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Kingdoms of Faith: A New History of Islamic Spain   You are logged in as Guest
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BarkellWH

Posts: 2846
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

Kingdoms of Faith: A New History of... 

An interesting new book has been published entitled, "Kingdoms of Faith: A New History of Islamic Spain," by Brian Catlos, a historian at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Several years ago on the Foro we had a lively discussion of Al Andalus and Islamic Spain. To scholars of Islamic Spain the historiography has rested on shifting ground and the various elements that might support one or the other version of Spain's national identity. Robert Irwin, a British scholar of Arabic and Muslim history (who proudly calls himself an "Orientalist," a term that is in disfavor in our hypersensitive world) lists two early examples of these shifts in historiography. In 1943, Claudio Sanchez Albornoz published, "Espana y el Islam," in which, according to Irwin, "the Muslim occupation of the Iberian Peninsula was presented as a disaster." In 1948, the historian Americo Castro published, "Espana en su Historia: Cristianos, Moros, y Judios," in which he emphasizes the enormous contributions of Arabs, Berbers, and Jews to Spanish history and culture.

More recently the debate over the contribution of Islam to Spanish history and culture has continued with, "The Ornament of the World," by Maria Rosa Menocal, a scholar of medieval history and culture. Menocal celebrates the contributions of the Moors and Jews to Spanish history and culture. She correctly writes that Christians and Jews were treated far more leniently as "People of the Book," in Al Andalus and Islamic Spain than the Jews were treated by Christian authorities in the rest of Europe. Nevertheless, Menocal glides over the fact that Christians and Jews (known collectively as Dhimmi) were second-class citizens under Islam. There were many restrictions placed on them. Another recent book, "The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise: Muslims, Christians, and Jews Under Islamic Rule in Medieval Spain," by Dario Fernandez-Morera, states that Muslim Spain "was marked by religious and therefore cultural repression in all areas of life."

The latest entry in this mix, "Kingdoms of Faith," by Catlos, navigates between these two versions of Islamic Spain and presents a more balanced viewpoint. Catlos spends much time on the cultural aspects of Islamic Spain, as well as the political. The Caliphate of Cordoba, the zenith of Al Andalus and Islamic Spain, began to fall apart, not so much because of the Christian Reconquista; rather, by Berber regiments competing for supremacy and loot. First the Almoravids and later the Almohads, both Berbers from North Africa, imposed a much stricter version of Islam on Al Andalus, including pogroms against Christians and Jews. Finally, Granada fell to the Christian Reconquista in 1492, and in 1609 the Moriscos (ostensibly Muslim converts to Chrsitianity) were expelled. Many Sephardic Jews were expelled and ended up in the Ottoman Empire.

This is a very good book if you have an interest in Al Andalus and Islamic Spain. Highly recommended.

Bill

_____________________________

And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 2 2019 15:40:42
 
gerundino63

Posts: 1447
Joined: Jul. 11 2003
From: The Netherlands

RE: Kingdoms of Faith: A New Histor... (in reply to BarkellWH

Thanks Bill,

Very interesting book, and thanks for the extended review!

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 2 2019 22:12:09
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 2619
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: Kingdoms of Faith: A New Histor... (in reply to BarkellWH

Thanks, Bill. I've ordered the book.

According to the Amazon reviews the book ends with the "expulsion" of the moriscos, thus excluding an important period in the musical evolution which eventually resulted in flamenco.

I've been reading, at the rate of a few pages per day, "La llave de la musica flamenca" by the brothers Antonio y David Hurtado Torres. Having been interested in flamenco for at least 65 years, theirs is the first book on the subject I have come across written by trained musicologists.

The Hurtados give a brief history of Spain from the tenth century, focusing on elements germane to the lengthy musical evolution which eventually led to flamenco.

They quote a 1610 report by the Consejo de Estado, "Hay presunción que muchos que andan como gitanos son moriscos." A page precedes, and several pages follow detailing the melding of morisco culture into that of the gitanos. The "arabic" content of flamenco thus dates back far into the musical history of the pre-flamenco era.

In the census immediately following the "expulsion" of the moriscos, there was a sharp increase in the recorded number of "gitanos."

No doubt many moriscos actually left. Some later returned. But many hunkered down in place, adopting gitano identity as a defense against even harsher repression.

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 2 2019 23:20:38
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 2619
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: Kingdoms of Faith: A New Histor... (in reply to Richard Jernigan

I finished "Kingdoms of Faith" a few days ago. I learned a lot. Thanks again Bill, for the reference.

For example I didn't know that Abd-al-Rachman I, the ancestor of the great Caliph of Cordoba was a princely refugee from the collapse of the Umayyad Caliphate of Damascus, nor that Rodrigo Diaz "El Cid," portrayed as the chivalric hero of the reconquista, was actually a mercenary who fought for both Christian and Muslim masters.

But the interesting take away for me was that religion was not a barrier to frequent alliances between Christians and Muslims in the almost continuous warfare that followed upon the collapse of the Cordoba caliphate. This runs counter to the narrative of steady Christian "reconquest" against Muslim kingdoms throughout that era.

Yes, Christian Castile-Leon came to dominate the Iberian peninsula, especially after the marriage of "los Reyes Católicos" Fernando and Isabela united it with the Crown of Aragon, but there were many alliances of both kingdoms with Muslim monarchs, and the acceptance of Muslim feudal clients without requiring a religious conversion.

The book covers the events after the fall of Granada in 1492 that eventually led to the expulsion of the moriscos in the early 17th century, but there's no mention of some of the moriscos assuming gitano identity in order to stay.

In the book there is lots of detail of a very complex period, but I found it an interesting read.

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 5 2019 19:02:05
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 2846
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: Kingdoms of Faith: A New Histor... (in reply to Richard Jernigan

quote:

But the interesting take away for me was that religion was not a barrier to frequent alliances between Christians and Muslims in the almost continuous warfare that followed upon the collapse of the Cordoba caliphate. This runs counter to the narrative of steady Christian "reconquest" against Muslim kingdoms throughout that era.


Glad you enjoyed it, Richard. I, too, was taken by the various alliances between Christians and Muslims when they saw it in their interest to come together. Something similar happened in the Near East at the time of the Crusades. The Crusaders arrived to a politically fragmented Near East that had broken up into states ruled by officers of the former suzerain, the Turkish Seljuq Empire, some of whom were vying for supremacy. As an example, for a time the Muslim ruler of Damascus allied himself with the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem against other Muslim states. Not to carry this analogy too far, but it sort of reminds me of the US and Britain allying with the Soviet Union against the common enemy of Nazi Germany. ("The enemy of my enemy....")

Bill

_____________________________

And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 5 2019 22:00:13

Piwin

Posts: 2239
Joined: Feb. 9 2016
 

RE: Kingdoms of Faith: A New Histor... (in reply to Richard Jernigan

Spoiler alert!!! I'm still on part 1 (chapter 3 "The Falcon of the Quraysh")!


_____________________________

L'homme qui trouve douce sa patrie est encore un tendre débutant ; celui pour lequel tout sol est comme son sol natal est déjà fort ; mais celui-ci est parfait pour qui le monde entier est comme un pays étranger.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 5 2019 22:06:20
 
edguerin

Posts: 1514
Joined: Dec. 24 2007
From: Siegburg, Alemania

RE: Kingdoms of Faith: A New Histor... (in reply to BarkellWH

Bill, thanks for the pointer.
Just finished it. I'm impressed, and am looking forward to the German translation due in Fall, so I can give it to friends. The book basically confirms my long lasting belief, that it's institutions, hierarchies and dynasties that vie for power, and that religion often merely serves as a pretext for war for power, personal enrichement or ressources.

_____________________________

Ed

El aficionado solitario
Alemania
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 2 2019 16:29:09
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 2846
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: Kingdoms of Faith: A New Histor... (in reply to edguerin

Glad you enjoyed the book, Ed.

Bill

_____________________________

And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 2 2019 18:42:24
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 2619
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: Kingdoms of Faith: A New Histor... (in reply to edguerin

quote:

ORIGINAL: edguerin

Bill, thanks for the pointer.
Just finished it. I'm impressed, and am looking forward to the German translation due in Fall, so I can give it to friends. The book basically confirms my long lasting belief, that it's institutions, hierarchies and dynasties that vie for power, and that religion often merely serves as a pretext for war for power, personal enrichement or ressources.


Catlos suggests that the religious narrative of the reconquista was orchestrated by the Roman Church, to a large extent.

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 3 2019 0:36:25
 
joselito_fletan

 

Posts: 173
Joined: Jan. 24 2017
 

RE: Kingdoms of Faith: A New Histor... (in reply to BarkellWH

Can I throw a wrench in here!!!!!

Emilio Gonzalez Ferrin : Historia General de Al Andalus

Proposes the islamic invasion never happened and the reconquista could have happened another way. Read the book if you want to know more, it is an awesome read!

His work extends also on Ignacio Olagues : La Revolucion Islamica en Occidente ( orig. Title: Les arabes n'ont pas envahi l'Espagne) Published in Paris 1969
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 3 2019 4:31:50
 
edguerin

Posts: 1514
Joined: Dec. 24 2007
From: Siegburg, Alemania

RE: Kingdoms of Faith: A New Histor... (in reply to joselito_fletan

Ah, but read this review
and this
article: "Les Arabes ont bien envahi l'Espagne"

_____________________________

Ed

El aficionado solitario
Alemania
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 3 2019 8:56:28
 
gerundino63

Posts: 1447
Joined: Jul. 11 2003
From: The Netherlands

RE: Kingdoms of Faith: A New Histor... (in reply to gerundino63

I was very surprised that the “mosarabic Rite” a way of Catholic mass with arabic influence is still used in a few places in Spain.

Here some english info about that for wom is interested.

he name "Mozarabic Rite" is given to the rite used generally in Spain and in what afterwards became Portugal from the earliest times of which we have any information down to the latter part of the eleventh century, and still surviving in the Capilla Muzárabe in Toledo cathedral and in the chapel of San Salvador or Talavera, in the old cathedral of Salamanca. The name is not a good one. It originated in the fact that, after its abolition in Christian Spain, the rite continued to be used by the Christians in the Moorish dominions who were known as Mazárabes or Muzárabes. The form Mostárabes is also found. The derivation of the word is not quite certain, but the best theory seems to be that it is musta’rab, the participle of the tenth form of the verb ’araba, and that it means a naturalized Arab or one who has adopted Arab customs or nationality, an Arabized person. Some, with less probability, have made it a Latin or Spanish compound, Mixto-Arabic. The meanings, which are not far apart, applied entirely to the persons who used the rite in its later period, and not to the rite itself, which has no sign of any Arab influence. The names Gothic, Toledan, Isidorian, have also been applied to the rite—the first referring to its development during the time of the Visigothic kingdom of Spain, the second to the metropolitan city which was its headquarters, and the third to the idea that it owed, if not its existence, at any rate a considerable revision to St. Isidore of Seville. Dom Férotin (Liber Ordinum) prefers Rite Wisigothique.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 3 2019 14:24:10
 
joselito_fletan

 

Posts: 173
Joined: Jan. 24 2017
 

RE: Kingdoms of Faith: A New Histor... (in reply to edguerin

Everyone does, I like to keep and open mind. Are we debating here and is this discourse?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 3 2019 15:28:54
 
edguerin

Posts: 1514
Joined: Dec. 24 2007
From: Siegburg, Alemania

RE: Kingdoms of Faith: A New Histor... (in reply to BarkellWH

quote:

I like to keep and open mind.

I agree wholeheartedly

_____________________________

Ed

El aficionado solitario
Alemania
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 3 2019 16:19:18
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