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Offline Manwariel

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Crusades Info
« on: December 01, 2008, 11:14:48 AM »
I'm interested in learning more about the crusades. What books/documentaries/websites/etc. do you recommend? I want to learn about both sides of the matter, so the more unbiased and less politically correct the resource, the better (though I realize there's no such thing as a completely unbiased opinion). :)

Offline Monsignor de Beaumanoir

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Re: Crusades Info
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2008, 11:24:35 AM »
M'lady, if you can but wait till the evening hours, I will post a list of resources that I have found to be solid. This will include some of the DVD documentaries available.
I might also add you review the "Following Orders" thread, for when we're not exercising our strange sense of humor, we're pretty much discussing Crusades topics! Brother William on that thread is a great source of info!


As for websites:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crusade
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04543c.htm
http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/sbook1k.html
« Last Edit: December 01, 2008, 11:35:19 AM by Warrior_Monk »

Offline Monsignor de Beaumanoir

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Re: Crusades Info
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2008, 01:28:32 PM »
I would like to add another well written description on a Catholic website, that helps give a clearer view of the cause and effect of the struggles in the Outremer:

“What about the Crusades?” The question seems more like an accusation, implying that the powerful Europeans attacked a simple and peaceful people on their home turf for no reason.

Using the Crusades as a club to bludgeon the West into guilty silence is a modern practice that has more to do with twentieth century events like the First and Second World Wars and the strains of passivism these engendered, than with the reality of the 12th and 13th centuries.

In fact, the Muslims were proud of the Crusades. After all, they won. And the Europeans, well the Crusades were the first stirring of coordinated defense against centuries of attack by Muslim forces. Until the 20th century the Crusades were viewed as honorable wars, by all sides.

So, be ready when someone flips you the Crusades trump card. The historical context is the key to this puzzle, not 20th century sensibilities. The events leading up to and following the Crusades place them where they belong in the flow of history.

The Middle East was once the Christian Heartland

It’s hard to believe isn’t it? Long before the advent of Islam in the 7th century, the Middle East was the heartland of Christianity. Jesus was a Palestinian Jew. All the major doctrines of Christian theology – the Trinity, the Incarnation, etc. -- were hammered out in the great and ancient Sees (Papal offices) that go back to the earliest history of the Church. With the exception of Rome, all were engulfed by Islamic conquest. – Jerusalem, Alexandria (Egypt), Antioch (Syria), and Constantinople – all submerged.

The Muslim conquerors swept over the Arabian peninsula, north into Syria and Persia and further points east, across northern Africa where the great St. Augustine once preached, over the Straits of Gibraltar into Spain and Portugal and north far into modern day France. One by one the islands of the Mediterranean fell. The southern coast of France was pounded for centuries. Right before the Crusades, the Muslims overwhelmed the Balkans and the Anatolian Peninsula. Later, after the Crusades, the jewel of the Byzantine Empire, Constantinople, fell to the Sultan in 1453.

After the fall of the Roman Empire and without protection, Europe was like a third world continent exposed to invasion and looting from all sides. Charles Martel held them out of France at the Battle of Tours in 732. His grandson Charlemagne spent his life crisscrossing Europe in the late 8th and early 9th centuries trying to protect his people, with some success. The Spanish endured 700 years of domination by the Moors, the last living branch of the original Umayyad Dynasty, until the 15th century.

The Byzantine Empire was wealthy, powerful, and organized, as were the Muslims under their caliphs. Until the Crusades, the Europeans were too weak, too disorganized and too poor to mount an effective response, but in the 11th century the chaos began to lift. Still, it was not until the 17th century, when the Muslims were finally repulsed at the gates of Vienna on September 11, 1683, that the balance of power definitively shifted in favor of Europe. That story, however, picks up long after the Crusades had come and gone.

There were more immediate reasons for the Crusades also.

Dhimmitude, or Life Under Muslim Domination

A common myth is that Christians and Jews were tolerated by their Islamic overlords. In a certain fashion, this was true. But the medieval Islamic understanding of toleration did not leave the conquered peoples simply free to go about their business.

They were given three options: convert, die or enter into dhimmitude, a protection pact with their overlords. They were permitted to live and practice their religion, but under very heavy social, economic and political burdens. The weight of these burdens depended to some extent on the local overlord, but even in the best of times the limitations were a significant handicap, much Jim Crow laws.

The most important burden placed on the dhimmi was the Jizya or head tax. This could be in the form of money or in the form of slaves, under some rulers even one’s own children. The jizya was collected with maximum humiliation to be sure the dhimmi were properly “subdued” and passive towards the injustices they endured.

The overlord could rescind the agreement at any time, but failure to pay the Jizya for any reason meant the infidel (Christian or Jew) had ceded his right to protection. Their neighbors could take property. They could be beaten, killed or deported, and many were.

The dhimmi were not permitted to own land and were not allowed to testify in a court of law. This could have important ramifications. For example, a Christian man whose wife was raped in his presence was not able to testify ...against a Muslim rapist. At any time, violence, rape or theft could occur against the dhimmi, with minimal punishment to the perpetrators

Dhimmi were required to wear identifying garb, at a minimum some form of headgear or armband. These rules were quite specific and were intended to ensure that dhimmi were highly visible wherever they went.

This was important, because dhimmi could not come face to face with a Muslim on the street or walk on the sidewalk. They were required to pass a Muslim on the left, or impure side. They could not remain seated in the presence of a Muslim, could not ride a mule in town or any noble creature, like a horse or camel. Infractions against these rules could result in being beaten, even to death, in the street.

Christians were prohibited from building or repairing churches, without express permission. To avoid insulting their Muslim overlords with the sound of their singing, worship had to be conducted in silence. Christian houses had to be built lower than Muslim houses.

The reality of dhimmitude lived by their Christian brothers and sisters in the Middle East gradually entered the consciousness of Christians in Europe, especially as pilgrims to the Holy Land came back with stories to tell, even with accounts of their own mistreatment. While some caliphates were less oppressive, the ascendancy of the Seljuk Turks in the 11th century intensified the sufferings of the dhimmi and of pilgrims, many of whom were not only harassed but enslaved. This was the situation shortly before the First Crusade.

Offline Monsignor de Beaumanoir

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Re: Crusades Info
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2008, 01:30:57 PM »
- The Islamic Empire spanned several continents from East Asia to Spain and was difficult to govern from one central location. By the beginning of the 11th century the Abbasid Caliphate had grown lax and corrupt and began to fragment.

Egypt was wrested from Abbasid control by the Fatimids. The Fatimids were Shi’a who strongly rejected the Sunni Caliphate in Baghdad. The Third Fatimid caliph in Egypt was known for atrocities against his own people, as well as against Christians. In 1009, he began a policy of persecution against Christians and ordered the destruction of all churches, including the ancient and deeply revered Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

Pilgrimage to the holy site was forbidden for over a decade. Although modern interest in pilgrimage is slight, medieval Christians were passionate about expressing their faith with their feet. Pilgrims came back with stories of abuse. Thousands never came back at all, having been killed or enslaved.

The Seljuk Turks Ravage the Anatolian Peninsula

In 1055 the Seljuk Turks conquered the Abbasid dynasty and enforced a severe form of Islam over all the lands they captured. This was bad news for all those subjugated, but especially for the dhimmi.

The Turks swarmed into the Anatolian Peninsula, the very heartland and breadbasket of the Byzantine Empire, destroying commerce and shipping, torching markets, towns and villages. They seized the harvest and the livestock, slaughtered the men, raped the women and then enslaved the women and children.

The people were impoverished, weakened and demoralized. They submitted to the Turks, who then confiscated their homes and means of livelihood. The usual jizya was supplemented by the devshirme, the submission of one or more sons conscripted to serve as Janissaries. Completely cut off from their family, never softened by marriage, these warriors fought with complete abandon. They became a formidable force, one that would later tyrannize the Sultan.

Europe Responds: The Crusades

In 1069, the new Byzantine emperor – Romanus Diogenes IV, struggled to defend his people. He was soundly defeated at the Battle of Manzikert in 1071, not only by the superior Turkish strength, but by treason among his own generals. Routed by the enemy, the emperor called to the West for help.

This battle was a turning point for Europe. True, they had centuries of chronic conflict with the Islamic Empire. Spain was still under Islamic domination. The Mediterranean islands and coastlands had never ceased to be subject to attack, plunder and the slave trade. None of this was new. But Manzikert signaled that the Emperor’s defense was crumbling and could no longer protect their eastern boundary or the Holy Land. The Europeans had to take up the defense. Fortunately, the Emperor’s plea came at a time when Europe was gaining strength and unity. Finally, they were able to respond to Muslim aggression.

Did the First Crusade come out of nowhere? Hardly. There were both historical and immediate reasons for the Europeans to engage the Muslims in war. The Crusades were a long overdue defensive response to centuries of antagonism.

There were eight official Crusades to the Holy Land, lead by men of high rank and great wealth. Just a few names dispel the myth that the Crusades were primarily a way to rid Europe of second sons and unemployed knights. The First Crusade, for example, was commanded by nobility including Godfrey, Duke of Lower Lorraine (almost as large as France), Raymond of Toulouse and Marquis of Provence, Duke Robert, son of William the Conqueror, and Bohemond, Norman King of Sicily.

King Louis VII of France and King Conrad of Germany led the Second Crusade. King Henry II of England planned to join the Crusade, but he died. So his heir, King Richard the Lionhearted went and nearly lost his kingdom to his younger brother John while he was away. The leaders of the Third Crusade included King Philip Augustus of France and Emperor Frederick I of Germany. The list of notaries goes on. In fact, Europe sent her best and brightest on Crusade.

Furthermore, going on Crusade was unimaginably expensive. Each noble had to provide his own armaments, his horses, money and supplies of every sort for himself and for his retinue. Knights had to pay their own way as well. Ships had to be built and paid for. In feudal times, land was the main source of revenue. Those going on Crusade often mortgaged to the hilt the family domain or whatever land they owned. Crusading often left them nearly destitute.

Did they go seeking treasure? Certainly some did. But for most Crusaders it made little sense to mortgage all of one’s wealth in hand for an arduous and dangerous trek across thousands of miles on horseback and on foot after the animals died. Along the way the Crusaders died of starvation, dehydration, disease, and altercations with locals (some their own fault). Once in the Holy Land, they faced death in battle and then a long, miserable trip home, perhaps to find that their homes had been stolen in their absence. The Crusades were not a great source of enrichment for most who went.

When the first wave of Crusaders arrived, Baghdad didn’t bother to send troops to help Jerusalem, because the Franks (as they were called by the Muslims) were too insignificant to warrant their attention. After the Crusaders proved themselves to be vigorous fighting men, the Muslims responded quite forcefully. They were a well-armed, fearsome and skilled fighting force, more than equal opponents of the Europeans. The war was conducted according to the customs of their day, not according to the Geneva Convention of the twentieth century. Was it bloody? Of course it was. War is always bloody. There were excesses and duplicity on both sides. Both sides also developed mutual respect for the courage and fighting ability of their opponent.

Thanks again to Jerrilyn Szelle Holladay for her thread: Should we be ashamed of the Crusades?

Offline Monsignor de Beaumanoir

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Re: Crusades Info
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2008, 04:27:20 PM »
As promised.

Enclosed is my list of Crusades and Templar or Military Orders resources:

1.   God’s War, A New History of the Crusades; Christopher Tyerman

2.   The Last Templar, The Tragedy of Jacques de Molay: Alain Demurger

3.   The Knights Templar, A New History: Helen Nicholson

4.   Richard the Lionheart; The Mighty Crusader: D. Miller

5.   The Knights Templar in the Golden Age of Spain; Atienza

6.   The Illustrated History of the Knights Templar; Wasserman

7.   The Crusades: M. Paine

8.   God Wills It: Bartlett

9.   Crusades: T. Madden

10.   Knights: J. Heller

11.   Armour and Weapons: Charles Ffoulkes

12.   The Chronicle History of Knights: A Hopkins

13.   God’s Warriors: H. Nicholson

14.   Acre 1291:Osprey Publishing

15.   The 3rd Crusade: Osprey Publishing

16.   Knights Templar: Osprey Publishing

17.   Knights Hospitaller: Osprey Publishing

18.   The 12th Century English Knight: Osprey Publishing

19.   Teutonic Knights: Urban

20.   The Dream And The Tomb: Payne

21.   Knights Templar: S. Howarth

22.   Knights Templar-God’s Warriors, The Devil’s Bankers: Sarello

23.   The Templars: P. Read

24.   Templars and Assassins: Wassermann

25.   The Templars: E. Burman

26.   Warriors of God: J. Reaston

27.   Northern Crusades: Christensan

28.   The Monks of War: D. Seward

29.   The Knight: Barber

30.   Fighting For Christendom: Tyerman

31.   Dungeon, Fire, and Sword, The Knights Templar in the Crusades: Robinson

32.   Albigensian Crusade: Sumption

33.   The Way of The Crusades: Williams

34.   The Knights Templar: S. Martin

35.   Soldiers of The Faith: Finucane

36.   Warfare In The Middle Ages: R. Humble

37.   Medieval Warfare: Koch

38.   Historical Atlas of The Crusades: A. Konstam

39.   The Rise and Fall of The Knights Templar: G. Napier

40.   Armies of the Crusades: Osprey Publishing

41.   Cathar Castles 1209-1300: Osprey Publishing

42.   Knights Templar Encyclopedia: The Essential Guide to the Temple: K.Ralls

43.   The Rule of the Templars: J.M.Upton-Ward

44.   The Piebald Standard : Edith Simon

45.   The New Concise History of the Crusades: Thomas F. Madden

46.   The Real History of the Templars : Sharan Newman

47.   The Templars, A complete introduction to the Legendary Monk Warriors: Miguel Gomez

48.   The Knights Templar, Discovering the myth and reality of a legendary Brotherhood: Susie Hodge

49.   The Medieval Soldier : Vesey Norman

50.   Fighting for the Faith : D. Niccole

51.   El Cid; The Making of a Legend : M. J. Trow

52.   Warriors of the Lord: The Military Orders of Christendom : Michael J. Walsh

53.   Battles of the Crusades 1097-1444; from Dorylaeum to Varna : Devries, Dickie, Dougherty, Jestice, Jorgensen, Pavkovic

54.   The Templars, Holy Warrior Monks of the Ancient Lands : Jack M. Driver

55.   Templar Organization, The Management of Warrior Monasticism : S.T. Bruno

56.   A Most Holy War, The Albigensian Crusade and the Battle for Christiandom: Mark Gregory Pegg 

57.   A to Z of the Knights Templar, A Guide to their History and Legacy: Gordon Napier

58.    Essential Histories; The Crusades : David Nicolle

59.   Battles of the Medieval World 1000-1500, From Hastings to Constantinople: Devries, Dickie, Dougherty, Jestice, Jorgensen, and Pavkovic

60.   Templar Knights and the Crusades; Charles R. Dillon

61.   The Enigma of the Knights Templar: Marilyn Hopkins

62.   The New Knighthood, A History of the Order of the Temple: M. Barber

63.   Knights of Jerusalem, The Crusading Order of Hospitallers 1100-1565: David Nicholle

64.   The Crusaders in the Holy Land: Meron Benvenisti

65.   Chronicles of the Crusades: Geoffrey Villehardouin

66.   Weapons & Fighting Techniques of the Medieval Warrior 1000-1500 AD: M Dougherty

67.        The Crusades through Arab eyes: Amin Maalouf


DVDs to see: (there are plenty movies touching the Crusades, but most twist history)
1.   Crusades (documentary)
2.   The Crescent and the Cross, The Crusades (documentary)
3.   Holy Warriors (documentary)
4.   The Knights Templar (documentary)
5.   Heroes & Villains; King Richard the Lion Heart (BBC 2008)

« Last Edit: December 01, 2008, 08:04:11 PM by Warrior_Monk »

Offline Manwariel

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Re: Crusades Info
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2008, 09:37:37 AM »
Thank you very much for all of the information, sir! I appreciate the time you took to do that.

Offline Sir William Marcus

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Re: Crusades Info
« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2008, 02:25:30 PM »
If I may add to give you a visual & heads up..

As for dvd's (today) focusing on the Crusades there are only two that are really worth viewing. These two are brought to you by the History Channel,  and are mentioned also by  'Frere Cliff de Beaumanoir aka Warrior Monk.

"Cresent & the Cross"

Cresent & the Cross focuses on the 1st, 2nd & 3rd crusades. As an added bonus to this set "The Knights Templar"  from the History Channel is also included as well.  Its a good historic documentary with decent reenactments.



The second is "Crusades" with Terry Jones, founding member of Monty Python.  It's an excellent Documentary.  He covers everything from the first crusade to the forth. It is extremely informative, and humorous, as one could only imagine with Terry Jones hosting it.



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Offline Manwariel

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Re: Crusades Info
« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2008, 06:35:03 PM »
Okay. I've heard about the first, though I heard it was rather biased in favor of Islam.

Offline Sir William Marcus

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Re: Crusades Info
« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2008, 09:24:19 PM »
Really???  Interesting, I have never heard that.
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Offline Richard de Graeme

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Re: Crusades Info
« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2009, 10:14:08 AM »
My Lords and Lady, is it a just question to ask, "How Jews were treated in Christian Europe leading up to and during the Crusades?"

Warrior Monk - your points, on this thread as well as FO, regarding the medieval mind and viewing events in that context without using a 20th or 21st century filter are well taken and certainly assist in the understanding of the events. Many thanks. :)
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Offline Monsignor de Beaumanoir

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Re: Crusades Info
« Reply #10 on: February 06, 2009, 12:45:29 PM »
It is no secret that the Jewish communities during the Middle Ages caught “hell”. Most were treated with the same suspicion and mindset that Mel Gibson made so vocal in the not so distant pass.

As the Crusading mobs of the First Crusade moved out, through Germany, Pogroms were conducted and Jewish population centers suffered as Christians on the war path vented their distrust/dislike of the children of God.

It is said that Richard the Lionheart used the Jews especially to help foot the bill for his Crusading venture.

Offline Mikael of Aragon

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Re: Crusades Info
« Reply #11 on: February 06, 2009, 01:51:09 PM »
The New Concise History of the Crusades: Thomas F. Madden

This was the book that got me started down the path of researching the Crusades and The Templars. In fact, I was turned on to the book when I caught an interview with the author on the radio, which is conveniently now available as a free podcast:

http://cdn1.libsyn.com/acu/Dec_06_Tues_Hr_1Prager_interviews_author_Crusades.mp3?nvb=20090206192523&nva=20090207193523&t=0c321040e28c4f2368731

Prof. Madden is pretty fair, and and aside from being one of the leading historians on the Crusades, is pointed out in this interview as being only on the side of history. I can't recommend this interview, and this book, enough.

My other favorite book, because it focuses in detail on the First Crusade, is titled conveniently enough:

The First Crusade:  Thomas Asbridge

There's some amazing personal stories in this one, and it really gets into the various characters involved in the First Crusade. I really wish this book would be made into a movie...but Hollywood would probably ruin it.

Brother Richard, there's tales of the treatment of Jews in Europe at the outset of the First Crusade in this book, particularly in Germany (go figure), including a particularly inspiring tale of one Jew who chose death over forced conversion to Christianity (which was strictly prohibited by the Church). Prosthelization by the sword seemed to be limited on the Crusaders side, in fact, the only incidents I remember reading of were against the Jews here (at least insofar as the First Crusade goes; I'm sure the other Brother Knights will correct me if I'm wrong in this), whereas prosthelization by the sword was a common practice on the Islamic side. It's been a common misconception that the Crusades were about converting the Middle East to Christianity, which is incorrect.

The more you read about this era of history, the more fascinating aspects of it you're exposed to. As is usually the case, that surface layer of information never gives you the whole story.

MiLady Manwariel, I wish you much success in your studies! You will find Warrior Monk and Sir William to be a near limitless source of information.  :)
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Offline Richard de Graeme

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Re: Crusades Info
« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2009, 02:08:33 PM »
It is no secret that the Jewish communities during the Middle Ages caught “hell”. Most were treated with the same suspicion and mindset that Mel Gibson made so vocal in the not so distant pass.

As the Crusading mobs of the First Crusade moved out, through Germany, Pogroms were conducted and Jewish population centers suffered as Christians on the war path vented their distrust/dislike of the children of God.

It is said that Richard the Lionheart used the Jews especially to help foot the bill for his Crusading venture.


Such a concise answer, Sir. :o This is not the usual in depth dissertation to which I have become accustomed. Just call me spoiled. ;D Here is some additional information to add to the discussion.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pogrom

Brother Mikeal, thank you for your response.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2009, 02:42:50 PM by Richard de Graeme »
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Offline Monsignor de Beaumanoir

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Re: Crusades Info
« Reply #13 on: February 06, 2009, 04:45:45 PM »

Such a concise answer, Sir. :o This is not the usual in depth dissertation to which I have become accustomed. Just call me spoiled. ;D

I was trying to get something quickly to the readers in between events at work. For this I'm sorry, I will make up for its' brevity I assure you.. ;) ;D

Offline Manwariel

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Re: Crusades Info
« Reply #14 on: February 06, 2009, 04:54:23 PM »
MiLady Manwariel, I wish you much success in your studies! You will find Warrior Monk and Sir William to be a near limitless source of information.  :)

Thank you, Sir :)

 

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