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In my other question:

Christian and Etruscan end of times

I've asked why the Romans, the Byzantines and the Etruscans, in times of trouble, devoted themselves to contemplating the afterlife and did not respond with something akin to a holy war (i.e. something electrifying that would bring huge numbers of recruits into the ranks). The answer may be that no one invented the holy war until Islam came about. So, are the Muslims the originators of the holy war concept, which the Christian world then copied?

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The Christian crusade concept was a pilgrimage-one where you bring all your weapons. It's not a jihad idea. –  Razie Mah Jun 9 at 18:08
So in other words, its possible to have similarities in outcome from differing ideas. This would be one example. –  Razie Mah Jun 9 at 18:21
@RazieMah So the Muslims were the first who made use of this recruiting tool, you agree? In any case you did not answer my question. –  user1095108 Jun 9 at 18:48
I think you need to define "Holy War." I think your definition might be very vague and then it would be a cross-cultural concept. I'm pretty sure it becomes unanswerable though at that point though, since cultures without writing systems used religious ritual as part of warfare. –  Razie Mah Jun 9 at 19:02
@RazieMah My question referred specifically to "outcomes", i.e. if you need recruits, a "holy war" (whatever that means) might be a solution. Of course, Muslims and Christians would have different perceptions of what a "holy war" might be. I asked, if the Muslims were the first users of this recruitment tool. I also think, you don't pull in recruits by rationally defining "holy war" to them, but play on their emotions. An exact definition may therefore not even exist. –  user1095108 Jun 9 at 19:14

1 Answer 1

Religion has been used by all groups of peoples to help them understand and regulate warfare and thus also to convince people to take part (recruit them). Provided here is a Wikipedia list of war gods. In a monotheistic religion, the role of the war god is combined as a trait of the one god. In the Old Testament, the Jewish God can be seen commanding his people to go to war to defeat peoples who commit grave sins. In other religions, the people might take captives to use as human sacrifice, such as the pre Buddhist deity Dayisum Tngri. Burial of slaves, often war captives, at a master's death was a common form of human sacrifice in other cultures.

The Nuristani people are a very old culture. They are mentioned in the Rigveda, one of the world's oldest manuscripts, composed in 1500-1200BCE. Their war god is Great Gish. After an enemy is killed in battle, a victory dance is given to Great Gish. This type of religious ritual would have been common among tribes without writing systems, as well, so it is impossible to know which peoples did this first.

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Sure, sure, but many ideas were carried over from the Muslims. Lost books from antiquity survived in Muslim hands, knowledge about siege warfare, ... The Muslims, also, learned many things from elsewhere and they figured out others themselves. I was asking whether the "holy war" idea was borrowed/copied over from the Muslim world into the Christian world. It could be, that the Muslims only transmitted it. –  user1095108 Jun 10 at 9:03
@user1095108 That contradicts the Hadith, so I don't think so. Also, there were episodes of large forced conversions in Europe before the Crusades, so they didn't need to transmit the idea. –  Razie Mah Jun 10 at 9:49
I don't think seeking converts was a prime concern on the mind of the Crusaders, nor of the Mujaheddin either. If it was, there would not be as many atrocities, as there were. About the Hadith... quote? –  user1095108 Jun 10 at 10:05
@user1095108 I said "in Europe before the Crusades." You will need to read the Hadith. My point is that Muhammed was inspired by visions to set rules for Jihad involving warfare, but this was before the Arabs conquered major empires. –  Razie Mah Jun 10 at 10:16
He set the rules and they worked. Soon the Arab peninsula, Egypt and the Levant were conquered. This only proved the utility of a "holy war" and might have motivated imitators, similar to how effective weapons are often copied from captured examples. –  user1095108 Jun 10 at 10:36

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