Thursday, 29 October 2015

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Social Sciences. Unit 5. Spain in the Middle Ages. What was life like in al-Andalus?


After conquering the Iberian territories, the Muslims were tolerant of the previous inhabitants and respectful of their beliefs. They allowed them to continue practicing their religions and customs. Have a look to the following diagram below and answer the questions.

  • How many different religions coexisted in al-Andalus?
  • What social groups had to pay taxes?
  • Why do you think some Mozarabs converted to the Muslim religion?
  • What were the differences between Muladi and Mozarabs?


  • Which buildings were important? What were they used for?
  • Can you see any of these types of buildings in your town today? If not, do you know any city where we can find them?


(The Alhambra of Granada)

The Alhambra of Granada. Virtual Tour.

Spain - The Alhambra Palaces, Granada from Scott Antony on Vimeo.

Monday, 26 October 2015

Social Sciences. Unit 5. Spain in the Middle Ages. What was al-Andalus?


In 711 AD, the Muslims from North Africa invaded and conquered all the Iberian Peninsula except some parts in the north. They called this territory al-Andalus. Cordoba was its capital. At that time, the Muslims ruled quite a large territory, and their capital city was Damascus in Asia. The Caliph of Damascus ruled all the territories, included al-Andalus.

From 716 to 929AD, al-Andalus was an EMIRATE. It was part of the caliphate and its capital was Cordoba. It was governed by an EMIR, who represented the caliph. 

In 929AD, an emir called Abderramán III declared that al-Andalus was an independent caliphate. He established the Cordoba Caliphate. This was the beginning of a golden age for al-Andalus. Cordoba became one of the most important cities in the world.

Later on, al-Andalus was divided into small taifa kingdoms, so it was very easy to conquer them.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Social Sciences. Unit 5. Spain in the Middle Ages. The Muslims in al-Andalus. Averroës.


Statue of Averroës in Córdoba (Spain)
Averroës is one of the major Islamic scholars of the Middle Ages. He was a Spanish-Arab philosopher and physician.   

He wrote commentaries on the Greek philosophers Plato and Aristotle. These works contributed to the development of both Jewish and Christian thought in the following centuries.

Averroës was born in Córdoba, Spain, in 1126. He was educated in Muslim science, medicine, philosophy and law. He became chief judge at Córdoba and personal physician to the city rulers.

Between 1169 and 1195 Averroës wrote a series of commentaries on most of Aristotle's works and on Plato's Republic. His penetrating mind enabled him to present the thought of these philosophers and to add considerably to its understanding. His writing influenced Christian thought in the Middle Ages.

Detalle del fresco de Andrea de Bonaiuto El triunfo de Santo Tomás, con la imagen de Averroes sentado.

Averroës wrote several original works. His first book, General Medicine, was written from 1162 to 1169. Three religious-philosophical treatises written in 1179 to 1180 have survived, but most of his legal works and all his theological books have been lost. He died at Marrakesh in North Africa in 1198.

Information taken from Britannica Kids and Wikipedia.

Read the text and answer these questions:

  • When and where was he born?
  • What subjects did he write about?
  • Why was he important?
  • When did he die?

Social Sciences. Unit 5. Spain in the Middle Ages. The Visigoths.

The  King Recesvinto's crown in the National Arqueological Museum in Madrid. Virtual Tour. Next month we will go to this museum to see it. Maybe you can wear it, who knows! Click on the image.|utmccn=%28referral%29|utmcmd=referral|utmcct=/man/coleccion/catalogo-cronologico/edad-media/guarrazar.html&__utmv=-&__utmk=79327892

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Social Sciences. Unit 5. Spain in the Middle Ages. Visigoths. Saint Isidore of Seville.


Saint Isidore of Seville depicted by Murillo (1655)
One of the most important people in the Visigothic era was Saint Isidore of Seville, the bishop of Seville. Isidore was probably born in Cartagena, Spain, in 560,  to Severianus and Theodora. His father belonged to a Hispano-Roman family of high social rank while his mother was of Visigothic origin and apparently, was related to Visigothic royalty.

He studied many languages, and was a great scholar. At that time most people could not read or write, so he was exceptional.

Saint Isidore is best-known for Etimologiae. This book resembles an encyclopaedia because it covers subjects, such as medicine, law, geography and linguistics. Written in simple Latin, it was all a man needed in order to have access to everything he wanted to know about the world. It was a tool by those seeking wisdom much like the internet is used now. For that reason, in 1997, Pope John Paul II declared Isidore of Seville the patron saint of the internet

S. Isidore by J.Alcoverro (1892) oustside Biblioteca Nacional in Madrid.

He played a prominent role in the Councils of Toledo and Seville.  At a time of violence and illiteracy, he and his brother, Saint Leander of Seville, were involved in the conversion of the royal Visigothic Areians to Catholicism. In fact, in 589, King Recaredo converted to Catholicism. This was an important event in Spanish history. It united the Visigothic kingdom under one religion.

Saint Isidore of Seville died on 4 April 636 after serving more than 32 years as archbishop of Seville.

Information and images taken form Wikipedia and The Telegraph.

[1] Arianism is a belief which asserts that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, but is entirely distinct from to God the Father. 


Read the text and answer these questions.
1. When and where was S. Isidore born?

2. What councils did he form a part of?

3. What subjects did he include in his encyclopedia?

4. What were the most important achievements of his life?

5. Why is he considered the patron saint of the internet?