Ornament of the World by Maria Rosa Menocal
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Ornament of the World
By Maria Rosa Menocal

The Ornament of the World

How Muslims, Jews and Christians Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain

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Format: Paperback

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Ornament of the World by Maria Rosa Menocal

Book Description

A rich and thriving culture where literature, science and religious tolerance flourished for 700 years is the subject of this enthralling history of medieval Spain. Living side by side in the Andalusian kingdoms, the 'peoples of the book' produced statesmen, poets and philosophers who influenced the rest of Europe in dramatic ways, giving it the first translations of Plato and Aristotle, love songs and secular poetry plus remarkable feats of architecture and technology. This evocative account explores the lost history whose legacy and lessons have a powerful resonance in today's world.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780316168717
ISBN-10: 0316168718
Format: Paperback
(209mm x 143mm x 24mm)
Pages: 352
Imprint: Little, Brown & Company
Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
Publish Date: 5-Apr-2003
Country of Publication: United States

Other Editions...

Books By Author Maria Rosa Menocal

Song of the CID by Maria Rosa Menocal Song of the CID, Paperback (September 2009)

Presents the adventures of the warlord and nobleman Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar both - 'Mio Cid'. This tale tells the Cid's unjust banishment from the court of King Alfonso, his victorious campaigns in Valencia and the crowning of his daughters as queens of Aragon and Navarre - the high point of his career as a warmonger.

Arts of Intimacy by Maria Rosa Menocal Arts of Intimacy, Paperback (July 2009)

Chronicles the tumultuous history of Castile in the wake of the Christian capture of the Islamic city of Tulaytula, now Toledo, in the eleventh century and traces the development of Castilian culture as it was forged in the intimacy of Christians with the Muslims and Jews they had overcome.

Literature of Al-Andalus by Maria Rosa Menocal Literature of Al-Andalus, Paperback (November 2006)

The Literature of Al-Andalus explores the culture of Iberia adopting an interdisciplinary and comparative approach.

» View all books by Maria Rosa Menocal


UK Kirkus Review » Historians do not often acknowledge it, but mediaeval Spain was not all about inquisition and torture. In fact, for 700 years the country thrived as a place where Christians, Muslims and Jews lived together in harmony. They retained their distinct ideologies, customs and identities but respected and even came to like each other. The result was an awakening from the Dark Ages, a thriving development of art and science, and a peaceful co-existence never known before or since. Covering the period 786 to 1492, Iberian cultural expert Maria Rosa Menocal shows why most historians have overlooked that 'Andalucian golden age' but how it provides a lesson in possibilities for the modern world. What we now think of as 'Western' civilization began paradoxically with a massacre in the Middle East. A young Muslim named Abd al-Rahman - possibly still a teenager - fled Damascus and sought refuge in the Islamic world's farthest outpost. It was there, in southern Spain, that he established a new order that was to revolutionize the established way of thinking. Instead of fighting each other, Muslims, Christians and Jews first came to a grudging acceptance of co-existence, then to a realization that together they could create what appeared to be far more than the sum of its parts. We can still see the result in great forms of architecture, and in many artistic treasures. The multicultural enrichment also brought about scientific advances at a rate not known since ancient Greece. Menocal's story is told with a wonderful eye for detail. Her evocation of the past is as telling as that of any novel, and her analysis is cogent. On the downside, the illustrations are too few and would have been better on glossy plates, and one or two more maps would also have been helpful. (Kirkus UK)

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Author Biography - Maria Rosa Menocal

Maria Rosa Menocal is R Selden Rose Professor of Spanish and Portuguese at Yale University and is Director of Yale's Whitney Humanities Center. Foreward by Harold Bloom.

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