In addition to the growing list of important people and places, our Fordham team is continuing to expand the following glossary of terms. This terminology is vital to fully understanding the text of the Siège d’Antioche for modern readers. Words such as Saracen may seem obscure, as they have passed out of modern usage, and this list will help users to unpack such strange terms. However, it is equally important that readers consult this list in order to understand what is meant by terms that may seem self-explanatory at face value. Phrases such as “the French,” had largely different meanings for the medieval audience that this work was intended for and it is critical that readers grasp this.
The Fordham team will continue to build upon this glossary of terms in order to help new readers understand the Siège d’Antioche with all of its richness and complexity.
Franceis (French) – A much larger group than the subjects of the king of France. Though France existed as a political entity at the time of the First Crusade (and grew significantly in power and geographical scope in the subsequent centuries), contemporaries often used the word “French” to denote the people who shared the language and culture of the inhabitants of the area around Paris. Many of these culturally French people dwelt beyond the borders of modern France. In the Eastern Mediterranean, “Frank” became a synonym for any western Christians, regardless of their precise geographic or cultural roots.
Paen (Pagans) – A pejorative name for Muslims. Although Islam is a monotheistic faith, medieval Christians often depicted Muslims as polytheists.
Sarazin (Saracens) – A western name for Arabic peoples, often synonymous with Muslims in general.