From the Ninth to the Eleventh Century
ITALY. The state of Italy during this period has been already partially noticed in the preceding section. From the time of Lothaire, to whom it was nominally assigned as a separate kingdom (843), to that of Otho the Great (964), the country was ravaged by contending tyrants. Between the invasions of the Normans on the one hand, and the claims of the German emperors on the other, it became much distracted, and was ultimately split up into several independent states. Some of these, particularly Venice, Genoa, Pisa, and Florence, became afterwards independent and powerful republics. It was during this period that the foundation of the temporal power of the popes was laid.
SPAIN. During the period of which we have been treating, Spain seemed less a part of Europe than any other country in it. The greater part of it still continued under the dominion of the Moors, and apparently with advantage. This period,' says Mr. Tytler, from the middle of the eight to the middle of the tenth century, is a most brilliant era of Arabian magnificence. Whilst Haroun al Raschid made Bagdad illustrious by the splendor of the arts and sciences, the Moors of Cordova vied with their brethren of Asia in the same honorable pursuits, and were undoubtly at this period the most enlightened of the states in Europe. Under a series of able princes, they gained the highest reputation, both in arts and arms, of all the nations of the West.' And yet these Eastern conquerors seem to have had their troubles as well as others. A race of powerful nobles among them, as in the other countries of Europe, distracted the country, and made effective government impossible. The Christian part of the population, still possessed of several provinces in the north, might have taken advantage of such a state of things for repossessing themselves of their lost country; but civil dissension was still greater among themselves; and Christian princes readily formed alliances with the Moors, if they saw a prospect of weakening an immediate enemy by that means, forgetting that the common foe still remained to harass them. But the detail of these numerous and petty contentions need not detain us longer; nor does the history of Spain assume any importance till towards the conclusion of the fifteenth century, when the united arms of Ferdinand and Isabella expelled the Moors for ever from the country.