Antemurale Christianitatis

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Antemurale Christianitatis (Latin for "Bulwark of Christianity") was a label used for a country defending the frontiers of Christian Europe from the Ottoman Empire.

Pope Leo X called Croatia the Antemurale Christianitatis in 1519,[1] given that Croatian soldiers made significant contributions to the struggle against the Turks. The advancement of the Ottoman Empire in Europe was stopped in 1593 on Croatian soil (Battle of Sisak), which could be in this sense regarded as a historical gate of European civilization. Nevertheless the Muslim Ottoman Empire occupied part of Croatia from the 15th to the 19th centuries, and a large number of Croats converted to Islam.

For its centuries-long stance against the Muslim advances, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth would gain the name of Antemurale Christianitatis.[2] In 1683 the Battle of Vienna marked a turning point in a 250-year-old struggle between the forces of Christian Europe and the Islamic Ottoman Empire. Wespazjan Kochowski in his Psalmodia polska (The Polish Psalmody, 1695) tells of the special role of Poland in the world (antemurale christianitatis – the bulwark of Christianity) and the superiority of the Polish political system (złota wolnośćthe golden liberty).

The Ukrainians, living on the religious borderlands of Christian Europe with the Islamic Tatars and Ottomans, also saw themselves as "the bastion of Christianity".[3]

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  1. ^ Velikonja, Mitja (2003). Religious Separation and Political Intolerance in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Texas A&M University Press. p. 78. ISBN 978-1-60344-724-9. 
  2. ^ Van Norman, Louis E. (1907). Poland: The Knight Among Nations. Fleming H. Revell Company. p. 18. 
  3. ^ Velikonja, Mitja (2003). Religious Separation and Political Intolerance in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Texas A&M University Press. p. 78. ISBN 978-1-60344-724-9. Retrieved 2015-01-29. In the ensuing centuries [after 1519] the Croats used this expression, antemurale Christianitas, as the cornerstone of their own religious-national mythology (the Ukrainians and Poles considered themselves the 'bastion of Christianity' during this time as well). 

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