Talk:Battle of Teba
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- 1 Overview
- 2 Castello De la Estrella/ small settlement in Andalusia
- 3 Scottish Knights errant
- 4 The battle
- 5 The battle (2)
- 6 The battle (3)
- 7 Sir Symon Locard
- 8 Le Bel - 'contemporary' chronicler
- 9 Dead Links
- 10 Sir Robert Menzies/Clan Menzies Society
- 11 "Templar knights wore no family amoral bearings" & "Sir Seymour Loccard captured a Moorish emir"
- 12 "removed irrelevant reference" Templars
- 13 Force strength
- 14 'Scottish Mercenaries'
- 15 Strength of Armies
- 16 The 6000 Moorish cavalry split by Uthman were actually Knights
This article contains much inaccuracy and error and therefore should not be relied on- although it appears to have been disseminated widely on the web. As written, it is more concerned with the legend of Sir James Douglas’ death in Spain than presenting an analysis of the battle between the forces of Muhammad IV of Granada and Alfonso XI of Castile during the latter’s siege of the castle at Teba in 1330.
The article is neither a critical analysis of the primary sources nor a summary of the current state of historical writing but is more concerned with creating a narrative strongly influenced by 19th century Romantic phraseology and the sentiments of Scottish national mythology.
It relies principally upon paraphrases of the mediaeval accounts, presumably borrowed, judging by the language, principally from the out-of-date and old-fashioned secondary accounts cited. There are also elements of supposition, embroidery and invention more appropriate to historical fiction, none of which have any place in an encyclopedia. It would be better titled ‘The Legend of Sir James' Douglas’ death in Spain and incorporated in the article under his name.
The photograph of modern Teba, looking north from the castle site, is not helpful. It shows neither the valley and hills to the south which was the line of confrontation between the opposing forces, nor the castle ruins, which at least would be evocative of the period.
- On reflection, given that there may have been least two battles, it might be better to re-title the article 'The Siege of Teba', recounting all the various incidents associated with this event: Alfonso's strategy, the counter tactics of the Moorish garrison and relieving force and the major confrontations between opposing forces, including the death of Sir James Douglas- acknowledging that this latter is arguably the main reason why Teba is remembered today.
Castello De la Estrella/ small settlement in Andalusia
Castello De la Estrella.. The Castilian for ‘castle’ is castillo. This has been corrected. There is no reference to Castillo de la Estrella in 14th century sources I have read, which is why I have deleted the name from the introductory paragraph. Any similar references in the article should be adjusted accordingly. A reference to the popular name is valid but should be used with caution and in the correct context
A small settlement in Andalusia. Is this a reference to past or present? Today, Teba is a medium size country town (c.4000) in the province of Malaga .
At Teba in 1330 there was a Moorish fortress whose name in Arabic is referred to in contemporary Spanish studies as Hisn Atiba (e.g. Intervención Archaeológico en el recinto fortaleza del Castillo de la Estrella (Teba, Malaga) Julio de 2000. Virgilio Martínez Enamorado, Eduardo García Alfonso, Antonio Morgado Rodríguez [digital.csic.es/.../Martinez_Enamorado_Intervencion_arqueologica_en_el_recinto.pdf])
I have yet to see this transliteration related to a 14th century source.
The Spanish Cronicas of 14th century refer only to Teba or Teba Hardales.
The defensive perimeter of the fortress at Teba is said to have been one of the most extensive to be found in modern Malaga. There may have been a dependent settlement known as Ostipo or Ostebba.
between 1312 and 1350. This time frame does not encapsulate an identifiable period in the wars of La Frontera. I have replaced it with the dates of the frontier campaign in which the battle took place. —Preceding unsigned comment added by JF42 (talk • contribs) 15:40, 2 June 2010 (UTC)
Scottish Knights errant
an open invitation to foreign knights There is nothing remarkable in this. Within mediaeval Christendom, war was international, particularly in expeditions against Muslim states. Chaucer’s description of his Knight in 'The Canterbury Tales' shows this well. He had fought against the Moors in Spain, at Algeciras. In the 14th century, knights still fought as much for personal honour and out of loyalty to an individual to whom they had sworn fealty- as well as for material gain, rather than out of any sense of national loyalty.
the Crusade that King Robert had been unable to make in his lifetime Crusade does not require a capital ‘c’ nor is the term mentioned in the sources. There are two versions. In the earliest, Le Bel and Froissart have Bruce expressing a wish that his heart should be taken to the church of the Holy Sepuchre in Jerusalem. In Barbour’s Brus, Robert Bruce wishes simply that his heart is carried in war ‘against God’s foes.’ Given that Jerusalem had been in Muslim hands since the late 12th century and that Acre, the last Christian toe-hold in the Holy Land, had been recaptured in 1291, either mission would have involved fighting.
they remained for twelve days to allow Knights from all over Europe to join the party
I'm not sure this is how it is described in the sources.
In 1328, Alfonso XI of Castile, on his coming of age declared war on Granada. Meanwhile Alfonso IV of Aragon was attempting to organise a new crusade among the Christian princes of western Europe and in 1329 the two monarchs formally agreed a joint expedition against Granada. Philip VI, the new king of France, was approached along with the Kings of Navarre and of Bohemia. Despite avowed enthusiasm of all these men for the enterprise, the project came to nothing at which point Alfonso of Aragon also backed out.
Twelve days would not have allowed news of the expedition to travel very far and for volunteers then to respond, even if there had been room on the ships for additions to the group. The purpose of calling in at Sluys was probably twofold: to proclaim Douglas' mission and the Bruce's penitence, holding court as if the late King Robert were there in person and also to get news of the planned crusade. On hearing that it had come to nothing but that Alfonso of Castile was still determined to proceed alone, the destination of Seville was confirmed.
The fact that Douglas had been excommunicated for his complicity in the mutilation of Bruce's corpse, expressly forbidden by Papal Bull in 1299, may have been relevant too. Although he does not appear to have been unduly worried by his excommunication, Douglas may have wanted to broadcast the fact that the Bruce's heart was removed according to the King's will.
See: Sonja Cameron, Sir James Douglas, Spain and the Holy Land in 'Freedom and Authority- Scotland 1050-1650.' ed. Brotherstone & Ditchwell, Edinburgh,2000.
Blanca Krauel Heredia, Sir James Douglas' Death in Spain,1330 , Scottish Historical Review, 69, 1990 April. pp 84-90
It is important to distinguish between (a) the action in which Douglas died (said by Fordun to have occurred on 25th August), as described in a variety of Scots, English and French sources, and (b) the battle in which the Granadan forces failed in their attempt to destroy the Castilian siege camp and, having been driven back, saw their own camp sacked, effectively ending Uthman's attempt to raise the siege. This is described in a Spanish source, the Gran Cronica de Alfonso XI, which does not mention Douglas by name but does makes oblique reference to the unfortunate death of 'a foreign count' in a confrontation on the river. The subsequent defeat of the Granadan attack is depicted as divinely ordained retribution for his death. It is clear in the Gran Cronica account that these events took place on separate days.
The sources focusing on Douglas' death depict the armies arrayed in line of battle, with Sir James variously placing himself on one wing better to engage the enemy in view of all or being given command of the vaward division- which traditionally deployed on the right. The battle described in the Gran Cronica began as a skirmish, masking Uthman's flank attack, which then developed into a running battle with contingents of both armies being fed piecemeal into the fray. According to the Gran Cronica, Douglas, if we are correct in assuming he was the 'foreign count', was already dead.
This article at present confuses the two actions.
'Nasrid army'. Nasrid without explanation is not helpful here. Used by historians to refer to the dynasty established by Muhammad ibn Yusuf ibn Nasr at Granada in the mid-13th century, Nasrid (Nazari) is less useful when used to describe the territory of Granada, its soldiers and people. As an alternative, ‘Granadan’ (Granadino), although not ideal, is worth considering in preference to ‘Moorish’ (Moro) which is not favoured in post-Franco Spain because it now has racist connotations. In Spain today, Muslim (Musulman) or Arab (Arabe) are preferred but are perhaps overly general. Until a more valid and geographically specific term is agreed, ‘Moorish’ is still acceptable in an English language context although it perpetuates the Romantic travellers’ image of the exotic ‘Other’, established in the 19th century. It is at least easily well understood geographically and historically and is reasonably accurate in reference to the Muslim culture of Spain. North African (Maghribi) influence had predominated in Muslim Spain since the collapse of the Caliphate of Cordoba in the 11th century and there had been a strong Berber element in the Muslim population since the Arab conquest. JF42 (talk) 10:41, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
'had assembled underneath the Castle of the Star.' (See above for 'Castle of the Star.') This description is un-historical and illogical. The forces arrayed below the castle defences would have been the besieging Castilians. Key to any article on the siege and battle of Teba should be an examination of the likely dispositions of the forces. A map of the Teba area would help.
The Gran Cronica makes it clear that the Granadan forces attempting to relieve Teba were based in the valley of Rio Turon to the south,‘3 leagues distant’- presumably along the river between the citadel of Sajrat Hardarish (modern Ardales) and the castle known today simply as Turon whose ruins still rise on a steep ridge 2km upstream. JF42 (talk) 11:15, 15 June 2010 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by JF42 (talk • contribs) 11:09, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
Douglas in command of one of the flanks of the army. This is a confusion between sources that state Douglas took a flank position with his men and those stating he was given command of one of the main divisions or ‘battles’ - the term used in Barbour’s Bruce. In the 14th century, an army was usually organised into three divisions: the vanguard or vaward, the main battle and the rearward, reflecting the order of march. According to Barbour, Douglas was given command of the vaward by Alfonso XI; The Master of Santiago, the main battle, while the King took command of the reirward. Deploying in line of battle, the vaward battle traditionally took the right wing. This may be why Froissart, following LeBel, describes Douglas positioning himself on a flank of the Christian array but explains that he was looking for an opportunity to show his prowess.
led his troops forward believing that a general advance order had been given. We don’t know what Douglas believed. Le Bel and Froissart state that Douglas charged prematurely, believing the rest of the army would follow, but this can only be an assumption. (SEE ‘not fully supported’ BELOW) NOW CUT
the Andalusians. 'Andalusians' is not a useful term. It is not contemporary and is not an accurate term to describe either the Moorish state of Granada nor the composition of the army at Teba. A significant portion of the Muslim forces at Teba was probably have been Berber cavalry from Morocco. Al Andalus or Andalusi in this period are best used a cultural label rather than a political one and are best reserved for references to Muslim Spain at the height of its powers in the 9th and 10th centuries.
The Scottish contingent charged The focus on the Scottish contingent is not justified. Barbour says Douglas was given charge of all the ‘stranger’ knights in King Alfonso’s army- including the English- as well as his own followers and that he advanced with his whole division- ‘the great rout that with him was.’ Even Froissart, whose account is biased (SEE ‘not fully supported’ BELOW) says Douglas advanced with 'all his company.' Only later on, in the unsuccessful withdrawal, is Douglas described as being cut off with his own immediate supporters around him.
not fully supported by the rest of the army There is no reason to favour Le Bel and Froissart’s accusation that the Scottish contingent were left to their fate by Alfonso. All that can be concluded is that Douglas and a group of Scots knights appear to have been cut off from the rest of the Christian army and were overwhelmed by superior numbers. The sources differ as to whether this was as a result of rashness, ignorance of Moorish tactics or because Douglas were not supported. NOW AMENDED
The battle (2)
The Moorish king Muhammad IV was not present at Teba. The ageing Benimerin exile prince, Uthman bin Abi-l-Ulá (Ozmin in Spanish sources), commanded the Muslim Granadan forces that marched to the relief of Teba. NOW AMENDED
a body of three thousand cavalry to make a feigned attack on the Castilians This is the diversionary stratagem referred to by the Gran Cronica of Alfonso XI; part of the attack on the Castilian siege camp described as taking place after Douglas, i.e. the 'foreign count', had been killed.
Taking from his neck the silver casket. This is now generally accepted to be a 16th century interpolation in Barbour’s 14th century poem. There is no justification in presenting this vignette as historical fact- which, by the way, is described taking place at the start of the battle. No-one survived to record Douglas’ last words but we can be sure they were not the lines of verse quoted here. NOW CUT JF42 (talk) 14:21, 29 June 2010 (UTC)
The battle (3)
King Alfonso installed the Order of Santiago there to defend it. I have altered this for clarity, without knowing if it is accurate.
Douglas' body was recovered and returned to Scotland, along with the heart of his King His body [doubtless in a poor state after several hours in the August heat,] was boiled to dissolve the flesh, with the resultant broth being buried in sanctified ground while the bones returned to Scotland for burial.
It had been suggested that the Moors' lack of knowledge of European heraldry had a part to play in the death of Douglas and his companions. Noblemen on both sides were valued as hostages but the crusading knights that the Moors had come across, had borne the Cross on their arms. The three stars on Douglas' Harness meant nothing to them. Where is this suggested? What is the source reference?
- On reflection, this makes no sense. Only the knights of the Military Orders in Spain would have habitually worn crosses on their clothing while, generally, lay knights would have worn their own blazons. It might, though, have been the Scots who were wearing crusader's crosses. Although Alfonso's campaign was not a crusade, the Scots were on pilgrimage and, having presumably taken solemn vows regarding their mission, they may have been wearing crosses in some form.JF42 (talk) 01:26, 5 July 2010 (UTC)
The battle did not prove decisive. That depends on the time scale in question. Teba was captured a few days later and other adjacent castles in Guadalteba fell soon after: Cañete, ‘Priego’ (location uncertain), Torre De Cuevas, and Ortegicar. To that extent it was decisive. A number of these were either re-captured or handed back subsequently and the Guadalteba and Turon valleys remained debatable lands until the mid-15th century. Alfonso XI’s campaign was not decisive in the conquest of Granada overall. No one battle or siege was before the final campaigns of the 1480s. The process was gradual. Granada succumbed to Christian pressure over 200 years. At the battle of Rio Salado in 1340, however, Alfonso did finally put paid to Marinid involvement in the kingdom of Granada.JF42 (talk) 08:51, 11 August 2010 (UTC)
Muhammed IV… concluded from his defeat that he could no longer defend his realm against the Castilians and he sought aid from the marinid sultan of morocco Abu asan Aid had been coming from across the Strait since the fall of the Caliphate in the 11th century. The Marinids had been intervening in the struggle between the Kings of Castile and Granada since 1272. The Castilian successes in the Guadalteba campaign in fact heralded the end of assistance from the Marinids. The dynamic Uthman (Ozmin) died soon after the fall of Teba. Following the defeat at Rio Salado, the loss of Algeciras and the arrrival of the Black Death, aid from across the Strait ceased.
the last concerted attempt to maintain an independent Islamic state in the Iberian Peninsula The meaning of this statement is hard to fathom. Attempt by who? Granada survived for another 162 years after the capture of Teba, and although its conquest was inevitable, delayed only by Christian lack of unity and of adequate resources, the Moorish kings vigorously defended their shrinking borders to the very end. JF42 (talk) 11:36, 30 June 2010 (UTC)JF42 (talk) 10:45, 30 June 2010 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by JF42 (talk • contribs) 14:29, 29 June 2010 (UTC)
Sir Symon Locard
The reference to Sir Symon Locard is a piece of family folkore, as the citation reference makes clear, and has no place in the main part of the article.
A short separate reference to it as a tradition associated with Douglas' expedition with a link to another article might be more appropriate. The amount of space take up by the current reference to Lockhart legend is disproportionate.
This article has been progressively re-written to distinguish between the historical event and the folkore associated with it. Given that there are still elements of dubious provenance waiting to be excised, the insertion of this additional one is not helpful. As a reference of limited value has already been offered, rather than insert a 'citation needed' tag I am going to excise this. JF42 (talk) 14:47, 4 February 2011 (UTC)
Le Bel - 'contemporary' chronicler
This qualification has presumably been added because Le Bel was alive at the time of Alfonso's campaign in 1330 and had indeed accompanied his patron Jean of Hainault on campaign with the English army against Douglas in 1327. However Le Bel's chronicle is thought to date from 1352-56, 25 years or so after the siege of Teba. While he may have heard about the Scots sojourn at Sluys and rumours of the debacle in Spain would soon have filtered back along the trade routes as well as, perhaps, with returning French and Flemish knights, that does not make his chronicle contemporary. As he was not an eye witness and his chronicle contains many notable errors, what is the value of this amendment? JF42 (talk) 23:49, 1 August 2011 (UTC)
<Spanish language page detailing History of the Battle of Teba> www.lilliputmodel.com. server cannot be reached
Sir Robert Menzies/Clan Menzies Society
The insertion of Robert Menzies name into the list of knights with a dubious claim to have been in Douglas' company seems to be based entirely on a C19th family history where Menzies' name is inserted spuriously into a version of Sir Walter Scott's 1834 adaptation of the discredited 16th century addition to Barbour's account of Douglas' death. These are literary details of which the 1894 author was presumably unaware.
The anecdote seems to have been invented solely to explain the Moor's Head device on the Menzies coat of arms. This may have a place in Menzies family history but I don't believe it has a place in this article unless we expand it to include folklore associated with Douglas' death- which might not be a bad idea. As a charitable gesture we might add Robert Menzies name to the existing list but the reference ought to be excised. JF42 (talk) 12:14, 14 September 2014 (UTC)
"Templar knights wore no family amoral bearings" & "Sir Seymour Loccard captured a Moorish emir"
The cutting and pasting of this unhistorical material from the Scotsman is not helpful. The lack of evidence for Templar involvement is discussed in a previous section of the Battle of Teba article and the relevance of the Lockhart family tradition has been discussed on this talk page to explain removal of similar material. For those reasons I shall remove this insertion. — Preceding unsigned comment added by JF42 (talk • contribs) 07:36, 16 October 2014 (UTC)
"removed irrelevant reference" Templars
The section removed by 'Fionnachd' came at the end of list of knights named in various unhistorical sources as being part of Sir James' company. It read:
"but evidence is lacking. There appears to be no historical basis for claims that any of these men were connected with the Order of the Knights Templar, dissolved by Pope Clement V in 1312, eighteen years previously."
The purpose of this section was to deal with the insistence by some that the Douglas expedition was a crypto- Templar operation and also the tradition in some Scots families that ancestors were present in Spain. What Fionnachd's position is on this question, I don't know but it would have been useful for him/ her to have raised the matter here.
I missed this cut previously. It may or may not be connected with the recent insertion of two sections adding unhistorical material relating to the Menzies and Lockhart families but these additions indicate the value of the section that was cut. I shall therefore restore it. If Fionnachd would like to discuss the matter further I should be interested to know why he- or she- thought the section irrelevant. JF42 (talk) 07:59, 16 October 2014 (UTC)JF42 (talk) 18:14, 31 October 2014 (UTC)
What is the basis of the figures added to the 'Strength' category in the side panel? They are so approximate as to be fairly meaningless. The Cronicas give us the size of Uthman's cavalry force (6,000), and the size of a second contingent(2000) sent by King Alfonso on the day of the battle, to bolster the troops sent to confront Uthman's diversionary force (half his cavalry- 3,000) on the Rio Guadalteba. We are also told that by the time of the battle 500 Portuguese knights had already abandoned the siege and headed for home. This is the only evidence we have for troop numbers in the 1330 campaign. JF42 (talk) 18:11, 21 June 2016 (UTC)
- The estimates of the respective strength of the opposing armies has been changed to firm dates of 17.500 & 30,000. No reference for this has been cited so the 'citation needed' tag from the previous offering may as well still stand. Unless anyone can offer evidence for total troop numbers on each side, I shall change the tags to 'unknown.'
The Scottish company accompanying Sir James Douglas cannot be described as 'mercenaries' seeing as they were on a specific mission to accompany Robert Bruce's heart to the Holy Land, or simply in "travail against goddes fayes" according to John Barbour. The expedition was an act of pilgrimage, not to provide military service for personal gain. Barbour specifically describes Douglas refusing King Alfonso of Castile's offer of "Gold and tresour hors and armyng," having arrived in Seville with "gold ynewch for to dispend." Jean le Bel describes Bruce instructing Douglas to take what he needs from the treasury to equip the mission as befits an escort for the King of Scotland's heart. JF42 (talk) 02:49, 8 July 2016 (UTC)
- Quite right. Changed it to 'Pilgrim-warriors', not really happy with that either however, any with any improvement on that? Brendandh (talk) 07:25, 8 July 2016 (UTC)
- Well, Brendandh, I would have to agree. "Pilgrim warriors" does sound like something out of War-Hammer. Given that the Scots fighting contingent seems to have numbered only about 30, they represented a very minor component of the Christian force. Do we really need to characterize them at all? It's a little vainglorious. After all the Portuguese contingent numbered 500! I would suggest if folk really feel it's necessary, 'Scottish contingent' would suffice. I have to say I think it's not necessary. The main article deals with that aspect fairly fully.
- On reflection, since the heading in the side strap is titled 'Belligerents,' the inclusion of of Scotland is superfluous. Scotland was not at war with the Kingdom of Granada. Douglas and his company offered their services to the King of Castile for his border incursion into Granada, as did the contingents of 'stranger' knights from other kingdoms- certainly English and others, unspecified but presumably French, Flemish and perhaps Germans, not to mention the Portuguese and knights from other Military Orders beyond Castile. I recommend we keep it simple and simply state 'Castile'. As I said before, the presence of the Scots is self-evident within the article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by JF42 (talk • contribs) 20:01, 9 July 2016 (UTC)
Strength of Armies
Hi, I'm wondering if anybody knows any estimates for the Strength of both armies, because this is a pretty interesting battle so if anybody could link me to some sources, I would appreciate it, thanks in advance Dragon23330 (talk) 21:08, 27 August 2016 (UTC)
- We only have partial figures for each army, drawing on contingents mentioned in the Castilian sources: 6000 cavalry divided into two columns for Uthman's attempt to sack the Christian siege camp, and 2000 cavalry under Roderigo Alvarez de Asturia sent to reinforce the Christians fighting on the river. We also know of the 500 Portuguese knights who abandoned the siege to returne home before the climactic battle. The indications are this was a significant reduction in Alfonso's army, although as many as 9000 cavalry might be mustered for a major campaign. We are told there was a force of many infantry in the Moorish army but they are never mentioned again.
- Roughly 15,000 on each side might be a reasonable starting estimate
The 6000 Moorish cavalry split by Uthman were actually Knights
Thucydides- "O'Cannaghan states that the 6000 Moorish cavalry split by Uthman were actually Knights, so I just clarified this."
I don't believe this amendment is helpful. To be frank, Callaghan's account of the Teba campaign cannot be relied on to any extent, since, regrettably, it is far from a scholarly treatment of the subject. There are many blatant errors and misinterpretations.
Both the 'Cronica de Alfonso Onceno'and the 'Gran Cronica de Alfonso XI' refer to Uthman's mounted force as "caballeros Moros" or "cavaleria del reyno de Granada." Caballero in this context is best taken in its older, simpler meaning in Castellano of Soldado a caballo. - 'a mounted soldier', 'a cavalryman.' Likewise cavaleria- Arma constitutiva de un ejército, formada por cuerpos montados a caballo- 'Portion of an army formed of soldiers mounted on horseback'
The chroniclers are not using caballero to state that the Moors were one type of cavalry soldier, or from one class, rather than another.
'Knight' in this instance is not a helpful translation of the word 'caballero,' bringing as it does connotations of a certain class status and social structure, as well as quality and weight of equipment, together with associated styles of fighting; all in a Christian context.
We don't know the social composition of Uthman's cavalry force. The organisation of a Moorish army was complex. It may very well have included mounted soldiers of noble rank, but must also have included companies of Guza - i.e ghazis, or religious volunteers from North Africa, who were under Uthman's direct command. In addition, the Moorish cavalry in general were lightly mounted and armed, in contrast to most of the Christian cavalry.
As for including in the information box partial figures for the Moorish army, the truth is we don't know the size of either army and so for a brief summary it is surely better to state that. The size of the various contingents mentioned in the sources are referred to in the body of the text and readers can draw their own conclusions.
Looking at the question as a whole, in what way does inserting this qualification clarify understanding of the battle?
Respectfully, I suggest we revert to the former version, using the word 'cavalry' and omitting reference to the '6000 knights'