The Articulation of Power in Medieval Iberia and the Maghrib

The Articulation of Power in Medieval Iberia and the Maghrib

Amira K. Bennison

Print publication date: 2015

ISBN: 9780197265697

Publisher: British Academy


This volume explores how rulers in medieval Iberia and the Maghrib presented their rule and what strategies they adopted to persuade their subjects of their legitimacy. It focuses on the Naṣrids of Granada and the Marīnids of Morocco who both ruled from the mid-thirteenth to the later fifteenth century. One of the book's main arguments is that the legitimating strategies of these monarchs developed out of a common political culture that straddled the straits of Gibraltar. This culture was mediated by constant transfers of people, ideas and commodities across the straits and a political historiography in which deliberate parallels and comparisons were drawn between Iberia and North Africa. The book challenges a tendency to see the Iberian and North African cultural and political spheres as inherently different and, implicitly, as precursors to later European and African identities. While several chapters in the volume do flag up contrasts in practice, they also highlight the structural similarities in the Naṣrid and Marīnid approach to legitimation in this period. The volume is divided into several sections, each of which approaches the theme of legitimation from a separate angle. The first section contains an introduction to the theme as well as analyses of the material and intellectual background to discourses of legitimation. The next section focuses on rhetorical bids for legitimacy such as the deployment of prestigious genealogies, the use of religiopolitical titles, and other forms of propaganda. That is followed by a detailed look at ceremonial and the calculated patronage of religious festivals by rulers. A final section grapples with the problem of legitimation outside the environs of the city, among illiterate and frequently armed populations.

Table of Contents

Part 1 Laying the Groundwork

1 Introduction

Amira K. Bennison

Part 2 Genealogy, Titulature and Propaganda

Part 3 Ceremonies and Ritual Performances

8 On Muḥammad V, Ibn al-Khaṭīb and Sufism

Cynthia Robinson and Amalia Zomeño

Part 4 Legitimation outside the City

End Matter