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ISABELLA—ISABELLA II.

city near Nisibis) by the Arabs. Although the historical allusions are far from clear, we gather that Béth-Hur, which in zealous paganism had been a successor to ljlaran, had been in earlier days devastated by the Persians:[1] but for the last 34 years the Persians had themselves suffered subjection.[2] And now had come a flood of Arab invaders, “sons of Hagar,” who had swept away the city and carried all its inhabitants captive. From these two poems, and from the 2nd homily on Fasting (Bickell I4=Bedjan 17) we gain a vivid picture of the miseries borne by the inhabitants of that frontier region during the wars between Persia and the Romano-Greek empire. There are also instructive references to the heathen practices and the worship of pagan deities (such as Baalti, Uzzi, Gedlath and the planet Venus) prevalent in Mesopotamia. Two other poems (Bickell 35, 36=Bedjan 66, 67), written probably at Antioch,[3] describe the prevalence of sorcery and the extraordinary influence possessed by “Chaldeans" and enchanters over women who were nominally Christians.

The metre of all the published homilies is heptasyllabic.  (N. M.) 


ISABELLA (1451-1504), surnamed la Catolica, “ the Catholic, ” queen of Castile, was the second child and only daughter of John II. of Castile by his second wife Isabella, granddaughter of John I. of Portugal (thus being through both parents a descendant of John of Gaunt), and was born at Madrigal on the 22nd of April 1451. On the death of her father, who was succeeded by her brother Henry IV. (1454), she was withdrawn by her mother to Arevalo, where her early education was conducted in the deepest seclusion; in 1462, however, along with her uterine brother Alphonso, she was removed by Henry to the court, where she showed a remarkable example of staidness and sobriety. Already more than one suitor had made application for her hand, Ferdinand of Aragon, who ultimately became her husband, being among the number; for some little time she was engaged to his elder brother Charles, who died in 1461. In her thirteenth year her brother promised her in marriage to Alphonso of Portugal, but she firmly refused to consent; her resistance seemed less likely to be effectual in the case of Pedro Giron, grand master of the order of Calatrava and brother of the marquis of Villena, to whom she was next affianced, when she was delivered from her fears by the sudden death of the bridegroom while on his way to the nuptials in 1466. After an offer of the crown of Castile, made by the revolutionary leaders in the civil war, had been declined by her, she was in 1468 formally recognized by her brother as lawful heir, after himself, to the united crowns of Castile and Leon. New candidates for her hand now appeared in the persons of a brother of Edward IV. of England (probably Richard, duke of Gloucester), and the duke of Guienne, brother of Louis XI., and heir presumptive of the French monarchy. Finally however, in face of very great difficulties, she was married to Ferdinand of Aragon at Valladolid on the 10th of October 1469.. Thence forward the fortunes of Ferdinand and Isabella were inseparably blended. For some time they held a humble court at Duenas, and afterwards they resided at Segovia, where, on the death of Henry, she was proclaimed queen of Castile and Leon (December 13, 1474). Spain undoubtedly owed to Isabe11a's clear intellect, resolute energy and unselfish patriotism much of that greatness which for the first time it acquired under “ the Catholic sovereigns.” The moral intluenceof the queen's personal character overthe Castilian court was incalculably great; from the debasement and degradation of the preceding reign she raised it to being “the nursery of virtue and of generous ambition.” She did much for letters in Spain by founding the palace school and by her protection of Peter Martyr d'Anghiera. The very sincerity of her piety and strength of her religious convictions led her more than once, however, into great errors of state policy, and into more than one act which offends the moral sense of a more refined age;'her efforts for the introduction of the Inquisition into Castile, and for the proscription of the Jews, are outstanding evidences of what can only be called her bigotry. But not even the briefest sketch of her life can omit to notice that happy instinct or intuition which led her, when all others had heard with incredulity the scheme of Columbus, to recall the wanderer to her presence with the words, “I will assume the undertaking for my own crown of Castile, and am ready to pawn my jewels to defray the expenses of it, if the funds in the treasury should be found inadequate.” She died at Medina del Campo on the 24I..l1 of November ISO4, and was succeeded by her daughter joanna “ la loca ” (the “ Crazy ”) and her husband, Philip of Habsburg. See W. H. Prescott, History of the Reign of Ferdinand and Isabella (1857), where the original authorities are exhaustively enumerated; and for later researches, Baron de Nervo, Isabella the Catholic, translated by Lieut.-Col. Temple-West (1897).


ISABELLA II. (1830-1904), queen of Spain, was born in Madrid on the 10th of October 1830. She was the eldest daughter of Ferdinand VII., king of Spain, and of his fourth wife, Maria Christina, a Neapolitan Bourbon, who became queen-regent on 29th September 1833, when her daughter, at the age of three years, was proclaimed on the death of the king. Queen Isabella succeeded to the throne because Ferdinand VII. induced the Cortes to assist him in setting aside the Salic law, which the Bourbons had introduced since the beginning of the 18th century, and to re-establish the older succession law of Spain. The brother of Ferdinand, Don Carlos, the first pretender, fought seven years, during the minority of Isabella, to dispute her title, and her rights were only maintained through the gallant support of the army, the Cortes and the Liberals and Progressists, who at the same time established constitutional and parliamentary government, dissolved the religious orders, confiscated the property of the orders and of the Jesuits, disestablished the Church property, and attempted to restore order in Hnances. After the Carlist war the queen-regent, Christina, resigned to make way for Espartero, the most successful and most popular general of the Isabelline armies, who only remained regent two years. He was turned out in 1843 by a military and political prommciamiento, led by Generals O'Donnell and Narvaez, who formed a cabinet, presided over by loaquin Maria Lopez, and this government induced the Cortes to declare Isabella of age at thirteen. Three years later the Moderado party or Castilian Conservatives made their queen marry, at sixteen, her cousin, Prince Francisco de Assisi de Bourbon (1822“'1902), on the same day (10th October 1846) on which her younger sister married the duke of Montpensier. These marriages suited the views of France and Louis Philippe, who nearly quarrelled in consequence with Great Britain; but both matches were anything but happy. Queen Isabella reigned from 1843 to 1868, and that period was one long succession of palace intrigues, back-stairs and antechamber influences, barrack conspiracies, military pronunciamienlas to further the ends of the political parties-Moderados, who ruled from 1846 to 1854, Progressists from 1854 to 1856, Union Liberal from 1856 to 1863; Moderados and Union Liberal quickly succeeding each other and keeping out the Progressists so steadily that the seeds were sown which budded into the revolution of 1868. Queen Isabella II. often interfered in politics in a wayward, unscrupulous manner that made her very unpopular. She showed most favour to her reactionary generals and statesmen, to the Church and religious orders, -and was constantly the tool of corrupt and profligate courtiers and favourites who gave her court a deservedly bad name. She went into exile at the end of September 1868, after her Moderado generals had made a slight show of resistance that was crushed at the battle of Alcolea by Marshals Serrano and Prim. The only redeeming traits of Queen Isabella's reign were a war against Morocco, which ended in an advantageous treaty and some cession of territory; some progress in public works, especially railways; a slight improvement in commerce and nuance. Isabella was induced to abdieate in, Paris on 25th June 1870 in favour of her son, Alphonso XII., and the cause of the restoration was thus much furthered. She had separated from her husband in the previous March. She continued to live in France after the restoration in 1874. On the occasion of one of her visits to Madrid during Alphonso XII.'s reign she began to intrigue with the

  1. 1 Possibly in the war at the beginning of the reign of Bahram V.: but on the uncertainty see Noldeke, Gesch. d. Persemmd Araber, 1 17.
  2. Probably at the hands of the Hephthalites or White Huns of Kushan: cf. Isaac's mention of the Huns in 1. 420 of the 1st poem.
  3. The author refers to the weeping for Tammuz (I. 125 of the 1st poem), and speaks of his city as illustrious throughout the world (ib. 1. 132).