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Single-Source Records in the Intercommunal Life of al-Andalus: The Cases of Ibn al-Naghrīla and the Cordoban Martyrs

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image of Intellectual History of the Islamicate World

In the historiography of the medieval Islamicate world, major events that concern two or three religious communities sometimes appear only in the records of one of them. The absence of evidence for a major event from the records of a community it supposedly concerns can be seen as merely reflecting the random survival of manuscripts, or it may cast doubt on the veracity of the existing reports concerning this event. The present paper discusses this methodological question through the examination of two examples from Umayyad al-Andalus: the alleged military position of Samuel ha-Nagid/Ibn al-Narghīla, and the so-called Cordoban voluntary martyrs. The paper argues that the evidence—explicit, implicit, or silent—of all concerned communities must be treated as relevant, and it offers some criteria for evaluating such unbalanced records.

Affiliations: 1: The Hebrew University of Jerusalem


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