The Crusades: Now and Then

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Our knowledge of the Crusades has been expanding rapidly in the past few decades.  A good starting point is to read some of the numerous works of Dr. Riley-Smith.

Here is a link to a First Things Article in which Riley-Smith explains what the Crusades were:

A good examination of myths about the crusades, linked below, by Thomas F. Madden, one of the foremost historians of the Fourth Crusade.

His “A Concise History of the Crusades” is a must read for anyone interested in this period in history:


The Crusades were a tardy, and defensive, response to militant Islam by the Catholic states of the West.  By bringing Western military power against Islam the fall of Constantinople to the Turks was delayed until 1453. The Byzantine Empire had suffered a severe defeat at the battle of Manzikert at the hands of the Turks in 1071. They were no longer able to hold the line in the East against Islam and were desperate for military aid from the West. Absent the Crusades I doubt if Constantinople would have survived much beyond 1150. This would have led to Islam taking over the Balkans three centuries before it did historically. These three centuries were crucial in that by the time the Turks marched against Vienna in 1529 the West was already beginning to surpass Islam technologically. Vienna besieged in 1229 might have been the beginning of a process that would have seen the conquest of Europe by Islam.

It is important that we understand this history, because the West today is under siege again by Islam and too many people in the West, blinded by Leftism and a fashionable scorn, if not outright hatred for, Christianity, paint a false picture of the past and the present in which Islam is a religion of peace and Christians are the evil agressors.  Such madness will kill us all if are not constantly reminding people of the truth.

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  1. I appreciate these posts with solid information. I would like to think that Brexit, Trump, Le Pen’s current lead, Hungary’s and Poland’s actions vis-a-vis Islam are some indication that the West is not completely dead yet (Billy Crystal’s character from Princess Bride pops into my head). There is an incredibly high hurdle to clear yet, and saddest of all, that hurdle was built and is being sustained by our fellow “Westerners”.

  2. Thank you Donald for posting such needed information. ’tis a feather in your cap. I recall reading a foot note in a Bible about a prophecy that could be applied to Islam. That particular book is no longer in my possession so I can’t be specific. Nonetheless, Islam is sufficiently significant as to merit at least a prophetical allusion to its coming about. Due to the chronology of my walking about this vale of tears, I was the beneficiary of a politically uncorrected teaching of history which told the true history of Islam and its war against Western Civilization. Today, Western Civilization faces a conflict on two fronts. Islam from without, and apostasy from within. And, as best as this humble observer can articulate, this seems to sum up our situation.

  3. Mr. Walsh-
    have you considered that Islam is, arguably, a Christian heresy in the style of those old cut-and-paste religions that were really popular when the Church was founded? Took some aspects of Christian teaching, melded them with the existing culture and philosophy, and boom.

    Right along with socialism– which when you look at it right sure seems to be a bunch of Christian chunks put together with some funky philosophy and an odd view of human nature– looks like the folks who want to accuse Christianity of causing a lot of trouble have an unexpected bit of truth in their claims, just not where they think it is….

  4. Foxfier-
    You are probably right, supposing that Mohammad did not make Islam up out of whole cloth but stitched together swatches of Christianity, Judaism, and Arabian paganism into a Coat of Many Errors.

  5. With the rise of militant Islam, Americans are in a much better position to understand concretely what kind of Islam gave rise to the crusades. Islam spread from Saudi Arabia to Spain in about 100 years. It was by military conquest, not by street preaching. This is well known to Muslims, and they are not ashamed of it — they see it as a sign of divine favor just as the ISIS saw its initial success in the same light. Students find books boring so watching the evening news is much more informative about what kind of Islam was behind its lightening expansion.

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