The Sword of the Cross

This weekend was the 810th anniversary of the Battle of Las Navas De Tolosa. On July 16th, 1212, the Reconquista defeated the Muslim invaders of Spain and marked a turning point in the liberation of the country. Spain had been occupied by Muslim slavers for five centuries, with a small resistance movement slowly taking back territory in the north bit by bit. After they had liberated half the country, the situation escalated. The Muslims amassed a huge army of volunteers, traitors, and slaves to reinvade northern Spain.

Pope Innocent III received the declaration of war and called for Christian warriors from across the lands to muster for a defense. Thus, a new Crusade began, and Alfonso VIII of Castile took charge of the Reconquista. The Spanish Christians were outnumbered, but better equipped and were volunteers with hearts filled with passion. A force of 12,000 heavily armed and armored warriors stood against the ragtag group of 30,000 scantily clad conscripts. The enemies fell in droves, but their numbers allowed them to withstand such losses.

The Christians eventually grew weary and lost hope. They began to flee, and Alfonso took the initiative to lead a cavalry charge. With their flags bearing the cross and the Son, Alfonso and his men rallied their troops and broke through the Muslim lines. They slaughtered the slave warriors chained together and scattered the rest who could run. The tide was turned and the enemy was routed. This battle was one of the great triumphs of freedom over slavery and it is an inspiring tale to behold.

Terror spreads throughout the land
Fiends pillage and enslave the weak
A great heresy is their marching band
Where they go, havoc does wreak
Yet brave souls prosper to the north
Carrying the sword of the cross
Piece by piece, they move forth
Reclaiming the land which was lost
The slaver king cries out in vain
Against the return of the light
The Lord has come to free the land of Spain
To push out the heretical blight
Hope is kindled near every bend
Light spreads to the darkest corner
A scourge of five centuries comes to an end
The Lord has come to restore His order
The slaver king fumes with rage
Wailing from his throne of flesh and chains
Against the Lord, he sets his cage
With malice flowing through his veins
Alfonso's Cavalry Charge
An artist’s depiction of Alfonso’s cavalry charge against the Muslim slave soldiers.
The heretics know their end draws near
The time fro them to drown in shame
The Lord's men come for that most dear
To reclaim the lost land of Spain
Men of God muster from across all the lands
To Crusade once more against the darkness
Pushing back the heretics and slaver bands
The Reconquista comes to redeem us
A force of warrior monks and knights
Volunteers with hearts strong and calm
To battle the slave hordes of Muslim fright
And restore the realm of Christendom
The army of God amassed as one
Met with a sea of demons of all types
Knights in armor shined in the sun
The agents of the adversary of force of all stripes
Traitors, slaves, and volunteers filled the heretic ranks
Dressed in rags and chains with flesh exposed
Some came willingly, others dragged without thanks
Others came in madness with their minds disposed
Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa
The Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa is said to have involved so many men that there was no room for archers.
The light and dark clashed without end in sight
Outnumbered at large was the Army of God
Yet unyielding and undeterred as they kept up the fight
Determined to break the heretics' fascade
A momenet then came
When hope faultered briefly
The army of light flew in shame
As the dark horde stood steeply
But Alfonso stood tall
When he heard that cry of doom
He charged forth without fear nor stall
Into the thick of the blood plume
There was no victory in sight
With the darkness vast and shrill
Though God's men stood still to keep the fight
To embody His everlasting will
Armor clashed against flesh and chain
Freeman against the slave
Fighting for the fate of Spain
For a future bright or grave
King Alfonso VIII
Another depiction of Alfonso’s cavalry charge against the Muslim slave soldiers.
And the light shines in the darkness
Ever bright and ever pure
The darkness shall not overcome His greatness
The future shall at last be secure
At long last the chains did break
And the heretics fell to the sword
Fallen ground was now God's to retake
Freedom was Spain's reward
The Reconquista prevailed
By God's mighty grace
The enemy was assailed
Now peace, Spain may embrace
Praise be to the Lord
He who is never to know loss
He who sends us men of war
Men who wield the sword of the cross

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All posts by The Pen and Sword are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Published by Louis

I am a freelance writer from the United States.

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