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A Byzantine King in Jerusalem: Intellectual and Cultural Exchange in a Crusader State

posted on 2022-01-21, 00:00 authored by Joseph Baxley

In this thesis, I will lay out the case for the existence and development of an intellectual culture among the Frankish inhabitants of the First Kingdom of Jerusalem (1099-1187) which saw exchange of ideas and cultural norms between the Franks and Eastern Christian groups such as the Melkites, the Armenians, and the Syrian Orthodox. Jerusalem and the Crusader States generally have been overlooked by scholars as sites of exchange because very few texts came from the Latin East and contributed to the renaissance of the twelfth century. This study sidelines that question and instead of looking for effects of the Latin East on Europe looks instead to cultural developments within the Kingdom of Jerusalem irrespective of their effects on the broader west, arguing that there was pronounced intellectual and cultural exchange with the Christian East between Jerusalem, Byzantium, and Cairo. Last, it contains a preliminary analysis of the Frankish states in Antioch and Edessa, seeking to broaden our understanding of known intellectual exchange in Frankish Syria.

This study consists of five chapters which lay out the case in stages. The first chapter looks at cultural integration and intermarriage between the Franks, the Melkites, and the Armenians in Jerusalem. It argues that the Franks, by the middle of the twelfthcentury, were firmly embedded in the matrix of the Christian Middle East and had become more Mediterranean than European. The second chapter looks at the intellectual culture of Byzantium, Armenia, the Syrian Orthodox, and the Latin West. The goal is to ascertain how Byzantine intellectual culture affected their neighbors and the state of Latin intellectual culture by the mid-twelfth century when the Franks were at their peak. The third chapter looks at the Melkites. Their cultural links were far more Arabic than the other groups with which the Franks in Jerusalem interacted and they therefore provide the connection to Cairo. The fourth chapter looks at evidence for intellectual culture and exchange in Jerusalem in light of the previous three chapters. From them, we can see an intellectual exchange that was Latin and Byzantine in form while being Melkite and Arabic in content. In the fifth chapter, the narrative moves to Antioch and Edessa. The chapter examines Frankish relations with the Melkites, Armenians, and Syrian Orthodox, concluding that the process of integration was most advanced in this last community and that further research into the intellectual culture of Frankish Antioch should focus on them.


Date Modified


Defense Date


CIP Code

  • 30.9999

Research Director(s)

Thomas Burman

Committee Members

Alexander Beihammer Mahan Mirza Robert Goulding


  • Doctor of Philosophy

Degree Level

  • Doctoral Dissertation


  • English

Alternate Identifier


Library Record


OCLC Number


Additional Groups

  • History and Philosophy of Science
  • John J. Reilly Center for Science, Technology and Values

Program Name

  • History and Philosophy of Science

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