Eastern Thought Part 3
Historical Walkthrough Middle Ages
Dante’s Divine Comedy
The Divine Comedy isan epic poem written by Dante Alighieri somewherebetween 1308 and his death in 1321. Dante would have endured the historical aftermath of a vanishing eastern half of the Roman Empire that survived the barbarian invasions of the fifth century. Italy was a direct heir of the Roman Empire because it carried the remaining relics of that empire for some 1000 years while the western half of the Roman Civilization was gradually disappearing. The remnants were scraps left over by a predominantly Greek empire and culture1. Its subjects spoke Greek, worshipped in the Greek Orthodox Churches, and wore beards, an ancient Merovingian tradition of an Ancient Mesopotamian civilization (2800-1900 BC).
The turning point from Roman (44BC-476 AD) to ByzantineCivilization (330-1204 AD) was centred first in Constantinople and then in (1261-1453 AD) Nicaea in Turkey. It came during the reign of Justinian I who was born in 483 and was emperor from 527 to 565. This “last of the Byzantine-Roman emperors”2 tried to reclaim the Western Empire, but virtually wrecked the Eastern Empire while paying tribute to keep the Persians quiet in the east. Meanwhile he persecuted Nestorian Christological theologians of the Assyrian Church in Syria, Palestine and Egypt. He also alienated the population against the central government.
A devastating plague decimated the population by the time Justinian died3. Two centuries of fighting between themselves, Byzantines, Franks and Arabs brought about the end of the Roman Empire in the West4. A serious threat to the Byzantines came from the east. Persians overran Syria, Palestine, and Egypt while the nomadic Avars in the north were tearing through Greece and the Balkan Peninsula. Constantinople was virtually all that remained. The stout walls of Constantinople held against enemy assaults, and the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius (from 610-641 AD), emerged to save the empire which seemed on the point of dissolution. He struck deep into Persia, crushed them and the Byzantine Empire was saved. Even if both empires (Roman and Byzantine) were by then thoroughly exhausted, Heraclius was responsible for introducing Greek as the Eastern Empire’s official language5.
Unfortunately, a much more serious threat suddenly appeared. The Arabs, united and inspired by their new religion, Islam, swept in like a desert storm. The Persian Empire was subjugated in its entirety. The Byzantines watched Syria, Palestine, Egypt, and North Africa fall to the Arabs. Arabs pressed on toward the coveted prize of Constantinople itself. Once again, the city’s fortifications held out, and after a four-year siege, the invaders were driven back. The use of a new secret weapon, ‘Greek Fire’, sent the Arab ships into wild uncontrollable flames6.
Fighting would continue with the Arabs, but mainly in the form of sporadic border raids. To the north, a powerful Bulgars kingdom of semi-nomadic became as serious a threat to Arabs for the next 350 years7. Byzantines by now were stripped of all their lands except for Asia Minor, and parts around Constantinople, Sicily, and parts of Italy. They were no longer a Roman Empire in anything but name and a few Italian holdings. Historically they were truly a Byzantine Empire. Unfortunately, just as Arab pressures were starting to ease, a cloud of religious controversy descended on the empire. The new issue, Iconoclasm8, concerned the icons (religious images) the Church used to depict Christ and the saints.
Iconoclastic use of images for veneration was declared idolatry. A Syrian PopeLeo III (750-816 AD)9alsoknown as Charlemagne’s Pope established a precedent that only a pope can confer the imperial crown. This would become the foundation of strife between Church and Crown for centuries to come and also experienced by Dante in the Middle Ages. Pope Leo III and several of his successors moved to abolish this form of idolatry by seizing the icons and destroying them. After over a century of turmoil (726-843), the images were restored and the empire pursued a more stable course undisturbed by major religious controversies.
The disturbances of the seventh and eighth centuries left a different empire from the one that Justinian had ruled. It was much smaller, which deprived the Byzantine government of valuable revenues. The recent turmoil of iconoclasms made the Byzantine Empire a more ethnically, culturally, and religiously united realm from 750 to 1205 AD. These were centuries of largely Aramaic speaking “heretic” citizens from Syria, Palestine, and Egypt who were under Muslim control. A parallel citizenry of a predominantly Greek speaking populace united by the same religious views (Judeo-Christian-Islamic) formed a cohesive group of Abrahamic Religions10 who lived side by side.
Byzantine army carried the ancient Roman tradition of excellence. These were Imperial centuries from 750 to 1025 AD. The army’s core consisted of regiments of cavalry known as cataphracts11who were heavily armed with bows and relied on shock tactics of western knights to drive back the enemy. Recruitment was done according to village. Each village was responsible for supplying a quota of peasants who were already armed and ready for service. This system was superior to that of Western Europe where the more troublesome feudal and ruthless nobles were responsible for and were in control of defence. Cataphracts were expensive to support and often resorted to plundering.
The Byzantines were skilful in diplomacy, especially against the less sophisticated cultures to the west and north. The first principle of Byzantine diplomacy was to turn two neighbours against each other and then let them fight for Byzantine interests. They, more often than not, did not realize they were doing just that while the central government kept for themselves monopolies on such goods as silk, grain, and weapons. By keeping a tight control on all the craft guilds, and strictly regulating the quality of workmanship, wages, prices, and competition, the central government had developed the birth of capitalism.
As a result of this vital protection of workers, Byzantine industries flourished and its goods were among the most highly prized and sought after in the Mediterranean. This century and a half from 867 to 1025 saw a succession of generally excellent emperors who maintained the stability of the empire internally while expanding its borders. This was the Macedonian Era12during which military and naval power. Under the Macedonians and death of the soldier Emperor Basil II in 1025, the empire enjoyed a golden age. Its armies regained the initiative against the Arabs in the East, and its missionaries evangelized the Slavs, extending Byzantine influence in Russia and the Balkans. Despite the rough military character of many subsequent emperors, Renaissance in Byzantine in letters, developments in law and administration were important advances. There were signs of decay: resources were squandered at an alarming rate. There was growing estrangement from the West. A social revolution in Anatolia (Eastern Turkish and Greece) would undermine the economic and military strength of the Byzantine Empire.
The Byzantine Empire was in theory an elective monarchy with no law of succession. But the desire to found and perpetuate a dynasty was strong, and it was often encouraged by popular sentiment. This was especially true in the Macedonian dynasty. Its founder, Basil I murdered his way to the throne in 867. He was of Armenian descent, but settled in Macedonia. Basil’s family produced a line of emperors that lasted through six generations for 189 years. He nominated three of his sons as co-emperors. Though he was his least favourite, the scholarly Leo VI, succeeded him in 886. The three soldier-emperors who usurped the throne during the Macedonian era were conscious, in varying degrees, that they were protecting the rights of a legitimate heir during a minority: Romanus I Lecapenus for Constantine VII, the son of Leo VI; and Nicephorus Phocas and John Tzimisces for Basil II, the grandson of Constantine VII.
The Battle of Lalakaon was fought in 863 between the Byzantine Empire and an invading Arab army from northern Turkey. The Byzantine army was led by Petronas the Patrician, the uncle of Emperor Michael III (842-867), although Arab sources also mention the presence of Emperor Michael himself, while the Arabs were led by the Emir of Malatya, Umar al-Aqta (830s-863). Umar al-Aqta was able to overcome the initial Byzantine resistance. The Byzantines then mobilized all their forces, and the Arab army was encircled near the River Lalakaon and ended in a Byzantine victory and the death of the Emir. The Byzantine victories eliminated the main threats to the Byzantine borderlands. After the 863 major Arab invasions was annihilated, it set the stage for the steady advance of Byzantine armies against the Muslims. The Byzantines had their eyes set on retaking the Holy Land and Jerusalem. The Byzantines were definitely the super power of the Near East, but after Emperor Basil II’s(958-1025) death everything started going wrong.
The era of Byzantine ascendancy in the East, culminated in the great conquests of the 10th century. It also allowed them a deliverance from constant Arab pressure on the eastern frontier. The Byzantine government was able to concentrate on affairs in Europe, and neighbouring Bulgaria. They were pressured into accepting the Byzantine form of Christianity.
Byzantine civilization created little that was new or unique. It was largely absorbed in religious matters or copying the literary forms of ancient Greece. Byzantine missionaries spread Greek Orthodox Christianity13 and Byzantine civilization northward into Eastern Europe, and especially into Russia. They passed on Greek civilization to Western Europe by way of Muslim Spain. This helped lay the foundations of the present-day scientific tradition.
In another corner of the world, the Arab Empire14 was taking shape.The period from 750 to1000 AD was the cultural Golden Age for Islam. Desert tribesmen from Arabia incorporated their older cultures by infusing new life into them. Orderliness and resulting prosperity from Arab rule came from India, and from China and lands along the Indian Ocean. Arabs flourished as middlemen in trades that involved silks, furs and porcelains from China, gems and spices from India, and almost 28 million slaves captured from Africa and Europe. The Italian city-states would adopt their practices and become premier centres of business in Europe in later centuries.
Arabs assimilated Indian, Persian, and Greek cultures and fused them into their Muslim civilization: From India, the Arabs picked up the evolution of mathematics and to place a value on digit and zero. From the Persians, the Arabs inherited art and literature. Poetry also flourished, because Arabs already had a strong poetic tradition before the conquests. Greeks contributed substantially to Muslim culture in the fields of philosophy, math, science, and architecture. Mohammed had said ‘nothing wastes the money of the faithful more than buildings’. The Muslims however disobeyed this tenet of the Prophet and were great builders who owed much of their architectural skill and style to the Greeks. Arab rule and civilization provided economic stability and the spread of their unique architectural knowledge.
Rise of Medieval Papacy (900-1300)
Problems of the medieval Catholic Church began with the pontificate which was to become an era of strife for political supremacy in Italy by a dishonest Pope Formosus (816-89615). The pontificate of this pope belonged to that era of strife that sought political supremacy in Italy. He succeeded in the disruption of the Merovingian Empire. He began by nominating Nicholas I as Cardinal-Bishop of Porto in 864. Formosus invited (Charlemagne)Charles the Bald, King of France to receive the imperial crown from the hands of the pope in Rome. Charles obeyed and was crowned a Carolingian Emperor in 875. Before returning home, Charles appointed Dukes Lambert and Guido of Spoleto to assist the pope against the Saracens (Arabs). In 871, many Merovingian nobles were deprived of their dignities for conspiring against Louis II, the King of Italy; but they were restored by Charles.
In the pope’s entourage there were many who viewed with disapproval the coronation of Charles, and favoured the widowed Empress Engelberga and Louis the German. The condemnation of Formosus and the others was therefore announced by the German Emperor.
Meanwhile in Constantinople, the patriarch Photios was ejected and Stephen, the son of Emperor Basilius, elevated to the patriarchate. Formosus corroborated with the decisions of his predecessors, Nicholas I and Hadrian II because Formosus viewed the political troubles that disturbed the Frankish kingdom was due to the ancient Merovingian dynasty. In the contest and influenced by the Archbishop of Reims, he sided with Charles a Carolingian and called on Arnold (German king) to support him. The political position in Italy affected the pope as head of the ecclesiastical estates. Formosus sought his independence as head of the Church. Pope Formosus was later convicted of illegally seizing the papal throne. This was a period when the rest of the Church staffs whether, bishop, archbishop, abbot down to the lowliest monks and parish priests, were all bursting with corruption also. The Church had immense wealth. Almost 20-30% of the land in Western Europe was owned by the Church. Safeguarding and maintenance of such vast lands became a problem.
The Church had little money to run their estates. Meanwhile the kings felt empowered by the authority over papacy and church. They began using the Church for political ambitions. Aristocracy throughout Europe gradually owned both land and control over the lowly. Each side, church and nobles, had self-interest as their priority. Nobles, who were warriors by trade, had no interest in the well-being of the papacy. They therefore ignored the religious interests of the Church. Even in such troubled times (910-1073) of the Church’s ongoing cycle of corruption, there were always men of deep religious convictions.
There were those who were determined to set the Church back on its spiritual path. Reform started in monasteries, and in one case, it began in 910 AD in a monastic house of Cluny, in France. The Benedictine monks of Cluny placed themselves directly under the pope’s power but far from the reach of local peers of the realm. That meant the monks had independence from all outside authority. They were Benedictines Cluniac monks. Their agenda of reforms was widely adopted over the next 150 years. Cluniacal restructuring and reformation spread to hundreds of monasteries across Western Europe.
Corrupt Popes and Emperors saw Church Reform as a way to weaken the power of the German, French and Italian nobles who were trying to control church lands and papal elections. In the midst of church and political self-interest, blameless devout bishops and abbots looked to the German emperors for protections from ambitious nobles. In response, the emperor Henry III (1017-1056)16, even appointed four reform popes. At a council of prelates in 1046, he caused rival popes, Benedict IX., Sylvester II and Gregory VI, to be deposed, and raised to the papal see, as Clement II. One of them, Leo IX (pope from 1049-1054) carried out numerous reforms against simony (selling church offices), clerical marriage, violence, and overall moral laxity among the clergy.
Henry III felt strongly enough to tangle with the patriarch in Constantinople, and causing a schism within the Church in 1054. That was never healed. Since that time, the Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox Churches have functioned as two separate Churches. By the mid eleventh century, the popes were taken seriously as the real moral force in Western Europe, which in truth they were not. However, a storm was about to break that would destroy relations between Church and Byzantine Empire.
The Investiture Struggle (1073-1122) 17
Both Northern and Southern Italy were enemies of German emperors. A tense situation between the popes and Henry IV simmered until he came of age. Adding to the tension was the creation of the College of Cardinals whose job it was to meet in private to elect a new pope. It kept the German emperors out of participation, although the emperor still could veto any choice made by the College of Cardinals.
Another setback was from Pope Gregory VII, an ardent reformer who agitated to replace imperial with papal control at Church elections. Growing tension between pope and emperor finally erupted in the ‘The Investiture Struggle’ over who controlled Church elections and bestowed bishops and abbots with symbols of their power. The stakes in this fight were high on both sides. Henry IV needed control of the bishops and abbots to maintain effective control of his empire. Pope Gregory felt the Church had to fulfil its spiritual mission. There was also the larger question. Who was the real head of the Christian world; was it the Universal Empire or the Universal Church?
Henry IV 18 was Holy Roman emperor and king of Germany from 1056 to 1106. An able, ruthless, and secretive monarch, he led the empire into a disastrous confrontation with Pope Gregory VII in the Investiture Controversy. He was the only son of Emperor Henry III. His father died when he was only 6 years old. He was taken from his mother and raised by quarrelling, scheming bishops. In 1066 he came of age and began governing on his own. Henry attempted to reassert his father’s old imperial rights throughout the empire and to build a new, strong imperial domain in northern Germany (Saxony).
This led to uprisings in 1073. Saxons and southern German nobles fought against him. By 1075 he had suppressed these revolts, but began a quarrel with Pope Gregory VII19 over his imperial right to appoint churchmen with their offices. Gregory and Church reformers claimed neither could exercise this right-despite long precedent started by Pope Formosus in 800 AD when he weakened the Merovingian Dynasty of Kings, and installed a Carolingian noble Charlemagne (Charles the Great) as Holy Roman Emperor of the Church and King of the Franks. In 800, he was crowned emperor by Pope Leo III, thus founding the Holy Roman Empire20.
Henry IV appointed the archbishop of Milan as pope in 1076. Meanwhile Henry, summoned a council of German bishops to declare Pope Gregory deposed. Gregory answered by declaring Emperor Henry IV excommunicated and suspended from office. The Investiture Struggle was a bitterly fought conflict on both sides. Pope and King stirred each other’s subordinates into revolt. The reform bishops appointed by the emperor, generally supported emperor against the pope. The pope stirred the German nobles into rebellion against Henry IV. When Henry IV and his bishops declared Pope Gregory a false pope, Gregory excommunicated Henry IV.Excommunication by church released a ruler’s vassals from loyalty to him until he did penance. As a result, Henry did such penance by standing barefoot in the snow outside the pope’s palace at Canossa.
Pope Gregory was later ignominiously driven through the streets of Rome on an ass and died in exile in the Norman kingdom of Sicily. Henry’s reign ended with Germany torn by civil war and revolts. Compromise was reached and only clergy elected new bishops and abbots, but in the presence of an imperial representative who invested the new bishop or abbot with the symbols of his worldly power.
After Pope Gregory’s death, Henry IV continued to resist the popes who were chosen as his successors. He set up antipopes21 of his own against them. In this he was relatively unsuccessful, since his papal opponents were men like Pope Urban II (1042-1099)22, capable of rallying all Europe behind him in the First Crusade and in similar enterprises. Henry IV had much opposition to his rule in both Germany and Italy, especially from his eldest son, Conrad and from the Duke of Bavaria and Countess Matilda of Tuscany.
In 1098 the revolts collapsed when Conrad died. Emperor Henry IV had to pay a heavy price to pay the German rebels to secure peace. Finally in 1105, his second son Henry V joined his father’s enemies. Henry V imprisoned his father Henry IV, and forced him to abdicate. Henry IV escaped in 1106, and defeated his son (Henry V) and then died, leaving a weakened imperial power in Germany. The struggle with papacy over investitures was still unresolved. Although the struggle between popes and emperors continued for centuries, the popes had won a major victory, signifying the Church’s rising power and a corresponding period of decline for Germany.
Papal Monarchy at its Height (1122-1300)
Papal victory in the Investiture Struggle and the higher status it brought to the popes led many people turning to the Church to solve their problems, in particular legal matters. Canon (church) law and courts were generally seen as being more fair, lenient and efficient than their secular counterparts. Moreover the Church’s prestige grew; the more its bureaucracy grew, it left them less free for spiritual affairs. Papal oligarchy was prominent even before the Middle Ages.
Formosus was first a Cardinal Bishop of Portus. He undertook diplomatic missions to Bulgaria (866) and France (869 and 872). As early as 872 he was a candidate for the papacy, but due to political and religious complications he left Rome and the court of Pope John VIII that year. John convened a synod, and Formosus was ordered to return or be excommunicated on charges that he had gone against the Holy See. The condemnation of Formosus was announced in 872. In 878 the sentence of excommunication was withdrawn after he promised never to return to Rome or exercise his priestly functions. In 883, John’s successor Pope Marinus I restored Formosus to his diocese of Portus. Following the reigns of Pope Marinus, Pope Hadrian III (884-885) and Pope Stephen V (885-891), Formosus was elected Pope in 891.
Supporters of Duke Guy II of Spoleto, forced Formosus to crown him Roman Emperor in 892. Meanwhile in Constantinople, the Ecumenical Patriarch Photios was ejected and Stephen, the son of Emperor Basil I, had taken the office. In the contest between Odo, Count of Paris, and Charles the Simple for the French crown, the Pope sided with Charles.
Formosus persuaded the Carolingian King Arnulf of Carinthia to advance to Rome, and take control of Italy. In 894, Arnulf’s army occupied all the country north of the Po River. Guy III of Spoleto died leaving his son Lambert in the care of his mother Agiltrude, an opponent of the Carolingians. Arnulf undertook his second Italian campaign in 896 and was crowned by Pope Formosus in Rome. The new emperor moved against Spoleto but was struck with paralysis on the way and was unable to continue the campaign. In 896, Formosus died. He was succeeded by Pope Boniface VI.
Boniface VI was a native of Rome and was elected Pope as a result of riots after the death of Pope Formosus. He was elected 112th pope in 896 after a popular uprising. To call Pope Boniface VI “unsavoury” would be an understatement. He was defrocked twice by Pope John VIII (himself rather unsavoury) for immorality. He died after 15 days – perhaps murdered by Pope Stephen VI.
Pope Stephen VI (also sometimes known as Stephen VII) was elected unanimously but Emperor Charles had not been consulted. Pope Stephen therefore faced the real possibility of being deposed. He despised his predecessor, Pope Formosus, so much that even his death could not satisfy him. He wanted defamation. In the Cadaver Synod, what history has called “the strangest and most terrible trial in human history” and “one of the grisliest events in papal history”, Stephen VI had Formosus’ decomposing nine-month-old corpse dug up. He redressed the corpse in his papal vestments, and seated the cadaver on the throne so he could be tried. Formosus was found guilty of perjury and acceding to papacy illegally. As punishment, three of Formosus’ three fingers of his right hand used to give blessings were cut off. The corpse was then stripped of his sacred vestments, dressed as a layman, dragged through the streets and dumped in the Tiber River.
Charlemagne or Charles the Great (742 – 814) was an outstanding figure of his age, and one of the greatest characters in all history. He was a king of the Franks and the first of the Holy Roman emperors. Charles Martel was his grandfather and Pippin the Short his father. His brother Carloman succeeded to the throne, and on the death of Carloman the Franks made Charles23 sole king. After Charlemagne’s death the empire was harassed by outside and by internal dissension, until finally, by the Treaty of Verdun in 843, it was divided among his three grandsons, Charles, Lothair, and Louis.
Fortunately for Pope Stephen VI (who died in 897 AD, the Charlemagne’s Empire 700-888) of Franks under Carollingian Dynasty was falling apart and Charles was in no position to do anything for Pope Stephen. Once Charles died, Stephen tried to rely on the support of various and weak princes to protect Rome. They proved too unreliable. Stephen therefore turned to Constantinople, especially once the Saracen raids increased. In internal church matters, Stephen made the fatal mistake of forbidding the Slavs to use a Slavonic liturgy during their services. This infuriated them and were driven towards the Eastern Church and Eastern Orthodox Christianity rather than Western Roman Catholicism.
There were other Popes who continued in papal-political oligarchy. Pope Benedict IX (1012-1056) for example, the son of Alberico III, Count of Tusculum, was a nephew of Pope Benedict VIII and Pope John XIX. His father obtained the Papal chair for him in 1032 when he was around 18 years old. He reportedly led an extremely dissolute life and had few qualifications for the papacy other than connections with a socially powerful family. St. Peter Damian described him as “feasting on immorality”. A papal historian Ferdinand Gregorovius wrote Benedict was “a demon from hell in the disguise of a priest… occupied the chair of Peter and profaned the sacred mysteries of religion by his insolent courses. He was quoted as the first pope to be homosexual who held orgies in the Lateran palace. He was accused by Bishop of Piacenza of “many vile adulteries and murders”. Pope Victor III, in his third book of Dialogues, referred to “his rapes, murders and other unspeakable acts. His life as a pope was so vile, so foul, and execrable, that I shudder to think of it.” He was briefly forced out of Rome in 1036, but returned with the help of Emperor Conrad II. In 1044 the opposition forced him out of the city again and the Holy Emperor elected Pope Sylvester III. Benedict IX’s forces returned in 1045 and expelled his rival. Later in 1045, in order to rid the Church of the scandalous Benedict, his godfather, the pious priest John Gratian, persuaded Benedict to resign the papacy for a sum of money, thus allowing Gratian to become Pope Gregory VI. Some also say that Benedict was made to leave because he wanted to marry. Benedict IX resigned in 1045 and became the first man in history to sell the papacy. The buyer was his godfather the priest John Gratian (Pope Gregory VI). Benedict IX later refused to face charges of simony and was excommunicated.
Benedict IX soon regretted his resignation and returned to Rome. He took over the city and remained on the throne until July 1046, all the while with Gregory VI recognized as the true pope. At the same time, Sylvester III also reasserted his claim. German King Henry III intervened in December 1046. Benedict IX and Sylvester III were declared deposed while Gregory VI was encouraged to resign because the arrangement with Benedict was considered simoniacal. The German Bishop Suidger was crowned as Gregory’s successor, as Pope Clement II.
Benedict IX did not accept this deposition. When Clement II died in 1047, Benedict seized the Lateran Palace but was driven away by German troops in July 1048. To fill the power vacuum, Henry III elected Bishop Poppo of Brixen as Pope Damasus II and universally recognized him as such. Benedict IX refused to appear on charges of simony in 1049 and was excommunicated. Pope Leo IX may have lifted the ban on him because he was buried in the Abbey of Grottaferrata in 1056. According to the abbot, he was penitent and turned away from his sins as pontiff.
By and large many kings and popes were leaders of church and politics. Many intoxicated by power and materialism created discord in Church and Country. Gregorio Papareschi was cardinal deacon by 1116, and in 1122 helped to negotiate the Concordat of Worms24. He was legate in France with his later rival Cardinal Pietro Pierleone (Anacletus II). When Pope Honorius II died in Gregorio’s monastery in 1130, the powerful chancellor with a minority of cardinals, from north Italy and France, hastily buried the dead pope in a temporary grave and then clandestinely elected Gregorio as Innocent II. When the news got abroad, the majority of cardinals, most of them from Rome and south Italy, refused to accept the coup.
In the morning they elected Cardinal Pietro Pierleone as Anacletus II. Both elections were irregular, but both popes were consecrated. The result was an eight-year schism, with both claimants competing for recognition. Anacletus had an initial advantage through his mastery of Rome and his alliance with the Norman Roger II (1095 – 1154) to whom he granted the crown of Sicily.
InnocentII had to flee to France, but was acknowledged everywhere except in Scotland. He owed this to his close ties with kings and Emperors. By 1132 he felt secure enough to reject Anacletus’ proposals and sought arbitration. It was the death of Anacletus in 1138 that ended the schism. His adherents elected Antipope Victor IV as successor but he resigned and his electors made their submission for Pope Innocent. Finally this move settled all problems arising out of the schism. Annulling all decisions, acts, and ordinations of Anacletus and his adherents they permanently secured papal peace.
Contrary to a widely held view, Innocent II was no mediocre personality. He was neither inferior in culture nor in leadership to Anacletus. In sureness of position he was markedly Anacletus’ superior. His reign and his victory at removing the schism were significant. It helped in continuing the new course charted by Pope Callistus II. Innocent II steered the church once and for all away from judicial conflicts. He appointed secular authorities to concern themselves with non-churchian matters. The deeper, wider-ranging reforms which Pope Gregory VII (pope from 1073 to 1085) had called for in 1059 were finally included. Pope Gregory VII’s great reforms were in danger of being overlooked. With the appointment of Pope Innocent II (1089-1143) in 1122 by Pope CallistusII25 (pope from 1119-1124) Gregory’s Reforms became a reality. He even claimed the clergy were the only true full members of the Church.
Pope Nicholas III was Pope from 1277 to1280: For the three years of Nicholas III’s reign he distributed principalities in the Papal States among members of his Orsini family, essentially giving them land and political power. This nepotism earned him a spot in Dante’s eighth circle of Hell. Nicholas III was born Giovanni G?tano Orsini. Innocent IV had appointed him a cardinal, and Urban IV made him cardinal protector of the Franciscans. As pope, he settled a dispute about poverty among the Franciscans. In addition to enlarging the Papal States, Nicholas reformed the chancery.
He was the first pope to live in the Vatican palace. Nicholas III’s papacy was largely involved with political machinations – arranged marriages, arranged negotiations between different European rulers, and arranged political offices. He decreed that no outside prince could be permitted to become a senator in Rome without papal approval and, at the same time, had himself named senator for life. He also engaged in a major renovation of St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Palace, which he made his official residence. Like many pope of the time, Nicholas III engaged in repeated nepotism – something which caused Dante to depict him in hell in his work The Divine Comedy. He died in 1280.
Pope Martin IV was born Simon de Brion, became pope from 1281 to 1285, owed his election to Charles of Anjou and, partially as a result of that, Martin was unabashedly pro-French in his policies and in his appointments. Because of his political connections the people of Rome refused to receive him. He was consecrated in Orvieto; a city in Italy spent most of his time as pope in that city. When Sicily successfully revolted against French rule the rebels wrote to Martin asking for his support. Martin not only refused, he offered Charles assistance to recover control over the island. Under the influence of Charles he also excommunicated the Byzantine emperor Michael VIII Palaeologus in 1281, nullifying a union between the Eastern and Western churches which had been in place in the Second Council of Lyons since 1274. This was unfortunate because Michael had gone to great efforts to preserve the union and compromise with Rome’s demands.
Giacomo Savelli born in 1210 belonged to the rich and influential Savelli family of and was a grandnephew of Honorius III. In 1261 he was created Cardinal-Deacon of Santa Maria in Cosmedin by Martin IV, who also appointed him papal prefect in Tuscany and captain of the papal army. He with other cardinals invested Charles of Anjou as King of Sicily at Rome in 1265. Nothing further is known of the cardinal’s doings until, nine years later, he was elected pope. When Martin IV died in 1285, at Perugia, Giacomo Savelli was unanimously elected and took the name of Honorius IV. He was already advanced in age and so severely affected with the gout that he could neither stand nor walk.
Sicilian affairs required the immediate attention of the pope. By throwing off the rule of Charles of Anjou and taking Pedro III of Aragon as their king without the consent and approval of the pope, the Sicilians had practically denied his suzerainty over Sicily. The Sicilians not only repulsed the attacks of Charles of Anjou but also captured his son Charles of Salerno. In 1285, Charles of Anjou died, leaving his captive son Charles of Salerno as his natural successor. The Sicilians hoped that the new pontiff would take a different stand from that of his predecessor in the Sicilian question. He was indeed less impulsive and more peaceably inclined than Martin IV, but he did not renounce the claims of the Church and of the House of Anjou upon the Sicilian crown. He did not approve of the tyrannical government to which the Sicilians had been subject under Charles of Anjou. This he embodied in his constitution of 1285 he inculcates that no government can prosper which is not founded on justice and peace. He passed forty-five ordinances intended chiefly to protect the people of Sicily against their king and his officials. The king, was bound to observe the ordinances contained in this constitution under pain of excommunication.
Martin IV had allowed King Philip III of France to tax the clergy in France, and in a few dioceses of Germany, one-tenth of their revenues for the space of four years. The money thus collected was to be used for waging war against Pedro III with the purpose of conquering Aragon for Charles of Valois. Honorius IV approved this action of his predecessor. The death of Pedro III in 1285 changed the Sicilian situation. Through the efforts of King Edward I of England, negotiations for peace were begun by Honorius IV. The pope, however, did not live long enough to complete these negotiations, which finally resulted in a peaceful settlement of the Aragonese as well as the Sicilian question.
Rome and the States of the Church enjoyed a period of tranquillity during the pontificate of Honorius IV, the like of which they had not enjoyed for many years. He had the satisfaction of reducing the most powerful and obstinate enemy of papal authority, Count Guido of Montefeltro, who for many years had successfully resisted the papal troops. The authority of the pope was now recognized throughout the papal territory.
The Romans were greatly elated at the election of Honorius IV, for he was a citizen of Rome. The continuous disturbances in Rome during the pontificate of Martin V had not allowed that pope to reside in Rome, but now the Romans cordially invited Honorius IV to make Rome his permanent residence. During the first few months of his pontificate he lived in the Vatican, but in the autumn of 1285 he moved to the magnificent palace which he had just erected on the Aventine. With Northern Italy Honorius IV had few dealings beyond those that were of a purely ecclesiastical character. In 1286, he removed the interdict which was placed upon Venice by Martin IV because that city had refused to equip a fleet for the service of Charles of Anjou. At Florence and Bergamo he brought about the abolition of some newly-made laws that were hostile to the Church and the clergy.
The relations between Honorius IV and the German King Rudolf of Hapsburg were most cordial. Immediately upon the accession of Honorius IV negotiations and the day on Rudolf should be crowned emperor in the Basilica of St. Peter at Rome decided. The pope requested the German prelates to contribute a share of their revenues to cover the expenses of his journey to Rome.
Two great Mendicant Orders of pastors and as professors of learning in Europe received new privileges from Honorius IV. He approved the privileges of the Carmelites and the Augustinian hermits. He was especially devoted to the Williamites; an order founded by St. William, Duke of Aquitaine (1156), and added numerous privileges to those which they had already received from Alexander IV and Urban IV. Besides turning over to them some deserted Benedictine monasteries, he presented them with the monastery of St. Paul at Albano, which he himself had founded and richly endowed when he was still cardinal. In 1286, he condemned the sect of the false apostles, which had been started by a certain Gerard Segarelli at Parma in 1260. At the University of Paris he advocated the erection of chairs for the Oriental languages in order to give an opportunity of studying these languages to those who intended to labour for conversions and the reunion of the schismatic churches in the East. He died in 1285.
Pope Nicholas IV was born Girolamo Masci He was the first Franciscan to ever sit on the papal throne. At first he refused the office but was later convinced to reconsider and eventually accept the papacy (1288-1292). His political policies were not always those which engendered widespread support. In order to ensure the security of the papacy, he would forge political ties which only served to upset some. He gave great support to the Colonnas family in Rome, which led to dissent by the Roman populace. He established of the Catholic Church in China for the first time. After the death of Pope Nicholas IV in 1292, the eleven surviving cardinals deliberated for more than two years before electing pope during the Later Middle Ages.
Pope Boniface VIII (1294-1303) was born Benedetto Gaetani26 and elected pope in 1294. did not want to save the soul- he wanted to rule every private life. Boniface VIII was one of the most ardent supporters of papal authority. He started as a minor squabble with King Philip IV of France over the legitimacy of a government’s ability to tax clergy members. It escalated until Boniface VIII excommunicated the king. He then released a decree stating that “every human creature [was] subject to the Roman pontiff.” Boniface VIII sent mercenaries to destroy castles of Italian cities and of Florentine nobility. He declared all prominent Italian Family’s property forfeited. He then proceeded to parcel their land out among his family members. In 1303, an army led by the Colonna family27 kidnapped the Pope and demanded that he abdicate. This celebrated family of Naples and Rome played an important role during medieval times. It supplied not only one Pope but many church and political leaders. While being held in captivity for many days, the Pope Boniface VII refused to abdicate but survived the attack. He returned to Rome only to die a month later.
Clement V was Pope from 1305-1314. He reversed Boniface VIII’s anti-France decrees and appointed 23 new French Cardinals. His attempts to make amends were short-lived. When France’s King Phillip IV charged the Knights Templar with heresy, Clement V abolished them before the King could to ensure he was retaining an appearance of supreme power. He played countries against one another, instituted oppressively high taxes and openly gave land to his supporters and family. Clement V had seemingly no qualms about his ability to be bought. For this reason, Dante 28 also placed him in his Hell. Although Boniface VIII was still alive when Dante wrote his famous Divine Comedy, the Italian writer placed Boniface VIII in his version of Hell anyway. Dante who had been personally exiled by the Pope for supporting papal limitations –
Pope Urban VI was an Italian and Pope from 1378 to 1389. He was elected to succeed Pope Gregory XI in 1378 in a move intended to placate Romans after decades of French domination in the papacy. But once installed, Urban VI alienated his followers with a harsh leadership style. Thirteen French Cardinals who feared that their new leader would favor his fellow Italians fled Rome, declaring within months that Urban VI’s election was “null because it was not made freely but under fear.” In 1378, they chose their own Pope, French Cardinal Robert of Geneva, who became Antipope Clement VII. The competing papacies launched the Western Schism that proved a thorn in the church’s side for four decades.
Pope Alexander VI was Rodrigo Borgia 29 and Pope from 1492 to 1503 was perhaps the most famously corrupt pope in history. He was controversial and by some accounts wicked, and not a picture of papal purity. He was a member of the prominent and wealthy Borgia family, who bought his way into St. Peter’s. Once there, he appointed family members to powerful positions, including his sons and family members of his mistress, Vannozza dei Cattanei. While some of the controversy surrounding Alexander VI is well-founded, other scandalous details may just be rumors, like his arranging murders or hosting wild orgies inside the papal palace. He did, however, bear four children by Cattanei. He made his daughter Lucrezia into a political pawn – marrying her off three times in the hope of securing alliances and power. Some even speculate that Alexander VI fathered one of Lucrezia’s children.
He did have one redeeming quality: his patronage of the arts. He persuaded Michelangelo to draw up plans for the rebuilding of St. Peter’s Basilica, embellished the Vatican palaces and restored the Castel Sant’ Angelo – all of which he is remembered for today.
The Middle Ages was filled with power struggles both in Church and State. Growing power and wealth again diverted the Church from its spiritual mission and led to growing corruption. The rising power of kings triggered bitter struggles with the popes over power and jurisdiction. Many Popes used dubious means to fight rebellious kings by freely using excommunication, explicitly declaring anti-papal Christian enemies, extracting forced loans from bankers, selling Church services to attain wealth, simony, appointing several chiefs per office position for money, and accumulating land-wealth. Ruination of the Church’s reputation undermined its power and authority. It therefore led to the Protestant Reformation 30 and shattered Christian unity in Western Europe.
First Crusade (1095-99): There were several reasons for the Crusades happening when they did. The expanding power of Western Europe in the eleventh century and better agricultural techniques triggered a population expansion. Many landless younger sons of nobles and a series of bad harvests provided the incentive to find land elsewhere. Europe’s expanding frontiers, in Spain, in Southern Italy and Sicily, and by Germans in Eastern Europe led them to look towards the Middle East. By the eleventh century, a new people – the Seljuk Turks, replaced the Arabs 32 in the Islamic world. They over-ran Asia Minor after crushing the Byzantine army at Manzikert (1071). They also seized Palestine from the Shiite Fatimids of Egypt. These conquests led to pleas for help.
Christian pilgrims going to Palestine suffered mistreatment at the hands of Turks. The Greek Byzantine Emperor in Constantinople Alexius I (1081-1118) wanted mercenaries to reconquer Asia Minor and reunite the Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches, which had split since the schism of 1054. The rising power of the Church created a rising tide of piety in Western Europe that expressed itself in pilgrimages to Palestine even before the Turks seized it. This rising tide of piousness let lose a broader movement demanding Church reform. It was led by the popes and caused the Investiture Struggle with the German emperors over control of election of Church officials. There were larger self-serving ambitions of Pope Urban II (1042-1099 but became pope in 1088 until his death).
In 1095, Pope Urban II made the most influential speech of the Middle Ages, giving rise to the Crusades by calling all Christians in Europe to war against Muslims in order to reclaim the Holy Land, with a cry of “Deus vult!” or “God wills it!” Urban was a prot?g? of the reformer Pope Gregory VII. Like Gregory, his internal reform was his main focus, against simony and other clerical abuses prevalent during the Middle Ages. He applied his statecraft to weakening support for his rivals, notably Clement III.
By the end of the 11th century, the Holy Land, now referred to as the Middle East was a point of conflict for European Christians who frequently made pilgrimages to the birthplace of Jesus. When the Seljuq Turks took control of Jerusalem, Christians were barred. When Turks threatened to invade Constantinople, Byzantine Emperor Alexius I made a special appeal to Pope Urban for help. Wanting to reinforce his own power of papacy, Pope Urban seized the opportunity to unite Christian Europe (Byzantine and Roman) under him.
At the Council of Clermont (1095)33 in France Pope Urban delivered a rousing speech summoning rich and poor alike to stop in-fighting and embark on a ‘righteous war’ to help their fellow Christians in the East to take back Jerusalem from Muslims. Pope Urban maligned the Muslims, exaggerated stories of anti-Christian acts, promised absolution for sins and especially for all who died in the service of Christ.
Urban’s war cry caught fire. Between 60,000 and 100,000 people responded to Urban’s call to march on Jerusalem. His speech struck a nerve, because thousands enthusiastically “took the cross”. Crusaders went to the Holy Land believing such a journey and killing of non-Christians in defence of the faith would earn them forgiveness for their sins. Poverty and greed also played their role. Going on crusade offered them both the opportunity to win much lands, wealth and forgiveness for their sins.
Not all crusaders responded out of piety: Greedy European feudal nobles wanted increased land holdings and riches from the conquest. Nobles killed many innocents on the way to, and in the Holy Land. They absorbed riches and estates by murdering opponents. Inexperience and lack of discipline in Christian peasants became targets of trained, professional armies of the Muslims. This resulted in the Christians to initially remain beaten back. Through sheer force and numbers the Christian rabble of the Peasants’ Crusade, was eventually able to triumph.
Pope Urban II a Frenchman died in 1099 before news of the Christian victory made it back to Europe. His was responsible for the first of seven major military campaigns fought over the next two centuries known as the Crusades. Their bloody repercussions are still felt today. If a pope could lead all Christendom in a crusade to recover the Holy Land (Palestine), his moral authority surpassed that of the German Emperor Frederick II (1194-1250) the son of Henry VI.
Many desperately poor peasants set off for the Holy Land without making any plans or provisions for the march. These undisciplined mobs, gained followers in each village through which they passed. Their growing numbers created ever mounting supply problems. Violence erupted as they turned to pillaging for food. Violence was usually turned against local Jews, and thousands were either killed or forced to flee their homes.
The more organized and disciplined crusading nobles made their way to Constantinople in isolated groups. This allowed the emperor Alexius I to deal with them in smaller units. They were instructed on the collection of relics and mechanical wonders and any lands formerly held by the Byzantines. These measures helped Alexius recover part of Asia Minor, notably the city of Nicaea. However, there was growing tensions within the Crusaders who felt they were victims of Byzantine trickery.
The crusaders saw their first serious fighting in Asia Minor. Helped by the turmoil caused by assassinations of leaders of a divided Islam (Shia and Sunni) allowed Seljuq expectation to mount. They felt European knights would be easy prey. The crusaders had by then become more organised with an armoured shock cavalry. They defeated the Turks in their first encounter. Despite obstacles along the way, the crusaders fought their way across Asia Minor. The constant bickering between its leaders and nobles of French, English, Germans and Italians origins made chances of continued success in the Holy Land unworkable. However, the army insisted on provisionally putting aside their quarrels and marching on to regain Jerusalem. .
The crusaders endured desert heat and shortages of food and water while besieging Jerusalem. They faced a large Egyptian army coming to relieve the city. After marching barefoot in the desert heat around Jerusalem, the crusaders launched an assault. What followed was one of the worst massacres in history, spurred on by religious frenzy and combined with frustration from the hardships of the previous three years. Foucher de Chartres34graphically describedhow the crusaders used religion to justify this ghastly event. The success of the First Crusade was a remarkable feat, but it was stained with the blood of thousands of innocent Muslims and Jews.
Kingdom of Jerusalem (1099-1187)35
The crusaders had much going against them. They were surrounded and outnumbered by hostile Muslim states. They eventually united against the Christian invaders who suffered a chronic manpower shortage. After a number of years, the original pilgrim crusaders had adapted to local ways. The Christian crusaders resembled the Muslims, kept harems with veiled women, set aside chapels and worshiped jointly with Muslim neighbours. The crusaders transplanted the Byzantine feudal system from Europe into the ‘Holy Land’. Instead of one unified kingdom, they founded four separate states: the kingdoms of Jerusalem, of Edessa, Antioch, and Tripoli. This prevented cooperation and unity needed against the surrounding Muslim enemies. Despite all these hardships, the crusader states did well, even expanding their territory in the early decades of the 1100’s. Europe was still enthusiastic and kept a constant stream of reinforcements going to the Holy Land. However, as the surrounding Muslim states unified against the common enemy, the tide started to turn.
The first crusader state to fall was Edessa in 1144, which promptly triggered the Second Crusade to recover it. It was led by Louis VII (1120-1180) of France and Conrad III (1093-1152)of Germany. This crusade decimated the Christian crusaders’ army, leaving Edessa in Muslim hands for good. The next forty years saw Egypt and Syria unified in a strong Muslim state under the skilful leadership of Salah-a-din. He tightened the noose around the beleaguered crusader states and finally destroyed the crusader forces at the Battle of Hattin in 1187. Jerusalem and most of the coastal cities of Palestine and Syria soon fell into Saladin’s hands.
This brought on a series of crusades that failed to take Jerusalem or hold it for any substantial time. The Third Crusade (1187-92), led by the famous warrior king of England, Richard ‘the Lionheart’ (1157-1199), managed to take the coastal city of Acre after a prolonged siege. However, despite a march down the coast and various exploits, including a hard fought victory against Salah-a-din at Arsuf, Richard failed to take back Jerusalem. Salah-a-din did grant Christian pilgrims free access to the holy city in order to worship. Later crusades tended to stray further from their goal of Jerusalem.
The Fourth Crusade (1202-4) was diverted because of growing tensions with the Byzantines over the growing Italian stranglehold on Byzantine trade. The Fourth Crusade set in motion the final decline of the Byzantine Empire. Relations between the Byzantines and Western Europe, had been deteriorating for some time, but grew much worse. The Fifth Crusade (1228-9), led by Frederick II (1194-1250)theson of a German king Henry VI and Constance of Sicily, became the king of Sicily, and managed to negotiate the surrender of Jerusalem, but without fortifications. As a result it fell back into Muslim hands soon after Frederick returned home.
Despite their failure, the crusades opened Europeans’ eyes to a broader world vision beyond Europe, stirring interest and more tolerance of other cultures. An influx of Arab texts and translations of classical Greek and Roman literature created a secular outlook that helped lead to the Italian Renaissance in the 1400’s. The Arabs and Indians passed on knowledge in math, astronomy, and geography. Paper-making and refining alcohol and sugar stimulated an increased desire for luxury goods from the China and India. For the Arab world, the Crusades had less positive results. From 1000 AD the Arab world was assaulted by Turks, Crusaders, and Mongols. The struggle of whether or not to modernize and make compromises with Western culture still divides the Arab world today.
Holy Roman Empire of Germany (911-1500)36
The Holy Roman Empire founded in Germany differed from that of France and England. These two countries were on their way to developing their individual national monarchies by 1300, but Germany was disintegrating into feudal anarchy. This was because Germany was tied to the ancient and somewhat outdated concept of a universal Roman Empire and claimed ‘dominion over all of Europe’. This put Germany into conflict with the Catholic Church, which had its own claims to ‘Dominion Theology’37. The ensuing centuries were a long struggle between popes and emperors. It exhausted the empire, destroyed the emperors’ authority in Germany, and left Europe in the power of independent self-serving princes and church prelates. The quickly emerging fragments of nation states left little room for a universal empire, whether national or churchian. The concept of such an empire had some appeal in the time (742-814) of the Carolingian Charlemagne, also known as Charles the Great or Charles I. He became the King of the Franks and Lombards. As medieval Emperor of a large part of Western Europe, his rule promoted learning, and instituted innovative administrative concepts.
The Saxon Germanic Dynasty 38
The breakup of the Merovingian Germanic-Frankish Empire of the ninth century created two main states: West Frankland, which would become Carolingian France, and East Frankland, which would become decimated by converting a Merovingian to Carolingian Germany. The death of Louis the Child in 911 put an end to the German branch of the Carolingian dynasty, forcing the German nobles to choose a new ruler. They recognized the need for a strong monarchy to protect them against the nomadic Magyars to the East. Germanic nobles chose the rulers of Saxony as their king. In the following century, the Saxon dynasty (919-1024) established one of the strongest of early medieval monarchies. The Saxons based their power on the twin pillars of holding land and an alliance with the Church.
In addition, the Saxon rulers supported the spread of the French Benedictine reforms into Germany, as a means to weaken the power of local nobles. In 961 the pope and Italian bishops called in the Saxon ruler, Otto I, to defend them against their enemies. In return for this favour, the pope crowned Otto I a Roman Emperor. From this time until 1806, the imperial dignity would belong to the rulers of Germany, known afterwards as the Holy Roman Empire39.
The Germanic Salian Dynasty of Four German Kings (1024-1106), which succeeded the Saxons, depended on controlling Church officials and to hold large amounts of land to maintain and finance its authority. The rising power of the nobles made it mandatory to create a more efficient administration. The Salians used peasants whom the Church elevated to nobility and knighted them in return of service to the emperor. The bishops and abbots gave them ministerial use, but not the possession of land. The Germanic Salian emperors used discretionary administrators and officials for various military and civil services, but kept them dependent on the emperor.
They were also used for supervising mined silver for the emperor from mines in the Hartz Mountains.
Their power and policies made the Salians unpopular in Germany, especially with the nobles. By 1075, the Emperor Henry IV was the strongest monarchy in Western Europe. He had extensive lands, a permanent capital at Goslar, sources of cash revenue, and a body of servants loyal to the king. The emperor’s support of Church reforms elevated the power of popes also. They would then challenge the emperors’ control of Church elections in (1075-1122).
When Pope Gregory VII excommunicated Henry IV, the German nobles rebelled against their emperor and elected a new ruler. Rebellions, civil war, and anarchy tore through Germany and Italy. Pope Gregory VII died in exile, but his successors continued the struggle. When Henry IV died, his successor, Henry V, managed to reach a compromise settlement, but the damage to the fabric of the land was already done.
The anarchy and wars under kings Henry III (1017-1056),Henry IV (1050-1106) and Henry V (1106-1125) who also became the Holy Emperor from 1111 to 1025, was half a century of confusion. Henry V was the last Salian king and Emperor. Years of anarchy allowed the German nobles to assert their own independence. Great nobles became independent princes, and lower nobles became their vassals. Bishops and abbots granted fiefs in return for military service. Free of charge peasants to work on feudal lands disappeared. Even ministers were forced to break their bonds with the empire and became vassals as the empire started to fragment. German emperors, seeing themselves as Roman emperors, neglected Germany and started concentrating on building their power in Italy. As a result, Germany disintegrated. This would encourage the emperors to concentrate further into Italy while ignoring Germany.
Disintegration of Salian Germanic Dynasty 40
This process accelerated under the Hohenstaufen dynasty, starting with its first emperor, Frederick I Barbarossa (1152-1190). Frederick tried to reassert imperial power in the rich cities of Lombardy in north Italy. After some initial successes, he was defeated. Frederick did manage to seal a marriage alliance of his son to a Norman princess of Southern Italy and Sicily. He also had some success in controlling the cities in Central Italy. This alarmed popes who became the enemies of the Hohenstaufen emperors surrounding them.
Frederick Barbarossa died while on Crusade in 1190. His son and successor Henry VI, married to Constance of Sicily was even more caught up in Italian politics. He had to spend several years putting down a rebellion of Norman nobles who did not want a German ruler. Although Sicily brought the empire a well organized and wealthy state, it also kept the emperors out of Germany. Conditions in Italy and a continued presence of Frederick’s allowing the Germanic Dynasty to disintegrate further.
The last great “German” emperor, Frederick II (1196-1250) came to the throne as a baby. After a stormy childhood, during which pope Innocent III was his guardian against more threatening German nobles, he eventually came to the throne in his own right. Frederick was a fascinating medieval character. He kept Muslim advisors, a harem, and a menagerie of exotic animals. His irreligious ways shocked contemporaries. Even his crusade, where he gained Jerusalem through negotiation rather than fighting with the Muslims, did not seem quite Christian.
The Germanic Frederick II grew up in Sicily and considered Germany too cold and bleak for a home, spending only two years of his reign there. His policy there was to keep it quiet so he could concentrate on building his power in Italy and fighting the popes. As a result, he granted further privileges to the German nobles to pacify them. The last vestiges of imperial control fell into the hands of nobles who were granted full powers of governance in their individual lands. The popes stirred up rebellions against Frederick in both Italy and Germany. Although Frederick maintained his power in Italy, he never succeeded in breaking the popes’ power. Even after his death in 1250, the emperors’ fight with the popes continued.
The popes finally emerged victorious in their struggle against the Germanic emperors. They broke the ring of enemies surrounding them by inciting rebellions in the cities to the north and bringing in the French royal prince, Charles of Anjou, to overthrow Frederick’s son in Sicily and Southern Italy. The pope forced loans out of the Italian bankers by threatening to ruin them. The popes’ defeat of the emperors also served to tarnish their own reputations and that of the Church.
By 1350, the German monarchy became purely elective. By 1500 Germany was a patchwork of 300 independent states, nominally united under the empire. Even after its unification in 1871, the memory of these humiliations would largely determine Germany’s foreign policy and be an underlying cause of the two world wars in the 20th century.
Decline of Church and Nobles 41
A huge population in the cities, the collapse of grain markets, and loss of sources of income for noble and church landlords, hurt both the nobles and clergy. Their incomes were still based on free labour from serfs working on their land and on selling surplus grain in the towns for needed cash. Both nobles and clergy resorted to selling freedom to their serfs.
This raised some quick cash, but deprived nobles of future revenues, which contributed to their decline and rise by nobles and kings against nation states. Serfs were transformed into self-employed independent peasantry. Each freed serf had more incentive to work harder for oneself. There was a more even distribution of wealth. That contributed to a revival of agriculture, towns, and trade. Rich merchants sold their goods to remote areas without outside restrictive regulations.
The Church had other dubious fund raising options. Selling indulgences to buy time out of Purgatory after one died, was one such simony. Church declared birth control a sin among the untaught serfs for a continued supply of workforce to toil on their lands. Such dubious practices led to growing public discontent. The enlightened intellectuals experienced serious challenges from the decline of both church and nobles.
The Black Death of Bubonic Plague (1348), also known as the Justinian Plague ravaged the Byzantine Empire when the pandemic raging throughout Europe created a huge population loss. Rodents spread outbreaks of the plague in cities. With no known cure, the plague led to the collapse of urban grain markets and loss of source income for self-employed peasants, feudal nobles and church landlords. This especially hurt the gentry and clergy, whose incomes were still based on land produce and on selling surplus grain in the towns for needed cash.
Both nobles and clergy resorted to selling even more freedom to serfs in return for reaped harvest and produce from the land. This raised some quick cash, but deprived them of future revenues. Loss of feudal workers on their lands contributed to their eventual decline. Serfs were transformed into a peasantry with more incentive to work harder. In time, a more even distribution of wealth contributed to the revival of agriculture, towns, and trade. Rich merchants established cottage industries and sold their goods outside al restrictive regulations designed by noble ruled guilds. Merchants establish a new economic system of trade – capitalism took birth in Europe.
The Church had several other dubious fund raising options. Selling leniency and clemency to wealthy church members for time-out of Purgatory; or offering the ‘golden-key’ to heaven was one such simony. These practices led to a growing public discontent. As a result, the Church and nobility began experiencing serious challenges from the authority of intellectuals.
Alexius I (1057-1118) was an Eastern figure whose veneration was later transplanted to Rome as a Saint. When surrounded by enemies on all sides, he called on the Venetians to help him keep Constantinople safe. In 1085 the Seljuq Sultan died, and the sultanate was split by internal rivalries. Fortune played into Alexius’s hands by ridding him of two enemies – the Seljuqs and Turks. He did however manage to defeat the Turks in 1091.
The Venetians were pleased to help Alexius but demanded a heavy price. In 1082 Alexius granted them trading privileges in Constantinople and elsewhere on terms calculated to outbid the emerging Byzantine merchants. This charter became the cornerstone of capitalism 43 in a commercial empire of Venice. It also fed the flames of Byzantine resentment against the dregs of the earlier Latin (Roman) nobility. It provoked the rich, who might have otherwise invested their capital in trade, instead of relying on the more familiar security of income from feudalized land and property.
The terms Alexius made with his Byzantine enemies during the first 10 years of his reign were not meant to be permanent. He expected to win back Anatolia from the Seljuqs. Alexius had solicited the help of mercenary troops (Crusaders) from the West but not for the liberation of the Holy Land from the ‘infidel’. His urgent need was the protection of Constantinople and the recovery of Anatolia.
The Byzantines however were more realistic about their Muslim neighbours than the distant popes and princes of the West. Jerusalem had finally been taken by the Seljuqs in 1071, but the most immediate threat to Byzantium came from the Italian nobility and the Normans. Alexius was tactful in his dealings with the pope and was always ready to discuss the differences between the churches. But neither party foresaw the consequences of Pope Urban II’s appeal in 1095 for recruits to fight a Holy War.
The response in Western Europe was overwhelming. The motives of those who took the cross as crusaders ranged from religious enthusiasm to a mere spirit of adventure for a hope of material gain. Since the Crusade passed through Constantinople, the Emperor had some control over it. In return, he gave crusaders guides and a military escort. Still, the cost was enormous, for the crusaders had to be supplied with food or allow them to live off the land as they went.
The Kingdom of Jerusalem (1100) had fallen to the crusaders the year before. The landed crusaders settled down and began colonizing the coast of Palestine and Syria. The First Crusade thus brought some benefits to Byzantium. In 1107 Bohemond (1058-1111) the Prince of Antioch and a leader of the First Crusade mounted an invasion of the empire from Italy. Alexius was ready and defeated him in 1108.
Byzantine prestige was suddenly higher than it had been for many years, but the empire could barely afford to sustain any part of its great power. Alexius reconstituted the army and re-created the fleet, but only by means of stabilizing the gold coinage at one-third its original value and by imposing a number of supplementary taxes.
It became normal practice for taxes to be farmed out, which meant the collectors recouped their outlay on their own terms. People in the provinces had the added burden of providing materials and labour for defense, communications, and provisions for the army, which now included large numbers of foreigners. The supply of native soldiers had virtually ceased with the disappearance and absorption of their military holdings.
Alexius promoted an alternative source of native manpower by extending the system of granting estates by favour of the emperor and tying the grant to a military obligation. The recipient of such grant was entitled to all the revenues of his estate and to the taxes payable by his tenants, on condition of equipping himself as a mounted cavalryman with a varying number of troops. The emperor was in absolute possession of his property until it reverted to the crown upon his death.
Similarly, Alexius tried to promote more profitable growth of church estates by granting them to the management of laymen. The system had advantages both for the state and for the military aristocracy who were its main beneficiaries. But in the long term it hastened the fragmentation of the Byzantine Empire among the landed families. A breakdown of centralized government of the 10th-century set up by emperors could not be averted.
Mohammad the prophet of Islamism sought an ascetic and monastic lifestyle. A sturdy relationship with God was important to these Sunnis and Sufis also. Sufis retreated inward while striving to become closer to God and gain a better understanding of Islam. In those early years, most Sufis were Sunni but many developed strong ties to esoteric thought and practices of the Druze. Sufism grew from a small movement in the eighth and ninth centuries to becoming an important aspect of Islamic civilization. Al-Junayd (910), the founder of the School of Baghdad, was the first Sufi Muslim to develop a comprehensive system of Sufi thought. By the twelfth century, Sufi orders had a global followings. Some of these orders later became politically active. Others shunned material life and took vows of chastity and purity, all in order to bring them closer to God and Truth.
Dramatic change occurred with the fall of the Prophet Mohammad’s Fatimid dynasty (909-1171) in the Alamut Period during the final decades of the 11th century. In the Western and Eastern parts of Iran (Alamut) the death of Nasir-i Khusrau, a poet who wrote on religious subjects in the final decades of the eleventh century, coincided with another phase in Islamic history. Scholars produced works of philosophical and religious significance in a different setting. Philosophical thought and wisdom of Cairo University of al-Azhar had moved to the mountainous regions of northern and north-eastern Persia.
Although Islam experienced a golden age of art and culture under Prophet Mohammad’s uncle Abbas, the Abbasid Dynasty from Baghdad only lasted from 750-1258. The empire gradually fell apart as the Arabs provinces broke away one after another.
Turkish Islamic tribes living around the borders of China were held in check by Persians and Arabs. Instead of invading them the Turkish tribesmen, began infiltrating them (850 AD) as Mamluks slaves and mercenaries. They lived in Abbasid garrisons and blended in their society but at the same time stayed and stuck together. The most successful Turkish tribe in Islam, were the tribal Seljuqs.
The Seljuq Turks named after their leader and founder, were Sunnis. They were however subservient to the Shiite dynasty – the Buwayhids. When their Seljuqs, leader Toghrul was made sultan in 1058 he was ordered to restore the political and religious unity of Sunni Islam. Their mission was to unify Islam and expand its frontiers. The Seljuqs therefore turned against their Shiite dynasty of Fatimids in Egypt and in Palestine. They also fought also for domination and conversion of Christian Byzantine Empire. In every case Seljuq victories triggered a backlash.
In 1071, the Seljuqs and Byzantines battled each other in Manzikert, an ancient village in East Turkey. The victorious Seljuqs therefore proceeded to take over most of the Byzantine heartland in Asia Minor, which is today called Turkey. The Byzantine emperor, Alexius I, called for mercenaries to help him reclaim Asia Minor from the Turks. The call was not for the liberation of the Holy Land. But he instead, got the First Crusade. Together they took much of Syria, and Palestine for the Christian faith.
The Seljuqs meanwhile expanded their activities against the Shiite Fatimids – the sect of Nizari Shiites would later become branded as the Assassins by Marco Polo. This group was centred in a mountain fortress and led by Hassan-ibn-al-Sabah, also known as the Old Man of the Mountain. Determined to stop the advance of the Sunnite Seljuqs against them, he launched a campaign of political terror and murder that has even to this day become legendary.
Hassan’s followers showed remarkable determination and ability to infiltrate the most tightly guarded palaces and reach their intended victims with poisoned daggers. Among their victims was the assassination in 1092 of the Seljuk sultan, Malik Shah. His death in the midst of the First Crusade created enough turmoil in the Seljuq realm to allow the Crusaders to take Palestine. Despite these setbacks, the Seljuqs restored their power in Asia Minor and parts of Europe. Their state, the Sultanate of Rome, thrived throughout the 1100’s. However, Seljuqs were later attacked by the Mongols.
In the early 1200’s, a Mongol leader Genghis Khan united the various Mongol tribes in Central Asia into a fearsome war machine. Striking at incredible speed they were riding on horses and covering area of up to 100 miles a day. In less than eighty years (1206-1368) a band of warriors from under the leadership of Genghis Khan and his family members burned a path of destruction from China to Europe. Although they were shamanic Buddhists and tolerant of all religions, the Islamisation and acculturation to their ways led to Mongol decline and eclipse of the Mongol Empire. Until that happened, Mongol confrontation led to a methodical destruction of population by the sword.
The defiance of Fatimid Nizari Shi’as located in various fortified forts and refuge sanctuaries brought the wrath of the Mongols on their world. In 1245, the Mongols first annihilated the Seljuq army at Kose Dagh. In 1258, they sacked Baghdad and killed the last of the Abbasid caliphs. The Egyptian Sultan Baibars (1223-1277) finally halted the Mongols’ relentless advance in 1260. The Mongols eventually settled down and even adopted Islam in the Muslim areas wherever they ruled. The rampage of the Mongol Empire of nearly a century had far reaching effects on the Seljuq Turks and the Islamic world.
From the time of Prophet Muhammad to the Imamate of Imam Jaffar al-Sadiq, (600-765 AD) it was the Arabian Period. It witnessed Caliphates of the first four Caliphs; the bitter Battle at Karbala (680) was led by Ali the grandson of the Prophet, and the son of Ali. This was a monumental event in the History of Islam especially in the rise and fall of the Umayyad and Abbasid dynasties. Partisan Islam felt their religion should be led by Ail Dynasty. They broke away from Arabic Sunnism and became the Shia sect.
Ismail (765-775) died after ten years of Imamate, leaving behind two sons, Mohammed and Ali; the former succeeded him as Imam of the Shia Sect. By 765 a new breakaway sect became the Isthnashiri sect. With the death of Jaffar as-Sadiq the Shi’as were now called Ismailis and Isthnashiri. This was a period which began with Jaffar al-Sadiq and ended with Radi Abdullah in 876 in Syria. Jaffar al-Sadiq had succeeded his father at the age of 31. He died of poisoning at the age of 57 in 732AD and his body remains buried in Medina.
In 1021, at the death of al-Hakim a ceremonial sect of Druze was at last created. Imam Zahir was made the Shia Imam at the young age of 16 years. This period (1021-1036) marked the life and times of a famous physician and philosopher. At that age of 16 he acknowledged his responsibilities towards his monotheistic community. They were also founded in Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Jordan. The emerging Druze soon became known as ‘Sons of Grace’. They were a secretive tightly-knit religious sect. They acknowledged their origin in Egypt 1000 years earlier. They followed an eclectic system of doctrines with Sufi origins that preceded even the Fatimid Islam of Cairo.
Imam Mustansir Billah was born in 1029AD in Cairo. He became the eighth Fatimid Caliph at the early age of seven years. His reign as Imam and Caliph lasted more than 60 years. During his reign, political unrest amidst a massive earthquake contributed to much of the insecurity and economic instability throughout the Fatimid territory. Notable mystical personalities who lived during this Imam’s rule include: Hassan bin Sabbah of Alamut fame; the deep thinking Nasir Khusrau (1003-1088) the Persian musician traveler, who recorded his mystical journey in Sufi poetry while travelling through Syria, Palestine, and Jerusalem on his way to Mecca and translated in ‘Palestine Pilgrims’. He developed the Nizari Ismaili Philosophy that combined Science with Spirituality. Then there was Omar Khayyam (1048-11310) who dedicated his love poems to the Cosmic Mother Nature in the ‘Rubaiyat’. Its theological thought was a development of their concept of Creation, and could be directly traced to Plato. This form of Islam existed even before the Nizari Ismaili sect was established in the 11th century AD.
Currently the sect is led by Prince Imam Karim Aga Khan IV, the 49th Imam of the sect. He is a descendant of Nizar, the eldest son of the Fatimid Caliph al Mustansir Billah, a descendant of al-Husayn, the son of ‘Ali ibn Talib, the cousin and son-in-law of the prophet Muhammad. The Nizari sect founded the Nizari state of Assassins in Persia (1090-1256 AD) and a sister state in Syria (1140-1260 AD). According to Isma’ili doctrine 46, Creation is a process of emanation whose source is Divine Will which is the first cause of creation, and the cause of all causes. The will of God exists by virtue of God’s existence. Stated in other words, God is pure actuality, an unmoved mover “who moves everything toward Him without Himself ever being moved”. The results of God’s command “Be and it is” is the First Intellect, and it includes all existing being.
An emanation result from the First Intellect’s activity of contemplation the characteristics of which is both active and passive brings into existence the First Matter from which the physical world springs. The distinguishing feature of the Isma’ili doctrine is in its special treatment of the emanation- a crucial role in the “drama of the universe”.
The imam is the embodiment of God’s Word, and so the necessity of his presence among the believers for the Nizari Ismailis. The imamate is a religious necessity for maintenance of unity of faith and for making religion quests always possible. Religion beyond the understanding of a large number of men becomes victim of superstitions which become the mistaken part of religious belief. Ismailis therefore differ from other Shiites sects on this point.
The Twelvers (Jaffar), the largest of Shiites sects, hold the same view on the imamate is held by the Zaydis and the more restrictive Ismailis. For the Twelvers, Muhammad al-Hasan, the twelfth Imam disappeared in the year 879 AD. at the age of six. His disappearance broke the chain of succession of true imams for the sect. Hence Muhammad al-Hasan is said to be concealed from his followers and at a future time will return as the Mahdi. According to this view, the community is made aware that its ideal existence is contingent upon the return of the imam from concealment, somewhat akin to the Hebrew concept of Messiah.
In a spiritual sense, the community of the Twelvers receives its cohesion from the knowledge that the imamate exists in potentiality, though not manifest in the present period. Like the Isma’ili, the Twelvers consider the office of imamate a necessity for the community, but unlike the Ismailis and like the Zaydis, the Twelvers admit that there will be periods when no true imam is present. For the Ismailis man and office can never be separated.
In summing up, the Nizari Shiite Imam is a teacher, one who imparts knowledge of the ultimate reality. He is a manager of human affairs whose direction leads to an ideal condition for his citizens. Among Isma’ili, the imam stands at the top of the religious hierarchy as the final arbiter of the esoteric interpretation of the doctrine. Even more significantly, he is the only person capable of interpreting the doctrine without the possibility of error. Isma’ili believers are unable to arrive independently at doctrinal knowledge without the lead of the imam. In order to make them wise and happy, the imam unifies them in the faith and education
Despite a long tradition of spiritual and scientific legacy within Ismailism they have stopped publication of their documents. There is a real possibility that many of their valuable documents were destroyed by the Mongols under Helagu attacked the Isma’ili stronghold in Alamut (1256 AD) and destroyed the Isma’ili library reputed to hold of one and one half million volumes.
Nizari Ismailism in Alamut Period 47
Imam Nizar was born in 1045AD in Cairo and succeeded his father as the 19th Imam of the Ismailis at the age of 51 years. Between 1094 and 1097, Al-Mustali, the younger half-brother of Imam Nizar, in a wave of political ambitions of perverse administrators of the state, would himself come to be the leader of another seceding sect of the Ismailis, the Bohras. In coming to terms with the reality of this situation, Imam Nizar, upon the death of his father Imam Mustansir Billah, left Cairo for Alexandria where he found the support and allegiance of both the governor and the judge who rules according to sharia law(qadi) of Alexandria.
The Imam Hadji was 21 years of age when he succeeded to the Throne of Imamate which under him lasted from 1097 to 1138. Escaping imprisonment by his uncle Caliph Mustali, Imam Hadji established a new Ismaili kingdom at Alamut. It was founded by Hassan bin Sabbah during the Imamate of Imam Mustansir Billah, as a new Nizari Ismaili state of Alamut which would last for 170 years. The reign under Imamate of Imam RuknuddinKhairshah lasted two years before being murdered by the Mongols in 1257. During the reign of Imam Hadji, Ismailism spread from the Caspian to the Mediterranean Sea, as well as to Central Asia and India and the fortress of Alamut known as Baldat al-Iqbal to mean the city of good fortune.
The Alamut Period was founded by Hassan bin Sabbah in the year 1090. The fortress of Alamut was situated in the north-west of Tehran, Iran. A glorious period in Ismaili history began in 1097 and lasted for 170 years (1097-1256), until the death of Imam Ruknuddin Khairshah. It marked a time when the community made great strides in education, the sciences, economics, politics, as well as in religious sciences and investigative philosophy.
There were notable figures that lived during the rule of Imam Alaiddeen Muhammed who was born in 1212 and became imam at the age of 9 years. Other famous Nizari philosophers include Jalaluddin Rumi the foremost poet of Islamic culture and history who expressed his powerlessness in his expression of Love for the Creator who he visualised as Woman. Ibn al-Arabi (1165-1240) who was born in Moorish Spain was where the mystical scholar spread spiritual philosophy based on Sufi writings of theologians and truth-seekers.
There was also Naseeruddin Tusi (1201-1274), who proposed the heliocentric model of the Universe 200 years before Copernicus and created the Pascal triangle 300 years before Pascal himself. He proposed the law of conservation of mass almost four hundred years before Lavoisier was even born. He theorized the “evolution by natural selection” over six hundred years before Darwin set sail on the Beagle. He was an eminent scholar in the history of Shia’ism, but he was also a poet, a philosopher, a statesman, a mathematician, an astronomer, a geographer, a biologist, a chemist, and a physicist. He served as the Prime Minister of the Alamut State.
When threatened by the Mongol empire, the Imam of the Time RuknuddinKhairshah sent a message of peace to these imminent invaders, which was promptly dismissed by them in great contempt. Despite uncertain times that followed, science and learning flourished and attracted many scholars from outside the Fort of Alamut. The orthodox Sunni Muslims meanwhile responded to the doctrine of Qiyamah (Day of Resurrection) by propagating that the Ismailis had violated the Islamic Shariah. In order to avoid secular marginalization and suffer from segregation, Imam Jalaluddin Hassan (1185) restricted teachers from teaching the doctrine of Qiyamah. He instead encouraged them instead to adopt esoteric practices such as solitude, contemplation and meditation as was common with many Sufi traditions in the past. The Imam played a significant role in articulating the concept of Qiyamah, first declared by his grandfather Mowlana Ala Zikrihis Salaam in 1164AD.
Mowlana Imam Ala Zikrihis Salaam made an edict (Farman) to the (Jamat) congregation gathered at the house of worship: “I am your Imam-e-Zaman, I am Hasan bin Qahir bin Mohtadi bin Hadji bin Nizar bin Mustansir Billah. The line of our succession will continue till the end of this world. I am pleased with your obedience and fealty. You have made in the past great sacrifices, which I accept and bless you. Today I have explained to you the Law (Sharia) and its meaning… In taking over temporal rule from Muhammed bin Kaya, the third territorial ruler of Alamut … the first two having been Hassan bin Sabbah and Kiya Buzrug Ummid, respectively – Imam Qahir appointed Muhammed as his vizier and the latter served as such until his death in 1162.”
The Imamate of Imam Ala Muhammed spanned a period of about 44 years – a time span from 1166 to 1210. The Imam died of poisoning and was buried in Alamut in 1210AD. The Imam Ruknuddin Khairshah (1255-1256) reigned as Imam of the Time for a period of one to two years before being murdered by the Mongols. This event marked the end of the Alamut period. The Mongols not only managed to destroy the entire Ismaili State (the scientific instruments, observatories, libraries, and thousands of houses and buildings), but were also responsible for the death of 80,000 Ismailis.
Biblical Genocides 48
There are long-forgotten biblical verses used by Christians for thousands of years to justify horrific acts of genocide. Some peace-loving apologetic Christians argue the Bible is misunderstood. Followers were instructed to commit genocidal atrocities during the time of the Old Testament but that Jesus brought a New Testament which instructs people to turn the other cheek. Christian history does not bear this New Testament idea. Christian armies slaughtered their enemies in the name of God and Church leaders supported these acts and often led the clamour for holy wars. The argument that a New Testament separates modern Christianity from the atrocities of the Old Testament is a theologically unsound excuse.
Christians have given themselves the title of God’s new Chosen People because the Jews were not worthy and therefore the need for the arrival of Jesus with the right to kill people just because they were not ‘Chosen’. Genocide by practitioners of Abrahamic Religions takes place on the basis of ethnicity or religion. The Old Testament describes many events which involved major loss of life during conventional wars, four of which were genocides:
In Genesis, chapters 6 to 8 God were concerned with the level of violence and evil behaviour among humans. He “was sorry that He had made man on the earth…” and decided the solution lay in destroying almost the entire human race. Only Noah, his three sons and their four wives survived; by building an ark to ride out the flood. The rest of the human race – elderly, men, women, youth, children, infants and newborns – and the land of animals and birds were said to have all drowned a gruesome death in 2349 BC. Jews and Christians are undecided whether it actually happened, or whether it is a religious myth derived from Babylonian sources.
In Exodus, chapters 11 & 12: God first hardened the heart of the Pharaoh of Egypt so that he would refuse the request by his Hebrew slaves for permission to leave Egypt. Then, God sent a series of plagues to torment all the inhabitants of Egypt. Finally, God sent an angel to kill all of the first-born in the country – both human and animal. The only exceptions were those Hebrews who had taken special precautions by ritually slaughtering a lamb and spreading its blood over the doorways of their homes. This genocide was the final act that convinced the Pharaoh to release the Hebrews. The Schofield Study Bible dates the Exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt at 1491 BC.
In Deuteronomy, chapters 7 & 20 and Joshua, chapters 6, 8, 10, 11, 14, etc specified: After wandering in the desert for four decades, God ordered the Hebrews to invade the “promised land” and totally exterminate “the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites” leaving “alive nothing that breathes.” They were to fight and kill the soldiers of these groups, and then murder the defenceless elderly, women, youths, children, infants, and newborns. The book of Joshua records the progress of the genocide, city by city: Joshua 8:24 – City of Ai; Joshua 10:26 – Joshua murdered five defenceless kings; Joshua 10:28 – City of Makkedah; Joshua 10:29 – City of Libnah; Joshua 10:31 – City of Lachish; Joshua 10:33 – City of Gezer; Joshua 10:34 – City of Elgon; Joshua 10:37 – City of Hebron; Joshua 10:38 – City of Debir.
In Judges, chapters 19 and 20: Some of the people in the town of Gibeah of the tribe of Benjamin sexually abused and murdered the concubine of a priest. In an act of grave desecration of her body, her owner mutilated her corpse by cutting it into 12 pieces. He sent one to each of the tribes of Israel who were the Twelve children of Jacob Israel. This triggered a civil war between the tribe of Benjamin, and an army of 400,000 soldiers, drawn from the remaining 11 tribes. Tens of thousands died during the fighting. Apparently all of the Benjamin towns were burned and their women and children were systematically exterminated during these battles. The tribe of Benjamin was nearly wiped out; only a few hundred men survived. Other atrocities then followed which provided new wives for the men of the tribe of Benjamin, so that the tribe would continue.
Egyptian Armies in ancient times of Pharaohs (3200-1300BC) were well developed and supported by excellent strategic and field intelligence machinery. Egypt was a peaceful country in the ancient world. They were the product of the very society that created it. Egyptian military readily adapted enemy weapons and technologies and therefore became a powerhouse of the ancient world. It reputedly became one of the great military forces of history. This was possible because Egypt’s people were united under their Pharaoh, a king who was considered to be a ‘god’ on earth. For hundreds of years the Egyptians prospered, their cities not even requiring defensive walls and their people secure. Egyptian society had an early jump on the world stage. Freed from domestic hostilities, they advanced in developing sciences of light, medicine, astronomy, mathematics, cosmetics, and domesticating animals.
Suddenly, during the Middle Kingdom, between 2030 BC – 1640 BC, the Pharaoh’s struggled to hold on to Egyptian power. They needed to protect their trade routes and resources. The era of their complete military dominance was now gradually receding into the past. The borders were pushed out to their greatest extent. Pharaoh’s preferred to remain content with keeping a power balance with the other near eastern empires. As was their tradition, they conscripted peasants and tradesmen to continue forming their army. Now they ventured into the establishment of garrisons, trained them in warfare which all added to their professionalism.
What may have started as peaceful migrations of Asiatic workers needed for building projects in the Nile delta ended with the militarily powerful Hyksos dominating the Nile Delta through an initial arrival of Joseph, the eleventh son of Jacob and his second wife Rachel. He was sold into slavery by his brother (Genesis 30:22-24, 37.2). When famine forced Jacob to send his sons to Egypt to buy grain, the family was reconciled with Joseph and settled there. The story of Joseph, told in Genesis, depicts the preservation of Israel and begins the history of the Israelites in Egypt that is continued in Exodus.
The Hyksos, meaning “Sheppard Kings” were Canaanites of Semitic origins. They would become ancestors of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. Canaanites absorbed and assimilated the features of many cultures for at least 500 years before these Israelites would enter many nations and peoples of Asian, European, American and Mesopotamian civilizations. The religion of the Canaanites was an agricultural religion, with pronounced fertility gods adored with their consorts. Shechem 49 an ancient town in central Palestine became the center of their religious tribal confederacy.Suddenly the entire eastern world faced an onslaught from new invaders known as The Sea Peoples. Egypt 50 suddenly and gradually slipped into a dark age.
The Old Testament tells a story of how God told the Israelites to conquer the Promised Land of Canaan, beginning with the city of Jericho. In doing so, they were to destroy all existing occupants of the land51. During the four years in Jerusalem and surrounding areas, the mission of Jesus was confined to addressing “the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Mathew 15:24 and 10:5-6) the time was coming when a new mission will send the disciples of Jesus to “make disciples of all the gentiles” (Mathew 28:19).
The commandment of (Deut 7:1-4) commissioned Israel to exterminate the seven nations of the Canaanites so that Israel may inherit the bread of the land (Deut 8:8-9. The feeding of the 4,000 promised that a multitude of gentiles would be fed and still there will be seven baskets full of leftovers. Theologically, the presence of the conquest narratives in the scriptures is perhaps the most difficult of Apologetic problems. This article still does not solve the “problem” of the Canaanite genocide.
Hebrew are Jews are Canaanites
The Hebrews started with Abraham who lived in Ur [Babylon]. God commanded him to move to Canaan and he did. The term “Jew” is first used in the Old Testament in the Book of Esther. It refers to members of the tribes of Isaac Levi, Jacob Israel and Judah. Theywere exiled from the Kingdom of Israel when the Kingdom of Judah was defeated. The Kingdom of Judah’s capital was Jerusalem and their privileged leaders were Merovingians. The tribe of Isaac Levi was connected to the Temple in Jerusalem. The Kingdom of Israel and the Kingdom of Judah were both defeated and forced into exile. The Kingdom of Judah maintained attributes of a nation, and remained connected to their land and beliefs through Levites, a priestly class of Hebrews.
Many returned to the Land of Israel after 70 years in exile and re-established their kingdom in Israel for roughly 400 years before being defeated by the Romans. The Kingdom of Israel was dispersed, and maintained no connection to their original identity. They wound up scattered all over Europe because the Romans destroyed their country and deported them in 72 AD.
Israelites had been peasant farmers in Canaan who withdrew or revolted from the influence of the city states and formed a new society with a tribal structure and an egalitarian ideology. Centuries later, long after they had forgotten their real origins, the Hebrew people developed traditions by which Abraham travelled from Ur to the land of the Canaanites, his descendants were enslaved in Egypt, and subsequently fled in a great Exodus and conquered Canaan.
The people who became the Hebrews were part of the general Semitic people of the Eastern Mediterranean Regions. They were known to the Egyptians as Habiru – hill tribes of pastoralists and brigands in the highlands of what became the Biblical Kingdom of Judah. The Land of Israel and Kingdom of Judah existed in the Iron Age (1200-200 BC). Solomon’s son Rehobaum ruled from Jerusalem for 17 years. His rule was over the Kingdom of Judah and his son Abijah became his successor. The Land of Israel was under the twelve tribes (sons of Jacob Israel).
These tribes became better organized and started to expand their territory. By the 8th Century BC the tribes had a territorial area from Galilee to Jerusalem. The northern tribes (Israel) were conquered by the Assyrians. Nearly a century and a half later, the same thing happened to the southern kingdom (Judah), at the hands of the Babylonians – the aristocracy deported, the people remaining behind.
Judaism was a missionary religion, converting people all around the Mediterranean and then further afield later on. Jews became people who adopted the Jewish culture. Over the centuries, many different ethnics have come under the umbrella of all those cultures, with wide varieties of skin colour, physical characteristics, language and religion.
Jesus was from the House of Judah who was a descendent of the Davidic Line through Isaac Levi. Levites (Genesis 29:34 18:2-4) were ancestral patriarchs of priests beginning with Moses and Aaronwho served as priests and sons of priests at Temples.
Dominion Theology and Politick Past and Present 52
Aristotle used the term oligarchy to designate dominion rule of a few when it was exercised not by the best but by unscrupulous flawed willful men or women with grave prejudices. In this sense, oligarchy is a debased form of aristocracy, which denotes leadership by a few vested with power by the unaware uninformed or defectively informed herds of humanity. Most classic oligarchies have resulted when governing elites are recruited exclusively from a ruling caste-a contagious social grouping that is set apart from the rest of society by religion, kinship, economic status, prestige, or language. Such elites exercise power in the interests of their own class.
It is a recurrent idea that all forms of government, both religious and secular are reducible to the rule of a few, even if such effective control by them is given to them by the people. The state then becomes the executive committee of an exploiting class of aristocracy ensconced in Church and Government by the common Proletariat. One of the most famous uses of the term occurs in “iron law of oligarchy,” a concept devised by the German sociologist Robert Michels. It refers to the alleged inevitable tendency of political parties and trade unions to become bureaucratized, centralized, and conservative. What evolves is a rigorous order and ideology to ensure the survival of the organization when faced by internal division and external opposition. For over two millennia two-thirds of this planet’s humanity continues its campaign of oligarchy which began with the schism of Abrahamic Religions. It began in earnest with the Crusades.
Medieval History of Byzantines 53
The Byzantines (Roman and Greek) and Persian Empires had spent years of marauding each other. The Merovingian Dynasty (476-750) from the Ancient Gauls and the Carolingian (752-911) rule had damaged them all. They were worn out through continuous in-fighting. A self-created a power vacuum in Europe was therefore filled by marauding Muslim Crusaders who were enforcing Islamism. The Merovingians were preoccupied with gaining power in Europe through the ‘spiritual dynasty of the Pope Peter’ instead of adhering to being ancient warrior sheppard descendants of a forgotten Hebrew Tribe who was either Levite or some other. With Egyptian leanings, they were obviously worshippers of the cult of the Black Virgin. With the establishment of Catholicism the cult transited to the Mother Goddess Mary.
It was 630AD, two years before Muhammad’s death from a fever, when he launched the Tabouk Crusade, from a province of Saudi Arabia. It began during his lifetime and continues to this day. He led 30,000 jihadists against the Byzantine (Roman-Greek) Christians. Full scale wars ranged from small assassination to hit squads involving thousands of warriors and 10,000 horsemen. He had heard a gossiped report that a huge army of Byzantines had amassed to attack Arabia. The sensational information turned out to be a false rumour. The Byzantine army never materialized.
Mohammad turned around and went home, but not before extracting “agreements” from northern tribes. They could enjoy the “privilege” of living under Islamic “protection” if they paid a tax. This tax set the stage for Muhammad’s and the later Caliphs’ policies. If the attacked city or region did not want to convert to Islam, then they paid a jizya tax. If the conquered converted to Islam, they paid a zakat tax. Either way, money flowed to the Islamic Treasury in Arabia or to a local Muslim governor.
Under the Caliphate of Abu Bakr, this first successor to Muhammad and a dedicated Muslim Crusader, all Arab polytheists had to convert to Islam or die. In 633AD the Muslim Crusaders led by Khalid al-Walid a superior but bloodthirsty military commander, captured and beheaded so many that a nearby canal, into which the blood flowed, was called Blood Canal.
By 634AD at the Battle of Yamuk in Syria the Muslim Crusaders defeated the Byzantines. Between 634 and 680 Muslim Crusaders had conquered Cyprus, Tripoli, Iran, Afghanistan, Sind and Constantinople, the capital of Byzantine Empire. Over the next 3 years from 710 to 713 Muslim Crusaders conquered the lower Indus Valley as well as conquering Spain. By 719 Cordova in Spain, became the seat of Arab governorship. By 732 Muslim Crusaders were stopped at the Battle of Poitiers and the Franks (France) halted further Arab advance.
In 809 AD the relentless Muslim Crusaders conquered Sardinia in Italy and many Christians in Palestine were forced to flee the country. Capturing cities in Europe came with instruction for the destruction of all non-Muslim houses of prayer. However by 855 the Christians of Syria had already started revolting. From 869 to 883 the black slaves brought to Iraq from present-day Sudan, Ethiopia and East Africa fought with the Muslim Crusaders.
A revival of the Byzantine military force in 928-969 resulted in the recapture of the old Byzantine territories, including Cyprus (964) and Tarsus (969). Amidst anti-Christian riots in Jerusalem by the Saracens came oppressive decrees against Jews and Christians. However, an earthquake in 1015 in Palestine resulted in the gradual collapse of the Muslim Caliphate.
After the earthquake, came the establishment of 15 minor independent dynasties throughout Moorish or Muslim Andalus which today is Spain, Portugal, Gibraltar and France. By 1071 after the Battle of Manzikert between Turkish and Byzantine forces, Seljuq Turks (Muslim Crusaders) defeated Byzantines and Muslim Shiites reoccupied much of Anatolia and invaded Palestine. In 1073 they conquered Jerusalem and by 1091 Muslim Crusaders were in possession of Spain, Portugal, Gibraltar and France.
Therefore by 1094 Byzantine Emperor Alexius Comnenus asked western Christendom for help against Seljuq Turkish invasions of his territory, but it was not until 1095 that Pope Urban II actually triggered the First Christian Crusade and captured Jerusalem in 1099. Meanwhile Islamic expansion continued throughout the Middle Ages under the Islamic Saracens, well into the seventeenth century. By the eighteenth centuries, the Islamic Crusades had receded, due to concerted Western Christian resistance.
The Crusades to Solomon’s Temple were a symbol of terrible profanity against a Holy Temple in the Holy Land by both the Muslims and the Christians. What did the Knights Templar do on the Temple Mount Road leading to the Holy Land? Within 20 years a small band of men emerged from the riff-raffs that made up the Crusader armies, from which only nine became the Knights Templar. They and their descendants have since remained the richest, the most powerful and mysterious groups, existing even today since medieval history.
Only nine Knights Templar were stationed in Jerusalem to ensure the safety of pilgrims travelling between the Mediterranean ports and the Holy Land. In 1119 the Knights Templar offered their services to Baldwin II, King of Jerusalem. Led by Hugh de Payens, the Group of Nine made their headquarters on the Temple Mount of Al-Haram al-Sharif.
Here on the Rock was where Abraham the father of three monotheistic faiths offered his son Isaac for sacrifice. It was the place where Mohammed ascended to heaven. It also was the home to Solomon’s First Temple. After nine years the Nine Templar Knights returned to Europe in 1128. In 1867 archaeologists discovered many vertical tunnels ascending towards the Al Aqsa Mosque and then spreading out to the Dome of the Rock. When re-examined at the end of the 19th century archaeologists found Templar artefacts scattered throughout these tunnels.
The Knights Templar was instructed to search for scientific and holy and sacred relics in the underground catacombs of the First Temple of Solomon. A letter written in 1187 by a surviving Crusader claimed the Templars had found early Masonic records linking the Order of Masons with the Moses’ Ark of the Covenant. Personal fortunes were left buried in the catacombs of the Temple by fleeing Jews after the Roman siege of Jerusalem in 70 AD.
Most importantly the motivation and drive for the Templar presence in and around Solomon’s Temple and in the Holy Land was known to both the Saracen Sunni Muslims and the Shia Muslim Nizaris. Christians and Muslims were searching for Solomon’s gold treasure and the collection of scientific and technical instruments and books. Weapons used for people control and mass destruction created in the First Civilization (2500-1500 BC) were hidden in the catacombs by King Solomon for his ancestors who were Egyptian Pharaohs. The Grand Master Mason Hiram Abif was Bennaim, a ruler of Egypt in 1554 BC when he was assassinated for not revealing Solomon’s secret of power over his people.
Rivalry between Muslim and Christian Crusaders was aggravated by misinformation about their activities. The intrigues of early crusaders alerted the splinter Shia Ismail group of Nizari Muslims living in this area. They therefore became involved in the Crusades as Assassins.
War of the Cross
Pope Urban II (1042-1099) called for a Crusade (War of the Cross) in his famous speech in 1095 at the Council of Clermont in Southern France. He preached to priests and laymen. The Church stood to gain from a crusade against the Seljuq Turks. The First Crusade (1096-1099) was initially launched in a response to pleas from Emperor Alexius I in Constantinople, who requested aid in defense against the Seljuk Turks of Asia Minor. The objective was the reconquest of the holy city of Jerusalem and other Holy Lands from Islamic rule. In orchestrating the First Crusade, the pope had cleverly appealed to religious ideals of the masses, making them a political body of conquerors.
This symbiosis between religion and politics became a driving force in shaping Western European identity. In Pope Urban II’s secular motivations lay the “theory and practice of holy war and holy warriors.” Gregory VII his predecessor may have cited scripture to justify violence, but it is Urban II who strategically put this new principle to work for the Church. Urban II was responsible for creating the idea that soldiers could merge penance and violence together – the primary incentive for crusaders. This ultimately gave him the means to rally immense man power for himself and the Church, and it created his legacy as the saviour of all Christendom against the Muslims.
He persuaded all people of whatever rank, foot soldiers, and knights, poor and rich, to carry ‘aid ‘promptly. He appealed to their emotions and made the Muslim attacks in the East appear as an attack on all Christendom. The call to Christians created a squad of 12,000 disqualified irregulars. Moved by faith and despite famine they arrived in Constantinople like a cloud of locusts, hardly what Emperor Alexius of Constantinople had requested in his appeal.
Motivation for this crusade was Urban II’s desire to obtain vast lands in and outside of Jerusalem. His Christian army conquered lands but not for Emperor Alexius. Pope Urban II wanted the conquered lands converted into Latin kingdoms for the papacy. He wanted to establish kingdoms to the south of his religious Islamic rivals in the Byzantium.
The Church often referred to Jerusalem as `The Navel of the World.’ These 13th century crusades were allegedly to rescue the center of the world. In 1054 the Greek Orthodox Church had severed from the Roman Catholic Church over various theological disagreements and became known as `The Great Schism’ (1054). Pope Urban II sought to be the one to unify the two branches of the Church only forty years later in 1095. Urban II believed the crusading venture would bring a new age of unity in Christendom and would provide an opportunity to expand papal power again.
In the late 12th century the ‘Cluniac Reform’ papacy sought to reassert their control over clergy and to stop secular rulers, such as monarchs, from installing heirs of Bishops. The Cluniac Reform claimed authority not just over all churches but over states and laymen as well. Ideologically and politically, this invited opposition. To establish and protect their ‘right’ over Christendom, successive popes fought with worldly weapons as activists. The First Crusade was a direct result of this idea.
Since building monasteries required land, the Church was reliant on local lords. The First Crusade was the perfect opportunity to gain land for the papacy to make the Church more independent. Urban II conducted his preaching campaigns in France where he was once head of the Cluniac monastery. The reforms were popular throughout Cluny, Burgundy, Auvergne, and Provence. He chose France to unveil his idea of the crusade knowing the power of papacy would find a stronghold in France.
Pope Urban II’s transition into a political figure was made easy because he had the ability to create religious incentives, something the Emperor could not do. Urban II combined the ideas of violence and penance, and the complete remission of sins for those perished in the war. Such announcements removed any potential fears among crusaders. He was able to rally huge masses since religious devotion was used as a clever weapon for political loyalty. Although Emperor Alexius I was the one to call attention to Muslim attacks, it was the papacy that ran the entire war. Pope Urban II and his First Crusade shaped the Western European identity. That trend still exists in the Christianized Western World where political and religious leaders have a mutually useful relationship. Roles of political and religious leaders blend and the Church has become a political entity. The Vatican today stands as a ‘country ‘all by itself.
Crusades: Muslim (630-1099) and Christian (1095-1291) 54
Churchians and Europe’s Nobility used Serfs and Peasants as their military force on land and sea for Christian Crusades. Islam used trans-Saharan Slaves for Armies before and during the Crusades. Early slave armies tended to be white, taken from Russia and Eastern Europe. However, the first independent Muslim ruler of Egypt relied on black slaves and at his death he is said to have left 24,000 (white) Mamluks and 45,000 Nubian military slaves. In North Africa the source of black slaves from Nubia and Sudan were too convenient to ignore.
At the time of the Fatimid defeat, in the twelfth century, black troops formed the majority of the army. By the fifteenth century black military slaves were being favored with the use in battle of firearms because the Mamluks of Egypt refused to use such dishonorable weapons. Slave troops in Tunisia in the seventeenth century even included cavalry, and the Sultan of Morocco is recorded as having an army of 250,000 black slaves. ‘Imported’ Mamluks came from ranks of slaves that were both educated and the uneducated. They blended with the Islamized military class and the wider society of the Abbasid Cairo. Many gained Islamic scholarship and governed themselves according to tenets of the ‘sharia’.
Islamic scholarship divides the world in two: The House of Islam (dar al-Islam) are Nations submitted to Islamic rule; and The House of War (dar al-harb) with Nations that have not submitted to Islam but must be submitted according to Islamic doctrine. Thus, the House of Muslims (dar al-Islam) believe they must make war upon non-Muslims (dar al-harb) until all nations submit to the will of Allah and accept Sharia law 55. Slaves were the first targets of conversions by both the Muslims and the Christians who preferred women captives. Arab slavery (650-1962) remains endemic and still exists even if outlawed. Discrimination, intolerance, and racism in the Arab world persists to this day.
Ethnic prejudices among the ‘elite’ Arabs were not limited to darker skinned black people. Domestic slavery 56 as well as concubine slavery was rare among primitive pastoral peoples but appeared in full form only with the development of an agricultural economy. Concubine slavery appeared among the seafaring Vikings. Some African peoples had the custom of putting up wives and children as hostages for an obligation; if the obligation was unfulfilled, the hostages became permanent slaves.
The institution of slavery was common in the Tigris-Euphrates civilizations and in ancient Persia. The institution was familiar to the ancient Hebrews. Slavery was an established institution in the Greece of Homer’s time, and a large portion of the population of the Greek city-states was of the servile class. There were domestic slaves, agricultural slaves, and artisans and workers. Slavery in early Roman history continued to expand, as agricultural slavery became estate slavery. They were employed in the theater, in gladiatorial combats, and, to some extent, in prostitution. Most of the slaves were foreign, and some were highly educated and employed as instructors.
The introduction of Christianity toward the end of the Roman Empire had no effect on the abolition of slavery. The Church did not oppose the institution. However, a change in economic life resulted in the gradual disappearance of the agricultural slaves, who became tenant farmers. They were technically free but were bound to the land by debts. The agricultural slave became the serf. The semi-freedom of serfdom was the dominant theme in the Middle Ages, although domestic slavery did not disappear.
Slavery flourished in the Byzantine Empire, in Islam and in Christianity. All accepted slavery and serfdom, and it became a standard institution in Muslim and Christian lands. During Muslim Crusades most slaves were African in origin. In Islamic life, keeping slaves was largely a sign of wealth, with slaves used as soldiers, concubines, cooks, and entertainers. In Byzantine times slavery (serfdom) and freedom had a much more fluid boundary than in the East, with some slaves and former slaves reaching positions of great power and prestige. Meanwhile many slaves became Armies used in Islamic Crusades
Black slaves were castrated as they were believed to have uncontrollable sexual appetites. While most slaves were sold to the ‘white colonialists for the Americas and brought for agricultural purposes, slaves bound for Arab countries were used for their date orchards, camel races, the military and as servants. Twice as many women as men were bought along the shores of Zanzibar and Mombasa in East Africa as well as from Ghana along the Western African shores. Children born to these women were either killed or used during desert camel races. The death toll from 1400 years of Arab slave trade is today estimated between 112 and 140 million.
Islam launched their Crusades against Christianity long before the European Crusades. The Crusades were started by the Muslims in the year 630 AD when Muhammad invaded and conquered Mecca. Later Muslims invaded Syria, Iraq, Jerusalem, Iran, Egypt, Africa, Spain, Italy and France. The Western Crusades started around 1095 to stop Islamic invasions but also to counter Islamic Crusades for the Holy Land. It continues even after the Western Crusades. Islam has killed about 270 million people: 120 million Africans, 60 million Christians, 80 million Hindus and 10 million Buddhists. Forced conversions to Islam across Asia, Africa, and Europe were decreed under Islamic dynasties (both under Seljuq and Ottoman Turkish rule in Persia/Iran and in the Indian subcontinent. In fact Islam has been at a continuous war against non-Muslims for almost 1400 years.
Assassins and Saladin in Crusades
The birth of the Assassins originated with the establishment of Ismailism in Alamut but its spiritualism continues to the present day continues. It materialised as a result of deceitful Islamic and European Crusaders who wandered off from their origins of Islam and Christianity. Both slashed and burned tribal lands and forced conversions to Islam and Christianity.
In their peak much of the assassinations of the day were attributed to the Alamut Assassins even though the Christian Crusaders and Sunni Muslim Saracens Crusaders employed clandestinely motivated assassinations for personal gain. Officers of both the Crusaders and Saracens were forced to remain continuously armed for personal protection against the Nizari Assassins. Islamic historians have listed and acknowledged fifty well-performed assassinations of known political enemies during the thirty-five years reign of Hassan from Alamut. They executed those who represented a threat to the Nizari security, cause and philosophy. They favoured single assassinations over bloodshed of combat. Genocide was not tolerated. They believed single political assassinations that brought peace and security to the common people under his roof.
Emotional attacks against the enemy’s psyche were a tactic to draw their opponent into submission rather than risking unnecessary killing. Saladin the Sunni Saracen Crusader managed to survive two assassination attempts. Fear of another attempt on his life forced Saladin to admit to his guards to settle for a truce with the Assassins under Al Hasan.
The original Nizari Assassins were eradicated by the Mongol Empire (1206-1368) during the invasion of Khwarizmi (1218-1220). Assassins were sent to kill M?ngke Khan but his Mongol commander assaulted the Assassin fortresses in 1253. The Mongols besieged Alamut in1256. The Assassins recaptured and held Alamut for a few months in 1275, but they were crushed and their political power was lost forever. Although the Assassin Order had officially been destroyed, individual members of the Assassins continued operating into the 14th century, accepting private contracts. The Brotherhood began to fade into history as a result of lost tradition, customs, and ideals. Following the establishment of the Christian Kingdom of Hungary at the end of the 13th century the Nizari community was defeated.
As was and is still common with Sunni Muslims, the Saracens have promoted the Shia community of Ismaili, Isthnashiri and Bohras sects of Shia’ism as a radical and heretical sects and are assassinated spontaneously by Sunni radicals belonging to the post-1920 ‘Movement of Wahabism’. The term ‘assassin’ was originally, a “local and popular term” first applied to the Ismailis of Syria. The brand name was verbally transmitted to Western historians and thus found itself in their histories of about Nizaris. The tales of the fida’is’ training collected from anti-Ismaili historians and Orientalist writers were further confounded by Marco Polo’s account of a fabled death in a “secret garden of paradise”. Marco Polo reported Ismaili devotees were drugged with hashish and taken to paradise-like gardens filled with attractive young maidens and beautiful plants in which fida’is (faithful trustworthy partners) would awaken. Here, they were told by an “old” man that they were witnessing Paradise. Should they wish to return to this garden permanently, they would have to serve the Nizari cause of assassination.
Dominion Theology has Crusader (Christian/Islamic) Mindset 57
It is a belief this world must be conquered for Christians and for Muslims through subversive and unwarranted seditious Activities are undertaken by the priests of Church and Mullahs of the Masjid. The Movement is based on Dominion Theology and has all the features of a Crusader mindset. Both religious groups teach that it is the duty of both sects to take over the world, through government and defence force. In that effort, there is a burning sense to impose Abrahamic rule across the world. According to some cults Christ or Mahdi will not return, until the believers have “risen up” and “taken dominion” over the world’s governmental politics and foundational society and institution. This, they say is a direct mandate from God and He is waiting to make possible the Second Coming of a Prophet.
For the past 1500 years evangelical political activism in the West (Roman and Byzantine) has been to erase aggressively all indigenous religions of various Empires. Pre-Mohammad Islam from Mesopotamian Lands, Buddhism and Polytheism from Mongolia in Central and Northern Asian Steppes, Mayan Religions of Americas; Vedic religions of India; The end result is Christianisation of the Western World, Islamisation where Christians failed in the midst of an under-swell of the ancient ‘pagan’ religions. Christianisation North America is an influence that has been progressive and momentous. The effect of such Dominionism is so extensive and pervasive that it has corrupted and crept into both Eastern and Western cultures as emotional excesses. The malignancy is carefully managed to give it an intellectual public image that conforms with an already long-established standard of several millennia. Many key individual movers-and-shakers and organizations have cross-linkages that are intersecting with dominionist think-tanks who pass off as wise, realistic and judicious.
Throughout the 2000 year history of Christianity and 1500 years of Islam there has always been a vein of Dominionism embedded in their strata of doctrines. This seam of ‘control’ has ebbed and flowed in the history of humanity for 20 centuries, sometimes submerged and sometimes exposed. Whenever dominionism is out in the open, it has given rise to horrible abuses done in the name of Christ or Mohammad. This vein of Dominionism is alive and active even today but modernism states ‘dominion theology’ is a heresy. Because it is rarely presented openly as its definitions indicate, all evangelical fundamentalists’ cults adhere to Dominionism because it has “crept in unawares” (Jude 1:4) to seduce an undiscerning generation.
To most effectively propagate their agenda, dominionist leaders first develop a new theology needing study of the doctrines of Church and Islam to make them a community of an organic entity. The study course is for targeted audience of intelligent receptive minds of potential crusaders or jihadis. Emphasis is made along major denominational fault lines. Once convinced, they become Promise Keepers. They are usually amen’s Movement used to “break down the walls” that are able to cross denominational barriers. The purpose is to export Dominionism to a wider organised movement in the society’s subculture. This strategy is so effective that it reaches mainline Dominionists. They are carefully selected leader potentials trained as “change agents” for “transformation” through mind-manipulation also called ‘dominion’.
There are three predominant sects (or movements) that propagate dominion theology and each hold considerable influence on humanity:
Holy Prayer Warfare Movement Trainers guarantee the apprentice theKingdom of God through hyper-spiritual “warfare” activities against the ‘devil’. This ‘devil’ is a non-believer, a pagan or an infidel. The apprentices are told ‘prayer power’ meetings create spiritual “canopies” along their preparatory pathway towards an inner “spiritual resurgence.” The Holy Prayer Warfare is therefore preparatory work for two inner psychic movements towards building a personalised way towards the kingdom of heaven.
Prayer before fighting is a devotional call by the worshipper seeking admission to become God’s warriors, and workers. They must first offer their lives as a living sacrifice in the worship to God. From such worship is sought intercession that the dedication to warfare is the weapon of righteousness. After much such worship to God, the apprentice must fight the Spirit that he or she is able to proceed to work towards the harvest fields of the Kingdom of God.
The effect of prayer warfare activities are hyper-charismatic. The ‘movement’, consists of self-anointed, self-appointed “apostles” and “prophets” who are preparing to govern the world through “New Apostolic Reformation.” The Mission of Transformation Movement: is to fulfil (Matthew 28:18-20). No longer is the spreading the Gospel message by speaking the Word from the Bible. The dominionist is making disciples for “kingdom building” of corporate activities for cities, regions and nations. The Church is being asked to grow past the ‘Gospel of Salvation’ message.
“. . . God’s concern goes beyond the salvation of individual people. His redemptive plan encompasses the healing and transformation of entire nations . . . . Nations are discipled as the church makes the invisible Kingdom visible by faithful obedience to God’s Word throughout culture-in every area of life, and every realm of society including the family, the community, the arts, sciences, media, law, government, schools, or business. . . .”
Patriotic Dominionism Movement believes and teaches that political action will advance the kingdom of God from America. They have taught evangelicals for the past three decades that America is a Christian nation and needs to return to its roots.Patriotic dominionist leaders and their organizations have been closely interlocked financially and politically with the conservatives. They purport to uphold morality, which appeals to evangelicals. Their combined force of conservatives and evangelicals flexes its political muscles in Washington. They believe:
1. The Kingdom of God was inaugurated and the King was installed and seated in the First Century AD and we need not wait for the King’s second coming to get the Kingdom started here on earth.
2. At this moment of history, all humans on earth, whether Jew or Gentile, believer or unbeliever, private person or public official, are obligated to bow their knees to this King Jesus, confess Him as Lord of the universe with their tongues, and submit to His lordship over every aspect of their lives in thought, word and deed.
3. Biblical evangelism according to the Great Commission of Matt. 28:18-20 is not truly accomplished unless that message of Christ’s lordship is given to the person being evangelized so that they know that an attempt at personal neutrality before King Jesus is sin and treason in this universe. This is because they feel:
CORPORATE + STATE = Fascism
STATE + CHURCH = Faith-based
CHURCH + CORPORATE = Fusion: the Merchant Church
Drucker’s 3-legged stool model. . .[The Peter F. Drucker Foundation for Nonprofit Management believes that a healthy society requires three vital sectors: a public sector of effective governments; a private sector of effective businesses; and a social sector of effective community organizations, including faith-based organizations. It furthers its mission to lead social sector organizations toward excellence in performance by providing educational opportunities and resources.]
Go to Part 4 – Referenced Inferno
1 What was the name of Eastern Half of Roman Empire? Wiki.answers.com;
2 Byzantine Roman Emperor Justinian: ancienthistory.about.com
3 Plague of Justinian: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justinian_Plague;
4 Fall of Rome – End of Roman Empire: ancientjistory.about.com/od/fallofrome;
5 The Byzantine Empire – Constantinople – The Hundred Years War; www.hyw.com/books/history//Cannon;
6 Greek Fire – Phantis: wiki.phantis.com/index.php/Greek fire;
7 History of Bulgaria: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Bulgaria:
8 Byzantine Iconoclasm: en.wikipedia/wiki/Iconoclasm_(Byzantine);
9 Biography pope Leo III – Agnosticism/Atheism-Skepticism…atheism.about.com/library/glossary//western/beldef_leoiii.html;
10 Abrahamic Religions – Politics and Religion:swamphermit.wordpress.com/abrahamic-religions;
11 Cataphracts: hods.com/evony/tag/cataphracts;
12 Macedonian Era: www.britannica.com/Byzantine-/From 867-to-the-Ottoman-conquest;
13 Greek Orthodox Church: en.wikipedia/org/wiki/Greek_Orthodox
14 Arabs: The Arab Empire;www.infoplease.com/encyclopedia/society/arabs-the-arab-empire.html;
15 Pope Formosus: www.newadvent.org/cathen/html;
16 HENRY III. (1017-1056), Holy Roman emperor, was the son of Conrad II. the founder of the Franconia dynasty. His father wanted the succession secure by strengthening authority of the crown. He had him elected German king in 1026 with reaches into Bavaria, Swabia, Burgundy and reigning sovereign of Germany in 1039, at the age of twenty-two. Of upright and resolute temper, Henry III made his power felt both in church and state. He granted as many of the duchies as possible either to members of his own family or to vassals on whose loyalty he could rely. He began in 1042 with a series of campaigns and asserted the supremacy. At this time the moral condition of the church caused him serious concern. Henry, was deeply religious and associated himself heartily with the movement for reform which proceeded from Cluny. At a council of prelates in 1046, he caused rival popes, Benedict IX., Sylvester II and Gregory VI, to be deposed, and raised to the papal see, as Clement II. Three other German bishops were appointed to the same position. As all were devout men and energetic administrators, they did much to purify the ecclesiastical system of Europe. During their rule the papacy was held in strict subjection to the empire. He applied himself to the task of making the church worthy of its mission. He understood the grave dangers for the state, is a pope of proud and independent spirit was given a subordinate position. The magnitude of the peril soon revealed itself when Hildebrand became pope during the reign of Henry IV, Henry III.’s son and successor. Henry III died in the prime of life in 1056.
17 Investiture Controversy: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Investiture_Controversy;
18 Henry IV: Biography from Answers.com
19 Pope Gregory VII lost a power struggle with Henry IV and a remarkable man for his times. He brought Christianity to the forefront of everyday life during Middle Ages and stopped Lay Investiture by curbing power of rulers; He was pope from 1187 until his death in 1187.
20 Holy Roman EmpireEmperor – Charles the Great), King of the Franks and Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire restored much of the unity of the old Roman Empire. He reformed the Church, introduced jury courts, revised coinage and weights and measures, and promoted agriculture, industry, and trade. Although illiterate, he founded schools and encouraged literature and the arts. His effect on the cultural life of Western Europe was so all-pervasive that his reign is remembered as a period of renaissance. He was born Charles, eldest son of Pepin the Short, first Carolingian king of the Franks. He inherited his kingdom. December 25, 800 he was crowned emperor by Pope Leo III during a special service in St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome. 813 Names his third son, Louis, as his successor
21 Antipopes were numerous during struggles between Popes and the Holy Roman Emperors of the 11th and 12th centuries: One of the most notorious cases in Church history was that of the Antipope Anacletus II, who reigned in Rome from 1130 to 1138. Anacletus had been implanted in an uneconomical election after Innocent II, the true pope, had already been chosen. Despite his invalid and uncanonical election, Antipope Anacletus II gained control of Rome and the support of the majority of the College of Cardinals. Anacletus held the support of almost the entire populace of Rome, until the true pope regained control of the city in 1138. (The Catholic Encyclopedia, “Anacletus,”
Gregory was made Cardinal-Deacon by Pope Paschal II. Under Pope Callistus II Gregory was sent to Germany and then to France. In 1130, the morning following the death of Pope Honorius II and Cardinal Gregory was chosen as his successor taking the name of Innocent II. Three hours later Pietro Pierleone was elected by another group of cardinals and took the name of PopeAnacletus II. Both received Episcopal consecration: Innocent at Santa Maria Nuova and Anacletus at St. Peter’s. The influential family of the Frangipani had deserted his cause and Innocent at first retired into the stronghold belonging to his family in Trastevere, then went to France by way of Pisa and Genoa. There he secured support of Louis VI and acknowledged his authority.
Through the activity of papal legates, the election of Innocent was ratified at the request of the German king, and king and his princes promised allegiance. A week later Pope Innocent solemnly crowned King Lothair and Queen Richenza in the church of St. Lambert. In 1131, at St-Denis in Paris he crowned the young prince of France, later Louis VII. The following year he again entered Rome, and crowned Lothair emperor at the Lateran. In 1134 the pope, at the request of the emperor, ordered that Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and the island of Greenland should remain under the jurisdiction of Hamburg.
On the departure of the emperor, Pope Innocent also left and went to Pisa where this antipope still held sway in Rome. At Pisa a great synod was held in 1135 at which were present bishops of Spain, England, France, Germany, Hungary. In the spring of 1137 Emperor Lothair, in answer to the repeated entreaties of the pope, began his march to Rome. Pope Anacletus still held a part of the city, but died in 1138. Another antipope was chosen, who called himself Victor IV, but he soon submitted, and Pope Innocent found himself in possession of the city and of the papacy.
To remove the remnants and evil consequences of the schism, Innocent II called the Tenth Ecumenical Council of one thousand bishops and other prelates. The official acts of Anacletus II were declared null and void, the majority of bishops and priests ordained by him deposed. Thirty canons were made against simony, incontinence, extravagance in dress among the clergy, etc. Excommunication was pronounced against the self-styled King of Sicily.
After cleaning his reign with there was semblance of order between monarchy and Church. Innocent II is praised by all, especially by St. Bernard, as a man of irreproachable character. His motto was: “If the sacred authority of the popes and the imperial power are imbued with mutual love, we must thank God in all humility, since then only can peace and harmony exist among Christian peoples. For there is nothing so sublime as the papacy nor so exalted as the imperial throne”.
22 Pope Urban II launched the Crusade Movement with his call to arms at the Council of Clermont; Was previously assistant to Pope Gregory VII;
23 Charles or Charlemagne: His reign of forty-six years was filled with wars and conquests, as during that time he undertook fifty-two campaigns, the chief of which were against the Lombards, the Saracens and the Saxons. When Desiderius, king of the Lombards, sought succession for children of Carloman, Charlemagne seized all his in 774. He was determined to establish Christianity at any cost, but for more than thirty years Saxons resisted him. During this struggle Charlemagne had 4,500 Saxon prisoners put to death at one time. The Saxons at last yielded, and most of the leaders were baptized.
In the year 800 Charlemagne was called to Rome by Pope Leo III to aid him against a hostile faction. The king speedily punished the Pope’s enemies, and before leaving Rome was rewarded for his services. Pope Leo approached the kneeling king, placed on his head a crown of gold and proclaimed him emperor of the Romans, the consecrated successor of Caesar Augustus and Constantine. Charlemagne is famed as a statesman and patron of learning. Under his rule commerce was protected, and robbers who preyed upon traveling merchants were severely dealt with; agriculture was encouraged and improvements were taught ot the farmers, the emperor’s own estates being a praiseworthy model. Charlemagne formed at his court a school for the nobles and their sons, and he himself learned to read Latin and even Greek, although he could not write legibly. He was married four times, and left one son, who became Louis I, surnamed The Pious.
24 Concordat of Worms was agreement signed in Germany between Henry V (Roman Emperor from 1106-1125) and Pope Calixtus (1119-24) settling the Investiture Controversy;
25 Pope Calixtus II(Guido) was the fourth son of King William I. His reign as Pope (1119-1124), signaled the termination of the Investiture Controversy (1049-1159). The Growth of Papal Supremacy began with Gregory VII, and raged with almost unabated bitterness during the last quarter of the eleventh century and the opening years of the twelfth. He was closely connected with nearly all the royal houses of Europe. His brother Hugh was appointed Archbishop and he himself was named Archbishop of Vienne (1088), and afterwards appointed papal legate in France by Paschal II.
Pope Callistus II reign which began February 1119 ended the Investiture controversy began before the time of Pope Gregory VII and continued with unabated bitterness for a century. He was named the papal legate to France by Pope Paschal II who yielded to the military threats of Emperor Henry V. By this document the Church gave up much of what were claimed and attained by Pope Gregory VII with his Gregorian Reforms. These concessions did not bring the expected peace. Violent reactionary opposition everywhere in Europe was expected to end the Investiture controversy. The greatest resistance was seen in France and was led by Guido (Calixtus) who still held the office of the papal legate.
A sentence of excommunication was pronounced against Henry V, who had extorted through violence from the pope the concessions he wanted on a forged document. The decrees denouncing the privileges were sent to Paschal II with a request for confirmation. Pope Paschal II confirmed these in 1112.
When Guido was later created cardinal by Pope Paschal II Guido boldly attacked upon Henry V. On the death of Paschal II1118, Gelasius II was elected pope. He was immediately seized by the Italian allies of Henry V. Henry V demanded the confirmation of the “Privilege” and received no satisfactory reply. He then set about naming the archbishop of Braga, as his own pope. This pope assumed the name Gregory VIII who had crowned Henry V as the Holy Roman Emperor in Rome in 1117.
Gelasius II excommunicated the antipope Gregory VIII and King Henry V. Gelasius was forced to flee under duress from the army of Henry V, and took refuge in the monastery of Cluny, where he died in January of 1119. On the fourth day after the death of Gelasius II, Guido was elected pope and assumed the title of Callistus II in 1119. Because of his close connection with the great royal families of Germany, France, England and Denmark, Callistus’ papacy was received with much anticipation and celebration throughout Europe.
It was agreed that Henry and Pope Callistus would meet in 1119. Louis VI of France and most of the barons of France attended this council along with more than four hundred bishops and abbots. The Pope was also to meet with Henry V, Holy Roman Emperor. Henry showed up with an army of thirty thousand men. Callistus quickly retreated back to Reims. Here, the Church dealt with issues of simony, concubinage of the clergy.
The Conclave at Reims considered the situation and formally excommunicated both Henry V and the antipope Gregory VIII in 1119. While at Reims, Callistus tried to effect a settlement with Henry I of England and his brother Robert. This too, met with failure. Callistus was determined to enter Rome which occupied by German forces and the antipope Gregory VIII.
There was an uprising by the population which forced Gregory VIII to flee the city. Pope Gregory VIII was formally deposed and Callistus II was generally recognized as the legitimate Pope in 1121. Callistus now returned to Henry V over the issue of lay investiture. Henry was forced by circumstances to seek a peace with Callistus. Henry V gave up his claim to investiture with ring and crosier and granted freedom of election to the Episcopal sees.
The First Lateran Council with nearly three hundred bishops and six hundred abbots from every part of Catholic Europe being present in 1123. Decrees were also passed directed against simony, concubinage among the clergy, church robbers, and forgers of Church documents; the council also reaffirmed indulgences for Crusaders. In the remaining few years of his life, Callistus II attempted to secure the status of the Church as it had existed at the end of the reign of Pope Gregory VII. He reorganized and reformed the churches around Rome, canonized Conrad of Constance, confirmed the Bishop Thurston of York against the wishes of Henry I of England, and affirmed the freedom of York from the see of Canterbury.
Callistus died December 13, 1124. He was succeeded by Pope Honorius II. Callistus II was a strong figure who brought a relative, if tentative peace between Germany and the Church. The Concordat of Worms and the First Lateran Council changed forever the belief in the divine right of kings to name the pope and bishops, and reshaped the nature of church and state forever.
26 Boniface VIII was born Benedetto Caetani. In 1264, Benedict became part of the Roman Curia where he served as secretary to Cardinal Simon of Brie on a mission to France. He accompanied a Papal Militia force to England (1265-1268) to suppress a rebellion by barons against Henry III. In February 1296, Gaetani bought the papacy from the cardinals for 7,000 gold florins and became Pope Boniface VIII. In enriching his own family, the Caetani entered into a bitter quarrel with the Colonna, a powerful family responsible for constantly driving the popes from Rome. When Stephen Cardinal Colonna, the brother of James Cardinal Colonna, seized a cargo of the pope’s gold and silver destined for the Caetani family, Boniface VIII excommunicated the entire Colonna family and declared a crusade against it. The family replied with a manifesto accusing Boniface VIII of acquiring the papacy by fraud . Under the leadership of one of his cardinals, Boniface’s army destroyed the property of the Colonna and scattered the family members all over Europe.
King Philip IV of France concerned with exalting his authority against the pope opposed Boniface VIII. He summoned an impeachment for heresy, simony and rapacity. Boniface was specifically accused of “…wizardry, dealing with the Devil, disbelief in Jesus Christ, declaring that sins of the flesh were not sins, and causing the murder of Pope Celestine and others. He had a certain ‘idol’ in which a ‘diabolical spirit’ was enclosed whom he was in the habit of consulting ? a strange voice answered him” In 1303
Boniface VIII jeered habitually at religion and morals, and made this remarkable statement: “There was no Jesus Christ and the Eucharist is just flour and water. Mary was no more a virgin than my own mother, and there is no more harm in adultery than in rubbing your hands together.”He died on October 11, 1303 and was succeeded by Pope Clement V (1305-1314).
27 Colonna Family: an Italian noble family powerful in medieval and Renaissance Rome, supplying one Pope and many other Church and political leaders. Their family is notable for their bitter feud with the Orsini family over influence in Rome until it was stopped by Papal Bull in 1511. They are a branch of the Counts of Tusculum through Peter de Columna (1099-1151) and son of Gregory III. He was named after his property, the Columna Castle, in Colonna, Alban Hills. The first cardinal from the family, Cardinal Deacon of SS. Cosma e Damiano, was appointed in 1206. For many years, Cardinal Giovanni di San Paolo was identified as member of the Colonna family.
Giovanni Colonna (1206), nephew of Cardinal Giovanni Colonna di Carbognano, made became Dominican in 1228 and received his theological and philosophical training at the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas. Colonna was appointed as Archbishop of Messina in 1255. At this time a rivalry began with the pro-papal Orsini family, leaders of the Guelph faction. This reinforced the pro-Emperor Ghibelline course that the Colonna family followed throughout the period of conflict between the Papacy and the Holy Roman Empire.
In 1297, Cardinal Jacopo (Giacomo Colonna) disinherited his brothers Ottone, Matteo, and Landolfo of their lands. The three appealed to Pope Boniface VIII who ordered Jacopo to return the land, and furthermore hand over the family’s strongholds of Colonna, Palestrina, and other towns to the Papacy. Jacopo refused. Boniface removed him from the College of Cardinals and excommunicated him and his followers for four generations.
The Colonna family (aside from the three brothers allied with the Pope) declared that Boniface was been elected illegally following the unprecedented abdication of Pope Celestine V three years previously. The dispute lead to open warfare, and in September Boniface appointed Landolfo to the command of his army, to put down the revolt of Landolfo own Colonna relatives. This he did, and by the end of 1298 Colonna, Palestrina, and other towns had been captured and razed to the ground. The family’s lands were distributed among Landolfo and his loyal brothers; the rest of the family fled Italy.
Family enmity with Pope Boniface VIII led to destruction of the fortress at Palestrina and to the seizure of the Pope in 1303. The family remained at the centre of civic and religious life throughout the late Middle Ages. In 1248, after having dedicated her entire life to serving God and the poor, Margherita Colonna died. A member of the Franciscan Order, she was beatified by Pope Pius IX in 1848.
From the 14th century, the family sponsored the decoration of the Church of San Giovanni. In 1314, Cardinal Egidio Colonna died at Avignon, now in France, where the Popes had withdrawn. An Augustinian, he had studied theology in Paris under St. Thomas of Aquinas to become one of the most authoritative thinkers of his time, and tutor to French king Philip IV the Fair, (1268 – 1314). The celebrated poet Petrarch was a great friend of the family, in particular of Giovanni Colonna and often lived in Rome as a guest of the family.
Read more: http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804, 1981842_1981844 _1981864,00.html #ixzz2MBrjSywg
28 Dante’s involvement in Struggle in Italy between the Guelphs and the Ghibellines: Guelphs were a nationalist party. They were divided into two groups: The Neri (Blacks), who remained tied to the pope, and Bianchi (Whites), who were independent. Dante was a member of the Whites. Ghibellines supported European unification under the Holy Roman Emperor (whose power after the Great Interregnum (1254-1273) was waning). The Whites wished to remain independent of both the Holy Roman Emperor and the Pope. Blacks saw the Pope as an ally against imperial power. At Dante’s request-and in the cause of peace-the leaders of both factions were exiled. Pope Boniface VIII enabled the leaders of the Blacks to return to Florence in 1301 and they seized power. They banned Dante from the city in 1302 for two years, fining him heavily. He refused to pay, and was therefore condemned to death in his absence. Dante spent his exile in northern Italian cities-mainly Verona-and in Paris. All of Dante’s work on The Comedy later called The Divine Comedy, and consisting of three books: Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso) was done in exile. He completed Inferno, which depicts and allegorical journey through Hell, in 1314.
29 Rodrigo Borgia (1431-1503), became pope from 1492 to his death. He is the most memorable of the corrupt and secular popes of the Renaissance. He was born near Valencia in Spain and his took on his mother’s family, Borgia was assumed when his maternal uncle was elevated to papacy as Calixtus III. (1455). He studied law at Bologna, and after his uncle’s election he created successively bishop, cardinal and vice-chancellor of the church, an act of nepotism characteristic of the age.
He served in the Curia under five popes and acquired much administrative experience, influence and wealth, although no great power. He displayed great splendour and lived in a fine palace. His morals were dominated by greed of gold and love of women. He was devotedly fond of the children whom his mistresses bore him. His riotous lifestyle called down upon him a severe reprimand from Pope Pius II., who succeeded Calixtus III in 1458.
Of his many mistresses the one for whom his passion lasted longest was a certain Vannozza (Giovanna) dei Cattanei, born in 1442, and wife of three successive husbands. The connection began in 1470, and she bore him many children whom he openly acknowledged as his own: Giovanni, afterwards duke of Gandia born in 1474; Cesare born 1476; Lucrezia born 1480; and Goffredo or Giuffre (born 1481). His other children-Girolamo, Isabella and Pier Luigi-were of uncertain parentage.
Before his elevation to the papacy Cardinal Borgia’s passion for Vannozza diminished, and she led a retired life. Her place in his affections was filled by the beautiful Giulia Farnese (Giulia Bella), wife of an Orsini, but his love for his children by Vannozza remained as strong as ever and proved, the determining factor of his whole career. He lavished vast sums on them and loaded them with every honour. A characteristic instance of the corruption of the papal court is the fact that Borgia’s daughter Lucrezia lived with his mistress Giulia, who bore him a daughter Laura in 1492.
On the death of Pope Innocent VIII three likely candidates were Cardinals Borgia, Ascanio Sforza and Giuliano della Rovere. Immense sums of money spent on bribery, and Borgia by his great wealth succeeded in buying the largest number of votes, including that of Sforza. In 1492, assuming the name of Alexander VI, Borgia’s elevation took place. But it was not long before his unbridled passion for endowing his relatives at the expense of the church and of his neighbours became manifest. He was ready to commit any crime and to plunge all Italy into war.
Cesare Borgia’s second son then a youth of sixteen and a student at Pisa, was made archbishop of Valencia. Giovanni received a cardinal’s hat. For the Duke of Gandia and Giuffre the pope carved fiefs out of the Papal States and the kingdom of Naples. Among the fiefs destined for the Duke (with financial from Ferdinand of Aragon, king of Naples – Don Ferrante) were the lately acquired properties from Virginio Orsini, head of that powerful and turbulent house.
This brought the Orsini into conflict with Alexander. To revenge himself Orsini made an alliance with the king’s enemies, especially the Sforza family, lords of Milan.
30 Protestant Reformation: Roman Catholic Church’s dogma of apostolic succession claims denominations through a lineage of Roman Catholic Popes throughout the centuries to the Apostle Peter. This claims a unique authority to interpret Scripture, establish doctrine, and claim Pope as infallible in the exercise of his office as pastor and teacher of all Christians. This is the major difference between Roman Catholics and Protestants and was one of the foundational reasons for the Protestant Reformation. The Eastern Orthodox Church also claims apostolic succession, similar to the Roman Catholic view. The split between Eastern Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism did not occur until the “Great Schism” in 1054. The problem with any attempts to trace a line of succession back to the apostles, whether it is Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, or Protestant, is that they all are attempts to derive the authority of what they believe and teach from the wrong source instead of deriving it from the Word of God. God has given and preserved the supreme authority for all matters of faith and practice in His Holy Word, the Scriptures of all Abrahamic and Eastern as well as ‘pagan’ scriptures.
Prior to the Constantine’s conversion to Christianity in AD 315, Christians were persecuted by the Roman government. With his conversion, Christianity became an ‘allowed’ religion of the Roman Empire. The Church joined with Power of the Roman government and led to the formation of the Roman Catholic Church to refine its doctrine and develop its structure. During this time, Roman government and carried severe penalties if one disagreed with any doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church, resulting in excommunication and sometimes even death. There were always pockets of resistance to some of the unbiblical practices and teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, yet they were relatively small and isolated. Prior to the Protestant Reformation in the sixteenth century, men such as John Wycliffe in England, John Huss in Czechoslovakia, and John of Wessel in Germany had all given their lives for their opposition to some of the unbiblical teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. The opposition to the Roman Catholic Church and its false teaching came to a head in the sixteenth century, when a Roman Catholic monk named Martin Luther posted his 95 propositions against the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church on the Castle Church door at Wittenberg, Germany.
Luther’s intention was to bring reform to the Roman Catholic Church, and in doing so was challenging the authority of the Pope. With the refusal of the Roman Catholic Church to heed Luther’s call to reformation and return to biblical doctrines and practices, the Protestant Reformation began. From this Reformation four major divisions or traditions of Protestantism would emerge: Lutheran, Reformed, Anabaptist, and Anglican. During this time God raised up godly men in different countries in order to once again restore churches throughout the world to their biblical roots and to biblical doctrines and practices.
Underlying the Protestant Reformation which the reformers believe the Roman Catholic Church is in error. 1. How is a person saved? 2. Where does religious authority lie? 3. What is the church? 4. And what is the essence of Christian living? In many ways, much of Protestant Christianity needs to be challenged to return to these fundamental doctrines of the faith, much like the reformers challenged the Roman Catholic Church to do in the sixteenth century. Read more: http://www.gotquestions.org/Protestant-Reformation.html#ixzz2M6JKiY3Q
31 The Crusades: www.historyworld.net/wrldhist;
32 Arabs: By definition were originally the Semitic race of the Arabian Peninsula with a primary language of Arabic pan-ethnicity and from historic times inhabited the south-western parts of the Arabian Peninsula and countries of the Middle East
33 Council of Clermont is where Pope Urban II made his famous call for a Crusade to liberate the Holy Lands from Muslim invaders. This would launch the First Crusade and affect relationships between Christianity and Islam down through the present day. The Council of Clermont is also where decisions reached regarding questions about lay investiture, fasting and communion. It forbade clergy from becoming the vassals of any secular rulers. It decreed that a pilgrimage to Jerusalem made every other penance superfluous. Thus, a sinner could have that sin relieved simply by going to Jerusalem.
34 A History Expedition to Jerusalem (1095-1127)
35 Kingdom of Jerusalem/Crusader Period: www.historyfiles.co.uk/LingListsMiddleEast/CanaanJerusalem.html;
36 The Holy Roman Empire of Germany: wwwflowofhistory.com/units/west/10/FC70;
37 Dominion Theology incorporates a Crusader mindset. It teaches that it is our Christian duty to take over the world, in a political sense, and if necessary, in a military sense, in order to impose Biblical rule. Christ will not return, (they say), until the church has “risen up” and “taken dominion” over all of the world’s governments and institutions. Dominionists affirm that this is not a matter for us to discuss. As they see it, this is a direct unequivocal mandate from God. We are not to wait upon God, (they say). They say that He is waiting for US! Gavin Finley MD;and Dominionism and the rise of Christian Imperialism by Sarah Leslie.
38 Saxon Germanic Dynasty; www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic;
39 Holy Roman Empire: www.historyworld.net/wrldhis/
40 Disintegration of Salian Germanics: historymedren.anout.com/library/text/germany;
41 Decline of Feudalism in the Middle Ages: www.middle-ages.org.uk/decline-of-feudalism.html;
42 Crusades; en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crusades;
43 Venetian Economy – World Economy: www.theworldeconomy.org/impact/ The_Venetian_ Republic.html;
44 Islam: simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam;
45 Shia’ism& Islam: www.nooremadinah.net/EnglishBooks;
46 Ismaili Doctrine: www.shiachat.com/forum/index; and www.angelfire.com/az/recon/magcismai.html;
47 Ismailism: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ismailism;
48 Biblical Genocides:”Genocide: Definition and Controversies,” University of the West of England, at: http://www.ess.uwe.ac.uk/genocide/& Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance: B.A. Robinson;
49 Shechem: The old city of Shechem dates back to about an estimated four thousand years.It was a commercial Canaanite settlement for trade in grapes, olives, wheat, livestock and pottery in 1900-100 BC. Amarna Letters of 1350 BC state the Shechem a kingdom carved out by Labaya, a Canaanite warlord who recruited mercenaries from the rebelling, countryside Habiru. Habiru was the name given by various Sumerian, Egyptian, Akkadian, Hittite, Mitanni and Ugarit sources in 1800 BC and 1100 BC. They were nomadic invaders or semi-nomadic, rebels, outlaws, raiders, mercenaries, and bowmen, servants, slaves, migrant laborers, from all areas of the Fertile Crescent of Northeastern Mesopotamia and Iran and Egypt. The Amarna letters written to Egyptian pharaohs in the 14th century BC document a time of unrest in Canaan that goes back before the battle of Kadesh to the time of Thutmose I.
Shechem first appears in Genesis 12:6-8, where Abraham reaches the “great tree of Moreh” at Shechem and offered sacrifice nearby. Here God confirmed the covenant made with Abraham regarding the possession of the land of Canaan. On a later sojourn, the sons of Jacob avenged their sister’s rape by massacring the city’s inhabitants. Later, following the Exodus, Joshua assembled the Israelites in Shechem and encouraged them to reaffirm their adherence to the Torah.
After Gideon’s death, Abimelech, his son by a concubine, was made king and Yotam, the youngest warned the people of Shechem about the Abimelech future tyranny (Judges 9:7-20). When Abimelech took the city he destroyed it in 1100 BC, and burnt the temple of Baal-berith where the people had fled for safety. It was rebuilt in the 10th century BC. Shechem was the place appointed, after Solomon’s death, for the meeting of the people of Israel and the investiture of Rehoboam. The meeting ended in the secession of the ten northern tribes, and Shechem, became the capital of the new kingdom.
When the kings of Israel moved to Samaria, Shechem lost its importance until after the fall of Jerusalem in 587 BC. On a visit to Jerusalem, Nehemiah expelled many Jews, priests and laymen, who sided with the rebel grandson and rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem. Shechem became the “holy city” of the Samaritans.
In 6 AD Shechem was annexed to the Roman Province of Syria. Some of its inhabitants were of the number of the “Samaritans” who believed in Jesus when he tarried two days in the neighborhood. The city was visited by the Apostles on their way from Samaria to Jerusalem The city was likely destroyed and in 72 AD a new city built 2 kilometers to the west of the old one and named it the modern Nablus.
Some fifty years later Hadrian the Roman Emperor (117-138 AD) restored the temple on Mt. Garizim, and dedicated it to Jupiter. Like Shechem it had an early a Christian community, including an early saint, Justin Martyr, a Greek-speaking non-Jewish from Samaria. On several occasions the Christians suffered greatly from the Samaritans. In 474 the emperor, to avenge an unjust attack of the sect, deprived the latter of Mt. Garizim and gave it to the Christians who built on it a church dedicated to the Blessed Virgin.The city of Nablus was islamicized in the Abbasid and Ottoman periods. It is still referred to as Shechem by Israelis and Hebrew speakers:
50 Sea Peoples: a Confederacy of naval raiders who harried coastel towns and cities of the Mediterranean between 1276 and 1178 BC.
51 God and Canaanites: www.facingthechallenge.org/josha6.php;
52 Dominion Theology: www.theocracywatch.orh/dominionism.html;
53 Byzantine Empire: www.history.com/topics/byzantine-empire:
54 Islamic Crusades vs Christian Crusades: answering-islam.org/Authors/Arlandson/crusades.html;
55 Sharia Law: Islamic Law: Legal frameworks of civil and criminal laws of justice regulating individual conduct both moral and personal. www.radicalislam.org/threat/global-threat/sharia-law;Under Muslim Sharia law, the clothes you wear, the music you listen to, and the television you watch should all be censored. Sharia is the ideal social system for those that preach Radical Islam. Sharia is based upon specific Islamic teachings. It is intolerant the Western ideals of “liberty and justice for all”. Sharia views non-Muslims as second class citizens, sanctions inequality between men and women, prescribes cruel and unusual punishments for crimes, and promotes a restrictive business environment.
56 Slavery: http://www.infoplease.com/encyclopedia/business/slavery.html;
57 Dominionism: and the Rise of Christian Imperialism By Sarah Leslie