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Old August 16th, 2017, 07:18 PM   #1

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Did the Crusaders ever attempt to convert the Muslims of Outremer?


Did the Crusaders ever attempt to convert the Muslims of Outremer to Christianity?

Basically, I am curious about this considering that a larger Christian presence in the Crusader states would have meant more troops for the Crusader armies as well as a stronger Christian presence in the Holy Land.
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Old August 17th, 2017, 12:14 AM   #2

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I'll take a stab at the question....


I don't think any serious attempt was ever made at converting Muslims in the lands of the Crusader Kingdoms.

1. There were plenty of native Christians already present in the area. Although, they weren't seen as equal to the Frankish Christians. The local/native/Arab Christians did not enjoy the same benefits and status as did their European counterparts and overlords.



2. And being Christian wasn't necessarily a prerequisite for serving in Crusader armies.

"The Crusader States also took the aid of local troops, when it came to dangerous mountain passes and unfamiliar countrysides. One of the most effective of these ‘native’ soldiers pertained to Christian Maronite folks of Lebanon, many of whom functioned as light horsemen and archers. Intriguingly enough, there were also times when the Crusader kingdoms incorporated Shia Muslims (like Alawites) within their ranks, especially from the Syrian coastal mountains."

https://www.realmofhistory.com/2016/...-state-armies/
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Old August 17th, 2017, 12:18 AM   #3

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Well, the first contacts were enough kind ... Christians massacred Muslims and Jews as well in several occasions [like when they conquered Jerusalem]. So it's difficult to imagine Muslims accepting to convert to the religion of the bloody conquerors.

Anyway, as it's obvious when the dominating establishment changes, there were conversions.

But, generally Crusaders didn't try and convert Muslims as a rule [this is why the majority of the inhabitants of the Crusader States have always been Muslim, not Christian]. They depended on Western Christian powers for almost all and they resisted until the Christian power had interest and resources to aid them.

We should remind that for Christianity the forced conversion wasn't an option until the heresies forced Christianity to organize crusades against parts of itself!

In XII-XIII century the monks of Francesco did something, peacefully, but the results were poor.
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Old August 17th, 2017, 04:47 AM   #4

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There is a difference between 'Crusaders' and the Christian people of the Holy Land, soldiers or just people.

The first can very basically be described as tourists, usually rather bloodthirsty with zero knowledge of the area or other faiths. Then they'd all go home again and all the little kingdoms could settle down to their local politics.

This bloodthirsty tourism is to me most sad in the Albigensian crusade, basically a massive land grab in the name of the Catholic church. It was very popular among the knights of northern 'France'. Which would you rather do to get your 'crusading ticket' into heaven - 6 months in the south of France of 6 months in some middle eastern desert with horrific temperatures, little water, unknown diseases and possibly a far more deadly enemy?
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Old August 17th, 2017, 04:47 AM   #5

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There is a difference between 'Crusaders' and the Christian people of the Holy Land, crusader states even, soldiers or just people.

The first can very basically be described as tourists, usually rather bloodthirsty with zero knowledge of the area or other faiths. Then they'd all go home again and all the little kingdoms could settle down to their local politics.

This bloodthirsty tourism is to me most sad in the Albigensian crusade, basically a massive land grab in the name of the Catholic church. It was very popular among the knights of northern 'France'. Which would you rather do to get your 'crusading ticket' into heaven - 6 months in the south of France or 6 months in some middle eastern desert with horrific temperatures, little water, unknown diseases and possibly a far more deadly enemy?
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Old August 17th, 2017, 05:35 AM   #6
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I would have thought not. The Majority of the peasantry being local christians of various types. Palestine area mostly eastern orthodox, Maronites in middle, then Syrian Jacobite , nestorians around Antioch.
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Old August 17th, 2017, 06:17 AM   #7

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The Crusader armies did field 'Turcopoles' who were locally recruited troops who may or may not have been Chritian. After Hattin Saladin had all the Turcopole troops executed for 'betraying Islam'.

But as I understand it there is a great deal of debate as to exactly who and what they were.
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Old August 18th, 2017, 11:49 AM   #8

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You might want to take a look at Chris MacEvitt's Rough Tolerance to look at how the crusaders dealt with local Christians in the areas they occupied, as this would give you some sense of how they approached the thorny problems of running the crusader states: https://www.amazon.com/Crusades-Chri...opher+macevitt

I'm also not sure that more Christians = more troops, nor does more troops = longer-lasting crusader states. The social organization that lies under the military organization is quite probably more important for the management of military resources.
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Old August 18th, 2017, 02:49 PM   #9

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Wrt First Crusade the 12th century Muslim scholar Ibn Jubair who visited the First Kingdom of Jerusalem reported Jews and Muslims had religious in the First Kingdom of Jerusalem. Frankish rule was viewed one could say by this Muslim scholar as benevolent. Noting this viewpoint from a non Christian scholar there were perhaps some or many Muslims and Jews who converted to Christianity on their own accord as Christianity is a religion of proselytization. Christianity has like any religion a history of diverse followers, including folks who were not born into the religion and many folks who saw in Christianity as others have saw in non Christian religions....great ideals.
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Old August 19th, 2017, 04:14 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kirialax View Post
You might want to take a look at Chris MacEvitt's Rough Tolerance to look at how the crusaders dealt with local Christians in the areas they occupied, as this would give you some sense of how they approached the thorny problems of running the crusader states: https://www.amazon.com/Crusades-Chri...opher+macevitt
This is in interesting book indeed, thanks for mentioning it.
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