Post-classical history

Tractatus de locis et statu sancte terre Ierosolimitane

A Latin treatise that systematically describes the kingdom of Jerusalem in the years before the battle of Hattin (1187).

The anonymous author situates the terra Ierosolimitana (“land of Jerusalem”) at the world’s center and goes on to describe the adjacent countries. He then presents the Christian groups inhabiting the land (Franks, Greeks, Syrians, Armenians, Georgians, Jacobites, and Nestorians), remarking on their military worth, external appearance, dogmatic tenets, and alphabet. A lengthy passage on the Templars is followed by a brief one on the Hospitallers. The structure of the Latin Church is surveyed in detail, and the country’s most prominent holy places are listed. Sections on mountains, fauna, and fruit trees are followed by a passage on the names by which main towns were known in different periods. Next, the author turns to the kingdom’s governance, mentions the king’s coronation oath, lists the ten most important barons, and spells out that each must follow the king into battle with a specified number of knights. The treatise concludes with the characterization of the non-Christian groups living in the country: Jews, Samaritans, Assassins, and Bedouins.

The treatise was probably written after 1168 and before 1187 by a visitor from Europe. It was utilized by Thietmar, James of Vitry, and Burchard of Mount Zion.

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