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The Crusades

Discussion in 'World History' started by Becka, Nov 7, 2001.

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  1. Becka

    Becka M AS IN MARTINI

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    Ok, I don't think I saw a thread for this, so here it goes.

    Do you belive the Crusades were justified? I'm interested in hearing other people's responses.
     
  2. Garwulf

    Garwulf Chieftain

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    Boy, when you ask a question...

    It really depends on how you define "justified", and, for that matter, how you define "crusade".

    The first Crusade was really a product of Byzantine fear and the need of the Roman Catholic church to reassert its authority (at the time that Urban II was preaching the crusade, he actually wasn't allowed back in Rome). The Byzantine empire was being threatened by the Seljuk Turks (if I recall correctly), and a plea from the emperor resulted in a massive European response. After conquering Jerusalem, several Crusader kingdoms were established.

    Both the second and third Crusades were abortive attempts at assisting the Crusader kingdoms. By then, however, the Muslims had adapted to the European form of warfare, and neither campaign went terribly well. After the third Crusade, the Crusader kingdoms were destroyed, and the area returned to Muslim hands.

    The fourth Crusade didn't even make it to the Holy Land, and ended up knocking over Constantinople. After that, any time a war has any religious connotations, the word "Crusade" gets thrown around.

    Were they justified...for the most part, I would have to say "yes", but not on a religious grounds. The first Crusade was an attempt to bolster the Byzantine Empire that had unexpected results, and the next two were attempts to bolster the new European kingdoms established there. Politically, they all make sense.

    On a religious note, they were the most horrifying display of intolerance the world had seen up to that point, and their consequences are still being felt today. It was during the first Crusade that anti-semitism first took on a violent characteristic, and I cannot help but think that the Middle East would be a far more pleasant place today if it hadn't been for the Crusaders militarizing the entire Islamic world against Christianity (prior to the Crusades, Islam saw Christianity and Judaism as "peoples of the book," or misguided brothers).

    Best regards to all,

    Robert Marks
     
  3. Hamlet

    Hamlet Manic Depressive

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    In short.

    No.
     
  4. CentralAzN

    CentralAzN Chieftain

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    In short NO. Do you think what Bin Laden is doing right now is right? its just as bad as the crusades.

    the muslims did not use european style warfare.
    there were many differences in the way they trained, how heavily they armored themselves and cavalry, etc.

    the crusades left an anti-christian legacy in the mid-east. to this day the word 'crusade' gets people pissed off.

    many think the crusade has not yet ended due to the fact that the West has been screwing muslims ever since the end of WWI.

    on another religious note, although many muslims are angry at the West they have to respect Christians and Jews because they are 'People of the Book'.

    in the Quran it states that the Christians and Jews are not ignorant, and a Muslim's best friend may be the one who says "I am a Christian"
     
  5. Nahuixtelotzin

    Nahuixtelotzin Huey Tlatoani

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    What should be a proper justification? That some sedjuk bad@sses killed a few pilgrims in Anatolia? I pretty sure those guys also killed EVERY unprotected group of people...

    Or did the crusaders try to help the Byzantines right when relations were worse than anytime before? Don't make me laugh... :rotfl:
     
  6. History Guy

    History Guy Number Six

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    Were the Crusades justified? Strange question. When one considers that each crusade was so different, it's nearly impossible to answer. I'd say that the First Crusade, and only the 1st was justified, and that is just the war with the Muslims, and not the monstrous attacks on the Jews and major Church figures in Germany at the same period. That was a total disgrace. The only redeeming part of that is that many Bishops in Germany spoke out against the attacks on the Jews, and even protected them personally. I remember that one German Bishop was murdered by anti-Jewish "crusaders" when he protected a Jewish family.

    And yet the 1st Crusade in itself was justified. The Church took it (understandably) hard when Islamic armies took over the Holy Land, destroyed the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and taxed the Christian and Jew communities to death. The Muslims had for years been raiding the European coastline, destroying abbeys, as the Vikings were doing in the same period, and the Irish had done in the Dark Ages. The Islamic Empires were not only trying to take back Spain at the time, but they were approaching the Byzantine Empire's capital, Constantinopol, and about 10 years before Pope Urban II launched the 1st Crusade, the Emperor of Byzantium was captured by Sejuks and his army destroyed at the Battle of Manzikert. Ever since then, the new emperor, Alexius Comnenus, feared an attack, and thus sent the Pope a plea to come to his assistance. The Europeans, the Christian ones anyway, did see Byzantium as necessary, as when it fell, the Christians of the East were put in very serious danger indeed. Of course, by the time the crusaders were finally at Constantinopol, Alexius had gotten over his fears, and promptly slammed the doors on the crusaders, who promptly opened them up again. Though the Crusaders were very brutal in their attacks, they got the job done. I'd say yes, there were many reasons as to why the First Crusades were justified.

    The Second Crusade was also somewhat justified. The Kurdish armies around had taken Edessa and were moving in on Antioch, and so to protect the Holy Land and the Byzantines once more, they launched a crusade more brutal and terrible than the first, and lost it. The 3rd Crusade was simply a continuation of the 2nd, and it took back little land. The truly unjustifiable crusade was Venice's 4th Crusade, which was not really one supported by the Church, and was instead ordered by the blind Doge of Venice, Henricus Dondalo. It was announced at a masquerade ball, and I have the impression that everyone was a bit tipsy that evening, and the Doge popped in, with a Crusader's cross on his skull-cap, ordering a new crusade. Of course, they never got past Constantinopol, which they entered, and sacked, looting most of the Orthodox Churches (including the great Hagia Sophia) there, and generally acting as horrendous as possible. Actually, as soon as they returned to Venice with all the loot (which they decorated the City with) the Pope excommunicated every one of them, including the horrified Dondalo himself. :goodjob: your Holiness!
     
  7. Stefan Haertel

    Stefan Haertel Title

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    I'll join the 'no' club right here.
    But it is not as if there haven't been any voices for religious and/or ethnic tolerance even in the middle ages. With the Roman ideals scattered in ancient literature, how couldn't there have been? So, in medieval literature, we do indeed find fragments that appear so very modern to us, that it surprises to find these were written around 1200. I'm talking about Wolfram von Eschenbach. His hero Gachmuret in "Parzival" for example, married a dark-skinned muslim queen and had a son with her. This son is later on described as good and just.
    But the most interesting thing is his work "Willehalm", which is about the crusades, and describes them as horribly useless bloodshed, and in one certain part of it, Wolfram describes all people, also non-christian, as children of God, and calls for tolerance between them, by pointing out that Adam and Eve, Moses, the three Kings and all these people weren't Christian either, but they had Gods love and blessing.
    Thus, you can look into these times as well, and find hundreds of arguments against the crusades.
    As for that, I think that any bloodshed in the name of anything or anybody is definately not justified.
     
  8. History Guy

    History Guy Number Six

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    A good question to ask would be where did the religious intolerance lie? There was just as much of it with the Muslims as with the Christians.
     
  9. cephyn

    cephyn Kubo

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    Don't forget the infamous Albigensian Crusade against the Cathars in the south of France. Now that one was unjustified.
     
  10. Lefty Scaevola

    Lefty Scaevola Moderatus Illuminatus Super Moderator

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    As much or not as any war of REconquest. No less and maybe a tiny bit more justified (still only slightly) than the the Moslem conquest of these areas a few centuries earlier.
     
  11. Nahuixtelotzin

    Nahuixtelotzin Huey Tlatoani

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    Lefty:But the crusades were no REconquest. If the byzantines had reconquered the area it would have been a very different issue. Thus, the crusades were as "justified" as the earlier arabian conquest: i.e.: not!
    One note though: At least the muslims treated the inhabitants of conquered Jerusalem nicer...
     
  12. Rowan

    Rowan Chieftain

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    It is hard to justify a war host leaving devastation all the way from Europe;and then arriving in the middle east to devestate that............and then sort of doing it twelve more times over the next couple of centurys. All in the name of god of course!
    [dance] :beer: [dance]
     
  13. History Guy

    History Guy Number Six

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    All I have to say, Rowan is-- Deus le Vault. :D
     
  14. Simon Darkshade

    Simon Darkshade Mysterious City of Gold

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    The first three Crusades were very much justified, but it did go downhill from there.
     
  15. Rowan

    Rowan Chieftain

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    Pardonne monseur,non parlez Franceis
    [dance] :beer: [dance]
     
  16. Lefty Scaevola

    Lefty Scaevola Moderatus Illuminatus Super Moderator

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    The Byzantines had called for the first cruade and were allied with it. Most of the various other parties also veiwed themselves as some sort of successor to the to the Roman Empire.
     
  17. Nahuixtelotzin

    Nahuixtelotzin Huey Tlatoani

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    ..., and they almost puked on how the "peasant pre-crusade" worked and saw themselves extremely betrayed. No crusade was meant to help Constantinople.
    Western knights might have seen themselves in the light of the roman empire, neglecting the fact that most what their ancestors did was destrying that very empire...
    The reasons given for the crusades was thin, the arabic rule was not at all terrible for the region, nor in general for pilgrims. And the reestablishment of the Roman Empire with a mare nostrum was never not even the slightest intention, it was all particularistic interests.
     
  18. willemvanoranje

    willemvanoranje Curitibano

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    The Byzantines didn't call for a crusade: Alexius I had asked pope Urban II for help recruting troops in Europe. What he didn't expect were the giantic armies that actually came. I demanded an othe of loyalty from all the knights before helping them get over the Bosporus.
     
  19. tetley

    tetley Head tea leaf

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    After giving some thought to the question, my opinion is: in the form the Crusades were in, no. However, the muslims were also wrong, if not more so, in taking Palestine by force in the first place.

    Here's the deal: I don't think ANY war with the sole purpose of taking Jerusalem is justified. Being Christian myself, I don't think there's really any such thing as a "Holy Land" or a "holy city". You can worship God anywhere. No one should be killing anybody over their "right" to worship specifically from Jerusalem.


    However, there would be circumstances (which, in reality, may have actually existed) that would justify the Crusades: first, if the area was being used to stage attacks on the West. In that case it is very much justified. Just like how the U.S. is justified in invading Afghanistan, or India is justified in invading Pakistan if they don't stop staging attacks on Kashmir.

    The second circumstance is if religious freedom is being squashed, or some other form of harsh persecution existed. That's what justified the American Civil War, and in large part WW2. If peaceful people were being jailed & killed for practicing their religion, then that must be stopped. Forcibly, if necessary. Thus the Crusades would be justified. Having read the Koran myself, and knowing what goes on in fundamentalist Islamic countries today (e.g. Morocco: you practice Christianity, you die), this may very likely have been the case. There's a big difference between fighting for religious freedom and "practicing religion" by killing disbelievers. Do the latter, you're a hypocrite.


    So why do I think the Crusades were probably not justified in their form? Because I think their intended goal was to make Jerusalem, the "holy city," Christian, and that's wrong. You fight to liberate Jerusalem, fight to stop the Islamic jihad, but don't fight out of your own "Christian jihad" to convert Jerusalem. That's where you cross the line.

    P.S. About Crusaders destroying the Orthodox Cathedrals in Constantinople: the Muslims had converted them into mosques. Not a minor detail. Under the circumstances, I think destroying them was the right thing to do. It would be wrong if they were ALWAYS mosques or ALWAYS churches, but they weren't.
     
  20. Nahuixtelotzin

    Nahuixtelotzin Huey Tlatoani

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    tetley, just some facts:
    a) The Holy Land was not a place from which "the west" was attacked. In fact, those muslims didn't care at all about the western church, they had Constantinople as their traditional enemy.
    b) don't confuse medieval islam with modern fundamentalism, even less than ONLY seeing the fundamentalists among nowadays muslims. Most probable pilgrims weren't much liked, seldjuk turks attacked them, but after all they were strangers and don't even think what would have happened to muslim pilgrims in a christian country... BTW: When Saladin expelled the Crusaders he established free passage to the christian holy places for pilgrims. He even solved the struggles among the christians themselves about the "birth church" introducing the system of different parts in the church compley for the different christian beliefs, as still nowadays practiced. Arabian Countries with former christian population still have much more christians as for example Spain has muslims, which was partially an islamic country. They were all expelled or killed, right when the Spanish "reconquered" the peninsula
    c) Constantinople was still christian by then, so christians destroyed christian churches. And btw: The Spanish converted all mosques into churches, whereas in Constantinople still minor churches were allowed to remain. I mean, destroying can't be the option, it's far more civilized at least to maintain a cultural building in its outer form by changing their use, not like destroying the Buddha-Statues...
     
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