The Taifa of Denia and the Medieval Mediterranean

Travis Bruce, Western Michigan University


This dissertation treats the Muslim kingdom of Denia on the Spanish Mediterranean coast. Through a singular political program, the eleventh-century rulers of Denia created a maritime kingdom based on the resources and networks of the Mediterranean. Denia played a unique role as a Mediterranean polity, developing economic links with Christian Barcelona, Sardinia, Pisa and Genoa that would connect Muslim and Christian populations over several centuries. The dissertation demonstrates the importance of economics in the Muslim-Christian relations of the western Mediterranean using Latin archival documents, Latin and Arabic narrative sources, and archeological and numismatic evidence. It explores the extent to which local populations were dependent upon and reacted to the new economic and political structures of the eleventh century. The role of trade as a cross-cultural phenomenon and the nature of religious and political legitimacy revealed by this dissertation are as relevant today as they were in the eleventh century. For both the issues it explores and its innovative use of sources, the dissertation makes a substantial contribution to Spanish, Islamic and Mediterranean History.