Abstract

The tale of the City of Brass, best known today from the Arabian Nights, tells of the imagined encounter between humans and the occult properties of the material world, namely, the powers inherent in minerals. In the Middle Ages knowledge of such properties was transmitted in works such as the Ghāyat al-Ḥakīm and Alfonso X’s Lapidario. This article explores how this knowledge of precious stones and metals is reflected in the versions of the City of Brass transmitted in medieval Iberia, particularly in the use of copper manifest in the vessels, statues, walls, and domes that bind or contain jinn, treasures, and secrets of the pre-Islamic past.

You do not currently have access to this content.