Unit 5 – Table of contents

  1. THE CHRISTIAN KINGDOMS IN THE IBERIAN PENINSULA
  2. FROM THE CANTABRIAN RESISTANCE TO THE CROWN OF CASTILLA
    • Reino de Asturias y Reino de León.
    • Castilla: from county to Crown.
  3. THE PYRENEAN AREA: FROM THE CAROLINGIANS TO THE CROWN OF ARAGÓN.
    • Reino de Pamplona and Reino de Navarra.
    • Condados Catalanes.
    • Reino y Corona de Aragón.
  4. RESETTLEMENT, POLITICAL ORGANISATION, SOCIETY AND ECONOMY.
    • Resettlement and defence of the territory.
    • Political organisation.
    • Economy in the Christian Kingdoms.
    • Social organisation.
  5. CULTURE, ART AND ARCHITECTURE.
    • Pre-Romanesque art.
    • Romanesque art.
    • Culture and art in the Late Middle Ages.
    • Mudéjar art.
    • Gothic art.

How to write History – The Battle of Covadonga

Download the texts and the questions here:

How to write History – The Battle of Covadonga

Read the two versions of the Battle of Covadonga and answer the questions below:

Version 1

Pelayo was with his companions on Mount Auseva and the Muslims army arrived and set up camp opposite the entrance to a cave. Pelayo trusted in Jesus’ mercy and said: “Lord Jesus Christ will free us from these pagans”. Algama, the Muslim general, ordered the battle to commence and the soldiers took up arms. Their swords shone, lances were at the ready, arrows were shot incessantly, stones came flying through the air. But when the stones reached the home of the Virgin St. Mary who was in the cave, they turned around and were sent from where they came and killed the Muslim soldiers.

Version 2

In the land of Galicia a wild ass appeared called Pelayo. From that moment the Christians in al-Andalus began to defend the land that they still held and fought against the Muslims. The Muslims had taken control of their country and only the rock was left where king Pelayo was sheltering with three hundred men. The Muslim soldiers attacked him until all his soldiers were dead from hunger and only thirty men and women were left in his company. In the end, the Muslims scorned them saying “Thirty wild asses. What damage can they do to us?”

QUESTIONS:

  1. Which one is the Christian version? What details in the text make you think that?
  2. In the first version, who will free them from the ‘pagans’? Why do you think they included a miraculous episode?
  3. What happened to all the stones and arrows that the Muslims shot? Who won the battle?
  4. According to both texts, the Muslims decided to abandon the place and stop fighting. But, why did they do it? What reasons appear in each text?
  5. Who do the Muslims describe as “wild ass”? Why do you think they say that?
  6. How many men did Pelayo have?
  7. How many people survived the Muslim attack?
  8. What did the Muslims say at the end of the battle?
  9. After this example, could you explain why historians need to use different sources for explaining a single historical event?

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Text – The Crown of Aragón

“Por lo cual en nombre del rey eterno, yo Petronila, por la gracia de Dios reina de los aragoneses y condesa de los barceloneses, mujer que fui del venerable Ramón Berenguer, conde de los barceloneses y príncipe de los aragoneses, con libre ánimo y dispuesta voluntad […] te concedo a ti mi querido hijo Alfonso, rey de Aragón y conde de Barcelona, […] a toda tu posteridad, todo el reino aragonés íntegramente, también las ciudades y las fortificaciones, las villas y las iglesias y los monasterios, las tierras cultas y yermas, las rocas, montes, y las fuerzas y las aguas, todas las potestades, caballeros y hombres, dominaciones y señoríos, tanto de las tierras como de los hombres […] Y para que mejor de mi buena voluntad esta donación firme y estable en perpetuo sea habida y tenida, la confirmo con mi propia mano, y concedo la disposición del testamento de mi marido y su última voluntad, de la misma manera que mi marido, tu padre, de todo el predicho reino y de las demás cosas estatuyó y ordenó en su testamento, del cual juramento de derecho fue corroborado por sus magnates, que la ordenación y última voluntad firme y estable, ahora y a perpetuidad firmemente persista. Si tú murieses sin descendencia legítima, que se siga lo ordenado en el testamento de su marido, tu padre, entre tus hermanos. Si alguien contra esta escritura de donación intentase venir para romperla, que de ningún modo lo pueda hacer, sino que todo lo sobredicho doblemente lo componga y además este donativo en todo tiempo sea estable y firme. Hecho es esto en Barcelona, a 18 de junio de 1164.”

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