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4. Palermo Experienced, Palermo Imagined. Arabic and Islamic Culture between the 9th and the 12th Century

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Chapter Summary

Sicily under Islamic domination presents same characteristics as may be found in other conquered territories. Relations within Islam itself and within the other social contexts, and between a dominant Islam and the dominated Christians and Jewish religious communities were complex and conflict-ridden. The question of periodisation is therefore of fundamental importance if one is to distinguish different phases and modalities which have characterised presence and status of Arabic and Islam in Sicily. From 827 up until the Norman conquest, in mid-11th century, the island was, at first in part and then entirely, a region within the dār al-Islām, that is to say, a land directly under Islamic jurisdiction, initially ruled by governors appointed by the Aghlabid emirs of Qayrawān, and then, from c. 910, coming under the domination of the Fatimids, and finally, from 948, being entrusted by the latter to the Kalbid dynasty, which governed the island quite independently.

Keywords: Aghlabid emirs; Arabic; Christians; dār al-Islām; Fatimids; Islamic domination; Jewish religious communities; Norman conquest



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