Posts Tagged With: Crusades

Templars of Fact and Fiction

The Templars played a part in the history of Among the Shadow‘s origins.  This was years ago,  when the Knights Templar became the central focus of novels, revisionist history books and films.  Suddenly, the medieval Knights were everywhere, from being in control of secret organizations, to being the key to finding lost treasures and solving religious mysteries. A new History Channel drama, Knightfall, may soon bring the Knight Templars back into the limelight (check out the trailer here).

The problem with many of the Templar books is that they are based on fake history , or create their own.  Partially thanks to medieval fake news and propaganda spread by the Templar’s enemies, the Templars are easily abused by those with imaginative views of history.

In spite of this onslaught of fake history, the real history has always been largely available.  There are the classics Dungeon, Fire and Sword and The Knights Templar, which give a complete picture. Others like God’s Battalions and The Templars and the Shroud of Christ address many of the claims of revisionists.

So how does this apply to my writing? Years ago, during the height of Templar mania, I was reading The Knights Templar, and came to chapter on the battle at the Horns of Hattin. During this battle, the Crusader army had brought with them what they thought was a relic of the True Cross. The battle was a catastrophic loss.

Instantly, though, I had an Inspiration Moment that would from the basis of Among the Shadows: Epic battles, legendary warriors and powerful relics. This would merge with my new found fascination with the fantasy genre and help define historical fantasy.

Ultimately, the Templars and the Battle of Hattin would recede into the background of the novel. The lost relic would remain prominent, as would threads of history — history that I wanted to remain accurate as opposed to how it was being handled by other writers. Of course, being fantasy, the fantastic is dropped against the historic backgrounds. Blurring the lines a bit, but leaving history intact, leave readers wondering what  in myth and legend may be hints of forgotten truths.

Maybe the Templar connection will be explored again in future novels, but for now, their history remains part of our own all these centuries later.

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Categories: fantasy, Fiction, History, Legend | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Losing History

President Obama has caused quite the controversy by making comparisons of ISIS’s campaign of terror to the Crusades. I will let others debate what, how and why he said everything that he did. Since this site does touch on history time to time, I will discuss his comparison. How do I put this nicely?

It’s absolutely ridiculous.

The Crusades are often brought up primarily by those looking to attack Christians or knock them down a bit. They have fed the perception that the Crusades were all about expanding empires and destroying Islam. The problem is that this perception isn’t history.

It’s revisionist history.

During the early history of Christianity, its population was centered in what we typically refer to as part of the Middle East (technically the Near East and Asia Minor). It’s hard for some to imagine that a country like Egypt was once predominately Christian. What is left out of drive-by comments about the Crusades is the part about the Muslim Conquests that swept through the region, conquering nearly all of it. Princeton scholar Bernard Lewis wrote:

At the present time, the Crusades are often depicted as an early expansionist imperialism — a prefigurement of the modern European countries. To people of the time, both Muslim and Christian, they were no such thing. The Crusade was a delayed response to the jihad, the holy war for Islam, and its purpose was to recover by war what had been lost by war — to free the holy places of Christendom and open them once again, without impediment, to Christian pilgrimage.

Were the Crusades full of tragedies, horrible events and misguided people on both sides? Yes, because all war is a horrible tragedy. That doesn’t mean we rewrite history for our agendas. We let history, the good and the bad, speak for itself. We learn from it, so we don’t repeat it. Or, as George Orwell said, “The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.”

The revisionism of the Crusades is such an obvious one, it’s sad to see world leaders repeat it. We’ve lost respect for the importance of history. Instead, we have replaced it with superficial study, politics and the tendency of too easily believing everything we hear. We are in danger of losing the messages our ancestors have left for us.

The very messages that can preserve humanity’s future.

crbks

Categories: Critical Thinking, History | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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