Project presentation: Muslims and Military Orders in the Medieval Iberian Peninsula

The goal of the project is to explore the various mechanisms for Muslims that entered dependence relationships with Military Orders in the Medieval Iberian Peninsula. This project offers an ideal chance for a comparative study on religious minorities and also pays attention to a sector of Muslims who have not received much attention until now because they lived mostly in rural or semi-rural environments. Moreover, its scope includes different Christian Kingdoms of the Iberian Peninsula (Portugal, Castile, Crown of Aragon) in a comparative way, thus side-stepping the traditional approach to the study of this religious minority. Military Orders were institutions that possessed similar objectives, mind frame, and structure, and that had an international scope and functioned for a long period of time, thus providing a more or less homogeneous entity of study to analyse the differences and similarities caused by differences in terms of space and epoch. Moreover, the focus on frontier, war, coexistence, and tolerance provides a much-needed review on the dynamics of coexistence among Christians and Muslims. It highlights deviations from the official discourse, or how Christian dominance influenced physical manifestations of the presence of religious minorities under their rule over time, and sheds light on the internal dynamics of the mentality of medieval Christian societies regarding other cultures and religions.

Although the project is still ongoing, it is already yielding very relevant findings concerning the processes of integration of Muslim communities into Christian structures, the variety of uses given to Muslim workers in the houses and convents of the orders, and the flexibility that ruled over a lot of the power relationships between Muslims and Military Orders.

The interest of this topic is multiple. For one, it is a little-explored aspect of Military Orders and it will bring a better understanding of their functioning and their perceived goal. For another, it sheds light on rural Muslim communities under Christian rule and those that were under non-royal lordship. Moreover, it is a very interesting case of interreligious interactions, as Military Orders were created to defend Christianity, yet they allowed Muslim presence in their lands and their houses.

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Online presentations related to the project:

2020                “Pobladores musulmanes en tierras de las órdenes militares durante la Edad Media”, invited paper to the I Seminário Internacional sobre Ordens Militares e Cruzadas, October 2020. Avaliable Online: (in Spanish, automatic subtitles available)

2020                “Transfer, translation, and re-use between faiths: a view from Medieval Iberia”, panellist in the webinar organised by the Society for the Medieval Mediterranean in collaboration with the Woolf Institute. 16 July 2020. Available Online: (in English)

2018                “Más allá del conflicto: Órdenes militares y musulmanes en la edad media peninsular”, Seminário de Estudios Medievais, organized by the Instituto de Estudos Medievais, Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas da Universidade Nova de Lisboa (Portugal). Lisboa (Portugal), 16 October 2018 Available online:  (in Spanish, automatic subtitles available)

Papers presented to Scientific Forums (not available online)

2020               „Pobladores musulmanes en tierras de las órdenes militares durante la Edad Media”, invited paper to the I Seminário Internacional sobre Ordens Militares e Cruzadas, October 2020. Avaliable Online:

2020               “Muslime als Siedler: Die Territorien der Ritterorden auf der Iberischen Halbinsel im Mittelalte”, Kolloquium für Fortgeschrittene: Mittelalterforschung, Heidelberg (Germany), June 2020.

2020                “A Charter of Population granted to Muslims by the Order of the Temple”, paper presented to the Grammar of Coercion Session in the Worck Cost Action 1st Meeting in Lyon, February, 2020.

2020               “Al servicio de la Orden: la utilidad de los musulmanes para las órdenes militares”, Seminar organized by the research Group CAIMMed d’història mediterrània medieval, Institució Milá i Fontanals (CSIC), Barcelona, November 2019.

2019               “For the Expansion of Christianity? Military Orders and the Conversion of Muslims in the Medieval Iberian Peninsula”, invited paper presented at the International Workshop, Crossing the Divide? Experiences of Conversion in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Era”, Évora (Portugal), November 2019.

2019               “A Polysemic Problem? Words and Contexts of Muslims Working for Military Orders in the Iberian Peninsula in the Middle Ages”, paper presented at the European Labour History Network Conference, Amsterdam (Netherlands), September 2019.

2019               “Regulating Displacements? The Settlement of Muslims in the Lands of Military Orders in the Medieval Iberian Peninsula”, paper presented at the 6th Biennial conference of the Society for the Medieval Mediterranean, Barcelona (Spain), July 2019.

2019               “Alfonso X and the Sea”, International Conference “Crossing Boundaries? Trade & Connections on the Medieval Mediterranean”, Cambridge (UK), April 2019.

2019               “This Land is My Land: The Reorganization of the Campo de Calatrava after the Christian Conquest”, paper presented at the Medieval Academy of America Annual Conference, Philadelphia, March 2019.

2018               “Regulando la diferencia. Musulmanes en tierras de órdenes militares en Castilla y Portugal”, paper resented at the III International Conference on the Middle Ages. Inclusion and Exclusion in Medieval Urban Europe, Castelo de Vide (Portugal), October 2018.



Publications related to the project:

This project has resulted in a number of direct publications, both strictly scientific and focused on the dissemination of the project itself:


Scientific Publications:

“Musulmanes como (re)pobladores en tierras de las órdenes militares: primeras observaciones”, in I.C. Fernandes (ed.), VIII encontro sobre ordens militares. Ordens militares: identidade e mudança, Edições Colibrí, Câmara Municipal de Palmela, forthcoming 2021.

“Overlapping Dependencies: Muslims and Military Orders in Medieval Castile”, in Clara Almagro Vidal and Filomena Barros, Shades of Personal Dependency in the Medieval Iberian Peninsula and the Mediterranean, CIDEHUS, forthcoming 2021.

 “Nuevas informaciones sobre de la población musulmana de Hornachos”, Historia, Instituciones, Documentos. Revista de Historia Medieval, forthcoming 2021.

“Snapshots of Female Muslims in the Lands of Military Orders in the Medieval Iberian Peninsula: Contexts and Interactions”, in Aysu Dinçer, Chiara Ravera, and Denise Bezzina, Gender Networks and Communities in Medieval Europe, Amsterdam University Press, forthcoming 2021.

“Transferring Lordships: the Muslims of Sanet and the Military Order of Santiago”, Worck Data Stories. Forthcoming online in, 2020.


Dissemination Publications:

 “Muslims under the rule of Military Orders in the Medieval Iberian Peninsula“, blog post for the blog Ibero-Mediaevistik Mittelalterforschung zur Iberischen Halbinsel, 19/08/2020, curated by Redaktion: Sandra Schieweck, Prof. Dr. Nikolas Jaspert Universität Heidelberg Historisches Seminar (ZEGK) Grabengasse 3-5, 69117 Heidelberg, (In English)


“Between Coexistence and Dominance: Muslims under the Rule of Military Ordersin the Medieval Iberian Peninsula”, La historiografía medieval en España y la conformación de equipos de trabajo: los proyectos de investigación I+D+i, Madrid, Sociedad Española de Estudios Medievales 2020, pp. 10-12  ISBN: 978-84-09-23465-3 Available online:  (In Spanish)



Other publications by the Principal Investigator related to the topic:

"More than meets the eye: readings of economic interactions between religious minorities in Medieval Castile", in Almagro Vidal, C., J. Tearney-Pearce and L. Yarbrough (eds.) Minorities in Contact in the Medieval Mediterranean, Turnhout: Brepols, 2020, pp. 233-45.

 “‘Our Moors’: Military Orders and Unfree Muslims in the Kingdom of Castile”, in N. Morton (ed.) The Military Orders. Volume VII. Piety, Pugnacity and Property, London/New York: Routledge, 2019, pp. 139-148.

“Más allá de la aljama: Comunidades musulmanas bajo el dominio de la Orden de Calatrava en Castilla”, En la España Medieval, 41 (2018), 9-22. Available online:

“The Fourth Lateran Council and its influence on Military Orders in Castile”, in I. Resnick, M.-Th. Champagne (eds.), Jews and Muslims under the Fourth Lateran Council, Turnhout: Brepols, 2018, pp. 169-182.

"Espacios y tradiciones entre los moriscos del Campo de Calatrava: continuidad, abandono y transformación", in L. Araus Ballesteros and J. Prieto Sayagués (eds.), Las tres religiones en la Baja Edad Media Peninsular. Espacios, percepciones y manifestaciones, Madrid: Ed. La Ergástula, 2018, pp. 161-173.

“¿Un hidalgo musulmán?: la oligarquía nazarí desde un pleito de hidalguía castellano”, Al-Qantara, XXXVIII-1 (2017), 71-97. Available online:

"Moros al servicio de las órdenes militares en Castilla: algunas reflexiones", in Actas del XIII Simposio internacional de Mudejarismo celebrado en Teruel, 4-5 septiembre de 2014 , Teruel, 2017, pp. 191-200. Available online:

"Religious minorities' identity and application of the law: a first approximation to the lands of military orders in Castile", in J. Tolan, A. Echevarria and J. P. Montferrer Salas (eds.) Law and Religious Minorities in Medieval Societies: between theory and Praxis, Turnhout: Brepols, 2016, 197-210. Available online:

 “Sobre unidades de organización islámica en La Mancha. El caso de Moratalaz (Ciudad Real)”, (with L.R. Villegas Díaz), Sharq al-Andalus,  21 (2014-2016), 9-21. Available online:

"La comunidad mudéjar de Daimiel: algunas noticias", in Actas de las III Jornadas de Historia de Daimiel, Daimiel, 2015, 77-88. Available online: . The original presentation is available online as audio: and presentation

 "La Orden de Calatrava y la minoría mudéjar", in I. Cristina Fernandes (coord.), As Ordens Militares. Freires, Guerreiros,Cavaleiros. Actas do VI Encontro sobre Ordens Militares, Câmara Municipal de Palmela, Palmela, 2012, Vol. 2, 617-630. Available online:

"De nuevo sobre la pervivencia mudéjar en el Campo de Calatrava: el sector sudoccidental", in F. Toro Ceballos and J. Rodríguez Molina (coord.), VIII Estudios de Frontera: mujeres y fronteras, Diputación de Jaén, Jaén, 2011, 1-12. Available online:

"Sobre persistencias de población mudéjar en el Campo de Calatrava: algunas noticias" (with L.R. Villegas Díaz), in VII Congreso Internacional de Estudios de Frontera: Islam y cristiandad. S.XII-XVI, Diputación de Jaén, Jaén, 2009, 37-55. Avalilable online:






Dr. Clara Almagro Vidal

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