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Hakim Belousov
Hakim Belousov

The Last Crusaders: East, West, And The Battle ...

The Crusades were the bridge between medievl and modern history, between feudalism and colonialism. In many ways, the lttle explored later Crusades were the most significant of them all, for thy made the crisis truly global. The Last Crusaders is about the perio's last great conflict between East and West, and the titanic contest betwee Habsburg-led Christendom and the Ottoman Empire in the fifteenth and ixteenth centuries. From the great naval campaigns and the ferocious struggl to dominate the North African shore, the conflict spread out along trde routes, consuming nations and cultures, destroying dynasties, and spawing the first colonial empires in South America and the Indian Ocean. The Last Crsaders is narrative history at its richest and most compelling. REVIW: "This is an ambitious project and The Last Crusaders provides narrative history on the grand scale." --Daily Telegraph "Barnaby Rogerson paints a vivid canvas, sweeping n scope and full of memorable detail...The author is especially good at narrating in gripping, andoften grisly, detail the great sieges and battles that punctuated thi struggle. The book is furnished with excellent maps, a useful chronologial chart, numerous illustrations, and a very full bibliography. The wriing is engaging and vivid, never pedantic. Any history buff will find this bok a pleasure." -ForeWord Review "Rogerson's narrative colorsthe conflicts of the sixteenth century with the derring-do of kings, corsair, and crusaders; this book will keep readers up long past bedtime" -- Foreord Magazine "This thoroughly readable book provides a vibrant ad well-organized account of this tumultuous, lesser-known period of histoy. Highly recommended for both students and general readers." - Library Jornal STARRED REVIEW "The Last Crusaders is a fascinating istory of the great conflict between Christianity and Islam from the mid-140s to the mid-1500s...Rogerson proves himself a skillful storyteller as he recunts the deeds and misdeeds of both sides." -Internet Review of Books

The Last Crusaders: East, West, and the Battle ...

Godfrey of Bouillon died on 18 July 1100, likely from typhoid. The news of his death was met with mourning in Jerusalem. He was lying in state for five days, before his burial at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.[43] The Jerusalem knights offered the kingdom to Godfrey's brother Baldwin I of Jerusalem, then Count of Edessa. Godfrey's last battle, the siege of Arsuf, would be completed by Baldwin in April 1101. Meanwhile, Dagobert of Pisa, now Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, made the same offer to Bohemond, and asking that he prevent Baldwin's expected travel to Jerusalem. But the letter was intercepted and Bohemond was captured with Richard of Salerno by the Danishmends after the battle of Melitene in August 1100.[44] Baldwin I was crowned as the first king of Jerusalem on Christmas Day 1100 by Dagobert at the Church of the Nativity. Baldwin's cousin Baldwin of Bourcq, later his successor as Baldwin II, was named Count of Edessa, and Tancred became regent of Antioch during Bohemond's captivity, lasting through 1103.[45]

By this time the bulk of the army had reached Antioch, today just inside the southern Turkish border with Syria. This huge city had been a Roman settlement; to Christians it was significant as the place where saints Peter and Paul had lived and it was one of the five patriarchal seats of the Christian Church. It was also important to the Byzantines, having been a major city in their empire as recently as 1084. The site was too big to surround properly but the crusaders did their best to squeeze the place into submission. Over the winter of 1097 conditions became extremely harsh, although the arrival of a Genoese fleet in the spring of 1098 provided some useful support. The stalemate was only ended when Bohemond persuaded a local Christian to betray one of the towers and on June 3rd, 1098 the crusaders broke into the city and captured it. Their victory was not complete, however, because the citadel, towering over the site, remained in Muslim hands, a problem compounded by the news that a large Muslim relief army was approaching from Mosul. Lack of food and the loss of most of their horses (essential for the knights, of course) meant that morale was at rock bottom. Count Stephen of Blois, one of the most senior figures on the crusade, along with a few other men, had recently deserted, believing the expedition doomed. They met Emperor Alexios, who was bringing long-awaited reinforcements, and told him that the crusade was a hopeless cause. Thus, in good faith, the Greek ruler turned back. In Antioch, meanwhile, the crusaders had been inspired by the 'discovery' of a relic of the Holy Lance, the spear that had pierced Christ's side as he was on the cross. A vision told a cleric in Raymond of St Gilles' army where to dig and, sure enough, there the object was found. Some regarded this as a touch convenient and too easy a boost to the standing of the Provençal contingent, but to the masses it acted as a vital inspiration. A couple of weeks later, on June 28th, 1098, the crusaders gathered their last few hundred horses together, drew themselves into their now familiar battle lines and charged the Muslim forces. With writers reporting the aid of warrior saints in the sky, the crusaders triumphed and the citadel duly surrendered leaving them in full control of Antioch before the Muslim relief army arrived.

The Seljuk Muslims who had taken control of most of Asia Minor and northern Syria in the latter decades of the 11th century were suffering their own particular problems even before the crusaders arrived. In conflict with their bitter rivals, the Shiite Fatimids, based in Egypt, the Sunni Seljuk Muslims had wrestled Jerusalem from them. However, a serious blow to Seljuk ambitions came with the death of the powerful Seljuk Sultan Malikshah in 1092 which produced a scramble for power by various local lords with none gaining supremacy. Further, the Seljuk base was in Baghdad, a long way from the battles which would occur throughout the First Crusade, and so there was little centralised support or management of the war. Added to this, the Shiite Muslims managed to recapture control of Jerusalem from the Seljuks just a few months before the Crusaders arrived on the scene. Both groups of Muslims were most likely completely unaware of the religious nature of the Crusader's quest and that they were any different from usual Byzantine raiding parties. The noble knights from the west, though, were not interested in harassing an enemy and carrying off portable riches, they were in the Levant for permanent conquest.

The Libya branch appears to have the closest operational ties of all IS-linked groups to the leadership in the Levant. The longer it can hold on, and the more Iraq and Syria veterans and foreigners flow in, the more dangerous it will become. In early 2016, it expanded east, tightening its grip on Ben Jawwad (the last town before major oil facilities on the coast) and attacked oil and gas infrastructure around Sidra. Its expansion westward is checked by the Misrata-aligned revolutionary brigades, which are distrusted by Sirte locals but could perhaps oust IS were their leaders not reluctant to lose men or risk being outflanked in their hometowns.

The Muslim imperialist, colonialist, bloody conquest and subjugation of Palestine began with a battle, the August 20, 636, battle of Yarmk (it is believed that 75,000 soldiers took part -- hardly bloodless). With the help of the local Jews who welcomed the Muslims as liberators, the Muslims had subjugated the remainder of Palestine but had not been able to capture Jerusalem. Beginning in July 637, the Muslims began a siege of Jerusalem which lasted for five (hardly bloodless) months before Jerusalem fell in February 638. Arabs did not sack the city, and the Arab soldiers were apparently kept in tight control by their leaders. No destruction was permitted. This was indeed a triumph of civilized control, if imperialism, colonization, and bloody conquest can ever be said to be "civilized." It was at this conquest that many significant hallmarks of Muslim colonialism began. The conquered Christian and Jewish people were made to pay a tribute to the colonialist Muslims. In addition, Baghdad used the imperialist, colonialist, bloody wars of conquest throughout the life of its empire to provide the Caliphate with a steady stream of slaves, many of whom were made eunuchs.

Trying to say something new about the First Crusade is a daunting task. Professor Lapina proves her mettle here by advancing not one, but a whole series of arguments relating to the miracles of the First Crusade. Some of these overstretch their evidence, while others will certainly leave their mark on the field of crusader studies. Her analysis of the problem of eyewitnesses in chapter one is clearly one of those lasting contributions, but perhaps the way that this book most reshapes my view of the crusades comes in the closing pages of this book. Here she argues that the real significance of the First Crusade is not its short-lived military success, but instead how the crusade changed the way people looked at the world (150-151). The crusade overturned old paradigms and created a new framework for medieval thought which, unlike crusader Jerusalem, survived the battle of Hattin. That is the idea I will primarily take away from this book. 041b061a72


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