Christian-Muslim Relations 600 - 1500

Get access Subject: Middle East and Islamic Studies
General Editor: David Thomas, Alex Mallett
Associate Editors: Juan Pedro Monferrer-Sala, Johannes Pahlitzsch, Barbara Roggema, Mark Swanson, Herman Teule and John Tolan
Christian-Muslim Relations, a Bibliographical History Online is a general online history of relations between the faiths. It covers the period from 600 to 1500, when encounters took place through the extended Mediterranean basin and are recorded in Syriac, Arabic, Greek, Latin and other languages. Christian Muslim Relations Online comprises introductory essays on the treatment of Christians in the Qur’an, Qur’an commentaries, biographies of the Prophet, Hadith and Sunni law, and of Muslims in canon law, and the main body of more than two hundred detailed entries on all the works recorded, whether surviving or lost.

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 Dei gesta per Francos

(1,478 words)

Author(s): Tolan, John
The deeds of God through the Franks Guibert of Nogent Date: 1109 Original Language: Latin Description Guibert calls his chronicle Dei gesta per Francos, ‘The deeds of God through the Franks’, because he presents the First Crusade as the glorious accomplishment of God’s will through His new chosen people.  He describes the army of the Franks in language that echoes Old Testament narratives of Israel’s victories over its pagan enemies.  Guibert’s principle source is the anonymous Gesta francorum (q.v.) , which he criticizes both for its poor Latin and for its insufficient gr…

 De liberatione civitatum Orientis

(444 words)

Author(s): Airaldi & Alex Mallett, Gabriella
The liberation of the cities of the East Caffaro of Genoa Date: Mid-1150s Original Language: Latin Description This chronicle describes the participation of the Genoese in the First Crusade, and the privileges and holdings granted to the city-state in the Holy Land following their success. Caffaro, who participated in the campaign, wrote the chronicle in the mid-1150s, around 50 years after the events themselves and his similar, though much shorter, account in his Annals. The chronicle seems to have been written as a legal document to be presented to Pope Hadrian IV, …

 De locis sanctis

(668 words)

Author(s): Tolan, John
On the holy places Adomnán of Iona, Adamnan, Adomnanus, Adamnanus Date: c. 680 Original Language: Latin Description The work consists of a description of the holy sites of Jerusalem and Palestine: it is a treatise of sacred geography for use as an exegetical aid. Adomnán’s principle source is an oral informant named Arculf, a bishop from Gaul who traveled to the Holy Land in the 670s and who described the sites he visited. Arculf presents the Saracens’ ‘king Mavias’ (the Umayyad Caliph Muʿāwiya, r. 661-80) as a …

 Dēmētriou tou Kydōnou Rōmaiois Symbouleutikos

(713 words)

Author(s): Tinnefeld, Franz
Oratio pro subsidio Latinorum'Advisory address by Cydones to the Byzantines' Demetrius Cydones Date: August 1366 Original Language: Greek Description While the Emperor John V was still on his way back from Buda, where he had tried in vain to get military help from the ‘barbarians’ (sc. the Hungarians under Louis the Great) against the Turks ( PG 154, cols 1000D-1001B), his cousin, Count Amedeus VI of Savoy (col. 993AB), had arrived in Byzantine waters in August 1366 with a small fleet and recaptured Kallipolis (Barker, Manuel II Palaiologos, pp. 7-8), a Byzantine stronghold on the…

Demetrius Cydones

(756 words)

Author(s): Tinnefeld, Franz
Dēmētrios Kydōnēs; Dēmētrios Kydōnios Date of Birth: About 1324 Place of Birth: Thessaloniki Date of Death: End of 1397 Place of Death: Candia, Crete Biography Demetrius came from a distinguished family that for generations had served at the imperial court in Constantinople. His father was a good friend of John Cantacuzenus, a rich member of the military aristocracy and a confidant of Emperor Andronicus III Palaeologus. When Andronicus died in 1341, Cantacuzenus claimed imperial power in place of the heir, John V, who w…

 De mittendo gladio divini Spiritus in corda Sarracenorum

(961 words)

Author(s): Wolf, Anne Marie
De mittendo gladio'On driving the sword of the Holy Spirit into the hearts of the Saracens' Juan de Segovia Date: 1453-57 Original Language: Latin Description This is the first work that Juan de Segovia wrote to a former colleague following the fall of Constantinople in 1453, even though it was not the first to be circulated. The intended recipient was Juan de Cervantes, an associate of whom had informed Juan of this news. At the time, Cervantes was serving as archbishop of Seville, a diocese bordering the Muslim kingdo…

 De pace fidei

(787 words)

Author(s): Tolan, John
‘On the peace of faith’ Nicholas of Cusa, Nicholas of Kues, Nicolaus Cusanus Date: 1453 Original Language: Latin Description Nicholas wrote De pace fidei in the aftermath of the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople. It takes the form of a heavenly vision in which the narrator witnesses a dialogue between 17 wise men from various religions and diverse regions of the world, who are questioned by the Supreme King (also called Verbum, the Word). The work is very unlike earlier fictitious dialogues in which Jews, Christians and Muslims argue about doctrinal or ritual differ…

 De prima iuentione Gujnee

(909 words)

Author(s): Frederiks, Martha
'The voyages of Diogo Gomes' Diogo Gomes Date: Late 15th century Original Language: Latin Description De prima iuentione Gujnee is the written account of Diogo Gomes’ memoirs concerning his voyages to Guinea, narrated to the cartographer Martin Behaim (Gomes, De la première découverte, pp. 12-13) and edited by Valentim Fernandes. Behaim’s interviews with Gomes are said to have taken place many years after the actual journeys, possibly c. 1482 or even later (Crone, ‘Introduction’, p. xxiv; Macphearson, ‘Pre-Columbian discoveries’, p. 64)…

 De rationibus fidei contra Saracenos, Graecos et Armenos ad cantorem Antiochenum

(676 words)

Author(s): Tolan, John
De rationibus fidei'Reasons for the faith against the Saracens, Greeks and Armenians, to the cantor of Antioch' Thomas Aquinas Date: Not long before 1274 Original Language: Latin Description Some time after he finished his Summa contra gentiles, Thomas composed a brief tract, Reasons for the faith, for the cantor of Antioch, who had asked him to provide arguments to defend the faith against the objections of Muslims and Eastern Christians.  The Muslim objections to Christian doctrine (as reported by the Cantor) are standard ones: God can have no son because he has…

 De rebus Hispanie sive Historia Gothica; De rebus Hispanie; Historia Gothica

(1,761 words)

Author(s): Maser, Matthias
‘On the affairs of Spain, or Gothic history’ Rodrigo Jiménez de Rada Date: 1243 (final redaction between February 1246 and June 1247) Original Language: Latin Description The De rebus Hispanie is a voluminous chronicle, structured into nine books of different lengths, each containing between 15 and 36 chapters. The whole text covers 299 pages in the latest edition by Fernández Valverde. The chronicle explicitly specifies 31 March 1243 as the date of its completion, but the text seems to have undergone at least one later rev…

De Saracenis

(45 words)

Author(s): Tolan, John
Unknown author Date of Birth: Place of Birth: Date of Death: Place of Death: Biography Primary Sources of Information Secondary Sources of Information Works on Christian-Muslim Relations De Saracenis et ritu ipsorum in oratione et ieiunio et aliis moribus ipsorum John Tolan

 De Saracenis et ritu ipsorum in oratione et ieiunio et aliis moribus ipsorum

(337 words)

Author(s): Tolan, John
De Saracenis et ritu ipsorum‘On the Saracens and their practice in prayer and fasting and other customs of theirs’ De Saracenis Date: Late 13th or early 14th century Original Language: Latin Description This brief anonymous text consists of 18 paragraphs describing various aspects of Muslim practice and doctrine, extracted from ch. 5 of Petrus Alfonsi’s (q.v.) Dialogi contra Iudaeos of 1110 . It describes Muslim ablutions, fasting, the pilgrimage to Mecca, dietary restrictions, marriage and divorce, prohibition of wine, practice of justice, and beliefs ab…

 Descriptio Terrae Sanctae

(1,033 words)

Author(s): Tolan, John
'Description of the Holy Land' Burchard of Mount Sion Date: Burchard apparently wrote two versions; the first was probably composed between 1280 and 1283. Original Language: Latin Description Burchard provides a description of the Holy Land in the tradition of medieval Latin pilgrimage narratives. In accordance with the genre, it is a rather bookish portrayal, as he relies on biblical descriptions, works of the Church Fathers (in particular Jerome), Jacques de Vitry’s (q.v.) Historia orientalis, and other texts. He gives his impression of the places he visits, compare…

 Descriptio Terre Sancte

(393 words)

Author(s): Bird, Jessalynn
‘Description of the Holy Land’ Oliver of Paderborn Date: Before November 1219 Original Language: Latin Description The first of several historical works Oliver wrote while participating in the Fifth Crusade, this description of the Holy Land and its shrines was intended for that campaign’s participants (their military and devotional efforts had begun in the Latin Kingdom before transferring to Egypt) and other future pilgrims and crusaders who desired to learn about the places Christ had sacralized by his life and works. Based largely on Eugesippus-Fretellus, the Descriptio’s som…

 De seta Machometi

(1,068 words)

Author(s): Burman, Thomas E.
De origine, progressu et fine Machometi et quadruplici reprobatione prophetie eius; Quadruplex reprobatio ‘On the sect of Muḥammad’ Ramon Martí Date: Unknown; probably late 1250s Original Language: Latin Description De seta Machometi, the title by which this treatise has been known since Josep Hernando edited it, is a remarkably learned attack on Muḥammad in which Martí draws on his direct knowledge of Muslim sources in Arabic, such as the Qur’an, Hadith and Ibn Hishām’s edition of Ibn Isḥāq’s biography. Its contents are suggested well by another of the titles by which it was known, On t…

 De statu et planctu ecclesiae

(523 words)

Author(s): Barros, Filomena
‘On the condition and lamentation of the church’ Álvaro Pais Date: 1330-40 Original Language: Latin Description Álvaro first wrote this work between 1330 and 1332 in Avignon in the time of Pope John XXII, revising it in Tavira in 1335, and again in Santiago de Compostela in 1340. It is divided into two parts: in the first, de statu ecclesiae, comprising 70 articles, Álvaro defends the pope’s legitimacy and supremacy, and in the second, de planctu ecclesiae, comprising 93 articles, he criticizes the immoral state of society. Álvaro calls Muslims slaves, because they are descendants…

 De statu Sarracenorum

(710 words)

Author(s): Burman, Thomas E.
'On the realm of the Saracens' William of Tripoli Date: 1273 Original Language: Latin Description This treatise, which is 53 pages long in the modern edition, is divided into three sections as specified by the author at the beginning of the work. The first section (§§ 1-4) describes Muḥammad’s life and death, with a heavy emphasis on the role of Baḥīrā (who is described in rather favorable terms) in the shaping of his beliefs. The second (§§ 5-23) describes at some length the conquests of the central Islamic l…

 Devisement du Monde

(1,026 words)

Author(s): Ménard, Philippe
Il Milione‘Travels’; ‘Description of the world’ Marco Polo Date: 1298 Original Language: Old French Description The Devisement du monde narrates Marco Polo’s wanderings across Asia. The traveller quickly notes, without comment, that the inhabitants of certain regions are Muslims. He regularly says that they adorent Maomet (Franco-Italian version, ch. XXXIV, 3) or that they are S aracin (ch. XXVI, 2). These are the two expressions used to refer to Muslims, and thus apply in Persia, Afghanistan, the first Chinese towns along the Silk Road, and various …

De vita et malicia Machometi

(44 words)

Author(s): Tolan, John
Unknown author Date of Birth: Place of Birth: Date of Death: Place of Death: Biography Primary Sources of Information Secondary Sources of Information Works on Christian-Muslim Relations De vita et malicia machometi prophete Turkorum et Sarracenorum John Tolan

 De vita et malicia machometi prophete Turkorum et Sarracenorum

(449 words)

Author(s): Tolan, John
De vita et malicia Machometi'On the life and malice of Muḥammad, prophet of the Turks and Saracens' De vita et malicia Machometi Date: 15th century Original Language: Latin Description This text, which is unedited and exists in one 15th-century manuscript, narrates the life of the pseudo-prophet Machometus. It cannot be dated exactly, though since another text in the manuscript bears the date 1443 (f. 153r), this gives a terminus post quam for the composition of the manuscript itself. (Other texts at the end of the manuscript are later still, but have been added i…
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