chapter  X
15 Pages

Some Considerations on Almohad Itinerant Power

WithJeremy Rogers

In an article published in 1988, Jocelyne Dakhlia analysed the symbolism of the itinerant power in the Islamic West. For Dakhlia, indeed, the mehallas are a spectacle rather than a show of force. In the Maghrebi political system, the state had to move around and make itself visible. It is true that the Almohad caliph had his centre in Marrakesh, the capital in which he was present and from where he controlled the affairs of the Muslim community. The mobility of the Almohad sovereign answered his specific needs, and first and foremost the need for military activity, whether directed towards the conquest of North African territories or the fight against the Christians in the Iberian Peninsula. Almohad ceremonial is seen as an open-air representation, which transcends and includes the boundaries of the town and addresses the whole population.