The Christian Populace
Perhaps most difficult to gauge is the extent to which popular Christian hostility against Valencia's Muslim population was aroused by the king's almost constant espousal of the crusade against Islam. Whereas royal strategy and Mudejar response can to a certain extent be interpreted as having resulted from an assessment of political reality and opportunity, an understanding of popular Christian attitudes toward the religious minorities is more elusive, mainly because they were so often rooted in stereotype, imagined wrong, and irrational fear. The material success of a few individuals could earn for an entire minority group the animus of those Christians resenting the economic advancement of their social inferiors. Violence might be perpetrated for reason of crusade or for alleged minority complicity in the spreading of plague, reasons that often masked more base economic and personal motives. The violence initiated by the few could easily spark a social riot involving mass participation. Popular attitudes and their behavioral manifestations were unpredictable, volatile, and at times uncontrollable.
The state of affairs during Fernando's reign seemed propitious for an eruption of anti-Muslim violence. For those Christians who had not experienced the loss of a loved one to Maghriban and Turkish enemies the licensed begging for ransom money by the victims and their relatives brought them face to face with the results of Muslim aggression and cruelty. Seeking alms and recounting their tales of woe, these victims disseminated the seeds of fear and hatred. There were the casualties from the eastern front. The son of a Greek count, having lost his hand in battle against the Turks, came to Spain to raise the ransom for his mother and two sisters. A Hungarian, who had to ransom his father within two years on pain of the latter's conversion to Islam, was allowed to beg for alms not only in Christian parishes but also in the kingdom's morerías . Islam, in some way, would pay. Closer to home, the Valencian brothers Redo told how when captives in Tunis "they proposed to lose life, even if they should be afflicted with injuries, labors, and tortures, rather than deny the name of Christ." Bernat Selles of Oropesa bewailed the plight of his two daughters, aged eight and two, whom corsairs had borne off, "because their tender age is so much in danger of denying the faith of our Redeemer." It would not have been unusual if such aggrieved Christians had labeled the Mudejars as somehow responsible.
In addition to the tension evoked by the insecurity of Mediterranean frontier life, there was the preaching of the crusade, first against Granada, then against North Africa, and finally against the Turks. What-
ever Fernando's political intentions were and for whatever ends he employed the crusading funds, the frequent preaching of crusade indulgences must have given to the populace the impression of an almost constant mobilization for holy war. Fernando had definite ideas as to how he wanted the crusade to be preached and what sort of atmosphere was to be created:
you [the governor] should work and see to it that the see and the twelve parishes of that city [Valencia] present themselves with their banners, drums, and trumpets, and with their procession in form, and the bearer [of the bull] whom the particular parish will present should take the cross in his hand on the pulpit before the people and should perform all the acts and things most suitable for drawing the people to devotion and to take the bulls of the holy crusade.
A similar order was issued with respect to all the cities and towns. Moreover, each royal victory in Granada was celebrated by the chanting of "Te Deum" in the cathedral of Valencia and by a procession in honor of the Virgin Mary.
Preaching a crusade against Islam in a kingdom with numerous Muslim communities presented obvious difficulties. Preachers would have to exercise considerable discretion so as not to implicate the Mudejars in their anti-Muslim harangues. The preacher's audience would have to distinguish between their Muslim enemies and their Muslim neighbors. Yet, how muddy the waters must have been when Mudejars were suspected of collusion with Valencia's Muslim foes. Understandably, some overly zealous preachers were unable or unwilling to make any distinctions. In 1457, in the aftermath of the violence of 1455, a Dominican friar in Valencia preached the persecution of the Mudejars. As punishment, the Order's provincial prior removed him from the city. As a prelude to the Germanías ' attacks on Muslims in 1521, a Franciscan of Játiva, with crucifix in hand, cried "Long live the faith of Christ and war to the Sarracens!"
Fernando was well aware of the trouble that could be caused from the pulpit. In 1482 he instructed the archbishop of Zaragoza to make sure that the sermons preached in the churches of his see were not such that would incite the people against the local Muslims and Jews. In 1496 he had to reprimand the preacher of the African crusade in Zaragoza for inflaming the souls of his Christian audience against the local Muslims, so that, without reason, its members would wish to maltreat them. Fernando advised the preacher, "it seems to us you could preach your bulls without speaking of the Moors [of Zaragoza presumably]."
Surprisingly, there were no similar royal commands to preachers in
Valencia, the kingdom where the preaching of the crusade had the greatest potential for provoking violence. However, the kingdom's nobility did complain that the Inquisitors were agitating in the see of Valencia against the Christians' eating of meat slaughtered by Muslims and Jews. This had more to do with the eradication of heresy than the crusade. The mobilization for the crusade does not seem to have inspired in Valencia an unleashing of Christian hostility against the Mudejar population. Preachers and populace managed to perceive the difference between domestic and foreign Muslims. That this was so is indicated by the fact that when Muslims were assaulted the victims were Maghriban, not Valencian. In 1496 and again in 1497 it was necessary to proclaim publicly "that no one should dare to maltreat the Moors of Barbary [North Africa]." It was more than coincidental that this violence occurred during the years of the preaching of the African crusade. In commanding that Maghriban merchants be treated benignly and that violent energies be reserved for corsairs and Maghriban armies Fernando was perhaps asking too much of his subjects.
Even though royal authority managed to persuade Christians to restrain their aggressive proclivities, the protracted struggle with Islam still dimmed their view of the Mudejars. One of the ordinances of Valencia's guild of cordmakers expresses the sentiment that all Muslims are the implacable foes of Christianity and that in the event of war the Mudejars are the natural allies of their Maghriban brethren. In justification of the exclusion of all Muslims from the guild and the practice of their trade, the officers of the guild argued that the Mudejars
with cunning and crafty ways ... work to learn and wish to know how to make all those things that are for the exercise of war in order to be able to fight with and make war against the Christians, and thus they try among other things to learn the trade of cordmaker and to know how to make crossbow string, which string it is prohibited to transport to the land of the Moors.
This ordinance, approved by the king in January, 1497—the year of the capture of Melilla—makes sense in the context of the crusade against Africa. Still, economic motives must be regarded as partly responsible for the exaggeration of Mudejar ill will. The guild was ensuring that Muslim cordmakers would not encroach on its monopoly, which included a thriving trade with the Muslims of the Vall de Uxó, who specialized in the fabrication of hemp sandals.
One can only surmise why Christian resentment and suspicion of the Mudejars, always evident among certain elements of the populace, were translated into extreme violence in 1455 and 1521, but not during Fer-
nando's reign. Certainly, a measure of good fortune and official vigilance were responsible for preventing the realization of the potential for spontaneous violence. That such potential existed is illustrated by an incident that occurred on Corpus Christi Day, 1491, in the capital. While the throng of Christians and Muslims watched the processions, a Mudejar seized the opportunity to murder his Muslim enemy. Many Christians, believing that a Christian was the victim, grabbed their arms with the intention of moving against the Moors. Only the timely intervention of municipal officials prevented a riot. This was, however, an isolated incident.
Because so much of Fernando's reign was enveloped in an atmosphere of holy war, which naturally underlined the Mudejars' essential dissidence, the absence of organized or widespread anti-Mudejar violence suggests that the ideological and military confrontation between Christianity and Islam was, in itself, not the decisive factor in the engendering of social violence. That confrontation was not decisive because, however much it was enhanced by the Catholic Monarchs, it was nothing new. The Granadan almugaver , the Maghriban corsair, and the seditious Mudejar were all familiar figures, as were the Maghriban merchant and the docile Mudejar farmer and artisan. While the former group threatened to render Muslim-Christian coexistence impossible, the latter made it workable. The centuries of experience along the Mediterranean frontier that had gradually tamed the rebellious Mudejars had also taught the Christians to make the economically essential distinction between Muslim friend and Muslim foe.
Because the crusades against Granada and Africa were primarily Castilian enterprises, it may be that their promotion in Valencia received only a lukewarm response. Certainly, a number of Christians paid little heed to the calls for crusade and followed the dictates of self-interest. The victims of Christian piracy were frequently other Christians. Christian merchants pledged a twelve-year-old Christian boy as collateral in their dealings with Maghriban Muslim and Jewish merchants. Christians illicitly transported arms to Maghriban Muslims and to the Turks, and they piloted the fleets of Maghriban corsairs through Christian waters. If Christians could deal with the Muslim enemy in this way, small wonder that the quiescent Muslims at home were left unharmed.
More decisive than the long-standing Islamic-Christian conflict in sparking the flames of violence against the Mudejars were acute social and economic problems, the reverberations of which were felt throughout society. The latent hostility between Christian and Muslim could explode into violence in times of great distress. Social struggle and reform gave way to religious conflict and forced baptisms. As members of
Valencian society the Mudejars occupied particular socioeconomic niches that linked them by bonds of interest to specific Christian social groups. When economic stress placed the latter in conflict with other Christian groups, not only were the Mudejars affected by virtue of their special alliances, they were also singled out on account of their religious difference.
Although historians have not precisely explained the causation of the attack on the morería of Valencia in 1455, it seems that considerable economic distress in combination with the Nasrid threat created the necessary conditions. Plague had hit Valencia in 1450, claiming 11,000 lives in the capital alone. In 1455 drought and a rise in prices added to the calamity. The initiators of the violence were those who would have been most affected by economic dislocations: "vagabonds, apprentices of artisans as men foreign to the city, of poor and minor condition." As might be expected, the rioters looted the Muslims' homes.
The anti-Muslim action of the Germanías (1521) occurred at a time when social tensions had reached their peak after years of increasing economic hardship. The demographic recovery of the kingdom since the 1490s had not sparked economic growth; instead, productivity in the industrial and agrarian sectors had diminished, causing in the second decade of the sixteenth century an inflation of the prices of basic foodstuffs which especially burdened poorer artisans and farmers. The Germanías , "brotherhoods" consisting primarily of artisans who rose in revolt in 1519, initially sought only to reform the existing social and political system; but they rapidly radicalized and soon were striving to overturn that system. The victims of the Germanías ' revolution were to be the privileged classes—the urban oligarchs and especially the nobility—those deemed most responsible for an oppressive fiscal and judicial administration and who had abused their privileges to the detriment of the lower classes.
The place held by the anti-Muslim violence in the evolution of the revolutionary movement shows that its primary cause was neither the fear of a Mudejar fifth column nor religious antagonism. In September 1519, Carlos I permitted the artisans of Valencia to arm themselves for purposes of defense against the threatening Turkish corsairs, in effect giving the Germanías ' movement a legal foundation. This Turkish threat did not move the Germanías to take violent action against the Mudejars, even if some Christians might have looked askance at them. Indeed, the Germanías , moderate at first, did not even broach the Mudejar question until the summer of 1521, when the movement was "in full revolutionary radicalism." The murder and forced baptism of the Mudejars seem to have had little, if anything, to do with the menace of Valencia's Islamic enemies. This violence, however, had much to do with the Germa -
nías ' desire to damage their main enemies within the kingdom, the seigneurs. Because Mudejar vassals farmed the land and provided revenue for many a Valencian noble, indeed often paying more taxes than their Christian counterparts, killing or converting the Muslims, the Germanías reasoned, would deliver a crippling blow to the nobility. Not surprisingly, the Germanías ' determination in this regard became particularly marked after their battles with seigneurial armies in which many Mudejars served. Attacks on royal morerías occurred only after the Germanías had vented their wrath on seigneurial Muslims. The radical Germanías ' statement of their intentions "to raise souls to heaven and to put money in our purses" points to economic resentment as another factor moving them to the perpetration of violence. Their principal victims in areas of royal jurisdiction were the wealthier Muslims of the irrigated zones who were competing with Christians for free lands. In sum, the attacks of the Germanías on the Mudejars were precipitated by economic and social forces distinct from the fundamental religious antagonism. Violence erupted when the network of social and economic relations, which normally helped to allay the ideological tension between Christian and Muslim, was itself radically distorted, thereby bringing that tension to the fore.