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[Manifestations de l'Ifao] :
Egypt, the Jazira and Jerusalem. Middle-Eastern Tensions and the Foundation of the Crusader States
John France (Swansea University)
The establishment of Europeans in the Middle East in the form of a patchwork of states is a puzzling phenomenon. The First Crusade was always heavily outnumbered, yet it was successful. But most of the people who participated and survived went home leaving very few settlers in the Middle East. Despite this, they expanded their tiny footholds into four states, Edessa, Antioch, Jerusalem and Tripoli. They themselves were aware of how few they were, but they attributed their success to divine intervention. Modern historians have come up with rather more worldly explanations! Prominent amongst them is the recognition that the Islamic world of the Middle East was sharply divided, with Fatimid Egypt posing a great threat to the Turkish Seljuk Empire of Baghdad, which was, however, itself in decline. This paper will examine the every serious nature of the divisions within Islam and suggest how they were overcome.