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Western Civilisation

Until the advent of materialism and 19th c. dogma, Western Civilisation was  superior to anything Islam had developed.  Islam has not aided in the development of the modern world; in fact civilisation has only been created in spite of Islam.  Proof of this resides in the 'modern' world and the unending political-economic and spiritual poverty of Muslim states and regions.  Squatting on richer civilisations is not 'progress'.  Islam is pagan, totalitarian, and irrational.   

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Saturday, July 22, 2023

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Seven Myths of the Crusades (Myths of History: A Hackett Series), Alfred J. Andrea and Andrew Holt

Elucidating and a corrective for the ahistorical, anti-Crusader propaganda

by Ferdinand III


20 Best Books on Crusades (2022 Review) - Best Books Hub



An excellent book and anodyne to the general secular and even Catholic ignorance about the Crusades.  After 400 years of Musulman conquests of Christendom, after endless Jihads, sex slaving, destruction, plunder and death, the rump called the ‘West’ finally fought back.  As the book explains the Crusades were initially against the satanic cult of Muhammad but also included crusades against the pagan Wends and Lithuanians in the Baltics and the heretical Manichean sect or Cathars in Provence.  These efforts to save Christendom and extend it, cover some 500 years.  They are an important reason why Europe rose to world dominance.  No crusades, no Byzantium, no Christianity would mean no modern world which is now being destroyed by 19th century materialism, the Globalist New World Order and the cult of ‘science’. 


The book gives voice to scholars and experts in the history of Crusading who argue against the persistent and mendacious myths which permeate the study of the Catholic crusades, including Jonathan Riley-Smith, William Urban, Thomas F. Madden, Jessalynn Bird, and Paul Crawford.


Some important points of emphasis emanate from this eminently readable and learned dissertation:

-The pagan, warrior cult of Islam and its endless Jihad against Christianity

-The religious fervour at the heart of the Christian response to the Muslim Jihad

-The fact that the Crusades had nothing in common with ‘colonialism’ and that 90% of the men either died during the Crusade or returned home

-The so-called atrocities of the Crusades pale in comparison with the Musulman Jihad, the millions of Christians killed and enslaved over the first 400 years of the moon cult’s ascension to empire, and the innumerable massacres of Christians during and after battles, sieges and raids

-Jews, the erstwhile and long time allies of Muslims, were always in the frame for revenge and violence

-No Crusades, no Byzantium (which has its own history of religious crusading against the Musulmans), no Europe and modernity


Crusading to the East included:

·    The First Crusade of 1096–1099 that captured Jerusalem;

·    the ill-fated Second Crusade of 1147–1149 that unsuccessfully attacked Damascus;

· the Third Crusade of 1188–1192, known as the Crusade of Kings, which pitted Richard the Lionheart against Saladin;

·  the Fourth Crusade of 1202–1204 that captured Constantinople;

· the Fifth Crusade of 1217–1221 to Damietta that ended in disaster in the Egyptian Delta;

·   and the Sixth Crusade of Emperor Frederick II, 1227–1229;

·  the Seventh (or Sixth) Crusade of Louis IX of France, 1248–1254, which also experienced a disaster in the Nile Delta;

·   the Eighth (or Seventh) Crusade of Louis IX and Prince Edward of England, 1270–1272


Other Crusades include the Teutonic incursions into the Baltics and Russia during the 12th to 15th centuries and the Albigensian crusade from the 1220s to 1240s. 


Myths. Despite crusade historians’ best attempts, crusade myths continue to live on, repeated endlessly as fact.

Probably the most pervasive of all is the Grand Myth that the crusades were an assault on a peaceful, sophisticated, cosmopolitan, and tolerant Eastern world by fanatical barbarians from the West who managed to deal a mortal blow to Byzantine civilization and taught the Islamic world to fight savage assailants in a like manner—giving no quarter. In the end, the crusades produced nothing but failure and hate.


Runciman’s  sympathies lay with the Byzantine Empire, and he viewed the crusaders as intolerant barbarians who destroyed the foundations of this ancient and brilliant civilization, thereby making it mortally vulnerable to the Ottoman Turks who eventually conquered Constantinople and the last remnants of Byzantium in 1453. [There is some truth to this view of courseRunciman however, was a crusade historian from the 1950s, who hated Catholicism and the very idea of crusading against Muslim exotics, and much his work has been discredited as ahistorical]


Muhammad the warring totalitarian.  Not much diversity or tolerance within the Meccan cult.

Indeed, as Rice University religion scholar David Cook has pointed out, Muhammad personally participated in or sanctioned no fewer than eighty-six military campaigns or raids against various opponents, including Jews, pagans, and Byzantine Christians, as he and his early followers established political control over the Arabian Peninsula. Because Islam theoretically forbids warfare between Muslims, for the deeply entrenched razzia tradition of Arabia to continue, raiding activity had to be turned against non-Muslims.


The Quran identifies Jews and Christians as enemies to be exterminated.

As Cook has further pointed out, the Qur’an contains a well-developed doctrine of military jihad (jihad of the sword), with one of its primary goals the conquest and subjugation of non-Muslims, and Hadith (the collection of sayings and actions ascribed to the Prophet and his companions) established holy war as a tradition within Islam from a very early date.


Qur’an 9:29 states, “Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day…until they pay the jizya [the poll tax paid by non-Muslims] with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued”; this principle was re-affirmed by Caliph Umar I, as quoted by the early Muslim historian al-Tabari: “Summon the people to God… those who refuse must pay the poll tax out of humiliation and lowliness. If they refuse this, it is the sword without leniency.” As recorded in the Qur’an (the eternal word of God, which Muslims believe was dictated to the Prophet by the angel Gabriel), Muhammad declared that non-Muslims were to be attacked “until religion becomes Allah’s in its entirety.”


As Carole Hillenbrand has noted, significant “discriminatory measures” against Christians and Jews had become “enshrined” in Islamic legal books by the later eleventh century, on the eve of the First Crusade no less, although the degree to which these discriminatory measures were enforced by Islamic authorities varied from place to place….the status was the payment of the jizya, an annual head tax placed on all non-Muslim adult men ... Combined, the jizya and the kharaj—the levy on dhimmi-held land—usually exceeded twenty percent of a person’s wealth; this was very high for a pre-modern tax, but they could be set at much higher levels if the Muslim authorities chose to do so. Muslim women were not allowed to marry non-Muslim men, but the reverse was encouraged, for obvious reasons.


Crusaders were a mix of men and motivations

Research on crusading charters by Jonathan Riley-Smith and Marcus Bull, among others, has demonstrated how rather than blindly rushing off to the East in a religious frenzy, individual crusaders of means carefully considered the costs and logistics of crusading as they made preparations for the management of their affairs in their absence.  The greater lords who wished to go had to arrange financing for themselves and their followers, often borrowing the funds from local moneylenders or mortgaging their estates to obtain the necessary funds.  Furthermore, leaders had to be designated, travel routes determined, and large amounts of equipment and animals to transport men and materials acquired and organized.


Today the considered judgment of most historians who study the chronicles, letters, songs, charters, and art works of every sort from the crusade period is that the Christian spirituality and religious fervour of the Middle Ages, rather than elements evident in European colonialism of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, was the dominant factor in a complex mix of motives for crusading.


Religion was absolutely central to the Crusades.  Runciman’s nonsense vs Tyerman’s scholarship

Christopher Tyerman’s massive new history of the crusades, which he offers as a corrective and update to Steven Runciman’s equally monumental history of the crusades places religion squarely at the centre of the crusading movement from start to finish.  Reflecting the general consensus of today’s crusade historians, his Preface begins: Violence, approved by society and supported by religion, has proved a commonplace of civilized communities.


The crusades were wars justified by faith against real or imagined enemies defined by religious and political elites as perceived threats to the Christian faithful. The religious beliefs crucial to such warfare placed enormous significance on imagined awesome but reassuring supernatural forces of overwhelming power and proximity that were nevertheless expressed in hard concrete physical acts: prayer, penance, giving alms, attending church, pilgrimage, violence.


Riley-Smith and the religious dimension of crusading

1986, Riley-Smith wrote under the assumption that crusading was a form of armed pilgrimage and compared the documents he examined with similar ones for those departing on a more traditional pilgrimage as an act of penance. He found “a serious and purposeful devotion on the part of would-be crusaders,” “a pious desire to arrange for intercessory prayer,” sometimes by those whose previous “cruelty” had “astonished” local clerics.


Yet Riley-Smith has highlighted … by showing that, far from being “an economic safety valve” for landless and impecunious male members of a family, the prospect of any member of a family participating in a crusade resulted in significant financial sacrifices on the part of the family. Moreover, Riley-Smith has shown that such financial sacrifices were usually made to send the head of the family or the eldest son on a crusade, rather than younger sons.


Jews had always allied themselves with the Muslims

the association of Jews with the Muslim enemy, followed by the first major persecution of Jews in Western Christendom; a lingering sense of fear and injury that resurfaced in many First Crusade chronicles; and the gradual refocusing of Christian spiritual energy on the salvation narrative and the physical places associated with it.


The fact is Jews had figured for centuries in Christian writing and in liturgy in ways that preserved Christian resentment for their supposed role in the Crucifixion.

Anselm’s famous defence of the Christian faith, Cur Deus homo (Why God Became Man), whose “adversaries” were almost certainly meant to be Jews and which was most likely written while the First Crusade was underway. This growing sensitivity to Jewish criticisms of the doctrine of the Incarnation, among other points of faith, is perhaps best reflected in twelfth-century crusade historian Guibert of Nogent’s vicious attack on the count of Soissons, who was suspected of being a “Judaizer.”


In fact, the papacy reiterated the doctrine of toleration for Jews and took steps to prevent, or at least discourage, persecutions during subsequent crusades. After 1096, the most pressing issue was deciding what to do with the Jews forced to convert to Christianity.


No, the Crusades were not an early form of Colonialism

Thomas F. Madden is among those who see its application as totally inappropriate. In one of his several essays on crusade myths, Madden assails “Myth 4: The Crusades were just medieval colonialism dressed up in religious finery” by stating: It is important to remember that in the Middle Ages the West was not a powerful, dominant culture venturing into a primitive or backward region.


The Crusader States, founded in the wake of the First Crusade, were not new plantations of Catholics in a Muslim world akin to the British colonization of America. Catholic presence in the Crusader States was always tiny, easily less than ten percent of the population. These were the rulers and magistrates, as well as Italian merchants and members of the military orders. The overwhelming majority of the population in the Crusader States was Muslim.


They were not colonies, therefore, in the sense of plantations or even factories, as in the case of India. They were outposts. The ultimate purpose of the Crusader States was to defend the Holy Places in Palestine, especially Jerusalem, and to provide a safe environment for Christian pilgrims to visit those places. There was no mother country with which the Crusader States had an economic relationship, nor did Europeans economically benefit from them. Quite the contrary, the expense of Crusades to maintain the Latin East was a serious drain on European resources. As an outpost, the Crusader States kept a military focus.


A final and compelling reason to conclude that the vast majority of persons who left on the First Crusade had no intention whatsoever of colonizing eastern lands is that most of the surviving veterans, their pilgrimage to the Holy City completed, returned to their homes in the West shortly after the capture of Jerusalem in July 1099, leaving a small minority of Westerners to govern a vast majority of Muslims and Eastern Christians. There were probably not more than 5,000 crusaders, many of them noncombatants, left in the then-three crusader states in late 1099.


No profits from the Crusades

…in a 1998 review of Riley-Smith’s The First Crusaders, Professor William Chester Jordan of Princeton University effectively summed up the view of many current crusade historians of Riley-Smith’s research, when he wrote, “Riley-Smith has, I hope, laid to rest for all time the contention that crusaders profited monetarily from the wars. They did not, or at least the vast majority did not. Nor did they say that they expected to profit materially.”


This is not to say that crusaders expected nothing in the way of an earthly reward. They were well aware that crusading brought with it considerable social capital at home. Crusading families, especially those for whom crusading became a multigenerational tradition in the years after the First Crusade, were highly regarded in their communities. The charters are silent, however, on this all too human expectation of prestige. It is a rare person who openly admits to such desires.


A third crusade historian, Giles Constable, anticipated and even laid the basis for Riley-Smith’s and Bull’s work in 1982 with an insightful essay on the financing of crusades in which in pointed to the enormous cost of crusading, the ways in which many crusade lords mortgaged the future and imperilled their heirs’ patrimony in order to crusade, and how crusaders did not expect to return richer in the goods of this life.



There is much more in this book, but the above were some important themes gleaned from this scholarship and which rectify the incorrect aspersions and indignities heaped upon the Crusades by modern culture, which appears to be mostly unacquainted with historical reality and perspective.

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