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Grant number like: FEL-263014-19

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Abigail Krasner Balbale
Bard College (Annandale-on-Hudson, NY 12504-9800)

Research Programs

[Grant products]

$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2019 – 8/31/2020

Memory, Genealogy and Power in al-Andalus: A Study of Rex Lupus, Medieval Islamic Ruler in Southern Spain

A book-length study about Rex Lupus, a 12th-century Islamic ruler in southern Spain, and the ways in which his memory was used by future Christian and Muslim historians.

This book explores how modern ideas about geography, ethnicity and religion have been cast backward to transform the medieval past. It focuses on a ruler in al-Andalus known in Arabic as Muhammad ibn Sa'd Ibn Mardanish and in Latin as Rex Lupus (r. 1147-74 CE), who was vassal to Castile and founder of a dynasty that fought the North African Almohads. Later scholars suggested that his alliances with Christians were born from his non-Muslim genealogy. But his own cultural production demonstrates his eastward orientation, as he imported motifs and architectural techniques from Abbasid territories and minted coins in the caliph in Baghdad's name. The book traces these two, opposing trajectories: material culture that linked Islamic west to east and historiography that separated al-Andalus from the rest of the Islamic world. Like al-Andalus itself, Ibn Mardanish's story was recast in the years after the Christian conquest to make it fit into narratives of an emergent Europe.