Migration of a Cultural Concept: Arabian Knighthood and Saladin as a Model

Raja Khaleel Al-Khalili, Maen Ali Al-Maqableh


This article is a cross-cultural approach that examines the historical and literary significance of the concept of Arabian knighthood during the Crusades (1095-1292 A.D.) and especially during the period of the Islamic leader Saladin who was famous in the West for his bravery and chivalry. The concept of Arabian knighthood for Saladin embodied characteristics of bravery, chivalry, and altruism which were present in Arabic poetry. As for the West, there was a distinct definition of knighthood; however, it changed after the Crusades and the physical encounter of western fighters with the legendary Saladin. The role of knightly values that Saladin embodied in changing the Western perception of knighthood is illustrated in both the historical and literary narratives of both Islamic and Western origins.


Saladin, Knighthood, Arabic Literature, Orientalism, Culture

Full Text:



Ali, J. (1978). Tarikh ul-'Arab qubalal- Islam. History of the Arabs before Islam. Vol. 5. Beirut: Dar Al Elim.

Al Tabari, M. (1962). Tarikh Al-Rusul wa'el Ummam wa' AlMoluk. Vol. 3. Beirut:Dar Swedan.

Archer, Th. A. (1989). The Crusade of Richard I 1189-92. New York: AMS Pr. Inc.

Dradkeh, S. (1988). Studies in the History of Arabs before Islam. Amman: Dar Shereen.

Hunt, T. (1981). The emergence of the knight in France and England 1000-1200.

Forum for Modern Language Studies, 17, 2. In W. H. Jackson (Ed.) Knighthood

in the Medieval Literature. (pp.1-22). Edinburgh: Scottish Academic Press.

Ibn al-Athir. (1993). Al-Kamal fil Tarik. The Comprehensive in History. Vol. 9. Beirut: Dar Al-Fikr.

Ibn Shaddad, B. (1994). The Life of Saladin. Cairo: Al Khanj.

Ibn Munqidh, U. (1987). An Arab-Syrian Gentleman and Warrior in the Period of the Crusades. Trans. Philip K. Hitti. New Jersey: Princeton University Press.

Jubb, M. (2000). The Legend of Saladin in Western Literature and Historiography. Lewiston: The Edwin Mellen Press.

Lane-Poole, S. (1978). Saladin and the Fall of the Kingdom of Jerusalem: Heroes of the Nation. New York: AMS Press, 1978.

Lyons, M., and Jackson, D. (1982). Saladin: The Politics of the Holy War. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982.

Man, J. (2016). Saladin: The Sultan Who Vanquished the Crusade and Built an Islamic Empire. London: Transworld Publishers.

Nicholson, R. (1907). A Literary History of the Arabs. New Delhi: Kitab Bhavan.

Phillips, J. (2002). The Crusades, 1095-1197. London: Pearson.

Qurashī, A. (1986). Jamharat ash'ār al-'arab.Vol. 1. (1388). Damascus: Dar Al-Qalam.

Runciman, S. (1951). A History of the Crusades: The Kingdom of Jerusalem and the Frankish East 1100-1187. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Saunders, J. J. (1966). A History of Medieval Islam. London: Routledge.

Sayfo, O. (2017). From Kurdish sultan to Pan-Arab champion and Muslim hero: The evolution of the Saladin myth in popular Arabic culture. Journal of Popular Culture, 50, 1,pp. 65-85.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.7575/aiac.alls.v.10n.4p.118


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2010-2023 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD.

Advances in Language and Literary Studies

You may require to add the 'aiac.org.au' domain to your e-mail 'safe list’ If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox'. Otherwise, you may check your 'Spam mail' or 'junk mail' folders.