Jose Antonio Conde's classic 3 volume work is a pioneering history of the Arabs in Spain (700-1500). It was under Arab rule that the Iberian peninsular experienced a golden era that saw a blossoming of artistic, scientific and intellectual pursuits. Conde was concerned that the history of this period was available only through works that were unreliable and prejudiced against the Arabs and his aim was to provide an accurate account of what was an important period in the history of Europe and of Islam. War and the passage of time had destroyed many of the important libraries but Conde undertook extensive research to locate and make use of original Arabic manuscripts and he was the first person to use them for a coherent history of the period. The three volumes represent an important milestone in Hispano-Arabic studies and they have had a lasting influence. Their re-issue will be welcomed by scholars and all with an interest in this fertile and formative period.
The new Introduction by Professor Richard Hitchcock, a leading scholar of Hispano -Arabic studies, provides an important a re-appraisal of Conde, whose role in unearthing the history of al-Andalus, he feels, has been much undervalued.
Jose Antonio Conde (1766-1820), was a Spanish orientalist and historian. He was a member of the royal library of Spain and was elected to the Spanish Academy and the Academy of History. His appointment as interpreter to Joseph Bonaparte led to his expulsion from both bodies and to a period of exile in France. He was eventually allowed to return to Spain and was re-elected to both academies.