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The Middle Ages: An Explosion of Freedom, Creativity and Progress

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  • #31
    Originally posted by Snowygerry View Post

    Then you should probably look at those crusaders that remained in the "Outremer" for the next few centuries and established and maintained kingdoms there.

    They, by necessity, would have lived among Muslims and interacted with them in less violent ways, those are the times when we start to hear about "baptized pagans" for various purposes, but during the first crusade, not so much…

    And in Spain and Sicily "cultural exchanges" between Christians and Muslims had been going on for centuries.

    People had been going on individual pilgrimages to Jerusalem and the Holy lands before the crusades too ofcourse.

    In fact Robert I the Fries, count of Flanders was sort of a proto-crusader, he went with only his personal retinue and remained there for two years, again I know of no indications he made many non-Christian friendships there though…, but I'd have to check.

    Unfortunately - short of Anna Comnena's Alexiad I know of no other sources that detail that expedition.
    And one should not forget trade. Venetian merchants were established in Egypt and Syria as early as the 800s. Venetians were already running package pilgrimages to the Holy Land well before the first crusade.
    Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
    Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)


    • #32
      Originally posted by Snowygerry View Post

      You can't really classify people from a 1000 years ago by todays moral qualifications.

      Godfrey lived in a violent, intolerant time, in a world divided between Christians and "Pagans".

      Antisemitism is a very 20th century concept, but the ancients here were well aware of Jews, contrary to Muslims for example who were regarded as a pagan sect founded by an obscure "hermit".

      Towards the end of his work Nogent devotes a few paragraphs to the Jews of old and compares them to the Christians of his times.

      And of course when Jerusalem fell no distinction was made, all were killed, and no doubt a significant part of the defenders would have been Jews :

      According the norms of his time, Godfrey was a pious man, and pious men at the time killed pagans wherever they could.

      Well it so happens that Nogent actually quotes Godfrey commenting on those castles he had captured during the crusade, there's no indication he cared about their design though, on the other hand he was very well aware of their promotional value at home
      Well today I received my history book, The Epic of the Crusades by Rene Grousset. Grousset was a renown French Historian writing in the early 20th century about various topics not just the co called Crusades but also for example about the life of Genghis Khan. Grousset took an interest in the east. I wonder what Nogent had to say about Peter the Hermit, whom led the dreaded Peoples Crusade which took off from Europe well ahead of the Barons armies. Peter the Hermit is btw provided in a good light by Grousset which runs against the unproven allegations agaisnt Peter the Hermit on wikipedia for example. Peter was said to be a pious Christian, perhaps to pious as Peter was willing to take on criminals, criminals that hoped to attain salvation on the road to the Holy Land. Peter may have thought that some of the criminals that joined the peoples Crusade would change for the better, and surely many did but unfortunately not all did.

      Unfortunately some of Peters followers gave in to there old ways, robbing and looting for example in Hungary and in Byzantine areas. These actions upset The King of Hungary Coloman... and the Emperor of Byzantine Alexius Comnenus and btw some of those followers of Peter the Hermit were punished by the Hungarian King and Byzantine Emperor. That said, when the Peoples Crusade finally reached Byzantine on Aug 1 1096, Emperor Comnenus told the Catholics to wait for the Backup of the professional Christian armies led by the 4 barons such as Godfrey, even Peter the Hermit told his followers to wait to march against the Turks...but zeal and selfishness perhaps took over and without Peter the Hermit about 25,000 men, many non Knights but with a few Knights, set off and crossed the Bosphorus to battle the Turks. By Oct 21 1096 decided to do something remarkable, without a central leadership but with faith in Christ marched on to Nicaea the Turkish capital. The peoples crusade was crushed, and of the 25,000 men, only 3,000 would return alive in retreat back to the Byzantine Empire.

      And btw Grousset praised Peter the Hermit, where Peter went wrong was perhaps not having a background check on those that took up the peoples Crusade. Or perhaps Rather Peter should have tried to have tighter control over his followers. After all it was men such as Emich of Leisingen whom was anti Jewish, indeed it was reported that Emich terribly mistreated Jews. Otoh I can also comment on the character and behavior of other Christian leaders of the so called First Crusade. Btw Grousset points out that w of those 25,000 men there were some bad eggs, but not all were bad. There would have been good everyday people in the Peoples Crusade, one can imagine the Good Catholics probably tried to physically prevent the bad Catholics from mistreating others. In every war it seems there are crimes of course.

      Anyway Grousset says the following of Godfrey, and this is a total turnaround from how Grousset views Emich,

      During the Crusades he(Godfrey) was to prove a pious pilgrim, full of good grace, gentleness, charity and Christian humility.

      Godfrey was so capable that he was able to reassure the very Hungarians whom were mistreated by some of those of the Peoples Crusade. And Godfrey and his army marched right through Hungary toward the Holy Land with no issue.

      I will say page 31 of The Epic of the Crusades actually brings up the bloodshed at Jerusalem. We even get to hear the famous William of Tyre providing a bloody description of the Battle of Jerusalem. But I suppose as you said this was 1,000 years ago, and Jews and Muslims also took part in violent wars. By July 1099, Jerusalem was in Catholic hands again. Btw Godfrey was a very important military leader. Only three weeks after Taking Jerusalem , a huge Muslim army from Egypt which had entered Palestine led by the Vizier Al Afdal threatened to destroy the Catholic Kingdom of Jerusalem. At the time there were various disagreements between Godfrey and other Catholic leaders that could have brought down the Kingdom amid an invasion. But because of Godfreys honor and pious behavior, Christians that were in argument with Godfrey such as Raymond of Saint Gilles set aside there differences.... and united to save Jerusalem. Al Afdal sent in a huge forces which outnumbered the Crusaders greatly, but the Valiant Godfrey and his men surprised Al Afdal at the Battle of Ascalon resulting in a Christian victory and the security of Jerusalem for decades to come.

      Numerous accounts suggest that Godfrey actually meant with Muslims peacefully during the time of the Kingdom of Jerusalem..that speaks volumes to me. Pages 34-35 of The Epic of the Crusades talks at length about the respect that Muslims had for Godfrey. Godfrey due to his soft spoken and pious and kind nature, reminded the Muslims of none other then Muhammad himself. Arab Muslims and European Catholics in The new Kingdom had conversations with each other, they learned more and more about each other. Arabs and Franks would take up friendships with each other in The Kingdom of Jerusalem. Its for these reasons I truly Love and admire Godfrey of Bouillon, and for that matter we all have are heroes or things we look up to. Just so happens that one of the people of history I look up to is Godfrey, I often say to myself when faced with a real life situation, how would a Humble Knight like Godfrey act?

      I got much more to come btw.
      Long live the Lionheart! Please watch this video
      Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory.

      George S Patton


      • #33
        Even The most humane military in our world today which is arguably The United States ... has had individuals who have committed crimes.. for example in the Iraq war., The Vietnam war and more. In every war there is violence but in many wars there is also friendships built. Grousset reported the generosity between Franks and Arabs after the Catholics secured Jerusalem in 1099.. and there countless photos and stories of friend ships between Americans and Iraqis today. I would say the First Cruade included violence ..but it’s clear that those of the First Crusade can’t be compared to groups like Isil or The Reich.
        Long live the Lionheart! Please watch this video
        Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory.

        George S Patton


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