Subject: mercenary cavalry
Setting: first Taifa period, Iberia 11thc
Context (Event Photos, Primary Sources, Secondary Sources, Field Notes)
* Almond 2009 p32-33
"The phrase 'clash of civilizations' has been bandied about a great deal in recent years, often to describe some specific disagreement or cultural conflict in pan-global, geopolitical terms. What a careful study of the cultural setting of eleventh-century Muslim Spain reveals, above all else, is the historical ignorance of such a term. In a medieval society where Jewish viziers shared jokes with their Muslim dinner guests, where languages such as Arabic or Romance belonged equally to the church and the mosque, and could be found in a zajal or a hymn, even where Muslim and Christian criminals joined together in moving moments of inter-cultural co-operation to loot a village or steal sheep from their co-religionists, what emerges is how easily the inhabitants of Muslim Spain were able to put aside their religious identities when the occasion demanded."
* Merwin 1959 pviii
"Feudal Spain of the mid-eleventh century was politically an extremely complicated place. By then the reconquest of the country from the Moors had made considerable progress. In the north of the peninsula were the Visigothic Christian kingdoms and states, most notably Castile, León, Aragón, Navarre, and the county of Barcelona. In the south were the Moorish kingdoms, chief among them Seville, Granada, Córdoba, and Valencia. To further complicate the division, the Christian states lived in rivalry with one another. Many of the Moorish states were dependencies of Christian kingdoms, paying them tribute in exchange for protection from other Moors or other Christians. These tributary kingdoms were a principal cause of the contentions and intermittent wars among the Christian states. Another was the Spanish kings' practice of dividing up their kingdoms among their heirs."