Before the Mongol armies swept across Eurasia, the Crusades caused a clash of civilizations between Christianity and Islam. While the Crusades were ultimately unsuccessful, they did lead to the (and arose from) the growing power of the papacy, and served to have profound consequences for European History, as they helped to consolidate the social and cultural identity of Latin Christendom. The Mongols, on the other hand, spread fear and destruction across Eurasia, creating their own political and cultural repercussions. The Mongols brought the worlds of pastoral nomads and settled urban and agrarian peoples into collision, and created the largest empire known, before differences in commerce, control, and culture led to the creation of four separate khanates. While the Mongol invasions also cleared the way for the rise of new Turkish sultanates like the Mamluks and the Ottomans, the clash of civilizations caused by the Crusades cleared the way for other crusading movements and the development of the Christian military orders that are examined in the Counterpoint of this chapter. Although these Christian military orders played a crucial role in the formation of Europe as the realm of “the Christian people,” they were often a victim of their own success, and the growing power of national monarchies frustrated the popes’ efforts to establish supreme rule over secular as well as spiritual affairs.

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