Muslim and Christian Contact in the Middle Ages: A Reader

Muslim and Christian Contact in the Middle Ages: A Reader

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Edited by Jarbel Rodriguez
Readings in Medieval Civilizations and Cultures
University of Toronto Press, Higher Education Division © 2015
World Rights
456 Pages
ISBN 9781442600669
Published Jan 2015
ISBN 9781442608191
Published Jan 2015
ebook (EPUB format)
ISBN 9781442604247
Published Jan 2015
Full purchase $37.95

To study the interactions between Muslims and Christians in the medieval period is to observe a history of conflict and co-existence encompassing warfare, piracy, and raiding as well as commerce, intellectual exchanges, and personal relationships that transcended religious differences. With particular focus on the Mediterranean world, this collection of more than 80 readings includes sources from Byzantine, Jewish, Muslim, and Latin Christian authors that explore the conflicts and contacts between Muslims and Christians from the seventh to the fifteenth century. Jarbel Rodriguez has selected geographically diverse readings and multiple sources on the same event or topic so that readers gain a better understanding of the relationship that existed between Muslims and Christians in the Middle Ages.

Jarbel Rodriguez is Professor of Medieval History at San Francisco State University. He is a co-author of Exchanges: A Global History Reader, Volume I (2008) with Trevor R. Getz and Richard J. Hoffman and the author of Captives and Their Saviors in the Medieval Crown of Aragon (2007).

Chapter 1. Origins and Background to Christian/Islamic Interactions
1. The Pact of Umar
2. The Conquest of Alexandria
3. The Coming of Islam and the Destruction of the (Roman) World
4. Al-Jahiz's Warnings about the Christians
5. A Muslim Ambassador in Constantinople
6. The Conquest of the Iberian Peninsula
7. The Battle of Tours
8. Christians and Muslims in the Age of Charlemagne
9. Converting Churches into Mosques in Spain
10. Support for the Dhimmis
11. The Martyrs of Cordoba

Chapter 2. Warfare in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Holy Land
12. The Coming of the Seljuk Turks
13. Calling the Crusades
14. The First Crusade
15. The Muslim Reaction
16. Richard the Lionheart and Saladin
17. The Seventh Crusade
18. The Conquest of Acre and the End of Crusader States
19. The Ottoman Turks and the Battle of Nicopolis
20. The Conquest of Constantinople

Chapter 3. Warfare in the Spain and the Western Mediterranean
21. The Conquest of Toledo
22. The Arrival of the Almoravids
23. Two Views of El Cid
24. The Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa
25. Christian Conquests and the Rise of the Nasrids
26. Warfare at Sea
27. Frontier Raids
28. The Conquest of Granada and Its Aftermath

Chapter 4. Diplomacy and Alliances
29. A Complex Alliance
30. Frederick II and al-Kamil
31. Crusader/Mamluk Treaties
32. Ottoman Treaty with the Venetians
33. The Sultan Bayezid Sends a Relic to the Pope
34. A Christian King and his Muslim Vassal
35. Arranging the Surrender of a Castle
36. Negotiating a Truce
37. A Truce Agreement

Chapter 5. Economic Relations
38. The Markets of Seville
39. Muslim Merchants in Christian Regions
40. A Venetian Trading License
41. Muslims and Christians in Business Partnerships
42. Muslims and Economic Exchanges in Las Siete Partidas
43. Maritime Commercial Law
44. An Appeal for Christian Merchants
45. Regulating Muslims in Lleida
46. Latin Christian Travelers Describe Foreign Markets and Goods
47. Truce Between the Turks and Genoese Safeguarding the Rights of Merchants

Chapter 6. Religious Interactions
48. Muslim Polemics on the Gospels
49. The King of England Contemplates Conversion to Islam
50. Saint Francis Preaches to the Sultan of Egypt
51. Muslims and Christians Defend Monotheism
52. Plans to Recover the Holy Land
53. A Response to Christianity
54. Ramon Llull and Boccaccio
55. The Conversion of Anselm de Turmeda
56. Johann Schiltberger's Views on Islam

Chapter 7. The Views of the Other
57. A Tale of Two Cities
58. The Eccentricities of the Franks
59. A Victory Sermon
60. A Christian View of Islam
61. Burchard of Mount Sion on the People of the East
62. The Pope, the Patriarch and the Kohen
63. The Emperor and the Grand Turk

Chapter 8. Lives of Minority Communities
64. The Regulation of Dhimmis
65. Ibn Jubayr in Sicily
66. Muslims under Castilian Law
67. An Incident in Cairo
68. Minority Communities and International Relations
69. A Fatwa against Christian Merchants
70. Ordinances of Valladolid
71. Muslim Minorities and the Complexities of the Law
72. Pietro Casola in Jerusalem

Chapter 9. Intellectual Contacts
73. A Storehouse of Knowledge
74. Adelard of Bath and Arabic Sciences
75. A Muslim Geographer in King Roger's Court
76. Strange Medicines
77. Translations of Gerard of Cremona
78. Islamic Learning and Roger Bacon
79. Learning Arabic in the Christian World
80. Muslim Influence on Latin Medicine

Chapter 10. Of Love and Bondage
81. The Wedding of Lady Theresa
82. Forbidden Love
83. Alfonso VI and Sa'ida
84. Bohemond and the Turkish Princess
85. The Egyptian and His Frankish Wife
86. How to Purchase a Slave
87. Captive Tales
88. On the Janissaries
89. The Taking and Freeing of Captives in Iberia

Index of Topics
In this elegantly edited and comprehensive compilation of primary sources, Jarbel Rodriguez has provided the perfect and much-needed companion to any course on pre-modern Muslim-Christian relations. This book will help to ground and shape discussion and debate for a new generation that urgently needs and wants to understand this past.

Hussein Fancy, University of Michigan

Muslim and Christian Contact in the Middle Ages is an unparalleled collection of primary sources, many newly translated, that invites readers to consider the full range of Muslim–Christian encounters from the rise of Islam through the fifteenth century. Rodriguez brings the multi-religious medieval Mediterranean to life with an impressive variety of texts: from fiery calls to crusade and jihad to merchants' and travelers' accounts of everyday economic and social relationships; from captivity narratives to inter-religious romances; and from religious polemics to a common thirst for the Muslim world's scientific, medical, and philosophical knowledge. Jarbel Rodriguez's carefully curated and thoughtfully introduced reader will be indispensable for students and thoroughly enjoyable for non-specialists and specialists alike.

Jocelyn Hendrickson, University of Alberta

Carefully selected, balanced, first-rate translations from both Muslim and Christian sources. It includes not only the key documents one would expect to find in a history of this period, but also lesser-known works that round out the common picture of war and conflict with insights into the daily life of elites and commoners alike. An invaluable resource for anyone interested in the history of Muslim-Christian encounters in the medieval Mediterranean world.

David Blanks, American University in Cairo

Particularly modern events have sharpened our interest in this large topic, and hence the present anthology specifically geared toward university students comes as a most welcome enrichment of our teaching material. But this collection of relevant texts will also serve scholarship at large, allowing researchers from outside this specialized field to gain immediate access to many of the crucial documents.


Jarbel Rodriguez has accomplished something truly special in this volume. Not only has he collected a number of older translations of key sources, but he is the translator of many of the sources in the collection, bringing previously unknown sources (primarily from the Iberian corpus) into the mainstream of medieval studies. The volume is useful in dispelling notions about the simplicity of the medieval period, demonstrating instead the true diversity and complexity of the lives of medieval Christians and Muslims. The final characteristic which recommends this book is Rodriguez' editorial hand. In selecting, arranging, and cropping his sources, Rodriguez has allowed the documents to speak for themselves but still serve as starting places for discussions among students of medieval history. The didactic opportunities which Rodriguez has cultivated through his editorial hand are invaluable. When discussing Christians opting for martyrdom at the hands of Muslims, for example, a teacher could naturally move a discussion from martyrs to crusading knights, making the whole medieval world fit together in all its messiness and confusion. Most useful as a classroom text or for the novice medievalist, this excellent assembly of chronicles, law codes, literature, poetry, correspondence, and moral instruction, commands a strong recommendation.

The Medieval Review