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TSR Wiki > Study Help > Subjects and Revision > Revision Notes > History > Islamic Conquests up to 700 a.d. - Islamic Strengths / Roman Weaknesses?


ARAB STRENGTHS

  • Becker’s

    view those migrations only after initial victories in Iraq and Syria. Migrations after thought unleashed

    promise of wealth and of land in conquered domains. Hunger and greed rather than religious

    zeal.
  • general

    weakness Byzantine and Sasanid Persia due to prolonged wars lucky

    presence of good generals and administrators on Arab side.
  • Canard - Attributes much to dissatisfaction of

    people in Syria and Iraq rejects Arabs driven out of Arabia by misery

    yes booty, yes economic factors encourage people to the front, but not

    driving forward. Would have

    stopped in Syria and Iraq and not continued.
  • Gabrieli - was seething with arms and armed

    men: the victors, no less than the vanquished, needed an outlet for their

    surplus energies…Certainly one of the major incentives for external

    conquest may have lain in this explosive internal situation”
    .
  • Muhammad’s career and doctrines of Islam

    revolutionised both the ideological base and political structures of

    Arabian society gave rise of state for first time capable of organizing

    and executing an expansionist movement.

    Yes accidental factors such as weakness of empires more than an

    accident testament to power of human action mobilised by ideological

    commitment as a force in human affairs
  • Muhammad’s

    Medina displayed much greater cohesiveness - new ideology and gradual rise

    of new institutional and organizational arrangements grew into a new

    state much better relations with tribal confederations etc. No problem creating confederation

    bigger problem maintaining it.
  • Muhammad controlled a polity main characteristics

    of state: high degree centralisation, primacy of law or centralised higher

    authority in the settlement of disputes, institutions to perform

    administrative functions. 622 for convenience.
  • integrative

    power of acting on raw material of Arabian society unleashed expansive

    military potential of peninsula and generated Islamic conquest
  • 1. Unique, Separate and unified Islamic community

    umma 2. concept of absolute higher authority 3. concept of centralisation

    of authority within Umma
  • UMMA OR COMMUNITY OF BELIEVERS yes communities

    with religious ties such as inks of tribes around Harams etc. But umma universal community of

    believers reflecting one universal God.

    Main difference monotheism - active rejection of Paganism laid clam

    to whole pagan population. Notion umma could and must expand to include entire

    Pagan population if not mankind implicit. Conscious or unconscious acceptance of such a notion proves

    most supportive of an extended conquest movement with political and

    religious character.
  • O

    believers, take not for your intimates outside yourselves; such men spare

    nothing to run you: they year for

    you to suffer”. Emphasis

    separateness leads to social and political centralisation. Umma had to transcend tribal ties
  • Set stage for great process of integration and

    expansion that we call Islamic conquests Islam provided powerful

    ideological underpinning for rise of state institutions and for

    interfering with community that extended beyond the tribe. There is no God but God, and Muhammad

    is the apostle of God”.
  • New

    ideology that gave accomplishments durability and made them the foundation

    of the conquest movement. Discern

    them in features of the state
  • Creation

    of a centralised tax regime formed culmination of Muhammad’s long process

    of political consolidation.
  • End

    of career Muhammad had created a new state in Western Arabia constructed

    by traditional means bound together by ideological and institutional

    factors that allowed it to transcend usual forms of political organization

    in tribal confederations.
  • Hitherto unknown durability and centralised control

    over subjects- by prevalence eof overriding concept of law, focusing of

    political authority in God, the umma and Muhammad, systemisation of tax

    and justice, establishment network of administrative agents.
  • Muhammad

    preaches that nomadic life incompatible with Islam yes Muslims but take

    another oath of allegiance. We see

    sedentary groups begin seen as more powerful and Islamic that nomadic

    groups change in power dynamic: ”…can be no Islam to those who do not

    settle”
  • 3 kinds of domination:
    1. Hegemony of Muslims over non-Muslims
    2. Dominance of essentially Hijazi ruling elite over other tribal groups
  • Hegemony of a sophisticated sedentary elite and their state over nomadic groups
  • On

    the way to the front, the core forces so assembled were also able to raise

    further recruits as they passed through the territories of various tribes”

    not just hordes organized contingents with objectives and general

    movements caused by the ruling elites.
  • impetus to political unification and

    centralization implicit in Islam’s concept of a universal, unique God, of

    a overriding moral authority established by God”
    .
  • Tribal

    ties good way of identifying where soldiers were and what they were up to

    pay and military organization.
  • Solve

    nomadic problems recruiting their finest and most dangerous warriors into

    the Arabian armies thus increasing military power, whilst reducing real

    power of nomads in the desert. Ata

    or stipend more of a reward for settling down. Umar The sooner one settles,

    the sooner one receives a stipend”
  • Placement

    of garrison towns important - yes

    defence against Byzantine and Sasanians and springboard for further

    campaign but also keep an eye on nomadic Syrian an Arabian populace. Ringing remaining nomads in desert with

    forts garrison in alKufa central Iraq
  • Success

    conquests first and foremost product of organizational breakthrough of

    proportions unparalleled in Arabian world.
  • Muslims

    succeeded because able to organize effective conquest movement impact

    new religion of Islam which provided ideological underpinnings for

    remarkable breakthrough in social organisations truly an Islamic

    movement Islam set of beliefs preached by Muhammad social and

    political ramifications sparked whole integration process and hence

    ultimate cause of conquests’ success.
  • Umar

    seen as creator of perfect welfare state presented by God for embracing

    his cause initially emigrants subsidized by the government.
  • expand and survive”
  • only toward end of Umayadd period that Byzantines

    able to face Muslims on anything approaching equal basis. Little incentive for sending diplomatic

    missions to establish modus vivendi with other powers to establish

    permanent relations who were soon to be defeated and incorporated within

    Daral-Islam
  • Why?

    Arabs were excellent warriors, culture that prized personal valour. Groups

    of Bedouin significant threat but united Arab groups such as confederate

    allies of Romans more formidable Ghassanids as effective in pitched

    battle as any other Persian troops.

 

 

 

BYZANTINE WEAKNESS

  • Reflect

    broader cultural differences Monophysiote used vernacular and

    essentially rural powerful lay supporters in Syria Ghassnids

    significant proportion population alienated from ruling class culturally

    and religion seen as heretical whilst did not cooperate with Islamic

    conquests little enthusiasm for Byzantine cause - parts of Syria

    actually welcomed no where near as significant resistance as in

    Anatolia, Armenia or Fars in southern Iran.
  • Long

    term weakness revealed by catastrophes following death Maurice 602 aided

    by Khursau II Perez peace helped form border harmony Avars and Slavs

    Phocas incompetent usurper pretext Khursau to invade and avenge

    benefactor’s death catastrophic effects Antioch (613) and Jerusalem

    (614) all Syria and Palestine, plus Egypt, much Anatolian highlands

    destruction Anatolian highlands. Phocas replaced by Heraclius who led

    brilliant campaigns against Persians 628 enters Ctesiphon Persian

    conquests Syrian and Egypt restored to Byzantine control
  • Long

    war accelerated and confirmed tendencies of previous centuries

    demographic and urban decline. Syrian borderlands deserted to less chaotic

    areas, generations inhabitants grown up without any sense of Empire

    little residual loyalty. Little

    time to repair defences or self-government. Syria attempts to solve religious issue Monophytism and

    Diophytism Monotheletism Egypt militant dio bishop appointed

    systematic alienation of population, little Christian unity. If Heraclius enjoyed fruits of victory

    for a few decades new structure in near East perhaps Islamic armies

    arrived when Byzantine rule was recent, shaky and widely resented. Islamic conquest product of decline

    Byzantine civilisation as well as blow itself.
  • 631 Heraclius entrusts Cryrus, bishop of Phasis in

    Caucasus with patriarch Alexandria persecuted Monophysites of Coptic

    church alienated much population from Roman rule, more so than Syria

    where some Orthodox.

·       

Time to re-establish complicated structure of

administrative and personal ties which bound the provinces to the capital.

  • Defeat

    Persia vindication of the Christian Empire require time to recover from

    strains of war and set about realising the opportunities of the post war

    world.
  • neither

    provincials or imperial government would have good reason to think

    beginning of exceptional crisis transform near East.
  • Imperial

    control slowly being reconstructed after 20 year absence generations

    without experience of imperial rule much Palestine, Syria and

    Transjordan effctiely self-governing under bishops and local notables 0

    Muslim Arabs must have appeared as a desirable continuation of state

    affairs.
  • Limited

    ability to strike back Romans achieve victory over Persia with a Turkish

    alliance making supreme effort to raise an army, despite loss of

    empire’s most productive regions if Herakleios’ eastern campaign failed

    627-8 no further stocks of church treasure to melt down and it would be

    some time before the attempt could be repeated.
  • Devastated

    by continuing Arab invasions and raids by sea and land, cut off from main

    trade routes of Near East which now focussed on Syria, Egypt and Iraq

    empire’s economy rapidly fell away from levels of 600.
  • Copper

    coins, although common in Muslim territory, virtually disappear within

    empire. Red-slip fine wares from North Africa no longer found long

    tradition of manufacture and distribution had come to an end. General lack of pottery implies

    disappearance centres of production and d of long-distance trading

    networks.
  • Imperial

    capital never ceased to be a relatively large city a centre of

    government and of some commerce.

    Mango evidence of decay. C

    early middle ages centre of Roman world largest and wealthiest cities.

    More important from 600 onwards as no other major cities preservation

    essential to empire’s survival

 

 

PERSIAN WEAKNESS

  • Conquests made easier by exhaustion of Byzantine

    and Sasanian Empire due to prolonged warfare, confusion that reigned in

    Sasanian ruling house, disruption caused by recent enemy occupation of

    Syria and Iraq, destruction wrought by immense floods in Southern Iraq,

    disaffection for religious and other reasons, convenience of inner lines

    of communication that Muslims enjoyed
  • Dynastic rule of Sasanians whilst stopping early

    usurpers who could not gain respect Bahram Chobin (590-1) in years of

    Kurso II Pavez death difficult for sovereign to emerge to 628-32 ten

    different Kings by time Yazdgard III found hiding and made King Muslim

    armies attacking the Empire.
  • Mazdakite uprising of late 5th and early

    6th century religious movement with strong social overtones

    abolition property and class distinction. Kavad I 488 531 backed

    it! Symbolises rare insight into

    social discontents in Iran left an ideological legacy for 9th

    century uprising in Azerbaijan.
  • Two levels of Persian aristocracy upper aristocracy

    consisted of a few great families suspicion of great magnates, see

    Bahram Chbin Khursau’s ill-advised decision to abolish Lakhmid buffer

    kingdom of al-Hira which guarded desert frontier of Iraq.
  • Mixture religious beliefs reflects ethnic and

    linguistic diversity Kurds Dalymites n Iraq, Lurs, Baluchis Iraq

    mostly Aramiac, arabs in al-Jazira and al-Hira Persians confine to

    cities.
  • Long term weaknesses exacerbated by short-term

    problems violent and unpredictable policies of Khursau II Parvez and

    struggle for succession - Khursau II no great administrator

    centralisation alienated monarchy, ten yr rebellion Khuran executed

    southern governor. Determination

    for authority led to arrest and execution of al-Nu’man last of Lakhmid kings

    of Hira replaced by Persian governor.

    These problems les to attack 602 disastrous to both empire

    initially successful but comeback takes Ctesiphon extensive floods and

    resistance weakened by plague Kursau’s failings as a military commander led

    to murderous feud amongst sons ruined and bitterly divided not

    surprising that Persian defeated, but they fought so well.
  • Byzantine and Sassanain undergone far-reaching and

    fundamental changes in century before Islam social, economic and

    structural changes like increased importance pastoral people and absence

    civic autonomy associated with development of Islamic society under way

    before 6th century.

    Muslim conquest breaking up conservative world order far from truth

    entered an already changing world and shaped and accelerated existing

    trends. Dynamic development of

    Islamic world understood against this background.
  • much larger Persian army 12,000 much larger Persia

    army under Rustam battle of Qadisiyya decisive Persian host totally

    defeated and shortly afterwards Persian capital (Ctesiphon) occupied and

    occupied by victorious army 637

    -victory at Jalula forced Yazdgird III to withdraw to Isfahan

    areas - secures position of

    Muslims, small groups of whom now took control of town and villages of

    Iraq as far north as Mosul.
  • Persian resistance ineffective with loss of Iraq

    Persians lose wealthiest province and capital Ctesiphon political centre

    of the empire. Ctesiphon and

    Sasanian court privded powerful political and cultural focus beyond

    religious alliance as long as that survived Persian empire could cope

    with disasters such as death and defeat of shah Perox at hands Hepthalites

    in 484 Roman invasion 627 8 comparative ethnic unity of Iranian

    plateau and mountainous barrier it offers invader from west counted for

    very little as Arabs hunted down last shahs. Constantinople 1200 k from Damascus.

·       

Sasanian army at Dhu Qar turn 7th century

unified group of nomads could overcome army of settled folk. Impetus Islam not under-rated in brilliant

victories for Arabs. unity as well as inspiration and drive to conquest.

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