Journal of Medieval History 28 (2002) 1–22 www.elsevier.


The military orders and the conversion of Muslims in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries
Alan Forey
The Bell House, Church Lane, Kirtlington, Oxon OX5 3HJ, UK

Abstract Descriptions of the activities of military orders only rarely included any reference to the conversion of Muslims, and in practice the orders did not seek to impose Christianity by force. They were at times also reluctant to allow voluntary conversions among their Muslim vassals and slaves, although claims that they sought to prevent Muslims in neighbouring Islamic territories from accepting Christianity are questionable. The explanation of the attitudes displayed by the orders is not to be found in the fear of losing their raison d’etre or in the extent of ˆ their understanding of the Islamic faith: they were adopting current attitudes, which were based on economic advantage and probably also on perceptions of the nature of Islamic society. As more attention came to be devoted in the West to missionary work, some criticised the orders’ military activities for hindering peaceful missions, while it was also argued — for example by Lull — that the orders should engage in the work of conversion, using force as well as preaching. But the writings of theorists had little practical effect.  2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Military orders; Conversion; Muslims; Slaves; Raymond Lull

The warfare to which military orders devoted themselves in Mediterranean lands during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries was seen to serve various purposes.1 In some documents stress was placed on fighting as a means of salvation for brethren: ‘they do not fear to shed their own blood as martyrs, and thus rejoice eventually to end their lives for God alone’.2 The practical objective was most frequently described

1 For a brief survey, see A.J. Forey, ‘The emergence of the military order in the twelfth century’, Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 36 (1985), 184–6. 2 ´ ´ J. Gonzalez, El reino de Castilla en la epoca de Alfonso VIII, 3 vols (Madrid, 1960), vol. 2, 745– 7, doc. 432.

0304-4181/02/$ - see front matter  2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved. PII: S 0 3 0 4 - 4 1 8 1 ( 0 1 ) 0 0 0 1 4 - 8


A. Forey / Journal of Medieval History 28 (2002) 1–22

as defence, both of territories and of the Church and the faithful: some scribes likened the orders to a wall or a shield.3 Yet military orders were also seen to be fighting a war of vengeance and expansion. The latter task was usually said to involve the freeing of parts of the Church from subjection and the recovery of lands which had earlier been seized from Christians. Charters of donation not only include generalised comments about expansion but also at times in the Iberian peninsula refer to assistance given in particular campaigns and to possible conquests by the orders themselves.4 It has been argued, however, that a handful of royal charters also envisage the converting of non-Christians by the Templars and Hospitallers. A grant was made to the Hospitallers in the middle of the twelfth century by Raymond Berenguer IV, count of Barcelona, ‘for propagating (propagandam) the faith and religion of holy Christianity’, and of the Templars it was said by Peter II of Aragon in 1208 that ‘wherever the religion of the Christian faith thrives, they devote themselves to its propagation (propagationi) and defence’.5 Similar statements may be found in the documentation of Spanish military orders. In 1171 Fernando II of Leon asserted that the brothers of Santiago had undertaken to fight against the infidel ‘for extending (dilatanda) the faith of Christ’, and in the same year the archbishop of Compostela, in favouring the same order, said that he wished ‘to propagate (propagare) … and extend (dilatare) the faith and Church of God’, while in 1231 Gregory IX referred to the zeal which the brothers of Calatrava ‘are known to have for the propagation (propagationem) of the Christian cult’.6 Yet it is questionable whether such statements were meant to refer to any involvement of the military orders in conversion, especially as some of those making them showed no interest themselves in winning Muslims over to Christianity. The Christian faith could be extended in various ways which did not involve conversion: it could, for example, be a consequence of the expulsion of infidels or the removal at

´ Gonzalez, El reino de Castilla, vol. 2, 331–2, 364–5, 745–7, docs 200, 220, 432; vol. 3, 139–41, doc. 641. 4 ´ ´ See, for example, Gonzalez, El reino de Castilla, vol. 2, 305–7, doc. 183; J. Gonzalez, Reinado y ´ diplomas de Fernando III, 3 vols (Cordoba, 1980–6), vol. 3, 43–4, 65–7, 305–6, 314–16, 317–21, docs 531, 550, 739, 751, 753–4; Libro de privilegios de la orden de San Juan de Jerusalen en Castilla y Leon ´ ´ ´ (siglos XII–XV), ed. C. de Ayala Martınez (Madrid, n. d.), 321–2, doc. 143. 5 H. Nicholson, Templars, Hospitallers and Teutonic Knights. Images of the military orders, 1128– 1291 (Leicester, 1993), 18. Although I have not accepted some of its conclusions, I have found this work ´ ´ very helpful. For the texts quoted, see J. Delaville Le Roulx, Cartulaire general de l’ordre des Hospitaliers ´ de Saint-Jean de Jerusalem, 4 vols (Paris, 1894–1906), vol. 1, 141–3, doc. 181; A.J. Forey, The Templars ´ in the Corona de Aragon (London, 1973), 377–8, doc. 12. See also Delaville Le Roulx, Cartulaire, vol. ´ 2, 239–40, 299–301, docs 1603, 1742; Documentos de Jaime I de Aragon, ed. A. Huici Miranda and M.D. Cabanes Pecourt, 5 vols (Valencia, 1976–), vol. 1, 73–5, doc. 32. ˜ 6 ´ ´ J.L. Martın, Orıgenes de la orden militar de Santiago (1170–1195) (Barcelona, 1974), 212–15, 224– ´ ´ 5 docs 42, 51; Bullarium equestris ordinis S. Iacobi de Spatha, ed. A.F. Aguado de Cordoba, A.A. Aleman ´ y Rosales and J. Lopez Agurleta (Madrid, 1719), 5–6, 7–8; Bullarium ordinis militiae de Calatrava, ed. I.J. de Ortega y Cotes, J.F. Alvarez de Baquedano and P. de Ortega Zuniga y Aranda (Madrid, 1761), 63. ´˜


A. Forey / Journal of Medieval History 28 (2002) 1–22


least of their rulers.7 Some documents relating to military orders do in fact refer to such expulsions: the count of Barcelona in 1143 made concessions to the Templars partly ‘for the expelling of the race of Moors’, and when in 1172 a group of inhabitants of Avila associated themselves with the order of Santiago, they proposed to extend their activities to Morocco ‘when the Saracens have been driven from the parts of Spain on this side of the sea’.8 The exiling of Muslims in fact characterised some conquests both in the Holy Land and in the Iberian peninsula. Although the relevance to conversion of charters which allude to the propagation or expansion of Christianity may be questioned, a very few twelfth- and early thirteenth-century sources do explicitly seek to link military orders with the converting of Muslims. Alexander III’s confirmation of the order of Santiago issued in 1175 contains the injunction: ‘in their warfare they should devote themselves to this objective alone, namely either to protect Christians from their [the Saracens’] attacks or to be in a position to induce them [the Saracens] to follow the Christian faith’.9 This statement was incorporated into the rule of Santiago and was also included in later confirmations of Alexander’s bull.10 In 1088 Urban II had sought to promote the conversion of conquered Muslims in Spain ‘by word and example’,11 but cardinal Albert of Morra, who was responsible for the 1175 bull,12 did not elaborate on his precise meaning and the later sources are no more explicit.13 As Humbert of Romans pointed out a century later, force might serve in various ways to further conversion: conquest facilitated preaching to subjugated infidels — although missionary activity was in practice more characteristic of the thirteenth than of the twelfth century —

7 When writing in the early twelfth century about lands in Spain conquered from the Muslims by Alfonso VI, the author of the Historia Silense referred to ‘provinces recovered from their sacrilegious hands and converted to the faith of Christ’, but he was not referring to the conversion of Muslims: ed. ´ ´ J. Perez de Urbel and A. Gonzalez Ruiz-Zorrilla (Madrid, 1959), 119. 8 ´ ´ ´ Coleccion de documentos ineditos del Archivo General de la Corona de Aragon, ed. P. de Bofarull ´ ` ´ y Mascaro, etc., 41 vols (Barcelona, 1847–1910), vol. 4, 93–9, doc. 43; Colec.cio diplomatica de la casa ´ ´ del Temple de Barbera (945–1212), ed. J.M. Sans i Trave (Barcelona, 1997), 110–14, doc. 35; Martın, ` ´ Orıgenes, 226–8, doc. 53; Bullarium S. Iacobi, 8–9. 9 ´ ´ Martın, Orıgenes, 248–54 doc. 73; Bullarium S. Iacobi, 13–17. 10 E. Gallego Blanco, The rule of the Spanish order of St James, 1170–1493 (Leiden, 1971), 110 cap. 30; Bullarium S. Iacobi, 30–1, 36–40, 51–2, 57–8, 79–81, 173–4; D. Mansilla, La documentacion ponti´ ´ ´ ficia hasta Inocencio III (965–1216) (Rome, 1955), 145–51, doc. 124; Martın, Orıgenes, 350–1, 403–5 docs 168, 226. In a thirteenth-century vernacular version of Santiago’s rule, the reference to conversion was replaced by the more neutral phrase ‘for the increase (acrescemiento) of God’s faith’: D.W. Lomax, La orden de Santiago (1170–1275) (Madrid, 1965), 225–6 doc. 1 cap. 34. 11 ´ Mansilla, Documentacion pontificia, 43–5 doc. 27. 12 ´ See A. Ferrari, ‘Alberto de Morra, postulador de la orden de Santiago y su primer cronista’, Boletın de la Real Academia de la Historia, 146 (1960), 63–139. 13 ´ When referring to the wording of Alexander III’s bull, M. Rivera Garretas, ‘Los ritos de iniciacion en la orden militar de Santiago’, Anuario de estudios medievales, 12 (1982), 281, maintains that the papacy ‘conceived of the religious–military vocation as a means of extending European culture …a civilising expansion which permitted the creation of cultural and economic relations of lordship, in which the Christians would safeguard their lives and property’. This does not seem a very helpful comment.


A. Forey / Journal of Medieval History 28 (2002) 1–22

and serious setbacks in battle could help to weaken the faith of Muslims.14 Baptism could also be imposed by force; but in view of canonical opinion, it is unlikely that Albert of Morra was advocating this method. The statements about Santiago have nevertheless been linked with comments made by the Cistercian abbot Isaac de l’Etoile, who in a sermon referred to a new order (novus ordo) which ‘with lances and cudgels forces unbelievers to the faith’.15 He saw the new foundation as using force to convert. A chronicler of St Martin of Tours similarly asserted that the French king, Philip II, left money to the Templars and Hospitallers to hire mercenaries ‘who would convert the usurpers of the promised land and recall them to the unity of the faith’.16 Yet, while this writer named the two leading military orders, the identity of the foundation to which Isaac de l’Etoile was referring has been disputed. If — as has been argued — this sermon was delivered when Isaac was still abbot of l’Etoile, it was written before the foundation of Santiago and could not refer to that establishment. It has been suggested that the phrase ‘new order’ harked back to the term ‘new militia’ (nova militia), which St Bernard used of the Templars, and Isaac de l’Etoile’s comment has been taken to refer to them.17 Yet St Bernard was writing a generation earlier. If Isaac was referring to a particular order, the foundation in question was probably Calatrava, which became affiliated to the Cistercians and which received rulings from the Cistercian general chapter in 1164.18 It is, of course, also possible that he was referring to the military order as an institution, rather than to a particular foundation:19 but, at a time when there were several military orders in existence, he referred to an order, rather than to a type of order. One reason which has sometimes been advanced for not associating Isaac de l’Etoile’s comment with the Temple or Calatrava is that these two orders did not seek to impose baptism by force.20 Yet in fact none of the military orders confronting Islam sought to promote conversion directly by force in the way that members of military orders in the Baltic region in the thirteenth century sought to impose Chris-

Opusculum tripartitum, 1. 15, 16, ed. E. Brown, Appendix ad fasciculum rerum expetendarum et fugiendarum (London, 1690), 195–6; for an English translation, see L. and J. Riley-Smith, The crusades. Idea and reality, 1095–1274 (London, 1981), 112, 114. 15 B.Z. Kedar, Crusade and mission. European approaches toward the Muslims (Princeton, 1984), 105; ` ˆ G. Raciti, ‘Isaac de l’Etoile et son siecle’, Cıteaux. Commentarii Cistercienses, 12 (1961), 290; Isaac de l’Etoile, Sermons, ed. A. Hoste and G. Raciti, 3 vols (Paris, 1967–87), vol. 3, 158–60. 16 ‘Ex chronico Turonensi auctore anonymo, S. Martini Turon. canonici’, Recueil des historiens des Gaules et de la France, ed. M. Bouquet, etc., 24 vols (Paris, 1869–1904 edn), vol. 18, 304. It has been pointed out by Nicholson, Templars, Hospitallers and Teutonic Knights, 18, that this comment is not found in the text of Philip II’s will. 17 ´ J.F. O’Callaghan, ‘La vida de las ordenes militares de Espana segun sus estatutos primitivos’, in: ´ ˜ Alarcos 1195. Actas del congreso internacional conmemorativo del VIII centenario de la batalla de ´ Alarcos, ed. R. Izquierdo Benito and F. Ruiz Gomez (Cuenca, 1996), 17 and n. On the identification with the Temple, see also J. Leclercq, ‘L’attitude spirituelle de S. Bernard devant la guerre’, Collectanea Cisterciensia, 36 (1974), 216–17; M. Barber, The new knighthood. A history of the order of the Temple (Cambridge, 1994), 345, n. 50. 18 ˆ Bullarium de Calatrava, 3–4; Raciti, ‘Isaac de l’Etoile’, Cıteaux, 13 (1962), 20–1, 33. 19 ˆ ´ See L. Bouyer, La spiritualite de Cıteaux (Paris, 1955), 201–2. 20 Kedar, Crusade and mission, 105; O’Callaghan, ‘Vida’, 17.


A. Forey / Journal of Medieval History 28 (2002) 1–22


tianity on pagans. Isaac de l’Etoile and the Tours chronicler both lived far from Christian frontiers, and were not well-informed about the orders’ functions in Mediterranean lands. Although chansons de geste allude to forced conversions and although during the first crusade there had been attempts to coerce Muslims to accept ´ baptism,21 these were not imitated. The master of Calatrava, Martin Perez de Siones, is reported to have ordered the slaughter of more than 200 Muslim captives in 1170, but this was not because they had refused to become Christian.22 In Mediterranean regions the military orders gained authority over Muslims, both free and slave, but did not coerce them to become Christian either at the time of conquest or later: Muslims who passed under the lordship of the orders were allowed to keep their religion, as happened on other estates. Although little detailed information survives about the orders’ vassals in the Holy Land, it is clear that Muslims living under western rule there were allowed to preserve their faith, even if they did lose some mosques.23 Any members of the Teutonic order who were transferred in the thirteenth century from the Holy Land to the Baltic therefore found themselves confronted by a very different situation. The religious freedom allowed by the orders to Muslims in the Iberian peninsula is apparent from surrender agreements and cartas de poblacion. In the charter granted by the Templars in 1234 at Chivert in northern Valencia, ´ shortly after it had passed into Christian hands, Muslim tenants were allowed to retain their main mosque and to practise their religion freely. Similar terms were conceded by the Hospitallers to Muslims at La Aldea, on the left bank of the Ebro near Tortosa, in 1258.24 These agreements were, moreover, intended to be permanent: the military orders did not envisage that there would in the future be any attempt to limit religious freedom. Yet if the orders did not seek to impose Christianity by force, it must also be considered whether they encouraged and promoted conversion by peaceful means, or sought to hinder it. Those whom the orders could most easily influence were their own Muslim vassals and slaves. Little evidence survives about the orders’ Muslim
21 ´ Kedar, Crusade and mission, 62–3; see also S. Loutchiskaia, ‘La conversion reelle ou imaginaire? ´ Les attitudes envers les musulmans dans le premier royaume latin de Jerusalem’, in: Le partage du monde. ´ ´ ´ ´ Echanges et colonisation dans la Mediterranee medievale, ed. M. Balard and A. Ducellier (Paris, 1998), 93–102. 22 ´ ´ ´ ´ F. de Rades y Andrada, Chronica de las tres ordenes y cavallerıas de Santiago, Calatrava y Alcantara (Toledo, 1572), Calatrava, f. 17v. 23 See, for example, B.Z. Kedar, ‘The subjected Muslims of the Frankish Levant’, in: Muslims under Latin rule, 1100–1300, ed. J.M. Powell (Princeton, 1990), 138–40, 161–3; D. Talmon-Heller, ‘Arabic sources on Muslim villages under Frankish rule’, in: From Clermont to Jerusalem. The crusades and crusader societies, 1095–1500, ed. A.V. Murray (Turnhout, 1998), 107. 24 ´ ´ Cartas pueblas de las morerıas valencianas y documentacion complementaria, ed. M.V. Febrer Rom´ aguera (Zaragoza, 1991), 10–16, 53–6, docs 1, 15; J.M. Font Rius, Cartas de poblacion y franquicia de Cataluna, 2 vols (Madrid, Barcelona, 1969–83), vol. 1, 444–6, doc. 303; compare A. Yelo Templado, ˜ ´ ‘Los vassalos mudejares de la orden de Santiago en el reino de Murcia (siglos XIV–XV)’, Anuario de estudios medievales, 11 (1981), 448. Other studies of the Spanish military orders and their Muslim dependants also focus mainly on the later middle ages: see, for example, M.F. Lopes de Barros, ‘A ordem de Avis e a minoria muculmana’, in: Ordens militares. Guerra, religiao, poder e cultura. Actos do III Encon¸ ˜ tro sobre ordens militares, ed. I.C. Fernandes, 2 vols (Lisbon, 1999), vol. 2, 167–73.


A. Forey / Journal of Medieval History 28 (2002) 1–22

vassals in the Holy Land. In the 1260s the author of De constructione castri Saphet argued that the rebuilding of the castle meant that ‘the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ can be preached freely in all the aforesaid places [in the region of Safed] and the blasphemy of Muhammad can be publicly refuted and demolished in sermons’; but he was just expressing an aspiration, not commenting on Templar policy.25 More precise evidence survives from Spain, although the extent of the free Muslim population varied from one region to another: in the Campo de Calatrava, for example, there were hardly any free Muslims on the estates belonging to the order of Calatrava.26 Military orders were clearly in some cases reluctant to allow Muslim tenants to convert, and penalised them for doing so by confiscating their land. Some Muslim tenants paid higher rents than Christians and were obliged to perform labour services from which Christian vassals were exempt: this was acknowledged by James I of Aragon in his Chronicle, and is evident on Templar estates at Villastar in southern Aragon, where Muslims were in 1267 to pay a quarter of produce in rent, whereas Christian settlers there paid only a seventh on some crops;27 and some Muslim vassals of the Temple in southern Aragon and Valencia owed labour services, while there is little evidence of such obligations among Christian tenants in these districts.28 James I had decreed in 1242 that Muslim converts should not be deprived of their land,29 but, although this ruling was later repeated and supported by papal decrees,30 it was not fully implemented on Templar or other estates. Berenguer of San Marcial, ´ who was Templar commander of Asco on the lower Ebro in the opening years of the fourteenth century, confiscated all the possessions of a Muslim woman at Vinebre

25 ´ R.B.C. Huygens, ‘Un nouveau texte du traite ‘De constructione castri Saphet’’, Studi medievali, 6 (1965), 386. 26 ´ ´ E. Rodrıguez-Picavea, La formacion del feudalismo en la meseta meridional castellana. Los senorıos ˜ ´ de la orden de Calatrava en los siglos XII–XIII (Madrid, 1994), 312; J.F. O’Callaghan, ‘The Mudejars of Castile and Portugal in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries’, in: Muslims under Latin rule, 20. 27 The chronicle of James I, king of Aragon, cap. 366, trans. J. Forster, 2 vols (London, 1883), vol. 2, 482; Cartas pueblas de las morerıas, 77–80, 85–7, 93–4, docs 35, 38, 45; Forey, Templars, 395–7, doc. ´ ´ ´ 24; Cartas de poblacion del reino de Aragon en los siglos medievales, ed. M.L. Ledesma Rubio (Zaragoza, 1991), 255–7, 260–1, 267–8, docs 207, 210, 216. 28 Forey, Templars, 203–4; see also the Hospitaller charter for La Aldea, which mentions a day’s service each month. 29 ´ ´ ´ Coleccion diplomatica del concejo de Zaragoza, ed. A. Canellas Lopez, 2 vols (Zaragoza, 1972–5), vol. 1, 168–9, doc. 66; Documentos de Jaime I, vol. 2, 131–3, doc. 350. 30 Documentos de Jaime I, vol. 5, 55 doc. 1350; Cortes de los antiguos reinos de Aragon y de Valencia ´ y principado de Cataluna, 26 vols (Madrid, 1896–1922), vol. 1, 217–18; M. T. Ferrer i Mallol, Els ˜ ´ ´ sarraıns de la Corona catalano aragonesa en el segle XIV. Segregacio i discriminacio (Barcelona, 1987), ¨ ´ 69. James I’s decree of 1242 was supported by a papal bull issued in 1245: A. de Saldes, ‘La orden ´ ´ ´ franciscana en el antiguo reino de Aragon. Coleccion diplomatica’, Revista de estudios franciscanos, 2 (1908), 474–5; S. Grayzel, The Church and the Jews in the XIIIth century (Philadelphia, 1933), 254–6; see also R.I. Burns, ‘Journey from Islam. Incipient cultural transition in the conquered kingdom of Valencia (1240–1280)’, Speculum, 35 (1960), 340. In 1206 Innocent III had written to the clergy of Barcelona about lords who, ‘fearing to lose material benefit’, sought to prevent conversions, but he may have been ´ referring to the baptism of slaves, not free Muslims: Mansilla, Documentacion pontificia, 375–6, doc. 352.

A. Forey / Journal of Medieval History 28 (2002) 1–22


who converted to Christianity.31 This incident has left a record only because Templar lands passed shortly afterwards under royal control and an appeal was made to the Crown: there is no reason to assume that it was exceptional. It is therefore unlikely that the military orders in Aragonese lands reacted favourably to royal instructions that Muslims should be obliged to listen to the preaching undertaken in the thirteenth century by friars.32 The obligation of ensuring attendance rested mainly on the Muslims themselves and on royal officials, rather than lords, but the latter could obviously influence the response of their vassals. Certainly at the end of the thirteenth century sizeable communities of free Muslims continued to live on some of the Templars’ ´ estates in the Corona de Aragon: the population of Miravet, for example, was still predominantly Muslim at the time of the Templars’ arrest. Yet the practice of confiscating converts’ property was not the custom in all parts of Spain. Although decrees similar to that issued by James I in 1242 were also enacted in Castile,33 indicating that confiscations sometimes occurred, fueros issued by military orders in that kingdom reveal that in various places converts were allowed ´ to retain their possessions: that granted by the order of Santiago to Ucles in 1179, ´ for example, stated that ‘men of Ucles who become converts can, if they have sons, bequeath their possessions to them after death’.34 But there is no evidence to suggest that the military orders sought to encourage conversion of their free Muslim vassals in any part of the Peninsula. They seem to have been more concerned to protect their Muslim tenants — whether by building walls around morerıas or by judicial ´ action — against attacks by a hostile Christian populace.35 There was similarly little readiness to promote the baptism of slaves. Since in the Holy Land in the early thirteenth century it was the custom that emancipation should
31 ´ ´ Barcelona, Archivo de la Corona de Aragon (henceforth ACA), Cancillerıa real, Cartas reales diplo´ maticas, Jaime II 4706. 32 It is apparently not known to what extent these royal decrees were generally enforced: J. Riera i ` Sans, ‘Les llicencies reials per predicar als jueus i als sarraıns (segles XIII–XIV)’, Calls, 2 (1987), 113– ¨ 43; M.D. Johnston, ‘Ramon Lull and the compulsory evangelization of Jews and Muslims’, in: Iberia and the Mediterranean world of the middle ages. Studies in honor of Robert I. Burns, S. J., ed. L.J. Simon, P.E. Chevedden, etc., 2 vols (Leiden, 1995–6), vol. 1, 7–13. 33 A. Benavides, Memorias de D. Fernando IV de Castilla, 2 vols (Madrid, 1860), vol. 2, 280, 288, docs 197, 203. 34 ´ ´ Martın, Orıgenes, 277–80, doc. 97; M. Rivera Garretas, La encomienda, el priorato y la villa de Ucles en la edad media (1174–1310) (Madrid, Barcelona, 1985), 234–40, doc. 7; see also the fuero of ´ ´ ´ Estremera: ibid., 241–3, doc. 11; Martın, Orıgenes, 337–9 doc. 153; Lomax, Orden de Santiago, 122. Compare El fuero de Zorita de los Canes, ed. R. de Urena y Smenjaud (Madrid, 1911), 115, art. 182, ˜ although this may refer to the conversion of those who had been slaves. It was based on the fuero of Cuenca, as were those of a number of places under the lordship of Santiago and of the Hospitallers: ´ ´ Fuero de Cuenca, 9. 12, ed. R. de Urena y Smenjaud (Madrid, 1935), 254 and n.; J. Gonzalez, Repoblacion ˜ ´ de Castilla la Nueva, 2 vols (Madrid, 1975–6), vol. 1, 356; M. Rodrıguez Llopis, Conflictos fronterizos y dependencia senorial. La encomienda santiaguista de Yeste y Taibilla (ss. XIII–XV) (Albacete, 1982), ˜ 57; Libro de privilegios, 450–1, 464–5, 472–3, 475–6, 478–9, 481–3, 490–1, 506–8, 509–12 docs 255, 266, 269, 271, 274, 277, 285, 300, 302–3; P. Guerrero Ventas, El gran priorato de San Juan en el Campo de la Mancha (Toledo, 1969), 83–96. 35 Forey, Templars, 200; see also R. I. Burns, ‘Social riots on the Christian–Moslem frontier (thirteenthcentury Valencia)’, American Historical Review, 66 (1960–1), 378–400.


A. Forey / Journal of Medieval History 28 (2002) 1–22

accompany baptism, lords — including the military orders — often refused to allow slaves to convert, partly because conversion was viewed by some slaves merely as a means to secure freedom, but also, of course, because slaves provided manpower and could be a source of profit through sale or redemption.36 The possible release of slaves could also at times be used as a bargaining counter in negotiations with neighbouring Muslim powers.37 James of Vitry condemned Christian lords who adopted a hostile stance to the conversion of slaves,38 and that the military orders were among them is implied by a letter sent in 1237 by Gregory IX to the patriarch of Jerusalem and to the masters of the three leading military orders, stating that those slaves who genuinely aspired to baptism should be allowed to convert, but should not thereby lose their servile status.39 The Hospitallers do not appear, however, to have sought to facilitate conversion in the period following the papal decree, for a statute issued in 1262 ruled that no slave should be baptised without the special permission of the master,40 although that did not imply that no slaves at all would be allowed to become Christian.41 The Hospitaller decree applied not only to the Holy Land but also to Spain. Although it seems earlier to have been the custom in some parts of the Peninsula for converted slaves to be freed, in the later thirteenth century baptism no longer ensured emancipation, and could no longer be resisted by lords on the grounds that it led to a loss of slaves.42 There were certainly a number of baptised slaves on Templar estates in Aragon in the later thirteenth century: baptizati belonging to the Templars are mentioned both in inventories of conventual possessions drawn up in

36 ` Kedar, Crusade and mission, 77–8, 146–7. On the redemption of Templar slaves, see La regle du Temple, ed. H. de Curzon (Paris, 1886), 95–6, art. 113; for the redemption of a Templar slave in Catalonia, ´ ´ see L. Pagarolas i Sabate, Els Templers de les terres de l’Ebre (Tortosa). De Jaume I fins a l’abolicio de l’orde (1213–1312), 2 vols (Tarragona, 1999), vol. 2, 34–5, doc. 28. In the mid thirteenth century the Templar castle of Safed was said to require the services of 400 slaves: Huygens, ‘Nouveau texte’, 384. 37 In the Iberian peninsula it was reported that in a surrender agreement with the Muslims of Miravet and Zufera during the conquest of the kingdom of Valencia the Hospitallers and Templars had promised ´ to release captive Moors: ACA, Ordenes religiosas y militares, San Juan de Jerusalen, Cartulario de Tortosa, f. 19–19v doc. 58; see also the agreement between the orders of Santiago and Calatrava in 1243: Bullarium de Calatrava, 685–6. In the Holy Land, Templars and Hospitallers were, however, reluctant to allow their slaves to be used for general exchanges of prisoners: A.J. Forey, ‘The military orders and the ransoming of captives from Islam (twelfth to early fourteenth centuries)’, Studia monastica, 33 (1991), 275–6. 38 ` Jacques de Vitry, Lettres de la cinquieme croisade, ed. and trans. R.B.C. Huygens and G. DuchetSuchaux (Turnhout, 1998), 54. 39 Kedar, Crusade and mission, 212, doc. 2a; Delaville Le Roulx, Cartulaire, vol. 2, 513–14, doc. 2168. 40 Delaville Le Roulx, Cartulaire, vol. 3, 43–54, doc. 3039, art. 49. 41 Complaints about the attitudes of lords in the Holy Land and Cyprus continued: Kedar, Crusade and mission, 151; B.Z. Kedar, ‘Multidirectional conversion in the Latin Levant’, in: Varieties of religious conversion in the middle ages, ed. J. Muldoon (Gainesville, 1997), 192. 42 Kedar, Crusade and mission, 77, 149–50, 214–15 docs 2 e, f. In Valencia, slaves who were baptised with the consent of their lords were at first freed, but this must have dissuaded lords from giving their consent, and James I later decreed that baptizati should in all cases remain slaves: Fori antiqui Valentiae, 83. 13, ed. M. Dualde Serrano (Madrid, Valencia, 1950–67), 153–4; Burns, ‘Journey from Islam’, 343– ´ ´ 4; see also C. Verlinden, L’esclavage dans l’Europe medievale, 2 vols (Bruges, 1955–77), vol. 1, 292.

A. Forey / Journal of Medieval History 28 (2002) 1–22


Aragon in 1289 and in records relating to the Templar trial there.43 As all recorded purchases of slaves by the Templars in north-eastern Spain were of Muslims,44 it might be postulated that the Order did not prevent its slaves from converting. But not all instruments of sale have survived, and there was certainly a market in baptised slaves.45 Although in the thirteenth century the proportion of baptizati among slaves in Barcelona was growing,46 the Aragonese Templars certainly do not seem to have taken measures to encourage the conversion of Muslim slaves, for the numbers of baptizati on their estates appear to have been small: at Miravet in 1289 there were forty-three Muslim slaves and only two baptizati.47 Although evidence about other military orders in Spain is sparse, they are similarly known to have possessed baptizati,48 but it is not clear whether these slaves were Christians when they were acquired by the orders. Although the evidence is limited — further research may reveal new information scattered among the surviving sources — it is clear that in some cases the orders sought to impede the baptism of both slaves and free Muslim tenants, and there is little to indicate that the military orders sought to promote the conversion of those under their authority. They did not themselves have the personnel to instruct potential converts — the role of brother chaplains was merely to provide for the spiritual welfare of their colleagues — but there were other ways in which conversion could ´ have been encouraged by the orders. A late-medieval prose version of Theseus de Cologne has the Templars rejoicing when more than 12,000 Muslims were converted in a recaptured Jerusalem: ‘the Templars displayed great joy’;49 but in reality the

43 ´ J. Miret y Sans, ‘Inventaris de les cases del Temple de la Corona d’Arago en 1289’, Boletın de la ´ Real Academia de Buenas Letras de Barcelona, 6 (1911), 62–9; ACA, Canc. real, registro 291, f. 258, 303, 305, 321, 358. 44 Records survive of the purchasing of more than thirty slaves by the Aragonese Templars. Most of these documents are in the collection of royal parchments in the ACA: see, for example, Canc. real, pergs Jaime I 712, 1161, 1674, 1768, 1806, 1907, 1914, 1924; but see also ACA, Ordenes religiosas y militares, ´ San Juan, perg. Barbara 45. For published texts, see Miret y Sans, ‘Inventaris’, 73–4; Forey, Templars, 398–9, doc. 26. 45 See, for example, J. Miret y Sans, ‘La esclavitud en Cataluna en los ultimos tiempos de la edad ´ ˜ media’, Revue hispanique, 41 (1917), 14; Verlinden, L’esclavage, vol. 1, 303; L. J. Simon, ‘ The Church and slavery in Ramon Llull’s Majorca’, in: Iberia and the Mediterranean world, vol. 1, 352–3. 46 S. P. Bensch, ‘From prizes of war to domestic merchandise. The changing face of slavery in Catalonia and Aragon, 1000–1300’, Viator, 25 (1994), 83. 47 Miret y Sans, ‘Inventaris’, 68. In most inventories slaves were described merely as captives, without any indication of the numbers who had been baptised. 48 For a thirteenth-century Hospitaller baptizatus in Aragon, see J. Vincke, ‘Konigtum und Sklaverei ¨ ¨ im aragonischen Staatenbund wahrend des 14. Jahrhunderts’, Gesammelte Aufsatze zur Kulturgeschichte ¨ Spaniens, 25 (1970), 44 doc. 6. In 1468 the abbot of Morimond ruled that officials in the order of Calatrava should not free baptised slaves without the permission of the chapter general: if any were found to have been freed they were to be seized and made slaves again: J.F. O’Callaghan, ‘‘Difiniciones’ of the order of Calatrava enacted by Abbot William II of Morimond, April 2, 1468’, Traditio, 14 (1958), 251, art. 38. 49 Hystoire Tresrecreative. Traictant des faictz et gestes du noble et vaillant chevalier Theseus de Coulongne, 2 vols (Paris, 1534), vol. 2, 121. I am grateful to Helen Nicholson for drawing my attention to this work.


A. Forey / Journal of Medieval History 28 (2002) 1–22

orders’ approach to the baptism of Muslims in Christian lands seems to have been lacking in enthusiasm. It has been claimed that in the East the Templars on occasion also sought to prevent Muslims of neighbouring Islamic states from converting when they wished to become Christian. Two well-known instances are reported by William of Tyre, and his claims are echoed by Walter Map. The first occurred in 1154, when Nasr, the son of the Egyptian vizir Abbas, was captured on the road out of Egypt into Palestine and fell into the hands of the Templars. William of Tyre related that while Nasr was in captivity he sought baptism and was instructed in the elements of the Christian faith; the Templars, however, then agreed to ransom him for 60,000 dinars and he was returned to Egypt, where he was killed.50 Lundgreen, whose argument has been taken up by more recent writers, claimed that as Nasr was taken on 7 June 1154 (23rd of Rabi I, A. H. 549) and was back in Cairo only four days later he could hardly have made the progress towards Christianity which William of Tyre postulated.51 It would, however, be very surprising if a ransom had been arranged and the return journey completed in so short a time, and in fact the thirteenth-century writer, Ibn Khallikan, who provides precise dating about Nasr’s later movements, places his return in the year 1155 (27th of Rabi I, A. H. 550).52 There would therefore have been sufficient time for the kind of instruction to which William of Tyre alludes. It can, of course, be objected that the chronicler was not in the East in 1154–5, and that he was hostile to the Templars: but his report may not have been a complete fabrication, even if Nasr’s interest in Christianity may have been feigned. Yet, if William of Tyre’s account is taken at its face value, he is implying that, until they were offered a large ransom, the Templars were prepared to allow the instruction in Christian teaching of a captive: they were not taking the initiative, but were not opposing baptism. In the last resort, however, financial considerations could not be

50 William of Tyre, Chronicon, 18. 9, ed. R.B.C. Huygens (Corpus Christianorum: continuatio medievalis [henceforth CCCM], vol. 63, Turnhout, 1986), 823; Walter Map, De nugis curialium. Courtiers’ trifles, 1. 21, ed. and trans. M.R. James, C.N.L. Brooke and R.A.B. Mynors (Oxford, 1983), 62–6. Walter Map maintains that Nasr wanted to become Christian even before he was captured. For other early western accounts of the incident, see H. Nicholson, ‘Before William of Tyre. European reports on the military orders’ deeds in the East, 1150–1185’, in: The military orders. Volume 2. Welfare and warfare, ed. H. Nicholson (Aldershot, 1998), 115. 51 F. Lundgreen, Wilhelm von Tyrus und der Templerorden (Historische Studien, vol. 97, Berlin, 1911), 94–5; M. Melville, La vie des Templiers (Paris, 1951), 66; M.L. Bulst-Thiele, Sacrae domus militiae Templi Hierosolymitani magistri. Untersuchungen zur Geschichte des Templerordens 1118/19–1314 ¨ (Gottingen, 1974), 59. The claim seems to have its origin in the dating given in H. Derenbourg, Ousama ` ´ Ibn Mounkidh, un emir syrien au premier siecle des croisades (1095–1188) (Publications de l’Ecole des Langues Orientales Vivantes, 2nd ser., vol. 12, pt 1, Paris, 1889), 259. 52 Biographical dictionary, trans. Baron MacGuckin de Slane, 3 vols (Paris, 1842–71), vol. 2, 427; see also ‘Extraits du Nodjoum ez-Zahireh, par Abou’l-Mehacen’, Recueil des historiens des croisades. Historiens orientaux, 5 vols (Paris, 1872–1906), vol. 3, 508. The date of Nasr’s capture is given by Usamah, Memoirs of an Arab-Syrian gentleman or an Arab knight in the crusades, trans. P.K. Hitti (Beirut, 1964), 53.

A. Forey / Journal of Medieval History 28 (2002) 1–22


ignored.53 It is only Walter Map who argues that the Templars remained totally deaf to Nasr’s pleas to be allowed baptism;54 but he was writing in the West, and his whole account is less plausible than that of William of Tyre. The second instance concerns the incident when a Templar killed an envoy of the Assassins in 1173. William of Tyre reported that the leader of the Assassins had studied Christian writings: he and his followers therefore rejected the teachings of Muhammad. Then, wishing to learn more of Christian doctrines, he sent an envoy to the king of Jerusalem with the proposal that, if he was released from his obligation to pay the Templars a tribute of 2,000 dinars a year, he and his followers would accept baptism. Amaury welcomed the proposal and even agreed to pay the tribute from his own revenues. On his return journey, however, the envoy was killed by the Templar Walter of Mesnil, with the approval of his colleagues.55 A shorter but similar account is provided by Walter Map, although he does express some reservations about the accuracy of such reports.56 Lundgreen has pointed out that, as it stands, the story told by William of Tyre does contain certain implausibilities,57 and it seems to be based on misconceptions about religious changes among the Assassins. The chronicler’s interpretation has its origin in the declaration of the qiyama or resurrection by the Ismaili leader Hasan II in 1164, but William misunderstood what he had heard, and assumed that the Assassins were moving towards Christianity.58 It was presumably this assumption which led him to believe that the embassy to Amaury was concerned with the acceptance of the Christian faith. It has admittedly been argued that William of Tyre had access to Amaury’s version of events and that his account reflects the royal point of view;59 but William reported Amaury’s willingness to assume responsibility for the payment to the Templars as merely a rumour (ut dicitur). He was therefore not as fully informed as claimed. It would seem that the embassy sent by Sinan, the leader of the Syrian Assassins, was of a political, rather than a religious, nature, and the Templars feared the loss of tribute. The episode cannot be cited as a clear indication of reluctance on the part of the Templars to allow the conversion of Jerusalem’s opponents. The Templars were criticised not only for preventing conversion but also for displaying undue tolerance of Islamic religious practices and allowing these to be observed even in the order’s houses. Frederick II, writing in 1244, claimed that he had heard from some journeying from the East that ‘the Templars allowed the afore53 It has also been suggested that the Templars had political reasons for agreeing to accept a ransom: Melville, Vie des Templiers, 66; Bulst-Thiele, Sacrae domus, 60. 54 He also states, however, that the Templars were sceptical of Nasr’s claims. 55 William of Tyre, Chronicon, 20. 29–30, ed. Huygens, 953–5. 56 De nugis curialium, 1. 22, ed. James, Brooke and Mynors, 66–8. 57 Lundgreen, Wilhelm von Tyrus, 113. 58 J. Hauzinski, ‘On alleged attempts at converting the Assassins to Christianity in the light of William of Tyre’s account’, Folia Orientalia, 15 (1974), 229–46; B. Lewis, ‘Kamal al-Din’s biography of Rasid al-Din Sinan’, Arabica, 13 (1966), 242; B. Lewis, The Assassins (London, 1967), 71–4; see also M.A. Kohler, Allianzen und Vertrage zwischen frankischen und islamischen Herrschern im Vorderen Orient ¨ ¨ ¨ (Berlin, New York, 1991), 279–80. 59 Barber, The new knighthood, 103.


A. Forey / Journal of Medieval History 28 (2002) 1–22

said sultans [of Damascus and Kerak] and their followers to perform their superstitious practices, invoking the name of Muhammad, within the precincts of houses of the Temple’. This is obviously a second-hand report from a ruler who was not a friend of the Templars,60 and it has been maintained that Matthew Paris, who reproduced the emperor’s letter in his Chronica majora,61 dismissed the charges in his Historia Anglorum and Abbreviatio, although it would be more accurate to say that he did not repeat them.62 This story may well have been inaccurate, but in the later twelfth century Usamah related that on one occasion the Templars vacated a small church adjoining the Templar headquarters (the former al-Aqsa mosque) so that he could pray in it, and also intervened when a recently-arrived Frank repeatedly tried to force him to pray to the east.63 The Templars do not seem to have tried to impede the practice of the Islamic faith by Muslims visiting the Holy Land. The requirements of diplomacy would in fact have encouraged them to be tolerant of the religious practices of some Muslim visitors. It might, of course, be argued that the military orders would not in fact have wanted Muslims in lands bordering on Christian territories in the East or Spain to be converted, for widespread conversion of western Christendom’s enemies would have undermined the purpose of the military orders. When writing about the killing of the Assassins’ envoy, Walter Map claimed that some said that the Templars did not want ‘the faith of the infidels to be swept away in favour of the unity of peace’.64 Yet, although there were frequent rumours about the anticipated conversion of various Muslim leaders, these were almost always unfounded, and in the thirteenth century friars had minimal success in seeking to convert Muslims living in non-Christian ˆ lands. The threat to the orders’ raison d’etre was scarcely significant: conversion on a very large scale would have been necessary for them no longer to be needed. Military orders might in a few circumstances even benefit from a piecemeal and limited conversion of Muslim rulers. It was reported in 1245 that Zeit Aazon, who ´ had been governor of Sale, on the Atlantic coast of North Africa, was intending to be baptised and was ready to grant the town to the order of Santiago. Innocent IV ´ gave his approval to this proposal, but Sale could not be gained without conquest, and the plan was never implemented.65

60 Frederick II was himself accused of allowing the invocation of Muhammad’s name in the Temple in Jerusalem: Epistolae saeculi XIII, ed. G. Pertz, 3 vols (Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Berlin, 1883– 94), vol. 2, 92, doc. 124. 61 Ed. H.R. Luard, 7 vols (Rolls Series, 1872–84), vol. 4, 302. 62 S. Menache, ‘Rewriting the history of the Templars according to Matthew Paris’, in: Cross cultural convergences in the crusader period. Essays presented to Aryeh Graboıs on his sixty-fifth birthday, ed. ¨ M. Goodich, S. Menache and S. Schein (New York, 1995), 201; Historia Anglorum, ed. F. Madden, 3 vols (Rolls Series, 1866–9), vol. 2, 483–4; vol. 3, 289. 63 Memoirs of an Arab-Syrian gentleman, 163–4. 64 De nugis curialium, 1. 22, ed. James, Brooke and Mynors, 66. 65 ´ Bullarium S. Iacobi, 166; R. Chabas, ‘Ceid Abu Ceid’, El Archivo, 6 (1892), 408–9; A. Ballesteros ´ Beretta, ‘La toma de Sale en tiempos de Alfonso X el Sabio’, Al-Andalus, 8 (1943), 105–6; C.E. Dufourcq, ` ´ ` ‘Les relations du Maroc et de la Castille pendant la premiere moitie du XIIIe siecle’, Revue d’histoire et de civilisation du Maghreb, 5 (1968), 60–1.

A. Forey / Journal of Medieval History 28 (2002) 1–22


In seeking a more general explanation of the orders’ attitudes to conversion, it is difficult to relate their stance to the extent of their own knowledge about the Islamic faith. Precise information on the degree of understanding displayed by members of the military orders is, of course, usually lacking, but the extent of knowledge appears to have varied from one region to another. The fullest evidence is provided by the records of the Templar trial in districts such as France and Italy, where many confessed to the major charges, for a number of Templar witnesses maintained that the practices of which the Order was accused were derived from Islam. In some instances comment of this kind was made about the denial of Christ and spitting and trampling on the cross, which supposedly occurred at admission ceremonies. James of Troyes, for example, who appeared before papal commissioners in Paris, asserted that he had heard that a certain Templar knight, who had come from overseas and who had been among the pagans, had brought to those parts the aforesaid errors, namely that at their reception they should deny Christ, trample on the cross and spit on it; and in 1307 Geoffrey of Gonneville, the master of Aquitaine, had claimed that the denial of Christ was introduced by reason of a promise made by a certain evil master who was in the prison of a certain sultan, and he could not gain his liberty unless he swore that, if he was freed, he would introduce this procedure in our order, namely that all who were admitted should deny Jesus Christ.66 It might be suggested that these comments show an awareness of the Islamic denial of the divinity of Christ and the rejection of the crucifixion. Yet some Templars who spoke of Muslim influences referred to a denial simply of God,67 and it seems that the opinions of these Templars were derived from distorted views expressed in western propaganda sources rather than a true understanding of Islamic teachings about Christ.68 A number of those, moreover, who linked accusations against the Order with Islamic influences, did so in the context of idolatry: reference was made to supposed Muslim idols. Gaucerand of Montpesat, who was interrogated at Carcassonne in 1307, referred to an idol ‘made in the image of Baffomet’, and another Templar questioned at the same time spoke of an ‘image of Baffomet’ and of ‘kissing his feet, saying Yalla, a word of the Saracens’.69 In an undated set of French testimonies a brother alluded to a head called Magometum,70 and Bernard of Parma, who was interrogated at Florence, stated that he had seen a head at a provincial chapter
` J. Michelet, Proces des Templiers, 2 vols (Paris, 1841–51), vol. 1, 258–9; vol. 2, 398. ` Michelet, Proces, vol. 2, 205–9, 214–16. 68 A. Kruger, ‘Das ‘Baphomet-Idol’. Ein Beitrag zur Provenienz der Hauptvorwurfe gegen den Tem¨ ¨ plerorden’, Historisches Jahrbuch, 119 (1999), 130–1. 69 H. Finke, Papsttum und Untergang des Templerordens, 2 vols (Munster, 1907), vol. 2, 323, doc. 153. ¨ 70 Finke, Papsttum, vol. 2, 343, doc. 156.
67 66


A. Forey / Journal of Medieval History 28 (2002) 1–22

and had been instructed: ‘You are to worship that head because he is your god and your Magumeth’.71 At Palombara in Italy a Templar also claimed that he had been told that he should believe in ‘one great god whom the Saracens worship … The grand master and each provincial preceptor has a certain image which represented that great god, and displayed it in their main chapters and assemblies and they adored it as their god and saviour’.72 Islam seems often to have been seen as an idolatrous religion, in which Muhammad was regarded as a god, although the witness at Palombara — unlike the authors of some chansons de geste — did attribute only one god to the Muslims. Although the Templars were questioned about idols, it does not seem that witnesses were encouraged by their interrogators to refer to Islam: most of those testifying in the undated French testimonies spoke of idols, but only one made reference to Muhammad.73 They seem again to have been relying on information derived from western works such as chansons de geste, on which their notions of Islam were based: they merely displayed stereotyped misconceptions.74 Many of those questioned in western Europe had spent their whole careers in districts remote from Muslim lands and had not served in the East. Yet most of the Templars who did serve in the East had been recruited in lands far from the frontiers with Islam, and had probably taken out to the Holy Land or Cyprus views such as those expressed in Templar testimonies in France and Italy. Whether they acquired a more accurate knowledge of Islam while in the East is not easy to ascertain. The Templars in Cyprus denied all the main accusations against them and did not elaborate on them. The correspondence of masters of the military orders and of other officials in the East does at times provide incidental comment about Islam, but this is not usually very informative. Letters and other documents, for example, even in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries commonly refer to Muslims as pagans and to the lands of Islam as paganismus and paynisme.75 But terms were in this period not used with any precision, and little should be read into the employment of these words. The most detailed statement about Islam is that found in a letter which, according to one version, was sent to Innocent III by the patriarch of Jerusalem and the masters of the Temple and Hospital at the turn of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries in response to a papal request for information about the situation in Muslim lands: this reports that the caliph, the pope of the Muslims, ‘goes with his

T. Bini, ‘Dei Tempieri e del loro processo in Toscana’, Atti della Reale Accademia Lucchese di ` Scienze, Lettere ed Arti, 13 (1845), 474; J. Loiseleur, La doctrine secrete des Templiers (Paris, 1872), 184–5. 72 A. Gilmour-Bryson, The trial of the Templars in the papal state and the Abruzzi (Vatican City, 1982), 255. 73 Similarly, only one of those questioned at Florence made comments of this kind. 74 Kruger, ‘Baphomet-Idol’, 131. ¨ 75 See, for example, Matthew Paris, Chronica majora, vol. 3, 68–70; vol. 6, 162, 167, 191–7, 203–4; ´ ` C. Kohler and C.V. Langlois, ‘Lettres inedites concernant les croisades (1275–1307)’, Bibliotheque de ´ l’Ecole des Chartes, 52 (1891), 58–61; J. Petit, ‘Memoire de Foulques de Villaret sur la croisade’, Bibli` otheque de l’Ecole des Chartes, 60 (1899), 608; B. Z. Kedar and S. Schein, ‘Un projet de ‘passage ´ ˆ ` particulier’ propose par l’ordre de l’Hopital, 1306–1307’, Bibliotheque de l’Ecole des Chartes, 137 (1979), 224, 226.


A. Forey / Journal of Medieval History 28 (2002) 1–22


followers to Magometh, the lord of the Saracens … That lord Magometh is visited daily and worshipped, just as the crucified Lord is visited and worshipped by Christian people’.76 This comment does not necessarily reflect the views of all masters of the military orders in the Holy Land: Usamah’s tale of praying indicates some knowledge at least of Muslim practices. Yet the Templar Ricaut Bonomel, when bewailing Christian losses in the Holy Land, where he was writing, appears to see Muhammad as the Muslim counterpart of the Christian god: …Dieus dorm, qui veillar solia E Bafometz obra de son poder E fai obrar lo Melicadefer.77

It would seem that proximity to Islam did not always lead to knowledge. In the Holy Land, many knights of the military orders were men who had recently been recruited in the West and who spent only a limited time in the East,78 although those who held leading positions had usually resided there longer and would have had more experience of contact with Muslims. Yet few members of the military orders in the Holy Land understood Arabic: diplomatic relations with Muslim rulers were conducted through interpreters.79 Literacy within the orders was apparently limited,80 and most brothers could not learn from the writings of scholars or pilgrims who did possess more accurate information.81 Those, moreover, who thought that they understood the nature of the Islamic faith were not likely to seek to test the accuracy of their views. The fullest knowledge apparently existed in Spain, where members of military orders were mostly of local origin and where contact with Muslims had existed since

76 Ryccardi de Sancto Germano Chronica, ed. C.A. Garufi (Rerum Italicarum Scriptores, vol. 7, pt 2, ` Bologna, 1937), 57. In other versions the letter is attributed only to the patriarch: E. Martene and U. ´ Durand, Thesaurus novus anecdotorum, 5 vols (Paris, 1717), vol. 3, 269; C. Hopf, Chroniques greco` romanes inedites ou peu connues (Berlin, 1873), 29n.; ‘Continuation de Guillaume de Tyr, de 1229 a ´ 1261, dite du manuscrit de Rothelin’, Recueil des historiens des croisades. Historiens occidentaux, 5 vols (Paris, 1844–95), vol. 2, 520. 77 ` A. de Bastard, ‘La colere et la douleur d’un templier en Terre Sainte: ‘I’re dolors s’es dins mon cor asseza’’, Revue des langues romanes, 81 (1974), 356. Melicadefer has been identified with Baibars: ibid., 367–8. 78 A.J. Forey, ‘Towards a profile of the Templars in the early fourteenth century’, in: The military orders. Fighting for the faith and caring for the sick, ed. M. Barber (Aldershot, 1994), 200–1. 79 A.J. Forey, ‘Literacy and learning in the military orders during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries’, in: The military orders. Volume 2. Welfare and warfare, ed. H. Nicholson (Aldershot, 1998), 200; H. M. Attiya, ‘Knowledge of Arabic in the crusader states in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries’, Journal of Medieval History, 25 (1999), 206. Attiya asserts that knowledge of Arabic was more widespread among Franks than has usually been thought, but his argument rests mainly on a limited amount of anecdotal evidence and on certain assumptions. 80 Forey, ‘Literacy and learning’, 185–97. 81 ´ ` ´ On pilgrim writings, see A. Graboıs, ‘La ‘decouverte’ du monde musulman par les pelerins europeens ¨ ` au XIIIe siecle’, Al-Masaq, 5 (1992), 29–46.


A. Forey / Journal of Medieval History 28 (2002) 1–22

the eighth century. The settlement charters granted by military orders to Muslim communities in Spain certainly imply some degree of knowledge, although this refers to Muslim religious customs rather than to doctrines. At Chivert the practices of summoning to prayer, praying, fasting and going on pilgrimage were mentioned, as well as the pool of ablutions used for washing before prayer (aliupum), while the Hospitaller charter for La Aldea similarly refers to calling to prayer and praying according to the Islamic custom.82 Various documents relating to the orders also mention the use of the cuna in the settlement of suits, although it is not clear to ¸ what extent its nature was understood.83 The Chivert carta de poblacion does, how´ ever, also state that if a Muslim had to take an oath ‘he is not to be compelled to give it by any other being or thing other than almighty God’.84 Yet similar policies were followed both in the eastern Mediterranean and in Aragonese lands, even though the degree of knowledge in the two regions appears to have differed. Details of the beliefs and practices of Islam were probably in fact of little interest to most members of military orders. The majority of brethren were laymen and, like crusaders, concerned with territorial objectives, not with Muslim souls. The subject of conversion is mentioned only very rarely in the rules, customs and capitular decrees of the military orders. When these institutions did issue ordinances relating to the issue, it was to safeguard their interests. Brothers were merely adopting the stance which suited their purposes and which was then prevalent in Mediterranean lands, for — although growing interest was shown in the West during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries in missionary activity to Muslims and although some rulers gave their support to attempts at peaceful conversion — the attitude adopted by the military orders in Spain and the Holy Land in the main reflects common practice in those regions. The attitude of westerners at both ends of the Mediterranean was partly determined by practical considerations. Manpower was needed to ensure that lands were worked, and in Spain Christian lords were seeking not only to retain existing Muslim tenants but also to attract new ones: the Muslims, for example, to whom a carta de poblacion ´ was granted by the Templars in 1267 at Villastar in southern Aragon were new

Cartas pueblas de las morerıas, 10–16, 53–6, docs 1, 15; Font Rius, Cartas de poblacion, vol. 1, ´ ´ 444–6, doc. 303. Both documents mention the post of cabacalanus: on this office, see R.I. Burns, Islam ¸ ¸ under the crusaders. Colonial survival in the thirteenth-century kingdom of Valencia (Princeton, 1973), 190–1. 83 Apart from the charters for Chivert and La Aldea, see J.M. Font Rius, ‘La carta de seguridad de ´ ´ ´ Ramon Berenguer IV a las morerıas de Asco y Ribera del Ebro (siglo XII)’, in: J.M. Font Rius, Estudis ´ sobre els drets i institucions locals en la Catalunya medieval (Barcelona, 1985), 569; Pagarolas i Sabate, Templers de les terres de l’Ebre, vol. 2, 10–11, doc. 4; see also Burns, Islam under the crusaders, 221, 227–8. 84 When the Muslims of Chivert gave an oath of allegiance to the new order of Montesa in 1319, it was recorded that they had done so ‘according to their cuna facing towards the alquible’: Madrid, Archivo ¸ ´ Historico Nacional, Ordenes Militares, Montesa, carpeta 529 no. 716–P; see Burns, Islam under the crusaders, 216–18.


A. Forey / Journal of Medieval History 28 (2002) 1–22


settlers.85 A harsh religious policy would have threatened the supply of Muslims, who might prefer to live in areas under Islamic rule. This would be true not only of any enforced conversion at the time of conquest, but also of later attempts at obligatory evangelisation: this might encourage Muslim vassals to seek refuge in territories still under Islamic rule.86 Economic concerns obviously also influenced attitudes towards voluntary conversions of individual Muslim vassals, as such conversions would sometimes have involved financial loss; and the conversion of slaves, even if it did not lead to emancipation, probably tended to limit lords’ authority over those subject to them. Yet in the Baltic region, where manpower was also needed in conquered lands, Prussians and Livonians were coerced into baptism: and it could be maintained that revolts and rebellions in Prussia and Livonia might have been averted if a more tolerant policy about religion and other matters had been adopted. In Mediterranean lands there were, of course, precedents for religious toleration, as Christians had usually been allowed to retain their religion when living under Islamic rule. It might further be argued that, despite the Church’s stance on enforced baptism, conversion in the Baltic was seen by some as a justification for the conquest of lands which had never been under Christian rule. But part of the explanation of the differing treatment of Muslims and pagans is probably to be found in the perceptions which western Christians had of their opponents. The peoples conquered in the Baltic area tended to be seen as leading a primitive and warlike existence and following a primitive religion. Conversion to Christianity could be regarded as part of a process which in time would make them more civilised and less hostile, although this required the provision of instruction as well as baptism; and the former was often in practice lacking. It is difficult to assess western perceptions generally in the East and Spain about the Islamic faith: treatises written by scholars about Islam and the image of Islam presented in the chansons de geste have been examined,87 but brethren of the military orders are not the only ones among those fighting against Muslims whose impressions are not easy to ascertain: knowledge was, however, probably more widespread among Christians in Spain than among westerners in the Holy Land.88 Nevertheless in both areas there must have been an awareness of the nature of Muslim society, and Muslims could not have been regarded — as Prussians

Forey, Templars, 395–7, doc. 24; Cartas de poblacion del reino de Aragon, 260–1 doc. 210; see in ´ ´ general R.I. Burns, ‘Immigrants from Islam. The crusaders’ use of Muslims as settlers in thirteenthcentury Spain’, American Historical Review, 80 (1975), 21–42. 86 ´ This objection is mentioned by Raymond Lull in Libre de Evast e Blanquerna, 80. 6, ed. S. Galmes, 4 vols (Barcelona, 1935–54), vol. 2, 150. 87 See, for example, N. Daniel, Islam and the West. The making of an image (Edinburgh, 1960); N. ´ Daniel, Heroes and Saracens (Edinburgh, 1984), pt 2; C. Pellat, ‘L’idee de Dieu chez les ‘Sarrasins’ des chansons de geste’, Studia Islamica, 22 (1965), 5–42; and more recently J.A.H. Moran Cruz, ‘Popular attitudes towards Islam in medieval Europe’, in: Western views of Islam in medieval and early modern Europe, ed. D.R. Blanks and M. Frassetto (London, 1999), 55–81. 88 Thirteenth-century Castilian rulers displayed a considerable, though not complete, understanding of Islam: O’Callaghan, ‘Mudejars of Castile and Portugal’, 42, 52; see also Kedar, Crusade and mission, 89–90.



A. Forey / Journal of Medieval History 28 (2002) 1–22

and Livonians were — as a primitive people, for whom conversion would constitute part of a civilising process. As increasing attention came to be devoted in western Christendom during the course of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries to missionary activities among Muslims — this is apparent not only in writings and preaching but even in visual imagery89 — the military orders’ focus on fighting and material objectives became the object of criticism from those who favoured missions. These orders had from the outset attracted censure from those who maintained that all warfare was evil, as is apparent from the comments in the letter to the Templars written by a certain Hugh peccator and from St Bernard’s defence of the order against its critics.90 Such criticism, which did not touch explicitly on the issue of conversion, did not disappear, but from the later twelfth century onwards some writers did argue that warfare should give way to the peaceful conversion of the infidel: there was therefore no place for military orders. Walter Map wrote of the Templars that, although it was claimed that the use of force against force was condoned in law, it seems, however, that they have not chosen the best way, since under their protection our territories in those parts are always being reduced and those of the enemy extended; by the word of the Lord, not by the sword’s edge, the apostles conquered Damascus, Alexandria and a large part of the world, which the sword has lost; and he further provided a condensed version of I Samuel 17: 45–7: ‘You come to me with arms, and I come to you in the name of the Lord, so that the whole church may know that the Lord does not save by the sword’.91 He was arguing against the expediency of using force, and for the efficacy of preaching. A similar point was made by Roger Bacon in the 1260s. He asserted that westerners were often defeated in the Holy Land; even if they were victorious, there was no one to settle the land. Muslims who survived Christian assaults were made more hostile to Christianity and it became impossible to convert them. In the East, as well as in the Baltic region, ‘the Templars and Hospitallers and the brothers of the Teutonic order greatly hinder the conversion of the infidel because of the wars which they are constantly waging

L.-A. Hunt, ‘‘Excommunicata generatione’. Christian imagery of mission and conversion of the Muslim other between the first crusade and the early fourteenth century’, Al-Masaq, 8 (1995), 79–153. 90 St Bernard of Clairvaux, Liber ad milites Templi de laude novae militiae, in Sancti Bernardi opera, ed. J. Leclercq and H.M. Rochais, 8 vols (Rome, 1957–77), vol. 3, 205–39. For Hugh’s letter, see J. ´ ´ Leclercq, ‘Un document sur les debuts des Templiers’, Revue d’histoire ecclesiastique, 52 (1957), 81– ´ 91; C. Sclafert, ‘Lettre inedite de Hugues de Saint-Victor aux chevaliers du Temple’, Revue d’ascetique et de mystique, 34 (1958), 275–99. A recent discussion of the identity of Hugh is provided by D. Selwood, ‘Quidam autem dubitaverunt. The saint, the sinner, the Temple and a possible chronology’, in: Autour ` de la premiere croisade, ed. M. Balard (Paris, 1996), 222–4. 91 De nugis curialium, 1. 20, ed. James, Brooke and Mynors, 60. Although he did not go so far as to condemn the ‘new order’, Isaac de l’Etoile asked: ‘Do they not strengthen that coming son of perdition in the righteousness of his cruelty against Christians? How are Christ’s gentleness and patience and the way of preaching to be employed against him?’: Sermons, vol. 3, 160.


A. Forey / Journal of Medieval History 28 (2002) 1–22


and because they seek complete domination’. He condemned the military orders because they were seen to hamper the work of conversion. Roger Bacon advocated peaceful missionary activity, although he did accept that force might be used, in conjunction with preaching, to ensure that the Holy Land was retained in Christian hands.92 Preaching was also favoured in a number of other writings, although these did not allude specifically to the activities of the military orders: in the 1270s Raymond Lull, for example, argued in his Libre de contemplacio that peaceful missionary ´ activity was hindered by warfare against the infidel.93 While in some works the military orders were criticised for seeking material ends which hindered conversion, the argument was also advanced that they should involve themselves in winning over infidels to Christianity. The general point made by Albert of Morra was taken up and elaborated in the thirteenth century. Although Humbert of Romans averred merely that conquest might serve to facilitate conversion, some writers maintained that force might be used more directly to promote it, and that the military orders should extend their activities to bring about conversion, whether by force or in other ways. Innocent IV asserted that if infidel rulers refused to accept Christian missionaries into their lands, the pope could invoke the secular power to oblige them to do so;94 and Ramon Lull in his Blanquerna and elsewhere similarly advocated the use of force to ensure that preaching of the Christian faith was permitted in infidel territories.95 Neither specifically mentioned the military orders when advancing this argument, but in various works Lull maintained that the military orders — or a single order resulting from their amalgamation — should work for the conversion of the infidel, either by the use of force or by other means. It is to be doubted, however, whether Lull assigned them this role in the Libre de contempla´ cio. When arguing in chapter 112 of the Latin version of that work that the Holy Land should be won over by preaching rather than by the force of arms, Lull admittedly wrote: progrediantur sancti equites religiosi, et muniant se signo crucis, et impleant se gratia sancti spiritus, et eant praedicare infidelibus veritatem tuae pas92 Opus majus, 3. 13–14, ed. J.H. Bridges, 3 vols (Oxford, 1900), vol. 3, 120–2. Some of Roger Bacon’s comments about the Baltic were foreshadowed by Innocent III, who asserted that the Swordbrethren were concerned primarily with gaining land and impeded conversion: Liv-, Esth- und Curlandisches Urkunden¨ buch, nebst Regesten, ed. F.G. von Bunge, etc., 15 vols (Reval, 1853–1914), vol. 1, 41–3, doc. 36; see also the complaints by the bishop of Prussia in 1240 against the Teutonic order: Preussisches Urkundenbuch, ed. R. Philippi, etc., 5 vols (Konigsberg, Marburg, 1882–1975), vol. 1, pt 1, 100–2, doc. 134; A. ¨ Theiner, Vetera monumenta Poloniae et Lithuaniae, 4 vols (Rome, 1860–4), vol. 1, 34–5, doc. 73. 93 ´ Libre de contemplacio en Deu, 204. 27, ed. A.M. Alcover, 7 vols (Obres de Ramon Lull, vols 2–8, Palma, 1906–14), vol. 4, 317. See also, ibid., 288. 11, ed. Alcover, vol. 6, 186; 346. 24, ed. Alcover, ´ vol. 7, 377. The Latin version of the Libre de contemplacio is in: Beati Raymundi Lulli Opera, ed. I. Salzinger, 10 vols (Mainz, 1721–42), vols 9 and 10. Among Lull’s other early works, see Doctrina pueril, 71. 12, ed. G. Schib (Barcelona, 1972), 165. William of Tripoli maintained that force was unnecessary: De statu Saracenorum, in: H. Prutz, Kulturgeschichte der Kreuzzuge (Berlin, 1883), 597–8; see also E.R. ¨ Daniel, ‘Apocalyptic conversion. The Joachite alternative to the crusades’, Traditio, 25 (1969), 127–54. 94 The relevant section from Innocent IV’s Apparatus is published in: Kedar, Crusade and mission, 217; see also J. Muldoon, Popes, lawyers and infidels (Liverpool, 1979), 11. Innocent IV’s comment was repeated by Hostiensis, In tertium decretalium librum commentaria (Venice, 1581), f. 128c. 95 ´ Blanquerna, 87. 4, ed. Galmes, vol. 2, 210–11; Ars iuris, in: Kedar, Crusade and mission, 226.


A. Forey / Journal of Medieval History 28 (2002) 1–22

sionis.96 This passage has been translated: ‘the holy monk–knights should go forward, O Lord, buttress themselves with the sign of the cross, fill themselves with the grace of the Holy Spirit, and go preach to the infidels the truth of Your Passion’.97 If this version is accepted, it could be argued that Lull was envisaging that the military orders should abandon warfare for preaching. Yet the Catalan version reads: faense a avant, Senyer, los sants cavallers religioses e guarnesquense del senyal de la creu, ` e umplense de la gracia del Sant Esprit, e vajen preicar veritat de la vostra passio als infeels,98 and this has been rendered: ‘Let the knights become religious, let them be adorned with the sign of the Cross and filled with the grace of the Holy Spirit, and let them go among the infidels to preach truth concerning Thy Passion’.99 In this chapter Lull was writing about knights in general, not about the military orders, and the sense of the Latin text is probably that knights should go forth as religious: no reference to the military orders was intended.100 Nevertheless in Blanquerna, written in the following decade, conversion was to be achieved by brethren of a unified military order in part by skill at arms: knights should be sent to infidel rulers and challenge their opponents by feats of arms to establish the truth of the catholic faith. In this fictional work, the proposal was accepted and one such knight vanquished ten opponents on successive days.101 The claims of religion were to be settled partly by trial by battle, just as St Francis was reported earlier to have proposed trial by ordeal.102 But in the same work Lull also urged that schools and places of study should be created in the houses of a unified military order, where knights should acquire a competence in languages and learn arguments which would allow them to prove the validity of the Christian faith: peaceful persuasion as well as force was to be used to win over the infidel. The knight who vanquished ten infidels by force of arms also overcame non-believers by the power of his arguments. In a number of later works Lull provided a variation on this last theme. He wanted clerics knowledgeable in Arabic and other oriental languages to be members of a military order created by the amalgamation of existing foundations. A proposal of this kind was included in Quomodo Terra Sancta recuperari potest and the Liber de acquisitione Terre Sancte: members trained in languages were to preach not only to Muslims but also to schismatics and Mongols.103 The role of trained clerics in a
112.11, in: Beati Raymundi Lulli opera, ed. Salzinger, vol. 9, 250. Kedar, Crusade and mission, 191. 98 112.11, ed. Alcover, vol. 3, 59. 99 E.A. Peers, Ramon Lull. A biography (London, 1929), 31. 100 See also B. Altaner, ‘Glaubenszwang und Glaubensfreiheit in der Missionstheorie des Raymundus Lullus. Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte des Toleranzgedankens’, Historisches Jahrbuch, 48 (1928), 599. 101 ´ Blanquerna, 80. 7, 11, ed. Galmes, vol. 2, 151–2, 155–6. 102 L. Lemmens, ‘De Sancto Francisco Christum praedicante coram Sultano Aegypti’, Archivum Franciscanum Historicum, 19 (1926), 571–2. According to the Cronica Najerense, 3.49, ed. A. Ubieto Arteta ´ (Valencia, 1966), 116, trial by battle was employed by Alfonso VI of Castile in 1077 to decide between Roman and Mozarab rites. 103 Quomodo Terra Sancta recuperari potest, ed. J. Rambaud-Buhot in: Beati magistri R. Lulli opera ´ latina, 3 vols (Palma, 1952–4), vol. 3, 96–8; P.E. Longpre, ‘Le liber de acquisitione Terrae Sanctae du bienheureux Raymond Lulle’, Criterion, 3 (1927), 278; E. Kamar, ‘Projet de Raymond Lull ‘De acquisitione Terrae Sanctae’’, Studia Orientalia Christiana. Collectanea, 6 (1961), 130.
97 96

A. Forey / Journal of Medieval History 28 (2002) 1–22


military order was, however, elaborated in most detail in the Liber de fine, written in 1305.104 These brethren would dispute with important captives to win them over to the faith; even if the latter resisted conversion, they could be taught about the Christian religion, and be shown that Muhammad was not a true prophet. Captives could later be freed and sent to Muslim rulers to inform them of the Christian faith, which would facilitate conversion. Some of the clerics with a knowledge of Arabic would also be sent to Muslim and other infidel rulers and inform them that the head of the order would give them castles and cities if they converted to Christianity, and would explain the faith to them. If the rulers were unwilling, they were to be told they would be subjected to perpetual attack: And they are to say to them, that the lord warrior king will give them castles and cities, if they are willing to revert to the sacred catholic faith. And they should demonstrate to them the arguments for our faith; and if they are unwilling, they are to say to them that it has been decreed that the sword of the warrior will be wielded against them for ever, wounding and killing them.105 The issue here seems to have been not merely the admission of missionaries, but the acceptance of the proposals.106 The threat of violence was to be used as an incentive to conversion: Lull was moving towards the attitudes displayed in chansons de geste and the practices adopted in the Baltic region. In his later writings, however, Lull did not always propose this association between a military order and the work of conversion, and did not always link conversion with the use of force. In a number of late works he mentioned both military orders and preaching to the infidel without seeking to relate them.107 Lull possibly advanced some of his views to the Templar master, James of Molay,

Raimundi Lulli opera latina (henceforth RLOL), vol. 9 (CCCM, vol. 35, Turnhout, 1981), 282–3. Lull also assigned such clerics the role of acting as spies. 106 The wording is not without ambiguity, but ‘if they are unwilling’ (si nolint) seems to be intended to balance ‘if they are willing’ (si velint); see Kedar, Crusade and mission, 196. See also Liber super psalmum ‘Quicumque vult’, in: Beati Raymundi Lulli opera, ed. Salzinger, vol. 4, 30; Liber disputationis Petri et Raimundi sive Phantasticus, in: RLOL, vol. 16 (CCCM, vol. 78, Turnhout, 1988), 28. 107 See Tractatus de modo convertendi infideles, ed. Rambaud-Buhot in: R. Lulli opera latina, vol. 3, ` 99–112; Le Desconort, caps. 55–6, ed. A. Pages (Toulouse, Paris, 1938), 71–3; Petitio Raymundi in ´ ´ concilio generali ad adquirendam terram sanctam, in: H. Wieruszowski, ‘Ramon Lull et l’idee de la Cite ´ de Dieu. Quelques nouveaux ecrits sur la croisade’, Estudis franciscans, 47 (1935), 104–9; Liber de ente, in: RLOL, vol. 8 (CCCM, vol. 34, Turnhout, 1980), 239–40; De locutione angelorum, in: RLOL, vol. 16, 216; Liber de participatione christianorum et saracenorum, in: RLOL, vol. 16, 246; Liber disputationis Raimundi Christiani et Homeri Saraceni, in: RLOL, vol. 22 (CCCM, vol. 114, Turnhout, 1998), 263–4; Liber clericorum, in: RLOL, vol. 22, 354. According to the Vita coaetana of Raymond Lull, he proposed the establishment of a new military order at Pisa in 1308, but its purpose was said to be merely warfare against Muslims: RLOL, vol. 8, 301; B. de Gaiffier, ‘Vita beati Raimundi Lulli’, Analecta Bollandiana, 48 (1930), 172–3. Nicholson, Templars, Hospitallers and Teutonic Knights, 72, suggests that the troubadour Daspol may have thought that the Templars and Hospitallers should have been converting, as well as killing, the infidel; but the text quoted hardly justifies this conclusion: P. Meyer, ‘Les derniers trouba` dours de la Provence’, Bibliotheque de l’Ecole des Chartes, 30 (1869), 288–9.



A. Forey / Journal of Medieval History 28 (2002) 1–22

in 1301, when he visited Cyprus and lodged with the Templars at Limassol when he was ill.108 But his opinions and those of Roger Bacon had little effect on the activities of the orders. Few in the West advocated outright rejection of force in favour of peaceful missionary activity; and Lull’s works have attracted more attention from historians than from contemporaries. Many westerners were not optimistic about the possibilities of peaceful missions in Muslim lands. There would also have been practical objections to Lull’s proposed introduction of a new preaching element within a military order, which could have led to divisions over the chief objectives to be pursued; and the instruction of knights envisaged in Blanquerna did not take into account the limited educational qualifications of most lay members of military orders: many would have needed further instruction even in their own faith before they could enter into disputations.109 Lull’s plan in addition assumed that lay brethren would be willing to adopt a new role. As Lull was writing the Liber de fine at a time when the Holy Land had been lost, and there seemed little immediate prospect of its recovery, the proposal that Muslims should be threatened with constant war if they resisted missionary activities was also hardly feasible: it was only in Spain that a realistic attempt could have been made to further conversion in this way, but obviously no initiative was forthcoming. Lull’s proposals, like the criticisms of those who saw force as a hindrance to mission, went unheeded, and the military orders continued to concentrate on warfare for territorial objectives, to the exclusion of missionary activity.
Alan Forey has taught in the universities of Oxford, St Andrews and Durham. He has published extensively on the military orders and crusades. A study of the fall of the Templars in eastern Spain will shortly appear.

Vita coaetana, in: RLOL, vol. 8, 296; Gaiffier, ‘Vita’, 168. ´ ´ Compare J.M. Soto Rabanos, ‘La ignorancia del pueblo cristiano llano, un obstaculo para el dialogo ´ ´ ´ interreligioso’, in: Dialogo filosofico-religioso entre cristianismo, judaısmo e islamismo durante la edad ´ ´ media en la penınsula iberica, ed. H. Santiago-Otero (Turnhout, 1994), 99–116.


Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful