The Waxing, The Waning, And The New Phase Of Tfie Turkish Crescent1 -- By: G. E. White

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 068:271 (Jul 1911)
Article: The Waxing, The Waning, And The New Phase Of Tfie Turkish Crescent1
Author: G. E. White

The Waxing, The Waning, And The New Phase Of Tfie Turkish Crescent1

G. E. White, D.D.,

About the year 1250 a. d., as the historians tell us, a battle was raging on one of the plains of Anatolia, which is the local name for Asia Minor. It was near the city of Angora. From the heights above, a third party looked down upon the contestants; and this was a band of 444 horsemen, who had at their backs their families, their tents, their animals, and all the possessions of a nomad tribe on the march. Long the battle raged on the plain, eagerly did the horsemen watch it from above, until at last, seeing that one side was weakening, and probably impelled also by the natural love of a fray, which seems to be so deeply implanted in human nature, the leader, signaling his horde2 to follow, swept down in time to turn the tide of war in favor of the weaker party. The contestants were soldiers of the Mongols and Seljukian Turks, and succor came to the hard-pressed Seljukians from their kinsmen, the Ottomans; and that is the way in which the Ottoman Turks entered the pages of European history.

Why did these Turkish tribes swarm out from their ancestral hive hidden deep in the recesses of central Asia? It is

at least possible, as Professor Huntington ably argues in his volume “The Pulse of Asia,” that changes in climate were the probable cause. Given the vast steppes of central Asia, with scanty rainfall, and consequently barely enough vegetation to support the nomad tribes that wander hither and thither; then, by a protracted series of dry seasons, a cycle lasting for an entire generation, reduce the vegetation, and so reduce the food-supply for man and beast, and the hungry people must emigrate or starve. Certain it is that for generations, along about 1000, 1100, 1200 a. d., just as the Norman tribes were emigrating from their ancestral maritime domains in their long boats, and were rollicking and rioting along the western shores of Europe, so the Turkish tribes were emigrating from their ancestral pastoral domains in the depths of Asia with their caravans, and were rollicking and rioting over the western fringes of the continent, especially over Asia Minor. The first to become known and established were the Seljukians, who took the city of Jerusalem and the Holy Land, along with other territories that they conquered. Previous to their time the sacred places of Christendom had been in the hands of the Arabs, who had treated pilgrims thither for the most part with good-natured disdain, kicking them occasionally to remind them of the true feelings of a Mohammedan for a Christian, but not ha...

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