Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Fifth and Sixth Crusades

The Fourth Crusade (summary)
Shortly after becoming ruler of the Roman Catholic Church in 1198, Innocent 3rd called for a fourth crusade against Muslims to recapture Jerusalem. That had led, strangely enough, to the brutal sacking of Constantinople (1204) and the establishment of Catholic Christian states in formerly Orthodox Christian lands (1204-1261).

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Fourth Crusade (1202-1204)

This is a particularly sad tale to tell.

When Lothar of Segni took the name Innocent 3rd, on becoming ruler of the Roman Catholic Church, he almost immediately called for another crusade against Muslims in eastern Olympia. Rather than directly attacking Jerusalem, the Crusaders planned to attack the capital of the Muslim state in Egypt and, by destroying it, fatally weaken Muslim control of Jerusalem.

The Second and Third Crusades

First Crusade (1095-1099)
Urban 2nd, ruler of the Roman Catholic Church, launched the First Crusade in 1095. That crusade accomplished its objective of retaking Jerusalem in 1099. Crusaders consolidated their control of coastal Levantia by 1124. All remaining crusades were simply efforts by Catholic (vs. Orthodox) Christians to maintain the existence of four small and vulnerable Catholic (vs. Orthodox) Christian states in Levantia against the determined efforts of Muslim rulers to make them disappear.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The First Crusade (1095-1099)

In 1054, Christendom broke into two large sections, Greek and Latin, in eastern and western Olympia respectively.

In 1071, the Roman emperor Romanus Diogenes lost a decisive battle against Turkish Muslims at Manzikert in the land of Incognita  just east of Anatolia. This decisive defeat marked the beginning of a decline from which the Roman Empire never recovered. After that, Turkish Muslims quickly and completely settled central Anatolia. They also soon took control of central Levantia, including the city of Jerusalem, from its Arab Muslim rulers in Cairo in 1073.

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Decline of Islamic Iberia (1031-1492)

By 1000 Córdoba, with a population of 500,000 people, had surpassed even Constantinople to become the largest and richest city in Olympia.

Al-Mansur Ibn Abi Amir, better known as Almanzor (b. 938, r. 976-1002), initially exercised the power of the caliphate as guardian of al-Hakam's 10-year-old son. He began the end of Islamic Iberia's golden age when he ordered the burning of all the scientific books that al-Hakam had collected. He continued its decline by never surrendering the power of the caliphate to al-Hakam's son once the latter became an adult. The result, following the death of Almanzor's son in 1008, was civil war.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Islamic Iberia: The Golden Age (921-1031)

Muslim ruler Abd ar-Rahman 3rd (890-961) began his reign of almost half a century in 912. Because of his tolerance of Jews and Christians and generous patronage of the arts and humanities, Andalusia (Islamic Iberia), and especially his capital city of Córdoba, enjoyed a golden age of economic prosperity, cultural creativity, and harmonious relations between Muslims, Jews, and Christians.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Stories from Early Islamic Iberia (711-911)

By 475, a Germanic (Visigothic) Christian state had taken control of almost all of Roman Christian Iberia. By 589, its rulers had become Roman Catholics.

In 711 a Muslim army invaded Iberia from Carthaginia. Later reinforced, it took control of almost all of Iberia by 718. The area of Iberia controlled by a Muslim state came to be known as al-Andalus, or Andalusia, with its capital, beginning in 717, in Córdoba.

Freedom vs. Moralism (Galations 5:1)

For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery (Galatians 5:1, New Revised Standard Version).

Paul's whole letter to the Galatians is an argument against moralism or conformity to a moral code, any moral code. Moral codes come from the six Olympian gods. Their whole unspoken purpose is to justify power, falsehood, indifference, and death. In pleasant contrast, Jesus frees us from such foolishness.

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Importance of Daily Bible Reading (Psalm 1)

1 [Blessed] are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked,
or take the path that sinners tread,
or sit in the seat of scoffers;
2 but their delight is in the law of [Yahweh],
and on his law they meditate day and night
(Psalm 1:1-2, New Revised Standard Version).

Olympianity is the religion devoted to the six gods of Olympus: (1) Jupiter, god of politics; (2) Mars, god of war: (3) Vulcan, god of technology; (4) Venus, goddess of sex; (5) Pluto, god of money; and (6) Bacchus, god of consumption.

El Cid (1043-1099)

Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar (1043-1099) was born in 1043 into a minor oligarchic family in the small town of Vivar just outside of Burgos in northern Iberia. At 14 he fought in a battle between the Christian state of Castile and the Islamic capital of Zaragoza. At 20 he joined the Christians of Castile and the Muslims of Zaragoza attacking the Christians of Aragon. During that battle, Rodrigo met a fearsome hero of the Aragonese army in single combat, killed him, and was hailed El Compeador (The Champion) ever after.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Florence Nightingale (1820-1910)

Florence Nightingale was named after the city she was born in on May 12, 1820. Her upper-class family returned to England the next year. In 1825 they moved into Embley Park: a rural mansion near the Channel city of Southampton and about 80 miles (140 km) southeast of London. Embley Park remained Florence's home for the rest of her long life. She was educated at home by her father who taught her several languages as well as philosophy, history, and mathematics.

Elizabeth Fry (1780-1845)

Elizabeth Gurney was born on May 21, 1780, into a Quaker family in Norwich, England (about 116 miles northeast of London). Her father was a bank and factory executive, her mother a member of a major banking family, and her childhood home a large mansion.

As a teenager, she disliked attending Sunday Quaker meetings. One Sunday when she was 18, however, she heard an American Quaker named William Savery speak. William encouraged everyone at meeting to care more for marginal people. Elizabeth took these words to heart. She started ministering with people who were poor, sick, or illiterate.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Church of the Holy Sepulchre

According to Christian tradition, Jesus was executed in AD 33 just outside the walls of Jerusalem on a hill called Golgotha (Greek) or Calvary (Latin).

In 135 Hadrian, Roman ruler and devout Olympian that he was, had a temple dedicated to Jupiter built on the site of the old Jewish temple and a temple dedicated to Venus built on Golgotha. To provide an adequately strong and flat foundation for the temple on hilly Golgotha, and to thoroughly cover any visual reminders of Christian significance, Hadrian had tons of rock and dirt brought to the site.

Temple Mount

In 1921 BC Yahweh called Abraham to move from Mesopotamia to the land of Canaan. In 1896 Abraham's wife Sarah gave birth to their only child Isaac. In 1871 Yahweh tested Abraham by asking him to sacrifice his son Isaac on a mountain in the land of Moriah (Genesis 22:2). Tradition identifies the site of this testing as Mount Moriah in what is now Jerusalem.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Expansion of the Caliphate (634-732)

The advance of Muslim armies from the southern Levantian city of Medina completely surprised the two Olympian superpowers of the time: the Roman and Persian empires. In December 634 Muslim armies captured the Roman city of Damascus, in 636 they defeated the Persians and took control of Mesopotamia, and by 637 they had taken control of the eastern Mediterranean coast from the Romans and so controlled all of the geocultural province of Levantia.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Jerome (ca 345-420)

Olympian childhood and youth (345-365)
Jerome (Eusebius Sophronius Hieronymus) was born around 345 in the town of Stridon about 150 miles (94 km) northeast of the coastal city of Trieste in Alpinia (see Glossary). He went to Rome around 360 to study philosophy and rhetoric. Only then did he learn Latin and some Greek.

As a student, he would joined his colleagues in drinking and having casual sexual intercourse. Then, tormented by guilt, on Sundays he would enter the dark catacombs filled with the bones of early Christians and feel terrified by the sense of Hell he experienced.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Augustine of Hippo (354-430)

Augustine was born in 354 in the town of Tagaste about 155 miles (250 km) west of Carthage. His parents were Latin-speaking Berbers but his father was an Olympian while Monica, his mother, was a Christian. They sent him to a nearby boarding school in 365 where he studied Latin literature. As a teenager he developed an interest in philosophy after reading Cicero.

James Joyce (1882-1941)

James Joyce was born on February 2, 1882, into a middle-class family living in Dublin, Ireland. He was the oldest of ten surviving children. When he was five years old he was bitten by a dog and had an intense if understandable fear of them after that. At this time his aunt also vividly described how God used bolts of lightning to punish wicked boys and he developed an intense if understandable fear of them too.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Roman Empire Faces Unprecedented Vicissitudes (AD 400-700)

The Roman Empire: Hellenia, Anatolia, Levantia, Egypt (395)
Theodosius was the last person to rule both western and eastern halves of the Roman state. He also established Trinitarian Christianity as its sole official religion. Following his death in 395, various Germanian groups took control of the geocultural provinces of what had been the western half of the Roman Empire by 476. The eastern half, however, ruled from Constantinople, remained intact.