This claim probably began with Voltaire, Gibbon, and other eighteenth-century writers who used it to cast the Catholic Church in the worst possible light. Rather this is an extended essay which refutes a number of common myths or outdated theories about the crusades and the crusader states. As you may have noticed though, this blog hasn't been updated for a couple of years now. Stark demonstrates that the Muslims had imposed harsh conditions on their newly-conquered Christian subjects, including exorbitant taxes and forms of humiliation e. The author's case in my opinion was pretty compelling as he sited many sources for the arguments he made. Stark does not sugar coat the Christians sins, but he brings to the table the Muslim's as well.
It's such a joy to find a book that doesn't seek to downplay or denigrate the Christian history of the West and the Middle East. Avoid it if you can, or read it with its biases firmly in mind if you must. He is past president of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion and of the Association for the Sociology of Religion. It was a very uneven match. Stark presents a broad summary of the five major Crusades. The result is as wrong-headed as most of the attributed motives he critiques. The crusaders were not barbarians who victimized the cultivated Muslims.
Again they were met with a shower of arrows, and the two leading elephants were wounded. Muslims hired renegade Christians to build and crew their ships, and copied the designs of Christians. They did not make money, but lost considerable fortunes. Heck, didnt Jews call Poland 'paradise on earth'? Immediately upon having located their capital in the city of Córdoba, the Moors built a great mosque on the site of a former Christian cathedral. Thus the Crusaders killed many in Jerusalem in 1099 because the city had fought off the Crusaders' siege rather than entreating for peace. This book lacks the brilliant theories that made his book on early Christianity such a good read and therefore lacks his expertise. I'm sorry about all the semi-literates trying to sound intelligent in the comments.
However, when Byzantium regained control of Syria, the emperor Heraclius, burdened with enormous debts, refused to reinstate the subsidies paid to these border tribes—an action that alienated them at this strategic moment. Some Muslim rulers taxed the pilgrims and had done with it, others allowed bandits to attack pilgim groups, taking any treasure available and otherwise harassing them. Instead, most of the fighting men who went on a pilgrimage returned as fierce and ready to do battle as before. Finally, in 1095, the Byzantine Emperor wrote to the Pope, asking for military aid. That said, I found this offering somewhat disappointing. Stark himself touches upon this , it is massive in its material and time and effort must go into studying it successfully.
Barron of Word on Fire Ministries, who I know demands and gives a critical argument for rationality. It seems somewhat blind to offer a case for the crusades that happened 800 years ago without mentioning how such a case plays out today. You also happen to be the first athiest I know who does not fall for the nonsense that I have heard from those who consider themselves to be non-religious about the Middle Ages. Crusade and Mission: European Approaches Toward the Muslims. And so we project a rationality onto religious killers, and misuse social and economic frameworks to make sense of them. By Rodney Stark, 276 pages, Harper One.
It is like claiming that there was no Carolingian Renaissance because Alcuin, Peter of Pisa, Paul the Deacon, Theodulf of Orléans and Joseph Scottus were not Franks. He demonstrates how many crusaders believed going on these expeditions would make at Stark delves into another controversial chapter of Christian history. A crusade to regain Christian territory is not what the game was. Stark argues they were not an act of colonial imperialism, but instead the rational response of a beleaguered West to centuries of aggressive Islamic expansionism. The Victorians inherited these illusions of a past informed by fantasies of the present and elaborated on them. It's meant for a popular audience, and is a very informative and entertaining book, even if it is controversial. In the end, the Crusades failed because the European nations that had supported them became unwilling to fund the vast expenditure, in money and men, required to maintain Outremer.
They were not the first round of European colonialism. Dangerous Knowledge: Orientalism and Its Discontents. It is to say that efforts to portray Muslims as enlightened supporters of multiculturalism are at best ignorant. Surely if what people were after was money, after they saw that the first few tens of thousands of people had not gotten rich but instead died terrible deaths, enthusiams would have tapered off rapidly. Clark tells his story of the crusades chronologically, crusade expedition by crusade expedition with much clarity and very readable prose.
As noted, many have attributed the Muslim conquests to an immense superiority of numbers, to hordes of Arabs riding out of the desert to overwhelm far smaller Byzantine and Persian forces. Each side adhered to common fighting practices of the day. The Arab Conquest of Egypt. Also the history on which you base your five lessons can be interpreted in other ways. I guess it must come with the territory; I don't blame you for sometimes losing your cool.
Rather than being a demonstration of western imperialism, the Crusades were intended to liberate holy sites and the routes to them for the safety of pilgrims of any religion. A few years earlier, the Caliph of Egypt destroyed the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, along with many other Christian churches and sacred sites throughout the Holy Land. A pity about the book. This is why we have a prevalent view of the Romans as tolerant, urbane, rational people who were concerned with great buildings and science and why the common view of them ignores or forgets things like gladiator fights, mass crucifixions, bloody religious persecutions, the annihilation of rebels and the bizarre cluster of irrational superstitions that made up Roman religion. The Viking Road to Byzantium.