Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Parent’s night at the end of term and the history teacher walked us around the classroom explaining that the students researched the Crusades and here are some of their project displays. Plenty of knights, no “bad guys”, maps, bows and arrows, white sheets with red crosses, helmets, wooden swords, and plenty of spiked mace. Thinking of how just sixteen miles up the road in Canterbury all those years ago, the archbishops probably held big services to bless the troops before they marched 20 miles southeast to Dover, nineteen miles across the channel to Calais. Tough times. Long marches, pretty grim. Pillage practice along the Balkans, or maybe the route down Italy, hiring some pirate cruisemasters. A cardboard castle unlike the fortress at Acre, the Little Bighorn of the whole series of capers, a retreat to Cyprus, a few forays afterward but nothing serious. Present tense analogy, obvious, actually a few examples, some harken back to the Romans, but this one feels a bit more faith-based, from swords to more technical advanced instruments. No Acre, hopefully, but definitely a long siege. Snapping out of that mind drift hearing the teacher say, “…crusaders brought back with them many great things like medical techniques and algebra…”…and architecture. In 1910, T.E. Lawrence traveled to Syria while a student at Oxford and wrote his thesis on the influence of Islamic architecture on European castle designs…seven years later he was crusading with Prince Faisal.