Skip to comments.The Crusades: When Christendom Pushed Back
Posted on 02/06/2010 6:37:51 AM PST by Paladins Prayer
The year is 732 A.D., and Europe is under assault. Islam, born a mere 110 years earlier, is already in its adolescence, and the Muslim Moors are on the march.
Growing in leaps and bounds, the Caliphate, as the Islamic realm is known, has thus far subdued much of Christendom, conquering the old Christian lands of the Mideast and North Africa in short order. Syria and Iraq fell in 636; Palestine in 638; and Egypt, which was not even an Arab land, fell in 642. North Africa, also not Arab, was under Muslim control by 709. Then came the year 711 and the Moors invasion of Europe, as they crossed the Strait of Gibraltar and entered Visigothic Iberia (now Spain and Portugal). And the new continent brought new successes to Islam. Conquering the Iberian Peninsula by 718, the Muslims crossed the Pyrenees Mountains into Gaul (now France) and worked their way northward. And now, in 732, they are approaching Tours, a mere 126 miles from Paris.
The Moorish leader, Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi, is supremely confident of success. He is in the vanguard of the first Muslim crusade, and his civilization has enjoyed rapidity and scope of conquest heretofore unseen in world history. He is at the head of an enormous army, replete with heavy cavalry, and views the Europeans as mere barbarians. In contrast, the barbarians facing him are all on foot, a tremendous disadvantage. The only thing the Frankish and Burgundian European forces have going for them is their leader, Charles of Herstal, grandfather of Charlemagne. He is a brilliant military tactician who, after losing his very first battle, is enjoying an unbroken 16-year streak of victories.
(Excerpt) Read more at thenewamerican.com ...
And when we became dominant militarily again we were “modern” and no longer cared about recovering lost lands for Christendom.
Sura (2:191-193) - "And slay them wherever ye find them, and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution of Muslims is worse than slaughter of non-believers...and fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is for Allah."
Sura (4:74) - "Let those fight in the way of Allah who sell the life of this world for the other. Whoso fighteth in the way of Allah, be he slain or be he victorious, on him We shall bestow a vast reward."
Sura (4:76) - "Those who believe fight in the cause of Allah "
Sura (5:33) - "The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement"
Sura (8:12) - "I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them"
Sura (8:39) - "And fight with them until there is no more persecution and religion should be only for Allah"
Sura (8:57) - "If thou comest on them in the war, deal with them so as to strike fear in those who are behind them, that haply they may remember."
Sura (9:14) - "Fight them, Allah will punish them by your hands and bring them to disgrace..."
Sura (9:29) - "Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, even if they are of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued."
Sura (9:30) - "And the Jews say: Ezra is the son of Allah; and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah; these are the words of their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved before; may Allah destroy them; how they are turned away!"
Sura (9:123) - "O you who believe! fight those of the unbelievers who are near to you and let them find in you hardness."
Sura (47:4) - "So when you meet in battle those who disbelieve, then smite the necks until when you have overcome them, then make them prisoners,"
Sura (61:4) - "Surely Allah loves those who fight in His way"
Sura (66:9) - "O Prophet! Strive against the disbelievers and the hypocrites, and be stern with them. Hell will be their home, a hapless journey's end
From the Hadith:
Muslim (1:33) - the Messenger of Allah said: I have been commanded to fight against people till they testify that there is no god but Allah, that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah
Bukhari (8:387) - Allah's Apostle said, I have been ordered to fight the people till they say: 'None has the right to be worshipped but Allah
Tabari 7:97 The morning after the murder of Ashraf, the Prophet declared, "Kill any Jew who falls under your power."
Ibn Ishaq: 327 - Allah said, A prophet must slaughter before collecting captives. A slaughtered enemy is driven from the land. Muhammad, you craved the desires of this world, its goods and the ransom captives would bring. But Allah desires killing them to manifest the religion.
Ibn Ishaq: 992 - "Fight everyone in the way of Allah and kill those who disbelieve in Allah."
The Koran and hadiths are replete with examples of Muhammad's barbaric behavior. Robert Spencer does a good job here explaining Islam - Blogging the Quran Start at the bottom.
But then, the winners write the history; the losers live it.
You are giving short shrift to the support and alliance that many Jews made with the Muslims. Take a look at the history of Spain and the history of Jews as administrators for the Muslims over the Christian population.
Perhaps one should research the European Crusades and Inquisitions before painting such an heroic picture.
And yes, European Jews were slaughtered, along with Christians who would not bend a knee to Rome, and would not submit to Rome’s creed... For 1200+ years...
Moslems and Christians swapped principalities back and forth and were loathe to do more than allow Jews into the castle to read and write stuff for them.
Nonsense. The Huns, Alexander and others conquered much more rapidly.
The big difference is in the generally permanent nature of Muslim conquest. The Huns came and went. Muslims changed the societies they conqured.
You’ve boiled a 1,000 years of history into that statement? Jews were administrators of whole provinces for absentee Muslim overlords in some cases, persecuted by moslems in others. I think there is massive ignorance of a very long history and snap judgments are made on extraordinarily limited facts. Basically, it’s polemics; trolls and the ignorant throw out some fact that supports some prejudice that they have.
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You obviously did not read the entire article with an open. mind. The plight of the Jews was mentioned, and explained as a renegade group that was out of control, much like some members of the US Army have been out of control during the Iraq War.
The Crusades were a reactionary movement to preseve Christian Europe from the advancement of Islam. It was primarily defensive in nature.
From the article: As for conversion, the Crusaders were warriors, not missionaries. They had no interest in converting Muslims; in fact, I doubt the notion ever entered their minds. They viewed the Muslims as enemies of God and His Church and a threat to Christendom, nothing more, nothing less. Treating this matter in a piece entitled The Crusades: separating myth from reality, Zenit cited medieval history expert Dr. Franco Cardini and wrote:
The Crusades, says Cardini, were never religious wars, their purpose was not to force conversions or suppress the infidel.
To describe the Crusade as a Holy War against the Moslems is misleading, says Cardini: The real interest in these expeditions, in service of Christian brethren threatened by Moslems, was the restoration of peace in the East, and the early stirring of the idea of rescue for distant fellow-Christians.
I know that Francis of Assisi went and actually had an audience with a Sultan during the Crusades to try to convert him. Francis was respected and allowed to leave in peace. Francis was probably the exception in this case, but worth mentioning. I doubt he was the only one who tried to proselytize.
Great article. Thanks for the post. One historian referred to the 4th Crusade’s sacking of Constantinople as “the greatest crime in history.”
Very good article by Selwyn Duke. Thanks for posting.
The Jews allied themselves with Muslims for the very logical reason that Muslims of the time treated them much better than Christians did.
Crusaders slaughtered Jews in Europe and the Middle East for equally logical reasons. While the Pope and kings may have had the geopolitical motives discussed by the author, most of the Crusaders intended to just kill the enemies of God. Why travel all the way to Palestine to kill Muslims when Jews, equally the enemies of God, are right here in Germany?
The author is, however, absolutely right about the counter-attack nature of the Crusades. In fact, the Crusades were an incorporation of the idea of jihad into Christianity. That this took 400 years to occur is a result of the fact that jihad just doesn't fit well into Christianity.
The author also leaves out that the Crusades were a minor irritant on the edge of the Muslim world. Most Muslims were unaffected and unconcerned.
The Mongol invasions during the same time were catastrophic, dang near destroying Islam.
Bookmark for later. Fascinating article and answers so many questions.
Good article, thank you.
“...the truth about the Crusades and why we should view the Crusaders as heroes.”
Crusades II are having birthing pains right now in Tennessee, this one will retake America as the original Crusades took back the souls and property of Christianity plundered by muslim jihad long ago
That didn't mean there weren't periods where they were left in peace to prosper.
If that hadn't been the case Spain would have been just another Dark Ages sump like most the rest of Europe and vast stretches of the Middle East and North Africa.
But there are many Crusade myths. For example, some would characterize the campaigns as anti-Semitic. Yet, while there were two notable massacres of Jews during the Crusades, there is more to the story as Madden also explained in the Zenit interview:
No pope ever called a Crusade against Jews. During the First Crusade a large band of riffraff, not associated with the main army [the aforementioned Peoples Crusade], descended on the towns of the Rhineland and decided to rob and kill the Jews they found there.... 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.
BTW, the Crusades were not sent out with the intention of retaking formerly Christian lands such as modern Syria, Iraq, Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, etc.
That task was left for WWI. The Brits botched the job.
So from 600 to 1600 Europe other than Spain was a “dark ages sump” and it was because Jews were left in peace to prosper by Muslims that Spain wasn’t a dark ages sump? I think you are either completely not worth talking to or are seriously off your “game” right now.
Thanks Paladins Prayer.
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Like, if all we do is look to the way human wastes were handled, and made our judgment on that, Spain was pretty decent, Venice less so, and most the rest of the territory really bad.
China took 300 years to begin its recovery from the climate catastrophe of 535AD ~ so it was nasty there for a long time too.
BTW, the Moslems and Christians in Spain did not always leave the Jews alone to prosper. Like Democrats they regularly inflicted a severe Depression on "the rich Jews".
If you want to believe Europe was a shining city on a hill during the Early Middle Ages go ahead ~ dream on. It was a dreadful place. They'd even stopped using gold and silver
The First Crusade was a great military feat- an army commanded by three different nationalities (Franks, Greeks and Norse)marched 1500 miles, engaged a numerically and technologically superior enemy on their home turf and beat them.
Nope. And I'm not sure how you can get that from my post.
I was referring mainly to the primary episodes of Muslim conquest of Christian territories prior to 1000.
These were the conquest of Syria, Egypt, North Africa and Spain. In all these areas the Jews had been undergoing intensifying persecution for decades or centuries. When the Muslims showed up, the enemy of my enemy meme kicked in. It was very logical.
BTW, the conquest of these regions was probably facilitated to an even greater extent by Catholic persecution of other Christians: Arians, Donatists, Monophysites, among others.
What goes around comes around and all that. The Muslims were initially greatly outnumbered by their opponents and very poorly equipped for combat against them. These conquests were probably about as much revolts of the oppressed as they wer conquests by foreign armies. At the very least it is obvious the natives had little interest in resisting conquest, leaving defense up to the imperial armies only.
Which brings up the question of why there was so little loyalty to the Empire.
It is also a fact that when Spain, Portugal, England and other "Christian" countries were expelling Jews, Muslim countries were happy to take them in and give them a place in society where they could prosper. It was admittedly a subservient place, but there was no place for Jews at all in these "Christian" countries.
I'm not sure this is accurate. The only Arab country the British (sort of) controlled during part of the 1800s was Egypt, with occasional trading posts and forts elswhere.
The heartland of the Arab world didn't come under European rule till after WWI, and ended shortly after WWII.
There is this idea out there that centuries of foreign domination warped Arab society, when in fact European control didn't last much over 25 years.
I also fail to see how dragging in the history of the Crusades would be helpful to British rule. I'm curious if anybody has a reference for the Brits using it in this way.
For various periods of time especially in Andalucia southern Spain it was conquered and reconquered by the Almohed and Nasrid and Almoravid and other dynasties. Some of the emirs and kings were radical Muslims; some were not. Some allowed Christians and Jews to study and prosper in universities in places like Cordoba and Granada. Just like some medieval kings of Europe were better than others. However in the 800’s to 1200’s for the most part southern Spain was known as a place of learning and new ideas some that even challenged Muslim thought at the time. Moorish craftsman even built elaborate synagogues that still exist. On the east side of the Mediterranean it was a different story however.
Well, that’s not exactly what the author said though. He said that the incorrect history was taught in the 19th century by FRENCH and British colonial schools. it was the French more than the British in fact.
An example; When Jews resettled in Thessaloniki after its capture by Moslem Turks they were given and they took the properties of Christians who were then sold into servitude by Muslims. They cooperated closely with the Muslims there to maintain the misery suffered by Christians.
At least a good share more would be alive to speak it.
Catholics saved Europe from Islam. Not the Jews. Not the Albigensians. And not the Protestants.
Exactly. NO ONE saved the Jews, Cathars, Poor Men, Waldenses... etcetera, etcetera, etcetera, ad-infinitum and particularly, ad-nauseum...
ONE-THOUSAND, TWO-HUNDRED, and SIXTY YEARS of it. That's far more than enough to cancel out any "good" performed in "saving" Europe.
Ahhh... Nineteenth century and before... You must mean the time before Napoleon took out the church of Rome, and caused it to cease it's predatory practices... No wonder.
The article is a great read and it hits the nail on the head on the subject at hand. It was a defensive war to preserve the Eastern Roman Empire and did so for an additional 400 years (1453).
Several points to consider.
Massacres of the defenders of cities were pretty much the rule rather than the exception in Mediaval Europe as well as the Levant. The intent was to “incentivize” the surrender of the city in a peaceful manner and it was nearly always successful.
The massacre in Jerusalem has probably been overstated in numbers and the Jewish population recovered quickly after the Kingdom of Jerusalem was set up. Muslims defenders were also massacred.
The successes of the Muslim armies were probably due mostly to superior numbers, superior heavy cavalry and superior artillery. In later years, the Muslims stopped developing their artillery and Europe caught up and then passed them.
I wish we had been taught more about the Eastern Roman Empire in our schools as it outlasted the Western Empire by 1,000 years and was successful in many ways that the Western Empire was not. It is fascinating to read about it. They were blessed with many good Emperors and their stabilty and economic development showed it.
“a brilliant military tactician who, after losing his very first battle, is enjoying an unbroken 16-year streak of victories.
He was the Cal Ripken of his time bookmark
Ahem, there were no Protestants then. Crusades were much earlier than Protestantism I think.
WOW, this is great! I think I need to copy and paste most of this whole thread and keep it for teaching my kids. If that is not breaking any rules of course. This is good teaching material here.
The Byzantine Christians were pushing the muslim vampires back for hundreds of years before the first crusade.
Specifically the wars between the 7th and 12th centuries AD
Until the Christians in Spain did the right thing and took their country back.
Eleni, I don’t think the author neglected that. The article was about putting the Crusades in perspective. Information about the eastern Christians was given just insofar as it related to that goal of placing them in perspective. The article was not about the eastern Christians.
However, the author did mention that the Byzantines had already had most of their land conquered by the Muslims. That made it plain that the eastern Christians had long been fighting with them.
“Outside of Venice, which used the Adriatic to rotate the sewage in and out, Europe was pretty nasty from about 535 AD to probably the 1200s ~ when one of my ancestors figured out the best place to build his castle was ON TOP OF THE RIVER so he could have “flushing toilets” in every room.”
Might I point out that the UNITED STATES did not have plumming at it’s inception, and plumming and sewage were not generally implemented untill the late 1800’s in this country (remeber out houses?). Yet, the U S was ahead of most nations from the time of the Declaration of Independence. We were a nation of simple farmers, but we also had great minds like Franklin, Washington, and Jefferson. Your point that Europe was so backward because of the implementation of toilets is pretty weak. Parts of europe were indeed backwards, but there were islands of knowledge and greatnest that persisted though the middle ages. The backwardness of europe in the middle ages is a myth itself and should be put to bed. The mighty caliphate was defeated for hundreds of years in the east by the EUROPEAN Byzantine empire. Islam was indeed ahead of Europe for a while, but this is generally exaggerated.
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