Knowledge of Arabic in the Crusader States in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries 205
have been inﬂuenced by them. But even so, scholars have come to the conclusion that
Islamic inﬂuence on the culture of the Franks was negligible.Professor H.E. Mayer believes that the Franks co-existed with the Muslims but thatthere was no symbiosis; the number of those from the upper ranks of society who
bothered to learn Arabic was tiny. In this respect we can presume otherwise.William of Tyre, the most illustrious and erudite historian of the Latin East, learned Arabic. He tellsus in the prologue of his
that his substantial source of information for hissecond work
Historia orientalium principum
was the book of the Arab historian Said ibn
Batrick (Eutychius). Here, William’s modern editor R.B.C. Huygens has expresseddoubts as to the extent of William’s knowledge of Arabic, noting that William’s
renderings of Arabic names are either elementary and easily come by, or erroneous.That may be true of his account of the First Crusade which is based mainly on thenarratives of contemporary historians who seem to have mistranscribed these names. Itseems that the Franks did not become acquainted with the Arabic names of persons and
places before the ﬁrst two decades of the twelfth century. The names of Kerboga,Toghtekin, Ilghazi, and Saladin, the Muslim leaders best known to the Franks, are worthexamining here. The leaders of the First Crusade, as well as the majority of the Latinchroniclers, including William of Tyre, knew the atabeg of Mosul who came to rescue
Antioch as Corboram, Corboran, Corbagath, or Corbagat. Toghtekin, the atabeg of Damascus (1104–1128), was known to the Franks as Dodechinus, Tuldequinus, or
Doldequinus. They knew Ilghazi, the Ortoqid prince of Aleppo (1118–1123), as Algazi
(Armigazi – Algazus) or Gazi. William of Tyre and his continuators, and thethirteenth-century Dominican,William of Tripoli, knew Saladin as Saladinus, Salehadin,
Salahadin, Salahedyn. The form of each of the ﬁrst three names makes theirpronunciation different from the Arabic (Korbogha – Toghtekin – Ilghazi). Here,
William of Tyre, basing his
down to 1127 on the works of these eyewitnesses,
tr J. Gillingham, 2nd ed. (Oxford, 1988), 189; B.Z. Kedar, ‘The SubjectedMuslims of the Frankish Levant’, in:
Muslims under Latin Rule
(Princeton, 1992), 174.
Mayer, ‘Latins, Muslims and Greeks in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem,’
, 63 (1978), 175.
Said ibn Batrick was born in Egypt in 879 and became a famous physician. He was for many years Greek Patriarch of Alexandria. His
History of the Arabs
covers the period from the time of the Prophet to 937. SeeWT, 100.
Huygens, ‘Editing William of Tyre’,
, 27 (1984), 468.
See below, p. 213.
Gesta Francorum et aliorum Hierosolimitanorum
ed. and tr. R. Hill (London, 1962), 49, 56; Raymond of Aguilers, 259; ‘Epistula II Anselmi de Ribodimonte ad Manassem archiepiscopum Remorum’, in:
DieKreuzzugsbriefe aus den Jahren
ed. H. Hagenmeyer (Innsbruck, 1901), 159;
Antioche en Provenc¸al
tr. P. Meyer, in:
Archives de l
vol. 2, ii (Paris, 1884), 481, 483–4;Fulcher of Chartres, 345, 347; WT, 289, 307, 311, 313, 316, 320, 323, 331, 336.
Walter the Chancellor,
ed. H. Hagenmeyer (Innsbruck, 1896), 102, 106–7; Fulcher of Chartres, 446–7; WT, 525, 530, 532, 552, 556, 566, 595–7.
Walter the Chancellor, 66, 79, 92, 94, 99, 101, 107–8; Fulcher of Chartres, 443; WT, 556, 559, 560ff.
WT, 93, 99;
Ernoul et de Bernard le Tresorier
ed. L. de Mas Latrie (Paris, 1871), 40–1;
LaContinuation de Guillaume de Tyr
ed. M.R. Morgan (Paris, 1982), 36–7; William of Tripoli,
Tractatus de statu Saracenorum
Kulturgeschichte der Kreuzzuge
ed. H. Prutz (Berlin, 1883), 583.
See P.W. Edbury and J.G. Rowe,
William of Tyre
Historian of the Latin East
(Cambridge, 1980), 46.