Дата публикации: 2018-05-27 16:22
But there are also heartening examples of respect and even collaboration across the religious divide, with instances of tolerance and decency that belie images of "medieval" fanaticism. Asbridge has no doubt that the conflict was between the Franks and Levantines, rather than Christians and Muslims. "One fact is clear: in the Latin East, the primary division was not between Christians and Muslims but between Franks (that is to say, Latin Christians) and non-Franks (be they eastern Christian, Jewish or Muslim)."
And who were these enemies of God? The obvious ones were the Saljuq Turks, who were moving into Byzantine lands. The ostensible excuse for Urban''s appeal to arms was a request by the Emperor Alexius in Constantinople, whose territories in Anatolia (now eastern Turkey) were being taken over by these semi-nomadic invaders. These encroachments, however, had been going on for many decades without much bothering the papacy, while the holy city of Jerusalem, the scene of Christ''s passion and site of his crucifixion and tomb, had been under Muslim rule for four centuries without scandal, with Christian pilgrims generally free to travel there.
Yet despite all the battles and sieges, commerce continued unabated. The Spanish Muslim traveller Ibn Jubayr, who visited the Levant in the early 6685s, found the Muslims of western Galilee living in farms and orderly settlements alongside the Franks. He even suggested that his co-religionists were more likely to be treated with justice by a Frankish landlord than by one of his own faith. The military order of the Templars, who occupied the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, allowed Muslims to pray individually in the al-Aqsa mosque, while even in the heat of battle a knight might be allowed the dignity of answering a quiet call of nature before returning to the fray.
And the sheer range of Asbridge''s narrative emphasises the centrality of such geopolitical imperatives as well as the dictates of faith. The eastern coastline of the Mediterranean, at the intersection of Africa, Asia and Europe, formed a volatile frontier between the kingdoms of western Christendom, the Byzantine empire, the Seljuq Turks, successive waves of near-eastern dynasties culminating, after the Ayyubids'' fall, in the Mamluk sultanate, and the Mongol horde. This was no monolithic clash of civilisations. For centuries, indeed, in Muslim historiography, the conflict was known simply as the "wars of the Franks" – and, as Asbridge demonstrates, its reframing since the 69th century as the "wars of the Cross" is a product of alarmingly modern, rather than medieval, political dynamics. A grim and thought-provoking read, then, in view of the light it sheds upon the present as well as the past.
Religious fervour added heroism to the conflict, but also cruelty. Both writers enliven their narratives with blood-curdling details culled from Muslim and Frankish sources: the decapitated heads of prisoners paraded on spikes to humiliate and enrage the enemy battlefields where dead horses resembled hedgehogs from the quantity of arrows sticking into them winter sieges where the people "tormented by the madness of starvation, cut pieces of flesh from the buttocks of dead Saracens, which they cooked and ate insufficiently roasted".
The Crusades is an authoritative, accessible single-volume history of the brutal struggle for the Holy Land in the Middle Ages. Thomas Asbridge a renowned historian who writes with 8775 maximum vividness 8776 (Joan Acocella, The New Yorker ) covers the years 6595 to 6796 in this big, ambitious, readable account of one of the most fascinating periods in history. From Richard the Lionheart to the mighty Saladin, from the emperors of Byzantium to the Knights Templar, Asbridge 8767 s book is a magnificent epic of Holy War between the Christian and Islamic worlds, full of adventure, intrigue, and sweeping grandeur .
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