Rincon de La Victoria and the Moorish Conquest of al-Andalus

 Rincon de La Victoria and the Moorish Conquest of al-Andalus

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Hows it going? Didn’t see you guys there… I’m just hanging out with my good friend Mr. Cruzcampo, enjoying a nice little, well, Cruzcampo, down at the beach here, in beautiful, sunny, Rincon De La Victoria.  Let’s go to Malaga… “I know, Rincon is better than Malaga, and honestly, the bus, it was sweaty, there were no seats, I was standing, you had to wear a mask. It was like 30 minutes in a torture pit.”  “You guys look pretty cool on the camera, I like this whole like, l I like this whole like, little alley way. The boys, the ninos of Rincon de la Victoria, sponsored by Rockstar.

And this guy’s got New York on his shirt, my favorite one.” Rincon is the best, it’s better than the rest, it’s the ultimate test, look at that sailboat, on the crest. Hola, hola, hola, hola, hola, hola… we make rap video. I almost feel foolish that I was even considering going to Malaga at one point. Look at that, we’ve got beach football, we’ve got chiringuitos as far as the eye can see. A lovely day by the sea. Rincon de la Victoria. Here it is, here it is, here it is.

Here’s the town, here’s the town. And we can see the waves and the boats. And it was on a boat just like this that Tariq came over from the Mahgreb in the year 711.  And that is our topic of discussion today, The Moorish Conquest of Spain in the early 8th century. Bar La Lonja II, a cruzcampo bar. Now at the beginning of the 8th century, including this here region of Andalucia was ruled by the Visigoths. 

This bar is a little bit confused, they’ve got the Estrella Galicia glasses, a cruzcampo sign outside, and Al Hambra beer. A Triple Threat.  And the king of the Visigoths was a man by the name of Witizia. And Witizia, he was kind of a tyrannical leader. 

And so, this bloke, this fella, this individual, who went by the moniker Roderick, or as the Spanish called him: Rodrigo, he defeated Witizia, and he killed him, and he took over for the kingdom all on his own.  Ok, this is like a fancy little place here.  Look at this, nice little touch there, they give you some nuts and uh, gummy bears. Victoria Malaga…  The local Cerveza  Woooah, holy s*** So Spain back then, is pretty much what we think of it today, the Iberian peninsula, including Portugal actually...and then across the Straits of Hercules, an ever shrinking strip of North West Africa. Which at this point had shrunken down to just the cities of Ceuta and Melilla, which are Spanish today by the way. And the person in Charge of that territory was a Visigothic general by the name of Julian. And Julian ruled from his seat in Ceuta. And Julian had a daughter

named Florinda. A nublie, young, beautiful daughter. And he sent her over the sea, into spain, under the guidance and paternal guardianship of Roderick: the King of the Visigoths.  The town mosaic: some spanish that I can’t understand, beautiful colors, blues and yellows. This is the main square, on my first day here there was a bit of a puppet show going on.  Noones going to stop for meeee, because it’s not that type of crosswalk, you have to wait for the light to turn...la la la la la la la

And now it will turn...yes, there we go.  This is the plaza Al-Andalus… Al-Andalus, of course, the moorish name for spain, and that is the story we are continuing with now excuse me… how the Moors conquered what was soon to become known as al-Andalus.  So Florinda she comes to the court of Don Roderick - and basically back then, the Queen - Exilona - and her courtiers, her maidens, they lived in sort of a harem type place.  A palace sort of separate from the main castle, and they all just sort of spent their time wiling away in their silks, by the fountains and living in a state of sort of luxurious indolence, let’s just say. And Florinda, she comes, she’s very innocent, she’s very naive…

 and one day, the girls are playing a little game, their trying to see who is more beautiful … the Muslim, Mauritanian, Moorish, princesses, that came over with Exilona, or the native, Iberian, Visigothic spaniards.  And they’re saying “oh who’s more beautiful, who’s more beautiful?” And there is a mauritanian, a moorish beauty, with olive colored skin, verging into dark caramel, and she’s got supple little breasts and beautiful eyes.  And she is held up as the most beautiful and the spaniards say “what can we do, we don’t have anyone that beautiful.”  And then they see the sleeping Florinda and they say, “Wait a minute, she’s more beautiful, but she’s sleeping.” They start taking off her clothes, everyone is naked … 

And who’s spying on this whole thing happening, the little pervy man himself Roderick, and he sees Florinda getting stripped down and he falls madly in love, or in lust… or in sort of, creepy illegal, I’m supposed to be your father, Jailbait disgustingness. But whatever you want to call it, he’s got it.. Downtown Rincon, oh a heladeria...that’s an icecream shop… I’ve learned here in Spain. I’m starting to pick up on their way of life, I like it. It’s very, uh, blissful. 

Cafe brooklyn, whadda we got here…. Cafe Brooklyn. Never feel far from home as a New Yorker.  So Roderick, he says to Florinda: “Come here, I’ve got a thorn in my finger, it hurts, please take it out for me…” Florinda looks down...no thorn. What’re you talking about Roderick? “The thorn is in my heart, because I love you so much, please take it out…”  You know this guy is basically supposed to be her dad. She tries to play dumb. Roderick says, “You are irresistable, I need to have you.”  Long story, short: he rapes her. 

She’s distraught, she’s upset, he’s beseeched, defiled her honor. She knows this means the end of her life as a young, nubile, virgin. Her innocence is tarnished, her family’s name is in tatters.  And she writes a letter - a secret letter - to her father Don Julian, and says, “Julian I was raped”.

So Julian, he’s in a rage. He’s in an absolute rage. So the first thing he does, he goes over to the leader of the Arab forces, a man by the name of Musa, a very famous general.  And he says, “Look, I want to get revenge, I’m going to work with you.”  And Musa, you know, at first he’s a little bit hesitant. He’s like, do I really want to work with Don Julian? We’ve been enemies for so long… He could be tricking me. Why would he betray the Spanish and work with us? It doesn’t really make any sense…. But then, one of his generals, a man by the name of Tariq, one of Musa’s generals that is. .he says, “Let me go see for myself … let me go on a scouting voyage, give me 70 strong men, we’ll go up the coast of spain and see what it’s all about.” Now Tariq, he was a tough, tall, battle hardened arab. I believe he came from Syria. And he only had one eye, and because he only had one eye

the other had been knifed out with a scimitar …. Or I guess scimitared out with a scimitar… Is it scimitar or scimitar beautiful blue flowers, love these blue, purple flowers.  Anyway, they called him one-eyed tariq, or Tariq “El tuerto” as he’s known in the Spanish chronicles…  And Tariq el tuerto, he goes up along the coast, lands in Andalucia, near Cadiz, and he sees that, yeah, this place is ripe for the taking.  What’s the difference between a drunk Spaniard and an expat… one’s red, british and looks like a lobster, the other one is an expat.

Some of the beautiful white lifeguard stands of Rincon. So El Tuerto, Tariq, he takes over about 12,000 men and they make landing in Tarifa. Which is called Tarifa because of Tariq. And that’s not the only thing he names, because soon he sets up his camp. He sets up his base, at a rock known as Calpe… and the rock, you can see, basically into modern day Morocco from the rock.

Because the Rock is a huge rock … and him, being the arrogant son of a bitch that he was, he names in Jibal Tariq - or, “Mount Tariq” and Mount Tariq, Jibal Tariq, what do you think it gets called 1,000 years later.. Gibraltar. Jibal Tariq...Gibraltar. Look at the Rinconians, so sportive, so active, and at the same time, so willing to have a little bit of a chill. Wow, beautiful, beautiful people… When the force of moors and arabs and muslims, and collected forces, the 12,000 strong - when they made landing into Spain, Tariq, he had all the boats burnt while the soldiers slept.  And they said, “What’re we going to do, what if we have to retreat, what if we have to go home?” And Tariq, what does he respond?  Tariq says: “Home? This is your home...go win it” And it’s a great sentiment. I mean, burn the boats, no plan for retreat...what other choice do you have …  But the troops, they are still a little bit skittish, so Tariq he pays a local Iberian and he tells her to relay a prophecy, and she relays the prophecy and she says: “When I was a young girl, we had a prophet come to the village, and the prophet said one day a man would come to conquer us, and his right arm would be longer than his left and he would have a mole on his right shoulder.”

Lo and behold, Tariq takes off his shirt, right arm longer than the left...mole on the right shoulder.  Something tells me that the woman knew ahead of time, but what are you gonna do. Now the troops, they’re encouraged, the prophecy’s coming true, this is a superstitious lot.

These recently converted Arabic muslims. We’re talking, 2 or 3 or 4 generations after the time of Mohamed. Alma playa, I don’t think it means Apple beach - alma being apple in Hungarian - but, may as well give it a little go.  Got a nice little dog here, his name is Max. and the Cute little Estrella Galicia...this is from the North, from Galicia, and old part of the Visigothic kingdom to be sure. And Al-andalus for a time, but the Muslims, the Moors, they never really did well up north.

Salud. So now Roderick, with his moors and his Arabs, they’re fired up they are ready to go. They’ve heard the prophecy, the boats are burned, it’s time to make battle.  And they do make battle, against Theodomir, who is a very brave and valiant Visigoth.  And the moors win, Theodomir doesn’t die, he regroups, he retreats and he gets word out to roderick. “This is a bigger threat than we thought, the Moors, they’re vicious, and they will be victorious if we do not make preparations immediately for reinforcements.” What do we have here? What we have here is padel, it’s like a national sport in spain. Kind of like tennis, weird form of tennis, but the people love it.

So now Roderick’s getting really, really nervous. Not only does he have a guilty as fuck of a concsience, because of what he did to Florinda …. but just before the Muslims came in to invade, Roderick was a very, very silly boy… So why was Roderick such a silly little boy? Hold your horses, Im about to tell you… Anyway, thousands of years ago Hercules had this big tower and he put a lock on it and he said that every future king should put a lock on the tower, and thus they did. Every king, every king that ruled over the land that encompassed toledo had put another lock on the tower, and it was never to be opened.  Even Julius caesar that arrogant son of a bitch, when he was in charge of toledo, he put a lock on the tower… But Roderick thought he was better than everyone, he had to see what was inside, he goes in, bada boom bada bing...what does he see? 

He’s sees a vision that men with turbans and scimitars - the muslims, the moors - he doesn’t kown who they are yet, but he sees that they are going to come in and invade.  So when he hears that Theodomir had lost so grievously at the battle initially against the moors, and that  the moors had started to pillage and rave and reap and rave all around his provinces in Spain well, roderick .. not only does he have a guilty conscience, but he believes that this prophecy is coming true.  Nonetheless he digs deep, he digs so deep into his lustful, slothful, lazy ass, and he finds the old battle hardened gothic vigor that once he knew….  SO roderick gathers up his forces, and Don Julian, the brave battle hardened veteran of North West Africa, where he’s repelled the Arabs many times before, he promises Roderick that everything is going to be ok… Because Roderick does not know that he’s in cahoots with the muslims himself.  And julian’s got Bishop Oppas, the Bishop of Seville, who happened to be the brother of the old king Witizia, who hated Roderick and wanted to install his nephew’s Evan and Siseburto on the throne…. But you know these are a lot of little details that are unimportant. The main moral of the story is that Roderick is heading down with the flower of the nobility,

with all of his forces that he can muster, with all of the Visigothic strength And they’re heading down and they meet the moors at an encampment, they meet Tariq El Tuerto, Tarik the one eyed, near the river of Guadalete. Oh look, here we are, back where we began…. Liceo Playa, my hometown local. Never had a local pub that looked quite like this…  Alright, now we’re in business, here’s my old seat. There’s Mr. Cruzcampo, just where I left him, a couple hours back...before all of this malarkey took place..  So it’s the day of the battle on the Guadalete, and first day, day one, theres a little skirmish, a little testing of sorts.

The two camps, they’re opposed, split in between by the river, and tariq sends out a force, Roderick sends out a force, utter annihilation, skirmish does not go well for the Visigoths. Uh oh. Day two, another skirmish, again, same story, Visigoths get basically, essentially and fundamentally slaughtered.  Day two slaughtered again, Day three, that;s going to be the day of the main battle.  And Roderick, he musters up all the courage that he possibly can, he does not want to lose his kingdom. He does not want to be the Visigothic leader that surrenders to the invading infidel, to the heretics of the Muslim faith.

Back then the Visigothic Kings, they were real fans of Jewels and glory and bedazzlement and splendor and so Roderick he gets all pranced up, all ponied up, with his diamond studded sandals, with his royal scepter.  But you know, with all pretensions aside, he does put on a brave performance. And he goes, and they battle, and its Tariq, and its Roderick, and its Theodomir and pelistes and all of the other names you could imagine. 

And for a while the battle’s pretty even. It looks like the Visigoths are actually in the thing. Some of the forces of Tariq el tuerto, they start to run back and retreat. They’re nervous. They didn’t realize that the Visigoths could put up such a fight.  But lo and behold, what happens? Don Julian, the traitor, Bishop Oppas, the traitor, all of the forces that they’ve assembled to turn coat against Roderick, take out their knives and start to fight against their former brethren. And now confusion rains out amongst the camp. And next thing you know, El tuerto is coming into the frey and he says “Look at me soldiers, this is how you be brave…” And he, the battle hardened man himself, the one eyed general, he comes in and he starts slaying Christians. And the Christians turn on Christians. Next thing you know, it’s a blood bath, a massacre.

 just like days one and two of the skirmishing, the muslims they slaughter and eviscerate. And roderick he flees for the hills! It’s unknown whether or not he actually dies. Many sources, they seem to suggest that he may have escaped and lived out the rest of his life as a hermit. Nonetheless, El Tuerto has won, and they get a head, any head, any head will do. .put some jewels on it and send it back to the Caliph, say its Don Roderick, the king is dead and what do you know, now its time to go conquer the rest of Al Andalus. But Musa, if you remember Musa, he was the original man who decided to go in and invade and sent in El Tuerto...

he’s getting a little bit jealous. Because he thought he was gonna be the one who came in an conquered, and now it looks like this moor, this moor El Tuerto who burnt all the boats is going to get all the credit. And he’s not too happy about that.  But that’s a story for next time. As well as the fate of Don Julian and his Daughter Florinda and the rest of the Characters in this epic tale of conquest and subjugation and eventual moorish glory.  Salud. Or as the moors would say, “We don’t drink because we’re muslim” … but I think they probably did drink to be perfectly honest with you…

2021-06-04 18:10

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