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Four Myths about the Crusades
First Principles ^ | 4/21/11 | Paul F. Crawford

Posted on 04/22/2011 12:12:16 PM PDT by marshmallow

This article appears in the Spring 2011 edition of the Intercollegiate Review. See the issue’s Table of Contents here.

In 2001, former president Bill Clinton delivered a speech at Georgetown University in which he discussed the West’s response to the recent terrorist attacks of September 11. The speech contained a short but significant reference to the crusades. Mr. Clinton observed that “when the Christian soldiers took Jerusalem [in 1099], they . . . proceeded to kill every woman and child who was Muslim on the Temple Mount.” He cited the “contemporaneous descriptions of the event” as describing “soldiers walking on the Temple Mount . . . with blood running up to their knees.” This story, Mr. Clinton said emphatically, was “still being told today in the Middle East and we are still paying for it.”

This view of the crusades is not unusual. It pervades textbooks as well as popular literature. One otherwise generally reliable Western civilization textbook claims that “the Crusades fused three characteristic medieval impulses: piety, pugnacity, and greed. All three were essential.”1 The film Kingdom of Heaven (2005) depicts crusaders as boorish bigots, the best of whom were torn between remorse for their excesses and lust to continue them. Even the historical supplements for role-playing games—drawing on supposedly more reliable sources—contain statements such as “The soldiers of the First Crusade appeared basically without warning, storming into the Holy Land with the avowed—literally—task of slaughtering unbelievers”;2 “The Crusades were an early sort of imperialism”;3 and “Confrontation with Islam gave birth to a period of religious fanaticism that spawned the terrible Inquisition and the religious wars that ravaged Europe during the Elizabethan era.”4

The most famous semipopular historian of the crusades, Sir Steven Runciman, ended his three volumes of magnificent prose with the judgment that the crusades were.....

(Excerpt) Read more at firstprinciplesjournal.com ...


TOPICS: Catholic; History; Islam
KEYWORDS: clashofcivilizations
A long read but worth it.

Summary: The four myths

Myth #1: The crusades represented an unprovoked attack by Western Christians on the Muslim world.

Myth #2: Western Christians went on crusade because their greed led them to plunder Muslims in order to get rich.

Myth #3: Crusaders were a cynical lot who did not really believe their own religious propaganda; rather, they had ulterior, materialistic motives.

Myth #4: The crusades taught Muslims to hate and attack Christians

1 posted on 04/22/2011 12:12:22 PM PDT by marshmallow
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To: marshmallow
#5 ~ Bill Clinton is the sort of fallen away Protestant who imagines he can curry favor among the majority in this country by taking every opportunity he can to make Roman Catholic history look far grimmer than it ever was.

Not that he embarrasses me ~ personally, but the gullible ~ from the writer of this piece, to to Bill's friends, to your typical Democrat voter ~ they are embarrassing.

Otherwise the writer's piece is pretty accurate but he should have noted that Arabia was simply the first place to come out of the quite serious Economic Depression most of the world had fallen into with the coming of the Dark Ages event (up to a 7 year long Fimbul Winter in places). These guys were hit so suddenly with OPPORTUNITY they didn't even bother inventing the religion of Islam on a formal basis for 300 more years.

Didn't mean they were good guys, but their motives were not exactly religious.

Then, the Seljuk Turks came into the Middle East. Earlier Turks had gone into Europe. Even earlier Turks had gone into Western India, and far, far earlier than that Turks had shown up in Eastern India, Northern Asia, Western Asia, and so forth.

There's a reason why Saddam Hussein looked so terribly Turkish and only so vaguely Arabic. Then, too, the Chinese had their own problems with these guys. Finally a Far Eastern group known as the Mongols organized a number of Turkish speaking tribes and proceeded to more or less conquer the known world ~ except Europe which was then dismissed as possibly not worth it since at the time it was occupied mostly by warrior priests who were exceedingly nasty and aggressive. All of today's "problems" in the Middle East derive from the Mongol experience of the 1200-1400 period. Add to that the fact the Mongols spread knowledge of the use of gunpowder, firearms and heavy artillery ~ it's easy to see that whatever happened during the Crusades, NO ONE COULD POSSIBLY CARE if they'd look at what's happened since then.

The Middle East has passed from conqueror to conqueror, disaster to disaster, and turmoil beyond belief to yet more turmoil. The Arabs, who made a flash in the pan fame back in the 7th and 8th century ended up as a TAX FARM for the Seljuks and the Ottomans.

Frankly, in the context of ME history something like the Inquisition has got to be at the bottom of the pile. Hardly anyone was killed, and certainly no one of interest to Moslems!

Again, Bill Clinton used a sort of anti-Catholicism to get votes. He certainly used the degradation of a Jewish woman as a way to get votes. What he knows of ME history is irrelevant ~ unless he thought he could get some votes by screwing around with something in the ME.

2 posted on 04/22/2011 12:43:35 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: muawiyah

Interesting choice of screen name. Former scribe of Mohammed who rose to the position of the first Caliph of the Umayyad Dynasty in 666 AD. First entry of Islam into Spain.

You wrote:
All of today’s “problems” in the Middle East derive from the Mongol experience of the 1200-1400 period. Wouldn’t most of those “problems” have initiated much earlier with the loss of Asia Minor to the Muslims?


3 posted on 04/22/2011 1:26:17 PM PDT by kidd
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To: kidd
The Moslems sent out missionaries who converted the Seljuk Turks BEFORE they got to Asia Minor.

Following up on that, it's interesting that ALL of the top leaders of the Seljuk Turks have Gaelic names ~ which may well have some relationship (or not) to the particular Turkish languages the Seljuk's favored as well as "politics" that happened long before the first armed foray into Anatolia. The Turks were quite sophisticated when it came to the use of politics as part of foreign conquest. Life was much less expensive that way.

Turkish, like English, can sop up foreign words and names at the drop of a bottle of cognac too.

The loss of ALL of Asia minor to the Seljuks actually happened when the Byzantine Empire was finally shut down by their successors, the Ottomans in the early 1400s.

NOTE: Most Westerners forget that the Moslem expansion in the West actually sucked under Greece, which prides itself in some manner as the foundation of the West. To a degree it can be argued that Islam destroyed the West in the 1400s leaving it to far more recent cultures to drive them out of Greece, et all.

An alternative to that argument is that Persia, in a new guise as Judeo-Christian culture as that had been transported to Europe managed to stop Islam in its expansion, and actually drive it back towards Arabia a bit.

4 posted on 04/22/2011 1:35:59 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: muawiyah

You wrote of a military loss of Asia Minor. But wouldn’t a loss of formerly Christian territory, even if by conversions (forced or willingly), cause bad blood between Christians and Muslims (which would pre-date the Mongol invasions) thus causing the “problems”?

I guess I’m not sure what modern day “problems” you are referring to


5 posted on 04/22/2011 2:14:28 PM PDT by kidd
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To: kidd
The Mongols had no disputes whatsoever with Islam, per se, but they did have a serious dispute with Arabs ~ who'd rejected their economic entreaties.

It's when the Arabs sent the Mongol ambassadors back dead that got it off to a nasty start. The Mongols then killed everybody in Baghdad ~ at the time quite possibly one of the largest cities in the world.

Afterwards Arabs were dealt with as a sort of rag tag bunch of not much worth.

Mongol power withdrew from the region and was replaced by Seljuk and other Turkish power, that part of the world (the Steppes) being in the ascendancy.

The Saudis continue to pretend they are philosophically important to Islam ~ which they aren't. Egypt has the largest group of Arabic speaking Moslems anyway, and I believe India and Indonesia are pretty close in terms of numbers of Moslems living in a particular country.

The Saudis are only important in respect to their foreign investments (purchased with oil income).

6 posted on 04/22/2011 2:24:37 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: kidd
Oh, the modern day problems ~ that was noted in contradistinction to whatever sort of problem might have risen in the Crusades that might have repercussions down to today.

The point was that even if the Crusades were terrible, the Arabs had been driven so deeply into servitude by the Turks none of that could possibly account for their modern malaise and poverty.

7 posted on 04/22/2011 2:35:45 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: marshmallow

Suppose some Christians attack and capture ‘Muslim holy land’. Imagine the uproar that it creates. I bet many liberals will agree that the Muslims have ‘rights’ to organize themselves and to recapture those lands.


8 posted on 04/22/2011 3:17:49 PM PDT by paudio (The differences between Clinton and 0bama? About a dozen of former Democratic Congressmen.)
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To: muawiyah

“The Moslems sent out missionaries who converted the Seljuk Turks BEFORE they got to Asia Minor.”

The Arabs in which Islam originated were rewarded with centuries of subjugation by the Turks, which didn’t end until the fall of the Ottoman Empire in 1918-1919.


9 posted on 04/22/2011 5:21:31 PM PDT by kearnyirish2
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To: kearnyirish2
To put it bluntly we gave the Turkish slaves their freedom and they paid us back with violence.

There's a very strong suggestion in this that once you've been Islamicized you are only fit to live as someone else's slave.

10 posted on 04/22/2011 5:33:41 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: paudio
Christians did, in fact, recover Christian lands. Let me start with a small list ~ Portugal, Spain, France, Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia, Hungary, Sicily, Italy ~ and then ALL of North Africa, ALL of Africa, Iraq, Syria, lebanon, Palestine, Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Lybia, Morocco, etc.

All of those places had once been Christian or partly Christian, and they were recovered.

We've subsequently let some of the territory backslide into slavery at the hands of an Islamic "upper class".

You find a substitute for OIL and these guys will collapse like a house of cards.

11 posted on 04/22/2011 5:38:56 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: muawiyah

The Arabs had their part in tying down Turkish troops while the British made gains in the Middle East; I think the friction started when rather than being granted the independence they thought would follow, the Arab portions of the Ottoman Empire were divided between France & Britain.

Under their own leaders, especially religious ones, Muslims are a docile lot.


12 posted on 04/22/2011 6:40:54 PM PDT by kearnyirish2
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To: muawiyah

Not one of the biggest one: the Second Rome, Constantinople. Although briefly during the Balkan Wars in the beginning of the 20th century, that part was under Bulgaria I believe.


13 posted on 04/22/2011 6:50:15 PM PDT by paudio (The differences between Clinton and 0bama? About a dozen of former Democratic Congressmen.)
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To: paudio

Yup, the Greeks didn’t get it back ~ still, in my experience Greeks (except those from Crete) look so much like the Turks it’s very difficult to understand them as different peoples. It’s more like differentiating between Canadians and Americans, or if you are an African, trying to figure out the difference between Americans and Mexicans (or so I’ve heard)


14 posted on 04/22/2011 6:59:45 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: marshmallow

Placemark for a gotta read.


15 posted on 04/22/2011 10:42:33 PM PDT by little jeremiah (Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point. CSLewis)
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To: muawiyah

I have read somewhere—where I cannot recall—that in 1096, the Levant still had a large, in some places a majority Christian population, because the Arabs preferred to tax Christians and Jews rather than convert them. In other words, it was a bit like Ireland under the British.The difference was that the Christians and Jews in these Arab land provided the skills that kept civilization going. Lots of such folks died at the hands of the Mongols.


16 posted on 04/23/2011 10:22:29 AM PDT by RobbyS (Pray with the suffering souls.)
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To: RobbyS
The Mongols and the Turks had a reputation for being more interested in the taxes that could be extracted than in any particular ethnic, religious or linguistic situations.

The Mongols, in particular, hired on foreign nationals from conquered territories to administer affairs of state, serve in Mongol armies, and so on.

They viewed themselves as a "leadership elite" and acted accordingly.

The Turks were into colonization but they had far larger populations than the Mongols.

To a considerable degree the Turks and Mongols invented the model for the modern secular state. The Islamic Caliphate was a throwback to the old Roman Empire with its Emperor worship.

17 posted on 04/23/2011 10:37:55 AM PDT by muawiyah
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To: marshmallow
Summary: The four myths

Myth #1: The crusades represented an unprovoked attack by Western Christians on the Muslim world.

Myth #2: Western Christians went on crusade because their greed led them to plunder Muslims in order to get rich.

Myth #3: Crusaders were a cynical lot who did not really believe their own religious propaganda; rather, they had ulterior, materialistic motives.

Myth #4: The crusades taught Muslims to hate and attack Christians

--> well summarised

18 posted on 04/28/2011 7:42:18 AM PDT by Cronos (Christian, redneck, rube and proud of it!)
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To: muawiyah

Greeks may not like to hear it but the blood/genetic differences between them and the Turks is very small now. Especially West Turkey Turks who have a lot of Greek, Albanian etc. blood. In the East they have Armenian, Assyrian etc. blood and in both areas Hittite, Lydian, etc blood is present. They have very little actual Turkic blood, far less than the Uzbeks (30-40% Turkic blood) and much less than Turkmen (90+%)


19 posted on 04/28/2011 7:44:51 AM PDT by Cronos (Christian, redneck, rube and proud of it!)
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To: marshmallow

“Mr. Clinton observed that “when the Christian soldiers took Jerusalem [in 1099], they . . . proceeded to kill every woman and child who was Muslim on the Temple Mount.” He cited the “contemporaneous descriptions of the event” as describing “soldiers walking on the Temple Mount . . . with blood running up to their knees.”

The truth is that when the Crusaders entered Jerusalem, they whacked pretty much everybody.. Muslim, Jew and Christian alike. Nobody was spared.


20 posted on 04/28/2011 7:52:45 AM PDT by Mashood
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To: Cronos
You forgot the Gallatians ~ in central and eastern Anatolia ~ and they may have been more important in the grand scheme of the Turkish takeover of Anatolia. The top commanders had Gaelic names ~ readily translated into meaningful phrases.

Something obviously happened during that period when the residual Gallatian tribes in Anatolia met up with the Seljuk Turks. I'm thinking some perky redheads made up a matched set for the Grand Sultan's harem ~ and that was that. They never looked back.

The Turks were both assimilative and adaptable ~ hardly primitive barbarians. This same group was not terribly different than the groups who'd invaded the Indus from time to time over the centuries.

21 posted on 04/28/2011 2:15:40 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: muawiyah
I doubt these were redhead Gallatians -- there is no mention of these. however that doesn't mean that there weren't of course!

The Turks in Turkey are hardly Turkic -- I doubt they have more than a drop of Turkic blood in them.

22 posted on 04/29/2011 12:38:19 AM PDT by Cronos
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To: Cronos
I've been trying to figure out the mechanism whereby you had a generation of Turks showing up to invade Anatolia and they actually had what are clearly Gaellic names ~ the use of a harem by a local prince is a viable way.

What he'd do is assemble the girls and award them to the strongest leader among the closest Turks. Nature would yield positive results.

I did find that the Gallatians came in as an invading leadership elite themselves back in something like the 4th century BC, and stayed that way ~ and were presumably still that way down to the 8th and 9th centuries. They did not do well with "others".

23 posted on 04/29/2011 3:46:35 AM PDT by muawiyah
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To: muawiyah
you had a generation of Turks showing up to invade Anatolia and they actually had what are clearly Gaellic name

Interesting. I think that slipped me by -- can you give me examples, please?

Perhaps he got Gaellic allies? Of course the harem bit does work, but then why give them GAellic names? Later Sultans and Pashas were mostly European by blood, yet of course had Moslem names (the Pasha of Egypt in the 1800s was Albanian, Suleyman the Magnificent's mother and grandmother were Ruthenian etc)

I think the Gallatians power was broken by Alexander and later by the Romans.

24 posted on 04/29/2011 4:43:59 AM PDT by Cronos
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To: Cronos
We don't know all that much about the Seljuks when you get right down to it. The Moslems claimed that they'd converted them from paganism, so they probably weren't Christians or Buddhists, but maybe they were Mithrists. Islam had a lot of luck with those guys.

As Mithrists they'd be well within the pale of Western Orthodoxy when you think of rules of law and status of women.

Islam itself involved a substantial elevation of women from their former status as abject slaves and property among the Arabs.

This is still early in that part of history, not the 1100s and later when lines got harder.

The Gallatians St. Paul wrote to back in the first century appear to have been less well established after the climate disaster of 535-41 (and later), so they'd be in a position to "negotiate" all sorts of things ~ tribal mergers, national coalitions, swapping women ~ entire harems!

Having lent a little more to the proposition, please note that in many societies the mothers have a say in naming the kids ~ plus they pass on their own language to those kids ~ Fur Shur the Turks had just picked up writing from the Arabs so we may be missing some of the subtle nuances we'd see if the version of their Turkish language had been rendered out in Latin letters first.

Let me give you an idea of what we face in dealing with the Seljuks ~ they didn't have writing. They may have been like the Sakha/Yakuts in India who departed there in about AD200 only to show up in Japan about AD560 (with more coming for the next century).

When the Sakha left India they could read and write and appear to have had a high degree of literacy. Sometime in their sojourn in Siberia they lost all that but they kept their version of their "Annals of the Kings of the Yakuts" ~ or whatever they called themselves. The Russians figured out how to translate that stuff in recent years and discovered, lo and behold, these are the folks who'd lived in India and spawned Buddha.

The invaders in 560AD brought Buddhism with them, and not just any Buddhism but full blown Zen Buddhism (based on studies of their forms and beliefs). That group was quite literate ~ and that means the guys left behind tending the sheep, goats, horses, reindeer, muskox and brahmin cattle were, as they seemed to be, illiterate herdsmen. Interesting that they also had a record of their national history.

This seems to be the source of the primary element in Japanese language ~ a full blown Turkish language.

The group in the West who turned into the Seljuks is believed by many archaeologists to have been in Western India and spoke a Turkish with a different source than the Eastern Sakha that went to Japan and disappeared.

The Easterners traded women like they traded their herd animals. The Westerners were not culturally similar in that regard, but were certainly into the practice of swapping women to seal tribal contracts.

I've been looking for some materials (in English) to guide me in comparing and contrasting Seljuk Turkish with Sakha/Yakuts Turkish but it's not out there yet. I'm sure the Russians will produce it eventually, but will it be in English?

25 posted on 04/29/2011 5:52:41 AM PDT by muawiyah
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To: Cronos
Oh, almost forgot, ALL Moslems GET Moslem names if they don't already have them. It's part of the deal.

Duqaq, Radwan, Kerbogha ~ as in Rooster (modern Breton still has this one), and kerbogha is just a tad more Gaellic than Carvajal ~ , while Radwan has literary references in Gaellic languages centuries older than the Arabic language references.

These three names are quite common among the Seljuks. They became even more popular in later centuries as the Seljuks extended their authority over the other folks in the Middle East.

The three Seljuk principals with those names are within the same family ~ I believe cousins at one remove (or did they marry their sisters too?).

26 posted on 04/29/2011 9:01:40 AM PDT by muawiyah
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