This book tells stories of interaction, conflict and common exchange between Berbers, Arabs, Latins, Muslims, Christians and Jews in North Africa and Latin Europe. Medieval Western European and North African history were part of a common Western Mediterranean culture. Examining shared commerce, slavery, mercenary activity, art and intellectual and religious debates, this book argues that North Africa was an integral part of western Medieval History. The book tells the history of North Africa and Europe through the eyes of Christian kings and Muslim merchants, Emirs and Popes, Sufis, Friars and Rabbis. It argues North Africa and Europe together experienced the Twelfth Century Renaissance and the Commercial Revolution. When Europe was highly divided during twelfth century, North Africa was enjoying the peak of its power, united under the Berber, Almohad Empire. In the midst of a common commercial growth throughout the medieval period, North Africa and Europe also shared in a burst of spirituality and mysticism. This growth of spirituality occurred even as representatives of Judaism, Christianity and Islam debated and defended their faiths, dreaming of conversion even as they shared the same rational methods. The growth of spirituality instigated a Second Axial Age in the history of religion. Challenging the idea of a Mediterranean split between between Islam and Christianity, the book shows how the Maghrib (North Africa) was not a Muslim, Arab monolith or as an extension of the exotic Orient. North Africa, not the Holy Land to the far East, was the first place where Latin Europeans encountered the Muslim other and vice versa. Medieval North Africa was as diverse and complex as Latin Europe. North Africa should not be dismissed as a side show of European history. North Africa was, in fact, an integral part of the story. ; This book tells stories of interaction, conflict and common exchange between Berbers, Arabs, Latins, Muslims, Christians and Jews in North Africa and Latin Europe. Using individual biographies, this book argues that North Africa was, in fact, an integral part of western history. ; Map; Personal Note and Acknowledgements; Preface: North Africa and the Mediterranean Paradox; Chapter 1. Bèjaïa: Introducing North Africa, Latin Europe and the Mediterranean; Chapter 2. Rome: North Africa and the Papacy; Chapter 3. Tunis: Axis of the Middle Sea; Chapter 4. Marrakech: The Founding of a City; Chapter 5. The Almohads: Empire of the Western Mediterranean; Chapter 6. Ibn Khaldun and the Fourteenth Century; Chapter 7. Conclusions: Proposing a Second Axial Age; Notes; Bibliography; Index. ; MapPersonal Note and AcknowledgementsPreface: North Africa and the Mediterranean ParadoxChapter 1. Bèjaïa: Introducing North Africa, Latin Europe and the MediterraneanChapter 2. Rome: North Africa and the PapacyChapter 3. Tunis: Axis of the Middle SeaChapter 4. Marrakech: The Founding of a CityChapter 5. The Almohads: Empire of the Western MediterraneanChapter 6. Ibn Khaldun and the Fourteenth CenturyChapter 7. Conclusions: Proposing a Second Axial AgeNotesBibliographyIndex
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A fast-paced and innovative look at the medieval western Mediterranean which will leave the reader intrigued, fascinated, and eager to know more about the unexpectedly cosmopolitan character of the ‘middle sea’, the oft-forgotten role of the Berbers in that cosmopolitanism, and the surprising contributions of southern, Muslim knowledge to the efflorescence of northern Christian shores.
- Amira K. Bennison, University of Cambridge
Allen James Fromherz is Director of the Middle East Studies Center and Associate Professor of History at Georgia State University. He is also President of the American Institute for Maghrib Studies and the author of Ibn Khaldun, Life and Times (Edinburgh University Press, 2010), The Almohads: The Rise of an Islamic Empire (2012) and Qatar, A Modern History (2012).