Sunday, October 24, 2010

St. Casilda's Muslim Family

St. Casilda's father was Al-Mamun, the Muslim ruler of the taifa of Toledo from 1043-1075.  Toledo had been the capital of the Christian Visigothic kingdom of the Iberian peninsula until the Muslim invasion and conquest in 711.

The Muslim "Moors", who conquered most of the Iberian peninsula in 711 and ruled there to one extent or another until Queen Isabella completed the reconquest in 1492, were comprised of Arabs and Berbers.  Al-Mamum was part of the Banu Dil-Nun family, from the Berber tribe Hawwara.  The Banu Dil-Nun had been in the Iberian peninsula since the conquest. Whether Casilda's mother was also a Berber will be discussed in a future post.

The taifas were regional kingdoms that arose in the area of the Iberian peninsula that was once ruled centrally from the caliphate based in Cordoba after the Muslim takeover in 711.  By around 1030 the caliphate had collapsed and the taifas had been established.

While St. Casilda's father is commonly referred to as "Al-Mamun of Toledo" (because there were other historical figures named Al-Mamun), his formal name is listed variously as "Yahya I Abu'l Hasan Sharaf ad-Dawla al Ma'mum", "Yahya ibn Ismail al-Mamun", and "Yahya ben Ismael ben-Dylinun".

According to some sources, Al-Mamun was the son of Isma'il abu Muhammad Dhu'l-Riyasatayn Al-Zahir, who was the first ruler of the taifa of Toledo.  This Al-Zahir was the son of Abd Al-Rahman ibn Dul-Nun, the lord of Santaver.  If these sources are correct, then Al-Zahir was St. Casilda's grandfather and Al-Rahman was her great-grandfather.

St. Casilda had a sister who married Abd Al-Malik.  He was the Emir (king) of the taifa of Valencia from 1061-1065.  (Al-Malik's father was Abd al-Azis who ruled Valencia from 1022-1061.)  Casilda also had a brother, Isma'il, whose son Al-Qadir ruled Valencia from 1086-1092 and Toledo from 1075-1080 (or 1085, depending on the source).  By all accounts, Al-Qadir was a very unpopular leader -- both wicked and ineffectual.  Interestingly, he is the same Al-Qadir who is one of the characters in the famous motion picture, El Cid (1961).

After some complex warfare, Al-Mamun conquered the taifa of Cordoba in 1075, at which point he became the most powerful lord in southern Iberia, ruling Toledo, Cordoba and Valencia.  Al-Mamun died by poisoning the same year, and was succeeded in Toledo by his grandson (and Casilda's nephew), Al-Qadir.

Sources include:
Wikipedia articles "Al-Mamun of Toledo", "Taifa of Toledo", "Kingdom of Toledo", and "Taifa of Valencia".
Online article, "Regnal Chronologies, Iberia:  Al-Andalus"
Revised Butler's Lives of the Saints (1999) "St. Casilda"
Callaghan, Joseph F.; A history of medieval Spain, p. 205.
Fletcher, Richard A., The Quest for El Cid, p. xiv.

Nogales, "Casilda", from Wikimedia Commons.  In the public domain.

NB:   This post was edited April 26, 2011 to correct the parentage of Al-Qadir based on new information that he was the son of Casilda's brother rather than her sister and to add the parentage of Casilda's brother-in-law Al-Malik.

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