Damien F. Mackey
“Modern authors tend to accept as an axiom that in the twelfth century, there existed a strong identiﬁcation between crusaders and the Maccabean warriors.
Penny Cole wrote, for example, that “in all essential ways the struggles of the Maccabees against the persecutor Antiochus . . . and by association, of the crusaders against Muslim inﬁdel, are substantially identical”.”
Elyse Sulkey compares – but also unfavorably contrasts, with reference to Guibert of Nogent – the Maccabees and the Crusaders, when she writes as follows in her article, “Guibert of Nogent: The Development of Rhetoric from Anti-Judaism to Anti-Semitism”:
During the twelfth century, authors began to reach back into the Old Testament to find biblical precedents for the crusaders, which eventually led to the use of the Maccabees as “proto-crusaders.”54 The Maccabees were a Jewish rebel force active in the mid-second century BCE who fought to reassert Judaism in Judea against the influence of Hellenism and the Seleucid Empire.55 The Maccabees made an apt comparison for crusaders because they used forced conversion and conquest to meet their aims, much like the crusaders.56 In his early works, Guibert followed traditional models of exegetical debate about the Old Testament.57
From the beginning of The Deeds of God through the Franks, Guibert set out to ensure that his audience understood that Jews, even the Maccabees, are lesser than their Christian counterparts. In the introduction he stated that he wrote his chronicle of the First Crusade because “[he] thought, if [he] may dare to say this, that it deserved being told with greater dignity than all the histories of Jewish warfare, if God would grant someone the ability to do this.”58 Guibert thus makes it clear that despite their accomplishments, one of his goals in writing The Deeds of God through the Franks was to elevate Christian crusaders above the well-known Jewish warriors. He does this throughout The Deeds of God through the Franks by demonstrating Jewish theological shortcomings, a technique often employed in anti-Judaic writing.
Later, Guibert further emphasized the higher status of the crusaders in comparison to the Maccabees. He retold the sermon of Pope Urban II in Clermont declaring that the pope had said, “If the Maccabees once deserved the highest praise for piety because they fought for their rituals and their temple, then you too, O soldiers of Christ, deserve such praise, for taking up arms to defend the freedom of your country.”59 The pope continued on to tell the crusaders they were fighting the Antichrist. In this instance, a comparison was being drawn that the Maccabees fought for their own sake, while the crusaders fought for God as well as the protection of their country.60 This comparison elevated the crusaders for their righteous, spiritual cause while putting the Maccabees in a realm of corporeal selfishness.
Guibert continued this critique of the Maccabees when he related the “despicable vanity of the Jewish people.”61 Though Guibert excused Jewish fathers now celebrated by the Church, such as David, Joshua, and Samuel, he accused the Jews of being a “wretched” people who served God only to fill their own bellies.62 Guibert then declared that these “idolaters” were given their victories, while the Christian crusaders were sacrificing to achieve theirs.63 While Guibert seemed to emphasize the disadvantages the crusaders faced, he later said “if celestial help appeared long ago to the Maccabees fighting for circumcision and the meat of swine, how much more did those who poured out their blood for Christ, purifying the churches and propagating the faith, deserve such help.”64 Guibert used these passages not only to demonstrate to his readers the weakness of the Maccabees, who needed worldly comforts and divine help in order to succeed, but to assure his readers that the crusaders would be victorious because of their greater sacrifice and true devotion to God. Later in The Deeds of God through the Franks, Guibert reminded us of his previous point by stating that neither Ezra nor Judas Maccabeus suffered as much as the crusaders for their victories.65 This passage also served to illustrate how the crusaders did not just possess purer motive and devotion than the Maccabees, but actually surpassed the accomplishments of their greatest warriors.66
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Region of Erzurum conquered by Seleucids, by Seljuks
A JOURNEY INTO THE HISTORY OF ERZURUM
The proximity of Erzurum to the important centers of civilization in addition to its natural conditions and geographical location made it one of the oldest settlement centers of Anatolia. Some excavated stone artifacts take back the history of the settlement in this area as early as the Paleolithic age.
The Macedonian King Alexander conquered the region in the 4th century B.C which was dominated by the Hurris, Hayasas, Urartians, Assirians, Cimmerians, Iskıts, Meds and Persians in turn after 3000 B.C.This region was reined by the Seleucids after the death of Alexander.Later on by the Roman Empire was the scene of the bloody wars between the Romans and Parthes.With the division of the Roman Empire into two parts in 395,Erzurum which was included in part of the Byzantine Empire changed hands between the Byzantines and the Sassanides a number of times. The invansion of the region by the Hun State which was established on the north of the Blacksea between the years 295-398 was the first entry of Turks into the region.In this period there was a city by the name Karin in the location of Erzurum and another city by the name Erzen on the west of the Erzurum Plateau in this period.Anatolius who was the general of the Byzantine Emperor Theodosius 2(408-450) who himself had taken the Erzurum region back from the Huns,had a castle built in the most strategic location of the region where Karin was located against the attacks that could come from Iran and changed the name of the city to Theodosiopolis. ….
Erzurum changed hands between the Byzantine Empire and the Muslim Arabs consisting of the Ummayads and the Abbasids until the year 949.The Muslims named Theodopolis as “Kalikala” which meant “Carpet City” Erzurum the population of which reached 200 thousand in the 7th century was one of the largest cities of the world at the time.The Seljuk Turks who entered the Byzantine territory in order to conquer Eastern Anatolia captured Erzen which was located on the west of the plain in 1048. The people who ran from Erzen which had been ruined after the attacks,found rescue in Kalikala and changed its name to Erzen. The original Erzen which that was ruined after the attacks,was later named as Kara Erzen and in time as Karaz. And the new Erzen was later referred to as Roman Erzen which in turn became Erzurum, the modern name of the city. …
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one is cautioned: “Not to be confused with Seleucid Empire”.
“The Great Seljuq Empire (Modern Turkish: Büyük Selçuklu Devleti; Persian: دولت سلجوقیان) was a medieval Turko-Persian Sunni Muslim empire, originating from the Qynyq branch of Oghuz Turks. The Seljuq Empire controlled a vast area stretching from the Hindu Kush to eastern Anatolia and from Central Asia to the Persian Gulf. From their homelands near the Aral sea, the Seljuqs advanced first into Khorasan and then into mainland Persia before eventually conquering eastern Anatolia”.
One might easily, however, confuse the names, Seleuc-id and Seljuk, or Saltukid.
Just as one may be excused for noticing many striking parallels between the Macabbees and the Crusaders, fighting to regain the Holy City of Jerusalem.
Elizabeth Lapina provides further such similarities at:
THE MACCABEES AND THE BATTLE OF ANTIOCH
Narratives of the Crusades and, more speciﬁcally, of the First Crusade provide one of the most important clusters of references to the Maccabees – primarily the Maccabean warriors, but also the Maccabean martyrs – in Christian medieval sources. Many authors writing about the crusades used the stories of both types of the Maccabees, the warriors and the martyrs, to interpret current events in the Holy Land. There was a particularly large number of references in connection with one event: the Battle of Antioch, fought between crusaders and Muslims on June 28, 1098. Two more crucial references appear in the context of two more battles fought by Prince Roger of Antioch in the vicinities of the city: the Battle of Tall Danith (1115) and the Battle of the Field of Blood (1119). Although there seems to be no direct connection between Antioch and the Maccabean warriors, the city was of paramount importance for the Maccabean martyrs. Although the locations of the martyrdom of seven Maccabean brothers, their mother, and Priest Eleazar and of their initial burial (the remains eventually found their way to Constantinople and Rome) are uncertain, a number of patristic sources mention Antioch in connection with them.
There is no doubt that at one point Antioch was the center of the Maccabean cult. In one of his sermons, St. Augustine of Hippo argues vehemently that the Maccabean martyrs belong not to the Jewish but rather to the Christian tradition. As proof, he refers to a church dedicated to the Maccabees in Antioch. Augustine found it ironic and ﬁtting that the city bearing nearly the same name as King Antiochus IV, the persecutor of the Maccabean martyrs, would celebrate those whom he persecuted.
In Late Antiquity, Antioch suffered an unprecedented series of disasters from which it never recovered. The Crusades, however, signaled a rediscovery of the city by western Christians. On their way to Jerusalem, crusaders stopped at Antioch and besieged the city for eight months. Within days of its capture, they found themselves besieged in turn by an impressive army assembled by Kerbogha, atabeg of Mosul. The lack of supplies was drastic, desertions multiplied, the majority of horses were lost, and reports were made to the Byzantine emperor Alexius that the annihilation of the crusaders was imminent. In desperation, unable to continue their resistance in the long-depleted city, crusaders opted for a battle, in the course of which they routed Kerbogha’s troops.
Apart from its purely military signiﬁcance, the Battle of Antioch was at the very center of medieval conceptions of the First Crusade. For many authors, the triumph of crusaders at this particular point, when everything foreboded disaster, proved the extent of God’s support for the Christian side. For many contemporaries, this was made evident by a number of miracles reported in connection with the battle: the discovery of the Holy Lance; a multiplication of visions; and – most importantly for the present discussion – intervention of a number of saints, perhaps an entire celestial army, on the side of crusaders. In this manner, the battle would end up, to some degree, upstaging the capture of Jerusalem a year later. It is unclear what exactly the crusaders and medieval chroniclers of the Crusades knew about the importance of Antioch within the cult of the Jewish martyrs in Late Antiquity. When describing the city, crusading sources do not mention the Maccabees. One of the rare exceptions is the so-called Charleville Poet, who claims that Antioch was very ancient: “The book of Maccabees asserts its [Antioch’s] existence, when the priest is said to have perished, next to Daphne.” The poet is apparently alluding to the assassination of the pious Priest Onias in the vicinity of the city, described in the Second Book of Maccabees (2 Macc 4:34). Still, it is possible that crusaders learned about the ancient cult of the Maccabees at Antioch during their interactions with the local population, which included a sizable Christian minority. At least some of the chroniclers of the First Crusade must have had access to St. Augustine’s above-mentioned sermon. And they were undoubtedly familiar with King Antiochus IV Epiphanes, whom a variety of medieval sources present as an Antichrist-like ﬁgure. Just as St. Augustine did centuries earlier, they must have been capable of constructing an associative link between Antioch and the Maccabees through the intermediary of Antiochus. Whatever the case might be, the connection between the city of Antioch and the Maccabees displays a certain degree of continuity from Late Antiquity to the crusading period. However, if in Late Antiquity it was the Maccabean martyrs that attracted attention …
Damien Mackey’s comment: On this subject, and for further Maccabean-Christian parallelism, see my article:
Hadrianic patterns of martyrdom
Elizabeth Lapina continues:
… during the crusading period it was the Maccabean warriors.
In general, medieval writers of history were always eagerly looking for biblical prototypes of later events and ﬁgures. While Maccabean martyrs hardly resembled crusaders, Maccabean warriors did. Maccabean warriors shared the name of the Maccabean martyrs, but, of course, not their fate, ﬁghting Antiochus actively under the leadership of Judas Maccabeus. Both the Maccabean warriors and crusaders fought for control of the city of Jerusalem and took pride in the restoration of holy sites. While the Maccabees fought against a Pagan enemy, crusaders struggled against Muslims, whom they frequently associated with Pagans. Last but not least, both proﬁted from divine help on the battleﬁeld. Modern authors tend to accept as an axiom that in the twelfth century, there existed a strong identiﬁcation between crusaders and the Maccabean warriors. Penny Cole wrote, for example, that “in all essential ways the struggles of the Maccabees against the
persecutor Antiochus . . . and by association, of the crusaders against Muslim inﬁdel, are substantially identical.”
Indeed, Baldwin I, the second ruler and ﬁrst Latin king of Jerusalem, was called a “second Maccabee” in the laudatory inscription on his tombstone. Describing the Battle of Tall Danith, in which Prince Roger of Antioch emerged victorious, Fulcher of Chartres exclaims as follows: “For when did victory of ﬁghters ever depend upon the number of men? Remember the Maccabees, Gideon, and many others who conﬁded not in their own strength but in God and in that way overcame many thousands.”
Part Two: Maccabees models for Teutonic Order
“This was interesting because I work on the Teutonic Order’s crusade in Lithuania,
and in the Order’s Latin chronicles the Maccabees are the main model”.
A reader commenting on Part One
I did a quick check on this subject at Google and found the following verifications of what the reader above has claimed regarding Part One of this series:
Here are just a few of my findings:
This study examines the religious and historical literature of the Teutonic Order, the brotherhood of warrior-monks whose northern crusade subdued and converted the eastern Baltic region during the late Middle Ages.Chapter One presents the background against which the Teutonic Knights produced their Biblically-inspired works. It establishes that the early years of the 14th century were a time of crisis for the Order.Chapter Two focuses on the Rule of the Teutonic Order and the Biblical foundation upon which its statutes rested. It was to this Rule that the Knights turned in their “generation of crisis,” and it was from this Rule that their Order drew its stubborn will to survive. The Rule rekindled in the warrior-monks a sense of Biblical mission and it inspired them to defend themselves not only with the sword, but also with the written word.Chapter Three provides an overview of the Order’s crisis-born literature; Deutschordensliteratur is defined and circumscribed according to specific documents, authors and themes. A work by work survey pays special attention to Biblical translations.The Order’s German rendering of I and II Maccabees is the subject of Chapter Four. The Makkabaerbuch receives thorough treatment as the work best typifying the literary efforts of the brothers. ….
The Maccabees as Role Models in the German Order
Henrike Lähnemann (Newcastle University)
Across the different genres of literary and pragmatic texts used in the German Order, the Maccabees, especially Judas Maccabeus, figure prominently as forerunners of the Teutonic Knights on a historical, typological and allegorical level. The main focus of this paper will be on how the Maccabäer, 1 the most comprehensive vernacular version of the Books of the Maccabees ever prepared, 2 adapts that material for the Order. 3 The framework for understanding the way in which biblical epic is presented is provided by the prologues to the
Statuten des Deutschen Ordens, in which the Maccabees occupy a key position ….
The Statutes of the Teutonic Knights: A Study of Religious Chivalry
We remember also the struggle, praiseworthy and pleasing to God, of the knights who were called the Maccabees; how stoutly, for their honor and their faith, they fought with the pagans who wished to force them to deny God, and, with His help, defeated and exterminated them so that they cleansed once again the Holy City which the pagans had defiled, and restored once again peace in the land.
- These struggles, this holy Knightly Order of the Hospital of Saint Mary of the German House has zealously imitated and has deserved to be graced with many honorable members, for there are knights and chosen fighters, who for love of honor and the fatherland have exterminated the enemies of the faith with a strong hand. They also, from abundance of love, receive visitors and pilgrims and the poor. They also from tender-heartedness, serve with fervor the sick who lie in the hospital. ….
The defence of the Holy Land and the memory of the Maccabees
This article explores the evolving use of Maccabaean ideas in sources concerning the conduct of Christian holy warfare between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries. It demonstrates that the memory of the Maccabees and other Old Testament exemplars played an important role in shaping the idea of crusading and its subsequent evolution to encompass new frontiers in the Baltic and Iberia, as well as structural developments in crusading, such as the establishment of the military orders.
Title: The late Fifteenth-Century Utrecht Chronicle of the Teutonic Order : manuscripts, sources, and authorship ….
425 The most notable biblical exempla used by the military orders are arguably the Maccabees: E. Poleg, ‘On the books of Maccabees: an unpublished poem by Geoffrey, prior of the Templum Domini’, Crusades 9 (2010) 13–56; Morton, ‘Defence of the Holy Land’; M.C. Fischer, ‘The books of the Maccabees and the Teutonic Order’, Crusades 4 (2005) 59–71.
The Teutonic Order: Politics and Religion in the Baltic Crusades
…. Book 1 of the Chronicle of Prussia ends with the author directly linking the knights to the Maccabees, a Jewish family mentioned in the Apocrypha to the Bible who were said to have defended a realm around Jerusalem during the second century BC. Part of a tradition of drawing comparisons between crusaders in the Holy Land to the struggles of heroes of the 0ld Testament who battled to protect the Promised Land, the mention of the Maccabees is significant for its implications in the adopted crusading ideology in the Baltic. The Teutonic Knights compared their endeavors to those of the Israelites and Maccabees so they could style themselves as a new generation of defenders of the Holy Land. …. Even with the Holy Land permanently lost to the Muslims, the 0rder continued to use such Biblical metaphors to justify their actions in the Baltic. ….