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Muslim Spain and Portugal: A Political History of al-Andalus

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This is the first study in English of the political history of Muslim Spain and Portugal, based on Arab sources. It provides comprehensive coverage of events across the whole of the region from 711 to the fall of Granada in 1492. Up till now the history of this region has been badly neglected in comparison with studies of other states in medieval Europe. When considered at This is the first study in English of the political history of Muslim Spain and Portugal, based on Arab sources. It provides comprehensive coverage of events across the whole of the region from 711 to the fall of Granada in 1492. Up till now the history of this region has been badly neglected in comparison with studies of other states in medieval Europe. When considered at all, it has been largely written from Christian sources and seen in terms of the Christian Reconquest. Hugh Kennedy raises the profile of this important area, bringing the subject alive with vivid translations from Arab sources. This will be fascinating reading for historians of medieval Europe and for historians of the middle east drawing out the similarities and contrasts with other areas of the Muslim world.


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This is the first study in English of the political history of Muslim Spain and Portugal, based on Arab sources. It provides comprehensive coverage of events across the whole of the region from 711 to the fall of Granada in 1492. Up till now the history of this region has been badly neglected in comparison with studies of other states in medieval Europe. When considered at This is the first study in English of the political history of Muslim Spain and Portugal, based on Arab sources. It provides comprehensive coverage of events across the whole of the region from 711 to the fall of Granada in 1492. Up till now the history of this region has been badly neglected in comparison with studies of other states in medieval Europe. When considered at all, it has been largely written from Christian sources and seen in terms of the Christian Reconquest. Hugh Kennedy raises the profile of this important area, bringing the subject alive with vivid translations from Arab sources. This will be fascinating reading for historians of medieval Europe and for historians of the middle east drawing out the similarities and contrasts with other areas of the Muslim world.

30 review for Muslim Spain and Portugal: A Political History of al-Andalus

  1. 4 out of 5

    ميقات الراجحي

    قليلة هي الدراسات الأوربية والغربية عامة التي تعتمد ضمن قائمة مراجع دراستها المصدر العربي رغم وفرة المصدر بل ومنذ عهد طويل منذ القرن الثامن عشر ميلادي والذي يعرف لدينا بالطبعات الأوروبية القديمة طبعات ليدن وميونخ ولندن وغيرها، وهذا مما جعل هذه الدراسة مميزة عند الأوربية، وهو هنا يتناول كامل الحقبة التاريخية الإسلامية في الأندلس. تتسم الكثير من كتابات كينيدي بالصلابة وهي ما يعرف بالعامية "جافة" وربما هذا عامل مُنفّر من قراءة التاريخ لكن عمومًا رغم روعة الكتابة التاريخية / الأندلسية إلا أن طول القر قليلة هي الدراسات الأوربية والغربية عامة التي تعتمد ضمن قائمة مراجع دراستها المصدر العربي رغم وفرة المصدر بل ومنذ عهد طويل منذ القرن الثامن عشر ميلادي والذي يعرف لدينا بالطبعات الأوروبية القديمة طبعات ليدن وميونخ ولندن وغيرها، وهذا مما جعل هذه الدراسة مميزة عند الأوربية، وهو هنا يتناول كامل الحقبة التاريخية الإسلامية في الأندلس. تتسم الكثير من كتابات كينيدي بالصلابة وهي ما يعرف بالعامية "جافة" وربما هذا عامل مُنفّر من قراءة التاريخ لكن عمومًا رغم روعة الكتابة التاريخية / الأندلسية إلا أن طول القرون الإسلامية قرابة (8) قرون وكثرة تداخل الأحداث التاريخية والصراعات وتداول أكثر من حكومة علي مر عدة عصور جعل المادة هنا - كمعظم الكتابات عن الأندلس - تعاني الجفاف طالما هي دراسة سياسية كحال الكتاب ولكن إن كانت حضارية أو ثقافية فذلك أمر مغاير. هذا الكتاب كتاب شمولي مثله مثل الدراسات الأندلسية التاريخية التي كتبها في كتاب واحد (عبد الرحمن الحجي / حسين مؤنس / وديع زيدون....) وغيرهم. حديث (8) قرون في مجلد واحد. فلن يكون بأهمية المصدر الأصلي وهنا كينيدي لن يكون بأهمية (بروفنسال / س. كولان / رينهارت دوزي / كونديه / فرانسيسكو كوديرا.....) وغيرهم من مؤرخو التاريخ الأندلسي. لكنه دراسة جميلة وفق تحليلاته ورؤيته الخاصة.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Raymond

    Al-Andalus was the tolerant haven of medieval Europe where Muslims, Jews and Christians all lived together in perfect harmony, making leaps in the arts and sciences in between holding hands and dancing in circles... Or alternatively, it was a tenuous state formation created by haphazard conquest, sustained by plunder and torn by ethnic strife, and which could only be maintained as long as there was a Caliph strong enough to bloody the noses of regional dynasts and keep the Christians on the defe Al-Andalus was the tolerant haven of medieval Europe where Muslims, Jews and Christians all lived together in perfect harmony, making leaps in the arts and sciences in between holding hands and dancing in circles... Or alternatively, it was a tenuous state formation created by haphazard conquest, sustained by plunder and torn by ethnic strife, and which could only be maintained as long as there was a Caliph strong enough to bloody the noses of regional dynasts and keep the Christians on the defensive. And that's what this book provides; a believable, untendentious and no-nonsense history of Al-Andalus. Hugh Kennedy can read Arabic and he follows the primary source material closely, taking into account the latest research, almost all of which is in Spanish, which makes it something of a rarity in English. All this considered I can bear with the fact that it's somewhat drier than Kennedy's "The Great Arab Conquests" or "The Court of the Caliphs", lacking his usual sense of humour.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ivan Granger

    Even a lover of history will find this book to be dry reading at times -- which shouldn't be the case given the rich and complex history of al-Andalus (Muslim ruled Spain). But it does fill a gap in books on the political history of Muslim Iberia published in the English language. This is a period as important to European science, art, philosophy, and medicine as the later Renaissance, and I say that without hyperbole. Yet so few books on the period exist in English. This book at least gives a m Even a lover of history will find this book to be dry reading at times -- which shouldn't be the case given the rich and complex history of al-Andalus (Muslim ruled Spain). But it does fill a gap in books on the political history of Muslim Iberia published in the English language. This is a period as important to European science, art, philosophy, and medicine as the later Renaissance, and I say that without hyperbole. Yet so few books on the period exist in English. This book at least gives a more complete delineation of names and power maneuverings, but it has precious little to say about culture and ideas, which is in many ways the defining element of this rich era. I can't say that I recommend this book to anyone other than a serious student of al-Andalus. The Ornament of the World is a better, lighter exploration of the cultural significance. I have just found another political history covering the era that I hope will paint a more complete and engaging historical portrait.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Maha

    الكتاب جيد جداً من ناحية الفهرسة والمراجع وتقسيم الفصول. كما أنه يعتمد على مصادر من الطرفيين العربي والإسباني، تناوله للأحداث بموضوعية كاملة وحيادية. الكتاب أفادني كثيراً في بحث تاريخي قمت به

  5. 4 out of 5

    Naiyerah

    This is a great book that covers the political history of Al-Andalus from the Muslim conquest starting 711 to the completion of the Spanish Reconquista in 1492. It explains the internal and external dynamics threatening Islamic rule, and brings to light some of the political, economic and ethnic reasons why Muslims ended up losing the Iberian Peninsula to the Christians.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ahmed Gatnash

    One of the most enjoyable history books I've read in a while. It's a narrative of the entire political and military history of al-Andalus, the greatly overlooked 800-year period of history when the Iberian peninsula was under Muslim rule (711-1492). Some periods are crammed with fascinating details, painting a vivid picture of the situation at the time, whilst at others it suffers from a lack of sources, as there are decades-long periods about which very little was recorded or survived. Despite t One of the most enjoyable history books I've read in a while. It's a narrative of the entire political and military history of al-Andalus, the greatly overlooked 800-year period of history when the Iberian peninsula was under Muslim rule (711-1492). Some periods are crammed with fascinating details, painting a vivid picture of the situation at the time, whilst at others it suffers from a lack of sources, as there are decades-long periods about which very little was recorded or survived. Despite this, he makes a valiant effort at contextualising actions with the power dynamics of the different sides, critically interpreting the sources (primary included) and doing some cross-referencing. The book is front-heavy, describing the early days of al-Andalus in much more detail due to the availability of preserved sources, but it drops off very suddenly after the fall of the Umayyad caliphate. This is unfortunate, because the story he tells of how it became undone is one of the most thrilling I've read anywhere, involving palace intrigue, repeated coups, plots and treasonous alliances with external powers. The period that came after is described well in terms of political fragmentation, but very unsatisfying in terms of the lack of details about the sacking of Medinat al-Zahra and al-Zahira (and even Cordoba). Several times he mentions the difficulty of ascertaining demographic details too, which is frustrating. I found out that only 10% of Medinat al-Zahra has been excavated so far - one can only hope that it will yield more secrets as this goes on. By the end of the book it was becoming too much to remember all the names, and because of this the Almohad era was a little less thrilling, but the end was more engaging, although feeling rushed (again due to sources). The final fall of Granada happened quite suddenly, and there isn't much detail, but it was a saddening reflection with surprisingly strong parallels to the political situation in the Arab world today. It would have been nice to have more maps to help understanding of different territorial borders as they changed over the centuries, such as of the Taifa kingdoms. Too many times he referred to a city, particularly in the Christian north, which isn't displayed. From the perspective of a non-historian and a newcomer to this period, it would have also been helpful to mention briefly what was happening in parallel in the Muslim east, in order to contextualise the era. To mention the intellectual and scientific history of al-Andalus, of which much more has been written, would have been very helpful too. A few more names would have helped to tie it in with existing knowledge of the civilisation's achievements, be it intellectual, scientific, architectural or infrastructural. Ibn Hazm is mentioned in passing as was Ibn Rushd, but that was it, which is a shame given that so much attention has been paid to them elsewhere. Likewise, almost every reader will be interested in such incredible structures as the Grand Mosque of Cordoba, the Alhambra or Medinat al-Zahra, but they are barely mentioned. Overall the book was perhaps a little limited in scope, but high quality and consisted of exactly what it says on the cover. Greatly recommended to anyone who doesn't know this history, particularly Muslims.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lauren Albert

    Thorough but dry account of Muslim Spain and Portugal. As with Christian Europe during the same period, the numerous political, religious and ethnic groupings and the constantly shifting alliances make it difficult sometimes for a non-specialist to follow the history.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ayman Kuzbari

  9. 4 out of 5

    Bernard Nauta

  10. 4 out of 5

    Liam Hob

  11. 4 out of 5

    Zach

  12. 5 out of 5

    Donnie

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kait Sweetman

  14. 4 out of 5

    Saad Rais

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ryu Ito

  16. 4 out of 5

    João Félix

  17. 4 out of 5

    Artie

  18. 4 out of 5

    Yaseen

  19. 5 out of 5

    Deborah Hill

  20. 5 out of 5

    Zeke Viegas

  21. 5 out of 5

    Abdallah

  22. 5 out of 5

    Dr.Javed Rasheed

  23. 5 out of 5

    Xavier J Mejid

  24. 5 out of 5

    Мансур

  25. 4 out of 5

    Bedirhan Şahin

  26. 5 out of 5

    Catherine Remache

  27. 5 out of 5

    Russell McCreight

  28. 5 out of 5

    Seth

  29. 4 out of 5

    The Genocide Report

  30. 5 out of 5

    Martin

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