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date: 03 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the geographical, conceptual, and spiritual boundaries between Christendom and Islam in the middle ages, focussing on Iberia and the Levant. It notes that the demarcated divisions on modern maps may mislead us: medieval people did not conceive of the separation of faith and space in such clearly bounded ways. It explores the ideologies of Christian conquest, exploring how in the Christian kingdoms of Iberia, a notional Visigothic past of Christian dominance was drawn upon in much later centuries, creating a belief in a justified ‘reconquest’, while in the Levant, Latin settlers articulated a deep Christian past for what they increasingly called the ‘Holy Land’. The chapter also discusses the techniques by which conquered lands were made ‘Christian’—through church building for example, but also through the imaginative boundaries between Christian and Muslim. However, the lived reality was always more complex, as Christians, Muslims and Jews had long co-existed in these regions and the physical boundaries between Islam and Christendom were porous.

Keywords: maps, al-Andalus, crusade, Iberia, Holy Land, castles, toleration

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