By Katharine Scarfe Beckett
Beckett reviews the approximately 5 centuries from the increase of an Islamic coverage (A.D. 622) to the 1st campaign (A.D. 1096), having a look intimately on the wisps and lines of English wisdom of, touch with, and attitudes towards Muslims. the implications are hugely interesting.
Who knew that Bishop Georgius of Ostia, a papal legate to England, pronounced in 786 to the pope on synods he had attended and incorporated this decree: "That no ecclesiastic shall dare to eat foodstuffs in mystery, until as a result of very nice sickness, because it is hypocrisy and a Saracen practice"? Or that Offa, the king of Mercia (a quarter of the Midlands, north of London) in the course of the years 757-96 had a gold piece struck in his identify, now on hand for view on the British Museum, which bore, as Beckett places it, "a a bit bungled Arabic inscription on obverse and opposite in imitation of an Islamic dinar"?
In fleshing out darkish a while' reactions to the hot religion, Beckett very usefully establishes the primitive base from which the English-speaking peoples even this day eventually draw their perspectives. She tells concerning the specific English traveler's account to the center East courting from this period (that of Arculf); tallies the dinars present in such locations as Eastborne, St. Leonards-on-Sea, London, Oxford, Croydon, and Bridgnorth; and totes up the center jap imports, reminiscent of pepper, incense, and bronze bowls. She unearths "continuing community of alternate and diplomatic hyperlinks" attached western Christendom to the Muslim countries.
As for attitudes, they weren't simply uninformed yet static. Beckett notes that preliminary responses to Islam have been formed by way of pre-Islamic writings, particularly these of St. Jerome (c. A.D. 340-420), on Arabs, Saracens, Ismaelites, and different easterners. This lengthy impression resulted from a stated loss of interest at the a part of Anglo-Saxons and so much different Europeans.
To finish on a jarringly modern word: dismayingly, the impact of Edward stated has reached the purpose that his theories approximately Western perspectives of Muslims now achieve even to the early medieval interval; Beckett devotes web page after web page to facing his theories. fortunately, she has the boldness and integrity (in her phrases) "to some degree" to dispute these theories.
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Extra info for Anglo-Saxon Perceptions of the Islamic World
Sed quid scriptum est? Eice ancillam et filium eius! Sarracenorum enim gens impia et inmundarum sectatrix traditionum loca sancta, in quibus steterunt pedes domini, iam a multis retro temporibus uiolenta premit tyrannide . ’ (‘A people without God, the son of the Egyptian handmaid, has violently seized these cradles of our salvation, fatherland of our lord, mother of religion . . But what is written? Cast out the handmaid and her son! For the wicked Saracen people, follower of unclean traditions, has from a long time ago oppressed the holy places, in which the feet of the Lord rested, with violent despotism’; William of Tyre, Chronicon, CCCM 63, 132.
16 Governors were delegated by the caliph in Damascus or the local governor in Egypt. An appreciable proportion of the Andalusian population remained Christian (the Mozarabs) and looked to the independent, Christian north for moral and religious support. 17 After the conquest, the population of al-Andalus thus consisted of Berbers, a growing number of neo-Muslims, a minority of Arabs and a large proportion of unconverted Christians and Jews. v. ‘Ifr¯ıqiya’ and ‘al-Maghrib’; CHI II, 211–37; and Lombard, The Golden Age of Islam, pp.
Lvii–lviii. In particular he addresses writings on Islam by Bernard Lewis; see, for example, Orientalism, pp. 296–300 and 314–20; Culture and Imperialism, pp. 42–3, and Covering Islam, pp. 136–40. He also criticises the works of Gibb and von Grunebaum (Orientalism, pp. 105–7). , Orientalism, Islam, and Islamists. 28 Islam during the Anglo-Saxon period from the Continent, Constantinople and communities living in Syria at the time of the invasions. Some of these were written almost contemporaneously with the first conquests.