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Sons of IshmaelMuslims through European Eyes in the Middle Ages$
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John V. Tolan

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780813032221

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813032221.001.0001

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Mirror of Chivalry

Mirror of Chivalry

Saladin in the Medieval European Imagination

(p.79) 6 Mirror of Chivalry
Sons of Ishmael

John V. Tolan

University Press of Florida

This chapter discusses how some Latin writers portrayed Saladin stereotypically as a cruel scourge, sent by God to punish Christian sins. Over the course of the Middle Ages, however, European authors saw him more often as an embodiment of chivalric virtues, a model knight, and a just prince. Due to the numerous and colorful legends that surrounded him, tension formed between two tendencies: some writers who presented him as living proof that one need not be Christian or European to be a near-perfect knight and prince, while other writers forged bogus genealogies that made Saladin the direct descendant of French knights and affirmed that he secretly converted to Christianity.

Keywords:   Latin writers, Saladin, Middle Ages, legends, knight, genealogies, Christianity

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