It has been argued that The Medieval Iberian Peninsula was quite influential and memorable for its diversity in terms of politics, language, culture, religion and ethnicity. As a result, there are several authors and historic experts who have come to conclude that the people of Iberia positively affected the Middle Age, describing the society as one which promoted social coexistence among Christians, Muslims and Jews.
This allowed Christians and Muslims to live together for close to eight centuries on the peninsula (Remie 131). Notably, not only did these kingdoms exist side by side but the people with varying religious faiths found it easy to live in the same region and cope with one another. Besides this coexistence, conquests were witnessed in the history of medieval Spain. This essay summarizes “The Conquest of Toledo (1085)” and “The Siege of Lisbon (1147)” as authored by Olivia Remie Constable in the book, Medieval Iberia.
The Conquest of Toledo (1085)
The Conquest of Toledo took place in 1085 and played a major role in the history of Medieval Spain as it led to the change of power from Muslim to Christian rule. The invasion of the city was widely seen by many as a political move that led to the conquest. Although Toledo was not as large as other cities in the country, it was a significant capital to both Christians and Muslims (Remie 131).
In the understanding of this conquest, it is equally essential to underscore the role of kings as they led the two sides in championing their ideologies and supremacy. One these kings was Alfonso VI who inherited the throne from his father. However, invasions and external forces from other rulers led to the defeat of Alfonso by his own brother, Sancho II (Remie 131).
As a result of their strained relationship, Alfonso took refuge in Moorish Court in Toledo. This was not his end as he succeeded Sancho II in 1072 after being assassinated. With his power as the king, he won Galicia from Garcia, his brother (Remie 134).
Due to his domineering authority, he became one of the most powerful Christian rulers in Medieval Spain. He attacked several Muslim territories up to Taifa as he encouraged Christians to migrate to the northern side. He continued with his raid even after the conquest in 1085. According to Olivia Remie, Alfonso’s victory was skillful as he managed to defeat several cities like Seville, Zaragoza and Badajoz, which had merged against him.
The conquest of 1085 increased enhancement of opportunities in Medieval Spain. Several people including French, Moors and Spaniards were brought together in a single city, which remained historically known for refinement and learning. Even though there are several factors that led to the Toledo conquest, it is evident that King Alfonso IV played a major role in organizing a successful attack on the city. By utilizing his privileges as the governor, he attacked Islamic territories (Remie 137).
The Siege of Lisbon (1147)
According to Olivia Remie, the siege of Lisbon was driven by military actions that led to the capture of the city by Portuguese, displacing Moorish kingpins. This siege is believed to have been among limited victories that were experienced by Christian crusaders (Remie 180).
In other words, it was the only recorded victory that was carried out by the pilgrim army and is widely seen as a core contributing factor towards the final Reconquista. It is worth noting that the siege of Lisbon took place after a series of events that were characterized by the fall of various cities, which were captured by powerful rulers of the time. For instance, the collapse of Edessa in the year 1144 triggered Pope Eugene III to give a decree for a new crusade in 1145 in the Iberian Peninsula.
As a way of strengthening his efforts, Pope Eugene III ordered Alfonso VII to join the war against the Moors. These efforts led to the departure of the first group of crusaders for the Holy Land. This contingent got an opportunity to interact with King Alfonso I of Portugal (Remie 181).
The meeting between crusaders and the king resulted into an agreement in which they were to support him to attack Lisbon in exchange of goods and ransom money for prisoners who were to be captured during the attack (Remie 182). As noted by Olivia Remie, July 1 marked the start of the siege of Lisbon that was concluded on October 25, 1147.
It is believed that the Moorish leaders surrendered after the siege tower reached their territory wall and limited food supply that was resulting into starvation and hunger. During the siege, there were surrender-terms that were to be kept in future though none of them was observed (Remie 183).
For instance, Muslims were to retain their lives and material wealth though the city was to be under different rule. After the siege of Lisbon, crusaders were at liberty of either proceeding to the Holy Land or settling in the new city that had been captured. From the two conquests, it is clear that rulers played significant roles in influencing other people.
Remie, Olivia. Medieval Iberia. Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1997. Print.