How Constantinople Saved Western Civilization from Islam


This week in history, a large fleet transporting tens of thousands of jihadists across the Sea of Marmara was either drowned in a vicious sea-storm or engulfed in flames from a volcanic eruption. One year earlier, in August 717, these selfsame jihadists were part of one of the largest (200,000 fighters) and most confident Islamic armies ever to invade and seek to conquer Constantinople, the capital of Eastern Christendom. Although the caliphs had conquered thousands of square miles of Christian territory — from Syria in the east to Spain in the west — they were discontent; for their prophet, Muhammad, had, in the guise of a “prophecy,” personally called for the conquest of Constantinople, promising paradisiacal rewards beyond imagination (which is saying much) for the one who would accomplish it. While headed towards Constantinople and devastating every other Christian village on the way with “both sword and fire,” to quote a chronicler, emir Maslama, the caliph’s brother, vowed that he would “enter this city knowing that it is the capital of Christianity and its glory; my only purpose in entering it is to uphold Islam and humiliate unbelief.”

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