Christian-Muslim Diplomacy and Peacemaking in the Context of the Crusades

Scott Moynihan
D.Phil Candidate, Pembroke College, University of Oxford

Abstract

The Crusades (c.1095-1291) continue to be viewed in popular conceptions as a time of unquestioned religious violence and nearly unending holy warfare. Recent scholarship has sought to reveal a more complex reality by highlighting that diplomacy and truces were indeed a common feature in the relations between the Latin Christians who settled in the East and their Muslim neighbours. A view persists, however, that this pragmatic approach to diplomacy with Muslims was a unique characteristic of the Christians of the Latin East, and that their co-religionists from the West, enflamed by crusading propaganda, vehemently opposed any negotiations with Muslims. This paper examines and questions this premise, utilizing examples from a wide range of sources, including contemporary chronicle accounts, crusader letters, papal correspondence, canon law, the Bible and its medieval commentaries to establish the broader context in which crusader peacemaking was conceptualized, understood and memorialised in the Latin West during the time of the Crusades.