‘Clash of Civilizations’, Crusades, Knights and Ottomans: an Analysis of Christian-Muslim Interaction in the Mediterranean
Buttigieg,Emanuel (University of Malta)
Religion and power in Europe : Conflict and Convergence, Pisa University Press, (2007)
In a world that has become so powerfully gripped by a possible escalation of a ‘clash of civilizations’ that could spiral out of control, interest in the history of Christian-Muslim encounters and violence is on the rise. The aim of this chapter is to provide some historical depth to a debate that often tends to be shallow in its appreciation of a complex legacy of interaction between different people. It will commence with an overview of the recent debate that emerged in response to the ideas of Samuel P. Huntington. It will then consider the historical implications of the crusades in the way they have come to colour contemporary West-Muslim relations. Finally, the chapter will consider a number of naval battles between the Knights Hospitallers of St. John the Baptist and the Ottoman Empire as a case study in early modern Christian-Muslim interaction. This relationship will be looked at from the religious angle, but other factors that informed this conflict, such as status and masculinity, will also be considered.