In the Good Old Days

History lesson: Parts of ancient Spain had Christians, Muslims, and Jews living in the same city. And back then (Oh hey! As now!) such mixing was rare, rare, rare. Germanic Visigoths, North Africans, Arabic Muladi, Sephardic Jews, and Catholics all lived together in what would become known as “Holy” Toledo. “La Convivencia” was a term invented to describe the fact that all of the above were not actively at war with each other, although no one claims everybody was playing nice. There was, however, an explosion of inter-influencing one another's art, translating of books, and, we have no evidence for this but enjoy imagining it, tons of Romeo and Juliet-type teens mooning over each other in spite of being from different sides of the Alcazar. At “Toledo: The Multicultural Challenges of Medieval Spain,” responsible researchers tell you what really happened, and why, and how we can maybe not reinvent the wheel. Teofilo Ruiz, Fred Astren, and other academics speak, and several members of Ensemble Alcatraz perform early classical music.
Feb. 4-5, 8 p.m., 2011

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