March 26, 2009

The crusader.


(Another pic from Ted's Toys.)

I looked it up, wondering if it might be a suitable stand-in for Jeanne d'Arc, but that's too much of a stretch. If it had been closer, I would've asked if I could borrow it for my profile picture.

Chip Ahoy says:
Photoshop for you, crusader figurine Jeanneified.


Fred4Pres said...

And the Islamic Terrorist

One is from circa 1000 and the other from circa 2009.

Fred4Pres said...

I wonder if the Rahmadhan Foundation gets as riled when some Muslim "martyr" blows him or herself up along with as many innocent bystanders as he or she can?

They probably save the big guns for Danish cartoonists and Dutch film makers.

Freeman Hunt said...

I adore Schleich toys. We don't have any of the knight figures, but we have a ton of Schleich animals. My son loves them.

EDH said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
EDH said...

What a magnificent figurine.

Sure beats the plastic green "army men" I used to have.

Wouldn't want to see a kid to set that on fire or blow that up with a firecracker when he gets older.

Joan said...

Your photo is way, way better than Amazon's.

I looked it up, wondering if it might be a suitable stand-in for Jeanne d'Arc, but that's too much of a stretch. If it had been closer, I would've asked if I could borrow it for my profile picture.

blake said...

Schleich is huge around here, too, Freem: They have a whole bunch of fantasy figures.

It's remarkably high quality stuff for the price.

Michael McNeil said...

Since we're talking about Crusaders and thus implicitly the Crusades, I think it's worth noting (before all the usual PC talk starts up about how “evil” the historic Crusades were) that they did not pop up whole cloth out of nowhere, nor were the Crusades caused by Muslim conquests and purported atrocities that had occurred centuries before — during the 7th and 8th centuries, for instance, when the Holy Land together with (say) most of Spain (along with much, much else) were lost to Islam. Modern histories often refer to those already-ancient events when discussing causes of the Crusades, but the First of those Crusades did not commence until the end of the 11th century!

The conquest of most of Asia Minor by the Seljuk Turks late in the 11th century from the old surviving Roman Empire (whose emperor's appeal to the West can be said to have directly inspired the Crusades) took place far from western Europe. The Roman Empire in the East obviously suffered, but why should the West — spiritually sympathetic though it was with (their fellow Christian) East Romans — have cared very much, at least to the extent of launching armies and armadas again and again over centuries?

It's as if Britain (surviving fragment of the British Empire and mother country to the United States) were to successfully and repeatedly engage America now in the 21st century to come to its aid against what it termed “Papist aggression” — by denouncing centuries-old outrages dating back to Spain's conquest of the Americas, the Spanish Armada, and the Thirty Years War!

Medieval western European knights might have been violent folk by our standards, but they were no more inclined to sail off in their thousands to (what was then) the end of the Earth, for what were by even then ancient causes, than is anybody else. No, the proximate cause of the 11th century Western European military challenge to Islam must be sought far closer in space and time.

As William B. Stevenson writes in The Cambridge Medieval History, it was “The Muslim attack on southern Europe, from the eighth century to the eleventh, [that] called forth the counter-stroke which is known as the First Crusade.” (Emphasis added.) The Muslim scourge in Europe did not end in the 8th century but rather intensified. As Prof. Stevenson described the situation:

“After the Muslim conquest of North Africa, Spain (eighth century), and Sicily (ninth century), all the southern coast of France and the western coast of Italy, with the islands of Sardinia and Corsica, lay at the mercy of hostile fleets and of the forces which they landed from time to time. The territories and suburbs of Genoa, of Pisa, and of Rome itself were raided and plundered. The Italian cities of the north had as yet no fleets, and the Muslims held command of the sea. In the south of Italy and in southern France Muslim colonies established themselves and were the terror of their Christian neighbours.”

During the 10th century, this tide started to turn. Muslim colonists were expelled from southern France, for instance, by 975. As late as 1002, however, Bari could still be besieged and the southern coast of Italy ravaged, while Pisa was sacked in 1004 and again in 1011 by Saracen fleets. In 1015 Muslims from Spain seized the sizable island of Sardinia outright, driving Genoa and Pisa into an alliance to evict them (in which they were successful by 1017).

(I find it interesting reviewing these historic events now, which occurred just a bit under and over a thousand years ago.)

Around the same time frame Norman adventurers, redoubtable fighters from the formerly Viking domain of Normandy in northern France, began establishing themselves in southern Italy, and by 1060 had crossed over the strait of Messina and begun conquering pieces of (centuries Muslim) Sicily. In 1072 Palermo was taken, signaling the Normans' overall success, but some parts of the island were not secured for the new Norman realm of Sicily and southern Italy until as late as 1091.

Concerning contemporary events in Spain, Stevenson writes:

“In Spain the same work of reconquest made steady progress after the middle of the [11th] century. Here too Norman valour and Norman swords played an efficient part. Expeditions from South France, and probably also ships from Italy (1092-1093), joined in the war. Normans, Italians, and southern French, were thus already practically leagued in warfare against the common foe. The First Crusade joined to these allies other peoples, more widely separated, and bore the contest from the Western to the Eastern Mediterranean. But the contest remained the same, and the chief combatants on the Christian side were still Normans, Italians, and Frenchmen.”

The battle continued fiercely fought in Spain (similarly under the aegis of a “Crusade”) for many decades, but nearly all the work of the Reconquista there was done by the middle of the 13th century, leaving only the coastal enclave of Granada for Ferdinand and Isabella to finish off (some two and a half hundred years later) at the end of the 15th century (just before sending Columbus in 1492 on his way…).

Stevenson considered when Europe first became capable of undertaking the Crusading effort:

“The date at which Europe became ready for a united attack on the Muslim East cannot be put earlier than the last quarter of the eleventh century. The enemy were then at last driven out of the home lands, excepting Spain, and the Western Mediterranean was again a Christian sea. As long as the struggle in the West was proceeding, schemes for the conquest of Palestine were impracticable.”

As Stevenson said, “The recovery of Italy and Sicily and a large part of Spain from Muslim rule gave an impulse to the victors which could not fail to carry them to further enterprises.”

The biggest signpost of shifting strategic balances in the Mediterranean during the 11th century may be considered to be the attack by Genoa and Pisa on the port of Mahdiyah in what is now Tunisia in 1087, signaling acquisition of naval supremacy by the Christians. Without superiority at sea nothing else was really possible. Even if some Crusaders could, and did, march overland as far as Constantinople and (were carried thence over to) Asia Minor, they could not be supplied in their destination of the Holy Land without seaborne support.

Notice when the First Crusade was actually underway: 1096. Thus, by the standards of the time, western Europeans launched their counterstroke of the Crusades essentially as quickly as they possibly could after it first became feasible for them to do so — and not centuries after the insult.

The Drill SGT said...

I think your guy is a Teutonic Knight. They were not as well know (and later than) the Knights Templar and Knights Hospitaler.

Though they were in the Mid East, they are best known (or hated) for bringing Christianity (and German values) to those pagan Prussians and the Balts.

The Poles and Russians don't think much of them :)

First Battle of Tannenberg for example

The Drill SGT said...

Excellent stuff from Michael M, with 3 additions.

Martel the Hammer stopping those Moors coming North out of Spain intending to sieze France. The Battle of Tours in 732. It was 7 more centuries before the Moors were puched out.

The Muslim Turks final push got it them as far as the gates of Vienna in 1683

Slave raiding by Muslims in North Africa on Europe lasted into the 19th century

LarsPorsena said...


Add in siege of Malta and Lepanto for neap tide of Islam in Europe.

traditionalguy said...

The conquerors in the name of Mohammed and his new God were always the enslavers of the dhimi peoples upon Mohammed's instructions. Today the world's slave trade is 100% mohammedian. Will the nuclear weapons now being produced by Iran protect the extension of moslem slavery? Do we care? Does Pres.Obama see slavery as a natural thing so long as he is a Master in that slave system? If so, then he shows that he is a moslem, like his father and step-father were. The Teleprompter wont tell us but his actions towards Iran will.

fcai said...

Did I mention that I found ammo on sale the other day? So far Obama has not outlawed our ability to defend ourselves, so I am stocking up. I may not make it to the mountain top, etc.

John Burgess said...

Let me recommend Stephen O'Shea's Sea of Faith.

The book focuses on periods of convivencia, when Christians and Muslims (and sometimes Jews) found a modus vivendi through which they could cooperate and mutually benefit.

A theme running throughout is how either/both sides of the Crusades often found it tactically and strategically useful to ally themselves with some of their enemies to gain power over some of their 'friends'.

Also of note are some of the speeches and letters from Christian leaders which read very much like the jihadist rhetoric we're hearing today, with the change of name or two...

Big Mike said...

Since the figure is wielding a battle hammer, it seems unlikely that you could use it as a stand-in for St. Joan. Didn't she use a sword?

Michael McNeil said...

Excellent stuff from Michael M, with 3 additions.

[1] Martel the Hammer stopping those Moors coming North out of Spain intending to sieze France. The Battle of Tours in 732. It was 7 more centuries before the Moors were puched out.

Thanks, Drill SGT! I would point out, though, that by the late 11th century (the time of the First Crusade), the Battle of Tours was three and a half centuries agone, and people very seldom if ever go to war over issues (that really are) that ancient.

But, as I also made note, Muslim atrocities against the European population had not ceased so many centuries before, but instead intensified. Pisa being sacked twice inside a decade is quite eye opening as a particular for instance. The medieval “sacking” of a city, for any resident or visitor unable to escape in time the prison of its walls, is a very sad event.

Joan said...

Many thanks to you both!

I think St. Joan-with-a-hammer is just about right for my profile.

blake said...

Next Week On The Althouse History Network:

Janissaries: Powerful fighting force? Or just a bunch of poufs? Or both? Our panel will weigh in.

Michael McNeil said...

Too funny!

Here's the reference on the quotes provided before:

Professor William B. Stevenson, Chapter VII: “The First Crusade,” Volume V: Contest of Empire and Papacy, edited by J. R. Tanner, C. W. Previté-Orton, and Z. N. Brooke, The Cambridge Medieval History, planned by J. B. Bury, Cambridge at the University Press, London, 1926; pp. 265-271.

Maria said...

Nice crusader! He is belong to the brave warriors

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