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The Countryside: The Roman Agricultural And Hydraulic Legacy Of The Islamic Mediterranean

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Chapter Summary

This study focuses primarily on the historic time and place of Mediterranean al-Andalus and also refers to many Islamic countries around the Mediterranean in the same period, eighth through twelfth centuries. In part this reflects a natural tendency to highlight change and innovation rather than continuity, and in part it is a methodological issue stemming from the prevalence of the architectural model, which focuses on acts of construction, rather than a landscape model, which observes both new construction and enduring character of conditions such as climate, topography, and rainfall. Indeed, Islamic law and administrative policy constantly emphasized justice in tax assessment and explained the benefits to the overall economy. The political and economic transformation of the Mediterranean in the late eighth through eleventh century was reported in numerous historical texts, but the Roman precedents that allowed it to occur were ignored because of a widespread - perhaps universal - perception of nature and landscape.

Keywords: al-Andalus; eleventh century; Islamic law; Mediterranean region; Roman precedents



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