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Cross Pollination Of Ideas In The Crusades

1008 words - 4 pages

Cross PollinationWhen there is a conflict as long and sporadic as the Crusades there is much more transferred than blood. There are ideas, customs, and practices that get shared and sometimes adopted. These have a much more lasting impact on both sides than the names and numbers of soldiers that were killed. An individual soldier might die and never be remembered, but an idea can flourish and spread. War might not be good for certain businesses but it has always been a factory and melting pot of ideas. Granted most of the ideas that come out during war are bent towards destruction, but some of them have less violent goals or they can be repurposed for civilian ends. Plastic and nuclear power come to mind as war time inventions that have worked well for civilians. Those were from WW2 but war has always been the birthplace of ideas. Something about the stress and pressure of war time seems to encourage a higher than normal outpouring of ideas and creativeness. Also the restrictions in effect on certain areas are temporarily forgotten, such as the case with the Nazi medical experiments. These medical experiments were brutal and extremely cruel, but they did help medicine, especially in the areas of amputation and the grafting of body parts. The Crusades were no different in this respect; ideas and customs flourished and were spread along with trade between the two sides.The Crusades were a bit of an odd duck in the history of warfare. They didn’t follow the usual pattern of unequal sides. The European Crusaders and the Muslim Turks were fairly equally matched. They were both civilized, city dwelling peoples with roughly equal technological weapons and tactics. Both sides had a strong form of government and politics. In many ways they were not unlike each other. Mankind has ever found reasons to kill each other and this time it was religion. But even in the two religions there are similarities. The Muslims once respected Christians as “People of the Book.” The Koran and the Bible both mention the other side. Once the main fighting dies down and the Crusades peter out there is a boom in trade.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. Numerous effects of the Christian Crusades in the Middle East had a positive outcome. 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.1 From these three islands it was possible to control goods' ships traveling to and from the Middle East. These trade routes generated a beneficial contact between the cultures of East and West. Many merchants from the cities of Venice...

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