A Multi-Faith Endeavor: Vineyards and Winemaking, Circa 1390-1492

--A short story to share from Virtual Plasencia Version 1.0

Winemaking was a perennial interest of Jews, Christians, and even, Muslims. Even though Muslims were religiously prescribed from drinking wine by the Qur’an because it led to a culture of “debauchery”, this did not prevent Extremaduran Muslim families from owning, renting, and managing their own production of wine.[1] In this manner, winemaking created a co-existence of cultures.

At times, the local wine culture corrupted even the most devout – especially churchmen. During 1430s, Bishop Gonzalo Garcia de Santa Maria and church leaders exerted considerable effort to reign in their local clergy who drank more than their fair share of wine produced in church and personally owned vineyards. [Read the entire historic narrative] or [Go to 3D Virtual Plasencia and locate these barrels of wine and read the short story about Jewish, Christian, and Muslim winemaking.]

Thought questions for everyday readers:

• If medieval Muslims were Qur'anic prohibited from drinking wine, why might they have been involved in its production?

• How does the environment and agricultural production shape persons' professions and identities?

• How did wine shape this community of Jews, Christians, and Muslims?

Help us share news about the project!

Forward this note to one friend today! If they are interested, they can register to become a Citizen Scholar.

-Dr. Roger L. Martinez-Davila, Project Director, RCCP


Other Project News -- We are almost ready!


Dear Citizen Scholars,

We are almost ready to begin the next phase of the project --that is -- our collective efforts to:

• 1. Transcribe portions of the early 15th century version of the Actas Capitulares,

• 2. Transcribe portions of the early 19th century version of Book Two of the Actas Capitulares, and

• 3. Begin analyzing the contents of the transcriptions prepared by YOU during the summer 2014 "Deciphering Secrets" MOOC.

With our shoestring budget, but with hundreds of helping hands, we will begin using a new online discussion board to coordinate our volunteer efforts. Additionally, we will be using an off-the-shelf web tool that allows us to record "data" (names, places, dates, items, currencies, relationships, social station, religious identity) into our research database. This information will be displayed in future versions of Virtual Plasencia as well as to prepare new historical narratives.

Given our success with an impressive collection of volunteers, we will be relying on this model as we move forward. Why?

Primarily because it takes a substantial amount of effort and time to raise funding for our initiative. Presently, our scholarly team is preparing three grants to secure new funding for our effort. These include the National Endowment for the Humanities' Digital Humanities Implementation Grant, the National Endowment for the Humanities' Collaborative Research Grants, and the National Science Foundations' Cyberlearning Grants.  

We are also actively developing a Kickstarter.com project to help fund our efforts to build an educational 3D game (high school, college, and general public) that teaches users about medieval history, co-existence, and medieval handwriting.

However, we've learned through YOUR actions that the most valuable element of our project is our ability to connect with other persons that are passionate about the humanities, history, and our multi-faith world.

We don't want to wait and there is no time like the present to continue our work. In late November 2014 we will announce the opening of the citizen scholarship discussion boards and transcription efforts.

Thank you for your participation!

Dr. Roger L. Martinez-Davila, Project Director, RCCP