University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The History Collection

Page View

Zacour, N. P.; Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / The impact of the Crusades on the Near East
(1985)

I: Arab Culture in the Twelfth Century,   pp. 3-32 PDF (11.6 MB)


Page 3

I 
ARAB CULTURE 
IN THE TWELFTH CENTURY 
 his study of Arab culture in the twelfth century is limited to those areas
in the Arab world in which the events of the crusades unfolded, and where
east and west, Islam and Christendom, Arab and Frank met face to face. These
areas comprise Egypt and the lands of the Fertile Crescent, although the
eastern part of the Crescent remained for the most part peripheral.' Most
of the drama was enacted on the eastern shores of the Mediterranean, from
Antioch in the north to Damietta in the south. The crusaders' early thrust
into the interior as far as the Tigris river was permanently arrested and
pushed back before the middle of the century. 
 At the outbreak of the crusades, eastern Islam was divided in loyalty between
the ' Abbãsid caliphate in Baghdad and the Fatimid imamate in Cairo.
The ' Abbãsids of Baghdad were virtual prisoners of the Selchükids
(Seijuks), who had, some five decades earlier, readily responded to the appeals
of al-Qa'im (1031—1075) to save the caliphate from the pro-Shi'ite
Buwaihids. Indeed, the Selchükids had in 1055 supplanted the Buwaihids
and saved the caliphal throne; they had given the state a new lease on life,
particularly during the reign of the first three Great Selchükids, Tughrul-Beg
(103 8—1063), Alp Arslan (1063-1072), and Malik-Shah (1072_1092).2
The Selchükids had come as rescuers, but, as often happens, had remained
as conquerors. Their domination over the caliphate continued to the last
decade of the twelfth century, and their endless strife weakened the caliphate
and facilitated the success of the Christian invaders. When, after the fall
of Jerusalem in 1099, a Moslem delegation arrived in Baghdad 
 The author is indebted to his students ' All Hajj Bakri, M. T. Husayn, Sa'dl
Khayyãt, and Mikha'il KhUri for help in collecting some of the material
for this study. 
 1. Nabih A. Fans, The Book of Knowledge, Being a Translation with Notes
of the Kitãb aI-'ilm of al-Ghazzali's "Ihyã' ' u/urn al-din"
(Lahore, 1962), p. 109. 
 2. See Claude Cahen, "The Turkish Invasion: The SeichUkids," in volume I
of the present work, pp. 140-154. 
3 


Go up to Top of Page