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

I: The legal and political theory of the Crusade,   pp. 3-38 PDF (104.2 KB)

Page 33

law. Frederick, after destroying their independence, transferred them to
Lucera on the mainland; he rated the life of a Moslem or a Jew at half the
price of that of a Christian; he seems to have thought of them as in some
sense having the same status as that of Christians in Islam, using the word
gesia to denote a capitation tax which he imposed and which represented the
jizyah or poli tax which Christians and Jews paid in Islam. This must have
been deliberate, but Frederick did not really assimilate his Lucera Arabs
to the status of dhimmts in Islam, who are not required to fight; the people
of Lucera, on the contrary, were required above all to provide troops who
would be wholly dependent on the emperor's good will. From a Moslem or a
modern point of view, pope Gregory IX was persecuting the Arabs when he insisted
on their having to listen to the preaching of Dominicans, but his intention
toward them was more charitable and disinterested than Frederick's; as Christians
they would at least have been safer.59 
 The objections raised by the papal party to Frederick's arrangements in
Palestine are also instructive. His great offenses were permitting Moslem
worship in the Dome of the Rock (Qubbat as-Sakhrah) and the Aqsâ mosque,
forbidding Christians free access to those places, and allowing the public
call to prayer, as well as allowing Moslems access to Bethlehem. All these
horrors were simply the admission of Moslems to the use of holy places then
conceived quite wrongly to be exclusively Christian, and to public worship
of their own. One other episode, out of so many told of Frederick, deserves
mention here. Matthew Paris says that in Acre he had Christian girls dance
before Moslems who, "it is said," had sexual relations with them; nearer
the source, the Latin patriarch Gerald said that the sultan al-Kãmil,
knowing that Frederick lived in Moslem style, sent him singing girls, dancing
girls, and jesters, whose reputation was infamous and unmentionable among
Christians, and that Frederick behaved in Arab style, in drinking (sic) and
dressing. With Matthew Paris the (imaginary) scandal is the prostitution
of Christian girls, which would indeed be contrary to the canons; with the
patriarch, it was the "Arab" way of living to which he objected; he would
no doubt have argued that the offense was mixed attendance at a convivium.
All these episodes in their different ways illustrate the principles underlying
the clerical concept of the crusade.6° 
59. J. L. A. Huillard-Bréholles, Historia diplomatica Friderici secundi
(12 vols., Paris, 
1852—1861), I, i, p. cccLxxxvii; IV, i, p. 31; I, i, p. cccLxxxvm;
V, i, p. 628; IV, i, p. 452. 
 60. Ibid., III, 88, 101-102, 104, 109, 136, 140; V, 329, et alibi. Matthew
Paris, Chronica majora, ed. Henry R. Luard (Rolls Series, 57), III, 185.

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