In the 9th century, raiders from North Africa and Sicily began to pillage the Italian peninsula. Scholars have claimed that contemporary southern Italians viewed these people as Muslim ‘others’. I will argue that they viewed them simply as violent raiders destroying property. It was not until the relative peace of the 10th century that southern Italian historians began to see these men as religious others. The anonymous author of the Chronicon Salernitanum reframed these raids of the previous century into attacks by the followers of Satan against women and Christianity in southern Italy.
In 1009 the Holy Sepulchre was destroyed on the order of the Fatimid Chalif al-Hakim. Only two Latin authors of the 11th century, Ademar of Chabannes and Raoul Glaber, describe this event in detail. This paper concentrates on their sources of information, the accuracy and the credibility of their interpretation in comparison with Greek and Arabic sources and the reasons of ignoring this tragedy in the majority of Latin texts. This case study is regarded in the wide context of the perception of the ‘Other’ and the circulation of the news in the Middle Ages.
Following the Hussite uproar, the West fashions Bohemians into a heretical nation, an outgroup whose image serves to reinforce Catholic collective identity. In this situation, 15th-century French heroic fictions forge a new, Bohemian and Slavic, imaginary enemy. The paper will show how romances such as Histoire de Jason and Roman de Charles de Hongrie, interpolating Slavs and Bohemians with traits typical for the portrayal of the Saracens such as perfidy, gory violence, and disrespect for women, conflate several images of the Other – the infidel, the heretic, the Eastern tyrant – in the attempt to exploit fresh collective memory and cater to contemporary crusading aspirations while building on an established horizon of attention.