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Off the Press: How to Defeat the Saracens

Posted On July 03, 2012 | 14:50 pm | by lisaw | Permalink

Dumbarton Oaks is pleased to announce the arrival of How to Defeat the Saracens, by William of Adam (Guillelmus Ade). This is the second volume in the monograph series Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Humanities, which focuses on the Eastern Mediterranean during the Byzantine era through the prism of non-Greek texts. In line with the vision of the founders of Dumbarton Oaks, the series fosters scholarship that connects the Byzantine and medieval humanities.

The fall of Acre in 1291 inspired many schemes for crusades to recover Jerusalem and its environs. One of these proposals is How to Defeat the Saracens, written around 1317 by William of Adam, a Dominican who traveled extensively in the eastern Mediterranean, Persia, and parts of India. The treatise presents a five-pronged plan for retaking the Holy Land. In particular, it focuses on cutting off economic and military support for Egypt. William’s personal experience in the lands he describes comes through, for example, when he recollects his encounters in Persia with a captive Greek woman whose child he baptized, and in India with a lapsed Christian who said that God had abandoned him. In this volume Giles Constable provides a critical edition of the Latin text and a facing English translation. Extensive notes, produced in collaboration with other experts, guide the reader through the political, geographical, economic, military, and historical context of this fascinating work.