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The Most Interesting Man in the World - Chapter 3: The Holy Wars

High-value men are interesting, and if you ask any woman, they will tell you that interesting is sexy. What does it mean to be interesting? Interesting people tell incredible stories and lead unusual lives. The source of their magnetism is their curiosity. They are always excited to explore the world, and this curious energy radiates outward.

The first step on your quest to becoming the world's most interesting man is to explore the history of the world we live in. So, buckle up, because I am going to take you on a crash course in everything you need to know about the world (in my opinion). This is going to be a mega summary. I am going to exclude plenty of stuff. I am going to try and condense trillions of pages of information into a few thousand words. I have broken this into chapters. This is chapter three.

Chapter 3: The Holy (and Unholy) Wars (500 to 1500)

When the Roman Empire started declining, it fractured into two parts - one in the west and one in the east. Christianity flourished in the west. In the east, we saw the rise of the Byzantine Empire and the Islamic golden age.

In Saudi Arabia, we find the city of Mecca. Mecca was an important religious destination. It was home to two widely venerated polytheistic cults whose gods were believed to protect its lucrative trade. People would therefore visit Mecca and worship its many gods.

The year is 570 and Muhammad was born into the most influential tribe in Mecca but was orphaned at the age of 6 when his mother died (his father passed away before he was born). He was raised by his grandfather, but he too passed away when Muhammad was 8, and the caregiving responsibilities were handed over to his uncle. As a young adult, he showed himself to be a talented and honest trader. He started working for a wealthy widow (Kadija) who was 15 years older than Muhammad. They married when he was 25 (she was 40). Muhammad was deeply religious. While most men his age would hit the nightclubs over the weekend, he would head out to the caves on the outskirts of Mecca to pray, meditate and be religious

When he was 40, according to Muslim tradition, the archangel Gabriel revealed himself to Muhammad indicating there was only one true god. This was the first of many revelations to form the basis of the Qur’an. This notion that there was only one god, in line with the Judeo-Christian tradition, went directly against the widespread belief of multiple gods that existed at the time on the Arabian Peninsula. Muhammad’s views seriously pissed off the Meccan merchants who were making good money from the religious visitors.

For a time, he was protected by the influence of his wife and uncle, but when they passed away, all hell broke loose. Bloody battles ensued between Muhammad’s Muslims and the local pagan worshippers. Although seriously outnumbered, the Muslims prevailed and Muhammad marched triumphantly into Mecca. He was 59 at the time. He died 3 years later but by that time, most of the peninsula had been converted to Islam.

And so began the Islamic Golden Age that lasted from the 8th century through to the 14th century, as the Muslim merchants spread their domination. Being merchants, their influence spread as far and wide as their business interests. In the 13th Century, however, they came up against a terrifying foe - Genghis Khan and his fearless Mongols. The Muslims quickly realized that it was not a good idea to fuck with the Mongols.

The Mongol invasions and conquests created history's largest contiguous empire: the Mongol Empire, which by 1300 covered large parts of Eurasia. Historians regard the Mongol devastation as one of the deadliest episodes in history. It is believed that Genghis Khan DNA can be found in 8% of Asian men! Genghis must have fucked more women than Wilt Chamberlain. It is rumored that Genghis died at the hands of a Chinese princess who cut off his dick and he bled to death.

While the Arabs were trading and Genghis was planting his seed in nubile young women throughout the east, the west was dealing with the vacuum left after the collapse of the Roman Empire. The barbarians invaded, splintering cities as people ran for their lives. Monasteries were built as protection from short-tempered barbarians, and we entered the early Middle Ages. From the years 500 to 1000, the populations declined as the barbarians looted and terrorized their way through Europe.

Enter the marauding Vikings – a nation of good-looking seafaring warriors that have excited the ovaries of horny women all over the world with access to Netflix. Firstly, it is necessary to get rid of the elephant in the room – the Vikings NEVER wore horned helmets. Horned helmets were invented by beer companies to sell more beer during the Super Bowl! Vikings raped and ransacked their way through northern Europe for 250 years from 800 to 1050.

A favorite pastime of the Vikings was the raiding of English monasteries, throwing monks into the sea without a life vest, taking them as slaves, and plundering their churches. Vikings showed no respect for religion or organized learning. They invaded England because of its wealth and more hospitable climate – the first time anyone has migrated to England for better weather!

The Netflix series did a good job in representing the spirit and leaders of the time – Ragnar Lothbrok, Bjorn Ironside, and Ivar the Boneless all existed. The Viking reign came to an abrupt end in 1066 but not at the Battle of Hastings. The Norwegian king Harald III sailed up the River Humber and marched to Stamford Bridge with his men. The English king, also named Harold II (but with an “o”), marched north with his army and defeated Harald III in a long and bloody battle at the Battle of Stamford Bridge in present-day London in September. In October that very same year, 63 miles south (approx. 2 hours in a car along the A21 if you are lucky enough to avoid the hectic London traffic), Harold II was again in action in the sleepy seaside town named Hastings. Fresh off his September victory, and perhaps a little overconfident, Harold had his ass handed to him by William the Conqueror.

There was some consolation for the Vikings – although William was French, he had some very diluted Viking blood coursing through his veins. His great-great-great grandfather was Rollo (in the Netflix series, Rollo was Ragnar Lothbrok’s brother who settled in France – historians however say there was no blood connection between these two Vikings). William, was, however, endowed with a rather chunky physique and was not afraid to punish a few packets of Oreos after dinner. So large a man he became that, when he passed away, he was too big for his coffin and literally exploded at his funeral. As priests tried to stuff William into his stone coffin, they pushed on his abdomen, causing it to burst. Mourners reportedly ran for the exits to flee the rancid stench.

From the year 1100 onwards, as the invasions of Vikings and other barbarians subsided, peasants organized themselves into villages and the feudal system and kingdoms became more centralized. With more time on their hands, the kings became bored and looked around the world to see with whom they could pick a fight. One common thread in human history is that men are not suited for idleness – we always need to be doing something, even if that may involve invading people with different religious persuasion.

Unhappy with the growth of Islam in the middle east, Catholics decided it was time to pummel the Muslims and regain the Holy Land. Eight crusading campaigns took place between 1096 and 1291. The Pope was the one who incited the violence calling on Christians to take up arms. He then quickly returned to his air-conditioned corner office and left the dirty work to the real men.

Who won The Crusades? Depends on who you ask. Technically, the Muslims won, although the Catholic Church came out stronger and richer as it extended its influence into Muslim strongholds. The crusades pissed the Muslims off. They felt the unnecessary loss of non-Christian lives was immoral, savage, and bloody, and some still refer to Western involvement in the Middle East as a crusade.

After the Crusades, we enter the later Middle Ages. This was not a fun time to be around. Between 1347 and 1350, between 75 and 100 million people succumbed to the Black Death. It was one of the deadliest pandemics in human history. It started in Asia and then spread like wildfire west into Europe. Mongol expeditions may have spread the bubonic plague across much of Eurasia. This plague may have reduced the world's population from an estimated 450 million in 1340 to between 350 and 375 million in 1400; it took 200 years for population figures to recover.

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