Mozarabs

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Mozarabs

Mozarabs (mōzâr´əbz), Christians of Muslim Spain. Their position was the usual one of Christians and Jews in Islam: they were a separate community, locally autonomous, and they paid a special tax in place of the requirement made of Muslims to serve in the army. In Spain the Christians had their own rulers, called counts, who were directly responsible to the Muslim emir or caliph; their taxes, separate from those of Muslims, were collected by special agents. They were allowed to maintain their hierarchy (the primate of Spain being the archbishop of Toledo), and they used the Visigothic, not the Muslim, canon law. Their liturgy, called the Mozarabic rite, was like that of ancient Gaul. It is preserved only in chapels at Toledo and Salamanca. For one or two periods, notably in the 11th cent., the Mozarabs were persecuted. The chief Mozarab centers were Toledo, Seville, and Córdoba. The Christians were probably Arabic-speaking, and their culture, basically Romance-Visigothic, was heavily influenced by Muslim civilization. In turn, the Mozarabs greatly influenced modern Spanish culture.

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