“An Empire of Two Religions: Muslims as Allies, Enemies, and Subjects in the Literature of the Iberian Christian Kingdoms” explores the connections between the imperial ambitions of Christian rulers and the portrayal of Muslims in medieval and early modern Iberian literary works. Because of the political fragmentation and cultural diversity of the Peninsula, territorial expansion and regional hegemony were essential goals for Iberian leaders, and their inevitable consequence was ruling heterogeneous subjects. In the literature of the Iberian Christian kingdoms, such practices often appear surrounded by apparently contradictory discourses regarding the cultural and religious difference of Muslims. The conflicting duties of Christian heroes as destroyers of Muslim enemies, creators of alliances with them, and benevolent rulers of “mudéjares” or Muslim subjects, converge in the imperial images of Iberian leaders as capable sovereigns of vast territories and diverse peoples. Such ambivalent portrayals of Iberian Muslims and Christians already appear in the twelfth-century “Cantar de mio Cid”; they develop in thirteenth and fourteenth-century works such as the “Cantigas de Santa Maria,” the “Llibre dels fets,” the “Estoria de España,” and the “Crónica geral de 1344”; and they culminate in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries with “Tirant lo Blanch” and “Os Lusíadas,” two texts that conflate the complex interactions of Christians and Muslims in medieval Iberia with their new encounters across the Mediterranean, Africa, and the Indian Ocean. The authors and sponsors of those texts—including King Alfonso X of Castile, King Jaume I of Aragon, Pedro Afonso of Barcelos, Joanot Martorell, and Luís de Camões—promote Christian dominion in the Iberian Peninsula and overseas, but they also recognize that such hegemony can only be attained through agreements with Muslims. Because of the interdependence of ideology, literature, and social reality, these medieval and early modern texts not only represented the political aspirations of Iberian Christians, but they also examined, problematized, and shaped the relationships between Christians and non-Christians in Iberia and abroad. Additionally, their treatment of ethnic, religious, and cultural difference modeled legal and political ideas for later European imperial powers, including the providentialist justification of their rights over colonized territories and peoples.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation.May 2018. Major: Hispanic Literature. Advisor: Michelle Hamilton. 1 computer file (PDF); v, 296 pages.
An Empire Of Two Religions: Muslims As Allies, Enemies, And Subjects In The Literature Of The Iberian Christian Kingdoms..
Retrieved from the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy,
Content distributed via the University of Minnesota's Digital Conservancy may be subject to additional license and use restrictions applied by the depositor.