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Etymologies and Etiologies

Etymologies and Etiologies

(p.16) Chapter One Etymologies and Etiologies
The Mercenary Mediterranean
Hussein Fancy
University of Chicago Press

This chapter begins with a seemingly simply question: Who were the jenets? It argues that only a comparative study of Latin, Romance, and Arabic sources can reveal the origin and source of the cavalry soldiers whom the Aragonese kings called the jenets. Indeed, rather than among freewheeling soldiers-for-hire, the Crown of Aragon recruited its jenets from a motley band of North Africa holy warriors, known as al-Ghuzāh al-Mujāhidūn, under the command of exiled Marīnid princes. This fact raises the questions that frames the remainder of the book: How and why did the Aragonese kings rely on soldiers who had and would again threaten their lands to serve in their armies and, more stunningly, as their personal protectors? What was the logic that bound Christian kings and Muslim holy warriors?

Keywords:   Latin, Arabic, romance, military, cavalry, Marinids, Holy War, Jihad

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