Muslims in Christian Countrysides: Reassessing Exaricus Tenures in Eastern Iberia
This article re-examines a form of tenancy on Christian-ruled lands in eastern Iberia usually held by Muslims, termed exarici in Latin documentation, that has received little focused attention or trans-regional analysis. Some previous scholarship has insisted that Exaricus tenures were relatively uniform adaptations of pre-conquest Andalusi agricultural practices that consequently could not carry a juridical status. This study instead argues that in at least some sectors of the countryside there were two forms of Exaricus tenures with different institutional origins and circumstances. Subsets of each of these groups of tenants suffered from servile conditions instituted by landlords, custom, or contracts. Using overlooked and reinterpreted evidence drawn from multiple regions and time periods, this article finds that Exaricus tenures were highly diversified, shaped by lords and prospective tenants in response to shifts in the land and labor markets, and thus should not be described as conforming to generalized, universal characteristics.