French    German    Spain    Italian    Arabic    Chinese Simplified    Russian

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.   

Back     Printer Friendly Version  

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Bookmark and Share

Review: Roderick Cavaliero's 'The Last of the Crusaders and the Knights of St. John'

Nothing like it existed in Islam.

by Ferdinand III


Few books truly cover the Hospitaller Order in requisite detail and perspective. Johnathan Riley-Smith's 'Hospitallers', Sire's 'The Order of Malta', Nicolle's 'The Knights of St. John' [reviewed here], and Bradford's 'The Great Siege' [reviewed here], Verrot's 'The Order of St. John', are all mandatory reading for anyone interested in one of Europe's most successful and important organizations. Well known historian Cavaliero's work is an addition to the above list. Cavaliero's importance is in his intricate detail, lucid presentation and refusal to apply Marxist politically-correct bafflegab, to his subject. As Cavaliero so truthfully writes:

Malta under the Knights in the eighteenth century, was a very successful society, by comparison with its close neighbours, and the Knights provided an efficient if not a popular environment in which the island prospered.”

Bequeathed by King Charles of Spain in 1530 to the Knights of St. John, Malta had a higher standard of living by 1600 than any other locale in Europe. It also famously and vitally, withstood the Muslim onslaught in 1565 in which 40.000 Muslims lost their lives in the Great Siege. As Cavaliero points out, the Knights brought wealth to the island through bonded cargo trade [cargo shipments were able to load and rebond tax free on Malta]; corsairing and the capturing of Turkish booty and disrupting Muslim supply lines and trade; private building programs funded by the Order; and the attraction of investment through low taxes, and small government. With the exception of pirating all of these singular positive examples still exist today.

Cavaliero's appraisal of the Knights is based on facts and output and it is a decidedly colorful and brilliant picture:

The Hospitallers lived and fought hard; they were operating a navy second to none in the Mediterranean, of which no ship ever struck her colours and surrendered to the enemy; they were prosecuting a Crusade in which there were gains to be made both in this world and in the next. In 1655 and 1657 they took part in attempts to seize the Dardanelles and block them, in league with Genoa and Venice. In 1664 the Knights attacked Algiers and in 1707 they assisted the Spaniards in holding Oran....The record of the Order throughout the seventeenth century showed a vast credit list of captures.”

The Hospitallers were the elite of Europe's families. They were somewhat selective in following their monkish vows of chastity, poverty, and avoiding women and drink; but as Cavaliero said they lived and fought hard. They were well trained, educated, and capable of building a castle, constructing cannons, or piercing robed Muslim warriors with shot and sword. They were masculine men and such creatures would find our society, so feminized and statist, a rather curious and inglorious existence.

The Knights were never loved by the Maltese, and were in fact ignored by the Maltese nobility. There was, as Cavaliero highlights, always a tension between the separated and elitist Knightly class, and the rest. Yet the Knights brought religious cohesion, a certain level of gravitas in piety and faith; and a moral code which included sumptuary laws, codes of public behavior, rules against even spitting, swearing or going shirtless in public. These laws, excepting those regarding expensive clothing and ornamentation still exist today.

Under the Knights the Maltese developed a complex city state structure and became the most affluent jurisdiction in Europe. Even today Maltese living standards are superior to the average on the Continent. Even so the great fortifications built by the Knights on Malta, some of the most imposing, complex and massive in the world; costed a great deal of money. All of it was privately funded or debentured. The greatest medieval defensive sites can be found on this small island, incomparable in scope, depth, height, and intricacy, and quite impossible for a besieger to take. The wealth needed to fund such a program is simply astonishing – and it all came from the Knights, yet by the mid 18th century financial dislocation was apparent:

...ceaseless building, bigger and better walls, constant refurbishing of weapons, extensive replacement of galleys and in 1701 the creation of a squadron of men-of-war....soon caused the expenses to exceed the revenues...”

Neither the order nor the island ever went bankrupt and this is an important and rather astonishing fact. The defensive barriers have no equal anywhere in the world, and for an island of some 300 square kilometers there are more lavish churches, palaces and buildings of munificence than any other locale on the globe. All of this was privately financed, with most small towns building extravagant churches for example, just from local parish donations. It is doubtful if in our modern world, such munificence and tolerance for private funding would be countenanced.

Another vital aspect of the Hospitaller order was its dedication to the sick and suffering. Charity was mandatory as part of a Knight's social contract. The Order in the capital city of Valetta possessed for centuries, Europe's largest and most advanced Hospital. Pioneering techniques in hygiene and diet, not to mention proper analysis and surgery, gave the Hospital a well deserved reputation for efficiency and quality. As Cavaliero states:

The Hospital was obliged to provide for the sick and wounded of all races, creeds and colours free of charge. No sick man was to be denied treatment....Early visitors to the Hospital remarked with wonder that every patient, noble and commoner, rich and poor, slave and free, was served off silver plate...”

Islam of course never in its history had anything approaching what the Hospitaller system of care and charity offered. The Knights in combat crusaded against the Moslem. But if sick or wounded even Islam's soldiers and citizens would be taken care of. The reverse was never true.

This is one of the benefits of this book. There is no 'revisionism' of the Hospitaller order and no effort made by Cavaliero to be morally equivalent in his appraisal of the Order, or its effect on the life of Mediterranean civilisation. The book is also full of interesting facts, most not well known, and those will be covered a little later.


Article Comments:

Related Articles:

Islamic history

7/4/2022:  Abraham's Son Ishmael is not related to Muhammad, nor the 'Father' of the Arabs

6/20/2022:  St. John of Damascus and his criticism of the Muhammandan cult.

7/8/2020:  Islam’s endless expansion

5/15/2020:  Why does no one discuss Arab Imperialism?

3/19/2020:  The Muslim Millet System – an imperialist tool.

3/15/2017:  Sura 3 and the Battles of Badr & Uhud - Jihad is mandatory for Moslems

4/27/2015:  Belloc and the primitive, savage Turk who was a perfect fit for the cult of Muhammad.

3/2/2015:  Moslem Jihad is the opposite of the Christian idea of waging war.

1/29/2015:  Muhammadan Jihad against Syria and the Byzantines. A turning point in history.

5/19/2014:  Edward Grant and the myth that Medieval man did not know about the fantasy of Aristotle

5/19/2014:  Edward Grant and the poverty of the Islamic church merged with the state

1/10/2014:  Islam's war against Christ's church

1/8/2014:  Hise and the Moslem war against the Christian world

1/7/2014:  Islam hates Christianity - it always has, it always will.

10/13/2011:  Will the Great Man the uncreated Obama, go back to Cairo and apologize?

9/14/2011:  Allah's pagan shrine was built in 1000 B.C. ?

8/8/2011:  Idi Amin, another Moslem despot – or maybe he was a 'Christian'?

7/29/2011:  John Gilchrist and Islamic paganism

7/21/2011:  Cults don't tolerate Infidel shrines.

6/10/2011:  Hitti and the Moon Deity or Allah

6/8/2011:  Intro to: 'History of the Arabs', by Philip K. Hitti, 1937 10th edition 2002.

4/23/2011:  Constantinople 1453

4/2/2011:  Islamic imperialism was total, not 'tolerant'

1/26/2011:  The Muslim Jihad against Russia. Without Russian resolve, half of Europe would be Islamic.

1/25/2011:  Chechnya and the Jihad against Russia. 800 years of Muslim aggression.

1/22/2011:  Muslim Barbarity in the 14th century in India.

1/20/2011:  Muslim Barbarity in the 14th and 15th centuries; a short list

1/2/2011:  Muslim barbarity: 12th and 13th centuries

PDF 12/15/2010   Excerpt from Paganism and Fascism, Chapter 4 - pages 140 to 141

12/9/2010:  Muslim barbarity: 10th and 11th centuries

PDF 12/8/2010   Excerpt from Paganism and Fascism, Chapter 4 - pages 138 to 139

PDF 12/6/2010   Excerpt from Paganism and Fascism, Chapter 4 - pages 136 to 137

12/4/2010:  Muslim barbarity against the Infidel – the 9th century.

11/30/2010:  Muslim barbarity against the Infidel – the 8th century.

11/26/2010:  Muslim barbarity against the Infidel – the 7th century.

PDF 11/22/2010   Excerpt from Paganism and Fascism, Chapter 4 – Party and Leader - pages 134 to 135

PDF 11/18/2010   Excerpt from Paganism and Fascism, Chapter 4 on The Islamic Moon Cult - pages 132 to 133

PDF 11/15/2010   Excerpt from Paganism and Fascism, Chapter 4 on The Islamic Moon Cult - pages 130 to 131

PDF 11/9/2010   Excerpt from Paganism and Fascism, Chapter 4 on The Islamic Moon Cult - pages 128 to 129

7/15/2009:  July 15 1099 – one of the great days in history. Jeru-salem retaken.

5/22/2008:  Islam's imperialist nature – never discussed, never revealed.

3/16/2008:  Tours, Lepanto, Vienna, now Iraq and Kosovo

5/4/2007:  The disaster of Arab Imperialism