In a region often caricatured by the images and rhetoric of crusade and jihad, it’s important to realize that through most of its medieval history the Holy Land was host to countless curious and devout travelers of all three faiths. They sailed to the same ports, walked and rode the same roads, lodged in the same cities and towns and visited and revered the same secular and sacred sites. The Holy Land in the Middle Ages offers important texts documenting these centuries of peaceful co-existence.
There has been a revival of “crusade studies” in recent years, sometimes marked by contentious claims of “clash of civilizations,” the deeply violent nature of the religions of the book and the ineluctable structures of colonialism and militarism. But the following accounts offer a different narrative: of devotion that goes beyond religious labels, of a mixture of peoples and faiths that left room for curiosity and for a practical tolerance of the other. As the following pages reveal, the narrators of these works were less interested in issues of religious contention, territorial domination or cultural hegemony and more in the history, legends, art and architecture, the sounds, smells and tastes, the peoples, products and goods, and in the topography and sacred geography of the Holy Land.
410 pages. Index, bibliography. Over 100 illustrations in color and b&w.
CD-ROM, site license for libraries and other institutions.
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ITALICA PRESS, INC.