Saracen was a term widely used among Christian writers in Europe during the Middle Ages to refer to Arab Muslims. The term's meaning evolved during its history. In the early centuries of the Common Era, Greek and Latin writings used this term to refer to the people who lived in desert areas in and near the Roman province of Arabia Petraea, and in Arabia Deserta.In Europe during the Early Middle Ages, the term came to be associated with tribes of Arabia. The oldest source mentioning the term Saracen dates back to the 7th century. It was found in Doctrina Jacobi, a commentary that discussed the Muslim conquest of the Levant.
By the 12th century, Saracen had become synonymous with Muslim in Medieval Latin literature. Such expansion in the meaning of the term had begun centuries earlier among the Byzantine Greeks, as evidenced in documents from the 8th century.In the Western languages before the 16th century, Saracen was commonly used to refer to Muslim Arabs, and the words Muslim and Islam were generally not used (with a few isolated exceptions). The term became gradually obsolete following the Age of Discovery.
The Latin term Saraceni is of unknown original meaning. There are claims of it being derived from the Semitic triliteral root šrq "east" and šrkt "tribe, confederation". : سارق), pl. sariqīn (سارقين), which means "thief, marauder, plunderer". In his Levantine Diary, covering the years 1699-1740, the Damascene writer Hamad bin Kanan al-Salhi (Arabic : محمد بن كَنّان الصالحي) used the term sarkan to mean "travel on a military mission" from the Near East to parts of Southern Europe which were under Ottoman Empire rule, particularly Cyprus and Rhodes.Another possible Semitic root is srq "to steal, rob, plunder", more specifically from the noun sāriq (Arabic
Ptolemy's 2nd-century work, Geography , describes Sarakēnḗ (Ancient Greek : Σαρακηνή) as a region in the northern Sinai Peninsula. Ptolemy also mentions a people called the Sarakēnoí (Ancient Greek : οἱ Σαρακηνοί) living in the northwestern Arabian Peninsula (near neighbor to the Sinai). Eusebius in his Ecclesiastical history narrates an account wherein Pope Dionysius of Alexandria mentions Saracens in a letter while describing the persecution of Christians by the Roman emperor Decius: "Many were, in the Arabian mountain, enslaved by the barbarous 'sarkenoi'." The Augustan History also refers to an attack by Saraceni on Pescennius Niger's army in Egypt in 193, but provides little information as to identifying them.
Both Hippolytus of Rome and Uranius mention three distinct peoples in Arabia during the first half of the third century: the Taeni, the Saraceni, and the Arabes.The Taeni, later identified with the Arab people called Tayy , were located around Khaybar (an oasis north of Medina) and also in an area stretching up to the Euphrates. The Saraceni were placed north of them. These Saracens, located in the northern Hejaz, were described as people with a certain military ability who were opponents of the Roman Empire and who were classified by the Romans as barbarians.
The Saracens are described as forming the equites (heavy cavalry) from Phoenicia and Thamud.In one document, the defeated enemies of Diocletian's campaign in the Syrian Desert are described as Saracens. Other 4th-century military reports make no mention of Arabs, but refer to Saracen groups ranging as far east as Mesopotamia who were involved in battles on both the Sasanian and Roman sides. The Saracens were named in the Roman administrative document Notitia Dignitatum, dating from the time of Theodosius I in the 4th century, as comprising distinctive units in the Roman army. They were distinguished in the document from Arabs.
No later than the early fifth century, Christian writers began to equate Saracens with Arabs. Saracens were associated with Ishmaelites (descendants of Abraham's older son Ishmael) in some strands of Jewish, Christian, and Islamic genealogical thinking. The writings of Jerome (d. 420) are the earliest known version of the claim that Ishmaelites chose to be called Saracens in order to identify with Abraham's "free" wife Sarah, rather than as Hagarenes, which would have highlighted their association with Abraham's "slave woman" Hagar.This claim was popular during the Middle Ages, but derives more from Paul’s allegory in the New Testament letter to the Galatians than from historical data. The name Saracen was not indigenous among the populations so described but was applied to them by Greco-Roman historians based on Greek place names.
As the Middle Ages progressed, usage of the term in the Latin West changed, but its connotation remained negative, associated with opponents of Christianity, and its exact definition is unclear.In an 8th-century polemical work, John of Damascus criticized the Saracens as followers of a false prophet and "forerunner[s] to the Antichrist."
By the 12th century, Medieval Europeans used the term Saracen as both an ethnic and religious marker.In some Medieval literature, Saracens were equated with Muslims in general and described as dark-skinned, while Christians lighter-skinned. An example is in The King of Tars , a medieval romance. The Song of Roland , an Old French 11th-century heroic poem, refers to the black skin of Saracens as their only exotic feature.
The 15th-century Mishnah commentator, Rabbi Ovadiah of Bertinora, wrote that the word Saracen (Hebrew : סראקין) among Arabs had the connotation of "thieves" (Arabic : سارقيِن).
The term Saracen remained in widespread use in the West as a synonym for "Muslim" until the 18th century. When the Age of Discovery led to it becoming gradually obsolete and referred to Muslims as "Mohammedan" which came into usage from the 1600 onwards. However "Saracen" continued to be used until the 19th century. The Victorian era phrase "Indo-Saracen Architecture" is an example of this.
In the Wiltshire dialect, the meaning of "Sarsen" (Saracen) was eventually extended to refer to anything regarded as non-Christian, whether Muslim or pagan. From that derived the still current term "Sarsen" (a shortening of "Saracen stone"), denoting the kind of stone used by the builders of Stonehenge- obviously long predating Islam and all monotheistic religions.
|Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Saracens .|
Arabs are a population inhabiting the Arab world. They primarily live in the Arab states in Western Asia, North Africa, the Horn of Africa and western Indian Ocean islands, as well as in significant numbers in the Americas, Western Europe, Indonesia, Israel, Turkey and Iran. The Arab diaspora is established around the world.
The Moors were the Muslim inhabitants of the Maghreb, the Iberian Peninsula, Sicily, and Malta during the Middle Ages. The Moors initially were the indigenous Maghrebine Berbers. The name was later also applied to Arabs.
The Maghreb, also known as Northwest Africa, the Arab Maghreb, and Barbary, is a subregion of North Africa that is effectively a western part of the Arab world and is predominantly Muslim. The region includes Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, and Tunisia, which are all member states of the Arab Maghreb Union (AMU). The Maghreb additionally includes the disputed territories of Western Sahara and the cities of Ceuta and Melilla. As of 2018, the region had a population of over 100 million people.
Home to the Cradle of Civilization, the Middle East—interchangeable with the Near East—has seen many of the world's oldest cultures and civilizations. This history started from the earliest human settlements, continuing through several major pre- and post-Islamic Empires through to the nation-states of the Middle East today.
Historians typically regard the Early Middle Ages or Early Medieval Period, sometimes referred to as the Dark Ages, as lasting from the 5th or 6th century to the 10th century. They marked the start of the Middle Ages of European history. The alternative term "Late Antiquity" emphasizes elements of continuity with the Roman Empire, while "Early Middle Ages" is used to emphasize developments characteristic of the earlier medieval period. As such the concept overlaps with Late Antiquity, following the decline of the Western Roman Empire, and precedes the High Middle Ages.
Arab Christians are Arabs of the Christian faith. Many are descended from ancient Arab Christian clans that did not convert to Islam, such as the Sabaean tribes of Yemen who settled in Transjordan and Syria, as well as Arabized Christians, such as Melkites and Antiochian Greek Christians. Arab Christians, forming Greek Orthodox and Greek Catholic communities, are estimated to be 520,000–703,000 in Syria, 221,000 in Jordan, 134,130 in Israel and around 50,000 in Palestine. There is also a sizable Arab Christian Orthodox community in Lebanon and marginal communities in Iraq, Turkey and Egypt. Emigrants from Arab Christian communities make up a significant proportion of the Middle Eastern diaspora, with sizable population concentrations across the Americas, most notably in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, and the US.
The Thamūd is an ancient civilization in the Hejaz known from the 8th century BCE to near the time of Muhammad. The Thamud civilization was located in the north of the peninsula. Although they are thought to have originated in Southern Arabia, Arabic tradition has them moving north to settle on the slopes of Mount Athlab near Mada'in Saleh.
The Muslim conquest of the Maghreb continued the century of rapid Muslim conquests following the death of Muhammad in 632 AD and into the Byzantine-controlled territories of Northern Africa. In a series of three stages, the conquest of the Maghreb commenced in 647 and concluded in 709 with the "Byzantine" Roman Empire losing its last remaining strongholds to the then-Umayyad Caliphate.
Pre-Islamic Arabia is the Arabian Peninsula prior to the emergence of Islam in 610 CE.
The Emirate of Sicily was an emirate on the island of Sicily which existed from 831 to 1091. Its capital was Palermo.
The Teaching of Jacob, is a 7th-century Greek Christian polemical tract set in Carthage in 634 but written in Palestine sometime between 634 and 640. It supposedly records a weeks-long discussion ending on July 13, 634, among Jews who have been forcibly baptized by order of the emperor. One of them, Jacob, has come to believe sincerely in Christianity; he instructs the rest about why they should also sincerely embrace their new faith. Halfway through, a Jewish merchant named Justus arrives and challenges Jacob to a debate. In the end, all of the participants are convinced to embrace Christianity, and Jacob and Justus return east. In addition to several partial Greek manuscripts, the text survives in Latin, Arabic, Ethiopic and Slavonic translations.
The history of Islam in Sicily and Southern Italy began with the first Arab settlement in Sicily, at Mazara, which was captured in 827. The subsequent rule of Sicily and Malta started in the 10th century. Islamic rule over all Sicily began in 902, and the Emirate of Sicily lasted from 831 until 1061. Though Sicily was the primary Muslim stronghold in Italy, some temporary footholds, the most substantial of which was the port city of Bari, were established on the mainland peninsula, especially in mainland Southern Italy, though Muslim raids, mainly those of Muhammad I Abu 'l-Abbas, reached as far north as Naples, Rome and the northern region of Piedmont. The Muslim raids were part of a larger struggle for power in Italy and Europe, with Christian Byzantine, Frankish, Norman and local Italian forces also competing for control. Muslims were sometimes sought as allies by various Christian factions against other factions.
During the Early Middle Ages, Christendom largely viewed Islam as a Christological heresy and Muhammad as a false prophet. By the Late Middle Ages, Islam was more typically grouped with heathenism, and Muhammad was viewed as inspired by the devil. A more relaxed or benign view of Islam only developed in the modern period, after the Islamic empires ceased to be an acute military threat to Europe. See Orientalism.
The Tanûkhids or Tanukh were a confederation of Arab tribes, sometimes characterized as Saracens. They first rose to prominence in northern Arabia and south of Syria in the 3rd century BC. Both Lakhmid and Tanukhid inscriptions have been found at Umm el-Jimal in Jordan and Namara in Syria. The ancient Tanukhi tribal confederation was largely taken over by several branches of the large Azd and Quda'a tribe.
During the high medieval period, the Islamic world was at its cultural peak, supplying information and ideas to Europe, via Al-Andalus, Sicily and the Crusader kingdoms in the Levant. These included Latin translations of the Greek Classics and of Arabic texts in astronomy, mathematics, science, and medicine. Other contributions included technological and scientific innovations via the Silk Road, including Chinese inventions such as paper and gunpowder.
The term Norman-Arab-Byzantine culture, Norman-Sicilian culture or, less inclusive, Norman-Arab culture, refers to the interaction of the Norman, Latin, Arab and Byzantine Greek cultures following the Norman conquest of Sicily and of Norman Africa from 1061 to around 1250. This civilization resulted from numerous exchanges in the cultural and scientific fields, based on the tolerance showed by the Normans towards the Greek-speaking populations and the Muslim settlers. As a result, Sicily under the Normans became a crossroad for the interaction between the Norman and Latin Catholic, Byzantine-Orthodox and Arab-Islamic cultures.
The Qedarite Kingdom, or Qedar, was a largely nomadic, ancient Arab tribal confederation. Described as "the most organized of the Northern Arabian tribes", at the peak of its power in the 6th century BCE it had a kingdom and controlled a vast region in Arabia.
Nuha is a deity that was worshipped among the Northern Arabian tribes in pre-Islamic Arabia. Associated with the sun, she formed part of a trinity of gods, along with Ruda and Atarsamain. In Southern Arabia, Shams was her equivalent.
Arabs in Europe are people of Arab descent living in Europe today and over the centuries. Several million Arabs are residents in Europe. The vast majority form part of what is sometimes called the "Arab diaspora", i.e. ethnic Arabs or people descended from such living outside the Arab World. Most of the Arabs in Europe today are from the Maghreb.
The region of Syria, known in modern literature as "Greater Syria", "Syria-Palestine", or the Levant, is an area located east of the Mediterranean Sea. Throughout history, the region has been controlled by numerous different peoples, including ancient Egyptians, Canaanites, Israelites, Assyria, Babylonia, the Achaemenid Empire, the ancient Macedonians, the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, the Rashidun Caliphate, the Umayyad Caliphate, the Abbasid Caliphate, the Fatimid Caliphate, the Crusaders, the Ayyubid dynasty, the Mamluk Sultanate, the Ottoman Empire, the United Kingdom and the French Third Republic.