Page 1308


Abyssinia, Egypt, and Northern Africa, had

been eradicated by the followers of the

Prophet. The triumphant Crescent was

carried into Spain, and the Christian kingdom of the Visigoths went down before it.

The system of Christianity seemed on the

verge of extinction. Only Martel and his

line of battle-axes stood between the tottering

Cross and apparent doom.

When at last the tide rolled back and

the Pyrenees became the Thus far to Islam,

a deep-seated resentment took possession

of the mind of Barbarian Europe. An instinct of revenge postponed lay deep in the

sea-bed of European purpose. The West

said in her heart, "Vengeance is mine, I

will repay." When with the coming of the

eleventh century the prophetic Dies Iroe

went by, and the Christians came to see that

the drama of the world was not yet ended,

the recollection of the old feud with the

Mohammedans came back with redoubled

violence. Europe-she that trembled under

the shadow of impending fate-found time

and occasion to gratify her passions and

animosities as of old.

All ages and peoples have had their scapegoats. The meanness and barbaric gloom of

human nature have always found something

which they might rend and tear with popular

approval. The eleventh century discovered

its common enemy in the Infidel Turk. In

him were concentrated all the objective conditions of hatred. To destroy him and eradicate his stock from the earth was the one work

worthy of the praise of man and the favor of


The thoughtful reader of the preceding pages will already have discovered the

antecedent conditions or causes of the Crusades. The most general of these was the

long-suspended reaction of Christian Europe

against Mohammedan Asia. In the eighth

century Islam struck the West a staggering blow. As a result of the conquests of

Taric and Abdalrahman, Spain was severed

from her natural affinities and brought into

relations with the Asiatic states. The Spanish Crescent continued for centuries a flaunting menace to the followers of Christ. The

movement of the Mohammedans westward

through Africa and northward into Europe in the eighth century was answered

by the counter-movement of the Christians eastward through Europe and into Asia in

the eleventh. The sword of the living God was crossed with that of the dead Taric.

The more immediate and specific causes of

the uprising of the Christians against the

Infidels were to be found in the condition

of affairs in the Holy Land. About the

year 1050 the great sultan Togrul Beg, grandson of that Seljukwho gave his name to one

division of the Turkish race, came out of

the Northeast, overran Khorassan and other

provinces of Persia, and in 1055 took possession of Baghdad. His apparition, however, was that of a revolutionist rather than

a conqueror. He and his followers were

already disciples of Islam, and on assuming

authority in the Eastern Caliphate he took

the usual title of Commander of the Faithful. In 1063 he died and was succeeded by

his equally famous nephew Alp Arslan, or

the Valiant Lion. He continued the warlike

policy of his predecessor, drove back the

Byzantine Greeks, and captured the Emperor, Romanus Diogenes. He carried his

victorious arms from Antioch to the Black

Sea, and then turning about planned an expedition against Turkestan, the native seat of

his race. Having crossed the Oxus and taken

the first fortress in his route, he was assassinated by the governor of the town. The sultanate passed to his son Maiek Shah, who

transferred the capital of the East to Ispahan. Renewing the unfinished enterprise of

his father and grandfather, he extended the

Seljukian dominion from the borders of China

to the Bosphorus.

In the course of these triumphant campaigns of the Seljuks they came upon Palestine. This province was at the time an appendage of the Caliphate of Cairo, now under

the rule of those wild-mannered African Fatimites, successors of Abu Obeidallah. About

the year 1076 Jerusalem was taken by the

Turks, and the Fatimite governors were

obliged to retire into Egypt. The Holy City

fell under the dominion of the viceroys of

Maiek Shah, who instituted a high revel of

violence and outrage against both Christians

and Arabs.

For many years the fanatic religious sentiment of the West had prescribed a pilgrimage to some holy place as the best balm for

an inflamed conscience. The morbid soul of

the Western Frank saw in the sandal