Barbarians from the West: an Arabic perspective of the Crusades

Posted by ap507 at Jun 19, 2015 10:00 AM |
Lecture by University of Leicester History postgraduate on Friday 19 June to examine Arabic writings overlooked in the West

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 19 June 2015 

 "How dare you slumber in the shade of complacent safety ... whilst your brothers in Syria have no dwelling place save the saddles of camels and the bellies of vultures?"

Abu Sa'ad Al-Harawi, Qadi of Damascus, August 1099

The writings of Arabic communities during the Crusades, long overlooked by most historians in the West, will be explored in a lecture that aims to provide a new perspective on this bloody period of history.

In the Western world there is a large body of work that describes the experience of the Crusades from a European perspective. Little is known in the West, however, about the perspective of the Arabic communities on the Crusaders invading their lands and their experiences.

Dan Porter, a postgraduate research student from the School of History at the University of Leicester, will talk about the Arabic experience of the Crusades and how they recounted events from this period of history. This perspective is built on evidence from the writings of Arabic chroniclers, jurists and even poets of the time of the Crusades.

The lecture represents part of Dan's wider research about Medieval Islamic ideas about non-Muslims towards his final dissertation in the area of Arabic and Islamic history.

Dan said: "I grew up with stories about the Crusades both in the novels of Walter Scott and the history lessons of my youth.  These were almost always from the perspective of the Crusaders themselves.  As one gets older you realise there is always another side to a story and, in some small way, I hope I can contribute to a better understanding of what Arabic voices have to tell us about this period of history."

'Barbarians from the West – An Arabic Perspective of the Crusades' takes place on Friday 19 June, 12-1pm at the Leicester Adult Education College, located at 2 Wellington St, near the city end of New Walk.

The Lunchtime Lectures are delivered by current University of Leicester postgraduates and are open to the public, so there is no need to book, just come along on the day. 

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