Did Arab or African Christians take part in the Crusades?

Sep 2010
9,988
Bahrain
A question that popped in my mind. Did the Arab/African Christians, upon hearing of the crusades, participate in them ?
Was there anything like that ?
 

DreamWeaver

Ad Honoris
Aug 2010
10,445
Wales
Yes.

That is Christians, Syrian/Orthodox/Maronites etc native to the Middle East did indeed take part in Crusades. Obviously being already in the Middle East and in some cases under Frankish rule, they were already on hand. No need for them to take the cross and travel across the mediterranena. So technically not crusaders.

African Christians, I dont know. There was the whole Prester John thing, which amongst many possibilites was an allusion to Ethiopian Christaians. I am not aware of any specific examples though.
 
Dec 2009
19,933
Actually, the Arab Christians were more often victims than participants of the Crusades.

The non-Arab African Christians seemed to have been mostly terra incognita at the time.
 

Kirialax

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
4,867
Blachernai
A "Saracen" Christian led the Byzantine contingents that went with the crusaders as far as Antioch.
 
Oct 2011
376
The Arab Christians in the Holy Land certainly helped the Crusaders, although they also often fell victim to the barbarity of European conquest (e.g. sack of Jerusalem.) As for the African Christians, not sure. Maybe they had some activity during the crusade against Egypt in the 13th century, but other than that I don't know.
 

jehosafats

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
2,088
...
While there were no doubt some Nubian Christians fighting alongside the Crusaders, they never arrived in large numbers. The European Crusaders tried their best to forge an alliance with Nubian Christians. Efforts which were thwarted by Saladin and led to many clashes between his forces and Christians throughout Egypt. There was a degree of tolerance for Nubians and Nubian-Christians during the Fatimid period, many of whom served in the Fatimid military. Once the Ayyubids took control they forced them back into Upper Egypt and Lower Nubia where Coptic Christians also fled. That's what makes this period a bit of a paradox, since Nubians fought mostly on the side of the Fatimids against the Christian Crusaders. King George IV of Nubia met with Greek and Latin Christians in Constantinople in the times of the Fourth Crusade, but obviously nothing came of it and Saladin maintained control of Jerusalem.
 

DreamWeaver

Ad Honoris
Aug 2010
10,445
Wales
The Nubian regiments in Egypt were notedly loyal to the Fatimid Caliph, as such they posed a great threat to Saladin in the early years of his takeover in Egypt.
 
Sep 2011
1,323
Jelgava, Latvia
Weren't Syrian/Arab christians of the monophysite sort? As in, heretics doomed to go to hell and be killed on sight by any catholic?

I have read they were not treated any better than Muslims or Jews.
 

DreamWeaver

Ad Honoris
Aug 2010
10,445
Wales
Weren't Syrian/Arab christians of the monophysite sort? As in, heretics doomed to go to hell and be killed on sight by any catholic?

I have read they were not treated any better than Muslims or Jews.

Greek and Syrian Orthodox, indeed monophysites. Also Maronites in Armenia and Lebanon who entered into comunion with Rome in the later 12th Century IIRC.

While considered heretics, heretics are not usualy killed on sight (it does happen but its not the standard response), rather people attempt to convert them. Relapsed heretics are the troublesome ones. Simple politics also meant that such a plan as killing them on sight would not have worked and been unwise. In an generaly hostile environment, the Franks needed friends. Such differences could be overlooked.

How well they were treated really depends on who you read.