SESSION 4 | MARCH 2 | 16:00-17:45

Chair Catarina Tente (IEM)

Mosques in Gharb al-Andalus: once upon a time the Islamic world

16:00-16:30 |  Santiago Macias (NOVA FCSH)

After the Reconquista, the mosques of the Gharb underwent a rapid process of sacralization. The invocation of St. Mary or St. James was almost always enough to eliminate the memory of the Islamic faith. In places like Mértola, however, the lack of financial resources led to a process of adaptation with both unusual and pragmatic aspects. Some quite different situations occurred in Elvas or Lisbon, where the memory of the old mosques endured.

The mosque: a multifunctional sacred space

16:30-17:00 | Ana Miranda (LAQV-REQUIMTE | CH-ULisboa | UNIARQ)

In Islam, the mosque is the main sacred space. It is there that the religious celebrations and rituals that unite the Muslim community takes place. The mosque plays, however, other roles. It is a place of assertion of political power and economic power. In addition, it has an administrative, educational, caring, and socialization role, and is therefore present in various dimensions of the believer’s life. This poly-functional character sometimes generates competition and conflicts between the actors who embody its different roles. The treatise, along with the compilations of fatāwā, expose tensions, for example, between the religious and the educational functions, as well as between the caring and the economic functions. Such frictions grow throughout the 11th and 12th century, as al-Andalus society becomes more complex as a result of political, economic, and cultural developments.

The aljama mosque as spoil of war and foundational moment of a new political order. Observation from the cases of Marrakech and Lisbon, 1147

17:00-17:30 |  Inês Lourinho (CH-ULisboa)

The end of the Almoravid Empire in 1147, precipitated by the war fought on several fronts in an extensive territory with African and European dimensions, led to the dispute of the spoils by the many political opponents of the lords of Marrakech. With territorial conquest came plunder, consisting of movable goods, animals and even human beings, but also of real estate. Ibn Khaldūn states, in his Muqqadimah, that "the monuments of a dynasty are its buildings and its great edifices. They are proportional to the initial power of the dynasty." If the premise is true, then we must accept as a correlate that the intervention on these buildings symbolically and politically marks the victory of one dynasty that challenged power over another that lost it. At the epicentre of the Muslim city is the aljama mosque, where the khuṭba – the sermon – is delivered on behalf of the sovereign at Friday prayer, and with it, political programs and loyalties are made and unmade. Christian or Muslim, the opponents know that once the city is conquered, this is where a new political order is born. The options vary with the objectives but may include appropriation, possibly with simple modifications, abandonment, or destruction, partial or total. In Marrakech and Lisbon, the end of the Almoravids brought almost immediate destruction, partial and with abandonment in the first case, and total in the second. What were the reasons for these decisions, which, by comparison with other cases in the Maghreb and al-Andalus, seem to have been the exception rather than the rule?


Santiago Macias. Born in Moura, has 59-years-old. PhD in History from the University of Lyon2 (France), a researcher at the Archaeological Site of Mértola, and a visiting professor at the New University of Lisbon. Author of several books on the Islamic period. Scientific curator of, among other exhibitions, "Portugal Islâmico" (1998) and "Guerreiros e Mártires" (2020). Director of the Portuguese National Pantheon since April 2021.

Ana Miranda. PhD in Medieval History from the School of Arts and Humanities of the University of Lisbon, with the thesis “Ulemas do Ġarb al-Andalus no Séc. 5/XI. Análise a partir da Prosopografía de los Ulemas de al-Andalus (EEA-CSIC)”, financed by FCT. Post-doctoral researcher in the project Arqueologia da Cor – Os Materiais e as Técnicas da Cor da Escultura Medieval Portuguesa. Integrated researcher of LAQV REQUIMTE and collaborator of CH-ULisboa and UNIARQ. Main themes of work: history of al-Andalus and history of the Islamic and medieval world, focusing on the production and circulation of goods, techniques and knowledge, literate elites and border culture.

Inês Lourinho. PhD in Medieval History from the School of Arts and Humanities of the University of Lisbon in 2018, with the thesis “Fronteira do Gharb al-Andalus: Terreno de Confronto entre Almorávidas e Cristãos (1093-1147)”. She has dedicated the previous decade to the study of al-Andalus and the Maghreb, the relations between Christians and Muslims, and the political contexts and dynamics of the frontier war, which culminated in the founding of the kingdom of Portugal. In all her works, she confronts Christian sources with Muslim ones, in the search for a more balanced view between the parties, a methodology influenced by her initial training in Communication Sciences, a BA degree she completed at the Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas da Universidade Nova de Lisboa. She is a historian – and a journalist.