Muslim-Christian alliance in early crusader times? - quotes


In his article on Medievalists.net Peter Konieczny (...) presents the strong case that before and at the start of the First Crusade "an alliance existed between the Crusaders and the (muslim; TN) Fatimid rulers of Egypt (...) By the latter decades of the eleventh-century, these states (Byzantium and Fatimid Egypt; TN) had only known peace with each other in living memory, which is remarkable for the medieval world.

The Fatimids and the Byzantines had good reason to be allied with each other – they both were threatened by the Saljuq Turks, who by the mid-11th century were establishing an empire that stretched from Central Asia to the Mediterranean. They brought war against the Byzantines and Fatimids (...). It would be the Saljuqs who would conquer Jerusalem from the Fatimids in 1071 – and it was also they who started preventing Christian pilgrims from going to the Holy City. (...)

Several accounts about the First Crusade note that around February 1098, when the crusaders were besieging the city of Antioch, a delegation arrived by sea from Egypt. (...) at this point Jerusalem was still in the hands of the Saljuq Turks. (...) It was during this visit that crusaders engaged in battle with Ridwan of Aleppo, dated to February 9th (...). While other accounts acknowledge that the Egyptian delegation was present for this victory, Albert of Aachen is the only source that states they fought side-by-side against the Turks. (...)

The notion that the Crusaders and Fatimids had made some sort of alliance also helps to settle a question that has puzzled historians of the First Crusade: why did the crusaders, after defeating the Turks at Antioch in June of 1098, decide to wait until the beginning of 1099 to resume their march towards Jerusalem? Other factors have been suggested, such as turmoil among their leadership and questions of what was to be done with Antioch, but so could have been the idea that the crusaders were waiting for the Egyptians to complete their part of the deal.

In August of 1098 an Egyptian army marched to the gates of Jerusalem, and began a siege of the city. It did not take long for the local Saljuq garrison to surrender. Soon after, the Egyptian forces (to the opinion of the well known chronicler William of Tyre; TN) (...) seemed to imply that they were conferring a great favor on the Christians by allowing unarmed pilgrims to go to Jerusalem in groups of two or three hundred and return in safety after completing their prayers.The leaders of the Christian forces regarded this message as an insult (...) to which they would not consent. (...)

In early 1099 the crusaders began what was essentially a dash towards Jerusalem, hoping to catch the Fatimids unprepared. In fact, the city of Jerusalem was currently being demilitarized (by the Fatimid Egyptian occupation; TN) with its defences being torn down, which offers more indication that the Egyptian rulers were under the impression that they had a fairly strong alliance with the Crusaders. By the time they could react, Jerusalem would already be under attack, falling on July 15, 1099. (...)

The attack and capture of Jerusalem proved to be a shock to Egypt and the wider Islamic world, and crystallize a view among Muslim writers that the Crusaders, and Western Europeans (Franks as they would call them) were untrustworthy and duplicitous. (...)

(...) it suggests that the ideas that crusades was directed against Islam itself is somewhat misplaced – the initial threat happened to be the Saljuqs, who happened to be Muslim, and that they were prepared to work with other Muslims in order to defeat them. While the crusades would later evolve into a war between religions, it did not necessarily start out as one. (...)"

This blog quotes extensively from the paper"Were Christians and Muslims Allies in the First Crusade?" by Peter Konieczny, published on medievalists.net. Read the full paper for all important details. Source of illustration

Development of Templar legistlation



"The legislative body by which the friars of the Temple govern themselves underwent many logical adaptations to suit the times, along its existence. In spite of this, they channeled themselves in two different and complimentary but equally valid points: on the one side papal bulls and on the other the general chapters.

  1. Aulic Synod of Nablus where the canonical congregation is formed or the Brotherhood of the Milithia Christi Ierosolimitana , on 16 January of 1120, where vows are sworn by a roomful of defenders of the faith, they are given a rule, uniformity, a dwelling and a certain charisma
  2.  Council of Troyes on 13 January of 1129, for the sole purpose of officially creating the Order of theTemple: Swearing of solemn vows, they fashion the primitive order based on the previous one, as of now they are friars of full right.
  3. The bull Omne Datum Optimum of Pope Innocent II of 29 March 1139 for the purpose of officially creating the Order of the Temple. In it, aside from recognizing the Order, granted its members any spoils won from the Saracens in the Holy Land and they were exempt from paying a tithe to the corresponding bishoprics, not having to explain their actions or behavior to any one save the Pope.The name of this bull corresponds to the first threewords of Chapter 1, Verse 17 of the Gospel of James: Omne Datum Optimum et omne donum perfectum de sursum est transmutatio nec vicissitudinis obrumbatio (All good presents and every perfect ability come from on high, from the Father of lights, in whom there is no shift or variation of shadows). Along with the bulls Milites Templi and Militia Dei, (this bull; TN) constitutes the lawful base of the Order.
  4.  The bull Milites Templi (Soldiers of the Temple) was pro-mulgated by Pope Celestine II in 1144 with the purpose of increasing the privileges of the Templars. In it the clergy was ordered to protect the knights of the Order and to the faithful, contributing to their cause, for which he allowed, once a year, an act of comparison of virtues. This measure had very little appeal to the secular community, and it very likely, increased the already heady dislike towards the Order. 
  5. The bull Militia Dei (Soldiers of God) was promulgated by Pope Eugene III in 1145 with the purpose of consolidating the privileges of the Order by reinforcing its independence with respect to the secular clergy. In it is recognized the Order’s right to collect tribute, to bury its dead in their own ceme: teries and to have their own churches. Many are the complaints of the bishops and thus they decried it, upon seeing their congregations flocking to Templar churches, with the resulting loss of tithes and donations and adding to this the non obedience from those whom they considered their inferiors."
This blog quotes from the paper "The First Templar Knight - The Origin of the Temple" by Josè Maria Fernandez Nuñez in The Grail Magazine, September 2015. Illustration Templar seal, source Wikipedia

Noble legacies to the Knights Templar

"An astonishing enthusiasm was excited throughout Christendom in behalf of the Templars. Princes and nobles, sovereigns and their subjects, vied with each other in heaping gifts and benefits upon them, and scarce a will of importance was made without an article in it in their favour. Many illustrious persons on their deathbeds took the vows, that they might be buried in the habit of the order. And sovereigns, quitting the government of their kingdoms, enrolled themselves amongst the holy fraternity, and bequeathed even their dominions to the Master and the brethren of the Temple.

Thus, Raymond Berenger, Count of Barcelona and Provence, at a very advanced age, abdicating his throne, and shaking off the ensigns of royal authority, retired to the house of the Templars at Barcelona, and pronounced his vows (A.D. 1130) before brother Hugh de Rigauld, the Prior. His infirmities not allowing him to proceed in person to the chief house of the order at Jerusalem, he sent vast sums of money thither, and immuring himself in a small cell in the Temple at Barcelona. He there remained in the constant exercise of the religious duties of his profession until the day of his death. 

At the same period, the Emperor Lothaire bestowed on the order a large portion of his patrimony of Supplinburg. And the year following (A.D. 1131,) Alphonso the First, king of Navarre and Arragon, also styled Emperor of Spain, one of the greatest warriors of the age, by his will declared the Knights of the Temple his heirs and successors in the crowns of Navarre and Arragon. A few hours before his death he caused this will to be ratified and signed by most of the barons of both kingdoms. The validity of this document, however, was disputed, and the claims of the Templars were successfully resisted by the nobles of Navarre. But in Arragon they (The Knights templar, TN) obtained, by way of compromise, lands, and castles, and considerable dependencies, a portion of the customs and duties levied throughout the kingdom, and of the contributions raised from the Moors."


This blog quotes from The History of the Knights Templar, by Charles G. Addison [1842] published on sacred-texts.com; illustration statue in Barcelona of Ramon Berenguer III, Count of Barcelona, source Wikipedia.org