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Round 1. backtoreality V MemoryShock: The Crusades

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posted on Jun, 24 2005 @ 10:58 AM
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The topic for this debate is "The Crusades are early examples of modern colonialism and imperialism"

backtoreality will be arguing for this proposition and will open the debate.
MemoryShock will argue against this proposition.

Each debater will have one opening statement each. This will be followed by 3 alternating replies each. There will then be one closing statement each and no rebuttal.

No post will be longer than 800 words and in the case of the closing statement no longer than 500 words. In the event of a debater posting more than the stated word limit then the excess words will be deleted by me from the bottom. Credits or references at the bottom do not count towards the word total.

Editing is Strictly forbidden. This means any editing, for any reason. Any edited posts will be completely deleted.

Excluding both the opening and closing statements only one image may be included in each post. No more than 5 references can be included at the bottom of each post. Opening and closing statements must not contain any images, and must have no more than 3 references.

Responses should be made within 24 hours, if people are late with their replies, they run the risk of forfeiting their reply and possibly the debate.

Judging will be done by an anonymous panel of 13 judges. After each debate is completed it will be locked and the judges will begin making their decision. Results will be posted by me as soon as a majority (7) is reached.

This debate is now open, good luck to both of you.




posted on Jun, 25 2005 @ 09:58 AM
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In this debate, it will be shown that beginning in 1096, for nearly 200 years, the crusades were responsible for the creation of an imperialistic state in the Arab world. There are many strong opinions on both sides, but the unavoidable fact of the matter is that territories were invaded, numberless innocent people were murdered, and highly valued religious artifacts and structures confiscated. This in ever sense of the word, is an imperialistic action.



posted on Jun, 25 2005 @ 03:44 PM
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I would like to thank Amorymeltzer and Nygdan for the opportunity to participate in this debate, in addition to wishing my opponent, backtoreality, the best of luck.

The Definition of Crusade:

Source: Merriam Webster
1 : capitalized : any of the military expeditions undertaken by Christian powers in the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries to win the Holy Land from the Muslims
2 : a remedial enterprise undertaken with zeal and enthusiasm


It is clear from the definition that the crusades were a defense of what was viewed in the Western World of the time as Christian lands, rather than the creator of a Muslim imperial state. Furthermore, the murders of many innocent people and the looting of religious and cultural artifacts are a result of many national, religious, and even base motivations, and thus, colonialism and imperialism do not necessarily follow as results of the crusades.

The crusades are not an example of modern colonialism and imperialism. Through the course of this debate, I’ll illustrate that the crusades were the result of religious motivations that resulted in no definite expansion of a singular national institution, which is an earmark of imperialism. I’ll also attempt to illustrate the importance of the separation of church and state in the affairs of a nation.

Imperialism and colonialism, the concepts usually go hand-in-hand and are the luxury of an established state with a secure social and economic base. Imperialism is the act of a national government spreading out for the conquering and acquisition of territory and resource to increase the economic gain of the state. The prominent societal rule at the time of the First Crusade was feudalism, and feudalism is hardly a consistent governing institution, rather it is a series of territories, each held together by the strength of their respective landholders and loosely connected to a national identity. In fact, the crusades in general were undertaken by a combination of nationalities at any given time, having agreed to battle in the Middle East as a response to Islam first and then, only by association, the Seljuk Turks. The motivation for the First Crusade and subsequent crusades was religious and the goal was the taking back of Jerusalem for Christianity.

To further show the religious motivation…..
The Muslim expansion into the holdings of the Byzantine Empire prompted Alexius I, emperor of the Byzantine Empire, to contact Pope Urban II for help in dealing with the Muslim expansion and resultant threat to the Byzantine Empire. At the Council of Claremont in November of 1095, Pope Urban II called for



the faithful now go against the infidels and end with victory this war which should have been begun long ago

en.wikipedia.org...

The whole motivation for The First Crusade and thusly the running theme for the rest of the crusades, was that of religious right, not of political or economic gain. Colonialism is the setting up of outposts and trading routes that connect back with the home nation and are usually integrated into said nation as populations and power increase. But the armies of the First Crusade, taken from Western Europe, were there for the aid and defense of the Byzantine Empire; Antioch was one of the initial Crusader states that Christianity won in the First Crusade and control was given to Alexius I. No material gain for the crusading armies as their goal was that of affiliation, not necessarily expansion. Along the way, they threatened Jewish and Islamic encounters with death if they refused to convert in favor of Christianity, showcasing their religious motivation. No economic returns were sought and no territories were retained for any authority other than the Christian way of life. Even political influence, a primary goal of imperialism, was challenged as Emperor Alexius I, demanded oaths to be sworn to him from the very people who were there to help him. www.algebra.com...

That the First Crusade was undertaken as a defense of Jerusalem and the Byzantine Empire by itself precludes any imperialistic motivations held by the leaders of Western Europe at the time. Likewise, the Muslim’s subsequent battling over the same piece of land highlights the disputed religious right. It was the on and off again cooperation of neighboring empires and nations and the overall absence of one overall government or ruling body that reinforces the lack of direction needed for imperialism.

The crusades are not an example of imperialism and can be supported by the definition of the concept. Imperialism is for political and economic power; the crusades were centered on religious right to The Holy Land.

The religious motivation of the crusades are precisely and definitively stated by this quote of the rally cry in the precursor to the First Crusade at The Council of Claremont…...



Deus le volt!" ("God wills it!").


www.m-w.com..." target="_blank" class="postlink" rel="nofollow"> www.m-w.com...



posted on Jun, 26 2005 @ 06:12 PM
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The deadline has more than passed, so backtoreality forfeits his reply. MemoryShock, you're up.



posted on Jun, 27 2005 @ 01:09 AM
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I hope all is well with backtoreality and look forward to his participation.

I would like to address an important aspect of my opponents opening argument……..


Originally posted by backtoreality
[snip]it will be shown that beginning in 1096, for nearly 200 years, the crusades were responsible for the creation of an imperialistic state in the Arab world.


That is actually quite untrue.

The Seljuk’s Were Defending Their Territory



Under Alp Arslan's successor Malik Shah I and his vizier Nizam al-Mulk the Seljuk state expanded in various directions so that it bordered China in the East and the Byzantine Empire in the West. When Malik Shah died in 1092 the empire split [snip]


The Seljuk Turk empire attained it’s peak in 1092, four years before the Pope called for the First Crusade. Expanding into Central Asia and containing Northern Africa, the Seljuk’s had attained enough power to be considered a viable threat by the Byzantine Empire and to Christianity at large by Western Christian States. The subsequent years of conflict that later became known as the Crusades were in actuality, a response to the imperial achievements of the Seljuk’s. The constant battle over South Eastern Europe and Northern Africa (Egypt especially) were defensive minded on both sides. Christianity was tasked with the defense of the Crusader States established as a result of The First Crusade, and Islam was in constant defense of not only Jerusalem in subsequent crusades, but of Cairo and the rest of Egypt, which were seen by the crusaders as strategic points in the quest for the Holy Land. Throughout the crusades, both sides lost and gained territory, negotiated several alliances and even a realized a truce that allowed Islam to retain control of The Holy Land but insured Christian access. The conflict was not that of expansion over lesser territories and nations, but that of a defensive campaign between two very strong influences. There was never a chance for either side to establish further colonization that would have lead to an economic contribution; the armies were clashing over religious rights.
www.nationmaster.com...


Later Crusades Were Also Motivated By Religion

The Northern Crusades (1193) and The Albigensian Crusades (1209-1229) had nothing to do with the Islam expansion; rather they were conducted within the heart of Europe itself and were aimed at the heretical populations who would/did not adhere to Catholic principles. Most notable was the Albigensian Crusades.

The Albigensian Crusade was the bloodiest and longest of the crusades and was targeted at the Cathors and the Waldensians, both offshoots of Christianity but not adherent to the Catholic teachings. The Cathors are especially notable, in that they were fairly well populated and they were situated in Southern France. After attempts at peaceful conversion, the papacy at the time called for a crusade and Promised Land to anyone who would take it from the Cathors. The separation of the church and state is actually quite evident here, in that the northern nobility of France is offered the land they take away from the heretics. Hardly the working of an imperialistic machine, but rather that of a clamoring social hierarchy tearing apart it’s religious enemy within its own borders. The Albigensian Crusade was eventually quieted by King Louis VIII, and lead to the creation of an inquisition which all but eliminated the Cathar reality.
en.wikipedia.org...


The Pope Was The One Who Would Call For A Crusade

The first six crusades, as well as the Northern Crusades and the Albigensian Crusades, were called by the papacy. This also helps to underscore the religious nature of the motivation for the crusades, as the French and English Monarchs recognized the authority of the church, along with the Emperor of The Holy Roman Empire. Each of the papal called crusades was either in defense of a Crusader State or for the recapture of The Holy Land. The Pope always promised an indulgence, or the forgiveness of all sins of the crusaders. Thus, the reason any given crusader had was religious in nature.
en.wikipedia.org...


To Summarize……..

*The Seljuk Turk Empire was established prior to the First Crusade. The subsequent conflicts were not expansion motivated, rather a response to the frequent Christian crusaders.

*The Northern and Albiginsian Crusades were held to suppress heretical populations within already held territory.

*All crusades were called by the existent Pope at the time until The Sixth Crusade.


I await the response of backtoreality……….


[edit on 6/28/2005 by Amorymeltzer]



posted on Jun, 27 2005 @ 10:41 PM
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Let me start this post by commending MemoryShock for his account of the motivation behind the beginnings of the Crusades, as well as some details peppered throughout the argument. However, for the foundation MemoryShock's argument, he takes a liking to Wikipedia; it is a curious stance to say the least. That is because if you take a trip over to the Wikipedia homepage, you will find their motto in large 15-point text:

Welcome to Wikipedia, the free-content encyclopedia that anyone can edit (my emphasis).
en.wikipedia.org...



Indeed, curious to say the least. But how can this be? It seems to be a reputable source. With more digging around, you will find buried at the bottom of the page this Disclaimer:


Wikipedia Makes No Guarantee of Validity

[...]Please be advised that nothing found here has necessarily been reviewed by professionals with the expertise necessary to provide you with complete, accurate or reliable information.

That is not to say that you will not find valuable and accurate information in Wikipedia; much of the time you will. However, Wikipedia cannot guarantee the validity of the information found here.
en.wikipedia.org...:General_disclaimer
"Much of the time"--Comforting.

And finally, on the same page, under the equally reassuring No Formal Peer Review section:


None of the authors, contributors, sponsors, administrators, sysops, or anyone else connected with Wikipedia in any way whatsoever can be responsible for the appearance of any inaccurate or libelous information or for your use of the information contained in or linked from these web pages.





As for myself, I prefer to use more respectable sources--ones in which the editing is done by professionals in the field. With this in mind, let's take a trip over to Encarta. A quick search for the Crusades turns up this statement in the introduction paragraph:

The Crusaders carved out feudal states in the Near East. Thus the Crusades are an important early part of the story of European expansion and colonialism. They mark the first time Western Christendom undertook a military initiative far from home, the first time significant numbers left to carry their culture and religion abroad.

encarta.msn.com...

That's a pretty damaging piece of information to the claim that the Crusades had nothing to due with colonialism. By the way, that quote came from my friend, Joel T. Rosenthal, B.A., M.A., Ph.D. It's hard to argue a source with that many disclaimers against someone with that many titles.



posted on Jun, 28 2005 @ 03:58 PM
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Nice Try


Originally posted by backtoreality
Let me start this post by commending MemoryShock for his account of the motivation behind the beginnings of the Crusades, as well as some details peppered throughout the argument. (my emphasis)


My opponent saw fit to commend me on my presentation as well as some of the details I used to support my position. This commendation carries with it an implicit approval of the facts I used and thusly, the sources I used. But he then continues abruptly after this to suggest that my sources are fallible and possibly inaccurate. This is a contradiction……is he stating that he approves of false data? Seeing as he ends his post by stating his preference for respectable sources, I have to assume that he does not approve of false data, and ergo his commendation of my “account” and “some details,” which are based on wikipedia, is that of an implicit recognition of the validity of my data. I have to then believe that my opponent decided to focus on a technicality, rather than attempt to dispute the facts that I have set forth, and instead focus his portion of the debate on irrelevancies.

To further defend my use of wikipedia, I would like to direct attention to the source list at the bottom of the ‘First Crusade’ page……..



But rather than delve further into the realms of off-topic land, I’m going to politely decline the inferred offer to turn this into a debate on the validity of wikipedia and provide alternative sources that corroborate and agree with the information I utilized from wikipedia….. i.e. the information is repeated and thus made credible by association.




The battle cry of the Christians, he urged, should be Deus volt [God wills it].


To reinforce the religious right that motivated the First Crusade…..



At Antioch all except Tancred and Raymond (who promised only to refrain from hostilities against the Byzantines) took the oath to Alexius, which bound them to accept Alexius as overlord of their conquests.(my emphasis)


To reinforce the crusaders ceding of territory to the Byzantine Empire, which flat out betrays the concept of imperialism and colonialism – how can an army take a territory and then bequeath possession of it to another authority if their goal is territorial expansion? It can’t.

The previous two quotes are both found on this source link…
www.factmonster.com...



[snip]the faithful now go against the infidels and end with victory this war which should have been begun long ago.

www.templarhistory.com...

Another source for an excerpt of the sermon of The Council of Claremont, by Pope Urban II….reinforcing the religious right of the crusaders.



After the death of Malikshah in 1092, internal conflict among the young heirs led to the fragmentation of the Seljuks' central authority into smaller Seljuk states led by various members of the family, and still smaller units led by regional chieftains, no one of whom was able to unite the Muslim world as still another force appeared in the Middle East: the Crusaders. (my emphasis)

www.islamicweb.com...

Another source that reinforces the height of the Seljuk Turk Empire occurred prior to the crusades, which was stated to refute the claim my opponent made in his opening argument.



[snip]to take action against high nobles in southern France who permitted Cathars[snip]
Pope Innocent III reacted by proclaiming a crusade against the 'sinister race' of Languedoc. His Bull offered indulgences for combatants declared that the heretics' lands were open to be taken. [snip](my emphasis)

www.xenophongroup.com...

Another source corroborating the goals of the Albigensian Crusades, which were focused on the expunging of heretical religions to the Catholic Church. The first statement within the quote reaffirms the fact that this particular crusade was held within it’s own borders……no imperial/colonial consequences here.

Now that the integrity of my argument has been emphasized, let’s reset our focus.
My opponent states rather bluntly this quote….



The Crusaders carved out feudal states in the Near East. Thus the Crusades are an important early part of the story of European expansion and colonialism.


…..and believes that a name with three degrees will distract from the subjective nature of the assertion. There are no supporting facts…….indeed, it is a loose rewording of the debate topic!!!!! Furthermore, I have shown earlier that the Byzantine Empire was a huge benefactor of the early crusades……receiving territory that was won by Western European military forces. This is not the nature of expansion, much less imperialism; rather it is the cooperation of nations due to spiritual identification.


I await the response of backtoreality.......



posted on Jun, 28 2005 @ 11:51 PM
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I'm glad to see that things are progressing so nicely!



To answer your questions, sir:

Originally posted by MemoryShock
My opponent saw fit to commend me on my presentation as well as some of the details I used to support my position. This commendation carries with it an implicit approval of the facts I used and thusly, the sources I used.

I'm not sure how this analysis came about. Actually, that commendation carried with it a think coating of sarcasm, based on your sources.
(next time I will properly note sarcasm as not to confuse any further)



I have to then believe that my opponent decided to focus on a technicality, rather than attempt to dispute the facts that I have set forth, and instead focus his portion of the debate on irrelevancies.

Irrelevancies?? "Nice Try". The citing of sources to bolster your case that claim No Guarantee of Validity is far from being irrelevant. Rather, this is what is referred to as a 'baseless argument'--or 'inadmissible' if you take a liking to things technically.



To further defend my use of wikipedia, I would like to direct attention to the source list at the bottom of the ‘First Crusade’ page……..


Cute smile there, but I'm afraid there isn't much that can be done to defend your usage of Wikipedia. At this point, it does not matter if the source(s) were time-traveling Crusaders themselves; when content can be edited at will by anyone with a keyboard and internet connection, the validity of the source is ruined.




But rather than delve further into the realms of off-topic land, I’m going to politely decline the inferred offer to turn this into a debate on the validity of wikipedia and provide alternative sources that corroborate and agree with the information I utilized from wikipedia….. i.e. the information is repeated and thus made credible by association.

Perhaps we are at a misunderstanding here. Let me explain, if I may. In my previous post, I cited a respectable encyclopedia--one without broad disclaimers of its' content--to illustrate the commonly accepted view of the Crusades [let me know if you need the link again; the supporting facts are all there]. Most often in debates, current events and/or socially-filtered 'hot points' are the topics. In this case, however, the Crusades took place more then 700 years ago, allowing more than enough adequate time for an accurate analysis of the events and their consequences. If the accepted view of the Crusades is one of expansion and colonialism--"a loose rewording of the debate topic", as you so eloquently stated, then the burden of proof lies with you to show otherwise. Thus, while 'politely declining the inferred offer to turn this into a debate on the validity of [sources]', it is clear that your entire argument depends on it. Welcome back from off-topic land.

By the way, 'credible by association' does not work for content that can be edited at will'. "
" [sarcasm]



p.s. Glad to see the proper usage of 'my emphasis'. Let's keep it clean!



posted on Jun, 29 2005 @ 10:24 PM
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The Road That Leads To Jerusalem


encarta.msn.com...

The sequential path of the territories southward is towards Jerusalem, which was the goal of the First Crusade. There is virtually no eastward expansion, no branching out towards the mainland. It is apparent that the creation of the Crusader States was to create a safe passageway for journeying Christians to the Holy Land. This does not support imperialism in any way. Even colonialism isn’t readily illustrated in this arrangement of territory, as Antioch became a Byzantine affiliation and there is no singular national institution.

Throughout the crusades many different nations contributed to the war effort. The first crusade consisted of mostly French, while the second and third crusades was comprised of English, French, and German forces; the English forces further showcasing a diverse national European identity with Flemish, Norman, Frisian, Scottish representations

From the 11th century to the 14th century, we see Europe without one sovereign ruler; the decline of the Holy Roman Empire left Western Europe in a series of feudal territories. In fact, Europe has been for all of its history without one ruler. So the idea of a European imperialistic charge is sketchy to begin with. That the evolution of feudalism in Middle Age Europe into the nation-states of early modern times precludes any imperial institution; the colonies established Europe has always been a series of governing powers. Throughout the crusades many different nations contributed to the war effort. The first crusade consisted of mostly French, while the second and third crusades was comprised of English, French, and German forces; the English forces further showcasing a diverse national European identity with Flemish, Norman, Frisian, Scottish representations.
Warring nation states of Europe, as was the case with the French and English in The Hundred Years War, are adverse to the concept of imperialism as well ......if the root imperial is to be understood as empire like,



im•pe•ri•al
1. Of, relating to, or suggestive of an empire or a sovereign, especially an emperor or empress: imperial rule; the imperial palace.[/url]

dictionary.reference.com...

….then the conflicts of relatively small European nations do not qualify as a sovereign.

Back to backtoreality……(I couldn’t resist…..)

[edit on 6/30/2005 by Amorymeltzer]



posted on Jun, 30 2005 @ 09:28 PM
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Closing Statement

To begin, I would like to review a few key definitions in order to get a clear understanding of what we are looking for in this debate:


Imperialism: The policy of extending a nation's authority by territorial acquisition or by the establishment of economic and political hegemony over other nations. [1]

Colonialism: A policy by which a nation maintains or extends its control over foreign dependencies. [1]

Nation: A people who share common customs, origins, history, and frequently language; a nationality. [1]



At the time of the First Crusades, Western European Christians were emerging from a long series of battles with the Magyars from Asia. They were finally at a stage where momentum was in their favor and the economy was improving. With this newfound success, it was decided to make a bold move on another strong enemy--the Islamic forces--and retake the Holy Land.

Coming out of long unrest, instigating another battle might have been a hard sell. However, due to reforms whereby kings no longer could elect important clergy into office, the religious power shifted and the tides turned back toward the popes of the time. With the religious signifigance of the Holy Land to the Christians and the economic motivation to control the Mediterranian to the traders, the Crusades became an easy sell.

The First Crusade was a success in freeing the Holy Land from the grip of the Islamic forces and installing a permanent military presence for the next 200 years. With the goal accomplished, it would apprear that the satisfaction of the Christian Europeans would be fullfilled. Those with power, however, saw things differently and decided that the new goal would be a permanent Christian presence in the land. Under the mask of protecting the Holy Land, they saught to implement thier culture and military in order to insure the Holy Land would not be lost again.

Since the story took place so long ago, we can step back and see the events in context of the entire Crusades. The religious effort of the Crusades would soon become even more entangled with Eastern European politics as the protectors of the Holy Land--Knights--were under the control of leaders back in the West. Again, those in power saw the situation in the Holy Land and looked to benefit from it.

While it is true that there was no one single person in charge of the Crusades, it is clear that the power was at first in the hands of the popes, then gradually slipped away and was taken by those princes and politicans in Western Europe. Thus, while the power may have shifted and became shared over time, it still laid in the 'nation', satisfying both definitions of imperialism and colonialism. Using the definition of a nation, it is also clear that a nation need not be a clearly defined country/region/etc. A nation can imply a region in which people share the same history and customs. The Crusades were waged by Christian Europeans, who undoubtedly share the same history of fighting the Magyars and customs--the fact that the foundation of their beliefs were shared.


My genuine thanks go out to all those who dontated their time and energy to make this debate possible.



References

[1] www.dictionary.com...
[2] encarta.msn.com...



posted on Jul, 1 2005 @ 12:54 AM
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In Closing........



Originally posted by backtoreality
They were finally at a stage where momentum was in their favor and the economy was improving. With this newfound success, it was decided to make a bold move on another strong enemy--the Islamic forces--and retake the Holy Land.


Except that it wasn’t a decision that was made with an antagonistic mindset…….it was a defensive move agreed to by the Roman Catholic Church, prompted by foul cries of the Byzantine Empire.

The motivation for the crusades is the deciding factor in whether or not we can attribute an imperialistic status to the European states and Christianity as a whole. I have shown that it was a defense of the Byzantine Empire, or Eastern Europe due to the arrival of the Seljuk Turks. I have shown the religious nature of the crusades through the Albigensian Crusade, which sought to suppress any heretical populations within its own borders. And I have shown that the territory gained as the Crusader States were in a straight path that led to The Holy Land. The straightest line between two points, without regard for any surrounding lands, clearly an obvious manifestation of their religious goals.

The Crusader States were the only territories to be established through the crusades and were the source of most conflicts to follow, a conflict that Islam would eventually win. Through the constant feuding over these particular territories is where we see the ultimate reasoning of the crusades, that of defense.



The ease with which the Ottoman Empire achieved military victories led Western Europeans to fear that ongoing Ottoman success would collapse the political and social infrastructure of the West and bring about the downfall of Christendom. Such a momentous threat could not be ignored and the Europeans mounted crusades against the Ottomans in 1366, 1396, and 1444, but to no avail. The Ottomans continued to conquer new territories.

www.allaboutturkey.com...


Early on in the crusades it was the Seljuk Turks; in the later stages it was the Ottoman Empire. And the Ottomans eventually won this battle, the last crusades were resultant in the retention of the Holy Land by Islam and an agreement for Christianity for visitation rights.

The fact that the crusades happened so long ago does give us an opportunity to step back and look at the entire picture. And in doing that we can see several things…….European forces were divided over their own lands, Western Europe was separated from Eastern Europe by a religious concept into the Eastern Orthodox Church and The Roman Catholic Church, and throughout the crusades land changed hands quite frequently. These details show a very active political and religious arena with quite a few authorities, and the conflicts that necessarily follow a diverse and multiple power base. Not a nice and tidy region that is united through commonalities, but a population that is willing to go to war for spiritual reasons where their governments and localities failed to provide a sense of continuity.

(edit for word count)

[edit on 7/1/2005 by Amorymeltzer]



posted on Jul, 1 2005 @ 07:55 AM
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Nicely done, to both of you. Your fate is now in the hands of the judges.



posted on Jul, 6 2005 @ 11:10 AM
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Good job gentlemen debators. Memoryshock has won by a landslide. Congratulations! But don't rest too easily, your position is up for grabs in the next round.

Comments:

[Memoryshock] put together and put forward a stronger argument with what I view as more in-depth knowledge of the subject.


There was some concern over the issue of the authority of Wikipedia being a distraction from the debate topic itself.




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