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"They [the Turks] have completely destroyed some of God's

churches and they have converted others to the uses of their own

cult. They ruin the altars with filth and defilement. They

circumcise Christians and smear the blood from the circumcision

over the altars and throw it into baptismal fonts. They are pleased

to kill others by cutting open their bellies, extracting the end of

their intestines, and tying it to a stake. Then, with flogging, they

drive their victims around the stake until, when their viscera have

spilled out, they fall dead on the ground. They tie others, again, to

stakes and shoot arrows at them; they seize others, stretch out

their necks, and try to see whether they can cut off their heads

with a single blow of a naked sword. And what shall I say about the

shocking rape of women?"
Many Muslims sought shelter in the Al-Aqsa Mosque, where,

according to one famous account in Gesta, "...the slaughter was so

great that our men waded in blood up to their ankles..." According

to Raymond of Aguilers "men rode in blood up to their knees and

bridle reins." However, most serious historians believe this to be

mere, but classic medieval, poetic boast, pointing to the factual

impossibility of such an occurrence.The chronicle of Ibn al-Qalanisi

states the Jewish defenders sought refuge in their synagogue, but

the "Franks burned it over their heads", killing everyone inside.

The Crusaders circled the flaming building while singing "Christ,

We Adore Thee!". Tancred claimed the Temple quarter for himself

and offered protection to some of the Muslims there, but he could

not prevent their deaths at the hands of his fellow crusaders. The

Fatimid governor Iftikhar ad-Daula withdrew to the Tower of

David, which he soon surrendered to Raymond in return for safe

passage for himself and bodyguards to Ascalon. [14]
The Gesta Francorum states some people managed to escape the

siege unharmed. Its anonymous author wrote, "When the pagans

had been overcome, our men seized great numbers, both men and

women, either killing them or keeping them captive, as they

wished."] Later it is written, " also ordered all the Saracen dead to

be cast outside because of the great stench, since the whole city was

filled with their corpses; and so the living Saracens dragged the

dead before the exits of the gates and arranged them in heaps, as if

they were houses. No one ever saw or heard of such slaughter of

pagan people, for funeral pyres were formed from them like

pyramids, and no one knows their number except God alone."

The Crusades have been hailed as the driving force that brought

Western Europe out of the Middle Ages—and condemned as the

beginning of European imperialism in the Muslim Near East.
But what really were the Crusades?

What were the forces that led to one of history’s most protracted

and legendary periods of conflict? How did they affect the three

great civilizations that participated in them? And, ultimately,

why did they end and what did they accomplish?

A Crucial Chapter in the Story of Western Civilization

In The Era of the Crusades, Professor Kenneth W. Harl looks at the

"big picture" of the Crusades as an ongoing period of conflict

involving Western Christendom (we would now call it Western

Europe), the Byzantine Empire, and the Muslim world. From this

perspective, you will study the complex but absorbing causes of the

Crusades, which include the many political, cultural, and economic

changes in Western Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire.

In addition, Professor Harl presents the Crusades in terms of the

specific military campaigns—the eight "canonical" Crusades that

took place from 1095–1291—proclaimed to retake Jerusalem and the

Holy Land from Muslim hands and return them to Christendom.

You will consider the immediate circumstances—the leaders,

purposes, key battles, and degrees of success or

failure—surrounding these often-monumental expeditions (they

could number as many as 100,000 soldiers and religious pilgrims).

This course is an opportunity to appreciate fully how Western

Civilization changed in many profound ways during the Crusading

era. You will understand how the Byzantine Empire collapsed; how

Western Europe began its rise to global political, economic, and

cultural power; and how the Middle East became a majority Muslim


You will also explore a wide variety of misperceptions and

long-debated questions about the Crusades. Did the popes preach

the Crusades as a way to increase their personal power and

authority? Were the Crusader armies made up of zealous and

brutal religious fanatics or of highly disciplined soldiers—heirs to a

sophisticated Western European military tradition? Why did the

members of the Fourth Crusade decide to sack Constantinople,

turning the Crusades from Christian against "infidel" to Christian

against Christian?

An Era of Adventure, Chivalry, and Legend

This three-part, 36-lecture course is as sweeping in scope as were

the Crusades themselves. Professor Harl delves into fascinating

aspects of history, all related to the Crusades, that make each

lecture a new adventure. These include advances in shipbuilding

that were spurred by the Crusades, the types of weapons and

military tactics used in battle, and the legend of "Prester John," a

mysterious eastern king with whom the popes hoped to form an

alliance against the Muslims.

You will appreciate the opulence of the "Queen of Cities," the

Byzantine capital of Constantinople, a city that conveyed a sense of

awe-inspiring ceremony and splendor to the Crusaders and other

visitors. Attending Mass in the city’s cathedral, the Hagia Sophia

(now a mosque), was said to be so stirring that a number of

Russians converted to Christianity out of the simple conviction

that God must dwell in such a magnificent church.

You will examine the organization and purpose of the Hospitallers

and the Templars: the Knights of the Hospital and the Knights of

the Temple. These "soldiers for Christ," a unique mixture of clergy

and warrior, played an instrumental role in defending the Holy

Land and in operating its banking system.

What makes the Crusades so attractive to study is that they are

like a great novel. This is a time in history that is the source of

many of our notions of adventure and chivalry and that is peopled

with colorful and renowned figures. Those you will meet include:

Odo of Bayeux, a churchman who fought in the Crusades but still

maintained his beliefs against shedding blood. Instead of a sword,

he used a mace to simply hit his opponents in the head and give

them a concussion.
Louis VII of France, the pious and monkish king who slept on a bare

stone floor, worried constantly about his sins, and viewed the

Second Crusade as a means to personal redemption.
Eleanor of Aquitane, one of the most brilliant and engaging women

in history, whose adventuresome nature led her to join the Second

Crusade, accompanied by a personal court that included maidens

dressed as Amazons.
Saladin, the great Kurdish-Muslim conqueror whose victory at the

Battle of Hattin in 1187 ended the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem.

Through his gallantry and generosity toward his enemies, Saladin,

a Muslim, ironically came to be seen as the epitome of Christian

Richard the Lion-hearted, the son of Eleanor of Aquitane and heir

to a family tradition of participation in Crusades. Considered "the

perfect knight," handsome and with a fondness for gambling,

jousting, and tournaments, Richard fought Saladin to a stalemate

in a relationship of mutual respect and admiration.
A Masterful Teacher

Professor Harl’s presentation of this intricate story makes it easy

to see why he has become one of The Teaching Company’s most

popular professors. He seems to have all of the many facts about

the Crusades at his fingertips, from key dates to royal lineages to

how major battles played out.

Professor Harl has won eight teaching awards at Tulane, including

the coveted Sheldon H. Hackney Award (twice voted by faculty and

students). In addition, he was the Fall 2001 recipient of the

prestigious nationwide Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great

Teachers from Baylor University. Dr. Harl also teaches the popular

Teaching Company courses Great Ancient Civilizations of Asia

Minor and The World of Byzantium.

Course Lecture Titles

1. The Heirs of Rome
2. Byzantine Orthodox Civilization
3. Byzantine Zenith in the Macedonian Age
4. The Failure of the Heirs of Basil II
5. Abbasid Baghdad and Fatimid Egypt
6. The Coming of the Seljuk Turks
7. The Recovery of Western Europe
8. Kings and Princes of Western Europe
9. Warfare in Western Europe
10. The Papacy and Religious Reform
11. Piety and Pilgrimage
12. Christian Offensives in Spain and Sicily
13. Alexius I and the First Crusade
14. From Clermont to Jerusalem
15. Conquest and Defense of Outremer
16. Frankish Settlement of Outremer
17. Comnenian Emperors and Crusader Princes
18. The Second Crusade
19. The Empire at Bay
20. The Rise of Saladin
21. Byzantine Recovery under the Comnenians
22. A Renaissance of Byzantine Letters and Arts
23. Trade and Currency in the Mediterranean
24. Cultural Exchange in Gothic Europe
25. The Horns of Hattin
26. The Third Crusade
27. From Jerusalem to Constantinople
28. The Sack of Constantinople
29. The World of Frankish Greece
30. Splinter Empires and Orthodox Princes
31. Ayyubid Egypt and Seljuk Anatolia
32. Crusader Cyprus and the Levant
33. Venice and Genoa
34. The Mongols and the Legend of Prester John
35. The Royal Crusaders
36. The Passing of the Crusades

The Crusades Through Arab Eyes

By Amin Maalouf. New York: Schocken, 1987. 283 pp. $8.95 (paper).

Reviewed by Jon West

Two of the three divisions of the PLO (Hittin and 'Ain Jalut) are

named after medieval battles fought between the Crusaders and

Arab forces in the Levant. Although the Crusades ended on June 17,

1291, when the Muslim armies surrounding Acre finally pierced

Crusader defenses, sending Henry of France into a headlong flight

for Cyprus, their legacy can still be felt in the Middle East.

In the West, the sights and sounds of medieval Palestine became

etched into cultural memory, later to form the basis of

"Orientalism." The Saracens became synonymous with the entire

Muslim world. In the Middle East, dark references are still made in

the fundamentalist mosques of Cairo and Damascus to the invading

enemies of Islam. The Crusades fueled Western myths of the

"Orient" as a place of decadent splendor, and the Arabs as

rapacious, cunning thugs—myths which endure in the minds of

millions in the West today. One of the reasons for the persistence of

these images is their existence in an intellectual vacuum, devoid of

the corrective influence of different opinions. At Oxford University,

for example, no Arab authors can be found on the reading lists of

students of the Crusader era.

Amin Maalouf, in his outstanding and thoroughly researched work,

The Crusades Through Arab Eyes, sets out to redress the balance by

presenting the Arab side of the Crusades in their own words.

Lengthy quotations from original sources are incorporated into an

exciting narrative packed with fresh insights, off-beat details, and

succinct commentary. It will not surprise the reader to learn that

Maalouf is a highly regarded journalist and former editor of the

respected Lebanese daily An-Nahar, as well as an award-winning

novelist. This book harnesses these talents to the task of letting

Arab historians speak for themselves, while condensing 200 years

of action-filled history into one volume and never losing the

interest of the general reader. The Crusades Through Arab Eyes is

a story and a historical discussion rolled into one, and to the

author's credit he never overextends himself into polemics, which

is left for the professional historians.

The Arab chroniclers, diarists, and historians he rescues from

obscurity for the Western reader weave a fascinating tale of Arab

history during the Crusader era. Maalouf begins with Ibn

Al-Qalanisi, the young Damascene scholar who observed the

Frankish armies as they advanced through Palestine in 1096. Only

23 at the time, he lived to the age of 87, and as a city official was a

longstanding witness to the fratricidal hatred of Radwan and

Duqaq in Syria, the sectarian struggles of the petty Arab princes,

and the military impotence of Baghdad.

Many of the other sources of Maalouf's story are close to the

principal characters on the Arab side: Usama Ibn Mundiqh, an emir

and adviser to the great soldier-statesman Zangi; Abul Fida', the

governor of Hama; Ibn Shaddad, an advisor to Saladin, as was 'Imad

Ad-Din Al-Isfanhani, and Abduzahir, a secretary to two sultans. As

in classical Rome, historiography was a respectable profession for

men of power and influence, who were also men of letters, at a time

when the Western aristocracy was mostly illiterate.

Maalouf does not shy from providing heavily detailed accounts of

military battles, largely because for the Arabs the Crusades

penetrated and affected their everyday existence as a society. The

rise of the Assassins in the mountain fortress of Alamut is related,

as is Ibn Jubayr's description of oil deposits near Mosul. "The

product looks like a highly viscous, smooth, shiny mud, giving off a

sharp odor .... We were told that when they want to extract the

bitumen they set it on fire. Allah creates whatever he wills. Praise

be upon him," is his non-plussed reaction to the substance that was

to become inseparable from the popular concept of the Arab. An

entire chapter is devoted to Usama's diplomatic mission to the

Frankish kingdoms, as the polished statesman recoils at

amputative medicine and picturesque festivals.

The book's epilogue is masterful. To what extent were the Crusades

responsible for shifting the epicenter of history westward? Was the

decline in Arab civilization due to its complacent reliance on a

militarily and economically superior Western civilization? Was

Europe's ascendency in the Middle East due to a willingness to learn

Arab culture through the Arabic language? Maalouf gives the

reader food for thought in positing tentative answers to these

timeless questions still passionately debated in the Arab world.

Jon West is a history major at the Center for Contemporary Arab

Studies at Georgetown University. He is currently an intern at the

Jordan Times in Amman, Jordan.

Heaven or Heresy: A History of the Inquisition

Course Overview

For many, the Inquisition conjures Gothic images of cloaked figures

and barbarous torture chambers.
So enmeshed is this view of the Inquisition in popular culture that

such scenes play out even in comedies
such as Mel Brooks' History of the World and Monty Python's Flying

Circus. But is this a fair portrayal?
And how was the Inquisition perceived in its own time? Professor

Thomas F. Madden of Saint Louis
University delivers a stimulating series of lectures exploring all

facets of the Inquisition, including the religious
and political climate of its time and the Inquisition's relationship

to heresy and reformation. With a scholarly
eye and infectious enthusiasm, widely published author and noted

expert on pre-modern European history
Thomas Madden imparts an understanding of the Spanish and

Roman Inquisitions while dispelling popular
myths associated with the subject.

Lecture Guide

Lecture 1 The Organization of the Catholic Church
Lecture 2 Heresy and Orthodoxy
Lecture 3 Roman Law and the Church
Lecture 4 Birth of the Medieval Inquisition
Lecture 5 Medieval Heresies
Lecture 6 Centralizing the Medieval Inquisition
Lecture 7 The Working of the Medieval Inquisition
Lecture 8 Birth of the Spanish Inquisition
Lecture 9 "Poisonous, Offensive, Misleading": The New Heresies of

the Protestant Reformation
Lecture 10 The Spanish Inquisition in Its Maturity
Lecture 11 The Roman Inquisition
Lecture 12 Crafting the Myth of the Inquisition
Lecture 13 The Inquisition and Enlightenment
Lecture 14 The Inquisition in Popular Culture