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the charm of his noble character and uncommon talents. The duties of his embassy, and possibly his own good pleasure, detained Tendilla in Rome from September 13, 1486, until August 29th of the following year, and, as his stay drew to its close, he pressingly invited the Italian scholar to return with him to Spain, an invitation which neither the remonstrances nor supplications of his friends in Rome availed to persuade him to refuse. No one could more advantageously introduce a foreigner at the Court of Spain than Tendilla. What prospects he held out or what arguments he used to induce Martyr to quit Rome and Italy, we do not know; apparently little persuasion was required. A true child of his times, Peter Martyr was prepared to accept his intellectual heritage wherever he found it. From the obscure parental village of Arona, his steps first led him to the ducal court of Milan, which served as a stepping-stone from which he advanced into the wider world of Rome. The papal capitalknew him first as a disciple, then as a master, but the doubt whether he was satisfied to wait upon laggard pontifical favours is certainly permissible. He had made warm friendships, had enjoyed the intimacy of the great, and the congenial companionship of kindred spirits, but his talents had secured no permanent or lucrative recognition from the Sovereign Pontiff. The announcement of his resolution to accompany the ambassador to Spain caused consternation amongst his friends who opposed, by every argument they could muster, a decision they considered displayed both ingratitude and indifferent judgment. Nothing availed to change the decision he had taken and, since to each one he answered as he deemed expedient, and as each answer differed from the other, it is not easy to fix upon the particular reason which prompted him to seek his fortune in Spain. To Ascanio Sforza, who spared neither entreaties nor reproaches to detain him, assuring him that during his lifetime his merits should not lack recognition, Martyr replied that the disturbed state of Italy, which he apprehended would grow worse, discouraged him; adding that he was urged on by an ardent desire to see the world and to make acquaintance with other lands. To Peter Marsus, he declared he felt impelled to join in the crusade against the Moors. Spain was the seat of this holy war, and the Catholic sovereigns, who had accomplished the unity of the Christian states of the Iberian peninsula, were liberal in their offers of honours and recompense to foreigners of distinction whom they sought to draw to their court and camp. Spain may well have seemed a virgin and promising field, in which his talents might find a more generous recognition than Rome had awarded them. Upon his arrival there, he showed himself no mean courtier when he declared to the Queen that his sole reason for coming was to behold the most celebrated woman in the world—herself. Perhaps the sincerest expression of his feelings is that contained in a letter to Carillo. (Ep. 86. I490): Formosum est cuique, quod maxime placet: id si cum patria minime quis se sperat habiturum, tanta est hujusce rei vis, ut extra patriam quaeritet patria ipsius oblitus. Ego quam vos deservistis adivi quia quod mihi pulchrum suavegue widebatur in ea invenire speravi. The divine restlessness, the Wanderlust had seized him, and to its fascination he yielded. The opportunity offered by Tendilla was too tempting to be resisted. Summing up the remonstrances and reproaches of his various friends, he declared that he held himself to deserve rather their envy than their commiseration, since amidst the many learned men in Italy he felt himself obscure and useless, counting himself indeed as passerunculus inter accipitres, pygmeolus inter gigantes. Failing to turn his friend from his purpose, Cardinal Ascanio Sforza exacted from him a promise to send him regular and frequent information of all that happened at the Spanish Court. It is to this pact between the two friends that posterity is indebted for the Decades and the Opus Epistolarum, in which the events of those singularly stirring years are chronicled in a style that portrays with absolute fidelity the temper of an age prolific in men of extraordinary genius and unsurpassed daring, incomparably rich in achievements that changed the face of the world and gave a new direction to the trend of human development.
On the twenty-ninth of August the Spanish ambassador, after taking leave of Innocent VIII.," set out from Rome on his return journey to Spain, and with him went Peter Martyr d'Anghera.
Spain in the year 1487 presented a striking contrast to Italy where, from the days of Dante to those of Machiavelli, the land had echoed to the vain cry: Pax, pax et non erat pax. Peter Martyr was impressed by the unaccustomed spectacle of a united country within whose boundaries peace reigned. This happy condition had followed upon the relentless suppression of feudal chiefs whose acts of brigandage, pillage, and general lawlessness had terrorised the people and enfeebled the State during the preceding reign.
The same nobles who had fought under Isabella's standard against Henry IV. did not scruple to turn their arms upon their young sovereign, once she was seated upon the throne. Lucio Marineo Siculo has drawn a sombre picture of life in Spain prior to the establishment of order under Ferdinand and Isabella. To accomplish the needed reform, it was necessary to break the power and humble the pretensions of the feudal nobles. The Duke of Villahermosa, in command of an army maintained by contributions from the towns, waged a merciless campaign, burning castles and administering red-handed but salutary justice to rebels against the royal authority, and to all disturbers of public order throughout the realm. This drastic work of internal pacification was completed before the arrival of our Lombard scholar at the Spanish Court. Castile and Aragon united, internal strife overcome, the remaining undertaking worthiest to engage the attention of the monarchs was the conquest of the unredeemed southern provinces. Ten years of intermittent warfare had brought the Christian troops to the very walls of Granada, but Granada still held out. Almeria and Guadiz were in possession of the enemy and over the towers of Baza the infidel flag proudly floated. The reception accorded Tendilla's protégé by the King and Queen in Saragossa was benign and encouraging. Isabella already caressed the idea of encouraging the cultivation of the arts and literature amongst the Spaniards, and her first thought was to confide to the newcomer the education of the young nobles and pages about the Court— youths destined to places of influence in Church and State. She was not a little surprised when the reputed savant modestly deprecated his qualifications for such a responsible undertaking, and declared his wish was to join in the crusade against the infidels in Andalusia. Some mirth was even provoked by the idea of the foreign scholar masquerading as a soldier. In 1489, King Ferdinand, who had assembled a powerful force at Jaen, marched to the assault of Baza, a strong place, ably defended at that time by Abdullah, known under the proud title of El Zagal—the Victorious—because of his many victories over the Christian armies he had encountered. During the memorable siege that ended in the fall of Baza, Peter Martyr played his dual rôle of soldier and historian. The Moors defended the city with characteristic bravery, for they were fighting for their property, their liberty, and their lives. From Jaen, where Isabella had established herself to be near the seat of war, messages of encouragement daily reached the King and his commanders, inciting them to victory, for which the Queen and her ladies daily offered prayers. Impregnable Baza fell on the fourth of December, and, with its fall, the Moorish power in Spain was forever broken. Smaller cities and numerous strongholds in the surrounding country hastened to offer their submission and, after the humiliating surrender of El Zagal in the Spanish camp at Tabernas, Almeria opened its gates to the triumphant Christians who sang Te Deum within its walls on Christmas day. Peter Martyr's description of this victorious campaign has proved a rich source from which later writers have generously drawn, not always with adequate acknowledgment. From Jaen the Court withdrew to Seville, where the marriage of the princess royal to the crown prince of Portugal was celebrated. Boabdilla still held Granada, oblivious of his engagement to surrender that city when his rival, El Zagal, should be conquered." We need not here digress to rehearse the oft-told story of the siege of Granada, during which Moslem rivalled Christian in deeds of chivalry. Peter Martyr's letters in the Opus Epistolarum recount these events. He shared to the full the exultation of the victors, but was not oblivious of the grief and humiliation of the vanquished whom he describes as weeping and lamenting upon the graves of their forefathers, with a choice between captivity and exile before their despairing
' Dixi ante sacros pedes prostratus lacrymosum vale quarto calendi Septembris 1487. (Ep. i.)
* The Moorish power was at this time weakened by an internal dissension. El Zagal had succeeded his brother, Muley Abdul Hassan, who, at the time of his death ruled over Baza, Guadiz, Almeria, and other strongholds in the south-east, while his son Boabdil was proclaimed in Granada, thus dividing the kingdom against itself, at a moment when union was most essential to its preservation. Boabdil had accepted the protection of King Ferdinand and had even stipulated the surrender of Granada as the reward for his uncle's defeat. Consult Prescott's Ferdinand and Isabella.