“A book of verses underneath the bough
A flask of wine, a loaf of bread and thou
Beside me singing in the wilderness
And wilderness is paradise now.”
I read yesterday in a history magazine that the authorities put a sales tax when wine was sold and this was a very good way to raise revenues. So the authorities had no reasons to prohibit the sale of wine.
It is interesting, despite the topic title being erroneous - 'Al Andalus' is not referred to as a kingdom, ever.
Heavily Portuguese-orientated presumably for it's audience (Portugal didn't exist for the first 500 years of muslim rulers) . Excellent detail though. All I would say is it possibly understates opposition within muslim circles to alcohol, the growing of vines 'survived' more than anything else.
Though this Andalucian fondness for wine and music is commonly said to have contributed to the decline of the Almoravids - their fundamentalism was sort of infected by the decadence in Al Andalus Province - in turn it led to the rise and takeover of the Almohads. Alcohol was banned, as was any religion other than islam and that includes throughout Almohad lands in Spain. At the height of it's power under Abd Al Mumin, Yusuf I and Yaqub Al Mansur all this was enforced with rigour. This is the time the last jews and christians fled north to Toledo. Using wine, if caught would lose you your head. The author under-estimates the power of the Almohads at their peak - your guide books often refer to Almohad structure - they built a lot of fortresses and walls as well as great art like the Mequita in Sevilla/ La Giralda.
The later Kingdom of Granada was sometimes derided by African forces like the Merinids because of it's perecived similarity to the Christian north - use of wine, heavy armour, sometimes allies etc.
Not sure what I'd do without wine. Faced with the Almohads I would have emigrated too!Edited: 21 May 2018, 16:13
When the Roman Empire flourished, long before all those invaders from Africa there was a big wine trade. The Carthaginians and Phoenicians had vineyards and produced the beverage long before Rome got its sticky fingers on Spain. Those huge amphorae holding litres of wine or olive oil often produced along the River Guadalquivir banks so transport available. In Rome today you can see the burial ground of those clay amphorae at Monte Testaccio. Most interesting site. The Islamic hordes learnt much from predecessors.
Also quite interesting (I think) is that, when you read the history of the Basque Country, the Romans didn't really have a lot to do with the north coast bit beyond the mountains. A few port installations and a few officials etc ruling over local life, all in peace whilst the Empire had a firm grip. The reason for this disinterest is that the Mediterranean crops like vines wouldn't grow well on the north-facing slopes and therefore there was no economy to speak of at the time.
So I read anyway!
This disconnect became real as central Imperial power started to collapse and the area had a sort of de facto autonomy that the Visigoths would never penetrate, beyond a few punishment/hostage raids, neither would the arabs in 711-18 as they merely inherited the Visigothic kingdom more or less as it was. So the area in question would form part of an independent 'Asturias' in double-quick time.
Such can the effect of wine (or lack thereof) be on history!!