The Crusader kingdoms were a portent of what could happen the next time European power spilled over its borders. As it was, the involvement in the East, military, commercial, and cultural, helped pull Western Europe out of the Dark Ages and back into world history. It also knocked Constantinople out of the cultural, political, and moral preeminence that it had enjoyed since Germans overran the Western Roman Empire. A couple centuries of distractions, like the Black Death, would slow Europe down; but soon European incursions, conquests, and colonies as far away as Indonesia and the Americas would make the Crusader kingdoms look like very small potatoes.
|KINGS OF JERUSALEM|
|First Crusade, 1096-1099|
|Godfrey of Boulogne,|
|Count of Edessa,|
of Le Bourg
|Count of Edessa,|
|Fulk (V) of Anjou||1131-1143|
|Second Crusade, 1147-1149;|
homage to Manuel I, 1159
|Baldwin IV the Leper||1174-1185|
|Battle of Jacob's Ford, loss of castle of Chastellet, 1179|
While the popular impression now is that the Crusades came out of nowhere and were motivated by nothing more than hostility, intolerance, or greed, Pope Urban II was in fact responding to a plea for help. The Seljuk Great Sultânate only briefly held its greatest power, but that was sufficient for the Turks to defeat the Romans at Manzikert (1071) and permanently penetrate the historic Christian heartland of Anatolia. The Emperor Alexius I Comnenus, with no money, virtually no army left, and the Turks at the Bosporus, could only turn to his fellow Christians in the West. Urban, less interested in helping the Schismatic Greeks, thought that, nevertheless, the time might be ripe (after 459 years) to undo the Islâmic Conquest of the Holy Land itself. So on 27 November 1095, he called on Christians to "take the Cross" and go to Constantinople and then on to Jerusalem. As it happened, the First Crusade (1096-1099) defeated the Turks, enabling Alexius to recover western Anatolia, and did take Jerusalem.
Godfrey of Boulogne (or Bouillon), the leader of the First Crusade, held that there could be only one King in Jerusalem, Jesus Christ, but his successors exercised no such scruple. The Kingdom of Jerusalem included three significant feudal dependencies: the County of Edessa (1098-1144), the Principality of Antioch (1098-1268), and the County of Tripoli (1109-1289). Antioch and Edessa ended up acknowledging Roman suzerainty, which had been claimed from the first as part of the agreement with the Crusaders when they passed through Constantinople. The fall of Edessa to Islâm in 1144 set off the Second Crusade (1147-1149), but the city was never recovered.
For many years I was under the impression that the castle shown on the reverse of the Lebanese 25 pound note was Beaufort castle, which stands on cliffs above the Litani River. Now, however, it has been pointed out to me that this is not Beaufort, but Moussalayha (or Mousayliha) Castle. It is actually not a Crusader castle at all but was built by the Ayyubids. It has been long since Beaufort Castle has displayed so charming an aspect. It was largely destroyed by the Turks in 1615. Since in recent history it was still being used as a Palestinian base, the Israelis finally demolished it utterly in 2000.
|1186-1192||Guy of Lusignan||King of|
|Battle of the Horns of Hattin,|
Fall of Jerusalem to S.alâh.uddîn, 1187;
Third Crusade, 1189-1192
|Queen Isabella I||1192-1205||Amalric II|
(I of Cyprus)
|Fourth Crusade, 1202-1204|
|John of Brienne||1210-1225|
|1210-1228||Henry I of Cyprus||1218-1253|
|Fifth Crusade, 1228-1229;|
Jerusalem ceded by
|Jerusalem Falls, Defeat by Ayyubids at La Forbie, 1244|
|1254-1268||Hugh II of Cyprus||1253-1267|
|Sixth Crusade, 1248-1254|
|1268, Charles of Anjou|
claims Kingdom of Jerusalem;
claim accepted by Pope, rejected
by Nobility of Outremer
|Hugh III of Cyprus|
(I of Jerusalem)
|Seventh Crusade, 1270|
The Kingdom of Cyprus, casually seized from Romania by Richard, and given to the former King Guy, survived under its kings until 1489 and then under Venice until conquest by the Ottoman Turks in 1571. While originally a separate line from Jerusalem, Hugh III of Cyprus was elected King of Jerusalem in 1269. This was disputed by Charles of Anjou, with the Pope's backing, but that was of no practical consequence on the spot, and the title of Jerusalem soon (1291) became merely nominal.
The events leading to the fall of Jersualem to the Sult.ân of Egypt, the great Salâh.u d-Dîn, Saladin, are now recounted in a movie by Ridley Scott, Kingdom of Heaven . This movie is less fictionalized that Scott's previous historical epic, Gladiator, but it still falls short of real historical faithfulness. Unfortunately, the History Channel program, "History vs. Hollywood," although previously providing good historical perspective on some Hollywood movies (like The Passion of the Christ), fails to do so in this case and ends up being nearly as much Hollywood, and as little real history, as the movie is. The protagonist of the story, played by Orlando Bloom, has the name and some of the history of a real person, Balian of Ibelin (not a bastard, and with two active brothers in Outremer), but otherwise has been modified for dramatic purposes and, most annoyingly, in order to introduce 20th century political clichés into a 12th century story. Larger inaccuracies serve to make politically correct multicultural points. Thus, King Baldwin IV, the Leper, did not simply live at peace with Saladin. He also died two full years before the Battle of the Horns of Hattin. By then he had lost the use of his limbs and was nearly blind. Guy of Lusignan had already then served as Regent for the King, but he had been removed simply for incompetence. Historian Steven Runciman says that Guy was the kind of ruler who always agreed with the last person who had talked to him. He was certainly not the secret instigator of the lawless Reynald of Châtillon. Nor was Queen Sibylla unhappy with him. Indeed, Sibylla's unhappy arranged marriage, described in the movie, was with her short-lived first husband, William of Montferrat. She had then married Guy out of love, or at least lust. Guy was succeeded as Regent by Raymond III of Tripoli. During the short reign of Sibylla's son by Montferrat, Baldwin V, Raymond continued as Regent. It was he who arranged the truce with Saladin that apparently is in force as the movie begins (anachronistically with Baldwin IV still alive). After the death of the young Baldwin, Sibylla wants the Throne for herself and Guy, while Raymond and others (like Balian) want the succession to pass to her younger half-sister, Isabella. Sibylla is successful, and the Patriarch Heraclius crowns her. But he doesn't want to crown the foolish Guy, and leaves his crown at Sibylla's side. So she crowns him, as in the movie, though for a reason not there explained. While Guy was not controlling Reynald of Châtillon, this was because Reynald was uncontrollable and because Guy did not have the personality for command, especially over a nobleman who was nearly his lone sympathizer among the barons of Outremer. "History vs. Hollywood" didn't mention any of these true circumstances.
The worst thing about the movie are the tendentious distortions. The priests are all bad, and religion appears to be bad, except maybe for Islâm. Guy and Reynald are presented as Templars, although they weren't and the Templars were, in any case, celibate monks. The Templar red cross on white is used, except for the assassins sent against Balian, who wear the black cross on white of the Teutonic Knights, who didn't even exist yet. The Hospitallers are never even mentioned (not by "History vs. Hollywood" either), and one would not know that they were supporters of Raymond and Balian and opposed people like Guy and Reynald. The speech given in the movie by Balian about the folly of marching through waterless country was actually given by Raymond, while he and Balian were indeed present at the Battle of the Horns of Hattin. They were simply able to fight their way out. While Balian had nothing to do romantically with Sibylla, he was already married to a former Queen of Jerusalem, Maria Comnena, Sibylla's step-mother. He traveled to Jerusalem after the battle to fetch her and their children, with Saladin's safe passage. Since no one more competent than the Patriarch was organizing the defense (unlike the movie, where the Patriarch wanted to flee), Balian thought he should stay. Saladin excused him to do so and escorted Maria and the children out himself. Sibylla had already left. Saladin had sworn to take the city by the sword. We are not told that in the movie (or any of this in "History vs. Hollywood"), although we are given to understand that it might be difficult to surrender on terms. Balian did organize a successful enough defense to move Saladin to offer terms, though the negotiation took place during an assault, not with a truce. Saladin expected ransoms and did not simply offer safe passage as the movie has it. We are also not told that, while Saladin was generous with ransoms for the nobility captured at Hattin, he had all the Templar and Hospitaller Knights executed.
The descendants of Maria and Balian remained active in Outremer and Cyprus. At least two daughters of Ibelin, one a descendant of Balian, married Cypriot royalty, as can be seen in the genealogy below. It is possible there are living descendants of Balian, but I have not noticed how that might work.
From the tendentious, we move to the ridiculous. This was the 2011 movie, Season of the Witch, where the talents of Nicolas Cage, Ron Perlman, and Christopher Lee are wasted. The movie was poorly reviewed and bombed at the box office. Filmed in Austria and Hungary, it is not a bad movie to look at, and its depths of confusion and incoherence make it worthy of some kind of passing notice. The most objectionable feature is the vicious, farcical, and anachronistic picture presented of the Crusades, as well as of history and geography in general. We meet Cage and Perlman ready to fight a battle at the "Gulf of Edremit" in 1332, which is glossed as in the "Age of the Crusades." However, we might think that the "Age of the Crusades" was over with the 7th Crusade in 1270, or with the fall of Acre in 1291.
There were indeed subsequent "Crusades" proclaimed in the following two centuries, mostly as part of an effort to stem the tide of Turkish conquest in Anatolia and the Balkans. Thus, there was in fact a battle in the Gulf of Edremit, the Turkish name for Greek "Adramyttion," in 1334 (or 1344), not 1332. This was part of a combined effort, involving Italian and Roman fleets, to meet the naval threat posed by the Beys (Begs) of the Aydïn Oghullarï, who had captured Ephesus in 1304 and Smyrna (Turkish "I.zmir") in 1334. Cage and Perlman, however, look like they are fighting in the desert, not in a naval battle, and we have no sense that this is a response to Turkish conquest. Subsequent battles listed in the movie, Tripoli in 1334, Imbros in 1337, and Artah in 1339, are entirely fictitious or are moved from different eras. Tripoli in Lebanon had long been lost to the Ayyûbids (1233), and Crusader sieges of the city were in the 12th century.
The final battle listed in the movie, which disillusioned Cage with Crusading, is given as that of Smyrna in 1344. This was a real effort of the Christian allies, which recovered the harbor of Smyrna from the Turks, and so for 60 years inhibited the naval threat of the Aydïn Oghullarï. We would know none of this from watching the movie, however. Cage seems to be charged with slaughtering civilians, who are condemned as heretics, or something. Thus, without any real historical context, the narrative of the movie is that Crusading was merely an exercise in intolerance, not a desperate effort, as it certainly was in the 14th and 15th centuries, to stem the tide of Islamic Conquest.
Cage and Perlman then walk from Anatolia to the "coast" of Styria, which in 1344 was already a (landlocked) dependency of Austria. This puts us in the area where the film was actually shot but is otherwise senseless.
Meanwhile, the status of Cage and Perlman themselves is an absurdity. They seem to be part of some kind of Papal army, are paid wages, fight on foot despite being knights (who we expect to be mounted), and are subject to the death penalty for "desertion" when they leave the army. However, there was no such Papal army -- and we are never told who this person is supposed to be who is apparently in command. Crusading had always been an individual commitment whose crushing expense meant that few could participate for more than a short period. Duke Robert II of Normandy borrowed the money he needed to go on Crusade from his brother, King Henry I of England, with the Duchy as collateral. He defaulted on the debt in 1106 and lost his domain to Henry. This is an example of the hard truth wherein we are usually deceived by Sydney Greenstreet in The Maltese Falcon , who says that the Crusades were mainly a matter of plunder. The Italian cities grew rich off the Crusades, but mainly at the expense of the Crusaders who themselves were usually impoverished. In the battles against the Turks in the 14th century, we are mainly looking at the regular forces of powers like Venice, Genoa, and Romania. Mercenaries would figure in those armies, and mercenaries do get paid, but they can also quit and leave when they feel like it. But we don't get the idea that Cage and Perlman are supposed to be mercenaries.
Finally, the ultimate, rather bizarre, twist in the movie is that the Church isn't so bad after all, because the Plague of the 14th century is actually being caused by a demon in possession of a young girl's body. Cage and Perlman die in the course of effecting the demon's exorcism. Thus we are left with the politically correct view that the Crusades were gratuitous murder, tossed together with the decidedly politically incorrect view that sometimes it was necessary to kill witches because they in fact might embody supernatural evil. It would have made a bit more sense, morally and historically, if the Turks had been the enemy -- despite the danger of "Islamophobia" -- and the witches the victims.
The principal genealogical problem with the Kings of Jerusalem seems to be the relationship of Godfrey and Baldwin I of Boulogne to their successor Baldwin II. They are frequently said to be cousins, but pinning down just what this is supposed to mean is very difficult. Steven Runciman (A History of the Crusades, Volume II, The Kingdom of Jerusalem and the Frankish East 1100-1187, Cambridge University Press, 1951, 1993, p.492) traces the former back to Eustace I of Boulogne and Baldwin II back to a grandfather, Baldwin of Le Bourg; but he doesn't show any connection between these lines in the 1993 edition. In a 1965 edition, he had something different. He showed Baldwin of Le Bourg married to Ida, a sister of Eustace II of Boulogne. Ida has simply disappeared by 1993. The recent Historical Atlas of the Crusades by Angus Konstam (Checkmark Books, Facts on File, New York, 2002, p.190) shows Baldwin II's mother, Melisende of Monthléry (Runciman writes "Montlhéry"), as the sister of Eustace II of Boulogne. This is contradicted by the Erzählende genealogische Stammtafeln zur europäischen Geschichte, Volume III, Europäiche Kaiser-, Königs- und Fürstenhäuser Ergänzungsband [Andreas Thiele, R. G. Fischer Verlag, Second Edition, 2001, p.185], where Melisende is unrelated to the house of Boulogne. Thiele doesn't even show Baldwin of Le Bourg as the father of Hugh I of Rethel, but Manassès II. Melisende's father is also given as a "Guy I." So this contradicts Runciman's diagram without adding any clue about how Boulogne and Baldwin II were related. What I originally showed above was the suggestion of a correspondent, that Eustace I had a daughter Ida who was the mother of Hugh I of Rethel -- this suggestion was apparently based on the older editions of Runciman. Now I have heard from another correspondent, Ann Ferland, who found a French website for the genealogy of the family of Carne which gives the mother of Hugues de Rethel as "Judith," who is a daughter of Eustache de Boulogne and Mahaut and brother of Eustache II. This makes as much sense as anything else, is consistent with Thiele, and at least introduces a new name. So that is what is shown. Detlev Schwennicke, in the Europäische Stammtafeln, Stammtafeln zur Geschichte der Europäischen Staaten, Neue Folge, Band III, Teilband 4, Das feudale Frankreich und sein Einfluß auf die Welt des Mittelalters [Marburg 1989, Tafel 625], gives the house of Rethel as shown, with a Judith married to Manasses II and the mother of Hugh I, but indicates no parentage for Judith. I was hoping that all these problems would be laid to rest by The Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem, A Dynastic History 1099-1125, by Alan V. Murray [Prosopographica et Genealogia, Linacre College, Oxford, 2000], but it actually adds nothing to the other sources. Murray gives the father of Melisende as "Guy the Great" (rather than Bouchard) of Montlhéry. I have not yet examined the whole book carefully, but I don't even notice a discussion of the kings being cousins.
|Kings of Jerusalem and Cyprus|
|Henry II of Cyprus|
(I of Jerusalem)
|Fall of Acre to Mamlûks, 1291;|
End of Outremer
|Amalric of Tyre|
(II of Cyprus)
|father of Guy, King of Armenia|
(II of Jerusalem)
|James II the Bastard||1464-1473|
|Cyprus passes to|
Turkish Conquest, 1571
Other interesting survivors of Outremer were the military Orders of monastic knights. The most durable was the Order of the Knights of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem, the Hospitallers, who held Rhodes from 1309 to 1523 and Malta from 1530 to 1798.
It still exists as a "sovereign" entity, retaining its original charitable mission. Meanwhile, the other great Crusading Order, of the Poor Knights of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon, the Templars, came to an untimely end in 1314, through the greed of Philip IV of France. Less conspicuous than these two, there was another important Crusading Order in Outremer, the Order of the Knights of the Hospital of St. Mary of the Teutons in Jerusalem, the Teutonic Knights, who were not founded until 1191 at Acre. Their century of service in Palestine, however, is overshadowed by their contemporaneous conquest, with the Livonian Knights, of Prussia, Latvia, and Estonia in the Baltic, where they relocated after the fall of Acre.
Not long ago it was reported that a group of Christian pilgrims travelled to Israel to apologize for the Crusades. One may be forgiven for thinking this one of the silliest examples of liberal guilt in history. If the pilgrims truly believed that Christians should just never use force, even in self-defense, or against the likes of Hitler or Stalin, then at least they can be credited with some consistency and idealism.
But if not, then it is not clear why Christians should apologize for the Crusades but not Moslems for the original Islâmic conquest. When many Moslems regard conquests for the Faith as a religious duty, and all at least meritorious, the last thing one would ever expect is for anyone in Islâm to apologize for such achievements. To be sure, the Crusaders in the 12th century displayed a great deal more brutality than the armies of the Caliph 'Umar had in the 7th, with Jews and even Christians as well as Moslems falling in the occasional indiscriminate slaughters; but they also came from what was actually a much more barbarous place. The judgment of Moslems that the Franks possessed no virtue but courage was fully shared by the Greeks of Romania. But the Crusades themselves would kick-start civilization in Western Europe by exposing it to the commercial and cosmopolitan culture of Romania, the Levant, and Egypt. And if Mediaeval Islâm now seems more civilized than its Frankish counterpart, today it is Modern Islâm that revels, at least in part, at the sight of kidnappers decapitating civilian hostages or suicide bombers blowing up women and children -- it is Christians and Jews in Islâmic lands, not Muslims in Europe, who cannot practice their religions, or even live, in peace and safety.
|Counts of Edessa|
|First Crusade, 1096-1099|
|King of Jerusalem,|
of Le Bourg
|King of Jerusalem,|
|Conquest of Edessa by|
Zangî of Mosul, 1144
In Late Roman times Edessa became the center of intellectual life of the Syrian Orthodox Church. As such it also became the center for the translation of Greek philosophy into Syriac, which provided a stepping stone for the subsequent translations into Arabic. When the Crusaders arrived, it was still an important city, enough to tempt a side-expedition after the fall of Antioch. The first two Counts of Edessa became Kings of Jerusalem, and subsequent Counts were their cousins. The genealogy of all of them thus is given under the Kings of Jerusalem. The eastern border of Edessa is shown at the Tigris River, but the County may not have extended quite that far. The fall of Edessa in 1144 was the first major setback for Outremer and provoked the Second Crusade. All the later Crusades, however, were troubled by strategic uncertainties and disagreements. The Second Crusade didn't even try to recover Edessa, calculating that it was be strategically better to take Damascus. Well, perhaps so; but the campaign against Damascus failed, and so absolutely nothing was accomplished. Edessa was lost forever. The modern city is Urfa in Turkey, which retains nothing of its former importance; and the Orthodox Christian community is largely gone, after Turkish attacks (as on Armenians and other Christians elsewhere) during World War I.
|Norman Princes of Antioch|
|son of Robert Guiscard,|
Duke of Apulia
|Roger of Salerno||Regent|
|Raymond of Poitiers||1140-1149|
|Personally killed by Shirkuh,|
uncle of S.alâh.uddîn, 1149
|Reynald of Châtillon||1153-1160,|
|homage to Manuel I, 1158;|
Personally killed by
Battle of Hattin, 1187;
|fall of Antioch to|
Sult.ân Baybars, 1268
|Bohemond VII||titular prince|
The Princes of Antioch were Normans from the recently established Norman Duchy, soon to become a Kingdom, in Southern Italy. Their genealogy is thus given there. Bohemond IV also came into possession of the County of Tripoli, combining the two Crusader states for the rest of their histories. Antioch was still at this time, as it had been since Roman Times, the principal city of the area. When the Mamluks drove out the Crusaders, however, in 1268, they largely destroyed the place, so that there would be no stronghold if the Franks returned. Thus Antioch became, as it remains, just another city. Although the area was predominantly Arab, Antioch and Alexandretta were ceded by the Mandatory authority, France, to Turkey in 1939. As the principal city of Roman Syria, the Patriarchate of Antioch was one of the key centers of early Christianity. St. Peter is supposed to have founded a church there, in cliffs outside the city, which the author visited in 1970.
|Counts of Tripoli|
|First Crusade, 1096-1099|
|Raymond I||Count of|
|Fall of Tripoli, 1109|
|Bertrand||Count of Tripoli,|
|Prince of Antioch,|
The first Count of Tripoli, Raymond, was the Count of Toulouse and was never actually in possession of Tripoli. He simply began its siege. The genealogy of the Counts is given with that of Toulouse. Raymond's cousin William-Jordan became Regent at Tripoli for his son Alfonso-Jordan, while his illegitimate son Bertrand took over Toulouse. However, the final arragement was just the opposite, with Bertand in Tripoli and Alfonso-Jordan in Toulouse. Raymond III died shortly after the catastrophic battle of Hattin in 1187, and the County passed to the Princes of Antioch.
|Grand Masters of|
the Hospitaller Knights
|Gérard||c. 1080, founds|
|Raymond de Puy||1120-1158/60|
|Krak des Chevaliers Castle occupied,|
1142; Second Crusade, 1147-1149
|Auger de Balben||1158/60-1162/3|
|Arnaud de Comps||1162/3|
|Gaston de Murols||c.1170-c.1172|
|Roger des Moulins||1177-1187|
|killed in skirmish, Battle of Hattin, Fall of Jerusalem to S.alâh.uddîn, 1187|
|William Borrel||Custodian, 1187|
|Ermengard/Armengol d'Asp/de Aspa||Custodian, 1187-1190|
|Third Crusade, 1189-1192|
|Garnier de Naplous||1190-1192|
|Geoffroy de Donjon||1192-1202|
|Alphonse de Portugal||1202-1206|
|Fourth Crusade, 1202-1204|
|Geoffroy Le Rat||1206-1207|
|Garin de Montaigu||1207-1227/8|
|Bertrand de Thessy||1228-c.1231|
|Fifth Crusade, 1228-1229|
|Bertrand de Comps||1236-1239/40|
|Pierre de Vieille-Bride||1239/40-1242|
|Guilaume de Châteuneuf||1242-1258|
Battle of Gaza, Grand Master taken|
hostage to Egypt, 1244; Sixth Crusade,
1248-1254; Grand Master ransomed
|Hugues de Revel||1258-1277|
|Seventh Crusade, 1270;|
Krak des Chevaliers lost, 1271
|Jean de Villiers||1284/5-1293/4|
|Fall of Acre to Mamlûks, 1291;|
End of Outremer; Hospitallers
based in Limassol, Cyprus, 1291-1310
|Odon de Pins||1294-1296|
|Guillaume de Villaret||1296-1305|
|Foulques de Villaret||1305-1319|
|Siege and capture of Rhodes,|
1307-1309; Hospitallers based
in Rhodes, 1310-1523
|Templars arrested and suppressed,|
1307-1312; Last Grand Master,
Jacques de Molay, tortured & burned
by Philip IV of France, 1314
|Hélion de Villeneuve||1319-1346|
|Dieudonné de Gozon||1346-1353|
|Pierre de Corneillan||1353-1355|
|Roger de Pins||1355-1365|
|Robert de Juilliac||1374-1376|
|Jean Fernandez de Heredia||1376-1396|
|Philibert de Naillac||1396-1421|
de la Rivère
|Jean de Lastic||1437-1454|
|Jacques de Milly||1454-1461|
|Pierre Raymond Zacosta||1464-1467|
|Cardinal Pierre d'Aubusson||1476-1503|
|Siege of Rhodes by Meh.met II,|
|Guy de Blanchefort||1512-1513|
|Fabrice del Carretto||1513-1521|
|Philippe Villiers de|
|Fall of Rhodes to Süleymân I, 1523;|
donation of Malta by Charles V, 1530;
Hospitallers based on Malta, 1530-1798
|Baltic domain of Teutonic|
Knights secularized, 1525
|Pierre del Ponte||1534-1535|
|Didier de Saint-Jaille||1535-1536|
|Jean de Homedes||1536-1553|
|Claude de la Sengle||1553-1557|
|Jean de La Vallette-Parisot||1557-1568|
|Great Siege of Malta by Süleymân I,|
|Pierre del Monte||1568-1572|
|Battle of Lepanto,|
naval defeat of Turks, 1571
de la Cassière
|Cardinal Hugues Loubenx|
|Alof de Wignacourt||1601-1622|
|Louis Mendez de|
|Antoine de Paule||1623-1636|
|Jean de Lascaris-Castellar||1636-1657|
|Naval defeat of Turks at|
Dardanelles, with Venice, 1656
|Martin de Redin||1657-1660|
|Annet de Clermont-Gessant||1660|
|Adrien de Wignacourt||1690-1697|
|Raymond Perellos y Roccaful||1697-1720|
|Marc Antoine Zondadari||1720-1722|
|Antoine Manoel de Vilhena||1722-1736|
|Manuel Pinto de Fonseca||1741-1773|
|Francis Ximenes de Texada||1773-1775|
|Emmanuel de Rohan-Polduc||1775-1797|
|Ferdinand von Hormpesch||1797-1799|
|Fall of Malta to Napoleon, 1798;|
to Britain, 1800
not recognized by Pope
|Jean Baptiste Tommasi||1803-1805|
|Headquarters at Catania|
|André Di Giovanni||1814-1821|
|Headquarters at Ferrara, 1826|
|Philippe di Colloredo-Mels||1845-1864|
|Jean Baptiste Ceschi|
a Santa Croce
|Galeazzo von Thun|
|Pius Franchi de'Cavalieri||Lieutenant,|
|Ludovic Chigi della|
Castello di Carcaci
|Angelo de Mojana|
|Jean Charles Pallavicini||Lieutenant,|
|Andrew Willoughby Ninian Bertie||1988-2008|
|Giacomo dalla Torre del Tempio|
The Crusading surplice or habit of the Hospitaller Knights included a white cross on red. After the fall of Rhodes, however, they switched to a white cross on black. Red and white, however, have remained the distinctive colors for Malta, even after independence.
The Grand Master and all the Knights present were killed after the Battle of Hattin, 1187, since Saladin did not show the mercy to the Military Orders that he always did to everyone else -- he may have been in some horror of the warrior monks, since in Islâm celibacy might be regarded as unnatural.
Besides the Krak des Chevaliers, other Hospitaller castles, as given in the Historical Atlas of the Crusades by Angus Konstam (Checkmark Books, Facts on File, New York, 2002, p.87) included Akkar and Megedel in Lebanon, Subelba at the headwaters of the Jordan, Belvoir in the Jordan Valley, Letaria and Seleth (Shiloh) in the Judean Hills, and Sabarim, Rentie, Huldre, Bothme, Deirnachar, Deirelcobebe, Agelon, and Semsem along the Palestinian coast and southwest of Jerusalem.
With the Fall of Acre in 1291, the Hospitallers first moved to Cyprus and then on to Rhodes, which they invaded in 1307 and took from a rebellious Roman. For two centuries they held out against the Mamluks and the Ottomans, until the young Süleymân the Magnificient himself forced their surrender in 1523.
After the fall of Rhodes, a new base of operations was soon obtained in 1530 through the fateful gift of the Emperor Charles V: The rocky and isolated island of Malta, where the local population, although staunchly Catholic, actually speaks a language descended from the Arabic brought to the island by the Islâmic Aghlabid conquest of 870. The Order soon became identified with Malta, and Malta with it. The distinctive Cross of the Order became for all time the "Maltese Cross."
As the young Süleymân had driven the Knights from Rhodes, the old one sent a force to drive them from Malta. In the horrific Great Siege of 1565, the Turks failed, leaving perhaps 25,000 dead on the island. The Hospitallers thus secured their new home for two centuries.
When Charles V offered Malta to the Knights, all he asked in return was tribute of a single falcon a year. From this we derive the story of the "Maltese Falcon," the inspiration of the great Dashiell Hammett detective story of 1930 and the John Huston movie of 1941.
Click on these links for full size popup maps of the Maltese Islands,
and old Valletta.
These maps are adapted from The Cross and the Ensign by Peter Elliott [Naval Institue Press, 1980, pp. 13, 36, & 37].
The long tenure of the Knights came to an end when Napoleon stopped off on his way to Egypt in 1798. The Knights didn't even try to resist. But for all their talk about "liberty, equality, fraternity," the French quickly made themselves so hated that the Maltese themselves rose against them, on 3 September 1798, and put the French garrison under siege. With the help of the British, not the Knights, the French were finally starved out and surrendered on 4 September 1800. The ability of the French to hold out for two years behind the walls of Valletta was a tribute to the fortifications built, but then abandoned, by the Knights. Malta then passed to the British, and for a time it looked like this might be the end of the Hospitallers altogether. The Emperor Paul of Russia even managed to get himself recognized as Grand Master, though his interest was more in Malta than in the Order, and he was not even, of course, a Catholic. Between 1805 and 1879 the Pope did not even sanction the election of a new Grand Master. When the Order was completely revived, it was to concentrate on the charitable works with which it had begun. Although no longer with a territorial base, the Hospitallers, headquartered in Rome, are, however, still accorded the status of a Sovereign nation, issuing their own passports and maintaining their own embassies. A unique and extraordinary remnant of the Crusading Era.
Malta then entered a new era as one of the most strategic possessions of the British Empire. The day would come when Dreadnoughts would become as familiar in the Grand Harbor as Spanish and Turkish galleons had once been. The castle of St. Angelo, which had been the ultimate redoubt against the Turks in 1565, was actually commissioned in 1912 as a ship in the Royal Navy (first as H.M.S. Egmont and then in 1933, more appropriately, as H.M.S. St. Angelo) to be the fleet base ship in Malta, flying the distinctive White Ensign.
British tenure in Malta climaxed with another Great Siege (or even the "Greater Siege"), when in World War II Italy and Germany tried to reduce the island by bombardment and starvation. Now, instead of Turkish cannonballs, there was a rain of bombs from the Luftwaffe, killing 1,104 Maltese, devastating the cities, and sinking many ships in the harbors. From 11 June 1940, when Italian bombers first hit, to November 1942, when the defeat of Rommel in Egypt and the American invasion of French North Africa made it possible to run convoys through regularly and without punishing losses, Malta suffered much more than London ever did in the Blitz. In 1942 alone, there were 2040 air raids -- yes, more than five a day for a whole year, many at night. Malta was only saved from an airborne invasion by the losses that German forces incurred in the airborne invasion of Crete, and by Hitler's determination to invade Russia. But Malta was also a thorn in the side of the Axis, with air, destroyer, and submarine attacks harrying convoys attempting to reinforce their forces in North Africa. King George VI awarded the entire island the George Cross ("Malta, G.C."), Britain's highest civilian decoration, which is still featured on the flag of the independent state.
When independence did come to Malta, in 1964, it began to return the island to the obscurity whence it had come in 1530, though for a time the Prime Minister, Dom Mintoff, under the influence of his friend Muammar Gaddafi of Libya, tried to play the great powers off each other, styling the country a Republic in 1974 and expelling the Royal Navy in 1979. Mintoff even removed the ancient Maltese Cross from the now hallowed Fort St. Angelo. Today, Malta's best hope is tourism, though in a world of peace, as one may hope, there is plenty on Malta of history and diversion to attract travelers from all nations.
The list of Grand Masters is from The Knights of the Order by Ernle Bradford (Dorset Press, 1972). The British tenure on Malta, and especially the period of World War II, is covered in The Cross and the Ensign by Peter Elliott (Naval Institute Press, 1980).
|Grand Masters of|
the Templar Knights
|Hugh de Payens||1119-1136|
|Robert I de Craon||1137-1149|
|Everard des Barres||1149-1152|
|Bernard de Trémélay||1152-1153|
|Andrew de Montbard||1153-1156|
|Bertrand de Blanquefort||1156-1169|
|Philip I de Milly &|
|Otto/Odo de St. Amand||1171-1179,|
|Battle of Jacob's Ford, loss of castle of Chastellet, de St. Amand captured, 1179; dies in captivity, c.1180|
|Arnold de Torroja||1180-1184|
|Gérard de Ridfort||1185-1189|
Third Crusade, 1189-1192
|Robert II de Sablé||1191-1193|
|Philip II de Plessiez||1201-1209|
|William I de Chartres||1210-1219|
|Fifth Crusade, 1217-1221;|
dies at Damietta, 1219
|Peter de Montaigu||1219-1232|
|Herman de Périgord||1232-1244|
|Richard de Bures||1244-1247|
|William II de Sonnac||1247-1250|
|Reynald de Vichiers||1250-1256|
|William III de Beaujeu||1273-1291|
|Fall of Acre to Mamlûks,|
End of Outremer, 1291
|Tibald de Gaudin||1291-1293|
|Jacques de Molay||1293-1314|
|Templars arrested and suppressed, 1307-1312; Last Grand Master tortured & burned by Philip IV of France, 1314|
The Crusading surplice or habit of the Templar Knights included a red cross on white. However, the flag or banner of the Templars seems to have only consisted of black and white stripes on a short fly. Today representations are seen that combine the red cross over both white and black fields, but I do not know about the historicity of these flags.
Unlike the Hospitallers, the Templars were not originally a charitable order, but were conceived from the first as a military force, to protect pilgrims and to defend Outremer itself against Islâm. In this capacity, the Templars staffed various castles in Outremer.
As shown in the Historical Atlas of the Crusades by Angus Konstam (Checkmark Books, Facts on File, New York, 2002, p.87) the castles included the famous Beaufort (Belfort) Castle in Lebanon, Manawat, Sumeriya, Juddin, Chastelet, and Safed in the north of Palestine (Galilee), Taiybe al-Bira and St. John in the Jordan Valley, Beit Dejan near Jaffa, and Kerak, or the Krak of Moab, southeast of the Dead Sea.
The Templars later also got into financial services, the sort of the thing where with a letter of credit a traveller could have ready access to funds in distant places, e.g. Jerusalem. From this the Templars became a sort of international banking concern. This progressive and useful function was nevertheless a dangerous business to be in during the Middle Ages. Kings got interested where large sums of cash were concerned, especially if they had already borrowed some and were in debt. A particularly ruthless and interested monarch was King Philip IV of France. After robbing and expelling Lombard bankers and the Jews, Philip conceived the scheme of suppressing the Templars, many of whom had died not twenty years previously vainly defending the last of the Kingdom of Jerusalem against the Mamlûks, accusing them of all sorts of outrageous crimes, and then confiscating their wealth.
This had to be done with at least a show of legitimacy since the Templars operated directly under the authority of the Pope and in theory were not even subject to French criminal justice. Philip, however, had already showed how he was prepared to deal with Popes. In 1303 his agents had kidnapped, assaulted, and humiliated Pope Boniface VIII (1294-1303), hastening his death. Soon he would engineer the removal of the Papacy itself to Avignon. Only a particularly independent and courageous Pope could then be expected to stand up to Philip, and Boniface's second successor, Clement V (1305-1314), a creature of Philip, does not seem to have been of that caliber.
Philip thus simply arrested all the Templars in France, including the Grand Master, Jacques de Molay. They were accused of outrageous blasphemies, heresies, and unspeakable secret rites, and, questioned under torture, many Knights actually confessed to such things. With such confessions in hand, Philip got the Pope to order a general seizure of the Templars and their possessions everywhere. Although Clement made some attempts to distance himself from Philip, morally and physically, and although Avignon was technically in the Kingdom of Burgundy rather than of France, there was no escaping the proximity of the King and his Kingdom, unless the Pope actually went to turbulent and dangerous Italy, or threw himself on the protection of an Emperor whom Papal policy itself had helped strip of real power. Clement may have gone along with events in part to humor the King into undertaking a Crusade. If so, it was an empty expectation. Eventually de Molay was burned at the stake, abruptly on the authority of Philip and without even Papal notification, much less agreement, in what turned out to be the last year of the lives of both Philip and Clement (1314). Unbroken in spirit himself, de Molay invited the two of them to appear with him before the Throne of God. Since they both soon followed him to Judgment, one might be excused the thought that such an Invitation was tendered as mortals cannot refuse.
Despite the appalling and outrageous nature of these events, the most interesting thing about the Templars continues to be the charges begun by Philip and the stories that continued to build upon them, even today. It is not uncommon to find people even now casually affirming that the Templars had developed a secret neo-pagan society with sensational, orgiastic practices. Victims originally of Royal greed and tyranny, the Poor Knights today must posthumously endure the lurid scandalmongering, or New Age romanticizations, of confused and credulous moderns. Much of this, however, is not of recent origin, since the Masons, undoubtedly with their own secrets rites and principles, liked the idea that they were derived from refugee Templars. There is no evidence for this, but a couple centuries of Masonic assertions have built up a certain venerable weight behind it.
One very intriguing story is that the Templars had in their Paris church the great Menôrâh of Herod's Temple, which Titus had taken to Rome after the fall of Jerusalem. The treasures of the Temple, which may or may not have still included the Menôrâh, were looted from Rome by the Vandals in 455, were then recovered by Belisarius in 533, and so were forwarded to Constantinople. The Menôrâh, if it survived that far, is unaccounted for after its arrival there. According to Procopius, Justinian sent all the treasures back to Jerusalem [Procopius, History of the Wars, II, Book IV, ix 5-10, translated by H.B. Dewing, Loeb Classical Library, Harvard U. Press, 1916, 2006, p.281]. I have now heard one assertion that the ship carrying the treasures sank on the way, but I am not aware of the textual basis for this. The Templar story doesn't help much, however. It is quite plausible that, if hidden in Jerusalem, the Templars might well have ended up with it. But then, even if present in the Paris treasury, it is unaccounted for after that. Another item said to have been there, on the other hand, was a shroud that may turn out to have been what is now known as the Shroud of Turin. Other stories about the Templars attribute to them possession of things like the Ark of Covenant (just as likely to have been found on the Temple Mount as anywhere), the Holy Grail, even the embalmed head of Jesus Christ (from sources that don't seem to accept the bodily ascension of Jesus to heaven) -- though now it looks like such a head may have existed but been thought to be a relic of John the Baptist: What is believed to be the head of John the Baptist is still kept in the Omayyad Mosque in Damascus. Since the Shroud of Turin appears to be a forgery, it is entirely possible that other items were similarly fraudulently or mistakenly passed off at the time.
In the last couple of years we have gotten two large public additions to Templar lore. These are overtly fictional, but many of the elements in them are regarded as fact, apparently, by many people. First we got a book in the form of a mystery novel, The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown (2003), and then a 2004 movie, National Treasure. Both of these involve notions that the Templars found something important on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, and that the Masons have simply carried on the task of the Templars in preserving what was found. In the novel, Brown rather carelessly speaks of the Templars digging under the "ruins" of the Temple, not realizing, it seems, that by then the ruins had long been replaced by the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque, with the Temple Mount looking much like it does today. Be that as it may, his take is that the Templars simply found documents attesting to various non-canonical truths of early Christianity, i.e. that Jesus wasn't God, married Mary Magdalene, and had children who subsequently became, or married, the Merovingian Kings of the Franks. This "bloodline" was the true meaning of the Holy Grail (Sang Real, "royal blood," instead of San Greal). National Treasure avoids the theology and just makes out the discovery to have been of a vast treasure of art, valuables, and historical documents of a more general sort. At the time of the American Revolution, this all had ultimately been secreted under Trinity Church on Broadway in New York City (without problems, apparently, with the water table). In both stories, the protagonists, a man and a woman who meet and conveniently fall in love, flee both the police and the bad guys and follow a trail of obscure clues to the hidden goal. In the book, we don't get a complete payoff, since the documents themselves and the Tomb of Mary Magdalene are not uncovered (the 2006 movie of the Code remedies these deficiencies), but, most essentially, the living bloodline is found. The "bloodline" now seems to be a popular take on the Grail legends. As part of a story that debunks traditional Christianity, the "bloodline" legend curiously and ironically implies that there is some mystical quality or status to the descendents of Jesus and Mary, as though they are the proper rulers of the world, or at least numinous authorities in true religion, like the Imâms of Shi'ite Islâm. This is less mysterious if the whole "bloodline" legend is actually the invention of a French monarchist, claiming some living person as the proper King of France by Divine Right, as discussed under the Merovingians. All that is missing from the book and the movie is the Ark of the Covenant -- but then the Ark already was the subject of another movie, Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), without the Templars having anything to do with it. Of course, a new movie could treat the story of Raiders as itself part of a false legend that the Ark had been removed from Jerusalem by King Sheshonq I of Egypt.
One sequence in the Da Vinci Code is in the Temple Church in London. This is in the Temple, which is between Fleet Street and the Thames Embankment, south of the Royal Courts of Justice. The Temple was indeed the quarters of the Templars in London. When the Templars were disbanded, first the Hospitallers and then lawyers began to use the facilities. In time, the lawyers of the Inner Temple and Middle Temple developed into two of the four "Inns of Court" of London (with Lincoln's Inn and Gray's Inn). The Inns are a combination of barristers' quarters and law schools. In 1970, as I discovered myself, they also provided a kind of crash pad for travelling students. In British practice, only barristers argue cases in court. They take briefs either civil or criminal, for defense or prosecution. They are not, strictly speaking "professionals," but more like clerics or academics, accepting fees as honoraria. Clients hire solicitors, who are professionals, who then engage a barrister.
The list of Grand Masters is taken from The Templars by Piers Paul Read [St. Martin's Press, 1999, p. 324] and Bruce R. Gordon's Regnal Chronologies (though, as he notes himself, it is not, strictly speaking, "regnal"). The map of the Temple is the very one that is posted, as a guide, in the Temple itself.
|Grand Masters of|
the Teutonic Knights
|Hospital, Resident at Acre|
|Monastic Military Order|
|Heinrich I Walpot||1198-1200|
|Otto von Kerpen||1200-1208|
|Heinrich II Bart|
|Hermann von Salza||1209/10|
|Resident at Montfort,|
|Konrad I von|
|Gerhard von Malberg||1240-1244|
|Mongols defeat Poles & Teutonic Knights at Liegnitz, April 1241|
|Heinrich III von|
|Poppo von Osterna||1252-1256|
|Königsberg founded, 1255|
|Anno (Hanno) von|
|Resident at Acre, 1271-1291;|
Fall of Acre to Mamlûks,
End of Outremer, 1291
|Resident at Venice, 1291-1309|
|Konrad II von|
|Resident at Marienburg,|
|Werner von Orselen||1324-1330|
|Lothar, Duke of|
|Dietrich of Altenburg||1335-1341|
|Königsberg joins Hanseatic League, 1340|
|Heinrich IV (III)|
|Lithuanians defeated, Battle of Strawen, 1348|
|Konrad III Zollner|
|Konrad IV von|
|Konrad V von|
|Ulrich von Jungingen||1407-1410|
|killed, Battle of|
|Heinrich V (IV) Rseuff,|
Count of Plauen
|Paul Belenzer von|
|Konrad VI von|
Thirteen Years' War, 1454-1466; Resident at Königsberg, 1457-1618
|Heinrich VI (V) Reuss,|
Count of Plauen
|Heinrich VII (VI)|
|Johann von Tieffen||1489-1497|
|Duchy Inherited by|
Grand Masters of the Brethren of the Sword, the Livonian Knights
|Wimo von Rohrbach||1202-1208|
Teutonic Knights, 1237
|Andreas I von Velven||1241-1244|
|Eberhard I von Seine||1253-1254|
|Georg von Eichstadt||1261|
|Werner von Breithausen||1261-1263|
|Konrad I von Manstadt||1263-1266|
|Otto von Lutterberg||1266-1270|
|Walther I von Nordeck||1271-1273|
|Ernst von Ratzeburg||1273-1279|
|Konrad II von|
|Mangold von Sternberg||1282|
|Konrad III von|
|Heinrich II von|
|Gottfreid von Rogga||1298-1305|
|Burchard I von|
|Golwin von Hericke||1345-1360|
|Arnold von Vietinghof||1360-1365|
|Robin von Eltz||1383-1391|
|Konrad III von|
|Dietrich II Tork||1413-1415|
|Cysse von Rutenberg||1424-1433|
|Frank von Kersdorf||1433-1435|
|Heinrich IV Vincke|
|Johann I von Mengden||1450-1469|
|Johann II Wolthusen|
|Johann III Freitag|
|Walther II von|
|Hermann II Brugsenei||1535-1549|
|Johann IV von|
|Heinrich V von Galen||1551-1557|
|Wilhelm III Count|
|Ferdinand of Brunswick||1730-1737|
|Charles of Saxony||1759-1763,|
|annexed to Russia, Third|
Partition of Poland, 1795
The Crusading surplice or habit of the Teutonic Knights included a black cross on white. This ended up providing the colors for the Duchy and then Kingdom of Prussia, and black became characteristic of the German Empire. Black is still the color of the Iron Crosses -- -- on modern German aircraft, as it was on those of the German Empire and Nazi Germany.
Since black is also the color of death, the black uniforms of Hitler's SS matched well their death's head symbols and murderous mission. This is not, of course, a happy association.
As shown in the Historical Atlas of the Crusades by Angus Konstam (Checkmark Books, Facts on File, New York, 2002, p.87), Teutonic castles in Palestine included Monfort north of Acre, Doc, Sephorie, Recordane, and Atlit, all around Haifa (Caiphas), which was also a Teutonic stronghold, Qaqun between Haifa and Jaffa, and, at the southern end of Outremer, Gaza. For map popup, click here.
Even while the primary business of the Order was still Palestine, it had also taken on the job of subduing pagans in the Baltic. They began at the invitation of the Polish Dukes, who had long fought with the Prussians (who tended to raid into Poland and capture people who were then sold into slavery through Russia and the Mongols), and joined another crusading Order that had already gotten started in Latvia, the Brethren of the Sword, now usually called the Livonian Knights, which had begun a Crusade in 1198 and founded Riga in 1201. But the Brethren of the Sword became attached to the Teutonic Knights in 1237 after a devastating defeat by the Prussians and Lithuanians in 1236. While the Brethren occupied Latvia and Estonia, the Teutonic Knights proper got started on Prussia in 1226. By 1283 the conquest was complete.
Although the Prussian language eventually disappeared, the Prussian people either converted, surrendered and converted, or fled to pagan Lithuania in the course of the Crusade. Some parts of Prussia became depopulated as populations fled or were deported away from border areas. Most of the fighting actually employed Poles and Prussian Christians aiding the Knights -- mounted Knights were only a fraction of any actual Crusader army. The only effort to actually expel the natives of Prussia did not occur until 1945, when Josef Stalin deported most of the German speakers, which would have included descendants of the Prussians. Although the Knights are sometimes actually said to have exterminated the Prussians, there were large enough populations of Prussians still speaking their Baltic language (Prusiskan) at the time of the Reformation that catechisms survive in it from efforts to convert them to Lutherianism. There is sufficient material in Prussian that its linguistic affinities, to the Baltic languages, can be well confirmed.
At its height, the territory of the Knights included Prussia, Latvia, Estonia, and a large slice of Lithuania. As long as Lithuania was pagan, and engaged in slaving and in human sacrifices, the task of the Knights still seems a worthy one. However, after Jogaila/Jagiello, Grand Duke of Lithuania, converts to Christianity, marries Jadiwga of Anjou, and becomes King of Poland in 1386, the contest between the Knights and Lithuania-Poland immediately is no longer Crusading but simply a war. The Teutonic high water mark ended with a defeat by Jagiello at the Battle of Tannenberg (called "Grunwald" in Polish or Polish-sympathizing sources) in 1410. The defeat was a catastrophic slaughter, with the Grand Master falling, but the Knights actually ended up (1422) with little territorial loss -- only the recently acquired Lithuanian land of Samogitia (or Samagotia). Most of the real damage was in loss of Knights, wealth, and prestige. Later, Imperial Germany thought it was avenging Tannenberg by driving the Russians out of Prussia in 1914, a battle they also called "Tannenberg." Much worse for the Knights was the Thirteen Years' War (1454-1466), which actually began with the revolt of the burghers and nobles of Prussia itself. By 1457 Marienburg had been lost and the Grand Master fled to a new capital at Königsberg. The treaty of 1466 ceded possession of West Prussia, Marienburg, and other territories to Poland; and Prussia itself became a fief of Poland -- though Latvia and Estonia were kept separate, with the Brethren of the Sword emerging autonomous again.
The Livonian Knights collapsed in a three-way contest between Russia, Poland, and Sweden. Between 1558 and 1582, Russia was repulsed, Sweden got Estonia, and Poland ended up with the rest. The last Livonian Grand Master became the Duke of Courland, in southern Latvia, under Polish suzerainty (1561). Then, between 1621 and 1629, northern Latvia (Livonia) fell to Sweden, indeed, to the great Gustavus (II) Adolphus himself.
|Grand Masters of|
the Teutonic Knights
|Walter von Cronberg||1527-1543|
|Georg Hund von Wenckheim||1566-1572|
|Heinrich von Bobenhausen||1572-1590/95|
|Maximilian of Austria||1590/95-1618|
|Karl of Austria||1619-1624|
|Johann Eustach von Westernach||1625-1627|
|Johann Kaspar von Stadion||1627-1641|
|Leopold Wilhelm of Austria||1641-1662|
|Karl Joseph of Austria||1662-1664|
|Johann Kaspar von Ampringen||1664-1684|
|Ludwig Anton of the Palatine-Neuburg||1684-1694|
|Franz Ludwig of the Palatine-Neuburg||1694-1732|
|Clemens August of Bavaria||1732-1761|
|Karl Alexander of Lorraine||1761-1780|
|Maximilian Franz of Austria||1780-1801|
|Karl Ludwig of Austria||1801-1804|
|Anton Victor of Austria||1804-1835|
|at Vienna, from 1809|
|Maximilian Joseph of Austria||1835-1863|
|Wilhelm of Austria||1863-1894|
|Eugen of Austria||1894-1923|
|Spiritual (Geistlicher) Order|
|Dr. Norbert Klein||1923-1933|
|Dr. Marian Tumler||1948-1970|
|Dr. Arnold Othmar Wieland||1988-2000|
|Dr. Bruno Platter||2000-present|
The lists of Grand Masters of the Teutonic and Livonian Knights were originally taken from Bruce R. Gordon's Regnal Chronologies. Unfortunately, Gordon only gave the Grand Masters of the Teutonic Knights after the Order relocated to the Baltic. Fortunately, a correspondent in the Netherlands drew to my attention the fact that all the Grand Masters can be found at Die Hochmeister des Deutschen Ordens (Ordo domus Sanctae Mariae Theutonicorum). So the Masters skipped by Gordon were then provided. Modern heads of State of Latvia below are from Regentenlisten und Stammtafeln zur Geschischte Europas by Michael F. Feldkamp [Philpp Reclam, Stuttgart, 2002]. As it happened, Feldkamp also gave all the Teutonic Grand Masters, starting with Hermann von Salza. Now there is available a good English history of the Knights, The Teutonic Knights, a Military History by William Urban [Greenhill Books, London, Stackpole Books, Pennsylvania, 2003]. Urban provides the list of Teutonic Grand Masters, but not the Livonian Masters. Also, he mentions that the Order survived the secularization of Prussia, was disestablished by Napoleon, but today, after revivals by the Hapsburgs, has its headquarters in Vienna. Unfortunately, he does not provide any of the Grand Masters after Albrecht of Hohenzollern. This has now been provided by my correspondent in the Netherlands and is shown at left.
The Baltic states remained under Russian rule until after World War I. Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia were then independent until conquered by Stalin in 1940, after he was given a free hand in the Nazi-Soviet Pact of 1939. Many Western states never recognized this loss of independence, but nothing was done about it (or could have been, short of another World War) all the years of the Cold War. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, however, in 1991, all again became independent. Latvia is blessed with an important and historic city, Riga. The language, Latvian or Lettish, is, with Lithuanian, the last remaining Baltic language (which had included the extinct Prussian -- related to the Slavic languages more closely than to other Indo-European languages), but about a third of the population of Latvia is Russian. A large element of the population had also previously been German, but Hitler was already arranging to "repatriate" them to Germany in 1939. In practice, this ended up meaning settling many of them on seized lands in Poland. The Russians expelled all such people to Germany, and what Hitler hadn't finished in Latvia, the Russians certainly tried to. Nevertheless, a recent President of Lativa, Vaira Vike-Freiberga, bears a name that is partly German. Indeed, my colleague at Los Angeles Valley College, Gunar Freibergs, with an entirely German name, was born in Latvia. Even those not expelled have now mostly grown up just speaking Russian. Lithuania is treated along with Poland, and Estonia with Scandinavia.
|German Occupation, 1941-1944|
While the Baltics are again independent, we have the anomaly that the northern half of East Prussia has remained part of metropolitan Russia. The southern half is now part of Poland, as the whole territory was partitioned in 1945. The name of "Prussia" was erased, and the district was the Soviet "Kaliningrad Oblast." Now, Kalinin was President of the Soviet Union under Stalin (1919-1946), and such Soviet era names have generally been replaced in Russia; but there is a dilemma with "Kaliningrad." The original name of Kaliningrad was, of course, Königsberg. Since the name is German, the Russians naturally don't want to return the city to a German name, lest the Germans begin to think that it should belong to Germany again. One suggestion has been naming the city after Immanuel Kant, who lived and is buried there -- "Kantgrad." But then Kant himself was German.
However, the German name of the city itself is perplexing. "Königsberg" means the "King's Mountain" (Mons Regius in Latin; Karaliauius in Lithuanian; Królewiec in Polish). As it happens, there is no mountain in the area -- it is flat as a pancake -- and no King -- Prussia was no where near being a Kingdom until 1701, and Königsberg never would be the capital even of the later Brandenburger Kings of Prussia. As it happens, when Königsberg was founded in 1255, the Knights named it in honor of King Ottokar II of Bohemia, who supported and even participated in the Baltic Crusade. Since Ottokar was not German but Czech ("Ottokar" itself is the Germanized version of "Otakar"), the Russians could easily render Königberg into Russian as Korolgrad, with the understanding that this honored the historical Slavic king, not some German, and without any implication that the Czech Republic might have some residual claim on East Prussia. Even better, the German name could be completely translated as Korolyagora -- -- "King's Mountain" again. This has a nice ring to it. Perhaps the city was called a "mountain" because in a flat landscape there was some rising ground for the city, or the buildings of the city, especially a Mediaeval city with churches and a castle, might look relatively mountainous.
The identity of the "King" in the name of Königsberg puts in perspective the later constructions of the conflict between the Knights and Poland as a struggle between German and Polish, or German and Slavic, nationalism. These terms meant close to nothing in the 13th century. At the time, the only differences that really counted were between Christians and everyone else, especially when the everyone else -- pagan Lithuanians and Mongols especially -- were engaged in the slaving and possible human sacrifice of Christians. In those terms, the Knights and the Poles were natural allies, and it is not surprising that the actual Army of the Knights contained many Poles, or that the Knights and the Poles together fought the Mongols at Liegnitz in 1241. Only the conversion of the Lithuanians and the diplomatic revolution occasioned by the marriage of Jagiello to Jadiwga changed the terms of the relationship between the Knights and Poland, with the Poles suddenly part of the now secularized inertial conflict between the Knights and Lithuania.
How this gets distorted by multiple biases can be seen in the "Borussia" chapter of Vanished Kingdoms, The Rise and Fall of States and Nations, by Norman Davies [Viking, 2012]. Davies anachronistically projects back to the year 1410 both the modern liberal distaste for the Crusades and the modern Polish nationalist apologetic that attributes modern liberal religious tolerance to Jagiello:
The battle [i.e. Tannenberg/Grunwald] may equally be seen as a confrontation between two opposing strains of Christianity. The Teutonic Knights belonged to the brutal, supremacist crusading tradition of Western Europe, built on the assumption that infidels and 'other-believers' were for extirpating. The Jagiellons, in contrast, whose realms contained a great plurality of religious belief, deplored both the crusading tradition and the theory of papal supremacy behind which the Knights concealed their rapacity. On the eve of Grunwald, the Polish contingents intoned their 'Hymn to the Virgin', the Bogurodzica, thereby underlining their conviction that the Knights' own cult of the Virgin Mary was false. They were joined in the fray by ranks of Orthodox Ruthenians and by Muslim Tartar cavalry. [p.347]
We thus get the impression that Jagiello leads a modern multicultural alliance of Catholics, Orthodox, and Muslims against the "brutal, supremacist" intolerance and "rapacity" of the Knights and their Papal masterminds. Since the Knights have "greedy crusading eyes" [p.253], perhaps they were also representatives of capitalist consumerism. All that's lacking here is to accuse the Knights of "Islamophobia." Elsewhere, Davies portrays the Polish cause as "based on concepts of freedom and liberty" [p.348], with the Knights reaching for the "absolutist ideas coming from the West" [p.350] eventually perfected by Louis XIV. This is equally anachronistic and distorted.
I have already discussed on this page some of the ridiculous and biased representations of the Crusades found in popular culture. Davies, with better academic credentials, here displays some of the moralistic relativism that is characteristic of academic political correctness, where conquests by Islam are winked at or praised, because of the "tolerance" of Islam for Christians and Jews, while Christian defense or counter-attack against Islam is by definition therefore "intolerant." Indeed, such defense or counter-attack is a "brutal, supremacist" intolerance with an ideology that "infidels and 'other-believers' were for extirpating." The "other-believers" here are perhaps the pagans of Prussia and Lithuania, whose reputation for sunny peacefulness is undermined by Davies' own admission that the Poles called the Knights in for help against their depredations.
If the Jagiellons "deplored... the crusading tradition," somebody should have told King Wladyslav VI (1434-1444) before he got himself killed on the Crusade of Varna, against the Turks, in 1444. Also, Davies undercuts his case by later mentioning that "Poland-Lithuania was sorely troubled at the time [c.1517] by marauding Tartar hordes" [p.351], despite the fact that the "Tartars" had been part of Jagiello's enlightened multicultural alliance. They must not have gotten the message about Jagiello's "opposing strain[s] of Christianity." Instead, in the run-up to Tannenberg, in 1399 Jagiello had an army routed by the Crimean Tartars, after which "in the fifteenth century their raiding parties began to penetrate deep both into Moscovy and the grand duchy" [p.260]. Thus, we find that King Sigismund I (1506-1548) considered "sending the Order to [the] Ukraine to crusade against the Tartars," but "He would have been advised that the Order had lost much of its potential" [p.352], because, let's see, the Polish-Lithuanian monarchy had turned against the Knights and broken their strength? Good work. Then, when King John III Sobieski (1674-1696) sought to reimpose Polish sovereignty on Prussia -- the Hohenzollerns had maneuvered a grant of independence from Poland in 1647 -- he was distracted by those pesky Muslims again: The Turks invaded Polish territory in 1672. Since Davies says that "By the mid-1670's, the Ottomans were overrunning Hungary" [p.364], when the Ottomans had already overrun Hungary in the 1520's, one wonders about how well up Davies actually is on the Islamic conquest thing. Since Sobieski helped repulse the Turks from Vienna (wasn't that like a Crusade?) in 1683, he had no time for further concerns with Prussia.
Jagiello's use of "Muslim Tartar cavalry" against the Knights at Tannenberg betrays, not his idealism, but his cynicism. The man who converted to Christianity, despite "no special love for the Poles, worshippers of 'the German God' and a target for his raiding parties" [p.254], in order to marry the Queen of Poland may be suspected of a Realpolitik on the level of Henry IV's "Paris is worth a Mass" (Paris vaut bien une messe). So, Poland was worth a Mass. His use of Muslim mercenaries, even as the successors of the Golden Horde continued their "maurading" and slaving against the Poles, puts a bit of a lie to the statement of Davies that the Poles and Jagiello were demonstrating that the "Knights' own cult of the Virgin Mary was false." If we see Jagiello as a Renaissance prince, it is not surprising that his actions might parallel the advice of The Prince in pursuing what had always been the interests of the Lithuanian monarchy.
And, of course, the mission of the Teutonic Knights had nothing to do with "papal supremacy." Davies tosses in this red herring because of the coincidence of the era of Tannenberg with the Great Schism (1378-1415) and the Council of Constance (1414-1418). That's nice if Davies believes that the Catholic Church should be ruled by Church Councils -- Orthodox Christians agree -- or if he thinks that modern sensibilities are evident in the work at Constance of Paulus Vladimiri from Kraków ("Treatise on the power of the pope and the emperor with regard to non-believers" [pp.347-348]); but, if Vladimiri's treatise is not just an apologetic for Jagiello, it would be nice to know how it is relevant to the actions of Christians in the face of hostile and aggressive pagans and Muslims. Meanwhile, "papal surpremacy" seems to have been as tolerant of Jews, including those fleeing Spain, as was the Polish monarchy, without engendering in Italy the sort of anti-Semitism that was not at all unusual in Poland.
Since Davies does not discuss or mention the complaint of the Christians against the Lithuanians for slaving and human sacrifice, perhaps this means that these are false calumnies against the tolerant and nature-friendly "defiant paganism" of the Lithuanians [p.253], which came complete with "vestal virgins" who "tended the sacred flame in oak groves" [p.251]. Probably under rainbows. Maybe Davies has ignored such ridiculous charges as beneath his contempt. However, perhaps inadvertently, Davies provides examples of just these practices. The funeral pyre of the Grand Duke Algierdas (Olgierd/Algirdas, 1345-1377) included his "favorite servant and his favorite horse"; and "a group of German slaves, bound and gagged, were heaped on top for good measure" [p.254]. Sounds like human sacrifice to me. Similarly, the treaty by which Jagiello agreed to convert to Christianity in order to marry Jadwiga of Poland included the provision "to release all Polish prisoners and slaves" [p.255], which I take to mean that the Lithuanians had been enslaving Poles. Indeed.
Finally, there is the apparent acceptance by Davies of the Polish nationalist apologetic that the Jagiellon cause was "based on concepts of freedom and liberty," in terms of which even the pagan Prussians were "a people born to freedom" [p.350]. I have discussed this issue separately in terms of Polish history; but even a careful reading of Davies exposes his mistake: All this "freedom" is always in terms of burghers and nobility, not of common laborers, peasants, or serfs. The power of the burghers was that of the merchant oligarchies that dominated the cities, such as those of the Hanseatic League, engaged in the rise of a Mediaeval commercial economy. There was potential there for the growth of republican institutions, but mostly that did not happen outside the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Northern Italy. We find that the Hansa, at times exercising powers that seem comparable to Venice at its height, rather suddenly disappears from political history. On the other hand, the "liberties" of the Polish nobility would prove to be an unmitigated disaster for Poland and her people. Davies can hardly be unaware of this, yet he plays along with the discourse of "republican" Poland, referring to the Sweden as an "Empire" but to Poland as a "Commonwealth" [p.356]. He knows what the bitter fruit of the "Commonwealth" and the elective monarchy of Poland is going to be, but he has some kind of problem tracing it back to its cause. So much easier to wax indignant at Crusaders and Popes.
This section is cross-indexed with Jerusalem, Outremer, Francia, and the Periphery of Francia (as part of Eastern Europe and Scandinavia). The story of the Teutonic and Livonian Knights bridges all of those. It is even part of Francia because in 1239 Prussia was granted to the Order by the Emperor Frederick II, after it was declared subject to the Pope in 1234.
|Dukes of Athens|
|Otto de la Roche||Lord, 1205-1225|
|Walter de Brienne||1308-1311|
|Joanna de Chatillion||1311|
|Catalan Company seizes Athens, 1311|
|Manfred of Aragón||1312-1317|
|William II of Aragón||1317-1338|
|John II of Aragón||1338-1342, d.1348|
|Aragonese Kings of Sicily, 1338-1385/8|
|Frederick III (or II) the Simple||Sicily, 1355-1377|
|Mary||Queen of Sicily, 1377-1401|
|Acciaiuoli Dukes, 1388-1458|
|Ranieri/ Nerio I Acciaiuoli||Lord of Corinth, c.1370-1394|
|To Venice, 1395-1402/5|
|Nerio II||1435-1439, 1441-1451|
|Francis II||1455-1458, d.1460/3|
|Ottoman Conquest, 1456|
|Kings of Thessalonica|
|Boniface of Montferrat||1204-1207|
|Thessalonica taken by Epirus, 1224|
For a long time, I had simply never seen complete lists of the Dukes of Athens or the Princes of Achaea. I could only find the first few lords in The Encyclopedia of World History, edited by Peter N. Stearns [6th Edition, Houghton Mifflin Company, 2001, p.237]. Finally, I noticed that Bruce R. Gordon's Regnal Chronologies gives all of them, as given here, including the Sicilian Vicars-General of Athens.
An interesting episode in the history of Athens was: the seizure of Athens by the Catalan Company in 1311. This was a mercenary band from Aragón that had been fighting for the Emperors of Romania. They mutinied and ravaged the area, ending up at Athens, where the Duke Walter hired them in 1310. They then murdered Walter in 1311 and took over the Duchy. Before long, sons of King Frederick II of Sicily, brother of King James of Aragón, succeeded as Dukes, but then sovereignty began to be exercised by Kings of Sicily themselves, starting with Louis. The Vicars-General of Athens have what usually look like Spanish names and so must largely be of Aragonese derivation.
The founder of the Acciaiuoli (or Acciaioli, or Acciajoli) line of the Dukes of Athens, Ranieri, Neri, or Nerio I (1388-1394), was a nephew of the Florentine banker Niccolò Acciaiuoli (b.1310-d.1365 -- he also became grand seneschal and virtual ruler of Naples for Joanna I in 1348). Considering the hostility between the Neapolitan Anjevians and the Sicilian Aragonese, it is easy to imagine the Sicilian loss of Athens as part of this conflict. It is intriguing that at precisely the same time that the Acciaiuoli were becoming established at Athens, Catalan troops were temporarily in control of Achaea (1386-1396).
Uncovering the genealogy of the Acciaiuoli line has proved very challenging. A correspondent in the Netherlands drew my attention to the GeneWeb site (it now returns a dead link), which actually gave a family tree for the Acciaioli [sic] Dukes of Athens. This diverged in several respects from Gordon's list: (1) It does not identify the "Francesca" Gordon has ruling 1394-1395; (2) it has a different sequence of Dukes, with Nerio II and Anthony II following rather than preceding Francis I; and (3) there is no Francis II, but the lone Francis is said to have died (been murdered) in 1463, which would be after the Ottoman Conquest. I have also seen another list on the Internet which is like Gordon's except that it leaves out the Francesca, giving Anthony I ruling in her stead before the Venetian occupation, lists a "Chiara Giorgi" instead of Francis I as the Duke who succeeds Anthony II, and gives only one Francis, who is nevertheless confusingly characterized as "Francesco II."
My impression, therefore, was that the history and genealogy of the Acciaiuoli Dukes of Athens is simply not known very well. While the GeneWeb site did not give the name of the daughter of Nerio I who married Theodore Palaeologus, Despot of Morea, the Erzählende genealogische Stammtafeln zur europäischen Geschichte, Volume III, Europäiche Kaiser-, Königs- und Fürstenhäuser, Ergänzungsband [Andreas Thiele, R. G. Fischer Verlag, Volume III, Second Edition, 2001, p.232] does give her name as "Bartholomäa". Now, however, my invaluable Dutch correspondent then found a German website (which now also returns a dead link) with the text of a book by Ferdinand Gregorovius, Geschichte der Stadt Athen im Mittelalter, von der Zeit Justinians bis zur türkischen Eroberung (1889), which gives the full genealogy with the figures missing, or scrambled, in the Geneweb site. That is the genealogy now given, though still with some uncertain dates.
|Princes of Achaea|
|William I de Champlitte||1205-1209|
|Geoffrey I de Villehardouin||1209-|
|Charles I of Anjou||1278-1285|
|King of Sicily, 1266-1282|
|King of Naples, 1266-1285|
|King of Naples, 1285-1309|
|Florent of Hainault||1289-1297|
|Philip I of Savoy||1301-1307|
|Philip II of Anjou||1307-1313|
|Mathilde of Hainault||1313-1318|
|Louis of Burgundy||1313-1316|
|John of Anjou||1318-1333|
|Catherine (II) of Valois||1333-1346|
|Marie I of Bourbon||1364-1370|
|Philip III of Anjou||1370-1373|
|Queen of Naples, 1343-1382|
|Jacques of Baux||1381-1383|
|Charles III of Anjou||1383-1386|
|King of Naples, 1382-1386|
|King of Hungary 1385-1386|
|Catalan mercenaries in control, 1386-1396|
|Peter de St. Superan||1396-1402|
|Maria II Zaccharia||1402-1404|
|Inherited by Palaeologi, 1432|
All of the Mediterranean possessions of Aragón and its junior lines are shown above. The only possession never directly ruled by the King of Aragón was Athens, as we have seen. In 1713, Sicily, Sardinia, and Naples passed to Austria and Savoy with the settlement of the War of the Spanish Succession.
A noteworthy moment in the history of Achaea is when it came into the possession of Charles of Anjou, who had conquered Naples and Sicily and who planned an attack on Romania. He made an agreement in 1267 with the deposed Latin Emperor, Baldwin II, to restore Baldwin in Constantinople in exchange for Achaea, which could provide a foothold and base for that. Charles' plans were destroyed in 1282 when Sicily revolted and brought in Peter I of Aragon, who had married Constance of Hohenstaufen, as King. This began what soon would be the reach of Aragon all the way to Athens.
In the genealogy below, we see the last Villehardouins of Achaea, Prince William II and his daughter Isabella. William had been captured by John, brother of the Emperor Michael VIII Palaeologus, in 1259 and was ransomed with the cession of Laconia to the Romans in 1261 (beginning the Despotate of the Morea). Isabella was at first married to a son of Charles, Philip, who soon died. Charles apparently was able to set Isabella aside at the death of her father. But Isabella and her new husband, Florenz of Hainault, got the Principality back from Charles II. At the death of Isabella, Philip II of Taranto, a son of Charles II was then able to set aside her second husband, Philip of Savoy, and her daughter, Matilda, and return Achaea to the Anjevians. With the death of Philip, we get the succession of Matilda and her husbands, Louis of Burgundy and then John of Naples, who was also an Anjevian. John was followed by his nephews Robert and Philip, including Robert's wife, Marie of Bourbon. At the end we have a tug-of-war between Anjevian cousins, including Joanna I of Naples, Jacques de Baux (a nephew of Robert and Philip), and finally Charles III of Naples. But with the death of Charles III, Achaea passed out of Anjevian control. I am not aware of the means or occasion whereby Peter de St. Superan came into possession of Athens. The Zaccharias (or Zaccarias) had been Lords of Chios until ejected by the Palaeologi in 1328. From the Zaccharias the Principality passed to the Palaeologi, when Catharine, daughter of Prince Centurione, married Thomas, Despot of Morea. The enjoyment of the Greeks in recovering Achaea, however, was shortlived, since Thomas and Catherine fled the Ottoman Conquest in 1460. The last bit of Achaea-Morea retained by Thomas was the fortress of Monembasia, which he turned over to the Pope in 1461. The succession jumps around a great deal in the genealogy, but I think everyone is accounted for.
The genealogy of the Anjevians below duplicates the genealogy of the Latin Emperors from Baldwin II onward. These are mostly titular Emperors, but at least it can be said of them, starting with Philip II, that they had a pied à terre in Romania through the possession of Achaea -- which was Charles I's idea in obtaining the Principality in the first place.
The genealogies for Achaea and for the Dukes of Athens before the Acciaiuoli have been assembled from various places in the Erzählende genealogische Stammtafeln zur europäischen Geschichte, Volume II, Part 1, Europäiche Kaiser-, Königs- und Fürstenhäuser I, Westeuropa, Volume II, Part 2, Europäiche Kaiser-, Königs- und Fürstenhäuser II, Nord-, Ost- und Südeuropa, and Volume III, Europäiche Kaiser-, Königs- und Fürstenhäuser, Ergänzungsband [Andreas Thiele, R. G. Fischer Verlag, Volume II, Part 1, Third Edition, 2001, Part 2, Second Edition, 1997, and Volume III, Second Edition, 2001]. This has been supplemented with the help of a correspondent in the Netherlands with information on the Villehardouins, Zaccharias, and de la Roches from the Europäiche Stammtafeln, Stammtafeln der Europäichen Staaten, Neue Folge, Volume III, Part 1, Herzogs- und Grafenhäuser des Heiligen Romischen Reiches. Andere Europäische Fürstenhäuser, Volume III, Part 3, Andere grosse Europäische Familien. Illegitieme Nachkommen Spanischer und Portugiesischer Königshäuser, and Volume III, Part 4, Das feudale Frankreich und sein Einfluß auf die Welt des Mittelalters [Detlev Schwennicke, Verlag J.A. Stargardt, Marburg, Part 1, 1984, Part 3, 1984, & Part 4, 1989].
Francis of Baux was actually a distant cousin of the Baux Princes of Orange. The genealogy shown here for Baux is from the Genealogie delle Dinastie Italiane.
A curiosity in Volume II, Part 1, of Thiele is that various Dukes of Burgundy, and Louis of Burgundy, the husband of Princess Matilda above, are listed as titular Kings of Thessalonica (pp.142-143). This seems to begin with Duke Hugh (Hugo) IV (1218-1272) in 1266. This would still have been in the lifetime of the Margrave William IX of Montferrat, the titular King of Thessalonica by direct inheritance from Boniface of Montferrat, the original King. I see no explanation there what happened in 1266 to provoke or motivate such a claim. Perhaps this was the doing of Baldwin II in lining up support for the Latin cause in Constantinople, like his agreement with Charles of Anjou in 1267.
Now, in November 2006, I hear from Tarek Peeters in Belgium, who wrote a thesis on Philip of Courtenay, that my guess seems to be about right. Mr. Peeters writes, "In 1266, on 21 January to be precise, the former emperor [this would be Baldwin II, father of Philip of Courtenay] promised the sum of 13.000 livres tournois to Hugh IV, duke of Burgundy, followed the next day by the rights for the kingdom of Thessalonica and its fiefdoms." Hugh accepted the offer; but then, Peeters says, "Of course, Montferrat never accepted the ruling of Baldwin, and continued to call themselves kings of Thessalonica, but so did the Burgundian dukes..." Peeters gives sources: R. L. Wollf, "Mortgage and redemption of an emperor's son: Castile and the Latin Empire of Constantinople", in Speculum XXIX (1954), pp. 45-84, and in the first volume of J. A. C. Buchon's Recherches et matériaux pour servire à une histoire de la domination française aux XIIIe, XIVe et XVe siecles dans les provinces démembrées de l'Empire grec à la suite de la quatrième croisade (1840). This seems to clear up the matter.
Philosophy of History
[Deuteronomy 7:1] When the LORD your God brings you into the land which you are entering to possess and drives out before you many nations -- the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites, seven nations larger and stronger than you --  and when the LORD your God has delivered them over to you and you have defeated them, then you must destroy them totally. Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy...
 For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession.
 The LORD did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples.  But it was because the LORD loved you and kept the oath he swore to your forefathers, that he brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt...
 You must destroy all the peoples the LORD your God gives over to you. Do not look on them with pity and do not serve their gods, for that will be a snare to you.
[The Interlinear NIV Hebrew-English Old Testament, John R. Kohlenberger III, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1987, pp.503-506]
After this We told the children of Israel:
"Dwell in the land [, ard.; Hebrew , eretz]. When the promise of reckoning comes, We shall bring you together from a motley crowd."
The quote from the Qur'ân above could easily be taken to motivate, as it does for a few, a kind of Islâmic Zionism. Like the rather common Christian Zionism, this would involve the belief that the Return of the Jews to the Promised Land is something accomplished by God as a Sign of the Last Days. So far, however, an Islâmic Zionism is rare to the point of invisibility, and common Muslim views of the State of Israel occupy a very different spectrum of opinion, to say the least.
Zionism proper, Jewish Zionism, originally owed little or nothing to expectations of the Last Days. Instead, it developed in layers of ideology that reflected contemporary beliefs and changed with the times. This makes it a little hard to generalize about, just as it is a little hard to classify the State of Israel in terms of the cultural and historical categories used here. Dividing Europe and the Mediterranean world into Francia, Russia, Romania, and Islâm leaves Israel as the odd-man-out. After a fashion, that is the idea, since Israel is supposed to revive something that antedates the Islâmic Conquest, the Roman Conquest, and even the Greek, Persian, Babylonian, and Assyrian Conquests. The last independent Jewish state had been that of the Herodians, but this was already Hellenized, even Romanized, in many ways. The revival of Hebrew, which by those days was no longer a spoken language of daily life, can be seen as part of a project to undo all the cultural assimilation since the Fall of Samaria to Sargon II and of Jerusalem to Nebuchadnezzer. This, of course, is impossible, since even the names of the Jewish months are Babylonian, but it is part of the ideological project. As it happens, Israel's cultural and ideological origin is transparent, but, like Zionism itself, the identity has drifted.
Zionism, as a modern nationalist ideology, can be said to have begun with a book by Theodor Herzl, the Jewish State, in 1896. At that point, it had already been a full century since the American and French Revolutions, which began the modern emancipation of Jews with the principles of individual natural rights and the separation of religion from political life. In those terms, there was no reason why Jews should not have been citizens of European states like anyone else, with the same duties and privileges. Their identity as Jews was only of significance in Civil Society, where religion becomes a matter of personal preference. By 1896, however, there had been some changes. The prosecution of Alfred Dreyfus in 1894 as a spy for Germany opened a wound in French society that did not heal for years. Even when evidence emerged that Dreyfus was undoubtedly innocent, strong institutional forces, with evident anti-Semitic animus, long refused to back down. Dreyfus ended up on Devil's Island. That this could happen in France, where the very term "enlightenment" had originated, was appalling.
Dreyfus was eventually exonerated in 1906, and served in the French Army through World War I, but the affair sowed doubts. Would Jews ever really be accepted in European society? This became more problematic because of a shift in the ideological climate. Liberal society, with individual rights and a focus on individual life, was slowly ebbing in favor of more holistic conceptions of society based in nationality, ethnicity, language, history, and other collectivizing criteria. Even without explicitly religious criteria, this all would serve to highlight Jews as different, if not alien. It didn't help Dreyfus that many French Jews were from former German territories, like Alsace and Lorraine. The Jews in France proper had been expelled by King Philip IV. Only when later French Kings acquired lands from the Empire, like Alsace, did Jews, who were living there, return to French rule. Dreyfus's own name comes from the German city of Trier, or Trèves, where one of the ecclesiastical Electors of the Empire resided.
Things were a bit worse in Eastern Europe, where Jewish immigrants from Germany not only were economically more sophisticated than the Poles, Lithuanians, Russians, etc. but also continued to speak their dialect of German, locally called "Yiddish" after them. Jews had not been allowed to live in Russia, but the Russian acquisition of Lithuanian and Polish territory brought them under Russian rule. In 1881, the government began organizing pogroms (Russian for "devastation, rout, defeat, massacre" -- unrelated to "program" in English) against Jews, involving vandalism, massacres, and looting on a large scale. Much of the entire population of Jews in Eastern Europe ended up fleeing, in great measure to the United States. As statecraft, this was incredibly stupid, but then one could say that that very thing exposed the irrationality of anti-Semitism and would strengthen the argument that the Jews needed their own nationalism and their own national state. That was Herzl's suggestion.
There was a response, and Zionism was born. At first, various alternative possibilities for a Jewish state were considered. Since colonialism did not yet have the infamy that it would acquire later, one idea was even for Jews to settle in Uganda. There was not much emotional appeal to such proposals, however, and soon the focus for Zionist aspirations was Palestine, which had been ruled by the Ottoman Empire since 1517, and where a small Jewish population had existed through the Middle Ages. The Zionists, however, did not have a very traditional program. The ideology was nationalist and secular, not religious. It also quickly became socialistic. Jewish settlers in Palestine founded communes, which became the kibbutzim. The Turks were basically not sympathetic with this, but usually not consistently hostile either. It was a Turkish law that a house with a roof could not be demolished, so when Zionist settlers quickly built frames with roofs, Turkish authorities followed the letter of their own laws and tolerated them.
By 1918, when the British threw the Turks out of Palestine, the Jewish population was about 8% of a total of some 700,000. Meanwhile, the British had promised (1) independence for the Arabs, as part of the negotiations in 1916 for an Arab Revolt against the Turks, (2) a Jewish "national home" in Palestine (the "Balfour Declaration" in 1917), and (3) that Arab Ottoman territories would be divided between Britain and France, with French control in Lebanon and Cilicia, French influence in Syria, and a possible joint administration in Palestine (the "Sykes-Picot Agreement," leaked by the Bolsheviks, to embarrass the Allies, in 1917).
|Sir Herbert Louis Samuel||1920-1925|
|Herbert Onslow Plumer||1925-1928|
|Sir Harry Charles Luke||acting, 1928|
|Sir John Chancellor||1928-1931|
|Sir Mark Aitchison Young||acting, 1931|
|Sir Arthur Grenfell|
|Royal Commission recommends|
|William Denis Battershill||acting, 1937|
|Sir Harold MacMichael||1938-1944|
|White Paper recommends|
against Partition, 1939
|Field Marshal Lord Gort||1944-1945|
|Sir Alan Cunningham||1945-1948|
|UN vote for Partition, 1947;|
Mandate ends, 15 May 1948
The impression grew that this was, in fact, no less than the purpose of Zionism, and opposition began to stiffen, leading to outright revolt in 1936, by which time the Jewish population had risen to about 30% of the total. In 1937, the British fatefully proposed that the way to resolve the growing conflict was partition. This was again put forward in 1938, but then in 1939 British policy reversed, turned away from partition and envisioned a bi-national state. This was not what Zionism was about, but then the whole issue quickly got shelved when World War II started. Many Palestinian Jews joined the British armed forces to fight a Germany that had realized Theodor Herzl's worse nightmare of resurgent anti-Semitism, while many Arabs saw Nazi Germany as their ticket to overthrowing British and Zionist influence.
The Nazis, of course, were defeated, though not without taking millions of Jews with them. By then the British had lost their stomach for choosing sides in the Palestinian conflict. The issue was tossed to the United Nations, which inherited the authority by which Britain, as the Mandatory power, had ruled Palestine (supposedly) for the League of Nations. The result in 1947 was another partition plan. This broke Palestine into no less than eight discrete, patchwork pieces, three Arab, four Jewish, and one for an international administration of Jerusalem. Elaborate border crossings were envisioned to connect the detached Arab and Jewish areas. For such an arcane and clumsy plan to work, it would have required such a degree of sympathy and cooperation between the parties that, one might imagine, partition would not have been necessary in the first place. When one side of the dispute, the Arabs, had never expressed the slightest intention of accepting or honoring the plan, it was clearly all an exercise in make believe.
What then happened when British rule ended at 00:00 hours of May 15, 1948, set off the first in a series of wars and violent conflicts that continues down to the present. The war in 1948 itself sent the house-of-cards partition plan into oblivion. The new State of Israel was able to assemble a continuous piece of territory, with about the land area of New Jersey, from the Gulf of Aqaba to Lebanon, including a salient that ended at the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem. The New City became the capital of Israel. The Palestinian Arabs, whom the British had prevented from forming much in the way of their own military forces, expected the armies of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, etc. to intervene and save the day for them. Unfortunately for them, the combined Arabs armies ended up actually smaller than the Israeli army, Israel received arms from Czechoslovakia (with Soviet permission), while everyone else honored an arms boycott against all sides, and the best of the Arab forces, the Arab Legion of Jordan, actually still had a British commander! Indeed, King Abdullah of the Transjordan (and then, with the annexation of the rump of Palestine on the West Bank, "the Jordan," and then just "Jordan") had no animus against the Jews. The story is that in secret meetings with Golda Meir, he proposed a combined Jewish and Jordanian state that would shut out the radicals and ensure the security of Jews and Arabs. This was perhaps not even believed, and was rejected in any case, if the story is even true. When Abdullah did annex the West Bank, and did shut out the radicals, they repaid him with assassination.
Meanwhile, almost the entire Arab population of areas that came under Israeli rule had fled. Some left because they were warned to get out of the way of the conquering Arab armies. Some fled, naturally, out of fear of the fighting. And some were deliberately expelled by Israeli forces. Whichever it was, Israel refused to allow them to return, confiscating their property. It is still a good question whether this was legal under international law, and the U.N. shortly voted that refugees should be repatriated or compensated for their lands. This has never been done. Nothing of the sort, of course, has been done in many other cases of such expropriation, as when Germans were expelled after the War from the Baltic States, East Prussia, Silesia, Czechoslovakia, etc. Considering what Germany had done, no one has since seemed particularly worried about the justice of that. Why Palestinian Arabs should have deserved to lose their lands is less clear. King 'Abd al-'Azîz Ibn Sa'ûd reportedly told Franklin Roosevelt that if the Jews deserved a state because, among other things, of what the Germans had done, then the state should be carved out of Germany, not out of Palestine. This gave Roosevelt some pause, but then he died shortly afterwards.
What is clear at this point is that the dominant ideological principles involved were not those of individual rights. In liberal society, with free movement and voluntary exchange, there would be no objection to Jewish settlers moving to Palestine, buying land, and living whatever life they wished. The idea that Jews had some collective national right to Palestine, however, would not even arise. Similarly, the idea that Palestine would be an intrinsic part of the Arab Nation would also not arise. The rights of individual Palestinian Arabs, however, to their own property would be sacrosanct, regardless of whether they fled their homes for whatever reason. Yet even today, the argument is often heard, sometimes, astonishingly, even from libertarians, that there was never any "Palestinian nation," Palestinian identity, or historic Palestinian state, and that therefore Palestinian claims to the land are simply void. Such an argument depends entirely on the notion that land ownership is a collective right, established by national identity or some historic precedent or political continuity. The origin of Zionism in collectivist and nationalistic ideology is conspicuous in this viewpoint.
On the other hand, collectivist ideology in general has been dominant for so long that the Palestinian case is usually stated in those terms also, with the approach that a "Palestinian people" does exist, just because that is what Palestinians think, whatever anyone else thinks about its origin, or that Palestine is historically part of the Arab Nation, ever since the Islamic Conquest, or that Palestine is an intrinsic part of the Dâru l-Islâm, the House of Islâm, ever since, indeed, the Islamic Conquest. In any case, the "national aspirations" of the Palestinian people are thereby legitimated. If what we want, then, is a clash of collectivist claims, there is a superabundance of them. In fact, the collectivist heat has increased steadily because of the phenomenon of Islâmic Fascism, which supersedes mere nationalist claims and combines Islâmic identity with most of the worse features of 20th century revolutionary, totalitarian, and terrorist ideology. This, of course, is now what drives Palestinian suicide bombers, who are "martyrs" in Islamist terms and who would certainly agree with Robespierre that, "Terror is naught but prompt, severe, inflexible justice; it is therefore an emanation of virtue." Nevertheless, people who assume that a Palestinian state will fulfill Palestinian "national aspirations" are usually surprised when Palestinians continue to talk of going home to Jaffa or Haifa. If only "national aspirations" are at issue, little things like the orchards we used to own near Jaffa seem irrelevant.
The argument now can be made by Israelis that the loss of land by the Palestinians is simply the equal and opposite counterpart to the loss of property by Jews who have fled the Arab world to the refuge of Israel. This was not the case, however, in 1948. Middle Eastern Jewish emigration was more a phenomenon of subsequent years, when Arab governments realized that if they couldn't get at the enemy in Palestine, at least they could hassle the enemy, Jews, right in their own countries. Very few Jews, therefore, are left in the historic Jewish communities of Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, North Africa, Yemen, etc. While, in a practical sense, as even many Arabs are willing to accept (as in the recent Sa'ûdi peace plan), this may result in a roughly proportionate balance of wrongs and compensation, it is cold comfort to individual Palestinians, and in terms of individual rights it is particularly without force as a principle of justice. If Egyptian, etc. Jews have been wronged by their countries of origin, then their claims are against them, not against Palestinians. As a matter of realpolitik, it may be hopeless to adjudicate such wrongs, as it may be hopeless to adjudicate Palestinian wrongs. But none of this imposes a moral obligation on Palestinians to simply give up and forget their grievances. The actions of Palestinian terrorists, which are stupid and vicious, may serve to discredit their case; but, again, this does not discredit the case of individuals who are not terrorists. If all Palestinians support the terrorists, perhaps this discredits all of them; but then we are back, and hopeless entangled, in collectivist thinking.
Two questions are relevant: (1) Does Israel have a right to exist? and (2) Is Israel a just state? For the first question, we must also ask what it means. If Israel does not have a "right" to exist, does this mean that Jews don't have a right to live there and should be expelled or "driven into the sea"? The answers to all these questions, of course, depend on one's principles. In liberal and individualist terms, no state has a "right to exist." States exist, as Locke believed and Jefferson said, "to secure these rights," i.e. individual rights of life, liberty, and property. In those terms, Israeli Jews have every right to be where they are, in safety and security. Whether Israel then has the right to exist as such then depends on whether, in liberal terms, it is a just state. Unfortunately, the answer is that it isn't. Israeli Arabs may be freer, safer, wealthier, and more secure than the citizens of any Arab country, but they are not citizens in the same way, with the same duties and privileges, as Israeli Jews. Israel is not a liberal state, where all citizens have the same individual and interchangeable rights and responsibilities; it is an ethnic state, founded and devoted to the Jewish People, whose rights and obligations, as a group, are different from non-Jewish Israelis. It is also a welfare state, where public money is directed to private benefit. In those terms, the differences between Jewish and Arab Israelis can be stark. Thus, Jerusalem, which was annexed to Israel in 1967, is about 33% Arab, but the Arabs get about 12% of the welfare spending, even though their poverty rate is twice that of local Jews [cf. The Economist, April 15th, 2006, p.27]. They also get only 15% of education spending, where, one might imagine, the Arabs are considerably less advanced in education than Israeli Jews. Most shocking, when Israel annexed Jerusalem in 1967, Arab residents were not made citizens of Israel. Non-Jewish natives of Jerusalem are thus only resident aliens of Israel, and they can easily lose their residence status by staying away too long. This is outrageous and would tend to justify Palestinian accusations that Israel never wanted to accept native Arab residents of Palestine -- and to expose Israeli bad faith in denials of the accusation.
This legal discrimination (of Israeli Arabs) is accomplished in a novel way. The founders of Israel, many of whom were atheists, did not believe in using a religious principle of distinction, and they wanted to present the picture that Israeli Arabs were as much Israeli nationals as anyone else. They also didn't want to claim that Jews who were citizens of other countries were already Israeli nationals, making every Jew in the world a dual national, and so a person of starkly divided loyalties in their country of residence. The solution was an intermediate level of identity, between religion and nationality, called "peoplehood." Jews everywhere thus belonged to the Jewish People, and have the right to immigrate to Israel and immediately assume Israeli citizenship and the benefits of Israeli social services, which educate and place Jewish immigrants. Israeli Arabs, however, were of Arab "peoplehood"; and Arabs, of course, even Palestinian refugees, do not have a "right of return" like the Jewish People. There are Israeli Arabs, indeed, whose own land was expropriated by the state, and who can't even return to that. Meanwhile, since it is rather significant who counts as a Jew, some criterion is necessary. This has been a matter of intense controversy. The traditional religious criterion of who is a Jew is someone born of a Jewish mother or who undergoes conversion to Judaism. I am informed that the criterion for the law of return is now simply someone with a Jewish grandparent. But converts to Judaism are only recognized if they have undergone an Orthodox rite conversion. This excludes converts to Reform and Conservative Judaism. Traditionally, anyone who converts to another religion ceases to be Jewish, but the law of return now ironically covers, not only irreligious Jews, but Christians or members of other religions who can claim a Jewish grandparent. Thus, the "Jews for Jesus," Jews who accept the Messianic nature of Jesus (while rejecting Pauline Christianity's voiding of Mosaic Law), although regarded as renegades or worse by most Jews, would qualify as Jews under the law of return.
If one rejects collectivist principles, Israel is not a just state and does not have a "right to exist" as a state that contravenes the liberal principles upon which the existence of any state is justified. That there should not be more complaint about this in the Western press and opinion circles is curious, particularly when Western political figures, like Jean-Marie Le Pen in France or Pat Buchanan in the United States, are regularly damned for suggesting that immigration should be limited or ended because it is tending to subvert the ethnic and historic character of their countries. If Le Pen had been elected President of France, and instituted special laws and privileges for the ethnic French People, prohibiting immigration and limiting the rights of others, one can imagine the volcanic response of fear, horror, and recrimination that would follow. Le Pen only got 20% of the vote, even though his complaint was largely about Arab immigrants, whose crime, terrorist connections, and customs seem to have bothered many more French than those who actually voted for Le Pen (not long ago the film star Brigitte Bardot, an animal rights activist, was fined for "inciting racial hatred" by simply complaining about Muslim slaughter of sheep on the holiday at the end of Ramad.ân, the month of fasting).
Yet Israel was not only founded on principles of ethnic privilege, it immediately disavowed any responsibility for the Arab inhabitants of Palestine who had not remained in place once the 1948 War was over. Even after the 1967 War, when Israel ended up with all of Palestine in its hands, and Arabs could travel from Gaza or the West Bank to work in Israel, they still had no right to live there, while at the same time Israel began building Jewish settlements in the newly occupied lands. Such settlements were never allowed by any U.N. instrument and, if the international borders of 1967 are taken seriously, they have always violated international law. What's worse, the settlements have not always been on public lands, but often on land expropriated, on some pretext, from private owners. And, with bitter irony, considering the Turkish law that protected Jewish buildings with roofs from demolition, it has been the Israeli practice to retaliate against civilians for guerrilla or terror attacks (in violation of international law) by demolishing the houses of the families of the perpetrators.
The only justification for Israeli settlement policy now would be either a Right of Conquest to the territories or a pre-existing right of ownership of all of Palestine by the Jewish People. If the former, then no one can blame the Arabs for resorting to force in response, and of envisioning a Reconquest of all the Palestine, whether for Palestinians, the Arab Nation, or Islâm. Where Might Makes Right, one has no ground to complain of being wronged, but a perfect ground to reverse any outcome by force. If, however, Jews have a right to settle in Gaza and the West Bank ("Judea and Samaria" as the settlers put it) because there never was a Palestinian Nation, because of historic rights of the Jews there, or because God gave it to them, then we are back with the same full blown collective rights that are so antithetical to liberal principles.
If Israel is not a just state, one might ask, does this mean that the Arab cause should simply be supported? Not if the Arab cause would fail to produce a state any more just than Israel. Israeli Arabs do not have much political power, but they have some. In Arab states, which are generally monarchies, dictatorships, or one party states, minorities (except in Lebanon), not to mention the mass of citizens, have little or no political power. If Israel were overthrown by force, it is hard to imagine, even if there was not a general massacre or expulsion, that a government could conceivably be established that would have the kind of freedom and political rights that would be necessary for a peaceful and equitable solution and for the communities to live together. What doesn't exist in any Arab state is not something that would be likely in a new Arab Palestine; and the way that Yasser Arafat ran the Palestinian Authority, with corruption, assassinations, etc., is not the kind of thing to suggest anything different. Arab countries simply do not have the kind of political tradition or cultural background that is necessary for democratic and liberal government. That a vicious, cynical, murderous tyrant like Saddam Hussein should be as popular as he was, and should have remained in power in Iraq so long as he did, is testament to the pathetic level of Arab moral maturity and political sophistication. We see this again, after the death of Yasser Arafat, when the radical Islamist and terrorist Hamas party won the general elections in the Palestinian Territories.
The Zionists, in short, bought themselves a world of trouble, and trouble for the rest of the world as well. Zionist ideology of collective national rights and aspirations was nothing special in 1900. It was never commensurable with the liberal principles of the Enlightenment, but now it pales in comparison to the overtly apocalyptic, totalitarian, and terrorist ideology of contemporary Militant Islâm -- in reaction, not just to Israel, but to the liberal, tolerant, commercial principles of Western states whose laws make no religious, ethnic, or national distinctions themselves. The anti-Israeli cause is now an anti-Western, anti-capitalist cause. Israel can identify itself with the West to benefit from this conflict, even if it is not the best representative of those Western values.
It has occurred to me recently that I have never personally heard from Israelis, or even American Jews, much in the way of "this land is rightfully ours" claims, either on the basis of history or of divine gift. Instead, the most earnest and urgent arguments were always from necessity. For, as it happens, one area where collective identity is undoubtedly of moral significance is when one is targeted for being what one is; and Jews have indeed been target for centuries, culminating the effort of the Nazis to exterminate them. While Jews might reasonably feel safe in various Western countries, particularly Britain and the United States, their perilous status in others was painfully exposed in the Dreyfus Affair and in the horrific erruption of deadly assault by Germany, not to mention in the pogroms of Tsarist Russia and the hostility of Soviet authorities. When Jews had tried so hard to be good Frenchmen and good Germans, and had manifestly added to the achievements of French and German civilization, as well as being frequently identified in international consciousness with the Soviet cause, why should there still be so much hostility in any of those places? Even in the United States, the majority of "hate crimes" are still perpetrated against Jewish targets, despite the weeping of the Left for the hardships of Muslims, always unjustly suspected of being terrorists.
Much of the appeal of Zionism to Jews, then, was simply out of a sense of not being at the mercy of others. If you can protect yourself, you don't need to rely on the good will of people who, even if they actually are of good will, may change their minds or be replaced by lunatics. If nothing else, Israel changed the age-old impression of Jews as passive, frightened, weak, helpless, and, as any Nietzschean could tell you, contemptible. Instead, everyone knows what the Jewish army, the Jewish air force, and Jewish secret agents can do; and the hatred of the enemies of Israel has now for long been mixed with fear. Rather than a race of short, dark, stooped, and timid peddlers or bookworms, the modern Israeli emerges tall, golden, fit, confident, and forceful.
While it has always been possible to make reasonable arguments that are anti-Zionist without being anti-Semitic, at this point things are well beyond that. The Islamic world is awash with a tide of naked Jew-hatred and anti-Semitism that draws on every source available, freely recycling Tsarist, Nazi, and Soviet propaganda, even while trying to label Israelis as the true Nazis. Lofty moral critiques of settlement policies rub shoulders with portrayals of Jews as pigs. Westerns may not see much of this, which mainly exists in Arabic and the other languages of Islam and is carefully ignored, if not denied, by apologists speaking to European or American audiences. Fortunately, it is available to the curious and the concerned through tireless translation projects. Yet some of the worst stuff turns up in textbooks used in American, and not always Muslim, schools.
Nor is this a recent business that we can blame on reaction to Israeli intransigence. The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem (1921-1937), Haj Amin al-Husseini (1897-1974), although appointed by the Jewish British High Commissioner Sir Herbert Samuel, eventually fled to Nazi Germany and spent the war promoting Nazi propaganda in the Arab world. The Vichy government in Syria and a pro-Nazi coup in Iraq briefly compromised the British position in the Middle East. Someone like Haj Amin never looked back, and in 1948 the hopes of the Arabs were entirely invested in an appeal to force. What if Palestinians had accepted the Partition? Would the checkerboard of a Palestine formally divided, but practically integrated, between Jewish and Arab states not really have looked like one state for multiple practical purposes? In other words, could not something like a bi-national state, as proposed by King Abdullah and by secularist Palestinians, not have become a reality through non-violence and a kind of Gandhian Satyagraha? Not with anything like the hostility that we saw then or see now.
Which brings me back to necessity. Zionists may not have believed that there was ever anything but anti-Jewish hostility on the part of the Arabs, and the development of events has provided little evidence that such a judgment would have been wrong. The mother of an Israeli friend of mine had come from Yemen, where Jews had lived since before the advent of Islam. The Emperor Justinian got Christian Ethiopia to attack them. Were the modern Yemenis attacking the Jews because of Israel, or were Yemeni Jews fleeing to Israel because of such attacks? In the end, it doesn't make much difference. The Jews are gone from places like Yemen, Iraq, and Egypt. They were never all that welcome; and the treatment of Christians in Iraq and Egypt today inspires no confidence that Muslim attitudes were ever benign and tolerant enough to meet modern standards of civil equality. The "tolerance" of Islam was always one of subordination.
In those terms, it is shame that Palestinians were displaced; but they might consider blaming those who have harried the Jews for centuries, and made them second class subjects in the Islamic world, more than blaming those who have now decided to fight for their own lives, their own identity, and their own community. Palestinians, indeed, might do the same, but they also might consider why rich Arabs have not succored them in their exile as much as Israel has done for Jewish refugees arriving from Arab countries, from Russia, Iran, or even from Ethiopia. Indeed, not long ago Palestinians seemed to have a clearer sense that they were being used by Arab governments. Even as many of those governments have now been overthrown, they may think that Islam promises a unified force behind them; but the appeal in all this is still to a pure ethic of violence, in which no sensible Israeli is ever likely to find a hint of good will, let alone an inducement to compromise their security.
Recollecting arguments that I used to have, mainly in the late 60's and early 70's, with Israelis and American Jews, about Israel, one thing now strikes me as noteworthy and revealing. Although essentially taking a throughly pro-Palestianian position and denying the legitimacy of Israel, what I faced were always earnest arguments and never any kind of hostility, threat, insult, or abuse. I don't think I was ever even accused of anti-Semitism. This was driven home to me when I later ran afoul of Assyrian nationalists, whose initial response to questions about the historicity of their connection to ancient Assyria (which was annihilated in 609 BC) typically seemed to be threats and abuse, with strangely inappropriate doses of anti-Semitism thrown in. The behavior of the Assyrians seemed all too much like the attitude of Muslims who think that "insults" to Islam must be immediately met with deadly force. In general, I have never known Jews to be like that.
And I have known some who came close. Irv Rubin (1945–2002) was a leader of the Jewish Defense League, for whose doctrine of Jewish self-defense and gun ownership I felt nothing but sympathy. But Rubin was a disciple of Meir Kahane (1932–1990) and believed that all Arabs should simply be expelled from Eretz Israel, meaning all of the former Mandate of Palestine. Much of this seemed fascistic and racist; but I rather liked the man, and much of the vibe that I got was simply a determination to stand and fight, after so many centuries of Jews being hunted, expelled, humiliated, and murdered. If the Left likes to accuse Israel of engendering the hatred of the Palestinians (Arabs, Muslims) by mistreatment, in Rubin I got the picture of someone whose own extremism was engendered by the hatred against Jews in evidence since Haj Amin and earlier. And extremism it was. In 2002 Rubin was arrested for planning terrorist attacks. Officially he committed suicide in the Los Angeles County Jail; but I don't think anyone who knew him believed that. Kahane himself had been publicly assassinated by a Muslim. But I can believe Rubin was planning attacks. He thought that the war was on and that it was time to fight it. He would have been better advised, of course, to organize less violent actions, perhaps in defense of Jewish students being harrassed by Muslims and Leftists at American universities (with particularly ugly episodes at the University of California, Irvine). For the war is indeed on, against, as 'Usâma bin Lâdin himself asserted, Jews and Americans. The complacency of the anti-American Left about the Islamist threat is often little distinguishable from complicity. While in the 70's (or even the 80's or 90's) I never would have dreamed of describing myself as a Zionist, I must now tell people that I am becoming one more all the time.
This brings me back to the earlier question of where Israel fits into the cultural spheres of the Mediterranean world. I have listed it with Outremer, i.e. the Crusader states. As part of Francia, this reflects the ideological origin of Zionism and most of the human origin of early Zionists. The political foothold in Palestine was provided for Zionism by the British Empire. When the British arrived in 1918, it was the first time that a Christian power had ruled Jerusalem since 1244. But the British neither arrived nor ruled as Crusaders. Their purpose was not to free the Holy Land from Islâm and reverse the religious and ethnic outcome of the Islâmic Conquest in 636, but simply to protect the flank of the Suez Canal. The British did not bring in Christian settlers, as the Emperor Nicephorus II Phocas did in 965 in the Taurus, to Christianize the area. Instead, the British allowed Jewish settlers to come in. And what did the Jewish settlers want to do? Reverse, indeed, not just the Islâmic but even Roman (and other) Conquest(s) -- the hilltop fortress-palace of Masada, where the Zealots all killed themselves rather than surrender to the Romans, became one of the principal national shines of Israel. This was more like what the Crusaders wanted to do, seeing themselves as Israel under the "new Covenant" of Christianity. Zionism was not at first a religious project (though there were religious and cultural varieties of Zionism, which did not necessarily want a Jewish state), but as a religious ideology it actually makes more sense than it did as a collectivist nationalism. If God really did give the Land (, eretz in Hebrew, cognate to Arabic , ard., as in the epigraph above) to the Jews, then that settles the matter, regardless of anyone else's subsequent claims, principles, or ideology.
|War of Indepedence, 1948|
|Itzhak Ben-zvi||1952-1963||Moshe Sharett||1953-1955|
|Suez War, 1956|
|Zalman Shazar||1963-1973||Levi Eshkol||1963-1969|
|Six Day War, 1967|
|Yom Kippur War, 1973|
|Ephraim Katzir||1973-1978||Yitzhak Rabin||1974-1977,|
|Peace with Egypt, 1979;|
Invasion & Occupation
of Lebanon, 1982-1985
|Chaim Herzog||1983-1993||Yitzhak Shamir||1983-1984,|
|Moshe Katzav||2000-2007||Ariel Sharon||2001-2006|
The removal of Palestinian power in Lebanon uncorked the Shi'ite genie, which for years made things worse in Lebanon than they had been, which is saying a lot. But the invasion of Lebanon also marked the last time that the Israelis could think that their principal enemy lay beyond their borders. Most of the trouble since then has come from within. In 1987 the Palestinian intifada ("shaking off") began, a continuous series of riots, strikes, harassment, rock throwing, and small scale attacks. Years of disruption and then negotiation led to agreements in 1993 and the establishment of a "Palestinian Authority" in 1994. Yasser Arafat was able to return to Palestinian territory. The reaction of some Israelis to this was exposed in 1995 when the Labor Prime Minster and war hero, Yitzak Rabin, was assassinated by a Jewish extremist.
A new Intifada began late in 2000 when Ariel Sharon visited the Temple Mount, with the implication of claiming it for Israel. The Temple Mount is the religious heart of Jerusalem and the Holy Land. It is the site of the Temple, last rebuilt by Herod the Great, which was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD. The Romans excluded Jews from the city, except for one day a year, when they were allowed back to the Wailing Wall, a retaining wall on the south side of the Temple Mount, traditionally the last existing part of Solomon's Temple. After the Islâmic Conquest, the area in Jerusalem near the Wailing Wall became the Jewish Quarter. Jewish forces failed to retain the Quarter in 1948, and Jordan did not allow Israelis to visit. When Israel captured Jerusalem in 1967, the Wall was once again accessible. It no longer seemed appropriate to associate "wailing" with it, so it has been come to be referred to as the "Western Wall" -- though this seems pretty bloodless and uninformative; the "Temple Wall" would tell more of what it means. Orthodox Jews actually do not go onto the Temple Mount, since it is not known precisely where the inner sanctum was of the Temple, and it would be improper to traverse the site, however unintentionally. And there is also the belief that return to the Temple Mount must await the advent of the Messiah.
In Islâmic lore, the Temple Mount is where the Prophet Muh.ammad ascended to Heaven in a living dream, the "Night Journey." After the Islâmic Conquest, the Caliph 'Abd al-Malik built a great shrine, the Dome of the Rock, one of the classic buildings of the Middle Ages and one of the monuments of world history. Nevertheless, after 1967, there began to be talk of rebuilding the Temple. This would be a deed of great portent, since there was a prophecy by Jesus that the Temple would be destroyed and not rebuilt. If Jews wanted to prove Christianity false, this would be a good way to do it. It would also infuriate Muslims, though one imagines that the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aksa Mosque, also on the Mount, would be moved rather than simply demolished. On the other hand, the scruple of Orthodox Jews, just mentioned, about the Temple Mount could actually preclude rebuilding the Temple, unless the previous location of the inner sanctum could be ascertained. There is no non-controversial theory about its location.
So nothing has been done in this direction, and not just because of a secular bias by the Israeli government. The legitimacy of the State of Israel itself was originally doubted by many Jews, and still by some (who also refuse to speak Modern Hebrew), on the principle that such a thing could only be established by the Messiah. Secular Jews could dismiss this, but then secular Jews would have no interest in rebuilding the Temple -- something else that would be the business of the Messiah. Something like this may also be the explanation for why Israel is called the "State" of Israel rather than what it is, which is a Republic. Calling it a "State" seems odd, especially when this was the habit of fascist governments, like Vichy France. But "Republic" would imply the sovereignty of the people, and "State" at least leaves this ambiguous, since some might think that God, or the Messiah, not the People, should be sovereign in Israel.
As Israel drifts towards a more conservative and more observant vision, the Temple Mount becomes more than just symbolic; but as contemporary Islâm becomes more militant, the same effect also occurs. Sharon's visit, therefore, was incendiary. Israeli forces had withdrawn from most cities in the West Bank and Gaza, but negotiations were reaching an impass on a final settlement. Arafat was still asking for a "right of return" for Palestinians. This was probably more than any Israeli government could grant. So violent struggle again became the Palestinian approach, with the growing use of suicide bombers, even including young women. This continued for several years, despite devastating military action by Israel, with episodes of reoccupying Palestinian cities and refugee camps, often leaving them in ruins, either as retaliation or in the attempt to hunt down the bomb makers. Accusations of massacres have not been confirmed by neutral observers, but looting and vandalism by Israeli troops seems to have occurred. Considering the terror and horror of the suicide attacks, one can hardly blame them, but it is certainly not making things any better. The more suffering and humiliation that the Israelis inflict, it may be that the more determined and hostile that the Palestinians become.
Where this could all lead, unless some accommodation is reached, is an open and frightening question. The apocalypse, anticipated by Christian Zionists and Islâmic militants alike, is not, especially after the attack on the United States on September 11, 2001, impossible. Although Israel has had generally peaceful and normal relations with Egypt and Jordan, the sympathies of the Arab public at large are entirely for the Palestinians, and increasingly for Islamic militants. In a way, only the non-democratic nature of these countries may have stood in the way of the general renewal of war. It was always possible that radicals could overthrow moderate governments, as almost seemed to occur when Anwar Sadat was assassinated. By 2012, of course, the Mubarak regime in Egypt has been overthrown and the (strictly speaking illegal) Muslim Brotherhood elected in both parliament and presidency. The military has displayed some reluctance to give this government real power, but the trend is clearly headed towards the worst result of Islamic radicalism, belligerence, and terrorism. The Christian Copts come under frequent physical and judicial attacks. Although Israel continues to be upbraided by the Left, including some radical Jews, for not making peace with the Palestinians, accommodation is now what is furthest from the minds of Hamas and its radical allies.
Israel, in one respect the hope of centuries of Jews to be "next year in Jerusalem," thus clings dangerously to a hostile shore, not unlike the Kingdom of Jerusalem itself. The Arabs see it as a European colonial imposition, even while it has steadily become more Middle Eastern in composition and spirit. As in other places, centuries of grievance press heavily on the present. When Israeli forces broke into the Old City of Jerusalem in 1967, a reporter asked an Arab shopkeeper what he thought about it all. He answered, "The Crusaders were here for ninety years" (1099-1187). It has now only been 45 (as of 2012), and the Arabs are not wrong to think that time may be on their side. In Israel itself, the population is now 18% Arab. There are now politically significant Arab populations in Italy, Spain, and France, and, as noted, complaints in Europe about Arab immigration are dismissed as racism. The combined might of the Arab world is still not a serious threat, since the political immaturity already noted also corresponds to cultural and legal conditions that have keep Arab states from modern levels of economic development. The combined non-petroleum exports of the entire Arab world are of less value than the exports of Finland. But there is no certainty that the Arabs will not before long get their act together and be able to project force commensurate with their numbers. I think this unlikely; but the recent intention of Iran to develop nuclear technology, which will certainly be used to make nuclear weapons, is a most troubling development.
What the prudent course is for the Israelis is not obvious. If the Palestinians in general are really irredeemably hostile and unreconcilable to Israel, then a hermetic division of the country and a sealing off of Israel, as it was from 1948 to 1967, may be the only way to prevent terrorism. But this would also mean returning Israel to something like an island existence, "outre mer" from the countries with whom it could have safe intercourse. That is not a life and world that anyone would like to have. This would also give the Arab world the impression of a people at bay. A dangerous people, to be sure, since it is an open secret that Israel has nuclear weapons, but the way things are going, there are many Arabs, and certainly many Palestinians, who would settle for a great deal of mutual destruction if only Israel itself could be wiped out. This is the very stuff of the apocalypse.
Since I wrote the last paragraph in 2002, Israel has gone a long way towards just such a hermetic division. A wall is being constructed dividing Israel from Palestinian territory. This already seems to be largely effective in ending the infiltration of suicide bombers into Israel. However, it also encompasses more than pre-1967 Israel, including some West Bank settlements and strategic positions. This was vigorously protested by the Palestinian Authority and ruled illegal by the International Court in the Hague. On the other hand, Ariel Sharon removed Israeli settlements from Gaza, despite fierce resistance and protest from Israeli settlers. The wall implies that many West Bank settlements will be removed like the ones in Gaza. On Jerusalem, however, there seems to be no compromise contemplated. The wall will exclude some but include other majority Arab neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, including the Old City.
The somber lesson of it all, however, is that collective rights easily produce large scale conflicts that often can be resolved only by force. With individual rights, conflicts are much smaller and can be addressed by the laws of property and contract. Where force is used in the large conflicts, it means war. Where force is used in the small conflicts, it is simply called "crime" -- or "self-defense," depending on the circumstances. The irony of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is that the Palestinians, who would benefit the most from principles of individual rights, especially property rights, are politically in the camp of those who are the most hostile, not just to individual rights, but to the civilization and countries that are the originators and principal exemplars of such rights. After the modest hopes of the "Arab Spring" in 2011, it looks like the success of the radicals is making all of this much worse, not better. What Talleyrand said of one of Napoleon's judicial murders, we might now say of Palestinian and Islamic terrorism: "It is worse than a crime; it is a mistake."
Islâmic Fascism and Satyagraha in Palestine
Philosophy of History