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When the Moors Ruled In Europe -

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(generated from captions) In the year 711 AD, a Muslim army invaded Spain. Al-Andalus. The Muslims called their new land so rich and so powerful, And here they developed a society of the known world. that it was the envy had been transformed The lives of people in Spain by the introduction of paper, medical and scientific innovations, and new ways of farming. had converted to Islam. The majority of the population And the capital, Cordoba, most sophisticated city in Europe. became the largest and

Al-Andalus's golden age was over. Abd al-Rahman's dynasty in Cordoba By the beginning of the 11th century, and disorder. had collapsed into chaos was even more devastating. But what happened next made a call to arms. In 1095, Pope Urban II from the holy lands. He ordered a war to remove Islam at its finest. Pope Urban's speech is agit-prop is made against an enemy, "When an armed attack from the soldiers of God. "let there be one resounding cry It is the will of God." "It is the will of God. The Crusades had begun. this zealous warrior mentality It didn't take long for of Northern Spain. to rouse the Christians And what followed was as treacherous in the Holy Lands. as any of the crusades the far north of the country. The Christians had always held onto And now they were gaining ground. hotch potch of isolated city states. Al-Andalus had fragmented into a found herself under attack. Suddenly, Muslim Spain and her cities laid to siege. Her palaces were raided and the 13th centuries, Between the 11th took over the lands of Al-Andalus. an army of Christian kings is re-enacted in towns across Spain. Every year, this conflict

history, This, the victor's version of a dishonourable and dirty war. glamorises what was actually

Yes. So, it's a scorched earth policy. protection rackets emerged. Soon, a brutal system of

states of Al-Andalus were terrorised. One by one, the fragmented city was to fight fire with fire. Their solution By bringing in troops from Morocco. of a column in Cordoba. This is a capital from the top It's a buzzing little scene.

two who are playing pipes You've got four musicians, and two who are playing lute. the musicians have been smashed in. But at some point, the faces of by Christian raiders, This wasn't perpetrated who had come to help Al-Andalus. but by the new Muslim power support were strict fundamentalists The troops who came as military with a fearsome fighting reputation. They were called the Almoravids. from the Sahara. The Almoravids were a tribe of nomads They had black skin

everything apart from their eyes. and wore veils that covered light-footed versatile little horses When they went into battle, they rode and elephants. and took with them camels when it came to religion. But they were fiercest of all basic Muslim values They preached a return to

they were shocked by what they found. and when they came to Al-Andalus, They're people from the desert. to the religion, That is people new-born so they have a hard feeling of it. Absolutely. Evangelical Islam.

Not accustomed to civilisation. with Islam here? What did they think had gone wrong They felt they had to purify things.

very accustomed to civilisation. They said this is people with Christians, with Jews, to science, they are talking this is a mix that we don't like. We want purified people. on one side With the barbaric Christian raiders on the other, and these new fundamentalist Muslims Al-Andalus was crushed. It descended into corruption. would provide military aid A Christian king to a weak Muslim king,

of gold coin. in return for a substantial payment to this system of extortion. The whole of Al-Andalus was subjected rather differently. chooses to remember this war The trouble is, modern Spain TRIUMPHANT MUSIC is presented as a valiant crusade La Reconquista, the re-conquest, to its rightful Christian owners. in which Spain is returned This pantomime version of history national heroes. is personified in many of Spain's called Guzman el Bueno. The greatest of whom is a knight named after Guzman el Bueno. Every town in Spain has a street historical figures. He's one of the country's best-loved the town of Tarifa from Muslim raids The story of when Guzman defended is well known in Spain. the Medina Sidonia family, Guzman's descendents, in the country. became one of the richest landowners discovered something remarkable The Duchess of Medina Sidonia has about her illustrious ancestor. TRANSLATOR: Guzman el Bueno we know about. is the first of the Guzman family He is the founder of the family. in this very house. He came here and lived

although it's more than that. This is the family archive, from the medieval period and later. It is a rich source of documents one of your ancestors Was it right that was involved in the Spanish Armada?

was involved in that campaign. TRANSLATOR: The seventh duke This document dates from 1288. was in Al-Andalus a year before, We know my ancestor and this document mentions it. because he bought a farm 300 bushels of wheat. It's a permit for him to export Look, you can see the word 'wheat'. he's allowed to take this overseas And what it says is that to where he is from. tell that he comes from overseas, So, because of the grammar, you can from overseas. not that he was just visiting Probably it refers to a place TRANSLATOR: Yes. much larger then than now. which was part of Morocco, could grow. A place where neither wheat nor hay that her ancestor, The duchess had discovered Guzman el Bueno, a great Christian knight, was actually a Muslim. BELL TOLLS

TRANSLATOR: This is really a piece of human history. It dates to 1297. 'my vassal' The king refers to Guzman as because he is a foreigner. Guzman the vassal. I wouldn't believe it. If it wasn't written here, It was very common for Muslims with Christian factions, to ally themselves

were warring with each other. especially when Christians It must have been quite a surprise to discover that your ancestor was a Muslim. TRANSLATOR: Yes. A great surprise. This is because there had been a chronicle which dated back to the 16th century... which the Guzman family had cleaned up its political and ethnic past. Guzman was said to have been born in Leon. And they didn't just do this with the Guzman family,

but with all the families that had doubtful ancestors. Ancestors of doubtful race.

They cleaned it all up. We have a whole load of documents here from the Spanish register. And they turn everything we know about Spanish history upside down. The Spanish are simply inventing history. They have turned history into a fable. The idea that the Christians and the Muslims were fighting a holy war was created in Spain long after the re-conquest actually took place. Even Spain's most famous hero, the swashbuckling El Cid, is caught up in this fantasy. In films and books, El Cid is celebrated as a kind of Christian pin up. A crusader in the fight against the terrible Moor.

But El Cid spent his life, like El Bueno, as a mercenary. Fighting for whomsoever would pay him.

The name Cid means 'the master' in Arabic. So El Cid's an Arabic name? Yes. In fact, he was the king of Valencia when Valencia was an Islamic city. And he didn't change anything. So he had Muslim allies. That's it. That's not the story you hear, is it?

No, I think that the history is much more interesting than the history you hear. So, he was a Christian king, but he didn't force the Muslims that he controlled to convert? No, no, he was... In fact, we cannot see the reconquist

as a process of conversion. It is a process of trial and error of people gaining lands

and people gaining prestige. It's just 'real politic'. It's about getting land. That's it.

We are painting now, everything with a religious ideology. But it's not. So religion's a convenient excuse rather than the driving force. Absolutely. Religion is always an excuse.

El Cid and Guzman el Bueno weren't simply Christian soldiers fighting a Muslim enemy. If anything, this was a civil war with both sides desperately scrabbling for land and wealth. TRANSLATOR: The idea that the re-conquest was something cut and dried, black and white, something that cleaned up society, is absurd. I don't know who came up with that idea. The Spanish historian Palencia said that the reconquista was nothing but a civil war between Spaniards of two different faiths.

Spain is full of dazzling reminders of how the righteous Christians won the country back from the diabolical Moor. The country's most popular saint is called Santiago Matamoros, St James, the Moor Slayer. But this romanticised version of history distorts the true nature of this conflict. This was not a holy war. Al-Andalus was destroyed in a dirty grab for land, which lasted for over 300 years. And in this conflict, the more-refined society was the one least-equipped for war.

It was the Christians who had little to lose and most to gain. And what happened when the Christians began to take over exposes a curious respect for Muslim culture. When the Christian king, Peter, took control of Seville in 1248, this is what he had made. It is a beautiful building. It was built for a Christian and yet, in every way, it resembles an Islamic palace. On the walls there are inscriptions from the Koran and above the door, there are dedications to its owner calling him caliph, rather than king.

The conqueror has been conquered by the culture. It's a tiny bit unexpected that when this Christian king rebuilt this palace, he made it appear so Arabic. It feels as if we're in the Alhambra here. Well, this palace has many relations with the Alhambra, especially with the Court of Lions. Both builders, King Mohammed V of Granada and King Peter I of Castile, were friends. You have to consider that in Europe at this time,

there was not an architecture of such splendour, comparable to Al-Andalus. And this made a very big attraction for the Christians. And this is why this architecture is used by the Christian to show to the nobility of the kingdom the power, the authority. This room cover with the marvellous dome... symbolised the power. Because it's the heavens that turns around the king. But the legacy of Al-Andalus was to affect more than the architecture of Europe. In the midst of this terrible struggle,

something incredible was to happen, which would fire the minds of Europeans and expand our intellectual horizons.

At the same time that it was being splintered by Christian encroachment, Al-Andalus was at the centre of one of the most influential shifts in thinking that Europe has ever seen. Between the Middle Ages and the Modern era, Europe underwent a massive intellectual and cultural revolution. This shift, known as the Renaissance, transformed the human experience. It prompted the exploration of science and the arts and changed the way that men and women saw themselves in relation to God. The Renaissance and the scientific revolution that followed were critical stages in the development of Europe. The origins of the Renaissance are generally believed to lie in Italy,

where a renewed interest in the classics had a huge impact on art and culture. But the foundations of the Renaissance were laid much earlier, and not in Italy, but in a town called Toledo, in Islamic Spain. Toledo was one of Al-Andalus's vulnerable city states and in 1085, the Christians seized control of it. Unusually, the handover went very smoothly and as a result, the Muslims already living in Toledo were allowed to remain as citizens and their mosques were left untouched. The city that emerged accommodated both Muslim and Christian. Spain at this time is a paradox. On one hand, tensions between Muslims and Christians are becoming unbearable. And yet on the other, there is a hugely beneficial intellectual evolution

that is only possible because Muslims and Christians are living side by side. When you first walk into this building, you'd be absolutely justified in presuming that you'd come into a mosque. Those horseshoe arches replicate in precise detail the arches in the mosque at Cordoba. And up the end above the windows, you've got a repetitive phrase in Arabic which translates as 'prosperity and happiness, prosperity and happiness.' But this isn't a mosque. It's a church, built when the Christians took over the town. It seems to me that this building's a metaphor for what's happening in Spain at this time. It doesn't speak of a golden age of tolerance... ..but it does talk of a world

where two cultures were inextricably interlinked. When Toledo fell to the Christians, its doors were opened to travellers and intellectuals from all over Europe. These people mixed with the Moslems in the city, learning their language and reading their books.

Many of the adventurers came from England. In the late 1100s, an Englishman, known as Daniel of Morley, travelled to Europe to study. But as his autobiography reveals, he was disgusted with what he found there. "I stopped a while in Paris, and there I saw asses rather than men,

"pretending to be very important. "They had desks in front of them, "heaving under the weight of two or three immoveable tomes. "But because they did not know anything, "they were no better than marble statues. "I did not want to get infected by a similar petrifaction, "but when I heard that the doctrine of the Arabs "was in fashion in Toledo, I hurried there as quickly as I could "so that I could hear the wisest philosophers in the world." Just as the fall of Alexandria had made a massive body of Greek knowledge available to the Arabs 400 years previously, now the Christian conquest of Toledo passed this storehouse of knowledge on to Europeans,

who flocked here in their hundreds. At the backs of shops and in courtyards, groups of men started to gather together, Christians, Muslims and Jews, to work on texts that had been stored in the archives at mosques and churches. These were extraordinary manuscripts, translations of Aristotle and Plato and Euclid, as well as original works by Arabic mathematicians, astronomers, and alchemists. This was a resource like no other in the rest of Europe. It was intellectual dynamite. People came from all over Europe. All these works that were lost in Europe, could be found in Toledo. There was lots of wisdom here.

How do the translators work together here in Toledo? In the first period, there was usually two people working together. And then another person who was learned in Latin,

would write it down in Latin. And that was, I think, the target of working together and it was very clear. I think it really made it more accurate, because it was a teamwork. How long have these manuscripts been kept in Toledo? Most of the translations were carried out in the 12th and 13th century. That means for almost 900 years, most of them. In here, we have the preface in red. That's where we learn about the process of translation. In this case, we read that this book was translated by Gerard of Cremona It is a medical treatise by Ibn Sina, Avicenna. And it was translated from Arabic into Latin in Toledo. It's a very rich document, isn't it?

You get a sense of how valued these things were. In these little glosses on the right-hand side, people have been adding comments,

or explaining words that were not clear. (Speaks Spanish) Splendid beast of a thing. Is this a... It looks like it's a work of Aristotle, is it? Yeah. This is the 'Rhetorica', by Aristotle. 'Retorica Aristoalis'. And here we are, here's the man who's working on it. Hermanus Allemanus. Yeah. German.

Even Germans came all the way to Toledo to find all these texts. In this case, it is a commentary by Averroes

on the text of Aristotle. And both are translated together. So, it's got added value, because you've got new Arabic thought coming into the classical text. Yeah. They are adding, they are supplementing. They are completing what was transmitted from the ancient world. Knowledge really is power at this time in history. Having a book was something very, very valuable. Do you find, during this process, that words slip from one language to another? Absolutely. Chemia. That word came into Western languages as chemistry. But we have another word, alchemy.

That comes originally from Greek through Arabic. They added the article, in Arabic, al, and that gave alchemy. English is full of words which came into the language from Arabic in this way. Many of them describe mathematical concepts which were completely new to Europe. Algorithms are named after an Arabic mathematician. And the concept of zero comes from the Arabic, sifr, which means empty. It's where we get our word cipher from. But of course, the most obvious and lasting impact, is the use of Arabic numerals. And in this Spanish/Latin text, which dates from around about 986 AD, we have the first example of Arabic numerals written in Europe. Here they are. Imagine trying to do something like multiplication with Roman numerals. Once the numbers get above a certain amount, they are ridiculously unwieldy.

This new, agile, numerical system made everyday things like bookkeeping and accounting more accessible. Mathematics developed. And the construction of complex architectural projects became much easier.

Recently, archaeologists renovating the roof timbers of Salisbury Cathedral in England, made a discovery which clarifies this story. On some of the beams that support the roof, there are a series of numbers

that were carved in around 1200 AD when the cathedral was built. Now, that's a three, and obviously it's familiar to us today, but in its time, it was a curious and progressive symbol. At this time, everyone in England was still using the clunky old Roman numerals. But here in the rafters of one cathedral, a new trend appears to have caught on. These numbers, the numbers that we use today, the fact that they're here is proof that the ordinary craftsman who carved them benefited from an explosion of knowledge that started in Arabia and spread through Europe, via Islamic Spain.

And the travellers from Toledo brought more than just practical knowledge back to England. After a number of years, Daniel of Morley returned from Toledo,

his cases crammed with documents and volumes. When he arrived in England, he made an appointment to hand this precious booty over to his patron, who was a bishop. This benefactor was one of a team of scholars who wanted to establish their town as a centre of learning.

And the name of the town was Oxford. The universities that were founded in Paris, Boulogne and Oxford at this time, based their new curriculum on the radical ideas which were pouring out of Toledo. One of Daniel of Morley's compatriots, a man called Adelard of Bath,

published this volume just after he got back from Toledo.

It's a collection of 76 very basic questions like 'Why is the sea salty?' 'Why are there tides?' 'How does the globe hang in the air?' 'Do animals have souls?' The questions are seemingly simple, but they embody a new spirit of rational enquiry. where a blind faith in God is challenged. Adelard of Bath admits his debt to the Muslims

in pursuing this line of enquiry. He writes, "From the Arabs I have learnt one thing, "to lead by reason. "I will detract nothing from God, "but very carefully listen to the limits of human knowledge "Only where this utterly breaks down, should we refer things to God. The Muslims develop a massive program of translations in which they translated from Greek into Arabic everything that had reached them. And this was something that was promoted by the whole society. And the result of this is that they translated practically all Greek knowledge.

There's a first period in which they translate and they learn, they assimilate. Later, they have learnt enough and they began to produce original works by themselves. And to criticise Greek science and of course, one cannot say that the Arabs were mere transmitters of Greek science

the work of Greek scientists they were the people that continued

into a final crisis. until they led all this research that brought the Renaissance And this final crisis was the crisis and the scientific revolution.

If they had not done this, and scientific revolution Renaissance would have been impossible. these ground-breaking ideas It would take time for into Christian Europe, to become assimilated Western intellect was transformed. but once they were, in the new universities. The works of Aristotle were taught were used in hospitals. The medical treaties of Avicenna of Greek geometry And Arabic translations and those new Arabic numerals and architects. were passed on to craftsmen in the growth of Western thought. This was a critical stage the Renaissance as a rebirth, We should no longer see but the continuation of an intellectual movement

which had been nourished centuries earlier. By Muslims.

And yet the role of the Muslims in the development of the European mind is rarely acknowledged. This is a scheme of friezes the king of Spain. commissioned by Philip II, It was finished in 1591. It's late Renaissance. of the liberal arts It's a celebration and the genius's of world history. the Egyptian geometers. Down there, you've got in the classical Greek gymnasia, And here are the teachers and completely incongruously, who interestingly,

are using Arabic numerals. or Abucasis. But nowhere is there Averroes,

airbrushed out of history. The Arab intellectuals have been for reviving classical learning. The Italian Renaissance is famous 400 years earlier But in fact, what's happening here seems to be just as vital. aren't given due credit Do you think that Muslim scholars in Islamic Spain at this time? for what they're doing learn about in school, probably, It is not something that you would

even at university. It was probably a conscious process of neglect

and now we are still suffering from that. Extremely selective history writing. That's right. It is due to the conflict that existed between the two worlds.

These remarkable ideas were leeching out of Al-Andalus the Christians were flooding in. at precisely the same time far north of Madrid, The frontier, which had started was gradually pushing southwards. followed by Valencia and Seville. Then, in 1236, Cordoba fell, of Granada remained Muslim. Until, by 1250, only the kingdom Spain would concentrate on From now on, from its country. cleaning the Muslim presence

has been quietly played down. The Islamic influence on Europe expulsion of the Muslims from Spain, But when it came to the physical that would be anything but subtle. that would be an act It was shocking and absolute. to take a new and sinister turn. The history of Al-Andalus was about the Muslims were to fall victim In the city of Granada, of ethnic cleansing to one of the most shocking acts that Europe has ever seen. Long after the rest of Al-Andalus had fallen to the Christians, Granada remained defiantly Islamic. Protected by mountains and those giant watchtowers and forts, the 70,000 Muslims who lived here managed to hold off attack for another 200 years. But time was running out. While Granada occupied a small territory in the south of Spain, divided between Castile in the west the rest of the country was now

two very powerful kingdoms. and Aragon in the east,

was about to be forced The king of Castile Isabella. to pass his kingdom to his niece, and passionate. Isabella was headstrong political mind. But she also had an acute In 1469, at the age of 18, she married her second cousin, Ferdinand, the dashing heir to the throne of Aragon. Now, the two most powerful Catholic dynasties in Spain were united. And the re-conquest was edging ever closer to completion. Granada was blocking Isabella's vision of a unified Spain. And so it had to be reclaimed. The city was laid to siege for a year before it finally surrendered. On 1st January, 1492, Ferdinand and Isabella dressed in elaborate Moorish outfits, which they'd had especially made.

With great pomp and circumstance, they entered the palace of Alhambra and took the keys to the city. As the Muslim leader, Boabdil left in tears,

it was said that his mother spat out at him, "Do not weep like a woman for that which you cannot defend like a man." Isabella's victory in Granada put an end to an incredible society.

Europe, the Muslims of Al-Andalus In the 700 years that they'd been in the very pinnacle of civilised life, had built a culture that was only just beginning to understand. influencing Europe in ways that we're ensure that Islam and the West And Isabella would endeavour to such a relationship again. would never enjoy

and Isabella came to power, A few years after Ferdinand they set up an organisation of religious control that affected the most extreme form that Europe has ever known. The Inquisition. track down and eliminate The purpose of the Inquisition was to

of the Catholic church. anyone who wasn't an orthodox member Those found guilty of heresy public ceremony called an auto de fe. were subjected to a sinister which are still performed today, In this eerie ritual, vestiges of their sins the guilty were forced to repent hidden under hooded caps. while their accusers watched on,

The sinners were then detained. Some were burnt at the stake. Most had their homes and livelihoods taken from them. In 1526, the Spanish Inquisition came to Granada

to deal with the Muslim problem. Muslims were labelled heretics and were given a stark choice. leave the country, Convert to Catholicism, or be punished. The Muslims of Granada the rest of the population. were segregated from as the old quarter of the city today. Their ghetto survives Fantastic house! were forced out of Many of the houses that the Muslims are still standing. Antonio Orihuela lives in one. It's almost inverted, looking out onto the street, because you don't have any windows on the courtyard. but the focus is in the middle here, is the centre of the family life. Yes. The courtyard are open to the courtyard So, all the doors, windows, and closed to the street.

houses. important characteristics of these Privacy was one of the most they were Christian. Outside the house, with their priest, They went to the church in the Christian way. they celebrated weddings But then, later, they came home to celebrate again, the wedding in the Muslim style. What happened though when the Inquisition came knocking on the door? these houses have the bent entry. Well, as you see, even if the door is open, So, from outside, what happens in the courtyard. it's not possible to see went from door to door, The Inquisitors still suspected of being Muslim. seeking out those they had already been expelled A number of civic leaders only women and children left. and so often there was They herded them up and held them in churches by night so that they could be tried the following morning. Some of the women cried out that they were like lambs being taken to the slaughter

and wished that instead, they'd been allowed to die in their own home. The Inquisition was so brutally efficient

that within 20 years, all Muslims in Spain had been forcibly converted to Catholicism.

But this wasn't enough. Many still continued to practise their faith in private and so, in 1609, the Spanish crown ordered the removal of all Muslims from Spain. Perhaps the most shocking thing in the expulsion is they were not actually expelling Arabs. Nor were they expelling Berbers. that were being expelled The huge majority of the people by blood, by DNA, if you will, cousins in the north were as Iberian as their Christian of the peninsula. who were kicking them out enormously different vision It's really quite... It's an

and what they meant of what the expulsions were who were being thrust out when we realise that the people as the Christian kings. were as native to the peninsula authorities Why do you think the Catholic

in 1609? felt they had to expel the Moors it was indeed by then an empire, The Spanish Empire, for

in so many different directions. simply felt pressed by... afraid of the Turks, They were very much raiding from North Africa, who were, in fact, and raiding along the southern coast of Spain. They were fighting wars still in the Americas. It was one internal problem that they simply could not deal with any longer. In 10 years, over a quarter of a million Muslims were expelled from Spain. Forbidden to take any possessions with them, most sought refuge in North Africa.

this is where they were buried. When Isabella and Ferdinand died, It's a little corner of the Alhambra from the Koran. and it's decorated with inscriptions They read, "There is no true god but Allah."

In many ways, it's a curious choice for a Christian entombment. But it does speak of that complicated relationship that was enjoyed by the Catholics and the Muslims. On one level, it says that Isabella and Ferdinand were still half in love with all things Islamic. But on the other, it's a bold and uncompromising statement of control. And in Cordoba, the new Catholic rulers did something unbelievable. In a daring act of what can only be described as inspired vandalism, architects gouged out the centre of the mosque and in its place built one of the most spectacular cathedrals in Spain. The result is a shocking and blasphemous conflation

of two of the world's most powerful religions. It is unnervingly beautiful, but possesses an underlying schizophrenia, as if a terrible and silent battle is being carried out

in the very architecture of the building. Spain's troubled relationship with its Muslim past

continued into the 20th century. The dictator, Franco, invented his own version of his country's heritage. For Franco, this period was somehow interrupting what was for him a continuum history. He wanted somehow to, if not delete it, he wanted to forget about it. So what he did was to explain the whole Muslim, or the whole Al-Andalus as a kind of continuum from the Visigothic period to the Catholic kings by saying that the Muslims in Al-Andalus were not such good Muslims but much more Christianised.

So, this is the political use of history. He wanted to explain the identity of the Spaniards. And for Franco, that identity was a continuation from the Visigothic period right through to the Catholic period. Exactly. Serafin Fanjul is an academic

whose books on the history of Al-Andalus are bestsellers in Spain. Do you think that Spanish people today are proud at all of the Arabic episode in their history? Or are they ashamed of it? TRANSLATOR: No. Not at all. Strictly speaking, it's not our past. It's the past of other people.

As a modern-day Spaniard, I would feel very little connection with the Arab past. Spanish people don't live like them, we don't dress like them. We don't feel like them. I don't know how you can say we are the same, because we are not the same. We have nothing in common. Nothing in common. And if I weren't a professor of Arabic studies, I would have absolutely no feeling for Muslim culture. TRANSLATOR: For a very long time, people have protested and urged that history be truthfully told, that they not be fed this nonsense. But this is the inheritance of the Inquisition. The Inquisition's character is alive and well. I can tell you one thing. Spanish people have a tendency to prevent others from speaking their minds, a tendency to try and control the way others behave and think.

you can be sure that when you try and speak the truth, you pay for it.

And so Al-Andalus fell. East became East and West became West. Two distinct cultures. Politically and religiously divided. And yet what the history of the Moors shows is that these two cultures are also linked in ways that we might never have imagined. The West has been inspired by Islam, but more than that, it was in the very act of fighting the Moslems that Europe consolidated its identity. When we started, Christopher Columbus was setting sail for the New World. And as he pointed his boats westwards, Spain aligned herself with him, turning away from the East. The Muslims had been fought and now they were to be forgotten. As time went by, memories of the Islamic past were moulded until they became a more comforting storybook version of history. But this is a case where truth really is stranger than fiction. The story of Al-Andalus isn't a simple tale of good versus bad, East versus West, it's intriguing and complicated, it's brilliant and brutal, it's very human and it's very messy,

and it's for precisely that reason that it needs to be remembered, not written out of the history books.