The root of European Chivalry : this article claim an arab influence

Mar 2019
52
Belgium
#1
Hello I would know your opinion about this article (in two part)

Chivalry Today - Don't just Talk Chivalry. Live It.
Chivalry Today - Don't just Talk Chivalry. Live It.

This paper make reference about an orientalist author (Titus Burckhardt) who claim that :

"European chivalry of the Middle Ages was learned from the Spanish Moors. Burckhardt maintains that the glorification of women and the depiction of noble knights with their many virtues came about as a result of the impact of the Arab qualities in battles, literature and daily lives"

In resume that article state that romantic chivalry as pursued in medieval Europe is nothing more than the continuation of al-furusiyyah al-arabiya (a concept of arab "knighthood") .To prove that, the author of the paper cite an obscure Spanish writer, Abanese, who wrote :

"Europe had not known the arts and practices of knighthood before the arrival to Andalusia of Arabs with their knights and heroes; a logical hypothesis in that chivalry had not been known to the Greeks and Romans. This offshoot of the chivalrous life of the Arab and Muslim conquerors in the Iberian Peninsula, both in theory and manner, was never outdone by the European Christians."


I made many research and I didn't find any papers or records about an Abanese. I don't even think he existed lmao. Of course this article is in total contradiction with majority of historical studies (and of course all my college professors) about chivalry and it's roots. There are even contradiction into this article by claiming in it's second part that greek and roman didn't know the concept of "chivalry" and at the same time by claiming in it's first part that we can find parallels to chivalry with the Seven Knightly Virtues in the writings of Aristotle. But maybe Aristote was arab and muslim, since everyone and everything come from Arabs for the orientalist historians.

It seem to be a very biased article in total contradiction with the majority of medieval scholar and with obscur sources (Burckhardt is an esoterist/metaphysician, muslim convert, who is not historian)
 
Last edited:

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
26,829
Italy, Lago Maggiore
#2
Well, we can make an easy and quite quick check: where were these Arab knights when the Crusaders entered the Arab lands? They didn't meet knights, but Arab warriors.

Then, the author makes reference to the Shafiite rite. The problem here is that the life of the founder of this rite is substantially legend and the earliest manuscripts are from late XI century CE [so contemporary with the development of the roots of knighthood in Christian Europe!].

Even if Saladin venerated his memory [of the founder of the Shafiite movement, Muhammad ibn Idris al-Shafi'i], he was considered a jurist, not a model of noble warrior ... anyway still today he counts not a few followers in the Muslim world.
 
Likes: duncanness

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
5,645
Portugal
#3
Hello I would know your opinion about this article (in two part)

Chivalry Today - Don't just Talk Chivalry. Live It.
Chivalry Today - Don't just Talk Chivalry. Live It.

This paper make reference about an orientalist author (Titus Burckhardt) who claim that :

"European chivalry of the Middle Ages was learned from the Spanish Moors. Burckhardt maintains that the glorification of women and the depiction of noble knights with their many virtues came about as a result of the impact of the Arab qualities in battles, literature and daily lives"

In resume that article state that romantic chivalry as pursued in medieval Europe is nothing more than the continuation of al-furusiyyah al-arabiya (a concept of arab "knighthood") .To prove that, the author of the paper cite an obscure Spanish writer, Abanese, who wrote :

"Europe had not known the arts and practices of knighthood before the arrival to Andalusia of Arabs with their knights and heroes; a logical hypothesis in that chivalry had not been known to the Greeks and Romans. This offshoot of the chivalrous life of the Arab and Muslim conquerors in the Iberian Peninsula, both in theory and manner, was never outdone by the European Christians."

I made many research and I didn't find any papers or records about an Abanese. I don't even think he existed lmao. Of course this article is in total contradiction with majority of historical studies (and of course all my college professors) about chivalry and it's roots. There are even contradiction into this article by claiming in it's second part that greek and roman didn't know the concept of "chivalry" and at the same time by claiming in it's first part that we can find parallels to chivalry with the Seven Knightly Virtues in the writings of Aristotle. But maybe Aristote was arab and muslim, since everyone and everything come from Arabs for the orientalist historians.

It seem to be a very biased article in total contradiction with the majority of medieval scholar and with obscur sources (Burckhardt is an esoterist/metaphysician, muslim convert, who is not historian)
History has always been an interesting discipline/human and social science where anyone can talk about everything.

So has always been full of amateurs, some well intentioned others well intentioned but with strong agendas. These issues developed much more with the development of the internet.

The site “Chivalry Today” seems managed by a group of well intentioned amateurs and enthusiasts. As a side note, I already had a history site in Portuguese, and I always welcomed new “articles”, even if some were quite doubtful, but I needed material to the site. At some point I decided that the best contribute that I could give to history would be to shut down.

The author of the “article” is “Habeeb Salloum”, probably this one: “a prominent Arab-Canadian author and freelance writer. Habeeb centers his writings on Canada, travel and the culinary arts, Arab and world history, with a specific focus on cooking and tourism.” Quoted from Wikipedia: Habeeb Salloum - Wikipedia

You already made some comments about two of the mentioned “sources” Abanese and Titus Burckhardt. I must say that here “sources” must be in comas since no work is mentioned and they aren’t properly quoted. No surprise since the “article”, again in comas, is not academic.

Resume: The text is vaguely entertaining, makes some claims that goes against established historiography and doesn’t prove anything. It seems that Habeeb Salloum should maintain his focus on cooking and tourism.

If Habeeb Salloum wants to know a bit more about the origins of the roots of the European and Iberian chivalry he should read about the Galician-Portuguese lyric, or even some of its poems, that influenced all the peninsula in the High Middle Ages. Not that I am denying Arab/Muslim influence on the culture of the Christian peoples of the Iberian Peninsula, but without proper sources, let us not overstretch it.

On the other side, the fact that in the West we are used by the pop culture to restrict some of the characteristics of the Chivalry spirit exclusively to the Christian knights is also doubtful. Some are quite generic and ancient such as honour and courage. Curiously the text reminded me the story, that I don’t know if it is true or not, that Saladin gave a horse to the Richard the Lionheart, when his horse was killed in the middle of a battle. Quite a chivalric attitude and yet it also doesn’t prove that those concepts were born among the Muslim Arabs. And yes, Saladin was of Kurdish origins.
 
Mar 2019
52
Belgium
#4
On the other side, the fact that in the West we are used by the pop culture to restrict some of the characteristics of the Chivalry spirit exclusively to the Christian knights is also doubtful. Some are quite generic and ancient such as honour and courage. Curiously the text reminded me the story, that I don’t know if it is true or not, that Saladin gave a horse to the Richard the Lionheart, when his horse was killed in the middle of a battle. Quite a chivalric attitude and yet it also doesn’t prove that those concepts were born among the Muslim Arabs. And yes, Saladin was of Kurdish origins.

I would say that chivalry is just the French (in origin) name used to describe a western code of informal values which ruled the behaviour of medieval knights from the christendom.
But code of values had been universal. For example Japanese had the bushido for the samurai
 
Likes: duncanness
Nov 2010
7,666
Cornwall
#5
Firstly I've read a lot about medieval history in Spain. It's bloody, messy and double-dealing - and that's just among the Christian kingdoms. 'Chivalry' doesn't really have much to do with it at all, although there are good guys and bad guys everywhere.

As for this 'Moors of Spain' nonsense. Does he mean arabs? Does he mean berbers? Or just the normal run of the mill Visigoths converted to islam? Nonsene if you ask me
 
Likes: Jari
Mar 2015
861
Europe
#6
I would say that chivalry is just the French (in origin) name used to describe a western code of informal values which ruled the behaviour of medieval knights from the christendom.
But code of values had been universal. For example Japanese had the bushido for the samurai
Not universal for all contexts.
The roots of European chivalry are based on the Peace and Truce of God movement of late 10th and 11th century AD. Features were, first, sparing noncombatants such as clerks, women and commoners, then avoiding fighting on holy days. Chivalry eventually went on to cover protections to enemies, such as taking the opponents captive and ransoming them rather than execute, torture or mutilate them, and burying their corpses rather that e. g. displaying severed heads.
The Peace and Truce of God movement was spotted arising late in 10th century in France, which had problems with wars. Due to the decline of Carolingians and deposing Carolingian and Robertingian kings, neither held good legitimacy, and the local counts were subject to overthrows and petty wars because kings could not back them up. Peace and Truce of God seems to have appeared first in South France where local anarchy was worst.

South France was next to Spain. How did Aragonians and Asturians of late 10th century conduct their civil and external wars, and what did they think of Peace and Truce of God?
 
Mar 2019
1,535
KL
#7
there will always be individual and sectarian/ethnic bias when one makes a research paper, and i already said, especially in the field of humanities and esp history, the academia is full of bias, supposition and their bias involves their ethnic bias or their favoritism for specific ethnicity or history.

these notions always remain open to challenge, i my self has debunked PhD scholar researches and im just an amateur student of history and nothing else.

regards
 
Mar 2019
52
Belgium
#8
South France was next to Spain. How did Aragonians and Asturians of late 10th century conduct their civil and external wars, and what did they think of Peace and Truce of God?
Many warriors who fought at the early reconquista (liberation of northern Spain and Portugal) were in fact knights from France. The concept of chivalry passed by this way;


there will always be individual and sectarian/ethnic bias when one makes a research paper, and i already said, especially in the field of humanities and esp history, the academia is full of bias, supposition and their bias involves their ethnic bias or their favoritism for specific ethnicity or history.

I agree. But this paper is not from academia. Even the sources used by the guy on the article are not historian but metaphysician, philosopher, journalist,... their view are already biased
 
Nov 2010
7,666
Cornwall
#9
Many warriors who fought at the early reconquista (liberation of northern Spain and Portugal) were in fact knights from France. The concept of chivalry passed by this way;
There's a lot of health warnings with that. 'Reconquista' is a retrospective term which sort of applied from 19th century mainly. It was about land grab and conquest, from either Christian or Muslim. You can't 'liberate' after 800 years!!!

However the basic fact is the original population of Asturias and Aragon, for example, then Leon, was minimal. This was supplemented with French immigrants (and others), ultimetaly driven by the whole 'Santiago' thing (convenient discovery eh?) - Aragon in the 11th century was about 60,000 max for example. Most of the 'Spanish' population was in the southern two thirds (and muslim)

So yes this chivalry concept was undoubtedly imported from France. But it was poetic, people told tales, nothing else to do. Both the Song of Roland and the Song of the Cid are, when anaysised, just romantic nonsense worthy of any sitcom writer today.

People didn't behave with chivalry (El Cid was brutal) but their deeds were retrospectively told with poetic chivalry. It's just literature.

You are also getting to the ultimate conclusion - the vast majority of the increasing population in the north were descended from immigrants, whereas the deep-seated populations of many centuries (hispano-romans and visigothic etc) were ultimately thrown out as 'muslims'/moriscos

Funny old world
 

deaf tuner

Ad Honoris
Oct 2013
14,533
Europix
#10
"Europe had not known the arts and practices of knighthood before the arrival to Andalusia of Arabs with their knights and heroes; a logical hypothesis in that chivalry had not been known to the Greeks and Romans. This offshoot of the chivalrous life of the Arab and Muslim conquerors in the Iberian Peninsula, both in theory and manner, was never outdone by the European Christians."


I made many research and I didn't find any papers or records about an Abanese. I don't even think he existed lmao.

Inspite of what one might think, it seems that the author exists, but his name is ... Vicente Blasco Ibáñez - Wikipedia :)

The quote appears a couple of times, and it's said it's by him.On the other hand, I didn't found where he said it.


God, I have how generalised became quotes without referencing them!
 

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