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John Victor Tolan
Oregon State University (Corvallis, OR 97331-8655)

Fellowships for College Teachers and Independent Scholars
Research Programs

[Grant products][Prizes]

$40,000 (approved)
$40,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2005 – 9/30/2005

Francis of Assisi's Mission to al-Kâmil of Egypt in Western Art and Historiography

In September, 1219, Francis of Assisi went to Egypt to preach to Sultan al-Malik al- Kâmil. Though we in fact know very little about this event, writers from the thirteenth century to the twentieth have portrayed Francis alternatively as a new apostle preaching to the infidels, a scholastic theologian proving the truth of Christianity, a champion of the crusading ideal, a naive and quixotic wanderer, a crazed religious fanatic, or a medieval Gandhi preaching peace, love and understanding. My study of the varying depictions of this lapidary encounter will attempt to throw into relief the changing fears and hopes that Muslim- Christian encounters inspire in European writers over eight centuries.