Byzantium and Islam

20/07/2007 12:22:00

http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/1020Avicenna-Medicine.html http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/byz-arabambas.html Byzantium • began as the eastern half of the roman empire • did not suffer of barbarian invasion • it stayed in place relatively safe • capital in Constantinople in the 4th century • during the 5th and 6th centuries you had the Circus Factions o groups fighting each other o chariot races o the green and the blue factions  banners they carried during chariot races • wealthier and more organized than the western counter-part • also had a powerful centralized government o this kept it from disintegrating like the west • diverse population o ruling over a wide array of people o Syrians, Arabs, Egyptians along with others • divided church

o Christian empire o priests were divided over what the proper interpretation of scripture and church doctrine Justinian (527 – 565) • emperor of Byzantine • laid the foundation for the empire after the collapse of Rome in the wet • called the emperor that never slept • ruthless and ambitious • chief goal was to restore the glory of the old empire • in his service he had two generals and together recaptured Italy, southern Africa, and southern spain and place them back into the empire • in the 6th century was the last time that the Romans or descendents would ever reach or recapture the glory under their previous empire • enforced political unity o suppressed the Circus Factions o suppressed riots in Constantinople that left 30,000 dead • Hagia Sofia o one of the most innovative cathedrals of its time o architecture had a lasting stance in mosques and western society • Justinian Code o lays today as the foundation of most of Europeans legal system • Harsh Legacy o did a lot for the empire

o the wars and conquests left the empire virtually bankrupt o the religious disputes did not settle under his rule  unable to do so o left the empire vulnerable to Sassanids and to the spread of Islam Byzantine Foundation o Left a powerful legacy for Byzantium o had a strong centralized government  allowed it to maintain cohesion for much longer than the western roman empire o remained the Bulwark of Christianity o preserved the heritage and culture of ancient Greece and Rome  when western Europe started to get back together they look to Byzantium for documents about ancient Rome

Emperors & Individuals • “Individualism without Freedom” o everyone was an individual o part of the empire then part of the Church o everyone was a direct subject of the emperor • Autocracy o Power –based succession  based on political and military power o Absolute and total authority

o Women could take the thrown of the empire unlike other empires  Irene became emperor then her son became emperor  Zoe  Theodora  ruled from 1042 – 1056 Senate and Circus o It still had a senate  Over time the senate became less powerful  became a ceremonial body o the circus factions were also stripped of their power  keeping praise of the new emperor during coronations o in the 9th century the senate was disbanded entirely o what was once an intense political struggle became a pasttime of the elite Administration o Themes  provinces  ruled by Strate-Goi  military commanders  great deal of practical power  oversee the administration of their themes as they saw fit  however, they served entirely on the whim of the emperor

the central administration in Constantinople  the Eunuchs controlled it  they were castrated so they could not have children and their rules did not get passed down  still carried a great amount of power  the thrown demanded physical perfection and because of that the Eunuchs could never become Emperors

Families & Villages • Isolation o All of the subjects were equally powerless under the emperor’s rule • Household o The main social and economic unit  You worked and slept  there were associations but purely for collecting taxes and such  basic unit of social life  in the west the household was the central unit of social and economic life  in the east it was because the emperor made it so unlike the west • Countryside o Villages  Took orders directly from Constantinople  Sent taxes back to Constantinople o Family Farms

 Shared resources, livestock, land  this DID NOT happen in this empire  everything was separated o "Good Fences Make Good Neighbors”  the attitude in the Byzantine Empire Towns & Trade o Centers of business  But also isolated as well  very rocky and difficult terrain  primary means of commerce and trade was oversea o Constantinople  Economic and cultural center of the empire and the center of trade for the rest of the world  situated in the Bosporus  thin strip of land that separated the Mediterranean and the Black Seas  the gate to the east and the west o Luxury Goods  Sneaked silkworms out of china  Precious metals from china  Amber from the Baltic and Silk o Maritime Commerce  They did not like the sea

merchants worked in the seas called it a dangerous and unwelcoming place  preferred to contract the transportation of goods to other subjects of the empire • primarily the slabs, Syrians, and Italians

Orthodox Christianity • Undisputed o Barbarian kingdoms had weakened • The official state religion • Ecclesiastical Structure o the highest ranking of the church was the patriarch  in theory elected by other officials of the church was actually appointed by the emperor o recruited by church officials (priests)  told to marry and live in the area where they preached o monasteries  monks were told to stay celibate • Liturgy o The practice of the Church was called Liturgy o order of doctrines and ceremonies that praised god and the emperor o provided a sense of ritual and order throughout the empire  contributed to the long term stability of Byzantium • international Influence

o scholars from all over the world traveled to Constantinople to witness the liturgy first hand o resulted in a number of wide-spread conversions o the Slavs converted to Christianity and translated the Liturgy to slavish alphabet o the Bulgars and Russians also converted to 8Christianity Iconoclasm • Monasteries o Became very wealthy and powerful entities o Had a degree of independence from the emperor  Brought from the broad public appeal  Public appeal came from the religious icons • They thought they were not paintings but rather intermediaries to god • Iconoclasts o Leo III comes back from attacking the Muslims and believes the Monasteries were a threat to him o he sees the icons as the key to the power of the monasteries o begins a period of more than 100 years of persecution  monks are forced to marry  monasteries are destroyed o support from bishops who fear they are not under their control anymore • Iconodules o Those that resisted the iconoclasts

o liberators of the icons o tortured of executed Restoration o Emperor Irene says that icons are not a threat to the Empire o after Irene leaves the thrown Iconoclasm comes back for another 45 years  Theodora restores the veneration of icons Relationship with Rome o Pope did not like iconoclasm o led in part to the coronation of Charlemagne to be away from the Byzantine Empire and iconoclasm

Rise of Islam • “submission to the will of God” • began with Muhammad • combined traditional Arab worship with Judaism and Christianity • united the Arab tribes • within a short time formed a vast empire from Persian to the western border of china and into southern France

also created a thriving and vital civilization o combined scholarship and traditions  Arab scholarship and Greek traditions

Arabia before Islam • The Assimilated Periphery o Little difference between Arabs and other subjects of the empire • The Desert Interior o Vast stretches of desert o forbidden terrain for invaders  more or less independent • Bedouins o Dominant people in the interior o nomadic tribes o a system of kinship o had chiefdoms called Sheiks  more as arbitrators of disputes and led tribal consensus • Towns & Caravans (lower peninsula) o They had towns and economic centers • Religion o Many of the southern peninsula were Jews and 10Christians

o They also had a tribal god Allah Haram o Sacred land  Violence was prohibited  were tribes came together to settle disputes and arrange commerce Mecca o One of the largest Harams  Established by a religious leader called Qusayy o Caravan Hub

Mohammed • Descendant of Qusayy • he was an orphan • God’s Messenger o He would go on long period of meditation and on one occasion received a message from God • Last Prophet o God spoke through him • Muslim: True Believer • Koran o focuses on praise on Allah o totality of Allah's will

o provides fundamental laws for Islamic societies o he wrote the Koran • Cold Reception o The powers that be in Mecca did not really pay attention to him o He critized Mecca saying that it was created as an economic area and was corrupt Triumph of Islam • Mecca elites expel Mohammed from the city • He then goes to medina • Hijra (the travel to medina was called Hijra) o Medina  Comes to medina to settle disputes  He establishes the Umma  The beginning of a broad Islamic community  A tribe based on Islamic faith  All were united in their submission to the will of God  Mohammed had absolute rule over the community  Christians and Jews were expelled or executed  While he consolidates his power, Islam rises throughout the world  Gains a larger and larger following  In 629 he creates an army and attacks Mecca • Return to Mecca

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o Mecca does not put up too much of a fight o Relatively quickly and bloodlessly he takes over o Islam spreads further along the peninsula Rule of Mohammed o Undisputed rule of Mohammed Why did Islam spread so fast? o Appeal of Islam  Afterlife  Great comfort and luxury if you summit to the will  Fear of the bad afterlife  Economic Prosperity  Merchant elite and convert to Islam • Mohammed allows you to proceed without change • As Islam spread the influence as merchants spread as well  Conquest  People were encouraged to expand outward  Women  New Status • They were still subordinated to men • But they had some rights that did not have before hand o Before converting to Islam

Rights in Marriage • The husband was bound by law to take care of her wife • If the women felt he was not taking care of her she had the right to leave him or grievance • Veils Expansion  Expanded in two ways  Conversion • Muslims appealed to the economic elites  Jihad • Expansion of the Islamic faith • Islamic faith forbade Muslims from attacking another Muslims • Islam spread through the peninsula through a combination of things Christians and Jews  They could leave peacefully but had to pay a tax 

Spread of Islam • Death of Mohammed o Dies in 632 AD o He leaves his kingdom with no clear successor o Islamic kingdom enters a time of turmoil that his successors have great difficulty trying to settle o The elites of Mecca and Medina  Dispute of whom has a greater status

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o A lot of the tribes leave the fold once he dies  They had their loyalty to Mohammed  Once he dies there is no reason to stay From Re-conversion to Expansion o Caliphs (ruler of kingdoms) o Mohammed’s first successor was Abu Bakr  He felt that a war of re-conversion was the most effective means to reunite the peninsula over Islam  This began a cycle  In order to use force to raising an army  He relied on the loyalty of the tribes  In order to keep the loyalty of the tribes they needed an incentive  The incentive was the conquest of areas • They conquered and sent the resources back to the tribes and the kingdom • They then moved on to another area Vulnerable Opponents o They are not able to mount an assertive defense Willful Subjects Syria & Egypt  Christians in here convert to Islam (many)  Those how don’t convert live more peacefully than under the Byzantine Empire  They could worship as they pleased as long as they paid a tax

Byzantine Eclipse o The Islamic expansion was the beginning of the end for the Byzantine empire o In two incidents the Islamic armies threaten to take over Constantinople  Byzantine was reduced to Greece, turkey, parts of the Balkan and small parts of southern Italy

Government and Administration • Multinational empire • Arabs become minority • Two traditions o Tribal  By the kinship relationships o Spiritual  The spiritual kinship of the Umma • Byzantine & Sassanid o Adapt the bureaucracies and structures  Officials did not have to convert • Social & Economic Structures o Very little change in day to day life o Monasteries stayed intact (just tax)  Along with temples and other religious places • Spoils of War

o Bitter conflict over the wealth o The earliest followers in the interiors of the peninsula and descendents saw themselves as the origins of the Islamic faith they thought they should get a greater share  The people DOING the conquests thought THEY should get a greater share o Uthran came up with a solution  The political privilege of the Mecca elite would be reduced but in exchange they gained a little bit more money  This made no one happy o Ali was the successor and people thought he was involved in his murder  He left Mecca and traveled to Baghdad  There he decided to change the role of Caliphs  Emphasized the religious authority of Caliphs over the day to day authority  The Mecca elites did not like that, they wanted to remain in power  The Mecca elites murdered him and took the capital back o The followers of Ali saw themselves as the true followers of Islam and formed the Shi’ite Islam Umayyad & Abbasid • After the murder of Ali the Mecca elite become the Umayyad • They relocated the capital and attempted to reshaped the empire under the banner of unity o Emphasizing their own rule as secular leaders • Expansion o During this period the Islamic empire expands the most o By the end of the Umayyad the empire had expanded through west of china, north Africa, moving north taking two thirds of Spain

Spiritual Mandate o Arabs were a minority o The subjects of the caliphate wanted a return to the secular rulers o They wanted somebody they could relate to This led to the establishment of the Abbasid o They overthrew the Umayyad o They relocated the capital to Baghdad o And returned to the old system o Where the caliphs was both a ruler and a secular leader o The empire was no longer based on Arab unity, but Islamic unity Emirs o The caliphate was extensively large o So they had to create governors called “Emirs” o It became increasingly more difficult to wield central power so the Emirs grew in power o As they had more power they also demanded a greater deal of independence o They eventually had de-facto power over the areas and the caliphate became just for show Sunnis o The Muslims that accepted the compromise became the Sunni Muslims

20/07/2007 12:22:00

20/07/2007 12:22:00