This study posits that settlers from a range of different language groups across western Europe in the wake of the First Crusade established a distinctive and coherent Latin literary tradition that both drew on and resisted Levantine Muslim, Christian, and Jewish cultures in the newly occupied territories. In so doing, the settlements of the Levant produced a hybrid Latin literature--a "Levantine Latinity"--distinct from that in Europe. This argument relies on an analysis of the literary and rhetorical techniques employed in these sources, combined with intellectual-historical methods that contextualize authors and their works and examine the literary communities addressed and shaped by them.
This book traces the history of Christian engagement with Islam and its prophet Muhammad through a selection of Latin texts with facing English translation, ranging from ninth-century Spain to fourteenth-century Italy. The prose, verse, and epistolary texts in Medieval Latin Lives of Muhammad help trace the persistence of old clichés as well as the evolution of new attitudes toward Islam and its prophet in Western culture.
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