Article

Spain

Olivia Remie Constable

in Medieval Studies

ISBN: 9780195396584
Published online April 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780195396584-0010
Spain

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  • Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)
  • Literary Studies (Early and Medieval)
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  • Anglo-Saxon and Medieval Archaeology

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What is meant by “medieval Spain”? Usually, “medieval” is understood as roughly the millennium between 500 ce and 1500 ce, and these dates fit reasonably well with political eras in the Iberian Peninsula, from the arrival of the Visigoths in the late 5th century to the end of the reigns of Ferdinand and Isabella in the early 16th century. For the sake of simplicity, the basic structure of this article is chronological. The second term, “Spain,” is much more complex. The modern country traces its roots to the medieval kingdoms and counties of Galicia, León, Castile, Aragón, Navarre, Catalonia, Valencia, Murcia, and Granada. All of these entities contributed to what is now modern Spain and Spanish (Castilian), although other regional identities and languages have also survived. The sections of this article on Christian Spain include the medieval regions noted above. Although Portugal also emerged during the medieval period, becoming a kingdom in the 12th century, it is usually not counted as part of medieval Spain and is not covered in this bibliography. Adding complexity is the fact that, for nearly eight hundred years, much of the Iberian Peninsula was under Islamic rule, with a population that was predominantly Muslim and Arabic-speaking. Muslim Spain is generally referred to by the Arabic name “al-Andalus.” Studies on the history of al-Andalus are considered separately in this bibliography. Alongside Christians and Muslims, there was also a significant Jewish population living in medieval Spain, both in Christian and Muslim regions. Because of this, medieval Spain is sometimes called “the land of three religions” (or tres culturas). Scholarship on the Jews of medieval Spain is its own field, but study of the coexistence of the three groups (often known as convivencia) has gained much attention. Studies on relations between the three cultures are considered in the section A Land of Three Cultures. Works on the Spanish Inquisition, conversos (Jews converted to Christianity), and moriscos (Muslims converted to Christianity) are not included in this article because these issues were largely phenomena of the early modern period. Languages in medieval Spain were also complicated. People spoke and wrote in Latin, Arabic, Hebrew, and––increasingly––in medieval versions of Castilian, Catalan, and other Romance vernaculars. Because of this, one finds many different spellings for names and places, making it difficult to be completely correct and consistent, especially when translating these into English.

Article.  18296 words. 

Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500) ; Literary Studies (Early and Medieval) ; Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy ; Byzantine and Medieval Art (500 CE to 1400) ; Anglo-Saxon and Medieval Archaeology

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