African Studies Medieval Europe and Africa
by
Allen Fromherz
  • LAST REVIEWED: 25 May 2017
  • LAST MODIFIED: 31 August 2015
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199846733-0172

Introduction

Studies of the relationship between Western North Africa (the Maghreb) and Europe have been marked by two paradoxes. First, despite geographic proximity, economic exchange, and even periods of political unity, across both the Straits of Sicily and the Straits of Gibraltar, modern and medieval scholars often conceive of North Africa and Europe in separate terms. Second, studies of the Maghreb and Western Europe are lopsided. There are far more studies of the European side than of the Maghrebi side, despite the existence of plentiful sources for both regions. European studies of the Maghreb are often tainted by their association with colonial goals of conquest and by claims of the European characteristics of the Berbers (the “native peoples” of North Africa encountered by the Arab conquerors but converted to Islam). Thus emerges a complex picture of relations, memories, symbols, and approaches as interactions between two dominant faiths, Christianity and Islam, must be juxtaposed with two dominant ethnic and linguistic groups (Berbers and Arabs) within Islam that have simultaneously divided and united the distinctive culture of the Maghreb and Europe.

General Overviews

Although not synthesized into a single volume, the relationship between the Maghreb (Western North Africa) and Europe in the medieval period has been examined as a vital part of Christian-Muslim relations in the medieval Mediterranean. Beginning with Pirenne 2001, which argues, from the 1930s, that the Arab conquests split the Mediterranean between north and south, a debate has emerged among scholars about the extent of political, intellectual, and religious exchange between the Maghreb and Europe since the rise of Islam. Many books view the relationship between south and north from the European perspective. Tolan 2009 examines the idea of the Saracen in European imagination, and Catlos 2014 focuses on Muslims, many from North Africa, in Europe. Although some works, such as Bulliet 2004, make a case for “Islamo-Christian Civilization,” others such as Planhol 2000 reject the notion that Islamic culture ever rejected naval or sea transport. There are several reasons for a reluctant view of the Western Mediterranean as a cultural sphere. For instance, Laroui 1976, a history of the Maghreb, distances itself deliberately from European colonialist histories that attempt to use medieval history to lay claim to North African lands. Fierro 2010 and Kennedy 1996 show the intimate contacts between North Africa and Iberia, respectively. The great 14th century historical work Ibn Khaldun 1967 focuses on North Africa but also provides an overview of political and social forces on both sides of the straits of Gibraltar. See also the separate Oxford Bibliographies article on North Africa from 600 to 1800.

  • Bulliet, Richard. The Case for Islamo-Christian Civilization. New York: Columbia University Press, 2004.

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    Bulliet’s argument is often the starting point for discussions of Muslim-Christian relations in the Mediterranean as a whole.

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    • Catlos, Brian. Muslims of Medieval Latin Christendom: c. 1050–1614. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2014.

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      This is an excellent examination of Muslims (often North African Berbers) under Christian rule.

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      • Fierro, Maribel, ed. The New Cambridge History of Islam. Vol. 2, The Western Islamic World: Eleventh to Eighteenth Centuries. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2010.

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        This text, a collection of independently written chapters, is meant to examine the Maghreb and its political history in a comprehensive manner.

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        • Ibn Khaldun. The Muqaddimah. 2d ed. 3 vols. Translated by F. Rosenthal. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1967.

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          Ibn Khaldun’s encyclopedic “introduction to history” refers to the culture of both Al-Andalus and the Maghreb.

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          • Kennedy, Hugh. Muslim Spain and Portugal: A Political history of Al-Andalus. London and New York: Longman, 1996.

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            A standard overview of the political history of Al-Andalus, with reference to North African dynasties. This is a good chronological reference.

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            • Laroui, Abdullah. L’historie du Maghreb. Paris: Librarie Francois Maspero, 1976.

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              Laroui’s re-examination of Maghrebi history was meant as a reaction to standard French, colonial perspectives.

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              • Pirenne, Henri. Mohammed and Charlemagne. Mineola, NY: Dover, 2001.

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                This controversial book set off a debate that still continues over the role of Islam in the Mediterranean and the amount of disruption it caused or did not cause to the notion of a common Mediterranean culture.

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                • Planhol, Xavier de. L’Islam et la mer: La mosquée et le matelot. Paris: Perrin, 2000.

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                  Muslims did not orient North Africa only to the Sahara, they also engaged in extensive naval trade in the Mediterranean.

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                  • Tolan, John. Saracens: Islam in the Medieval European Imagination. New York: Columbia University Press, 2009.

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                    This is an important overview of the evolution of European views of the “Saracen.”

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                    Primary Sources

                    Primary sources on the relationship between North Africa and Europe in the medieval period are fairly extensive, especially for the period from the 11th century to the 16th century. Al-Idrisi, who died in 1166 CE, was a Ceuta geographer who worked in the court of Norman King Roger II. Al-Idrisi 1866 describes Africa and Spain and demonstrates how the region was considered a single geographic unit, even if there were differences between cities and realms. Similarly, Ibn Jubayr 1952, recounts the travels of the medieval pilgrim Ibn Jubayr, revealing a certain sense of a wider Western Islamic identity that included constant contact between Al-Andalus and North Africa. This is also the case with the travels of Al l Gharnati, described in Al Gharnati 1953. Although views of the west from the east are often biased, Ibn al-Athir 1901 remains useful as confirmation of facts discussed by Maghrebi writers. Several compilations of useful sources exist in English. These include Constable 1997, with critical notes, and Hopkins 1981, which includes Arab accounts of Sub-Saharan Africa and the gold trade. Amatus of Montecassino 2004 and Goodenough 1921, presenting the Chronicle of Muntaner, represent two of the important European primary sources and views. Finally, the work Ibn ‘Amira al-Mahzumi 2009 demonstrates the impact of the Christian conquest on the Island of Majorca and the ousting of North African rulers and residents.

                    • Amatus of Montecassino. The History of the Normans. Translated by Prescott Dunbar. Rochester, NY: Boydell, 2004.

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                      This is an important source for the history of Norman conquests of Sicily from their point of view.

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                      • Constable, Olivia, ed. Medieval Iberia: Readings from Christian, Muslim and Jewish Sources. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1997.

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                        This source compilation neatly introduces many of the important sources on Iberia’s interaction with North Africa from the 7th to the 16th centuries.

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                        • Al Gharnati, Abu Hamid. Abu Hamid el Granadino y su relación de viaje por tierras eurasiáticas. Edited and translated by César E. Dubler. Madrid: Maestre, 1953.

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                          As well as Ibn Jubayr and Ibn Battuta, Al-Gharnati observed the Mediterranean in some detail.

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                          • Goodenough, Lady, trans. The Chronicle of Muntaner. 2 vols. London: Hakluyt Society, 1921.

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                            Perhaps the classic source from the Catalan point of view, Muntaner’s work must be read with caution.

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                            • Hopkins, J. F. P., trans. Corpus of Early Arabic Sources for West African history. Edited and annotated by N. Levtzion and J. F. P. Hopkins. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1981.

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                              West African trade stimulated both North Africa and Europe. This book has several sources translated into English about this trade.

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                              • Ibn ‘Amira al-Mahzumi. Kitab Ta’rikh Mayurqa, Cronica Arabe de la conquista de Mallorca. Edited and translated by M. Ben Ma’mar, and N. Roser Nebot. Palma, Spain: Universitat de les Illes Balears, 2009.

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                                This is an important primary source on the history of Majorca and the conquest by the Catalans.

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                                • Ibn al-Athir. Ibn el-Athir, Annales du Maghreb et d’Espagne. Translated by Edmond Fagan. Algiers: A. Jourdan, 1901.

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                                  Although written from the East, this is a classic source on the Maghreb. It has some inaccuracies but remains well cited.

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                                  • Ibn Jubayr. Travels of Ibn Jubayr. Translated by J. C. Broadhurst. London: Cape, 1952.

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                                    Often compared to Ibn Battutah, Ibn Jubayr spent more time in Christian lands than the traveler from Tangier.

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                                    • Al-Idrisi, Edrisi. Description de L’Afrique et de L’espagne. Translated by R. Dozy and M. J. De Goeje. Leiden, The Netherlands, 1866.

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                                      A geographic and historical study, this work is accompanied by the author’s famous, medieval map.

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                                      Central Mediterranean

                                      The relationship between Medieval Tunisia (Muslim Ifriqiyya), Sicily, Italy, and Malta began with the first Arab conquests and the launching of raiding parties and sorties into Europe. The rise of Islam did not end all commerce. Merchants had long traded between North Africa and Italy. Citarella 1962 provides a brief view of relations between Amalfi traders and North Africa before the height of the crusades. The conquest of Sicily by Berbers and Arabs in the 9th century was the beginning of centuries of Muslim and North African influence on the island and on Italy more generally as the multi-volume master study Amari 1937–1939 first revealed after its first printing in the mid-19th century. More updated overviews of Muslim Sicily include Metcalfe 2009. Even after the conquest of the island by Christian Normans, Muslim and North African administrative techniques prevailed, as studied in the seminal book Johns 2002. After being expelled from Sicily, Muslims were sent to a colony at Lucerna on the mainland; Taylor 2003 tells the story of these exiles. Taking a somewhat broader view, Abulafia 1985 examines the Normans and their forays into North Africa, while Abulafia 2014 explores Western Mediterranean kingdoms, including the involvement of the Catalan kings and the French in Sicily, North Africa, and the Italian Peninsula. As in the study of Muslim-Christian and North African- European relations more generally, there are divergent views and models about the nature of interactions in the central Mediterranean. Houben 2002 posits a theory of co-existence. Dalli 2009 challenges this view and sees conflict between Muslims and Christians as part of the “unmaking” of Norman Sicily.

                                      • Abulafia, David. “The Norman Kingdom of Africa.” Anglo-Norman Studies 7 (1985): 26–49.

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                                        Abulafia’s work on the Normans provides important insight into their interactions with North Africa.

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                                        • Abulafia, David. The Western Mediterranean Kingdoms, 1200–1500: The Struggle for Dominion. New York: Routledge, 2014.

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                                          Broadening his view to Catalonia and other states, Abulafia examines the European drive into North Africa as part of a competitive process.

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                                          • Amari, Michele. Storia dei Musulmani di Sicilia. 2d ed. 3 vols. Edited by C. Nallino. Catania, Italy: Prampolini, 1937–1939.

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                                            Written by the nationalist Italian minister, this text remains an essential first reference for the history of Islam in Sicily.

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                                            • Citarella, Armand. “The Relations of Amalfi with the Arab World Before the Crusades.” Speculum 42/2 (1962): 299–312.

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                                              Amalfi and North Africa had brisk and vibrant trade well before the high tide of the 12th century Renaissance.

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                                              • Dalli, C. “Contriving Coexistence: Muslims and Christians in the Unmaking of Norman Sicily.” Religion and Philosophy 4 (2009): 30–43.

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                                                Questioning modern notions of coexistence and tolerance, Dalli challenges scholars to think anew about the relationships between different religious groups in Sicily.

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                                                • Houben, H. “Religious Toleration in the South Italian Peninsula during the Norman and Staufen Periods.” In The Society of Norman Italy. Edited by G. A. Loud and A. Metcalfe, 319–340. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2002.

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                                                  Examining the subject of “tolerance,” Houben makes a limited argument for the use of the word in Norman domains.

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                                                  • Johns, Jeremy. Arabic Administration in Norman Sicily: The Royal Diwan. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2002.

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                                                    This is an intelligent study of the way Arab/North African institutions influenced the government of the Normans in Sicily.

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                                                    • Metcalfe, Alex. The Muslims of Medieval Italy. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2009.

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                                                      An excellent overview of Islamic Sicily, this condenses and examines both recent scholarship and well-known material.

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                                                      • Taylor, Julie. Muslims in Medieval Italy: The Colony at Lucera. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2003.

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                                                        The colony of Lucera resulted from the decision by Frederick II to move Sicilian Muslims there in the 13th century.

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                                                        Far Western Mediterranean

                                                        Relations between North Africa and Iberia across the Straits of Gibraltar in the far-Western Mediterranean were even more long lasting than those across the Straits of Sicily. Although several works explore the history of Al-Andalus, the focus of these works is on relations between North Africa and Iberia—especially the native Berber population and the so-called “Arab” elite of Iberia. As Wasserstein 1993 posits, the Arab and Islamic political institution of the Caliphate in Iberia was based on claims to links with Damascus and the Umayyads. Nevertheless, ‘Abd al Rahman I, ancestor of the Caliphs of Al-Andalus, had a Berber mother and many of those who crossed the straits of Gibraltar were Berbers, including Tariq ibn Zayd in 711. Ibn Mohammed al-Makkari 2002, included the work of an Andalusi comparing the glories of Al-Andalus over North Africa. Makkari died in Cairo in 1632. Scales, 1994 examines the conflicted relationship between Berbers and self-professed Arab elite in his book. Other works examine the symbolic role of the Straits of Gibraltar, Peña and Vega 2006. Several studies have tackled the inter-cultural complexities of Al-Andalus, including relations with North Africa (Glick and Pi-Sunyer 1969) while others have concentrated on commercial relations and the rise of trading emporia (Abulafia 1994). Nonetheless, several factors induced Christian kingdoms to focus primarily on warfare and conquest of Muslim lands despite centuries of interaction and trade (Powers 1988). As Fernandez-Armesto 1987 argues, the exploration and conquest of lands in the Mediterranean once controlled by North African Muslims and the establishment of trading centers by both Aragon and Castile prepared Iberia for the conquest of Atlantic African and American domains after the end of the 15th century.

                                                        • Abulafia, David. A Mediterranean Emporium: The Catalan Kingdom of Majorca. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1994.

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                                                          Majorca was in the middle of trade between Iberia, North Africa and the Levant. This is an important study of the Catalans and the conquest of this island by North African rulers.

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                                                          • Fernandez-Armesto, F. Before Columbus: Exploration and Colonization from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1987.

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                                                            Armesto’s classic work examines the conquest of Mediterranean and Atlantic islands by Aragon as a precursor for Iberian dominance in the Atlantic.

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                                                            • Glick, Thomas, and Oriol Pi-Sunyer. “Acculturation as an Explanatory Concept in Spanish History.” Comparative Studies in Society and History 11/2 (1969): 136–154.

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                                                              A somewhat dated but foundational article, this study shows the ways anthropology can contribute to our understanding of interactions between Christians and Muslims in the Western Mediterranean.

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                                                              • Ibn Mohammed al-Makkari, Ahmed. The History of the Mohammedan Dynasties in Spain. Translated by Pascual de Gayangos. Edited by Michael Brett. London: Routledge, 2002.

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                                                                Al-Makkari’s classic work compiled primary sources into a major compendium on Andalusian history, written from the perspective of a 16th century scholar who mourned the loss of Al-Andalus.

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                                                                • Peña, Salvador, and Miguel Vega. “The Qur’anic Symbol of Fish on Hammudid Coins: Al-Khidr and the Holy Geography of the Straits of Gibraltar.” Al-Andalus Magreb 13 (2006): 269–284.

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                                                                  There is a need for several more studies of exchange across the Straits of Gibraltar. This article is an interesting examination of the symbolism of the Straits.

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                                                                  • Powers, J. F. A Society Organized for War: The Iberian Municipal Militias in the Central Middle Ages, 1000–1284. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988.

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                                                                    Powers’ text examines how Christian society in Iberia organized itself in opposition to Islamic Spain, fundamentally changing the shape of society.

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                                                                    • Scales, P. C. The Fall of the Caliphate of Córdoba: Berbers and Andalusis in conflict. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 1994.

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                                                                      The Berbers of North Africa are given attention in this important study of their role in the Caliphate and the Taifa period.

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                                                                      • Wasserstein, David. The Caliphate in the West: An Islamic Political Institution in the Iberian Peninsula. Oxford: Clarendon, 1993.

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                                                                        Wasserstein’s work continues to be a foundational text, examining claims to the Caliphate in both North Africa and Islamic Spain.

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                                                                        The Almoravids, Almohads, and Later Berber Dynasties

                                                                        The rise of the Almoravids, the Almohads, and the successor Berber dynasties led to surges of Berbers from both the Sahara and the Atlas Mountains in North Africa across the Straits of Gibraltar. The result of the conquests, although initially threatening to pre-existing norms of co-existence, led to important intellectual exchanges even as warfare became more and more a matter of religious crusade or jihad. Fromherz 2010 examines the rise of the Almohads, as does the masterful work Miranda 1956–1957. Several primary sources are accessible including the highly readable account, Al-Marrakushi 1881. The rise of these Berber dynasties and their impact on the Western Mediterranean more generally has been covered by Brett 1999, which is a study of the work of Ibn Khaldun. Maribel Fierro 2012 and D’Alverny and Vajda 1951 examine the impact of the Almohads on intellectual life and culture in Al-Andalus, while Bel 1903 is an important micro-study of the Almoravids and their reign over the Balearics and other parts of the Mediterranean. Intellectually, the Almohads had an important impact. Although many have mentioned the tensions between the Almohads and religious minorities, Strousma 2011, a study of Maimonides, shows the impact of Almohad thought on the great thinker as he traveled through Iberia and North Africa in the first part of his life.

                                                                        • Al-Marrakushi, ’Abd al-Wāḥid. Al-Mu’jib fi talkhis akhbar al-Maghrib. 2d ed. Edited by R. Dozy. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 1881.

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                                                                          Perhaps the most famous primary source on the Almohads, Marrakushi’s work remains a much-cited account. The title is usually translated as “The history of the Almohads,”

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                                                                          • Bel, Alfred. Les Banou Ghânya, derniers représentatnts de l’empire almoravide et leur lutte contre l’empire almohade. Paris: E. Leroux, 1903.

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                                                                            The Banu Ghaniya rivals to the Almohads established their rule in the Balearics and resisted Almohad rule.

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                                                                            • Brett, Michael. Ibn Khaldun and the Medieval Maghrib. Aldershot, UK: Variorum, 1999.

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                                                                              The rise of the Almohads and other important topics are examined in this collection of academic articles by the Berber specialist.

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                                                                              • D’Alverny, M. Th., and G. Vajda. Marc de Tolede, traducteur d’Ibn Tumart. Vol. 16. Madrid: Al-Andalus, 1951.

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                                                                                The theology of the Almohads was translated in Toledo and influenced Christian writers, as examined in this important study.

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                                                                                • Fierro, Maribel. The Almohad Revolution: Politics and Religion in the Islamic West during the Twelfth-Thirteenth Centuries. Ashgate, UK: Variorum, 2012.

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                                                                                  A collection of articles on the Almohads and their impact on Iberia, Fierro examines how the Almohads influenced culture and society in Islamic Spain.

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                                                                                  • Fromherz, Allen. The Almohads: The Rise of an Islamic Empire. London: I. B. Tauris, 2010.

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                                                                                    Focusing on their rise in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco, this book explains the Almohad movement economically, politically, and socially.

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                                                                                    • Miranda, Ambrosio H. Historia Política del imperio almohade. 2 vols. Tetouan, Morocco: Editora Marroqui, 1956–1957.

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                                                                                      This two-volume study remains a frequently cited reference for most studies of the Almohads.

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                                                                                      • Strousma, Sarah. Maimonides in His World: Portrait of a Mediterranean Thinker. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2011.

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                                                                                        The largely unacknowledged impact of the Almohads on Maimonides’ thought is discussed in this book about the influential Jewish thinker.

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                                                                                        Trade and Exchange

                                                                                        Trade continued despite political or religious conflicts. Hollow edicts by crusading popes could not prevent commerce between Christians and Muslims, often facilitated by Jewish intermediaries, as examined in Constable and Raymond 2001. The Pope himself often engaged with Muslim rulers when diplomatically convenient. Trade often lead to diplomatic incidents that could make their way to the courts of rulers, as examined in Alarcón and Santón 1940 and de-Mas-Latrie 1866. Dufourcq 1966 has great mastery over these diplomatic and commercial documents and was the post prolific writer on the relations between the merchants of Christian kingdoms of Europe and Maghrebi dynasties. Valérian 2006 has emerged as his successor on this topic and has produced several admirable works, including an excellent study of Bougie, a medieval port city in what is now Algeria. Another synthesis is López Pérez 1995. Much of the trade with North Africa was focused on obtaining sub-Saharan gold, and several medieval inscriptions in Mali reveal this important story of commerce, as presented in de Moraes Farias 2003.

                                                                                        • Alarcón, Maximiliano, and Ramón Santón. Los Documentos Árabes diplomáticos del archivo de la corona de Aragón. Madrid: Las Escuelas Árabes de Madrid y Granada, 1940.

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                                                                                          This is an important collection of treaties for trade and the release of prisoners/exchanges between Aragon and North Africa.

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                                                                                          • Constable, O. R., and I. Raymond, eds. Medieval Trade in the Mediterranean World. New York: Columbia University Press, 2001.

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                                                                                            Trade and exchange between Western North Africa and Spain form part of this study, although much focus is on Egypt as well.

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                                                                                            • Dufourcq, Charles E. L’Espagne catalane et le Maghrib aux XIIIe et XIVe siècles. Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 1966.

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                                                                                              This is a classic study by the dean of North Africa/Europe medieval studies.

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                                                                                              • López Pérez, María D. La Corona de Aragón y el Magreb en el siglo XIV (1331–1410). Barcelona: Institución Milá y Fontanals, 1995.

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                                                                                                Also examining the relationship between the Maghreb and Aragon, this text updates the work of Dufourcq 1966.

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                                                                                                • de-Mas-Latrie, M. L. Traités de Paix et de Commerce Concernant es Relations des Chrétiens avec Les Arabes de L’Afrique Septentrionale au Moyen Age. Paris: B. Franklin, 1866.

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                                                                                                  Treaties between popes, kings, and rulers of North Africa make up this important collection.

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                                                                                                  • de Moraes Farias, P. F. Arabic Medieval Inscriptions from the Republic of Mali: Epigraphy, Chronicles, and Songhay-Tuareg History. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.

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                                                                                                    Importantly, North Africa also connected Europe with Sub-Saharan Africa as this study demonstrates.

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                                                                                                    • Valérian, Dominique. Bougie: Port Maghrébin, 1067–1510. Rome: École française de Rome, 2006.

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                                                                                                      Bijaya, or Bougie, was a vital port to the west of Tunis. This is an extensive and detailed account of its importance.

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                                                                                                      Intellectual Exchanges

                                                                                                      As with commercial exchanges, intellectual borrowing, translation, and copying occurred even at the height of tensions between Muslims and Christians in the Western Mediterranean. In fact, the rise of the Almohads, often cited as a disaster for the intellectual vitality and diversity of Al-Andalus, eventually led to the rise of more tolerant caliphs and leaders who fostered intellectual activity and diplomatic encounters with Christendom, as explained in Fromherz 2009. Stearns 2011 and the classic work Campbell 2001 explore one of the main routes of intellectual influence from Arabic texts, through medicine, a topic of interest to Christian translators. The idea of the 12th century as a Renaissance for Western Europe with its origins in the translations in Toledo, especially by Gerard of Cremona is a theme of Haskins 1927. Haskins 1922 explores intellectual influences in Sicily. Benson, et al. 1982 updates Haskins’ famous theory of a 12th century Renaissance, adding information about other translations from Arab sources and their impact on scholars in Western Europe. Contamine 1989 provides a comprehensive list of translations and translators and their importance. Granara 2004 adds to our knowledge of this route of transmission through Italy. Of all the works translated, that of Ibn Rushd (Averroes) had the greatest impact on Christian theology as explained in Renan 1882.

                                                                                                      • Benson, R. L., G. Constable, and C. D. Lanham, eds. Renaissance and Renewal in the Twelfth Century. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1982.

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                                                                                                        The theme of the 12th century as a time of renaissance throughout the Mediterranean is explored in this book.

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                                                                                                        • Campbell, Donald. Arabian Medicine and Its Influence on the Middle Ages. London: Routledge, (Reprint), 2001.

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                                                                                                          Campbell’s text continues to be a reference for scholarship on the influence of North African and Arab medicine generally on Christian Europe. This volume is a reprint of the 1926 edition.

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                                                                                                          • Contamine, G., ed. Traduction et traducteurs au moyen âge. Paris: Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, 1989.

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                                                                                                            The role of translators in Toledo and other sites is examined in detail in this book.

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                                                                                                            • Fromherz, Allen. “North Africa and the Twelfth-Century Renaissance: Christian Europe and the Almohad Islamic Empire.” Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations 2.1 (2009): 43–59.

                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1080/09596410802542128Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                              Far from ending intellectual or diplomatic exchange, the rise of the Almohads, although they started with a radical theological message, helped propel the 12th century Renaissance in Europe.

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                                                                                                              • Granara, W. “Islamic Education and the Transmission of Knowledge in Muslim Sicily.” In Law and Education in Medieval Islam. Edited by J. E. Lowry, D. Stewart, and S. M. Toorawa, 150–173. Chippenham, UK: Gibb Memorial Trust, 2004.

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                                                                                                                Islamic education had an important impact on knowledge transmission in Europe as this important collection argues.

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                                                                                                                • Haskins, Charles. “Science at the Court of the Emperor Frederick II.” American Historical Review 27 (1922): 669–694.

                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.2307/1837535Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                  Science and learning also came through Sicily into the court of Frederick II.

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                                                                                                                  • Haskins, Charles. The Renaissance of the Twelfth Century. Harvard University Press, 1927.

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                                                                                                                    Haskins argued for the 12th century as a great florescence of culture in Europe, spurred by Arab influences.

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                                                                                                                    • Renan, Ernest. Averroes et l’Averroisme. Paris: Calmann Lévy, 1882.

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                                                                                                                      A classic study of Averroes that continues to be cited. Available online.

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                                                                                                                      • Stearns, Justin. Infectious Ideas: Contagion in Premodern Islamic and Christian Thought in the Western Mediterranean. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011.

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                                                                                                                        Showing how Islamic and Christian thought differed on the subject of ideas, Justin Stearns breaks new ground in this book on medicine in medieval North Africa and Iberia.

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                                                                                                                        Religious Encounters

                                                                                                                        Although rarely characterized by interfaith understanding, religious encounters between Muslims, Christians, and Jews did have important social, political, and cultural consequences. Nirenberg 1996 demonstrates how persecution and violence was often perpetuated for underlying political or social purposes, even if it seemed, on the surface, to be purely religious. Dialogue and disputation between Muslims, Jews, and Christians rarely led to further understanding or conversions, but they did hone the rational debating skills and hunger for philosophy and effective argument as examined in Bonet 2005. Polemic was common in both Christian and Muslim parts of the Mediterranean as examined by Serrano 1991 and Burman 1994. Mahdism and Messianism inspired North Africans, especially the Berbers, even as there were Mahdis in Al-Andalus as García-Arenal 2006 examines well. The impact of inter-religious encounters on legal history is summarized in de Gayangos 1853. Strickland 2003 shows some of the ways Jews and Muslims were portrayed by Christian art in the period.

                                                                                                                        • Bonet, Honoré. Medieval Muslims, Christians, and Jews in Dialogue. The Apparicion Maistre Jehan de Meun of Honorat Bovet: A Critical Edition with English Translation. Edited and Translated by Michael G. Hanly. Tempe, AZ: Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2005.

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                                                                                                                          There were moments of dialogue and disputation between Muslim, Christians, and Jews as examined in this text.

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                                                                                                                          • Burman, T. E. Religious Polemic and the Intellectual History of the Mozarabs, c. 1050–1200. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 1994.

                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1163/9789004247031Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                            Some of the Mozarabs famously resisted the Caliphate in Al-Andalus by blaspheming the Prophet. Polemic by Mozarab writers is explored.

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                                                                                                                            • García-Arenal, Mercedes. Messianism and Puritanical Reform: Mahdis of the Muslim West. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2006.

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                                                                                                                              Mahdis and Mahdism seemed to be a trend, and different Mahdis influenced one another as the fever for end times or apocalyptic messages spread.

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                                                                                                                              • de Gayangos, Pascual, ed. Los leyes de los moros. Madrid: Real Academia de la Historia, 1853.

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                                                                                                                                The legal directives, or fatwas, of the Moors are examined in some detail in this important collection by the famed Arabist.

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                                                                                                                                • Nirenberg, David. Communities of Violence: Persecution of Minorities in the Middle Ages. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996.

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                                                                                                                                  Not all interaction was peaceful, and violence often had a symbolic use, as different groups would blame each other for various events or to solidify power.

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                                                                                                                                  • Serrano, D. “Dos fetuas sobre la expulsión de mozárabes al Magreb en 1126.” Anaquel de Estudios Árabes 2 (1991): 163–182.

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                                                                                                                                    Mozarabs were also sent away from the Maghreb during the rise of the Almohads.

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                                                                                                                                    • Strickland, Debra. Saracens, Demons and Jews: Making Monsters in Medieval Art. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2003.

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                                                                                                                                      This is an important book on the artistic representation of Jews and Muslims by Christian painters.

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                                                                                                                                      Christian and Muslim Warriors and Mercenaries

                                                                                                                                      It was not uncommon for Christian mercenaries and knights to fight for Muslim rulers and emirs as famously demonstrated by El Cid, who fought for the Muslim taifa of Saragossa, as described in Raffel 2009. Catlos 2014 provides an entertaining and accessible narrative about Christians fighting for Muslims and Muslims allied with Christians. Burns 1972 similarly shows the very practical reasons why Christian knights would sign up to fight for the “cause of Islam.” Alemany 1904 and Soler 1905 show the flow from Iberia to North Africa and vice versa, following the promise of money as much as the promise of salvation. Lower 2006 shows the presence of Christian mercenaries from Catalonia in what is now Tunisia, and Frank 1954–1956 shows how important some of these mercenaries and captives, including the captured viscount of Barcelona, were to the success of Berber Muslim dynasties such as the Almoravids. Echevarría 2006 shows how Moriscos were in the service of Castilian monarchs on the frontier, despite the history of conflict between that kingdom and Muslim rulers

                                                                                                                                      • Alemany, J. “Milicias cristianas al servicio de los sultanes musulmanes de Almagreb.” In Homenaje á Codera. Edited by E. Savedra, et al., 133–169. Zaragoza, Spain: Escar, 1904.

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                                                                                                                                        Another important article on the militias of Christians working for North African sultans.

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                                                                                                                                        • Burns, Robert I. “Renegades, Adventurers, and Sharp Businessmen: The Thirteenth-Century Spaniard in the Cause of Islam.” Catholic Historical Review 58.3 (1972): 341–366.

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                                                                                                                                          Burns provides an excellent overview of the primary source literature and references to Christians fighting for Muslim rulers.

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                                                                                                                                          • Catlos, Brian. Infidel Kings and Unholy Warriors: Faith, Power and Violence in the Age of Crusade and Jihad. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014.

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                                                                                                                                            Catlos explores the role of Christian mercenaries in Muslim lands and vice versa in this accessible book.

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                                                                                                                                            • Echevarría, Ana. Caballeros en la frontera: La guardia morisca de los reyes de Castilla (1401–1467). Madrid: Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia, 2006.

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                                                                                                                                              Morisco (Muslims converted to Christianity) worked as guards for the Catholic monarchs.

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                                                                                                                                              • Frank, Istaván. “Reverter, vicomte de Barcelone.” Boletin de la real academia de buenas letras de Barcelona XXVI (1954–1956): 196–204.

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                                                                                                                                                The Vicount of Barcelona was one of the most famous of the Christians fighting for the Almoravids against the Almohads deep in the Atlas Mountains.

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                                                                                                                                                • Lower, Michael. “Tunis in 1270: A Case Study of Interfaith Relations in the Late Thirteenth Century.” International History Review 28.3 (2006): 504–514.

                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1080/07075332.2006.9641101Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                  Lower provides a case study in Tunis of Christians working for Muslim rulers, often against other Christians.

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                                                                                                                                                  • Raffel, Burton, trans. The Song of the Cid. New York: Penguin, 2009.

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                                                                                                                                                    El Cid famously fought for the ruler of Zaragossa before capturing Valencia.

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                                                                                                                                                    • Soler, A. Giménez. “Caballeros españoles en Africa y Africanos en España.” Revue Hispanique XII (1905): 299–327.

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                                                                                                                                                      Soler expands upon the work of Savedra and others and examines the role of Africans in Spain as well.

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