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Middle Ages 400-1400

The time period after the fall of empires that lasted about 1000 years until kingdoms, empires,
and civilization could be rebuilt around the world.
Middle East and North Africa (Spread of Islam)
Battle of the Yarmuk (Modified)
Background: Muslim forces took control of Syria in 636 CE when they fought the Eastern Roman Empire (which
included Greece) at the Battle of Yarmuk. This account, written by Muslim historian Ahmad al-Biladuri in the 800s CE,
describes the battle.
The Muslims gathered together, and the Greek army marched against them. The Greeks and their followers in
this battle tied themselves to each other by chains, so that none of them would run away. The battle they fought at alYarmuk was of the fiercest and bloodiest kind. In this battle 24,000 Muslims took part. By Allah's help, some 70,000 of
them [the Greeks] were put to death, and their remnants fled the scene, reaching as far as Palestine, Antioch, Aleppo,
Mesopotamia and Armenia. In the battle of al-Yarmuk certain Muslim women took part and fought violently. Among
them was Hind, daughter of 'Utbah and mother of Mu'awivah ibn-abiSufyan, who repeatedly exclaimed, "Cut the arms
of these non-Muslims with your swords!"
Source: Al-Biladuri, “The Battle of the Yarmuk (636) and After,” written in the 800s CE.
Treaty of Tudmir (Modified)
Background: This treaty was signed in 713 CE between ‘Abd al-‘Aziz, the commander of the Muslim forces invading
Spain, and Theodemir, the Christian King of a region in southern Spain.
In the name of God, the merciful and compassionate. We [Abd al-Aziz’s forces] will not harass him [Theodmir],
nor remove him from power. His followers will not be killed or taken prisoner, nor will they be separated from their
women and children. They will not be coerced in matters of religion, their churches will not be burned, nor will sacred
objects be taken from the realm, as long as he remains sincere and fulfills these conditions that we have set for him:
He will not give shelter to fugitives, nor to our enemies, nor encourage any protected person to fear us, nor conceal
news of our enemies. He and [each of] his men shall [also] pay one dinar every year, together with four bags of wheat,
four bags of barley, four liquid containers of concentrated fruit juice, four liquid containers of vinegar, four of honey, and
four of olive oil. Slaves must each pay half of this amount.
Source: The Treaty of Tudmir, 713 CE.
Fred Donner
Background: Fred Donner is a historian at the University of Chicago who specializes in early Islam and early Islamic
expansion. Below is an excerpt from his book where he challenges some of the common knowledge about early
Islamic conquests.
During the conquest period the granting of gifts, which had been practiced by Muhammad, became more regular and
eventually institutionalized. In the first place, there was established a system of stipends or direct salary payments to
warriors serving in the Islamic armies. . . . Tribesmen in the Islamic armies who rebelled against the regime now did so

at the cost of losing the stipends that the regime provided. Similarly, stipends were granted to some Persian or
Aramean nobles who cooperated with the Muslims in Iraq. In most cases, it appears that these individuals were
required to embrace Islam in order to receive their stipend.
Source: Excerpt from Fred Donner, The Early Islamic Conquests, 1981.
Europe in the Middle Ages
Dark Ages
The Dark Ages: the early medieval period of western European history. Specifically, the term refers to the time (476–
800) when there was no Roman (or Holy Roman) emperor in the West; or, more generally, to the period between about
500 and 1000, which was marked by frequent warfare and a virtual disappearance of urban life. It is now rarely used
by historians because of the value judgment it implies. Though sometimes taken to derive its meaning from the fact
that little was then known about the period, the term’s more usual and pejorative sense is of a period of intellectual
darkness and barbarity.
Source: Encyclopedia Britannica Online 2015
Age of Invasion

The Age of Faith

The Notre Dame Cathedral is widely considered one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture in the world.
The name Notre Dame means "Our Lady" in French, and is frequently used in the names of Catholic church buildings.
Gothic cathedrals were usually the tallest and largest building in a city. This cathedral was constructed between the

years of 1163 and 1345.
Source: Document Based Assessments for Global History

China in the Middle Ages
During the Middle Ages, the Chinese enjoyed a higher standard of living than almost any other contemporary nation.
This high standard of living was made possible by their stable civilization, which for the most part had remained
unbroken for centuries. While Europe was amid dark times, poverty, war and disease, China was flourishing, producing
new art, science, and literary works.
During the Middle Ages China continued to be controlled by a dynastic rule. A dynasty is when one family rules a
country or region over a long period of time. Generally, the head of the family will be the ruler of the land, like an
emperor or king. When that ruler dies, another member of the family will take power, usually the oldest son. When a
new family takes control, then a new dynasty begins.
The Mandate of Heaven is what the Chinese people believed gave their rulers the right to be king or emperor. It meant
that the gods had blessed that person with the right to rule. A ruler had to be a good and just ruler to keep the Mandate
of Heaven. When a ruler or dynasty lost power, this meant that they must also have lost the Mandate of Heaven.

The Americas in the Middle Ages
During the middle ages North and South America were occupied by many diverse native tribes.