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From Muslim to Christian Granada

Inventing a City's Past in Early Modern Spain

In 1492, Granada, the last independent Muslim city on the Iberian Peninsula, fell to the Catholic forces of Ferdinand and Isabella. A century later, in 1595, treasure hunters unearthed some curious lead tablets inscribed in Arabic. The tablets documented the evangelization of Granada in the first century A.D. by St. Cecilio, the city’s first bishop. Granadinos greeted these curious documents, known as the plomos, and the human remains accompanying them as proof that their city—best known as the last outpost of Spanish Islam—was in truth Iberia’s most ancient Christian settlement. Critics, however, pointed to the documents’ questionable doctrinal content and historical anachronisms. In 1682, the pope condemned the plomos as forgeries.

From Muslim to Christian Granada explores how the people of Granada created a new civic identity around these famous forgeries. Through an analysis of the sermons, ceremonies, histories, maps, and devotions that developed around the plomos, it examines the symbolic and mythological aspects of a new historical terrain upon which Granadinos located themselves and their city. Discussing the ways in which one local community’s collective identity was constructed and maintained, this work complements ongoing scholarship concerning the development of communal identities in modern Europe. Through its focus on the intersections of local religion and local identity, it offers new perspectives on the impact and implementation of Counter-Reformation Catholicism.

About the Author

A. Katie Harris is an assistant professor of history at the University of California, Davis.

Reviews

Convincing, stimulating, [this] will no doubt contribute to the ongoing discourse on the creation and assertion of communal identities in Iberian and Mediterranean history.

- Jonathan Ray - Sixteenth Century Journal

Provides a lucid and accessible introduction to this broader, still largely emerging, field of Renaissance historia sacra.

- Katherine Elliot Van Liere - Renaissance Quarterly

A valuable, early modern addition to what is already flourishing historical literature.

- Simon Ditchfield - Journal of Ecclesiastical History

All in all this is an excellent, informative and very readable book that does full justice to its interesting subject.

- Roger Collins - Bulletin of Spanish Studies

Endorsements

As a local intellectual and cultural history—indeed, as a book that breaks new ground by demonstrating more than any before it the richness and broader significance of 'local histories' in early modern Spain—the book is a thrilling success.

- David Coleman, Eastern Kentucky University, author of Creating Christian Granada: Society and Religious Culture in an Old World Frontier City, 1492–1600

Fascinating study.

- Carmen Peraita - Year's Work in Modern Language Studies
Johns Hopkins University Press
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