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THE CHURCH MILITANT--REAL MILITANT--The Knights of St. John & the Siege of Malta
Catholic Men's Quarterly ^ | March 2004 | Nicholas C. Prata

Posted on 03/29/2004 11:19:37 AM PST by Antoninus

THE CHURCH MILITANT...REAL MILITANT

    Just as Jesus Christ is often transformed into some new-age sensitive patsy instead of the Son of God become Man, so, too, is the Church’s teaching on the just war often misrepresented by both doves and hawks, pacifists and warmongers.  In this struggle, the pacifists have the upper hand because Christ, though he did speak often of Hell and its attendant pains, is the Prince of Peace whose law is love, and the Church’s teaching on what constitutes a just war is very strict and seeks peace first always.  However, just as common sense tells us, against the extreme pacifists, that we have a right to self-defense, even a duty at times, so too do nations.  And, whatever the justification for a particular war, armed conflict elicits both the best and the worst qualities in men.  Every battlefield has been the scene of acts of heroism and self-sacrifice as well as those of cowardice and brutality.  In that fact do we find the rationale for a column such as this, the title of which we hope is not misleading. The Church is made up of three societies if you will):  the Church militant –that’s us here on earth; the Church suffering, composed of the souls in purgatory; and the Church triumphant, composed of the saints in Heaven with God and His angels.  Our title, through a play on words, seeks to explain that, on these pages, the valorous deeds of Catholic men in battle will be recalled.  The column seeks not to glorify war; rather, it seeks to celebrate the heroism of Catholic men long-dead and to remind us today of the sacrifices endured by our spiritual ancestors. Our first columnist is Nick Prata, who has written two thrilling novels, one of which is about our topic…

THE KNIGHTS OF ST. JOHN AND THE SIEGE OF MALTA

     It’s often forgotten that the struggle between Islam and Chrisitanity did not start with the Crusades.  When Pope Urban called for the retaking of the Holy Land at the end of the eleventh century, a weak and divided Christendom had been under attack by Muslim “crusaders” for over three hundred years.  Europe was relatively stagnant intellectually and culturally, partly because she had been besieged by Muslims, Vikings and barbarians for centuries, when Urban decided it better to task his squabbling flock with recapturing Jerusalem than to placidly await the next jihad.  From this dubious and ultimately unsuccessful counterattack came much grief, but an order fostered by the Crusades should be recalled with pride.  For the faith and brotherhood of the Knights of St. John do honor to the Church, and their valiant defense at Malta stands tall among the deeds of Western Civilization.

     The Knights got their start as devout laymen from Amalfi, Italy, but the fraternity soon transformed into a religious order.  Prior to the First Crusade, they maintained hospitals in the Holy Land, hence the sobriquet “Hospitallers.”  In the best Christian tradition, medical services were free to any in need, including Muslims.  The Crusades forced the Knights to arms, and reinforcements brought the order a multinational face.  Italy, Auvergne, Provence, France, Spain, Aragon, England and Germany were eventually represented.  Each “langue” or language had its own leader, but supreme command rested with an elected Grand Master, who swore fealty to the papacy alone.

     The Knights ensconced themselves in castles across the Holy Land and became renowned warriors.  Their skill with weapons, exceptional armor and religious fervor made them adversaries to be feared.  A Muslim chronicler described them as “…each full of zeal, and without weakness.”  It’s fair to say that the Hospitallers were among the very finest soldiers of the day.

     However, due to vast enemy numbers and long supply lines, the Knights were eventually driven from the Holy Land.  Unperturbed, they redeployed to the island of Rhodes and harassed Islam by sea.  Again, though, they were dislodged by repeated invasions.  They gave such a splendid account of themselves during the final battle in 1523, however, that Sultan Sulieman the Magnificent promised safe passage if they would but leave Rhodes.  This unusually gracious offer was grudgingly accepted by Grand Master De L’isle Adam.

     An anachronism in an increasingly nationalistic Europe, the venerable order of warrior monks settled in the only place offered them – Malta.  The small, bare island, bleak indeed after lush Rhodes, nonetheless provided good harbors for their fleet.  A day’s rowing from Sicily, “the rock,” as Malta was dubbed, would witness their finest hour.

     Sulieman grew to bitterly regret having released the Knights, who preyed on his navy and merchant ships.  When his hungry gaze fell upon Rome, he decided to first seize Malta as a staging point for incursions into the heart of western Europe.  Since the Muslims had already conquered southeastern Europe and penetrated as far west as Vienna, toppling fractured Italy should have proven easy; from there he planned to take the entire West for Allah…after building a mosque on St. Peter’s ashes.

     Roughly five hundred Knights were on Malta when Sulieman’s armada of two hundred ships and forty thousand men landed in May 1565.  Knights, civilians and a garrison of professional soldiers took refuge in and around the forts skirting the Grand Harbor.  Grand Master Jean La Valette, a tenacious seventy-year-old, vowed no surrender.  He had been at Rhodes and would not endure another such defeat.  The pious former slave on a Muslim galley knew both that for and against which he fought, and he had no intention of yielding more Christian soil to Sulieman.  Though his cries for assistance went unheeded by Europe, he had faith that God would not abandon “the Religion.”  As hostilities approached, La Valette called his men to the celebration of the Mass, saying, “Let us hasten, my brothers, to the sacred altar where we shall renew our vows and obtain…that contempt for death, which alone can render us invincible.”

     Against such resolute stuff as the old warrior was made, the Muslim command, in contrast, was divided.  Mustapha Pasha was an experienced, ruthless soldier who would constantly butt heads with his incompetent naval counterpart, Admiral Piali.  More generals would arrive as the siege drew on, but only the eighty-year-old pirate, Dragut Rais, would provide coordination to the conglomerate force. 

     The day came when proud Turkish armies disembarked from galleys, crescent flags snapping overhead.  Endless lines of robed Janissaries, men who had been kidnapped from Christian homes as children and now served as the elite shock troops of the Ottoman Empire, and mounted sipahi, spired helmets shining in the sun, marched boldly down the gangplanks and formed up south of Grand Harbor.  Sulieman’s war machine was the greatest on earth, and it was unthinkable that it would meet with other than victory on pitifully outmatched Malta; in fact, spies had promised it would fall in a few days.

     Armored from head to foot, the Knights paced the walls of the fortified towns of Senglea and Birgu and those of the stand-alone Fort St. Elmo in anticipation.  Cannons were readied, and noncombatants ordered to the rear.  The brave Maltese, frequent victims of Muslim raiders, prepared to fight.  The stage was set, and the desperate battle that followed was of such intensity and spectacle as to almost defy belief.  For nearly four months, the barren island would witness combat of astonishing variety.  Sun-drenched Malta, which St. Paul himself had converted, would run red in rivers of blood.

     Soon after landing the Turks captured two Hospitallers, Adrien De La Riviere and Bartolomeo Faraoane.  When the two men refused to betray their brother Knights and the Maltese, they were tortured to death.  Meanwhile, Mustapha’s skirmishers approached the town of Birgu via the Corradino Heights and were surprised by a small contingent of mounted Knights.  Hundreds of Turks died in the melee, and their flag was snatched before La Valette recalled his men.  For obscure reasons, Mustapha then concentrated upon insignificant Fort St. Elmo, across the water from Senglea and Birgu.  St. Elmo, weak and unfortunately positioned below Mount Sciberras, would endure infantry assaults and pulverizing bombardments for the next month.

     St. Elmo, a star-shaped structure built at little expense, held no civilians but was the softest of the three forts.  Many batteries were placed on Scibberas as the Turks dug in.  The pounding started, and the Knights were hit with everything from ships’ guns to enormous “basilisk” pieces so large they could only be discharged twice a day.  Elmo’s walls were rapidly reduced to powder.  The Knights fended off repeated attacks, but it seemed impossible the fort would survive the week.  Although La Valette reinforced the garrison at night, the forces defending Elmo were steadily depleted.  At stone’s throw range, the cannonade reached seven thousand shots a day and such a pitch that it was heard in Sicily, yet Elmo’s fearless leaders, Governor Broglia and Captain de Guaras, refused to yield.  Repeated Janissary assaults filled the fort’s moat with bodies.  The battle stretched on for a month, making a mockery of Mustapha’s timetable, and the Muslim’s commander’s offers to parley were met with insults.

     Living like animals in the ruins, starving and racked by thirst, running low on everything but indefatigable courage and steadfast faith, the Knights braced for the final attack.  Receiving the Eucharist one last time (They knew what mattered!), they emptied Elmo’s chapel of relics before ringing the church bells to warn La Valette of impending defeat.  Piali’s navy joined the fight and drubbed Elmo from the sea.  It proved the little fort’s greatest moment.  A skeleton force of one hundred sick and grievously wounded men, some missing limbs and literally dying of gangrene, held off the entire Turkish host for an hour, forcing a withdrawal.  Two thousand fresh Turkish dead littered the ground!  The wounded officers, de Guaras and Miranda, had themselves placed in chairs before the fort to await the final charge, swords across their knees.  The last offensive came and Elmo finally fell.

     Mustapha entered the fallen “fort”-little more than rubble and corpses-and looked with dismay across Grand Harbor at massive Fort St. Angelo in Birgu.  “Allah!” he cried.  “If so small a son has cost me so dear, what price is required for so great a father?”  He had lost ten thousand men.

     St. Elmo had rattled Mustapha, and poisoned wells had infected his army with dysentery, but Sulieman wanted Malta.  So the Turks drew on their military ingenuity.  Mustapha threw an impressive network of trenches around Senglea and Birgu, but direct assaults were met with furious resistance.  Then followed sapping operations and underground battles with pickaxe and explosives, but the Knights held fast.  Turkish ships were dragged overland into Grand Harbor, but still the Knights persevered.  Turks molested Senglea’s floating barricade only to meet death at the hands of valiant Maltese volunteers who swam out to meet them.  Mustapha, however, knowing the Sultan would have his pleasure, would not quit.

     The Turks then constructed a marvelous siege tower and rolled it toward Birgu, only to have it leveled by cannonballs designed to cut ships’ masts.  There it was that the Grand Master’s nephew, Henri La Valette, lost his life in a suicidal attempt to repulse the Janissaries.  Finally, the Turks broke into shattered Birgu, only to find that the Grand Master had but lured them into what amounted to a shooting gallery; aValette had erected a raised redoubt that allowed his men to fire upon the enemy without exposing themselves.

     Mustapha grew desperate.  His engineers devised an “infernal machine,” a bomb twenty feet long and six feet high, which they rolled into Senglea, only to have the Knights muscle it back over the wall just in time to explode among the Turks!  Bodies were thrown all the way into the harbor.  Looking back through the carnage, the deeds of individual Knights bear witness to the valor of the Catholic men on that barren rock: a waterborne raid by Algerians was almost single-handedly halted by the Spanish Knight Zanoguerra, while a hidden battery under the command of Knight De Guiral killed a thousand Janissary reinforcements.  Frantic for victory and short of provisions, Mustapha marched inland on the Maltese capital, Mdina, but was fooled into thinking the town much stronger than it actually was and, so, withdrew.  Desperate Turks began to whisper that it was not Allah’s will that they conquer Malta.

     By the second week of September, the siege was over.  Demoralized and utterly spent, the Turks allowed themselves to be chased off by a numerically inferior Christian relief force led by the Spaniard, Don Garcia de la Toledo.  A final battle ensued after Mustapha realized how small the relief contingent was, but, spurred on by the furious Knights, the recently-arrived Christians routed the Muslims.  Sulieman, the greatest monarch of the era, would neither have his revenge upon the Hospitallers, nor would he construct his dreamed-of mosque over the remains of the first Pope.

     The defeat of the Knights of St. John at Malta would have been a disaster for Europe and would have changed the course of history.  Too late did the continent realize its peril, and only after hostilities had ended did she send help to the “island of heroes.”  However, the achievement of the Knights was recognized as vast sums of money poured into Malta, and the noblest families begged entrance for their sons into the order.  Philip II of Spain sent La Valette a bejeweled sword, and the Pope offered the Grand Master a Cardinal’s hat.  But nowhere was the Knight’s stand against seemingly overwhelming odds so perfectly realized than by Queen Elizabeth of distant, Protestant England.  Declaring a six-week thanksgiving, she noted that a Turkish victory “would have made uncertain what peril might follow to the rest of Christendom.”

     Proofing this too-short essay, I see that so many important details had to be omitted; there’s no word of Landfreducci’s defense at Elmo’s gate, nothing of Commander St. Aubin, nor mention of “the great chain.”  The fact remains, however, that our ancestors were free to worship as Catholics because the Knights fought and died for their beliefs.  And what became of the Hospitallers?  Now hailed as the Knights of Malta, they have returned to their roots as caregivers, and their generosity is witnessed wherever the eight-pointed Maltese cross reaches out to those in need.

Nick Prata is a banker and writer in Delaware. Interested readers may want to learn more about the siege of Malta by reading his historical novel Angels in Iron.  He has also written the philosophy-driven heroic fantasy novel Dream of Fire.


TOPICS: Catholic; History; Religion & Culture
KEYWORDS: 1565; catholic; crusades; history; hospitallers; knightsofstjohn; malta; muslim; siege; turks
A bit long, but here's an excellent article about an event in history that's under-appreciated today from a brand new Catholic men's magazine.

Enjoy!
1 posted on 03/29/2004 11:19:39 AM PST by Antoninus
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To: Claud; Polycarp IV; narses; patent; Romulus; eastsider; american colleen; ELS; NYer; Salvation; ...
Christendom/Western history ping and a plug for this new magazine. The guy who runs it is from american colleen's neck of the woods. Who says nothing good comes out of Massachusetts?

;-)
2 posted on 03/29/2004 11:38:40 AM PST by Antoninus (Federal Marriage Amendment NOW!)
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To: Antoninus
Very inspiring.
3 posted on 03/29/2004 12:06:08 PM PST by Snuffington
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To: Antoninus
That was an interesting article.
4 posted on 03/29/2004 1:10:36 PM PST by cpprfld (Who said accountants are boring?)
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To: Antoninus
Europe was relatively stagnant intellectually and culturally, partly because she had been besieged by Muslims, Vikings and barbarians for centuries,

Absolutely. The Muslim barbarians refuse to be assimilated into the European countries they invade. Instead they riot, explode, and demand to be represented. They intend to dominate and until the infiltrated societies realize that they will keep chipping away.

5 posted on 03/29/2004 1:30:52 PM PST by Dataman
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To: Antoninus; american colleen; sinkspur; Lady In Blue; Salvation; CAtholic Family Association; ...
What a great story! Thanks for posting it.

History Ping!

6 posted on 03/29/2004 1:53:05 PM PST by NYer (Prayer is the Strength of the Weak)
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To: Antoninus
I would love to see the story of The Knights of Saint John at Malta made into a movie, but Hollyweird would never go for it. Oh well, there's always Mel...
7 posted on 03/29/2004 1:56:16 PM PST by presidio9 (protectionism is a false god)
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To: Antoninus
I understand that the war between Christians and muslims began long ago, but what is your point. Sure the Catholic church has a history of placing men in a position that belongs to all believers( ie. SAINTS), but how is this relevant to now. Why should I care.
8 posted on 03/29/2004 2:39:55 PM PST by freebush (Why should I care?)
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To: Antoninus
"But nowhere was the Knight’s stand against seemingly overwhelming odds so perfectly realized than by Queen Elizabeth of distant, Protestant England. Declaring a six-week thanksgiving, she noted that a Turkish victory 'would have made uncertain what peril might follow to the rest of Christendom.'"

Ah, yes, the English Crown. Ever the pinnacle of hypocrisy! From this quote you would never know that the English were engaged in active piracy against Spain, in addition to aiding the Dutch rebels. Our dear "separated brethren" were, in effect, allies of the infidels throughout this period. Any triumph of Catholic arms occurred in spite of Protestant efforts.

It puts things in perspective when one learns that many of the captains of Spain's Armada in 1588 were veterans of the Battle of Lepanto.

9 posted on 03/29/2004 5:25:13 PM PST by Goetz_von_Berlichingen
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To: Antoninus
The sad fact is the Crusades were a failure beyond Spain.
10 posted on 03/29/2004 5:43:52 PM PST by Destro (Know your enemy! Help fight Islamic terrorism by visiting www.johnathangaltfilms.com)
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To: freebush
Why should I care.

Real Christians were at Malta.

11 posted on 03/29/2004 5:52:44 PM PST by Nov3
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To: Antoninus; NYer; Salvation; Canticle_of_Deborah; sandyeggo; american colleen; Polycarp IV; ...
Defenders of the Faith Ping List!

Story of Real Defenders of the Faith
12 posted on 03/29/2004 6:04:20 PM PST by StAthanasiustheGreat (Vocatus Atque Non Vocatus Deus Aderit)
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To: Antoninus
Nice,Good read Antoninus.
13 posted on 03/29/2004 6:20:23 PM PST by fatima (My Granddaughter is in Iraq-We unite with all our troops and send our love-)
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To: Destro
The Turks attacked Vienna in 1689; the Crusaders of centuries before ensured that they were fighting in a hostile, Christian land...
14 posted on 03/29/2004 6:28:23 PM PST by Tuco Ramirez (Ideas have consequences.)
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To: presidio9
I would love to see the story of The Knights of Saint John at Malta made into a movie, but Hollyweird would never go for it. Oh well, there's always Mel...

Actually, I think Hollyweird is in the process of making a movie version of the Siege of Malta. Unfortunately, the director is Guy Ritchie. (If that name sounds familiar, it's because he's one of Mudonna's [sic] many boy-toys. I think she was/is "married" to this one. Who can keep track?)

Anyway, I'm sure if Ritchie's "Siege of Malta" ever gets made, he'll get everything wrong.
15 posted on 03/29/2004 7:39:59 PM PST by Antoninus (Federal Marriage Amendment NOW!)
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To: freebush
I understand that the war between Christians and muslims began long ago, but what is your point.

Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it.<

Sure the Catholic church has a history of placing men in a position that belongs to all believers( ie. SAINTS), but how is this relevant to now.

I can make neither heads nor tails of this statement. Care to elaborate?

Why should I care.

If I pinged you to this article improperly, I apologize. If you stumbled onto it yourself, no one forced you to read it.
16 posted on 03/29/2004 7:44:54 PM PST by Antoninus (Federal Marriage Amendment NOW!)
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To: Destro
The sad fact is the Crusades were a failure beyond Spain.

If they truly were a failure, you and I would likely be speaking Arabic right now. The Crusades kept Islam on its heels during its ascendancy.
17 posted on 03/29/2004 7:56:18 PM PST by Antoninus (Federal Marriage Amendment NOW!)
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To: Antoninus
This guy's reply displays a hate of his fellow Christians. These people shed blood so he could be Christian yet his petty hate of the Catholic church prevents him from acknowledging it.
18 posted on 03/29/2004 7:59:49 PM PST by Nov3
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To: Antoninus
bump
19 posted on 03/29/2004 8:43:30 PM PST by findingtruth
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To: Antoninus
Great article. Thanks for posting it.
20 posted on 03/29/2004 9:33:10 PM PST by Land of the Irish
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To: Antoninus
The Roman Empire whose capital was in Constantinople kept Islam back from Europe not the Crusades which weakened the Christian Empire. Greek Fire in a much earlier fight is the reason we don't speak Arabic. The Crusades were fought against an Islam ruled by Turkic and Kurdish tribes.

Greek fire spewing forth from Constantinople's navy kept the Arabs out of Europe.

21 posted on 03/29/2004 9:49:27 PM PST by Destro (Know your enemy! Help fight Islamic terrorism by visiting www.johnathangaltfilms.com)
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To: Destro
Oh, come on, Destro. That's just silly in its one-sided ignorance of history and uncharitable in its cold dismissal of the blood spent by the three great military orders of the Church.

I know the history of these orders like the back of my hand as it is a major study of mine. But I feel less than inclined to even begin presenting facts for you after that crass post.

Look, my brother, I love you and have always found your posts on the FR a friendly bastion of defense of our cmmon faith. I have considered you a brother-in-arms, but this matter seems a subject not broachable.

I had a Russian friend for several years, who insisted that Russia single-handedly won WWII and provided the USA with food and material for our salvation during that struggle. When something is THAT 180 degrees off and utterly contrary to the truth, what can be said?

Your post strikes me that way. I am sorry about that.
22 posted on 03/29/2004 11:03:25 PM PST by broadsword (The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for Democrats to get elected.)
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To: Destro
You are right!

here is what I posted on another thread:

**********

I believe that there is a time for righteous anger when civilization itself is under mortal threat. After all, the Orthodox Roman Empire of Constantinople did not fall the first time it was attacked by Islamic forces in 717-718 AD, but beat them back with the aid of "Greek fire" and the Bulgars, and lasted another 735 years (until 1453 AD). The Islamic armies in 717 numbered 80,000 with tens of thousands more men on the 1,800 ships. Had the siege been successful, the entire course of human history would have changed for the worse. The battle of Poiters in 732 (just 14 years later!), when Christian forces defeated the Muslims in France, would have gone the other way with the arrival of hundreds of thousands of additional troops fresh from sacking and pillaging Eastern Europe and trying to destroy Christian civilization there. How long could the Germanic, Celtic, and Scandinavian areas have held out against emboldened Islamic warriors convinced even more that their deity was all-powerful?

Then, 250 years later, a future Prince Vladimir would never been able to send envoys to a Christian Constantinople and be impressed by heaven on earth in the Hagia Sophia... there might never have been a Christian Russia, and ALL of Europe might have been Islamicized just like the previously-Christian civilizations of northern Africa, the previously-Christian and Buddhist lands of central Asia, the previously-Jewish areas of Saudi Arabia, and on and on… So in fact there is nothing the least bit wrong with defending unto death the Christian civilization which is the only hope of the world, and why the Western world should be thankful to the Orthodox populations of Constantinople and the Balkans who absorbed the force of the Islamic invasions and kept the West safe, rather than being crudely dismissive of them.

23 posted on 03/30/2004 5:11:40 AM PST by wildandcrazyrussian
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To: Antoninus
If they truly were a failure, you and I would likely be speaking Arabic right now.

If the Crusades had failed, the most prevalant features of this planet would be cockroaches and radio active clouds. The only people Muslims hate more than Jews and Christians are Muslims of differing viewpoints.

24 posted on 03/30/2004 5:52:01 AM PST by presidio9 (protectionism is a false god)
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To: Antoninus
21st century crusade BUMP!
25 posted on 03/30/2004 6:22:41 AM PST by Claud
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To: Destro
The Roman Empire whose capital was in Constantinople kept Islam back from Europe not the Crusades which weakened the Christian Empire.

Hey, I've never had a problem giving the Greeks their due, particularly in the early days when they were basically alone in the fight against crusading Islam. Of course, the Eastern Empire might have lasted longer if not for the useless (in hindsight) offensives of Justinian and Heraclius and if not for the endless civil wars among rival eastern emperors.

But you have to admit--after Manzikert, Byzantium might not have made it out of the 12th century without the Crusaders taking some of the pressure off.

Greek Fire in a much earlier fight is the reason we don't speak Arabic. The Crusades were fought against an Islam ruled by Turkic and Kurdish tribes.

I know that. I was just being "colorful"...
26 posted on 03/30/2004 6:34:54 AM PST by Antoninus (Federal Marriage Amendment NOW!)
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To: wildandcrazyrussian
....why the Western world should be thankful to the Orthodox populations of Constantinople and the Balkans who absorbed the force of the Islamic invasions and kept the West safe, rather than being crudely dismissive of them.

I'm not crudely dismissive of anything. I have studied the history of Byzantium and am fascinated by it and I appreciate the efforts made by the East in repelling Islam during the 7th - 15th centuries. I think it was a tragedy that Constantinople was ever taken by the Turks.

Honestly, I think some of my Orthdox brethren have some sort of bitter inferiority complex when it comes to history that forces them to try to aggrandize their own ancestors by denigrating everyone else's. Really, we're all on the same side, here. What's the point of fighting each other any more?
27 posted on 03/30/2004 6:45:18 AM PST by Antoninus (Federal Marriage Amendment NOW!)
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To: Antoninus
ACtually, that is precisely the point I myself was making. It is not in the slightest an "inferiority complex" to complain about Western Europeans and especially Americans denigrating the contributions of the Eastern Roman Empire (if they are even the least bit aware of them). WE are not the ones who denigrate Western society and consider it laughable, but that is the treatment dished out by the West. Or are you unaware the word "byzantine" is used as an insult, as when talking about politics? When is the last titme you personally tried to set the record straight to get others to use a different word and teach others about the existence and glory of the Christian civilization of Byzantium, which made it possible for your ancestors to even be Christian? I always thought that it was (some) Westerners who have an inferiority complex which makes them feel better only by insulting others.

Overall, we appreciate those who laid their life on the line, as in the original article posted above. Let's see more of that joint effort in the future!

28 posted on 03/30/2004 8:20:01 AM PST by wildandcrazyrussian
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To: Antoninus
You're so right. The crusades were a defensive war, which stopped Islam from spreading into Europe and made possible the reconquista in Spain.

Similarly, today, we are attacking radical Islam in Iraq and Afganistan rather than waiting around for future terror attacks, and building up Fire departments to clean up the mess.
29 posted on 03/30/2004 8:57:44 AM PST by stop_fascism
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To: Antoninus
bump.
30 posted on 03/30/2004 10:21:37 AM PST by patent (A baby is God's opinion that life should go on. Carl Sandburg)
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To: wildandcrazyrussian
Or are you unaware the word "byzantine" is used as an insult, as when talking about politics?

Duh. It's also the term of choice for academics studying the medieval Eastern Roman Empire. Somebody should tell the folks at Dumbarton Oaks that their Byzantine Studies library is an insult.

When is the last titme you personally tried to set the record straight to get others to use a different word and teach others about the existence and glory of the Christian civilization of Byzantium, which made it possible for your ancestors to even be Christian?

Never. I'm not a politically-correct nincompoop who thinks that guilting people into using different terminology actually accomplishes anything.

Furthermore, the Byzantine Greeks weren't terribly kind to my ancestors on the Italian peninsula. And yet a person with my surname was among the Genoese defending Constantinople in 1453. Go figure.
31 posted on 03/30/2004 10:46:42 AM PST by Antoninus (Federal Marriage Amendment NOW!)
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To: broadsword; Antoninus
All I said is that the Crusades were focused on the Turkish (mostly) ruled world of Islam. The Arabs were subjects of the Turks - Mulsims they all were regardless. So that is why I said the Crusades did not keep Europe from speaking Arabic.
32 posted on 03/30/2004 9:31:17 PM PST by Destro (Know your enemy! Help fight Islamic terrorism by visiting www.johnathangaltfilms.com)
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To: Destro
All I said is that the Crusades were focused on the Turkish (mostly) ruled world of Islam. The Arabs were subjects of the Turks - Mulsims they all were regardless. So that is why I said the Crusades did not keep Europe from speaking Arabic.

Right. They kept Europe from speaking Arabic and Turkish.
33 posted on 03/31/2004 10:59:14 AM PST by Antoninus (Federal Marriage Amendment NOW!)
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To: Antoninus; All

The best books available about the Siege of 1565 are "The Great Siege" by Ernle Bradford and a firsthand account by one of the Spanish Arquebusquers sent by Phillip II named Francisco Balbi. I highly recommend both of those books to anybody interested in the subject.

Also, to anybody who is interested in the siege who has never visited the island, many of the original fortresses of Malta remain on the island. It is an AMAZING spot to spend several days for anybody interested in this period of history.


34 posted on 09/15/2006 9:00:23 AM PDT by CitadelArmyJag ("Tolerance is the virtue of the man with no convictions" G. K. Chesterton)
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To: Antoninus

bookmark bump


35 posted on 01/25/2008 7:51:25 PM PST by Cacique (quos Deus vult perdere, prius dementat ( Islamia Delenda Est ))
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To: Claud

Ping. Forgot about this one.


36 posted on 01/26/2008 10:10:25 AM PST by Antoninus ("Make all the promises you have to." -Mitt Romney)
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To: Antoninus
I was just taking a stroll down memory lane, looking at the names of posters on this thread. Many of them I'd forgotten about. Amongst them, some excellent Catholic apologists who've sadly drifted away and also a number of others who managed to get themselves tossed out and banned.

Freepers come and Freepers go, I guess..........

37 posted on 01/26/2008 10:49:11 AM PST by marshmallow
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To: marshmallow

And some of us just stick around forever and ever....


38 posted on 01/26/2008 7:41:30 PM PST by Antoninus ("Make all the promises you have to." -Mitt Romney)
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