Imagining the Enemy

Joshua C. Birk

in Just Wars, Holy Wars, and Jihads

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199755042
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199950508 | DOI:
Imagining the Enemy

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This chapter focuses on the disconnect between the rhetoric of holy war in the eleventh and twelfth centuries and the experience of the crusading soldiers, particularly those from southern Italy. When scholars discuss the experience these soldiers have with Muslims, they tend to make generalized statements that these soldiers had previous experience fighting against Muslims, in a series of religious conflicts that prefigure the Crusades. What they do not generally discuss, however, is that the common experience of the southern Italian soldier was not fighting against Muslim soldiers, but fighting alongside them as allies. This background shapes the southern Italian understanding of the First Crusade, and explains why their behavior differs so markedly from that of other Crusaders.

Keywords: First Crusade; southern Italy; Muslims; holy war

Chapter.  7871 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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