Spain in the Middle Ages

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The medieval period is a vast passage of time, typically agreed to be after the 5th century relocation of the capital of the Roman Empire to Constantinople (Byzantium), Turkey to 1492, marked by the arrival of Colón (Columbus) to the Americas, the final acts of the Reconquista in the capitulation of the Nasrid Emirate of Granada, the Alhambra decree ordering the expulsion of the Jews and the publication of the first book of Castillian grammar by Antonio de Nebrija https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonio_de_Nebrija. The transition from Rome to Byzantium should not be viewed as a quick decisive move on the part of the Roman Empire, rather it was the product of prolonged failure to defend the empire's borders and a population decline. The reasons for these occurrences are often debated. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decline_of_the_Roman_Empire

Summarizing one thousand years of history in a region that went from Hispania, two distinct provinces of the Roman Empire https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hispania, to many small kingdoms divided along two religious lines with Jews mixed in both, to a more unified state under Isabela and Fernan in the 15th century, is a challenge and this temporal, geographic, and cultural diversity should underscore any attempt to research the medieval history of Spain.

In many ways, the history of Spain is marked by waves of conquerors who brought their distinct cultures to the peninsula. After the passage of the Vandals and Alans down the Mediterranean coast of Hispania from 408, the history of Medieval Spain begins with the Iberian kingdom of the Arianist Visigoths (507–711), who were converted to Catholicism with their king Reccared in 587. Visigothic culture in Spain can be seen as a phenomenon of Late Antiquity as much as part of the Age of Migrations.

From Northern Africa in 711, the Muslim Umayyad dynasty entered Europe and sparked a Muslim versus Christian war called the Reconquista https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reconquista , or the Reconquest (ie: The Christians "reconquering" their lands as a religious crusade). Their point of entry was the Strait of Gibraltar and the soldiers spread from modern day Portugal and Spain to southern France and Italy in approximately 10 years. The border between Muslim and Christian lands wavered southward through 700 years of war, which marked the peninsula as a militarily contended space. However, it is important to note that Christians lived in Muslim kingdoms and Muslims lived in Christian kingdoms in relative peace, but violence did break out, especially in relation to competition for resources.[1] Jews also lived in both kingdoms. However, it is important to note that religion is separate from race; people from all faiths could and did convert to other faiths. Laws from each kingdom reflect how those in charge chose to interact with practitioners of the distinct religions. Every kingdom had distinct regulations and the three faiths enjoyed varying levels of citizenship. Constable translates one of these Regulations from Alfonso X's Siete Partidas, “Moreover, we forbid any Christian man or woman to invite a Jew or a Jewess, or to accept an invitation from them, to eat or drink together, or to drink any wine made by their hands.”.[2] This regulation was to hinder interaction with those of other religion and to prohibit them from partaking in the kosher foods, as they are an important part of Judaism.

Early medieval Spain[edit]

Historical developments may be pursued by region:

Cultural developments can also be followed in the careers of the major Visigothic kings:

The broadest cultural divisions in Hispania during the medieval period are between Islamic and Christian societies.

Medieval Islamic Spain[edit]

Main article: Al-Andalus

For specific medieval Muslim dynasties, see:

Medieval Christian Spain[edit]

An organizing principle of medieval Spain was the Reconquista, by which territories that had once been Christian and Visigothic were recaptured and Christianized; the outstanding figure in the cultural imagination was the mythologized El Cid. For Medieval Northern (Christian) Spain see individual kingdoms and polities:

Medieval Spanish culture[edit]

In the post-Roman period prior to 711, the history of the Spanish language began with Old Spanish; the other Latin-derived Hispanic languages with a considerable body of literature are Catalan, and to a lesser degree Valencian. Asturian Medieval Spanish, Galician and Basque languages were primarily oral.

Main Spanish cities in the Middle Ages[edit]

Medieval Spain was as much as a network of cities, which were cultural and administrative centers, the seats of bishops and sometimes kings, with markets and housing expanding from a central fortified stronghold. Medieval Spanish history can also be followed through its major cities:

and at the great shrine of Santiago de Compostela.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ (Nirenburg, Communities of Violence, 19)
  2. ^ (Constable, Medieval Iberia, 272)

Olivia Remie Constable.

David Nirenberg.

Further reading[edit]