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The Fourth Crusade is the complicated one, the one where it was decided that the "wrong" kind of Christians were subject to attack by the "right" kind of Christians, so long as the "good" guys had quasi-justifiable motives.  Born of the ultimate failure of the Third Crusade to capture Jerusalem, the Fourth began as amidst political turmoil in Europe, was prodded into action at the behest of creditors, took advantage of the intrigues of the Byzantine court, and wound up convincing itself that the holiest city of Eastern Christendom was not an ally against the Saracens, but a target of opportunity.  It's full of deceit and dubious rationalizations, few if any "good" guys, and ends with a scene so savage that its memory has remained an impediment to relations between the Roman and Greek Churches for 800 years.  

The Fourth Crusade also holds some valuable lessons.  Come, join me in the Cave of the Moonbat for the latest episode in this long (-er than I expected) series that I've decided to unofficially subtitle "The Classes Our President Slept Through"...

The story of the Fourth Crusade reads like the script of a cynical political thriller, complete with scenes of Venetian battleships (played by bireme galleys) bombarding the seaward walls of mighty Constantinople with deck-mounted catapults, unbelievable cowardice on the part of people who had a duty not to act so, and a Cheney-like Doge of Venice cleverly manipulating the action while the Pope who called the Crusade is reduced to impotent threats.  So, without further ado, here's your cast of characters:

People of the Fourth Crusade: A Rogue's Gallery

 *     The Byzantines (a/k/a "Greeks") - had had some difficulties sorting out succession after the last ruler of the Comnenus dynasty was killed by a mob in 1185.  
The Comneni had a pretty good run: 90 years, stretching back to the time of the First Crusade, but by the late 12th century, internal dissention was rife, provinces were
rebelling, and the Greeks endured a succession of poor leaders beginning with Isaac II Angelus (r. 1185-1195).  He was usurped, blinded, and imprisoned by his younger brother Alexius III, who turned out to be even more corrupt than Isaac.  Alexius conspired with Saladin to sell out Frederick Barbarosa, lost Bulgaria and Serbia to the growing power of Hungary, and showed himself to be quite the coward when the cross-bearers came a-siegin'.

*     The Holy Roman Empire - was enmeshed in the difficulties faced whenever societies come to regard marriage, territorial claims, and tortured legalisms as political tools and the basis of law.  By marriage, a guy named Philip of Swabia - brother of Holy Roman Emperor Henry VI (d. 1197) - laid claims to once-captured Norman lands now under Greek control.  A guy named Otto von Brunswick, with the support of Pope Innocent III, stood in his way, leaving neither strong enough to maintain an effective presence anywhere south of the Alps.

*     The Roman Catholic Church - under the leadership of Innocent III beginning in 1198, thought that Rome was in charge of the whole shebang.  The Church was wrong.  No one marched on his announced starting date in 1199; indeed, the first bull he issued resulted in little more than a truce between England and France, one which was abrogated upon the death of Richard the Lionheart a short time afterward.  Control of the Crusade was grabbed up by the lay lords once they finally did take up the cross, and the Pope further drove the sword into his foot by involving the secularly greedy Venetians.

*     England - was ruled from 1199 by King John of England, younger brother of Richard the Lionheart, son of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine, By the Grace of God, King of England, Lord of Ireland, Duke of Normandy and Aquitaine, and Count of Anjou, and arguably the worst king England ever had.  He lost Normandy to Philip Auguste of France early in his reign, brought England to the verge of civil war through inept management, and was humiliatingly obliged to castrate future monarchs by signing the Magna Carta in 1215, the year before his death.  The reign of this particular King John is the main reason you've never heard of a King John II in English history - rulers were loath to name their heirs after this bozo.

*     France - was ruled by Philip Auguste, who was, as the 13th century approached, like an opportunist in a candy store.  The Germans were in pissing contests with one another and with Rome, Richard's death had permitted him to renew war against an England led by the pathetic King John, and the Pope seemed pretty ignorable.  Ignorable, that is, until November, 1199, when a preacher named Fulk of Neuilly showed up at a tournament being held by Count Thibaud of Champagne and gave such a righteous speech that many lords took the oath on the spot.  Thibaud was named leader of the Crusade, but this duty was passed on to Boniface of Montferrat (in NW Italy) when Thibaud died in 1201 (Boniface was brother to the assassinated, uncrowned king of Jerusalem and hero of the siege of Tyre, Conrad of Montferrat).  The bulk of the forces that wound up marching in 1202 were French, though there were also large contingents of Germans and Italians.

*     Venice - was led by a council which elected one of their own to the powerful position of Doge (for the benefit of any Star Trek fans out there, the Venetians are the Ferengi; the Doge is the Grand Nagus).  During this time, the Doge was an elderly, possibly blind firebrand named Enrico Dandolo, who was as smart and as devious as any man in the Mediterranean.  Venice itself was a great naval power, and controlled a string of colonies throughout the Adriatic, Greece, and the Aegean.  It also operated sizeable trading concerns in Muslim Alexandria and Orthodox Constantinople, though relations with the latter had been deteriorating since 1171, when Emperor Manuel had ordered mass arrests of Latins.  Thousands more died ten years later, when anti-Latin riots broke out and mobs murdered their way through Constantinople's Venetian quarter.

*     The Muslims - Don't really play a role in the Fourth Crusade.  Ironic, that.

Just the cost of doing business...

A few lessons from the First, Second, and Third Crusades had sunk in by the time of the Fourth, and one of these was this: It's generally a bad idea to march across Turkey.  The water route might have been more expensive, but it was safer and faster, so a group of six knights went to Venice (Genoa had earlier spurned papal requests to officially join the crusade) to negotiate with the doge.  After a few days of council deliberations, the old man addressed the French on behalf of the Queen of the Adriatic.

Moonbat-extrapolated dialogue:

"Sure," the doge said, "Since Venice is the only city in Western Christendom that could even contemplate building enough ships, we'll not only agree to provide the transportation - we'll join you as full partners!"

The knights look at each other, flabbergasted.  "What kind of tonnage are we talking about?" they finally asked.

"Oh, lots and lots," oozed the doge.  "More than you're asking for, actually.  We'll provide ships enough for 4500 knights and horses, 9000 squires, and 20,000 infantry, and kick in 50 warships of our own to protect them.  They'll be at your disposal on June 29, 1202 - a year from now, plenty of time to get yourselves ready."

"Unh-hunh," the knights muttered, incredulous, "So what's the catch?  You gonna want a million marks or something?  `Cause we can't pay no million marks..."

"Oh, no" soothed the old doge, "our guys have standard rates for this kind of thing, and we'll of course be happy to give you our `volume discount.'  It won't cost you more than 91,000 silver marks, and could be as low as 85,000."

"You want it all up-front, right?  One navy, deliverable upon receipt of cash payment in full?"

"No, no, of course not.  We're all Christians here.  How about this:  We'll start building now, and you can pay us in installments.  The last of these installments will be payable before we depart next summer.  Gives you a whole year to raise the dough."

"Uh, okay, but..."

"Yes?"

"Well, you must want something out of this..."

"Oh, we do," sneered the doge, knowing the battle with these rubes was already won, "but you can think of it as being contingent on the success of the Crusade itself: We want half of all captured stuff and land, and we want to attack Egypt first."

Crusading on the cheap

The desire of the doge to attack Egypt happened to coincide with the strategy of the French: Successful conquest of Egypt would give the Crusaders a new, more defensible base from which to invade the Holy Land, and it would give Venice half of everything taken - which might include, say, Alexandria and Cairo.

Venice lived up to its end of the bargain, building ships at a furious rate over the last half of 1201 and the first half of 1202.  They were ready on the appointed day as promised, but the crusaders, predictably, were not.  For different reasons, different French lords opted to hire small bands of mercenary ships to sail out of Marseilles, Flanders, and Genoa, which meant that by July, 1202, only about 11,000 of the provisioned-for 33,500 soldiers had shown up at Venice.

Moonbat-extrapolated dialogue:

"Well, well," said the Doge, wringing his hands.  "Whatever will we do about this?  You say you don't have the money to pay for the fleet that you ordered, the fleet that we built in good faith?"

"In fairness, sir," the knights pleaded, "you kinda pushed that deal on our guys.  You sold them more fleet than you knew they'd ever need."

"They're big boys; big enough that you empowered them to negotiate on your behalf.  This is the deal they negotiated.  Are you telling me you're reneging on our deal?  That you're going to stiff the Crusade?"

"Well, no...look: we've already collected everything dime we've got, and it only adds up to 51,000 marks.  Take that for now; we'll pay you the rest after we take Jerusalem."

The Doge shook his head sadly.  "No can do, my friend.  You already came up short once, and now you ask for an IOU on ships we're going to take into battle?  I don't think so."

The knights trembled, marveling at how low they had been brought by easy credit, until at long last the Doge pronounced his judgment.  "Crusades are holy and all, but the business of Venice is business, and you owe us money.  Your men will be confined on the Island of Lido until such time as you pay the balance of what you owe us."

As they were being escorted from the presence of the Doge, one of the knights yelled, "Tell us, oh Doge!  Is there nothing we can do to at least delay the final payment?  Anything at all?"  At that, the aged Enrico Dandolo smiled menacingly...

It's Catholic-on-Catholic crimes that are tearing this community apart

Zara (the modern Croatian town of Zadar) had been a Venetian colony until just fifteen years before, when the uppity little ingrates had defected and declared themselves to be under the protection of the Tsar of Hungary.  The Venetians had had little choice but to accept the choice of the people of Zara, but the presence in their city of an army heavily in their debt changed matters more than slightly.  Now they offered the Crusaders a deal: Help recapture Zara for Venice, and the terms of payment will be extended.  To prove his earnestness, the aged Doge took the crusading oath in a public ceremony that set an example for many other Venetians.

Some crusaders were so pissed and disillusioned at what this was turning into that they up and left; others abandoned the army fearing papal reprisals.  Still, most of the army remained, if only to avoid the humiliation of returning home broke and without having fought a single Muslim or traveling any further than Italy.  Under threat of excommunication, they set off against Zara on October 1, 1202.

By this point, there was someone else with the crusading armies: Alexius IV, renegade son of Isaac II, the Byzantine emperor who had been usurped, blinded, and imprisoned by his brother (and Alexius IV's uncle) Alexius III.  Alexius promised the leaders of the Crusade the full support of Eastern Christendom in their Crusade in exchange for Latin support in returning him to the throne in Constantinople.  There are many medieval tinfoil hat stories regarding the odd coincidences of timing surrounding Achmed Chalabi's Alexius IV's deal with the Latins, but as early as Holy Roman Emperor Henry VI in 1197, there had been calls for the conquest of Constantinople, so as to combine the power of Eastern and Western Christendom and present a united front (under one, western, banner) against all the enemies of Christ.

The Crusaders landed on the 10th of November, and promptly laid siege to the town despite the large number of Catholic crosses being displayed on sheets hung from windows.  Again some of the army rebelled, but again it was not enough to shift the actions of the commanders, and most of the army remained loyal and active in what turned out to be only a 2-week siege.

In for a penny, in for a pound          Image hosting by Photobucket

Alexius' promise became known to the rank-and-file as they wintered over in Zara, and again the decisions of the beholden-to-the-doge leadership caused dissention and desertion among the crusaders.  Again these did not rise to the level of incapacitating the army, the soldiers of which, having been freshly excommunicated by an extremely pissed-off Innocent III, had little left to lose by adventuring against Constantinople.  If nothing else, placing Alexius IV on the throne might have results positive enough that earlier transgressions - like this one at Zara - could be forgiven.

The crusaders sailed from Zara in April, 1203, stopped to conquer Corfu, and arrived at Constantinople in late June.  Alexius III demanded to know what they wanted, and here credit must be given the leaders of the Crusade, for they shouted in reply that they were there to drive Alexius III from the throne as a traitor.  Their subsequent attempts to rally the people of Constantinople to the cause of Alexius IV gained little traction, however, as he was seen by the common people as a Western toady.

The Venetians broke through the great chain that had long protected Constantinople's harbor from invaders on July 5th, and two weeks later, the crusaders attacked in force.  Though the Vanagian Guard (an Imperial guard made up largely of English and Danish mercenaries) beat back the Franks on the landward side, but the Venetians - led up the scaling ladders by old, blind Enrico Dandolo himself - took a section of the wall above a narrow beach and set a portion of the city on fire.  They were forced to retreat, however, when the Franks proved unsuccessful in their assault.
No thanks are due to Alexius III for his role in defending the Constantinople.  He assembled a large force at one point, but then lost the nerve to lead the men into battle; only the self-summoned valor of the Varagians saved the city that day.  That night, Alexius III grabbed his daughter, together with as much loot as he could carry, and removed his august presence from the field of battle under cover of darkness.  Left with few options, the remaining Byzantine defenders trotted old Isaac II out of prison and restored his kingship - a move the crusaders agreed to, so long as Alexius IV would also be crowned as co-regent.  This was done on August 1st, 1203.

 Bad feelings all around

Here's how things shook out over the fall and winter, 1203-04:

*     Alexius had so many people to pay off around Constantinople that by the time he had semi-secured his throne, there wasn't enough cash left to pay the Venetians.

*     Thinking quickly, Alexius levied a burdensome tax upon the people to pay off the people who had installed him on the throne before his unwilling subjects.  The tax was not wildly popular, to say the least.

*     The Franks were waiting on the promised support, and were behaving poorly as guests of the Byzantines.  Penniless, they were fighting in the markets and occasionally pillaging the countryside, and once - in an effort to burn down a mosque - set fire to a significant portion of the city.

*     Yet another Alexius popped up as the leader of the anti-Latin faction.  The crusaders called him Murzuphlus, and he claimed descent from Alexius Comnenus of First Crusade fame.  He was murderously anti-Roman.

*     In January, 1204, the short, unhappy reign of Alexius III came when Murzuphlus had him strangled and took the throne for himself.  Isaac II was thrown back in prison, where he soon died, presumably with a broken heart but wracked by guilt over his own evil deeds.

*     By spring, most of the Latin army had withdrawn to safety across the Golden Horn, Murzuphlus (now styling himself Alexius V) was reinforcing the city's defenses, and Latins and Greeks were openly skirmishing.

*     The decision to capture Constantinople was arrived at in February and planned during March, 1204.  We could go into the details, but trust me: the terms describing how the Byzantine Empire and the treasures of Constantinople would be divvied up were very favorable to Venice.  The reunified Christian empire would in many ways answer to Venice before it listened to the Pope.

It's all good - They're the wrong kind of Christians

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In the end, it wasn't much of a fight.  The Greeks threw back the first assault, on April 9, which bummed out the army, but the clergy was there to pick up the pieces.  The priests, in fact, scrambled to reinvigorate the host; wikipedia says this about their efforts:

The clergy discussed the situation amongst themselves and settled upon the message they wished to spread through the demoralised army. They had to convince the men that the events of 9 April were not God's judgement on a sinful enterprise: the campaign they argued, was righteous and with proper belief it would succeed. The concept of God testing the determination of the crusaders through temporary setbacks was a familiar means for the clergy to explain failure in the course of a campaign. The clergy's message was designed to reassure and encourage the crusaders. Their argument that the attack on Constantinople was spiritual just revolved around two themes. First, the Greeks were traitors and murderers since they had killed their rightful lord, Alexius IV. The churchmen used inflammatory language and claimed that "the Greeks were worse than the Jews", and they invoked the authority of God and the pope to take action. To introduce the Jews (supposedly the killers of Christ) as a point of comparison indicates how strongly the clergy wished to convince their audience of Murtzuphlus' evil. Although Innocent III had again warned them not to attack, the papal letter was suppressed by the clergy, and the crusaders prepared for their own attack, while the Venetians attacked from the sea...

Constantinople was unable to repel a second attack on the 13th.  The crusaders topped the walls in one place and broke through a gate in another, which prompted Murzuphlus to grab Alexius IV's widow, daughter, and jewels before fleeing the city.  Resistance crumbled, and for three days the crusaders sacked Constantinople with a ferocity not seen before or since.  According to historian Edwin Pears:

An indiscriminate slaughter commenced. The invaders spared neither age nor sex. In order to render themselves safe they set fire to the city lying to the east of them, and burned everything between the monastery of Everyetis and the quarter known as Droungarios.  So extensive was the fire, which burned all night and until the next evening, that, according to the marshal, more houses were destroyed than there were in the three largest cities in France. The tents of the Emperor and the imperial palace of Blachern were pillaged, the conquerors making their head-quarters on the same site at Pantepoptis. It was evening, and already late, when the crusaders had entered the city, and it was impossible for them to continue their work of destruction through the night. They therefore encamped near the walls and towers which they had captured. Baldwin of Flanders spent the night in the vermilion tent of the Emperor, his brother Henry in front of the palace of Blachern, Boniface, the Marquis of Montferrat, on the other side of the imperial tents in the heart of the city.

For 1000 years, mighty Constantinople had gathered and guarded its great wealth, secure in the knowledge that the harbor chain, the sea wall, and the parallel walls on the land approaches would keep those treasures safe.  Once the defenses were breached, Constantinople lay at the mercy of the crusaders, and it turned out they had none.  Icons, gold, artwork, and treasures of every description were looted in an orgy of death and pillage, enriching the crusaders and bringing the Byzantine capital to its knees.  It was the worst incidence of looting the city ever suffered, and its former glory would not be restored until after the Muslim conquests of the 15th century.

The recriminations and fallout weren't limited to historians or Orthodox patriarchs, either; the people of the time signaled their disgust in no uncertain terms.  Pope Innocent III himself chastised the crusaders thusly:

"You vowed to liberate the Holy Land but you rashly turned away from the purity of your vow when you took up arms not against Saracens but Christians... The Greek Church has seen in the Latins nothing other than an example of affliction and the works of Hell, so that now it rightly detests them more than dogs"

Of course, later on - when the ships began docking in Italy to offload their tremendous haul of booty - Innocent was obliged to undo the earlier excommunications.  What's done is done, he must have figured, so why not re-communicate the soldiers and try'n get them to share some of their portion with the Church?  He thus became yet another one of history's dirtbags - a guy simply too pragmatic to stand on his principles.

The sins of the father...

The sack of Constantinople resonates to the current day.  There's an outstanding discussion of the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox views of the event here, which includes, among other noteworthy quotations, this:

Bishop Kallistos Ware comments:
*    Eastern Christendom has never forgotten those three appalling days of pillage... What shocked the Greeks more than anything was the wanton and systematic sacrilege of the Crusaders. How could men who had specially dedicated themselves to God's service treat the things of God in such a way? As the Byzantines watched the Crusaders tear to pieces the altar and icon screen in the Church of the Holy Wisdom, and set prostitutes on the Patriarch's throne, they must have felt that those who did such things were not Christians in the same sense as themselves . . .
Can we wonder if the Greeks after 1204 also looked on the Latins as profani? Christians in the west still do not realize how deep is the disgust and how lasting the horror with which Orthodox regard actions such as the sack of Constantinople by the Crusaders.

{Ware, The Orthodox Church, NY: Penguin Books, revised 1980 edition}

The Roman Catholic Church somewhat belatedly apologized for what happened in the summer of 1204:

Eight hundred years later, Pope John Paul II twice expressed sorrow for the events of the Fourth Crusade. In 2001, he wrote to Christodoulos, Archbishop of Athens, saying "It is tragic that the assailants, who set out to secure free access for Christians to the Holy Land, turned against their brothers in the faith. The fact that they were Latin Christians fills Catholics with deep regret." In 2004, while Bartholomew I, Patriarch of Constantinople, was visiting the Vatican, John Paul II said "How can we not share, at a distance of eight centuries, the pain and disgust." As Jonathan Phillips writes in his 2004 book The Fourth Crusade and the Sack of Constantinople, this was "an extraordinary statement -- an apology to the Greek Orthodox Church for the terrible slaughter perpetrated by the warriors of the Fourth Crusade."

link

Historiorant

The Fourth Crusade was not planned (at least by the rank-and-file) as a sneak attack on Eastern Christendom, though it is certainly arguable that Enrico Dandolo and the secret councils in Venice had their eye on the prize all along.  Clever manipulation of logistics and an even more clever extension of credit, along with a cynical exploitation of the faith and sense of honor of the common soldier and their mid-rank leaders, allowed a devious cabal to direct an assault against an "enemy" which theretofore had not been regarded as such.  Hmmm...

Sound familiar?  It should - there are a lot of parallels between the Fourth Crusade and the current adventure in Iraq.  It's a shame our Preznit is so glaringly unfamiliar with the story; were he a more literate literary man, he might recognize the lessons the early 13th century has to teach us about putting the business of war before the people and institutions swept up by it.

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Originally posted to Unitary Moonbat on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 04:30 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Great Education - Thanks! (7+ / 0-)

    I have an engineering degree and I really appreciate your efforts to teach me history.  I mean it!

  •  Moonbat's feeding bowl (74+ / 0-)

    This has been a real busy week - no chance to do the Wednesday "biographies" diary I'd intended on.  Off to the back burner, I guess, there to simmer with the upcoming diaries on the rest of the Crusades, the Know-Nothing Party, and America's involvement at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu.

    I've said it before, and I'll say it again: So much history, so little time...  

    "he should bow to no authority and acknowledge no king" - Lucian

    by Unitary Moonbat on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 04:35:43 PM PDT

  •  I love these (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mz Kleen, Unitary Moonbat
    When's the book coming out?  :-)
  •  Off topic, Moonbat... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mz Kleen, Unitary Moonbat

    I'd love to have your comment on the diary I posted earlier today.

    Where the Right gets it Wrong

    Because you are a deep thinker with a good understanding of history.

    Live Free or Die-words to live by

    by ForFreedom on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 04:43:04 PM PDT

    •  I'll check out this very moment (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mz Kleen, ForFreedom, pink parsley

      and sorry for missing it earlier - I was searching the net for maps of 13th-century Constantinople and stuff.  Thanks, too, for the kind words!

      "he should bow to no authority and acknowledge no king" - Lucian

      by Unitary Moonbat on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 05:02:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pink parsley

        I've got some stuff to do for the wife, will come back later to read about the Fourth Crusade!

        Live Free or Die-words to live by

        by ForFreedom on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 05:09:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It'd be great to see someone take up the mantle (6+ / 0-)

          of "Bible Studies for Kossacks" (for a lot of reasons, probably not the best title, but you get the idea) or something similar.  A couple of days ago, True Blue Majority had a diary on Romans 13 that generated a lot of discussion, and yours is a thought-provoking look at the Book of Matthew.  Street Prophets, of course, was set up for that kind of diary, but people here have thus far responded positively to thoughtful analysis of Christian theology vis-a-vis current events, as far as I can tell.    

          "he should bow to no authority and acknowledge no king" - Lucian

          by Unitary Moonbat on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 05:31:43 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I chipped into the Romans discussion (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Unitary Moonbat

            although Paul is far from my favorite, it was an interesting diary, and it inspired me to complete my research on Matthew Chapter 25.

            Although I did not touch on it in the diary, I researched about a dozen translations of the passage (easy to do on the bible website I linked) and found no substantive difference in the meaning of the passage from translation to translation, although the way it read varied a bit.

            But yes, I plan to do more of this kind of thing.  Leviticus is a big project, but any other requests?

            Live Free or Die-words to live by

            by ForFreedom on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 09:18:05 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  How about prophecy? (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Pam from Calif, ForFreedom

              Not Revelation (done to death -- hehe), but maybe some of those Old Testament guys - Ezekiel, Joshua, et al.  I've read a lot about GWB as The Beast, but not much on how his Presidency is reflected by the earlier prophets.  Might be kind of interesting -- of course, so would a comparison of Levitican law with wingnut social policy...

              "he should bow to no authority and acknowledge no king" - Lucian

              by Unitary Moonbat on Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 08:14:40 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  As usual, an honor to recommend. (16+ / 0-)

    If comic relief be needed, might I add that the fourth crusade (though it may have been one of the others), besides deplorably landing a Frankish prostitute at the Byzantine emperor's throne, did inspire some extraordinarily flowery prose by one Arab commentator:

    <div style="height: 200px; width: 400px; overflow: auto; border: 1px solid #666;background-color: #fff6d5; padding: 8px;">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 ardour for carnal intercourse. They were all licentious harlots, proud and scornful, who took and gave, foul-fleshed and sinful, singers and coquettes, appearing proudly in public, ardent and inflamed, tinted and painted, desirable and appetizing, exquisite and graceful, who ripped open and patched up, lacerated and mended, erred and ogled, urged and seduced, consoled and solicited, seductive and languid, desired and desiring, amused and amusing, versatile and cunning, like tipsy adolescents, making love and selling themselves for gold, bold and ardent, loving and passionate, pink-faced and unblushing, black-eyed and bullying, callipygian and graceful, with nasal voices and fleshy thighs, blue-eyed and grey-eyed, broken-down little fools. Each one trailed the train of her robe behind her and bewitched the beholder with her effulgence. She swayed like a sapling, revealed herself like a strong castle, quivered like a small branch, walked proudly with a cross on her breast, sold her graces for gratitude, and longed to lose her robe and her honour. They arrived after consecrating their persons as if to works of piety, and offered and prostituted the most chaste and precious among them. They said that they set out with the intention of consecrating their charms, that they did not intend to refuse themselves to bachelors, and they maintained that they could make themselves acceptable to God by no better sacrifice than this. So they set themselves up each in a pavilion or tent erected for her use, together with other lovely young girls of their age, and opened the gates of pleasure. They dedicated as a holy offering what they kept between their thighs; they were openly licentious and devoted themselves to relaxation; they removed every obstacle to making of themselves free offerings. They plied a brisk trade in dissoluteness, adorned the patched-up fissures, poured themselves into the springs of libertinage, shut themselves up in private under the amorous transports of men, offered their wares for enjoyment, invited the shameless into their embrace, mounted breasts on backs, bestowed their wares on the poor, brought their silver anklets up to touch their golden ear-rings, and were willingly spread out on the carpet of amorous sport. They made themselves targets for mens darts, they were permitted territory for forbidden acts, they offered themselves to the lances' blows and humiliated themselves to their lovers. They put up the tent and loosed the girdle after agreement had been reached. They were the places where tent-pegs are driven in, they invited swords to enter their sheaths, they razed their terrain for planting, they made javelins rise towards shields, excited the plough to plough, gave the birds a place to peck with their beaks, allowed heads to enter their ante-chambers and raced under whoever bestrode them at the spur's blow. They took the parched man's sinews to the well, fitted arrows to the bow's handle, cut off sword-belts, engraved coins, welcomed birds into the nest of their thighs, caught in their nets the horns of butting rams, removed the interdict from what is protected, withdrew the veil from what is hidden. They interwove leg with leg, slaked their lovers' thirsts, caught lizard after lizard in their holes, disregarded the wickedness of their intimacies, guided pens to inkwells, torrents to the valley bottom, streams to pools, swords to scabbards, firewood to the stove, guilty men to low dungeons, money-changers to dinar, necks to bellies, motes to eyes. They contested for tree-trunks, wandered far and wide to collect fruit, and maintained that this was an act of piety without equal, especially to those who were far from home and wives. They mixed wine, and with the eye of sin they begged for its hire.

    `Imad Ad-Din (228-30), quoted in Arab Historians of the Crusades, Francesco Gabrieli

    Source: Danny Yee</div>

    One gets a distinct impression that ad-Din found the subject intriguing.

  •  This is really great (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mz Kleen, Unitary Moonbat

    Thanks for sharing.

  •  Dear Unitary Moonbat (6+ / 0-)
    I feel a lot smarter after I read your history lessons.

    I'm kind of stalling for time here...They told me what to say. George W Bush, 03-21-2006 10:00 EST Press Conference

    by Tamifah on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 05:06:19 PM PDT

    •  I know!!! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tamifah, Land of Enchantment

      I can watch most anything re Islam/the Middle East... and feel like I have at least a basic foundation for understanding what's up.  Moonbat's diaries have really edified us.  Thing is....I feel like an idiot.  Here I am an American.. AT WAR with shia and sunnis and kurds.... and I never had a clue what the history was. Now?  Stupid American crusader wannabees... our arses are grass. And should be.

      These people we are warring against have 2000 years of defensive history in their DNA.  And some dumb boy from iowa is gonna ransack Mr. Mohammad's house?  Yeah... might work for a minute.

      LetsFight. re handle: Fight the radical right is the sentiment!

      by letsfight on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 08:16:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Moonbat (14+ / 0-)

    My 10 year old son wanted me to post his thanks for your diaries.  He loves history and claims your diaries have more information then his school library.  He's not allowed to post here and he's restricted to reading Mom approved diaries which yours are.  He has a bookmark set for your profile so he can check for new diaries you have written.  

    Thank you, Moonbat!

    DITCH MITCH-Republican "Bush Buddy" Governor of Indiana

    by libnewsie on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 05:44:56 PM PDT

  •  Bookmarking. (4+ / 0-)

    And coming back to read this later. But I just had to say Woohoo! to another Unitary Moonbat diary!

    My inner historian is gleeful.

    "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi

    by missLotus on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 05:45:19 PM PDT

  •  Brilliant! (But needs a correction?) (5+ / 0-)

    In January, 1204, the short, unhappy reign of Alexius III came when Murzuphlus had him strangled

    Should be Alexius IV, shouldn't it?

    --
    RMinNZfromUKviaMN

    by Rupert on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 05:55:17 PM PDT

  •  The Fourth Crusade is one of the purer (7+ / 0-)

    examples of the idea that war is about stealing the other's guy's stuff.

    Which certainly resonates today in Iraq.

    Since you brought up Innocent III, perhaps you'd like to tell us, in your inimitable Unitary Moonbat way, about the Albigensian Crusade, where Innocent convinced the Franks that it was God's work to steal Languedoc and kill thousands of Christian heretics there.

    Among other things, the Albigensian Crusade gave us the immortal saying that religious murderers use to justify their crimes -- "Kill them all, God will know his own" -- and the Inquisition.

    The basic text is Zoe Oldenbourg's "Massacre at Montsegur." I was turned on to this fascinating bit of medieval history by a chapter about it in Otto Friedrich's "The End of the World: A History."

    Montsegur is a great place to visit, if you're ever in southwest France.

    Bonus Fourth Crusade/King John connection: the premier Albigensian crusader was Simon de Montfort, who was in the Fourth Crusade, but disagreed with the Zara thing and quit the Crusade.

    He was more sanguine, in both senses of the word, when crusading in Languedoc. Wikipediasays he was "notorious and feared for his extreme cruelty, massacring whole towns."

    His son, of the same name, married a daughter of King John and was a leader of the Barons' War against Henry III, John's son and Simon's brother-in-law.

    The Republicans want to cut YOUR Social Security benefits.

    by devtob on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 06:16:27 PM PDT

    •  That one, and the Children's Crusade (9+ / 0-)

      are the subjects of next week's uplifting romp through history.  As you indicate, readers should prepare themselves to be appalled...

      "he should bow to no authority and acknowledge no king" - Lucian

      by Unitary Moonbat on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 06:36:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Friedrich's chapter on the Crusade (5+ / 0-)

        is compelling in its excellent writing, bloody detail, quotes from contemporary troubadors (in Provencal and translation) and other sources, and its final sentence.

        The previous chapter dealt with the fall of Rome, and he noted early in his explication of Languedoc that the Visigoths had eventually settled in southwest France and Spain.

        The last sentence is: "Thus was Rome avenged on the Goths."

        The "Birth of the Inquisition" chapter is only 40 pages long, and well worth the read, if you can find a copy.

        The Republicans want to cut YOUR Social Security benefits.

        by devtob on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 07:26:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'll look for it (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          neroden, luckydog

          I've been getting a lot of my primary source stuff from Medieval Sourcebook, but the sentence you cite motivates me to go down to the library tomorrow.

          "he should bow to no authority and acknowledge no king" - Lucian

          by Unitary Moonbat on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 07:36:59 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  There are several used copies (3+ / 0-)

            available for under $1 at amazon.

            I read the "Kingdom of Auschwitz" chapter in The Atlantic 20 or so years ago, and then searched out and found several copies (one for me, the rest for friends) at used bookstores.

            Here's more of the kind of writing that hooked me -- his description of "a turning point in the short history of Auschwitz":

            (A May 12, 1942, trainload of Polish Jews) were not imprisoned, not shorn, not sent out in work gangs, not beaten or shot. There was no selection on the ramp at the railroad station, no division of families, no separation of those who were fit to work from the old and the sick and the children. Those 1,500 Jews from Sosnowiec were the first to be sent directly to the gas chamber, all of them.

            And with that, Auschwitz finally became what it had always been destined to become, not just a prisoner-of-war camp, not just a slave-labor camp, but a Vernichtungslager, an extermination camp.

            Vernichtung means more than that. It means to make something into nothing. Annihilation.

             

            Friedrich is a really engaging writer and found a way to tie together lots of interesting stuff under the end of the world theme, e.g., the great flood in the Bible and other ancient traditions (with a visit to Santorini), the fall of Rome, the Albigensian Crusade, the Black Death, the New Jerusalem of the Anabaptists in 16th-century Germany, the Lisbon earthquake, the 1905 Russian revolution and Auschwitz. The epilogue includes a visit to a Minuteman ICBM base.

            Along the way, he mini-profiles Augustine, Camus, Bach and Scriabin, as well as the many colorful historical types who figure in the stories.

            Trust me, this is a book for a history-lover to own.  

            The Republicans want to cut YOUR Social Security benefits.

            by devtob on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 08:49:10 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Happened upon Montseguer entirely by accident... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      subtropolis, Unitary Moonbat

      ...because it's on the way to the Gorges de la Frau, part of an ongoing birding quest to see Dippers.  That  questwas unsuccessful, but I did enjoy some Choughs caterwauling about on the cliffs.

      But Montségur was an unexpected surprise, I can see it now in my mind's eye.  Down near the Mediterranean, the Château de Salses - a reliable spot for Rock Sparrows - was also a bit of a revelation.  Having been raised on the notion of castles in the Disney/Bavarian mold, or the grand and aesthetic delights of the Loire.  Monsegur looked like it would be a logistical nightmare just to keep it stocked with water.

  •  You Make History Fun (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fabooj, Mz Kleen, neroden, Unitary Moonbat

    How come I never had a history teacher like you?

    Probably because of the cussin' and ad hominem stuff; but that's what's so FUN!

    Thanks!

    "[T]hat I have no remedy for all the sorrows of the world is no reason for my accepting yours. It simply supports the strong probability that yours is a fake."

    by Heronymous Cowherd on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 06:43:55 PM PDT

    •  It really depends on a school's administration (3+ / 0-)

      and the extent to which teachers perceive they'll be backed when push comes to shove.  History is, by definition, the saga of human existence - and I think it ought to be told with the same kind of bawdiness, (ir)reverance, and occasional violence as the people who lived the great tales - but a lot of administrators are gunshy when it comes to letting teachers determine what is too risque.  Storytellers can thrive in the right kind of atmosphere (DKos is one, a school with a good principal another), but their legends can lose their luster - and students their interest - under a more oppresive regime.  

      "he should bow to no authority and acknowledge no king" - Lucian

      by Unitary Moonbat on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 08:29:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great diaries UM! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Unitary Moonbat

    You definitely make history more exciting.  The history buff in me says thank you for the stories of the Crusades.

    If the people lead, the leaders will follow.

    by Mz Kleen on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 07:01:29 PM PDT

  •  The past is never dead (3+ / 0-)

    It's just pining for the fjords.

    How much worse can it get than this: the past is more unpredictable than the present. The stories of the Crusades are the stuff of great art; the Bush Administration would make a mediocre comic book.

    "Stay the course" isn't a plan. It isn't a principle. It's a tantrum.

    by Nowhere Man on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 07:14:46 PM PDT

  •  Favorite 'Series' (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    neroden, ActivistGuy, Unitary Moonbat

    Hello,

    I just wanted to say thank you for all these diaries on the Crusades.  I look forward to every one.

  •  Moobat... Moonbat... oh wonderful Moonbat!! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Unitary Moonbat

    Oh, who am I? Oh.. only your biggest fan!!!!

    Been looking on my hotlist for a new history/crusade diary for the last few days...

    THANK YOU!!!!

    LetsFight. re handle: Fight the radical right is the sentiment!

    by letsfight on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 08:07:55 PM PDT

  •  You have been very enlightening and (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Unitary Moonbat

    entertaining as well.  Thank you.

  •  Once again, (3+ / 0-)

    excellent work.

    I kept picturing Dandolo as Grand Nagus Zek, which I have to say added greatly to the enjoyment of the diary!

    Building on a note from the Second Crusade, does all this Byzantine wealth contribute to financing the Renaisance?  I seem to remember several important supporters of the arts being from Venice.

    I would have to dig into my piles of stuff to find all the references to Galileo and the Lynxes, but I want to say some of that money came from Venice as well.

    Live Free or Die-words to live by

    by ForFreedom on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 09:07:29 PM PDT

    •  In a sense, the haul started the Renaissance (3+ / 0-)

      The Church's inability to exert its authority over the crusaders, the increasingly secular nature of monarchies, and the enormous influx of treasure set the political and economic stage for the Renaissance, including making some people rich enough to become patrons of the arts.  Perhaps a silver lining, even if it does have a touch of grey?

      "he should bow to no authority and acknowledge no king" - Lucian

      by Unitary Moonbat on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 10:24:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I had always wondered what engines powered (4+ / 0-)

        the Renaissance.

        Here's why.  Human culture seems to follow an accelerated form of punctuated equilibrium, just like evolution but a bit faster.  So whenever there is a large change in the culture one should start looking for environmental factors to explain the shift.  An explaination of gradually increasing wealth would not seem to fully explain the blossoming of ideas in the Renaissance, but the influx of a large amount of wealth does.  Particularly if that wealth included many cultural artifacts that exposed people to a different world view.

        Change is never pretty.  From a dispassionate historical standpoint this event has a net positive effect.  I also believe that over the long run the events of the past five years will turn our world in a better direction.  Hopefully that will not include anything like the pillaging of Byzantium.

        Live Free or Die-words to live by

        by ForFreedom on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 11:04:54 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Considering your 'cast of characters'... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    subtropolis, Unitary Moonbat

    ...I recall an acquaintance from some years ago who described his workplace (the New York Times, as it happens) as a byzantine snakepit.  And so, I find myself wondering about the word byzantine having come to mean duplicity upon duplicity, within intrigue upon intrigue, all marinated in ruthless maneuvering and deception, all covered over with a veneer of high culture and good manners.

    Got any Moonbat rejoinders to that query?

    •  You describe my understanding of it pretty well (3+ / 0-)

      and it does indeed describe many workplaces - including a bunch that I've worked at.  For me, the word "byzantine" conjurs up all that you mention, plus I'd dim the lights a bunch, hang some vaguely-seen brocades on the wall, and give the whole thing an air of incense and a soundtrack of whispers.

      "he should bow to no authority and acknowledge no king" - Lucian

      by Unitary Moonbat on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 10:17:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And secret passages with entries hidden... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Unitary Moonbat

        ...behind tapestries?  Wondering more about the etymology (is that the word origin study, not to be confused with entomology, the study of insects?) than about the connotations, though really.

        •  {duplicity,intrigue}=>{intricate,labyrinthine,} (0+ / 0-)

          I think the former probably stems a good deal from the events in this diary (and the one before), which morphed, eventually, to include a more general notion of twisty, convoluted (and not always safe) dealings of all sorts.

          "Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit upon his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats." – H.L. Mencken

          by subtropolis on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 11:33:48 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Ah, I get it now (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Pam from Calif

          It's funny how much we rely on voice inflection to tell what someone's asking about - took me awhile to figure out you were asking about "Byzantine" itself.  Damn this two-dimensional universe!

          According to tradition, the town was first settled by Greek colonists from Megara in 667 BCE.  Their leader was a guy named Byzas (go ahead and have some fun trying to figure out how it might have been pronounced), and he modestly named the place after himself.  Things proceeded pretty much apace, with the city fathers learning what had to be an impossibly complicated set of ancient Mediterranean polics as they went, for more than 800 years.  In 194 CE, they backed the wrong horse in a would-be usurper's rebellion against Rome, and paid for it by getting besieged and conquered by the legions two years later.  A century after that, Emperor Constantine took a liking to the site, and refounded the city as Constantinoupolis.  Thenceforth, the city is known as Constantinople, though the adjective "byzantine" is still applied to things that are derived from, or associated with, the city and its inhabitants - like dirty politics or works of art.

          "he should bow to no authority and acknowledge no king" - Lucian

          by Unitary Moonbat on Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 05:52:59 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  King John Lackland (5+ / 0-)

    wanted desperately to be Voldemort, but was more like Lucius Malfoy, oily, snotty, and, ultimately, incompetent.  His barons hated him (hence the Magna Carta) for many reasons--not the least of which was his tendency to rape the wives and daughters of his own courtiers and his imprisoning of the Lady of Hay, whom eh starved to death with her children. It was kewl to rape the peasants but the nobility was off limits--except to John.

    Lesson to be learned:  NEVER piss off your base, even if you are king by divine right.

    The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

    by irishwitch on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 09:22:56 PM PDT

    •  Even the 'Lackland' part of the name is a (2+ / 0-)

      reference to his crappy rule, as it was originally two separate words - ie, the king who "lacks land."  I ran into another kinda Chimpish name the folks of the time had for him, but I don't recall it right now.

      On a somewhat related note, do you think Bush will, historically, rise to the level (or sink to the depth) of King John?  Will folks still be bashing him 800 years from now?

      "he should bow to no authority and acknowledge no king" - Lucian

      by Unitary Moonbat on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 10:14:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Possibly. (4+ / 0-)

        So far he hasn't raped a prominent Republican woman, though--or starved one of his base to death along with her children. His atrocities happen in other countries, out of sight.  But I wouldn't be surprised if, 200 years from now, should this nation still exist, he is called the worst disaster of the 21st century.  He's right up there with the Bad Guys of history.

        It's fascinating that disastrous rules have certain traits in common, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, when talkingblue Nero as a villain in one of her historical vampire novels said, "Would you want a college sophomore running your empire?"  Bush isn't a college sophom,ore but he still has the mental age of one,  and Nero would have continued on his path had he lived to be 60.  Same with John--another spoiled brat man-boy used to getting his own way with no opposition. I've always wondered about the look on his face when he met the barons at Runnymede. I suspect it is a lot like Bush when he is forced to talk to the Press.

        Did a lot of research onthsi time because one of my SCA personas--the bellydancer-- went Ont he Third Crusade as one of Berengaria ladies, and was gonna be given off to another word jock who caught Richard's eye. She got carried off as a souvenir of Acre by one of Salah-al-Din's emirs.  She was Irish-Norman, not English, so she want hrileld with the English anyway, and decided that the Muslims, who bathed (unlike the English who, at that time, were discouraged from it by the clergy) were a better group to end up as a slave (used to brehon law, she regarded Frankish marriage customs as barbaric).  She ends up marrying her captor (who didn't rape her) and not converting.  She also learned enough about Islam to insist on a marriage contract. Salah-alDin,w hos eems toahvbe liked intelligent women, helped her write it--and she made it very favorable.

        History is my great love as a hobby.

        The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

        by irishwitch on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 10:31:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I really need to look up the local SCA group (3+ / 0-)

          It sounds like a blast - everyone I've talked to who's been to a war says it's a lot of fun.  I still haven't been to anything more violent (or realistic) than the jousting tournament at a Renaissance Faire, and creating a persona is something the old Dungeon Master in me would really have fun with.

          You reminded me of a wingnut argument that I've never really understood (not that there's many that I do): the one about President Bush being a "guy you can have a beer with."  Presidents that Americans can "have a beer with" tend to be among our most difficult to explain - Andrew Jackson might've brought politics to the masses, but he also made thousands of Cherokees walk hundreds of miles through the snow.  In short, I want a President of whom I can be in awe; not some dude I could meet up with after work down at the Y'all Come Back Saloon.

          And the thought of the look on the face of George Bush King John facing a press conference at Runnymeade!  Priceless!

          "he should bow to no authority and acknowledge no king" - Lucian

          by Unitary Moonbat on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 10:58:13 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I prefer an adulterous but intelligent Prez (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Pam from Calif, Unitary Moonbat

            over a dumb, faith ful one. ANd I prefer competence over likeability. But i can tellya that the sis-in-law with all but dissertation for her Ph.D (in, ironically, Gifted Ed) said she couldn't vote for AL Gore becsue he acted like he was too smart and knew it.  SHe voted for the dumb failure becasue he was, well, nice (I never thought he was ncie; I thought he was liek the creepy jocks who think they have a right to ahev sex with girls who don't consent).

            SCA was amore fun ten years ago. It's gone family now.  You either have to love being in a kidnergarten (I don't) or plan lots of activities for them--and NO ONE<includign their parents, wants to volunteer for that, soyou have hordes of kids underfoot bored out of their gourds. We're chuildless by hcocie, and msot SCA stuff is adult-oriented.. We are inactive---esp. down here, whee parenting skills leave a great deal to be desired. Essentially a larg eenough percentage of SCA parents regard fellow SCAdians as free babysitting.,</p>

            The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

            by irishwitch on Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 10:27:33 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  'Soft-sword' (n/t) (0+ / 0-)

        "Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit upon his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats." – H.L. Mencken

        by subtropolis on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 11:49:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  bireme galleys (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Unitary Moonbat

    I was digging around and found this page, Dromon (Dromond)

    The crew consisted of from 100 to 300 people depending on dimensions of a ship. There was another ship in Byzantine called heladion, but we know quite less about her than about the dromon. The dromon's keel ended by an underwater ram just like for the bireme. The main weapons on the dromon were catapults, which threw fiery shells at a great distance. On the bow and the stern parts of the vessel there were raised decks for bowmen. Powerful and heavy catapults had a possibility to throw shells with the weight of 500 kg at the distance of 1 000 m. Dromons were also armed by light flame-throwers (syphonopho-rami), which flooded enemy ships by fluid burning mass (Greek fire) consisted of tar, sulphur and nitre dissolved in oil. At slight contact with water this fluid blazed up. Such a fire only flamed up in extinguishing by water and it was put out only by wine, vinegar or sand. The precise consistence of such a mixture as well as a construction of weapons did not come to us. Dromons were defended by metal armour against enemy's rams.

    I'm not so sure i buy the 1Km toss, but … yikes!

    "Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit upon his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats." – H.L. Mencken

    by subtropolis on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 11:57:59 PM PDT

    •  Trebuchets are able to provide that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Unitary Moonbat

      500kg-1000m kind of energy, and since they are relatively balanced they would be suitable for use on a ship.

      They might even be able to fire broadside, across the beam of the ship.  Not that there wouldn't be a bit of seasickness after each shot...

      Live Free or Die-words to live by

      by ForFreedom on Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 08:56:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Amazing - all over some superstitious book! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Unitary Moonbat, eastmt

    In retrospect, it was very poor judgment to base the tales of the Bible in an Earthly locale.  Now everyone, even non-Christians, think there is something special about a particular city and region that makes it worth dying for.

    If the Bible tales had all taken place in say, Atlantis, or even better, on Mars, then maybe not so many idiots could have been convinced to go on killing rampages in the "holy" lands.

    I often wonder, if it were not for the Bible making Jerusalem "holy", if we would even be in Iraq today.  

    -7.4, -5.9 | "Ignorance and bigotry, like other insanities, are incapable of self-government." -Thomas Jefferson

    by Subterranean on Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 12:23:27 AM PDT

  •  Shoot I'm late and can't recommend (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Unitary Moonbat

    Sorry UM, Great series of diaries.  thanks

    "A child miseducated is a child lost" John F. Kennedy

    by Pam from Calif on Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 09:05:46 PM PDT

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