Join us for our first colloquium of the fall as Joseph Baxley presents a chapter from his dissertation! We meet every Tuesday before Fall Break at 4 PM for coffee, snacks, and a chance to catch up before the presentation begins.
Intellectual Culture in the First Kingdom of Jerusalem
The city of Jerusalem was seized by an invading band of Europeans in 1099, an event which struck the region like a lightning bolt. The states these crusaders founded were just as improbable and odd as the event which brought them to the Middle East. They were western states surrounded by Muslim and Eastern Christian neighbors with remarkably different cultures from Catholic Europe. They possessed great potential for cultural and intellectual exchange. However, scholars currently consider them to have largely failed to live up to this potential. Instead, scholars say these states were European colonies which didn’t mix with the natives and lived in Western silos. This agreement exists despite several well known examples of intellectual engagement and patronage on the part of Latin nobles in the Crusader states. I would like to challenge this consensus through a more careful analysis of particular examples of intellectual patronage in the Latin East. What were they patronizing, were there structural incentives to engage in intellectual culture, and if so where did they come from? By answering these questions I hope to show in my dissertation that the Crusaders did mix with the natives, particularly the Eastern Christians, and that their culture became more and more eastern the longer they remained in the Middle East.
Joseph Baxley is a fourth-year HPS student in the history track, specializing in the History of Astronomy in Medieval Mediterranean and Europe and Medieval Islamic Natural Philosophy.