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When The Moors Ruled In Europe -

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(generated from captions) going to be ghosts, TIM: there's always there's always going to be horrors. I'm still unloading it. Every time I go back to Vietnam - I've been back 42 times - the same 'Agent Orange' kids, I try and go and see

and help as much as I can. I used to try and go I'm not trying to be facetious, It sounds a bit... I try to go and put back in some sort of cyclic karma. SCREAMING AND GUN SHOTS to cover a war or traumatic event Why would a journalist going be any less affected by that event or the emergency workers? than the soldiers the victims themselves. Or perhaps even, to a degree, to run for their lives... Police yelled for everyone We're recording it. We're in there. We're seeing it all. We're reliving it. We're editing it. to feel it. And we do. Of course we're going Welcome back, I'm Geraldine Doogue. is now available in Australia And support for journalists for Journalism and Trauma. through the Dart Centre It's a global resource covering violence and tragedy for journalists a few years ago. and it opened its Melbourne office by visiting their website, You can find out what they do which is at:

and follow the links to Australasia. special Online Forum Now, if you'd like to join our in tonight's program, to discuss issues raised to our website at: we invite you to go and follow the links. and Kimina Lyall Journalists, Philip Williams from the Dart Centre, and Cait McMahon, are standing by to welcome you. Next week on Compass - surrogacy. for Australian families. The brave new frontier of IVF surrogacy. NARRATOR: Liam is the product His aunty, Helen, playing host by his mother and father. to an embryo created like a little scar on his nose. ..The tubes up his nose, he's got It's a big ask. or driving me up the street, It's not like making a cup of tea it's a huge ask. on hold and her life on hold She had to put her whole family for me so I could fulfil my dreams. that's next Sunday, on Compass, Surrogate Mums - at our earlier time of 9:30. Goodnight. Until then, I'm Geraldine Doogue. Closed Captions by CSI

This program is not subtitled The year is 1492. is about to embark Christopher Columbus to the Americas. on his world-shattering voyage he stops off here, at Granada. And on his way to the coast, He's the honoured guest of a ceremony of Spain, Ferdinand and Isabella. hosted by the King and Queen

They are celebrating a grand victory. Granada had been ruled by Muslims. Up until this day, control from them. But Isabella has managed to wrestle Ferdinand and Isabella's victory for Spain and for Europe. marks a turning point the West is about to embark on The Middle Ages are over and a new epoch of power and discovery. as the beginning of an era, We tend to think of this forgotten chapter in European history in fact it's the climax of a in the West. the rise and fall of Islam It was Rudyard Kipling who wrote, and never the twain shall meet." "East is east and west is west that still has currency today. And it's a world view become ideological monoliths, Islam and Christianity seem to have closed to one another. citadels whose gates are firmly separate lives. But they haven't always lived such

Muslim forces invaded Spain In the year 711AD,

so rich and so powerful, and created a society it was the envy of the known world. of our imaginations This wasn't the rigid ferocious Islam intellectually curious culture, but a progressive, sensuous, years that for a number of spine-tingling of Europe. looked set to sweep through the whole It is an incredible story, written out of history. but one that has been systematically took over the city of Granada, After the Catholic monarchs they began to destroy all evidence had ever been in Spain. that the Muslims

In the following century,

and expelled 300,000 Muslims. the Spanish authorities persecuted Arabic books. And burned as many as a million

of ethnic cleansing. This was an astonishing act It put an end to a civilisation for 700 years. which had flourished in Spain 'The Moors'. These people have become known as has given us an enduring image. Propaganda sparked by the crusades,

savage, alien enemy. The diabolical Moor, a dark-skinned, is a complete invention. But this character who these people really were. And tells us nothing about Now, archaeologists and historians real story of the Moors in Spain. are starting to piece together the hidden cities, They're uncovering the remains of

in the revival of the classics discovering the role of Muslims of Islamic buildings. and decoding the meaning A fascinating picture has emerged. I'm going to use this new research when East met West in Europe. to explore what happened If there is one place which challenges the stereotype bloodthirsty Moor, of the treacherous,

in Granada. it's here, the Alhambra Palace, palaces in the whole world. most complete medieval Islamic The Alhambra is one of the kings of Granada in the 14th century It was built by the Muslim at the height of their power. because the dark surrounding soil Its name means 'the red one', reddish hue. has given its stones an earthy, is its mystery. The marvel of the Alhambra survives. Not a single account of life here in the fires of the Inquisition. All its archives were incinerated themselves to destroy this place. But the Catholics couldn't bring The Alhambra is one of the wonders of the medieval world. they've kept a box of secrets And by preserving it, the civilisation that built it. that we can use to decode the architecture is breathtaking. Inside the palace walls, of this courtyard Although the aesthetic is quite cool and minimal now, it would have been a riot of colour. in its heyday, for producing silks Granada was very famous billowing in the breeze and you'd have had silk hangings and silk cushions and silk rugs, their dinner and to listen to music. where people laid out to eat In fact, it's only when you get down to rug level, that you appreciate one of the bits of magic of the place. Because from down here, this pool acts like a kind of infinity mirror and the whole of the palace just looks like it's suspended in water. Every detail of the palace decoration seems to be part of a scheme. Row upon row of intricate geometric patterns are carved into the woodwork of the walls and windows. This is the throne room. It was the symbolic centre of the palace and here the sultan had a kind of psychological advantage over his subjects. Whereas he'd have stood here, an eerie silhouette, they'd have been blinded by the light that came streaming in through these brightly-coloured stained glass windows. The 19th-century writer, Washington Irving observed, "It's impossible to contemplate this abode of Oriental manners "without feeling the early association of Arabian romance. "One almost expects to see some dark eyes sparkling through the lattice. "The abode of beauty is here, as if it had been inhabited but yesterday." But this is far more than just a beautiful building. There's a specific reason why it feels so harmonious. The men who built it had a knowledge of complex geometry which originated in the ancient world. The first man to set down these mathematical principles was the Greek philosopher, Pythagoras. Pythagoras saw numbers everywhere in the universe. But his brilliance was to understand the importance of the ratio between them. Professor Antonio Fernandez-Puertas has spent his life studying the Alhambra. He's discovered that the whole of the building,

from the ground plan to the wall decoration, is based around one single ratio. Everything is so perfect because it exists under control of the proportion. And very very simple. You notice that there is something magic about this buildings, there is something marvellous in your surroundings. It's very very simple, it's the relation between the ground and the elevations of the buildings. It's as simple as that. The king ordered a new palace. He has a limited area to build the palace. To west, east and south, he was limited.

Then he did something genius, ingenious and beautiful. The king of Granada asked his architects to harmonise each and every space within the palace

according to a single set of proportions,

a family of rectangles,

each related to the other. If you want to get proportional rectangle, you have the same base, take the diagonal, put it up, and you've got successive proportional rectangle.

The key to the Alhambra's design is the simple relationship between the side of a square and its diagonal.

If we use the diagonal to make a rectangle, and then the diagonal from that rectangle to make another,

we get a progression of rectangles. The fourth rectangle is double the size of the first and the diagonals in this sequence

are in fact the square roots of 2, 3, 4 and 5, a magical sequence. And are they doing all this just with two set squares and a piece of string.

That's very clever. Yes. Every part of the intricate network of spaces, all the courtyards, the hallways, the placement of every column was designed using inspired variations of this proportional system. Proportion is also in the elevation. You have the kiosk. Here, you build a square, and with the diagonal, you bring it up. Nothing violated this incredibly elaborate system. The Alhambra is a triumph of mathematics as much as it is of aesthetics. Mathematical ingenuity is the root of its beauty. But no-one talks about this. Everyone looks at the Alhambra just as an aesthetic experience. When you go to a concert and you listen to Mozart,

you listen to Beethoven, you listen to Verdi, you don't know perhaps music,

but you notice that there is something magic. It happens, just the same. You feel it. The Alhambra's so enchanting, it's all too easy to view it as a fairy tale palace, isolated from history. But that is romantic nonsense. This palace was the product of a very real, very gritty history. The Alhambra was built by a religious empire, which at the pinnacle of its power dominated land from China to Africa. An empire which had the wealth and intellect to build such masterpieces.

An empire whose history goes back to the deserts of 7th-century Arabia. At the beginning of the 7th century in Saudi Arabia, something happened which was to change the religious make up of the world for ever.

A merchant called Muhammad asserted that he had been visited by archangel Gabriel who had revealed to him the true words of God. These revelations, which came to Muhammad throughout his life, became known as the Koran. And the religion was Islam. This was a time when people were experimenting with all sorts of cults and religions, many of which fell by the wayside.

But the Muhammad and his followers made an important move. They travelled to a desert oasis, where they founded a city called Medina. With a foothold in Medina, Islam was no longer just a nomadic desert cult. It had an urban centre with a social structure. As the religion grew bigger, so it grew more ambitious. Territorial expansion was a characteristic of nomadic Arabs, well before the arrival of Muhammad. Tribal leaders would initiate ratsia, or raids, on their neighbours. And with the advent of Islam, these gained some kind of spiritual significance. This was what one commander was reported to have said in one of the earliest-ever Arabic chronicles. "This land is your inheritance and the promise of your lord. "You've been tasting it and eating from it. "You have been killing its people and taking them into captivity. "You are Arab chiefs and notables.

"If you renounce this world and aspire to the hereafter... "..God will give you this world and the hereafter." They believed they were inspired by the power of God. Within decades, Islamic Arabs had reached as far as Persia in the east. In the west, they'd conquered Egypt, Jordan and much of North Africa and were within spitting distance of Europe.

But Islam wasn't only interested in territorial expansion, it was also a faith committed to the pursuit of learning. Among the prophet's first revelations was the instruction, "Seek knowledge." This meant that from the very earliest days of Islam, literacy and religious study went hand in hand.

Whereas a number of other religions of the day preferred to keep literacy the privilege of a clerical elite, Islam actively encouraged it. In the ancient Muslim city of Fez, in Morocco, there are many examples of this unique integration of religion and education. This is the Kairaouine mosque in Fez

and it's still the heart of religious life here. It was founded in 859 by a woman, both as a religious and as an educational establishment. Mosques were used for teaching grammar and literacy to ordinary people. In time, colleges, known as madrasahs, were set up. This is the madrasah Bou Inania. Its walls are covered with rich, rhyming prose of the Koran. (Man speaks French) TRANSLATOR: The mosque is only part of the complex, which contains both it and the madrasah. When the sultan Abu Anan founded the place, he built the mosque alongside madrasah. It is most symbolic. The mosque, built for prayer, was also a place which encouraged education and learning. As you can see, there is no separation. When the Koran was given to the prophet who was illiterate, the angel told him, "Read". These inscriptions carved onto the walls are verses of poetry and can be found throughout the madrasah. But I think the most-important section is here. What it says in Arabic is,

"I am the apogee of knowledge. "Come, you Muslims... "..come and learn, because with knowledge "you can become what you want to be "in the future." During the medieval period, knowledge was high on the agenda in the Islamic world. Muslim societies produced many books in the various spheres of knowledge. And these books came to be known worldwide. It wasn't just an enlightened attitude to reading. which placed learning at the heart of the Islamic world. Necessity was also the mother of invention. Because the Arabs were nomads and desert traders who often had to travel in the cool of the night, they were well-versed in using the stars as guiding devices. This developed into a very sophisticated study of astronomy. With the establishment of Islam, that knowledge was applied in a new way.

Whenever a mosque was built, the prayer niche had to be orientated in direct relation to Mecca. And there are a number of religious festivals that had to fall on certain days in the lunar year. These were complex mathematical problems for which the Muslims devised precise solutions. Islam became a culture which naturally embraced scientific and mathematical investigation. This uninhibited attitude towards learning meant that when Muslims encountered the teachings of other cultures,

they seized upon them vigorously. In the very early days of Islam, Muslims came into contact with a body of knowledge which had been ignored by most of Northern Europe for centuries. The works of the ancient Greeks. It's once you look at a globe that it becomes particularly easy to understand why the Arabs were such natural inheritors of Greek learning. From the Bronze Age onwards, there'd been a constant exchange of artefacts and information all across the eastern Mediterranean and in fact, a number of Greek ideas

stemmed from Eastern and Egyptian influences. The bulk of this knowledge was preserved in the great schools and library at Alexandria. And then, in 641AD, the Arabs take over the city and at a stroke, have direct access to this precious learning. Many of these texts found their way to Fez. This is an Arabic translation of Aristotle,

with an additional commentary by the Muslim scholar Averroes. The translation's done in Iraq and then Averroes does this commentary in Al-Andalus. There's even an early-Arabic translation of the Bible. (Speaks French) It's extraordinary, isn't it, that Arabic's the lingua franca. Everybody's writing in Arabic, even the Bible. TRANSLATOR: And thus ends the Gospel of St Mark, the Apostle. The contrast with Europe at this time could not have been greater. Here, Ancient Greek texts and the rational investigation they contained were often feared as blasphemous. When the prophet Muhammad was born, Christianity had already been battling with paganism for 600 years, trying to persuade believers to turn away from their old gods to the one new god. And because of that, Christians were often suspicious of Greek and Roman pagan texts. For instance, in 529AD, the Christian emperor, Justinian, closed down the Athenian schools of philosophy. Set against this vibrant Islamic culture, Europe can appear an introspective and intellectually cautious place. It was certainly a continent in crisis. After the fall of Rome, there was a power vacuum in Europe,

with rival tribes squabbling for territories. It was the start of what later Christian scholars would describe as the Dark Ages. While Europe lay unprotected and vulnerable, Islam was consolidating land and power. By the beginning of the 8th century, the Arabs had converted the Berber tribes, at the very tip of North Africa. And before long, troops were gathered in the coast, their eyes fixed on Europe. This little stretch of water between Spain and Morocco is only nine miles wide.

But it's come to represent some kind of cultural chasm between Europe and Africa. But in the 8th century, when sea travel was the way to get around, that wasn't a barrier, it was a highway. In July 711, 7,000 Berber tribesmen stormed across the Strait of Gibraltar and invaded Europe. The Muslims then began an incredible process of expansion. In just four years, they'd colonised almost the whole of Spain,

had crossed the Pyrenees, and were only halted at Poitiers in France. Were it not for this, an army which had swept across two continents, might easily have crossed the English Channel and occupied Britain. The Muslims called the country they came to Al-Andalus. The land of the Vandals. This refers to the Germanic tribe who ruled Spain at the time. The Visigoths. Spanish historians have traditionally seen the Muslim invasion of Spain as a terrible and violent attack, an assault on Christian Europe.

In fact, here at the Visigoth site of Recopolis near Madrid, archaeologists have found evidence which offers a rather different explanation. What was it, at the time that the Muslims were invading, what was the state of the city then? If you read the orthodox Spanish histories, then you'll learn that predatory Muslim hordes forcibly appropriated Visigothic Spain. And there certainly were some invasion battles. But at many places, like here at Recopolis, it seems that the newcomers were actually welcomed with open arms. We even have treaties where the Visigoths enthusiastically hand over their land in return for effective Muslim protection. TRANSLATOR: We went into Spain. Not to fight against the people there, but to save them from the tyranny of the Latins and others that governed them at the time. In Al-Andalus, they found a paradise on earth. When the Arabs changed the location... ..it changed geography from the inhospitable barren homeland... ..to a rich and fertile country. This was to transform the Arab mind. This really is the secret came to be born. of how such a great civilisation had been swift and effective. The Muslim invasion of Spain But it lacked a strong leadership. were North African tribesmen, The first wave of invaders

only recently converted to Islam, the power base of Arabia. and without connections to But this was about to change. In the capital of the Muslim world, of the ruling dynasty massacred. a political coup left all the members

a prince, called Abd al-Rahman All that is, except for one, when his family was massacred. Abd al-Rahman was in his late teens He managed to escape the slaughter

west of Damascus. and fled to the hills, and Abd al-Rahman must have grown up His mother had been from North Africa hearing tales of Al-Andalus. And so he made a dangerous journey, and the deserts of Egypt, across the Nile heading for those distant lands.

and learning Abd al-Rahman brought culture straight to the heart of Al-Andalus. from the centre of the Islamic world he came here, to Cordoba, When Abd al-Rahman arrived in Spain, was in complete disarray. where the city had collapsed into the river. That Roman bridge set to rebuilding the city. But Abd al-Rahman this context that the Arabs arrive. You have to remember that it's in but sometimes as saviours. Not as marauding destroyers,

technology for irrigation to Spain. Abd al-Rahman brought cutting-edge the landscape was transformed. Almost immediately, Palm trees, lemon and orange groves, pomegranates, avocadoes, artichokes and

in Europe. none of which had been seen sophisticated trade network, Because of Abd al-Rahman's created huge wealth. this new agriculture And these riches were used to build in the world. one of the greatest cities were still living in wooden houses, While the inhabitants of London had built a cosmopolitan city the people of Cordoba with a population of over 100,000, the largest settlement in Europe. to Cordoba Reports from European visitors and over 300 public baths. describe a city with 70 libraries with running water The accounts tell of houses street lights. and roads illuminated by medieval sources You often have to take

pinch of salt with a fairly substantial extremely fond of exaggeration. because chroniclers were here at Cordoba But in fact, the new excavations that was just as rich are actually revealing a city as the one that they described. belonged to a Muslim aristocrat. These monumental palace walls is part of the water system And this channel over here its famously-effective sewage works, that brought Cordoba and the baths as well as the fountains all those European visitors. that so impressed a 10th century German visitor Cordoba was described by as, "The ornament of the world".

Islamic Cordoba so difficult to investigate One of the reasons it's been itself, like a kind of layer cake, is that the city's been built up on have taken away the modern level but here, archaeologists to reveal that Islamic layer there the Roman mosaic. and then down at the bottom, Abd al-Rahman built Cordoba

the largest cities in Roman Spain, on top of what had been one of outshining all that went before. was this. And his greatest achievement The great mosque of Cordoba. four football pitches With a floor space the size of in western Islam. this is the largest mosque disappear into the distance, The forest of 600 marble columns creating a mesmeric infinity effect. on top of one another. On the columns, arches balance has an extraordinary acoustic Its shell-shaped prayer niche

audible to the entire congregation. making any word spoken inside

these archways will have been opened When the mosque was first built, to stream in and out to allow people and light a central part of the complex. and this courtyard was purify themselves People would come here to richly or just to gossip and do business. before their worships, Abd al-Rahman's original mosque the building that stands today. was only a fraction of the size of Over a period of 200 years, rulers would extend the mosque three times. the mosque's been enlarged It's been suggested that because each new ruler of the city on the building. wanted to stamp his authority straightforward explanation. But there's also a more The Cordoba mosque had to accommodate the burgeoning number of worshippers. was growing. The Muslim population of Spain Fast. to acknowledge Modern Spain has been reluctant converted to Islam in droves. that its indigenous population Standard history books present the Muslim occupation of Spain as something that was superficial. by an Arab elite. Just a surface colonisation had any lasting impact Not a presence that on the bulk of the population. is turning that on its head. New archaeological evidence were established. All over Spain, cities like Cordoba Even Madrid was founded by Muslims. behind the royal palace. The original Arab walls still stand spread through Spain? How far did Muslim communities of Al-Andalus almost everywhere. We see remains dating from the time People were Arabised,

they were speaking until then. losing the form of Latin

sense that they dropped Christianity And they were Islamised, in the in massive numbers. and converted to Islam

and Arabisation In a way, the Islamisation of territories like Al-Andalus

the Roman empire is very similar to what happened to values and to the cultural values, when people wanted to convert to the and to the way of living the religious values which had lots of advantages. of what seemed to be a civilisation

to forget that, I think it's very easy Islam is a culture of innovation, that at this moment in time, ideas from the east. as you said, it's drawing in innovation. It's a culture of phenomenal because of the market They have opportunities of living and so on, because of the trade relations which were much more interesting. did more than The Islamisation of Spain that people worshipped. change the name of the god because this was a religion People converted

which had something to offer them. It had wealth, it had social structure, and it had intellectual power. The Arabs brought in one innovation that did more than any other to change the cultural make up of Europe. And it's this. Paper. The idea almost certainly came from the Chinese via trade exchange and it is revolutionary technology. Unlike parchment and vellum, it's cheap and it's easy to mass produce, and when the Arabs come to Spain, they start to open paper-making factories. Paper allows you to do three things very effectively. You can gather information,

you can analyse and develop ideas in a very precise way,

and then you can disseminate your new-found knowledge to a wider world. And in the 10th century, that was a potent mix. Cordoba's love of books became legendary. Whilst the Royal Library of France contained 900 books in this period, just one of Cordoba's 70 libraries amassed over half a million.

These books contain some of the most sophisticated studies of astronomy in the world. In Northern Europe at this time, there is nothing. But there is nothing that can be considered the result of sophisticated astronomy. Why do you think Muslim scholars were particularly interested in the heavens and the revolution of the stars? I think they were interested in science in general terms. For example, calculating the sacred direction. If you have to say your prayers, you must face towards Mecca. Calculating the direction of Mecca from a given place is not so easy. It is a complicated mathematical problem for which the Arabs had exact solutions from the 9th century. One of the ways in which the Muslims solved these problems was by developing a Greek instrument called the astrolabe. The astrolabe enabled night time navigation, which helped to advance sea travel. And this, in turn, set the stage for the coming era of worldwide exploration and discovery. Cordoban scientists were streets ahead of the rest of Europe,

especially when it came to medicine. This account comes from an Islamic physician who encountered a Christian doctor at work. "They brought me a knight who had an abscess on his leg, "and a woman suffering from consumption. "I made a plaster for the knight and the swelling opened and improved. "For the woman, I prescribed a diet to revive her consumption. "But then the Frankish doctor arrived and objected. "'Bring me a strong knight with a well-sharpened battle axe,' he said. "The knight struck a blow. The marrow of the leg spurted out "and the wounded man died on the spot. "As for the woman, their doctor affirmed "the devil must have entered her head. "Then he grasped a razor and cut an incision in the shape of a cross

"exposing the bone of the skull and rubbing salt into the wound. "The woman died in the instant.

"I returned home, having learnt much about the medicine of the Christians." The hospitals of Cordoba were performing operations

which wouldn't be seen in the rest of Europe for hundreds of years. The city's most-famous surgeon was a man called Albucasis. He spent 40 years compiling a hugely influential medical compendium. Chapter 30 dealt with surgery and these are just some of the instruments that were illustrated in that chapter. This is a specialist device used by eye surgeons for the relief of hypertension. And these two over here were employed to perform successful tracheotomies. And in fact, the Albucasis method was still popular well into the 20th century. As well as large scientific collections, more everyday documents have survived from Islamic Cordoba. These give a detailed insight to the society that was created here.

What kinds of things have been recorded on these bits of paper? So does that mean that people in the lower classes of society could read? Have you got any physical examples of these documents? And it's empowering, as well, because if you're the lowest rung of society, and yet you have some right to your own land, and you can keep a lot of the produce... Yes. Every piece of evidence from Cordoba adds to the picture of a civilised and highly-sophisticated city It had medical centres, an organised legal system, and libraries full of academics and scientists working on ideas which were light years ahead of anything else in Europe.

By the 10th century, Cordoba had become the official capital of Al-Andalus. People flocked here to work, either in the city's shops and markets or on rented land outside. In the year 912, a new ruler came to power. He was to take Cordoba to even greater heights. Abd al-Rahman III was only 21 when he became ruler of Cordoba.

With a resounding statement of self-confidence, he declared himself the caliph, the commander-in-chief of the faithful. With that title, he claimed to be the supreme leader of the Islamic world. At a stroke, he repositioned Muslim Spain so it was no longer a Western outpost, but instead, a key power in Islam. And to complement his role as caliph, Abd al-Rahman III built himself one of the biggest royal palaces in the world. While the English kings of the same period were living in modest wooden halls, Abd al-Rahman III needed 10,000 workmen to construct this enormous palace complex, which was decorated with African white marble. The alabaster palace, surrounded by acres of date palms was described as, "A concubine, lying in the arms of a black eunuch." It was called Madinat al-Zahra, after the caliph's favourite. Visitors from all over Europe were received here. A monk from Germany, called John of Gorse, left a record of his trip. You have to try and imagine the impression this place would have made on John of Gorse. The walls were studded with tiles made of silver and gold. And on the roof, there was a massive representation of the heavens. Mechanical lions roared in the corridors and in the rafters there were mechanical birds that twittered away. Here in the centre of the room, there were two bowls filled with mercury that would catch the light and then send it shattering back out to dazzle the visitors. This is what was written about the climax of his visit.

"When John arrived at the dais where the caliph was seated alone, "almost like a god head, "he saw everything draped with rare and costly coverings. "They do not use thrones or chairs as other people do,

"but recline on divans or couches when conversing or eating, "their legs crossed over one another." There is actually one detail this account misses out. The caliph did have a throne, a mechanical throne that raised and then descended as if he was levitating among his subjects. A refined court culture developed in the palace of Madinat al-Zahra. And this was to have an unexpected influence on the rest of Europe. What would the soundscapes of the palaces have been in the 10th century? Perhaps the most basic level would be the sounds of all the different fountains. And small running currents, artificial rivers running from room to room. On top of that, we could have heard layer upon layer of different types of music and singing. A variety of different professional instrumentalists. We could easily have heard a lute player sitting in a corner, or in any of the various different entry ways. There would be a slightly more formal presentation of a singing girl. What were these singers expected to do? Were they concubines, as well? Well, in some sense, we're doing an injustice by just referring to them as singers. These women were entertainers at every level. They had to be able to converse,

they had to be able to discuss intelligent subjects, they had to be able to compose poetry, recite poetry. For Arabs, poetry is the single most important part of their culture. If we look at a picture of the entire world, there are only three cultures that we know of that had developed end rhyme by the 7th century.

China, India and the Arabs. "Love is a welcome malady "Those who are free of it want not to be immune "Those who are stricken want not to be cured." The courtly love tradition has long been seen as something European. It came to form the basis of the Western concept of romantic love. But this cornerstone of our culture originated in Islamic Spain. Perhaps one of the most exciting moments, the transfer, if you will,

of Arab music and poetry from the South to the North, happens in the year 1064 in the city of Barbastro. Neighbouring French knights besieged the city, which falls. Its booty includes hundreds of singing girls, who go to the second-in-command William VIII of Aquitaine. He would receive a large number of Moorish singing girls, which he then took back with him to France. He died at a fairly young age and his heir, William IX,

inherited this household at age 15. And William IX is known to us in literary history as the first troubadour. So it's almost positive that William IX would not only have grown up as a child in a household in which there were Arab singing girls, but at the age of 15, he actually became their master. It's one of the few moments that we can say that there's a transfer of singing girls from this point to that point and then the point of reception is precisely where the first flourishing of troubadour poetry emerges. But the glorious court of Madinat al-Zahra was not to last for ever. Within the palace was sown the very seeds of its destruction. Abd al-Rahman III had invested much of his money and interest in art and culture and had paid very little attention to the military. There were no generals at court and citizens didn't have to serve in the army. TRANSLATOR: This is important. The mere fact that the army can't recruit from its own citizens means that he has to recruit more and more foreigners, effectively mercenaries. This is part of the reason for the conflict, which led to the ultimate collapse of the caliphate.

When an ambitious courtier usurped the caliphate, the court split into factions. Once the 300-year-old dynasty cracked, it didn't take long for the palace to come under attack. Madinat al-Zahra was quickly smashed and plundered. These are the tell-tale signs that the palace was violently destroyed. They're scorch marks on the marble, made when the molten lead that supported the joists in the roof melted

as the palace was burnt to the ground. TRANSLATOR: Of course, the history of Spain would have been very different if Madinat al-Zahra had continued to exist and if the caliphate had not disappeared.

Rahman III's unique dynasty had come to a terrible end. And in the north of the country, another religious power was eyeing up the rich lands of Al-Andalus. Its name was Christendom.

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