The Crusades and Your Neighborhood

The Reconquista Initiative

 Presents…

 The Crusades and Your Neighborhood

Many unbelievers point to the Crusades as not only a paradigm example of Christian evil, but also as a clear example of both the hypocrisy and the sinfulness of Christian believers. And while it is certainly true that the actions of individual Crusaders may have been sinful to a very high degree at certain times in the Crusading campaign, it must still be wondered: when the 463-year history of violent Islamic aggression that preceded the Crusades is investigated, were the Crusades still unnecessary in terms of a strategic-level action? In fact, were they even “evil”? Or were they rather a necessary action that any sane person would consider justified?

After all, consider these points:

– 632 A.D.:  Mohammed dies;

– 633 A.D.:  Mesopotamia falls to Muslim invasion, followed by the entire Persian Empire;

– 635 A.D.:  Damascus falls;

– 638 A.D.:  Jerusalem capitulates;

– 643 A.D.:  Alexandria falls;

– 648-649 A.D.:  Cyprus falls;

– 653 A.D.:  Rhodes falls;

– 673 A.D.:  Constantinople attacked;

– 698 A.D.:  All of North Africa is lost;

– 711 A.D.:  Spain invaded;

– 717 A.D.:  Muslims attack Constantinople again;

– 721 A.D.:  Saragossa falls; Muslims aim for southern France;

– 720 A.D.:  Narbonne falls;

– 732 A.D.:  Bordeaux was stormed and its churches burnt down;

– 732 A.D.:  Charles Martel and his men defeat the Muslim invaders;

– 732 A.D.:  Attacks on France continue;

– 734 A.D.:  Avignon captured by a Muslim force;

– 743 A.D.:  Lyons sacked;

– 759 A.D.:  Arabs forced out of Narbonne;

– 838 A.D.:  Marseilles plundered;

– 800 A.D.:  Muslim incursions into Italy begin, with islands being plundered;

– 813 A.D.:  The port of Rome is sacked;

– 826 A.D.:  Crete falls to Muslim forces;

– 827 A.D.:  Muslim forces begin to attack Sicily;

– 837 A.D.:  Naples repels a Muslim attack;

– 838 A.D.:  Marseilles taken;

– 840 A.D.:  Bari falls;

– 842 A.D.:  Messina captured and Strait of Messina controlled by Muslim forces;

– 846 A.D.:  Muslims squadrons arrived at the Tiber River’s mouth, and then sack Rome and St. Peter’s Basilica;

– 846 A.D.:  Taranto in Apulia conquered by Muslim forces;

– 849 A.D.:  Papal forces repel Muslim fleet at the mouth of the Tiber;

– 853–871 A.D.:  Italian coast from Bari down to Reggio Calabria controlled, Muslims terrorize Southern Italy;

– 859 A.D.:  Muslims take control of all Messina;

– 870 A.D.:  Malta captured by the Muslims;

– 870 A.D.:  Bari recaptured from the Muslims by Emperor Louis II;

– 872 A.D.:  Emperor Louis II defeats an invading Saracen fleet off Capua;

– 872 A.D.:  Muslim forces devastate Calabria;

– 878 A.D.:  Syracuse falls after a nine-month siege;

– 879 A.D.:  Pope John VIII forced to pay an annual tribute to the Muslims;

– 880 A.D.:  Byzantine Commanders gain victory over Saracen forces at Naples;

– 881 A.D.:  Muslims capture fortress near Anzio, plunder surrounding countryside with impunity for forty years;

– 887 A.D.:  Muslim armies take Hysela and Amasia, in Asia Minor;

– 889 A.D.:  Toulon captured;

– 902 A.D.:  Muslim fleets sacked and destroyed Demetrias in Thessaly, Central Greece;

– 904 A.D.:  Thessalonica falls to Muslim forces;

– 915 A.D.:  After three months of blockade, Christian forces victorious against Saracens holed-up in their fortresses north of Naples

– 921 A.D.:  English pilgrims to Rome crushed to death under rocks rolled down on them by Saracens in the passes of the Alps;

– 934 A.D.:  Genoa attacked by Muslim forces;

– 935 A.D.:  Genoa taken;

– 972 A.D.:  Saracens finally driven from Faxineto;

– 976 A.D.:  Caliphs of Egypt send fresh Muslim expeditions into southern Italy;

– 977 A.D.:  The Archbishop of Damascus is expelled from his See by Muslims;

– 982 A.D.:  Emperor Otho’s forces ambushed and his army defeated;

– 1003 A.D.:  Muslims from Spain sack Antibes;

– 1003-1009 A.D.:  Marauding bands of Saracens plunder Italian coast from Pisa to Rome from bases on Sardinia;

– 1005 A.D.:  Muslims from Spain sack Pisa;

– 1009 A.D.:  Caliph of Egypt orders destruction of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, the Tomb of Jesus;

– 1010 A.D.:  Saracens seize Cosenza in southern Italy;

– 1015 A.D.:  All of Sardinia falls;

– 1016 A.D.:  Muslims from Spain again sack Pisa;

– 1017 A.D.:  Fleets of Pisa and Genoa sail for Sardinia and find Saracens crucifying Christians, but drive the Saracen leader out. Saracens try to re-take Sardinia until 1050;

– 1020 A.D.:  Muslims from Spain sack Narbonne;

– 1095 A.D.:  The First Crusade is called.

So, with all these facts—as shocking as they may be— now in mind, it is thus appropriate to reflect on an analogy that all of us can understand and appreciate. Imagine living in a neighborhood or small village, as so many people have done in one way or another since time immemorial. Now imagine that in this neighborhood, there is a small group of individuals that suddenly come on the scene and begin attacking your neighbors and friends. These neighborhood hooligans’ violent forays against your friends are initially small, but soon they begin—due to a lack of physical resistance against them—to expand their attacks. These individuals raid the homes of your neighbors, steal their goods, beat their wives, kidnap their children, and kill some of the neighborhood men, all while demanding tribute from those that they have invaded and conquered within the neighborhood. They are, in essence, a gang. Furthermore, these individuals then begin do these things to your own home. And even worse, they do these things year upon year, spreading further and further across the neighborhood as they do so. They heed no call for an end to the banditry nor do they halt their violence for any real length of time. Indeed, the moment that they see an opening to attack someone, they do so; but when they cannot attack, they make treaties with the neighbors and pretend to want peace.

Now any sane man would see that such individuals are nothing more than thugs, bandits, and villains. And any man would be right to consider them as such. Thus, we must ask ourselves: if we happened to live in such a neighbourhood, would we not, as sane men, finally see that a defensive counter-attack against such a gang would be the only means to ensure the safety for our children, our wives, our homes, and our goods? And would we not actually do such a counter-attack, unless we were cowards or fools? And finally, would we, in our sanity, not only counter-attack such thugs, but drive them from our very neighborhood and our town, so that they would not be left to re-spread their evil? Would we not, as sane men, understand that to truly be rid of them, we must drive them completely out of our neighborhood, and set a never-ending watch of vigilance to save us from their future attempts at violence? Indeed we would! And thus our Christian ancestors eventually did exactly that with the initial Crusades and the Reconquista. And for those who are rather craven concerning violence, just note that Christ Himself drove those moneychangers doing evil out of His Father’s house with violence and anger.

And so, the long and short of it is this: when we, as individuals, realize that we ourselves would essentially do just what the initial Crusaders did, and for good reason, then we should understand that though the Crusaders are not wholly absolved of the certain evils that they themselves committed as individuals during the Crusades, the Crusades themselves (at least the initial ones), as a campaign, were not evil, but were rather a defensive action that any sane man with a spine would have endorsed if placed in a similar situation.

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Anno Domini 2016 12 05

Non nobis Domine, non nobis, sed nomini tuo da gloriam