At the Gate of Christendom: Jews, Muslims and 'Pagans' in Medieval Hungary, c.1000 - c.1300

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"Modern life in increasingly heterogeneous societies has directed attention to patterns of cultural interactions. While scholars have often used the binary framework of persecution and tolerance to understand such interaction, this book argues that both exclusion and integration simultaneously characterised medieval non-Christian status. It compares the place of Jews, Muslims and nomad Cumans between 1000 and 1300 in Hungary, a kingdom on the frontier of Christendom." "A complex picture of non-Christian status emerges from the analysis of economic, social, legal, and religious positions and roles. Existence on the frontier with the nomadic world led to the formulation of a frontier ideology, and to anxiety about Hungary's detachment from Christendom. The author uses a variety of written and material evidence, including Latin charters and laws, rabbinical responses, accounts by Muslim travellers, and archaeological finds, and draws upon analogies with other areas of medieval Christendom. The study also succeeds in integrating central European history into the study of the medieval world, while challenging how the concepts of frontier societies, persecution and tolerance, ethnicity, and 'the other' are currently used in medieval studies."--BOOK JACKET.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...a fine first book from an excellent young scholar. One looks forward eagerly to the next." SPECULUM

"The book is a model for future studies of Jewish-Christian and Muslim-Christian relations in the Middle Ages." Theological Studies

"Nora Berend's book will certainly become an indispensable tool for those interested in the history of medieval Hungary, the relations between the Catholic majority and the non-Christian minorities in European countries under Rome's spiritual influence, the policy of the theocratic papacy toward the non-Catholic communities in the thirteenth century, and the specific situation in the bordering countries of the Latin Christian world." Slavic Review

"This enlightening book will be helpful for all those interested in the dynamics of ethnic identity, persecution and tolerance, and religious identification." Stephen D. Benin, Religious Studies Review

"[An] impeccably researched and beautifully organized book." American Historical Review

"Berend's research shows a fascinating variety of approaches to dealing with non-Christian minorities, and she is able to show how many factors contributed to the varying efforts to convert, exterminate, tolerate, or even incoporate these groups into Hungarian society...A good...resource for academic libraries supporting upper level history students." Catholic Library World

"Nora Berend has found a unique topic that presents a wide range of questions on religion and social identity...Berend uses an impressive array of interesting and recommendable study." Comitatus

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Product Details

Table of Contents

List of maps
List of abbreviations
Introduction 1
1 Hungary: A Frontier Society 6
Medievalists on the frontier 6
Medieval Hungary 17
Medieval Hungary on the frontier of Christendom 23
2 Christians and Non-Christians 42
Christianitas and non-Christians 42
Jews 60
Muslims 64
Cumans 68
3 The Legal Position of Hungary's Non-Christian Population 74
The legal status of Jews 74
The legal position of Muslims 84
The legal status of Cumans 87
The judicial autonomy of non-Christians 93
The Hungarian legal system and the non-Christians 101
4 Non-Christians in Hungarian Economy and Society 109
Trade 110
Financial functions and office-holding 116
Money-lending 116
'Public office': roles connected to the mint and treasury 120
Non-Christian presence in agriculture 129
Military role 140
5 Conflicts Between the Papacy and the Kings 149
'Since it is quite absurd that any who blaspheme against Christ should have power over Christians' 152
Hungary, the Gate of Christendom: birth of a frontier ideology 163
Political fragmentation and the Cumans 171
Papal and royal attitudes: the role of non-Christians in Christian society 183
6 Christian Perceptions and Attitudes 190
Christian categorization of non-Christians 190
Christian perceptions of non-Christians 195
Christian missionary efforts 210
7 Non-Christian Communities: Continuity, Transformation, Conversion and Assimilation 224
The Jews 225
The Muslims 237
The Cumans 244
Conclusion 268
App. 1 Hungarian kings of the house of Arpad 273
App. 2 Toponyms, with Latin and German equivalents 274
App. 3 The manuscript tradition of the Synod of Buda (1279) 275
Bibliography 277
Index 335
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