By Bernard Lewis

Publish yr note: First released in 1995
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With beauty and erudition, Lewis explores that climactic 12 months of 1492 as a conflict of civilizations - a conflict not just of the recent international and the previous but in addition of Christendom, Islam, and the Jews. within the related 12 months that Columbus set sail around the Atlantic, he reminds us, the Spanish monarchs captured Granada, the final Muslim stronghold at the peninsula, and likewise expelled the Jews. Lewis makes use of those 3 epochal occasions to discover the character of the growth of Europe, putting the voyages of discovery in a impressive new context. He lines Christian Europe's course from primitive backwater at the edges of the large cosmopolitan Caliphate, in the course of the heightening competition of Christianity and Islam, to the triumph of the West, studying the standards at the back of their altering fortunes.

That contest lengthy remained extra vital in lots of Christians minds than the hot global: as past due as 1683, Vienna nearly fell to the Ottoman armies. Lewis additionally displays on altering features in ecu and Islamic cultures and where of the Jews in either. The Jews who fled Spain chanced on a receptive surroundings in Turkey; however the stability of tolerance and openness to innovation progressively shifted west. The voyages of discovery have been themselves part of the Christian-Muslim clash, he writes, an try and outflank the Islamic global.

The eu explorers sailed right into a global they scarcely understood; and but they imposed their very own perceptions of geography at the lands they conquered. Africa, Asia, the center and much East, the outdated and New Worlds - as highbrow innovations, all are ecu creations, Lewis observes; sarcastically, those related definitions were authorised through even the main anti-Western activists.

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Additional resources for Cultures in Conflict: Christians, Muslims, and Jews in the Age of Discovery

Sample text

Not surprisingly, the Mamluks were unable to resist either the Portuguese coming from the south or the Ottomans coming from the north. Their attitude is well expressed by the Egyptian historian Ibn Zunbul, writing after the Ottoman conquest of Egypt. According to him, a captured Mamluk emir confronted the Ottoman sultan Selim and told him: You have patched up an army from all parts of the world: Christians, Greeks, and others, and you have brought with you this contrivance, artfully devised by the Christians of Europe when they were incapable of meeting the Muslim armies on the battlefield.

But it remained immensely powerful and still confronted Europe at both ends of the Mediterranean. In 1453, the Turkish conquest of Constantinople dealt a devastating blow to Eastern Christendom and posed a major challenge to the West. By 1478, the Turks ruled the lands of the Greeks, the Albanians, the Romanians, and the south Slavs, and their advance forces had reached the outskirts of Venice. In 1480, with the capture of Otranto, they gained a foothold in Italy. The Spanish conquest of Granada was a major victory, which proved decisive in saving southwestern Europe.

In 1085, with the capture of Toledo by Alfonso VI, the Christian reconquest of the Iberian Peninsula was well under way. After some setbacks, it was resumed, and the great victory of Las Navas de Tolosa in 1212 broke the back of Muslim power in the peninsula. Only a few local Muslim states remained, which the advancing Christians overwhelmed one by one. Granada was the last. In the parallel reconquest of eastern Europe, Dmitri Donskoi, prince of Moscow, won a great victory at the Battle of Kulikovo in 1380 against the Tatars.

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