The verdict seems unanimous. From presidential speeches to role-playing games, the crusades are depicted as a deplorably violent episode in which thuggish Westerners trundled off, unprovoked, to murder and pillage peace-loving, sophisticated Muslims, laying down patterns of outrageous oppression that would be repeated throughout subsequent history. In many corners of the Western world today, this view is too commonplace and apparently obvious even to be challenged.
The author, Paul Crawford, goes on to identify four common myths about the Crusades. He provides a nice discussion of each myth, so you’ll want to read the whole post. But, here are the four misconceptions he engages:
- The crusades represented an unprovoked attack by Western Christians on the Muslim world.
- Western Christians went on crusade because their greed led them to plunder Muslims in order to get rich.
- Crusaders were a cynical lot who did not really believe their own religious propaganda; rather, they had ulterior, materialistic motives.
- The crusades taught Muslims to hate and attack Christians.