An eclectic survey of this day in history
Christian Feast of the Lübeck martyrs, three Catholic and one Lutheran Priest executed on this date in 1943 for their opposition to the Nazis.
Christian Feast of Pope Leo I, one of the most consequential of the early Popes, he is best known for convincing Attila The Hun to turn back from his invasion of Italy. He died on this date in 461 A.D.
1202 – Fourth Crusade & The Siege of Zara
The major challenge to the Western World for the millennium beginning in the 8th century came from a Muslim world bent on conquest and imposing their religion by the sword. These Muslim armies, from 700 A.D. until their final defeat in 1683 A.D. at the Gates of Vienna, accomplished the largest imperial expansion in all of history.
The Crusades were wars launched by Europe in response. Most were undertaken with the blessing of — and often at the direction of — the papacy. Most were aimed directly at driving back the Islamic invaders and rolling back their conquests. The Fourth Crusade started as one such war, in part to drive the Islamists out of Egypt, a country the Arab conquerors had overrun in 642 A.D. But it ended up being never setting foot in Egypt. Instead, the leaders of the Crusade began laying siege to and sacking Christian cities for their wealth, including the center of Eastern European Christianity, Constantinople (today known as Istanbul, Turkey). Pope Innocent III, threatened to excommunicate the leaders of this crusade when, on 10 Nov. 1202, they began a siege of the Christian town of Zara, Croatia.
The Fourth Crusade was a disaster for the West. It weakened south central European nations and, ironically, made them ripe for further Islamic conquest.