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p-relig-tol-msg – 12/26/04


Religious tolerance in period. The Pact of Ulmar.


NOTE: See also the files: religion-msg, pilgrimages-msg, rosaries-msg, crusades-msg, heretics-msg, indulgences-msg, monks-msg, nuns-msg, relics-msg, popes-msg.





This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.


This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.


The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.


Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).


Thank you,

   Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                         Stefan at florilegium.org



Subject: Religious Tolerance from The Daoist in the Corner

Date: Thu, 23 Dec 1999 06:51:12 -0500

From: Nicholas Malone <NicholasM at HCL-JMI.com>

To: "'SCA_Merry Rose'" <atlantia at atlantia.sca.org>


Religious tolerance is not really that new, It has been an accepted part of

attempts to live peacefully between many sects and groups. Usually it wasn't

practiced very well but occasionally it was even codified. On personal

level I can't proselytize unless asked directly. But hey if people want to

ignore truth and knowledge then more power to their ignorant bliss. Besides

it might be better to take a few extra lifetimes to reach a higher plane if

they can be blissful?


I found some info on a period attempt at tolerance:


The Pact of Umar is the body of limitations and privileges entered into by

treaty between conquering  Muslims and conquered non-Muslims. We have no

special treaty of this sort with the Jews, but we must assume that all

conquered peoples, including the Jews, had to subscribe to it. Thus the laws

cited below and directed against churches apply to synagogues too. The Pact

was probably originated about 637 by Umar I after the conquest of Christian

Syria and Palestine.


By accretions from established practices and precedents, the Pact was

extended; yet despite these additions the whole Pact was ascribed to Umar.

There are many variants of the text and scholars deny that the text as it

now stands could have come from the pen of Umar I; it is generally assumed

that its present form dates from about the ninth century.


The Pact of Umar has served to govern the relations between the Muslims and

"the people of the book," such as Jews, Christians, and the like, down to

the present day. In addition to the conditions of the Pact listed below, the

Jews, like the Christians, paid a head-tax in return for protection, and for

exemption from military service. Jews and Christians were also forbidden to

hold government office. This Pact, like much medieval legislation, was

honored more in the breach than in the observance. In general, though, the

Pact increased in stringency with the centuries and was still in force in

the 20th century in lands such as Yemen. The Pact is in Arabic.

In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate!


This is a writing to Umar from the Christians of such and such a city. When

You [Muslims] marched against us [Christians],: we asked of you protection

for ourselves, our posterity, our possessions, and our co-religionists; and

we made this stipulation with you, that we will not erect in our city or the

suburbs any new monastery, church, cell or hermitage; that we will not

repair any of such buildings that may fall into ruins, or renew those that

may be situated in the Muslim quarters of the town; that we will not refuse

the Muslims entry into our churches either by night or by day; that we will

open the gates wide to passengers and travelers; that we will receive any

Muslim traveler into our houses and give him food and lodging for three

nights; that we will not harbor any spy in our churches or houses, or

conceal any enemy of the Muslims. [At least six of these laws were taken

over from earlier Christian laws against infidels.]


That we will not teach our children the Qu'ran [some nationalist Arabs

feared the infidels would ridicule the Qu'ran; others did not want infidels

even to learn the language]; that we will not make a show of the Christian

religion nor invite any one to embrace it; that we will not prevent any of

our kinsmen from embracing Islam, if they so desire. That we will honor the

Muslims and rise up in our assemblies when they wish to take their seats;

that we will not imitate them in our dress, either in the cap, turban,

sandals, or parting of the hair; that we will not make use of their

expressions of speech, nor adopt their surnames [infidels must not use

greetings and special phrases employed only by Muslims]; that we will not

ride on saddles, or gird on swords, or take to ourselves arms or wear them,

or engrave Arabic inscriptions on our rings; that we will not sell wine

[forbidden to Muslims]; that we will shave the front of our heads; that we

will keep to our own style of dress, wherever we may be; that we will wear

girdles round our waists [infidels wore leather or cord girdles; Muslims,

cloth and silk].


That we will not display the cross upon our churches or display our crosses

or our sacred books in the streets of the Muslims, or in their

market-places; that we will strike the clappers in our churches lightly

[wooden rattles or bells summoned the people to church or synagogue]; that

we will not recite our services in a loud voice when a Muslim is present;

that we will not carry Palm branches [on Palm Sunday] or our images in

procession in the streets; that at the burial of our dead we will not chant

loudly or carry lighted candles in the streets of the Muslims or their

market places; that we will not take any slaves that have already been in

the possession of Muslims, nor spy into their houses; and that we will not

strike any Muslim.


All this we promise to observe, on behalf of ourselves and our

co-religionists, and receive protection from you in exchange; and if we

violate any of the conditions of this agreement, then we forfeit your

protection and you are at liberty to treat us as enemies and rebels.



Jacob Marcus, The Jew in the Medieval World: A Sourcebook, 315-1791, (New

York: JPS, 1938), 13-15 Later printings of this text (e.g. by Athenaeum,

1969, 1972, 1978) do not indicate that the copyright was renewed)

Back to Medieval Source Book Medieval Sourcebook: Pact of Umar, 7th Century?


The Status of Non-Muslims Under Muslim Rule


After the rapid expansion of the Muslim dominion in the 7th century, Muslim

leaders were required to work out a way of dealing with Non-Muslims, who

remained in the majority in many areas for centuries. The solution was to

develop the notion of the "dhimma", or "protected person". The Dhimmi were

required to pay an extra tax, but usually they were unmolested. This

compares well with the treatment meted out to non-Christians in Christian Europe. The Pact of Umar is supposed to have been the peace accord offered by the Caliph Umar to the Christians of Syria, a "pact" which formed the patter of later interaction. We heard from 'Abd al-Rahman ibn Ghanam [died 78/697] as follows: When Umar ibn al-Khattab, may God be  pleased with him, accorded a peace to the Christians of Syria, we wrote to him as follows:


        In the name of God, the Merciful and Compassionate. This is a letter

to the servant of God Umar [ibn al-Khattab], Commander of the Faithful, from

the Christians of such-and-such a city. When you came against us, we asked

you for safe-conduct (aman) for ourselves, our descendants, our property,

and the people of our community, and we undertook the following obligations

toward you:


*       We shall not build, in our cities or in their

neighborhood, new monasteries, Churches, convents, or monks' cells, nor

shall we repair, by day or by night, such of them as fall in ruins or are

situated in the quarters of the Muslims.


*       We shall keep our gates wide open for passersby and

travelers. We shall give board and lodging to all Muslims who pass our way

for three days.


*       We shall not give shelter in our churches or in our

dwellings to any spy, nor bide him from the Muslims.

*       We shall not teach the Qur'an to our children.

*       We shall not manifest our religion publicly nor

convert anyone to it. We shall not prevent any of our kin from entering

Islam if they wish it.

*       We shall show respect toward the Muslims, and we

shall rise from our seats when they wish to sit.

*       We shall not seek to resemble the Muslims by

imitating any of their garments, the qalansuwa, the turban, footwear, or the

parting of the hair.

*       We shall not speak as they do, nor shall we adopt their kunyas.

*       We shall not mount on saddles, nor shall we gird

swords nor bear any kind of arms nor carry them on our- persons.

*       We shall not engrave Arabic inscriptions on our seals.

*       We shall not sell fermented drinks.

*       We shall clip the fronts of our heads.

*       We shall always dress in the same way wherever we

may be, and we shall bind the zunar round our waists

*       We shall not display our crosses or our books in the

roads or markets of the Muslims. We shall use only clappers in our churches

very softly.

*       We shall not raise our voices when following our

dead. We shall not show lights on any of the roads of the Muslims or in

their markets.

*       We shall not bury our dead near the Muslims.

*       We shall not take slaves who have been allotted to Muslims.

*       We shall not build houses overtopping the houses of

the Muslims.


        (When I brought the letter to Umar, may God be pleased with him, he

added, "We shall not strike a Muslim.")


        We accept these conditions for ourselves and for the people of our

community, and in return we receive safe-conduct. If we in any way violate

these undertakings for which we ourselves stand surety, we forfeit our

covenant [dhimma], and we become liable to the penalties for contumacy and



Umar ibn al-Khittab replied: Sign what they ask, but add two clauses and

impose them in addition to those which they have undertaken. They are:

"They shall not buy anyone made prisoner by the Muslims," and "Whoever

strikes a Muslim with deliberate intent shall forfeit the protection of this

pact." from Al-Turtushi, Siraj al-Muluk, pp. 229-230.



Date: Sun, 07 Oct 2001 18:28:56 -0700

From: "Laura C. Minnick" <lcm at efn.org>

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] An Apology (was A challenge to Duke Cariadoc)


Elizabeth A Heckert wrote:

>     My understanding is that Moslems, Jews and Christian were able to

> live together peacefully for a time in Moorish Spain.  Maybe we've been

> able to re-create a *really* good part.


Sicily also- especially during the reign of Frederick II who was

particularly 'flexible', around 1200. He's the one who got in trouble

with most of the Western World for going on crusade and then making

treaty with the Saracens instead of simply killing lots of them. If I

was going to start over in the SCA I might consider a persona in 13th c

Sicily... or Merovingian France... or late 12th c Outremer...


*sigh* So litle time, so many personae...





Date: Mon, 08 Oct 2001 07:32:57 -0400

From: Philip & Susan Troy <troy at asan.com>

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] An Apology (was A challenge to Duke Cariadoc)


Stefan li Rous wrote:

> The catch is the "for a time". There were other places where the three

> lived together peaceably for a period of time. Unfortunately, these

> periods didn't always last long. Sometimes it was the Moslems that

> broke things up, more usual the Christians. Palestine was another place

> where the three religions lived more or less peacefully together for

> a while. However, one religion was always supreme and making the rules.

> The Moslems just seemed to be a bit more tolerant of others than the

> Christians. However, until the late Roman period, the Romans did a

> much better job of this than any of the other religions mentioned here.


Oh, yeah, big time. The Romans were interested in keeping the peace, collecting their tax money, and building whatever they needed to integrate a place into their Empire. While they would build temples for their own use and invite the locals to practice their faith, they had little or no interest in forcing their religious beliefs on others, for the most part. I will always remember the first time I encountered Jesus as a theoretically historical figure as seen through the eyes of Rome. "We have here a race of notoriously argumentative troublemakers, and they're complaining about this guy who is so much of a troublemaker that even _they_ can't stand him. Better be on the safe side and execute him; we can fit him in on Friday. Oh, look, now that he's been executed he's _still_ posing a threat to our authority. Better execute his followers, too."


It's interesting to note that both the Roman religion and, as far as I

know, Judaism, contain no strictly built-in imperative to, um, propagate

the faith, while Christianity and Islam do. At least I'm assuming Islam






From: "Siegfried Heydrich" <baronsig at peganet.com>

To: <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

Subject:  [Sca-cooks] Roman tolerance (was: An Apology)

Date: Mon, 8 Oct 2001 08:46:21 -0400


    What got the christians in trouble was first, they refused to

acknowledge social conventions. In their secret 'love feasts', patrician

would mingle with plebian or even slave. This was NOT done in polite

society, or even impolite society! The fact that these were secret rites

just fanned the flames of prurient speculation, and made people really

suspicious of them right off the bat. It was widely speculated that they

were engaging in cannibalistic practices. After all, why else would you have

your ritual dinners in secret?


    Second, they refused to offer sacrifices to the state gods. Remember,

back then religion was simply one arm of the state. Nobody else had any

problems sacrificing; when the jews got upset about it, the Romans

accommodated them by allowing them to sacrifice by proxy. You could pay

someone to make a token sacrifice in your name, and by doing so, you

indicated your submission to the state.


    The christians refused to do even this, indicating that they refused to

submit to the authority of the state, thus placing themselves in a really

unpleasant position. Almost all martyrs could have avoided death by simply

tossing a small cake onto an altar fire. In fact, the Romans really DIDN'T

want to kill most of them, at least in the early days. They were brought in,

it was explained to them what was expected of them, and what would happen to

them if they refused to comply. I very strongly suspect that the majority

did the sensible thing, and didn't try to make a grand statement.


    The fanaticism of these martyrs was another factor in the persecutions -

they were that era's version of suicide bombers. People who were so opposed

to the state that they were willing to die rather than submit. The Romans

could NOT allow this sort of challenge to go unanswered, and the roman

answer was generally to send them to the circus to provide an object lesson

to the populace of what would happen those who defied the state.


    The more fanatical the christians got, the more determined the Romans

were to suppress this cult. The Romans were amazingly tolerant of religions

in general - they even had a shrine in the Pantheon dedicated to the gods

that didn't have a shrine, just to make sure they had all their bets

covered. But they could in no way allow their authority to be superceded by

that of some resurrected jew whom they had executed for felony






From: "Mark S. Harris" <stefanlirous at austin.rr.com>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Question on persona, name, ect.

Date: Fri, 15 Oct 2004 06:30:46 GMT


Arval <arval at mittle.users.panix.com> wrote:

> Silvina <silvina at allegiance.tv> wrote:


> > How about a persona that has somewhat of a "split personality"?  My

> > persona is an 1100's Italian merchant/merchant's wife and has been

> > adopted by a Turkish corsair/merchant as his sister since he has no

> > heirs.  Upon adoption he gave me a turkish name...


> I don't know how historically likely that particular scenario is, but

> the underlying notion that a person who interacted with both Christian

> and Muslim cultures would be known by different names in each culture

> is probably sound: We have evidence of just that thing in medieval

> Iberia.

> ===========================================================================

> Arval                                          arval at mittle.users.panix.com


We do? Interesting. More info please, Arval. And examples if you have






THLord Stefan li Rous    Barony of Bryn Gwlad    Kingdom of Ansteorra

   Mark S. Harris           Austin, Texas          StefanliRous at austin.rr.com



From: Arval <arval at mittle.users.panix.com>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Question on persona, name, ect.

Date: Fri, 15 Oct 2004 13:41:39 +0000 (UTC)


> > I don't know how historically likely that particular scenario is, but

> > the underlying notion that a person who interacted with both Christian

> > and Muslim cultures would be known by different names in each culture

> > is probably sound: We have evidence of just that thing in medieval

> > Iberia.


> We do? Interesting. More info please, Arval. And examples if you have

> them.


There are a few examples in http://www.s-gabriel.org/1523


Arval                                          arval at mittle.users.panix.com


<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org