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The Worst Men in the World

The Worst Men in the World

(p.119) Chapter Six The Worst Men in the World
The Mercenary Mediterranean
Hussein Fancy
University of Chicago Press

In this chapter, the career of one fourteenth-century jenet commander, al-‘Abbās b. Raḥḥū, whose troops were called “the worst men in the world” by an Aragonese royal official, offers an opportunity to examine the motivations of these Muslim soldiers. Al-‘Abbās and his jenets understood their service to the Aragonese king on limited terms. More precisely, they saw their service not as a transgression but rather as an extension of their commitment to the Marīnid Ghuzāh, to whom their loyalty ultimately lay and who, in turn, remained torn between loyalties to the Marīnid sultan of Morocco and the Naṣrid ruler of Granada. This fact not only forces us to reconsider the meaning and practice of jihād in medieval al-Andalus and North Africa but also underscores the thinness of the Aragonese kings’ claim to sovereignty.

Keywords:   Marinids, Nasrids, Holy Warrior, Jihad, Mujahidun, sovereignty

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