The Almoravid Empire

3 May, 2018 960 History of Africa

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the Berber people who grew to dominate the western Maghreb, founded Marrakesh and took control of Al-Andalus. They were desert people, wearing veils over their faces to keep out the sand, and they wanted a simpler form of Islam. They called themselves the Murabitun, the people who gathered together to fight the holy war, and they were tough fighters; the Spanish knight El Cid fought them and lost, and the legend that built around him said the Almoravids were terrible and had to be resisted. They kept back the Christians of northern Spain, so helping extend Muslim rule in the Iberian Peninsula, before they themselves were destroyed and replaced by their rivals, the Almohads, from the Atlas Mountains.

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  • Amira K Bennison No other episodes
    Professor in the History and Culture of the Maghreb at the University of Cambridge
  • Nicola Clarke No other episodes
    Lecturer in the History of the Islamic World at Newcastle University
  • Hugh Kennedy 11 episodes
    Professor of Arabic at SOAS, University of London

Reading list

  • The Almoravid and Almohad Empires
    Amira K. Bennison (Edinburgh University Press, 2016) Google Books →
  • Muslim Spain and Portugal: A Political History of al-Andalus
    Hugh Kennedy (Longman, 1996) Google Books →
  • The Almoravids and the Meanings of Jihad
    Ronald Messier (Praeger, 2010) Google Books →

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Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello, in the 11th century, veiled Islamic warriors rode out of the Sahara Desert and across the Atlas Mountains and established an empire, firstly in North West Africa and then in Muslim Spain.