Ferdinand and Isabella: Episode 3 – Slavery, Slaughter and Stake-burning in the Reconquista
In this episode, our plucky and determined heroine discovers the mantle of religious warfare. Isabella and Ferdinand respond to an attack on a Castilian city from Moorish forces. This becomes the first skirmish in a “Holy War” against Muslims in Spain. It is a war that will last a decade, and inflict a terrible fate on the city of Malaga. Harem politics of betrayal and revenge undermine Moorish resistance to Castilian forces. Along the way, Ferdinand and Isabella champion Renaissance learning and education for their daughters, but the war against the Moors will occupy most of their attention. They see themselves as champions of Christianity, not just in Spain but in Europe. Their use of religious language and symbols emerges against a larger global context where Christian countries fear the rising power of the Ottoman Empire. Victory against Muslims on the battlefield in Spain takes on a larger significance, and encourages a terrifying drive for religious purity that will have catastrophic consequences.