When the camp was thus powerfully reinforced Isabella advised that new offers of an indulgent kind should be made to the inhabitants, for she was anxious to prevent the miseries of a protracted siege or the effusion of blood that must attend a general attack. A fresh summons was therefore sent for the city to surrender, with a promise of life, liberty, and property in case of immediate compliance, but denouncing all the horrors of war if the defence were obstinately continued.
Hamet again rejected the offer with scorn. His main fortifications as yet were but little impaired, and were capable of holding out much longer; he trusted to the thousand evils and accidents that beset a besieging army and to the inclemencies of the approaching season; and it is said that he, as well as his followers, had an infatuated belief in the predictions of the dervise.
The worthy Fray Antonio Agapida does not scruple to affirm that the pretended prophet of the city was an arch nigromancer, or Moorish magician, "of which there be countless many," says he, "in the filthy sect of Mahomet," and that he was leagued with the prince of the powers of the air to endeavor to work the confusion and defeat of the Christian army. The worthy father asserts also that Hamet employed him in a high tower of the Gibralfaro, which commanded a wide view over sea and land, where he wrought spells and incantations with astrolabes and other diabolical instruments to defeat the Christian ships and forces whenever they were engaged with the Moors.
To the potent spells of this sorcerer he ascribes the perils and losses sustained by a party of cavaliers of the royal household in a desperate combat to gain two towers of the suburb near the gate of the city called la Puerto de Granada. The Christians, led on by Ruy Lopez de Toledo, the valiant treasurer of the queen, took and lost and retook the towers, which were finally set on fire by the Moors and abandoned to the flames by both parties. To the same malignant influence he attributes the damage done to the Christian fleet, which was so vigorously assailed by the albatozas, or floating batteries, of the Moors that one ship, belonging to the duke of Medina Sidonia, was sunk and the rest were obliged to retire.
"Hamet el Zegri," says Fray Antonio Agapida, "stood on the top of the high tower of Gibralfaro and beheld this injury wrought upon the Christian force, and his proud heart was puffed up. And the Moorish nigromancer stood beside him. And he pointed out to him the Christian host below, encamped on every eminence around the city and covering its fertile valley, and the many ships floating upon the tranquil sea, and he bade him be strong of heart, for that in a few days all this mighty fleet would be scattered by the winds of heaven, and that he should sally forth under the guidance of the sacred banner and attack this host, and utterly defeat it, and make spoil of those sumptuous tents; and Malaga should be triumphantly revenged upon her assailants. So the heart of Hamet was hardened like that of Pharaoh, and he persisted in setting at defiance the Catholic sovereigns and their army of saintly warriors."
SIEGE OF MALAGA CONTINUED.--DESTRUCTION OF A TOWER BY FRANCISCO RAMIREZ DE MADRID.
Seeing the infatuated obstinacy of the besieged, the Christians now approached their works to the walls, gaining one position after another preparatory to a general assault. Near the barrier of the city was a bridge with four arches, defended at each end by a strong and lofty tower, by which a part of the army would have to pass in making an attack. The commander-in-chief of the artillery, Francisco Ramirez de Madrid, was ordered to take possession of this bridge. The approach to it was perilous in the extreme, from the exposed situation of the assailants and the number of Moors that garrisoned the towers. Francisco Ramirez therefore secretly excavated a mine leading beneath the first tower, and placed a piece of ordnance with its mouth upward immediately under the foundation, with a train of powder to produce an explosion at the necessary moment.
When this was arranged he advanced slowly with his forces in face of the towers, erecting bulwarks at every step, and gradually gaining ground until he arrived near to the bridge. He then planted several pieces of artillery in his works and began to batter the tower. The Moors replied bravely from their battlements, but in the heat of the combat the piece of ordnance under the foundation was discharged. The earth was rent open, a part of the tower overthrown, and several of the Moors were torn to pieces; the rest took to flight, overwhelmed with terror at this thundering explosion bursting beneath their feet and at beholding the earth vomiting flames and smoke, for never before had they witnessed such a stratagem in warfare. The Christians rushed forward and took possession of the abandoned post, and immediately commenced an attack upon the other tower at the opposite end of the bridge, to which the Moors had retired. An incessant fire of crossbows and arquebuses was kept up between the rival towers, volleys of stones were discharged, and no one dared to venture upon the intermediate bridge.