This
is a reflection of a totally a historical but popular idea that
European Christians during the Crusades were less advanced in their
culture civilization hygiene and technological achievements than the
Muslims. The
truth is that during this period the European Christian world and the
Islamic world existed at an essentially equal level of civilization
development. In
fact during the Crusades both sides learned from one another because
the Muslims had the edge in some areas while European Christians have
the edge in others one area.

In
which the Christian West was much more advanced was in nautical
engineering and shipbuilding. The
West at this time had shipped capable of crossing the North Atlantic
and traveling from Europe to the Levant. No
Arab ships had this range and versatility. Norse
long ships were brilliantly engineered vessels that actually rode on
the wave. Historian
Malcolm barber noted
that by the 12th century Western Europe had undergone an agricultural
revolution, so that Western farming techniques were more advanced
than the farming still practiced in the Middle East. The
West employed the three field system of cultivation that allowed for
two crops to be grown on the field each year. Europe also develops
the plow harness for horses that enabled the use of draft horses for
plowing; significant improvement over the human oxen power still used
in a Muslim East. In
addition Western Europeans developed the horseshoe, which greatly
improved equine traction, making horses into more effective draft
animals and mounts for Knights. In
his book gods battalion, Rodney starts
to
describe how the medieval Christian West also produced a swivel axle
and brakes for wheels which when combined, enabled Europeans of the
12th century use wagons for transport while the Arabs. While
Turks were still dependent on pack animals. The
Crusaders brought these innovations with them to the lands they
conquered in Syria and Palestine where agriculture was greatly
improved because of them. Ibn
Lubary,
a
Muslim chronicler who traveled to the Crusader Kingdom in 1183 wrote
that the Muslim farmers living under crusader rule appeared to be
more prosperous and content than the Muslims living under Turkish or
Arabic governments.
Contact
with Western military tactics and equipment and influence on the
Mohammedan and warriors of Syria and Palestine. HAR
give points out that various features of Western Armour such as
visors and bomb braces were adopted by the Muslims. The
light short Lance’s of the muhammadans at first put them at a
disadvantage in combat with the Crusaders. To
overcome this the Muslims began binding to Lance shafts together but
eventually they simply adopted the heavy Frankish Lance. Ibn
also points out that prior to the arrival of the Crusaders
fortifications and siege operations were fairly simple in Syria. The
Crusaders introduced more elaborate Castle building technology which
allowed them to hold territory effectively despite their numerical
disadvantage to the muhammadans. The
notion to that hygiene was poor in the West is also inaccurate.
Indeed
bathing and personal hygiene were just as important to Western
Christian as they were for the Muslims and the Byzantines. For
example there were at least 32 bath houses in Paris. The
12th century author Alexander nickim says “that while living in
Paris he would be awakened in the morning by people in the streets
shouting the ‘baths are hot'”. In
South work the town on the opposite side of the Thames River from
London there were at least 18 hot tub like baths. Smaller
towns also had bath houses and
was usually
associated with the local bakery as the heat from the ovens was
redirected to heat the baths.

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The
high middle ages was a period of rapid development and achievement
for the Latin European West. The
idea that the Latin West was somehow more backward and barbaric than
the Byzantine and Islamic East during this era is simply unfounded.
From
the Magnificent architecture of the Gothic cathedral to the
innovations of Western shipbuilding and navigation to the impressive
strides made in Latin military technology, it’s clear that the
European Christian West was a civilization in a cent.