View Single Post
Old 03-08-2014, 09:55 PM   #267
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Inactive
Posts: 36,483
Likes: 237 (190 Posts)
Arrow King of Tars

Saracen was a generic term for Muslims widely used in Europe during the later medieval era. The term's meaning evolved during its history. In the early centuries CE in Greek and Latin it referred to a people who lived in desert areas in and near the Roman province of Arabia, and who were specifically distinguished from Arabs.. In Europe during the Early Medieval era, the term began to be used to describe Arab tribes as well.. By the 12th century, "Saracen" had become synonymous with "Muslim" in Medieval Latin literature. This expansion of the meaning had begun centuries earlier among the Byzantine Greeks, as evidenced in Byzantine Greek documents from the 8th century.. In the Western languages before the 16th century, the words "Muslim" and "Islam" were not used (with a few isolated exceptions), and instead "Saracen" was in common use..

Beginning no later than the early 5th century, Christian writers came to equate Saracens with Arabs, which in turn linked Saracens with Ishmaelites (descendants of Abraham’s older son Ishmael) in some strands of Jewish, Christian, and Islamic genealogical thinking. The writings of Jerome (d. 420) seem to contain the earliest versions of the claim that Ishmaelites chose to be called Saracens in order to associate themselves with Abraham’s “free” wife Sarah, rather than to use the name Hagarenes, which would highlight their association with Abraham’s “slave woman” Hagar..This claim remained popular throughout the Middle Ages, but derives more from Paul’s allegory in the New Testament letter to the Galatians than from actual historical data. The name "Saracen" was not indigenous to the populations so described, but was applied to them by Greco-Roman historians based on Greek place names.

Usage of the term in the Latin West changed as the Middle Ages progressed, but its connotation remained negative and its exact definition continued to be unclear. In an 8th-century polemical work, John of Damascus criticized the Saracens as followers of a false prophet and "forerunner[s] to the Antichrist..By the 12th century, Medieval Europeans had more specific conceptions of Islam and "Saracen" had become an ethnic and religious marker.. In some Medieval literature Saracens—that is, Muslims—are black-skinned, while Christians are lighter-skinned. An example is in The King of Tars, a medieval romance..The Song of Roland, an Old French 11th century heroic poem, takes the association of black skin with Saracens a step further by
making it their only exotic feature...

Pescennius Niger (Latin: Gaius Pescennius Niger Augustus; c. 135/140 – 194) was Roman Emperor from 193 to 194 during the Year of the 5 Emperors.. He claimed the imperial throne in response to the murder of Pertinax and the elevation of Didius Julianus, but was defeated by a rival claimant, Septimius Severus, and killed while attempting to flee from Antioch..Although Niger was born into an old Italian equestrian family, around the year 135, he was the first member of his family to achieve the rank of Roman senator.. Not much is known of his early career; it is possible that he held an administrative position in Egypt, and that he served in a military campaign in Dacia early in Commodus’ reign.. During the late 180s, Niger was elected as a Suffect consul, after which Commodus made him imperial legate of Syria in 191..The name "Niger" means "black", which incidentally, contrasts him with one of his rivals for the throne in 194, Clodius Albinus, whose name means "white".. According to the notoriously unreliable Historia Augusta, his cognomen of "Niger" was given due to the fact that his neck was black..Forced to retreat to Antioch, Niger was captured while attempting to flee to Parthia.. He was beheaded, and his severed head was taken to Byzantium, but the city refused to surrender. Eventually, Severus stormed and completely destroyed Byzantium before he had it rebuilt.. Niger’s head eventually found its way to Rome where it was displayed..After his victory in the east, Severus punished all of Niger’s supporters.. He also had Niger’s wife and children put to death, while his estates were confiscated..Ever since it was first published the Historia Augusta has been known to not be particularly reliable. However as it is also the principal Latin source regarding a century of Roman history and so historians must use it...." but only with extreme circumspection and caution..Of considerable significance in this regard is the opening section of the life of Aurelian, in which 'Flavius Vopiscus' records a supposed conversation he had with the City Prefect of Rome during the festival of Hilaria in which the Prefect urges him to write as he chooses and invent what he does not know... Lord has delivered you from your trance.. Remember what we discussed, Mrs. Smith.. What is she talking about?.Shh!..You've been in a coma,Johnny.. Not a trance...Coma?..For how long?...Five years..5 long years, John..Lost for five years..And now reborn unto me..What about Sarah?.. She cleaves now unto another man..Aaahhh!- Amy - Aaahhh!..

Last edited by lightgiver; 03-08-2014 at 10:13 PM.
lightgiver is offline   Reply With Quote