Comparison/Change and Continuity Over Time Essay

                  Economical (Technologies)                               Cultural/Religious                                            Political

·       A contribution of the crusades to European history was in encouraging the development of systems of taxation assessment and collection, in order to finance crusades.

·       There were almost no trade between the Muslims and the Christians in the Crusades.

·       The Muslims preserved many documents and books that were recovered from the fall of the Greco-Roman Empires. Instead of burning and destroying everything that these cultures had, the conquering Muslims decided to preserve and learn from their conquered empires. These preservations were restored by the Europeans during the Crusades when the Europeans took many parts of its “Holy Land”. (An example of this is the recovery of the library in Toledo, which had many documents and books that were thought to be lost from the fall of the Greco-Roman Empires).

·       The Europeans had much influence and impact (most of them were beneficial to them) from the Crusades whereas the Crusades did not affect the Muslim world significantly.

·       Many state-of-the-war weaponry used by the Muslims were adopted into the European cultures and warfare styles.

·       Arabic numerals, literature, perfume, Greco-Roman based learnings, and so much more innovations and advanced technologies were adopted into Europe.

·       Aristotle’s Posterior Analytics, works of Galen including his epitomes of Plato's Timaeus and Laws, and a treatise on ethics, Books 4 to 7 from the Arithmetics of Diophantus, Pappus of Alexandria's commentary on Euclid's Elements,  several of Apollonius of Perga's works on conic sections, the Lemmas and other works of Archimedes, Neoplatonic texts by Porphyry, Simplicius, Philoponus, et al. were some of the recovered literature that were thought to be lost from the Muslim conquer of Greco-Roman empires.

·       Muslims' confusion between Aristotelian philosophy and Neoplatonism is interesting in another way, because starting from Avicenna a synthesis of the rational and the esoteric became the most lasting tendency in Islamic philosophy, producing the "Wisdom of Illumination" taught by Suhrawardi in the 12th century, and this in turn was fused with Sufism by late medieval Persian philosophers, a tradition still studied in the seminaries in Iran to this day. 

·       Architecture and engineering depend on geometry. The ancient Greek geometrical and scientific works transmitted to medieval Europe in Arabic translation must have contributed at least indirectly to advances in European architecture around the 13th century. Original Muslim contributions to the sciences were also transmitted. Muslim writings and books in philosophy, medicine, pharmacy, astronomy, geographic, mathematics, and etc… all contributed to the Islam influence and impact on Europe during the Crusades.

·       Many innovations of agriculture and crops of the Muslims (and also industrial technologies and innovations) were adopted into Europe as well.

·       Some scholars have argued that the discovery of the Americas was a direct result of the crusades. (Christopher Columbus himself wrote that he had hoped to reach Jerusalem by sailing west, rather than travelling east but the route was closed by the Muslim conquests. When the hope of reaching Jerusalem via the western route proved to be impractical, the Americas were seen as a new opportunity sent by God to compensate the Faithful for the loss of the Holy Land.

·       Military religious Order of Christ, originally set up in 1319 by King Denis of Portugal with the properties of the dissolved Order of the Temple to continue the war against the Muslims in the Iberian peninsula, played an important role in mission work in the Portuguese exploration of the Americas.

·       The main objective of the Crusades was not to convert the Muslims and non-Christian to Christianity. Rather, its main objective was to defend Christianity and take back the Holy Land.

·       Crusade and mission operated alongside each other in Prussia and the Baltic States. The crusades to the Holy Land gave Latin Christian missionaries an opportunity to come into the area and to preach. In Spain the crusade did not result in mass conversions of Muslims or Jews to Christianity until after the fall of Granada in 1492, when Ferdinand and Isabella forced conversion to the residing Muslims (or executed or exiled if not converted).

·        Within Europe away from the frontier with non-Christians the crusade was used against heretics. The Albigensian Crusade did serious damage to the nobles who supported the bizarre Cathar heresy in the Languedoc (now southern France) in the early thirteenth century. However, the crusades against the Hussites in Bohemia in the 1420s had little impact on the Hussite heresy.

·       The crusade indulgence was one of the activities of the Church which aroused Martin Luther's protests in his 95 theses in 1517. He said that the Church should not organize armed warfare but this was rather the responsibility of secular princes in the Muslim World. Thus, indirectly, the crusades helped to bring about the Reformation.

·       Philosophies and religious ideals found in the Greco-Roman cultures were adopted by Islam as the Muslims took over these empires, and the library in Constantinople. Needless to say, from all these documents and writings of the Greco-Roman cultures that were restored by the Muslims and restored back to the Europeans during the Crusades has had a very significant and lasting impact on Christianity and philosophies of Western culture.

·       Islamic decorative arts were highly valued imports to Europe throughout the Middle Ages. Many textiles and art forms that originated from the Islamic world were already in the possession of the church in Europe. In the early period textiles were especially important, used for church vestments, shrouds, hangings and clothing for the elite. Islamic pottery of everyday quality was still preferred to European wares.

·       The Christians and Europeans deemed the Muslims more highly and respectable during the Crusades. After learning about their advanced technologies and innovations, the Western World began to respect the Muslims more. The Muslims, however, regarded the Western people as the minority and barbarians.

·       Christians and Western ideals did not have much lasting effect and impact on the Islamic World. Islam still had hajjs and satis and many other religious and social factors that stayed the same throughout the Crusades. There was also not much conversion during the Crusades. Only until the alliance between Ferdinand and Isabella that there were mass conversions (mainly by force and threat) that many Muslims began to convert to Christianity.

·       The first and perhaps most important thing we should bear in mind is that when all is said and done, from a political and military perspective the Crusades were a massive failure.

·       The First Crusade was successful enough that European leaders were able to scratch out kingdoms which included such cities as Jerusalem, Acre, Bethlehem, and Antioch. After that, though, everything went downhill. (highlight to see!)

·       As to the political effects of the Crusades, they helped to break down the power of the feudal aristocracy, and to give prominence to the kings and the people.

·       Many of the nobles who set out on the expeditions never returned, and their estates, through failure of heirs, escheated to the Crown; while many more wasted their fortunes in meeting the expenses of their undertaking.

·       Aside from the reconquest of the Iberian Peninsula and the recapture of some islands in the Mediterranean, there are only two things we can point to which might qualify as military or political successes of the Crusades.

·        First, the capture of Constantinople by Muslims was probably delayed. Without the intervention of Western Europe, it's likely that Constantinople would have fallen much sooner than 1453. Pushing back Islam may have helped preserve a Christian Europe. This allowed the Christian society located in Germany to strengthen itself as much as it could and was able to defend itself from Mohammedan attacks on Europe in the fifteenth century.

·       Second, although the Crusades were pushed back into the Europe, Islam was weakened in the process. Islam an easier target for the Mongols from the East. The Mongols eventually converted to Islam, but before that happened they shattered the Muslim world and this helped protect Europe in the long run.

·       Once the Crusades had ended, it had led to the fall of the Byzantine empire. The Turks had defeated the Byzantines during the battle for Anatolia. This area was a cultural hub for the Byzantine Empire and after they lost it, it was only a matter of time before the empire would fall. The Crusaders blamed the Byzantines for the loss of troops in Anatolia and the Byzantine emperor gave up asking for reinforcements. He would rather surrender to the Turks than beg for help from the Crusaders. Once the Turks sacked Constantinople, the once powerful Byzantine Empire came to close.


Changes: The most significant change is Islam’s economic impact on Europe. At first, Europe depended on the Muslim traders to bring them the newest technology from as far as China.  Thanks to inventions brought by the Muslim traders, Europeans were able to establish their own trade relations with Asia, no longer relying on the Muslims.  Politically, Islam begins the millennium in a prominent position in Muslim Spain. However, it eventually falls to Christianity. There is further political conflict with Christianity during the Crusades. Lastly, Islam reestablishes dominance in the Ottoman Empire, but the Ottomans also begin to decline after Suleiman’s reign.

Continuities: Islam was constantly imparting culture on Europe.  This is because they always had some type of contact, whether it be good or bad. They shared their own culture, and also brought Asian culture. More importantly, they reintroduced the works of Aristotle, Plato, and Socrates to name a few, who had long been forgotten in Europe.  Europeans saw the advances the Muslims had made in the arts and sciences, Now, they were inspired to bring Europe out of the darkness.

THESIS: Between 1000 and 1750, the Muslims were continuously sharing not only their own ways, but also introducing Asian innovations and reintroducing the works of the classical civilizations to Europe. However, culturally, economically, and politically, the degree of influence the Muslims held fluctuated due to conflicts with the Christians, new technological advances, and the decline of Ottoman dominance.




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