Notes and Sources

In two years of research on the Crusades, I have come across many works and authors who, whether through brief encounter or repeated consultation, have exerted some influence on my work. Although they all deserve to be cited, the point of view adopted in this work demands a selection. My assumption here is that the reader is seeking not an exhaustive bibliography of works about the Crusades, but references that would permit deeper study of Ýthe other side’.

Three sorts of work will figure in these notes. First of all, of course, are the writings of the Arab historians and chroniclers who have bequeathed us their testimony of the Frankish invasions. I shall mention these chapter by chapter, in the order in which their names appear in my account, giving the references of the original works on which I generally relied, as well as the available translations. But let me single out the excellent collection of texts edited and translated by the Italian orientalist Francesco Gabrieli and published in English under the title Arab Historians of the Crusades (London 1969).

A second type of work deals with Arab and Muslim medieval history from the standpoint of relations with the West. Let me cite, in particular:

E. Ashtor, A Social and Economic History of the Near East in the Middle Ages, London 1976.

P. Aziz, La Palestine des croisés, Geneva 1977.

C. Cahen, Les Peuples musulmans dans l’histoire médiévale, Institut Français of Damascus, 1977.

M. Hodgson, The Venture of Islam, Chicago 1974, in three volumes.

R. Palm, Les Etendards du Prophète, Paris 1981.

J.J. Saunders, A History of Medieval Islam, London 1965.

J. Sauveget, Introduction à l’histoire de l’Orient musulman, Paris 1961.

J. Schacht, The Legacy of Islam, Oxford 1974.

E. Sivan, L’Islam et la croisade, Paris 1968.

W. Montgomery Watt, The Influence of Islam on Medieval Europe, Edinburgh 1972.

A third type of work concerns historical accounts of the Crusades, whether comprehensive or partial. It was obviously essential to consult them in weaving the Arab testimony, which is inevitably fragmentary, into a continuous account covering the two centuries of the Frankish invasions. I shall mention them more than once in these notes. Let me cite at the outset two classic works: René Grousset, Histoire des croisades et du royaume franc de Jérusalem, in three volumes, Paris 1934–36; Stephen Runciman, A History of the Crusades, also in three volumes, Cambridge 1951–54.


Not all Arab historians agree in attributing the speech cited here to al-Íarawi. According to the Damascene chronicler SibÔ Ibn al-Jawzi (see chapter 12), it was indeed the qÁÃÐ who spoke these words. The historian Ibn al-AthÐr (see chapter 2) affirms that their author was the poet al-Abiwardi, who was apparently inspired by the lamentations of al-Íarawi. In any case, there can be no doubt about the essence of the matter: the quoted words reflect the message that the delegation led by the qÁÃÐ sought to transmit to the caliph’s court.

Ibn Jubayr (1144–1217), who set out from Valencia in Muslim Spain, made his trip to the Orient between 1182 and 1185. His observations are recorded in his book, the original text of which was republished in Arabic in Beirut (Sader) in 1980. A French translation is available (Geuthner, Paris 1953–56).

Ibn al-QalÁnisi (1073–1160), who was born and died in Damascus, held various high-ranking administrative positions in the city. He wrote a chronicle entitled Dhayl TarÐkh Dimashq (Supplement to the History of Damascus), the original text of which is available only in an edition published in 1908. An abridged French edition, entitled Damas de 1075 à 1154, was published in 1952 by the Institut Français of Damascus and Editions Adrien-Maisonneuve of Paris.

Chapter 1

ÝThat year’ in the quotation from Ibn al-QalÁnisi is the year of the Hegira 490. Nearly all the Arab chroniclers and historians of the epoch employed the same method of exposition: they listed the events of each year, often in a rather disordered manner, before moving on to the next year.

In the twentieth century the term RÙm—singular: RÙmЗis sometimes used in certain parts of the Arab world to designate not the Greeks, but Westerners in general. This is the case especially in regions such as the northern part of the Arabian peninsula which were far more deeply affected by the Byzantine presence—up to the tenth century—than by the subsequent Frankish invasions.

The word emir—or al-amÐr in Arabic—originally meant Ýhe who assumes command’. AmÐr al-mu'minÐn was the commander, or prince, of believers: the prince of the faithful. The emirs of the army were more or less the chief officers. AmÐr al-juyÙsh was the supreme commander of the armies and amÐr al-baÎr the commander-in-chief of the fleet, a word that was borrowed by the Occidentals in the truncated form amiral, or Ýadmiral’ in English.

The origins of the Seljuks are shrouded in mystery. Seljuk, the eponym of the clan, had two sons named Mikael and Israel, which suggests that the dynasty which unified the Muslim East was of Christian or Jewish origin. After their Islamicization, the Seljuks changed some of their names. ÝIsrael’ in particular was Turkicized, becoming ÝArslan’.

La Geste du roi Danishmend was published in 1960, both in the original Arabic and in a French translation, by the French Institute of Archeology in Istanbul.

Chapter 2

The principal work by Ibn al-AthÐr (l160–1233), al-KÁmil fi’l-TarÐkh (The Perfect History) runs to thirteen volumes, and was republished by Sader of Beirut in 1979. Volumes 10, 11, and 12 deal, among many other things, with the Frankish invasions. French translations of some passages were included in the Recueil des historiens des croisades, published in Paris between 1881 and 1906 by the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres.

On the Assassins sect, see chapter 5.

Ibn Jubayr’s quotation about oil comes from Travels, French edition, p. 268; Arabic edition, p. 209.

For more on Antioch and its environs, see Claude Cahen, La Syrie du Nord à l’époque des croisades et la principauté franque d’Antioche, Paris 1940.

Chapter 3

The Frankish chronicles of the epoch contain numerous accounts of the acts of cannibalism committed by the Frankish armies in MaÝarra in 1098, and they all agree. Until the nineteenth century, the facts of these events were included in the works of European historians, for example Michaud’s l’Histoire des croisades, published in 1817–22. (See volume 1, pp. 357 and 577; also Bibliographie des croisades, pp. 48, 76, 183, 248.) In the twentieth century, however, these accounts have generally been concealed—perhaps in the interests of the West’s Ýcivilizing mission’? Grousset does not even mention them in the three volumes of his history; Runciman is content with a single allusion: the army was Ýsuffering from starvation . . . and cannibalism seemed the only solution’ (vol. 1, p. 261).

On the Tafurs, see J. Prawer, Histoire du royaume franc de Jérusalem, CNRS, Paris 1975 (vol. 1, p. 216).

For UsÁmah Ibn Munqidh, see chapter 7.

On the origin of the name ÝCrac des Chevaliers’, see Paul Deschamps, La Toponomastique en Terre sainte au temps des croisades, in Recueil de travaux, Paris 1955; also P. Hitti, History of the Arabs, tenth edition, London 1970, p. 638.

The Franj found the letter from the basileus in the tent of al-Afdal after the battle of Ascalon in August 1099.

Chapter 4

On the astonishing history of Nahr al-Kalb, see Philip Hitti, TarÐkh LubnÁn (History of Lebanon), Assaqafa, Beirut 1978.

After his return to Europe, Bohemond tried to invade the Byzantine empire. Alexius asked Kilij Arslan to send troops to help him repel the attack. Defeated and captured, Bohemond was forced to sign a treaty recognizing the rights of the RÙm to Antioch. Because of this humiliation, he never returned to the Middle East.

Edessa is the modern city of Urfa, in Turkey.

Chapter 5

On the battle of Tyre and other matters concerning this city, see M. Chehab, Tyr à l’époque des croisades, Adrien-Maisonneuve, Paris 1975.

The Aleppan KamÁl al-DÐn Ibn al-Adim (1192–1262) devoted only the first part of his life to writing the history of his city. He broke off his chronicle in 1223, for he had become completely absorbed in his political and diplomatic activity and his many travels in Syria, Iraq, and Egypt. The original text of his History of Aleppo was published by the Institut Français of Damascus in 1968. No French or English translation is available.

The site of the battle between Ilghazi and the army of Antioch is given different names in different sources: Sarmada, Darb Sarmada, Tel Aqibrin. The Franj called it Ager sanguinis, or field of blood.

On the Assassins, see M. Hodgson, The Order of Assassins, Mouton, the Hague, 1955.

Chapter 6

The hospital founded in Damascus in 1154 continued to function until 1899, when it was turned into a school.

The father of ZangÐ, Aq Sunqur, had been governor of Aleppo until 1094. Accused of treason by RidwÁn’s father, Tutush, he was beheaded. The young ZangÐ was then adopted by KarbÙqa of Mosul, who brought him up and had him take part in all his battles.

The princess Zumurrud was the daughter of the emir Jawali, former governor of Mosul.

Chapter 7

The emir UsÁmah Ibn Munqidh, who was born in 1095, two years before the Franj arrived in Syria, and died in 1188, one year after Jerusalem was retaken, holds a special place among Arab witnesses of the Crusades. A writer, diplomat, and politician, he was personally acquainted with NÙr al-DÐn, Saladin, MuÝÐn al-DÐn ÝUnar, King Fulk, and many others. An ambitious intriguer and schemer, he was accused of having arranged the assassination of a Fatimid caliph and an Egyptian vizier and of having sought to overthrow his uncle the sultan and even his friend MuÝÐn al-DÐn. But it is his image as an astute man of letters, a sharp observer with a keen sense of humour, that has been most durable. UsÁmah’s major work, his autobiography, was published in Paris in 1893 by H. Derenbourg. This edition contained the original Arabic text, a French version composed of a mixture of quotations and paraphrases, and a mass of observations about UsÁmah, his epoch, and his relations with the Franj.

For an account of the battle of Edessa, see J.-B. Chabot, Un épisode de l’histoire des croisades, in Mélanges, Geuthner, Paris 1924.

Chapter 8

For more about the life and times of the son of ZangÐ, see N. Elisseeff, Nur-ad-Din, un grand prince musulman de Syrie au temps des croisades, Institut Français of Damascus, 1967.

The primary legal source of revenue for all the princes, NÙr al-DÐn included, was their share of the booty taken from the enemy: gold, silver, horses, captives sold as slaves. The chroniclers say that the price of the latter diminished significantly when there were too many of them. In some cases a man could even be exchanged for a pair of shoes!

Violent earthquakes devastated Syria at various times during the Crusades. Although the 1157 tremor was the most spectacular, not a single decade passed without some major cataclysm.

Chapter 9

The eastern branch of the Nile, dried up today, was called the Pelusian branch, because it ran through the ancient city of Pelusus. It flowed into the Mediterranean Sea near Sabkhat al-BardawÐl, or Baldwin Marsh.

The AyyÙb family had to leave TakrÐt in 1138, shortly after Saladin’s birth there, for ShÐrkÙh, or so the story goes, had to kill a man to avenge a woman’s honour.

Originally from north Africa, the Fatimids governed Egypt from 966 to 1171. It was they who founded the city of Cairo: al-QÁhira, meaning Ýthe Victorious’. Their rulers claimed to be descended from FÁÔima, the daughter of the Prophet and the wife of ÝAlÐ, inspirer of ShiÝism.

On the vicissitudes of the astonishing battle for Egypt, see G. Schlumberger, Campagnes du roi Amaury ler de Jérusalem en Egypte, Paris 1906.

Chapter 10

The letter of the Aleppans, like most of Saladin’s messages, may be found in the ÝBook of the Two Gardens’, by the Damascene chronicler AbÙ Shama (1203–1267). It contains a precious compilation of a great many official documents that can be found nowhere else.

BahÁ' al-DÐn Ibn ShaddÁd (1145–1234) entered Saladin’s service shortly before the battle of ÍiÔÔÐn. He remained an adviser and confidant of the sultan until the latter’s death. His biography of Saladin was recently republished, in the original Arabic with French translation, in Beirut and Paris (Méditérranée, 1981).

Saladin was not the only one to display gracious manners on the occasion of the marriage in Karak. The mother of the groom insisted on sending meticulously prepared dishes for the troops besieging the city, so that they might also participate in the festivities.

The testimony of Saladin’s son about the battle of ÍiÔÔÐn is cited by Ibn al-AthÐr, vol. 9, year of the Hegira 583.

An associate of NÙr al-DÐn before entering Saladin’s service, ÝImÁd al-DÐn al-AsfahÁni (1125–1201) produced many works of history and literature, in particular an invaluable anthology of poetry. His extraordinary overblown style casts some doubt on the value of his testimony about the events he experienced. His narrative Conquête de la Syrie et de la Palestine par Saladin was published by the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, Paris 1972.

Chapter 11

According to the Muslim faith, God once led MuÎammad on a miraculous nocturnal journey from Mecca to al-AqÒÁ mosque in Jerusalem and thence to heaven. There MuÎammad met Jesus and Moses, an encounter symbolizing the continuity of the three Ýreligions of the book’.

For Orientals—whether Arabs, Armenians, or Greeks—the beard was a symbol of virility. They were amused, and sometimes scandalized, by the clean-shaven faces of most of the Frankish knights.

Among the many Western works devoted to Saladin, we should single out that of S. Lane-Pool, published in London in 1898 under the title Saladin and the Fall of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Unfortunately, this work has faded into obscurity in recent years. It was republished in Beirut in 1964, by Khayats.

Chapter 12

It seems that in 1219 al-KÁmil had a meeting with Francis of Assisi, who had come East in the vain hope of restoring peace. Al-KÁmil is said to have listened sympathetically to Francis and to have given him gifts; he then had him escorted back to the camp of the Franj. To my knowledge, no Arab source relates this event.

SibÔ Ibn al-Jawzi (1186–1256), an orator and chronicler of Damascus, published a voluminous universal history entitled MirÁt al-ZamÁn (The Mirror of Time), only some fragments of which have been published.

On the astonishing personality of the emperor, see Benoist-Meschin, Frédéric de Hohenstaufen ou le rêve excommunié, Paris 1980.

Chapter 13

For a history of the Mongols, see R. Grousset, l’Empire des steppes, Paris 1939. The exchange of letters between Louis IX and AyyÙb is reported by the Egyptian chronicler al-MaqrÐzi (1364–1442).

JamÁl al-DÐn Ibn WÁÒil (1207–1298), a diplomat and lawyer, wrote a chronicle of the Ayyubid period and the beginning of the Mamluk era. To my knowledge, his work has never been published in full, although quotations and fragmentary translations exist in Michaud and Gabrieli.

After the destruction of AlamÙt, the Assassins sect survived in the most peaceable form imaginable: as the IsmÁÝÐlis, followers of the Agha Khan. It is sometimes forgotten that he is the direct successor of Íasan Ibn al-ÑabbÁÎ.

The version of the deaths of Aybeg and Shajar al-Durr reported here is that of a popular medieval epic, SÐrat al-Malik al-ZÁhir Baybars, as-Sakafiya, Beirut.

Chapter 14

The Egyptian chronicler Ibn ÝAbd-al-ÚÁhir (1233–1293), secretary of the sultans Baybars and QalÁwÙn, suffered the misfortune of seeing his major work, ÝThe Life of Baybars’, summarized by an ignorant nephew who left only a truncated and insipid text. The few fragments of the original work that have survived reveal Ibn ÝAbd-al-ÚÁhir’s genuine talent as writer and historian.

Of all the Arab historians and chroniclers that I have cited, Abu’l-FidÁ’ (1273–1331) is the only one to have governed a state. Granted, it was a tiny one—the emirate of Hama—and the Ayyubid emir was therefore able to devote most of his time to his many literary works, among them MukhtaÒar TarÐkh al-Bashar, ÝSummary of the History of Humanity’. Both the original text and a French translation may be found in Recueil des historiens des croisades.

Although Western domination of Tripoli ended in 1289, many names of Frankish origin have persisted down to modern times, both in the city and in neighbouring regions: AnjÙl (Anjou), Dueyhi (Douai), Dikiz (de Guise), DablÐz (de Blise), ShanbÙr (Chambord), ShanfÙr (Chamfort), Franjieh (Franque).

In conclusion, let us mention three other works:

Z. Oldenburg, Les Croisades, Paris 1965, an account sensitive to the Oriental Christians.

R. Pernoud, Les Hommes des croisades, Paris 1977.

J. Sauveget, Historiens arabes, Paris 1946.

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