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(solution) This week we are studying the birth of the Islamic civilization.

This week we are studying the birth of the Islamic civilization. How did this new religion and subsequent civilization impact the Middle East? How do you think the Middle East would have developed had Islam NOT been created?

Short, 2 paragraph answer. Chapters are attached.

Chapter: 21 in A Comprehensive Outline of World History by Jack E. Maxfield is licensed under


a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. © Nov 30, 2009 Jack E. Maxfield. Download for free at Chapter 21 A.D. 601 to 700


21.1 A.D. 601 to 7001


21.1.1 A.D. 601 TO 700


Backward to A.D. 501 to 600 (Section 20.1)


The chief features characterizing this century are the persistence of the "Dark Ages" in Europe, the amazing eruption


of the Arab armies and the Moslem religion out of the desert of Arabia and the early dominance of Turkish people in


Central Asia, with marked effects even in China. THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH


We have previously mentioned that in these "Dark Ages" education survived only as a luxury of the clergy. The Roman Church itself could give little or no direction at this time because of chaos in Italy and the lowering of Byzantine


prestige. The Emperor Heraclius attempted to regain Syria and Armenia from Persia by conciliating their monophysitism by producing a compromise called "monotheletism" which suggested that the union of God and man in


Christ, although not submerging the identity of either, was sufficiently complete to manifest itself outwardly in one


divine-human energy. This proposal only irritated the rest of the empire and when the Arabs overran the region it was


abandoned. As a last blow, Islam appeared on the world scene in this century to further menace the Christian Church.


(Ref. 137 ([188])) THE ISLAMIC CHURCH


Most of the present day taboos of the Islamic religion were present at its inception. The Koran prohibitions include:


1. Pork, as an impurity - chiefly a carry-over from nomad life. One cannot drive pigs on great migrations


2. Animal blood - a pollution legacy from Old Testament Judaism


3. Wine, considered an abomination. It is said that some of the prophet?s early levies had been found too drunk to


fight (Ref. 211 ([284]))


As is well known, the original stories from the Koran are much like the Old Testament, with the same early characters,


including Abraham and his tribe. Both Judaism and Islam came from the same sources in the desert. Islam was


essentially a military empire in the beginning and only became a culture after it absorbed a measure of Persian thought.


(Ref. 213 ([288]))


1 This content is available online at <>. Available for free at Connexions <> 317 Download for free at 318 CHAPTER 21. A.D. 601 TO 700 INTERNATIONAL JEWRY


In this and the next few centuries, Jews became more and more isolated as a commercial sect. Especially in northern


Europe they were excluded from owning land and the feudal system resulted in the constant threat of confiscation


of property and even expulsion from the country. Expulsion started in Spain just after the beginning of the century


with an edict from Emperor Heraclius. The Carolingians in Austrasia, France, however, gave them special charters,


protection and commercial privileges. (Ref. 8 ([14])) In their native Levant, many Jews converted to Islam and actually


contributed much to the final Moslem concepts. (Ref. 213 ([288]))


Forward to A.D. 701 to 800 (Section 22.1)


Choose Different Region
















8. Africa (Section 21.2)


America (Section 21.9)


Central and Northern Asia (Section 21.5)


Europe (Section 21.4)


The Far East (Section 21.7)


The Indian Subcontinent (Section 21.6)


The Near East (Section 21.3)


Pacific (Section 21.8) 21.2 Africa: A.D. 601 to 7002


21.2.1 AFRICA


Back to Africa: A.D. 501 to 600 (Section 20.2) NORTHEAST AFRICA


The Ethopian upland soils had been largely destroyed, exposing underlying rocks. In the middle of the century,


threatened by Muslim neighbors, Axum lost its Red Sea ports and had its gold supply cut off so its Christians retreated


to the highlands, where they remained in isolation until the 15th century. Abandoned buildings deteriorated and


contributed to the soil destruction. Land abandonment can be as destructive as over-use and there can be little doubt


that all this exacerbated Axumite economic decline. (Ref. 270 ([36]))


To the west in Nubia, Coptic Christians thrived. After an Egyptian attack in 651-652 relations between Christian Nubia


and Moslem Egypt were formalized by treaty which included an agreement that Nubians would return all runaway


slaves to Egypt. A cathedral was built about A.D. 700 in Qasr Ibrim and there were plans to make this a pilgrimage


center. Nubia hereafter remained Christian for about 700 years. Just north of the present-day Aswan Dam, the survival


of paganism into this 7th century on the island of Philae had been a notable scandal stimulating Byzantine missions


into the area. (Ref. 271 ([7]))


Egypt fell to the Persians temporarily in 616 but fell again to the Arabs later in the century, with Alexandria conquered by the latter in 660. The Monophysite Christians of Egypt actually helped the Moslems overthrow the existing


administration. After the conquest, Amr ruled for the Arabs and did so well. (Ref. 206 ([83]), 137 ([188])) NORTH CENTRAL AND NORTHWEST AFRICA


In the last third of the century the raiding Moslems easily took Tripolitania but on their original drive westward they


were repulsed from Tunisia by Roman Empire troops. Subsequently, however, conversion of the indigenous Berbers3


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is an Arab word meaning "barbarian" 3 "Berber" Available for free at Connexions <> Download for free at 319


to Islam in 696 gave Islam a new push and the Byzantine forces in Tunisia were then overrun and Carthage was


destroyed again. Soon Morocco also fell to the Islamic onslaught. Shortly thereafter trade routes for slaves, ivory and


gold opened up between Morocco-Algeria and the western Sudan. The Murabits (also Almoravids) of Morocco turned


south, shattering the Negro Empire of Ghana.


The Berbers were of an entirely different race from the Arabs, having roundish heads contrasting with the Arabs? long


heads. Even when some were initially converted to Islam, allowing the Moslem advance, most of the Berbers retreated


to the naked mountains dividing Tunisia?s coastal plains from the desert. Even so, the Muslims made a greater impact


on these people than Rome or Christianity had previously done. (Ref. 137 ([188]), 175 ([241]), 58 ([86]), 83 ([123]),




From 500 to 1,200 ancient Ghana, in what is now Mali, monopolized the gold trade from west Africa to Europe. It sat


at the southern end of the trans-Saharan caravan routes and thus acted as the hub. Kumbi Saleh was a city of 15,000


people. The excavated ruins of the ancient city of Jenne-Jeno had a formidable three meter-wide wall surrounding


it which was constructed sometime between 400 and 800. Delicately constructed gold jewelry has been found under


this city wall, indicating that this was a trade center over a long period of time. The nearest gold mines were 800


kilometers south of this developing city. (Ref. 268 ([189])) The Moslem invasion of Ghana from the north caused


some disruption in administration certainly, but did not destroy the fundamental culture or the developing cities.


In the far southeast of Africa the Leopard?s Kopje people, a Bantu-speaking group, were in control of Great Zimbabwe


from about A.D. 600 to 850. (Ref. 45 ([66])) Elsewhere the great bulk of Africa remained as in previous centuries.


Forward to Africa: A.D. 701 to 800 (Section 22.2) 21.3 The Near East: A.D. 601 to 7004




Back to The Near East: A.D. 501 to 600 (Section 20.3)


It was in this century that the people of Kurdistan were converted to the Sunni variety of Islam. The Kurds are a people


closely related ethnically to the Persians, who have tried through the ages to keep themselves intact as sheep-raising


and rug weaving nomads, without respect to political boundaries. Kurdistan embraces the present day areas of east


TURKEY, Soviet Armenia, northeast Iraq and northwest Iran. (Ref. 38 ([59])) ARABIA AND JORDAN


Muhammad (or Mohammed) was born in the south of Arabia of poor parentage early in the century. He married


wealth and soon began to teach a new religion, taking as basic beliefs the monotheism of the Jews. He accepted Jesus


as a prophet and formulated a new creed of behavior for his fellow Arabs. He had the visionary power of a seer, the


astuteness of a master politician and a poet?s mastery of language. (Ref. 83 ([123])) By the time of his death in A.D.


636 his followers had already become almost fanatical in their zeal to spread the new faith and their armies poured out


of the Arabian Peninsula to sell the religion by force of arms. The Arabs? military success approached the miraculous


as they subdued the greatest kingdoms with small armies made up of mounted men on the famed Arabian horses. (Ref.


122 ([170]))


4 This content is available online at <>. Available for free at Connexions <> Download for free at 320 CHAPTER 21. A.D. 601 TO 700 MEDITERRANEAN COASTAL AREAS OF ISRAEL AND LEBANON & IRAQ AND SYRIA


The early part of the century was a period of some general decay in this entire area, with Persia and Byzantium more


or less splitting control. At the death of Emperor


Maurice of Byzantium at the hands of his own soldiers, Chosroes II of Persia went on a conquering spree, taking


Roman Mesopotamia in 607-615, then Armenia and some of Anatolia itself. But the pestilences which had visited the


Romans and Persians alike from 542 on may explain in great part the little resistance their forces offered the Moslem


eruption in 634. By the time of the Arab conquest Syria, in general, was an impoverished and stricken land. Damascus,


as well as Jerusalem, had not recovered from the effects of the previous long and terrible sieges. Palmyra stood empty.


In Mesopotamia there is some evidence that many irrigation canals had been abandoned, probably from a lack of labor


supply due to the plague, before the Moslems had even arrived and it is doubtful if the Arabs actually destroyed much.


(Ref. 137 ([188]), 140 ([190]))


The first incursion of Arabs into Iraq occurred in A.D. 633 with forces under Khalid ibn-al-Walid, although the main


advance was a little to the west into Syria. They defeated the Byzantines in a last battle at Yarmuk in 636 and Jerusalem


capitulated in 638. The chief administrator of Iraq and the coastal region from 644 to 656 was Othman (also Uthman)


of the Omayyad (also Umayyad) family. Using his nepotism as an excuse, troops from Iraq and Egypt assassinated


Othman in Medina in 656 and he was succeeded by Ali, the prophet?s cousin and son-in-law. Mo?awiya, an Omayyad


governor of Syria, disputed this succession, proclaimed himself caliph5 in Jerusalem in 660 and went on to establish


a capital at Damascus in 661, initiating the Omayyad Caliphate. Descendants of Ali continued intermittent warfare


with the combatants eventually ending up as the northern (Omayyad) Arabs against the southern. The latter were


chiefly the Shi?ites6 and by the end of the century these partisans were more or less in control of Arabia, Persia


and Mesopotamia. In addition, the old line of demarcation between Roman Syria and Persian Iraq or Mesopotamia


survived this Moslem conquest. A strong sense of difference between the populations at large in these two provinces,


fostered by the differences in their respective administrations easily coalesced with long standing rivalries in the two


Arab garrisons. Many civil wars resulted. (Ref. 2 ([3]), 119 ([166]))


As the Arab armies overran Mesopotamia and Iran, sizable groups of Jews were pretty well left alone as protected


minorities. All aspects of their civil and religious life were administered by Jewish officials in accordance with the


Babylonian Talmud. At this time Hindu numerals were in use in Syria and later these became known as "Arabic


numerals". (Ref. 49 ([73])) IRAN: PERSIA


As the century began Chosroes II ruled the Persians with avarice, suspicion and cruelty and a ruinous taxation to


support his own splendid living. His armies fought their way to the Bosporus and to Egypt and came within sight of


Constantinople but some 10 years later Emperor Honorius, in alliance with the Khazars just east of the Caspian, struck


back, attacking the Persian homeland (623-624). The Persians retaliated by attacking Constantinople once again with


Avar help in 626 but the east Roman navy kept the two land forces apart and the attack was a failure. Chosroes II was


then murdered by his nobles and his son, Kavadh II, made the final peace, surrendering Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Asia


Minor and western Mesopotamia back to the Byzantine Empire. Then pestilence broke out in Persia and thousands


died, including the king. There followed a fight for the throne and in this atmosphere of disease and general moral


decay and decline came the Arab armies of Islam about 636 and Persia quickly became part of the Moslem realm. The


decisive action with the Arabs occurred at Al Qadisiya, Iraq, when the Persian army was literally smashed, allowing


Arab capture of the capital, Ctesiphon (very near Selucia in Mesopotamia), in A.D. 635, thus opening the road to the


main Iranian plateau. After the take-over a few Persian nobles maintained their independence in the mountains of


Tabaristan at the south end of the Caspian. (Ref. 8 ([14]), 137 ([188]))


5 A caliph is the religious and civil leader of a Moslem state and the region he controls is a caliphate. In contrast an emir may be just an Arab


chieftain or a favored descendant of Mohammed


6 The Shi?ites (or Shiah) represent one of the two great divisions of the Moslem faith. They believe that only the descendants of Ali are eligible


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The Arabs did not force their conquered subjects to embrace Islam but did require them to accept the Koran as divine


teaching and obliged them to learn Arabic, thus building an empire united by a common tongue. (Ref. 137 ([188]),


222 ([296])) There were probably many factors in the easy fall of the great Persian Empire to the surging Arab armies.


In addition to the factors listed in the paragraph above, it should be realized that both Byzantium and


Sassanian Persia had exhausted themselves battling each other for many years. But there was also an economic cause


of decline as the use of the Silk Route to China diminished. The Byzantines had smuggled silk cocoons from China


and could now supply themselves with silk and the economy suffered all along the old route.


Byzantium had become the original heir of classical Greek medicine but during the persecutions of a number of learned


heretics they fled to Persia, where, at Jundishapur, they met Syrian, Persian and Hindu scholars and working together,


they translated many important works into Syriac, the new language of learning in the Near East. When Persia fell


to the Arabs, many works of medicine were then translated from Syriac into Arabic, including large works of Galen.


(Ref. 211 ([284])) ASIA MINOR TURKEY


After Emperor Justinian?s death at the close of the preceding century (595) the eastern Roman Empire collapsed with


nothing left except a few Asiatic ports, some fragments of Italy, Africa and Greece. The capital itself was besieged by


the Persians under Chosroes II, helped in the north by an army of Avars. In A.D. 602 the "Roman" army fighting the


Avars revolted, returned to Constantinople and murdered Emperor Maurice, while the Avars devastated the Balkans.


The cross-bow reached Byzantium from central Asia at about this time, perhaps borrowed from the Avars. (Ref. 137


([188]), 213 ([288]))


The whole of the Asia Minor peninsula had been ploughed and furrowed by Persian armies and the great cities had


been plundered and sacked, but the Byzantines still had an unbeaten navy and after 10 years, Heraclius, the new


emperor, built a new army, sailed across the Black Sea, marched across Armenia and attacked and defeated Persia


from the rear (A.D. 624). The victory was a hollow one, however, as the Arabs soon advanced into this territory with


Khalid ibn al-Walid defeating a Byzantine army at the battle of the Yarmuk. The Byzantine frontiers were backed into


Turkey, proper, again and after 673 the Moslems even blocked Constantinople both by land and sea, allowing it to


be attacked every year for the next five. Only the strength of the city?s walls and the appearance of "Greek fire", an


explosive of unknown composition, saved the empire.


Although we have used the terms "Byzantine" and "Byzantium" freely in the last few chapters, actually it was not until


the second half of this century that earlier historians applied these names in reference to the eastern Roman Empire.


"Byzantion" was the old Greek name for Constantinople, and as the language of this eastern empire became chiefly


Greek, the term "Byzantium" came into use. (Ref. 137 ([188])) ARMENIA


Throughout most of this century Armenia was in the middle of a three-cornered war involving Arabs, Khazars and


Byzantines, but they managed to remain virtually sovereign and zealously Christian. (Ref. 137 ([188])) After first


being overrun by the eastern Roman army on its way to Persia, later the Arabs invaded. In the first several decades


the higher classes had great prosperity incident to the exportation of manufactured goods and raw mining products.


It was also a period of intellectual activity with philosophical, mathematical, astronomical and cartographic studies.


Ananias, of Shirak, was a great scientist. Many Armenians served as mercenaries for Byzantium, particularly after the


Arabs appeared on the scene and by late century the mainstays of that army were Armenian. (Ref. 222 ([296]))


Forward to The Near East: A.D. 701 to 800 (Section 22.3)


Choose Different Region


1. Intro to Era (Section 21.1)


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8. CHAPTER 21. A.D. 601 TO 700


Africa (Section 21.2)


America (Section 21.9)


Central and Northern Asia (Section 21.5)


Europe (Section 21.4)


The Far East (Section 21.7)


The Indian Subcontinent (Section 21.6)


Pacific (Section 21.8) 21.4 Europe: A.D. 601 to 7007


21.4.1 EUROPE


Back to Europe: A.D. 501 to 600 (Section 20.4)


Slavery continued in Europe throughout these "Dark Ages" despite the Christian Church, but in this century, when


Arabs gained control of the Mediterranean, it was difficult for Europeans to get slaves from the Levant. Most were


then obtained from the Slavic regions. (Ref. 213 ([288])) SOUTHERN EUROPE EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN ISLANDS


The century began with these islands all a part of the Byzantine Empire but one by one the Arabs began to take them


over in the latter decades. Cyprus, with its copper mines, fell to the Moslems in 648 and Rhodes in 654. (Ref. 222


([296])) GREECE


Greece was now heavily infiltrated with Slavic peoples and although nominally under the eastern Roman Empire, only


some of the coastal cities were truly Byzantine. UPPER BALKANS


The Bulgars, whose original Kaganate was in the middle Volga far north of the Caspian Sea, had migrated in the


previous century to the Danube region. This group, including one branch of the Utigurs, had founded a Bulgarian


kingdom in ancient Moesia, enslaving the Slavs already there but they adopted the Slavs? language and customs and


in time intermarried with them. They began to take over more and more Balkan territory from Byzantium by 679 and


were recognized as a separate country in 681 when their first king, Isperikh, was crowned at the capital, Pliska. These


were the so-called "White" or "Western Bulgars", originally related to the Huns. (Ref. 180 ([246]), 8 ([14]))


Farther west, the Srbi (Serbs) settled in part of the old Pannonia and Chrobati (Croats) settled in Illyricum, forming


eventually the country of Serbia. By 650 the Slavs constituted the majority of the people in the Balkans. Avar


horsemen, operating out of Hungary, spread havoc intermittently through the area and repeatedly appeared under the


walls of Constantinople. ITALY


The Lombards regained control of the northern plain of Italy, where the Byzantines had driven a wedge, between A.D.


601 and 605, establishing a progressive state under Duke Agilulf, who was actually a Thuringian. The Lombards


maintained intermittent relation- ships with Rome and eventually became Catholics. Venice continued as an independent realm, allegedly having been built up from fishing villages settled by fugitives from the Huns, on some 60 marshy


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islands. (Ref. 222 ([296])) Rome continued as a part of the Byzantine Christian Empire although it was no longer its


chief city. The remainder of Italy was a patchwork of independent cities or duchies, such as the Duchy of Spoleto and


the Duchy of Benevento. (Ref. 137 ([188])) CENTRAL EUROPE GERMANY


The Germanic and Slavic peoples had little disease and no superimposed imperial macroparasitism8 such as the


Mediterranean urban populations imposed on the peasantries there, and so they had tremendous population growths,


with the Slavs colonizing the Balkan peninsula, as we have noted above, and the Germanic tribes swarming to the


Rhine and finally far beyond to Britain. (Ref. 140 ([190]))


Even in the previous century the Frankish kings of Germany had to reward their followers and the church by granting


away their own land and revenues. By the middle of this 7th century two families had emerged as the principal agents


of the kings for these transactions. One of these was from Austrasia, the traditional eastern Frankish land, and the


other was from Neustria, the new lands north of the Loire. By 687 Pepin, of Heerstal (near Aachen) of the Austrasian


family, had won out, thereafter dominating the Frankish kingdoms. (Ref. 8 ([14])) At that time several basic or


stem duchies became prominent, including Bavaria (named from the Baiuoaril branch of the Marcomanni), Swabia


(bordering Switzerland), Thuringia, Saxony, Franconia and Frisia.


By the end of the century northeastern Germany had quadrupled its population over that of Roman times, chiefly due


to the more abundant food supply available with the use of the "moldboard" plow, introduced by the Slavs. This plow


required eight oxen to pull it but it allowed three-field rotation of crops and allowed not only the production of more,


but also better food, containing more amino acids and protein, thus giving the people more energy and greater stamina.


(Ref. 211 ([284])) (See also FRANCE, this chapter) AUSTRIA


The area now known as Austria was partly controlled by the German duchies and partly by the raiding Avars. HUNGARY


This was the homeland of the Avars who raided in all directions from this base. Please see this section in the previous




Moravians gained independence by holding off the Avars and then they were able to stop the Franks who tried to come


in from the west. After the death of their King Samo, however, this first attempt at a Slavic state in central Europe


collapsed. Samo may actually have been a Frank but he had managed to unite the Czechs and some of the Wends. The


people of Bohemia also repudiated Avar suzertainty and after that the Avar power declined rapidly. (Ref. 136 ([187])) SWITZERLAND


This was simply part of the Frankish kingdoms. WESTERN EUROPE SPAIN AND PORTUGAL


Between A.D. 612 and 621, Sisebut, a well educated Visigoth monarch, reconquered most of the peninsula from


the Romans and his successor, Swintilla, completed the job. Even so, the Visigoths became "Romanized" by legal


8 McNeill?s terminology


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