Sodom and Granada

Vaguely re this post, there’s a strong current of belief here that sees the Civil War as a rerun of the Reconquista, with (here we head into caricature mode) the left viewing both as the destruction of a new age of peace and love (the latter in all its many varieties) by intolerant savages, while the right sees in both the restoration of a just and divinely ordained order.

Osama threw an interesting spanner in these works post-11/9, calling from his cave for the faithful to rally to prevent Palestine becoming a second Al-Andalus, which he seems to think was full of righteous men who knew and observed Islamic mores. This is interesting because, despite a severe lack of evidence (apart from some homoerotic poetry), there has arisen an academic belief in a tolerant, multi-cultural south, in which Jews, Christians and Muslims got on with their lives and men got on with men. Here, for example, is Daniel Eisenberg in Queer Iberia (why not Iqueeria?):

Although our knowledge of Andaluz Sufism is very deficient, as a result of the loss (and destruction) of texts, it seems probable that homosexuality had a place in its ideology. Also, that there were refugees from the Christian kingdoms who sought sexual liberty in the kingdoms of the south, and proclaimed, eulogised and reinforced it, as there were, centuries later, in North Africa.

It’s true that a number of big man-on-man stories have emerged from places south. However–and I’m writing from a position of formidable ignorance–I’m just curious as to why, in this Paradise on Earth, so many of them seem to be violations: the rape of African male would-be emigrants to Spain by Moroccan frontier guards; the abuse of children by American artists in the mid-20th century; the Passion of Pelagius, as told by Hrotswit, a canoness in Gandersheim abbey, which has a young Asturian boy being martyred in Cordoba for refusing to surrender his virginity to Abd-ar-Rahman III / عبد الرحمن الثالث (Ann Christys, Christians in Al-Andalus has lots on Pelagius). I’d also like to know why the northerners seem–in the surviving literature–so singularly unconcerned about all those nice boys going south to party. It was happening, right?

(Glenn W Olsen’s paper, The sodomitic lions of Granada, sounds quite alarming. Unfortunately I am unable to access it.)

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