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Zacour, N. P.; Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / The impact of the Crusades on the Near East

II: The Impact of the Crusades on Moslem Lands,   pp. 33-58 PDF (10.1 MB)

Page 33

 ich in picturesque episodes and dramatic events, the crusades were poor
in the contribution they made to the edification or enlightenment of the
area of their operation. The chain reaction of countercrusades and of the
anti-Christian and anti-western feeling they generated has not ceased. The
festering sore they left refuses to heal, and scars on the face of the lands
and on the souls of their inhabitants are still in evidence. As late as the
twentieth century the anticrusading ghost was invoked in connection with
the mandates imposed on Syria and Iraq and the Anglo-French attack on Egypt
in 1956. 
 At the launching of the crusading movement the religious unity of Islam
had already been shattered, and its political state was fragmented. The caliphate,
which personified the double unity, was then itself triple. The Umaiyad caliphate
of Cordova was a traditional enemy of its counterpart in Baghdad, and both
were considered illegitimate by the Shi'ite imamate of Cairo. The Baghdad
caliphate had been subordinated since 1055 to newly Islamized Selchükid
(Seljuk) Turks, whose loosely united — if not utterly disjointed —
states and statelets had mushroomed all over the area, extending into Byzantine
Anatolia. Almost every sizable city in Syria had its own Selchükid or
Arab ruler, often at odds one with the other. Hostility between R~dvan (1095—1113)
in Aleppo, who had Ismã'ilite leanings, and his orthodox brother Dukak
(1095—1104) in Damascus formed, together with battles against crusaders,
the central theme of their reigns. Shaizar on the Orontes near Hamah was
defended by the Sunnite Arab BanU-Munqidh. Tripoli was under the Shi'ite
Arab BanU-'Ammãr. The Byzantines were seizing and losing towns along
the coast and on Syria's northern frontier. Jerusalem, the ultimate crusading
goal, was being tossed from one hand to another: in 1070 the SelchUkid general
Atsiz had wrested it from the Fatimids; in 1096 it had reverted to their

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