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the Crusades (Original)

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Ceneca
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« Reply #30 on: December 26, 2007, 11:43:51 pm »

Ishtar

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  posted 08-02-2005 07:46 PM                       
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http://www.indopedia.org/Human_sacrifice.html

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“Ad initio, alea iacta est.”
And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
it's Later Than You Think
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« Reply #31 on: December 26, 2007, 11:44:15 pm »

Boreasi

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   posted 08-03-2005 06:06 PM                       
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Oh - please, please me...

Quote;

"It's now a question of quantity,'' said Lopez Lujan, who thinks the Spaniards -- and Indian picture-book scribes working under their control -- exaggerated the number of sacrifice victims, claiming in one case that 80,400 people were sacrificed at a temple inauguration in 1487.

"We're not finding anywhere near that ... even if we added some zeros,'' Lopez Lujan said.

---

In other words; Another dead duck. Pleased now?!
Or are you to provide any real evidence to back your suggestions about an ancient and strong tradition among the Aztecs that NO present Aztecs have any clue about? Even not their story-tellers and wisemen?

On the contrary, says todays Aztec chieftains. Their elders have always denied this presentation of the Aztec past. Pointing to that they were produced by the European clerics of the Conquistadors, not by the Aztecs themselves.
Today it seems that the present academians - basically US or Europeans - buy into the old political texture, without the neccesary awareness.

There have been NO Aztecs or Mayan people involved in the investigations and study of the old, European material. On top of that they have searched their own myths and legends - still existing - and found NO recollection of human sacrifices, whatsoever.

Quite the opposite - some of their past - and famous - elders were very angry with these stories and defied them as wicked lies - made "to hurt our nation and our people".

---

But I guess, there are still a lot to re-discover within the dusty archives still contending the testaments of the chatolic mercenaries - that stigmatized, - or "barbarized" - the "non-populus" tribes of "wilds" - that they were about to slaugther.

Good grief - but how stuck can we get?!
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« Reply #32 on: December 26, 2007, 11:44:37 pm »

Allison
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   posted 08-03-2005 06:43 PM                       
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quote:
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Originally posted by Ishtar:
Hey check this out Allison,

Radical Buddhists Persecute Christians in Sri Lanka

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - Stories of persecution of Christians in nations dominated by Muslims or Communists, such as Pakistan and China, are common.

But you may be surprised to learn that Christians have been beaten and their churches burned in the predominantly Buddhist nation of Sri Lanka.

Buddhists are taught to show tolerance for beliefs that differ from their own and compassion is an important element of their faith.

But, in recent years, militant Buddhists have shown little tolerance and compassion for Sri Lanka's Christian minority.
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well, can't much blame them, can you? It's not before time that they decide to respond to the violence that's been laid on them for so many centuries.
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« Reply #33 on: December 26, 2007, 11:45:00 pm »

Felecia

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  posted 10-16-2005 12:47 AM                       
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Women of Peace and War:
The Roles of European Women at the Siege of Acre
by Karen Larsdatter
We generally think of the Crusades as being a time when the men would go off and fight the infidel, and the women -- their wives, daughters, sisters, and mothers -- waiting patiently for them at home. One of the most touching portrayals of the "Crusader widow" is the twelfth century memorial to Count Hugh de Vaudémont and his wife, Anne of Lorraine. Hugh was imprisoned in the Holy Land for sixteen years; when his death was reported, Anne was frequently urged to remarry, but she always firmly refused. The sculpture, at the priory of Belval, in Lorraine, in Nancy, preserves for all time that moment when Count Hugh returned to his Anne.1

We must remember, however, that the story of Anne and Hugh is one of the very few such tales that ends so happily. Even during those times when the crown was entrusted with the protection of Crusaders' property, the experiences of those women left behind to look after home and family could be downright horrifying. William Trussel's wife, for example, was murdered just six weeks after her husband left on crusade in 1190, her body thrown into a pit.2

The ballads of the day were infused with the bittersweet tales of parted lovers, as in Ahi! Amours, written by Conon de Béthune about a year before the siege of Acre began:


Ahi! Amours, con dure departie
me convendra faire pour le meillour
ki onques fust amee ne servie!
Deus me raimant a li par sa douçour
si voirement que m’en part a dolour.
Las! qu'ai je dit? Ja ne m'en part je mie:
ains va mes cors servir nostre seignour,
Mes cuers remaint del tout en sa baillie. Oh, Love! How hard it will be for me to have to leave the best woman who was ever loved or served! May God, in His kindness, lead me back to her as surely I leave her in sorrow.
Alas! What have I said? I am not really leaving her at all! If my body is going off to serve Our Lord, my heart remains entirely within her sway.3

Ahi! Amours is but a small sample of the vast amounts of songs contemporary to the siege of Acre which were written along these lines -- whether from the point of view of the lord on crusade or the lady he left behind (the chansons de femme) -- a fascinating form of propaganda which bears examining. The Crusades had, to some extent, revived the whole notion of courtly love. The departure for the Holy Land separates the poet from his lady, bringing him great anguish and misery; and yet, in his heart, he knows that she will only despise him if he remains at home, which will mean that he will lose her.4 This, of course, is a departure from the songs of the First and Second Crusades, which mostly reiterated the points of Pope Urban II's sermon at the Council of Clermont; this was an era when it would seem that terrestrial love, and not love of God, inspired men to take up the cross. Routledge, however, proposes a different derivation for the spate of love-ballads that sprung up in the early years of the Third Crusade:

The features which characterize the expression of the fin'amor in the songs of the troubadours, trouvères and Minnesänger are longing, tension which is unresolved, and praise of the beloved. These features can be developed in a number of ways. For example, if the tension is unresolved, we may be told the reason why: the lady is of such supreme character and status, so "distant" from the lover that he despairs of ever attaining the lofty heights where she dwells. There may be other obstacles and dangers: actual distance, rivals, gossipmongers (known as losengiers), or the lover's timidity. It is not difficult to see how such elements of the love-song may be transferred to the idea of crusading. The unresolved longing may express the intention, as yet unfulfilled, to go on the crusade, or it may be used to suggest the idea of the journey which seems so long and to which no end can clearly be seen.5
In reality, however, there were quite a number of women who went to the Crusades -- despite the fact that the papal bull that launched the Third Crusade forbade women to participate. Even Pope Urban II, in his sermon/call to arms at the Council of Clermont in 1095 which incited the Crusades, advised women against taking crusade vows, as well as the elderly, the infirm, clerics, and monks. However, the promise of eternal reward in the hereafter would certainly seem to outweigh Urban’s attempt at dissuasion. In the same sermon, Urban often underscored the fact that "if anyone who sets out should lose his life either on the way, by land or by sea, or in battle against the infidels, his sins shall be pardoned from that moment."6
Our upcoming event will, to some extent, focus on the arrival of King Richard at the siege of Acre on June 8, 1191. Richard brought with him twenty-five galleys full of reinforcements, but it is worth discussing two other passengers as well. Richard had only days before married Berengaria of Navarre, and crowned her Queen of England. Richard's mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine, who had held a pivotal role in the Second Crusade, and who had selected Richard's bride, was sent home to assist her son John rule England in Richard's absence after the wedding. Berengaria's chaperone was Richard's sister, Joanna (who had until a short while before been the Dowager Queen of Sicily). Berengaria and Joanna had traveled together all the way from Europe; it was said that they became very good friends, "like two doves in a cage."7 Isaac Ducas Comnenus, the deposed Emperor of Sicily, was a captive in the charge of Guy of Lusignan, King of Jerusalem; Isaac's young daughter was attached to the court of Queens Joanna and Berengaria, to learn the Western way of life.8

Other noblewomen were undoubtedly in attendance at the siege of Acre as well. The wives of noblemen could play an important role in the Holy Land -- according to feudal custom, a wife could succeed her husband and could theoretically find herself at the head of a fief, perhaps even the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Salic law was simply not invoked in that era.9

We know that Queen Berengaria and Queen Joanna were at the siege at its close, when Richard entered the city and claimed the palace within as his prize, sending his bride and sister and their retinue to dwell therein. We know that they and their courts did not leave for England until quite a few months later. But what were they doing at the siege of Acre? One author romantically imagines the queens happy in each other's company, embroidering in a fortress within the camp in the care of two guardian knights.10 Perhaps so; but there is simply no evidence indicating what Berengaria and Joanna spent their days doing, only that they were together, and present during what remained of the siege. McLennan more realistically suggests that "the new Queen would not have found her groom physically attractive during an illness that deprived him of his hair, and in which his skin peeled off in strips. Indeed, perhaps she too suffered the same illness, and was confined to her own sickbed."11

Following the siege of Acre, Eastern and Western accounts both speak of a proposal regarding Queen Joanna; Beha al-Din, Saladin’s biographer, attributes the proposal to Richard himself, but some Western accounts, including Ambroise's, consider Saladin to have originated the proposal. The proposal went like this: Queen Joanna would marry Saladin’s brother al-`Adil; the couple would live in Jerusalem, where they would rule jointly; all prisoners taken at the siege of Acre would be released; and the fragment of the True Cross which Saladin kept in his possession would be entrusted to Joanna and al-`Adil jointly. But the proposal fell through, and here again, the accounts differ as to the reasons. Beha al-Din blames Richard, the "accursed Englishman," who had said that "his sister had returned home in a terrible rage when she was told about his proposal: she had sworn that she would never give herself to a Muslim!"12In any case, the proposal fell through; Saladin kept his piece of the True Cross, the Crusaders slaughtered their prisoners, and Saladin's troops killed or enslaved their own prisoners. The Third Crusade would continue.

http://moas.atlantia.sca.org/oak/13/acre.htm
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« Reply #34 on: December 26, 2007, 11:45:23 pm »

Felecia

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  posted 10-16-2005 12:49 AM                       
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Eleanor of Aquitaine--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Eleanor of Aquitaine was one of the most powerful and fascinating personalities of feudal Europe. At age 15 she married Louis VII, King of France, bringing into the union her vast possessions from the River Loire to the Pyrenees. Only a few years later, at age 19, she knelt in the cathedral of Vézelay before the celebrated Abbé Bernard of Clairvaux offering him thousands of her vassals for the Second Crusade. It was said that Queen Eleanor appeared at Vézelay dressed like an Amazon galloping through the crowds on a white horse, urging them to join the crusades.
While the church may have been pleased to receive her thousand fighting vassals, they were less happy when they learned that Eleanor, attended by 300 of her ladies, also planned to go to help "tend the wounded."

The presence of Eleanor, her ladies and wagons of female servants, was criticized by commentators throughout her adventure. Dressed in armor and carrying lances, the women never fought. And when they reached the city of Antioch, Eleanor found herself deep in a renewed friendship with Raymond, her uncle, who had been appointed prince of the city. Raymond, only a few years older than Eleanor, was far more interesting and handsome than Eleanor's husband, Louis. When Raymond decided that the best strategic objective of the Crusade would be to recapture Edessa, thus protecting the Western presence in the Holy Land, Eleanor sided with his view. Louis, however, was fixated on reaching Jerusalem, a less sound goal. Louis demanded that Eleanor follow him to Jerusalem. Eleanor, furious, announced to one and all that their marriage was not valid in the eyes of God, for they were related through some family connections to an extent prohibited by the Church. Wounded by her claim, Louis nonetheless forced Eleanor to honor her marriage vows and ride with him. The expedition did fail, and a defeated Eleanor and Louis returned to France in separate ships.

On her way home, while resting in Sicily, Eleanor was brought the news that her fair haired uncle had been killed in battle, and his head delivered to the Caliph of Baghdad. Although her marriage to Louis continued for a time, and she bore him two daughters, the relationship was over. In 1152 the marriage was annulled and her vast estates reverted to Eleanor's control. Within a year, at age thirty, she married twenty year old Henry who two years later became king of England.

In the papal bull for the next Crusade, it expressly forbade women of all sorts to join the expedition. All the Christian monarchs, including King Louis, agreed to this. But by this time Eleanor had problems of her own in her marriage to King Henry II of England.

http://www.womeninworldhistory.com/heroine2.html

[ 10-16-2005, 12:58 AM: Message edited by: Felecia ]
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« Reply #35 on: December 26, 2007, 11:45:46 pm »

Felecia

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  posted 10-16-2005 12:50 AM                       
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There were women who fought at siege of Acre.

`Imad al-Din wrote of one Western noblewoman who was a queen in her own land, and arrived accompanied by five hundred knights with their horses and money, pages and valets, she paying all their expenses and treating them generously out of her wealth. They rode out when she rode out, charged when she charged, flung themselves into the fray at her side, their ranks unwavering as long as she stood firm.13
The story of the noblewoman Crusader is not new to the Third Crusade; about ninety years before the siege of Acre, during the Second Crusade, Ida of Austria fought in the company of Duke Welf of Bavaria, and disappeared during the battle of Heraclea, when the Western forces were annihilated.14
While `Imad al-Din seems to speak admiringly of the unnamed queen, both he and Ibn al-Athir are somewhat disparaging of many of the other women who were among the Western fighting forces.

Among the Franks there were indeed women who rode into battle with cuirasses and helmets, dressed in men's clothes; who rode out into the thick of the fray and acted like brave men although they were but tender women, maintaining that all this was an act of piety, thinking to gain heavenly rewards by it, and making it their way of life. Praise be to him who led them into such error and out of the paths of wisdom! On the day of battle more than one woman rode out with them like a knight and showed (masculine) endurance in spite of the weakness (of her sex); clothed only in a coat of mail they were not recognized as women until they had been stripped of their arms. Some of them were discovered and sold as slaves.15
Gabrielli notes, however, that a passage in the chronicles of Usama ibn Munqidh, the Emir of Shaizar, demonstrates that Eastern women were equally willing to take up arms when necessary.
Women also helped by bringing water to the thirsty, or with the effort to carry stones to fill in the moat that surrounded the walls of Acre. Ambroise, thought to have been a soldier among the Western troops who had arrived at the siege at about the same time as King Richard, writes of a woman who is shot by a Saracen archer; her dying wish is that her corpse be used to fill the moat.16

`Imad al-Din also complains that

Everywhere was full of old women. These were sometimes a support and sometimes a source of weakness. They exhorted and incited men to summon their pride, saying that the Cross imposed on them the obligation to resist to the bitter end, and that the combatants would win eternal life only by sacrificing their lives, and that their God's sepulchre was in enemy hands. Observe how men and women led them into error; the latter in their religious zeal tired of feminine delicacy, and to save themselves from the terror of dismay (on the day of Judgement) became the close companions of perplexity, and having succumbed to the lust for vengeance, became hardened, and stupid and foolish because of the harm they had suffered.17
These women could very well have been nuns. Noblewomen often included a few nuns in their court or among their traveling companions.18 Several of the military orders, including the Hospitallers of St. John, Santiago, and Calatrava, included convents of sisters, generally more devoted to a contemplative life than to the care of the sick.19 As there was no concept of a nun in the Islamic religious structure, it seems likely that such nuns would fit `Imad al-Din's description. It is equally likely that he speaks of female pilgrims -- for there may have been men and women at the siege of Acre who had traveled as pilgrims to the Holy Land, only to be caught in the the battle. Much of their role, if they too were not actively volunteering as water-bearers or stone-bearers or such, might well have been as such cheerleaders, exhorting the fighters on to triumph.
And lastly, we come to those women who came to the siege to be employed in the world's oldest profession. In a long and colorful passage from his account of the siege of Acre, `Imad ad-Din writes that

There arrived by ship three hundred lovely Frankish women, full of youth and beauty, assembled from beyond the sea and offering themselves for sin. They were expatriates come to help expatriates, ready to cheer the fallen and sustained in turn to give support and assistance, and they glowed with ardor for carnal intercourse. They were all licentious harlots.20
While `Imad ad-Din implies that there were no prostitutes in his own camps, he does admit that "a few foolish mamluks and ignorant wretches slipped away, under the fierce goad of lust, and followed the people of error."21 Indeed, the siege of Acre was marked by a greater extent of debauchery, quarrelling, famines, and sicknesses, than perhaps any other single military action of the Crusades -- not surprising for a gathering of thousands of men from all over Europe, forced to stay entrenched in a seemingly endless siege initially without a center of direction.
Women served in a variety of capacities among the army of the Crusaders, offering the ladies who attend the Acre event this summer a wide array of choices in what roles they would like to play, whether they simply attend as a pilgrim, or "bear the cross" as a combatant.

http://moas.atlantia.sca.org/oak/13/acre.htm

[ 10-30-2005, 02:23 AM: Message edited by: Felecia ]
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« Reply #36 on: December 26, 2007, 11:46:08 pm »

incredulous
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  posted 10-16-2005 06:23 PM                   
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you know what i like about this thread? it shows once again our measure of fear, control, submission ... to the very same. that lurks "above" ...

case in point: scroll down the screen, quickly like you might for any thread that catches your fancy. what we see is the usual "new member" who blasts us with info or some "compelling" idea, then they sit back and watch the free for all.

another pre-teen psycho-social experiment - barf!
but, guilty as charged; for participating in the melee that ensued. smile
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« Reply #37 on: December 26, 2007, 11:46:29 pm »

Jennifer O'Dell

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   posted 10-30-2005 01:23 AM                       
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Anyone ever see that movie, "Kingdom of Heaven?" Very good movie, all about when the Muslims took back Jerusalem. Orlando Bloom is the best. I wonder how much of it was true?

I feel sorry for the Muslims that got killed when they first took Jersalem. And I feel sorry for all the Christians that went to live there, and all the knights that died defending it.

What a miserable experience for everyone involved...
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« Reply #38 on: December 26, 2007, 11:46:56 pm »

Jennifer O'Dell

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   posted 10-30-2005 01:02 AM                       
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Sleepless knights
By Alan Riding
May 8, 2005

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Balian (Orlando Bloom, center, with sword raised) and Almaric (Velibor Topic, to Bloom 's left) lead the charge into battle in the film Kingdom of Heaven.
Photo: Supplied

Is it a good idea to make a Hollywood blockbuster right now about Christians fighting Muslims? Director Ridley Scott tells Alan Riding it's the perfect time to retell the story of the Crusades.

Ridley Scott's new blockbuster, Kingdom of Heaven, could hardly be more topical. It shows Muslims resisting Christian invaders, battles raging in wind-whipped deserts, ancient cities under siege and civilians cowering. It even shows prisoners decapitated for their beliefs.

OK, so all this screen mayhem is meant to be happening more than eight centuries ago, but doesn't it sound like recent news from Iraq?

Well, the movie is not meant to show that Christians and Muslims have been at one another's throats for centuries. Rather, by dwelling on the extended, turbulent holy war known as the Crusades, Scott said he hoped to demonstrate that Christians, Muslims and Jews could live together in harmony - if only fanaticism were kept at bay.

To that end, for all the furious battle scenes in Kingdom of Heaven, Scott and his screenwriter, William Monahan, have tried to be balanced. Muslims are portrayed as bent on coexistence until Christian extremists ruin everything. And even when the Christians are defeated, the Muslims give them safe conduct to return to Europe.

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Advertisement"It's actually about doing the right thing," said Scott, 67, an Englishman whose screen combat experience also includes directing 1492: Conquest of Paradise, Black Hawk Down and Gladiator. "I know that sounds incredibly simplistic. It's about temptation and avoiding temptation. It's about ethics. It's about going to war over passion and idealism. Idealism is great if it's balanced and humanitarian."

If so, the Crusaders got a few things wrong. From 638, when Muslims first occupied Jerusalem, both Christians and Jews were permitted to visit their holy sites. Then, in 1095, responding to an appeal from the Byzantine Christian Church in Constantinople, Pope Urban II organised the First Crusade to liberate Jerusalem. Four years later, those crusaders seized the city, massacring almost all its inhabitants in a bloodbath invoked to this day.

Seven more crusades were waged, bringing European monarchs, lords, knights and their armies of devout followers to fight - and settle - in an area stretching between what is today Syria and Egypt. The Muslims responded with their own sporadic jihads until finally, by 1291, the Christians had been driven out.

It's hard not to wonder, is this really a good time to show warring Christians and Muslims as entertainment?

"I think it's the perfect time for the movie, because it doesn't paint one side or other as being the goodies or the baddies," insisted Jeremy Irons, one of several well-known actors who appear here as crusaders. "It just shows human nature getting in the way of possible peaceful coexistence. I don't think it will anger either side. I think it will make both sides think."

Of course, the backers of Kingdom of Heaven, 20th Century Fox, are hardly in the business of offering $140 million lessons in history and morality. The movie focuses on a particularly dramatic moment between the Second and Third Crusades, when the Muslims retook Jerusalem. This real history is wrapped in a fictional love story and presented as a rich spectacle of costumes, horses, swords and endless desert.

The facts are that during a period of relative peace, Baldwin IV, the young king of Jerusalem, again opened the city to all faiths. But after his death in 1185, militant Knights Templar began attacking Muslim desert convoys. In response, the legendary Muslim warrior Saladin, leading an army of 200,000, laid siege to Jerusalem. Balian of Ibelin, the Christian knight who surrendered the city on October 2, 1187, is the movie's hero.

Little is known about the real Balian. Played by the British actor Orlando Bloom (Black Hawk Down, Lord of the Rings and Pirates of the Caribbean), Balian becomes handsome, loyal, brave and the perfect match for King Baldwin's stunning sister, Sybilla, played by France's Eva Green (The Dreamers).

Their clandestine love blossoms, but everything else soon falls apart. In the final confrontation with Saladin, played with Saracen majesty by the veteran Syrian actor Ghassan Massoud, Balian gives up, as huge boulders and balls of fire batter the walls of Jerusalem.

"He ultimately surrenders Jerusalem to Saladin to save the lives of the people," said Bloom, 28. "The conduct of the knight is: Be brave that God may help thee; speak the truth even if it leads to your death; and safeguard the helpless. That is the oath, and he follows it to the bitter end."

Scott, for one, would subscribe to those elevated sentiments. In fact, he said in an interview at Shepperton Studios outside London, what led him to make Kingdom of Heaven was his fascination with the medieval knight, awakened decades ago by the movies of Akira Kurosawa and Ingmar Bergman. "What really interested me was something that seems to have disappeared from our vocabulary, which is the notion of grace and chivalry," he said. "Then, after I had finished Black Hawk Down, I met Bill Monahan to discuss another project, and I asked him if he knew anything about knights. He said the Crusades were his pet subject." By the time the screenplay was ready, the United States had invaded Iraq, but Scott was less consumed by politics than by the movie's complexity. In Spain, he used a medieval castle and the Moorish architecture of Seville, and in Morocco he filmed at the fortress port of Essaouira and in studios at Ouarzazate, in the Atlas Mountains. Near the studios, the production built ramparts 366 metres long and 17 metres high to represent Jerusalem.

With the approval of King Mohammed VI of Morocco, Scott also hired 1500 Moroccan soldiers as extras. In the movie, they are multiplied by computer. For the siege of Jerusalem, 15.4-tonne assault towers and huge catapults were digitally reproduced.

Having spent five months on location, working from a 260-page screenplay (almost twice the usual length), Scott ended up with a movie of three hours 40 minutes. This version will survive on DVD, but for general release he cut the film to two hours 22 minutes.

"We were constantly cutting," Irons said after seeing the theatre version, "but I was decently surprised by how much texture there still is. It's difficult for all of us to really provide texture. But nowadays people want lots of fighting and a love story, and I think Ridley found a very good balance."

Still, there is a political message, one that Green, 24, interpreted with characteristic French directness. "It's not like a stupid Hollywood movie," she said by telephone from Los Angeles. "It's a movie with substance. It's very clever and brave, and I hope it will wake up people in America."

To what? "To be more tolerant, more open towards the Arab people," she said. Well, it wasn't exactly what Scott had in mind, but why not?

- New York Times

http://www.theage.com.au/news/Film/Sleepless-knights/2005/05/05/1115092621007.html
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« Reply #39 on: December 26, 2007, 11:47:25 pm »

Jennifer O'Dell

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   posted 10-30-2005 01:09 AM                       
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Baldwin IV of Jerusalem

Political manoeuvering
Baldwin spent his youth in his father's court in Jerusalem, having little contact with his mother, the countess Agnes of Courtenay. Baldwin IV was educated by the historian William of Tyre, who discovered that the boy was a leper. Baldwin came to the throne at the age of thirteen. In his minority the kingdom was ruled by two successive regents, first Miles of Plancy, though unofficially, and then Raymond III of Tripoli. As a leper, Baldwin was not expected to reign long or even produce an heir, and courtiers and lords positioned themselves for influence over Baldwin's heirs, his sister princess Sibylla and his half-sister princess Isabella. Sibylla was being raised by her great-aunt, Ioveta (the youngest sister of former Queen Melisende), in the convent of Bethany, and Isabella was in the court of her mother, the dowager queen Maria Comnena, in Nablus.

In his capacity as regent, Raymond of Tripoli had the princess Sibylla married to William of Montferrat in autumn 1176. William was also created Count of Jaffa and Ascalon. However, William died the following June, leaving the widowed Sibylla pregnant with the future Baldwin V.

It was in this year that the king's distant cousin, Philip of Flanders, came to Jerusalem on crusade. Philip demanded to wed Baldwin's sisters to his vassals. Philip, as Baldwin's closest male kin on his paternal side (he was Fulk's grandson and thus Baldwin's first cousin; Raymond was Melisende's nephew and thus first cousin of Baldwin's father), claimed authority superseding Raymond's regency. The Haute Cour refused to agree to this, with Baldwin of Ibelin publicly insulting Philip. Offended, Philip left the kingdom, campaigning instead for Antioch. The Ibelin family were patrons of the dowager queen Maria, and historian Bernard Hamilton suggests that Baldwin of Ibelin acted this way in hopes of marrying one of Baldwin's sisters himself.

Baldwin's rule
Baldwin reached majority later that same year, and Raymond of Tripoli stepped down. Disadvantaged, young Baldwin had few male relatives to whom royal power could be delegated. The king turned to his mother and her brother, Joscelin III, the titular count of Edessa. Agnes, growing in influence both at court and over her son and her daughter, Sibylla, had Baldwin appoint Joscelin as seneschal.

In 1177 Baldwin IV allowed his step-mother the dowager-queen to marry Balian of Ibelin. This was a dangerous alliance, allowing Maria to marry into the ambitious Ibelin family. With Maria's patronage, the Ibelins tried to have the princesses Sibylla and Isabella married into their family as well.

Later in 1177, Baldwin and Raynald of Chatillon (the former prince of Antioch through marriage to Constance of Antioch) defeated Saladin at the Battle of Montgisard. In 1176 Raynald had been released from captivity in Aleppo, and later Baldwin created him lord of Kerak, a fortress to the east of the Dead Sea.

In the summer of 1180, Agnes had Baldwin IV marry Sibylla to Guy of Lusignan, brother of the constable Amalric of Lusignan. Guy had previously allied himself with Raynald, who was by now taking advantage of his position at Kerak to harass the trading caravans travelling between Egypt and Damascus. After Saladin retaliated for these attacks in 1182, Baldwin appointed Guy regent of the kingdom.

By this arrangement Agnes's influence in the kingdom was at its height. She held direct influence over her son the king, over her son's heir Sibylla, and Guy of Lusignan owed his advancement directly to her. Additionally, Agnes also had Baldwin marry the eight-year-old princess Isabella to Humphrey IV of Toron, an ally to Agnes, thus neutralizing the Ibelin-Maria faction.

In 1183, Baldwin had become offended by Guy's actions as regent. Guy attended the wedding festivities for Isabella and Humphrey, held in Kerak. However, the festivities were interrupted by Saladin, who besieged the fortress with the wedding guests inside. Baldwin marshalled what strength he had and lifted the siege, but Guy refused to fight Saladin and Saladin's troops simply went home. Baldwin could not tolerate this and deposed Guy as regent. In disgrace, Guy retired to Ascalon, taking his wife the princess Sibylla with him.

Failing health and death
According to Hamilton, there was no evidence to suggest princess Sibylla was herself disgraced by her second husband's actions, or even held in disfavour by the king, but in the early months of 1184 Baldwin attempted to have the marriage between Sibylla and Guy annulled. The couple had foiled this attempt by holding fast in Ascalon, not attending the annullment proceedings. Failing to pry his sister away from Guy, Baldwin appointed his nephew as heir and successor, with the support of Agnes, Raymond, and many of the other barons, excluding Sibylla from the succession. Raymond was to act as guardian of the infant heir, and later as regent if Baldwin IV was to expire, but Baldwin IV himself would continue to rule with Agnes herself as his advisor.

The military expedition to relieve Kerak and the dynastic struggle had weakened Baldwin considerably. He died in 1185, probably soon after the death of his mother Agnes, who had retired to Acre early in 1184. Though often suffering from the effects of leprosy and ruling with regency governments, Baldwin was able to maintain himself as king for much longer than otherwise might have been expected. As had been decided, Baldwin V succeeded his uncle, with Raymond of Tripoli as regent.

Baldwin is played by Edward Norton in the 2005 movie Kingdom of Heaven. Although largely fictionalised, this portrayal nevertheless succeeds in conveying his remarkable physical courage and his dedication to his kingdom.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baldwin_IV_of_Jerusalem
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« Reply #40 on: December 31, 2007, 12:43:58 am »

Jennifer O'Dell

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Balian

Balian of Ibelin, a 12th century nobleman and crusader, and the protagonist of the 2005 movie Kingdom of Heaven
Other members of the Ibelin family; including Balian's father, also known as Barisan of Ibelin

Barisan of Ibelin

Barisan of Ibelin (died 1150) was an important figure in the crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem, and was the ancestor of the Ibelin family. His name was also pronounced as "Balian" and he is sometimes known as Balian the Elder or Balian I.

Barisan was probably from northern Italy, although nothing is known of his life before 1115, when he appears as constable of the County of Jaffa. Around 1122, his services were rewarded with a marriage to Helvis of Ramla, daughter of Baldwin I of Ramla. In 1134, when Hugh II of Le Puiset, count of Jaffa, rebelled against King Fulk, Barisan supported the king, and soon became prominent at Fulk's court. In 1141 he was named lord of the newly constructed castle of Ibelin, located in the county of Jaffa between Jaffa itself and the fortress of Ascalon, which was at this point still controlled by Fatimid Egypt. In 1148 Barisan inherited the nearby lordship of Ramla, through his wife Helvis. That year, Barisan was also present at the council convened at Acre after the arrival of the Second Crusade, at which it was decided to attack Damascus (see Siege of Damascus).

With Helvis, Barisan was the father of Hugh, Baldwin, Barisan, Ermengarde, and Stephanie. The younger Barisan came to be known strictly as Balian, or Balian the Younger. Barisan died in 1150 and Ibelin was inherited by Hugh. Helvis then married Manasses of Hierges, constable of Jerusalem.

Sources
William of Tyre, A History of Deeds Done Beyond the Sea. E. A. Babcock and A. C. Krey, trans. Columbia University Press, 1943.
Peter W. Edbury, John of Ibelin and the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Boydell Press, 1997.
Steven Runciman, A History of the Crusades, vol. II: The Kingdom of Jerusalem. Cambridge University Press, 1952.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barisan_of_Ibelin
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« Reply #41 on: December 31, 2007, 12:44:27 am »

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   posted 10-30-2005 01:16 AM                       
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King Baldwin IV Of Jerusalem
Wednesday September 28, 7:00 pm ET
Doug Tsuruoka


The greatest of the Christian kings to rule Jerusalem during the Crusades began life as a hapless boy, who to all appearances, should never have ruled at all.
He was Baldwin IV, the so-called Leper King of Jerusalem. A stammerer as a young child, he contracted leprosy when he was 9. He was 13 in 1174 when his father died and Baldwin was crowned as his successor in the city's Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

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Historians marvel that Baldwin, for a time, overcame his sickness to become a wise and able ruler. He also proved an ace strategist who scored some of the kingdom's biggest triumphs against Saladin, the Saracen leader who had vowed to drive the Crusaders from the Holy Land.

It wasn't just Crusaders who admired Baldwin: he also won Saladin's respect with his strength of character. During Baldwin's reign, the two signed a truce that ushered in a rare period of peace before it fell apart.

A scion of one of France's royal families, Baldwin was descended from the Frankish knights who created a small kingdom after capturing Jerusalem in 1099 during the First Crusade.

French chroniclers say Baldwin had bright eyes, an aquiline nose and blond hair that reached to his shoulders. He also had a thunderous laugh that was filled with life despite the incurable disease that was ravaging his body.

The kingdom's affairs couldn't have been worse when Baldwin took the throne. It was besieged on all sides by Muslim armies that were retaking the forts and cities won by the Crusaders a generation before.

Crowning a sickly boy at a time like this struck some as folly. But Baldwin proved to be the right man at the right time.

"He was the bravest, the most intelligent, the most understanding of the kings of Jerusalem ... he was kindly and solicitous toward others, he understood exactly what was demanded of him, and he was learned about all the affairs of the Levant, but what was most important about him during his brief reign was a certain style, a way of looking at life with eagerness and grace," wrote Robert Payne in his famous work on the Crusades, "The Dream And The Tomb."

What stood out about Baldwin was his realization from an early age that his life would be cut short by leprosy. As such, he wanted to make every moment count. He also seemed to know that he held the kingdom's fate in his hands.

His illness had been discovered when he was playing with a group of young boys. They were pinching each other's arms and legs to see who could bear the pain the longest. But when they pinched Baldwin, he felt no pain. People thought that odd.

Medical books were checked and the young prince was found to be suffering from early-stage leprosy.

Inner Strength

News of this sort would have crushed most children. But with Baldwin it had the opposite effect. He fought his disease, taking all the medicines against leprosy then known to science. Little could be done to halt it. But he had an inner strength that allowed him to bear his illness without complaint.

He resolved to make the best of the cruel cards fate had handed him. And when Baldwin fixed on a goal, nothing could stop him.

He acted as if he were healthy. He practiced his riding skills until he became an expert horseman. He mastered the use of the sword while still in his teens. And he absorbed the wisdom he heard from some of the finest minds of his day.

One of his tutors was the historian William of Tyre, who schooled him in letters and religion. Baldwin took both seriously and practiced them daily, becoming both an avid reader of Plato and a pious Christian.

The sincerity with which he embraced his faith made Baldwin a bit of an anomaly in a time when Crusaders and Saracens killed each other without pity. He was a foe of Islam, dedicated to defending Christian rule. But he committed none of the atrocities of earlier rulers.

Baldwin's stuttering had an unusual effect: it made him focus intensively on being well-spoken. He practiced little word games with his tutors to keep his stammering under control. And he learned to measure his words carefully. Payne says he did this "because he wanted to think carefully before he spoke, knowing that as a king his words would have special significance."

Trade flourished under Baldwin. He knew that vibrant bazaars and seaports kept the kingdom strong. And he was a chivalrous man deeply concerned with the welfare of his subjects. He often dispensed bread and other aid in hard times.

As a soldier, Baldwin had a contrarian approach to war: He turned disadvantage into advantage.

The heavy armor used by the Crusaders had vexed them in the searing heat of the Holy Land. The Muslims used lighter armor well-suited to the local climate.

But Baldwin knew that lightly armed soldiers were vulnerable to heavy cavalry armed with lances. He also knew a few well-trained knights could prevail against a numerically superior foe if the right tactics were used.

Baldwin used these points with good effect at Ramleh in 1177 when he won his greatest victory.

He personally led a charge of 200 Knights Templar against a much larger Muslim force. His attack cut Saladin's army in two and caused it to flee in wild disorder.

Baldwin was just 17 years old at the time, half-blind and wasted by leprosy. He refused to give in to his illness, however: He eagerly entered into other fights against Saladin, buying time for his beleaguered kingdom.

Integrity And Honor

Baldwin proved as skillful in peace as he was in war. Treachery often marred the treaties made by both sides in the Crusades. But Baldwin sealed a truce with Saladin and kept it. The Muslims also put aside their swords because they knew Baldwin was an honorable man.

When a famine struck, Baldwin sent food to Saladin and re-opened trade between Christian and Muslim towns in a gesture of peace.

He had no male heirs and spent his last days selecting a successor from among his quarreling relatives.

Baldwin was only 24 and completely blind when he died in 1185.

He was regal to the end. "When his face and features were no longer recognizable, when there came from him only halting whispers, and when he was carried on a litter because he could no longer walk, he was braver than any of his knights and more intelligent than any of his advisers," Payne wrote.

A renegade Crusader named Reynald of Chatillon broke the truce just before Baldwin died by seizing a Muslim caravan. Saladin retaliated and Jerusalem fell to his army in 1187.

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« Reply #42 on: December 31, 2007, 12:45:00 am »

Jennifer O'Dell

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   posted 10-30-2005 01:19 AM                       
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In Search of the Real Balian
In Kingdom of Heaven, Sir Ridley Scott turns Balian of Ibelin into an agnostic, but what do we know of the Balian of history?
By Steven Gertz


I have to hand it to Sir Ridley Scott. He knows how to grab your attention. In the opening scenes of his epic Crusades movie Kingdom of Heaven, the young poor blacksmith Balian (played by Orlando Bloom) suddenly finds himself heir to a fief in the exotic East. His crusading father Godfrey (Liam Neeson), recently returned from the Holy Land to France, offers his illegitimate son Balian not only a chance to find forgiveness for his wife's suicide by going on crusade but also the hope of securing a new future as a noble in the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Balian hesitates at first but then takes the bait, and off he goes with Godfrey.

Fine and good as far as movie theatrics go, but was Balian a real person? How much of this is history and how much of this is Scott just spinning a good story? And how reliable is Scott as an interpreter of crusader motivations?

Balian did in fact play a crucial role as a Crusader noble in the events surrounding the fall of Jerusalem in 1187 to the Muslim sultan Saladin. But Balian never had to travel to the Holy Land—as he does in the movie—because he was already part of the nobility there. His father Balian the Old (not Godfrey) fathered three sons, Hugh, Baldwin, and Balian, all of whom were legitimate and recognized as such. Long before Saladin made his masterful invasion of the Holy Land, Balian and his elder brother Baldwin had established their reputations as competent members of Palestine's feudal nobility. Indeed, Balian was married to royalty even before the events Scott portrays—and he wasn't at all romantically involved with the princess Sybilla, sister to the king of Jerusalem. (Actually Balian's brother Baldwin was the one who had a love interest in Sybilla.)

In the movie, Balian's faith in God is in jeopardy. Scott has Balian questioning whether God even knows him—his search for forgiveness in Jerusalem ends in disappointment. But what little we know about Balian from historical records suggests he was indeed a pious Christian who took his faith quite seriously. According to one account from the 13th century Estoire d' Eracles (an old French translation and expansion of a 12th century Western chronicle of the Crusades), Balian was on his way to join forces with other crusaders when he realized it was a church feast day and stopped in town to take Mass. Rather than doing his military duty, he stayed overnight at the house of the bishop, talking all night with him. The visit actually cost the kingdom something, as Balian was not there to help his comrades prevent a military defeat.

Nor do Balian's actions following the fall of Jerusalem suggest a man who had lost his faith. Far from being disgusted with the Crusades and returning to France Balian retired to Beirut in Lebanon, which he proceeded to fortify against Muslim invasion. He was present at the signing of a truce with Saladin, which secured a measure of peace for the few Crusader cities still left. And his descendants continued to play important roles in the Crusader kingdoms of the 13th century.

That's not to say Balian was the epitome of piety. As a warrior, he could be ruthless if need called for it. Saladin's vow to kill the crusaders, their women, and children once he took Jerusalem drove Balian to an equally heartless solution. Muslim chronicler Ibn Al-Athir quotes Balian as such:

Know O Sultan, that there are very many of us in this city, God alone knows how many. At the moment we are fighting half-heartedly in the hope of saving our lives, hoping to be spared by you as you have spared others; this is because of our horror of death and our love of life. But if we see that death is inevitable, then by God we shall kill our children and our wives, burn our possessions, so as not to leave you with a dinar or a drachma or a single man or woman to enslave. When this is done, we shall pull down the Sanctuary of the Rock (today's Dome of the Rock) and the Masjid al-Aqsa and the other sacred places, slaughtering the Muslim prisoners we hold—5,000 of them—and killing every horse and animal we possess. Then we shall come out to fight you like men fighting for their lives, when each man, before he falls dead, kills his equals; we shall die with honor, or win a noble victory.
This hardly sounds like a Christian speaking. But Balian was also a crafty politician and probably hoped that such a threat would move Saladin to offer the crusaders more acceptable terms, as he in fact did. Saladin was less liberal than the movie makes him out to be—he demanded that each man, woman, and child in Jerusalem pay a ransom for his or her freedom, and consequently thousands of poor Christians faced the grim prospect of slavery. In an effort to avert this catastrophe, Balian paid out of his own purse Saladin's price for many who could not afford it.

Balian's story is in many ways a case study of crusader motives. As Bruce Shelley asked in his article in Christian History Issue 40, why did Christians go on crusade? Kingdom of Heaven would appear to suggest that crusaders went for land, wealth, and power even as they claimed to fight for the good of Christendom and the spread of Christianity. There may indeed be some truth to this claim, though as historian Thomas Madden points out, "the Crusades were notoriously bad for plunder."

The Balian of history suggests a more complicated picture, however. Here was a man well versed in the ways of war, and his possessions and livelihood were at stake in the conflict. Yet as the story from Estoire d' Eracles demonstrates, he placed great importance on the things of God, even to the detriment of the conflict at hand. And as the events following the fall of Jerusalem reveal, Balian at great personal sacrifice showered compassion on fellow Christians in dire need. Indeed, this kind of empathy is exactly what drove many crusaders to come to the Holy Land—it was in part the plea of the Byzantine emperor Alexios to Pope Urban II for help against belligerent Muslim Turks in 1095 that prompted the pope to call for the Crusades. In more than one way, the life of Balian helps us see the crusaders for what many of them they were—men of piety who felt the call of God on their lives even as they went to war.

Kingdom of Heaven has some serious problems—none the least Scott's portrayal of Balian. But if Scott provokes Christians to take a closer look at the men and women of faith in medieval Europe, he's done the public a service. Now I'm just waiting for a scholar to write the definitive biography of Balian of Ibelin.

For further reading:

Marshall Baldwin, ed, A History of the Crusades, Volume 1:TheFirst 100 Years (Univ of Wisconsin Press, 1969)

Francesco Gabrieli, ed. Arab Historians of the Crusades, (Univ of California Press, 1969). Baha ad-Din tells the story of Saladin conquering Jerusalem .

Regine Pernoud, The Crusades (Putnam, 1963). Pay special attention to the accounts of the fall of Jerusalem by Ibn al-Athir and Ambroise.

Jonathan Riley-Smith, Crusades: A Short History (Yale Univ. Press, 1987)

Jonathan Riley-Smith, Crusades: The feudal nobility and the kingdom of Jerusalem (Archon Books, 1973)

Steven Runciman, A History of the Crusades, Vol 2: The Kingdom of Jerusalem and the Frankish East: 1100-1187 (Cambridge, 1968)

http://www.christianitytoday.com/history/newsletter/2005/may12.html
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« Reply #43 on: December 31, 2007, 12:45:25 am »

 
Aristotle

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   posted 10-30-2005 10:19 PM                       
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Excellent research on this, Jennifer, I just rented the movie myself. I understand there's a much longer version of "Kingdom of Heaven" coming out later.

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- Aristotle

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« Reply #44 on: December 31, 2007, 12:45:50 am »

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Rate Member   posted 10-30-2005 10:35 PM                       
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That movie was so good:)
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