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Author Topic: History! Pre-Contemporary History and Beyond!  (Read 6126 times)

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Online TolvoTopic starter

Re: History! Pre-Contemporary History and Beyond!
« Reply #50 on: June 24, 2020, 02:01:10 PM »
A problem with discussing history is history is one of the most political subjects possible, so I try to treat carefully. Since history divorced from its context and politics is just fantasy then. But I hope it is at least a decent compromise to focus on pre-contemporary history, so it's not so close to the modern day. It's easier to talk about the horrible actions of someone from say the 1500's and how them killing a clan and their children was a horrible act, but make that a more recent event with people who disagree on that and it becomes a lot more controversial.

Online A Soprano

Re: History! Pre-Contemporary History and Beyond!
« Reply #51 on: June 27, 2020, 05:58:02 PM »
While I am not going to let Christianity off the hook of course, painting Muslims as the victims is another pet peeve of mine. For all the Christians who murdered in the name of their faith, try to find enough to come up to Tamerlane's total. One single Islamic warlord. No religion has had more murder done in its name.

I'm with you 100% in that painting Muslims as victims is infuriating, a sanitization of history. People forget the Crusades happened after the massive Islamic conquests of the Rashidun and Umayyad Caliphates, after Islamic invasions of Iberia, Gaul, Sicily and Southern Italy, Christian Anatolia and a siege of Constantinople (or two?). Military campaigns of Islamic rulers and Islamic-majority armies (they weren't always solely Islamic in composition) led to the enslavement of hundreds of thousands of people, and that's without counting the few million Europeans enslaved by North African pirates between 1500 and 1800, and without counting the Indian Ocean slave trade that flourished in the Islamic era and took millions of enslaved Africans to Arabia, Iran and India.

But I also thinking balancing which religion murdered most people is splitting hairs, especially Islam v. Christianity. The Islamic conquests are better understood as acts of imperialism than acts of religious zeal, especially because forced conversion to Islam is technically forbidden in scripture, a commandment that was of course, sometimes violated, but clearly not enough, as the Middle East remained Christian-majority for hundreds of years after the rise of the caliphates.

As for Tamerlane... he was nominally Muslim but Islam among the Turko-Mongols of Central Asia was very heterodox. Tamerlane loved wine and mostly massacred and enslaved other Muslims, which is forbidden by Islam. He's much better understood as the last great warlord of the Eurasian Steppe than as a mujahid; he's Genghis Khan, not Saladin.

Life for non-Muslims under Islamic rule depended on the particular ruler in power at the time and the zeitgeist. In general, it was relatively benign mainly due to the fact that the Islamic-ruled world contained huge non-Muslim populations that needed to be co-opted. At the time of the First Crusade the Near East was still half-Christian! And the Maronites of the Levant were largely indifferent to the Crusader cause. Armenian soldiers, majority-Christian, fought for both sides. Interestingly, it is recorded that the Jews of the Levant tended to side with the Muslims over the Crusaders.

The Mughals, literal descendants of Tamerlane, were undeniably heretic. Of the major emperors, Aurangzeb was the only one who wasn't an alcoholic hedonist. Jahangir reportedly loved eating pork and drinking wine during Ramadan, more than any other time of the year. He floated the idea of converting to Catholicism if the Portuguese settlers of the coast would give him a Portugese wife. The Mughals ruled by co-opting the Hindu majority of their empire; there were more Hindus than Muslims in the lists of mansabdars (office-holders).

I guess what I tried to say with this little, poorly-organized writeup, is that reducing history to aphorisms can never capture reality. Facts don't align themselves to narratives, they just are.

Online A Soprano

Re: History! Pre-Contemporary History and Beyond!
« Reply #52 on: June 27, 2020, 06:04:01 PM »
It was also in relation to discussion of Medieval Europe and Christian Rule, under which Muslims were often oppressed. For the record I didn't state there weren't Muslim rules which oppressed others. Hell there were and still are brutal and cruel Buddhist rules even, few religions have escaped having histories filled with violence carried out by them(Usually said religions did not gain much prominence or power or survive long enough for this). But in the discussion of Medieval Christians history, it is not really something I'd say should be ignored, the persecution of Muslims.

It's important to point out that historically, there were many more Christians living under Muslim rule than vice versa. Christianity of course is older, and it was the majority religion in the Middle East when Islam first appeared. The Rashidun, Umayyad and Abbasid Caliphates had populations that were for the most part either Christian or Zoroastrian. Then of course the Ottomans came into the scene hundreds of years later and ruled an empire that contained millions of Christians, in the Balkans and the Caucusus as well as in Anatolia and the Levant.

Conversely, you really only had Christian rulers dealing with large Muslim populations in Iberia, Sicily and the Crusader States of the Levant.