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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Arabicizing, Privileges, and Liturgy in Medieval Castilian Toledo: The Problems and Mutations of Mozarab Identification (1085-1436)

  • Author(s): Moreno, Aaron Michael
  • Advisor(s): Ruiz, Teofilo F
  • et al.

Most approaches to the history of Mozarabs (Christians with lineal roots in Muslim-ruled Iberia) in Castilian Toledo are framed within linear narratives of assimilation, treating the fates of their communal linguistic, legal, and liturgical traits--that is, the use of Arabic, the enjoyment of communal-specific juridical privileges, and the adherence to the traditional Spanish rite--as a metric for gauging the vitality of their identities.

Having examined Arabic, Latin, and Romance documentary and narrative sources from the eleventh century through the fifteenth century, I argue against such teleological trajectories and ethnic marker assumptions and instead examine the shifting medieval concerns and contexts which shaped the fluid perceptions and definitions of Mozarabs during the centuries following Toledo's sudden shift from Muslim to Latinate control.

My conclusions are greatly strengthened by devoting substantial comparative analyses to native Christians in Norman through Aragonese Sicily and the Crusader States. This hitherto unexplored examination of the Arabic, Greek, Latin, and Romance sources related to medieval Christian communities in the formerly Islamic world not only moves beyond traditional historiographical insularity but also facilitates the reevaluation of ethnic identifications in the medieval Arabo-Latinate and Greco-Latinate frontiers under Latinate Christian rule.

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