For thousands of years, the Mediterranean Basin has nurtured creative and powerful cultures. Alice C. Hunsberger, a professor of Islamic culture, explores key cities around the Mediterranean Sea where the interplay of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam flourished in the millennium between 500 and 1500 A.D.
Andalusia’s 800 years of Muslim rule produced both the golden ages of Spain and Judaism, and new gardens, musical instruments, cuisine, and libraries. Cairo, founded in 969 by the Shi’ite Fatimid Empire, builds a university (still functioning) and an army to challenge Baghdad. Venice dominates the seas and culture, and bankrolls the Crusades, raking in millions.
Hunsberger shares stories of fascinating characters and provides a rich visual history of luxurious and everyday items, both ecclesiastical and secular, from textiles to scientific inventions. Throughout, she offers a view of the complex interdependencies of popes, emperors, caliphs, and kings, reflected in commercial, trading, spiritual, military, medical, literary, philosophical, and artistic pursuits.
Hunsberger has taught courses dealing with aspects of Islam at universities including the Arya Mehr University of Technology in Isfahan, Iran, and Hunter College, the City University of New York. She currently teaches at the State University of New York at Old Westbury.
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