chapter  10
19 Pages

How marginal is marginal?

Muslims in the Latin East
WithAnn E. Zimo

This study reexamines the position Muslims held in the crusader states of the Eastern Mediterranean. Muslims have been seen by scholars as largely powerless and marginalized based on their readings of the surviving Frankish legal documents. This chapter offers a new reading of these sources, arguing that although they attempted to present Muslims as marginal, they often failed. The chapter then explores evidence from Arabic sources to demonstrate that in reality Muslims did in fact possess legal footing and that the Franks and their Syrian and Egyptian counterparts acted as equals in Frankish spaces. By using evidence from treaties in particular, and the creation of condominia/munāṣafat – territories shared between Frankish and non-Frankish lords – the chapter shows that Muslims did wield power within the crusader states and that the low status created for them in the Frankish legal sources reflects ideals rather than reality.