A History of the Crusades, Volume 3
Sir Steven Runciman's three volume A History of the Crusades, one of the great classics of English historical writing, is now being reissued. In this final volume, Runciman examines the revival of the Frankish kingdom at the time of the Third Crusade until its collapse a century later. The interwoven themes of the book include: Christiandom, the replacement of the cultured Ayubites by the less sympathetic Mameluks as leader of the Moslem world, and the coming of the Mongols. He includes a chapter on architecture and the arts, and an epilogue on the last manifestations of the Crusading spirit.
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I actually began reading the first volume of this series during the covit 19 locked down. Suddenly my entire view of our times changed as I began to understand all the politcal technicalities in the last 2,000 years. I understand better the muslim world, the difference between muslims in Iran or Irak vis a vis turkish muslims or arabians. I was astonished at the eplosive genius of Mohammad the prophet and understood why the wanderer merchants and their caravans through deserts and the trhiving cities of those days, made the people were more open minded than other arabic groups.. For years I have heard of the glory of the muslim culture in Spain and I couldn't figure out how did all that happened vis a vis the general conception of Muslim culture today.
The Ummayad tribe that conquer north Africa and Spain, were the most open minded as the muslim religion was about to appear as a fruit of that cocktail of cosmopolitan cultures.
.. In their early history they were used to do commerce with caravans across the middle east and the great capitals of those days, exposing themselves to many cultures and religions, including of course Judaism and Christianity.
. Muhammad was such man, he even liked the Christian religion, however he had an issue with the concept of the trinity that was being developed by certain christian groups, (not all in the early days)
With his cosmopolitan intellect and exposure to so many religions, Muhammad was able to write his own doctrine, a doctrine that was more direct to desert people. with a handful of friends and his family he began his Islamic movement and in just ten years Muhammad became the king of Arabia!
Conquering right an left, pushing christians away ( their weakness was their lack of unity, even in the doctrine of their own faith that was like a crazy map with different regions and beliefs.
That was the spirit of the Ummayad tribe. Their intellect and cosmopolitalism allowed them to explore greek philosophy and translate the work into arabic and that is how western knowledge was able to survive through the dark ages.
The unity between Arabs and Jews was important as the Jewish thinkers were the connection between the Ummayads and the rest of europe. Thanks to Jewish thinkers the arabic text were translated and shared and the rest is more history! I truly recommend these books by Steven Runciman...not only as jewels of history, but as key to the potential understanding of our collapsing western culture...
The Conscience of the West
List of Plates page ix
The Conscience of the West 3
The Crusade against Christians
The Fifth Crusade
The Emperor Frederick
The Coming of the Mongols