Jeopardy! category: THE KNIGHTS TEMPLAR (27-7-2015)
$1600 clue: The Templars helped out 12th c. King Alfonso I against these invaders & he bequeathed them Aragon
The gist: I won’t make the Seinfeld joke. The Moors were the Muslim inhabitants of North Africa (the word comes from “Morocco”), who later conquered Iberia, Malta, and Sicily. Initially descendants of Arabs and Berbers, the term later came to include European converts to Islam. In the year 711, the Moors invaded the Iberian peninsula from Morocco and conquered the southern portions of modern Spain and Portugal, calling it Al-Andalus.
Almost four hundred years later, in 1104, Alfonso I became the Kiing of Aragon and Navarre and, after his marriage, the Emperor of Spain. A tireless military campaigner, he spent much of his reign battling the Moors, hence his sobriquet “Alfonso the Battler.” For the first four years of his reign, he was at near-constant war against the Moors. After expanding and consolidating his newly-won territory, he married the daughter of a powerful Queen Urraca of Leon and Castile, with whom he reportedly had a cold personal relationship, but the marriage brought with it greatly increased power, not to mention a legitimate claim to the title of Emperor of Spain. In 1117 he returned his gaze to the Moors, and spent the next seventeen years until his death again largely on campaign. He was helped out by the declaration of a Crusade in 1118 to retake Zaragoza, which he succeeded in doing just before Christmas of that year. It was around this time he declared tolerance for the region’s Muslims, allowing them to continue practising their religion so long as they paid their taxes. By 1130 he was granting the Knights Templar special privileges in his realm in return for their aid in his conquests. In 1131, he pulled possibly his most intriguing move by publishing a will that left his entire kingdom to the Knights Templar and two other Christian orders, the Hospitallers and the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre, all of whom were based in the East. Scholars argue about why he did that, but it is likely due to the fact that he had no male heir from his marriage to Urraca and he didn’t wish to see his step-son, from Uracca’s first marriage, sit on his throne. By leaving it to those three popular orders, he may have hoped to both keep any one of them from out-muscling the others, and to bind the Church to enforce his will, since not supporting such a pious gift would certainly have made them look bad. Unfortunately, the Spanish nobility didn’t see it that way, and he was eventually succeeded by Garcia the Restorer, a cousin of Alfonso’s.
The clue: You gotta know that Aragon is a part of Spain, and then make the short leap to the Moors for this one. If you’re talking about fighting in Spain in the Middle Ages, it’s almost certainly going to be about the Moors and the reconquista. You might also be able to guess the Moors just based on Alfonso’s Spanish/Portuguese sounding name, but as far as I know it could be Italian or probably plenty of other things too, so I wouldn’t trust that.
In Jeopardy!: So as to not overload myself again, I’ll limit the search to “Moors”, which still returns 65 clues, although this is the only one about the Templars. The most common theme is Spain, with 30 clues, much more than Portugal, which only gets four. Islam gets just five. And most of the others are actually about moors as in marshes in Great Britain, which we don’t discuss here.