Today: Pope Damasus organizes the Bible in 382; Britain conquers Jerusalem; Alcoholics Anonymous; Nazi Germany does FDR a favor and declares war on the U.S.; Christmas Music . . .
Today: Slavery, Dunmore’s Proclamation, Small Pox & The Ethiopian Regiment in the Revolutionary War; England’s Glorious Revolution; Lutefisk; John Milton; Christmas Music . . .
AND MORE . . . [Read more…]
A look at some of the history and holidays on November 26
Feast of St. Siricius, a Pope who lived and died in his 75th year, that also being the 15th year of his papacy, on this day in 399 A.D. He is an important Pope in the historical sense because he is the first Pope whose original writings are still extant. You can find an English translation here of a Decretal of the Pope, written in 385 A.D., answering fifteen questions of Cannon law. In it, he deals with a variety of issues, from priestly celibacy to baptism, and also with handling several of the heretical sects that competed with the early Church. They should be, he writes, cut off from the Church, but should they repent, the Church should accept them back “because, as the Lord teaches, we do not wish the death of a sinner, only that he be converted and live.”
1476 – Vlad the Impaler becomes ruler of Wallachia for the third time
Vlad Tepes, also known as Vlad Dracula, hero of Romania, son of Vlad Dracul, was a claimant to the throne of Wallachia during a period when Eastern Europe was under constant threat from the Muslim Turks of the Ottoman Empire. In an era of where ruthlessness and brutality were commonplace, Vlad Tepes stood out for his ruthlessness and brutality.
By 1476, Vlad had already twice been ruler of Wallachia, an area that the Ottoman Sultan looked upon as a tributary state. It is not clear precisely why Vlad was forced to vacate his crown the first time, but his second reign ended when he refused to pay tribute to the Sultan. That brought war with the Turks and, despite winning several military victories over an invading Ottoman army, Vlad did not have the numbers to continue the fight and withdrew. By 1476, the Ottomans had installed their preferred ruler, Basarab Laiota, on the throne, but Vlad, in an alliance with Stephen the Great and Stephen V Báthory, began an invasion that forced Laiota to flee. On this date in 1476, Vlad would be crowned ruler of Wallachia for a third and last time.
His reign was short, however. Laiota returned to Wallachia with an Ottoman army. Vlad the Impaler died fighting them in battle in January, 1477. Much later, he rose from the dead in 1897 to become the lead character in Bram Stoker’s novel, Dracula.
It is interesting to note that the efforts of rulers like Vlad Dracula to resist the Ottoman Turks ultimately proved successful. Even today, the population of Romania is less than 1% Muslim.
A look at some of the history and holidays on November 23
Repose of Alexander Nevsky: Nevsky was a deeply religious Russian Orthodox Prince of Novgorod, a skilled politician and a successful military commander during the 13th century, a time when his kingdom was being overrun by the Mongolian Golden Horde from the East, and under attack by Teutonic Knights from the West. His story is long and a bit convoluted, though quite interesting. His story is told from the perspective of the Russian Orthodox Church here.
1248 – Reconquista of Spain: Muslims surrender Seville
As the colored areas of the map above shows, during the first 148 years after the death of Mohammed, between 622 and 750, Muslims spread their religion by the sword to the West, reaching all of the way to India, and to the East across all of North Africa and, in Europe, they conquered most of Spain as well in between 711 and 788, the so-called Umayyyad Caliphate conquest of Hispania. But for the great French Duke Charles Martel, who in 732 decisively defeated an Islamic army invading from Spain into France at the Battle of Tours, all of Europe would have been conquered.
As to the Umayyad conquest of 8th century Spain, only Pelagius the Christian Visigoth King in a small area of the north, withstood the Muslim onslaught. The Reconquista of Spain by Christian forces is dated from Pelagius’s defeat of an attacking Muslim slave army at the Battle of Covadonga circa 722. The Reconquest in Spain took over 700 years as Christian forces drove back the Muslim invaders one stronghold at a time.
Today’s date in 1248 marked a major event in the Reconquista. In July of 1247, a Christian army led by King Ferdinand III of Castile had laid siege to the Muslim controlled city of Seville. On this date in 1248, the Muslim ruler of the town surrendered, This completed the reconquest of most of Spain, with the lone holdout being the Muslim enclave of Granada in the south. That would fall to the forces of Ferdinand and Isabella in 1492.
That is not the end of the story. As radical Islamists see it, any territory once conquered by Muslim invaders must remain Islamic. Jihad is justified to retake such lands. In 2001, al Qaeda justified terrorism in the West in part as a legitimate response to Christian “aggression” for cleansing Islam from al-Andalus (Islamic Spain) more than half a millennium earlier. As Austin Bay stated in 2004:
Spain was an Islamist target before 9-11. . . . For Islamists, 1492 isn’t the year Columbus “discovered” America, it’s the year Spain completed the “reconquista” — the elimination of Iberia’s Moorish (Muslim) states. Osama bin Laden bitterly lamented the loss of Al Andalus (Spain). His claims of “humiliation” resonated with European leftists. . . .
Sadie tipped me off to two interesting articles, both of which concern Turkey (not the fowl food, but the increasingly foul Islamist nation).
The first notes a peculiar co-inky-dink: all of America’s policies since the 1990s have just coincidentally helped return to the Islamic fold myriad nations that were once part of the Islamic Ottoman Empire. That Empire, of course, shrank down to just Turkey, which was a secular state for decades.
The second points out that Turkey’s nascent renaissance as the New Ottoman Empire might be looking beyond its former borders. Turkey is now sponsoring a new mega-mosque in Maryland which, when done, will be the largest mosque in the West:
The massive facility, which will be called Turkish American Culture and Civilization Center, will span 15 acres and will feature five buildings, including a mosque “constructed using sixteenth century Ottoman architecture that can hold 750 worshipers.” It will be a place that will help counter an epidemic of “Islamophobia” in the United States, according to Turkish government officials who recently visited the construction site. The delegation was led by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose goals include increasing Islamist influence in America.
Do I need to remind anyone here that the first thing Muslims do when they conquer a place is to build mosques that are the tallest buildings around? To us, it’s an amusing bit of architecture. To them, it’s a triumphalist statement of conquest.