Dr. Kelly R. DeVries
October 30, 2014
Memoirs of Usamah Ibn Munqidh
Usamah Ibn Munqidh was a Muslim knight, author, and diplomat from the Banu Munqidh dynasty of Shaizar in Northern Syria. He spent most of his later life in Damascus, but had traveled extensively in Syria, Palestine, and Egypt. He lived during the arrival of the first crusade and the establishment of the crusader states. He wrote his memoirs as a collection of anecdotes drawn from his personal experiences for the purpose of ethical instruction. His memoirs provide insight into life in the crusader states and Muslim territories. In addition, they describe the attitudes and prejudices between crusaders and Muslims.
Usamah Ibn Munqidh is consistently outspoken about his feelings toward the people of the crusader states, also known as the Franks. He firmly believes that the Franks have none of the true characteristics of men, except bravery. However, he does have respect for the Frankish knights; “The knights are really the only men who count among them.” (Allen.108) He rationalizes these opinions by stating that the knights were the only men considered for arbiters of councils, judgments, and decisions. Usamah Ibn Munqidh then tells a personal anecdote about when his flock of sheep was taken by a…show more content… He trusted this man very much and considered their bonds of friendship to be very strong. During his friend’s trip to Antioch, the Muslim man had refused to eat the Frankish food within the knight’s house. He feared there would be pork involved in the meal. Eventually, the Muslim man was convinced to trust the Frankish knight, and he ate with them. Days later, the Muslim man was walking through a marketplace and a Frankish woman attached herself to him. She began “uttering barbarous cries in her language” that the Muslim man could not understand. He recalls the