the archives

dusted off in read-only

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posted 07 Aug 2007, 15:08 by Enkidu, Commoner

Sorry to pick up on something that seems to have ended on July 3, but there were some good questions in the last July 3rd post. I've been working on a local political assignment so haven't been here in awhile, and please excuse the huge amount of typos in my last post, it was written in a five minute rush before a plane ride...As for the questions on Crusade era trade...Constantinople was not a major trade route for the Roman Catholic countries, because the Byzantines and Romans were enemies, to put it briefly, and the later Crusades were actually not launched against the Holy Land, but against Constantinople. The "Reconquista" is of course the verbiage of a people who won what they felt was their land back from Muslims which had been there for a few hundred years. It is in fact, in academic historical circles, part of the Crusades, as was the war between Roman and Byzantine Christians...Back to trade routes, there was a tremendous amount of trading, and indeed Antioch was a major city in this trade, as was Acre, the port somewhat north of Jerusalem. There was also a tension with the Muslims during the early part of the conflicts because European governors in power in parts of the Holy Land were taxing Saracen caravans and shipments. The reason Jerusalem makes no sense in this context is because I feel that many viewpoints here, however valid, are looking for one reason for the Crusades' socio/political/economic structure, when in fact there are aspects of all of them present. Religous reasons, trade and economic reasons, and political reasons. Kings from England would indeed travel all of the way South, because sometimes it meant higher placement within a social structure dominated by the Holy Roman Church, sometimes it was religious belief itself, sometimes it was for reasons of being less well placed in the social structure, and being pretty much at the whim of the Pope's religious and economic sanctions. At the time, if the Church power structure made you an outcast, for whatever reason, you were pretty much screwed. Another good example of the patchworked whole cloth is the Knights Templars. Holy Men, the world's first branch bankers(you could say, deposit gold in a Temple in England, then they would give you a note...then you could travel wihout fear of theft or robbery to Italy, go to another Temple, and turn the note in for the same amount of money from that Temple), power-mongers in Outremer(as the Holy Land was called), who could influence who might be granted nobility there, and so on. Nobility is another example. A low-born person who would have no chance at power or money in Europe could go to the Holy Land, and if he played his cards right, could end up with a title and prestige he never could have achieved otherwise. A direct example of this is Guy de Lusignan, a French nobody noble, who through various alliances in Outremer, and a tryst ending in marriage to the sister of a former King of Jerusalem, took the title of King for himself. Without getting too far into it, and bringing it back to a common ground, the reasons for the Crusades, religious, economic and otherwise have a good fictional parallel in the books that these forums are about. In the history of the Crusades, you have figures like Proyas, Holy Men, you have figures like Xerius and Conphas, using the situation to their own benefit, you have figures like Maithanet in real personages such as the various Popes, etc., and you have the common people, the soldiers, the monks, various factions like the Scarlet Spires, the Knights Shrial, etc., all with their own parallel or completely different agendas. As in any world event like this, it is the best proof of how tangled and important this period of time was, and to get back to the original question, in many important ways, (not in ALL ways, let me make that clear), this is what's going on today with the War in Iraq. History is never dead in some ways, and it will always be how we got where we are now, whether it's recent, or what we sometimes mistakenly call ancient. Okay, so sorry for the late reply, but there it is. Take Care, everyone, this posting stuff is certainly a lot of fun, and there are some sharp people here. view post

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