Europe’s multi-cultural past and the (de-)Islamisation of medieval Italy

Alex Metcalfe talks about the Muslims of Sicily and south Italy and their fate.

05.02.2017 | Mark Sedgwick

Dato tir 19 jan
Tid 04:14 04:14
Sted TBA

For over 400 years, Sicily and south Italy had large Muslim populations. When the Normans arrived, these conquerors of northern European origins created a kingdom that was like no other in Europe: a multi-faith, multi-lingual and multi-cultural state that employed officials and scholars of different religions; used hybrid art and architecture from Islamic, Byzantine, and Romanesque models, and made Latin, Greek and Arabic its official languages. The kings legislated to protect their Muslim population who continued to live under Islamic law, but within a century they had rebelled to form an Islamic state-within-a-state until they were defeated and deported en masse, thus forming a lasting frontier between Christian Europe and Muslim Africa. This talk will provide an illustrated critique of this remarkable kingdom and the pioneering ways it attempted to govern and control its multi-faith communities.

Alex Metcalfe (Lancaster University; ICSRU guest researcher, 2017) is a historian of the medieval Mediterranean and the Islamic 'world'. His publications deal with the multifaith, multicultural and multilingual island of Sicily, which was populated by both Muslim and Christian communities in the medieval period. His interests include the governance of interfaith communities; the legal, fiscal and sociocultural status of Muslims under Christian rule and vice-versa, as well as questions of religious conversion and transculturality.