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[文化博览] 【整理】2012-11-19 风情南西班牙 The Moorish South —13

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[Homework]2012-11-19 风情南西班牙 The Moorish South —13

What you really notice about the space is the one which(*) every square inch has been decorated. Now that's unique and it would become one of the hallmarks of Spanish-Islamic art. It's almost as if they developed a terra(*) of empty space.

But the glory of Medina Azahara was to be short-lived. Less than 100 years after work on the palace began, it lay in ruins. In the eleventh century civil war engulfed Al-Andalus. The Dynasty of Abd-ar-Rahman, rulers for nearly 300 years, was overthrown. Medina Azahara was sacked and looted. The golden age was over.


So why did this golden moment come to an end? Well, some blame fierce political rivalry between the various Islamic tribes the made up of Muslim Spain from the start. Others say it was due to corruption within the caliph itself. But my own favourite explanation was given by the greatest Spain-Arab historian of the time. It's wonderful. It's the orange growth theory of history. He said that any societies doom once it's become wealthy enough and therefore sedentary enough to plant orange trees. Maybe in the end, they will just undone by their own success.


In 1031, Al-Andalus spilt into dozens of self-governing city states, fighting amongst each other for territory and power. But things were to get far worse. I've come to the city of Seville, two hours' drive to the west of Cordoba. In the eleventh century this became the most important city in Spain, home to a new set of Arab rulers.

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