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Thread: Crusades: Are They Hiding Something?

  1. #1
    Noddy
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    Question Crusades: Are They Hiding Something?

    I have just been trying to ascertain the moslem losses during the crusades, i searched far and wide, tried every possible combination of keywords, and there is not a single moslem loss count.

    Another fact of note is the way so many historians parrot each other as regards ''heavy christian losses'', yet never anywhere is there a moslem casualty count to compare. Another thing, at the battle of Hattin, always described as an utter defeat of bumbling christians by saladin, always fail to mention that the christians were outnumbered by a factor of over ten to one-that is no measure of skill or quality of the sides involved, no matter how good you are, 2 arms versus 20+ arms leads to a predictable result.

    If in fact the moslems faught so much better than the christans, then they would proudly display their ten to one kill ratio over armoured knights.

    I think it more likely they have something to hide.

  2. #2
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    Were'nt the Knights Templar responsible for that engagement?
    Accussing the christians of cowardice if they did not march on Tiberias.

    It is said much of the muslem army would have to disband if the christians had waited a little longer.

    I agree that the christians put up an amazing struggle to hold out as long as they did in Outremer.
    But in hindsite it is clear that they were doomed anyway,weight of numbers was simply too much and the christians were always a scant population.

    Still an heroic stand that we should never forget,a pity that the west was so divided she could not send more aid.
    I have a large Knights Templar figurine,they were great warriors,man for man better than any muslim.

    Great book on this subject:The history of the crusades, by Steven Runciman. Oxford press i believe.
    'How did it come to this?' King Theoden

  3. #3
    Noddy
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    Post Finally found something

    http://users.erols.com/mwhite28/warstat0.htm

    James Trager, The People's Chronology (1992)
    1099: Crusaders slaughter 40,000 inhabs of Jerusalem. Dis/starv reduced Crusaders from 300,000 to 60,000.
    1147: 2nd Crusades begins with 500,000. "Most" lost to starv./disease/battle.
    1190: 500 Jews massacred in York.
    1192: 3rd Crusade reduced from 100,000 to 5,000 through famine, plagues and desertions in campaign vs Antioch.
    1212: Children's Crusade loses some 50,000.
    TOTAL: Just in these incidents, it appears the Europeans lost around 650,000.
    TOTAL: When I take all the individual death tolls listed here, weed out the duplicates, fill in the blanks, apply Occam, etc. I get a very rough total of 1½ M deaths in the Crusades.
    Which means that without the childrens crusade, the christians lost 600 000, and the moslems lost 900 000, and the crusaders were outnumbered in every battle.

  4. #4
    Noddy
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    Post

    They Changed the Course of History

    The Knights of the order of St. John

    By Rick Joyner

    The Knights of the Order of St. John, and their exploits during the Middle Ages, are some of the greatest historic examples of what can be accomplished by those who live by the highest standards of leadership. Against odds that some historians have estimated were over one hundred to one, these few knights took their stand against the most powerful armies of Islam and prevailed. Their history is worthy of recounting


    THE FIRST BATTLE OF RHODES

    Islam was founded on the theology of Jihad, which is a Holy War to conquer the world by force for Allah. War is glorified in Islam, and death in Jihad guaranteed one their place in heaven, regardless of previous sins. When the religious leaders proclaimed a conflict to be a Jihad, the doors of heaven were opened to anyone who gave their life for the cause. Multitudes saw Jihad as their opportunity to gain heaven in spite of their debauchery, so they actually hoped to die in battle. This made the warriors of Islam some of the most deadly and feared that the world had ever seen.

    Mehmet was also a conqueror at heart who fashioned himself after Alexander the Great. He marched on the great city of Constantinople, and conquered it. He then set his sights on the rest of Europe. But before he could take the rest of Europe, he had to do something about the annoying knights at Rhodes who continued to plunder his shipping and supply lines.

    In 1480 Mehmet sent his most able generals with an army of 70,000 men to subdue the 600 knights and 1,500 to 2,000 militia at Rhodes. Even though the knights were so few, they had proven so capable in previous conflicts that Mehmet wanted to take no chances. It appeared to all that the siege of Rhodes would be brief and decisive.

    After landing his army, Mehmet's siege cannons began to batter the walls the Order had spent over a century building. Numerous other cannons hurled projectiles over the walls into the city. The Grand Master of the Order was a Frenchman named D'Aubusson. He was a remarkable leader of men who had with great foresight prepared his knights for the siege he knew would one day come. He even had built shelters for the townspeople so that they could escape the bombardment. Knowing that they could expect little or no help from Europe, D'Aubusson nevertheless had determined that they would stand as long as one knight could draw a bow or wield a sword.

    In Early June, after days of bombardment, the first wave of assault troops attacked the Tower of St. Nicholas, an outlying fortification of the city. The Moslems were shocked by the stiff resistance they met, and were repulsed with many casualties. The Turks then began another general bombardment that would hurl over a thousand cannon balls a day at the city continuously for several weeks. The walls began to collapse while the Turks snaked closer and closer with their trenches. At night fires burned everywhere from the grenades and incendiaries. Those who were present declared that a scene out of hell itself could be no worse. Still the knights held their ground.

    On June 18, the Turks launched a second human wave assault led by the fearsome Janissaries, renowned as the greatest fighters in the world. Each Janissar had been chosen from age seven because of their physical potential, and trained their entire lives for combat. They had been forbidden to marry or engage in any kind of family affections in order to focus all of their emotions and energy on battle. The assault began under the cover of darkness, when they expected to find the knights sleeping--but they were wrong. Swords, arrows and gunfire filled the night. As the sun rose it revealed legions of Janissar bodies filling the moats around the tower of St. Nicholas, and the knights still standing on the battered walls.

    The disbelieving Turkish generals had never experienced such a military setback. They turned to subterfuge to pry the knights from their fortress city. They planted agents in the city by having them pretend to be defectors to the Christians (many of the Sultan's troops were captives from Christian nations). These spies were soon able to create serious tactical problems for the knights, who were now being pressed from within and without. Each day presented a new crisis that threatened their very existence. The fortifications were crumbling everywhere, even at the most strategic points. Still they held on. Then the Turks began massing for a final great assault that both sides fully expected to be the end.

    The great attack began on July 27. The knights and the remaining militia took their positions on what was left of the walls. The Sultan sent his Bashi-Bazouk troops first. These were mercenaries who were considered expendable, and they were expended as wave after wave were cut down by the defenders. Their bodies soon filled the ditches and streams making human bridges that led up to the walls, which had in fact been the strategy of the Turkish generals. Then the tired and wounded defenders watched as great waves of the fearsome Janissaries arose and advanced, even more resolute now because of their previous humiliation.

    The Turks quickly overwhelmed the strategic Tower of St. Nicholas, which had taken the brunt of the main assault for nearly two months. As promised, the knights contested every acre of ground, for which the Turks paid very dearly. D'Aubusson, with an arrow in his thigh, led a dozen knights and three standard bearers up a ladder and onto the wall. There D'Aubusson received four more wounds before a Janissar "of gigantic structure" hurled a spear right through his breastplate, puncturing his lung. He was dragged out of the fray just as the enemy made a breach in the defenses and began to pour into the city. It now appeared certain that the end of the Knights of St. John had finally come.

    In hand to hand combat, over burning rubble, through choking smoke and fire, in possibly the worst hell that men could create for themselves on the earth, the Turks continued to throw themselves against the knights. Even so, the tenacity of the knights, and their ability to inflict casualties, astonished the Turks. Soon even the resolve of the Janissaries was shaken as row after row of men continued to be cut down by the defenders.

    Then, above the smoke and turmoil of this terrible inferno, on the one remaining parapet, D'Aubusson's standards suddenly appeared, held by three bearers in shining armor who appeared almost as gods from the hell below. The affect on the Moslems was electrifying as a wave of fear swept through the army. The remaining Bashi began to flee in such a terror that it overcame the Janissaries. The entire Moslem army then began to melt away in confusion, retreating at the very moment when total victory was easily within their grasp.

    As the Moslems fled Rhodian sharpshooters on the walls poured a deadly fire into them. The remaining knights amazingly found enough strength to counterattack, chasing the Sultan's troops all the way to their base camp. Within ten days the shattered army that had been the pride of the Ottomans fled the island. To the astonishment of the entire world, the Order of St. John had not only survived--they had prevailed. All of Europe celebrated. All of Islam was enraged.


    THE SECOND BATTLE OF RHODES

    By June 1522 Suleiman was ready for his assault on Rhodes. Historians estimate that the Sultan assembled up to 700 ships and 200,000 men for the attack. Even allowing for natural exaggeration, this was an overwhelming force to come against 500 knights and an estimated 1,500 militia. On July 28, the Sultan himself landed on Rhodes with a grand salute and the battle began.

    The Turks brought up their huge siege guns, capable of hurling balls nine feet in circumference, along with a multitude of other cannons and mortars to begin their bombardment. Throughout the month of August they poured thousands of cannon balls into the city and its fortified positions each day. The knights answered with their own artillery, much smaller, but devastatingly accurate on the relatively unprotected Turks.

    By the end of August, a number of breeches began to appear in the fortress walls. In early September the first infantry assault came. Typically, the knights contested every point, but the overwhelming numbers pushed back the defenders until the Turks were able to plant their standards on the wall itself. Never had the knights lost that much ground in the first attack. They counterattacked with the Grand Master himself entering the fray. After a terrible struggle the Turks yielded and began to fall back. Immediately the Sultan sent a second wave, personally led by Mustapha Pasha, one of the greatest Ottoman generals. For two hours the battle raged on the walls, but the knights held. When the Turks finally withdrew, the ground was almost completely covered by their dead and wounded. Miraculously, the knights had lost only three dead along with an unspecified number of militia.

    The disconcerted Sultan then unleashed a continuous bombardment for three straight weeks. On September 24 another great assault was hurled against the crumbling fortress walls. The bastion of Aragon, one of the city's main fortifications, fell to a massive assault by the now fanatically brave Janissaries, having born the humiliation from their previous defeat for over forty years. Like Xerxes, Suleiman had a conqueror's throne set on a raised platform so that he could witness his day of triumph. The tide of battle roared all along the walls as wave after wave of Turks poured out of their trenches.

    All day long the battle continued to rage. The knights, in their gleaming armor, always seemed to appear wherever the fighting was the thickest. L'Isle Adam himself could usually be found with his standard bearer behind him at the most desperate points of conflict. He was the man the Turks most wanted killed, and his standard bearer seemed to mark him as the special target. Yet, it was witnessed by those present that there was a special protection around the Grand Master that the Turks simply could not penetrate. After one of the bloodiest days the great Turkish army would ever experience, the seemingly invincible attack began to waver, then melt into a wholesale retreat.

    The disbelieving Suleiman came down from his elevated throne humiliated and outraged. He immediately condemned his two most able generals, but later recanted after being persuaded that it would only serve the side of the Christians. The losses for the knights had been great, with two hundred killed and an equal number wounded, but the losses for the Turks were staggering - their bodies now laid in heaps all around the city. Again, the great siege guns were brought up and would not fall silent again for two entire months.

    The gallant knights had stood their ground against the most powerful and determined army on earth for nearly five months without receiving reinforcements or provisions. They were now few and weary, and it was obvious to all that the Turkish army was still so huge that it would eventually prevail. Still they fought on, their greatest hope now was only to die honorably.

    THE KNIGHTS OCCUPY MALTA

    For over two hundred years the knights had lived on Rhodes and now they had no home. They were offered a small, relatively inhospitable island in the middle of the Mediterranean named Malta, which they accepted. Years before, while harbored on a ship at Malta, lightening had struck the sword of L'Isle Adam, turning it to ashes. This was to be considered a Providential sign. The knights were destined to fight yet another one of history's most strategic battles on the bluffs around that very harbor.

    With Rhodes in his possession, the Sultan now seemed free to sweep up the rest of Europe. It must have seemed most improbable that the battered knights would again bar his path. Though the Order of St. John was severely reduced in both numbers and wealth after their departure from Rhodes, their most valuable possession – resolve – was as great as ever.

    Christian Europe had not only failed to resolve its internal divisions, the Reformation had caused even further conflicts. Centuries of resentment toward Rome boiled over into wars as Christians took up arms against each other. Almost every nation in Europe was at war to some degree with at least one neighbor.

    The Order of St. John itself was composed of knights from the noble families of every Christian nation, but somehow they were able to maintain a remarkable unity. They remained focused on what they considered to be the real enemy of the faith - the hoards of Islam.

    As soon as the knights occupied Malta, they began building fortifications and ships so that they could resume raiding Moslem shipping. The famous Arab pirate, Barbarossa, had been appointed High Admiral of the Turkish fleet, and he raised its quality and strength to new heights. Great sea battles raged from one end of the Mediterranean to the other. Though most of these battles were indecisive they kept the world on the edge of its seat.

    In 1546 Barbarossa died and Dragut assumed command of the increasingly powerful Turkish navy. In 1550 the knights were major participants in the defeat of his fleet at Mahdia. For revenge, Dragut attacked and began to lay waste to Malta. Still relatively unfortified, the few defenders put up such a stiff resistance that Dragut abandoned the attack, but both sides knew that the Turks would soon return.

    In 1557 L'Isle Adam died and Jean Parisot De La Valette became Grand Master of the Order. Also educated and aristocratic, La Valette was once captured by the Turks and had been made a galley slave for four years. He was sixty-three when he became Grand Master. He would prove to be as great a leader as both L'Isle Adam and d'Aubusson had been before him. Suleiman had now stretched his empire to its greatest limits and was massing for what appeared to be the final assault on Europe. But again the knights had to be dealt with because they were creating such havoc with his supply lines, although they were fewer in numbers and farther away.

    THE BATTLE OF MALTA

    The whole Moslem world was also demanding the destruction of the Order of St. John. The Sultan was ambivalent. At times he was enraged at the knights, and at times he feared them, knowing that they could not be defeated without great cost. Public opinion soon forced his hand and on May 18, 1565, the Turkish fleet was sighted by the watchman in Fort St. Elmo on the edge of Malta.

    The Moslem fleet was so large that witnesses said that it appeared as if an entire forest of spars were moving across the Mediterranean. In fact, the world had never witnessed a more powerful fleet assembled. Again, tens of thousands of the Sultan's finest Janissaries, regulars, and over 4,000 Iayalars, religious fanatics who sought death over life, landed to give battle to the 540 knights, 1,000 foot soldiers and a little over 3,000 Maltese militia.

    Again the Order faced impossible odds, and never had the Moslems been more determined. The knights did not have enough men to try to hold the invaders at their beachhead. However, unlike Rhodes where there was just one fortified city, at Malta the knights were spread out over several forts and fortified cities that forced the Turks to diversify their forces. La Valette quickly proved to be a genius at taking the maximum advantage of every favorable condition. He sent the Order's cavalry to attack and harass the Turkish foraging parties, which they did to the point of distraction, further disrupting the unity of Moslem forces.

    The Turkish High Command was led by the brilliant Mustapha Pasha, but he made a strategic mistake of concentrating his main attack on the Post of Castile, possibly the strongest of the knight's defenses. This was the result of the bravery of a single knight, a Frenchman named Adrien de la Riviere, who had been captured early in the assault. Under torture, de la Riviere had asserted that Post of Castile was lightly fortified with a small garrison of men, and could be easily taken. After a number of assaults were repulsed and mauled by the Post of Castile's defenders, Pasha realized that he had been lied to by the captured knight. He had the Frenchman beaten to death, but he had already lost hundreds of his fighters and even more importantly, his troops had already begun to lose confidence.

    THE COURAGE OF ST. ELMO

    Then Pasha redirected the main part of his force to capturing the small star fort, St. Elmo, which overlooked the Grand Harbor. This diversion gave La Valette time to make improvements in his other fortifications, but it was apparent that St. Elmo could not hold out long. The indiscriminate gunfire of the Turk's earlier sieges at Rhodes had now been replaced by mathematical precision and accuracy. Pasha turned his main artillery on St. Elmo with unrelenting intensity day and night. Soon the little fort began to crumble.

    One night, while in his counsel chamber in Fort St. Angelo, La Valette was disturbed by an unwelcome delegation. A number of knights had slipped out of St. Elmo and made their way to La Valette to tell him that St. Elmo could no longer hold out. La Valette, a hero at Rhodes, derided the younger knights as unworthy of their fathers. He told the delegation that they need not go back to St. Elmo, but that he would hand pick a delegation to relieve them. Under this scorn the delegation from St. Elmo begged to be allowed to return to their post, which La Valette finally permitted. As soon as they had departed, the Grand Master told the council that he knew that the little fort was doomed, but they had to buy more time if the rest were to have any chance to survive.

    The Turks had now concentrated so much artillery on St. Elmo that the smoke and fire rising from the fort made it appear like a volcano rising out of the rock. It seemed impossible that anyone could live in it, but the young knights held their ground. Then the famed Dragut arrived with a fresh squadron of ships and hand picked fighting men. This greatly raised the morale of the entire Turkish force.

    Dragut unofficially assumed personal command of the forces, and he immediately sent even more batteries to pour their deadly fire into St. Elmo, which he continued for three more weeks. Finally he released the Janissaries to make their attack. The commanders on both sides, who had been certain that Turks would make it a quick victory, were equally astonished when they were repulsed with great losses.

    The enraged Dragut then responded with a bombardment so heavy that the entire island shook as if by an earthquake. The next day he sent a second massive assault against the little fort with the Iayalars preceding the Janissaries. St. Elmo actually disappeared under the cloud of dust, smoke and fire. Hours later when the smoke cleared, the knights on St. Angelo and St. Michaels marveled as they saw the Cross of St. John still flying above the crumbled ruins. La Valette was so moved he dispatched some of his best fighters to reinforce the little fort, but the Moslem forces encircling it could not be penetrated and they had to turn back. The brave little garrison at St. Elmo was now abandoned to its own fate.

    The following day Dragut intensified the bombardment of St. Elmo. There were now fewer than 100 knights left in the fort and nearly all were wounded. When the bombardment stopped, the Imams were heard calling the faithful to either conquer or die for Islam. Wave after wave of the best fighters in the Sultan's army threw themselves at the demolished walls of the fort. The remaining knights took their stand in the breach; those who were too weak to stand asked to be carried into the fray so that they could confront the "infidels" one last time. The little fortress that no one believed could hold out more than a day or two, stood for over a month, buying precious time for the rest of the knights to strengthen their other defenses. Little St. Elmo also deprived the Sultan of thousands of his best fighting men, many of his leaders, including the master gunner, the Aga of the Janissaries, and most importantly, Dragut himself, felled by a cannon shot.

    As the Moslem standard was finally raised over the ruins of St. Elmo, Pasha realized that his whole strategy had been wrong. The price paid for St. Elmo had been too dear. As he looked up at the larger St. Angelo, whose guns were already pouring a deadly fire into his advancing troops, he cried out, "Allah! If so small a son has cost so dear, what price shall we have to pay for so large a father?" The price would be greater than he could afford.

    NO QUARTER WILL BE GIVEN

    Pasha had the bodies of the knights who had died so bravely at St. Elmo, decapitated, bound to crosses, and floated out into the harbor in front of St. Angelo. This was a brazen insult to the religion of the defenders. In retaliation La Valette had a number of the Turkish prisoners executed and their bodies hung on the walls. He then had their heads loaded into cannons and fired into the Moslem trenches. Both sides now knew that there could be no turning back – the knights would survive on Malta or they would perish to a man – this was a fight to the death.

    The bombardments increased as the Order's fortresses were now caught in a deadly crossfire. Intermittently, Pasha would release his massive ground assaults at different points of the defenses, seeking just a single breach. Each one resulted in a massacre of his forces. At one point Pasha maneuvered his troops until they encircled La Valette' s own headquarters. He then released a bombardment so great that the inhabitants of the islands of Syracuse and Catania, 70 and 100 miles away, heard the roar of the guns. Before the guns had even stopped Pasha sent a colossal attack swarming over the walls. The Turks finally made a breach and poured into it. A mighty struggle raged for six hours until the knights closed the gap and retook the walls. Mortified, Pasha pulled out his own beard and called off the attack. Again, the endurance and tenacity of the knights had been greatly underestimated.

    ANOTHER MIRACLE

    Pasha intensified his bombardment and continued it day and night for seven more days. Then he released another human wave assault. By now the Order was so reduced in numbers that the breach was made quickly. The knights resisted bravely but they were too outnumbered to stand against so great a tide of raging humanity. Just when the citadel itself was within reach of the Turks, and it appeared once again that the end of the knights had finally come, the Moslem trumpets rang out calling for a full scale retreat!

    The defenders could only believe that the continent had finally sent them relief. What in fact happened was that a small force of the Order's cavalry had attacked the Moslem base camp at Marsa. The little detachment had struck with such determination and had raised so much havoc that they had been mistaken for a much larger force. Fearing an attack from the rear, Pasha had been forced to call a retreat. When he finally learned how he had been deceived right at the very moment when victory was within his grasp, his rage knew no bounds. He redoubled his efforts and released a continuous day and night bombardment under which it seemed impossible for any living thing to survive.

    NO RETREAT

    The council of knights recommended that a withdrawal be made from all of the outposts into the single fortress of St. Angelo. La Valette adamantly refused. They were bound by honor not to willingly surrender an acre to the infidels. Military historians agree that his tenacity in holding to this strategy probably saved the knights, because it kept the Turks from massing at a single point. La Valette received a dispatch from Don Garcia of Sicily promising to send a relief force of 16,000 men. La Valette was unimpressed. Having received many such promises before, he did not put his trust in princes. He vowed to continue to contest every parcel of Christian ground before he would surrender it to the Turks.

    Pasha had not only been pouring their deadly fire into the city over its walls, he had been spending weeks making tunnels under the walls. On August 18, a mine exploded under the Post of Castile and a great breach was made. The Grand Master himself, now seventy years old, grabbed a light helmet and his sword and rushed out boldly to meet the attack. The knights and the townspeople, encouraged by his example,

    picked up any weapon that they could find and flung themselves into the breach with him. La Valette was wounded but refused to retreat. He pointed his sword at the Turkish banners and declared, "Never will I withdraw as long as those banners wave in the wind." Miraculously the knights again prevailed, and the Turks were repulsed.

    By now dissensions began to arise within the ranks of the Turkish High Command. The battle that had been projected to take no more than a few days had lasted months, and still there was no end in sight. Pasha started calculating how he could get enough supplies from Tripoli, Greece, or Constantinople to keep up the siege through the winter.

    VICTORY

    Then, on September 6, Don Garcia's fleet arrived with 8,000 reinforcements for the knights. Even though 8,000 was not a significant number compared to the still huge army of the Turks, their impact on the morale of both sides was much greater than their numbers. The Turks were simply appalled when they considered what just a few hundred knights had cost them. They had still only captured the tiny fort of St. Elmo; how could they possibly prevail against so many more? Pasha quickly lifted the siege, struck camp, and fled the island.

    The Sultan's mighty army returned to the Golden Horn with less than one third of those who had left. Suleiman was again enraged. He only allowed his fleet to come into the harbor under the cover of darkness so that the people would not see its terrible state. He immediately planned to lead another expedition to Malta the following year, but like Mehmet before him, Suleiman would not live to fulfill this vow.

    EUROPE CELEBRATES

    Only about 250 knights survived on Malta, and almost every one of them was wounded, maimed, or crippled for life, but Europe was now free of the Moslem threat that had so recently appeared invincible. Again the whole world stood in wonder at the little Order of St. John the Baptist. Those "archaic relies from the past" had taken their stand against the greatest army in the world, and with some of the greatest examples of courage and endurance the world had ever witnessed, they had prevailed. The great nations of Europe, which had once scorned the knights, acknowledged that these few brave souls had saved them from Moslem conquest.

    In England, where Henry VIII had confiscated the knight's property, Queen Elizabeth declared that if Malta had fallen to the Turks, then England itself would have almost certainly fallen to the Moslems. She ordered the Archbishop of Canterbury to appoint a special form of thanksgiving to be read in every church in the land every day for three weeks. The rest of Europe also celebrated, paid their respects, and acknowledged their debt to the Order that most had long before written off as having no real value. The Order' s standard with the famous Maltese Cross would become, for a time, the only standard to be saluted by every nation in the world. Some nations still observe St. John's Day to celebrate the exploits of these valiant knights.

    THE LESSONS

    There are many great and timely lessons in the amazing history of the Order of St. John, but here we will only address the most basic. Great strategists have often changed the course of history, but these knights were not great strategists – they were simply great souls. Their resolve, courage, and endurance accomplished what possibly no great strategy could have. Sometimes leadership is reduced to just this, and in this leadership often finds its greatest definition. Immature leadership will always be overly focused on the odds, or the resources available. Great leaders are focused on the task. To the greatest leaders, retreat or defeat are not even possibilities.

    While the Christian nations of Europe had turned their armies against each other, the knights of St. John stayed focused on who the real enemy was. Even though the Order was composed of the noble sons of those Christian nations that were fighting each other, they did not allow the doctrinal or political divisions to enter their ranks. Because of their unity, focused vision, and determination never to retreat before their enemies, they dramatically turned back what had appeared to be the inevitable course of history. It is now almost impossible to imagine what history would have been like without these few brave souls.

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