Infrastructures of Travel and Communication

Infrastructures of transport, travel, and exchange facilitated this traffic from the Latin-Christian to the Arabic-Islamic sphere. Early medieval sources feature travellers accused of being spies, and mention prices, exchange rates, problems of obtaining valid travel documents, and uncooperative local authorities as well as the lodgings of merchants.297 High and late medieval sources comment on various aspects of transport logistics, dealings with port authorities, decrees of safe-conduct for foreigners, instances of financial compensation, multi-ethnic ship crews, the sale of ships between Christians and Muslims, and passengers of different religious affiliation sharing commercial vessels.298 Sustained by professionals, controlled by authorities, and used by pilgrims, envoys, merchants, and other travellers, this infrastructure of travel carried people of various origins and religious convictions, revealing a cosmopolitan group of actors well described by the socionym ‘people of the sea’ (ahlal-bahr), employed by Ibn Sa'ld (d. 6 8 5/12 86).299

Specialists were also needed to surmount linguistic barriers. In early medieval sources, foreigners or members of ethnic and religious minorities generally fulfil the function of interpreters.300 This has led some scholars to explain all kinds of successful linguistic exchange between Latin-Christian and Islamicate societies with reference to minority intervention.301 In the Latin West, the wish to receive access to Graeco-Arabic science302 and the problems encountered by Mendicant missionaries303 seem to have given a decisive impulse to the earliest initiatives to institutionalize the teaching of Arabic in the thirteenth and fourteenth centu- ries.304 Since there is no tangible evidence for a comparable process of institutionalizing foreign-language teaching in the Arabic-Islamic world of the same period, scholars have maintained that, in the Islamic world, knowledge of foreign languages remained ‘a specialized craft belonging to the non-Muslim communities’ that was ‘marked with a stigma of social inferiority’.305 These explanations fall short in that they fail to acknowledge the many varieties of linguistic interaction as well as the increasing degree of professionalization of intersocietal communication between the Arabic-Islamic and the Latin-Christian sphere.

In the wake of the Arabic-Islamic expansion to the west, native speakers of Romance languages on the one side, different variants of Berber and Arabic on the other side, began to intermingle. On an intrasocietal level, constant interaction between different linguistic groups quickly led to the development of linguistic coping mechanisms,306 which, in the most studied case of al-Andalus, led to a large-scale process of Arabization among the Christian communities under Muslim rule.307 However, linguistic interaction did not leave Arabic unaffected. Ibn Khaldun’s (d. 808/1406) statement that Andalusian Arabic was subjected to ‘corruption’ fasad) by the languages of ‘Galicians’ and ‘Franks’ is corroborated by linguistic research.308 Since the Muslim elites of al-Andalus initially constituted a demographic minority vis-a-vis the Romance-speaking Christian and Jewish population and mainly grew numerically thanks to the conversion of this Romancespeaking population to Islam, it is highly probable that Romance idioms were widely used by Christians, Jews, converts to Islam, Berbers, and even Arab Muslims

  • 0 E.g. Hugeburc, Vita Willibaldi, ed. Holder-Egger (MGH SS in folio, 15), cap. 4, p. 95; Annales regni Francorum, ed. Pertz and Kurze (MGH SS rer. Germ. in us. schol. 6), a. 801, p. 116; Ibn Khurdadhbah, al-masalik, ed. de Goeje, pp. 153—4; Iohannis abbas, Vita Iohannis, ed. Pertz (MGH SS in folio 4), § 121, 128, pp. 371—2, 374; Ibn Hayyan, al-muqtabis III, ed. al-'Arabi, AH 288, p. 158; Ibn Hayyan, al-muqtabis VII, ed. al-Hajji, AH 360, pp. 22, 32, 64; AH 363, p. 147; al-Rashid b. al-Zubayr, al-dhakhaiir, ed. Hamidullah, pp. 48—50, trans. Hijjawi, § 69, pp. 91—3.
  • 30! Lewis, Discovery (1982/2001), p. 81; Schneider, Dolmetschen (2012), p. 116.
  • 302 cf. Hasse, ‘Conditions’ (2006), pp. 68—84; Burnett, ‘Translation’ (2007), pp. 1220—31; Burnett, Arabic (2009).
  • 303 E.g. Lupprian, Beziehungen (1981), ep. 24, pp. 162—3, on these problems.
  • 304 Altaner, ‘Sprachstudien’ (1931), pp. 113—35; Altaner, ‘Ausbildung’ (1933), pp. 233—41; Altaner, ‘Sprachkenntnisse’ (1936), pp. 83—126; Altaner, ‘Kenntnis’ (1936), pp. 437—52; Fuck, Studien (1955), pp. 1-72; Tolan, ‘Porter’ (2008), pp. 533-48.
  • 305 Lewis, Discovery (1982/2001), p. 81.
  • 306 Versteegh, ‘Origin’ (1986), pp. 337-52; Agius, Siculo Arabic (1996), pp. 359-98.
  • 307 Millet-Gerard, Chretiens (1984), pp. 49-62; Fierro, Al-Andalus (2001), pp. 13-24, esp. 16-21; Vicente, Proceso (2007). See Chapter 2.2.1.
  • 308 Ibn Khaldun, tarikh, ed. Zakkar and Shahada, vol. 1, pp. 770-1; cf. Corriente, Arabe (1992).

during the first centuries of Muslim rule. This is corroborated by sources that feature members of the Muslim elite capable of speaking or at least understanding Romance.[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] The thrust of Romance-speaking populations to the south in the course of the so-called Reconquista probably enhanced the role of Romance skills among the various Muslim populations now under Christian rule.310 Similar linguistic shifts of Arabization and successive Romanization accompanied by widely diffused bi- or multilingualism can also be traced for Sicily.311

The bi- or multilingual effects of these intrasocietal linguistic developments are not irrelevant for intersocietal communication between the Latin-Christian and the Arabic-Islamic sphere. However, they did not only contribute to the emergence of the bi- or multilingual ‘minority groups’ cherished as interpreters in an early medieval context. They provided the human resources with the appropriate linguistic skills to facilitate day-to-day communication not only within the Romance-Arabic societies of the western Mediterranean, but also in the many border regions between the Latin-Christian and the Arabic-Islamic sphere. Seen against this background, it is not surprising that early medieval sources describing Christian—Muslim encounters in the contact zones of southern France, the Iberian Peninsula, and southern Italy do not seem to consider direct communication between Christians and Muslims as abnormal.312 Latin-Christian expansionism then had the effect of acquainting a greater number of Latin Christians with Arabic and of spreading the use of Romance idioms in the Mediterranean. The sources proffer examples for captives, travellers, crusaders, etc. acquiring language skills through ‘learning by doing’ or via different methods of systematic training.313 It is thanks to this military and economic expansion in the high and late medieval period that Romance elements make up such a large percentage of the so-called ‘lingua franca’, the vehicular language attested among Muslims and Christians of the early modern Mediterranean.[6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17]

In addition to these linguistic coping mechanisms and phenomena that developed as a consequence of the interaction between Romance- and Arabic-speakers, we can witness an increasing degree of institutionalization in the field of crosslingual communication and transmission at the latest from the twelfth century onwards, most notably in the juridical sphere. Trilingual charters in Norman Sicily,3i5 bilingual treaties concluded between representatives of Latin-Christian and Arabic-Islamic polities3ifi as well as the increasing number of references to professional interpreters provide proof. Their activity, already deemed necessary in early Islamic legislation^7 is attested in Norman-Angevin Sicily,3i® the crusader principalities and their Muslim neighbours^9 the papal curiaTh0 the Iberian Peninsula,32i the Mamluk court,322 and in the texts of ‘international’ treaties between the Crown of Aragon, Italian maritime republics, and the various polities of North Africa.323 Latest from the late thirteenth century onwards, these treaties were the product of complex mechanisms intended to guarantee that a translation was correct.324 It may be emphasized that we do not only find Christians or Christian converts to Islam among these linguistic mediators, but also Muslims, e.g. scribes in the service of crusader lords,325 translators, and interpreters in the service of the Italian maritime republics^6 or Hafsid^7 and Mamluk[18] [19] [20] [21] [22] [23] [24] [25] [26] [27] [28] [29] [30] [31] [32] [33] [34] [35]28 administrations. A treaty concluded in 1421 on the part of the Hafsid ruler with Pisa and Florence suggests that the parties involved were intent on meeting the requirements of a specific service sector in which interpreters of different religious and ethnic affiliation catered to the needs of both Muslim and Christian merchants and competed

for assignments.329

All this shows that linguistic interaction between the Latin-Christian and the Arabic-Islamic sphere existed in a variety of forms, developed over the centuries, and was clearly not only dependent on non-Muslim minority intervention. A clear distinction between linguistically active Europeans and passive Muslims does not seem possible, as is to be expected in a medieval Mediterranean in which ethnic, religious, cultural, and linguistic boundaries were transgressed regularly.33°

  • [1] E.g. al-Khushani, kitab al-qudah, ed./trans. Ribera, pp. 111—12, 139 (AR), pp. 136, 171 (ES).Cf. Wasserstein, ‘Situation’ (1991), pp. 1—15; Gallego Garcia, ‘Languages’ (2003), pp. 132—3.
  • [2] Gallego Garcia, ‘Languages’ (2003), pp. 114—16; Catlos, Muslims (2014), pp. 448—51. Also seePetrus Venerabilis, Contra sectam Saracenorum, ed. Kritzeck, p. 229; Cronica del moro Rasis, ed. Catalan and de Andres, p. xi, p. 3 with ns 1—3, on Muslims involved in the Latin translation of the Quranand of Ahmad al-Razi’s historiographical work akhbar muluk al-Andalus. On the translation technique, see d’Alverny, ‘Traductions’ (1994), pp. 193—206.
  • [3] Agius, Siculo Arabic (1996), pp. 93—122; also see Bresc, Arabes (2001); Metcalfe, Muslims(2003).
  • [4] 312 Cf. Ermoldus Nigellus, Carmen in honorem Hludowici, ed. Dummler (MGH Poetae, 2), lib. 1,pp. 11—12, v. 207-49; Chronicon Salernitanum, ed. Westerbergh, § 110—11, pp. 122—3; Ibn Hayyan,al-muqtabis II-2, ed. Makki, fol. 283b, AH 266, pp. 396—7; Ibn Hayyan, al-muqtabis V, ed. Chalmetaand Corriente, fol. 80—81, AH 303, pp. 120—2.
  • [5] On Muslim captives integrating into a new social context, see Ademarus Cabannensis, Chroni-con, ed. Bourgain et al. (CCCM 129), recensiones beta et gamma, cap. III,52, p. 171; trans. Chauvinand Pon, p. 266 n. 471. On a Muslim traveller picking up Romance words, see Ibn Jubayr, rihla, s.ed., pp. 271, 275, 277—9, 283. On Muslims and Christians acquiring language skills in a crusadercontext, see Willelmus Tyrensis, Chronicon, ed. Huygens (CCCM 63A), vol. 2, lib. 18, cap. 9, p. 823;cf. Kedar, Crusade (1988), p. 82; Forey, ‘Orders’ (2002), p. 10; Caesarius of Heisterbach, Dialogus, ed.Strange, cap. IV,15, pp. 186—7; cf. Waas, Geschichte (2005), vol. 2, p. 211; Ibn Shaddad, al-nawadir,ed./trans. Barbier de Meynard (RHC hist. or. 3), pp. 121—2; Ibn Shaddad, al-nawadir, ed. al-Shayyal,p. 155; Abu Shama, al-rawdatayn, ed./trans. Barbier de Meynard (RHC hist. or. 4), p. 396; ArnoldusLubecensis, Chronica, ed. Lappenberg (MGH SS in folio 21), lib. VII, cap. 8, p. 240; Walter Map, Denugis curialum, ed. James et al., lib. I, cap. 22, pp. 66—7; cf. Lewis, Discovery (1982/2001), p. 83;Attiya, ‘Knowledge’ (1999), pp. 203—13; Friedman, Encounter (2002), pp. 117—18, 141.
  • [6] Dakhlia, Lingua (2008), pp. 16—17; Dakhlia, ‘Histoire’ (2010), pp. 22—3. Also see Aslanov,Frangais (2006), pp. 13—32; Kahane et al., Lingua (1958).
  • [7] Johns, Administration (2002), pp. 207, 297—8. On other trilingual phenomena in Sicily, seeBresc, Arabes (2001), pp. 39^7; Metcalfe, Muslims (2003), pp. 127—8, 135—7.
  • [8] Amari, Diplomi (1863); Mas Latrie, Traites, vol. 1 (1866); Amari, Ricordi (1873); Wansbrough,Documents (1961); Burns and Chevedden, Cultures (1999).
  • [9] Tyan, Histoire (1960), pp. 72, 258. 3i8 Sivo, ‘Lingue’ (1995), pp. 89—111.
  • [10] 319 Riley-Smith, ‘Officials’ (1972), pp. 15—19, 22^; Gabrieli, Historians (1984), pp. 98, 110—12,
  • [11] 134, 315; Minervini, ‘Contacts’ (1996), pp. 57—62; Bosselmann-Cyran, ‘Dolmetscher’ (1997),pp. 47-66; Jankrift, ‘Rechtsgeschafte’ (2008), pp. 477—84.
  • [12] Matthaeus Parisiensis, Chronica majora, ed. Luards, vol. 4, a. 1246, pp. 566—8; MatthaeusParisiensis, Historia Anglorum, ed. Madden, vol. 3, p. 11; Radulfus de Diceto, Opera historica, ed.Stubbs, vol. 2, pp. 25—6. Also see the Latin translations of Arabic letters in Lupprian, Beziehungen (1981).
  • [13] Siete Partidas, ed. La Real Academia de Historia, vol. 3, partida quinta, capitulo XI, ley I,p. 255, trans. Scott, vol. 4, p. 1092; cf. Echevarria, ‘Trujamanes’ (2013), pp. 73—94.
  • [14] al-Qalqashandi, subh al-a'sha, ed. Ibrahim, vol. 8, p. 123; vol. 14, pp. 70—1; cf. Wansbrough,Lingua Franca (1996), pp. 78—9; Hillenbrand, Crusades (2000), p. 333, on Baybars’ interpreter.
  • [15] Mas Latrie, Traites, vol. 1 (1866), pp. 47, 54, 64—5, 70, 85—6, 119, 124—5, 127, 132, 139, 142,147, 188—9, 192, 205, 213, 215—16, 220—1, 226—8, 236—7, 248—9, 254, 256, 284, 309, 350, 363—6,368; ibid., vol. 2 (1872), pp. 91—2.
  • [16] Konig, ‘Ubersetzungskontrolle’ (2015), pp. 470—86, on the basis of Amari, Ricordi (1873),pp. 16—17 (AR), pp. 63—5 (IT) (13.05.1290); Mas Latrie, Traites, vol. 1 (1866), pp. 85—6 (1391), p.132 (1397), pp. 215—16 (03.08.1305), pp. 220—1 (12.05.1317), pp. 236—7 (04.07.1392), pp. 248—9(1427).
  • [17] Riley-Smith, ‘Officials’ (1972), pp. 22^.
  • [18] 26 Canale, Istoria (1860), p. 352; Jehel, ‘Jews’ (1996), p. 123.
  • [19] 327 Amari, Diplomi (1863), pp. 75—6 (Arabic letter written by the interpreter Ahmad b. Tamim to
  • [20] the Pisan Lamberto del Vernaccio around 604/1207), p. 100 (treaty of654/1353): ‘fa-tarjama ’anhum
  • [21] man yuthaq ilayhi min tarajimat al-muslimin’; Mas Latrie, Traites, vol. 1 (1866), p. 220 (treaty
  • [22] between the doge of Venice and the Hafsid ruler, anno 1317): ‘Et turcimanavit cum ipsis Moagus
  • [23] Saracenus, turcimanus doane . . .’, p. 221: ‘videns et audiens hec omnia in saracenica lingua per
  • [24] Moagum, saracenum turcimanum doane, interpretatorem dicti regis et ab eodem Moago fore in
  • [25] latinum reducta . . .’; vol. 1, p. 237 (treaty between the doge of Venice and the Hafsid ruler, anno
  • [26] 1392): ‘audiens et videns hec omnia in saracenicha lingua, per trucimanum doane interpretatorem
  • [27] dicti regis, et ab eodem Morag fore in latino reducta . . .’; vol. 1, p. 249.
  • [28] 328 al-Qalqashandi, subh alasha, ed. Ibrahim, vol. 8, pp. 121, 123.
  • [29] 329 Mas Latrie, Traites, vol. 1 (1866), p. 350, § 13: ‘quod omnes interpretes teneantur servire
  • [30] omnibus mercatoribus comuniter et pariter; et quod dicti interpretes non possint recusare servicia
  • [31] alicujus mercatoris.’ Cf. the Arabic version in Amari, Diplomi (1863), p. 158: ‘an yakun jamf
  • [32] al-tarajima mushtarikin fi tarjamatihim wa-la yakhtass ahad bi-turjuman’.
  • [33] 33° Cf. Dakhlia, Lingua (2008), pp. 20, 36, 39, 89, 97.
  • [34] 331 Bulliet, Case (2004), pp. 16—39; cf. Dawson, ‘Spengler’ (1956), pp. 385-6; Daniel, Arabs
  • [35] (1975/2004), pp. 10-11, 21; Guidetti, Vivere (2007).
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