Toledo, asserts that the very mystery and obscurity of the city’s earliest days is proof of its antiquity and nobility, “since a race is all the more ancient by the less that is known of its origin and beginning.” In a pleasing concession to this naïve statement, we need feel no shame in allowing to Toledo all the nobility and antiquity our unenlightened ignorance permits it to claim.

The first dim figure in its history that shows out upon a vague and discutable background is that of Tago, a governor of the town in the days of Carthagenian domination. Before the second punic war, the Carthagenians sought to strengthen their forces by alliance with the Carpetanians, whom they had already partially subjugated. According to Rasis, the Moorish writer, there were then eleven governors in Carpetania, one of whom was Tago, at Toledo. Hasdrubal had succeeded Hamilcar, and reversing his mild policy, entertained his fancy with every kind of ferocious injustice and cruelty. The Carpetanians were handy, half allies, half conquered subjects, and the account of Tago’s assassination, for Hasdrubal’s mere pleasure, is one of unmitigable barbarity, one of those incidents that leave us stunned and stupefied by the revelation of an inexplicable instinct of cruelty in uncivilised man. Not content with repeatedly stabbing the unfortunate gover{11}nor with his own hand, Hasdrubal ordered the body to be crucified, then drew his sword across the throat, severing the head, exposed the headless trunk, and forbade it decent burial. One of Tago’s slaves revenged his master by assassinating Hasdrubal, and the infuriated Carpetanians rose up in revolt against Carthagenian oppression. They joined neighbouring tribes, and determined to resist Hannibal. Hannibal marched against them, and met them near ancient Oresia, eight leagues from Toledo, and here a long and fierce battle was fought, equal on both sides in losses, endurance, courage and fury. Night fell before either side had obtained the slightest advantage, and when day came, the confederates had the wild joy of forcing the world’s greatest general to retreat. This obscure and miserable little people, a handful of raw Celtiberians, had no means of measuring the extent of their forgotten glory. Hannibal to them was no more than Hasdrubal, and they little suspected the kind of hero they had to do with. So they feasted and shouted and sang in their rash triumph, while Hannibal, who had folded his tent before their impetuous charge, grimly looked on, and planned to take advantage of their unbuckled hour. In the midst of their feasting and pleasuring, he bore down unexpectedly upon the victors, and all the confederates, struck at their brightest moment in the full flush of pride, were broken on the remorseless wheel of Carthagenian rule.

From this onward, light begins to gather over Toledan history, dimly, of course, and by the very necessity of its vicissitudes, intermittent and dubious. After the fall of Carthage, we find, 191 years B.C., Marcus Fulvius Nobilior directing the Roman forces against the capital of Carpetania, and as besieger occupying the opposite bank of the Tagus. The reigning king of the Celtiberians was Hilermo.{12} Fulvius defeated him in the plain, and then laid siege to the town and took it with ease. But though now subject to Rome, the Romans never appear to have dominated this stolid and sturdy Celtic race. Under whatever sway, Toledo ever wears its unwearying face of sullen independence. Rome itself could stamp no permanent impression on such a wilful and indomitable subject. Her armies might sweep it off the field of rebellion, but could neither chain it nor secure its sympathy. It remained obstinately neutral in all the successive Roman strifes; took no notice whatever of Viriate’s imperious call from the foot of its walls to join him on the bank of the Tagus below, and wage war with him against the Praetor, Caius Plancius. What was Viriate to the aloof and self-centred Toledans more than a man of another country fighting a personal battle with which they had no concern? Toledo willingly opened its gates to Sylla’s victim, Sertorius, and allowed him to shelter and nourish his hate and burning sense of injury behind its walls, but it flatly declined to help him in his plan of vengeance. He might stay there and win, as he did, the people’s esteem and a kind of grudging affection, but war was his own affair, and if he stayed it should be as one of themselves, content with an inactive recognition of wrongs. To these wild and independent Celtiberians it mattered nothing whether Rome ran herself to ruin in her fierce quarrels and dissensions. So Sertorius stayed on in protected exile, almost as a ruler adopted by those who sheltered him, who yielded him admiration and sympathy, while sturdily declining to grant him troops or subsidies, and would not hear of marching under his leadership against the great Republic. This same haughty indifference Toledo maintained throughout the civil wars between Cæsar and Pompey, and showed the same coldness in the fortunes of Augustus.{13} Her voice was not heard in the chorus of enthusiasm when the Temple of Janus was closed, and the Augustan peace affected her as little as had the previous disorders and rivalries and battles. Silent and sullen vassals Rome ever found these Toledans, holding themselves persistently aloof from all her interests. The single Roman ruler they appear to have favoured with some measure of homage was Marcus Julius Philippicus, who, to win his way with them probably granted them unrecorded favours or some special privilege. This rare mood of gratitude to Rome was expressed on a marble slab which Maestro Alvar Gomez, the chronicler of Cisneros, the great Cardinal, found in the porch of a door where it served as an ordinary seat:

Imp. Caes.
M. Julio Philippo
Pio Fel. Aug.
Pont. Max. Trib.
Pot. P. P. Consul.
Toletam Devotes
Sini Nuninis
Que Eius D. D.

The gratitude was apparently of modified value if we may judge by the unceremonious treatment of its monument.

Though Toledo must have had a distinct existence under the Romans, since Pliny calls it the Metropolis of Carpetania, there is not to be found definite evidence of the precise nature of that existence. The few coins that have come down to us in various collections, said to belong to that period, are of dubious origin; the inscriptions are not a whit more authentic. So little is clear or authentic that Alcover may continue to delight in the mystery and obscurity of its history as proof, according to his cherished phrase, of the tow{14}n’s antiquity and nobility. We are hardly justified in supposing anything, and imagination is barely assisted in its effort to penetrate its inhospitable walls. For we know that there were walls in those days, since Viriate is depicted standing under them, and calling on the citizens to join his forces below and march behind the standard of civil war. It is pretty certain that the town was extensive and populous, or Viriate would not have troubled to clamour for its assistance; and assuredly of some importance, else would Pliny have described it as the Capital of Carpetania? But what was the measure and nature of its civilisation, of its customs, dress? Did it adopt any of the Roman ways? We may assume from its rude and central position that in progress it was far behind the Mediterranean towns. But it undoubtedly had its place along the great Roman roads, and was connected with Tarragona and Carthagena, of which superior and more notable centres it was a dependency. While Tarragona has remained to this day pre-eminently an old Roman town, the very physiognomy of the race a kind of diminished Roman, and Cordova and Granada are as romantically and faithfully Moorish, Toledo has swept from off its face nearly every vestige of Roman domination but a few miserable stones, and is as insistently Gothic. So obscure and unrevealed is this period of transition that beyond the indication of the Circo Romano and portion of the Puente de Alcántara outside the town, there are no remains to prove the passage of the world’s conquerors and civilisers, nothing to suggest their imperishable influence. Of its position under Roman rule it is difficult to form an exact opinion. Its rank at first was probably that of a stipendary town, left to the despotic will of centurions without a responsible governor. It was merely regarded as an insignifi{15}cant source of tribute. In this period of partial servitude it would have contracted the habit of idleness, the most prominent curse of slavery. Later on it was raised to municipal rank, had its own coin and commerce, and developed a racial preference for the arts of war rather than for those of peace. Finally, when Augustus came to reign, he raised Toledo to the rank of a colony, and transmitted to the town the privileges of Merida, making the Carpetanian capital the centre for the collection of tribute. But whatever difference these honours may have made in the town’s private history, whatever amount of added prosperity they may have brought it, we are not permitted by the historians to obtain a clearer or more striking figure of Toledo as a colony of Rome than we had of Toledo in its first stage of stipendary town. Here and there an inscription exists as testimony of her advanced rank, such as.

L. Terentius
Gn. pomp. F. P. P.
Totelano Quaestori
Q. Q. Redidili
Primo Flamini perpetuo Toleti
Et Totius Hispanae
Quod hic Termas et viam.

Of the baths and the Roman way nothing now remains. Cristobal Lozano, in his Reyes Nueves de Toledo, devotes a chapter to the Roman glories of the town, speaks of the Circo Maximo, the temple of Hercules, the Naumachia and amphitheatre, and tells us that the bullfights of Spain date from this period. The temple he describes as being 300 feet in length and 200 feet in width; it was situated in the Vega, and was an object of devotion to the entire province of Carpetania. The celebrated cave of Hercules into{16} which Rodrigo, the last of the Gothic kings, is supposed to have penetrated before the fatal battle of Guadalete, Lozano describes at greater length. The cave is as legendary as Rodrigo’s sombre experience therein. It covered the prodigious extent of three leagues, and was composed of thousands of arches, pillars and columns. It was said to have been used as a secret treasury, but was built by Hercules as a royal subterranean palace, and here in prehistoric days the arts of magic were studied. The Romans enlarged it, and during the persecutions it served the Christians as church and oratory and cemetery. Part of it lay under the spell of enchantment by the order of Hercules, and when Spain was flooded with barbarians, and the Goths swept the classic Romans out of Toledo, Hercules hermetically sealed the doors, and tradition asserted that whoever should succeed in bursting open these doors would learn his doom and wed calamity. No Gothic king, until Rodrigo, was strong-minded enough to risk such dreadful peril, and the doors remained sealed. But the unfortunate Rodrigo was as brave as he was curious. He burst through the magic doorway, on which was written in Greek letters: The King who opens this cave and discovers the wonders it holds, will discover good and evil. Those who preceded him into the mysterious palace speedily fell back in a state of shuddering alarm and fear, shouting that they had seen an awful vision. Instead of staying to learn the nature of the vision, Rodrigo, angry and impatient, pushed his way in before his cowardly followers. He encountered an immense bronze statue in a beautiful frame work, highly sculptured. It held a wooden hammer, and struck fierce blows with it against the earth, thus moving the air and causing a terrible noise which bewildered and frightened Rodrigo’s courtiers. It stopped its movements as Rodrigo approached, and on the wall of a{17} closed arch beside it was written: Whoever opens this arch will find wonders. The King ordered his men to break open a passage, and instead of the treasures he expected to find, there was a picture of Arabian troops, some afoot, some on horseback, turbaned and armed, and underneath written: Whoever reaches this spot and opens this arch, will lose Spain, and will be beaten by this race. “The King,” writes Lozano, “with sorrow in his heart and such sadness as we can understand, though carefully hiding it, ordered the door to be closed again.” All those present also dissimulated their feelings, not to increase the affliction of the King. And while they went about seeking if among so many misfortunes they might find some consolation, lifting their eyes, they saw on the wall, on the left hand of the statue, other lines of writing: Sorry King for thy doom hast thou entered here. And on the right lines saying: For foreign nations wilt thou be dispossessed, and thy people will be heavily punished. Behind the statue they read: I call upon the Moors, and on its breast was written: I fulfil my task. That same night in the roar of many voices and loud battle cries, the earth opened and swallowed up in a clap of thunder the enchanted palace and every vestige of it. The legend is an excellent one, and has well served the poets, but unhappily it is only a legend of no historic value whatever. Rodrigo no more penetrated this mythical cave than he kissed Florinda, who never existed. Cardinal Siliceo is said to have explored what remained of the part without the vanished enchanted part of the palace, and after penetrating half a league inward, found bronze statues on the altar; and while examining one of them, the statue fixed him with a grave and austere glance, while a loud noise was heard, which filled the explorers with terror, and Lozano naïvely suggests that nothing of the sort possibly happened, for fear is a great inventor,{18} and “they were filled with fear to the eyes.” They fled without King Rodrigo’s courage to go further. Though it was summer time, most of them died immediately afterwards from cold and fright, and the “good” archbishop, who had caused this devastation among his flock, ordered the mouth of the cave to be built up and covered with mud, 1543. Antonio Ponz, commenting on this prodigious and serious account given by Lozano of a fabulous cave and an impossible tale, makes merry over the naïve Spaniard’s accuracy of description and facts. “One would really believe he had seen it all,” writes the unenthusiastic Ponz, “the statue, the bronze, the admirable sculpture, and had measured the extent of the cave.” The same may be said of Lozano’s grandiose description of the Roman buildings of which hardly a vestige remained in his time, 1666. The Circo Maximo, Gamero asserts, was built to hold a hundred thousand persons, from which we might infer that Toledo under the Romans had an important population.

Approaching less apocryphal days, we learn that Toledo was one of the earliest towns of Spain to embrace Christianity. It is even said that St Peter and St James passed here, and some add St Paul, preaching the Gospel and creating bishops. St Eugenius, of Greek or Roman origin, was the first. The Spanish historians decline to accept the tradition that St Denis of Paris sent Eugenius to Spain, preferring to keep him in company with the Apostles. But it allows that he went to Paris to see St Denis, and here was martyred near the city by the prefect, Fescenino Sicino, his headless body being flung into a filthy lagoon so that his disciples and admirers should never be able to find it. Two hundred years later the lake gave up its dead, uncorrupted. One Ercoldo, being ill, saw St Denis in sleep, who told him to rise cured, and go to the lake,{19} where he would find the body of the illustrious martyr awaiting burial. At the same time he promised for the sake of Eugenius, great health to the neighbourhood and the honour of many miracles. Pisa records this tale at some length with unction and faith. Several centuries later the emperor, Alfonso VII., grandson of the victor of Toledo, obtained from his son-in-law, Louis of France, the right arm of Eugenius as a relic, and the arm was brought to Spain in all pomp by the Abbot of St Denis in person. Later, Philip II. obtained the entire body from Charles IX., with the consent of the Cardinal, Duke of Lorrain, Abbot of St Denis. The town prepared a magnificent reception for the remains of the founder of its cathedral. Antonio de Rivera, the choir-master, gives a detailed description of the triumphal arches, the Latin and Castillian poems, the dances and other diversions of the hour. The King was present as well as his unfortunate son, Don Carlos, the princes of Hungary and Bohemia, Rodolpho and Hernesto, sons of Maximilian, the bishops of Cordova, Siguenza, Segovia, Palencia, Cuenca, Osuna, Lugo and Gerona. Francisco Bayeu painted a fine fresco of the scene for the cathedral cloisters, representing the entrance of the remains under the Puerta de Visagra.

The next saint connected with the Christian history of the town, and its real patron, is St Leocadia. She was of noble birth, beautiful, young and gifted. She is depicted a kind of Spanish St Elisabeth of Hungary, succouring the poor and sick, speaking words of wisdom to the weak, of sympathy to the suffering. Her father, Leocadio, was governor under Dacian, and her uncle was Melancius the archbishop. While yet a child she vowed herself to maidenhood and the service of the needy and those in trouble, and her doors like her compassionate heart were open to all. On his arrival at{20} Toledo, Dacian heard of the wonderful maid, and learnt that her influence spread far and wide. He ordered her to appear before him, and she came surrounded by friends and admirers. The Roman in the interview is painted as brutal and inexorable, the girl-saint as mild but firm. She would change neither her faith nor her ways, and valiantly announced herself as ready for death. We hear of flagellations, of chains, of torture, of every form of explosion of Roman fury, till finally unable to invent further atrocities, Dacian flung her into a dark dungeon, where she died a natural death, some assert, others preferring the more ghastly version of Dacian in person ordering her to be flung down a steep rock into the Tagus. But this, I imagine, has been tacked on to the legend as a more picturesque conclusion for a martyr than a natural death in a prison. Gamero does not endorse it, and his history is admitted to be the most accurate of any that deals with Toledo.

This is how Pisa writes of Dacian:—“Dacian, haughty, famished for blood, drunk with the blood of French martyrs, came to accomplish a like butchery in Spain. He inflicted terrible tortures on St Folia and St Cucufato and St Eulalia at Barcelona, and went like a mad lion through Zaragoza, with the blood of martyrs ever flowing behind him. This minister of Satan came to the town of Alcala, where he shed the blood of the children, Justo and Pastor, so young that their blood was yet partly milk. Then he came to this famous city of Toledo, where the people received him with honour. He sat on the tribune to receive recognizance and vassalage to the Emperor’s published edict, and commanded the public to adore the idols of his gods. He ordered an inquisition among the Toledan Christians to torture them and then destroy their bodies.” Good Dr Pisa had not humour enough to perceive the irony of Spanish history, since these are{21} the very proceedings of the Castellian monarchs to heretics in later centuries. One wonders at the censorious use of the ominous word “inquisition” from a Spanish pen. “Tell me, young lady,” Dacian suavely enough addresses Leocadia summoned before him, “for such is the exceeding beauty of thy face that nobody born has ever beheld one more fair, and being well-born and of pure and noble lineage, how is it thou canst so lightly be deceived by such vanities, despising thus the ancient ceremonies and worship of our gods and preferring to follow the new sect of the Crucified.” Methinks, so might some urbane cardinal have addressed a pretty heretic some centuries later as much a martyr, albeit uncanonised, as Leocadia. And such a desperate wrath would the maiden’s answer have provoked as that which sent Leocadia to imprisonment and death. Certainly the early Christians were not courteous to the Pagans they defied. The gods Leocadia contemptuously called “miserable,” and the polite and flattering Dacian came in for a share of her impassioned vituperation with the consequences she naturally desired.

At so early a period dawns the celebrated hieratic fame of Toledo, which for centuries made it less subject to the sovereign than to the archbishop. Melancius was raised to the bishopric in the year 283, and after him, under the domination of Rome, may be said to have reigned over the Celtic citizens, ten important bishops, whose portraits can be studied in the Sala Capitular of the Cathedral. Gothic rule in Toledo is little else but the story and development of Gothic Christianity. More than on kings and their battles and doings does the town’s early fame rest upon those councils of the church in its midst. They send the name of Toledo as far as Rome in a warning note of independence and power. This primitive church{22} had its own rite, its own customs, its emphatically racial way of viewing matters, and for centuries no high-handed effort of Rome could smooth the angles of its stubborn individuality, or Latinise the tone of its worship and faith. It remained for France and French influence to accomplish what Rome had vainly striven to achieve, and it is to be deplored that France should have succeeded in the defacing task.

The first of these councils took place in the year 396, and the second in 400, to consider the election of Dictinius to the bishopric of Astorga, one of the sect of Priscilianists. This deliberate battle waged by Toledo against the Priscilianists took place in September, and its minutes are preserved intact in the Toledan Collection. Nineteen bishops assisted at it, and the Bishop of Merida, Patriuno, presided over it, as the oldest present. The meeting took place in the church of Toledo, the bishops seated, and the deacons and congregation admitted, standing. In a long address the president exposed the scandals and vicissitudes of the times, and then discussed in ten different points various details connected with the church. Woman seems to have been the victim of austere episcopal reprobation. She must not presume to chaunt antiphones whether nun or widow, in the absence of the bishop, neither with her confessor nor his attendant. Such communion of the sexes under the banner of religion the Council held as pernicious and a snare. It fulminated against the frail sex, but for whose existence man were a sage and a saint. What a pity the Almighty did not consult the Fathers before casting this fatal and corrupting instrument of misfortune upon the world! However, woman must not complain. To quote one of the delightful and ironical sayings of Renan, the Fathers of the Church increased her power by making her a sin. As a mere woman she is only a{23} human being, like her feeble and fugitive mate. But as a combustible engine requiring the reunion of hoary Fathers from time to time to drown and extinguish her beneath the founts of holy water set to play upon her wickedness and peril, she really becomes something diabolical and magnificent, a creature to inspire alarm and excite curiosity. It is not improbable that the saintly sages and modest deacons, as they issued from the church into the rocky and tortuous streets of Toledo, on the September day of the council in the year 400, gazed in a fresh instinct of fearful wonder and shuddering attraction at the first skirted fiend that crossed their path. However plain or beautiful she might be, they would be greatly more preoccupied with the thought of her sex than her looks. Yet the clergy still might marry, and they had full rights over their wife except death. They could beat her, tie and lock her up, give her all “salutary” punishment that was not mortal, deprive her of food, and forbid her to sit at table. Never mind, she had her revenge. She felt her power be sure, and was conscious that she was a sin.

Before the Council of Nice, Toledo adopted the belief that the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and Son, which doctrine only became universal several centuries later. This is the Toledan Credo of the fifth century: “We believe in one sole and true God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, maker of all things visible and invisible, by whom were created all things in heaven and on earth; that this sole God and this sole Trinity are of divine substance; that the Father is not the same as the Son, but has a Son who is not the Father; that, the Son is not the Father, but is the Son of God from the nature of the Father; that the Spirit is the Paraclete, and is neither the Father nor the Son, but proceeds from both. The Father was{24} not engendered but the Son, but not the Paraclete which proceeds from the Father and Son. The Father is He who was heard from the heavens, crying: This is My Son in whom I am well pleased. Hearken to Him. The Son is He who said: I left the Father and came from God to this world; and the Paraclete it is of whom the Son said: If I went not to the Father, the Paraclete would not come to you. That this Trinity is distinct in three persons, and is a substance united by virtue and indivisible by power and majesty, beyond this we do not believe there is any divine nature, nor of angel, nor of spirit, nor of any virtue that believes itself God. This Son of God, born of God the Father, before all beginning, sanctified the womb of the Virgin Mary, and became real man in her, sine virili generatum semine; uniting both natures, that is divine and fleshly, in one sole person, who is our Lord, Jesus Christ; neither was His body imaginary or any phantasm, but solid and real; He ate, was thirsty, endured pain, wept and suffered the injuries of the body; ultimately was crucified by the Jews, and buried, rose again the third day; spoke afterwards with His disciples, and the day of quadragesimo, after the resurrection ascended to heaven. This Son of Man also called Himself Son of God, and the Son of God also called Himself God, Son of Man. We believe in the future resurrection of human flesh, and maintain that the soul of man is not a divine substance, or part of God, but a creature formed by divine will.”

Among the singular subjects of excommunication of this Toledan Council are three worthy of notice: Vegetarians are excommunicated, it being decided by the Fathers that birds and beasts were intended to be eaten by man. Mathematicians are excommunicated, unfortunately we are not told why. Those who execrate marriage are excommunicated. Surely this last{25} sentence is inconsistent with the Fathers’ professed execration of the “frail sex”!

But the triumphs and severities of the Fathers were soon interrupted by the invasion of the terrible north barbarians. The Goths were pouring across the Pyrenees, soon to make Toledo their capital and “Royal city.” Fire, ruin, pillage, and death, Lafuente describes as the traces of their path. Fields, orchards, cities, and woods were swept by their ferocity. The horrors of famine and pest succeeded, calamity stalked the earth, and the Toledan sages sat and talked in the desert. The Vandals were already in the beautiful southern province of Betica, which they called Vandalusia. Rome had fallen, and the conquering Visigoth, unsettled in the north since Ataulfo’s assassination at Barcelona, turned his eyes upon the strong-walled city perched up above on its seven rocks. Toledo had successfully resisted the Vandals; it succumbed to the Goths, and Euric took it by force. She was momentarily extinguished after her first little hour of sacerdotal pride and power. Euric died at Arles, and the Gothic Court for a time drifted to Sevilla. But a brighter day dawned when Atanagildo was elected king. Married to Gosuinda, the bishop of Toledo’s sister, he had formed a liking for the place, and brought hither the Court, making Toledo the capital of his kingdom.{26}


The Gothic Kings of Toledo

HERE may be said to begin the real history of Toledo, from this until the fatal battle of Guadalete, the capital of Spain, since it was the heart of Gothic rule. The backward pages of its story are blurred and insignificant, judged by their traces, though we may imagine, if it were possible to build up the effaced picture of Toledo under Roman power, we should find a very superior civilisation. Instead of a flourishing Roman colony, Atanagildo’s choice of this “strong place” was merely the establishment of a rough barbaric camp. It is doubtful if, until Wamba’s time, the Goths had the art of profiting by such heritage as the decadent vanquished had left them. As a race they inspire even less interest than their brethren east and north.

Family love was no strong element in the development of the Royal House, as the quaintly heartless story of San Hermengildo proves. Leovigildo was reigning then, and he, an Arian, committed the imprudence of marrying his eldest son, Hermengildo, to a French Goth, Ingundus, the niece of Saint Leander of Seville. With such powerful interests on the side of Rome, it is not surprising that the Arian prince speedily abjured his heresy, to the anger and dismay of his father. Unfortunately, his conversion did not imply the practice of any of the Christian virtues. Religion accomplishes the very thing we should have thought its mission to{27} forbid: it arms the son against his father. The two sects, oddly enough representing the doctrine of peace and goodwill on earth, meet outside the walls of Seville in armed encounter. Hitherto the spectacle had been war and persecution and their attendant horrors on the side of Pagan against the noble and martyred Christian. From this we were to learn that Christian versus Christian could show quite as pretty a figure in atrocities as ever the persecuting worshipper of the gods. Here we have an infuriated father and a rebellious son ready to cut one another’s throat, and of the two it can hardly be said that the Catholic saint shows to better advantage. Indeed, in their correspondence both reason and dignity are on the side of Leovigildo, who writes to his son: “I associated you with my power from earliest years, not that you should arm strangers against me. Thou dost blunt thy conscience, and cover thyself with the veil of religion,” he acutely adds, while Hermengildo’s reply is an inflated and pragmatical attack on the baseness of his father’s creed and the superiority of his own.[3]

Hermengildo is beaten, his forces scattered, and thanks to the intercession of his brother, Recaredo, instead of the expected death sentence, his father sentences him to exile at Valencia. As a Christian, a martyr, and a canonised saint, Hermengildo presents an original figure. Even the harsh wisdom of Moses condemns him, and the worst Pagan would hardly condone his unprovoked assault on his father, by way of converting him to a belief in Christ’s divinity; while instead of quietly enduring the consequences of his abortive rebellion and his inappropriate expression of faith, he went about the coast, begging the assistance of the Greeks in another attempt to proselytise by the sword, and seize his father’s throne by the same stroke. The{28} Spanish historians, to whom this method of conversion is particularly sympathetic and of unquestionable logic, disregard the side question of revolt, and delight in weighing upon Hermengildo’s lofty efforts in behalf of truth. His object they accept as the laudable extirpation of error. Indifferent to his natural relations to the king he desired to dethrone, Gamero says: “Perhaps, like Alaric, within his breast, a secret voice had commanded him to go forth and destroy the power of Arianism in Spain; to establish upon the ruins of paganism and false sects the immortal throne where the god of Sabahot is worshipped, and on which shines with eternal splendour the immaculate purity of Mary.” And so he complacently follows the unfilial prince on his bellicose mission through Estremadura, now occupying Merida, again attempting to take Seville and his former court, seeking support in France with the hope of arming his brother-in-law, Sigeric, against his father. All Gamero laments is his unsuccess. The Arian father did precisely what Hermengildo would have done in his place; he seized his son, flung him into a dungeon, first at Toledo, then at Tarragona, where he was beheaded after stoutly refusing to accept communion from the hands of an Arian bishop. His form of refusal is proudly recorded by St Gregory of Tours as an admirable one: “As a minister of the devil, only to hell couldst thou guide me. Away and go, coward, to the punishment prepared for thee, and which thou deservest.” We hardly detect the influence of Christian mildness and sweetness in this address. However, all saints cannot resemble St Francis of Assisi, and even St Fernando of Castille boiled his enemies alive in great pots of water over huge fires. This is Gamero’s admiring epitaph: “Thus on the 13th April, 584, ended with glorious martyrdom the life of this hero of the Spanish Church, whose blood effaced any faults as{29} a man he may have committed, and was a perennial source of happiness and fortune to our country.”

Morality is, after all, like criticism, only a matter of existing convention and national temperament. Believe the right thing, and one’s vices are a matter of small account. In the mediæval times, with a proper amount of faith, one might with impunity, boil one’s enemies or roast them before a fire, and be duly canonised and offered to posterity as a saint and a just man. But be as virtuous and as austere as Marcus Aurelius, believing the wrong thing, and the orthodox historian will manage to be blind to your virtues, and offer you for public contumely. So we have a legend of sanctity centred round this extremely unedifying prince, who took up arms against a father not convicted of any particular injustice or enormity, plotted with France to dethrone him, and after an unnatural career, died furious and unresigned, breathing curses upon his enemies. Behold him one of the glories of that curious medley of Pagan qualities and unchristian vices, Mediæval Catholicism. The historians will not even permit the poor father to grieve and regret his own harshness in peace. His sorrow and remorse are not accepted as the natural sentiments of a man whom a just anger had carried beyond the endurance of nature. We are forced to regard them as the tardy recognition of his own iniquity and error. We are told in triumph that the monarch died weeping and repentant in the arms of St Leander of Seville, the friend and uncle by marriage of his exiled son. Could anything be more natural than this touching and piteous picture of an old man, doubtful of himself, turning in his grief to the one great friend of his son? The action in its simple humanity is worth all the grandiloquent insolence of the saint and martyr Leovigildo mourned, in whose story virtue and sanctity are equally unevident.{30}

Recaredo, his son and successor, solemnly abjured Arianism before the third Toledan Council, as the inscription on his statue outside the Alcázar records. We may imagine this unhappy son and brother weary for the moment of bloodshed and strife, and anxious to put an end to dissension in his kingdom. It would suffice to explain the wise and eloquent speech he addressed to his subjects, exhorting all to be of one faith, to enter the bosom of the Church, and accept its dogmas as he had done. His speech must have been miraculously persuasive, and his influence over his people almost magnetic, since nearly all to a man yielded to the earnest prayer of a tired and suffering heart, and consented to make his religion theirs. And thus it might be hoped, after the terrible domestic tragedy Recaredo had been obliged to witness, powerless to prevent it, the reign of violence, persecution, and discord was over, and the religious power of Toledo permanently established upon tolerant lines. But this was to count without the spirit of the times. After the first shock of misery and bereavement had passed, the turbulent sense of revolt on one side, and determination to crush it on the other, broke out in all its malignant force. The Arian bishops, goaded on by Leovigildo’s widow, hurled their vote of resistance to the establishment of Roman influence. Here we have another instance of the charming inconsistency of the prolix Spanish historians. Leovigildo was nothing less than a monster, because he punished conspiracy and rebellion, and his Catholic son, condemned justly by the laws of the day to death, was a haloed martyr. Recaredo remains a just and magnanimous sovereign when he cuts off the heads and hands of the Arian conspirators; and the premature death of the queen dowager, Gosvintha, is deeply lamented, because her step-son was thus deprived of the duty of cutting off{31} her rebellious head. Why was she less of a saint, one asks, than Hermengildo? She, too, rebelled on behalf of principle, and surely a step-son is a more natural antagonist in the field than a father! But for the historian conspiracy against a legitimate heretical sovereign may be an article of faith and duty, whereas the heretic who conspires against the monarch of the right faith is a fiend. It is this hopeless lack of logic and sense that renders so dreary and unillumined a task the reading of Spanish history. The humorists, alas! wrote dramas and novels, and history was left to the terrible Mariana, the credulous Masdeu, and the one-sided Gamero.

At the next Toledan Council, Recaredo presided in all pomp, accompanied by his queen, Baddo. The sovereigns first, then all the converted Arians, bishops, priests, deacons, and lords and leaders, read aloud this act of allegiance to Rome. Recaredo was the first to swear: “I, Recaredo, King, maintaining with my heart, and affirming with my word, this true and holy confession, which alone the Catholic Church professes all over the globe, have subscribed with my right hand, God protecting me.” Baddo, his wife, then swore: “I, Baddo, glorious queen, have subscribed with my hand and all my heart to that faith I believe in and have admitted.” Followed the oath of each bishop and priest; and then came the turn of the nobles. Imagination readily enough evokes the scene from such dry details, and pictures one of exceptional solemnity, with a touch of barbarism, beginning to borrow undreamed of luxury from a departed civilisation, without taste or tact to render that luxury beautiful. We have only to visit the Musée de Cluny to form some notion of Gothic gold-work by inspection of the Gothic votive crowns discovered in Toledo, and it is easy to picture this rough humanity, from monarch to knight, in their flowing cloaks, grave, impressed, all in{32} deadly earnest, and the mitred and mighty prelates forming an inner circle, in gold and silvered embroideries, bejewelled, and full of glory and contentment. The importance of the nobles we gather from a list of Gothic dignitaries. First came the dukes, counts, palatines of the royal house. Then came the first count, the count of the drinking-cup, Escansias; the chamberlain, Count Cubiculario; the chief groom, Count Estabulario; then the major domos, counts of the patrimony, the counters-in-chief, Count Numerario, the count of the viands, Count Silonario; knight of the youths, Count of the Espartarios, captain of the guard; Count of the Sagrarios, keeper of sacred things; Count of the Sargentarios, keeper of the treasure. The grandees or ricos hombres were governors of the territories and kingdoms.

St Isidor has painted Recaredo as a model of all the Christian virtues, which is decidedly excessive praise in the face of such accentuated vices against the mild sublimity of that scarce practised creed as an inflexible spirit of vengeance and cruelty, and a bigotry in his new religion as hard and determined as that of his Arian fathers, once the early lesson in adversity had been learnt and forgotten. However, in spite of defects rather belonging to his barbarous times, few natures being able to resist the forces of environment and general feeling, than to the man himself perhaps, he remains unquestionably one of the wisest and strongest of Gothic kings, and his personality is all the more marked by contrast with that of his feeble son, Luiva II., who was dethroned by Viterico, a senseless usurper, shortly afterwards assassinated at table by his own servants and cast into the street, where the infuriated populace seized the corpse and dragged it up and down the hilly streets and lanes of Toledo, eventually flinging it into a filthy hole as unfit for decent burial.{33}

Gundmar’s short reign furnished no reason to doubt his well-meaning intentions. He quelled a rising among the Vasco Navarrese and the Imperial troops, and convened a council at Toledo to decide in the town’s favour against the sacerdotal pretensions of Carthagena. But his successor is a figure worth noting, and in his reign takes place the first of those unfortunate outbreaks against the Jews, for which dismantled and impoverished Spain still pays so heavy a price. Before the Moors came, Toledo’s source of prosperity and wealth sprang from her Hebrew colony, and the anti-Semitic movement, started by Sisebuth, had probably no other object than the barbarians’ desire to appropriate Jewish gold. Sisebuth himself is spoken of in history as the father of the poor, and is extolled for his compassionate heart and his liberality. His horror of suffering and blood was so great that he sent his own doctors to tend the stricken enemy when he was compelled to go to war, and paid out of his own purse to his soldiers the ransom of their captives. Servitude and blood-shedding were equally abhorrent to him. The annalist Frêdégaire tells of him, as an example of exquisite sensibility in those rude times, which would be no less rare in our own, that in the thick of battle with the Imperial army, seeing the Greek soldiers fall in numbers under the savage blow of his men, he rushed into their midst, shouting: “Woe to me whose reign should see the flowing of so much human blood,” and frantically drove away his soldiers from the wounded Byzantines. The pity was such excellent sentiments were not cultivated on behalf of the Jews. Having twice defeated the Byzantine army, Cesario only procured a treaty of peace on condition the Jews were expelled from Spain. And in 616, Sisebuth published his famous edict against the children of Israel, offering them the harsh alternative,{34} within the year, of professing the Christian faith, and accepting baptism, or being publicly flogged a hundred whip-strokes, shaven and shorn, robbed of their goods, and expelled from the kingdom. One hardly understands why the shaving and flogging should have been ordered, since appropriation and expulsion ought to have sufficed. Even the Fathers of the Church had the grace to protest against the needless inhumanity of this edict, though the Toledan bishops in a council upheld it. Yet history accepts him as a mild and upright judge, a magnificent prince, a valiant and humane captain, the friend of the poor, the protector of letters. He himself dabbled in literature, wrote in the swollen and exaggerated Gothic manner, composed several earnest and dogmatic letters in refutation of Arianism, which he addressed to the King and Queen of Lombardy, severely reprimanded Bishop Eusebius for the disorders of his existence, and commanded Bishop Caecilius to return to his diocese, which he had forsaken for the monastery. Clearly a monarch not to be trifled with even by the bishops, whom he kept in check, and whose public and private life he insisted on regulating. He conquered the Asturians and the Vascons, and overthrew the Byzantine power in Spain, seizing most of the Imperial towns and weakening the Imperial forces at Cadiz. At home he built the church of St Leocadia.

But of the growth of the town we learn little. Literature in those days was more moral than descriptive, and the Gothic kings of Toledo, when not fighting the Byzantines and Vascons, seem chiefly to have been engaged in discovering elegant flowers of speech, and cultivating the very finest obscurity of expression. Suinthila, looking from the seven rocky hills of his martial town, could tell himself that the kings of Toledo ruled from Cadiz to the Pyrenees,{35} from Atlantic to Mediterranean shores, while Chindasvinthe, in his semi-Roman palace, looked peacefully across the vega and along those foliaged banks of the quiet Tagus that had beguiled Pyrrhus and his mate from the East, and recreated himself with the art of letters. St Eugenius and St Braulion of Zaragoza were the honoured recipients of his royal epistles, in which he writes of “an eloquence adorned with the most flowery words and girdled with all the harmonies of fine language,” and plunging further into unlucid intricacies hymns an “eloquence suggesting a royal clemency, an observation wherein shines the zeal displayed in the travail of literary composition.” When he led his troops to battle, it is to be hoped that his military addresses to them revealed less fearfully the travail of literary composition. Surely the harmonies of fine language so admired by him were never more inappropriately “girdled” against the encroachments of ordinary sense. He speaks of someone “who will not succumb from a need of understanding” and “who is not meagre through poverty of spirit.” His successor, Recesvinthus, displayed the same Gothic tendencies and rhymed in the highest obscurity, in proof of the “fatness” of his wisdom, which verses he dedicated to the grateful Fathers of the VIIth Council, who being Gothic, probably understood and relished them. But Recesvinthus deserves the recognition of bibliophiles, for he had a passion for collecting old manuscripts, and was extremely particular about their authenticity and corrections. He too persecuted the Jews, and his morals were doubtful.

The most famous archbishop of Toledo under Gothic rule was San Ildephonso. His parents, Stephen and Lucy, were noble Goths of almost royal blood, distantly related to the King Atanagildo. Ildephonso was educated by his uncle, St Eugenius III. At an{36} early age he developed a passion for learning, and was sent to Seville to the care of the famous Doctor St Isidor. It would be astonishing if breathing so much sanctified air the young Ildephonso did not become himself a saint, or the reverse. His saintly master grew so attached to his pupil that when Ildephonso expressed a wish to return to his parents at Toledo, St Isidor locked him up. After a considerable while he yielded to his disciple’s prayer, and allowed him to depart. The youth, after a short stay at his father’s house, left it for the monastery of Agalia outside Toledo. Stephen flew into a violent rage upon the discovery, and attacked the monastery with armed followers. The monks hid the lad, while Stephen and his band searched the building from roof to cellars, and departed swearing profusely. His mother was more reasonable, and besought St Eugenius to intervene and obtain her son’s permission to follow his vocation. Shortly before his death, St Eladio consecrated him and gave him holy orders (632). He was first abbot of the monastery of St Cosmos and St Damian, and on the death of Adeodato, became abbot of the monastery of Agalia where he had received orders. Inheriting from his parents, he devoted the inheritance to the foundation of a convent for nuns, and on his uncle’s death, 659, he was raised to the vacant archbishopric of Toledo. Heretics began to discuss the perpetual virginity of Our Lady, and Ildephonso wrote his first notable book, De Virginitate perpetua Sanctae Mariae adversus tres infideles, the three infidels being Elvidio, Theudio, and Eladio, natives of Narbonne. The saint’s triumph in polemics was immediate, and the infidels were pronounced as completely crushed. The whole court followed the King and the Archbishop to the church of Saint Leocadia to give loud thanks. Kneeling at the saint’s tomb, suddenly a group of angels appeared{37} through clouds and sweet scents; the clouds fainting, the young martyr was revealed in the midst of the group, and smiling graciously upon Ildephonso, said, Ildephonse per te vivit domina mea. The astounded archbishop, rapidly recovering his bewilderment, held out his hand to grasp the saint’s veil, and the King Recesvinthus, kneeling beside him, passed him his knife, with which Ildephonso cut off a piece of the veil, which, together with the knife, is now kept among the Cathedral treasures. The mass of St Leocadia, composed by the archbishop, was then solemnly sung, and this was the first inauguration of a feast since adopted by the Church of Rome, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Thanks from heaven did not rest with Mary’s messenger, St Leocadia. Nine days after entering the church to recite matins, the archbishop saw a strange flame upon the wall. Approaching, he discovered the queen of heaven seated on his own marble chair enveloped in heavenly radiance, who thus addressed him: Propera, serva dei charissime, in occursum, et accipe munusculum de manu mea, quod de thesausus filii sevi attuli. The present she brought him from heaven was a splendid chasuble wrought by angels, in which the Virgin with her own hands vested him, while the celestial choir chanted around him. The vision faded in a faint smoke, and only the perfumes and the vague echo of remote music remained, while St Ildephonso lay prostrate in ecstasy, kissing the spot the Virgin’s feet had touched, ubi steterum pedes ejus. He was found in this attitude by the clergy and multitudes, and his fame, owing to this second miracle, spread far and wide, till Rome dispatched two legates to inquire into the legend. Thus it was that the Pope and the King of Spain came to be canons of the Cathedral of Toledo, which took precedence of all others in the land. In a few weeks{38} St Ildephonso returned the Virgin’s visit in heaven, and he was buried in all pomp beside the patron of the city, St Leocadia.

But of all these Gothic sovereigns, the most important for Toledo was Wamba, the only one now gloriously remembered. Wamba it was who built the great walls, traces of which to-day remain. Most of the Gothic inscriptions were in honour of Wamba, though these have nearly all disappeared. His defaced statue it is that greets you welcome to his ancient citadel and capital. One of these vanished inscriptions is preserved in the Chronique rimée des rois de Tolède by the anonymous writers of Cordova.[4] It was traced on Wamba’s famous walls: Erexit factore Deo rex inclitus urbem, Wamba suæ celebrem protendedens, gentis honorem. Vos sancti domini, quorum hic præsentia fulget. Hunc urbem et golebem solito salvate favore.

For the Toledans, Wamba remains a personage of fabulous virtue and merit. We first meet him at the funeral of Recesvinthus, when by general election he was proclaimed king. He was an old warrior, neither ambitious nor over-confident, it would appear, and he humbly declined an honour he did not feel fitted to accept. So frantic was the sense of disappointment that a duke walked up to him angrily and threatened to kill him on the spot if he persisted in his refusal, and confronted with a crown and a formidable Toledan blade, the humblest sage that ever drew breath would naturally choose the crown. Wamba bowed to spontaneous choice, and made his triumphal entry into the capital, Sep. 20, 672, nineteen days after his compulsory acceptance of the throne. It was no easy seat, and all his prowess, his undoubted genius and his popularity could not keep him thereon unmolested, though Bishop Quiricus had anointed him amid universal{39} rejoicings. Lope de Vega assumes that this really remarkable man was of peasant origin, but later historians agree that he was of good blood, a much more likely fact, as the barbarous Goths were sticklers for aristocratic prestige, and the law kept very distinct the nobiles and the vilidies. However virtuous the man of obscure origin might be, it is doubtful if a fierce Gothic duke would have threatened to murder him if he declined so stupendous an honour as the right of ruling that duke and his fellow-nobles.

The start of Wamba’s brief but glorious reign was marked by treachery and revolt. His general, of Greek origin, Count Paul, in conspiracy with the Count of Nîmes and the Bishop of Maguelonne, rose against him in Narbonese Gaul. Wamba was then fighting the eternal Vascon, the hereditary enemy of the Kings of Toledo, but he left the Basque country and marched into Gaul, capturing the Pyrenean fortresses, attacking Narbonne by land and sea, and seizing Béziers, Agde, Maguelonne, and then he fell upon Nîmes. Never were French prisoners treated with greater courtesy and consideration. Not only did he free them but sent them off with splendid gifts. For Count Paul alone was he adamantine. He condemned the rebel to walk barefooted between two dukes on horseback, who led him in leash by the hair of his Greek head through the Gothic ranks at Nîmes. Then Wamba on horseback coldly surveyed the ignoble procession, while poor Paul was forced to prostrate himself before his outraged master. In public the King rebuked him, and then we are sorry to record of so great a man, publicly kicked him and ordered his head to be shaved. The shaving and the kick might fittingly have been suppressed with dignity added to the picture of stern Wamba on horseback.{40} To see his enemy grovelling at his feet ought to have contented even a Goth. But no. When Wamba made his triumphal entry into Toledo, the unfortunate Paul and his accomplices walked behind—shaven, forlorn, barefooted, robed in camel’s hair, and instead of graceful, superfluous locks, Paul wore a mock crown of laurel. He was not without a certain grim humour King Wamba, you perceive, and one would like to have seen his Gothic visage as his glance fell upon the laurel crown. Not benignant of a surety, possibly sardonic.

But it is not in connection with Count Paul that Wamba’s name reaches us to-day and like that of the fatal Rodrigo, is permanently attached to Toledo. Forgotten the long list of Gothic sovereigns, forgotten the councils they presided over, the battles they lost and won, their achievements, follies and virtues, their epistolary flowers of speech and decrees. Only Wamba and Rodrigo remain, one a historic fact, the other vaguely and unveraciously defined through legend and romance. As I have said, coming up from the station, the traveller is greeted upon the dusty curving road by the noseless statue of King Wamba, who built upon the Roman remains a magnificent wall round the city, raised ramparts, towers, and chapels, and for eight years was the untiring benefactor of the city and the people, till treachery rewarded his splendid services by deposition in the hour of illness and condemned him to claustral reclusion.

In his days, the Bridge of Alcántara still existed with its marvellous Roman arch, one of the most finished and graceful Roman monuments of Spain. For the Goths had the virtue not to destroy any of the Roman remains, though they were incapable of profiting by what they found. They it was who, at Wamba’s orders, built the walls and palaces of Toledo, and gave{41}





the city its definite note of architecture, a note the Moors were careful not to efface, all in adding their own ineffaceable stamp, for the Moors were great artists and had the secret of utilising what they influenced. If the Spanish Goths began by modelling their architecture on the Roman remains in their capacity of imitators and not inventors, the Moors, inventors and assimilators, forced the Goths to modify their style by the famous mudejar order. Violence must be a rudimentary instinct of humanity, since the milder and less florid mudejar remains a single feature in Spanish architecture, while the rough Goths have the secret of impressing their individuality on all the entire Peninsula, and so with their flowers of speech, vapid, empty, and void of sincerity which to this day have entered the language of the country, unaltered by the march of centuries, ornate and unintelligent, untouched by modern civilisation, of which the Spaniards take no heed. The ruins of this dead Gothic art are best studied at Toledo. Here you have it purest, the fourth century style with its coarse and pointed leafage, its laboured workmanship, its ornamentation, symbols, and figurative caprices, then so new and bold, and which are never repeated in the Arabic or Byzantine architecture later.

Fragments of this art of Wamba’s days may be seen in the ruined church of San Genes, in the bath of the Cava, never a bath, where never the legendary Florinda bathed, and in the wall of a house in the calle Lechuga, as well as in the façade of the Bridge of Alcántara. In the beginning of Gothic rule it was chiefly architecture that flourished, but Wamba’s immediate predecessors, we have seen, preferred literature and libraries, cultivated poetry, the epistolary art, and such research as the obscure times afforded, which they called science, and founded colleges.{44} Their costume was half Roman, since they borrowed what they knew of civilisation from the Romans. They wore silk embroidered cloaks, let their hair grow long, like their Merovingian brethren, to mark their superiority to the short-cropped Celt-Iberians they had conquered; the women wore costly habits and splendid jewels, and all the nobles drank from golden cups and washed in silver basins. The value and beauty of their goldsmiths’ work are abundantly testified by the nine great votive crowns in the Musée de Cluny, where the famous treasure of Guarrazar is preserved. These magnificent gold crowns of the seventh century were discovered near Toledo in 1858 by a French officer who owned the property La Fuente de Guarrazar where these historic crowns were buried. They were probably buried at the time of Tarik’s invasion, and remained nearly eight centuries underground. The most important, as well as the largest and most beautiful, is the crown which bears the inscription in letters of gold cloisonné and incrusted, Reccesvinthus Rex offeret. To show the value of the workmanship of this crown, I cannot do better than quote here in full its official description in the catalogue of the Musée Cluny by M. du Sommerard: “King Recesvinthus’ crown is composed of a large and massive golden band. It opens with a double hinge, and is richly framed by two borders of gold cloisonné, and incrusted with red Carian stones, those which Anastasius calls gemmis alabandinsis, and in relief has thirty Oriental sapphires of the greatest beauty set in golden borders, mostly of considerable dimension. Thirty-five pearls of a no less notable size alternate with the sapphires on a golden ground incrusted with the same stones, and twenty-four little gold chains, starting from the lower circle of the crown, suspend{45} large letters in gold cloisonné and incrusted, whose disposition form the words:

Reccesvinthus Rex Offeret.

Each of these letters ends with a pendant of gold and fine pearls holding a pear of rose sapphire. The king’s crown is suspended by a quadruple chain of beautiful workmanship which attaches it to a double gem of massive gold enriched with twelve pendants in sapphire, and this gem, whose branches are open, is surmounted by a capital in rock-crystal, finely wrought; then comes a ball of the same material, and then a golden stem which forms the starting point of the suspension.

The cross which occupies the centre of the crown and is attached to the gem by a long golden chain, is not less remarkable for its elegance of form and richness of material. It is in massive gold relieved by six lovely sapphires and eight big fine pearls, each jewel is set in relief in open claws, and behind is still the fibula that hooked it to the royal mantle.

The diadem is of plain gold within, but the exterior, which the sapphires and fine pearls set in relief ornament, has another particular decoration, which consists in a set of palm leaves in open cutting whose leaves are filled with blades of the same red material which looks like cornelian stone at first sight, of which we have already spoken.

The sapphires which decorate the band, and whose setting is largely treated, are, we have said, thirty, all of the finest water, and many of them show traces of a natural crystallisation by facets; the two principal ones, which are placed in the centre of each face, are not in diameter less than thirty millimetres. The pearls are also of an exceptional size, and only a few have been affected by time. The suspension chains{46} are composed each of five fine gems cut in open work, and the stem that supports the whole is of massive gold.

The number of sapphires that ornament this crown, the cross and the gem are not less than seventy, of which thirty are of matchless size, the pearls the same. The pendants which terminate the letters of the diadem are, as well, decorated with enamel enchased in golden borders.

So much to prove that the charge of luxury against the Toledan Goths is not unfounded. A people so enamoured of gold and jewels and embroidered silks as they at this time were, would naturally be disposed to forget the rude lessons of war and camp. Wamba had improved their town and made it a fair and comfortable place to dwell in, and the barbarians without the gates were quieted now by frequent defeat. And so, the wise and virtuous Wamba once deposed by trickery and smuggled off the throne in a cataleptic fit, garbed in the monk’s gown of renouncement, the period of Gothic decadence set in. Its day of triumph and ordered rule had been a brief if brilliant one, and it had by patient effort evolved its own rude and unstable civilisation out of rough-shod conquest. From Ataulfo and his horde of barbarians, pouring, famished and athirst, across the Pyrenees, to lettered Recesvinthus and austere Wamba, who would make an effective figure even in our own times, the range in humanity is long, the dividing sea is wide and deep. But if swift had been the triumph, swifter still and more inexplicable was the decline. A more unhappy and reckless descent to oblivion history does not record. Towards the end of the seventh century, the glory of Toledo had so sensibly diminished that a haze lies upon its subsequent history to the lurid fame of the doomed day of Guadalete. We hear dimly{47} of deplorable vices, of a demoralised clergy, of effaced and degraded sovereigns, of a people given up to every shameful pleasure and wrapped in effeminacy and indolence.

The private story of King Egica is a curious and an unedifying one, told at length by Lozana in his Reyes Nuevos and by the Conde de Mora in his History of Toledo. Egica fell violently in love with his niece, Doña Luz, who, on her side, loved more passionately than wisely her other uncle, Don Favila. Favila seems a disreputable enough fellow, since he took the last advantage of his niece’s passion, and left her to face the most atrocious troubles that might have ceased by manly behaviour on his part. It is one of those complicated and incomprehensible episodes in history that leave us aghast. Favila is elsewhere supposed to have murdered his brother by a blow on the head for the sake of that brother’s wife. At any-rate he pursued Doña Luz and, as Lozana naïvely asserts, with her permission entered her bedroom one night, and there kneeling before the statue of the Virgin (exquisite absence of all sense of the ludicrous revealed even in modern Spanish plays where the same sort of thing happens), they proclaim themselves man and wife with the usual results. In a little while the watchful and suspicious king perceives that his niece, Doña Luz, is enceinte. The lady understands her own and the coming infant’s danger, so she has an ark made, and after a secret delivery, places the infant in it like another Moses, with quantities of linen, jewellery and money, and her women float it down the Tagus, where, by a miracle, it is found by her uncle, Grafeses, who lives at Alcántara. Not knowing whose is the child, Grafeses takes it home. At Toledo the king suspects what has happened, but can find out nothing definite, so, still true to biblical tradition, he decides{48} to tackle the new-born infants. He sends for a list of all the children born in and without Toledo during the past three months, with the name of each father, hoping thus to discover an unfathered babe with which to charge Doña Luz. The number of babies born during the three months in the city of Toledo reached 10,428, and in the suburbs surpassed 25,000. What a different story from that of to-day! One wonders where there was room for the immense population of olden times. Alas for the vindictive king! All the babies had authentic fathers and mothers, and there was no reaching Doña Luz by this device. There remained another and less primitive vengeance. He ordered one of his gentlemen, Melias, to attack her publicly as “a lost woman.” Because she refused to become his mistress, and became somebody else’s (his brother’s), he decided she should be burnt for impurity. Excellent logic of man! On Doña Luz’s first appearance at Court Melias charged her with impropriety, and the king fiercely ordered her to reply to the accusation. “My Lord,” said Luz, with much dignity, “how would you have me reply to such a charge? God knows, and you, my lord, see that I cannot give him the reply he merits, since he is a cavalier and yet accuses me, a woman, of evil.” The king, base churl, not touched by this admirable reply, mockingly assures her that he is uncertain whether to address her as dame or maid, and defies her to find a defender, having previously forbidden his courtiers to take up her cause. At all times the picture of a disappointed lover vindictively pursuing the woman who has refused to listen to him is particularly hideous, but never more than here, where the insulted lady is so noble and patient and he such a ruffian. Without a defender, he adds, she is destined to burn for her lack of chastity. She asks for a delay, and this is surlily granted. Just{49} as the fire is being prepared for the unfortunate Doña Luz, Don Favila arrives from the Asturias. It is not made clear to us why he did not remain and provoke a duel with Melias at once, but the historians unctuously assure us that he kissed his wife (in the eyes of God) wept over her, told her to hold her soul in patience, and returned to the Asturias in search of money. The delay must have been unendurably long, and one wonders at Egica’s unnatural command of temper, when even now, as I, alas! too well know, it takes a long time, even with the aid of steam, to get from Toledo to the Asturias. In hot haste, however, Don Favila returned to Toledo, challenged Melias, and all the court assembled in the Vega beneath the archbishop’s palace, to watch the fight. Doña Luz remained in her chamber, full of sorrow and fear for Favila. The king ordered the Duke of Cabra and Count of Merida with three hundred cavaliers to guard the Vega, and, under pain of death, prevent anyone from assisting the combatants. His fierce desire, not even concealed, was that Favila should be killed, and Doña Luz thus placed more utterly at his mercy. The knights met with a terrible shock of steel, so that both were unhorsed and nearly killed. This report reached Doña Luz and prostrated her. She hurried out to see for herself; and Favila, recovered from his faint, looked up and gave her a glance of reassurance and love. He was only dizzy as was proved by his alert spring to his feet and quick rush upon his lady’s enemy, through whose slanderous mouth he thrust his sword inflicting thus a death wound. He coolly drew out his sword, wiped it, and advancing to the royal seat, he bowed before the king and queen, and haughtily hoped that Doña Luz’s reputation now was cleared. Not satisfied, Egica sent another knight, Bristes, (what unutterable cads those Gothic knights were!), to challenge the{50} lady’s innocence, and Bristes went gaily forth on his base sovereign’s behalf to meet Favila to whom he shouted: “I will kill you and have Doña Luz burnt.” Favila wisely replied: “deeds not words weigh” and ran his sword through the braggart’s body. Much to his grief and disappointment Egica was forced to admit the lady’s vindication, but demanded her lover’s sword, which provoked a fresh onslaught. Grafeses stayed the clash of steel by coming to court to learn the meaning of all these wild doings, and, on passing through his niece’s room, on his way to the queen’s chamber, recognised a handkerchief which resembled those folded round the infant of the ark he had picked up on the banks of the Tagus at Alcantara. Questioning his niece, he discovered the nature of her relations with Favila, and instantly insisted on their marriage. The king was still bent on another duel, and sent Longaris to fight Favila about the sword, when a hermit comes to court and, in the name of heaven, stops the duel by revealing, as a divine message from above, the secret loves of Doña Luz and Don Favila. Both the cavaliers were wounded, and Doña Luz flung herself on her knees before the king and begged for mercy for her lover. After long hesitation, impelled by the hermit’s command from heaven to accept the inevitable, Egica gives in, signals the end of the third duel against Doña Luz’s happiness, and permits, gracelessly of course, after Favila’s recovery, his public marriage with the thrice unfortunate Doña Luz. He and the queen were witnesses, and Grafeses, a kind of deus ex machina, proclaimed the infante Childe Pelayo, the future hero and victor of Covadonga. Egica’s other feat was to persecute anew the Jews for an imaginary conspiracy to convert Spain into a Hebrew kingdom. He pronounced them slaves, took their children from them, and forebade them to intermarry.{51}

Two figures stand out in this prolonged and monotonous legend in exaggerated, it may even be said, in false relief. Witiza and Rodrigo are charged with the ruin of the Toledan kingdom. No less than four archbishops, in no moderate language, have recorded the tale of Witiza’s iniquities, Sebastian of Salamanca, Isidor Pacense, Lucas of Tuy, and Rodrigo of Toledo. None of these writers were contemporaries of Witiza, and they wrote in days when research was nigh impossible, and when we may doubt if a premium was put upon accuracy. How much even of our own history is a matter of hearsay? and does there exist a man so fortressed by virtue as to live without the range of slander if he be so unfortunate as to excite enmity or jealousy; above all, if he tread on the susceptible toes of prejudice? This is what Witiza precisely did. And the prejudice he wounded was ecclesiastical, and ecclesiastical rancour we know at all times has proved the bitterest man can provoke.

But we also find the notable figure of the Archbishop of Toledo, Julian, a fluent and accomplished writer, and a saint. The anonymous chronicler of Cordova tells us that his origin was Jewish, a fact suppressed by the anti-semitical Spanish historians. He succeeded Quiricus and wrote the history of Wamba’s reign, all in proving himself a model pastor. His accomplishments were varied. He was a historian, an orator, theologian, polemist, poet, and musician. So much genius and sanctity in a Goth was little short of an impertinence. The list of his writings is vast, but only a few remain. Some are in Greek, most are in Latin, and their matter is hardly of general interest. He wrote the Apology of Real Faith in reply to the heresies of Apollinarius, and sent it to Pope Leo II. It reached Rome after the pope’s death. The succeeding pope,{52} Benedict, replied to it, and two years later the reply reached the Archbishop of Toledo. It provoked a learned treatise to prove that the writer was in accord with Isidor of Seville, Fulgence, Ambrose, Augustine and Cyril of Alexandria. Three ecclesiastics were dispatched with the precious document, and it took them fourteen months to reach Rome. Meanwhile three other popes had succeeded Benedict, and the fourth called a council to consider the matter. All Spain hung on the decision; the king was worried and alarmed, not knowing if he should regard his erudite archbishop as a heretic or one of the faithful. At last the messengers from Rome arrived, bringing praise and admiration from a pope to whom the document had not been addressed, while between him and Leo, the original disputer of Julian’s orthodoxy, four popes placidly lay in their tombs. Julian died three years after this triumph, having ruled during ten brilliant years of primacy, 690, and was buried with St Ildefonso in the church of St Leocadia.

This is the incongruous legend of Witiza. During his father’s life-time, he ruled at Tuy in Galicia, and proved himself pious, mild, just and generous. His morals were unimpeachable, and while humane to all, he was indulgent to his personal enemies, and freely granted pardon and favours to malcontents. Such a man seems a fitter subject for canonisation than San Hermengildo. Then this excellent monarch, in middle life, with character and habits formed, comes down to Toledo, and without rhyme or reason, we hear of him suddenly as a blind and bloody-minded scoundrel. From sage and saint he turns into an historic ogre, not content with libertinage in himself but constraining his subjects to follow his example, and for sheer viciousness’ sake, commanding an austere and chaste clergy to marry. No villany, no crime seems{53} too base and preposterous for the archbishops to lay to his account. For the benevolence of Tuy we have rank injustice, for the mildness envenomed cruelty, and every anterior virtue is replaced by its pendant vice. Yet Witiza’s power at Tuy was no less than his power at Toledo. He had his court and his throne in both towns, and there was no reason on earth why he should act the wise man in the north, and the unreasoning reprobate in the south. We suspect his first act of clemency on reaching Toledo, in annulling Sisebuth’s edict against the Jews, had much to do with the joint vituperation of the archbishops and the subsequent historians. Not only did he recall them, but, misplaced generosity in mediæval eyes, he restored to the unfortunates their appropriated property and wealth, and permitted them to live and earn unmolested in his kingdom.

Witiza’s defence has been ingeniously undertaken by the Père Tailhan in his interesting notes to the rhyming chronicler of Cordova, a contemporary of Witiza. Here we meet the clement Prince of Tuy, whose mildness, in spite of a natural impetuosity held in check, was his greatest crime in the eyes of immediate posterity, unswervingly kind to all who approached and addressed him, described by his enemies, the Moors, as the most just and pious of all the Christian kings of his time, and a man of blameless life. Count Fernando Gonzalez refers to him as “a powerful king, of indomitable courage and of noble heart.” The anonymous writer of Cordova, who was in a position to judge, writes of his reign as one of peace and prosperity and universal happiness. Was the devil incarnate the invention of the four respectable archbishops? Of course the dull and bigoted Mariana follows in their footsteps. Don José Godoz Alcantara is of a different opinion:—“Witiza,” he writes,{54} “initiated his reign by the most ample act of generosity. He restored to the destitute their dignities and wealth, publicly burnt all proofs and denunciations of conspiracy; wishing to cure a degenerate aristocracy of the passion of power, and direct their spirit of sedition to the arts of peace, he knocked down Wamba’s famous walls, and according to the picturesque phrase of the Archbishop Don Rodrigo, ‘pretended to turn arms into spades.’”[5] The only crime the traveller in Spain will find it difficult to forgive, is this act of vandalism in knocking down Wamba’s walls. He could have exhorted his subjects to practise the arts of peace, all in leaving these great walls untouched in their monumental beauty. But this is what the reformers of humanity never will do. They are never happy until they have sacrificed the picturesque on the altar of utility. Witiza, we see, was in advance of his age. He was a “modern” man, a creature of fads and fantasies. This was how he came by his quaint notion of refining the deplorable morals of Toledo. He could think of no other way of steming the tide of general sensuality but in legalising polygamy. So fierce a race fallen into bad habits was hardly to be sermonised with success. The legal state of polygamy he regarded, along with Oriental sages, as preferable to indiscriminate and wide-spread libertinage. It is still a nice question unsolved in civilised Europe whether several legitimate wives or their unrecognised substitutes constitute a higher or lower state of morality. Witiza was only less hypocritical than civilised Europe, that is all. But to pretend that bigamy is more scandalous than private disorder is absurd. Witiza’s notion of reform may have been primitive and instructive, but it does not justify the legend of his own{55} evil life. To begin with, if he had been the degraded sensualist the archbishops and Mariana describe him, he would not have troubled about reform at all, and he may have had sound reason for requesting the clergy to marry since historians are agreed that they had become utterly demoralised.

The same haze of legends blurs for us the figure of his unfortunate successor, Roderick of the Chronicle. On one side we hear of him as ascending the throne an octogenarian, on another as the impassioned lover of the beautiful Florinda, the brilliant president of a brilliant court; carried to battle in a litter, and riding thither on a legendary steed, fulgent and valiant; disappearing from the field and disgracefully hiding in a monastery; fighting like a hero and falling in the fray. We are told that he was a coward by the pen that depicts him valorously and recklessly approaching the unknown terrors of the enchanted palace of Hercules, though Florinda’s charming leg is not more vaporous upon research than the vanished walls of this palace. It matters little now whether the archbishop Rodrigo’s ivory-carven car drawn by mules carried his unhappy namesake to the fatal field of Guadalete or the legendary steed flashing its way through mailed ranks. However he comported himself, he lost his kingdom, and his resting place is forever unknown.

But the tale of the great tournament with which he started his disastrous reign, must be told at length as one of the most resplendent pages of courtly history. Whatever may have been the end of his reign, he certainly began it in the most sumptuous spirit of hospitality and generosity yet recorded. Was ever such a tournament given before? Princes and lords and their followers came in swarms from all parts of Europe to high Toledo, upon her seven steep hills. Hearken only to the names, and say if they do not make a page in{56} themselves as delightful as any of Froissart’s. The lords of Gascony, Elmet de Bragas, with a hundred cavaliers; Guillamme de Comenge, with a hundred and twenty; the Duke of Viana, with four hundred cavaliers; the Count of the Marches, with a hundred and fifty; the duke of Orleans, with three hundred cavaliers; and four other Dukes of France, with four hundred. Then came the King of Poland, with a luxurious train, and six hundred gentlemen of Lombardy; two marquises, four captains, with twelve hundred cavaliers. Rome sent three governors and five captains, with fifteen hundred cavaliers. The Emperor of Constantinople, his brother, three counts, and three hundred cavaliers came, as well as an English prince, with great lords, and fifteen hundred cavaliers. From Turkey, Syria, and other parts, nobles and princes to the number of five thousand came, without counting their followers and servitors, and different parts of Spain alone furnished an influx of fifty thousand cavaliers. What a poor affair our modern exhibitions and sights, even the Queen’s Jubilee, seem after reading of such a brilliant and stupendous gathering of guests at King Roderick’s court of Toledo.

He was, as I have said, a King to visit, with nothing of Spanish inhospitality about him. He ordered all the citizens to sleep without the city walls in the ten thousand tents he had fixed in the wide Vega, and give up their houses to his foreign guests. Be sure he paid them for the sacrifice in princely style, for out of Eastern fable never was such a prince as Don Rodrigo, the last of the Goths. All the expenses of the foreigners, including their mounts and armour, were his, for they were not permitted to use their own lances, swords, armour or horses. Never were guests entertained with such prodigious splendour. He ordered palaces to be built for them, and laid injunctions on builders, fur{57}nishers and purveyors to spare neither expense nor luxury. The whole Peninsula was scoured in search of armourers and iron-workers, and over fifteen hundred master armourers with their apprentices and under-hands were hastily gathered together in Toledo in more than a thousand[6] improvised iron-shops, working for six busy months at shields and lances and exquisitely wrought damascene armour for every lord and knight, the guest of their king. Each guest on arriving received, as well as house and board, his horse, full armour, shield and lance. The tourney opened on a Sunday, and presented such a scene as imagination alone can depict. We are not told the precise spot, but we may suppose the quaint three-cornered, the ever irresistible Zocodover. Rasis el Moro records each guest’s formal reply when asked if he desired to fight? “For this we have come from our lands; firstly, to serve and honour these feasts; secondly, to see how they are carried out; thirdly, to prove your body, your strength, and learn what you are worth in arms.”

Hearing of these great feasts, the Duchess of Lorraine, persecuted by her brother-in-law, Lembrot, came to Toledo to implore Rodrigo’s protection. Rodrigo received her with cordiality, and lodged her in the royal palace, and as official defender charged Sacarus with her cause. Lembrot was called to Toledo to meet the Duchess’s knight, and came with a great train. He, too, was generously entertained, and pending the clash of steel which was to decide the quarrel between Lembrot and the Duchess, the Queen gave a sarao, which was even a more brilliant and gorgeous spectacle than the tourney. Fifty ladies danced with fifty of the{58} greatest lords, and never was such a constellation of European titles joined in a single diversion. The ladies’ names are not recorded, but there were in the first dance the King of Poland, the French prince, the Emperor of Constantinople, the son of the King of England (simply called el hijo del Rey de Inglaterra), the Spanish infante, the Duke of Viana, the Duke of Orleans, the Count of the Marshes, the Marquis of Lombardy, and Count William of Saxony.

This enchanting moment preceded bloodshed, for on the next day the two uncles of Lembrot were killed by Sacarus, thus proclaiming the innocence of the Duchess to whom Lorraine was then restored, and, along with other fallen knights, lay the King of Africa. The dead were buried with great pomp at the expense of their splendid host, and thus ended a tournament surely without equal as a spectacle in history. The chronicle of Don Rodrigo devotes nearly a hundred pages to this picturesque event.

The most prominent episode in the life of the legendary Rodrigo is his famous intrigue with Florinda. We are told that Count Julian, Governor of Ceuta, sent his daughter to be brought up at Court, where she was in a sense the King’s ward. Nothing remains in history to support this tradition, for it is now asserted it was never the Gothic habit to have the daughters of absent noblemen brought up at court as the sovereign’s wards. Then we hear of the Cava’s baths, where Rodrigo, from his palace windows, overhanging the river outside the Puenta de San Martin, beheld her bathing. Inspection proves these ruins to be the old foundation of a bridge, nothing more. The story of the Cava dates from the fourteenth century, when an Arabian writer, Aben-en-Noguairi, in a volume called El Limita de la prudencia en las reglas de la prudencia, gives the legend. The historian Gamero thus defines{59} the word Cava as applied to Florinda in explanation of her condition of violated maiden. Caba proceeds from Caat, an Arabian tribe that came to Spain in Wamba’s reign, descended from Heber of Jewish origin. When the Jews at the seventeenth Council of Toledo, under Egica, were ordered to be destituted and sold as slaves, while their children were to be taken from them and forcibly brought up as Christians, the saying was that the Caba was violated, that is, that this entire tribe, forced to become Christian in preservation of its wealth and property, had prostituted itself. From the current phrase, the historians applied the word to a particular woman, and poetically named her Florinda. From Eve downward all her daughters have had to share her fate in supporting all the blame of human disasters. Neither war, defeat, nor blunder nor wreckage of nations or of individuals is accepted by man as properly and adequately explained, if some woman is not the man’s or the nation’s evil genius. Unprompted by woman, man is a serene and prudent animal, and but for Florinda, who never existed (though the historians gravely reproduce a touching and eloquent letter of hers to her father recording in fine and dignified phrases the story of her wrongs, and beseeching her father to vindicate her outraged honour and punish the unworthy King), the last of the Toledan sovereigns might have ended his days in his bed, and, undesirable fate for Spain! the Moors might never have crossed the narrow strait. As Gamero says: “Ultimately the story of Rodrigo’s guilty love for a lady of the palace was created.” A lady’s name once introduced, it followed a fatal and romantic legend should be invented, and what prettier than conversion of the broken bridge on the enchanting marge of yellow Tagus into a syren’s bath, with Rodrigo, the inflammable warrior, fresh from his encounter with dethroned gods{60} and their emissaries in an enchanted palace, looking down on the maiden as she disported in the water from the windows of his luxurious Gothic palace? The legend once started, it is inevitable that the traitor should follow, and hence the elusive and mysterious figure of Count Julian, who advances into the picture on a mission of paternal vengeance, and treacherously opens the gates of Spain to the predatory Berbers. The Turks had entered Spain, and it needed some other explanation than national pluck, enterprise and determination to account for their almost unopposed approach towards Toledo; and what so likely an instrument of misfortune as the mythical father of the fabulous Florinda? So history was written, in all faith in those naïve days. Don Faustina de Bourbon remarks that this fable was not heard of before the dominion of the Asturian monarchs in southern Spain; not until the Cid took Valencia, and Alonzo basely seized Toledo, the kingdom of his Moorish protector and host. Such fables accord with the childish, superstitious yearning and need to associate the land’s misfortunes with the personal iniquities of those who rule it. Roderick may have been no saint, and small blame to him in those grossly immoral times, but we need not attach to his shoulders the packet of national sins and disorders. Because the abuses among the clergy and the nobles had reached a repulsive depth of infamy, and public morals were in a lamentable state, is no reason to insist on his violation of Florinda, or refer as the Viscount Palazuelos does in his modern guide-book of Toledo, in an excess of unromantic austerity and disdain “to the guilty loves of Rodrigo and Count Julian’s daughter.”[7]{61} There is no proof whatever that Rodrigo was the wretched sensualist the historians delight to paint. His crime was (and that the Gothic race shares with him) that he unworthily lost a large kingdom to a small invading force, and his shame lies in his inexplicable defeat.

But for traitor there was never any need to invent Count Julian (whom the Père Tailhan insists was a certain Roman Urban who accompanied Tarik, and whose name was distorted into Julian), nor Florinda. Treachery existed nearer home in Witiza’s family. Rodrigo had deposed Witiza, and the usurper was repaid by the treachery of Witiza’s sons and his brother, Oppas, foolishly thinking the Berber raid would only prove a transient panic which would permit them to dispossess the usurper, and claim Witiza’s throne. Instead of a mere raid, the invasion turned out one of the most astonishing conquests of history.

Rodrigo’s army was immense; Tarik’s only numbered twelve thousand men. The battle took place on the banks of the Wadi-becca; it lasted a week, beginning on July 19th, 711. Two wings of the Spanish army were commanded by Witiza’s worthless sons, chiefly manned by malcontents and their serfs. So when the commanders ordered their men to give their backs to the enemy, there was no difficulty on the question of obedience. The centre, commanded by Rodrigo, stood its ground valiantly, but unassisted, at length gave way, and the Turks literally hacked the Christians to pieces. It was an appalling massacre. Rodrigo’s fate, as I have said, remains unknown. Did he fly, was he killed? Did he sink into the marsh{62} where his embroidered saddle and silken cloak were found? We hear on one side that Roderick disappeared mysteriously from the battle-field; on the other, that he fought valiantly and when forced to retreat, did so, fighting his way step by step, sword in hand, and fell with his face to the enemy as befits a soldier. He was supposed in this version to have been buried at Visein, and 160 years later, Alfonso the Great, in reconstituting that fallen town, discovered the dust of the defeated monarch with the inscription on a stone—Hic requiescit Rudericus (ultimus) rex Gothorem.[8]

It is idle now to ask what is true in all these conflicting accounts, or stop to ask which statement is the right one, that Rodrigo was a gallant prince in the prime of life when he began his short reign of one year, or, as an Arabian historian has asserted, a sick and feeble old man of over eighty.

His defection or disappearance completed the catastrophy, the most fatal and final in the record of any land, and Tarik profited by the circumstance. Both malcontents and Jews joyfully received him and threw wide open the gates of Toledo to his advance. Hither he came with fresh laurels gathered at Ecija, surrounded with the flower of his army, while he sent around detachments against Cordova, Archidme, and Elvira.

To the Jews he owed his easy conquest of Toledo, and the Goths alone were to blame for this. It was only natural the unhappy and persecuted Jews should{63} welcome any foreign invasion that helped to deliver them and sweep their brutal oppressors into obscurity. Witiza’s clemency was too isolated a fact in Gothic rule to be remembered by them or to inspire the faintest hope for continued tolerance. The next monarch might even prove worse than Sisebuth or Egica. It was safer to rely on the Moor, who would probably remember their good-will, and would hardly maintain a prejudice against them in favour of the Christians. As for the nobles and prelates, they lost their heads and flew northward. The city was speedily emptied of all the Goths who had the means of flight. Most of the patricians emigrated to Galicià; the archbishop retreated to Rome, and in payment for their treachery, Witiza’s sons claimed land to the extent of three thousand farms, which Tarik granted them. Oppas, Witiza’s brother, was named governor of Toledo, until Tarik’s splendid victory brought over from Africa Musa, infuriated and jealous. Instead of thanking his lieutenant, he acknowledged his services by publicly horsewhipping him when the dismayed victor came submissively to meet him at the city gates.{64}


Toledo under Moslem Rule

“IT must not be supposed that the Moors,” writes Mr Lane Poole in his “History of the Moors in Spain,” “like the barbarian hordes who preceded them, brought desolation and tyranny in their wake. On the contrary, never was Andalusia so mildly, justly, and wisely governed as by her Arab conquerors.... All the administrative talent of Spain had not sufficed to make the Gothic domination tolerable to its subjects. Under the Moors, on the other hand, the people were on the whole contented—as contented as any people can be whose rulers are of a separate race and creed—and far better pleased than they had been when their sovereigns belonged to the same religion as that which they nominally professed.... What they wanted was not a creed, but the power to live their lives in peace and prosperity. This their Moorish masters gave them.... The Christians were satisfied with the new regime, and openly admitted that they preferred the rule of the Moors to that of the Franks or the Goths.”

Toledo alone, true to its character of rebel, met the Moors in an attitude of violent resistance. The Jews had opened her gates to the invaders, but the exact date of the fall of Toledo into Saracen hands is unknown. Historians differ, but keep within the dates 712 and 719. The town capitulated with considerable advantages. She maintained her right to hold arms and horses, and all the citizens who remained were secured perfect{65} freedom, but those who left the city forfeited their property and rights. The citizens were inviolable in their houses, their orchards, and farms, and the annual tribute levied by the Moors was a very moderate one. The free exercise of religion was permitted, and the Christians were allowed seven churches by the State, Santa Justa, Santa Eulalia, San Sebastian, San Marcos, San Lucas, San Torcuato, and Santa Maria de Alficin. But they were not allowed to build others without permission, nor were processions or public ceremonies allowed. They were left to the observance of their own laws and customs, subject to sentence at the hands of their own judges, but were exempted of Christian punishment if they chose to accept their conqueror’s creed.

Tarik, entering Toledo, found it almost empty, but for the Jewish colony. Most of the inhabitants had taken refuge among the steep and rocky mountain-passes outside the city. Only a few noble families had decided to remain and make the best of Moslem rule. In the royal palace Tarik seized twenty-five golden and jewelled crowns, and amongst the vast Gothic treasure, the psalms of David, written upon gold leaf in water made of dissolved rubies, and Solomon’s emerald table wrought in burnished silver and gold, which the Arabian chronicler describes as “the most beautiful thing ever seen, with its golden vases and plates of a precious green stone, and three collars of rubies, emerald, and pearls.” This sumptuous table is said to have been one of the causes of quarrel between Tarik and Mûsa, the latter holding his brilliant lieutenant as responsible for the missing golden leg. Whither have this emerald table and the psalms of David written in dissolved rubies on gold leaf been spirited? We have the crowns of the Gothic kings still; why not the table of Solomon fashioned of material just as enduring?{66}

The first quaint episode after the conquest of Toledo is the marriage of Mûsa’s son, Belacin, with King Roderick’s widow, Blanche. Mûsa decided upon the marriage in his high-handed way, and Doña Blanche bitterly complained in Belacin’s presence of the indignity offered her in this incongruous union. “Good mistress,” said Belacin, in protesting affability, “do not fret, for by the law we are permitted to have seven wives. If it can be settled, I would have you for my wife as each one of these; and all the things that your law commands a man to do to his wife, will I do unto you. And for this, do not lift your voice in complaint, for it will be to my honour that all who wish me well shall serve you well if you will consent to be the lady of all my wives.”[9] The poor wives, we may imagine, had the worst of the bargain. Blanche naturally could not forget that she had been sole Christian queen, the president of the greatest tourney of the age, and her first exaction was that the Moorish Court should kneel to her. Belacin yielded to her every wish, and bade his nobles cheerfully humble themselves. He went so far as to order the palace gates to be closed to those who refused to prostrate themselves before Doña Blanche as she sat in foolish state awaiting their obedience in a lofty chamber, with a crown on her head and a royal mantle about her. How wild and strange this must have seemed to the Moorish wives in their latticed harem, fugitive and hidden articles of pleasure, and what a preposterous innovation in the eyes of the astounded courtiers! This haughty attitude on the part of a captive Christian raised to the Moorish throne by the good nature and affection of a Moor, who might have condemned her to servitude and indignity, so angered the Moors that Isyed, the ruler’s son-in-law, spread the report that Belacin had{67} become a Christian, and then murdered the unfortunate as he knelt to pray in the Mezquita.

For a time, Toledo was a secondary town under the Saracens, infatuated as they were with Seville and Cordova. The latter town was chosen as the Khalif’s residence and thus became one of the wonders of the world. Meanwhile Toledo stormily sulked. Abandoned to herself, she grew to be a thorn in the Moslem side. No sooner conquered by one chief, she rose up furiously against the next, and in 763, we find Cassim, her Moorish ruler, so far impregnated with Toledan principles of independence, that he declined to recognise the sovereignty of Cordova. So that Abderraman, when he came to rule over the Spanish Arabs, found himself confronted with the necessity of conquering Toledo anew, and was compelled to send a fresh army to besiege it. The old city was by this wearied of Cassim’s tyranny and gladly capitulated to the more distant sovereign in 766. When Abderraman came to visit the town in person, he left behind him as wali, his son, Suleiman. But his conquest was an unstable one. Toledo’s history at this time is a monotonous tale of broken peace and futile revolt. She yielded to one Moor only to rise up against the next. An Arabian chronicler has asserted that no subjects were ever so mutinous and unruly. But the Moors respected her, not only for her formidable strength, for her ramparts and fortresses, but also for her renown and prestige, for the learning of her prelates and the kingly authority of her great archbishops. And so the old Gothic capital remained for them “the royal city.” The popular poet, Gharbib, kept the new Sultan in awe and terror, and was careful to maintain the revolutionary fires blazing in constant menace. As long as he lived, the Sultan did not dare to complain of the haughty and intolerable Toledans, but when he died Hakam summoned up{68} courage to address them as their sovereign, and try a policy of conciliation. He chose for their governor a renegade Christian, one Amron of Huesca, the worst choice he could have made. “You alone can help me to punish these rebels who refuse to acknowledge a Moor for their chief, but who will perhaps submit to one of their own race,” he said to Amron, who was officially recognised as governor of Toledo in 807. The Sultan wrote to the Toledans: “By a condescension which proves our extreme solicitude for your interests, instead of sending you one of our own subjects, we have chosen one of your compatriots.” The Toledans were speedily to receive immortal proof of the special delicacy of this attention. There exists no more shameless and inconceivable barbarity in the blood-stained pages of history than this same Amron’s horrible method of cowing a haughty people. He began with the arts of beguilement, and left nothing undone to win the confidence and affection of the Toledan nobles. He feigned with them an implacable hatred of the Sultan and their conquerors, mysteriously asserted his faith in the national cause—that is Toledo’s independence—and by this was able, without exciting suspicion, to quarter soldiers in private houses. Without difficulty he obtained the town’s consent to build a strong castle at its extremity as a barrack for his troops, and then, to show their confidence in him, the nobles suggested the very thing he wanted, that the castle should be raised in the middle of the town. When the fortress was built, Amron installed himself therein with a strong guard, and then sent word to the Sultan, whose heart by this was well hardened against the sullen and untameable Toledans. Troops were speedily gathered from other towns, and set marching upon the royal city. The young prince, Abderraman, commanded one wing, and the others were commanded{69} by three vizirs. Amron then persuaded the unfortunate nobles to accompany him to meet the Sultan’s son outside the walls. The nobles plumed themselves on their power and value, and gaily set out to visit the young prince, who received them splendidly. After a private consultation with the vizirs, Amron came back to the nobles, whom he found enchanted with the prince’s kindness and courtesy, and proposed that they should invite Abderraman to honour the town with his visit. The Toledans applauded the proposition to entertain a prince with whom they were so satisfied in every way. They had a governor of their own nationality, they enjoyed perfect freedom, and Abderraman had personally won them. In their innocence they besought an honour now desired. Abderraman acted the part of coy visitor, delicately apprehensive of giving trouble, but finally yielded to the persuasion of such genial hospitality. He came to the fortified castle, and ordered a great feast to which all the nobles and wealthy citizens of Toledo were invited. The guests came in crowds, but they were only permitted to enter the castle one by one. The order was that they should enter by one gate, and the carriages should round the fortress to await them at another. In the courtyard there was a ditch, and beside it stood the executioners, hatchet in hand, and as each guest advanced, he was felled and rolled into the ditch. The butchery lasted several hours, and the fatal day is ever since known in Spanish history as the Day of the Foss. In Toledan legends it has given rise to the proverb una noche Toledana, which is lightly enough now applied to any contrariety that produces sleeplessness, headache, or heartache. But only conceive the horrible picture in all its brutal nakedness! The gaily-apparelled guest, scented, jewelled, smiling, alights from his carriage, looking forward to pleasure{70} in varied form; brilliant lights, delicate viands, exquisite wines, lute, song, flowers, sparkling speech. Then the quick entrance into a dim courtyard, a step forward, perhaps in the act of unclasping a silken mantle; the soundless movement of a fatal arm in the shadowy silence, the invisible executioner’s form probably hidden by a profusion of tall plants or an Oriental bush, and body after body, head upon head, roll into the common grave till the ditch is filled with nigh upon five thousand corpses. Not even the famous St Bartholomew can compete with this in horror, in gruesomeness. Compared with it, that night of Paris was honourable and open warfare. It is the stillness of the hour, the quickness of doing, the unflinching and awful personality of the executioners, who so remorselessly struck down life as ever it advanced with smiling lip and brightly-glancing eye, that lend this scene its matchless colours of cruelty and savagery. Beside it, few shocking hours in history will seem deprived of all sense of mitigation and humanity.

The place of this monstrous episode is said to have been the famous Taller del Mora, now a degraded ruin. Suspicion was first aroused by a doctor, who had strolled out to watch the arrival of all these distinguished citizens come to the feast of the Moorish prince. Having time to kill, he decided to stay and see the departure, but as the hours went by, and no one came out by the door so many had gone in by, while report carried him the fact that the other door had not yet opened for the exit of a single guest, he began to express his fears to the loungers gathered round him to watch for the end of the entertainment. Alarm was quickly spread. Who, after all, were these brilliant strangers but the enemy armed, unscrupulous and powerful? Apprehension was strained to its utmost tension, when the doctor shouted, as all began to per{71}ceive the rising of a heavy vapour: “Unfortunates, I swear to you that that vapour is never the smoke of a feast, but that of the blood of our butchered brethren.”

Never was a town so completely stupefied by a moment’s blow before. Not a single voice was lifted in protest. Toledo, on ordinary occasions, so resentful, proud, rebellious, was simply prostrate from emotion and horror; and in her stunned and terrorised condition the Turk might have done what he willed with her. She was bereft of tears, bereft of reproaches, of will and force. The remaining citizens dared hardly speak of the dreadful occurrence in whispers among themselves, so heavily gripped were they by the nightmare of reality. Now, whether the young prince or the sultan was aware of the Wali’s atrocious design remains for ever a mystery. How far were they accomplices? To what extent did they reprove the action? We are told that Amron took Abderraman into his confidence before the feast, and protested loudly in upholding his design as a justifiable measure, since the Toledans were such a harsh and unmanageable race, and its nobles so insupportable and dangerous, and that the young prince demurred to such ruthlessness of method, and begged the Wali to be prudent and not bring unnecessary odium upon Moslem rule. This precisely would seem the deep design of Amron’s double treason. Did he wish to accumulate fresh odium on his adopted race, or pay off old scores by one fell blow on his forsaken people? Anyhow, we are glad to learn that he was deservedly punished. After a while the town woke up from its stunned resignation. The Toledans shook themselves out of their trance of horror; met once more in the Zocodover, talked fiercely together, and remembered that they too could be ferocious with less provocation than this last outrage, and from the Zocodover the{72} murmur broke out and travelled along the outlying streets and remote little markets, and down by the river among the armourers and silversmiths. The people rose up, and swooped willingly down upon Amron, and burnt him and his castle. And surely never was vengeance more holy.

But in spite of siege, insurrection, and temporary surrender, which were the constant conditions of public life in Toledo, the town increased, and Moorish influence began to show itself triumphantly in architecture and in horticulture. Gardens spread along the Vega, and Arabian palaces brightened the sombre landscape. Both Jews and Christians were becoming enormously rich, and the Wali, Aben Magot ben Ibraham, decided to raise the tribute of the Christian merchants and persons of means. This was quite enough to quicken the slumbering fires of revolt, and a young Toledan, Hacam, nicknamed El Durrete, striker of blows, resolved to expend his great wealth in assisting to fan the flames. Like every other Toledan, he thirsted for an excuse for sedition, and called his fellow-conspirators together in the market-place. There it needed nothing but a judicious use of strong language to induce the people to fling stones and shower blows on the unfortunate palace guard, so handy to the Zocodover, and from blows was only a step to the massacre of all the officials and seizure of the Alcazar. Reprisals naturally followed, and Hacam, routed for the moment, retired to devise a fresh attack. He sent abroad the report that he had gone off to make a raid upon Catalonia, and kept his spies on the look-out for the first signs of relaxed supervision. The instant he found the town-gates unlocked, he poured his men silently into the city at night, and recovered Toledo without a blow, and set fire to the greater part of the upper town. In 834 the sultan sent Omaiga to besiege{73} the seditious town, but the Toledans repulsed him triumphantly, and Hacam was practically the uncrowned king of the city. Skirmishes continued with success, now on one side, now on the other, but always leaving Toledo unsubdued. Maisara, a renegade Spaniard in command of Moslem troops, routed the Toledans outside the walls, and died shortly after his victory, of remorse and shame, when the soldiers, according to a hateful custom, presented him with the heads of the slain.

In 873 discord broke out anew between the renegades and the Christians. A Toledan chief, Ibn Mohâdjir, offered his services to the commander of Calatrava, and Walid, the sultan’s brother, was charged to direct the siege, which lasted a year. An envoy of Walid stole secretly into the town, and discovered the famished and weakened state of the inhabitants, urged capitulation, which advice was rejected. But the envoy’s report of the people’s misery induced Walid to press on a vigorous assault, and once more was Toledo tamed and taken, and Amron’s fatal castle rebuilt.

Later fresh troubles hailed from Cordova, whither came Eulogius burning for martyrdom, and exciting the Christians to exasperate the Moslems into persecution. We know that left alone the Spanish Arabs were not in the least given to religious persecution. The Christians were free to practice their religion, and in Toledo lived tranquilly under Mozarabe law. Only the condemned Christian might always appeal from the Mozarabe tribunal to the Moslem Judge, who could grant him immunity. This was no very great hardship, for in general mediæval law made it too easy to kill and too difficult to reprieve. No masters have ever been more tolerant than the Moors, and it needed all the blind and unreasoning fanaticism{74} of Eulogius to discover persecution and a means of forcing martyrdom. The surest method naturally was to revile the False Prophet in public, and insult every instinct and prejudice of the conquerors. This was to prove oneself a saint in those far-off days, while now we should pronounce a distinctly different opinion on such proceedings. So Eulogius, with his lamentable tales, fresh from his romantic parting with the martyred Flora, fired the Toledans with indignation, and again they took up arms under Sindola, arrested their Moorish governors, and sent word to the Sultan at Cordova that his life would answer for that of their fellow-Christians. They declared war, took Calatrava, which the Sultan retook in 757, filed through the Sierra Morena, and defeated the Moors at Andujar. Mohammed assembled his troops and marched against Toledo in June 854, when Sindola turned to Ordoño, king of Leon, for help. The Christian king sent a large army to Toledo under Gaton, Count Bierzo. The Moors, by a false assault and retreat, drew Gaton and the Toledan troops into an ambush, where girdled by Moslem forces, they were massacred to a single man. Over 8000 Christian heads were stuck on the walls of different towns, and for a time was Toledo again cowed. But she took her revenge in electing as archbishop, on Wistremir’s death, the Sultan’s impassioned enemy, Eulogius, and this time to punish the rebels the Sultan resorted to a stratagem worthy of Amron of the Foss renown. He began to undermine their bridge while his own troops occupied it, and before the operation was completed, he withdrew his men, thus inveigling after them the rash Toledans. The bridge split, and the unfortunate rebels were drowned in a heap in the deep and sullen Tagus. An Arabian poet triumphantly sings the infamy: “The Eternal could not allow a bridge to{75} exist built for the squadrons of miscreants. Deprived of her citizens, Toledo is mournful and desolate as a grave.”

But a people that could shake off the nightmare stun of the day of the Foss could rise above this blow. Toledo had resisted for twenty years, and she was not yet conquered. Leon was at her back, and its king was her proclaimed knight. In 873 she forced from the Sultan a treaty acknowledging her as an independent Republic under annual tribute, and concluded an alliance with the famous Beni Casi of Aragon, a great Visigoth family converted to Islamism, who sent Lope, the chief’s son, to Toledo as consul.

Then came to the throne of Cordova the great Khalif, Abd-ar-Rahman III., and Toledo was to discover that here was a very different enemy from the incapable generals that had hitherto striven in vain to subdue her. Here was a mighty commander who was not to be daunted by her frowns and her wild spirit, and whose patience and dogged determination she was to find the match of her own. Genius alone could quell her, and genius came in the handsome and valiant young monarch who would win her or die. First he sent a royal order, commanding her to surrender to him her rights as a free and independent Republic, and humbly acknowledge him as liege lord. This Toledo roughly and proudly declined to do. Her reply was couched in terms of evasive menace, for eighty-four years of freedom, under the protection of the Beni Casi of Aragon and the King of Leon, had taught her to regard herself as an enemy to be duly reckoned with. Then the Sultan sent his general vizier, Said-ibn-Moudhir in May 930 to open the siege, and in June he joined him with the flower of his army, and encamped on the banks of Algodor near{76} the Castle of Mora. Here he forced the commander to evacuate, and placed his own garrison in the fortress before advancing on Toledo. He began by camping in the cemetery and burning the outlying villages, and then, in order to show the Toledans the kind of man they had to deal with, he proceeded to build a town on the opposite bank of the Tagus, exactly fronting the royal city, on a mountain side as high as hers. Here he and his troops dwelt for eight years, persistent and unswerving, calling the town he built “Victory” in anticipation of the inevitable result. A siege of eight years! what a tale of magnificent determination and stupendous force of will and endurance on both sides. Which to praise most, wonder most at, the Toledans or Abd-ar-Rahman? What a town, what a Sultan! With such a watchful power outside the walls, the marvel is that famine so long delayed its fatal presence; but it came at last, and stalked the gaunt dim streets and humbled the city of the Goths as no other force or persuasion could have done, and after years of accumulated sufferings and privations, bereft of pride and strength and dignity, she yielded her haggard front to the Sultan’s swift assault, as soon as he knew her power undermined, her patience at bay, and by nightfall the heads of her insurgent chiefs were grinning lividly over the Puerta de Visagra.

After the great Khalif’s death, the town recovered a partial independence, and remained, until the Christian Conquest, a kingdom apart under the rule of tolerated Arabian princes, independent of Cordova. Successive feeble efforts to win her prove ever unavailing, and she continues to glower above the river in unquiet and mutinous temper, while the princes make believe to rule and do but obey, proud but fearful of so uneasy a charge. Her rulers{77} during the unsatisfactory eleventh century were: Yaîch-ibn-Mohammed-ibn Yaîch, till 1036; Ismail Dhafir, till 1038; Abou-I-Hassan Yah[^y]r Mamon, till 1075; and Yah[^y]a ibn Ismaïl ibn Yah[^y]a Câdir, till the conquest.

The most picturesque episode is that which leads to the downfall of the demoralised Moslems. Alphonso of Leon, escaping from the monastery of Sagahun, fled to Toledo and besought the hospitality and protection of the Moorish King Almamon. The generous and courteous Moor gave him considerably more than shelter; affection and all the outward show of his rank. Persecuted by a Christian brother, he was nobly befriended by a loyal enemy, whose generosity he ill repaid by treachery and ingratitude. Almamon gave him the Castle of Brihuega, and constituted him the chief of the Mozarabes, that is the Christians of Toledo under Moorish rule. Furthermore, he bestowed on him farms and orchards outside the town on the bank of the Tagus, and a residence within the walls near his own Alcazar. At the Moorish court of Tolaitola, as the Arabs called Toledo, the proscribed prince was granted all the honours of his rank. Alcocer tells us that in return Alphonso swore to be loyal, not to leave Toledo without permission, and to fight all men of the world for the Moorish king. Almamon, on his side, swore to treat Alfonso well and faithfully; to pay him and all his people. Alcocer, with quaint garrulity, describes the king’s fondness for hunting, and his delight in fresh green places and luxuriant foliage, and his great sadness in looking across from Brihuega to Toledo, and contemplating the possibility of such a strong and beautiful town falling once more into the hands of the Christians. The story runs that one day Almamon visited his guest at Brihuega, and in the gardens the courtiers{78} began to discuss the marvels and attractions of Tolaitola, “that pearl placed in the middle of the necklace, that highest tower of the empire.”[10] From this the talk fell upon the probabilities of its being attacked, and at this point Alphonso, lounging beneath a tree, feigned sleep. The Moorish prince described at length the only way of taking the town, and his plan of siege was well remembered by his treacherous guest. The courtiers glancing anxiously at the sleeping prince asked themselves if his sleep were real, and to try him began to pierce one of his hands with shot. Still unconvinced, they begged the king to order him to be killed, but, says Alcocer naively: “Our lord kept him for his greater good, and would not hear of this.” When Sancho was murdered by Bellido Dolphos at the foot of the walls of Zamora, Alphonso left this friendly court with the blessings of its sovereign, who offered him money, arms, and horses, and escorted him part of the way as far as Monuela, separating with embraces and vows of eternal friendship on both sides. Both swore never under any circumstances to war on opposite sides, but each to assist the other in all difficulties with hostile powers. Alfonso returned to Toledo, and sent messengers to invite his former host to dinner. The king came, and found himself surrounded by armed men. Demanding the reason of such a strange reception, Alfonso replied, “When you held me in your power you made me swear to assist you against all men, and be your loyal friend.” The Moorish king assented, whereupon Alfonso sent for the gospels, and swore upon them again, with Almanon in his power, never to fight against him or his son, and to assist him against all the world. Alfonso’s word, it{79} will be seen, was strangely flexible. This spontaneous and solemn promise to a friend and ally could, with honour, be broken, while elsewhere his word, compromised by wife and friend, demanded their instant death by fire. Shortly after Almamon died, and Toledo returned to its normal condition of disquiet. Flying kings, invading powers, rivalries and skirmishes, overtures between Moor and Moor, and between Moor and Christian, all terminated by Alphonso’s deliberate baseness in laying siege to the town ruled incapably by the incapable son, Yahya, of his late friend and guest, who should have been sacred to him. He followed the plan of siege so unguardedly suggested by Almanon in the gardens of Brihuega, and took the town on the 20th May 1085. Yahya and his court left Toledo, their hardly won and deeply loved Tolaitola, with their treasure, and went towards Cuenca, mournful and silent, eaten by regrets and humiliation.

So Toledo, after three and a half centuries of roughly and persistently disputed Moslem sovereignty, returned to Christian rule. True, she was always less of a Moorish centre than Cordova, Sevilla, Valencia and Granada, and glowed less than these in the bloom of its brilliant civilisation. Her temper was too obstinate and harsh for such flowery development. But she had so far profited as to gather charm to her austere beauty. The aspect of her walls had suffered modification and improvement, and the Moors had built handsome bridges, which alas! have since disappeared, both the bridge near Santa Leocadia, and that across the old Roman waterway. In Dozy, a quotation from the Arabian chronicle, Abou-l-Hasan, tells us how “Alphonso, the tyrant of the Galicians, that infidel people (that God may cut it in pieces!), seized the town of Toledo, that pearl of the necklace,{80} that highest tower of the Empire in this peninsula.” He describes Toledo as “a softbed” for Alphonso, and the people “henceforth resembling docile camels.” For docility the people were not more remarkable than before, and as for the softness of Toledo as a royal bed, its quality of ease and security never wavered, whoever wore the crown and wielded the sceptre. Alphonso residing “up among her high walls,” had his own troubles to face, just as had Cadir, Yahya ibn-Dzin, who gave her up to him. “May God renew her past splendour,” cries the Arabian chronicler, “and write her name again on the register of Mussulman towns!”

The weak and unfortunate Yahya accepted Valencia in exchange, which he was not destined long to keep, thanks to that magnificent hero, el mio Cid, the Campeador.{81}


The Last Period of Toledo’s Story

THE start of Spanish rule in Toledo was clouded and stormy. The Cid was named the first Alcalde, and the Castillians expressed their dissatisfaction with Mozarabe law, which was the Gothic law of Toledo. They clamoured for Castillian Judges and the Castillian fueros or privileges. The King granted their request in all civil cases, but in criminal cases decided that every citizen should be subject to the Mozarabe Alcalde, and in case of death the first application for burial had to be made to the Mozarabe authorities, who gave permission to the Castillians to consult their own. But slowly the word Castillian came to be employed in Toledo in place of the more picturesque designation Mozarabe.

After the conquest, Alfonso left his French wife, Constance and the French archbishop, Bernard of Cluny, as regents in Toledo, and hurried off on the usual business of war to Leon. Now one of the conditions on Yahya’s surrender of the city was that the Mezquita, formerly the Christian Cathedral, should remain in the hands of the Moors, as their place of worship. But neither the queen nor the archbishop approved of this clause, and could not conceive that a promise given to the reprobate Moslem should be held as binding. So the King once gone, the queen gave orders, and the archbishop headed his followers, and{82} took the mosque by force. Great, naturally, were Moorish outcries against Christian perfidy, and word of the atrocious deed was instantly conveyed to Alfonso, who hurried back from Leon, sending word before him that his intention was nothing less than to burn alive the queen and the archbishop. For a King who had scandalously broken the laws of hospitality, and who had no intention of helping to maintain Yahya on his throne in Valencia, according to his solemn engagement, this was making a mighty mountain of a smaller offence, and placing a disproportionate price on so fragile and fugitive a thing as his honour. The Moors were so dismayed by this assurance, that their indignation evaporated and gave way to pity and terror for the delinquents. The Alfaqui went out beyond the city walls to meet the irate monarch, and plead their cause. Seeing him from afar, Alfonso, misinterpreting his purpose, cried out: “Friends, this injury is not done to you but to me, since my word is compromised, which I have ever guarded with all my power. But I will so act that neither she nor others will again dare to commit such audacities.” The Alfaqui, kneeling to the Spaniard, exclaimed in the name of his co-religionists: “My lord, we well know that the queen is your wife, and if she should die for our cause, we should be abhorred of all men. And the same should the archbishop die, who is the prince of your law. We of our will beseech you to forgive them both, and we freely relieve you of the oath by which we hold you, so that in all things else you are true to it.” Thanks to Moorish generosity, neither the queen nor the French archbishop was burnt alive, and the Mezquita became the Christian Cathedral we may see to-day. As a mark of gratitude, “the good Alfaqui’s” statue was ordered to be placed in the Capilla Major, an honour{83}



shared with the mysterious pastor de las Navas, a shepherd, supposed to be the instrument of that victory. The Church was solemnly consecrated in 1087, and then it was that Toledo had the misfortune to fall completely under French influence. To Bernard of Cluny’s ill-judged introduction of the Roman liturgy may be traced the Inquisition. The quaint old Gothic rite was ordered to be abolished in favour of the Roman Breviary. Aragon and Navarre yielded{84} at once, but Castille held out for the Isidorian ritual, and excitement ran high in Toledo, the very heart and head of the Gothic rite. Nothing could make her willingly faithless to the severe and simple Mozarabe service, inherited from the early Christians. Hers was the primitive form of worship of Christians when Christianity was still fresh and unformed, before Rome had introduced its dazzling magnificences of ceremony. Both the clergy and the people ignored the decree forbidding the Mozarabe ritual, and steadily rejected the Latin. Then the French archbishop resolved to put the matter to the test of the sword, and if that did not settle it, to that of fire. He called these tests “the Judgment of God.” A duel was fought consequently, under the eyes of all Toledo, which left the Judgment of God on the side of the Mozarabe ritual. This did not satisfy the archbishop, who found that the Almighty had erred, so he lit a big fire on the public place, the precursor of the terrible fires that were to follow, in which Spain was to burn out all her glory and greatness. The historians do not agree in their reports. The Archbishop Rodrigo says, “exustus ibi fuit liber Gallicus; rumansitque ibi toletanus illæsus.” Alfonso the learned says: “both books were cast into the flames, and the French office struggled with the fire that endeavoured to devour it, and then gave a leap over all the flames, and jumped out of the bonfire, seeing which, all gave praise to God for the great miracle He had deigned to work; and the Toledan office fell into the flames without any harm, so that no part of it was touched by the flames, and no injury was done to any part of it.” This appears to have settled the dispute: the Toledans were allowed to preserve their ritual in six parishes reduced now to two. Cisneros, a century later, founded the Mozarabe Chapel{85} of the Cathedral, and ordered the printing of the ancient office with its queer primitive chaunt, and in the eighteenth century, Cardinal Lorenzana had another edition of the text printed. The traveller curious to know how the old Goths prayed in the days of Recesvinthus and Wamba, of St Isidor and St Ildefonso, may hear the old service any morning in the Mozarabe Chapel. The rite was probably more impressive in the days of the great councils of Toledo than in ours.

Though first Castillian Alcalde of Toledo, the Cid is not associated with the town by any picturesque or splendid deed. His great achievements belong to the story of other towns. Here is only recorded of him a sordid domestic quarrel. Alfonso convened the Cortes to consider the Challenger’s differences with his miserable sons-in-law, the infantes of Carrion, and the meeting took place in the beautiful palace of Galiana—

“La mora mas celebrada
De toda la moreria.”

The Cid came with his kinsmen, Alvar Fañez, and twelve hundred cavaliers. The king rode two leagues beyond the city gates to meet him, and when the Cid had kissed his hand, embraced him. When informed that he was to dwell in the royal palace, the Cid protested against the excessive honour, and asked for himself and his suite the castle of San Servando. The king and the Cid together rested at the posada, and then rode on to the palace. Here carpets and gold brocade lay along the walls, and in the middle of the great chamber the splendid and richly-wrought throne; close by it was the Cid’s celebrated marble bench brought from Valencia, and round it a hundred shields of hidalgos. Day and night, while the case lasted, this bench was guarded, and in the Cronica del Cid, it is{86} described as “a very noble and subtle work.” It was covered with the richest of gold cloth. When the king, followed by the Infantes of Carrion, and all the court, entered the palace chamber, the uncle of the Infantes began to cast ridicule upon the Cid’s famous bench, whereupon the king sternly rebuked him: “You who are jeering, when have you ever sent me such a present?” Instead of wasting their time in jealousy of the Challenger, why did not the rest of his subjects accomplish such noble deeds as his, he wondered. The Cid was then called, and when he entered the chamber, the king rose up and welcomed him. Amidst profound attention, the Cid solemnly pleaded his case. He demanded that the Infantes should give up to him their dishonoured swords, Tolada and Tizona. This the Infantas haughtily refused to do, upon which the king ordered the swords to be taken from them, and given to the Cid. The Cid kissed the king’s hand, and both sat down, the king on his throne, and the Cid on his marble bench. The Cid then, a passionate father, eloquently told the roll of his wrongs and his daughters’ injuries. He reminded the king that he it was who had made these lamentable marriages. “It was you, señor, who married my daughters, and not I, because I could not say you nay. But you did it for their good, not for their doom.” He demanded the return of his money from the Infantes and an explanation of their evil conduct to his daughters. He became so violent from grief and indignation that the king thought fit to interfere, and while recognising the justice of his most bitter complaints, urged him to respect his children in their husbands, and, in a word, be less personal in public. He then commanded the Infantes to salute their father-in-law, and the court to pronounce sentence. The Infantes, worthless scamps, stood and insolently{87} proclaimed themselves the social superiors of their wives, whom the choice of princes had inordinately honoured. “Then why,” sensibly asks the king, “did you press me to obtain for you their hands in marriage?” and proceeds to give the ladies’ pedigree to the affronted Cid’s delight. The wretched Infantes were very properly disgraced, when their discomfort was accentuated by the appropriate arrival of hot messengers from the kings of Aragon and Navarre, begging in marriage Doña Elvira and Doña Sol for their sons, Don Sancho and Don Ramiro. In those odd and delightful times, divorce seems to have been a matter of royal judgment or caprice. Spanish sovereigns, unlike Henry VIII., never had any difficulty in arranging those little affairs without scandal, or war, or revolution, either in their own case or in that of their vassals. Alfonso stoutly advised the Cid to accept proposals that gave his outraged and forsaken daughters kingdoms instead of obscure retreats, and bestowed the last affront on the miscreants who had offended him and them. So the scandal terminated, and the chronicler tells us that “the Infantes left the palace very sorrowful, and hastened with all speed back to Carrion.”

Alfonso’s reign was no quiet one. He had to contend with the fierce Yussuf and his son, and grief pierced him through his young son, Sancho, whom he sent to war with Count Garcia of Cabra, when only eleven. Twenty thousand Christians, along with the brave little prince, lay dead on the battlefield, and the king’s anguish, when the news reached Toledo, was overpowering. He died soon afterwards, and his body was exposed for twenty days, for the towns-people to come and gaze upon the remains of the Christian monarch.

Toledo still remained the centre of Castillian rule.{88} Here the Cortes was held; here was each Christian monarch proclaimed in a quaint ceremony that merits description, said to have been transmitted to the Castillians by the Goths. As soon as the municipality received the new king’s letter, they announced that the royal standard would be raised, and opened all the rooms of the town hall. Soon the building was crowded with magistrates, jurors, pleaders, cavaliers and citizens. The streets and the plazas overflowed with the people in holiday array, all laughing and excited. The buildings were decorated, hung with beautiful silks and stuffs, and illuminated pretty much as in our own days. Balconies were covered with brocade, and from each window fell pieces of rare tapestry. At eight o’clock in the morning the town was gathered near the Ayuntamiento to hear the chief scriviner read the deposition, and watch the lifting of the royal Standard and the new king’s banner. The city then named four commissioners, two officers and two juries, and despatched them to the Ensign’s house, telling him to bring instantly the royal standard to the town hall. The Ensign took the standard and went forth, followed by a large crowd of cavaliers, of archers and of troops, all in full uniform, while the bells rang, and music played, and the populace shouted. A joyous moment hugely enjoyed by this fierce, excitable race of Toledans. At the town hall the standard was placed on an altar, and the commissioners and jurors took their places. Then the order of the day was read, and all swore allegiance to the new king as loyal and faithful vassals, and in the kingdom’s name the banners were lifted. The magistrate then kissed the paper and put it on his head, likewise the rest present, and all shouted response in a single voice. The bells rang anew, the trumpets blew, and deafening roars of applause rent the air. Then the chief magistrate thus addressed the citizens: “Im{89}perial and most illustrious city, kingdom of Toledo, seated at the head of the monarchy of Spain, would that my brief eloquence could match my desire—not to repeat your obligations to the king, our lord, since you are better aware of them than I, which compels us to recognise in him his most high father and grandfather, of eternal memory, most worthy kings and our lords, whom your highness always canonised with your tongue, and forced the remotest nations to obey, fearing your sword of iron, which is the head of this spotless city, whose arts and letters are of the first class, and whose cathedral is above all others. But to be able to weigh and tell your highness on this occasion, that as thus, by direct succession come to and remain with the king our lord, these kingdoms and seigneuries, so by the same are due to him, and constitute part of his heritage, obedience for being as he is, a prince of the best promise any kingdom has ever had; affable, benign, generous, upright, Catholic, and gifted with many other virtues. That all this your highness deserves, and that you may enjoy much happiness, with all prosperity. Such a king deserves such a kingdom, and such a city deserves such a king. May his majesty live a thousand years and may your highness live them with exceeding multiplication.” When one remembers such amiable sovereigns of Castille as Pedro the Cruel, who happily died in the thirties, this hope of Toledo’s chief magistrate seems a peculiarly grim one. A thousand years of Pedro’s reign would have decimated the entire Spanish kingdom, and left none to-day to tell the tale. The Alferez (ensign) then replied in the name of Toledo, and the standard was lifted and carried to the Alferez, who received it standing, while every head was uncovered. Then the Alferez carried the standard, followed by a group of officers, and swung it flying from the balcony, crying in a loud voice: “Hear,{90} hear, hear! Know, know, know; that this pendant and royal is raised for the king, Don ——, whom God preserve many and happy years. Amen. Spain, Spain, Spain; Toledo, Toledo, Toledo, for the king, Don ——, our lord, whom God keep many and happy years. Amen.” The populace shouted ‘Amen’; the trumpets blew, and shrill rough music rent the air. Three times was this address repeated, the citizens each time shrieking ‘Amen’ with intervals of triumphant music, and the banners remained waving until sunset, the Alferez and the municipality all those long hours mounted guard over the royal and civic colours. At sunset the standard was solemnly carried to the cathedral to be blessed, and the entire city walked behind the Alferez and the magistrates. Trumpeters, minstrels and archers went before, and awaited the colours at the gate of Pardon, where all the dignitaries of the church were gathered to receive them. The archbishop, the canons, the dean, the chaplains and priests, in their richest brocades and lace surplices, and all the representatives of the town parishes, were there in state. The dean advanced outside the cathedral gates, surrounded by deacons, and in a circle behind stood the chaplains and canons with precious relics. After ceremonious salutations exchanged, the Alferez followed the dean into the church, and then began the procession of the chapter and the parishes up the immense central nave to the chapel of Our Lady of the Star, while the organs rolled their thunderous sound and the choir solemnly chanted. At the High Altar the dignitaries passed inside, and Toledo, with the chief magistrate, remained in the wide space between the altar and the choir, only the standard-bearer entering the choir with the prelates. Here a chaplain offered him a brocaded cushion, on which he knelt, while the choir chanted the psalm Deus Judicium tuum Regi da. The standard{91} was blessed, and then the Te Deum was sung. With the same brilliancy and impressiveness of ceremony, the standard was afterwards borne down to the brightly hung and festive Zocodover, and then up the narrow hilly street to the imposing Alcazar. All the balconies and windows were filled with lace-wreathed women’s heads, and the excitement and enthusiasm were intense. At the gates of the Alcazar the standard-bearer knocked thrice loudly, and called out: “Alcalde, Alcalde, Alcalde! are you there? Hear, hear, hear!” Within a voice as loudly demanded: “Who calls without the gates of the royal Alcazar?” To which the standard-bearer haughtily replied: “The king.” The gates were opened, revealing an immense and picturesque concourse of splendidly apparelled knights and men in gleaming armour, a blaze of brocade and damascene. The standard-bearer cried again: “Alcalde, Alcalde, Alcalde; hear, hear, hear; Toledo to-day has lifted this royal pennon for the king, Don ——, our lord, whom God preserve for many and happy years. And, accompanied by its municipality, it has sent me, its standard-bearer, to bring it to you as the Alcalde of those royal palaces, that you may receive it in his majesty’s name, and place it in the tower, which is called the tower of the Atambor.” The palace doors were then closed, and as soon as the pennon floated above the high tower wall, the Alcalde shouted thrice the same formula as that of the standard-bearer when he raised the standard above the balcony of the town hall, and the people below each time responded ‘Amen.’ The procession returned to the town hall, and this ended the picturesque ceremony.

The greatest Toledan figure of this period is the mitred figure of the conqueror of the battle that virtually demolished the Moor in Spain, Las Navas de la Tolosa. Rodrigo Jimenez de Rada was more than an illustrious{92} archbishop at a time when archbishops were rulers of men, and when the archbishop of Toledo might be said to be the practical sovereign of Spain. He was a valiant soldier, a commander of genius on the battlefield, a zealous prelate and an erudite man of letters and historian. Conqueror of Las Navas de Tolosa, no mean victory, since the Moors were in tremendous excess, conqueror of Quezada, of Cazuola and Cordova, the honoured friend and adviser of two kings, first of his day in all things by right of genius, industry and merit, Toledo owes him something more than Christian victory over the Moor, something far more immortal and magnificent than that dull and prejudiced monument his history, so often quoted—La Historia de España—which he wrote in 1215. It owes him her great, her unique, her matchless cathedral. To have won the most glorious of Spanish battles—a victory so stupendous, considering the odds and the results that the great archbishop himself insisted it was nothing less than due to the intervention of heaven—and to have built the cathedral of Toledo! What epitaph needs a man who accomplished two such deeds in a single life? His epitaph, as befits so illustrious a personage, is simplicity itself:

Mater Navarra, metrix Castilla Tolatum
Sedes Parisius studium, mons Rhodams Horta,
Mausoleum, coelum requies, nomen Rodericus.

What a dazzling achievement the lives of these Toledan archbishops, martial, learned, literary, eloquent, and artistic; every facet of multiple genius. Now they build ships, then cathedrals, colleges or palaces. They print rare editions, collect rare MSS., debate in councils, rule the land, vociferate magnificently from the pulpit, decide on all questions of education and civil law, advise their sovereign, guide foreign{93} politics, voyage in foreign lands, win glorious battles, and write histories and verse! What modern life can match theirs? Even Mr Gladstone has neither built a great cathedral nor won a great battle! This Archbishop of Toledo, a mighty chancellor of Castille, was as charitable a pastor as Victor Hugo’s bishop. Indeed, nothing remains to his discredit as a great and simple nature, but the unavoidable bigotry and injustice of his history. He died on his last voyage back from Rome, and was buried, as his quoted epitaph indicates, in the monastery of Huesta, June 10th, 1247.

Alfonso’s crusade against the Moors was followed by dreadful dearth, by famine and sickness, and the entire ruin of villages and farms. Public misfortune habitually forges fresh unexpected miseries for man, and bands of armed robbers and assassins, called golfines, descended in hordes from the mountains of Toledo, of Ciudad Real and Talavera. They pitched their tents in the outlying woods, and in self-defence the Toledans formed their celebrated Hermandad, a brotherhood of citizens sworn to persecute robbers and assassins. This brotherhood was so successful that in 1223 it was qualified as “holy,” and was conceded as a right one head of every flock and cattle that crossed the mountains. The Society held its feast on St Pedro Advinada’s day, 1st August, and consisted of sixty Toledan proprietors and hidalgoes, whose sons inherited their office; two governors, a squadron, archers and minor subalterns elected by the two alcaldes. The uniform was green, with collar and cuffs of vivid scarlet trimmed with gold, and pointed caps. The inferior officers wore a loose green garment suitable for the road, and capes and bonnets of green, without the bright touch of scarlet and gold, and their uniform may still be seen on a stone station{94} above a sixteenth century porch in a laneway opposite the Calle de la Tripería, where the ancient prison of the Hermandad is. They rode in procession, preceded by timbrals and clarinets, and carried a green banner with the arms of Castille. It was this brotherhood that Philip II. presented with a magnificent camp of green cloth which to-day may be seen in the Museum of Artillery in Madrid, and here the Hermandad received their sovereigns when they visited Toledo. The success of this brotherhood provoked the creation of minor fraternities and another Toledan order was started against robbers, San Martin de la Montiña, with similar privileges granted by royal decree as those of the more famous Hermandad. Later, the Catholic kings instituted the Hermandad nueva, of disastrous memory, formed of one thousand horse and foot with a captain, general, and a supreme council, whose duties and functions were multiplied and extended beyond the province all over the unhappy Peninsula. This brotherhood we know, alas! played a terrible part in the terrible Inquisition, and hunted down bigger and more historic game than mere robbers and assassins.

The hum of the Moorish wars ever accompanied the interior war of discord and turbulent dissensions. When St Fernando entered Toledo as the new sovereign, he found the town groaning under the tyranny of the wicked governor, Fernandez Gonzalo. Two girls, one a young lady and the other a girl of the people, flung themselves before the saintly young monarch to complain of seduction under promise of marriage. San Fernando, who did not trifle in these matters, expressed his horror and demanded the name of the seducer. The instant the governor, Fernandez Gonzalo, was mentioned, he turned furiously to his men and cried, “Cut me off that rasca{95}l’s head this very moment.” Within an hour the gallant governor’s livid features were fixed above the Puerta del Sol. Here was a man without any of the freemasonry of his sex. Death itself was the penalty he unhesitatingly meted out without debate for wrong done to women. Not a word of blame for the girls, no compliance to the conventional theory of gallantry. The man who betrays a woman is a blackguard; then off with his head, and space for cleaner souls. A little drastic, perhaps, but conceive our civilised world in the eyes of a San Fernando. Conceive him presiding over one of our Courts of Justice for the settlement of breaches of promises! So wise his judgment in the esteem of Toledo that to-day the historic scene is in relief on the glorious Puerta del Sol.

Under Castillian rule Toledo’s supremacy could not continue without rivalry. First, Santiago had disputed her right to hold her celebrated councils, and a furious quarrel raged between the Pope, Calixtus, and the King, Alfonso, as to whether the councils should be held at Toledo or at Santiago in the north. The pope took the part of Diego the Galician archbishop, and, for a while, Santiago was regarded as the primacy of Spain. But, under Honorius, Toledo and her archbishop, Raymond, recovered their prestige with this time the king against them. In 1129 a council was held at Palencia. Here Toledo sat at the feet of Compostella. Charlemagne, himself, is said to have broken a lance in favour of Santiago which, one knows not by what right, he proclaimed the head of Spain. Beside the question of the primacy, Burgos put in her claim for the Cortes, which she held should meet within her walls, and not on the banks of the Tagus. Here the king was the stout defender of Toledo. At the great meeting convened to discuss this rivalry, the king entered the Council Chamber, and haughtily cried:{96} “Let Burgos speak, I will reply for Toledo.” The rivalry of the great families of the Castros and Laras nearly became a civil war, Toledo fighting on the side of the Laras, whose chief, Don Manrique, was a character after her heart: intrepid, dominating and fierce, unequalled in war, untameable in peace. The little king’s uncle settled the dispute by killing Don Manrique de Lara, and to avenge him Toledo violently conspired through her great citizen, Stephen Illan, a descendant of the illustrious Byzantine family, the Paleologos. These animosities were quieted for a while by the terrible plague and famine that followed quick upon the heels of victory, and avenged the defeated Moors of Las Navas de Tolosa. Misery implacably stalked Castille. Seeds bore no fruit for one entire year; trees were dead and leafless, the land was sterile and the people, wild with hunger, forsook their dead, their orchards and meadowland.

Of Toledo’s private story we get no glimpse. The thunder of battle and strife roars ever down the pages of her history in the succeeding centuries, and we continually hear of new breaches in her magnificent walls, while the trumpets blow their noisy defiance from her mutinous ramparts. That Toledo was no comfortable place to dwell in then (or now) we gather from the acrid description of the streets, rivers of mud in winter, and in summer, waves of dust, full of filth, evil odours, foul sights and breathing mortal disease. Alfonso the Learned in 1278 ordered the streets to be cleansed and the plazas to be kept free of dead beasts. The chapter gave ten thousand ducats for paving the street, but this was not done until Fernando the Catholic ordered the work in 1502. Alas! these sanitary improvements heralded the hour of her decline. She bartered her prestige for improved paths down to the river, and lost the greater part of her greatness{97} along with her rugged incivility. And for all her progress she never shook off the old sway of Goth and Moor. She built churches, but persistently gave them a quaint Moorish aspect, and when she adopted printing, it was to print the Isidorian office. True, she exhaled her martial contempt of women in her first profane print, El Tratado contra las mujeres, by Alfonso Martinez de Toledo in 1499.



Nobody contributed more than the magnificent Cardinal Tenorio, Commendador and Master of Santiago, to beautify the town. He built the cathedral cloisters, and the chapel of St Blas, liberally endowed the church, built the bridge of St Martin and the castle of San Servando as well as several convents, the archbishop’s bridge, the Hospital of St Catherine, and a splendid palace at Talavera, which he gave to the monks of St Hieronymo. He constructed several fortresses along the Moorish frontiers. Of him is told the legend that once at Burgos he gave such a princely feast to the nobles of that town, that when the king returned from the chase there was nothing to be had to eat but a few quail and bread and wine. The great Tenorio had cleared Burgos of all its provisions for his banquet.

Toledan laws, which were stringent, were based upon the fueros, a Castillian modification of the Gothic code. Nothing could be more precise, more minute,{98} more searching in detail of offence and punishment of all that relates to private and civic life. The very dress of women, Mozarabe and Castillian, was regulated according to their social status, the expenses of marriages, baptisms, and funerals regulated; the expenses of fathers and husbands limited by their income to prevent injury to the family. The Moors and Jews had their own judges unless Christian interests were at stake, when they were judged before Mozarabe tribunals. The Mayor’s jury consisted of five nobles and five citizens. Each court had its magistrate and official staff, and the municipality met twice a week, Tuesday and Friday, to judge the decisions in block. The people might assist, but could not vote or question. The magistrates were salaried, and could not leave the city unless sent for by royal command. The municipal constitution was composed of two bodies: cabildo de regidores, cavaliers and citizens, to deliberate; the other, cabildo de jurados, sworn to observe the fueros, and to administer justice. The privileges of nobles and plebeians were distinctly defined and maintained. The regidores were paid annually 1000 maravedis, and the jurados 1500. Assistance at the councils was voluntary for the former, obligatory for the latter; a fine of 20 maravedis being imposed in case of absence, which fines were at the end of the year divided between the rest of the jurados who had not once been fined. A juror could not be imprisoned for debt, nor forced to lend his mules for public service, and his widow and children partook of his privileges if he died in office. Toledo was always strongly garrisoned, but its military decline began with the reign of Pedro the Cruel.

The inexplicable and monstrous tale of Pedro’s cruelties need not be told here. He has become one of the legends of universal history, one of the{99} nursery terrors of civilisation. That such a monster ever lived out of a fairy tale, where giants for pure pleasure spend their days consuming human flesh and marrying wives for the gratification of decorating secret chambers with hanging corpses, seems incredible. His palace at Toledo is now a miserable ruin, near the ruin of the Trastamare palace, of which now only remains the door with the huge Toledan iron nails, so charming and distinctive a feature along the city streets. Here was the theatre of many of his stupefying iniquities, as well as of the single redeeming sentiment of a senseless life, his love for the unfortunate and beautiful Maria de Padilla, the one pale flower of romance in a stony and stormy period. Kings’ mistresses are not usually admirable or sympathetic figures, and their mission is not infrequently fraught with direst results. But this pale little Maria, with lovely hands and large sad eyes, is the one ray of light and sweetness amidst violence, cruelty, and perfidy. Such good as love could work amidst such elements she wrought. When she could she interposed between Pedro and his victims, and even the outraged wife reveals no traces of vindictiveness towards her. At the other side of the town, in the big Alcázar, was imprisoned Blanche of Bourbon, under the care of Maria’s uncle, Juan Fernandez de Hinestrosa, and all that now remains of her high chamber is the window overlooking a superb landscape. It is to the credit of Toledo that the citizens were the first to rise up against Pedro’s iniquities. The queen, accompanied by Hinestrosa, entered the cathedral to pray, and to the dismay of everyone called out “Sanctuary,” and refused to leave it. Word flew round the town, and all the ladies and women of the people gathered round the unhappy woman. The knights and hidalgoes could do no less than follow the lead of their courageous{100} women folk. They drew their swords, made a circle round her, and walking thus escorted the queen to the palace gates. The flag of revolt was instantly raised, and the people called the infante, Don Fadique, to come and take command. He came with 700 men, and Doña Blanca was proclaimed free and sovereign. Toledo then sent a commission to the king, bearing the town’s orders: that Maria de Padilla and her relatives should be banished, and the queen occupy her rightful place. The king made short work of the commission, and laughed in the face of his rebellious town. His morals were his own affair, and if they did not suit his people they must hold their tongues until he had time to cut off their heads. Meanwhile Henry of Trastamare and Don Fadique had taken the town by the bridge of St Martin. They sacked and pillaged, robbed Samuel Levi, Pedro’s great and wealthy treasurer, and murdered 1200 Jews. Then came Pedro, and the Trastamares fled, leaving what remained of the town to the mercies of the ruthless royal troops. Toledo paid a heavy price for her chivalrous defence of the discarded queen. The unhappy woman was again locked up in the Alcázar, and like the wicked ogre of story, Pedro, entertained himself by hacking off the heads of those around him. Twenty men were decapitated in a single day by this mild monarch, whom Philip II. called El justiciero, and of whom the Cronica writes:

“El gran rey, Don Pedro, que el vulgo reprueva,
Pos serle enemigo quien hizo su historia,
Fue digno de clara y muy digna memoria.”

These verses quotes the prelate of Jaen, Juan of Castro, who rehabilitated Pedro, by asserting that he only “wrought justice upon rebels,” and who laments the baseness of his assassination at the hand of the{101} worthless Trastamare, a vile termination of a vile life, in which one regrets to see as accomplice one of the old heroes of our youth, Du Guesclin. The list of Pedro’s cruelties and assassinations is stupendous. He married women and cast them aside at will, without even the troubles of our English Henry. Shortly after his marriage with the unfortunate Blanche of France, he married Juana de Castro, sister of the Portuguese King, yet neither France nor Portugal went to war, and the Church did not interfere. He instantly abandoned Juana, and returned to Maria de Padilla, whom he always acknowledged as his sole wife, and whose children he named his heirs. There can be no doubt that he passionately loved these little girls of Maria, taking them with him as his most precious treasure when he travelled, and leaving in their behalf a will, so tender and precise, so burthened with anxiety for their welfare, that his life becomes a greater enigma than ever after reading it. Beatrice he named queen, to the detriment of his legitimate son by Juana de Castro. His love for Maria de Padilla was no less deep and lasting. She was buried with royal honours, and at the Cortes convened after her death, he publicly, and it must be admitted with a manly devotion and courage that does him credit, acknowledged her as his wife. Here his wilfulness becomes a virtue, and we are touched by his unswerving love for the woman, of whom the churchman, Lozano, writes, “in her little body heaven had placed great qualities and merits of the highest order.” His real love for Maria is all the more extraordinary, since he was one of the vilest libertines, who burnt women alive for refusing his addresses, and in his conduct to his unfortunate French wife, he showed himself nothing less than insane. The hero of Mr Meredith’s modern novel, “The Amazing Marriage,” is a model of conventional behaviour to a{102} bride beside Don Pedro the Cruel. After torturing her he murdered her, which explains the attitude of France towards him, and the sorry figure of the great Du Guesclin at the tragedy of Montiel.

Toledo only roused herself out of stupor in the first gaieties of Juan II.’s reign. This prince preferred song and dance to bloodshed. He heard of the people of Toledo as insupportable, haughty and rebellious, and came to conquer them by luth and feast. Never was Toledo so gay before. The great Alvaro de Luna, the Constable of Castille, was beside him, and the city danced and sang, and feasted itself into oblivion of terror and disaster. Even a war with the Moors was an added and pleasurable excitement. King John prayed and watched in the cathedral all night like a knight, and there was a solemn ceremony next day, when Vasco de Guzman, before the magnificently apparelled king and constable, kissed the royal standard and banners. Still grander feasts on their return fresh from conquests at Granada and Cordova; there was the great Te Deum in the cathedral, and the bullfights by torchlight on the Zocodover, and by day feasts and tourneys in the brilliant Vega. Here begins the rivalry of the celebrated Toledan families, the Ayalas and the Silvas, and the quarrels of the Constable of Castille and Pedro Sarmiento, in which the meaner figure wins. The Jews, too, were persecuted in a monstrous crusade provoked by the bigoted and atrociously unchristian eloquence of that most unsympathetic of saints, Vicente Ferrer. Under his lead, the Christians seized the beautiful little synagogue, Santa Maria La Blanca, an act of injustice it would be difficult to explain by any pronouncement of Christ, himself a Jew. But all was not black at this period, despite perfidy, cowardice, betrayal and persecution. Juan II. was fond of rivalry and bright apparel, and his splendid victim, Alvaro de Luna,{103} remains one of the finest figures of Castillian history. John himself dabbled in poetry, and patronised letters. He instituted a kind of Provençal Court, and one of his contemporaries was the celebrated Marquis of Villena, Henry, the man in advance of his time, man of science and scholar, mathematician and reader of the stars. Later, alas, his valuable library and his writings, treasures of erudition and memory, were publicly burnt at Madrid, by order of Fray Lope Barriento, a Dominican, who accused him of witchcraft, and Juan de Mena wrote his famous “Coplas” to the memory of the great and learned marquis:

“Aquel que te ves estar contemplando
En el movimiento de tantas estrellas,
La fuerza, la bra, el orden de aquellas,
Que mide los cursos de cómo y de cuando,
Y ovo noticia filosofando
Del movedos, y de los comovidos
De fuego, de razos, de son de tronidos,
Y supo las causas del mundo velando:
Aquel claro padre, aquel dulce fuente,
Aquel que en el Cástalo monte resuena.
Es Don Enrique, Señor de Villena,
Honra de España y del siglo presente.
O inclito sabio, autor muy sciente!
Otra y aun otra vegado te lloro,
Porque Castillo perdio tal tesoro
No conveido delante la gente
Perdio los tus libros sin sea conveidos
Y como en exequias te fueron ya luego
Unos metidos al avido fuego,
Y otros sin orden no bien repartidos.
Cierto en Atenas los libros fingidos
Que de Protagoras se reprobaron
Con armenia mejor se quemaron
Cuando al senado le fueron leidos.”

Here as elsewhere the nobles and people of Toledo were constantly at loggerheads, though it would be difficult to say on which side reason preponderated. Now it was the Silvas who sided with the rebels, then{104} the Ayalas who opened the city gates to them. One Ayala, mayor of the town, rode to meet an invading infante; the infante reproached him insolently, on which Ayala flung back his words, and turning rode into Toledo to shut the gates in his face. They were not to be trifled with, these haughty Toledans. In a measure their prince was their valet, and was subject to insult upon provocation.

The same may be said of the artisans. There exists a Toledan proverb: “Soplaré el odrero alborazarse ha Toledo.” Let the ironmonger (or pot-maker) blow and Toledo will rise up. This proverb dates from the time of John II., who begged the Toledans to supply him with a certain amount of maravedis towards the expenses of his wars with Aragon and Navarre. The people indignantly refused, and the first to hiss the Toledan note of revolt was a maker of iron pots. Previously someone had discovered a Gothic inscription which proved that the ironmongers of Gothic days were the centre of urban revolution, hence the proverb proving their traditional contumelious disposition.

King John’s love of poetry produced two Toledan poets, praised by Dr Pisa, Antonio de Heredia, a poet who “added rare glory to the Castillian muse” (probably an ancestor of the French academician, Jose Maria de Heredia) and a woman, Aloysia de Sigea, whose portrait may be seen in the Biblioteca provincial de Toledo. The fame of her erudition travelled to Portugal, and she is said to have written fluently in Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Syriac, and Arabian, though with so inconceivable a lack of decency that her muse to-day is not translateable in modern tongue. Doña Luisa Sigea of Toledo, and her witty daughter Doña Angela, were called “women philosophers,” and their depraved works are supposed to be founded on the{105} traditions of a mysterious association discovered under John II. at Sevilla, “a bizarre school whose immorality is understood by the terms of the law that prescribes it.”[11]

Alvaro de Luna found the Toledans no easy subjects to deal with. Pedro Sarmiento constituted himself chief of the revolution against the mighty Constable, and instead of a great lord the people had to do with a mean and avaricious hound. Don Alvaro appointed captains his sons, Pedro de Luna and Fernando de Rivadeneira, and ordered them to cross the river and besiege the town by the Puente de Alcantara. Sarmiento sent 50 horses and 500 foot out by the Puerta del Cambron under his son to surprise the Constable’s forces near the river. A fierce battle ensued, and the King himself had to make conditions for the Constable with the violent and haughty citizens. Sarmiento demanded that the Constable should be given up or the King resign, and roundly accused his sovereign of weakness and favouritism. The King demurred, upon which Sarmiento invited his son to come and reign, but Henry soon found that he was only a tool in Sarmiento’s hands, and left the city in dudgeon, to return speedily at the head of an army to crush the too powerful Sarmiento. Ordered to leave Toledo, Sarmiento loaded two hundred beasts with gold, silver, jewels, carpets, brocade, silk, and linen he had robbed of the citizens he oppressed, and to the prince’s shame the impudent thief was permitted to carry off his treasure unmolested. The execution of the great Constable, infamously abandoned by his friend and sovereign, did not secure peace and content to rebel Toledo.

The state of the town in the succeeding years was so terrible that the citizens sent the Bachelor Fernan Sanchez Calderon to supplicate the king’s interference, and{106} enable them to possess in security their goods and products of those who had beaten, robbed, and ruined the town. The King declined to interfere himself, and expressed surprise that a man of such marvellous learning and science as the bachelor should come on such an errand. To the King’s rebuke, the bachelor replied: “God forfend, illustrious lord, that I should hold as worthy of your majesty’s attention such things, but I accepted this embassy to make manifest to your excellency the evil things that are being done.” The King retorted: “It is my duty to punish evil, not to reward it.”

Temporary peace came with the union of the two powerful houses of Ayala and Silva, in the marriage of Doña Maria de Silva and Pero Lopez de Ayala. But King Henry’s entry into Toledo aroused the old lion. The alarm bells rung, and the citizens rushed armed to the bishop’s palace, where the King was. Fearing bloodshed, a squadron of cavaliers rode hot haste to the palace and begged the King to leave the city, and he went forth surrounded by the reconciled Ayalas and Silvas. To all the troubles that followed between Isabel and Henry, Toledo added more than her share. One moment the nobles held the town, and then the people, both parties ever opposed in interests, allegiance, and both in reality caring greatly more for their own archbishop, their real sovereign, than the throned king who ruled all Castille. With two parties contending for the crown of Castille, Isabel and the Beltranaje, Henry’s acknowledged heiress, his wife’s but not his own daughter, sympathy ran high in Toledo on both sides. The Marquis of Villena attempted to capture the Princess Isabel, but was defeated by the vigilant archbishop, who collected a body of horse, and carried her off to Valladolid. Never were betrothal and marriage solemnised under{107} more romantic and thrilling circumstances than were those of Isabel, Shakespeare’s “queen of earthly queens,” the sole majestic and perfect sovereign of Spain, and Ferdinand her unworthy husband, whose single virtue lay in the admirable way during her lifetime in which he seconded her rule. In gratitude for Toledo’s sympathy, the great queen visited the town immediately after her marriage, but the scenes of her triumphs and glory lie elsewhere. There is but one blot on them, due to her husband and the terrible Torquemado, the introduction of the Inquisition into Castille. This was shortly before the great Cortes held at Toledo, 1480, where the salutary measures of reform instituted by her were such to leave her subjects awestruck in admiration of her genius. But there were the Portuguese and the Moors calling her attention, with blare of trumpet and shock of steel, while Toledo’s true sovereign was the great Cardinal, the Cardinal of Spain, Mendoza. Gallant, learned and liberal, a grand seigneur, he was in every way in contrast with his austere successor, Cisneros. He was not unfamiliar with illicit love and its complications, and acknowledged two sons, Iñigo de Mendoza, and Diego, Count of Melito. His gifts to various cities in the shape of palaces, churches, colleges, jewels and rich church ornaments, were incredible, while Toledo possesses his most beautiful Hospital of Santa Cruz. He left all his wealth to this hospital, appointing Queen Isabel his executor. He it was who waved the royal standard from the highest tower of the Alhambra after the taking of Granada, and, better still, counselled Isabel to lend a friendly and helpful hearing to Columbus. His library was the most magnificent of mediæval Spain. Philip II. was in treaty to purchase this rare collection for the Escorial, and a correspondence exists between his secretary and the{108} vicar of Toledo, Maese Alvar Gomez. It afterwards fell into the hands of Cardinal Loaysa, and was valued at twenty thousand ducats. Mendoza employed a staff of writers in copying and transcribing rare MSS., the chief of whom was a Greek, Calosynas, a pupil of Darmarius.

We approach the last hours of Toledan history. The great queen’s death revealed the worthlessness of her husband, and the unfortunate Juana became the victim of the vilest conspiracy between the three men to whom she should have been most sacred. First her father, not willing to step down from the throne of Castille to make way for his daughter, decided to proclaim her mad. Then her husband, won over by promises of Fernando, consented to accept the situation, but was cut off suddenly, after the agreement, poisoned it is said, by Fernando’s orders. Then the heartless young prince, her son, resolved to carry on the infamous persecution, in order to reign in her stead, and kept the poor woman nearly fifty years in a dark comfortless chamber, ill-treated by her keepers, the Marquis and Marchioness of Denia, with no communication with the outer world. The story of Juana la Loca, to whose perfect sanity Cisneros and her confessor, Juan de Avila, testify, is one of the saddest of history.

In 1505, the Marquis of Villena received orders to place Toledo under Flemish rule. The town murmured rebelliously, and as soon as Philip died at Burgos, declared itself independent. The nobles, headed by Silva and Ayala, met and swore that under no consideration should the sword or any artillery be employed to keep the peace. The Silvas held the gates and bridges, but the Ayalas, exasperated by the dominance of their old rivals, talked the townspeople into a rising, and bloodshed ensued. The Silvas conquered, flung the magistrate and his party out of{109} the city, and the streets were strewn with wounded and dead. On Fernando’s death, Cisneros became the regent of Castille, with Adriano of Utrecht and Armestoff. Cisneros filled the town with militia, and the ramparts glittered with steel. Now Toledo’s pet aversion was a uniform. She liked to fight, but in her own rough, free-lance style. So she rose up against the cardinals, and after a futile rebellion, in which neighbouring towns engaged, was speedily quelled. But the insurgents within her gates kept muttering of treachery on Charles’ side and of his unhappy mother. So Toledo, “the crown of Spain and light of the whole world, ever free since the high reign of the Goths,” decided to fight for the queen, and depose the tyrannical young Charles. Insolent verses rang round the town, jeering at Xebres the favourite:—

“Doblon de à dos horabuena estedes,
Que con vos no topó Xebres.”
“Señor ducado de à dos
No topó Xebres con vos.”
“Salveos Dios, ducado de à dos
Que Monsieur de Xebres no topó con vos.”

The favourite had to fly from the city, and when his nephew, William of Croy, was appointed to the great see of Toledo, there was a frantic explosion. Everything combined to excite indignation. Austrian fashions were adopted to please Charles, goods were imported from every foreign port to the detriment of home productions, and Toledo, that employed over ten thousand workmen in silk factories, was nearly ruined by the royal decree limiting the use of silk, and forbidding the use of Spanish embroideries of gold, and silver, and rich brocade. This tyranny brought about the famous rising of the Comuneros, under Juan de Padilla. Padilla is the greatest figure of mediæval{110} Toledo. Historians delight in him as a true hero, brave, gallant, honourable, wise, a perfect hidalgo, as romance paints him, punctillious, unaffected and pious. The worst his bitterest enemies ever said of him was, that he played second fiddle to his heroic wife, Maria de Pacheco, and coveted the mantle of Master of Santiago. His influence over the citizens and people was immense. For a single word of his, 20,000 workmen armed themselves, and stood round him. They named him captain-general of the combined forces of the Comuneros, with Francisco Maldonado in command at Salamanca, and Juan Bravo in command at Segovia. Toledo seized all the outlying towns and villages, and her voice of command reached to the Portuguese frontier and as far north as Valladolid. The cruelty and treachery practised by the Imperial army, with the prince of perfidy at its head, were such to send all Castille vigorously marching behind the heroic Padilla. War once set a-going, Padilla went down to Tordesillas to see the queen. Toledo remembered that the outraged sovereign had been born within her walls, and despatched her gallantest son with words of sympathy and allegiance. At a sign from Juana, he was ready to translate the junta from Toledo to Tordesillas, and make a rampart of his men for her protection. He forced the gates, and learnt the miserable tale of the queen’s compulsory detention and sufferings, and found that “she was in her right senses, and quite as capable of governing as her mother, Isabel.” To every urgent prayer to sign the decree proclaiming her inviolable rights, and her son’s base usurpation, she answered “that all that she has is her son’s.” “The queen,” wrote Hurtado de Mendoza to Charles, “spoke nobly to the rebels,” and adds that he regards her as “perfectly sane.”

While Padilla was being worshipped as a popular{111} idol at Valladolid, jealousy and disunion were working against him at Toledo. Great men had joined the people and Padilla, the Duke of Infantado, the Marquis of Villena, Juan de Avila, and many prelates and knights. They had imprisoned the King’s messengers and ministers in the Chapel of St Blas, and forced the governor to swear fealty to the Commindad. The mayor defending the Bridge of St Martin had fallen, and the Silvas, guarding the Alcázar against 4000 men, were forced to evacuate when the insurgents burnt down the gates and walls, and were masters of all the fortifications. They made canons of the church bells, stopped up every entrance by the river, and defied the Imperial army. Such a proud and congenial hour for Toledo. All the citizens went about puffed up with glory and addressed one another as “Brutus,” swaggering abroad, and ready to ring the bells as soon as word came from Tordesillas that the queen had signed.[12] Padilla hurried back, hearing his wife was ill, and in his absence the Imperial army sacked Tordesillas. Jealousy as usual had weakened the force of the Comuneros, though Padilla’s gallant presence impelled them to some brilliant skirmishing. But their fate was sealed at Villalar, where the Conde de Haro defeated them, and took prisoners to the Castle of Villalar, the infamous Ulloa’s property, three noble gentlemen of old Castille, Padilla, Maldonado and{112} Bravo, whose names are writ upon the walls of the parliament house of Madrid, and printed large upon the hideous page of Charles Quint’s early reign. Padilla’s noble letters of farewell to his wife, Maria de Pacheco, and to Toledo, may be seen in the archives of Simancas, letters full of stately sentiment, of dignified tenderness and virile pathos. History proudly records his rebuke to Bravo’s last lament as they walked to the gallows: “Señor Juan Bravo, yesterday it befitted us to fight like cavaliers; to-day it befits us to die like Christians.” Their heads were exposed over the gates of Toledo, and then flung into the river.

Maria de Pacheco, “the great widow,” as a Spanish poet calls her, still held the town against the Imperial army. She was found praying at the foot of the cross when her servants brought her the news of Padilla’s defeat and death. She rose, robed herself in black, and walked to the Alcázar between her husband’s lieutenants, Davalos and Acuña, who bore a standard representing Padilla’s execution. They named her captain of the insurgents, and found her implacable and violent, but still a sovereign commander. She took gold from the churches without any compunction, ordered the massacre of her enemies and their bodies to be flung over the castle walls, but could liberally admire gallantry in an enemy too. Pedro de Guzman, wounded, was carried into her presence. He had fought magnificently, and she ordered him to be treated well. When cured, she offered him the command of the Comuneros which he indignantly refused, whereupon she gave him freedom and paid for his carriage, only asking him to free any Toledan who should fall into his hands. A generous if a ruthless enemy! Her influence over the town was extraordinary. The Imperialists and Comuneros met in a violent clash upon the Zocodover. On one side{113} shouts of Viva el rey; on the other, Padilla y Commindad. Too ill to walk, Maria was carried out in a chair into the midst of the conflict, and cried out loudly, “Peace! Peace!” Her cry was enough. There was no need of eloquence, of menace, of adjuration. One single word and a look, and swords were sheathed as by magic, and both parties, in pacific rivalry, enthusiastically escorted her back to the Alcázar where she was throned a queen. She it was who interposed between Charles and Toledo, and obtained the town’s pardon. But the dead remained unforgiven, and Padilla’s palace, by royal decree, was levelled to the ground, and the place is now an ugly little square planted with acacias, without even the tablet that used to mark the spot where the house stood. The great widow died in exile in Portugal. Her flight from Toledo was worthy of her romantic career. Dressed as a villager, by dead of night, she stole out of the town to join her knights in the silent Vega. Here a horse awaited her, and the little band, gallantly guarding a brave woman and the baby son she clasped in her arms, Padilla’s proscribed heir, made for the Portuguese frontier. With this heroic figure vanishes the last gleam of Toledo’s greatness.

Charles V. came here, and had some liking for the town, since he rebuilt the Alcázar with its magnificent staircase, but did not live to enjoy it, and his wife, Doña Isabel, died here. To him Toledo owed the great water works of Juanelo Turriano, the wonder of the times, a machine composed of tin cases pinned together and rising in file from the river to the castle. The water entering the first case was pushed into the second by wheels, and thus up to the castle, where it fell into a reservoir. This artificio is written of in Paris in 1615 in “L’Inventaire général des plus curieuses recherches des Royaumes d’Espayne”: “Là{114} tu verras le grand, fort et mémorable Alcázar, où l’eau monte en grande abondance par un artifice admirable, qui rejaillit de la rivière du Tage. A ceste invention est semblable celle que fit faire Henry le Grand d’heureu mémoire sur le Pont Neuf de cette bonne ville de Paris où il y a deux belles figures de bronze, l’une de Jésus Christ, et l’autre de la Samaritáine. Il n’y a que cette différence que l’eau de Tolède monte deux fois plus haut que l’autre, et jette aussi gros que le corps d’un bœuf.”

But henceforth Toledo is an effaced figure among Spanish towns. She is no longer the Imperial city or the Royal town, and is only a great historic memory.{115}


The old Spanish Capital, once and now

THE tale of Toledo’s rough and broken history, ending as I have shown with the last struggle of the Comuneros, will have amply prepared the reader for the town’s present physiognomy. Few cities in Europe that for so long were accustomed to opulence and power, have known a reverse so instantaneous, so complete, an extinction against which all effort, all hope, all aspiration have proved vain, as that which Toledo was crushed beneath, when Felipe Segundo chose miserable, ugly, undistinguished Madrid for his country’s capital. Until then the vicissitudes, the fortunes of Toledo were those of all Spain. Even now in her ruin, the violent and imperious character of the race remains imperishably stamped on the harsh, sad mixture of beauty and ugliness of her conservative features. But the country itself takes no note of her. She has lived, she lives no more, except in the memory of historians, for the fugitive admiration of the traveller.

Unchanged I have said she is in all respects; a perfect mediæval picture in high relief against the background of civilised Europe. Nothing less civilised will you find along the least traversed byways of our modern world. Of her ancient splendours she presents such vestiges as to shame all that the ages have done for us. In beauty, alas, we have not progressed.{116} That remains behind along with many other divine things, the portion of this sadly-used old world’s bright morning. Such vast centres as London and Paris are mean enough compared with what such a town as Toledo must have been when her semi-royal archbishops flourished and kings were proud and delighted if she but smiled upon them, more used as they were to her frowns and her visage of haughty revolt; when the Jews throve, great capitalists, and ruled the Exchange, when the Muezzin was heard over her narrow streets and the crescent floated from her towers, and her weekly markets in the Zocodover were so thronged that magistrates had to preside at the coming and going of strangers, such was the influx on all sides. If the town wears so unique and imposing an aspect after centuries of silence and decay, what must it not have been in each of its great hours of domination, under Goth, Moor, and Christian?

Would that Toledo were but the mausoleum of regrets and memories. There is a dignity and charm in noble widowhood, a grandeur in unobtrusive poverty. But such is not her portion. She has become the home of the most shameless and persecuting beggary it has been my lot to see. All over Italy and Spain beggars thrive in the sun of winter and in the shade of summer. But here they are worse than a plague of mosquitoes. Castillian good-nature, a grand manner in money matters, and courtesy, vanish at Toledo, where a sullen discourtesy and importunate mendicity reign. The people reverse every notion travels in North Spain and Old Castille had led me to form of the Spaniards, of their kindliness, of distinguished honesty, and of disinterestedness. The Toledans regard the foreigner with the eye of the bird of prey. The instant his foot touches their ground they pounce upon him, and he knows{117} neither rest nor freedom from their mercenary and dishonest attentions till the train carries him away from their mean little station. It is not safe to ask a question of even a well-dressed Toledan. If he tells you to take the right instead of the left, he is sure to ask you either for a tip or alms. But you may rest assured he regards himself entitled to one or the other. All the boys of whatever class, bourgeois or artizan, coming out from the Institute with sachels slung over their shoulders, or running errands, well-shod and clothed, along the streets, at the sight of a foreigner shriek out “Un canki sou” if they imagine they know French, and “cinco centimes” when they are content with Castillian. If you take no notice, they will pursue you in a vituperative procession, and not scruple to fling their caps, ay, even stones at you. Other Spanish towns are proud and noble in their decay, Toledo is unhappily degraded and brutalised. She has no commerce, no stir, no money. She has no communication with the outer world except through the travellers who briefly pass her way, and upon whose exploitation she lives. She has no standard of civilisation. Her object is to make every foreigner pay for every step he takes along her rude and inhospitable pavements. The people have no desire whatever to make a good impression, no pride in the hope that the stranger shall go away and speak them fair in remote parts. They neither want his good opinion nor his sympathy; but they want as much of his money as they can get. The ill-will is general. Canons, citizens, sacristans, guides, interpreters—all appear to be in a secret league to multiply difficulties and exact tips. Only the common women, all over Spain the cream of the race, retain something of Spanish good-nature and courtesy. If Spain should ever be redeemed and lifted once again to her old{118} position as a nation of the earth—for now she is but a squalid and disorderly province—it will be due to the persistent amiability and kindliness of the women of the people. These want nothing but intelligence to make them the equals of the French, and here the intelligence is only dormant. It would take so little to develop it, and they are so unconsciously the better half, in such pathetic and humble ignorance of their superiority to their pretentious mates. So little love have the people for anything that is graceful, or charming or pleasant, that the guitar-players would not dream, as they wander down the dark romantic streets at night, of thrumming their guitar for mere pleasure. They must be paid a real (2-1/2d.) before they will play a single air, and then of the shortest, and if you wish them to continue you must continue producing reals at intervals. I have not heard any good playing here, and the music is of the vulgarest, but such as it is, in a dead town without a single distraction or break in the night’s monotony, one would gladly pay a peseta to hear undisturbed a little Toledan music. But no. They have no artistic desire to please before receiving payment. Their mean terror is of playing a bar that shall go unpaid for, and for this reason they stop in the middle of an air and spoil their effect.

But perhaps we should not grumble, great a blot on an impressive landscape and down streets that have not altered since the spurred and belted centuries, as this grasping and mendicant race is.[13] With a different people{119} Toledo must surely have changed her physiognomy, and taken on a more civilised and prosperous air. And though this would be her gain, it would assuredly be our eternal loss. The city as it stands is one of the oldest and most interesting of Europe. Coming straight to it from Nuremberg, a painter has told me that Nuremberg seemed new and artificial beside it. The streets, so terrible for the modern shod foot, could not well be other than they are, taking into consideration the fact that the town is built upon seven rocky peaks 1820 feet above the sea. Perched so high, one has no right, even in the face of electric light, with which we could better dispense, to expect comfortable circulation. As a matter of fact, you do not circulate. You tumble down, and you climb up; you twist round high-walled passages the natives call streets and seem to understand, and your walk is little better than an undignified limp. The feet of the people through the influence of centuries, no doubt, appear to be impervious to the lacerating effect of pointed stones, and you have nothing to do but rise superior to the sensation of pain if you can; if not, to groan in private. But you are so well repaid by every step you take, that you have no claim upon sympathy.

Was ever city so strongly placed, so superbly fortressed as Toledo must have been in Roman, Gothic and Moorish days? We need nothing but her gates to tell us this, though all her great successive walls have been thrown down. Let us gather from her historian of the beginning of the last century, Dr Francisco Pisa, some idea of the town’s features after the Christian conquest, since we can only hope to seize fragmentary notions of the splendours of Moorish rule, and the rudest suggestion of Gothic sway. The life of the city then, as now, spread from the Zocodover, word of inexplicable charm, said to be Arabian and to signify{120} “Place of the Beasts.” To-day even it offers us quite a fresh and startling study of the famous picaresca novel. Down the picturesque archway, cut in deep yellow upon such a blue as only southern Europe can show at all seasons, a few steps lead you to the squalid ruin where Cervantes slept, ate and wrote the Ilustre Fregona. So exactly must it have been in the days Cervantes suffered and smiled, offering to his mild glance just such a wretched and romantic front. In the courtyard muleteers and peasants sit about, and above runs a rude wooden balcony, in the further corner of which was Cervantes’ room, where he sat looking down upon the beasts being fed and watered, cheerfully writing, we may imagine, in the din of idle clatter, in the dense and evil atmosphere of an age and land when the nose was not an inconvenience. If he were no more comfortable than I presume the guests must be to-day, he cannot have suffered more in the prison of Argamasilla, or in slavery to the Turk. Stepping upon the Plaza, there would not now be much that is novel to shock his eye beyond the dress. The Plaza has preserved its old triangular form, two sides straight, and the third curved, with the single broad path that leads to the Alcázar. The shops still run inside the rough arcade that makes the circuit of the place, and loafers and gossips loll upon the stone benches, while water-laden mules amble by, and girls, effective and unimaginably graceful, with well-dressed heads and brilliant eyes, in groups saunter into view, carrying on their hips earthen amphoras, which they have filled at the public fountain. These are features that have not changed since the grave sweet humourist trod this broken pavement. Visit it in the dropping twilight, when the early stars are out, and you will find it alive with promenaders, uniforms in excess among the males. Priests, soldiers and beggars abound, and dwelling on the dulness of Toledo, it can be no{121}







wonder to us that the spruce young officers of Madrid detest being quartered here. What have they to do in a town where there is not even a decent café, and social existence is not partially understood? And the pleasures of walking round a romantic city cannot be offered them as adequate distraction. For us, of course, it suffices as long as taste keeps us at Toledo, and each walk has its fresh surprise, if not a fresh enchantment. Impossible to find a more intricate, maze-like arrangement of streets, and some of the passages behind the Alcázar, and round by the Cathedral look so dreadful and perilous that the marvel is there are to be found persons with sufficient courage to dwell in such places.{124} One is disposed to agree with Robida the French artist, who attributes the excellence of Toledan steel in bygone ages to the desperate danger of the streets, since nobody then but a citizen armed to the teeth would be insane enough to leave his house.

But if the main features of the Zocodover have not changed, the fulness of its life has diminished. In the sixteenth century the Tuesday markets of the place were widely famous. Don Enrique IV. granted the citizens a free market every Tuesday in return for Toledo’s gracious reception of him. For Toledo, as I have shown, did not spoil her rulers, and like all ill-tempered persons, she received a disproportionate acknowledgment of her rare soft moods. Fruit, flowers, provisions of every kind, birds, fish, oil, honey, bacon and cheese were sold, and the exceeding moderation of the prices, owing to the untaxed sales, attracted crowds from all parts. The influx of trade even at this period, though the Jews and Moors, source of her wealth, art and civilisation, had been destituted and expelled, was enormous, so that the magistrates held audience every Tuesday to judge the cases of purchase and sale, and see that the peace was kept. Trade was then so important an affair in Toledo, that priests and magistrates kept the interests of the traders in view in the settlement of church and legal matters, and mass was celebrated over the archway leading to Cervantes’ inn and Cardinal Mendoza’s most beautiful hospital (see façade of Santa Cruz) in a little chapel dedicated to The Precious Blood, expressly set aside for the market people, at the earliest hour of day to suit them, and the audience chamber timed its hearing of civil cases at an hour in the interest of the same class, so that business should not be interfered with. There was a smaller market up near Santo Tomé, ruled and protected like that of the Zocodover, with also a high chapel for service for{125}



the market folk. One side was given over to the butchers’ shops, above which was inscribed: “Reigning in Spain the most high and powerful Felipe II., he has ordered in the town of Toledo these butchers’ shops with the concurrence of Perafande Ribera, his magistrate. Year MDLXXXIX.” There was another little meat market down in the old place of Sanchez Minaya, near the hospital of the Misericordia. The slaughter-houses were in the wide place close to{126} the Puertas del Cambron and San Martin, where, as Pisa says, “The air of the open country came to cleanse away the evil odour of the dead remains.” Grain and wheat were sold near the Alcázar, down by the Cardinal’s hospital.

The Exchange of Toledo was the most important of Spain. It was founded by Martin Ramirez, in the parish of St Nicholas, near San José. Near here the gilders and silversmiths worked, and their work was as prized as it was costly; while the tanners, leather-cutters and dyers were relegated to the barriers above the river, between the mills of the Hierro and San Sebastian. The potters lived at the top of the town, under San Isidro, and spread everywhere were countless weavers of cloth, and silk and fine embroiderers. Running from the Zocodover to the Puerta de Perpiñan was the famous street of arms where the sword-makers, the armourers, the iron and damascene-workers lived, and in the wide street opposite (now the calle del Comercio) the shoemakers and jewellers had their shops. The Jews had their own barrier before their expulsion, one of the wealthiest and most important of the city.

The four streets on the further side of the Cathedral were called the Alcayzerias, and here dwelt the silk-sellers, the hosiers, the linen-sellers, the clothiers and haberdashers. These shopkeepers did an enormous trade with Valencia, Xativa, Murcia; with Medina del Campo, Medina del Rioseca, Sevilla, Cádiz and Ecija, even as far as Portugal. After the discovery of America all the ships that went out laden with Spanish goods purchased these at Toledo. The scriveners dwelt round the Ayuntamiento.

In early days the Ayuntamiento was an insignificant body, and all the power lay between the sovereign and the mighty archbishop. But after the conquest of the Saracens, the kings of Castille found their realm too{127} large and complicated for anything so minute as mere civic rule, and gradually the magistrature increased in power, till this Ayuntamiento, with its president, came to be the important body it was, and rivalled the Archbishopric in semi-royal powers. Pedro the Cruel was the first to grant it the privilege of the arms of Castille, and it was to the famous Corregidor, Gomez Manrique, who had his namesake’s famous inscription painted on the staircase, that Isabel the Catholic, on her first visit, gave the castles and gates of the city. Under the Corregidor were four mayors, who judged civil cases, one of whom sat only in the Zocodover to settle disputes between the traders. These magistrates were usually powerful nobles, such as the Toledos—the present dukes of Alba—the Castillas, the Silvas, the Ayalas, Montemayors and Fuensalidas, all great historic names. The city jury, half Latin, half Mozarabe, in religion, was furnished by all the parishes. As well as the Ayuntamiento, there was the Santa Hermandad behind the Plaza Mayor, with its prison and officers. To-day it is a muleteer’s inn, the Posada de la Hermandad, and the big kitchen, once the judgment chamber of the Inquisition, and the wooden benches around have not been changed, nor the dark-beamed ceiling within the Gothic façade, with the royal arms and the statues of the archers and members of the brotherhood.

The town prison was situated at San Roman, and was rebuilt and improved in 1575 by one of Toledo’s most enlightened corregidors, Juan Guttierrez Tello. Less joyous and profitable than the Tuesday fairs of the Zocodover were the terrible autos-da-fé, and, indeed, so agreeably wedded is the memory of this quaint little triangular plaza to the picture of heroes of capa and espada, to betitled loafers and dinnerless dons, that the mind with difficulty conceives it made over to gloomy and flaming images of the most solemn and{128} atrocious hour of Spanish cruelty. More in keeping with the bright and busy scene are the bull-fights that used to be held here, when there were no seats or trees in the middle as now.

A curious document is the charter to Toledo of Alfonso the Emperor, after the conquest of the Moors: “In the name of God and His Grace, I, Aldefonso, by the will of God, Emperor of Spain, conjointly with my wife, the Empress, Doña Berenguela, with an agreeable spirit, and of our own will, without being forced by anyone, give this letter of donation and confirmation to all Christians who to this day have come to people Toledo, or will come, Mozarabe, Castillian and French, that they may pay toll neither on entering nor on leaving the city, nor in any part of my lands. They shall be free of duty on all the things they purchase and sell, except those who carry to or bring from the land of the Moors articles of trade, which shall be taxed according to their weight and value.” This little touch of spite against the vanquished Moor is the more intolerable when we remember the old relations of Alfonso’s predecessor with that same generous enemy; remember that the man he had conquered and exiled was the son of his benefactor and host when he was himself conquered and exiled by an unnatural brother; that the king, on whose throne he sat, had been his loyal and kindly comrade, and that the conquest his successor so grandiloquently recalls in this charter was the basest act of ingratitude perpetrated in the record of Castillian treachery.

From such slight indications it will be seen that the commerce of Toledo flourished upon a large scale. There is something stately and commanding about this method of confining each trade and business to its own quarter. How dearly now one would like to evoke the street of arms, and follow some slim young knight{129} down from the royal Alcázar on the higher hill-point, with slashed sleeves, cloak flung jauntily from shoulder, and plumed cap, on his way to this deadly and interesting street to purchase a “trusty Toledo,” and linger over an exquisitely-wrought poniard. Or earlier still, and more delightful, accompany a turbaned Turk, wonderfully arrayed, and gaze with him in ecstasy upon the rows of damascened scimitars.

Toledo was used to travellers in the days of her greatness for, near all the gates, Pisa tells us, there were inns for strangers. Not strangers only, but the bishops and great lords, and sovereigns even, seem to have patronised the inns of Toledo. Alfonso the Perfidious stayed at a posada near the town gates when he came to visit his old protector and host, Almenor, whom he invited to dinner here. More astonishing still than this hospitable provision for travellers, is the fact we learn that there was not only a foundling hospital for unclaimed children, but also several homes for lost or strayed animals. Spain was more advanced in this respect centuries ago than now, for it is pretty certain the race shows no concern that we know of on behalf of forlorn and unprotected brutes.

If you would have some dim notion of the castellated and walled aspect of Toledo in Pisa’s days, you have only to thread your way through his prolix geographical history of the town. He begins with the magnificent Puerta de Visagra, and when we examine this double gate in its present battered and defaced condition, we cannot carp at the word “sumptuous” which he applies to it. Sumptuous it must have been then, if now it is magnificent. It holds the imperial arms, two eagles and a crown, with castles and lions of middle size gilt, and an inscription. Outside this gate, which, Pisa tells us, was shut at night, there was a broad space, and another entrance without.{130} Entering the city on this side, you came by the parish of Santiago and San Isidro, and the barrier of La Granja. The ascent was made by the old hermitage of the Cross to the Zocodover. Here were two gates in a strong wall, probably half Roman and half Gothic, and this was the entrance to the town. Pisa calls these gates intermediary. Between the Puerta de Visagra and this latter gate in the great tower, he describes another, smaller and less important, which was always closed, and was called the gate of Almohada. Beyond this was another called the gate of the twelve stones, descending from the monastery of the Carmen by the Bridge of Alcántara. Before Pisa’s time, this gate was lower, and the twelve stones around obtained it the odd name of Doce Cantos, there being supposed twelve fountains once here. Another gate anciently called Adabazim, and afterwards Hierro, was near the bridge and the mills, on the limits of the lovely gardens of Alcurnia. Above the old hermitage of the Cross were the tower and gate of King Aquila, and above Santo Domingo el Real, the tower of Alarcon, with another intermediate between it and the Zocodover. From this ran round a castellated wall, and here you entered the street of arms by the Puerta de Perpiñan.

The gardens of the Alcurnia were famed all over Spain, as beautiful as any of Valencia or Granada, or Cordova, laid down by the Moors between the bridges of St Martin and Alcántara. The Tagus was used here as the Turia is used still at Valencia, for purposes of irrigation, so that fruit and flowers and trees abounded. At the time of the conquest, these lovely grounds became the property of the Christian monarchs, until King Alonso the Good, in 1158, granted them to the Archbishop Rodrigo, who built the mills and greatly improved the grounds. The{131} name is said to signify “horn-shaped,” on account of the curves the river takes as it runs under the bridge of Alcántara. But a fierce inundation swept away all this loveliness from the eyes of the dismayed Toledans in Cardinal Tavera’s time. The ungrateful waters of the Tagus laid waste this green and flowery paradise upon a burnt and rocky hill-side, and Tavera died before he could carry out his project of restoring it.

True, even then, the Cigarrales beyond the town walls were noted spots of refreshment, whither the jaded citizens and nobles betook themselves to their country houses for the enjoyment of orchards, gardens and trees. The apricots of the Cigarrales have always been famous. But they constituted small comfort for the loss of such radiance and perfume, such oriental splendour as the Huerta de Alcurnia. They spread still from the river bank up among the cool hill breezes, and make a charming walk towards sunset. In the huerta del Rey was one of the palacios de Galiana, known through the legend of Galafre’s fair daughter and Charlemagne, the other having served as Wamba’s palace or prætorium, and later still as the palace in which the Cortes sat to judge the case between the immortal Cid and his wretched sons-in-law. Westward from Santa Leocadia ran a long, broad space of foliaged and flowered land, vines, and pleasant country houses. The rich cigarrel of Cardinal Quiroga was here, and the dean and chapter of the Cathedral possessed on the other side gardens and orchards nearly as beautiful.

When you left all this cultivated brilliance of nature, that showed the passage of the Moors, narrow and stony streets and lanes confronted you in your upward road from the bridges and gates. Then as now! Cuestas and harsh passages, built upon peaks of rock and iron, Pisa calls them; twisted and narrow laneways. He accuses the Moors of having spoiled the{132} town, of having obliterated the lustre and loveliness Roman and Goth bestowed upon it. This is an ill-tempered charge. The Moors gave in Spain everywhere more than the Christians lost, and the trial is, seeing the sad use the Christians made of what they received, to hold one’s soul in patience, and not cry out against their philistinism. He believes that in Christian hands, “fine places, wide and noble streets, churches and hospitals will spread.” Churches and convents, yes. But the streets remain the same, an expiation of the sins of civilisation, as twisted, as narrow, as stony as ever, good Dr Pisa, after eight centuries of Christian rule.

The present Alcázar, which dominates the city, was first built by the Cid’s sovereign, Alfonso, while the Moorish palace stood on the site of the monastery of St Augustine. In the parish of San Martin was the Alcázar of the infante Fadique, Sancho the Brave’s uncle, within a magnificent view of the river and the Vega, its walls running as far as the Puerta del Cambron. It fell into the hands of Maria de Molina, Sancho’s widow, and she gave the property to Gonzalo Ruiz de Toledo, lord of Orgaz, tutor of King Alonso and the infanta Beatrix. Gonzalo Ruiz, on his death, bequeathed it to the Augustines. In the time of Gothic rule the councils of Toledo were held in this Alcázar. A wall ran then from the Alcázar to the Palacio de Galiana, and continued from the Zocodover to the gate of Perpignan to separate the dwellings of the Moors from those of their conquerors. The Christians lived between the arch under the Chapel of the Precious Blood and the bridge of Alcántara. Later on Isabel and Fernando embellished the royal Alcázar, which was guarded by a thousand castillian hidalgoes, and Carlos V. built the great staircase, one of the most regal of the world, while a superb salon, richly wrought in{133} arabesque, was the introduction of the Constable of Castillo, Alvaro de Luna, at an earlier period. All these glories are departed, negligently burnt. The first subject to occupy the Alcázar in state was the Cid, Ruiz Diaz, whom Alfonso named first governor of Toledo after its capture from the Moors. But the Cid chose to build his own house near it, and installed a cavalier therein in his place. The Cid’s house is now San Juan de los Caballeros. True, Rasis el Moro, in the beautiful copy of his Arabian manuscript,[14] translated into Castillian by Ambrosio de Morales from the Portuguese translation ordered by King Denys of Portugal, of Maestre Mahomed and Gil Perez, says that Caesar was the first governor of Toledo, and built the bridge over the Tagus, and Caesar, he tells us, came hither upon his tour in Spain, and in a quarrel with the praetor, Aulus, was beaten and departed “feeling a great weight on his heart, and longed for great power to come back and vanquish Aulus, and revenge himself of his wrongs.” Rasis also mentions “the marvellous bridge of Toledo” at the time of the Moorish conquest, “most subtly wrought, that in truth he saw nothing to equal it in all Spain.” The town he describes as “a very good city, extremely pleasant, and very strong and well fortified.” Every man was well off, and the workmen were paid. The air was so sanative and dry that wheat could remain ten years in cover without rotting.

Alcocer describes Toledo, the head of Spain, as a town mightily privileged by nature, placed in the centre of the land “like the heart in the human body”; a city, “high, rough, most firm and inexpugnable, founded upon a high mountain and on brave and hard rocks, round which turns the most famous Tagus, which forms a horse shoe, the town thus being nearly an island.{134}” He waxes eloquent on the theme of the land’s fertility and freshness, the abundance of fruit trees, the mines of various metals, the quantities of stone, lime, wood, and every facility for building. Theodoric, the King of Italy, he tells us, came to Toledo to see for himself if report had not exaggerated its wonders, if it really were the strong and noble city rumour described it. So delighted with both town and people was this Ostrogothic sovereign that he took for second wife a wealthy lady of Toledo, Sancha, and was married in great pomp in the city. But we are less inclined to believe Alcocer when he assures us that Toledo declined from the hour of Moorish conquest, “for those barbarians knew nothing of architecture(!), and laid out narrow, little streets, and built vile little houses, no less ugly and filthy.” O worthy Alcocer, if he could but know that now the very Spaniards themselves, in the interests of art and loveliness, lament the expulsion of the Moors, and humbly admit that all they learnt of civilisation came from those same adorable “barbarians!”

The Tagus then, as now, was always the great natural charm of the town. Like the Arno, it takes on every hue; some mornings just after dawn, it is the palest blue, again is a still sleepy jade, or silver like a curled mirror, and as stirless as it gives back the ardent flash of the sunrays; or after sunset, when all the rich hues have faded from sky and earth, and crimson and russet gold have waved into an indigo dusk, you will see a white mist rise and travel in flakes from the bosom of the enazured water over the dim landscape. Capricious as these cold or fervent hours may be, the permanent colour of the tranquil untravelled Tagus is yellow. All poets and writers see but the yellow in it, as in the Tiber, though its blue and green and silvered hours are much more beautiful. “Del dorado Tago ausente,” sings the old Romancero General, as far back as 1605,{135} and continues to describe Toledo above her golden river:

“Dize ay cristal del Tago
Que con murmurio entre arenas
Vais regando amenos sotos
de Agradable primavera.



Hasto do bates los muros
de aquella cuidad soberbio,
tans alebrada en el mundo
Por tu artífio y nobleza.
Que entre peñas levantada
de inexpugnable firmeza,{136}
Y de torres coronada
compitos con las estrellas.
Y luego vañas los prados
de tu elana y ancha vega,
Que de ninfas adornada
es nueva gloria en la tierra.”

The most witching element in the enchantment of this river is its stillness, its unfathomable, unbroken quietude. In the sixteenth century it was navigable as far as Toledo, but the mills upon its banks are now for ever silent; no traffic has deflowered its legendary charms; neither boat nor barge cuts a way along its inactive waters. In an age when every resource of nature is feverishly applied to the service of commerce or luxury, there is something majestic in such uselessness. When the wherry that plies sleepily from bank to bank floats into view, the sight is a positive shock to artistic sensibilities. It seems an idle desecration. Only the gold-seekers—symbol of eternal illusion, ever nourished and ever elusive to the grasp of man, who builds fresh illusions of the ashes of past deceptions—may continue to trouble its wild untamed depths. So from time to time these children of tradition, believing in the tale of its golden sands, go down to the reedy banks, after an inundation, with sifters, and industriously gather up the sand the river has flung from its bottom. They pour water over it, shake it well, and then hungrily examine the grains that remain in the vain hope of finding gold. Before Ponz’s time the dean of the Church of the Infantas was said to possess a piece of gold cast up by the Tagus, and the complaint then was that many another piece had been carelessly broken and scattered by the silversmiths. But Ponz doubts the golden legend even so early as the last century. To explain the undoubted fact that the river had at different times cast up treasure, he assumes that in each reversal and exodus of race brought about by the evolution of{137} Toledo’s history, Roman, Gothic, Moorish, Hebrew, and Christian, the fugitives had the habit of burying near the river treasure in provision for the expected return. Even this is no supposition to be scorned, and adds to the romantic interest of the deserted Tagus.



Garcilaso de la Vega has chanted the golden charms of the Tagus, and Cervantes writes of “the delicate works wrought by the four nymphs who, from their crystal dwelling, lifted their heads above the waves of the Tagus, and sat on the green meadow to work at those rich stuffs which the ingenious poet paints for us, and which were fashioned of gold and silk and pearls.” Now, as then, like Lope the Asturian, aquadores descend to the river-brink with their donkeys laden with water-jars, which they fill below, and bridge the upward rocky paths shouting: Agua fresca. The plays of Cervantes were acted at Toledo, which permitted{138} Lope de Vega, who lived then in the royal city, to make an ill-natured reference to the great biographer of the ingenious Hidalgo in his correspondence, and jeering at his plays, call him a “nescio.”[15] Lope little dreamed in his bitterness and jealousy that the “nescio” would forever stand before posterity as the sole representative of Castillian genius, and that the miserable little inn he dwelt in at Toledo would be forever a spot of pious pilgrimage.

A more substantial source of wealth than the gold of Tagus was the valuable lead and mineral mines of the Montes de Toledo, forty leagues distance. In the bright days of civic power they belonged to the municipality. King Fernando, the saint, sold them to the town for the sum of 400,000 golden ducats, but the city little by little disposed of a considerable part of this property to private individuals for exploitation, and, like everything else, here the mines to-day have lost in value.

In his few succinct pages on Toledo, Mr Street gives us a very excellent bit of sober impressionism, which merits quotation: “The road from the famous bridge of Alcántara, passing under the gateway which guards it into a small walled courtyard, turns sharply to the right under another archway, and then rises slowly below the walls until, with another sharp turn, it passes under the magnificent Moorish Puerta del Sol, and so on into the heart of the city.

“The Alcázar is the only important building seen on entering on this side; but from the other side of the city, where the bridge of San Martin crosses the Tagus, the cathedral is a feature in the view, though it never seems to be so prominent as might be expected with a church of its{139} grand scale.[16] From both these points of view, indeed, it must be remembered that the effect is not produced by the beauty or grandeur of any one building; it is the desolate sublimity of the dark rocks that bound the river; the serried phalanx of wall, and town, and house that line the cliffs; the tropical colour of sky and earth, and masonry; and finally the forlorn, decaying and deserted aspect of the whole that makes the views so impressive and so unusual. Looking away from the city walls towards the north, the view is much more riant, for there the Tagus, escaping from its rocky defile, meanders across a fertile vega, and long lines of trees, with here a ruined castle, and there the repose of the curious Church of the Cristo de la Vega, and there again the famous factory of arms, give colour and incident to a view which would anywhere be thought beautiful, but is doubly grateful by comparison with the sad dignity of the forlorn old city.”

Toledo’s finest hour is at sunset, especially in the month of October. Nowhere have I seen the setting sun cast such a rich and lovely flush over the earth. The brown visage of the town for one intense moment is made radiant by the deep crimson flames, and the red light sheds a glorious beauty upon empty hill-sides and river-washed plains. Magic enfolds city and land, and space is so abridged by the matchless purity of the atmosphere that the eye is tricked into the belief that distant objects are quite close. Painters complain of this singular deception, which makes it so difficult to seize and reproduce the features of town and landscape. But the mere observer will naturally rejoice in an attraction the more.{140}

Sunset is the hour for a divine walk along the jagged and broken precipices above the river. You follow the steep Calle de la Barca behind the Cathedral down to the ferry, where a few lazy oar strokes take you across the narrow Tagus. The effect midway is surprising. Looking towards the bridge of Alcántara and San Servando, the waters seem to force their way between the immense brown rocks from the castle ruins, and lie steep and still like a mountain tarn. Little splashes of green and flowery bloom high up among the rocks give a pretty touch to the grim picture, and over the harsh remains of the city walls you will note a common but bright little suggestion of garden life. On the road above, rounding the superb curve of Antiquerela, a boy on mule-back is a slight silhouette of vanishing grace, and the evening bells in the upper air sound thin and ethereal above the sea-like roar of the water breaks below the silent Moorish mills. Not even the modern hint of existence and the squalid little galleries, with linen hanging out to dry over a broken bit of castellated wall, will disturb your feeling of reverie among the forgotten ages. Nor will the living light upon the trees, flashing rose and yellow through their branches and across the reeds along the river, nor the quaint figures moving lazily up the mule-path that cuts its crooked way over the naked rocks to the Valle, in the least disturb your bemused sensation of enchanted negation. The beauty of the hour and scene will trouble you less than its strangeness and quietude. Go further up, until you reach Nuestra Señora de la Valle, and from this point the old city will show you its most admirable grouping. At your feet, far down the precipitous shore line, a broken mirror of jade or muddy gold, zig-zagged by lines of foam along the breakwaters, and above the opposite bank, mapped upward, roof against roof, in{141}





pale brown, with spaces of green here and there where the gardens show, the town reveals itself in all its magnificent eccentricity. Here some notion of the Cathedral from outside may be gathered. The Gate of Lions directly fronts you, and the apse stands out from its crowd of buildings, while the bell tower dominates the scene in all its majestic isolation. From the flat roofs rise a mass of upper domes and mudejar towers that add an Arabian note to the great Gothic picture, and the immense square of the Alcázar with its three towers, bold, undecorated, and monotonous, is perched in odd supremacy above the girdling path that now runs under the mutilated wall. The hills lie backward, reddish-purple, silent, perfumed, and sombre, and the Vega with its broad bright smile of verdure and bloom travels beyond the famous bridge of San Martin. Between the rocky shore and the ruins of a Roman bridge are big sandy reaches, and every step you take among the brushwood scents the air with the strong aromatic odours of the herbs. About here Perez Bayen tells us,[17] the Roman Cañeria ran, carrying water from San Servando by the bridge of San Martin. The little tower, el horno del Vidro, near the monastery of La Sisla, he suggests, was a Roman Castellum Aquarium. The steep waterway of La Sisla, called the Valle de la Desgollada (in honour of the customary legend of a lover’s broken neck for love’s sake), was probably used for the aqueduct, as the ruins of the arches below, along the old road of La Plata, indicate. The water must have been conducted into the city by the gate of the twelve stones, where the bridge was high. Now, alas, the aqueduct, like the wonderful artifice of Juanelo Turriano of Cremona, in Charles V.’s reign, has vanished. The water-works of Toledo nowadays{144} are sadly deficient after the Roman, Moor, and even early Castillian, though the glory of this period belongs to Lombardy and not to Castille. Juanelo, as well as giving his name to his famous “artifice,” was the means of bestowing a quaint and striking name on a street below the cathedral, so-called to-day, Hombre de Palo (man of wood) where he lived. He fabricated a wooden statue that went from his house to the archbishop’s for bread and meat, bowing and nodding, first in gracious overtures and then in obsequious thanks, and carried back the offerings to Juanelo’s house. Few Toledanos, dawdling in and out of this little curved street, now remember why it is so oddly named, or bestow a thought upon the ingenious Italian who dwelt there in the sixteenth century, and whose fame drew admiring travellers even from remote Oxford.



Entering the city by the striking bridge of San Martin, you pass the picturesque ruin of the Baño de la Cava, where the too charming Florinda is supposed to have bathed for the doom of Don Rodrigo and the ruin of Gothic Spain. Rodrigo’s castle, of which not a trace now remains, was built on the high rock above, and indiscreet eyeshot sent down upon this sacred spot is said to have revealed to him a seductive vision of a beautiful bare limb. The ruin is probably that of a towered bridge, suggested by the big grey stone on the opposite bank. The spot is, however, romantic enough for any legend, and those who prefer tradition to fact will say, if Florinda did not bathe there, she ought to have done so. The view on this side is more beautiful than even on the other. A Spanish friend, whose privilege it is to paint Toledo in all her wild and sad enchantment, in a big house above the Puerta del Cambron, overlooking the wavy water-line from the bridge of San Martin and the exquisite diversity of orchard and meadow-land, has offered me many de{145}lightful moments of contemplation of this unique view from his broad terrace. It combines in the rarest form a light and smiling charm with a superb and matchless melancholy. From this point of entrance you twist up and down through the most mysterious streets of the world. Who designed them, who fashioned them? How came any town to be so built? Streets so narrow that hand may touch hand from either side, and soft converse be held through opposite windows; so rounded that an enemy advancing might fall upon you unperceived. How many lovely façades, alas! eaten away, a sullen magnificent protest against modern times, with divine arches showing here and there through miserable plaster! Everywhere Moorish faience,{146} and curious Toledan doors in Arabian or Gothic porches, for all the world like the doors of palaces in fairyland, ornamented with huge carved iron nails. And when the doors stand open, glimpses of bright clean patios, with their gleaming bands of azulejos, their centre well and little stunted trees. All so dull, so still, so silent. Now and then you may chance to meet a woman following a mule laden with fruit and vegetable, which she sells from house to house, or a water-carrier, or an itinerant pedlar shouting the value and nature of his wares up to the balconies. Some of the street effects of grouping and colouring are of an indescribable witchery. Where will you match such a corner as that of the old palace of the Cardinal D. Pascual de Aragon, now a convent? Words are useless to convey an idea of its quaintness, the effect of pink and green, of iron balcony, of wrought stone, of broken façade and charming variety of line. These are things that even a painter can hardly hope to reproduce. And such corners abound in Toledo. The foot treads the very pavement of romance and legend, where everything is a gratification for the eye, and the dream of the mourner of departed centuries is remorselessly realised. Of commerce hardly a hint. Here and there an offer to supply daily wants of the simplest kind, and, in the Calle del Comercio, a few shop-fronts with belated appointments. The most interesting is that of Alvarez, the best maker of damascene. Murray’s guide-book recommends travellers to purchase this famous Toledo work at the Fabrica de Armas, the Government enterprise. This is wrong advice. The Fabrica produces inferior work, and charges twenty-five per cent. more than the private factories. Some of the work in Alvarez’s shop is exquisite, and, when you have entered his workshop behind, and watched the men slowly and carefully produce this minute art,{147}



the wonder is not that it should be so expensive, but that it should not cost more. The Fabrica outside the town is only interesting to the lovers of steel. It is quite a vulgar and modern institution, dating from the days of Charles III., the bourgeois monarch, whom a Spanish writer contemptuously described as “an ex{148}cellent mayor.” In the middle ages, the armourers worked in their own houses, and each master had a band of apprentices. They formed a corporation, and were exempt from taxes and duties in the purchase of materials for this art. The sword-makers of Toledo were a company of European importance, and even the mere sellers of daggers and blades were privileged citizens, whom the very sovereigns and archbishops respected. Toledan steel was renowned in France and England, as well as in Italy. On his way to captivity in Madrid, Francis of France cried, seeing beardless boys with swords at their sides, “Oh! most happy Spain, that brings forth and brings up men already armed.” The steel used by the espaderos of Toledo came from the iron mines of Mondragon in the Basque provinces. Palomario explains its peculiar excellence by the virtues of the sand and water of the Tagus. When the metal was red-hot, it was covered with sand, and, the blade then formed, it was placed in a hollow of sixty centimetres, and red-hot, was plunged into a wooden tank full of Tagus water. The most celebrated espadero of Toledo was Guiliano el Moro, a native of Granada, in the fifteenth century. He became converted after the surrender of Boabdil, and King Ferdinand being his sponsor, was also called Guiliano el rey. Cervantes mentions his mark, which was a little dog. Other great espaderos were—Joannes de la Horta, Tomás de Ayala, Sagahun, Dionisio Corrientes, Miguel Cantera, whose motto was opus laudat artificem, Tomás Ghya, Hortensio de Aguerre and Menchaca Sebastian Hernandez. The decline of Toledan steel is traced to the introduction of French costume; and though attempts have been made to revive it, the old art, in all its unrivalled beauty, has forever vanished.

Gone forever, too, all traces of the great Toledan{149} palaces, except a wall, a doorway here and there, or maybe the degraded remains of a beautiful chamber or courtyard, or, as in the case of the house of the great family of the Toledos (to-day, the Dukes of Alba), just an impressive façade. But of the Villena palace nothing, of the Fuensalida nothing to give us to-day a definite notion of its former splendour. Nothing of the great houses of the Montemayors, the Ayalas, the Silvas, Maqueda, Cifuentes, Count Orgaz, and so many others who rivalled the mighty archbishops in power, and whose followers clashed steel so noisily once in these dim, deserted streets. Sadder still, beyond what remains of the Palacios de Galiana, in the king’s garden, little of Moorish beauty, nothing of their sway but floating, vaporous impressions and cherished suggestions, never absent, though ever vague and full of the mystery and charm of the uncertain and the elusive.{150}


The Cathedral

THE monument which dominates Toledo, and which is not only the most prominent feature in a town whose every feature is so marked and significant, so unlike all the travelled eye is most familiar with, but is the centre of its changes and vicissitudes, of its triumphs and humiliations, is the Cathedral. Writing of the high terrace on which it stands, M. Maurice Barrès says: “c’était toujours le même sublime qui jamais ne rassasie les âmes, car en même temps qu’elles s’en remplissent il les dilate à l’infini.” Who is to seize and express with any adequacy or even coherence the first swift and stupefying impression of this superb edifice? There are many things in this world more beautiful—no one for instance would dream of speaking of it in the same breath as the Parthenon—but nothing more sumptuous; nothing in all the treasures of Spain to match its magnificence. It is simpler and more majestic than that of Burgos, and before heeding the instinct of examination, or noting its mass of detail, the first imperious command is to yield in charmed surrender to its spirit. We are silenced and held by the general effect long before we come to admire the exquisite sculpture of Berruguete and of Philip of Burgundy, and the splendours of chapels and treasury. And should time be short for detailed inspection, it is this general effect of immense naves, of a forest of columns and of jewelled windows that we carry away, feeling too small{151} amidst such greatness of form and incomparable loveliness of lights for the mere expression of admiration. At sunset, should you have the fortune to be alone among its pillars and stained-glass windows, you will find nothing on earth to compare with the mysterious eloquence of its silence; you will feel it a place not for prayer but for a salutary conception of man’s insignificance.

Castillian genius has nowhere imprinted a haughtier effigy of its invincible pride and fanaticism, insusceptible to the humiliations of decay and defeat, impervious to the encroachments of progress and enlightenment. It is the vast monumental note of Spanish character and Spanish history. It tells the eternal tale of ecclesiastical domination and triumph, and is the fitting home of portraits of warlike cardinals and armoured bishops, of princes of the Church who wore the purple and ruled with the sword. It is a superb and majestic harmony of marvellous stone-work and painted glass.

The foundation of this most gorgeous temple is attributed to Saint Eugenius, the first bishop of Toledo, and on the conversion of Recaredo from Arianism, was dedicated to the Virgin Mary, April 12th, 587. When the Moors took Toledo, the Cathedral was converted into a mosque, which it remained for nearly three centuries. Then when Alfonso VI. won back the town from the Moors, one of the conditions we know in the treaty for surrender was that the Cathedral should continue as a mosque, and remain in the hands of the conquered, upon which stipulation, solemnly ratified, the Moors gave up the Alcázar, the city gates and bridges. Alfonso intended that this condition should be fulfilled, but the queen and the French archbishop, sorely troubled by the monstrous continuance of heretical service in the consecrated temple of St Eugenius, decided to cast out the Saracen, which{152} injustice furnishes us with a pretty evidence of Moorish magnanimity. Alfonso’s was an exceedingly grim interpretation of the chivalrous sentiment, “I could not love thee, dear, so much, loved I not honour more.” However, the Moors gallantly tore up the treaty and resigned all right to the Cathedral. The least they might have expected from their enemies is a full and fine recognition of their generosity, first in pleading for those who had insulted them, and then in foregoing their own advantage in order to procure the pardon of their insulters. But no. The Moors, in this matter, are regarded as having simply done their duty. One would hesitate to credit their conquerors with a like behaviour in similar circumstances. The Alfaqui’s statue in the Capilla Major is regarded as adequate thanks, and perhaps it is.

In the thirteenth century, Ferdinand III. and the Archbishop Rodrigo Jimenez de Rada, decided to rebuild the Cathedral and efface all remembrance of Saracen occupation. Pedro Perez was chosen for the immense work, which he continued for forty-nine years, beginning in 1227. The names of his successors have not reached us. It took two and a half centuries to conclude, and as the building went on, naturally gathered into its entire expression more than one mood of Spanish history and art. One needs only to contrast the rudeness of the Puerta de la Feria, built in the thirteenth century, with the finish and grace of the Puerta de los Leones, one of the most beautiful specimens of Gothic architecture, the work of the fifteenth century. Egas, Fernandez and Juan Aleman wrought it, and in 1776 Salvatierra restored part of it. The temple stands upon eighty-eight pillars, each one composed of sixteen light columns, and seventy-two vaults above the five wide naves, forming a cross over the centre nave which is higher than the rest. The side aisles rise gradually to{153}





the height of 160 feet, the height of the central nave. Its length is 404 feet, its width 204. The whole is lit up by 750 glorious stained windows, whose effect is best seized just before sunset. Broad patches of ruby, amethyst, emerald, topaz, and sapphire lie upon the pillars and flags, and above the light seems to strike through irridescent flashes of jewels. How fresh and full imagination must have been in those grand ages of art to have devised such permanent triumphs of colours, such witchery of hue upon such majesty of form, the greatness of the one tempered by the delightful loveliness of the other. The patient uplifted glance will at length be rewarded by learning to decipher from such a distance the legend of these matchless windows, which are wonderfully vivid scenes from the New Testament. A Spanish painter, who has devoted his life to the study of his beloved Toledo, tells me that when you penetrate up to these far-off heights, you will find the scenes in finish and detail and drawing as perfect as paintings, some of the German and Flemish school, some of the richer and suaver Italian. The principal artists were Dolfin, Alberto de Holanda, Maestro Christobal, Juan de Campos, Luis, Pedro Francès, and Vasco Troya. Dolfin’s work, begun in 1418, was continued after his death by Nicolás de Vergara, assisted by his two sons.

The principal façade on the west side is composed of three doors, diversely named del Infierno or de la Torre; del Perdon, and de Escribanos or del Juicio. The middle door is the Pardon, the largest and richest of the three. It forms a magnificent arch, covered with Gothic ornaments and figures, and is divided in two smaller arches by a column on which rests the figure of Christ, while above are twelve statues of the apostles. In the centre of the arch a fine bas-relief represents the Virgin in the act of bestowing the chasuble on St{156} Ildefonso, who is kneeling at her feet. It is an imposing specimen of Renaissance work. Amador de los Rios complains that there is too much of the stiffness of Dürer in the studied attitudes, while Antonio Ponz remarks that the statues and the folds have that excellence and largeness of treatment so often lacking even in the best Renaissance work. The two other doors on either side are smaller and of equal size. They are formed of a single, undivided arch, delicately sculptured, rich in figures of angels and patriarchs in mediæval costume, which belong to a later date than the principal work. Seven steps lead down to the church, and above the arch of the Torre is a painting of the Resurrection of some merit, and above the Escribanos is a long inscription commemorating the taking of Granada by the Catholic sovereigns, Cardinal Mendoza being then archbishop of the Cathedral, and the expulsion of the Jews from the kingdoms of Castille, Aragon, and Sicily. Over the Pardon is a splendid rose window, with glazed arcade beneath. The façade was restored, and not too well, by Durango, a Toledan artist, during the last century. The little square towers that separate the doors are chiselled like jewels, but the effect of the whole is perhaps effaced by the more insistent beauty of the great tower.

The south door, Los Leones, is a particularly beautiful piece of Gothic work, of finished elegance and profusion of detail. Ponz describes the statues and ornaments as the most perfect of their kind. The portal forms a deep recess richly sculptured, full of delicate fancy in figure and leafage. The Assumption is by Salvatierra of the last century, inferior to the rest of the façade, and below it are two bas-reliefs with charming little figures representing scenes from the Old Testament. The six columns of the atrium, on which are seated six carved lions, give its name to the door.{157} Each lion holds a shield. On the centre shields are repeated in bas-relief the eternal legend of Our Lady and St Ildefonso, while the four others show sculptural crosses and eagles. The bronze doors, attributed by Ponz to Berreguete, because they recall the work of his master, Michael Angelo, were wrought by Francisco Villalpando and Ruy Diaz del Corral in 1559, the carving having been done by the famous sculptor, Aleas Copin. Their great artistic work is sufficiently indicated by Ponz’s error in attributing them to the magnificent genius of Berreguete. As a fact, many masters were engaged upon these bronze gates: Velasco, Troyas, Lebin, Cantala, the two Copins as well as Villalpando, and Diaz del Corral, the payment divided between all being 68,672 maravedis. It would seem that the supreme excellence of artistic achievement in those days was due to the modesty of remuneration, if we are to judge by the results of exorbitant payment to-day.

In his accurate (if for the general reader perhaps somewhat technical) pages on the interior, Street says: “The original scheme of the church is only to be seen now in the choir and its aisles. These are arranged in three gradations of height—the choir being upwards of a hundred feet, the aisle round it about sixty feet, and the outer aisle about thirty-five feet in height. The outer wall of the aisle is pierced with arches for the small chapels between the buttresses. The intermediate aisle has in its outer wall a triforium, formed by an arcade of cusped arches, and above this quite close to the point of the vault, a rose window in each bay. It is in this triforium that the first evidence of any knowledge on the part of the architect of Moorish architecture strikes the eye. The cusping of the arcade is not enclosed within an arch, and takes a distinctly horse-shoe outline, the lowest cusp near to the cap spreading inwards at the base. Now it would be impossible to imagine any{158} circumstances which could afford better evidence of the foreign origin of the first design than this slight concession to the customs of the place in a slightly later portion of the works. An architect who came from France, bent on designing nothing but a French church, would be very likely, after a few years’ residence in Toledo, somewhat to change in his views, and to attempt something in which the Moorish work, which he was in the habit of seeing, would have its influence. The detail of this triforium is, notwithstanding, all pure and good. The foliage of the capitals is partly conventional, and in part a stiff imitation of natural foliage, somewhat after the fashion of the work in the Chapter House at Southwell; the abaci are all square; there is a profusion of nail-head used in the labels; and well-carved heads are placed in each of the spandrels of the arcade. The circular windows above the triforium are filled in with cusping of various patterns. The main arches of the innermost arcade (between the choir and its aisle) are of course much higher than the others. The space above them is occupied by an arcaded triforium reaching to the springing of the main vault. This arcade consists of a series of trefoil-headed arches on detached shafts, with sculptured figures, more than life-size, standing in each division; in the spandrels above the arches are heads looking out from moulded circular openings, and above these again, small pointed arches are pierced, which have labels enriched with the nail-head ornament. The effect of the whole of this upper part of the design is unlike that of northern work, though the detail is all pure and good. The clerestory occupies the height of the vault and consists of a row of lancets (there are five in the widest bay, and three in each of the five bays of the apse) rising gradually to the centre, with a small circular opening above them. The vaulting-ribs in the central division of the apse are{159} chevroned and increased in number, this being the only portion of the early work in which any, beyond transverse and diagonal ribs, are introduced. There is a weakness and want of purpose about the treatment of this highest portion of the wall that seems to make it probable that the work, when it reached this height, had passed out of the hands of the original architect. In the nave the original design (if it was ever completed) has been altered. There is now no trace of the original clerestory and triforium which are still seen in the choir, and in their place the outer aisle has fourteenth century windows of six lights with geometrical tracery, and the clerestory of the nave and transepts great windows, also of six lights, with very elaborate traceries. They have transomes (which in some degree preserve the recollection of the old structural divisions) at the level of the springing of the groining. The groining throughout the greater part of the church seems to be of the original thirteenth century work, with ribs finely moulded, and vaulting cells slightly domical in section. The capitals of the columns are all set in the direction of the arches and ribs they carry, and their abaci and bases are all square in plan.”

Street is of the opinion, based upon the singular purity of this vigorous specimen of Gothic of the thirteenth century, that the architect must have been French, or at least a Spaniard who had lived for years in France, and studied the best French churches. The architect, we learn, was Pedro Perez, whose name we gather from the Latin epitaph:

Aqui: jacet: Petrus Petri: magister
Eclesia: Sete: Marie: Toletani: fama:
Per exemplum: pro more: huic: bona:
Crescit: qui presens: templem: construxit:
Et hic quies cit: quod: quia: tan: mire:
Fecit: vili: sentiat: ire: ante: Dei:{160}
Vultum: pro: quo: nil: restat: inultum:
Et sibi: sis: merce: qui solus: cuncta:
Coherce: obiit: X dias de Novembris:
Era: de m: et CCCXXVIII. (A.D. 1290).

Street suggests that Petrus Petro may more probably have meant the French Pierre, son of Pierre, than the Spanish translation of Pedro Perez, but putting one uncertainty against another, the Toledans are perfectly right to hold out for their dubious compatriot, Pedro Perez.



In spite of the enormous height of the Cathedral, the spectator is not at first impressed with this fact, owing to the immensity of its dimensions and the vastness of the columns that support the vaults. But the impression of spaciousness is, on the contrary, insistent, and this by the beautiful simplicity and classical uniformity of the whole. When you have recovered the first stupend{161}ous shock of admiration, you will wonder where to begin in your exploration. If you enter by the north door, which is the first you will meet coming from the Zocodover, you will at once be confronted with the wonderfully wrought screen of the Coro. Inside and out this choir is rich in interest. First there is the railed entrance to examine. Before the Napoleonic war, this railing, as well as the Reja of the Capilla Major, opposite, was silver-plated and heavily gilt, but at the time of the French invasion, it was designed to save it from ruthless hands by concealing its value under an iron coating. The inventor of this stain succeeded so well that never since has anyone been able to clean the railings, which now only show here and there a gleam of the covered plate. Domingo de Céspedes, aided by Fernando Bravo, designed this handsome work. Nothing finer than the ornamentation could be imagined. The arms of Cardinal Siliceo and those of Diego Lopez de Ayala, one of the great Toledan families of the Middle Ages, are worked into the design, along with the inscriptions: Pro cul esto prophani and Psale et psile. To attempt anything like a detailed description of so much elaborate work as the impressive screen round the choir, or the interior multiplied creations of Berruguete and Philip of Burgundy, of Vergara and Rodrigo, would demand an entire book upon the Cathedral alone. The sculptures of the screen are most varied and beautiful, and repay careful study. The subjects are separated by light arches and supported on jasper columns. Above are fifty-eight reliefs of biblical scenes, and the whole forms an admirable combination of decorative richness and delicacy, unfortunately spoiled by later and incongruous additions and improvements. Of the famous choir seats everybody has heard. The thirty-five upper seats on the gospel side are the work of Philip of Burgundy,{162} the seats on the epistle side are Berruguete’s work. It is a matter of taste which of the two is the better. Some foreign critics prefer Vigarny’s sculpture as more delicate and more finished; while all Spaniards give their preference to Berruguete, one of the national idols, and delight in his more exuberant genius. Writing of the three ranks of stalls of this truly marvellous choir, Théophile Gautier says: “l’art Gothique, sur les confins de la Renaissance, n’a rien produit de plus parfait ni de mieux dessiné.” Antonio Ponz in the last century wrote of it: “The sculpture of the choir has been and always will be the great admiration of the intelligent and those who understand this noble art, as much for the quantities of figures and adornments, which seem innumerable, as for the elegance, taste, and greatness of the style with which Alonzo Berruguete and Philip of Burgundy have executed them.” In his Toledo Pintoresca, Amador de los Rios thus begins his description of the stalls: “Portent of Spanish art, in which two great geniuses of our golden century competed, the victory to our own times, remaining undecided; and astounded the judges who have endeavoured to give their opinion on this matter.”

The stalls are of two ranks, upper and lower, both of different periods, fifty years lying between the work of each rank. The upper stalls are unquestionably more beautiful and of a purer style. The rich and splendid influence of Italian art is visible in all Berruguete’s work, who himself was a disciple of Michael Angelo. He has something of the large and virile touch of his master, something of his nervous strength, of his intensity. But he lacks the exquisite grace and soft, subtle finish of Philip Vigarny. So that in the eternal rivalry of these great artists, hand-in-hand, as it were before posterity, with the unsolved question{163}






of superiority upon their combined production of the best wood sculpture of Spain, it will always be in the spectators’ choice a matter of temperament and tendency. The more delicate art of Vigarny will appeal to one, while another will unhesitatingly pronounce for the sweep and force of Berruguete’s touch. The reliefs represent scenes from the Old and New Testament, and the single statues are prophets and saints. The stalls are of walnut, separated by jasper and alabaster pillars. In the middle is the arch-episcopal throne. The lower portion is formed of seventy-one arches, supported by seventy-two columns of red jasper, with white marble capitals; within each arch is a vault of red jasper with gilt decorations. In the panels above are sixty-eight superbly sculptured figures. The lower stalls are fifty years earlier and less beautiful work. They were wrought under the direction of Maese Rodrígo in the time of Cardinal Mendoza. They are composed of fifty stalls, with three stairs, two of which are used by the canons and the third only by the archbishop, the dean of the chapter, and the high priest. The reliefs are none the less remarkable and interesting because of their inferiority to those of the upper stalls. They tell with delightful and seizing brevity the romantic, if deplorable, tale of the Conquest of Granada, from the taking of Alhama by Rodrigo Ponce de Leon to the surrender of the Moorish citadel. They belong to a less finished school; reveal an imagination more simple and limited, with a certain naïve stiffness and monotony of line that provoke contrast with the finer work above. Battles, assaults, armed knights, Moors, horses, fortresses and fanciful introductions of inappropriate animals are repeated in each relief. Street prefers them to Berruguete’s work, which he abhors, but in this{166} he is alone. It is a prejudice with him. The reading-desks are most lovely, the work of the two Vergaras, father and son, who finished them in 1570. The ornamented friezes of gilt bronze are things to marvel at. Each desk possesses three bas-relief exquisitely wrought. On the epistle side are the stories of David and Saul, the Virgin bestowing the chasuble on St Ildefonso, and the Seven Seals and Lake of Fire of the Apocalypse; on the Gospel side, St Ildefonso, the Holy Ark carried by the priests behind David, and other figures dancing and playing various instruments, and the crossing of the Red Sea. There is not anything among the extraordinary splendours of this Cathedral more perfect and remarkable than these two masterpieces of the Vergaras. The great eagle on its pinnacled pedestal is truly a magnificent work. The Gothic pedestal was wrought in 1425, and the eagle and desk in 1646 by Vicente Salinas. When you leave the Cora, you naturally cross the space in front to the Capilla Major. Portion of this chapel was originally the capilla de los reyes viejos, and the rest was added by the great Cardinal, Cisneros. The railing, one of the best specimens of Spanish wrought iron, is the work of Francisco Villalpando. Gorgeous is the adjective that best describes it. Exquisite chiselling, capricious and varied designs, gilt and plated portions here and there showing out from the more sombre whole, make this grilla one of the striking objects among massed treasures. To Villalpando also are due the rich gilt pulpits beside it, made from the bronze tomb the Constable of Castille, Alvazo de Luna, had fashioned for himself and his wife before his death. In a less sumptuous setting, these pulpits would excite enthusiastic admiration, but the whole here is so great that it takes days for the blunted senses to realise the full value of details. The reliefs are admirable, and give a{167}





brilliant note to the resplendent face of the chapel. All inside maintains the same insistent look of artistic wealth. The marble altar shines like a gigantic agathe, the highly-wrought tabernacle, the bronze candlesticks, the jasper and the marvellous retablo are, to my poor thinking, excessive claims upon attention. So many masters co-operated in the production of all this accumulated art that the effect of excess is not surprising: Philip and John of Burgundy, Maestre Petit Jean, Egas, Pedro Gumiel, Copin of Holland, Sebastian de Almonacid, all sculptors and artists of renown; Francisco of Antwerp and Fernando del Rincòn, famous painters and gilders. The details are innumerable, and elsewhere would merit separate and full attention. The scenes are mostly taken from the New Testament, terminating with a colossal Calvary. The fine tombs on either side are the work of Copin of Holland (1507), and the gilding and painting were done by Juan de Arevalo. They were erected by order of Cisneros for the kings buried in the old chapel. They are highly decorated and imposing monuments, worthy of the great man who commanded them and of the great artists who wrought them under his inspiration, worthy of century and temple that created and shelter them. Classical elegance and Gothic fancy, exuberant imagination and austere repose, are the complex qualities of these superb tombs. There are two figures among those of the lateral pillars that divide the vaults it is customary to bestow extra attention upon: the Alfaqui, who went out to meet Alfonso VI. on his furious return to Toledo to burn his wife and the French archbishop, to intercede on behalf of those who had so grievously injured his people, and who, in order to obtain their pardon, resigned Moorish rights to the Cathedral; and the Pastor de las Navas, a legendary shepherd who is{170} supposed to have indicated to Alfonso VIII. the way of winning the battle of Navas de Tolosa. The sculpture is coarse and heavy, and indicates an earlier period than the rest of the work, Alfonso himself supposed to have been the designer of his shepherd assistant in war. The Cardinal of Spain, as Mendoza was called, won the distinction of a place in the royal chapel by order of Isabel, his friend and sovereign. To make room for his tomb, she had the wall between the two pillars near it knocked down. Ponz calls this tomb a maquina suntuosa, but where there is so much to admire, it may be passed by with merely a nod.





Not so the too famous and too horrible Trasparente be{171}hind the High Altar. What such a thing can possibly mean surpasses the average understanding. In the midst of all that one must venerate, in the home of majesty and loveliness, where beauty in stone and wood and colour takes its supreme form and hues, what effect but that of artistic scandal can such a monstrous creation have? One stares, one wonders, one could even weep for such inexplicable desecration, but one remains{172} mystified and disheartened. Ponz a century ago wrote: “It is marble, an enormous affair in which it would have been better to have forever in the bowels of the hills of Carrara than to have brought it here to be a real blot in the Cathedral.” This celebrated atrocity is the work of Narciso Tomé, a native of Toledo, who, if he were useful for nothing else to posterity, offers an exceptional opportunity of measuring the frightful depths into which the dignity of Spanish art was plunged in the beginning of the last century. The degraded art of Churriguera may be bad enough elsewhere; here only does it stand out a gilt, magnificent marble nightmare, which cannot even be criticised, so awed is imagination by an ugliness that defies classification and repels reason. The man who paid 200,000 ducats for this blot upon a perfect temple, were he pope or bishop, merited at least a strait-waistcoat. Instead, he and the artist, and the thing itself, evoked, on its conclusion, national triumph and rejoicings, processions, illuminations, fire-works and bull-fights. Consistency is not a virtue we have a right to expect from races any more than from persons, so the massacre of horses and the idle torture of bulls, the encouragement of the brute instinct of cruelty, the destruction of which is admittedly the object of the mild and tolerant religion of Christ, may be regarded as nothing inordinately outrageous in ecclesiastical feastings. A modern Spanish critic is proud to own that for his part “he would not touch a hair of the smallest statue of this sumptuous fabrication,” and regards it as an interesting page in the history of Spanish architecture. There are of course curious natures who find interest in corruption and a certain majesty in madness. To these Churrigueresque masterpieces may be left, and with so many stupendous demands upon our admiration as the Cathedral holds, such a flaunting provocation of the contrary feeling may{173} by the wise and grateful be accepted as a pause, a rest in interjectional contentment.

In the dim subterranean chapel of the sepulchre, there are sculptures and paintings worthy of inspection if there were light enough to see them by. One can see, however, that the sculptural group representing the burial of Christ by Copin of Holland is remarkable, but the paintings remain vague and blurred in the partially illuminated obscurity.

But however interesting each of the chapels may be, it is the general view that remains the loveliest thing about the Cathedral. Before you enter the space between the Coro and the Capilla Major, on looking up to the circular pierced arches between the curving line of columns, you will perceive a clear and charming evidence of Moorish influence in the architecture. The delicate pillars and horse-shoe arcade are familiar and welcome, and may again be seen running across the outer aisles. Nothing more graceful could be imagined than this light foreign touch in the sombre austerity of Gothic art. Again you are reminded of the Moors by a rich arch covered with lace-work in the chapel of Santa Lucia, mudejar rather than wholly Moorish, which looks quite oriental in front of the Renaissance arch of the other side of the chapel. It is such a variety in beauty that lends perpetual freshness to this monumental glory of Toledo. It has a face for every tone of reverie and musing. The light is always softly brilliant, and shadow not dense but suggestive; the very silence has the penetrative quality of mysticism, so that already on your second visit you will have ceased to feel a mere tourist, so intimate and instantaneous is its possession of you. Each day I have dwelt in the old imperial city, I have unconsciously wended my way to its doors. No matter what direction I started to take, it almost became a necessity to begin or end my daily{174} wanderings by a pause in this spiritualised immensity of stone. I have never found its wonderful charm diminished by familiarity; on the contrary, the coloured rays of light from above, striking upon the brown shade of stone, seem ever more and more witching; the delicate tones of shadow more and more mysterious, and the unrivalled grandeur of long forested perspectives of aisles and of spacious naves, with the multiplicity of arches and windows, ever a greater testimony of Toledo’s departed glory.

Space forbids anything like a detailed account of the chapels and cloisters of the Cathedral. These latter are not to be compared with most of the other Spanish cloisters,—with, for instance, those of Segovia, of Santiago, of Burgos or Oviedo. There is the inevitable felicitous contrast of foliage and columned arch, and here, certainly, the note is more joyous than elsewhere, with the deep yellow light striking radiantly upon this large, airy square of sun-shot leafage open to the heavens. The cloisters were built by Cardinal Tenorio, and Blas Ortiz, a contemporary Toledan of Philip II. describes them in his beautiful caligraphy, preserved in the Biblioteca Provinciale, as “sumptuous.” This is a favourite adjective with the Spaniards who write about Toledo. It saves a multiplicity of explanations. The frescoes on the walls, painted by Bayeu after the manner of Vanloo, represent scenes from the life of St Eugenius and the famous legend of the Niño perdido. They are decorative but not interesting, and Gautier pronounces them out of keeping with the austere elegance of the architecture. It must be earlier paintings, since effaced, that Blas Ortiz describes as perfectissime. The fine door of the Presentation, a good specimen of plateresca work, was wrought by Pedro Castañeda, Juan Vasquez, Toribio Rodriguez, Juan Manzano, and Andréz Hernandez.{175} The design and the reliefs are well worth careful examination. The portada de Santa Catalina commands attention. It is excessively decorated, and bears the arms of Spain and of the Tenorios; one of the finest details of the façade is the statue of St Catherine holding in one hand the wheel and in the other the sword, emblems of her martyrdom. Historical value is attached to Bayeu’s frescoe representing the reception at Toledo of the bones of St Eugenius, 1565. Philip II. and his son are there, as well as the archdukes Rudolph and Ernest, and there is a view of the Puerta Visagra through which the procession entered. Other frescoes treat of the Moorish saint Casilda, and on the north side is the chapel of St Blaise, built also by Tenorio as his coat of arms indicates. On a pedestal within a railing is a fragment found near St John of the Penetencia testifying to the date of the consecration of the Cathedral.

Near the cloister entrance is the chapel of St John or the Canons, as mass can only be said here by the chapter. The old Tower chapel here used to be called the Quo Vadis, and was dedicated to St Peter. Cardinal Tavera, designing it for his sepulchre, consecrated it to St John. The fine artesonado ceiling is picked out in gold and black, with carved flowers and figures; the altars are richly wrought and painted. Antonio Ponz in the last century greatly praises Luiz Velasco’s three pictures here. On the opposite side of the great gates is the Mozarabe chapel, set apart by Cisneros for the famous Gothic rite; the porch is Gothic; the doors of good renaissance style, were wrought in 1524 by Juan Frances; and the frescoes, painted by John of Burgundy, representing the conquest of Oran and triumph of the founder have no great value. There is a retablo of St Francis placed by Dr Francisco of Pisa, the historian of Toledo, who{176} is buried outside. The chief interest of the Mozarabe chapel is centred in its quaint old ritual which may be heard here every morning at 9 A.M., and will be found extremely puzzling to follow. The canons behind, in a sombre, flat monotone, chant responses to the officiating priest at the altar. The sound combines the enervating effect of the hum of wings, whirr of looms, wooden thud of pedals, the boom and rush of immense wings circling round and round. After the first stupefaction, I have never heard anything more calculated to produce headache, nervous irritation, or the contrary soporific effect. In summer it must be terrible. In an old MS. of the Biblioteca in the last century there is a grave complaint made that the Gothic Mozarabe rite had already fallen from its beautiful solemnity, and that it was to be deplored that it should now be performed with such little decency and so little in accord with the founder’s idea. The writer naïvely hopes that the advent of Carlos III., which promised such general reform, would lift up again a degraded ritual and “that it would be placed in the rank of decency and splendour that a vestige so singular and worthy of appreciation deserves.” A hope not realised if I may judge from my assistance at the service. There was neither quaintness nor piety that I could see, but the canons looked and gabbled as if their thoughts were several miles away, staring roundly at the foreigners, and exchanging smiles as they altered their places.

There are many minor chapels and offices one must overlook in a general description. The wood-work of the Sala capitular and the Anté sala was wrought by Copin of Holland and Antonio Gutierrez. The ceiling of the Anté sala is most charming, a brilliant moresque style, admirably painted and of quite regal magnificence, one of the best specimens of artesonada. The long carved{177}





cupboards on either side are Copin’s and Durango’s work. Copin’s especially is delightful, simple, dignified, not over elaborated. Both are divided in panels which are covered with reliefs, exquisitely designed. Vases, heads, figures, masks, and every kind of mediaeval fancy abound. A Moorish doorway executed by Bonéfacio in 1510, leads into the Sala capitular, one of the loveliest of Spain. The doors are of a rich renaissance, full of busts, leafage, and gilt reliefs. The painted arms of Cisneros and of Lopez de Ayala are worked into the garlands above, and the archiepiscopal choir below is another good specimen of Copin of Holland, who did so much for this cathedral. Round the walls are the portraits of the archbishops, beginning with St Eugenius. The old series ends with Cisneros, and the second begins with William of Croy. Most of the recent portraits are wretched daubs. There are paintings here by John of Burgundy on a level with those of the Mozarabe chapel, while the effect of the Giordano ceiling is striking. The light seems to fall in perpendicular rays. In the matter of paintings the Cathedral would be poor enough but for a Titian and the splendid picture of El Greco in the sacristy. When you have gazed at that virile, majestic figure of Christ, felt the charm of its lofty expression, of its wonderful suggestion of aloofness and fatality, marvelled at the colouring, the splendid boldness of design and grouping, the vigour and naturalness of the figure of the first plan bent forward to bore a hole in the cross at his feet previous to inserting the nails, you may ask yourself in dismay what gave rise to the legend of El Greco’s madness. Stay a moment. This is unfortunately not the last word of El Greco. This grave and lovely Expolio de Jesus, hardly second to that other astounding masterpiece, “The burial of Count Orgaz” in Santo Tomé, has its lamentable{180} sequel in the St John the Baptist of the Hospital de Afuera, which lets you into the secret. Whether or no El Greco ever went mad we have no means now of knowing, though he undoubtedly gives the impression in the St John of genius labouring under some wild and extraordinary influence. But the Expolio is as perfect and sane a masterpiece as artist ever produced. All the tones are cold and subdued, as if a brilliant imagination purposely steadied and held itself in check to realise the highest and simplest expression of repose. The agony is past, transient revolt is over, and here stands the Son of Man in the hands of his ruthless enemies, insusceptible to personal indignity, greater than death, the supreme ideal of resignation, of its majesty rather than its sweetness. No wonder the lovers of El Greco regard him as the precursor of Velasquez, and will have it that Velasquez studied him as master, and from him learned the secret of his own immortal dignity and cold majestic grace. When you look long at this great picture, you wonder how an artist like Théophile Gautier came to write the flippant nonsense he did about El Greco. Even if the legend of the painter’s madness were true, it is certainly not apparent in this canvas. What is apparent is a complete want, felt everywhere in El Greco’s work, of sensibility of the more subtle and penetrative kind, an inaptitude that made the limitation of his art to conceive or paint emotion on a woman’s face. The three Maries are present, so close as to touch the robe of Jesus. Well, the three faces express nothing stronger in feeling than curiosity, in the case of the middle figure more slightly depressed by a vague instinct of passive grief; in the case of the younger women such a curiosity as a passing incident might excite, with neither a touch of terror nor abhorrence much less that of martyred love.{181} The dark and lovely head behind of the third woman, said to be the painter’s daughter, with the superb hand and arm, is that of a young Toledan girl placidly watching some street procession and looking for the appearance of her lover. The smile is not far from the shadowed eyes and sweet, grave mouth, and the whole suggests soft, young romance. A rash youth, passing at that moment, if his eyes fell first upon her in the tragic scene, would greet her with an eloquent smile, and probably fling her a kiss through the air, but he would never suppose she was looking on at barbarous men as they bored holes in a cross and tore the garments from the form of her Lord and Saviour about to be crucified.

The same curious indifference to appropriate form and expression is shown in his St John the Evangelist. The last of the row of apostles on the right of the sacristy, a pallid, lean young man enveloped in the peculiar tints of dull green and faded pink, one soon learns to recognise as El Greco’s hues of predilection, which are more than once reproduced elsewhere in the figures of St Joseph, the infant Jesus and Mary. This is not the dreamy and loving youth of the New Testament, full of tenderness and mystical reverie. The face is delicately hard, long, pointed and intellectual, its cold ardour clouded with a suggestion of impatience and contempt.

Opposite the Trasparente is the chapel of San Ildephonso. Painted on a vault outside is an armed cavalier bearing a standard in one hand and an emblazoned shield in the other. This is the famous Estevan Illan, descended as we have seen from Don Pedro Paleologus, of imperial Greek origin, and founder of the powerful family of the Toledos, since the Dukes of Alba. The general effect of this chapel is costly rather than beautiful. It is impossible not to be oppressed by{182} the sensation of display, not that it is in the least gaudy; it is too solidly wealthy and artistic in its elaboration for that. The mouldings are rich, the decorations are rich, and rich beyond calculation are the tombs. Grander and less elaborate is the really great chapel of Santiago, better known perhaps as the Constable’s Chapel. This was built by Alvaro de Luna as a vast mausoleum for himself and his wife. It is astonishingly bright when you remember its dimensions and its imposing height; of sober taste notwithstanding its flowered ogival style, subdued, while what the Spaniards delight to call everything here, “sumptuous.” The word indeed may not be grudged in this instance, where it is sonorous and appropriate. To do honour to this edifice, Don Alvaro de Luna commanded truly miraculous tombs for himself and his wife, on which lay their full-length figures in gilt-bronze, so fashioned that whenever mass was recited, these life-sized figures rose from their recumbent attitudes, and knelt during the service. On its conclusion, they quietly lay down again. Such tombstones, had they remained, would speedily have turned into a form of local entertainment for the townsfolk. But the great Constable fell into his sovereign’s disgrace, he poor, sorry, feeble king, hounded into the basest ingratitude by the clamouring populace and the Constable’s jealous foes. So in the hour of his fall, the infante, Don Enrique of Aragon, had the wonderful tombs with the gilt moving statues, broken up, on which the Constable sarcastically addressed him in verse:

“Si flota vos combatió
En verdad, señor infante
Mi bulto non vos prendió
Cuando fuistes mareante;
Porque ficiesedes nada
A una semblante figura,
Que estaba en mi sepultura
Para mi fui ordenada.”







The tombs that have replaced these were ordered by the Constable’s daughter, and erected, with Queen Isabel’s permission, in 1489, to the memory of a king’s great servant and friend scandalously abandoned by his master. For this Isabel had nearly all the virtues, barring, alas! religious tolerance. She could be trusted to prove true to her own friends, and not meanly condone betrayal of a subject in a fellow-sovereign. But the Constable has fared all the better because of the Infante’s petty spite. I doubt if we should have been much impressed—except as children are by dolls that squeak and walk, or as the child in most of us is delighted with every kind of mechanical spring, from the wheels of watches to cuckoo clocks and German town-clocks, that send dear, quaint little men and women in and out with the day’s revolution—by these gilt tombs, and they serve a wiser and nobler purpose as the exquisitely-wrought pulpits of Villalpando, outside the reja of the Capilla Major. Now Don Alvaro and Doña Juana repose in sculptured marble between life-size kneeling figures of singular impressiveness. Nothing could be grander and more massive than the simple effect of both tombs. There are more beautiful ones, even in Spain—the splendid Italian tomb of Cisneros at Alcala de Henares, tombs in the Cathedral and Cartuja of Burgos, the grand and lovely tomb of Tavera, Berruguete’s last work, in the Hospital de Afuera—but, nevertheless, these great sculptures of an obscure artist, Pablo Ortiz, are worthy of the crowned and castellated mausoleum built for them. The reliefs are gracious, the treatment fluent, large and sober. The noble statues are unfortunately much mutilated, but the flow of folds, the finish and delicacy of detail, are quite Italian. In the retablo are the painted portraits of Don Alvaro and Doña Juana, painted by Juan of Segovia, and on{186} either side of the altar, under canopied tombs, lie other figures.

The artesonado ceiling of the Chapel of the New Kings is similar to that of St John the Baptist. The Gothic retablo is one of the best of the Cathedral. A passage leads to it, and the interior is extremely gilt and ornate. The sovereigns are buried on either side of the chapter, the first being Henry of Trastamare, the founder of the chapel. Rich as it is in gilding, wrought-iron, marble and paintings, it looks small and unimposing after the great chapel of St Jago. Mass is celebrated here every morning at nine. An official in ragged and embroidered finery, at the end of the chapter, stands, holding the crowned and jewelled mace with the arms of Spain.

There is small space to dwell upon the incredible value of the church treasures, only shown at stated periods. Seven canons open the seven doors, each with a separate key. The hour for showing these matchless splendours is 3 P.M., a bad one on account of the light, and the miserable candle the sacristan carries is of small use. Here will you see pearl and precious stones, embroidered mantles, such jewels and gold and silver brocade as surely the eye of man never elsewhere beheld—the rarest of wrought cloaks and robes and laces—all royal presents, or the gifts of cardinals to the Virgin of the Sagrario. The Custodia is, for sheer magnificence, a thing to gape at. It is the work, rather the monument, of a German silver-smith, Henry of Arfe, and his son and grandson. The guide-book describes it as of an unheard-of wealth in jewels, gold work and chiselling. To attempt its description would involve me in another chapter on the Cathedral. Perhaps the most precious thing of all among so many treasures is the sad and mystical wood statue of St Francis of Assisi, by Alonso Cano, some{187} say, by his pupil, Pedro de Mena, later critics aver. Unfortunately, it is vilely placed in a corner, and as well, just in the middle of the face, the glass cover is broken, so that it is difficult to obtain a real view of the head without some portion of the features distorted.

The object of the devotion of the Chapel of the Treasury is a statue of the Virgin, which Our Lady is said to have kissed on her descent from heaven to bestow the chasuble on St Ildefonso. Hence the astounding mantle embroidered by Felipe Corral, made of gold, pearls, rubies, sapphires and emeralds. Other notable treasures are the charming specimens of silver repoussé—one, the Rape of the Sabines, so beautifully wrought as for years to have been attributed to Benvenuto Cellini. To-day, the Flemish artist, Mathias Méline, is recognised as the creator. It was the gift to the church of Cardinal Lorenzana. The big silver figures on four globes, with belts and sandals all gleaming with jewels, belong to the time of Felipe II. They command attention, even in all this magnificence of precious metal, precious stones, silk, lace and art; but I do not know who made these statues that represent the four parts of the world.

Two hundred and fifty ounces of seed pearls, 85,000 pearls, as immense a number of diamonds, rubies and amethysts, were expended alone on the Virgin’s celebrated mantle. As for the reliquaries of gold, silver and rock-crystal, the church plate, the incensors, only an auctioneer’s list could do them justice. One hails them marvels of their kind, and passes by. In staring, with an abashed modern gaze, unfamiliar with such sights, at Arfe’s masterpiece, the Custodio, that weighs its weight in precious metal over 10,900 ounces, note the gold cross on the top, said to have been wrought of the first piece of gold brought from America by Columbus,{188} and was raised by Mendoza over the surrendered walls of the Alhambra in the same year.[18]

Historic interest is still more attached to the modest sword shown as that of Alphonso VI., worn by this monarch on his triumphal entry into Toledo, and to the original letter in Latin of St Louis of France to the chapter of Toledo, on sending some sacred relics for the church. It runs: “Luys, by the grace of God, King of the French, to his beloved in Christ, the canons and all the clergy and church of Toledo, salutations and love. Desiring to adorn your church with a precious gift, by the hand of our beloved John, the venerable archbishop of Toledo, and at his prayer, we send to you some precious parts of our venerable and excellent sanctuaries that we had from the treasure of the Empire of Constantinople as follows: some wood of our Lord’s cross, a thorn of our Lord’s holy crown, some of the glorious Virgin’s milk, some of our Lord’s crimson garment, worn by Him; of the napkin He wound round Him when He washed His disciples’ feet, of the sheet in which His body was wrapped in the sepulchre, and some of the Saviour’s swaddling clothes. We beg and pray of your friendship in the Lord to accept and guard these sacred relics, and in your masses and offices to keep us in benign memory. Given at Etampes, the year of our Lord, 1248, month of May.” This document is stamped with a golden seal.

The Ochavo is like everything here, an impressive chamber, the home of vast treasure. It is a monument of bronze and marble, containing massive silver coffins wonderfully wrought for the bones of St Leocadia and St Eugenius, statues of silver and ivory, and priceless reliquaries. Behind are guarded the church{189} vestments. Nowhere are such embroideries and brocades to be seen. The hundred altar-pieces are works of art to set the mouth of the collector awatering. The older they are the more lovely, and beside the early Gothic brocade-embroidery, the finest effort of the last century seems poor and vulgar, though seen apart would cause the beholder to exclaim at its loveliness. Whence did these rude Goths obtain their secret of such exquisite work? and how has it died from amongst us? Were the sacristan willing, and human nature capable of such a prolonged effort of admiration, one might spend days among these gold and silver embroidered brocades, and complacently dream of impossible times. But when the sacristan has shown you a dozen chasubles and a dozen altar-pieces, he thinks it quite enough—and so do you, wearied from excess of strain upon admiration and ravenous envy.

The beautiful and massive tower which lends majesty to an exterior not nearly so impressive as the interior of the Cathedral, was begun by Rodrigo Alfonso in 1380, but the work went on very slowly until the Archbishop Contreras put it into the hands of the architect, Alvar Gomez, who finished it (1440). There have been changes since, especially in 1660, when the capital was burnt and rebuilt. It is worth while to ascend the interminable stairs to the belfry, not to marvel at the largest bell, I believe, of the world, whose terrible note reaches as far as Madrid, but to revel in the view. You seem to look down upon the earth from Alpine heights. Below, through incredible depths of space, flows the Tagus, with its broad horse-shoe curve that makes almost an island of the town, and with charming little breaks in joyous verdure and soft little dashes of blue shade and white mist, the sombre and austere hills of Toledo make an upper and{190} more violent rampart against the world beyond. Such is the sense of imprisonment here, that the eye instinctively seeks, as a chance of escape, the long white way of Madrid. It is good to breathe a moment in so exalted an atmosphere, to behold so vast and wonderful a scene, in which all remembrance of human miseries vanishes, and our very joys drop into relative significance. Nature has nowhere else attained a note of beauty harsher, more intense, more indifferently sublime. Elsewhere you feel that an effort has been made to captivate you, a deliberate combination of effects to win your admiration. Not so here. The Moors never succeeded, during their long sovereignty, in stamping the place with their voluptuous charm, as they did in Granada, Cordova, and Valencia. They left it as they found it, the stern home of revolt, the nest of mailed warriors and hardy artisans, so hard and quarrelsome that not even their loves furnish us with a soft legend, nor their literature a witching profile, or any hint of seductive grace in their womanhood.{191}






Domenico Theotocopulos El Greco

THERE is but one great painter permanently and almost exclusively associated with Toledo, El Greco. All the notable pictures of the town are his, and so vast is his work here, that the Toledan churches possess at least fifty pictures of his, a dozen of which are nothing less than masterpieces, and the rest the work of a master in weaker and more erratic moments.

Masters are so rare in the history of this world that one would gladly know something of this tardily recognised great one; learn the secret of his preposterous defects in the second stage of his development, and the no less enigmatic secret of his occasional reach to supreme perfection. How came the man who could paint the glorious under picture of the Burial of Count Orgaz (see illustration), to draw and paint the inconceivable picture of St John the Baptist in the hospital de Afuera? How, in fact, rose the absurd legend of his madness, since no details of the man’s life has reached us on which to base such an idea? Théophile Gautier, with lamentable flippancy, gives echo in France to the ill-natured supposition of Palomino, the least trustworthy of guides. Nearly every fact given by Palomino concerning El Greco is false. He states the painter’s age, though no mortal being, contemporary of El Greco, or researcher of our own times, has the faintest ground for any such statement. The registrar of his death, which a Spanish painter, an impassioned{194} student of all that concerns El Greco, has seen, proves that the artist’s age was uncertain, since nobody about him knew the date of his birth. Furthermore, Palomino tells us triumphantly that El Greco was buried in the parish of San Bartolomé, “and instead of a slab they placed a railing over his grave to indicate that nobody else should be buried there.” The church fell down years afterwards, he assures us, and the place of El Greco’s burial was no longer known. This is all mere supposition, just as Palomino’s statement of El Greco’s age, seventy-seven, and more innocent in the way of loose statements than his information that Theotocopulos went mad with rage from hearing himself compared with Titian, and purposely distorted his work to extinguish a similarity that did him honour. Such is the flimsy tale so genial and witty a writer as Gautier lightly spreads.

To begin with, it is now denied that El Greco ever was Titian’s pupil. It is admitted that he studied under Tintoretto, and however much he may preserve (and wisely!) of the noble Italian school, there can be no doubt to the least discerning that he has brought to its interpretation his own forcible individuality and cold temperament. Great he often is, supreme sometimes, but never voluptuous or charming. You admire him with your head; your heart he leaves always untouched, unless we make an exception in the solitary instance of the delightful figure of St Martin in the Chapel of San José. Here you have a touch of romantic pathos and charm in the slim young knight, which evokes reverie and remembrance of warm soft legendary love such as El Greco is elsewhere persistently blind to. We accept his own word for it, that he came from Crete, but when, why, how, we know not. We hear of him in Italy, but at no fixed spot, and he blazes unexplained upon the horizon of Spanish art,{195} first known by one of the masterpieces of Spain. Pacheco, earlier than Palomino, tells us that he was a curious student, a philosopher, an architect, a sculptor, as well as a painter. Of his studies, his philosophy, no proof has come down to us; but of his sculpture, his wood-carving, his architecture, Toledo possesses many a sample as evidence of the man’s versatility. He is said to have left behind him, as a monument of industry in a life so full and varied, a complete copy in clay of everything he wrought or painted. The only faint hint of the man himself that we get is a reference Pacheco makes to a conversation he had with El Greco in Toledo, when the great painter told him that in his opinion colour alone was of value, and form and drawing quite secondary considerations in the art of painting. It was this feeling that made El Greco so persistently cold to the work of Michael Angelo, says Palomino. Michael Angelo, he said to Pacheco, was a very good fellow, but a very poor painter.

Beyond two legal squabbles, we learn nothing of the man’s life at Toledo. He is said to have painted his own visage in the Burial of Count Orgaz: lean, hard, nervous, exceedingly dark and striking, the face of a man in whom energy was an unsleeping disease, who worked with his mind concentrated upon the accomplishment of an ideal achievement, not as an idealist, as a materialist rather with an ideal object in view. There is the same curious modern expression in this dark, impassioned face that I noticed in the desperate portrait of the Italian novelist, M. Gabriel d’Annunzio, whom the face strangely resembles; an eager, ravenous, cruel sensuality which knows neither rest nor satiety, and which gives meaning to the charge of habits of harsh gallantry and deliberate ostentation. He is said to have kept a band of musicians to play during his{196} carefully-prepared and selected repasts. Yet nothing could be less sensual than the work of El Greco. He is colder than Velasquez, and only understands feminine emotion in a certain austere intensity, passion fed upon the perfume of incense and saintly legend, as in the striking head of St Agnes in his great Virgin and Child of San José.

But this statement also is untrustworthy. It is incredible that a man, who left so much behind him, whose life was so active, and whose achievement was so important for a town in which he lived for so many years, should be merely a name, leaving no evidence of social or civic existence, no word of friend or foe in the annals of that town, nothing in its contemporary letters to guide us to any knowledge of the man himself. Pacheco in three lines reports a conversation with him, that is all. We do not know even where he lived in Toledo, how he lived, who his wife was, if he loved her, who his friends were, what manner of father and citizen he was. We know that he painted pictures, that he built churches, carved statues, and, since he was well paid for his work, that he must have possessed considerable means, and was probably an influential personage as well as a great master. Sir William Stirling Maxwell possesses a portrait said to be that of El Greco’s daughter by him, but this, too, is regarded as doubtful. Of a son’s existence, however, we are certain, and the charming figure of the delicate and pensive St Martin on horseback, as well as that of the dreamy youth in the plan of Toledo of the Museum, are the portraits of George Manuel Theotocopulos, architect, like his father. It is now certified that he was buried in the church, built by himself, of the Dominican convent, Santo Domingo el Antiguo.

I have said that an impenetrable obscurity lies upon the personal life of El Greco, though here his artistic{197} existence is one of the most insistent facts about us. He seems first to have come to Toledo about 1575 to build the church of Santo Domingo el Antiguo, and paint the fine Assumption, the original of which was bought by Don Sebastian de Bourbon, and is now the property of the Infanta Cristina, the picture of the Retablo being only a copy, from which we may infer that his name in the world of Italian art was already known. How else could he have come to Toledo upon direct invitation, unless he came upon chance, hearing of Toledo as a flourishing city, where art was more appreciated and better remunerated than anywhere else in Spain. Then the chapter of the Cathedral ordered the most beautiful Expolio of the sacristy. When the ordered picture was painted, with the group of three women in the foreground, the canons were shocked by the audacious innovation, sent it back to the painter, and refused to pay for it. There was no justification, they asserted, for the presence of the three Maries at the Crucifixion, and they could only consent to receive it if the figures were rubbed out. This El Greco haughtily and properly declined to do. Having painted his picture, he announced himself ready to stand by it, good or ill, as it was, without the slightest alteration. But he demanded his money, whether the chapter took the picture or not. This, too, the chapter refused, whereupon the irate and humiliated artist went to law. It was a long case, lasting for years, during which time El Greco whiled away his enforced leisure at Toledo by marching off to Illescas, where he found time to build the church and paint some noble pictures. His defence against the chapter was a naïve and lame one. He asserted that the presence of the women did not matter, “as they were a long way off,” which is not true. But the main fact was true, “it did not matter,” any more{198} than radically matters the mediaeval knight in armour behind them. Such inaccuracies and discrepancies leave the artist’s genius undiminished. So apparently thought the judges and jury, for El Greco won his case, gained his price, and maintained his artistic dignity without offensive concession to his pride. The women remained, the picture was hung in a frame of jasper and marble, the wood-work wrought by El Greco, which cost the chapter considerably more than the painting, and El Greco himself lived to die an old man in the town he had started in so stormily.

His next proceedings were at Illescas where, having built the Church of Our Lady of Charity, painted retablos and carved statues, it was seriously proposed to tax his pictures as common merchandise. El Greco went to law again, and this time, too, won his case. Only this was not merely a personal triumph, it was a big justice wrung in these far-off days from the stupid bourgeois to art. Palomino, commenting on it, writes: “Immortal thanks are due to El Greco for having broken a lance for art and thus forced the proclamation of its immunities.” He compelled the court to accept his theory that art was a thing apart from merchandise, not like mere fabrications, subject to the control of taxes or to the law of duty. While the process went on, El Greco refused to sell any of his pictures, but simply hired them out for a certain sum, as the good counsellors of Illescas only proposed to tax sold pictures. As the case with the chapter of Toledo was concluded before that of Illescas, he only accepted a loan on account of the future sum, from the canons for the Expolio.

His fame now was spreading through Spain, and that on no common unattuned voice. His superb portrait of the monk, Felix de Artiaga, won from that dis{199}tinguished poet the first of the two celebrated sonnets to El Greco.

“Divino Griego de tu obrar yo admira
Que en la imagen exceda a el ser el arte”

it begins, and having descanted on the superiority of the artist’s creature to God’s, wittily ends:

“Y contra veinte y nueve años de trato
Entre tu mano y la de Dios, perplexa
Qual es el cuerpo, en que ha de vivir duda.”

The second sonnet was brought forth by El Greco’s tomb of Queen Margarita, when Fray Felix de Artiaga addresses him:

Huesped curioso, a qui la pompa admira
De este aparato real, Milagro Griego!
No lugubres Exequias Juzgues ciego,
Ni marmol fiel en venerable pyra
El sol que Margarita estable mira
Le arraneo del fatal desassossiego
De esta vana Region, y en puro fuego
Vibrantes luces de su rostro aspira
A el Nacer que vistió candido, pone
Toledo agradecido Por Valiente
Mano en aquesta caxa peregrina.
Tosca piedra la maquina compone
Que ya su grande Margarita ausente
No le ha quedado si España piedra fria.

We know that El Greco had disciples, since his two most famous, Fray Bautista Maino and Luis Tristan, were considerable artistes, whose work in Toledo is only second to his own. But had he a school such as had the great Italian masters? Was he beloved, admired, followed through the town? What was his influence upon the young men around him? Was his personality intense and commanding? Strong, yes, else he would never have dabbled in litigation. We may imagine too some intemperateness of character to explain the intemperate blemishes of his work. The strange obscurity of so successful a career as his must have been, if the{200} most important commissions of the time mean anything, leaves us in doubt of the man’s personal attractiveness. He can scarcely have formed strong friendships, or some testimony, some facts would have reached us through these. A wilful, obstinate, self-centred nature is revealed in all his works, and a curious lack of temperament and charm in it would explain to some extent the man’s lack of personal magnetism and influence to account for the century’s indifference to the creator of work it seems to have appreciated so thoroughly.

We find him again at loggerheads with Felipe Segundo. The Escorial was built, and the morose Philip ordered El Greco to paint a picture of the martyrdom of St Maurice for the chapel. He had by this entered into his last period of accentuated eccentricity, of which the St John the Baptist of the Hospital de Afuera, beyond the Puerta de Visagra, is a sufficiently exasperating example. The St Maurice I have not seen, but if the saint’s legs in any way resembled those of St John the Baptist, small blame to the astounded king when he refused to accept the picture. The sacristan of the Hospital de Afuera explains the outrageous anatomical contortions in the blunt good-natured fashion of the people: “Picture by El Greco when he went mad.” But as El Greco never went mad, we rest dissatisfied with the information. There can be no doubt that every strongly-marked nature reveals excess of some sort in whatever direction development may tend. Neither men nor things, nor colour nor line, can appear the same to all. The same sex and nation produced Rossetti’s women and Romney’s. Greuze and Puvis de Chavannes see Frenchwomen with a different eye, though woman herself is the eternally unchanged, the same variously-imaged enigma of the beginning, rather reflected and modified{201} through the glance that scans her than seriously altered or influenced by environment and impression. Humanity was not an elegant affair for Hogarth, and viewed through El Greco’s imagination, it ceased to possess proportion, and man became absurdly tall and grotesquely contorted. He bestows the finished hand of twenty on a child of ten, and shoots his saints up to such a height as would make them ridiculous in Frederick’s famous Potsdam regiment of giants. But this is no indication of madness, any more than any other exaggeration of a natural tendency. Even in the Expolio, his first known great picture, painted when he was a young man, his predilection for excessive height is visible in the tall figure of Christ, and as the years go on this predilection accentuates itself, till his figures cease to be natural. The same tendency to distort the human limbs reveals itself in his magnificent picture in the little church of Santo Tomé, in the upper portion of which one notes extraordinary figures of angels out of drawing, with twisted limbs over clouds.

Philip, in his dissatisfaction with his bargain was, however, as befits a prince, more honourable than the chapter of Toledo. He paid El Greco the price of his work, and only with difficulty did the unhappy artist obtain, for his reputation’s sake, a grudging admission of the picture into the Sala de Capitular, while Philip ordered for the chapel, in its stead, another picture of Romulo Cincinnato.

But these rebuffs were few in a truly brilliant career. The wonder is how he found time, as well as physical strength, for all the commissions he received. He built the extremely elegant façade of the Ayuntamiento, which makes an odd and formal note in its Gothic and semi-Moorish environment, in Greco-Roman style, but has a fine and dignified effect against an appropriate depth of azure to carry out the classical intention of a son of{202} Greece. The side towers give lightness to the solidity of the immense base, and if the columns and arches do not succeed in producing a general impression of grace—a quality absent in nearly all El Greco’s work—there is no sin anywhere against harmony. The interior is worth a visit if it were only for the pleasure of reading on stone Manrique’s sententious and noble lines, with their indubitable ring of the plumed, dramatic ages and the hidalgo’s studious search for the fitting word, the fitting gesture, that shall send him down to posterity in the worthiest form:

“Nobles, discretos varones,
Que gobernais à Toledo,
En aquestas escalones
Desechad las aficiones,
Codicio, temor, y miedo.
Por los comunes provechos
Dejad los particulares;
Pues vos fizo Dios pilares
De tan riquisimos techos,
Estad firmes y derechos.”

When the Toledans wore their famed steel, and damascene armour was the fashion and not a curiosity, the “discreet and noble males” Manrique so magnificently addresses, may have lived up to the high civic ideal of these verses, but it is much to be doubted if the modern Toledans, who no longer seek distraction in the excitement of excellent steel, and fashion paper-knives for books they never read, of damascene instead of exquisite armour, maintain this level of austere civic virtue.

To our lasting gratitude, Cardinal Quiroga, at the instance of the Augustines, ordered El Greco’s immortal and glorious picture of the “Burial of Gonzalo Ruiz, Count of Orgaz.” It is no exaggeration to describe this picture as one of the greatest of Spain. One puts it only immediately below the{203}



masterpieces of Velasquez. The Toledans went wild with admiration, and writing of it a century ago, Antonio Ponz describes their admiration as still unabated. At the time part of the excitement was due to the superb portraits of well-known personages, which the townspeople contemplated with ever fresh delight. We, who have not this interest in the picture, may wisely, nay, must enforcedly, follow their example to-day. “Since its appearance,” writes Ponz, “the city has never tired of admiring it, visiting it continually, always finding new beauties in it, and contemplating the life-like portraits of the great men of Toledo.”

How modern, how seizing, what a subtle, magnificent impressionist the man was! is the first surprised exclamation when confronted with all these living, speaking faces of old Spain. Faces so Spanish, so delicately and forcibly varied and individual in their maintenance of a rigid, racial type. Every shade of national character stands out separate and in union with the general expression: harsh pride, insane wilfulness, stupendous fanaticism, exalted and untender mysticism, a sensuality so dominant as to tread on cruelty, a delicate humour, an inflated self-consciousness, exquisite kindliness, morose indifference, the very genius of selfishness and a sterile sensibility. Did ever a canvas before so perfectly gather all the fugitive moods, all the underlying currents, all the grace and charm, the vices and defects of a single race, and give them complete stability in their wavering expression? This is to carry portraiture to the rarest perfection. Among these twenty or so living faces, there is not one that is insignificant or mediocre, not one that apart would not make a superb picture, not one that does not carry the enveloping stamp of moment, race and environment. In some the type is so unchanged that to-day in Spain such faces may be seen looking precisely as they did then;{204} unaltered even by costume, so marked is the individuality, so seemingly imperishable the large strong utterance of the Castillian physiognomy. This picture has something of the eternal freshness of “Don Quixote.” There is the simple, unconscious stroke of Cervantes in the fashioning of these hidalgoes’ heads, something of his mild incomparable humour, something of his nobility and the underlying depth of sadness in his easy wit. No painter who was not both witty and humorous could observe so deeply, so wisely, with such an obvious kindliness of regard; could accentuate so suggestively, so delicately, national traits, and yet not break the consistent harmony of a solemn scene; could tell posterity so much with the most charming air of telling it nothing. “The Burial of the Count of Orgaz” proves El Greco something more than a complete artist; it proves his intellectual force, for here he brings all the distinguished qualities of the brain to the very different qualities of the painter’s eye and hand.

Of these latter it would be difficult to say too much. Look at the wonderful shadow of death in the livid grey of the corpse, and then at the brilliance of St Augustine’s episcopal robes! Examine above all the lovely head of the boy, St Stephen, not in the least Spanish, a dream of sweet and stainless youth, with warm-hued beauty to thrill the glance, and just enough of heaven about the young brown head to suggest the absent aureole. And from these fresh-tinted cheeks, so purely rounded, look at the two emaciated and pallid monks behind, and then down at little Acolyte, who has much more of the air of a proud and charming little princess, with a practised grace of gesture and an inherited dignity of glance than a church lad. Is it possible to paint more supremely four such different hours and moods of life—dawn, radiant morning,{205} dull twilight, and cold night,—to unite in a higher degree the skill and power of a master? No wonder the enthusiastic sonneteer addressed him as “Miraculous Greek” and “Divine Greek.” This picture has indeed genius’s rare and inimitable touch of divinity. All else, with patience and talent, may be acquired but this, and had El Greco never painted anything else, by the “Burial” of Santo Tomé alone he would stand apart in the history of Spanish art, with the world’s select few.

It is a singular fact, as I have pointed out, that such a painter’s influence on the town he lived in should not be more marked in every way than references to the period would lead us to assume. He had pupils certainly, but we only hear of two, Luis Tristan, his favourite, and Fray Bautista Maino. Tristan has left a good deal of work in Toledo which is often taken to be El Greco’s in decline. Apart from the master’s, it is notable in its way, still and rather colourless; but a story told of master and pupil bears retelling as an excellent trait in El Greco. The one characteristic we are permitted to gather from the obscurity that envelopes the man, is a haughty conviction of the value of his art. There was no lack of confidence here, no feeble self-depreciation, no meek concern for the judgment of others. In all altercations between him and the purchasers, the purchasers were naturally the blockheads, and in no circumstance whatever could he possibly err, not even when he was convicted of wilfully contorting and dislocating the human body. He only went on seeing more and more crooked by a natural perversity. Now, not content to worship art and its rights in his own emphatic work, he taught his disciples to do likewise in theirs. This is his uncompromising method of teaching such a lesson.

The monks of La Sisla, a vanished powerful{206} monastery of the middle ages, ordered of young Tristan a picture for their chapel. Tristan painted the picture and brought it to the abbot, claiming in payment two hundred dollars. The abbot, noting the painter’s youth, objected to the price, and said it was far too high. Tristan modestly protested, and referred the abbot to his master, who shortly called on El Greco at an hour when Tristan was working in his studio. He opened the interview by remarking that he believed there was a mistake in the terms demanded by Tristan. “What were they?” dryly asked El Greco. The abbot blandly named two hundred dollars. “A mistake,” cried El Greco, “I should think so indeed.” He jumped up and flung himself violently on the astounded youth, and began to thump him. “How comes it, you rascal, you could make such a mistake? How dare you ask such a sum as two hundred dollars for a picture worth five hundred? This will teach you to go about the world asking such prices and proving yourself an ass.” Thump, thump, and the unfortunate abbot looked on while the blows hailed on the shoulders of the too humble artist. “I buy that picture for five hundred dollars,” said El Greco to the abbot, when he had finished Tristan’s castigation, whereupon the abbot, who knew his man and was glad enough to get off quietly by the immediate payment to Tristan of five hundred instead of two, politely requested permission to keep the picture. Here was a master worth having. If he did use physical violence to his pupils, he paid a lordly price for the privilege, and in the reckoning it may be said the pupils were more than compensated for affront or wound.

In space so limited, it is not to be hoped to find room for mention of all El Greco’s pictures in Toledo. All I can endeavour to do is to indicate the best, and{207} thus, perhaps, provoke in the reader by whom his work is ignored, a desire for fuller knowledge than I am able to impart. The first picture he painted here, the “Assumption” of Santo Domingo el Antiguo, was purchased by Don Sebastian of Bourbon, and though the copy in its place is not good, a fair idea of the picture might be obtained if the nuns had not the bad taste to place a large and unutterable atrocity in the shape of a hideous tabernacle in front of it. Whatever virtues the ladies of St Dominick may possess, an understanding of art is not among them. Before all their painted retablos, they place offensive dressed statues and tawdry ornaments, out of keeping with the cold severity of this beautiful church of El Greco’s. The pictures on either side of the “Assumption,” all Greco’s, are fine; St John the Baptist and St Paul below, St Benedict and St Bernard above. The Annunciation at the end of the church is by Carducci, and the St Ildefonso opposite by Luis Tristan, neither equal to the master’s strong, harmonious work, which they show out in greater relief.

Interest is attached to this church by the curious fact that not only did El Greco build it, and build it so well with such cold and classical correctness and simplicity, but here he lies at rest forever in his own large temple. The precise spot of his grave is not known, and it is quite an accident that such indication has been found. All the writers have been content with the loose statement that he was buried either in Santo Tomé or San Bartolomé, without a word of regret that he who wrought such lasting monuments with his hand has found no reverent hand to carve a slab above his dust. It was only quite lately that the Spanish landscape painter, Señor de Berruete, to whose kindness I owe the information and a copy of the registrar of the death, by sheer dint of perseverance and conviction, brought to{208} light the definite and correct knowledge at last of El Greco’s resting-place. He lies in some obscure corner of this church, forgotten by the nuns on whose business he first came to Toledo, and the record of his death and burial dryly runs:—Libro de entierros de Santo Tomé de 1601-1614, en siete del Abril del 1614 falescio Dominico Greco. No hizo testamento, recibio los sacramentos, enterose en Santo Domingo el Antiguo. Dio velas.

And that is all we know of his illness and death. He made no will, he received the sacraments, he died on the 7th of April 1614, and left tapers for his funeral. Under some stone of Santo Domingo he lies forever ignored and unhonoured!

Many of the convents that possessed pictures of El Greco have disappeared, amongst them the old convent of the Visitation called the Queen’s, which contained a superb Crucifixion. Of the figures at the foot of the cross, Palomino wrote: “They are very Titian-like, and how superior to anything else here!” We are told of a certain Magdalen, a lovely bit of colouring, painted while the influence of the Venetian school was still marked in his work, but this has become private property. Some of his best pictures were painted for the little town of Bayona near Cienpozuelos. The scenes from the dramatic life of Magdalen were so beautiful that Cardinal Portocarrero offered 5000 pesos (about a crown piece) and the same quantity of Giordanos to replace them to the church, which were indignantly refused. In the College of Atocha and the monastery of La Sisla there were considerable collections of some of the best Grecos. Into whose hands have they since passed? and in how many obscure parts of Spain may not these treasures lie hidden and unrecognised? Palomino tells us of “an unapproachable Judgment.” Alas! nobody to-day knows anything about it.{209}

Three other great pictures, however, remain. In the little chapel of San José, opposite the Exchange of Carlos III., a painted insignificant edifice that has fallen into deserved decay, there are five or six Grecos, two of which arrest immediate attention. On the left is the singularly beautiful figure of St Martin, a portrait of the painter’s son, a delicate high-bred and dreamy young knight in armour, inappropriately cutting his mantle in two with Toledan steel to bestow half on the beggar standing beside his white horse. No Roman soldier this conception of Martin of Tours, making a gift of half of his single cloak, but a charming youth who is playing at charity as he rides out beyond the town, while above the river, in some Gothic-Arabian palace, he has his choice of variously-hued satin cloaks as well as damascene armour, and as he cuts his mantle, he has the dainty and sentimental air of one who muses tristefully on the absent or perfidious beloved, and hugs despair as the more graceful part of passion, the while anxiously asking himself if he shall meet her glance as he rides past her lattice. Except the lovely girl’s head of the Expolio, also said to be a family portrait, and if so proving, along with the St Martin, that El Greco was the father of beautiful children, El Greco has done no more witching and romantic work than this boyish figure of St Martin. The colouring is extraordinarily cold, and grey of an exquisite tone, with shadows of a dull silvered blue. It suggests the pale borderland where dream and reality meet and merge. When El Greco first came to Spain, he was fresh from the warm voluptuous school of Venice. Nothing proves more than the rapid alteration of his style, the invading influence of atmosphere. The austere and hieratic capital of Spain developed a racial coldness, till his art became like the city that remained{210} its temple, something aloof from and above the gusts of temperament, an art unmoved by passion or the senses, too violent to be called serene, too reflective and intellectual to touch the heart. One would look in vain for the exquisite sweetness of Andrea del Sarto, for a particle of the delight and radiance the Italians had the secret of gathering into their canvases, for any of the superlative charm of da Vinci or the surpassing tenderness of Raphael. El Greco has much of the modern hardness, much of its quick impressionability, much of its accentuated indifference to mere loveliness, much of its cold force and deliberate self-cultivation. Instead of learning from error, he cultivated error as part of his individuality, a thing that was right in him since it defined his peculiar perception of things. Even in this fine picture, the horse is out of drawing, since it is a settled thing that no large work of his can utterly satisfy, can come to us without some distinguished blemish and oddness by which we recognise our Greco all in greeting him.

Opposite the St Martin is a Virgin and child, with two angels on either side, and below two saints. The angel, on the left hand, almost confronts me with inaccuracy in denying El Greco warmth. Nothing could be warmer, even on a Murillo canvas, than the soft brown head and shadowed cheek and eyes bent over the infant with an ineffable inward curve that suggests, but does not reveal, the hidden smile. There is a melting sweetness about this drooped visage that El Greco has not accustomed us to expect from him. Underneath, St Agnes strains upwards a very different cast of countenance: dark, severely outlined, intense, and full of pain and yearning, the brows are tragically marked, and the expression of the mouth is that of scornful resignation. By no means the legendary Saint Agnes, meek and mild, but vigorously individual and passionate,{211} with a soul and intellect inconveniently above the little joys of maidenhood. The Virgin, too, as are all El Greco’s Madonnas, is off the beaten track. This maiden-mother has none of the bland and unintelligent sweetness of the Italian Madonna. The face is long and pointed, and about the brow and eyes there is something Greek, a scarce perceptible imperiousness, an intellectual quality in the expression of reverie, more marked still in the Virgin of San Vicente. As a whole, the picture is one of commanding interest.

The sacristan will assure you, despite the conviction of your eyes and senses, that the altar picture is a Murillo. Nowhere have I found sacristans so stupid and so ignorant as in Toledo. For that matter, stupidity reigns over the town. For a home of relics, never were relics more densely guarded, and there is not a single intelligent or recommendable guide to be had. One remembers a delicate little masterpiece of sensibility and pathos by Mr Henry James, “The Madonna of the Future,” with yearning, and wishes some learned monomaniac would start across one’s path, like the neo-Florentine hero of that story, to guide one wisely through Toledo’s forlorn treasures. But Toledo does not seem to have inspired disinterested love in any human breast. Those who know her decline to share their knowledge, and those in care of her inheritance, from the canons of the Cathedral to the sacristans and keepers of the Museum, are, without exception, wrapped in an impenetrable fog of ignorance, accentuated by indifference. The Murillo of the sacristan of San José is a very striking Greco—one would recognise it a long way off by the stupendous height of St Joseph, the hand of twenty of the infant Jesus, and the flowing wealth of drapery in dull green, dim yellow, and faded pink, with the big deep folds so peculiarly the master’s. The sacristan also denied El Greco to be the painter{212} of a grey mystical St Francis, an emaciated, spiritualised head, in a dim twilight, livid grey, half shadow, and ghostly white, blurred with faint yellow. The hands show out whitely in the intensity of gloom, and the expression in this grey atmosphere is mystic and serene. Not one of the best examples, but good enough to suggest that there may be some truth in the supposition that El Greco was the sculptor of the famous little statue of St Francis of Assisi in the Cathedral Treasury, and not Alonzo Cano or Pedro de Mena. But doubtful of my sacristan’s knowledge, I struck a match, mounted a chair, and convinced him by reading out the half obliterated Greek letters of Theotocopulos’s signature. Nothing but the patronymic could be deciphered, but the signature of the picture of the Escorial M. Demetrius Bikelas deciphered more fully: Δομἡνιχος Θεοτοχὁπουλος Κρἡς, ἑποἱει, which is our sole assurance of his birthplace.

There remains another great picture of El Greco to draw attention to, overlooking, as I am compelled to, the very names of so many others. The Assumption of San Vicente is no less magnificent than singular. Most rare is its realistic impression of a scene mid air. You feel about it the very hurricane of the upper air, the dizzy velocity of flight. This is no image of calm soaring through space, the idea of dreamy swim most painters of the Assumption are content to convey. The very modernity and the violent realism of El Greco’s genius forced him to forsake in all things the notion of simple reverie. He seeks to convey distinct impressions; veracity as far as possible must stamp these. He does not delight in pampering the spectator with sentimental musings or the inanely beautiful. Ugliness, too, has its beauty when accompanied by strength. You must understand to enjoy, must bring the brain as well as the senses to the contemplation of his work.{213} Like all preoccupied artists, he inevitably sins by excess, and overtaxes the bewildered spectator. Something of his spirit went into our own Browning. His drawing is often like Browning’s verse, inexplicably rough and out of gear. But nothing could change either genius. One leaves you to make what you can of his volumes; the other leaves you for ever exasperated by eccentricities of pencil and brush it is now no use seeking to understand. For instance, in this picture, shocking and glorious at the same time, who is to account for the profile of the angel in yellow with the grand beating wings of shaded purple and grey that support the lifted Virgin through the rushing air? The limbs are grotesque, the pointed nose almost stands away from the face, the ears protrude in graceless deformity, and the chin is nearly rugged in its absurd upward curve. A more painful presentment of an angel sane man never painted. Yet look away, and you will see two exquisite slender limbs and feet, pointed downward in the air, to show that El Greco knew a lovely thing as well as any other painter. And yet higher still, examine the Virgin with her dark, oval, intellectual, modern visage, beautiful with the beauty of our own troubled and eager times, half spiritual, half poetical, but partaking not in the least of the old-fashioned ideal of maiden-mother, the mild benignant Madonna of Italy, the soulless Virgin of Spain, Eastern peasant women painted from the mistresses of Italian artists or from the pretty dancing girls of the Spanish people. Here is an innovation, here is originality: a mournful Mary, leaving earth with doubt and pain in her expression rather than rapture; with small refined face and intense brows; a Mary who bears the mark of our fugitive common suffering, the deep, enigmatic impress of life accompanied by thought, and not the stereotyped dolorous brand of the seven{214} times stabbed mother Catholic art accepts. He boldly rejects the old ideal both in maiden and in mother, and paints a Mary who is neither sweet nor quiet. How tall she is too, and slenderly outlined beneath the superb green-blue drapery that bears her on its floating folds, as it waves down from the rich pink garment that covers the slim bust. Surely, in spite of defects so monstrous as to provoke laughter, angel’s limbs like gnarled trees, such biceps as no athlete ever possessed, hands to fell the heaviest beast, this picture for composition, for the vivid impression of intense velocity of upward flight, for the grand treatment of drapery and colour, for the vigorous reality of those outspread wings, and above all for that beautiful, delicately-strong grieved face of Mary, with the soft dark cloud of hair marking its most charming oval, this original conception of the Assumption may be reckoned as one of El Greco’s triumphs of art. It does not enchant, or captivate, but it seizes. Elsewhere you must look for delight. Here your satisfaction is disturbed by deliberate and deplorable defections, but you have boundless compensations.

El Greco’s portraits have none of the defects of his large compositions. The best perhaps is the admirable portrait of Cardinal Tavera in the Hospital de Afuera. This is in the full sense of the word a masterpiece. No blemish to irritate, no deliberate eccentricity to recall his wrong-headed theory that in painting colour alone is of importance and drawing of no value whatever. Here is a square of canvas of sober and solid worth, which might be the work of any of the best Italian masters for suavity and restraint, and has no fraternity whatever with the extraordinary St John the Baptist so near it, and so preposterously offensive. The other superb portraits by El Greco that Toledo holds are those of Antonio Covarrubias and Juan de{215} Alava in the Provincial Museum at San Juan de los Reyes. The rest are chiefly at Madrid, and hold no inferior place in that glorious assembly. They stand out, individual, insistent, and seem to assure you with all the eloquence of so violent and marked a personality as El Greco’s, that in spite of the general Venetian tone that so vividly recalls Titian and Tintoretto, with whom proximity invites contrast, it is no imitator who has painted these magnificent portraits of lean Castillian gentlemen, with their austere pride of regard, their air of imperturbable breeding and beautiful hands. They are the work of one of the world’s masters, who himself created a school to which we owe Velasquez.{216}


San Juan de los Reyes, Santa Marta la Blanca, El Transito

RELIGION and revolt are the chief features in Toledo’s story. When her sons were not quarrelling within or warring without, they were building churches and convents, and none more famous than San Juan de los Reyes, built in fulfilment of a vow by the Catholic kings after the victory of Toro, gained over the Portuguese sympathisers with the Beltraneja, Henry’s luckless heiress. The architect was Juan Guas, master builder of the Cathedral, and the church was finished in 1476, and given over by Isabel to the order of St Francis, magnificently endowed. It stands high above the bridge of San Martin and the Puerta del Cambron, the portico facing north and the lovely cloisters south. Writing of it, Señor Amador de los Rios in his Toledo Pintoresca, says: “This sumptuous monument belongs to the class of architecture known as gotica-gentil, and is indubitably one of the most famous of Toledo. Raised at the most flourishing period of the Castillian monarchy, it awakens before the vision of the enthusiastic traveller, memories of lofty and difficult enterprises, happily concluded by our elders, so that the vandalism of the present century stands sharply out with all its rubbish, and still more the envy of a neighbouring nation, that, while it was in the act of flinging the most unjust charges at the Spanish people,{217} destroyed with steel and fire the most precious jewels of its art. I refer to the burning of San Juan de los Reyes by the French on their invasion. It would seem false that the armies of the Marshals, whose culture and value nobody may dare doubt, could display such rage against a few edifices, whose only wrong in their estimation was that they were erected by the victors of Cirinola and Pavia; false would it seem that Napoleon’s soldiers came to Spain to react the scenes of Attila and Genserico. But for our misfortune it is only too true.” One cannot blame the Spaniards for their bitterness towards the French. No invading nation ever behaved more shamelessly, comported itself with a more inexcusable barbarity than the French in the Peninsula. But on the other hand, the Spaniards themselves in reality care so little about the beautiful things they have inherited from bygone times, are so calamitously indifferent to their own historic glories, that we may well hesitate to credit the French with all the ruin we see about us in Spain. An archaeological body was appointed for the maintenance of public monuments, and see for yourself in Toledo and elsewhere what these gentlemen have been able to achieve. It is not money alone that is lacking, but competence and the great important instinct that it matters. The canons, those hopeless autocrats of ruined Toledo, who stand so deliberately on the brink of oblivion and the dark abyss of ignorance, have covered the beautiful bronze doors of the cathedral Puerta del Reloj with a hideous wooden screen. When I asked one of them the meaning of this disfigurement, he blandly assured me that it was to ward off draughts in winter, when the big stone forest is mighty cold. And so the lovely works of Zurreño and Dominguez might just as well have been riddled with French shot for all the pleasure they are permitted to give us to-day. So with everything in the hands of{218} these terrible canons, who care for nothing on earth but their ease and their leisure. The famous archiepiscopal library which the Republic had wisely made state property, was given back to the canons by Alfonso XII., on the distinct understanding that it should remain open to the public. But the canons locked the doors, and whenever you ask to see it, you are informed that the librarian has the keys and is away at Madrid, where he expects to remain another fortnight. During the month I stayed at Toledo, to collect material for this volume, I was sent from one canon to another, all of whom “deeply sympathised,” but assured me in dull, indifferent tones that it was impossible for me to see the library. The Penetenciario was at Madrid. And for anything the canons cared, he might stay away six months, and keep the library keys with him all that time. I asked one canon what the rest did, if in the absence of their singular librarian, there happened to present itself a rare necessity for the chapter to open this hermetically sealed door. He smiled deprecatingly, but did not enlighten me. Not requiring information themselves, the search for it is a form of insanity not to be encouraged in others. And Señor Amador de los Rios and all other Spanish writers lament, and justly, the French invasion, but forget to note their own cruel inertia, the disastrous results of indifference and indolence.

There is nothing remarkable about the exterior of San Juan de los Reyes. Alonso de Covarrubias completed the portico in 1610. The effect of the rusty chains, the famous chains of the Christians of Granada round the walls, is hideous. The Spaniards are extremely moved by the sight of this queer ornament, one wonders why, and Amador de los Rios nearly weeps with rage because some of them have been removed. He solaces himself with drawing an elaborate picture of{219} the awed and reverential attitude of emotional foreigners gazing upon them. The sculpture outside is very rough. Many will find the interior of this renowned edifice a distinct disappointment. One misses the mystery, the charm of aisled perspectives. There are here no long reaches of shadow and brilliant variations of light. The effect is bold, free, ample, but curiously short. The altar recess is shallow, the nave is broad and open, ending in a semi-circle and six lateral arches. The body of the church is divided by two light pillars, richly decorated. The beauty of the church consists in the extraordinary magnificence of its sculpture. Pillars and walls are extravagantly overlaid with the richest Gothic ornamentation, and the impression is rather bewildering than beautiful. It seems a bold thing to say of one of the most admired and renowned monuments of Toledo, that it is ugly from excess of sculptural splendour. It is too wide, too short, too solid and heavy, too open, above all too florid. I can think of no fitter comparison than a stout, low-sized, middle-aged woman, excessively bejewelled, carrying gracelessly garments too heavy and too gorgeous. It lacks the elusive charm of shadow, the subtlety of simplicity. San Juan de los Reyes is a church to visit and to wonder at, but not a place to muse in. You will admire the octagonal vault, the pinnacles, the gallery running out of the clerestory in front of the south window, pierced parapet and highly-wrought choir; you will marvel at the statues, the foliage, the rich Gothic fancies, the shields, all the magnificent elaboration of detail, the rarest to be found anywhere, and still will all this leave you cold and unimpressed. It is like an admirably finished poem, that appeals to the head and leaves the heart untouched.

From immemorial time the principal entrance has been covered with plaster, which only permits us to see the great Gothic window in the centre. The work{220}manship of the interior of the church leads us to infer that this entrance was more in keeping with the whole than the present façade of Covarrubias, which is decadent Gothic, constructed many years later, and only finished in the reign of Philip III. The length of this single nave is 200 feet, its width in the transept is over 70, and in the body of the church 43. There are seven chapels, four on one side and three on the other, all insignificant. The tomb of Don Pedro de Ayala, bishop of the Canaries, is a fine specimen of renaissance sculpture. The cupola rests on four admirably wrought pillars, its form is octagon, with an ogival dome and a window in each face. Nothing could be richer or more effective than the elaborately decorated sides of the transept. Such a splendid prodigality of Gothic sculpture was surely never lavished on so small a space. To give anything like a detailed account of it would require an art and a knowledge nothing less stupendous than the imagination that devised such work. The retablo, painted by Francis of Antwerp in the sixteenth century, that Ponz praised so enthusiastically, disappeared in the time of the fatal French occupation, when the church was the stables of Napoleon’s soldiers, and along with it the life-sized portraits of the founders, Fernando and Isabel. Hardly any of the old stainglass remains, to which fact is due the glaring effect of crude light upon the white stone. But this light permits you to examine at ease the superlative magnificence of the transept sides and the sculptured pillars. Everywhere the initials F and I, with the yoke and the arrows of both sovereigns. Letters and inscriptions are exquisitely finished, and nothing could be more graceful than the general effect of arches and capitals. The high broad nave forms a Latin cross, composed of apse, transept and the body of the church, all the most prodigious and exuberant speci{221}men of florid renaissance. The choir is situated over a low, broad, painted vault. The pillars that support the four domes of the naves are richly sculptured and adorned with statues, and a fine frieze runs above the chapels on either side, with a window above each arch divided by graceful Gothic pillars. The inscriptions are many, and surprisingly clear and beautiful in finish. Here is one of the most elaborate in Gothic letters:




“Este monasterio è églesia mandaron hacer los muy esclarecidos Principes è señores D. Hernando è Doña Isabel, Rey y Reina de Castilla, de Leon, de Aragon, de Sicilia, los cuales señores por bienaventurado matrimonio y untaron los dichos Reinos, seyendo el dicho rey y señor natural de los reinos de Aragon y Sicilia, y seyendo la dicha señora Reina y señora natural de los Reinos de Castilla y Leon; el cual fundaron à gloria de nuestro señor Dios, y de la bienaventurado Madre suya Nuestra señora la Virgin Maria, y por especial devocion que le ovieron.”

The few pictures are quite worthless, but pictures are not needed in such a wealth of stone-work. What are needed to make San Juan de los Reyes less crude in its frank over-decoration are, shadow, the dim luminosity of stained glass, the softened glow of bejewelled light, the tender mystery and charm of pillared aisle, the grace of length to give majesty to solidity. It totally lacks the essential quality of reverence, that elusive and unanalysable suggestion of the beyond, the supreme, the intangible, of that inexplicable aspiration that ever stirs the soul of primitive and civilised man, and has taught him to seek its expression in the building of church and temple; in the white splendour of the Parthenon, the very soul of Greek genius in stone, in the grey dimness of Gothic cathedral, in which Christian fervour finds almost an immaterial beauty of definition, the quality of lofty distinction which belongs to the highest poetry and eloquence. Here you are not assailed by a sense of the melancholy loveliness of death, as when you stand beside some canopied tomb of greatness in the softened gloom of an old cathedral. There is none of the lingering charm of legend and peopled shade, none of the obscurity of deep recess, the chill shiver of vaulted solitude, the vibrant ache of other days, that serene and bewitching{223}





misery we feel whenever we travel backward by the road of strange and wonderful experience that has moulded and developed humanity. For San Juan de los Reyes reveals to us nothing of that past whose enigma forever tortures the curious mind, nothing but the admirable skill of some unknown sculptors, provokes neither musing nor aspiration, nor instils the poisonous enchantment of artistic sadness.

For this reason the lovely cloisters, despite the defacing stamp of restoration and the preposterous glare of white plaster, win you to fervour and lure you to reverie. Ruined, monstrously ill-treated, they yet preserve a delicate freshness, an incomparable grace that give us some notion of the mediaeval paradise they must have been when flower and verdure bloomed between their fretted arches, and the statues in their canopied niches stood fresh from each master’s hands. Not melancholy cloisters these, but gay and charming, with their supreme elegance, their matchless distinction, an airiness and lightness, a gaiety not in the least ecclesiastical or claustral. They were built to harbour the measured mirth of breeding, the sweet and elegant piety of romance, the charity, the contentment that knows naught of suffering or revolt, all the placid and decorous joys of religion. Beautiful flowers and delicate foliage grew thickly in the broad sunny space between the double row of exquisite galleries, and branches spread and swayed against the arched columns of the upper cloisters. Truly it must have been delightful to have worn the habit of the Franciscan monk in the days of Isabella the Catholic, and the great Cisneros, the first novice of this convent, can have found no more vivid satisfaction in the hours he was busy making Spanish history than in the radiant peace of these most beautiful cloisters.

The architecture is superb; the richest specimen of{226} florid ogival with twenty-four vaults, windows cut and chiselled with the fine perfection of the sonnet, pillars delicate enough and daintily wrought for some vision of dreamland, with once fifty-six statues of Franciscan monks between (the number now is sadly diminished, and some of the statues that have not been rashly replaced are in a state of most lamentable mutilation), and charming friezes. The whole effect is that of an exquisite harmony, a harmony that not even the profane and degrading hand of the modern restorer has been able to obliterate. Vulgarised certainly, since vulgarity is, alas! the fatal, the inevitable price we must pay for modern comforts and improvements, for the refining process of our material progress and the pleasures of civilisation.

The cloisters are composed of four double galleries, supported on twenty-four vaults between the upper and lower cloisters and a flat roof above. The pillars, like those of the church, are miraculously sculptured; not a space an inch big, without its Gothic fancy of animal and leaf, its finely-wrought crowd in flowing fold, grotesque and lovely forms and multiplied foliage of every kind. The pillars spread like palms above to sustain the arches that divide the vaults, with an indescribable grace of effect. Inscriptions vary the legend of frieze and ornament. Gothic windows between frail arches look into the airy and delightful gardens, where green southern growths have the curled droop of plumes and the very grass seems to smile through the golden wave along its green. If only the restorers had spared the white-wash. If only this joyous little poem of Gothic architecture were less vulgarly, remorselessly white; less, as Murray’s guide-book aptly remarks, like the frosted top of wedding-cake.

In a corner, fastened into the wall, is a fragment{227}





of stucco arabesque from the ancient palace of King Rodrigo, restored by the Moors, afterwards given by Maria de Molino, the widow of Sancho el Bravo, to Gonzalo de Ruiz, Count of Orgaz. I have never seen a more beautiful specimen of azulejo. This vanished palace of King Rodrigo is one of the few the Moors deemed worthy of preservation. Very little of the Visigothic remains, for the Moors had no fancy to profit by what they found after their conquest, and what has been left us is rude and unimportant enough to make their sparing use of Visigothic inspiration no matter of regret. The capitals of the Cristo de la Luz, the arcades of San Roman, and some fragments of the patio of Santa Cruz, are the most notable examples, and are only of significance as a slight indication of the transitional period between two great civilisations, the Roman and Saracen. All over Toledo, in the twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth centuries, the Moorish note in architecture prevailed, and, except Granada and Cordova, no other town of Spain possesses so much of the work of the Moors, is so strongly stamped with their individuality. This is due to the fact that even after the Christian Conquest most of the workmen employed were Moors, for the tolerance between Moors and Christians in Toledo under both rules seems to have been admirable. They fraternised here on both sides, whether Khalif or Castillian sovereign wielded the sceptre, hence the undisputed preponderance of mudejar architecture in the hieratic city of the Goths.

On the east side a portion of the monastery has been converted into a museum. Never was a collection more insignificant than that of the Museo Provincial of Toledo. The ground floor displays a quantity of wood carvings, of Moorish azulejo, which is always a delight for the eye, of bits of ancient monuments, of inscriptions,{230} Arabic brims of walls, with inscriptions and Moorish work, ever worth examining. Most of the pictures and statues are exceedingly mediocre. But there is a superb bust of Juanelo by Berruguete, and two portraits of El Greco, Juan de Alava and Covarrubias, as well as his famous plan of Toledo, with the slim and musing youth, his poetic-looking son, who was the charming model of his St Martin as well. There is a Holy Family by Spagnoletto, St Vicente Ferrer by Giordano, some saints by Carreño, and an original canvas of Juan de Sevilla. Here, by examination of fourteen pictures of Luis Tristan, you may test the absurdity of the statement by more than one foreign art critic, that the disciple was greater than the master. If Tristan was more sane and sound than El Greco, he was certainly less distinguished and less great. There is a crucifix of Ribalta, a St Jerome of Carducci, some fine subjects from Holy Scripture by Frank, and a remarkable Christ of Morales, and a number of Flemish imitations. The saloon above, where most of these pictures are preserved, was the cell of the great Cisneros. The most interesting relic of all the collection of inscriptions and stones is the mutilated slab taken from the roof of the church of the Capucine Friars near the Alcázar, and found among the materials used for building the patio of this palace, whose broken letters show it to be a fragment of King Wamba’s tomb:

VS Rex Wamba

which Antonio Ponz recomposes thus:{231}

En tumulatus jacet inclitus Rex Wamba;
Regnum contempsit anno DCLXXX
Monachus obiit anno DCLXXXIIIIIII
A Cænobio translatus in Hunc locum
Ab Alphonsus X. Legionis Castellae autem IV. Reye.

In the now forsaken ghetto, where, in King Wamba’s days, stood a strong fortress called the Castillo de la Juderia, and which then was the centre of Toledo’s wealth and commerce, a flourishing quarter, full of the activities of business, of intelligence, of industry, where riches and science and the treasures of the King were gathered, where the money-changers clinked golden promise in the face of reckless and needy nobles, and rabbis read out the law in their beautiful temples to the prosperous and numerous descendants of the exiles of Babylon, to-day may be seen the lovely little synagogues, El Transito and Santa Maria La Blanca.

Writing several centuries ago to his fellow-Jews of Amsterdam, Hassadrin, a Jewish traveller, thus mentions El Transito, one of the marvels of Toledo: “I find in this town, with other antiquities, Roman, Gothic and Arabian, a spacious temple which, since 1355, with King Pedro’s permission, was built in this town for the Jewish people by Samuel Levi, his treasurer and private friend, which temple remains substantially intact, with all the early ornamentation seen on its four principal walls since its foundation, and thus its two atriums, its temple for women and other corresponding offices. All this I have drawn with as much care as possible, and with the expression of the smallest ornamentation, and have even copied three lines of Hebrew, which run along each of the walls, south, north, and west, without interruption; and here also four Hebrew inscriptions, the shortest in verse and rhythm, the two longest in prose; six others on the east wall.” But he bitterly complains that “they{232} have white-washed the temple so thickly that, even though the letters were originally in relief, they are entirely obliterated, and much of the ornamentation remains hopelessly confused.” Those unwhitened above, that are left coloured and solid, he describes as “most beautiful.”[19]

When Samuel Levi built this lovely temple of semi-Moorish design, which the restorers are slowly relieving of its execrable load of whitewash that the venerable Hassadrin complained of to his fellow-townspeople of Amsterdam, the Jews were at their highest point of fortune in Toledo. They stood at the bedside of the sovereign in sickness, they counselled him in all difficulties; they filled his purse, kept his city flourishing. They might have known that they would soon pay dearly for all this power and glory. The anti-Semitic feeling has ever been the same, since the first Christian days to our own time. It breaks out in waves, like an epidemic, and always, it must be remarked, when the Jews are most prosperous and wealthy. So it has broken out in France at the end of this enlightened century, with all the virulence and spite and shameless injustice of the primitive centuries. It is no exaggeration to say, in the year 1898, that the French, if they dared, would gladly wreck—as, in the days of Samuel Levi, the Spaniards wrecked Levi’s palace and all the great Jewish houses of the Toledan ghetto—the Jewish centre, if the Jews still congregated in any particular part of Paris. It is not unjust to say that it is Jewish gold, Jewish power, Jewish subtlety and intelligence that inspire to-day, as then, this bitter and vindictive hate. For if the Jews remained poor, insignificant, ignorant, they would never have suffered persecution, which is proof sufficient that the war is rather one of race than of religion, rather one of base and brutal envy{233}





on the Christian side than of anything resembling a religious crusade.

In all periods of its history, Toledo was subject to these sudden and inexplicable outbursts against the Jews, in spite of the historic legend that Toledo was first peopled and created by the Jews sent adrift by Nebuchadnezzar—a legend that should have entitled the unfortunates to regard themselves as at home upon her seven hills. Not so at any time. First the Carthaginians, then the Romans, then the Arians, the Christians, the Saracens, again, the Christians. Hideous persecution, continually and intermittently, of the chosen people, the followers of Moses and the prophets, the brethren of Christ, the apostles and Mary! One Toledan law against the Jews was a righteous one: the money-lenders were not allowed to exceed thirty-five per cent. on monies lent. Many a beggared scamp and spendthrift to-day would be the better off if such a law in usury had always existed. But there was no inducement to conversion, for the converted Jew was never recognised by his adopted brethren. He always wore a piece of coloured stuff on his shoulder as the señal de Judio. The Inquisition started the final and worst persecution of all, and the Catholic Isabel publicly banished them from the kingdom. Abhorrence of the race has never died, never even diminished, in the Peninsula. A grandee once married the granddaughter of a converted Jew, and, even a hundred and fifty years later, his descendants could not hope to marry into their own rank. He might have hoped for pardon and oblivion if he had married a ballet-dancer or a courtesan. In the Cathedral, a host is preserved, supposed to have been traversed by a Jewish spear which pierced it in three places, the sacrilege having taken place in Holland. The legend runs that the light from the holes was so intense that the Jew{236} instantly became converted. There is also a legend of a highroad cross near the town having been struck by a Jewish sword, bleeding humanly as it fell upon the sacrilegious slayer, the drops of blood as he carried it home revealing to the Toledans his crime, which was naturally the motive of a fresh persecution of the race. So that God, finding the Christians too pacific and lukewarm, used this dumb instrument of painted wood to provoke an onslaught, and redden the streets of Toledo with Hebrew blood. These things you must read seriously when you take to study of the Spanish historians. So they explain to you the legend of the Cathedral gate, the Puerta del Niño perdido. In 1490, a Jew of Quintana went to Toledo to witness the edifying sight of an auto-da-fé. He stood on the brilliant and thronged little Zocodover, and watched the sombre flare of the torches, listened to the lugubrious chants. Turning to a neighbour, he exclaimed: “I know something that will drive these people wild, and will, at the same time, proclaim the triumph of the law of Moses.” He appointed a meeting with his neighbour at Tembleque, and settled to carry off a child of three or four. He stole the child from Toledo, and brought it to the village of La Guardia. At Passiontide, they met at a grotto outside La Guardia, and submitted the baby to a repetition of the insults and outrages Christ had endured; then lanced him, tore out his heart, and buried the little body. The child’s mother was blind, and at this instant miraculously recovered her sight. Not content with this, they bribed a recently converted Jew, Juan Gomez, to steal a host, paying him thirty reals for the sacrilege, and sent him off with the child’s heart to Zamora. Thus the crime was traced to Juan Gomez, who, opening his prayer-book in the cathedral of Avila, on his return, attracted attention by the wonderful projection of bright rays from{237} the leaves. He was instantly seized, examined, papers were found on him, and he and the gang of Jewish torturers of babies were burnt by the Inquisition.

This charming little temple was built for Levi by the Jew, D. Meir Abdeli, a rabbi to whom an elaborate Hebrew inscription on one wall does honour as a man of transcendent virtue. The architecture is Morisco. Slowly the restorers are unveiling the admirably-wrought stucco walls, where the sculpture is as fine and delicate as the most exquisite lace, and has lain for centuries under a degrading coat of whitewash. You must mount the high scaffolding with lighted wax or lamp, and here you may examine at your leisure the inexhaustible delights of the Moorish-Andalusian style in its most florid period. The prodigality of ornament is as amazing as the Gothic wealth of sculpture of San Juan de los Reyes, but I confess this pleases far more. It is much more charming, more fairy-like, with that delicately-sensual note which forms the eternal witchery of the East. The friezes are magnificent, and nothing could be prettier than the effect of the semi-horseshoe windows and their frail pillars and arches. Above the famous Hebrew inscriptions, quotations from the Psalms mostly, run a row of arches, highly decorated, resting on slim columns fancifully wrought. Here the extreme elegance of design and finish touches upon preciosity. The Moorish windows are most lovely, perfect little poems in stone, of a marvellous fragility and grace. From their dainty lines and traceries, you look in stupor up at the massive artesonado ceiling, with its geometrical figures, its infinitude of design carven in heavy wood—blurred, it is true, and brutally defaced by time and neglect. Here and there the woodwork is discoloured, here and there hopelessly degraded;{238} but some notion of its pristine magnificence may be gathered even yet.

El Transito was seized by Isabel the Catholic, on her expulsion of the Jews from her kingdom, and handed over to the Knights of Calatrava, whose arms are stamped on every corner of the temple. The Knights did what every other religious body in all ages and lands has done on taking possession of the temple of the dethroned gods. They marred the harmony of Eastern architecture by the erection of Christian altars, less flagrantly, of course, than the great Mosque of Cordova was marred. But still the false note is there: it greets us with singular bad taste in the fifteenth century retablo, in a plateresca altar, in mediocre sixteenth century paintings that represent scenes from the New Testament, oddly unsuitable to the walls of a synagogue, and out of keeping with the long Hebrew inscriptions in relief above the frieze. Some of these meritless canvases are attributed to John of Burgundy. There is a choir neither decorative nor impressive, and a plateresca door, a tolerable specimen of that Spanish architecture. These are mere blots upon a graceful whole. The Jews under Moorish influence, built this lovely little temple, and its spirit, its essence, its genius, remain Jewish after more than four centuries of dispossession.

The origin of the name Santa Maria la Blanca dates from the fourth century, when Our Lady, in a miraculous vision, is said to have chosen the spot for the erection of a church in her honour, which was covered with snow. Pope Liberius then ordered the church to be built and consecrated to the White Lady—Nuestra Señora la Blanca. Later, the church became the property of the Jews, who rebuilt above its ruins the imposing synagogue we see to-day, in the Moorish ninth century style. Unhappily for them St Vicente Ferrer, a{239} mediaeval fanatic who to-day would be called a demagogue, came to Toledo in 1405, on his famous crusade against the unfortunate race. You may see the highly sculptured pulpit half Moorish, half Gothic, he preached his frantic sermons from to the inflammatory Toledans in the little church of Santiago below the Puerta del Sol, now closed up with a wooden statue of the saint in the middle, holding in one hand a wooden crucifix, and flourishing the other in exhortation to the populace to destruction and cruelty. The Man of Sorrow, who preached peace and goodwill to all men, love of enemies, forgiveness of injuries, himself a Jew, son of a Jewess, is held up to excite the furious passions of the mob, to urge them to crime and infamous injustice. How much fatal misery humanity in all ages, even in our own, might have been spared by the prevalence of so small a quality as a sense of humour! The Valencian saint himself died in bleak far-off Vannes, in Brittany.

But there was no humour then in grim and blood-saturated Toledo. The mob rushed from the church to the synagogue, tore the obnoxious Jews limb from limb, thrust them into the streets and the highways, robbed, tortured, wounded, took possession of their beautiful temple, sacked their houses, carried off their money-bags, (naturally), hooted, hissed, and kicked them precisely as it would to-day in Paris, for all our enlightenment and progress, if it dared. All this in the pacific name of Christ! Centuries after the synagogue became a Magdalen’s Asylum, under Cardinal Siliceo, until 1791, when it was converted into a barrack and military stores. It was only rescued from this ignoble use thirty years ago, and restored by public subscription.

Nothing could be more miserable than the exterior of Santa Maria la Blanca; nothing more squalid than its surroundings. A deserted quarter, mean little{240} laneways, towzled babies, unfortunate beggars. “As soon as you descend the steps that lead to it,” writes Quadrado, “you are arrested by the surprise of this singular mingling of magnificence and nakedness, of capricious strangeness of lines, the exquisite taste of the ornaments; you fancy yourself transported to a fantastic pagoda. The glance is lost in the midst of this forest of great octagonal pillars, which from the point of view of proportion, lack half of their height. They are seven in a line, forming five naves, and holding Moorish arches of a bold curve. The capitals in stucco are of different forms, composed of branches, of leaves and garlands, mixed with fir-cones, reminiscences of the old Byzantine style. Varied ornaments, arabesques, lovely rose windows along with arches, and prominent above the central nave a frieze in slight relief, formed of lines crosswise and intermingling, and even still of a remarkable precision and purity. No dome, not even a ceiling; a roof of wood, of miserable aspect, descending from the height of the central nave to the two lateral extremities, gives to the whole edifice an appearance of ruin and abandonment.” The restorers, with customary clumsiness, have coated the whole temple in plaster, like the cloisters of San Juan de los Reyes, with a result almost facetious, taking into consideration the name of the building. It is now white with a sorry vengeance. The ceiling is said to have been made from beams of the cedars of Lebanon, and the soil the synagogue is built upon to have been brought from Mount Zion. The Moorish and Byzantine style mingle most artistically, with the accumulated delicate and artistic effects of both and the enchanting azulejos, here of an admirable beauty of colour and design; but arabesque, tiles and horse-shoe arches are sadly out of harmony with the Gothic altars of the chancel. One finely sculptured, is supposed to be by Berruguete or one of{241} his pupils. Elsewhere it would show to better advantage than here. Curious detail, the wells may still be seen where the Jews and Jewesses performed their ablutions.



For grace and a certain note of distinction and wealth in its beauty, Santa Maria la Blanca cannot compare with El Transito, which in the days of its{242} splendour, must have been a gem of the most delicate perfection. But as a religious temple, as the expression of solemn worship rooted in the strange and mysterious East, the former is by far the more imposing, the more earnest and harmonious. Prayer in the Transito seems a matter of graceful and artistic dilletantism; here it appears a great racial cry of the soul.{243}


Vanished Palaces

COMING out from the station, instead of taking the road up to the town, you may cross the fields, and thus into the famous Huerta del Rey, where old Arabian splendours and romance once were castled in the legendary palace of Galiana. Now alas! beauty and legend in disgraceful abandonment. All this rich land of the Vega is the property of the ex-Empress of the French, Doña Eugenia de Guzman and Condesa de Teba. To bear a glorious name (beside which the title of French Empress is but a trumpery decoration) and inherit land so crowded with historic interests, inherit above all the ruins of a palace of fairyland, and treat her inheritance as the Empress Eugenie has done, is adequately to explain the reason of Spain’s irretrievable decadence and slow death. The palace of legend is let out in miserable tenements to muleteers and peasants, who little heed the damage done to wrought Arabian wall and ceiling by their smoky lamps, wood fires in unventilated chambers, by beasts and meal-bags housed in a princess’s boudoir, in a dismantled reception chamber. The Empress Eugenie may receive a few pesetas quarterly for this desecration, and we lose a few hours of inestimable musing, while the entire world is the poorer by a dainty monument the less. Even thirty years ago the palace of Galiana was still a constructable dream. The lovely staircase was half preserved, the lace-work was less and less obliterated, the arches{244} still undegraded. But Mlle. de Montijo, seated afar on a foreign throne, was too busy with intrigues destined to ruin France less permanently than her neglect of property she never visits has ruined an historic poem.

Calderon, in his drama, Cado uno por se, speaks of this palace, and its heroine has been immortalised by Moratin in verses forever quoted:

“Galiana de Toledo
Muy hermosa y maravilla!
La Mora la mas celebrada
De toda la Moreria.
Boca de claveles rojas,
Alto pecho que palpita,
Frente eburnea que adorno
Oro flamante de Tyras.”[20]

The story runs that Galafre, the kingling of Toledo, under the great Khalif of Cordova, Abd-er-Rahman I., built a wonder of human dwelling for his beautiful and bewitching daughter, the infanta Galiana. Part of the palace already existed in the eighth century, and was Visigothic. To this he added the ineffaceable Moorish note, the horse-shoe arches, the ajimez windows, still admirably defined despite decay, the Moorish trickery of brickwood, the arabesques and tiled roofs and the square towers of the East. To-day we can trace the ajimez windows, the horse-shoe arches, and even the beautiful arabesques of the walls are faintly discernible through their deplorable coating of smoke-stain. But within the past thirty years the exquisite tiled roof of{245} the tower has disappeared, along with the lovely staircase. The degradation of the Moorish patio, which must have been a thing divine, leaves us in our vulgar modern days, stupefied by man’s indifference to the eternal eloquence of beauty. The mystery of this Arabian genius is forever sealed. Nothing we can strive, nothing we can hope to do, will reveal it to us, will unlock the doors of an enchanted past. Whence it sprung is just as inexplicable to us as how it vanished, but alas! vanished it is like the mysterious city of enchantment and of a civilisation that since has never been equalled—the outlying town of Cordova, built by a mighty Moorish emperor in honour of a loved wife, and but a memory of superlative witchery and delight.

In those days the waters of the Tagus ran high, and water here was abundant. The Moors, those subtle hydraulists, alone possessed the secret of drawing from river and well their full value, and irrigating plentifully a thirsty land. To this day Valencia is a garden of flowers and an orchard of fruit, because the Moors passed by there. Of all this Toledan Vega they made a paradise of leaf and bloom and rill. It sparkled and scented the air afar, and such was the over-powering beauty of the gardens of Galiana that Lozano, in his Reyes Nuevos, forgets that he is writing of the nameless one, and bursts into high-phrased enthusiasm. One would think the learned doctor of the church was describing the conventional heaven of his imagination. The river then flowed further inward than it does now, and ran along one side of the palace, forming a broad moat. The gardens were a spiced and many-hued paradise, and the palace a wonder of terraces and arches, with halls of arabesques and Moorish inscriptions, pillared patios and dainty boudoirs, with broad-beamed ceilings. Imagination easily fills in all the omitted details of silks and couches, and marble and silver and{246} gold, of flowing water and music, of musked solitude and towered reverie, of the glamour of guarded romance peeping through high arched windows over the silence of the flowery Vega, and adown the quiet course of the curved Tagus. No wonder legend makes Charlemagne, from the blighting disasters of Roncevalles, pass down to this magic spot to fall enamoured of the lovely Galiana, la Mora la mas celebrada de toda la Moreria, and on her behalf challenge the Moorish prince Bradamante, who persecuted her with his addresses, cut off his head in a single-handed encounter, and carry away to France the exquisite creature, when she was baptised, and reigned picturesquely over a grateful and admiring France. Spanish legend is not awed by Charlemagne’s fame. Either it blows his armies to pieces at Roncevalles, or it lures him beyond the Guadarrama, like a mere knight errant in the protection of damsels, caught by ordinary love, and riveted to its chain.

Under Castillian rule, the Palace of Galiana became the property of the Guzmans, whose arms may be seen upon its dismantled front, and who, like most Spaniards, have so ill appreciated a priceless inheritance. One of the most famous attractions of this palace in olden times was the clepsydras, or water-clocks, made by the celebrated astronomer, Abou-l’-Casem, Abdo-er-Rahman, better known as Az-Zarcal. In a description of Toledo a curious Arabian document gives us a quaintly vague idea of these clepsydras, or ponds, whose waters rose and fell with the moon. “One of the greatest towns of Spain is Toledo, and Toledo is a large and well-populated city. On all sides it is washed by a splendid river called the Tagus.... Among the rare and notable things of Toledo is that wheat may be kept more than seventy years without rotting, which is a great advantage, as all the land abounds in grain and{247} seed of all kinds. But what is still more marvellous and surprising in Toledo, and what we believe no other inhabited town of all the world has anything to equal, are some clepsydras or water-clocks. It is said that Az-Zarcal, hearing of a certain talisman, which is in the city of Arin, of Eastern India, and which Masudi says shows the hours by means of aspas or hands, from the time the sun rises till it sets, determined to fabricate an artifice by means of which people could know the hour of day or night, and calculate the day of the moon. He made two great ponds in a house on the bank of the Tagus, not far from the gate of the tanners, making them so that they should be filled with water or emptied according to the rise and fall of the moon.” We are told that the movements of these clepsydras were thus regulated, that as soon as the moon became visible by means of invisible conducts, the waters began to flow into the ponds, and by day-rise the ponds were filled four-sevenths. At night another seventh was added, so that by day or night the ponds continued to increase in water a seventh every twenty-four hours, and were quite full by the time the moon was full. On the 14th of the month, when the moon began to fall, the ponds fell too in like proportion. On the 21st of the month they were half empty, and on the 29th completely so. King Alfonso the Learned, desiring to master the secret of these clepsydras, sent one of his bungling astronomers to examine them, which he did so well, that he broke the delicate machinery, and the Moors, to comfort their wounded pride in the loss of so unique a Moorish monument, called the bungler a Jew, one Houayn-Ben-Rabia.

Another palace in ruins belonging to the ex-Empress of the French is all that remains to-day of the magnificent Casa de Vargas. It was built by the celebrated architect, Juan de Herrera, and Antonio Ponz{248} describes it at length as one of the architectural splendours of Toledo, as late as the War of Independence, when Bonaparte’s soldiers laid it waste with shot and shell. “The façade,” writes Ponz, “is perfect Doric, of exquisite marble, with fluted columns on either side, and the pedestals have military emblems in bas-relief. The frieze consists of helmets, heads of bulls and goblets. The coat-of-arms above the cornice is most beautiful, and the women’s forms seated on each side are life-size. Nothing could be finer than the details as well as the whole of this façade, and for sure it is the most serious, the most lovely, and most finished of all I have seen in Toledo. You enter a spacious courtyard, with lofty galleries running round it, above and below, the lower gallery sustained by Doric pillars, and by the upper Ionic columns. The staircase is truly regal, and likewise the various inner chambers. They contain different chimney-pieces, ornamented with graceful fancies, executed in bas-relief; and thus in the lower quarters as in the principal, are other galleries with columns like those of the courtyard, with delicious views of the meadows and the Tagus.” Nothing of all this remains but a mere unsightly ruin called the Casa de la Direccion, the property of the Counts of Mora.

The list of these vanished palaces of Toledo is a long one, and is the subject of most melancholy musing. In the old forsaken quarter once known as the Juderia, the prosperous and magnificent ghetto of mediaeval Toledo, where the Transito, Samuel Levi’s synagogue, stands, was the great palace of the Villenas. Henry of Aragon, lord of Villena, was a famous figure in those remote ages. Of royal blood, uncle of King Juan II., he was an erudite scholar, a mathematician, a man of science in advance of his times, a splendid prince, a collector of books, the possessor of a library{249} as famous as Mendoza’s, a wizard, a man of evil odour, of the black craft, who was gravely charged with putting his enemies alive into bottles, and of holding intercourse with the Evil One. All his valuable library, and in special his own manuscript tomes, for he was an indefatigable writer, were publicly burnt at Madrid by order of Fray Lope Barrientos, a Dominican, on the solemn accusation of witchcraft. Juan de Mena, in his celebrated coplas, protested against ecclesiastical iniquity, and lifted his voice in the learned prince’s glory:

“Aquel que tu ves estar contemplando
En el movimento de tantas estrellas,
La fuerza, la obra, el orden de aquellas
Que mide los cursos de cómo, y de quando,
Y ovo noticia filosofando
Del movedor, y de los comovidos,
De fuego, de razos, de son de tronidos,
Y supo las causas del mundo velando:
“Aquel claro padre, aquel dulce fuente,
Aquel que en el Castalo monte resuena
Es don Enrique, Señor de Villena,
Honra de España, y del siglo presente.
O inclito sabio, autor muy sciente,
Otra y aun otra vegada te lloro,
Porque Castilla perdio tal tesoro
No conveido delante la gente.
“Perdio los tus libros sin sea conveidos
Y como en exeginas le fueron ya luego,
Unos metidos al avido fuego,
Y otros sin orden no bien repartidos.
Cierto en Atenas los libros fingidos
Que de Protagoras se reprobaron
Con armonia mejor se quemaron
Cuando el senado le fueron leidos.”

The quantity of subterranean chambers and passages of this immense palace were supposed to have been used by Don Enrique for his parliaments of witches{250} and wizards, and his awful meetings with the Horned One and his sulphureous satellites. Afterwards the palace fell into the hands of Samuel Levi, Pedro the Cruel’s treasurer, the wealthy Jew who built the Transito close by. Then the Master of Santiago’s haunts of witchcraft were used as Levi’s treasury, until Pedro, in want of money, seized his treasurer’s person, and the town sacked his palace. Henry IV. afterwards gave the palace to his minion, Juan Pacheco, with the titles of Duke of Escalona and Marquis of Villena. Neither title nor palace now exist. In a miserable part of the town, high up above the river, you may see a few broken arches and formless vaults and great blocks of stone. That is all. It was destroyed by fire in the reign of Charles Quint under circumstances of exceptional and romantic interest. Charles appointed the Casa de Villena as the residence of the great Constable of France, the treacherous Bourbon. The second Duke of Escalona, indignant at the thought that the French traitor should cross the threshold of his house, informed his sovereign that a house so polluted should prove the grave of such an insult to his family, and threatened to burn it in the event of the Constable’s visit. Charles never believed in such an extravagant menace, and the Constable arrived. Diego Lopez de Pacheco, with all his family and servants, left Toledo for ever, and in a few days the stained house was burned to the ground as henceforth unworthy the habitation of honest men.

In the little plaza of Santa Isabel there is another, supposed to have been one of the palaces of King Pedro, now the property of the Duke of Frias. One of the half-obliterated Arabian inscriptions has been traced by the late D. Pascual de Gallangos as meaning: “Lasting prosperity and perpetual glory to the master of this edifice.” There are many Moorish{251}





traces about it, the highly decorated wall-work, the horse-shoe arches and fine relief. Of the palace of the Trastarmares little now remains but the door with the big Toledan nails. Somewhere about here was the house Hernan Cortes was married from, when the bride’s page stabbed himself at her feet as the procession left the courtyard for the church. I cannot indicate the precise spot, as I was shown it vaguely one lovely moonlit night, when Toledo takes on its spectral and fantastic aspect of white shadow-worked dream, a thing of elusive radiance, wherein reality is lost in mysterious beauty. One walks knee-deep in the sadness and enchantment of “old, unhappy, far-off things,” and the petulant little page, stabbing himself in the folds of the bride’s white satin, as she crosses the threshold of her father’s house, is just the kind of picture one is prompted to evoke. Alas, and alas! if we were only so fortunate as to possess some clue by which we could hope to evoke the bride’s face, some faint perfumed trace of Toledan dame and damsel of those days. But the Toledan school of painters has only left us an interminable gallery of cavaliers, proud austere heads, with the mild, cold and implacable regard of Spain. Of poetry, of womanhood, of soft sensuous charm, not a hint. The exquisite Maria de Padilla, with her little white visage and passionate, sad eyes, is only a name now; but such was her gentle sorcery that she is still a dominating memory. We cling to her the more as she is the single woman’s form that floats above this past of hard-featured and imperious knights, who ever jostled and fought in these murderous streets and lanes, conspired, rebelled and fashioned the roughest and strangest history written.

Near Santa Ursula is the façade of the famous house of the Toledos. The founder of this great family, since known in history as the Dukes of Alva, was a{254} member of the Imperial house of Paleologus, Pedro, a Byzantine prince of the days of Gothic rule. His immediate descendants were the Illans; Stephen Illan, for whom was built the beautiful Casa de Mesa, and whose portrait on horseback may be seen in the Cathedral, behind the hideous Trasparente, was one of the greatest figures of mediaeval Toledo, great citizen, unruly noble, defender of the town, and lord of the people. It was after his day that the family was honoured with the significant private name of Toledo, the present family name of the house of Alva. The palace of the Toledos was like that of Villena, an immense edifice covering all the square. Now only the façade remains as a triumphal assertion of vanished splendour; a disfigured Gothic porch and a couple of ajimez windows in the north wall in front of Santa Ursula. Time has laid a heavy hand on the arches, the slim columns, the cornices, the shields, the stone sculptures and friezes; but the Latin inscription is still visible:

Dominus custodiat introitum tuum et exitum tuum
Ex hox nunc et usque in sæculum.

We need only look at the single chamber of the Casa de Mesa to reconstruct the interior of this dismantled palace, its exquisite Moorish walls and azulejos or tile-work, its arches, ajimez windows and lofty galleries, its sumptuous artesonado ceilings. The house itself began to decline with the disgrace of the great Duke of Alva, whom Philip struck so brutally on the trivial pretext of his son’s love affairs. Don Fadique, the heir of the house of the Toledos, fell in love with the daughter of the Guzmans, the unfortunate Magdalena. They became engaged without Philip’s permission, and instantly both were imprisoned, Don Fadique at Medina del Campo, Magdalena in the Convent of{255} Santa Fé at Toledo (also known as Santiago). On his release, the Duke of Alva decided to marry Don Fadique to his cousin, Maria de Toledo. The King feigned to approve of the marriage, and afterwards made it a pretext of persecution. Magdalena de Guzman, from her conventual retreat, was summoned to lay her claim to Don Fadique’s hand; the Duke and Duchess of Alva were exiled, and Don Fadique and his bride were literally ruined. The Toledos once humiliated, Magdalena de Guzman was ordered back to her convent and to silence, Philip’s minister advising her to write no more letters to the King. “What would you do at Court?” he asks Philip’s unhappy victim, who, at a king’s extraordinary caprice, had wasted twelve years in the cloisters. “You are too young to be a duenna, too old to be a maid of honour. Since you have spent twelve years in the convent, stay there altogether.” And to the King he writes: “May God give her good sense. One can’t make a step without finding a letter from her.” A melancholy time for youth and romance, when a vicious and sour-tempered old king and his corrupt ministers pulled the strings that made its amiable puppets dance. A man with the care of the two Spains, the Netherlands, and all the intrigues of Europe, finds time to glance down at Toledo, and enter into miserable battle with innocent young hearts, mar and make marriages for their doom!

The palace of Fuensalida, the property of the Duke of Frias, never seems to have been an edifice of any particular architectural claim. All history records of it is the fact that Charles Quint’s wife, the Empress Isabel, died here while Charles was building the Alcázar for her reception. The house was built by Lopez de Ayala early in the fifteenth century, whose tomb may be admired in the Church of San Pedro{256} Martir. The origin of the famous Casa de las Tornerias is disputed. Some regard it as an ancient mosque, because of its emphatic mark of Saracen architecture, contemporaneous with that of the little mosque, El Cristo de la Luz. The whole is now too hopelessly built round with vulgar stone and too terribly dilapidated and mutilated for a proper estimate to be formed of its earliest origin and form. It is still, and must always be, mere matter of conjecture whether it was originally built for a mesquita or a Moorish palace.



In the Calle del Barco, which runs from the Cathedral down by a breakneck slant to the river (here you can take the ferry for Our Lady del Valle) is the Casa de Munarriz, so called from a canon who a century ago dwelt there a full hundred years. In the days of Toledo’s greatness it was a fine mansion of some importance with double galleries round the immense courtyard, a handsome staircase of beautifully wrought stone, each storey supported by sixteen arches and thirty-two delicate marble columns with graceful{257} capitals, shields, and sculptured subjects in frieze. The windows are half Arabian, and the emblazoned doorway, between its huge columns, is most imposing. Here and there quantities of beautifully wrought façades speak eloquently of departed days, but it is not possible now to discover the forgotten history of these signs of degraded palaces. The Gothic ornamentation will guide you as to date, or mayhap an exquisitely carven Moorish inscription in the wood-work of a half-ruined wall. Ponz called Toledo the city of fine inscriptions, and Latin and Moorish inscriptions everywhere abound. Here is one still quite distinct in the old House of the Templars, near San Miguel: “Blessings come from God. Let us adore Him. Power is God’s the only one. Abundance, wealth, and perfect security assist the master of this house. Power is God’s. Let God’s blessing complete it. God is eternal. His is power. Blessing.” Round these walls are verses from the Koran.

In close neighbourhood were two historic and important palaces, that of Juan de Padilla, which occupied the whole ugly square to-day of his name, and down the steps which lead to it by a narrow street, the palace of Garcilaso de la Vega. To-day we have no means of forming the faintest notion of what these famous houses were like. Juan de Padilla’s was razed to the ground by order of Charles Quint after the unfortunate hero’s execution. We judge it to have been large from the size of the empty square it stood upon above the Puerta del Cambron, commanding a full view of the Vega and the river; and necessarily splendid from the fact that Isabel and Fernando occupied it as guests at the time of their daughter’s marriage with the King of Portugal. Garcilaso de la Vega’s mansion is now a mere mud wall sheltering several tenement houses. Here the King of Portugal{258} stayed, and with royal guests in such close vicinity, it is easy to imagine the picturesque hum of life in this now silent and insignificant quarter four centuries ago. Alas! not a stone, not a page to help us to reconstrue one bright scene, to relive one vivid hour. Humble walls below the pretty modern little garden of the Miradero, as you approach from the Puente de Alcántara, indicate where Gerardo Lobo, el Capitan Coplero, so nick-named by Philip V. to avenge a satire on the French, lived and wrote El Triunfo de las Mugeres, and in the Calle del Refugo, near the hospital of that name, dwelt the poet Moreto.

I have left for the last the two most important remains of mudejar palaces in Toledo: the Casa de Mesa, the mansion of Estevan de Illan, and the Taller del Moro, supposed to have been the palace where the terrible massacre of the Noche Toledana took place. All that remains of the Casa de Mesa is a single chamber with a charming little boudoir at the top. It is Granadine-Arabian style, highly and marvellously ornamented; quite the most beautiful specimen of mudejar architecture of Toledo. The chamber is sixty feet by twenty-two, and thirty-six in height, and every detail of its delicate and complicated Moorish decoration is a delight. One hardly knows what to marvel most at, the fineness or the extraordinary wealth of relief upon the walls, which is the most enchanting kind of lace-work imaginable. Fairies seem to have wrought it, and its perfection even to-day is nothing less than a mystery and a miracle. And then the arches, the foliage, the inscriptions, the lovely ajimez windows, the friezes and gorgeous artesonado ceilings of chamber and boudoir, stellar-shaped to recall the stars of heaven. Here are points of exclamation and pain enough to think that the secret of so much beauty is lost to us forever. The Christian arms everywhere on the azulejo border{259}



demonstrate that the house was built after the Christian Conquest by Moorish builders, but one may ask oneself, was the rest of the mansion in keeping with this glorious chamber? Who designed it, wrought it? What sort of life was lived therein? What the fashion of the garments that swept it, the dreams dreamed within its fabulous walls? Why should this single jewel remain in a sordid setting, and nothing to tell us how the rest came to vanish, why this alone was preserved?{260} All we know is that Cardinal Siliceo turned the house into a college for young ladies in the sixteenth century, and placed his own arms above the exquisite ajimez window between the chamber and the boudoir, and the chamber served the Carmelites as a chapel for many years.

The Taller del Moro is probably earlier by four centuries than the Casa de Mesa. Here we have the influence of the Cordovese-Arabian architecture, of an art less delicate and fairy-like than the Granadine-Arabian. There is every reason to believe that this palace was built after the Gothic downfall for a Saracen magnate. The street was called the Street of the Moor to prove that an illustrious Moor dwelt there, and its resemblance to the Alcázar of Sevilla indicates that the owner was in every probability a ruler of some kind, a governor or viceroy. It may be on this slight ground that it has been hinted it was here all the nobles of Toledo were invited to a banquet to meet the Khalif’s son, and as each one entered the dusky garden, his head, with a single stroke, was sent rolling into the ditch near the gate. There is nothing now about it to bear out this shuddering suggestion. The long Moorish chamber is turned into a vulgar workshop. The wooden door from the street opens into a squalid yard, with carts and wheelbarrows about, and placid Christians, for a couple of pence, receive you without any hint of knife or blood, or lugubrious ditch. Not even the ghost of a turbaned Moor to disturb your musing as you stand in the degraded workshop, where the light is dim, and vex your soul with mutterings against the damp and smoke. The chamber is a hundred feet long by twenty-four. It is of a singularly rich and splendid design, with Moorish inscriptions running along the walls, with delicate friezes, and all the Oriental luxury of red and gold and blue. The artesonado ceiling is{261} superb, and it requires no very violent effort of imagination to evoke a vague picture of this banqueting hall in the days of Moorish revelry, when passion and policy wrapped themselves in the magic charm of colour, and mere civilisation was an inexhaustible enchantment, a pure and indolent delight.

The Corral of Don Diego is an extensive courtyard near the church of the Magdalena, said to have been the property called the Barrio del Rey, which Alfonso, after the Conquest, gave to Don Pedro Paleologus, who came to Toledo to fight the Moor, and remained to found the great house of the Toledos. The arms of the Toledos may still be seen above the gates, and Henry of Trastamare, we are told, bestowed the palace upon his auxiliary, Bertrand de Guesclin, with the title of Trastamare, which has since fallen to the Duke of Montemar. Nothing now remains of the palace but the courtyard, and a magnificent Moorish archway of horse-shoe shape, and arabesques recalling the style of the Alcázar of Seville, but we may gather some notion of its size and importance from the ruin. There are indications miserably faint and buried away under plaster, that the palace was richly ornamented in the mudejar style. Inscriptions, Moorish arches, and ajimez windows are dimly discoverable beneath the broken plaster-work and the primitive roughness of modern repairs. An impression of splendid halls and chambers, of delicately ornamented Moorish alcoves and boudoirs and inscriptions, of artesonado ceilings and emblazoned doors, is seized under the frost of neglect, through the mildew of centuries, the wood-work, design, and gilt of the octagonal ceilings now almost hopelessly obliterated, and the friezes mere shapeless dilapidation.

The Castillo de San Servando or Cervantes, just outside the Bridge of Alcántara, is an impressive look{262}ing ruin, that seems mysteriously to have become inter-penetrated with the burnt and arid tones of the landscape. It has no historic or architectural interest whatever, is not even beautiful, but impresses the eye in its decay, with its rough, battlemented, and scarred visage, the ancient note of its barbican and square rude towers. It is indubitably Mozarabe, built by the Moors as a fortress, and employed as such by Alfonso after the Conquest. Calderon makes mention of it in Cado uno por se, and in the civil war of Pedro and Henry of Trastamare, having been abandoned by the Knights Templars, whose property it had become, it resumed its use as a strong place. The Archbishop Tenorio ordered its repair, and many of the arches and vaults date from this period. Tramps now sleep comfortably in its shadow, and scare you in your moonlit walks by midnight.

Though the Alcázar can by no means be described as a vanished palace, since it is the most substantial and dominating feature of the town, as an illusion it may be classed with these. A wide pathway leads to it from the Zocodover. It was twice burnt, and now all that remains of it are the imposing facades, the three towers, the glorious patio, large enough to hold an army, and the magnificent staircase, up which an army might march abreast. It stands upon the ruins of Wamba’s walls, in full command of the city, and in Roman days was the prison where St Leocadia suffered martyrdom. Under Alfonso VI. it was a strong fortress, guarded by the Cid. Don Alvaro de Luna first, and the Catholic kings afterwards, had some hand in adorning it, but Charles Quint, designing to reside in Toledo, may be said to have rebuilt it altogether. He gave the commission to the best Spanish architects of the century—Covarrubias, Vergara, Villalpando, Jaspar de Vega, Gonzalez de Lara, and the great Herrera, with a host{263}





of minor artists. He built it for the empress, who, like himself, died before it was finished. Philip II. sent to Brussels, to London and Italy, in search of other artists to help to complete the colossal edifice, and it stood for long the most splendid palace of Spain. Came Staremberg and his troops in 1710, who turned it into a barrack, burnt the superb woodwork as fuel, broke the windows, tore down the artesonado ceilings, the carved doors, and set fire to the palace on leaving it. Spain has never been fortunate in her allies—English, French, or Austrian; they invariably found their entertainment in spreading ruin among her grandeurs. Carlos III. attempted to restore the Alcázar, but the French then came in 1810 and set fire to it again. The fire lasted three days, and now only the walls remain. The regal staircase, surely the widest of the world, ends in the void. You are shown the window at which the unfortunate Blanche sat in her solitary misery, but there are no walls to indicate the size of the chamber. You can see the lovely view from the window by picking your way across the scaffolding, but there is nothing else to see. For years the restorers have been busy with the roof of the galleries that run round the immense patio, only the artesonado will be reproduced in iron instead of wood, and the imitation is good. It may be completed, at the rate of modern work in Spain, in a couple of hundred years. The façade is plateresca, sober, and cold. Indeed, I cannot say that there is anything about this palace except its immensity calculated to provoke admiration. It towers imperiously above the town, crowded beneath it—a gigantic illusion; substantial without, void within; dreary and featureless in all its futile ostentation of measureless space.{266}


Minor Churches, Hospitals, and Convents

TO write of all the churches and convents of Toledo would be to burthen the reader with a needless and confusing fatigue. It is enough to know that the city was pre-eminently a hieratic centre to understand that both were once innumerable. To-day they are still too many to remember and certainly more than are worth visiting. Some, like San José, are of no architectural value whatever, only known as a poor little hall which contains some of El Greco’s finest pictures. The fame of others, like San Roman, rests upon their mudejar towers, which give so quaint and individual an air to the general aspect of Toledo from the hills or the river. Others again, like San Tomé, combine both attractions in a pure mudejar tower and El Greco’s most wonderful masterpiece, the Burial of Count Ruiz de Orgaz, as well as Alonzo Cano’s Prophet Elia in sculptured wood, a marvellous specimen of Spanish wood-sculpture. Of Santo Domingo el Antiguo nothing here need be said since I have already written about it in my chapter on El Greco. Perhaps one of the finest of the minor churches is San Andrès. It was transformed after the conquest by order of Alonso VI. from a mosque into a Christian church as the remains of Moorish inscriptions as late as the sixteenth century would indicate. In the lateral nave above the transept there{267}



are still traces of Arabian architecture in the vaults and stucco ornamentation of the same period. But the general appearance of the edifice is more modern, of a sober Gothic style, less highly decorated, but to my thinking more graceful in form than San Juan de los Reyes. The three long naves appear to be of a more recent date than the transept and capilla major. The pillars that sustain the dome are extremely graceful, and there is a bold freshness about the arches between that give the whole an air of distinction which none of{268} the other minor churches of Toledo possess. The general effect is delightfully harmonious. In each of the chapels of the aisles there is something to examine. The founder of the restored temple, as the long inscription in Gothic letters along the friezes of the transept tells us, was Francisco de Rojas, commendador and ambassador at the court of Maximilian I., buried here in 1523. The high altar is of wrought wood of the sixteenth century, with paintings of that period of some merit. The shafts of the transept are in excellent taste, and on one of the lateral altars, under the retablo of painted wood, is a little sculptured Mater Dolorosa by an unknown artist, exquisitely touching and life-like. It has the beauty of a profound and tremulous sensibility and a vivid sweetness that reminded me of a lovely St Scholastica of painted wood by Pereira I saw at Santiago de Compostello, but the Spanish painter who accompanied me to San Andrès assures me that it is not a Pereira. The hand that wrought this symbol of gracious grief remains unknown to fame like that which sculptured the symbol of divine sweetness in the head of St Francis of Assisi above the cloister door of Burgos Cathedral. There are two Grecos here badly placed. With the aid of a chair and a candle even in the early afternoon you can barely distinguish them, so high do they hang in the dim light. One is St Peter of Alcántara and the other St Francis. Visibly Grecos, but of their merits it would be impossible to write, because of the squinting view you get of them. There is a Calvary of the Genoese painter, Semini, and an Adoration of the Kings by Antonio Vanderpere, with the unedifying legend of Lot and his daughters, a copy of Guido.

The church of San Pedro Martir, attached to the monastery of that order, and affiliated to St John of Latran in Rome since 1773, is as black and chill as a{269} colossal vault. Señor Parro in Toledo en la Mano writes of this dull and unbeautiful edifice in terms of flatulent praise, several pages long. He calls it the Pantheon of Toledan glory. It is certainly an excellent tomb if nothing else. The coldest churches I have ever set foot in are this and San Benito of Valladolid, both warranted to provoke pneumonia on a summer’s day. In winter I should imagine the rash traveller would remain therein embalmed in ice. The architecture is of the Greco-Roman style, bewilderingly spacious without any majesty of effect in its immense proportions. Señor Parro tells us that the façade is “most lovely.” My expectations were not realised. I found the corinthian columns, the cornices, the “grandiose” central arch, the pilasters perfectly insignificant, but there are two marble statues on either side, sometimes mistakenly attributed to Berruguete, extremely fine, and also a life-size statue of St Peter effective in a lesser degree. The frescoes have disappeared, and the high altar is now defaced with commonplace modern pictures of no value whatever. But the gilt wood and sculpture remain. Once the degraded squares were filled with paintings of Fray Bautista Maino, the distinguished master of Felipe IV., Velasquez’s friend and patron. These vanished pictures were excellent imitations of Paul Veronese, so good that they were seized for the Musée of Madrid, and to fill up the horrid vacancy modern monstrosities, mere daubs, were ordered, which to-day grotesquely offend the eye. The celebrated Virgen del Rosario, an object of special devotion to the Toledans, may be seen in one of the chapels. The plateresca iron-railing of the sanctuary would be remarkable in any other land, but the railings of Spain are so sumptuous that one hardly notices this one. Still it is worth inspection, being a rich and profusely gilt speci{270}men of that special work, with a fine centre cross and a rich frieze. Attached to the cross is the standard of the great Cardinal of Spain, Pedro Gonzalez de Mendoza, pale blue damask, with four Jerusalem crosses in each corner, and in the centre an oval figure of St Helena holding the cross, before which kneels the great Cardinals. At the foot of the middle nave, below the choir, are a group of wooden statues representing the saints of the preaching orders and a scarce distinguishable fresco of Maino. The choir is large and free, with a fine reading-desk and sculptured seats, an inferior imitation of those of the Cathedral. Off the sacristy, a large but insignificant chamber, with an imposing marble table worthy a nobler setting, there is a little Gothic chapel dedicated to St Agnes, part of the primitive building, and here you may see an ancient retablo of extreme interest. Alonzo Carrillo of Toledo and Don Alvaro de Guzman were buried here as early as 1303, as the half-effaced Gothic characters tell us.

Among the great men of Toledo buried in the church are the Counts of Cifuentes, above whose arms Fray Maino painted a fresco. In the chapel of the Virgin of the Rosary is buried the famous poet Garcilaso de la Vega, whose statue, life-size in marble kneeling, is encased in armour, interesting rather as an historic figure than for any intrinsic merit of art. The Fiscal of Holy Office and Prior of Santillana, Pedro Soto Cameno, has also his statue as founder of the chapel; he was buried in 1583. In this same chapel is the impressive Gothic tomb of the Malograda, a surpassingly beautiful young woman, magnificently apparelled, lying upon a marble couch above the funeral urn that contains her ashes. Historians disagree as to the identity of this romantic figure. Some say she was Doña Maria, the bride of Don Lorenzo Suarez de Figueroa, Master of Santiago in 1389, whose despair on losing a loved{271} young wife is thus immortalised. Others identify the Malograda with Doña Estefania de Castro, mysteriously done to death in the days of Alonso the Emperor. The tomb rests on superb marble lions, and angels as usual hold the shields, in Gothic fashion. The ample folds of the dead girl’s garments are charmingly graceful, and to the beauty of art is added the mystery of romance. Bride or mistress, this fair girl, asleep for six centuries, holds in the stillness of her delicate sculptured visage the enigma of her broken destiny. Sorrow or remorse built her splendid monument.

The tombs of the Fuensalidas in the transept are notable works of art. The statues representing the mighty and turbulent Ayalas and their wives are of alabaster, and close by, brought from ruins of the Augustine Convent, is a double tomb of plateresca style, highly sculptured and divided by two arches on delicate pillars, crowned with an intricate frieze in really fine relief, belonging to Diego de Mendoza, a great figure in the sixteenth century, and his wife, Ana de la Cerda. A niece of St Theresa also is buried here, Doña Marina de Rivadeneira y Cepeda.

The purest mudejar steeple of Toledo is that of San Roman. This Moorish steeple, with its arcaded windows and ingenious brickwork, was erected by the famous Esteban de Illan, chief of the Toledos. Formerly the church was a mosque remodelled from the original Gothic chapel, as the remains of Arabic inscriptions indicate. After the Conquest it was refashioned again into a Christian temple, and has since undergone frequent restoration. Here St Ildefonso, after St Leocadia, the patron of Toledo, was baptised in remoter centuries. In the sixteenth century the plateresca capilla major was built. Four wide arches, the two in front of the central nave open, and the others wrought into the lateral walls, with their grace{272}ful pillars and reliefs are extremely effective, and are regarded, with the florid sculpture and half-orange cupola, as constituting one of the finest specimens of plateresca architecture of Toledo. The light, however, is imperfect for full inspection. The retablo belongs to the same debased form of renaissance, an excess in sculpture, legends in relief and medallion, every kind of architectural fancy a combination of Gothic and classic could suggest. Nearly all evidence of its earlier form has vanished, but for a defaced Arabian inscription and a few horse-shoe arches, and a line of blocked arcades with the cusped arches above, bold and large, while a simple ceiling covers the primitive artesonado. In a little chapel on the Epistle side, are a few forsaken specimens of old Spanish painting, before it blossomed out into our European school. They are stiff and dull enough, and their subject the conventional scenes from the New Testament, but interesting as a development of Spanish art.



From the Moorish windows of its tower the flag{273} of Castille waved in 1166, while the little king downstairs, in the safe keeping of the mighty Illans was proclaimed, Toledo, Toledo, Toledo por el rey Don Alonso VIII., and the town, in one of its customary phases of turbulent revolt, was divided between the followers of the great families of the Illans, the Laras, and the Castros. The tower is of plain reddish-brown stone, the brick-work rough and unmoulded of a supremely singular and distinguished effect, in perfect keeping with the rude, strange aspect of the city. Among the smaller mudejar steeples is a good example in that of Santa Magdalena. This is rougher and simpler than the rest. It has only two arched windows above, while the lower part is perfectly plain and solid. The bells hang in the window, adding thus to the picturesque rudeness of the general effect, so unfamiliar to the northern eye, so quaintly barbaric, so distinguished in its freedom from the curse of modern banality or vulgarity.



A double interest is attached to the little church{274} between the Puerta del Sol and the Puerta Bisagra, the Cristo de la Luz. It remains still a perfect mosque, where to-day a Mohammedan might pray and proclaim Allah the only God and Mohammed his prophet, and here the conquering Castillian, entering the city, stopped and ordered mass to be said, hanging up his shield upon the wall in memory of the first mass celebrated after the defeat of the Moors, 1035. There are traces of anterior occupation in Visi-Gothic days, and nothing more quaint, more curious, exists in Toledo. Legends are naturally attached to it. In the time of Atanagildo, there hung over the door a crucifix much venerated by the Toledanos, and it entered the minds of two foolish Jews, Sacao and Abisain, to outrage it. They pricked a lancet hole in the side, and instantly blood gushed forth. In consternation they carried off the cross to hide it in their dwelling, and the Christians, hunting everywhere for their stolen crucifix, traced it by the blood-marks to the house of these stupid Jews. The Jews were torn to pieces, of course, and a solemn procession led back the insulted image to its revered spot. Then the incorrigible Jews, to avenge the deaths of Sacao and Abisain, are said to have poisoned the feet of the statue, so that the Christians prompted to kiss them should be destroyed. A woman knelt to perform this pious action, when to her surprise and terror, the statue withdrew its foot from her kiss. The name Christ of the light comes from Moorish days. When the Moors took Toledo, the sacred image was hidden by an outer wall, with space enough to permit of a burning lamp being placed before it. This lamp, unreplenished, burnt the entire 370 years of Moorish dominion, and was discovered still aflame on May 25th, when Alonso VI. entered the town. Passing the hidden spot as he rode along the Valmardones,{275} the king’s horse suddenly knelt, some say; some say it was the Cid’s. A warrior’s horse that performed such an action nowadays would receive the whip. In those days, everyone seems to have been on the look-out for miracles as natural events. The king and the Cid dismounted, the wall was instantly broken down, and discovered the crucifix and the burning lamp fixed in the wall of a Moorish mosque. Mass was said on the spot by the Archbishop Bernardo, and there being no cross above the altar, the king offered his shield, on which a large cross was painted, and there it hangs to-day, a fine martial offering. At that time the church lay beyond the town walls, at the vanished gate of Valmardon, whereas now the town entrance from the Vega begins at the Puerta Bisagra. The architecture is Moorish-Byzantine, quite the oldest and most perfect specimen of Moorish architecture in Spain, and, for that reason, one of the most interesting monuments of the Peninsula. The body of the church is 22 feet by 25, while the outside is 22 by 19 only. The whole building is white-washed, and gives an amazing impression of strength for so limited a space. It looks so small and simple, and yet is so fantastic, of an Oriental art so complete and finished. The six short naves cross each other under nine vaults, and in the middle are four strong low columns with sculptured capitals and twelve heavy horse-shoe arches. The walls above are pierced with arcades cusped in Moorish fashion and supported on shafts, each division crowned with a little vault. The forest of naves and arches of the mosque of Cordova is an enlarged and magnificent reproduction of this Oriental style. Above are smaller semicircular arches, some double resting on smaller pillars. Varied little cupolas complete the design, with the centre inevitable half-orange, and above the central arch is the shield of Don Alfonso{276} (which may or may not be authentic) a white cross on a crimson ground with the inscription below: Esto es el escudo que dejo en esta ermita el Rey Don Alonso VI. cuando ganó à Toledo y se dijo aqui la primera misa. The Cristo de la Luz makes an admirable contrast with the later Arabian work, the more decorative period of the brilliant Morisco Granadian architecture of which it is a foil.

Another notable church is the oldest and most celebrated of Toledo, the basilica of Santa Leocadia, now called the Cristo de la Vega. Before King Sisebuth’s days it was a prætorian temple, and this monarch converted it into a Christian chapel in the sixteenth century. Here prelates and monarchs met to hold the earlier of the famous Councils of Toledo. It is said, I know not if upon authentic fact, that some of the wealth of this ancient church has been carried off to adorn the Cathedral choir, some to the School of Infantry which now oddly desecrates the Hospital of Santa Cruz. As early as the eleventh Council, an abbot of Santa Leocadia was named, which proves its early importance; and consecration for ever came with the apparition of the saint, in the reign of Recesvinthus. Juana le loca carried part of the body of the saint to Flanders, to a monastery in Hainault. The Archbishop of Sevilla paid 1000 ducats to the Flemish monastery for the return of these relics, which, in an explosion of universal joy, occurred in 1583. Philip II. sent troops to Cambrai under Miguel Hernandez, where they were met by a procession of abbesses and holy persons. Letters went between Cardinal Quiroga and Alexander Farnese, Prince of Parma, on the subject, and the matter was almost one of European importance. The relics were said to have been stolen by the Count of Hainault when he came to Spain to{277}





help the Castillians against the Moors; but Ambrosio de Morales is of opinion that they were taken to Oviedo, which would have been at the date of the Moorish conquest, when Favila and Pelayo, with their Asturian followers, were at Rodrigo’s court. For their reception at Toledo, all the town went out in procession under triumphal arches, banners flying, trumpets blowing. A throne was erected at the Puerta Bisagra, and a chapel, where eight dignitaries and canons received the relics; and the procession turned back, with music, singing and dancing. Every parish had its banner wrought for the occasion, and each child carried a flag. More than a thousand monks walked behind; and, as well as fifteen hundred priests of the town, there were all the canons, the Brotherhood of the Hermandad, foreign priests, and every order of the Catholic Church was present. Then came all the officers and ministry of the Inquisition, more than seven hundred and forty doctors and masters, fifty-five juries, thirty-three magistrates, the mayor, the Duke of Maqueda, the Count of Fuensalida and Pedro de Silva, the city standard-bearer. All the grandees of Castille followed—six dukes, nine marquises, six counts, quantities of minor noblemen, and a regiment of cavaliers and lords. The procession went by all the principal streets from the Puerta Bisagra to the Cathedral. All were gaily decorated with tapestries and silks, and arches were built everywhere, with Latin inscriptions and elegant verses among their bright flowers. At the Cathedral doors, Philip II., his two children, Don Carlos and Doña Ysabel Clara, his sister, Doña Maria de Austria, and the Princes Rodolph and Ernest of Hapsburg stood in the porch to receive the relics. The majesty of the ceremony here becomes so dazzling that our prolix friend, Dr Pisa, lays down his pen and{280} weeps from emotion. He cannot hope to trace such a picture, nor can we. But we strive to imagine the splendour of Cardinal Quiroga in his sumptuous pontifical robes, a blaze of gold, brocade and jewels, such as not to be beheld out of Eastern legend; the dignitaries with their jewelled mitres; the King, infantas and princes, all hardly less resplendent, and the laity rivalling them as far as possible, in the gemmed lights of Toledo’s glorious cathedral. A picture one would gladly have seen, if it could be seen at a price less terrible than that of Philip’s contemporary or subject.

The church is situated under the ruins of the old city walls, below the Puerta del Cambron. It is rough and simple enough, and derives its name from the wooden crucifix over the altar, to which legend attaches a romantic interest. Becquer and Zorilla have told the tale in thin and sentimental prose, and in thinner and more sentimental verse. A gallant pledged his word to marry a maid within sight of this crucifix: afterwards he forgot his promise and denied the pledge, on which the broken-hearted maid flung herself at the foot of the crucifix, and addressed it as the witness of violated vows. The crucified held out a wooden arm, and a voice from above exclaimed, “I testify.” There is one lovely thing in this quaint old basilica, the statue of St Leocadia by Berruguete, originally sculptured for the gate of Cambron. Nothing more sweet and delicate was ever wrought by that famous hand; no more fitting expression of brave and beautiful maidenhood was ever conceived in stone; and Italian influence in its best form is here visible, and Berruguete’s strength is subtilised by an exquisite and penetrative charm. As well as St Leocadia and St Ildefonso, an Arabian inscription in relief tells us that the first Moorish King of Toledo, Mahomad Ben-Raman, was buried here.

Some of the convents of Toledo have been famous.{281} That of San Pedro de las Dueñas, in the reign of Henry the Impotent, created quite a scandalous interest. Tired of his mistress, Doña Catalina de Sandoval, he insisted on naming her abbess of this convent, and with this object ordered the public expulsion of the abbess, the Marquesa de Guzman. In his pretence lies the humour of the situation: he found the convent needed a purifying influence, and that the ladies were not sufficiently scrupulous in the maintenance of their vows. Spanish convents, before St Theresa’s time, were not harsh abodes. Indeed, I fancy they were freer and pleasanter dwellings than the home of father or husband. Cavaliers thronged the parlours, and there was much thrumming of lute and guitar, much singing of soft sequidilla between belted knights and veiled ladies, who only left off these gentle recreations when the bell summoned them to meal or prayer. However, St Pedro so exceeded the limit of ecclesiastical tolerance that the Archbishop Alonzo of Carrillo placed it under interdict, and forbade any priest to cross its threshold. The scandal only ended with the austere and lofty presence of Queen Isabel upon the scene.

Santa Fé was originally a royal Moorish palace beautifully situated on the north edge of the Zocodover, which Alonso VI., the conqueror, at the instance of his French queen Constance, bestowed upon a French order for noble ladies. A charming and perfect suggestion of its antique moresque beauty may be had from the view of its wall in an old garden above the river where you see the Moorish apse and brick arcading. The ground covered by the palace must have been enormous, since in the time of Alfonso VIII. the priory of the Knights of Calatrara was established here. Nothing now remains but the Moorish choir and arcaded wall, and the best of it is to be seen from the{282} wild patch of garden outside the convent walls. It is another case of senseless destruction, a monument we are only permitted to rebuild in imagination with the help of a few Moorish arches and brown brickwork half-hidden by exuberant foliage. A stately dream, if mournful and evanescent, San Juan de la Penitencia ineffectively situated below the Cathedral in a broken and dilapidated quarter, is a Franciscan convent founded by Cisneros for poor girls, where after six years’ free schooling they may remain as nuns, and if they prefer marriage the convent dowers them with about £15, with a life-seat in the choir. The church is one of the minor sights of Toledo. It was finished by the secretary of Cisneros, who lies buried here, Francisco Ruiz, Bishop of Avila. About the convent halls and corridors are still traces of Moorish ornamentation in which the Castillian conquerors delighted quite as much as the Moslem. The chapel ceiling is a good specimen of artesonado in terrible decay alas, and the architecture is a medley of Gothic, Moorish, and renaissance. Above the porch are the arms of Cisneros. Within it is of a gloomy and depressing simplicity: a single nave, a high altar, a tribune. True the plateresca frieze of the tribune is graceful, and the iron railing of the high altar is quite the best of the minor churches, and admirably decorative, while the tomb of the Bishop of Avila brought from Palermo is a most beautiful work of art. Writing of it, Ponz says:—“Above a large stone divided by three pilasters to form three pedestals, there are an equal number of statues seated, almost life-size, representing Faith, Hope, and Charity. Between the pilasters are the arms of the Bishop, five castles. In a framed niche are contained the urn, couch, and recumbent statue. In front of the urn there are two weeping children, and in the depths of the niche four angels hold up the curtains. On either side are two Doric{283} pillars sustaining the architecture, frieze, and cornices, and along the frieze runs: Beato mortui, qui in Domino moriuntur. On the edge are two wrought columns of a very antique taste, excellently executed.... Between these columns and pilasters on either side is a statue, St James and St Andrew, and above the figures of children. Over the whole is a bas-relief of the Annunciation, with the statues of St John the Baptist and St John the Evangelist, half the size of the Virtues below.” Ponz is of opinion that this magnificent work of art is of two distinct periods, the frame work having been wrought later by Toledan sculptures after the tomb within had been brought from Palermo, and revealing the delicacy, the finish and unerring taste of the finer Italian school. Nothing could be more graceful, more effective than the curtains held apart by the angels, or more delightfully touching than the slight shadow thus cast upon the recumbent statue, lending it something of the immediate stillness and impressiveness of recent death.

Santa Isabel is worth a visit. Some good azulejo and the artesonado ceiling testify to Moorish influences and a queen and a royal princess, daughter of Isabel the Glorious, were buried here, and the whole forms an agreeable note of quaintness and dimness without however any special attraction in architecture or decoration or art. Not so San Clemente. The façade is what my Spanish friends call una preciosidad, the strong and beautiful work of Berruguete. The architecture rests on two Ionic pillars, and above is the statue of the titular saint. The reliefs of the porch are exquisite, and the frieze abounds in all the wild and exuberant fancies of the Spanish renaissance, every caprice in figure, in leafage, in image, and phantasmal suggestion. Like Santa Fé the convent prides itself upon aristocratic traditions. In the church is buried the infante, Don Fernando, son of the founder, Alonso{284} VII., the emperor, the tomb a restoration by order of Felipe II. in 1570. The interior is pleasing with an air of sober wealth, but has nothing to show in the way of art that can compare with the noble façade. It is stated that the archives contain 500 Arabian manuscripts, but these statements the intelligent foreigner must take on trust.

Santo Domingo el Real is another aristocratic convent of historical interest. It was founded by an illegitimate daughter of Pedro the Cruel, Doña Maria de Castilla, who was its first abbess. Two sons of Pedro were buried here, results of the thousand vagabond caprices of this crowned Blue-Beard; the infanta of Aragon, Queen of Portugal, hence the qualification, St Dominick the Royal, the Guzmans, the Silvas, and Ayalas reconciled first by marriage and then by death. There is a fine retablo if there were only light enough to see it by.

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Of the many hospitals of Toledo, two alone are famous, one what the Spanish guides very properly call “a sumptuous work of art.” Descending the steps through the Moorish archway of the Zocodover, you leave Cervantes’ inn on the right, and a little lower down on the left is the Hospital of Santa Cruz, the hospital of Mendoza, “The Cardinal of Spain,” now incongruously enough a school of infantry. The traveller, enamoured of the picturesque, in awed surrender to the charm of noble ruins, grows to loathe the military all over Europe. They take up their quarters so profanely in monuments one hardly dares to lift one’s voice in. They sprawl in their motley uniforms over the loveliest homes of romance and memories, and burthen the silence with their futile miseries, labours, and tyrannies. In times of war the army makes a gallant figure. Then each man is a hero, and we willingly tend his wounds. But in times of{285}





peace the soldier is frankly an anachronism and a nuisance. He desecrates ruins and spoils the view; he vulgarises the atmosphere of legend, and cheapens the majesty of dismantled walls. There is, of course, no reason but a sentimental one why the sabred heroes of Spain should not sleep within the walls of a magnificent monument, and exercise their muscles in the lovely chapel of Mendoza, now their gymnasium, but what will you?—a traveller is necessarily sentimental.

The great cardinal of Spain designed to build an hospital for foundlings, and had engaged the architect, Enrique Egas, and with him traced the plan, when death overtook him at Guadalajara in 1495, and he bequeathed his idea, with over 75,000 ducats for its completion, to Queen Isabel and his relative the Duke of Infantado. The Queen chose the spot on account of the wide view of the hills rolling upward from the opposite river banks, and the hospital was called Santa Cruz because of the founder’s devotion to the Holy Cross. It was originally a royal Gothic palace, converted later into a Moorish palace, it is said, the town residence of Galiana’s father, Galafré. Possibly here may have dwelt Casilda, the King’s daughter, who from her earliest years, loved the Christians and pitied them, and carried food to the Christian prisoners. She vowed to devote herself to the poor and live a maid, to King Almenor’s dismay, who proposed one after another brilliant match to her in vain. Standing at the palace gate one day he found her carrying a basket of provisions to the prisoners, and asked her what the basket contained. “Roses,” said Casilda like St Elisabeth of Hungary, and opening the basket, to her surprise discovered it full of red and white roses. There, too, may have taken place that strange bridal of Doña Theresa, sister of the King of Leon and the Moorish king Abdallah, when, it is said,{288} an angel interposed to prevent the union of Christian princess and Moorish monarch, and the King thus convinced of the sacrilege, sent his bride away with camels loaded with gold and silver and jewels, which she carried to the convent of St Pelayo, where she became abbess. When Alfonso reigned over Toledo, he gave the property to the nuns of San Pedro de las Dueñas, and in 1504 the building of the cardinal’s hospital was begun. It is the first sample of plateresque architecture then introduced into Spain by Covarrubias. The façade is superb, one of the many glories of Toledo. Impossible to conceive anything more charming than all this wonder of chiselled stone, with its delicate arches and most exquisite reliefs. One represents St Helena holding the cross, and kneeling in front of her, Cardinal Mendoza; behind the cardinal is St Peter, and behind the empress is St Paul; a suite of pages hold mitre and hat. The decoration of leafage, flower and cross is rich and fanciful. One particularly lovely relief represents Charity, with statues on either side, while the architecture, the friezes and cornices are elaborately wrought in every Gothic fancy, bucklers, arms, and armour mingling with flower and foliage, and the cardinal’s arms held reverently by little angels. Between the magnificent columns are the four cardinal virtues, and above are other reliefs whose general effect is beautiful enough, but whose details it is difficult to follow at such a height (one is supposed to represent St Joachim and St Anne embracing, and is somewhat crudely defined by the Spanish guidebooks), while the whole is surmounted by the cardinal’s favourite Jerusalem cross. The large windows are extremely harmonious, with their Toledan railings so grimly artistic, with all the sombre beauty of a taste more largely decorative than prettily fanciful.{289} On entering you face three sculptured doors leading to the chapel, now the gymnasium, and to the splendid patios, to-day fallen into a scandalous state of neglect and decay. The superb staircase, despite the fact that all the wealth of its beautiful ornamentation is half defaced, gives some indication of what a work of art it once was in its mingling of arabesque and plateresque note, and something of the delicate finish of details may still be seized. The chapel forms a Greek cross, degraded, too, like the rest of the edifice, showing remains of what was once a singularly fine specimen of the artesonado ceiling. The heavy Gothic pillars are richly wrought in an incredible variety of reliefs, and we have no difficulty in believing that this was once one of the architectural gems of the Gothic capital. But what is still more impressive, as unique as the great staircase, is the immense empty patio, with its long galleries and pillars of Italian marble, its reliefs and armorial bearings. I know nothing in Toledo that seizes the imagination so vividly with the tragic sensation of vanished magnificence as this great courtyard. Not a courtyard surely, but an esplanade enclosed within arcaded marble galleries, where a prince might hold a review for his private satisfaction.

The Hospital of San Juan Bautista or Afuera is another remarkable building it behoves us to mention. This was founded by one of the noblest of Toledo’s archbishops, Tavera, who died after his journey to Valladolid to baptise the infant, Prince Carlos, of unfortunate renown, and to bury the queen, and was buried here. Berruguete wrought his tomb in the chapel, a monument as noble as the cardinal it honours. The hospital lies beyond the Puerta de Bisagra in the Covachuelas, with a little public garden in front, and a view of all the Vega on either side. The spot{290} takes its name, Plazuela de Marchan, from one of the earliest Corregidors, Pedro de Navarra, marshal and marques de Cortes, who owned it. The Emperor Charles Quint bestowed it on Tavera for his hospital in 1540. The primitive plan was Bustamente’s, but the building was concluded by the two Vergaras. Many grandees and bishops were connected with the work before its termination in 1599, while the outer portal dates from the eighteenth century. The two patios are superb, and the general effect of the building is imposing. In one of the south rooms, under the big clock, Berruguete died in 1561, after having finished Cardinal Tavera’s tomb, his last work, the fitting termination of a fruitful and laborious existence. Not a Spanish town, hardly a church, but has something from the hand of this stupendous worker, who seems to have crowded as much production into a single lifetime as might easily have supported an entire century. His death is dryly recorded, without any details, and of the man himself we are not permitted to gather any impression. We obtain no glimpse of him at work, or abroad taking his pleasures. Like El Greco, he is a name without any distinct personality for us, attached to Toledo in glowing evidence.

If there were nothing else in Toledo but this monument of Cardinal Tavera in the hospital chapel, it would be worth while to travel from remote parts to see it. The church is fine, composed of a single large and lofty nave, paved with white and black marble, and the impression it makes is one of seizing quietude. Here you may examine El Greco at his worst and best: the appalling eccentricities of vision and manner revealed in the St John the Baptist, lurid, livid, with gnarled limbs and swollen muscles, and the noble and dignified portrait of Cardinal Tavera,{291}



one of the most beautiful portraits El Greco ever painted. But all your admiration is claimed by Berruguete’s monument before the altar. As the work of an old and dying man, it confounds minute and modern talent. It has the virility, the freshness, the superb strength of youth; it has the serenity, the stillness, the awful majesty of death. Mount the steps beside this marble tomb, and you will look on such a picture of death in all its restful sublimity as the hand, the imagination of man have rarely seized. Nothing like that old man’s head under the mitre has Berruguete himself ever done. It is the supreme attainment of genius on the eve of eternal night, the culmination of a magnificent art, when the great strong hand is about to lay down the chisel forever, and gathers in a supreme moment all that is best in a life’s work, to give it a noble ending. You should examine all the splendid details, the large gracious statues at either corner, the shields, the eagles, the urns and masterly mouldings, before looking at the dead cardinal’s visage, for after that you will have no mind left for any emotion but awe. Here so cheap a thing as praise melts into stupefied silence. The aged sculptor began this monument in 1559 and finished it in 1561, the year of his death, and it was his sons who received the payment due to him, 993,764 maravedis. It seems extraordinary that anyone should dare to put a price on such work, or even offer vulgar coin for it. There are things that lie without the radius of commerce and competition, and this is surely one of them. One is almost content to think that Berruguete was never actually paid for such an inspiration, but dropped into immortality before the revolting 993,764 maravedis unworthily touched a hand so honoured.{292}


Bridges and Gates of Toledo

I HAVE said there are but two bridges guarding the wide sweep of the Tagus round Toledo, the Puente de Alcántara and the Puente de San Martin. These bridges are unimaginably picturesque and fine. The first you enter from the railway station, with an excellent view of the double line of walls, broken by towers built upon the rugged rocks. No more superb and impressive scene is to be found elsewhere than that the old city makes behind this castellated bridge. The bridge in its actual state was built by Alfonso X., on the ruins of the Moorish bridge, of which Rasis el Moro wrote: “It was such a rich and marvellous work and so subtly wrought, that never man with truth could believe there was any other such fine work in Spain.” The Moors in 866 constructed this in turn upon the ruins of the old Roman bridge, of which some traces still remain, and which the Goths repaired in 687, and it was destroyed in 1257. Since Alfonso’s time, the vicissitudes of Spanish history have wrought damage enough to this noble monument. In 1380 Tenorio restored it, and in 1484 the interior arch was repaired at the town’s cost by Andrès Manrique, in 1575 the entrance from the city was repaired, in 1721 the outer towers had to be restored, and in 1786, as well as in 1836, the entire bridge was submitted to general repairs. These alterations are all carefully noted by various{293} inscriptions. In Philip II.’s reign was placed under the statue of St Ildefonso by Berruguete—

  S. Ildefonso Divo Tutelari Tolet, D.D.,

Anno Dom. mdlxxv., Philippo II., Hisp. Rege.

A longer one of that period was: Año DCLXXIIII. Wamba Rey godo restauró los muros des esta cuidad y los ofreció en versos latinos a Dios y los santos patrones de ella: los Moros los quitaron y pusieron letreros arabigos de blasfemias y erroresel rey D. Felipe II. con zelo de religion y de conservas las memorias de los reyes pasados, mandó, a Jo. Gutierrez Tello, Corregidor de la cuidad los quitase y pusiere como antes estaten los santos patrones con los versos del Rey Wamba. Ano de MDLXX.[21]

Another tells us of a great deluge that lasted for five months, from August to December, and carried off portions of the bridge, which was rebuilt by Alef, son of Mohamed Alameri, Mayor of Toledo, in the time of Almanzor. On one of the inner vaults are sculptured the arms of the Catholic Kings, Isabella and Fernando, and the inevitable relief of St Ildefonso receiving the chasuble from Our Lady. The entrance arch was constructed under Felipe V. instead of the Moorish tower that stood there. These restorations are insignificant. What one notes is the general impression, which is magnificent.

The bridge of San Martin is early thirteenth century{294} work, built in 1203 after a terrible inundation that carried off the old bridge, which was probably a little lower down, where the Baño de la Cava, as this broken tower and the broken pillar opposite would indicate. In the Civil War of Pedro the Cruel and Henry of Trastamare, the principal arch was cut in two, and the Archbishop Tenorio had to restore the whole bridge almost in order to repair the damage. One of the legends of Toledo relates to this restoration. The architect to whom Tenorio confided the work miscalculated, and while the woodwork and scaffolding still enveloped the central arch, he discovered to his horror that the instant these supports were removed the bridge would fall. This would mean nothing less than ruin and disgrace, and the unfortunate architect confided his despair to his wife. Without a word, at the dead of night, she went down to the bridge and set the scaffolding on fire. Nobody saw her, and the accident was believed in and deplored. While the arch was being rebuilt, this time happily with the error rectified, the woman, finding the burden of remorse greater than she could bear, went to the Archbishop and told her tale. Tenorio was so delighted with her ingeniousness that he congratulated her fortunate husband and ordered her figure to be sculptured on the keystone of the central arch. Señor Parro doubts if the little figure on the north side is that of a woman, and after careful examination is inclined to believe that it is meant for a bishop, probably Tenorio himself. One would prefer to believe in the woman, of course, as legends are always pretty and graceful, but facts are facts, and if the headgear be really a mutilated mitre and not a woman’s cap?

The bridge is narrow and extremely high above the river, as here the thunderous rush of water down the rocky gorge comes often with the menace of flood, and{295} beside this splendid central arch that gave rise to the legend Tenorio’s arch, 140 feet wide and 95 above the water level, most lofty and grand, there are four smaller arches. At either end, like the Alcántara Bridge, there is a tower and gateway, with Moorish arches and battlements, and vaulted arches for the passengers; inscriptions and reliefs abound, a statue of St Julian by Monegro and of Alfonso VII. the Emperor. Across the southern hills, among their bare scented folds, beyond silent gorge and wild waterway, lie the famous Cigarrales, the villas, the gardens, the orchards, where the apricots grow as they grow nowhere else. Tirso de Molina sings their charms, and the aubergines of the Cigarrales were famous even in the days of Guzman de Alfarache. Here towards evening the townsfolk wander out to taste the air of the hills and revel in cool leafage, and the walk back in the gathering shade, when the town is getting ready its feeble electric illumination, and the stars are out, and the streets are dim and silent. Then more than ever will Toledo appear to you as something too beautiful for reality, the imagined city of wild romantic legend, an intangible evocation that surely the morning lights must disperse, that the reality of day must vulgarise. It is not in the nature of modern eyes to gaze with security upon a picture so mysteriously strange, so solemnly sad in its grandeur, so complete a surprise.

To-day there are three gates in the outer walls of Toledo, the Puerta Visagra, the Puerta del Cambron and the Puerta Nueva. Entering the city by the Bridge of San Martin, you front the gate of the Cambron here, so called from the brambles that grew about that small, charming, pinnacled edifice, built upon the spot of Wamba’s old gate in Alfonso VI.’s time, and was then completely Moorish in style. In 1576 it was restored and took on its present half renaissance, half classical{296} aspect, with its four towers, its centre court and columns. Berruguete’s lovely statue of St Leocadia used to stand in the niche above the lines in her honour from the Mozarabe ritual sculptured below:

In Nostra civis inclita
Tu es patrona vernul[ae]
Ab urbis hujus termino
Procul reptile tedium.

Gutierrez Tello, we know, was ordered by Philip II., iniquitous Vandal, to break up all the beautiful Moorish inscriptions on the bridges and gates, but one of these inscriptions still remains on the fragment of a column; the finest have disappeared. This was one: “There is but one God on earth, and Mohamad is his messenger. All the faithful who believe in our prophet, Mohamad, and continue to kiss the hands and feet of Murabito Muley abda Alcadar every day, will be without stain, will not be blind, nor deaf, nor lame, nor wounded; and receiving his benediction, when the time of his death comes, will only be three days ill, and dying, will go with open eyes to Paradise forgiven of all sins.” Who would not willingly kiss the hands and feet of Murabito Muley every day in return for such promises? There was another interesting inscription to the same Muley on an old gateway: “Prayer and peace over our Lord and Prophet Mohamad. All the faithful, when they went to lie down in their beds, mentioning the Alfaqui Murabito Abdala, and recommending themselves to him, will enter no battle out of which they will not come victorious, and in whatever battle against Christians they may stain their lances with Christian blood, dying that same day, will go alive and whole with eyes open to Paradise, and his descendants will remain till the fourth generation forgiven.” Evidently a man to have on one’s side in the struggle for existence{297} and in the hope of joys to come in a better world. Small wonder Ponz called Toledo the city of magnificent inscriptions. You are greeted everywhere with grandiloquent or heroic utterances.



The old Puerta Visagra is now blocked up. Through it Alphonso VI. entered Toledo. The work is entirely Moorish, of the first period, heavy and simple, with the triple arches so delightfully curved in horseshoe shape, and the upper crenelated apertures. The meaning of the name is still disputed. Some give it a Latin origin, signifying Via-Sacra, others an Arabian origin, Bab, gate, and Shara, meadow, as it leads into the stony fields without, in the Vega. This seems to be the more probable one, since the Puerta Visagra distinctly dates from the time of the Moors. The new gate faces the highroad of Estremadura, and was built under Charles Quint, 1550. It forms two edifices, joined by a large square courtyard with high{298} turreted walls on either side. The outer arch and tower are magnificent; the whole is impressive. On the south front is the shield with the arms of Spain, and the Emperor’s eagles, in sculptured granite, with a Latin inscription below. There is another front behind the vaulted entrance, with two graceful square towers, adorned with balconies and elegant capitals narrowing to a pyramidal point, roofed with white and green tiles, which make an odd and not-unpleasing note against the brown rampart running upward. These gleaming azulejo tower-roofs dominate the plain, and, seen from above, the effect of this little dash of brightness amidst all these brown tones of earth and stone is indescribably gay. Within, on the doorway, is the inscription of the Senate’s dedication of the gate to Charles Quint, and beyond the patio, in a niche in the central arch, is an exceedingly fine statue of St Eugenio, either by Berruguete or Monegro. Both these artists were engaged by Toledo to make statues for the gates and bridges, and confusion now rests upon all the statues except that of St Leocadia (now in the Hermitage of the Cristo de la Vega), which is assuredly a Berruguete, and perhaps the most exquisite thing he has ever done. Monegro’s work will be sufficiently appreciated by the fact of this confusion. Here, again, are finely sculptured, in large relief, the arms of the Emperor, and a life-size angel guards the city with unsheathed sword. This statue and the shield were originally gilt, but time has worn the gilt away; in either tower-front, on both sides of the shield, are two statues of Gothic kings. But a mere description of the details of this splendid gate can really give no impression of its general effect. If there were not the Puerta del Sol—one of the world’s masterpieces—so near, one would be tempted to call it the finest on earth.{299}

But to write of the Puerta del Sol—Moorish gem against a Spanish sky, miracle of loveliness upon a rough and naked rampart! A thing of bewildering beauty, even among crowded enchantments! It is to pick one’s way through superlatives and points of exclamation, and call in vain on the goddess of sobriety to subdue our tendency to excess and incoherence. Put this matchless gate in the middle of the desert of Sahara: it would then be worth while making the frightful voyage alone to look at it. However far you may have journeyed, you would still be forever thankful to have seen such a masterpiece—incontestably a work of supreme art, perhaps the rarest thing of the world. Is there a flaw in it? Mine were not the eyes to detect it. I could only look on and worship. The last evening of my stay in Toledo, I went out to make my farewell visits by dusk to the town, accompanied by my friend, the Spanish painter. Into that lovely walk I gathered too many impressions to disengage them, but I still see the Puerta del Sol in the blue twilight, with a big star—like a lamp—trembling on the edge of it, in the fluid luminosity of a fading sunset. “Una preciocedad,” murmured my Spanish friend, familiar with its witchery for more than fifteen years; and we stood there for a half hour in dead silence, making our prayer of thanks to the strong, great hands, the commanding genius, that wrought for our delight, so long ago, a work which defies the banality of description.

This impressive Moorish monument is fashioned of rough stone, above the brilliant Vega, with the arid hills around. The towers are of brown granite, and above span the vaulted entrance. The sides form a semi-circular and a half square tower, and the interior is divided into three compartments. There is a great centre ogival arch, resting on two columns with Moorish{300}



inscriptions; from the zones of ornamental arches enlaced, bayed above and horseshoe-shaped beneath, break away other architectural flourishes of raised ogival, the zones divided by angles with the points inward. Behind the great arch, there is another horseshoe arch, and above it is a round medallion, with a relief, of the Virgin offering the chasuble to St Ildefonso; beyond are two simple ogival arches, united to form the rising line of the portcullis, and then another horseshoe arch in the back façade forms the same design. Above are three similar little arches, with railings, and in the semi-circular tower below are three apertures for barbaric hostilities, in each façade joining the central compartment. Each aperture, in front, has{301} an ornamental bayed arch, placed above three corbels crowned with towers turreted in pyramidal capitals. Within, a series of Arabian arches—the quadrangular tower only adorned with little Moorish arches. The age of this most exquisite gate is uncertain. It is believed to be of the second period of Moorish architecture in Toledo, that is, tenth century, with alterations as far as the thirteenth. While the architecture is perfectly Moorish, there is some indication of Christian influence—in the use of a stone not generally used by the Moors, and also in the reliefs of the Virgin and St Ildefonso, and in the little marble relief of the two women and the man, supposed to perpetuate the tale of the Governor Fernando Gonzalez, Lord of Yegros, whom San Fernando, that uncompromising king, sentenced to death for betraying two women: by some believed to represent St John the Baptist, Herodias and her mother. The simple traveller, who loves righteousness and truth, will stick to the avenging sovereign sentencing thus summarily the rascal governor. But it is like the figure in the central arch of the Bridge of San Martin. Believe what you like best. Fernando may have boiled his enemies in pots of water over huge logs, or roasted them alive before roaring fires. He himself was such an admirable fellow in his private life that we are constrained to believe his enemies merited such treatment. He died during the third period of Moorish architecture in Spain, and left all he possessed to the Hospital of Santiago. It was perhaps a little excessive on the part of St Fernando, after chopping off the governor’s perfidious head, to confiscate all his property and bestow it on the poor. The governor’s relations might justly have regarded themselves as defrauded. But those were the happy days when subjects had no rights, and only breathed by divine permission of the sovereign. Young people{302} who fell in love without the king’s leave were dispatched to prison or a nunnery. In the leisure that war and revolt occasionally allowed him, the king made and unmade marriages; and if, glancing from his palace windows, he chanced to see a man pass by who looked as if, at some future date, he might be tempted to commit a crime, he ordered his instant execution, in the interests of humanity. Sure, indeed was it worth while to be a King in those delightful days, a life never monotonous for the lack of surprises, never empty of vicissitudes and every odd and stupendous stroke of fortune.

A word must be said about the legendary Baño de la Cava. The probability is that this celebrated and picturesque ruin was portion of a turreted bridge that existed before the construction of San Martin, and was swept away in one of the inundations that wrought at periods so much damage to the town. The ruin is undoubtedly Moorish, and Moorish letters may be traced on one of the broken columns, which would prove it posterior to the Berber invasion under Tarik. The height of the old bridge is sufficiently indicated to show us that a wild rush of water from the upper rocky defile as it thunders down the gorge would quickly carry off the stoutest construction so lowly placed, hence the exceeding height of the central arch of Tenorio’s bridge, through which the Tagus in its most turbulent hour can gush at will. The ruin is a delightful one, and nothing could be more romantic than its situation. Graceless facts that so ruthlessly demolish poetic legends!

The walls and ramparts are dismantled now, but there are considerable traces of the Visigothic walls of 711, while the twelfth century walls of Alfonso, the conqueror, are naturally more distinct. Quite recent is the easy sloping road that winds up from the bridge of{303} Alcántara to the Zocodover. If one regrets the old double walls that used to guard the city on this side, it must be admitted that there are agreeable compensations. The town is more open to the breezes of the Vega; the new road itself is a comfortable invention as a substitute for the battlemented and rocky altitude it was once to climb, and the pretty Miradero makes a graceful modern note in a mediæval picture. But giving your back to San Servando, and mounting the road of Nuestra Señora de la Valle, you may trace on the other side the broken ramparts in their extreme age and admirable preservation. And leaving the town by the Puerta de Visagra, wander round by the Vega, and here beyond the Puerta Lodada, you will admire the martial aspect of what remains of Wamba’s jagged walls within and the outer walls of Alfonso that run from the Puerta Nueva to the Lunatic Asylum.




THE traveller to Toledo will be glad, perhaps, of some practical information. A guide for a short stay is indispensable. I did not claim the services of any, so cannot speak from personal experience, but the proprietor of the Hotel Castilla assures me that his German guide can be recommended. His charge is ten pesetas a day, nominally eight shillings, but often considerably less owing to the rate of change. My friend and guide, the Spanish painter, who came fifteen years ago to Toledo lo sketch and has since never been able to leave the witching city, highly recommends a young Italian guide, G. Borraino, who speaks several languages and knows his Toledo to the last stone. His charge, I imagine, is less, and he dwells up in the little Plaza de las Carmelitas, above the Puerta del Cambron, with amiable Italians who make and sell plaster casts.

There are four hotels in Toledo; the Castilla, the Norte, the Lina, and the Imperial. The Castilla is the best hotel of Spain, admirably situated, overlooking, behind, the broad Vega and the long serpentine Tagus curled upon the landscape. The table is French and good, the rooms are fine, the service quite modern, the whole fitted up with luxury and taste. The building is extremely handsome and spacious, with every modern comfort, and cost the marquis who built it a fortune. He rashly spent his money, but he is the benefactor of travellers to Toledo, and such is now the reputation of this first-class hotel that newly married couples from{306} Madrid, and embassadors in search of distraction, come here instead of going abroad. Murray’s guide-book describes it as dear, which is not true, for such accommodation and service are cheap enough at fifteen pesetas a day. Older travellers who have had to put up with the older hotels give appalling accounts of their experience, so that for the sake of a few shillings it is the height of folly to be miserable while sight-seeing, when for very little more, you may enjoy comfort, harmony, and an excellent table, with the most scrupulous cleanliness.

The churches should be visited early; tips are everywhere indispensable but small. A plan of Toledo will be found very useful.

1 Santiago Apostolo del Arrabal.
2 Domingo el Real (Sto) Dominicas.
3 Domingo el Antiguo.
4 San Vicente: Anejo.
5 San Juan Bautista.
6 Pantheon Provincial.
7 Biblioteca Publica.
8 Palazio Arzobiscal.
9 San Marcos: Muzarabe.
10 Fabricia de Utensilios Militaires.
11 Santo Tomé.
12 Casos de los Templarios.
13 El Salvador: Anejo.
14 Taller del Moro. (Palacio Arabe)
15 San Andrés.
16 Posada de la Sangre (donde residio Cervantes)
17 Plazueta Santa Isabel.
18 San Clemente.
19 San Pedro.
20 San Roman.
21 Santa Fé.
22 San Pablo.



A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, V, W, Y, Z

Abderraman, Moorish sovereign, 67.
Abd-ar-Rahman III., the Great Khalif, 75, 76.
Abdulla, 288.
Aben-en-Noguairi, 58.
Alcázar, 91, 100, 112, 113, 132, 133, 262.
Alcocer, historian, 10, 77, 133, 134.
Alcurnia, 130.
Alfaqui, the generous Moor who pleaded for his Christian enemies and whose memory is honoured by a statue in the Cathedral, Ayuntamiento, 82, 88, 89, 90, 126, 202.
Alfonso, the Learned, Cronica General, origin of Toledo, 6, 76.
Alfonso VI., 77, 78, 79, 81, 82, 85, 86, 87, 151, 152, 262, 266, 274.
Alfonso VII., 19, 93, 283.
Alfonso VIII., 95, 96, 128.
Alfonso Martinez de Toledo, 97.
Almamon, Toledan king, 77, 78, 79.
Aloysia de Sigea, woman poet of Toledo, 104.
Alvaro de Luna. Great Constable, 102, 105, 182, 262.
Alvar Gomez, Chronicler of Cisneros, 13, 108.
Alvarez, modern damascene worker, 146.
Amador de los Rios, 162, 216.
Ambrosia de Morales, 279.
Amron, of Huesca, slaughter of the terrible Day of the Foss, 68, 69, 70.
Angela Sigea, woman philosopher, 104.
Antonio de Heredia, Toledan poet, 104.
Atanagildo, first Gothic sovereign of Toledo, 25, 274.
Augustus, 15.
Avieno, 8.
Ayala, great Toledan family, rival of the Silvas, 103, 104, 106, 108.

Baddo, Gothic Queen, renounces Arianism, 31.
Baño de la Cava, 302.
Bayeu, Spanish painter, 19, 174.
Belacin, Mûsa’s son, who married Rodrigo’s widow after the Conquest, 66.
Beltranaje, illegitimate daughter of Henry the Impotent, cause of Portuguese War with Isabel, 106.
Bernard of Cluny, French archbishop of Toledo, who took the Cathedral from the Moors and introduced the Latin rite, 84.
Berruguete, 150, 161, 162, 280, 290, 291, 293, 296, 298.
Blanche, Rodrigo’s widow, 66.
Blanche of Bourbon, Pedro the Cruel’s ill-treated wife, 99, 100.
Blaz Ortiz, 174.
Bristes, legend of Doña Luz, 49.
Burial of Count Orgaz, El Greco’s masterpiece, 203.

Caius Plancius, 12.
Calderon, 244, 262.
Carlos III., 263.
Casa de Mesa, 254, 258.
Casa de las Tornerias, 256.
Casilda, 287.
Cassim, Toledan Moorish ruler, 67.
Cathedral, 81, 83, 90, 91, 150, 275.
Cava, origin of the word, 58.
Cervantes, 120, 138.
Charles Quint, 108, 109, 113, 262, 290.{308}
Chapel of the New Kings, 186.
Childe Pelayo, conqueror of Covadonga, and son of Doña Luz, 50.
Chindasvinthe, Gothic King, 35.
Chronique rimée des rois de Tolède, 38, 53.
Cid, el Campeador, 81, 85, 86, 87, 133.
Cigarrales, 131, 295.
Cisneros’ great Cardinal, 107, 108, 109, 282.
Clepsydras of Az-Zarcal, 247.
Cloisters of Cathedral, 174.
Cloisters of San Juan de los Reyes, 225.
Comuneros, the rising under Juan de Padilla, 110.
Copin of Holland, 169, 173, 176, 179.
Coro of Cathedral, 161, 162.
Corral of Don Diego, 261.
Cortes of Toledo, 107.
Councils of Toledo, 22.
Credo of Toledo, 23.
Cristo de la Luz, 274.
Cristo de la Vega, 276.

Dacian, persecution and death of Leocadia, 19, 20, 21.
Diego Mossem Valera, historian, 6.
Dozy, historian, 79.
Denis, St, 18, 19.

Egica, 47.
El Greco, 193;
his quarrel with the Chapter of Toledo, 197;
his quarrel with Philip II, 201;
his “Assumption,” 212.
Enrique of Aragon, 182.
Eugenius, first bishop of Toledo, 18, 35, 151.
Expolio of El Greco, 179, 197.

Fabrica de Armas, 146.
Faustina de Bourbon, historian, 60.
Favila, 47, 48, 49, 50.
Felix de Artiaga, sonnets on El Greco, 199.
Ferecio, one of the many supposed Greek founders of Toledo, 8.
Fernando of Aragon, husband of Isabel and unnatural father of Juana, called La Loca, 106, 108.
Fernando Gonzalez, 53.
Fernando, St, Castillian monarch, 94, 95, 301.
Fernan Sanchez Calderon, 105, 106.
Florinda, 43, 55, 58.
Francisco de Rojas, 267.
Francisco Ruiz, bishop of Avila, 282.
Fray Bautista Maino, 199, 269, 270.
Frêdégaire, annalist, 33.
Fuensalidas, 271.
Fuente de Guarrazaz, where the famous Gothic votive crowns were discovered, 44.

Galafre, 244, 287.
Gamero, historian, 18, 20, 28, 58, 59.
Garcilaso de la Vega, 137.
Gaton, Toledan ally sent by Ordoño, King of Leon, against the Sultan in 854, 74.
Gerardo Lobo, 258.
Gharbib, revolutionary poet, 67.
Gosuinda, wife of Atanagildo, 25.
Gosvintha, widow of Leovigildo, who revolts against her step-son, Recaredo, 30.
Gothic Tournament, 55, 56.
Gothic votive crowns, 44, 45, 46.
Gracia Dei, chronicler of Don Pedro; note, 6.
Grafeses, 47, 50.
Guadalete, famous battle, 26, 61, 62.
Gundmar, 33.
Gutierrez Tello, 293, 296.

Hacam, Moorish sovereign, 68.
Hacam, El Durrete, insurgent, 72, 73.
Hannibal, conquers Toledo, 11.{309}
Hasdrubal, 10;
his assassination, 11.
Hassadrin, Jewish writer, 231.
Henry the Impotent, 105, 106, 124.
Henry of Trastamare, 100.
Henry of Villena, 249.
Hermandad, famous brotherhood founded 1223, 93, 94, 129.
Hermengildo, prince and martyr, 26, 27, 28, 29.
Hilermo, King of Carpetania, 11.
Hinestrosa, uncle of Maria de Padilla, 99, 100.
Hospital of Santa Cruz, 107, 284.
Hospital of San Juan Bautista or Afuera, 289.
Hotel Castilla, 305.
Huerta del Rey, 243.

Ildephonso, St, 35.
Isabel, the great Queen, 106, 107, 185.
Isidor, St, 32, 35.

José Godoz Alcántara, 53.
Juan II., 102, 104.
Juan Guttierrez Tello, Toledan Magistrate, 127.
Juana, unfortunate daughter of Isabel the Catholic, 108, 110, 111.
Juana de Castro, one of Pedro the Cruel’s wives, 101.
Juan de Mena, poet; see his famous Coplas on Henry of Villena, 103.
Juan de Padilla, 109, 110, 111, 112.
Juanelo Turriano, see description of his artificio, 113, 143, 144.
Julian, Archbishop, 51.
Julian, Florinda’s father, and Governor of Ceuta, 58, 60.

Leander of Seville, 26, 29.
Legend of Puerta del Niño Perdido, 236.
Lembrot, see great tournament, 57.
Leocadia, St, 19, 20, 21, 37, 38, 296.
Leocadia, St, basilica, 34, 52.
Leovigildo, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30.
Loaysa, Cardinal, 108.
Lope de Vega, 39, 138.
Lorenzana, Cardinal, 85.
Louis, St, of France, 19.
Lozano, author of the Reyes Nueves de Toledo, 15, 16, 17, 18, 47, 48, 49, 50, 101, 245.
Lucy, mother of San Ildephonso, 34.
Luisa Sigea, woman philosopher, 104.
Luiva, 32.
Luz, Doña, 47, 48, 49, 50.

Maese Rodrigo, 163.
Magdalena, 273.
Maisara, Spanish renegade, 73.
Malograda, 270.
Marcus Fulvius Nobilior, 11, 12.
Marcus Julius Philippicus, 13.
Maria de Molina, widow of Sancho el Bravo, 132.
Maria de Padilla, 99, 100, 101.
Mariana, historian, 53.
Maria Pacheco, the great widow, 110, 112, 113.
Melancius, Bishop of Toledo, 19, 21.
Melias, see tale of Doña Luz, 48.
Mendoza, Cardinal of Spain, 107, 108, 270, 287.
Miradero, 303.
Mohammed, Sultan, 74.
Montiel, tragedy of Pedro Cruel’s death, 102.
Moratin, 244.
Moreto, 258.
Mozarabe chapel, 175.
Musa, 61, 62, 63.
Museo Provincial, 229.

Narciso Tomé, author of celebrated Trasparente, 172.
Nuestra, Señora de la Valle, 140, 303.{310}

Ochavo, 188.
Oppas, see battle of Guadalete, 61.

Pacheco, 195.
Palace of Fuensalida, 255.
Palace of Galiana, 243.
Palace of Garcilaso de la Vega, 257.
Palace of Juan de Padilla, 257.
Palace of King Pedro, 250.
Palazuelos (Viscount), modern historian of Toledo, 60.
Palomino, 193, 194, 198, 208.
Parro, Toledo en la Mano, 269, 294.
Pascual de Gallangos, 250.
Paul, rebel under Wamba, 39, 40.
Pedro the Cruel, 98, 99, 100, 101, 281.
Pedro de las Dueñas, 281, 284.
Pedro de Navarre, 290.
Pedro Perez, 152, 159.
Perez Bayeu, 143.
Persecution of the Jews, 232.
Philip II., 19, 107, 263, 276, 284, 293.
Philip of Burgundy, 161, 162.
Pisa, historian, 19, 20, 129, 131, 279.
Plazuela de Marchan, 290.
Ponz, traveller in the last century, 18, 136, 156, 162, 170, 172, 203, 230, 248, 282.
Priscilianists, 22.
Puente de Alcántara, 3, 14, 40, 105, 130, 292.
Puerta Del Cambron, 144, 295.
Puerta de Sans Martin, 58, 144, 292, 293.
Puerta Del Sol, 95, 299.
Puerta Visagra, 129, 279, 289, 295, 297.
Pyrrhus, 6, 35.

Quadrado, 240.
Quiricus, Bishop, 38.
Quiroga, 276, 280.
Quiroga, Archbishop, 131.
Quo Vadis chapel, 175.

Rasis El Moro, 57, 133, 292.
Recaredo, 30, 31, 32.
Recesvinthus, 35.
Retablo of Cathedral, 169.
Rivera, choir-master of Toledo, 19.
Rodrigo, last of Gothic Kings, 16,, 40, 51, 55, 56, 57, 58, 60, 61, 62.
Rodrigo Jimenez de Rada, 9, 54, 84, 91, 92, 93, 130, 152.

Sala Capitular, 179.
Samuel Levi, 250.
San Andrès, 266.
San Clemente, 283.
San Genes, church, 43.
San Ildephonso (chapel), 182.
San José, 209.
San Juan de la Penitencia, 282.
San Juan de Los Reyes, 216.
San Pedro Martir, 267.
San Roman, 266, 271.
San Servando, 261.
San Tomé, 266.
San Vicente, 212.
Sancho, Alfonso VI.’s little son, died on the battlefield at eleven, 87.
Santa Cruz, 284.
Santo Domingo el Antiguo, 207.
Santo Domingo el Real, 284.
Santa Fé, 281.
Santa Isabel, 283.
Santa Maria La Blanca, 238.
Santiago (chapel), 182.
Sarmiento, revolutionary chief and tyrant, 105.
Sertorius, 12.
Siliceo, Cardinal, 17.
Silvas, great Toledan family, 103, 106, 108.
Sisebuth, 33.{311}
Solomon’s table, 65.
Staremberg, 265.
Stephen, father of San Ildephonso, 34.
St John the Baptist of El Greco, 180, 291.
St John the Evangelist of El Greco, 181.
St Martin by El Greco, 209.
St Vicente Ferrer, 239.
Street quoted in chapter on the Cathedral, 157, 158, 159, 160.
Suinthila, 34.
Sword makers of Toledo, 148.

Tago, Governor of Toledo, 10, 11.
Tailhan, the père, 53, 61.
Taller del Moro, Moorish palace, said to be where the tragic day of the Foss took place, 70, 260.
Tarik, 61, 62, 65.
Tavera, Cardinal, 131, 289, 290.
Tenorio, Cardinal, 97, 174, 262, 294.
Toledan laws, 97, 98.
Tower, 189.
Transito, 231.
Trasparente, 171.
Treasury, 186.
Tristan, El Greco’s favourite pupil, 199, 205.

Valle de la Desgollada, 143.
Vergara, 161, 166.
Villalar, where the great Comuneros, Juan de Padilla, Maldonado, and Bravo were taken and beheaded, 111, 112.
Vlllalpando, 166.
Villena, Marquis of, astronomer and celebrated scholar, 103.
Virgen del Rosario, 269.
Viriate, 12, 14.
Viterico, 32.

Walls of Toledo, 302.
Wamba, the greatest Gothic King, 38, 39, 40, 41, 46, 293.
Witiza, 51, 52, 53, 54.

Yahya, the last Moorish sovereign of Toledo, 80.

Zocodover, 57, 112, 116, 119, 120, 127, 281, 284.
Zorilla, 280.




[1] Tubal, grandson of Noah, son of Japhet his son, peopled Spain, that I know for sure. And he was the first King from whom the name of Tubalia. And this first King through fright, made his seat in Toledo, because of the waters he did not dare to settle in the plain, but chose the rocky heights. This was forty and three and a hundred years more after the great and savage deluge. And after Tubal reigned Ibero, from whom is said Iberia. Entered Tago with courage, who peopled the South, and much enlarged Toledo and the Tagus, and in conclusion, to his kingdom gave the name of Taja.

Hijo, de Japhet su hijo,
Poblo à España, cierto sé,
Y es el primer rey que fué,
Por quien Tubalia se dijo.
Y esto primer rey de miedo
Hizo su assiento en Toledo
Que pon las aguas no ha ossado
En lo llano hacer poblado
Sino en alto y en roquedo.
“Esto fué a quarenta y tres
Y mas cien años despues
Del diluvio grande, y fiero,
Y tras Tubal reyno Ibero,
Por quien dicha Iberia es,
Entra Tajo, con denuedo,
Que poblo en el meridion,
Y aumento mucho a Toledo,
Y al Tajo y su reyna ledo
Nombro Taga en conclusion.”

[2] A document exists purporting to be the original letter sent by the Jews of Toledo to their co-religionists of Jerusalem at the time of the Crucifixion. It is addressed: Levi archisinagogo é Samuel Joseph, omes bonos de la aljama de Toledo à Eleazar mint gran sacerdote é à Samuel Ecaniet, Annas y Caiphas, omes bones de la aljama de la terra sancta, salud en el Dios de Israel. It is signed: De Toledo à XIV. dais del mes de Nizan era del César XVIII. y de Augusto Octaviano LXX. But the “omes bonos” of the Holy Land had settled the question before the lengthy epistle of the “good men” of Toledo reached them.

[3] Conde de Mora: “Historia de Toledo.”

[4] “Bib. Nat.,” p. 16, v. 21

[5] It was chiefly in other Gothic towns that Wamba’s fortifications were demolished. Toledo comparatively escaped.

[6] My notes from the Chronicle says a hundred thousand workshops, but this in revision seems a slip of the pen. Such a number of workshops even at so flourishing an hour would have encumbered Toledo very seriously, I imagine.

[7] Dozy regards Count Julian as an authentic historical figure though both his rank and authority are undefined. He believes he was neither a vassal nor a Spanish subject, and consequently no traitor. But was he a Berber, a Greek, an independent prince or tributary of Spain or of the Emperor of Constantinople? Dozy suggests he may have been an Arabian governor of Ceuta, under the Byzantine emperor, while Arabian authors describe him as a mere merchant.

[8] Mr Stanley Lane Poole in his “Moors in Spain” (wherein he accepts the old-fashioned but improbable legend of Julian or Florinda as history) suggests that Rodrigo was drowned and washed out by the great ocean, and describes the last of the Goths as a kind of legendary Arthur, enfolded in mystery and awaited by his mourning subjects like the Irish Knights who in mediæval times were expected to return from some dim region of rest to take up again the burden of our life, and lead their followers to victory and prosperity.

[9] Rasis el Moro, Spain, MS. Bib. Pro.—Toledo.

[10] Abou-l-Hasan: Dozy, Recherches sur l’histoire et la littérature d’Espagna.

[11] “Histoire de Philippe II.” by H. Fornaron.

[12] The Archbishop of Zamora, Antonio de Acuña, a fierce comunero, commanded in the absence of Padilla, and was mighty profane in his method of war for an archbishop. After leading his troops against the King’s Castle of Aguila, he resolutely stormed the Cathedral gates and maltreated the resident canons. The insurgents held the cloisters and prevented the celebration of any church office during their stay. The unfortunate chapter was kept for three entire days and nights from sleeping or eating. What an incredible scandal in hieratic Toledo!

[13] Complaining at the Hotel Castilla to a Spanish painter of my daily persecution at the hands of the beggars of Toledo, I threatened to visit the Governor and make my plaint. The artist, something of a humorist, gravely said, “His Excellency the Governor will listen to you with all courtesy and attention, and when you have finished, he will hold out his hand with a graceful gesture, and say: Da mi una limosna tambien (Give me also alms).

[14] Bibliotica provincial de Toledo.

[15] MS. correspondence of Lope de Vega in possession of Señor Menendez y Pelayo.

[16] Street’s visit to Toledo was unfortunately hurried, or he would have been forced to change many of his views. Had he seen the cathedral from Nuestra Señora de la Valle, considerably above the bridge of San Martin, he would have found it prominent.

[17] De Toletano Hebraeorum Templo, MS. Bib. Pro. Toledo.

[18] MS. correspondence of Lope de Vega, in possession of Señor Menendez y Pelayo.

[19] MS. De Toletano Hebraeorum Templo, Bib. Provincial, Toledo.


Galiana of Toledo
Most beautiful and marvellous!
The Moor the most celebrated
Of all the Moorish race.
Mouth of rosy pinks,
High bosom that palpitates,
Ivory forehead adorned with
The flaming gold of Tyre.

[21] Wamba, Gothic King, restored the walls of this city, and offered them in Latin verses to God and the saints, its patrons; the Moors effaced them and placed instead blasphemies and errors in Arabian letters. King Philip II., in religious zeal and to preserve the memory of the departed Kings, ordered Gutierrez Tello, city magistrate, to efface them and place, along with the patron saints, the verses of King Wamba.

Typographical errors corrected by the etext transcriber:
Gamera=> Gamero {pg 18}
Toleda is mournful=> Toledo is mournful {pg 74}
Almamon=> Almanon {pg 79}
Abon l. Hasan=> Abou-l-Hasan {pg 79}
Gonzala Ruiz=> Gonzalo Ruiz {pg 132}
Toribio Rodrignez=> Toribio Rodriguez {pg 174}
fomnder’s=> founder’s {pg 176}
Hospital de Afuero=> Hospital de Afuera {pg 200}
The facade=> The façade {pg 245}
vegado te lloro=> vegada te lloro {pg 249}
ofrció en versos latinos=> ofreció en versos latinos {pg 293}
Alfonso VII., 19.
Alfonso VII., 93, 283.=> Alfonso VII., 19, 93, 283. {pg 307}

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