9780809058372

Infidel Kings and Unholy Warriors Faith, Power, and Violence in the Age of Crusade and Jihad

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780809058372

  • ISBN10:

    0809058375

  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 8/26/2014
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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Summary

An in-depth portrait of the Crusades-era Mediterranean world, and a new understanding of the forces that shaped it

In Infidel Kings and Unholy Warriors, the award-winning scholar Brian Catlos puts us on the ground in the Mediterranean world of 1050–1200. We experience the sights and sounds of the region just as enlightened Islamic empires and primitive Christendom began to contest it. We learn about the siege tactics, theological disputes, and poetry of this enthralling time. And we see that people of different faiths coexisted far more frequently than we are commonly told.
Catlos's meticulous reconstruction of the era allows him to stunningly overturn our most basic assumption about it: that it was defined by religious extremism. He brings to light many figures who were accepted as rulers by their ostensible foes. Samuel B. Naghrilla, a self-proclaimed Jewish messiah, became the force behind Muslim Granada. Bahram Pahlavuni, an Armenian Christian, wielded power in an Islamic caliphate. And Philip of Mahdia, a Muslim eunuch, rose to admiral in the service of Roger II, the Christian "King of Africa."
What their lives reveal is that, then as now, politics were driven by a mix of self-interest, personality, and ideology. Catlos draws a similar lesson from his stirring chapters on the early Crusades, arguing that the notions of crusade and jihad were not causes of war but justifications. He imparts a crucial insight: the violence of the past cannot be blamed primarily on religion.

Author Biography

Brian Catlos, a professor of religious studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder and a research associate at the University of California, Santa Cruz, has received many prestigious fellowships and awards. He is the author of the prizewinning The Victors and the Vanquished: Christians and Muslims of Catalonia and Aragon (1050–1300) as well as the forthcoming The Muslims of Medieval Latin Christendom ca. 1050–1615, and is featured in the documentary Cities of Light. He has traveled extensively in Europe, the Middle East, and the Americas, and has contributed to many travel guidebooks, including his Rough Guide to Languedoc & Roussillon. He and his family divide their time between Boulder and Barcelona.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Map: The Mediterranean World, c. 1050 ix
A Note on Sources xiii
A Note on Names xv
Introduction: The Mediterranean World 3
PART I: THE (JEWISH) MAN WHO WOULD BE KING
1. An Ornament, Tarnished 15
2. The Rules of the Game 44
PART II: A CHRISTIAN SULTAN IN THE AGE OF "THE RECONQUEST"
3. The Cid Rides Again 69
4. Rodrigo Díaz, Taifa King of Valencia 98
Contents
viii / Contents
PART III: KINGS OF SICILY, KINGS OF AFRICA
5. A Norman Conquest 127
6. Don't Ask, Don't Tell 156
PART IV: INFIDEL RULERS OF A HERETICAL CALIPHATE
7. After the Messiah 183
8. Traitors and Spies 213
PART V: AMBITION, OPPORTUNISM, AND THE END OF AN ERA
9. A Heavenly Kingdom? 241
10. Jerusalem Restored 275
Epilogue: The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire 307
Afterword: Holy War, a User's Manual 317
Dynasty Trees 325
Glossary 329
Sources, Background, and Further Reading 335
Notes 345
Works Cited 353
Acknowledgments 367
Index 369

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