Sunday 16 September 2007

The Muslim Sack of Rome and St Peter's in 846 AD

Rome was sacked by Muslims in 846 AD during the great conquests of Islam after the time of Mohammed.

During the 8th and 9th centuries, the Muslim Arabs (then called Saracens in Europe) were rapaciously invading Christendom through Southern Italy which they succeeded in conquering by fire, murder, rapine and the sword. Sailing from newly acquired bases in North Africa which they had just stolen from the Christians of the Eastern Roman Empire, the had conquered Sicily and were now bent upon seizing the rest of the peninsula.

They had earlier been rebuffed in France in 732 by King Charles Martel, the grandfather of Charlemagne, but they had got as far as Tours in Nothern France. King Charles was the first to halt their seemingly inexorable advance. Thereafter they retired to Spain and parts of Southern France and settled. They retained their hold on what had once been Catholic Visigothic Spain for the next 800 years! They were not finally ejected from Christian Spain until 1491 by Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand.

Under Pope Paschal I (817-824), the relics of the holy martyrs were concealed in the walls of the city of Rome. When Rome was sacked, Paschal's careful precautions did not prevent the wholesale spoliation and robbery of Basilica of Saint Peter itself, nor, indeed, of San Paolo fuori le Mura (St Paul's outside the Walls), because they both lay outside the walls of the city of Rome.

Later, a second wall was constructed on the other side of the Tiber from the main city area. It was constructed by order of Pope Leo IV and so this enclosure was called the Leonine City.

The Islamic conquest and domination of Sicily, as well as parts of southern Italy began in the 7th century after the foundation of Islam and the attempt by the Muslim leaders to conquer the world.

By Koranic tradition, Islam makes its attempts to re-conquer the world in the 7th or 8th decade of every century and does not stop until it is halted by force. When stopped it generally lies low until the 7th or 8th decade of the next century when it then makes another attempt at world domination.

How, then, can it call itself a religion of peace? It does so because it means by peace the eventual peace that will, it says, be the consequence of the conquest of the world for Islam. In the meantime, however, it is war.

Islam first attacked Sicily (then part of the Eastern Roman Empire) in 652 AD when Syrian Arabs under Mu’auia ibn-Hodeig invaded.

The Eastern Roman Imperial Exarch of Ravenna, Olympius, then took ship to oust the invaders but the invading Arabs managed to escape back to Syria with a huge treasure trove of pillaged riches.

Next, in 669, the invading Muslim Arabs came in 200 ships from Alexandria (once the greatest Christian city in the Middle East) and attacked Syracuse, once again escaping with a mountain of rich booty stripped from the churches, palaces and homes of the Christian people.

The invading Muslims, when they first attacked Alexandria, coming across the library of the University of Alexandria which was one of the greatest in the world, took no heed of the great wealth of learning contained therein, including priceless collections of ancient Greek, Roman and Hebrew texts, and burnt the whole library.

Thus it was that so many ancient Greek and Roman texts were lost to the world forever. And yet Western scholars continue to peddle the lie that Islam safely preserved the Greek and Roman texts. It is true that some were later preserved but a massive corpus was permanently destroyed by the burning of the Alexandrian library.

After the Umayyad conquest of Africa (completed by about 700), Muslim fleets repeatedly attacked the coast of Sicily in 703, 728, 729, 730, 731, 733 and 734, looting, sacking and pillaging at every turn.

The Christians of Roman Christendom were taken completely by surprise by these attacks since they had no contest with Islam at that time and had done nothing to merit such unwarranted and merciless attacks by the Muslim raiders.

An expeditionary force was launched in 740 with the aim of conquering Christendom for Islam. The Muslim princes Habib and his son, Abdurrahman, set out to conquer the whole Italian peninsula, having discovered the Christians unprepared for invasion, and they would probably have succeeded in doing so but for a revolt in Tunisia by the Berbers which they had to return and deal with.

A treaty was signed between the Eastern Empire and Ibrahim I ibn al-Aghlab, Emir of Ifriqiya in 805 but did not prevent attacks from continuing elsewhere in Italy. Ibrahim's son, Abdallah I, sent an invasion force to conquer Sicily in 812 and he, despite some reverses, managed to conquer Lampedusa.

Thereafter the conquest of Sicily by Al-Aghlab Abu Ibrahim proceeded with rapidity.

He was succeeded by Abbas ibn-Fadhl, a savage warrior who ravaged lands still under the control of the Eastern Roman Empire capturing Castrogiovanni in 859. All the Christian survivors from that fortress were executed, and women and children were sold as slaves in Palermo. The Eastern Roman Emperor tried to aid the stricken Christians but was defeated by Abbas. Further defeats followed successively for the Eastern Romans.

Syracuse finally fell in 877 AD to Jafar ibn-Muhammad who then went on to attack Greece and Malta and the death of the Eastern Roman Emperor, Basil I, in 886, was followed by attacks on Calabria and a further defeat for the imperial army. Reggio di Calabria fell in 901 and Taromina, the last Byzantine stronghold in Sicily fell in 902.

The whole of Southern Italy was now in Muslim hands and Islam was poised to invade the rest of Christendom.



Anonymous said...

I haven't read about the this in some time, but I believe it was at this time that the reliquary with St. Peter's remains was moved to the place where it was eventually found in 1944. There's a volume by Fr. Kirschenbaum on the excavations under St. Peter's during WWII with all the details.


Anonymous said...

Hmmm you're too good. Would you not think of writing a book. You have it all, knowledge, language, timing. History doesn't usually grip me but this is great.
My son is bringing home pseudo history books from school. They are for children and tell history as a story. The history element is anti-Catholic and the stories contain awful levels of violence (children having ropes tied round necks and nearly strangled as they gasp for breath etc. my son is 8). My son attends a Catholic school, one of the best in the county. I speak to parents and they are just happy that the children are reading, they don't seem to worry about the content in the same way as they would tv or film. What I would give for exciting reads that are proper at the same time. There is a need out there and this ex-actor Terry Deary is filling the void with bile. He is making a fortune from lies and violence and parents think the children are learning real history in a fun and exciting way. So how would a History of Roman Christendom series grab you??

Tribunus said...

Thank you both! Yes, if I can et time I shall try and write a book or two. It's finding the time.

Anonymous said...

Thank you. I'm reading these with my children as part of their home ed. It's just right as bite size history for them.

Anonymous said...

its good to see somebody telling the truth in the realm of lies.

Salah ud din said...

Well i have never found anything on that so called "Koranic tradition". Rape,Murder & Pillage you said? If Muslims would have done that, They'd still be in Spain but instead they let the snakes grow right under their noses, Because they couldn't murder people. We all know conduct of Muslim Conquerer as compared to a Christian one once we take a look at Catholic Conquest of Jeruselem in Crusades and then Muslim Re-Conquest afterwards. Had Ottomon Empire wiped out all the Christians in Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia etc World's Map would have been different right? But instead the christians were allowed to exist and prosper while Muslims were Wiped out from Their former Realms. Difference?

Tribunus said...

Thanks, Saladin.

You need to get out of your fantasy ghetto.

Everywhere that Muslim conquerors went they burned, pillaged, murdered, destroyed and enslaved.

Even now Muslims are re-introducing slavery into Africa.

Your view of history is devoid of reality and fact.

It is a matter of simple historical fact that Muslim corsairs roamed the Mediterranean as pirates, and made regular assaults on the coast of Europe to murder and enslave.

Sultan Mehmet II send a "demand" to the Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I demanding that he present himself outside his palace so that Mehmet's army could take him and cut off his head.

So - however much you may not like it - that is what Muslims did.

And Muslim terrorists are still doing it today.

But rape, murder and pillage do not pay. Eventually the marauding Muslims were thrown out of Spain, after 800 years of occupation.

When you say "we all know" you mean you "like to fantasise".

The reality is that the Muslim invasion of the Middle East, and the subsequent re-conquest, were both every bit as bloody massacres as were all Muslim invasions.

If, as you ridiculously assert, Christians had wiped out all the Muslims then there would have been none to revolt and re-conquer.

Christians, far from being allowed to "prosper" were at best second class citizens in their own country or else simply slaughtered or enslaved.

There were Muslims who were peaceful (as there are today), and there were Christians who were not (as also today), but to pretend that no Muslims were murderers, and all Christians were, is to dwell in a total fantasy of fanaticism.

Wake up and face the reality - you are living in fanatical fantasy land.

Perhaps you've never heard of Al Qaeda?

Rob Porter said...

Unfortunately, Saladin, like all Muslim supremacists is a liar and thus in keeping with the Muslim principle of 'taqiyya', namely deceit. Their's is mostly a useless history of murder, mahem and destruction - not preservation - of history. Hence their destruction of libraries in the old pre-Arab Persia, Alexandria and elsewhere. Today they are today obsessed with the Crusades, yet the fact is that it was Muslim aggression and barbarism for 460 years that led to the Crusades. Butchery of 3,000 Christians by the Seljuk Turks outside Jerusalem in 1077 is conveniently forgotten, but Richard the Lionheart's butchery of 2,700 Muslim outside Acre is 1191 - in retaliation for Muslim execution of Crusaders who surrendered to Saladin and Saladin's refusal to pay ransome, is treated as if the crime of all time. It is always the same old infantile, stupid, one-sided rubbish from Islam.

Ray Land said...

Just finished a tour of St. Peter's Basilica where our highly educated (Archeology) tour guide informed us about the Muslim pillagers in the 9th century. While I realize that Catholics pillaged also, the guide unconsciously highlighted two significant differences between the religions. The first occurred during our tour of the Papal gardens where she quoted Raphael "Intellect is divine" as the inspiration for his many religious works of art. The second at St. Peter's Basilica where she pointed out that Pope Francis just married a Muslim and a Catholic. This inclusiveness and encouragement in the pursuit of knowledge contrasted with Islam's exclusiveness and their punishment of those that pursue knowledge. What concerns me most is not that the Muslims will prevail (their exclusiveness and backwardness are too large a hurdle) but that a more technologically advanced nation will exterminate them all. Remember their enemies now include powerful agnostic states like China who will have little patience with their terroristic activities. Watch how they handle their minority Muslim population to get a view on their methods. Exploiting Genetic weaknesses is not beyond their capabilities.

nomdeplume said...

Errr your prophet Mohammad raped, pillaged and killed. Where do you get off acting pious when the man you revere deemed it permissible to spread Islam. What the right hand possesses and all that. What was the name of that peaceful Jewish town that once saved Mo's life so he responded by bringing back his cult followers and murdering the men, keeping the leaders wife for his own and dividing up the rest of the women as war booty?

TheSeljuk said...

Europe is weak. The invasion will be renewed. You are warned.

Tribunus said...

Come on down,'ll find you can't defeat God....or his holy Catholic religion. Our own clergy have been doing a fine job of trying to destroy it for years and even they couldn't do it! So what makes you think you can do any better? Let's sit down and have some Turkish coffee instead...

charlotte brancaforte said...

I do not have the book at hand right now but I recommend it highly from past teaching experience. It was written by the Austrian historian Friedrich HEER who also wrote on "European Intellectual History ."

MEDIEVAL EUROPE - 1100-1350. Heer was A CATHOLIC ( which seems to be important in the context of these discussions.) I used it as background reading for my university classes on German literary history and I remember that the students always liked it ( it was out of print for a while but seems to have been reprinted- availabe at AMAZON. )
Chapters on jews, women, intellectual life, Avicenna, education . I do not remember how politically correct in today's context Heer's chapters on the crusades will seem to you. However, his thesis is that the early Middlee Ages were a time of fruitful openness in the discussions of theology, in the meeting and debates of intellectuals of Catholic, Jewish and Arab religions, and that the later Middle Ages led to a closing of the minds and a sharpening of differences.
As for the readers' obsession with cruelty-- do not forget that this was a general way of dealing with each other; the Catholics had slaves far into the Renaissance; ransom was paid for captured and enslaved warriors on both sides. Arabs did not expel believers of Christian or Jewish persuasion as did the Catholics in 1492 etc. but asked for taxes ( example, Spain and Sicily in early Middle Ages). Read the book, it is well written and can be digested chapter by chapter .
There also exist excellent newer books on the contributions of Muslim scholars to intellectual life in medieval Europe.

Bob from Michigan said...

Ray you wrote: "... Pope Francis just married a Muslim and a Catholic."

I cannot find evidence of this claim above on any News Stories type of Website.

Please anyone with proof of this claim write me back by email at:


REMOVE the ? From the email address above

Anonymous said...

Oh, dear; will we humans never learn? No side can win an argument by comparing which sides were more violent or compassionate. It is the fallen nature of all mankind to follow evil. We're "even" in that sense. Only in God's loving gift of salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ, who took on our sinful natures in order to conquer evil for us, will we find peace. That true Peace is between God and human. There is no other person who could be the sacrifice to God for our evil inclinations but the Son of God Himself. Some humans will continue to commit atrocities until the end of time, but followers of the Light will continue to seek ways of helping & serving others.

Unknown said...

Sorry, anonymous but that is a pathetic, weasely reply.

You cannot excuse atrocities and mass murder simply because it is all washed away in the Blood of the Lamb.

Christianity is nothing like "even" with Islam. The scales weigh very heavily against Islamic Jihadism.

In saying we are "even" you are actually lying.

And, by the way, THAT'S a sin, too!

Unknown said...

Sorry, Charlotte, but that is tendentious special pleading, yet again.

If you are a teacher, then you need to learn to be more objective and more rational and evidence-based, and not to put all your intellectual eggs in one basket.

So Heer was a Catholic? Big deal! John Cornwell claims to be a Catholic but wrote appalling lies about Pope Pius XII in order simply to obtain money and fame.

Yes, the early Middle Ages were a time of fruitful openness in the discussions of theology, in the meeting and debates of intellectuals of Catholic, Jewish and Muslim Arab religions, but so were the later Middle Ages.

Aquinas comes from the later Middle Ages and no-one could accuse him of having a "closed mind".

In the very late Middle Ages, Christendom was forced to [protect itself because of two driving threats: first, Jihadist Islam and, second, rapacious and murderous internal heretics like the Albigensians whose beliefs favoured abortion, euthanasia, murder and the overthrow of Catholic Christendom.

By the way, stop being so racist. Islam is not an "Arab" religion, neither are all Arabs Muslim. A great many Arabs are Christian and some are Jewish. Try to overcome your racist bigotry, Charlotte! It is not fitting in a teacher and an academic.

And, no, cruelty was not a "general way of dealing each other" any more than it is today. Indeed, the 20th century was a far, far, far more cruel century than were the Middle Ages.

Catholics did not keep slaves in the ridiculous sense that you mean i.e. chattel slaves, the property of the owner to do with as they pleased.

They kept prisoners of war and for crimes, since prisons were few, mostly for captured nobility and their security was far from satisfactory. Therefore, captured prisoners of war were kept in limited servitude. Likewise, some prisoners of crime were so kept. Modern prisons were a thing of the future and arguably the people of the Middle ages were far more humane and would have been shocked by modern prison conditions.

Chattel slavery was long abolished in Christendom by the constant pressure and action of the Catholic Church.

Get your facts straight!

Unknown said...

Charlotte, it is fatuous to say Muslims did not expel believers of Christian or Jewish faith since they simply massacred them or, at the very best, forced them into dhimmitude (second class status and paying heavy taxes, the Jizyah).

Christianity was highly tolerant of Jews and Muslims until they began to subversively seek to overthrow the Christian state, particularly when they falsely accepted baptism in order to subvert the state more effectively, as they did in Spain.

Don't just read secondary sources. Read the primary sources, Charlotte. That is what scholars do!

If you do need a secondary source, then read "Characters of the Inquisition" and "Queen Isabella" by William Thomas Walsh. Then you will get a more balanced picture.

Queen Isabella of Spain removed the Jews of Spain (about 150,000 genuine Jews) not as punishment or religious or ethnic "cleansing" but in order to protect them from angry Spaniards who had been betrayed by false conversos and blamed the visibly genuine Jews who, in fact, were rarely at fault. the problem was the false conversos, not the authentic Jewish believers.

Isabella therefore arranged for them to be removed (at her government's expense!) to Africa, Italy, the Holy Roman Empire and the Papal States, in order to protect them from unjust reprisals.

In short, the exact OPPOSITE of what happens in Islamic Jihadist countries.

The supposed great contribution of Muslim scholars consisted in their having preserved the original learning of earlier Christian scholars and has been greatly exaggerated.

No religion has contributed anything like as much to civilisation as the Catholic religion. Catholicism made the West and Western culture and is the reason it has been so superior to all others.

It's a fact. Get used to it. And get over it.

And try to get over your obvious bigotries and prejudices against your own culture and history.

It's so worthlessly pathetic and dumb.