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The Almoravid Empire: Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss one of the great empires of the Islamic west.

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Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the Berber people who grew to dominate the western Maghreb, founded Marrakesh and took control of Al-Andalus. They were desert people, wearing veils over their faces to keep out the sand, and they wanted a simpler form of Islam. They called themselves the Murabitun, the people who gathered together to fight the holy war, and they were tough fighters; the Spanish knight El Cid fought them and lost, and the legend that built around him said the Almoravids were terrible and had to be resisted. They kept back the Christians of northern Spain, so helping extend Muslim rule in the Iberian Peninsula, before they themselves were destroyed and replaced by their rivals, the Almohads, from the Atlas Mountains.

The image above shows the interior of the cupola, Almoravid Koubba, Marrakesh (C11th)


Amira K Bennison
Professor in the History and Culture of the Maghreb at the University of Cambridge

Nicola Clarke
Lecturer in the History of the Islamic World at Newcastle University


Hugh Kennedy
Professor of Arabic at SOAS, University of London

Producer: Simon Tillotson.

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