The Muslim/Mudejar in the Cantigas of Alfonso X, el Sabio
By Rhona Zaid
Sharq Al-Andalus. N. 4 (1987)
Introduction: A great deal of current interest has been sparked regarding Alfonso X’s attitudes towards the various minorities which comprised his dominions. An excellent place to begin any serious re-assesment of alfonsine ideas of tolerance and intolerance is provided by the Cantigas of Santa María, the king’s greatest contribution to medieval art and letters.
Castilian society, as a whole under Alfonso, at this time was marked by a degree of religious identification of an intensity unknown in the rest of Europe. At first the Reconquest may have been largely a political and military enterprise to recover what had been Hispano-Christian territory. But the ensuing acceptance of a degree of “toleration” did not imply relativism or equality, for Castilian Christians were firmly convinced of the religious inferiority as well as the legal inferiority of the Muslims and Jews.