Franks Classified as Barbarians

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“In comparison to Christian accounts, the Islamic perspective recounts a different side of the story about the Crusades than our previously studied Christian perspective. This perspective includes the alliances made, trade, and exchange of ideas and technology between Muslims and Christian crusaders. Christian and Muslim sources are so discordant because Muslim sources don’t recognize the Crusades, rather as persistent Frankish aggression. On the other hand we take the Christian perspective. Their primary objectives were first to to reclaim Jerusalem and any other territories that had formerly been Christian for Christian rule. Secondly, they sought to halt the Islamic expansion within these territories. With different motivations, it is easy to resort to to the classification of barbarian when regarding the opponent. The Muslims viewed the Christian aggression as barbaric as they were ruthlessly violent in battle.

From the Islamic perspective, the Christian crusaders were recognized as barbarians because they repeatedly committed assaults on Muslim territories and slaughtered tens of thousands of innocent people. They did this with the intention of reclaiming land and continuing the spread of influence of Christianity. An aristocratic Muslim, Ibn al-Qalanisi was known for his records concerning the First Crusade. He had lived in Damascus roughly between 1070 to 1160. From his account he talks about the Franks behavior in battle towards the Turks and says: “His confidence having been strengthened by this, and his offensive power rendered formidable, he marched out to the fords, tracks, and roads by which the Franks must pass, and showed no mercy to all of them who fell into his hands. When he had thus killed a great number, the Franks turned their forces against him, defeated him, and scattered his army, killing many and taking many captive, and plundered and enslaved. The Turks, having lost most of their horses, took to flight. The King of the Greeks bought a great many of the people whom the Franks had enslaved and had them transported to Constantinople. When the news was received of this shameful calamity to the cause of Islam, the anxiety of the people increased. (Hamza ibn Asas abu Ya’la ibn al-Qalanisi, The Damascus Chronicle)”. This perspective of the Franks from Ibn al-Qalanisi holds is that they are inherently untrustworthy in battle . Even further in the text, al-Qalanisi repeatedly describes how the Franks broke truces and treaties: “Now, the Franks, on their first appearance, had made a covenant with the King of the Greeks and had promised him that they would deliver over to him the first city that they should capture. They then captured Nicaea and it was the first place they captured, but they did not carry out their word to him on that occasion, and refused to deliver it up to him according to the stipulation. Subsequently they captured several frontier fortresses and passes on their way. (Hamza ibn Asas abu Ya’la ibn al-Qalanisi, The Damascus Chronicle)”. This is yet another example of how, through deception and violence, the Franks would be classified as barbarians by the Islamic point of view.”

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Franks Classified as Barbarians. (2021, Jun 05). Retrieved from

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