Ornament of the World Book Report

Essay by SagemasterJunior High, 9th gradeA, February 2009

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Ornament of the World:

Questions & Answers

Central Theme: Tolerance and Unity. These themes are displayed throughout the book. For example, it not only shows the different religious views of Jews, Muslims, and Christians, it also tells how they came to live together in peace and prosperity. This creates a 'utopian era' and allows speculation on the finer arts, and sciences for the peoples of that time.

Point of View of Author: The author, Maria Rosa Menocal, had a great interest in the songs of the troubadours, which leads to a point at the very core of the book, the innovative ideas from al-Andalus undoubtedly contributed greatly to the musical 'revolution' that followed in later years.

Evidence of Bias of Author: In the book the author remains in a state of neutrality to keep facts straight and true. Maria Rosa Menocal tells the story from a casual, factual point of view.

Ask and Answer Six Questions about book.

What does the book's subtitle refer to by 'Culture of Tolerance'?

Muslims, Christians, and Jews did not have to separate cultures based on religious differences but rather were part of a large and expansive culture that involved parts of all their traditions.

Did this have any lasting effect on the world?

(See Below)

What was 'the ornament of the world'?

The expression is a reflection of the Islamic culture of medieval Spain, which was in many ways the great culture of medieval Europe. From about the mid-eight century until about the year 1000 this was an Islamic polity, centered in Cordoba, which at its height, in the mid-tenth century, declared itself the center of the Islamic world.

Where does this expression come from?

The city of al-Andalus was proclaimed ornament of the world by a nun named Hroswitha. She wrote...