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16/08/2017 - 16:00hs
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Arab palaces the subject of course in São Paulo

The holder of a master’s degree in History, Plinio Freire will discuss the messages conveyed by Islam through its palatial buildings, in a mini-course next Saturday at bookstore Martins Fontes.



São Paulo – Arab palaces will be the subject of a mini-course next Saturday (19) at the Auditorium of bookstore Martins Fontes, in São Paulo. Plinio Freire, who holds a master’s in History, will go over what the architecture of palaces built under Islamic rule expresses regarding the power structures in effect during these reigns.

Freire explains that the mini-course is a spinoff from a broader course he teaches on Islamic art and civilization whose primary focus is on Islam as a religion and its ethical principles. The course at Martins Fontes will mainly address the construction of State under Islam. “It’s about showing how architecture conveys a message, about understanding architecture as a text and what it expresses,” says Freire.

Islam once sprawled from the Iberian Peninsula to India. It had its heyday in 711, in which year the Muslim empire crossed the Strait of Gibraltar and reached out all the way to the Indus Valley, in what is now India. This power was expressed through the construction of physical structures that were sophisticated for their time.

The professor will go over a number of palaces erected during the Islamic rule. He has been to these sites, some of which still stand and some of which have been rebuilt, in areas including North Africa, the Middle East and the Iberian Peninsula. Freire defines the Palace of Alhambra, in Spain, as the last Islamic stronghold in the Iberian Peninsula and the ultimate in refinement. It was the final construction of the Islamic reign before Christians seized power. “The last splendor of Islamic presence,” he says.

Plinio Freire holds a master’s in History from the University of São Paulo (USP). He arranges culture-oriented trips focusing on museums and landmarks in countries including Italy, Spain, Morocco and Iran. He wrote the book “Um herege vai ao paraíso: cosmologia de um ex-colono condenado pela Inquisição (1680-1744)” (A heretic goes to paradise: cosmology of a former peasant convicted by the Inquisition [1680-1744]). The historian spent ten years living in Florence, Italy, where he studied the Renaissance, and six years in the Middle East, where he did research on Islamic culture and art.

The course is an initiative of Lente Cultural, a cooperative arrangement formed by professors, lecturers and scholars, in partnership with bookstore Martins Fontes. Lectures and courses on myriad subjects are made available in the latter’s auditorium, with subjects including history to philosophy, psychology, literature and gastronomy. Registration is open for the course on Arab palaces (additional information below).

Quick facts

Mini-course Arab Palaces: from the Caliphate of Damascus to the Sultanate of Granada
August 19, Saturday, 11 am to 5:30 pm
BRL 130
Martins Fontes bookstore auditorium – Avenida Paulista, 509 – 2nd floor – São Paulo – SP
Find out more and register: http://www.lentecultural.com.br/cursos/minicurso-palacios-arabes-do-califado-de-damasco-ao-sultanado-de-granada/ (in Portuguese)

*Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum

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