This introductory chapter opens with the case study of the amendments that the historian Ambrosio de Morales introduced in the manuscript version of his core book Las Antigüedades de las ciudades de España (1575) before sending it to print. The changes in the description of Córdoba Mosque reveal the conflictive status of Islamic architecture in the Spanish historical writing of the time. Upon this example the subject of Admiration and Awe is introduced through three angles: the connection of the topic of the interpretation of Islamic monuments to sixteenth and seventeenth historiographical building of Spanish national identity; a review of recent academic literature on the subject as well as on its possible connection to postcolonial theory; and a survey in the early modern historiographical distinction among medieval Islamic buildings and contemporary uses of Islamic architecture.
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