No surprise: Islam was at fault for the Crusades, and a bunch of other very bad stuff.

After the end of the Latin Roman Empire, the Mediterranean remained a Christian lake, open to commercial and cultural exchange between the new kingdoms in the West and the Greek Roman Christian Empire.  It was Islam, not the “barbarian invaders,” which broke the unity of the Christian world, thereby interrupting commercial and cultural exchange between the Christian East and the Christian West, propitiating the rise of the Carolingian “Roman” Empire, turning the Mediterranean into a Muslim lake, and therefore moving the cultural axis of the Christian West from the Mediterranean to the North: “the cause of the break with the tradition of antiquity was the rapid and unexpected advance of Islam.”

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Myth #1 about the Crusades

Myth #1: The crusades represented an unprovoked attack by Western Christians on the Muslim world.

Nothing could be further from the truth, and even a cursory chronological review makes that clear. In a.d. 632, Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Asia Minor, North Africa, Spain, France, Italy, and the islands of Sicily, Sardinia, and Corsica were all Christian territories. Inside the boundaries of the Roman Empire, which was still fully functional in the eastern Mediterranean, orthodox Christianity was the official, and overwhelmingly majority, religion. Outside those boundaries were other large Christian communities—not necessarily orthodox and Catholic, but still Christian. Most of the Christian population of Persia, for example, was Nestorian. Certainly there were many Christian communities in Arabia.

By a.d. 732, a century later, Christians had lost Egypt, Palestine, Syria, North Africa, Spain, most of Asia Minor, and southern France. Italy and her associated islands were under threat, and the islands would come under Muslim rule in the next century. The Christian communities of Arabia were entirely destroyed in or shortly after 633, when Jews and Christians alike were expelled from the peninsula.6 Those in Persia were under severe pressure. Two-thirds of the formerly Roman Christian world was now ruled by Muslims.

What had happened? Most people actually know the answer, if pressed—though for some reason they do not usually connect the answer with the crusades. The answer is the rise of Islam. Every one of the listed regions was taken, within the space of a hundred years, from Christian control by violence, in the course of military campaigns deliberately designed to expand Muslim territory at the expense of Islam’s neighbors. 

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The Crusades: A direct response to Muslim aggression and conquest.

Christians in the eleventh century were not paranoid fanatics. Muslims really were gunning for them. While Muslims can be peaceful, Islam was born in war and grew the same way. From the time of Mohammed, the means of Muslim expansion was always the sword. Muslim thought divides the world into two spheres, the Abode of Islam and the Abode of War. Christianity — and for that matter any other non-Muslim religion — has no abode. Christians and Jews can be tolerated within a Muslim state under Muslim rule. But, in traditional Islam, Christian and Jewish states must be destroyed and their lands conquered. When Mohammed was waging war against Mecca in the seventh century, Christianity was the dominant religion of power and wealth. As the faith of the Roman Empire, it spanned the entire Mediterranean, including the Middle East, where it was born. The Christian world, therefore, was a prime target for the earliest caliphs, and it would remain so for Muslim leaders for the next thousand years.

With enormous energy, the warriors of Islam struck out against the Christians shortly after Mohammed’s death. They were extremely successful. 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 (modern Turkey), 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.

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This Week’s Ask Alice: History’s Biggest, Catholic Church Scandals.



Send A Question To Alice

She’ll answer as many questions as possible,
right here, every Thursday.

Email responses will also be provided, as time permits.

Brian Asks: With the recent Philadelphia sex scandal surfacing, i was trying to rationalize the severity of this scandal in the history of the church. Naturally its an ugly situation here and in other parts of the world. What are the top 5 biggest scandals in the history of the Catholic Church?

Alice Answers: Living in an era when scandals rock our Church is no concert for faithful Catholics. To put the current scandal in perspective, I spoke with two priests.

My beloved uncle, Fr. Sergius Wroblewski, O.F.M., is an author, and he also teaches Scripture classes at Lourdes Friary, in Cedar Lake, Indiana. Here is his answer:

“That is a tough question, because it calls for scouring history for scandals. I came up with two cases and both have to do with the Reformation. One is about the Capuchin, Bernardine Ochino who became a Lutheran and caused a great scandal that almost brought down the whole Capuchin Order. The other one is about Pope Leo X who was Pope from 1513 to 1521 and whose scandalous life was a factor in moving Luther to break with the Church. He was a de Medici pope. Cardinal Petrucci wanted to kill him. Four cardinals were involved. They did not succeed because a letter describing the plot was intercepted. So Petrucci was strangled at the Castel Gandolfo.

Leo was the Pope who initiated the construction of the great Vatican Basilica. He needed lots of money so he issued indulgences: the greatness of the indulgence was in proportion to the amount of money given. This speculation in indulgences involved Bankers. But let me give you a description of what was going on in the Vatican gardens.

There was a continual celebration that was a mixture of paganism and Christianity with masked balls, performances of ancient mythology, Roman tales acted against magnificent scenery and, on the other hand, processions and splendid church feasts with performances in the Colosseum, classic orations in the Capitol, and more feasts and speeches on the anniversary of the founding of Rome. There were daily parades of cardinals, ceremonies for the arrival of ambassadors and princes with groups so large they looked like armies. Retinues, too, of the pope where he went off to hunt at Magliana, at Palo, at Viterbo, with the falcons at his wrist, with packs of dogs, heavy baggage, flocks of servants, the suites of the cardinals and of foreign preachers, the happy crowd of the poets of Rome and a mob of barons and princes, all in such a clamor as to seem a company of Bacchantes.

The vicar of Christ took part in the shows and appeared to enjoy the stupidities of the court buffoons that his valet Serrafica, had the job of bringing to Court. Among these was a certain Querno who dressed like Venus sang poems and drank a lot. There was also Mariano Fetti, Apostolic Sealer in the Chancery, better known as the court clown. A formidable glutton and drinker, he amused the pope with his buffoonery inviting him to enjoy life, saying, ‘Let’s live it up, Holy Father, for everything is a joke.’

There is no doubt that lasciviousness and moral corruption reached the highest levels with Leo X. That was a scandal that invited a (very) strong reaction, The Protestant Reformation.”

Fr. John Zemelko, pastor of Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church in Valparaiso, Indiana compiled his list of the top five scandals of the Catholic Church:

1) Schisms: East and West (the Reformation)

2) Lapsi Crisis. This schism occurred when an African deacon, Felicissimus, opposed St. Cyprian, who enforced an extremely rigorous policy for Christians who apostatized (lapsi) during the Decian persecution in 250 A.D.

3) The Inquisition

4) The Crusades

5) Current clergy sex scandal

Although we live in troubled times, it is reassuring to remember Jesus’ promise to all faithful Catholics when appointing Peter as His earthly successor.

“(Peter) you are ‘Rock,’ and on this rock I will build my church, and the jaws of death shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18)

No priest, bishop, heretic, dictator, or army can destroy the Catholic Church, which was founded in 33 A.D. by Jesus Christ.

In Christ’s Love,

Alice

Doug Lawrence adds: I often say that if the Catholic Church was a publicly traded company, I would have sold all my stock in it, many, many years ago. Instead, I continue to “hold” … based solely on the “rock solid” security that God alone is able to provide.

The fact that the Catholic Church has always been able to “take a punch” … ever since Jesus Christ walked the earth … despite whatever novel corruptions and persecutions those outside … or inside … of the Church … might choose to unleash against it … is just more proof of its divine origin … and of God’s loving and continuing providence.

But … what else would a person expect of the only Church that Jesus Christ ever founded, authorized, empowered, and eternally guaranteed … for the purpose of our salvation?

Praise God!

The Crusades 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.

With enormous energy, the warriors of Islam struck out against the Christians shortly after Mohammed’s death. They were extremely successful. 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 (modern Turkey), 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.

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Islam needs to emerge from its’ self-imposed “dark ages” and join the world community.


The days of Muslim Conquest
and the Crusades are behind us.

by Doug Lawrence

Islam claims to be a religion of peace, but so long as Islam continues to harbor terrorists and murderers within its’ ranks, and so long as Islam appears to officially support various types of revenge and brutal discrimination, under the false guise of Sharia and Jihad, few non-Muslims are ever likely to take Islam seriously, as a true world religion … let alone, a religion of peace.

Muslim Sharia Law is an only slightly modified version of the old Mosaic Law of the Jews. The Law actually worked pretty well in the harsh living environment of nomadic desert dwellers … and it should have … since it was originally given to the Israelites by God (Allah) for that express purpose. But when impressed on modern-day urban citizenry by certain fundamentalist Imams, Sharia can easily take on the look and feel of brute totalitarianism.

All of current-day Islam’s inherent violence and its’ serious denials/abuses of personal freedom make Islam look very unappealing and even frightening to the common man. And that should not come as a surprise, to anyone.

I’m betting that the promoters of true Islam can make a logical case for many/most of their fundamental beliefs and practices, but there’s no way they can ever do the same for violent Jihad and brutal, religious persecution and discrimination … simply because that type of behavior is essentially an unjust, corrupt aberration … and it was never a part of original, authentic Islam.

The days of the Crusades are behind us. The world (except apparently, for certain Muslims, and a few others) has moved on. Now, it’s high time for the true leaders of the Islamic world to get together, universally reject violence and terrorism, disown and shun those who can’t or won’t change their Medieval ways, and finally, join the modern family of nations, in peace.

Why Is Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral In Al Qaeda’s Crosshairs?


While one doesn’t expect radical Islam to be familiar with Marian Apparitions or Catholic eschatology, it does appear that elements of radical Islam takes this all very seriously. Now some may say doesn’t Islam give great reverence to the Blessed Mother? Yes this is true. However, we have to look at the theology of the radical. In addition to being an Apostate faith, Christianity was in their eyes a failed religion. The rhetoric of Al Qaeda increasingly reflected a radicalized Muslim world. While the academics loved to reminisce about Islam’s cerebral side, the radicalized Islamic world quoted form the more militant parts of the Koran. They loved to remind the unbelievers of how Islam spread the faith with the sword farther in one century than Christianity had with kindness and love for seven centuries.

Dr Yossef Bodansky provides us with an interesting glimpse into this mindset. Dr Bodansky refers to a January 7, 1994 speech given by former Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani. The former Iranian president stated that Christ’s message had failed, because Jesus had been incapable of bringing man to God, so God had to send Muhammad to get the job done. In other words, the Islamic Conquest of the Middle East, North African and southern Europe was necessary, only because Christianity had failed.

This is an interesting statement because although Rafsanjnai is a Shiite and Al Qaeda is Sunni, the message is the same; Christianity failed and conquest was needed to bring man to God. However, even in their defense of the Islamic Conquest, these two radical wings of Islam are forced to admit that Christianity was alive and well in the Middle East and North Africa centuries before the arrival of Islam. One of the familiar themes on any Al Qaeda tape is the plea to remove the infidel from Islamic lands.

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Polish King John Sobieski and the first 9/11

Things the “libs” will never tell you about Muslim conquest and the Crusades

First, the historical facts: a long “train of abuses”, to borrow Jefferson’s phrase, preceded the launching of the First Crusade in 1096. Since its very inception, Islam had waged an unremitting war against Christianity.

It conquered and subjugated centuries-old Christian societies in the Middle East and North Africa. After sweeping through France, the Muslim advance was finally checked by Charles Martel at the Battle of Tours in 732.

Following this, Muslim aggression against Christians continued in southern Italy, with the conquest of Sicily in 827. Resistance to these repeated acts of aggression was not characterized as a “crusade”, but simply necessary self-defense.

Over the next centuries, the Seljuq Turks, who converted to Islam, waged war against the Eastern Christian Byzantine Empire.

At the Battle of Manzikert in 1071, the Turks wiped out the Byzantine army, leaving Emperor Alexius Commenus helpless before a relentless and determined foe. Not long after this, he sent envoys to Pope Urban II pleading for military aid.

The Council of Clermont was called by the pope in 1095, in which he addressed the clergy, knights, and commoners who had assembled. To the knights especially his words were both reproving and encouraging:

You, the oppressers of children, plunderers of widows; you, guilty of homicide, of sacrilege, robbers of another’s rights; you who await the pay of thieves for the shedding of Christian blood — as vultures smell fetid corpses, so do you sense battles from afar and rush to them eagerly. Verily, this is the worst way, for it is utterly removed from God! if, forsooth, you wish to be mindful of your souls, either lay down the girdle of such knighthood, or advance boldly, as knights of Christ, and rush as quickly as you can to the defence of the Eastern Church. For she it is from whom the joys of your whole salvation have come forth, who poured into your mouths the milk of divine wisdom, who set before you the holy teachings of the Gospels.

What was at stake was nothing less than the preservation of Christianity, and the civilization which had, even if imperfectly, sought to embody its teachings in the world. This was also evidenced by the increasingly hostility to Christians still living in the Levant (the Holy Land), as well as those who went on pilgrimage; in 1009, the Fatimid caliph Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah ordered the Church of the Holy Sepulcher – in an act the Catholic Encyclopedia rightly calls a “fit of madness” – razed to the ground.

This was followed by an even broader campaign against Christianity throughout the Levant, culminating in the destruction of thousands of Christian churches.

Read more by Joe Hargrave at The American Catholic

The Crusades – 101


Following his death, Muhammad’s successors–the caliphs–continued an aggressive campaign of expansion. In less than a century they had seized control–among other lands–of Syria, Palestine, and North Africa. Though today we are used to thinking of these lands as Muslim, at the time they were Christian. It has been said that the expanding Muslim empire consumed half of Christian civilization. Even Europe itself was threatened. Muslims seized control of southern Spain, invaded France, and were threatening to invade Rome itself when their advance was defeated by Charles Martel at the battle of Poitiers in 732.

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And more …

Enough is Enough: The Crusades and The Jihad Are Not Equivalents


First, the historical facts: a long “train of abuses”, to borrow Jefferson’s phrase, preceded the launching of the First Crusade in 1096. Since its very inception, Islam had waged an unremitting war against Christianity. It conquered and subjugated centuries-old Christian societies in the Middle East and North Africa. After sweeping through France, the Muslim advance was finally checked by Charles Martel at the Battle of Tours in 732. Following this, Muslim aggression against Christians continued in southern Italy, with the conquest of Sicily in 827. Resistance to these repeated acts of aggression was not characterized as a “crusade”, but simply necessary self-defense.

Over the next centuries, the Seljuq Turks, who converted to Islam, waged war against the Eastern Christian Byzantine Empire. At the Battle of Manzikert in 1071, the Turks wiped out the Byzantine army, leaving Emperor Alexius Commenus helpless before a relentless and determined foe. Not long after this, he sent envoys to Pope Urban II pleading for military aid. The Council of Clermont was called by the pope in 1095, in which he addressed the clergy, knights, and commoners who had assembled. To the knights especially his words were both reproving and encouraging:

You, the oppressers of children, plunderers of widows; you, guilty of homicide, of sacrilege, robbers of another’s rights; you who await the pay of thieves for the shedding of Christian blood — as vultures smell fetid corpses, so do you sense battles from afar and rush to them eagerly. Verily, this is the worst way, for it is utterly removed from God! if, forsooth, you wish to be mindful of your souls, either lay down the girdle of such knighthood, or advance boldly, as knights of Christ, and rush as quickly as you can to the defense of the Eastern Church. For she it is from whom the joys of your whole salvation have come forth, who poured into your mouths the milk of divine wisdom, who set before you the holy teachings of the Gospels.

What was at stake was nothing less than the preservation of Christianity, and the civilization which had, even if imperfectly, sought to embody its teachings in the world.

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On Islam and the Crusades

crusades

Consider the situation in the Holy Land 100 years before Pope Urban II’s call in 1095 for a crusade to liberate it. It was part of the territory ruled by the Fatimid Caliph al-Hakim, whose cruelties Christian and Muslim historians alike recorded.

Fourteenth-century historian Ibn al-Dawadari tells us that al-Hakim destroyed the Church of Saint Mark in al-Fustat, Egypt (on the outskirts of modern-day Cairo), which Christians had built in defiance of a law forbidding new church construction. The al-Rashida mosque arose not only over the ruins of Saint Mark’s but also over Jewish and Christian cemeteries, surely an act of vandalism.

But the height of al-Hakim’s cruelties was the destruction of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which, according to Muslim sources, began in September 1007. Also known as the Church of the Resurrection, this was possibly the most revered shrine in Christendom—considered not only Golgotha (or Calvary), where the New Testament says that Jesus was crucified, but also the place where he was buried and hence the site of the Resurrection.

According to historian Moshe Gil, al-Hakim ordered that the Church of the Resurrection be torn down “to its very foundations, apart from what could not be destroyed or pulled up, and they also destroyed the Golgotha and the Church of Saint Constantine and all that they contained, as well as all the sacred gravestones. They even tried to dig up the graves and wipe out all traces of their existence.”

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Additional commentary and related book selection

Retouching the Egregious Distortions of the Crusades

godswar

Retouching the Egregious Distortions of the Crusades

Review: November 2007 By Philip Blosser. Philip Blosser is Professor of Philosophy at Lenoir-Rhyne College in Hickory, North Carolina.
God’s War: A New History of the Crusades.  By Christopher Tyer­man. Harvard University Press (Belknap). 1040 pages.

The Crusades are generally viewed today as the historical Western equivalent of the jihad — only, in this case, against Islam — a series of holy wars instigated by power-crazed popes and fought by religious fanatics. They are thought to have been the epitome of Western arrogance, self-righteousness, and intolerance — a shameful skeleton in the closet of the Catholic Church and the Western world. By their rampaging incursion into Palestine, Crusaders are supposed to have introduced proto-imperialist Western aggression and barbarism into the peaceful Middle East and debased the enlightened Islamic culture, leaving it in shambles. From Sir Steven Runciman’s classic three-volume epic, History of the Crusades, to the BBC/A&E documentary on the Crusades hosted by Terry Jones several years ago, one needn’t look far for variations on this theme. These pass for standard Western histories these days, even though they are as appallingly inaccurate as they are entertaining.

Thanks to the work of historians such as Jonathan Riley-Smith (Cambridge), Edward Peters (University of Pennsylvania), Donald E. Queller (University of Illinois, ret.), and Thomas Madden (St. Louis University), some of the more egregious distortions of this portrait are being retouched. Perhaps not all would go as far as Madden in describing the Crusades as defensive wars in direct response to Muslim aggression, but there is little question that the colossus of the medieval world was Islam, not Christendom. The Crusades were clearly attempts to meet the challenge of the Muslim conquests of Christian lands in the East. Furthermore, recent studies have shown that Crusading, far from being a lucrative undertaking, was notoriously bad as an economic investment. Many wealthy noblemen were practically bankrupted by mounting a Crusading expedition. Rather, as Peters shows, a spiritual purpose animated Crusaders: While killing was normally wrong, avenging the deaths of fellow Christians as instruments of God’s justice came to be seen as a positively redemptive undertaking. Crusading, as Riley-Smith has argued, was understood in this light as “an act of love” — articulated as a self-sacrificial ideal in Christ’s words, “Greater love than this hath no man, that he lay down his life for his friends” (Jn. 15:13). In Madden’s view, the two primary goals of the Crusades were, first, to rescue Christians of the East who had been conquered by Muslim invaders and, second, to liberate Jerusalem and the Holy Land, which had been made holy by the Incarnation and earthly life and ministry of Jesus Christ.

Oxford historian Christopher Tyerman is no stranger to the views embodied either in the textbook tradition represented by Runciman’s classic history of the Crusades or the more recent corrective — others would say “revisionist” — efforts represented by Riley-Smith and others mentioned above. Tyerman’s perspective is that of a self-consciously Western secular European, trying to offer as even-handed an account of the Crusades as possible. He does not cynically assume that the Crusades were motivated only by politics and economics, or that they were precursors of colonialism and racism. Instead, he respectfully corrects the errors and untenable suppositions underlying these earlier views of the Crusades, while also giving due respect to prior scholarship where it is warranted. He neither demonizes Islam nor engages in Euro-bashing. Rather than configuring the past as “comfortingly different from the present” or as a “mirror to the present,” he undertakes to explore the history of the Crusades “as far as possible on its own terms.”

Tyerman thus seeks to avoid two common pitfalls of historical interpretation. The first is seen in an attitude of “condescending historical snobbery” that dismisses our ancestors as less educated, less refined, more brutal, credulous, and hypocritical than we are today. This attitude is simply born of ignorance. The second is to presume direct causal connections between atrocities committed by Crusaders and terrorist acts committed by Muslim jihadists today, or direct parallels between U.S. strategies today and the medieval Crusades. Tyerman does not excuse the Crusaders’ slaughter or exonerate Christendom for its sanctification of it; neither does he vilify medieval Christianity.

Perhaps nothing so clearly illustrates Tyerman’s nuanced approach to his subject as his treatment of the Fourth Crusade and its notorious sacking of Constantinople, which is usually portrayed as an irrefutable indictment against the whole Crusading endeavor. By all accounts, excesses were committed in the sacking of Constantinople. However, as Tyerman writes, “the indiscriminate violence and pillage of the assault was reined in the day after the crusaders’ entry…. The sack of Constantinople was an atrocity, but in terms of the day not a war crime.” Tyerman repeatedly points out that a concern that surfaced during the Crusades was whether or not their battles met the criteria for a “just war.” The Crusaders did not view their own cause in every instance as being automatically just, but as one that frequently needed to be reviewed and justified.

No less unsparing is Tyerman in his efforts at even-handed and brutal honesty where it concerns memories painful to Christians, as in the Jewish pogrom of 1096. After a detailed account of forced baptisms and slaughter, he writes: “The lust for money alone cannot explain the consistent flouting of canon law and religious teaching witnessed by the repeated forcible conversions. Nothing in official Christian doctrine justified slaying Jews. Pope Alexander II had explicitly prohibited it….”

Crusading, of course, finally waned in European history. The last formal Crusade was the Holy League against the Ottomans in 1684-1699. According to Tyerman, it was the weakening of papal power and the rise of secular governments in Europe that finally doomed the Crusading impulse in Europe. This did not mean that the Crusading spirit died out altogether. “Crusading, far from an anachronism, provided one impetus for the European age of discovery,” he writes. “In presenting a spiritualized vision of reality, it recognized the temporal world and the actual experience of man while offering to transform both.”

Tyerman’s is a massive and monumental book. Many medievalists have hailed it as the single best book on the Crusades to date, as one that may supplant, if not surpass, Runciman’s three-volume classic. God’s War is truly encyclopedic, treating not only the conventional Crusades in the East, but the Albigensian Crusades in France, as well as the Crusades in Spain, the Baltic, and Balkans. It brings us to the summits to view the panoramic historical sweep and recollect the insights gleaned in the course of the journey.

Submitted by Doria2

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At the time of the Crusades, Muslim armies had already conquered two-thirds of the Christian world.

Recently noted on Yahoo Answers:

By the time the Crusades finally began, Muslim armies had conquered two-thirds of the Christian world.

The first Crusade began in 1095… 460 years after the first Christian city was overrun by Muslim armies, 457 years after Jerusalem was conquered by Muslim armies, 453 years after Egypt was taken by Muslim armies, 443 years after Muslims first plundered Italy, 427 years after Muslim armies first laid siege to the Christian capital of Constantinople, 380 years after Spain was conquered by Muslim armies, 363 years after France was first attacked by Muslim armies, 249 years after Rome itself was sacked by a Muslim army, and only after centuries of church burnings, killings, enslavement and forced conversions of Christians.

The Crusades finally began nearly 5 centuries AFTER Muslim armies had set out to conquer the Christian world.