Start Date

9-4-2021 9:00 AM

End Date

9-4-2021 10:15 AM

Disciplines

History

Subjects

Normans -- Italy -- Sicily -- History, Cultural pluralism -- Italy -- Sicily -- History -- To 1500, Mediterranean Region -- Relations -- Italy -- Sicily, Sicily (Italy) -- History -- 1016-1194, Islam -- Relations -- Christianity

Description

As the geographic and cultural crossroads of the Mediterranean, the island of Sicily represents the product of conflict and cooperation over the course of centuries. One particularly important shift in the island’s history was the Norman invasion of Sicily in 1061 CE, in which the Catholic Normans from France took over the island from the Muslim Arabs. Through this change in state religion, Norman Sicily highlighted the interaction between Christianity and Islam. Beyond the island of Sicily, this period saw the two religions pitted against one another throughout Medieval Christendom. In contrast, this paper argues that although the Normans imposed their own Christian culture and administration in Sicily after 1061, Norman rulers actually embraced many elements of Arabic culture because they prioritized economic prosperity over religion. Therefore, levels of religious tolerance towards Muslims depended on economic utility to the crown, fueling both conflict and cooperation between the two religions. This concept is apparent in the high levels of cultural exchange between Norman rulers and elite Muslims, the poor treatment of lower-class Muslims by the Norman Kings, and the basis of interreligious cohabitation in the lower classes apart from conflicts caused by the Normans.

PART OF SESSION 1A. CHRISTIANS AND MUSLIMS:

Comment: Jeanette Fregulia, Carroll College
Chair: Ellen Kittell, University of Idaho

Francesca M. Duncan, University of Portland, undergraduate student
“A Collaborative Crusade: Economic Incentives for Religious Tolerance in Sicily, 1061–1189”

John Franzwa, Western Oregon University, undergraduate student
“The Space Between Love and Hate: Coexistence During Convivencia”

James M. Masnov, Portland State University, graduate student
“Religious Freedom Matters, At Home and Abroad: Thomas Jefferson in Paris in the 1780s”

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Persistent Identifier

https://archives.pdx.edu/ds/psu/35224

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Apr 9th, 9:00 AM Apr 9th, 10:15 AM

A Collaborative Crusade: Economic Incentives for Religious Tolerance in Sicily, 1061–1189

As the geographic and cultural crossroads of the Mediterranean, the island of Sicily represents the product of conflict and cooperation over the course of centuries. One particularly important shift in the island’s history was the Norman invasion of Sicily in 1061 CE, in which the Catholic Normans from France took over the island from the Muslim Arabs. Through this change in state religion, Norman Sicily highlighted the interaction between Christianity and Islam. Beyond the island of Sicily, this period saw the two religions pitted against one another throughout Medieval Christendom. In contrast, this paper argues that although the Normans imposed their own Christian culture and administration in Sicily after 1061, Norman rulers actually embraced many elements of Arabic culture because they prioritized economic prosperity over religion. Therefore, levels of religious tolerance towards Muslims depended on economic utility to the crown, fueling both conflict and cooperation between the two religions. This concept is apparent in the high levels of cultural exchange between Norman rulers and elite Muslims, the poor treatment of lower-class Muslims by the Norman Kings, and the basis of interreligious cohabitation in the lower classes apart from conflicts caused by the Normans.

PART OF SESSION 1A. CHRISTIANS AND MUSLIMS:

Comment: Jeanette Fregulia, Carroll College
Chair: Ellen Kittell, University of Idaho

Francesca M. Duncan, University of Portland, undergraduate student
“A Collaborative Crusade: Economic Incentives for Religious Tolerance in Sicily, 1061–1189”

John Franzwa, Western Oregon University, undergraduate student
“The Space Between Love and Hate: Coexistence During Convivencia”

James M. Masnov, Portland State University, graduate student
“Religious Freedom Matters, At Home and Abroad: Thomas Jefferson in Paris in the 1780s”