Constructing Christian Polities in Northwestern Iberia (711-1109): an overview

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This very general overview of the most important changes that affected the Northwest of the Iberian Peninsula Christian rulership, roughly from 711 to 1109, is intended to give a framework for the more detailed study of 10th century Western Iberia. For that purpose, it looks at the ways in which the Christian political entities shaped themselves against a background of authonomous communities, local and supra local powers and elites and specific political and economic realities, in two different sections. The first one, looking at the period that runs from the beginnings of the Muslim rulership in the Iberian Peninsula to the beginnings of the Cordoban Caliphate, and the adoption of León as civitas regia, examines the ways in which the several powers in place have had to negotiate their respective places and status with one another, and the resulting diverse political forms, still open to many possible outcomes. The second section approaches the “new deals” brought into the territories under Christian control as the reinforcement of the Asturian Kingship grew hand in hand with quite a successful conquest of the territory, and as a consequence of the taking over of the Leonese Kingdom by Fernando I and his successors. Their new ways found for connecting with both the people and the territories under their dominion were to impress upon the whole land new forms of political alliance. The extraordinary amplification of the territories under their rulership, and the integration of Muslim towns in their dominions, the capacity to attract and incorporate local magnates as allies, as well as others coming from beyond the Pyrenees -whether noblemen or churchmen with their reforming inclinations- would transform the ways in which power was to be exercised and reshape the political structure.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe 10th Century in Western Europe
Subtitle of host publicationChange and Continuity
EditorsIgor Santos Salazar, Catarina Tente
Place of PublicationOxford
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-80327-514-7
ISBN (Print)978-1-80327-513-0
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023

Publication series

NameHistorical Archaeologies Series


  • Christian Polities
  • Royal power
  • Magnates and local elites
  • 9th-11th centuries
  • Iberian Peninsula


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