Music, Poetry, and Lingua Franca in Medieval Iberia

In: Philological Encounters
Dwight F. Reynolds University of California Santa Barbara

Search for other papers by Dwight F. Reynolds in
Current site
Google Scholar
View More View Less
Download Citation Get Permissions

Access options

Get access to the full article by using one of the access options below.

Institutional Login

Log in with Open Athens, Shibboleth, or your institutional credentials

Login via Institution


Buy instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access):


This essay examines three different points of cultural contact between Muslims and Christians in medieval Iberia as documented in three different bodies of texts. In each example, the use of a lingua franca results in the exchange of cultural ideas and the re-presentation of one group in the language of another. The first point of contact is in the court of Córdoba in the early 9th century as recorded in an Arabic biography of a musician, which has survived only as excerpted in a later encyclopedia compiled across the Mediterranean in Syria in the 14th century. The second point of contact takes place only a few decades later, also in Córdoba, and is documented in a Latin epistle composed by a Christian during a period of increasing tension between Muslims and Christians. The third point of contact occurs in Aragon and Catalonia in the late 14th and early 15th century, where ‘Moorish’ and Jewish musicians and dancers were regularly hired to perform at the courts of the royal family and other nobles, the evidence for which is found in financial records composed in Old Catalan. Each of these examples provides evidence of cultural contact that could significantly change our understanding of the relationship between cultural and linguistic groups in this period.

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 284 67 0
Full Text Views 255 9 0
PDF Views & Downloads 132 34 0