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Legends of the Fall: Conde Julián in Medieval Arabic and Hispano-Latin Historiography

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"Legends of the Fall: Conde Julián in Medieval Arabic and Hispano-Latin Historiography" examines the development of the Julián legend in the earliest extant accounts of the Muslim expansion into the Iberian Peninsula. The essay argues that both Arabic and Hispano-Latin chroniclers used the Julián figure to articulate their views of the Strait of Gibraltar as either a bridge connecting the Maghreb to al-Andalus or as a border between Africa and Europe. While the Julián figure is a border-crosser in all medieval chronicles, its specific treatment in each account varies in order to reflect shifting relations between realms. In early Arabic historiography, the Julián figure reflects tensions between the 'Abbāsids and the Umayyads, whereas in the Hispano-Latin tradition, it reflects relations between Christian and Muslim domains within the Iberian Peninsula. In both traditions, this anomalous figure mediates between mutually-exclusive hegemonies without subsuming itself within either side.

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Affiliations: 1: Department of Spanish, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA


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