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How to Defeat the Saracens: Guillelmus Ade, <i>Tractatus quomodo Sarraceni sunt expugnandi;</i> Text and Translation with Notes (Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Humanities) Hardcover – August 13, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Giles Constable is Medieval History Professor Emeritus in the School of Historical Studies, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton.

Ranabir Chakravarti is Professor of Ancient History at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

Olivia Remie Constable is Professor in the Department of History and Director of the Medieval Institute at the University of Notre Dame.

Tia Kolbaba is Associate Professor in the Department of Religion at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.

Janet M. Martin is Associate Professor Emerita in the Department of Classics at Princeton University.
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Product Details

  • Series: Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Humanities (Book 3)
  • Hardcover: 150 pages
  • Publisher: Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection; Bilingual edition (August 13, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0884023761
  • ISBN-13: 978-0884023760
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 7.5 x 10.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,595,588 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
“How to Defeat the Saracens” is a fascinating text, originally written around 1317 by William of Adam (a.k.a. Guillelmus Ade), a churchman who had traveled extensively in the Middle East. William, a Dominican or perhaps former Dominican serving at the papal court, was styled “Archbishop of Sultaniye”, claiming (surely purely nominal!) jurisdiction over the Middle East, India and Ethiopia. His text proposing a new crusade to liberate the Holy Land is in effect a 14th century intelligence report. Modern historians consider it mostly accurate.

On one level, William's proposal for a full-scale crusade to defeat the Muslim Mamluk rulers of Egypt (who also controlled Jerusalem) was unrealistic. After all, no new crusade was launched at the time. On another level, however, his proposal is eminently realistic. Given the right amount of money, men and luck, none of his proposals are “out there”. I assumed that William's text would be some kind of fringe document written by a zealous crank. In fact, Brother William of the Dominican Order seems to have been an eminently practical man, often on the verge of Realpolitik pure and simple.

William identifies three main problems in the Mediterranean to be overcome before a new crusade could be launched: Christian commercial ties with the Mamluks, Christian pilgrims paying hefty tributes to the Muslims, and the collusion between Byzantium and certain Muslim rulers. Despite papal prohibition, Genoese and Venetian merchants had established lucrative trade deals with Egypt, providing the Mamluks with iron, wood, food and slaves. In this way, the Mamluks were able to replenish their armories, build new galleys, and expand their armies.
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Format: Hardcover
Not much is known about William of Adam, not even whether that was indeed his name. He wrote in the early 1300s, a few years after the end of the Crusades. He wanted another crusade, this time leading to final victory. Of course he presents the Saracens as totally evil. He doesn't trust the Byzantines either. This edition contains a translation of his book, with the original Latin text on facing pages.
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How to Defeat the Saracens: Guillelmus Ade, <i>Tractatus quomodo Sarraceni sunt expugnandi;</i> Text and Translation with Notes (Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Humanities)
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