Conversion Anxieties in the Crown of Aragón in the Later Middle Ages
Al-Masa ̄q, Vol. 22, No. 3, December (2010)
The conversion of Christians to Islam caused significant anxiety in the Crown of Arago ́n in the later middle ages. Some of this fear was caused by genuine concern over the eternal salvation of the convert, but there were other reasons as well. This article looks at three distinct causes that served to foster and maintain this fear of conversion. First, Christian authorities sometimes purposefully used the spectre of Christians converting to Islam to galvanise support for some of their political, diplomatic, and military initiatives. Secondly, apostates posed a significant spiritual danger to those Christians who lived as minorities in Muslim regions. Finally, converts presented a danger to the Crown of Aragon from a practical and military point of view.
In the year 1311, James II (r. 1291–1327), king of the eastern Iberian kingdom of Aragon, wrote a letter to Rome where he claimed that of Muslim Granada’s 200,000 inhabitants, perhaps 500 were of Arab ancestry.