Category Archives: Crusades

On the 80th Anniversary of Belloc’s, THE CRUSADES

belloc-crusades-e1514264663512.jpeg    Belloc

Review: Hilaire Belloc: The Crusades: The World’s Debate, Bruce Publishing Company, Milwaukee, 1937; Republished Tan Books: Rockford, Illinois, 1992.

INTRODUCTION

As millions of Muslim refugees continue to swarm mostly unopposed into Europe’s heartland, it would be instructive to review Hilaire Belloc’s book, The Crusades: The World’s Debate.  Written eighty years ago, the work not only gives a unique analysis of the Crusading Era, but addresses what remains today a fundamental issue in global politics, hence, the subtext of the book, The World’s Debate.

The Crusades were inspired by the Catholic Church and Papacy which rightly saw the threat that Islam posed to the West and encouraged military action to counter it.  The Mohammedans had taken over vast parts of the eastern half of the Roman Empire and with it control of the Holy Land which they increasingly made tougher to access for pilgrims.

The Novus Ordo Church and its current pope have repeatedly encouraged Muslim migration into Europe and have scolded those who raise even the tiniest of protests against this orchestrated event with smears of “lack of charity,” “intolerance,” and “xenophobic” among other denigrations.  Such action would have been considered heretical by the Crusaders and the popes of the past who called and helped organize the expeditions.  In fact, one does not have to go back that far to know that “Pope Francis’”[1] pro-immigration stance would have been considered treasonous a little over a half century ago.  Under the radical changes that occurred at the Second Vatican Anti-Council (1962-65), however, acceptance of false religions and heretical sects are now part of the New Creed.

For Western man, the migrant crisis has accentuated a more fundamental problem which threatens his ultimate survival – demographics.  European birthrates have plunged to unsustainable levels which, if trends continue, will mean, if not extinction, at least the marginalization of the white populations, the institutions and cultures which those peoples have built.  Most analysts of the demographic implosion and migrant crises, however, do not see that their source is ultimately a religious struggle.  The unwanted migratory invasion and the failure of Europeans to reproduce to at least replacement levels are the result of Western man’s rejection of the One True Faith.

The alarming demographic trends had not yet surfaced when Belloc penned The Crusades although the start of another global conflagration was on the horizon as the West would once again plunged itself into civilization suicide with the outbreak of World War II.  Nor had the state of Israel been created at the time of its publication, although the troubling Balfour Doctrine had been mandated which would eventually lead to a Zionist homeland in Palestine and the creation of the state of Israel which would become a constant source of conflict in the decades that followed.

For Belloc, “the world’s debate” centered on the conflict between the future of a militarily and economically dominant secularized West against a religiously fervent, although economically stagnant, Islam.  To this day, the West still holds these advantages, but its vibrancy and spirit are on the wane due to its abandonment of the Faith and the adoption of social democracy.

The Crusades were an expression of Christendom’s highest ideals which contemporary Europeans could not hope to grasp or understand.  If the West is ever going to defeat Islam, it must be spiritually revitalized which can only come about if the Church becomes once again Catholic and overthrows neo-Modernism which it adopted at Vatican II.  Military victories will never be lasting unless they are backed by a religiously committed populace.

HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE

Smith Crusades

Belloc takes a unique perspective on a number of aspects of the Crusading Era which differ, in some cases, quite significantly from most modern scholarship.  Almost all contemporary historians are of the school of thought that the Crusades lasted until at least the campaign of 1295 (the Fourth Crusade) while some, like the late J. Riley Smith, see “crusading activity” going well beyond that time.[1]  For Belloc, the First Crusade from its “calling” in 1095 by Pope Urban II, to its improbable and truly miraculous capture[2] of Jerusalem in 1099, was the most important.  It not only accomplished its odds-defying goal of freeing the Holy Land for pilgrimage, but in its wake the Latin Kingdoms were established in the Levant.

With the view that only the First Crusade mattered, since it accomplished its objectives, the vast majority of the book covers the years between 1095 and 1187 as Belloc asserts:

There was . . .  but one Crusade . . . it was the

great breaking out of all western Europe into

the Orient for the rescue of the Holy Sepulchre,

and within one very long lifetime it had failed;

For with Jerusalem in the hands of the Infidel

the purpose of the original great campaign was

gone, its fruits were lost. [244]

Everything that came in the wake of the first Christian triumph in Asia Minor was something different:

That historical episode, 1095-1187, was the true

Crusade, from its inception to its final failure.  All

that followed was of another kind. [244]

Yet, within their initial success, the seed of the Latin Kingdoms’ ultimate downfall was laid.  While other factors certainly played a role, Belloc, over and over again, stresses the crusaders’ failure to secure Damascus that proved fatal and would eventually allow the Mohammedans to re-conquer and end the Latin presence in the Levant.  Without Damascus, the later expeditions were never a serious threat to the Muslim strongholds and were in the historian’s words “rearguard action[s] of a defeat.” [4]

While the West failed to hold and extend the First Crusade’s success and later having suffered the tragic fall of Constantinople, it would eventually return and reclaim most of what it had lost.  The Muslim victory at Hattin appeared permanent until the end of time; yet within a few centuries, during which Europe had repelled several lethal Islamic assaults to its heartland, it returned to the Middle East, but this time the conquerors were of a different breed religiously.

The ending of Muslim rule and the colonization of the Middle East throughout the course of the 19th century up to the time of Belloc’s book (1937) was accomplished by a secularized West under the guidance and inspiration of religiously pluralistic nation states.  Christendom had long been dissolved and although the Middle East’s new overlords were superior in resources, technology, and skill their religious vitality was on the wane and would continue to evaporate as the years rolled on.  “We have returned to the Levant,” Belloc writes, “we have returned apparently more as masters than ever we were during the struggle of the Crusades – but we have returned bankrupt in that spiritual wealth which was the glory of the Crusades. . . . [N]or is the Levant held as one whole [Christian dominion], but divided between separate nations to whom the unity of Europe has ceased to be sacred.” [249]

RACE

In the modern era of Political Correctness, one can no longer speak of race, ethnicity, kinship, or “blood” unless one is disparaging Occidental people or their ancestors while at the same time trumpeting the virtues of the assorted brown and colored peoples of the globe.  Not so with Belloc, who was far from alone among historians of his generation who understood the significance of race and blood in the episodes of the human past and how important these factors were in the creation of societies and civilizations.

To scholars like Belloc, race and religion did matter, and in his view it was a significant reason why the Crusades ultimately failed to hold their possessions.  Of course, there were other factors that Belloc duly notes – the failure to control the strategically vital city of Damascus; the lack of reinforcements both in arms and people from the West; the refusal of Byzantium to ally with the Crusaders; the lack of a strong monarchy in the Latin states.  Race, however, in this instance, the mixture of French blood with the local population, was critical in the eventual defeat.  The “mixing of blood” between the Franks and the Near East population especially among the leadership proved fatal.  Few, if any academics of today could write such things.

The miscegenation among the nobility and the subsequent generations in the newly formed Latin jurisdictions proved to be “inferior” in talent, ability, and leadership to build the type of society necessary for the Crusaders’ initial victories to be turned into a permanent civilization.

A stark example of this among the nobility can be seen in the loss of Edessa:

We have seen among other causes the mixture of Western

with Oriental blood, especially in the case of the rulers,

played a chief part.  Now, it was precisely to this that the

first of the great disasters was due.  [T]he loss of Edessa. . .

was mainly due to the character of its ruler, the second

Jocelyn. . .  The mother of the second Jocelyn was an

Armenian. . . .  [T]he mixture of blood did here what it

so often does; it gave a certain brilliance to the character

of the second generation, but that brilliance was accompanied

by instability.  [192]

Belloc continues:

[I]t must be emphasized, for it underlay not

only the tragedy of Edessa but all that followed,

up to the loss of Jerusalem itself.  . . .  it was Jocelyn

the Second, who with his contemporary, the

half breed Queen Melisande, so conspicuously

typifies that new and too-sudden mixtures of races

which was largely responsible for the catastrophe. [193]

Outnumbered and with inferior leadership qualities compared to the first wave of Crusaders, the Latin Kingdoms were eventually doomed especially after the Muslims had politically united.  Yet, had the Western kings and princes addressed this matter, things may have been different and, as Belloc maintains, the Infidel may have been permanently relegated to the Arabian Peninsula.

 

Asia Minor

 

Crusader States

[1] Jorge Bergoglio cannot be head of the Catholic Church for several reasons: (1) he is a manifest heretic whose seemingly endless string of heretical acts, words, and “teachings” disqualify him for the post – a heretic is necessarily outside the Church; (2) Bergoglio is not a “priest” on “technical grounds,” but was “ordained” in the invalid Novus Ordo rite of orders which came into being at the time of Vatican II.  Nor is he a bishop since he was also “consecrated” under these non-Catholic rites.  Only the bishop of Rome can become pope and since Bergoglio is neither a priest or bishop, he cannot, therefore, be pope.

[2] Jonathan Riley-Smith, The Crusades: A History. 3rd ed., London: Bloomsbury, 1987; 2014.

[3] While Belloc does not stress it, the First Crusade was aided by heavenly intervention which has been attested to by the Crusaders as well as modern secular historians in their narratives.  See, Thomas Asbridge, The First Crusade: A New History, (Oxford: University Press, 2004).

 

To be continued…

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

https://antoniusaquinas.com

 

 

 

 

 

Donald Trump: Warmonger-in-Chief!

Trump Warmonger

If a world conflagration, God forbid, should break out during the Trump Administration, its genesis will not be too hard to discover: the thin-skinned, immature, shallow, doofus which currently resides in the Oval Office!

This past week, the Donald has continued his bellicose talk with both veiled and explicit threats against purported American adversaries throughout the world.  In a cryptic exchange with reporters during a dinner with military leaders, he quipped:

You guys know what this represents?

Maybe it’s the calm before the storm.  It could be the

calm. . . before. . . the storm.*

A reporter asked if he meant Iran or Isis which the POTUS responded, “you’ll find out.”  Instead of threatening supposed overseas foes with nuclear annihilation, none of whom have taken any concrete military action against the US, why not go after someone who has actually compromised the country’s security, namely Hillary Rodham Clinton!

While some dismissed the comments as typical Trumpian bluster, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders added further ominous overtones when questioned saying they were “extremely serious.”

Later in the week, Trump continued to threaten tiny North Korea, this time in not so veiled terms:

Presidents and their administrations have been talking to North Korea for 25 years,

agreements made and massive amounts of money paid hasn’t worked, agreements

violated before the ink was dry, making fools of U.S. negotiators.  Sorry, but only

one thing will work.**

If war erupts either on the Korean Peninsula or in any other part of the globe that the U.S has wantonly poked its nose into, it can be safely assured that neither Trump nor any of the other “military leaders,” with which he recently had dinner with, will be in the midst of hostilities as the bombs and bullets are being cast about.  No, these laptop bombers will be in safe quarters far away from enemy lines, giving orders, making speeches, and praising the troops while Congress will be hurriedly passing more “defense” funding legislation further lining the pockets of the military industrial complex.

The Warmonger-in-Chief, who has repeatedly bragged about America’s military prowess, had a chance to become a part of the organization he constantly gushes over during his youth at the time of the Vietnam War.  Yet, he escaped military service, due to the machinations of his father, because of a mysterious foot/toe malady.

For all those who avoided being conscripted into America’s disastrous imperial exercise in Southeast Asia during those years, whether it was from phony medical conditions, escaping to Canada or beyond, or going to jail, they did so for justifiable reasons.  The war was immoral, since Vietnam had taken no hostile action against the US and what made it worse, the government drafted thousands of America’s youth to fight it.  It is reprehensible that those who got out of military service then are now at the forefront in advocating mass murder (war).

One resolution that would certainly curtail warmongering in the future would be that any legislator, president, cabinet officer, or ambassador that promotes military intervention abroad should be required to directly participate in field operations.  This would quickly put the brakes on threatening talk from the likes of Trump and his crazed UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley.

A country’s leadership personally conducting military operations has had a long tradition in Western history.  During the crusading era, princes and kings led their retinues and forces into battle risking life and limb such as the great Norman prince, Bohemond, whose courage, tenacity, and military acumen won the day for Christian forces at the battle of Antioch.

BohemondBohemond

This venerable ideal can still be seen in Russia when recently one of its generals and two colonels lost their lives in the Syrian quagmire.***   When was the last time a US general has perished in active combat?

It is apparent that the current POTUS does not understand the catastrophic consequences of what his threats, if carried out, would lead to – death to millions, unimaginable destruction, and the end of civilization.  Maybe, had he actually suffered through the horrors of combat or had been the victim of US aggression as the peoples of North Korea, Vietnam and Iraq have witnessed, he might refrain from such bellicose language.

Hopefully, cooler heads in the Administration will prevail, however, a more peaceful world is unlikely with the likes of Donald John Trump at the command of the greatest destructive force in human history.

*Tyler Durden, “President Trump Warns Ominously: ‘It’s the Calm Before the Storm.'”  Zero Hedge.  6 October 2017.  http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-10-05/president-trump-warns-ominously-its-calm-storm

**Tyler Durden, “Trump Hints at War With North Korea: ‘Sorry, But Only One Thing Will Work.'”  Zero Hedge.  7 October 2017.  http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-10-07/trump-hints-war-north-korea-after-25-years-failed-diplomacy-only-one-thing-will-work

***Alexander, “General Asapov Died Because as a Russian Officer He Led From the Front.”  Russia Feed.  30 September 2017.  https://www.lewrockwell.com/2017/09/no_author/general-asapov-died-because-as-a-russian-officer-he-led-from-the-front/

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

https://antoniusaquinas.com

 

Pope Francis is at it Again

pope-trump

As if there are not enough sufficient reasons for right thinking individuals to want a Donald Trump Presidency, one of the biggest is that it would be a direct and quite necessary rebuke and humiliation of the purported head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis.

Bergoglio has once again injected his neo-Marxist self into areas where he has no right to interfere.  Of course, this has never stopped this cretin from doing so before, especially when it comes to liberalistic causes such as climate change.  Whatever happened to popes that preached the Gospel, spoke of the saints, or expounded on doctrine?

In a speech given at the Vatican on November 5, Bergoglio spoke of not giving into those politicians who talk of building walls, but those who work to build bridges.  He condemned “physical and social walls” that “close in some and exclude others” and added: “mercy is the best antidote against fear” while it “is much more effective than walls, than barbed wire fences, than alarms and arms, and it is free.  It is a gift of God.”*

That the timing of Bergoglio’s remarks – on the eve of the Presidential election – criticizing those who actually seek to get a handle on unwanted and country-wrecking mass immigration is not surprising, but it is particularly revolting coming from a person who heads an organization that has done virtually nothing to end its own great Sex & Embezzlement Scandals.  This is a “Church” which has protected, hid, and actually promoted known perverts and rapist of children and young adults while its leader has the unmitigated gall to lecture American voters about not electing someone who will try and prevent the country from descending into multicultural disintegration!

What is surprising is that Bergogolio is again seeking to influence American politics on the heels of credible revelations that emerged from the investigation of Anthony “pervert” Weiner’s laptop of a child pedophile ring inside the Clinton Crime Family and their sleazy and demented associates and friends.  If Bergoglio had any political acumen he would have kept his big and nauseating mouth shut since now the Church’s own abominable, criminal actions with children and the Clintons’ will be linked in voters’ minds.  One can only hope so!

Bergoglio was elected, in part, to clean up the sex scandals and the financial improprieties which surround the Vatican Bank.  Instead of fixing the criminality and expunging the perverts, rapists, and embezzlers, Bergoglio has instead become one of the world’s leading social justice warriors.  Furthermore, he has been an unabashed opponent of the market economy constantly speaking of income disparity and the supposed exploitation of the poor which takes place under capitalism.

While Bergoglio has shown himself to be an ignoramus on subjects such as immigration, global warming, and economics, he is apparently quite deficient in his knowledge of the glorious history of his own institution.  Such a lack of knowledge is probably intentional since the Church’s rich past does not coincide with its new ecumenism, which was hatched during the tragic years of the Vatican II Anti-council, 1962-65.

It was the Catholic Church which organized the military forces on a number of occasions to fight and defend Europe from invading Muslims hordes.  Inspired by real popes, the Church rallied the Continent’s often indifferent and self absorbed political leadership to take up their crosses and liberate the Holy Land from the Muslim yoke.  Any talk of allowing Muslims to infiltrate European lands would be rightly countered with cries of treason and punishment in blood.

Such facts are no longer spoken of by Bergoglio or his Vatican II predecessors who have made every effort to encourage mass migration.  The historical record cannot be denied; it, therefore, must be ignored.

The election of Donald Trump will hopefully not only be the end of the Clinton Crime Family, but it will put a brake on destructive mass immigration while inspiring anti-immigration forces throughout Europe.  Moreover, a Trump victory will put in his place the self righteous “pope” who, through the office which he unworthily occupies, is just as dangerous to the future of what is left of Western civilization as a Hillary Clinton Presidency.

*Michael O’Loughlin, “Days Before U.S. Election, Pope Francis Warns Against Politics of Fear.”  America.  5 November 2016.

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

https://antoniusaquinas.com/

 

 

“Pope Francis:” Traitor to Western Civilization

no-pope-bergoglio

There has been no greater advocate of mass Muslim migration into Europe than the purported head of the Catholic Church, “Pope Francis.”  At a recent conference, he urged that “asylum seekers” be accepted, “through the acts of mercy that promote their integration into the European context and beyond.”*

Jorge Bergoglio is the “purported pope” of the Catholic Church because, as certain theologians have argued, he was neither validly ordained as a priest or consecrated as a bishop in the traditional Catholic rites of Holy Orders.  Since a pope must first be a bishop, in particular the bishop of Rome, Bergoglio cannot, therefore, be pope.

He is not a Catholic pope, but head of a new “Conciliar Church” which was concocted at the time of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), actually an “Anti-council,” and in the tumultuous years that followed, which witnessed fundamental changes in doctrine and the Sacraments, most damaging the promulgation of the New Mass by Paul VI-Montini.  The New Church also did away with its traditional view on evangelization and conversions and adopted the previously condemned heresy of “syncretism,” which contends that “we all worship the same god,” and that “one religion is as good as another.”  This idea pervades post-Vatican II Catholicism and is what Francis bases most of his justification for the mass migration onto lands which once made up Christendom.

While Bergoglio cannot be pope on technical grounds, he is also disqualified for his blasphemies and heretical actions, words, and teachings, all of which have flowed at a breathtaking pace.  From the infamous, “who am I to judge,” about sodomites, to his alteration of two millennium of teaching on divorce and remarriage, to such whoppers as “God does not exist,” Bergoglio has placed himself “outside of the Church” and thus cannot hold ecclesiastical office and certainly not that of supreme pontiff.

Despite the overwhelming theological and empirical evidence that the Chair of St. Peter is vacant (sede vacante) and its restoration will take place in its Founder’s good time, for the vast majority of Catholics and the world at large, Jorge Bergoglio is pope and his actions have consequences.  And, since his promotion and support of mass Muslim migration is leading to not only the destruction of what is left of Western Civilization and the species which largely created that civilization – white, gentile, heterosexual men – Bergoglio and the organization which he represents, must be stopped.  If Pope Francis and his New World Order cohorts are not countered, whites, and the cultures which they built, will vanish.

The Catholic Church is an integral part of Western Civilization even if Bergoglio and the pack of cultural Marxists prelates which surround him will not admit it.  It was the Church that preserved the heritage of Antiquity from the barbarian invasions during and after the fall of the Roman Empire.  Without the actions of the monks and other clerics, many of the classical works would have been lost forever, leaving future generations bereft of the wisdom and treasures of the Ancients.  It was the Church that was the indispensable part in the formulation of the greatest civilization known to mankind, Christendom.  Moreover, it was the Catholic Church, largely through the Papacy, that inspired the Crusades, which for a glorious time drove out the Muslims from the Holy Land and returned it to its rightful possessors.

It is undeniable that the Catholic Faith (which Bergoglio is supposedly its chief representative) inspired numerous European sovereigns, most notably Queen Isabella, to take up arms against the Mohammedans.  It was her faith which drove the heroic queen to free the Iberian Peninsula from the Muslim yoke, which then allowed her to finance Christopher Columbus on his epic, world-changing voyage.

Yet, Bergoglio and his fellow heretical Churchmen assiduously avoid any reminiscing of such facts and instead are deliberately encouraging Muslim migration into the lands that Europeans spilled blood and sacrificed treasures to defend – Queen Isabella must be turning over in her grave!

If Western Civilization is to be salvaged, those who seek its destruction must be removed from their positions of authority and influence.  Whether through political means, armed revolt, or de-legitimization, those who hold such power must be toppled.  Exposing “Pope Francis” for what he is, or is not, will go a long way in that most vital and necessary task.

*http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2016/09/17/pope_francis_%E2%80%98each_migrant_has_a_name,_a_face,_and_a_story%E2%80%99/1258801#

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

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“Pope” Francis and the Disintegration of Europe

Pope's Wall

A Massive Wall Surrounds Francis-Bergoglio’s Vatican City-State

Despite being rebuked and humiliated by the Republican presidential front runner over his inflammatory statements about U.S. illegal immigration policies, Newpope Francis of the Vatican II sect has continued to opine about the migration crisis.

In an address to a Newcatholic French group, Bergoglio admitted the obvious: “We can speak today of [an] Arab invasion.  It is a social fact.”  Yet, despite the horrific consequences of this fact, mostly orchestrated by New World Order groups and organizations of which his church is a part, Newpope amazingly contends that this will eventually be a positive thing for Europeans: “How many invasions has Europe experienced in the course of its history! But it’s always been able to overcome them and move forward, finding itself complimented and improved by the cultural exchange they brought about.”*

Europe “complimented and improved”?!   Right.  Tell that to the thousands of women who have been raped, assaulted, and terrorized by mostly Muslim fanatics, or look at the widespread destruction of private property that these trespassers have wrought, and worse, the cultural transformation that this deliberately created crisis has produced.

Bergoglio furthered these idiotic statements with some multicultural speak: “the only continent [Europe] that can bring some unity to the world.”  And that Europe must fulfill its “universal role” and “rediscover its cultural roots.”**

If Bergoglio really wants Europeans to “rediscover” their “cultural roots,” they will find that ever since the emergence of Mohammedanism, its fanatical adherents have repeatedly attempted to overrun and conquer the Continent and subject its peoples to the crazed religious and political dictates of its possessed “prophet.”

At one time, Europe fulfilled its “universal role” by engaging in a series of military actions (the Holy Crusades) which were mostly inspired by true popes (which Bergoglio and his Vatican II predecessors are certainly not) to expunge the infidel from the sacred places where the Founder of Christianity lived, preached, was crucified, and gloriously rose from the dead.  These authentic successors of St. Peter, in particular Urban II and Innocent III, understood the threat that Mohammedanism posed to their flocks both spiritually and culturally.

The failure of Christendom to ultimately defeat Islam and drive it out of the former lands of the Roman Empire was not the fault of the popes, but that of the secular powers who increasingly sought their own aggrandizement. If the European principalities had heeded the popes’ calls and driven the Muslims back to their tribal homeland, history would have had a happier outcome.

Bergoglio, if he cared to look, would find that Europe’s “universal role” included the justification of “holy war,” in the use of violence against Islam, not only during the Crusades, but in the re-conquest of Spain, and in the defense of its homeland from numerous Muslim assaults. Moreover, the idea of Muslims living side-by-side with Europeans or being able to create their own autonomous communities would have rightly been considered societal genocide.

No authentic pope would be engaged in “dialogue,” common prayer meetings, or other ecumenical interchanges with Muslims as Bergoglio and his Vatican II predecessors have repeatedly and blasphemously done over the years.  Any pre-Vatican II pope, theologian, bishop, priest, or, for that matter, astute layman would properly consider such actions abominable and would recommend as punishment a rendezvous with some of the scum that abounds at the bottom of the Tiber for its transgressors!

Bergoglio and most of the Newchurch hierarchy’s support for free migration and open borders and their condemnation of those who have opposed such lunacy clearly demonstrates that the Vatican II sect is part and parcel of the New World Order which seeks the eradication of sovereignty and the extinction or at least subjugation of European peoples to the global elites.

Not only is this cretin wantonly overturning two thousand years of traditional Christian teaching on morality, but he is openly encouraging the destruction of those societies which that morality ultimately helped to build.

Despite the skillfully and deceitfully crafted persona as “Mr. Humble” and his white pontifical attire, “Pope” Francis and the sect that he heads are a clear and present danger to what remains of Western civilization and must be opposed and removed from power.

*Tom Wyke, “The Pope says ‘It is a Social fact’ that Europe is seeing an ‘Arab Invasion’ and it’s a Good Thing.”  Daily Mail.com.  4 March 2016

**Ibid.

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

 

 

Queen Isabella and the Invasion of Europe

Surrender of Granada

The Muslim Surrender of Granada to Fernando and Isabella, 1492

If the Western world ever becomes serious on how to deal with the current, mostly Muslim, invasion of its once sacred soil, all it needs to do is to look to its glorious past.  In particular, it should examine the heroic actions of one of its greatest figures, Isabella of Castile. This is why the historian William Thomas Walsh entitled his magisterial biography of the queen, Isabella of Spain: The Last Crusader.

While the Reconquista was not directed at securing access to the Holy Land and Jerusalem as earlier Crusades had attempted, the ridding of the Spanish peninsula of Muslim power was a definite part of what Jonathan Riley-Smith calls the “paraphernalia of crusading:”

. . . with the union of Aragon and Castile in the

persons of Ferdinand and Isabella in 1479 and

the resurgence of crusading ideas that had followed

the loss of Constantinople the Spanish court, with

Isabella taking the lead, began to seethe with fervour,

nationalistic as well as religious.  The paraphernalia

of crusading – papal letters and crusading privileges –

were in evidence.  [Jonathan Riley-Smith,

The Crusades: A History, p. 312

Isabella and Fernando used their money and resources not for “national greatness,” or their own self aggrandizement as the later “absolutist” monarchs would do, but instead employed their treasures to triumphantly defeat one of Christianity’s mortal foes.

Huge sums of money were spent and large armies

raised and the war was pursued with a remarkable

singlemindedness at the expense of almost

all the country’s other interests.  [Ibid]

If Christian principalities and powers had a portion of Isabella’s ardor for the Faith, the infidel would have long since been vanquished or at least pushed out of the former lands of the Roman Empire which they had brutally overrun.  Unfortunately, the Western world went in an increasingly secular direction after the passing of the great queen, eventually adopting totalitarian social democracy as its governing system while pushing Christianity out from nearly every sector of public life.

Norman Housley in Contesting the Crusades adds, “. . .  the Granada war of 1482-92 had shown not just that the crusading mechanism could still work, thereby confirming the lesson of the Hussite crusades, but that it could generate military success.” (p. 138) He points out that the Reconquista was a part of crusading tradition and not some separate political aggrandizement scheme of Isabella and Fernando: “A significant feature of recent research on the Granada war, however, has been the demonstration that the campaigns were advanced with the help of a cluster of ideas and emotions that had strong links with past crusading.” (p. 139)

Before the final elimination of Muslim power in Spain, Isabella was engaged in crusading activity.  Her forays against the Muslims were undertaken outside of Spain proper and done despite the kind of internal political difficulties which kept other sovereigns from taking up the Cross.

In 1479, the Grand Turk Mohammed II besieged Rhodes which Venice had abandoned, in part, to preserve its own trading privileges in the Levant.  While the Hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem had held off the Muslims, it did not end the threat as the Turks set their sights on the coast of Italy which, of course, sent shock waves not only throughout the country, but Europe at large.

In August of 1480, the Turks attacked and took the city of Otranto in the Kingdom of Naples.  The atrocities committed were particularly heinous as Walsh details:

Of the 22,000 inhabitants, the barbarians bound 12,000

with ropes and put them to death, thus helpless, with

terrible tortures.  They slew all the priests in the city.

They sawed in two the aged Archbishop of Otranto,

whom they found praying before the altar.  On a hill

outside the city, now known as Martyrs’ Hill, they

butchered many captives who refused to become

Mohammedans, and threw their corpses to the dogs.

[Walsh, Isabella of Spain, p. 192]

The account of these actions became widely dispersed and certainly known to Isabella.

As happened far too often in earlier crusades the political leadership, this time in Italy, was too busy with their own petty squabbles to recognize the Muslim threat despite pleas from the pope: “If the faithful, especially the Italians wish to preserve their lands, their houses, their wives, their children, their liberties, and their lives; if they wish to maintain that Faith into which we have been baptized, and through which we are regenerated, let them at last trust in our word, let them take up their arms and fight.” [Quoted in Walsh, Isabella of Spain, p. 192]

Not only for the rest of Europe, but the Moors’ capture of Otranto was a threat to Spain, especially since Granada, with two important sea ports on the Mediterranean, could easily be used as military bases.  Isabella, however, keenly understood what the establishment of a Muslim foothold on Italian soil would mean for the security of Christendom.  In response, she sent the entire Castilian fleet to assist in the recapture of Otranto.  The queen went beyond just providing arms for defensive purposes, but took the offensive despite delaying much needed domestic reform as Walsh describes:

. . . it was characteristic of Isabella to stop at nothing short of

her utmost.  At a moment when she had need of her new

revenues to complete her program of reform and to prepare

for war with Granada . . . she generously threw all her energies

and material resources into the major struggle for the safety

of Christendom.  She formed the audacious design of raising

a fleet powerful enough not only to defend Italy and Spain,

but if necessary to defeat the Turks on the high seas and

smash their whole offensive.   [Ibid., p. 193]

The idea of compromise or coexistence with the Muslims, a policy which had been taken by crusaders both in the East and in Spain’s case with El Cid was anathema to Fernando and Isabella.  [S.J. Allen & Emilie Amt, eds.,The Crusades: A Reader, pp188-191]  After the sultan of Egypt, al-Ashnat Saifud-Din Qa’it Bay, had won a significant victory over the Ottoman Turks, he demanded that Fernando and Isabella stop their war on Granada.  He threatened, among other measures, to take reprisals on Christian pilgrims and suggested destroying the Holy Sepulcher.  [Warren H. Carroll, Isabel of Spain: The Catholic Queen, p. 190]

Fernando was not to be intimidated.  He quickly retorted with a sharp and detailed history of the Reconquista which showed that it was his and his predecessors’ right to regain their homeland from the Muslim invaders.  Moreover, if Catholics were killed to stop the war in Granada, Fernando would kill Granada Moors in retribution. [Ibid.] To this warning, no response was ever recorded from the sultan!

Isabella’s personal sanctity and love for her people has never been denied.  Prior to the attack on the Muslim held fortress of Loja, Isabella organized a massive army the makeup of which consisted of soldiers from across the Continent eager to join the crusade, inspired, no doubt, by the queen’s indomitable will as the late Warren Carroll shows:

The whole army knew that Isabella . . . was praying night

and day for their success; knowing her holiness, they were

immensely confident in the power of her prayers.  Never

had her prestige among them stood so high; her constant

care for the wounded, her fine and firm hand upon their

supply line, keeping them equipped with all they needed

wherever they might go, were now known and honored by

every soldier.  [Ibid., p. 172]

Even her love for her husband would not dissuade the queen from accomplishing what she believed was a holy mission.  In 1484, Fernando had sought to reclaim rights that his family had in Roussillon, France.  Yet, the financial situation at the time only allowed for one war to be fought so a decision had to be made: a conflict over a dynastic dispute or the continuation of the struggle to expel the Muslims.

Isabella never wavered.  Unlike other sovereigns who became embroiled in internal politics instead of fulfilling their crusading vows, Isabella pressed on, even more determined.  In one of the few instances where her disagreements with her husband became public, the queen wrote:

    This is so just and so holy an enterprise that among all

those of Christian princes there was none more honorable

or more worthy, none more likely to gain the aid of God and

the love of the people. . . .   Two years ago the war with the

Moors began, in which great efforts were made and great

preparations undertaken on land and sea, at immense cost.

In view of all this, it appears unwise to lose all by beginning

another war with the French.  [Quoted in Carroll, Isabel of Spain,

pp, 158-9.]

The Reconquista was not only a part of Spain’s struggle, but became one of Christendom’s, which can easily be seen with the participation of knights and fighting men from across the Continent.  The most important of these were the Lombards whom Isabella recognized as crucial for the achievement of the ultimate goal as Carroll points out:

. . .  the Lombards became the key to the war against Granada;

they were the decisive and irresistible weapon, once brought

to the scene of action.  It was not easy to transport these

monsters over the primitive roads of southern Spain, but

it was done under Isabella’s constant prodding.  [Ibid., p. 159]

While the conquest of Granada at the beginning of 1492 ended seven hundred years of Muslim rule on the Iberian peninsula, the victory would have never been achieved without the sacrifices of Queen Isabella.  Before an attack on Granada could be made, the fortress of Baza had to be captured, however, Fernando’s earlier defense of Sicily and his foray into France left him critically short of funds.  He considered postponing the assault until the needed money and supplies could be procured and sought Isabella’s advice.

Her response was typical, “[Baza] has to be continued and it will continue.”  [quoted in Carroll, Isabel of Spain, p. 192]  Another retreat would be fatal to the spirit of the people and ultimate success.  William Thomas Walsh explains the heroic efforts the queen made to secure the funds, soldiery, and supplies for Baza’s capture:

Money was the first need.  She pawned her gold and plate,

priceless heirlooms from her ancestors; and she sent all

her jewels by speedy messengers to  Valencia and

Barcelona . . . her pearl necklace, her balas rubies, even

the jeweled crown of Saint Fernando.  [Walsh, Isabella of

                                Spain, p. 312]

The amount sold was astronomical totaling some 60,000 gold florins.  [Carroll, Isabel of Spain, p. 192]  “The pawning of Isabella’s jewels,” Walsh contends,” was the turning point in the Crusade, and the fall of Baza marked the beginning of its third and final phase.”  [Walsh, Isabella of Spain, p. 314]

The capitulation of Granada and the restoration of Christianity throughout Spain was celebrated throughout Europe and recognized at the time for its supreme significance.  Probably no one summed up the accomplishment of Fernando and Isabella than King Henry VII who proclaimed:

These many years the Christians have not gained new ground

or territory upon the infidels, nor enlarged and set farther the

bounds of the Christian world.  But this is now done by the

prowess and devotion of Fernando and Isabella, sovereigns

of Spain, who to their immortal honor have recovered the

great and rich kingdom of Granada, and the populous and

mighty  city of the same name from the Moors . . . for which

this assembly and all Christians are to render laud and thanks

to God, and to celebrate this noble act of the King of Spain, who

in this is not only victorious but apostolical, in the gaining of

new provinces to the Christian faith.  [Quoted in Walsh, Isabella

of Spain, pp. 333-34]

While it took some 700 years to rid Spain of the Muslim yoke, at least Isabella and her predecessors had only to contend with the infidel.  Today, however, those who oppose the invaders have a two-fold problem: not only must they battle a hostile, alien group which may freely roam within their midst, but they must counter the Continent’s political elites who are allowing and, often times, encouraging the catastrophe to take place.

If victory is to be achieved, those who seek to preserve Europe’s cultural and demographic heritage must adopt Isabella’s uncompromising policies and replicate her own tremendous sacrifices.  Many have done so already and will certainly be honored by history for their gallant stand, but many more must join if the contest is to be ultimately won.

 

Selected Bibliography

Allen, S.J. and Amt, Emilie, eds., The Crusades: A Reader.  2nd ed., Toronto:

University of Toronto Press, 2014.

Carroll, Warren H.  Isabel of Spain: The Catholic Queen.  Front Royal, VA.:

Christendom Press, 1991

Housley, Norman.  Contesting the Crusades.  Malden, MA.: Blackwell

Publishing, 2006.

Smith, Jonathan Riley.  The Crusades: A History.  3rd ed., London:

Bloomsbury Academic, 1987; 2014.

Walsh, William Thomas.  Isabella of Spain: The Last Crusader.  New York:

Robert M. McBride and Company, 1930; Rockford, Illinois: Tan Books and

Publishers, Inc., 1987.

 

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas