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France and the French King

Terminological variants of the toponym ‘France’, as opposed to the older ‘lands of the Franks’ (biladal-Ifranja),[1] seem to have been used, at the earliest, by scholars from the Muslim West of the eleventh century. Mentioning ‘the lands of France’ (biladIfransa), Said al-Andalusi (d. 462/1070) is among the earliest proponents of this new toponym.201 Around a century later, al-Idrisi (d. c.560/1165) provided a very detailed description of the ‘region/lands of France’ (iqlim/bilad Ifransiya).202 Later scholars from the Muslim West, such as Ibn Sa'id (d. 685/1286) and Ibn al-Khatib (d. 776/1375), also used the terms ‘France’ (Faransa), ‘French lands’ (al-bilad al-faransiyya), and ‘territory of France’ (ard Ifransa).203 Ibn Khaldun (d. 808/1406) even explained the terminological shift from ‘Ifranja’ to ‘Ifransa’, claiming that its inhabitants pronounced the letter ‘j[im]’ as ‘s[ln]’.204

In the Middle East, situated at a greater distance from Western Europe, an Arabic term for ‘France’ seems to have come into use in the wake of the second or third crusade. In his kitab al-jihad, written soon after the fall of Jerusalem in 1099, al-Sulami (d. 500/1106) still fails to distinguish between different peoples involved in this first crusade. If he uses an ethnonym at all and does not only refer to ‘the infidels’ (al-kuffar),205 he mentions ‘the Franks’^6 The active participation of various European sovereigns in the second, and especially the third crusade, acquainted Middle Eastern Arabic-Islamic scholars with new ethnonyms. In connection with the third crusade, Ibn al-Athir (d. 630/1233), Ibn Shaddad (d. 632/1235), and Abu Shama (d. 665/1268) all use the term ‘Franks’ as a generic term for the crusaders, but distinguish between the king of England (al-Inkitar, malik Inklatira, al-Inklatiri, malik Inkiltar, etcf^7 the king of the Germans (malik al-Alman),2°s and the king of France.209

Both Western and Middle Eastern Arabic-Islamic texts of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries frequently deal with the king of France. He is known by names that either describe his function as ‘master of France’ ( sahib Faransa, sahib Ifransa),2Ю ‘king of the French’ (malik Afransis, malik al-Afransfn or ‘king of [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12]

France’ (malik Faransa),[13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] [21] [22] [23] [24] [25] [26] transcribe a Romance wording, i.e. ‘roi de France’ (rayda Farans, al-rid Ifrans, rawa Farans, etc.),213 or simply call him ‘the French’ (al-Ifransis, al-Faransis).2i4 Ibn Khaldun drew these different transcriptions together and spoke of:

al-Faransis, the tyrant of the Franks . . . , whose title in the language of the Franks is

Rawa Farans which means King of France^15

Under these titles, the French king is referred to in many different contexts, none of which predates the twelfth century. Many details are available on his activities in the Islamic world, e.g. his involvement in the third crusade (1187—92). Ibn Shaddad mentions his arrival near Acre in 587/1191,21® his falling ill in Antioch, and his alleged death from this illness, which is said to have been reported to al-Malik al-Adil by two Franks.217 Naming him ‘King of the French Philip’ (malik Ifransis Filib), Abu Shama also describes the king’s arrival. He mentions the crusaders’ disappointment at the small number of troops brought by the king as well as the loss of a falcon by the latter, which was caught by the Muslims, presented to Saladin, and demanded back by the French king without availH8 He reports that the king’s treasurer and other French people (jamaa min al-Ifransisiyya) were caught during one of Saladin’s attacks on the crusader camp at Acre.219 Referring to troubles in France, he mentions the king’s decision to depart from the Holy Land.220 He also reproduces the false information that the king died in Antioch,22i and defines count Henry of the Champagne (al-Kund Harri) as the French king’s nephew.222 In connection with the fourth crusade, Ibn Khaldun claims that the ruler of Constantinople married the French king’s sister shortly before the crusaders’ conquest of Constantinople in 1204.223 The capture of Louis IX in Egypt is regularly treated with a certain malicious glee.224 Al-Qalqashandi claims that, after the failed campaign to Damietta, the French king sent messengers to Egypt, offering, in exchange for Jerusalem, an annual payment of 100,000 dinar and exotic gifts.225 Drawing on earlier works of historiography as well as the testimony of his grandfather, Ibn Khaldun describes

Louis IX’s second crusading campaign to Tunis, discusses its origins, and gives different explanations for the king’s deaths6

Arabic-Islamic writings also contain information on the French kingdom’s relations to other parts of Latin Christendom. The Andalusian geographer Ibn Sa'id (d. 685/1286) provides details on economic and political relations between France (Faransa) and England (Inkaltira), claiming that the English provided the French with metals and minerals in exchange for wine, thus enriching the French king. In spite of the English king’s large realm and wealth, the latter was subordinate to the king of France and, according to an old tradition, obliged to serve him food during festive banquets. This is an accurate description of the feudal relationship between both kings.227

Historiographers in the service of the Mamluks provide further information. Ibn Wasil (d. 697/1298) explains the role of the French king’s brother in the fight between the papacy and the Staufen dynasty and mentions the Angevin take over in Sicily after the death of king Manfred.22® Muhi al-Din b. Abd al-Zahir (d. 692/1292) proffers a detailed description of the so-called Sicilian Vespers, which provides insight into the relations between the ruler of Aragon (al-Raydarghun al-barshanuni), the French king (al-Ifransis), and the Angevins of Italy. Based on information that had reached the Mamluk court after the arrival of a boat from Messina in Alexandria on Tuesday, 11 Rabi' al-akhir 683/27 June 1284, it follows events up to the treaty concluded between the ruler of Aragon and the Mamluk sultan in 689/1290.229 Finally, al-'Umari (d. 749/1349), who led the Mamluk chancery in Damascus from 740-43/1339-42,230 provides one of the most detailed discussions of the French kings position vis-a-vis his neighbours in his description of ‘the most well-known land-based realms of the venerators of the cross’ (mashahir mamalik 4bad al-salib fi l-barr dun al-bahr).

On first sight, al-'Umari’s king of France is a ruler of superlatives: ‘the most majestic Frankish sovereign’ (ajall muluk al-Faranj), ‘the greatest ruler of the north’ (akbar muluk Bani l-Asfar makanatan), and ‘the ruler most favoured by fate’ (atam- muhum bakhtan); he is of noble descent (ariq al-nasab) and ruler of an ancient kingdom (fi l-mulk al-qadim) inherited from his predecessors (makhudha 'an al-salaf). He also possesses the most splendid crown and wardrobe (a'zamuhum tajan wa-takhtan).23i ‘Alfonso, master of the Christian realms in al-Andalus’ (al-Adhfunsh, sahib bilad al-nasara bi-l-Andalus) figures as the king’s subordinate and [27] [28] [29] [30] [31]

lieutenant (naibuhu).232 On second sight, however, al-'Umarl clearly exposes that surrounding sovereigns were on a par with this outstanding ruler. Robert, ruler of the Provence (malik Abrans wa-huwa al-Rayrubart), also possessed a residence, a crown, much money, fortresses, and a large army, which, although smaller than the French king’s, was more diversified.^ It is the emperor (al-anbarur), the king of the Germans (sahib mulk al-Laman; malik al-Laman), however, who constitutes the French king’s most important and dangerous rival. More powerful because of the number of troops at his disposal,^4 he defeated and subjected the French king, usurped the latter’s crown and throne, and reorganized the latter’s territories. In consequence, the French had to pay homage to him. Because of this, al-'Umarl claims, the emperor currently held the highest prestige among the Franks.[32]35 Thus, in spite of all the superlatives used for the French king, al-'Umarl emphasizes the Frankish sphere’s bipolar character: the king of France and the emperor, he claims, were both able to dominate the surrounding polities who accordingly paid honours and services to them. Together they constituted the most powerful rulers of the Frankish sphere.^6 In addition to this geopolitical description, Ibn Sa'id (d. 685/1286) and al-'Umarl also provide information on the interior affairs of the French kingdom, e.g. commenting on the measures taken when it is time to choose a king. The former claims that future kings were chosen from Poitou (Bitu) if they were lacking in France,[32]37 while the latter provides a comparatively detailed description of the coronation ritual.^8 Ibn Sa'id even comments on the king’s capital. His description of Paris (Baris) as a tripartite city, with one section reserved for the king (Faransis, sultan al-Faranj), another for the military (al-jund), as well as one for the merchants and the rest of the people (sa’ir tujjarihim wa-ra'yyatihim), corresponds roughly to the tripartite reorganization of the city at the hands of Philip II Augustus of France (ruled 1180-1223).[32]з®

  • [1] E.g. in al-YaqUbi, tarikh, ed. al-Muhanna, vol. 1, p. 199; al-Mas Udi, al-tanbih, ed. de Goeje,p. 136.
  • [2] Said al-Andalusi, tabaqat al-umam, ed. Bu Alwan, p. 97. Cf. Clement, ‘Nommer’ (2009),p. 79. ’
  • [3] 2°2 al-Idrisi, Opus geographicum, ed. Bombaci et al., fasc. VII, p. 743; fasc. VIII, pp. 861—6, trans.Jaubert, vol. 2, pp. 243^, 357—65; Clement, ‘Nommer’ (2009), p. 80 n. 2.
  • [4] Ibn Said, al-jughrafiya, ed. al-Arabi, pp. 193, 199—200; Ibn al-Khatib, a'malal-a'lam, ed. Levi-Proven^al, p. 74. In connection with events around the year 767/1366, Ibn al-Khatib, al-ihata, ed.Inan, vol. 2, pp. 44, 47, mentions ‘a Frankish army coming from the continent’ (al-jam al-ifranjial-ati min al-ard al-kabira), later defined as ‘French lands’ (al-bilad al-faransiyya).
  • [5] Ibn Khaldun, tarikh, ed. Zakkar and Shahada, vol. 5, p. 209. Cf. al-Qalqashandi, subh al-acsha,ed. Ibrahim, vol. 5, p. 485.
  • [6] See the partial edition in Sivan, ‘Genese’ (1966), p. 210. 206 Ibid., p. 208.
  • [7] 207 Ibn al-Athir, al-kamil, ed. Tornberg, vol. 12, AH 586, p. 33 (Leiden), p. 52 (Beirut); vol. 12,AH 587, p. 42 (Leiden), p. 64 (Beirut); Ibn Shaddad, al-nawadir, ed. al-Shayyal, pp. 238, 274, 300^;Abu Shama, al-rawdatayn, ed./trans. de Meynard (RHC hist. or. 4), pp. 335, 509; ibid. (RHC hist.
  • [8] or. 5), pp. 8, 10-11, 14, 17-18, 22, 28, 30-1, 37, 44-8, 51-4, 56, 62-5, 68, 71, 73-5, 77, 79, 81.
  • [9] Ibn al-Athir, al-kamil, ed. Tornberg, vol. 12, AH 586, pp. 30-1 (Leiden), pp. 50-1 (Beirut);Ibn Shaddad, al-nawadir, ed. al-Shayyal, pp. 178, 195, 207, 212, 233; Abu Shama, al-rawdatayn, ed./trans. de Meynard (RHC hist. or. 4), pp. 181, 434-5, 437, 452, 454-61, 472^, 478-80, 494, 500,507; ibid. (RHC hist. or. 5), p. 79.
  • [10] Ibn al-Athir, al-kamil, ed. Tornberg, vol. 12, AH 586, p. 33 (Leiden), p. 52 (Beirut); vol. 12,AH 587, p. 41 (Leiden), p. 63 (Beirut); Ibn Shaddad, al-nawadir, ed. al-Shayyal, pp. 236, 287; AbuShama, al-rawdatayn, ed./trans. de Meynard (RHC hist. or. 4), p. 516; ibid. (RHC hist. or. 5), pp. 6, 30, 46, 53.
  • [11] Ibn Sa id, al-jughrafiya, ed. al- Arabi, p. 200; al- c Umari, Condizioni, ed./trans. Amari, p. 1;al-Qalqashandi, subh al-a sha, ed. Ibrahim, vol. 8, p. 34.
  • [12] Ibid., vol.' 5, p. 485.
  • [13] Ibn Khaldun, tarikh, ed. Zakkar and Shahada, vol. 5, p. 209: ‘muluk Faransa’.
  • [14] al-'Umari, Condizioni, ed./trans. Amari, p. 1; Ibn Khaldun, tarikh, ed. Zakkar and Shahada,vol. 6, p. 426; al-Qalqashandi, subh al-a'ha, ed. Ibrahim, vol. 5, pp. 412, 485; vol. 8, pp. 34, 36, 38.
  • [15] 214 Ibn Khaldun, tarikh, ed. Zakkar and Shahada, vol. 5, p. 245: ‘al-Ifransis’, p. 246: ‘al-Faransis’;vol. 6, p. 426; al-Qalqashandl, subh al-a'ha, ed. Ibrahim, vol. 5, pp. 401, 414, 485.
  • [16] 215 Ibn Khaldun, tarikh, ed. Zakkar and Shahada, vol. 6, p. 426: ‘al-Faransis taghiyat al-Ifranj . . .wa-talaqqab bi-lughat al-Ifranj rawa Farans wa-ma nahu malik Ifrans’.
  • [17] 216 Ibn Shaddad, al-nawadir, ed. al-Shayyal, pp. 236—7; cf. Mayer, Geschichte (2000), p. 132.
  • [18] Ibn Shaddad, al-nawadir, ed. al-Shayyal, pp. 236—7, 287.
  • [19] Abu Shama, al-rawdatayn, ed./trans. de Meynard (RHC hist. or. 5), pp. 6—7, 28.
  • [20] Ibid. (RHC hist. or. 4), p. 516. 220 Ibid. (RHC hist. or. 5), p. 30.
  • [21] 221 Ibid. (RHC hist. or. 5), p. 46. 222 Ibid. (RHC hist. or. 5), p. 53.
  • [22] 223 Ibn Khaldun, tarikh, ed. Zakkar and Shahada, vol. 2, p. 279; vol. 5, pp. 245—6, seems to be
  • [23] mistaken, cf. Mayer, Geschichte (2000), p. 176.
  • [24] 224 al- 'Umari, Condizioni, ed./trans. Amari, pp. 2—3; Ibn Khaldun, tarikh, ed. Zakkar and Shahada,vol. 6, pp. 425—7; al-Qalqashandi, subh al-a'ha, ed. Ibrahim, vol. 5, pp. 412—14; vol. 8, p. 38. Cf.
  • [25] Edde, ‘Saint Louis’ (2000), pp. 72—111.
  • [26] al-Qalqashandi, subh al-a 'ha, ed. Ibrahim, vol. 8, p. 36.
  • [27] Ibn Khaldun, tarikh, ed. Zakkar and Shahada, vol. 6, pp. 427—9, p. 426: ‘hadathani abi ' anabihi rahamahuma Allah qala . . .’.
  • [28] Ibn Sa' id, al-jughrafiya, ed. al-Arabi, pp. 199—200: ‘wa-ma' a ghina al-Inkitar wa-wasa mam-lakatihi, fa-innahu yuqirr bi-l-saltana li-l-Faransis, wa-idha kana mujtama hafl, khadamahu bi-anyahutt quddamahu zabadiyyat ta am, [wa-hiya] c ada mutawaratha’. This passage is partly copied byAbu l-Fida, taqwim/Geographie, ed. Reinaud and de Slane, trans. Reinaud, pp. 187—8 (AR), p. 266(FR). On the feudal relationship, see Ehlers, Krieg (2009), pp. 8—11.
  • [29] 22® Ibn Wasil, mufarrij, ed. Rabf and Ashur, vol. 4, AH 626, p. 249.
  • [30] Ibn 'Abd al-Zahir, tashrifal-ayyam, ed. Amari (BAS), pp. 339—52 (AR), vol. 1, pp. 546—68 (IT).
  • [31] Salibi, ‘Ibn Fadl Allah al-' Umari’ (1971), p. 758. 231 al-' Umari, Condizioni, ed./trans. Amari, p. 1.
  • [32] 31 Ibid., pp. 1, 3. 233 Ibid., p. 6. 234 Ibid., p. 1. 235 Ibid., p. 5. 236 Ibid., p. 1. 237 Ibn Said, al-jughrafiya, ed. al-Arabi, p. 193: ‘wa-minha tukhtar al-muluk li-Faransa idha'adamu fi Faransa. 'ada mutawaliyya’. 238 al-'Umarl, Condizioni, ed./trans. Amari, p. 2. 239 Ibn Said, al-jughrafiya, ed. al-'Arabi, p. 193. Cf. Baldwin, Government (1991), p. 343: ‘Circumscribed by its fortifications, Paris consisted of three distinct sections in 1214: l'Universite, la Cite,and la Ville.’
  • [33] 31 Ibid., pp. 1, 3. 233 Ibid., p. 6. 234 Ibid., p. 1. 235 Ibid., p. 5. 236 Ibid., p. 1. 237 Ibn Said, al-jughrafiya, ed. al-Arabi, p. 193: ‘wa-minha tukhtar al-muluk li-Faransa idha'adamu fi Faransa. 'ada mutawaliyya’. 238 al-'Umarl, Condizioni, ed./trans. Amari, p. 2. 239 Ibn Said, al-jughrafiya, ed. al-'Arabi, p. 193. Cf. Baldwin, Government (1991), p. 343: ‘Circumscribed by its fortifications, Paris consisted of three distinct sections in 1214: l'Universite, la Cite,and la Ville.’
  • [34] 31 Ibid., pp. 1, 3. 233 Ibid., p. 6. 234 Ibid., p. 1. 235 Ibid., p. 5. 236 Ibid., p. 1. 237 Ibn Said, al-jughrafiya, ed. al-Arabi, p. 193: ‘wa-minha tukhtar al-muluk li-Faransa idha'adamu fi Faransa. 'ada mutawaliyya’. 238 al-'Umarl, Condizioni, ed./trans. Amari, p. 2. 239 Ibn Said, al-jughrafiya, ed. al-'Arabi, p. 193. Cf. Baldwin, Government (1991), p. 343: ‘Circumscribed by its fortifications, Paris consisted of three distinct sections in 1214: l'Universite, la Cite,and la Ville.’
 
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