Revisiting the Legacy of Al-Andalus

A special issue of Histories (ISSN 2409-9252).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2022) | Viewed by 11797

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Department of History, Geography and Anthropology, University of Huelva, 21004 Huelva, Spain

Special Issue Information

Dear colleagues,

Al-Andalus was an Arab and Islamic country that existed on the Iberian Peninsula during the Middle Ages, between the 8th and the 15th century. Throughout that period, particularly during the Umayyad Caliphate (929–1031), al-Andalus represented one of the most advanced and developed societies in Western Europe, and consolidated Córdoba, not only as the largest and most sophisticated Iberian city but as an extraordinary beacon of knowledge as well.

Chiefly because of its conflictive relationship with Christian Europe and its dramatic end after the conquest of Granada in 1492 by the Catholic Monarchs, the reception of Al-Andalus in modern European scholarship proved extremely thorny. Furthermore, in the 19th century, the consolidation of a strong feeling of national identity narrowly associated with Catholicism made the reception of Al-Andalus in contemporary Spain particularly conflictive. Today, it remains one of the most hotly debated historical periods, not only among scholars but in politics and the media alike, usually sparking a strong ideological polarization between conservative and progressive sectors.

Exploring the European dimension of al-Andalus represents an excellent opportunity to participate in the ongoing conversation about the role of islam in shaping the concept of Europe. The rise of jihadist terrorism as a global threat and the social and political conflicts associated with immigration have contributed in recent times to the intensification of the debate about islam on a continent whose countries face the challenge represented by increasingly multicultural and multi-ethnic societies. In times when nationalist and far-right tendencies are consistently gaining traction worldwide, al-Andalus, together with Sicily and the Balkans, remains a permanent invitation to rethink the nature of the historical legacy of islam in Europe.

Over the last 40 years, the study of al-Andalus greatly developed and thrived, to the point that, thanks to the combined endeavors of Historians, Arabists, Islamicists, and Archaeologists, it stands today as the best known medieval Islamic society. The present Special Issue aims to gather a group of specialists from a wide range of scholarly outlets working on Al-Andalus with the main goal of presenting the state of the art in their respective fields of study.

Prof. Dr. Alejandro García-Sanjuán
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Al-Andalus
  • Medieval Iberia
  • Reconquista
  • Convivencia
  • Nationalism

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

18 pages, 5660 KiB  
Article
Artistic Transfers from Islamic to Christian Art: A Study with Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
by María Marcos Cobaleda
Histories 2022, 2(4), 439-456; https://doi.org/10.3390/histories2040031 - 20 Oct 2022
Viewed by 1407
Abstract
The aim of this article is to present the main aspects of the methodology employed in my research concerning artistic transfers in the late medieval Mediterranean from Islamic to Christian art, with a special focus on the Iberian Peninsula. The starting point of [...] Read more.
The aim of this article is to present the main aspects of the methodology employed in my research concerning artistic transfers in the late medieval Mediterranean from Islamic to Christian art, with a special focus on the Iberian Peninsula. The starting point of the research was the selection of certain artistic elements incorporated into western Islamic art during the Almoravid period (in particular, the muqarnaṣ and the pointed-horseshoe arches), to analyse their spread in western Islamic art and beyond. A Geographic Information System (GIS) was applied to create two databases and assess the distribution of these elements in the Mediterranean framework between the 12th and 15th centuries. As a result, different analyses and cartographic material developed with the GIS are thus included in this work. The GIS made it possible to analyse not only geographic aspects of the distribution of these elements but also other complex phenomena related to the muqarnaṣ and the pointed-horseshoe arches in a quantitative way, which allowed me to raise some preliminary hypotheses concerning the use and distribution of both elements in the Mediterranean framework. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Revisiting the Legacy of Al-Andalus)
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13 pages, 3023 KiB  
Article
A Methodological Approach to the Study of Arabic Inscriptions in Castilian-Aragonese Kingdoms
by Julie Marquer
Histories 2022, 2(2), 157-169; https://doi.org/10.3390/histories2020012 - 31 May 2022
Viewed by 1873
Abstract
Re-using Arabic inscriptions on the objects and monuments of the medieval Hispanic kingdoms (11th–15th centuries) bears witness to the valorization, selection, and reinterpretation of the al-Andalus heritage by the Christians. The aim of this article is to propose a methodological approach for a [...] Read more.
Re-using Arabic inscriptions on the objects and monuments of the medieval Hispanic kingdoms (11th–15th centuries) bears witness to the valorization, selection, and reinterpretation of the al-Andalus heritage by the Christians. The aim of this article is to propose a methodological approach for a global study of these inscriptions, which will be based on the constitution of an exhaustive corpus on the scale of the peninsula. This will allow us to have an overview of these inscriptions, to identify a typology and the different stages of their evolution. Then, a comparison with the inscriptions of al-Andalus will highlight the heritage of the various traditions and the dynamics resulting from this appropriation. Finally, a focus on the actors as well as the different historical circumstances of the epigraphic production will lead to a better understanding of their symbolic value and the complex intention behind certain inscriptions. It will also help to better understand the mechanisms of their reception, in line with a reflection on the role and status of ornamental writing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Revisiting the Legacy of Al-Andalus)
5 pages, 2443 KiB  
Article
Nasrid Granada: The Case for Spain’s Cross-Cultural Identity
by Elizabeth Drayson
Histories 2022, 2(1), 75-79; https://doi.org/10.3390/histories2010007 - 04 Mar 2022
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Abstract
For 2000 years, the history of Granada has been the story of its peoples—native Iberian, Roman, Jewish, Muslim, Christian and gypsy—who bequeathed a multi-cultural heritage to the city, forged by momentous racial, religious and political conflicts. That heritage is central to Spain’s vexed [...] Read more.
For 2000 years, the history of Granada has been the story of its peoples—native Iberian, Roman, Jewish, Muslim, Christian and gypsy—who bequeathed a multi-cultural heritage to the city, forged by momentous racial, religious and political conflicts. That heritage is central to Spain’s vexed quest for its own identity, and pre-eminent in that quest is the encounter between Islam and Christianity that took place there. Based on historical sources including oral and written testimonies, early historiography and contemporary historical views, this article considers the answers to two key questions, with specific reference to the Nasrid dynasty of Granada: (i) how did the Nasrids contribute to the culture of Andalusia and the late medieval Mediterranean, and (ii) was religious difference an obstacle to cultural dialogue in Granada in the late Middle Ages? The contention is that Granada’s importance as a meeting place between Islam and Christianity hinges on its apparent transition from Muslim state to Christian enclave, an event crucial to our understanding of the history of the Iberian Peninsula, and also of Europe. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Revisiting the Legacy of Al-Andalus)
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13 pages, 78131 KiB  
Article
Artistic Interchange between Al-Andalus and the Iberian Christian Kingdoms: The Role of the Ivory Casket from Santo Domingo de Silos
by Inés Monteira
Histories 2022, 2(1), 33-45; https://doi.org/10.3390/histories2010003 - 02 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3345
Abstract
The ivory casket made in Cuenca in A.D. 1026 and signed by Mohammad ibn Zayyan constitutes invaluable evidence for the study of artistic transfers between Al-Andalus and the Iberian Christian kingdoms. In the 12th century this piece was transformed in the monastery of [...] Read more.
The ivory casket made in Cuenca in A.D. 1026 and signed by Mohammad ibn Zayyan constitutes invaluable evidence for the study of artistic transfers between Al-Andalus and the Iberian Christian kingdoms. In the 12th century this piece was transformed in the monastery of Santo Domingo de Silos (Burgos) with the addition of Christian-themed enamels and reused as a reliquary. The appropriation of this object within the ideological context of the Christian expansion in the Iberian Peninsula allows us to reflect on the meaning given to it by the Silos monks. Moreover, a comparative study of the casket with Romanesque sculpture shows the existence of important iconographic influences of this piece in Christian art that have not been sufficiently studied until now. Its analysis offers clues about the way in which figurative motifs could be transmitted from Andalusi to Christian art and about the symbolic purposes with which they were used. This work highlights the need to study conjointly the transfer of artistic pieces and the transmission of figurative motifs from one context to another in addition to proposing a methodology for their study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Revisiting the Legacy of Al-Andalus)
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