rabu-rabu-zura? (kiarasayre) wrote in little_details,

Al-Andalusian Nobility

I'm writing (or attempting to, anyway) a story set in a fantasy world based on Al-Andalus, or Moorish Spain. More accurately, in one of the taifas, or smaller kingdoms, after the Caliphate of Cordoba fell apart, but before the Reconquista really got going (so somewhere between 1000-1300, I'd say). I've tried googling "daily life in Moorish Spain," "daily life in the Emirate of Granada," "taifas," "al-Andalus feudal system," "administration of taifas," and read every relevant-looking Wikipedia entry I could find, along with the various results from Google (mostly from Andalucia: The Soul of Spain).

My character is the daughter of the ruler of a taifa, and has recently been married off to a knight who has no politically meaningful lands of his own but has just done a great service to the taifa; as a wedding present and/or part of the dowry, my character's father has given him lands. However, as the knight spends most of his time off slaying dragons (see above re: fantasy world), the duties of administrating the estate fall mostly to my main character.

So here are my questions:

1. Is it plausible that a taifa would have estates like this? I've been using the feudal model while thinking about it, but I haven't been able to find a lot of information on whether taifas used the feudal system at all.

2. Is it plausible that my (female) main character would end up running it? For political reasons, this particular taifa doesn't have a lot of (outright or violent) religious turmoil, and my character is Moorish and Muslim.

3. What goes into running an estate like this? Again, my character is of Moorish Muslim descent, and plans to implement a lot of Al-Andalusian concepts if they're not already there (irrigation, public baths, et cetera; she also personally has an interest in academics, and reads and collects Arabic texts - my justification for this is that she's both the youngest and the only daughter in a rather large family, so nobody particularly noticed or cared that she spent a lot of her time reading).

And lastly, I want to make sure I do this right and as historically accurately as possible (well, except for the dragons and whatnot). If anyone can recommend particularly good books on this subject for a historical novice, it would be greatly appreciated!
Tags: 1000-1099, 1100-1199, 1200-1299, 1300-1399, spain: history, ~middle ages, ~nobility (misc)

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