Skip to comments.Holy War: The Year the Muslims Took Rome
Posted on 01/05/2006 6:25:09 AM PST by NYer
ROMA, January 5, 2006 – A book published recently in the United States lifts the veil on a crucial aspect of Islam, one which too many understand poorly and know too little about: jihad, the holy war.
It is an aspect that meets with widespread silence, as if it were a taboo. Even among Christians, there are wide gaps on this topic in the general awareness of Church history.
An example? Many recall what happened in Rome, at St. Peter’s Basilica, the night of Christmas Day of the year 800. After the Mass, pope Leo III solemnly placed upon the head of Charlemagne the crown of the Holy Roman Empire.
That night, the basilica of St. Peter gleamed with breathtaking brilliance. A few years earlier, Leo III’s predecessor, pope Hadrian I, had covered the entire floor of the sanctuary with plates of silver; he had covered the walls with gold plates and enclosed it all with a balustrade of gold weighing 1,328 pounds. He had remade the sanctuary gates with silver, and had placed on the iconostasis six images also made of silver, representing Christ, Mary, the archangels Gabriel and Michael, and saints Andrew and John. Finally, in order to make this splendor visible to all, he had ordered the assembly of a candelabrum in the form of a huge cross, on which 1,365 candles burned.
But less than half a century later, none of this remained. And what happened remains generally unknown among Christians today.
What happened is that in 846 some Muslim Arabs arrived in a fleet at the mouth of the Tiber, made their way to Rome, sacked the city, and carried away from the basilica of St. Peter all of the gold and silver it contained.
And this was not just an incidental attack. In 827 the Arabs had conquered Sicily, which they kept under their dominion for two and a half centuries. Rome was under serious threat from nearby. In 847, the year after the assault, the newly elected pope Leo IV began the construction of walls around the entire perimeter of the Vatican, 12 meters high and equipped with 44 towers. He completed the project in six years. These are the “Leonine” walls, and significant traces of them still remain. But very few today know that these walls were erected to defend the see of Peter from an Islamic jihad. And many of those who do know this remain silent out of discretion. “Bridges, not walls” is the fashionable slogan today.
Today, most of Italians, with great support from their European brothers and one half of America, would declare this wall insensitive to the needs of the immigrant population. Shouldn't borders be open at all times, both to friend and foe?
Huge new Mosque in Rome across the river from the Vatican --->>
NICHOLSON: This experience could be indispensable in coming years as the Catholic Church competes with the rise of Islam. The faithful who worship in this giant mosque in Rome, almost on the doorstep of the Vatican are a powerful reminder of the competition the Catholic Church faces for followers in both the developed and developing world.
JOHN ALLEN: So that mosque in Rome tends to be a tremendous symbol if you like of what sticks in the craw of a lot of Christians thinking about the relationship with Islam.
NICHOLSON: Mario Scialoja is a rare Italian. He converted from Catholicism to Islam, a former Italian Ambassador to the United Nations, hes now the director of Italys World Muslim League.
MARIO SCIALOJA: I dont expect there to be happy to see such a fast growth of the Muslim faith in Italy, but I mean they didnt show any, any resentment for that.
NICHOLSON: Islam is making inroads into traditional Christian areas with a zeal and energy that cannot be ignored. Vatican watcher journalist John Allen has no doubt the Catholic Church is afraid.
JOHN ALLEN: Tremendously afraid. I think the reality is that if you look at the world situation, Islam has about 1.1 billion members, so does Roman Catholicism. Islam is expanding rapidly in a lot of boarder zones where Christianity has traditionally found itself.
NICHOLSON: Arinze is prepared to tackle the contest head on. His approach to interfaith dialogue is straightforward. The aim of the game is more Catholics
You have to hunt around to find much about it. Older history texts are best. The newer ones are too PC to admit to the notion that Muslims tried to pillage and conquer Europe other than Spain.
"The newer ones are too PC to admit to the notion that Muslims tried to pillage and conquer Europe other than Spain."
And they completely fail to mention the success of the Khan's Golden Horde invasion of the 1300s that had the Khan knocking on the gates of Vienna after thoroughly whipping the butts of the European Christian armies.
Ping. This needs to be in your metalink post(s).
bttt with a little history.
The Muslim forays against Italy and the South of France are not Äncient History". As late as the middle of the 19th century, raiders from Algeria and Tunisia (The Barbarbary Coast) would snatch and enslave people fropm seaside towns, and in some cases, who were walking along the beach, often fighting pitched battles with the fleet and army of the Kingdom of Naples.
More catholics means when the crunch comes, they will be sacrificial lambs. I don't believe Christianity will prevail over Islam until the return of Christ.
What really complicates the issue, is that for the first time in history, there are a significant number of people who are weary of religion, all religion. I think irreligious people are siding with Islam because they want to see it used as a force in their war against Christianity.
For some bizarre, inscructable reason, they see Islam as less threatening than Christianity. Christianity has become so divided and fragmented, it fails to provided a united front and has its bizarre elements and sects. They want to be rid of Christianity in any form because it is their perception that Christians block scientific and their version of social progress. They have blinders on. All their social experimentation will come to a screeching halt once Islam suceeds in reaching critical mass in various countries. It does not require a majority to cause mayhem. A majority will cause worse than mayhem.
There are none so blind as those who will not see. This has been snowballing for centuries, and there is no way Islam will ever accommodate itself to western ideals universally which I think the movers and shakers at the head of social change are banking on. There are some who will become more enlightened and tolerant, but I fear they will be the minority.
There is an energy driving Islam which tends toward violence and bloodshed. To some extent that was true with Christianity in the past, but much of that was in self-defense.
Very true, especially in Calabria.
It is the first and the only Mosque in Rome, located at the foot of the hill. It was erected in 1984-93, and designed by Paolo Portoghesi, Vittorio Gigliotti and Sami Monsawi. The mosque, that can hold up to 3000 people and is the largest in Europe, was financed by some 24 Arab countries. There is also a cultural center and library here.
From what I understand, they petitioned the City of Rome to erect a crescent moon over the Mosque that rises higher than the cross over the Vatican. The request was granted. Also, the previous Imam was a radical extremist who called for a jihad.
Do you have a link to the John Allen article?
So the work will be completely ignored since it did not come from one of the anointed elite. That is why if you want to seriously study history, you have a much better time if you focus on old books.
Harold Lamb's books on the Crusade are great.
That is one u-g-l-y building!
Do you have a link to the John Allen article?.....
And I think the Rome mosque was Saudi funded.
In 1995, incidentally, Saudi money funded the building of an enormous, $50 million mosque in Rome, just a stone's throw from St. Peter's Square.
Fascinating! I had no idea. Thank you for the information.
I am so sick of Interreligious Dialogue. Its long since time for a new Crusade.
If we are going to be accused of being crusaders for pumping mideast oil and not carpet bombing Israel or not funnelling foreign aid to Hammas, we might as well live up to the accusation and actually be Crusaders.
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