ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I would like to begin the pleasant task of acknowledgements by expressing deep gratitude to my erstwhile teachers, the late Hava Lazarus-Yafeh and Nehemia Levtzion, and to Beni Kedar (may he live and prosper). The training they provided me at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has inspired my work in many ways. My thanks also to Michael Cook, who served as my mentor while on a post-doctoral fellowship at the Department of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton (1999–2000), and to Stephen R. Humphreys, for the tutorial he conducted at the workshop of the Summer Academy of the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin, in September 2000. My appreciation is extended to the colleagues and friends who listened to my ideas and shared with me thoughts and bibliographical references over the years: Reuven Amitai, Elisheva Baumgarten, Daphna Ephrat, Jackie Feldman (who also did the language editing), Miriam Frenkel, Stephen Heidemann, Nimrod Hurvitz, Ora Limor, Nimrod Luz, Shaun Marmon, Johannes Pahlitzsch and Sarah Stroumza. I have especially proted from the generosity and erudition of Yehoshua Frenkel and Yaakov Lev. I am very much indebted to Michael Winter, who willingly read the whole manuscript, and strongly encouraged me to publish it. The support of David Shulman and Guy Stroumsa also helped. Amalia Zomeno-Rodrigez, Muhammad al-Atawneh and Dan Caner offered help with proof-reading, Lorenz Korn allowed me to use his maps, and Dror Heller and Roni Bluestein re-drew them for this book. Hagit Ezra prepared the index. The Chaim Herzog Center for Middle East Studies & Diplomacy awarded me nancial assistance for copy editing. Shaq Abouzayd allowed me to include excerpts from my article “Graves, Relics and Sanctuaries: the Evolution of Syrian Sacred Topography,” forthcoming in ARAM 19 (2007): 601–620.” Ashgate Publishing gave me permission to include excerpts from my article “Islamic Preaching in Syria during the Counter-Crusade (twelfth-thirteenth centuries),” forthcoming in In Laudem Hierosolymitani: Studies in Crusades and Medieval Culture in Honour of Benjamin Z. Kedar, ed. I. Shagrir, R. Ellenblum and J. Riley-Smith (Ashgate 2008). The communications with Brill Press were pleasant and efcient owing to Ingeborg van der Laan and Wilma de Weert. I thank them all.