Mirror of Chivalry

John V. Tolan

in Sons of Ishmael

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print March 2008 | ISBN: 9780813032221
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813038964 | DOI:
Mirror of Chivalry

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  • Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)


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This chapter discusses how some Latin writers portrayed Saladin stereotypically as a cruel scourge, sent by God to punish Christian sins. Over the course of the Middle Ages, however, European authors saw him more often as an embodiment of chivalric virtues, a model knight, and a just prince. Due to the numerous and colorful legends that surrounded him, tension formed between two tendencies: some writers who presented him as living proof that one need not be Christian or European to be a near-perfect knight and prince, while other writers forged bogus genealogies that made Saladin the direct descendant of French knights and affirmed that he secretly converted to Christianity.

Keywords: Latin writers; Saladin; Middle Ages; legends; knight; genealogies; Christianity

Chapter.  9723 words. 

Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)

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