The Pyxis of Zamora: Three Lives of Medieval Iberian Women

Publication Date

April 2018


Michael Armstrong Roche, Gabrielle Ponce-Hegenauer


College of Letters,


English (United States)


The Pyxis of Zamora: Three Lives of Medieval Iberian Women is a collection of historical fiction short stories about three women who lived in medieval Spain: Aurora/Subh, Wallada bint al-Mustakfi, and Zaida Maryam/La Mora Zaida/Queen Isabel. This collection is set during the convivencia, the period from 711 A.D. - 1492 A.D. when Muslims, Christians and Jews lived and worked together in Spain. These tales recount the imagined experiences of Princess Zaida Maryam?s departure from Seville after the invasion of the Almoravids, the events behind the poetry written in love and hate by Wallada and her lover Ibn Zaydun, and the months leading up to an ivory box being given to Subh on the day her son is born. Inspired by art, architecture, poetry and histories, this work explores themes of home, identity, love, subjugation and freedom. It draws upon the nuance and complexity of this golden age of coexistence, and uses historical fiction as a tool to explore history from a different perspective.

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