A curious schizophrenia developed among the Catholics in relation to Moorish science and knowledge. On the one hand they were very much aware of the superior knowledge of the Moors and they made efforts to acquire that knowledge so that they would not be left too far behind.
At the same time they strove desperately to keep it away from the common people and even, at times, to vilify it so that it would not become a challenge to Catholicism. Top right detail of the conquest of Majorca, spain, date 1250 A.D.
They were afraid that the Enlightenment, the new ideas that this new knowledge would bring, could affect the populace. So that, even though they were given the keys to the inner sanctum, they kept the cage closed to the masses. Into Europe came the advances of an empire more immense than those of either Alexander the Great or Rome at its height. Rice was introduced into Europe by the Moors in the tenth century, cotton by the ninth.
A Moorish botanist, Ibn Bassal, partitioned the land into ten different classes, according to particular characteristics, and taught the farmers ways of increasing the fertility of their plots. Surveys were done to locate sweet water below the earth. In Britain, for instance, the Morris-dance, England's national dance, which has been performed every May-day for centuries was originally a dance performed by Moors. Middle left a Moorish dancer, from Munich, Germany date 1480 A.D.
It is of African origin, and was introduced to England before William the Conqueror in 1066. Sir John Hawkins, an eighteenth century man-of-letters and music authority in London, wrote:
"It is indisputable that this dance was the invention of the Moor." Tabourot another authority chronicled the same strong statement.
Dr. Samuel Johnson who compiled the first English dictionary in the middle years of the century eighteenth defined the Morris dance as "A Moorish dance" and the invention of the Moors in England in the seventeenth century. Any kind of entertainment or masquerade was called "Mauresque," wrote Paul Mettl, "because the guise of the black man was the most important and popular, a phenomenon which points on the one hand to the significance of the black race for the aesthetic life of the whites; on the other hand to the ancient habit of all Europeans to paint the face black on certain occasions of cult ritualism." Quoted Nettl. Historian David McRitchie, shows that some of these noble families were descendants of the Moors.
Arbeau, the French writer of the sixteenth century, who stated that often in good society he would see "a youth with blackened face" do this Morris dance. In the Italian madrigal literature of the Renaissance, says Arbeau real Negroes were introduced." Real African minstrels were popular entertainer in the Scottish and Tudor courts of England during the fifteenth century. Bottom left Black Moors with King Agolant attacking christian fortress (related to the song of Roland theme), date: 1350 A.D.
David McRitchie writes:
In 1501 one of the King's minstrels was Peter the Moryen or Moor. In1504 two blackamoor girls arrived and were educated at the court where they waited on the Queen. They were baptized, Elen and Margaret. In June 1507 a tournament was held in honour of the Queen's black lady, Elen Moore, which was conducted with great splendor.
Queen Elizabeth I had one favorite African in her Tudor court. She was Luce Morgan also known as Lucy Negro. Elizabethan history tells much about this fascinating African beauty that was sought after by gentlemen in the Inns of Court in London, titled men and even William Shakespeare. Her association with the Bard of Avon was not only intriguing but mysterious, as well. That love affair has been meticulously swept under the carpets of English history. But eventually the truth will always show itself and this one is now known to an ever-growing number of scholars. The effect that Luce Morgan had on Elizabethan England was tremendous.
Dr. George Bagshawe Harrison, an authority on Shakespeare, claims that Shakespeare fell in love with Lucy Negro only to lose her later to the Earl of Southampton.
Dr. Harrison makes a further more startling statement:
"This Lucy Negro I would identify as the Dark Lady of the Sonnets";
the woman to whom William Shakespeare is said to have written this immortal line.
Dr. Leslie Hotson, a man of brilliant and unorthodox scholarship and an expert on Shakespeare, after exhaustive research throws further light on Lucy Negro:
I have been at some pains to collect fts and reports acabout Luce Morgan.
My reward is the discovery of a series of documents indicating that some years before she charmed Shakespeare she had first charmed Queen Elizabeth.