In my paper I am going to focus on the role of spatial factors and conditions in the conflict between ‘Arian’ and ‘Nicene’ Churches at the time of the persecution of Vandal King Huneric. I am going to present and analyse the evidence for the dynamic of this conflict and its results in two former Roman provinces: Mauretania Caesariensis and Mauretania Sitifensis. This evidence is based on the Notitia provinciarum et civitatum Africae and Modéran’s reading of this source. Processing it into a GIS database allowed me to map the ‘Nicene’ episcopal network as well as discern patterns of struggle with its ‘Arian’ counterpart. Connections between episcopal seats of bishops, who decided to switch their doctrinal allegiance, are examined in the broader context of the regional landscape, road systems, and foci of Vandal kings’ influence and power, revealing the spatial aspect of this conflict and effectiveness of royal religious policies.
The Norman involvement in the Iberian Peninsula took place chronologically in opposite sides of this region (east and west). From the late 11th century to the first half of the 12th century it took place on the Levantine side and it had its own unique characteristics that culminated with the donation of the principality of Tarragona to Robert Burdet and the Anglo-Norman settlements in the city of Tortosa. In the second half of the 12th century the majority of the Norman involvement gravitated towards the Portuguese frontier. Apart from this regional difference their participation in these two areas was also distinct in its impact and development. While the Normans who took part in the early phase seems to have been interested in conquest and settlement, those involved in the second phase tended to prefer sacking and moving on. For example, after the Norman conquests in the Ebro Valley from 1123 to 1148 a number of low- and high-ranking Norman contingents profited with land in this area deciding to stay in the new frontier’s towns and farmsteads. Robert Burdet as mentioned was even granted the city of Tarragona as a Papal fief with a high level of autonomy in 1128. In contrast, on the western side of the peninsula, after the ill-fated attempt to conquer Lisbon c. 1142, the majority of Norman contingents preferred to continue with their sea journey towards the Holy Land after the capture of coastal cities (Faro, Silves, and Santarem). The only exception to this seems to have been the conquest of Lisbon in 1147. The purpose of this paper is to compare and contrast these two phases of the Norman involvement in the peninsular wars against the Muslim inhabitants. How decisive was the influence of the Crusades to the Levant in this change of priorities? Was the rising antagonism between the Norman and their local Christian allies an important factor in this change of strategy? Finally, the section will compare the Norman conquests in the peninsula during these two phases with other areas of Norman interventions in the Mediterranean such as southern Italy and the Holy Land.
The Muslim-Christian frontier in the medieval Mediterranean was space where religious and political antagonism governed. Nonetheless, it was also space where various inter-religious relationships developed because of material concerns. Much the same is true on the 15th century Portuguese-Moroccan frontier that came into existence after the Portuguese conquest of Africa. While conducting war against infidels and monitoring the cross-border movement of people, the frontier governors needed these relationships to fill their role such as acquiring supplies and freeing captives. In this paper, we analyse letters sent by a Muslim governor to the King of Portugal and show how he tried to keep in contact with the King to ensure these relationships.