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 Disputatio Felicis cum Sarraceno

(175 words)

Author(s): Tolan, John
The Disputation between Felix and a Saracen Felix of Urgell = Feliu d’Urgell Date: Unknown, before 799 Original Language: Latin Description The text is lost or non-existent. Alcuin of York, in a letter to Charlemagne (April-May 799), mentions a Disputatio Felicis cum Sarraceno and says that he has looked for it but has not found a copy of it 366 Felix of Urgell (Alcuin, Epistola 172, in E. Dümmler (ed.), Epistolae Karolini aevi (II), Berlin, 1895, 284-85 [MGH Epistolae 4]). Since he frequently refers elsewhere in hi…

Unknown author

(42 words)

Author(s): Tolan, John
Istoria de Mahomet Date of Birth: Unknown Place of Birth: Unknown Date of Death: Unknown Place of Death: Unknown Biography Primary Sources of Information - Secondary Sources of Information - Works on Christian-Muslim Relations Istoria de Mahomet John Tolan

Burchard of Mount Sion

(119 words)

Author(s): Tolan, John
Burchardus de Monte Sion, Brocardus Date of Birth: Probably mid-13th century Place of Birth: Uncertain; probably in the German Empire Date of Death: Probably late 13th century Place of Death: Unknown Biography Little is known about Burchard, other than what can be gleaned from his Descriptio Terrae Sanctae, which says that he was a Dominican friar associated with the convent of Magdeburg.  He travelled to the Holy Land sometime between 1274 and 1284, spending some time in the Convent of Mt Sion, and subsequently wrote a description of his travels. Primary Sources of Information Descripti…

 Super explanationem Lamentationum Ieremie prophete

(263 words)

Author(s): Tolan, John
Commentary on the Lamentations of the prophet Jeremiah William of Malmesbury Date: Probably between 1135 and 1142 Original Language: Latin Description In his commentary on the biblical book of Lamentations, which is a meditation on the fall of Jerusalem in 587 BC, William describes the different senses of the text, paying most attention to the spiritual. In a brief passage of this long commentary, William explains that, while the ‘sects’ of Christians, Jews and Saracens disagree about the Son, they all believe in God the Father in their hearts and proclaim him in their words. Again, while…

Pedro Pascual

(469 words)

Author(s): Tolan, John
Biography Pedro Pascual became bishop of Jaén in 1296; he was consecrated in Rome by Cardinal Matthew of Aquasparta, and in his bull of confirmation Pope Boniface VIII praises the new bishop’s erudition and character. In 1298 he was taken captive by Naṣrid troops and imprisoned in Granada. Despite efforts to raise the ransom of 5,000 gold doblas that Sultan Muhammad II demanded for his release, Pedro died in captivity in 1300. It is not clear whether he was executed or died of natural causes, but he was subsequently recognized as a martyr for the fait…

Unknown author

(20 words)

Author(s): Tolan, John
Biography Primary Sources of Information Secondary Sources of Information Works on Christian-Muslim Relations Iniquus Mahometus John Tolan

Raymond of Penyafort

(1,017 words)

Author(s): Tolan, John
Ramon de Penyafort, Ramón de Peñaforte Date of Birth: About 1180 Place of Birth: Probably Penyafort, Catalonia Date of Death: 6 January 1275 Place of Death: Barcelona Biography Raymond studied law in Bologna in the 1210s and then taught there as master. He joined the Dominican order in the 1220s. In November 1229, Pope Gregory IX called on him to preach the crusade for James I’s conquest of Mallorca in southern France, including Arles and Narbonne ( Diplomatario, p. 11). Raymond subsequently became papal confessor and penitentiary, and as such he compiled the Decretals, a collection of …

 De vita et malicia machometi prophete Turkorum et Sarracenorum

(449 words)

Author(s): Tolan, John
De vita et malicia Machometi'On the life and malice of Muḥammad, prophet of the Turks and Saracens' De vita et malicia Machometi Date: 15th century Original Language: Latin Description This text, which is unedited and exists in one 15th-century manuscript, narrates the life of the pseudo-prophet Machometus. It cannot be dated exactly, though since another text in the manuscript bears the date 1443 (f. 153r), this gives a terminus post quam for the composition of the manuscript itself. (Other texts at the end of the manuscript are later still, but have been added i…

 Voyage d’Oultremer

(967 words)

Author(s): Tolan, John
‘Journey to the East’ Bertrandon de la Broquière Date: 1455-59 Original Language: Old French Description Bertrandon describes how in 1431 he set off with a group of European pilgrims to Jerusalem, and made the standard pilgrimage visits in the company of Franciscan friars stationed in the East. Yet, instead of returning by sea with his companions, he set off for Damascus, where he found a caravan of returning Meccan pilgrims bound for Istanbul and negotiated his passage with them. For months, Bertrandon shared…

 Vita Mahumeti

(908 words)

Author(s): Tolan, John
Life of Muḥammad Embrico of Mainz Date: Probably first quarter of the 12th century Original Language: Latin Description The Vita Mahumeti is a polemical life of Muḥammad in 1,149 rhymed leonine hexameters. It relates how a nameless heretical magus, feigning piety, comes to Libya where he meets Mammutius, young slave to the governor, and trains him in the arts of magic and deception. The two secretly murder the governor, then have Mammutius marry the governor’s widow. Through a series of tricks and bogus miracles, t…

 Historia Romana

(393 words)

Author(s): Tolan, John
History of Rome Landolfus Sagax Date: Probably last quarter of the 10th century Original Language: Latin Description The Historia Romana is a compilation of materials principally from earlier chroniclers including Eutropius, Paulus Diaconus, Orosius, and Anastasius Bibliothecarius' (q.v.) Chronographia tripertita. Landolfus relates the history of Rome from Aeneas to the Emperor Nicephorus II Phocas (r. 963-69). The later chapters of the Historia focus on Constantinople, reflecting Landolfus’ southern Italian perspective. From Anastasius, Landolfus reproduces the b…

 Débat du Chrestien et du Sarrazin

(731 words)

Author(s): Tolan, John
‘Debate between a Christian and a Saracen’ Jean Germain Date: 1450 Original Language: French Description The Débat du Chrestien et du Sarrazin, also known as Trésor des simples contre Mahomet and Cinq livres contre la secte de Mahomet, is Jean’s magnum opus. Dedicated to his patron, the Duke of Burgundy, it is a massive encyclopedic work of anti-Muslim polemics in five books. It contains little that is new, except for its language: Jean makes available to a French-speaking audience an anthology of anti-Muslim polemical literature translated from the Latin: Petrus Alfonsi’s Dialogi (q.…

Bertrandon de la Broquière

(259 words)

Author(s): Tolan, John
Bertrandon de la Broquère Date of Birth: About 1400 Place of Birth: Perhaps Broquère, Garonne Date of Death: 9 May 1459 Place of Death: Lille Biography Almost everything that is known about Bertrandon derives from his Voyage d’Oultremer. He was probably born to a minor noble family in the Guyenne. He first appears in archival sources in 1418, in the service of Archambaud de Foix, lord of Navailles, who was murdered along with his lord Jean sans Peur, Duke of Burgundy, on 10 September 1419. Bertrandon went into the service of the new duke Philip the Good as écuyer trenchant (carver) in 1421; h…

 Epistola ad Ioannem de Segovia

(285 words)

Author(s): Tolan, John
‘Letter to Juan de Segovia’ Nicholas of Cusa, Nicholas of Kues, Nicolaus Cusanus Date: 29 December 1454 Original Language: Latin Description Juan de Segovia had written to Nicholas in 1454, in the wake of the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople, to try to enlist him in his attempt to organize a contraferentia, or conference, between Christian and Muslim leaders to debate the faith, or more precisely ‘to pierce the heart of the Saracens with the sword of the Divine Spirit’. In his response to Juan, Nicholas approves of the idea: Islam spreads by the sword, he says, whereas C…

Felix of Urgell = Feliu d’Urgell

(160 words)

Author(s): Tolan, John
Felix of Urgell Date of Birth: Unknown Place of Birth: Unknown Date of Death: Uncertain, probably between 811 and 818 Place of Death: Lyon Biography Bishop of Urgell (Catalonia), Felix was a proponent of Adoptionism, the belief that Jesus was God’s son through adoption not birth. He was made to abjure this ‘heresy’ in 792 before Charlemagne’s court at Ratisbon and then before the pope in Rome. He was again forced to abjure his Adoptionism at the Council of Aix in 800; deposed from his bishopric, he was imprisoned in Lyons, probably until his death. Primary Sources of Information Alcuin, Liber…

 Istoria de Mahomet

(402 words)

Author(s): Tolan, John
Vita MahumetiStory of MuḥammadLife of Muḥammad Unknown author Date: Not later than mid-9th c. Original Language: Latin Description This text contains a brief and polemical life of Muḥammad. It relates Muḥammad's marriage with Khadīja, describes how a golden-mouthed vulture claiming to be Gabriel revealed ‘psalms’ to Muḥammad, and accuses the Prophet of sexual debauchery. The story also includes the claim that Muḥammad predicted that he would rise from the dead three days after his death. Instead, on the third day dogs desecrated his corpse. Significance This is one of the earlie…

 Summa de haeresibus

(734 words)

Author(s): Tolan, John
Summa on heresies Guido Terrena de Perpignan Date: Early 14th century Original Language: Latin Description Guido begins with a section in which he defines heresy and discusses what the Church’s attitude towards heresy should be. He follows with a section on the 17 errors of the Jews, a section on the 26 errors of the Greeks, and the errors of the Jacobites, Georgians, and Armenians, who amass 30 errors between them. Then, citing the twin authorities of Augustine and Isidore, he briefly describes dozens of othe…


(914 words)

Author(s): Tolan, John
Itinerary Burchard of Strasbourg Date: 1175 or shortly thereafter Original Language: Latin Description Burchard’s Itinerary reads as a travel narrative. He tells how he set sail from Genoa and stopped in Corsica, Sardinia and Sicily (he describes the flora, fauna, and the inhabitants of these islands); he describes the fish of the Mediterranean and the famous lighthouse of Alexandria, which he saw as he approached the African coast. He gives a long description of Egypt, and then relates his voyages across the desert to Syria, where he visits Damascus and the monastery of  Saydnaya. Burch…


(5,051 words)

Author(s): Tolan, John
The articles collected in these two volumes, CMR 2 and CMR 3 deal with Christian-Muslim relations during the period 900-1200.  By the beginning of this period, the Abbasid caliphate was firmly ensconced as the major power of a large region stretching from the Hindu Kush to the Atlantic.  Within the caliphate lived large communities of Christians and significant (though smaller) communities of Jews and Zoroastrians.  By 900, the status of dhimmī attributed to these minority communities was well established in law and custom, as we have seen in volume 1.  A multitud…

Tultusceptru de libro domni Metobii

(44 words)

Author(s): Tolan, John
Unknown author Date of Birth: Unknown Place of Birth: Unknown Date of Death: Unknown Place of Death: Unknown Biography Primary Sources of Information Secondary Sources of Information Works on Christian-Muslim Relations Tultusceptru de libro domni Metobii John Tolan
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