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Thursday, May 09, 2019

The myth of al-Andalus

A review of a book on Spanish history by Dario Fernandez-Morera that I, too, found to be extremely useful in better understanding the real history of Muslim-occupied Spain:
I have just finished reading a volume that should be a required text for anyone enthusing about how enlightened and tolerant Spain was under Islamic rule in medieval times, The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise by Dario Fernandez-Morera.

The enthusiasm for the glories of tolerant Islam is suffused throughout modern scholarship, to the point of embarrassment. It is difficult not to conclude, after one looks at the actual historical facts that the scholars ignore and suppress, that their enthusiasm for Islam finds its roots in their distaste for Christianity. It is certainly not rooted in the historical evidence itself.

In this vision of Islamic Spain (renamed by the Muslim conquerors as “al-Andalus”), all three monotheistic faiths got along famously and all three enjoyed cultural flowering and prosperity under the watchful eye of a tolerant Islam.

In this version of history, the Christians of Spain were a benighted, primitive, and ignorant lot, who fortunately for them, ended up under Islam, which then offered them previously undreamt of opportunities to learn tolerance and culture. In this paradise Jews, Christians, and Muslims coexisted in a happy sunlit land, enjoying the benefits of convivencia—at least until the horrible Christians spoiled it all at the Spanish Reconquista, which recovered the land for Christendom and brought again the blight of intolerance and darkness to their land.

Ah, al-Andalus, now gone with the wind: those happy dhimmis, contented and protected under their gallant masters! How sad that such gallantry is no more than a dream remembered! How sad that it is now gone with the wind!

Or…maybe not.
My two previous blog posts relating to the book:
In fact, I thought so highly of The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise after reading it in 2017 that I put it on list of recommended History books available from Castalia Direct, where you can pick up the hardcover at a discount. It's well worth reading.

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40 Comments:

Blogger Dirtnapninja May 09, 2019 6:26 AM  

Al Andalus..a settler colonialist muslim supremacist imperial slave state that was decolonised by the indigenous peoples of the Iberian peninsula after an 800 year campaign of native resistance.

Blogger Better Left Unsaid May 09, 2019 6:31 AM  

I purchased this based on your recommendation and am currently wading through the copious footnotes. I had no idea how many prominent academics were spouting ahistoric nonsense and was pleased to read how carefully and completely Fernandez-Morera demolishes them in an academically rigorous way.

This is written by a learned scholar dealing with his lessors. And he has the humility to leave off the title "Dr." despite his PhD from Harvard.

Blogger Stilicho May 09, 2019 6:33 AM  

I should read it. Too much of my knowledge is colored by Orlando Furioso and the legends of Charlemagne and his Paladins.

On a not entirely unrelated note, I have noticed lately a push by certain (((writers))) to reclassify Islam as inspired by Christianity or even an actual Christian sect (Arian). Whatever could they be up to with those giant 115 (104) IQ's...

Blogger PJW Gent May 09, 2019 6:53 AM  

Satan will use anything and anyone to attack Christianity. The post enlightenment embracing of the myth of an Andalusian Paradise is not because they truly believe in the tolerance of Islam in the Middle Ages (a lie), but because they hate Christianity and Christ, Satan's arch enemy, with every fiber of their being. They are in service to their true master whether they want to admit it or not.

Blogger Zaklog the Great May 09, 2019 6:59 AM  

So I was considering reading either How to Be Poor or Jordanetics soon. From someone who's read either or both, which should I get first?

Blogger Avalanche May 09, 2019 8:16 AM  

Zaklog, as much as I love Milo, I think you'll get better 'first use' out of Jordanetics. Knowing -- having pointed out in detail -- the slimy destruction of our young folks, the hidden but discovered 'leading away' from Christendom and our future, will be of more use in your day-to-day life, even IF you're poor! Milo's book is very short and funny -- d solid info -- but for longer-term and broader use -- it's Vox's exposing of a charlatan.

Blogger Red Bane May 09, 2019 8:21 AM  

Yup, this book is on my self and summer reading list. Can't wait.

Blogger Johnny May 09, 2019 8:28 AM  

The core problem is that we have a scholarly community that is both politicized and politicized in a way that is contrary to our general interest. Those people are just another self serving interest group, and in their particular case, pushing a doctrine that is hostile to the general interest. It is the messenger that is the problem and that is what we should want to be rid of.

Blogger CM May 09, 2019 9:09 AM  

I've been reading up on Florida history lately and some of the stuff I have read links the 16th century conquistador brutality against the natives to the culture arising from ridding Spain of the Moors.

I like that diversity + proximity = radicalization. The British and Dutch were positively harmless to the natives in first contacts (especially since one of the first encounters was with a Christian Squanto) next to the Spaniards, but the Spaniards had first hand knowledge of the vileness of the pagan and heathen.

Blogger pyrrhus May 09, 2019 10:46 AM  

During the Caliphate, and for some time afterward, Spain was the center of the white European slave trade for 700 years, which was mostly run by the Sephardic jews...Yet another fact airbrushed from current histories.

Blogger pyrrhus May 09, 2019 10:49 AM  

@9 Yes, when Columbus reached the islands, he was mostly dealing with the Carib Indians, who were cannibals...He likely didn't think of them as civilized...

Blogger Andy in San Diego and Elsewhere May 09, 2019 11:05 AM  

An interesting follow-on to this would be the Catalogue of Shipwrecked Books. It follows Hernando Columbus (son of Christopher) around the world as he collects books/maps/whatever. The explosion (renaissance?) of knowledge after the Spaniards kick the Muslims out of Spain is extremely interesting.

Blogger The Depolrable Podunk Ken Ramsey May 09, 2019 11:24 AM  

Zaklog the Great wrote:So I was considering reading either How to Be Poor or Jordanetics soon. From someone who's read either or both, which should I get first?

"How To Be Poor" is very brief. It's easily tackled in one sitting, I forget the page count but it's more of a booklet than a book.

Get both!

Blogger JoeyD May 09, 2019 11:28 AM  

I wanted to buy this book but read a damning review on Amazon
https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R9COVM7S2P2UG/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B01AL2SP76

How accurate do think this is?

Blogger Robert Pinkerton May 09, 2019 11:48 AM  

@8: That the academic subculture is corrupt was obvious even half a century ago, became obvious to me when, in 1965, I heard a professor say that a hands-down military victory over the USSR by the United States would be a disaster because the recoil effect thereof would be to put the "wrong" people in power in this country for decades thereafter.

Blogger The Greay Man May 09, 2019 12:11 PM  

Vox,

Do you know anything of this author or this book? It was in "Related" on Amazon and it had a fun summary.

Mohammed & Charlemagne Revisited: The History of a Controversy Kindle Edition (Amazon link)

It's by Emmet Scott

During the 1920s Belgian historian Henri Pirenne came to an astonishing conclusion: the ancient classical civilization, which Rome had established throughout Europe and the Mediterranean world, was not destroyed by the Barbarians who invaded the western provinces in the fifth century, it was destroyed by the Arabs, whose conquest of the Middle East and North Africa terminated Roman civilization in those regions and cut off Europe from any further trading and cultural contact with the East. According to Pirenne, it was only in the mid-seventh century that the characteristic features of classical life disappeared from Europe, after which time the continent began to develop its own distinctive and somewhat primitive medieval culture.

Pirenne’s findings, published posthumously in his Mohammed et Charlemagne (1937), were even then highly controversial, for by the late nineteenth century many historians were moving towards a quite different conclusion: namely that the Arabs were actually a civilizing force who rekindled the light of classical learning in Europe after it had been extinguished by the Goths, Vandals and Huns in the fifth century. And because Pirenne went so diametrically against the grain of this thinking, the reception of his new thesis tended to be hostile. Paper after paper published during the 1940s and ‘50s strove to refute him. The most definitive rebuttal however appeared in the early 1980s. This was Mohammed, Charlemagne and the Origins of Europe, by English archaeologists Richard Hodges and David Whitehouse. These, in common with Pirenne’s earlier critics, argued that classical civilization was already dead in Europe by the time of the Arab conquests, and that the Arabs arrived on the scene as civilizers rather than destroyers. Hodges and Whitehouse claimed that the latest findings of archaeology fully supported this view, and their work was highly influential. So influential indeed that over the next three decades Pirenne and his thesis was progressively sidelined, so that recent years have seen the publication of dozens of titles in the English language alone which fail even to mention his name.

In Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited historian Emmet Scott reviews the evidence put forward by Hodges and Whitehouse, as well as the more recent findings of archaeology, and comes to a rather different conclusion. For him, the evidence shows that classical civilization was not dead in Europe at the start of the seventh century, but was actually experiencing something of a revival. Populations and towns were beginning to grow again for the first time since this second century – a development apparently attributable largely to the spread of Christianity. In addition, the real centres of classical civilization, in the Middle East, were experiencing an unprecedented Golden Age at the time, with cities larger and more prosperous than ever before. Excavation has shown that these were destroyed thoroughly and completely by the Arab conquests, with many never again reoccupied. And it was precisely then, says Scott, that Europe’s classical culture also disappeared, with the abandonment of the undefended lowland villas and farms of the Roman period and a retreat to fortified hilltop settlements; the first medieval castles.

Blogger Argus Bacchus May 09, 2019 12:38 PM  

I read this book a couple of years ago and fully agree that it deserves the highest recommendation. Thank you, Vox, for helping to bring it to the attention of people who may have previously been unaware of it.

Predictably, I was accused of being an "Islamophobe" by various cucks and ignoramuses across the internet whenever I'd refer to it in a discussion or argument. Most were in complete denial about their obvious dhimmitude.

The truth hurts.







Blogger FP May 09, 2019 12:42 PM  

@16

I believe VD has mentioned it in the past. Search the blog for it. Its a great book and I highly recommend it. The dark ages were because of Islam invading Europe.

Blogger Johnny May 09, 2019 12:57 PM  

The best and easiest way of thinking of Islam is that at core it is a warrior cult, in that the rules are suited to a society with a warrior elite. Tribalism often has this same characteristic. And slavery, while not required, is easily tolerated and to some extent encouraged. When the situation allows for it, an Islamic state will naturally gravitate toward widespread slavery.

Women are to be treated kindly but as inferiors. It all works out okay if the man is okay, and if he is not, then it is not so good to be a female.

After conquest, they can sustain the local society if they want to, but there is nothing in the doctrine that causes it to happen. And because little status is gained by being productive, it does not favor the development of industry. Thus the relative backwardness of most Islamic societies.

And it encourages first cousin marriages, which encourages tribalism. That is why modern nation states do not easily develop from those who favor Islamic doctrine.

Blogger Blunt Force May 09, 2019 1:08 PM  

If having you're land conquered, daughters forced into sexual slavery and surviving sons thrown naked into a dark dungeon to starve to death is Muslim "tolerance for diversity" I'd really hate to see the down side.

Another sad fact is that the Reconquistas not only had to fight the Muslim invaders, but Jews and backstabbing Churchians ,influential in the church administration and statecraft, as well....not much difference than today.

There is no doubt in my mind that the the successful war against Islam waged by Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand was guided by the hand of divine providence.

Worth a read.
The Last Catholic Crusader Queen Isabella Of Spain by William Walsh

Blogger Johnny May 09, 2019 1:09 PM  

The Greay Man wrote:And it was precisely then, says Scott, that Europe’s classical culture also disappeared, with the abandonment of the undefended lowland villas and farms of the Roman period and a retreat to fortified hilltop settlements; the first medieval castles.

Following the fall of Rome, Europe shifted to a warrior elite that were horse warriors. That is what produced the castles. The castle allowed for defense against a group of horse warriors that might show up at any time. And unexpectedly of course.

Following the fall of Rome, Italy retained much of the old culture. They never really had a 'Dark Ages'. Northern Europe shifted to feudalism with local grand manners run by an ennobled elite in most locations. Feudalism allowed for some of the retention of the sophistication of the previous era in the organization of society, but all the (shall we say) higher learning was lost. Most people were local and illiterate rustics, and that often included the higher classes and clergy.

Blogger Ominous Cowherd May 09, 2019 1:12 PM  

CM wrote:... but the Spaniards had first hand knowledge of the vileness of the pagan and heathen.

The Spaniards learned war by fighting the mohammedans. If they were satanically cruel, it was because they had learned from the satanists.

Blogger VD May 09, 2019 1:16 PM  

How accurate do think this is?

Total BS.

Blogger Johnny May 09, 2019 1:22 PM  

As best I can recall, what the Mohamed and Charlemagne book argued was that the barbarians in France largely retained the old Roman cultural setup. What plunged France into the more primitive feudal state was the loss of control of the Mediterranean Sea owing to Arabic piracy. That terminated foreign trade, and caused the various Gothic dominated dominions to go more primitive. They had to go exclusively local because they depended on local resources exclusively. Or to put another word to it, feudalism.

It is a matter of record that Arabic piracy became so common that the entire coastline of Europe was depopulated. People moved away from the coast to avoid being vulnerable to the pirates. Along with us sending the Marines to the "the shores of Tripoli," the British and the Dutch shut piracy down the old fashioned way in the early nineteenth century. They used a fleet of European battleships against the pirates home ports.

Blogger Stilicho May 09, 2019 1:50 PM  

Save the kidergarten level view of European history for NRO

Blogger SirHamster May 09, 2019 2:15 PM  

JoeyD wrote:I wanted to buy this book but read a damning review on Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R9COVM7S2P2UG/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B01AL2SP76

How accurate do think this is?



"But the greatest evidence of muslim tolerance in Spain is that after 700 years, Christians existed in Spain, but after 100 years of Castilian rule, Muslims did not."

The greatest evidence of tolerance to Christianity is that after 2,000 years, Christianity exists. Ignoring that Jesus, his disciples, and many Christians were martyred.

Survival is not evidence of tolerance.

His greatest evidence is bunk.

Blogger Warunicorn May 09, 2019 2:18 PM  

If anyone wants the Kobo version:
https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-myth-of-the-andalusian-paradise

Blogger Ingemar May 09, 2019 2:25 PM  

What these idiots (Liberal Islam apologists, that is) never ask themselves is:

"If Al-Andalus was so great, how come the Christians said 'no thanks' with blades and bullets?"

Blogger VFM #7634 May 09, 2019 3:27 PM  

"But the greatest evidence of muslim tolerance in Spain is that after 700 years, Christians existed in Spain"

Actually, we have Don Pelayo to thank for that. If it wasn't for him, Spain would be as devoid of Christians as Morocco.

Blogger Miguel May 09, 2019 3:43 PM  

Anyone who says "tolerant" and "islam" in the same year should be hanged.

Blogger tublecane May 09, 2019 3:44 PM  

One must doubt the veracity of basically every conventional belief in all university-dominated fields, past a certain date. I don't know exactly when. Because there was a time when those institutions were not factories of deceit and confusion. Not even sure math is exempt, though I am unqualified to say.

Blogger Jeffrey Johnson May 09, 2019 3:47 PM  

I've read the Myth of the Al Andalus Paradise and Muhammad and Charlemagne. Both are very good books that delve into the reality of the destruction and chaos that Islam caused. They both give a solid insight to how truly violent and destructive Islam is.

Blogger tublecane May 09, 2019 4:39 PM  

My memory from college is being told that Islam was benevolent for allowing the conquered choice of conversion or death. Because once you converted allegedly they treated you like a regular Muslim. Oh, how thoughtful of them.

On the other hand, when Christians forcibly convert people, it's akin to the Holocaust. They had us watch a Christopher Lee t.v. movie about the Disputation of Barcelona, where he played James I of Aragon. This was after James had Reconquered Muslim-held territory, and it featured a debate on the divinity of Christ between a Jewish convert to Christianity and a rabbi. The rabbi wins the and is expelled from the kingdom, which is meant to foreshadow the expulsion of Jews from Spain a couple hundred years later. (And maybe the Holocaust, for that matter.)

I can't remember if the connection was made explicit, but you have to wonder how the rabbi would've fared in Islamic Spain, had not men like James fought it. He would've just been a Muslim, I guess.

Blogger Reziac May 09, 2019 5:25 PM  

@JoeyD: The 1-star reviewer is a Muslim (at a guess, a convert). Despite discrepancies, this appears to be the same person:

https://www.mylife.com/reza-smith/e783673506066

https://www.linkedin.com/in/reza-smith-529b48b/

I've read about half the book. It's very detailed, not easily dismantled. If you're in a hurry or just want the big picture, I'd suggest watching an interview with the author, which will give you a good overview of the material.

Here's one, which is why I bought his book:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-9oPo-brl8

Blogger OvergrownHobbit May 09, 2019 5:34 PM  

Thank you. We need our own copy.

Blogger weka May 09, 2019 6:16 PM  


Milo. Will sort out finances. Then Jordanectics. If yiu are finacially stable then Jordanectics.

Blogger Chiva May 09, 2019 7:25 PM  

Thank you for the heads up on this book. Added to reading list.

Blogger Tim Gilley May 09, 2019 11:42 PM  

Robert Spencer's History of Jihad does the same thing globally from the time of Mohammad to the present. It's as Samuel P. Huntington of Harvard said,"... the bloody borders of Islam."

Blogger Shimshon May 10, 2019 5:36 AM  

"They had us watch a Christopher Lee t.v. movie about the Disputation of Barcelona, where he played James I of Aragon. This was after James had Reconquered Muslim-held territory, and it featured a debate on the divinity of Christ between a Jewish convert to Christianity and a rabbi. The rabbi wins the and is expelled from the kingdom, which is meant to foreshadow the expulsion of Jews from Spain a couple hundred years later. (And maybe the Holocaust, for that matter.)"

The Disputation was a real historical and documented event. The rabbi (or, rather, the Jewish community) was forced into it. He did win. And he was expelled as a result. It does seem to foreshadow the general expulsion several centuries later.

Blogger buscaraons May 10, 2019 5:42 AM  

If you go to the Catholic answers website and click on the ra. He was greatdio link and then do a search you can find his interview. It was done back when the book was newly published

He was great. Very knowledgeable and just loved the disdain he had for the perpetuators of the myth.

He didn't add too many new thing for me as I've read some Spanish and Catalan sources but should buy the book.

Another related book but dealing with the Morisco explusion in 1608 is by JF Mira: Vida i final del moriscos (Ed Bromera 2009). He too blows away the tolerance myth and justifies the explusion on strategic grounds. They were pretty much untrustworthy fifth columnists in a war zone


A tidbit: the coast of Catalunya has towns with the suffix de dalt (upper) this was because the inhabitants would flee up the mountains when the Moslem slave raiders came hunting. Port de la Selva was founded on optical illusion at sea by being hidden between 2 mountains.

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