By Hussein Fancy
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Additional resources for The Mercenary Mediterranean: Sovereignty, Religion, and Violence in the Medieval Crown of Aragon
Their involvement etymologies and etiologies 29 in the succession crisis following the death of al-Ḥakam II led to a civil war ( fitna), the bloody sack of Cordoba—which had actively resisted the Berber candidate—in 1013, and ultimately, the downfall of the Umayyad Caliphate in al-Andalus. It is worth underscoring, again, that Ibn Khaldūn’s version of these events is refracted through the prism of the politics of fourteenth-century North Africa, a period and region with a strong identification with the Berber past.
Chapter 3 traces earlier ways of accounting for the alliance between the jenets and the Aragonese kings: rational pragmatism and cultural accommodation, both of which suggest that something other than religious belief united these figures. In contrast to these views, it contends that the Aragonese kings’ alliance with jenets can be fully understood only within their political and theological claims to be the heirs to the Holy Roman emperors. The employment of the jenets drew upon the spectacular tradition of cameral servitude at the court of Frederick II, in which both Jews and Muslims were simultaneously spoken of in exceptional terms, as privileged agents and slaves of the emperor.
And it thus might make sense to leap to the conclusion, as Giménez Soler did in 1905, that the jenets were Zanāta Berbers. There are at least two problems with this leap. First, as noted earlier, to say that the jenets were Zanāta Berbers—a broad ethnic group—reveals little. Second, given the wide-ranging path of the term jenet, one must ask: by the time the word reached the Archive of the Crown of Aragon, had it already swung out of orbit, coming to signify the light style of riding over the ethnicity of the rider?
The Mercenary Mediterranean: Sovereignty, Religion, and Violence in the Medieval Crown of Aragon by Hussein Fancy