Lebanon in History from the Earliest Times to the Present

By Philip K. Hitti | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXI LATIN-LEBANESE INTERRELATIONSHIP

RICH in drama and spectacular events, the Crusades were nevertheless poor in cultural achievement and results. Not only did they fall in achieving their purpose, but they failed in producing much that was of permanent good. On the whole, it may be said that their effects on the West were more wholesome, opening up new vistas and widening old horizons, especially with respect to trade and industry. For the East they left in their wake ruins all along the seaboard and a legacy of ill will and hatred between Moslems and Christians.

In the art of warfare the Franks adopted new weapons or developed new techniques. They learned the use of the crossbow and of various "fires" as missiles, the method of constructing a portcullis,1 the employment of tabor (Ar. ṭunbūr) and naker (naqqārah) in military bands, and the utilization of carrier pigeons for conveying military intelligence and of bonfires for signalling a night. They acquired new techniques in the art of the sapper and the miner, and in the employment of siege instruments like the mangonel. Contact with enemy knights encouraged the spread of armorial bearings and heraldic devices and the wearing of heavier, more expensive armour.2

What the Franks learned

It should, however, be remembered that the times of peace between Franks and natives were of much longer duration than times of war, hot or cold. The truce and peace periods provided some opportunity for social and economic contacts. Thus the Crusading movement accelerated means of communication and popularized in Europe certain agricultural and industrial products of Eastern nativity. It gave great impetus to the trading enterprise and to pilgrimage, both already long established. While there, the Franks had to learn new ways of living and

____________________
1
Saracinesca in Italian. This device was known to the Romans before the Arabs.
2
Dana C. Munro, The Kingdom of the Crusades ( New York, 1935), p. 184.

-310-

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