Comment On The Battle Of Covadonga

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Comment on the battle of Covadonga

The texts present two points of view, one Muslim and another Christian, of the events that trigger the supposed determining victory of the Astur kingdom with Don Pelayo (King Belay) in the episode known as "The battle of Covadonga" around 722222222. The sources narrate that after the penetration of the Muslim armies, helped by the God’s nobility, and the defeat of Don Rodrigo in the Balla de Guadalete, conquer the peninsular territory in a brief space of time;Except for the Peninsular North Strip, Insumisa to Muslim control. It is in this strip where the character of Don Pelayo appears as the precursor of the "reconquest" of Al-Andalus and the beginning of the Muslim decline in the Iberian Peninsula.

However, some historians question the likelihood of this battle, considering it a Christian invention. Muslim chroniclers do not deny the existence of this battle, but minimize their relevance to a skirmish more between Christians and Muslims;as seen in the first text. In this, there is talk of a total conquest of the Peninsular North, except for the Sierra in which Don Pelayo and about three hundred men take refuge taking advantage of the complex northern orography. There they are besieged until they are reduced to thirty men, this causes Muslims to undervalue and leave there.

The following text, on the other hand, tells us about an epic and heroic battle in which Don Pelayo and his people come out victorious. Pelayo takes refuge in Mount Auseva (Picos de Europa, Asturias), where he is cornered by Muslims and in front of his refusal to surrender, the invading army attacks with his catapults. But, according to the story, these stones when hitting the cave fell on the Muslims themselves, considering a real slaughter and leaving an alleged figure of 124.000 dead of the Muslim side. In addition, in the text, it appeals to the grace of God as a fundamental factor in victory.

Therefore, we have two text fragments of different origin with a completely different vision and intentionality. While the first text is narrated from a derogatory vision, the second opts for a Christian heroic and epic vision. Possibly, the second text, intended to strengthen the figure of Don Pelayo and, with him, the spirit beat the "reconquest" in front of those who had taken away their privileges, the Muslims.

Was the battle of Covadonga as epic and crucial as Christians narrate? Or was it a simple attack more between Christians and Muslims as Arab sources point out? For some, without Pelayo or Covadonga’s victory we would not be who we are. For others it is a founding myth to legitimize the episode of the "reconquest", centuries after its beginning. 

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