View Full Version : Did any European Crusaders come home from the Middle East with Middle Eastern wives?

10-28-2019, 04:00 AM
I was curious if any European Crusaders returned to their native countries with Middle Eastern wives. Does anyone know of any historical sources or documentation that mention any Crusaders bringing Middle Eastern wives back to their home country? Seems like I read in a book years ago, that the Armenians during the Crusades, or most of them, were Christians. So, if a Crusader brought home an Armenian wife that was a Christian, seems like there wouldn't be an insurmountable religious barrier.

In either the same or another book, I also read about instances where some Muslims in the areas the Crusaders were at converted to Christianity. So, here again, if an Arab woman converted to Christianity, it seems like there wouldn't be an insurmountable religious barrier either.

Now, if the countrymen of a theoretical Crusader who had an Arab or other Middle Eastern wife, would be prejudiced against her because of her ethnicity, even if she was a Christian, I don't know.

Also, is there any historical documentation for the transferring to Europe of any large groups of Middle Easterners during the Crusades or later Medieval times? It has been years since I read this, but seems like I read in another book that there was a sizable group (maybe 400?) of Middle Easterners (maybe only, or mainly men) that were relocated to some place in France in the 14th or 15th Century A. D. Has anybody read anything about that? Thanks for any help on these questions.

Kind Regards

C J Wyatt III
10-28-2019, 05:12 AM
Interesting questions which I don't know the answer to. I feel sure though that the Crusaders left a bunch of babies in their trail.

11-09-2019, 09:53 PM
I suppose the Venetians and other "Frankish" crusaders would have intermarried with the Byzantine population when the Crusaders sacked constantinople and set up the Latin Empire. Though I imagine the sack, and forced coversion to Roman Catholicism would have created some antipathy. "Better a Sultan's turban, then a pope's hat." Im paraphrasing that expression.

11-10-2019, 03:54 PM
A Transient Pulse of Genetic Admixture from the Crusaders in the Near East Identified from Ancient Genome Sequences (https://www.cell.com/ajhg/supplemental/S0002-9297(19)30111-9)
by Marc Haber, Claude Doumet-Serhal, Christiana L. Scheib, Holger Schutkowski, Toomas Kivisild, Chris Tyler-Smith

During the medieval period, hundreds of thousands of Europeans migrated to the Near East to take part in the Crusades, and many of them settled in the newly established Christian states along the Eastern Mediterranean coast. Here, we present a genetic snapshot of these events and their aftermath by sequencing the whole genomes of 13 individuals who lived in what is today known as Lebanon between the 3rd and 13th centuries CE. These include nine individuals from the “Crusaders’ pit” in Sidon, a mass burial in South Lebanon identified from the archaeology as the grave of Crusaders killed during a battle in the 13th century CE. We show that all of the Crusaders’ pit individuals were males; some were Western Europeans from diverse origins, some were locals (genetically indistinguishable from present-day Lebanese), and two individuals were a mixture of European and Near Eastern ancestries, providing direct evidence that the Crusaders admixed with the local population. However, these mixtures appear to have had limited genetic consequences since signals of admixture with Europeans are not significant in any Lebanese group today—in particular, Lebanese Christians are today genetically similar to local people who lived during the Roman period which preceded the Crusades by more than four centuries.

11-10-2019, 04:08 PM
Crusaders definitely married Armenian women, see:

In particular:

Arda (Armenian: Արդա; died after 1116) was the queen of the Jerusalem as the 2nd spouse of King Baldwin I of Jerusalem.
She was the daughter of a minor Armenian noble named Thathoul (or Thoros), lord of Marash.

Morphia of Melitene, or Morfia, or Moraphia (died c. 1126 or 1127) was queen of the crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem as the wife Baldwin II
Morphia was the daughter of an Armenian nobleman named Gabriel (or Khoril, in Armenian), the ruler of the city of Melitene. Although ethnically Armenian, the family practised the Greek Orthodox faith.

But I didn't notice any mention of them returning to Europe with their Eastern brides.

11-10-2019, 08:22 PM
A couple of instances from balladry are not quite as old as the crusades, but they suggest that the process happened.

In many versions of "Young Beichan," aka "Lord Bateman," after the protagonist has been freed from a wealthy Turk's prison by the daughter of the house, she waits seven years, then sails to join him in Northumberland. She arrives just in time to prevent his marriage to a substantially less interesting (and less wealthy) English girl.

In the Russian ballad about Sten'ka Razin (sort of the model for my forum name -- though I had to spell it differently, to use it for sniping on eBay), the Cossack protagonist is returning from one of his Caspian Sea adventures, part of the shipboard treasure being a lovely Persian princess. His mates suggest that he's getting soft, so with some regret he throws her into the Volga.

Other such unions, before and since, were probably more successful in terms of their genetic influence.