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Indian Civilization

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The concepts “custom”, "usage", "mores"," judgment”, "social bond", "sacrifice”, "direction" and "retribution” help to understand the essence of Indian Civilization’s entity and life. It is worth defining the frames of Indian Civilization located on Indian Subcontinent, which fits the frames of the Indus Valley Civilization and is dated from c.3300 to 1300 B.C.E. First of all, it is necessary to realize that the society’s rules, norms and traditions come from religion and philosophy that have not separated from mythological worldview of a Bronze Age. The Indus Valley Civilization or Harappan Civilization was one of the first civilizations that developed own culture, rule and urban city planning (Wright 115). Though specific characteristics of Indian Civilization depend on certain period of its culture, it is necessary to mention that social life of that society corresponded to its metaphysical entity, formed by mythological and later religious thinking and worldview. As the representatives of Indian Civilization considered themselves a part of divine and harmonious world, society and nature were the same spheres for them. In case society is defined as the formation that is opposed to nature, it is possible to discuss western societies rather than Indian. Though there was no society as a group of people that consciously considered themselves solitary from natural and supernatural words, the society may be discussed as hierarchic formation with developed relations and a system of norms. In the beginning of its existence, Indian Civilization was ruled by customs, usages and retribution that estimated the characteristics of social and cultural life. Instead of fixed law norms and rules, the mores and religious beliefs of ancient Indians played a key role in organizing both people’s spiritual and daily lives. 

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The Christian West

Unlike Indian Civilization, the Christian West may be viewed as a stable, well-structured and developed social system in the context of historical dynamics and progress. As Western Europe was pagan before the arrival of the first Christians, western societies were ruled by customs and norms that were transformed nto a system of laws. As soon as the first followers of Christ started to spread Christianity, they were blamed and punished, as Christianity contradicted European pagans. This conflict could not last for a long time because social bonds between the Christians and pagans intensified. Popularization of Christianity on the west of the Europe has played crucial role in the entire world history. As the customs of the pagans were judged by Christian culture, tight social bonds between opposite religious groups promoted the development of diversity of mores and beliefs. Christianity brought new Calendar to Europe that began from the time of Christ’s birth. This point directed the Christian society and helped to view the history as a progress of Christ’s idea of sacrifice, love and mercy.

Islam and Christianity

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  1. What changes took place in both the Muslim World and the Christian West after 1000 that laid the basis for the Crusades?

In 1054 Christianity was marked with the Great Schism that divided Christian State Church of Roman Empire into Western and Eastern traditions: Greek tradition of Byzantium and Latin tradition of Europe. Such division was provoked by political, social and ideological factors that shaped both religious worlds. Jewish society after 1000 experienced Fatimid rule - General Gawhar Al-Siqilli said that his was a descendant of Allah and through his daughter Fatimah started expansion to the borders of Byzantine Empire. The head Fatimid who had promised local Sunnis freedom of religion, started to destroy all the churches and synagogues in Palestine.

  1.  What was a "crusade"? Compare it to "Jihad".

There is difference between crusades and jihad.  According to Riley-Smith, crusade was an expedition, authorized by the pope on Christ’s behalf (5). Though homicide is forbidden in Christianity, crusade is frequently compared to Just war or Holy war. Called Jihad in Judaism, it  may take place if the problems can not be solved in any other way and if the war in the name of God is the lesser evil. Just war is aimed to restore the diviine order of the world in order to fulfil God’s teaching. Crusade is a specific kind of Holy war that is considered potential.

  1. What various factors motivated European Christians to take up the call to undertake the Crusades?

These factors included the following: 1. The crusades were preached: the Christians were called to ‘take the cross’ – a military expedition with fixed aims; 2. The participants of ‘the cross’ were answering the call that could be made only by the Pope; 3. The participants of the Crusades were promised to be given some privileges; 4. The participants of crusades were given indulgence.

  1. What were the social and religious rules that governed warfare in general and the Crusades in particular?

Holy war should correspond to some requirements, such as just cause, authority of the prince and right intention. Riley-Smith emphasized that the Crusades followed Holy war’s rules of authority and just cause: “That war is lawful and just which is waged upon command in order

to recover property or to repel attack” (6).  In particular, violence was not always considered evil initially: violence was supposed to be morally neutral, while its moral value depended on the intentions of the individuals. It is worth noticing that not all of the crusades can be called kinds of Holy or Just war.

  1. How were the Crusades viewed in the Middle Ages by Christians and Muslims and how did those interpretations change in Modern Times (the 1st and 20th Centuries) and why?

Christians and Muslims approved Holy war in the name of God; therefore, while Christian authors supported crusades, the Muslim authors judged crusades and stood for their God. As it was already mentioned, moral value of violence depended on the intentions of those, who used it. Taking into account pacifistic moods at the beginning of the 19th century, understanding of violence in the name of God changed: violence was viewed as an evil act completely.

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