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Karen Rose Mathews

In Conflict, Commerce, and an Aesthetic of Appropriation in the Italian Maritime Cities, 1000-1150, Karen Rose Mathews analyzes the relationship between war, trade, and the use of spolia (appropriated objects from past and foreign cultures) as architectural decoration in the public monuments of the Italian maritime republics in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. This comparative study addressing five urban centers argues that the multivalence of spolia and their openness to new interpretations made them the ideal visual form to define a distinct Mediterranean identity for the inhabitants of these cities, celebrating the wealth and prestige that resulted from the paired endeavors of war and commerce while referencing the cultures across the sea that inspired the greatest hostility, fear, or admiration.

Edited by Mercedes García-Arenal, Gerard A. Wiegers and Ryan Szpiech

This book discusses the “long fifteenth century” in Iberian history, between the 1391 pogroms and the forced conversions of Aragonese Muslims in 1526, a period characterized by persecutions, conversions and social violence, on the one hand, and cultural exchange, on the other. It was a historical moment of unstable religious ideas and identities, before the rigid turn taken by Spanish Catholicism by the middle of the sixteenth century; a period in which the physical and symbolic borders separating the three religions were transformed and redefined but still remained extraordinarily porous. The collection argues that the aggressive tone of many polemical texts has until now blinded historiography to the interconnected nature of social and cultural intimacy, above all in dialogue and cultural transfer in later medieval Iberia.
Contributors are Ana Echevarría, Gad Freudenthal, Mercedes García-Arenal, Maria Laura Giordano, Yonatan Glazer-Eytan, Eleazar Gutwirth, Felipe Pereda, Rosa M. Rodríguez Porto, Katarzyna K. Starczewska, John Tolan, Gerard Wiegers, and Yosi Yisraeli.