In reading Piers Paul Read's 'The Templars', an illuminating book on the fighting monastic order which epitomised the Christian crusades, one can't help but be impressed with the energy, vigor, and zealotry of the medieval European. The fighting monks and their European world were not nearly as prosaic, constrained, irrational or brutal as historical revisionists and chattering socialist academics and Islamo-philes profess. In fact the crusades, far being being a failure, were an invigorating force for good in more ways than one for Western civilisation.
In the lazy minds of today's Marxist Universit-opians and their feeble-minded media friends, the medieval Europeans were an ugly, hairy, un-educated, breed of half-wits and morons, living in mud hovels, barely able to hold a candle to the wondrous achievements of those cultivated and peace-loving, rational Muslims. Hence the Marxist-Islamist-Fascist chant, 'The crusades were an outrage' etc etc. against a superior civilisation.
The reality was of course rather different. Read's book makes this clear. It is a joy to read a phrase such as this: 'The religion of the Arabs has been described as tribal humanism. The meaning of life lay in membership of a tribe possessing the qualities that reflect the Arab's ideas of manliness.....The gods worshipped by the Arabs were stars, idols and sacred stones, in particular a black stone......known simply as Allah – 'the god'...'
God what a relief. Someone else writing that Islam is the pagan moon cult of Arabia. It is enough to send rational investigators into a frenzy of joyful epilepsy.
Between Read's narratives runs a constant thread of medival European innovation, initiative, and cultural-societal richness – an advanced civilisation that the Muslims tried very hard to destroy. The crusades and the warring monks - the Templars, Hospitallers, and Teutonic Knights – which were so central to the surprising success of the crusading initiative, were but a fractious response to Islamic jihad. A problem which still of course threatens the world today.
Piers Read's book which takes detailed 300 odd page look at the order of Templar Knights, makes some key points that make it a worthwhile investigation. First off, the Templars [named after Solomon's Temple built circa 950 B.C. by Jews in Jerusalem], were dedicated to re-establishing Christian control, of once Christian lands, and to ensure the safe worship of Christian shrines by the followers of Christ. The Holy Land, so-called, was never Arabic until the 7th century invasions of the pagan Arabs. Second, the Templars constructed what was in effect the world's first multi-national bank and business corporation whose ramifications would profoundly reshape Europe. Third, the Muslims, contrary to Hollywood palp, and Marxist fantasy, were very skilled at raping, killing, eradicating or murdering, sundry enemies and kaffirs. They are not the smiling, earnest, honest warriors in movies such as Kingdom of Heaven [a truly atrocious bit of revisionist crap].
The Templars only lasted for 200 odd years. Incorporated by one pope around 1100 A.D. they were summarily raped and disbanded by another pope [Clement] between 1307 and 1314, in connivance with a bankrupted French King who desired the Templars vast array of land and monetary assets. For 7 years Templar leaders were tortured, killed, defamed, humiliated and accused by various papal courts and French councils. Out of 15.000 Templar Knights more than 1.000 were killed, and many thousands crippled. So much for service to God and Christ.
The Templars end is just as instructive as its beginning. The crusades, like all of European medieval history, were a jumble-mash of religious conviction, true-believing reality-distorting cultism; political and moral corruption and fraud; along with feats of logistical, engineering and military genius and stupidity. Vicious motives were never far from the surface in any aspect of medieval European life.
Yet the monkish orders, such as the Templars were vital for European society to first survive, then thrive. The Templars were modeled in part on the 7th century Benedict's [Benedictine monks] organisation, which as Read says, 'set the pattern for religious life in western Europe for the next six hundred years.' Benedict's monkish order combined Roman law with Christian faith and their power and influence were profound throughout the middle ages. Agriculture, education, captial accumulation and industrial innovation all came in part from the Catholic church and their monastic organisations. The Templars in the 12th century were part of this legacy.
The Templars were organised to help defend Christendom. Read recounts the Arab conquests and eradication of Judeo-Christian civilisation which belies the simpleton Marxist belief that the Arabs had always been in the Holy Land, or that North Africa, Egypt, Iraq, Turkey, Lebanon, and the Balkans had always been Muslim. Islam was spread by the sword – and it was a very bloody one. As Read highlights, 'The menace of Islam was ever present in the minds of the Christian leaders but their martial energies were largely dissipated in fighting one another.'
How true. This made the formation of something like the Templars – under Vatican control but staffed mostly by English, French and German knights – a necessity. The Templars became formidable fighters, imbued with secretive rights and monastic discipline. Sworn to defend the temple of Solomon and all Christian relics and pilgrims, the Templars never numbered more than 20.000 members at their height with about 70% involved in administration, trade, agriculture and commerce. Beneficiaries of large tracts of land given as grants, or high profile city locations to be used as recruitment houses, the Templars very quickly and efficiently built up a complex international organisation, managing money, assets, private property and political-ecumenical estates. They were in all concrete matters, quite modern.
For anyone who wants to get a better appreciation of the real value of the Crusades and indeed of the Catholic church during the middle ages, this book is a must read. It is not revisionist, marxist or Islamo-apologetic. It deals with the reality of Islamic expansionism and brutality, and the European-Christian world's second [Charles Martel's victory at tours in 732 A.D. being the first], and rather fractured response against an Arab fascism claiming world-wide rule.
Faith in something greater than human ego has its benefits, as Read so eloquently states, indicting the current post-modern fetish of nihilism; 'European history finally abandoned the restraints inherent in Christian aspirations and hurtled towards the modern era. Whether or not the balance of suffering endured by humanity tilts towards the Middle Ages under the weight of the crusades, the Inquisition and the wars of religion, or towards the era of nation-state under the carnage of the trenches, the gulags and the concentration camps, is for each one of us to decide.'
Don't forget it was the socialists and marxists who apologized for Nazism, Communism and the deaths of close to 200 million humans. No wonder they so dearly love and defend Islam, and so characteristically demonise the Templar Knights, and the crusades.