It takes a nation to protect the nation
Jihad in the West, 'Muslim Conquests from the 7th to the 21st Centuries'
by Paul Fregosi
Prometheus Books, New York, 1998
Reviewed by Sharon Morad, Leeds
There is a link between terrorism known as Jihad today, with wars of Muslim expansion beginning with Muhammad.
All expressions of Islam's basic distaste for the outside world.
Most Muslims claim crusades are the origin of the conflict between Islam and Christianity, but this is the wrong way around. The first crusade was in 1096 AD. Jihad had already been going on for 500 years by then.
The Holy War that Isn't (pp. 19-27)
Definition of Jihad: not attempt to convert people to Islam by force (except maybe in the 1st century of Islam).
Rather, attempt to "expand and extend Islam until the whole world is under Muslim rule. The jihad is essentially a permanent state of hostility that Islam maintains against the rest of the world, with or without fighting for more sovereignty over more territory" (20). It is a duty, an obligation for all Muslims.
[p.22] A contrast between Christ (He who lives by the sword will die by the sword), with Muhammad (the sword is the key to heaven and hell).
Chapt. 1: The Beginning: Mecca 570-622 (pp. 31-33)
A summary of the traditional accounts of Muhammad's life, describing Islam as being "essentially a patriotic movement aimed at asserting Arabian independence and prestige" (p.32)
Chapt. 2: Gabriel Cometh: Medina (pp. 34-39)
Chapt. 3: The First Battles (pp. 40-45)
Chapt. 4: A man of Many Parts (pp. 46-51)
Many examples of Muhammad's cruelty.
Chapt. 5: When the Killing Had to Stop (pp. 52-55)
Battle at Mt. Uhud was the first major defeat for Muhammad, but Abu Sufyan does not follow up his advantage. Two years later, the Meccans attack Medina, but due to a big trench which had been dug, their attack failed.
Chapt. 6: A Man of His Time (pp. 56-59)
Basically a summary of preceding chapters with a special comment that Muhammad's actions weren't so much worse than other men of his time, but he was a hypocrite for preaching love and mercy at the same time; and in any case his life in history is nothing like his mage in Islam today.
Chapt. 7: Of Banes and Stones (pp. 60-64)
A summary of the traditional account of the compilation of the Qur'an; some early controversy about it and the Mut'azilites. Throughout history other Muslims have challenged the idea of an eternal, uncreated Qur'an. A bit about the Hadith and questions on its reliability.
Chapt. 8: A Paradise for Warriors (pp. 65-68)
Why did outnumbered, under-equipped Arabs make such huge territorial victories so quickly?
1) dissensions between the Christians
2) warfare between the Byzantines and the Persians exhausted both.
3) plunder - either in this life or the next, the soldier of Islam was promised riches and women.
There is a detailed and graphic description of Muslim paradise, complete with houris, rivers of wine and the enjoyment of watching those in torment.
Chapt. 9: Onward Muslim Soldiers: Byzantium and Persia 632-640 AD (pp. 71-75)
After the death of Muhammad came the caliphate of Abu Bakr (2 yrs.), Umar (for ten years, then assassinated), followed by Uthman.
Uthman was the descendant of Abu Sufyan, the implacable enemy of Muhammad.
630 AD was the first battle outside of Arabia - against the Byzantines in Jordan. Muhammad ordered two campaigns just before his death:
Usama - led troops to the north
Khalid - captured Baghdad (he was a great general later on of the Umayyads)
Fall of Jerusalem, Damascus (635) and Antioch (636)
Muawiyya was active in the campaign against Syria. He was declared the governor of Syria by Umar in 640 AD.
By 641 AD much of Egypt and Persia had fallen
Sword (middle class)
Chapt. 10: The Island Campaign: Cyprus, Rhodes, and Crete 649-668 AD (pp. 76-82)
A summary of the civil war between Muawiyya and Ali, establishment of the Umayyad caliphate.
Ali - 4th caliph, had capital in Basra. Muawiyya accuses him of complicity in Uthman's murder.
657 - battle at Siffin. Ali's troops stop fighting when Muawiyya's appeal to the Qur'an for a verdict. The Kharajites leave Ali and one of them murders him.
Muawiyya is the caliph between 661-680, with his capital in Damascus. The Umayyads rule until 749 - then the Abbasids take over and rule until 1258 AD.
Abbasid rule - was anti-Umayyad, with much destruction of any references to them. Thus we know very little about the Umayyads.
We do know that Muawiyya was a good leader, was an imperialist, had wanted to take ships to attack the Mediterranean islands, but Umar refused (Umar like many Arabs, was afraid of the sea). But Uthman gave him permission to attack Cyprus in 649, first from Saida (Lebanon) and then from Alexandria. The first major Arab naval enterprise brought great booty. Later the Arabs left when the island promised to pay tribute.
Crete was raided in 653 AD. Rhodes was raided in 653. The "Saracens" remanined there 5 years, stripped the island bare, melted down the giant bronze colossus (one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world). Sicily was raided in 668 AD (at which time Muawiyya was now the caliph and not simply a general)
Advancement to Constantinople and a 6 year siege.
Chapt. 11: Checkmate on the Bosphorus: Constantinople 668-673 (pp. 83-86)
The dream of conquering Constantinople, greatest city of the east. In 668 there was an amphibious assault. An expedition sails from Syria, the Arab headquarters established on the island of Cyticus (a few miles south in the straits). Siege for 7 years.
The Byzantines had a secret weapon, a flaming mixture of 'naphtha', sulphur and pitch poured down on the attackers.
Eventually, Muawiyya realized he couldn't take the city. The problem was that many of his ships were burnt, so he loaded as many soldiers as possible on the remaining ships. 30,000 soldiers were left to march back through Anatolia. The infantry was destroyed by the Byzantines during this retreat until there was a peace settlement, which forced Muawiyya to pay a tribute to Constantinople.
Chapt. 12: The Toledo Whore: Spain 710
Legend: the King Rodrigo of Spain seduces the daughter of count Julian of Morocco. In retaliation, Julian sides with the Emir Musa, a Muslim ruler of North Africa, based in Tunisia. Musa's dream was to invade through Spain and France and meet Muslims invading from the east, so that Islam would surround the Mediterranean.
Chapt. 13: The Mountain of Tarik: Spain 711 (pp. 93-96)
The Caliph al-Walid authorizes the invasion of Spain, so the Musa and his commander, Tarik, with the count Julian as advisor, cross from Tangier to Gibralter (then called Jabil Tarik).
Spain - peasants oppressed by aristocracy. Internal dissension especially against Jews. They were now ruled by the Visigoths, who were complacent and corrupt.
The first battle, on the banks of the Guadelete river was a decisive victory for the Muslims. King Rodrigo was killed and his head sent back to Damascus.
The Muslims called Iberia al-Andalus and immediately began the campaign to take it all and head on for France.
Chapt. 14: A Conqueror's Fate: Spain 711-715 (pp. 97-100)
Musa had commanded Tarik to wait for reinforcements, but the general ignored him, dividing the army into 2 parties, one heading for Cordova and the other for Toledo. The inhabitants fled and the cities and booty were taken without a fight.
Musa arrived with reinforcements in 712 en route to Toledo. He captured several other cities; Carmona, Medina, Sidonia, and Seville. Often the Jews helped the Muslims as liberators.
By 715 nearly all of Spain was under Muslim occupation. Leaving his son in charge, Musa returned to Damascus to report, but the new Caliph, Suleiman, feared his victories and had him banished to live as a beggar in a town in Arabia.
Chapt. 15: The Forgotten Isaurian: Constantinople 717-718 (pp. 103-106)
Leo the Isaurian, Anatolian and Byzantine emperor repelled the second Muslim attack on Constantinople in 717AD, initiated by Suleiman, consisting of 120,000 Arabs and Persians by land and 100,000 by sea.
Leo filled the granaries and the citizens watched with full bellies as the besiegers starved throughout the winter. The Arab supply ships were destroyed by Greek fire. A final doom for the Muslims came about when the Bulgarians joined the Greeks against them. The retreat was ordered, again, 30,000 by land, the rest by sea.
Chapt. 16: The Dhimmis: Dar-al-Islam from the Seventh Century Onwards (pp. 107-109)
Dhimmis could not carry weapons, ride horses, wear shoes, ring church bells, wear anything green, or fight back against a Muslim assault.
Proclaiming Jesus' divinity and conversion from Islam were capital offenses.
Muslim rulers were not anxious for converts because Dhimmis were more valuable economically, as they paid tribute and were the slave labour.
Chapt. 17: Forays into France: The Langvredoc 718-732 (pp. 110-115)
The Spaniards began the Reconquista in 718 (ended in 1492). They started out as resistance movements.
Pelayo ruled a tiny territory and ran guerrilla raids against the Muslims.
Muslims began moving north.
Al-Semak led the first invasion across the Pyrenees in 721, establishing a base at Norbonne.
He was succeeded by Abderaman, who moved up the Rhone as far as Lyon and Dijon; specially targeting churches and monasteries. Then he moved on to Bordeaux. Between Poitiers and Tours, there was a clash between Abduraman and Charles Martel.
Chapt. 18: The Hammer of the Franks: Tours 732-759 (pp. 116-121)
Summary of the battle of Poitiers (or Tours) where Charles Martel turned back Abderaman's advance. There was lots of fighting in the south of France (to the west in Langredoc under ibd-al-Malik, up the Rhone river again, east to Piedmont in Italy). The Muslims helped by Christian allies, began quarrelling with each other.
737 - Charles Martel retakes Avignon and continues to recapture Muslim strongholds until in 739 he reaches Marscilles.
741 - Charles Martel dies and is succeeded by Pepin the Short. Te Muslims are effectively driven out of France by this time.
Chapt. 19: The Umayyad Takeover: Spain 756-852 (pp. 122-129)
749 - the end of the Umayyad caliphate in Damascus. The new Abbasid rulers try to kill off all the remaining Umayyads. Abu al-Abbas manages to murder them all, but one, Abd al-Rahman, who escaped to Spain. Al-Abbas sent an army after him, but al-Rahman defeated it and established hi control over al-Andalus.
Charlemagne invaded from the north, but had to return to France to fight the Germans. So Abd al-Rahman was able to consolidate his power over his Muslim subjects.
(788-796) - Hisham I - succeeded Abd al-Rahman. Muslims invaded France, but turned back by the Christians there.
(796-822) - al-Itakam succeeded Hisham I. There was violent and quarrelling dissension even among the Muslim subjects. Notorious for massacres. In 801 Louis I (son of Charlemagne) invaded. Turned back, and also had troubles with the Basques.
(822-852) - Abd al-Rahman II - relatively peaceful, focussed on his 97 children. Exception - execution of nearly 1 dozen Christians of Cordova, who deliberately sought martyrdom by insulting the prophet.
Chapt. 20: The Long Resistance: Sicily 827-902 (pp. 130-134)
Conquest of Sicily began in 827 AD, though it had been raided several times earlier. The conquest took place when Admiral Euphemius of the Byzantine navy rebelled against discipining action for marrying a nun. He joined up with the emir of Tunisia. The campaign was slow and bloody, complete with many massacres. From Sicily they took other islands (Corsica, Malta, Sardinia, Pantellerva), and then marched on to Italy, reaching Rome and pillaging the churches of St. Peter's and St. Paul's in 846 AD.
In Sicily the Arab occupation lasted 264 years. In 1091 AD the Normans defeated the Saracens.
Chapt. 21: The French Riviera Campaign: St. Tropez 898-973 (pp. 135-139)
Muslim sailors landed at St. Tropez and began a disjointed pattern of conquest. All throughout the Riviera, in the Alps, cutting off France from Italy. Many settled and intermarried. Slowly the tide began to turn and in places Muslims were being pushed out. But a weak and divided Christendom was singularly unfit for the task.
Chapt. 22: The Corpses of Simancas: Spain 912-961 (pp. 143-148)
Incoherent, disorganised battles between Muslims and Christians and between different groups on each side characterised the early 10th century. Abd Al-Rahman III (912-961) decides to establish order. (He was following on the heals of Abdalla (882-912), a notoriously cruel caliph. After the surrender of the Castle of Polei he ordered the decapitation of all Christians unless they converted – only one took that offer and survived.) Abd al-Rahman III re-established the authority of Cordova, putting down insurgent Muslim cities and waging war against Christian kingdoms of the north. But the Reconquista continued to grind on. The Christians won a major victory at Simancas while Abd al-Rahman was preoccupied with Muslim rebels in the south. But the Christians did not follow up on their victory, preferring instead to settle for peace with the Muslims and internal dissension at home.
Chapt. 23: Aurora's Lover: Santiago De Compostela 967-1002 (pp. 149-152)
Ibn Abi Amir (a.k.a. "Almanzor") seduced the wife of Caliph Hakim II and became vizier of al-Andalus. He became especially powerful when his lover's 5-year-old son, al-Hisham II became caliph. In 981 Almanzor lead the Muslim conquest of Zamora and executed over 4000 Christians. As a sign of his religious zeal he copied the whole Qur'an by hand and carried it around with him on campaigns. He also helped to build a mosque with his own hands. In the face of internecine warfare on the Christian side, Almanzor took Rueda, Barcelona, a group of villages in Castile and Leon, the shrine of Santiago De Compostela (reputed burial site of St. James), and Caneles. Each campaign was followed by a massacre of prisoners and civilians, the burning of the town and desecration of churches and monasteries. The great bells of Santiago de Compostela were carried off to Cordova on the backs of Christian slaves to be hung in the new mosque built by Almanzor. In 1002 Almanzor died of illness on the return from capturing Caneles.
Chapt. 24: Exeunt the Umayyads: Spain 1085 (pp. 153-155)
Muslim empire : The Abbasid empire was divided with the Buhaywids in Iraq and Persia, Damanids in China, Fatimids in Syria, Egypt, eastern North Africa, Sicily and the Hijaz. The Spanish Caliphate was the de facto ruler of western North Africa until disunity among Muslims in Spain lead to the fall of the Umayyads in 1031 followed by "taifas," a collection of ~30 little Muslim statelets each ruled by their own king. In contrast, the Christians were making attempts to unify. But not much was done in the way of jihad or reconquista, though the latter gained momentum in the closing decades of the 11th century, culminating with the reconquest of Toledo in 1085.
Chapt. 25: The Desert Warrior: Zalaca 1085-1086 (pp. 156-160)
1085- reconquest of Toledo stimulates the "taifa" of Seville to ask for help from the Almoravid leader, Yusuf ibn Tashufin. The Almoravids were a puritanical movement, following the Maliki school of jurisprudence. Yusuf, a military genius, came eager to fight against Christians and with the intention of remaining in Spain. The kings of the Muslim taifas chose Islam over Spain, they preferred the suzerainty of Africa rather than the Christian kingdom of Castile. Near Badajoz, at the Battle of Zalaca (a.k.a. Sagrajas), Yusuf defeated the Castilian army of Alfonso VI. >24,000 Christians were slaughtered and their heads shipped to all the main towns of al-Andalus and North Africa. Yusuf then returned to North Africa to tidy up affairs in his kingdom there.
Chapt. 26: Mio Cid: Valencia 1080-1108 (pp. 161-167)
El-Cid, born Rodrigo Diaz de Biuar, one of the heroes of the Reconquista, a tactical genius. He was estranged from Alfonso VI while the king appeared to be making progress against the Muslim taifas, but after Zalaca el-Cid and his knights joined the Christian knights of Leon and Castile in their assault on Valencia. After a 20 month siege Valencia was taken and its ruler burned alive. After that Yusuf and the Almoravids returned from Marrakech to retake Valencia. Their attempt to starve the city into submission failed when el-Cid led his troops in an attack that scattered the invaders. It was not until el-Cid's death in 1099 that Valencia was retaken for Islam.
Chapt. 27: Liberation in Lusitania: Portugal 1079-1147 (pp. 171-174)
The French knight, Henry of Burgundy, came to crusade against Islam on behalf of Alfonso VI of Castile and Leon. (Many French knights were at this time answering the appeal of the pontiff in Rome to save Spain from the Saracens). Henry married the daughter of Alfonso VI and was given the fiefdom of Portugal. His son, Alfonso Henrique, freed Portugal from the Muslims with the assistance of a fleet of 164 vessels carrying hundreds of crusaders bound for the Holy Land who stopped in Portugal and decided to stay. After the Christians reconquered Lisbon in 1147 they massacred the Muslim inhabitants and turned their attention against their Castilian overlords. By 1171 nearly all the Muslims had been expelled from Portugal and the Portuguese had established independence from Castile. In 1185 Alfonso Henrique died, king of an independent country.
Chapt. 28: Whence the Greeks and Normans: Sicily 1025-1091 (pp. 175-181)
961-Byzantines had retaken Crete from the Muslims
1035-Byzantine general, Giorgios Maniakes, assisted by the Viking Harold Hadrada, invaded Sicily.
1038-Byzantine victory at Rametta, however, no permanent landing was made because of fighting with the Normans in Italy and intrigues in the Byzantine court. The Normans had been brought to Italy as mercenaries in the wars between little Italian statelets. In 1061 a contingent of >2000 Normans landed on Sicily, ready to fight both with Muslims and Greeks. Initially a war between roving bands, in 1084 it took on more religious overtones for the Christians when the Muslims of southern Italy burned down the churches of Reggio and enslaved the monks of the Rocco d-Asino monastery.
1091-Noto, the last Muslim stronghold in Sicily, surrendered.
After the conquest of Sicily was complete mot of the Muslim population co-operated with their conquerors, some even joining the Norman army. A few rebellions were put down among those who would not co-operate, but a Muslim population remained until 1300 when the remnant was deported or forcibly converted to Christianity.
Chapt. 29: The African Take-over: Spain 1104-1212 (pp 182-191)
Yusef and the Almoravids introduced the North African rule of Spain. Spain became a secondary battlefield when war broke out between 2 rival Berber sects, the Almoravids and the Almorhads. This internecine "jihad" (so-called by the mullahs on each side) were often as fierce as those against the Christians. This infighting finally assured Spanish victory in Spain.
During the 12th century many of the Orders of Christian warriors were founded (e.g. Knights of Calatrava, Knights of Santiago, Knights of our Lady of Montjoie) They began to play a crucial role in the Liberation of Spain from the Moors in the 13th century.
By 1114 the North Africans had taken nearly all the Muslim taifas and were pushing north. This conflict roused Christendom as if it were a crusade, and many knights, veterans of the reconquest of Jerusalem in 1097, poured in to defend Spain. After some back and forth movement (complicated by power struggles between the Christian kingdoms) the tide began to move against the Moors.
The collapse of the Almoravids was not caused by the Christians, but by the Almorhads, who invaded Spain in 1146 and by 1150 were rulers of al-Andalus. (The Almoravids were desert nomads, ancestors of today's Tuareg, and the Almorhads were peasant farmers and pastoralists from the Atlas mountains. The had little in common but love of Islam, hatred of each other, and the practices of slaver and violence.) Once firmly in power the Almorhads continued the Jihad in Spain.
1195 – Battle of Alarcos – fought between Alfonso VIII of Castile and the Almorhad el-Mansur. Expected Christian victory turned into a terrible defeat, which shook the rest of Western Europe. The pope (Celestine III) then intervened on behalf of Christian unity. He excommunicated the Leonese king who had formed an alliance with the Muslims, demanded the co-operation of rival kings against the Moors, and sent some crusaders to Spain instead of to the Holy Land.
Chapt. 30: The Year of Decision: Las Navos de Tolosa 1212 (pp. 192-196)
King Alfonso VIII of Castile called together the largest Christian army ever assembled in Spain, >100,000 men. This army met the Almohads at Las Navos de Tolosa. After fierce fighting the Moors were routed. After the Christian victory 1 million Moors migrated back to Africa. And the Christian campaign pressed forward.
Chapt. 31:The Muslim Debacle: Spain 1212-1250 (pp. 197-200)
La Reconquista took nearly 800 years to finally rid Spain of the colonial invaders.
Stage I: 710-1080 – retake 1st 1/3 of Iberia
Stage II: 1080-1210 – retake 2nd 1/3 of Iberia, including Portugal
Stage III: 1210-1250 – retake last 1/3 (except Grenada)
Most important battles: Simancas, Zalaca, Alarcos, Las Navos de Tolosa
Key Christian Leaders: Fernando III of Castile, Jaime I of Aragon. Most of the Christian soldiers were knights of military orders. The Muslims helped to destroy themselves. Some joined the Christians as mercenaries, the rest fought among themselves for power (in the 1220's there were 3 rival caliphs in Spain.) The Spanish Muslims could expect no help from North Africa, which was embroiled in its own civil war. Muslim leaders rose and were swiftly decapitated by their fellows as the Christians moved inexorably south.
Chapt. 32: Five Cities to Go: Andalusia 1230-1248 (pp. 201-205)
The Almohads were expelled from Spain in 1230, after their departure five cities still remained in Muslim hands:
Cordova – reconquered by Fernando III of Castile. The bells of the mosque of Cordova, which had been made for Santiago de Compostela and were carried by Christian slaves to Cordova upon the order of Almanzor, 300 years earlier, were now carried back to Compostela by Muslim slaves upon the order of Fernando III. La Reconquista had come a full circle.
Seville – reconquered by Fernando III of Castile after the Muslim population assassinated their leader for suggesting they surrender. Instead the siege last 2 years and 2 months before the inhabitants finally surrendered and emigrated to Morocco in 1248.
Grenada – became a vassal state of Castile
Jaen - surrendered to Fernando III of Castile by its Muslim governor in exchange for permission to rule Grenada as a vassal of Castile.
Valencia – reconquered by Jaime I of Aragon. The Muslim king quickly capitulated because he wanted to convert to Christianity.
Chapt. 33: The Ottoman Advent: Turkey Mid-1200's (pp. 209-211)
1250- Turkey - Othman, son of Ertognil, is born. His tribe begins moving into Anatolia fighting the Byzantines on the west and the Mongols on the east. The Mongols had been sweeping across central Asia. In 1258, Hulagu (grandson of Ghengis Khan) took Baghdad. After the adoption of Islam the Turkish advance on Europe became a holy war. In a short time they became the most feared threat to Eastern Europe, twice nearly reaching Vienna.
Chapt. 34: The Mongolian Horde: Russia 1340-1480 (pp. 212-205)
Mongols – during their overrunning of central Asia they had no formal religion, practising a vague sort of shamanism. After conquering Muslim lands they adopted Islam (mid-13th cen,) and then moved north into Russia (at that time ruled by Lithuania in the east and Nougorad in the north.) 1223, Mongol victory by the river Kalka. 1237 – Mongols crossed the Volga and conquered Russian principalities one after another. The society ruled by the Mongols was a mixture of Mongols, Turks, Russians, Armenians and Greeks.
Late 14th century a Russian vassal state ruled from Moscow rebelled against the Mongols. After initial success they were trounced by and Moscow sacked. But the Mongols did not stay so far north for long. They remained in the south where they gradually disintegrated into different states. Those in the Crimea became known as the Tartars.
15th century - Russia was becoming a unified state. 1480 – Russia refused to pay tribute to the Mongols. The two armies faced off and disperse without a battle, effectively a victory for Russia.
1491 – Final battle of Mongols in Europe at Zasalvi in Poldavia, where a Polish army defeated a mixed Tartar-Turkish force.
Chapt.35: Janissaries Ahoy: Thrace 1301-1353 (pp 216-218)
Othman I – gave his name to the Ottoman Empire and little else. He didn't fight much, just moved his people into sparsely populated areas of Asia Minor.
Orkhan I – son of Othman. Sultan in 1326 and made Bursa his capital.
Byzantine Empire – throne contested by John Cantacuzene and John V (a child, his widowed mother was protecting his claim to his father's throne). John Cantracuzene invited the Ottomans into Europe to support his claim.
1345 - 1st Ottoman excursion across the Dardanelles
1349 – Byzantines ask for Ottoman help against Bulgaria
1353 – Turks establish their first permanent European settlement in Gallipoli
Orkhan I created the Janissary force – originally drawn from Christian slaves removed from their families as children. They were raised to be an elite fighting corp, loyal to the sultan alone. For the next 300 years, they were the best fighting force in Europe. (Janissaries were generally converted to Islam, sometimes by force, sometimes willingly.)
Chapt. 36: The Gay Revolt: Thrace 1376-1388 (pp. 291-223)
Under Orkhan I the Ottomans conquered Thrace. Europe was in its usual disarray. The French and English were beginning their 100 years war. Genoa and Venice were in a 30 years war. Spain endured internecine warfare between Christian kingdoms. In Germany the Black Death raged. Lithuania and Hungary were fighting over the Ukraine. Russia was fighting the Mongols and the Balkans were resisting Hungarian imperialism.
Murad I (Othman's son) – began the first serious Ottoman invasion of Europe and tripled the size of the Empire. Pope Urban V, afraid of a renewed Muslim invasion from North Africa and the rising Ottoman threat in the Balkans, called upon Catholic Hungary and Orthodox Serbia to stop the Turks.
1371 –1st important Eastern European response to Jihad. Christians were stopped by Muslims at Cenomen. 1st conflict between Janissaries and their Christian relations, also 1st between Turks and the Serbs. Murad cleverly intervened in the Byzantine civil war between the rival "Johns", supporting now one, now the other. The sons of John V and Murad began having an affair and also planned to overthrow their fathers. The coup was halted, and Murad was so enthusiastic that he launched a new invasion of Europe. Sofia fell in 1385 and Salonika in 1387.
Chapt. 37: The Field of Blackbirds: Kosovo 1389 (pp 224-230)
King of Serbia (Lazar I), threatened by advancing Ottomans, gathered together a force of Serbians, Wallachians, Bosnians and Albanians to oppose the invaders. The Christian force outnumbered the Muslims, but a well-timed addition of Janissaries to the fight turned the tide and the Ottomans won. Murad was wounded and ordered the execution of King Lazar before himself dying. The new sultan, Bajazet, immediately ordered his brother Yakub to be strangled. Yakub had led the counterattack that turned the battle against the Christians and might have proved a little too popular for the new sultan's comfort. (The execution of surviving siblings proved to be a common political manoeuvre in the Ottoman court)
Chapt. 38: The Wild Knights of France: Nicopolis 1396 (pp. 231-239)
King Sigismund of Hungary sent envoys to France to plead for protection against the invaders. The 100 years war had just taken a breather and French knights were happy to head off to Hungary with the blessing of the pope. The purpose of the expedition of these ~10,000 knights was to retake Nicopolis on the Bulgarian side of the Danube. The brought no siege equipment, trusting on their courage to route the Turks. Instead, Nicopolis held, waiting for reinforcements, which Bajazet duly brought. Against the advice of Sigismund, the French knights rushed to meet the enemy – straight into a trap, rows and rows of sharpened stakes planed in the ground so the French were forced to dismount or disembowel their horses. Effectively helpless on the ground, the French were massacred, Bulgaria became an Ottoman vassal, and Hungary remained in danger.
One of the surviving French knights returned to France and brought a small force to assist in the siege of Constantinople. For a time the French forced the Turks to lift the siege by land and sea, but the eventual fall of Constantinople was really delayed by the invasion of the Mongol Timurlane who was leading his troops across Asia from Samarkand. He defeated Bajazet and established himself as sultan.
Chapt. 39: The Hungarian Hero: Varna 1444 (pp 240-247)
The Ottoman empire quickly degenerated into a 4-sided civil war. The Serbs foolishly sided with a prince that lost and were massacred in their thousands for their folly. Eventually only one claimant survived, Mahomet I, an exceptionally humane and just ruler. He signed peace treaties with Venice and Constantinople. His son, Murad II, resumed the invasion of Europe. In the Balkans he had been facing two resistance movement, one lead by Janas Hunyadi of Hungary and one led by John Castriot of Albania, and Murad was eager to make up his lack of prestige.
1443- The Hungarians, Poles, Serbs, Wallachians, and Germans untied under the Hungarian king Ladislaus and went out to face the advancing Turkish army. The vastly outnumbered Christians defeated the Turks, but, inexplicably, within sight of the Turkish capital King Ladislaus pulled back and signed a treaty with Murad. A year later the Hungarians changed their mind and started the war again, this time marching as far as Varna (where they were supposed to receive aid from Venetian ships which never arrived.) This time the Christians were soundly defeated by a renewed Muslim force.
Chapt. 40: The Last Agony: Constantinople 1453 (pp 245-259)
In 1453 Constantinople fell, unaided by any European ally except a few hundred troops from Genoa. Beset by internal quarrels, the European states did not notice until it was too late. The next thing they knew, Turkey was the most powerful state in Europe. Suleiman the Magnificent was far more powerful than his contemporaries Elizabeth of England, Charles V of Austria or Francois I of France.
(Pg. 249) "They feared the Turks. The Turks did not fear them. The Turkish threat was for centuries the main concern of all the European nations, and every European man and woman lived in terror of the Turks. They feared the Muslim Turks much more than they ever feared the Nazi Germans or the Communist Russians, and for much, much longer. The Nazi peril lasted 10 years. Soviet imperialism lasted 70 years. The Turkish threat lasted 500 years."
Since its founding in 658 Constantinople had been besieged 29 times. Frequently by the Muslims (during the initial Arab conquests and then a frequent Ottoman activity), but occasionally by Catholic Christians who sacked the Orthodox city en route to the Holy Land on the crusades. Mahomet II determined to take Constantinople and the few hundred square mile remaining of the once glorious Roman empire. 1st he besieged the city, and waited. He made a treaty with the Catholic Hungarian Janas Hunyadi to ensure peace on his northern front. Mahomet was not a pious man.(rather he was fond of blaspheming the prophet, murder, and homosexual activity) and this war barely pretended to be a Jihad, rather it was straightforward imperialism. The Turks attacked the city relentlessly from 6 April to 29 October. Despite determined resistance and the addition of the Genoese troops, the city walls fell. The night of 28 October the remaining citizens crowded into St. Sophia's Cathedral for a final service. The next day the city was overwhelmed, the soldiers slaughtered, the civilians enslaved, and the women raped – beginning with the convent. St. Sophia was declared as mosque, as it has remained to this day. But the Ottomans had to make long term arrangements for the surviving Christians throughout the empire, most of whom refused to convert, so they commanded the remaining Orthodox priests to appoint a new patriarch, who could shepherd his little flock at the will of the Sultan.
Chapt. 41: The Road to Rome: Belgrade 1456 (pp 260-264)After the fall of Constantinople, Mahomet II set his sights on Rome and turned his army north toward the Balkans. In the next few years he conquered 12 kingdoms and 200 cities. 1st, Peloponnese, the remaining part of Greece, then Bosnia. At its surrender the king and heir were promised their lives, but shortly they were executed as the Grand Mufti argued that agreements with unbelievers were invalid. The population generally converted to Islam so as to avoid the same fate, a crime for which the Serbs, who remained Orthodox, have never forgiven them. Serbia fell next, but for a time Albania held out under the leadership of John Castriot (a.k.a. Skanderbeg) until 1468. Hungary, still with Janos Hunyadi at the head of the army, stood firm and called for a crusade to protect Belgrade. Hunyadi's victory there proved a major setback to the Ottomans.
After 15 years of fighting in the Balkans Mahomet II decided to try a sea assault against Italy. But plans went awry when he announced his plans to keep the plunder for himself and his Janissaries refused to attack. Mahomet died before leaving Asia Minor. The pope called for a crusade to protect southern Italy.
Chapt. 42: The Sigh of the Moor: Granada 1492 (pp 267-274)
Mahomet II's death triggered a power struggle between his two sons, Bayazid and Djem. Bayazid won, exiled his brother and established the Ottoman navy as a significant power in the Mediterranean. Muslim-Christian fighting had very much died down in Spain, as only Grenada and a few sea ports remained in Muslim hands. But Morocco sent a stead supply of soldiers, so the Spaniards decided to retake the last of these towns, but the effort was half heart (distracted by things such as the 100 years war between France and England) and took over a century.
1461 – Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile marry and together unify Spain
1480 – Beginning of the serious campaign against Grenada. The final conquest was completed in 1492.
Chapt. 43: The Ottoman Empire: Selim the Grim 1512-1520 (pp. 275-277)
After the fall of Grenada, Hungary plunged into civil war, the aristocracy brutally oppressed the peasantry which rebelled and then were crushed. But the Ottomans were busy elsewhere for the time being and missed their golden opportunity to take Hungary. Selim I (1512-1520) built up the navy and nearly doubled the size of the empire through conquests in Asia and Africa. He took for himself the title "caliph" which vastly increased his religious prestige. A devout Sunni, he hated the Shi'a nearly as much as Christians. A strong sadistic streak left a record of hundreds of thousands of executions and goulish torture.
Chapt. 44: The Red Danube: Manacs 1526 (pp. 278-284)
Suleiman the Magnificent succeeded his father Selim in 1520. He did fight 3 wars against Persia, his main Muslim enemy, but the general focus of his imperial policy was west, toward Europe. His navy moved to retake the island of Rhodes, which was defended by the Knightly order of St. John of Jerusalem. It fell in 1522 and Suleiman permitted the surviving knights to leave Rhodes unharmed, a gesture he bitterly repented when they moved to Malta and repulsed his attacks 43 years later.
Previous Jihad campaigns destroyed Serbia, Bulgaria, Wallachia and Bosnia, Albania and Greece. Only remaining was Hungary, which Suleiman was determined to destroy. Wracked by internal dissent and ruled by a foolish playboy, (Louis II), Belgrade fell in 1521. Louis II rushed to meet the enemy rather than waiting for reinforcements. The armies met at Mohacs, and the outnumbered Hungarians were destroyed by Turkish guns. During the next two centuries the Ottomans depopulated Hungary (from 4 to 2 /2 million), exporting ~3 million Hungarians as slaves and hunting others like partridges.
Chapt. 45: The Untaken Capital: Vienna 1529 (pp. 285-287)
In 1529 Suleiman moved on Vienna only to find that to his disgust both Charles V and his brother Ferdinand were elsewhere. After 3 weeks of vile weather which prevented the use of Turkish guns Suleiman decided the effort and time needed to take the city wasn't worth the satisfaction of defeating the unimportant general in charge, so he returned to Istanbul.
Chapt. 46: Sailors, Slaver and Raiders: The Mediterranean 1504-1546 (pp. 288-294)
The Muslim fishermen of Grenada established a thriving piracy business from bases in North Africa. The chief commodity was Christian slaves from Spain and Italy. The pirates considered their actions to be Jihad, citing sura ix: 5-6 "kill those who join other gods with God wherever ye shall find them; and seize them, besiege them, and lay wait for them with every type of ambush.) Slavery was considered to have Qur'anic (and therefore divine) sanction (as compared to Christianity, where, though it has taken place, has nearly always been considered reprehensible.) The pirate Barbarossa, based in Algiers, brought the territory he controlled into the Ottoman Empire and then became head of Suleiman's navy. 1535 – Charles V sacked Tunis committing atrocities worthy of the Turks. Generally the Europeans were too preoccupied with fighting each other to spend too much effort on the Ottomans.
Chapt. 47: In Arms Always and Prepared for Combat: Malta 1565 (pp. 295-308)
A shipload of luxury goods was captured and taken to Malta. Investors in the enterprise, including several of the sultan's wives, stood to lose heavily, so they pleaded with Suleiman to attack Malta instead of launching a second attack on Vienna. 1565, the Ottoman fleet set out for Malta (galleys rowed by Christian slaves). To both sides this was a holy war, the struggle of Islam and Christianity. The battle started at St. Elmo, defended by Neapolitan knights who used "Greek fire" and boiling oil against guns and canons. After a month long bombardment, the fortress fell. The siege of Malta continued for 2 ½ months after the fall of St. Elmo. The island reached the breaking point, with even women and children joining the battle to defend their 1500 year old faith, first brought to the island by St. Paul. At last reinforcements arrived from Sicily and the Ottomans lifted the siege and returned to Istanbul. 30,000 Moors and Turks died. 8,000 of the 9,000 knights of Malta died, as did 5,000 civilians. The Ottomans never attempted to attack Malta again.
Chapt. 48: The Rhapsody of Death: Hungary 1566 (pp 309-311)
As Suleiman marched the largest ever Ottoman army north through the Balkans, he was annoyed by the Hungarians who stubbornly and repeatedly rebelled against their Turkish overlords. Suleiman looked on these rebellions as an affront not only to his personal majesty, but also to God, who had given him the right to rule Hungary. The rebels were brutally slaughtered, but the march to Vienna did not continue, as Suleiman died of a heart attack and was succeeded by his son Selim.
Chapt. 49: The Alpujarras Rising: Spain 1568-1570 (pp 312-316)
70 years after the fall of Grenada, 100,000 Muslims still lived in Spain, dreaming of the day Islam would return to rule al-Andalus. They were also persecuted in the Inquisition. A secret resistance movement formed, stockpiling arms to aid an eventual invasion from North Africa. Revolt broke out in the mountains of Grenada, and King Philip II petitioned the Pope for assistance. The Spanish force (for a time led by Don John) beat back the Moriscos, eventually completely uprooting them from Grenada and scattering them all over Spain.
Chapt. 50: The Flaying of Bragadino: Famagusta 1571 (pp. 317-321)
1570 – Selim launched an invasion of Cyprus to get a hold of the vineyards. After a year the defense collapsed and the Ottoman general Lala Mustafa had the governor of Cyprus, Bragadino, flayed to death.
Chapt. 51:A Good Day to Die: Lepanto 1572 (pp. 322-328)
1571 – Pope P ius V founded the Holy League in an attempt to unite Europe against the Muslim invaders. Commander-in-Chief was 25 year old Don John of Austria (who was actually a Spaniard). 1572 – The league sent out a navy of 316 ships which met the Ottoman navy at Lepanto where a mammoth battle took place. The result was a Christian victory that annihilated the Muslim fleet, but bad weather prevented a follow up attack on Istanbul.
Chapt. 52: Colonialism Muslim Style: Eastern Europe 1574-1681 (pp. 329-339)
Turkey was the first major colonial power (100 years before Spain). Following the victory at Lepanto the Holy League fell into disarray, its members preoccupied with quarreling with each other ( e.g. Elizabeth of England and Philippe of Spain). Selim II had fallen down in a drunken stupor and cracked his head. He was succeeded by Murad III who didn't encourage much Jihad and allowed the Janissaries to degenerate. Revolts broke out in Transylvania, Moldavia, and Wallachia. The Janissaries rebelled several times and engaged in widespread corruption. Mahomet III led a relatively uneventful reign. His son Ahmed I became sultan at age 14 and aside from a brief excursion into Hungary pretty much focused on Persia. Othman II (1618) was jailed and strangled by his own Janissaries (it was during his reign that a British envoy first described the Ottoman Empire as the "sick man of Europe). Murad IV (1623) Sultan at age 11, restored order at the price of 100,000 executions and quelled mutinies by the army and the Janissaries. An alcoholic and sadist (killing was a kind of sport to him), he did a few kind deeds, e.g. Ending the tribute in children which had been demanded of Christian villages, and thus he forced the Janissaries to find a new source of manpower. Ibrahim, (brother of Murad IV) resumed the Jihad in Europe against the Cossacks, assisted by the Tatars. He also broke a treaty with Venice and attacked Crete. The siege of Candia lasted 20 years, when the Venetians in turn besieged Istanbul. The irritated populace and the Janissaries overthrew the sultan. Mahomet IV (1648, age 10) briefly restored the Ottoman empire to its former greatness. He sent an army against the Holy Roman (i.e. Austrian) Empire and defeated the Christian force at the Battle of St. Gothard. In 1672, the Ottomans defeated the Poles and Russians, intervening at the request of the Cossacks. In 1681, the war turned around. The Poles and Russians had retaken all the land lost to them, and had made inroads into Ottoman territory.
Chapt. 53: Never was there a victory more complete: Vienna 1683 (pp. 343-348)
1682 – Hungarians revolted against Austria, providing a golden opportunity for the Ottomans, who sent a ½ million man army northward. 1683 – The Ottoman army, led by Kara Mustafa, besieged Vienna. Anxious not to damage the city he intended to rule, Kara Mustafa decided to starve out the inhabitants. Leopold I of Austria fled, issuing appeals for help from all over Europe. The pope sent prayers. The French promised not to attack Austria. But King John III of Poland (the same John Sobieski who defeated the Turks in four battles in four days a decade earlier) brought an army. 3,000 Polish cavalry and 18,000 Polish and German infantry set out to meet 500,000 Turks. The Ottoman encampment was lazy and ill-planned, and the Polish force routed them in a single charge. The flight headed by Kara Mustafa himself (who was duly strangled when he returned to Istanbul).
Chapt. 54: The Jihad Totters: Greece and Hungary 1685-1699 (pp. 349-353)
The Ottoman Empire is collapsing in the centre with corruption and mutinous Janissaries and crumbling at the edges as the Austrians moved steadily on. 1685 - Francisco Morosini leads a force to retake much of the Morea (Peloponnese) for the Greeks. Austrian victory at Gran taking Buda. 1687- Russians besiege Azov. Austrian victory at Mohacs taking Croatia and Transylvania. 1688 – Austrians take Budapest. 1690 – Turks regroup, take back Belgrade and renter Kosovo. France, threatened by growing Hapsburg strength attacks the Rhineland. 1691 – Austrians defeat Muslims in battle at Salankeman. 1697 – Battle of Zenta leads to Austrian capture of Sarajevo. 1699 – The treat of Karlowitz as the Turks sue for peace. This is the first time in the history of the Ottoman Empire that it had been forced to send envoys abroad to treat with its foes. This is the turning point. From now on the Turks are on the defensive.
Chapt. 55: The Gravediggers: Central and Southeastern Europe 1716-1770 (pp. 354-361)
Ottoman wars are no longer expansionist, and barely pretend to be religious. The empire is now a major player in European power politics. 1715 – Ottoman navy and army head out to attack the Hapsburgs. They are defeated at Peterwardein (1716) and the Austrians take Belgrade, but instead of taking Istanbul the victorious Hapsburgs sign a peace treaty. Sultan Achmed II (ruled 1703-1730) lost a war against Persia in the Caucasuses. Under Mahmoud I the Janissaries revolted. But the empire did not fall because it was alternately supported by different European nations who were trying to maintain a balance of power. Western European nations did not want a collapsing Ottoman empire to enhance the power of the Austrians or Russians. Turkey and Russia got into a war over Poland (who knows why?). Austria took more of the Balkans and under Catherine the Great Russia moved south toward the Black Sea.
Chapt. 56: The Orloff-Suvarov Duet: The Mediterranean and Crimea 1770-1792 (pp 362-36
1770 – Russian navy turns to assist Greek rebellion against Turkey. The Greeks took the opportunity to massacre the local Turks in particularly hideous ways. But the Ottomans managed to restore order with equal severity. The Ottoman navy was nearly destroyed, but most of the Russian sailors were killed in skirmishes around the Med. Catherine the Great ordered the Russian army to the Crimea which they took from the Tatars. The resulting peace treaty turned Turkey into a semi-vassal of Russia. 1783 - Russia incorporated the Crimea into her empire leading, causing a fresh outbreak of war. The threat of Ottoman collapse concerned the rest of Europe./ the resulting peace treaty (1792) pushed the Russian border further south but left the Ottoman empire alive.
Chapt. 57: To the shores of Tripoli: North Africa 1798-1830 (pp 370-379)
French occupation of Egypt under Napoleon, who was unable to ally the Egyptians. Instead its Muslim inhabitants fiercely opposed him, calling for Jihad. The Janissaries joined the French, but eventually the Mameluks survived the temporary French presence. Napoleon's attack on Egypt was an attempt to strike against the British in India, so when the British threatened Istanbul the French joined the Turks, bringing weapons and modern training.
The Americans clashed with the Muslims first over the Barbary pirates who annoyed US merchants and embarrassed the navy by capturing a frigate and holding the sailors hostage. A variety of skirmishes took place, ending with a treaty between the US and Algeria in 1815.
1816 – the British navy bombarded Algiers over its refusal to stop the practice of Christian slavery. 1830 - An exchange of insults between the French and Algerians deteriorated into warfare resulting in a French victory and the beginning of the French occupation of Algeria for the next 132 years. 1880s – The French took Tunisia. This was a disorienting change for the Muslims, for whom the natural order of things was Muslim rulers and Christian slaves. They weren't quite sure what to do about the Europeans who were quite certain that the opposite situation was the natural order.
Chapt. 58: The Surrogates of Pericles: Greece 1821-1827 (pp. 380-388)
Rebellions in Wallachia and Moldovia triggered a revolt in Greece. Within a few weeks nearly the entire Turkish population of Morea had been slaughtered, and from the Peloponnese the revolt spread. Now Jihad was primarily a defensive concept to the Turks who fought to retain both their Ottoman nationality and Islamic religion. Furious at the deaths of their co-religionists in Greece, Turks turned on Christians throughout the rest of the empire. Simple death was too kind, instead they were brutally tortured, triggering further atrocities by the Greeks in a downward spiral. Philhellics from all over Europe joined the cause of Greek independence.
Sultan Mahmoud II finally managed to free himself from the tyranny of his imperial guard, secretly recruiting a gunner force that destroyed the Janissaries during one of their many revolts. Support from Muhammad Ali, pasha of Egypt (virtually independent for some time), turned the tide against Greece, until Britain, France, and Russia threatened to jointly attack Turkey if it did not sign a peace treaty with the Greeks. A short naval battle persuaded the Ottomans of their sincerity by destroying the Turkish fleet. Greece was finally free.
Chapt. 59: War Galore: The Balkans 1825-1878 (pp. 389-395)
Following the revolt of Greece the Ottoman empire plunged into a series of wars:
Russo-Turkish War (1828-29)
Crimean War (1853-56)
Russo-Turkish War (1877-78)
Balkan Wars (1912-13)
World War I (1914-18)
Russia was Turkey's greatest enemy, and the Balkan states generally gained their independence because of their relationship with Russia. This growing power intimidated Britain and France enough to join the Ottomans against Russia in the Crimea. The wars were conceived almost exclusively as political struggles by the "Christian" nations, but the rhetoric of jihad still dominated Ottoman propaganda until the mid-19th century.
In the face of revolts in Egypt, Bosnia, Herzegovina, and Bulgaria, and the Russian advance to Edirne (~50 miles from Istanbul), belated military reforms and savage reprisals against rebels could not keep the empire together.
In India, 1877, a gathering of Muslim clerics decided that for their part, jihad against Britain was unnecessary, as long as she permitted the practice of Islam to her subjects.
Chapt. 60: The Great Unholy Wars: Dar al-Harb 1912-1945 (pp. 399-409)
The new Balkan states created in the first few decades of the 20th century had no experience at self-government. Their only model of government for the last few centuries had been Ottoman corruption and ruthlessness. The new borders were not drawn with intelligible divisions of ethnicity or language.
1912 - 1st Balkan war - Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria, Albania, Turkey - lots of switching sides. Austria got involved when Serbia claimed Bosnia, and the death of Archduke Francis Ferdinand triggered the 1st World War. Turkey entered on the side of Germany and the sultan/caliph declared universal jihad against the enemy nations. But in general the call failed and few Muslims in these countries rebelled. The British persuaded the Arabs in turn to declare a jihad against the Ottomans. Various rival factions declaring jihad on one another further weakened the empire.
1915-massacre of 1 million Armenians while being deported from Turkey to Syria. Most of the victims died along the way when deprived of food, water and all clothing. e.g. In one group of 18,000 Armenians, only 150 survived to reach Aleppo.
1922-100,000 Greeks massacred at Smyrna
All the victims in both cases were Christian.
With the destruction of the Ottoman empire, after the last orgy of violence in Smyrna, the caliphate and the rhetoric of jihad temporarily disappeared. In fact, the new leader of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal (Attaturk) detested Islam. But during W.W.II the first hints of the return of jihad appeared in Bosnia, unrecognised by almost everybody. In the midst of inter-ethnic violence where everybody appeared to be killing everyone else, Muslims began banding together, forming religiously defined defence groups. The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem travelled to Yugoslavia to preach jihad against the Jews and other enemies of Islam on the side of Nazi Germany.
Chapt. 61: Terrorism: The West 1980s-1990s (pp. 410-412)
The vocabulary of jihad has returned, justifying terrorist actions of every type. But rather than uniting Islam, jihad today is dividing it as Muslims war against one another. Not all Muslims identify with this violence. Islam is still a political ideology, considering its destiny to rule the world and replace the outdated religions of Christianity and Judaism. Religious submission is demanded of its own people.
Epilogue: An Action in all its Luster (pp. 413-415)
Story about a good relationship between a Christian and a Muslim in the 18th century.