Analysis of the excerpt

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What kind of society did the Franks build in the territories they conquered in the Levant?  What sort of picture do twelfth-century Arabic sources paint of the Franks and the character of Muslim-Christian interactions in the so-called “Crusader States”? 

Write two pages Responding to the following question. In your essays, please be
sure to incorporate a thorough discussion of the passages provided Below the

What kind of society did the Franks build in the territories they conquered in the Levant?
What sort of picture do twelfth-century Arabic sources paint of the Franks and the
character of Muslim-Christian interactions in the so-called “Crusader States”?

Excerpt A from the Travels of Ibn Jubayr (describing this Spanish Muslim’s brief sojourn in
Frankish-controlled territory in the Levant on his return journey home to al-Andalus from a
pilgrimage to Mecca)

“Our way lay through continuous farms and ordered settlements, whose inhabitants were
all Muslims, living comfortably with the Franks. [God protect us from such temptation.]
They surrender half their crops to the Franks at harvest time, and pay as well a poll-tax
of one dinar and five qirat for each person. Other than that, they are not interfered with,
save for a light tax on the fruits of trees. Their houses and all their effects are left in their
full possessions. All the coastal cities occupied by the Franks are managed in this
fashion, their rural districts, the villages and farms, belonging to the Muslims. But their
hearts have been seduced, for they observe how unlike them in ease and comfort are their
brethren in the Muslims regions under their (Muslim) governors. This is one of the
misfortunes afflicting the Muslims. The Muslim community bewails the injustice of a
landlord of its own faith, and applauds the conduct of its opponent and enemy, the
Frankish landlord, and is accustomed to justice from him. …
… we came to the city of Acre – may God destroy it. We were taken to the custom-house,
which is a khan prepared to accommodate the caravan. Before the door are stone
benches, spread with carpets, where are the Christian clerks of the Customs with their
ebony ink-stands ornamented with gold. They write in Arabic which they also speak. …
The merchants deposited their baggage there and lodged in the upper storey. The
baggage of any who had no merchandise was also examined in case it contained
concealed (and dutiable) merchandise, after which the owner was permitted to go his
way and seek lodging where he would. All this was done with civility and respect, and
without harshness and unfairness. We lodged beside the sea in a house which we rented
from a Christian woman. … Acre is the capital of the Frankish cities in Syria … a port of
call for all ships. In its greatness it resembles Constantinople. It is the focus of ships and
caravans, and the meeting-place of Muslim and Christian merchants from all regions. Its
roads and streets are choked by the press of men, so that it is hard to put foot to ground.
Unbelief and unpiousness there burn fiercely, and pigs [Christians] and crosses abound.
It stinks and is filthy, being full of refuse and excrement. The Franks ravished it from

Muslim hands … Mosques became churches and minarets bell towers, but God kept
undefiled one part of the principal mosque, which remained in the hands of Muslims as a
small mosque where strangers could congregate to offer the obligatory prayers.”

Excerpt B: from Usamah ibn Munqidh’s Memoirs:
“Among the Franks who had been taken to my father’s house [as captives] was an old
woman with one of her daughters, young and well formed, and a stalwart son. The son
became [a Muslim] and his [belief] was of a high standard as far as one could judge
from his prayers and fasting. He learnt the art or working in marble …. Then, his stay
there being prolonged, my father married him to a woman of a religious family and gave
him everything that was necessary for his marriage and to set him up. His wife bore him
two sons who grew up in the midst of us. They were five or six years old when their father,
the workman Raoul, whose joy they were, set off with them and their mother, taking all he
had in his house, to rejoin the Franks at Apamea. He became Christian again, together
with his children, after years of [Islam], prayer, and faith. May Allah the most high
cleanse the world of this race.”

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