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Medieval Arabic accounts of the conquest of Cordoba: Creating a narrative for a provincial capital

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Nicola Clarke


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Like most early Islamic history writing, the tradition surrounding the Muslim conquest of the Iberian Peninsula in 711 is the product of later debates and priorities rather than a true reflection of eighth-century circumstances. Rather than seek to reconstruct what is lost, this article explores what the sources have to tell us about these later priorities: that is, what the authors, their patrons and their wider environment valued in the history that they retold. Its focus is the conquest of Cordoba, narratives about which entered the tradition in the tenth century, as a result of the patronage of history writing by the Umayyad caliphs ʿAbd al-Raḥmān III (r. 912–61) and al-Ḥakam II (r. 961–76). These tenth-century narratives are expressions of both caliphal ideology and the writers' own status in their society.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Clarke N

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies

Year: 2011

Volume: 74

Issue: 1

Pages: 41-57

Print publication date: 01/02/2011

ISSN (print): 0041-977X

ISSN (electronic): 1474-0699

Publisher: Cambridge University Press


DOI: 10.1017/S0041977X10000704


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