IMC 2020: Sessions

Session 699: Keynote Lecture 2020: Cohabitation in Iberian Medieval Towns: Between Convivencia and the Frontier (Language: English)

Tuesday 7 July 2020, 13.15-14.00

Speaker:Ana Echevarría Arsuaga, Departamento de Historia Medieval y Ciencias y Técnicas Historiográficas, Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia, Madrid
Abstract

Far from the high court offices and the learned efforts of literary elites, daily contacts in the public sphere precipitated by cohabitation (cohabitacione), or living side by side, of Jews, Muslims, and Christians, fostered exchanges and created conditions for contact that reached well beyond the walls of the palace. This idea was inherent in the status of neighbourhood, which was given in Christian Iberian towns to both Jews and Muslims. The importance of such a concept derives from Roman law, where Jews were regarded as citizens of the Roman Empire (cives Romani) in the ius commune, in such a way that in legal matters beyond their religious faith and customs, they were bound by Christian civil law. Such status entailed a proportionate sharing of public burdens and taxes – an obligation that Muslims and Jews, because of their exemptions, did not always fulfil – together with a requirement of origin or residence in the town. At the same time, living side-by-side – as opposed to separate neighbourhoods – was fostered by Christian authorities, who found economic or organisational advantages in that distribution. Common interest and reaction against the violation of the conditions of their status in the cities favored regular cooperation between Jews and Muslims in town matters, facing their Christian neighbours.

However, not all the territories in the Iberian Peninsula shared this experience. In this lecture I want to explore issues of variety and evolution. For instance, how far did a town have to be from the physical frontier with the Muslims in order to allow for these exchanges? Were towns on the border, with their complicated codes of frontier law, more prone, or more reluctant to accept the situation existing in towns placed in geographically safer central areas of the country? How did regulations of neighbourhood in the central areas change in the event of war on the frontier?

Please note that admission to this event will be on a first-come, first-served basis as there will be no tickets. Please ensure that you arrive as early as possible to avoid disappointment.

Speaker: Ana Echevarría Arsuaga, Departamento de Historia Medieval y Ciencias y Técnicas Historiográficas, Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia, Madrid
Introduction: Nora Berend, Faculty of History / St Catharine’s College, University of Cambridge