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

VI: Agricultural Conditions in the Crusader States,   pp. 251-294 PDF (16.5 MB)


Page 251

 251VI 
* AGRICULTURAL CONDITIONS IN THE CRUSADER STATES 
 griculture played a large role in the life of those states born of the crusades.
This aspect of their history has often been overlooked 
— somewhat surprisingly, since in large part the fate of the different
states hinged on their agricultural capacities. We shall try to determine
the extent to which each could feed itself, or had to rely on other countries
for essential imports. It is also important to determine which of them had
so productive an agriculture as to contribute to international trade, and
thus acquired the wealth which made them stronger than their neighbors. Agricultural
productivity, however, will not be our only concern. The study of the agrarian
regime is closely bound up with that of agriculture proper, and cannot be
ignored. Finally, to complete our examination of agricultural conditions
we shall consider how the soil was exploited by the crusaders' descendants.
 There are two recent studies: Claude Cahen, "Notes sur l'histoire des croisades
et de l'Orient latin, II: Le régime rural syrien au temps de la domination
franque," Bulletin de la Faculté des lettres de Strasbourg, XXIX (1950—1951),
286—310, and Joshua Prawer, "Étude de quelques problèmes
agraires et sociaux d'une seigneurie croisée au XIIIe siècle,"
Byzantion, XXII (1952), 5—61; XXIII (1953), 143—170, which refers
principally to the memoriale possessionum drawn up in 1243 by Marsiglio Zorzi,
the Venetian bailie of Acre, published by Tafel and Thomas, II, 351—398.
Still useful, however, are the following: Helen 0. Preston, Rural Conditions
in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem (Philadelphia, 1903); Hans Prutz, Kulturgeschichte
derKreuzzüge (Berlin, 1883; repr. Hildesheim, 1964); Emmanuel G. Rey,
Les Colonies franques de Syrie aux XIIe et XIIIe siècles (Paris, 1883).
On geographical conditions see André Latron, La Vie rurale en Syrie
et au Liban (Mémoires de l'Institut francais de Damas; Beirut, 1936),
and Felix M. Abel, Géographie de la Palestine, I (Paris, 1933). See
also Maurice Gaudefroy-Demombynes, La Syrie a l'époque des Mamelouks
d'après les auteurs arabes (Bibliotheque archéologique et historique,
III; Paris, 1923), and Robert Mantran and Jean Sauvaget, Reglementsfiscaux
ottomans: Les provinces syriennes (Institut francais de Damas; Paris, 1951).
Essentially the sources comprise the charters to be found for the most part
in the Regesta regni Hierosolymitani of Reinhold Röhricht (2 vols.,
Innsbruck, 1893—1904; repr. New York, 1960). Cf. also Ernst Strehike,
Tabulae ordinis theutonici (Berlin, 1869; repr. Toronto, 1975), and Eugene
de Rozière, Cartulaire de l'eglise du Saint-Sépulcre de Jerusalem
(Paris, 1849; repr. in PL, 155 [Paris, 1880], cols. 1105—1262). 
 Among those who have assisted me in the completion of this work I must thank,
above all, the late Henri Seyrig, then Director of the Institut francais
d'archéologie in Beirut, who made it possible for me to study present
conditions of rural life in the Levant and in Cyprus on the spot. 


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