The Corner

Cross Purposes

Now that denunciation, from bin Laden and others, of the supposedly perfidious “crusader” nations are once again making the news, the central fact about the actual Crusades is worth restating: The Crusades represented a counterattack, a long-delayed and largely defensive effort by Europe to reclaim for Christendom at least a small portion of the vast territories that had fallen to Islam. The assertion, in other words, that the Crusades represented some sort of unprovoked act of aggression is flatly ahistorical.

For a little background, take a look at the episode of Uncommon Knowledge that I taped a couple of years ago with two fine young historians of the Crusades.

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