According to NSNoob comments on Did Hungarian Army ever use Crescent banners?

Crescent was used by Muslims since the Crusades.

Wikipedia seems to agree. For example: the article on Star and crescent says

The use of the crescent symbol (without the star) on Muslim flags is first seen by Europe during the Crusades.

Wikipedia further listed 14th century examples of flags with crescents: flags of Gabes, Tlemcen (Tilimsi), Damas and Lucania, Cairo, Mahdia, Tunis and Bud; blue ensign of Nubia/Dongola; yellow ensign of the Mamluks. But the Crusades in the Middle East was happening earlier, in 11th-13th century. Briefly looking at the major factions, seems like the Seljuk empire, the Abbasid and Fatimid caliphates and the Ayyubid sultanate don't have crescent in their banners.

Which Muslim factions included the crescent as flags/banners during the initial Crusades of the 11th-13th century? Those that included crescent-and-star are also acceptable.

  • 1
    I don't think Muslim Armies actually used heraldry of ruling dynasty in battle in that time. They only used banners for distinguishing themselves from foe which resulted in varying banners. I do believe however that Muslims used crescent against cross or bore banners containing Muslim holy texts. I will do some research to get the references in the morning if it is not answered by then – NSNoob Jun 1 '16 at 20:40
  • Ah man this is tough. All I can find are only vague references that Muslims used crescents to counter cross but those are too without any solid reference – NSNoob Jun 2 '16 at 5:57
  • Are you looking for examples of the crescent by itself, or is the crescent and star acceptable? – justCal Jun 3 '16 at 17:39
  • @user2448131 sure, crescent-and-star is fine too. Updated the question. – user69715 Jun 3 '16 at 17:48

Heraldry information on the Crescent claims(without source unfortunately):

...in some instances one can trace the introduction of the crescent in European heraldry to Crusaders returning home.

Follwing this information, I found one example of a faction recorded as present during the Siege of Damascus during the Second Crusade:

(according to Nicolle, David The Second Crusade, Osprey: London page 58:)

There was ferocious combat in the orchards and narrow roads between the Christian force and a mixture of professional troops of Damascus, the ahdath militia and Turkoman mercenaries.

also from Syrian chronicler Abu Shama(also from Nicolle book):

Despite the multitude of ahdath [militia], Turks, and common people of the town, volunteers and soldiers who had come from the provinces and had joined with them, the Muslims were overwhelmed by the enemy's numbers and were defeated by the infidels.

Both these statements confirm the presence of Turkish mercenaries fighting for Damascus. The Crescent symbol has been associated with the Turks:

In the 12th century the crescent and star were adopted by the Turks

as far back as the Gokturks :

...pre-Islamic Turkic nations such as the Göktürks used the crescent and star figure on their coins

So, with the presence of Turks at this battle, it follows that the heraldic usage of the crescent shows the encounter of that symbol during this battle at least. A good source on heraldry may be able to confirm actual nights who used this emblem , but that's probably a question all of its own!

  • So if I understand correctly, from the presence of the Turks you assumed there would be crescent heraldry. Can we assume that all Turks at the time have crescents? If yes, there were also the Seljuks who clashed with the Crusaders. – user69715 Jun 3 '16 at 19:28
  • Yes, the reinforcements listed as arriving are listed as Seljurks, but I can't vouch for the very generic 'apopted by the Turks' as referencing any one group or not. Every Time I study something in these eras I am amazed at how many different tribes or factions existed. – justCal Jun 3 '16 at 19:40

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