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Political entities:

Achaemenid Empire- first persian empire, founded in the 6th center, empire expanded to rule over the
ancient world from Balkans in the west to the Indus valley in the east, eventually controlled Egypt,
Persians settled in the Iranian plateau, known for building roads and postal systems, official language
Aramaic; historians argue whether or not Achaemenid empire was under distress when Alexander the
Great invaded the region, Alexander caused the collapse of the empire
Sasanian Empire- last Iranian Empire before the rise of Islam, one of the main powers in Western and
Central Asia,founded by Ardashir I, witnessed the peak of the ancient Iranian civilization, Persia
influenced Roman culture during this period, played a prominent role in European and Asia medieval
art, city was hard to get to because of high mountains and narrow roads (good for defense), Ardashir I
expanded empire east and northwest, Most of the infantry was formed by Paygans (often recruited from
peasant population)
Byzantium- the ancient Greek cite which is now Constantinople, Byzas from Megara founded
Byzantium after he sailed though the Aegean Sea, mainly a trading city due to its location at the
entrance of the Black Sea, in 1453 the city fell to the Ottoman Turks and became the capital of the
Ottoman Empire (Turks called the city "Istanbul"), it is now the largest city in Turkey
Shia- followers of Muhammad's son-in-law and cousin Ali., Shi'a believe to be Muhammad's
successor in the Caliphate, Twelver shia is the largest branch of Shia Islam, based on the Quran and the
message of Muhammad, Shia consider Ali to have been divinely appointed successor by Muhammad
which made him the first Imam, modern Shi'i ISlam has been divided into three groups: Twelvers,
Ismailis, and Zaidis
Umayyads- second of the four major Caliphates established after Muhammads death, centered on
Umayyad Dynasty (centered in Mecca), Syria was their main power base and Damascus was the
capital, Taxation and administrative practices were seen as unjust by other Muslims, they dealt with
judicial matters/laws/ and taxes how they saw fit (Muhammad said that each religious minority could
do so), Ties with Christians were good (his wife was a Christian) and most of Syria were Christians
this allowed his wife to become popular and it strengthened his power in Syria
Abbasids- third of the four major Caliphates after Muhammad's death, defended from Muhammads
youngest uncle (Abbas ibn Abd), capital was in Baghdad (the capital being so close to Persia proper
reflects reliance on Persian beaucrats), claimed to be true successors and replace Umayyads,
distinguished from Umayyads because of moral character and administration in general, depended
heavily on Persians to overthrow Umayyads, The Umayyad leader who survived moved to spain and
became an independent leader
Fatimids-made Egypt center of Caliphate, spanned across North Africa, defended from daughter of
Muhammad, capital was Cairo, ruling class belonged to Ismaili branch of shi'ism, had a central role
Berbers in its initial establishment and helped develop military and political levels; rapidly declined in
Religious movements:

Zoroastrianism- monotheistic Iranian religion; Achaemenid, Parthian, and Sasanian empires; sacred
text= Gathas, Ahura Mazda is the creator of everything, Daena- the eternal law
Gnosticism- a collection of ancient religions whose adherents shunned the material world and
embraced the spiritual world; mainly dualistic
Manicheanism- taught dualism- fight between good spiritual world and evil material world. spread
through Aramaic-Syriac speaking regions, Mani believed other teachings were incomplete
*****Believers movement
Ismailis- branch of shia islam who is also know has the seveners: branched from twelvers:: both see
Muhammad's family as the divine chosen ones- seveners claim Ismail had inherited father's religious
Cities and monuments:
Mecca- located in Saudi Arabia, birthplace of Muhammad and the site of Muhammad's first revelation
of the Quran; holiest city in the elision of Islam- pilgrimage to it is known as Hajj and is obligatory of
all muslims
Medina- Hejaz region of western Saudi Arabia, burial place of Muhammad- second holiest city,
**death occurred in 632 AD**
Famous because it was Muhammad's final religious base after the Hijrah
Damascus- capital of Syria, Conquered by Muslim-Arab in 635 then Byzantines wanted it so they
battled at the Yarmouk River and it was a Muslim victory, Capital of the entire Caliphate; lost
importance after Umayyad's were taken over and city walls were taken down
Baghdad- location of the Abbasids until the leader of the Seljuks (who converted to the Sunni brand of
Islam) took over Baghdad, ruled as Sultans in the name of the Abbasid caliphs; in 1258, Baghdad was
taken over by Mongols who massacred most of the city, it was then again taken by the Turks:: In 1534,
Baghdad was taken by Ottoman Turks, fell into decline because rulers and Safavids did not accept the
Sunni control of the city
Cairo- Ottoman empire, important economic and cultural center during the 6th and 17th centuries,
merchants brought goods to Mecca during the Hajj and transported textiles and coffee after they
stopped shipping spices, Founded by the Fatimid army
Dome of the Rock- Umayyad Caliph And al-Malik ordered for the Dome of the Rock to be built,
Jerusalem's most recognizable landmark, Cross on top of the dome was replaced with an Islamic
crescent during the Ayyubids and Mamluks, During the ottoman empire the dome was covered in tiles
Gabriel- the angel Gabriel protected Muhammad during many military campaigns,
Muhammad received his first revelation from God when he went to visit Gabriel
Muh ammad- believed by Muslims to be the messenger and prophet of God, founder of Islam, born in
Mecca and died in Medina

Ali b. Ab lib- cousin and son in law of Muhammad, ruled over Islamic Caliphate:: Sunnis see him
as the fourth and final Rashidun, while Shias see him as the first Imam after Muhammad (rightful
successors to Muhammad), he was the first to accept Muhammad's divine revelation and convert to
Jafar al-S diq- Shi'a muslims consider him to be the sixth Imam/leader and spiritual successor to
Muhammad; highly respected by both Sunni and Shi'a muslims for his great Islamic scholarship and
academic contributions
Ab Bakr- father in law of Muhammad, ruled over Rashidun Caliphate, first Muslim caliph after
Muhammad's death- exercised political and administrative functions that Muhammad once did, first
person outside of the family of Muhammad to openly become a Muslim
Umar- one of the most powerful caliphs, Succeeded Abu Bakr as the second caliph of Rashidun
Caliphate, expert jurist, Under Umar the caliphate expanded at a quick ratehe ruled the Sasanian
empire and 2/3 of the Byzantine empire
Uthmn-companion of Muhammad, third of the Sunni Rashidun, expanded the empire into Fars and
Ab Nuws- greatest classical Arabic poets, appears in The Book of One Thousand and One Nights

***Concepts and practices

Late antiquity
Usually said to run from 300-600 CE
Ended in 602 with the murder of the Byzantine emperor in Constantinople during the Roman-Persian
Great War (but this idea is only because most ancient historians ignore Islam and Arabic
The time frame is quite problematic since it only acknowledges the Christian side of things, despite the
fact that Islam too inherits the culture and religious currents from late antiquity. Some scholars suggest
we take the entire first millennium CE as a single unit, beginning with the emergence of Christianity in
the first Century CE and ending with the first full cultural flowering of Islam in the tenth century CE
Hope that divine intervention would vanquish the enemies of Israel and establish a new age fueled
political tensions with Rome
*Persian Cosmopolis?
Tradition the trodden path

Custom: the practice of the Prophet and the Early community which becomes for all Muslims an
authoritative example of the correct way to live a Muslim life

A report of the saying or deeds of the prophet transmitted by his companions; collections of hadith are
in second authority to the Quran as a source of Muslin beliefs and practice
A chain of authorities, the series of transmitters of hadith whose names guarantee their validity
An inquisition, in particular the inquisition of the caliph al-Mamun
Prophetic Monotheism
Universalization of the local monotheism emerges from polytheism as a process of abstraction
Local tribal gods become universal gods, Universal gods become one God, as preached by the prophet
of ancient Israel and the Iranian prophet Zoroaster
One God and one King or God as King/King as God
Philosophical Rationalism
Position that emphasized the centrality of reason as an ordering principle in the understanding of Gods
being the structure of the Universe and of the governance of human behavior
Belief in free will and individual responsibility for moral choices
Human/Animal Sacrifice
The concept of blood in human societies: human sacrifice and sacred lines of descent
Blood as a conduct of sacred power
Human sacrifice was replaces by animal sacrifice in ancient Judaism, but never abandoned as an Ideal
(Abraham and Isaac/Ishmael)

all consumed meat is sacrificed meat

Centrality of sacrifice preserved in Christianity righteousness through blood alone

Sacrifice was finally discarded in Islam, righteousness is achieved thorough good works alone
Islam is based on the Irano-Sematic tradition but also subsumed the Hellanic and Sanskritic, while
Christianity is only semi-hellanic
Islam is a simple religion modern religion monotheism of the desert
Christianity has the demand for personal responsiveness to redemptive love in a corrupt world. High
spiritual drama, extremes of suffering and joy. Central mechanism is rebirth
Islam has the demand for personal responsiveness for the moral ordering of the world. A manly and
balanced approach, avoiding extremes. Central mechanism is jihad (Struggles for social righteousness)
Christianity - corporatist pattern, hierarchical, authoritarian
Islam encourages multiple centers, multiple knows, contractualist pattern, pluralistic, personal
Islam: Madrasa- you get a degree from a professor, not a school (as opposed to Universities where
there are a lot of different schools under one roof)
Christianity you depend on God, Islamic you are responsible for your righteousness
Islamic vs Christianity slightly different emphasis within a largely shared heritage of symbolism, with
frequent textual cross-pollination
622/Hijra (Hegria)
The emigration of the Prophet from Mecca to Medina was in 622
The base year of the Muslim Era
Muhammad dies
Islam is not yet a separate religion
The question of succession is a massive problem for the nascent Muslim community
The darkest period in Islam
Abu Baker establishes authority over the Arab tribes of the Peninsula

The successor of the prophet and head of the Muslim community- the caliph
Associated with sunnism
A worthy member of Muhammads tribe
Sultan = power authority
Title of a muslim monarch
Associated with Turkish rule
Associated with Shiism
Infallible philosopher
A slave or freedman in military service
***Ethnic Groups
Ethnic stereotype = poets, oraters (public speakers)
Start as elite and are replaced by Persians
Arabism challenged, and was rejected as an option for Islamic culture
Arabic becomes the poetry of sophisticated pleasure
Were known to some as greedy
Berber speakers included the Masmuda, Sanhaga and Zenta.
Some lived in farms, villages and towns in the costal regions of what are now Tunisia and Algeria
Majority were camel herding nomads in the Sahara, and pastoralists in the mountains

With the Arab conquests, sedentarized Berbers remained Christians, but nomadic Berbers enlisted in
Arab armies and helped spread Islam westward into Algeria, Morocco, and Spain

Ethnic sterotypes warriors hunters Beasts without brains
Turks, not Arabs are the most politically important ethnic group in Islamic History
Turkish slave soldiers become the main stay of Abbasid Army in 833 and remain central thereafter
Were known as Military rulers
Turks began en masse invasion of Islamic lands in the 10th century due largely to the climate change,
they took control as Sultans, established powerful dynasties eventually culminating in the ottoman,
Safuld and Mughal Empires.
Fastest and deadliest army in the world
Largest Land Empire in history
Culturally integrates most of Asia
***Cultural Zones
Very prominent in the economy of the expanding Afro-Eurasia in 500CE
Egalitarian and Cosmopolitan prophetic communities
Mobile merchants with few local ties
Aristocratic tendencies
Hellenism was a powerful influence
Represented both a reinforcement of and a challenge to the world view of the urban ulama
Was screened, adapted and utilized to reinforce the basic moral and religious positions of the urban

It continued to be sponsored in court circles as part of a cosmopolitan and aristocratic cultivation

Hellenistic philosophy and science would be preserved for future confrontations and interactions with
Islamic religions thoughts for eventual transmission to Christian Europe
(Ulama- collective word for scholars, especially scholars of law or learned men of Islam)