Food and Clothing in Rituals of Peacemaking in Medieval Europe and the Latin East

Yvonne Friedman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter explores how food and clothing were utilised in Muslim-Christian interactions in the Latin East, both to initiate negotiations and to finalise an agreement. Diplomats on both sides received gifts of food and participated in commensal meals at the negotiating table despite restrictive Muslim dietary laws. In Muslim society, bestowing food or drink on an enemy could protect him from being killed; offering food to a conqueror could be a sign of submission but also a device to poison an enemy. Garments, on the other hand, played a lesser role in Christian-Muslim diplomacy in the Latin East. Although bestowing of a khil’a as a diplomatic tool was common in the East, the crusaders first met this practice on their arrival there. The more heavily religious connotations of investiture in the Western tradition, and the exclusive connotation of power in the Eastern one, may have prevented greater use of clothing in gestures of conciliation in the Latin East. Thus, the sharing of food and clothing by former enemies could strengthen new, peaceful ties; but, at the same time, these rituals might serve to accentuate mutual mistrust.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPeacemaking and the Restraint of Violence in High Medieval Europe
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9780429633850
ISBN (Print)9780367142568
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 selection and editorial matter, Simon Lebouteiller and Louisa Taylor.


Dive into the research topics of 'Food and Clothing in Rituals of Peacemaking in Medieval Europe and the Latin East'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this