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The true gentleman? Correct behaviour towards women according to Christian and Muslim writers: from the Third Crusade to Sultan Baybars

Nicholson, Helen ORCID: 2019. The true gentleman? Correct behaviour towards women according to Christian and Muslim writers: from the Third Crusade to Sultan Baybars. Hodgson, Natasha R., Lewis, Katherine J. and Mesley, Matthew M., eds. Crusading and Masculinities, Crusades Subsidia, vol. 13. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 100-112.

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Yvonne Friedman’s research has shown that in the context of the crusades, normal behaviour towards women of any religious belief was to take them prisoner: sometimes as captives taken after a defeat; sometimes as the deliberate goal of a slave-hunting raid. Yet the norm was not necessarily the ideal. This article discusses the works of contemporary and near-contemporary Christian and Muslim commentators on the Third Crusade and later and concludes that treatment of women was an important measure of a leader’s moral worth. Muslim writers depicted devout Islamic leaders as treating Christian women with mercy rather than killing them, allowing them to show their subject as merciful, and thus fulfilling the duties of Islam. In contrast, Christian writers on the crusades believed that, although women should be treated with kindness, any close association with women would expose their heroes to accusations of immorality or religious pollution, so made less of merciful treatment of women. Nevertheless, for both Christians and Muslims this honourable behaviour was depicted as extending primarily to noblewomen: the normal fate of non-noble women was death or captivity.

Item Type: Book Section
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D111 Medieval History
D History General and Old World > DE The Mediterranean Region. The Greco-Roman World
Additional Information: The papers in this volume were all originally delivered at a symposium at the University of Zurich in April 2016. The symposium was funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation, Zuercher Mediavistik, Zuercher Universitatsverein, the Society for the Study of Medieval Languages and Literature, the Society for the Study of the Crusades and the Latin East, the Division of History at the University of Huddersfield, and the Department of History, Languages and Global Study at Nottingham Trent University.
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 9781138054677
Last Modified: 25 Oct 2022 14:05

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