Middle Ages Essay, Research Paper
The Christian Crusades Positively Impacted the East and the West Even though countless numbers of people died during the Christian Crusades, there were many positive effects for both the East and the West. After the Crusades halted, various trade routes opened up between Eastern and Western cities. Also, the Muslims developed new military strategies and techniques during the fights with the Europeans, and they united themselves against one cause, producing a stronger religious nation (Encyclop?dia Britannica, 1993). Numerous effects of the Christian Crusades in the Middle East had a positive outcome. In John Child’s book, The Crusades, he quotes J. Kerr as claiming that the “most obvious result of the crusades” was a growth in “trade with the east”. According to a 1996 AP article printed in the Jerusalem Post, the English word “sugar” comes from the Arabic “sukkar”, and “scallion” comes from “Ascalon”, a Philistine city. Trade extended from England to the Black Sea, going through the ports of Beirut, Acre and Alexandria. After the loss of Acre in 1291, Cyprus, Rhodes and Crete were the three Mediterranean islands that composed some of the main crusader trading centers. From these three islands it was possible to control goods’ ships traveling to and from the Middle East (Child, 1994). These trade routes generated a beneficial contact between the cultures of East and West. Many merchants from the cities of Venice and Genoa settled in Cyprus and Crete. From the Muslims these merchants bought spices, sugar, cloth and cotton. Other merchants from Sicily and Aragorn traded for Tunisian gold, and Algerian wool and animal skins. Popular goods traded from the Middle East were sugar, melons, cotton, ultramarine dye and damask cloth. Although the Pope tried to stop merchants from trading with the Muslims, he had to repeal his embargo in 1344. Though most of the traded goods came from the Middle East, the combined efforts from both East and West brought about many inventions, such as windmills, compasses, gunpowder and clocks. Figure 1 This trade between East and West caused prosperity among the people. Child states in his book that the merchants made “a lot of money” out of the trade with the Muslim people. After the Crusades had terminated, these merchants were able to prosper from trade between Europe and the Middle East. Outlined in Figure 1 are some trade routes utilized after the Crusades. During the Crusades, the Muslims used weaponry that the Franks were not familiar with. The battles during the Crusades led to the spread of siege engines, such as the mangonel, and the Franks learned how to employ fire as a “missile”. The Franks also learned new methods of creating fortifications. The use of armorial bearings may have originated in the Orient, and it is hypothesized that the Europeans learned many new ideas from looking at Arab armor (Encyclop?dia Britannica, 1993). European soldiers learned to protect themselves from the heat by imitating Muslim soldiers. The troops covered their heads and shoulders, and they wore light, loose clothing over their armor (MacDonald, 1993). This sharing of military machinery brought about positive effects for the people involved. In Europe and the Middle East, scholarly developments came along with the trade and military developments. After the Crusades, the use of northern European pointed arches became popular with Muslim architects (MacDonald, 1993). Muslim doctors still retained some of the Greek’s knowledge of human anatomy; much of the information had been lost to the Europeans (Child, 1994). Many twelfth century European scientists voyaged to Arabian countries to study different methods and new ideas. Leonardo Fibonnaci, the first Christian algebraist, traveled to Syria and to Egypt to study with mathematicians there. Also, studies of language were initiated by many missionaries. In 1311, Raimon Lull, a missionary in the Orient, introduced six schools in Europe designed for the specific study of Oriental languages (Encyclop?dia Britannica, 1993). Literature appeared after the Crusades in great abundance. Some examples are Nathan der Weise by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, Carmen Ambrosii and Chanson d’Antioche (Riley-Smith, 1995). The Crusades also brought new light upon old matters. Many old tales were redone with the spirit of crusading infused in them. The contact that occurred during the Crusades had many positive effects, and the fine literature produced was just one of them (Encyclop?dia Britannica, 1993). From the Arabs, the Europeans obtained many new ideas and possessions. Merchants traded food stuffs and goods like sugar, maize, lemons, melons, cotton, muslin and damask between themselves. The colors azure and gules came from the Arabian people, and the Europeans added many Arabian words to the language of English (Encyclop?dia Britannica, 1993). The Europeans worked with the Arabs on many scientific accomplishments, such as the windmill, the compass, gunpowder and clocks. The East and West combined their greatest minds and worked on science and mathematics (Child, 1994). Together, the Muslims and Christians helped each other, and, together, they benefited from the contact that occurred during the Crusades. Bibliography science The emergence of systems thinking was a profound revolution in the history of Western scientific thought . The belief that in every complex system the behavior of the whole can be understood entirely from the properties of its parts is central to the Cartesian paradigm. This was Descartes’s celebrated method of analytic thinking, which has been an essential characteristic of modern scientific thought. In the analytic, or reductionist, approach, the parts themselves cannot be analyzed any further, except by reducing them to still smaller parts . Indeed, Western science has been progressing in that way, and at each step there has been a level of fundamental constituents that could not be analyzed any further. The great shock of twentieth-century science has been that systems cannot be understood by analysis. The properties of the parts are not intrinsic properties but can be understood only within the context of the larger whole. Thus the relationship between the parts and the whole has been reversed. In the systems approach the properties of the parts can be understood only from the organization of the whole. Accordingly, systems thinking concentrates not on basic building blocks, but on basic principles of organization. Systems thinking is “contextual,” which is the opposite of analytical thinking. Analysis means taking something apart in order to understand it; systems thinking means putting it into the context of a larger whole. One gathers, indeed, from our standard histories of the sciences, written mostly in the last generation, that the world lay steeped in the darkness and night of superstition, till one day Copernicus bravely cast aside the errors of his fellows, looked at the heavens and observed nature, the first man since the Greeks to do so, and discovered . . . the truth about the solar system. The next day, so to speak, Galileo climbed the leaning Tower of Pisa, dropped down his weights, and as they thudded to the ground, Aristotle was crushed to earth and the laws of falling bodies sprang into being. [Source: The Career of Philosophy, vol 1, 1962] It was the achievement of men like Copernicus and Galileo sift through centuries of scientific knowledge and to create a new world view. This was a world view based as much on previous science and knowledge as it was on new developments derived from the scientific method. http://www.pagesz.net/~stevek/intellect/newton.html http://www.pagesz.net/~stevek/intellect/newton.htmlThe greatest scientific achievement of the 17th century was clearly the mathematical system of the universe produced by Isaac Newton (1642-1727). It was Newton who went far beyond Galileo by taking observations of the heavens and turning them into measured and irrefutable fact. Thanks to Newton, the western intellectual tradition would now include a concrete and scientific explanation of the motion of the heavens. Because of his greatness, the 17th century could almost be called the Age of Newton. By the 17th century, science, scientific thinking and the experimental method had become the territory of more men, and by the mid-18th century, increasing numbers of women would be included as well. If I have seen further it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants. —Isaac Newton War Then, in the 300’s AD, those people from Inner Asia came once again, this time riding horses and shooting at the foot soldiers of the Classical Empires with short but powerful bows. They attacked all of the empires from China to Rome, and succeeded, at least for a time, in conquering and ruling a sizable portion of each of them. The Roman empire was centered on the basins of the eastern and western Mediterranean Sea, although it had extended its power to include most of continental Europe up to the Rhine and Danube rivers. Although it had begun as a city-state and a republic, it had become a empire in about 30 BC and power had been concentrated in the hands of an emperor who, like the emperors of the other Classical Empires, was considered to be at least semi-divine if not completely so. When the Roman empire emerged, however, it was missing one important thing. There was no provision for how power was to pass from a dead ruler to his successor. Over time, various methods were tried, usually being imposed by violence of one sort or another. At the same time, the Romans found that they had to invest a lot of their resources in building fortifications to defend the western portions of their frontier against various tribes of people, all speaking variations of old German and so called Germanic barbarians. They were not really barbarians except from the Roman point of view, but that’s how the Romans described them, and the description has more or less stuck. On their eastern frontier, the Romans found themselves engaged in a long and costly series of wars with the New Persian Empire, wars which weakened the Romans a great deal and gained them very little. In the first place, they were unable to continue the investment necessary to maintain the unity of the eastern and western halves of the empire, and so divided the empire into two parts. The western section was far less developed and well-populated than the eastern portion of the old empire, so it was necessary to increase taxes there. The result of this was the disappearance of the middle class and the flight of independent farmers to the protection of their wealthy (and tax-exempt) noble neighbors. The West slowly sank while the East, freed of the expense of maintaining the West, soon began to flourish. The old state religion hadn’t seemed to work very well in keeping people peaceful and loyal to the central government, so Constantine, for reasons best known to himself, chose to make a mystical eastern cult known as Christianity the state religion. It took a long time for these reforms to take hold, but, by 400, the empire was a far different place than it had been. Barbarian Invasions The Barbarian Invasions were the Germanic tribes invading the Roman Empire and coincided with the disintegration of the Roman Empire. The Roman world suffered a series of disasters, barbarians were only one. Huns, Vandals.. in general there was no resistance, because the masses knew it was useless. The west fell back again into the elementary economic life of primitive peoples. The indications are that they were few in number, but once they invaded a country, they would be joined by the oppressed. Conclusion Western Europe was at the end of the great belt of civilizations and was cut off from the advances those civilizations made in later years. Such things as paper, printing, gunpowder, the compass, windmills, and many other innovations, reached Europe only after they had been common for many years in the rest of the civilized world. What is more, Western Europe was the only portion of a Classical Civilization to fall to “barbarian” invaders and not to be recovered. It had to create a new tradition acceptable to the disparate people who inhabited the region. The Germanic inhabitants had no tradition of centralized rule and there was no central geographic feature (such as a great river basin) upon which to base such a centralized rule. Although the ideal of a Roman Empire of the West remained attractive for a long time, the Europeans began to adapt the traditions and culture of a Classical Empire to an essentially decentralized and egalitarian society.