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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 32

who follows the best law he knows, acts justly, and "lyuede as his lawe tauhte
and leyueth ther be no bettere", may be saved. This specifically relates
to Saracens and Jews, in spite of Langland's acceptance of traditional libels
against the Prophet.55 Aziz Atiya has drawn attention to further examples,
John Gower and Honoré Bonet.56 These opinions stand out because they
were contrary to the usual opinions expressed by the lawyers. Granted the
intimate connection among theology, law, and political intention, should
we suppose that, if Moslems could be saved in their own "law", the compulsion
to save them by conversion would disappear? Would the crusade have been confined
to "recovery", perhaps only of the Holy Land? Wyclif went further, and opposed
the crusade itself,57 but he did so because the crusade, both in practice
and in theory, was an instrument of papal political expansion. This idea
of his was not influential, although, as Southern has shown, the originality
of John Wyclif's treatment of Islam cannot be questioned.58 Even according
to the ideas aired by Uthred and Langland, however, non-believers would be
protected only by their ignorance of the true religion; thus the armed crusade
must still have followed the missionaries. We must conclude that "recovery"
came first, both legally and politically, but that "conversion" too was an
unlimited political objective that would have compelled crusaders (in law)
to continue in arms to the limits of the inhabited world; and, of course,
Wyclif was right; this objective for Latin Christendom was a concept ~nseparab1e
from papal ambition. 
 The history of Frederick II, in particular, sheds light upon the theory
of the papal party. Frederick preserved the Sicilian Arabs in an existence
separate from the rest of his subjects for his own purposes, exploiting rather
than protecting them. In Sicily itself, Innocent III had been prepared to
deal with them as legitimate subjects whose loyalty, when they were loyal,
should be praised; they could be dealt with through the qadis almost like
a tributary people or millet in Islamic 
ings of the British Academy, XXXVII (1951), 305-342, repr. in The Historian
and Character (Cambridge, Eng., 1963), text pp. 163—165. 
 55. Piers the Plowman, ed. Walter W. Skeat (FETS; 4 vols. in 5, London,
1867-1877), B Text, Passus XII, 284—289, and XV, 389 if., but cf. 383;
C Text, XV, 209-212, and XVIII, 151 if., 165 if. 
 56. Aziz S. Atiya, The Crusade in the Later Middle Ages (London, 1938),
pp. 187—188. Cf. Wolfram von Eschenbach, Parzival, ed. Albert Leitzmann
in Werke(Tubingen, 1961—1963), VIII, 416, 25—29, and IX, 453,
 57. References in Richard W. Southern, Western Views of Islam in the Middle
Ages (Cambridge, Mass., 1962), p. 78, and Atiya, bc. cit. 
 58. Southern, Western Views, pp. 79 if. 

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