The Crusades III

Lead: On November 27, 1095, Pope Urban II delivered a sermon in Clermont, France. It must have been stirring because it triggered three centuries of violence and conflict in the Middle East – the Crusades.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Church leaders had gathered in the central French city of Clermont for a church council. Byzantine Emperor Alexius I had issued a call for Western help in checking the advance of the Seljuk Turks, a nomadic tribe who had swept from their central Asian homeland in the 11th century, had converted to Islam, and had recently conquered much Byzantine territory. The actual text of Urban’s sermon does not survive, though several accounts emerged in later years with varying themes. All seem to agree it was a passionate narrative and was enthusiastically received. The crowd in and outside of the Cathedral were reported to have shouted “Deus lo volt” or “God wills it.”

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The Crusades II

Lead: At the end of the 11th Century, the Emperor of the Byzantine Empire, struggling to check the expansion of the Seljuk Turks, asked the Pope in Rome for help.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

The Seljuks were a nomadic tribe from Turkistan in central Asia. They were named after their first leader. When they moved west they became converts to Islam and conquered the Byzantine provinces of Asia Minor and the Holy Land which for four hundred years had been controlled by Arab Muslims. Fearing a Turkish advance into Constantinople, Byzantine Emperor Alexius Comnenus asked the western Pope for help in defending the remaining Christian areas of the old Roman Empire.

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The Crusades I

Lead: By 1095 Islam was on the march, the once powerful Byzantine Empire was threatened and Western Europe felt imperiled. In part to help in this crisis, Pope Urban II declared a Crusade.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: After the collapse of the Roman Empire in West, the eastern provinces, centered around Constantinople, continued to exist and to prosper. The Christian Byzantine Empire was a formidable power during the Middle Ages encompassing southeastern Europe, northern Africa and Asia Minor.

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Ahmed Khan Durrani: Father of Afghanistan

Lead: In the history of Afghanistan few names exceed the importance of Ahmed Khan.

Intro.: "A Moment in Time" with Dan Roberts.

Content: Throughout its history as a nation Afghanistan has had to jealously guard its position and independence. It is a desert land, dry and mountainous with a certain desolate beauty, whose attraction to its neighbors has less to do with this natural resource than its strategic position across the path of conquest from the central plains of Asia into the rich Indian sub-continent. The Afghan people are an alliance of tribal groups the majority of which derive their ethnic heritage from a racial group known as Pushtoons and speak an Indo-European language that is related to but does not come from Persian.

 

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Shabbatai Zevi II

Lead: In 1665, Shabbatai Zevi declared himself the long-awaited messiah of Israel. Within a year, he had converted to Islam and thrown the Jewish world into chaos and disruption.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: After being cast out of his home town of Smyrna, Zevi began a long period of wandering, through Palestine and Egypt, attracting followers and continuing his life-long struggle with alternating periods of manic-depression and exaltation, during the latter of which he evidenced truly bizarre behavior. This both offended and attracted a growing number of followers. His most important was a brilliant rabbi, Nathan of Gaza, who, after meeting Shabbatai Sevi in February, 1665, experienced an ecstatic vision that saw his new friend as the Messiah. From that point, Nathan tried to convince him and others that he was, in fact, the long-awaited representative of God. This highly respected, independent confirmation tying his appearance with the kabbalistic story of creation, kicked off the Shabbatean Movement. By May 1665, Zevi was sure of himself and fully engaged in asserting his messianic mission.

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Shabbatai Zevi I

Lead: In the mid-1660s the Jewish world was rocked by the appearance and claims of a messiah, Shabbatai Sevi, who some have deemed the most significant millenarian movement in modern Jewish history. He, however, was a piece of work.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: He was born in Smyrna, a wealthy port city on the west coast of present-day Turkey. His family recognized a native intelligence which destined him for the rabbinate. He studied under some of the most prominent rabbis in Smyrna and probably around 15 began a life of isolation, abstinence and asceticism, during which he struggled with powerful sexual temptation. Shabbatai became a rabbi about the age of 18 and became attracted to Kaballism with its emphasis on the devotional life and the coming of the messiah.

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The Hijrah of Muhammad

Lead: Ironically, his home town, the City of Mecca, proved to be most resistant to the work of Muhammad the founder of Islam.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Perhaps it is true that no prophet has honor in his own country but in Muhammad's case the prejudice was probably also due to tribal rivalry because his clan, the Hashim, were not the most prominent in the City.

Three years after the initial vision which launched his career as the messenger of Allah, Muhammed began to preach openly. The year was 613. The people of Mecca worshipped many God's and Muhammad message that Allah was supreme began to attract opposition. Slowly, however, with the opposition, came support. Several young men of the city, some from the wealthiest families, were attracted to his message and the movement began to grow. 

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Josephus, Ancient Historian II

Lead: Drawn into a rebellion against Rome he thought unwinnable, the Jewish historian Josephus helped lead the revolt in A.D. 66, was captured and made ready to be taken to Rome for trial and certain death.

Intro.: "A Moment In Time" with Dan Roberts.

Content: Josephus came from a prominent clerical family and he followed in that tradition by becoming a priest. As the patriotic movement for Jewish independence reached fever pitch Josephus was swept along. He was installed as Governor and Defender of Galilee and when the Romans came into re-establish their control, Josephus was taken into custody.

 

 

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