Thursday, 17 November 2016

Moorish Europe

The fact that Blacks had lived in some of the same Iberian regions later occupied by Islamic Moors suggests this. In 937, Ibn Hawkal noted that Blacks were very common in Palermo. Regarding one of the city's main entrances, Hawkal wrote that it was called the "Bab es Soudan," or "Gate of the Blacks," so named after its ebony-hued residents.

Pope Leo III referred to these Blacks variously as Moors, Agareni, and Saracens. Islamic encroachment on the European mainland took place around 846. When "Saracens" landed at the mouth of the Tiber River and besieged Rome. Of this invasion, the German historian Hincmar (875 A.D.) wrote that: The Arabs and Moors assaulted Rome on the Tiber, and when they laid waste to the basilica of the blessed Peter, the prince of the apostles, and carried off all the ornaments and treasures, with the very altar which was situated above the tomb of the famous prince of apostles, they occupied strongly a fortified hill a hundred miles from the city.

In the invasion of Rome, Pope John VII agreed to pay an annual tribute of 25,000 marks of silver to the Saracens to retreat.

Frederick It (1197-1250 A.D.), of the Hohenstaufen dynasty, developed especially close relationships with the remaining Blacks in Sicily, and retained a , Moorish chamberlain who was constantly in his presence.

While admittedly breaking the Islamic power-base, he also solicited the aid of the Moors from Palermo in his intense struggle with the papacy. After resettling conquered Muslims on the Italian mainland at Lucera, the monarch recruited an elite guard unit of 16,000 Black troops.

One of the independent sovereigns of Moorish descent with whom Frederick II came into contact was Morabit, a name whose attachment may be found with the Sanhadja Berber tribes known as Murabit.

Growing conflicts and rebellion against the expansionist policies of Frederick II eventually led to the death of Morabit. In 1239 A.D., however, another Black man, Johannes Maurus, attained a position of considerable authority at the Hohenstaufen royal court. "In South Italy and Sicily," writes Paul Kaplan, "dark-skinned Moslems had already been visible for several centuries.

Spain and Portugal, a real renaissance, when other parts of Europe were spending a thousand years passing through the dark age which the destruction of Rome by the Barbarians. Moorish domination extended to parts of Italy. In 846 A.D., they held the city of Rome in a state of siege while in 878 they captured Sicily from the Normans. Twenty years later the Moors took control of Southern Italy by defeating Otto II of Germany.

As in Spain and Portugal, miscegenation took place on a wide scale between the Moors and the Italians. The Italians at that time had large infusions of Germanic blood due to the invasion of the Goths and Like Portugal and Spain the blood of Africa permeated through all Italian society. And Africa blood found its way into the leading families, including the most illustrious royal family of the times-the Medicis.

No comments:

Post a Comment