An intriguing examination of the extraordinary–and little known meeting between St. Francis of Assisi and Islamic leader Sultan Malik Al-Kamil that has strong resonance in today's divided world.
For many of us, St. Francis of Assisi is known as a poor monk and a lover of animals. However, these images are sadly incomplete, because they ignore an equally important and more challenging aspect of his life -- his unwavering commitment to seeking peace. In The Saint and the Sultan , Paul Moses recovers Francis' s message of peace through the largely forgotten story of his daring mission to end the crusades.
In 1219, as the Fifth Crusade was being fought, Francis crossed enemy lines to gain an audience with Malik al-Kamil, the Sultan of Egypt. The two talked of war and peace and faith and when Francis returned home, he proposed that his Order of the Friars Minor live peaceably among the followers of Islam–a revolutionary call at a moment when Christendom pinned its hopes for converting Muslims on the battlefield.
The Saint and the Sultan captures the lives of St. Francis and Sultan al-Kamil and illuminates the political intrigue and religious fervor of their time. In the process, it reveals a startlingly timely story of interfaith conflict, war, and the search for peace. More than simply a dramatic adventure, though it does not lack for colorful saints and sinners, loyalty and betrayal, and thrilling Crusade narrative, The Saint and the Sultan brings to life an episode of deep relevance for all who seek to find peace between the West and the Islamic world.
Winner of the 2010 Catholic Press Association Book Award for History
From the Hardcover edition.
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|Title of History eBook: The Saint and the Sultan|
|Release Date: 09-29-2009|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group|
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The Saint and the Sultan
The Road to Damietta
Outfitted to Kill
The young man who would one day be known as Saint Francis of Assisi was clad in armor and mounted on a warhorse. It is a difficult image to imagine. Artists have long shied away from putting a lance in hands better known for caressing birds. But as the extravagant son of one of his city’s wealthiest merchants, Francis would have bedecked himself for battle in the finest style of the day as Assisi prepared to war with Perugia, its hated neighbor to the west. The city’s increasingly powerful merchants had risen up against the local noblemen who often stood in their way, driving them to seek refuge in Perugia. It was now up to the merchants and their sons to defend the city against the belligerent Perugians, who were eager to use the dispute as an excuse to go to war with weaker Assisi.
On that day in November 1202 when Pietro di Bernardone’s son mounted his steed and bade farewell to the women of Assisi, there could be little trace of the poverty he would later embody. Francis would have worn the coat of chain mail known as a hauberk as well as the chain hood, gauntlets, and leggings. (The plated armor that would later symbolize the era of chivalry was not yet in use at the start of the thirteenth century.) Since Francis dealt in fine fabrics in his father’s business and was very fond of fashion and chivalry, it is sure that he was arrayed to be the very image of knighthood, wearing a striking tunic of the best fabric over his armor.
More to the point, he was outfitted to kill.
Shops were closed and bells rang out as the troops paraded through the center of Assisi and out beyond the fortified ...