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gerontius grumpus
39970.  Fri Dec 16, 2005 8:03 pm Reply with quote

Damask is named after Damascus.

39974.  Fri Dec 16, 2005 8:09 pm Reply with quote

gerontius grumpus wrote:
Damask is named after Damascus.


Damask was first produced in China. India, Persia, and Syria, then the Byzantine Empire followed. In the West it was first known as diaspron or diaper, the term used in Constantinople. In the 12th century however, the city of Damascus, famous for its textiles, so far outstripped all other places for beauty of design that it gave the cloth its modern name.


40000.  Sat Dec 17, 2005 4:43 am Reply with quote

violetriga wrote:
Has anything quite interesting happened in Damascus?

In trying, unsuccessfully, to find any reference to an Islamic leader by the name of “Besers” (I think, or something like that), who was based in Damascus I believe, I found this regarding Damascus and The Second Crusade (1144 – 1150)

When the Crusader County of Edessa fell to the Turks and Kurds in 1144, there was an enormous groundswell of support for a new Crusade in Europe. It was led by two kings, Louis VII of France and Conrad III of Germany, and preached by St. Bernard himself. It failed miserably. Most of the Crusaders were killed along the way. Those who made it to Jerusalem only made things worse by attacking Muslim Damascus, which formerly had been a strong ally of the Christians. In the wake of such a disaster, Christians across Europe were forced to accept not only the continued growth of Muslim power but the certainty that God was punishing the West for its sins. Lay piety movements sprouted up throughout Europe, all rooted in the desire to purify Christian society so that it might be worthy of victory in the East.

May 25, 1148 Crusaders set out to capture Damascus. The army consists of forces under the command of Baldwin III, survivors of Conrad III's trip across Anatolia, and the cavalry of Louis VII which had sailed directly to Jerusalem (his infantry was supposed to march to Palestine, but they were all killed along the way).

July 28, 1148 Crusaders are forced to withdraw from their siege of Damascus after only a week, partly as a result of the three leaders (Baldwin III, Conrad III, and Louis VII) being unable to agree on almost anything. The political divisions among the Crusaders stand in sharp contrast to the greater unity among the Muslims in the region - a unity that would only increase later under the dynamic and successful leadership of Saladin. With this, the Second Crusade is effectively finished.

There were conflicts in both camps: Unur could not trust Saif ad-Din or Nur ad-Din from conquering the city entirely if they offered help; and the crusaders could not agree about who would receive the city if they captured it. Guy Brisebarre, lord of Beirut, was the suggestion of the local barons, but Thierry of Alsace, Count of Flanders, wanted it for himself and was supported by Baldwin, Louis, and Conrad. There were rumours that Unur had bribed the leaders to move to a less defensible position, and that Unur had promised to break off his alliance with Nur ad-Din if they crusaders went home. Meanwhile Nur ad-Din and Saif ad-Din had by now arrived at Homs and was negotiating with Unur for possession of Damascus, something that neither Unur nor the crusaders wanted. Saif ad-Din apparently also wrote to the crusaders, urging them to return home. With Nur ad-Din in the field it was impossible to return to their better position, if in fact they had moved. The local crusader lords refused to carry on with the siege, and the three kings had no choice but to abandon the city. First Conrad, then the rest of the army, decided to retreat back to Jerusalem on July 28, though for their entire retreat they were followed by Turkish archers who constantly harassed them.

I’ll keep looking for “Besers”; meanwhile, on a closely related D:

July 1, 1097 First Battle of Dorylaeum:
The Crusaders had formed a line of battle with Bohemund, Tancred, Robert of Normandy, and Stephen on the left wing, Raymond, Robert of Flanders in the centre and Godfrey, Robert of Flanders, and Hugh on the right, and they rallied against the Turks, proclaiming "hodie omnes divites si Deo placet effecti eritis " ("today if it pleases God you will all become rich"). Although the ferocity of the Norman attack took the Turks by surprise, they were unable to dislodge the Turks until a force led by Bishop Adhemar of Le Puy, the Papal legate, arrived in mid-afternoon, perhaps with Raymond in the van, moving around the battle through concealing hills and across the river, outflanking the archers on the left and surprising the Turks from the rear.

October 25, 1147 Second Battle of Dorylaeum: German Crusaders under Conrad III stop at Dorylaeum to rest and are destroyed by Saracens. So much treasure is captured that the market price of precious metals throughout the Muslim world drops.

<Edit>Additional Wiki paragraph on the Siege of Damascus. Also, Post 40000! Yay me!

Last edited by Celebaelin on Mon Dec 19, 2005 6:14 am; edited 1 time in total

40007.  Sat Dec 17, 2005 5:24 am Reply with quote


Not long after Richard's departure, Saladin died in 1193 at Damascus. When they opened Saladin's treasury they found there was not enough money to pay for his funeral; he had given his money away to those in need. His tomb, located in the Umayyad mosque, is now a major tourist attraction. His tomb is one of the most visited in the world.
Saladin is buried in a mausoleum in the garden outside the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, Syria. Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany donated a new sarcophagus in marble to the mausoleum. Saladin was however not placed in it. Instead the mausoleum now has two sarcophagi: one empty in marble and one in wood containing the body of Saladin.

Saladin has a lot of ties with Damascus, I infer that he used it as his capital effectively but this is not explicitly stated.

40052.  Sat Dec 17, 2005 10:23 am Reply with quote

Wasn't St Paul on the road to Damascus when he had the vision of Jesus that struck him temporarily blind?

Hope he wasn't planning on sightseeing.

gerontius grumpus
40062.  Sat Dec 17, 2005 12:06 pm Reply with quote

violetriga wrote:
Has anything quite interesting happened in Damascus?

Damascus is an example of the saying about being more important or interesting to travel than to arrive.

40063.  Sat Dec 17, 2005 12:10 pm Reply with quote

As I know somewhat about history, I would say that 'interesting' usually corresponds to large numbers of people dying in various unpleasant ways. Generally, one is much better off living somewhere boring.

gerontius grumpus
40106.  Sat Dec 17, 2005 2:05 pm Reply with quote

It was meant to be awith reference to St Paul as mentioned above.

40442.  Mon Dec 19, 2005 2:37 am Reply with quote

djgordy - remember the Chinese curse; 'May you live in interesting times.'

40454.  Mon Dec 19, 2005 4:29 am Reply with quote


"...what is most noteworthy about the expression is that it is not Chinese. There is no such expression, "May you live in interesting times," in Chinese. It is a non-Chinese creation, most probably American, that has been around for at least 30 or 40 years. It appears in book prefaces, newspapers (frequently in the New York Times) and speeches, as an eye- or ear-catcher, although I have not found it in Bartlett's Quotations or other quotation sourcebooks. I speculate that whoever it was who first coined it attempted to give the expression a mystique, and so decided to attribute it to the Chinese."

Torrey Whitman (President of the China Institute in New York)

Stephen Delong turned the quest for the phrase's origin into a life goal and came up with a story called U-Turn written by Eric Frank Russell for the April 1950 issue of Astounding Science Fiction. In this story the phrase is described as an old Chinese curse turned modern-day blessing.

40468.  Mon Dec 19, 2005 6:04 am Reply with quote

My first instinct was to just post on the basis of The Book of Insults Ancient and Modern Nancy McPhee Paddington Press (1978) which states in Ch. 1 pg 19

The Chinese and the Scots were struck with the same philosophical thought:

May you be born in an important time.
Confucious (c.551-478BC)

May you live in interesting times
Old Scottish Curse

but in checking this on the net I’ve found others who had the same notion

And that is where matters rest in mid-June 1996. Nearly twenty years ago Nancy McPhee asserted that the curse was really Scottish, not Chinese, and that it was merely old, not ancient. But she gave no source, and St. Martin's Press has no record of her whereabouts. If you know a source, please contact me. Say, by e-mail?

One other possible source, although leading to a dead end on examination, is The Book of Insults (1978) by Nancy McPhee. She claims it to be an old Scottish curse, but to date (August 2002) it has not been possible to recover Nancy's sources or to get any verification on her claim.

One net document, which repeats the Torrey Whitman quote used by Flash, suggests that the origins may be Egyptian but specifically states that the saying is NOT Confucian in origin.

Sorry I can’t find anything more conclusive than that, a whole load of ‘not me guvnor’ and not a lot else!

48002.  Fri Jan 27, 2006 12:13 pm Reply with quote

Celebaelin wrote:
In trying, unsuccessfully, to find any reference to an Islamic leader by the name of “Besers” (I think, or something like that), who was based in Damascus I believe, I found this regarding Damascus and The Second Crusade (1144 – 1150)

I was watching C4 and an ad. for Richard and Judy came on and Richard started talking about babies (bear with me) but he pronounced it 'beibers' and I thought AHA! That's it! And indeed it is

Tour No. 6 - Visit of Krack des Chevaliers and Homs (full day)
The Crusaders castle of the Knights is approximately 60 kms. from Homs. In 1031 it was an Arab fortress owned by one of the princes of Homs. The Crusaders settled in it from 1110 to 1271 A.D. when they were expelled by king El-Zaher Beibers. The citadel was badly affected by earthquakes, repaired and fortified after each one; it is 750 metres above sea level. Some historians say the Qalaat El-Hosn is still the best preserved caslte from the Middle Ages and the most worthy of wonder. Return to Homs, situated on a raised shelf east of the Orontes with a curious black and white architecture particularly spectacular in the Sidi Khalid Ottoman-type mosque. It also has an unexcavated citadel-acropolis and a number of medieval walls, gates and Turkish baths, Al-Mimas. Then back to Damascus.

The Persians destroyed Nazareth and the Constantinian church in 615. The crusaders erected a big basilica in 1099 in its place and then appointed Nazareth to the archdiocese. After his victory over Hittin, Saladdin (SALAH EL DDIN) moved into Nazareth and a sacred grave of one of his relatives (SHIHAAB EL DDIN)in the city centre not far from the proclamation-grotto still exists there to this day. In the year 1229, the Stauferkaiser Friedrich II conquered the city. In 1263 the city was conquered by the troops of the Mamelucken-Sultans Beibers who destroyed it completely and expelled all Christians from Nazareth. Only after 1620 was it possible for Franciscan-monks to settle in Nazareth again. In 1799 Napoleon spent a short time in the city.

link here

Also written as 'Beybers', but there's precious little else informative on the web. However, I feel validated!

Quaintly Ignorant
48014.  Fri Jan 27, 2006 1:13 pm Reply with quote

St Paul was of course called Saul of Tarsus (Turkey) at the time of his epiphany and was very outspoken in his opposition to Christianity.
Paul himself admits that he at first persecuted Christians to the death (Phil. 3:6), but later embraced the belief that he had fought against. Acts 9:1–9 memorably describes the vision Paul had of Jesus on the road to Damascus, a vision that led him to dramatically reverse his opinion. Paul himself offers no clear description of the event in any of his surviving letters; and this, along with the fact that the author of Acts describes Paul's conversion with subtle differences in two later passages, has led some scholars to question whether Paul's vision actually occurred. However, Paul did write that Jesus appeared to him "last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time" (1 Cor. 15:8 KJV), and frequently claimed that his authority as "Apostle to the Gentiles" came directly from God (Gal. 1:13–16), and 'not from man'. In addition, an adequate explanation for Paul's conversion is lacking in the absence of his vision.

Following his stay in Damascus after conversion, Paul first went to live in the Nabataean kingdom (which he called "Arabia") for an unknown period, then came back to Damascus, which by this time was under Nabatean rule. After three more years (Gal. 1:17;20) he was forced to flee from that city, via the Bab Kisan (The Kisan Gate), under the cover of night (Acts 9:23;25; 2 Cor. 11:32ff.) because of the explosive reaction of some of the strict Jews to his preaching. Many years after his conversion to Christianity, Paul traveled to Jerusalem, where he met Saint Peter and James the Just.

53094.  Sun Feb 19, 2006 11:22 am Reply with quote

Has anything quite interesting happened in Damascus?

Damsons come from Damascus, and therefore are the Damascene fruit, and therefore are damsons. That's QI to Syrian jam-makers, anyway.

1281374.  Mon Apr 16, 2018 6:00 am Reply with quote

Re the purportedly Chinese curse about Interesting Times (see upthread):

here's a more recent (Dec 2015) search for its origins:

Please note the source's name - QI!

What-/whoever the source - I am right now living in times much more 'interesting' than I'd like to.


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