The Druze are an Arabic-speaking esoteric ethno-religious group originating in Western Asia who self-identify as Al-Muwaḥḥidūn. Jethro of Midian is considered an ancestor of all people from the Mountain of Druze region, who revere him as their spiritual founder and chief prophet, it is a monotheistic and Abrahamic religion based on the teachings of Hamza ibn-'Ali ibn-Ahmad and the sixth Fatimid caliph Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, Greek philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle. The Epistles of Wisdom is the foundational text of the Druze faith; the Druze faith incorporates elements of Isma'ilism, a branch of Shia Islam, Neoplatonism and other philosophies and beliefs, creating a distinct and secretive theology known to interpret esoterically religious scriptures, to highlight the role of the mind and truthfulness. The Druze follow theophany, believe in reincarnation or the transmigration of the soul. At the end of the cycle of rebirth, achieved through successive reincarnations, the soul is united with the Cosmic Mind.
Although dwarfed by other, larger communities, the Druze community played an important role in shaping the history of the Levant, where it continues to play a large political role. As a religious minority in every country, they have experienced persecution, except in Lebanon and Israel, where Druze judges, parliamentarians and doctors occupy the highest echelons of society. Though the faith developed out of Ismaili Islam, Druze are not considered Muslims, although Al Azhar of Egypt recognizes them as one of the Islamic sects, akin to Shia. Fatimid caliph Ali az-Zahir, whose father al-Hakim is a key figure in the Druze faith, was harsh, causing the death of many Druze in Antioch and northern Syria. Persecution flared up during the rule of the Ottomans. Most Druze were targeted by the ISIL and Al-Qaeda in order to cleanse Syria and neighboring countries of non-Islamic influence; the Druze faith is one of the major religious groups in the Levant, with between 800,000 and a million adherents. They are found in Syria and Israel, with small communities in Jordan.
The oldest and most densely-populated Druze communities exist in Mount Lebanon and in the south of Syria around Jabal al-Druze. The Druze's social customs differ markedly from those of Muslims or Christians, they are known to form close-knit, cohesive communities which do not allow non-Druze in, though they themselves integrate in their adopted homelands. Druze people reside in Syria, Lebanon and Jordan; the Institute of Druze Studies estimates that forty to fifty percent of Druze live in Syria, thirty to forty percent in Lebanon, six to seven percent in Israel, one or two percent in Jordan. About two percent of the Druze population are scattered within other countries in the Middle East. Large communities of Druze live outside the Middle East, in Australia, Europe, Latin America, the United States, West Africa, they use the Arabic language and follow a social pattern similar to those of the other peoples of the Levant. The number of Druze people worldwide is between 800,000 and one million, with the vast majority residing in the Levant.
The name Druze is derived from the name of Muhammad bin Ismail Nashtakin ad-Darazī, an early preacher. Although the Druze consider ad-Darazī a heretic, the name has been used to identify them. Before becoming public, the movement was secretive and held closed meetings in what was known as Sessions of Wisdom. During this stage a dispute occurred between ad-Darazi and Hamza bin Ali concerning ad-Darazi's ghuluww, which refers to the belief that God was incarnated in human beings and to ad-Darazi naming himself "The Sword of the Faith", which led Hamza to write an epistle refuting the need for the sword to spread the faith and several epistles refuting the beliefs of the ghulat. In 1016 ad-Darazi and his followers proclaimed their beliefs and called people to join them, causing riots in Cairo against the Unitarian movement including Hamza bin Ali and his followers; this led to the suspension of the movement for one year and the expulsion of ad-Darazi and his supporters. Although the Druze religious books describe ad-Darazi as the "insolent one" and as the "calf", narrow-minded and hasty, the name "Druze" is still used for identification and for historical reasons.
In 1018, ad-Darazi was assassinated for his teachings. Some authorities see in the name "Druze" a descriptive epithet, derived from Arabic dārisah. Others have speculated that the word comes from the Persian word Darazo or from Shaykh Hussayn ad-Darazī, one of the early converts to the faith. In the early stages of the movement, the word "Druze" is mentioned by historians, in Druze religious texts only the word Muwaḥḥidūn appears; the only early Arab historian who mentions the Druze is the eleventh century Christian scholar Yahya of Antioch, who refers to the heretical group created by ad-Darazī, rather than the followers of Hamza ibn'Alī. As for Western sources, Benjamin of Tudela, the Jewish traveler who passed through Lebanon in or around 1165, was one of the first European writers to refer to the Druzes by name; the word Dogziyin occurs in an early H
Tancred, Prince of Galilee
Tancred was an Italo-Norman leader of the First Crusade who became Prince of Galilee and regent of the Principality of Antioch. Tancred had a great-grandfather with Tancred of Hauteville. Tancred was a son of Odo the Good Marquis, his maternal grandparents were Robert Guiscard's first wife Alberada of Buonalbergo. Emma was a sister of Bohemond of Taranto. In 1096, Tancred joined his maternal uncle Bohemund on the First Crusade, the two made their way to Constantinople. There, he was pressured to swear an oath to Byzantine Emperor Alexius I Comnenus, promising to give back any conquered land to the Byzantine Empire. Although the other leaders did not intend to keep their oaths, Tancred refused to swear the oath altogether, he participated in the siege of Nicaea in 1097, but the city was taken by Alexius' army after secret negotiations with the Seljuk Turks. Because of this, Tancred was distrustful of the Byzantines. In 1097 the Crusaders divided their forces at Heraclea and Tancred entered the Levant by passing south through the Cilician Gates.
He displayed the skills of a brilliant tactician by seizing five of the most important sites in Cilicia Pedias, which included the ancient cities of Tarsus and Adana, the great emporium at Mopsuestia, the strategic castles at Sarvandikar and Anazarbus. The last three settlements were annexed to the Principality of Antioch. During their fourteen-year occupation of Anazarbus the Crusaders built the magnificent donjon atop the center of the fortified outcrop. At Sarvandikar, which controlled the strategic Amanus Pass, Tancred imprisoned Raymond of Saint-Gilles in 1101/02, he assisted in the siege of Antioch in 1098. One year during the assault on Jerusalem, along with Gaston IV of Béarn, claimed to have been the first Crusader to enter the city on July 15. However, the first crusader to enter Jerusalem was Ludolf of Tournai, he was followed by his brother Englebert; when the city fell, Tancred gave his banner to a group of the citizens who had fled to the roof of the Temple of Solomon. This should have assured their safety, but they were massacred, along with many others, during the sack of the city.
The author of the Gesta Francorum records that, when Tancred realised this, he was "greatly angered". When the Kingdom of Jerusalem was established, Tancred became Prince of Galilee. In 1100, Tancred became regent of Antioch when Bohemund was taken prisoner by the Danishmends at the Battle of Melitene, he expanded the territory of the Latin principality by capturing land from the Byzantines, over the next decade, Alexius attempted, unsuccessfully, to bring him under Byzantine control. In 1104, he took control of the County of Edessa when Baldwin II was taken captive after the Battle of Harran. After Baldwin's release in late 1108, he had to fight Tancred to regain control of the county. After Harran, Bohemond returned to Europe to recruit more Crusaders, again leaving his nephew as regent in Antioch. Tancred's victory over Radwan of Aleppo at the Battle of Artah in 1105 allowed the Latin principality to recover some its territories east of the Orontes River. In 1108, Tancred refused to honour the Treaty of Devol, in which Bohemund swore an oath of fealty to Alexius, for decades afterwards Antioch remained independent of the Byzantine Empire.
In 1110, he brought Krak des Chevaliers under his control, which would become an important castle in the County of Tripoli. Tancred remained regent in Antioch in the name of Bohemund II until his death in 1112 during a typhoid epidemic, he died childless. The Gesta Tancredi is a biography of Tancred written in Latin by Ralph of Caen, a Norman who joined the First Crusade and served under Tancred and Bohemund. An English translation was co-published in 2005 by David S. Bachrach. Tancred appears as a character in Torquato Tasso's 16th-century poem Jerusalem Delivered, in which he is portrayed as an epic hero and given a fictional love interest, the pagan warrior-maiden Clorinda, he is loved by the Princess Erminia of Antioch. Portions of Tasso's verses were set by Claudio Monteverdi in his 1624 dramatic work Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda, he appears in one of the scenes in Imre Madách's The Tragedy of Man. He appears as a character in Tom Harper's "Siege of Heaven" and is depicted as a violent psychopath.
His portrayal is similar although more humorous in Alfred Duggan's novel Count Bohemond. Tancred appears as one of the Crusade leaders in Sir Walter Scott's novel'Count Robert of Paris' who returned to Constantinople from Scutari to ensure a fair contest between Count Robert and his challenger; the novel Tancred, or the New Crusade by Benjamin Disraeli centres around the adventures of an imagined modern descendant and namesake of the Prince of Galilee. Rossini's opera Tancredi is based on Tasso, via Voltaire's play Tancrède of 1759. Edwards, Robert W; the Fortifications of Armenian Cilicia: Dumbarton Oaks Studies XXIII, Washington, D. C.: Dumbarton Oaks, Trustees for Harvard University. ISBN 0-88402-163-7 Robert Lawrence Nicholson, Tancred: A Study of His Career and Work. AMS Press, 1978. Peters, Edward, ed; the First Crusade: The Chronicle of Fulcher of Chartres and Other Source Materials, Smail, R. C. Crusading Warfare 1097–1193. New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1995. ISBN 1-56619-769-4 Gesta Tancredi Texts on Wikisource: "Tancred".
Collier's New Encyclopedia. 1921. "Tancred". Encyclopedia Americana
The Near East is a geographical term that encompasses a transcontinental region centered on Western Asia and Egypt. Despite having varying definitions within different academic circles, the term was applied to the maximum extent of the Ottoman Empire; the term has fallen into disuse in English and has been replaced by the terms Middle East, which includes Egypt, West Asia, which includes the Transcaucasus. According to the National Geographic Society, the terms Near East and Middle East denote the same territories and are "generally accepted as comprising the countries of the Arabian Peninsula, Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Palestinian territories and Turkey"; as of 1997, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations defined the region but included Afghanistan. At the beginning of the 19th century the Ottoman Empire included all of the Balkan Peninsula south to the southern edge of the Hungarian Plain, but by 1914 had lost all of it except Constantinople and Eastern Thrace to the rise of nationalist Balkan states, which saw the independence of Greece, the Danubian Principalities and Bulgaria.
Up until 1912, the Ottomans retained a band of territory including Albania and Southern Thrace, which were lost in the two Balkan Wars of 1912–13. The Ottoman Empire, believed to be about to collapse, was portrayed in the press as the "sick man of Europe"; the Balkan states, with the partial exception of Bosnia and Albania, were Christian, as was the majority of Lebanon. Starting in 1894, the Ottomans struck at the Armenians on the explicit grounds that they were a non-Muslim people and as such were a potential threat to the Muslim empire within which they resided; the Hamidian Massacres aroused the indignation of the entire Christian world. In the United States the now aging Julia Ward Howe, author of the Battle Hymn of the Republic, leaped into the war of words and joined the Red Cross. Relations of minorities within the Ottoman Empire and the disposition of former Ottoman lands became known as the "Eastern Question", as the Ottomans were on the east of Europe, it now became relevant to define the east of the eastern question.
In about the middle of the 19th century Near East came into use to describe that part of the east closest to Europe. The term Far East appeared contemporaneously meaning Japan, Korea and Vietnam. Near East applied to what had been known as the Levant, in the jurisdiction of the Ottoman Porte, or government; those who used the term had little choice about its meaning. They could not set foot on most of the shores of the southern and central Mediterranean from the Gulf of Sidra to Albania without permits from the Ottoman Empire; some regions beyond the Ottoman Porte were included. One was North Africa west of Egypt, it was occupied by piratical kingdoms of the Barbary Coast, de facto-independent since the 18th century part of the empire at its apogee. Iran was included because it could not be reached except through the Ottoman Empire or neighboring Russia. In the 1890s the term tended to focus on the conflicts in Armenia; the demise of "the sick man of Europe" left considerable confusion as to what was to be meant by "Near East".
It is now used only in historical contexts, to describe the countries of Western Asia from the Mediterranean to Iran. There is, in short, no universally-understood fixed inventory of nations, languages or historical assets defined to be in it; the geographical terms Near East and Far East referring to areas of the globe in or contiguous to the former British Empire and the neighboring colonies of the Dutch, Portuguese and Germans, fit together as a pair based on the opposites of far and near, suggesting that they were innovated together. They appear together in the journals of the mid-19th century. Both terms were used before with local British and American meanings: the near or far east of a field, village or shire. There was a linguistic predisposition to use such terms; the Romans had used them in near Gaul / far Gaul, near Spain / far others. Before them the Greeks had the habit, which appears in Linear B, the oldest known script of Europe, referring to the near province and the far province of the kingdom of Pylos.
These terms were given with reference to a geographic feature, such as a mountain range or a river. Ptolemy's Geography divided Asia on a similar basis. In the north is "Scythia this side of the Himalayas" and "Scythia beyond the Himalayas". To the south is "India on this side of the Ganges" and "India beyond the Ganges". Asia began on the coast of Anatolia. Beyond the Ganges and Himalayas were Serica and Serae and some other identifiable far eastern locations known to the voyagers and geographers but not to the general European public. By the time of John Seller's Atlas Maritima of 1670, "India Beyond the Ganges" had become "the East Indies" including China, southeast Asia and the islands of the Pacific in a map, every bit as distorted as Ptolemy's, despite the lapse of 1,500 years; that "east" in turn was only an English translation of Latin Oriens and Orientalis, "the land of the rising Sun", used since Roman times for "east". The world map of Jodocus Hondius of 1590 labels all of Asia from the Caspian to the Pacific as India Orientalis, shortly to appear in translation as the East Indies.
Elizabeth I of England interested in trade with the east, collaborated with English merchants to form the first trading companies to the far-flung regions, using their own jargon. Their goals were to obtain trading concessio
Judaism is the religion of the Jewish people. It is an ancient, Abrahamic religion with the Torah as its foundational text, it encompasses the religion and culture of the Jewish people. Judaism is considered by religious Jews to be the expression of the covenant that God established with the Children of Israel. Judaism encompasses a wide body of texts, theological positions, forms of organization; the Torah is part of the larger text known as the Tanakh or the Hebrew Bible, supplemental oral tradition represented by texts such as the Midrash and the Talmud. With between 14.5 and 17.4 million adherents worldwide, Judaism is the tenth largest religion in the world. Within Judaism there are a variety of movements, most of which emerged from Rabbinic Judaism, which holds that God revealed his laws and commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai in the form of both the Written and Oral Torah; this assertion was challenged by various groups such as the Sadducees and Hellenistic Judaism during the Second Temple period.
Modern branches of Judaism such as Humanistic Judaism may be nontheistic. Today, the largest Jewish religious movements are Orthodox Judaism, Conservative Judaism, Reform Judaism. Major sources of difference between these groups are their approaches to Jewish law, the authority of the Rabbinic tradition, the significance of the State of Israel. Orthodox Judaism maintains that the Torah and Jewish law are divine in origin and unalterable, that they should be followed. Conservative and Reform Judaism are more liberal, with Conservative Judaism promoting a more traditionalist interpretation of Judaism's requirements than Reform Judaism. A typical Reform position is that Jewish law should be viewed as a set of general guidelines rather than as a set of restrictions and obligations whose observance is required of all Jews. Special courts enforced Jewish law. Authority on theological and legal matters is not vested in any one person or organization, but in the sacred texts and the rabbis and scholars who interpret them.
The history of Judaism spans more than 3,000 years. Judaism has its roots as an organized religion in the Middle East during the Bronze Age. Judaism is considered one of the oldest monotheistic religions; the Hebrews and Israelites were referred to as "Jews" in books of the Tanakh such as the Book of Esther, with the term Jews replacing the title "Children of Israel". Judaism's texts and values influenced Abrahamic religions, including Christianity and the Baha'i Faith. Many aspects of Judaism have directly or indirectly influenced secular Western ethics and civil law. Hebraism was just as important a factor in the ancient era development of Western civilization as Hellenism, Judaism, as the background of Christianity, has shaped Western ideals and morality since Early Christianity. Jews are an ethnoreligious group including those born Jewish, in addition to converts to Judaism. In 2015, the world Jewish population was estimated at about 14.3 million, or 0.2% of the total world population. About 43% of all Jews reside in Israel and another 43% reside in the United States and Canada, with most of the remainder living in Europe, other minority groups spread throughout Latin America, Asia and Australia.
Unlike other ancient Near Eastern gods, the Hebrew God is portrayed as solitary. Judaism thus begins with ethical monotheism: the belief that God is one and is concerned with the actions of mankind. According to the Tanakh, God promised Abraham to make of his offspring a great nation. Many generations he commanded the nation of Israel to love and worship only one God, he commanded the Jewish people to love one another. These commandments are but two of a large corpus of commandments and laws that constitute this covenant, the substance of Judaism. Thus, although there is an esoteric tradition in Judaism, Rabbinic scholar Max Kadushin has characterized normative Judaism as "normal mysticism", because it involves everyday personal experiences of God through ways or modes that are common to all Jews; this is played out through the observance of the Halakha and given verbal expression in the Birkat Ha-Mizvot, the short blessings that are spoken every time a positive commandment is to be fulfilled.
The ordinary, everyday things and occurrences we have, constitute occasions for the experience of God. Such things as one's daily sustenance, the day itself, are felt as manifestations of God's loving-kindness, calling for the Berakhot. Kedushah, nothing else than the imitation of God, is concerned with daily conduct, with being gracious and merciful, with keeping oneself from defilement by idolatry and the shedding of blood; the Birkat Ha-Mitzwot evokes the consciousness of holiness at a rabbinic rite, but the objects employed in the majority of these rites are non-holy and of general character, while the several holy objects are non-theurgic. And not only do ordinary things and occurrences bring with them the experience of God. Everything that happens to a man evokes that exp
The Maronite Church is an Eastern Catholic sui iuris particular church in full communion with the Pope and the worldwide Catholic Church, with self-governance under the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches. It is headed by Patriarch Bechara Boutros al-Rahi since 2011. Known as the Syriac Maronite Church of Antioch, it is part of Syriac Christianity by liturgy and heritage. Traditionally, the Maronite Church ministers to the Levant around Mount Lebanon, where its headquarters Bkerke is located north of Beirut. Other centers of historical importance include Kfarhay, Yanouh and Qadisha Valley. However, due to emigration since the 19th century two-thirds of church members are located outside "The Antiochian's Range" and live within the worldwide Lebanese diaspora in Europe, the Americas and Africa. Establishment of the Maronite Church can be divided into three periods, from the 4th to the 7th centuries. A congregation movement, with Saint Maroun as an inspirational leader and patron saint, marked the first period.
The second began with the establishment of the Monastery of Saint Maroun on the Orontes, built after the Council of Chalcedon to defend the doctrines of the Council. This monastery was described as the "Greatest Monastery" in the region of Secunda Syria, with more than 300 hermitages around it, according to ancient records. After 518, the monastery de facto administered many parishes in Prima Syria, Cole Syria and Phoenicia; the third period was when Sede Vacante followed the Islamic conquest of the region and bishops of the Saint Maroun Monastery elected John Maron as Patriarch around 685 AD, according to the Maronite tradition. The Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch re-established their patriarchate in 751 AD. Although reduced in numbers today, Maronites remain one of the principal ethno-religious groups in Lebanon, with smaller minorities of Maronites in Syria, Cyprus and Jordan. Over 3,000,000 Maronites practice the faith; the Maronite Church is known as the Syriac Maronite Church of Antioch.
St Maroun is considered the founder of the spiritual and monastic movement now called the Maronite Church. This movement has had a profound influence in Lebanon, to a lesser degree in Syria and Palestine. Saint Maroun spent his life on a mountain in Syria believed to be "Kefar-Nabo" on the mountain of Ol-Yambos in the Taurus Mountains, contemporary Turkey, becoming the cradle of the Maronite movement established in the Monastery of Saint Maron; the six major traditions of the Catholic Church are Alexandrian, Armenian, Constantinopolitan, Latin. The Maronite Church follows the Antiochene Tradition. A Roman Catholic may attend any Eastern Catholic Liturgy and fulfill his or her obligations at an Eastern Catholic Parish; that is, a Roman Catholic may join any Eastern Catholic Parish and receive any sacrament from an Eastern Catholic priest since all belong to the Catholic Church. Maronites who do not reside within a convenient distance to a local Maronite Church are permitted to attend other Catholic churches while retaining their Maronite membership.
The Maronite Patriarchal Assembly identified five distinguishing marks of the Maronite Church: It is Antiochene. It is Chalcedonian, in that the Maronites were strong supporters of the Council of Chalcedon of 451, it is Monastic. It is faithful to the See of Peter in Rome, it has strong ties to Lebanon. Saint Maron, a fourth-century monk and a contemporary and friend of St. John Chrysostom, left Antioch for the Orontes River in modern-day Syria to lead an ascetic life, following the traditions of Anthony the Great of the Desert and of Pachomius. Many of his followers lived a monastic lifestyle. Following Maron's death in 410 AD, his disciples built Beth-Maron monastery at Apamea; this formed the nucleus of the Maronite Church. In 452, after the Council of Chalcedon, the monastery was expanded by the Byzantine emperor Marcian; the Maronite movement reached Lebanon when St. Maron's first disciple, Abraham of Cyrrhus, called the "Apostle of Lebanon", set out to convert the non-Christians by introducing them to St. Maron.
The Maronites subscribed to the beliefs of the Council of Chalcedon in 451. Monophysites of Antioch slew 350 monks and burned the monastery, although Justinian I restored the walls. Correspondence concerning the event brought the Maronites papal and orthodox recognition, indicated by a letter from Pope Hormisdas dated 10 February 518. Representatives from Beth-Maron participated in the Constantinople synods of 536 and 553. An outbreak of civil war during the reign of Emperor Phocas brought forth riots in the cities of Syria and Palestine and incursions by Persian King Khosrow II. In 609, the Patriarch of Antioch, Anastasius II, was killed either at the hands of some soldiers or locals; this left the Maronites without a leader, which continued because of the final Byzantine–Sassanid War of 602–628. In the aftermath of the war, the Emperor Heraclius propagated a new Christological doctrine in an attempt to unify the various Christian churches of the East, who were divided over accepting the Council of Chalcedon.
This doctrine, the unity of Christ's will with God's, was meant as a compromise between supporters of Chalcedon, such as the Maronites, opponents, such as the Jacobites. The doctrine was endorsed by Pope Honorius I to win back the Monophysites but problems soon arose. Instead, the unity of Christ's will wit
The Normans are an ethnic group that arose in Normandy, a northern region of France, from contact between indigenous Franks and Gallo-Romans, Norse Viking settlers. The settlements followed a series of raids on the French coast from Denmark and Iceland, they gained political legitimacy when the Viking leader Rollo agreed to swear fealty to King Charles III of West Francia; the distinct cultural and ethnic identity of the Normans emerged in the first half of the 10th century, it continued to evolve over the succeeding centuries. The Norman dynasty had a major political and military impact on medieval Europe and the Near East; the Normans were famed for their martial spirit and for their Catholic piety, becoming exponents of the Catholic orthodoxy of the Romance community into which they assimilated. They adopted the Gallo-Romance language of the Frankish land they settled, their dialect becoming known as Norman, Normaund or Norman French, an important literary language, still spoken today in parts of Normandy and the nearby Channel Islands.
The Duchy of Normandy, which they formed by treaty with the French crown, was a great fief of medieval France, under Richard I of Normandy was forged into a cohesive and formidable principality in feudal tenure. The Normans are noted both for their culture, such as their unique Romanesque architecture and musical traditions, for their significant military accomplishments and innovations. Norman adventurers played a role in founding the Kingdom of Sicily under Roger II after conquering southern Italy and Malta from the Saracens and Byzantines, during an expedition on behalf of their duke, William the Conqueror, which led to the Norman conquest of England at the historic Battle of Hastings in 1066. In the ninth century, the Normans captured Seville in Southern Spain, Norman and Anglo-Norman forces contributed to the Iberian Reconquista from the early eleventh to the mid-thirteenth centuries. Norman cultural and military influence spread from these new European centres to the Crusader states of the Near East, where their prince Bohemond I founded the Principality of Antioch in the Levant, to Scotland and Wales in Great Britain, to Ireland, to the coasts of north Africa and the Canary Islands.
The legacy of the Normans persists today through the regional languages and dialects of France, England and Sicily, as well as the various cultural and political arrangements they introduced in their conquered territories. The English name "Normans" comes from the French words Normans/Normanz, plural of Normant, modern French normand, itself borrowed from Old Low Franconian Nortmann "Northman" or directly from Old Norse Norðmaðr, Latinized variously as Nortmannus, Normannus, or Nordmannus to mean "Norseman, Viking"; the 11th century Benedictine monk and historian, Goffredo Malaterra, characterised the Normans thus: Specially marked by cunning, despising their own inheritance in the hope of winning a greater, eager after both gain and dominion, given to imitation of all kinds, holding a certain mean between lavishness and greediness, uniting, as they did, these two opposite qualities. Their chief men were specially lavish through their desire of good report, they were, moreover, a race skillful in flattery, given to the study of eloquence, so that the boys were orators, a race altogether unbridled unless held down by the yoke of justice.
They were enduring of toil and cold whenever fortune laid it on them, given to hunting and hawking, delighting in the pleasure of horses, of all the weapons and garb of war. In the course of the 10th century, the destructive incursions of Norse war bands going upstream into the rivers of France penetrated further into interior Europe, evolved into more permanent encampments that included local French women and personal property; the Duchy of Normandy, which began in 911 as a fiefdom, was established by the treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte between King Charles III of West Francia and the famed Viking ruler Rollo known as Gaange Rolf, from Scandinavia, was situated in the former Frankish kingdom of Neustria. The treaty offered Rollo and his men the French coastal lands along the English Channel between the river Epte and the Atlantic Ocean coast in exchange for their protection against further Viking incursions; as well as granting to protect the area of Rouen from Viking invasion, Rollo had to swear not to invade further Frankish lands himself, accept baptism and conversion to the Roman Catholic faith of Christianity becoming Christian and swear fealty to King Charles III.
He became the first Duke of Count of Rouen. The area corresponded to the northern part of present-day Upper Normandy down to the river Seine, but the Duchy would extend west beyond the Seine; the territory was equivalent to the old province of Rouen, reproduced the old Roman Empire's administrative structure of Gallia Lugdunensis II. Before Rollo's arrival, Normandy's populations did not differ from Picardy or the Île-de-France, which were considered "Frankish". Earlier Viking settlers had begun arriving in the 880s, but were divided between colonies in the east around the low Seine valley and in the west in the Cotentin Peninsula, were separated by traditional pagii, where the population remained about the same with no foreign settlers. Rollo's contingents from Scandinavia who raided and settled Normandy and parts of the European Atlantic coast included Danes, Norse–Gaels, Orkney Vikings, p
The Mongol Empire existed during the 13th and 14th centuries and was the largest contiguous land empire in history. Originating from Mongolia, the Mongol Empire stretched from Eastern Europe and parts of Central Europe to the Sea of Japan, extending northwards into Siberia and southwards into the Indian subcontinent and the Iranian Plateau; the Mongol Empire emerged from the unification of several nomadic tribes in the Mongol homeland under the leadership of Genghis Khan, whom a council proclaimed ruler of all the Mongols in 1206. The empire grew under his rule and that of his descendants, who sent invasions in every direction; the vast transcontinental empire connected the East with the West with an enforced Pax Mongolica, allowing the dissemination and exchange of trade, technologies and ideologies across Eurasia. The empire began to split due to wars over succession, as the grandchildren of Genghis Khan disputed whether the royal line should follow from his son and initial heir Ögedei or from one of his other sons, such as Tolui, Chagatai, or Jochi.
The Toluids prevailed after a bloody purge of Ögedeid and Chagataid factions, but disputes continued among the descendants of Tolui. A key reason for the split was the dispute over whether the Mongol Empire would become a sedentary, cosmopolitan empire, or would stay true to their nomadic and steppe lifestyle. After Möngke Khan died, rival kurultai councils elected different successors, the brothers Ariq Böke and Kublai Khan, who fought each other in the Toluid Civil War and dealt with challenges from the descendants of other sons of Genghis. Kublai took power, but civil war ensued as he sought unsuccessfully to regain control of the Chagatayid and Ögedeid families. During the reigns of Genghis and Ögedei, the Mongols suffered the occasional defeat when a less skilled general was given a command; the Siberian Tumads defeated the Mongol forces under Borokhula around 1215–1217. In each case, the Mongols returned shortly after with a much larger army led by one of their best generals, were invariably victorious.
The Battle of Ain Jalut in Galilee in 1260 marked the first time that the Mongols would not return to avenge a defeat, due to a combination of the death of Möngke Khan, the Toluid Civil War between Arik Boke and Khubilai, Berke of the Golden Horde attacking Hulegu in Persia. Although the Mongols launched many more invasions of the Levant occupying it and raiding as far as Gaza after a decisive victory at the Battle of Wadi al-Khazandar in 1299, they withdrew due to various geopolitical factors. By the time of Kublai's death in 1294, the Mongol Empire had fractured into four separate khanates or empires, each pursuing its own separate interests and objectives: The Golden Horde khanate in the northwest; the Chagatai Khanate in Central Asia. The Ilkhanate in the southwest; the Yuan dynasty in the east based in modern-day Beijing. In 1304, the three western khanates accepted the nominal suzerainty of the Yuan dynasty, but in 1368 the Han Chinese Ming dynasty took over the Mongol capital; the Genghisid rulers of the Yuan retreated to the Mongolian homeland and continued to rule there as the Northern Yuan dynasty.
The Ilkhanate disintegrated in the period 1335–1353. The Golden Horde had broken into competing khanates by the end of the 15th century whilst the Chagatai Khanate lasted in one form or another until 1687. What is referred to in English as the Mongol Empire was called the Ikh Mongol Uls. In the 1240s, one of Genghis's descendants, Güyük Khan, wrote a letter to Pope Innocent IV which used the preamble "Dalai Khagan of the great Mongolian state". After the succession war between Kublai Khan and his brother Ariq Böke, Ariq limited Kublai's power to the eastern part of the empire. Kublai issued an imperial edict on 18 December 1271 to name the country Great Yuan to establish the Yuan dynasty; some sources state. The area around Mongolia and parts of North China had been controlled by the Liao dynasty since the 10th century. In 1125, the Jin dynasty founded by the Jurchens overthrew the Liao dynasty and attempted to gain control over former Liao territory in Mongolia. In the 1130s the Jin dynasty rulers, known as the Golden Kings resisted the Khamag Mongol confederation, ruled at the time by Khabul Khan, great-grandfather of Genghis Khan.
The Mongolian plateau was occupied by five powerful tribal confederations: Keraites, Khamag Mongol, Naiman and Tatar. The Jin emperors, following a policy of divide and rule, encouraged disputes among the tribes between the Tatars and the Mongols, in order to keep the nomadic tribes distracted by their own battles and thereby away from the Jin. Khabul's successor was Ambaghai Khan, betrayed by the Tatars, handed over to the Jurchen, executed; the Mongols retaliated by raiding the frontier, resulting in a failed Jurchen counter-attack in 1143. In 1147, the Jin somewhat changed their policy, signing a peace treaty with the Mongols and withdrawing from a score of forts; the Mongols resumed attacks on the Tatars to avenge the death of their late khan, opening a long period of active hostilities. The Jin and Tatar armies defeated the Mongols in 1161. During