Beyond the Pillars of Hercules

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The new chapter from my second manuscript “The Enchanting Encounter with the East” focuses on the onset of the European maritime expansion into the Atlantic. Bold mariners would pave the way to the north as far as England and the Lowlands as well as to the south along the Moroccan seaboard down to Cape Chaunar. – See more at: https://scriggler.com/DetailPost/Opinion/40382#sthash.bd58GiJy.dpuf

I claim that this time frame-roughly the late 13th-14th century can be dubbed the Little Age of Discovery. Sailors bacome experienced enough and their ships secure enough to sustain the Atlantic voyages. The interests are mostly commercial; however, the pursue of the personal glory cannot be excluded.

This chapter will be followed by two additional extracts devoted to the discovery of the new Atlantic space, not yet designed for colonization.

Photo by Rosan Harmens

 https://unsplash.com/photos/Sd8O2SgKDJA

The Medieval Affair with the Race

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My new article, The Medieval Affair with the Race, https://scriggler.com/DetailPost/Opinion/36560

tells about the attitude of medieval Western Europeans to racial problems. Though contacts with the black population were very rare and the info about the sub-Saharan Africa was virtually non-existent, representatives of the Latin Europe possessed an inherited virus of their racial superiority based on their white supremacy and religious exclusiveness.

You may also read other chapters from my second manuscript https://scriggler.com/Profile/michael_baizerman

and join nearly 9,000 readers of my previous extracts.

The Location of Jerusalem

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Read another chapter from my manuscript. The extract called “The Location of Jerusalem on European Mind Maps” tells about the paramount importance of the Holy City for Christendom, especially from the Crusade era. All observers agreed that it was the world’s spiritual center but many also claimed that it was the geographical middle point of the earth. https://scriggler.com/DetailPost/Opinion/35570

This is my latest chapter on the scriggler. You can also get familiar with the other extracts from my second manuscript, “The Enchanting Encounter with the East”, on my profile page https://scriggler.com/Profile/michael_baizerman

(six headlines from the above) as well as view pages from my book, Dawn and Sunset, and about the ancient Israel. You are also invited to make comments.

 

Yelu Dashi

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One of the aims of my study on Prester John is to find out about numerous prototypes of this mysterious character. This week I was collecting data about one of them, Yelu Dashi, the founding father of the Kara Khitai steppe empire. Forced to flee from his Manjurian homeland, a talented military commander managed to consolidate a throng of adherents who praclaimed him the Gurkhan (the supreme ruler). Later in his reign, he interfered with the struggle between the Seljuk Sultan Sanjar and one of his vassals which led to the confrontation of the Muslim and Kara Khitai armies in the Qatwan steppe outside Samarkand. The overwhelming victory of Yelu Dashi expanded his empire which encroached into Muslim lands. His wealth came from foreign trade with China on the one hand and the Islamic states on the other.

His character became epitomised by the German chronicler Otto von Freising who tells a fascinating tale about an Oriental emperor of the Three Indies, a Christian though of the Nestorian creed, who crushed a formidable Muslim army and plans to march to Jerusalem to assist his crusading brothers to wipe off the followers of the crescent from the Holy Land.

Jerusalem as the center of the world-2

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My recently uploaded article on Jerusalem has already received its first readers. I published it twice: on a popular site at http://www.ibuzzle.com/articles/where-is-the-heart-of-the-world.html

and as an academic article at https://www.academia.edu/16417296/Where_is_the_Heart_of_the_World_The_Place_of_Jerusalem_in_Medieval_Europe

You may view both of them at your ease. I would appreciate a discussion.

My next topic will be the racial relations in the Middle Ages or how western Europeans interpreted the roles of the three sons of Noah and applied their names to the three known continents of the habitable earth.

Prester John Revisited

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I returned to Prester John continuing to collect materials and facts. I read a very informative doctoral dissertation of M.E.Brook. “Prester John: A Reexamination and Compendium of the Mythical Figure Who Helped Spark European Expansion”. I learned that the background of the legend covers the period long before its first appearance in 1145 and the spread lasted over 600 years till the end of the 17th century.

Then I thought: what about St. Thomas the apostle? In 1122 a weird guest visited Rome. He was presented to the Pope as John, the patriarch of India, and told fascinating stories about the cult of St. Thomas in this country. The legend had its believers and nonbelievers, but its origin leads to Edessa and local Syriac Christian community. It might be that myths and marvels of the cult of St.Thomas were mixed with another legend about a bellicose oriental Christian emperor who is frenzied to liberate Jerusalem.

Jerusalem as the center of the world

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Many medieval educated people would agree with this statement. I am currently editing a chapter from my second manuscript devoted to this topic. I cite influential mappae mundi like the Hereford and Ebstorf maps. I appeal to popular writers such as Sir John Mandeville. I mention experienced sailors, for example Christopher Columbus who dreamed about the final Crusade to reconquest the Holy City. I am hopeful that in the new form the chapter will be a valuable addition to my manuscript.