This chapter provides an introduction to the theme of political legitimacy in the medieval Islamic Maghrib and al-Andalus. It reviews previous historiographical approaches to the subject and considers the Arabic sources for the period, arguing for the importance of considering the two sides of the straits of Gibraltar as a single cultural zone. It then looks at political legitimacy in the Islamic Middle East and North Africa in general before tracing the evolution of particular themes in the Maghrib and al-Andalus up to the period covered by the volume. It ends with a brief review of the other chapters in the volume and their multi-disciplinary contribution to understandings of political legitimation in the region.
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