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Stepanova A.V. Who Conquered Spain? The Role of the Berbers in the Conquest of the Iberian Peninsula // Written Monuments of the Orient. 1(7), 2018. P. 78—87.


Categories such as “the Berbers” and “the Arabs” are historical. Their production, maintenance, and reproduction occur under particular circumstances. As circumstances change, so do these categories. The role of Arabs in the Medieval History of Maghreb is usually exaggerated. A number of Berber powerful dynasties emerged during Middle Ages in Maghreb and al-Andalus. This report is motivated by the desire to trace the process of the conquest of al-Andalus at the beginning of the 8th c. As we speak about al-Andalus it worth noting that the Muslims who entered Iberia in 711 were mainly Berbers, and were led again by a Berber, Tariq ibn Ziyad. May we claim that Berbers formed approximately 65–70% or at least the major part of the Islamic population in Iberia that time? That was the question that had pushed me to the research. I argue that it’s true, considering the analysis of the military structure of Arab-Berber army, the comparison that would be made on basis of the sources related to the topic, from the point of view of Berbers position in the power hierarchy in Iberia, and through the description of the cultural and historical background. This study provides an important opportunity to advance the understanding of the role of the Berbers in the conquest of the Iberian Peninsula, who may be were the ones who tipped the scales in the favor of Arabs’ tribes.

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