The Crusades, Christianity, and Islam (Bampton Lectures in America)
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The Crusades were penitential war-pilgrimages fought in the Levant and the eastern Mediterranean, as well as in North Africa, Spain, Portugal, Poland, the Baltic region, Hungary, the Balkans, and Western Europe. Beginning in the eleventh century and ending as late as the eighteenth, these holy wars were waged against Muslims and other enemies of the Church, enlisting generations of laymen and laywomen to fight for the sake of Christendom.
Crusading features prominently in today's religio-political hostilities, yet the perceptions of these wars held by Arab nationalists, pan-Islamists, and many in the West have been deeply distorted by the language and imagery of nineteenth-century European imperialism. With this book, Jonathan Riley-Smith returns to the actual story of the Crusades, explaining why and where they were fought and how deeply their narratives and symbolism became embedded in popular Catholic thought and devotional life.
From this history, Riley-Smith traces the legacy of the Crusades into modern times, specifically within the attitudes of European imperialists and colonialists and within the beliefs of twentieth-century Muslims. Europeans fashioned an interpretation of the Crusades from the writings of Walter Scott and a French contemporary, Joseph-François Michaud. Scott portrayed Islamic societies as forward-thinking, while casting Christian crusaders as culturally backward and often morally corrupt. Michaud, in contrast, glorified crusading, and his followers used its imagery to illuminate imperial adventures.
These depictions have had a profound influence on contemporary Western opinion, as well as on Muslim attitudes toward their past and present. Whether regarded as a valid expression of Christianity's divine enterprise or condemned as a weapon of empire, crusading has been a powerful rhetorical tool for centuries. In order to understand the preoccupations of Islamist jihadis and the character of Western discourse on the Middle East, Riley-Smith argues, we must understand how images of crusading were formed in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
fathers, this glory which is also a real beneﬁt for a nation.”31 He went further and maintained that of all European countries, France had beneﬁted the most: “France would one day become the model and centre of European civilization. The holy wars contributed much to this happy development and one can perceive this from the First Crusade onwards.”32 C R U S A DI NG A N D I M P E R I A L I S M 53 The patriotic fervor his Histoire generated found expression in the Salles des Croisades in the
as Muslims were serving with the British forces—the magazine Punch published a cartoon entitled “The Last Crusade,” which had Richard Coeur de Lion gazing at Jerusalem from a distance with the caption: “At last my dream come true.”67 On arriving in Damascus in 1920, the ﬁrst French military governor of Syria, General Henri Gouraud, was heard to say, “Behold, Saladin, we have returned.”68 The French Mandate in Syria generated a wave of French historical literature, one theme of which was that the
gravely weakened. In 1092 one of the greatest ﬁgures in Selchük history, the vizier Nizam al-Mulk, the power behind the sultans for over thirty years, was murdered. A month later the Selchük sultan Malikshah died in suspicious circumstances. He was followed to the grave not only by his wife, grandson, and other powerful ﬁgures, but also by the ‘Abbasid Caliph al-Muqtadi himself. With this wipe-out the Selchük sultanate, which stretched from Asia Minor to Iran, disintegrated into principalities in
de Versailles. Versailles, 2002. Cowdrey, H. E. John. “Christianity and the Morality of Warfare During the First Century of Crusading.” In The Experience of Crusading, Volume One: Western Approaches. Ed. Marcus Bull and Norman Housley. Cambridge, 2003. Daniel, Norman. Islam, Europe, and Empire. Edinburgh, 1966. Dickson, Gary. The Children’s Crusade. Basingstoke, 2008. Diderot, Denis, and Jean Le Rond d’Alembert. Encyclopédie. 17 vols. Paris, 1751–65. Driault, Edouard, and Michel Lhéritier.
20 Henry of Marcy, cardinal b Albano, pl, 36–37 heretics, crusades against, 9, 15–16, 25–26, 30 Hilary, st, 37 Hillary, Sir William, 58 Hindus, 74 Hoa Hao, Buddhist sect, 25 Holland, 93 Holy Land, 16, 18, 21, 23, 26–27, 30, 38, 58, 60, 65, 68, 70–73, 75, 78 Holy League, 1, 3, 9 Holy Sanctuaries of Islam, 75 holy wars, Christian, 9–27, 30–33, 52 home front, 24–27, 34–35 120 Hospital of St John of Jerusalem, order of. See Knights Hospitaller Hugh I, c Vaudémont, 30 humanitarianism, 80 Humbert of