|Trajan, one of two Roman emperors|
born in Hispania
|Ceremonial crown of Reccesvinthus, |
one of the most revered Visigoth kings.
They say the great leader of Muslim Spain, Abd ar-Rahman III (891-961), had blue eyes and blond hair he dyed dark to blend in better with his troops. This coloring can be “explained” by his mother, a Christian concubine in the caliph’s court. However, his father’s side of the equation, while unquestionably noble, was hardly pure Arabian or even North African. His father’s mother was Onneca Fortúnez, a royal princess of the northern kingdom of Pamplona.
|Flamenco @ MIT, January 2009. Photo by Jessica Knauss|
Gypsies arrived in Spain in the fifteenth century, and have been contributing cultural phenomena now widely considered quintessentially Spanish ever since. UNESCO added flamenco to their list of Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2010. No one denies the gypsy heritage of today’s Andalusian culture; however, the gypsy people are not generally held in any higher regard than they are in any other country. Throughout history, the Romani people have encountered this kind of ambivalence, but in Spain it reaches a unique extreme.