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

I: The Legal and Political Theory of the Crusade,   pp. 3-38 PDF (14.2 MB)

Page 30

in Bethlehem, brought up, in Nazareth, suffered and was buried, in Jerusalem
. . . which because of the fetters of our sins is in the hands of the unbelievers."52
What looks like a geographical error may rather be a recognition of Mamluk
rule over Palestine from Cairo. Pilgrimage, because it added to the revenue
of the Mamluks, was also in dispendium, and so required dispensation, and
Egypt was a normal route to Palestine. The North African states, though the
object of several startling Christian attacks, never provoked the same vituperation
as Mamluk Egypt. Even though we cannot confidently assert, we can reasonably
suppose, that the popes would have been ready to reach some accommodation
with Islamic powers, whenever expedient, as a matter of course, were it not
for the question of Palestine. This, if true, implies that the conviction
that Palestine rightfully belonged to the Christians had priority in Christian
theory over the argument that the Moslem religion was in itself evil. The
latter originated in propaganda, although the machinery of tolerated coexistence
was legal, but the former was sincerely, however perversely in a modern view,
believed itself to have the force of a right at law. 
E. Political Theory 
 These legal systems have their political implications. No imaginable papal
accommodation with the Moslems of North Africa would have survived any real
chance of conquering them. Just as Christians were believed to have a prescriptive
right to the Holy Land, they were considered to have a lesser but still valid
right to all lands that they set out to "recover". They did recover all of
Spain and Sicily, and service in Spain was often (though not always) counted
for purposes of penance or indulgence as equivalent to service in the east.
This was law, and was simply a matter for papal decision ad hoc. They would
have recovered any other territory of the Roman empire if they could. Behind
the historical descriptions of Arab aggression in and after the seventh century
lay the legal theory of "recovery"; after however long an interval, all ancient
Rome was considered in some legal sense inalienably Christian. There was
no territory within the reach of Christians which had not once been under
Christian rule. If Iran had been 
 52. Tomassetti, op. cit., Innocent III, III, 303 (no. 107, par. 14); Extrav.
loannis XXII, vrn, i, s.v. "terras Aegypti". 

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