Reconquest and Crusade in Medieval Spain

Reconquest and Crusade in Medieval Spain

Reconquest and Crusade in Medieval Spain

Reconquest and Crusade in Medieval Spain

Synopsis

Drawing from both Christian and Islamic sources, Reconquest and Crusade in Medieval Spain demonstrates that the clash of arms between Christians and Muslims in the Iberian peninsula that began in the early eighth century was transformed into a crusade by the papacy during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Successive popes accorded to Christian warriors willing to participate in the peninsular wars against Islam the same crusading benefits offered to those going to the Holy Land. Joseph F. O'Callaghan clearly demonstrates that any study of the history of the crusades must take a broader view of the Mediterranean to include medieval Spain.

Following a chronological overview of crusading in the Iberian peninsula from the late eleventh to the middle of the thirteenth century, O'Callaghan proceeds to the study of warfare, military finance, and the liturgy of reconquest and crusading. He concludes his book with a consideration of the later stages of reconquest and crusade up to and including the fall of Granada in 1492, while noting that the spiritual benefits of crusading bulls were still offered to the Spanish until the Second Vatican Council of 1963.

Although the conflict described in this book occurred more than eight hundred years ago, recent events remind the world that the intensity of belief, rhetoric, and action that gave birth to crusade, holy war, and jihad remains a powerful force in the twenty-first century.

Excerpt

The epic battle between Islam and Christianity for dominance in the Mediterranean, extending over many centuries, occupies a principal place in the history of medieval Europe. Historians of the Middle Ages, however, have tended to take a narrow view of that conflict by focusing primarily on the crusades directed to the Holy Land in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. This book attempts to redress the balance in part by emphasizing that the clash of arms between Christians and Muslims in the Iberian peninsula from the early eighth century onward, commonly labeled the reconquest, was transformed into a crusade by the papacy during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Successive popes accorded to Christian warriors willing to participate in the peninsular wars against Islam the same crusading benefits offered to those going to the Holy Land. Thus if one wishes to study the history of the crusades one has to take a broader view of the entire Mediterranean to include medieval Spain.

The beginnings of crusading historiography help to explain the limited vision of the crusades that prevailed until recent years. Because generations of French nobles and kings participated in expeditions to liberate Jerusalem, crusading was seen as an integral part of French national history. English and American medievalists, concentrating their attention initially on France and England, were inevitably drawn to the crusades to the Holy Land, but either ignored or mentioned only cursorily the war against Islam in Spain. Spanish historians were themselves responsible for this neglect in that, while they wrote much about the reconquest, they gave scant heed to the fact that the popes were granting remission of sins, the hallmark of crusading bulls, to those exposing their lives in combat against Islam. Jose Goñi Gaztambide’s history of the bull of crusade in Spain, published in 1958, changed the focus entirely through his detailed study of papal documents according crusading indulgences and other privileges to those engaged in the reconquest.

My interest in this project was first awakened when I reviewed Goñi Gaztambide’s book. In 1987, while directing a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute on Medieval Spain: Land of Three Religions, I

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.