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Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / Volume IV: The art and architecture of the Crusader states

I: Life Among the Europeans in Palestine and Syria in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries,   pp. 3-35 PDF (105.1 KB)

Page 3

 I 3 
 Any attempt to reconstruct medieval daily living in detail must result in
a series of generalizations. Scattered remarks can be gathered from chronicles,
travel accounts, and letters, with some attention paid to literature, and
this evidence can be set into a frame work which is acceptably accurate for
the time and place. In a treat ment of the social history of medieval Europe
or its Syrian outposts, the framework is that of an unmechanized society
with pale mem ories and incomplete records of the glories of ancient Rome.
Members of western European society took for granted a common way of life
which spread principally from France. True, we know much about certain non-royal
Englishmen, Flemings, Germans, Italians, and Catalans, with a few from elsewhere,
but we probably do not err too much in considering them all as a fairly homogeneous
unit. Writing in 1148, Anna Comnena grouped them all together as "Franks,"
whom she characterized as shameless, violent, greedy for money, disrespectful,
and possessed of a flow of language which was greater than that of any other
race of mankind. 1 She feared, and sought to disparage, their remarkable
military prowess. In Palestine and Syria, the extent of land held by the
Latins varied in the centuries covered by this chapter. It was divided into
the kingdom of Jerusalem, the county of Tripoli, the principality of Antioch,
and the county of Edessa (until it fell to Zengi in 1144); the island of
Cyprus was added in the Third Crusade.2 Our present concern is with Jerusalem
and Tripoli. 
 1. Anna Comnena, The Alexiad, trans. E. A. S. Dawes (London, 1928), pp.
248, 251, and passim. 
 2. On the history of the Latin States in Syria, see volumes I and II of
this work. 

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