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IMC 2015: Sessions

Session 833: Crusades across the Borders in the Middle East and Africa

Tuesday 7 July 2015, 16.30-18.00

Moderator/Chair:Jonathan Phillips, Department of History, Royal Holloway, University of London
Paper 833-aMaterial Culture, Gift Giving, and Diplomacy during the Crusades
(Language: English)
Hannah Buckingham, School of History, Archaeology & Religion, Cardiff University
Index terms: Archaeology - Artefacts, Crusades
Paper 833-bThe African Crusading Threat: Muslim Paranoia or Reality?
(Language: English)
Adam Simmons, Department of History, Lancaster University
Index terms: Archaeology - Sites, Crusades, Ecclesiastical History, Geography and Settlement Studies

Paper -a:
'You know that wearing a robe and a bonnet we hold to be shameful, but I shall wear them from you out of love for you.' Attributed to Henry I of Champagne, King of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem, by the Muslim writer Ibn al-Athīr, this quote describes the gift of ceremonial robes from the Muslim leader Saladin to Henry as part of a treaty between the two parties in 1192. The gift of these robes was initiated by Henry, and is an example of the giving and receiving of material items as in the treaties agreed to between the Crusaders and their Muslim neighbours during the 12th and 13th centuries.

This paper will examine how the items of material culture that were 'gifted' as part of these agreements acted as a locus for cultural identities and expressions of power, largesse, and obligation. It will examine the kinds of gifts that were given, in what frequency and by whom, before discussing wider conclusions from the quantitative data. It will be seen that these objects were important ‘actors’ in the diplomatic process, and were part of the wider process of cross-cultural contact and exchange between the two parties in the Crusader states of the Levant.

Paper -b:
Sawirus's continued History of the Patriarchate of the Egyptian Church distinctly chronicles two main phases when the Muslim powers feared a potential Christian alliance between the kingdoms of Ethiopia and Nubia and the crusading powers – the mid-12th century and the1220s. There was a Sudanese presence in the Holy Land with at least six Jerusalem churches being used by African Christians for worship with one in Bethlehem and another in Nazareth. However, towards the end of the Crusades, Burchard of Mount Sion, during 1274-1285, had written that African Christians did not have much experience with arms so they '[bought] peace and tranquillity for tribute'. Was this true so that the Muslim fears in the History of the Patriarchs were created out of paranoia or was there an African crusading threat?