Monday, March 15, 2010

Judicial Use of Torture: Did Medieval Europe Learn It From Islam?

Below is the latest in a series of essays by John J. O’Neill about the damage done to European culture by Islam during the centuries of the Muslim expansion.


Judicial Use of Torture: Did Medieval Europe Learn It From Islam?

by John J. O’Neill


In my newly-published book, Holy Warriors: Islam and the Demise of Classical Civilization, I argue at length that a great majority of the things commonly regarded as “Medieval” were in fact introduced to Europe from Islam, and that it was Islam, and not the Huns, Vandals and Goths, which terminated Classical Civilization, the rational and humane civilization of Greece and Rome. This civilization survived in Europe and in North Africa and the Near East until the seventh century, at which point it was destroyed by the Muslim conquests.

In point of fact, Islam’s influence upon Europe was much greater than is commonly imagined, but that influence was entirely negative. Not only did the Muslims terminate Classical Civilization, but in time they dragged Europe, on many levels, down to a more barbarous level of culture. It was from the Muslims, for example, that Christian Europeans got the idea of “Holy War,” a concept that would have been unthinkable in earlier centuries. And from Islam too, the institution of slavery, as well as the slave trade, received a new and powerful impetus.

Contrary to the beliefs of some modern anti-Christian writers, Christianity brought an immediate and dramatic improvement in the living conditions of slaves, the poor, and the oppressed, in the Roman Empire. In Holy Warriors, I show how the Church, in the early centuries, bit by bit made the holding of slaves morally indefensible and eventually helped bring about the entire institution’s abolishment. And just as Christianity worked inexorably to alleviate the condition of slaves, so its influence revolutionized the penal code and led to more humane treatment of prisoners. The first step was taken by Constantine, who, out of respect for Christ, abolished the barbaric punishment of crucifixion. Constantine also attempted (unsuccessfully) to abolish gladiator contests, though these barbaric entertainments were in fact finally outlawed less than a century later, after a monk named Telemachus was killed by spectators whilst separating two gladiators in a Roman arena.

It was precisely the same with the use of torture in order to extract evidence or confessions: the Church worked to rid society of it. In the words of Philip Schaff:
- - - - - - - - -
“The church, true to her humanizing instincts, was at first hostile to the whole system of forcing evidence. A Synod of Auxerre (585 or 578) prohibited the clergy to witness a torture. Pope Gregory I. denounced as worthless a confession extorted by incarceration and hunger. Nicolas I. forbade the new converts in Bulgaria to extort confession by stripes and by pricking with a pointed iron, as contrary to all law, human and divine (866). Gratian lays down the general rule that ‘confessio cruciatibus extorquenda non est.’“ (Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Vol. IV: Medieval Christianity. AD. 590-1073)

Thus the attitude of the Church until the twelfth century. After that however there was a complete and dramatic turnaround. From 1215 onwards, the Church, which had hitherto worked to alleviate the condition of captives, now became the advocate of the most barbarous forms of torture. In the words of Schaff,

“… at a later period, in dealing with heretics, the Roman church unfortunately gave the sanction of her highest authority to the use of torture, and thus betrayed her noblest instincts and holiest mission. The fourth Lateran Council (1215) inspired the terrible crusades against the Albigenses and Waldenses, and the establishment of the infamous ecclesiastico-political courts of Inquisition. These courts found torture the most effective means of punishing and exterminating heresy, and invented new forms of refined cruelty worse than those of the persecutors of heathen Rome. Pope Innocent IV., in his instruction for the guidance of the Inquisition in Tuscany and Lombardy, ordered the civil magistrates to extort from all heretics by torture a confession of their own guilt and a betrayal of all their accomplices (1252). This was an ominous precedent, which did more harm to the reputation of the papacy than the extermination of any number of heretics could possibly do it good.” (Ibid.)

What could have caused such a complete volte face? A clue perhaps comes in the fact that not all parts of Europe accepted the new directive with enthusiasm:

“In Italy, owing to the restriction of the ecclesiastical power by the [German] emperor, the inquisition could not fully display its murderous character. In Germany its introduction was resisted by the people and the bishops, and Conrad of Marburg, the appointed Inquisitor, was murdered (1233). But in Spain it had every assistance from the crown and the people, which to this day take delight in the bloody spectacles of bullfights. The Spanish Inquisition was established in the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella by papal sanction (1478), reached its fearful height under the terrible General Inquisitor Torquemada (since 1483), and in its zeal to exterminate Moors, Jews, and heretics, committed such fearful excesses that even popes protested against the abuse of power, although with little effect. The Inquisition carried the system of torture to its utmost limits. After the Reformation it was still employed in trials of sorcery and witchcraft until the revolution of opinion in the eighteenth century swept it out of existence, together with cruel forms of punishment. This victory is due to the combined influence of justice, humanity, and tolerance.” (Ibid.)

That the Inquisition found its spiritual home in Spain is of course well-known: Why this should be the case is neither known nor understood. Explanations have tended to resort to chauvinistic or frankly racist statements about the inherent character of the Spanish people. Even Schaff hints at such when he refers to the Spaniards’ delight in bullfighting. But there is a far more rational explanation; one that makes perfect sense of the facts. Unique among the nations of western Europe, Spain spent many centuries under the domination of Islam. Now Islam, unlike Christianity, had no difficulty whatever with barbarous forms of execution such as crucifixion or with torture. Torture was employed by the Prophet himself, and in one notorious incident he had the Jewish leader of a community he had attacked tortured until he should reveal the whereabouts of the town’s treasures. When the man broke and revealed the secret, Muhammad nevertheless had him executed. (al-Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 59, Number 512).

Muslims of course have always viewed Muhammad as the model of the perfect believer, to be emulated wherever possible. And so we should not be surprised to find that torture and mutilation, as well as the most barbaric forms of execution, were regularly employed by the Prophet’s followers throughout the centuries. Thus the history of Islam in Spain, from its very inception, was little more than an endless litany of tortures, crucifixions, massacres and rapine. Historians of Spain, even those well-disposed to Islam, have as a rule been scathing of the new faith’s impact upon the country and upon the character of its people: According to Richard Fletcher, as Islamophile a writer as may be found,

“The period of maximum turbulence and dislocation in the peninsula as a whole seems to have been the half-century or so after the outbreak of the Berber revolt in 740. Breakdown of public order, disruption of administrative structures and legal routines, faction fighting and vendettas, the forcible transfer of communities from one place to another, random slave-raiding and cattle-rustling — all the things to which Theodulf referred in one of his poems, perhaps with an inward shudder, as ‘overwhelming disaster’ — all of these must have had the gravest social and economic consequences, at which we can only guess. In some areas these would last for centuries. In the tierras despobladas olive groves and vineyards would go untended, grass and scrub would encroach on road and threshing floor, squatters in the abandoned towns would look round in alarm for their children at the thud of collapsing masonry. Cities like Salamanca would not rise from their rubble until the twelfth century.”( Fletcher, The History of Moorish Spain, pp. 31-2) This description of the country is restrained in the extreme and glosses over or ignores the horrific reality on the ground. For the war brought to Iberia by the Arabs and Berbers was like no other. According to Louis Bertrand, rapine and destruction was the order of the day from the very beginning:

“To keep Christians in their place it did not suffice to surround them with a zone of famine and destruction. It was necessary also to go and sow terror and massacre among them. Twice a year, in spring and autumn, an army sallied forth from Cordova to go and raid the Christians, destroy their villages, their fortified posts, their monasteries and their churches …” (Louis Bertrand, The History of Spain (19 ) p. 91)

The Spanish Christians, intermixing with the Arabs and Berbers for many centuries, now began to adopt many of their foes’ characteristics:

“The worst characteristic which the Spaniards acquired was the parasitism of the Arabs and the nomad Africans: the custom of living off one’s neighbour’s territory, the raid raised to the level of an institution, marauding and brigandage recognized as the sole means of existence for the man-at-arms. In the same way they went to win their bread in Moorish territory, so the Spaniards later went to win gold and territory in Mexico and Peru.

“They were to introduce there, too, the barbarous, summary practices of the Arabs: putting everything to fire and sword, cutting down fruit-trees, razing crops, devastating whole districts to starve out the enemy and bring them to terms; making slaves everywhere, condemning the population of the conquered countries to forced labour. All these detestable ways the conquistadores learnt from the Arabs.

“For several centuries slavery maintained itself in Christian Spain, as in the Islamic lands. Very certainly, also, it was to the Arabs that the Spaniards owed the intransigence of their fanaticism, the pretension to be, if not the chosen of God, at least the most Catholic nation of Christendom. Philip II, like Abd er Rahman or El Mansour, was Defender of the Faith.” (Bertrand, Ibid., p. 160)

We note here that it was from the Iberian Peninsula too that in the fifteenth and sixteenth century a new age of slaving and slave-trading was launched. Bertrand continues:

“Finally, it was not without contagion that the Spaniards lived for centuries in contact with a race of men who crucified their enemies and gloried in piling up thousands of severed heads by way of trophies. The cruelty of the Arabs and the Berbers also founded a school in the Peninsula. The ferocity of the emirs and the caliphs who killed their brothers or their sons with their own hands was to be handed on to Pedro the Cruel and Henry of Trastamare, those stranglers under canvas, no better than common assassins.” (Bertrand, Ibid., p. 160)

That the Popes, inhabiting Italy, should acquiesce in the revival of torture in Europe, can also be attributed to the influence of Islam. For centuries the Italian Peninsula stood on the front-line of the never-ending war between Islam and Christendom; a war which the Muslims themselves decreed to be endless. Southern Italy, as well as Sicily and Sardinia, for some time suffered the fate of Spain — with the same results: Christians of those regions too now began to adopt the attitudes and customs of their Islamic foes. Some became involved in the slave-trade; others kept harems stalked with numerous concubines and presided over by eunuchs; still others revived the old customs of torture and crucifixion, customs long previously abolished by the Christian prelates and monarchs who reigned before the seventh century.


Holy Warriors: Islam and the Demise of Classical Civilization, is published by Felibri Publications. For information, see the Felibri website.

55 comments:

Robin Shadowes said...

Looks like the spaniards to this day still suffers from the cruel yoke of muslim tyranny that lasted for centuries. If the mahoundians succeeds in reconquering Al-Andalus, the spaniards would most likely be the easiest of all european peoples to forcibly convert.

kritisk_borger said...

So basically what you’re saying here is that torture didn’t exist in Europe until the Muslims arrived? Hmm... Well both the Romans and Greeks were known for torturing prisoners and dissidents, as where several other races in the time before Islam reached the shores of Europe.

Who crucified Jesus, was it the Muslims or was it the Roman prefect Pontius Pilate?

randian said...

So basically what you’re saying here is that torture didn’t exist in Europe until the Muslims arrived?

No, he's saying that torture was eliminated in Europe until the Muslims arrived.

Suze said...

As soon as I started reading this I was 2 steps ahead of the writer. Hmmmmm, I thought, does he mention the discoveries of the New World? Sure does. I've always hated the Spanish depredation of this hemisphere. To this day, in countries founded and peopled by Spain and the Spanish people, cruelty and ignorance are much more pronounced. I then stopped reading for a moment and thought of other areas of Southern Europe that would have been covered by the Islamic plague - Sicily, the home of the Mafia. Sure enough, in a few sentences, the writer mentions Sicily and Sardinia as areas that reflected the Islamic influence. I'll have to go buy the book now!

48none2 said...

The body of christ, the catholic church, ( see here - universal christian ) is not immune to disease, and always needs the Physician. We accept and hope for cleansing, esp confession. Yet, the incan murderers must also be taken into account. When spain arrived, did they see the same moorish life style that they fought? did the continuance of "forced" life styles become history? What is left to be said, and so many people hint at, is the simple thing, that Jesus said "who ever denies the son and the father, he is anti christ." Islam denies the son.

Rocha said...

" But in Spain it had every assistance from the crown and the people, which to this day take delight in the bloody spectacles of bullfights."

What has one thing to do with the other? Bullfighting were a common thing to europe and america, we alse had bear bailthing, dog fights, cock fights and everything else do you really think that in a life full of pain and suffering people would care for animal suffering?

Now it smells like "la leyenda negra" to me pure islamophobia and hispanophobia. Ancient and Medieval cultures were very harsh (doubt it? read columela.). The problem with islam is their incapacity to evolve and go beyond medieval costums but it is not responsable for everything.

Rollory said...

Yeah, this guy's trying way too hard to claim that everything before Islam was peachy and everything bad comes from Islam. Brigandage an invention of the Arabs that wouldn't have happened without them? GET REAL.

The more I see from this guy the more it seems his purpose is purely Christian apologia.

Any objective and serious examination of population, land under cultivation, tax revenues and tax rates, inflation of the monetary supply, raising military forces from the population, and a multitude of other factors, makes it clear that Rome certainly was collapsing for about two hundred years, the Goth takeover was just another nail in the coffin, and Justinian's rapacious taxes were one of the final nails. All of this was before Islam even existed.

Christianity also clearly had at an impact he is avoiding discussing: it led people to be loyal to something in stead of the empire, channeling people's energies away from society and towards spiritual purposes with no productive side effects. Gibbon's discussion of monks is well worth the read on this topic. I also can not find any discussion of pre-christian sectarian bloodbaths on the massive and repetitive scale that occurred in many cities of the empire after Christianity became common and the various heretics and schismatics started denouncing each other. What Islam did later was just the same basic thing only more systematic and effective.

That Islam was and is bad doesn't give one license to lie about it to make it seem worse and your own side better. No sale.

Michael Servetus said...

Its a theory and he is offering as a hypothesis, something different than the usual. It does exhibits some reasonableness and plausiblility.
I would like to read it for all of its footnotes and sources.
It makes a limited amount of sense. People do become like their abusers, extremism and cruelty calls forth the reciprocal.
I did not see the attempt to make bloody Islam the fall guy for everything but some specific thing. It does help explain the facts better. Such apologia can only serve to balance out things as they now stand.

Michael Servetus said...

We must think of things that boost ourselves, we must be blatantly self serving and proud. It can't hurt us only help and it is a good theory to balance out all the hate without cause, and can serve as an intellectual weapon to fight the brainwashing propoganda of the sons and daughters of belail.
Get over the shame already of speaking well of yourselves and criticizing the opponent. They have been doing it to great effect
It is said the history belongs to the victors, I'm tired of graciously letting the losers tell their sob stories filled with rancour. Lets reclaim our position and privelege, to tell them like it is.

Rocha said...

Suze,

Stop being such hipanophobic! Can you not see that much what is written about spaniards is bullsh*t? Much is protestant propaganda agaisnt spanish catholics
who U.S.A. propagated to the world because it descends from the originator of the propaganda! England! If you look closely the most stable goverments in south america that is those of Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay are full of Spanish, Italians and Portuguese. The least stable are full of indians and negroes. Take the example of Haiti it was blessed by a French colonization, yet when the negroes take it they destroyed the pearl of the caribbean!
Another example dutch colonial time is considered blesed in Brazil, now take a look at what they really accomplished! Is Indonesia a stable kind goverment? Are the Brittish colonies in Africa better? OH SURE! Zimbabwe is the kindest land on earth, please ask Robert Mugabe opponents.

Justin said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Zenster said...

Any disputes over the author's intentions or modern day results of this historical process notwithstanding, there remains one particularly conspicous fact:

While the West has in large measure abandoned such barbaric practices as genocide, slavery, brigandage and torture; Islam continues to practice ALL OF THEM EVEN NOW and has done so throughout its entire history with little in the way of any vociferous objection by its clerical hierarchy.

Even if this is the only point to be taken away from O’Neill's work, it remains a singularly damning one in that Islam remains the exact same barbaric and retrograde force that it always has been throughout its entire existence.

This is no small matter as it demonstrates a longstanding and recalcitrant overall attitude that continues to manifest as an exceptionally violent opposition to any modification of these heinous traditions. Islam openly continues to seek genocide against the Jews, it still practices routine enslavement of dhimmis and foreign guest workers (whilst extolling its own enslavement to Allah), currently engages in piracy and brigandage (along with the odd bit of blackmail, lawfare, extortion, etc.), plus even now it remains responsible for some of the most abject human rights violations on this entire planet. Torture does not even begin to encompass the dismal breadth with which Islam routinely abrogates human rights of nearly every sort.

One thing is clear; Islam continues to set a most reprehensible example for the global community and, more than likely, has made immense contributions to the spread and persistence of such vile practices both long ago and up to the present. There is little defense to be presented against such horrendous charges and so grave an indictment should not be allowed to suffer undue erosion through quibbling over minutae that do not mitigate Islam's overarching culpability.

Arius said...

When I first encountered John J. O’Neill's thesis I knew he is right. If you don't think about the historical facts then you can fill your head with PC MC rubbish and be happy. But if you are a serious historian and put the effort into serious objective study of the facts then you will arrive at conclusions similar to his.

linbetwin said...

I agree with most of what the essay says and I would add that the Balkans never recovered from the Ottoman occupation, just like Russia never recovered from the Mongol nightmare. It may sound like scapegoating, but it's not. It's no coincidence that the least developed/civilized parts of Europe have at one time been under Muslim control. The Muslims corrupted and in some places completely destroyed the Mediterranean civilization.

The author isn't saying that the Ancients didn't use torture, but Christianity managed to purge European society of many of its evils. Yes, it took centuries, but it worked. Islam managed to reintroduce many of those evils plus religious fanaticism, which the Ancients lacked.

Baron Bodissey said...

Justin --

Your comment had multiple instances of personal insult an foul language, and I'm too tired and overworked to redact it, so it had to be deleted. If you can think of a civil and decorous way to make the same arguments, feel free to try again.

Rollory said...

Zenster
"the West has in large measure abandoned such barbaric practices as genocide, slavery, brigandage and torture"

The reason for that is that the West is strong enough to be able to dispense with these. Genocide, brigandage, and torture are the tools of someone who is desperate to win in a war to the knife and needs every last sliver of advantage. The West engaged in all this stuff as recently as 1945; it wasn't tossed aside due to moral superiority, but because it wasn't needed to win.

Arius

"When I first encountered John J. O’Neill's thesis I knew he is right. If you don't think about the historical facts then you can fill your head with PC MC rubbish and be happy. But if you are a serious historian and put the effort into serious objective study of the facts then you will arrive at conclusions similar to his."

You are funny. Start citing evidence. I can go into detail on the monetary issue and divergence of tax rates and revenues and on cultivated land if you'd like me to. I can go into torture and rapine as employed by Roman Christian troops, and pre-Christian societies. This is what a "serious student of history" does: using actual facts.

PC/MC BS has nothing to do with recognizing that an idea we would LIKE to be true is, in fact, not.

Linbet
"I would add that the Balkans never recovered from the Ottoman occupation, ... It's no coincidence that the least developed/civilized parts of Europe have at one time been under Muslim control"

True but not the issue. He is claiming Islam as a single cause for the Dark Ages. He is wrong.

Rollory said...

Look - seriously - think about it. If Rome at the height of her power - Rome under Marius or Julius Caesar or Pompey or Marcus Aurelius or Trajan or even Aurelian had encountered Islam - is there any doubt about which boots would be trampling the barbarians into bloody dust?

The civilization that opposed Islam was already in a shambles when Islam erupted. It was an opportunistic infection, even as it is today. Trying to pin more blame on it than it deserves does nobody any favors. It reminds me of Holocaust denial actually; people who love their own side so much they can't possibly face the fact that that same side might have done some terribly self-destructive things.

Thorkell the Tall said...

The theory in this article is interesting, but I have to side with those calling shenanigans. There's a bit of white-washing going with the church here.

While the social reforms the author says the Church was introducing may have happened (I admit that isn't really my field) there can be no denying that the church was capable of incredible brutality that has not historical connection to Islam or any sign of being a cultural trade. The church practiced forced conversions long before it ever dealt with Islam and I don't see how Charlemagne's forced conversion and summary execution of 4500 Saxons was anything but motivated by Christian zeal and hunger for power.

Afonso Henriques said...

Well, I actually did not like this article. It is basically presenting one's "pre-conceptual" (preconceituosas, Portuguese for prejudiced, derived from pre/before and concept/idea: Idea formed before hand) views and not sustenting them with sources.

Yes, islam in our societies is bad. However, it is not the cause of all evils. The Classical Civilisation, as you named it, was destroyed by the Germanic invaders, and there's no doubt about it.
Although we all know that the Romans themselves had as much or even more fault than the Germanic barbaric invaders.

Still, the balance of power and *that* Civilisation broke out whith the barbaric Germanic invasions.

What happened then was that it did not mean an end of "European Civilisation". It just transformed itself and, gave birth to the Medieval period.
Islam, on the other hand, is not European and thus, Islamic influence does not give birth to another stage of European Civilisation. It simply tries to erase it and to impose its culture.

I live where we were invaded by both Germanics and Arab-Muslim-Berbers. As well as Romans, of course.

The educated view is that before the Romans we were savages, the Romans came and Civilised us. Then, according to the educated view, came the Germanics who *had no culture*.
Then, came the Arabs who had a *superior culture to that of the Germanics*.

My view is that we could not seriously speak of a Germanic Civilisation back then, but we could talk about an Arab-Islamic Civilisation. Thus, the Germanic invasion did not result in a "Clash of Civilisations", while the Arab invasion was an attempt to replace one Civilisation for another Civilisation.

But, the Germanics were soon attracted to the Classical Civilisation and Christianity, thus continuing the previous Civilisation. Also important as a factor was the fact that the Germans were Europeans, with an European culture which was essentially similar to that of the Romans, the Greeks, and other Europeans. So, they mingled well.
(Think like this: To a rural European comunity of the IV century, what would be more exotic: The pagan Germanic warrior invader or the cosmopolitan, money driven and monotheistic Jew?)

Also, Baron, half of my comment was erased but I'll try to write what I had written:

Also, the Germaincs lived in the vincinity of the Roman Empire and when they did cross into rule the remnants of the Empire, the Germanics had known, co-existed and indeed served the Roman Empire for centuries. They were accostumed to it and were already havily influenced by it.

The Arab-Islamics, on the other hand, lived in the depths of the Arabian desert in a completely distinct cultural world from that of Europeans.

It was very different.

When the Germanics invaded the Roman empire, they were already assimilited to the Roman Empire in the same way that African-Americans are assimilited into the Western Civilisation today. Or something close to it. Undoubtedly, Germania and mainly the neighbouring regions of the Roman Empire inhabited by Germanics, suffered a great influence from the Roman Entity.

As soon as the power flows from the Romans towards the Germanic Barbarians and the Empire scrumbles and nothing is as it was before, and dominant culture changes significantly, that Classical Civilisation simply ceases to exist. Not that the average European agriculturalist or pastoralist noticed a great difference, but it did, nonetheless.

linbetwin said...

Hmmm... I went to the publisher's page linked to at the end of the post and I read the only comment posted there - by a reader who read the book. He says that the "historian" places the battle of Hastings in 766, instead of 1066. Well, that doesn't bode well for a history book, does it?

Afonso Henriques said...

"But in Spain it had every assistance from the crown and the people, which to this day take delight in the bloody spectacles of bullfights."

Bullfights are nice. For generations it has been the only backbone for Hispanic courage, bravery, discipline and such manly endevours.

"in its zeal to exterminate Moors, Jews, and heretics, committed such fearful excesses that even popes protested against the abuse of power..."

Popes protesting against the Inquisition? Do you have a source?
I would like to know. I can imagine a Pope condemning abuse in an individual case (like they do today with pedophile priests) but I can't imagine a Pope condemning the Inquisition. It was directly under Papal authority.

The reason for the acceptance of the Inquisition here was the violence of the societies due to the war from 711 to 1492 which took a vicious ethnic and religious character.
A violent populace, a demonised enemy that was Satan itself (both Jews and Muslims but mainly anything that would go against the beliefs of the Church) and a Catholic Church that was the embodiement of good, searching and finally achieving power - not to mention a Nobility willing to go along and direct it - made possible the Inquisition.

Actually, the Inquisition is the rational step in order to sanate the society. And no, people were not affraid of the Inquisition, at least not as much as they want us to believe.

---------------------------------

I like some passages on the second half of the text which have sources and shed some light to the life during the Reconquista and muslim occupation.

However...

"The Spanish Christians, intermixing with the Arabs and Berbers for many centuries, now began to adopt many of their foes’ characteristics:"

Intermixing is too strong! No intermixing. Very few, to be correct.

However, I think that we did inherited some non benefical cultural influences from the Arabs, mainly in the South. I would say that the lack of development relative to the rest of Europe is the main one.
The complicated organisation of the South was also, as well as attacks from muslims afterwards.

"the custom of living off one’s neighbour’s territory"
What do you mean? Are you criticising Feudalism? What does that have to due with us?

"the raid raised to the level of an institution, marauding and brigandage recognized as the sole means of existence for the man-at-arms."

What the hell do you mean with this? This does not make any sense to me. Please elaborate.

"In the same way they went to win their bread in Moorish territory, so the Spaniards later went to win gold and territory in Mexico and Peru."

Is it specifically Iberian? How come? So we are to blame for Feudalism and Colonialism?

Enough with you're Black Legends accounts! Latin America is mostly Indian. The same can't be said of North America. So what??

"it was to the Arabs that the Spaniards owed the intransigence of their fanaticism, the pretension to be, if not the chosen of God, at least the most Catholic nation of Christendom."

This is so stupid, it abhors me.
And your last take on Italy, while it was virtually untouched by the muslims (it was so only for little Historic time) let me think if this is some sort of anti-Southern-European thing.

Mainly, societies at war, or impoverished, or with a larger populace without access to cultre are more prone towards violence.
It's not because of proximity to muslims, but because of the violence of daily life. Will you explain the French Revolution with something related to the muslims of Charles Martel's time?

Afonso Henriques said...

"No, he's saying that torture was eliminated in Europe until the Muslims arrived."

Yes, you know, the Romans and the Germans never tortured no one. They are angels!
That is nonesense.

Suze, get real. The Mafia can be more sucintily explained by the life of the average Scicilian under the Kingdom of Sicily/Kingdom of Naples than from the brief muslim occupation of the Island.

With no surprise to me, the most sound of the first comments was that of Rocha, and I do recommend it for he shows so simply the lunacy of some XXI century people.

"It does exhibits some reasonableness and plausiblility."

Which reasonableness and plausibility, Michael?

"What Michael?" Are you serious? So, the truth does not matter... that's not very European...

lallatin said...

I comment only to suggest that Paul Fregosi's "Jihad in the West" is worthy of a broader readership than is likely to be present this deep in this posting on this blog. We all wish that many more people were more willingly better informed about issues presented here. Fregosi was too ahead-of-the-curve to reach the audience that would have been his post-9/11: those who prefer "reality tv" to reading anything between hard covers and without Oprah's endorsement. I may have read Huntington in "Foreign Affairs" before I read Fregosi, but it was Fregosi that I could recommend to people and have them actual read what I loaned them.

Thorkell the Tall said...

Afonso, I have to say you've got some great comments. You were a little harsh on the Germanic Tribes, but accurate none the less.

Though your comment about the Germanic Tribes being assimilated into Rome the as African-Americans are into the Mainstream-America isn't quite accurate. The Germanic Tribes retained their beliefs and culture to a far greater level than an assimilated peoples, since they existed more on the Northern Borders and in their own territories rather than inside Rome itself. Still, I get the point you were driving at and admit it is fairly correct.

This is merely conjecture, but I think the current lack of development in Spain might have a little more to do with the collapse of the Spanish Empire after their armada was destroyed by the English fleet, Which gave rise to the British Empire, rather than a lasting effect of Islam. At the same time, though, Islam probably didn't help matters.

Thank you for your time.

Afonso Henriques said...

Justin, I believe that you are an American or a person of North-Western European extraction.

This blog some times transcends the American and North-Western European area and goes "European".
I for one, do not recognise the existance of a Western Civilisation, I only recognise an European Civilisation.

That being said, the North West of Europe and the areas derived from its colonisation: Canada, United States, Australia and New Zeeland are very protected and privileged places.
Thus is normal that you can't see how much more difficult life is outside this NW area. But life can be difficult and continue to be European.
That being said, you'd find surpringly how well countries like Chile, Uruguay and Brazil (mainly the Southern half) have done comparing to European Portugal and Spain.
Argentina, might be argued, has been better of than both Portugal, Spain or even Italy for the most part of the XX century.

"Chile had a socialist revolution against Pinochet with all your dictators down there."

You show a great ignorance to matters related to the "European corner" of South America. I'd advise you to informyourself better and to comment later.
Haiti never was the pearl of the Caribeans, it only had a lot of slaves.
But life in Cuba before Castro must have been a very interesting thing. Cuba had better quality of life than Spain or Portugal, was a tropical paradise, and was 75% European. Then Communism came.

"At least India which is a "British colony" doesn't blow up into violent revolution every time somebody doesn't get what they want."

India is a hell hole if compaired to any of those Latin American countries. India is an awfull place to live. And being the world's largest democracy does not do much for the Indians (althoug it's better to be the worlds's second largest dictatorship, obviously).

"They're happier, too."

I truly advise you to see that Oscar winning movie... Slumdog Millioaire or whatever. It shows what India is. Hapiness in India exists, but it is not widespread.

Mexico, is not full of Spaniards. Spaniards in Mexico are less than 10%, full blooded indians, on the other, hand, are 30%. Colombia is also not "full of Spanish". Whites in Colombia are less than one quarter of the population.
You truly do not have a grasp about what happens southwards from wherever you are.

-------------------------------

Arius, please enlighten us. To what laughable conclusions have you arisen to, together with the writer of this article?

kritisk_borger said...

It seems to me that the author of this book has a clear agenda. In my opinion that is always a bad starting point for writing an unbiased and truly objective book. What we’ve got here, in my opinion, is a clear cut case of an author intent on ‘proving’ that Christianity = always good, Islam = always bad, and as a consequence he has deliberately cherry picked information only from sources that validates his theories.

It’s the same thing with David Irving and a lot of other historical revisionists; they only seem to have one goal in mind when writing their books and as a result their work can easily be debunked.

I don’t think bringing forward inaccurate claims about your opponents is helpful in the long run. It’s the same thing with global warming scaremongering. People have over the years been fed with massive amounts of very unrealistic propaganda from warming alarmists and as a consequence have started questioning the accuracy of this propaganda.

If radical Islam is to be defeated their opponents will have to come up with better tactics that this.

randian said...

Yes, you know, the Romans and the Germans never tortured no one. They are angels!

You are being deliberately obtuse. The Christian church worked to stop torture being committed by the Romans and their vassal states. In that it was quite successful. It was some centuries later that Islam reintroduced torture to the Europeans.

Thorkell the Tall said...

Randian, if you're going to make the questionable claim that the church stopped torture and then picked it up after Islam showed up, I recommend that you show authentic sources and time-lines to back that up, since it falls outside the realm of common knowledge and as that is one of the main points of contention about this article.

And no, you can't use this book/article.

Afonso Henriques said...

Thorkell the Tall,

I like to comment here. And I comment in the hope that someone reads my writings and agrees with me, or that hiw worldview is somewhat and somehow enriched with my comment as I was so many times with comments in this blog. So, thank you, it seems that the goal was accomplished.
I also comment with the goal of learning something.

Well, concerning this article, I didn't like it. It is as if developments in Northern Europe, like the plight of the Baltic Pagans at the hands of the Teutonic Knights needed some kind of mistic inspiration in the cult of the Mohamedans. Nonsense!

I didn't compare the Germanics relation to Rome as that of the African Americans with America. I compared it to the African Americans relation to the West.

My point, as you seemed to have got it, was that the Goths and others were so "into the orbit" of Rome as Martin Luther King was to the West: Aedipus, Cicerus, Joanna D'Arc, Tolstoy or Heideger ...

(I don't know if it makes much sense but the personalities who shape our culture influence us, even if sub consciously)

I tend to write long comments, but I'll now try to answer succintly to the reasons why I think Portugal and Spain lag behind the rest of Western Europe.

The first reason was Islam and 850 years of continuous war.

But then, we got up, mainly to the discoveries and colonisation.

After that defeat of the Ivencible Armada, Spain's problems started in the XVII century. Spain never was a Nation State and thus suffere what all empires suffer. Then, it lost slowly it's European territories. Then, it even had to face the rebellion of the other three great peoples of Iberia: The Portuguese in the West and the Catalonians in the East. The Portuguese got rid of their subjugation. Without the Portuguese, the Spaniards lost half of their extra-European empire.
Portugal was on to catch with Europe but in the 1755 we suffered a devestated earthquake. We build our capital from scratch. However, the Gold from Brazil ended and we were in ruinous. The Marquis of Pombal, the hero who build Lisbon, also destroyed some of the pillars of society.

Then came Napoleon in the XIX century. Then came Liberalism who destroyed completly the Hispanic order. Then, Latin America declared independence. Then Spain fought another civil war. Spain was shattered in the XIX century, as Portugal was.
The church was attacked, the King was attacked and bad elements took control of the society. Than, in the XX century we got off of WWII and thus we only got ridd of fascism in 1974 and 1975.

That's why we are retarded compared to the rest of Western Europe.

Thorkell the Tall said...

Afonso, Thank you for the info. I knew that Spain was a fusion between to kingdoms under Ferdinand and Isabella, but I didn't know it split up later. Sadly, much of European history in the outlying regions of Iberia and Scandinavia tends to be left out of the mainstream except for a few major points.

And as a Norse Pagan, I agree that the treatment of Pagans in Scandinavia, the Baltic, and else where by Christians was never influenced by Islam.

And I agree with you, this book/article does seem a bit craptacular. It's always so wonderful when biased people decide to write on history.

Arius said...

The comments (excluding those that are interested in a new way of correlating and explaining the historical record) show a definite agenda. The usual agenda.

Rocha said...

Justin,

“Stable governments huh. Then how come you morons down there have inflation, riots, revolutions every few years you "Spanish" based governments? Don't make me laugh! You're always having violent revolutions, strikes against your own governments.”

You really don’t know the amount you believe about South America. Violent Revolutions? Name them in the last 50 years. Where in the South cone of South America we do have “violent revolutions” every few years?

Strikes? Oh are you talking about France or Greece? Other thing we do have strikes but they don’t stop the country like in France.

Riots?!? Apart from Rio de Janeiro were the situation is worse than normal due to populist governors and geography, where in Brazil do you see “riots” every now and then?

Inflation… Well have you heard the about stagflation? No that’s not Brazil, Argentina or Uruguay… That’s U.S.A. and U.K. . Now I do not see these two countries as bad I see then as source of many of the good things that dis happened in the world in the last 200 years.

Brazilian inflation was seen as a good thing while we were growing (the Brazilian economic miracle) when it ended it took a while to kill it off but we did the necessary economic changes. Is America now doing then? Oh that’s why you are a Spanish colony, no?

Now I understand that it was that damned Spaniards that did the Russian Revolution of 1917. Or that created that wonderful man that destroyed Europe in 1939. His name was Juan Hitler, is that correct?

“Chile had a socialist revolution against Pinochet with all your dictators down there. I don't consider that stable at all. They're fascist governments, too. Don't make us laugh. That's what you are.”

Again have you heard about Lenin ? Bela Kún? Kurt Eisner? Yeah they are all Spanish. Fascist? Is fighting communist and doing what’s necessary fascist? So Europe have really bad times ahead because it will become fascist in order to survive islam and the far left. Now again the Freikorps were fascists, Józef Piłsudski was a fascist, Miklós Horthy was another (that’s why Juan Hitler deposed him), every anti communist is one!

“At least India which is a "British colony" doesn't blow up into violent revolution every time somebody doesn't get what they want. They're happier, too. Haven't been robbed by the post-colonial rich, even though they have in some areas.

Bangladesh was British and its Muslim population commits genocide against Hindus. Is that British or Muslim directed?

You decide. The British would have never done that.”

Oh no the British are the saints of heaven! Ask a Irish about this one. Or an Afrikaner. It was in British hands that that was done are she a Jew? Or then an Armenian? No she was an Afrikaner, interned in a concentration camp where she and 15% or Afrikaners died! Almost all of them women and children! Nice Brits.

Michael Servetus said...

Well if we want to get serious about this then quite simply check the earliest Christian writings all the way up to the Council of Nicea ,then keep going. two things you will find are that the Christian church is truly built-up upon devotion to christs teaching no war, no killing, and many other Christian teachings and they criticised the powers for all manner of evil and cruelty and unreasonable injustice. You will also notice that a separation began to exist between devoted the priests and bishops and the ruling class who usurped power over the church but which was in many ways if not entirely secular in essence clothed in the cultural robes of Christian motif

In many cases truly devoted and pious priest and churchmen were exiled, banished, etc.
Where do you think all the atheists, pagans, ruling elites went?
Christianity was a good influence but it takes time to leaven the lump, many, probably most were still pagans in heart, loved the things that were condemned by true Christianity. So if you want to look at Christianity in truth look at the early writings not the pagan, atheist, secular implementation.

Rocha said...

“I'll tell you what Brazil accomplished. Poverty, revolution, anarchy, hyperinflation, and unhappiness. That's not blessed at all, even though they claim to blessed by God.

Brazil is prosperous, but nowhere near the United States in economic wealth. The U.S. was British owned, so was Canada and Australia and they're the most successful nations on earth.

So brag all you want, you're wrong.”

Have ever lived here? Poverty? One region was very poor indeed! The Northeast, I invite you to take a look in a Brazilian map, if you can do it. The rest of the country was poor (not pauper) but most of the time getting richer and richer.

Something like the U.S.A. we also had much less time to grow than U.S.A. because Brazil became really settled only in the second half of the XIX century. We had in 1820 4,717,000 and unlike U.S.A. we already had our territory formed.

We are the 9th world economy, below Russia (6th) with a similar population but smaller territory or China and India (2nd and 4th) but it seems we are 7 times less populated than China and 6 times less than India.

Hyperinflation? We had it for 8 years (1986-1994) but we did not stop growing even then. That is past; we have decent inflation since then.

Unhappiness? Are we talking about Brazil?

Anarchy where? I’m safe and well while in my house or job.

Afonso Henriques said...

Arius, beautifull comment. Here we have a word: "polpa". You know the juicy eatable succulent part of any fruit, its soul, its flavour?
That's polpa. Your comment is really filled with polpa, isn't it?

Very juicy, full and complement.

Thorkell, yes, Spain was founded in 1492 with the merge of the Kingdom of Castille and Aragon with Isabel of Castille and Fernando of Aragon.
However, Castille was dominant and Aragon managed to maintain its regional (National) specifications. In 1516 the Kingdom of Navarre (That of the Basques) joined.

But the truth is that they have often agitated towards independence.
In 1580, after the Death of the young Portuguese King, D. Sebastião, there was a dynastic crisis and the Spanish King climbed to the throne, although they promised to consider Portugal as an independent country with the same government with Portugal (Like Scotland and the United Kingdom). After three Kings, there was a rebellion and Portugal got its independence back in 1640.

The main problem in Portugal and Spain was the awfull XIX century:
Napoleon devastates us, Independence of Latin America, The advance of liberalism that creates civil wars and erases some of the pillars of society. Basically the History of the Hispanic XIX century is that of the end of the Nobility, the hunger and death of the people and the attacks on the Church.

Rocha said...
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Rocha said...
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Baron Bodissey said...

Rocha, I deleted Justin's foulmouthed comment, and now you paste the same nasty stuff right here all over again!

Y'all get a grip, or I'll close the thread. I don't have time for this nonsense.

Michael Servetus said...

Dear Afonso,
the truth certainly does matter but we should be willing to explore and be creative in search of it. I think there might be a germ of truth in this hypothesis and it certainly stimulates thought. I think a certain closed mindedness is being displayed by many concerning this topic, like they have it all figured out and no one is going to exonerate the Roman Catholic church, no not even a little. I think it is interesting and does help explain things, just like the Serbian conflict, is in part explained by pent up rage.
Maybe I got carried away with the thought of giving the left establisment and the Islamic liars a taste of their own tactics of taking control of the narrative.

Rocha said...

Baron,

I'm sorry. I had not seen that you deleted it...

Baron Bodissey said...

Rocha --

Just look at what you paste. In this case you would have seen foul language and personal insults.

Afonso Henriques said...

You talk of close mindedness when you are the one who does not want to dig up the truth! You're closeminded in that you want an explanation that blames islam with everythinhg. Come on!

I am okay with explorations and being creative, I just will be against maniupalations of the truth.

We have the oportunity to learn with the past, to throw it away, start an unreal narrative and not learn with the errors of the past is, in my view, wrong.


And the most important is that the ones who are swalling this article, are exactly those who do not advance with rational arguments. You people are just saying "yeah, I like it, it may fit. Therefore I'll accept it as the truth".

Please, if you believe it, the least you can do is to show some arguments that corroborate it.

Anyway... What do you people contest? I don't quiet get it. The truth is evident.

Rollory said...

Arius, when are you going to get it through your head? YOU NEED EVIDENCE.

Cite facts that back up your claims. O'Neill at least is doing that, and that is what is being argued against. You, though? You're just mouthing off.

M.S.
"Well if we want to get serious about this then quite simply check the earliest Christian writings all the way up to the Council of Nicea ,then keep going. two things you will find are that the Christian church is truly built-up upon devotion to christs teaching no war, no killing, and many other Christian teachings"

And you can also read the other historical accounts of the massive bloodbaths and riots that happened every few years whenever the Christians started disagreeing with each other about some word or other (a lot of those "very pious" bishops tended to get exiled because of arguments between different types of Christian, rather than any pagan influence; the pagans were actually remarkably ineffective at opposing Christianity in the social sphere, the only thing they had going for them was control of the state for a while). Which leads one to the conclusion that the Christian Church shades the truth in presenting itself in the best possible light. Which makes the Church merely human.

"no one is going to exonerate the Roman Catholic church, no not even a little"

The church is not on trial here. It is what it is; regardless of its inspiration, it's a human institution. Pretending it is something other than what it is, however, that is a problem. It's not perfect. European civilzation isn't perfect. O'Neill's claim is that everything was good and wonderful under Christians and then Islam came and introduced evil. He's wrong on the facts. His being so clearly wrong on such a significant claim is important.

It doesn't MATTER that we wish this was true. The truth is independent of our wishes. The Dark Ages happened because of failures on the part of the Romans and Europeans, and that is simply a distressing fact that must be faced in order to shore up whatever weakness was involved. Blaming it on Islam instead is a matter of ignoring the real problem, running from our own weaknesses, hiding one's face from reality. It's - I'm not a Christian, but this is the best word I can think of to describe this attitude - sinful.

Thorkell the Tall said...

Rollory, a minor correction.

While it is true that Christianity did triumph over the Pagans, the Scandinavians managed to hold out for over two hundred years against Christian forces. They even took back Norway after St. Olaf forcibly Christianized the country.

It also succeeded in preserving and hanging onto its Pagan heritage through the following centuries, though I'll admit much was lost.

Otherwise, I'd say you've got a really good point.

Michael Servetus said...

onso, Rollory,
Have you read the book or the Early Church Father's? Well if you haven't what is all this talk and knee jerk reaction about? And if you have read the ECF's then it should be undeniably clear that the history being researched here is not as simple as you have it in your minds nor is it according to your representation of it Rollory.
I have read the ECF and Phillip Schaffs church history ,just so you know.
Rollory which bloodbaths are you referring to? Of course not the ones that Christians were subjected to for the first 300 years AD.
You talk as if you are very knowledgeable of them, is that the case? So about which period are you referring to?
Moving on, what do you know 'bout the pious priests,bishops and churchmen, their writings, their struggles and experiences?
You are right that in saying that exiles and banishment was practiced by Christian against some otherwise confessing Christian and that was my point
I was hinting at the separation of church and state within the church itself. meaning those who were truly devoted and intent on serving God and Christ were put into a pious but somewhat inferior position and wolves tool over and reigned secularly basically.
My other point was that the people who populated these various lands were still very much pagan at heart even though they were called Christian or Catholic
Back to the book, I never said it was true, how could I? How could I know that, all this jumping to conclusions is coming from you.

Rollory said...

~360 AD, George of Cappadocia, an Arian, becomes archbishop of Alexandria, and promptly indulges himself in every venal and greedy impulse, raising taxes, extorting money, generally making a mockery of his position, only to be dragged from his seat by a mob of pagans and killed and his body thrown into the sea, which as a death is apparently sufficiently Christian that he is now remembered as St. George the patron saint of England. ~370 AD, persecution of the catholics/Athanasians by the Arian bishops of Constantinople and Antioch, as well as the Emperor Valens, including burning a shipload of about 80 and influencing legal processes to always give the favor to Arians when opposed to catholics. ~380 AD, the persecutions of Theodosius; huge fines and death sentences for anyone not hewing exactly to the catholic dogma, punishemnts imposed with alacrity and often by means of torture. ~430 AD - Oppression of the Novatians by Cyril of Alexandria; conflicts and street riots between the catholics and the Nitrian monks, murder of Hypatia the mathematician and philosopher by a catholic mob - they stripped her naked, dragged her to the church, and killed her there - according to the historian Socrates (not the earlier famous philosopher) they did it by scraping her flesh off with oyster shells. Attack of an Arian convention by private troops of Nestorius, patriarch of Constantinople, ending with the orthodox setting a fire to the building that engulfed the entire neighborhood. This was followed by a disagreement between Messrs Cyril and Nestorius about one word, whereupon most of the bishops in the Mediterranean became embroiled in the dispute on one side or another; a conclave to discuss it and come to an agreement was arranged in Ephesus, which ended with one side trying to storm the city with armed men and a loss of patience by the emperor. ~480 AD, arguments in Constantinople between mobs about the Trisagion, whether or not to add "who was crucified for us", which caused the city to descend into chaos for days and ended with one of the army leaders appointing himself the champion of the catholic faith and killing a reported 65 thousand people. Constantinople was prone to riot at the drop of a hat, whether over the chariot races or religious arguments, whichever excuse was handy. ~500 AD - Arian Vandal persecutions of the catholics by Genseric and the Vandals. Revenge by the catholics, including burning alive the Arian patriarch of Carthage. Banishment and burning alive of Manichaeans by the Arians. Conference of attempted reconciliation involving over 400 bishops, ending with 28 fleeing for their lives, 46 being sent to Corsica to cut wood for the fleet, and another 300-odd sent into exile in various parts of the Mediterranean. Another 200 bishops exiled from North Africa to Sardinia.

This is a sample - a few minutes of skimming books - I could go on for a LOT longer. My point is that Christians were not immune to brutal and stupid bloodletting at a time when Islam did not exist. I believe it is made.

"Back to the book, I never said it was true, how could I?"

His thesis is basically that Islam introduced evil and darkness to Europe. A necessary corollary to that is that it wasn't present with just Christianity. You're defending the idea that Christianity didn't lend itself to this sort of thing. Based on what I just cited, that is wrong. (as is "but they weren't true christians!" - no true scotsman fallacy)

Michael Servetus said...

okay lets see what we have here Rollory.

Bloodbaths ? Cool word but is that what they were?
There was torture, cruelty and war before Christianity and after, common through all periods. So by what logic or true reasoning is Christianity the unique cause of this? It would seem the common thread running through all is humanity,power and politics.
If two people get heated and erupt into a fight over the meaning of peace and non violence I would think it fair two say, one, that peace is not the cause of troubles and war -- and two, that these two individuals don't really observe the meaning of that which they argue but they love arguing and winning more.
Likewise I would say that it is proven through the earliest Christian writings what Christianity is and no amount of disobedience and hypocrisy can change it.
So your snide remark about not being true Christians only demonstrates your desire to defend, what appears to me, to be a prejudiced opinion, and that you not only believe what you say but want to believe it.
Of course people who the Bible itself condemns can't be true Christians. Those who Christian rules condemn and reject you have no right to say otherwise unless it is your pleasure to do so.

When you talk about these things it is not Christianity the doctrine of peace you are talking but the actions and politics of men that as I points out before are common through all periods and corrupt all things, again as Christian doctrine teaches.
Back to the original issue, the theory that Islam corrupted civilization further, introducing or reintroducing more even greater cruelty,intolerance and savagery.
The events which you mention do not prove your case.
It is possible that while things continued as usual that cruelty was abated little.by little. I have never really studied this issue and so I would be interested in what arguments and facts the good author uses to support his idea.

Rollory said...

"So by what logic or true reasoning is Christianity the unique cause of this? It would seem the common thread running through all is humanity,power and politics."

Yes. Exactly. That's what O'Neill is arguing against. He's claiming Islam is the unique cause.

"it is proven through the earliest Christian writings what Christianity is"

No. A thing is proven by what it does. Words can be twisted. You can pick and choose passages from the Koran proving that Islam is a religion of peace and love, too.

" the theory that Islam corrupted civilization further, introducing or reintroducing more even greater cruelty,intolerance and savagery."

There is a question here you are glossing over, which is fundamental to O'Neill's point: was the cruelty under Islam fundamentally different and worse, or just more of the same but more systematic? If the second - if it's just human nature being given freer reign - then his entire thesis falls apart. (Which it already has because of his assertion that Roman society hadn't collapsed beforehand, but I have no problem convicting him on two counts instead of one.) If the first, there needs to be evidence that Christianity actually did make cruelty and barbaric treatment largely disappear. Which it didn't.

If you want to deny it and then talk about prejudiced opinions, fine, suit yourself. Fact is more examples of Christian-on-Christian massacres can be found for just about any time period of the 300 years when Christianity was solely dominant in the Mediterranean. Few major cities avoided it. It caused resentments and hatreds strong enough that when Islam did erupt, the non-Orthodox Christians of the Mideast repeatedly sided with the Muslims against the Romans of Constantinople, and kept that up for hundreds of years. When you read about the plight of Coptics and Nestorians today, they are in that situation because their ancestors, at multiple times during multiple wars, picked the turban over the diadem.

That's not the result of a one-sided fight of good vs evil, which is what O'Neill would have us believe.

Michael Servetus said...

Rollory,
I would only argue two points about what you have said.
That. Christianity is not the clear words of Scripture but the actions of disobedience and that Islam fits into the continuum.

Again a reading of the ECF's demonstrates what is Christian both in word and deed. Men either come near unto it or not. No one can make those who the definer of Christian denies the title, just like a person who runs afoul of the rules of any contest disqualifies himself of the title.
Concerning Islam in this context, most people here know that one of the main differences between Islam and blessed Christianity is that islam not only allows violence as an answer but encourages it while Christianity rejects and condemns it according to the book.
What men do is their responsibility.
To illustrate the point, lets say someone who has a valid drivers license decides to kill somebody with his car in road rage. Does that mean the DMV is the culprit? Of course not.
Likewise Christianity and the tares and goats and wolves who enter therein.
It is unfair to slander a whole religion,God, the lord and true Christians.

AMDG said...

Dear Baron,

I put a question to one of the previous essays by Mr O’Neill, but I have no answer. You may encourage him to answer me.

In this case, I wonder whether Mr. O’Neil can explain why it took more than five centuries for Christendom to follow the example of Muslims in the application of torture. Were they so slow at learning? If he cannot explain it –and I do not think he will even try it- I will be forced to conclude that his thesis is historical rubbish, as the previous ones.

Torture and the Inquisition (which means investigation, nothing more) were introduced to fight the socially destructive heresy of the Albigenses. The link of bullfighting with torture can only be made by someone who has never seen bullfighting. The Spanish Inquisition used torture less than the civil tribunals of the age (including those in "reformed" Europe). The Spanish parasites found two civilizations in the stone age and were able to put them in the track of History (hegelian sense), something the iother people never ever tried, at least as far as I know. And so, and so, and so.

Regards

amdg

matthias e storme said...

There ia another even more interestin aspect about the islamic orogin of the inquisition: it was originally an institution to guard the "apartheid " model of connivenza which was nothing else than the continuation of the islamic system of dhimmitude.

See my http://storme.be/Rechtsvergelijking5.pdf p. 234 en 246-237 and the book by C. STALLAERT, Etnisch nationalisme in Spanje. De historisch-anthropologische grens tussen christenen en Moren, Universitaire pers Leuven 1996.

AMDG said...

> it was originally an institution to guard the "apartheid " model of connivenza which was nothing else than the continuation of the islamic system of dhimmitude.

This indeed an "even more interestin aspect about" the Inquisition, because it had been actually created before that, in France, to combat the Cathar heresy.

I would think that the original should appear first, but I an open to consider new concepts regarding historical chronology by the professional historians :)

matthias e storme said...

Please explain you chronology instead of being simplistic. The system of dhimmitude was present in Spain from the islamic invasion (around 712). The Spanish Inquisition was created in 1478. The Spanish inquisition was not an institution of the church, but of the State. You're mixing up inquisition in the wide sense and the specific institution of the Spanish inquisition. Inquisition in the wide sens is a specific form of criminal proceedings (as different from accusatory proceedings); it was indeed introduced in canon tribunals in the 12th Century. The Spanish inquisition continued practices existing in Spain relating to the policing of the convivenzia (which were not in he technical form of the Inquisition) which date back as far as the reconquista, precisely because they simply continued the existing apartheid of dhimmitude, just reversing the roles.

Anonymous said...

Complete and utter lies. This guy knows nothing about History of the middle ages. My older sister has a PHD in Medieval and modern history from the University of London and SOAS and she told me that most professional historians agree that Muslims used from minimal to none torture in the Middle ages, ironically they were actually having a "Golden Age" (an age of prosperity and Scientific development).

Torture wasn't always in Europe but was a result of the Spanish Inquisition which was in fact used against many Muslims, Jews and even Christian prisoners of War.

Muslims did NOT bring torture into Europe, as much as I hate them u have to be honest, after all this is history.

randian said...

The "Islamic Golden Age" is a fraud. Muslims have been coopting history departments for decades.