In the modern world, many people regard the idea of a holy war as a contradiction. Killing thousands of people seems to be far from holiness. However, religion and war have gone hand in hand for a long time. Mankind has seen holy wars in the name of Allah, but also in the name of Jesus Christ. And Christians have been fighting against Christians as well. This three-part series takes a deep look into the history of holy wars from the Crusades, to Islamic warriors and to Luthers Reformation.
S01:E01 - Christians Against Christians
Corruption, loose morals, depravity the German monk Martin Luther had enough of this and demanded a pure church and a pure faith. His goal was nothing less than a revolution: the Reformation of the church and the ousting of the "depraved" popes. Instead, the freedom within every Christian believer was to be expressed. The first example was the Peasants' Wars. Christianity once again became divided after the downfall of Byzantium: there were now Catholics, Lutherans and Reformed, for the rebels soon went their own way. The new longing for a purer Christianity soon led to the biggest catastrophe in Europe, the Thirty Years' War. It was not foremost a religious war, although it was easier to kill more mercilessly without a legitimation than have to worry about "eternal life." Europe lost half of its population during this era. One witnessed the horror of the hordes of soldiers dragging themselves throughout Europe, and the abandonment to the most vicious acts that man is capable of. There were no doubts about the power of religion. The separation of church and state resulted from the European experience with the so-called "religious wars."
S01:E02 - In the Name of Allah
13th century: After an appallingly violent military campaign, Islam became the religion of many peoples, from Spain to Indonesia. Yet there was no Islamic Empire, just as there was no Christian Empire. Middle Ages signified: tiny states with warring princes and clans. This film relates the expansion of the Islamic and Arabic cultures which was brought about to a large part by military slaves: the children of non-Muslim Turkoman peoples were trained as Islamic elite warriors. Their triumphs led not only to the spread of war and the new faith, but also to the dissemination of a high culture: medicine, art, architecture, astronomy a unique flowering of knowledge, culture and intellectual freedom that was felt as far away as Spain. The true threat for the realm of Allah did not come from Europe, but from the steppes of Asia. It was the Mongols who attacked their enemies, mercilessly, violently, insurmountably. In 1258 A.D., Baghdad the seat of Islamic civilization fell into their hands.
S01:E03 - In the Name of Christ
The times were turbulent around 1100 AD, when West-Roman Christianity was spreading out in all directions. The Crusades played an important perhaps the most important role here, and certainly the most well-known role of all. The advance of the Islamic Seljuks could not be stopped, especially their attacks on the travel routes of the pilgrims, who were on their way to the holy Christian sites. As more and more attacks were recorded, the Patriarch of the Eastern Roman Church, Alexios I, asked Rome for help. Christianity was already divided at that time, though not between Catholics and Protestants, but between the Eastern Roman (Orthodox) and Western Roman churches. The crusades were thus played out in the midst of these various interest groups. The expansion of the West Romans cut a swath through the Islamic territories, which had by then reached the climax of their development. The Byzantine realm increasingly lost its importance. It was not a battle of cultures, not a struggle against Islam, but a chaotic confrontation of warlords and princes. The main goal of the crusades the conquest of Jerusalem was soon forgotten, and the first conquest ended with bloodbaths among the civilian population that are still notorious today. The following crusades were equally infamous and far from an honor to Christianity.
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