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IMC 2016: Sessions

Session 334: A Frontier Society?: The Iberian Peninsula

Monday 4 July 2016, 16.30-18.00

Moderator/Chair:Jonathan Jarrett, School of History, University of Leeds
Paper 334-aReconstructing Hispania
(Language: English)
Graham Barrett, St John's College, University of Oxford
Index terms: Historiography - Medieval, Islamic and Arabic Studies, Language and Literature - Latin, Politics and Diplomacy
Paper 334-bThe Muslim Rahmanid State as Frontier for William of Gellone and Bernard of Septimania
(Language: English)
Janet Sorrentino, Department of History, Washington College, Maryland
Index terms: Crusades, Islamic and Arabic Studies, Language and Literature - French or Occitan, Politics and Diplomacy
Paper 334-cParias: New Approaches to the Tributes Paid by the Moors to Christian Realms in Medieval Spain
(Language: English)
Adrian Elias Negro Cortés, Departamento de Historia, Universidad de Extremadura, Cáceres
Index terms: Crusades, Islamic and Arabic Studies, Politics and Diplomacy

Paper -a:
The Arab conquest of the Visigothic kingdom in 711 has traditionally been seen as a caesura in Iberian history: a disciplinary divide between its ancient and medieval pasts, an ideological boundary between its Christian and Reconquest societies. Yet remembering Hispania, or the world of pre-Islamic Iberia, remained central to self-definition in the early Middle Ages on both sides of the religious frontier. The Visigothic kingdom endured, from the perspective of the official court chronicles, in the Christian kingdom of Asturias-León, and this continuity was the principal source of legitimacy for its ruling dynasty. Even so, the charters, or legal records, from the same period and place reveal that it was no new Hispania - this continued to be found in the Islamic south, in al-Andalus itself, formerly the heartland of the Visigothic kingdom. The Christians of the north dwelt somewhere else, outside the location of their own supposed past. For the court chroniclers of Córdoba, in contrast, the Visigothic kingdom had variously been conquered or persuaded to submit in the normal manner, from which arose a historiographical tradition, represented in both Arabic and Latin sources, that the Visigoths had forfeited their right to rule through unjust acts; the Umayyads were the rightful rulers of the old Hispania. The resident minority population of Mozarabs, or Arabicized Christians, however, viewed the situation in a partly different light: while some assimilated themselves to the new reality, others identified themselves as continuators of the culture of the Visigothic kingdom. This paper draws on current research in neuroscience on reconstructive memory, how cognitive factors such as current needs and beliefs and self-image influence what we remember, and applies this as a model to early medieval Iberian society. Considering ways of looking back can unlock how the memory of Hispania, even its whereabouts, functioned as a prism through which legitimacy and identity could be articulated, by Christians as well as Muslims, in the centuries after the coming of the Arabs to Iberia.

Paper -b:
Berber, Ummayyad, Goth, Basque, Frank: multiple societies interested in the same frontier along the northeast of Spain. Two broad categories emerge from the literature. First, scholars have explored many different aspects of the history of the region. Second, scholars have studied epic poetry which melded the (distant) memory of actual military and cultural contact with emerging romantic and Crusading themes. Greater blending is needed within Carolingian studies to the ongoing dynamic in Muslim Spain itself and its impact on regional sources. Carolingian initiatives in the region benefited from the division between the Emirate of Cordoba from the Abbasid Caliphate. To the Abbasid Caliphate, 'Abd er Rahman's Ummayyad dynasty in Spain represented an illegitimate coup, but it also presented a diplomatic opportunity for Carolingians. For muslims on the southern frontier, the immediate threat to Carolingian interests in the south, could be reckoned as heretics and rebels from their own religious tradition. On the other hand, 'Abd er Rahman's faced political and military challenges of which the Franks were only one, and Carolingian activity there had to operate in that reality. In surviving sources, one family particularly provides historians and literary scholars what could be called 'boots on the ground' experience: Count William of Toulouse and his son Bernard of Septimania. The former, eventually revered as a saint and romantic hero; the latter excoriated in the sources with much venom. This paper explores the difference between the two generations giving greater attention to the multi-valent dynamics Rahmanid Spain on the Carolingian frontier.

Paper -c:
The parias were the tributes that Moors paid to Christian realms (mainly Castille, but also Aragon, Barcelona, and Navarre) beginning in the 11th century and finishing in the 15th century. We will show the amount of money that they paid, when this money was paid, and the consequences of those payments. The background of the parias can be traced to Byzantium, and after that we will discuss briefly the payments made in the 11th century (with the well-known Moorish Taifa kingdoms) and the payments made in the 13th-15th centuries (payments made by the Moorish kingdom of Granada to Castille).