By Michael Strassfeld

The coeditor of the tremendously renowned Jewish Catalog "help[s] readers comprehend extra absolutely the that means of our vacation trips and thereby to watch those fairs . . . with a better devotion and joy."--Rabbi Alexander M. Schindler

About the author
MICHAEL STRASSFELD is the rabbi of the Society for the development of Judaism, a synagogue. He lives in long island together with his spouse, Rabbi
Joy Levitt, and their 5 children.

Originally released in 1985.
E-published in 2011.

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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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