The modern belief of the term ‘Retaliation’ is when employers treat applicants, employees or former employees, or people closely associated with them less favourably for reporting discrimination, participating in racism, or opposing discrimination. But in history, the term retaliation has different meaning and purposes. The most common purpose was always and still ‘to seek revenge’. According to Melissa Hogenboom of BBC, revenge has been part of human behaviour since the time of human existence on earth. Literature has used it throughout history, from Greek tragedies such as Aeschylus’ Oresteia trilogy where Orestes wants to murder his mother to avenge his father to Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Many of us have no doubt imagined vengeance against those who have wronged us or even lashed out at them. At the moment, it can certainly feel beneficial to do so. But what motivates us to seek revenge in the first place?
According to Michael McCullough of the University of Miami, it’s this very pervasive experience in human lives that people from every society understand the idea of getting angry and wanting to hurt someone who has harmed or hurt you. A similar kind of sentiments drives people puzzled and revengeful in the 11th century when innocents were killed by those they never thought about.
I have initiated a World History Series on my YouTube channel that will shed some light on history’s most controversial events that have become the turning points for human civilization. This series will be in the form of short episodic narrative documentaries. The emphasis will be on simple yet engaging content for audiences of any age. The first instalment in this series is the Crusades, a sequence of religious wars initiated and supported by the Latin Church in the medieval period. The term ‘Crusade’ refers primarily to the Eastern Mediterranean campaigns between 1095 CE and 1271 CE that had the objective of conquering the Holy Land from Islamic rule.
In this episode, ‘The Retaliation’, we will see crusaders have now managed to settle well in their new home, but their peace will not be going to last long. The storm of retaliation in the form of Seljuq commander Zengi and his successor Nur al-Din will soon be unleashed its devastation.