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

Page View

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 4

 The Christians lived in close proximity to the Moslems. On the surface the
two peoples were frequently friendly, courteous, and even kind to one another.
When they dwelt in each other's territory they had the discomfort of a few
additional taxes and the un pleasantness of being called dog or infidel on
occasion, but condi tions were usually tolerable. Although underneath the
surface lay emotion which could quickly flare into a fanatic desire for holy
war, only the Franks who were newly come from home were rude and overbearing
to the people of Islam.3 Moslems in Acre would watch gangs of their co-religionists
in chains, men and women, doing heavy work; 4 free themselves, they would
piously toss them alms. The same would be true of Latins visiting Jerusalem
after the fall of that city.5 Among the Christians of the region the crusaders
from the west remained a relatively small proportion. Besides the many Greek
Orthodox, there were other Christians: the Jacobites, the Maronites (who
adhered to Rome in 1182), the Nestorians, the Armenians, and the Syrian Christians,
who dressed like Moslems but wore a special woolen girdle. Their bishop was
Greek, and Saturday was their holy day; they frequently acted as servants
in Moslem households.6 The Armenian and Georgian priests wore white linen
cloths over their shoulders and necks.7 The Jacobites had their own archbishop;
they impressed James of Vitry with their potential, although they had no
auricular confession, made the sign of the cross with one finger only, and
practised circumcision.8 We can easily imagine the confusion felt by a moderately
well informed incoming pilgrim, seeing these people who seemed to be associated
with the Saracens, and who were considered by the Latins schismatics or heretics
(and one could not be sure which they were). 
 Acre was notorious for its mixed population. Among the Latin Christians,
schismatic sects, and Moslems of various types, there was an excessive number
of curiosity-seekers and adventurers, many of 
 3. Usãmah ibn-Munqidh, Kitãb al-i ' tibãr, trans. P.
K. Hitti as An Arab-Syrian Gentleman and Warrior in the Period of the Crusades
(Records of Civilization, New York, 1929), pp. 
 4. Ibn-Jubair, Rihlah, trans. R. J. C. Broadhurst as The Travels of Ibn
Jubayr (London, 
1952), p. 322. 
 5. Ambrose, L'Estoire de la guerre sainte, trans. E. N. Stone as "History
of the Holy War," in Three Old French Chronicles of the Crusades (Seattle,
1939), p. 156. 
 6. James of Vitry, Historia Iherosolimitana, excerpts trans. Aubrey Stewart
as "The History of Jerusalem, A.D. 1180 [error for c. 1220] ," PPTS, XI-2
(London, 1896), 67-84, including much bigotry and irrelevant theological
 7. Burchard of Mt. Sion, Descriptio Terrae Sanctae, trans. Aubrey Stewart
as "A Description of the Holy Land [A.D. 1280] ,"PPTS. XII-1 (London, 1896),
 8. James of Vitry, Epistolae, ed. R.:Röhricht as "Briefe des Jacobus
de Vitriaco (1216- 
1221)," Zeitschrift für Kirchengeschichte, XIV (1893-1894), 109; Historia,
pp. 73-76. 

Go up to Top of Page