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What the Crusades Were Really Like (Part 1)





gonzo
Quote:
Thomas Madden Dispels Myths

The Crusaders were not unprovoked aggressors, greedy marauders or medieval colonialists, as portrayed in some history books.

In fact, Thomas Madden, chair of St. Louis University's history department and author of "A Concise History of the Crusades," contests that the Crusaders were a defensive force that did not profit from their ventures by earthly riches or land.

In fact, Thomas Madden, chair of St. Louis University's history department and author of "A Concise History of the Crusades," contests that the Crusaders were defensive wars, not wars of conquest.

Madden shared with ZENIT the most popular myths about the Crusades and the modern findings that prove them wrong.

Part 2 of this interview will appear Monday.

Q: What are some common misconceptions about the Crusades? the Crusaders?

Madden: The following are some of the most common myths and why they are wrong.

Myth 1: The Crusades were wars of unprovoked aggression against a peaceful Muslim world.

This is as wrong as wrong can be. From the time of Mohammed, Muslims had sought to conquer the Christian world. They did a pretty good job of it, too. After a few centuries of steady conquests, Muslim armies had taken all of North Africa, the Middle East, Asia Minor and most of Spain.

In other words, by the end of the 11th century the forces of Islam had captured two-thirds of the Christian world. Palestine, the home of Jesus Christ; Egypt, the birthplace of Christian monasticism; Asia Minor, where St. Paul planted the seeds of the first Christian communities -- these were not the periphery of Christianity but its very core.

And the Muslim empires were not finished yet. They continued to press westward toward Constantinople, ultimately passing it and entering Europe itself. As far as unprovoked aggression goes, it was all on the Muslim side. At some point what was left of the Christian world would have to defend itself or simply succumb to Islamic conquest.

Myth 2: The Crusaders wore crosses, but they were really only interested in capturing booty and land. Their pious platitudes were just a cover for rapacious greed.

Historians used to believe that a rise in Europe's population led to a crisis of too many noble "second sons," those who were trained in chivalric warfare but who had no feudal lands to inherit. The Crusades, therefore, were seen as a safety valve, sending these belligerent men far from Europe where they could carve out lands for themselves at someone else's expense.

Modern scholarship, assisted by the advent of computer databases, has exploded this myth. We now know that it was the "first sons" of Europe that answered the Pope's call in 1095, as well as in subsequent Crusades.

Crusading was an enormously expensive operation. Lords were forced to sell off or mortgage their lands to gather the necessary funds. Most were also not interested in an overseas kingdom. Much like a soldier today, the medieval Crusader was proud to do his duty but longed to return home.

After the spectacular successes of the First Crusade, with Jerusalem and much of Palestine in Crusader hands, virtually all of the Crusaders went home. Only a tiny handful remained behind to consolidate and govern the newly won territories.

Booty was also scarce. In fact, although Crusaders no doubt dreamed of vast wealth in opulent Eastern cities, virtually none of them ever even recouped their expenses. But money and land were not the reasons that they went on Crusade in the first place. They went to atone for their sins and to win salvation by doing good works in a faraway land.

They underwent such expense and hardship because they believed that by coming to the aid of their Christian brothers and sisters in the East they were storing up treasure where rust and moth cannot corrupt.

They were very mindful of Christ's exhortation that he who will not take up his cross is not worthy of Christ. They also remembered that "Greater love hath no man than this, than to lay down his life for his friends."

Myth 3: When the Crusaders captured Jerusalem in 1099 they massacred every man, woman and child in the city until the streets ran ankle deep with the blood.

This is a favorite used to demonstrate the evil nature of the Crusades.

It is certainly true that many people in Jerusalem were killed after the Crusaders captured the city. But this must be understood in historical context.

The accepted moral standard in all pre-modern European and Asian civilizations was that a city that resisted capture and was taken by force belonged to the victorious forces. That included not just the buildings and goods, but the people as well. That is why every city or fortress had to weigh carefully whether it could hold out against besiegers. If not, it was wise to negotiate terms of surrender.

In the case of Jerusalem, the defenders had resisted right up to the end. They calculated that the formidable walls of the city would keep the Crusaders at bay until a relief force from Egypt could arrive. They were wrong. When the city fell, therefore, it was put to the sack. Many were killed, yet many others were ransomed or allowed to go free.

By modern standards this may seem brutal. Yet a medieval knight would point out that many more innocent men, women and children are killed in modern bombing warfare than could possibly be put to the sword in one or two days. It is worth noting that in those Muslim cities that surrendered to the Crusaders the people were left unmolested, retained their property and were allowed to worship freely.

As for those streets of blood, no historian accepts them as anything other than a literary convention. Jerusalem is a big town. The amount of blood necessary to fill the streets to a continuous and running three-inch depth would require many more people than lived in the region, let alone the city.

Myth 4: The Crusades were just medieval colonialism dressed up in religious finery.

It is important to remember that in the Middle Ages the West was not a powerful, dominant culture venturing into a primitive or backward region. It was the Muslim East that was powerful, wealthy and opulent. Europe was the Third World.

The Crusader States, founded in the wake of the First Crusade, were not new plantations of Catholics in a Muslim world akin to the British colonization of America. Catholic presence in the Crusader states was always tiny, easily less than 10% of the population. These were the rulers and magistrates, as well as Italian merchants and members of the military orders. The overwhelming majority of the population in the Crusader states was Muslim.

They were not colonies, therefore, in the sense of plantations or even factories, as in the case of India. They were outposts. The ultimate purpose of the Crusader states was to defend the holy places in Palestine, especially Jerusalem, and to provide a safe environment for Christian pilgrims to visit those places.

There was no mother country with which the Crusader states had an economic relationship, nor did Europeans economically benefit from them. Quite the contrary, the expense of Crusades to maintain the Latin East was a serious drain on European resources. As an outpost, the Crusader states kept a military focus.

While the Muslims warred against each other the Crusader states were safe, but once the Muslims united, they were able to dismantle the strongholds, capture the cities, and in 1291 expel the Christians completely.

Myth 5: The Crusades were also waged against the Jews.

No pope ever called a Crusade against Jews. During the First Crusade a large band of riffraff, not associated with the main army, descended on the towns of the Rhineland and decided to rob and kill the Jews they found there. In part this was pure greed. In part it also stemmed from the incorrect belief that the Jews, as the crucifiers of Christ, were legitimate targets of the war.

Pope Urban II and subsequent popes strongly condemned these attacks on Jews. Local bishops and other clergy and laity attempted to defend the Jews, although with limited success. Similarly, during the opening phase of the Second Crusade a group of renegades killed many Jews in Germany before St. Bernard was able to catch up to them and put a stop to it.

These misfires of the movement were an unfortunate byproduct of Crusade enthusiasm, but they were not the purpose of the Crusades. To use a modern analogy, during the Second World War some American soldiers committed crimes while overseas. They were arrested and punished for those crimes. But the purpose of the Second World War was not to commit crimes.



http://shurl.org/aEvyQ

Here is your weekly dose of unsanitized history. Please absorb it and dispell ignorance inside- and around you.

Have a God filled day Wink
polarBear
Historic revisionism is disgusting.

At the very beginning the text makes quite a couple of stupid mistakes, which, given the source, were expectable. Mistakes like -just to point the first I found-putting Arabs and Turks and Ottomans under the same name. Just that sentence has made me discard this reading and put this on my "look, this is fun!" bookmarks folder, but I kept going on, and now I know I was right. The text is hilarious.

Did you even bother reading from several sources before swallowing it gonzo?

PS: The article itself lacks even a single clarifying SOURCE of the "investigation" this guy did to proclaim what he says. Any clue on that?
LeviticusMky
Agreed, there is no real scientific or historical basis for this article.

What I got out of the first few lines was that the author is arguing the point that since Christianity started in the Middle East, it is a defensive war in order to try and recapture it. Wow.

That and the fact that the author repeatedly calls the Crusades wars against Muslims, instead of isolating specific national forces, makes me think that this is more Christian war music.
Bondings
Funny article. It's satire, right?

Quote:
After a few centuries of steady conquests, Muslim armies had taken all of North Africa, the Middle East, Asia Minor and most of Spain.

In other words, by the end of the 11th century the forces of Islam had captured two-thirds of the Christian world.

So if North Africa, the Middle East, Asia Minor and most of Spain is two-thirds of the Christian world, then where is the musmlim world? In Antarctica? Laughing
S3nd K3ys
(Copied from another thread. It seems relevant here as well)

http://www.sullivan-county.com/id4/fight_islam.htm

Quote:
Radical Islam: The cycle of history repeats itself

By James Whorton
SPECIAL TO WORLD TRIBUNE.COM Tuesday, January 7, 2003

Some 13 centuries ago, radical Islamic fundamentalism burst upon the world, spreading in just a few decades across most of the Middle East and North Africa and threatening the very existence of the West.

In their expansion, the armies of Islam took advantage of the weakness of the world¹s great powers at the time. Byzantium had just defeated Persia in a long war that had left both empires weakened. As Will Durant writes in The Story of Civilization, "both Byzantium and Persia, exhausted by war and mutual devastation, were in a tempting decline."


http://www.meforum.org/article/168

Quote:
At War With Whom?
A short history of radical Islam

by Jonathan Schanzer
Doublethink
Spring 2002

There's a "War on Terror" going on, says President George W. Bush. Sometimes we're even told it's a war against "evil." But regardless of nomenclature, the Bush administration takes great pains to emphasize that this is most certainly not a war on Islam. Is it?

The short answer is "no." We're not battling Islam, because there is no such thing as one Islam. One Islam cannot be extracted from the numerous offshoots, branches, and sects that make the world's 1.3 billion Muslims as ideologically, religiously, and politically fractured as the other two monotheistic faiths, Christianity and Judaism.

Still, all of the 19 hijackers on September 11 were Muslims. Every one of the FBI's 22 most wanted terrorists are Muslims. Nearly all the groups and individuals listed in President Bush's executive order blocking terrorist funds were Muslims, too. So how is this not a war on Islam?

Correction: Militant Islam

The "War on Terror" should really be called the "War on Militant Islam." The terrorists of September 11, Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda, and the Taliban all adhere to an ideology we have come to know as militant Islam, a minority outgrowth of the faith that exudes a bitter hatred for Western ideas, including capitalism, individualism, and consumerism. It rejects the West and much that it has to offer (with the exception of weapons, medicines, and other useful technologies) seeking instead to implement a strict interpretation of the Koran (Islam's holy book) and shari'a (Islamic law). America, as radical Muslims see it, is the primary impediment to building an Islamic world order.

...

From Conquests to Conquered

The history begins with the birth of Islam in the year 610, when the prophet Muhammed received his divine mission and accepted Allah's instructions for a new religion that commanded belief in one God. For the next 22 years, Muhammed served as a transmitter of Allah's message, and his Muslim empire grew to encompass most of the Arabian Peninsula. After the prophet's death, the Muslim empire continued to expand until the 17th century, when Muslims were unquestionably the world's greatest military force, having conquered extensive territory and converted millions throughout the Middle East and Southern Europe. Islam had also achieved unmatched advances in architecture, art, law, mathematics, and science.

With the exception of battling Christian Crusaders, most Muslims had little to do with the West. In fact, Ottoman Turkey, the dominant Islamic power in the 16th century, viewed the West with what Islam expert Bernard Lewis, in his book Islam and the West, calls "amused disdain" for its inferior culture and religion.

By the 17th century, however, as the West achieved military superiority, Lewis writes that the tone shifted to "alarmed dislike." By 1769, the Russians handed the Turks their first sound defeat, pointing to a new and difficult road ahead for Islam. Instead of conquering, the Muslims were conquered.



http://www.fas.org/irp/world/para/ladin.htm

Quote:
al-Qa'ida (The Base)
Qa‘idat al-Jihad
Islamic Army for the Liberation of the Holy Places
World Islamic Front for Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders
Islamic Salvation Foundation
Usama bin Laden Network

Al-Qa'ida is multi-national, with members from numerous countries and with a worldwide presence. Senior leaders in the organization are also senior leaders in other terrorist organizations, including those designated by the Department of State as foreign terrorist organizations, such as the Egyptian al-Gama'at al-Islamiyya and the Egyptian al-Jihad. Al-Qa'ida seeks a global radicalization of existing Islamic groups and the creation of radical Islamic groups where none exist.

Al-Qa'ida supports Muslim fighters in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Chechnya, Tajikistan, Somalia, Yemen, and Kosovo. It also trains members of terrorist organizations from such diverse countries as the Philippines, Algeria, and Eritrea.

Al-Qa'ida's goal is to "unite all Muslims and to establish a government which follows the rule of the Caliphs." Bin Laden has stated that the only way to establish the Caliphate is by force. Al-Qa'ida's goal, therefore, is to overthrow nearly all Muslim governments, which are viewed as corrupt, to drive Western influence from those countries, and eventually to abolish state boundaries.


http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=9860

Quote:
Qutb’s tradition is not the only one in Islam, and millions of peaceful Muslims would reject his theological and political ideas. But to imply that religious violence and religious terrorism are newly minted elements of Islam with no plausible traditional foundations is to ignore how jihad ideologues read (and use to recruit) the Qur’an, the Muslim Prophet Muhammad’s example, an elaborate body of Islamic theology and jurisprudence, and fourteen centuries of Islamic history.


http://hnn.us/roundup/entries/16941.html

Quote:
Daniel Pipes: Bush Declares War on Radical Islam

Source: NY Sun (10-11-05)

[Mr. Pipes is the director of the Middle East Forum. His website address is http://www.danielpipes.org. Click here for his HNN blog.]

A courageous speech by George W. Bush last week began a new era in what he calls the "war on terror."

To comprehend its full significance requires some background. Islamists (supporters of radical Islam) began their war on the United States in 1979, when Ayatollah Khomeini took power in Iran and later that year his supporters seized the American embassy in Tehran.

For the next 22 years, however, Americans thought they faced merely a criminal problem and failed to see that war had been declared on them. For example, in 1998, when Islamists attacked two U.S. embassies in East Africa, Washington responded by unleashing detectives, arresting the perpetrators, taking them to New York, assigning them defense lawyers, then convicting and jailing them.


http://www.warriorsfortruth.com/islam-fundamentalists.html

Quote:
Civil World Sees Radical Islam's Evil Side
Nations adopting Islam as their national religion are unstable and dictatorial. Not a single Islamic nation provides individual freedom for all its citizens or is politically stable. The extremists manage to gain control by sheer cruelty and armed might.

...

Whatever the label, the civilized world is appalled at the gruesome beheadings. That such killings can happen in this age, and be aired on government-sponsored Arabian television, should tell even the slowest minds that we are seeing but the latest example of the dark and evil side of radical Islam.

Berg was among the thousands of Americans trying to help the violence-racked Iraq that Saddam Hussein left in economic ruin. Their efforts are hampered by fanatics whose hatred and distorted religious thinking are aimed at bringing about the disintegration of a country that has never known real freedom.

...

Consider the absence of a single Islamic nation that’s politically stable and provides freedom for its citizens. Not a single one! Nations adopting Islam as their national religion invariably become unstable and dictatorial.

Iraq, Iran, Egypt and Pakistan are prime exhibits. In Egypt, a sometimes-useful ally of the United States, religious persecution is officially condoned, even in the Egyptian press. Not all Muslims are violent radicals, of course, but the extremists manage to gain control, usually by sheer cruelty and armed might.

It’s also true that those claiming to be “peaceful Muslims” are slow to condemn atrocities like the Berg and Johnson murders. Their halfhearted disapproval is too often followed by complaints of past wrongs done to Muslims, somewhere, by someone that’s not Muslim.

Radical Islam’s roots run deep in its history. Mohammed, Islam’s founder, was given to violence. The spread of Islam was accompanied by wholesale bloodshed and the elimination of Islam’s perceived enemies. Scholars report Mohammed ordered hundreds of victims beheaded. Beheading victims has a long history among Islamic extremists.

...

During past centuries the world could not rid itself of Islamic terrorists. And with so many hypocritical foes – both in Washington and in some European countries – the 21st century doesn’t hold much promise either.

Unless, that is, the world wakes up and realizes it must deal with the likes of the executioners of Nick Berg and Paul Johnson. Which may be easier than dealing with anti-American critics seeking political gain from our efforts to win the war against terrorism.

polarBear
Can you please tell me which would be the connection between "the crusades were blah blah blah blah" and "some USA-financed nutcase proclaims that blah blah blah blah" please? I can't see the relevance here, or the connection with the current post.
S3nd K3ys
polarBear wrote:
Can you please tell me which would be the connection between "the crusades were blah blah blah blah" and "some USA-financed nutcase proclaims that blah blah blah blah" please? I can't see the relevance here, or the connection with the current post.


You don't see it because you don't want to. That's not my fault.
polarBear
Hmm... does that mean that you can't explain it, or is it that it's a secret sacred knowledge that can't be taught by using human words?

Come on, justify your actions, it won't hurt you too much.
S3nd K3ys
polarBear wrote:
Hmm... does that mean that you can't explain it, or is it that it's a secret sacred knowledge that can't be taught by using human words?

Come on, justify your actions, it won't hurt you too much.


I can easily justify it. So can most cogent beings.
geeren
gonzo wrote:
Quote:
Thomas Madden Dispels Myths

The Crusaders were not unprovoked aggressors, greedy marauders or medieval colonialists, as portrayed in some history books.

In fact, Thomas Madden, chair of St. Louis University's history department and author of "A Concise History of the Crusades," contests that the Crusaders were a defensive force that did not profit from their ventures by earthly riches or land.

In fact, Thomas Madden, chair of St. Louis University's history department and author of "A Concise History of the Crusades," contests that the Crusaders were defensive wars, not wars of conquest.

Madden shared with ZENIT the most popular myths about the Crusades and the modern findings that prove them wrong.

Part 2 of this interview will appear Monday.

Q: What are some common misconceptions about the Crusades? the Crusaders?

Madden: The following are some of the most common myths and why they are wrong.

Myth 1: The Crusades were wars of unprovoked aggression against a peaceful Muslim world.

This is as wrong as wrong can be. From the time of Mohammed, Muslims had sought to conquer the Christian world. They did a pretty good job of it, too. After a few centuries of steady conquests, Muslim armies had taken all of North Africa, the Middle East, Asia Minor and most of Spain.

In other words, by the end of the 11th century the forces of Islam had captured two-thirds of the Christian world. Palestine, the home of Jesus Christ; Egypt, the birthplace of Christian monasticism; Asia Minor, where St. Paul planted the seeds of the first Christian communities -- these were not the periphery of Christianity but its very core.

And the Muslim empires were not finished yet. They continued to press westward toward Constantinople, ultimately passing it and entering Europe itself. As far as unprovoked aggression goes, it was all on the Muslim side. At some point what was left of the Christian world would have to defend itself or simply succumb to Islamic conquest.

Myth 2: The Crusaders wore crosses, but they were really only interested in capturing booty and land. Their pious platitudes were just a cover for rapacious greed.

Historians used to believe that a rise in Europe's population led to a crisis of too many noble "second sons," those who were trained in chivalric warfare but who had no feudal lands to inherit. The Crusades, therefore, were seen as a safety valve, sending these belligerent men far from Europe where they could carve out lands for themselves at someone else's expense.

Modern scholarship, assisted by the advent of computer databases, has exploded this myth. We now know that it was the "first sons" of Europe that answered the Pope's call in 1095, as well as in subsequent Crusades.

Crusading was an enormously expensive operation. Lords were forced to sell off or mortgage their lands to gather the necessary funds. Most were also not interested in an overseas kingdom. Much like a soldier today, the medieval Crusader was proud to do his duty but longed to return home.

After the spectacular successes of the First Crusade, with Jerusalem and much of Palestine in Crusader hands, virtually all of the Crusaders went home. Only a tiny handful remained behind to consolidate and govern the newly won territories.

Booty was also scarce. In fact, although Crusaders no doubt dreamed of vast wealth in opulent Eastern cities, virtually none of them ever even recouped their expenses. But money and land were not the reasons that they went on Crusade in the first place. They went to atone for their sins and to win salvation by doing good works in a faraway land.

They underwent such expense and hardship because they believed that by coming to the aid of their Christian brothers and sisters in the East they were storing up treasure where rust and moth cannot corrupt.

They were very mindful of Christ's exhortation that he who will not take up his cross is not worthy of Christ. They also remembered that "Greater love hath no man than this, than to lay down his life for his friends."

Myth 3: When the Crusaders captured Jerusalem in 1099 they massacred every man, woman and child in the city until the streets ran ankle deep with the blood.

This is a favorite used to demonstrate the evil nature of the Crusades.

It is certainly true that many people in Jerusalem were killed after the Crusaders captured the city. But this must be understood in historical context.

The accepted moral standard in all pre-modern European and Asian civilizations was that a city that resisted capture and was taken by force belonged to the victorious forces. That included not just the buildings and goods, but the people as well. That is why every city or fortress had to weigh carefully whether it could hold out against besiegers. If not, it was wise to negotiate terms of surrender.

In the case of Jerusalem, the defenders had resisted right up to the end. They calculated that the formidable walls of the city would keep the Crusaders at bay until a relief force from Egypt could arrive. They were wrong. When the city fell, therefore, it was put to the sack. Many were killed, yet many others were ransomed or allowed to go free.

By modern standards this may seem brutal. Yet a medieval knight would point out that many more innocent men, women and children are killed in modern bombing warfare than could possibly be put to the sword in one or two days. It is worth noting that in those Muslim cities that surrendered to the Crusaders the people were left unmolested, retained their property and were allowed to worship freely.

As for those streets of blood, no historian accepts them as anything other than a literary convention. Jerusalem is a big town. The amount of blood necessary to fill the streets to a continuous and running three-inch depth would require many more people than lived in the region, let alone the city.

Myth 4: The Crusades were just medieval colonialism dressed up in religious finery.

It is important to remember that in the Middle Ages the West was not a powerful, dominant culture venturing into a primitive or backward region. It was the Muslim East that was powerful, wealthy and opulent. Europe was the Third World.

The Crusader States, founded in the wake of the First Crusade, were not new plantations of Catholics in a Muslim world akin to the British colonization of America. Catholic presence in the Crusader states was always tiny, easily less than 10% of the population. These were the rulers and magistrates, as well as Italian merchants and members of the military orders. The overwhelming majority of the population in the Crusader states was Muslim.

They were not colonies, therefore, in the sense of plantations or even factories, as in the case of India. They were outposts. The ultimate purpose of the Crusader states was to defend the holy places in Palestine, especially Jerusalem, and to provide a safe environment for Christian pilgrims to visit those places.

There was no mother country with which the Crusader states had an economic relationship, nor did Europeans economically benefit from them. Quite the contrary, the expense of Crusades to maintain the Latin East was a serious drain on European resources. As an outpost, the Crusader states kept a military focus.

While the Muslims warred against each other the Crusader states were safe, but once the Muslims united, they were able to dismantle the strongholds, capture the cities, and in 1291 expel the Christians completely.

Myth 5: The Crusades were also waged against the Jews.

No pope ever called a Crusade against Jews. During the First Crusade a large band of riffraff, not associated with the main army, descended on the towns of the Rhineland and decided to rob and kill the Jews they found there. In part this was pure greed. In part it also stemmed from the incorrect belief that the Jews, as the crucifiers of Christ, were legitimate targets of the war.

Pope Urban II and subsequent popes strongly condemned these attacks on Jews. Local bishops and other clergy and laity attempted to defend the Jews, although with limited success. Similarly, during the opening phase of the Second Crusade a group of renegades killed many Jews in Germany before St. Bernard was able to catch up to them and put a stop to it.

These misfires of the movement were an unfortunate byproduct of Crusade enthusiasm, but they were not the purpose of the Crusades. To use a modern analogy, during the Second World War some American soldiers committed crimes while overseas. They were arrested and punished for those crimes. But the purpose of the Second World War was not to commit crimes.



http://shurl.org/aEvyQ

Here is your weekly dose of unsanitized history. Please absorb it and dispell ignorance inside- and around you.

Have a God filled day Wink


So the Crusades (Christians) where angels.
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