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The Crusades

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Volgadon
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Post by Volgadon » Tue November 18th, 2008, 10:01 pm

I was just thinking about the religious tolerance in the Muslim world. I don't think that it was an utopia of love and tolerance and that they loved one and all. The Muslims were pragmatists. You could keep your own religion, if you paid and provided essential services. This also meant that religious minorities were dependant on the rulers and thus loyal to them. People usually got along, but there was also an undercurrent of mistrust and a mild form of loathing, which flared up occasionaly. Hard to explain if you've never experienced it. To bring up a recent example, there was a bus-bombing in Israel a few years ago. The suicide bomber got on the bus, saw a Muslim girl and whispered that she should leave at the next stop. The girl went all the way to the back of the bus and warned the other Muslim girls. They left, without warning the Christian girls, all from the same village, people they grew up with and were even good friends of theirs.
Jews tended to prefer Muslim rule to Christian, not only was there the long history of repression and oppresion begining with the Byzantines, but the Christians were considered idolatrous, worshipping icons and images.
I think that one of the forgotten tragedies of the Crusades was what happened to Eastern Christianity.

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Post by annis » Tue November 18th, 2008, 10:08 pm

I certainly wouldn't deny the huge influence of religion on the medieval mindset, but still feel that if temporal benefit could be achieved in the name of religion it would be a motivating factor for those in power, in other words, killing two birds with one stone.
This may just be my cynical nature showing :)

Going back to the Ottomans, has anyone else read Mika Waltari's "Dark Angel", a novel set at the time of the Fall of Constantinople in 1453? The story weaves in the details of the siege with a love affair.
It gives an interesting perspective, as the event is seen through the eyes of a man with Greek and Latin ancestors who has lived among the Turks.

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Volgadon
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Post by Volgadon » Tue November 18th, 2008, 11:14 pm

I agreed with you on that one.
Haven't read Dark Angel, but sounds fascinating. Love Ottoman history, even have a long-running yahoo group dedicated to it.

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Post by annis » Tue November 18th, 2008, 11:42 pm

I'm curious - given your interest in Ottoman history, do you take your forum name from the Volga-Don Canal, started by the Ottoman Turks in the sixteenth century?

Yes, the Western Europeans were very ambivalent about the Eastern Church, which they suspected of perverted and idolatrous practices. Some of the stories from the sack of Constantinople in 1204 by the Fourth Crusaders are horrific, and though the Byzantinians did regain their empire from the bankrupt Latins in a reasonably short time, they never recovered their power. The Venetians might have acted from revenge, but they were the only ones who actually benefited in any material way from the Sack of Constantinople.

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Volgadon
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Post by Volgadon » Wed November 19th, 2008, 11:29 am

No. I lived for a while by both of those rivers. I did actually live near the beginning of the canal. Has the largest statue of Lenin in the world. In the early 50s there used to a bronze Stalin almost twice as large.

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Kveto from Prague
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Post by Kveto from Prague » Wed November 19th, 2008, 6:55 pm

I think that one of the forgotten tragedies of the Crusades was what happened to Eastern Christianity.[/QUOTE]

always a pity

i think Eastern Christianity like the nestorians managed to last up till Timurlane. the mongols had spared them, but old Timur didnt spare anyone and pretty much exterminated them

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Kveto from Prague
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my favs

Post by Kveto from Prague » Wed November 19th, 2008, 7:12 pm

gosh, a crusades thread. ive been away.

ive mentioned before my favourite crusader fiction but i still like talking about it.

Alfred Duggan to me is the master. "Knight in Armour" is in no way a romanced version of a crusade. throughout the book the idealitic hero is constantly embittered by the journey. at times you feel so bad for him as he refects what must have been so typical of those times.

i like robert e howard crusader stuff. its full of gusto, but howards research is pretty good and his muslim characters are no better or worse than his franks. he ever wrote one story "road of azurel" i think, from the eyes of a young turk.

evan connells "deux lo volt" is great but not for everyone. its incredably researched and written in the style of an old chronicler. there are times when you forget its fiction.


micheal eisners "crusader" is a pretty good modern one as its about the later crusades, despite its hollywoods style end. the account of "the hole" is really well done.

Im not a fan of Hollands "crusade" at all but many others like it.


for non-fiction, johnathan riley smith "crusades" is brilliant. best of all it doesnt stop in 1291 when the crusades "ended" as is commonly stated. it describes how the crusades as a concept continued well into the 1700s. (the last serious attempt at conquering north africa as a means to jerusalum occuring in about 1650). it also concentrates on all of the other crusades (spain, baltics, north africa, italy and my homeland bohemia, etc.)

these are what come to mind for me

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Kveto from Prague
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Post by Kveto from Prague » Wed November 19th, 2008, 7:36 pm

[quote=""Volgadon""]Ah, but balance that with the tennent of 'every knee shall bow'.
I don't see it as an attempt to stop the enemy before they reached your home. The age of Islamic conquests was over, excluding some disputes in Iberia and Sicily.
The Byzantine emperor was facing a huge crisis, that is why he requested help, expecting a small, manageable force of elite heavy cavalry.
The First Crusade was very much an attempt to set up the Kingdom of Heaven by the sword. The plan did not include heathens (Muslims and Jews) or infidels (the Byzantines).[/quote]

true but aside from the massacre in 1099 these groups all lived together in outremer out of necessity (the later day franks showed an incredable religeous tolerance, particularly king amalric, unheard of at that time amongst christians) the groups could tolerate each other, it was just a matter of who got to be boss.

regardless of reality, europe always saw the muslim world as expanding into europe. it was the loss of asia minor that prompted the byzantines to request aid. the crusades were the first time that islam was on the defensive really. the crusades were always seen as a "reconquest", so much so that guillame of tyre started his crusade history with the emperor herculais in about 640. he (and they) just saw it as an extension earlier wars betwix the greeks and romans (even if they came to hate the greeks)

interestingly, we have no real knowledge of the religeous make up of oultremer during the first crusade. northern syria was probably at least half christian even before the conquest (greek orthodox, armenian, pauline, and other eastern sects) it would have been exremely difficult for the european crusaders to lord over those territories if they hadnt had the support of a significant portion of the population as they were a massive numerical minority.

several of the kings of jerusalum were "syrian" (primarily arminian) such as amalric and balwin IV.

anyway, i dont mean this as a defence of christianity (im not christian, not that it matters) just trying to agree that things were never as black and white as history likes to pretend.

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Kveto from Prague
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Post by Kveto from Prague » Wed November 19th, 2008, 7:37 pm

[quote=""Volgadon""]No. I lived for a while by both of those rivers. I did actually live near the beginning of the canal. Has the largest statue of Lenin in the world. In the early 50s there used to a bronze Stalin almost twice as large.[/quote]


we had a giant stalin overlooking prague in the 50s. its size was unbilievable. it was already torn down by the 60s

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Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Wed November 19th, 2008, 7:39 pm

[quote=""keny from prague""]I think that one of the forgotten tragedies of the Crusades was what happened to Eastern Christianity.[/quote]

always a pity

i think Eastern Christianity like the nestorians managed to last up till Timurlane. the mongols had spared them, but old Timur didnt spare anyone and pretty much exterminated them[/quote]

I think yo are comfusing the Greek Orthodox xhurch with the Nestorian Church. They were not the same at all. In fact, the Nestorian church was created specificaly to separate Persian Christianity from the official religion of Constantinople (They had some serious doctrinalo differences too, but this is about politics.)
You see, for the first three hundred years Christianity was unusual in that it was a religion that was not tied to any specific people or ethnicity. (The Jews having gone to great trouble to make a distinction, in order to avoid the severe persecution early Christians faced.) When Constantine had his famous revelation of the cross 'In this sign, conquer' (note that this was the beginning of that symbol being used to identify Christians) that was the beginning of Christian nationalism. As Persia and Rome were rivals, this made things very hard for the Christians in Persia, who were already up against the Zoroastrians.

Things came to a head when one of the Byzantine emperors -- I think it was Justinian I, but I could be wrong -- wrote a warning to the Persian Emperor that all of the Christians in his lands would be considered Byzantine subjects. You can imagine how that was received. Persian persecution of Christians was horrific, until the Nestorian chuch clearly delineated itself from the Byzantine one. The schism doctrinally may even have been exaggerated for that protective purpose.

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