Crusade, Commerce and Culture by Aziz S. Atiya


By Aziz S. Atiya

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Between 604 and 611, on the eve of the Islamic revolution, the insignificant Arab tribe of Banu Bakr fought and defeated a Sassanid army at Dhu-qar between Wasit and Kufah on the bank of the Euphrates. This was a portentous demonstration that the great empire was no longer invulnerable even to the nomadic Arabs. The Arabs, hitherto divided in pre-Islamic times, were Muhammad in one religion and finally unified by the Prophet under one banner, with the injunction of the principle of Holy War, "al-Jihad," against all non-Muslims until the whole world was subdued to Islam, a word meaning "surrender/ that is, to the will of Allah.

Symptomatic Three written accounts in the Carolingian era are worthy of note, namely, the pilgrimages of Fidelis (c. 750-60) , of Bernard the Monk (867-70) , and of Fortmund (c. 870-74) The . of these personalities is probably of Irish origin, and he known to have visited and described the sacred sites of both first is Egypt and the Holy Land. The second was a monk of the Mont Saint Michel in Brittany, who undertook the voyage to the East with a certain Stephen from Spain and one Theudemund, probably a Frank.

N," or Unitarians, who incorporated all North Africa and Southern Spain into a single unit during the period 1130-1269. THE EASTERN QUESTION 51 command of Yusuf ibn Tashfin, who succeeded spirited in arresting the progress of the Christians. He defeated Alfonso VI at the battle of Zallaca in 1086, and Pope Urban II and on the French nobility to reinforce the Spanish Crusade. was not until 1118 that the balance of power was again tipped in favor of the Christians with Aragon's recovery of the important and strategic city of Saragossa.

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