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PBS Production: "The Ornament of the World"   You are logged in as Guest
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BarkellWH

Posts: 2893
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

PBS Production: "The Ornament ... 

For those interested in Al-Andalus and the culture of medieval Spain from the 8th to the 15th centuries, this Tuesday, December 17th, at 8:00 PM EST, PBS is presenting "The Ornament of the World." I don't know if PBS will show it nationwide, but check it out. I hope it does. It is based on Professor Maria Rosa Menocal's book of the same name. While it, of course, does not cover flamenco, it does describe the culture that eventually led to it. Nevertheless, flamenco notwithstanding, the program should be interesting in its own right.

Most historians grant that, given the era under discussion, Al-Andalus, particularly under the Caliphate of Cordoba, was a relatively tolerant society. Of course, Christians and Jews, "People of the Book" (referred to by the Muslims as the "Dhimmi") were second class citizens. They could not ride horses, carry swords, build houses higher than those of Muslims, hold high office, and they were subject to a special tax. Nevertheless, for the most part, Al-Andalus was a more tolerant society for Christians and Jews than, say, Europe north of the Pyrenees was for Jews. That said, there were periods, particularly under the Almoravids, when that tolerance disappeared and mass atrocities occurred. One must keep in mind the historical period under discussion, a period when there existed little tolerance anywhere, at least as we understand the term today. By that standard, Al-Andalus holds up pretty well.

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 Dec. 16 2019 15:33:16
 
RobF

Posts: 359
Joined: Aug. 24 2017
 

RE: PBS Production: "The Ornam... (in reply to BarkellWH

Thanks for the heads up, Bill. I just checked the PBS web page and it looks like they will stream the episode, as well.

I’m looking forward to watching this.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 17 2019 0:49:44
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 2681
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: PBS Production: "The Ornam... (in reply to BarkellWH

Thanks for the tip, Bill. Here in Austin it's scheduled for 7 PM tomorrow. It's cued up on the video recorder for a rare TV-watching session.

RNJ

The "server time" for this post is 1:34 AM Dec 17. though I posted it on Dec 16 here in Texas. To be specific, the program is scheduled for 7:00 PM Dec 17, Central Standard Time. CST = GMT-6 hours.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 17 2019 1:34:37
 
estebanana

 

Posts: 7545
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: PBS Production: "The Ornam... (in reply to BarkellWH

Hello Bill,

I notice the most historically minded and interesting thread is naturally maintained by yourself Rob F and Jernigan.

Well it’s a damn shame we all don’t live closer or we could retire to the Jernigan Suites Hotel and Home for Wayward Ladies, order some fish and chips and several flights of good single malt scotches and watch dry historical documentaries of profound Iberian subjects. However business keeps me abroad in the East Orient until the goose season is completed.

It’s been many moons since we have darkened the door of the Jernigan Suites and swapped tall tales of Peshawar and The Serengeti.
Here’s to manly men pursuing manly pursuits and meeting to share these miraculous tales of meetings with destiny.
I hoist my glass to you gently, my good fellows. Until such time as we can reconvene.

Sincerely,

F. Penobscot Stephens of the Boston Stephens’

PS: Should you happen to see that rascal cousin of mine, Charles E. Winchester, tell that rapscallion he will pay dearly for trashing my Paris apartment and staining the carpeting in my Bentley.

Cheerio

_____________________________

https://www.stephenfaulkguitars.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 14 2020 15:13:43
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 2893
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: PBS Production: "The Ornam... (in reply to estebanana

Aye, Stephen, I miss those long-ago days when you, Rob F, Mr. Jernigan, and I would meet for sundowners at the Jernigan Suites Hotel and Home for Wayward Ladies to commiserate about our adventures, and those of our forebears, northwest of Peshawar and the Khyber Pass. You will recall my distant relative, Dr. William Brydon, British Army surgeon, who was the only one of the Kabul garrison to survive the 1842 rout and massacre in the passes, riding his lame horse into the fort at Jalalabad. Nasty bit of business, that, and all to keep the Russians at bay and away from the Raj.

You will recall that Mr. Jernigan maintains two places to hang his jodhpurs. Lately it seems that the Jernigan Suites Hotel and Home for Wayward Ladies is favored. He has trained the wenches to mix the drinks exquisitely, and the Great Hall, designed in the style of an English manor house's hall, is filled with portraits of his illustrious ancestors. I tried to contact him there recently but was met with silence. His other place of residence is Madrid's Hotel Emperador.

It is unknown if Mr. Jernigan is at home or traveling. It is known that he frequents the Hotel Emperador in Madrid and for decades has maintained a suite there. One cable news reporter tried to get an interview with his personal valet at the Emperador, Mr. Jose Izaguirre. (Note: Richard once observed that Mr. Izaguirre is a Basque, and that Basques make the finest valets, as they know how to lay out one's clothes for the day in just the right sequence.) In any case, Mr Izaguirre refused the interview, thus preserving Richard's penchant for anonymity.

In any case, it is hoped that we can all get together before too many moons pass and regale each other with further tales of derring-do, either at the Jernigan Suites Hotel or the Emperador.

William H. Barkell, Esq.

_____________________________

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 Jan. 14 2020 22:05:14
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 2681
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: PBS Production: "The Ornam... (in reply to BarkellWH

Bill and Stephen--

Well met, chaps!

Stephen, wasn't there mention of a visit to the USA some time this winter?

Travel? Andalucia, Catalunya, Venice...

Since mention of the bullfight usually elicits passionate denunciations here, I will confine myself to a single remark. Our experience at the Corrida Goyesca in Ronda, "honoring" Pedro Romero, should set at ease the minds of those who advocate outlawing the corrida. Much more rapidly than any legal or legislative action could achieve, the fiesta brava is destroying itself. It is firmly on course to disappear up its own a$$hole within the decade beginning next year.

Barcelona, on the other hand, quite evidently prospers. It is a vibrant and beautiful city, with unique architecture from the early 20th century and a Gothic quarter unsurpassed in my experience. It brims with civic pride and culture. The Tablao El Cordobés provides an edible dinner and an excellent, if tourist-oriented, flamenco show. Paloma Fantova's baile was as exciting as I had hoped.

Even the food in the tourist traps on La Rambla may be eaten if you choose carefully, though the beer is sub par. Only two blocks away in the Plaça Reial there are white table cloth restaurants with good food and wine at reasonable prices. The seafood counters at the Mercat de la Boqueria are outstanding, with lavish servings of the very freshest critters at rock bottom prices.

The tourist stampede had abated somewhat in Venice. The city was beautiful as always, though it rained hard and a cold wind blew the first day we were there. The restaurants recommended by the owners of our accommodations, patronized almost exclusively by locals, were lovely. Listening to Caffè Florian's band in the Piazza San Marco while sipping a cognac was a treat. It must be a hard job to play every night for the tourists, but the Russian musicians performed with verve, energy and expertise, in a repertoire ranging from Strauss family waltzes to Argentine tango. They included pieces aimed at the various nationalities seated in the dark at outdoor tables. The clarinetist and the pianist had star turns in Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue," and a rousing rendition of "España Cañí" got a round of applause from the Spaniards. Apparently no Russians were expected.

We enjoyed our time spent with Italian friends.

Other than this trip we have pretty much stayed home, but we plan to return to Italy in May for the wedding of Larisa's best friend Cristiana. There's talk of a drive along the French Riviera, and maybe an excursion up the valley of the Rhone. Must brush up on my tourist French.

I still maintain the suite at the Emperador in Madrid, though chiefly out of nostalgia for my impecunious youth. It is close to the Corte Inglés department store, which had a good flamenco record selection, and was close to the Ramirez, Bernabe, Contreras and Manzanero guitar workshops, now all closed or moved, except for Manzanero. A short walk toward the Puerta del Sol brought you to the Union Musical Española, also now closed, where you could buy books and sheet music.

Lately we have been staying at the Palace in Madrid. It's convenient to the Prado, puts on a good breakfast, and is near the most popular restaurant serving cocido madrileño. The Ritz, across the street, sees fit to publish a dress code on its web page. It makes one a bit suspicious of the sort of people you might run into there. The Palace clientele seem able to dress decently without prompting from the internet.

Fellows, eventually we must gather in San Francisco. I have a hankering for dinner at Scoma's, and even for some Lazy Man's Cioppino at Duarte's Tavern in the tiny village of Pescadero down the coast a ways. If it's still as good as it was, we might add Ozumo to the itinerary, where I had a delicious and pleasant Japanese dinner with Stephen and Yuko.

Until then,

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 15 2020 5:37:09
 
estebanana

 

Posts: 7545
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: PBS Production: "The Ornam... (in reply to BarkellWH

Great Scot Jernigan!

Your ears were burning!

Thank you old chap for taking time outs from your responsibilities as Chalice Master of the Society of Charlemagne to attend to giving us your missive on the toros.

I shall resign to my offices and enjoy this correspondence over a fine Civet cofeve beverage.

_____________________________

https://www.stephenfaulkguitars.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 15 2020 5:46:52
 
mrstwinkle

 

Posts: 352
Joined: May 14 2017
 

RE: PBS Production: "The Ornam... (in reply to estebanana

Is it still showing on the website? Currently region locked from viewing it but might be able to find a workaround.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 16 2020 9:22:37
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 2681
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: PBS Production: "The Ornam... (in reply to mrstwinkle

quote:

ORIGINAL: mrstwinkle

Is it still showing on the website? Currently region locked from viewing it but might be able to find a workaround.


Both Amazon and iTunes indicate that it can be rented for $4.99. I accessed both sites from home here in the USA, don't know whether regional restrictions might apply to the rental.

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 18 2020 22:41:07
 
mrstwinkle

 

Posts: 352
Joined: May 14 2017
 

RE: PBS Production: "The Ornam... (in reply to Richard Jernigan

Thanks. I'd tried the PBS site directly.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 19 2020 10:53:55
 
estebanana

 

Posts: 7545
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: PBS Production: "The Ornam... (in reply to BarkellWH

I have managed to secure access to this talkie via some futuristic device called iTunes. Sounds rather selfish, nevertheless I shall imbibe my usual afternoon beverages whilst viewing this odd animated transparency show.

_____________________________

https://www.stephenfaulkguitars.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 20 2020 2:42:56
 
estebanana

 

Posts: 7545
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: PBS Production: "The Ornam... (in reply to BarkellWH

Bill,

I watched the documentary, they did an amazing job with two hours. It’s a great overview. Maria Rosa Menocal is one of the greatest Iberian scholars. It’s very sad she died at 59 in 2012. She had much more to give. I would like to see this expanded into a series of two hour programs which would zoom into this in four parts to give more detail of the phases.

Everyone really should watch this if for no other reason to understand the final cultural result of convivencia which is that linguistically the poetry and religious prose was multi lingual and Arabic deeply penetrated into the learning centers of the north. Even though the catholic king and queen finally made Spain monolingual, the knowledge translated and stored in Andalusia in the late Middle Ages made it possible for knowledge to move north into the next age where it was stored.

Today centers that harbor culture, like the singers of Aleppo, are being destroyed, but they move to new places. It’s a diaspora of knowledge that keeps us going. It’s nice to see these kinds of documentaries with the dispassionate explaining of our scholars because it gives hope that knowledge and enlightenment don’t diminish, it just constantly migrates and manifests in the safe areas of the world until it has to move on.

One of Menocals students wrote a book about the design and art of Al Andalus- Abagail Balbale- I intent to get it

_____________________________

https://www.stephenfaulkguitars.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 21 2020 6:53:50
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 2893
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: PBS Production: "The Ornam... (in reply to estebanana

quote:

Everyone really should watch this if for no other reason to understand the final cultural result of convivencia which is that linguistically the poetry and religious prose was multi lingual and Arabic deeply penetrated into the learning centers of the north. Even though the catholic king and queen finally made Spain monolingual, the knowledge translated and stored in Andalusia in the late Middle Ages made it possible for knowledge to move north into the next age where it was stored.


I'm glad you liked it, Stephen. It is interesting that the flowering of Arab culture and knowledge, scientific and otherwise, kept classical Greek knowledge and philosophy alive when the West had lost it. It was kept alive in Al Andalus, but also in the Near East in Baghdad and Damascus. The West regained its intellectual heritage when such knowledge and rational inquiry moved north from Al andalus, but also in the Near East when Crusaders brought it back to Europe.

What I find especially interesting (and ironic) is that around the time the West was regaining its intellectual heritage from the Arabs, the Arabs were beginning their intellectual decline. The decline of the Arab Muslim World can be attributed primarily to Al-Ghazali and the Ashar’ites shutting down free inquiry in the 10th and 11th centuries.

Prior to the ascendance of the Ashar'ites, Islam was very progressive and encouraged free enquiry in the sciences and philosophy. Al Ghazali's seminal work, "The Incoherence of the Philosophers," as well as the Ashar'ite School, completely negated free, rational enquiry, claiming that it was blasphemous, and that all knowledge was contained in the Qur'an. This had the unsurprising effect of cutting the Muslim World off from rational enquiry, while the West began to advance as a result of the pre-Renaissance re-discovery of philosophy and rational enquiry, which heretofore had been held by the Arab World.

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 Jan. 21 2020 18:18:29
 
mark indigo

 

Posts: 2705
Joined: Dec. 5 2007
From: UK

RE: PBS Production: "The Ornam... (in reply to BarkellWH

quote:

"The Ornament of the World." ....based on Professor Maria Rosa Menocal's book of the same name.


The book is worth a read. Also "The Arabic Role in Mediaeval Literary History" by the same author, and "The Arts of Intimacy" co-authored with Jerrilynn D. Dodds and Abigail Krasner Balbale.

_____________________________

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 21 2020 20:07:28
 
mark indigo

 

Posts: 2705
Joined: Dec. 5 2007
From: UK

RE: PBS Production: "The Ornam... (in reply to estebanana

quote:

One of Menocals students wrote a book about the design and art of Al Andalus- Abagail Balbale


I couldn't find this book, unless it is "The Arts of Intimacy" co-authored with Jerrilynn D. Dodds and Maria Rosa Menocal?

Or the book Jerrilyn D. Dodds has publishedcalled "Al-Andalus: The Art of Islamic Spain"?

_____________________________

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 21 2020 20:58:48
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 2893
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: PBS Production: "The Ornam... (in reply to mark indigo

quote:

quote:

"The Ornament of the World." ....based on Professor Maria Rosa Menocal's book of the same name.


The book is worth a read.


I heartily agree, Mark. Even if one has seen the PBS production, the book is well worth reading.

Nevertheless, I think the finest book I have read on Islamic Spain is "Kingdoms of Faith," by Brian Catlos. At the risk of boring FORO members, I have repeated below a review of Catlos's book I wrote in March 2019.

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 Jan. 21 2020 23:12:59
 
estebanana

 

Posts: 7545
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: PBS Production: "The Ornam... (in reply to BarkellWH

The Arts of Intimacy: Christians, Jews, and Muslims in the Making of Castilian Culture
Book by Abigail Balbale, Jerrilynn D. Dodds, and María Rosa Menocal


This is the one I’m referring to.

Another book tracks this historical trail with an emphasis on Jewish life called Farewell Espana - Howard Sachar? Author-

The design art book authored by Balbale slipped past me, but it’s made me decide to chase one of my ideas a little further.

I think the influence or superimposition of Arabic influence over the Spanish guitar is a 20th century promotional or homage invention that is not seen during the development of the modern guitar. I think of the Torres and other makers picking up on the late baroque period guitars and developing them into the modern versions as primarily giving either no expression or Catholic expression to the design.

If you see the Manuel de la Chica guitars with his Alhambra photo label of the Romanillos rosette that calls on the mosque features of the Córdoba cathedral and other points of detail, these things don’t appear until the first third of the 20th century. They seem like design points that signify a safe time to make a cross reference to southern or al Andalus cultural history.

Many of the geometric motifs in rosettes can be cited as coming through Roman mosaic, the meander of a Santos or Esteso early Ramirez rosette is the same as the borders on Andalus - Hesperion, floors. The geometry is ‘square’ rather than base 12 like much Arabic design. But with the Mozarabic/Morisco expulsions and repressive force you make them into conversos and the diligent effort of the Inquisition up until the mid 19th century it’s not surprising to me that Arabic design flavor isn’t present in the few centuries between the last pressure on conversos to the final real end to inquisition power. As late as 1810-20 Goya is making paintings that show the superstition, prejudice and fear instilled in the common Spaniard by the church extremists of the inquisition.

After that fear has abated and the intellectuals, who mostly dis believed the attitude of the inquisition, are more free to reflect on history of the origins of Spanish music does the reference to al Andalus return to art and design.

My questions about how that happened and if I’m alone in this observation are kind of itching again.

_____________________________

https://www.stephenfaulkguitars.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 22 2020 0:37:00
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 2681
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: PBS Production: "The Ornam... (in reply to BarkellWH

quote:

ORIGINAL: BarkellWH

It is interesting that the flowering of Arab culture and knowledge, scientific and otherwise, kept classical Greek knowledge and philosophy alive when the West had lost it.

Bill


Some scholars date the roots of the Renaissance to the re-conquest of Toledo by the forces of Alfonso IV of Castile in 1085. Quantities of Arabic translations of Greek classics fell into the hands of Christians.

Due to the convivencia there were Arabic scholars at the courts of Christian kings, and Christians in Al-Andalus spoke Arabic, so the manuscripts were soon translated into Latin and circulated throughout the western parts of Christian Europe.

In contrast to the high culture of Al-Andalus, the North was just barely beginning to become part of the civilized world. My ancestor Bjørn av Bjørningholm arrived in England from Denmark, first with King Sveyn Forkbeard in 1016, then as huskarl to Sveyn's son Knut in 1018. King Sveyn, the grandson of Gorm the Old, son of Harald Bluetooth, was seen by the Anglo-Saxons as little more than a Viking chieftain, though he commanded a large army, and went back home with a hefty bribe of Dänegeld.

When 18-year old Knut reappeared with an even bigger army, the Saxon aristocracy had grown tired of repeated Danish invasions and the demonstrated inadequacy of their King Ethelred “Unraed.” They made Knut their king, adding England to his domains in Denmark and Friesland.

Bjørn was baptized at "Oxenford" in 1030, upon Knut's return from Rome, making him the first Christian Iernyngham/Jernyngham/Jernigan. It is not recorded whether he kept his sword arm out of the water, so "thou shalt not kill" wouldn't apply to it, as was common practice among baptised northmen.

Al-Andalus had been at the zenith of European science, arts and learning for at least two centuries before, while my Danish ancestors were swilling ale at their chieftain's dinner table, reciting boasts about his wealth and physically impossible feats of prowess.

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 3 2020 6:26:27
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