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Converging Claims of Sovereignty and Christian-Muslim Diplomacy: Protections for Merchants, Pilgrims, and Travellers in the Treaty of Jaffa of 588/1192


Bogdan C. Smarandache (Équipe Islam Médiéval, UMR 8167 Orient et Méditerranée, Paris)

Datum und Zeit

10. November 2022, 16:15 - 18:00 Uhr


Universität Zürich, Asien-Orient-Institut, Raum RAA E21, Rämistrasse 59, 8001 Zürich


The Treaty of Jaffa was, properly speaking, a truce (Arabic: hudna, Latin: indutiae) of limited duration, ratified by the Ayyūbid sultan Yūsuf b. Ayyūb Ṣalāḥ al-Dīn (r. 569-589/1174-1193) and Richard I Cœur de lion (r. 1189-1199) on 21 Shaʿbān 588/1 September 1192. The agreement was the culmination of lengthy negotiations that had begun during the military campaign now known as the Third Crusade (1189-1192). Most sources contemporary to the agreement agree on its intended duration of three years and eight months (in the Islamic calendar), but there are significant discrepancies concerning its terms. I will attempt a reconstruction of the agreement on the basis of a comparison of Arabic, Latin, and Old French descriptions of the agreement’s terms. I will also adapt a method tested by Claudia Römer (in Mamluk-Ottoman Transition, 2017) to point to formulaic phrases in descriptions of the agreement that might have been copied from transcripts of the truce. In addition, I will refer to one earlier extant commercial agreement and several later Mamlūk-period truce transcripts to posit the existence of terms concerning merchants in the Treaty of Jaffa. In line with the current scholarly consensus, I will show how the agreement was designed to demarcate spheres of political authority and guarantee protection for pilgrims, travellers, and merchants on an unprecedented scale. I will also argue that the agreement was innovative and influential in terms of representing a set of principles for reconciling competing claims of sovereignty by contextualizing the truce in a longer history of Christian-Muslim diplomatic protections that affected pilgrims, merchants, and travellers.


Bogdan Smarandache is a postdoctoral researcher in the Équipe Islam Médiéval of the UMR 8167 Orient et Méditerranée in Paris. He is working on a project on diplomatic protection in the medieval Mediterranean and supporting a website resource called Les mots de la paix.


Asien-Orient-Institut - Islamwissenschaft