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Cities of Splendour in the Shaping of Sephardi History$
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Jane S. Gerber

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781904113300

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781904113300.001.0001

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Crossing the Borders of Art and Society: Toledo as a Meeting Place of Cultures 1150–1350

Crossing the Borders of Art and Society: Toledo as a Meeting Place of Cultures 1150–1350

Chapter:
(p.48) Chapter Two Crossing the Borders of Art and Society: Toledo as a Meeting Place of Cultures 1150–1350
Source:
Cities of Splendour in the Shaping of Sephardi History
Author(s):

Jane S. Gerber

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.3828/liverpool/9781904113300.003.0003

This chapter focuses on how Toledo's Jews formed an integral part of a city defined by diverse languages, cultures and peoples. Toledo, situated in the heart of Muslim territory, was the first Andalusian city to fall to the Christians in 1085. It discusses a new Castilian identity emerged out of the embers of Andalusia and the ongoing clashes of the Reconquest. The chapter highlights the New Jewish identities developed, the reconfiguration of political borders and population shifts on a grand scale. It explores how Toledo became the meeting place as well as a prime battleground for the many competing social and intellectual currents in Christian and Jewish circles. It argues that the migration of the Jews from Muslim to Christian Spain in the twelfth century did not spell the end of the rich culture that Jews had created in Andalusia. Jews continued to speak Arabic well into the fourteenth century and to cultivate Arabic-inspired arts. These formed an essential part of their identity. Ultimately, the chapter explains how the Sephardim responded to the new challenges of the Reconquest and the attacks on their tradition with the artistic vocabularies of the surrounding cultures.

Keywords:   Toledo, Toledo's Jews, Andalusia, Castilian identity, Reconquest, Christian Spain, Sephardim, Muslim Spain

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