Islam Under the Crusaders: Colonial Survival in the Thirteenth-Century Kingdom of Valencia

Islam Under the Crusaders: Colonial Survival in the Thirteenth-Century Kingdom of Valencia

Robert Ignatius Burns
Copyright Date: 1973
Pages: 538
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    Islam Under the Crusaders: Colonial Survival in the Thirteenth-Century Kingdom of Valencia
    Book Description:

    The struggle between Islam and the Crusaders comprised a dialogue of cultures on a broad geographic scale and a wide expanse of time, a perennial seesaw of conquest in the West as in the East. Father Burns' pioneering work on Valencia has demonstrated that the inner reality of this sustained confrontation lies as much in the colonial interims as in the battles.

    Originally published in 1974.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-6758-5
    Subjects: History, Religion
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Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents (pp. vii-x)
  3. ILLUSTRATIONS (pp. xi-xii)
  4. PREFACE (pp. xiii-xxx)
  5. ABBREVIATIONS (pp. xxxi-xxxi)
  6. [Map] (pp. xxxii-xxxii)
    • CHAPTER I The King’s Other Kingdom (pp. 3-25)

      Capital of a princely realm, Valencia stood like a giant among the cities of Islamic Spain. Muslim poets risked blasphemy to apply to Balansiya the Koranic themes of Paradise. Christians as far away as England spoke of it with awe as “famed Valencia” and “Valencia the great.” It rose abruptly from a flat green countryside laced with irrigation canals, framed by the Mediterranean and by a far circle of austere hills. The broad Guadalaviar—the Wādi l-abyaḍ or White River—wound along the city’s northern flank to the sea. Within its walls a teeming populace thrived on commerce with far-flung...

    • CHAPTER II Death of an Islamic Empire (pp. 26-45)

      The context of Moorish weakness renders more explicable Valencia’s stunning fall. In a moment of insane fratricide Islam left her doors open to the conqueror. Though Valencia was technically not a kingdom, the Christians use of the termrexor king for an Almohadsayyiddoes convey her isolation and furnishes a clue to the malaise of contemporary Spanish Islam.¹ A quarter-century before the Valencian crusade, Islamic Andalusia stood solid as a rock. Sharing an imperial serenity which evokes images of the Roman empire,² she presented to the hostile northerners a strong frontier running from just below Lisbon in an...

    • CHAPTER III The Physical Setting (pp. 46-63)

      King James was personally active in the kingdom he had conquered, returning year after year until a considerable portion of his total reign was spent there. For twenty-two of the thirty-seven years of rule after the capital’s fall, he passed at least a fourth of every year within the new kingdom’s boundaries. No other part of his realms so absorbed his attention. If Lérida was the effective capital of his Arago-Catalan confederation, as Miret y Sans has demonstrated, with Zaragoza and Barcelona the respective subordinate regional capitals,¹ Valencia preoccupied James and devoured his time far more than any other single...

    • CHAPTER IV The Human Geography (pp. 64-88)

      Contemporaries called Muslims “Moors,” a word by now scarcely bearing any echoes of North Africa.Moros,with its Latin counterpartmauri,occurred often in legal as well as informal usage to designate Valencian Mudejars. Formal usage, and the several Romance memoirs detailing Valencian and North African adventures, inclined rather to “Saracens,” the common European and Byzantine name; ecclesiastical documentation preferred the term, reposing as it did for clerics upon a pseudoetymology involving Abraham’s wife Sara. The proper distinction, setting Saracens as Muslims of the East against Moors of the Maghrib or West, does not occur in Valencian documents. Muslims and...

    • CHAPTER V City and Country: Basic Classes (pp. 89-114)

      Though spiritually democratic, Islam was not a leveling religion. Every class comes to light in postconquest records, from military aristocrats to slaves. The professional stratum, especially administrative and legal, was much in evidence. Great landowners remained. The townsmen, like the rustics to whom they felt superior, stayed on while political and social change swirled above them. As with boundaries and customs, traditional social groups persisted in the new Valencia. Muslim theorists variously divided their people; in his penetrating analysis of medieval Near Eastern cities, Lapidus discerns four levels in these discussions and in the reality they reflect: the governing elite...

    • CHAPTER VI Surrender Terms: Universality and Pattern (pp. 117-138)

      The armies of Aragon had marched south with two objectives in mind, to destroy Islamic Valencia as a political and military entity, and to reconstruct in its stead a Christian kingdom. Military necessity dictated a peculiar pattern of action designed to break the enemy’s capacity to fight. This strategy in turn determined the later structure of political and personal relationships between victor and vanquished. The kingdom had fairly bristled with castles and towers, a checkerboard of fortifications to discourage the hardiest invader. There were “forty or fifty” major strongholds alone, scattered over a land “seven journeys long,” each place designed...

    • CHAPTER VII Burriana, Valencia, and the Townsmen (pp. 139-154)

      Two striking deviations from this pattern of transition into Mudejarism were the cities of Burriana and Valencia. The same sad scenes transpired there as Castilian contemporaries witnessed at Cordova and Seville. Even so, compromise prevailed rather than ruthlessness. More important to the theme at issue, Valencia city and Burriana were not the kind of exceptions duplicated elsewhere during the Valencian crusade. Some historians do argue a wholesale subjection of northerly towns, especially Morella, but their conjectures cannot sustain close examination. Valencia and Burriana remain unique. Far from rendering the Mudejar norm dubious, they indicate how unusual was the set of...

    • CHAPTER VIII Incorporation: Motives and Mechanisms (pp. 155-183)

      Valencian Muslims remained a community intact, enjoying extensive privileges. Why did King James yield so much? The early thirteenth century was not distinguished for tolerance; this was the generation of the Albigensian wars and the medieval Inquisition. Nor was Aragon so strong a kingdom that it could welcome the incorporation of new power blocs; it was a fragmented, half-formed feudal sovereignty in tenuous balance. Besides, James needed every scrap of income he could cajole from his subjects and every advantage he could wring. Surely it was possible to concede far less to conquered Muslims, to impose obligations more burdensome—in...

    • CHAPTER IX Islam: An Established Religion (pp. 184-219)

      The world of Islam was marked by diversity of people and local cultures. Schism, sects, and schools sundered its religious unity: Bickering factionalism could suddenly shatter its monolithic political units, or set one against its neighbor. Below all differences, however, every faction shared at least a religio-cultural tropism; the discords were family quarrels. Each party saw itself as keeper of the sacred Book, sons of the Prophet, whose face was to the holy city, whose destiny was paradise. Freedom of religion, therefore, was the most important privilege to be wrung from the infidel conqueror. The resolutely pious saw this need...

    • CHAPTER X The Law and Its Interpreters (pp. 220-248)

      Man lives by law. More than just frame and guide, it is a manner in which life flows. It incorporates and passes on into the community more substance, more basic attitudes, values, and presuppositions, than its unwitting subject realizes. Especially was this true for the medieval Muslim. To a superficial observer, accustomed to the impersonal professionalism of the law devised by the West, it might seem that the Islamic moral-religious system usurped the role of true law. The clear-cut categories and jurisdictions were absent, the rational procedure from principle, and the psychology proper to the kind of civil society connected...

    • CHAPTER XI Christians and the Islamic Judiciary (pp. 249-270)

      The ruler in Islam was theoretically the unique lawmaker and judge; in practice his delegates, especially theqāḍī,administered justice within a framework of juridical theology and of custom. Ironically, this tradition of regarding the sovereign as the source of all justice facilitated the substitution of a Christian king, or his local or feudal counterpart. On the Christian side, the feudal suzerain had always been primarily custodian of justice; in his emerging role of sovereign he was emperor-legislator and head of the judicial hierarchy. Islamic and Christian trends converged now, in a world of judicial diversity which tolerated throughout the...

    • CHAPTER XII The Muslim in the Feudal Order (pp. 273-299)

      In their political organization, the Mudejars formed self-contained legal communities, which constituted a species of state within a state. This alien body related to its Arago-Catalan host, at the administrative and governing levels, only in the most tenuous fashion. Were they merely guests and wards of the Christian state, or had they a function within the feudal order? The question may be put more precisely if the phrase “feudal order” gives way to the more satisfactory description “the evolved feudal or even postfeudal situation.” The realms of Aragon comprised a rather complicated form of transitional or feudal monarchy; under the...

    • CHAPTER XIII The Military Aristocracy (pp. 300-322)

      Though Islamic Valencia boasted a stratum of aristocrats analogous to Christian barons and knights, its individual members come into view largely by indirection. To gain a clearer idea of this class, each fortuitous appearance of a Mudejar lord or knight in the records must be isolated for examination.¹ Before the conquest, larger cities like Játiva and Alcira displayed strong local rulers, almost little princes, each surrounded by his noble bodyguards, knights, advisory intellectuals, and council of notables. Smaller towns mustered a less imposing aristocracy. Fairly rural environments such as Jérica or Alpuente had inherited a proud nobiliary past that they...

    • THE KINGDOM OF VALENCIA: The Antonio Cavanilles Map of 1795 (pp. None)
    • CHAPTER XIV Patriot Mudejar Lords (pp. 323-352)

      Stalking the elusive Mudejar lord through the thickets of alien Christian documentation is a thankless task. By the long view of history, the life-span of this class was brief; the most promising specimens fell soonest, victims of their patriot ideals or lust for power. Individual nobles become most visible at moments of crisis—toppling under the impact of the crusade, changing into tributaries, or yielding castles after a revolt. The averageqā’idof the early Mudejar period, a power in his real world, enters history without name or personality. A whole range of nobiliary figures can be salvaged from the...

    • CHAPTER XV Horizontal Power: The Rulers (pp. 353-373)

      Previous chapters have penetrated aljama life at points as varied as religion, ethics, law, population distribution, ethnic strains, and social strata. Now that the Mudejar has been fitted into his background, it is time to organize into an understandable pattern the structure of political authority that framed his life. Since this project breaks new ground, caution decreed its postponement until explanatory data had been presented. Historians have hitherto assumed a multiplicity of unrelated rural or town-ghetto communities, each under itsamīnassisted by one to four officers (adelantados) and advised by a council of wise elders.¹ The picture, appealingly logical...

    • CHAPTER XVI The City-State Polities (pp. 374-400)

      Muslim lords, however strong, did not comprise their kingdom’s essential power. They were but one element in a complex construction. The weightiest single entity was not the lord but the ubiquitous town, considered as at once a political alliance of families and a territorial unit. Was the mighty lord of Alcalá therefore a lesser man than the Muslim castellan of Peñíscola? As an individual the castellan was a weaker figure, but the diffused urban power in which he participated made him greater. Town and community did not always jibe. The Mudejar aljama was not just the Moors of a given...

    • CHAPTER XVII The Islamic Establishment: Vertical Power (pp. 401-420)

      The term establishment, though victim of journalistic abuse, best describes the coalescive bond siting a governmental authority firmly within its community. It designates the loose agglomeration of officeholders, wealthy merchants, landlords, men of religion, scholars, literary intellectuals, professionals, military figures, and the like, who represent residual power or who influence the executors of power. This alliance is strongest at its upper levels, where the principal representatives of each species meet and mingle. Present usage lays stress on privileged inner circles that wield indirect power, enveloped in a protective larger periphery of people who are either influential with such circles or...

  10. BIBLIOGRAPHY (pp. 421-456)
  11. INDEX (pp. 457-475)
  12. Back Matter (pp. 476-476)


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