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Aragonese exarici in the twelfth century: their status and conditions

Aragonese exarici in the twelfth century: their status and conditions of landholding

Stall, William C.

Sharq Al-Andalus, No. 4 (1987)

Abstract

In the late eleventh and twelfth centuries, as the Aragonese fitfully expanded from their hardy Pyrenean kingdom ¡nto the Upper Ebro River Basin, they subdued and subsequently ruled Muslim lands with well-developed urban and agrarian life (1). As the Aragonese conquest of these Muslim lands shaped the geographical boundaries of Aragón, so the Aragonese conquest of the lands’ Muslim inhabitants affected the shaping of Christian society. The Aragonese did not cast aside the material Islamic ¡nfrastructure they had conquered; instead, they ¡ncorporated ¡t into Christian Aragón, partly in order to exploit the resources of the newly conquered lands. Aragonese retention and adoption of Islamic irrigation practices and techniques attest to the influence of the Muslims on Christian society. Another part of the Islamic agrarian structure retained by Christians was the Muslim tenant-farmer, the ash-shank (sharer), in Latin exaricus. In Al-Andalus, the sharik is usually defined as a tenant-farmer, leasing land from a landlord who receives a percentage of the crop (2).

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