Current Conversations

Below are some comments sent in by visitors to the site who would like to offer opinions and ideas. Commments are reviewed and edited for content and tone and posted by date. Please join the discussion!

Click on the names below to view individual contributions to the ongoing dicscussion of the Oxford Outremer Map Project.

Dr. Andrew Buck

Dr. Suzanne Yeager

Dr. Mathias Piana

Comments from Dr. Andrew Buck, Queen Mary University of London, 6/18/2015, who proposes some thoughts on the Tizin issue:

In terms of the history of the principality of Antioch, the only Tizin which makes sense is the small(ish) settlement which sits near to Artah and ‘Imm (and is obviously the Tizin you suggest is far too north).  In some ways I would be minded to suggest that the it is just an error in positioning by the scribe, but in reality Tizin was only ever a minor site.  Claude Cahen (Syrie du Nord, pp. 153-154) mentions that it was so small that its inhabitants fled to Artah during times of crisis, and it only very sporadically appears in the sources.  Tancred achieved a victory over Ridwan here (or nearby) in 1105 (for source references, see Cahen, Syrie du Nord, p. 242; Asbridge, Creation of the Principality, pp. 57-58), in 1206, with Leon of Armenia and his son raiding Muslim territory, Al-Zahir of Aleppo sent forces from Tizin to attack the Armenians (Kemal ed-Din (Ibn al-Adim), ‘L’histoire d’Alep’, trans. E. Blochet in Revue de l’Orient Latin 5 (1897), pp. 42-43), and in 1283 it was mentioned in the treaty made between Qalawun and the Latin Kingdom (see Holt, Early Mamluk Diplomacy, p. 77).  Regardless of the geographical anomaly of this map, though, Tizin was never really of the kind of military/political importance that would surely necessitate its inclusion, whereas the Tizin Dussaud claims is to the west of Homs is never mentioned in the primary sources (and is not recognised by Cahen – something I find significant).

What is strange is that the positioning of this fortress on the map (just to the north of Tortosa) suggests that it is meant to refer to Marqab/Margat.  This was basically the only major castle (with the exception of Belda/Balda) on this stretch of coastline still in Frankish hands (having been fully sold to the Hospitallers by Bertrand Masoir in 1187 – not 1186 as you state elsewhere on the map: on this see Mayer, Varia Antiochena, p. 182) with the port cities of Latakia and Jabala having been lost to Saladin in 1188.

Interestingly (or not), we also know of a site within the Marqab lordship called Andesin/Anedesin (see Cahen, Syrie du Nord, pp. 176, 525) which is feasibly close enough in sound to Tizin and, given that it was handed to the Hospitallers along with Marqab in 1187 (see the charter in Delaville le Roulx, Cartulaire General, pp. 491-496) it was probably still in Military Order hands at the time of the map’s creation.  It is quite possible that Anedesin was some form of stopping off point along the coast (albeit one not as important as Marqab) given that neither Latakia or Jabala were open to Frankish ships, hence it would warrant inclusion.  There were quite a few small-ish ports along the Syrian coast which may have acted as stopping points for shipping (to gain water etc.), which Tasha Vorderstrasse (see her book on al-Mina) and Balazs Major (see his PhD thesis called ‘Medieval Rural Settlements in the Syrian Coastal Region (12th and 13th Centuries)’/his forthcoming book) have so far demonstrated.  That being said, we have no idea where Andesin was or if it ever had a castle (although many of northern Syria’s fortresses/sites are now quite unknown to us).

A true conundrum!

Notes from Nicholas Paul, 6/19/2015: Thank you so much for all of these fantastic comments! The Andesin site you mention sounds like a good contender. We don’t make any claims to this in our essays here, but given the preponderance of sites associated with the military orders, it seems possible that Matthew Paris may have been receiving information from them or someone close to them, so a lesser known Hospitaller site is certainly possible.

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Comments from Dr. Suzanne Yeager, Fordham Univeristy, 6/11/2015:

1) Regarding Sebaste and Neapolis: Sebaste is actually north of Neapolis, not south of it (as the Oxford Outremer map says); but it looks as if Paris had a means to double-check (or cared about accuracy) — as this might explain the notational “ibid” — perhaps he meant “invert”?
2) Concerning Ortus Abraham: near Mt, Quarentene, near Jordan — by at least 1104 (Saewulf mentions it) pilgrims making the trip from Jerusalem to Jordan would often spend the night, so fortified / defended camp was established there, called “Abraham’s Garden”.  Saewulf says good access to Quarantana/ Mount of Temptation from there as well.

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On June 20th and on June 29th of 2015, Dr. Mathias Piana sent us a series of corrections and emendations, from which the following notes have been extracted:

Rochetaillee: There is in fact no known fortification around the mouth of the Nahr al-Fāliq/Nahal Poleg. However, if it would have been located nearer to Chastel Pèlerin then it could be identified with the fortification of Le Destroit (Arab. Khirbat Dustray), also called “Petra Incisa” which is nothing but the Latin translation of “roche taillée”. Although the castle was destroyed and abandoned in 1220, at a time when the nearby Chastel Pèlerin was built, it may have been kept in memory as the predecessor of the latter and as one of the earliest Templar fortifications in Palestine.

South of Damas: the label there should be read “Sim[u]l[ac]r[um] Sardenajj” which refers to the famous icon of Virgin Mary of the monastery of Our Lady of Sardenay (see further Pringle, Churches II, 219-221). The label is misplaced as the monastery is located north of Damascus.

Tisin: this may in fact not have been the Tīzīn described by Ibn Battuta as being located northwest of Aleppo. It is not identified with certainty but fairly well located: Dussaud, Topographie historique de la Syrie antique et médiévale, Paris 1927, 225-227. During the thirteenth century, however, the area was in Muslim hands. On the other hand, I do not think that it was Andesin which was merely a casale, neither on the coast nor fortified. A better candidate would be Ericium (Arab. Ḥuraiṣūn) which is on the coast and which was fortified and in Crusader hands during the thirteenth century. Phonetically, however, it is less close to Tisin than Andesin.

Anne: “Anne” is certainly misplaced here, as the only fortification which fits topographically is Khirbat Rushmiyya on the Carmel ridge. There is, however, no known relation with St. Anne. During the twelfth century there was a tradition that Anne was born in Saffūriyya/Sephorie (see below) and where there is a Crusader church dedicated to her and a fortification. The place lies more or less on the same latitude, albeit 30 km east of the coast.

Putea[us] aqu[arum] vive[n]tiu[m]: “pute[us] aqu[arum] viue[n]tiu[m]”, which is the correct reading: it is clear that this is the source of Rās al-‘Ayn (Crus. Rasalame, Rasalaine etc.) south of Tyre which, according to William of Tyre (Chronicon, XIII 3) who quotes Solomon’s Canticles here, was called “fons hortorum, puteus aquarum viventium”.

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