History of the World According to the Movies: Part 7 – The Medieval Church

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From Kingdom of Heaven, which is probably a movie about the Crusades we’re all familiar with as well as one that says that these wars of religion weren’t as holy as many say they were. However, this picture does encapsulate the idea of the religiosity of the time period. Still, though Orlando Bloom’s character actually did exist, he wasn’t the widowed French blacksmith as depicted in the beginning at all. However, he did end up with a Queen consort of Jerusalem, just not Queen Sybilla.

While fighting is one of the many aspects of the medieval landscape, the Middle Ages would never be what it s without the Church. Sure it was a dominant force in medieval life and a very misunderstood one as Hollywood is concerned. Still, though Christianity began in ancient times, it really came into its own in the Middle Ages as an institution (as long as the Catholic Church is concerned but there were Orthodox churches in the east as well). Medieval monasteries and convents were places of great cottage industries and learning with monks being among the intellectuals of their day and churches became not only centers of devotion but also places for community. Not only that, but we also see the rise of the Gothic cathedrals which are still used for worship today (even if it’s on the decline in Europe these days). And without the Church, we wouldn’t have universities, the institution of medicine, theology, and all those ancient writings that would’ve been lost if monks didn’t spend all day copying them. Of course, because of the medieval Church, we also have antisemitism, heresy, and the Crusades which is a series of religious wars in the Middle East geared to capturing the Holy Land from the Muslims. Still, Hollywood always tends to screw up a few things about the medieval Church which I shall list here.

Medieval Christianity:

The Catholic Church was a backward institution that discouraged education and scientific research. (The Catholic Church actually saved science and is the main reason why we know anything about the Middle Ages at all even though they did lock their books but there weren’t many books in Europe anyway and were very expensive since they were all written by hand or printed from wood carvings which were tedious to make {but many monasteries and nunneries had large libraries of them full of the works of Rome and Greeks and monks spent a lot of time copying them}. Furthermore, they even set up universities all over Continental Europe, started formalized higher education with advanced degrees, and saw no problem with dissection {the Knights Hospitaller did this and the Church was fine with it}, at least in the basement anyway, which helped set the foundation of modern medicine. They started the first medical and law schools as well. They even educated children in monastic and convent schools when education became a higher demand and that was before the printing press. Not to mention, the Crusades also allowed Europeans to come into contact with Muslim ideas and Arabic numerals. And their massive cathedrals were marvels of medieval craftsmanship and engineering. Furthermore, monks were usually the most educated people in Europe of their day. Actually it would be more accurate to say that the Catholic Church was a great medieval engine of scientific progress. Not to mention, most medieval scientists were monks and/or priests as well. Still, doesn’t stop filmmakers from making movies set in the Middle Ages in which the Catholic Church is hostile to scientific inquiry which really wasn’t the case {especially with the Galileo Affair which isn’t as much a science vs. religion case as most people think}.)

Monks locked their Bibles to keep people from hearing the true word. (No way in hell. Monks locked their Bibles so churches could guarantee that people could hear the Bible on a daily basis as well as prevent it from getting stolen. A stolen Bible would’ve taken many months to replace since books at the time were copied by hand.)

Europeans were highly religious during the Middle Ages. (Despite the Crusades and the powerful presence of the Catholic Church, most people in the Middle Ages were probably just as religious as I am, observant yes, but with a more laid back approach like many Catholics today. Sure religion was important but it wasn’t the only thing in life and it wasn’t altogether incompatible to the modern notions of the day either. In other words, medieval Europeans may have went to church on Sundays but they weren’t religious fanatics, at least in general. Of course, religiosity would increase later in the Middle Ages as well as in the early Renaissance in Northern Europe since they were people who cared enough about religion to break off from the Catholic Church.)

The Catholic Church discouraged scientific research and progress. (Actually, quite the contrary. For one, most medieval scientists in Europe had a religious vocation. Second, while the Middle Ages wasn’t the best time for science {which wasn’t a big subject at the time}, it was nevertheless studied for practical reasons. The Church understood that scientific study can benefit them and help monks and nuns do their jobs better. Needing to care of the sick led to the study of medicine. The fact monks and nuns needed to schedule prayer times as well as find out when Easter is led to the study of rudimentary mathematics and the motions of the Sun and the Moon. Third, contrary to popular belief, the High Middle Ages was a really good time for science with the rise of Scholasticism and Aristotlelianism.)

Medieval cathedrals were often dark places. (Actually, they were places with large glass windows that let tons of light in. Churches were painted in bright colors. Still, today tourists tend to complain every time these places are washed because it’s too bright. Not to mention, it was inspired by Indian and Arab/Muslim building styles also from the Crusades.)

All nuns were virgins admitted into a convent as lovely, nubile waifs. (They could also be an ugly daughter of a lord or women who didn’t want to get married or have kids.)

Monks were benevolent men who devoted their lives to God. (Well, not quite for many monasteries enjoyed great wealth in the Middle Ages and many monks didn’t live too badly either {especially in the later Middle Ages}. In many ways, they were not just clergymen, but also businessmen, scribes, scientists, intellectuals, as well as some of the smartest guys around {same goes for nuns, too, for the most part}. Oh, and many monasteries had their own armies.)

Monks could hear confessions. (If they have taken holy orders since a lot of monks are priests. If not, then no.)

Monks were dissolute hypocrites who used religion to make money. (This isn’t 100% accurate either for though monks weren’t perfect human beings and the Church did have some degree of corruption, they were just as flawed like everyone else. We just tend to put them on a higher pedestal since they tend to be religious figures. Besides, every religion has their share of hypocrites and jerks as any institution and I’m sure medieval Christianity was no exception. Sure you may have a few bad and corrupt monks, but you also had a lot of cool ones as well. However, it was true enough for Henry VIII to convince the masses on why he had to dissolve the monasteries {which was to finance a war in France}, even though the actual debauchery and corruption of monks wasn’t nearly as bad as Henry made it out to be.)

Medieval Russia had no religious insignia in the 13th century. (Russia had been Orthodox Christian for quite some time and would continue to be the dominant church in the country until the Russian Revolution {though it’s still around}. Russian churches would usually have crosses on top and their banners would contain an icon of Christ {ditto priests in the army}. Of course, Eisenstein knew that the Soviet government wouldn’t accept this while filming Alexander Nevsky. Also, Nevsky is a saint in the Russian Orthodox Church.)

Clergymen were forbidden to shed blood so they didn’t fight. (Sure but there were militant churchmen as well as military religious orders like the Knights Templar, the Teutonic Knights, and the Knights Hospitallers.)

“Dies Irae” was a Christian standard hymn in the 1100s. (It was written by a Thomas of Celano who lived around 1200-1260 so, no.)

Saint Francis of Assisi was known as “Jester of the Lord.” (It was his disciple Brother Juniper.)

Saint Francis of Assisi was originally referred to as Francis. (His real name was Giovanni di Pietro Bernardone. Francis was a nickname derived from Francesco {“Frenchy”} which he obtained when he was a little kid. Actually, Francis wouldn’t be used as a legal name until after he became a saint.)

Pope Innocent III had a full beard. (He was clean shaven.)

Everyone in Europe was Catholic during the Middle Ages. (Everyone west of Poland, that is. In Russia, the main church was Russian Orthodox Christianity while the Greeks in the Eastern Roman Empire were Greek Orthodox. Not to mention, before the Mongols you also had quite a few Christian sects in the Middle East and Central Asia like the Coptics, Armenian Apostolics, the Nestorians, the Maronites, Ethiopian Orthodox Rite, and others. When you really get down to it, medieval Christianity was quite diverse.)

The Catholic Church pretty much ran everything. (Yes, it was a powerful institution, but it also got into clashes with secular rulers who wanted to make their own decisions in religious affairs. Not to mention, secular monarchs can and did appoint bishops {Henry II appointed Thomas Becket as Archbishop of Canterbury}. Sure medieval society didn’t exactly have a lot of separation between church and state. And yes, the Catholic Church did mettle in politics as well, but it wasn’t always without a secular ruler’s consent either. They also crowned kings as well as married and annulled their unions {back when marriages were a form of diplomacy}. So while there wasn’t a lot of separation between church and state but it wasn’t exactly a theocracy either. Also, there was less church and state separation in the Russian government and the Russian Orthodox Church, than in any European Catholic country.)

There was an actual Pope Joan. (She never existed.)

The Catholic Church participated in witch hunts and witch burnings. (Maybe in the 1400s but they mostly considered belief in witches as highly heretical. Still, witch hunts did happen under secular governments though and only much later {and they only took witchcraft seriously in cases of murder and treason}. However, there were actually few witch trials during the Middle Ages and many were usually nothing but simple lynches.)

Inquisition guards wore nearly full plated armor in the 1300s. (Only a century later.)

Medieval monks could enter each other’s cells freely. (For a monk entering another’s cell without permission was normally forbidden as well as grounds for excommunication.)

Monks addressed each other as “Your Grace.” (This wouldn’t be appropriate address for a monk under any circumstances but rather for nobles and high members of the Catholic Church.)

Inquisitor Bernard Gui was killed in an Italian monastery in 1327. (Yes, he was a real person and was said to have sentenced 900 people as well as executing 42 of them during his 15 years in office. However, he died in the castle of Laroux in 1331. He also doesn’t die in Eco’s original novel In the Name of the Rose.)

Medieval clergy men and religious orders were highly superstitious. (Yes, but not as much as the laypeople in their domains. Of course, they probably did believe in demon possession and that writing with the left hand was a sin. For instance, most medieval clergymen believed in a round earth from its earliest days. So did most people at the time with an education. We should also account for the fact that most medieval scientists were monks and priests.)

Pagan philosophy was considered difficult to reconcile with Christianity as well as considered borderline heretical. (There is no way that William of Baskerville would need to worry about saving a book by Aristotle because Saint Thomas Aquinas had already embraced embraced several ideas put forward by the Greek philosopher as well as said it was perfectly all right for Christians to read works by non-Christian authors {and had been influenced by the Jewish philosopher Maimonides as well as Muslim philosophers Averroes and Avicenna}. This was in the 13th century. Not only that, but most of the European mythology we know about now was recorded by clergyman themselves, which were only referred just as stories.)

Some European monasteries had African monks. (This would be highly unlikely considering the circumstances.)

The Holy Grail was of great significance in Christianity at this time. (There’s no mention of it in any canonical Christian text and wasn’t spawned until the 12th century. Also, it’s more of a product of Arthurian legend than anything.)

Pagan practices were considered anti-Christian. (Except with the worship of other deities, many pagan practices weren’t considered anti-Christian, but were commonly carried out by Christians as well as became Christianized practices. Kind of like how some people celebrate the holidays with their own personal traditions just to make themselves feel comfortable with the faith. However, this doesn’t stop some people from believing that Christianity was based on earlier religions other than Judaism, of which there is no historic proof as well as nothing in what we know of the original pagan beliefs that we can draw a respective parallel with. In other words, to say that the story of Jesus was based on the myth  of Horus would be like saying it’s based on Harry Potter. Not to mention, those who believe that Christianity was based on pagan religions don’t tend to consider that a certain culture’s mythology doesn’t have a lot of consistency and that mythological stories sometimes tend to vary with location or change over time. And it doesn’t help that the prolific people who tend to believe this are high profile atheist intellectuals, who may be smart and experts in their respective field but that doesn’t mean they’re experts in religion, religious history, or even mythology.)

The Crusades:

There was no reason at all to recommend the Crusades. (Well, there kind of sort of was, at least in some of those people’s minds but I wouldn’t call it the best solution. Still, remember medieval society was a feudal and warlike culture so if these knights weren’t killing Muslims in the Holy Land, they were probably killing each other and then some {though the first Crusade’s primary enemy was the hostile Seljuk Turks who’ve just captured Jerusalem from the Fatimids who didn’t care as long as the Christians spent their money}. Not to mention, the Crusades were called to also help out the dwindling Byzantine Empire, the last remaining Christian stronghold of the Middle East at the time {though they were Greek Orthodox, not Catholic}. Also, Pope Urban II’s predecessor was kidnapped by Normans and were wreaking havoc all over Europe by the first Crusade. Besides, “bring the Cross to Jerusalem” was a much better slogan than “Save the Greek Empire” which nobody in Europe cared about.)

Crusaders taught desert dwelling Muslims how to irrigate their land. (Actually this was the other way around. They also taught them medicine, windmills, round towers, and others even though knights did participate in civil projects during the Crusades.)

Members of the Knights Templar could marry, own land, and be crowned king. (They were forbidden from marrying or owning land. Also, no Templar would ever be crowned king.)

Renaud Chatillon and Guy Lusignan were Templars. (No, they weren’t or never have been. Lusignan was actually king of Jerusalem at the time Chatillon launched his attack. Also, King Baldwin had been dead for several years.)

Sybilla’s marriage to Guy Lusignan was an arranged one. (Her family opposed the match and it was her second marriage.)

Balian was a heroic everyman knight who embodied the best of the chivalric ethos. He was also a blacksmith and an illegitimate son of a knight. (He was raised noble and wasn’t a blacksmith so he probably wasn’t illegitimate. Not to mention, he was part of the most important families in the Kingdom of Jerusalem but of a moderate faction known as the Ibelins {and he wasn’t born illegitimate, but as a younger son}. And he wasn’t born in France but in Jerusalem as a second generation crusader nobleman and would’ve definitely know who his father was. Not to mention, his dad was Italian, not French. Also, though he is known for making the courageous decision to negotiate with Saladin, he also betrayed his oath not to fight him on more than one occasion, sold many peasants in the siege into slavery, and refused to release his Muslim prisoners if Saladin wouldn’t accept surrender. He also threatened the destruction of Muslim holy places under the threat of a repeat of the 1st Crusade capture of Jerusalem. He was ruthless but Saladin would forgive his oath breaking due to prior excellent relations and even helped mediate a peace between him and Richard the Lionheart. Still, Balian wasn’t all that bad for he did pay ransoms for thousands of poor out of his own pocket and offered himself as a hostage for all the rest. Still, he was prone to taking power whenever he could find it, sided with Chatillon, and his dynasty fathered most of the royal families of Europe.)

Guy Lusignan was a foppish, racist douchebag and ax crazy Reynald Chatillon was his dragon. (Chatillon wasn’t ax crazy but he was the worse of the two, much worse. Also, though Lusignan may have been racist, so were many of the European Christians who participated and him and Reynald hated each other {leading to the disaster at Hattin} even though he tried to get him to apologize to Saladin which didn’t work. As what TV Tropes and Idioms says about Chatillon, “Raynald once had a man tortured by smearing him in honey and putting him on top of a tower in the hot sun, simply because the man refused to fund a military expedition Raynald was plotting. Oh, and the best part — the man was the Latin Patriarch of Antioch, a religious leader of the Crusaders — and the expedition was against Cyprus, an island held by the Byzantine Empire, inhabited by Christians. Of course, Raynald had what he thought was a perfectly good reason for this—he felt they owed him money. Or pretended he felt they owed him money. It’s tough to be sure. So — a “bit of a mustache twirling supervillain” is something of an understatement.” Also, Chatillon led a pirate fleet that threatened to burn down Mecca and flayed the Patriarch of Antioch alive.)

The Catholic Patriarch of Jerusalem was a cowardly, self-absorbed jerk, blinded by his faith, and mostly spent his time spreading his prejudice against Muslims. (Actually it was he and Balian who negotiated the surrender of Jerusalem and rounded up the money to ransom the citizens who couldn’t afford to ransom themselves. They also offered themselves as ransom for those who they couldn’t afford to ransom which Saladin declined. He even stripped the silver and gold from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre to pay the city’s defenders knowing it would’ve gotten him in big trouble.)

Sybilla was a member of the moderate faction in the Kingdom of Jerusalem. (As TTI puts it, “The historical Sybilla was actually part of the extremist camp within the Haute Cour, while the film places her squarely on the moderate side. The moderates, such as the Ibelins, attempted to blunt the ambitions of Lusignan and his supporters by refusing to allow her to take the throne after the death of her son (Baldwin V) unless she first divorced him. As a concession they allowed her to marry any man of her choosing afterwards, but unfortunately neglected to add “Except Lusignan,” who she then turned around and picked as her consort. Not because she was in desperate need of his military support as the film depicts, but entirely because of her devotion to him, and because she sided with him and the other extremists politically.” So a romance between Balian and Sybilla most likely didn’t happen.)

Guy Lusignan was an utter bastard who would do anything for power and was willing to wage a war for profit. He was also a terrible King of Jerusalem. (As TTI explains, “Historically, while he may have been ambitious, he was no more so than the next noble, and his decision to go to war was less a matter of Ax Craziness and more a matter of “Saladin’s already attacking, we need to do something about it.” While he was a bad king, it was not because he was nuts and evil, but because he was incompetent: He could listen to reason, and he even did so when Tiberius cautioned him to stay near a source of water and let Saladin come to him, but he allowed himself to be swayed by the over-zealous elements among the nobles and made the decision to march across the desert, exhausting his army and causing its downfall. He was also much better to his wife than in the film: historically, he treated her well enough that when she was given the chance to keep the throne and choose any husband for herself and make him King, she went right back to Guy.”)

Teutonic knight crosses were the same on shield and coat of arms. (They were different in shape and color.)

Returning Crusaders had to face the Black Plague. (Maybe they had to face plague, but the Crusades were long over before the Plague began.)

Russians participated in the Crusades. (There were no Russians in the Crusades.)

King William of Sicily fought in the Crusades. (He sent ships but never went personally.)

Frederick Barbarossa and his son the Duke of Swabia participated in the Crusades at the same time as Richard the Lionheart. (They were both dead by Richard’s arrival. Barbossa died en route in Turkey and his son of dysentery some months before.)

The Count of Montferrat spent more considerable time plotting in the French and English courts. (He was fighting in Tyre. Also, he’s from Piedmont, not Venice.)

Queen Berengaria spent some time in Saladin’s harem. (Really? No way in hell. Besides, there’s no record of Queen Berengaria ever stepping foot anywhere further than Cyprus where she married Richard the Lionheart.)

The Crusades were mostly against the Muslims in an effort to reconquer the Holy Land. (Yes, but there were also Crusades against the Moors in Spain, the Baltic pagans, and even the Albigensian heretics {though that can be considered an Inquisition, too.})

Crusaders eagerly went to the Holy Land on behalf of their God. (They also did it out of self-interests as well such as glory, self-enrichment, and adventure.)

Both sides seemed to get along with each other during the Crusades. (Just because Muslims fought with Muslims and Christians fought with Christians doesn’t mean they liked each other.)

The Crusades consisted of Christians vs. Muslims. (It didn’t become a Christian vs. Muslim conflict until French King Louis VII took a detour in the Second Crusade where he sacked Damascus, betraying his Muslim allies out of greed. Prior to this, it wasn’t unusual for Christians to have Muslim allies or Muslims to have Christian Allies. Not to mention the “Crusaders” in the later stages were mostly just adventurers and mercenaries more interested in glory and loot than defending Christian kingdoms or recapturing holy places.)

Christian Europeans weren’t okay with Muslims controlling Jerusalem. (Actually quite the contrary since prior to the Crusades, it had been controlled by the Muslims for nearly 500 years. It’s just that until the Crusades, Jerusalem was controlled by the easygoing Fatimid Muslims who were perfectly fine with Christian visitors on pilgrimages as long as they paid. And as long as Muslims were fine with Christian visitors in Jerusalem, Christian Europe didn’t care whether the Holy Land was under Christian control or not. However, the Christians weren’t all right with the Seljuk Turks invading the city since they were more prickly and devout than their Fatimid predecessors and had been treating Christian pilgrims poorly {since they didn’t particularly care for religious minorities anyway}. Not to mention, the Seljuk Turks have been trying to take advantage of the weakening Byzantine Empire in a land grab. So the Crusades were initially less of a religious conflict with Christians against the general Muslim population and more of a conflict against more fanatical Muslims who had already proven themselves as Christendom’s enemies and showed it. However, such characteristics only apply to the general Fatimid and Seljuk populations since not all Seljuks were bad and not all Fatimids were good.)

The Crusades were no help to Muslims at all. (Having Christians kill Muslims in the name of God actually gave something that could unite the Muslim world after being locked in a period of infighting which resulted in stronger and larger Muslim states and the end of Shiism as a political force for the next 300 years {until the Safavids converted Iran}. Still, the worst thing the Crusades did for the Muslims was being a major distraction for 2 bloody centuries that neither side even paid attention to what was happening in the east during the 1200s where a little known guy Mongolian named Temujin was making a name for himself. He was also known as Genghis Khan. For the Christians though, they led to a weakening of the Byzantine Empire and a permanent division of Christianity along east and west, while the already shaky alliances of European monarchies crumbled. By 1250, the west was no longer a significant threat to the Muslim world since Europe had suffered a massive drain of manpower and resources. )

The Crusades teach the notion that “religion is bad because people kill each other over it.” (There’s a lot more to the Crusades than religion. Also, remember this is the Middle Ages so if Christians weren’t killing Muslims in the name of God, they’d probably be killing each other over something else. Not to mention, being Christian didn’t stop the Normans from sacking Rome in 1060, which gave Urban II a good reason to fear them. Besides, it’s said Pope Urban II called the First Crusade to keep Christian invaders out of his own town, which would put their aggressive impulses to more constructive use at the time. Also, the Byzantine Emperor had petitioned for help. In some way, knowing that you and your potential enemies have the same religion can help. Not to mention, the Crusades didn’t stop Christians from attacking each other in the Middle East either out of greed or when it pleased them, being the knights they were {since they also sacked Byzantine cities, too even when they weren’t allowed to}. In the Fourth Crusade, Western European Christians actually sacked Constantinople in 1204 that made the schism between Eastern and Western Christianity all but absolute. Not only that, but it massively pissed off Pope Innocent III that he excommunicated all who participated in it {well, he threatened to before to deter the Crusaders from attacking fellow Christians, but it didn’t work}.)

The Catholic Church had no qualms with Christian crusaders killing Muslims in the name of God. (Actually the Church was perfectly fine with Christians killing Muslims in the name of God as long as they were seen as enemies of Christendom {while killing fellow Christians and allies was a sin}. But despite what you might’ve heard, this didn’t mean that the Catholic Church allowed Christians to kill Muslims indiscriminately, since the Christians initially had Muslim allies like the Arab Fatimids. Thus, this only applied at least to the Seljuk Turks who weren’t nice to Christians to begin with, at least in the First Crusade {though it might apply to Fatimids, too, at least later}. But being the raping and pillaging knights they were, even the stipulations against killing allies didn’t stop them  from killing Arab and Byzantine Christians eventually. As for the Muslims, the Crusades didn’t stop them from attacking each other either, at least initially.)

The Knights Templar had a relationship with the Freemasons. (There are claims of this but it’s unlikely they existed at the same time.)

The Knights Templar existed in 1539. (They were dissolved in 1312 by King Philip IV of France and Pope Clement V mostly due to the Templars’ wealth.)

The Knights Templar were a fanatical and ruthless militant fighters. (Yes, but so were a lot of people in the Middle Ages and they were initially like this in the early days. However, they were also skilled, pious, and occasionally highly educated fighters, cavalry, and bankers. When they became wealthier, they became less involved with fighting.They were also notoriously tolerant organization that cultivated diplomatic contacts with the Muslim world, worked with Muslim architects {influencing Gothic architecture}, merchants, and even theologians as well as disapproved slaughtering enemies if they agreed to surrender. These guys also invented dual accounting, credit cards, holding companies, corporations {they might’ve been the world’s first}, insurance, travel agencies, and modern banking. Oh, and many of these points were used against them by French king Philip IV who just wanted their gold and there were persistent rumors {that still go on to this day} that the Templars were corrupt despite most evidence to the contrary. They’re actually not as bad as most Hollywood portrayals depict.)

The Templars knew that Jesus had a relationship with Mary Magdalene resulting in the Merovingian line. (This is utter Dan Brown nonsense.)

Christian crusaders only massacred Muslims during the Crusades. (They massacred every Muslim and Christian in Jerusalem in 1098. Oh, and they even sacked Byzantine cities.)

The Knights Templar used a Roman cross in the 12th century. (They used a Maltese Cross until a century later when they were forced to change to a Roman Cross.)

The Knights Templar wore a white surcoat and black cross in the 12th century. (This is the outfit of the Teutonic Knights: the arms of Saint Mary of the Germans which was founded in 1190.)

There were a lot of casualties among the defenders of Jerusalem during the siege in the Third Crusade. (There were relatively few until the final fight.)

Balian had just lost a wife and child during the Siege of Jerusalem. (He was married with two children who were with him at the time. During the siege, he was trying to get them out of the city.)

Balian and Sybilla had an affair. (There’s no way this happened. For one, Sybillia and Guy Lusignan were definitely devoted to one even though people didn’t like them being together. Second, Balian’s wife was very much alive though she was a widow to a previous king of Jerusalem. Actually they were more likely enemies since Balian supported his stepdaughter’s {who also happened to be Sybilla’s younger half-sister} claim to the throne of Jerusalem as well as got her to annul her first marriage and marry a more suitable king.)

Balian’s wife committed suicide after delivering a stillborn baby. (She was alive and with her husband in Jerusalem. Also, she managed to give birth to two kids to Balian and would later have two more {who all survived}. Oh, and she had a daughter from a previous marriage with a previous king Jerusalem no doubt. Balian’s wife Maria Kommene was actually a daughter of a Byzantine nobleman and a great-niece of Emperor who bestowed a rich dowry in her first marriage {though the Komenes were known to experience a lot of family activities such as assassinating one another}. Oh, and they were enemies of King Richard the Lionheart.)

Teutonic Knights had swastika logos on them. (They didn’t use swastikas on anything. Still, they’re used in Alexander Nevsky as stand-ins for the Nazis.)

The Knights Templar helped pass down wisdom of ancient geometry derived the Ancient Egyptians during the Crusades. (They wouldn’t have done this.)

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