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Sovereigns and Slaves

Sovereigns and Slaves

(p.53) Chapter Three Sovereigns and Slaves
The Mercenary Mediterranean
Hussein Fancy
University of Chicago Press

If crisis first linked the Aragonese kings to the Muslim jenets, then this chapter asks what logic united these figures over the century that followed. It traces earlier ways of accounting for the alliance between the jenets and the Aragonese kings: rational pragmatism and cultural accommodation, both of which suggest that something other than religious belief united these figures. In contrast to these views, this chapter contends that the Aragonese kings’ alliance with jenets can only be fully understood within their entwined political and theological claims to be the heirs to the Holy Roman Emperors. The employment of the jenets drew upon the spectacular tradition of cameral servitude at the court of Frederick II, in which both Jews and Muslims were simultaneously spoken of in exceptional terms, as both privileged agents and as slaves of the emperor.

Keywords:   Pragmatism, culture, religion, Holy Roman Emperors, Frederick II, Sicily, cameral servitude, slaves, political theology

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