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THE AL-ANDALUS QUARTET: PART TWO CÓRDOBA / QURTUBAH 950 AD / 339 AH From Madinat al-Zahra and the City of Córdoba, the roads to the Renaissance are renamed and traveled, patrolled and protected, routed and projected by the Umayyad Caliph and the frail conviviality of constituent cultures, which like the white light of day and the lace veil of night, are somehow connected in the shadows of evening and the gray skies of dawn but in fundamental opposition define one another An astute Sephardic rabbi said the culture of Islam in Al-Andalus is like a cataclysmic flood that abuses the land, rearranges its features, nourishes its soil, eventually disappears through evaporation and runoff, leaving folksong and legend to chronicle its passing The transmission and enhancement of Classical knowledge, philosophical erudition, the patient diplomacy within the righteous framework of an arrogant tolerance are like a brilliant sunrise in the medieval world but even the sanguine observer hears the clashing of swords in the far mountain passes and the whispers of betrayal at clandestine meetings and knows that, bright as it is at this high tide of impact, the culture is fading, not like day into night but like the moment of noon into the moment thereafter, that sunlight and flood, both powerful and magic, are receding in concert, slowly, inexorably, through the Taifa mosaic, the slow-motion shattering of a stained-glass window shining colors and light in a thousand directions, then fading through evening toward midnight and darkness, illuminated by stars that, in spite of their beauty, will later be remembered as light years away Emanuel Carter

Copyright © | Year Posted 2021

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