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Thread: What is the Truth About the Crusades?

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    What is the Truth About the Crusades?

    What is the Truth About the Crusades?

    "Medieval historians have long known that popular culture image of the crusades has nothing at all to do with the events themselves"
    -Thomas Madden Professor of History and Director of the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at Saint Louis University

    "Many in today's society believe the false history presented by critics. Enforced by the media, Hollywood and other outlets, popular perception of historical events reigns supreme even when that perception is completely at odds with historical reality"
    -Steve Weidenkompf The Glory of the Crusades

    “From the safe distance of many centuries, it is easy enough to scowl in disgust at the Crusades.. But we should be mindful that our medieval ancestors would have been equally disgusted by our infinitely more destructive wars fought in the name of political ideologies.. it is a fact that the world we know today would not exist without their effortsl have followed Zoroastrianism, another of Islam's rivals, into extinction”
    -Thomas Madden

    What Were the Crusades?

    "Urban viewed the Crusade as a pilgrimage, the aim of which was not to conquer but to visit the place of pilgrimage and then return home. Later popes maintained the understanding of the Crusades as just, defensive wars with the central goal of the recovery of ancient Christian territory. Heroic men and women of faith, rooted in love of Christ and neighbor, undertook the Crusades as acts of self-defense and recovery of stolen property. This is the proper understanding of these important events in Church history"
    -Steve Weidenkopf Were the Crusades Just Wars?

    The word crusade was not used until 1706. At the time the events took place they were known as armed pilgrimages to the holy land. They were undertaken at great loss of life, money, and earthly gain to go and risk for fellow Christians under persecution, to retake christian lands from Muslim conquerors, to sacrifice for God and to put the holy sites back in christian control. The crusades were controlled generally by the church, but also by kings with rules and regulations such as no prostitution, no gambling, no swearing and violators could be put to death. Often many crusaders went in small groups or alone. A few larger groups that went are now known as the first, second, third crusade etc. For a time line of the major events during the period see links below.

    Crusades Were a Defensive Action Against Muslim Aggressors

    “The Crusades to the East were in every way defensive wars. They were a direct response to Muslim aggression—an attempt to turn back or defend against Muslim conquests of Christian lands....Palestine, Syria, and Egypt—once the most heavily Christian areas in the world—quickly succumbed. By the eighth century, Muslim armies had conquered all of Christian North Africa and Spain. In the eleventh century, the Seljuk Turks conquered Asia Minor, which had been Christian since the time of St. Paul. The old Roman Empire, known to modern historians as the Byzantine Empire, was reduced to little more than Greece. In desperation, the emperor in Constantinople sent word to the Christians of western Europe asking them to aid their brothers and sisters in the East. That is what gave birth to the Crusades. They were not the brainchild of an ambitious pope or rapacious knights but a response to more than four centuries of conquests in which Muslims had already captured two-thirds of the old Christian world. At some point, Christianity as a faith and a culture had to defend itself or be subsumed by Islam. The Crusades were that defense.
    -Thomas Madden the Real History of the Crusades

    "The Crusades were born from the violent aggression of Islam, which had conquered ancient Christian territory in the Holy Land and North Africa and established a large foothold in Europe within a century of Muhammad’s death in the early seventh century. Particularly troublesome to Christian Europe was the conquering of Jerusalem in 638 by an Islamic force that sacked the city for three days and destroyed over 300 churches and monasteries. ".......The invasion of Christian territory, Muslim persecution of native Christians and pilgrims, plus the threat posed to the Christian Byzantine Empire, were all legitimate reasons to engage in defensive warfare and Pope Urban II cited them as justification for the First Crusade.”
    -Steve Weidenkopf The Glory of the Crusades

    The crusaders saw their cause as a defensive action to protect themselves from further attacks and to reclaim lost christian territories taken by Muslim expansion over the past few hundred years. In 1071 a few years before any pope called for crusade, Islamic Turks captured the byzantine Emperor and destroyed there army. Constantinople was about to fall to the seljuk Turks who raped, tortured, and killed Christians while destroying pilgrimage sites. The new Emperor called other christian nations for help. The emperor send word to Pope urban if helped was not received, thousands more Christians would be raped, tortured, murdered and “the most holy relics of the savior” would be lost. With Constantinople under threat and with the emperor recently killed and his army destroyed by invading Muslims. The west believed it would unlock all of Europe to further Islamic expansion, so the west responded.

    "For your brethren who live in the east are in urgent need of your help.. For, as the most of you have heard, the Turks and Arabs have attacked them and have conquered the territory of Romania as far west as the shore of the Mediterranean and the Hellespont...They have occupied more and more of the lands of those Christians, and have overcome them in seven battles. They have killed and captured many, and have destroyed the churches and devastated the empire.”
    -Pope Urban II (1088-1099): Speech at Council of Clermont, 1095

    “The history of Islam has essentially been a history of conquest...the crusaders far from being an outrageous proto type of western imperialism, as it taught in most schools, of the few occasions when Christians took the offensive to regain the “occupied ground.”
    -Historian Paul Johnston

    “Islamic provocations: by centuries of bloody attempts to colonize the West and by sudden new attacks on Christian pilgrims and holy places.”
    -Rodney Stark God's Battalions Harper one 2009

    Help Christians Traveling to the Holy Land and Christians Suffering Under Islamic Rule

    "The Crusades were also a response to the severe persecution of indigenous Christians living in the occupied territories, whose lives were severely restricted and who suffered constant pressure to convert to Islam Christian pilgrims were also subjected to harassment and violence, which demanded a defensive response from Christendom. The Seljuks, who were known for their brutality, threatened pilgrims to the holy sites in Palestine. As an example, a group of 12,000 German pilgrims led by Bishop Günther of Bamberg in 1065 was massacred by the Seljuks on Good Friday, only two days' march from Jerusalem."
    -Steve Weidenkopf The Glory of the Crusades

    “Open extermination of christian populations and the disappearance of eastern christian culture”
    -Bat Ye'or “the myth of Islamic tolerance” interview

    A major reason for the crusades was to help persecuted Christians under Muslim control and to protect their own citizens who wished to travel to the holy lands in safety. Muslims had made travel to the holy lands expensive, near impossible, as well as dangerous with a real threat of both torture and murder of pilgrims who attempted the travel. In one severe instance in 1065 12,000 unarmed German pilgrims were slaughtered. Under Islamic rule rape, murder, torture, forced into slavery, prostitution, and forced conversions were all things Christians suffered from. No new churches or synagogues were allowed to be built Christians were prohibited from praying out loud [even in churches or houses] or reading the bible. They were not allowed weapons, were taxed and were to “feel inferior, humiliated, punished those who would not convert.” In 705 Muslims assembled Arminian Christians nobles in a church and burned them to death. More than 6,000 Jews were massacred in Morocco and In 1032 as many in Grenada. In 1570 Muslims murdered tens of thousands of Christians in Cyprus. In the 8th century 70 pilgrims from Asia minor were executed. Shortly after 60 were crucified. In the late 8th century Muslim attacked the monastery of Saint Theodosius and slaughtered the monks while destroying churches in Bethlehem. In 796 Muslims burned to death 20 monks from a monastery. In 809 mass rape and murder in Jerusalem. On Palm Sunday 923 churches were destroyed and Christians killed. Egyptians Muslim ruler Hakim had 30,000 churches burned or pillaged and had the Holy Sepulchre destroyed and Jesus tomb partially destroyed.

    "Muslim Turkish invasions in the 1050's caused much if not more mayhem and destruction than the crusades were able to achieve."
    -Christopher Tyerman God's War: A New History of the Crusades Harvard university Press

    "We have heard, most beloved brethren, and you have heard what we cannot recount without deep sorrow how, with great hurt and dire sufferings our Christian brothers, members in Christ, are scourged, oppressed, and injured in Jerusadlem, in Antioch, and the other cities of the East... are either subjected in their inherited homes to other masters... they are flogged and exiled as slaves for sale in their own land... has invaded the lands of those Christians and has depopulated them by the sword, pillage and fire; it has led away a part of the captives into its own country, and a part it has destroyed by cruel tortures; it has either entirely destroyed the churches of God or appropriated them for the rites of its own religion. They destroy the altars, after having defiled them with their uncleanness. They circumcise the Christians, and the blood of the circumcision they either spread upon the altars or pour into the vases of the baptismal font. When they wish to torture people by a base death, they perforate their navels, and dragging forth the extremity of the intestines, bind it to a stake; then with flogging they lead the victim around until the viscera having gushed forth the victim falls prostrate upon the ground. Others they bind to a post and pierce with arrows. Others they compel to extend their necks and then, attacking them with naked swords, attempt to cut through the neck with a single blow. What shall I say of the abominable rape of the women? To speak of it is worse than to be silent. The kingdom of the Greeks is now dismembered by them and deprived of territory so vast in extent that it can not be traversed in a march of two months..."at least let the great suffering of those who desired to go to the holy places stir you up. Think of those who made the pilgrimage across the sea! Even if they were more wealthy, consider what taxes, what violence they underwent, since they were forced to make payments and tributes almost every mile, to purchase release at every gate of the city, at the entrance of the churches and temples, at every side journey from place to place: also, if any accusation whatsoever were made against them, they were compelled to purchase their release; but if they refused to pay money, the prefects of the Gentiles, according to their custom, urged them fiercely with blows....They not only demanded money of them, which is not an unendurable punishment, but also examined the callouses of their heels, cutting them open and folding the skin back, lest, perchance, they had sewed something there. Their unspeakable cruelty was carried on even to the point of giving them scammony to drink until they vomited, or even burst their bowels, because they thought the wretches had swallowed gold or silver; or, horrible to say, they cut their bowels open with a sword and, spreading out the folds of the intestines, with frightful mutilation disclosed whatever nature held there in secret. Remember, I pray, the thousands who have perished vile deaths, and strive for the holy places from which the beginnings of your faith have come.
    --Pope Urban II (1088-1099): Speech at Council of Clermont, 1095 A

    Liberate Jerusalem

    If you are conquered, you will have the glory of dying in the very same place as Jesus Christ”
    -Pope Urban

    [going]”On Pilgrimage to wage war on foreign peoples and defeat barbaric nations, least the holy city of Jerusalem be held captive and the holy sepulcher of the lord Jesus to be contaminated any longer.”
    -Raymond of Saint- Gills

    Another goal was the liberation of Jerusalem and other places made holy by the life of Christ. Crusaders saw themselves as pilgrims performing acts of righteousness on their way to the Holy Sepulcher. The Crusade indulgence they received was canonically related to the pilgrimage indulgence. This goal was frequently described in feudal terms. When calling the Fifth Crusade in 1215, Innocent III wrote:

    “will not Jesus Christ, the king of kings and lord of lords, whose servant you cannot deny being, who joined your soul to your body, who redeemed you with the Precious Blood … condemn you for the vice of ingratitude and the crime of infidelity if you neglect to help Him?Of holy Jerusalem...This very city, in which, as you all know, Christ Himself suffered for us, because our sins demanded it, has been reduced to the pollution of paganism and, I say it to our disgrace, withdrawn from the service of God...Who now serves the church of the Blessed Mary in the valley of Josaphat, in which church she herself was buried in body? But why do we pass over the Temple of Solomon, nay of the Lord, in which the barbarous nations placed their idols contrary to law, human and divine? Of the Lord's Sepulchre we have refrained from speaking, since some of you with your own eyes have seen to what abominations it has been given over”.

    Crusading was a Spiritual Journey of Self Sacrifice

    “Considering how many are my sins and the love, clemency and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, because when he was rich he became poor for our sake, I have determined to repay him in some measure for everything he has given me freely although I am nor worthy. And so I have decided to go ti Jerusalem where God was seen as man and spoke with men and to adore the place where his feet trod.”
    -Stephen of Neublons

    “How does a man love according to divine precept his neighbor as himself when, knowing that his Christian brothers in faith and in name are held by the perfidious Muslims in strict confinement and weighed down by the yoke of heaviest servitude, he does not devote himself to the task of freeing them? … Is it by chance that you do not know that many thousands of Christians are bound in slavery and imprisoned by the Muslims, tortured with innumerable torments?” -Pope Innocent III

    "Crusading," Professor Jonathan Riley-Smith has rightly argued, was understood as an "an act of love"—in this case, the love of one's neighbor. The Crusade was seen as an errand of mercy to right a terrible wrong. As Pope Innocent III wrote to the Knights Templar, "You carry out in deeds the words of the Gospel, 'Greater love than this hath no man, that he lay down his life for his friends.'"
    -Thomas Madden the real story of the crusades

    “The biblical text cited to justify participation in the crusades were predominantly the teachings of Jesus in the new testament- references of love, humility, self sacrifice for the good of ones neighbor, and son on. The crusades were understood as an act of humble, loving service in which people risked their lives to liberate eastern Christians from the threat of Muslim invasion of Christianize lands as well as Muslim attacks and actions of humiliation against christian pilgrims to the holy lands”
    -Matthew Flannagan and Paul Copan Did god Really Command genocide” Baker Books 2014

    The Call of Abraham was used to support crusades in Genesis 12 portraying the difficulties of a crusader leaving his family for economical uncertainty while facing difficulty in the long journey with a possibility of death. Crusading was seen as spiritual journey and love/sacrifice to God were the major themes. A major crusading verse was Luke 9.23 of denying one self, and taking up their cross. Also Maccabees [catholic books] and various passages in the Gospels were used. Numbers 21 21-24 were used as reason for just [defensive] war, after Islam expansion.

    "Documentary evidence predating the conquest of Jerusalem, such as letters and charters, nonetheless confirms that most crusaders were primarily inspired to set out for the holy land by personal christian devotion...In short, most noblemen who joined the crusade did so from a simple and sincere love of god ...The evidence for the aristocratic response to the crusade message, strongly suggest that spiritual concerns dominated the minds of Latin nobility while they took to the cross "
    -Thomas Asbridge The first crusade a new history the roots of conflict between Christianity and Islam

    "There is one motivator that outweighed all others: faith...Above all, love of God, neighbor, and self drove participation in the Crusades.........Love of God and the desire to serve him dominated the themes of Crusade preachers. Popes and preachers used the image of a Crusader denying himself and taking up the Cross in imitation of the Savior to motivate warriors. Urban II told the assembly at Clermont that “it ought to be a beautiful ideal for you to die for Christ in that city where Christ died for you...... “It is a sure sign that he burns with love for God and with zeal when for God’s sake he leaves his fatherland, possessions, houses, sons and wife to go across the sea in the service of Jesus Christ”
    -Steve Weidenkopf is a lecturer of Church History at the Notre Dame Graduate School of Christendom College

    Crusaders were driven by faith in wanting to please God and self sacrifice for those persecuted. As one crusader said "carrying the cross” so that afterword, they may be carried to haven by the cross."Odo of burgundy said "the journey to Jerusalem as a penance for my sins.... since divine mercy inspired me that owing to the enormity of my sins I should go to the sepluchure of our savior, in order that this offering of my devotion might might be more acceptable in the sight of god." Urbonat Clermat stated "it ought to be a beautiful ideal for you to die for Christ in that city were Christ did for you." Eudes of chateaurout said "as sigh that man loves god when he cast aside the world.... for gods sake he leaves his fatherland, possessions, houses sons and wife to go across the sea in the service of Jesus Christ."

    “Whoever, therefore, shall determine upon this holy pilgrimage and shall make his vow to God to that effect and shall offer himself to Him as a, living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God..If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me if anyone desired to follow the Lord zealously, with a pure heart and mind, and wished faithfully to bear the cross after Him, he would no longer hesitate to take up the way to the Holy Sepulchre....Brethren, we ought to endure much suffering for the name of Christ - misery, poverty, nakedness, persecution, want, illness, hunger, thirst, and other (ills) of this kind, just as the Lord saith to His disciples: 'Ye must suffer much in My name,' and 'Be not ashamed to confess Me before the faces of men; verily I will give you mouth and wisdom,' and finally, 'Great is your reward in Heaven.”
    -Pope Urban II (1088-1099): Speech at Council of Clermont, 1095

    During the first crusade, it was items of religious nature that influenced and pushed on the pilgrims such as the holy lance in Antioch that completely changed the campaign.

    "pope] Gregory did not sell this planned expedition as holy war...but of mercy and act of charity ….It was prayer,fasting and sermons that kept the crusade going at Jerusalem"
    -Thomas F. Madden The New Concise History of the Crusades

    "Priests and other clerics who will be in the Christian army, both those under authority and prelates, shall diligently devote themselves to prayer and exhortation, teaching the crusaders by word and example to have the fear and love of God always before their eyes, so that they say or do nothing that might offend the divine majesty. If they ever fall into sin, let them quickly rise up again through true penitence. Let them be humble in heart and in body, keeping to moderation both in food and in dress, avoiding altogether dissensions and rivalries, and putting aside entirely any bitterness or envy, so that thus armed with spiritual and material weapons they may the more fearlessly fight against the enemies of the faith, relying not on their own power but rather trusting in the strength of God "........." others who have taken up the cross, and those who may still do so, to carry out their vows to the Lord "

    Were the Crusades a Conquest?

    "the first crusaders and pope, thought all land would be returned to the byzantine empire"
    -The New Concise History of the Crusades Thomas F. Madden

    No. At the end of the first crusade only 4,000 Europeans stayed, they did not view it as a conquest but as a armed pilgrimage. With a few staying behind to defend Jerusalem. It was often the noble class that stayed behind that had wealth and lands in Europe not the peasantry looking for new lands. The holy lands were not a colony of European nations but were independent of europe and money was continually sent from europe to support the holy land kingdoms.

    Crusades for Wealth?

    "We now know that greed cannot have been the dominate motive among the first crusaders , not least because as recent research has shown, for most participants the expedition promised to be utterly terrifying and crippling expensive."
    -Thomas Asbridge The first crusade a new history the roots of conflict between Christianity and Islam

    "This charge can be easily debunked with the simple fact that going on Crusade was an extraordinary expense—costing a knight four to five times his annual income. From being enriched, the vast majority of Crusaders suffered financial hardship as a result of their participation. Indeed, in order to finance such an expensive undertaking, many knights and their families sold or mortgaged their land and possessions"
    -Steve Weidenkopf The Glory of the Crusades

    Popes, Bishops, and Kings started taxing their people to help pay for the crusades because no one could afford to go. Many kings spent the nations entire treasury and multiple years worth of income of the entire country just to fund a large crusade. Knights sold vineyards, mills, land and even entire counties to help pay for the voyage. The church helped fund the crusades with taxes. When the 4th crusade sacked Constantinople for loot, the Pope [who had excommunicated the crusade] condemned them saying they were after earthly treasure, not heavenly treasure. In 1063 a crusade was called for Spain with rich land and close by, yet few answered because they cared for the holy lands not money.

    "The ideals of love and sacrifice and not the gain and conquest that are the dominating ideals of much crusading activity...crusading was motivated by piety and not the gain of land, entailing much suffering and hardship"
    -Heath Thomas Jeremy Evans Paul Copan Holy War in the Bible

    “Scholars have discovered that crusading knights were generally wealthy men with plenty of their own land in Europe. Nevertheless, they willingly gave up everything to undertake the holy mission. Crusading was not cheap. Even wealthy lords could easily impoverish themselves and their families by joining a Crusade. They did so not because they expected material wealth (which many of them had already) but because they hoped to store up treasure where rust and moth could not corrupt...Of course, they were not opposed to capturing booty if it could be had. But the truth is that the Crusades were notoriously bad for plunder. A few people got rich, but the vast majority returned with nothing.”
    -Thomas Madden

    “Most went at immense personal cost, some of them knowingly bankrupted themselves to go...crusading was very expensive undertaking...the best estimates is that a typical crusader needed to raise at least four times his annual income before he could set forth.””
    -Rodney Stark God's Battalions Harper one 2009

    Were Jews to be Harmed?

    "The Jews are not to be persecuted, nor killed,nor even forced to flee" -St Bernard of clairvaux- most famous preacher of second crusade

    “It is important to note that almost everywhere....bishops attempted, sometimes even at the peril of their own lives, to protect the Jews.”
    -Leon Poliakon Historian

    Jews were the only officially protected non christian group in medieval European society. St. Bernard frequently preached that the Jews were not to be persecuted he said “Ask anyone who knows the Sacred Scriptures what he finds foretold of the Jews in the Psalm. "Not for their destruction do I pray.”

    The crusade lead by Emich that killed innocent Jews was going against church decree. For his acts his crusade was denied entry past Hungary to continue on their crusade. Knight in Hungry attacked and destroyed his force. John bishop of Speyer hid and saved Jews from the oncoming crusade and after went and persecuted those crusaders who had killed Jews. Bishop Rothard allowed Jews to enter his refuge in Mainz to than only be killed by a mob for it.

    “Jews prior in Germany were protected by the crown and local lords, they thrived along the rhine, some local bishops tried to protect the Jews but many were killed all the same."
    -Thomas F. Madden The New Concise History of the Crusades

    “Itis fitting that you go forth against Muslims however, anyone whoattacks a jew and tries to kill him it is as though he attacks Jesushimself.”
    -Bernardof clairvaux

    A War Between Religions? A Religious war? A war of Conversion?

    "the distinction between holy war and pilgrimage was real. The crusades usually referred to themselves as "pilgrim" or "cross bearers".
    -The New Concise History of the Crusades Thomas F. Madden

    The war was not primarily between two religions, it was between two groups of people that happened to be of separate religions. The wars happened because of a people group of people, that attacked another group, committed crimes such as rape, murder, forced conversion and conquest. Than in response, another people group, banned together and attacked the first group. No question there was religious nature to many motives, but had these been simply separate countries within western Europe or middle east, a war would have broken out.

    “once their rule had been established the Franks proved remarkably tolerant in their treatment of non-Christian subjects.the Franks allowed complete religious freedom to all their subjects.” While Hamilton stresses that Jewish synagogues and rabbinic schools existed in many of their towns, contemporary Muslim sources noted with surprise that mosques were allowed to function in the crusader states (albeit not in Jerusalem itself) and Muslim subjects were even allowed to participate in the haj. This was because, as Jotischky notes, “the First Crusade was a war of liberation and conquest; it was not a war for the extermination or conversion of Muslims.” Far from being forced to convert, the Muslim villagers were run by a council of elders who in turn appointed a “rayse” to represent the community to the Christian lord, while all spiritual and social matters were regulated by the imams in the community in accordance with Sharia law!
    -Jonathan Riley-Smith, Atlas of the Crusades, Swanston Publishing Ltd, 1191, p. 16

    Many times christian in the holy lands allied with Muslims against other Christians or fought to help Muslims against invading Christians and vice verse. The king of Jerusalem Fredrick befriended and knighted Muslim emir Fakhr-ad-din. In fact many crusaders saw not Islam, but the Byzantine empire as the true enemy. Some of the awful crimes committed, were done against Christians in the holy lands. Finally Muslims and Jews were allowed to practice their religion in crusader states.

    [the crusaders]"even during the expedition to Jerusalem, they demonstrated a more malleable attitude towards Muslims, engaging in extensive negotiations with fatimids of Egypt, pursuing limited alliances with Muslim rulers of northern Syria like Omar of Azaz and happily formulating a series of admittedly exploitative truces with the emirs of southern Syria,Lebanon and Palestine. The evidence of this is intermittent, and to an extant our Latin sources seem keen to present the crusade as an intense and unbending religious conflict. In reality, contact may have been continuing on a completely different level. Raymond of Aguilers asserted that a Latin priest and visionary Evremar went to Muslim city of Tripoli to rest and recuperate during the latter stages of the siege of Antioch suggest that cross-cultural interaction may actually have been far more common than we know.
    -The first crusade Thomas Asbridge a new history the roots of conflict between Christianity and Islam

    The Jerusalem Massacre

    The first crusaders killed many non combatants during the capture of Jerusalem Records range from a few hundred to 75,000 [yet the city population was only 20,00-30,000]. However many inhabitants were not killed but captured and ransomed. While yet others were expelled from the city. It was common practice in Europe and the middle east of time period, that after a siege many that had remained in the city would be killed.

    “It is probable that anywhere from several hundred to 3,000 were slain by the crusaders"
    -Steve Weidenkomp The glory of the crusades

    But what of the reports of crusaders that described the incident as blood flowing as high as ankles? Those were biblical references to Rev 4.20 and Isiah 63.3

    Islamic Understanding of the Crusades

    The crusades were not a part of Muslim history after the retaking of the holy land. No books were written until 1899 when the first Arabic book on crusades was written. For hundreds of years Muslims did not remember the crusades as a major event in Islamic history but they were viewed as small local events and since they won, they were soon forgotten.

    “Claims that Muslims have been harboring bitter resentments about the crusades for a millennium is nonsense. Muslim antagonism about the crusades did not napper until about 1900...And anti crusader feelings did not become intense until the founding of the state of Israel”
    -Rodney Stark God's Battalions: The Case for the Crusades

    “From the safe distance of many centuries, it is easy enough to scowl in disgust at the Crusades. Religion, after all, is nothing to fight wars over. But we should be mindful that our medieval ancestors would have been equally disgusted by our infinitely more destructive wars fought in the name of political ideologies. And yet, both the medieval and the modern soldier fight ultimately for their own world and all that makes it up. Both are willing to suffer enormous sacrifice, provided that it is in the service of something they hold dear, something greater than themselves. Whether we admire the Crusaders or not, it is a fact that the world we know today would not exist without their efforts ll have followed Zoroastrianism, another of Islam's rivals, into extinction”
    -Thomas Madden Professor of History and Director of the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at Saint Louis University

    Main References

    -The First Crusade A New History The Roots of conflict Between Christianity and Islam Thomas Asbridge Oxford university Press 2004
    -The New Concise history of the crusades Thomas Madden Rowman and Litterfeild Publishing inc Lanham/Boulder/New York/ Toronto/Oxford 2006
    -Gods Battalions Rodney Stark Harper one Publishers 2009
    -The Glory of the Crusades Steve Weidenkopf Catholic Answers press 2014
    -Holy War in the Bible Christian Morality and an Old testament problem Heath Thomas Jeremy Evans Paul Copan IVP Academic Dowers Grove Illinois Inter Varsity press 2013
    -The Story of Christianity the early Church to the Dawn of the reformation Justo Gonzalez Harper one Publishing 2010
    -Gods war Christopher Tyerman Harvard u Press 2006
    -Did God Really Command Genocide Paul Copan Baker Books 2014
    Last edited by 1stvermont; 12-09-2017 at 09:15 AM.

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  3. #2
    You could characterize the crusades as a Christian reconquest of lands taken by Muslims, sure.

    And you could characterize the original Muslim expansion into the E. Roman Empire as a reconquest by Near Eastern peoples of lands taken by Greeks and Romans; and you could characterize the German invasion of France in 1940 as a reconquest of the territories taken by Louis XVI; and you could characterize the annexation of eastern German territories by Poland after WWI/II as a Slavic reconquest of lands taken by Germans in the medieval era; and on and on and on. Lots of lands have changed hands lots of times.

    But I'm not sure if there's much value in this kind of analysis, unless the goal is to create propaganda to support one or another's groups claim, or to generally paint one or another group as the victim or the aggressor: which is all moot from a libertarian perspective anyway, since only individuals (not groups) have right or commit crimes.

  4. #3

    The Knights Templar (Order of Solomon's Temple) (founded 1118)

    The Knights Templar (Order of Solomon's Temple) (founded 1118) were sent on the Crusades to metaphorically capture the ‘ARK of the COVENANT’ (kept in SOLOMON’s TEMPLE).

    The ‘ARK of the COVENANT’ can be re-interpreted as the ‘CONTRACT of the ARCH’ and is pretty much what modern Freemasonry is all about.

    HierARCHical Structure of Freemasonry - the Contract of the ARCH by Prince Arthur, on Flickr

    The Knights Templar (Order of Solomon's Temple) still exist to this day in the modern structure of Freemasonry and they stand on the top step of the YORK RITE of Freemasonry.

    The following PDF document and photo links may be of interest:

    Also, Knights Trivia Quiz link (MS Powerpoint) to test how much you really know about Knights (ancient and modern).
    Last edited by Prince Arthur; 10-31-2021 at 01:47 AM.

  5. #4

    Lightbulb 'CHURCH WORSHIP' - what does this mean?


    Etymology - derived from the word CRUX (Latin) – CROSS.


    The CRUSADES were a series of religious wars initiated, supported, and sometimes directed by the LATIN CHURCH in the medieval period.

    The NAVE is the central part of a CHURCH.

    The term NAVE is from NAVIS - the Latin word for SHIP, an early Christian symbol of the CHURCH as a whole, with a possible connection to the "SHIP OF ST. PETER" or the “ARK OF NOAH” (Ref. Wikipedia).

    When we go to CHURCH we go to ‘WORSHIP’.

    Metaphorically the CHURCH is a WAR SHIP
    Last edited by Prince Arthur; 10-31-2021 at 01:46 AM.

  6. #5


    The KNIGHTS TEMPLAR (Order of Solomon's Temple) (founded 1118)

    SOLOMON’S TEMPLE was built to house the ARK of the COVENANT

    Ark of the Covenant De-Coded by Prince Arthur, on Flickr

    Ark of the Covenant De-Coded 2 by Prince Arthur, on Flickr

    Ark of the Covenant De-Coded 3 by Prince Arthur, on Flickr



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