Possessing the Land

Aragon's Expansion into Islam's Ebro Frontier under Alfonso the Battler (1104-1134)


Possessing the Land is the first comprehensive treatment of Christian Aragon's expansion under Alfonso I (1104-1134) into a major arena of medieval Christian/Islamic contact: the Islamic Ebro River march of Aragon. Based on an extensive examination of primary and secondary sources, the book's insights into the social and political processes of Christian settlement and the fate of post-conquest Islam are of particular importance. Its conclusions that the freeholding of land characterized the Ebro's Christian settlement, and not heavy seignorialization, and that Christian settlement relied on the Muslim infrastructure, challenge significantly the neo-Marxist thesis of the “feudalization” of twelfth-century Christian Iberian society and the corresponding Christian break with Iberia's Islamic Past. This book constitutes a fundamental work in Iberian frontier studies.

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EUR €202.00USD $250.00

Biographical Note

Clay Stalls, Ph.D. (1991) in History, University of California, Los Angeles, is currently a lecturer in the UCLA Department of History. He is the author of numerous articles on Muslim/Christian relations in medieval Iberia and on medieval Iberian social history.

Review Quotes

' ...a valuable work for upper-division undergraduates and above. Strongly recommended.' J.F. Powers, Choice, 1997. ' ...einer Fülle von soliden Einzelergebnissen sowie faktischen Klärungen, die die großen politischen Linien auf der Iberischen Halbinsel in dieser Epoche deutlicher hervortreten lassen...' Ludwig Vones, Deutsches Archiv für Erforschung des Mittelalters, 1998.

Table of contents

Preface Abbreviations Map I. The Geography and History of Alfonso's Ebro Conquests 1 II. Possessing the Land: The King as Agent and Governor of Settlement 59 III. The Nobility of the Ebro 115 IV. Non-Noble and Non-Royal Settlement of the Ebro 157 V. The Church of the Ebro Frontier 224 VI. The Dilemma of Conquered Muslims Under Christian Rule: The Aragonese Solution 279 Conclusion 316 Bibliography 321 Index 333


Scholars interested in medieval frontier societies, the Crusades, medieval Iberia, Aragon, medieval peasant and agrarian history, and Muslims in the Latin West.

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