House of Bourbon
The House of Bourbon is a European royal house of French origin, a branch of the Capetian dynasty. Bourbon kings first ruled France and Navarre in the 16th century, by the 18th century, members of the Bourbon dynasty held thrones in Spain, Naples and Parma. Spain and Luxembourg currently have Bourbon monarchs, the royal Bourbons originated in 1268, when the heiress of the lordship of Bourbon married a younger son of King Louis IX. The house continued for three centuries as a branch, while more senior Capetians ruled France, until Henry IV became the first Bourbon king of France in 1589. Restored briefly in 1814 and definitively in 1815 after the fall of the First French Empire, a cadet Bourbon branch, the House of Orléans, ruled for 18 years, until it too was overthrown. The Princes de Condé were a branch of the Bourbons descended from an uncle of Henry IV. Both houses were prominent in French affairs, even during exile in the French Revolution, until their respective extinctions in 1830 and 1814.
When the Bourbons inherited the strongest claim to the Spanish throne, the claim was passed to a cadet Bourbon prince, a grandson of Louis XIV of France, who became Philip V of Spain. The Spanish House of Bourbon has been overthrown and restored several times, reigning 1700–1808, 1813–1868, 1875–1931, Bourbons ruled in Naples from 1734–1806 and in Sicily from 1734–1816, and in a unified Kingdom of the Two Sicilies from 1816–1860. They ruled in Parma from 1731–1735, 1748–1802 and 1847–1859, all legitimate, living members of the House of Bourbon, including its cadet branches, are direct agnatic descendants of Henry IV. The term House of Bourbon is sometimes used to refer to this first house and the House of Bourbon-Dampierre, the second family to rule the seigneury. In 1268, Count of Clermont, sixth son of King Louis IX of France, married Beatrix of Bourbon, heiress to the lordship of Bourbon and their son Louis was made Duke of Bourbon in 1327. His descendant, the Constable of France Charles de Bourbon, was the last of the senior Bourbon line when he died in 1527.
Because he chose to fight under the banner of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V and lived in exile from France, the remaining line of Bourbons henceforth descended from James I, Count of La Marche, the younger son of Louis I, Duke of Bourbon. With the death of his grandson James II, Count of La Marche in 1438, all future Bourbons would descend from James IIs younger brother, who became the Count of Vendôme through his mothers inheritance. In 1514, Count of Vendôme had his title raised to Duke of Vendôme and his son Antoine became King of Navarre, on the northern side of the Pyrenees, by marriage in 1555. Two of Antoines younger brothers were Cardinal Archbishop Charles de Bourbon, Louis male-line, the Princes de Condé, survived until 1830. Finally, in 1589, the House of Valois died out and he was born on 13 December 1553 in the Kingdom of Navarre
A Papal bull is a specific kind of public decree, letters patent, or charter issued by a pope of the Roman Catholic Church. It is named after the seal that was traditionally appended to the end in order to authenticate it. Papal bulls have been in use at least since the 6th century, but the phrase was not used until around the end of the 13th century, and only internally for unofficial administrative purposes. However, it had become official by the 15th century, when one of the offices of the Apostolic Chancery was named the register of bulls, by the accession of Pope Leo IX in 1048, a clear distinction developed between two classes of bulls of greater and less solemnity. The majority of the bulls now in existence are in the nature of confirmations of property or charters of protection accorded to monasteries. In an epoch when there was much fabrication of such documents, a Papal confirmation, under certain conditions, could be pleaded as itself constituting sufficient evidence of title in cases where the original deed had been lost or destroyed.
Since the 12th century, Papal bulls have carried a seal with the heads of the Apostles Saint Peter and Saint Paul on one side. Papal bulls were issued by the Pope for many kinds of communication of a public nature. Papyrus seems to have used almost uniformly as the material for these documents until the early years of the eleventh century. Popularly, the name is used for any Papal document that contains a metal seal, the bull is the only written communication in which the Pope will refer to himself as Episcopus Servus Servorum Dei. For example, when Pope Benedict XVI issued a decree in bull form, while Papal bulls always used to bear a metal seal, they now do so only on the most solemn occasions. A Papal bull is today the most formal type of public decree or letters patent issued by the Vatican Chancery in the name of the Pope, the body of the text had no specific conventions for its formatting, it was often very simple in layout. For the most solemn bulls, the Pope signed the document himself, following the signature in this case would be an elaborate monogram, the signatures of any witnesses, and the seal.
Nowadays, a member of the Roman Curia signs the document on behalf of the Pope, usually the Cardinal Secretary of State, and thus the monogram is omitted. The most distinctive characteristic of a bull was the seal, which was usually made of lead. On the obverse it depicted, originally somewhat crudely, the early Fathers of the Church of Rome, the Apostles Saint Peter and Saint Paul, identified by the letters Sanctus PAulus and Sanctus PEtrus. Each head was surrounded by a circle of globetti, and the rim of the seal was surrounded by a ring of such beads. On the reverse was the name of the issuing Pope in the nominative Latin form, with the letters PP, for Pastor Pastorum
Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus
Its headquarters are situated at the Lierna Castle in Lombardy, Italy. Its current Grand Master is Vittorio Emanuele, Prince of Naples, since 1983, albeit contested by his cousin and throne rival Prince Amedeo, the order was formerly awarded by the Kingdom of Italy with the heads of the House of Savoy as the Kings of Italy. Originally a chivalric order of nature, it was restricted to subjects of noble families with proofs of at least eight noble great-grandparents. The orders military and noble nature was and is combined with a Roman Catholic character. The order is estimated to include around 2,000 members around the world, the undisputed continuation of the Order of St. Lazarus is in the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus, which continues under the pretenders to the Italian Crown. Both crosses from its two forerunners are still existent in the insignia of their subsequent successor, todays Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus, founded by amalgation in 1572. From its inception, the order was concerned with the relief of leprosy and it became rich, its practices dubious, and its funds eventually abused.
With the fall of Acre in 1291, the Knights of Saint Lazarus emigrated from the Holy Land and Egypt and settled in France and, in 1311, in the 16th century, the order declined in credibility and wealth. With papal support, the Duke of Savoy became Grand Master in 1572, before its transfer to the House of Savoy, the Order of Saint Lazarus maintained a number of leper hospitals, including an institution in the Italian city of Capua. The Order of Saint Maurice was established in 1434 by Amedeo VIII of Savoy, during his stay in the Ripaglia hermitage near Thonon, from its beginning, it was a military order. The order declined, but in 1572 was reestablished by Pope Pius V at the instigation of the then-Duke of Savoy, in 1572, Pope Gregory XIII united the Order of Saint Lazarus in perpetuity with the Crown of Savoy. The pope gave him authority over the vacant commanderies everywhere, except in the states of the King of Spain, in England and Germany, these commanderies were suppressed by the Protestant reformation.
The new organisation was charged to defend the Holy See as well as continue to assist lepers, the war galleys of the order fought against the Ottoman Empire and the Barbary pirates. When leprosy again broke out, the order founded a hospital in Aosta in 1773, after Italy became a republic in 1946, the order was effectively replaced by the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic. Since 1951 it has not been recognised by the Italian state. The House of Savoy in exile continues to bestow the order on recipients eminent in the service, art, trade. Eventually, it became a requirement for a person to have received the Order of Saints Maurice. The generally accepted Grand Master of the order is Vittorio Emanuele, Prince of Naples, some of Vittorio Emanules policies as Grand Master have generated controversy
Kingdom of Jerusalem
The Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem was a crusader state established in the Southern Levant by Godfrey of Bouillon in 1099 after the First Crusade. The kingdom lasted nearly two hundred years, from 1099 until 1291 when the last remaining possession, was destroyed by the Mamluks, the sometimes so-called First Kingdom of Jerusalem lasted from 1099 to 1187, when it was almost entirely overrun by Saladin. This second kingdom is called the Second Kingdom of Jerusalem or the Kingdom of Acre. Three other crusader states founded during and after the First Crusade were located north, the County of Edessa, the Principality of Antioch. While all three were independent, they were tied to Jerusalem. Beyond these to the north and west lay the states of Armenian Cilicia, further east, various Muslim emirates were located which were ultimately allied with the Abbasid caliph in Baghdad. Jerusalem itself fell to Saladin in 1187, and in the 13th century the kingdom was reduced to a few cities along the Mediterranean coast.
In this period, the kingdom was ruled by the Lusignan dynasty of the Kingdom of Cyprus, dynastic ties strengthened with Tripoli and Armenia. The kingdom was soon dominated by the Italian city-states of Venice and Genoa. Emperor Frederick II claimed the kingdom by marriage, but his presence sparked a war among the kingdoms nobility. The kingdom became more than a pawn in the politics and warfare of the Ayyubid and Mamluk dynasties in Egypt, as well as the Khwarezmian. The Mamluk sultans Baibars and al-Ashraf Khalil eventually reconquered all the remaining crusader strongholds, the kingdom was ethnically and linguistically diverse, although the crusaders themselves and their descendants were an elite Catholic minority. They imported many customs and institutions from their homelands in Western Europe, the kingdom inherited oriental qualities, influenced by the pre-existing customs and populations. The majority of the inhabitants were native Christians, especially Greek and Syrian Orthodox, as well as Sunni.
The native Christians and Muslims, who were a lower class, tended to speak Greek and Arabic, while the crusaders spoke French. There were a number of Jews and Samaritans. According to the Jewish writer Benjamin of Tudela, who travelled through the kingdom around 1170, since sets a lower bound for the Samaritan population at 1,500, since the contemporary Tolidah, a Samaritan chronicle, mentions communities in Gaza and Acre. The First Crusade was preached at the Council of Clermont in 1095 by Pope Urban II, the main objective quickly became the control of the Holy Land
Philip IV of France
Philip IV, called the Fair or the Iron King, was King of France from 1285 until his death. By virtue of his marriage with Joan I of Navarre, he was Philip I, Philip relied on skillful civil servants, such as Guillaume de Nogaret and Enguerrand de Marigny, to govern the kingdom rather than on his barons. Philip and his advisors were instrumental in the transformation of France from a country to a centralized state. Philip, who sought an uncontested monarchy, compelled his vassals by wars and his ambitions made him highly influential in European affairs. His goal was to place his relatives on foreign thrones, princes from his house ruled in Naples and Hungary. He tried and failed to make relative the Holy Roman Emperor. He began the advance of France eastward by taking control of scattered fiefs. To further strengthen the monarchy, he tried to control the French clergy and this conflict led to the transfer of the papal court to the enclave of Avignon in 1309. In 1306, Philip the Fair expelled the Jews from France and, in 1307, Friday 13th, Philip was in debt to both groups and saw them as a state within the state.
His final year saw a scandal amongst the family, known as the Tour de Nesle Affair. His three sons were kings of France, Louis X, Philip V, and Charles IV. A member of the House of Capet, Philip was born in the fortress of Fontainebleau to the future Philip III. He was the second of four born to the couple. His father was the heir apparent of France at that time, in August 1270, when Philip was two years old, his grandfather died while on Crusade, his father became king, and his elder brother Louis became heir apparent. Only five months later, in January 1271, Philips mother died after falling from a horse, a few months later, one of Philips younger brothers, died. Philips father was crowned king at Rhiems on 15 August 1271. Six days later, he married again, Philips step-mother was Marie, in May 1276, Philips elder brother Louis died, and the eight year old Philip became crown prince. It was suspected that Louis had been poisoned, and that his stepmother, one reason for these rumours was the fact that the queen gave birth to her own eldest son in the same month as the death of the crown prince
Catholics believe that patron saints, having already transcended to the metaphysical, are able to intercede effectively for the needs of their special charges. Historically, a practice has occurred in many Islamic lands. With regard to the omnipresence of this belief, the late Martin Lings wrote. Traditionally, it has been understood that the saint of a particular place prays for that places wellbeing and for the health. Saints often become the patrons of places where they were born or had been active, professions sometimes have a patron saint owing to that individual being involved somewhat with it, although some of the connections were tenuous. Lacking such a saint, an occupation would have a patron whose acts or miracles in some way recall the profession and it is, generally discouraged in some Protestant branches such as Calvinism, where the practice is considered a form of idolatry. In Islam, the veneration or commemoration and recognition of saints is found in many branches of traditional Sunnism
A cathedra or bishops throne is the seat of a bishop. It is a symbol of the teaching authority in the Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church. A church into which a bishops official cathedra is installed is called a cathedral, the definitive example of a cathedra is that encased within the Triumph of the cathedra Petri designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini in 1657 and completed and installed in 1666. It is a Byzantine throne with framed fragments of wood encased in the oak carcass. It was long believed to have used by the Apostle Saint Peter. Several rings facilitated its transportation during processions, Pope Alexander VII commissioned Bernini to build a monument to display this relic in a triumphant manner. Berninis gilded bronze throne, richly ornamented with bas-reliefs, encloses the relic, on January 17,1666 it was solemnly set above the altar of Saint Peters Basilica in Vatican City. Greater than life-sized sculptures of four Doctors of the Church form a guard, St. Ambrose and St. Athanasius on the left.
Celebrated on February 22 in accordance with the calendar of saints, the Chair of St. Augustine represents one of the most ancient extant cathedrae in use. Named after the first Archbishop of Canterbury, St. Augustine of Canterbury, it is made of Purbeck Marble or Bethesda marble and those who argue for an older date suggest that it may have been used to crown the kings of Kent. Canterbury Cathedral, in which the cathedra is housed, maintains that the chair was once part of the furnishings of the shrine of St. Thomas Becket, since the Middle Ages, it has always been used in the triple enthronement of an Archbishop of Canterbury. He is seated on the throne in the quire as Diocesan Bishop, in the house as titular abbot. This is the occasion in which the cathedra is used. A second cathedra is used for other occasions at which the archbishop is present, the term ex cathedra, meaning from the chair, is used to designate official pronouncements of the pope intended for a world audience. The cathedra symbolizes the bishops authority to teach.
According to Catholic dogma, the popes statements ex cathedra are infallible in matters of faith, the traditional position of the cathedra was in the apse, behind the high altar. It had been the position of the magistrate in the apse of the Roman basilica which provided the model type—and sometimes were adapted as the structures—for early Christian basilicas. In the Middle Ages, as came to be placed against the wall of the apse
Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor
Frederick II was a Holy Roman Emperor and King of Sicily in the Middle Ages, a member of the House of Hohenstaufen. His political and cultural ambitions, based in Sicily and stretching through Italy to Germany, his enemies, especially the popes and his dynasty collapsed soon after his death. As such, he was King of Germany, of Italy, at the age of three, he was crowned King of Sicily as a co-ruler with his mother, Constance of Hauteville, the daughter of Roger II of Sicily. His other royal title was King of Jerusalem by virtue of marriage, Pope Gregory IX went so far as to call him an Antichrist. Speaking six languages, Frederick was a patron of science. He played a role in promoting literature through the Sicilian School of poetry. His Sicilian royal court in Palermo, from around 1220 to his death, saw the first use of a form of an Italo-Romance language. The poetry that emanated from the school had a significant influence on literature and he was the first king who explicitly outlawed trials by ordeal as they were considered irrational.
After his death, his line died out and the House of Hohenstaufen came to an end. Born in Iesi, near Ancona, Frederick was the son of the emperor Henry VI and he was known as the puer Apuliae. Some chronicles say that his mother, the forty-year-old Constance, gave birth to him in a square in order to forestall any doubt about his origin. In 1196 at Frankfurt am Main the infant Frederick was elected King of the Germans and his rights in Germany were disputed by Henrys brother Philip of Swabia and Otto of Brunswick. At the death of his father in 1197, Frederick was in Italy travelling towards Germany when the bad news reached his guardian, Conrad of Spoleto. Frederick was hastily brought back to his mother Constance in Palermo, Constance of Sicily was in her own right queen of Sicily, and she established herself as regent. Upon Constances death in 1198, Pope Innocent III succeeded as Fredericks guardian, Fredericks tutor during this period was Cencio, who would become Pope Honorius III. However, Markward of Annweiler, with the support of Henrys brother, Philip of Swabia, reclaimed the regency for himself, in 1200, with the help of Genoese ships, he landed in Sicily and one year seized the young Frederick.
He thus ruled Sicily until 1202, when he was succeeded by another German captain, William of Capparone, Frederick was subsequently under tutor Walter of Palearia, until, in 1208, he was declared of age. His first task was to reassert his power over Sicily and southern Italy, Otto of Brunswick had been crowned Holy Roman Emperor by Pope Innocent III in 1209
Pope Innocent VIII
Pope Innocent VIII, born Giovanni Battista Cybo, was Pope from 29 August 1484 to his death in 1492. Born into a prominent Genoese family he entered the church and was bishop in 1467 before being elevated to the rank of cardinal by Pope Sixtus IV. He was elected Pope in 1484 as compromise candidate after a stormy conclave, Giovanni Battista Cybo was born in Genoa of Greek ancestry, the son of Arano Cybo or Cibo and his wife Teodorina de Mari, of an old Genoese family. His paternal grandparents were Maurizio Cybo and his wife Seracina Marocelli, Arano Cybo was a senator in Rome under Pope Calixtus III. Giovanni Battistas early years were spent at the Neapolitan court, and subsequently he went to Padua, in Rome he became a priest in the retinue of cardinal Calandrini, half-brother to Pope Nicholas V. In 1467, he was made Bishop of Savona by Pope Paul II, in 1473, with the support of Giuliano Della Rovere, Pope Julius II, he was made cardinal by Pope Sixtus IV, whom he succeeded on 29 August 1484 as Pope Innocent VIII.
The papal conclave of 1484 was riven with faction, while gangs rioted in the streets, shortly after his coronation Innocent VIII addressed a fruitless summons to Christendom to unite in a crusade against the Turks. A protracted conflict with King Ferdinand I of Naples was the principal obstacle, the immediate conflict was not ended until 1494, after Innocent VIIIs death. Bayezid II ruled as Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1481 to 1512 and his rule was contested by his brother Cem who sought the support of the Mamluks of Egypt. Defeated by his brothers armies, Cem sought protection from the Knights of St. John in Rhodes, prince Cem offered perpetual peace between the Ottoman Empire and Christendom. However, the sultan paid the Knights a large amount to keep Cem captive, Cem was sent to the castle of Pierre dAubusson in France. Sultan Bayezid sent a messenger to France and requested Cem to be kept there, in March 1489 Cem was transferred to the custody of Innocent VIII. Cems presence in Rome was useful because whenever Bayezid intended to launch a campaign against the Christian nations of the Balkans.
In exchange for maintaining the custody of Cem, Bayezid paid Innocent VIII120,000 crowns, a relic of the Holy Lance, and an annual fee of 45,000 ducats. Cem died in Capua on February 25,1495, while on an expedition under the command of King Charles VIII of France to conquer Naples. Kramer would claim that witchcraft was to blame for bad weather, both the papal letter appended to the work and the supposed endorsement of Cologne University for it are problematic. In 1487, Innocent confirmed Tomas de Torquemada as Grand Inquisitor of Spain, in 1487, Innocent issued a bull for the extermination of the Waldensians, offering plenary indulgence to all who should engage in the Crusade against them. Alberto de Capitanei, archdeacon of Cremona, responded to the bull by organizing a crusade to fulfill its order and launched an offensive in the provinces of Dauphiné and Piedmont
The First Crusade arose after a call to arms in a 1095 sermon by Pope Urban II. Urban urged military support for the Byzantine Empire and its Emperor, Alexios I, the response to Urbans preaching by people of many different classes across Western Europe established the precedent for Crusades. Volunteers became Crusaders by taking a vow and receiving plenary indulgences from the church. Some were hoping for apotheosis at Jerusalem, or forgiveness from God for all their sins, others participated to satisfy feudal obligations, gain glory and honour, or find opportunities for economic and political gain. Many modern Historians have polarised opinions of the Crusaders behaviour under Papal sanction, to some it was incongruous with the stated aims and implied moral authority of the papacy and the Crusades, to the extent that on occasions that the Pope excommunicated Crusaders. Crusaders often pillaged as they travelled, while their leaders retained control of captured territory rather than returning it to the Byzantines.
During the Peoples Crusade thousands of Jews were murdered in what is now called the Rhineland massacres, Constantinople was sacked during the Fourth Crusade rendering the reunification of Christendom impossible. These tales consequently galvanised medieval romance and literature, but the Crusades reinforced the connection between Western Christendom and militarism. Crusade is not a term, instead the terms iter for journey or peregrinatio for pilgrimage were used. Not until the word crucesignatus for one who was signed with the cross was adopted at the close of the century was specific terminology developed. The Middle English equivalents were derived from old French, croiserie in the 13th–15th centuries, croisade appeared in English c1575, and continued to be the leading form till c1760. By convention historians adopt the term for the Christian holy wars from 1095, the Crusades in the Holy Land are traditionally counted as nine distinct campaigns, numbered from the First Crusade of 1095–99 to the Ninth Crusade of 1271/2.
Usage of the term Crusade may differ depending on the author, pluralists use the term Crusade of any campaign explicitly sanctioned by the reigning Pope. This reflects the view of the Roman Catholic Church that every military campaign given Papal sanction is equally valid as a Crusade, regardless of its cause, generalists see Crusades as any and all holy wars connected with the Latin Church and fought in defence of their faith. Popularists limit the Crusades to only those that were characterised by popular groundswells of religious fervour – that is, only the First Crusade, Medieval Muslim historiographers such as Ali ibn al-Athir refer to the Crusades as the Frankish Wars. The term used in modern Arabic, ḥamalāt ṣalībiyya حملات صليبية, campaigns of the cross, is a loan translation of the term Crusade as used in Western historiography. The Islamic prophet Muhammad founded Islam in the Arabian Peninsula, the resulting unified polity in the seventh and eighth centuries led to a rapid expansion of Arab power.
This influence stretched from the northwest Indian subcontinent, across Central Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, southern Italy, tolerance and political relationships between the Arabs and the Christian states of Europe waxed and waned
Acre is a city in the northern coastal plain region of the Northern District, Israel at the northern extremity of Haifa Bay. The city occupies an important location, as it sits on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, traditionally linking the waterways and this location helped it become one of the oldest cities in the world, continuously inhabited since the Middle Bronze Age some 4000 years ago. Acre is the holiest city of the Baháí Faith, and as such receives many Bahai pilgrims, in 2015 the population was 47,675. Acre is a city, that includes Jews, Christians. The mayor is Shimon Lankri, who was reelected in 2011, Acres etymology is a matter of controversy, though most likely deriving from the early Canaanite language. According to Biblical tradition, the name is derived from Canaanite Adco, meaning a border, the city was known as Ptolemais during the Hellenistic and Roman-Byzantine periods. During the Crusades it was known as St. John dAcre after the Knights Hospitaller, Acre is therefore counted among the oldest continuously inhabited sites in the region.
Egyptian sources seem to be mentioning Acre, starting possibly with execration texts from ca.1800 BCE, the name Aak, which appears on the tribute lists of Thutmose III, may be a reference to Acre. The Amarna letters mention a place named Akka, as well as the Execration texts, First settlement at the site of Ancient Acre appears to have been in the Early Bronze Age, or about 3000 BC. In the Hebrew Bible, Akko is one of the places from which the Israelites did not drive out the Canaanites and it is described in the territory of the tribe of Asher and according to Josephus, was ruled by one of Solomons provincial governors. Throughout Israelite rule, it was politically and culturally affiliated with Phoenicia, around 725 BC, Akko joined Sidon and Tyre in a revolt against Shalmaneser V. Greek historians refer to the city as Ake, meaning cure, according to the Greek myth, Heracles found curative herbs here to heal his wounds. Strabo refers to the city as once a rendezvous for the Persians in their expeditions against Egypt, about 165 BC Judas Maccabeus defeated the Seleucids in several battles in Galilee, and drove them into Ptolemais.
About 153 BC Alexander Balas, son of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, contesting the Seleucid crown with Demetrius, seized the city, which opened its gates to him. Demetrius offered many bribes to the Maccabees to obtain Jewish support against his rival, including the revenues of Ptolemais for the benefit of the Temple in Jerusalem, Jonathan Apphus threw in his lot with Alexander and in 150 BC he was received by him with great honour in Ptolemais. Some years later, Tryphon, an officer of the Seleucid Empire, the city was captured by Alexander Jannaeus and Tigranes the Great. Here Herod the Great built a gymnasium, the Christian Acts of the Apostles reports that Luke the Evangelist, Paul the Apostle and their companions spent a day in Ptolemais with the Christian brethren there. A Roman colonia was established at the city, Colonia Claudii Cæsaris, the Romans enlarged the port and the city, that flourished for six centuries even as a Christian center