Friday, May 18, 2012

"Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited" Reviewed

I had been planning to purchase this book for a while but have put it off for too long.

From all of the reviews that I have read, it appears that Emmet Scott makes solid arguments that, far from a Classical Word that was brought back by Islam, that culture was effectively destroyed by the Muslim conquests and the ensuing raiding/slave taking that continued well into the 19th Century.

The following link has a very good review. It happens to have been written by Fjordmann, the writer who has been blamed in the most awful and unfair manner by the Leftist Press for having incited Anders Breivik to go on his murder rampage. I have read most of Fjormann's works, and cannot find one thing that anyone would take to be of an violent or hateful nature:

Exeprts of the review are below:

'He shows convincingly that archaeological excavations paint a very clear picture of devastation brought by the Arab conquests throughout the entire Mediterranean region, from Syria to Spain, in the seventh century AD.

The Belgian historian Henri Pirenne in his work Mohammed and Charlemagne, published posthumously in 1937, suggested that Islam and the Arab conquests constituted the real dividing line between the civilization of Greco-Roman Antiquity and that of medieval Europe. Moreover, Islamic raids in the Mediterranean partially cut Europeans off from their Classical roots. Scott supports this hypothesis but goes even further than Pirenne — who focused on Europe — by showing that the Arab conquests and Islamic repression largely destroyed Greco-Roman Classical civilization in North Africa and parts of the Middle East, which were more urbanized than Europe.

In short, rather than preserving the Classical heritage, as their apologists like to claim, Arabs and Muslims did more than anybody else to wipe out Greco-Roman civilization. The modest contributions they made by preserving certain Greek texts through Arabic translations cannot in any way make up for this massive wave of destruction.

The author also describes how certain ideas such as an early version of the Inquisition, the concept of Holy War and other often negative innovations were spread due to Islam. The first massacres of Jews in Europe were carried out in Spain by Muslim mobs early in the eleventh century; in 1011 (in Cordoba) and 1066 (in Granada).

He rejects the distorted and romanticized view of Muslim tolerance. On the contrary, with the Arab conquest of North Africa and Spain, “a reign of terror was to commence that was to last for centuries.” After the appearance of Islam, “the Mediterranean was no longer a highway, but a frontier, and a frontier of the most dangerous kind. Piracy, rapine, and slaughter became the norm – for a thousand years!” Yet this fact has been almost completely overlooked by historians, especially those of northern European extraction. As Scott concludes in his book:"

     "With the arrival of Islam, Mediterranean Europe was never again at peace – not until the early part of the nineteenth century, anyway. Muslim privateers based in North Africa, the Barbary Pirates, terrorized the Mediterranean until after the end of the Napoleonic Wars. In the centuries preceding that, Muslim armies, first in the form of the Almoravids and later the Ottomans, launched periodic large-scale invasions of territories in southern Europe; and even when they were not doing so, Muslim pirates and slave-traders were involved in incessant raids against coastal settlements in Spain, southern France, Italy, Dalmatia, Albania, Greece, and all the Mediterranean islands. This activity continued unabated for centuries, and the only analogy that springs to mind is to imagine, in northern Europe, what it would have been like if the Viking raids had lasted a thousand years. It has been estimated that between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries Muslim pirates based in North Africa captured and enslaved between a million and a million-and-a-quarter Europeans. Although their attacks ranged as far north as Iceland and Norway, the impact was most severe along the Mediterranean coasts of Spain, France and Italy, with large areas of coastline eventually being made uninhabitable by the threat."

"Because of this constant Islamic threat for more than a thousand years, the Mediterranean coastal lands of southern Europe from Spain to the Balkans had to live in a state of constant alert, with fear of pirates and Jihadist slave raids never far removed. A similar pattern can be detected in the Black Sea region, from Romania to Russia."

Scott seems to have done a fantastic job of improving on the early 20th Century work of Henri Pirenne, Mohammed and Charlemagne. Pirenne's book, as it did not toe the line of even the Academia of his time, was set aside and ignored. It was he who went against the grain by asserting that, although the commercial and literary health of the Mediterranean was surely diminished by the fall of the Western Roman Empire, it was nowhere near destroyed until the arrival of the Arab and Berber armies beginning in the 8th Century. 

I too have long felt that the party line was simply unbelievable. The nations and regions that eventually threw off Islamic rule had functioned as frontier states for so long that their cultures had to have been strongly effected by this period.

When one notes the appreciable differences with Southern Italian (Parts of which were ruled by Islam for a period and raiding was ongoing) and Sicilian people verses those of Northern Italy, these seem to too obvious to be coincidental. 

Booker T. Washington toured Sicily and was so appalled at the working conditions, for young children as well as adults, that he labeled these as slavery. That island was ruled by Muslims, from almost of all of it to its entirety for over 250 years. Note what Washington stated about Sicilian women:

“Sicilian women, who are looked upon by the men as inferior creatures and guarded by them as a species of property, live like prisoners in their own villages. Bound fast, on the one hand, by age-long customs, and on the other surrounded by a wall of ignorance which shuts out from them all knowledge of the outer world, they live in a sort of mental and moral slavery under the control of their husbands”

When one adds in the culture of organized crime of Sicily and Southern Italy, its social, economic, and educational backwardness, its dominating aristocratic rule, I submit that the parallels are too close to dismiss out of hand. This of course is only one example, but I hold that Booker T. Washington was not given to embellishing what he witnessed. I once read an essay that treated the differences between landowners in Northern and Southern Italy. While those of the North were mostly concerned with the efficiency and productivity of their farms, the Southern landlords were more concerned with status and being feared by the workers. Those familiar with US families of Southern Italian descent must also be familiar with the extents to which they took patriarchal culture. (I personally am not against patriarchal culture but there has to be some limits) know all too well of boys being told that they are not men if the are not having sex with multiple girls and girls being treated as the most immoral of creatures if they engage in a prohibited act even one time. 

I must note that this tradition of restricting wives to houses may very well have derived from what was originally a defensive or preemptive measure. Women who were walking unprotected were probably easy targets for rape and slave-taking by Muslim occupiers. Napoleon's difficulties in Sicily, Southern Italy, and even more so, in Spain and Portugal, may even have this as a cause. Shut your mouths and keep quiet when the French come in. We will kill them when they are in small groups or alone. That was likely the way they handled things while under Muslim rule.

Spain, Portugal, Southern Italy, Greece, and other regions that were ruled by Islamic dynasties never developed along the same lines as did other European regions. Nor is the pattern due to religion; Northern Italy and Belgium, both Catholic, as were the other regions of the more Northern latitudes, developed quite vibrant economies and were far ahead in the Arts, Literature (secular and religious), and Science. Spain, having regained much of her Northern regions early on, at least had a head start and was able to establish Universities in lands taken back by the Reconquista. Spain also was the source of more thinkers and writers than what can be found in countries that had been in similar situations.

Lands that were long exposed to Muslim raids became depopulated. They were marked by fortified strongholds in high places from which responding troops could be dispatched. This included much o Southern France and Central Italy. We all know about the Visigoths in 410 and the Vandals 455, but many are not aware that Rome was also sacked by Muslims in 846. The European people of the Mediterranean world lived in a state of anxiety for many centuries This went on to include attacks on and slave taking from ships of the new American Republic, especially during Jefferson's Presidency. 

Obama was partly right about the contributions of Muslims to early America - even liars often accidentally bring some truth into their lies. Muslims provided the impetus for our first post-Revolutionary military mission overseas. Lt. Presley O'Bannon's mission against the Barbary pirates is still noted today in the Marine Corps Hymn ' the shores of Tripoli'.

Another post by Fjormann that describes the wealth of accomplishments of European societies and the dearth of the same in those of Islam:

No comments:

Post a Comment