Levant in Literature

· @tasali · ELIT417, Week 2-1

What is crusades and how are Levant people involved in it?

Crusades shaped who Levant people are in English Literature and understanding them could be a good starting point.

There have been 4 crusades. Between the first and third one, the objective was to take back the lost Christian lands (mostly of East Roman Empire) and fight Saracens. In the fourth one, the fight ended up being against Orthodox Christians. Therefore, the crusaders are known for being Latin Christians and the list of Saracen people can be summarized as anyone other than a Latin Christian.

SaracensA pagan, An Orthodox Christian, An Arab, A Muslim, A Turk

The territory where Saracens live is usually considered as Levant in medieval imagination. The first cataracts between the Saracens and the Christians take place in Levant, due to the Crusades.

What is a Crusade?

The Crusades were a series of religious wars between Christians and Muslims started primarily to secure control of holy sites considered sacred by both groups.

In all, major Crusade expeditions occurred between 1096 and 1453.

The bloody, violent and often ruthless conflicts propelled the status of European Christians, making them major players in the fight for land in the Levant.

It is true that the Crusades play a significant role in representing the Levant and portray the conflict between Saracens and Christians.

The Eastern Roman Emperor Alexius I wrote a letter to Robert of Flanders. This letter reached Pope Urban and he invited Latin Christians to help the Orthodox Christians in the fight against the Saracens. Further to Pope Urbanโ€™s speech at Clermont, massive crusading armies arrived at Constantinople to subdue the Saracens.

Fulcher of Chartres says: โ€œAlthough, O sons of God, you have promised more firmly than ever to keep the peace among yourselves and to preserve the rights of the church, there remains still an important work for you to do. Freshly quickened by the divine correction, you must apply the strength of your righteousness to another matter which concerns you as well as God. For your brethren who live in the east are in urgent need of your help, and you must hasten to give them the aid which has often been promised them. For, as the most of you have heard, the Turks and Arabs have attacked them and have conquered the territory of Romania (the Greek Empire) as far west as the shore of the Mediterranean and the Hellespont, which is called the Arm of St. George.โ€

For the next week, study the notes and prepare sentences to be studied from The Song of Roland.

Orientalism by Edward Said will also be studied.