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Project Description:

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The collaborators of Medieval Spains: Antiquity to the New World (AD 100 to 1550) have designed a research- and curriculum-based website that presents scholarly materials on the various communities of medieval Spain. A diversity of site modules encourages readers to explore Iberia's long standing history of engagement with other cultures and places. From Roman occupation to the co-existence of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim communities to Spanish imperialism and colonialization, Medieval Spains emphasizes the links between the Iberian peninsula and North Africa, the Mediterranean, Europe, Asia, and the New World. Thus interaction between Muslims, Christians, and Jews will be an important topic in several modules [Cordoba, Seville, Barcelona, Granada] whereas transformations in the peninsular (and global) economy will be explored within other modules [Italica, Catalonia, and Spanish/Portuguese Expansion].

In presenting current scholarship, historiographical trends, and interdisciplinary themes, the aim of Medieval Spains is to offer accessibility to a lay audience but also to provide the advanced student with the methodological tools necessary for independent research. Viewers of Medieval Spains can study primary sources (Arabic, Hebrew, Latin, Catalan, and Spanish) as well as their English translations. Iberian secular and religious music (early Hispanic chant, Cantigas of Santa Maria, and Jewish and Muslim compositions ) will be supplemented by manuscript images, sound clips, and video clips. Images of mosques, synagogues, churches, castles, and palaces are presented within their historical and literary contexts. As a multimedia project, Medieval Spains takes full advantage of new technologies which allow the student a far richer experience than anything afforded them through traditional paper publications.

News from Medieval Spains

Audio Recordings for Music Module

Digital recordings of a selection of vocal music sung by a small group led by team member Joe Sargent were made on March 4, 2003.
sample: Tomas Luis de Victoria, Document IconO Magnum Mysterium, sung by Kerry McCarthy, Kaneez Munjee, Joseph Sargent, and Sam Smith (mp3, 2.8 MB)

New Content in the 16th Century Expansion Module

Jared Brubaker submitted scans of the legal documents in the trial of Geronimo Gorgoz and the trial of Roman El Romo.

New Content in the 13th Century Barcelona Module

Elka Klein made several contributions to the Barcelona Module. Much of the new material discusses the "points of contact" between the various religious communities in medieval Barcelona. In addition to providing detailed descriptions of the various concrete places of contact: The Courtroom, the Marketplace, and the Royal Court, Klein gives us an introduction to the subject of interaction between Jewish and Christian communities:

Medieval Barcelona was a good place to be a Jew; Jews were treated generously by the count-kings, and enjoyed relatively stable relations with the local Christians until the very end of the fourteenth century. ... Jews and Christians in medieval Barcelona may have shared more than they themselves realized. To a historian's eye it is clear that the community and the city of Barcelona developed in parallel ways, as did certain aspects of the private family lives of Christians and Jews. These parallels suggest that behind the very real religious differences which divided Christians and Jews was a common cultural substratum.

Other Added Content

T. Nava-Vaughn has contributed a series of photographs of medieval architecture, including several images of mid 9th century churches from around Oviedo, Bendones, and Valdediós. Also included in this submission are images from a 8th century Mosque and an early 14th century synagogue, both in Cordoba. A photo of the Alhambra in Granada also graces this update.

Contributor Brett Whalen added new content on the aftermath of Columbus' landing in 1492. Among the new content is the text of the Papal Bull Inter Caetera, issued in 1493. Following news of Columbus's discoveries, Pope Alexander VI, a native of Valencia and confidant of King Ferdinand, issued several bulls recognizing the Spanish claim over newly discovered regions. This bull, Inter Caetera, affirms the Spanish throne's claim to any new land not previously held by any Christian prince. The bull also mentions the papacy's will to continue the spread of the Christian faith in the New World. In the future Spain would cite this task as justification for its authority over the inhabitants of the newly claimed lands.

Another new submission: Mana Musa, Ruler of Mali, as Featured on the Fourteenth-Century Catalan Atlas.

Core Personnel:

  • Kathryn Miller
  • Jeffrey Bowman
  • Nick Cofod
  • Elka Klein


  • Jared Brubaker
  • Brian A. Catlos (Assistant Professor of History, University of California Santa Cruz; Ph.D.: University of Toronto) - specializing in Muslim-Christian-Jewish social and economic relations in the Crown of Aragon and the Mediterranean.
  • [ Kenneth Garden] (Ph.D. Candidate University of Chicago, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations)
  • Benjamin Hindes (Graduate Student, Department of History, Stanford University and Faculty of History, University of Cambridge) -interested in frontiers and intercultural contacts in the medieval Mediterranean.
  • Teri Nava-Vaughn
  • Eric Lawee
  • Michael Powell
  • Joseph Sargent (Ph.D. student, Music Department, Stanford University) - specializing in the history of early Spanish music.
  • Gretchen Starr-Lebeau
  • Brett Whalen

Technical Development:

  • Michael Gonzalez
  • Prasanth Pulavarthi
  • Aaron Russell
  • Russ Valdez

Undergraduate Interns:

  • Russ Valdez
  • Christine Chen
  • Edwin Ho
  • Allen Riddell

Medieval Spains Contact:

Joe Sargent <jsargent @>

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