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King, Pope, Emir and Caliph: Europe and the islamic building boom

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Chapter Summary

This chapter speculates that the building activities of Charlemagne (King of the Franks, 768?800, then Emperor of the Romans), Pope Hadrian (772?95), Abd ar-Rahman I (Emir of Córdoba 756?88) and Harun Al-Rashid (Abbasid Caliph, 786?809) are linked, with the Christians emulating Islamic projects in materials if not in scale or in typology. To help with the ensuing discussion on possible inspiration for the Palatine Chapel these, together with important building activities, are set out as a table, with fuller details for each exchange given in the Appendix at the end of this chapter. The chapter also suggests that the Palatine Chapel is an attempt to keep up with the neighbours by resurrecting an architectural typology that affirms Charlemagne?s importance in religion as well as in politics, and that its use of prestigious marbles may be predicated as much on Islamic example as on the rebuilding of churches in Rome.

Keywords: Abd ar-Rahman I; architectural typology; building activities; Charlemagne; Christians; Harun Al-Rashid; Islamic projects; Palatine Chapel; Pope Hadrian



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