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A Mercenary Logic

A Mercenary Logic

(p.1) Introduction A Mercenary Logic
The Mercenary Mediterranean
Hussein Fancy
University of Chicago Press

This introduction argues that particular methodological and philosophical assumptions have not only obscured the history of the jenets but also Christian-Islamic interaction in the Middle Ages and beyond. With regard to methodology, scholars have typically relied either on Latin and Romance sources or Arabic sources, overlooking important connections and continuities. With regard to philosophy, across a series of seemingly opposed approaches—liberal positivism, Romantic conservatism, and cultural theory—scholars have come to the same basic assessment of the jenets or parallel figures, that they were motivated by politics rather than religion, by a rather mercenary logic. This shared conclusion reflects an enduring secular bias in the study of religious interaction. Rather than an expression of secularism, the relationship between the Aragonese kings and Muslim jenets emerged within a set of established and evolving practices and ideals in and around the medieval Mediterranean that bound emperors to religious others through a language of servitude and a tradition of military slavery.

Keywords:   liberalism, conservatism, positivism, romanticism, cultural theory, mercenaries, military slavery, secularism

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