Academic journal article Medium Aevum

The Arts of Intimacy: Christians, Jews and Muslims in the Making of Castilian Culture

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

The Arts of Intimacy: Christians, Jews and Muslims in the Making of Castilian Culture

Article excerpt

Jerrilynn D. Dodds, Maria Rosa Menocal, and Abigail Krasner Balbale, The Arts of Intimacy: Christians, Jews and Muslims in the Making of Castilian Culture (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2008). 395 pp. ISBN 978-0-300-106091. $40.00.

Arts of Intimacy tells the story of the formation of culture and society in medieval Castile, forged from the interaction of Christians, Muslims, and Jews. The book is primarily aimed at the general public rather than solely the academic community. As such, it is richly illustrated with full colour photographs, its style has been kept deliberately accessible, and the critical apparatus of footnotes and references has been kept to a minimum.

The seven chapters are organized in a historical narrative, starting with the birth of the Arabic and the Christian communities in the south and north of the Iberian Peninsula respectively, and describing their interactions, clashes, and mutual influences. Throughout, the focus is Toledo, which, after it was claimed by Alfonso VI in 1085, became the capital of the Castillan kingdom and the epitome of its cultural hybridization. While the Muslim-Christian conflict did play an important role in the formation of Castilian culture, the authors make the intriguing suggestion that equally important was the struggle for power and authority between groups of Christians, the old Mozarabic community that had lived under Islamic rule and the new and much more aggressive Castillans.

Using numerous photographs and passages from relevant Arabic, Castilian, and sometimes Jewish texts together with their English translation, the book outlines the Arabic influences on the budding Castilian culture, in architecture, through the appropriation of mosques and the use of architectural techniques and motifs, but also in poetry, song, and art. …

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.