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Saris Bat-Binyamin of Imarat Al-andalus (Jewish) by Gambargin Saris Bat-Binyamin of Imarat Al-andalus (Jewish) by Gambargin
A concept sketch for a (Shepardi) Jewish Woman Warrior in the Historically Wrong Sketch Series - Medieval Revisited, which is based roughly on the historical middle ages from 800 AD - 1400 AD. Imarat Al-andalus, or in English, the Emirate of Andalusia, is an anachronistic representation of the Emirate of Grenada, or the Nasrid Kingdoms in the 13th century Spain, the last bastion of Muslim stronghold in Iberian Peninsula.

Inspired by the Song - Hebrew Chant by Jordi Savall & Lior Elmaleh


To Christians and Muslims, the Jews have been a part of their history for as long as anyone can remember. They were one of the learned men, who preserved their scriptures, knwon for their intellect since the ancient times. For once, they established an Independent state in Judea, but was conquered by the Romans. The survivors, fled to different corners of the world living as minorities, whose faith reached as far as Europe, Abyssinia as well Khazaria. But one cannot deny, that the Jewish Golden Age occurred in a land called Andalusia, a territory in the Iberian peninsula under the control of Muslims. Indeed, the Jewish Golden age occurred during the Islamic Golden age


We have all seen and drawn Women warriors, both fantasy and historical, from many different cultures that people can associate easily. The mongols, the christians, the muslims, the pagans, the orients, the africans, and many..many more! But what about the representation of one of the world's oldest culture, the Jews?

There are prejudice and event some unpleasant views about the Jews, and we all know at least some bit of it. Regardless of how bias people can be, I find it really hard to deny and left out the Jews out. Therefore, my aim is in this drawing is to give a tribute and a brighter portrayal of these people, whose history has been filled with prejudices in the middle ages.

The character depicted in this drawing is Saris bat-Binyamin, a daughter of one of the influential jewish family in the height of the emirate power. She is drawn with the typical round helmet with wrapped cloth (kaffiyeh?), a mail armor as well as decorated kaftan. I can say this is probably one the most anachronistic depiction of the women warriors in the series, but her true skills were probably quite different than playing with words. She would be a learned poet, a philosophers and perhaps, a very good businesswoman as well.

One of the best example where the jews have enjoyed their relative peace and prosperity is in a land called Al-Andalus, or Andalusia, the name that the arabs used for Spain under the muslim control in the middle ages.


Maybe related to the following:

The Iberians Infanta Urraca Alfonzez of Reino di Iberia by GambarginThe Moors Lalla Zuhayra of Al-Mamlakati Al-Murnakus (Berber) by GambarginThe Byzantines Basilissa Sotirisa of Basileia Rhiomanion (Greek) by Gambargin
The Arabs Sultana Ahu of Sultanat Misr Al-Sarraviyah (Egypt) by Gambargin

A Part of the Historically Wrong Sketch Series: Medieval Revisited - You can find more on the various faction on the map here:

HWS Medieval Revisited - Faction Map v.1.22 by Gambargin


The Jews had already settled in the peninsula long before the arrival of Muslim. One of the earliest Jewish settlement is Toledo founded in the 1st century, believed to be originated from the hebrew word for "Exile". Indeed, some scholars believed that the original jewish settlers migrated from levantine when the romans invaded the land. Nevertheless, they remain prosperous in spain and were mostly left alone by the romans. When the Roman Empire collapsed, the Visgoth came to spain and found the Jews had established numerous settlements in the peninsula. Initially everything was peaceful, but then prosecution against the Jews became increasingly heavier as the Visgoths converted to Catholicism.

When the muslim came, the jews were given their freedom and received protections, as long as they paid their taxes. The Muslims back then impose 2 different taxes for their subjects. To the Muslims, the tax "Zakat" was compulsory for every able bodied Muslim men, while for non Muslims, a tax "Jizya" was imposed, which is higher than Zak at but they were exempted from military service. However, in its early days, the Muslim often employed the Jews as well as Christians as city guards/levied garrisons, due to lack of manpower governing such large areas. Moreoften than not, the muslims rulers returned the jizya taxes to those non-muslims participating in war/defense of their homeland.

Al-andalus itself was also called the period of Jewish Golden age. During the reign of Abdul Rahman III, one of his close adviser, a jewish scholar by the name of Hasdai Ibn Shafud, facilitated the translations of many of the classical greek and roman scriptures brought from byzantines. It was this time, that the scientific and literature works of both muslims, christians and jews reached its new height. Al-andalus was different than the rest of europe. It's a multicultural, progressive and tolerant society (less can be said on regions along the northern christian border). Cities like Cordoba had numerous public bath, libraries, street lightnihg and most importantly, plenty running waters. Such luxury and grandeur would not be seen in many cities in europe in the next many centuries.

Unfortunately, growing rivalries and frictions between the governing rulers, as well as intervention by numerous christian kingdoms, succeeded in destablishing the muslim rule of spain. When the Spanish Christian Kingdoms were united under Isabella and Ferdinant, they pursued the reconquista and conquered the last bastion of muslim stronghold of grenada in the 15th entury. The muslims and the Jews were then expelled from the land, the rest who stayed were forced to convert and faced prejudice under the new spanish power, who later became the conqueror of new world and one of europe's powerful empire.

What happened to the expelled jews? the surviving refugees found home in Italy, north africa, and Ottoman Lands, contributing their experties wherever they could be found, even under heavy prejudice.

I can say in my own words that the height of Al-andalus marked a period of practical tollerance where the jews, christians and muslims coexist peacefully and were working together towards a common goal....something that has become a wishful thinking in our current modern society.

The end of such tragic event could be summarized into the following poem

The weeping of those whose tears flow endlessly
The lament of those who cried of their loss
Is not enough to fill the world devoid of its ocean
My heart is torn apart, for what i called home is now gone
For its wise and forbearing men,
Its men of letters and its men of tastes,
Are all but a forgotten.

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ACEnBEAKY Featured By Owner Edited Nov 23, 2014
So....would this be before or after when the Khazar events took place. (Khazar theory is that Jewish Missionaries went to Khazaria, converted a lot of people, and then the Khazarians somehow thought that they were blood Jews too, not just in belief), this lady and her friends, they wouldn't be at all related to them? Is this before or after that?

Give humanity some credit. Although a lot of stupid people can be tempted to be unforgivably racist for no reason, there's usually a reason, not matter how lame or inaccurate it is. Sometimes it was people hating on Jews (I won't call them ALL semites, because a lot of people who are Jewish in faith aren't really Jewish in blood line) for no reason, sometimes the Jews were actually doing something wrong. Usually, from what I get, it was somewhere in between (and gray area can drive people more insane than black and white). Usually the Jews might have introduced a new idea for business or money lending or what have you, and it wasn't exactly bad in and of itself, but because it was new and the people didn't fully understand it (including the Jewish inventors themselves) it left a lot of loopholes to be exploited. With something that ambiguous, and the fact that there were a decent amount of them doing something dirty with it, it would be easy for the rest of the people to see it as a deception mean't to enslave them. Probably wasn't mean't to enslave people, but consequentially it looked that way to a lot of people and they reacted. You can judge mankind for ignorance all you want, but one of the rules is not looking like you're breaking any of them.

Not to mention, if we're talking about the Jews in the time period anywhere from them coming back from exile in Babylon to the times after Christ, the "Jews" kind of went through a change. They introduced the Talmud, which was originally a spoken law/tradition based on rabbinic authority (not the original prophets and moses) and it was entirely man made and, ironically, non kosher. It was mean't to protect aspects of their identity in a foreign land. HOWever, and I repeat, it conflicted very hard with the original law of moses, the patriarchs, and prophets. It was not the same. Some of it was in blatant disregard for the Old Testament's laws warning against pedophilia, beastiality, and oppressing the alien. Look, somebody gets a hold of that religious text, they're gonna think they're getting invaded by aliens. A lot has changed in the past thousand or so years. People think things are related to how they were 2000 or 5000 years ago. No. A lot has changed. I'm sad for Jews getting mistreated, but a lot of their leadership has set their people up for failure.

That's just me, though. And by the way, like all your women, she is very lovely, and I like your armor. HEY! If people are designing armor for women for cosplay, movies, or video games they should check you out! I think I'm gonna watch you on DA so I can show people your artwork.
BricksandStones Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2014
I like how joyful she is :) Also, her dress is done very well - it seems not fully oriental but also definitely not western - good work! 
OberstJurten Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Gambargin Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2014
Thanks! :)
MistVenturer Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I really love this series your doing!
ironsides11 Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2014
She seems a cuter than the female warriors you've shown us lately. =P
Gambargin Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2014
Ah yes, something different eh? :D
ironsides11 Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2014
It must be the fact that she's happy and not brandishing deadly medieval weaponry. XD
Hashashin619 Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
great work, i love it!
Gambargin Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2014
Thank you brother :)
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