According the today's common thoughts the Middle Ages are mostly populated with ignorants and fanatics, dirty and full of fleas and parasites, dressed in rags with long hair and beard and greasy, rough people and instinctive almost like animals; and more dedicated to hunt witches to send to the stake.
They forget that the Middle Ages was the era in which the first universities were born in Europe - the oldest one is that of Bologna Italy). In the Middle Ages there were competitions in mathematics, poetry and music, and then the abbeys monks copied indiscriminately, without omitting anything, every ancient books, transmitting to posterity the culture that allowed the Renaissance. And I bet that only few people know who was the mathematician Fibonacci and his work.
The superficiality of the today's popular 'culture' unfortunately contains ignorance and partisanship; touching lofty heights about the historical topics ranging periodically fashion, thanks to movies and their amazing special effects. Not only that, but even if it were a few words in a dialogue between characters, usually there is always a series of 'politically correct' messages to be transmitted by keeping quiet about the truth, even distorting and adapting it ..
Every historical writer, both ancient and modern, and from any source, had always the temptation to practice and to distort and adapt the story of humanity to their own particular point of view. It is true that there have also been biased extreme characters as 'Comites'(Count) Zosimus, pagan writer in the Christian era of the decline of the Roman Empire, but his historical visions are so false as to be laughable, because obviously tainted by his anti-Christian ideas. But underneath all the historians did basically left intact the events' chronology and the historical thread.
The Crusades are today a topic brought to actuality by Islamic extremists. From the western part it is spoken of Crusades only having seen movies or shows, or for having read a few articles on the subject; or due to bias based on categories almost without no relationship to the argument.
The visions hitherto prevailing offered to the public in the West are almost always negative, and rarely the positive of the story is emphasizez. They tell the facts of the distant past with the today's mentality, according to pacifist or materialistic categories, or even simply to attract the pseudo-historical bricks' readers and the spectators of certain movies.
In the figure: a blacksmith shop in the Middle Ages
THE REASONS OF THE CRUSADES - The Crusades weren't a source of income -
Until the eleventh century, that is, until Jerusalem was in Arab hands, there were no major obstacles to the normal Christians' flow to the Holy Sepulchre and other holy places of Christianity, as the home of Mary and that of St. Peter. The Arabs were intelligent, tolerant, civil and not opposed to freedom of religion.
The first step towards idea of the Crusade was marked by the conquest of the overseas regions by Seleucid Turks, an eastern primitive people of Mongolian race and recently convered to Islam. The Bey Osman I, was the initiator of the conquest.
The Koranic religion, effectively implies the conquest and subjugation of peoples who inhabit the outside world (called Al harbr - the territory of war) in order to dutifully expand the Islam's territory (Al Islam - the territory of Islam) and the faithfuls' number. This idea had a huge grip on that savage people.
They (The Seljuks), who conquered Baghdad in 1055 and later enlisted in large numbers in the Arab armies up to buy control, invaded Syria and Palestine, and continuing in their conquest work came to threaten seriously Byzantium, which also sought the Venetians help for military interventions. At that time the Turks began to hinder in any way the Christian pilgrimages to the sacred places.
They added to serious bloody acts on pilgrims, a regime of exorbitant duties that made it impossible the less wealthy to access. A reporter says: "No altar, no ecclesiastical furnishings was more sacred to the Turks; clerics were beaten and beaten: the patriarch dragged to the ground by his hair and beard. And, more severely than ever, it is required to pilgrims, almost always the bag exhausted for travel expenses, a piece of gold in exchange for permission to visit Jerusalem .... "
One of the many Turks' misdeeds was perpetrated in 1065 when 7,000 Christians left on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land were attacked and besieged in a fortress. 5,000 were killed.
The historian Friedrich Yon Raumer in 1828 claimed: "It was time that Western Christians were running to the aid of their fellow: it was undoubtedly their duty, if it is true that still has to fight injustice and tyranny of the one to whom it is given the strength and the ability."
The Crusades weren't a source of income
The idea that the Crusades have been a source of substantial gains for those who took part in it was largely disproved; on the contrary, a crusade was generally a very expensive operation, which costed the noble, who attended with his own armed men, idling many times its annual income, both in terms of direct costs (maintenance, equipment) and for the production lost intake due to the participants' absence from the places of life and work
Who had a gain from these operations were Venetians, Genoese, and even Pisans, who were the only ones to have a sufficient number of ships to transport by sea the Crusaders troops, and were charging expensive transportation fees.
Such undertakings, very dangerous because of the disease spectrum or the death in battle, strenuous because of grueling marches, expensive due to the cost of armaments, and also not very profitable, but had a strong appeal on the society of the time.
In fact, in a believers' society, what was medieval Europe, the participation in war against the infidels was seen as a guarantee of individual salvation; there was also a highly militarized society and one of the main ambitions for a noble was to demonstrate his valor in battle
THE CRUSADES PERIODS
Obviously the modern times' society (from the fifteenth to the eighteenth century) is not absolutely comparable to the medieval one, and even less so to that contemporary. However there's still a point in common between all these eras, and it is the presence of Islam. Islam is not just a religion, it is a totalitarian way of life, that has a founding principle: the indissoluble unity of religion and politics. Islam in fact did not have a genuine theology nor the Aristotle's philosophical basis, that's own of Western civilization, then after the Middle Ages has not even developed scientific autonomy.
The danger aren't the Arabs but those intolerant fanatics of all races, as the Turks of the medieval era, that intend the Islam as a justification for their violent and murderous impulses. However, after the invasion of the Turks that have prevailed over the Arabs, the presence of Islam has always been a big problem and a tremendous danger to the West. The Turks were pushed from their inexhaustible thirst for conquest, and they always pressed against the Christian states. In the continuous wars they caused there was no European people that it was not involved. The Ottoman dynasty (in turkish Osmanli) guided the empire that created (Ottoman Empire) since 1281 up to 1923 and takes its name from its true founder, that son of Osman Ertuğrul that in 1227 inherited the leadership of the Kayi tribe of Oghuz.
The First Crusade was launched November 27, 1095 by Pope Urban II. At the urging of the Christian Churches of the East, he invited the Christians of the West to arm themselves to free the Holy Land and the city of Jerusalem under the rule of the Turks.
So it was that Knights from various parts of Europe, mostly from French lands,German and Italian lands, from the British Isles and the Scandinavian countries (no Iberian participation ), under the guidance of a group of nobles: Raymond of Toulouse, Godfrey of Bouillon, Bohemond of Taranto, Baldwin of Flanders, Robert of Normandy, Hugh of Vermandois, Stephen of Blois and Robert of Flanders, Tancred of Altavilla, set off in 1096 and in 1099 they managed to conquer Jerusalem and to take the control of the Holy Sepulchre, having won many fights and having created the first domains of Outremer in Edessa and Antioch.
It can be said that the Crusades are concluded in 1571 with the Lepanto's naval battle.
TURKISH EXPANSION: A PAST OF WARS AND CONQUEST - Dār al-ḥarb: the war zone - Lepanto 1571, the last crusade: number and origin of the Christian fleet - The Christian troops - The clash that decided our future
(Dār al-ḥarb is considered the 'war zone' as opposed to Dar al-Islām namely 'territory for peace' abode of the faithful of Islam) In a nutshell, we give the dates of the main stages;
- 1299 - Foundation of the Ottoman Empire.
- 1354 - Passage of the Dardanelles.
- 1361 - Conquest of Adrianople (Edirne modern).
- 1389 - Battle of Kosovo and the destruction of the kingdom of Serbia.
- 1393 - Conquest of the Kingdom of Bulgaria.
- 1396 - Battle of Nikopol won against Hungary.
- 1402- Battle of Ankara (The advance of the Turks is blocked by the Tartars of Tamerlane).
- 1444 - Battle of Varna won against a coalition of Serbs, Poles and Hungarians.
- 1453 - Conquest of Constantinople (now Istanbul) by the sultan Mehmet II which marked the end of the Eastern Roman Empire, that is, of the Byzantine Empire.
- 1456 - Taking of Athens.
- 1480 - Siege of Rhodes and conquest of Otranto. Although the Turkish presence in Italy was short-lived, it seemed that Rome itself would soon fall into the hands of Islam.
- 1480 - 1500 - Conquest of Syria, of Egypt, and of the Arabian Peninsula.
- 1521 - Conquest of Belgrade.
- 1522 - Conquest of Rhodes.
- 1526 - Mohacs. Defeat of the King of Hungary and Bohemia.
- 1529 - Siege of Vienna.
- 1541 - Conquest of the capital Buda and other Hungarian cities - pact of submission of the states of Montenegro, Transylvania, Dubrovnik Republic, Serbia, Bosnia, Moldavia and Wallachia.
- 1570 - Sultan Selim II conquered the island of Cyprus by defeating the Venetians.
- 1571 - The European fleet, formed by the Venetians, Spaniards, Genoese and the Knights of Rhodes, defeated the Ottoman fleet at Lepanto (Inebahti in Turkish) under the command of Andrea Doria and Don John of Austria. The Pope himself sent 12 galleys, commanded by the Prince Prospero Colonna.
Lepanto's battle, by Andries van Eertvelt
- 1683 - second siege of Vienna and the defeat of the Turks. Beginning the decline of the Ottoman Empire.
Number and origin of the christians' ships
- 104 light galleys under the command of the Republic of Venice; 54 were with crews from Venice, 30 from Crete, the Ionian Islands 7, 8 from Dalmatia, 5 from the mainland city.
- 6 heavy galleys under the command of the Venetian Republic. These galleys were equipped with 40 or more guns, capable of firing balls covered in 13 kilograms and 23 kilograms from below deck. It was true floating fortresses.
- 36 galleys under the command of the King of Spain with crews of Naples and Sicily.
- 22 galleys under the command of the King of Spain with crews of Genoa;, ships chartered by Genoa's financier Gian Andrea Doria.
- 12 galleys sent by Cosimo I de 'Medici, armed and equipped by the Knights of the Saint Stephan's Order, Pisa
- 12 galleys of the Papal States, granted by the Venetians, armed and equipped at the expense of the pope.
- 3 galleys of the Knights of Malta.
A total of 195 light galleys and galleys.
The crews were scarce and essentially consist of voluntary and forced Christians. The shortage forced to put only three men to one oar.
The troop consisted of:
- 20,000 soldiers at the expense of Spain;
- 5,000 soldiers in the pay of Venice;
- 2,000 soldiers paid by the Papal States;
- 3,000 volunteers from all over Christendom.
Altogether about 30,000 men.
The Venetian galleys were in good condition, but with a few soldiers. Don John of Austria made to embark 4,000 Italian and Spanish soldiers..
The clash that decided our future
The Christian victory of Lepanto was decisive for the entire community of Mediterranean Europe. If the official end of the Ottoman Empire can be dated to 1918, the beginning of the Islamic expansionism's regression starts right from 7 October 1571.
If the mighty Turkish fleet had managed to prevail, much of Italy (excluding Venice) it would pass under the aegis of Ottoman, and over time also the maritime traffic that connected Spain to its imperial domains would stop , bringing the Turkish power to an expansion that even the Habsburgs would'nt bee able to stop.
France and Principles Lutherans and Calvinists would not have been able to weather the storm alone, the barrier of the Danube would be easily overcome, and the entire European history of the XVI-XX century, and that of the entire world, would be changed in an unimaginable way.
In conclusion, Lepanto is the clash that decided the future of two cultures unable to live peacefully together , but also one of the few times in history where, most of the Western European community was united under a single force to defeat a common enemy and to secure an independent future.
END OF THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE
- 1829 - Greece won the independence from the Ottomans. In the nineteenth century became again independent also Serbia, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Romania and Moldova.
- 1839 - Tanzimat . The first reform in Turkey ( Tanzimat ) The period of modernization that began in 1839 and ended in 1876 , was intended to modernize the Empire. The reforms therefore encouraged the integration of non-Muslims and non-Turks in the Ottoman society, protecting their rights through the application of the European principle of equality before the law. More generally, they introduced in the Empire the European conquests in the field of technology and the humanities.
- 1908 - the 'young Turks ' forcing the government to grant a constitution.
- 1911 - Italo-Turkish War of Tripolitania and Cyrenaica - signing of peace in the 1912 with the Italy empowering the entire Libyan territory.
- 1912 - a coalition of Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia and Montenegro subtracts the Turks most of the territories in Europe, except for a small part in Thrace.
- 1913 - second Balkan War the Turks entered the war together with Greece, Serbia and Romania against Bulgaria winning and regaining control of the Bosporus and the Dardanelles
- 1915- 1918 - The Turks entered the war allied with the Germans, losing everything . Eventually the Russians took the north-east of the Black Sea and Anatolia, the British took control of the straits and the Arab countries in Southeast Anatolia, the French and Italians took the Mediterranean coast in the south, the Greeks took the Aegean region including Izmir.
- 1920 - 1922 -1923 - after a series of wars, today we would call a 'golpe' Mustafa Kemal Ataturk , General of the army, was able to proclaim the Republic in the year 1923 . Sultanate and caliphate were abolished, the last sultan was deposed, and Ataturk was elected the first president of the nation.
In my opinion of ''crusades' you can talk up to to the famous battle of Lepanto in 1571, when the Turkish fleet was destroyed by an European coalition. The first crusades were so real reactions abuses and killings of Christians who made pilgrimages to Jerusalem and then, even if they were called bi the Popes, were real acts of reaction and defense to the expansionism of Turks.
The Arabs alone would probably be intelligent and tolerant and respectful of the traditions of others, more than many people of many European regions..
Photo: General Kemal Ataturk . father of the modern Turkey
Who are sheikhs and sultans, caliphs, Emirs, the Imams, the Alim, the Rais
SHEIK-Arabic: شيخ, shaykh; plural شيوخ Shuyukh) meaning "older" and then "elder", then that person enjoys great respect, by virtue of its greater knowledge and experience of the laws, customs and traditions (adab) that govern the life of the group. The female form is Sheikha (Sheikha, shaykha, or šaikha).
RAÎS. That is, he is the most valid from a physical point of view, or more courageous (mostly young), and which - therefore - it is the conduct of the army in battle, identified by the term Ra'ís (Arabic term derived Urdu : رئیس in contemporary it's the presidential figure..
EMYR. The word (Arabic أمير Amir), indicates the "commander", the one who holds the authority to issue an order (amr) and to see it performed. The term, which in itself would have no spiritual meaning, acquires a special significance when you refer to the expression Arabic Amir al-Mu'minin, that is, "Commander of the believers" who, from the Second Caliph, 'Umar ibn al-Khattab, became the perfect synonym for "Caliph".
SULTAN. The word (in arab sultān,from the word, "strength", "authority") is the title used by several sovereign non-Arab dynasties that ruled more or less widthe territories of the Near and Middle Islamic East
CALIPH. (In arab: خليفة, khalīfa) is also the term used to indicate the "Vicar" or "successor" of Muhammad to the political and spiritual leader of the Islamic community (Umma). This is why the synonymous Imam
IMAM.The term imam (pronounced imàm), refers to a lexical root pointing to "stay ahead" and, therefore, means "guide", the moral guidance or spiritual as a simple Muslim devout particularly experienced in the movements of prayer's rituals required by canonical Salat. He stands in front of the praying, giving way to them to correct any erroneous movements which would imply the invalidity of the salat. Historically the term indicates the head of the Islamic community (Umma), which is why yhe synonymous caliph.
The Imam is regarded as a Guide predestined by God's by the Shiite Muslim community because of his blood and spiritual ties with Ali, cousin and son in law of the Prophet Muhammad, and that is accredited therefore of particular excellence among men, because he's qualified for a special ineffable assistance from Allah.
ALIM o mullah (Arabic: علماء, `Ulama, singular` alim) is the scholar of religious Muslim studies (Ulum al-diniyya). In Iranian area the term most commonly used is that of mullā o mollā which comes from the arab word "mawlā", to be translated as 'sir' or 'master': a term with which it he is addressed to by the Muslim scholars.
THERE IS AN ISLAMIC DANGER IN EUROPE ? - The real danger for us comes by ourselves.
It is well known that Islam is not just religion, but it is a totalitarian way of life, that has a founding principle: the indissoluble unity of religion and politics and the absolute duty of proselytism and the propagation of the faith.
Give up these principles for a true believer it would be impossible. If two objects in contact have a different temperature, for example, one has a source of internal heat and another has not, the colder tends to reach the temperature of the warmer. Similarly, spiritual coldness, ignorance, and lack of ideals are factors that can make a person infected by those who has ideals, whether they are also apparent and not substantial, or maybe even negative.
The danger of Islam and Islamist proselytism is even more true and real as the cowardly and the mercenary Western society is becoming devoid of civil and human values and good references
The Grand Mosque of Rome, built in the center of Christianity. Could we ever see a Cathedral in Mecca? No. There would be a revolt of all Muslims..
In the present scenario it is clear that the danger to the West is not the Islam itself, but for the most part we, the Westerners, are danger to ourselves . The decay of morals, worship the 'money god' and other idols, the practical atheism, and especially relativism and the actual stupid gooder feelings too, are things that make coward men and women, and unable to resist the enemies and the lures of who's got instead a stainless faith.
Not much of technological capability and military force is, how much of the lack of references and faith in something that is not our own belly, short of a hypocrite and a generalized lack of those civil and human virtues that make a healthy society.
Hedonism and drugs have a huge spread, and further weaken the minds and will, especially of the younger people.
Over a century of cultural influence of the Marxist idea, once aimed at weakening the West against the defunct Soviet Union, has reduced our ability to think and knocked down our defenses.
Flattening cultural and moral decay prevent us from seeing the dangers. Fearing of economic retaliations and violences we dare not or we are not even able to defend ourselves properly, or to seek and obtain reciprocity towards our and other's religions.
There are countries, including non-Muslims, where it is impossible for a Christian proselytizing, or simply to show him to be so, and others where there are no Christian churches, much less Catholic. Churches are burned and destroyed and Christians killed worldwidthe.
There are also people among us, that even mock our religion, and even denie the freedom to practice it and proselytize, maybe that gives the idiot and ingenuous to the catholic believer, but not to the Muslim.
Some even believe that Buddhists do not proselytize, and maybe that Hindus are all non violent like Mahatma Gandhi.
Relativism and cultural leveling have caused more damage than the hail in our society, making us considering that human actions and behaviors are all equally valid, under the guise of respect for freedom. But again, because of relativism, the freedom's idea in the West has fallen to such an extent that it has become arbitrary and license, and that you can freely and with impunity offend the feelings of others and sometimes even the other people.
Given all that Europe herself suffered, how Europe (now nominally United) does to reject the Christian roots among its founding principles? The danger is this: Europe combines the coin, not joining anything else..
If Europe does not recover, if it is still remaining under the weight of the lack of true ideals, could never metabolize the diversity inside and outside the nationalities and the peoples who live there and make it up. How it will end only God knows.
CORRECTIONS AND ADDITIONS GLADLY ACCEPTED