On Nov 27, 2007 1:02 PM, rick baird wrote:
Because I think that's short term thinking. If this is an existential
and long term war (which I think it is), you never want to have to
take the same ground twice.
Funny you should mention that. Apropos of nothing, today, November 27
1095, Pope Urban II delivers _the_ influential speech of his time.
The one that starts Christians on their Crusade to retake Jerusalem.
The back story is perhaps the most intriguing part. The Pope was
seriously concerned about the widespread violence in his society. The
Church had long sponsored the Pax Dei, but it wasn't exactly a
complete success. Nobles still liked to kick the crap out of peasants
and knights still waged private war on each other. His solution was
to find a common enemy and expend the people's energies on that foe.
Lest I be too subtle, the Crusades today are seen as this existential
struggle between titanic forces. While it might have become that in
the legends, the Pope clearly was more interested in retaking
Jerusalem than in militarily suppressing Islam. The Second Crusade
was about Spain and Portugal, the Third failed within sight of
Jerusalem (this is Richard the Lionheart's Crusade), the Fourth got
sidelined and sacked the Christian city of Constantinople, the Fifth
was broken trying to take Cairo, the Sixth was a victory of diplomacy
and in fact was the first Crusade to be undertaken outside the
Church's blessing - Frederick was excommunicate at the time!
Ironically, the Sixth Crusade bolstered the decline of the Church
because it was seen that success could be had without the Pope's
What actually happened was the Crusades sapped the energy of Europe
and Christianity and provided a pretext for Popes and Kings to pursue
their own agenda. Now, as then, beware of demagoguery.
ps I love this topic.