In 1612, a Spanish fleet captured a French ship whose stolen cargo included the entire manuscript collection of the Sultan of Morocco, Muley Zidan. Soon, the collection made its way to the royal library, El Escorial, transforming the library into an important repository of Arabic books, which, since then, Arabists from across Europe sought to visit. By focusing on the social life of the collection, from the moment of its capture up through the process of its incorporation into the Escorial, this article examines three related issues: the first regards the social trajectories of books and the elasticity of their meaning and function, which radically altered in nature. The second part of the article examines the circulation of the Moroccan manuscripts in relation to a complex economy of restrictions over the reading and possession of Arabic manuscripts in early modern Spain. Finally, the third part focuses on the political and legal debates that ensued the library’s capture, when the collection became the locus of international negotiations between Spain, Morocco, France and the Dutch United Provinces over Maritime law, captives, and banned knowledge. By placing and analyzing the journey of Zidan’s manuscripts within the context of Mediterranean history, the paper explains (1) why Spain established one of the largest collections of Arabic manuscripts exactly when it was cleansing its territories of Moriscos (Spanish forcibly converted Muslims), and (2) why the Moroccan collection was kept behind locked doors at the Escorial.
Journal of Early Modern History – Brill
Published: Oct 30, 2014
Keywords: The early modern period; Spain; Morocco; the Mediterranean; manuscripts and libraries; Arabic
It’s your single place to instantly
discover and read the research
that matters to you.
Enjoy affordable access to
over 18 million articles from more than
15,000 peer-reviewed journals.
All for just $49/month
Query the DeepDyve database, plus search all of PubMed and Google Scholar seamlessly
Save any article or search result from DeepDyve, PubMed, and Google Scholar... all in one place.
Get unlimited, online access to over 18 million full-text articles from more than 15,000 scientific journals.
Read from thousands of the leading scholarly journals from SpringerNature, Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford University Press and more.
All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.
“Hi guys, I cannot tell you how much I love this resource. Incredible. I really believe you've hit the nail on the head with this site in regards to solving the research-purchase issue.”Daniel C.
“Whoa! It’s like Spotify but for academic articles.”@Phil_Robichaud
“I must say, @deepdyve is a fabulous solution to the independent researcher's problem of #access to #information.”@deepthiw
“My last article couldn't be possible without the platform @deepdyve that makes journal papers cheaper.”@JoseServera