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Simon R. Doubleday
Hofstra University (Hempstead, NY 11549-1000)
Christian Spain before the Crusades: Power and Pragmatism in Eleventh-Century Iberia

Research and writing leading to a book on relations between 11th-century Christian rulers of León and the Islamic states of al-Andalus.

The dangerous perception that medieval Europe was a theater of implacable holy war and that Spain was the arena of religiously-driven Reconquista is widespread. This project questions this perception through a study of the Iberian realms of León, Galicia, and Castile in the eleventh century, under Fernando I (1037-65) and Queen Sancha (d. 1067); it will be the first study of the reign in English. The period is often seen as one in which their Christian kingdom gained the upper hand over the weaker Islamic states of al-Andalus. Historians have generally believed that Fernando aspired to imperial authority in Iberia, developed a close relationship with the French monastic order of Cluny, and exerted dominance over the Islamic states to the south. This project challenges all these presumptions. Through an original analysis of royal charters and narrative sources, it traces the pragmatic nature of power and a geopolitical environment in which religious identity was by no means paramount.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
European History; Medieval History; Medieval Studies


Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2020 – 8/31/2021