Mozarabs is a term for Christians living in the Middle Ages under Muslim rule in what is now Portugal and Spain ( Al -Andalus ) and adapting the structures of Arab society in the outer life.


The origin of the name Mozarabs (Spanish Mozárabes, in older spellings also Mazárabes, Muzárabes, Mostárabes, Portuguese moçárabes ) is not finally resolved, in general, is, however, assumed that it is derived from the Arabic term مستعرب / musta ʿ rib, which so much as " Arabized " means.


As Mozarabs the remaining Christian inhabitants of the Muslim occupied territories are referred to in the Iberian Peninsula, which came after the collapse of the Western Goth ( from 711 ) under Moorish rule and their adaptation in the outer life form to the new masters. They had jizya ( poll tax ) to pay, but lived in their own neighborhoods with their own jurisdiction and administration. The Arabization of the Christians took place primarily in the cities, where many Christians were also active in the administrative and financial authorities of the Umayyads.

The longest time on the Moorish rulers behaved quite tolerant of the Christian population (which was initially in the majority ) and granted possible within the Islamic legal religious freedoms. Only at times there were tensions, as in the 9th century when it was at the instigation of the ascetics Perfectus, Eulogius and Isaac came to religious excesses in Córdoba I. Muhammad. Between 851 and 859 times of Islam and its Prophet Muhammad was reviled and insulted, to suffer with the expected death sentence martyrdom of Christians. Only after a synod condemned the deliberate martyrdom, the tensions subsided again.

Due to conversions to Islam, the number of Mozarabs in Islamic ruled Andalusia took over the centuries but steadily. With the progress of the Reconquista and the increasing orientalization Andalusia also the migration of Mozarabs increased since the 10th century in the Christian kingdoms of the north. This tendency was strengthened again significantly, as in the 12th century, the Berber Almoravids and Almohads took over the rule in Andalusia, the religiously much more radical ideas represented as the previous rulers and increasing pressure and reprisals exercised to achieve the transfer of the Mozarabs to Islam. Parts of the Mozarabs were relocated to Morocco, to deprive the Christian conquerors their related populations.

By immigrated Mozarabs a connection between Latin- Christian and Muslim- Arab culture were made in the northern Spanish kingdoms. The Mozarabs exercised considerable influence on the folk literature in northern Spain and southern France.

Mozarabic style

With Mozarabic refers to the interspersed with Islamic architectural style elements Iberian artists how to find it, especially in Spain. In the south, the activities restricted under the Moorish occupation of the decoration or the conversion and use Visigoth churches.

In the north there were many new buildings. Throughout the country, Mozarabs new techniques introduced in the architecture, as in the arch and bow making. However, the Moors attributed horseshoe arch appears already in the Visigothic architecture. He was taken by the Moors and is satisfied with the Mozarabs in a orientalised form in the north, while continuing to live in the Asturian architecture Visigothic forms of the horseshoe arch in the pre-Romanesque. Features of the Mozarabic architectural style are beside the horseshoe arch and the multi- pass arc and typical decorative forms such as vegetable ornaments of stucco. Since in Islamic architecture, the human figure is banned, Arab artists had brought the craft of ornamental decoration to perfection. The Mozarabic stonemasons took on these suggestions.

Mozarabic language

The languages ​​spoken by the Mozarabs dialects of Vulgar Latin are called Mozarabic language.

Mozarabic rite

The obtained on a small scale until today, emerged from the Visigoth tradition own liturgical rite of the Christians in the Iberian Peninsula (and not just the Mozarabs ) was practiced in the church reforms of the 11th century before the introduction of the Roman Rite, called Mozarabic rite.