From 1096 to 1291, Europe waged a series of religious wars against Muslims to secure control of holy sites considered sacred by both groups. In all, eight major Crusade expeditions—varying in size, strength, and degree of success—occurred. The first Crusade was ordered by Pope Urban II at the request of the Byzantine Empire, which was losing territory to the expanding Islamic Empire. The costly, violent and often ruthless conflicts enhanced the status of European Christians, making them major players in the fight for land in the Middle East.
In a recent Sunday sermon in Moscow, the Russian Patriarch of the Orthodox Church proclaimed that “sacrifice in the course of carrying out your military duty cleanses away all sins.” The Russian Church’s overt endorsement of the military conflict in Ukraine recalls the medieval papal indulgence that was granted to crusaders who died en route to the Holy Land. The museum welcomes Alex Novikoff, who will first explore the crusading origins of a theology of violence—how and why it developed, and how the Muslim world responded. It will explain what a crusade was, and was not. Novikoff will then look at how the ideology of crusading has continued to resonate down the halls of history, from Colonialism, to Al-Qaeda, to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Alex J. Novikoff teaches medieval history at Kenyon College and history and comparative religion at Franklin University Switzerland. He is the author of The Medieval Culture of Disputation: Pedagogy, Practice, and Performance, the editor of The Twelfth-Century Renaissance: A Reader, and the author of numerous articles on medieval intellectual history and interfaith relations. A recipient of the Berlin Prize from the American Academy in Berlin and an elected fellow of the UK’s Royal Historical Society, he lectures widely across North America, Europe, and the Middle East. More recently, he was a featured commentator in episode 3 of the CNN documentary Jerusalem: City of Faith and Fury (2021).
This program is free and open to the public. The event will be held in the lecture hall of the Cleo Redd Fisher Museum, located at 203 E. Main Street in Loudonville, OH. Doors open at 6:30, while the event begins at 7:00 pm.
The Cleo Redd Fisher Museum is a subsidiary of the Mohican Historical Society. All rights reserved.
The Mohican Historical Society is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. 203 East Main Street Loudonville, OH 44842