The Jews and the Muslim Conquest of Spain
The cultural, political, socio-economic, and military components of the Jewish influence and activity during the invasion, and eventual conquest, of medieval Spain are illuminated in Norman Roth's "The Jews and the Muslim Conquest of Spain". Through the elaboration and expansion of varied theories and conflicting historical assertions, Roth explores the controversial idea that Jews were involved in the conspiratorial conquest of Spain. From the texts of Heinrich Graetz, the "Father of Jewish History", to the those of Nahum Slouschz, Roth connects his notions to the multifarious array of others reached by noted historians over centuries. Roth successfully corrects "some of the misinformation and inaccuracies concerning the role of the Jews in the Muslim conquest of Spain" (158). Though "it is scarcely possible to ascertain with complete accuracy the details of this invasion," an abundance of historians offer varied discoveries that can ultimately be compared and dissected to reveal a justified conclusion. Roth uses this method to explain how, why, and when the Visigoth-ruled Jews of Maghreb "planned the conquest of the Peninsula in effect with the aid of their Berber coreligionists and not the Muslimans" (145-146). One important fact that adds to potential misinformation and inaccuracies with the assertion that Jews played such a viral role in the Spanish conquest is the lack of Jewish sources in a sea of Christian, Muslim, and other varied sources that have ebbed and flowed into academia throughout history. Roth explains that "if medieval Christian historiography was poor in comparison to the Islamic, the Jewish sources for the most part are considerably worse than either. Unfortunately, we posses no Jewish source whatever, not even the briefest casual reference, contemporary with the conquest that even mentions it" (155). To compensate for this unfortunate truth, Roth utilizes several sources that are noted for their...
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