The Franks, Mohammed, Charlemagne, Pirenne & Moi & Moi & Moi

As a part and parcel of the devious scheme for admiring the system of thought of hard core Islam, a superstition which buried the Middle East alive, we are supposed to admire the alleged secular achievements of this obscurantist cult. This baffles the mind: since when did a superstition make great secular achievements? It is roughly as clever as celebrating the Catholic Church for its contributions in biology, physics and astronomy (Catholicism roasted astronomers alive, censored physics for three centuries, and forbade the teaching of evolution theory in England until Darwin).

Actually, if anything, the historical record shows that the Islamist religion was even more effective than Catholicism at killing intellectuals. And the reason is obvious: whereas Islam had the Sharia, a superstitious jurisdiction over the gigantic Islamist empire, and then various Caliphates it split into, the Catholic Church had superstitious jurisdiction only in the Papal territories, a small part of Italy that Charlemagne had offered to the Pope (now thankfully reduced to the Vatican). Elsewhere in Western Europe, secular law ruled (“Le Bras Seculier”. The secular arm, as the French used to say). At least, most of the time.  

There is a vast gap between reality, and the widespread propaganda perception that Islam was a superior civilization, in the Middle Ages:

This feeds on another confusion, that of civilization and superstition. Thus, one speaks commonly of “Christian civilization”. When, actually, a close inspection shows that the Occidental civilization owes nearly nothing to Christianism, besides threatening people with a cross.

Picard 578, a much appreciated writer in this vast effort to understand ever more, replied: indeed. BTW, have you read of Henri Pirenne? Yes. Pirenne, a Belgian university professor of history died in 1936. His famous book got published afterwards, and then his “thesis” became famous.

There Is A Lot Of Truth In Pirenne's Thesis. But the Full Truth Is Much More General, Reducing Islam To An Irritating, Enfeebleing Sideshow Which Handicapped Europe, To This Day, But No More Than That. Or So I say.

There Is A Lot Of Truth In Pirenne’s Thesis. But the Full Truth Is Much More General, Reducing Islam To An Irritating, Enfeebling Sideshow Which Handicapped Europe, To This Day, But No More Than That. Or So I say.

I own Pirenne’s book. “Charlemagne and Mahomet”.

And I know (some of) his thesis: Islam created Charlemagne.

Much of Pirenne’s thesis is mostly right, and archaeology confirms it… And it seems to be a very attractive thesis, as long as one realizes the Franks sent spies to Arabia, 150 years before Charlemagne…Actually we know, and I can demonstrate (future essay!) that the breakdown of the Oriental trade happened then. And the reasoning is elementary: when the Arab army annihilated the Roman army, the Arabs were in total war with the Romans, thus the Franks.

Indeed, the Franks were Roman power in the Pars Occidentalis. Formally, practically, de facto, etc. There was no other. At that point economic war was total, and the Franks had to learn to write on animal skin, rather than papyrus (they became pretty good at it). And then forget Chinese silk.  

Thus, Pirenne’s thesis is not the whole story. By a long shot. Actually, Pirenne twists and collapses together many generations. Pirenne has a point: the total war with Islam impoverished enormously the Occident. One would have to wait Richard the Lion Heart and the Treaty he made with Saladin, to reopen the trade routes. By then, advancing European technology had made much of what Islam had to offer not that important.

I am a sort of meta-Pirenne. I explain what happened, the rise of Islam. It was mostly an accident, as Muhammad himself pointed out. An accident Muhammad saw, and made sure it happened some more.

Roman plutocracy and theocratic fascism came first in this civilizational smash-up. That degeneracy caused a mental weakening of the entire Roman state. It started with Constantine steaming his wife, assassinating his glorious son (that son, Caesar Crispus, thought Christianism was going to destroy the empire, so Constantine got him killed… Ok, maybe he slept with the empress, his mother-in-law…). Constantine also killed his nephew, all great feats which make him a Christian orthodox saint…

Roman stupidity became so intense that it brought the disaster of Valens, at Hadrianopolis in 376 CE, when the Oriental Roman field army was annihilated…

But Roman stupidity could only increase ever more, thanks to a combination of political, intellectual and theocratic fascism. All the way to an idiotic, lethal war with Persia (in defense of Roman intellectuals, and their books!)….

That war, won by Rome in the end, not without great upsets, as Persia got to the Mediterranean before Roman counterattacks, exhausted both Persia and Rome. Something which Muhammad pounced on.

This makes all the easier to hate Islam as a system of thought. Indeed, what the preceding shows is that a very similar system of thought, Christo-fascism, actually the system of thought which contributed most to Islam, caused, and was the proximal cause, of the collapse of the Roman State.

In the end, only the Frankish piece survived, barely so, during the ferocious counter-attacks by the Franks against the Islamists, inside France (first in the period 715 CE to 748 CE).

Pirenne talks about Charlemagne a lot. However, Charlemagne was the crown jewel. He did not invent the big stuff he was the crown jewel of His father and grandfather were more innovative civilizationally.

And, even before that, the Merovingians conquered most of Germany. But the Merovingians did much more. They were very innovative civilizationally: after all, they domesticated the Church, forcing it to teach… secularly. Then the Merovingians outlawed slavery. The latter was done, 12 (twelve) centuries before president Lincoln did the same in the USA…

Patrice Ayme’


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7 Responses to “The Franks, Mohammed, Charlemagne, Pirenne & Moi & Moi & Moi”

  1. Gmax Says:

    So lemme recapitulate: Pirenne felt that the Franks peaked with Charlemagne, creating Europe. Thanks to the isolation which the Muslim invasion created.

    But you mustered a vast array of evidence that the rise of the Franks was tied to new ideas, and happened well before Charlemagne, or even Islam!


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Indeed. One of my leitmotivs.
      Beyond the history of the West, this shows the importance of the history of systems of ideas and moods.
      The Romans got stuck in the wrong ideas and the wrong moods, because of plutocracy, and it all came to a head after the empire became a Christian theocracy.
      The taking of control of the Franks, long hostile to Christianism, and partisan of secularism, and elections, changed the moods and the ideas. As early as 350 CE. Charlemagne was 450 years later. The election of JULIAN as Augustus in newly named “Paris” was much more significant, it turned out.

      By 750 CE, when Charlemagne was two years old, the Frankish civilization had already set in stone what would be the fundamentals of the French, and even Western civilization: secularization, primacy of the army, studies and libraries, outlawing of slavery, nationalizations (even of the Church!), tolerance, destruction of religious fanatics (be they Pagan, Christian, or Muslim), mandatory, obligatory education, and forcing religious establishments to enforce secular education, restoration of the (Roman) State, feminism (many reigning queens, Salic law enabling women to fully inherit). And so on.


  2. brodix Says:

    So it is monotheism versus secularism?
    The monolithic, versus the diverse.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Yes, the Franks were extremely tolerant and diverse, relative to the Late Roman Empire they were the weapon of choice, just prior.


    • Gmax Says:

      Secularism does not mean directly diverse, it means up to date


      • brodix Says:


        I did have to go look that up. Actually it means of an age, or generation. Not necessarily the most current age.

        The root “sei” means to scatter or sow.
        From that; saeculum means an age or generation.
        From that; saecularis means worldly or heathen.


  3. brodix Says:


    So consider the Implications of that. In that yes, everything is connected, but that doesn’t make it one singular, indivisible entity. Much more of a network of many contrasts and balancing elements, etc.
    Meanwhile monotheism has totally monopolized any notion of a spirituality greater than what seemingly exists between our ears and behind our eyes, which modern science then negates as some nebulous effect of the process of reasoning, rather than reasoning being one of its many expressions.
    The only counter to this monolithic, spiritually deadening, cultural behemoth, straight jacket of religion, atheism, is a rejection of its most comic book caricature of the old guy pulling everyone’s strings.

    Wouldn’t an examination of the essential logic/illogic of religion be a breath of fresh air in some dusty corners of the public imagination?

    If humanity is going to find a way to come together, it has to be as a vision of a better future, able to thread its way through the many facets of being, not some primitive relic, demanding conformity, or else.

    There is that raw essence of being shining through all of life, but each of us is a singular lens.


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