The "illuminating and inspiring" (Los Angeles Times) bestseller that reveals a "lost" golden age of medieval Spain, when Muslims, Jews, and Christians lived together in an atmosphere of tolerance and literature and science flourished.
Undoing the familiar notion of the Middle Ages as a period of religious persecution and intellectual stagnation, María Menocal now brings us a portrait of a medieval culture where literature, science, and tolerance flourished for 500 years.
The story begins as a young prince in exile — the last heir to an Islamic dynasty — founds a new kingdom on the Iberian peninsula: al-Andalus. Combining the best of what Muslim, Jewish, and Christian cultures had to offer, al-Andalus and its successors influenced the rest of Europe in dramatic ways, from the death of liturgical Latin and the spread of secular poetry, to remarkable feats in architecture, science, and technology. The glory of the Andalusian kingdoms endured until the Renaissance, when Christian monarchs forcibly converted, executed, or expelled non-Catholics from Spain. In this wonderful book, we can finally explore the lost history whose legacy is still with us in countless ways.
With a foreword by Harold Bloom.
"Fascinating...A lively read...we are indebted to Ms. Menocal for opening up an important period of history." —Wall Street Journal