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Old 02-17-2010, 12:49 PM
 
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Of all the periods of history, few are more complex than the crusades. Historians are said to be still trying to sort it out. Depending on the writer, any number of reasons are given for the strong response to Pope Urban II's appeal to help fellow Christians in the Holy Land and curb the spread of Islam: Many crusaders were drawn by the papal forgiveness of sins and to gain eternal favor, some were motivated by a sense of adventure and booty, others had reasons that often conflicted with their fellow crusaders. Their ranks were often rife with petty jealousies and sometimes Christians fought Christians, which was certainly the case in the capture of Constantinople. Strange alliances developed, where Jews fought alongside Muslims against Christians in Jerusalem.

The crusades went on for over 150 years and descriptions of the horrors of the crusades are often ghastly, where one French eye witness at the fall of Jerusalem said "the carnage lasted for a week." Perhaps the most terrible development was the Children's Crusade in which large numbers of young French and German boys were caught up in the religious fervor and volunteered to go to Palestine. Many of them who arrived in Marseilles were tricked by slavers, who instead of taking them to Palestine, sold them into slavery in Egypt.

From our vantage point of time, was there any justification for the crusades?
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Old 02-17-2010, 01:15 PM
 
Location: San Antonio
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The Christian world had been under attack by the Moslems for several hundred years; I figure a counterattack was justified. Cultures have a right to defend themselves.

This book sounds interesting, I think I'll get it.



Amazon.com: God's Battalions: The Case for the Crusades (9780061582615): Rodney Stark: Books
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Old 02-17-2010, 01:57 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
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The original motivation for the Crusades by Pope Urban II was twofold. He wanted to reduce the power and influence of the Byzantines by placing them in his debt, and he wanted to reduce or terminate the serial internal fighting among the Christian Lords of Europe by redirecting it at apostates of the Middle East. The business about having to liberate the Christians of the Holy Land from their evil Islamic slave masters...was hooey from the start, there was no great Islamic persecution of middle eastern Christians taking place.

So, to solve some internal problems of the West, all the blood and destruction inflicted on foreign apostates which followed....was justified?

The Crusades were about as justified as any hostile invasion of an otherwise peaceful land may be.
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Old 02-17-2010, 03:35 PM
 
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The crusades have been traced to as late as the mid-15th century, ending in the battle near Varna in 1464. Even that is largely an artificial date, it signified the end of personal crusades. Christian states contined to war with the Ottoman Empire in religious wars as late as the 17th century in places such as Lepanto, Malta, Crete and Vienna. After that point state power replaced religion as the dominant reason for wars in Europe, for the most part in any case.

There were a wide range of reasons for the crusades and they changed over time. Generally speaking they failed in their most obvious goal of increasing Christian influence in the Holy lands although they had a number of unintended positive results such as increasing trade and the movement of knowledge to the West.
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Old 02-17-2010, 04:15 PM
 
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All the Crusades were not just against the Muslims...The Albigensian Crusade of 1209 against the Cathars in southern France is one of several that were targeted against christians by the pope. And from where "Kill them all. god will know his own" comes from
Crusade Against the Cathars: Heretical Beliefs in Dualism Challenge Catholic Orthodoxy
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Old 02-17-2010, 04:27 PM
 
Location: I think my user name clarifies that.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Walmsley View Post
Of all the periods of history, few are more complex than the crusades. Historians are said to be still trying to sort it out. Depending on the writer, any number of reasons are given for the strong response to Pope Urban II's appeal to help fellow Christians in the Holy Land and curb the spread of Islam: Many crusaders were drawn by the papal forgiveness of sins and to gain eternal favor, some were motivated by a sense of adventure and booty, others had reasons that often conflicted with their fellow crusaders. Their ranks were often rife with petty jealousies and sometimes Christians fought Christians, which was certainly the case in the capture of Constantinople. Strange alliances developed, where Jews fought alongside Muslims against Christians in Jerusalem.

The crusades went on for over 150 years and descriptions of the horrors of the crusades are often ghastly, where one French eye witness at the fall of Jerusalem said "the carnage lasted for a week." Perhaps the most terrible development was the Children's Crusade in which large numbers of young French and German boys were caught up in the religious fervor and volunteered to go to Palestine. Many of them who arrived in Marseilles were tricked by slavers, who instead of taking them to Palestine, sold them into slavery in Egypt.

From our vantage point of time, was there any justification for the crusades?
It's a bit unfair to ask if - from our vantage point - the Crusades were justified. We're too far removed, both in time, geography and understanding.

I don't know whether they were justified, but I do believe they may have been necessary. The Muslim aggression from the south was nothing short of the spread of Nazism during this past century. It needed to be stopped.

I do believe one of the most unfortunate aspects of the Crusades is that "Christianity" was dragged into it, because at that time in history the Pope basically controlled all of Europe. As a result, Pope Urban turned what might have been a justifiable military action into a Jihad.

Needless to say, the results speak for themselves.
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Old 02-17-2010, 04:44 PM
 
Location: San Antonio
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Originally Posted by Grandstander View Post
The Crusades were about as justified as any hostile invasion of an otherwise peaceful land may be.

The Moslems were not peaceful. An invasion of Moslem lands to defend Western culture was as useful in western Asia as anywhere else at the time; indeed because of the failure of the Crusades the front lines in the war between the West and Islam moved into southeastern and central Europe.

Don't forget that the Moslem lands invaded by the Crusaders had formerly been Christian; how about the Moslems invading the lands of other religions and forcing people to convert, where's the justification for that?

One culture expands at the expense of another; the culture on the defense attempts to defend itself by whatever means come to hand; it's an old and familiar story.
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Old 02-17-2010, 05:19 PM
 
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Tough issue to say. Rome who later became christian conquered a bunch of countries which included israel, a country who was found by wiping out all the tribes who lived in israel at the time, israel was never originally inhabited by jewish or hebrew people, and then you have the muslims who came later and tried to basically kick out the chrisitians and jews.

I don't think anyone was justified the people who the land originally belonged were all wiped out so I don't think there is a right or just group here.
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Old 02-17-2010, 05:22 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
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Originally Posted by Irishtom29 View Post
The Moslems were not peaceful. An invasion of Moslem lands to defend Western culture was as useful in western Asia as anywhere else at the time; indeed because of the failure of the Crusades the front lines in the war between the West and Islam moved into southeastern and central Europe.

Don't forget that the Moslem lands invaded by the Crusaders had formerly been Christian; how about the Moslems invading the lands of other religions and forcing people to convert, where's the justification for that?

One culture expands at the expense of another; the culture on the defense attempts to defend itself by whatever means come to hand; it's an old and familiar story.
I'd be more inclined to buy the above line of reasoning, as it applies to the justification for the crusades, if instead of sending armies to the Holy Land where there was no persecution of Christians taking place, nor was it serving as any sort of threat to Christianity, Urban had instead rallied armies to go to Spain to assist in the Reconquista, or to Constantinople to defend it against further Islamic encroachments.

Despite your theory, I do not see how such moves could not have been immensely more useful and practical than trying to sieze and hold an enclave in what amounted to the center of Islamic power.

Urban was a wizard of a strategist by your standards. Hmmm....we have Islamic enemies on our borders to the west, and Islamic enemies on our borders to the east...hmmmm....I've got it! We'll mass our strength and march it to the center where it will be surrounded by our enemies.

The target was truly a matter of Urban's pragmatism. It was the only place he could get the bickering warlords to agree to go. It was the only place that could be marketed as sacred, and therefore justify the benefits package which Urban attached to crusading. The deal was that if you went, not only were all of your past sins cleansed, but also any sins you committed while on the crusade. That meant that all crusaders who died, would be doing so in an automatic state of grace, heaven was a lock.

This was extremely attractive to men who devoted most of their lives to bashing heads and spreading misery. Now instead of the threat of Hell for behaving in that manner, they got to march off on a big adventure, behave with as much cruelty, savagery and greed as they wanted...and they got guaranteed perpetual paradise if they died while so indulging.

The Islamic targets which would have made more strategic sense, did not have the sacred aura of the Holy Land and thus could not be marketed in the same manner.
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Old 02-17-2010, 06:03 PM
 
Location: San Antonio
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Originally Posted by Grandstander View Post
Urban was a wizard of a strategist by your standards. Hmmm....we have Islamic enemies on our borders to the west, and Islamic enemies on our borders to the east...hmmmm....I've got it! We'll mass our strength and march it to the center where it will be surrounded by our enemies.

An attack on the Holy Land had the strategic advantages of approach and supply (and retreat if need be) by sea and a (supposedly) protected and supported approach through Byzantine lands. And the Byzantines were the guards of Europe's southeastern door and could use propping up themselves.

In any event I'm not arguing the effectiveness of the Crusades.
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