Fundies-The crusades were not fun!

I have seen lots of fundies brandishing the word “crusade”, a la Campus Crusade for Christ, lately.

Hey, Fundies! The crusades was one of the worst moves in history. They led to slaughter and pillage, bankrupted the countries sponcering them, pissed off the public in general, and led to absolutely no good whatsoever. The crusades were just plain stupid! So why, oh why, would you want to name your movement after such a monsterous failure?

I think I shall begin to name my religious movements after failed campaigns…the Bay of Pigs Invasion for Atherism…the Invasion of Russia for Zoraster…

To sum it up, read your history, then be quiet.

Hey, they HAVE to use “Crusades”, because, after all, religion is NOTHING without alliteration.

Well said.

One of my profs in college, John Esposito, used to teach at Holy Cross College, home of the “Crusaders.” When he brought up the fact that the name and the giant mural depicting scenes from the actual Crusades might not show Christianity at its best, he was met with blank stares and “Why would anyone find that offensive?” Sigh.

Read your history, then be quiet.

I don’t think people like the Campus Crusade for Christ are referencing The Crusades, though. Crusade has, for a while moved beyond the original meaning, to just mean something like “zealous activism for a cause”. If I say someone’s on an antismoking crusade, I don’t mean he or she has sworn an oath on the cross to capture Jerusalem and ban smoking there.

I’d disagree with that. The stated intentions may have been absolutely no good whatsoever, and the results gained may not justify the means by which they were achieved, but there were beneficial results. The results may not have been intended results, either. This does NOT mean that the Crusades were in any way admirable, though.

Of course, I’m going to be called on to provide a cite for that, and I’m too lazy to fight this battle any more.

For probably the best English-language version of the Arab histories, read Amin Maalouf’s The Crusades Through Arab Eyes. Good book.

What WERE some of the unintended beneficial results of the Crusades?

Besides, of course, the 1935 movie, where Loretta Young gets to say, “You gotta save Christianity, Richard—ya just GOTTA!”

I wonder whether any white Christian students would feel threatened by “Campus Jihad for Allah” posters stuck on every corner of campus?

If I remember my high school history properly, the crusaders brought back lots of culture (spices and art and stuff) from the east. This could be considered a good side effect of the crusades, at least for the west.

They killed off a lot of second, third, and fourth sons of nobles, reducing brigandry. At least it was reduced in the places they weren’t. The places they were, whether Christian or Moslem, tended to not be improved by their presence.

This is interesting, from

A remedial enterprise? What exactly does that mean? But I’d have to go with Captain Amazing, and say that naming a group “Campus Crusade for Christ” has nothing to do with The Crusades, nor a reference to it. Its a capitalized lowercased “c” crusade, if that makes any sense.


Let’s see…increased trade, bringing back Greek manuscripts preserved by the Arabs, new crops, broadened world-view, lots of noblemen bit the dust…

increased trade [like, slaves?]

bringing back Greek manuscripts preserved by the Arabs [Arabs who were killed by the Crusaders?]

new crops [hmmm, I’ll pass on this one]

broadened world-view [gee—it’s fun to kill people of ALL nationalities and plunder their countries!]

lots of noblemen bit the dust [right, I forgot that all wealthy people are evil and deserve to die]

Eve, I don’t think that Lemur is suggesting that the Crusades were a good thing. You asked for unintended benefits. Increased trade due to slave trade end up benefitting someone financially. As aweful as that is, its still true.

Even though I thought I was too lazy, I’ll dig into this topic this evening, with cites and all. That is, unless Maeglin or someone else beats me to this.

Eve, dahlink, these weren’t the NICE rich people, like Cole and Talullah. And I am not so sure that their deaths were all that unintended. Imagine drunken frat boys ripping up Europe. Pope Innocent packs 'em off to Palestine, where they can trash some Moslems, Jews, and Eastern Riters and, with any luck, die of malaria. Problem solved.

Thank you for the introduction, LNO. Though I would love to pontificate for miles on end, I will keep my response extremely brief. I will leave plenty of room for LNO to contribute his knowledge of the Arab accounts of the Crusades, of which I am largely ignorant.

The Crusades are commonly referred to as successful failures.

They did not achieve their stated goal, expressed in the Clermont Address by Pope Urban II in 1095. They did not achieve a permanent Christian kingdom in the Holy Land, nor did they perpetually open Christian holy sites to pilgrims. In fact, the Crusader Kingdoms of Antioch, Acre, Jerusalem, etc. were all destroyed and the holy regions closed to Christians for centuries.

All of these things nonwithstanding, the Crusades were some of the most brilliant ventures in the history of the western world. They were a profound statement of political expansion and cohesion which emerged from a warlike, fractious, and ultimately uncooperative society. They were perhaps the first sign that the west was catching up to the Byzantine and Arab east in social engineering, military skill, and intellectual culture. It was the first time since the middle Roman Empire that western Europe was able to assert itself politically over extremely remote regions.

There were, of course, serious disasters. The Battle of Hattin. The Children’s Crusade. The list of botches is long. But that in no way diminishes the ultimate effects of the Crusades.

Rather than cite a laundry list of successes, I will address some of Eve’s doubts.

Absolutely not. There was no slavery in western Europe during the Middle Ages. Warriors and peasants alike brought home a vast quantity of luxury goods on each of the 8 Crusades. This stimulated both local and regional trade to a tremendous degree. When the landed aristocracy recognized that certain of these luxury goods had become indispensable, they were willing to pay exorbitant prices to have them imported. Observe the mercurial rise in wealth and power of the Italian cities, especially Venice and Genoa.

One thousand percent yes. This is the subject about which I am best informed. But I’ll keep it short.

One of the greatest periods of intellectual growth occurred in the twelfth and early thirteenth centuries when sophisticated Aristotelian logic, imported from the commentaries of Arab scholars, especially Avicenna and Averroes, was integrated into existing scholastic theology and philosophy. Logic was the rage of Europe. Major university centers experienced an explosion of intellectualism that cannot possibly be understood in our own dumbed-down, anti-intellectual era. Imagine logic games, word play, and grammar being as popular as every corp rock and boy band in America. That was 12th century Paris. At the source of this groundswell were manuscripts recovered from the east.

Keep in mind that the Crusades were not two hundred years of constant, scorched-earth warfare. There were only 8 actual military campaigns between 1095-1291, many of which were on an extremely small scale or were prosecuted by children. It is unwise to overestimate the actual level of hostility. For example, the great Saracen general Saladin and King Richard I of England were notoriously close friends.

Departments of Russian literature did not suddenly shut down during the Cold War. The same is true during the Crusades. Scholars, theologians, and manuscript hunters probably didn’t give much of a damn who was fighting whom as long as they had access to Aristotle, Plato, Cicero, etc. Hell, there is a famous document called Dialogus inter Christianos et Saracenos jointly authored by Christians and Muslims in which they beliefs of both religions are laid out and discussed from Christian and Islamic points of view. It was written during the Crusades.

As will I. :slight_smile: It doesn’t seem that many crops could have been imported given the vast differences in climate.

No, but increased contact often yields increased understanding. Western Christians also increased contact with the remains of the Byzantine empire and benefitted tremendously. I think that a global perspective is much more sophisticated than merely local thinking.

After all, the Muslims had their chance to kill Europeans and plunder their countries until Charles Martel stopped them in 732. Hell, southern Spain couldn’t get rid of the Muslims until the final conquest of Granada at the end of the 15th century.

Although I am not going to argue that the killing of nobleman was a good thing, I find your response to be really out of line. No one is trying to be a class warrior here. But the fact is, the elimination of second-son-syndrome had a stabilizing influence on European society. By the 12th century, when primogeniture had finally become a nearly universal standard, the only way a younger son could support himself in the fashion that he felt he deserved was by carving out his own fortune. Which inevitably involved a great deal of banditry, robber-baroning, and general thuggery. By giving this element room to grow in a foreign country, Europe essentially purged itself of some massive destabilizing forces. And a lot of second sons benefitted. Either they became lords of the nascent Crusader kingdoms in their own right or they brought back enough riches to live well for decades. A lot ended up dead, too.

There is plenty, plenty more. If anyone is interested, I can post something of a bibliography on the Crusades.

Your turn, LNO.


OK, so you are laying around your cold, damp, smelly castle, eating mutton, and waiting to catch the plague and die.

The king calls you up, and says “C’mon we gotta go bust some heads for the Pope.”

You grab your armor and horses, and go camping out with the guys. You drink a bunch of mead, and keep riding out of cold dank Europe, and go where it’s warm and sunny, and you finally get away from the wife and castle for the first time in years.

Once there, you cruise around in your invulnerable armor, hacking up Godless heathens, with all your friends. You ravish the sultry foreign woman, grab all the gold you can get, and ride back home fit, rich, and with a cool tan.

Not only does the Church say that this OK, they want you to do it, and if you do it means it will help you go to Heaven.

What a deal.

Maybe they told their wives that it wasn’t any fun, but let’s get real.

It doesn’t get any better than that. It’s practically a Budweiser commercial.
Now, maybe the other guys didn’t have all that much fun, but that’s their own fault for not coming up with idea first.

RE: Killing off noblemen. No, it’s not that they were rich, it’s that they were noblemen. I look at the whole fuedal system as nothing more complicated than the mafia. The street thugs shake down the shopkeepers, but they have to give their capo a cut. And the capo has to pay tribute to the head of the family. Aristocracy is simply organized crime.

Now, rich merchants and tradesmen are a different story, they got their money through honest work.

Tell me you are being sarcastic, Lemur866.

That’s exactly what I was thinking—spring break with broadswords.