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By Aziz S. Atiya

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Extra resources for Crusade, Commerce and Culture

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Terrorism as the order of the day Strictly speaking, Muslim in the Near East must be identified with the predominance of the Turks, who were new to Islam and had no comprehension of the language of the Qur'an. The contention that the Christians were happier under the Saljuq Turks than in the Byzanreal and systine is, of course, inacceptable. The Empire tematic abuse of the holy places came to pass on the eve of the Crusades at the hands of those new masters who had wrested power from the Arab Caliphate and seized Jerusalem in 1078, while their irresistible hordes were spreading into Byzantine Anatolia.

Apparently the city of Alexander the Great dazzled the nomadic children of the desert with its 4,000 villas, 4,000 baths, 4,000 royal palaces, and 40,000 wealthy poll-tax-paying Jewish citizens. With those two chief centers in Arab hands, the gradual conquest of Egypt became a foregone conclusion, and one of the richest provinces of Rome and Byzantium began to look eastward rather than westward. As the Arab armies moved westward with incredible rapidity and seized both North Africa and the Visigothic kingdom of Spain, after the spectacular crossing of the Pillars of Hercules * and the fall of King Roderick on the field of battle near Medina-Sidonia on July 19, 711, their Eastern contingents harried the Byzantines in Anatolia and pursued them Daring Arab sea craft were Aegean and the Propontis; in 673 and 717 as far as the Hellespont.

It was therefore natural for both sides to foster friendly relations, which, while giving the Franks a them in the strife against footing in the Holy City, involved with the help and the blessing of the the kingdom Spanish Umaiyads, Abbasids. In this way, too, the West aimed at filling the vacuum created by the disappearance of Byzantine influence from the Holy Land. In the year 797 Charlemagne despatched three Frankish ambassadors to Bagdad, namely Lantfrid, Sigismund, and a the interpreter of the called Isaac, who was probably on the way, and the Jew embassy.

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