The Mountains, the Mosque, & the Red City: ʿAbd Al-Muʾmin and the Almohad Legacy in Marrakesh
Stockstill, Abbey Parker
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CitationStockstill, Abbey Parker. 2018. The Mountains, the Mosque, & the Red City: ʿAbd Al-Muʾmin and the Almohad Legacy in Marrakesh. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractMy dissertation examines twelfth-century Marrakesh in a moment of transition between two dynasties of Berber origin, the Almoravids (1040-1147) and the Almohads (1121-1269). I argue that it was under the first Almohad caliph, ʿAbd al-Muʾmin, that Marrakesh developed into a thriving metropolis that attempted to translate a seminomadic, tribal past into an architectural vernacular on an imperial scale. In tracing this transition, I examine the Almohad capital city as an urban space anchored through two architectural monuments. The first chapter looks at the sites and rituals of the royal quarter, known as Tamarrakusht, which clearly defined a space along a north-south axis in which the dynasty and the local populace interacted. Within this space, the Almohads utilize the landscape as a backdrop to those ceremonies that confirm their past as Masmuda Berbers, and manipulate the topography to position themselves in an act of perpetual motion going to and coming from the nearby Atlas Mountains that serve as their ethnic homeland. The second chapter focuses on the primary extant monument of the dynasty, the Kutubiyya mosque, which I argue is reflective of Almohad concerns about asserting their dominance over and difference from the prior Almoravid dynasty. More than mere triumphalism, however, the Kutubiyya employs the architectural precedents of the Islamic West to express the spiritual precision that defined the Almohad movement. The third and final chapter examines another monument, the mosque at Tinmal, a mountain village that became a dynastic necropolis and pilgrimage site. I argue that Tinmal activates the surrounding landscape with the resonance of an ethnic homeland, developing the connection between identity and place to explore the Almohads’ sectarian identity and its role in their imperial self-concept.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:41127171
- FAS Theses and Dissertations 
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