THE CRUSADES PORTAL
The Crusades were a series of military conflicts of a religious character waged by much of Christian Europe against external and internal threats. Crusades were fought against Muslims, pagan Slavs, Russian and Greek Orthodox Christians, Mongols, Cathars, Hussites, Jews, and political enemies of the popes. Crusaders took vows and were granted an indulgence for past sins.
The Crusades originally had the goal of recapturing Jerusalem and the Holy Land from Muslim rule and were originally launched in response to a call from the Eastern Orthodox Byzantine Empire for help against the expansion of the Muslim Seljuk Turks into Anatolia. The term is also used to describe contemporaneous and subsequent campaigns conducted in territories outside the Levant usually against pagans, heretics, and peoples under the ban of excommunication for a mixture of religious, economic, and political reasons. Rivalries among both Christian and Muslim powers led also to alliances between religious factions against their opponents, such as the Christian alliance with the Sultanate of Rum during the Fifth Crusade.
The Crusades had far-reaching political, economic, and social impacts, some of which have lasted into contemporary times. Because of internal conflicts among Christian kingdoms and political powers, some of the crusade expeditions were diverted from their original aim, such as the Fourth Crusade, which resulted in the sack of Christian Constantinople and the partition of the Byzantine Empire between Venice and the Crusaders.
, literally opening
,) also referred to as the Islamic conquests
or Arab conquests
, of non-Arab peoples began after the death of the Islamic prophet Muhammad
. He established a new unified political polity in the Arabian Peninsula
which under the subsequent Rashidun
(The Rightly Guided Caliphs) and Umayyad Caliphates
saw a century of rapid expansion of Muslim
They grew well beyond the Arabian peninsula in the form of a vast Muslim Empire with an area of influence that stretched from northwest India, across Central Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, southern Italy, and the Iberian Peninsula, to the Pyrenees. Edward Gibbon writes in The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire:
"Under the last of the Ommiades, the Arabian empire extended two hundred days’ journey from east to west, from the confines of Tartary and India to the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. And if we retrench the sleeve of the robe, as it is styled by their writers, the long and narrow province of march of a caravan. We should vainly seek the indissoluble union and easy obedience that pervaded the government of Augustus and the Antonines; but the progress of Islam diffused over this ample space a general resemblance of manners and opinions. The language and laws of the Qur'an were studied with equal devotion at Samarcand and Seville: the Moor and the Indian embraced as countrymen and brothers in the pilgrimage of Mecca; and the Arabian language was adopted as the popular idiom in all the provinces to the westward of the Tigris."
The Muslim conquests brought about the collapse of the Sassanid Empire and a great territorial loss for the Byzantine Empire. The reasons for the Muslim success are hard to reconstruct in hindsight, primarily because only fragmentary sources from the period have survived. Most historians agree that the Sassanid Persian and Byzantine Roman empires were militarily and economically exhausted from decades of fighting one another.
The Battle of Lepanto (Greek: Ναύπακτος, Naupaktos, pron. Náfpaktos; colloquial Greek: Έπαχτος, Épahtos; Turkish: İnebahtı) took place on 7 October 1571 when a galley fleet of the Holy League, a coalition of the Republic of Venice, the Papacy (under Pope Pius V), Spain (including Naples, Sicily and Sardinia), the Republic of Genoa, the Duchy of Savoy, the Knights Hospitaller and others, decisively defeated the main fleet of Ottoman war galleys.
John III Sobieski
: Jan III Sobieski
) (17 August 1629 - 17 June 1696) was one of the most notable monarchs of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
, from 1674 until his death King of Poland
and Grand Duke of Lithuania
. Sobieski's 22-year-reign was marked by a period of the Commonwealth's stabilisation, much needed after the turmoil of the Deluge
and Chmielnicki's Uprising
. Popular among his subjects, he was also a brilliant military commander, most famous for the victory over the Turks in the 1683 Battle of Vienna
. For his victories over the Ottoman Empire
, he was dubbed by the Turks the "Lion of Lechistan
."Jan Sobieski was born 1629 in Olesko
, a small town near Lwów
), to a notable noble
family de Sobieszyn Sobieski
of Clan Janina
. His father, Jakub Sobieski
, was the Palatine of Ruthenia
; his mother, Zofia Teofillia Daniłowicz
was a granddaughter of Hetman Stanisław Żółkiewski
. After graduating from the Nowodworski College in Kraków
, young Jan Sobieski graduated from the philosophical faculty of the Jagiellonian University
. After finishing his studies, together with his brother Marek Sobieski (1628-1652)
, Jan left for western Europe, where he spent more than two years travelling. During that time he learned French
, in addition to Latin
. This proved to be vital during his later military career.
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