If you lived in Constantinople, you probably called yourself “Roman”. Of course, the “other” Roman Empire thought that since Rome was in their half, it was a little presumptuous, not to mention confusing. They began to refer to the “Romans” in the east as “Greeks”, but eventually resurrected the pre-Constantinople title of Byzantium. There are plenty of twists and turns to the story, but if we are to understand the relationship of Christianity and Islam, it must begin at the beginning.
The history books tell us that the Roman Empire fell in 476. The history books are wrong. A hundred and sixty years earlier the emperor Diocletian had divided the Empire into two administrative districts, one Western and one Eastern. He took control of the East and committed the West to a junior emperor. Then in 312 the emperor Constantine wanted a new capital fitting for the senior emperor and his court. He set upon the ancient Greek town of Byzantium: he renamed it Constantinople. For more than a thousand years it remained the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire.
The First Church Councils
Constantine understood that political society was necessarily the outgrowth and manifestation of an underlying religious order. Should the religion fragment and shatter, the political structure would follow. For centuries the binding faith of the Empire had been the confession, “Caesar is Lord.” But now Constantine opened the door for a change: he legalized Christ-ianity and declared himself sympathetic to Christ’s cause.1Though he postponed baptism till the end of his life, it was a common practice born of a superstitious understanding of baptism. That was in 313. Within a decade, however, this new faith already seem-ed ready to shatter.
An Alexandrian bishop, one Arius, challenged orthodoxy by claiming that the Son of God was a created being. His arguments were philosophical and rationalistic and, sadly for the Church, popular. Division and dissension grew.
For the sake of imperial unity, Constantine summoned an ecumenical council of bishops to debate and settle the matter. The council met at Nicea, just across the Sea of Marmara from Constantinople. The emperor presided, but he let the bishops reach their own conclusion. After quickly rejecting Arianism and toying dangerously for awhile with Semi-Arianism,2The Son is of like essence (homoiousion) with the Father: He’s really, really like God. the council declared the Son to be “God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten not made, being of one substance (homoousion) with the Father.”
But the decision of the council didn’t end the controversy; in fact, it raged on for another generation. And then, finally, at a second ecumenical council—this one convened in Constantinople itself—the assembled bishops reaffirmed the decision of Nicea and added these words to its profession: “And [we believe]3“We believe” was the Eastern formulation; the churches of the West said, “I believe.” in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life, who proceedeth from the Father, who with the Father and Son together is worshipped and glorified, who spake by the prophets.” The Eastern Church re-mained imminently content with this formulation; the Western Church eventually added a single word: filioque. We will return to this.
The Later Councils
Now that Nicea and Constantinople had declared the Church’s faith in the Triune God, Hellenistic humanism took aim at the person of Christ. Jesus Christ is both God and man: but what does that mean? The followers of Nestorius saw Jesus as a man upon whom the divine Logos had descended, a man who had become God by moral union. The patriarchal city of Syrian Antioch was their stronghold. The Mono-physites saw Jesus’ humanity swallowed up in His deity, effectively leaving only the one (mono-) divine nature. Alexandria in Egypt was their base.
The Council of Ephesus (431) denounced Nestorius; the Council of Chalcedon (451) confirmed Ephesus’s judgment and condemned the Mono-physites as well. Both of these cities lay with the Eastern Empire. In fact, Chalcedon lay just across the Bosporus from the capital.
Despite the work of these later councils, neither Antioch nor Alexandria was satisfied. Rome, not given to the subtleties of Greek thought, stayed clear of much of the debate and usually came down on the side of orthodoxy. The patriarchs of Constantinople were sometimes orthodox, often Mono-physite; the same was true of the emperors.4Greg Uttinger, “Christianity 101: Christology after Chalcedon,” Chalcedon, Sept 2002, <http://chalcedon.edu/research/articles/the-theology-of-the-ancient-creeds-part-5-christology-after-chalcedon/>. This theological confusion continued to undermine the unity of the Eastern Empire and invited further sojourns into Hellenistic mysticism in the centuries that followed.
The Fall of Rome (476)
Meanwhile, the Western Empire faced wave after wave of barbarian invasion. The traditional Roman forms and hierarchy dissolved, leaving the Western Empire a loose confederation of tribal kingdoms, most giving at least lip service to the idea of the Empire. The Eastern Empire was too busy with its own problems and had no help to offer.
Finally, in 410 the Visigoth Alaric sacked Rome.5Augustine of Hippo wrote The City of God to set the event within a biblical philosophy of history. Though he died of a fever shortly thereafter, the psychological damage was done. The inconceivable had happened. St. Jerome bore witness to the universal shock when he wrote from Bethlehem, “A dreadful rumor came from the West. . . . My voice sticks in my throat, and, as I dictate, sobs choke my utterance. The City which had taken the whole world was itself taken; nay more famine was beforehand with the sword and but few citizens were left to be made captives. In their frenzy the starving people had recourse to hideous food; and tore each other limb from limb that they might have flesh to eat. Even the mother did not spare the babe at her breast.”6Jerome, “To Principia” (Letter 127) in Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. 6. Ed., Philip Schaff and Henry Wace (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1893.)
In mortal fear the western emperor Honorius called the Roman legions back from the frontiers and told the outlying provinces in so many words, “You’re on your own.” Meanwhile, the eastern emperor Theodosius II, also moved by fear, ordered huge, new walls built around Constantinople. “Rising forty feet high and nearly sixteen feet thick, these powerful defenses of stone and brick would throw back every hopeful invader for the next thousand years.”7Lars Brownworth, Lost to the West, The Forgotten Byzantine Empire that Rescued Western Civilization (New York: Crown Publishing, 2009), 52.
In 452 Attila the Hun invaded Italy, but stopped short of Rome after a brief meeting with pope Leo.8This is the same Leo whose Tome carried the day at the Council of Chalcedon in 451. Attila died a year later while celebrating his recent marriage to a teenage slave girl. “Far way in Constantinople, the emperor dreamed of a broken bow and knew the mighty Attila was dead.”9Brownworth, 55. This was good news for Constantinople as well as Rome, for the eastern capital was Attila’s next target.
But in Italy the barbarian raids continued. Leo couldn’t stop the Arian Vandals from sacking Rome in 455, though he did manage to temper their violence a bit. But Italy and Rome itself fell progressively under the shadow of the young barbarians from the North. So there came a day when the last Western emperor, Romulus Augustus, yielded up his throne to the German general Odoacer, and Rome officially “fell.” Odoacer ordered the Senate to send the imperial insignia to Constantinople; he also asked the eastern emperor for permission to rule in his name. The emperor, having recently recovered his throne from a usurper, was in no place to forcibly say no.
And so the status quo that had settled across the West engulfed Rome as well. The young barbarian kingdoms “never questioned the abiding significance of the confederated empire.” The tribal kings “continued to look to the emperor to grant them titles to both land and authority. They used the emperor’s image on their coins. They adopted Roman law throughout their provinces…. Thus the empire never ended,” though its form and influence shifted with the tides of history.10George Grant, The Last Crusader, The Untold Story of Christopher Columbus (Wheaton, IL: Crossways Books, 1992), 35.
Now we skip ahead nearly a century to Peter Sabbatius, a young man of unusual talent and vision. His uncle Justin, a rising star in Constantinople, called Peter to the capital, adopted him, gave him the best education the city could afford, and set him to work. A grateful Peter took on his uncle’s name and became Justinian, and that’s how history remembers him.
Justinian became his uncle’s right hand man. He helped elevate Justin to the throne. Then he pushed for an aggressive foreign policy aimed mostly at curbing the power of neighboring Persia on the east. He also moved the emperor to seek reconciliation with the pope. The pope proved amenable. The apparent healing of that long-standing breach sent shock waves throughout Europe. The political stars were realigning.
Meanwhile, a fondness for chariot races led Justinian to Theodora, a former actress11In that day, actresses were prostitutes. who was twenty years her junior. But he fell for her, and the two became inseparable. Justinian had to get his uncle to revamp imperial law to allow a marriage across such a gaping social chasm, but in the end the marriage went forward. She proved intelligent, energetic, and often helpful. The real point of contention between them lay in their theological differences: Justinian was generally orthodox; Theodora, however, was a Monophysite and supported her co-religionists wherever she could.
Upon his uncle’s death, Justinian ascended the throne with the Senate’s approval and quickly set about to resurrect the glory of the Roman Empire. With a brilliant lawyer and a ruthless tax collector in his employ, Justinian worked to repair Byzantium’s legal and financial underpinnings. The results were, first, a revised law code, the Code of Justinian, that effectively synthesized and reconciled a thousand years of legislation, judicial interpretation, and precedent, and, second, a sustained cash flow to pay for the new emperor’s re-forms and reconstruction. The aristocracy shrieked in outrage as they found loopholes in the tax code closing, but Justinian ignored them. He despised the bloated, self-aggrandizing aristocracy and showed his favor to men of real ability.
Consider his talented architects, Isidore and An-themius. Justinian told them that he wanted a new cathedral for Constantinople,12The old one, like a good deal of the capital, had been destroyed in the Nika riots sparked by Justinian’s oppressive taxes. something like no other church or palace in the world. They gave him what he asked for. It took a little less than six years.
The cathedral is best known for its central dome, which spans 108 feet and rises 180 feet above the square mosaic floor. It rests on four pendentives, “spherical triangles that arise from four huge piers that carry the weight of the cupola.”13Victoria Hammond, Visions of Heaven: The Dome in European Architecture (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2005), 165. The dome is buttressed by two half domes, which are supported by still smaller partial domes. Around the base of the central dome is an arcade of forty arched windows that flood the interior of the church with sunlight and irradiate its gold mosaics.
Justinian dedicated the cathedral to the divine Logos, God’s Holy Wisdom. He called it Hagia Sophia. It was the architectural wonder of the age. When Justinian entered it for the first time he stood in awe and whispered, “Solomon, I have surpassed you.”
Justinian also had in his service a marvelously talented general named Belisarius. Belisarius began in his career in the wars with Persia. He returned to Byzantium in time to put down the Nika riots that had broken out in the Hippodrome over taxes.14The number of the rebel dead was about 30,000. Later he took back Carthage from the Arian Vandals. He captured Sicily and southern Italy. Then he liberated Rome and subdued most of northern Italy as well. As the Goths were surrendering Ravenna, Justinian recalled Belisarius to the East to deal with a Persian invasion. Belisarius immediately drove toward the Persian capital, and the Persian army was forced to scurry home. The Byzantine Empire stood at its peak. The Mediterranean was virtually a Roman lake again. And then the rats came by ship, bringing devastation.
The bubonic plague swept out of Egypt. It brought the economic and military successes of Justinian’s empire to a screeching halt. For four months it killed ten thousand a day in Constan-tinople. It nearly claimed Justinian’s life as well. When its work was done, the plague had destroyed maybe a fourth of the Mediterranean population—farmers, craftsmen, taxpayers, and potential soldiers. The blow to the Empire was unimaginable, and yet something worse lay sixty years ahead.
At the beginning of the 7th century, the armies of Islam poured out of the Arabian Desert and toppled Persia, captured Syria, and lay siege to Jerusalem. The emperor Heraclius managed to spirit the “True Cross” out of the city but could do nothing to save it. “Had a stronger ruler than the dying Heraclius been on the throne to confront the Muslims in 633, the subsequent history of the entire Middle East would have been radically different, but he was a sick man and the imperial teenagers who succeeded him couldn’t grab hold of power firmly enough to effectively oppose the Islamic advance.”15Brownworth, 132.
Eight years after Jerusalem fell, the Muslim armies took Alexandria without a fight—then lost it and took it back. They leveled its walls and burned what was left of its library. At this point the Muslim armies seemed invincible. Only a schism within the Muslim leadership stopped their advance for a short while. But by 674 three Muslim fleets converged on Constantinople. In the moment of crisis a Syrian refugee, Callinicus of Heliopolis, handed the Empire a new weapon, “Greek fire.” Its chemical composition remains a mystery, but it worked something like napalm. Its flames were unquenchable. Pressurized nozzles carried the liquid fire on to the water and on to the enemy’s ship. It saved Constantinople and would again, more than once.
Technology Redivivus (10th Century)
This is a good place to remember the technological achievements of the Eastern Empire. Greek fire is the most famous example, but there were many others. Some were resuscitated out of the wreck of the Hellenistic Age; some were altogether new. For example, both Philo of Byzantium (d. c. 220 BC) and Hero of Alexandria (d. AD 70) had worked with what were essentially programmable machines powered by air and water pressure. When this technology was long forgotten in the West—if it ever reached that far—it still survived in Constantinople. As late as the 10th century, automata—birds, lions, and trees moved by hydraulics, pulleys, and gears—adorned the throne room of the emperor and allowed him to make startling epiphanies. The following account is from a Western ambassador, Liudprand of Cremona, who visited emperor Constantine VII in 949.
In front of the emperor’s throne was set up a tree of gilded bronze, its branches filled with birds, likewise made of bronze gilded over, and these emitted cries appropriate to their species. Now the emperor’s throne was made in such a cunning manner that at one moment it was down on the ground, while at another it rose higher and was to be seen up in the air. This throne was of immense size and was, as it were, guarded by lions, made either of bronze or wood covered with gold, which struck the ground with their tails and roared with open mouth and quivering tongue. Leaning on the shoulders of two eunuchs, I was brought into the emperor’s presence. As I came up the lions began to roar and the birds to twitter, each according to its kind, but I was moved neither by fear nor astonishment. . . . After I had done obeisance to the Emperor by prostrating myself three times, I lifted my head, and behold! The man whom I had just seen sitting at a moderate height from the ground had now changed his vestments and was sitting as high as the ceiling of the hall. I could not think how this was done, unless perhaps he was lifted up by some such machine as is used for raising the timbers of a wine press.16In his Antapodosis VI, 5, 8. Cited in Cyril A. Mango, The Art of the Byzantine Empire 312-1453: Sources and Documents (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1986), 209.
No doubt the best of such technology was reserved for the emperor and his court, but the science and technology to use and preserve these devices still endured.
The Iconoclastic Controversy (726-843)
Even in the face of the Muslim threat, Hellenistic philosophy continued to shape the theological atmosphere of the East and to pervade its popular religion. In the 8th century its newest manifestation was the worship of icons. Artistically, icons were two-dimensional images of Christ and His saints. Ontologically, icons were the transcendent made immanent. “Form became incarnate in the blessed particulars, and man had divinity at his fingertips—a convenient thing for those in Church and State who saw themselves as the vicars of Christ.”17Greg Uttinger, “Iconodulism,” Chalcedon, Jan/Feb 2009, <http://chalcedon.edu/faith-for-all-of-life/a-crown-of-thorns-reigning-through-suffering/icondulism-reaching-out-and-touching-god/>
Leo (III) the Isaurian was the first emperor to see icons a spiritual and political problem. He came to the throne in 717 and had to deal almost immediately with Muslim forces at his gates. Leo effectively resisted the siege, employing Bulgarian allies against the Muslim armies and Greek fire against their supporting fleet. Epidemics and violent storms battered the Muslim forces, and after twelve months they withdrew.
Leo was able to turn his attention to civil and religious reform. The frightening eruption of the island volcano Thera in 726 may have spurred him on to deal immediately with the iconodulism that he saw as idolatry.18Those on both sides of the controversy objected to the other’s icons but not to their own.
Leo at first legislated only against the worship of images; later he struck out against their use altogether. When the patriarch of Constantinople opposed his policies, Leo deposed him from office.
Pope Gregory II denounced Leo’s iconoclasm: he accused him of ignoring the Councils and the Fathers and of casting a stumbling block before the weak, who needed the icons as props to their faith. Leo responded with an appeal to the silence of the first six ecumenical Councils on the matter and with an assertion of his own authority in both Church and State. “He threatened to destroy the image of St. Peter at Rome and to imprison the pope.”19Albert Henry Newman, A Manual of Church History, Vol. 1 (Philadelphia: The American Baptist Publication Society, 1933), 389. Gregory called together a Roman synod that pronounced excommunication against any who destroyed or removed icons. Leo retaliated by transferring the Greek bishoprics in Italy and Sicily to the jurisdiction of the patriarch of Constantinople. But the province of Ravenna would not cooperate, and Leo lost a fleet in his efforts to subdue it. Leo spent the last years of his life ending the immediate Muslim threat to his empire.20Uttinger, “Iconodulism.”
Upon Leo’s death, his young son Constantine came to the throne and continued his father’s war against icons. In 754 he summoned a council to denounce iconodulism. But the pope sent no representatives, Constantin-ople had no patriarch at the time, and Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem were under Arab rule. The council, though orthodox in its Christology, had no ecumenical punch.
The throne passed quickly to Leo IV and then Constantine VI, his six-year old son. The queen mother, Irene, ran the Empire in the boy’s name. She moved quickly to restore iconodulism. In 787 she convened a council at Nicea. The council not only declared icon worship orthodox but mandatory. There the matter lay for awhile.
But Leo V revived the war on icons; his son followed his lead. When Leo’s grandson came to the throne at the age of two, history repeated itself: his mother, Theodora, sided with icon worship. She summoned a synod that restored icons to the churches. Ever since, that day has been celebrated in the East as the Triumph of Orthodoxy.21The Feast of Orthodoxy is celebrated on the first Sunday of Great Lent.
The Procession of the Spirit (1054)
Historians often say that the Greek mind has always been fascinated with philosophical subtleties. Practic-ally, this means that the East was usually aflood with Christological heresies. Sub-ordinationism took on one flavor after another. The form with which the Eastern Church in the end felt most comfortable involved the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. Remember, the Council of Constantinople had said that the Holy Spirit “proceeds from the Father,” and no more. But the Western churches in their ongoing struggle with Arianism had developed the doctrine further: they understood that the Spirit belongs to both the Father and the Son and that He proceeds from both. To express this doctrine they slowly began to add the words “and the Son” to the creed. In Latin those three words are one: filioque.
The Eastern Church was outraged at this addition to the creed—first, because the change was made without the assent of an ecumenical council; second, because the Church believed the doctrine was fundamentally wrong, that it struck at the unity of the Godhead. This theological division between East and West eventually erupted in ecclesiastical and political division.
In 1054 a papal legate, without due authorization, laid a letter of excommunication on the altar of Hagia Sophia.22The pope who had commissioned the cardinal had recently died leaving his mission to discuss a military alliance(!) dead in the water. The Byzantine patriarch summoned a council that retaliated by excommunicating the West-ern church. And so the Eastern and Western churches went their separate ways, and the nations within their pales followed suit.
The issues here were subtle, but their long-term implications were profound. While the West maintained the true equality of the Father and the Son, the East moved toward an emphasis on divine unity that opened the door to mysticism.
…[I]n such theology, the Father becomes the solitary Source and Origin of the Godhead. His unitary authority flows downward in good imperial and bureaucratic fashion to and through the Son and Spirit. In an ontological sense He is alone and isolated, receiving back nothing, only originating. He has no equal, no Fellow. In such a theology, authority is more basic than communion, and the Father’s two revelations of Himself in the gospel and in nature, in Church and State, are without any direct connection…. A naturalistic mysticism replaces covenantal and forensic theology, for God is at least as likely to manifest Himself through icons and incense as through the preached word.23Greg Uttinger, “The Procession of the Spirit: Some Implications,” Leben, A Journal of Reformation Life, vol. 12, no. 1, 23.
The end of the theology of single procession is a mysticism that among the less educated quivers on the border of magic. Military history and science both testify that mystics fair poorly against political visionaries armed with scimitars and canon.
The Crusades (1095-1291)
Now we come to the four hundred years of the Crusades. The spark came when emperor Alexis I sent a letter to the West, asking for help. The Muslims were again at the gate, and Con-stantinople was desperate. What Alexis got was a series of wars dedicated to freeing Jerusalem from Muslim domination.24For evidence and arguments that this was indeed what the Crusades were primarily about, see Rodney Stark, God’s Battalions: The Case for the Crusades (New York: Harper One, 2009). Throughout these eight or nine military engagements, tensions be-tween the East and the West were high. The 4th Crusade actually ended with the sack of Constantinople.
The emperors generally distrusted the crusaders and the crusaders the emperor. But their goals were radically different. The emperors wanted to stop the advance of Islam and preserve their capital. The crusaders wanted to free Jerusalem and the Holy Land from Muslim domination, and that meant establishing a permanent Christian military and social presence in the Middle East. In the end, both dreams failed. The West lost Jerusalem in 1187 and the rest of its associated cities in 1291. Constantinople endured into the 15th century as the hostile Ottoman Empire rose to power across the straits.
The End of the World (1453)
In May of 1453 Constantinople fell to armies of Mohammed the Conqueror. The city was sacked; its citizens were massacred by thethousands. A few ships escaped from a nearby port to bear the news to the West: “Byzantium is fallen!” Church bells pealed in sorrow and supplication to God. Clearly, the end of the world was at hand. The Empire was dead, the False Prophet held the Holy Land, and the coming of Christ must surely be at hand.
And yet in the West the fall of Constantinople fueled new birth. The collapse of the Empire and the closing of the trade routes—and, yes, the conviction that the End was nigh—fired the ambition of explorers and adventurers to seek safer, faster trade routes and to reach the ends of the earth with the gospel in the short time Christendom had left. Furthermore, Eastern scholars who fled west brought with them all sorts of manuscripts to fuel the burgeoning Renaissance. Of greatest importance were copies of the Greek New Testament (the Byzantine Text) with which the Reformers would challenge papal authority and on which they would construct their theology and demands for reform.
The legacies of Constantinople and the Byzantine world are beyond number. The battle for orthodox Christology was won in the East.
Byzantine armies, navies, and walls held the forces of Islam at bay for centuries. And Constantinople preserved intact much of the learning of the ancient world. Particularly, it preserved the most accurate manuscripts of the New Testament until God was ready to use them in the West.25And the time would fail to tell us of Cyril and Methodius, of the conversion of Russia, of the introduction of the silk industry into the West, and a thousand other commercial and industrial legacies. Though the Byzantine world certainly had its shortcomings, heresies, and failures, it was a Christian civilization that endured a thousand years. We dismiss its legacy and service at our peril.
|Though he postponed baptism till the end of his life, it was a common practice born of a superstitious understanding of baptism.
|The Son is of like essence (homoiousion) with the Father: He’s really, really like God.
|“We believe” was the Eastern formulation; the churches of the West said, “I believe.”
|Greg Uttinger, “Christianity 101: Christology after Chalcedon,” Chalcedon, Sept 2002, <http://chalcedon.edu/research/articles/the-theology-of-the-ancient-creeds-part-5-christology-after-chalcedon/>.
|Augustine of Hippo wrote The City of God to set the event within a biblical philosophy of history.
|Jerome, “To Principia” (Letter 127) in Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. 6. Ed., Philip Schaff and Henry Wace (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1893.
|Lars Brownworth, Lost to the West, The Forgotten Byzantine Empire that Rescued Western Civilization (New York: Crown Publishing, 2009), 52.
|This is the same Leo whose Tome carried the day at the Council of Chalcedon in 451.
|George Grant, The Last Crusader, The Untold Story of Christopher Columbus (Wheaton, IL: Crossways Books, 1992), 35.
|In that day, actresses were prostitutes.
|The old one, like a good deal of the capital, had been destroyed in the Nika riots sparked by Justinian’s oppressive taxes.
|Victoria Hammond, Visions of Heaven: The Dome in European Architecture (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2005), 165.
|The number of the rebel dead was about 30,000.
|In his Antapodosis VI, 5, 8. Cited in Cyril A. Mango, The Art of the Byzantine Empire 312-1453: Sources and Documents (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1986), 209.
|Greg Uttinger, “Iconodulism,” Chalcedon, Jan/Feb 2009, <http://chalcedon.edu/faith-for-all-of-life/a-crown-of-thorns-reigning-through-suffering/icondulism-reaching-out-and-touching-god/>
|Those on both sides of the controversy objected to the other’s icons but not to their own.
|Albert Henry Newman, A Manual of Church History, Vol. 1 (Philadelphia: The American Baptist Publication Society, 1933), 389.
|The Feast of Orthodoxy is celebrated on the first Sunday of Great Lent.
|The pope who had commissioned the cardinal had recently died leaving his mission to discuss a military alliance(!) dead in the water.
|Greg Uttinger, “The Procession of the Spirit: Some Implications,” Leben, A Journal of Reformation Life, vol. 12, no. 1, 23.
|For evidence and arguments that this was indeed what the Crusades were primarily about, see Rodney Stark, God’s Battalions: The Case for the Crusades (New York: Harper One, 2009).
|And the time would fail to tell us of Cyril and Methodius, of the conversion of Russia, of the introduction of the silk industry into the West, and a thousand other commercial and industrial legacies.