Infidel kings and unholy warriors : faith, power, and violence in the age of crusade and jihad / Brian A. Catlos.

  • First Edition.
  • New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2014
Physical description
xvii, 390 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm
  • 9780809058372 (hardback)
  • 9780374712051 (ebook)
  • Includes bibliographical references and index.
  • The Mediterranean world -- The (Jewish) man who would be king. An ornament, tarnished ; the rules of the game -- A Christian sultan in the age of "The reconquest." The Cid rides again ; Rodrigo Díaz, Taifa King of Valencia -- Kings of Sicily, kings of Africa. A Norman conquest ; Don't ask, don't tell -- Infidel rules of a heretical caliphate. After the Messiah ; Traitors and spies -- Ambition, opportunism, and the end of an era. A heavenly kingdom? ; Jerusalem restored -- The decline and fall of the Roman empire -- Holy war, a user's manual.
Related item
  • History.
  • Illustrated
  • text
  • English


  • "An in-depth portrait of the Crusades-era Mediterranean world, and a new understanding of the forces that shaped it. In Infidel Kings and Unholy Warriors, the award-winning scholar Brian Catlos puts us on the ground in the Mediterranean world of 1050-1200. We experience the sights and sounds of the region just as enlightened Islamic empires and primitive Christendom began to contest it. We learn about the siege tactics, theological disputes, and poetry of this enthralling time. And we see that people of different faiths coexisted far more frequently than we are commonly told. Catlos's meticulous reconstruction of the era allows him to stunningly overturn our most basic assumption about it: that it was defined by religious extremism. He brings to light many figures who were accepted as rulers by their ostensible foes. Samuel B. Naghrilla, a self-proclaimed Jewish messiah, became the force behind Muslim Granada. Bahram Pahlavuni, an Armenian Christian, wielded power in an Islamic caliphate. And Philip of Mahdia, a Muslim eunuch, rose to admiral in the service of Roger II, the Christian "King of Africa." What their lives reveal is that, then as now, politics were driven by a mix of self-interest, personality, and ideology. Catlos draws a similar lesson from his stirring chapters on the early Crusades, arguing that the notions of crusade and jihad were not causes of war but justifications. He imparts a crucial insight: the violence of the past cannot be blamed primarily on religion"--

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Location of copy Shelfmark Online location Holdings Notes
Aberystwyth University Library: Hugh Owen: Level F DE94.C3
University of Cambridge Libraries Cover image Online location
University of Cambridge Libraries: University Library: North Front, Floor 4 532:4.c.201.26
Durham University Library: Bill Bryson Library, Level 1 909.07 CAT
University of Exeter Library: Forum Library 909.07 CAT
University of Glasgow Library: University Library Level 8 History BG450 CAT
LSE Library: Course collection books DE94
University of Manchester Library: Main Library: Blue Area Floor 3 940.4
University of Oxford Libraries: Bodleian Library
University of Oxford Libraries: Islamic Studies Library DE80. CAT
University of Oxford Libraries: Somerville College Library 940.471 148